Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Aunt Alice's Quilt

Our high school library was on the third floor of the building with large windows that the sunlight would come through - I loved the place - I found a book of short stories there by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and there was one story, The Bed Quilt, that I never forgot. It is the story of triumph - an elderly unmarried family member, Aunt Mehetabel, and the quilt she creates. I love this story and it really began my love of quilts - and the stories they could tell if they could talk.

In Texas I was even in a quilt group - but only made squares - not a whole quilt - but when I would sit in the living room working on one there would be such a sense of peacefulness in doing the handstitching - my husband even commented about how he loved to watch me working on a square. I even went to the huge quilt show in Houston - and got a migraine afterwards from staring at everything!

We moved back to Long Island and once again I was near family. My Aunt Alice, who could sew so fantastically that she used Vogue patterns and I believe made a sports jacket for her husband - was talking about making a quilt - and I remember telling her that she would be the last person to need a lesson - all she had to do was start! She did start - and then one day she and Uncle Artie showed up at my home in Northport with a large shopping bag and gave it to me and I reached in and began to bring out the most beautiful hand stitched quilt. I was so overwhelmed I don't even remember what I said or did - it was so emotional for me. The patterns she used for the squares are Log Cabin, Schoolhouse and Hearts - perfect - and they are all in wonderful warm pastels with such great color combinations - I really didn't want to write about it without a photo - but I didn't want to wait. She made handstitched quilts (Queen size) for all her nieces and daughters-in-law. What a blessing. If you hold my quilt up to the window it looks like a stain glass window!

It is hard for me to write about The Quilt - because the tears come to my eyes when I think of the love that you feel when you pull the quilt around you and you just feel the love and care that went into its creation. During one particular rough time in our lives I gave the quilt to Kik so she could take it to where she was staying and it would be safe - I remember the look in her eyes as she carried it - she knew how precious it was. Whenever someone wasn't feeling well they would want the quilt. The quilt is truly imbued with a love that is so tangible all you have to do is wrap yourself up in it. The Louvre has the Mona Lisa - we have The Quilt - our treasure.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not Waiting for the New Year

I have several things going on besides all the Christmas Worship Pages for the newspaper and writing up all the debutantes and cotillions - here are some new things that are happening:

1. I have booked my niece to be my personal trainer - she comes to my house twice a week and gets me to exercise - I am now up to 150 crunches!!! I don't believe it myself - and I have hope that I will not be in this same body for my birthday in March - and I will buy a new bathing suit for the new body this summer. She has given me the precious gift of hope.

2. I have hired someone to come and clean my town home once every two weeks (she is scheduled for next Tues. AND the 23rd - just before family arrives!!) I made this decision because I have just been getting bogged down with house work when I want to be working on major projects here - and I want to wake up on Saturday morning knowing I don't have to clean the bathrooms. When I came home my first Tuesday after she had been here - really questioning whether I should spend the money - and I opened up the door and saw my place - clean - shining - and smelling wonderful - I told myself that she was worth every single penny!!!

These are just some of the things that are happening in my life - this is a really busy time for me because I handle all the church advertisements for Christmas and we do this whole special section for all their ads - every Christmas and every Easter - and I haven't even started decorating or shopping for Christmas - hopefully this weekend!

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Laptop

I am actually sitting in my living room writing on my blog - not having to stay late after work to read blogs and write on my own!!! This is a real blessing - right up there with finding my townhome, my used car and now being able to use my laptop at home.

We did have a computer in my old home - it was a used one that they had a lottery for at work and I won!!! We had it set up in April's room - but then after my husband's death I had to move out of the house and into my Mom's home until I found my own place - and finally into my own place two years ago - I never set it up here - and now with a lot of things happening in my life I knew I really needed to make this next investment. Kik's husband helped me so much and actually got the laptop for me so I could buy it and gave me all the good advice about "hooking it up" - stuff that can slow me down if I have to figure it out for myself! Thank you Ken!

My third daughter, her husband and son and their yellow Lab came from DC this Thanksgiving and stayed with me - what a blessing it was to have them here with me! I got to take my grandson to the Children's Museum here in town and my son in law really helped me a lot with my laptop - setting it up - getting a wireless mouse - showing me how to do things - it was wonderful having my own IT person in house!!! My daughter worked in a bakery all through college and makes the best piecrusts (Martha's recipe) and pies - it was great having my own in house baker here!!!

It is really the small things that really matter - tucking my grandson into bed - reading him stories - singing lullabies to him that my grandmother and my mother sang - sitting in the living room next to my daughter - having a cup of coffee with her in the morning - watching my son in law hold his son - having my son in law pray with me over a very important decision that I need to make - it is all pure gold and I treasure the memories.

Our last night together we all gathered at my Mom's home and we had Parmesean Wings and Pizza - and if you wanted it there were brownies, ice cream and pie after the Pizza/Wing Fest!!! What a finish to the Thanksgiving weekend!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good News

I have a new laptop that I am getting connected to the internet on Sunday - do you believe Time/Warner is doing this on Sunday!!! - and I can't wait!!! I will finally have a computer working at home - and Kik is going to give me a tutorial on doing links and all kinds of good stuff!!!! I feel like I have been a little kid with their face pressed against the gate watching everyone have a good time at the party and I am finally coming to the party - for real!!!! Kik and Ken are coming over for pot roast tonight that has been in the crockpot all day - she is bringing the already done baked potatoes and I made homemade lemon cookies for dessert. It is a perfect night for a cozy supper - chilly and windy!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cooking with Claire

I love recipes - cook books - and I have to say that after cooking for a family of six for many years and all their friends that seemed to arrive at dinnertime I can still say I enjoy cooking! But - now I live alone and work full time - so a lot of short cuts have become my way of life - though I am trying to lose weight so there has to be a balance.

Wednesday night I invited my Mom and sister over for a quick dinner - and I mean quick - as my sister had to go shopping at WalMart and my Mom and I were going to hang out together while she went shopping. So - I had two packages of Smart Ones Three Cheese Ziti dinners and a package of hamburger meat - I crumbled up the hamburger meart and browned it with my Aunt Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt and my favorite basic seasoning, Spice Islands Beau Monde. When the two dinners were done for the first go round in the microwave I scooped them out into a cassarole - mixed the hamburger meat in with it - sprinkled grated sharp cheddar cheese and parmesean on top - popped it back in the microwave - opened a can of green beans - nuked them - set the table and we sat down and enjoyed our meal! - less than 30 mins. with the table set and the candles lit! Bring it on Rachel Ray!

I'll try and share a more serious recipe another time - love all the recipes I am collecting from the rest of you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Movie Night

Saturday night my friend, Kelly, and I went to see The Secret Lives of Bees and then out to dinner. We were celebrating her birthday which was in July so that shows you how bad we are about getting our time organized!!

Anyway - what an excellent movie - the book was really good - and I really enjoyed the movie - Queen Latifah is really perfect - the whole cast was - and we got popcorn with "butter" (we don't really want to know what it is) all the way through it - Kelly asked the girl to stop and put butter on it as she was filling the bag. We both got Diet Cokes - trying to be good. You know how sometimes Diet Coke just tastes like medicine? Well this was the best Diet Coke - started thinking that maybe they gave us real Coke! We went out to dinner afterwards and just enjoyed catching up on all of our news - she used to work at the newspaper with me.

Sunday my Mom, sister and myself went to hear the Long Bay Symphony - it was really great - the performers were excellent - violinist, Asmira Woodward-Page - the whole event. We all had a good time!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Monday morning I was leaving my home early and got in my car only to have it do that ominous "click click" as I turned the key in the ignition. I immediately tried to call my sister who lives nearby to catch a ride with her but she had already left for work. I then called Kik at work and explained what had happened and she said she would call her husband right away. I hung up and then thought to call my friend, Kelly, who also lives nearby and when I got a hold of her she immediately told me she would be right over. I called Kik back and told her Kelly was coming - and Ken who was going to come to help me didn't need to.

Kelly arrived in her brand new Hyundai Sonata - drove back to her house with me - handed me the keys and told me to keep the car for the day - she didn't need it - and that her husband, Dana, would be over to look at my car later (she took my car keys). I drove her great car with fabulous pick up!!! and when I got home that night they came over - he had a charger to charge my battery - then went back to his office and got a battery tester so he could test my battery and make sure that it wasnn't something more serious - he said I apparently had left the dome light on inside the car - and did I mention that a light rain was falling this whole time?

One of my daughters said that Kelly never stops at square one when she is helping a someone - she always goes right to the limit - without any hesitation. Dana was once driving past our house when he saw that April had a flat and immediately stopped and changed the tire for her - then went and got her new tires on her car!!! They come running everytime someone needs help - no matter who you are - she once noticed an elderly woman in the supermarket and she began helping her and visiting her at her home nearby - there are just countless stories of their willingness to help you when you're in trouble.

