Posts Tagged ‘Susan’

Well it’s technically not Monday anymore but I’m still up so it’s still Monday and just enough time to post this weeks Six Words.  Last week I suggested that we might just write about ourselves.  My friend, Susan was particularly prolific this week, sending my several entries.  Great!!

1.  Still trying to figure it out – Susan

2.  Looking for a man with heart – Susan             

Man With A Heart

Man With A Heart


3.  So much to do, so little time – Susan

4. The holiday rush is nearly here – Susan

5. Different times mean starting new traditions – Susan

6.  Towpath PTO Spooky House Horror Show  – Sandy

7. Who’s that person in the mirror? – Me

Last week on the Smith Magazine site, the challenge was attitude and perspective influence your outlook.  Here are few of their picks;

1. “The key is laughing at yourself” – Christine MacDonald

2.  “that’s the thing about hitting bottom…” –Amanda.Sunshine

3. “They said: ‘It’s impossible.’ It wasn’t.” –Matthew Lingren

4. “Broken pieces make up beautiful mosaics.” –DeTiix

Here’s an idea for next Monday – How about Selling Yourself In Six Words?

Sale: Vintage model, needs body work – Me

Read Full Post »

I am loving the replies and responses I’m getting from a couple of faithful followers!  This is such a good brain game – although I believe Smith Magazine does not consider this project a game!  Their (Smith Magazine) website is an encyclopedia of Six Word Memoirs.  They have categories, contests, archives and more.  After I publish our reader’s memoirs, I thought I would post a few from their Best Six Word Memoirs of the Week.

Falling Leaves

1. Falling leaves make for slippery roads – Susan

2. Ghost!? Kidding!….Ummm What was thaaat? – Laura

3.  Guests brought pot, hostess couldn’t stir – Me

4. Enough with the campaign adverts already! – Susan

5. I am addicted to my I-Pad – Lynne

6. Trying to empty freezer for cookies – Susan

7. Beginning to look lots like Halloween – Susan

8.  High last night, hung over today – Me


And so from the experts (their contributors) at Smith Magazine, here are some of the memoirs deemed best of the week:

1. Let toddler take you for a walk

2. Give all grudges a proper burial

3. Seeing familiar milestones in changing landscapes

4. Inhaling this moment : My favorite drug!

5. Practice being bored, it builds character

Aren’t those great?  I strongly suggest visiting the web site, people from all over the world sign in and send in Memoirs!  

Our challenge for next week is HALLOWEN HORROR STORIES IN SIX WORDS!  But of course if you’d rather send in a random thought or act or anything else, you know it’s fine with me and will be published the following week!

Oh Horrors!

Oh Horrors!

Read Full Post »

I published this Father’s Day blog in 2011 and felt I wanted to put it out there again.   If You Can Hear Me Dad, I Just Want To Say… June 19, 2011 by pbenjay                             

Daddy’s Little Girl

I have so much to thank you for and I know I’ve said it before, this day, this Father’s Day, I feel the need to say it again. And this time it’s going to be harder because I don’t know if you can hear me and I don’t have an address where to send this letter. Of course, I can always fall back on my Catholic upbringing and hope and assume you are in heaven and in that case, you must be with Mom too.

But this day is about you; As an only child who lost her mother when I was 9, you played a bigger than life role in my life. All little girls adore their fathers, I was certainly no exception and for those few years when you had to be both Mommy and Daddy, you were my whole world. I wanted to be Daddy’s Little Girl forever.

It must have been really hard for you! I didn’t fully realize just how hard it must have been until I was in my own adulthood. Like all children, being totally self-centric, even as I grew up I only thought of my own pain and loss. I don’t know at what point it occurred to me just how young you were and how the burden of being a single parent must have been on you AND then it was even later before I realized the daily pain you must have felt losing the love of your life, my mother, Helen. She was only 33 years old so I guess you were probably around the same age. Those evenings around the supper table just you and me and the empty chair are forever ingrained in my mind while you sat and stared into some place and time not in the present. A broken heart, a full-time job to support me, a house to take care of, a child to rear and feed and nurture. Wow Dad, you rocked!

I am ever grateful to you for the parenting and nurturing you gave me that set me on the path of the person I’ve become. Along the way, I ‘ve made a lot of mistakes, some which you tried to talk me out of and some which I guess I had to experience in order to learn a lesson.

But this day is just not about my lamenting the loss of my dear Dad, it’s also about memories held dear and thankfulness for hundreds, no thousands of big and little things, ideas, principles, values, and fun times.

