Monday, August 31, 2009

Welcome September!!!

Seton Hall Campus Green
I LOVE the early signs of fall... the transition is so welcomed... once school has started, I'm in full gear - I'm moving offices on campus... great time to purge old stuff and start brand new! I walked into our town A&P and smelled the cinnamon brooms... saw a larger than usual display of apples! The windows are open with cool air... we're getting prepped for a painting job in the house... some new carpeting... and tonight dug out my favorite hoodie! Fresh Start... once it's the "ember" months... I'm happy... Welcome September!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Michael Jackson died from a drug over dose... IN CASE you were wondering!

Just in case you were wondering - The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled that Michael Jackson's death was a homicide involving a combination of drugs. He died June 25th, I'm relieved it took them over 2 months to determine this. Is ANYONE surprised at his cause of death?
I understand he was buried yesterday... YES, over 2 months after he died on his 51st birthday (strange) in the Grand Mausoleum in LA. The same day Ted Kennedy was buried, he died 4 days earlier!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 18...

Edward "Teddy" Kennedy
(some people are "worth" a repeat!)
It's so much more than a farewell to the "last lion of Camelot"... it's honoring his life and spirit for all Americans...his dream for civil rights... his ability to work so endlessly and make a difference. From his constant and persistent roar for universal health care... "no child left behind", changing voting from 21 to 18, cobra for those that suddenly loose their insurance, increasing minimum wage, increasing aid for women's sports, he fought till the bitter end. He was opposed to the invasion of Iraq, but supported every soldier, he never missed 1 funeral of a soldier from Massachusetts. He was not perfect, he talked about it frequently, he had flaws, he acknowledged them times spiraling out of control with disgraceful behavior... but no one fought harder for equal rights, pushed for a better standard of living for the poor, rights for the disabled, fighting for student loans from the government, his accomplishments are vast and endless...
I'll miss his "roar", twinkle in his eye, warm Irish smile and fighting liberal spirt.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alaskan King Crab - A La Alton Brown!

Phil promised Gene Alaskan King Crab before he went back to school... Gene reminded me MANY times this summer.. they seemed to always be exorbitantly expensive and honestly, I've never prepared them and had NO idea what to do with them. We were down to the wire... it had to be last night (Sunday). I went online and read EVERY way possible to prepare them - boil, bake, grill, steam. I thought steaming made the most sense, as they are cooked then frozen and only need re-heating. Less than 24 hours later... who is on the food network tonight and JUST HAPPENS to thoroughly go over the BEST way to prepare Alaskan King Crab legs... Alton Brown! He's another favorite of mine... and he's famous for his VERY thorough and entertaining way of doing everything. How does Alton Brown recommend preparing them... in the microwave... the one way that NEVER crossed my mind! He suggests to wrap the claws in a damp paper towel, cover in plastic and NUKE them, 6 at a time for 2 minutes! Shocked me!
I find crabs just too much work... my favorite and the ONLY crabs I enjoy are Florida Stone Crab Claws...
Back to last night... Gene and Kelsey seemed to enjoy them... Phil does not like ANY fish that has ever been frozen, I had a couple...but just not work the effort to me - but, I can cross off one of the "promises" that came from Dad!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ephesians 5... AND having FAITH!

Ephesians 5:21-5:33

I've heard this reading in Mass before, it's read close to every 3 years... I remember it well... I remember it ALWAYS bothering me and I revel in looking at couples to see their reaction... but I was happy to hear that their are 2 versions of this reading... and the 2nd one was read today. It's been on my mind since leaving Mass this morning... I can't tell you how encouraged I was to read that in August 2000, the Irish Catholic Church proposed dropping seven texts from a proposed new Lectionary because they "give an undesirably negative impression regarding women." The Irish Bishops' new Domestic Violence document recommended the following texts for deletion. The 2nd version was read can't only be the Irish Bishops' who proposed this? I'm Irish, I'd think the Irish would be the LAST to grasp this!
I'm determined to find out more about this... I've been searching and not successful, I'll ask our Parish Pastor. If you happen to know "how" scripture can be changed, please share - it is revolutionary to me...quite puzzling, but very promising!