Friends like Kelly and Dana are pure gold.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The visit to Mount Vernon with all of our family was my first. The home sits on top of a high bluff overlooking the Potomac River. This is the front of the house - and across the back - which overlooks the river - is a long porch with rocking chairs that anyone can sit in and watch the river.

We were in a line that slowly went through the home and if you look at the main door above you will see a door to the left - that is the doorway we entered to view the first room which was a wonderful formal dining room with some original furniture from George Washington's home. The woman that greeted us told us some really interesting things about the room and as we were ready to leave the room to go to the next she said, "Let me stand back so you may look into the same mirror that George Washington looked into." With those words I looked across from where I was standing directly into a very large gilt framed mirror at myself and had such a sense of history - being able to view a part of his life and time - and tears came to my eyes as it just seemed that I was able to look into who he was - to feel history just wrap itself around me and then I moved on to the next room.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A River Runs Through It

First time posting photos and Heather and I are having problems - but forging ahead anyway - this is the river that is one block from her home - the Delaware. We are having beautiful fall weather!

This is a building in the National Park near their home - rest rooms - the stone work was great.

I loved the light in this photo - Heather took the top one and I took these two - I hope to post more tomorrow!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Road Trip!!!

My Mom, sister, Kik, Ken and myself are all leaving tomorrow for D.C. for a mini-family reunion to visit my daughter, April, and my other daughter, Lauren, and her husband and son in D.C. My younger brother, his wife and their four daughters and their new granddaughter will be meeting us there!!! We are all so excited - and then after the weekend I get to go home with my daughter, Heather, and her family and I get to spend the week in Pennsylvania in the Fall!!! I fly home on the 19th!!! So this is really going to be fun!!! I love taking a road trip with family - good conversation - lots of laughs - and always good snacks!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Heather's Birthday!!!

Her older sister, Kik, started this with all the memories and today is a good day for us to remember all the fun and joy she has brought to the family.

Heather was my first C-section - after being induced for many hours they decided to do a C-section so she wouldn' get over 10 lbs. - her older sister, Kik, had been 9 lbs. 6 oz. - so they delivered her and she was 11 lbs. 14 ozs. and 23 in. long!!! and the fun began. The nurses asked me to have my husband bring in one of his T-shirts so they would have something to dress her in - they all fought over her and she was carried all over the place.

Everyone in our family has a great sense of humor (it is required) but Heather is the one who could really do stand-up comedy - one of my favorite phone calls from her after she had her son - came to me at work and she was whispering on the phone saying, "Mom, this is the worst baby-sitting job I have ever had - the baby won't stop crying and the parents are late coming home - will you come pick me up as soon as the Mom gets home????" I knew we were in for a wild ride after that! She is unbelievable with the faces she can make and the voices she can use - we still laugh when she does the voice of an old employer she can imitate when she was waitressing in NYC.

Heather can laugh with you and she can cry with you - her heart is so tender - I remember when a boy was making her life miserable in elementary school and she began to pray for him - and I was able to see the whole situation change. I also remember hearing about how the sisters went to their younger sister's school one day and threatened someone who was bullying their sister - Kik and Heather were always protective of their younger sisters. I just remembered the time I caught Heather and a friend playing with a can of hairspray!!!! - Heather and her escapades with her best friend, Trisha!!!

We have a tradition in our family that when we bring the new baby home the child before gets to be the first one to hold the new baby when we get in the door - I have so many great photos of that moment - and I love the one where Kik is holding Heather.

Heather has grown as a woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter and most important of all it has been a blessing to me as a mother to see her grow as a woman of faith - one who can counsel - one who is ready to drop everything and babysit for your kids - give you a ride - cook a dinner - and is always ready to pray with or for you. God bless you dear Heather - we all love you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thank you!

I just want to say thank you to the wonderful world of blogging - it is so great to learn about each other - find out great titles of books - recipes - craft ideas - and really just be able to share some part of our lives with each other. There are really so many intelligent, caring, creative women out there and I am really impressed and sometimes wish I could start all over again with motherhood and being able to blog - so much help is available and I really love to see the caring that is expressed.

I know I am not including Rock Chef in this - but I really appreciate being able to see into his world too and get his view on his life and our lives.

The writing is so well done everywhere I go - the photos - videos - artwork - layout is just great - thank you all!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Healing for Today

If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

This is the beginning to the answer for what we are facing today.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Exciting News!!!

I am so happy!!! My daughter and her husband, Lauren and Jonathan, have announced that they are expecting TWINS!!!! Wow!!! We are all excited for them and so happy that everything is going well!!! I'm addicted to exclamation points with this news!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Words That Bring Comfort

I had this hanging on my wall wherever we lived - and I still do - it always brought comfort to me because my husband travelled at times and this is the way I felt when he came home:

"I hear your footsteps down the hall,

You are home again, and safe.

All the burdens of the day are

lightened -

and all the night noises

are music to my ears."

D. Morgan

Personality Test

I did the personality test on Kik's site - I promise I will learn how to do links and other stuff on this site - never seem to have the time to sit down and figure it out! This really made me laugh - some of it hits pretty close to home.

Personality Type:

Creative, resourceful and intellectually quick. Good at a broad range of things. Enjoy debating issues and may be into 'one-up-manship'. They get very excited about new ideas and projects, but may neglect the more routine aspects of life. Generally outspoken and assertive. They enjoy people and are stimulating company. Excellent ability to understand concepts and apply logic to find solutions.

Careers that could fit includes:

Entrepreneurs, lawyers, psychologists, photographers, consultants, sales represenatives, actors, engineers, scientists, inventors, marketers, computer programmers, comedians, computer analysts, credit investigators, journalists, psychiatrists, public relations, designers, writers, artists, musicians, politicians.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tough Day

Today the newspaper announced 11 layoffs of friends and coworkers. We knew it was coming as rumors were flying a couple of weeks ago - but it was postponed because of the possibility of the hurricane coming through. This is the third wave of layoffs. The people were notified today and I survived it - but then you know that others are leaving in your stead.

One woman was hoping she would be one of the ones chosen and she was (she has been here over 20 yrs.) and brought in bagels for a party - others are in shock and there were some tears.

A really good friend of mine planned a trip here from L.I. for her birthday and is arriving tomorrow afternoon - I am taking a half day and all day Friday off. We have a tradition (she tries to come every year) of each buying a bottle of our favorite wine (she likes Merlot and I like a Zinfandel) - we get an order of Parmesean Hot Wings from this great place and a loaf of Italian bread - rent a good movie - and just enjoy a night of good food - good conversation - and hopefully a good movie - any suggestions for a good movie??? I am so ready for this weekend - we both love to read and will spend some time walking on the beach - reading - and catching up. I was hoping we could go down to Charleston for the day - but may opt just to relax and take it easy.

The first time she came her husband asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she said she wanted to come to MB to visit me - and he said, "Do you want me to come too?" She said, "No" - I always laugh about that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today - September 11

I think of all the wives, husbands, children, family members, friends who are getting up this morning with all their memories flooding in of what this day brought them - the horror and the loss that all of us feel on this day every year is greatly multiplied in their lives - and my heart goes out to them. We will never forget.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Praying Woman

I am a praying woman – 63 yrs. old – and my answer to everything I’ve faced is to start with prayer – and to use prayer to bring peace in the midst of terrible storms.

In my life I have faced three C-sections – Kik was my one normal delivery – our last baby was in ICU for the first three days of her life – my daughters have had broken bones – sat on broken Coke bottles – had enlarged livers with all the tests involved in that – gotten severely stung by a Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish – we have moved 18 times – lost everything and started over several times – I have had emergency gall bladder surgery and was in the hospital for 10 days – had my shin bone biopsied for bone cancer and that was six weeks of living with the fact that I might have bone cancer and I didn’t – four daughters sick with the chicken pox without a lot of money to buy medicine – going through the teenage years with four daughters – husband sometimes unemployed – husband who smoked Pall Malls and had emphysema and had to have carotid artery surgery and quad bypass and I was with him for 12 days in the hospital in Charleston and brought him home safely from there – came home at lunch time on the 22nd day and found him – he had died during the morning after we had talked on the phone and fortunately ended the conversation laughing and saying I love you to each other.

There is more, of course – but I sit here in what I consider my perfect for me townhouse and I look back at everything and know that there is no way I could have survived without God in my life and I don’t mean the God that some people think of as the go to church on Sunday, white gloves, carrying your Bible, smile plastered on your face phoniness – but – the God who says to me –

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Several times in my life I have gone for counseling and one time the counselor said to me that God wasn’t someone with a big yellow legal pad checking things off for and against Claire – but – God was someone who was holding out His hand to me wanting a relationship with me – and when I read my Bible – especially the New Testament – and pray – I can feel His arms opening wide to me as I run to Him and His peace in the midst of terrible storms of loneliness, death, anger, terror, illness and frustration begins to come over me and permeate me and I would make it through another day.

