Friday, September 27, 2013

A New Blog


I started this summer with hope for the best year for my garden. The summer has come to a close with the new hope that we can find help for my youngest son, Colin who is now 12.

What a difference a few months make.

What we thought were a few quirky reactions to certain sounds and visually to ceiling fans, blew up over the last few months. We found out that my son has a neurological condition called Misophonia. It is a sound processing disorder that miscues certain sounds to create a flight or fight response similar to P.T.S.D.

One of the most frustrating aspects of Misophonia, also known as 4s (Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome) is that it is not recognized by most of the medical community and that there is no known cure (yet). I have started a new blog to chronicle our journey.
 
You can find me here: http://misomanicmom.blogspot.com/ where I continue to hope for the best!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Garden Cover-Up

Last weekend in addition to re-potting tomato seedlings I grew from seed, I also planted several varieties of tomato plants I purchased at my favorite garden store. I waited until after May 15th this year to plant (historically the last frost date),  a few weeks later than I normally do as we have had a really late Spring.

Just when the warm weather looked like it was here for the season, we are having a cold-snap with a freeze warning tonight! 
 
I moved a few planters into the garage.

I also put a couple under the sheets, in between the two rows of tomato plants.
One planter was left out in the open and I put one into my mini-greenhouse.

It should be interesting to see how my garden fares.




Two of the plants I bought and put into the ground already have fruit growing. Hopefully they will survive the weekend.

Weekend highs are predicted to be between 67-72 degrees. 

 At least my lettuce and peas are happy!



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Annual Update

It has been almost a year since I posted to this blog.  Nothing earth-shattering has happened this past year.
I became more active on FaceBook and decided to take a break here. The one thing I've missed is being able to document my life in short stories. I also miss keeping up with the bloggers that I had been following.

The above picture is of my garden, taken a few days ago which doesn't look remarkably different from my last post. Sometimes life feels that way, until I look at my boys. Change is slow, but what a difference a year makes.

Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Out in the Backyard


Last weekend, frustrated with my boys spending so much time indoors, I encouraged them to invite friends over. While my eldest was making the rounds at graduation parties with Dad, I forced the younger two to hang out back and taped a note to the front door,
 " We're out in the back yard".

After a water fight and a trip indoors to change clothes, the boys ended up watching TV and playing Yu-Gi-Oh in the family room, never to make it outdoors again, until the car ride to take the friend back home. In my day, we would spend the entire day outdoors. I can't remember ever spending time watching tv or playing video games at friends' homes for hours on end.

Of course back in the day, our video games consisted of Pong and PacMan.

I'm Out Back

When Spring and Summer are in session, I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I can be found either gardening, taking photos of my plants and nature in my yard and relaxing in my "Sofa Swing" admiring my garden and catching up on my reading (and usually take a nap).

My blog has taken a "back-seat " to my other online activities like FaceBook and Pinterest (my newest addiction).  For the few blog friends that I have, if you message me, I'd love to follow you if you are on either of these places.

Life is Good

My eldest just finished his first year of high school at an all-boys parochial school. It's been a tough but good year. He has been active in Cross-Country, Swimming,  Jazz Band and Ultimate Frisbee (club team) and seems to enjoy the experience (except for all the homework). I'm impressed that as a Freshman, he has been invited to 6 or 7 Senior graduation parties.

The younger two boys have one more week of school and have had a great year. Both made Honor Roll for the year and received recognition at a special Awards Night. My 8th grader also received a Science Award and had the top score on a special math test given to all 8th graders.Between Choir and Band concerts, I am one proud mama.

No News is Good News

As I seem to be posting less here as time goes on,  I have given up worrying about keeping up with my blogging. I hope to post when I have a anecdote or boast that is better kept private and (somewhat) anonymous.

Hope all is well in your world. I'm ready for my 2nd cup of coffee and then you can find me "out back"!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Trouble With Teens - Clothing Choices

Dear Friends, Neighbors and Teachers at G.M.S.S.,

I am fully aware that while the mornings have been in the 30's & 40's, my son has been coming to school dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and the thinnest of hoodies. This is not because he is lacking in the proper attire or that I have not fought with him over clothing choices. I simply am tired of arguing and want to get him to school on time.

