Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Geese are Back

We have two ponds in the back of our house. They attract the usual deer, an occasional duck or two, we even have two cranes (I have fondly named Mitzi & Spooky) that hang out there; but it is rare that we see the typical Canadian geese that frequent other ponds in the area. I don't know why they don't like our waters. And I suppose, I should be happy they don't come around too often as I know they do make a mess.

But, today, I will enjoy the geese.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year/Gung Hey Fat Choy

Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth.

The hub does several trips to China each year and has lots of friends and colleagues there. He kept telling me that Sunday was Chinese New Year and, of course, I forgot until I ran across an article this morning.

I have been fascinated with Chinese culture since he began traveling there over 20 years ago. With a recorded history of over 3,600 years, how can you not be enthralled? How much more knowledge they must hold because of this. Herbal remedies, feng shui, calligraphy and acupuncture are only a few practices I would love to learn more about, not to mention the history. The hub keeps trying to get me to go with him; but I truly don't think I could STAND being on a plane for over 20 hours. I'm still waiting for that supersonic jet travel--smile. A couple of years ago, his sister and the teenager did travel all over Asia with him while he was doing business. They had a wonderful time. They all came back with such unforgettable memories. I was so glad to see the teenager witness first hand a culture so different than ours.

If I can ever get enough nerve (or drugs), I will, I will, I will visit China.In honor of the new year, I had found these flowers at my grocer's which I call "Chinese Lanterns." Aren't they different?

P.S. 2006 is the year of the dog--and year of the hub.

Chinese New Year Info

Happy Birthday Amy!

Amy and I have known each other for over 30 of our 40 something years. (Wow!) We met way back in elementary school. It just seems she has always been a part of my life. She dated my brother in Jr. High school; and since then, she always seemed more like a sister. We have always been able to talk about anything under the sun. It's nice to have a friend like that.

Unfortunately, since our move South, we don't stay in touch as much as we used to. I think of her often and wish we were closer so we could see each other more regularly. I miss our yearly Christmas get-togethers with our friend Kell (even if they were in March, April or May).

In thinking back on our long friendship, I can't help but remember all the fun times we have had together with a broad smile and a warm heart. I miss you Amy! Happy, happy birthday, dear friend!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Spring Break?

Ok, so today was cold. We've been so spoiled here this winter with very mild weather. But, the last couple of days....burrr. Every time it turns warm, I get major Spring Fever. I go out and buy plants for the house, start tidying up; you now the drill--nesting. And then the warm turns to cold and I just want to stay covered up all day--with spring break on the mind.

We made our plans for spring break on the Gulf over a month ago. For the past three weeks, the teenager has added not one, not two, but as of today, three friends to the list of "guests" coming down with us. The place is going to look like a frat house if this keeps up.

Yesterday, he proceeds to tell me that he and his friends are taking a "road trip" (this is a 16-year old talking here) to Destin to see a friend (girl) he met last year at the beach. Destin is about a three-hour drive from Orange. A new driver with three other teenagers in the car? Hmmmm, doesn't sound like a good plan to me. But he was in such a nasty mood....I didn't say a word, gotta choose your battles (when and where) at this age. OMG, we were at each other's throat's yesterday. As usual, if I said black, he said white. I let him drive to the store and he insists on "punching" it when he accelerates. I tried to tell him it's better not to do that....BIG mistake. He then is ready to take me on with anything that comes out of my mouth. As he's trying everything in the book to get my goat, he tells me he's getting a tattoo when he goes to Destin. AS if. He's already been told that if he wants a tattoo--when he's 18--he has to go with his Uncle Gerry in NY. That is the only way he's getting a tattoo. By the time we got home, I was livid, he was livid. In no mood to even deal with him. We go out to dinner and he proceeds to tell his father he's getting and tattoo--the response "Oh, what are you going to get???" OMG, again!! Helloooooo! Sometimes I wonder about both of them. Geesh. Of course, I have to jump in and say....."He's not getting a tattoo"......"But dad doesn't mind." OMG. As if raising a teenager isn't hard enough without having the hub join in on the teenage logic.

