Dec 31 2009

New Year’s Eve–Bowling, What Else?


cosmic_snapshotWhile at first, I thought bowling on New Year’s was the ultimate in odd, Roger and I reported to Greenway Bowling in Odenton for our family’s New Year’s party, organized by Susan and Eric.  I lost to 6-year-old Ben in the first game, and he was gracious enough to console me.  Eric joined the action in the second game, and I discovered he is an old hand at bowling.  His average score is 160+  Roger and my combined score did not match Eric’s in the second game.  The bowling included pizza, soda, noisemakers and party hats.  There was a countdown to midnight at about 6:00 p.m adobe photoshop cs6 mac download., but the noisemakers were going all night.  The only improvement to this excellent evening would have been free Advil.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!  As I sit here typing this message, I have Roger, my family, the dogs and Noah around me.  There is nothing I could want.  Oh, yeah, well,  a marriage license would help.

Dec 26 2009

A Blessed Christmas


122509An odd couple, for sure!  Keeping in our 25+ year tradition, we celebrated Christmas Mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Silver Spring.  Shirley organized the pageant, as she does every year, instructing her angels and shepherds where they should stand, finding safe candles for little candle bearers, and she allowed Ian a last-minute run at 5:30 p.m. to Kohl’s for proper church clothes.  Everyone in the family from oldest to youngest was involved.  Tony and Nicole S. were most pious altar servers.   Roger was a candle bearer.  Nicole was in charge of the shepherds.  C.J. stood in as Joseph.  Emily was Mary, and Noah was the Little Lord Jesus.  He fulfilled his role without complaint.  It’s amazing to remember the first live baby Jesus was Ian, 21 years ago.  Our best family tradition continues!  (Only, who will be the Baby Jesus next year?  I shudder to contemplate the family possibilities!)

Dec 21 2009

Snow Day!


School is out until after the winter break!  There is no better Christmas present for me.  The Starego family came over today with pizza.  Nicole, Katie and I made our annual Christmas gifts for the family. (Surprise–not telling here!)  Katie overcame her fear of Blue long enough to be featured on the swing.  Life is very, very, good.

Dec 6 2009

Happy St. Nicholas Day!


Just returned from the annual family trek to see the lights at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.  It’s $20 a car load this year but very much worth the expense.  The train garden, a miniature replica of familiar sights in Montgomery County, is worth the price alone.  We didn’t have time for the train scavenger hunt, but Nicole did find a live snail.

Nov 26 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving to All. Nothing could be better than Roger’s sweet potatoes.

Oct 29 2009

Second College Application Complete!



Good news!  C.J. has completed his second college application.  If you are a parent with a teen who needs to get organized, try registering for “My Organizer” at the  Once the student enters his/her information, all of the colleges can be saved on one page with deadlines, cost comparison, acceptance rates, and much more.  Better yet, there’s a reminder section with “To Do’s” that pop up.  Takes a lot of parent elbow grease out of the process.MARYLAND_WALLMARX_LOGO

Oct 5 2009

24 Hours In Syracuse


We did the whirlwind tour to go see Nicole this weekend — left Sykesville a little before 6am, got to Syracuse around 12:30pm.  Lunch, haircut for Nicole, errands, out to see Michael Moore’s new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, then picked up N’s roomate and went downtown for a great Thai dinner. Sunday morning was incredible waffles at Funk ‘N Waffles, then the sad goodbye.

You could as easily have strangled my heart with barbed wire and it wouldn’t have felt any worse to leave my baby. I wonder will it get easier?  At least she is adapting well to college and seems happy.

I had a hankering to get some fresh local apples, but we didn’t know where to go. Natalie was driving the first leg (she can only drive first, because she falls asleep), and I saw a sign for an apple festival for next weekend. We took the exit anyway, and without much poking around, we found a great orchard. We didn’t take the time to pick, but got some amazing already picked apples, and even more amazing, some fresh-fried apple fritters. Can’t wait for Natalie to make those at home! We wandered the back way to get back to the highway, and at one point passed a farm with 26 acres for sale by owner. Natalie wanted to turn around and check it out, but I thought that was a bad idea. We probably would have bought it.

It was really weird that, when we were driving up Saturday, the leaves were nice and getting some color, but coming back Sunday, the colors were totally striking. Can that happen in one night? Well, I suppose a lot can happen in one night. That’s all it took for Natalie and I to fall in love.