On the bright side, he is most likely alert in class and we finally have hand-me-downs making it to my youngest with the knees fully intact!
P.s. Don't get me started on school lunches!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Madness 2012

Happy Birthday Baby

 Five Years Old!

March is the birthday month for not only my "baby" but this blog. I started "Bad Momma" on March 17, 2007.  I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. I also can't believe how long it's been since my last post. Part of my "blogger's block" has been due to laziness and the rest to being overwhelmed with the explosion of Social Media sites I belong to.

Between my personal and professional life, I have 3 Twitter Accounts, 3 Blogs, 3 FaceBook Accounts/pages, 2 Newsletters and 2 websites to manage. With Google+  and Pinterest on the horizon, I've been having a hard time keeping up. FaceBook has been a big time-sucker lately as I have been posting more of my personal life (reminds me a bit of what happened at the height of CreateBuzz!)  I need to do a better job of allocating my time.

What I've missed most about my absence here was the ability to write longer, detailed stories that I can't post on FaceBook. I am less self-conscious when posting anonymously which helps keep my creative juices flowing. I have noticed a difference in my writing ( or lack thereof ) when I take big breaks here.

I must rectify this situation!


Early Bird

March 20 marked the first day of Spring, which felt more like Summer! In reviewing last year's photos, we are more than a month ahead of schedule with temperatures in the 70's & 80's. I've already started on my gardening. In my vegetable patch, I've planted Peas, Carrots, Lettuce and Spinach. Due to a mild winter, my Swiss Chard had never completely died back and is in full bloom.

Hopefully I won't be rewarded with a plant-killing freeze in the next few weeks. We are expecting frost on Tuesday of this coming week. There are times it is not good to be an "Early Bird". Hopefully this is not one of them!

Official Sign of Spring - Free Rita's

This week it was my job to take the boys to their piano lessons. When we arrived earlier than expected and had a half-hour to kill, I decided to take the boys to Rita's a few blocks away. It was a summer-like day with temps in the 80's. The place was packed but thankfully the lines moved quickly.When I went to pay, the cashier told me our order was free!

I had totally forgotten that it was the first day of  Spring! And about "Free Rita's Day!"  It really made my day. 


Starting the Day With a Bang!
My Poor Tire


$350 Piece of Metal
This week, while taking my middle-son to school, I started the day with a "Bang!". Literally!
While en route, we heard a big bang that sounded like it came from inside of the car. As I kept driving, I had Alex look in the back of the car to see if something fell.

Suddenly my tire-pressure warning light flashed. As I kept driving so we wouldn't be late,  I noticed the pressure rapidly dropping.  I was able to make it within two blocks of the school until I was at 3 lbs pressure and down to the rim. I pulled onto a side-street, let Alex out to hoof it to class and called my hubby.

It took him 30 - 40 minutes to reach me as he had been in the process of taking our eldest to school. After jacking up the car and struggling to remove my tire, he went back home to get better tools and take our youngest to his school. Another hour was spent unsuccessfully to unhook a full-sized spare from his car. We finally gave up. The punctured tire, along with my belongings were deposited in my husband's car. He dropped me at work and went to the tire store.  Three-hundred and fifty dollars and two hours later, I had two brand new tires!

My old tire could not be patched due to a deep puncture. There was no evidence left in the wheel. The theory was that whatever stabbed my tire, was heavy enough to be promptly ejected as the wheel turned.
The bang that we heard must have been the metal shank hitting the wheel well as it exited the puncture wound.

My eagle-eyed husband went back to the crime scene patch of  road where I heard the clang of metal on metal and found a 3-inch shank in the street (pictured above). We are now keeping this memento as evidence.

 To be recycled someday.

Really could have used a Rita's that day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks part 2

I'm back, after one of the longest periods of time that I have neglected my blog, to report that life is good!
So far my family is doing well.

Higher Learning
Devon, my eldest, started High School this fall. He is the first of my boys to make the leap from public school to an all-boys Catholic High School. This has been an interesting change for several reasons.
  • We are not Catholic. (my husband was raised Catholic, I was raised Jewish and the boys have not been brought up with either.)
  • The curriculum is much tougher than public school with mandatory Latin and Religion coursework and hours of homework each night.
  • There is a dress-code of shirt, tie and slacks (no jeans or shorts) 
  • Much more parental involvement is required in private school.
After a rocky start, Devon has been getting into the swing of things. He is adjusting to the grueling coursework and just missed making Honor Roll (and made Merit Roll) the first grading period. In the Fall, Dev ran cross-country and is now on the swim team. He shows up for nine practices a week without complaint. (These include thrice-weekly 6:10 A.M. workouts!) He also is playing his trumpet in Jazz-band.

