Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"A Candle in the Wind"

I remember my grandmother telling me to savor every hour of every day you personally are here on this earth, and also the hours you have with those you love, because one of two things inevitably will happen. Either you will live to be a ripe old age with no clue where the years have gone and why you're not still young. Or life will come abruptly and tragically to an end at a much too young age, and there will be no more hours together. Ever.
Last Sunday we lost a wonderful young man who will be missed every day by all of us who loved and still love him. Sending up prayers for my friends, the Rochlin's. And everybody else who mourns or weeps or grieves this day. We will say goodbye to Charley this morning at 9:00 am. With full military honors.

On a cold, breezy Monday afternoon in Westport, friends and family of the late Charles "Charley" Rochlin filtered through the same Meeker Road residence where the 24-year-old native was raised and returned to when he wasn't serving his country overseas as a U.S. Marine. Seated together around the kitchen island were Rochlin's three younger sisters -- Taylor, 9, Kendall, 12, and Brittany, 21. Slouched in their stools, the three girls said little; their necks glimmered from the personalized diamond pendants their older brother had given to each of them on Christmas morning, less than 48 hours before he was killed in a Sunday morning car accident on Greens Farm Road. Rochlin was traveling in a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his childhood friend Matthew Packer, 25, of Westport, when wet and foggy conditions forced the vehicle off the roadway and into a tree at about 2:45 a.m. on Sunday. The collision, which produced severe damage to the passenger side of the vehicle, killed Rochlin and sent Packer to Norwalk Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Westport police said. Rochlin's parents described their son on Monday as a family-oriented young man, honored to serve his country as a Marine and happy to live life as an American. "My Charley was dedicated to his family," said his stepmother, Lucretia Rochlin. "A huge, huge part of his life were his three sisters. They adored him; Charley was their hero." So much in fact that when the young Marine returned home in September after a seven-month tour in Iraq, the youngest of the three brought her brother to Coleytown Elementary School for show-and-tell, Lucretia Rochlin said. Whether it was answering questions for a room full of elementary school children or helping his blind, 91-year-old great-grandmother navigate the house, Charley Rochlin had a way of relating to different personalities, she said. "He loved to help people, he was the least selfish person you would ever meet," Lucretia Rochlin said. Born in Westport on Sept. 14, 1985, Charley Rochlin played competitive sports since childhood, taking home junior golf championships and numerous pee-wee hockey trophies, said his father, Scott Rochlin. He attended Fairfield College Preparatory School for three years and played varsity ice hockey, helping lead the Jesuits to two state championship titles, Scott Rochlin said. He went on to graduate from Staples High School before spending a year at Norwalk Community College and another three years at the University of Colorado. In March of 2008, he sat his parents down and announced his intentions to act on his dream of becoming a U.S. Marine, his father said. The family was proud of his intentions and supportive every step of the way, Scott Rochlin said. "I was obviously nervous what with everything that was happening," he said. "Those seven months he was away (on tour in Iraq) I can tell you I got very little sleep." Rochlin had only recently returned home for Christmas break and was scheduled to ship off in early January for a second tour, this time in Afghanistan, his father said. Scott Rochlin awoke Sunday morning expecting to celebrate his own birthday with his wife and children. Instead, there was no celebration; Charley Rochlin was gone. "I was really looking forward to spending my birthday with (Charley)," Scott Rochlin said. "We never quite got there." The funeral will be held on Dec. 30 at 9 a.m. at Saint Luke Church, 49 Turkey Hill Road North, Westport. Interment with full military honors will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 Main St., Westport. The accident is still under investigation and the Westport Police Department is requesting that anyone who may have witnessed or has information about the accident call the police department at (203) 341-6000.
Hour Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Light

Well, it's turned out to be pretty much an awful month of December for a lot of the good folks I know and love. Deaths, major illnesses, loss of jobs, major operations, you name it, it's happened this past month.

I cannot tell you how very much I'm looking
forward to this month - and year - ending.
Hope springs eternal for 2010.

Ok! I'm now done being morose and am off to find
~my happy place~.


expecting only goodnesss for the people she
loves this coming 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Serenity

Christmas is over
Fun was had by one and all
Crazy blond lady?

Well, she did OK!
P. S. - With a ton of help from her family!


expect anything!

Photo taken 12/18/09. Our first snowfall.
And the colors of our flag? Appropriate for any holiday!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


...the Night before Christmas
And all through the House...
The only creature stirring was a
rather crazy blond lady really
trying to keep it all together
so the fam, et al, can have a
Xmas day.

She's pretty sure this approach will work!
Result to come.


love all of you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Another season...
Days will now become longer
Happy? You betcha!

