On March 6th, I will be doing a fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury,  a very worthy and remarkable organization with which I am quite proud to be associated. I am told the event is from 1:30 to 4:00, but there are other things taking place and I’m not sure what time my “presentation” will be. I’m hoping I’m not meant to be presenting myself for 3 and 1/2 hours.   But I know there are other things taking place at the event and will let you know more as I know.  It really is a great organization. For more information, please look here.

Brewers vs. Steelers

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A warning to fellow obsessive/compulsive personality types: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT go on Ancestry.com.  Don’t even have a little peek.  If you do, it’s likely that you’ll end up like me – bleary-eyed, unwashed, reeking of coffee (and worse) and muscles completely atrophied from day after  15-hour-long day in front of the computer.

Oh, what I have learned about my family and our country, and I’ve barely begun to strip away the leaves of the Lembeck/Rauschmeier/Knickerbocker family tree.

Lackawanna Here I Come

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Lackawanna County Courthouse, PA

I’m back. I have surfaced again from the sometimes dark, but constantly enthralling journey into my family’s origins on Ancestry.com.  Yesterday I followed my mother’s Knickerbocker clan all the way back to the Netherlands in the 1500s, and I could have kept going but I was exhausted.  But there were some fun facts along the way.  My mother’s great grandfather was named Andrew Jackson Knickerbocker because he was born during Andrew Jackson’s term as president.   He ended up fighting in the Civil War for the Union army, received some citations and lived until 1906!  I have also been researching the brewery and saloon industries in pre-prohibition New York and New Jersey, on my father’s side and will definitely write, if not a book, a long piece about that time in our history.  It’s not just the story of a poor uneducated German man who became a multi-millionaire when he reached America, but there’s all sorts of intrigue with pre-prohibition saloon life, the mob, new money marrying into an old American family, etc.

Finding Lonie

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I haven’t posted in the past few days, not because I’ve been away from my computer, but rather, because I have very nearly disappeared into the deepest, darkest recesses of the World Wide Web.  I decided, three days ago, that I would finally go on Ancestry.com to research my ancestors.  I have wanted to do this for some time.  I have some questions about my family’s origins, as we all do.  I was prompted to begin the search, in part, by a question I have always had about my mother’s side of the family. But more on that later.  First I need to brag about my great, great grandfather, Henry Lembeck.

My latest IN HOUSE Radio interview has aired and I am very excited to announce that this week, I had the wonderful pleasure of interviewing author Alice Hoffman.  We talked about her new book, The Red Garden and also about her career as a critically acclaimed and very prolific writer.

And, of course, we talked about her house.

I’m a huge fan of Alice’s work and in recent years have come to know her personally as well, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire this author.  I’ve just started The Red Garden and I can’t put it down.  It’s a series of related short stories set in New England…well, I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s really a great read.

Winter Storm Denis

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The Golden Hour

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The Golden Hour, Bermuda, 2010

Before I took my EMT training course, I had only heard the term “golden hour” as it’s used in filmmaking. In cinematography and photography, the “golden hour” is the first hour after dawn or the last hour before dusk when the light becomes very fine. It has to do with the sun being so low on the horizon and because it’s indirect, it casts long shadows and there is some kind of filtering effect that adds colorful qualities and tinted hues. The evening “golden hour” often culminates in a beautiful sunset, but even when it doesn’t, there is usually a very rare atmosphere that makes everything look a little better. Filmmakers will spend hours, sometimes days preparing cameras, equipment and actors for a scene that calls for the “golden hour.” I’ve always loved the term, it’s beautiful to me, there’s something magical about it. Denis and I will sometimes just say it, if we’re on the beach at the right moment or the light is hitting a building in an old city, late in the day, “It’s the golden hour.”

The Good Drs. Do Little

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My horses are nice
They really are neat
Now their buckets are ice
Snow covers their feet.

I wish they would leave
For a nice winter stay
Perhaps in Belize
Or even Bombay.

Why must they have thirst,
Such endless desire?
The barn pipes have burst
The hay truck lacks tires.

I must haul the water
from house up to horse.
It sloshes and spills,
But there’s no other course.

Their meat is worth something,
I curse, as I stride,
The water has now splashed
All over my side.

A Yankee Doodle Dandy

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This morning I was driving past a field, stopped, stuck my phone out the window and ended up with the photo above. I know that the snow has been difficult for many. I know the kids haven’t been in school much, which will be sad for them when they have to make up the days in the summer, but it’s really been a bright and beautiful winter with all the snow.

Now, as promised, my houseguest story.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m loving our book club selection, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  If you think you don’t need to bother with this book because you’ve seen vampire movies or read Anne Rice or those Twilight vampire books, you’re really missing out.  This is such a horrifically magnificent novel, so brilliantly crafted, I just can’t believe I haven’t read it until now.