Sunday, July 26, 2009

BYE BYE BOOKS! & Dorney Park

As some of you know, I have an extensive collection of books about the Holocaust,
WWII, Judaism. Jewish history and Israel, over 1800 in all!  Because I teach courses on the Holocaust through literature and film, I acquired all of these books from conferences I attend, donations, yard sales, and ebay.  I loan them to students for their research projects and my own study of the Holocaust.  I love my books and giving up any them is not easy!  However, they are overtaking my house.  So, the past few days have been spent going through all of these books and selecting which I will keep and which I will part with. It has been a liberating experience and a sad one as well. I chose just over 600 books, priced them, and now they are ready for new homes.  I placed an ad in the newspaper and sent out an email to folks I thought might be interested in them. What makes the process easier is knowing that they will be purchased by folks interested in the same topics as I am and that they will be used rather than stored in bins in a closet (yes, that's where I had to keep many of them!).  Wish me luck in finding new homes for my treasured books! Today I am going to add videos on these topics to the sale.   They take up a shelf in another closet! 
           On a different note, this week Becky and I joined Adam, Jen, Aidan, Ryan, and Karianna at Dorney Park for a day of fun.  It's a beautiful park and not crowded like Hershey Park.  You can actually get on the rides without long waits! We started with the beautiful carousel.  At first, Aidan thought he was too "old" to ride it, but his crazy Aunt Becky quickly convinced him that it would be fun.
Next, crazy Aunt Becky rode the roller coaster with Ryan.  The kids love their Aunt Becky, who is just a kid herself and is always ready for fun.
The bulk of our day was spent at the waterpark.  The kids absolutely love the water and had a blast in this part of the park.  Karianna is a little water bug and had fun going down the water slides and splashing and playing in the water fountains.
Aidan and Ryan were water-logged by the time we left the park!  Aside from a break for lunch, they were in the water all day long! The park has a cool "car wash" that the kids can go through and all sorts of slides and water fountains to play in - so kid friendly!  
A summer day at an amusement park is not complete without ice cream!  As they dried off, they chilled out with some delicious Dip 'n Dot ice cream. They must have gotten their love of ice cream from their Nana!  It was good to the last spoonful!  YUM!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Boy is Growing!

Robert Dixon is growing!  Last night we had an impromptu cookout at our place and Dixon slept through most of it.  When he finally woke up, we had so much fun watching him kick and smile and even coo!
Check out the dimples!  They show even when he isn't smiling!

What a cutie!  In August I will be going with Jennifer and Annisa to Minneapolis.  They will be attending Tastefully Simple's National Convention and I will be attending to this sweet little guy!  It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New York - Final Installment!

This is my final posting of our New York City trip.  Visit Becky's blog (Princessflufferbutt) in a few days for her perspective of the trip and lots of great pictures.  So - what is this beautiful pink thing? It is Dragon Fruit.  And where would you find Dragon Fruit?  On Canal Street in Chinatown!
It is a rare trip to New York that we don't take the subway to Canal Street.  In past visits we would usually come back with at least one or two knock-off bags, but this time we didn't.  Becky got a beautiful shimmery scarf and I got two pairs of sunglasses - knockoffs, of course - but that was all we bought!  It was the first time we weren't going behind secret doors and up long flights of steps finding the designer handbags!
What I love about Chinatown is the sights and smells, especially the food!  We had lunch at a little restaurant on one of the side streets off Canal Street.  We shared an order of beef and broccoli and fried chicken dumplings.  YUM!
I tried to master the chopsticks, but couldn't eat the rice easily.  Becky ate her entire meal with the chopsticks - go Becky!
A real treat this visit was spending the afternoon with one of my students from Greencastle. Whitney took AP Language and Composition, British Literature, and Contemporary Literature with me when she was in high school.  She was and is a great student and is now in college majoring in English and dance.  How wonderful it was that she was able to secure an internship with a dance magazine in lower Manhattan for the summer!  WOW!  So, we decided to meet for lunch at one of my favorite little Italian Restaurants, Daniella's Trattatoria.Then we took a walk to Columbus Circle and even strolled through Central Park.  It was a simply gorgeous day - just look at that crystal blue sky!
That evening Becky and I found a great little restaurant near our hotel, Rachel's.  It's always fun to try new places and this place was definitely a good choice!
Becky had a delicious turkey dinner.  We actually ate on the back patio.  It was such a beautiful night and the place was filled with ambiance.
My choice was a tilapia dish.  It was scrumptious.  The sad thing was, we just couldn't finish everything and our hotel room was not equipped with a fridge. Next time we'll have to bring a cooler for our leftovers
We took lots of pictures in Times Square.  I'm sure Becky will post some others.  I love the energy of Times Square.  We spent time each day and/or evening sitting on the lawn chairs on the square people watching.  Yes!  There are now sections of the street roped off and lawn chairs and tables for people to sit, read, talk, relax . . . 

