Thursday, July 30, 2009


My hands are so sore I can just about type... I've been told I hold the oars to tightly.
My right foot is absolutely killing me... bought OTC orthotics - praying they help!
I've had Charlie Horses in places I never knew possible - I had to pull over and walk on the GSP highway shoulder.
My thumbs are smashed (it's common).
My hair has NEVER consistently looked worse - baseball caps will do that!
My shoulders have black circles from the boat resting on them - it happens.
My ego... what ego - it's a team sport - but when I'm the one messing up in the boat and we all have to stop and re-group, it's just so humiliating.
Rowing is a team sport... everyone is forced to work together... there is no "mind" drifting - I know there are beautiful homes and cliffs along the Hudson - but I don't even dare to glance at them... every stroke needs concentration!
I've realized in many sports I seem to consistently plateau, I have to get past that in rowing - we all have to improve together... no excuses.
Oh, and - it's very humbling to be coached by a 20 year old that knows your son!
BUT, the most rewarding feeling is when the morning session is over, it's all of 7:00 AM, and I'm on my way to work or home and on a natural high from being out on the water... hopefully accomplishing even a "baby step" improving.
PS... I really don't care for complainers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Don't Mess With Them"!!

Thick as thieves.... These 7 boys have been as tight as a drum all through high school, and most best friends since kindergarten! Who would have thought. They are a pack... loyal as can be... a brotherhood. They rotate who's turn it is to drive (designated driver)... I've heard them bicker like little kids - but, don't mess with them - they'd stand in front of a freight train for the other one. I love them... often ready to "ring their necks"... but you can't stay mad at them! Everyone said, wait until they all go off to college and their tight bond will loosen - no signs of it. I've even heard if someone has 4 tickets to an event, they can't choose and will draw names to fairly see who should go... I've often been told that our son is not REALLY an only child... he has 6 other brothers. May their bond and friendship continue...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Salmon Grilled on Cedar Planks... YUM!

Working (very p/t) at Williams Sonoma is great fun... I LOVE to see every new item that comes into the store - and of course, I love the discount. I purchased these cedar planks a few weeks ago and finally used them this past weekend. SO Delicious, SO Easy. You need to soak them until saturated...
I dressed a lovely piece of salmon with some dressing (white balsamic vinaigrette dressing) and some finely chopped nut topping (macadamia and orange)... but anything would work. You need to be sure you cook on a low flame so the wood plank won't go up in smoke.
The flavor was delicious...we all loved it and I'd recommend it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Kidney Salesman "The Matchmaker"...Is this Kosher?

A Brooklyn man, Rabbi Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, known in his circles as "the kidney salesman," was arrested as part of the sweep and charged with enticing vulnerable people in Israel to sell one of their kidneys for $10,000, and then charging waiting transplant patients in this country up to $160,000. He admitted brokering kidney sales for a decade, federal prosecutors said in the complaint. The alleged decade-long scheme, exposed this week by an FBI sting, rocked the nation's transplant industry. If true, it would be the first documented case of organ trafficking in the U.S. As part of the scheme, the organ donors were brought from Israel to this country, where they underwent surgery to remove the kidneys, authorities said. I understand prosecutors did not identify which hospitals in the U.S. received the donors and their kidneys.
"I am what you call a matchmaker," Rosenbaum said in a secretly recorded conversation. Asked how many organs he had brokered, he said: "Quite a lot".
The flip side...It is a complete shame that there are people dying all the time of kidney failure, or forced to live on dialysis, when we all have two kidneys, and could easily give up one. I understand there are a few places that have a system of anonymous kidney donation to total strangers. No remuneration, just doing a good thing for another person - There have been surveys and a surprising number of people have said that they would donate a kidney if it meant saving another person's life, even if they don't know that person. What greater gift can you give someone...
But... the problem that might hold a lot of people back from donating a kidney is the thought, "what happens if my sole remaining kidney fails? Can I get my old one back? It is too risky... I heard of a solution that I totally agree with. Anyone who ever donates a kidney is automatically put to the front of the list if THEIR remaining kidney fails. And also if that one fails. So by donating a kidney there is no risk of you dying for lack of a kidney yourself. Certainly sounds very fair to me.

