Saturday, January 31, 2009

SATURDAYS...SINATRA...and cleaning!

Some of my most "vivid" memories of growing up were those frequent "Saturdays Cleaning" with Mom and my sisters.... we didn't DARE think of a reason to get out of it.... and mind you, this was on top of the daily chores when coming home from school, one of which was "pealing the potatoes" EVERY SINGLE DAY.... dinner to my Irish Dad was not dinner with out "spuds"... Pizza was NOT food in our house. Potatoes were such a "staple" food that one Halloween when we ran out of candy... my father started giving out potatoes to kids.... can you imagine their reaction when they found a potato on the bottom of their pillow case??? OK...back to the subject of cleaning...see, I'll do ANYTHING to avoid even talking about it!!!
Every Saturday morning I get a "twinge" of those Saturday Morning chores... My Mom loved to clean the house with Frank Sinatra records playing.... it did make it a little more tolerable. Why can't I have that same routine anymore? (Unfortunately, a clean house is important to me...I envy those that can live in a mess and it just does NOT bother them)!!! I get some cleaning squeezed in every now and then... sometimes I get a "stretch" of time and I'm more thorough..but as I'm sitting on my computer now (and maybe years back and NOT having a computer that just "gobbles" up time was part of it).... I'm realizing it's late Saturday afternoon and I'm deciding if I should "quickly vacuum", or "try and clean out the refrigerator"... I actually find myself taking off a vacation day from work to often clean all day... I guess I miss the luxury of cleaning ladies...but in today's economy, I could not justify it anymore.
So.... I'm leaving soon, errands to run... and coming back to my house that on the "surface" looks OK...but I could really use some "Sinatra" in the background and my Mom and sisters to get me motivated....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Praying for a snow day!

Yesterday at school I met 2 students who are from California and just praying for a "snow day".... they don't have "snow days" in Orange County and San Diego. I asked them why such enthusiasm ... they seem to be great students and love their classes etc... they said "because we've NEVER had a snow day from school" they've just heard all about them! I guess earthquakes, mud slides, forest fires just don't have the same clout! Think back to your early school you remember opening the door and waiting to hear the fire department sound the drill at 6:30 AM and it meant "no school" that day... or sitting by the radio and praying John Gambling announced your school! "I think I heard it..." did he say it was the Catholic School in our town or just the public schools? Did he say NO School or a delayed opening??? My best memories are with the neighborhood fleet of kids.... we'd bundle up....get outside - totally OVER DRESSED, make a snow man, massive snow ball fights, snow angels .... then beg that some parent would let us all come inside together .... wet gloves lost, boots full of snow with the lining inside out and totally scattered... and we would impulsively decide "let's make a tent" we'd grab every blanket we could fine...for 20 long minutes, then get restless and back outside - but we were all so happy. Maybe I've grown, but my fond memories are of "cliffs of snow"... cars stuck all over...neighbors pushing their cars out of a ditch. Everyone was outside!!!
Now fast forward... I'm amazed at how many schools close the night before a predicted storm....before the sight of one flake - what's the deal with this??? We never had that luxury...they're missing half the fun of the anticipation of that prayed for "snow day"!
So...with hope and a wish came true...this time with a phone call at 5:30 AM.... only a 10 AM delayed opening - but for me I'm taking off the day...oh and it's Wednesday, my husband's day off and he is out in the river with his fly rod.... some things here will never, how much do you want to bet - like most college students, the two California students did not have any scheduled class before 10 AM!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Planning a Eulogy...possibly even your own?

Pictured is my Aunt Ruth on the left with my Mom Joan next to happier times!

eu·lo·gy (yl-j) eu·lo·gies1. A laudatory speech or written tribute, especially one praising someone who has died2. High praise or commendation.

It's been a very sad few days for our family...just home from NH spending time with cherished cousins and family, my Aunt Ruth died and, as our Catholic Religion calls it a Mass to "Celebrate" her just does not feel that way. My husband and I often have an "inner laugh" that everyone who dies is always the MOST wonderful person... there is something about those that have died that suddenly puts them on a "higher" pedestal. Have you ever heard anyone give a eulogy quoting "Thank God this SOB is finally gone"? I know I'm sounding very cynical, but give it some thought - everyone who dies is the "greatest". Well, in this case I'll admit to fall in that trap - that my Aunt Ruth is among the elite group of "the greatest" - there will definitely be a huge void in our lives, her 5 children and 14 grandchildren loved her unconditionally and today, when my cousin Johnny delivered her eulogy, it was hard to not feel it was a celebration of her life, a true tribute to a "wonderful" genuine kind soul. Aunt Ruth would have LOVED to have been in this beautiful lodge we all gathered in after her Mass, everyone who loved her together in one room, with photos, and sharing memories... she lived 79 wonderful years ...

