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Everything is BIG in Texas

It’s been almost three weeks since we arrived back from Dallas and Austin Texas. (Yes, we certainly got out of Dodge just in time!) We are heartbroken for those in Houston who have suffered such great losses. And now the Caribbean & Florida! Many have left and others are hunkered down. We pray you will be all right!

We were in Dallas for my Youngevity’s annual convention. (I’ve been a Youngevity distributor since 2015 when Mialisia VersaStyleTM jewelry became part of YGYi.) Russ and I decided to go last-minute and sneak in a few vacation days.

By the time we made reservations, the gorgeous downtown Hyatt Regency Dallas (YGY’s convention headquarters) was fully booked, so we consulted Hotwire, took our chances and landed at the Omni Dallas Hotel for almost half-price. Not too shabby! After all, it is an Omni!

We arrived at the hotel by a shared SuperShuttle bus. (This shared shuttle was worth the savings; however, you really need to know where they pick up.) We rode into town with another YGY couple, with whom we became fast friends. We had planned to check in, leave our bags and go explore the city because it was just after 9 a.m. – too early to get into our room.

At check-in, Omni personnel told us to go have breakfast, then our room would be ready. They weren’t kidding. Our large room on the 21rst floor with two queen beds and chair & ottoman overlooked a park and you could see for miles. Everything was there – robes, hookups & desk for the computer, water bottles, mini fridge. The bathroom had a big soaker tub, makeup mirror & TV. One detractor – there was no grab bar by the tub and shower.

This Omni has a cool backstory – it is owned by the City of Dallas and managed by Omni. It was totally renovated in 2010-2013. All materials from the demolition were recycled into the walls, glass, steps, lights, brick or even art throughout the hotel. Every room has a separate heating and A/C system which turns back to average after guests leave the room. All plants are watered by recycled water from an irrigation system –a 25,000 gallon cistern. The roof has solar reflectors. In fact, the LED lighting of its exterior and all of these earth-friendly initiatives earned this hotel a LEED award for new construction.

For us, it turned out to be a great place to relax when my YGY 2017 Convention sessions & breakout classes were concluded & before touring or heading out to dinner or evening sessions.

We tried every one of the Omni restaurants:

We had a great breakfast buffet at the farm-to-table Texas Spice. The food is exceptional, fairly priced, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The staff is chef accommodates special requests.

We loved the casual atmosphere of the Owner’s Box, a sports bar and would recommend their burgers, wings and salads. Service was phenomenal (Russ wore his Patriot’s hat here & loved talking sports with the Dallas Cowboy fans! We also liked playing pool here, or stopping by for a nightcap.)

We treated ourselves to a special dinner at Bob’s Steak & Chophouse, with its mouth-watering entrees, decadent desserts & impeccable service. It was a tad expensive, but what the heck, we were here where beef is king! (A perfect restaurant for a special celebration.)

I needed to get to the Hyatt early, so we often stopped at Morsels, a small coffee shop on Omni’s ground level that served a variety of pastries, sandwiches, yogurt-granola parfaits, smoothies, snacks & juice, along with Peet’s coffee, expresso & cappuccino and teas.

828 Infinity poolWant a special place for a drink or appetizer? Stop at the Omni’s Uptown Terrace (bar) which is on the 4th floor by their heated infinity pool & whirlpool that looks out over the city. This is right next to the indoor Mokara Spa and large fitness center, two places we didn’t have time to visit.

Omni desk personnel bent over backwards to accommodate any of our requests. The staff loved Russ’ tall tales and would suggest places for us to visit. We loved Scottie, one of the Omni drivers who shepherded us to the convention and places within a 2-mile radius downtown. (Russ liked him even more when Scottie showed him how to get the Uber app on his phone and use it when he was unavailable.)

