Sunday, June 13, 2010

Centennial Celebrations & School Closures

Talk about highs & lows. This week, the Arlington School Board voted to close an elementary school to reduce the budget. The school is La Grange Elementary, where my children went. So many good memories at that school. My kids loved that school and all the teachers and great friends they made there. They can't believe it's happening. Neither can their friends.

They both went from kindergarten through 5th grade there. Learned their alphabets and numbers and how to play nice in the sandbox. They grew from wee little kids, singing songs and skipping rope, into these mature, confident, smart, young adults ready for middle school and beyond.

I'd spent a lot of time there as a volunteer, reading with kids and helping out with parties. I created my daughter's 5th grade yearbook when she graduated. It was, as it turns out, the second to last graduating class from La Grange.

Then, over in Fishkill, my old elementary school celebrated its 100th anniversary this weekend. One hundred years of teaching children! That's an incredible achievement. They had a big parade through the village ending at the school, and despite the rainy weather, everyone enjoyed the festivities. I got to see some old elementary school friends and toured the old 5th & 6th grade wing of the school. For Fishkill Froggers, this will be important - I very nearly rang the graduation bell but was foiled by the bell police! I bounded up those steps to the third floor where the 6th grade classes were and was amazed how many great memories came back to me.

I met up with my former 5th grade teachers, Mr. Powers, Mrs. Renza, 6th grade's Mr. Foley, and Fran the Librarian. It was like Mr. Rogers neighborhood but like...real.

It's sad that my kids won't have this experience when they're older. Where will they go to have an elementary school reunion? Will they rip the playground down? The murals on the walls? The plans are to change the classrooms to offices. It won't ever look the same.

I suppose, for my kids, the elementary school staff and teachers did what good schools do - teach children and get them ready for the rest of their school careers. I know more kids would've benefited from the inspiring teachers at LaGrange. I hope they all land on their feet somewhere.

The second budget vote is on Tuesday. I hope they pass it, for the kids.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Around the Garden

Giant elm tree removed because of disease which means the perennial bed is almost full sun.
Added another 4 x 10' edge to the front perennial bed.
Moved variegated hosta and sedum to the front of the bed, mulched.
Rock wall being built at rear of garden to replace rotten railroad ties.Two rose bushes added to bed near the dogwood (orange/red) and pool bed (pink).
Veg garden planted with:
tomatoes, swiss chard, romaine, asparagus, hot peppers, red peppers, eggplant, pumpkin.
Deck planted with annuals and a variety of herbs including a ton of basil, mint (started from roots from store bought) and cilantro (which reseeded from last year).Might plant more pumpkin seeds in front near mailbox or in corner of perennial bed or pool bed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Viggo!

Happy 50th Birthday to Viggo Mortensen!

He rocks. Art. Poetry. Publishing. Writing. Photography. Acting. 'Nuff said.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Many (Silly) Faces

It's been too long since I took photos of the kids and not birds on the deck. Honestly, I think the kids are moving faster than the birds.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

Super Bowl Snacks

Here are some of my favorite halftime snacks...these are the ones that people ask for over and over because they're fast and easy. Enjoy.

Superbowl Giants Wings

Wing portions, fried crispy
¾ cup Red Hot sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
¼ cup bottled bbq sauce
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. butter
Black pepper & Tabasco to taste
1/4 cup minced canned pineapple (optional)

Mix together in large bowl with lid and microwave one minute or until butter melts.

Toss fried wing sections with sauce in bowl with lid. Serve on platter with celery, carrots and blue cheese dressing.

Halftime Quesadillas

1 large onion, sliced thin
2 large sweet red peppers, sliced thin
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp oregano
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
3 pinches of cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp. olive oil
(2 cups shredded cooked well-seasoned chicken, optional)

8 large flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped jarred jalapenos (optional)

In large nonstick sauté pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove to platter. Add 1 Tbsp.olive oil to same pan then add mushrooms. Saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one minute more. Add peppers/onions back to the pan and add remaining ingredients (except tortillas, cheese, jalapenos). Taste to check seasonings. Cook for 2 minutes more.