So I encourage you – as you face the “dailyness” of your life with all the problems and decisions you will be going through to pick up a Bible (like The Living Bible version) – turn to the New Testament and just try reading Matthew, Mark, Luke or John – and pray and ask God to show you what He has for you – I can’t explain maybe logically or theologically how it works – but I can stand and look you in the eye and tell you that He is there and He is ready to meet you.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reply to One Fabulous Mom

"One Fabulous Mom" blogger posted a list of questions presented at the end of the Actors Studio program by James Lipton - and asked us to join in! Here are my replies:

1. What is your favorite word?


2. What is your least favorite word?

Shut Up

3. What effects you creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Creatively - Art that speaks to my mind and heart
Spiritually - Walking on the beach watching the ocean waves and being reminded
of God's unceasing love for me.
Emotionally - Someone reaching for my hand

4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

False Preachers
Unkind words

5. What sound or noise do you love?

Hearing one of my daughters call my name

6. What sound or noise do you hate?

Booing - unless I am at a baseball game and we are all booing the umpire.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

Oh My Dear!

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Artist/Writer of children's books

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Porta-Potty transporter

10. What would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Welcome home!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stormy Weather

We have been having really strong rainstorms here - with lots of thundering going on - one of the ad reps came back to our office today and had a photo of a tornado that she saw nearby.

Sunday I went to the beach and met Kiki there - the waves, for this area, were really good and the surfers were all out in full force. I had packed two diet sandwiches, some cherries and Lipton Diet Green Tea - which I drink all the time - it's good when you want something more than water but you don't want a soda. Kik had to leave after awhile and I stayed on - I had brought part of my Sunday NY Times with me and spent time reading that and also had a mystery book, Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson - a cooking mystery book if you can believe that - you get very hungry reading her books! The day was right up there with all perfect Sunday afternoons.

Last week was really fun because I got to meet Kukie, Kenady and Kik for lunch - it was really great meeting "the bloggers" and knowing that I "know" them - but not really having voices and faces to go with it all and kind of getting more of the puzzle of friendships and caring about each other to come together in a whole picture. I was happy they included me and sorry I had to go back to work and leave the party - and they were having a party!!! I am fortunate that Kik has introduced me to so many valuable and truly kind people through her blogging.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flower Girls & Ring Bearers

This is a favorite topic of mine - ask my daughters and they will tell you.

I happen to be one of perhaps a few people that do not think children under six should be participating in a wedding ceremony and I am curious about what others think. Am I wrong or am I right???

The first and foremost reason why I feel a little one shouldn't be in the ceremony is because I believe it is way too much pressure for a 2 - 3 yr old to face as they stand at the head of the aisle and everyone turns and is smiling waiting to see what she/he will do. It is a recipe for disaster - and I have personally seen it happen too many times. In fact I have never been to a wedding with a child in the wedding party where something doesn't go wrong. I was the head teacher for a two year old nusery school program for eight years and I feel I can speak with some authority on at least 2-3 yr olds. I have actually called it child abuse at times - why inflict that on a little child when they don't have the maturity or the grace to handle all that attention?

I don't understand when a couple have spent so much time and money to create a wonderful and special ceremony that they are willing to let it be destroyed in the blink of an eye by this little person. This is the bride's day - a really special day - why does she want to share it with a little munchkin? A very cute but possibly out of control child. I have been to weddings where the flower girl walked around the altar while the minister talked and almost set the bride's veil on fire by tipping over a candle holder - I (who never make a scene) yelled out, "Watch out!!!" - that one was really freightening.

One wedding we went to the flower girl walked around - climbed up on the platform - called to the people in the bridal party - we couldn't even hear the couple reciting their vows because of her behavior. I really believe weddings are a momentous time in your life - sacred and meaningful - a time of happiness - why should the guests be sitting there worrying about what some little one is going to do next instead of paying attention to the ceremony?

When I was married I had the church nursery set up with babysitters so the parents could enjoy the ceremony and the kids could play - and there weren't any crying babies or children talking out loud during the ceremony.

I love children and babies - but - I also believe in letting them be children in the right circumstances and not putting undo pressure on them.

Thank you for listening -

Friday, August 1, 2008

Children's Books

For eight years I was the head teacher for the two-year old program at a private nursery school on Long Island and I really loved it. Talk about getting lots of unconditional love - that is what those little munchkins handed out all day.

One of my favorite things to do was to read stories to them and from all my experience I can spot a good story book in seconds. Last night I went to Barnes with my Mom and sister - loved it - bought a new Home Companion magazine - new book for myself and then I was looking at the children's books - Splat the Cat - is a great book that I saw last night. I love doing voices and facial expressions and watching a child be drawn into a good story.

One of the all time favorites is Dinnertime by Jan Pienkowski - a scary book but so much fun - it is a pop-up book so it is one that I guard but still have fun with. All my grandchildren love it - I have a whole bunch of books that I bring with me to read to them when I visit and they can count on me reading to them when they are here. One of my least favorite books is any Richard Scary book. I always look for a book with really good art work - whether it is creative - detailed - graphic - and a really good story - or fun to read.

When my children were young I always had a bookshelf in the living room devoted to just children's books that I would read to them - it was important to me that they learn to handle books carefully as "books are our friends." I still buy at least one really good children's book for myself at Christmas. I could really spend a fortune on those books!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sick and Alone

Saturday morning I woke up feeling really crummy - sinuses killing me - I had been sneezing for the last couple of days and my nose had been running - so it was either a cold, sinus infection or allergies - I've never really had a problem with allerigies. I stayed in bed for awhile and then figured I had better move downstairs and get something to eat and a nice cup of hot tea - I was walking past my bathroom - heading for the stairs when all of a sudden I realized I was going to be sick to my stomach - bolted for the bathroom and made it in time.

Finally made it downstairs and got on the couch and decided to call my Mom and sister to let them know I wasn't feeling well and as I laid on the couch talking with her I was looking at my living room window and realized that a lizard was crawling up my sheers!!!!! I told my sister to come over right away and help me with the lizard because I didn't want to take my eyes off of it and lose it in my house and always be worrying about when it would come out again. So there I sat frozen on the couch - feeling even worse - waiting for her - she arrived and "frick and frack of the animal world" captured it - actually she did and then she took it outside and was going to let it go at my front door and I said, "Nooooooooooooooo!!! Take it far away!" - so she let it go on the other side of my driveway. And the drama was over.

After she left I really thought about what would I do if she hadn't come over - and what about other single people living alone - I felt really vulnerable and thought about my next door neighbor - Sister Barbara - a retired Catholic nun - and of my single friends - I have one single friend that lives in fear of falling while taking a shower and having to be rescued in that state!!! So I am calling my single friends and talking with my neighbor and letting them know that as best as I can I am there for them - even if they just need to be rescued from a lizard or a fall in the shower.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Streams in the Desert

I try to read my Streams in the Desert devotional every day - I found my first copy in my parent's basement in their home on L.I. about 24 yrs. ago - I was heading back to Texas to pack up our home and move back to L.I. and started reading it while my husband drove the really big U-Haul and my sister drove her red Phoenix with the dog and the cat and everything else we couldn't fit in the truck - I took turns riding with them both.

We stayed overnight in a motel and on the morning of August 22 I got up early and went in the bathroom to read the selection for that day - I have never forgotten what it meant to me. I am now on my third copy - hardcover - it is not a "happy - rainbow - doves flying - everything is love" devotional - it is very realistic - filled with hard truths - anyway I read this the other morning in my Streams in the Desert devotional and think it is a good definition of what faith really is:

Trusting -
even when it appears you have been forsaken;

Praying -
when it seems your words are simply entering a vast expanse where no one hears and no voice answers;

Believing -
that God's love is complete and that He is aware of your circumstances, even when your world seems to grind on as if setting its own direction and not caring for life or moving one inch in response to your petitions;

Desiring -
only what God's hands have planned for you

Waiting patiently -
while seemingly starving to death, with your only fear being that your faith might fail -

"this is the victory that has overcome the world" I John 5:4; this is genuine faith indeed.

George MacDonald

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts at the end of the day

It's not really the end of the day - but I am getting ready to shut down - and I wanted to write down something that I read on another blog (3 for 365). Apparently it is from Disney's Keys to Excellence:

S - Smile

E - Eye contact/body language

R - Respect and welcome

V - Value the magic (my favorite)

I - Iniatate guest contact

C - Create service solutions

E - End with a thank you

These are so simple and yet really perfect for our homelife and work world. I wrote them out in my sketch book and will probably make room for them on my refrigerator.

Oh - wait - do I hear my daughters groaning because I mentioned my refrigerator door that holds all the important sayings, verses, photos of my life - I am just laughing to myself because I really tried to keep it pristine when I first moved in and then "poof" it was fully covered!!! Right now the bottom part is empty because my grandson "cleaned" it while he was here visiting - don't worry girls - everything was saved and is sitting on top of the microwave - I am hearing more groans because they know on top of the microwave sits a perfectly sized green wooden tray that holds "stuff."

Last "word" for today: Joy is the best cosmetic for a woman. Rosalind Russell

Monday, July 7, 2008

My 4th of July!!!

