Wednesday, December 31, 2014


The final day of the year is upon us.  I chose to stay in my p.j.'s and have been cooking the afternoon away.  My biggest decision today has been whether to have the Turkey Soup or the Marinara Sauce.  The Soup won out an hour ago I decided to throw the potatoes in and finish it off, ready for the table and the tummies whenever hunger strikes.

I don't have anything against the sauce, two of the tummies in the house said they could just eat bowls of it and be satisfied.  I made the executive decision to wait until tomorrow, not only because it is better the second day, but an hour ago I realized I should have made homemade pasta and tried out the pasta machine for the first time.

I have been a bit under the weather since just after Christmas with my stomach doing flip flops.  I had the dedicated help of my nighttime soup stirrers so I got my stocks from the turkey and the ham made and finally felt well enough to deal with them today.

I also have a ham, bean and onion concoction brewing on the back burner, but that is more like a lunch thing, especially since Thomas won't touch it.  Yes, interestingly, my life has incorporated lunch into the mix.  Basically unheard of since my school days (where I ate at at least one of the three lunches I took daily) , or I was working in a restaurant and a break fell upon the afternoon hour ~ which was always rare, not to mention finishing the kids plates when they didn't finish their lunches pre school days.

Christmas went well.  Patrick and Bruce made their usual late appearance and I danced around trying to keep food warm until they arrived.  Oven preheated for the dinner rolls that I know better than to bake before they step foot in the house!  Next year I swear I am going to wait until they arrive to put anything on the table and save myself the stress of reheating more than once!

It was great to have the everyone home.  Everyone but Jeff and his family, who we also got to visit after dinner.  Ainsley got her wish and has a kitchen at my house and a kitchen at her house.  Jeff and her Mom got her a very modern kitchen with a cool upright refrigerator.  I really like it and so does Ainsley!!

My friend Cynthia surprised me with a random visit the evening after Christmas just after dinner.  She has been working two jobs and is one busy lady, so our paths have crossed nowhere.  It was nice to sit and catch up with her.

The holidays have been fun and I am surprised at how quickly the year passed this year.  I have undergone an abundance of changes in my life most of them unexpected, all of them very positive.  The only negative has been the absence of my own personal computer to use at will, but I have worked that out and should be up and running very soon into the New Year.  It has been a blast sharing tidbits of my self with you all and rather miss my time doing so ~

It is my next goal. All I have to do is decide on which tower is available in my price range.  I am checking out NewEgg and their refurbished towers.  Fingers crossed they will have something close to what we looked at before Christmas so I can reestablish my writing routine.

The guys are calling for me to go watch an episode of "Rome" before dinner.  It is a low key night with my family once again and I could not be happier to do what I like best and that is spending time with those I love!
That about sums it up ~ except to say Happy New Year 2015!!!! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014


The Turkey and Ham are in the oven, Gram's stuffing is made, desserts ready to be plated and pie is chilling.  Almost everything on my list is checked off.  I am in pretty good shape this year.  Ainsley came over and decorated the tree (Santa can't leave your present a day early under a tree that isn't decorated worked very well!)

She went to sleep the night before Christmas Eve without any tears and very excited to wake up in the morning ~ waiting until 8:01 to wake me up since I told her we don't do anything related to Christmas until after 8 a.m..  She began to protest at that one, but I told her I made the boys wait til 9 a.m. over previous years.

Thomas woke me up at the ungodly hour of 1:30 to bring up her present from the safety of her eager and prying eyes and kept me up until 3:20. During which time we had to figure out how to "wrap" such a big present.  A gaudy gold tablecloth with a big red bow did the trick and I went to sleep satisfied that it would be acceptable.

Richard had teased her the evening before over dinner saying it was little.  She turned to me and said "Gramma ~ I thought you said it was big as a house," to which I just laughed.  When she saw how big it was her eyes got huge!  I don't think she was disappointed with her new kitchen and grill with all the accessories.  She played all morning with it!