On Saturday evening we got lucky and were able to see the annual Broadway Barks event in Shubert Alley.  Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore co-chair this event to help find homes for animals from shelters and animal rescue centers throughout the area. Stars show the pets and help them get adopted.  This is Michael Urie who plays Marc St. James on Ugly Betty
Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore are so passionate about this cause.
This is Audra McDonald who stars on The Practice.  She is in New York performing in King Lear in Shakespeare in the Park. Everyone was so loving and excited about the dogs they showed. It was hard, especially for Becky, not to come home with a dog!
One of the most touching stories was that of a soldier from Iraq who had completed four tours of duty.  However, he had adopted a dog that he found abandoned in Baghdad and didn't want to come without him.  A new program associated with Broadway Barks helped him bring the dog home.  More than 160 dogs and cats have been adopted by soldiers in Iraq and this organization helps them bring them back to the states.  Isn't that awesome!  We had a great trip to the Big Apple, alias Big Cupcake!  Hey Becky!  When can we go again?!?!?

Monday, July 13, 2009


This is the next installment from our New York trip.  Every time  drive into the city I get so excited when I see this sign because I know I am going to my favorite city in the United States! This post is going to focus on something other than cupcakes!  New York is the theater capital of the world!
Two years ago, Becky and I were in New York for a convention and had tickets to see Wicked. We tried to get tickets for several years and you can imagine how disappointed we were when the stagehands went on strike and Broadway was dark.  However, this time we got tickets to WickedThe male lead of Fiyero was played by this handsome actor and singer, Kevin Kern.
The role of Bok was played by Alex Brightman.  He is scheduled to appear soon on Comedy Central.  Alex has a"bright" (get it!)  smile and cheesed it up with Becky!
Although we didn't get to meet Glinda, the Good Witch, we were thrilled to meet this stunningly talented actress, Nicole Parker, who played Elphaba, the "wicked" witch.  She is absolutely amazing; her voice is incredible.  She is scheduled to appear in the soon-to-be released film, Funny People.  Wicked was definitely worth the wait!
Our favorite show of the week was Billy Elliot. I highly recommend it to EVERYONE!   The show is high energy and filled with an ultra-talented cast, especially the children.
Several children play the various lead roles, so you never know who will be the actor of the night.  We surely weren't disappointed in the two male leads.  Keean Johnson was fantastic in the role of Michael.  
The lead of Billy Elliot was played by 2009 Tony award winner, Kiril Kulish, who has been dancing for ten years and this is his first Broadway show.  He is the National Ballroom Dance Champion in the Junior Division for the last two years and in addition to dance, he is a concert pianist!  This fifteen year old has quite a future!
The very first play we saw was recommended by one of my students, Whitney, who is doing an internship in New York this summer - more on that on another post!  Next To Normal is a very intense musical about a mom who lost a child and suffers from bi-polar disease and the effects of that child's death years later.  I don't want to give away any more of the plot.  Suffice it to say, it is well worth seeing.  Thanks Whitney!
Kyle Dean Massey played Gabe, the son.  Yes, I know he is dead, but not to his mother.  His voice is awesome; he also played the role of Fiyero as an understudy in Wicked.  I am glad his talent is showcased in this role.
The Tony Award winning star of the show is Alice Ripley.  Her performance is amazing and I am so glad that Whitney suggested we see this show.  Since we have been going to New York and hanging out at the stage door, we have never been able to meet the entire cast until this show.  In a few days, check Becky's (Princessflufferbutt) blog - link is to the left - as I am sure she will have even more pictures of the actors!
Over the course of the next few days, I will provide more pictures about our trip! 