My daughter, Heather, and her husband, Jerry, and the two grandchildren have been here visiting - Lauren, Jonathan and Caed were driving down here on the 4th from D.C. arriving at about 6 p.m. in time for our cook-out and then the walk to the beach to watch all the fireworks along the coast - you can see them for miles. My other daughter, April, had to work so I was feeling the "empty spot" even before all the festivities started.

Some of us had spent the day at the beach - and just having fun - Jerry had put my Mom's new barbeque together - I had gone back to my place to change after the beach and was getting ready to leave when April called to say "hi" and I told her I was homesick for her. I got over to my Mom's home and after stopping to admire Jerry's handiwork I arrived in the family room - said hi to Jonathan and Caed - and then Kik, Heather and Lauren entered the family room singing one of my favorite songs for them to sing - a Shaker song called Simple Gifts - and as they came into the room I realized that there was a 4th daughter, April, coming through the doorway - they totally surprised me - I had no idea - never even imagined (sometimes I do try to get my hopes up with my imagination going full speed) that they would bring her - I just cried and cried and they asked if I was going to have a heart attack and I said no - you don't die from happiness. It was the best!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crazy Life

Last Saturday I drove to Washington, DC all by myself!!! Packed lots of healthy snacks, had teaching tapes and music tapes (old car that doesn't play CD's - but is all paid for!)and I started my journey. I had such a good time driving along - my Mom and sister had made a sandwich for me and I stopped at a rest area to eat it and drink my Double Shot Starbucks so I wouldn't be in danger of getting sleepy - and drove into DC in a rainstorm.

I had a problem with the condensation leaking into the passenger side of my car but didn't think it would get too bad - but as I arrived in DC I looked down and realized that I had a 2 in. deep sloshing pond on that side of the car! I did have a roll of Bounty paper towels with me and I began tearing them off the roll and balling them up and throwing them in the water and they really worked!!! Except as I was doing that I missed a turn and ended up having my son-in-law giving me directions to go pick up my daughter, April (check out her blog for the fantastic photos of the Shrine we visited) - and he took me right into DuPont Circle where there was a very unusual parade ending right in that spot!!!

Finally got settled and had a wonderful week going to the zoo, spending lots of time with my grandson, going on a fantastic Duck Tour of DC that was great, going out to lunch, going with my daughters to a Mom's group and a dance lesson with April and went out after that in DC - wahoo!!!!

My drive back was totally uneventful as my son-in-law had fixed the AC problem! Got home on Sat. and my daughter from Pa. is here visiting with her two children and a German Shepherd and then got to work and had to participate in moving our team from one area of our building to another and I am still in the midst of all that mess!!!

And that's where I am!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too Many Issue for a Title

My sister and I brought my Mom home from the hospital on Saturday - she was fine and wanted to go home and was insisting that she was going to get up - get dressed and just leave, saying, "Who's going to stop me???" She wasn't talking crazy - she was really fine and didn't want to waste a perfectly good Saturday in the hospital! I went down to the nurses station to discuss my Mom's potential break-out and they told me about all the releases she would have to sign and mentioned that her medical plan wouldn't pay if she chose to walk out. I went back to the room and told her that she was staying - the Dr. finally came at 2:30 p.m. signed her out and we finally got to leave at 5:30 p.m. You have just got to love paperwork!!!

I have a younger brother who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of American and is a wonderful chef - and he arrived Sunday night to spend a week with my Mom and sister. I live a few blocks away and my older brother lives one block away so we all hung out together last night.

When my sister and I arrived home for lunch yesterday he had prepared salad plates for us all on chilled plates and the table was set with my Mom's blue willow ware and blue hydrangas (sp?) in a vase on the table and a wonderful lunch prepared and waiting for us! Can I just say I love having a chef for a brother!!!

Sunday night, when my brother was flying in, I drove over to my Mom's to ride with them to pick him up at the airport. His flight was suppose to get in a midnight - after some delays - when I came driving down their street it was dark and I noticed a bike "thrown away" in front of a neighbor's house (I'm looking for a bike sort of) but pulled up at the house and we all got in my Mom's car and backed down the driveway - I mentioned to my sister about the bike and said to shine her headlights on it and when she did there was a body lying next to the bike!!!! A man on his back with his arms folded across his chest - it really shocked and scared us - I quickly called 911 and they questioned me and they sent an ambulance, fire truck, motorcyle policeman and a patrol car right away - usually we would go running to help anyone - but - for some reason we felt a real sense of caution just to wait and see - we did see him move - and we kept the car in a postion to guard him as his feet were sticking out in the road - it turned out that he was really drunk and three firemen could barely hold him up - he didn't even wake up with all the sirens and lights all around him - we finally were able to leave and get on our way - another night of drama!

We've talked about what else we could have done - I mean we're the family that stops on any road and rescues turtles - but - I really felt we were going with the caution that the three of us felt.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Matriarch

My Mom wasn't feeling well Thursday morning so my sister called 911 and they took her to the hospital - she was going unconscious - sweating - not feeling well. She is doing well - they admitted her and have done a whole bunch of tests and are keeping her until tomorrow and we hope they let her go home then as she is getting really fiesty!!! She loves the food and eats everything up - she is not on a restricted diet and so far everything looks good.

I know you all know her from my daughter's blogs - so I just wanted to let you know what has been happening.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wind in your hair. . .

Saw a girl driving by in a white convertible and it made me smile.

When I was growing up my Dad had a beautiful blue Impala convertible as his business car - we all loved it! Then they went practical and he got a station wagon for the business car AND he got my Mom a gold Comet convertible with, I think, a white or cream interior - and we loved that car! Growing up within the New York City limits - Bayside, Queens - I actually didn't get my liscense until I think I was 19 or 20 - and that was the car I drove - my parents let me drive it up to R.I. to visit my friends and it was the best.

When I was in college - in R.I. - one of my best friend's parents bought the very first Mustang available in Providence, R.I. right off the show room floor - it was metallic gold - white interior - and it was - yes - a convertible - they lived about 30 mins. from the college and we would go to her folks home for the weekend and they would let her have the car to drive around in!!! Can I tell you that it wouldn't have mattered if we looked like the bride of Frankenstein - we had guys around that car no matter where we went!!! It was so much fun!!! Driving down to Newport, R.I. with the top down - playing our music - laughing - great memories.

Alex, my husband, had a 52' MG white convertible with a red interior before he went to Viet Nam - we weren't dating then - he was just a friend of my older brother's - but he took me for a ride in it - did I tell you I had a crush on him then and took his photos with me to college? Anyway...

When we got married - we bought a Mercury Montego dark green convertible with a white interior - I loved that car - we were married in May and in October we drove up to my old college in R. I. for Homecoming - and fortunately it was really warm that weekend and we could have the top down - and it was wonderful!!!

A full circle with the convertibles!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


A year ago on May 25th my Mom, sister, my mother-in-law, Kik and myself had dinner at Abuelo's, a wonderful Mexican restaurant here with murals and a painted blue sky with clouds on the ceiling and good food.

We were seated at our table and Kik came into the restaurant and saw us at our table and came walking across the room with her eyes on me and came straight to me and wrapped her arms around me and just gave me a wonderful hug - and held on and hugged me some more - we looked like we hadn't seen each other in years - but she was hugging me because she knew it would have been my 39th wedding anniversary that day. That hug meant so much to me that I wrote about it in the little notes I write in my devotional book that I read everyday, Streams In The Desert.

This Sunday I went to church and when I was leaving I got a text message from Kik asking me if I wanted to meet at Bob Evan's Restaurant for brunch - of course I did - and I drove over to the restaurant - they were all seated - Kristen, Ken, his mom and stepfather, his sister and her son - and I came walking in across the restaurant and Kik looked up and saw me and stood - opened her arms - and once again gave me the wonderful comfort of a hug - because it would have been my 40th wedding anniversary.

And I am writing all this to encourage us all to give the gift of hug to someone - that you may not even know they need it - but just try it - or even just touching someone's elbow, I heard in a business seminar, gives someone great encouragement. The touching the elbow is really true - someone had done a study on it and it greatly improved people in the workplace sense of well being - think about giving a hug to your children - to your loved ones - a hug with no agenda - just comfort and concern.

And just to keep the truth going - all of my daughters called me and expressed their love and care of me and I was blessed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The place where I work has laid off six people and fortunately for my immediate team one person there had already announced they were retiring so that helped us escape this first round of "changes."

I really have a sense of peace about all of this as I really believe God is in control of all the changes in my life - and even though at the time it appears as a disaster to family and friends it always ends up as a blessing in some way. Sometimes the only blessing has been that I have been able to put my arms around someone and have been able to whisper that I understand and they really know I do - and that always encourages me to persevere.

I have been going to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Seminar for the last 12 weeks and that has really helped me financially and given me a sense of being in control of my finances and getting better all the time. This is my second time through the seminar and I will probably do it again when they offer it! Math has never been a good subject for me (ok - it is my worst subject!) - but I have determined to control the money and not let the money control me and this seminar has really given me tools to do this - and prepared me for the next chapter in my life.