Thomas slept all day yesterday and awakened to his present to open.  He knew what it was and has been just as eager to receive his as Ainsley was hers.  Sadly, the RAM was not compatible with his computer speed so now he has to wait for a return and replacement!

Richard and I are spending our first Christmas together.  It has been fun and different.  We wrapped gifts together in the afternoon.  He was eager for me to guess what he got me and wrote me out clues. It turns out he is like a little kid with a secret who can't wait to tell.

Needless to say, I could not guess from the clues and this morning I was very surprised to find a Pasta Machine under the tree from him!  I should have been able to guess that one but I was glad I didn't. Now I can roll out my pasta dough and finally make those Ravioli's!

It has been a busy week of preparation.  I was happy to have my granddaughter spend wonderful quality time with me.  We baked together, she taught me how to draw a cardinal very creatively which is some of our new "Refrigerator Art".  She made some sand art inside some glass ornaments as well and she seriously beat me in our ongoing Monopoly game.  I do not know who tired who out more!

Today is going to be a breeze compared to all of the baking and cooking I have been doing.  The most difficult thing I have left to do is peel potatoes.  My Gram's stuffing was easy and I think Ainsley had fun grinding the pork in the meat grinder which belonged to my Gram.  She will remember it for a lifetime and  I can imagine her all grown up showing her children and grandchildren some of the "old-fashioned" things which I brought to her life experiences.

I will be having a full table today with two out of three of my son's and their Dad's, Richard and myself for dinner.  I am so happy and excited that it is Christmas and am looking forward to spending my afternoon surrounded with my family.  I will see my eldest and his family later in the day since the wrapping was not finished yesterday so gifts were not exchanged.

I am off to spend some quality time with Thomas before my next task is at hand and before the guests arrive.  Life is good and Family is great!  I hope you all have a day filled with Love, Fun, Family and excellent food!

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Loves ya!

Jennifer "GClawdia" Gallant

Monday, December 22, 2014


Two days into my 48th year and I have come to a huge realization which is that I am glad I had my children young.  After spending two days straight with my 7 year old granddaughter I am exhausted!  I do not know think that I exerted as much energy raising three boys aged 4 years apart as I have over the course of the 48 or so hours, it has been quite a learning experience as well.

One of my favourite moves "His Girl Friday" 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell; Directed by Howard Hawks ~ a great Comedy to top off my next year as I write away.  You must watch this movie if you like good, clean comedy with a quirky storyline.

The Christmas Tree is up with lights and in the light of the tree and t.v. I write.  The lights get a pass and tomorrow I will finish decorating it.  I am down to two boxes which I am assuming are the tree decorations and I hope the Santa Sleigh which accompanies the lonely reindeer waiting to take off for their yearly jaunt.

My granddaughter cannot wait for Santa to come.  She will be back tomorrow afternoon as planned to spend the night again so she can wake up to her "big" present.  She and my youngest son were begging me to give them their presents early ~ each instigating the situation. It was kind of funny to listen to them, although time is long for a 7 year old who is anticipating a big gift and I want the tree to be finished and her present there when she wakes up in the morning.

It was quite a chore putting it together and I am glad it was one of the first things I did to prep for this holiday.  It was the most difficult part with three of us working to get it together.  I will not say what it is just in case she is psychic but it has been hidden down cellar which is the one place she didn't and wouldn't think to look.

She decorated the two ceramic trees and we set them up on a shelf I cleared and we unpacked a the Nativity as well along with two huge tubs of other decorations ~ Santa's and Snowmen, reindeer angels, bells and wreaths ~ all looking for this years placement.  I am looking for time, which is running out ~ but so are the tasks on my lists.

She persuaded us to let her sleep over two nights in a row, which is something she has never done.  She was a trooper but missed her Mom at the most random of times.  I did pretty good at handling a couple of crying sessions which is something I am not used to, but got smiles and she bounced back to her sweet self.

There is still Gram's stuffing which I have never made, pork to be ground, onions to chop, time to cook.  I cannot wait to taste it once again!  I can almost smell it as I sit here typing ~ as well as listening to Cary Grant fast talking Rosalind by the glow of the tree.

