Tag Archives: family

Best Wishes to Andrea and Joe!


andrea-and-joeIn August, my sister Andrea remarried after several years. She married Joe.  The reason I’m including this in the blog postings is because my blog is about starting over and succeeding to build a happy life, no matter what age you are.  And this is definitely a happy ending story.

My sister used online dating services and met a lot of guys, all ages, some good, some not so good, had some good relationships, some really fun dates, but never met her perfect match.  Fast forward about 7 years and here is her story.  She met Joe because of a cookie monster picture.  He and Cookie were together and it made her laugh.  So she wrote to him, he wrote back, and they decided to meet.  Cue cupid and they were bit by the bug and started dating.  I don’t know all the details; she lives 2 hours away and we don’t see each other a lot, but they were happy dating and next thing you know, they were becoming serious.  Fast forward again, and this past August, they married.  And I was the wedding officiant who married them!  We had a great time at their wedding.  It was small, in a hall in Berkeley Heights, good food, great live music (my sister is friends with a band, Shore Soundz Band), a fun photographer (Allan Reider Studio), lots to drink, and moi, crying as I officiated and pronounced them husband and wife (wife and husband?). All of our family except for one missing niece Allie, was there and we had a blast.  (She is in Seattle in her new architect position-we missed her!) My sister’s son and daughter, Jen and her date Joe and Billy, and Billy’s new fiancée Marissa, my brother Joe and sister-in law Deb and their other daughter Katelyn and her date Justin, and my son Will, plied us all with enough drinks that we got up and danced, even me with my cane!  The dancing went on for hours and no one wanted to leave, a sign of a fun wedding. We met Joe’s family (Are you seeing a lot of Joe’s in this story?),  saw old friends and met new ones, ate and drank, and then left the newlyweds and made our long way home.

So congratulations Andrea and Joe.  Live a long, happy life.  You were blessed to find each other.

My other purpose in writing about this is to tell you that anyone, any age, can find happiness.  It may not be marriage that you seek, but whatever it is, go after it, don’t think you’re too old, and make your life what you want it to be.  If you want to go back to school, do it.  If you want to change jobs, or quit a job if you are able, do it.  If you want to date, go online and try it. Just be careful. Get a pet, join a club.  No clubs?  Go to http://www.meetup.com and find clubs in your area.  Try a hobby like one of those painting groups that seem to be everywhere.  They walk you through painting a picture and you may have talent! Get out of the house and enjoy your life.  Do stupid stuff with a best friend; eat some junk once in a while. Think positive thoughts, think healthy thoughts, don’t just sit and do nothing.  Our time is so fleeting.  Don’t waste it.

My Roanoke, Va. Adventure



VA 6

The view!

Recently, I had an opportunity to travel to Virginia for a few days, traveling with my sister and new brother-in-law. My brother lives in Roanoke, Va. so it’s a long ride through some beautiful country.

The ride down was uneventful other than a few GPS induced side trips and I got to relax in the back seat with my pillow and some books, and had a brief nap. As we got closer, the mountains got higher and the grass greener, our trip taking us past battlefields of long ago, stone houses that have withstood the test of time, and many farms.  Roanoke looks huge to this south Jersey girl, a bustling city surrounded by mountains.  It has a unique downtown filled with quaint shops, historical buildings, museums, and modern facilities of all types. We arrived late Thursday, had a great Italian dinner cooked by my brother, and then early to bed.  Friday, the “girls” went to lunch at the Second Helping Café, sponsored by the Rescue Mission.  They had a diverse menu, very tasty, and great desserts.  We were joined by my sister-in-law’s sister and their mother, a true “southern belle”.  It was so nice to see them again and I consider them family as well. We ate, wandered through the attached gallery and thrift store and then, after parting, went on a car tour of Roanoke.  So many southern homes are built with red brick, some so gorgeous and interesting that I would love to own them all!  We continued on until we ended up at Black Dog Salvage, the site of the popular TV show, “Salvage Dogs”.  If you love old doors and windows, vintage anything, iron work, and repurposed-from-junk furniture, this is the place for you!  OMG!! I could have spent days there.  What beautiful stained glass! And the furniture! Such wonderful creations like a claw foot bathtub love seat, tables made from beautiful old doors, farm equipment turned into lamps….I could go on and on but you get the idea.  It’s definitely worth the trip.  They have a website and FB page if you’re interested.

VA 1

VA 5

So day 2 arrives and we are off to Rockbridge Winery in Raphine, VA, for wine tasting and a picnic, though it’s pretty chilly! My niece will be meeting us there and it’s a beautiful sunny day for this excursion.  We’re piling into the car now so I’ll get back to you later……

VA 2

Its several hours later and we’re pigging out on Chinese food. We had a wonderful day starting at the winery with the tasting and then our picnic. My niece met us there and she and I were in perfect agreement on what tasted good!  We picnicked inside, delicious, and then it was off to Wades Mill where they grind their own flour, which of course we all purchased.  Next stop was Orchard Side Yarn Shop which had some beautiful fibers.  The setting was perfect, alongside a quick-moving stream, blue skies, fields of the brightest green, hills, flowers.  So peaceful.  Violets were blooming, willow branches were waving in the breeze…..ahh.  Serenity.