Friday, July 10, 2009


As many of you know, Becky and I are in New York City, the BIG APPLE!  However, I think NYC should now be called the BIG CUPCAKE!  After taking the advice of Tara, a friend of ours, we headed out to Madison Avenue to Crumbs Bake Shop to check out the cupcakes she raved about. OMG!  She wasn't kidding when she described these humongous, delicious, outrageous cupcakes! 

Inside the bakery, we were assaulted by the wonderful aromas of cake and frosting.  But the visual images of these taste treats was overwhelming!  These cupcakes are  amazing to look at and the decision of which one to try was not an easy one to make. Becky decided to try a shop favorite, the Artie Lange.  I took Tara's advice and selected the Baba Boey.
This is the infamous Baba Booey!  Imagine creamy peanut butter, vanilla and chocolate icing, peanut butter chips, chocolate cake. Oh My!  I didn't know how to tackle this taste treat - it was so big!

I did my best - enough said!  Just imagine the sweet goodness in every bite!
After recovering from the sugar shock of yesterday, Becky and I decided to be gluttons of punishment , no pun intended, and we checked out the Crumbs Bake Shop at Bryant Park.  This time she decided to get the shop's number one favorite, Red Velvet and I got the Fluffer Nutter.  

Ok - are you just drooling right now?  Just look at the size of that cupcake!  Whew! We couldn't finish them in one sitting, so we polished them off later.  
It was a beautiful day in NYC, aka THE BIG CUPCAKE!  We ate our cupcakes in Bryant Park and to show that we aren't total gluttons, we shared our cupcakes with the little birds, who became our best friends!  More on our New York trip later -yes, we did do Chinatown and the theater!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth Of July Antics

On Thursday evening, July 2nd, we decided to go with Becky and Barry to the Hagerstown Suns baseball game.  It was a beautiful night for a ball game and for watching Becky and Barry participate in a 70s "Dance Off" competition!  Barry was on the first base line and Becky was on the third base line where we were sitting.  Here she is just getting warmed up!
As the crowd cheered her on, she really got into the dance, shaking her stuff!  
Don't you just love the wig!
Becky got the crowd on her side and even though some of Barry's ex-students were sitting in our section, they cheered for Becky!
And the winner is..........BECKY!!!  Woo! Hoo!!
After a day to recuperate from the game, we all gathered at my house for a fourth of July celebration.  Barry and Becky look a bit different from their crazy 70s get-up of two nights ago.
I really enjoy having the family together, although we are missing Jen, Adam, Aidan, Ryan, and Kari who were in Annapolis on a boat.  How cool is that!  We were hoping Doug and Angela might be visiting in PA for the 4th, but it didn't work out.  Hopefully they will be here later in the month.
Clara loves to read books and she loves Barry, so.....  Barry spent some time reading to her.  Check out the title:  "I Love You Stinky Face"
The littlest member of the family, Dixon, was never without someone to cuddle him.  My mom adores the little guy and he obviously loved being held.
Dixon is quite the sleeper and adores his mommy.  What a peaceful, beautiful face!
He finally woke up and we got him to smile - what a little charmer!

We topped off the evening with fireworks at the park.  It was a beautiful display.  I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th celebration!