So thank you Dad for so many memories….teaching me to tie my shoes, getting me a dog, letting me sit on your lap as you read even when I was way too big to do so. For making me kites from road maps and making them bigger than any store-bought one with long tails, and letting me take even more maps to cover my school books, for letting me be a tomboy and because you worked for J & E Stevens, bringing home the best cap guns and holsters ever. Thank you for teaching my friends and I how to water ski, for taking me along with you to pick the first dandelions of the season by Wadsworth Falls, for giving me a jack knife and trusting me with it. For teaching me how to fish and taking me deep sea fishing with you, for building stilts for me and for teaching me about shooting marbles. Thank you for finding the money to send me to St. John’s School where I received such a good basic education, that those of us who went there were all bumped up an English grade in Junior HS. You were the one who fixed the broken zipper on my dress an hour before I was supposed to leave for a dance and you were the one who was angry at me when you found out I was smoking! Thank you for instilling in me the joy of reading, the value and satisfaction of growing flowers and vegetables, for taking us on vacation to the beach either in Maine or Rhode Island where I learned to love the smell of the ocean and body surf the waves.

Thank you Dad for standing by me when I made the decision to get a divorce, for getting me a calf and raising it so we could slaughter it and have beef for a year, for teaching me to drive a stick shift car and for letting me play jacks on the dining room floor even though it probably scratched it up a lot. I have great memories of you and Susan’s Dad, Bill and us all sledding at night down Spencer Drive, and of the clam bakes, pig roasts and other block parties that I know you were the instigator and I inherited that gene and passed it on to my own daughter.

Thank you taking me clamming with you and teaching me how to eat clams on the half shell even when I was still small enough to sit in the bushel basket where you put the clams you found. For being the “fix-it” Dad that you were fixing all kinds of things around my apartment and house for years and years. For always getting me a big pumpkin at Halloween and carving the best faces! You were so involved in making the holidays special whether it was pumpkin carving or coloring Easter eggs with me and being the Dad in the neighborhood who got all the fireworks for Fourth of July and giving me sparklers, black snakes and poppers. Thank you for letting me plaster pictures of Elvis Presley all over my bedroom door and for buying me his records and my own Hi-Fi portable record player.

Thank you keeping the memory of my mother alive and marrying my stepmother so I wouldn’t grow up motherless. I miss you Dad – there are many times when I reach for the phone to call you and ask you something and then I remember I can’t do that anymore. This past week, I drove to CT to see Susan and on the way I passed the Stella D’Oro Cookie Factory, where when we drove past it on our way to see Grandma, we could smell the cookies baking and I knew we were getting close to her apartment. Well the cookie smells have been gone a long time since the factory closed the manufacturing end and just used the building as headquarters. Two days ago, I was saddened to see a For Sale sign on the building. Just another incident in the passage of time and a reminder of days gone by, days spent with you Dad.

I wish I were home where I could get a photo of my Dad to add to this post, but I’m not, so I can’t.  What I do have, is a photo of what I would call the Ultimate Care Bear;  This is a bear created and made by the staff of the Hospice under whose care my father was in at the end of his life.  The bear is made with articles of clothing of my Dad, particularly  items he wore and used for as long as I can remember.  He always had a bandana in his pocket to be used to wipe the sweat away as he worked or to use as a handkerchief.   He served in the Navy in WWII and then re-enlisted in later life in the Naval Reserve – the bear has his hat and one of his Naval patches.  He favored plaid flannel shirts and the bear is wearing some of the same as well as one of his blue work shirts.  I keep this bear where I can see it knowing its presence keeps his presence in my life.

My Very Own Care Bear

My Very Own Care Bear

Read Full Post »

Those of you who know me and my collections already know that there are MANY vintage toys and games in our house.  They are not all childhood favorites however, some are just collected for the beauty of their design and graphics.  Being a woman of a certain age now, I’m pretty sure some of my favorites will be toys many of my readers have never even heard of!!!! Luckily I also have readers who are part of that post-war baby boom era too, and I don’t mean Vietnam.

