Monday, November 30, 2009

Sweet Caroline!

June, 1987 ~ Caroline on my wedding day!
I came home to a package... from my Godchild (cousin), Caroline. What a nice surprise...  Caroline was my flower girl, she was 5 and just precious - I was so proud and happy to have her in our wedding. Now...some 20+ years later, it's funny how the "tables have turned" to receive such a thoughtful gift... it's not the first I've received from her.

I have a "red" reputation in the family...and it still holds true, I love red, I love December, I love Christmas! So, I opened up my first gift... a beautiful red shawl/scarf - I can't wait to wear it! Thank you, Sweet Caroline!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank you "Eddie Bauer"!

Of course I could be TOTALLY wrong... but I "want" to believe I may have had "something" to do with this...
I've reflected on this before... my "pet peeve" with Eddie Bauer was advertising free shipping, then sneaking in a "handling" charge, and they taxed the handling charge, even on items in NJ (no sales tax on clothes in NJ)... I had many back and forth emails from them, Eddie Bauer said it was a NJ law to charge tax on "shipping"... I relentlsessly showed every other retailer that when advertising free shipping they do not charge for handling and NO one charges any form of tax...
Today I saw this email...
NO Shipping Charge, No Handling Charge and
No Tax!

Time to order the vest that has had my my name on it all season!

And, Thank you Eddie Bauer!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Meet the Sparkles Cheerleaders!

The tears were running down my face. Last night I caught Oprah at 1:00 AM (waiting for my son to come home, yes, I still wait up)... She featured "hero's" my favorite segment -  "The Pleasant Valley Sparkles Cheerleaders".  High School Cheerleaders, who have embraced special need students... it all started with one of the girls when she started cheering on the Special Olympics. 
So inspiring, so sincere!  Take a look...........

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turnips... don't knock them if you haven't tried them!

You either love them or hate them. Growing up, I was in the "hate" them category... but it's just NOT Thanksgiving without them. Now, I absolutely love them, and will cook them throughout the fall and winter.  They're of Swedish origin, common in The British Isles... frequently (usually) referred to as "yellow turnip" or just "turnips".  Since commonly confused with "white turnips", the correct name is "rutabaga". They are hard to cut, but so easy to cook... just like boiled potatoes, cut up, peal and boil. I follow my mother's way, and her mother's way... put in 1 or 2 potatoes in with the cut up turnips while cooking.  My grandmother, who bought her fresh vegetables daily, always bought 2, one time she bought 1 and it was rotten or stringy inside... this way she had a back up. Grandma Cravin was NOT one to waste food and from modest means... but every time I pick one out to purchase, I always think of her... and I never buy just one!

Try them, a little bitter, but a distinguished flavor... delicious!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't Mess with the Turkey!

The most traditional meal (to me) is Thanksgiving - we have our favorites for other holidays...but don't mess with Thanksgiving Dinner. It's not the time to try a "Southwestern Turkey"... not in my house anyway - and from talking and listening to's the same in most families! Frequently everyone likes to make their traditional food the same way someone made it in their home growing up. I always woke up to smelling onions and celery cooking on the stove in herbs... it is my earliest memory, my mom always stuffed the we always stuff the turkey too (and we never take the internal temperature to be sure it's hot enough and killed potential bacteria...and NONE of us have ever been sick)... I "love" to hear people's traditions... I'm always fascinated how Italians have pasta first... I love pasta, but never on Thanksgiving. I think my favorite reason I love Thanksgiving is "no gifts"... it's all centered around a meal, always at the same table (never a kid table on Thanksgiving) ... and everyone celebrates... you just wonderful to say "Happy Thanksgiving" and NOT Have a nice Holiday... (that bugs me)...

Pecan Pie... My FAVORITE!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh No...No More Oprah???

Who can forget this famous show in 1988? 
OH NO...