I'm a big supporter of Donate Life America and suggest you visit for the ethical, and moral way to support organ and tissue donations and where transplants are offered to patients for a chance for a healthy, productive and normal life. Register to be an organ donor today.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 13

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world"

Friday, July 24, 2009

40 Years GIANT leap for mankind...

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin ~ Apollo 11, 1969

How did I miss writing about the biggest history making story...just 40 years ago?? I remember it like it was yesterday - I was 12 years old. It was all people talked about. It was also the last big event my father was alive to witness, he died 6 months later at a tender young age of 42. I'm happy he took this memory to his grave. I vividly remember my parents realizing the significance of what was about to happen 250,000 miles away and that they let us stay up as we all watched this from our "then" grainy black and white TV.

Headline News... The NYT cost 10 cents in 1969
The mission fulfilled President Kennedy's goal of reaching the moon by the end of the 1960s, which he had expressed during a speech given in 1961 - how tragic he never lived to see this. Another tragedy is that America which was known for making great things happen, no matter how great the challenge has since lagged behind the rest of the world in science, math and technology. How did we let that happen?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Notebooks and Rulers and Pens ... OH MY!!!

I love the Fall... everything except "back to school supplies". When I see them in the stores I get that "lump in the pit of my stomach" feeling... Why? Next I'll see pumpkins... and I've hardly had watermelon this summer! Once it's "close" to August...summer seems to go "down hill" for me - it's obvious the days are shorter and the mind set is no longer "summer holidays". Back to school this year for me is getting our son acclimated into an off campus house - something he deserves, something he'll NEVER be "ready" for - he has to be "thrown into it" and learn as he goes... me too... a very nostalgic day - I better stay out of Staples!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Were your ears ringing this morning...

Astrid, Oakland, NJ 1975

I've been excited about today for many weeks. Thank you Facebook for making reuniting with someone I've lost touch with so easy. We realized we had not seen each other since the summer after we graduated high school in 1975... we also worked together (with a great crew) at DQ! Do you know how much of our lives have changed in almost 35 years??? What I really treasure is the familiarity never skipped a beat. A few weeks ago while looking for some old photos I saw this one... and of course had to let her know, scan and send! It's a gem - the best was the writing on the brought back more memories than of the photo itself. So today what did we do... - and if you were in our high school when we were...yes, we probably brought up your name as well. The best part of it is... we've both admired hearing from our classmates - it's nice to see everyone have mutual respect for others, even if we were not all best buddies in Indian Hills. My happy high school days have been on my mind since Astrid drove away - I've mentioned this before, and I try to live by this - make the effort to see people, it's so worth it...

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Make new friends but keep the old..."

Phil and Dave, fly fishing the Esopus River, Pheonicia, NY

I frequently refer to my husband Phil and his passion for fly fishing. His compassion compares to nothing I've ever witnessed... The only thing that would make it "better than best" for him is if our son had the same interest - but he's realistic and thinks "down the road" when Gene can enjoy something not as "fast pace" he'll learn to enjoy it. He's given up on me fishing...but loves when I join him on a trip...and I love it too - the serenity of a running river is majestic.
Phil and his best friend since 7th grade, Dave have the same love for fishing. Although Dave prefers salt water, they each accompany the other to the ocean or river. As I was driving up to the mountains with them yesterday and listening to their fishing jargon "line weight, tippet, dry flies" etc... it's all such familiar conversation to me. I had a choice yesterday... The Catskills where there are frequent snakes or Pennsylvania, where there have been frequent bears... I choose snakes...and was lucky not to have come across any... a few beautiful deer and it warmed my heart to be with 2 very happy fishing buddies who had a great afternoon catching rainbows!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remembering Walter Cronkite...