Today, after a good-night's sleep, I let both of them have it: One: Teenager--get an attitude adjustment, right NOW. Two: Hub--think before you speek to HIM, please!!

I was quite pleased tonight when the hub said there will be no road trip to Destin--and the miracle, he actually told this to the teenager. Applause.

Well, this all leads back to my longing for spring and the beach. I'm posting some pics from Orange and Bermuda from last summer. Doesn't it look glorious! Ok, I'm counting the days til March.......1-2-3-4-5-6...........

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Done and Gone

I've been crocheting like a mad woman this winter. Since these long, stringy scarves have come into vogue, I've just been cranking them out. When I first saw one in a store, I thought, "Gee, I could do that." My friend Kell would say, "Add it to the list!" Doubt we're the only ones who says that and does absolutely nothing about it. Well, this fall, when my sick friend was here, I thought it would be a nice way for us to relax. Every time I saw some neat, cheap yarn, I bought it and whipped out a scarf. They are so easy, believe me, and fast (or else it would just be listed on "I can do that!" sheet.

Anyway, this one is for the teenager's girlfriend. He had asked me to make one for her but could never remember to see what color she wanted. When I finally saw her and asked, she said blue/green. I'm not quite sure if that meant blue and green or more teal solid. When I found this scrumptious yarn (on sale to boot), I decided she meant blue AND green. -smile- Wrapped it and left it on the teenager's school bag to give to her today. Hope the girlfriend likes it!

Lavender for Sweet Perry

My friend and neighbor just lost her 18-year old kitty, Perry. I know how hard it is when you lose a pet. A friend once sent me a bouquet of lovely orange roses when I lost our cat Ozzy; he was an orange tabby. It touched me so that I thought I would carry on the tradition. But, have you ever tried to find a potted lavender plant in January?? I should have known better than to get my hopes set on such a perennial in the middle of winter! But, lavender it has to be.

When I lived in Virginia, we had a wonderful herber (can't find the right word--a person who grows herbs--grin) right in Arlington. Mr. DeBaggio had an abundance of potted herbs he sold right from his back yard. He was quite the writer also, and I enjoyed his seasonal newsletter that was so fascinating to read. I would go and get all my cooking herbs there; but I especially enjoyed their topiaries at Christmas time. They had a whole nursery chock full of rosemary and lavender topiaries that had been trained all summer. These made such wonderful gifts for dear friends every year.

After we moved to Leesburg, VA, it was a little more of a haul to visit Mr. DeBaggio's. I was thrilled when they bought a farm in Chantilly, VA, and set up shop there. Unfortunately, Mr. DeBaggio developed Alzheimer's, God bless him. His son took over shortly thereafter and expanded the "garden" with Mr. DeBaggio's still-keen eye. It was a joy to visit and just walk into the now huge nursery and take a big deep breath of the wet dirt and fresh herbs growing there.

Well, of course, we moved again, a little further away this time, to Nashville. So, on one of my trips back North, I purchased 7 of their French lavender plants and brought them home to plant. The younger DeBaggio wasn't sure if they would survive down here in Middle Tennessee. I was out to prove to him they would, of course. I had to have a little memory of my past in my new garden. I planted them all around a big cherry tree in the back. They had lots of sun and lots of drainage on a hill. Well folks, they are thriving! By summer, they are full of beautiful flowers. I don't know who enjoys them more, the bumble bees or me. I always have fresh lavender available whenever the mood hits. The plants have just flourished here, as you can see. (Yes, I do need to prune them as soon as early spring hits!)

