Monday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 13, 2017 – Back to Back Field Trips – CT to NY

Monday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 13, 2017 – Back to Back Field Trips – CT to NY

I had NEVER been to the CT State Capitol in Hartford, CT and I had NEVER been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Until June 12 and 13.

Monday morning I was on the bus to Hartford with the 4th graders by 8am…and on Tuesday morning I was on a train to NY with the 8th graders. What a great week!

The State Capitol building was GORGEOUS! It was designed by someone who renovates/builds churches and cathedrals. There was no doubt about that!! It was like a marble cathedral that was so majestic inside. For years, as I drove down the highway, I have seen that Capital dome in the distance and had never known what was inside of it!  Now I know that there are beautifully wood lined rooms where decisions are discussed and made. There are statues of all kids that captures significant moments of Connecticut’s history that everyone should see and know about. There are tributes to Connecticut’s war heroes and veterans that make you proud to be a citizen of the United States. And, there is a bronze and gold over laid  angel that stands tall with pride and a prayerful expression who will someday find her way up to the roof of our capitol building. She was simply breath-taking!  And the 4th graders loved the trip!

The MET was the second back-to-back fabulous day! Four adults and 12 8th graders…we walked from Grand Central, through Central Park, and to the MET….beautiful walk! I had never walked through that part of Central Park so even that was exciting. I have to admit, the old stuff in the museum was kind of cool, but I liked the art the best! Maybe because my Melissa is an artist, but I actually could have stayed there longer! I may have to go back there again!

So I went to two different places with two different groups of great kids on two back-to-back days! I had never done that before and it was a great way to end my first year at St. Augustine Academy!!

What a blessing this year has been in so many ways!

 

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Saturday, June 10, 2017 – Cousins and Chihuly – Botanical Gardens, NY

Saturday, June 10, 2017 – Cousins and Chihuly – Botanical Gardens, NY

When my cousin, Maureen, posted an article on Facebook about the Chihuly Exhibit being at the Botanical Gardens this Spring/Summer, two things popped into my head. 1. I have never seen a Chihuly Exhibit (I did impress myself in knowing what that was!!) and 2. I have never wandered the grounds of the Botanical Gardens. It wasn’t until the plan to go on June 10th came closer did I realize the 3rd thing was….we, as a groups of related women (and one male!), had never ventured off to do something together! It was a beautiful day….although there were points in time that it could have gone bad!

Maybe that time would have been when:

  1. The guard asked Liz to not sit on the base of the Chihuly display!
  2. Joey (3 year old) was picking the flowers from the lovely flower beds in front of the Chihuly display!
  3. Joey was standing in the middle of a “park” and leaning on the sign that said, “DO NOT WALK ON GRASS”!
  4. Liz got into a heated debate about what constitutes a DISABLED WOMAN with the intellectually limited guard at the Library-based Chihuly exhibit.  I leave it up to you all…should a woman with a 3 year old and a 4 month old in a stroller be allowed to use the elevator vs. be made to juggle the kids and stroller down the 3 flights of stairs? Liz’s argument was that she would surely become disabled should she slip while bringing her family down. It took Len to intervene with Jerry. Len was clearly on Liz’s side!
  5. Joey took the toys from the strangers two-month-old baby’s stroller as the grandparent looked on in horror. The fear of germs is obviously real!
  6. we watched Aunt Pat huff and puff back to the “Family Adventure” area and we paused to let her catch her breath and contemplate the need to call for an ambulance or not!

But the day was beautiful and we strolled around with Leslie, Lisa, Liz and Me….Maureen and Susie and Susie’s son, Ryan….with Aunt Pat, Megan, Joey, and Vivian. Three generations strolling through the gardens and Chihuly displays and riding the Tram around the perimeter of the Botanical Gardens. We walked to see the waterfall, looked for the Beehives that didn’t exist, and took in the beautiful aromas of the Rose Garden. Simply beautiful.

There was not a better way that I could have imagined spending my weekend. I walked along those trails and pavements with cousins who I love, but don’t see often enough. I was with my father’s sister and her daughter and two granddaughters. I was with my two sisters and our dear friend and we were all having a shared experience of seeing  the work of a world reknowned glass blower/sculptor/artist whose creations were part glass and part environment. Absolutely gorgeous!!  I was amazed that we were able to all come together from Washington, DC area, the Catskills of NY, Pelham, NY and Norwalk, CT…….to enjoy a little piece of heaven in The Bronx!!

To top off the day….we took Maureen and Susie to Walter’s Hot Dog Stand! It was another first for them, and an absolute pleasure for us!