No more Oprah... She is brilliant and knows after 25 years to leave while "on top"
I don't think this is the LAST of her, this mega woman will not be going away.
I don't watch her show much can I? Some sleepless nights I've found myself tuning in at 1:00 AM...
So...we know she will be on live until September, 2011 - it's not EVEN 2010 and we will hear about the count down I'm sure. I still remember Johhny Carson's last show with Bette Midler on it... who do you think will be Oprah's last guest?
Do you remember this:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet the Schneiders!!!

Introducing the "latest and greatest" in the Schneider Family... Josh and Kyllie 4 months old with proud parents Nilcee and Gary! I've known Gary since 1982? we spent the summer together in New Hampshire both doing summer stock theatre... 8 full blown plays/musicals in 10 weeks. It was wonderful, full cast of characters! I was the stage manager for the company, Gary was a performer. I liked him right away, he was a character and I gravitated to his humor and honesty! We've become close friends and I remember him visiting me when my son was an infant, this single guy drove out from Long Island to visit! Gary and Nilcee just had their first children, twins born July 15th. I finally got to meet them, I'm the proud Aunt! Our children are 21 years apart in age... they have a lifetime of beautiful memories to share with their "instant" family. This was a blessing for them and how wonderful it was to be smothered with 2 beautiful babies!
Thanks Mariann and Rob for hosting us...such a "happy" occasion!

Mariann, Susan, Nilcee with Josh and Kyllie!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Ellen!

"Downey Girls"

Celebrating Ellen's 45th Birthday!

"The Hylas Family" at Katie's Middlebury Graduation, 2009

Happy Birthday to my "older" sister! Ellen has spent the week making dinners and cakes celebrating her husband's and daughter's birthday...then comes hers (like they need ANOTHER cake in the house)! But she deserves it, the biggest and best cake!  Not only do we live in the same town, we work at the same University together, but our lives usually cross the most in the town A&P!  Ellen's been a great sister, pillar of support, she shows unconditional love for her family and deserves a GREAT day! Happy Birthday Ellen! I love you!

State of Mind!

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I hope it's contagious!

Mom at 80 doing the Irish Jig at a Bar with my sister, Sheila. 

My mother, the eternal optimist...
these are the kinds of emails we LOVE to get!
"Hi Girls, Good news for me. Dr. said I might make 100. I am in good shape and have nothing serious to worry about.

Love, Mom"

Then...a few minutes later, this arrived from one of my nieces...

"The Cardiologist told Grandma she will probably live to be 100 this morning.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

I LOVE these...

I'm trying to convince myself I "deserve" these... I see my name on them!  For all those "bargains" at TJ Maxx - when I see something like these I justify it's OK to pay full price... Filled out the form, finding it difficult to hit "submit"... (I do this a lot, my for of cyber window shopping) Ya like???

Friday, November 13, 2009

"For Every Child, A Better World"...

"For Every Child, A Better World" One of those favorite children's books that has stayed with me, and I'm upset because I'm sure I gave it away. Gene would ask me to read him this story over and over, he was NOT one of those children that LOVED books, so I gravitated to any favorite! It always led to discussions with us, what was "age appropriate" at that time. It is inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the book tells the reader, through the voice of Kermit the Frog, about the rights of children everywhere. These include the right to food, clean water, clean air to breath, a home, education and the right to grow up in a healthy and peaceful environment. I understand it's out of print, but used copies are still available, I'm about to purchase it. Our first one was a gift, I must remember to tell Allison and see if she remembers it, I'm sure she does! Every Christmas Eve we give Gene 1 gift and 1 book (the rest come in the morning) - I think this is this years choice... I'm sure he'll remember it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So Encouraged by Today's Class!