Well, back to my quest for lavender, right NOW! Of course, I called White Flower Farm first. They have the best-quality plants via post. I was so proud of myself when they did indeed have a potted lavender. When I received my confirmation, it said that the plant won't actually be shipped out until March. Yikes. Well, that's fine and dandy for those of us looking for something to plant right away, but this was a gift that needed delivery ASAP. So, on to my source No. 2, Gardener's Eden. Ok, so WHEN did Gardener's Eden go out of business? Gee, was I sleeping or something? Perhaps I was so tied up with my sick friend last summer, I missed that whole out-of-business thing. Gee, what a loss. Now what? Google search, of course. Amazingly, Amazon had a place that could ship one out within a day or two. I am keeping my finger's crossed that it gets here by this weekend. I'll keep you posted on the quality. You just never know. I do hope this one works out and Miss E can get it out in her garden in memory of Perry this spring. What better way to remember a loved one than by planting in their honor. In the meantime, she will have a beautiful lavender plant to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cat Circles

Definitely not one of my cats' litter boxes!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Christmas, Again

Yea!!! Today I received my ring that my brother Jim had given me for Christmas. I had to send it back to the jeweler who had designed it at The Briars Antiques in Olney, MD, to have it sized. It is gorgeous!!!

My brother and his family visit us each Thanksgiving. They stay for the full week, and we fill every moment with as much fun stuff as we can. He and his wife really enjoy it down here. It's so much more laid back and friendly than the DC area. My brother says it's an actual "joy" to go shopping here, whether it be at the grocer's or the small shops all around us. We still try to avoid "the mall," but even that (when we have to run to Williams Sonoma), is an easy and quick in and out.

He and his wife are so much fun to have around. I love showing them the latest shops that have opened and visiting our favorite shops and antique stores. His wife is quite the connoisseur of vintage and antique jewelry. Her collection is magnificent. So, this year, when the local antique jeweler, Walton's, was having a show in Leiper's Fork, we all just had to go. The jewelry was beautiful. All of our eyes were on this gorgeous yellow diamond with side trillions. Of course, it was out of site, price wise.

I have always been drawn to trillions. When the hub-to-be and I went out to design my engagement ring, we were both into art deco. We found a great jewelry designer that put together a beautiful brilliant round diamond with trillions on the side--very vintage looking. (Trillions weren't very popular 20 years ago, so it was very unique at the time. Now you see more and more of them.) To this day, I love it more than any piece of jewelry I've ever seen or owned. Well, of course, I had to point out to my brother and his wife that my engagement ring was similar to the yellow diamond ring we all were drooling over.

When I received my Christmas presents, there were two jewelry boxes. We pick names--kinda. It's all rigged, so I don't know why we even say that any more! I get Jim, he gets me, been that way for years. Anyway, there was this beautiful ring. It has my birthstone, topaz (Imperial Topaz to be exact) with Siberian Siberlite trillions. They don't forget a thing, do they?

I am so proud of my new jewelry. (I will tell you about the second piece in a later post.) My new ring is so beautiful and unique. I absolutely LOVE it. Thank you Jim!

P.S. I got all the Christmas decorations down today! Yahoo.


Sunday, January 22, 2006


Lying in bed last night, I began to think about my posts; and it dawned on me that I am finally journaling. (duh)

When I first became pregnant with our first son (the teenager), I attended a lecture at GWU (or maybe it was AMU--I don't remember) on journaling. I went to perhaps motivate myself to stick through with a written project for once. This was a miraculous time in my life and I wanted to ensure that, at least, I remembered the details. What I soon learned though was a wonderful way to take note of one's life to pass on to future generations, not just for myself. They read excerpts from a journal that a woman had written as her family arrived in the Great Plains some time in the 1800s. I wasn't related to this woman, of course, but it was just as fascinating to me as if I were. She didn't have to be family in order for me to understand her writings and appreciate them.

Over the years, I have had my teenage "diary." That was probably my most complete--from the time I was 11/12 ending when I was about 16/17. (Hmm, I wonder what ever happened to that little book with the lock and key--as if that would ever keep my brothers out of it! Yea right!) I think from there, I began one when I started having palpitations over the cutie in my office (now the hub). That one was written in shorthand; I don't know why. Maybe in case our relationship never materialized, no one could tie me back to having a crush on him. Dunno. Next, I think was the one from my honeymoon that I swore I would continue through married life--never got past the first week in Europe.