Oct 5 2009

Starbucks Via Taste Test



On our way to Syracuse and on the return, Roger and I marked the passing miles with stops at Starbucks.  We’ve got the 6-hour drive divided into our favorite Starbucks rest stops.  As Starbucks recently rolled out their instant coffee, they are challenging customers to a taste test.  Could we tell the difference between their regular brewed Pike’s Peak and their new Via?  Roger got it right two out of three times  I  identified Via only one out of three tries.   Our overall conclusion–not too bad.  We can see how Via would be great for backpacking and camping trips.  The coupons for a tall coffee and for Via packages were nice, too.

Oct 1 2009

Finally, Texting While Driving Is Illegal In Maryland. Yay!


Kudos to our Maryland lawmakers who got this one right.  As of today, it is illegal to text behind the wheel.  Now, if they would just outlaw ALL cell phone use while driving.

As an added bonus, teenagers now have to be 18 before they can get their full license.  Still too young IMHO, but a step in the right direction.

If you’re wondering just how dangerous distracted driving is, here’s an excellent, if long, article from the New York Times:

Driven to Distraction, from the New York Times

And if you really want to get serious about the safety of your loved ones, have them make this pledge and sign it.  Everyone in our household has.

Safe Driving Pledge

Sep 19 2009

Our Grandson


Noah 9-09Look at the blog posts, and there’s a disruption in my posts for over a month.  What happened?  School started.  I began mentoring my student intern.  I began the Administrative Practicum, devoting even more hours to school.  C.J. started his senior year–more school. Roger drove Nicole to Syracuse to start school.  Emily started at the community college.  Ian entered his senior year at Towson. 

The only relief from alarm clocks, crummy breakfasts, homework and schoolwork is the addition of our beautiful new grandson, born at the end of August. We are looking forward to all of his firsts–the first smile (coming soon!) but NOT his first day of school.

Aug 27 2009

Autumn In The Air


350 miles here to the north, in Syracuse, a preview of the season to come. The morning and evening air has that touch of crispness and freshness that says Summer will soon be on its way out. A new grandson, a daughter off to college – this week surely is full of transitions. Thank goodness I have such a pillar of support in Natalie, and in such good family and friends.
(posted from the iPhone)

Aug 23 2009

A Monarch Send-off to Syracuse


We spent Saturday in a frenzy of preparation for Nicole’s send-off to Syracuse.  Even though I was cooking, blowing up balloons and making creative orange and blue decorations, I had half an eye to the garden.  I was rewarded with a flash of orange–a monarch butterfly! I dropped what I was doing and (literally) went chasing butterflies. . .

Later, Shirley gave me an article from The Washington Post by Joel M. Lerner about creating a garden habitat for butterflies.  This year’s garden was an accidental paradise–no pesticides, the right plants, small puddles, flat rocks, sun, and the shady green bean arbor.  The caterpillars all over the fennel that I insisted should be exterminated (but we only got as far as purchasing the organic pesticide) were the beginnings of our beautiful eastern black swallowtails.  We were ready to strike fennel off of our growing list for next year.  Now we plant more!


Aug 9 2009

Home Arts Winners at the Fair


I’m very proud of my nieces and nephews.  EVERY ONE of the entries won a prize ribbon.  Tobias and Elliott each took first place.  Nicole had a total of 10 entries in fine arts, woodworking and arts and crafts this year!  She earned ribbons in both the 8 – 11 age group and the 12 – 18 age group.  Our youngest fair participant, Oliver, submitted a fruit label box that took  fourth place.  Katie’s magnificent purse won a third place.  Garrett, who had a very difficult craft, took third place.   I’ve already started making a list of possible fair projects for 2010.  Yikes!  Watch out for this group of competitors!

Jul 24 2009

Rehoboth Beach


rogernicole7-23-09Shirley challenged us to walk to Gordon’s Pond and back, so we took a walk with Nicole (while CJ monitored his video world). These last few weeks before she goes to Syracuse are a bittersweet time.  After this, we spent several days indulging in Rummicube, Canasta, reading, more walking, beach time, napping, and eating.  When Roger suggested fish and chips, I told him that we had plenty of food (salad fixings from home) that God had provided.  He said that God had also provided us with all the food we could eat on the Boardwalk.  Not so reluctant to be convinced, I gave in.  We ate sushi at the Cultured Pearl and Nicola’s pizza, Coldstone Creamery and Kohr Bros. ice cream, Thrasher’s fries and Fisher’s popcorn.  Not all at once!  I hope there’s no weight limit on the Bay Bridge.  Ed and Shirley–Thank you for the beach condo!