I am extremely impressed as I watch his progression into becoming a young man.

Face Time

Alex is in 8th Grade and continues to do well in school. He also turned 13 this summer and is now on FaceBook.  Much to my surprise, he amassed more friends in a few weeks than I did in over a year. As a result, I have become much more active on FaceBook. This is partly to blame for my almost non-existent blogging of late.

Between monitoring my middle-child's activity as well as developing a mild addiction to this form of social media, I have less time and desire to post on my blog. Redundancy is blocking my creativity. I need to recalibrate and find balance.

The upside to FaceBook is the ability to efficiently keep up with friends and family. I also have started to connect to parents of my boys' classmates. This has proved helpful with missing homework assignments or when a classmate was missing a few pages from a text book. In addition to being a social tool, FaceBook is also turning into a personal news aggregate.

In addition to FaceBook,  I am trying to post photos more frequently on my photo blog,Drive-by Shooting

Strike up the Band!
My youngest son started middle-school this year. So far *fingers crossed* the year is going well. He seems to enjoy school. In addition to the piano, Colin has started playing (learning to play) the trombone in 6th-grade band.

Alex has recently taken up the Saxaphone.  He has been playing the clarinet in band, piano in Jazz Band but looking ahead to next year, he wanted to switch to the Sax. There are no clarinets in Jazz band and with several talented piano-playing upper-classmen,  the odds of making the band for piano is low. Now Alex has three instruments that he is not practicing enough.

As much as the boys would like to quit taking piano lessons, I will not let them. Hopefully they will thank me some day. In addition to music,  the younger boys also are on swim team at  the local Y.

Between all the band, choir, piano recitals as well as swim meets, it looks like our "social calendar" is quite full.

Heartfelt Thanks

I am grateful that my family is keeping healthy and doing well. And while I am not here as frequently, I value  the few bloggers left, that I continue to maintain contact with. I hope this post finds you and your families doing well. Hope you are enjoying a wonderful Holiday Season.

Thanks for your friendship!

Giving Thanks!

Flowers from my florist friend!
Devon showing off his Turkey Tie!


 A lovely Thanksgiving meal with family!



Dessert: The best part of any meal!

How an engineer lights candles when the lighter won't work!
My nephew the birthday boy!
Flowers that I managed to keep alive through Thanksgiving Weekend 2011!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Final Journey



Uncle Marvin: 12/6/1920 - 8/16/2011


Uncle Marvin - circa 1921

I was driving back from an early morning dentist appointment when my cell phone started ringing. I answered, using my hands-free, blue tooth system in my car. It was my Uncle Marvin, calling from the hospital, where he was being cared for, against his wishes.

After telling me he just wanted to go back home to die, he made sure he let me know that he loved me. He also wanted me to "think good thoughts of him".

I arrived home to the stares of my teenage son, wondering what the dentist did to make my cry.

To Go or Not to Go


After my Uncle and his wife, Janet had moved from California to a Connecticut Assisted Living community to be closer to Aunt Janet's family, I had promised I'd try to visit more often.
The first year I brought my eldest son with me.

Last year I brought my middle son, a year after Janet passed away. It was a nice time to bond with one of my boys and spend some time with Marvin. I took lots of photos and posted on my blog to share with Marv as well as my blog friends.

This year was Colin's turn to visit. Alex had a friend that just moved out to Westchester County, NY and wanted to go again. Devon had a lot going on and was glad to stay home. After much contemplation, I booked the tickets. I also bought flight insurance which I decided not to use.

Marvin was able to return home although after one day of rallying, he took a turn for the worse and passed away just a few days before we were to arrive. I have a feeling this is what my uncle preferred.
Marvin and Janet together again

The Last Visit
The boys on a early morning flight

Things have a way of working out. Marvin was finally able to join his wife and was at peace. I was able to help pack up some of the apartment (although I wish I could have helped more). There was also an informal memorial and luncheon. We had a chance to spend time with some of my Aunt's family, meeting most of them for the first time in person. We were able to share fond memories of Marvin, fulfilling his wish of "thinking good thoughts".

