November 30, 2012

It's bigger than a pair of boots

There's a lot of buzz going around on the inter-webs about the New York City cop who purchased a pair of winter boots for a homeless man in Union Square some ten days ago. Coming from a family of cops and having worked with the poor and homeless for over a decade I have to say I was truly touched by this story.

Since then there have been some interesting discussions that have come up as a result that I thought I'd touch on one or two of them here on the blog.

It's been rumored  he'd (the homeless man ) had been seen around shoe-less in various places and might have been selling the boots for cash.

Let me ask you this?

Does what a homeless person does with your donation affect whether you give or how much you give?

[If you were sure that your money was going to food or shelter rather than something less necessary would you be more likely to give a homeless person money or do you give regardless?]

Givetransitive verb

  1. to make a present of 
  2. to grant or bestow by formal action 
  3. to put into the possession of another for his or her use

I can admit freely here on my own blog that before my decades long work with the Daughters Of Charity I used to think the former rather then the later. Being around these wonderfully holy women changed me on the inside. They showed me by their example how to open my heart to the poor and how judging them wasn't my opinion of them but a reflection of me. 

As to the subject of the selling of the boots by the homeless man. Is this true? I don't know. Does this matter? I'll tell you what I think matters. What matters here is that we witnessed a true act of human kindness. Don't you wish we'd see more of this sort of thin in our communities and in our country as a whole?

It seems to me judging the recipient of this generosity is nothing more than a reflection of those who are doing the judging and it does nothing more than take our eyes away from what is much bigger than a pair of boots-  a very decent act.

November 29, 2012

post hurricane Sandy- pictures of mom's house

This is our families house in Long Beach, NY. I know you know this city was hit terribly hard by Hurricane Sandy along with many many others. This place is special to me. I spent all of my childhood's summers there and lived there for my young adulthood up until the time Bill and I married. 

It's a wonderful place.... Most every good memory I have includes this place and the people from it.  Honestly it was sad to see the city in such a state but it's really about the people and I know you'll remember that as you look at these pictures. 

Here are some pictures of the hard work done by my cousin Howie and his friends who gutted the downstairs half of the house.  

Four feet of water flooded the downstairs level of the house our Mothers' still own during Hurricane Sandy. I can't even imagine what this looked like before can you?

I visited Long beach when I was up for Thanksgiving and the wedding last week. Even after weeks of clean up the signs of destruction are highly visible and I can't imagine the scars will ever go away.

There is much work to be done! This was scene right at the corner of my Mom's block. Here workers are clearing and taking away debris as the home owners strip their homes of damaged possessions, molding walls and floors and put it all on the curb for removal.

What I cannot show you in a photograph is the hope that I hear in every conversation with my family members and each and every friend I've talked to who was affected by this storm. They are all determined to rebuild and make this city better than before. Even those who lost everything are not deterred one bit.They as individuals and as a community are amazing people. They are salt of the earth strong and I am privileged to consider myself one of them.

November 28, 2012

drunk wrangling 101

Have you come face to face with a sloppy drunk lately? I actually have some level of experience with drunks because of my Dad. Ok Ok he liked to drink I admit it but that's not what I was talking about.What I meant was he owned a bar and I became very good at drunk handling during those days.

As you all know I was up in New York attending my cousins wedding. Believe me there was no lack of alcohol consumed by the guests. We; the elder cousins had a large table next to the parents of the groom right, the bride and groom and next to us was the younger cousins. Oh did I mention we were right next to the bar?

Last year one of the younger set married in a small ceremony which just immediate family attending so this was the first time I met his wife. We chatted briefly at cocktail hour and then again during the reception. I remember thinking to myself she seemed like the kind of gal that who'd is just a perfect fit for our family. Many of the other family know her better than me since I don't do Facebook and we laughed about that but I'd say we hit it off fine.

The reception went on food courses were served and the dancing and music were fabulous. Most every person if physically able were out on the dance floor dancing to the band who played a perfect mix of music from several decades. Dancing up a storm my new cousin came up to me and remarked in some minor distress " this guy is bothering me."  I turned around and there was this thirty-something man pushing his upper body into hers. Ugh!

I stepped in between to shield her from him. I was shocked to hear that this had been going on over the course of the night " he's keeps grabbing my ass" she exclaimed! I wasn't clear if or why she didn't tell her husband but my guess she didn't want to make waves or spoil the party. Being new to our family can be somewhat intimidating and I can imagine being the subject of that type of attention or being the cause of a possible altercation just wasn't an option.

Really who could blame her I actually admired her for her spunk but this guy had to be stopped and I was going to do my best. I considered being a woman might give me an advantage so I said to him very pointedly.

