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Basking Ridge Historical Society View Large on...

Basking Ridge Historical Society View Large on Black See where this picture was taken. [?] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a lot of things that are different here than they were in New Jersey. A couple years ago I was invited to join a local book club. I have to say that while I haven’t always enjoyed the books, it has been an enlightening experience, mostly due to the wonderful, intelligent women who gather together once each month. Tonight I had the honor of hosting. I had a very enjoyable evening, with a wonderful group of ladies. We had great food, good company and wonderful conversation.


Buddas (Photo credit: darek.zon)

It is always a fun evening, wherever the group lands. The insight and commentary is always lively, even when the book isn’t exactly my own personal cup of tea. Generally, host chooses the book. This month, I chose “Breakfast with Budda”. I am thankful for the fact that they invited me to join their group and call myself their friend.



Last week and weekend, Tim auditioned for and was selected to participate in the New England Music Festival in Burlington, Connecticut. He and a few of his fellow classmates from Mill River (11 in all) traveled down and were hosted by local families. They worked for several days rehearsing music that they had been working on for months, since they found out they had been accepted. They performed a concert with other students from the New England states under the direction of a conductor from Michigan State University.It was a whole new level of experience for them. The kids appreciated the scope of what they had been chosen to be a part of and learned a lot. The music was beautiful. The experience for them was extraordinary.


Almost 17 years ago to the exact hour, as I write this, our second little boy slipped into the world. Bearing no resemblance to his brother, Tyler came into the world weighing a whopping 10 lbs 12 oz. He was such a big baby that newborn diapers didn’t fit and the nursing staff had to get diapers from pediatrics since he exceeded the newborn 10 pound limit. He has grown like crazy and now stands the tallest of all the boys, very close in height to his dad.


My beautiful picture

All the boys were baptized right around a month old. So,  believe it or not, this is Tyler who looks considerably older than one month at his christening.



My beautiful picture

Here is a picture of Tyler and his friend Anna playing with chopsticks at dinner in Burlington last night.  Tyler has grown into an intelligent, handsome and funny young man.

We love you, we’re so proud of you.

Happy Birthday Tyler!


Despite the fact that spring arrives this week, winter is hanging on tight here and not letting go. In fact, we woke to a winter storm warning for 9-16 inches of snow starting tonight. Mind you, if you travel into town, there isn’t a speck of snow on the ground, this is all elevation snow, although according to the weather service, that is about to change for a lot of people with the impending storm. We laughed when we went into town and pallets of mulch and displays of bulbs are everywhere. We have no use for them yet. You folks posted the cute pictures of crocuses peeking from the soil, not so much where we are located, unless they are very strong and very tall crocuses and can get through feet of snow.

Here are some pictures that I took last weekend of the snow around the house. Things haven’t changed much in a week and since it’s only 3 degrees here this morning, I doubt anything will be melting today.










May those that love us, love us

And those that don’t love us

May God turn their hearts

And if He doesn’t turn their hearts

May He turn their ankles

So we will know them by their limping.
My beautiful picture

Nanny Smith celebrating her 90th birthday.

Often, we don’t really get it until much, much later. Usually when it’s too late. Each generation tries to instill in the next what they have learned to listen, watch, learn, absorb it all before it’s gone–but sadly most times that falls on deaf ears. St. Patrick’s Day always brings to mind my father’s mother, my Nanny. She had a long life, many friends to the end and a very loving family. I have fond memories of Irish music playing on her hi-fi stereo when we kids attended one of the many shindigs she held at her house before she moved into the senior citizen center. There was barely a gathering that Nanny was chasing someone around with the fork, usually my dad, my uncle (her sons) or her nephew. All in good fun, gatherings at her house, were characterized by lots of music, lots of laughing, food and drink. My grandmother made an awesome lamb but we all were sure to steer clear of her meatballs (which resembled golf balls).

Here are some pictures from her 90th birthday party –she threw it for herself mind you, planned the whole thing which she held in the recreation room at the senior citizen center where she lived. The party of course was only after the mass she had said by one of her favorite priests where she sat in a chair in the aisle and took it all in.  I told you the woman had spunk. Looking back, I realize that she would be very proud of her great-grandsons. The youngest, she would be especially proud of, he is traveling to Ireland this summer to take a class there and I am sure that if she were still alive, she would be filling his ears with everything and everyone that she could think of to see and do while he was there.