VA 3

Of course, we all hated to get back to reality but Sunday morning, bright and early, we piled into the car and started home. Again in the back seat, I had my camera out as long as there were mountains to view.  We came home through the Shenandoah Valley, just beautiful.  Looking down into the valley was awe-inspiring and you can just tell that a supreme being had to have created this land.  My pictures just don’t do it justice; you have to see for yourself.

VA 4

The trip totally refreshed me. I slept well, ate good, and got a lot of exercise, something a person with a desk job desperately needs.  It was good for my mental health, most of all.  Getting away from work even for a short time does wonders for me.  And, as I get older I appreciate things in a different way.  My family has grown smaller with the loss of my parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents.  There aren’t many of us left but now our future is in our children, and their children.  It was so good to see my brother, sis-in-law, and niece.  And to spend time with my sister and new brother-in-law, who drove us down and stopped at the bathroom as many times as we needed!  And drove good enough that I could close my eyes for a nap!  LOL.  So thank you to my family!

I’ll close with love to my family. Already looking forward to Christmas when we can all get together again.

Much love, Your Sister,



More Beach Memories!


As I’ve mentioned, I love the beach!  As a kid, we always vacationed there, at Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Bay Head, Beach Haven West, and I have great memories of family times.

Mom, Dad, and Me!

Mom, Dad, and Me!

My dad was a teacher so he was off in the summer, which meant that he always got a summer job.  When we were very young, my parents would rent a house at the shore for 2 weeks and he would come down on the weekends while we would spend our two weeks on the beach.  My mom was a bathing beauty in her day and she loved the beach as much as we did.  I still remember the scent of Sea and Ski Suntan Lotion and can picture the old beach blanket we would play, eat, and nap on.  We’d go for the whole day, lugging all the beach stuff as we walked, pushing my brother in the stroller.  It was great.

Beach fun!

Beach fun!

One summer we rented a house with my aunt and cousins and my uncle and dad did the weekend commuting.  We, of course, all went to the beach.  There was always a pot of gravy on the stove and my aunt would feed anyone and everyone who stopped in.  Aunt Rose.  She would pay me a dollar to tease and spray her hair and I always gave her a nice little pouf up front.  I helped her recover from the beach winds with those “do’s”!  We had other family staying in the area at the same time and I loved being around everyone.  We would line up our beach stuff, unwrap the enamel pots of “macs”, and have a beach feast.  There was always lots of pasta on those vacations.  Yum.  And of course, sausage and meatballs.  The boardwalk!  Some of  my relatives were constantly winning on the wheels and brought home appliances galore!  We loved putting our nickels down and trying to win stuffed animals.  Of course, the grownups were always luckier but we kids would get to roam in a pack and as long as we stayed together, we were safe and had the run of the boardwalk.  The oldest cousin would be in charge and sort of kept us in line.

Me and Mom

Me and Mom

When I became a teen, my dad got a job bartending on Long Beach Island and we got to spend the summer there.  The first year, we rented a house on the Island but when we went to visit friends in Beach Haven West, there was a little house for sale, for $7000, on a lagoon with a dock and bulkhead.  Heaven!.  My parents scraped up the $1000 down payment and bought it.  It was tiny, 3 small bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen living room combo, roofed patio.  But we could swim and fish/crab off the dock, and after my dad bought his first boat, cruise out to Barnegat Bay.  Life was good.  My family spent every summer there as one by one, we went to college and then moved away, but my parents retired there and added on to that little house, and we continued to make memories as we married and had children.

Beach Haven West was a good, somewhat central location for us to visit so it became the hub for the family Christmas, and as many other visits as we could cram in.  The first Christmas that all of the kids were born, the living room was a sea of wrapping paper!  But we all loved it there and our kids grew up loving it there too, going to the Island with Grandpa for the rides, trips to the Lucy Evelyn, the shops and restaurants, and the beach.  I saw my first sunrise Easter mass on the beach in Ship Bottom and it was beautiful.beach

I live about an hour away and my parents are gone now, so we no longer go to Beach Haven West but it’s in all of our hearts.  When we travel north, we sometimes get off at exit 63 onto route 72 and drive down the street where the house is, seeing the same overgrown bushes, the added on second floor and porch, the familiar street, Linda Road, and of course, the memories.

But, I also live close to new beaches.  Cape May, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Wildwood, all are pretty close by.  And so is the Delaware River and I have discovered small beaches within a short drive from my home.  Now I can go to Fortescue, East Point Lighthouse,  and the Cape May Ferry, and get that beach “fix” that I need.  Many a morning, I’ve driven to Fortescue with a chair and a book, and of course, my tea, and sat on that beach by myself, just drinking in the view.  It’s not the same as the Atlantic Ocean but it’s unique and beautiful too.  I’ve discovered horseshoe crabs and sea glass and always find driftwood, and think about bringing a fishing pole some time, and making new memories.

East Point

East Point

Yes, I love the beach.  SAMSUNG