" What do you think you doing?"

He met my very pointed question with a smirk as he crossed his arms over his chest and stared me back in the eye quite defiantly.

"Do you know this lady is my cousin and she's a married woman AND a mother?"

"She's a mootherrr?" He slurred with that slimy smirk still plastered on his face.

What a dumb jerk this guy was but drunks are drunks so we did the dance I continued. " You might not think this is so funny when you realize your playing grab-ass with the niece of the father of the groom who is also my cousin and your host tonight."

Now that smirk is starting to fade.

"Maybe I don't need to say this but you certainly need to hear it." "You my friend are no gentleman and your behavior is not only an insult to her but to all woman." " You've insulted this woman as well as our family it seems to me it's a behavior for which you have a particular talent."

I don't know whether I shamed him or if he just go sick of being cornered by me because he tried to offer me his hand maybe as an apology I really don't know why. In any case I really didn't want to have any physical contact with him so I declined.

As he turned and exited the dance I had a bit of parting advice " Why don't you go and find a willing single lady?" He didn't acknowledge hearing them as he took a seat at the edge of the dance floor. She and I danced for a minute and then not wanting to bother my cousin (the father of the groom ) I had a small chat with his best friend about the situation.

As you would imagine we didn't see drunk guy for the rest of the evening.

November 27, 2012

From Virginia to NY and back again..

I have to say, Thanksgiving holiday has to be the worst time to travel! But family is so important to me and I just couldn't miss Thanksgiving dinner at my brother and sister in laws or my cousins wedding. Going from point A to point B which in this case is Virginia to New York and back again is becoming a real pain in the ass and has become especially difficult for my Mom as she ages. Realistically what should be a seven to eight hour drive tops ends up being a ten to eleven hour drive due to holiday traffic. It is truly horrible.

But staying home and missing the festivities isn't really an option. Who could miss the opportunity to hang out with these ladies?

My niece Alex, my cousin Jeanmaire in blue,
my sister in law and my niece Sydney in the front left.

I like to cook and frequently host holidays and parties at my house. But my brother and sister in law do such an amazing job on Thanksgiving dinner and that gives me the freedom to have a bit of fun baking.

The picture below is a yummy new recipe of a pumpkin yeast dinner roll that I tried for the first time this year. They taste as good as they look! I got the recipe on the blog beyond kimchee. If you'd like to check out the recipe yourself just click on the blog name and it will take you to the link for the recipe. We just made one small change in the original recipe because my nephew is deathly allergic to any tree nuts and they were the ingredient she used for stems, we substituted dates.

pumpkin yeast rolls
And the wedding; I just love weddings don't you? My cousin Howie and his wife Lorraine's son Brian got married to Lauren. Young love....sigh. They are a stunning young couple aren't they? They're off to Hawaii for their romantic honeymoon and then back to New York City to their new life in their new apartment.

Lauren and Brian
And the reception was at an amazing and elegant country club on the north shore of Long Island. We drank, ate and danced the night away in celebration of this young couple starting their lives together.

Standing is my fathers sister Marie
on the left his other sister Genevieve and my Mom
I always have the best intentions when I go to one of these big family affairs to take tons of pictures, however I spent just about every minute on the dance floor dancing or catching up with family and old friends from the beach who were also guests. Oh and then there was the jerk on the dance floor but that story deserves a separate post. But I did get this picture of the Aunts! 

November 18, 2012

for the friends I've never met and jenn & casey

A few days ago my dear blogger friend Anne who does her regular blogging over at Is anyone there? and her photography blogging  at The shutterbug ball  gave me this award.  

Anne lives over in Scotland and travels frequently.  I can attest to the fact that her blog is filled with lovely pictures and wonderful stories from her travels. Give her some blog love will ya?

I'm supposed to tell a bit of why I started blogging but that's a pretty old story that I'm sure you've all heard a million times already so I'm not going bore you with my personal sob story and be a Debbie Downer. Then I'm supposed to give this to five other bloggers.

I thought I'd put my own spin on this..

I'd like to tell you the reasons why I continue to blog and give this award to the people I get my inspiration from on a daily blog friends.

I'm not the most prolific writer but I enjoy the act of writing as a creative outlet. What blogging does for me is it has opened up a whole world of relationships that I would never have had and taken me places I could never have hoped to visit in my life time. I've heard the skeptics who question how I could call a person friend if we've never met.

Admittedly I know some of you better than others but I can say the same of some of my in real life friends. I know in my heart I can call you friend regardless. Like most friendships we take on differing roles and just like in real life relationships how we fit together all depends on what our common interests are and how much we like each other; not whether we've ever met face to face. 