My beautiful picture

TJ, delivering Nanny a bouquet of birthday flowers.

My beautiful picture

Nanny and some of her great-grandkids checking out the birthday cake.

My beautiful picture

My brother and my cousin posing for a picture with her.

My beautiful picture

One of the newest great-grandkids, Tyler having some “Nanny” time.

My beautiful picture


And no Irish celebration (or funeral) would be complete without the bagpipes.

My beautiful picture


Hanging in Nanny’s kitchen for all those years was a plaque that had an Irish blessing. There were a few of them around her house. Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I am thinking of her, here’s a wish to all of you ~  May your home always be too small to hold all your friends ~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It is a very frosty morning this morning. I was up and out early to deliver a child to SATs. There was a lot of sunshine and a lot of frost and the temperature on the thermometer only read 12 degrees. The sunshine made everything very sparkly. Happy Saturday!


















Today I had a lunch date. The date had been on the calendar and when noon rolled around, my date came to get me. I’m a lucky girl. Not everyone has a lunch date on a Friday afternoon with their favorite guy and I’m pretty sure that even less have their lunch via a snowmobile ride. Today, we set out for a lunchtime snowmobile ride after last night’s snow. We made the ride over to the Belmont Store and had lunch. Not fancy, in fact if you saw my hair when I took my helmet off in Belmont, you might have been scared or laughed…it definitely didn’t look like it did before that helmet went on my head. As an aside, I was having an excellent hair day prior to that by the way, something that does not happen often with those of the curly hair persuasion. Despite my hair, we had a fun ride and a good lunch. As we were on our ride over, we came upon an open field at the crest of the hill and the blue skies were peeking through the clouds. We stopped to take pictures…..





Today was Town Meeting Day, something that I didn’t know even existed until I moved to Vermont. Today is the day that the people of Vermont take democracy into their own hands and move it from some esoteric concept into concrete reality. Town Meeting Day is the day (or the evening before in many towns) when members of the community gather together to discuss and vote on the issues that affect their town and each resident of it personally. The issues usually cover the budget and how it is allocated, taxes and how they are collected, various municipal positions and how they are filled. It is a day to stand up and be heard and be counted. In a great many of New England towns, voting is done by a simple show of hands — not with fancy, computerized voting equipment. Australian ballot voting is done with paper and pen — something alien to someone who grew up with the political machine that churns in the more metropolitan mid Atlantic area of the country.

A New England town meeting in Huntington, Vermont

A New England town meeting in Huntington, Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember that at our first town meeting, held in the gymnasium of the town’s elementary school, I pretty much sat there completely dumbfounded at the simplicity of the whole system. The selectboard (which is the governing body of our town) along with an elected moderator, hold a meeting where towns folk vote on the various warnings that have been posted. The steadfast items are usually the budget and other monetary related town issues. People stand up, speak their name and voice their piece of mind on the issue — be it pro or con. Everyone has a right to be heard and speak their mind. Sometimes, there is civil discussion and sometimes, the discussion gets a little heated (that’s where the moderator comes in). After the discussion of each issue, there is a vote. Simple, democracy at its purest.

Old Glory, Patriotic Rustic Peeling American F...

Old Glory, Patriotic Rustic Peeling American Flag, The Stars & Stripes, Red, White, Blue, on Wood (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)

Tonight I was also able to see the other side of the voting process — the counting of the ballots at town hall following the Australian ballot portion of the election. It is interesting to sit down with fellow residents and count and tally each of the votes — participating at the most fundamental level in one of the greatest privileges we hold as Americans — the right to vote –the right to choose — the right to decide.



This afternoon, I got up to take a break from working and walked by a west facing window. It was late afternoon, and the view of the sunlight (which we have not seen much of in these parts recently) shimmering snow, clouds and shadows just painted a beautiful picture that I felt compelled to share. I love it when nature just stops you dead in your tracks and you have to take a deep breath and appreciate how small and inconsequential you really are in this great universe. This afternoon, at this moment, was one of those times. Simply breathtaking in person, I hope that you might have been somewhere where you saw something just as nice today. If not, enjoy this picture.