We also had a day to visit NYC with Alex's friend Matthew, Matthew's mom and sister who just moved a week earlier. The highlight for the kids was a visit to Dylan's Candy Bar. It also was an adventure in navigating the city using trains, taking the subway and a cab ride for six.


Dylan's Candy Bar - a little (expensive) piece of heaven

Family Treasures

Aside from the memories from the trip, I also am treasuring some old family photos that were among my uncle's collection. My personal favorite is this portrait of my grandparents with my dad and uncle.

I'd like to think that they have reunited in heaven and are watching down over us.




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bad Mothering Lawsuit

I came across this article today about a woman being sued by her two children for "bad mothering".
I am now wondering if I am opening myself up to liability by my title of "Bad Momma"?
Fortunately the suit was dismissed.

The children now 20 & 23 years old complained about bad birthday cards, lack of care packages, being threatened with calling the police for not wearing a seat belt and calling her daughter at midnight to have her come home from homecoming.

I think my kids could come up with much better stuff against me....

Amateurs!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Splash!

video

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom

Faint strains of Frank Sinatra waft through the air from a neighboring yard as I preside over the family grill. A feeling of nostalgia washes over me.

I am dressed in a plaid sleeveless-button-down-shirt and Bermuda shorts similar to what my mother would have worn back in the day.My middle-son is mowing the front lawn while my eldest is helping with the grilling duties. My youngest son is dividing his time between practicing his piano lessons and complaining about having to do so. My husband is working on some chores.

Before long we are seated round the kitchen table for a feast of grilled chicken, rice, baked potatoes and sauteed vegetables (yellow squash, Swiss chard, onions, peas and basil) from the garden.

I take a mental snapshot to freeze this moment in time, finding joy in the mundane.

Blogcation


The last time I posted was Memorial Day Weekend. Life has been good.

  • The garden is coming along nicely.
  • The boys are on a Summer swim team.
  • Music lessons.
  • Cross country practice for Alex & Devon.
  • I've been trying to keep up a walking routine.
  • Devon and Alex are volunteering at the library.
  • I volunteered with our local Blues & Jazz Festival.
  • Started "Family Black-Out Nights" for board games and non-electronic activities.
  • Went to a party thrown by the family of one of Alex's friends last night and had a blast.
I've been more active on FaceBook with status updates and photos. I'm also trying to get out more in the "Real World" and out from behind my computer. As the boys get older and are getting more independent, I realize it's time to connect with friends and enjoy more "me time".

It has been tough finding quiet time and inspiration to make it to my blog.

I can see from my Google Reader that many of my blog friends are facing the same issues. I don't feel so bad...

Life is Good!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Weekend




Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of my favorite season. The garden is off to a good start. I've been getting some small salads with onions & chives, and starting Friday, strawberries!

I also need to step up my game fighting garden pests. With all the rain, I've noticed some slugs munching greedily on my lettuce. I also discovered a baby bunny in my strawberry patch last night while picking a few berries for my salad. He promptly scampered off, with no doubt, plans to return.

And finally this morning as I was inspecting my domain, I found teething marks, that most likely came from a raccoon, on one of my plastic planters.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me. I kind of feel like Mr. MacGregor from Peter Rabbit!


For more garden shots, hop on over to my photo blog, Drive By Shooting!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Money Tree



I love this time of year. Each day my gardens yield new surprises. I have a bad habit of buying lots of cheap seed packets (19 - 25 cents on sale) and randomly planting them in my flower beds (or vegetable garden) and then forgetting about them until they grow into mature plants.

I just discovered that the purple flowers, from seeds planted last year, are Silver Dollar Plants or Money Plants! It made my day. My grandfather used to love these flowers & would keep the dried seed pods in vases.

It's funny how certain plants or flowers can bring back childhood memories.

For more garden shots from last week, check out my photo blog!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy May 5th!


This is from a few years ago. Never gets old. At least for me.... Time for a margarita!
Feliz Cinco De Mayo!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Holy Guacamole! Adventures in Parenthood


Did you ever have one of those days, the ones that seem 48 hours long? The ones that become comedic as the day goes on? The kind where you collapse into hysterical fits of laughter reserved for patients in straight-jackets in padded-wall rooms? Over something as innocuous as Guacamole?

