Jim Thorpe-Perfect for Solar or Wind Turbines

We are stewards of the Earth. Do you think you can use the Earth’s resources for your own pleasure and needs? America uses almost 75% of the Earth’s resources. It’s ironic that the third world countries are more in tune with nature and it’s resources. It is time that you take a good look at solar energy, and other ways to preserve Earth.

We live in historic Jim Thorpe, behind the Appalachian Trail in Northeast PA. It is the town with the Lehigh River, rafting, whitewater kayaking, biking and hiking, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and the mountains cradling us in their hands. Can you imaging a better place to live? It is called the Switzerland of America, and has maintained the charm of the Victorian era. We take pride in our homes, tenderly plant gardens and care about the future. Most of Jim Thorpe is perfect for solar energy,and it would compliment the beautiful “victory” gardens in our yards. Neighbors share their produce with each other, or bring it to the weekly farmer’s market. Many of us have begun to use cloth bags for our groceries, grow our own food, and use natural or biodegradable products for cleaning. Why not consider using homes pointed toward the south to use solar, or our mountains and high elevations for wind turbines?

How many towns do that? We just installed solar panels on our roof and already it is reducing the drain on the power company, and decreasing our monthly bill!  Other neighbors and friends are interested too.

Jim Thorpe is becoming “green”. Our town, with Victorian mansions and coal miners’ row houses from the 1800′s, can be a proud model of a historic town that conserves electricity and other natural resources. What will happen to us if we don’t ration our heavy usage of oil, gas and electricity, or re-cycle our metals, paper and glass? We have high mountains and the elevation to use wind turbines for electricity, and the sun to heat and power our homes. How can we survive the rising prices of utilities, along with the loss of jobs and health insurance, and the lowering values of homes? At least if we had some monetary relief from using natural, clean resources, like solar energy, or wind, our town would be even stronger and have more of its’ own resources to spend here.

I believe that countries have blinders on, and succumbed to greed while stripping the earth’s eco systems. Mother Earth will revolt, rumble and roar at us very soon. Will we survive her wrath? Survival of mankind will depend upon our continued advances made in production of clean energy, solar power, and wind power.


Life After 50-Couch Exercises

It’s been a long day. Dropping your bags on the chair, you turn on TV. Ah, your favorite show will relax you, so you plop down on the couch, and an infomercial catches your eye. What, couch exercises? Why do you need to be strong and healthy after fifty? You look like everyone who is only 10 lbs, no 30 lbs overweight. Bellies hang over belts, sides bulge, grandchildren use your “love handles” when they stand on your toes to dance with you. What? You look like your friends? Don’t you want to be a trendsetter, and look like you were ten years younger?
They would all be jealous and not invite you out for dessert anymore. Ten years younger would sure make you feel good.

You hear something that you can do easily as you watch TV, and grasp the pen underneath the magazine, and the pad in the drawer. You scribble.

First, Just take a slow deep breath and let it out slowly. Lift up your legs so they are even with the couch. Hold them up until you can feel their weight, then, slowly lower your feet to the floor.
Repeat this exercise until you can work up to 20 repetitions.
OK, that was easy. You can also strengthen your abdominal muscles with that one. Aren’t you glad you jotted that one down?

Now, raise your legs and point your toes toward you, then point them away. Can you feel your calf muscles tighten? Flex your feet and try to work up to 20 repetitions.
Wow, you can do this! Keep your eyes on the show and don’t miss the next exercise by getting up for that snack. Oh, all right. Get it. You feel healthier, so grab some grapes and whole grain crackers. Just turn up the volume.

Don’t sit yet! There is a wall behind you, and you can use the wall for exercise, since it is near the couch and you can still hear the TV.
Face the wall and stand about two feet away. Place your hands on the wall. Bend your elbows and lean. Your arms bend, and your cheeks touch the wall. Hey, you’re doing a push up. Straighten your arms again and feel your calf muscles stretch and your upper arms hold up your weight. See how many repetitions you can do as you get stronger.

Next, sit in the middle of the couch and place your hand over your ears with your elbows facing up. That feels good because it’s stretching the muscles under your arm.

