Monday, December 31, 2012

Ruby Tuesday ~ Season of giving

I recently wrote a story about our local Salvation Army's Christmas distribution of food and gifts to the needy.

These figurines garbed in old-fashioned Salvation Army uniforms that were on a table in the sanctuary caught my eye while I was there.
I imagine they're singing Christmas carols and ringing the bell to get folks to put a donation in the red Christmas kettle.


One of my New Year's resolutions is to participate in Ruby Tuesday as I once did! So here I am. 

Join in the fun and find photos featuring a little or a lot of the color red at RubyTuesday2.  

I wish a Happy and Healthy 2013 to all my blog friends! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Birthday was a snow day, but that's OK

It's always good to warm up before you blow out your candles. Cameron caught me in mid-warmup.

We almost did a do-over, but it is what it is.

Cameron and Ralph made us a delicious birthday dinner. We appreciate all their planning and hard work!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

On birthdays and new beginnings

Since today is my birthday (shared with beautiful daughter Allegra) I thought I'd re-post what I posted on my newspaper blog.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A new year ahead brings hope for us all

As 2012 comes to a close and I celebrate another birthday in a few short days I'm really not feeling nostalgic about the passage of time.

On the contrary. I'm looking forward to 2013 and a new start.

Soon I'll be marking my second anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with the disease in February 2011.

The past two years have been an educational experience, to say the least.
From hearing my doctor give me the news of my diagnosis on Feb. 11, to two surgeries, to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, to losing my hair, I've learned a lot.

One thing I learned is that keeping oneself healthy is a full-time job. Appointments abound!  

I've also learned to appreciate the little things in life more than ever before.

Soon after I was diagnosed I joined a support group.
I'm part of the Circle of Friends, which is based at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby. The ladies certainly live up to the group's name. They are friendly! I've never been in a support group before. New members are always welcome. 

I consider myself a private person but a year ago I wrote a revealing (for me) story about the American Cancer Society's "Look Good...Feel Better" session I attended at Griffin Hospital.

And I've participated in three fund-raising walks - two sponsored by Griffin and one coordinated this October by a dedicated Naugatuck mother of four whose own mother is a cancer survivor. The walks benefited the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital.

This year I formed a team. It was a lot of fun.

I'm looking forward to getting an even bigger team together next October. New members are always welcome. {grin}

This fall Griffin Hospital launched a survivorship program and I've been taking advantage of what the program offers. Last week I was one of only three patients who took part in a helpful workshop run by licensed clinical social worker Donna Hayes.

My takeaway from that session was I need to make time for moi, something with which many women seem to have trouble.
Women of a certain generation (myself included) have been raised to take care of everyone, which leaves little time or energy for much else.

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, getting physical rehab, socializing, participating in fund-raising activities, and writing about all of the above. It's all a part of kicking cancer to the curb.

If you have gone through a bout with cancer as millions of us have you know whereof I speak.

And so...what about those New Year's Resolutions?

I haven't made a list yet, but mostly likely I'll jot a few resolutions down on a piece of paper.

And what about you?

Shadow Shot Sunday

Since we are expecting snow to fall later today I thought I'd re-post an oldie but goodie I captured a few winters ago.

I love gnomes! It says Gnome for the Holidays on the bottom of the ornament.

I also love snow people!

Wishing a Happy New Year 2013 to all ~ May this year be your best ever.

Join the shadowy fun and see shadows from across the globe at Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ on the Green

This is part of the Green in Derby, Ct.
I took this on Thursday, a beautiful sunny day, as I stood in front of the stately Sterling Opera House on Elizabeth Street.

Immanuel-St. James Episcopal Church, built in 1843, is one of three historic churches that surround the Green. The other two are the Methodist Church, and the Second Congregational Church.
They are all beautiful in their own ways. 

Join the fun and see lots of shadows captured around the world at Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

P.S. Here's a poem that popped out of my keyboard this morning. Let's just say it's a true story.

The tree isn't up.
The gifts aren't bought.

Going shopping today?
I'm giving it a thought.

The cards they're not sent.
Don't know where the time went.

But I have time today 

for what needs to be.

To the stores I will go

And won't think 'poor me'
As I join the crowd
No whining allowed!

For it's the Yuletide season 

And that's the reason
I'm sending this today.
And may Santa to your house find his way! 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vigil honors victims of unspeakable tragedy

Re-posting this ~ I wrote it Monday for my View from the Valley blog for the New Haven Register. 

Last night I covered the Valley's candlelight vigil in memory of those lost in the school slayings in Sandy Hook.
It was held on the Derby Green, and I was struck by the large number of people - hundreds - who attended.

Ansonia Mayor James Della Volpe said, "It's a tremendous turnout for a night like this. People are looking for an outlet," he said, and want to be with others in the community.

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile commented, "It's great to see such a big crowd here. It shows how big our hearts are in our small community of Derby."