I thrive on having limited time to do things, it is when I do my best and I am up for this challenge.  It seems I am and have been in the thick of it and know I can do it.  Add to the mix the physical therapy which is kicking me sideways.  Slow and steady wins the race is my new mantra. 

It will be a miracle indeed, and I do believe in those so confidence I do have!  I am looking forward to having my missing family members around the table on Christmas and have a pretty good meal planned and everyone should be pleased.  No one will be leaving the table  hungry.

I keep checking my list and cannot think of one thing I have missed, but you never realize you miss something until the second you remember it, knock on wood I will not have any of those situations occur.

The only thing I am most worried about is my physical self which is why I am signing of for now so I can get comfortable and rest up for a full day tomorrow.  I am sure it will include the ongoing game of Monopoly with Ainsley ~ it seems I am playing quite the little mogul as she has acquired most of the property and 100 bills which she refuses to trade in for $50.  She is very shrewd and lucky!  I am tempted to pack the game up and restart it but I know she will expect it to be up and for us to continue it.

The movie is drawing to an end which is very fast and distracting me so I am out but...

 ~ remember that Christmas is a joyous time and I hope that wherever you are on your lists that you have a great day full of love and surrounded by your family because that is what it is all about and all of the work is worth it!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


It has been a long while since I put my fingers to the keyboard and shared anything at all.  I think I was last on around Thanksgiving praying for the miracle of my middle son at my table, places set and to my disappointment no arrival. 

While it bothered me to have a couple of empty seats at the table, I was hopeful that my prayers would be answered and lo and behold a couple of weeks ago, my wish came true, thanks in part to my Turkey soup, which he sent his Dad over for and then led him to call and see if there was more available.  I guess the way to a man's heart is his stomach indeed!

 His absence in my life produced an unusual reaction, besides sorrow, it also produced the loss of the little creative voice in my head which allows my fingers to hit the keys and write the words.  I completely shut down along with lacking my own computer to punch away at.

I have had oodles to say, but realize that I have to be in the mood to write and just because I had an hour or so of computer time a day working between my son's schedule and the demands of my days I found that just because I had things to say and wrote things in my head when it came computer time they did not always come back or out at all.

I got to the point where I didn't even waste my time plugging in my mouse and keyboard since there was no point in staring at a blank page which remained blank.  I had access to my sons computer last weekend for a couple of days and did bother to change it up to suit me and found the same thing happening.

So I have been fighting with myself, angry that I have not been able to prioritize my life and my time to suit my optimum conditions to produce anything.  We all know what happens when we start getting angry with ones self, for me, it means a total wall goes up.

So, I think it is safe to say that the Whimsey Show went over pretty well, thanks to the After ArtWalk Party at the Whitney, despite the public tree lighting during First Friday of December which did not produce more foot traffic as anticipated.

Everyone who came like the show and the layout.  A few artists were in attendance and at least one piece was sold!  The following day the Talking Books Event with Stephanie Abrams went off with slightly less attendance than anyone anticipated, but it was a very interesting event for all who were there.

Last Saturday was a travel/adventure day with Richard and I driving to Wassaic to take the train into New York City, Grand Central Station, subways and Chelsea.  You would think at my age and with the short distance from the Berkshires I would have been before, but other than a 9th grade field trip to the Financial District it was all new to me.

It was a eye opening experience and one which I am sure to repeat again.  I loved Grand Central Station and found myself looking up at the beautiful ceiling and around at the architecture and trying to piece it back together to days gone by as I remember from watching old movies.

Throngs of people filled the vast space heading here and there and while I was in line to get a Metro card for the subway I met a woman from England visiting with her son and we had a lovely conversation as the line moved forward.

I spent much of the day walking around looking up and around as we were there to get some architectural photographs for Richards latest series of paintings.  I am sure I looked like a total tourist, but I do not care.

