...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A trip down memory lane...the fast lane!

Took a little ride yesterday to see the leaves and Jim took a way back that took us past one of his old hangouts.
 When I met Jim he was always spending his free time working on his drag car.

We eventually  ended up rebuilding the engine in my '65 Chevy Chevelle. So I always tell people, "I had to marry him to pay off the debt!" I will have to dig out pictures of our old cars.

Another fun story - I was taking business courses at OCS when we rebuilt the engine. One of my teachers, Mr. Stahl didn't believe me when I told him I was up late working on the engine of my car and asked to see my hands. He shuddered when he saw them and said something to the effect, "You better get those fingernails clean before going on a job interview. No one wants a secretary with THOSE!" lol 

Another business teacher, Mr. Gregor, kept teasing me every time I came to class..."Jo, ever since you got that car, I have noticed your not taking care of yourself. You NEED sleep! Did you set your hair with milk bottles or something?"

Back to our recent trip:

There were a few changes at the old raceway since we were their in the 70's. One was these cute little mini cars for what looked like a go-kart track.

Ah, the memories of loud cars, burning tires, and smoke!

You would think they would update things a bit...but not sure how many racers there are any more. Who out there remembers Lebanon Valley Speedway?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Memories gone awry...

A couple weeks ago, Jim and I decided to take advantage of the low humidity and bright sunshine to go check out our old campgrounds. The trip over the river and up the turnpike brought back memories of earlier days and we looked forward to the memories that would come rushing back.

We were prepared for some changes and updates. After all it had been a good 20 plus years since we had been to this particular state park. The first change we noticed was the sign...They renamed the park, Lake Taghkanic, back a few years. We did remember reading something about that in the news. The name we were familiar with was, Lake Taconic, like the parkway. But history shows that the place was originally named the Indian name for the area by the people who donated the property to the state.

As we passed the first entrance off the parkway, it was shut down. So we drove on to the more familiar second entrance and the memories started to flood back in. Just inside the gate one has to make a decision of going to the East (smaller) beach with camping area or the West beach. I had read on-line that the East beach was currently closed, so I directed Jim to the West beach. We pulled in and it was as if we stepped back in time...

There was the 'new' beach house that had been built in between the seasons in years past. The picnic grounds, the beach, the cabins were all as we remembered. We took out our camping chairs, our snacks and sat down to enjoy the view and the excitement of the families on the beach and reminisce of our times there. The smell of barbequed chicken was welcoming and memorable.

As we sat, I mentioned to Jim the changes I noticed:  kayaks on the water along with the rowboats and canoes we remembered; the variety of languages spoken -- or yelled in by the beach goers; and the tattoos -- on women and young people! Other than those reminders of the age we now live in...things were still the same.

Eventually, we put our chairs back in the car and walked the trail along the picnic area and cabins. We found a nice dirt road that went around the lake and walked it for about a half mile before turning back.

Before heading out of the park, we decided to drive down to see the old campgrounds and the closed beach. What awaited us was a depressing sight to behold.

Boarded up buildings, crumbling walls of stone, weed strewn beaches and nothing of what our 'fond' memories held.

Sadly the only things recognizable were the parking lot and the platforms for camping. The platform unfortunately did not hold a fond memory as it was where our oldest son fell and broke a rib when he was just a tyke...

They did have a new playground to one side of the now deserted beach.

It looked woefully out of place among the ruins.

As we pulled out of the park, we were greeted with a beautiful sunset. I couldn't help but feel God was showing us there is still beauty that cannot be destroyed by wear and tear or by abandonment.

It also put a nice close on a fading memory.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Veggie Lasagna

Veggie Lasagna

Serves 6

2 large eggplants, NOT peeled, but sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, through garlic press or minced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
8 oz baby spinach, chopped
salt & pepper to taste or use non-salt seasoning (i.e. Herbamare)
2 cups pasta sauce, divided
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil a baking pan. Arrange eggplant in a single layer in the pan. Bake about 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large pan, add onion, celery, garlic and broccoli; sauté until just tender, adding more water if needed. Add the spinach and seasonings and cook until spinach is wilted. Mix in 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the pasta sauce in a baking 9 x 13 baking pan. Put down a layer of 1/2 of the eggplant, top with 1/2 of the vegetable mixture on each eggplant slice, top this with a layer of 1/2 the mozzarella cheese. Top with 1/4 cup of sauce. Repeat with a second layer and pour the remaining sauce over the last layer of mozzarella. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until heated through.

You can use other veggies...peppers, greens, broccoli, you can put more cheese on top if desired... can be made ahead, frozen, reheated...delicious!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Views from the Hammock

Wow, took me forever to figure out how to use this new blog set-up! So now I may actually start blogging again!

I got so frustrated I almost started a new blog (Views from the Hammock)...then thought better of if and took the time to figure this out...changes, changes, changes.