Yesterday was such a day.

It started out with allowing my middle-son, Alex to go with some friends to a YuGiOh preview/tournament event at a game store.

Against my better judgement.

My boys have a TON of YuGiOh playing cards which at an average of 20-25 cents a piece, for a small piece of cardboard, seems a bit excessive.

When Alex left the house, I thought he had $20 plus extra money for lunch. I also thought it was understood that he was allowed to buy the pack of cards required as part of admission, but no more than the bare-minimum. It wasn't until I was about to pick Alex up from his friend's house, I discovered this was not the case.

His brothers gave Alex a total of $50, along with a wish-list of cards to purchase. Their mistake was to not set limitations at what they were willing to pay; and their vocal displeasure that their funds were used to buy 4 "rare" cards. That's how most great plots get discovered at our house.

When things go terribly wrong.


As a teaching-moment I drove back to the store, with all three boys in tow. After getting a refund, as well as the proper amount of public humiliation, I set the next part of the punishment into motion. The boys got to run errands with me.

I hit a few stores to find a First Communion gift and was at my last stop, the grocery store. My hubby gave me instructions to purchase $50 worth of groceries so that we could get 30 cents on next month's fuel perks.

As I rolled into the checkout lane, I was ready to get home. The boys already called me to see what was taking so long, the car was getting a little warm. I explained that they could tough it out and that I'd be out soon.

I was careful to put dividers in front & behind my groceries. The clerk moved quickly and rang up half of my cart before I could hand her my shopper-discount card. When she was done, my total came up to over $90, which seemed a bit high. I swiped my card, not wanting to hold up the line and as I was handed my receipt, I noticed that there was a 12-pack of beer that was not originally in my cart.

At this point, I had to go to the Customer Service line to make a return & get a refund. While in line, I also noticed several more items that were not mine. Once again, my phone rang.

"Mom? Where are you?"


I explained the mix-up and told them it would be a few more minutes. To which I was reminded that the car was getting warm. I told them that they were big boys now and they could open the car-door if they required fresh-air.

Two more people in line ahead. Almost done.

Just then my cashier and a flustered-looking woman came hurrying over. Turns out there was another person in front of me in the original line. A customer who realized she didn't have enough cash and left the line to get funds from a nearby ATM. Not only did the cashier not hear this lady excuse herself, she didn't pay attention to the dividers between our groceries.

As I was pulling out the items I needed to return for a refund, my cell phone went off again.
Apparently as the boys unsuccessfully tried to open the car doors, the car-alarm went off.
I marched to the front of the store, clicked the magic button on my key-fob and went back to the matter at hand.

The shopper whose groceries I purchased was profusely apologetic. I assured her not to worry, my boys were in trouble and this was part of their punishment. I also remembered the time someone "bought" my groceries. These things happen.

When we arrived home, the boys helped me bring in, unpack and put away our groceries. We came across an unfamiliar item, the box of Wholly Guacamole, pictured above.

To which I collapsed in a fit of hysteria...

Sometimes as a parent, you have to laugh to keep from crying!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2 Busy 4 Ur Own Good

In No Particular Order:

Planning Too Far Ahead??? -
I know we are all busy and important but I see a disturbing trend. In order to catch up with a friend or business acquaintance, I've been having to schedule a date that is 2 or 3 weeks out. Only to have that breakfast or lunch rescheduled 2 or 3 times.

I just had my 2nd-last-minute-cancellation/reschedule for this week due to pressing work issues.

What ever happened to "spur-of-the-moment"? This is why I don't like to plan too far out.....

Linkin' Up

LinkedIn is not FaceBook people. If you don't know me, don't send an invitation to connect without a valid explanation WHY. I will ignore you!

Come to think of it, I won't accept you as a friend on FaceBook either!

Returning Calls & Emails

When I am a Volunteer for your community project, I expect my calls and emails answered within 48 - 72 hours at the latest. I need answers so I can do my committee work properly, and on a timely basis. I often have others that are waiting for your information. We are all busy. I hate that I am turning into a "stalker". I would like to be paid... With Respect!