As the years have progressed, I admit I've started several journals for different milestones...a pregnancy, a new house, a new garden, etc. But, of course, like many folks out there, I have yet to continue through with a finished journal. Yes, I've even done those "baby" books which contain everything from the first sonogram to present date photos of whatever may be going on. Present date? Ha. That's funny. I think I'm up to the teenager's first birthday and have yet to even start my 12 year old's (the kid). Let me add here that I come from a family of professional photographers, so I have enough pictures to fill in every page with almost every precious moment. (Well, at least everything the teenager did as a young boy. You know the story, once you have more than one, who has the time to keep up with such stuff!) The kid's won't be as chock full as the teenager's, oh well.

And so, with this blog, I am journaling, again. For myself, for my family. Perhaps once a year, if I last that long blogging, I will print it out and bind it. Sounds like a plan to me!

White Knuckle Time

I suppose it's an initiation for both parent and child when your first born receives their driving permit. The teenager has just finished his driving school and therefore will begin tootling around the area, with mom or dad in tow. My mom always said "You don't really begin to worry about your children until they start to drive." I suppose I will savor these last months of having him near and knowing where he is (most of the time). Come this summer, he will get his license and thus begins the worrying. sniffle sniffle

Saturday, January 21, 2006

By Request

Several have asked for my recipe for the infamous Furry Chicken Noodle Soup, so here goes. Soup is so easy that I really don't go by a recipe. You just kind of taste your way through and throw in what you have. This is what I had:

o small roaster chicken
o chicken breasts (I don't like dark meat)
o two containers of chicken stock
o celery
o onion (we like the *sweet onions)
o garlic
o carrots
o **bouquet garni (I have a mix, but you can make your own of course)
o noodles
o olive oil
o salt & pepper

Again, this is all to taste, so add what you like, how much you like!

Chop the onion how you like (we like it on the smaller side) and the garlic. Saute in olive oil in large stock pot until translucent. Rinse and add roaster and brown on both sides. Add two containers of the stock and about 4 cups of water. Chop carrots (I had baby ones, but if you have the big whole ones, add a couple chopped and the leaf too). I chopped off the end of the celery--about 4 inches with the leaf, and added whole (easier to remove later). Add your spices, I put about a tablespoon of the bouquet garni mix in. I cooked it for about three hours, but it's not necessary to cook that long.

Remove roaster and pour "broth" through colander into another pot. Remove leafy items and toss and return onions and any other goodies you like back to the broth. Again, since I am neurotic about dark meat.....brown chicken breasts lightly then add to the stock. (I use the roaster for chicken salad or pulled chicken sandwiches--the flavor is great!) I chop some more celery and carrots to add a little crunch, salt, pepper and spices you like and cook for another hour or so. Remove the breasts and chop or "pull" into pieces and replace them.

About 10 minutes before serving, add the noodles. That's it! Oh yea, cat fur is optional.

*Sweet onions: I remember, not that long ago, when a "vidalia" onion was just that. It was an onion that was grown in Vidalia, Georgia. My mom, coming from Georgia, knew about these long before "sweet" onions were found at the grocery. Each year, she would order, yes order, these straight from the South. I used to be so embarrassed as friends would ask why there were onions tied in panty hose lining our basement stairway wall. These days, you can get "sweet onions" anywhere. But, they're not the way I remember the good ol' Vidalias. Keep an eye out for them; and remember, get the flattest ones you can. They say these are the best. http://www.vidaliaonion.org/index.cfm

**Bouquet Garni: I am adding this only because my brother, Jim, (who should be a professional chef) turned me on to Penzey's spices years ago. Whenever we move, he buys me this HUGE box of Penzey's spices to welcome us to our new home. Over the years, I have had quite a selection. (You see, he IS making up for being so cruel to me as a child!) You HAVE to check the website out. You will never buy bottled spices from the grocery again! I swear. Enjoy. http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/shophome.html

It's Official

I suppose it's now official; I'm a blogger. I've passed my Blog address on to a few select (and I do mean select!) friends and family. I wouldn't want ALL of them knowing this much about my life! (Lord forbid!)