People huddled under umbrellas waiting for the vigil to start. The festive Christmas lights seemed out of place at first, but I soon saw them as symbolizing hope for a brighter future for our community and our nation.

At the start of the service, Pablo Barriga, campus facilitator, New Life Community Church in Derby, told the crowd, "We have seen the devil at his worst. Let us now believe we shall see God at His best."  

Norwich resident Swaranghit Singh holds a sign showing support of the victims of Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. About 50 members of the Sikh community attended the vigil Sunday night.

Singh said the shootings reminded him of the August slayings of six Sikhs at a temple in Wisconsin. He said the Sikh community will hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Friday at its temple, Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar, 1610 West St., Southington.

 Angela Descheen, 3, of Derby, shows us there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday

This week daughter Allegra and I decided to be "edgy" and go out for ice cream on a cold December afternoon. It was indeed a good idea.

I wrote a blog post about our visit to the farm. Please stop by and give me a page view.

Thanking you in advance!

~ ~ ~

Join the fun and see lots more shadowy photos from around the world at Shadow Shot Sunday 2.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cameron is a grad-uit

... even though he still has classes and final exams ahead in the next two weeks.

Sunday's commencement ceremony at the University of Hartford made me and Ralph proud. Our son is a graduate and ready to move on to a career working in the computer science field. 
We were pretty far back in the audience. I wish I had a telephoto lens and a better camera, but I did catch Cam shaking hands with one of the Deans or somebody important!

He will get his diploma in the mail next month.

 Allegra is proud of her "little brother." 

And here are the three of us after the ceremony.

Ralph and I have already shared photos on Facebook, but I wanted to write a short blog post as well to let Cameron know how proud we all are of him. ;-)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Birthday wishes and a challenge

On Thanksgiving I had a piece of pumpkin pie; on Friday it was apple pie ... but on Saturday we ate cake!

Had to post this photo so I could say Happy 22nd Birthday to our Cameron!

I was thinking of giving up all things sweet until Christmas Eve. Who's with me?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ Holidays are here

Yesterday I visited the Osborne Homestead Museum in Derby, Ct. to write a story for the newspaper. 

It was the lifelong home of businesswoman and philanthropist Frances Osborne Kellogg.

Each year area garden clubs do a wonderful job decorating the 19th-century house for the holidays. The house opened for the season Friday.
It's my own tradition to go there each year the day after Thanksgiving and check out the decor.

This year's theme is "Holiday in Bloom." 

I didn't have my camera with me but I managed to get some photos off of a video I recorded.

In the living room one club set up a retro display. It included a "Charlie Brown tree" and a tabletop tree made from white toothpicks, as well as this tinsel tree. Remember them? I do.

In the background is a display of illuminated ceramic trees placed on the piano.

Here's a better shot of the ceramic ones.

This beautiful fireplace with its decorated mantel is across the living room from the piano.


The formal dining room decked out in greens and golds.

Ralph saw shadows in these photos and urged me to use them here. So I did.

See lots more shadows from around the world at Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors ~ Sterling

Once again I took a photo of the historic Sterling Opera House in Derby, Ct. I love this building!

Last month I posted a photo of the cupola of the stately structure for Whimsical Windows, but this is the first time I've taken a photo from behind  the opera house.
The building was constructed in 1889, and the cupola was replaced in February, 2011.
I had a medical appointment the morning that the cupola was raised up onto the building and missed the ceremony and the photo op!

A Whimsical Windows post I wrote on the opera house in July can be read here.

Join in the fun and see other interesting architectural details from around the globe at Toby's I Wish I Were a Photographer blog.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ getting in the spirit

I used this photo on my blog for work yesterday to promote a story that has not been published yet. I covered a talk at the library and got this photo off the video I shot.

This is Dan Rivera of Seymour, Ct., founder of Connecticut Old School Paranormal. He is talking about an investigation he and his team members conducted at the same century-old library where he is giving the presentation.
Did they experience ghostly happenings there? Possibly ...

~ ~ ~

Join in the fun and view shadowy photos from around the globe at Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wow, another week gone by

A brief recap of last weekend, 'cuz I'm succinct 

Where goes the time? I cannot keep up with anything any more. Between work and going for rehab for my somewhat swollen left arm the days are flying by.
I have lymphedema, but I'd say it's not a severe case of it. The swelling has been coming and going for the past year. The treatment feels sooo good.

Daughter Allegra and I did find time to have fun Sunday. We met up with Linda, her daughter Amanda, Linda's friend, Paula, and The Visitor from England, Claire.
Linda has already written about our get-together; I didn't even try to post before she did. ;-)

We traipsed over to Norwich where Linda lives then to Canterbury to get Paula, and headed in two cars to Mrs. Bridges' Pantry in South Woodstock, Ct.

The place was packed. It turns out it was featured on a local news broadcast earlier in the week.

