Saturday, May 30, 2009

A New our Family Holiday!

Colonial we come!

It's one of those places you just feel necessary to show your family... I've been informed - (by our son), this is a VACATION, not a field trip or history lesson! The nerve. I can't imagine EVER saying something like that to my parents, especially my Dad who was a history major. Somewhere along the way our initial family vacations of camping every year in the Northern Adirondacks and New England... (very earthy), to then exposing him to a few too many resorts, spoiled him! I'm not a fan on someone getting me a drink at poolside and resist even having someone helping me with my own luggage - but I'll admit, after our last camping venture of 5 straight days in the rain and a wet pillow, I decided it was time to take a LONG break from sleeping in a sleeping bag. I think balance is the most important thing in life... and that includes family holidays. So, a little "history lesson" is a good thing, I'm ready for the "moans and groans" but, he'll also get his share on some world class golf courses, Busch Gardens and we're sharing this holiday with his lovely long time girlfriend, who we're excited to have join us too! We're staying on a "plantation resort"... lots to offer in an historic part of our country...maybe NOT the Caribbean, certainly NOT camping - but hopefully a balance that will suit us all!

Back on June 7th!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian #6

Paul Newman

"I'd like to be remembered as a guy who tried — tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being. Someone who isn't complacent, who doesn't cop out."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

God Grant me Patience!

If there was one (of a few) things I need to change about myself it's my patience (or lack of) level... and it frightens me because I think it's getting worse. When an automatic door does not open fast enough...or a 411 operator takes too long to get me a phone number, and when it takes someone 5 minutes to back out of a parking space...I automatically get so inpatient! I was recently on the deli line... I accepted there were 18 people in front of me...of course I dash to get other things because the thought of waiting is just not an option... I've been lucky and never missed hearing my number when it's finally my turn.'s FINALLY my turn and as the woman is cutting my turkey...she takes a break from slicing and is telling a story to another worker...I thought I was going to jump over the deli case and finish my own order! I walk too EVERYONE tells me...I say it's long legs... in reality it's just wanting to get where I have to get, quickly. Shopping socially... NEVER - the thought of having to look in stores that I'm not interested in is also NOT AN OPTION... I buy what I need and then get out of the store ASAP. And...when the car in front of me stops when the light JUST TURNS YELLOW - OMG!!! ... I'm a true "push it to the limit" person and a yellow light means "go faster" before it turns red... I'm not proud of this either!

I do, though, have patience when it comes to working with children, students, people with disabilities or someone who is sick or suffering... at least I hope I do.
Anyway...this is something I'm realizing about myself and know I have to change... One of my sister's wants me to take up playing golf... just the thought of being "stuck" on a course with people in front of me and wanting to quit before we are done makes me know not to even venture into playing... this is not a good thing.
I think I may force myself to try yoga, I hear it's helpful - I'm hoping so, if not - Yikes...what should I do???

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Should We Pay Kids To Do Chores?

I'm not very consistent when it comes to knowing if it's appropriate to pay your child to do chores around the house. I've read many articles on this...and the answers all vary and many people make perfect sense as to why you should and why you should not pay a teen or young adult to do chores! I'm first to admit... I've come up with some "creative" ways to have our son help... sometimes it works better than others. When our son turned 12 we decided it was going to be his job to weekly mow the lawn. At that time we thought $20.00/week was fair, it included cleaning up and putting the lawn mower away, bags for the dump in the trunk, etc. There are times he's great about it and there are times he'll drag his feet and put it off until the grass is tickling the back of my knees! When we have some bigger jobs we've given him the choice... we'll pay you to stack the fire wood or the delivers to do it... BUT... we want it done the "right way".
There are some bigger jobs that my husband has paid him to do... I'm honestly not sure if we're doing him justice by paying him or not. It should go without saying that daily chores are part of living in a family and we all just pitch in and honestly, he's pretty good about that.
I was not consistent with allowances either - I believe there were times I started them...then the idea seemed more idealistic than it was and it slipped away from us.
OK... every college kid is usually poor - he has a summer job and once his pay starts to come in he'll have his money to spend. Currently, he is down to his last few dollars so we've been helping him out.
As I've mentioned, I'm not consistent, I've gotten the message across that we're NOT just handing you money, and we haven't - but I'm finding it hard to find the right balance.
Curious on how others feel about this?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer is Officially Here!

Summer is officially here!

Memorial Day... good family...good friends...good food...
great memories!

Kitchen Cabinet Clutter...