A lot of change going on in my life right now...my work hours have been cut back to 2 1/2 days. I have mixed emotions about this...I LOVE being off for the summer. I am still able to provide health insurance for Jim and I. I have part-time job possibilities flying at me and amazingly I am able to collect unemployment for one of the two days I don't work. God is good!

Other changes...ugh, I continue my trip down menopause lane...I hate the hot flashes, the raw emotions, the old teenage anger that can flare while the mature me tries to keep it in check.

The weight is not coming off, but I admit I am not trying that hard. We eat really healthy and well (maybe too well, huh hem.) I hate exercise even though I enjoy Zumba and hiking. I don't like doing it every day! I hate sweating to a point of being drained not only of water but of the will to move, though I do understand the sweating is a good thing...I hate humidity too. Humidity drains as well.

Enough feeling sorry for myself! I was just thinking the other day how blessed I am.

As a dear friend and sister in the Lord struggles in a hospital bed to survive after complications from surgery, her five children, husband, mom and siblings and countless friends and extended family praying for her to recover, I count my blessings.

1. I have a God who loves me enough to send his son to die for me.
2. I have a brother in Christ who was willing to die for my sins.
3. I have the Holy Spirit to guide me throughout my day.
4. I have a husband who loves me and sticks with me through thick and thin...;).
5. I have sons I am tremendously proud of.
6. I have two beautiful grandsons to enjoy.
7. I have two wonderful daughters through marriage that make me happy and make my sons happy.
8. I have a job that provides for us atm.
9. I have a financial cushions that provides me the ability to say to all the financial wizards -- "Okay, we did what you suggested!"
10. We have a mortgage that is paid off.
11. We have no credit card debt.
12. I have friends from so many walks in life that it makes my life interesting.
13. I live in an age where I can contact friends from all over the world to let them know when I need them to pray, to talk, or to play (Word with Friends!)
14. I have food, clothing and shelter and so much more.
15. I have means and ability to do the things I like best: help others. No we are not rich by US economic standards, but we have more than so many and so much to give of ourselves.

We are truly blessed and I thank God who provides more than I can ask or imagine!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Backyard delicacies...

For several weeks now I have been watching and waiting and today I finally decided it was time...

So out I went into the back yard to harvest some wild onions!

I like them because they are a gift from God...and just like His other gifts...they are FREE!

I can't wait to clean them up, cut them up and cook them up or store some for later...

What do you find around you???

P.S. We have lots of dandelions too, but I find them too bitter so I leave them for my friends the rabbits and the ground hog...Nice mowing job guys!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Destruction Before the Construction

See the homes in back?

For years our family has enjoyed our backyard "expansion". Our backyard butts up against what used to be fields. Over the 30 years we have been here the land was on the market numerous times. Once, we were expecting a housing development, then condominiums, and even a cemetery (quiet neighbors!). These expectations never materialized. Either the lack of water, the lack of suitable access or town revolt, kept such plans from coming to fruition.
Bryan & cars (Note Berkshires (across the river) in background.)

Aaron on a hayride.
The fields were always mowed and the growth baled by local farmers (our 'neighbors') to feed their livestock. Then one year the tractors stopped coming and the fields grew. When the Glasco Bazaar was revived for a few years, the tractor came back and plowed a circle for families to go on hay rides.

Gone was the simple dilapidated farm tractor that so valiantly mowed the fields with grace, making way for his partner the baler to come and make beautiful hay bales. The first hay bales were the traditional block type, in later years they yielded to the large round bales. Thankfully we never modernized to the point of having them covered in white plastic, that look hideous and out of place in the natural setting.
Fall 2011

One year the tractor came back to cut a fire break. That was all the activity we had for many years.

So for the past 10 years, the fields have been left to grow and grow and grow.

This year all has changed. The tractor that came back this time it was a shiny green monster that cut not just the over-growth, but the small saplings and trees that came in its path. The first pass of the new tractor made new pathways.

Looking down the power lines toward the river.
Then they came back again and again...until most brush and trees were gone.

Looking south from Cafaldo's backyard.
Access to field on turn on 32.

Then a bulldozer came to remove all that the green monster couldn't chop up.

Until, today we have the destruction of the mini forest to get ready for the construction of low income (affordable?) housing.

Northeast edge of our property looking toward river.

Directly behind our house looking toward river.

Looking south from the middlle of upper field.

From field looking toward Cafaldo's shop.
Looking back toward homes (west) from field.

Spying on the bulldozer!

One day we had a view of brush.
The next day most brush was pushed back to edge of the mini forest still left.
Looking from our backyard across Mr. Allen's.

Stay tuned for updates and progress(?)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Now Qualified...