First of all, let me thank my friend and sister-in-law Ann for my new found addiction (good addiction, I think). Ann has a wonderful food blog she began writing a couple of years ago. When she started, I don't think I even knew what a blog was. I came home from New York and tried my hand since our trip (Super Bowl Sunday) was such a pleasure. Well, the bug didn't bite and I forgot all about blogs and blogging.

While we were in NY this last time, late at night, the teenager goes ravaging through the fridge of the grandparents for something to eat--you know, always hungry. Everyone was gathered around the TV and I was sitting at the table crocheting. My bad, because he comes up with a raw onion and proceeds to eat it. Yowza. I knew he liked onions, but not this much. Ew. I think most will agree, the smell of raw onions isn't high on the list of pleasant aromas. After a few bellowing blows my way, we began our usual "stop it.....waaaaaaaa....smack smack." Yes, my friends, my teenage son has picked up where my brothers left off. If there is a way to irritate me, he's going to do it. Of course, we broke up the calm of the house and Ann tells me that she has just put a post up about some onion rolls she had made. This post tells about how her father (grandpa) and brother (Uncle Tom) love to eat raw onions. Gee, I guess there's an onion gene out there.

Of course, when I got home, I had to look up Ann's blog and catch up on this onion tradition. YUM.

And so, this is how my blogging journey began.

Thanks Ann! We love you!!!

Since I don't know how to post links, this will have to suffice: www.grannyanny.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Shame Face

At least dogs acknowledge their bad deeds whereas cats do no wrong in their own eyes. Well, if last night was cats' night, today was the dog's day. As I mentioned earlier, today was abnormally warm (compared with yesterday's snow as being "rare in these parts). So, of course, the front door was slung open along with all the windows and such. Roo dog usually stays in the front yard, unless of course, no one is there to watch her (the lab that she is). Well, yes, you guessed it. Rootie was gone for over an hour. When she finally returned, it took about 10 minutes to get her to come into the house. She KNEW she was in trouble. She has avoided eye contact ever since. I have to crack up every time I look at her--to myself of course; I wouldn't want her to know I'm laughing. Hmmm, wonder who will get in trouble tomorrow. Aw, the joy of a full household!

Out with the Old.......

Well yes, it is January 19th (Happy Birthday Jacq!!), and I am now just beginning to take down the Christmas stuff, but.....I'm still enjoying some of it. (P.S. I did take the tree down before we left for NY--good job!) Since today was 70 something degrees, I guess the warmth motivated me to, at least, take down the lights outside and some of the obvious Christmas items inside the house. But, I am going to keep my new Holiday favorite, the vintage blue bulbs in my study. (A copule of months ago, I painted my study that new pale, pale blue--I call it volkswagon bug blue because I actually took a paint chip and matched it against a new VW bug--it's gorgeous!)

For some reason, I was in a vintage mood this Holiday Season. I found some 60s santas and a 60s reindeer to put with the 60s santas, even some little 60s elves. Gee, does that mean I'm getting to that nostalgic age of where things from your childhood are actually vintage? Eeeek. (Interesting note: "cheap" things from the 60s were made in Japan, while now, everything is made in China. Just an observation.) Dumb me forgot to take a picture of my three tier "vintage" table. I had those little Japanese-made mica houses--complete with snow--on one shelf, cute little felt children's figures (Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and the Three Little Pigs) on another and the vintage plastic santas on the top shelf. I'll have to remind myself to take a pic of it next year.