What a great weekend!

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017 – HI-GLO RETRO

Sunday, June 4, 2017 – Hi-Glo Retro

I did something new, intentionally, last Sunday. We intentionally did it to support a wonderful young filmmaker from Norwalk, ALEX MORSANUTTO. We also did it to be intentionally selfish!

Back in 2015, Alex had used our home for scenes in his movie, Hi-GLo Retro! It is a 14 minute movie about  an anxiety ridden teenager dealing with his insecurities around going to a high school dance. The film was being shown at the Greenwich International Film Festival. Vinnie, Stephanie and Melissa and I all went to see it, enjoy it, and take a bit of pride and excitement about seeing our dining room and bathroom scenes. But, we also went also to support Alex, our local filmmaker, and see his finished product!

As I sat there with my daughters and watching Alex sitting right in front of us, I was struck with how proud I am of so many young people from Norwalk. I have my 4 kids, and 11 nieces and nephews, and through family and friend connections, I have so many other young adults in my life who are hovering around the  ages of 19 – 32. Each one of them, although they  have had their own challenges, have risen above the temptations of life and are pursuing their own big dreams. I have been blessed to witness them on their journeys to success.

As a career choice, I took a very safe path in education and it has served me well, However, if I were to relive my path, perhaps I would have been an author or an entrepreneur of some type. But, as I observe this next generation, very few have taken the “safe route”. Their choices have been very different from mine and now they inspire me!

I have a Beachbody coach, an artist, a musician, and a news photographer/editor. By extension, I have restaurant employees, a child care provider, a mechanic, a family business employee, an upholsterer, a plumber, a guidance counselor, and technology experts. I don’t know which interaction, what words or experiences occurred that set each of these individuals on to their own paths, but I find it fascinating to watch them set goals, define who they are, hit a few bumps and redefine their goals again. Each in his/her own right, has become a resilient person with big dreams and they are not afraid to reach out and take steps in a new direction.

So, as we sat there enjoying a laugh with the main character knowing fully that the man sitting in front of us created him, directed him in our home, and then chose which scenes would have the biggest impact on his audience, my heart swelled. We cheered for this insecure teenager as the final make-out scene drew to the conclusion. We wanted him to “win” and he did. This character became our instant hero!

It wasn’t lost on me that Alex, our young filmmaker, may have been supported and loved and cheered on, himself, by some of the same teachers, coaches, friends or neighbors who supported and loved my own kids as they were all growing up in Norwalk!

I am learning that when you live intentionally, you go to film festivals, you watch your familiar home in a new scene with strangers sitting in your chairs, and you can’t ignore that you sense that deep pride and love for so many young people. We may have been at that film festival to cheer on someone else’s child, but I ultimately left fully aware that the children I know and love well have the same potential to succeed on their own life’s journey, as Alex, our filmmaker does.

I pray that each one of them , including Alex, always dreams big for themselves!

Great job, Alex!! We are all cheering you on!

WE LOVED Hi-GLO RETRO!!

May 27, 2017 – Beavers, Ticks, and LOST CHILDREN….OH, MY!

May 27, 2017 – Beavers, Ticks, and LOST CHILDREN….OH, MY!

It started out so simple. Vinnie and I were going to 4pm Mass and Mark and Barbara and the girls were going to Home Depot. We left, went to Mass, and prayed for everyone!

We returned to the lake house at 4:50pm and Mark was at the car. Trunk and driver’s door open. I asked if he was back already. I was a bit confused. He told me, “NO, the girls are lost in the woods and he had to go get Barb and the dogs, and then go get the girls. He wasn’t too worried because he knew the GPS had located them. He just had to drive about 4 miles away to pick them up “on the North end of the lake”.

With no real worries, Vinnie and I poured a drink and went to sit on the porch. At 5:45pm when they weren’t back yet, I called Barb.
“Do you have the girls?”  – – – “No”

“Are you ok?” – – – – “NO”

When we mentioned calling the police to each other, her voice got shaky. She told me….”We know where they are, we just can’t get to them.”

I asked her if she wanted us to come help and her immediate answer was “YES!”

So we did. We left the drinks on the table, jumped in the car and headed to Greystone Rd. We found Barb and headed into the woods. Mark was already around the dam and heading towards the girls. Vinnie, Barb and I went into the woods and called “Sarah”. The girls answered from straight ahead, Mark answered from the left and Barb headed off to the right.

Vinnie flicked a tick off my left breast as it crawled across my shirt!