The Village Diner in Saugerties offers Senior Citizen menu options for those 55 and older. A few months ago, I went to dinner there with a friend and she told me to order from that menu. "I'm not 55 yet! I don't turn 55 for two more months!" The waitress overheard and did graciously say the it was okay for me to order from it.

Well as of January 21, I now qualify.

I don't have a problem with getting older... some folks would say, "It's better than the alternative." For me, I plan to leave this physical world someday for the spiritual, to be in the presence of my Creator. So in the grand scheme of things, getting older gets me that much closer to Heaven and I am okay with that.

As a matter of fact, I LOVE birthdays! It is a time I can expect each one of my sons to call, and they did.

I can anticipate dinner out at a place of my choosing, and we did enjoy a delicious meal at Aroma Thyme.

If not on the actual day, I usually hear from some of my siblings. I can ALWAYS count on my sisters to call, but this year within a week, I had heard from EVERY ONE of my four brothers and two sisters! If that's what birthdays bring, I am okay with getting another year older.

But the BEST part of my birthday and by far the best gift I could get is the phone call conversations with my GRANDsons. I cherish these! (Elijah and Asher's message from last year is still on my answering machine.) And while Elijah, now 11, feels it's more an obligation to call, he is willing to cheer me up with a bit of conversation until he can safely hand the phone off to his brother. Asher, at five, can think of nothing better (unless playing a game) than chatting like the grownups with his Grandma Bell for a time.

This year we spoke for over 30 minutes! We eventually had to end only because the batteries on the phones were dying out. We chatted about memories we created, cookies we baked, new toys in his room. He asked what Grandpa was doing and where our kitties were and shared about his cat. As he chats, he is known to walk around and look for more inspiration to keep the conversation going. He amuses me with his big words or his mother's phrases. Occasionally we are interrupted by his walking into the refrigerator or his falling off the chair as he seems to struggle with sitting still while talking. So intrigued by our conversation he stops paying attention to what he is doing and so we have experienced a few moments of silence or tears as he struggles to compose himself. Such joy is shared by two people of such diverse generations, it helps gives some semblance of right priorities in a most chaotic world.

So yes, bring on the birthdays and all that goes with it. Bring on many many more to share with grandsons and family and friends and all. May you all look forward to them as I do.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Happy New Year! Thus starts the beginning of a new 365 (366?) cycle of our calendar. I love new beginnings. Just as I love spring and the Bible verse that states: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new," I love the chance to start anew...

I hate new year's resolutions, as they have the connotation of being a promise to oneself that is usually broken. So I stopped making new year's resolutions years ago. However these new beginnings do inspire me to try something different or go back to an old standard that I have been drawn away from in the busyness of our world.

On our flight back from a wonderful visit with our two sons in Florida an unusual thing happened. Jim and I were forced to sit in completely different places on the plane, I only had one story to read in the magazine I had brought to occupy my time, I had forgotten my headphones so I couldn't listen to my Ipod, they didn't offer movies or have access to tv or radio on the flight and my other reading materials was buried in our luggage. Therefore, I had nothing to do once I finished my magazine article. So I caught up on some much needed sleep and once that was done I had time to do something I realized I rarely do anymore. I was forced to think.

I did have some time to do this while on vacation as well, so on the plane I easily relaxed and closed my eyes and started to think about what I wanted to accomplish in the year ahead. For as I have learned through the years the old adage is true: "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."

Earlier in 2011, I did come up with one goal that I started even before the year ended. My first and most important goal is to read my Bible. I do this every year, sometimes more formally than others. As a result, I have read my Bible through at least three times. Twice from Genesis to Revelation and once with a chronological Bible. This year my goal is different. I want to read the four gospels and then the new testament over and over until I become so familiar with Jesus' teachings and Paul's letters that I hope to be able to recall, at will, their applications for life. This also being the year of 2012 and many doomsday predictions, I plan to read Revelation and the prophetic books of the old testament to be prepared to share with those that haven't taken the time to find out how the Bible relates to us today.

My next goal is to do something to show appreciation for my husband and sons.

Next on the list is to try to communicate more often with my two grandsons and daughters-in-law.

In the same line, I hope to communicate more with the rest of my family and not just the few who keep in touch with me.

Of course learning more on how to maintain a healthier lifestyle and sharing some tips with others will continue to be an important goal.

Some fun goals I have had in the past and will continue, are finding ways to get better organized and finding ways to make money that contribute not only financially but possibly in healthy or other ways as well.

My desire is to learn more of the Lord's love for me and share that with others through my daily life choices and how I handle situations. More living than preaching, more giving than taking, more purging than stockpiling, and more freedom and less confinement.

I plan to read the books on my bookshelves and clear out items that I have collected that no longer serve any purpose in my life. Both are things I have tried to achieve each year, but always seem to need to revisit more often than I currently do.

So here's to a new year -- 2012 anew... and running the race set before me.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."                                                                                 Hebrews 12:1-2