Saturday, December 25, 2010

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Wishing all our friends and family the Merriest of Holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve in Sarajevo - Alex's Recital 12/22/10

Wishing all my friends a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year (and Belated Hannukah Greetings)!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


This week I became a grandmother thanks to an Eighth-Grade school project. My eldest son is a parent for a week to a hard-boiled "baby" name Rex, who resides in a custom-made crib that befittingly resembles a T-Rex.

The assignment of carrying around an egg-baby for a week is designed to teach middle-schoolers that parenthood is not all it's cracked-up to be. (Pun intended!). The ultimate purpose is to get the kids thinking about the consequences of S-E-X...

I am not sure how carrying around an Egg drives home this point. If anything it will help make the kids more careful in helping bring in the groceries from the car. I also might look at hard-boiled eggs in a new light.

Will eating Deviled-Eggs make Grannie a cannibal?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Last Piece of Pizza

My brother Ken will turn 50 in a few days. I was asked to share a favorite memory. Most of my memories involve either some sort of skirmish, someone getting in trouble or something wildly inappropriate. Or likely all of the aforementioned as with the first one that popped into my head.

The Last Piece of Pizza

One of our favorite takeout meals growing up was pizza. Back in the day, we mostly ate home-cooked meals. When we were lucky enough to have pizza for dinner, the kids in our family ate quickly, consuming as much pie as possible to make sure we got our fair share.

On one of these occasions, there was one piece left. Ken and I both dove for it. I was a few seconds quicker.

I had just put the last piece of pizza on my dinner plate when my brother grabbed for it. He tried to wrestle the dish from me, twisting the fingers on my left hand. The object of desire fell to the floor. At this point, I let go of the plate to tend to my aching hand.

As I walked away, my brother took the dish ( Corelle, oven-safe, heavy-duty) and flung it like a Frisbee. The plate bounced off my arm and landed on the kitchen counter completely unscathed.

Unlike my arm that was left with a diagonal-line bruise. And one of the fingers on the wrenched hand suffered a fractured joint. The knuckle never quite healed properly leaving me a souvenir from the event.

And a charming story to share!

Happy Birthday Ken!


This week my hubby turned the big 5-0. The boys and I took him out for a fancy birthday dinner. A package was waiting for us on our doorstep upon our return. It was a gift from my hubby's brother.

The boys watched with rabid anticipation as he carefully opened the box. As the contents were removed from the packing, all three sons could no longer contain their excitement. Amidst the tears of joy and howling cheers, stood my bewildered husband.

This is the parent who forbids gaming systems from entering our humble abode. Two years ago, my sister was forced to take back a Wii that she bought the boys for Christmas. "The technology makes the games too realistic, therefore highly addictive", was the reasoning.

The boys were never told. Until now.

The X-Box 360 Kinect sits unopened like a prisoner on Death Row.

Will the gift be returned? Or will it be re-engineered as a controller for Daddy's computer?

Or as my boys are hoping, that against all odds, that the Birthday Present will be used as it was intended and shared with the family?

Only time will tell.....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless WEdnesday - Last Garden Salad of the Year

Last salad of the year with fresh greens & tomatoes from the garden

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Boo Who?

We've Been Boo'd

Early this week, our doorbell rang and when my hubby answered it, no one was there. Where a visitor should have been standing, sat a vinyl Halloween bag that contained a jar of foil-wrapped Halloween-themed chocolates and a note/poem. There was a 2nd page to put on our door so no one else would "Boo" us.

This has been a neighborhood tradition for the past several years. I have no idea who started this but it looks like one of our neighbors got this idea from

The next night we had fun "Boo"ing two of our neighbors. What a cool twist to the old prank of Ding-Dong-Ditch!

Boo Hoo.....

When school started in September, I took the boys shopping to fill any wardrobe deficiencies such as pants, shirts and shoes. I repeatedly asked about dress shirts and pants but was told by my two eldest boys that they were fine.

Thursday, my eldest set a new record for finding out about a wardrobe deficiency, 10 minutes before we were to leave for a cross-country banquet.