This was a first!! Two lost girls who we could hear…we just couldn’t get to them. The swamp land between us all seemed impossible to cross.

Vinnie and I stayed put and we called out every couple of minutes so that we could all find each other. In 45 more minutes, we were all united. It was 6:30 and the girls were with Mark. It took another 30 minutes or so to meet up with them…down near a defunct dam, where we saw our first beaver pushing a log into the swamp that Mark and Barbara had just trudged through! But…we had the girls and everyone was safe!

At about 7:30pm we were back home. Liz was on the porch taking good care of the full drinks we had left there in a hurry and a second beaver (the first I had ever seen in our lake!) flipped over and swam away from our dock!

Standing on the porch, we all itched and sighed a big sigh of relief! We were all safe and home and carried with us…. ticks!!

Mark went in the shower first, Barb went in with him to do a TICK CHECK! A total of about 12 ticks!

Vinnie went into the other shower. I followed him in to do a TICK CHECK…..we had NONE!

The girls went in to shower and picked at least 8 off of each other!

It was disgusting! We had seen at least 2 beavers each, over 20 ticks total, and two FOUND CHILDREN!! Oh my….what a first that was!!

Losing the girls who took a walk in the woods was unintentional. Collecting ticks along the way was unintentional. BUT  we intentionally searched and used our skills to find those girls  and we intentionally announced random “TICK CHECKS” for the rest of the night.

We were so relieved that it ended without the police being called and HOPEFULLY without Lyme’s Disease! AND we were extra relieved to see a few beavers along the way and able to sip our cocktails the rest of the night with a few laughs and a great story to tell!

 

May 19, 2017 – FRENCH FRIES FOR ALL!

May 19, 2017 – FRENCH FRIES FOR ALL!

World Hunger is a major problem. World-wide, 21,000 people die each DAY from hunger!! Many of them are children. Americans waste an average of 15% of the food they buy each year. That equals $165 BILLION  per year in America alone! We buy 7 bananas at Stop and Shop and at the end of the week, we throw out 3 brown, soft, lumpy, oozing blobs from our fruit bowl. OR, if we are feeling inspired, we put them in the freezer with the intention of making a “nice banana bread someday”…and we don’t. We throw the frozen, brown blob in the Ziploc bag in the freezer, right into the garbage 3 months later. Often, we bring the leftovers from that delicious meal we ate at Dry Dock, only to throw it away, container and all, 4 days later. We are a wasteful society when it comes to food. I bet we can all think of examples when we have tossed food. In a matter of seconds, food on a plate goes from “dinner” to “garbage” with one scoop down the disposal in the sink!

And there are rules that work against us. You can’t donate leftover food if it has already been opened. So, the whole 6 foot sandwich with only one slice taken from it, has to go in the garbage. OR, the salad from Stew Leonard’s that was mistakenly opened and closed right back up is also known as garbage. No one can eat it at a shelter or any place else, even though two minutes earlier all of your friends at the party could have eaten it, but they didn’t. They were already full!

My whole life I have battled food. I have paid HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS, of dollars to Weight Watchers (YES, I am a lifetime member). I have bought every “caffeine pill” in the aisles of CVS, and I have gone to hypnosis for weight loss. Food and I have a LOVE, LOVE, HATE relationship. It calls to me and teases me and I pay to have it not stay with me! I know all the lines….”NOTHING TASTE AS GOOD AS THIN FEELS” or “ONCE ON THE LIPS and FOREVER ON THE HIPS”….or “BLT’s are BITES, LICKS and TASTES”.  I have nibbled a bite from my sons’ plates and eaten the leftover crusts from my daughters’ pizza! I, personally, have paid so much money to buy food, throw away food, and then try to get rid of the pounds I gained from the food. I can’t even imagine a grand total! 

So…on May 19th, on a trip to Citifield for a Mets vs. Angels game, I had a FIRST!!  I was standing behind the seated section by the bar. There they were; an order of french fries with a corner of the container filled with ketchup! It hit me! I have never eaten leftovers from a stranger’s plate. Someone had walked away, leaving the french fries there…all alone. If an employee of Citifield had walked by to clear the tables right before me, those salty and still-warm french fries would have been referred to as “garbage”. In one second and one split decision and I was eating them. Ed joined me and Brian nearly gagged when I dipped a second one in the ketchup!  And, although I felt like I was guilty of stealing someone’s fries, which I kind of was doing, the reality was that someone had abandoned those poor french fries! I have to admit, they were delicious!

So now, on my list of firsts, I can add that I have personally done my share to conquer the “wasted food epidemic” in America!   

Let’s go Mets!!