The Long Winter

The Long Winter

Two things have dampened our enjoyment of “The Long Winter:”

  1. I started reading the biography “Laura Ingalls Wilder: a Writer’s Life,” then made the mistake of telling my boys that the Ingalls family we love so much and all their adventures were not the exact truth.  I suppose I should have known that (after all, the books are shelved in the fiction section).  Still, I feel a little disappointed as well – that the true Pa was not that noble, that Laura was actually sent out to work for other families off and on from the time she was 10 years old, that the family was never as alone or independent as the “Little House” books portray them to be.
  2.  We finished reading “The Long Winter” while in the Caribbean.  It would have made more of an impact to read this one in the dead of winter.  Instead, I finished the last few chapters during our first days of summer break and after hot afternoons spent playing on the beach.

Nonetheless, we still love this book.  My boys & I discussed what it would mean to have zero access to food supplies for months on end.  We tried to figure out how long we could last in a similar situation (not very long).  We cringed every time the train got snowed in again and cheered when the groceries and Christmas turkey finally made it through in May.

Three more books in this series to read.  But before that, I’m taking a break to read one set right here in the Caribbean.  Tell you more soon!

730 Days and Still Reading!

730 Days and Still Reading!

In June, 2012, my boys & I were inspired to start a reading streak
after I read Alice Ozma’s “The Reading Promise.”

 Only 2 rules.
1.  I read aloud to my boys everyday
2.  Each read aloud must be at least 10 minutes

Guess what?
Tomorrow morning’s read aloud will finish out the 2nd year of our streak.
That’s 730 days.
47 books.
Still loving it.
Still Reading!


I never seem to remember what I put in the Sangria last time I made it…
Blame it on the rum…?
So today’s blog post is for me to refer to next batch.
1 bottle of red wine (not the expensive stuff)
1 bottle of rum (375 ML)
3 Plums
3 Nectarines
1 Lime
Sugar (1/4 – 1/2 cup)
Ginger ale (optional)

Chop up fruit.
Add sugar.  
I used 1/2 cup but be warned that this makes things very sweet.
Squeeze in juice from 1 lime.
Mix gently.
Let the kids sample the fruit now before you add the alcohol!
Spoon fruit mixture into a big pitcher (or two).
Add rum & wine.
Stir gently.
Chill until ready to drink.
I always add a splash of ginger ale to my glass of sangria.
But that’s totally optional.
My neighbor, Carlos, tops his glass off with more wine.
Big grin.
Happy summer!
Under the Tracks at 116th and Park

Under the Tracks at 116th and Park

Friday, June 20, 2014 “Walkabout”
Destination:  Urban Garden Center
Train:  4 train to 125th Street
Route:  South under the Metro-North raised tracks to 116th
Duration:  2 hours (including train rides uptown & back again)
Participants:  Stacy & Val

This one wasn’t so much of a walkabout as it was a quick foray to 
the Urban Garden Center in East Harlem.
Still, I’m classifying it as a “walkabout” since we were exploring somewhere brand new to us.
We’d read about this “Uptown Utopia” in the May/June 2014 issue of  
We were both so curious to see this place for ourselves.
It’s very cool folks.
And the plants are very reasonably priced.

While Stacy pondered what would look good next to her Blue Fescue,
I wandered into the bamboo hut
They had tutus for sale
“Art on Loan” from a local artist
(shoot, sorry, I forgot to take the name down).
I loved the feel of it in there!

Wish I could have bought some ornamental grass as well.
Unfortunately, I have no deck to plant the Blue Fescue.
I settled for a pretty little pot of moss instead.

Since we visited on a weekday morning, the garden center was quiet.
I’d love to see this place on a summer Saturday afternoon when they have their
I’m especially curious to experiene
That’s roast pig – Korean style!
The Urban Garden Center is definitely on my “return to” list.
More than Gold

More than Gold

FaceTiming with my brother & niece last night.
Suddenly, little Marina disappears from the screen,
then reappears waving her kindergarten assignment to get my attention.

The assignment asks,
“Who is worth more to you than gold?”
I look at her colorful drawing and carefully written response:
“My Auntie Valerie is worth more to me than gold,
because she is loval to me!
By: Marina”
Words aren’t sufficient to describe how touched I was.

You’re worth way more than gold to me too, Mina!
Can’t wait to see you again soon.
Love, Auntie Val
What does “loval” mean, anyway?