But, here is a pic of my Holiday smokers and nutcrakers being replaced with my orchids. Let's hope they enjoy this spot as much as they did last year. I actually got a new bloom for the first time in my orchid life. Not spring yet, by far, but here's to new growth! Cheers!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Chicken Noodle Soup for Supper

Since one of my New Year's resolutions was to cook a good dinner every night (except Friday, Saturday and Sunday), I decided today to make my chicken noodle soup. The hub has been down with a cold and my 12 year old loves soup. The teenager eats what he wants, when he wants anyway, so I hardly ever let him influence my suppers, grin. It began snowing (very rare for these parts) this afternoon, so it was a perfect way to be warm and cozy. Little did I know that everyone in the family, and everything in the family, would enjoy it so much. When I heard the shouting coming from the kitchen a minute ago, it didn't take long for me to realize that it was the end of my soup being for human consumption. Bev, the little piggy cat that she is, decided to stick her paw in the pot and remove whatever may come out, whether it be a noodle, a piece of chicken or veggie. The other cats waited on the floor while she dug for the goods. Oh well, guess CNS is good for the animals as well. Rootie the dog will enjoy her dinner tonight. (She's always the only one left out when the cats get together to sabotage some type of food, cooked or uncooked.) C'est la vie.

And, just to prove what a "Miss Piggy" Bev really is, here is an earlier photo of her IN the dog-food bin eating. We've since rigged the closet door with a rubber band so she can't open it and gorge herself!!

Happy Happy

My mom, who's 80 something, gets the biggest kicks out of the little things. Maybe the little things aren't so little to her. Today, after I stomped on the floor three times--she lives in her own downstairs apartment and this is our signal for her to come up cause we're going out to lunch--she comes up with a little dance singing "happy happy, I'm so happy." Too sweet. So, today, we're both happy happy.

Raining and chilly, but I still have the upstairs doors open to let the humidity in and a little fresh air. My toes are cold, but I guess it's time to get my shoes on and get out to run those errands anyway.

Remember, happy happy!

Monday, January 16, 2006


Here's a quick recipe for Hoppin' John. Since I really don't like black-eyed peas by themselves, it helps to jazz them up and serve over rice. It's not TOO late!!! Go and enjoy.

Considered a lucky meal for New Years Day, serve this Southern tradition with cornbread. (From Diana Rattray)


* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
* 1 bag frozen black-eyed peas
* 1 cup chopped cooked ham
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 3 cups hot cooked rice
* salt to taste
* sliced sweet onion, optional

In a large saucepan sauté chopped onion in bacon drippings until tender. Stir in black-eyed peas, ham, and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes; stir in hot cooked rice and salt. Serve Hoppin' John hot with sliced onion.

(I cook my black-eyed peas in a chicken stock like bean soup with added celery, a can of diced tomatoes, a ham hock and I add a little seasoned salt--rosa)


As the New Year began, I could feel in my heart and soul that this will be a better year. Isn't that what we tell ourselves each year? Well, not really. Last year I didn't--only because 2004 WAS a good year and I suppose I took for granted that it was. So, 2005 sucked. The hub began his "every-couple-of-years I hate my job mentality" which drives me absolutely crazy. I wait for the moment when he says (again), "Ok dear, we're packing up, selling the house and moving"-- you know that primal instinct men have to migrate to find a better watering hole, more fertile ground, whatever it is that they're looking for. So, over the years (20 to be exact), I've learned to ignore my fear of those infamous words being said and I stay positive through and through.

With the beginning of 2006, I did something that will absolutely ward off "Bad 2006." For the first time in my life, I made black-eyed peas. Well, let me tell you, coming from a mother born and raised in Georgia and a father born and raised in Texas, the Southern blood line runs deep in my veins. So, it goes without saying, but I will anyway, my mother always made black-eyed peas for New Year's. I can remember as a child, "honey, just eat one for good luck." The taste almost nauseated me, but I did, and it seems that luck has always been on my side. (My brother used to spit it under the table--his luck, not so good.) Well, to make a long story short, my mom moved in with us several years ago, let's see, Labor Day 2003. She's 82 years old. And with her age, she no longer cooks for us.......pout. So, last year, New Year's 2005, NO black-eyed peas. Thus, a BAD year.

