See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

See Grandma, my eyes are really dark blue....not big brown ones like daddy

Ryan and friend

Ryan and friend
Mommy, Daddy, I'm saying Hi to Grandma?

This one is for you, Grandma!


soccer with determination and no airplane distractions

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Tonight our family got together to celebrate, belated events that all came together here as in most years past. What we celebrated was: father's day, and both Angie and John's Birthday. It all began with our usual dinner, salad and two cakes for dessert, one for Angie and one for John.

The calories, well we won't dwell on the negative. Tonight I served a Merlot from South Eastern Australia, which seemed to be a hit. We'll have to stock up on that 10-best buys from Banrock Station.

The ice-cream cakes were from Friendly's. Nathan especially enjoyed the green (mint chip ice cream).

We talked about the trip to Mexico. Bill, Angie and Nathan brought along pictures which they showed on my TV screen. Bill and Angie actually ate fried crickets. No! EEK! I couldn't even stand to hear about it.

Nathan enjoyed the plane and he was seen sporting his new Lightening McQueen back pack. He enjoyed swimming, and to no one's surprise the beach sand. His parents brought all his trucks and he made castles. The red drink he loved was cherry, and he ate his favorite foods, tomatoes, and french fries in which a bird swooped down and stole one out from under his nose. He was able to imitate the new bird sounds he heard while he was there.

John got a TomTom for his birthday and father's day. I got a special gift from Nathan. He ran into the house with a plastic bag with the special gift for grandma that he thought of all by himself while in Mexico. He placed the items in a bag after retrieving them from the water and cared for them, even taking the bag on the plane. His dad said all he could think of was bringing these leaves as a gift for his grandma. They are sitting on my small table in the living room along with the shells I brought home from the beach for Nathan to see. The heart knows no separation from those you love, no matter time or distance. He's just a thought away, always.

Turned out to be a great day. We are happy with the election results. The family is looking forward to the Holiday weekend at the lake, and maybe we'll get to enjoy some fun in the sun. This may be just the beginning of an exciting summer, and who knows?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tuesday Election in Southbridge

Subject: Tuesday, June 30
Southbridge Election
Tomorrow is the big day in Southbridge. Several seats are open on the Town Council as well as the School Committee. There is no one running for a seat on the Bay Path School Committee and I would like to recommend a write-in name for the opening. He is if anything, more than qualified for the job, and I'm asking people voting in Southbridge to please consider writing Peter M. Preble in for the Bay Path School Committee seat. If you don't live in Southbridge please send this to any friends that you might have in Southbridge. You will need to write in the name: Peter M Preble And color in the oval after his name or, the vote will not count. Should a special election be needed it could cost the Town about $10,000.

---------Please write Peter in. Thanks for your help!----------

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle

Extra pounds are now okay as long you live a healthy lifestyle. One that consists of food low in saturated fats and you must be well hydrated. Eating fruits and vegetables with a sensible intake of protein and good fats, along with some exercise, and you can weigh up to thirty pounds over the current BMI scale. This is what I heard tonight coming out of a new study. The new measure takes into consideration other factors not currently available on the BMI index, which is determined by just height and weight.

Yesterday we walked over four miles. While walking the beach, you are unaware of the miles. You can walk from one town to another without realizing the distance. I am not sure if all the walking caused anything but sore legs, but I certainly hope so. Every pound lost is reflective of much work. Working out consists of many different activities, such as gardening.

This is how Saturday turned out. Up early for our walk to breakfast, followed with our walk to the beach and back through the town for shopping, a total of four miles. Then to the pool where any exercise there is not felt but counts none the less. We walked to every eating establishment and every tavern for dinner. Then again, after dinner before bed.

It was not a time to saying no to little treats because that certainly will defeat the purpose. Instead, I have less. You'd be surprised how that will suffice. Never allow yourself to feel deprived.

By the end of the summer, we should all be a lot fitter and wiser for it. Good health does not necessarily mean weight according to just your height anymore, interesting!. Got to read more on that.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wearing Big Shoes

It used to be that people would turn a blind eye on matters of someones household. We heard shouting, beatings and screaming coming from homes in our crowded neighborhood while growing up. Children were disciplined then, and couples had their brawls. Also, there were the hard working men, sometimes "loudly" staggering home on weekends. Today it is a crime not to help someone being victimized and we are told do not just stand idly by and do nothing. After all, we are our brother's keeper. We wear bigger shoes now.