Assemble quesadillas: Place one tortilla on work surface, add ¼ cup cheese, top with nearly ½ cup peppers/onions mixture, sprinkle with jalapenos, then ¼ cup more cheese. Top with another tortilla. Repeat for remaining ingredients. (If using shredded chicken, add some to each.)

Quesadillas may be wrapped tightly and refrigerated overnight at this point.
To heat quesadillas: Heat nonstick pan with 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Carefully place assembled quesadilla to pan. Heat 3 minutes per side or until lightly brown. Flip and repeat until cheese melts. Cut into triangles and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

Chicken Satay

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in 1" x 1/4" x 3" long pieces

6 Tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 inch-piece ginger

4 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 cup water

Cut pieces into cubes, mix marinade ingredients and refrigerate 2-6 hours.

After marinating chicken, put peanut butter with water in small saucepan. Strain and reserve chicken marinade. Add reserved marinade to the peanut butter mixture. Cook over medium until sauce is glossy, about 5-8 minutes.

Grill skewered or pan-fry chicken until brown and cooked through. Serve with sauce.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Scene from Central Park

The Gates, Central Park, February 2005

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How Quickly They Grow

We visited the in-laws this weekend. It's great to catch up with everyone and see how the nephews are growing up and changing.

My nephew is a videographer on Long Island. He went to School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Now he has his own business doing wedding and party videos. He's got all this modern equipment, etc. I remember when he was just a little kid running around playing ball in the backyard...*sniffle* They grow so fast...

Anyway, here's his site..check it out if you ever need a videographer in the New York City, Long Island or tri-state region.

Jeffrey Thomas Video

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Snow Day Tomorrow?


Lots of snow in the forecast for tomorrow. I'm ready. There's a sled with my name on it and I'm not afraid to use it!

Here's a shot from last year's snow fun. One of my favorite shots of my girlie-girl

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Noxon Road Farm

Not nearly enough snowy shots this winter, so here's an old one. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a few new ones to share. If you look to the upper left of the wagon, you can see Mt. Beacon in the distance. That's like 15 miles as the crow flies. Nice view.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Let It Snow Already

I love winter but it's really the snow I like. This brown earth, grey sky stuff I could do without. Here's a few shots of last year's sledding fun in the snow.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Hudson Valley Leaf Cam

Here's a few minutes of leaf cam from Lagrangeville, New York. Turn up the volume and you can hear the crunchy leaves!

Leaf cam one

Leaf cam two

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Apples, Apples Everywhere

Apple cider donuts, apples & cider from Barton Orchards farm stand
on Noxon Road, LaGrangeville.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sweet Harvest

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Honey, Meadowbrook Farms, Wappingers Falls

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Last Harvest

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The last tomato harvest from this year's garden with a few peppers and zucchini, too. Not bad for complete neglect!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Purple Coneflower Inn

Just a quick photo post...I love how this purple coneflower has spread throughout the garden. Definitely moving some this fall to the other beds.

Look at all the visitors it gets! Not only good for butterflies, but a variety of bees, too.

I'm allergic to bees, but I just stood really still and shot these. The butterflies were more disturbed by me than the bees. Happily.

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Slideshow is here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

End of Summer Blues...and Reds

Just a few days left before school starts. It's the end of the summer. This is usually a tolerable week for me. I try to lay low, commitment-wise (although I have four story deadlines this week...managing it...kind of) and coast into that first week of school.

This week is usually great in the garden. All my late summer flowers are blooming, roses give another shot at being spectacular, and they are (even my white roses which have been dinner for deer all year), and the veggie garden is usually giving me more tomatoes than I know what to do with.