View from the 7th Floor

Our view for two days.
The Care? Beyond the norm.
Norwalk Hospital.


My GB had cervical spine surgery last week. It was a long and arduous road getting to the point where we knew only surgery was the answer, but we got there! And it was a good thing we did. Not much longer and a wheelchair would have been GB's future. I am so very thankful for everyone and everything that got my GB to where he is today. He's certainly not back in tip-top shape, but headed in that direction.
Let's see....tho GB had been to many doctors and had had many MRI's, EMG's and other tests, no one ever caught on to what was really going on. It was only after GB was sent to physical therapy that someone finally started getting to the bottom of what was truly happening to him. After GB's second session, his physical therapist, Vlad (thank you, you wonderful man!) said to GB - "You need to see a neurologist." I asked GB what that meant, and his reply was Vlad said something weird was happening to his right hand. Of course, I had to call Vlad and ask him what the hell he meant by that. He told me that what he was seeing in GB's hand was stroke-like behavior, though he wasn't saying it was a stroke. Um...that scared the hell out of me.
After a lot lot lot more BS, GB was finally sent to a Neurologist (Daryl Singer - can't sing his praises loud enough - he's the best!). And after some tests he did, he immediately sent us to a Neurosurgeon (Javed Shahid - a total and complete life-saver).
Bottom line, my GB won't require a wheel chair for the rest of his life. He might not ever be 100%, but, by golly, he'll have quality, and a good chance his golf game will get back to a single digit handicap.
May that be the only handicap he ever has.

Tho they'll never see this,
Blessings to Vlad, Singer & Shahid
My GB has a mobile future because of the 3 of you...


thankfulness abounds

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Twists & Turns


Every once in a while life throws you a curve ball.

Long story short, we've been thrown such a ball. Tomorrow my hubs, GB, will undergo surgery to ~fix~ two of the vertebrae in his upper spine. It's pretty critical he has this done as if he doesn't, he'll end up in a wheel chair sooner than later for the rest of his life. It's a surgery that's really quite common, but when it's happening to you/your family, it's quite unique and quite scary. To say the least, I've been preoccupied of late and have spent minimal time here or anywhere else. And it looks like that's going to continue for the foreseeable future.

I know we'll be in the thoughts and prayers of those who know us, and that's appreciated more than we could ever tell you. Thank you, thank you! I'll get back to visiting all my favorite haunts as soon as I can. Until then, know you're never far from my longing to visit you/talk to you!



Photo: July 2009, in the garden of our VA Blogfest landlords,
Mathews County, VA

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Serenity: Traditions Old & New

Our family is all about tradition. Whether it be Sunday family dinner, the annual it must be the perfect Christmas tree hunt (hubby does that one), ~favorite meal~ birthday dinners, fish fries, Bears football games of which the outcome is never pretty, gin games, etc. etc. etc., our traditions mean everything to all of us, and I'm certain most will live on through this generation and all of our generations to come. That said, it's truly not easy establishing a new family tradition that you just know is going to last a lifetime or two or three.

Well now! I'm astonished and very pleased to report that this past Thanksgiving another lifelong family tradition was firmly born; one I really do believe will continue for many years to come:

About 30 minutes before we were all to sit down for our yearly feast, Remy (the hubs & my eldest daughter) announced that she had something she wanted us all to participate in. She told us she'd cut out leaf shapes and wanted each of us to write down one thing we were thankful for. We were then to take the leaf and place it written side down on one of the plates and then be sure we didn't sit where our leaf was. Rem said we could write whatever we wanted, happy, funny, deep thought, goofy - whatever we wanted. Well, just about all of us laughed at this silly idea but being the ~good sports~ we are, played along.
We all sat down to our first course of lasagna - yup, another lovely family tradition (from the Varco side) that's taken place every single year I've known my husband, 32 Thanksgivings so far - and Rem announced that each of us was to read the leaf note at their plate. It was simply magical. There were fun moments, solemn moments, laugh-out-loud moments, thankful moments and, as we discovered as the leaf notes were being read...themed moments - it became obvious there had been ~talk between folks~ before they wrote their thankful one thing down... a Heather thing seemed to be going on... (In all honesty, I feel I must report my dad had to have read my mother's leaf before he wrote his own, see below.)

And every single one of the 30 or so gathered around our Thanksgiving tables agreed this tradition-in-the-making was one that would have to be repeated each Thanksgiving for all the years to come, whether we originals were all together again or were celebrating at different tables with other family and friends.



Thank you Remy!
What a sweet & wonderful tradition/memory you've created!