Let your fingers massage behind your ears for added relaxation. Raise your arms as high as you can and then bring your hands back to your ears. Repeat this until you can do 20.

The half-hour infomercial is over and you turn on your computer to do a group email and let your friends know about the show, to see what you have learned about exercises on the couch. You are going to become the leader in your group and begin a program to make you all feel better and increase the quality of life as you get through the next couple of decades.

Do you want to be so weak that you need help to get out of a chair when you reach 70?
Life begins at 50. You have a chance to make up for lost time. Look for the next infomercial next week with more great couch exercises!


My nose is pressed against a moist window as I watch a sinister fog wiggle its way down the dark city street. It twists through the tops of thick, slick maple tree branches, lit by streetlights, and his call alerts me he isn’t coming. It is Friday night, a week before Christmas, an unusually cold night after a warm day. I spend so many hours waiting. Greg is a rogue, resembling Clark Kent.
He captures my heart the first moment he opens the tall glass door of our mansion, and steps inside with my friend Robbie, the paperboy.
“Mon Cherie. You are so beautiful! ” Greg confidently announces as he kisses my small hand. I stare at my hand like it is touched by a royal.
Robbie chides,“ Can’t you wait for the party?”
That was two weeks ago, December 5, 1964. I hosted a birthday party for my older brother’s best friend Roe. Greg has visited me every day after that.
It’s Friday night! Greg should be here since we are, “going steady”.
He said he can’t see me since he has to visit his cousin. Oh well… I’ll just go upstairs and write in my diary. Boring Friday night! No other options. Meeting boys is not easy in an all girls’ private academy. I feel restless as I walk toward the stairs. I glance up the stairwell at the expansive stained glass window that is black at night. The foyer is glowing softly from a small lamp on an antique pipe organ against the back wall that is wrapped in dark mahogany panels. As I tip toe toward the stairs, I feel comforted by the peaceful feeling this room emits. The ceiling and walls have embossed designs in leather like wall covering, and there are two carved lion heads flanking the corners of the mantelpiece of the mahogany fireplace to the right of the room. Double sliding doors open to our music room. Our Steinway “ grand “ sits like a queen in front of high triple windows, dressed with white sheer curtains, framed by drapes and valances in dark maroon velvet. It is quiet tonight. I don’t feel like practicing since I think Greg will surprise me by coming over. Oh well, I guess I’d better go upstairs and try to get to sleep. Suddenly, the phone in my room rings and I leap over my diary to get it on my nightstand before it awakens the rest of my family.
It ‘s Greg!
“How is your cousin?” I slide off the bed and walk over to my door to the hall to close it.
“Just great. She’s going to the teen club on Sunday and you can meet her.” “Are we still going bowling tomorrow?” I wonder. I tweak open the door and peek down toward the other bedrooms. Silence, down the hall, and on the phone. I wait.
“Sure, I’ll walk over around seven and we’ll take a Bergen Avenue bus there.” “Great, I’ll be ready, goodnight.” I hang up and sit on the edge of my bed, running my fingers through my long, straight, dark blond hair.
Well, I feel better that he called. I hang up and I push my diary into my drawer after scribbling, “Thank you God for another day. I’m glad I’ll be seeing Greg tomorrow.
We all have our own projects to do on Saturday, so Mom is busy chasing after us. I just want to get ready for my date with Greg at seven! “Who’s going to be there tonight?” Mom prods.
“A group from the teen club, Mom. Greg is picking me up at seven and we’ll take the bus to the Bayonne lanes.” “You must be back at 11:30. Your father and I will be waiting for you, so don’t be late.”
I hope I can be home then. They keep a tight reign on me.
I pull out a brown skirt with a matching knit sweater. It isn’t proper for girls to wear pants, so I feel comfortable. It is almost seven. Anticipating my date with Greg makes me feel like it is going to be Christmas morning. I guess my priorities have changed. The shrill sound of the front doorbell startles me. I run past my little brother Johnny in the hall. He pushes past, bolts down the stairs, and pulls open the translucent curtain on the front door. Greg’s eyes widen like a mouse getting ready to run from a cat. I check him out, up and down. He is wearing a dark green cable knit sweater, and brown slacks, which compliments my outfit.
“Hi, you’re early. Would you like to come into the living room for a few minutes and listen to the radio?” “Sure, he sighs.” I leave the door open a crack since that was the proper thing to do when alone with a boy.
I tune into Cousin Bruce on 5:50 am radio, and the rhythm of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” beckons us to dance. Suddenly, Greg yelps so loud it makes the walls wince. “ Oooo, Ow. My back pocket has a fish hook stuck in it!” Johnny leaps with joy as he runs about the living room. As we are dancing, he silently sneaks up behind Greg and pierces his back pocket with the hook. “Johnny, how could you do this?” I shriek in horror. For about twenty minutes Greg twists and turns to try and undo the mischievous prank my six-year old brother has concocted. Finally, he succeeds and pulls the stubborn, thorn-like hook from his pants. Johnny has nothing to say and joyously runs upstairs. “We have to go.” Greg says firmly, obviously bewildered, and anxious to leave.
“I am so sorry, my brother behaved so badly.” “Fine, I’m ok, let’s get out of here, we don’t have much time. I’m not thrilled that you have to be back by 11:30 p.m.”
