Showing posts from December, 2023

Dear Mom & Dad: Good Bye 2023

  Dear Mom and Dad, Well we've finally reached the end of this HORRIBLE year.  This will be the first New Year's Eve where I won't talk to one of you and to say that sucks is putting it mildly.  I thought 2022 was rough, but it had nothing on 2023.  And for all the complaining I did back at the beginning of the year (Dad, it WAS a pain in the behind to come down every single weekend to write checks, make sure all the bills were paid and that income was correctly recorded in your ledger), I didn't think it would end so quickly.  (I still have guilt over being away the night you died Dad.) I write this from your/my home.  The shore seemed like the best place to kick out 2023 and pray that 2024 would be a better one.  I find a sense of calm here and watched as the sky lightened this morning, as the last day of 2023 dawned.  (I can't say I saw the sun rise because of the clouds, but it was nice to lie in bed and see the clouds roll by and the sky lighten)  The lagoon is

Best Books I've Read in 2023

NOTE:  In 2017, my friend who happens to be the publisher of MyVeronaNJ.Com  asked me to recommend my top 10 read for the year as part of a follow up to an article on the most read books (checked out )at our town library.  If I recall correctly, my dad was having minor surgery that day and her request made the waiting more tolerable. Since then I've been putting together a list (which is rarely just 10 these days) at the end of every year.  (By the 2nd year I'd already expanded my list to 13).  In reviewing those 7 articles, I found that some still really stick with me to this day:  I Liked My Life (2018), The Silver Star (2019), Oona Out of Order (2020), Dear Edward (2020) and Lessons In Chemistry (2022) might be some of my favorite books of all time.  Below is what I wrote this year (slightly edited). To say that this has been a difficult year for me (and my family) would be an understatement. One of the things that has gotten me through are some of the wonderful books I’ve r

2023 Word of the Year

  Back in January of 2023, I attended a church service where we were all invited to pick a word (printed on a piece of paper cut out in a star shape) to carry us through the year.  I had done this before and I would put the word on my refrigerator so that I could be reminded of it throughout the year.   The word I picked was "righteous" and I'll admit I didn't like it.  It's not a negative word by any means. says:  acting in accord with divine or moral law.  That's pretty darned good, but the word seems to be most commonly used to reflect someone who is snobby or wears righteousness as a badge of honor.  (The phrase righteous indignation comes to mind which for me conjures up negativity.)  In my mind, the word of the year for me is LOSS. (With a side order of guilt.) I have experienced so much loss in 2023 that I'll admit I've been unable to process it all.  Too many loved ones have been lost over too short of a time.  It's act

(Post) Holiday Thoughts 2023

  Christmas day is over.  I know the season continues for another 12 days (until Epiphany) and this week is a holiday for most.  (I am working, but no one else seems to be doing much...good news is that I don't have to physically go into the office until next year.  (The last commute of 2023 was a doozy: ).  So while I have a spare moment, I thought I'd write up my thoughts as this has been yet another strange holiday. I regret not appreciating Christmas gatherings when I could.  The last time I had my family over for Christmas was in 2019.  It was a pain in the you know what and at the time we all tried to figure out a way to make it easier for all of us.  (My parents were at the shore, we were up north).  Christmas 2020 was nixed due to fears of Covid.  Christmas 2021 was when my son, my husband and I all had Covid (thanks to a pre-holiday sweet 16 heck

Shortest Day/Longest Night

  Today, December 21st, is the shortest day/longest night.  Meaning that there are more hours of darkness than there are of light.  Depressing in my book, but that also means that starting tomorrow, the day(light) gets longer and that's a positive thing for me. Although the longest night is tonight, I can honestly say that yesterday felt like both the longest day AND the longest night.  I'm going to tell you why.  (You knew that I was going to.) My eyes flew open around 3 in the morning.  I tried to go back to sleep, but by 3:30 gave up and got up.  I had laundry to do. (Even though I had done 3 loads the day before; the joys of coming home from vacation!)  I had an episode of  The Gilded Age   to watch (while I did my stationary pedaling).  And I had an office to get to. I caught the 6:55 bus (which arrived just before 7, the bus driver is very sweet and tells me I'm his favorite passenger).  I was at the city light rail station before 7:30 and in the office shortly

I'm Proud: On Thin Ice?/It's In the Cards.

  With the holidays fast approaching and me still not too sure how I feel (or if I feel) about that AND the holidays, my family and I took a short (4 day) vacation to the Poconos ( you know where ).  I hoped that the decorations and cheer would put me in the right frame of mind and for the most part it did.  We had a lovely break (even though it POURED for 2 days) and I was brave (?) enough to try something I haven't done in nearly 10 years:  ice skating. Let me back track to December of 2014, when we decided to take a New Year's Eve trip to  Skytop .  I decided to bring with us a pair of ice skates that had been sitting in my parent's attic since...well I don't know when.  I had done SOME skating as a kid.  I had even taken lessons at some point, but I didn't do very well.  But I took those skates that had been sitting in the attic with us and on January 1, 2015, I managed to get my feet into them (after all those years, they were really stiff) and get out on the

Feeling My Age...

