Tragedy and Tribute

Hon, Bmore Energy is a place for discovery, whether it be a story, new recipe, DIY project, photography or anything else I find interesting. As I pursue my writing dreams, Bmore Energy is where I “stretch before I exercise.” Sometimes, though, I break from my blog’s purpose to share heavier emotions. Then again, since this is a “lifestyle blog” and, in our lives, we will be faced with and have to deal with the best and worst situations, maybe emotional posts are actually parts of the whole.

Jaime Guttenberg

Our families are connected.

I didn’t know her, but her dad and my husband grew up doors apart. Her uncle was the best man at our wedding. Her aunt was my sister-in-law’s best friend. The families were neighbors and friends for years. She went to the same sleep-away camp as my children.

Tragedy. There aren’t enough words or the right words or any words for the evil that Jaime Guttenberg and 16 other people faced this past week.

Jaime’s funeral is today.

In Anderson Cooper’s tribute to the victims on CNN, he said each person’s name and “We will remember.”

In memory of Jaime’s love of dance, Misty Copeland, American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, posted this on Instagram.

This one is for you, Jaime 🧡 We honor your life in tonight’s performance. This weekend dancer’s across America will wear orange ribbons to honor Jaime Guttenburg, a 14-year old dancer who was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, FL. Tonight’s performance is for her 🧡#OrangeRibbonsForJaime

Dancers all over the world are wearing orange ribbons in Jaime’s honor, as was reported on ABC News.We’re with my husband’s family friends in spirit. Unfortunately, nothing anyone does will ever be enough.

The resource NCTSN or The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has written guidelines on how to talk to kids about this and other tragedies.

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A Book Called Love

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day for Love, a new picture book written by Matt De La Peña and illustrated by Loren Long. Although this exquisite book is for children, it resonates with all ages. I had the opportunity to see Matt and Loren at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ on the second day of their book tour. When they read Love, I choked up. It’s that beautiful.

“In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.

A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life.”

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.  (Goodreads)

Interestingly, the book has a controversial scene. In it, a child and his dog hide under a piano while the boy’s parents fight. In an interview, Matt said he and Loren were told this scene was too raw and should take it out. Matt and Loren insisted the scene stay. Matt said that a child going through something similar might recognize himself in the picture. If not, where better to explore scary emotions than in the lap of a caregiver? As a response to the controversy, he wrote an excellent article, “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness,” in Time magazine.

Click here to see a beautiful 4 minute video where Matt and Loren talk about their book. Hon, have you read it? Do you have a favorite scene?

Skyping With Spain

Congratulations, Skype-a-Thon participants!

Together, we’ve connected nearly half a million students and traveled over 14,500,000 virtual miles in 48 hours! Thank you to all the teachers, speakers, and students who made this achievement possible.

New Year’s Resolutions are built on foundations laid the previous year. One of the things I did in 2017, and definitely want to do more of, was Skype with classrooms.

Thanks to Microsoft Education and the opportunity to become a Microsoft Guest Educator, I participated in a 2017 global Skype-a-Thon on November 29, 2017.

Map of Spain.

Javier Ramos Sancha, a teacher in Aguilar de Campoo, Spain, asked if I could read to his Year 1 bilingual students. Aguilar de Campoo, a northern town in the province of Palencia, is “a key point on the route of Palencia’s Romanesque heritage.”

Skype-ing with Level 1 bilingual students in Spain.
Sharing stories across an ocean!

Guess who else the students got to meet?

Lucy!

What fun! Thanks Javier!

Earlier in the year, I also Skyped with a classroom in Canada. French teacher Madame Diaz and I have Skyped several times. It makes me so happy to connect with her students.

Thanks, Madame Diaz, for this note: “Hi Naomi, as usual my students LOVED getting to know you.”

Thanks, also, to children’s book author Darlene Beck-Jackobson, who took time to   discuss classroom Skype-ing with me! Check out her blog, “Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life.

Related Post: Skype Hype

Sources: Spain.info, Wikipedia, Microsoft Education

Bookstore for Book Lovers in Annapolis, MD

Old Fox Books & Coffeehouse. Photo credit Yelp.

On a recent trip to Annapolis, MD, my sister introduced my youngest daughter and I to Old Fox Books & Coffeehouse. The “Welcome” on its website says, in part,

We believe in the power of stories to inform our humanity and in the value of a third place, where unrelated people relate in healthy public life. Books are gateways to all the great ideas.

You know what I say to that? Amen!

The first thing my sister showed us was…

…the space under the spiral staircase, where a sign says “Harry’s Room” and Hedwig perches in a birdcage.

The second thing she pointed out was…

…the coffeeshop. Photo credit Yelp.

The part of the store she knew I’d love the most was…

The children’s section. Photo credit Yelp.
Quirky accessories fill the store.

Comfy chairs, antique furniture and quirky accessories invite customers to stay in this enchanting shop. Too bad we had to go, but guess what I discovered on the way out?

A mouse house door.
A room inside the countertop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dollhouse sized library! Omg–too cute!

Next time I’m in downtown Annapolis, I have to check out these two bookstores as well:

The Annapolis Bookstore 

Its website says it carries “a vast collection of used, new, and antiquarian books, as well as amazing cards, games and puzzles, and interesting ephemera. ” I love this quote on the “Children’s Page.”

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” — Victor Hugo

Back Creek Books & Antiques

Reviews say this unusual, friendly, refined, tidy, gem of a shop is the place to find rare and higher end books, signed books, classics, prints, postcards, and an old world charm made up of the scent of aged paper and the owner’s passion.

Click here to read an Interesting article about all three bookstores. Yay for independent booksellers!

