third grade!

31 08 2007

Emma reads the listYesterday, Emma’s elementary school posted the classroom/teacher assignments for the entire school. It has become a ritual for Emma & me to visit the school with a pad & pencil – writing down her entire class’ names, teacher and room number. Emma writes her class listIt has been a long & hot summer – often too hot to do any outdoor activities for very long, so school’s opening next Tuesday is a very welcome event. Today was the official Open House, and Emma met her new teacher this morning. Emma’s psyched & ready!


carrot – egg – coffee / a life lesson from the kitchen

22 08 2007

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee…You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

carrotsHer mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

eggsIn about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

coffee beansFinally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water , they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

latte artMay you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

*anonymous author

birthday baseball bash

19 08 2007

mets-nats2I turned 49 a few days ago. Long-time great friend (college roommate in the early 80’s) Laurent Levy shocked me by scoring field-level seats at RFK Stadium for a game between the Washington Nationals and my beloved New York Mets. We were directly behind home plate & had an unbelievable vantage point to all the action.

presidential raceAbraham Lincoln inched out George Washington in the “Presidential Race” that night, which was fitting. After all, it was “Abraham Lincoln Bobble Head Night”lincoln bobblehead

Thanks, Laurent.
I will never forget this great gift!


a new angel

12 08 2007


Our family, community & world lost a precious member yesterday. Nadine Curry, better known as “Dee” watched over our street for years, and provided love, comfort & inspiration to all she touched – and she touched so many. Her kindness, warmth, and (most of all) her laughter will stay with us even though she has left us physically.

This is Emma’s first personal loss, and I feel we were able to explain this event in a mature, but non-confusing manner. She was a princess through this, and knows her “Aunt Dee” is in a warm & safe place where she will no longer be sick.

We miss you, Dee.

the original roxy oboist

9 08 2007

Brenner at Roxy 1927In 1927, Engelbert Brenner (legendary English horn player from the New York Philharmonic) was a member of the Roxy Theater Symphony in New York. The photo is of a 23 year old Brenner on the roof of the Roxy at the theater’s grand opening.

Often cited as the most impressive movie palace ever built, the Roxy was called “The Cathedral of the Motion Picture” by its creator and namesake, Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel. Roxy was arguably the greatest showmen of his time and he built a theater that has seemingly outlasted his own legend.

Roxy PostcardWith its 5,920 seats and multi-tiered balconies, the Roxy was the showplace of New York City and of the nation. Erected in 1927 and designed by architect W.W. Ahlschlager of Chicago (who also designed New York’s Beacon Theatre), its rather modest entrance at the Taft Hotel disguised one of the most cavernous lobbies ever built and a magnificent auditorium that has lived on in its patrons’ imagination. Whatever adjectives can be used for the Roxy, they all fail to signify the theater’s achievement.

Sadly, the decline in attendance that had begun in the 1950’s spilled over into the early 60’s and the Roxy, despite numerous protests, was razed in 1961. In its place sits a non-descript and unremarkable office building. The neighboring Taft Hotel survives to this day and is the only evidence that this epic structure was ever here. A TGI Friday’s occupies its original entrance.


basket case

6 08 2007

basket kidsWe’ve all spent gobs of money on toys and games for our kids. A pair of Heelys will set you back at least $60. A Thomas the Tank Engine wooden railway set can go into the hundreds – and there’s no guarantee that your kids will play with them for more than an hour!

Contentment and fun can come from unexpected places sometimes. Case in point:

Emma and Peter both climbed into an empty ($2.29) laundry basket this afternoon and giggled away for an hour! Pay no attention to the train table in the background – it’s not much fun, really.