When we had time, we played tourist. You can walk the downtown, but it’s unadvisable in the 95-100 degree heat. However, walking provides a better view of the many parks, sculptures and buildings up close. Dallas is an architect’s dream–you’ll see buildings of all sizes and shapes. (Just be aware for your safety –after dark, most of downtown shuts down except for out-of-towners and convention people.)

We recommend taking a trolley or downtown DART bus first to get acquainted with the city. Grab a bus schedule and you can ride most routes downtown Dallas for free. We waited for a trolley one afternoon but it was off schedule, so we tried the DART instead. There were only a few riders aboard and they exited at the next stop. (This was serendipitous because the bus driver, hearing we were from Boston, gave us his personalized tour of Dallas!)

    A Must – the Sixth Floor Museum (book factory) at Dealey Plaza where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Admission provides you with a headset so you can guide yourself through each exhibit. (For Russ and I – who lived through this time—this was reliving history. As we left, Russ concluded, “Oswald could not have been the only shooter.” )
  • Next stop – the grassy knoll – (the only place where panhandlers tried to bother us and sell us garbage. We moved out of their range.)
  • Great escape from the heat – the Dallas Aquarium which has live exhibits of many tropical birds, monkeys and animals, along with tanked sharks, sting rays and the like. Crowded with families, we were delighted by its range of fish and discoveries around every corner.
  • Dinner the first night was reconnecting with my YGY team Mialisia & friends from Canada and then meeting new ones from Saveur Spices from Australia and New Zealand at the Iron Cactus, with its mouth-watering Tex-Mex food. Holy guacamole, it was a fun evening. Thanks to Louise and George Adrian, my upline, for arranging it!

Before convention doors opened the first morning, I looked for my team again. (They were inside setting up the Mialisia part of the YGY store, but guards wouldn’t allow me in.)  

Instead I met new friends Caryl & Dan Parsons, a husband-wife YGY team. Caryl had lost more than 100 pounds and Dan lowered his blood pressure drastically on 90ForLife and YGY products. They were an amazing couple from the midwest.

When I got to the store and was helping out at the Mialisia booth, this woman (out of 2500 reps) came up to me and asked about the jewelry. I was showing her how to wear one piece and she said she would not take off one necklace because her sister had just died. It turns out that we had both lost our sisters on the same day! we became fast friends.

All of the YGY workshops and breakout sessions were so informative, you just kept going until it was break time, when I’d meet friends or Russ, then dive right back in.

At the major ballroom sessions, we’d hear about new products, new developments and get to cheer so many people who received awards.

Marilu Henner asked us to take part in her couples’ session, which we did. As a couple, Russ & I were the worst, only agreeing on three subjects! Watch for her amusing show on TV in the fall!

On to Austin. We grabbed an Uber back to Dallas Ft. Worth Airport to pick up our Hertz rental. We dialed up Suri for directions and headed south on I-35. Once out of the city limits, the speed limit goes to 75 mph. Be prepared for cars and trucks to whiz by you, even when you’re doing a cool 75-80 mph.

Our first stop – Waco – (made famous by the Fixer-Upper TV show with Chip and Joanna.) Well, we found the infamous Silos and the Magnolia store, but on Sundays, everything is closed in this southern Bible belt town – even when Baylor University students were returning to college.

  • Must –sees in Waco: Take a tour of the Baylor U campus. It is very pretty and well-groomed. And now that they have re-done McLean stadium, watch out—football is king here.
  • Try the Texas Ranger museum, next to the Visitor Center. This place will give you an idea of the rangers’ role in this part of the country.

  • Need lunch? Try the food truck village by the Brazos River and the Texan steer sculptures. Or if you’re smart, head to Cricket’s Grill & Draft House. While it is a favorite watering hole of Baylor students with its 183 on-tap beers, you can get a delicious, juicy hamburger, chicken, salad, etc. Our server Zac was eager to please.
  • Shop Magnolia, if it’s open. But for the people who love shopping, be sure to try the Spice Village. You can get lost in this store for hours. They pretty much have everything!