I'm just home from a class I teach to high school Junior and Seniors "College Prep and Interviewing Skills". It's usually attended by students who are there because their parents make them attend... only once did I have a student who researched it and actually paid for it herself! Many students have had their parents spend mega bucks on SAT review classes, private tutoring, etc. From working with college students for years, I started to see a trend ~ many fall short on "soft skills" - how to conduct themselves in an interview, basic manners, etc. Tonight I had a student who had (I'm assuming) Tourette Syndrome, or just a very noticeable "tic". His name is Mike. It was very distracting, I assume he is brilliant (perfect math SAT score), but falls short on people skills and confidence. What impressed me was the genuine compassion from the other students in the class. They were patient and thoughtful and when we do some role playing there was no sense that anyone did not want to be his partner. I was so impressed and grateful with their reactions and how he was accepted, even appropriately complementing him. Mike felt comfortable and tried so hard to control his tic, but he knew he was accepted and at the end of the class he made it a point to thank them and not making him feel "different". Without going into too much detail, I left with such a feeling of hope and reward, I thought when the class started I'd be leaving with a "heavy heart". It just goes to show that students at 16 and 17 have the mind set to be so caring and thoughtful. They all walked out together, a couple even waited for Mike so he was included. None of these students had ever met each other before tonight. I'll see them again next week, I think I actually got more out of tonight's class then they did... so very encouraging. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"West Side Story"... time to see it Again!


West Side Story,  I've seen this musical live on Broadway, in Summer Stock Theatre, Regional Theatre, Community Theatre, College and High School Theatre. I know every lyric to every song, I never tire of it. It was produced on Broadway the year I was born, 1957 - truly a musical that changed the way we think about how dance can tell a story. West Side Story is an American musical, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leornard Bernstein and lyrics by my favorite genius, Stephen Sondheim and the original was choreographed by Jerome Robbins... the plot is based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It's reopening was last sprint at the Palace Theatre... even with it's "mixed reviews" I'm going to see it for the umpteenth time!

Random Thoughts for the Day...

  • I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer's history if you die.
  • There is great need for a sarcasm font.
  • How are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  • Was learning cursive really necessary?
  • Map Quest needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood
  • Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died or they were really a jerk while living!
  • Bad decisions make good stories
  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day
  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to the ten-page paper that I swear I did not make any changes to
  • "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever
  • I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

 This was sent to me this morning...I liked it because I had not read these before!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My niece Maggie...and "our" Crew Club!

This is Maggie, my adorable (5'11") almost 17 year old niece. Maggie has been rowing on a crew team (the same club I joined this summer) for over a year, she is a "natural" at it... height is VERY helpful when rowing, so is consistent practice (and youth)!   We never got to go out in a double this year together, but we are determined to come spring when I'm back to the boat and rowing again! I can't wait. Maggie is a Junior in high school and is considering rowing in college, any team would be very happy to have her. Besides being a natural in a skull, she is a great girl and great company! Her pictures are inspiring to me. I "should" be rowing on simulators, rowing machines called ergometers - "ergs".
"SHOULD BE" - there is something about being indoors and exercising that I really dislike... I'm NOT joining ANY more gyms... and then not continue with them!  I love winter, but these pictures are very inspiring to me and I can't wait to be back in the water, I miss it!  Keep up the great work Maggie! 

Maggie in the bow in a double

Maggie is first in the bow of the boat in a quad

Friday, November 6, 2009

Early Black Friday Sales...November 7th???

Black Friday... They could be GIVING it away, you'll NEVER EVER see me shopping on that day! But, that's NOT what has me so perplexed... today is November 6th.. the Christmas Ads are already haunting me... I'm NOT ready. But... have you noticed some "early" Black Friday Ads?
Oh. Come On.

Early Kmart Black Friday Deals Are On Sale Today

Walmart Black Friday deals
tomorrow November 7 at 8AM

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Great Series...Great Lesson...Great Memories!

It was a GREAT night for the NY Yankees!  I remember it like yesterday when Phil took Gene into the city to the parade, the following year his Grandpa took him in... he missed a day of school and he still talks about it today! 
What was very moving to me was hearing the news this morning that both Joe Girardi and Andy Petitte had been stopped at a standard drunken-driving enforcement checkpoint, and "of course"  passed!  After both were congratulated on their wins, Joe Girardi stopped to assist at an accident on the Cross County Parkway in Eastchester, it was the same officer that he was just tested for drunken-driving, but this time he was seen trying to flag down assistance and help at the scene of the accident! 
I have a lot of respect for the Phillies, I heard Charlie Manuel, their manager who was very humble and polite when reflecting on the series.  "I think we'll be back but they were better than us this series. They outplayed us".  He had better sportsmanship than many parents I've seen at little league games! 
Tomorrow the Yankees will be honored in their parade...well deserved and now that my son is 21, and no classes on Friday, I'd not be surprised if he'll be going in to it again... this time with his friends, but great early memories with his father and grandfather! 