The money was tight, which usually isn't that bad; but 2004 was, as I said, a very good year in more ways than one, but yes, monetarily. So, you feel the pinch coming off a good year. That doesn't bother me much, but it drives the hub absolutely NUTS. I grew up with my father owning his own businesses. Yes, it was feast or famine, that was completely natural for us. You learn to take both with stride. But watching all the natural disasters was tough. Having moved to Nashville in the summer of 2001 from DC, it was heartwrenching to watch from afar the destruction of 9/11. I grew up about a mile from the Pentagon; my hub's family all in the NYC area. I was guilt ridden for a long time not being there to help. It was really a strange feeling. I was truly missing my homebase. So when the hurricanes continued to pound the Gulf Coast, which we frequent each summer, I knew I had to help this time. I volunteered at the local shelter that opened up and housed over 100 evacuees. I felt good. I was giving back and making a difference. Good for me, but still very bad for all the people who had to endure the wrath of those hurricanes.

Well, as far as my bleeding heart goes, I suppose you can say it's a bleeding heart to a fault. Let me explain. Mid-way through the year, I opened my house to a childhood friend with Bipolar Disorder. She lived with us for over 2 months with her adult son. No episodes. I felt I was helping her escape her horrible home life. We took her on vacation to the Gulf with us. No episodes. It was as if we were sisters. We had known each other since we were two. So, when she became manic, I continued my support. I was helping her with her medication, taking her to her new found doctors, keeping her calm with our quite boring family life here in "little Nashvul." She was doing ok, until one night she flipped and pulled a hunting knife on me and my son which ended in me having to call 911. True friend (idiot) that I am, I didn't tell where she was, who she was and I didn't want to press charges. Since she has yet to fess up to her doing any wrong doing, I still fear that one day she may return. Perhaps it's time to get that alarm system in tip-top shape, eh? Anyway, 2005--BAD.

I will continue in 2006 to be a bleeding heart, I guess. (Could that be the primal instinct for women?)

Saturday, January 14, 2006


I love NYC when it's cold and blustery. To suddenly receive that ray of sunshine through the tips of the buildings after walking blocks with the wind against you gives you a burst of warmth you don't appreciate anywhere else. As the winds whirl around you and you shove your way through the crowds, that sudden gleam on your face can almost always warrant a smile--that is, unless you live there. But, as a "tourist" or as I like to be called, a visitor, it's the little things in New York that you don't take for granted. You're not in such a rush to not enjoy the steam bellowing from the subway vents, or the nasty stench of chestnuts roasting on an unopen fire. You have the time to take in the beautiful, smoke stained carvings on some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. You truly appreciate the store windows at SAKS or Bergdorfs, even Tiffany's--which a lot of us don't have in our home towns. The next time you're in NYC, slow down, smell the stench of the city....look at the detailed architecture, wonder where that guy bustling through like a steam engine is going. Let your senses come alive and enjoy the life there. What a life it is. But, especially enjoy that fleeting moment of sun on your face before it's taken away by the next highrise.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Well, I kinda gave up on blogging when NO ONE read my blog. Isn't that the point? But, low and behold, a sole, kind stranger ran against mine and actually read it and left me a note. And it looks like he left a note in every one elses blog too. Too funn; but it did get me interested again. This is how it works, eh? Thanks anyway Juicy Fruit for pulling me back in. I think this 2006 will be a wonderful year! Yea!

The family and I just returned from our annual trip up North. Yes, the same one where we traveled LAST year (unbelievable) on Super Bowl Sunday.

The kids were off school the week after New Year's for the first time in many, so we were actually able to be in New York for Ukrainian Christmas (Jan. 7). Since my oldest son, 16, usually gets to take a friend with us, the hub and I decided the 12 year old may enjoy some company this time. He decided on his next-door neighbor friend who is 11. He's an aspiring actor; so we thought this would be a great adventure for him. We added a short stay in the city--gotta love NYC after Christmas, if you can't make it before.....take advantage of all the sales!!