We arrived at our hotel a Hilton Garden Inn North Austin on the outskirts of Austin. Our room was ready and although a step down from the swanky Omni, it was super clean, quiet and offered a huge breakfast with the standard room rate. (Russ loved his Texas pancakes.) We were so tired from touring, we ordered takeout – pizza and salad from one of their vendors. Delicious! We loved it.

Must see in Austin:

  • Do take a guided tour of the overall area. That way, you can choose and pick what you want to see in depth. (There are all types of tours –foodie, music, government, art, etc. Go to the visitor center and choose one.)
  • The duck boat tour of Austin hit the right spot for us. Our Captain Bob was super funny and showed us a side of the town and its history we may have never heard ….like where Michael Dell lived, the funicular he built for his mother-in-law and the indoor water park for his kids. Capt. Bob also noted the bar that refused the Bush girls when they had fake proof. He also gave us stories on where Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock lived. He noted the history of many buildings and the Capitol and where to catch some live jazz or a drink on 6th Street and not feel like we were ancient!
  • Tour the LBJ Presidential library on the University of Texas campus in Austin. The tour is comprehensive – three floors where we relived the time we lived through. It also highlighted the numerous legislation passed while LBJ was a representative, senator and president. Whew! He really accomplished so much!
  • We didn’t have time, but go to their ranch too and Lady Bird’s Park, where she established so much greenery with native plants and flowers.
  • Finally, the best meal of the whole trip was at Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill. It really hit the sweet spot after a long day of touring. We savored every bite of my skirt steak and Russ’ barbecued pork chops.
  • The chef’s secret? Marinating the meat 24 hours, steaming the meat at a very low temperature for hours and the final step, charring the outside on the grill just for a few minutes! Our dark fudge delight that we shared for dessert was devoured! We went back to the hotel satiated and determined to return to Austin…but when the weather is much cooler next time.

All in all, every part of our trip to Texas was met with friendly, helpful people who made us feel at home everywhere we went. Your face ached from smiling so much! We got back just in time before Harvey arrived. We are praying for the people there as they try to recover. It will be a long, long process.

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A smile for everyone

My sister, Pam Woodbury LeRoy, would have loved her wake and memorial service! Everyone she loved the most was there – children Darcy, Curt and Michelle and their husbands Russ and Ed and Kristin; grandchildren Tyler, Cody, EJ, Heather, Ethan, Annie, Gus, Zac and Luke and then Maddie and Hayden Lightly, the 2 she informally adopted; sisters Linda, Cyndie and me, my brother Woodyand our significant others, Jerry and Russ; all of the Stagg cousins, including Danny, the one she partly raised; finally Jack Myer, who represented the Woodbury clan.

Pam’s heart for people was bigger than she was. Fun to be around, she smiled and laughed most. She was the grandmother “Benyen” every kid wanted. Matriarch of the family, she was the first port in a storm, the major caretaker who everyone turned to when they needed help or advice.

“She is family,” we heard over and over again – from childhood and Ramapo Regional H.S. pals (Skip Burgess, Chuck O’Brien, to name a few) to longtime Wyckoff NJ neighbors and friends (Norm Taranto, Steve and Lee Cherry, Steven Rae, the Soumas family, Jodi) to Milford PA neighbors and friends (Mailbox Sue and Fred, Milford PA Garden Club, Curves, Swim Aerobics, Book Club, Mahjong) and even new friends (swim class and upstairs neighbors) from Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Her nail person, hairdresser, a whole contingent of people from Mulberry Drive in PA who said their street was too quiet since she and Lynn, (her longtime husband) moved back to NJ a year and a half ago. Just like in Wyckoff, “there was always a party there. Her door was always open! We missed all of her fun.”

