Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blizzard 2009


Well here it is sunday night and it has been quite the weekend here with the amazing amount of snow that we got from a major storm that hit the east coast! I guess I was a bit shocked when I woke up this morning and saw the amount of the white stuff that actually was out there because the storm had a late start getting to us. I must admit that I underestimated it because at 3pm yesterday there was not a flake to be seen and in fact by 4pm we really only had a dusting on the ground but what a difference a day makes!!!

I was watching things all day yesterday and Jim went out for some steaks and other meats so that we had stuff to make for dinner and I just hung out and relaxed in the house and snapped a few photos, never really thinking that it would get THAT BAD!!! Man was I wrong!! You can see here the difference between yesterday and today with the tree on our front lawn. It took Jim most of the day to shovel our driveway because he had to do it himself, really...Jesse was stuck at the hotel where he works and couldn't come home and Robert decided this was a good weekend to head down to Atlantic City, who knows why??? I don't know how long it will take for all of this to melt but I'm sure it will be a while before I see my grass again, we got upwards of 2 feet of snow out there and some of the drifts are about 3-4 feet. It is not fun having 2 dogs in this situation, Jim had to dig a tunnel for them to even be able to get out of the side and back doors!! We had a large tent out the back door, that is now gone...crushed by the snow that was on top of it and then falling off the house during the night, the mangled metal was blocking the back door from being opened and Jim had to use a hack saw to cut it so that he could open the door for the dogs to get out into the yard. Ok...blizzard, I get your point...now please don't come back...this was just ridiculous...I'm all for some pretty white stuff for the holidays but this was way too much!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My visit with Cole

Last weekend I traveled down to Virginia for the weekend to spend time with Nancy and Cole, Paul had been scheduled to take the day off work and go fishing with some of his buddies on friday but as it turned out he hurt his back at work and Nancy had to take him to the emergency room on friday night because he was in so much pain and he was having spasms so bad. In the end I think there was a reason that I was there because I was able to stay with little Cole and Nancy didn't have to worry about her son while she took care of her husband.


I had a wonderful weekend with my nephew and got lots of hugs and laughter and giggles from him, he is really growing up so fast which is why I have a lot of trips planned to see him in the coming months thanks to Megabus!!!




I love the fact that I can take a bus and be there in about 4 1/2 hours and it costs me next to nothing if I book far enough in advance, this past weekend the bus trip cost me $9 round trip! Whooo!! I love the double decker buses, it is so comfortable and going home on sunday morning I was sitting upstairs and in the front seat so I had a great view...here we are pulling out of the parking lot in DC and going through Chinatown before heading over to the northbound interstate.





Aunt Linda misses her little Cole already but I will see you for Christmas, I can't wait to show you off to Uncle Jimmy who hasn't seen you since July.





Just a little Cole love to share with my readers.


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Saturday, December 12, 2009

A day to remember....

December 12th...

17 years ago today I stood in a small and very beautiful church and watched my mom take a 2nd husband after being widowed for many years. I proudly read from the Bible for them and beamed as I saw the happiness in her eyes. Little did I know at the time that they would only be together on earth for 11 years and that my stepdad, Koop, would pass away on December 11th, 2003 and that mom would follow him to the gates of Heaven almost 6 years later. They were lucky to find love again after both of them lost their first loves to cancer and I was lucky to have both of them in my life for the time that I had them.

In my heart I know they are together again.




Mr and Mrs Koop walking down the aisle together!

Getting hit with rice!!

Dancing together for the first time as husband and wife.

A toast to our love!


This is the cake that I designed and made for mom and Koop's wedding, I enjoyed doing it for them and it was truly a labor of love, finished it at 3am the morning of the wedding. Jim made a mirror base for us to put it on and we transported it (carefully!!) to the reception hall in the snow! Yes, there was a snowstorm the day of the wedding but nothing could stop them from saying their vows.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November creeped up on me!!

Wow...I can't believe that it is just 2 weeks until Thanksgiving!!

Today is Veteran's Day and I am grateful for the 2 vets in my life, my husband and my son who are somewhere tonight celebrating and playing music.

I've been busy the last couple of weeks that's for sure. Those who know me wouldn't be surprised to hear that I've been to some concerts in recent weeks. On the 22nd of October I had the privilege of seeing Five for Fighting live for the first time!! What a great acoustic show, I couldn't have asked for a better evening with my friend Paula. John from FFF is such an amazing person and a great supporter of our troops, I have to say that my favorite song on the latest CD has to be Note to the Unknown Soldier...incredible song!!

