Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, John and Michael!

Forty years ago today, I brought two baby boys into the world that would become every mother’s dream of the ideal child.

Like most new mothers, I had no idea of the commitment required to bring a newborn home and raise it to be a responsible adult.  In my case, there were two of them!  In those first months, I wondered if I would ever be able to sleep uninterrupted through the night again.  Then there was the day I walked them to school for their first day of kindergarten.  As we got to the door of the school building where they were surrounded by neighborhood kids they had known all their life, John turned to me and said, “Go home, Mom.”  I cried all the way home.  How could they ever get through the day without me watching over them???

I must have done something right along the way because John and Michael have been a source of pride and joy to me since the day they were born.

Happy Birthday, Boys.  You’ve made your mom very proud. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lunch with a friend

Today I had lunch with a friend.  We are two very different people and have two very different ways of looking at the world.  She is a liberal Democrat and I'm a conservative Republican and neither one of us is going to change.  But I am proud to call Kathryn my friend.

Kathryn is a remarkable woman.  I first heard of her when she hiked the Appalachian Trail, end-to-end almost ten years ago.  I followed her adventure as she hiked.  It has long been my dream to hike the AT end-to-end.  But life circumstances and obligations kept me from it.

The AT was just a stepping stone for Kathryn.  Geez, let me see if I can remember all her trips!  She hiked in Nepal.  She bought a three wheel bike and named it Blaze.  She spent months biking in Ireland and other European countries, often sleeping in her tent just yards from a road.  Next up, last fall, she and Blaze flew to Singapore and for the next 7 months, she rode through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand before flying to New Zealand.  The large portion of these trips, she was alone, although at times, others joined her.  She was a source of curiosity to those whose paths she crossed.  People would approach her and say, "I want to talk to you.  What's your story?"  A NZ police department featured her in a documentary of people they meet during their day to day job.

When she arrived in New Zealand, her plan was to stay three months.  She liked the people and the country so much that she got her visa extended another three months.

Many days I have come home after a stressful day at work, dealing with egos and office politics, and find another edition of Kathryn's blog in my inbox.  How I envied her sense of wunderlust and adventure.

"Why do you do this?"  I asked her today over lunch at Alladin's at Schoen Place along the canal path.  "What is your motivation?"

Her eyes lit up with joy as she said, "I want to see what is around the next bend in the road."  Kathryn is an engaging personality that makes friends wherever she goes.  She knows no boundaries and generally has no fears.  Isn't it amazing to sit across the table from a person who has so many adventures to relate?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kabobs on the grill tonight

Tonight for dinner, I made kabobs on the grill - stew meat, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and baby red potatoes.  When I came home, I cut them up, put them in marinade sauce, then put them in the fridge while I had my glass of wine and took up time with the dogs.  About an hour later, I fired up the grill and cooked them.  Delicious!

It is just as hot here in Western NY as it is elsewhere around the country.  After being in an air conditioned building all day and walking out into the heat and humidity, I had trouble breathing.  My car was like an oven when I first got in.  It is just plain HOT all over!  Thank God for my central air at home!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A productive weekend

I got a lot of things done this weekend that have been gathering dust on my To Do list.  Friday night I collected all my digital camera memory cards and started putting a lot of pictures on one flash drive and organizing them into folders.  That brought a few laughs.  One picture, from some years back, showed one of my grandchildren sitting on my couch.  "Now is that Jake or Andrew?" I asked myself, until I looked closer and there was a baby crawling out, or attempting to, my front door. . . so that was Jake on the couch and Andrew trying to escape.

On Saturday, Morgan and I went to her fourth obedience class. . . she is now half way through the class.  At the end of the class, they let the dogs run loose and have a few minutes of play time.  I have tried, in vain, to get pictures of that.  I'm not quick enough with a camera to catch 6 dogs running around a room in one big mob!  It's impossible to get a picture of the instruction part of the class.  I really need 4 arms and hands just to keep up with the class.  When the dog does something correctly, you immediately click the clicker strapped to one wrist and reward them with a small treat.  Sometimes you need another set of arms and hands to correct the dog!  Yes, both Morgan and I are tired after that class!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A new salad recipe

I like salads in the summer.  I take them to work for my lunch and I eat them for dinner if I don't want to cook or fuss in the kitchen.

This one makes a very nice meal by itself, full of highly nutritious ingredients.


14 medium red potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups red shredded cabbage
1 can whole kernel corn, drained - 11 oz.
1 large red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 can white kidney or cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes in a large pot in salted boiling water.  Drain and cool and cut into bite size pieces.

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, corn, red onion, the peppers, and cucumber, and beans.  Mix in the cooled potatoes.  In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, and Dijon mustard.  Pour this over the salad ingredients and stir well.  Gently stir in the Romano cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Chill for one hour.

I omitted the cucumbers since I don't care for them.  And I think next time I make it, I won't add the potatoes.  This is one you can easily custom make to your own preferences.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A good read

Like a lot of us, I often get buried in "must do" things and never get to the things I really want to do, things that calm my soul and make me happy.

Reading a good book is one of my favorite things to do.  I am a big fan of John Jakes.  I love the way he combines history with a fictional story.  Many years ago, I read his Kent Family Chronicles, a series of about 6 or 7 books that told the story of a young man who came to this country and established a printing business.  The books told his family story through many generations.  Loved those books!  Someday I will go back and read them again.

Charleston, the book I am reading now, is a wonderful story of the early history of Charleston, South Carolina spanning the years from the 1700s into the late 1800s.

I can't imagine any John Jakes' book that I wouldn't like.

What are your favorite books?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Once again this year, I was happy to be invited down to the home of Sue and Gerry on Keuka Lake for the 4th of July.  They are my son, John's, in-laws.

A number of years back, Caitlin, one of Sue and Gerry's grandchildren came up with the idea of having a parade on the 4th.  From its humble beginnings, it has mushroomed!  One of these years, they are going to need a permit!  Below are pictures from my day.  Thanks, Sue and Gerry, for inviting me.  I truly enjoyed it.

The crowd gathers, both participants and onlookers.  I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but before the beginning of the parade, all the children recited the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.  It is refreshing that there are everyday people instilling values in their children in this crazy, mixed up world we live in.

These are my three grandsons, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew, along with their cousins, Caitlin and Steven.  You are looking at five of the best mannered kids you could ever hope to meet.

This year there were three floats.  This is one.

These were two little girls in the crowd that I thought were cute so I took their picture.

This is Bingo, one of my granddogs!

This is John and Jen, my son and daughter-in-law. . . one of them!  John forgot to take off his shades and I didn't catch that till after I snapped the picture!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kevin, Jake and Andrew

How is it possible that grandchildren just grow up overnight?  Kevin is as tall as I am already!  From left to right, Andrew, Jake, me and Kevin.