Pam always wanted a Stagg family cousin reunion…well she got one, minus Aunt Hope. Cousin Father Bob Stagg led the meaningful service. Granddaughters Heather spoke of her grandmother’s talents, Annie and Maddie and grandson Gus did a responsive reading. Nieces Kelley Drukker and Alexa Thomas Ingram provided reflections. Woody performed his special eulogy, with deep emotion and then levity, from the ONLY Brother’s perspective. Danny added a funny tribute and Pam’s son, Curtis, closed the house with an amusing tale.


Pam would have relished the parties afterwards. As the wake was closing and the Oakland and Wyckoff Fire auxiliary, Police and EMS departments were saluting her, the fire whistle went off. Firemen including her grandsons and granddaughter Heather rushed to their cars, Cyndie raced to the fire—that was one street away from the family compound owned by Linda and Woody! Everyone got to watch them put it out. The next day as the service ended, the same thing occurred, only now the luncheon was at the firehouse!

This was one of Woody’s main heart-throbs when Derek was a baby. She and Woody are godparents. She had a “batmobile” at the time!

And then, of course, Derek met his Godmother for the first time! (Go to Derek Thomas’ Facebook page for more information.)

Pam must have been guffawing in heaven! She touched so many lives, just by being herself! In her honor, PLEASE LAUGH and SMILE once today.

My brother Woody (Howard Jr.), an avid organic gardener for the past 10+ years, lives with my sister Linda after they bought the family homestead in northern NJ, (the nice part no one knows about these days.)

The two of them are like an old married couple now, dividing chores & it has worked, with few squabbles! (They had young nieces & nephews who were very confused when one of them started dating someone. Even though their mothers explained that they are brother & sister, in the children’s eyes, they were married!)

Woody plans, seeds, composts, waters, tends his yard of divided plots and flower beds like a true Scorpio – all or nothing. About mid-August, much to Linda’s chagrin, because of golfing &salt water fly fishing, he loses interest in weeding & controlling the abundant gardens.

Alexa, Lauren and Dylan hang out in the garden

First Woody started growing plants from seeds & transplanting them. Then came the huge composting drum & the building of a shed – color-coordinated to match the house, per Linda’s insistence. He then designed & built a beautiful patio & put in a fire pit with oil lanterns, (chosen by chief decorator Linda.) Next came irrigation & when critters became a problem, he put in a light & water spray system to scare the deer & any other natural intruders away. He also has an air gun near a window that overlooks the backyard for the pesky critters that brazenly come to forage in daylight!

Next came the honey bees, taking part in NJ ‘s bring back the bees’ program where he has hives on his property & the NJ Beekeeper Association maintains them. (As a reward, he gets to keep half the honey produced & his flowers and plants love it.)

Luke with Bees

Zack and the bees with honey

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Woody’s been threatening to get some chickens for years, but Linda kept saying NO, threatening to move if he did. Well he just built a 2-story mobile hen house & bought six young chickens from a local farme. Linda came home from work to find the chickens. When she looked in the pen, she discovered one small egg. She grabbed it & took it inside for breakfast the next morning.

Linda collects an egg.

My brother named five of the chickens – Alma, Ann, Alice, Cricket, Cathy –after my grandmother, mother, aunt, her daughter & a cousin. For a week, Linda kept bugging my brother… what is the sixth one’s name? Knowing she had lost the battle on having chickens, she suggested he name the 6th one after her. (Once he told her, “You have to be dead,” she gladly gave up that campaign.) The sixth one became Frie-eda, after our cousin Freddy who tragically died too soon.

The six hens are starting to really show their personalities. The largest, speckled Alma, is the first egg producer, with larger, dark brown eggs. “Better start producing,” she clucked. After hearing Woody name them, she muttered,” Ah, shucks, does Woody really think we are pets? What is he going to do when we no longer lay eggs?”

Alma

(In her day, Alma was known to chase after a chicken in her yard, catch it, chop off its head and then pluck it on the backyard step before cooking it to feed a whole household.)