These are toys and games I remember playing with most fondly:

  1. BILL DING – well I had to put him as number one  because he belongs to this blog.  He is my gravatar and he and his gang of clowns guard this site.  He is also very special to me because when I first met my husband, Peter and we prowled through antique shops and flea markets, I mentioned to him that I would love to find this certain toy from my past – Bill Ding.  When Christmas came, Peter gave me a narrow rectangular box, the kind a necklace would be in and of course that’s what I expected to find.  Instead, there he was, well not exactly he because the blue clown in the box was not Bill Ding himself but it didn’t matter.  I was SO excited to see this little wooden, blue, building-block clown, I couldn’t believe he had found one – by the way this was pre-Ebay days!  To this day, that very first Bill Ding clown sits on a shelf in our bedroom.  Over the years I collected many many more Bill Dings and they live all over the apartment.  I have introduced both my grandson, Cash and my granddaughter, Finley to the joys of stacking and creating pyramids with these smiling wooden characters.
  2. Melody Bells – I remember the Christmas I got Melody Bells as a gift.  I think my Uncle Franklin gave them to me.  I played and played with them till I’m sure I drove my parents crazy.  What was great about these bells was that the little songbook that came with them showed you how to play a tune by color.  Each bell was a different color and you could play the notes by ringing the bell of that color.  I guess I have always learned things more visually – I make Peter nuts when I refer to the Number 6 subway train as the green line and the Broadway train as the red line. He, of course being a true New Yorker refers to the subway lines as the IRT and RBT  and the IND.  I mean, really!! He is, of course, much older than me, lol lol.
  3. Candy Land – I know the game is still around and every time I see one at a thrift shop or flea market I check it out to see if the board has the old graphics, but it never does.  If it did, I would buy it.  I can remember playing this game for hours with my girlfriends…hoping to pick the Ice Cream Float card or the Gum Drop Mountain card.  The graphics had that great 1950’s look about them.  Now I understand, the game has characters, geez!  And I’ve seen the game boards of recent years – NO they’re not as great looking as the oldies.  Help me get out of the Molasses Swamp!
  4. Ball & Jacks – Really better known to me and my friends as just Jacks. Hours and hours were spent shaking those jacks in your hand and perfecting your toss so you could scoop up the requisite number and not touch the remaining pieces.  Ah technique, the sweeping of the palm of your hand and your pinky finger scooping up a trailing jack.  Little red balls bouncing all over the place especially if we played on our front steps and the ball hit an uneven spot.  What I remember is that I had real jacks, not the thin gray jacks that you could bend and break.  NO, my father got me cast metal jacks and they were in different colors; they were bigger, heavier and made a lot more noise when you played with them on one of the hardwood floors.  Jacks are wonderful because you could amuse yourself for hours or play with your friends.
  5. Clue: Also game still produced and played and need I even say that the older version was better? Well maybe the board wasn’t as snazzy as it is today and the character were only drawn faces and not photo-like images of real people as they are now BUT, the weapons were much more real. Yes truly – my set which was given to me about 1955 was a pretty early version since Parker Bros. bought the rights in 1949.  My set had a little lead pipe that actually was a soft lead and could bend, the rope really was a piece of twine fashioned into a hangman’s noose.  I loved Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green and Miss Scarlet.
  6. Paper Dolls and Guns – Paper Dolls were not so much a favorite of mine but rather a playtime activity I remember doing with my girlfriends.  I think Susan and Kakky (a nickname) had more Paper Dolls than I did; I was really a tomboy.  However, I remember clearly that I had a Rhonda Fleming paper doll set and  June Allyson.  Why I had only movie stars I don’t know, but my dad bought them for me.  Susan will probably read this so she can confirm, but I think she had the Betsy McCall Paper Dolls and one of us may have had Shirley Temple. Guns, well that was another whole thing. My father worked for J & E  Stevens Co. and they manufactured toy guns.  Their Guns were famous and prized for their weight, style and mechanical reliability. You could always tell a J & E toy gun by the ivory handle with a jewel in the handle.   And I had caps too!  Love the smell of a popped cap.  Rolls and rolls of pale red paper strips, all my guns were cap pistols.  I had beautiful holster sets too.  I remember one particular pale tan double holster set with the silver bullets and it had rawhide laces to strap to your legs – God, I was the envy of every boy in the neighborhood!!
  7. Cootie – Loved to play this game with my cousins from New Jersey.  I used to spend summers with them when I was about 10 and we played Cootie a lot.  I always wanted the pink body (somethings never change).  They were so cute!  They had legs, antennae, a proboscis.
  8. Pick Up StixThis was another of those games that required patience, a steady hand and some measure of analytical skill.  And also again, this is game you could play by yourself or with friends.  How many times did I hold that bunch of colorful sticks, drop them and then carefully (you couldn’t move another stick) extricate the sticks one by one.  Of course today, I’m sure the mothers don’t let their kids play with any object that has points; thankfully none of my friends poked their eyes out!
  9. Hula Hoop, Roller Skating and Jump Rope, Hop ScotchJust in case you thought all of my playtime was sedentary, it sure wasn’t.  I still can’t figure out how I was able to roll that hoop around my hips for HOURS and now I can’t make it stay up even one loop!!!  We all had Hula Hoops and soon we were twirling the hoops at our knees and shimmying them up.  We could even make several hoops loop around at the same time.  And  we all had Roller Skates; the old metal ones with ball bearing wheels and a skate key to tighten the clamps that held the skates onto our shoes.  I lived in an area where everyone had  a driveway and the road was safe to skate on too.  Double-Dutch jump rope was something we did every spring.  I wasn’t as good at Double-Dutch, but did like just skipping rope with those red wooden handled Jump Ropes that we somehow got new every year.  You knew it was Daylight Savings Time when the Roller Skates, Jump Ropes and Hula Hoops appeared and the driveways were decorated with elaborately chalk-drawn Hop Scotch diagrams, both squares and spirals.
  10. And we played with: Silly Putty, Slinkys, Play Doh, Marbles, Baseball cards, Jack Knives (yes!), Stilts, Kites, Water Pistols, Old Maid
  11. And not to be overlooked: Chinese Checkers, Parcheesi, Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Tinker Toys, Krazy Ikes, Mr. Potato Head (and we used real potatoes), Tiddly Winks.
  12. Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Miss Scarlet, Parker Bros. Clue