Hon, do you have a favorite independent bookstore? 

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice

Cure for the Cold Weather

If you like chicken pot pie or risotto, then this easy chicken dish is for you. I was looking for a new crock pot recipe and found this “creamy stew” by Eileen Goltz . Her recipe calls for kosher breakfast beef but, since I have no idea what that is, I took it out! (Maybe it’s fake bacon or “F-acon?” Lol!) This yummy recipe not only made the house smell great, it warmed us up on another night in the “Arctic Zone” aka New Jersey!

Happy cooking, hon!

Gather ingredients.
Cook chicken for a few minutes, and then add onion and carrots to the skillet.
Cook chicken, onion, carrots and broth in crockpot.

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces (used 6 chicken breasts)

1 chopped onion

2 chopped carrots

4 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

1 1/2 cups wild rice

1/2 cup parve sour cream (I used Tofutti sour cream. I assume you can use regular sour cream if you want.)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, cook chicken for 3-4 minutes. Stir in onion and carrots for just a minute and then place mixture in the crockpot.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the broth and parve sour cream and mix until smooth. Add marjoram to broth.
  3. Pour the broth over the chicken in the crockpot. Add the wild rice. Cover crockpot and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes. Reduce crockpot setting to LOW and cook for 6 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked and rice is tender.

Yield: 6 servings.

Related Posts:

Crockpot Pepper Steak

Still Chilly Chili

Warm From the Inside Bean and Vegetable Soup

What is a Bomb Cyclone?

Snow Selfie of me and one of my daughters.
Me and Lucy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the slopes with another daughter.

I’ve never heard the term “Bomb Cyclone” before, though apparently that’s what hit the Eastern Seaboard today. I actually love a good snowstorm when our house becomes the “sledding house.” Today, the wind is whipping and the snow isn’t fluffy. As soon as the wind dies down, it’ll be all-hands-on-deck to shovel and scrape.

But first, hot chocolate anyone?

What exactly is a ‘bomb cyclone,’ or bombogenesis?

 

When discussing the storm, some weather forecasters have referred to a “bomb cyclone.” Calling it a bomb sounds dire, but such storms are not exceedingly rare — there was one in New England recently.

What makes a storm a bomb is how fast the atmospheric pressure falls; falling atmospheric pressure is a characteristic of all storms. By definition, the barometric pressure must drop by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours for a storm to be called a bomb cyclone; the formation of such a storm is called bombogenesis.

Here is how it works: Deep drops in barometric pressure occur when a region of warm air meets one of cold air. The air starts to move, and the rotation of the Earth creates a cyclonic effect. The direction is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (when viewed from above), leading to winds that come out of the northeast — a nor’easter.

That’s what happened at the end of October, when warm air from the remnants of a tropical cyclone over the Atlantic collided with a cold front coming from the Midwest. Among other effects then, more than 80,000 customers in Maine lost power as high winds toppled trees.

A similar effect was occurring Wednesday, as warm air over the ocean met extremely cold polar air that had descended over the East. Pressure was expected to fall quickly from Florida northward. nytimes.com

Check out this cool image of the Bomb Cyclone from space by the NOAA and posted on The Verge.

Image of the Bomb Cyclone from space.

Bubbly and Black Flies, a Mystery

Tuscany, Italy.
Tuscany, Italy.

It all started in Tuscany.

In August 2016 while traveling in Italy, my daughter Morgan and I took a day trip to Tuscany. We toured two vineyards and an olive oil farm, enjoying a lovely meal prepared by the owners of the smaller vineyard. Once we returned to the U.S., we excitedly awaited our shipments of wine.

Fast forward to Spring 2017. In Brooklyn, Morgan’s roommate was enjoying a quiet day when, out of nowhere,  POP! SPRAY! SPLASH! a bottle of wine exploded! It was wine shipped from Tuscany. The cork popped out and the wine sprayed all over the kitchen. How very strange!

Fast forward again, to Summer 2017.  In New Jersey, our house was plagued by black flies. Not small house flies but big, bluebottle flies. Yuck! We closed doors and windows, cleaned fastidiously, and “disposed” of as many as we could. But they kept on coming. Hubby and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from.

One daughter who doesn’t like bugs of any kind, wore a hat in the house and hid in her room.

Another daughter who likes some bugs, practically dove into her cellphone.

Our dog Lucy caught and ate some. They wiggled in her mouth! Double yuck!!

Still, Hubby and I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. It was a mystery!

Then, out of nowhere, they were gone.

A few months later, in preparation for Thanksgiving, Morgan was choosing wine and happened upon an empty bottle. “Who drank a bottle of wine and put it back empty?” she asked.

“Who indeed?” I wondered.

Hubby hadn’t and neither had any of my daughters. It was a mystery!

Then Hubby had an epiphany. “Remember those black flies? I bet the cork popped out of that bottle the same way it did in Morgan’s apartment. The flies must have been attracted to the wine.”

We checked the label and, sure enough, it was a bottle from the same winery as the exploding bottle in Brooklyn. Mystery solved, except for one more mystery…

Do you think the flies got tipsy from the wine?

Why would corks pop out of a bottle? Here are some possible reasons:

A cork would start to pop out of the bottle only if the wine or pressure inside the bottle started to expand, and that only happens at temperature extremes of hot or cold.

 

[Corks popping out of bottles is] more than likely caused by either: (1) not allowing the fermentation to complete all the way before bottling, or (2) adding sugar after the fermentation to sweeten the wine, but doing so without adding a wine stabilizer.

Barrels in Tuscany.
Me and Morgan in Italy, August 2016. 

Sources: Wine SpectatorECKraus, Ehrlich