Devon's shirt sleeves stopped 2 inches short of his wrists. He insisted that 3/4 sleeves are not an option and I didn't think his clip-on tie would work with a short-sleeve polo tee. I rummaged through my husband's shirts on the off-chance that he might have a shirt that shrunk and might fit my growing teen. No luck!

Then I remembered that my denim blue shirt is a men's size small from Old Navy. After convincing my son that this was really a man's shirt, I quickly ironed it and helped him cuff the sleeves. He tucked in his shirt and clipped on his tie.

Not bad!

I waited until we were in the car to tell my eldest that this is the shirt I wear for gardening!

My middle-son waited until after the party to let me know he needs new dress shoes.

I have resigned myself to the fact I am losing the battle to keep up with the Growth Spurts!

Scary Smart

Last weekend I noticed my youngest son diligently writing in a notebook.

"What are you working on?" I inquired

"A contract" he replied

I wasn't sure I heard him right. "A contract?"

In a few days Alex was to get braces. He had struck a deal with Colin. Alex agreed to give his baby brother all the candy he was not allowed to eat. Colin decided he better get this agreement in writing on the off-chance his brother forgot his promise.

Perhaps Colin should dress like a Lawyer for Beggars night!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homework Blues

My 5th Grader enjoying a frozen treat as a reward

After this past weekend, I am once again reminded why some parents will do a child's project as opposed to letting their child do their own work.

It is much easier!

As opposed to coaching, cajoling and policing all weekend.... which is what we had to do. Teachers may give three weeks for students to work on an assignment but the kids like to compress this into three days.

As promised, as a reward for working hard and completing this project, I took Colin out for ice cream. We (Colin, hubby & myself) have another presentation to have completed within the next few days. Thankfully Colin has a good chunk done.

I am reminded of my college days, group projects and why my pants are getting tighter. I guess seeing your child succeed is enough of a reward. Next time Hubby can partake in the after-project treat!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Bike Ride

An Unexpected Festival

This afternoon I spent an hour or two starting to clear my flower beds and garden of dead plants and other plant debri. Afterwards I talked two of my boys into taking a bike ride to get some Rita's Italian Ice. I thought this would be a great idea to get some exercise before I showered and did some laundry.

I should have known that when I was looking all grungy and sweaty, sans makeup, I would run into several people I know.....

Turns out the last part of our route that takes us through the local High School parking lot, was the staging grounds for a festival/fundraiser for our local Historical Society.

Devon & Colin stumbled upon the bargain of the day:
Yu-Gi-O Cards - 3 for 25 cents

We parked too close to one of the booths.
I had several offers on our bikes.

Turns out Rita's had a booth at the fair,
which saved us the extra block or two ride.
Colin bought the Swedish Fish-flavored ice;
hence the bright red smile!

Home at last!
Looking & smelling ever so lovely.

Friday, September 17, 2010

RFA : How to Deal With a SmartyPants?

In the business world, RFP is well known as a Request For Proposal. My plea in the blogosphere for a RFA is a Request For Advice. This one goes out to the parents who have made it through the teenage years.

My eldest son, who is a bit of a smart mouth, is also a bit of a night owl. He will stay up late on a school night reading or finishing up homework. He often will stay up until after 11:00 p.m. Repeated warnings about being past his bedtime are met with a smirk. ( I'm not sure he has a set bedtime).

He has mornings down to a science. He gets up at the last moment possible, allowing 45 minutes to get up, dressed, eat breakfast and walk to school. After school there is cross-country practice every afternoon followed by swimming 3 of these nights. Which leaves little spare time for frivolities.

Last night when I took my youngest son to the library to get some books for a project, my eldest came along to pick up some books as well. After the boys checked out their respective stack of books, I noticed one of the books that I am not fond of. Naruto. (a anime comic book)

The issue:
After dinner, during what was supposed to be homework time, I discovered my middle-schoolers hunched over their Naruto books. They scattered like cockroaches when I asked if all their homework was done.

