Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Friday, January 29, 2010

In the Market?

Belcourt Castle in Newport, Rhode Island is up for sale! The last time it was available, according to Wikipedia, was 1956. Back then, the property was purchased by the Tinney family for $25,000. The asking price this time around: $7,200,000. For a video tour of the home, check out this YouTube video (see below). For more on the history of the property, which is quite a tale, peruse “Newport History for Sale” by Eric Moskowitz, an article that ran in the Boston Globe last June (2009) or visit Belcourt's History page.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Music That Soothes My Soul

In weeks when the world seems to be out of control and marred by horrendous tragedy (i.e., Haiti), I try to claim some peace by listening to this lovely composition by Gabriel Fauré: the Cantique de Jean Racine. Originally in French, the lyrics, translated into English, are as follows:
Word, equal to the Most High, our only hope,
Eternal day of the earth and the Heavens;
From the peaceful night we break the silence,
Divine Savior, cast your eyes upon us!

Spread upon us the fire of your powerful grace
May all hell flee at the sound of your voice;
Disperse the sleep from a languishing soul,
Which has driven it to forget your laws!

Oh Christ, be favorable to this faithful people
Now gathered to bless you.
Receive the songs it offers to your immortal glory,
And may it return filled with your gifts!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another New Tool

One of my goals for 2010, like so many other adults, is to lose weight. Working toward that goal is always a challenge but, once in a great while, a gadget comes along that (when used and used properly) can make the weight loss journey much more effective. I think I may have discovered that gadget: the Tanita BC-533 InnerScan Body Composition Monitor. It slices; it dices; it melts away the pounds. Well, not really. I still need to do the work, but now I have a ton of data at my disposal to tailor a fitness and diet routine: weight, body fat %, body water %, muscle mass, physique rating, daily caloric intake, metabolic age, bone mass, and visceral fat rating. So far, after one reading, I know that my old scale was registering five pounds too light (bummer!); I know that my visceral fat is not a problem (thank goodness); and I know that my metabolic age is very close to my chronological age (hurrah). As for the rest of the numbers...well, I am not sharing that information. Maybe in the future when I look like a Victoria's Secret model and I weigh as little as I did when I got married (ha!). If you need a new gadget to help your weight loss effort, check out this and other fitness products at

* This is my personal recommendation/endorsement. I am not receiving any benefits, financial or otherwise, from the Tanita company.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Rewarding Concert Season

This past Friday (1/8/2010) marked the end of the 2009 Shoreline Ringers Christmas concert season…and what a season it was. It began with a visit to Carnegie Hall as part of “Christmas in the City” with the Continuo Arts Foundation. It continued with an engagement at the Somers Congregational Church in Somers, CT. That was followed by an appearance in the WFSB Channel 3Joy for the Kids” benefit concert at the Hartford Stage, during which my daughter (and the group, of course) were privileged to meet Scot Haney, the host of show. Several more concerts in Madison, Norwich, Noank, and Old Saybrook called for some travel and bell loading in the snow, efforts that were well worth the trouble as the audiences were so appreciative of and curious about the bells and the art of ringing. In case you missed any of the presentations, I offer this video from Embellishment, a male-female bell duo who rang with Shoreline Ringers at both Carnegie Hall and Madison, CT.

To see the ringers at rehearsal, click here and enjoy. I hope you all had a very merry holiday season.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My New Health Tool

As part of my 2010 "Get Light, Get Fit, Get Healthy!" goals, I plan to work on stabilizing and/or improving my chronic sinusitis. I have battled this condition in some way or another for years, sometimes developing sinus infections that required an MRI for diagnosis and high-powered antibiotics for treatment. At least a decade ago, I began irrigating my sinuses with saline and a dosing syringe but, lately, that just wasn't doing the job. When the possibility of asthma as a result of the chronic sinusitis presented itself, I looked for something more effective. My solution: the SinuPulse Elite. This lovely little apparatus uses patented technology to deliver a pulsating stream of water (or mist) into your sinuses to clean and/or moisturize them. To learn more about the machine, visit Achoo Allergy, or watch the video posted below.

* This is my personal recommendation/endorsement. I am not receiving any benefits, financial or otherwise, from the manufacturers of the SinuPulse Elite.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Is This Our Future?

I don't usually like to post articles like this, but the video posted below saddened me and made me think about what could happen if we, as citizens, don't work to positively impact the current state of our economy and our government. I was saddened by this video for several reasons:

1) On a recent trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City, my husband and I met a couple from Detroit. We didn't really speak to them. We were merely on the same historical tour. Afterwards, we saw them in Starbucks and exchanged greetings. When they left the coffee shop, the wife waved goodbye. It was quite touching to be in a city of millions for one day, for the first time in my life, and encounter a stranger more than once in the same day. It saddens me to think that someone whose life intersected mine for just a moment lives daily in the reality that is Detroit.

2) Given my educational background in economics and political science, and having come of age as a fan of Democratic initiatives like the Model Cities program, it worries me that the current administration (as well as several previous ones) is making domestic and fiscal policy mistakes that could create more cities in crisis, like Detroit.

3) Personally, I cannot imagine what skills I would need to learn or develop in order to survive in an environment like the Detroit depicted in this video. I know I certainly do not have those skills now and it weighs on me that, at my age, I may not have time to learn what I need to know, or to teach my daughter the skills she may need to know.

Rest assured, I don’t ponder this perspective on a daily basis; yet, it does occur to me once in a while. So, I ask the question again: “Is this our future?” I pray that it is not.