1963 ~ I was in first grade, I remember it well, Sister Paul's class... Mother Joseph Eleanor walked into our room and told us all to pray, that our President was just shot... at 6 years old, it's hard to comprehend what that means. The next thing I remember... cars arriving at school and we were all sent home... my mother came to pick me up with my sister, she was so sad, very quiet and crying. When I arrived home my biggest memory was the news that was on... just continuously... covering this horrifying situation. Neighbors were over and everyone was staring at the TV... and who do I remember ... Walter Cronkite and his voice. Cronkite was the face of the "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981, when stories ranged from the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to racial and anti-war riots, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis.
On a side bar... when Kennedy was assassinated, I asked my mother "will cartoons ever be on again"??
Walter Cronkite lived a long life, passing at 92 with his loving family at his side...He was a great broadcaster and a gentleman whose experience, honesty, professionalism and style defined the role of anchor and commentator, to many he will always be admired and remembered.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian #12

Per Anger

A Swedish Diplomat that aided Hungarian Jews from being deported in WWII by the Nazi's. Much like Oskar Schindler, Anger designed makeshift passports and certificates to protect Jews from incarceration and deportation. Although there was a question of legality of the documents, the government accepted them under the impression that these were Swedish citizens.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ten Years Ago... test yourself...test your kids!

JFK Jr. ~ What could have been...

Ten years ago today our family was flying home from a week's vacation at The Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas... it was lovely. But, what do I remember most about this trip? It was the news just before we were boarding the plane "JFK Jr was missing" ...I heard the details and I had a strong feeling, he'd be gone "forever". Here one day...gone the next - it happens too frequently! I was a Kennedy family magnet....everything they did was of interest to me... I loved following JFK... his beautiful wedding and bride - his love for his sister and family - and I'll admit - that smile - talk about "tall, dark and handsome". I just asked my 21 year old... "Do you remember JFK Jr"? Ya, he says - I said what do you remember about him, I asked? "I don't know... you liked him, he died in a plane crash going to Martha's Vineyard"... I pushed him - Who was his father...he knew (Thank God)... Who was his sister "I don't know...why"... Honestly, I don't know why I ask some of the questions I do... I set myself up for disappointment.
I guess when I was 11, if someone asked me specifics about Eisenhower I would "hopefully" know some specifics... 34th President... 5 star General... high popularity vote... hopefully...

Thank a Coach... Thank a Teacher...

Last night, I was talking to my son and his girlfriend and they asked about my morning on the river... I told them it was the best to date... and the reason was we had someone new coaching us... I casually mentioned she was around their age, but she intrinsically knew how to instruct and was persistent until we got it accurate - all 4 of us in the boat commented on how terrific she was, etc. They casually asked me her name (which struck me funny as they don't know anyone)... I mentioned her first name (which is unusual) - they both knew her! She graduated high school with them and is now rowing on the Syracuse Rowing Team! They knew she rowed through high school... Kelsey said "Oh, can I tell her on facebook she was coaching you"... "of course...and tell her we all thought she was amazing". It lead the conversation to how some people have a gift to teach and instruct and not all intelligent and well informed teachers have the gift in being a "good teacher". We can all reflect on some terrible teachers... and the flip side on our "best teachers". I admire good teachers and always remember them. I'm "most proud" when I see a teacher recognized for being nominated by their students/co-teachers for their accomplishments - what could be a better reward! What I LOVE is when a teacher who is rewarded and nominated is honored, they are usually "very low key" and so humble about their status... Teaching is a gift... it is not something everyone can automatically do... I'm sure we all remember our teachers well... teachers, like coaches who are great at what they do should be thanked, recognized and encouraged to keep doing what they do so well...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Animals... and when they pass...

Reilly, 8 years old in our back yard - July 10, 2009

I received a sad phone call earlier today. My sister-in-law's dog had a stroke last night, followed by a few more during the evening. She died today. Buttercup was 10 years old, a beautiful Wheaten Terrier.
Having a dog and knowing what a big part of our family she is... it's just put me in "a funk". Adopting an animal is wonderful, we all know they don't live forever and having to deal with them dieing is just heart wrenching. I'm happy she did not suffer long and my heart aches for the family.
Reilly, our 8 year old Golden is the first one to greet me daily at the back door... I find myself talking to her, saying goodbye to her, etc. This is a picture that I took of her just this past weekend - she has slowed down considerably. Reilly is happiest when she is with us...either inside or outside - she wants to be with her family. So, with a heavy heart today, I'm reflecting on animals and dealing with them getting sick and eventually hard it is for the family, especially children - it's part of life, and unless you have an animal it's very hard to understand... Rest in peace, Buttercup...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time for the family "roast"... the "human" kind!