We walk quickly and silently up the dark street to get the bus to the lanes. Shadows of bare maple tree branches wave like long arms with claws on the dimly lit sidewalk. I’m out of breath as we step up into the empty bus. Burning gasoline fumes burn my nose when the bus stops. I look inside the crowded lanes. Yuk!
I hate bowling, but it is a group date that’s approved by my parents.
The loud, shrill clanking of the bowling pins reverberate in my brain, and shiny black bouncing bowling balls knock together as beer laden bowlers patiently wait for the pins to be reset. Waiting on a round circular bench is the “Teen Club” group from church. I sit down and put on scuffed rental shoes, and feel out of place here. I do my best when it‘s my turn, but waiting is excruciating, and trying not to get a gutter ball, is a challenge that is uninspiring.
“Hi Mariah, how is the Academy?” A girl with long wavy black hair and a short upturned nose slides over to me. “Greg is cute, isn’t he? We call each other cousins, but we aren’t. Our parents are good friends.” She wrinkles up her nose and nuzzles her head on his shoulder whenever he comes near.
Cousins, I thought. How interesting. Greg couldn’t come to my house because he was visiting his “cousin”.
I couldn’t wait for the evening to be over so I could confront him with it. Everyone is going to the diner afterwards, but I have to get home. Greg and I leave and I am relieved to get away from them.
“Greg, Leanne came over to me, and she told me that you aren’t cousins.” “That’s right. I just call her my cousin.” “But you told me you couldn’t come over that Friday night because you were visiting your cousin, and you lead me to believe that it is an innocent situation. We’re going steady, and Leanne doesn’t know that.”
I feel jealous. It is a new feeling. It is very unpleasant and unsettling. We don’t talk on the way home either, and as I ring the bell on the brightly lit front porch door, I see my Mom through the sheer front door curtains.
He just gives me a hug, and swiftly runs down the steps to walk back home. Mom lets me in. “Everything all right?” she whispers. She can feel the tension.
“Sure Mom, I just want to get into bed.”
Mom turns out the porch light and we both silently share the stairs as we retire to our rooms.
As Dad and I return home from Church, the sky looks like the frosty white beard and mustache of a gray old man, and before we could climb the steps up our front porch, the old gray man dusts the snow from his face and sprinkles ice cold flakes upon our uncovered heads. Decrepit winter is here at last.
“Dear, I’m home!” he announces. Mom is busy in the kitchen, and he continues through the foyer, past the dining room, and through the swinging door into the kitchen. I flee upstairs to my room, up the kitchen’s back staircase, and take out homework for tomorrow’s test. I lie across my bed and lean on my elbows over my math book when I hear our home phone ring. Johnny cracks open my door and I see his fingers grabbing the inside doorknob. “ That guy called you.” “What? Why didn’t anyone call me?” I slowly sat upright, giving Johnny a hug as he jumps on my bed. I silently arrange my books on the bottom of my bed. He smiles impishly and runs downstairs to grab a chocolate chip cookie from the hot pan on the table. I didn’t know if I should call Greg back. I’ve been taught that it is too forward for a woman to pursue a man.
Daytime was still short in January, so I reluctantly retreat to my room and return Greg’s call. I sheepishly await the voice at the stop of the last ring. “Hello“. “Hi, this is Mariah. Is Greg there?” It is his mother, Marge, who always chaperons the Teen Club dances. “Hi Mariah, No, he’s not here. There was an officers’ meeting at the Teen Club this afternoon, but I’ll tell him you called.” “Thanks, Mrs. Preston, I’ll see you soon. Bye.”
As abruptly as the conversation ended, the shrill doorbell disturbs the afternoon Sunday solitude. I touch the cold dimly lit colored stained glass of the huge window on the landing between the first and second floors as I bound down the stairs to answer before anyone else. Through the translucent white curtains covering the inner glass door, I could distinguish a dark outline of a young man. I stop and fluff my hair, pull my sweater over my belt, and check that my skirt is not above my knees. First, I peek from the left side of the curtain. It is Greg! He sees me peek, and he laughs. I am embarrassed as I opened the door and invite him into the foyer. By now, the doorbell has alerted the whole family. “It’s Greg, Mom.” Greg took two timid steps. “Where’s Johnny? Is he hiding anywhere?” “ No, he’s upstairs playing in his room. We’re safe!” He quickly reveals the real reason he visited. “ Mariah, I came to take my friendship ring back. I feel that I am getting too attached to you and I don’t want to go steady anymore. My eyes widen and fill with tears. I turn quickly and swipe them away with my hand. With my back to him, I grip the silver band from my left hand and extend my right hand to him to take it. The night’s emptiness settles into my heart. It beats so loudly; it’s like fists pounding on the ground. Drums echoed through the canyons of my being. “Please go now, I whisper.” I hear his feet retreat to the foyer, and he opens the door and silently leaves. My left hand is barren. I don’t remember how I perform on the next days‘ test, but I find out in school that Greg asks his ”cousin” Leanne, to go steady that very night, and he gives her a gold friendship ring that he buys from another guy. I pretend that I don’t care when I go to the Teen Club to try out for Oklahoma. I get into the chorus and I have fun watching Rob play Curly and Greg play the Peddler. Type cast, possibly? Junior year ends, and I still have the fish hook my brother stuck into Greg’s back pants, and it was not without sensing that I’ve been hooked!