Reading II Eph 5:21 - 32 or 5:2a, 25-32
Brothers and sisters:Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church,he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ,so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives,even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,that he might present to himself the church in splendor,without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church,because we are members of his body.For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh.This is a great mystery,but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
Brothers and sisters:Live in love, as Christ loved us. Husbands, love your wives,even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,that he might present to himself the church in splendor,without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church,because we are members of his body.For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery,but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
Hearing this second reading today at Mass gave me great...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday... Featured Favorite Humanitairan...# 17

John Donald "Imus" and wife Dierdre
As host of Imus (65) in the Morning, a syndicated morning radio show that is simulcast on MSNBC, he has become known as the consummate curmudgeon, an irascible rascal who rants about politicians and celebrities and peppers his guests with testy questions.
But he’s also a cattle rancher’s son who was raised on The Willows Ranch between Seligman, Ariz. (pop. 456), and Kingman (pop. 20,069). “In those days, there was no electricity there or indoor plumbing,” he says. “There was just a work ethic and sense of hope. Being around horses early in your life, you develop a sense of confidence, just like athletes do.”
During his decades on the air, he also developed a heart for children battling cancer after becoming involved with Tomorrows Children’s Fund, a non-profit New Jersey-based organization that raises money for children with cancer and blood disorders. “They came to the radio station and asked us to raise money for them,” says Imus, who raised $1 million the first year through a radio-thon in 1988. “That was my first exposure to kids with cancer.”
Soon after, he met Deirdre, an actress from Connecticut who had never ridden a horse, and the two married in 1994. They began spending more of their time with sick children. “After working with these kids, we noticed a common theme: They had cancer but they were like normal kids, except they lost their self-esteem,” Deirdre says. “We found no one was actually restoring their self-esteem or dignity.”
Adds Don, “They weren’t being treated as normal kids. They were being treated as sick kids. They were coddled, and appropriately so, by their parents and doctors.”
The Imuses wanted to launch an even bigger project that would return that depleted confidence to the children once they had finished medical treatments. For a while, they just didn’t know what it would be.
But in 1998, while a pregnant Deirdre was exercising on a treadmill, Don came downstairs. He had been researching for an interview with Paul Newman when the idea hit him: “Let’s build a working cattle ranch for kids with cancer.” He told Deirdre, “I remember the best days of my life were on a cattle ranch. It’s such an empowering feeling.”
With little direction, the two began turning their dream into a reality. Using more than $1 million of their own money, they bought the ranch’s original 810 acres. “It’s insane the way we did it,” Don says. “We didn’t have any plan.”
They returned to New York, established a public foundation and began fundraising in earnest. The first morning Imus announced their plans, he raised $4.2 million in three hours. They raised $30 million that year and eventually reached $40 million. It took nearly $25 million to build the ranch, which costs $1.8 million annually to operate.
“We raise $2 million a year,” Don says of the ranch that children attend for free. “We raise about enough to run it.”
The children, some of whom have never been on an airplane, don’t know what to expect as they enter the ranch gates. “It’s huge!” says Kelly Davis, 11, of Destin, Fla. “It took about 15 minutes to go from the gate to the hacienda.”
Soon they come upon an eight-building, 1800s Western town complete with general store, dance hall and marshal’s office. “When we pulled up to the town, our eyes just opened, ‘This is awesome!’” says Brittany.
The infirmary is housed in the Black Lamb Saloon, complete with bar, swinging doors and piano. “We wanted the feeling of dating the whole ranch back to the 1800s, back to the time of Wyatt Earp,” Deirdre says. “We had to have an infirmary, so we put it in the saloon, where the kids can belly up to the bar for their meds. It’s about the spirit of entertaining the kids and having an authentic Western experience.”
About a quarter-mile up the dusty road is the 14,000-square-foot hacienda, where the Imuses and children sleep, eat and relax. The Imuses eat every meal with the children as the music of Cowboy Troy and the White Stripes blares from a stereo. “We decided from day one that we were going to do this like a family cattle ranch,” Deirdre says. “That’s why we built the big hacienda. We wanted it to be like Bonanza, with everyone eating together.”
The ranch cuisine is vegan—no meat, dairy, sugar or flour—because Deirdre is committed to providing a non-toxic atmosphere for the children. Many of the pesticide-free vegetables are grown in a nearby greenhouse. As founder of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at New Jersey’s Hackensack University Medical Center, she is passionate about identifying and preventing environmental factors that cause cancer. “It’s very challenging because they are used to eating whatever they want or junk food,” ranch chef Dennis Benjamin says. “As long as you present it to them as something they’ll recognize, that’s half the battle.”
The days begin at 6:15 a.m., when the cowpokes begin their round of chores, such as feeding the various animals scattered around the ranch. After breakfast, half of the children do ranch chores, including planting, watering and gathering eggs, while the others proceed to the barn, where they begin the process of muck removal before grooming, bridling and saddling the horses for a two-hour ride. “These aren’t dude-ranch horses,” Don says. “They are serious horses.”
After lunch and an hour break for swimming or napping, the children switch projects. After dinner, they have about 90 minutes to play board games or pool before lights out at 9 p.m.
The kids are accompanied by the Imuses virtually every hour of the incredibly long and tiring day. The only non-paid ranch workers, Don and Deirdre don’t just run the ranch; they are the ranch. They lead every horse exercise and follow the kids on their daily chores in their pickup truck. Also accompanying the children at all times are two child-life specialists, who are trained in working with medical-needs children, as well as a nurse, doctor or medic who travel in a camouflaged Humvee that serves as an ambulance.
“We were so naïve when we got involved,” Don says. “We thought the kids coming through here have cancer and they get better. Then we had the first kid die. That had an affect on us. Over the past five or six years, about 15 kids have died.”
“It’s tough saying goodbye because you don’t know if it’s going to be goodbye forever,” adds Deirdre, noting that two of every 10 children with cancer will die. “It makes you realize how many kids need help. There’s a list and we can only take so many.
“We get very emotional,” she says. “By the end of the summer, it takes a toll on everybody who works here, but that’s OK because the focus isn’t on us, it’s on the kids.