So last night, winding down after serving 25+ people at my son's family birthday party...I was "roasted". The one who's turn it was to hear about oneself. I was too exhausted to give it back... I also just had a few glasses of wine as drinking and keeping a party going (catered... never) is to "risky" to be tipsy. I waited until dinner and desert were served... then, for the first time, sat down. It was a great event, shared it with the 25 most important people to me and felt blessed. But, back to being roasted - I know it was in good fun, and I will always be a good sport - but one has to wonder just how much "truth" there is in what is being said about you - with a "laugh" behind it...getting their message across. I'm forever hearing "you made too much food"... "of course you cooked it all yourself"... and then the "how do you have time to blog and be on facebook"... it even got to how I dressed our son when he was little (yes, holidays in plaid shorts and saddle shoes - hey, he wears what he wants now) yadda, yadda, yadda. I know they all love me and it was all for a laugh... but it does "stick with you"... and you do get a sense that MAYBE, just maybe, there is a message behind what they were "roasting" me about!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A New Found Respect for "Paying Attention"!

Octuple in The Hudson River

Yesterday, we were in a octuple (8 person boat) with only 6 women rowing, our coach was the coxswain... The water was fast, the boat was heavy, for many of us (including myself) it was the first time in this LARGE boat. I found a new respect for "paying attention". It was tranquil and beautiful and our 24 year old coach, addressing 6 grown women had our FULL attention. When 1 rower in the boat is out of sync just a little... it throws the entire team off...
As the fog was lifting and the sun rising, the sound of the rhythmic water against the oars and the traffic in the distance across the Tappan Zee is almost surreal. My legs are wobbly, hands blistered, thumbs smashed, every single muscle is screaming... this morning I was in a double ~ if it was ONLY as easy as it looks!

'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream." Mark Twain

Turning 21... Being "Legal" and Reality!

Last evening...after listening to ENDLESS Michael Jackson follow up since his gala send off celebration... like "who will have custody of his children" - my son, who's turning 21 this Saturday says to me "If something happens to you and Dad, who is taking care of me"? My response - Gene, you're 21, legally, you're to be taking care of yourself! After all, you DO KNOW EVERYTHING... and your parents know absolutely NOTHING... so, I guess everyone thinks you're responsible and able to be "on your own".
"Really" he says.? I softened the blow and informed him - you have loving family on all sides, God forbid something was to happen, you're in good council... BUT according to the courts - you are an adult (since 18) and "on your own". So the reality of turning 21 - what it means is you can use your own ID and ditch your fake one... and I reminded him "if you are caught doing anything illegal"... no mercy!
He proceeds... well, if something had happened to you and Dad before I was 18, who was taking care of me... I told him - little response... mute issue!

Yep...I'm turning 21!

Turning 21 is a milestone, I'm really not so sure how I feel about it, mixed feelings. This fall our son will be living off campus in a house (The "Rugby House") ... it will be the true test on "taking care of yourself"... I've realized I've not done a great job in preparing him - the other day when I was making pasta and asked him if he knew how... he looked puzzled - he willingly came into the kitchen and thought the pasta cooked in the boiling water until the water was absorbed... "what does straining" mean? This has nothing to do with turning 21... maybe legally he'll be able to purchase his beer... but realistically I'm praying he'll be able to make noodles!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Copper Beauty...

When was the last time you were at The Statue of Liberty? It's usually a place we go when we have out of town guests... Thank God for visitors though, makes you go to places you feel are "always" there and sometimes don't make the effort! It's beautiful and worth the trip. I recently heard that the crown of the Statue of Liberty was reopened to tourists on this past July 4th. The crown was closed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, for safety and security reasons. The National Park Service closed the attraction amid worried that it would be difficult for visitors to evacuate quickly in the event of an emergency. Since the closing, tourists have been able to visit other parts of the statue, but had to stop before climbing the narrow 168 -step double-helix spiral staircase to get to the crown. The federal government planned to give "America a special gift" by re-opening the crown. Access to the crown has been limited to 10 people at a time, guided by a National Park Service ranger. "The Statue of Liberty will be open for the next two years, then closed again for "work on a long-term solution that will improve safety and security permanently," according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. A gift from France to the United States, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for its centennial on July 4, 1986. It stands just across New York Harbor from where the Twin Towers stood. When I mentioned this to my sister, she informed me that at one time she went up the arm to her torch! (which has been closed for many years) It's a thrill to climb the stairs... read about her history and realize the magnitude of this copper beauty!