    1955 CLUE game board

    Lollipop woods, gum drop mountain, molasses swamp, candy cane forest

    Original Candy Land Game Board

    And then there were a bunch of Simpler Toys from a Simpler Time.

10 Simple Toys and Pastimes From Another Lifetime

Read Full Post »

This week has been fruitful; Look what’s happening! My  readers are sending in their personal Six Word Memoirs!! Yay!

Although a bit challenging, this little writing exercise REALLY makes you think about yourself, your life, your wishes, your loves, your losses and your goals.  AND it changes weekly or more often as your mood changes and your outlook centers on yet another side of our Rubix Cube lives.

Susan, my longtime childhood friend sent me this:

Driving Infiniti-must I come back?

And from Ruby, who recently lost her mother and whose heart is heavy:

Mothered mother and back to me.

Gail, friend, and blog contributor has this to say about these past few weeks here in the Northeast:

Too hot, too sticky, too much!

Last but not least, I am honored once again by Anna of Goannatree.blogspot.com with:

Rewriting in the Scottish summer rain.

Brilliant, just brilliant – I love it!  THANK YOU THANK YOU for participating.  Let’s keep this going.

Summer is, I am, living it. by me.

Read Full Post »

This evening we participated in a very special event! You might say we held an Irish wake, sort of…several of Susan and Jim’s friends gathered at beach tonight to honor the memory of Isabelle, their beloved Weimaraner who passed away last week.  Susan thought it would be a fitting tribute to Isabelle if we met at the beach and toasted Izzy as she was known to me and Belle as Jim affectionately called his girl. It was a great idea!

Jim Taylor, Ocean Grove,

She Was My Girl For Sure

People came with their dogs and with memories of furry loved ones gone.  And fitting it was to have the dogs racing around through the sand, tails wagging wildly, barking, yapping and loving every minute of this last minute freedom to do so.  Tomorrow is the beginning of Ocean Grove’s NO DOGS on the BEACH or the BOARDWALK policy which is in effect from May1st to October 1st. Actually there were quite a few last fling before the season begins dogs and owners on the shore tonight.  Big dogs, little dogs, black dogs, tiny dogs, dogs wearing neckerchiefs, dogs splashing along the shore nipping at each others’ heels – All in Fun!

French bulldog, Sammy and Harry, Ocean Grove, Jersey shore

Getting to Know You!

Cindy who owns The Dawg Joint in Asbury Park showed up with all the dogs that had not been picked up when she left to join us.  She brought Bubbles, a big fluffy two year old Bernese Mountain dog. Chakra, a lovely white Boxer mix as well as Remi, her own Lab Rhodesian Ridgeback mx.  Maggie Mae, Flo, Sammy and Harry were all in attendance and even a couple more.

Sophie Taylor, rescue dog, Jersey shore, Ocean Grove

Sophie Taylor Looks On

Susan spoke from the heart, about the life of Izzy while she was with them, the joy she brought to both of them, but especially her affinity for shadowing Jim, to whom she was very attached and vice versa I might add.  I didn’t know Izzy very well but I certainly will not forget the picture in my mind of her sprawled out on the end of the couch, snoring, while Susan would straighten out my latest disaster in knitting.  We all had the opportunity to say a few words about those pets of ours that have died.  Peter thoughtfully suggested we bring a picture of Murphy Brown and so we did and took our moment to remember the joy that big orange ball of a cat brought into our lives.