I expressed concern about said reading and mentioned a possible ban on these books. I also stated that homework needs to be done before reading comics. As I was scolding the boys, my 13 year old spoke out.

"That's really MY business" he proclaimed.

"Excuse me?!!!" I shot back, in disbelief at his insolence.

"If I don't finish my homework, I will suffer the consequences. It's MY responsibilty." was the retort.

I took a step back, speechless. In a way he is right. And he is an Honor Roll Student. So far.

The question for parents who have been through this:

How do you respond? What would you do?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Farewell to Summer Vacation

Flying the Friendly Skies

On Labor Day Weekend I took my middle son for a trip to Connecticut to see my Uncle Marvin. He will be 90 this December and this was the last weekend I could safely take a trip before I get busy at work. The last time I went for a visit, I took my eldest boy. I love the quality one-on-one time with my kids. It is also less stressful for all with only one child in tow.

Alex took this shot of the clouds outside his window
at 6:45 in the morning

Alex taking a bite of what he swears to be
the best pizza he has ever had!

We had a brief layover and plane change in Philly with enough time to grab breakfast. I had a croissant and Alex opted for a slice of pizza at 8:30 a.m. as he already had breakfast at home at 5:00 a.m.

Afternoon Visit

We landed in White Plains which has to be the smallest commercial airport I have ever been in.
I rented a car and drove through winding roads dotted with nice estate homes till we reached the highway to Norwalk, Ct. We were able to get checked into our hotel, freshen-up and make it to my Uncle's place in time for lunch.

We had a nice visit. There were several pianos in his complex and my uncle coaxed Alex into giving a few "concerts". I promised Alex as long as he would play piano "on demand", he could have pizza for every meal. He agreed but decided that Dunkin Donuts would be his choice for breakfast.
Taking Marv for a spin around his compound

As promised, pizza for dinner at Italia in Norwalk;
I opted for the Eggplant Rollatini

New York, New York
Saturday morning, after we had breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, we took a train from S. Norwalk, Ct to Grand Central Station. I had printed out maps the night before for directions to a few of the places we wanted to visit. Our first stop, Sony Wonder Labs was a walkable .6 miles. However, we doubled the distance by a wrong turn out of the train station.

During our brisk walk, Alex noticed that there appeared to be a coffee shop on every street corner. He remarked,
"No wonder New York is the city that never sleeps! There's a Starbuck's on every corner!"
Sony Wonder Technology Lab

When we finally arrived, we were able to get tickets (Free!) and were first in line for this hands-on technology museum. Alex had fun playing with lots of cool gadgets and had a chance to get "on camera" to report on the weather. He was filmed against a blue screen which made the blue graphic on his shirt into a "window".

Future Reporter?

Next stop: The American Museum of Natural History

This time we decided to take a cab!

Wall in the main entry hall

Feeling a bit small

Largest Collection of Real Dinosaur Bones

We were advised by a docent to go the the 4th Floor to see the Dinosaur exhibit. The museum is famous for having the largest collection of REAL dinosaur fossils in the world!

We also spent a bit of time in the Rose Center for Earth and Space. I was fascinated by the Ecosphere. This was an entire ecosystem in a sealed environment complete with tiny fish swimming around.

Another highlight were the scales that show what your weight would be on the Sun, Moon and other planets.
This is waaay cooler than Sea-Monkeys!

Diet be damned, Fly me to the moon!

Lunch at the Museum Cafe.

Next up: Central Park

Folk concert on the edge of the Central Park 22 acre lake

Central Park was the highlight of my excursion into the Big Apple. I had no idea how gigantic this park is! At approximately 843 acres, this park was much more magnificent than I had imagined.
Located directly across from the Natural History Museum, we simply crossed the street, made our way past the Pedi-cabs and followed a path down into what seemed like another world.

The small patch we visited, was complete with horse-drawn carriages, a wedding party, a folk concert, cyclists, runners, boaters, hikers and tourists. Next time I am back in the city, I will allot more time to visit this haven.