The Notes, in no particular order:

I am thankful for:

The Blue Hornet {a car}, Sunday Fundays, Love & Family

Thankful for the 3 H's: Health, Happines & Hard-ons

That I have lived long enough to enjoy my family & George's Bloody Marys

Gin @ 5 (mom)

Mary + Gin @ 5:30 + Ann & George for giving us this extended family (dad)

Dolfin cheerlearders

I am thankful for "beer pong" and "flip the cup"

Thankful for "pink" & Heather

For being here today w/my whole family!

My kids ~ and Heather

The Thanksgiving keg ~ & Heather

I'm thankful for my family

I am thankful for the love of family and friends

I am thankful for my mom and dad

My dad breaking the vegan code ~ and Heather

I'm thankful for all the great people I'm spending Thanksgiving with

I'm thankful the Murray girls are doing all the dishes

For my healthy & loving & happy children & 4 being well endowed

I'm thankful for Heather

I'm thankful the itching has stopped

I'm thankful mom's facebook status ~ (& Heather)

-3 turkeys -good company -free drinks -for the Giants winning today (hopefully) -3 turkeys -Yankees winning -that & I am done with this

I am thankful for...Good food ~ & Heather

God's Blessing

Spending time with family

I'm thankful for family

Good health & family

I'm thankful for the gatherings we do each Thanksgiving. And wine

I am thankful for my family and friends

Having the day off!

My best friend Mikey & beautiful daughter

Thankful for life

Last, but certainly not least:I am thankful for my dad's seductive ways, for if he was not such a *imp,
I probably wouldn't be here with all you beautiful people today!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Chorus Line

Never have I seen a bunch of seagulls, (who all happen to look like they're the same kind), lined up so perfectly? It's "A Chorus Line" of seagulls with an ~Autumnal New England Sky~ in the background, just above our Long Island Sound. Just short of perfection!


"And now, ladies and gentlemen,
For your listening pleasure,
The solo performance of the night..."
(first gull on lower right - duh??)
"Kiss today goodbye,
The sweetness and the sorrow.
Wish me luck, the same to youuuuuuuu.
But I can't regret
What I did for love, what I did fooorrrrrr looooove."

(gull above was photographically captured holding
the note on that last musical syllable - looooooove.)
~just sayin'~

expect anything!


Sky Watch Friday
Do join us!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Nap-time with Stella-Dog

Eldest Daughter gets in some snuggle time with Stella-Dog...

A dog's life just isn't that easy! (sigh)


expect snuggly things!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Mussels Sailor-Style

That's it.
Just yum!
expect the recipe if you request it!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

"December 7, 1941"
"A date which will live in Infamy...No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory."

Sending a heart-felt THANK YOU to each and
every United States of America veteran.

Your service is greatly appreciated and
certainly not ever taken for granted.
Thank you.


on another note...

I'm being spammed each and every day on one particular post. I see that there are posters that enable comment blocking just for certain posts. I have no clue how to do that, so for the time being, I'm going to enable word verification. Hate to do it, but am quite tired of the spam. Been happening for far too too long.


blessings to all!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday Serenity

Generation Continuation
L to R: son, daughter, mom, dad, daughter



how lucky am I??

Friday, December 04, 2009

Homeward Bound

Boat is put to bed
Bird still winging his way home
Hugs when he gets there?


expect anything!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gathering 'round the Kitchen Table...

My good friend Kacey of Wine on the Keyboard holds a themed photo contest each month on her blog. For November the theme was, quite appropriately, "I'm thankful for...". The only rule was it couldn't be a person or a pet. Here's my entry:

I'm forever thankful for our kitchen table and all the people that have gathered around it over these many years. We've shared Thanksgiving, Sunday Family Dinners, good times, card games and many many other wonderful moments.



it's all good!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Autumn Migration

Geese migrating across
the autumn sky on their way...
to the parking lot

(That's where they ultimately landed.)

(Doesn't make for very good haiku...sigh.)


signing off now to go practice her haiku writing skills


12/01 @ 8:02pm update: Well well well! There have been a few developments here concerning this particular haiku I tried to pen. Daughter dearest (AKA Formerly Affianced - don't ask, it's a once-sad story, and now she's happy and just needs to change the name of her blog - and actually post on it!...oh dear...TMI!). pointed out the first line of the above haiku contained 6, not 5, but 6 syllables. Perhaps, this is the greatest haiku sin I have ever committed (let's not discuss the quality content of the three lines, please). She suggested losing the a in across. Hmm...I like that better than replacing ~migrating~ with ~flying~ or ~winging~. Consider it done! Then, my friend, Flea, penned a haiku in the right rhythm that was just wonderful:

Geese flying across
The golden wheat near water
Safe in parking lot

So very nice, Ms. Flea! Thank you!


Live & Learn!