Now...on a lighter note...when they started to sing "Ave Maria".. I leaned over and whispered to my sister Sheila... "please don't let them sing that song at my funeral" ... I just don't feel the same about that song that most others do... sorry. This past summer while sitting at the lake with a group of women friends...the topic came up - "what songs do we want sung at our own funeral". I have to admit, I was one of the only ones who had not given it any thought. Maybe I'll tuck a list of songs someplace I'd prefer.... am I sounding "morbid"? Just curious... has anyone else pre-planned some of their funeral???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What an EXCITING Day to be an American!

Today, I hope most Americans share the pride in witnessing "History in the Making"! How I wish I could be in DC. How wonderful it is to see a record number of Americans so proudly attending. I'm first to admit I'm caught up in all the 'fan-fare"... the dress Michelle is going to be wearing... watching their 2 little girls who are so young and may not realize the impact their father has made...hopefully they do, hopefully they will.
But besides the Inaugural Balls and the secret service "hoopla" to have restored faith in a new office, with someone young, talented and optimistic gives us all a reason to hold on and be proud Americans!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Teaching our next generation how to "market themselves"...

As a parent of a 20 year old….and from working in the recruiting industry through corporate America and now in education for almost 25 years, I’m continuously baffled how many (I can’t say “all”) of the “Millennials” (born between 1980 - 1995) generation can’t effectively market themselves. I think of all the money parents have spent on private tutoring, SAT Preparation Classes, private trainers, private testing (God forbid they are labeled) …. Have we done them any justice? Are they prepared to fill out a job application and talk to an employer or an admissions or career counselor and be able to answer a simple question “tell me about yourself”? Sadly, I have found that most are not. I’ve also been horrified at their basic skills and lack in basic manners. Some are naturals and can easily carry on a conversation. I’ve learned it has NOTHING to do with their academic achievements, some students are naturals at talking, you immediately have a sense that “this student will do just fine” they are comfortable to talk to adults, will look at me in the eye, will answer questions with enthusiasm and will ask appropriate questions”. Some of the high achievers don’t lift up their head when they talk, can’t vocalize their accomplishments and achievements and frequently it is their first time that they realize that being interviewed, or talking to someone is not automatically natural. I frequently remind students that whatever is posted on “facebook” is open for everyone to view… and if I was to call and hear their voicemail message is it professional or does it sound like a “grunting” kid saying “hey….leave a message”?
Our high school and college students, especially graduates, need these skills to survive. I’ve been teaching both group classes and doing private tutoring and find it’s a challenge to work with some students who need to be able to talk comfortably and not have their test scores (or their parents) be their only advocate. It’s also very rewarding when a student realizes that this is a weakness and listens and works hard to try and overcome this obstacle. I love working with students, and encourage parents to address this, do not assume your child is ready to highlight their achievements and talk about them. It’s frequently behind a closed door interview, or even during their first job interview that a basic skill like this is discovered to be so weak. In today’s highly competitive market, a personal interaction and interview can make the difference in being admitted into a college or landing that first job. I’m anxious to hear if you agree, it’s a topic that is not discussed frequently and our next generation who have all been raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think that business-as-usual ethics is for the birds.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Claddagh: Symbol of Loyalty, Friendship and Love

The Claddagh, an ancient Gaelic symbol, is today a universal symbol of lasting love, eternal friendship, and loyalty. It was first designed around 400 years ago in a small village near Galway, Ireland. The Claddagh symbol shows a crown above two hands clasping a heart in the middle.
The Claddagh design is used on the traditional wedding ring of the Irish.
The Claddagh is often placed on betrothal bands to represent holding a lover's heart in one's hands. "With these hands I give you my heart and I crown it with my love."
Traditionally, the Claddagh ring has been considered a marriage heirloom. A mother would pass the family Claddagh ring to her daughter on her daughter's wedding day.
Claddagh Symbolism
· The crown symbolizes loyalty.
· The hands symbolize friendship.
· The heart symbolizes love.
· Sometimes combined with a cross to symbolize faith.
How to Wear a Claddagh Ring:
If worn on your right hand with the heart facing outwards, it means your heart is still open to love.
If worn on your right hand with the heart facing inwards, you are telling the world that you are considering being in love.
If worn on your left hand with the heart facing inwards, it means you have joined your life with another forever.

