Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Three Years...

It still doesn't seem possible.
How I wish the phone would ring and I could hear your laugh again.
What I would give for just one more hug.
I love you Karen…
Thank you for everything...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

From The Hills of Western Worcester County

This is the path I had to shovel from our back porch and barn, in order to get to the far side of the kitchen wing to rake that roof.
The top of the snow on the path is up to my hip.
But I should note that I did not shovel all the way down to the ground!
The snow high on the barn siding is what has been blown there by the wind.

What a winter!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I grew up in a household with a father, mother, two sisters and an occasional grandparent. Back when more of us were still alive, we often sat around the table after a meal and told stories. So help me Hannah, to listen to us tell the tales, none of us lived in the same house or shared the same experiences. Frequently, it was the conversational equivalent of Rorschach tests crossed with Rashomon. And those stories morphed over time. The funniest bits got played up for laughs; the sad ones; the painful ones, well, if we were generous, we learned to edit and ease up on those.

So I'm going on the record to support Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor, of NBC Nightly News. I don’t know how or why his story of his time in Iraq evolved. There are vast amounts of digital ink being spilled on Mr. Williams’ chronology; not nearly as much on the science of memory; and far too much umbrage, snark and glee for such a serious subject. Mr. Williams has acknowledged what he did. He has apologized. And he is temporarily off the air.

I understand this is journalism. I understand there are ethical standards. I also understand Mr. Williams has sustained a crushing blow to his credibility and his career.

Back in 1995 Jay Leno asked Hugh Grant: “What the hell were you thinking?”
Hugh Grant eventually replied: “I did a bad thing, and there you have it.”

Yeah, Hugh Grant is an actor. Brian Williams is a journalist. I get that.

I also know I am very grateful no television crew was ever in my home rolling tape as my family and I told our stories; grateful no internet existed to pounce upon any of our missteps, misspoken, misremembered moments, nor the embellished tales we told.

My gut says Mr. Williams is a smart, well intentioned human being who screwed up.
I hope he rides out this media tumult and emerges tarnished, battered, but unbroken.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Our View

This was the view down our road at the end of the last snowstorm.
Or was it the snowstorm before that…?
Yes, this is really being a winter to remember - even if the details are already beginning to blur!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Milk, Bread & Eggs

There was a cute article in the Washington Post: Milk and Bread Are Actually Pretty Terrible Survival Foods.

We all joke about the French Toast Alert System and rushing to the store before storms, stripping the shelves bare. The Washington Post article takes all that on and wonders why we do it.

I believe a big reason we do what we do goes back decades.
What three staples used to be delivered to homes because they were perishable and we ran out of them?
Yup. Milk, Bread & Eggs...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thank You Josh!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Two Words

In the past few weeks I have read a lot of advice about how to make changes in the New Year: how to keep a resolution; why you should never make a resolution; how to shed excess pounds and excess baggage; how to cleanse your body of toxins; how to bid farewell to toxic people.

Lots of advice is available to us; much of it good.

My two cents?

Two words:

Choose Joy.

I don’t mean hedonism nor selfishness.
We still must work for peace and justice - not to mention food on the table and a roof over our heads.

I am talking about an internal shift.
An attitude of gratitude? Yes.
The Golden Rule? Yes.
Generosity? Yes.
Engaging with the world well intentioned, with kindness and respect? Yes.

But in addition to those; even more than those, I urge you to choose joy.

This, from David Buskin and Robin Batteau, is the “Choose Joy” theme song. ;o)

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy - and Joyous New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

With Honor

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Their Music Is A Blessing

It was five years ago this month that Chuck and I first visited The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was a wonderful, powerful and influential experience for us. (I wrote about it here.) Right after that first visit I went in search of Yiddish music. That was how I discovered and fell in love with The Barry Sisters.

Born in the 1920s in the Bronx, New York, Clara and Minnie Bagelman began performing as children. They eventually took the stage names Claire and Merna Barry. First generation Jewish girls of Ashkenazi descent, they sang in Yiddish, Hebrew, English and other languages. They became international stars known as The Barry Sisters. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show sixteen times, so chances are good I saw them more than once. But unfortunately my strongest memories of that show are mostly of The Beatles, Topo Gigio and various comedians.

Claire and Merna have powerful, beautiful voices. Their singing can be haunting, moving, exhilarating and charming. Yes, some of the arrangements are certainly of an era and to some, may feel a little dated; a little campy; a little schmaltzy. But I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Mottola, Perry Como, Doris Day, Tony Bennett, Patti Page - - - you get the idea! So when I first heard The Barry Sisters, I was an immediate fan.

The photo above is one of my favorites. It was used on their album “Their Greatest Yiddish Hits”. That was the album that drew me in. You can still find many reissued and compilation albums for The Barry Sisters on Amazon and elsewhere.

Sadly, Merna died in 1976. She was only 51 years of age.
Her sister Claire died last Monday. She was 94.
Zichrona liveracha ~ May their memories be a blessing.

The Jewish Daily Forward published a nice write-up about Claire’s passing.

Here is Claire’s more comprehensive obituary from the Music section of The New York Times.

And here is Merna’s 1976 obituary, also from The New York Times.

Aleha hashalom ~ Peace be upon them

This is one of my favorite songs by The Barry Sisters...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bigger Than Ferguson

Tonight's protests are not just about Mike Brown, Darren Wilson, the grand jury, Robert McCulloch and Ferguson, Missouri.
The roots of this distress are old; they run deep and wide.

I feel the echoes of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the protests against the Vietnam War.

I also feel the rumblings of the more recent Citizens United and Voting Rights Act decisions in the Supreme Court.

As Michael Brown's parents wrote: "We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."

May these protests be peaceful.

May good come from these actions.

With the internet there is the opportunity to communicate and organize. The Ferguson National Response Network is just one example.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

May he always be an inspiration; may he always spur us to action.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With Honor & Humble Gratitude

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

“On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Presidential Proclamation

Honoring all who served

Honoring all who were wounded 

Honoring all who gave their lives

You stood in our stead
You stood for our country, for our constitution

You stood for our freedom, for our liberty

You have our gratitude, our respect, our memory

We pledge our service, our advocacy, our work for peace…

Dad ~ 1942

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day! What To Wear...

We can wear an evening gown or PJs with Bunny Slippers! Voting is what matters!

Live your values.
Love your country.