As the last rays of the rapidly retreating sunshine disappeared, we gathered up our stuff, wine bottles, glasses and blankets and with lots of hugs and kisses bid each other all a good evening and then we were gone!

Read Full Post »

Some people who have a cottage at the shore actually go to the beach.  Why, when we didn’t have a cottage and we spent weekends at the Lilligaard Hotel, we used to go the beach, soak up the sunshine, read a book, totally relax and end the day on the big porch with a martini!!

That was then and this is now – There was no buffet for breakfast this morning with a bottomless cup of coffee.  Instead, Peter made his own eggs while I toodled around with the computer and watched Sunday Morning.  That was just my way of procrastinating, there were so many things on my To Do List and a good many I had put on Peter’s list.

I showered and ate and set out for my first stop which was to Susan’s BECAUSE once again, those damn knitting needles screwed up the sleeve of Finley’s sweater.  And on my way over, I spotted balloons down the street,  a sure sign of Spring in the Grove – YARD SALE! Not a lot to choose from BUT of course I found a few treasures; 2 DVDs, 2 books for the Grandbabies (I think the books are part of a fantasy of having the grandkids here and reading to them) and a very strange looking tool for Peter which  I thought maybe he would clean up and sell at the Flea Market (that may be yet another fantasy).  Susan fixed the sleeve in no time and I was off to Starbucks for my morning FIX of a Grande Americano with a lite splash of steamed brevi.  Whenever I place that order I feel like I’m a DP from LA. A while ago I bought a travel mug at Starbucks for the car and so if you give it to the staff to fill instead of taking a paper cup and transferring in a moving car which is always a treat, lol, you actually receive a 10 cent discount.  So I hand over my mug with my order and the barista hands it to me with the top not on.  As I screwed on the top, very hot steamed espresso and half and half streamed out through the top making puddles on the counter and a mess all down the sides of the mug.  FIRST I had to bring to her attention that I needed something to clean it up.  She said “Oh I’ll clean it up, it happens all the time”.  She wiped up the counter BUT I’m holding a mug that literally has foamy milk running down all of the sides and on my hand.  NO OFFER to give me something to wipe it or me ,clean.  I literally must have used 25 napkins to get all of the foam off the mug.  It sounds silly, easy and stupid right? WELL, the mugs are covered in various spots with a rubberized and textured coating – all the better for the hot cream to adhere to! Wipe, wipe, wipe and wipe again. I tried sipping some of the brew so it would be below the screw top and still it came out. THIS IS RIDICULOUS!  Wouldn’t you think the people who work for the company that sells the mug would know how high you can fill it?   Why I felt funny about taking a photograph of it right then and there I don’t know – I had my camera with me and I should have snapped  a shot of the total oozing mess.  I wanted a picture for the blog BUT  was embarrassed about taking a photo lest they think I was planning on sending it to corporate.

Espresso, steamed Brevi, Starbucks, travel mug

You can still see specks of foam on the mug

Finally I snapped a quick photo surreptitiously at the very end of the clean up.  BUT I am going to write to Starbucks because a few weeks ago this very same girl was on the counter and when I asked her for the discount that she didn’t give me, she shrugged her shoulders and took a dime out of the tip container.  I guess that was to make me feel foolish and petty when in fact she made the error.  This same staff person on that same day looked at me blankly when I ordered a Tall black Pike’s and proceeded to give the robust coffee of the day.

Listen I know anyone can make a mistake, it’s not about that, it’s the attitude! Wouldn’t you think she would be concerned and apologetic that hot coffee was all over a Guest? Wouldn’t you think she would have glanced over and saw me ripping napkins out of the holders to wipe up the continuous puddling on the counter where the sugar and milks are? Wouldn’t you think she might have said something while I was frantically trying to clean up the mug – this while other guests were trying to add milk or sugar to their own drinks and I am standing there looking like the slob who spilled her coffee everywhere?