Back to Connecticut

Having promised to be back by dinnertime, we took a cab from Central Park back to the Grand Central to catch the train back to S. Norwalk. We enjoyed the hour-plus ride back being entertained by a group of middle-aged women that were getting their drink on. Between their shameless ogling of the attractive, young train-worker and their salty language, Alex got quite an earful. These "train-wreck"s provided a great reinforcement of his D.A.R.E. training of the dangers of drugs and alcohol!

The rest of the trip we spent visiting with my uncle.

Reviewing old photographs,

and on Sunday before we left, we picked up lunch.....PIZZA! from the highly-touted "Wilton Pizza". Alex enjoyed this tasty treat but still claims that Sbarro's is the best!

After some minor difficulties with my rental-car's Garmin Nuvi (we got a bit lost near the airport) and a souvenir ( Newton's Cradle) that triggered a baggage search, we were on our way back home!

On our final leg, one of the flight attendants was a former employee of mine from a decade ago.

Amazing how time flies!

Alex's hands were a bit shakey due to a long day of travel
and a caffeine-buzz. (I let him drink regular Coke)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where has the Summer Gone???

We were able to get take a short trip to D.C. to visit family before the boys started back to school last week. Other than that, the summer has been a blur of swim meets, a week of camps, cross-country practices and quality family time (aka:just hanging out) The summer has flown by waaay too quickly.

Any stories I may have had seem insignificant by now. And my memory is fuzzy. While I regret losing touch with my blog and other bloggers, the time away was hopefully well-spent.

I have one more weekend get-a-way planned. I am taking my middle-son to see my elderly uncle in Connecticut. Hopefully Earl (hurricane) won't put a damper on things.

Have a Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Still Here

It seems like the longer I take to post on my blog, the harder it gets to post. While one might think there would be much more to write about, I am finding the opposite. An event that I find hysterical, amusing or interesting at the moment of inception, loses it's appeal over time.

My life is filled with short bursts of humor in between the more mundane routine of a suburban life. These "bursts" are like produce in the garden of my mind. If not served fresh, these memories start to rot and are thrown away.

I also find that as my absences from Blogger grow longer, my powers of observation start to dull a bit.

As I worry about giving up this blog, I am lured back by the Siren's call of my online journal, beckoning me back to pick up where I have left off.

And so here I am!

Garden Update

This has been a good year so far for Cucumbers and we have produced a record-breaking cuke (for our garden) measuring approximately 10 inches.

Yesterday I picked the first tomato of the season. Unfortunately it is the size of a Ping Pong ball

Our newest squash plant that I think may be a Butternut but it has the markings of a Zuccini.

We appear to have an infestation of Squash borer bugs that have destroyed many of my vines.
Fortunately I have harvested several yellow squash. Enough to be ready for a new vegetable.
This is a close-up of a damaged vine. The white powder is Diatomaceous Earth which is ground up shells that are only harmful to insects with hard shells, slugs and other tiny pests.

Apparently the white powder is also good for getting prints of other larger garden raiders.
This appears to be of a burglar with a striped tail and black mask. We are waiting for the lab results to ID the prints of the purp that left this trail.

Crime Scene Investigation is among my many hobbies!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals?

I LOVE chocolate. A lot. In fact I am waging a campaign for this food staple to be it's own Group on the Food Pyramid.

But what if (perish the thought) one day I woke up and didn't crave this irresistible treat?

Would I take a pill to make me desire this diet-wrecking confection? Or would I look at the upside to how many calories I would save. I would probably be able to fit into my "skinny" jeans with no problem!

The Little Blue Pill

I was having a conversation with a fellow Menopausal (hormonally-challenged) friend and somehow the conversation turned to the over-abundance of ED and Viagra commercials on T.V.
We both were questioning the value of this drug.

If you no longer desired something, why would you take a pill to get back those urges?

Think about all the time you would save . And what about Brain Cells? It's a known fact that sex kills them. Think about all the stupid things people do in the heat of the moment.

Wouldn't it be better to give your partner a pill to quash their libido?

Think of the upside to more "down-time"!