We left on Tuesday, and since the tickets were free because the hub travels the world so much, we had to connect through Cincinnati. No biggy. We ate a leisurely lunch and headed to our gate about an hour before departure. DELAYED two hours!! Major yuk. I happened to glance over across the hall to see the earlier flight to Newark, destined to leave when we first arrived, was still there and boarding. Leaping across the hall, I ran up to the desk and asked if there were five seats available. Our lucky day. How's that for a New Year's beginning! Although, we all were scrambled across the jet in different seats, we arrived in Newark just at sunset. The hub and teenager decided to stay back to grab the luggage that was coming in a couple of hours, so the kids and I jumped in a taxi and headed East to the Big Apple. What a joy it is to watch a newby in New York arriving for the first time. The city looks kinda small from across the Hudson, but once you ascend from a tunnel (or descend from a bridge) and enter the little world within itself, you can see the real size and power of all the buildings and people. Of course, the Empire State Building being the most beautiful, it is one of the first ones you see. And, it still had the red and green lights at the top lit for Christmas. I knew it was going to be a wonderful trip for all.

We were staying at the Essex House at Central Park South. It has good location and is an absolutely gorgeous old deco hotel. We had stayed there before, but this time we upgraded to a St. Regis suite which gave us more room for three kids. When you enter the hotel, you feel transformed. It's just that lovely. There are bellhops at every turn to help with any need. No real need to hit the concierge. Our room was on the 38th floor. 
We faced the city with a view of Central Park the right. In front of us was the CNN building and the new Time/Warner towers were straight in front of us. Needless to say, the view was great and the kids felt they had been lifted up to the clouds.

The hub called a short time later to say that our "original" flight had been cancelled and they were headed in to the city. Our luggage would be delivered to the hotel when it arrived. Joy. Who needs to freshen up after traveling all day? Oh well. I've learned over the years to let these things go. They are out of your control; and hey, we made it. No worries.

My teenage son's girlfriend and her family were in the city, amazingly enough; so we had made plans to have dinner with them. We had frequented the kid-famous "Jekyll and Hyde Club" several times and thought everyone would get a kick out of it. It's one of those NYC "theme" restaurants. It's in an old building, dressed up in all the hauntings you can take. A lot of fun for the kids and grownups alike. It took forever to get a table, guess since there were 8 of us. Had to wait on little Inez's birthday party to end........c'mon kid, hurry it up! After waiting for an hour, I guess, we finally were seated. Let me just add, you really don't go to J&H Club for the food. So, we all chose our basic burgers and salads. The kids are able to "purchase" one of those really tall (like two feet!) glasses that they can take home with them. So, of course, they did. After sitting and talking for a bit, my 12 year old lets out a shriek and pushes his glass away. "There's a ROACH in my glass." Well, were WERE in a haunted house type deal, sooooo I thought maybe it wasn't real. Unfortunately, it was. Major YUK. "How to put a damper on Dinner in one word--ROACH!" Geesh. The waiter was very non-chalant about it. "You are in NY," he said. Lovely. That's the way to play up your city! haha. The company was nice, and we went on to have a nice time, but I doubt I will ever frequent that place again. Ew.

We walked back to the hotel and said our goodnites to the girlfriend. Since we didn't have any p.j.s to sleep in, I had to run around the corner to get a couple of men's Tshirts at Duane Reeds, the local pharmacy in New York. How fun is it to walk around the city late at night and see everyone up and about? Lots! I love it. And how much MORE fun is it to stop off at the local whiskey joint (Whiskey Park) to have a couple of nightcaps before heading off to bed? Most excellent!! Awww, to be in the city again. Sigh. (P.S. I found a bottle of musk oil straight from the 70s! I hadn't seen this type of musk since early 1980. My mom is a die-hard musk wearer, so I was tickled pink when I came upon that at Duane's. Only in NY!)

It was also a joy to enter the Essex House and be greeted by the doorman, the bellman, the elevator man......and so on. Felt like Greta Garbo in her heyday. (Hey, we can all fantasize, right?!!)

The room windows open in the Essex House (most NYC windows don't), so it was nice to fall asleep to the cool air and sounds of the hustle and bustle of a city alive. We all had no problems falling asleep. Gotta love life.



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