English: Rotary International emblem

English: Rotary International emblem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I got a phone call out of the blue from someone at the Wallingford Rotary asking me if I would be their speaker for this week’s program. My first thought was “Me? Why do you want me?” I actually think that was the first thing that I said on the phone as well. Turns out, I agreed to speak and then I was determined to find out what I could speak about to this group. Sure, I can talk law, but this is a group of varied professionals and I don’t know that I could have found common ground that was interesting enough. I had the pleasure of interviewing the then-incoming president of the Rotary, Adrian Eisler over the summer for the Rutland County Express and we discussed ways to bring new members and update the Rotary’s image which is one of her goals as president. I thought that brainstorming some new ways to open up to the community and thereby increase their membership might be a fun topic that obviously would be of interest to them. I spent a chunk of time yesterday investigating what other Rotary groups do to bring in new members and see how they could make use of things at their fingertips like their webpage, a Facebook page, Twitter account and a blog. We discussed how to tap into the younger generations, particularly how they could garner the interest of the middle school and high school kids, many sadly who have no idea that they come from a Rotary that is the home of all Rotary since its founder Paul Harris is from good ol’ Wallingford Vermont. We discussed getting the kids involved, getting the community involved and letting Wallingford and the surrounding areas know who the Rotarians were, what they did professionally and where their personal interests lie in the hopes of making connections that could foster future relationships between the organization and future members.

Wallingford, Vermont

Wallingford, Vermont (Photo credit: Dougtone)

I thought that it was a good discussion and hopefully so did they. It was definitely interesting and fun to do something a little outside of my comfort zone. Since as part of their meeting, they pass the Pig and put in a dollar for a happy thought that they share with the group and many of those thoughts centered around spring, flowers and the vegetables, I chose a pick of apple blossoms to share with this post.  Check out the Wallingford Rotary’s web page for more information about the Wallingford Rotary which is open to professionals, business people and community members not only from Wallingford but also the surrounding communities. P1070263

Icicles and snowmen…..







                                                                                                                                ….Mountains and snow


Photo Credit: Vermont Farmers Food Center

Photo Credit: Vermont Farmers Food Center

Today at the Farmer’s Market we were just about to walk out the door when I spotted it…the table selling seeds. (Must be my gardener’s instinct). Lots and lots of different kinds of seeds. When I walked over and spoke to the mom that was with the kids at this table I learned a lot and thought that I would share for a very good cause.

The table belongs to a group of Shrewsbury homeschool kids that are conducting a fundraiser for the Vermont Farmers Food Center (a/k/a The Farmer’s Market) selling Fedco seeds. These kids –Silas Hamilton, Seamus and Avery Martin, Cedelle and Emmett Sirjane, and Manolo Zelkin with the help of parents, Licia Gambino Hamilton and Martha Sirjane are hoping to raise $3,500 to donate to the Center.



Since I’m not writing for the Rutland Express anymore (since they stopped publication) and I miss that ability to connect the cool things and people that I come across with people that might not know about them, I thought that I would post here about this group and their efforts in the hopes that folks in the area who plant their own seeds would take advantage of this fundraiser and help these kids with their goal. These kids are selling a variety of Fedco seeds (over 30 different types) to raise money for the Farmer’s Market to help with the work that remains to be done in and around the building and grounds. The kids have a table at the market and have set up and designed their own website and Facebook page where they can be found at Seeds Worth Sowing. They’ve even hand stamped (in multi color, mind you) each and every one of their seed packets. Making a very delightful display as you can see.


You can purchase your seeds in person at the Farmer’s Market, or you can order them by mail and you can pick up an order farm locally from Pierce’s Store or Mount Holly Library. You can also download an order form while in your pajamas from the comfort of your own living room from their website (for my very lazy friends).  If you mail in your order form, you can pick up your seeds from Pierce’s Store on March 21 from 3-6 p.m. or at the Mount Holly Library on March 24th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or at the Rutland Farmer’s Market on March 16th or April 6th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For the charge of mailing ($1.95 to $15 = $3.95 shipping fee; $16 & up = $5.95 shipping fee) they will even be happy to mail your seeds to you so you can just walk to the mailbox for your seeds. So, friends of mine that are not in Vermont and want seeds, go to their website, download the form, mail it in with your payment and wait for your seeds to arrive via the postal service from our lovely little state of Vermont.

The group extended its original order deadline to March 31st — so I encourage you to take advantage of getting some good seeds to get that garden started and help out an industrious group of kids with their ambitious (and totally doable) goal of raising $3,500. After all, any of us that shop at the Farmer’s Market will benefit from their hard work in raising these funds.


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