Do you ever wonder why good volunteers are hard to find? Or why you can't keep Committee Heads?

Social Media Sheep

Retweeting a comment or post or re-posting someone else's content or "Liking" something on FaceBook does not make you a Social Media Guru. More like a Social Media Sheep...

I find it irritating when I find I am the only one commenting on a business post while there are dozens of likes or retweets.

Fortunately while this is common on the Business-side of SoMe, I rarely see this with personal blogs.


Whew. Rant over and back to work. Thanks for letting me vent here. Where the real source of my annoyances won't see this post!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Scream, We all Scream!




Today was a balmy, 86 degrees; the first really nice, sunny and unseasonably warm day of Spring. After a trip to the garden store, I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning up some of my flower beds and planted a few flowers to add some color to my planters.

Later in the day, I took 2 of my boys, Devon and Colin, for Rita's. (Italian Ice). Alex was out with a friend.

Even though I was hot & sweaty, and not looking my best (or even close), I had Devon snap a photo with my cell phone. I wanted to remember my favorite pair of vintage sunglasses. I discovered they hold a secret power over my middle-son.

The Power of Embarrassment!

I was at a track meet earlier this week, and I wore the sunglasses in the above photo. My favorite pair of shades has a lens that popped out and my second favorite pair was m.i.a. I was able to find a vintage pair that I haven't worn for a while.

After the meet was over, Alex pulled me aside and in a low voice, said "Mom, you might want to wear another pair of sunglasses next time."

"Why?" I asked "Do these embarrass you?"

"It's just that people may stare and talk about you" he explained.

"Good thing I don't care!" I replied back, flashing a big, goofy grin as he tried to hide his mortified expression. As the boys get older, I have less control over them. The "Power of Embarrassment" is one of my few superpowers left.....

One boy down, two to go.



Monday, April 4, 2011

Get Up, Get Moving




Earning My Moniker

The boys have been taking piano lessons for just over three years now. This is usually the time when music students tend to drop off. My boys would quit if we'd let them. They don't know this but their Dad would allow them to stop their lessons. I, on the other hand, refuse to let them give up. We bought our piano after six months of lessons with the understanding they would stick with it.

My boys are used to school (especially math) coming relatively easy to them. They like to get by with bare-minimum amount of work possible to achieve good grades. As they progress with their piano lessons, the music becomes more challenging and requires more practice time. It is a struggle to get just a half-hour a day, which isn't really enough time.

Lately, I have been pushing for not only more time at the ivories, I have been tying in a reward/consequence system. Which helps keep me a "Bad Momma".

Colin let me record him for YouTube if I let him wear a fake mustache (part of a set I brought home from work). I find the boys are more motivated to practice if there is a performance involved.

How long should kids be pushed into lessons? What would you do?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Madness

This week my baby turned "Double-Digits". It's amazing how fast they grow up!

I also celebrated my 4th year of blogging. Where does the time go? I took a trip down memory lane and revisited the beginning of my blog. It would be several months till I would get a real comment (other than from a friend). I even made up a 2nd ID on Blogger so I could see what a comment would look like. Even though I only did this once, I still feel a bit sheepish.

This past year I've cut back a bit on my blogging but I am hopeful I will keep the blog alive for at least 4 more years.

Spring is here!


Today I started to work on my garden. I spend a short time cleaning up some of my beds. I also planted some dill, peas, lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard. My onions are popping up as well as my strawberry plants.

I have a ways to go in cleaning up, fertilizing and preparing the soil for planting. I plan to take a few small sections at a time so I don't get overwhelmed. It will be another month or so until I can start planting the rest of my crops. The temperatures are bouncing between the 60's and the high 20's.

I posted a few pictures on my photo blog of some early greenery. It is always fun for me to look back on the different stages of my vegetable garden and flower beds.

Speaking of beds, I have three beds to get filled with boys.....

Happy Spring!!!!
2010 Mid-June Garden




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lost & Found

Almost 13 years ago I became an "Adult Orphan" when my father passed away at the age of 72. My mother had preceded him in death by 5 years. I remember an overwhelming feeling of loss. Not only did I lose a parent, I suddenly felt the loss of a resource of my family history.

When my parents were alive, I never thought much about my ancestors. I knew if I ever had a question about my heritage, my folks were a phone call away.