I'm embarrassed to say...but YES, this is a cabinet in my kitchen!
Just Curious....Does ANYONE else have this clutter in their "Rubbermaid" plastic store bins cabinet? I'm forever purchasing new sets so when I need a bottom and lid, I can easily find one that matches... I'm always straightening out this small cabinet and then get so frustrated, I must throw them back in... I ALWAYS seem to be opening up the door to this mess...and it was just again this morning!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 5

Jimmy Carter

“A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It's a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day...

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

4th Album...4th Photo and Still Swimming!

Gene, 11 years old!

Gene, 19 years old...same lake!

A few months ago... "Preppy Player" posted a great picture that she identified as her 4th album, 4th photo... I loved the idea and went and did the same thing... Well, months later and finally getting the scan fixed on my printer, I'm posting the 4th photo in the 4th album in my book shelf. I've been staring at this photo of my son for months... ironically, it's this season already.
When my son was 11, he was gleaming with joy on this day when he received the trophy for the best swimmer in his age group! I knew he earned it, he is a shark in the water...but until his name was called, we were not positive. I took this picture that night, he is gleaming with joy! This was the first trophy he received when the entire team did not receive a trophy just for participating...he truly earned it! Many years and sports later... I somewhat wish he stayed with competitive swimming, he was a natural and always excelled when racing, both at the local town level and in a competitive swim club. Oh well... he's still a great swimmer and this being his 5th season as a lifeguard (this year he's gloating as he's the head guard) at the same's become his "backyard" in the summer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Fly Fisherman's Dream...Bringing Home Dinner!

Phil last year fly fishing in NY State

My husband came home this evening with 5 beautiful trout he caught on a stream while fly fishing today... (5 is the limit you can take). He recently joined a private fly fishing club in Pennsylvania, he usually only fishes where it's catch and release. Their flesh is pink like a salmon...beautiful. I have to admit though, I really dislike fish being filleted in my kitchen, they were cleaned already (guts removed).
But the end result...delicious...AND a very happy fisherman!
He does love his sport...and I love his passion!

Delicious Pan Fried Brook Trout!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Boys and Video Games!!!

I don't get it? Watching a room of 6 boys playing or watching the others play a video game...and they are 20 years old! There is always a new game... one to beat - a few years ago it was guitar hero, although that comes out now and again too. Maybe boys (of all ages) have more of an obsessive personality and can't put down the controls until they've won... In our house it's an all or nothing event - our son is obsessed until he wins.... or, there is dust collecting on the console! There are times I'm totally OK with it, then there are times when it's a beautiful day and these testosterone geeks are steering at a screen, and I want to flip!
I read that 62 percent of the console market and 66 percent of the PC market is age 18 or older. The game industry caters to adult tastes. Meanwhile, a sizable number of parents ignore game ratings because they assume that games are for kids. One quarter of children ages 11 to 16 identify an M-Rated (Mature Content) game as among their favorites. Historically, the video game market has been predominantly male. I admit, I've bent the rules on the ratings...I just did not believe my son would emulate the same violence in reality. I thought it was interesting to read that much video game play is social. Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents. Even games designed for single players are often played socially, with one person giving advice to another holding a joystick or controller. I thought it was interesting that one of the must haves in a dorm for the boys is their Sony Play Station, or another similar console! Having 1 child and having owned at least 5 game stations...I do hope we've bought our last one into the house!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Volunteering Your Kids!

Sneaky, (a little) ...but it's working .... How to keep a bored 20 year old out of trouble? According to him I'm VERY GOOD at volunteering him to do jobs! He's right, and it's worked! College kids get home from school WAY TOO EARLY... and my son does not have official work until Memorial Day Weekend when our town lake opens up. I volunteered him to paint my sister's fence (he loves her and wants to help). I agreed (before we asked him) that he could help at an 11 year old's Nurf Gun birthday party! (which he had a blast at) ~ I was able to have him work at 2 graduate receptions at SHU... easy money on Saturday and Sunday. Today he's starting clean up at the lake, (pre-season). Next weekend, while working there is no reason he can't help "dog sit" too. Of course we kept him busy at home in the yard with the lawn and trips to the dump!
Hey, some extra money and gives his thumbs a break from the Sony Play Station Controls! I'm quoting my sister's famous line "easier to ask for forgiveness than permission"... but in all honesty, he's been a trouper about all this and there has been very little complaining...
Thank You Gene!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian #4

Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself”

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

Feel Good Stories...Titanic Survivor!

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio...
not only do they look GREAT...they do GREAT!