Once out the door I headed to Harmon Discount because all week long I had been waiting to buy  two new eyebrow pencils and two blue eyeliners. THAT’S ALL I was going to get.  Part of the spring cleaning of my make-up kit times two because as you know any lady worth her Oil of Olay has cosmetics and stuff at both of her dwellings.  At least 3o minutes later I emerged from Harmon with just a few other items. You know when you go to the grocery store and you’re hungry, you come home with all kinds of snacks and goodies, well somehow the same phenomena struck me when I was in Harmon’s.  For those of you who are not familiar with this store (it is a chain)-it sells discount cosmetics and toiletries, hair dryers, hair care products as well as brushes, clips etc.  In other words it’s a fun place to browse through especially if you’re a girl even a girl of a certain age. So, 2 blue eyeliners – two different brands and two different colors, a water spray bottle to keep my forced curls curly, an eye shadow palette for hazel eyes because I am sure my brown eyes are fading, another eye shadow combo with some greens in it to replace the one I dropped on the bathroom tile floor, you know what that mess was like.  Of course I needed two eyebrow pencils too and again two different shades, two different brands – I mention this only because you can imagine how much time was spent while I desperately tried to determine which product and shade was right.  I think my Gemini side was in full force yesterday morning. – maybe my moon was rising.  Then there was the replacement of a lip stain by Cover Girl that I really like and am almost out of, so I got one of those too. Just as I thought I was done (really) I spotted this eye brightener – now that is a ridiculous come on if I ever heard one because other than putting some magic drops in your eyes, what could this mere pencil do?  Well we’ll find out!!! Leaving the store at the checkout counter, I thought to myself, I should never come in this store again when I’m hungry!!

Guiltily and quickly I headed home, picked up Peter and off we went to the storage area where we needed to drop off some New York street furniture find of his, return the Easter hats to their year long home and find a bank that we sold on Ebay which was supposed to be in a bin and was NOT.  We are hoping it is somewhere in New York because it has been paid for and the buyer is awaiting shipment.

“What a great day to paint, don’t you think, Peter?” He promised to paint the trim around the windows in the bow window to match the front of the house.   Last year we had picked out a beautiful shade of a green that is somewhere between sea glass and aquamarine and at the time we only painted the two front windows and the front door frame…I really wanted the windows on the ocean side of the house painted too.

Sea Glass green, Bay Window

Bay Window on La Vie en Rose

So after he painted the bow window frames, I drove past the house and sure enough the remaining two side windows stood out like the proverbial sore thumb!  Thankfully it didn’t take much convincing to have him paint those also.  So now our little cottage, La Vie en Rose has some color on the side.  It’s hard to convince anyone it’s a little Victorian when it has white vinyl siding on it.  Very bland, but I am adding color wherever I can and making it into a Confection of a Cottage inside and out!

Lest you think I was reading, knitting or writing this blog while he was working I was not!  We had bought a huge bag of mulch two weeks ago and so I spread it among our bushes in the back, the daffodils on the side and cleaned up the front landscaping and put some there too.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but I had to fill a pail with the mulch, spread it, fill the pail again and again and again.  Still, that was a lot easier than washing the mildew and moss off of the porch spindles and the edge of the porch floor.  I scrubbed and scrubbed and it still doesn’t look great and I am trying to convince my painter that mildew will just eat its way through new paint and also some of the spindles and the lower balustrade need to be replaced, AND the porch floor could use some minor repair and a repainting and thank God our other home is an apartment with a Superintendent, handymen who clean the hallway carpeting and wash the floors,  a trash room, a laundry room, a doorman and a garage.

All work, no play? NO WAY – as Sunday afternoon faded away, look how much fun we had doing our favorite Shore thingDrinks and appetizers on the porch with friends! Doncha just love it?

Jim Taylor, front porch

Chilling on the porch

Peter Press, martini, front porch Ocean Grove

Savoring the evening's martini

Cheese and crackers, olives, Bruschetta, shrimp, appetizers, red peppers, artichoke hearts

Hors D'ouevres on the Front Porch

Read Full Post »

The moon won’t full until tomorrow night BUT as the weekend wore on and the moon inched its way to fullness; “things” just sort of happened!  Some weekends are just high drama or maybe Mercury is in retrograde!

Fridays aren’t Fundays here in Ocean Grove; The first problem is that we never leave the house early enough and being a Starbucks Grande Americano junkie the longer I am without caffeine, the more apparent it becomes to me that Peter is doing everything wrong and wasting time and we aren’t out the door.

Starbucks Americano

Got to have that espresso caffeine fix

First stop is Main Avenue where we pop into Ocean Grove Hardware and say a big THANK YOU to Dave who graciously removed the two huge tree branches that landed in our yard weeks ago.  We had no idea how we were going to get the tree branches cut up small enough for the town to pick it up.  Peter firmly believes that Jews shouldn’t use chain saws and I agree with him especially when the moon is almost full.

