Showing posts from February, 2011

What time is it?


A little sunshine

The sun is out. In my hometown it is the Great White North and they are digging out from a foot of snow. So I will take a little sun today in New Jersey as it has certainly been a very gloomy week!!!

Time is sweeping by. My daughter and her friends gave us a rare photo shoot before heading to a Bat Mizvah. I know I'm not Jewish and don't have any childhood experience with this, but when did a religious celebration turn into a fashion show or prom? They look so grown up. Suddenly I will blink my eyes and they will be dressing for their real prom... hopefully with well-mannered dates and the same sweet girls.
Meanwhile on this sunny Saturday, my son needs some entertainment besides Pokemon shows and my Dad needs to get out of the house. I'll take them to RVCC's planetarium for a matinee. We're fortunate to have a planetarium just a few miles away. In less time that it takes to drive to Manville and see a movie (and for less money) I can take Grandpa, N and N's fri…

A difficult week...

Dear blog readers,
See below. I have blogged about her many times recently (anonymously). What the obituary didn't say was how full of life El was, even to the very end. If you feel inclined to doing a random act of kindness, I encourage you to contribute to Lucy's college fund. She is a bright cookie and definitely college material! (Since this was published in the paper, I am breaking my tradition of using initials in this blog, except for political figures).
Kiss your loved ones. You just never know what life will throw you!
Eleanor "El" Skaar, 51, lost her heroic struggle with breast cancer on Wednesday February 23, 2011 at home surrounded by her loving family. Born in Summit, El was raised in Meyersville and has resided in Martinsville for the past 15 years. For 18 years, El was an international financial manager at AT&T in Basking Ridge. She later became a grant writer for the Cancer Hope Network, an organization she was strongly devoted to. She wa…

Beyond my comfort zone

I am knitting a sweater for my husband and have been for more than 18 months. It is a very intricate pattern, it was a lot of yarn to lug around and the pattern isn't even in English, so today when I was trying to figure the next step, I couldn't tell whether I was supposed to do a certain sewing stitch... but that made even less sense, of what, I didn't know.  The final (hopefully correct) version: pin an arc to mark the neckline, sew (with a machine) around the neckline and CUT (as in the knitted yarn) out your neckline. YIKES! The technique is called steaking and I'm proud that I managed it without fainting. This time... Managing something successfully gave me an instantaneous confidence booster.

It pushed me to apply for a couple of jobs that are outside my comfort zone, too. Why should I be stuck with the same old, same old?

It took weeks to get the gumption to do this. I've knit lots of sweaters before, but I always got help with the hard parts. Getting bett…

Now what starts with the letter C????

COOKIE STARTS WITH C.... Let's think of other things that starts with C... (two year old curly girl adds her name)

C is for ... C - - - - - - (add my daughter's name) that's good enough for me...
C is for C - - - - - -, that's good enough for me...
C is for C - - - - - - ,
C is for C - - - - - -, that's good enough for me...
Oh C- - - - - -, C - - - - - -, C - - - - - - starts with C!

Can you hear in your mind's ears a young mom singing this hundreds of times in the car, trying to entertain a 2 year old girl driving through the hills to my in-laws' summer house, about 3 hours away? It's one of lots of associations I have with public television and radio.

Today I am remembering that CUT also starts with the letter C. But it's not as good as a cookie!!! There are many articulate arguments to keep PBS all over the internet. One was recently in the Seattle Times and another on the Huffington Post. But there is a website that is organizing the movemen…

Why I love my dog... reason #2094589

Diego is not especially well-trained, but he does have one useful trick.

When it's time to get the kids out of bed, I call out "Diego, wake the kiddies" and he comes scurrying from downstairs, even when he's also sleeping, jumps on their beds and licks them until they get up. It's also a labor of love of sorts, quite literally, but very different from mine.

Priceless moments in my so-called life that make the harder days manageable.

Labor of Love

It's Saturday morning and I'm mad as hell at myself: I forgot to buy milk. The smell of strong Cafe Verona fills the kitchen, perhaps the house, but without milk... the best part... coffee is just... bitter and hard.

But really this anger is a distraction. My real emotions cannot be described as I plan my day. MR and I are taking our daughters plus ES's daughter shopping. Most of the time I love the thought of bringing my daughter to look for dresses. These dresses, however, are not for a party. Not for a bat mizvah, sweet sixteen, wedding, confirmation... nothing like that. These dresses should be black, tasteful and "appropriate". In our impossible feat of trying to help ES's family get through this tragedy, we are taking their daughter and ours to buy her dress. I can't even write what it is for - how do you take a 12 year old girl to buy a this dress? BTW ES is still with us, but the family is very well organized and this is a "practical favor&qu…

Half way there...

Dear MC,

Thank you for organizing the tickets to the Bon Jovi concert. My fingers are crossed that they don't sell out.

I've spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks thinking about what constitutes a friendship and I'm grateful for my e-town friends!

As I see my daughter building new friendships in middle school I remember how my life magically transformed when the Washington elementary school crew adopted me into their world, starting with RG and SA, and later LB, BP and you.

And thank you for sharing some of the best memories of my life... including dancing to this song on a "floating disco".

How lucky are we who can continue to build on them and make new memories with our friends, and now, our families too! And still dance to the same awesome song.


Dream job and life's choices

In 1994 I was extremely lucky to land a job with exactly the organization where I wanted to work. (We'll call it A). It was entry level, which I see now was perfectly appropriate, although at the time I delusionally thought I should started in a higher position. It was then I learned the expression to "pay your dues, then move up!" Yet I was THRILLED. I loved being in New York City, but hated being poor in the City. My cubical, in the high-rise I called "my office" sat just a few blocks from the UN and I often walked the fifty blocks home to the apartment I shared with two other girls on the Upper East Side.