Does that imply that all has changed? Perhaps not, but what has changed is that we are better citizens. People in our country are appalled by the behavior displayed by citizens around the world. More recently, the treatment of the citizens of Iran. We are hearing the cries of the people there, loudly. America has always helped wherever it can as we are a melting pot from all the countries of the world. We are brothers and sisters of people everywhere. What we are being asked is to do is turn a blind eye to what is happening by the leaders of that country. We are not deaf. We hear. Press no longer is allowed to freely express your countries voting result of the people, which tells us something has gone awry. Do you regretfully have something to hide?

People have been able to see inside your borders because of the technological advances, worldwide. World leaders have not kept silent, in expressing their disdain. This is called "freedom" of expression. What we see are your children being beaten and killed because they raised a question. That raises a lot of questions in the minds of American citizens.

Our President has expressed disapproval. He represents a position of non-violence and has pursued peace. Trying to make this world a better place is all our responsibility. Mistakes can be rectified, peace is attainable. Attitudes of regret are changeable. It must begin with "me." And the time is now.

This morning, Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying, on, that our president Obama should "stop interfering in Iran's affairs." It seems to me that he has gone out of his way not to make "the same mistakes" as our late president, George W. Bush, and the word mistake, may be a matter of opinion. Am I hearing a dictator dictate to our President?

We are a young country and history has taught us much. We wear big shoes, being a resourceful and caring nation. Our president, Obama is filling those shoes well. It seems that he was accused of falling "into this trap," of imitating our former President. I believe that is the furthest thing from the truth, as they are two entirely different individuals. They do share one thing in common though, and that is the love for their country. Large shoes have been passed on, yet they are a good fit. He stands proudly in them, and we stand proudly with him. Mistake? I don't think so, make no mistake about it. Quoted information from Ahmadinejad can be found here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iran's Plight

I normally try not to write anything political because everything has two sides and the intent of this writing is not to offend those whose opinions will not reflect mine.

It is a sad day when people are not free enough to elect the person of choice by popular vote. It is surprising that the people could not peacefully resolve this dilemma, which resulted in demonstration. Their protest (asking for a simple recount and the truth) led to violence, a violence that they sought to avoid. What we have all witnessed by the authorities enforcing the law is that they are willing to kill rather than talk to their own people. There is no peace and no freedom, just what they dictate.

It will play itself out. Will the people be strong enough to stand their ground against the injustices hurled at them by the authorities? If they fail to do this, make changes that will allow them the freedom that they deserve to have, they will always be an enslaved people. What must they be willing to sacrifice? Everything. The word has been "change" the courage to "change" and wisdom to know the difference. When the people decide, it will happen. The key is unity. What is the will of the people? It boils down to that.

What is our part in all of this? Pray for them. Support them. But do not fight their battle. Yesterday, I witnessed people tearing our President apart for what they say is "he is not doing enough," and his "timid" response.

I watched the measured response from President Obama, which I think is correct. It is clear to me that he understands the bigger picture. He deplores the violence against the demonstrators but respects the sovereignty of the Country. It's like pulling a thread. It looks innocent and small from the onset, but once you start to pull it, there is no end until everything falls apart. The fact is, you do not want to inflame that region, the tinderbox. He is not easily shaken, shows a great strength, and strong leadership.

I'm sure his eyes are glued to situations like North Korea, for example. And, he stands ready. Further, he told them so. A lion observes his prey before the attack. Anyone that see us as a weak nation is deluded. He's on it.

We have to give our President a chance to do what we know he can do, by trusting that he does care for our country and it's people. I like the leadership I see in him.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you dad's out there. This will be one father's day my oldest son, Bill, will not forget. It was the day that he and his family flew to Mexico.

The last air trip he and his wife Angie went on, was to the Keys and they were calling Nathan to explain that they had flown in one of the airplanes that he was accustomed to playing with. On Thursday, they took him to the airport to see the small planes and to grab a bite to eat at a local breakfast spot. Nathan probably got the surprise of his young life when he saw the jet airliners in Boston.

Just last summer he would look up at the sky and was afraid of the planes. Sometimes they are quite loud. They always got his attention. But, after his parents went on a trip to Florida, he told me that he wanted to go on the plane.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a festival in town and John and I took him to see what looked like Thomas the train. It was actually a $3.00 ride around the common. No, he wouldn't have anything to do with a ride. Of course, it made me wonder how he would do on a large jet for the first time. A rather lengthy trip for a three year old, layover and connecting flight and all the possible turbulent weather.

Grandmothers never stop thinking about the what if's you know, and given the previous question, was keeping my fingers crossed that all would go well. When he was leaving to go home yesterday, he remarked to his mom that "grandma has gone on many planes" and I knew that he was resolved. If it was okay for grandma then it was okay for him.

Several hours ago, Steve called to wish John a happy father's day and luckily I got the phone call first. Bill had called him from Atlanta to say that they had a good flight and that Nathan enjoyed it very much. I am relieved and looking forward to hearing all the stories. Right now, I'm sure he is out like a light sleeping somewhere as they left home around 4:00 A.M.

Nathan and I love the beach. I'm sure he will enjoy the white sands of Mexico, while at the same time, I will be enjoying the white sands of Maine. We sure will have a lot to talk about the next time were together.

I will not have needed a passport to enjoy the sandy beach of the Atlantic, though. Hopefully, we both will be soaking up the sun, Nathan digging with the pail and shovel he got at the parade a few weeks ago, and grandma digging in on my long shore walk.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer is coming

Tonight is summer. I feel it in my bones. Just a saying but nevertheless, the humidity is back and the tree frogs are noisy. Today has been hair curling in many ways.

I made a spinach pita so my mother-in-law would have something that she likes to eat this week, that is after Nathan and I had lunch. We spent some time at the church hall, removing the dead flowers, making fresh pots and folding table covers. After quickly sweeping the floor, it was home to watch his favorite move Madagascar.

Time goes quickly when your busy and before we knew it, we were off to buy rhubarb for a strawberry-rhubarb pie. I promised my mother-in-law I'd make one as it is her favorite. Meanwhile, Nathan remembered the promise that we'd take him to MacDonald's if he was a good boy. So, off we went the three of us.

I just took the pie out of the oven, perfect. While we got Nathan comfortable and ready for bed, he wanted his stuffed dog, Wagon. John thought he saw it on the bed. I didn't believe he brought it over today. We searched high and low for something that is probably comfortably on his own bed at home. Of course, he wanted Wagon. If you've ever experienced this, you get the point. We checked everywhere, even the trash cans, closets and draws. It didn't just walk away, now did it?

He was out the minute he hit the pillow. Nathan had another big day, so did grandma.

They are predicting rain until Thursday, yet we managed to drink in some sun today and it was most welcomed. I saw the yellow finch once again, which makes me so happy to see them return. They sing beautifully. We will have to make sure tomorrow that the feeders are in place.

Unfortunately the Wren's house developed more than a crack, with the rain, it is wide open and the cat which frequents here, (we call him Blacky after a cat that Steve, and Bill adopted from Bob), who has been waiting impatiently for the nest to give out. I'm routing for the baby birds to fly off. I managed to trim the bushes and prune my roses, and the gardens are lush and tropical looking. The colors are vivid like those found in Maine, near the ocean.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to catch every bit of the news, especially in Iran. I really feel for those young people. They have the right idea. It won't be easy, but liberty is worth fighting for and it is long overdue. It calls to mind Patrick Henry, "give me liberty or give me death." The Iranians have had a taste of freedom. I like seeing the pictures that have been provided on Face book, the peace sign with one inked finger and the other, a green one. Iraq will be a beacon of hope for them. I hope they will find the courage in their quest for freedom. They are on my mind and in my prayers.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 2oth of June will mark twenty-three years of marriage for us. We met in 1984 which just seems like yesterday. John was in sales, a recent college graduate and I had taken a new job as a graphic designer at a newly formed company. We married in 1986 one month after becoming Orthodox. Talk about unexpected changes in one's lifestyle. You never know what lies ahead these days especially, so you've got to make the most out of every day, even the rainy ones.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Unexpected Finding

I woke up to a very cool bedroom this morning. I usually change my bedding this time of the year as summer approaches, and along with this season, horrendous heat and humidity. The lighter coverings are perfect through the fall. Yet, this morning I was in a hurry to find my robe. Wearing just a thin gown to bed, the top sheet and comforter, were inadequate for forty degrees.

Rushing to the window of the living room I peeked out to find the sun already out and yet, so early in the morning. Then I looked down to see what all the fuss was. It was probably that noise which got me up in the first place.

Looking down from the picture window I noticed a rounded lump on the lawn, to the left of my garden, teaming with roses and colorful flowers. What is that? I thought. It looked like a muskrat or possum. No, it was the birdhouse. The gourd had fallen from the dwarfed red Japanese maple tree. Immediately, I checked to see if the wind had picked-up but it had not. In fact, it was picture still.

Every morning at this time, the mother wren is busy bringing food to her chicks and they are quite noisy. She tirelessly delivers goodies to them, but not today. There she was wondering how to get to them as the hole faced the ground. I could see her concern as she moved back and fourth with a substance hanging from her mouth.

During the past week, if you ventured next to her nest, she would swoop down close to you defiantly making a racket like she owned the place. Now how would she react if we were to get close to her family?

I was grateful that John retrieved the natural bird house and replaced it on the "S" hook provided on the limb. He could hear a lot of peeping going on. I'm sure the little birds were startled by the fall. The mother hurried to the entrance and began to feed the young.

All day long we noticed the amount of noise around the nest. Apparently she must have called for help from her bird friends. "Birds of a feather flock together."

Later today, I thought I saw a young bird flapping it's wings around, almost double speed. These birds are small to begin with and are almost full size when flying from the nest. Perhaps one of them caused the gourd-shaped house to fall down. It always amazes me how many birds are sheltered in such a small environment in the first place.

So, they got a rocky start. Hope all will be well. Perhaps a new gourd will needed to be purchased as I thought I noticed a crack forming down the front of that one.

Someone told me last week when speaking about a child present, "It's better to learn young that life is tough". This is true. It is for the most part, eventful and challenging. Maybe that is what keeps you on your toes and makes life fun and worthwhile. It's the small joys you experience and cute little stories that you encounter, one post at a time. For sure, it's anything but easy facing life's unexpected happenings.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Unusual Weather

It was a full day. Nathan arrived wearing his hooded yellow sweat shirt on what seemed a cool morning. I had many ideas on how we would spend the day, given the weather predicted rain and thundershowers, we would probably play indoors.

Out came the Hoover vacuum and we cleaned up a bit, then Nate had his second breakfast while watching his favorite DVD, Madagascar. It was waffle-toast with syrup and cream. He loves to dip the waffle pieces into the syrup and does pretty well at not getting it all over the chair while watching the movie.

Home tutoring was next, a story book about Saint Kevin, a favorite of his since he was young and then it was finding the objects in another rather large book. We connected dots and colored, then made his puzzle twice. The sticker book teaches him to locate the page by number, and following the instructions, placing stickers within boxes.

It was time for lunch and we had our usual conversation. He is excited about his upcoming vacation with his parents and family. It will be his first flight. He plays with airplanes all the time. I know he will love the beach with all the sand for his trucks, shovel and pail.

It was fun watching him eat his salad and especially the tomatoes. Cottage cheese has been one of his staples since he was an infant. Then, of course cookies and orange soda.
I don't approve of soda for children, only once and awhile.

We played ball, and low and behold the sun came out. It was so wonderful to see it and we had to capture it as long as possible. Needing to take our walk, it was off to the church grounds. He brought his yellow watering can, (even though nothing outside needed water), he enjoys the activity. We get a chance to check out all the outdoor critters like the blackbirds in Kevin's story. He is fascinated by ant hills and dandelions. He picked a flower for mommy, a little butter-cup with a long stem, saying "she's going to love it." He sure loves his mommy. He held that flower until we put it in a temporary vase and he had it in hand when he went home.

No sooner than we arrived home, it became darkened and there was a thunderstorm. We had gone to see the geese but they were not around. Usually in the park if you hit it just right, there is a flock of them. That left time for playing the organ with its many sounds. He watched the mother bird as she tended her young from his window, and appreciated the cats and dogs in the neighborhood as well. Earlier he had to examine all the flowers growing and the holes in the garden, looking for the chipmunk, Chippy. Nate and I played "Battle." We call it "who beats". He knows all the values of the cards and he knows who wins.

His grampy arrived shortly after setting off the car alarm by accident and Nate of course, yelled out the window, "Grampy what happened?" to bring attention to it all the more. They passed the ball in the hallway. Then along came daddy, while we had him watching Mighty Machines "Roadway to Runways" race cars. When it was time for the potty, we paused it on the computer. He was the first one in the room, and resumed playing the DVD, letting us know that he fixed it. We didn't know he knew how.

Our grandson got quite the workout today, especially walking the church grounds so I'm sure he will sleep well tonight. He finds the time to pray for his friends and parents at church, and is already starting to make the sign of the cross.

He sure had an appetite as well. Must be another growth spurt. And although it seems that he eats constantly, unlike grandma, he is thin and tall.

I will have plenty of work tomorrow, today was a play day, and quite a workout for both of us. The good weather season is short lived and the days have been for the most part unsettled. Remembering the words of advice from year's prior, from Bill's grandmother, "you got to make hay while the sun shines." Time is a precious commodity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Knock-Knock Joke

Nathan is three years old. Today, in the church hall, he surprised me with his first knock-knock joke. We had an extended coffee gathering today, as we invited grandparents and godparents to our Liturgy to receive a special blessing.

Following the Liturgy, Nathan surprised me with a bunch of beautiful red roses. In our tradition, red roses mean "I love you." The flowers were so large that he dropped them on the floor, none broke. He is so cute. Next he said, "knock knock" and I replied, who's there? He said, "Boo" I said Boo-Who? He said "Oh, Don't Cry." That was the first time I heard that one.

Later he had time to show off his little car, Lightening McQueen, to some of the ladies at the other table. Vasilika didn't know what Lightening McQueen was so he showed her by pushing it across the table proudly for her. Then, he told her the knock-knock joke. I have never seen her laugh so much. If that wasn't enough, he used the word electricity pouncing it in a way that made us scream (electrixaty). Then, his mother told him to tell us why grampy and grandma gave him presents. He proudly stated that "I went poo-poo on the potty." And, if you don't think that's a big deal, just ask his mother.

Walking away from the table, I heard him say to his mom that he made us laugh. He was quite proud of that. He was so well behaved in church. All you heard was the quiet sound of the wheels of his little car which he occasionally ran across the pew.

Grampy had his favorite orange soda and grandma his "special" chocolate-chip cookies. Grandma made cookies for all her sweethearts. I am pleased that everyone had a wonderful day. The weather actually turned out nice and hopefully, will continue tomorrow when Nathan comes over grandma's to play with his new toys.

These are the rewards of life you read about and dream for and are blessed to receive.

Knock-knock jokes are great ice-breakers. They never seem to go out of style. Do You remember any?

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Italian Bakery

If someone were to come by today they'd swear that they were in an Italian Bakery. Actually on Sunday, our church, (St. Michael's) will have a blessing for both godparents and grandparents. We certainly are both. Following the church service refreshments will be served, pic-nic style.

The menu will be hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni- cheese tortellini salad, tossed salad, a dip or two and baked goods.

I've made a combination cherry-blueberry Crustada. It is a cake-like pie. Then I made oatmeal-raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and my favorite Italian "pillow" cookies. These are made with anise flavoring, frosted and have colored sprinkles on them. Then by popular request a classic pizzelle recipe.

I so wanted to make biscotti but we have to be careful for "peanut allergy." I possibly will have a few other things but it is odd how through the years I have made the same goodies for various occasions. Also missing, will be my mom's special cookie recipe-the peanut butter kiss. I always loved giving kisses away I guess. Most Italians are affectionate and friendly. They like to greet and hug at the door, and I still recall all the cheek pinching.

My mom was a great cook. She learned from her French mother who won many bake-offs. So besides my many Polish and French dishes that she passed on to me, are the countless Italian cuisine learned growing up in an Italian neighborhood. It's never boring around here in the kitchen. I make many pita's as well as those favorite traditional American dishes.
Chinese? Now that's where I draw the line. We eat out. Tonight at the pub, we will have Irish-Scottish fare, and meat on a Friday.

If your in the neighborhood, Sunday, Liturgy is at 9:00 AM. Stop on by after church in our fellowship hall to say hello. Join us for a goody or two. We'd love to have you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Bailout vs Pork Spending

I promised myself not to get politically involved with other's comments on posts that I wrote. Political agenda's should not enter into our discussions. Unless that is, you are trying to make adjustments to the truth by incorrect bias. Everyone has their view. Here's mine.

Personally, I resent individuals trying to play the blame-game on our previous President, Bush. I am not so naive as to think that one person was responsible for the suffering that is now being shared in this country. It was pure and simply, greed. The type of greed that says everyone can have everything that they want even if they cannot afford it. Especially if someone can make a profit on you, the consumer.

We are at each other's throats in disunity in this country so, stop all the political games and mudslinging. Yes, it is estimated that we have been going through this crisis for approximately 18 months, and even experts cannot agree on this one. Do we as Americans have a plan besides tearing at each other's political affiliation? Nothing divided has ever stood, and we are wasting precious time.

Today, the cost of the barrels of oil is up substantially, and as well, the cost of gasoline is rising. Is the stimulus plan effectively working? And of course, what choice have we but to give it some time. When I was asked which stimulus plan I was referring to, President Bush or President Obama, I thought it necessary to reply. Do not insult my intelligence.

The September (TARP) of $350 Billion, was issued in order to facilitate the bail out of banks--called Troubled Assets Relief Program. This was an anti-recession effort put forth by the Bush administration and was called a "profitable bailout" meaning, all money was loaned, and at 8% interest annually.

The stimulus package under the current administration was, as I understand, not well read through and contained what is known as "pork spending." Can you deny that? To our detriment and that of our children, I wish I were wrong.

I have been silent long enough. Are we to pretend that we did not lose huge amounts of "retirement money" or that government wastefulness has not occurred? Perhaps our loved ones are dreaming when their hours have been cut at work as well as their incomes. Yet, for the sake of employment, must do the same amount of work, for less. We are told not to enter into the recession. That's like burying your head in the sand. Saying it doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. High prices are just the tip of the ice burg. Now, we hear of higher sales tax. That is just the beginning. Why is it nothing is done to curb the profits of the fat-cats still wheeling it in? Let's all look to see what "fat" can be trimmed from the over inflated budgets. Reinvest in words like, if-maybe-no and consolidate. Is it a need or a want? Or, how about, is this expense foolishness?

This is good. When people are busy blaming, or fighting they accomplish nothing. Are you mad yet? Join the club.

Stand in line, the deflated dollar only goes so far. It's your buck.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


What is wrong with the judges. They are letting people off scott free. People have gone crazy, everywhere. I've never seen such madness.

It's a different age. We are seeing the start of something big and bad and irreversible. Our youth are becoming more violent and destructive. Just heard a story about a fight between two guys that put one seriously in the hospital clinging to life. Years ago guys would put up their dukes and duke it out, then came the handshake. It was never for blood.

Someone tell me what is going on? Do you think for a moment that the dictator in North Korea would think twice about letting go a nuclear device, when I heard he is seriously ill? What would he have to lose?

Who doesn't feel badly for the two young girls who have been given a twelve year sentence, undeserved in conditions that are extreme. What did they do that merited that?

The stimulus program has failed. There are no new jobs. The unemployment rate is staggering. The economy is not doing well. Binge spending will guarantee our demise. So what's next? An increase in gas prices and besides everything else that's out of whack, more of the same -- a worsening recession since the great depression.

Isn't it time someone said something? Who's minding the store? We are going in the wrong direction, that's certain.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New England Tradition

Late spring brings out so many good traditional treats from the garden. Raw Rhubarb, with a little bit of salt on it is the way some natives enjoy it.