When I see changes appearing on the horizon the best thing I can do is to be prepared to the best of my ability - no matter what the outcome!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It is all about the attitude. . .

My daughter, Kik, got me thinking about about what it was like when they were young - the good times and the hard times - especially about shopping for clothes. The wonderful thing about my four daughters is that they never really complained - or really asked for things - at least not to any extent that I remembered - and I know that is a good thing. We were really successful in raising daughters that were able to adapt and enjoy - whatever our conditions were - without a lot of carrying on. I know there were times when I wanted to be able to do more for them but I learned to be thankful for those old standbys of roof over the head, food on the table and clothes to wear and to really be thankful for any extras.

My girls were stuck with a Mom that never really liked going to the mall - or really shopping - unless they were antique stores, book stores, or unusual art/craft stores - and then if I had a choice of going to an art gallery or a department store the art gallery would win every time - I remember one time when we were living in Houston I took Kik and Heather to the Galleria and we went to the art galleries there - we went walking in and they recognized the work of an artist and asked me about the painting and the gallery owner commented on the fact that they knew the artist. I am sure we went to the stores - but I remember the galleries.

I think one the best character qualities you can possess is the ability to adapt - change what you can - but learn to adapt without beating everyone up around you - and make it the very best you can from right where you are!

Friday, May 9, 2008


Yesterday would have been my husband's 66th birthday and I had many memories crowding in as I went through the day. I was really busy through the day at work but had to write the date many times and so thought of him as I took care of things.

My daughters all called me "casually" checking in - asking how I was doing - and I was appreciating them and thinking of what they are going through missing their Daddy - and then I read their blogs about their Dad and I can't believe how rich I am in having four daughters like them - how they really bless my life and how thankful I am for each and every one of them.

A verse for my daughters:

"Many daughters have done nobly,

But you excel them all."

Proverbs 31:29

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Orange Gelee!!!

Maybe it was in my senior year of high school - I'm not sure - but anyway - by college the addiction was firmly entrenched - my addiction to Bain de Soleil Orange Gelee suntan stuff (can't call it lotion - can't call it cream) - my friends and I loved it - and of course I have stopped using it - but a fresh tube of the stuff signified the true beginning of summer!

My daughters love to talk about how I would put it on and then go in the water with them and they would try to grab hold of me and just slip right off!!! They say that I "slathered" it on - which isn't true - the stuff was too expensive to do that!

I have instructed my daughters that when I am in the hospital on life support and they don't know whether they should turn it off or not that they should go and buy a tube of Bain de Soleil - bring it to the hospital - unscrew the top and wave it under my nose - and if I murmur the word "beach" there is still hope for me - keep the machines going!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday Mornings

I love to get up on a Sunday morning - it is quiet - I go downstairs and usually fix myself breakfast - eggs - bacon and a cup of tea - have my quiet time - I read Streams In the Desert every morning and then I have a Bible reading program from Daily Walk that I am reading through the Bible with (helps me get through some of those Old Testament books) - I'm in Ezra right now - then I get ready for church. I was raised in a formal Presbyterian church - grew up as a little girl wearing white gloves and a hat - I don't know how my Mom did it - I could barely find matching socks for my four girls - anyway - now I go to a Vineyard church and I wear jeans and a top and sandals and I'm done -

This new habit has developed for me on Sunday mornings from my daughter, Lauren, giving me a Starbucks gift card - now I after church I go to Starbucks get my coffee and go back home - put my feet up on my wooden chest that serves as a coffee table - open up my New York Times that I get delivered on Sundays and revel in the perfect Sunday morning (I always loved Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning" song - though its different from my life)- I am just putting this out here because I think of all the Sunday mornings of getting a family of six up - dressed - breakfasted - and in the car in time for church - and that family of six included four daughters with long hair most of the time that had to be braided, brushed or tamed in some way and I am just saying that I appreciate the times in my life - and I do appreciate this time in my life.

Quote from the NY Times Magazine interview with Andrew Stanton, Oscar winning director of Finding Nemo and Bug's Life:

By his bed: "A stack of 6 to 12 books. My eyes are much bigger than my reader's stomach. I can read 3 to 5 at the time."

I love that line about the reader's stomach.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gas Crunch

Because of the cost of gas my sister and I have started car pooling - which means we ride to work together as we work at the same place. I usually can come in at 9 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. - on my team we can be pretty flexible about our hours - which I love - but - my sister usually works 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 5:30. So now I am working the early hours - which I really love because of the beautiful weather and leaving work and having so much of the evening ahead of me is a great feeling except I realize that I stay a lot of times after work to read the blogs and write mine and the reason for that is because I have not set my computer up at home because I would probably have to have dial-up which I hate and I love my computer at work because it is so fast. All this to say that my blogging has really been curtailed this week and I am missing it - and this is just to let you know that I am reading but not having the time to comment and say hi. (I am so glad that none of the copy editors from the newspaper can read that last paragraph of "stream of consciousness" because the red pencils would be out!)

My mother and sister live a few blocks from me (we all live about 2 blocks from the ocean) and my sister, Corinne, and I usually go home at lunch time to have lunch with my Mom to "break up her day" - and let us relax - have a bite - take off our shoes - and not have to worry about ordering - tipping - finding a parking space at a restaurant - and just really enjoy the fact that we can come home and visit with our 88 year old Mom and enjoy our conversations. She is always saying to us that we don't have to come home - that she is just fine - but - what she really doesn't realize is that we recognize the blessing it is to have her there waiting for us - a pretty healthy - intelligent - curious about the world - fantastic reader - insightful woman who we really love and value and realize that the days are precious and even a small event like lunch at home is to be treasured at this time in all of our lives.

Have to run but I want to put a reminder out there that today is the National Day of Prayer for the United States so please take the time at 12 Noon to stop and pray for our country.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Books I Love

I have been carrying aroung The Kite Runner in my "go-to-work" bag for a couple of days now and have yet to start reading it. I know it's a good book - I've had several friends tell me and I know I'll get to it soon but right now I seem to be drawn back to my old favorites that I call "My Comfort Books" - they're the ones that when I am really sick I reach out for them and read all my favorite parts and sometimes I read them cover to cover again just for the coziness of them.

The all time favorite is Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. My Mom introduced the book to me when I was a little girl and I remember I ordered it from the bookstore in our town and when it came in I walked to the store and carried it home - I still have that copy - it is an interesting story about a young girl and how she survives through school and finds the love of her life - with wonderful descriptions - especially of food (making myself smile writing that - there's a description of the contents of a picnic basket that I love to read and imagine).

Another favorite is The Twenty Fourth of June - the main character of this story is Roberta - and my Mom was named for this character because the book was given to her parents as a wedding gift and she was their first child - and again it is an old fashioned love story with high ideals and I just love it.

Then there are my Grace Livingston Hill books - again it started with one of my Mom's old books by the writer entitled "Maris" - but my favorite is Crimson Roses and then The Man of the Desert - my sister's favorite is The Enchanted Barn - all of her stories are mainly Christian love stories from I guess the 1920's and 30's - I can usually find these in second hand book stores - and I have a huge collection that I keep in a plastic under-bed-storage box in my room.

I love Louisa May Alcott's book An Old Fashioned Girl and her book of short stories, A Garland for Girls.

My Mom had asked me quite a few time to read two of her favorite books by M.M. Kaye, The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon - and finally I did - and - I loved them and couldn't stand it when they were finished - they are two wonderful big thick books that you know you just can't "run" through - and the stories are great and the characters are fascinating - just really great stories. I had to give her copies back to her so I really need to buy my own copies.

One of the artists here at work told me to read The Count of Monte Cristo - that I would love it and he was so right - and then he kept telling me to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - and he was really right about those too - I read really fast so I love a book that makes me slow down and savor the experience a little.

So what are the names of your "book friends" - maybe you don't read them again but they stay in your mind as a really good read? I would love to hear what you think.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Stepping Out"

My family knows what a “big step” it is for me to write about this – my shoe size is 13 – actually it is 12 ½ but they don’t make size 12 ½ shoes so I always have to settle for size 13.

I have always hated shopping for shoes – ever since I was a little girl – I don’t ever remember having “normal” size feet – it seems like I was born with size 13 feet!!! I am 6 ft. tall so it is not entirely silly that I have large feet. But I have been the girl at the bowling alley wearing the men’s bowling shoes – at the skating rink wearing black men’s skates because they didn’t make them in white in my size (my parents did get me a nice pair of white ones for Christmas one year) – I’m the one getting a pedicure that can’t wear the flip-flops they give you to wear so I bring my Gap men’s flip-flops – I’m the one who was sitting at a women’s Bible study in my friend’s home when a woman noticed my feet and commented to everyone that if she had big feet like Claire she could really run fast in a marathon – and then went on to compliment me on how great it must be to have such big feet to run on!!!! Oh yes – and I am the one who’s boyfriend took her sneakers and wore them around the quad when I was in college showing everyone that we wore the same size and saying, “Look at me I’m wearing Claire’s sneakers” and I’m saying in my heart, “Look at you, I’m breaking up with you”– we broke up soon after that.