I have many beautiful Claddagh pieces: rings, bracelets, necklace, earrings, pins, wall hangings, coasters, etc. - most were given to me as gifts, what a beautiful symbol, simple yet it says so much and I treasure them all!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Married to a fly fisherman...

Fly fishermen...They're in a League of their own!
Ask anyone married to a "true" fly fisherman and we'll all agree - they're eccentric. Don't ever compare them to a spinning rod fisherman... you'll stand to be corrected before their next cast! It's an inclement weather, no matter what the conditions can convince them that it's not worth getting their rod wet ... my husband is in a stream in the dead of winter, frequently all alone and as happy as the trout in the river. Maybe I'm jealous of not having such a passion, or understanding the deep commitment to a sport - it compares to NOTHING. Phil's dream vacation to Montana and Wyoming when he was 40 was just wonderful for the family...I got to see first hand just what made his juices flow - but a Wednesday afternoon in The Little Lehigh River seems to rejuvenate him every week.... even tomorrow, when the weather is in the teens.... he'll be out there. No, I don't fish....but love the environment and make it a yearly adventure to join him, I enjoy the beauty and serenity of the river; we love to vacation in the mountains with fishing - great hikes and it attracts interesting characters! I cherish the weekly call on his way home hearing what fly worked, what was hatching, what dry fly or nymph caught the rainbow's eye... and when it's a fly that he tied - well, that just intensifies the thrill.
Phil will occasionally play golf, but really just to spend time with Gene, who has not caught the fishing frenzy like his father...but his famous line is "...if it's a day you can's a day you can also fish"... Gene has been out there too, Phil's bought him all the gear...I'm sure some day it will be as exciting for him, just not enough action to hold his current attention! Even when it's not a great day on the river...he loves to tell me "Babe...that's why they call it fishing and not catching".... I admire his drive and ambition and share in his glory when I hear about his day... of course, no fish ever make it into our kitchen....a true fly fisherman is in a stream that's "catch and release".... they respect the environment and leave the river just how they found it...peaceful and crystal clear.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Friday's are just great..... not only for the working M-F folks ... but for those that like to consider it the "end of the week"... think of all the great Fridays .... Black Friday (for those that Love to shop - no, not me)... Casual Fridays ... Half Day Fridays .... TGIF... even a restaurant is named after a day of the week! ... Friday Night Lights... No Homework Fridays (I think its the ONE day that NO ONE does any homework of any kind).... even my husband who works his hardest on Saturday - he too loves Friday! I can't say I hate any days of the week... but have you ever heard anyone say "Is it Monday yet"????
I never cook dinner on Fridays... and although I love to cook, it's one night I just don't even think about it... whether it's a casual dinner at AB&G, sitting at a pub, or even a quick bite at Panera ... we love to go out this night. I think it's also a sense of party night has become Thursday Nights....I'm always happy Friday Morning comes with no emergency call during the night.
Are Saturday's so great that Friday is considered such a celebration - maybe.
It's just become a tradition to let the week come to an end.... unwind...chill out... I also love Sundays and the feeling when we got somethings accomplished over the weekend... but nothing compares to that feeling of a Friday is winding down...everyone is anxious to "get out" and it's that old feeling of a Friday in school... when that bell rings...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today....we went to see "Regis and Kelly"

I've only watched this show for what seems like 20 years (now and then).... I have to admit... I do like them both (I never warmed up to Kathie Lee).... after ice picking our car out in our driveway.... we JUST made it into the city in time - a fun thing to do.... Phil was a good sport - although when we thought they were going to tape an entire 2nd show...he did not look thrilled. We got to see Glenn Close and Kevin James - and it confirmed our liking in both Regis and Kelly - she's adorable! Lunch after in China Town was Phil's is his birthday - how could I not agree to that.... a fun day - Happy Birthday to my sweetie... #49 (what in the world will I do for him next year)....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today is "Little Christmas"

That means I can officially take down my Christmas STUFF.... but I hate to..... last year the lights were on my banister all year (I think it was truly an accident). My tree had to come down last weekend.... fire hazard - but kept up the rest.... outside lights will stay on through the weekend..... it's sort of depressing to take down the pretty lights - thank God for my candles though - they are ALWAYS on! Next holiday is Valentines Day.... already have a few things ready to put out.... just can't help myself - I DO LOVE holidays! OH ya.... tomorrow, 1/7 is Phil's Bday...always extends the "holiday" season for me... another reason to celebrate and be able to "wrap a gift".... (just something small this year...he is happy with a small gift....always - just a great guy)