On the 29th I took an indian cooking class and I learned a valuable lesson...my digestive system doesn't like curry...nope...that will not be in my diet ever again...but it was a fun class all the same. Alex had a good Halloween this year and was able to go Trick or Treating with his friend, Sean.

I started the month of November off with a great day in the city with my good friend Sandi. We had lunch at Junior's in the heart of the theatre district in NYC and then we saw an Off Broadway show, The Altar Boyz. I didn't know what to expect but it was hilarious and I truly enjoyed it!

November 4th I spent the evening with my favorite greek boy, Constantine Maroulis and my friend Paula. WOW...A NIGHT AT THE ROCK SHOW was a great night and I totally enjoyed every song that he did...there is nothing quite like 80's rock music.

This past saturday I went to a Pampered Chef show at my sister in law's house. Ok...I have to admit that I had never been to a Pamperef Chef party before and I didn't know that to expect but I had a great time and ate amazing food and learned a lot! One of the things that I didn't realize was that I had a lot of Pampered Chef stuff already...from the stuff that mom had in her own kitchen that I inherited...I didn't know a lot of it was Pampered chef...but now I know...so I'm planning to have my own party in December because now I want more stuff and the best way to earn free stuff is to have your own party, right?? :-)

Tonight I am watching the CMA awards and I can't help but think about mom...I think about how much she loved Tim McGraw and him coming out of retirement and how she would have loved to watch this show tonight.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Happenings

So do you slow down at this time of year and start to hunker down for the winter months? I admit I truly do not enjoy the cold and dark months of winter but I do love the month of October with all of the leaves changing color, the harvesting of delicious corn and other fun things to see and do!

 


I started off my month by going to a show at Radio City Music Hall and enjoyed beyond words the playing of The Fellowship of the Ring on a huge screen accompanied by a 300 piece orchestra along with choirs that were so talented that at times I had to be sure that it was live music and not the actual score to the film being played, they were so perfect!!!

 

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I am really looking forward to attending the showing of the 2nd film, The Two Towers,  at the same time next year.  There are a lot of great videos on You Tube if you want to get an idea of what it was that my friend and I experienced together.   We were in the 3rd mezzanine but honestly the screen was so huge and we were there to experience the score from the film so it didn’t matter where you sat in the venue.  Another bonus was that Howard Shore gave a talk before the show began and he discussed his current project, the filming of The Hobbit which is due out in 2011.

 

The next day was a gorgeous fall day and I took Alex to the pumpkin farm and the Middle Earth corn maze (keeping in the theme of the weekend?)  Is there anything better than roasted corn drenched in butter?  Seriously, one of the highlights of the fall months, in my opinion.

 

03 We enjoyed our corn and then Alex decided to go into the corn maze with his friends Jesse and Angelina who were with us while my friend Margie and I got to sit in the sun and enjoy some adult time while the kids were off having some fun.  The entire maze was in the theme of Lord of the Rings including the entrance, how cool is this? 

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Finally we picked out some pumpkins to carve and made our way back home but not before a quick stop at one of our favorite places, the Gingerbread University, to get a cookie treat before finishing off our perfect day.

 

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The following weekend we headed to Virginia to spend some quality time with Cole (oh yeah, Nancy and Paul too…hehehe) and I was thrilled that Alex didn’t have a cold so he was able to really play with his baby cousin and feed him and he enjoyed it by the looks of things.  On saturday he didn’t even get out of his pajamas and we sent Nancy and Paul out for lunch and some shopping so that we could have our special Cole time.  We are looking forward to visiting again soon.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

September happenings

Since we are pushing close to November here I figured I better do a quick version of what we did in September so that I can remember it all for my scrapbooking when the time comes! Part of the reason I am trying to keep this ‘online journal’ if you will, current is so that when I am ready to put these memories to paper I can have something to go back and read.

The first day of school for Alex was September 9th and this year he is in the 7th grade which just boggles my mind that he has grown up so fast, sometimes I wish that I could slow life down and make some of these special moments last just a bit longer. Every year I like to take a first day of school photo and now that Alex is a big middle school kid he didn’t want me to take his picture but I told him he had 2 choices, I take his picture inside or I take his picture outside. He opted for the inside version. :)

02 He looks so grown up this year.

Of course when he went out to wait for the bus I couldn’t resist sneaking a couple more shots when he wasn’t looking…hey…you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes, right? It’s all about the scrapbooking and preserving these memories for the future, I’m sure he will forgive me when he gets older and sees his scrapbooks and shares them with his children and possibly his grandchildren.