Friday night I have plans to go to the Fashion show and dinner at Bia with Trish, Heide and Jim and Susan.  The idea was to be there about 6:45 so we could get a good table.  I don’t think we got home until after 5pm and I have 10 lbs. of chicken breasts to divide up between 2 houses.  I portion and bag all of them and realize I can’t get them all into the freezer. I call the Lilligaard Hotel to see if I can use their freezer and no answer so I left a message  and run around to get dressed and put on make-up and see if I can re-scrunch some curl into my hair.  I flip on the light in the bathroom and poof, first the overhead light goes out and then the fixture over the sink blows.  I think it’s a fuse so I yell to Peter who is outside on the phone that I blew a fuse – his comedic friend George who is on the other  end of the line says Tell Lori to calm down”. ha ha ha, I’m not in a laughing mood as the time is ticking away.  In most houses when you blow a fuse you can go into the closet or hallway and open the box up and flip the circuits. NOT HERE.  The circuit breaker box is in the basement which I wouldn’t call  a basement because a basement is where you can store things; where you can put a washer and dryer, a Christmas tree stand, bikes in the winter and hundreds of other things.  We have what is known as a Yankee cellar. To access it I must move the litter box, the big plastic bottle of litter, the container for the litter, a dust mop, a sponge mop and a Swifter.  Then I have to move the stool and the recycle bin, the bag of newspapers and a BIG box (read Costco) of black garbage bags and oh yes the cat litter scoop and the rug under the litter box – ALL THIS so we can open the trap door and Peter can go down not really stairs but more like a ladder to check the circuit breakers. Once the trap door is open, there is always the possibility that a cat might decide to explore the nether regions of the cottage so I close them both in the bathroom with me which significantly reduces the amount of natural light I am using to put on a happy face.  Still no lights – I yell downstairs to ask if he tripped the breakers?  He says they’re  all on -I repeat the question unaware that I was speaking in tongues.  After he  does flip the breakers and still no lights,  I ask the obvious question-“Did you flip them all?”   “Yes” “Are you sure ?”  “Well there’s one not next to the others and it says ‘push to test” and I don’t need to tell you what I said next, you can fill in the blanks.  Alright, I give up –  still no lights and I’ve got to put my make-up on in the fast descending dusk.

The March lamb is nowhere to be found, it’s cold, my knee hurts, I’m late and I have a bottle of wine, canned goods for the food bank and my knitting  so I need a ride. You may be wondering why the knitting is going to dinner and a fashion show?  Just more manic multi-tasking? No I’m not actually going to knit during the show but I do need Susan to look over yet another error and see if she can fix it . I have to say that none of us were thrilled with our meal, the four of us that had ordered the fish sent it back because it was cold. New entrees arrived but the meal just wasn’t great except for the Bistro cake which was one of those molten chocolate in the middle, so decadent that there’s no point in eating it – just put it in your pocket because it’ll end up on your hips anyway.

Saturday morning we called Jim and Susan for electrical help and Jim went into the cellar with Peter and soon we had lights BECAUSE Peter had  never touched the one that was not quite next to the others!!! We ended up going to Home Depot to buy a new fixture for over the mirror and it will look better with the new wallpaper.

Sunday morning brought one of those domino effect events.  Peter was working on the wallpapering of the bathroom and installing the light fixture which required him to shut off the electricity in the bathroom which required him to go into the cellar and you know what that entailed.  When I came into the room I was disturbed by the mops leaning into the egg beaters – yes you heard me right, but it’s a long story.  So as I am muttering to myself (as I am wont to do) about how carelessly these mops were tossed aside and I decide to remove the one from the egg beaters, as I pull it away the mop head is behind the legs of the stool upon which a canister of cat kibble sits.  Uh huh, the canister topples over and kibble is everywhere.  !@%$#%@.

Vintage hand held egg beater mixer

Vintage Egg Beater

After I cleaned that up, I went to wash the dishes but in the dishpan was brown water and coffee grounds-more distress and in my anger about this disgusting mess, I try to empty out the pan and not lose all of the dishes and silverware in it.  I stabbed myself with a paring knife that was in the water. More !@%$#%@

Read Full Post »

It’s annual rite of passage; you can expect the knock on your door sometime in  January or in my case, one of your co-workers approaches you, cookie order form in hand and asks you if you would like to buy some cookies from her daughter.  Uh, (a pause – does anyone ever say no? Not likely! In my office  alone  I understand cartons of cookie boxes arrived and the cookies have been appearing in the coffee room every day since, as those who have greater will power than me, put their cookies out and hope that the rest of us will gobble them up and spare the buyer hundreds of calories.  How can you resist a tasty morsel with your coffee? They’re omnipresent and they stir up a deep seated familiarity and embedded memories of Thin Mints, Samoas, Do-si-dos, Trefoils and Tag-a-longs. Oh yes, those memories are alive and well and just because they manage to lay dormant for most of the year, they DO rear their ugly and evil heads at the mere mention of Girl Scout Cookies. Girl Scout Cookies are Evil – even if in this case it was the Girl Scouts!!! Who doesn’t remember (well if you’re a girl anyway) donning that most attractive green shirtwaist uniform and visiting all of your neighbors and with a big-eyed smile asking them sweetly if they would like to buy some cookies?  I do!  I had two best friends growing up; one of them attended parochial school with me and the other (AND this is one who reads this blog) went to public school.  Well, St. John’s grammar (yes that IS what we called it) school got out an hour and a half earlier than Wilbur Snow school and so my other friend and I used to race through the neighborhood and try to sign up all the people before Susan even got home. See, I told you

The Evil Ones!

