Reading, Writing & Chocolate

May 10, 2021

The weather forecasters had been hyping Wednesday, April 28, as the “pick of the week” with sunshine all day and temperatures near 80 degrees. I looked forward to taking a walk after lunch on Wednesday afternoon. At 1:40 p.m., I laced up my running shoes and put on my pink sweatshirt, baseball ...

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I have never put my outdoor survival skills to the test. One spring day in 1985, our weekend group of city hikers had carpooled to Cross River for a day of hiking through the wilds of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The hiking was pleasant for the first few hours. But as the afternoon wore on, we ...

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Last week, I wrote about my first full-time job after graduating college. I was eager to work and begin my writing career. However, that was not the job for me. That may have been my first actual 9 to 5 job, but my first real writing job came next. One of the many New York Times Want Ads that I ...

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Did you hear about the job application form that recently sold for more than $222,000? That handwritten job application from 1973 had been filled out by a young Steve Jobs. In addition to writing his name and basic information in pen, young Steve listed his experience with “computers and ...

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After you have recovered from your chocolate bunny, jelly beans, and Peeps sugar overload, you may think that the April holidays are in the past. According to the internet, several unusual themes are celebrated in the month of April including National Humor Month, Lawn and Garden Month, Keep ...

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Standing in front of the window looking out on a rainy day, I suddenly started singing the words to a Hungarian song, “The Rain Falls Softly.” How do memories from our childhood just emerge like that? “Esik, eső, csendesen….”     When I was in middle school, I remember playing old 78 rpm records ...

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I am not a fan of horror movies or horror books. As a child, I recall watching the black and white 1930s movies of “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” on the TV set in our living room. After my family watched Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, “The Birds” on TV, I walked upstairs to my bedroom and screamed when ...

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When I first moved up from the city, I lived on Winterberry Circle in Cross River. The street address sounded so quaint and country-like compared to the numbered streets and avenues of Manhattan. Driving around this part of Northern Westchester, you see all kinds of pretty suburban street names ...

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Sometimes I feel like a game show host. Leading my Zoom writing classes, I have to constantly be on the alert. Occasionally, students forget to mute their microphones before they answer a personal phone call (resulting in the class listening to an entire telephone conversation). Technical glitches ...

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Looking out at the melting snow in the backyard, water dripping from the gutters above, puddles on the patio, and patches of mud by the side of the road, I am reminded of Vermont. Specifically, mud season. Years ago, when I lived in Manhattan, my husband introduced me to skiing in Vermont. I ...

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March is my favorite month. My birthday is in March, the winter is almost over and the clocks spring forward. What’s not to like? I was born on my dad’s birthday. Probably not his first choice of a good birthday present but that’s the way it worked out. Even though we shared a birthday, I always ...

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Ice

February is the shortest winter month but always brings the possibility of ice storms. Unwelcome and dangerous, ice storms often result in power outages, broken tree branches, and numerous car accidents. News broadcasts showed the unbelievable destruction on an icy highway in Texas, which resulted ...

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Ice

I am not a winter person. I am tired of layering up and wearing my hat, gloves, turtleneck, fleece, heavy jacket, corduroy pants, and boots. I am looking for signs of spring. An exciting sign of spring is seeing the sun set after five o’clock in the evening. Those extra minutes of daylight lift ...

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Over the holidays, I received gifts of chocolate through the mail from my friends, Margie, Claire and Ellen. Margie sent me dark chocolate bars from a Colorado-based company, Chocolove. My favorite is the dark chocolate bar with crystallized ginger pieces. A few days later, Claire sent me a ...

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From the moment we are born, people pass in and out of our lives: Parents, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, childhood friends, teachers, classmates, co-workers, dates, spouses, etc. A few people make significant impressions; many are just ships passing in the night. Last April as we were ...

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I’ve been looking forward to the month of March!  Five of my spring session writing classes start this month, and of course, I get to celebrate my birthday.  I can finally stop wearing my red fleece winter hat and put in my colorful beaded hand-made earrings.  I actually made several pairs of ...

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I am always reading. Novels, nonfiction, biographies, essays, short stories. If a title or subject grabs my interest, I put the book on hold at my local library. I just finished reading a parenting book called, The Happiest Kids in the World. This nonfiction book was written by two women, one ...

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I feel like I live in a Disney movie when I glance out of the window and watch the geese flying overhead, the squirrels racing across tree branches, birds chirping and chipmunks scampering across the lawn. But lately media reports of unusual behavior make me think that wild animals are getting a ...

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I like to watch travel shows on TV. Globe Trekker is a favorite, especially with Ian Wright or Zay Harding as the travel guides.  These congenial hosts bring you along on their adventures to remote parts of the world. You can imagine yourself hiking up a mountain in Switzerland or trekking in ...

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I invented a new soup recipe over the weekend.  I’d been thinking about making a pot of soup for the last couple of weeks. The freezing cold outdoor temperatures encouraged me to put on my culinary thinking cap.  I gathered my Dutch oven 5-quart pot, special wooden spoon, ladle, and cutting ...

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Sometimes things happen that we can’t explain. I recently read an obscure reference to the “Dancing Plague of 1518.” I needed to learn more about this!  Historical records document the growing epidemic of a dancing mania in Strasbourg. The phenomenon started in July 1518 with one woman, Frau ...

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A couple of years after college, I started working at a public relations firm. A co-worker called in sick and I was told to go home and pack for my first business trip. My task was to accompany the product spokesperson to radio interviews and make sure that she mentioned the product name in her ...

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A few weeks ago, I attended a wonderful poetry and art reception at the Norwalk Public Library. On my way out of the library, I was drawn to an enchanting display of miniature rooms created by miniaturist Vance Alexander. I was amazed at the detail and craftsmanship presented in each distinctive ...

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At the start of a new year, many people resolve to make big changes – physically and emotionally - to improve health and happiness. Gyms, diet food companies and health food stores look forward to this time of year. So do publishing companies, offering a whole new crop of self-help books. Popular ...

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I don't receive that many unsolicited phone calls but when I do, it is particularly irksome when the person on the other end of the telephone can't even pronounce my name correctly. I can tell immediately from the background noise that the person is sitting in a phone bank surrounded by hundreds of ...

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I remember the excitement of tip-toeing down the stairs with my younger brother early on Christmas morning. The lights on the Christmas tree would already be lit. Our eyes widened at the stacks of beautifully wrapped presents and the bulging red holiday stockings hanging nearby. We did not write ...

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The holiday season can be a relationship tester. Expectations are high, especially if you intend to drag your significant other to meet the family for the first time or attend a holiday work party. These can be very stressful situations by themselves without the added pressure of buying a gift for ...

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One of my new interests is learning about the artists who were paid to create murals and paintings as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. As part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s plans to put Americans back to work, many ...

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Men and women have worn hats for hundreds of years. Pioneer women wore cloth bonnets and men wore leather or straw hats to keep the sun, rain and wind off of their heads as they traveled on horseback or in the front seats of wagons. When the automobile became a more popular means of transportation, ...

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You know how we inherit different traits from our parents? Well, I did not inherit the accessories gene from my mom. My mother always dressed nicely and applied lipstick before leaving the house. Other mothers would throw on a bathrobe and slippers with their hair still in curlers to drive a child ...

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