Milvina Dean, Age 97

I love "feel good stories".... this caught me with such admiration for the leading actors of "The Titanic" Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. The only living survivor of the Titanic, Milvina Dean was only 9 weeks old when the Titanic capsized in 1912. Apparently she was having difficulty in paying for her nursing home and medical bills in Belfast, Ireland. Her father died when trying to save her mother and 2 other siblings during the tragedy. When Winslet and DiCaprio, along with director James Cameron were approached, they all contributed over $30.000 to allow her to stay in the comfort of her nursing home. The media love to report the scandal of stars...I heard this only quickly on the news ~ it made me look into it - maybe not headlining news....but certainly nice to hear and "koodos" to them!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Because "The Donald" say's it's OKAY???

OK...SO Donald Trump gives the OKAY to Miss California...Trump said he and other pageant officials had reviewed racy photos of Miss Prejean and decided they were acceptable. "We are in the 21st century. We have determined the pictures taken are fine," he said, adding that "in some cases the pictures were lovely." It's OK...why?...because "The Donald" says so... ??? I know he owns Miss USA ... that's a blog onto itself. Does anyone else find this so amusing? I honestly think the question was a little "loaded"... she'd get flack however she answered it. (Her opinion on gay marriage) I admit, I'm a left wing liberal, I've no problem with gay marriage. My issue is "The Donald" having the "hutspa" to be able to judge if her photographs (semi nude)? were OK? Maybe the real issue is that Miss USA or Miss America even existing as a "beauty pageant" anymore! With all the reality TV now, it's lost it's following (I think)... I remember as a little girl knowing it was on once/year - and we ALL watched it, all had comments, it was actually a bit of a "family event" So... Miss Prejean finished as first runner-up, but it was not clear if her answer cost her the crown... and what's most disturbing is that"The Donald" received the press he needed and wanted... that's what really mattered to him... feeding his larger than life ego with publicity!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Arthur Schwartz..."New York City Food"!!!

My all time favorite food critic, chef and famous restaurateur is Arthur Schwartz. I've seen him at Chef Central, he is a quick witted all time foodie... his love and knowledge in both Italian and Jewish Cooking is what he is known for. He used to be on WOR as the food critic, I heard he became a "hot head" and was off the does not surprise me...but they've yet to fill that spot with someone as knowledgeable and entertaining.
His book "New York City Food" is a must have for any New Yorker, former New Yorker or wannabe New Yorker....that has an interest in Food! Published in 2005, it's still a favorite with terrific reviews! "New York City Food" is a cool combination of food history in the greatest city in the world combined with over 100 recipes. Having lived in NYC for many years, many of my favorite memories were and still are exploring the many neighborhoods and their ethnic cultures! Want to know the origins of "Steak Diane"? Porterhouse Steak? Lobster Newburg? NYC Pizza? Five chapters are devoted to the food and influences of the major (and many) immigrants who came to New York City: the Germans (from delicatessens to Luchows), the Jews, Italians, Irish, Chinese... Other chapters focus on what is quintessentially New York: hot dogs, and knishes! This book shows a pictorial and editorial history of New York through its foods and diverse cultures and communities. This is a great book to keep out and glance at...or give as a gift to someone with the same culinary interest... Arthur is frequently at many different food establishments, often plugging a new book.... he's well worth the trip!

Monday, May 11, 2009

"On the Run"

For me, my morning ritual on my way to school is to stop at my favorite coffee watering hole...
The convenience store of Exxon Gas - "On the Run". My sister told me I was becoming a creature of habit, like our Mom. It took me a while to realize I'm not a fan of Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks Coffee! On the Run serves Bengal Trader's Coffee... and I love coffee bars that have out their own selection of half and half, skim milk, regular milk, and every sweetener available! My new favorite habit is to microwave my coffee so it's nice and hot for a long time after I pour it! I know, call me weird. I've realized I can eat just about anything....but my coffee is very dear to me and I want it just so... milk, but a drop of cream and 3/4 of the package of Splenda (can you imagine asking for that at a counter)??? So, if you've not tried "On the Run" and their Bengal Coffee which by-the-way has many flavors, to choose from....I'd give it a go! My 16 oz is next to me right now!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

My Mom....
Who deserves a wonderful Mother's Day, today and Always!
Love You and Thank You Always!

Mother's Day, 2007

The TRUE meaning of Mother's Day in our household is to "honor" the matriarch of the family... usually Grandma's. I've yet to ever rest on a Mother's Day...nor my sister or sister-in-law when they host... today is my sister-in-law's ...she's been preparing for days... OH well... something to look forward to... not that I'm in ANY rush to be a Grandma!!! It's just another one of those "feel good holidays"... little gift of appreciation is all it takes... for me... cleaning out the garage would be the greatest type of gift... I do like to make my mother feel special...unfortunately we won't be celebrating together this year. I hope Mom's everywhere have a special day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 3

Mother Teresa of Calcutta
(in honor of Mother's Day)

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May is "Mothers" Month...