Monday, June 7, 2010


I spotted this Dragonfly earlier today before I left for work. I never noticed how spider-like the top part of this insect's body is. Fortunately I had my camera and a willing model!
Click on the photo to see full-size.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Old-Time Religion

Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of my favorite time of year. My garden becomes my religion and I become a "Garden Evangelist". I love to proselytize to friends and neighbors by sharing the wealth of my harvest.

Starting with early Spring when I dug up dozens of Strawberry plants to make room for this year's veggies. It gave me great joy to dole out my extra plants to fellow gardeners. When my garden greens started to fill in, I invited a vegetarian friend to pick a bucketful of lettuce (3 varieties), onions & chives.

This year has been the best year ever for Strawberries and we have harvested enough to enjoy in salads, smoothies, on cereal and au natural. For the first time, we also have been able to share our berries with friends.

I look forward to more Random Acts of Sharing as the rest of our crops come in...
Can I get a Hallelujah?

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for....

Another reason I give thanks for this time of year are our frequent bike-rides to DQ. The round trip to our local Dairy Queen is just over 4 miles. While this doesn't fully offset the calories consumed, I hope that we are creating some great childhood memories.

I also get to re-live mine!

Strike up the Band!

The Middle School Jazz band performing before the Awards Ceremony.
Alex is on piano and Devon on trumpet in the end of the back row, far right.

The last few weeks of school are a flurry of activity. My two middle schoolers have been busy with band concerts. Alex, my 6th grader middle-son, participated in the middle school talent show with his favorite Bach piano piece (Solfeggietto). And the highlight of this past week was the Awards Night ceremony for Honor Roll students. Both boys were not only recognized for their GPAs but also their achievements in Math.

My proudest moment was when my 6th grader who is in 7th grade Honors Math ( same class as his older brother) was recognized for having the highest score on a math test given to all students in the 7th grade. He had a 6th grade cheering section who was excited to claim him as their own. While his older brother may have been overshadowed for a moment, both boys were recognized as being part of a 6 person "Math Counts" Team that represented their school in an area contest. It would appear we have a Math Geek Dynasty in our family.

After the ceremony we treated the boys to Stone Cold Creamery for a wallet-emptying treat. The next day we took them out to lunch at a fancy restaurant. We may be a bit lighter in the wallet but the memories are priceless!

We were given two shiny new bumper-stickers boasting about our Honor Students. They have been put into storage. I prefer to do my bragging here and keep our cars humbly sticker-free!

The Higher You Climb

Yesterday I took Colin and Alex to their piano lesson. I was a bit concerned about their lack of practicing.

Which proved to be justified.

While my expectations were low, it was another story with their teacher. She had heard from some of her other students that go to school with Alex about his stellar performance in the talent show. It became quickly apparent that in preparing for his moment in the limelight, Alex neglected his lessons. Colin followed suit.

This has been the only sour note in an otherwise fantastic week. I now have to suck it up and pay better attention to their practice sessions.

Looking forward to a nice long and relaxing weekend filled with sunshine, good food and music!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Garden Update

First Strawberry of the Season

This weekend I planted the rest of my seedlings now that the threat of frost should be over. The lettuce has come in nicely, strawberries are starting to ripen, onions are in full force and peas are sprouting up.

I am hoping to have a good season this year. I even added two planters for extra crop space.


I am beginning to hate that VW Commercial that promotes punching every time someone spies a Volkswagen. It has turned my boys into slap-happy idiots.

It is hard to focus on the road when my eldest who is riding shotgun pokes me and shouts out a color. "Red one!" "Blue one!"......

I started to grow suspicious after failing to see all the "Bugs" he was claiming and I discovered he was including BMWs as well!

Speaking of Slugs

Something has been munching on my cucumber seedlings, spinach, and numerous other tiny plants. I suspect either slugs, grubs or beetles. (Another reason to hate Beetles & Slug-Bug).
I HAD to buy beer at the store. Michelob so I can share with the hubs as well as the garden pests.

So far it seems to be helping a little. I have snagged a few slugs. I also find that after having a beer (or two) myself, I don't seem to be as bothered.

Time to sign off, have a beer & help save the world!