An Everlasting Flower

Losing her memory during the last six months of her life was the most devastating and heartbreaking thing I have ever felt. It changed the way I looked at life, and made me think about how I could become healthier, so I could be there for my own five children and grandchildren in my later years.
She was a teacher of pre-vocational girls for eighteen years, President of the Woman’s Medical Society, a devoted wife, and mother of five children. She was my mother.
Born in 1916, she was thoroughly, a “lady”. During the depression she was very lucky, since her father was blessed with a job at the New York Daily Mirror as a typesetter. His checks were usually divided and shared with those in need. She was the eldest of four girls and attended Jersey City State Normal School to become a teacher. She became the Dean’s personal secretary. Her knowledge of grammar was impeccable and she’d enunciate slowly, “Now, you must say, ‘ It is I’, not, ‘It is me.’” It sounded silly when we stood at the front door and she’d ask whom it was, and we’d say, “It is I, Mom”. No one else talked like that in the sixties.
As children, she and Dad lived around the corner from each other. She had always known about him, and thought her nurse friend might like him so she set up a blind date at an Ice cream parlor. He met Mom and her friend there, and when he saw Mom, they both realized their chemistry was destiny. He enlisted as an Infantry Captain as a medical doctor in WW2 and was shipped to Germany. He proposed to her before he entered the Battle of the Bulge and was honored with two bronze star medals. After the war, they married in All Saint’s Church in Jersey City. Their love and respect for each other throughout their lives was one of the gifts they gave to us. She was his ‘Dear” and he was her “Darling”. I had witnessed their talking through problems without sarcasm or without the need to be the one who would “win”. They both loved and memorized classical literature, and each night our dinner table was filled with discussions about science and about the wonders of Poe or Longfellow. We were blessed with our parents.
Sometime the five of us were overwhelming to her, since she was the first of four girls. Intelligent children are always scheming and plotting the best diversions for Mom’s. We often distracted her with squabbles and she’d call, “Mary, you’re the peacemaker. Could you please see what the commotion is about?”
Morning was a challenge! We all attended private schools in Jersey City, and my Mom stood us in line and braided our waist length hair. She inspected our uniforms for our ties and made sure out book bags left with us. That was not easy. She ‘d be there when we walked home.
I was the first girl, the second of five. There were three girls and two boys. My two sisters and my younger brother became doctors, like my Dad, and my older brother and I became teachers, like Mom. She and my Dad taught us the value of education and that you must do your best. You may not be the best, but you must do your best.
“Doing your best” carried me through life and gave me strength to get through two annulments, while raising two daughters, twin sons and another precious son. Mom gave me the tuition for my master’s degree since I couldn’t afford the tuition while raising five children. Without that degree, I would not have been able to retire early, move to Pennsylvania and marry my own “Darling”.
Mom, I know you are watching over me, and I thank God that you are an everlasting flower. Dad, I know you’d agree!