Monday, July 6, 2009

To Crew...or, Not To Crew...

So it's time for me to decide.... continue with rowing on a crew team.... or don't. Honestly, getting up at 4:30 AM, is not that easy... carrying this heavy boat, is not that easy...but it's all worth it for that "rush" you get on the river. My concern is... by nature, I'm NOT a competitive person. I've NEVER been competitive (I may strive for my own personal best in a few things)...but winning is and never has been important to me. We have a joke in my family... my younger sister is one of the most competitive people I know. In everything. Growing up she always beat me... I became used to it - if it was a simple card game, ping pong game, race in the pool, skiing, tennis and even when it comes to a fun stint of charades...she keeps score and WANTS TO WIN! AND, if I ever DID was automatically "best out of 3" then "best out of 5"... she'd wear me down and inevitably she would win... maybe I just gave up. So, I can "sort of" blame her, but won't allow that ... I start to sweat when people take out a board game...I conveniently disappear!
I think this crew venture is stirring up those childhood feelings... but it being such a team sport, I can't let down the other women - who are in it to win! My husband wants me to give it my all... and until I do and conquer my complex - I'll never know for sure. The truth is... I'm OK at it... and know I can only get better.... So with full gusto... back on the water at 5:30 AM... gulp.

Best Finds...right next door!

Cousin LuLu at Crestwood Lake ~ July, 2009

Son Gene at Lake lifeguarding ~ 2007

Crestwood Lake ~ 1929!

Sometimes the best "finds" are in your backyard. Crestwood Lake is a true treasure in Allendale - a man made lake, also chlorinated, hidden from the road and is loved by everyone. One of my favorite things about Crestwood is it is not a private club...everyone in town (and recently a few neighboring towns) are allowed to join - it's very affordable and you'll always find someone you know there! My son's been a lifeguard there for 5 summers, he grew up going there almost daily...competed on their swim team - it's his summer home! History says it was a summer place for Babe Ruth...who had a bungalow close to the park! We were there just yesterday... no traffic, home in 5 minutes and caught up with many friends in town!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian# 10

Danny Thomas

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.
Please support The St. Jude foundation.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday...America!

Happy 4th! I love holidays that we all celebrate (and DON'T involve gifts) - what could be better than America's Birthday! My small hometown does this holiday right... from early morning flag raising, games, 50 cent burgers to amazing fireworks... no traveling necessary! I LOVE fireworks... every year they are the same thrill! Hmmmm - if I could ONLY keep my 20 year old from heading to meet his friends down the shore ("the shore"... the term used by Jersey natives)... I prefer "The Cape" - that's a different blog!
If traveling - travel safely! Bold

Liking Fairway!!!

I must say... a few months later it was a very pleasant shopping experience. Some great prices and amazing selections. I was also very happy to see they've changed the "flow" of the store so you can easily "back track" and not feel as though you are in a "one-way" maze! It's certainly a store that is a "shopping experience" and much better if you have the time to browse and take your time to check out all the displays, aisles, and all the specialty areas...I've NEVER seen such a selection of olives in my life!
So... if you have not been there yet - it's well worth the trip!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009



OK...I'm really going out on a limb with this statement... BUT - Are they ever going to bury Michael Jackson?? He's dead 1 week tomorrow and the family cannot agree on who/where etc. to rest is soul. Did this famous icon not have a will stating all of his wishes... he certainly had people wrapped around his every wish and whim while alive. My husband and I are always commenting that once you are dead... you suddenly become canonized... Not everyone has done this in Michael Jackson's situation... lot's of "dirt" re-surfacing and his totally dysfunctional family with his controlling father is "not looking so good". He's left behind a debt of over 4 million dollars! I believe he had a sad childhood, and most likely the statements that he "missed" his childhood are true. He was also VERY talented... I most enjoyed his younger years when he was the little kid in the group. I'll give him that... I was never a big fan of his later music, he had some major issues and lived a lonely life. I always thought he was a strange father... isn't this the first time anyone has seen his children's faces not behind a scarf??? His life ended too early - but, it's time to bury him and turn the page. Poor Farrah.