This is how I feel about my relationship with the people who read and comment on this blog and the bloggers who have blogs that I read and comment on.....

Qualities like witty, smart, funny, interesting and passionate come to mind when I think of you. When I visit your blogs and read what you've written I'm always mindful of the fact that every time you hit publish you are giving of yourself; there's a piece of you in everything you write. And when I look at your photographs I always get the sense that not only am I getting a look at who and what you love but I'm also getting glimpse into your heart and soul. 

You're like a drug and I'm addicted to you! Please friends take this award and pass it on to five of your friends. And Anne, thanks again!

November 13, 2012

home or away?

With our mums set out in their usual location on the front porch and Bill busy at the task of burning leaves in the burn barrel I took a walk around the property.

Thoughts of my family on Long Island are heavy on my heart as I stroll amongst the woods. Leaves gently falling all around me and it dawned on me Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

 front yard
The weather here has been more like shorts and t-shirt weather for the past few days but nothing good lasts forever and rain is in the forecast. I can't help but notice all those little things that make fall such a beautiful season.

Pine cones strewn on a bed of pine needles on the ground, trees gone to seed. It really is a sight to see and it's all right out my back door.

This Thanksgiving Bill, Mom my cousin Jeanmarie and I will be heading up to New York to my brother's house. It was actually their turn to have Thanksgiving here with us but we have a family wedding the next day so they're having us two years in a row.

seed pods from an ash tree

How about you? Will you be spending Thanksgiving at home or will you be going away like us?

November 11, 2012

what not to do when cleaning

Today I think I did something that was pretty silly, seriously. I was cleaning the house and apparently when in a cleaning jag my judgment gets impaired! Picture me vacuuming Lenny Kravitz music playing loudly in the back round when I got the idea that now that I've eradicated all the dust in the house there's another one more place that needs some attention. There's way to much dust and crumbs in the keys of my laptop. Yup a real light bulb moment.

So I attack the dust and the crumbs stuck between the keys with my upholstery attachment because I'm smart that way. And they all came up except for one little spot. So I remove to brush and ever so gently whisk the vacuums wand over the area and SLURP the doohicky key between alt and ctrl  became one with my Oreck. Insert a potty mouth moment as I turned on that very laptop to find out how to re-attach the doohicky key.

I'm getting to darn old for this shit people. Let me just say I practically needed the Hubble telescope to see the little clip thingie that I had to remove with a tiny screw driver from the back of the key. That was before I tried 100 times to clip it back on the teeny little space so I could reattach the key.

Ok I confess it was a dumb and rather frustrating thing to do but I've learned my lesson.
I've added one of those cans of air to my shopping list!
Please tell me you have a similar story to tell.

November 7, 2012

this morning I awoke a starfish

Like many living in this tough economy Bill and I have to make choices on when and what we are going to spend our money on. We live comfortably and we vacation but we don't spend furiously.

So every night we go to bed and dream about how nice it would be to have a king size bed.  And the reason? Ours current bed is a queen and a pretty good one. But some extra room would be nice. And lets face facts we're not getting any younger. It's a fact folks; the older you get the more you toss and turn and the more you visit the bathroom during the night. Just wait, you'll see.

But another truth is I can't see throwing out a perfectly good bed for however more room a king would afford us. I'd rather take those car trips to see my family that we take or something of that nature.

So Bill and I who by the way are not little people do the "toss and turn" every night in our queen size bed. He breathes in my face I snore in his, like I said a king would be nice. Which got me to thinking about positions...not those positions people! I'm talking about sleep positions. I recently read an article that reviewed the most common sleep positions and how those positions revealed certain personality traits.

Some of these sleep positions are better for you than others. The back positions promote re-flux  breathing problems and snoring in some people so you may want to think of that if you fall under one of those categories. The side positions (right side sleepers) are the best since it puts less stress on the heart.

  • Starfish
"Lying on your back with both arms up around the pillow. These sleepers make good friends because they are always ready to listen to others, and offer help when needed. They generally don't like to be the center of attention."
  • Foetus
"Those who curl up in the foetus position are described as tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. They may be shy when they first meet somebody, but soon relax. The foetus is the most common sleeping position, with women more likely to adopt this position than men.
  • Freefaller
"Lying on your front with your hands around the pillow, and your head turned to one side. Often gregarious and brash people, but can be nervy and thin-skinned underneath, and don't like criticism, or extreme situations."
  • Yearner
"People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it."
  • Log
"Lying on your side with both arms down by your side. These sleepers are easy going, social people who like being part of the in-crowd, and who are trusting of strangers. However, they may be gullible."