That brought a lot of people to the tea room. The owner said Saturday was even busier.
We enjoyed a proper British tea time with scones, soup, sandwiches, and the like. Claire had beans on toast. 

Linda and Amanda pose

But I can't show you a photo of Claire. She doesn't let people take them, which is too bad. She is a lovely woman with a great smile.
And she's really young. I felt old. Oh well. Age is just a number, right?

On Saturday Allegra volunteered to be a docent at an open-hearth cooking demonstration at the David Humphreys House in our town.
I wrote the post below for my View from the Valley newspaper blog:

Derby Historical Society docents and junior docents demonstrated cooking the Colonial way Saturday at the David Humphreys House in Ansonia.

Junior docent Jacob Hokanson, 13, of Ansonia, above, works hard at whipping cream to serve with homemade pumpkin pie.
The menu also featured roast chicken, potatoes, a mix of carrots, turnips, and parsnips, cranberry sauce, Johnny cakes and freshly-churned butter. The food was traditional Thanksgiving dinner fare.

Jacob said he has been a junior docent for the past three years.
Below is a photo of our docent daughter, Allegra, gazing at the fire in the parlor after we finished our meal.

She loves the Humphreys House, as do I. She gave several tours of the house as others prepared the meal.

My mother and I enjoyed ourselves and the food we sampled! And it was good to see so many young people involved as junior docents. 


Here junior docents Lauren Fadiman, left, and Quentin Salgado, both 13 and from Shelton, wave to passing motorists Saturday in front of the David Humphreys House, 37 Elm St., Ansonia. 

That's about all I've got right now. I managed to mention some stuff about lymphedema, so I can say this is another of an occasional series on my breast cancer journey.   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 7 storm ~ and so it begins

Thursday morning in our backyard.
Oh look! Icicles. How fun.

Everyone is posting snow photos on Facebook this morning...I thought I'd be different and post mine here.
Wednesday evening at our house.

 I have more, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

That 4-letter word that begins with S - it's back

It's not *flurrying* as I had's snowing.

I really don't want to listen to the forecast. I want to hide somewhere in the blogosphere but I have too much stuff to do. Boo hoo.

Other than that, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween was hectic, but fun

We had 142 Trick-or-Treaters! Whew! 
They were cute, though. And polite. They said thank you and many of them even said Happy Halloween.

On Friday the school where Allegra works as a tutor held its belated Halloween celebration, since the storm forced schools to be closed through Wednesday.

School marm

The costume theme for the staff was the 1950s. Allegra found this skirt and blouse at a thrift shop and went as a school marm.
The art teacher attached a white poodle to her skirt, to make a "poodle skirt." It worked!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ bloomin'

Christmas in November

About the only good thing that happened during Hurricane turned Superstorm Sandy earlier this week was that a Christmas cactus a friend gave me last summer started to bloom.

Here's a photo from this morning. I daresay she has outgrown her pot. Must take care of that soon!

See lots more shadowy photos from across the globe at Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Re-post: Fund-raising walk a success

*I posted this yesterday on my View from the Valley blog for the New Haven Register.

Naugatuck resident turns her dream into a reality

Jamie DeCicco accomplished her goal, and then some.
The Naugatuck mother of four who organized Saturday's breast-cancer walk at Linden Park in Naugatuck raised almost $2,000.
She told me was thrilled with the turnout, and plans to organize another walk next October to support The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital in Derby.
As a breast cancer survivor and patient at The Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness I'd like to sincerely thank DeCicco for her hard work and dedication, and congratulate her on her successful event.
My daughter Allegra and I walked the track and husband Ralph was there to cheer us on. Even
though the pre-Sandy skies were overcast, the foliage along the Naugatuck River was pretty.

These girls, all dressed in pink, were ready to sell baked goods, pink wristbands, and rings. Pictured from left are DeCicco's daughter, Carmen, 10, her niece, Naomi, 9, and Emily Fanzutti, 16, daughter of Mary Fanzutti, a breast cancer survivor.

Griffin Hospital Community Outreach representative and Valley Parish Nurse Maggie Sessa provided participants with information about breast cancer awareness and prevention, as well as info on other health-related topics.

Participants walk the track along the river amidst the foliage at Linden Park in Naugatuck.

 The mighty Naugatuck River.

Kids enjoyed bouncing around, thanks to Bob Allen, owner of B Bounce ‘N, LLC in Naugatuck, who donated use of a bounce house for the event.

 Daughter Allegra strolls along.

 Our cheerleader, Ralph.

And of course there were beautiful cupcakes for sale, baked and decorated by one of DeCicco's relatives. I got there too late to take a photo of the full amount. They looked delicious!

Congrats again to DeCicco and her husband, Sebastian, for making this a fun event.

I'm looking forward to next October's walk, when the Valley Goes Pink once again.