Yankees Parade, NYC - 2000! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

He're's Hoping...

He're hoping tonight's Yankee Game
goes better than last night's election results! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vote Today!

I'm restraining myself from talking's a VERY difficult and disappointing race in NJ and I know better than to discuss politics at work (it's SO hard)... I seriously considered going with my heart and voting differently.  I watched some of the debates... and like most, just SO DISGUSTED with the political ads on TV.... and canned phone calls to the house!  But, when push comes to shove...I have to vote with my gut (different than my heart this year)....I'm not endorsing any candidate, no signs on my lawn...and strictly voting to avoid someone I really DON'T want in Trenton... But I'm not writing about it, so it's OK! 

Monday, November 2, 2009

I like when we "Fall Back"...

I'm ALWAYS the minority when we change the clocks to daylight saving time... why?... I actually prefer it, I always have, I have memories as a kid and liking it! I think I have a false sense that "everyone is home", surely not the case - but it's a good reason to light candles, start dinner earlier and get more accomplished in the house! I'm ready for the long days in the summer and enjoy all seasons...but there is something about the early dark evenings and preparing for the winter solstice that I look forward to! I clearly don't suffer from S.A.D (Season Affective Disorder)... Plus... it's easier to get up when it's not so dark!

Everyone has their own ideas of why we change the clocks... listen to people - you'll hear them all. If you're truly that interested - purchase "Seize the Daylight" .. a few snippets I learned from this book...

The goal of daylight saving time—to use daylight to its maximum advantage—is generally recognized to be of universal benefit. But few people understand how surprisingly controversial this deceptively simple idea has been. SEIZE THE DAYLIGHT chronicles the long-standing debates: Proponents have proclaimed DST's benefits, including saving energy, reducing automobile accidents, providing more daylight for outdoor activities, cutting crime, and many others. But DST also has had many detractors—from farmers to parents of schoolchildren—who have waged contentious battles against it.
In addition to energy, accidents, and crime, daylight saving time affects a very wide variety of other, often unexpected areas, from Mid-East terrorism to the attendance at London music halls, voter turnout to gardening, street crime to the profits of radio stations. SEIZE THE DAYLIGHT relates all of these extraordinary tales as well—and a great deal more.
For additional information visit:

The Rugby House!

These 5 guys live together. Can you imagine them all walking into the house for a shower after a game "mud bath" ... down a guy from a recent injury. I walked into the house once...let's just say they have different standards! Yesterday was the last season game, unfortunately a loss to Marist, but these guys really practice hard, play hard and party hard. I understand that's a standard for rugby.... They'll be working out all winter and back in the spring! 

Can you even imagine?

It's times like these he LOVES to give us a big hug!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Watch Your Mouth, Please!

Lord knows I'm not a prude. But...if there is one phrase that I find so offensive it's when people say "You Suck", or "It Sucks"...
It startles me, I know there are many more offensive curse words, sayings, finger gestures, etc. - maybe I hear them more frequently, but I find (especially when coming from an adult) it to be shocking, ignorant and very disappointing. I've seen a lot of hate toward the Yankees and as much as I'm a Yankee fan, I really enjoy the rivalry and don't take it all that seriously... I don't know how anyone can wear a shirt that say's "Anyone Sucks"...
I hate to even type it! I've had people say Go "F" yourself, it just doesn't bother me as much... one of those things I just can't explain...

Celebrating "All Saints"

All Saints Day is when the Church commemorates all saints, known and unknown. The eve of All Saints is known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween. All Saints Day is November 1.