AND it’s just not the calories that are out to sabotage your diet -with every mouthful I heard Gillian Michaels speaking in my ear. “Palm Oil? are you trying to kill yourself?” Partially hydrogenated? Two very bad words! Saturated fat-6g, are you crazy?” And that’s not even mentioning Invert sugar, Dextrose and Monocalcium Phosphates, whatever the heck that is!! And it isn’t just Gillian, my Jiminy Cricket conscience, have you read any of the food rules in the now very popular eponymous best seller?  Here’s one that haunts me; Don’t eat anything that contains ingredients your Grandmother never heard of or a third grader can’t pronounce.!!!

So there it is – Girl Scout Cookies are EVIL and if you any left in your house, you should rid yourself and your heart of them immediately.  If you’re not sure what to do with them, you can leave them at my door or on my desk and those that I don’t eat I am sending to Susan because she told me she is going to use Thin Mints for the crust on her Easter cheese cake.

Thin Mints

Read Full Post »

Pecan Pie

And they call this Pot Luck? What a meal! Eight of us gathered Friday evening at the home of Trish & Ron who live on Main Avenue.  They have a big beautiful home with a fantastic dining room and a table large enough to seat eight comfortably and Editthat wasn’t even with all of the leaves.

Guests included Heide, who divides her time between Belgium, Ocean Grove and California, Carol, a full-time resident who runs The Ocean Grove Trading Post, Jim and Susan, full-time entrepreneurs (I’ll be doing a blog about their business in the near future)in Ocean Grove, and Peter and I, the Ocean Grove part-timers.

You had to know with this group, Pot Luck wouldn’t be your Ham & Bean, Macaroni & Cheese church supper type.  We started the evening off with liberal libations and small gourmet pizza slices – delicate and delightful.  Oh and I forgot to say right up front that our hostess is a baker of renown and when we walked in, the table was set beautifully and two enormous racks of individual pies were flanking the centerpiece of flowers and the aroma was mouth-watering.  And then we sat down to an array of delicious dishes.  While we were chatting away before dinner, Ron and his guest chef of the evening, Jim, were in the back yard grilling lamb chops that had been previously marinated in Ron’s own special marinade.  So rare, so beautifully charred on the edges,  a real treat.   We had a chicken dish that I truthfully have no idea how Heide made it or what was in it besides chicken.  What I can tell you is that I had two helpings and the flavor was so familiar, it took me to the second helping to remember where I had savored this kind of dish before – my Grandmother Schmidt used to make any meat delectable with the same kind of sauce and seasoning that Heide used, and I have had steak at Heide’s home and she did some similar magic with that too.  I think it’s some kind of Germanic thing that these great cooks do. Carol created an artful arugula salad that was crisp and fresh and chock full of good things.  Susan was on vegetable duty and she brought us seasonal vegetables (almost locivore) -they were roasted to perfection.  With 3 of the 5 woman having Italian ancestry, of course we had a pasta dish but no ordinary red sauce (a/k/a gravy to those who know) for this group.  I contributed a rigatoni and cannellini bean and broccoli dish and I thought it was very good.

And then the piece de resistance – the pies came out! Two big trays; mini pecan pies and apple pies.  Well anyone who knows Trish knows that her apple pies are not only to die for but we all tell her she should sell them – so I immediately said, “I’m only having apple and besides I don’t like pecan pie, it’s too sweet”.  WRONG – Jim, our N’awlins native proclaimed the pies to be perfect.  Was it curiosity, arm-twisting ( lol,lol) or an insatiable appetite for dessert, well maybe all of the above – even though I made the arm-twisting part up!  I took half of a mini pecan pie and the flavors just swirled around in my mouth. This was not the sticky, sweet, gooey glop that I always thought all pecan pies tasted like- Oh No, this was smooth, creamy, flavorful and not  too sweet. Trish let us in on her secret but unless given permission, far be it from this blogger (who wants to be invited back!) give away any culinary secrets.

And after many hours of laughter and even some after dinner cordials, we all went home and that ladies and gentlemen is Pot Luck in Ocean Grove.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »