Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Magic

    My Holiday panic is beginning to subside, as I have most of my necessary tasks completed.  The house is "lightly" decorated, which means only my favorite things,  and I'm happy with the tree.  We are not hosting this year, and I only put out the things that  make me happiest, but not take two days to put away next year.
    My shopping is done, and the Christmas cards and packages have been mailed.  I went grocery shopping today, and have everything I need to bring appetizers and desserts for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.  I'm off from work Tuesday, and will finish wrapping the last gifts. I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving was just three weeks ago!
    Years ago, I learned of an easy way to create some Christmas Magic  for young children.  It was a way to sprinkle glitter up the walk to our house, in order to help Santa find us. We did it Christmas Eve, just as it was getting dark.  It was even more dramatic if there was snow on the ground.
   I was told to mix equal parts oatmeal and glitter in a plastic bag that seals.  Next, make a diagonal cut on one end of the baggie, which would allow a steady stream of glitter to spill outside.  A small cut will insure a small line and helps make a longer path.  The oatmeal would help keep it on the ground.  Ask the kids to help. Shine a flashlight and see how the glitter sparkles!  It's Magic!  The only thing left to do is write a quick note to Santa, and leave cookies and a juice box instead of a glass of milk, in case he's thirsty later.
    I hope everyone finds some magic this Christmas week, and that you all have a Happy and Healthy New Year!!....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Red Hats Celebrate the Season

   " Tis the Season to be Jolly" is part of a popular holiday song.  This weekend was joyful, and very busy because there was a party each day.  The Improper Bostonians, which is our  Red Hat Chapter name,  got together for our Holiday Luncheon.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated, and the meal was fabulous.  We always enjoy the company, and we always acknowledge members celebrating birthdays each month.  Because I'm turning sixty this month, I got to wear the purple cape and crown.  It is usually worn by the red hatter who is turning  60 or 70 or 80.  We had cake and ice cream, and all four of the December birthday girls got in the pictures.
    The cousins also had their annual Christmas cookie party.  We each brought two dozen cookies, and we went home with a wonderful assortment of home made cookies.  My husband loves this event, because he gets to enjoy the cookies for the next week.  I ate one of every kind at the swap, so I'm going to try and eat healthy until the next celebration.  We all discussed how tired we are, because the personal life is extremely busy, and work is hectic with end of year deadlines.
    It's always fun to see relatives and friends during the Holiday season, especially because Christmas week is usually spent with immediate family, and is chock full of things to do. Panic is beginning to set in, because I still need to decorate inside and trim the tree.  All packages must be mailed this week, which means that the last few gifts need to be purchased, and wrapped.  I started my Christmas cards tonight, but I usually take extra time to write a note to the aunts.  I will put off doing that group for now.
    Next weekend, we will attend a birthday luncheon, and finish the shopping.  It will be a big relief to have the packages mailed, and the house decorated.  With ten days to go, I will work on my master list.  It will have three columns, things to buy, things to make, and things to do.  My shopping lists will show each store, and the items I plan to get there.  Hopefully this will cut down on the holiday madness.  I also try and list each store, as I will encounter it in my travels.  Since traffic near our mall will be crazy, I do not want to have to double back.  I always pick up a couple of gifts in case someone gives us a gift, and I did not plan to exchange with them.  I simply get things that I will use myself, in the event that we do not receive any surprise gifts.
   My approach is to take one day at a time, and try to accomplish a few things from my list.  In a few short weeks, I can take  a day to do little and nothing, two of my favorite things to do on weekends.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gobble Gobble

   I thoroughly enjoyed Thanksgiving this year because it was just my speed.  We had a wonderful dinner with Ron's siblings and their families.  Our nephew's children were there, and kids always bring laughter and joy to any celebration.  Feasting with our families is a tradition that I hope everyone can relish.
    I deliberately stayed away from the shops and sales on Friday, and decided to make turkey soup, and a turkey pot pie.  By the time we've eaten all the left overs, we will have been stuffed with turkey.  Since it may be a year until we have it again, I don't mind eating turkey dishes for a few days.
    Small business Saturday is popular in our area.  Downtown shops and restaurants are open late Saturday night, and many offer extra discounts.  I like the idea of keeping the money in my community, and supporting our neighbors.  Even though we have cut down on the amount of gifts we exchange, we still have a lot to buy and mail.  We give to all the kids until they graduate college, and so it is time to start my list.  Packages and Christmas cards must be mailed by December 15th, which means I must get a lot done by next weekend.  The clock is ticking.  There are things to buy, things to make and things to do.  Next weekend I have a Christmas luncheon, and a cookie exchange.  I also need to put up the tree and decorations.  This is the time of year when I do something every night after work in order to get things done.  It is a lot of fun, but it is also exhausting, because work will be very busy, and my personal life will be too.  My strategy will be to do as much as I can each day.  The month of December will fly by, and I  need to maximize the happiness, and minimize the stress.  I'll let you know how it all works out.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

    The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621.  The Pilgrims had landed in America during the winter of 1620, which made life very difficult.  The Pilgrims were starving, and Massasoit and the Wampanoag Indian tribe, brought them food and helped the Colonists survive. The next year, they had the feast to celebrate a successful harvest.  Having meat on the table meant hunting it. The meal would have consisted of duck, venison, seafood and vegetables.  The feast lasted about one week, and some meals were shared with the Wampanoags,  and some were eaten separately.
     I hope everyone gets to celebrate and enjoy a meal with family and friends.  I wish that we all feel peace and happiness in our hearts, and that joy extends through the remainder of this year. If you do not want to be alone,  invite people over for dessert.  If you are feeling lonely, pick up the phone and wish your friends a Happy Thanksgiving.  Send an email to your friends and family, and ask people to reply with something that makes them thankful.  It will surely lift your spirits.
     Work on a gratitude list this week.  Try and think of five different things each day, so that by Thursday, we actually feel blessed.  Reflect on the happiest occasions of the past year, and vow to be aware of the good times to come our way. When I am stuck in traffic, I say this quick prayer which always puts me in a better mood.   " I know you want me to be happy, and I know you want me to have enough.  I am ready for those blessings.  I promise to share my blessings with others."  
    Have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......


Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Red Hats Visit the Irish Village

     I'm a member of the Improper Bostonian chapter of the Red Hat Society, which is an organization for women.  Most of us are over fifty, although younger members must wear Pink Hats.  Our group tries to get together once a month, and we always have a wonderful time.
    We spent Veteran's Day  weekend at the Irish Village in Yarmouth, on Cape Cod.  It has an indoor pool, and workout center, as well as a day spa, and excellent restaurant.
   I was related to seven of the eleven women who attended.  We usually go away each fall and celebrate all our birthdays.  This time, we celebrated me, as I will turn 60 in December.  There was a birthday cocktail made with Bailey's Irish Cream, and I received some very thoughtful and useful gifts.  At my age, I love to get things that I can enjoy and then use up, as I am trying to avoid  dust collectors.  Most of the items were part on our inside jokes, but that made them even more fun!
   There was Irish Music both nights, and I could barely hear myself think, as everyone sang along with the band.  We enjoyed some of the best seafood on the Cape, including award winning chowders and lobster rolls.  The hotel had scones, Irish breads, and a few Irish dishes on the menu.
    We were blessed with beautiful weather and we spent each day shopping and visiting the area.  We went to the Kennedy Museum in Hyannis, which chronicled the last summer of President Kennedy's life.  It is hard to believe that he was assassinated 50 yrs ago this week.  We all remember exactly where we were,  when we got the news that our president had been shot.  We drove by the compound, but it is not possible to get very close.
    We took some pictures of windmills,  some of the outside memorials, and of course the water and the sunsets.  We had fun in the shops, toured the baseball museum for the Cape Cod League, and even found a craft fair.  We all bought something to remind us of our special weekend....and I cannot wait to go to the next event...and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Boston Red Sox Rolling Rally

   Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, 2013 World Champions!  It has been an unbelievable story because the Sox went from  worst to first.  Last season, Boston owned the worst record in baseball, and this year they rank first !  The last time they won in Boston, it was 1918 and Babe Ruth was on the field. My sister and brother in law were at the game, and it was awesome!  It was even great for those of us watching from home.
   I was hesitant to be a real fanatic this year, because last year was so awful.  It did not take long though for me to embrace the team.  They were a bunch of hard working guys, and they seemed to have a knack for winning. There were lots of walk off wins, and late inning magic.  This team played hard every game, and never quit.   I'm convinced that attitude helped them win their series.  I know that the Boston Marathon bombing gave them all an immediate bond, and they played to give us something to cheer about.  Many of the players visited the victims in the hospitals, and continue to help them today.  They kept it quiet, and we will never know how much the Red Sox players and their families do for our community.
   The Duck Boat parade was held on Saturday morning.  We watched from home, and it was great to see the players and the fans celebrating together.  The parade started out from Fenway Park, and rolled  to the marathon finish line.  The shirts with "617" and "Boston Strong" that had been in the dug outs all season with the team,  were given to one of the businesses most affected by the bombs.  God Bless America was sung, and there was a moment of silence.  The duck boats then proceeded to the water for a swim, before heading back to Fenway.  The entire trip took about three hours, and it was a total love fest.  Fans lined the parade route, and cheered for  their favorite players as they rolled by.  Some of the loudest cheers went up for the bull pen cop who raised his hands when Papi hit the grand slam.  The players were tweeting about how touched they were to see all the people.  It surprised me to see them taking pictures of the crowds.  They waved relentlessly, and acknowledged  their screaming fans.  
   We were told that Boston has had eight different parades since 2001.  The Red Sox and Patriots each have had three, and the Celtics and Bruins have also won Championships.  New England sports fans have been blessed with hard working and successful teams.  All we ask is that players prepare and compete for the entire game.  It's been said that 85% of life is just showing up.  That sounds like great advice,  so that's what I strive to do....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Bucket List

    Well, I did it.  I actually walked my first 5 K.   Another item can be scratched off my bucket list.  
I walked with three other women from my office, and I completed 3.1 miles!  I felt great except for some minor aches and pains, but a little advil and ice took care of that pretty quickly.
    My generous friends and family donated more than $250.00 to our soup kitchen and local food pantries.  I am still getting checks in the mail from my cousins.  The Nashua walk was hoping to hit the million dollar mark this year (their 29th), so they love the fact that donations are still coming in!!
    I know I'll do another 5 K, and next time I hope to do more actual running.  
    Now it's time to move on to the next item on my list.  The Red Sox winning the World Series would be great!  My sister and her husband have tickets to Wednesday's game, and it would be fantastic if the Sox clinched tomorrow night....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Red Sox are Headed to the 2013 World Series

    The World Series begins Wednesday, October 23 rd.  The Red Sox will represent the American League, and the Cardinals will represent the National League.  Congratulations to both teams, and to all their loyal fans.  It should be an excellent series.  I'm glad Boston has the home field advantage, which means that the seventh game, if needed to decide the Championship,  will be played at Fenway Park.
    Both teams have been there before, and have even faced each other in 2004.  That was the year that the Red Sox beat all the odds, and came back to win the Divisional Championship Series,  after losing the first three games in the series to the Yankees.  No other team in history had ever done that before, and it is unlikely to ever happen again.  Boston had not won a World Series in eighty-six years, even though they had been in the Post Season several times.
   Boston fans have felt the agony of defeat many times, and so we must thank the Detroit Tigers for their effort in such an intense series.  The Tigers have three of the top pitchers in all of baseball, and they have the guy most likely to win the batting title.  These games were scary.  As a matter of fact,  I called my folks in Florida during each game, just to check on them.  I knew if my heart was pounding, theirs would be as well. It is a lot of fun to watch a game together even though we live thousands of miles apart.  We would hang up during commercials and breaks, and I'd say "I'll call you if anything good happens".  The games were close, and everyone watching TV must have loved it.  Of course, it was shear torture for all  Sox and Tiger fans. Each game was determined by one or two mistakes, which the other team quickly capitalized on.
    Boston's closing pitcher won the MVP of the Series, and was awarded a trophy.  He was the third pitcher given the job, when two other closers suffered season ending injuries .  When asked how he felt going in to pitch the ninth inning, he said "to be honest, I wanted to throw up".  He's the guy that Big Papi throws over his shoulder after every save, the guy that high fives everyone.  He seems to have a real joy for the game, and it seems to have spilled onto the entire team.  They are working hard, and having fun.  That's a recipe for success no matter what profession we happen to be in.  Good Luck Everyone....and remember to breath.
I know there will be a lot of late nights for baseball fans throughout the country......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Monday, October 14, 2013

New England's Comeback Kids

   Sunday was a very busy day for sports fans in New England.  The Patriots football game was on TV at 4:30 pm, and the Red Sox playoff game started at 8:15 pm.  Everyone watching was treated to two of the best comeback wins in a long time.  The moral of both stories is to never give up.
    The Patriots were losing with less than three minutes left in the game, and Tom Brady's pass was intercepted.  Since the Red Sox were due to start in a few minutes, I decided to clean up the kitchen.  After all, now there were only two minutes left in the game.  I scurried back to the den when I heard my husband cheering that the Pat's had gotten the ball back.  This season, all the receivers are new, and catching balls are no longer automatic.  Fans cannot wait until the team runs the plays the way they are drawn up.  Yesterday, we got a glimpse of just how easy it could be.  With 5 seconds left, Tompkins caught a pass, and the Patriots wound up beating the saints, who had not lost this season.  It was fantastic!   At the press conference, Brady talked about all the practice that the team does to prepare for different game time situations.  A former player mentioned that each Thursday is devoted to exactly that. Hopefully, this is the confidence booster that the teams needs. Patriots always talk about playing for all 60 minutes, and yesterday, it took  exactly 59 minutes and 55 seconds of hard work to win that game.  Keep up the good work!
       The Red Sox game began very slowly, with Detroit pitching dominating.  Detroit was racking up all kinds of records, because the Red Sox were shut out Saturday night, and no one got a hit until the sixth inning last night.  In the eighth inning though, fans got to see some Red Sox Magic!  Red Sox were trailing the Tigers 5 to 1, when  Big Papi hit a grand slam to tie the game!  Some of my relatives were at the game, sitting  four rows behind the bullpens.  The home run landed right in front of them, and the fans were going nuts.  Someone paused their TV and took of picture of them in the stands.  And yes, at least one of them was wearing a fake beard! It must have been incredible!  I tried to call my nephew after the game, but he did not answer.  Apparently, they were taking pictures with his phone, and said that fans stuck around cheering long after the game had ended.  They called when they got in the car though, and said it was the best game they had ever attended.
    After Saturday's loss, I bought Hood's Red Sox Caramel Comeback ice cream.  Yes, New England actually has ice cream with names like Green Monster Mint and others ( I bought them both).  I usually talk with my dad in Florida Sunday nights, and of course they were watching too.  I said I was going to have some ice cream, and I'd call him back if anything good happened.  OMG,  it worked!  Of course, I'll have to have enough on hand to get me through the series.  No matter how it ends, fans know that this Red Sox team never gives up, and will play hard until the game is over.  I cannot wait until Tuesday night to see what happens next......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.........

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed

  One of our neighbors had a kitchen fire recently.  We are all grateful that no one was hurt.  Most of the damage was caused by smoke, which is prevalent in every room.  The fire department worked quickly through each room, causing damage to electronics and other possessions.  The insurance company and fire investigators will complete their reports, and then the cleanup and restoration will begin.
  We have lived in this neighborhood for more than thirty years, and we know that we are fortunate to have such great friends.  We all help each other, and do our best to get along.  We all want to do something to help, but the waiting is tough.  It seems to be taking too long to get answers, and I wonder if it has been caused by the government shutdown.
  The family is staying with friends next door.  A few of the children from the street made cards, and every family chipped in to help with immediate expenses.  It was very emotional when a group of us dropped off our gifts today.  They were touched by our generosity, but the fact is, that we have all been helped by this family through the years.  It felt good to repay their kindness, although it is terrible that any family go through this.
  This is the America that I want to live in.  In my America,  we don't hesitate to help each other.  I am disgusted that the government has shut down,  because the wrong people are being hurt.  Those that need services and answers should be able to get them.  Americans want the vote taken, because we all  believe that there are enough votes to reopen the government.  Then,  I think the parties can fight about anything they want.  I hope those in Congress whose words say that they do not want a shut down, find the courage to have their actions match those words.  After all, the entire country is watching.  You will never convince the American voters that the party who loves big government, would actually shut it down.
   I personally know three people who work as clerks in Federal jobs.  None of them are trust fund babies, and so they literally depend on their salaries for rent, car payments,  and groceries.  One of them is considered essential personnel, and must report for work without pay.  The others have been  furloughed,  which means that they stay home without pay.  Some obnoxious members of Congress equate that to a vacation.  Most of us would never go away unless we thought we could actually pay for a trip, and my friends must be prepared to report to work in a matter of hours.
 If  our elected representatives refuse to act on behalf of ALL Americans, then I hope the voters make them pay a political price in the next election.  If  lawmakers are forced to realize that their actions have consequences, then they might be more likely to actually govern.  I really hope it comes back to bite all  who use Americans as pawns in their game of chicken.  Those of us in the sensible center must talk to our friends and make sure we vote the bad lawmakers out of office as soon as possible.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on..........

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oktoberfest 2013

   We attended the tenth annual Oktoberfest party hosted by Ron's boyhood friend.  Most of the eighty people who attended grew up in the same neighborhood, and have known each other for more than fifty years.  It always comes at the end of the summer, and so it tends to be a bittersweet event.
    It's always a lot of fun to hear the stories of getting into trouble as teenagers, then college, jobs and families.  Now we are all looking forward to retirement, and grandchildren.
    The weather was spectacular, with temps in the seventies.  Youngsters were swimming in the heated pool, and the rest of us were enjoying the sunshine, and the conversations about first cars, and first houses.  It is true that we have all come a long way, even though a lot of us have had bumpy rides along the way.
     The dinner was catered, and it was scrumptious.  Bar-b-que  ribs and boneless beef, chicken and pork, as well as side dishes, and salads.  The rest of us brought either a dessert or an appetizer, and the day turned into a delicious food fest.  Good food, good friends, and good weather made the day picture perfect.
     There were coolers filled with water, soda, wine, and home brewed beer.  One of the husbands commented that it was unbelievable that the wives were drinking some frozen alcoholic concoction, and the guys were drinking water because they would be driving home.  Life is easy when everyone acts responsibly.
      Tomorrow the pool company will close our pool for the season, and so we must embrace fall.  Today, I made chili, and prepared a roast for next week's dinners.  Football is on TV, with the Patriots playing tonight.  They have won their first three games, but still have a lot of room for improvement.
     The Red Sox played their final regular season game today, and finished with the best record in baseball.  It is a dramatic turn-around, going from worst to first within one year.  We will enjoy the post season, and hope for good things to come.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.........

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gearing Up For My 5 K Walk-Run Event

    I've gotten a lot of advice as I train for my very first 5 K walk-run, and I've done my best to follow all the tips.  I was advised to talk about it with others, so I would not be tempted to give up on my goal. I was told to sign up for a race, so I could keep my eyes on my goal.   As I talked with people, almost everyone had a suggestion or two.  The most recent was to make sure I had warm running clothes, as the weather will turn colder.  I now have eight layer running pants, and spandex crops that will keep moisture away.  I have new running shirts with both short and long sleeves, as well as a wind resistant shirt.  Matt gave me a gift certificate and I will use it to get some rain gear.  It really is all about the clothes, and how comfortable I can be while I walk and run.
    There is a local 5 K race called the crop walk, which will raise money for the soup kitchens and local food banks.  The event will be held the end of October, and so I now have my last five weeks to train.  I'm confident that I will easily finish, even if I walk the last mile.  I will raise some money for a good cause, and I can be proud of my accomplishment.  This means that I will be able to scratch another item off my bucket list.  It seemed a lot more daunting before I started this journey, and now it is clearly within reach.  I have yet to run for an entire mile, but I continue to make progress.   I feel so much better than I did in June when I began to walk my neighborhood with my dog.  My clothes fit better, and I've lost ten pounds.  Of course, I thought the weight would melt off me, but I will choose to focus on all the positive benefits.
  One of my cousins will run the New York Marathon in November, and I have a lot of respect for her commitment.  I know how hard she works, and I give her a lot of credit, because I cannot imagine running for twenty-six miles....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Small Steps Become Big Strides

    I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day Weekend!  Severe storms in New Hampshire knocked out my internet.  It certainly wasn't cookout weather, but we made the most of it.  I wound up doing two of my favorite things on rainy weekends,  "little and nothing".  It has been a hectic summer with lots of company and pool parties.  It's time to close our pool for the winter, even though temperatures hit ninety degrees last week.
   Last weekend, my folks were visiting again from Florida, and I was not home much at all.  There were long days with the entire family, and it is always great to see them.  I hope I'm that spunky when I hit my eighties.  They got to see all six of their children,  all eleven great-grandchildren, and seven of their thirteen grandchildren.  It's always controlled chaos, but it is a lot of fun.  We try and drive them, as traffic in the northeast can be extremely challenging even with a G-P-S system in the car.  This gives us more time to visit.
    I'm pleased with my couch to 5-K progress.  The cooler weather has enabled me to jog for longer distances, and my dog keeps the pace easily.  My next step is to sign up for a local 5-K walk run, and then attempt to run for twenty minutes.  Today, I can run for about five minutes, then we walk until I can breathe normally, and jog again for a total of twenty minutes.  My neighborhood route is more than one mile, and I can continue to add distance. I know now that I will be able to complete a 5-K, even though I've had my doubts when the heat and humidity was so oppressive this summer.  I've lost more than ten pounds, but I really expected the weight to melt off.  I'm also sleeping better, and seem to have more energy.  All things considered, it has been a positive experience.   I am already planning to run another 5-K in the spring, so I will have to continue to work during the winter.  I will keep my focus on progress, not perfection.  I will not set unreachable goals, as that will allow me an excuse to give up.  Small steps will become bigger strides....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Jogging the neighborhood

   I'm enjoying my walk-run program, and I'm learning a lot about my neighborhood.  Some of my neighbors actually have cars that match the color of their houses.  Some like to hang decorative flags, and change them for different holidays, and seasons.  Many have beautiful flowers around their property,  and most keep their lawns neatly manicured.
   As usual, I'm finding some benefits that I was not expecting.  This week I spotted a bumper sticker that I loved.  It had the outline of a dog, with the words "more wag and less bark" printed inside.  I smiled when I saw it, and thought about it for my entire walk.  I'm a sayings person, and I think this one gives great advice.  I decide to try and implement those words this week, and see what happens.  I'll have to dial back the sarcasm,  and be conscious of my reactions.  I'll also share the saying with people I see this week.  I think it will immediately give a boost of positive energy, which is always a good thing.
   I can describe my jogging progress with another saying  "slow and steady, wins the race".  I confident that I will be able to complete my 5-K this fall.  I notice that I have a much easier time jogging on less humid days.  I'll be sad saying good-bye to summer, but I'll focus on the upside.  Fall is really my favorite season, even though it means that winter is around the next corner.  I plan to take each day as it comes, and find the positives.  It feels a lot like less bark and more wag......and the beat goes on......the beat goes on.......

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Couch to 5-K Journey Continues

    Whew!  Preparing for a 5-K run is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  It all sounded reasonable, and do-able.  I would walk for five minutes, then jog for one minute, and walk for ninety seconds.  I would then repeat this format for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Of course, I can easily walk with my dog for twenty minutes, so I thought this would be a "piece of cake".  The truth is, I jog for sixty seconds, then walk until I can breathe normally again, before I jog again!   By the time we get home, the pup and I need a few big gulps of water, and I hurry to take a cool shower.  I'm telling myself that my face gets beet red because it's been extremely hot and humid this summer, and so I'm anxious to see how I do on a cool day.
     I've also been eating a lot more junk food.  I guess I thought that I could get away with it, but I weigh more now that before I started my summer program.  Someone said that muscle weighs more, so I'll cling to that idea for a few more days.  The saying that comes to mind is "reality bites", and I am surprised at the number of food references that help me describe my progress.
      Today begins week three of my twelve week program.  I decide to do a food journal, and go back to more healthy choices.  I notice that when I do not have protein for breakfast, I snack too much at night.  I'm determined to do better, and expect to have a much better week...I have a lot of tools in my toolbox,  I just have to dust them off and use them.......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Family Time

     This will be short and sweet....Matt is visiting for a couple of days, before he heads to a conference on Monday.  It is always hectic, as we try and cram as much into a four day weekend as possible.  Friday wash a wash out due to torrential rains in New England, so golf was cancelled, and replaced with lunch out, and a movie.  We had a family cookout on Saturday, with twelve of our closest relatives. 
    We were able to have a little more quiet time today.  I always call our last family meal together the "last supper, and it means that the visit will end soon.  I'm gonna run and enjoy every minute...and the beat goes on......the beat goes on......

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Couch to 5-K Program

   The couch to 5-K program is a nine week training schedule for beginners who want to run their first race.  I set a goal that I would participate in a five kilometer or 3.1 mile, walk-run  before I turn 60 in December.  I start my official training tomorrow, and I hope to sign up and run by Thanksgiving weekend.  The literature suggests a slow and steady pace, and even recommends repeating a week several times before advancing to another step.
   I'm going to allow twelve weeks to train, and I will concentrate on walking and jogging.  Each session should take 20 or 30 minutes, and I will do three each week, with a break in between to rest and recover.  It all seems manageable, as I am begin by walking  for five minutes, then jog for sixty seconds, then walk for ninety seconds. I repeat this scenario for twenty minutes, and then I'm done.  I've decided on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with a make-up day over the weekend in case of bad weather.  
    I've actually been trying to walk my dog three days a week since May.  We jogged and ran quite a bit in June, because of the torrential downpours that we were caught in that month.  In July, I jogged in the pool, and did laps when it was too hot to walk.  We had record heat waves this summer, and the dog refused to walk on the hot pavement.  I also walked while watching TV with the air conditioning blasting.  No one has ever called my timing impeccable, but life is definitely what happens when we are making other plans.  I plan to keep my eye on the prize and continue to work.  There is a saying that slow and steady wins the race, and I know that this is something that I can accomplish.
    I'll update my progress each week, and report when I've signed up for my 5-K walk run event....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.....
P.S. Sorry about last week.  My computer froze, and we had to send it out for repair.  I got it back today....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

We're Having a Heat Wave

   Whew ! Has it been Hot in New Hampshire!  We've had seven straight days with temperatures in the 90's, but today the humidity is lower and we topped out with temps around 88 degrees.  It was still a pretty good beach day, and last week was excellent for anyone on vacation.  We used our pool as much as possible, then retreated to our air conditioned TV room.
     Our one year old rescue dog actually seems to enjoy the pool!  We got him a safety vest which keeps him floating while he paddles around.  Bruno has a couple of toys that float, and he is more concerned with grabbing them, than he is worried about being in the deep end.  It also helps that he holds them above the water line, which helped him to stop trying to drink the pool water.  Right now, he always goes into the water by way of  the stairs, but my husband is convinced that he will be jumping off the side of the pool before the end of the summer.  I'll keep you all posted with our progress.
     Summers in New England are pretty short, and so it is important to take advantage of all the beach days that get to enjoy.  Grilling burgers and a couple of side salads makes for an easy supper.  Any night that there are no pans to scrub is a gift to me.  I'm thankful for my blessings, and I try to enjoy each day!
      Another great thing about summertime is baseball, and the Red Sox are playing the Yankees at Fenway Park tonight.  I think the Red Sox are ahead right now, and so I'm gonna run and catch the end of the game.....and the beat goes on......the beat goes on......

Sunday, July 14, 2013


   Hi body is back to work, but my mind is still on vacation.  The heat wave extended through the entire 4th weekend, and we enjoyed our pool immensely.
   Hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July celebrations.  We watched TV from home as the Boston Pops performed on the Esplanade.  All of the performers were from Boston this year, and the theme was Boston Strong.  Many of the survivors of the Marathon bombings were in the front row, and the metro transit cop, who was wounded in the gun fight in Watertown, Mass.  lead the Pops for a few songs.  He was an inspiration to everyone even though he is on crutches, and still has a long recovery ahead of him.
  The 1812 Overture is the signature event, and it was fantastic!  The anthems for each service branch was played, and the audience was asked to stand if they had ever served,as the crowd cheered with gratitude.  Maestro Keith Lockhart reminded us that Boston invented the United States.  If it were not for the original Patriots in Boston in 1776, with the Boston Tea Party, and the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, who knows if America would be free today.  It is fitting that Boston's Independence Day celebration was the first of its kind in the country.  I believe it started in 1976, as part of the nation's Bi-Centennial (200 years).
  The fire works display was wonderful.  We were worried about leaving our dog home alone with the neighborhood fire works, and  really had no desire to venture too far from our air conditioning.
  Hopefully there is still a lot more summer weather is ahead of us, and our remaining vacation days are full of sun and fun.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Boston Strong Concert

     The Boston Strong Concert which was held Memorial Day weekend, was televised Saturday night, and we got a chance to watch it.  Musicians and celebrities with ties to Boston performed to raise money to support the victims of the Marathon bombings.  It aired commercial free for more than four hours, and it was outstanding.  It honored the victims, and paid tribute to the runners and emergency medical staff that saved  lives.   Three people died at the scene, but that means that everyone else who was taken to area hospitals survived. The bombers expected that most of those within the bomb blast would bleed to death in the street.  But THEY WERE WRONG !  As usual, the bad guys underestimated the strength and resolve of average Bostonians. Many survivors attended the concert in their wheel chairs.  Dozens will have to endure multiple surgeries, and learn to walk, run and dance with prosthetic limbs.  Those who are still growing will need to be refitted, and medical care will be needed for the rest of their lives.
      My favorite performers were Carole King and James Taylor, because I grew up on their music.  Jimmy Buffet, the New Kids on the Block, and Boys to Men were also excellent.  Aerosmith,  J Geil's Band, Boston, and the Drop Kick Murphy's rocked out the Garden.  I loved it when the audience sang along and danced in the aisles.  It was a fun celebration, but it got emotional when the celebrities spoke about what happened to their friends and neighbors.  One of the New Kids on the Block wore his medal,  because he ran and finished the marathon less than ten minutes before the explosions.  It was personal, and it showed.
   I got choked up when I saw people in the audience crying. It is heart wrenching to think of the hundreds of peoples whose lives are now changed forever.  I know that millions of dollars have been raised to help with  expenses, and that more is realistically needed.   One of the groups performing  said they will be ready  to do it again next year.  I know that local sports teams and companies have been extremely generous to the cause.  Millions of Americans have also donated and help has come from every state and around the world.  The Boston Marathon has been run for 116 years, and it will be bigger and better than ever next year because it is Boston Strong.
    Boston is a relatively small area with many neighborhood, all of which were affected by this tragedy.  I'm proud to have grown up near Boston, and many of my relatives are scattered throughout Massachusetts.   I attended college in Boston, and worked at Filene's Basement until I graduated.  We live close enough that we can go into the city for sporting events, plays in the theater district, and restaurants....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Sprinkle

   I went to a sprinkle today.  I found out recently that a "sprinkle"  is a light baby shower.  My nephew and his wife are expecting their second child soon, and they know that they will be having a girl.  Their first born is a boy, and so they already have all the big stuff.  All they need now are pink outfits, bedding and accessories that are suitable for a baby girl.
   Clothes for baby girls are adorable, and we all ooh-ed and aah-ed over the new wardrobe.  We were smart enough to buy clothes from newborn to 12 months, and so the new arrival will have a beautiful collection of bibs,  pajamas, sundresses, shirts with ruffles and of course, shoes that will last a few months.
    There were three great-grandmothers in attendance, and they provided some of the best gifts.  One painted a picture for the baby's room, and another brought a handmade blanket and sweater set, and the third gave the baby her very first Red Sox  team shirts.   These active women are close to eighty, and are all going strong.  I hope I am doing as well in another twenty years.
   Someone folded tee shirts and socks to look like cupcakes.  Apparently directions are available on line.
We all had a wonderful time, and  look forward to welcoming  a happy and healthy addition to our family.   It's exciting to see the next generation, and the promise of good things to come.  I have to smile as I think about the circle of life.  Last weekend we celebrated one niece's graduation, and this weekend another niece's baby shower...all the kids are growing up so fast...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day

   I wanted to give a shout out to all the Dad's and wish them all a Happy Father's Day!   I hope you all took the time to thank the Dad's in your life, and acknowledge their love and hard work through the years.  I think every parent likes to hear that they did a good job, and it really costs nothing to say thanks.
  We had a hectic weekend with a graduation on Sunday morning, and a celebration on Saturday.  My folks are visiting from Florida, and so we try and have as many meals together as possible while they are here.  People always comment when I say that I'm cooking for fifteen of my closest relatives, but there were only twelve for dinner  last night.  We had spiral ham with all the fixings. I used my crock pots to keep things warm, and it worked great.  There were lots of funny cards and silly stories, and it is always hard for me to keep up with all the conversations at once.  We all have a lot of good memories, and we know we were blessed to have a Dad like ours.  He was always there for us and kept his sense of humor through it all the drama of life.  Even now, they just "go with the flow".
   It's always good to see my dad, and it's remarkable that they have the energy to cram so much into a two week visit.  I hope I am able to do as well when I am in my eighties.  They have made the rounds in three different New England states, and had visits with all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that are living within driving distance.
   Tonight we will do it all over again, except that we will get pizza delivered.  I am excited to use all the appetizers and desserts that have been accumulating in my fridge.  My mom would call them must-goes because she needed to make room for the next big meal.
    Our dog Bruno has behaved pretty well through all the festivities, although he is determined to get into my father's lap when we watch TV.  The only problem is that the pup now weighs about fifty pounds, and is too big and heavy to be a lap dog.  He is snoozing as I type this, but it is almost time for a walk, so I gotta run...and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'll Be a Fly on the Wall

   Death is a natural part of life, but it is very hard on family and friends when someone dies too young.  My cousin Darlene who was forty-seven, lost her battle with cancer recently, and we celebrated her life at a Memorial Service Thursday morning.  It was beautiful, and I hope it brought a  small amount of comfort to those closest to her.  Relatives told stories about her life with humor and love.  
   The night before the service, my step mom June shared a story about one of her sisters who had passed away a few years ago.  Anne lived into her nineties, and she told her grown daughters that she would always be with them, like "a fly on the wall".  Several times since her death,  when the women got together, there seemed to be a fly hovering around.  It was uncanny, and the girls believe that it is a sign from their mom.  
   June recently felt it too, as a fly landed on her arm while she was thinking about all our relatives who have died in the past few years.  My folks are coming up to New Hampshire  for a graduation, and then again in September for a wedding.  During one of the visits,  family will get together to scatter the ashes of June's daughter Marianne, who died July 2012.  
   I was more than a little surprised when I saw a fly land on Darlene's mom's head during Thursday's service.  
It brought a smile to my lips, and I will definitely relay the story to my cousin.  Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, and I cannot believe how difficult this must have been for her mother.  
    The last time something like this happened was about twenty years ago, when a bird was inside the church during my uncle's funeral mass. His daughters were sure it was their dad saying good-bye to them.
   I believe that all of these examples may be signs from heaven, and I think it is a comfort to anyone who believes.  I had a friend who died in hospice care in February 2009.  While I sat with my friend,  a cardinal slammed into the window of her room and fell to the ground.  When I looked back at my friend to tell her what just happened, she was gone.  Every time I see a cardinal, I say a quick prayer for her.  I believe that it is more than a little unusual that a cardinal would be flying around New Hampshire during the winter.  Now, when I see a fly, I won't swat it away until I say a quick prayer for my cousin, and June's daughter and sister.  
   This week, please remember that life is short, and  try and enjoy every day.  I can offer up my busy work days in memory of those who left this world too early, and I will concentrate on all the positive things  in my life....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wild Weather Rocks the Midwest

   I cannot believe that Oklahoma and Missouri have been hit with more devastating tornadoes.  People from those areas hardest hit have to be reaching their breaking points.  Homes have been destroyed and neighborhoods leveled.  Those of us on the east coast can only watch in horror as live newscasts cover the storms.  Our hearts ache as we see and hear from folks who have lost family and friends, as well as their homes.  It seems that we are talking about "storms of the century" and "storms of a lifetime" every few weeks lately.  I am convinced that climate change is a contributing factor, because while it cannot cause every storm, it definitely makes things worse.  It's time to work on finding some common sense solutions that will help to save lives and our property.  I know Americans are strong and resilient, but there must be a better way of dealing with killer storms.  It's a lot to ask that we just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and rebuild time and again.
    In New England, we have gone from "drizzle to sizzle" within one week.  Last weekend, upstate New York got 34 inches of snow, and northern New Hampshire had more than one foot of snow.  The rest of New England got rain that lasted several days. This weekend we were locked into hazy, hot and humid weather, with temps hitting the 90's!  Memorial Day weekend, we had the heat on, and this weekend we are melting.  Even with air conditioning, it's uncomfortable.  The temperature changed by forty degrees withing twelve hours.  Last Saturday, I made soup because it was raining and raw, and I could not get warm.  Five days later, we are digging out our bathing suits, and pulling the cover off our swimming pools.
    Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, and this year has seen both ends of the weather spectrum.  This week will be more seasonable with lots of sun, and temps in the 70's.  It will be a nice relief for New England.  Do we dare to complain when we see others dealing with so much more?  I think I'll consider myself lucky, and enjoy  each day as it comes.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Celebrating Memorial Day

Roses Are Red
Violets Are Blue
I'm enjoying a three day weekend
I hope all of you are too !!!

   I just wanted to send a shout out to all the military who have served to make us safe.  A special thank you to all who are on active duty this weekend.  Because of your dedicated service, the rest of us get to enjoy ourselves this Memorial Day.  
   As we head to our backyard bar-b-ques, or the beach,  a ballgame, or a movie, let's take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to live in America.  The Anthem that we sing includes the phrase " the land of the free and the home of the brave".  Freedom isn't free, and I want to acknowledge the price that our relatives and friends in the armed forces have paid to keep our country free.  
    Many patriotic Americans will take the time this weekend to watch their town's parade,  and enjoy the band's that are marching.  Many will  keep the tradition of placing flowers and plants near the cemetery headstones of relatives.  If you do not live close enough to do that, perhaps lighting a candle wherever you are, will serve as a proper gesture.
   I have lost several relatives and friends since last Memorial Day, and it still saddens me to think about how much I miss them.  The grieving process can be long, and different situations can remind us of our loss.  My suggestion is to get up in the morning, and try and enjoy every day.  I do my best to find simple solutions to my problems whether big or small.  I find someone who I can confide in, because I believe that a problem shared,  is a problem cut in half.  My advice is to stay in the present, and not obsess about the busy work week ahead, or what the future might hold.  Take one day at a time.  If we take care of everything that we can today, then tomorrow will take care of itself....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Power-Ball Excitement

   My folks live near Tampa,  Florida, which is very close to where this week's power ball ticket was purchased.  I guess everyone who has a relative in the state is checking to find out if they know the person who won the jackpot.  My Dad said everyone he spoke with has asked if he knows the winner.  Turns out, he doesn't, so I won't be able to call in 'rich' to work Monday.
    We all had a lot of fun last week daydreaming about what we would do if we won the lottery.  I bought a couple of quick pick tickets, and did not even have one of the numbers drawn.  Oh well, better luck next time.  You cannot win if you do not play, and it only costs a couple of dollars for the chance to make our dreams come true.
    My plan has always been the same, and I'm sure I will follow it when we win.  I am going to split my winnings into three equal parts.
   First we will take a vacation and celebrate with family and friends.
   Next there will be a new home, and a couple of new cars.
   Finally, we will put the rest away for retirement, which will begin immediately.
   Through it all, we hope to be able to share with our parents, as well as our siblings and their children.  We will be generous to our church, and a few special charities.  I would love to be a philanthropist, and it would definitely be fun to make a few dreams come true.  I think it is important to be a good steward of the money, and put it to good use.  Every time I buy a ticket, I ask the lottery angels to smile on us, and help make all our dreams come true....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Roses Are Red
Violets Are Blue
Sending Special Mother's Day Wishes 
To Every One of YOU!

Just a quick post to wish all the moms a very Happy Mother's Day!
Hope the year ahead brings you all a lot of joy!

Many of us have one child, and plenty of us have two or more.  I'd like you all to take a few moments to put your feet up and enjoy some of your best memories with your children.  Today let's decide to focus on the positive things in our lives, and leave our troubles behind for a few hours.

Some of us have pets who we consider to be our four legged kids, because they give us unconditional love.  Enjoy them today and everyday!   Be grateful to always have good company!

If you are alone today, please call someone and plan to go for a walk, or out to meet for lunch, or just talk for awhile.  Please try and make the most of your situation today, and not be sad or angry.

It's important to accept all that we cannot change, and summon the courage to change what we can.  These words are part of the Serenity Prayer which ends with the words "and the wisdom to know the difference"  ......and the beat goes on...the beat goes on........have a good week everyone......

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco-de-Mayo

    Cinco-de-Mayo translates to 5th of May , and commemorates a battle between the Mexican Army and the French Army on May 5th 1862.  I'll give you the Reader's Digest condensed version of the events.
   The battle occurred in the midst of the Civil War, and prevented Napoleon from supplying aid to the Confederate troops.  History tells us that after the Civil War had ended, the United States returned the favor and helped Mexico defeat Napoleon.  May 5th is not celebrated in Mexico, but began in cities with large Mexican-American communities like Los Angeles and Houston.
   In 2005, Congress issued a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe Cinco-de-Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  Today, many celebrate with nachos, guacamole,  and beverages like Margaritas.  It's a wonderful  way to spend a day!
    This year,  the battle will happen around Immigration Reform.  I believe that the path to citizenship  is long overdue.  All of my grandparents emigrated to America, and became citizens.  It was not easy, but it was possible, even though many feared that my Irish and Italian ancestors would be a burden to the country.  History has shown that it never happened!  My relatives love this country, and are hard working productive members of society.  Thank goodness that the voice of reason prevailed in the early 1900's and I pray that the same will happen again....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Friends of My Friends

    Last week was very emotional for the entire New England area.  Funeral services were held for the four victims of the Marathon bombing, and thousands  attended to support the families of those innocent by- standers who lost their lives.   Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to all of them.  May they stay Boston Strong!
   We have learned a lot more about the injured, and it seems that we all know people who were their friends, neighbors and co-workers.  The Boston 1 Funds has raised over $26 million dollars to help with medical bills and prosthetic legs.  It will surely take the generosity of the entire country to help with the long road to recovery. Americans really do know how to work together, and take care of each other.
    We are learning about the ordinary citizens who did extraordinary things, and helped to save strangers.It is wonderful to know that all those who made it to the hospital after the explosion will survive!  They have begun to tell their stories as they are strong enough to leave the hospital.  They will have to stay  Boston Strong --wicked strong!
     I heard a comment that it was stupid to pick on a city where 9 out of 10 Bostonians are related to a cop. I can validate that statement because I have three cousins who are all policemen.  My grandfather was a Boston cop.  Several of my neighbors are police officers, and all of them deserve a shout out and our thanks for keeping us safe.
      A Boston Bruin was interviewed  before a hockey game last week, and he stressed that people from Boston and the surrounding cities are tough.  He reminded us that they call themselves "Mass-holes".  We usually only hear that term when someone with Massachusetts license plates cuts us off in traffic, but this time it seems to have a more positive meaning.  I'm proud to see the defiance in the hearts of the community.  It will take determination and perseverance to get through this.
      My favorite comment of the week reminded us of the importance of Patriots Day.  Without Boston, we may not have a country.  If it weren't for the actions of Paul Revere and his friends who took a stand against British tyranny on April 15, 1775, there would not be the United States of America.  Boston was the city that started our country.  I guess that means that Mass-holes have been Boston Strong  for 238 years....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Strong--Wicked Strong

   New Englanders  will never forget what we were doing Patriot's Day 2013 when the bombs exploded at the Marathon.  I was at work, and speaking with someone whose granddaughter was there to watch a friend race.  She immediately called her daughter, and then waited hours to find out that everyone was safe.  Southern New Hampshire is only a short drive to Boston, and many of us work there and  have friends and family in Massachusetts.  We all know someone who was running in this year's Marathon, because so many run for charities.  I contributed to help a friend's sister raise research money for Dana Farber.  The hospital cared for their young cousin who died of cancer a few years ago.  Another acquaintance is married to an avid runner, and they actually plan vacations around races throughout the country.
    The bad guys seemed to have calculated everything except for spirit of the people who would be at the finish line.  I'm convinced that so many are alive today because of the kindness of strangers.  The medical tent was staffed with doctors and nurses ready to help runners. Ambulances were on hand and got the injured  to the hospitals within 5 or 10 minutes.  At 2:50 pm the Marathoners still running are not elite runners, but regular people, doctors, nurses, soldiers, police and firemen, teachers and every other profession imaginable.  All of them were running for their own personal reasons, just trying to finish the race for their cause.  Many of them stopped and ran back to help administer first aid.  Others ran another couple of miles to give blood at the nearby hospitals.
     Boston is pretty small for a big city.  The man who tried to save the young boy who died recognized Martin, because he knows the whole family.  Family and friends were together that day, and so many members of the same family were impacted.  The news covered another story about a mother and daughter who share a hospital room because mom lost both legs and the daughter had serious injuries.
    One of the young guys from the New Hampshire Swat team went to school with our son, and his parents still live in our neighborhood.  I have three cousins  who are all cops in Boston and Cambridge, and I watched in horror as the gun fight in Watertown was shown live as part of our local news coverage.  Like everyone else, we were glued to our TV all day Friday.  I absolutely loved the fact that people took to the streets when it was all over, and cheered and clapped as police drove out of their small town.  I was touched that the Yankees, and other baseball teams played "Sweet Caroline" at their games and the fans sang in support of Boston.
     During the week, our President was cheered as he spoke of his time in Boston.  I was touched that the Yankees, and other baseball teams played "Sweet Caroline" at their games and the fans sang in support of Boston. The out-pouring of love from the entire country means a lot to the community.
   The Bruins had a beautiful ceremony before Wednesday's game and came up with the term ''Boston Strong''.  Anyone from Boston knows that some neighborhoods would say "wicked strong".  The Bruins always give their game shirts to fans after the last home game, and today they thanked  runners, and cops, and doctors.  Every player gave the shirt off his back to a person who had gotten involved.  Fans cheered and cried at the same time.  Yesterday, the Red Sox played their first home game, and also had a ceremony to honor those who died and were injured.  They thanked many who helped with the injured, as well as the police and investigators who worked the case.  Big Papi said it best, and he even swore at the bad guys.  He said what every American was thinking "this is our F--ing town and no one gets to dictate our freedom."
    I heard a reporter who covers the mid east and the wars say that the bad guys would be shocked at the defiance of the American people.  They believe that we are soft, and if we get knocked down, we will cower and hide.  They would never expect to see citizens in the streets  cheering and thanking law enforcement.  I guess they underestimate just how much our freedoms mean to us.  Even though we live in dangerous times, we will fight to be able to live in a  free and open society.  Boston showed us this week how much can be accomplished when we all work together.  I'm proud to be part of that community, and I hope that the spirit of cooperation continues to help the injured and the families of those who were killed.  I'm praying for you all....and the beat goes on...the beat goes on......

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 15th

   This year I'm counting my blessings.  Our taxes are done, and we are getting a refund.  Like most Americans,  I'm always happy when we have paid in more taxes than we owe.  I definitely believe in paying my fair share of taxes, and having a government big enough to insure that we have clean air, clean water, safe food and safe airplanes.  I want my government to be in the business of safety,  and I hope it is able to pass new laws regarding gun safety.  It broke my heart to watch the news conferences with the Sandy Hook parents.  I cannot imagine losing a child, and Americans must do everything we can to protect innocent citizens from getting shot.  Most of us are in the sensible center on most issues, but nine out of ten never agree on anything.  Since ninety percent of us expect our elected officials to represent us on this issue, something positive must get done.  I cannot buy allergy medicine without showing my license, which I'm happy to do.  I understand there are bad folks out there who break the rules, but law abiding citizens don't break laws.  I cannot get on a plane without a background check, and if a fellow passenger does not want to go through security, I do not want them on my plane. Period.  It's that simple.
   April 15th is also the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.  Before that, baseball was segregated, with Blacks playing in the Negro League.  The Movie '' 42'' tells the story about this brave man, and the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers who decided to take a stand.  It seems unbelievable to me, that this all happened just a few years before I was born.  It does not seem possible that some of Jackie Robinson's own teammates would not even shake his hand, and that he and his family received death threats.  Tomorrow all players will be allowed to wear the number 42 in his honor, although all teams retired that number sixteen years ago.  Mariano Rivera from the Yankees is the last player to wear that number, because he has been playing baseball for twenty years, and had worn number 42 for several years before baseball implemented this rule.
   Patriot's Day falls on April 15th this year, and thousands will run in the Boston Marathon.  I know several people who will run tomorrow, and they all deserve a lot of credit.  It looks like the weather will cooperate, with temps in the fifties and no chance of rain.  I cannot imagine the commitment and dedication it takes to be able to run 26 miles.  Good luck to all the runners.
   I'm trying to decide if I can do a 5 k walk-run race before I turn sixty.  It has been on my bucket list, and there is a website called "couch to 5 k" that encourages beginners to get out of our recliners and get moving.  The training is three days a week, and takes about thirty minutes each day.  All of this seems manageable.  It is recommended to allow nine or ten weeks to complete the program.  I plan to begin walking now, and build up over the summer months.  Then in August, I'll get serious and start to run.  At first, I'll run for thirty seconds, then build up to ninety seconds.  I am allowed to repeat any level for as long as it takes to be comfortable, before I take on the next challenge, and run for extended periods.  I'm told there are many races around Thanksgiving, and I hope to be able to enter one.  I was told to take a few weeks, and work on getting mentally ready to accept this challenge.  I also need to find proper running shoes and other gear.  I realize that I'm getting older, and I see cousins my age with real serious health issues.  It makes me want to push myself and try and accomplish this sooner than later, because we do not know what the future holds.  I'll keep you all posted, and update again when I have a  plan...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's a Dog's Life

   Our new pup Bruno had a stomach bug last week.  We found out at the vet that there is a dog flu going around New Hampshire.  Apparently one of the newspapers have even done a story about it.  We have had dogs and cats since we were kids, and we had never heard of it before!  It seems like most of the dogs in Bruno's obedience class have been sick also.  Thankfully, it comes and goes ( sorry about the pun) in twenty-four hours.
   It turns out that dogs and people can use some of the same home remedies.  Bruno was put on a limited diet of cooked chicken and rice.  Portions were very small, but he was fed every couple of hours.  We could not get an appointment with the vet till the next morning,  so it was going to be up to me to help him get better.  Our vet gave me instructions over the phone, and I followed them to the letter.  It turns out that a child's dose of anti-diarrhea medicine can be very helpful.
   By the next morning our dog seemed much better, and his plumbing was working perfectly!   I decided to keep the appointment for a couple of reasons.  Our puppy had all his shots when we got him, and so our vet had never examined  him, and they wanted to check for parasites.  All the tests came back normal, which was a huge relief.  The vet prescribed a medicine that came in a tube, and smelled like peanut butter.  This was going to calm down the stomach, and help regulate things again.  The dosage was measured in C-C's and the dog is supposed to eat it from the tube.  Bruno spit it out, then ate it off the floor, so we just put it in his dish.
    I'm happy to report that everything is much better, but there is still work to do.  Apparently  Bruno needs to cut down on the calories.  He came to us underweight and so we may have over fed our pup. He gained more than twenty pounds in fifteen weeks.   He no longer needs three meals a day, and so he will get fed morning and evening.  We have found a few types of  low-calorie training treats, and Bruno can have all the ice cubes he wants. Unfortunately, he takes after me, because he just looks at food and he gains weight!  Hopefully daily walks and portion control will take care of those five extra pounds that he is carrying around.
  Bruno has short hair, and is all white with a large brown patch around one eye.  His ears are pink and he has freckles on his belly.  Our vet thinks he is very fair, and will need sunscreen if he spends a lot of time outside.  I've never heard of any dog needing sunscreen, and I cannot believe that my dog may get  sunburned!  I'll  update you all during pool season ....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

  Happy Easter and Happy Passover!  I hope you enjoyed a nice day with family and friends.  We had dinner with the sisters and our families.  Our brother and his family stopped by for dessert, after spending the day with his in-laws.
   Easter is one of the easy holidays, because it is more about the people than the gifts.  We had three generations, aging from teenagers to eighty-something.  No matter how often we get together, we never run out of conversation.  We love to discuss and disagree, and tease each other.   We may all think differently about life in general, but today we decide to "live and let live".  We avoid the topic of politics, and only talk religion as it relates to Easter, the holiest day for Catholics.   We wonder about the bunny rabbit, and the eggs and candy, and how it all began....
  Everyone helps out, and we spend six hours together, although the time seems to go quickly.  Our meal is wonderful and we contemplate changing to a less formal brunch next year with some breakfast items.  The teenagers vote for pizza and chicken fingers, but the adults still want shrimp and appetizers, so we still have a lot of work to do.
   We call Matt on our drive home, and he is watching Final Four Basketball, so we keep our chat short.  I'm happy to hear his voice, and glad that he is taking a few hours to relax.  We talked to my Dad earlier in the day, and passed the phone so he could talk to all of us.
    My gratitude list reminds me that I'm pretty lucky. Life is calm, and everyone is doing fairly well.  I have family in my life, and we can spend an entire day together, and really enjoy ourselves.  When I concentrate on what I have,  instead of what I do not have,  I feel blessed.  It's something that I decide to do a lot more often  ...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Familiar Faces

    I was in the grocery store today, and I bumped into a former co-worker.  I did not recognize her, but I smiled as we passed in the aisle, and she recognized me.   It has been years since I last saw her, and she was with her granddaughter.  They had just come from the movies together.  I know I'm almost sixty years old, but I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that my friends and I are old enough to be grand parents.  I know people who were grand parents in their forties, so I know it's possible.  I am still surprised every once in a while when reality rattles me, and for some reason, this "jarred my preserves".  
    I've learned that the best way for me to get to the bottom of things is to ask myself "why" four or five times.  Why didn't I recognize her?? We have both changed a lot since we worked together, and yet she remembered me.  I wonder how many other times, I've been too preoccupied to notice my surroundings.  I decide to try and stay in the moment more.  If the truth be told, many people look familiar to me.  I cannot be sure if they are parents of Matt's school friends, or if  they work in one of the local businesses. My usual response is to just be friendly and polite to everyone, just in case.  I'd rather be safe, than sorry.  I take a minute to recall the times I've approached an old friend who needed me to refresh their memory.  
    OK then, what is the solution??  What can I take away from this experience??  I rule out that I'm worried that I'm starting to forget names and faces.  By the time we had finished our conversation, I had remembered her name, and her husband's name.  She asked about my Matt, but her oldest son's name is also Matt.   I now can recall the color of her house, and a project we worked on together.  Whew, that's a relief!  I begin to relax a little bit.  I realize that I've had a knot in my stomach all afternoon.   I know that a good memory is a skill, and that it only gets better when it is exercised and maintained.  
   This week, I'll try and remember at least three things about everyone I encounter.  I'll also set three goals that I'll try and accomplish before I turn sixty in December.  Instead of worrying about getting older, I'll relax and focus on the present.  When I take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......   

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St Patrick's Day Celebration

   I got back to New Hampshire yesterday from the sisters' weekend in Florida.  We visit our folks in March, and I always promise to bring back some Florida sunshine to my friends and co-workers.  I usually return with a little pep in my step, some color in my cheeks, and my batteries recharged.  This year there were seven women and my Dad all staying under one roof.  There were three generations on June's side, because her daughter and granddaughter were able to visit this year.  We stayed up late, and had lots of laughs.  We enjoyed leisurely mornings, while we took turns getting ready.  We share the cooking, and the clean-up, and try to spoil our folks for a few days.  This time we kept it simple, and I really enjoyed myself!
  The weather was on the cool side, but was warm and sunny for the neighborhood block party.  Seventy people filled the circle for  the annual St. Patrick's day party, which featured a catered dinner, karaoke, and a fire pit.  There were prizes for the best costume, and there were lots of green wigs,,  funny hats and hilarious sayings on tee shirts.  There was even an Irish Jig dance contest !  
   It has been snowing in New Hampshire for almost twenty-four hours, and we have accumulated another foot of snow.  I can officially say that I've had enough of this winter.  We had just begun to see pavement and grass, and the snow piles were melting in our parking lots at work.  We were convinced that the worst was behind us, but Mother Nature always gets her way.  I hope the skiers are happy, and the slopes have great conditions and lots of trails open.
    Tomorrow is the first day of spring 2013,  and I'm looking forward to the warm, sunny days that are promised.  The days are getting  longer each week, and we will celebrate Easter on March 31st.  Let's hope the snow melts in ten days, and we can have some outdoor Easter egg hunts....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daylight Savings Time Begins

   I hope everyone remembered to change their clocks Saturday night.  There is a jingle to help, "spring ahead and fall back".   This time we lose one hour of sleep, and I believe that this time change takes a few days to get used to it.  Tonight the sun set at 6:45 pm, and will get closer to 7:30 pm by the end of March.  It was only three months ago that it was getting dark at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I am  happy to say that this winter season passed quickly, even though we had several huge storms, and freezing cold temperatures.  Now we can expect temps in the 50's and  a week of melting, which will cause a lot of mud.  It's a small price to pay for the arrival of Spring!
   I will need long days this week because I have lots to do.  I need to finish and file our tax return, then pack and get ready for my trip to visit our folks in Florida.  My husband will enjoy his time with our new puppy.  They have been going to obedience training classes, and it will help to have more daylight to walk and  practice their homework.
   My sisters and I typically go away  for a long weekend and celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Florida in March means the weather is getting warm without any humidity.  I'm hoping for flip-flop and Capri pants weather.  I need a chance to recharge my batteries, drink in the vitamin D provided by the sun, watch a chick flick, stay up late, and act a little silly with the sisters.  This time there will be six women and my Dad, so he will be a little pampered.  I promise to come back with some color in my cheeks and a pep in my step.  I'll fill you in next time...have a good week everyone.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on....
     I want to remind all the artists to send in a drawing of Muggzy,  as we take another step toward publishing the book.  My March 3rd blog gives all the contest rules and please take a moment to check it out.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Muggzy Needs a Facelift

   I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has submitted an entry for the "Muggzy needs a face-lift" contest.  Some have requested more time, and I have decided to extend the deadline for another month.  Entries will be accepted through March, with the deadline now Friday, April 1st, noon EST.  You may submit as many illustrations as you like.  Please follow the instructions below. Good Luck!
DRAW MUGGZY CONTEST! Win a $100 Online Gift Certificate!

Muggzy Needs a Facelift! ILLUSTRATION CONTEST - visit for a Muggzy photo and also visit my uploaded art for more drawings.

2013 is the year we're going to really push to get the Matt & Muggzy series published. Everyone knows that any good storybook needs a fantastic illustrator, and that's where YOU come in!

We're looking for the new face of Muggzy, the lovable star of our story, and a beautiful little pug puppy. The winner will get a $100 gift certificate and the chance to become the illustrator for the new series!*

Using the photo and the current illustrations below, we'd like for you to come up with a new fresh and updated face for Muggzy. We're looking to keep his current charm and appeal, but give him a more current look. Here are the rules and how to enter:

1. Submissions may be in any artistic format: graphic illustration, painting, drawing, vector, print - but must be submitted in digital format via a URL link in the comment section below. You may submit as many entries as you like, provided each has it's own individual url link.

2. Please be sure to link your contest submission here, but you must also send an email with your entry information to The email must include:

-Your name
-Your contact phone and email address
-The URL with your submission

3. You must "LIKE" and be a fan of the Matt & Muggzy Facebook page here: [link]. We encourage you to also post your URL link submission on this page too.

4. Your submission must be 100% your creation and have no copyright infringements or limitations.

5. Your submission MUST be family-friendly. This is a children's storybook series, after all!

6. Submissions must be received by Friday, April 1st at noon, EST.

7. Winner will be announced via blog entry announcement at by Sunday, April 10th.

Questions? Please contact

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Night

  My favorite parts of the Oscars happen at the beginning, then the end.  I love to see the stars walk the Red Carpet wearing  their beautiful dresses.  It is over the top with sparkle and pageantry.  This year seemed to feature the simple black embellished to perfection. Adele and Halle Berry looked spectacular.  I loved Jennifer Aniston's red dress, and Charlize Theron's silver gown was fantastic. Michelle Obama was streamed  in from the White House to read the winner for Best Picture.  She always looks perfect!
  The live performances by Barbara Streisand, Jennifer Hudson, and Adele were wonderful!
  Best Picture was awarded to Argo.  Best Actor was Daniel Day Lewis for "Lincoln".  Best Actress went to Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook". The Best Supporting Actress went to Anne Hathaway for "Les Mis".  All in all, this year's  nominees were fabulous and any one of them could have won.
   Many of the acceptance speeches contain the words "dream come true", and remind us of how serious these performers are, and how hard they work to perfect their craft.  Ben Affleck spoke of winning his first award fifteen years ago, "when he really didn't know what he was doing".
    We all have dreams and aspirations.  My dream is to publish my children's picture book series "Matt and Muggzy".  I have been writing the short stories, which chronicle my son's early years, and the adorable pug who was part of our family at the time.
   We are running a contest to find an illustrator who may be able to help bring my words to life.  I encourage anyone interested to submit an entry by the Friday, March 1, 2013 deadline .  I promise to award a $100.00 Amazon gift card to the contest winner, which will be announced in my March 10,2013 blog entry.  I want to see this dream become a reality, and I look forward to beginning the next chapter of my journey.....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Red Hatters Celebrate Fifteen Years

  My Red Hat Chapter, the Improper Bostonian's got together on Saturday for a Valentine's Day Tea Party.   The Red Hat Society is celebrating fifteen years as an organization.  The first chapter formed in California, and now there are thousands of chapters around the world.  It's a club for women over fifty, who wear a red hat and a purple outfit to events.  Anyone younger than fifty, wears a pink hat and lavender shirt.  We are encouraged to show our individuality, whether we choose simple or elegant accessories.
  Everyone was asked to bring a china tea cup and saucer.  We were told to put all the saucers on a separate table, then keep the tea cup.  More than half of the tea cups were vintage, and the shapes and patterns reminded us of our grandmothers.  Many were delicate with gold rims, no longer popular since gold cannot go into the microwave. We each chose a saucer that we liked, then we had to go around to each table and find the matching cup.  I loved the idea, because it allowed us to mingle more than usual.  We all talked about the cups we had brought, and any memories they held.  My cousin brought a set that came from her Dad's antique store.  Many others had similar stories, which gave us plenty to talk about during our catered lunch.
   The camaraderie that the Red Hatters experience is priceless.  We get together with our own chapter, and team up with other groups for bigger events.  Four different chapters were represented at our Anniversary Tea.  Everyone received a Chocolate rose for Valentine's Day,  and we have drawings and prizes at every gathering.  Our group rounds up the cost of each event to include some extra money, which we use to support one of our charities.
Friendships are formed, and women feel connected at a time in our lives when we sometimes can feel isolated.  The benefit is that we share both the good times and the bad times with our sisters.  The internet allows us to send get well wishes, and notes of encouragement.  Our chapter represents a slice of life, with members battling cancer, and others facing surgery and medical issues.  There is a saying that " a problem shared is a problem cut in half", and I believe that to be true.  Cell phones show pictures of new grandchildren, and chronicle happy events.  Our get-together's are buzzing with friendship.  We are not alone, and it makes a big difference to have a network that we can rely on.  I've been a part of my group now for ten years, and I look forward to attending as many events as I can......the cost of our luncheon was minimal, but the value of our chapter is priceless......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.........


Sunday, February 10, 2013


Muggzy Needs a Facelift! ILLUSTRATION CONTEST!
(See the Deviant Art Contest Post HERE!)

2013 is the year we're going to really push to get the Matt & Muggzy series published. Everyone knows that any good storybook needs a fantastic illustrator, and that's where YOU come in!

We're looking for the new face of Muggzy, the loveable star of our story, and a beautiful little pug puppy. The winner will get a $100 gift certificate and the chance to become the illustrator for the new series!*

Using the photo and the current illustrations here on the site, we'd like for you to come up with a new fresh and updated face for Muggzy. We're looking to keep his current charm and appeal, but give him a more current look. Here are the rules and how to enter:

1. Submissions may be in any artistic format: graphic illustration, painting, drawing, vector, print - but must be submitted in digital format via a URL link in the comment section below. You may submit as many entries as you like, provided each has it's own individual url link.

2. Please be sure to link your contest submission here, but ou must also send an email with your entry information to The email must include:

-Your name
-Your contact phone and email address
-The URL with your submission

3. You must "LIKE" and be a fan of the Matt & Muggzy Facebook page here: We encourage you to also post your URL link submission on this page too.

4. Your submission must be 100% your creation and have no copyright infringements or limitations.

5. Your submission MUST be family-friendly. This is a children's storybook series, after all!

6. Submissions must be received by Friday, March 1st at noon, EST.

7. Winner will be announced via blog entry announcement by Sunday, March 10th.

Questions? Please contact


   The Northeast got hit with another blizzard, and they are calling it a winter hurricane, because some areas got 'thunder snow'. The snowfall amounts were measured in feet, and this storm ranked fifth all time.  It seems like we are having "the storm of the century" every season lately.  Super storm Sandy just happened four months ago, and folks are still trying to recover from that disastrous hurricane.
  This storm was very similar to the Blizzard of 1978, which happened this same week,  thirty-five years ago.  Thousands of cars were stranded on the highways which made it impossible for the snow plows to clear the roads.  There was a state of emergency for more than one week. Everyone remembers where they were that week.  My parents were trying to move to New Hampshire.  They had passed papers on our old house in Massachusetts, but the moving company could not pick up the furniture for several days.
  This storm was managed must differently.  The Governor asked all motorists to stay off the roads unless essential personnel.  Airports were shut down, and buses and trains stopped commuter service.    Banks  closed early on Friday, then did not open on Saturday.  People stayed home, and Sunday there was business as usual.  It was a good time to catch up on TV shows, and eat junk food.  Luckily we did not lose power, although close to a half million homes did.  I hope life gets back to normal for everyone in a few days.
  We were planning to have a party on Saturday, because Matt is home from California.  All the plans were rearranged, but he did get to visit friends for a few days in Boston.  His dad would have loved help with the snow blower and shoveling, but that's a lousy way to spend a vacation. It reminds me of a tea bag saying, "Life is what happens, when you are making other plans."  I often say the best memories happen when the plan is ruined, and we will never forget this visit.  In the scheme of things, it will be a minor inconvenience, because we are all safe and sound.  I'm glad we kept the plans simple.  I've learned not to make things too complicated, and I can enjoy myself a lot more......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on........