My joy was short-lived. A eliminated my position just 2 1/2 months after I started. Instead of looking for new work in Manhattan, I returned to my fiance in Seattle. I became a travel agent and we ended up leaving the West Coast and I worked for A's largest competitor at the DC headquarters. (If you've been able to follow, I moved back and forth fr…


I feel melancholy after seeing my friend who was very weak. Although she said she felt well, she was far worse than I've seen her. Her family has been through so much. Their home had an unspoken sadness over it today.

So if you think I'm going to write about something political or otherwise provocative, come back another day.

And please, kiss your friends while you can!


I spent much of the day preoccupied. Until about 5:30 when I heard terrible news. Then I woke up!

The Poppet-Family has had several near-misses over the past few years. We had the big near miss on I-78. My husband nearly killed our son when he ran himself over with a pick-up truck in our driveway last year (I wasn't allowed to blog about it). And last month we nearly lost our dog.

Today there was a shooting in Bridgewater next door to where I shop nearly every day for the fresh bread my family so loves. In fact, I had left the store only an hour and 15 minutes before. While this is more a coincidence than luck, I feel especially grateful tonight that my family is under one roof.

If my day had been moved forward one hour....... I'd have been in the right place at the wrong time, and I'm so grateful that at 4:45 today instead of Wegmans, I was home, running late. As usual...

I feel for Roy's** family, who weren't so lucky and tonight find themselves dealing with this…

Salt & Light

As many of you know, I am not the most convinced Christian. But lately I have been attending church pretty regularly - when I don't have anything else to do for my friend, I can ask God to help her family. And I ALWAYS get something meaningful from a good sermon.

Today's readings were very meaningful. The Psalm was something my sister and I sang at a summer choir camp in Canada in 1985 and reading the English text I could hear it in my mind's ear the music in Latin. The Gospel today was straight our of Godspell and brought me back to our 1987 high school performance. So I heard this in my mind's ear as the Deacon read from St. Matthew. Very different musical places to go in a short period of time...

The sermon focused on how we can serve others and how sharing these good works can inspire others to do their own good deeds. Please don't take this as bragging, or as a way to make you feel guilty. Ask anyone who knows me knows I have plenty of bad qualities too. Some …

New Finds for New York with kids...

We had to do an errand in New York City yesterday. It included bringing a signed and notarized document to an office in Manhattan - and just as I was leaving for the city, I realized I had the WRONG document notarized. I figured it was an omen for a bad start to a day of things going wrong, but that wasn't the case.

Let me share with you six fun hours in the city.

We walked from where we parked on 49th St and 10th Ave to the office we needed to be at on 50th St and 3rd Ave. I always park at the same lot. It's very convenient to the tunnel, to mid-town and it's not expensive. For five hours I paid $12! It seems so cheap that I wonder if it was a mistake since I usually pay closer to $20?

The meeting was at a consulate to renew my son's foreign passport. Normally the women who work this office are... um... less than warm and fuzzy - but we hit the jackpot. M was lovely! She accepted the incorrect document and she took N's picture, saving me the time and money to get …

I'm Ok, You're OK... but are "We" OK? Part 2

I've spent about 20% of my life outside of the US. During my second time studying abroad I experienced anti-American demonstrations thrown in my face. It was a cold and snowy January, and it seemed both the sentiments and the weather would never change. 

Maybe I was naive (I was only 20), but I was shocked at the passion with which Europeans showed their hatred toward the US! I thought we were allies, since I living was in a NATO member country.

I arrived in Europe for a year's study the day after Iraq sent it's troops into Kuwait. "KRIG?" covered the newspapers that week in July 1990, but I didn't experience open anti-US hostility until the US attacked Iraq the following January.   Protesters weren't just demonstrating in European capitals, but in the tiny village where I was one of two American students. I heard daily criticism by the other students, radical or not, and I was shocked by the images of anti-Americanism that flooded the papers and TV. It …

Another snow day?

The cold, wet and miserable weather is still a metaphor today, although my thoughts are on another subject than yesterday.

Why is life so unfair?

Why is my friend still suffering from her fight with cancer. She's slowly withering away. (Not that I want the alternative, I just wish she weren't so sick!). I have to remember she would do anything to be well enough to shovel the driveway, even walking to the mailbox would be a huge feat for her today. Here I moan to myself "my aching shoulders!"

Earlier, I was wondering why children always congregate here on snow days. I can't remember a snow day when both my kids were elsewhere. Today N has 2 friends over. They are playing inappropriate video games that "good moms don't allow 10 year olds to play". Lunch was an unhealthy mac-n-cheese followed by a vanilla-pudding chaser. Sodas to drink. But that's the risk when you outsource your kids to me... bad supervision and poor judgment.

Lamenting that…

Seeking warmth in freezing rain

For me the weather today is a metaphor, so I posted a Facebook status asking about food. I have received lots of literal replies.
Ice storms call for stew. What does this other storm call for??What is the best "food for the soul" when a freezing rain seems to be covering us from the sky?  I feel unable to escape it's reach even in the warmth of my home.

I'll turn to what I've always turned to. Knitting and cooking. I'll be making something with my hands for people I love. When despair and frustration and hate seem to permeate everything, you have to look to yourself and your loved ones for safe haven. Sometimes you only have yourself... and soup.

For knitters (about two of you who read this blog), Pam MacKenzie gave a great tip today for a knitting book that I intend to buy. I want to make a sweater like the Joining in Friendship Sweater where the cables symbolize friendship. But not tonight. I'm not risking the icy roads for a book.

For those non-knitters…