A few weeks ago, I watched Rosie O'Donnell trace her Irish roots on "Who Do You Think You Are?" with my youngest son. Afterward, I was badgered to go visit the sponsor of the show's website, Ancestry.com. I signed up for a free 14 Day trial. While Colin thought we'd instantly receive our family tree, complete with famous relations, I knew there would be a bit of work involved.

I spoke with both of my uncles ( my mom's brother and my father's brother) as I was getting started. I was surprised at how little they knew about their aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents.

The Age of Information
On Ancestry.com's website, I found a distant relative's family tree which helped fill in some of the blanks on my tree. I also was able to view census records for my grandparents as well as some of the great-grandparents on both my side and my husband's family.

I amazed both of my uncles as to how much information I was able to find in a short time. It was fun helping jog their memories and to help fill in the blanks.

I never thought of myself as a history buff. I now have a new hobby. Although my 14 days are now up, I have just started finding out "who I am".

The nice part of this project is that I was able to help add to the data bases of Ancestry.com. In return, even though I no longer have access to their records, I still have an account and can continue working on my family tree.





Sunday, February 27, 2011

Post Postscript

After I published my post today, I checked my emails and found this gem that was forwarded by a friend. I'm not sure who the original author is but I have to re-post as the timing is so uncanny.


They Teach It at Stanford

I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease.

The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man can do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she can do for her health is to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious. Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences.

Physically this quality "girlfriend time" helps us to create more seratonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going.

Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes.

But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged-not true.

In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo, let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health.

The Other Side of the Picket Fence

A few weeks ago, my husband had me go through the stacks of Holiday cards from friends and family that have accumulated over the last several years. I was given the task of picking out what I wanted to save and to recycle the rest.

I took a brief trip down memory lane; marveling at the changes our lives have taken over the years. It's hard to believe that two decades ago, my singleton friends and I were fantasizing about the "2.5 kids-white-picket-fence-dream".

Life as a "Singleton"

I can remember pangs of longing when I would see a picture-perfect couple pushing a stroller on a family walk. I wondered what it would be like. I also considered the possibility of being a life-long singleton. I suffered through countless blind-dates from well-meaning friends.

I also smile when I recall Friday nights out with the girls looking for Mr. Right. (More like Mr. Right Now.) We'd gather at a friend's apartment and help each other with last-minute touch-ups to hair and make-up before heading out to the "clubs" (night clubs / bars).

Looking back on old photos, the 80's decade was not kind to us with regard to fashion. I can not help but cringe a bit.

The up-side to the single life was that most of my friends were single. We lived life more spontaneously. Much of our social-calendar was written with spur-of-the-moment planning.

What Happened to my Friends?

This week I was given two tickets to a charity event that my business donated a fair amount of work and materials to. My husband was already committed to taking the boys to swim-practice.
He's not a fan of fancy social fundraisers where we are among strangers. I needed to find a "date".

That's when it hit me. Where are my friends? Who could I call on short notice to come with me?
Most of my friends are tied-down with family commitments and are not able to slip away on a moment's notice. For a brief moment I felt sorry for myself while I racked my brain for who to call.

I suddenly remembered a single friend who might enjoy this event and gave her a call. As luck would have it, I found my date for the evening.

The gala was much more elaborate than I expected. Food and drink were top-notch and plentiful. (I was responsible and only consumed one glass of wine). There was free valet parking, a fashion show, live auction and "after-party" with a buffet, DJ and open-bar.

I felt like Cinderella at the Ball.

Act 3 - Life as Family Matures

As I was dropping my friend back home, we discussed organizing another evening out with mutual friends.

I realized that as the boys become more independent, I will soon have more free evenings. I also am starting to crave an occasional "Girls Night Out". Now that I have "Mr. Right" and the 2.5 (actually 3) kids at home, what I crave most is estrogen-filled conversation; a little commiseration once in a while.

While I would never want to go back to the "free-and-easy" lifestyle of my singles-days, I realized I am entering a new phase in my life. It's time to keep up with old friends and perhaps make some new ones.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Are Your Readers?

Last night I came across a post by Jennifer James in her Mom Blog Magazine titled "Why Do People Read Your Blog? Do You Even Know?" which inspired me to respond.