The way I like to use Rhubarb is in a traditional pie. A recipe that goes back to the 1820's when this perennial plant know as Rhubard, became available in Maine and Massachusetts. I remember tasting it as a very young child and making a face, like having tasted a sour lemon.

The stocks of the plant look somewhat like celery and have a crab-apple greenish color, speckled with red. They are known for their tartness and when cooked with another fruit like strawberries or apples, produce a sweet-sour effect.

We use little sugar, and as in years past, it has been a favorite at this time of the year served with light cream. The vegetable is cut up and cooked until fork tender, arranged in a shell alternately with strawberries and baked like an apple pie until the crusts and filling are cooked.

The Rhubard contains many B vitamins, a host of minerals, protein, vitamin C and calcium. It is a powerhouse nutritionally for your family and is known to help curb your weight. Never should Rhubard be over consumed, as it is known to have a laxative effect.

I'm sure you've heard of Rhubard jam, which is another way to enjoy this fine spring vegetable.

We do not have any growing in our garden as previous generations did so we pick up ours up at the local grocery store where the toxic leaves have already been removed.

Another tradition in our family is the homemade crust. We use a butter flavored spread, (Smart-balance), which is heart-healthy, and unbleached flour. Using the spread and flour and the two-fork method, criss-cross cut into a pea sized mix, in which we add small amounts of water, mixing by hand until it becomes a ball. Knead slightly on floured surface, and roll dough until smooth. Cut and line a pie pan, add the filling, then the top crust. Bake at least 20 minutes at a 400 degree pre-heated oven until golden brown, then we lower the temperature to 350 degrees for approximately thirty minutes.

Wish you could join us for what will be a wonderful and healthful dessert, the Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.

To quote my mom "good eating!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday of Souls

Today we began with a church service for those who have died in our family, as well as friends and those we did not know. It was also a special day in our town as we had a festival. While taking our grandson to the parade, my brother rode by on his bike and stopped to have a few words with me. He was with his son, Matthew. Jayne his wife was walking with us for a short time, then went to look at some of the crafts tables.

John, my youngest brother, mentioned that it was D-Day a day that we don't forget in our family. When I was a young child, my mom would take us around the cemeteries to talk about those she remembered and one particular soldier, who was buried close to her father, her "uncle Charlie." John talked about Uncle Charlie today. Uncle Charlie was the half brother of my grandfather. I didn't know either one of them. My grandfather was born in the year 1895 and Charlie October 4, 1918. They were 23 years apart yet they were close. My grandfather Stanley and his wife Valida adopted Leo, their son in 1919. That made his son closer in age to his half brother Charlie than himself.

Life was very difficult in those days. It was during WWII with it's impending threat that hung over their heads and was on their minds and hearts.

Young Charlie was listed as an Army enlistee, Ft. Devens, MA in Feb. 26, 1942 with the rank of Pvt. Warrant officer. He knew that his life along with his friends, would make a difference in this world. Freedom is worth the fight. So, on D-Day June 6, 1944, Charlie was killed in action during the invasion of Normandy, where he gave his life at the age of 26.

In 1945 my grandfather passed away at the age of 50, eighteen months later. My grandfather came to this country to know freedom. Charlie was born here and died abroad so you can know freedom.

I'm no longer the little girl looking at the flag on Charlie's grave, but I haven't forgotten. Peace does not come without a price. Happiness is worth fighting and dying for, let us not forget.

I didn't know you, uncle Charlie, but I thank you for your bravery and sacrifice. I will continue to remember you. A new Honor Roll Monument on Main Street, proudly displays your name.

Across this great nation, families are recalling their loved ones today, as they too recall D-Day known as the longest day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baby Steps

Here's the rule, if you cannot go to the potty, then at least do it in the bathroom. That is what you call baby steps. It means you become aware that you must go to the potty at some point.

What is going on with all that talk about peace is precisely the same in my mind. Eventually, you will need to acquire peace. The goal is difficult. What prevents you from doing what you both know is right? No, it just drags on and drags on. Your all stubborn to a fault.

The baby step rule means to go to the table to hear what steps need to be done to accomplish this goal of peace. Just do it!

I am tired of hearing all the excuses. What are the alternatives? Meanwhile, more discomfort and suffering. You cannot hide any more, the whole world is watching, and we're in your face. We are talking to you. Are you listening?

Its like the body, when one part suffers, the whole suffers with it. Will the day come for Peace? Will you work to give Peace a chance? How do you accomplish this? "Baby steps".

We are all brothers accountable to the same creator, our God. God is our ally in this cause. Like children, we don't want to share. Stop the crap. Why can't we just get along. We need to work together to resolve many problems before it is too late. We have been trying to help for so long, but now it is up to you.

Instead of "what's in it for me" try "what's in it for us."

The world needs to be a better place. Let's agree to do that. It begins with me. So, I will decide to obey the first rule, and that is to do it in the bathroom. Yeah, I know...It stinks!

The time for speeches are over, you have had much advice and you now know what you have to do. Put your faith into action. After all, we are our brother's keeper, all part of the human family. What are you waiting for?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Window Cleaning

What a wonderful time of the year, when you can open your windows and let in the clean air. It's June and the pollen that prevented window opening in May, is past. I enjoy this time of the year when I can get out of bed in the morning and sit outdoors with a fresh cup of coffee. First, I throw open the drapes and let the sun come in. With that said, that's when the positives end, and I find myself staring at the crusted over windows with tons of soot. When your home alone, that's when you see all the dirt.

It definitely is a combination of the wood and coal burning stove of my neighbor and the pollens which dominate the air in May. On Tuesday, I scrubbed the windows at least three times with a well-known window cleaner and rinsed with my jet spray, wiping them thoroughly, then replacing the screens. I wonder if you can appreciate the labor of trying to reach the picture window from each side window. Needless to say, I work hard at what we have always called "spring cleaning." On Tuesday, my family came over for dinner, and as they sat in the living room, we couldn't help but see the film that was left behind. I was certain that I got it all, taking precautions not to wash the windows in the sun, knowing that it would cause streaking.

If you know me, then you know that I would wash them over again. So, this morning after the threat of rain, about nine o'clock, I removed the screens and rewashed the windows. This time using the old-fashioned method, vinegar and newspaper.

There isn't a better way that I know of, (the proof is in the putting). They shine like mirrors and there are no streaks. This time of the year I find intensely busy. In between the four loads of laundry, and dishwashing, dinner and gardening, it was a full day.

Tomorrow, I hope to wash the remaining windows. Still haven't caught up to my ironing, but the closets and storage areas have been cleaned and the winter clothes have been exchanged with summer attire. I hope to clean the oven and refrigerators, and make my husband's favorite cookies.

Next week, it will be time to wash the rugs. I enjoy having everything clean and in its place, after all, there is no place like home. There is a great satisfaction at a job well done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our Local Radio Station

Did you ever have an experience when something put you in a bad mood and you remained that way all day?
Tonight I was talking to family about today's A.M. broadcast. It was the worse ever. We all can't be wrong. Why something is not done about that big-mouth know-it-all is beyond us. Today, an invited guest, who was being interviewed about the big event on Saturday, got to say very little because, Dicky Do thought he should talk for her. He is the authority on all subjects. Fr. Peter never got to sign-off his show because he couldn't get two words in edgewise, as usual because Dick stole the show once again. He has the biggest ego I've ever heard anyone having, and it's always all about him.

What a shame, it used to be a good radio station at one time. My friend said she tunes in to make fun of just how stupid he can make himself look, getting a big laugh. Most days, when it's just Dick, my other friend and I joke about how we just turn the radio off. My husband says the same thing.

I think they have lost all their radio listeners. Soon, I will be so fed up, I may have to turn it off permanently. Too bad Fr. Peter, you ramble a bit, but only because there is no music and even though you may invite a guest, that does not mean we will be hearing from them, that is if Dick is around. Your show is enjoyable.

It is midnight, but I wanted to post this after the family left this evening. It is the first chance I get today. Just to let you know, that I am so dissatisfied with the station manager, don't expect me to be in support of anything that has to do with it's set-up at the June 6Th. fun day. We will not be stopping by at your booth, even if you have "free-bees."

I would be sparing myself the embarrassment with its affiliation. Further, in the future, because it just made my day, so to speak, I will be tuning it out. Frankly, I can't take it anymore.