Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On a rainy day in Stoneham ...

The weather outside is frightful, but the books I read are delightful. One title clearly demonstrates the wisdom of the old saying "Never judge a book by its cover". When my husband saw "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", he proclaimed that any book bearing such a frivolous title would surely bore him to tears. With my famous and somewhat mystical powers of persuasion (no: I did not wield a rolling pin nor did I force him to drink a potion of my own concoction), he grudingly agreed to read the first chapter. I couldn't pry the thing from his grasping hands thereafter. It is truly a lovely story and I cannot recommend it with any greater enthusiasm except to say it will be equally difficult for you to put it aside: the kind of book happily embraced in one sitting.

I do find it comforting to know that in spite of all the consistently dreadful news about the economy, loss of employment and more hardships to come, I believe President-Elect Obama and his thoughtful appointees will work diligently to put things right. Certain we won't be sitting pretty for a while, or even to have made it up the first and second rungs of the ladder, there truly is hope that improvement, however slow to arrive, will indeed occur.

Our Thanksgiving will be spent in Rhode Island with my sister and brother-in-law, my nephew and my niece, her husband and daughters who've arrived from Florida. I can hardly wait to see 15-year old Kelly who has promised to satisfy my curiosity about "Twilight" which she saw just prior to her departure from Sarasota. She'll have read the books too, I'm sure. Then, true to form, our Christmas tree will be decorated over the weekend and I'll begin wrapping gifts. I HAAATE wrapping because I'm so clumsy at it and my packages always look distorted and somewhat lopsided because of my deficiency. Am I the only person in the world who sprouts three extra thumbs on each hand this time of year?

Buck and I wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", A Novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Dial Press, A Division of Random House

P.S. Please do not be frustrated if you post a comment and then fail to see it. Somehow, that all-thumbs awkwardness applies here as well. I don't intend to delete your words, honestly I don't!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh, Happy Day ...

We popped the first bottle of Veuve Clicquot as President-Elect Barack Obama strode upon the platform in Chicago last night with his beautiful wife and daughters. We cried as so many in the huge throng did, including Oprah Winfrey and Jesse Jackson. And we toasted and drank and wept and danced and cried some more.

Our polling place is the Town Hall which faces the Common and the tall, white spire of the Congregationalist Church, a scene so typically New England. Weather was spring-like, sunny skies, most of the trees still bearing leaves of crimson, amber and gold. We had chosen an ideal arrival time (11:30 AM), and encountered no delays. Found out later that lines began to form at midday and remained thick until the polls closed at 8PM.

I began to fill my ballot from the back, starting with three initiatives Massachusetts voters were asked to decide:

Question 1: The reckless idea to eliminate the state income tax. Defeated.

Question 2: The proposal to decriminalize possession of marijuana. Carried.

Question 3: The proposal to ban dog racing in Massachusetts. Carried.

Then I voted for various candidates for state offices, and finally, indicated my choice for the national Democratic ticket. We spent a total of approximately fifteen minutes completing our civic responsibility otherwise known as this overwhelmingly precious freedom to choose our political leaders. We walked through the Common to our favorite restaurant and enjoyed an Italian lunch while talking of everything BUT the election.

Buck and I always hoped we'd one day be able to vote for and then rejoice in the election of an African-American President. It is truly awe-inspiring to awake this day and find the dream come true. What a great accomplishment for us and all the world.

Although George Bush and his pals will walk away from the miasmic conditions they created, one can only hope and pray that the slender but strong shoulders of Barack Obama will find the strength and wisdom to forge a clearing in the jungle. We believe he will prevail, even triumph.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eagle Hill School

Saturday, October 25, 2008:
Parents' Weekend

Eagle Hill School
Hardwick, Massachusetts

My husband and I are associated with this unique learning facility which provides a caring, nurturing environment for its 150 teen-age student body. Eagle Hill School is a private co-educational college preparatory boarding school for students with learning disabilities in grades 8-12. Specific learning differences include: Dyslexia, Language Based Learning Disability, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Nonverbal Learning Disability. Eagle Hill School also offers a five week academic and recreational summer camp for students ages 10-18 who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities. Eagle Hill School is the preeminent private high school for students with learning disabilities and ADHD who demonstrate average to above average cognitive ability.

Additional information about Eagle Hill can be found here.

Students and faculty are justifiably proud of their glittering, brand new Performing Arts Center which opened with the scintillatingly talented pianist/singer Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano who performed music from The Great American Songbook for the citizens and civic leaders of Hardwick and adjacent communities. Eric and Barbara were ably supported by the superb bass player Marshall Wood. The evening was a great success, establishing the tone and essence of forthcoming attractions. Visit Eric's web site here.

On Saturday, October 25: The impressive, swinging New Life Jazz Orchestra led by Kendrick Oliver performed a rollicking set to which the audience consisting of parents, faculty and students responded with high-powered enthusiasm. Mr. Oliver invited Nicole Nelson, a powerful singer possessing impeccable blues credentials, to perform several stirring songs with the band and thrilled the audience. Standing ovations.

My husband and I heard about a young student named Jason months ago when we enjoyed our first hard-hat tour of the PAC. Jason is very popular on campus, and although his first love is opera, he is also an avid Frank Sinatra fan. Jason was given the opportunity to sing with the big band and he was admittedly a little nervous about it. But he stood firm and tall, singing "Fly Me To The Moon" with grace and style. Bravo Jason!

I sang three favorite Duke Ellington melodies and enjoyed myself enormously. Two cheerful and efficient young people named Brad and Sarah were close at hand to provide any last minute items I might have needed. Thank you both for being so helpful.

The Official Opening Night Gala on Saturday, November 1st will feature the popular young jazz vocalist Jane Monheit and her band. Anticipation of this event is running high among the students and faculty.

Buck and I want to thank everyone at Eagle Hill School for the opportunity to contribute to this exceptional institution and its new Performing Arts Center. Long may ye reign!