  ...and not liking it. Aging is a part of life.  Infants can't do what toddlers can.  Toddler can't do what young children can.  Young children grow into tweens and then teens and finally young adults.  We take steps along a path that is not always straight. When we finally get to adulthood, things can be (or are) pretty good.  We are capable.  We are able.  We are! Then the aging process creeps up on us.  The wrinkles and lines come.  (I've been ignoring them for years...decades perhaps).  There may be gray hairs.  (The blonde seems to cover mine, but I see them in my eyebrows!)  Then there are the inexplicable (or maybe explicable) aches and pains.  Injuries that take longer to heal (even stupid things like cuts).  What was once speeding up is now slowing down. While I don't mind getting older (or at least that's what I am going to say), I don't like the slowing down.   It all started last December (  a

Holiday Parties

  The other afternoon/evening was my company's holiday party.  Since being purchased by the corporation back in 2019, I have not been to an office holiday party.  I always worked in NJ and the company parties were thrown in the NYC office.  To me it was not worth the time and effort; I'd rather just go home.  (You knew that about me, right?  I'm a party pooper).  However, seeing that we no longer have a NYC presence, this was being held here, so I thought I'd check it out. For the record, I've never been a big party person.  (So it's not just that I'm old that makes me a party pooper; it's pretty much what I have always been.)  I'm not all the comfortable for a multitude of reasons.  One being that I don't know many of the people.  Case in point:  One of my first jobs after college was for a company that had 2 small NJ locations and a PA location.  I had only started working for the company in late October and the holiday party was held at a rest

9 Wishes For This Holiday Season

 I'm going the altruistic route this year.  I'm not wishing for ten million dollars (although I wouldn't turn it down if someone offered.)  I'm not asking for 20 pounds to melt again.  (Would be nice though.)  This year's "wish list" is slightly different for me.  So what am I wishing for this season? World Peace:  It has to be number one.  It's what we need  now.  (Even more than "love sweet love.")  Impossible?  No.  Improbable?  Yes.  In a world full of war and strife, no matter how unlikely it may be, I'm putting it on my list. Care for our planet:  It's my home; it's your home.  We need to take better care of it.  No one wants to live in a sewer (at least that I know); let's not treat our home as such.  We haven't done such a great job of taking care of our residence, so there's no time like the present to start. Letting medical professionals do their job:  Doctors, nurses, EMTs, etc., they've all undergone ex

Holiday Lights: Be Prepared for the Cost

  As my husband and I drove down to the shore one evening last week, we could see from the parkway the lights at the  PNC Bank Arts Center .  (It pains me to write will always be the Garden State Arts Center to me).  They looked lovely as we drove by, and so we thought we'd check them out one night.  It was an experience that we had never done, but had wanted to.  Since the Arts Center is about halfway between our home in north NJ and the shore house, we figured we'd leave the shore after dinner, drive up and experience the lights (it's a drive through experience) and then continue north.  We thought it would be a nice way to break up the ride (not that the ride is long) and get into the holiday spirit. To make things easier, I decided to buy tickets in advance.  (As a matter of fact, you might HAVE to buy ticket in advance.)  When searching on line, it seemed like you HAD to buy tickets through LiveNation, which I was loath to do, but...(In writing this article

The Tree on 2nd Avenue

  There has been a tree on 2nd avenue for the holidays for several years.  Actually, that's misleading.  There has been a tree at the top of the 2nd avenue beach for several years.  How many years I don't know.  How this treasured tradition started, I don't know.  There is probably a wonderful story to tell behind it.  However it is not my story to tell. I have visited the tree over the years.  The years that I have been down here in the winter, visiting my parents.  Usually this is after Christmas, so the tree is full of decorated shell ornaments.  There are none left to decorate and hang. This year was different.  I'd actually forgotten about the tree when I went for a walk up to the ocean.  It was so nice (and relatively warm for a December day), that I decided to walk on the sand. I was just going to walk a block or two.  (I started at 8th avenue.)  However, I went further and by the time I was at 5th, I could see the tree in the distance and decided to keep going. 

Today I Remember

  Today I remember John Lennon.  Brilliant musician, voice for peace and justice gunned down in front of his home 43 years ago.  An act that shook us to the core, and yet... I also remember the 26 people (20 of whom were children under 8) who were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14, 2012.  I particularly remember Chase  Kowalski whose name and likeness grace the playground at the shore (which was destroyed after Hurricane Sandy).  My son would play there in the summer months and was the same age as my son when he was murdered. I remember the 17 people gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February of 2018.  I think of the promise that the high school students held and what they might have achieved if they had not been killed. I remember the 3 faculty members at the University of Nevada Los Vegas who were murdered this Wednesday (December 6th) on campus. Today I am grateful that my son made it through pre-school, elementary school, middle