Saturday, December 31, 2005

Upstate NY

Here's Daughter #1 with her godchild and other young cousins. We went to Upstate NY yesterday to visit with hubby's brother and family. There was only one glitch in our plans. Hubby had an upset stomach when he woke up yesterday morning. We did not want to disappoint the young cousins, so we left hubby and his germs at home. Daughter #3 stayed home to keep an eye on him.

Daughter #1 and I shared the driving. I had a short article to write for the "Heartline Herald," the newsletter of the New Jersey Romance Writers, so I jotted down ideas as we cruised along the Parkway and the Thruway. It was a perfect day for a long drive--lots of dry road and not too much traffic.

We had a very nice time seeing everyone and chatting, but we had a long ride back so we did not stay too long. On the way home, I give up trying to write in the dark. We put on some music and sang along with Johnny Cash, the Beach Boys, and a couple tapes of sea chanties. I love sea chanties. "Clear away the running gear and blow, boys, blow." It's very good driving music.

By the time we got home, hubby was feeling somewhat better.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back to Brooklyn

Yesterday, I actually had some time to write. Daughter #1 took her father with her to get a new car battery while Daughters #2 and #3 went shopping at the mall. When everyone returned we went out for pizza and then watched a really terrible movie that my sister gave to my hubby as a gift. It was an old horror movie titled FROGS. Hubby loved it. He laughed through most of it and kept right on laughing the rest of the evening.

Today, we drove Daughter #2 back into Brooklyn. She had way too much stuff to carry on the train--and besides, we wanted to visit some of hubby's Brooklyn relatives, too. Daughter #1 came along for the ride. We stopped in to see hubby's cousin first. She lives only a few blocks from Daughter #2's apartment.

After seeing her, we dropped off Daughter #2's stuff at her apartment. She had decorated a small plant with paper snowflakes which she called her Christmas tree.

Then we all visited hubby's aunt. His aunt is 89 years old! She insisted on feeding us. One of her granddaughters was there along with two of her great-grandchildren. It was wonderful to see them.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Taking Aim...


Here's a photo of Daughter #3 taking aim. She gave each of us a gun that shoots colored ping pong balls. Yesterday morning, we had a ping pong gun battle in the living room. Red, blue, yellow, and green balls went flying everywhere and everyone had a good laugh.

I usually buy some sort of game at Christmas. This year I got a dartboard with magnetic darts. It was opened yesterday but so far nobody has used it. It is far more exciting to bop someone with a ping pong ball!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Bread

I made Christmas Bread yesterday. Many years ago, one of my coworkers gave me her recipe and since then it has become a family favorite in our home. It really is scrumptious, so I thought I would share it. Give it a try. You'll enjoy every morsel.

Christmas Bread

Measure into a large bowl:
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Add 2 cups scalded milk. Cool to lukewarm.
Add 2 packages yeast softened in 1/4-cup lukewarm water.
Add 2 beaten eggs and 4 cups flour. Mix well.
Add 1-cup raisins
And 2 cups mixed fruitcake fruit.

Beat in 4 more cups flour.

Place dough in very large bowl, cover and let rise until double.

Punch down and knead on floured board.

Shape into 2 loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and let rise again.

Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes.



By the way, I made a Christmas card using the photo of my daughters. To view it go to:

Merry Christmas from the Marzecs

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mom and Dad's Taxi Service

Daughter #2 lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. This has not been a problem for her during the transit strike because she is simply working on her computer from home. I rather envied her yesterday. When I called to see if the strike had affected her, she told me she was sitting in her pajamas on her bed working on a project. That was around two in the afternoon. I would like to sit on my bed at two in the afternoon in my pajamas and write, but somehow that never happens.

Anyhow, Daughter #2 wants to come home for Christmas. We would be happy to see her, too. However, if the strike continues, it looks like hubby and I will be driving into Brooklyn to pick her up. I know she could take a taxi and then take the train--even though the cost of the taxi would be more than the train fare home--but it's okay. Going into Brooklyn to save the day makes us feel like superheroes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another Culinary Adventure

Ever since our favorite fishery closed, we have been searching for another restaurant with good food at an inexpensive price--but food which is a step up from the typical fast food restaurant. This is not an easy task--especially because we usually take my parents with us and Mom is tough to please.

We tried a barbeque place this weekend. We paid more for less food--although I thought the food tasted fine. However, hubby and Mom were dissatisfied so the search will go on. But I am enjoying our culinary adventures. We were very much stuck in a rut when it came to dining out. It's nice to be broadening our horizons.

My father is doing most of the investigative work for our weekly adventure. He procures menus during the week.

What's your favorite restaurant?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Lights

I woke up this morning to see that the rain had melted all the snow off the bushes in front of the house. So I informed hubby that we would be draping the bushes with the Christmas lights.

Since most of the other people in the neighborhood have tasteful white lights adorning their houses, I love to string our bushes with colored blinking lights--the kind that blink in distinctively erratic patterns. Hubby, the engineer, checked all the strings of lights and inserted new blinker bulbs where needed. I did the artistic work outside.

When I was finished, hubby admired my work. "It looks obnoxious," he said with a smile. To me, it's a celebration of joy.

Santa will not be able to miss our house when he flies by. :^)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Coming Soon!