There was a Farmers Market and a bunch of vendors selling goods and people everywhere.  It was much cleaner than I thought it would be and everywhere I looked there were young people dressed as Santa's, girls and boys alike.

We took a bus across town to Chelsea to the district with the Art Galleries and went into a bunch of them.  It was funny to me to see how different art is here in my city during ArtWalk than it is in the Galleries in New York City.  It was rare to see oil paintings, either portraits or landscapes anywhere.  I think two Galleries had paintings and all the rest were a bunch of photos, collages or anime.

It was a very interesting and exciting day for me indeed.  I was exhausted by the end of the day and was ready to board the train.  I could barely keep my eyes open all the way home and was a horrible co pilot during the drive since I had to take medicine after all that.

I am amazingly more set for Christmas than I normally am.  At first I was worried since my middle son wanted "The" gift of the year and the first store had 0 and the second store had 5 but they couldn't find them.  Determined as I was to make my boy happy I scoured every inch of Game Stop until I found the Link Character for his silly little game.

Since I do not do any kind of Christmas decorating until after my birthday (which today is) I am super organized on paper with what I will be doing.  I got the living room re arranged yesterday in preparation for the tree, cleared of shelves for the Nativity and the ceramic trees and today I found the lights I will need.

My Grand-daughter was due to come last night and I planned a Turkey Dinner for her and invited Pat and his Dad since they haven't seen her in a while, but she called in the morning to cancel due to illness so we had a small family dinner without her.

I am calling it a late Thanksgiving since it took two weeks to get my son in his chair around my table.  Believe me I am thankful.  Even though the turkey popper popped and the turkey wasn't done, which I found out when I went to cut into it after letting it rest and finding it needed more oven time ~ so goes my luck and timing! No one was in a hurry and we all finally sat down to enjoy a nice Friday night feast with some of the trimmings. 

With Christmas just five days away I didn't want to go overboard.  This year I finally obtained the stuffing recipe that was part of my entire life minus the past 15 years, stuffing so memorable that I can still taste it.  I only hope I can do it justice!

So Monkey girl is coming over at 4:00 to spend the night and to decorate the ceramic Trees.  Her present is assembled and hidden from her, the boys gifts are locked up and the key is hidden (they are as bad as she is!), baking, decorating and everything else Christmas (except the shopping) is waiting for my birthday to end so that the Christmas spirit can be present in my house.

Words are flowing and with any kind of luck I will be up and ready to go next month if I can shake some money out of the tree for a new computer tower and get back to normal (whatever that might mean!)

Physical Therapy has also started with two visits out of the way and the therapist promising to get me back in shape by the Spring.  It is killing me the next day but slow and steady wins the race in most cases and I hope in this one as well.  I would love not to have arms like lead weights each morning when I wake up.

I am still counting my blessings, more so now than ever.  Keeping the faith and picking myself up when I stumble.  I am off for now ~ miles to go before I sleep (or so they say).  Have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 5, 2014


It has been a month of new experiences, which you all know I love and love to share with you.  Richard and I have been coordinating and hanging the "Whimsey" Show at the Whitney Center for the Arts which will be kicking off tonight during First Friday ArtWalk in Pittsfield, Mass.

We met Linda Graves who delivered her work the other day, along with the work from Gary Lippincott who illustrated the work for a favourite book, Little/Big - which I have had on my shelf for a number of years that she took to get signed for me!!!!

We met Ghazi Thursday night and began the task of hanging the Art for the show.  What a fun time figuring out the layout, making the list and checking it twice, setting up the room, hanging and rearranging the layout and finally going home feeling like all will be well for the show.

We went back this morning after we slept on whether to set up the Colt Gallery or use the last 10 pieces for the last two walls (we opted to keep the art in the same room).  Richard hung the final pieces, I composed the list and Ghazi is busy making the labels.

The prints which are for sale are nicely nestled in an adorable red Sleigh; great gift ideas for the Art lovers in your family by Gary Lippincott, Linda Graves, Kathryn Brown, Dennis Nolan.  