I do know about Zappo’s and other catalog stores available for large sizes – but I would just like to walk into Payless or the Rack Room or Dillard’s or Belk and pick up a cute pair of shoes – on sale – I would love to have different colored shoes – I remember one time when I was single and working in New York City I actually found a cute pair of yellow heels in my size – I wore them into shreds – but it was a happy summer. The choices are better now than they were - but the styles lag by about a year or two – and I am used to that too.

So – I will go shopping with you – just don’t ask me to go in your shoe store – I’ll find a nice bookstore and meet up with you later!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Baseball, Music and a MeMe???

The weekend was great - the Pelicans won - going into overtime - the fireworks were awesome and we saw a lot of old freinds and people that we knew. This is the 10th Anniversary year for the Pelicans. My sister and I each got a jumbo hotdog and I loaded mine up with saurkraut, mustard and onions and then we got Diet Pepsi's - I don't ever drink Pepsi - but it was the only diet drink they had and it tasted great!

Sunday was the last concert for the Long Bay Symphony for the season. My mom, sister and myself invested in season tickets in the fall and it was the best investment I have made in a long time - every concert was wonderful - the performance level was really high - and I have been to the Metropolitan Opera and Philharmonic in NYC and also the Houston Opera and I have to say that I am really proud of our orchestra here! I remember the first time I heard "live" music (besides church) was at Radio City Music Hall in NYC - and there the orchestra came up out of the floor while playing and the realization that all those people where making the sounds that I was hearing was a wonderful experience. I am one of those people that always would stop for street musicians in the city or subways - I love it all and it just captures me everytime when it is live and right there for me to enjoy! My Mom took us to Chili's afterwards for dinner so it was a really nice Sunday afternoon of music, food and good companions : )

Heather tagged me so here goes with 6 things about me - I told her I couldn't think of 6 things about me that she didn't know that I would want her to know and she laughed and said to write whatever I wanted to:

1 - I am now up to using 6 Splendas in my coffee with creamer and 4 Splendas in a Starbucks Latte Skinny Cinnamon Dolce with whip cream - oh yeah - Grande - I know I know it isn't in the right order. . .

2 - I expect used Q-tips to be wrapped in tissue before being thrown in the bathroom garbage.

3 - I have spent the last two Saturdays in my T-shirt and Sponge Bob Squarepants pajama bottoms

4 - Really don't like hair being brushed or combed near the dining room table or near the counters in the kitchen

5 - ditto to the sound of nail clippers (once watched a man in the pew in front of me when I was a little girl clip his nails during the sermon!!!)

6 - addicted to watching Antiques Road Show on Saturday afternoons

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Weekenddddddd!!!!!!!!

Tonight is Friday night and we are going to the opening baseball game of the Pelicans!!! I grew up with two brothers and a Dad who listened to and watched sports constantly - in fact when my husband asked me to marry him my reply was, "Do you watch or listen to any sports on the radio or TV?" He actually said no and I said I would marry him!

Well --- time went on and he really didn't watch that much on TV - but - I started watching football - every Sunday - and Monday night - he would fall asleep and I would change the channels and he would wake up and pretend to be grumpy and say, "Are you watching sports a-g-a-i-n!!!!" and so it went - I guess it got in my blood and now I even watch some golf --- what has happened????

I was never into baseball that much unless the Mets were playing - but then I moved here and they built this baseball field - using the old seats from the Atlanta Braves - and it is a beautiful stadium - and you are right there and can see the players and feel the excitement of a game - the sounds of the ball hitting the catcher's glove - the bat hitting the ball - the intensity of a close game - I am hooked!!! My sister and I really love to go and cheer and yell - wear our Pelican caps - T-shirts - eat boiled peanuts - I can't describe it all - it is just so American and so what summer is about - you can't help but get tears in your eyes when they sing the National Anthem - and then we all sing the "Take Me Out To the Ballgame Song" and we do the wave - and sing YMCA - you just have to come and go with us - it is the best!!! I used to cheer for Raphael Furcale when he started with the Pelicans and how proud I was when he got to go to the Braves - my own baseball player that I cheered for for a whole summer!!!! I knew it would pay off!!!

So tonight is opening night - and they are having the BEST fireworks - and I am taking money to buy a new baseball cap!!! I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Foggy Morning

It was very foggy this morning when I got in my car and headed to work. I always turn to the left towards the beach and drive along the ocean as far as I can until I have to turn inland towards the newspaper building.

The fog reminded me of a summer when Kik was just 2 yrs. old and the two of us flew to Presque Isle, Maine to meet my 7 month pregnant friend, Judy. She was married to an Air Force pilot at the time and expecting her first baby. The two of us loaded up her car with our stuff and her Norwegian Elkhound, Nilka, and drove to Nantucket where she had rented a house for the month of August out in "Sconset" that was just a walk over the dunes from the ocean. A pretty little house with a white picket fence all around it to keep Nilka and Kik in. We had a wonderful time at that beach house - exploring Nantucket - meeting locals through the smiling charm of Kik and getting invited to cocktail parties amd all sorts of neat places as long as we brought Kik with us our little ambassador of smiles - and going for long walks - and sitting on the front porch after making amazing munchies and drinking white wine (it was before all the warnings of pregnant women and alcohol) - for two beach aholics like Judy and myself it was pure heaven!

But I digress - This one foggy morning we were up and getting ready to begin our day - when all of a sudden we realized that Kik was missing - I mean - poof! - and she was gone - we searched the house - searched the yard - branched out starting searching the neighborhood and of course running like crazy down to the beach - no Kik - Judy went back to the house - and there she received a phone call from a neighbor several houses down the beach asking if we were missing a little girl and a dog (I don't think we realized Nilka wasn't around) - would we please come and get them as the dog wouldn't let them get near the little girl - and there they were Kik and and her trusty guard dog Nilka - safe and sound - I always had a special place in my heart for Nilka after that - apparently Nilka saw her heading out and just stayed with her as she walked along - scary moments that ended well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rambo at Sam's

Soooo - tires were purchased for my car at Christmas time from Sam's and my son-in-law, Ken, had commented the other day that my front tires looked low and I should have them checked and I decided that yesterday at lunch I would take my car back and see what they thought.

I was all dressed up - skirt - pantyhose - heels - nice top - because they are my lightest clothes and I had to weigh in at Weight Watchers yesterday (lost 1 lb.) - my feet were killing me by lunchtime though - so I drove over and pulled in a parking place opposite the bays and saw a gentleman standing there and told him my problem and asked if I needed to go in to the desk first and he said that I had to - which was ok with me - so I traipsed around the building - went in the door - showed the door lady my card and went right to the tire desk - explained the problem - the man said to just pull the car up to the bay and he would check it right away - so - I turned to go back out the door I had just come in 1 1/2 mins. ago and the door lady stops me and tells me I have to go all the way to the other side of the store and go out the exit - I looked at her - and said, "Ma'm my feet are killing me and I just have to go to the tire place please don't make me walk all the way over there" - and she told me I still had to - I looked at her and asked her what she was going to do to me if I didn't and she started to "bluster" and I said "Goodbye" politely and walked out the door and got my tires looked at.

I was not trying to be rude or ill-mannered and I know she was doing her job - but common sense was not going to let me "do the walk"! Was I rebellious - was this a question of situational ethics - would I have done it if I had little children and they were watching???? I still think I would say "yes"!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Quiet Weekend

Totally quiet weekend - actually stayed in my "jammies" all day Saturday - did some cleaning and reading - a wonderful experience. I kept thinking I was going to get dressed and run some errands and it just kept getting later and later and finally I said, "Oh well."

Friday night I had gone to a potluck dinner for the Emmaus Weekend that I went on - amazing food - wish they had had the recipes available! Then it was late but I headed over to Kik's and hung out there while she helped me fix my profile and "tweak" some other things on my blog like the spelling of "potato" - while we watched Roman Holiday - didn't get home until after midnight - I'm not that far from her home but I went on this dark highway that has had sightings of bears and deer - so I drive in the middle of the three lanes in case I have to swerve to the right or the left (of course I don't slow down!) - anyway - I made it home safe and sound - though my imagination was going faster than my car!

Sunday I went to church - I go to a Vineyard church which is really laid back - great music - and the pastor wear's jeans and T-shirts and surfs and the people are very real - and I am saying that coming from being raised a Presbyterian - anyway - my daughter and husband in DC had given me a Starbucks card so I ventured in after church to the one right near my home - and told them that I really like my coffee to taste like melted coffee ice cream and what would they recommend? I got a "skinny cinnamon vanilla latte with whipped cream" and I am hooked!!! Took it home - sat on my couch drinking my latte and reading my Sunday New York Times --- heaven!!! Went to a family birthday party in the afternoon and then stopped at the beach and watched the surfers (big waves and about 25 surfers in the water) finsihed reading my mystery book and came back to my place and that was that - no spills - no drama - a much needed quiet weekend!