A Rush Of Light is on the Coming Soon page at Awe-Struck E-Books! I am so excited! I could stare at it all night long.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another List

Daughter #3 has finally given me her Christmas Wish List. For your reading enjoyment, I pasted it here:

  • Size 5 cotton underwear.  (just regular briefs, pretty (not neon!) colors/patterns). 

  • A toolbox.  Yep, I need one of those.  Walmart and Kmart have nice toolboxes.  The Stanley ones are between 7-15 dollars, approximately, and are a heavy duty plastic.  There's a really cool one I've had my eye on that is yellow and black, with the metal "diamond grid" stuff on it, like on a truck bumper. 

  • And lastly, tuition for the Spring (due Jan. 3), and car insurance for my jeep. 

Hubby was delighted that she wanted a toolbox. I'm glad she wants ordinary underwear.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Preparing

I am not getting much writing done lately. Christmas is only 12 days away and there are things that need to be done. There are those who get out all their Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving. Hubby and I lugged the boxes of Christmas stuff out of the attic today. Then we rearranged the living room to accomodate our artificial tree. As hubby sorted through the branches, I did some cleaning. (That job never ends.)

We are not finished with our Christmas shopping--and none of the gifts we have bought are wrapped. We always wrap the presents after the tree is in one piece. However, we did send out the cards last week.

It is below freezing outside and most of the bushes still have snow on them from last week's storm. I usually drape the bushes with lights and I should have done it before the snow fell. Now I'm hoping some of the snow will melt--at least the snow that is on the bushes. Sigh.

There's too much to do this time of the year.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Two Christmas Gigs In One Day

Yesterday I sang with a small group from the Happy Days String Band. The entire band would never fit in the library where the show was held. We did Christmas music with that classic string band sound. We all had a great time together and the audience seemed to enjoy the music, too.

Hubby and I rushed from there to the next gig at History House at Sandy Hook where an even smaller contingent of the string band entertained--the glock player, one banjo, one sax, hubby with his accordion, and me. It was a hectic day, but hubby loves this time of year because everyone wants Christmas music.

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Lists

Hubby is feeling better so we started getting ready for Christmas. We went shopping yesterday and bought a few presents for our daughters. I had asked them to send me a list of some of the things they would like or need. They know that there is no way they are going to get everything on their list. However, they make plenty of suggestions. The lists make me laugh. You can easily see the difference in my girls from their wants and needs.

Daughter #1's Christmas List:

Pajamas, size small
Underwear, size 5 high-cut
Mock necks (fitted, no old-lady pastels, but cream is okay. No patterns either)
Slippers (size 7)
Advent wreath
$65 so I can Make My Own Paperweight
Futon, or contribution towards one
Table to go underneath my window in living room, or contribution towards one
A surprise!

Daughter #2's Christmas List (More detailed--she's the artist. The list is also longer. What a dreamer!):

i would really like a good electric wireless drill.
i would like to have an electric pick-up for my guitar.
i also need kitchen implements, like a bread knife and various other knives, mixer, a bix mixing bowl, a cookie sheet. stuff like that.
cheesy as it sounds, i do use scented candles. new york smells.
my 2 favorite bands of the moment are: the darkness and the white stripes. and i would like a book about jenny holzer because she is my idol.
you can also contribute to:
my student loan fund
my clothing fund
and the more general, indie flicks, cheesy bands, and ice cream fund
as for pajamas, i like the plaid flannel pants that you see me around the house in. i like them larger than expected because they always shrink.
i like bikini underwear. it usually says this on the package. this is very different from those kind that my sister likes. size 5.
i am eternally in need of black socks and other drab colors that match the clothes i wear.
i do like alcohol and candy.

Daughter #3 has yet to send a list to me. I already know she needs new eyeglasses.

So what do YOU want for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Very Early Morning Drive


Here's our winterberry bush covered with snow. We had lots of fluffy soft snow early this morning. I had to drive in it. At 2 am I took hubby to the hospital. There is nobody on the road at 2 am.

Hubby became violently ill last night. He has never had more than a muscle sprain in all the years we've been married. From my Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Home Edition, I was quite sure he had kidney stones. I bought the book to be sure that my fictional characters have the proper symtoms for their illnesses--but it is a useful book for real people, too. :^)

After the doctor in the emergency room had x-rays and a CAT scan taken, I learned I my diagnosis for hubby was correct. Still, it was rough on hubby. And I didn't get any sleep, so I am a walking zombie right now.

However, after pain medication and a referral to a urologist, hubby was freed from the ER. By that time, the sun had come out and the snow was melting.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lucky Night

Last night, hubby and I went to a gift auction. We wandered around carefully deciding which prizes we thought we would like to win. There were several men's baskets with such things as tools and gifts cards to Home Depot. Several area restaurants had donated free dinners to the winners. The grand prizes were awesome. There were such things as a bicycle, a night at the Embassy Suites in Manhattan, or a designer dress.

We dropped our tickets in the little containers in front of each prize and then enjoyed some dessert. Finally, the prizes were raffled off. I won one of the men's baskets. Hubby won the designer dress! The dress is orange. It looks like something an actress would wear to the Oscar ceremony. It is amazing-slinky is the word that best describes it--or maybe sizzling. The way it is constructed makes it drape so beautifully--despite the fact that it doesn't have any back to it.

It was really sweet of hubby to win the dress for me, but I don't know that I will be invited to any occasion worthy of such an outfit. Although I could hope that someone would make a movie out of one of my books and then I could actually wear the dress to the Oscars.

I can always dream.