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I still can’t believe he’s 12 and in the 7th grade….sigh. I know he is going to have a great year and do really well, his education means a lot to him and thankfully he has a great group of teachers.

On the 14th of September one of my favorite authors was doing a book signing at a book store not far from here and I had to go and pick up his new novel and get it signed and listen to his talk about the book. I was supposed to go with a friend who couldn’t make it at the last minute because she wasn’t feeling well but I wasn’t going to let that stop me because I feel that if there is something I want to do I am going to do it no matter what because I don’t want to leave this world with any regrets. Having both of my parents leave this earth too young taught me a valuable lesson about life and how to take each day and live it to your fullest.

Nicholas Sparks spoke about his book and some other future projects for about 1/2 an hour or so and then went upstairs to sign books. I browsed throughout the store as I waited for my turn and then went upstairs when they called my group and got in line. The book store, “The Book Revue” is really nice and I enjoyed looking around while I waited. They were asking everyone to open their book to the title page and I told the girl that I wanted my cover signed and she said he is signing the title page but you can ask him when you get to the table. There was another store employee at the table willing to take your camera and take photos for you and I was really happy about that since I was alone and didn’t have anyone to take my picture (I did ask the people behind me and they were willing to do it but as it turned out I didn’t need their help). The table for the book signing was set up so that when it was your turn you sat down in a chair next to Nicholas and they took your picture and you got your book signed so when I got to the table I asked him if he would sign the cover for me and he said, “Of course I will sign the cover, absolutely, let me switch pens…” and he took care of that and then he put his arm around me and moved his cheek up to mine to take the photo and before I stood up to leave he rubbed my back and said, “Thank you so much for coming out.” Nicholas Sparks is such an amazing author and a wonderful, kind and down to earth person, this was my 2nd time meeting him in person and I hope to get an opportunity to do it again when his next novel comes out. I haven’t had a chance to read “The Last Song” all the way through yet, I have about 5 chapters read but I put it down to read a book that was for a book discussion at work and then got distracted with some other books but I will get back to it. The film for the novel comes out in January of 2010 so I really hope to have it done by then.

01 My picture with Nicholas Sparks. If you haven’t read any of his novels I recommend “The Notebook” and “The Wedding” to start…wonderful stories to read and cherish for my years to come. I can still hear mom’s voice on the other end of the phone when she finished reading The Wedding a few years back and she called me to tell me she had finished it, “Oh my GOD….awesome….WOW….” Yep, I told her she would love it.

On the 26th we went to a surprise 40th birthday party for a friend of ours and it was held at the bowling alley down the street from where we live. Alex, Jim, Robert and myself all had a really good time. I didn’t bowl because I was worried about my back so I just watched the action and took some photos to remember the evening by.

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September 28th was a day off from school for Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday, so I decided to take Alex and a friend of his to the Fire Island Lighthouse this time, we had visited the Montauk Lighthouse earlier in the summer and when Alex saw a model of the Fire Island lighthouse in the airport he wanted to go and I was happy to make the trip. The day was warm but very windy so I was disappointed that we couldn’t really enjoy the beach too much because the sand was blowing around so much it was literally hurting my eyes but it didn’t stop Alex from trying to go swimming even though the water was pretty chilly by then, nothing compared to the bath water we swam in back in August on the beach.

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The lighthouse is a bit of a walk from the parking lot but it is along a beautiful boardwalk and I enjoyed the stroll and the sun as we made our way over. The walk up to the top of the lighthouse was quite a work out, not only was I out of breath but so were the young boys so I didn’t feel bad!!

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Well that about covers our fun for September, I will blog more really soon and get caught up on the October stuff…yes we have been out and about, of course!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baseball playoffs!

You have to love the excitement this time of year, even if your favorite team isn’t in the post-season!

 

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Trip to Virginia

Alex and I took a trip to visit baby Cole at the very end of August (it would be his last vacation and free time before the new school year started) and once again I had quite a bit of things planned out ahead of time for this trip. We flew into BWI and went to spend the day on Nancy and Paul’s boat and motored out to a very cool marina where we docked and had a delicious lunch and after eating Alex got to swim for a little while since there was a small beach nearby.