Friday, April 4, 2008


Our family, my husband Alex, our four daughters and myself, have been blessed to have at various times in our lives "additions" to our family.

It started in Texas when my daughter, Lauren, had a friend named Mandy who became such a part of our family that we called her "Number Five" - then we moved back to L.I. where Kik had a best friend name Laura and she became "Number Six" - Heather's best friend, Trisha, became "Number Seven" - and then we had Matt and Jason - who taught me to like Rush - they made me sit and listen and listen and made tapes for me of their music.

We still talk about "adopting" various ones - I am trying to think of what the criteria is - I guess the most important thing is a sense of humor - being a good conversationalist or a good listener because we need those in our family too - willingness to eat my "stretch meals" of meat pinwheels (Jason always called them ketchup holders) and hamburger stroganoff - and bowl after bowl of popcorn and drink Countrytime Lemonade - my staple "snack" for whenever we didn't have a lot a lot of money for food.

I guess it is all part of coming into our home - being willing to be yourself and let us be ourselves - helping when you can - laughing at the right places - clearing your place at the table - being nice to the little ones - maybe playing "Kings In The Corner" or "Scattergories" - working on the jigsaw puzzle set up in the bay window - and knowing we'll never kick you out - and you can stay as long as you like.

Keeping It Real

So last Monday morning I was getting ready for work - all dressed in my "professional" office look - getting ready to walk out the door - when I walked into the kitchen to get my favorite Diet Lipton Green Tea bottles to take to work and my bottle of V-8 Juice - opened the refrigerator door and was getting the bottles off the door when a large plastic container of homemade Potato and Leek Soup fell off the refrigerator shelf and landed upside down on the floor - exploding as it did so - all over my black shoes, up my black pants - all across the floor to the red rug in front of my kitchen sink --- you know the look - mouth hanging open - a loud "what-t-t-t-t-t--t???" coming from me - and the realization that the refrigerator door was quickly closing and was going to push the contents of the container under the refrigerator --- hands are full with the bottles - hip is trying to keep the door open --- trying not to walk anywhere because of the large globs of soup all over my shoes - trying to find something to prop the door open so the mess won't go to Stage Two (under the refrig) - got the door propped open with a pack of bottled water that was sitting on my kitchen floor - and started the clean up -

I refused to go change and towelled everything off - wiped up the floor - I just love paper towels (especially Bounty) - and got out the door - finally - laughing and thinking to myself - first the nail polish (still living with the "Jackson Pollock" effect in my bedroom) and now the soup!!!

Can't wait for next week!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baby Quote and Life with Four Daughters

"Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come and stay with you."

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

I love this quote because it always makes me laugh - though it wasn't necessarily true of my babies - the four daughters.

I have four really wonderful daughters - the youngest is 25 now so I can really say that they are all the real blessing in my life.

The first one, that was Kik, and she was born in that Fifth Avenue hospital that has just fed her "tastes" ever since. She was born on a very snowy day and I remember briefly standing at the window in the labor room looking out at Central Park with the snow falling thinking to myself that this would not go on forever and there would be a baby at the end of all this and there was!!

Heather was our second and she was born on Long Island as a C-Section (as were the rest) weighing in at 11 lbs. 14 ounces and 23 inches long (she was 16 days overdue). Lauren was born in Pennsylvania and was our smallest at 8 lbs. 6 ounces - we treated her like she was a preemie! And then April - she was born in Houston, Texas - exactly 10 lbs. - but because she started crying before they got her all the way out she literally was drowning herself and ended up turning Ralph Lauren navy blue and was in the ICU for 3 days.

When we had our third daughter, Lauren, the Dr. - who was a friend of ours - came out of the operating room and said to my husband that he was sorry it was another girl - the nurses later told me the story of how my husband grabbed him by the front of his scrubs and told him to never say he was sorry it was another girl again. The nurses were so proud of him and so was I!

His favorite song to sing was from the movie "Gigi" - "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"!

When April was in ICU for 3 days we were reinforced in the belief that it didn't matter what sex the baby was - all that really mattered was if she was healthy.

I have been thinking about what some of the important things I tried to instill in my children - I really believe in teaching good manners as early as possible - "please and thank you" - manners are really the cornerstone of being civilized - they are a way of enabling a child to walk into a room and being welcomed - as opposed to having people roll their eyes heavenward and reach for the breakables - children know when they are welcomed and when they are not and I really believe it was up to us to give them this ability to go places and meet people. Alex always said that what saved our daughters lives was that they knew how to behave it public.

Respect was one thing that I always went for - I always said that I wanted respect first and then hopefully love for us would come after that - because I knew that you don't ever really love anyone that you don't respect. They were never allowed to talk to us with their hands on their hips or to slam their bedroom doors or of course talk back or hit us - I was always the mom that my friends would threaten their kids with "sending them to Miss Claire" if they didn't obey them - and you know what? My house was always filled with kids - they all knew what the rules were and they felt safe there because they knew I cared enough about them to expect the best from them and I tried to have plenty of food available too.

The most important thing I can say is that I tried - and stayed close to Jesus - I tried to do the best job I could and tried never to give up - there were many nights when they were out past curfew - times when I got in the car to go looking for them - going up to the schools to meet with teachers - one of them tried to stab another child in the stomach with scissors (though she insisted she held her finger over the point) - times when they were sick - times when they had the wrong friends - and boyfriends - times when I thought our hearts would break - times when all four had the chicken pox -

and yet here we are - four wonderful daughters that bring such joy to my life - and I can look you right in the eye and tell you that they make it worth every moment of every day that we went through.

My favorite "Mom Verse":

He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Quotes

More quotes about books:

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

P.J. O'Rourke

"There's nothing to match curling up with a good book when there's a repair job to be done around the house."

Joe Ryan

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Wanted to write about how precious family is to me and maybe talk about the memories of this weekend and get past the nail polish episode.

I started listing people that were there and I realized it didn't matter who it was - what mattered is that we all came together to celebrate the marriage of Kimber and Nick. Seeing Craig walk his daughter down the aisle - sitting with my granddaughter, Olivia, and grandson, Chantz - gave them paper to draw with and Chantz tried to take down everything that was being said - Aden, the 16 yr old grandson, who is so loving and considerate - insisting that he reallllllly wants to dance with me - my other grandson, Caedmon,21 mons. old, lying on the reception area carpet next to me playing with his Legos and toys - my daughters and husbands visiting with everyone - the crazy wonderful dancing - my aunt and uncle dancing together and then my uncle doing "The Worm" with my brother - spinning on their backs with their feet and arms up in the air - just listening to the laughter and the conversations going on around me - what joy to be with people who put aside the hard things of life - and come together to celebrate.

We all went to church Easter Sunday (even the bride and groom were there) and what joy it was to be together in church together on Sunday - and we made it to a 9 AM service after eating ceral and milk in our rooms at the hotel (they were charging $11.95 for breakfast - right!!!) and then we had to leave each other and this parting seemed harder than others - maybe the realization of how precious the time is when we are together really affected me more this time that others -

God has really blessed me with a family that really knows how to come together - that puts aside any hurts or grudges or whatever may be going on in their lives and that can really come together and love each other. I see so many families that carry on feuds for years - brothers and sisters not talking to each other - mothers and fathers and siblings all being held at a distance - no communication - no talking - no love. Life is too short and family is too important to let it go on - shall we all join hands for a chorus of "Kumbaya" now??? Know you know why my girls said I needed my own Blog - I do get carried away!

Terrible Thursday!

Well Thursday was the day my Mom, sister and myself were leaving on our trip to a family wedding in Akron, Ohio and I was suppose to be ready to leave by 12:30 p.m. I had to go into work because I was in charge of the Easter Worship pages which consisted of almost three full pages of advertising and I had to finish them before I could leave.

I got up real early Thursday morning after doing most of my packing the night before (I was determined to be ready!) - colored my hair - got food ready to go on the trip - got myself dressed in my fairly new beige boot cut pants (Kik approves of) and thought I had better touch up my toenail polish because I was wearing sandals - because it was warm here - took the bottle in my hand and shook it several times as I realized something terrible had happened - the top to the nailpolish was broken - came off - and red nail polish was going all over me - my nice pants - my stomach - my arms (didn't have my top on yet)- across my bed comforter (which fortunately is red) - my white nightstand - my white bookcase and books - and of course the light beige rug!!!!! - these are the moments when even at my age you realize once again that you ARE the grown-up and your Mom is not coming to clean it up and you had better figure it out real quick because it was fast drying polish.

The next hour and a half was spent scrubbing the rug mainly - as I live in a rented townhome and didn't want this to ruin my relationship with my landlord - and then everything else. What a mess!!! I had to use nail polish remover as that was all I had - couldn't get it out of my pants though so they are ruined.

