The Things He Handed Down

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Seventy years ago today my grandfather and tens of thousands of other soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.

My grandfather, Ray, survived Omaha Beach, was honorably discharged from the Army, then came home, married my grandmother, and raised his family. His daughters grew up, married and had children of their own – five granddaughters. Ray believed in duty and hard work. He believed in taking and owning responsibility for his decisions, his life, and that’s what he taught his children. Read more

Vanilla Simple Syrup

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I am a vanilla fiend.  It’s my favorite flavor of ice cream and I add vanilla syrup to coffee and tea with disturbing regularity.  Apparently, the fact that vanilla is my favorite ice cream flavor means that I am a “colorful, dramatic risk taker who relies more on intuition than logic; emotionally expressive and idealistic, [I] tend to set high goals for [myself], and push [myself] to meet and exceed them.”  Apparently I also enjoy close family relationships, am gregarious and live a hectic life, as well as being easily suggestible, expressive, and idealistic, and a private person. Read more

When I Ruled the World (U.B.C. – Day 28)

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Cleaning my office, aka the laundry room over our garage, recently, I found a batch of photographs from my first trip overseas. A friend from high school had moved to Paris after college and routinely sent me postcards and letters regaling me with his adventures living the life of an expat. Everything sounded so glamorous, and I knew I just had to get my foot in the door so that I, too, could become cosmopolitan and mysterious, just as he had. Read more

Pasta alla Norcina alla Madness of Joy (U.B.C. – Day 27)

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Traditional pasta alla norcina is a dish that combines flavorful pork sausage in a light cream sauce. I loved this type of a dish as a child, however, since making the decision to keep a vegetarian diet, I’ve been trying to rework many of my old favorites. Because a large number of standbys are so dependent on meat, I’ve ended up creating entirely new recipes, and the one below is no different. Read more

Rainy Day Fun (U.B.C. – Day 26)

When The Boy was in Pre-K last year, one of the parental duties was making and providing the class with modeling materials, one of which is known as Flubba.  You may recall the Robin Williams movie from 1997, Flubber, in which he plays an absent-minded professor who discovers the super-bouncy rubber-like polymer.  That’s exactly what Flubba is, and the kids love it. Read more

The People’s River and the Gift of Time (U.B.C. – Day 23)

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The Charles River snakes through the southern part of my town, approximately three-quarters of a mile from my front door. On the western side of the bridge is a small waterfall, the size of which belies the fury of the water tumbling over. One the eastern side is a calm in which an observer can lose themselves watching the pattern of the current. Read more

National Jelly Bean Day (U.B.C. – Day 22)

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Today is National Jelly Bean Day (NJBD).  Who knew there was such a thing?!  According to the National Confectioners Association, there are a plethora of fun candy holidays throughout the year, including one I’m quite sad to have missed back on January 8th:  National English Toffee Day. Read more

Castle Island (U.B.C. – Day 21)

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Today was a gorgeous day here in eastern Massachusetts, sunny and although the temperature reached the high 60s by late afternoon, for the start and running of most of the marathon, it was in the mid-50s to low 60s; perfect running weather for the Boston Marathon.

Because the majority of roads around us close at 8:30 am and stay that way until late afternoon, I decided to get out of dodge and scheduled a playdate with The Boy and a friend of his from nursery school whose mother just happens to be a great friend of mine, as well. We decided to go biking with the boys at Castle Island in South Boston. Read more