work cited:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The GREAT NYC Street Fairs!

I love NYC Street festivals and fairs... When I lived in Manhattan I went to many of them... after a while the vendors seem to all be selling many of the same things... but being in different neighborhoods is great fun... We usually try to go into the city and attend a street fair at least once a year, it's NOT my husbands favorite thing to do, but he's a good sport... sort of the other end of me going on some fly fishing ventures with him! (and once we are there, he has a better time then he thinks he will) This is a great website that features the different fairs in the city, I've referred to it frequently.
This Saturday is The Great Irish Festival (6th Ave from 42nd to 56th Street)... Wanna go too?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, Those August Weeds...

They take over. This is the time of year the garden is looking oh so sad, ... primarily because the weeds grow when I turn my back... it's almost like "Little Shop of Horrors" here! I've decided to STOP purchasing Weed-B-Gon and weed killers, they take a week to work and just turn the weeds brown...they still have to be pulled - so why bother???
I'm actually looking forward to our first frost... a sign the weather is changing!

How pretty ... the first frost on flowers!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

College Transition... better for the kids than me!

SHU Rugby... take car of my boy!

Villanova... here comes John!

Gene and John ~ June, 2009

I'm not great with change, especially when it involves people...leaving. My nephew is leaving tomorrow for Villanova, he and Gene besides being close cousins, are close friends - so happy for John, but I'll miss him. Gene is starting to move into his off campus house today... "The Rugby House"... it's everything you'd imagine a Rugby House to look like! He's so excited... I'm dealing with it. It's the third time for him having to say good bye to his friends and girl friend... I'm not good with that either! Once everyone is settled, and happy - I'll be fine and life won't skip a beat. Maybe it brings back memories like yesterday on how I never liked leaving home for college, I never adjusted to dorm life and after 2 years at 2 different colleges, I moved back home, had a car, went to a local college, and I thrived. To each, his own. For me, realizing change is just part of life, missing people is very hard for me... but knowing they are all happy is what really counts!

Monday, August 17, 2009

3 H's... (not for me)!

I JUST do not function well when it's the 3 H's - HAZY, HOT and HUMID. In fact, I've had it, even though we've only had a couple of days over 90 degrees... it's a couple "too many".
Call me strange ~ but I'd much prefer this...

Let it *SNOW*
than this...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday... Featured Favorite Humanitarian #16

Harriet Tubman

Helped hundreds of slaves escape from slavery on her “Underground Railroad.” The railroad was a collection of safe homes for slaves to stay while they were making their journey to freedom. Tubman was known as “the Moses of her people”. She was a leader in the abolitionist movement, and during the Civil War she acted as a spy for federal forces.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Boys and their toys!

It costs all of maybe $3.50. A plastic wiffle ball and bat. My son and his friends have been into this game for as long as I can remember. Years ago they had tournaments that lasted all summer... it was their BIG summer event. There back at it again this summer - 20 year old boys - wearing out the lawns... still competitive and lovin' it like they were all still 12! Although 1 version of this game is "dizzy bat" where they cut off one end of the plastic bat, fill it with beer and... honestly, I lost the details after I heard that!
My son could not wait to tell me about yesterday's game... (still, the traditional version)
It is true that 20 year old men are still little boys with their toys...
Well, so are 50 year old men (I live with one)!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's amazing what can be done with just the click of a mouse!

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday (when time permits) is read the Style section in the "New York Times"... it's a treat for me, and when I accompany Phil on a fishing trip I'm usually good for reading every section in the paper ... I love the wedding announcements, especially the featured wedding - which is usually an interesting couple, how they met, etc. I've noticed more and more that couples are married by a Universal Life Minister. Yep, it's that easy. You too, can go online and become an ordained minister! Yessiree. Ordained. Online. For free. If you want to splurge, for $10.00 you can purchase a clergy identification card and an ordination certificate. For another $10, you have the choice of religious titles, including “Apostle of Humility,” “Dervish,” “Mother Superior,” and the intriguing “Universal Philosopher of Absolute Reality.” A Doctor of Divinity degree is $25 (”no test required”). And a Certificate of Sainthood (excellent gift item!) is $10. Do you remember the "Friends" show where Joey performed the wedding...he too was an ordained Universal Life Minister! So, if you or a loved one are having a hard time finding someone to officiate their wedding, don't forget that you too can have a Universal Life Minister... or with the click of a mouse, have a loved one become ordained overnight... it's that easy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

We lost a "good" one... but he won't be forgotten!