Bonnie says:

I have been blogging for almost four years now. I started my personal blog to learn about this form of communication and how I might be able to use a blog for my business. I have since learned that business blogging is much different than having a personal blog.

I also have found that blogging is a 2-way street. You get what you give. Unless you are a talented writer with a compelling story (think Pioneer Woman), your best bet is to make friends and comment on other blogs.

I made a few friends at Mom Blogger’s Club and the now-defunct Cre8Buzz. My “readers” are a handful of bloggers that cross-comment with me. I don’t spend as much time on my personal blog as I used to so I keep my bloggy friends to a small group.

I think it is more important to write for yourself than to worry about what your “readers” want to hear. For me, blogging is about personal development and keeping track of life’s trials and tribulations. And making a few friends along the way.


Experience is the Best Teacher

It's hard to believe that I am coming up on my 4-year anniversary of blogging. It's been an amazing journey. I've "met" some amazing bloggers along the way in my quest to understand Social Media. The knowledge I've gained has been helpful in understanding how to integrate tools like Twitter, Blogger, FaceBook and Constant Contact into my business.

There are so many misconceptions and worries when starting a blog. I worried about looking foolish in front of thousands of people. What would I write about? Would I be exposing my family to stalkers and trolls? How do I get started?

Truth is, in the beginning you will have no readers. No one will know about you. You are alone. The only person you will look foolish to is YOU.


Finding Your Voice

Forget about readers. The first challenge in blogging is to find your voice. Who are you? What is your unique perspective? What is your purpose for blogging?

If the answer is to make money, read no further. I am the wrong person to advise you.

Your number one reader should be you, the writer. Write about what you know, what interests you, and share your unique prospective on life. Write stories that you want to read. YOU will be your best audience and biggest fan!

A few tips on finding an audience

1. Join a Shared Interest Group - for an example, if you are a "Mom Blogger" join a site such as Mom Bloggers Club. You can find other groups on Ning, or use Google. Join in discussions, make comments on posts of interests. MAKE FRIENDS!

2. Key Words - Make sure you are using Key Words that someone might use when searching for the topic you are writing about. If possible, use these in your post title as well as when labeling the post in the area provided, "Labels for this post". Some websites have an area for SEO and ask for Meta words as well as a description.

3. Install a analytics program such as Stat-Counter or Google Analytics to find out who is coming to your blog and how they are finding you.

4. Tell your friends about your post - The best way to get others to read your post is to announce it on Twitter and provide a link. Shorten the title if possible using a program such as tiny URL. Give your fellow bloggers a reason to think about you and check out your blog. A well-worded comment on another post will help drive others to your blog.
Find posts to comment on.

What works for you? What drives others to your blog? How do you find your "readers"?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Couch Potato


This is how my eldest son likes to take a nap.
On MY favorite couch.
He is starting to blend into the fabric.
I almost sat on him the other day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Freedom of Religion?

This weekend I attended the Bar Mitzvah of one of my nephews. The two major themes in the ceremony were Justice and Freedom.

In reflection, I began to wonder. How much "Freedom" of religion do we really have? My nephew did not have much of a choice in whether or not to go to Hebrew School in preparation for this major event. I'm sure at this point, being much richer in mind and in the bank, he does not regret the experience. But the fact remains. My nephew did not choose his religion, he was born into it.

Freedom of Speech?


As Americans, we often take our many freedoms for granted. We also sometimes can take them too far.

As our family was together celebrating this auspicious religious milestone, a gunman in Arizona opened fire at a political rally killing 6 people and injuring scores more.

While funerals are being planned, a "Church" is planning to picket the funerals of the victims. The courts and citizens are stepping in to protect the right of the mourners to say goodbye to their loved ones in peace. I can not help but wonder.

How can untethered freedom of speech be a guaranteed right when it clearly infringes on others?

Where is the justice for the innocent victims of this horrific tragedy? How can a "church" celebrate this crime?

My heart breaks for the friends and families of the deceased.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Today I did something I haven't done for a long time. I drained most of our liquor cabinet.

Some of these bottles are over 25 years old. They were long over-due.

On Monday, the men who pick up our recycling will think that we had one heck of a party. Truth is it was our sink.... and the creatures who live in the sewers that were boozing it up.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2011!

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

Parenthood

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!

Irony


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.....
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