Got to work late - had a myriad of problems - didn't leave work until 3:30 PM - didn't get on the road until 4:30 PM - feeling very guilty - with no way of making it better - but we all got through it.

The wedding was wonderful - the weather was c-o-l-d - 22 and 26 degrees - snow on Sat. morning and snow going through the West Virginia mountains yesterday - but it was great seeing family and being with everyone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ohhhhhhhh - Ohio

These two weeks before Easter and the two weeks before Christmas are just about my busiest times at the newspaper - and this time it is even worse because I am leaving Thursday to go to Akron, Ohio for my niece's wedding. So I have lost two whole days and I am scrambling to get everything done, proofed and released for publication!!! The race is on!!!

I love road trips - with compatible people. This one is with my Mom and my sister and we are going up through the mountains of West Virginia which is really a great ride - I just don't want to do it in the cold weather!!! My sister and myself are doing Weight Watchers - so we will have good healthy snacks this time instead of my all time have-to-have Strawberry Twizzlers, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls and Whoppers - those are just basic road trip supplies. We always have good talks - arguments about the drivers driving ability and choices - listen to books on tapes - and I always have my crocheting with me. I can't read in a moving car but I can crochet - I haven't figured that one out.

When my husband, Alex, and my youngest daughter April and myself were driving in a U-Haul truck in our move from L.I. to Myrtle Beach we had to go through the weigh stations - Alex told me he was worried that we might be too heavy and not pass the "test" - he suggested that the two of us get out and walk around and let April drive through the weigh station - I always love picturing that in my mind! The three of us sat in the cab of the truck with April and I taking turns holding her gerbil in a cage on our laps - memorable!

I'll be back Monday - hope you all have a blessed Easter!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thoughts for the Weekend

Crazy week at work - I am responsible for the church ads that go in for all the Easter events - and that means two full pages of display ads for churches for this Saturday - next Thursday - and then the Saturday before Easter. So the first Sat. is over with until it publishes tomorrow morning and if something is wrong my phone will be blinking when I come in on Monday morning.

I love to go home to my cozy townhouse. I usually come in - put my things down - and sit on the couch and just absorb the quiet - I look around at the artwork on the walls and the things I have around that bring me joy and reconnect with myself. I really tried to simplify this move - but the artwork is slowly climbing back on the walls and little bits of my life are appearing on the tops of bookshelves and tables and I realize they all make me happy.

One time when my grandfather was over at our home - he sat on the couch and looked around and said, "You know being in your living room is like sitting in a scrap book of your life!" - I loved it that he felt that way. He would be happy to know that a copy of one of his paintings is hanging on my wall. Another time when we were living in Pa. I asked a friend to stop by on her way home from work (she was a teacher) and she said, "Oh no, if I do that I'll come in and sit on your comfy couch and these two cozy arms will come out and wrap their arms around me and say-sit stay don't leave - and the next thing I know it's dinner time!!!" I loved it!

I once read a book called Open Home, Open Heart about hospitality and it really struck home with me to be able to have people over and not make them feel sorry they stopped by or that your embarrassed by the mess and then make them feel uncomfortable even more - I want to have my home presentable and a pleasure for those who come by - but more than anything I want everyone to feel welcomed and glad they came to visit even if I have to move some things off the couch so they can sit down.

I just made myself smile because I thought to myself - Blogging is like having people over for coffee and you don't have to worry if the dishes aren't done!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

After The Weekend

I came back Sunday night and even as I write those words I feel homesick for the Emmaus Walk. It was truly an unbelieveable spiritual and emotional experience and I really don't want to talk about it too much in case there is an opportunity for one of you to go on one of these weekends someday.

I arrived on Thursday evening - without my watch or cell phone - and as the weekend progressed it was really amazing to realize how much I looked at my watch and how much I missed my cell phone (my sister had the numbers to call if she needed me in an emergency). As I went through the weekend asking questions the answer would be "Don't anticipate" or "Would you open your Christmas presents ahead of time?" - and you know what - they were right - it really became a time of real peacefulness along with a lot of challenges of learning to let go of all my need to control and accept that I was being taken care of!

There were terrible storms all day Friday and Saturday - fierce winds - pouring rain - and cold - but we all (27 women participants and staff) survived. We were only a block away from the ocean so I got to go on some walks by myself and Sunday was a sunny day!

I came back to work on Monday facing a storm of problems and Tuesday was even worse - but today Wed. was a lot better - I have a huge deadline tomorrow which I am working on - it always feels like a horse race - coming down to the "wire" to get everything done on time. It is never boring here - I used to say I wanted to work in a hospital or airport because something is always happening - well - you can add newspaper to that list.

The clothes never did matter - wish I had brought my sweat pants - Sponge Bob worked out fine but I am going to buy some decent pajamas for the next time or new pajama bottoms and matching T-shirts - no I am not making a trip to Victoria Secret!!! - more like the Sears Men's Dept.!!!

Adjusting to reality after a weekend like this is never easy - and looking for evidence of changes in your life after being confronted with some truths and hoping to change in some way is pointless - my family and friends will be the ones to know if there was a real impact this weekend on my life - I'm just trying to walk it out with God's help now.

And I lost 2.8 lbs. - with tons of snacks around -Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, homemade Apple Strudel - Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - homemade cookies - and delicious meals all weekend - God provided healthy choices - fruit and lots of bottled water!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Weekend Away????

Tonight I am being picked up from work and taken to a retreat called the Seaside Emmaus Retreat. Friends of mine invited me to go to this a couple of months ago and when they suggested it it seemed like such a good idea.

I am going not knowing anyone that is going to be there - and knowing really nothing about the weekend - apparently that is part of it - letting people find out for themselves without any preconceived ideas. Right now it is making me very nervous - I am allowed to take my cell phone - I guess I am making this sound a little scary "Moonieish" and I shouldn't because whenever I tell anyone that has been before they look at me and tell me how this is going to be a wonderful weekend for me - especially after everything that has been happening. So it comes down to just trusting this as another part of God's plan for me and rest and relax in that and try and give up some of the control that I seemed to be clutching onto!!!!

Some of my concerns - totally not spiritual -
- What to wear at night - my Sponge Bob Square Pants pajama bottoms and T-shirt top?
- What to wear during the day? Is everybody going to be wearing "matchy matchy outfits" or jeans, T-shirts and flip flops????
- What are the dressing and undressing situations? - I am not like my daughters and really like my privacy!
-and what about eating? I am doing Weight Watchers and I realllllllly want to stay on program

I will let you all know on Monday how it went - and anybody who wants to can be praying for me!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Two Favorite Quotes

At the worst a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.

Rose Macualay - 1924


I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

Anna Quidlen - "Enough Bookshelves" NY Times Aug. 7, 1991

Monday, March 3, 2008

End of a busy day

This weekend was a busy one for me.

On Saturday I went to the auction of my mother-in-law's furniture and things. I was really ok with it - but it was sad to see her things - that she was so happy with - just leaning against the wall and being held up to be bid on - and nobody knowing the importance of everything. A mother with children bid on the dining room table with six chairs and I was happy to see her get the set - and at least most of the things were acutally bid on and not just going for $5 or $10. Mary had finally gotten to a place in her life where she had nice new things and was able to decorate in pink to her heart's desire and I am glad that she was able to enjoy her place in Florida and then here as much as she did.

After the auction I went to Kik's home - we ate together, Ken, Kik and myself and then set up the blog - watched a movie (or several at the same time) - and I kept saying I have to go home - but didn't until I guess around 11 - it was just so nice and cozy being there. Their home has a sense of calmness and peacefulness that I always appreciate.

Sunday night I had a funeral to go to of a friend from my church who was only 55. The service was held in the same funeral home that we had my Dad's service in 5 yrs. ago and they also helped when my husband, Alex, died 3 yrs. ago. I left right after the service - but - met a friend outside who ended up coming over to my place for a cup of Orange Mandarin Herbal Tea and a good time of catching up and talking - felt really blessed to end the evening with my friend.

There was a real sadness and poignancy to the weekend and also a sense of closure and being able to "go through and come out the other side."

So today is Monday and I am back at work - and I am really on the other side with really big deadlines hovering on the horizon!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Now it begins. . .

My daughters have been telling me that I should have my own blog so tonight my oldest daughter, Kik, has helped me begin.

Finding the heading or address that would be the best has taken the most time and I finally settled on the "Beauty of Bamboo" - it seems that all the places we have lived we have always found some bamboo growing near us - but the saying really started the morning we were all flying to Puerto Rico for a family vacation - we were flying out of Kennedy and the weather had been beautiful leading up to the day of the flight and I kept saying I wanted it really cold when leaving so I could really enjoy Puerto Rico - we woke up that morning and it had snowed - really snowed - and as we drove past the bamboo growing nearby the snow was heavy and had bowed it all way down and I said (sounding like a wise Yoda), "Look girls, the beauty of bamboo - it bends but it doesn't break."

And so - these are some of my stories of sometimes having to "bend" but never breaking.