Allendale will miss "Gene"
I've reflected on this before... everyone who's passed is usually canonized, or put on a "high" pedestal ... of course it's how we like to remember them - "they were the greatest" I'm always amazed on how we automatically refer to the deceased in the "past" tense, it's never mistaken that we talk about them presently.
What am I getting at... reflecting on someone who recently passed in my home town. His name is "gentleman". Well, it could be - ironically, his name is Gene and the first time he introduced himself to me was when our children were very young and he heard me call my son's name "Gene" - he perked up and we automatically had something in common.
Gene gave selflessly at our church and in our community, and he gave from his heart. His eldest son gave a beautiful eulogy at his Funeral Mass - and reflected on the Gene I did not know as well. It made me respect him even more. As sad as it was to see his family and friends so empty with him gone, it was a celebration of his life - his proud Irish heritage, his love for his church and community and someone who made a difference in the world, his legacy won't be forgotten!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Julia and Julie"... to me personally, a true connect!

I enjoyed "Julia and Julie"... Meryl Streep is just amazing and if for no other reason, to see her performance is worth it. Before the food network was such a hit, there were very few chefs on TV - My first memory of Julia Child is, she was funny, loving, direct and made everything she cooked look so delicious and so easy! One of my husbands highlights when attending the C.I.A. was meeting Julia Child. She was a legend, she lived a wonderful life in a very loving relationship. The movie depicted Julia's life with her husband, her determination to "do something" in her life, which was her love affair with food. Amy Adams became obsessed over Julia and spent 1 year blogging about her and creating every recipe in Julia's famous "Art of French Cooking" book... I felt a bit of a dis-connect with the two of them never meeting. I love talking about food, recipes, people's menus, etc. it's the reason I'm working p/t at Williams Sonoma, I'm surrounded by true "foodies" (would someone please come up with a better term than "foodie")~
I "love" everything about food...the only thing I don't love is NOT being able to get away with eating as much of it...
PS... it's not recommended to go to this movie is you are hungry!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 15

Oskar Schlinder
A German Industrialist that originally sought out to be among some of the wealthiest businessmen at the time of the Holocaust. He operated his factory at will, with cheap labor. However, as time went by, he grew a conscious and with that he arranged with Amon Göth, the commandant of Plaszow, for several Jews to be transferred to an adjacent factory compound. The Jews would be relatively safe from the depredations of the German guards. Schindler also reportedly began to smuggle children out of the ghetto and sent them to stay with Christian nuns.
In 1967, Schindler was honored at Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial to the victims of the Holocaust as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, or “righteous Gentiles”, an honor awarded by Israel to non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust at great personal risk. Schindler was the only former member of the Nazi party to be so recognized by the planting of a tree in his name at the Yad Vashem Memorial.
In 1993 Steven Spielberg directed "Schlinder's List", it won 7 Academy Awards including, Best Director, Best Actor (Liam Neeson) and Best Picture!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

President Clinton, Thank You!

Former President Bill Clinton left North Korea early Wednesday accompanied by American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned the women from their 12-year prison sentences. Both women were arrested March 17 near the China-North Korea border. President Clinton and the two girls are heading back to California less than 24 hours after he arrived on a private, humanitarian trip to secure their release. Thank you President Clinton!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Jersey Fresh"!

Farmer's Market, Ridgewood, NJ

Living in the "Garden State" of New Jersey... where there are many wonderful farm stands... we are reminded just how wonderful our local produce is! Even chain supermarkets are able to get some local produce, and when you see the "Jersey Fresh" sign, you know it's from a local farmer! I worked at a farm in NJ, very close to my home and saw how hard farming is, how a drought or rainy season could easily wipe out a crop.
Just a few miles from my house is the Ridgewood Farmers Market, open every Sunday morning - you can smell the basil when you get out of your car!
Nothing compares to a tomato out of a Jersey garden in August!
If you live in NJ - please sponsor our local farmers and support "Jersey Fresh"!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday...Featured Favorite Humanitarian # 14

Princess Diana

The Princess of Wales was a well known supporter of all charity projects close to her heart.
As a princess, there was an expectation for her to involve herself with hospital organizations so that she could comfort the sick. Her interests surpassed her responsibilities when she concerned herself with certain illnesses and health-related matters. Diana was the first celebrity to actually touch a person with HIV. Her hope was to change the views or public opinions of the AIDS virus. Her royal blood and birthright did not overshadow her humanitarian acts of kindness.