Alex and Uncle Paul

Alex and Uncle Paul looking for crabs!

Me and little Cole

Me and my favorite nephew!

Alex and Aunt Nancy

Alex and Aunt Nancy as we are pulling into marina for lunch

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The happy little family

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We drove back to Nancy and Paul’s house and spent some time with Cole just relaxing and visiting.

Some of the things I had planned out for this trip was a visit to the International Spy Museum in downtown DC where Alex got to try out his skills at being a Spy with their newest attraction, Spy in the City and we had a lot of fun going that. You get a handheld GPS and you have to follow instructions and find clues throughout the city and complete your spy mission. It was a great way to walk around and see some of the sights, in my opinion.07

After our walk through the city we had lunch at Potbellies and then walked back to the museum to see the indoor exhibits before taking the metro back to Nancy and Paul’s house. On the way home I had planned out 2 stops that were off the Metro…a very quick walk into Arlington cemetery where I wanted to pay my respects at the Kennedy grave because Ted Kennedy had just passed away from glioblastoma and it was just something that I felt the need to do for myself and for my mom. We also stopped at the Pentagon to see the memorial for the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

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Paying my respects at Ted Kennedy's grave and Alex posing at the Pentagon Memorial

The next day we drove out to the Marine Corps Museum and really enjoyed seeing the work that went into building all of the exhibits. I think Alex liked the indoor digital rifle range the best.10

A stop at IKEA on the way home to check out a few things and then it was back home to diner and an evening of quiet time. Our last day we spent some time at the pool even though the water was a bit chilly for Alex he did go in for a little while. We made a quick trip out to the National Cathedral to check out the gift shop because Jim wanted me to see if I could replace the cross pendant that he lost which I had purchased for him there a few years back…I didn’t find the exact one but something similar.

We took Amtrak home from Alexandria back to Penn Station and the only regret I had in this planning was that we got back to NYC during rush hour and had to squeeze on a rush hour train to head back to Long Island with our suitcases, a lesson learned for sure on my part.

All in all this was a great trip and we got to spend a lot of fun time with Cole…every time we see him he is getting bigger and bigger and his personality is really emerging, I can’t wait to see him again!! 12 11

Windows Live Writer

So my sister told me about this Windows Live Writer and I figured I would check it out to see what it does and if is something that would make my blogging a little bit easier…so I suppose we shall see, not really sure what this does or how it will change my blogging experience but I’ll give it a shot!

At the end of August I went to the Maritime Museum for a Seafood and Crafts Festival but the main reason was because Matt Scannell from Vertical Horizon was doing an acoustic show and the admission was $5.00 to the Festival, where are you going to go to see a concert for 5 bucks? Seriously!! It turned out to be an overcast day after some heavy rains the day before so they had set up a tent with some picnic tables and it was like hanging out in my back yard watching Matt play guitar and sing, it was so very cool!!!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

A day in NYC!

August 28th

I had planned out another really fun day for Alex in NYC to continue his birthday celebration...I have to laugh because I have some friends who celebrate their birthday "month" and maybe that is what I did for Alex this past year and I truly enjoyed every memory that I made with him.

We took the train into the city and met up with my friend Sandi who had her mom and her daughter joining her for a day of fun, as well. First stop would be lunch at Junior's which is in Shubert Alley in the heart of the theatre district. After a great lunch we made our way just across the street from the Shubert theatre to the Titanic Exposition and as luck would have it I was able to score a 20% discount...thanks Nancy!


I loved walking around and seeing all of the artifacts that were brought up from the bottom of the ocean and reading the stories of the passengers on that voyage. Alex liked it to a point but started to lose interest toward the end so we finished up and went to wait for Sandi and her family in the gift shop/snack bar area. I think by far my favorite was the way they recreated the staircase in the grand ballroom, it was so beautiful.


Our next stop was a ride on the NYC Ducks tour! This was so cool because you board on land and ride around some of the sights of the city and then you head down to the Hudson river and splash down for a ride in the water!

Alex and I waiting in our seats for the ride to begin!

The NYC skyline behind me as we are riding in the Hudson River.

I was so excited for Alex when the captain of the boat let him drive for a few moments while we were in the Hudson! What an awesome thrill and memory for him to have, he couldn't wait to come home and tell dad what he did on his day out! This was a great day overall and I'm so happy that Alex enjoyed himself.