This year, my veggie garden is full of weeds. I weeded three times all summer. I normally put straw down to mulch - I didn't. I usually lay down soaker-hoses - nope. I usually tie my tomatoes up on the stakes every few days - try once a month. There's a canopy of overgrowth around the garden, too. The wild roses around the garden took steroids, apparently. As did the poision ivy, the weeds and some burr-bushes.

Amazingly, with all the neglect, I got a pretty good crop of tomatoes. I didn't think I'd have some is good. I didn't water, didn't feed, the tomatoes fell over and wilted and I still have fruit.

It's a garden I used to have time for. Somehow (see also: four deadlines this week), my time was directed elsewhere. The two days I'm home from work, I spend doing other things..catching up in the house.

I did keep up with the front flower bed and the one by the pool. Everything needs work. With my son moving into middle school, I'll be up earlier. Hopefully I can use that extra half hour in the gardens - at the very least to look at them. I miss the soil in my hands. It's always a peaceful time in the garden.

Work less, garden more. Just found my new motto.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer Camp...Respite and Retreat

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I'm typing this on the's 85 degrees at 9:30am but breezy. It's the last day of summer camp for the kiddies. Today they'll make candles and homemade bread. They're having a great am I! I thought I'd be bored...lonely...miss them...NOT! lol.

I feel like that lady in the Staples commercial who is frolicking through the back-to-school aisles while her kids, sullen, drag slowly behind. I used to hate that commercial when my kids were little and quiet...and entertained. Now they're older, whinier, argumentative, combative with each other (oh! A hummingbird just buzzed by!) and bored. This week they came home so tired, they didn't have the energy for fighting or whining. This is the first time I've had the house to myself in....I don't remember when. With hubbie working from home a few days a week, I'm hardly ever alone.

I did stuff I never do this week. Read magazines. Floated in the pool. Did laps. Drank a beer and had a sub. (I eat fancy food at work for lunch...a sub is a treat for me!) I put a bikini on (with many towels on the deck railings shielding me from neighbors) and tanned. I got sunburned. I bought a new book. I read a page then remembered that I still had housework to do even though it seemed like I was on a tropical vacation somewhere.

I have to go back to work next week. This three weeks off makes me seriously consider becoming a teacher. Yes, yes, I love kids and like developing young minds, but c'mon...summers OFF! Snow days OFF! Holidays OFF! It's gotta be worth all the headaches and noise, noise, noise from kids and flack from their parents. Right??

Anyway...a few more hours of quiet. I'll have lunch with a friend today at a new place on the river. Maybe we'll have a cocktail. I don't think they give out crayons at the door. I'm happy about that.

I'll look forward to the kiddies coming home. They'll save me a bite of bread and in two weeks, their herbed vinegar will be ready. (My daughter asked me if bread lasted two weeks so she could dip her homemade bread in the homemade vinegar...I told her we'd make more bread. If a mom who works at the Culinary can't make bread...what good is that?!) We've done more stuff together this week at night than we usually do when they're home all the time. We played games in the pool. Watched TV. Hung out and talked. It's been good. For them and me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Renaissance Artistry Rediscovered

My latest "Young Entrepreneur" story in the Poughkeepsie Journal is up today. I enjoyed interviewing venetian plaster artist Martin Ahlf and his wife about his work, which I'd never heard of before. Now I think I could work in the plaster supplier showroom as a salesperson!

Anyway, here it is. His wife took the story photo of his very cool Venetian plaster work in the New Orleans Ritz Carlton.

* * * * *

Unrelated, but I love this feature on the BBC site...A Day in Pictures. I found it last year when I was searching their site for something. I read a story there and emailed a comment and they emailed me asking to be on their radio show which is broadcast online. I think it was about politics, I can't remember. Anyway, I talked to the BBC program manager and he told me when they'd be calling. I waited around for them to call me for the entire show, then near the end, they called to say that the other guy, a very interesting non-profit director, took up all the time. Oh well. There went my 15 minutes.