2012 rubbish

The earth has always gone through changes, and the Mayans’ calender’s last day will not be the end of the world. If we don’t begin taking care of this earth, we will do it to ourselves. The earth will repair itself in 300 years if humans stop ruining coastlines with oil, hydrofluorocarbons, and deforestation. Unfortunately, society will become more mechanized and organized religion will be a thing of the past. Small groups will gather together to worship in their own ways. Breakthroughs in genetic engineering will allow scientists to alter our genes and remove the threat to our lives. If we, as another species on Earth, do not change our wasteful lifestyles and destruction of nature, 2012 will not destroy humanity, we will.

Walk, Don’t Drive

Last night, my husband and I walked down the hill to town to the Opera House to hear county rock. We bought the tickets a while ago, and because our town is a tourist town, there is very little parking. To stay on the topic of going “green”, walking instead of driving is healthy for the environment, your heart and bones, and the lungs of those who live in town. The more you walk and the less you drive, the less you will pay in gasoline and you and your town will breathe better too.

Survival of mankind-Solar?

We are stewards of the Earth. Do you think you can use the Earth’s resources for your own pleasure and needs? The civilized countries, like America, use almost 75% of the Earth’s resources. It’s ironic that the third world countries are more in tune with nature and it’s resources. It is time that all of us begin to use cloth bags for our groceries, put solar panels on our roofs, grow our own food, use natural or biodegradable products for cleaning, and not buy products that come from companies that rape the Earth. We just installed solar panels on our roof and already it is reducing the drain on the power company, and reducing our monthly bill! Residents support the farmers’ market which provides local food grown with no preservatives found in many large grocery stores. Got to start somewhere. We live in the historic town of Jim Thorpe,Pennsylvania, behind the Appalachian Trail. It is the town with the Lehigh River, rafting, whitewater kayaking, biking and hiking. Can you imaging a better place to live? It is called the Switzerland of America and it has maintained the charm of the Victorian era. Many third generation residents recall the history of their ancestors who immigrated from Ireland and worked here in the coal mines or on the railroad. South Ave would be perfect for Solar energy and it would compliment the beautiful “victory” gardens in their yards. Neighbors share their produce with each other, or bring it to the weekly farmer’s market. Soon this town will become “green” and it will be a town that  Victorian mansions and row houses from the 1800’s can be proud to enter into the next evolutionary path for survival. What will happen to America if we don’t ration our heavy usage of oil, gas and electricity? We have the land to use windmills for electricity and the sun to heat our homes. How can the American people survive the rising prices of utilities along with the loss of their jobs and health insurance along with the lowering values of their homes? At least if we got some monetary relief from using natural, clean resources and quicker notification of coming disasters, our world would be less polluted, safer,and our grandchildren would have less birth defects due to the environment. I believe we are killing ourselves with the misuse of the environment to support our extravagant life styles. Mother Earth will revolt, rumble and roar at us very soon. Will we survive her wrath? Survival of mankind will depend upon our continued advances made in production of solar power, less chemicals in our food by having affordable organic produce, and by caring enough to become stewards of the Earth.