When I go to bed I usually get comfortable on my left side then pivot to my back for a few seconds  on my journey to my final sleep position which is my right side- Foetus . But I wake up in the Starfish position.

Lets have a little fun here shall we? Tell us what your sleep position(s) is and how close the personality traits listed here actually reflect your own.

November 6, 2012

branching out- sort of

Ok I admit I can be a bit weird at times!
And you might ask or think."Don't you have enough to do writing on your blog?" 
And I would answer."Sure I do." But hey! I'm over twenty-one several times over and I do silly things sometimes. 

The fact of the matter is I've always been curious what goes on over in the WordPress bloggy world. 

So I started a second blog over there, nothing big just a teeny tiny little blog. I have two followers and I'm one of them. hehe! I've called it I blog it as I see it  Seemed like a good name at the time!

I'm doing all my main blogging over at we're living a full life since I love this blog and it's my baby. 

But I wanted to see what WordPress was like as opposed to Blogger and having a blog there was the only way I could think to do it, ya dig? 

I've  heard SO may people say  it's a better blogging platform but as of now I just find it very very confusing. 

So if you want to be friendly or a nosy pants and see what I'm doing over at my other digs come on over and say hi or just lurk you can do it here. Lurking is good I even do that too some times! 

November 4, 2012

assessing the damage

If you've followed along on this blog for a while then you know that my parents had a second home at the beach. We were blessed children to have a whole childhood of summers frolicking in the sun and sand with our family and our summer friends every summer. Purchased back in the sixties by my parents and aunt and uncle it is now owned by my mother and aunt since the passing of my dad and uncle. I have written a few little stories about my experiences growing up there you can read about it  here here and here.

I am sorry to say that our beach town Long Beach NY and it's residents and home owners have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Although we The Forbes have moved away our hearts still reside in that town and have never left. Nor have many of my family they are still there.

Here's the news I have so far...

It is grim. I should say that everyone is safe but Long Beach NY and just about every person if not every person is devastated.

dunes and grass before
photo credit: Jen Forbes

dunes and grass after
photo credit Lauren Saccaro

My aunt wrote me, mom and Bill and e-mail to fill us in on the family and on the property damage since her and mom are still partners on the house.

My aunt lives right on the beach in her main residence she has a basement full of water, heater and all contents of basement are lost, no heat, electric or water, house uninhabitable.

Her eldest daughter Gen, has flooded basement plus two feet in her one story house, all is lost, it's the feeling of the family the house will most likely be condemned. My cousin God bless her lost her husband when her twin boys were barely teens (about 12) she has had a difficult life as a single mother and it is just heartbreaking that now all everything is lost to her, even her house. Please pray for her!

photo credit: Frank DiGaudio
This is from what I understand a typical scene in the West end of Long Beach where all of my beach family reside. People are just dumping the contents of their homes on the curb. Do you notice how the sand has filled in the streets swept up from the beach?

One of Gen's twin sons lived with his girlfriend in the downstairs apt. of a house a few blocks west, they lost all of their furniture and possessions. Not only that, they both work for local businesses which have closed due to their own devastation so they are now both unemployed. Prayers for them too please.

The other twin lives in Brooklyn and is ok thank goodness.

My cousin Kate lives in her Dad's (Mickey's) rental property, the basement is flooded and the heater is submerged under water. She has no heat or electric she is unable like the rest to live in her place.

beach after
photo credit:Lauren Saccaro
beach before
photo credit: Jen Forbes

My mom and aunts house is a two story house and my cousin Pat occupies the top floor apt, she was the lucky one all her possessions are untouched by the flooding and sand. The downstairs apartment however was under four feet of water and will eventually have to be gutted and redone. No gas or electric or water the house is unlivable due to those conditions.

Pat's son Dan and his wife and baby  Jax are living in a motel in Connecticut for the time being, they were living in an apt, in the next beach town over and aren't able to move in due to lack of heat or water.

My cousin Mickey and his wife Lorraine's primary residence is quite a distance from the beach so they've taken all of the family-their immediate family into their home. I was chatting with my mom this morning over breakfast and said "even when he was the smallest child he was always a good boy." And I might just add he married a good and decent woman Lorraine has a generous heart.

There is destruction beyond comprehension and the rebuilding will take a very long time. My guess is this will vanish from the news long before even a small part of the work is done. Then there is the healing, the people are experiencing losses beyond our comprehension. Lets not forget them.

 I'll keep you updated as I get news, so for now .....

I'll leave you with the words of my 84 year old aunt Genevieve and I'm just going to paraphrase what she said at the end of her e-mail.

I thank God for my family. I couldn't be luckier of more 
 blessed that we are all safe and  together.They the best people in the world.