Still a very cool site...with or without me yammerin on it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cool Cover Photo

Got the cover photo on Cuisine of the Hudson Valley magazine for the Poughkeepsie Journal this month. (Thanks, Barbara!)

This photo Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketaccompanies my story on cool summer foods. I collected a few recipes from chefs, a local restauranteur, Luis Pinto, and submitted a few of my own.

The photo was a challenge. I took a few at the restaurant but the light wasn't optimal (and my good camera's battery died, so I was left with the backup..long story short, I need a backup battery) and the dish needed to be arranged better for the closeup.

He gave me the dish to take home and I cleaned everything off and re-plated it, made a new sauce for the shrimp and shot photos like a mad-woman before the sun set outside. The photo at right is one of many, many, many shots.

I like being able to shoot my own photos for stories. It's not always an option, or convenient, but I enjoy it.

Food writing is great fun for me. I get to incorporate two of my favorite and writing. I've also been doing the monthly food features at work for the Culinary. This month's is on brownies...not quite food porn like the tempura piece, but it's a good recipe.

Also had my story about adult kickball in the sports section. I think I've written for every section now except for local news. Any breaking news to share? Let me know...I'll ask someone else to write it...I'm too busy!!!
= )

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Are you reading this....

If not, why not?

Home Fires

An excerpt from today's column by Jeffrey D. Barnett.

...If you listen to some people in the media you might believe we’re mostly uneducated felons. That certainly wasn’t true during my experience. I worked with numerous enlisted marines that had both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The most prominent example was a sergeant (E-5) in my battalion that had a master’s degree. He was over 30 years old, and had obviously signed up to serve in the face of numerous opportunities, not due to the lack of them...

I love he how just slaps you in the face with his writing...all of them do. Like a big wet fish, slap! It's about time...there's much more fine writing in that column by five Iraq War Vets.

Write on, Home Fires columnists.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Quality Time

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I was interviewing some co-ed softball players for a possible summer story and I saw this mom and daughter walking along sharing some quality, quiet time.

I miss taking those small steps with my kids. Small feet, small legs taking small steps. A tiny hand in mine. Some days you wish they would hurry up and grow. Now, of course, you wish you could squish them in a little box to keep them small.

Happily, I had a lot of these types of moments as a stay-at-home mom. Lots of picnics in parks, day-trips to the quiet lake. Nothing to do but enjoy the day and play. The best kind of quality time.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Home Fires: Veterans Write on their Lives Post-War

Some good writing and tough stories in the Times latest guest Op-Ed columns on the war. Five Iraq War Vets write on their return to life back home. Not sure I agree with the TimesSelect wall being up on these. These stories need to be heard, not just by folks who'll shell out the dough to read them...even though, yes, I know, there's a free trial. But it's the principle of the thing.

The latest entry is a column by Lee Kelley, who mil-blogged for the Times last year from Iraq. A fine writer who, as he reported in his column, now has a literary agent! Go Lee! His blog also highlights some of his writing. I recommend May 2006, "Just Drop Me Off When This Thing Is Over."

He is also featured in Time's Person of the Year Dec. 2006 Issue, Citizens of the New Digital Democracy piece. (Time's Person of the Year was YOU, in case you missed it. You and you and you. All of us, apparently. I knew I'd have my 15 minutes eventually!)

Best of luck, Lee and enjoy the fishing with the kids.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

From a chain email I received...for Memorial Day...

In September of 2005, a social studies schoolteacher from Arkansas did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The kids came into first period, they walked in; there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Where's our desks?" The teacher said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them." They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said. "Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing. Third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in the class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.

The last period of the day, the instructor gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. She said, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily. Now I'm going to tell you."

She went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. By the time they had finished placing the desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks.

Their teacher said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly, to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New story

New story on the business page today...the first of a continuing monthly series on young it here. Many thanks to Rick Palermo for taking my calls on the job, often in the middle of the job, and being patient with my numerous questions. And thanks to his mom for telling the story from her side. And for being a mom.