Lauren Mills also has work available, such as Thumbelina Sweeping which comes with a copy of the book which she illustrated.  Jackie Scalzo has some creative notebooks available which were made out of board games which any kid would be envious to have under the tree or in their stockings.

The show opens tonight and runs throughout the month with Gallery Hours Wednesday through Friday 4-7 and Saturdays from 12 - 5 and also by appointment by calling the Whit@ 413 443-0289. 

Kathryn Brown will also be a guest writer for the second "Talking Books at the Whitney" with Stephanie Abrams on Saturday at 2:00 along with Chef Maria Loi via Skype, author of The Greek Diet, Patricia Donaruma Williford, and George C. Kingston along with our very own Stephanie Abrams hosting.  It was a great turnout last month and we hope to see many more in attendance. The event is free and open to the public.

It is going to be a busy and fun weekend!! I am off for now to get ready for the rest of my day.  Hope to see you out and about this evening!

Monday, December 1, 2014


Time is just flying since I last wrote before Thanksgiving and it is now just a scant 19 days until my birthday and 24 days until Christmas.  If these past weeks and months are any indicator then it will be here in two blinks!

I did not get my Thanksgiving miracle that I was praying for.  I was sad, but not bothered when my son declined my invitation to dinner marking it as the first time we have not spent a holiday meal together.

It was bound to happen.  I know his father wishes that he had come, but Tom's Dad came and Richard and I had our first Thanksgiving together.  The food was plentiful and the company good.  We all feasted on Turkey and all of the fixings and the only mishap was the turkey was ready an hour and a half earlier than it should have been!

The Whimsey Show at the Whitney Center for the Arts is on for Friday and I have been observing and helping along the way.  It has been a learning experience.

Today I went along to pick out and pick up Art Work at Lauren Clark Fine Arts in Great Barrington, completely forgetting it was Monday and I had an appointment at 2:00.  When the phone rang and I was on my way back to town to eat some lunch and go at a later time.

Lauren has a fine show of small works going on right now and has some amazing art on the walls, along with pottery, glass, sculpture and jewelry.  I was at the Opening for the Small Works show last week and it was a great crowd.  I can recommend it if you have any art lovers in your family to make sure you stop in and take a look.

Between getting ready for the Art Opening on Friday and all that entails along with the rest of ArtWalk to participate in one would think that that would be enough for one week, not so with me.  A few of my favourite artists will be showing this week with Sally Tiska Rice at Unusual Wedding Rings and Morris Bennett and Anne Roland at Stephen Valenti's Clothing for Men just to name a few. 

Saturday I will be checking out the second Talking Books with Stephanie Abrams, who sent me a note back when I sent her my review of the first program which I will share with you here.

It!s my special pleasure,Jennifer, to spearhead the creation of Talking Books and to encourage my author friends to participate bringing their unique talents from near and far together with local residents and Berkshire Co. Visitors. I envision cresting such buzz-worthy programs that people will cone to Pittsfield and The Whit just to attend another Stephanie Abrams Presents Talking Books at The Whit event. The next "happening" is scheduled for Dec. 6th starting at 2pm. Wonderful authors will share their books and inspirations and mingle with participants including doing book signings! We'll be doing something groundbreaking as well as we talk with, live by SKYPE, globally known Greek master chef, Maria Loi, Food Network star & author of over 30 cookbooks including the Greek Government's Official Cookbook for the 2004 Olympics on Greece & her newest cookbook , "The Greek Diet." Maria's newest restaurant, Loi Seasonal," will open tomorrow on 58th St. between 6th and 7th Aves. In NYC. In addition to her ability to interact with participants at The Whit by SKYPE in Dec 6th, Maria will appear in person on January 17th at the third "Stephanie Abrams Presents Talking Books at The Whit" starting at 2pm. More info to follow about other authors appearing at Dec. & Jan. Programs! Hope to see you there ( mor we'll start RUMORS about you! (shameful plug go my novel!)

 So, I hope to see you all there at the Whitney Center for the Arts for another fine experience!

I am off to relax, have a great day everyone!!!