For many, the first word to come to mind during the month of May is "Mother". May is the month we honor all Mothers. May is also the month we dedicate to Our Blessed Mother.What a wonderful month to dedicate to Mary. The trees are a wonderful green, flowers are being planted and all is new and full of life. Last night my Parish honored Mother's with a special Mass... it was in our rectory chapel with 50 women...of all ages, all together to celebrate this special liturgy. Sadly, for many, their Mother's are no longer with them, we need to be especially consciouses to those mourning the recent loss of a grandmother or mother... we need to be conscious to those who are suffering from all losses...

A "heartwarming" photo of many generations of women!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Best Dog... Usually!

Curious. Is MY dog the only dog that when sick and "can't hold it" has to mess on the rug....???? I have a good size kitchen with tile... yet, when it happens, she insists on going on the carpet? Is Reilly alone with this lovely trait? (important note...for Reilly to have an's VERY unusual)
If you know anything about know how much I love my Golden...but I was NOT happy to walk into this MESS on the carpet this evening... (when the tile floor is 2 feet away)!

Enjoy Cinco de Mayo!

¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

Mexicans are truly festive; any excuse gives way for a celebration! But the most important and exciting are the 16th of September, Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May. They are good occasions to show the pride of being Mexican, the love of the Motherland, and the certainty of being a free country, thanks to the many men and women whose struggle made history. Did you know that the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo, took place 41 years AFTER Mexico's Independence War was won in 1821? I had NO idea!
Hey...just another "feel good" holiday....with "no gifts" (which I'm endorsing strongly... NO "gift holidays") ... and most of all ~
a great reason to enjoy a frozen margareta!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Aging ~ With Dignity.

I recently blogged about my dear friend's Mom, who was living at her home with her family... she passed away a few weeks ago, peacefully with her family at her side. Her Funeral Mass was a celebration of her full life, with a beautiful family and legacy to follow. None-the-less, she was still someones Mom, Grandma, etc... grieving is a natural process, necessary for heeling and moving on, of course never forgetting - celebrating this sweet elder woman who did not have a mean bone in her body was bitter/sweet.
Today I visited another dear friend's mom, who is in an Alzheimer's Home - she is someone I've known for over 30 years, the proud Mother of 6 wonderful children, many grandchildren, she was this sweet small woman with white hair that welcomed me with open arms whenever I saw her. I saw her a few days ago with her daughter, at first it set me back, she's of course aged, but she is in a wonderful home, a converted house for people suffering from this awful disease. The staff treated everyone with respect and kindness. I saw her daughter speak to her with, love, patience, and dignity. I'm sure she did not remember me, but that twinkle and laugh I remember her having was still there. I left with a heavy heart... we celebrate birth, we grieve death and try to find the balance. When I went back today, 2 days later, she seemed happy to see me, I'm still not convinced she knew who I was, but she took my hand and showed me around like I was her best friend... I said good-bye to her, that familiar soft kiss on the cheek and told her I'll be back... and I will.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder named for German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906.

Early Spring Vegetables!

One of my favorite things about spring is of course "food related"... I have vivid memories of knowing when fresh and local rhubarb were in the farm stands ~ that spring was officially here... usually the first northeast vegetables to harvest are: rhubarb, asparagus and peas! They are my "spring favorites". I worked on a local farm, one of the only true farms in the area for many years as a kid, and even helped out the family at times and worked there in my adult life, 6 years ago I managed their farm store - a wonderful "back to basics" fun opportunity for a few seasons! When it still felt like winter, I remember seeing them pick and bring in the rhubarb to sell....rhubarb is a beautiful vegetable. The bakery started to make homemade strawberry rhubarb pie. I made a very easy rhubarb strawberry sauce that we sampled and sold... delicious and easy. My other 2 favorite spring vegetables are asparagus (that I roast w/ fresh garlic or grill) and peas (peas are actually considered a legume). NOTHING compares to fresh peas... I now buy them at a local market (not really a farm) already out of the pod and ready to steam (that's my favorite way to cook them)... peas with a little fresh mint are a favorite! I'm sharing my easy and favorite rhubarb and strawberry sauce recipe... so delicious over ice cream, pound cake, custard and even poultry ~ or any way you like it...
I DO love early spring vetetables ~ enjoy!

EASY Rhubarb and Strawberry Sauce
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on desired tartness
1/3 cup water
1 pound rhubarb stalks, cleaned and diced
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine sugar and water. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add rhubarb and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Add strawberries and lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes more. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
In batches, if necessary, puree mixture in blender. Add water if mixture appears too thick. Serve over ice cream, custard, pound cake, poultry or delicious on it's own!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 2

Audrey Hepburn
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others."