The next pair, pretty white and black chickens, Ann & Alice, strutted by. Ann folded her wings across her chest & started clucking in protest. “My son would never eat me,” she insisted. “After all, he was my youngest & the only boy! Look what a beautiful garden he has here…he took up gardening after me …& he’s got all of my favorites!”

“Puck, puck, puck, puck,” snorted Alice ….”He wouldn’t kill me either! I used to put on the coffee & bring him breakfast treats after I got my husband on the train. Plus, he loved my potato chips & coke when he came to play at my house or sleigh ride.”

One of the two red hens, Cathy, the smaller plump one came rolling down the ramp, all smiles. Bashful, she was proud to do her job, laying two eggs to the other red hen’s one. (Cathy was just happy to be with family again, sunning herself in the sun & smelling the scented flowers.)

Cricket, the other red hen, just strutted down the ramp. She did a little dance around the pen & twirled her feathers. “I really miss that rooster,” she swooned.

“Laying eggs is hard work,” she complained to Alice, her Mom.“You’re no longer a teen. You may be younger, but it’s time you start laying, girl,” Alice warned her. Cricket skittled over to the laying straw because she didn’t want to disappoint.

(My brother says that Cricket is the loudest clucker in the bunch, especially in the early morning hours.) “She lets us know it’s time to be fed. She’s the troublemaker,” he says. “If she keeps it up, she’ll be the first to go.”

Finally, Fri-eda, different from all the rest, rolled sideways, clunk, clunk, clunk, down the wooden plank. “Girls, girls, let’s get our groove on! If we’re lucky, Woody’ll come home &start playing that music on his phone or play that Martha Vineyard radio station while he gardens! He’s a smooth character – I really like his style!”

Oakie is tempted, but follows Woody’s commands!

Kelley Drukker’s dog, Oakie, serves as their guard dog, following the chickens when they are out of their mobile pen foraging for worms and grubs.

Jerry. Linda and Father Bob

The chickens rarely stray far from the property into a neighbor’s yard, Woody said. When that happens, my brother and Oakie round them up by circling them, & march them back to the coop. Sometimes, goofy Gerry Valenta is around & he performs a chicken dance, with arms swinging wide and clucking to help round them into the henhouse.

Alma usually leads the pack, with Cricket bringing up the rear, squawking in protest as she tries to catch up to the pack. (Note, Alma did stray far from the property recently & 30 people looked for her in vain. Just before sunset, Alma strutted back to the patio, complaining loudly to my brother the whole way in a loud squawk.)

Kelley and Michelle in the garden

The adult nieces & nephews are now all jockeying into position to take care of house and chickens while my brother goes away! They understand the environmental benefit to what Woody has done with this beautiful garden and now the free-range chickens. My father Howard Woodbury, grandfather Sydney Woodbury & farmers Uncle Dave Van Blarcom & Helen & Archie Coll are chuckling too!

How’s Linda reacting? So far, so good. She now gathers eggs every morning & night with an attractive (of course) lined bread basket. She makes just one small egg for breakfast most mornings. (People are already plotting to get this fashionista chicken gathering duds – color coordinated in her favorite colors, of course!)

What’s next for Woody’s “farm?”… Who knows? Only time & mother nature will tell.

I called my sister Cyndie the other night after a spectacular Spring day with sunny weather. She said it was one of her worst days! She explained it was the first chance she had to get outside. She was pulling weeds from an ivy-covered stone wall, when she spied a small snake, all coiled, ready to strike.

She freaked out, as any female in my family would…blame it on my mother, Ann Woodbury. She was terrified of three things – close spaces,lightning and snakes. (Even though she often laughed about how she played with snakes in the local creek with her brothers as a young girl.)

My three sisters and I can’t even stand to say the word. (The phobia didn’t transfer to my brother Woody but I know he has a healthy respect for them and gives them a wide berth if he comes upon one like he did when he managed an IBM property in upstate New York years ago.) My older sisters also feared them with a vengeance and when my older sister Pam had a nightmare about them, she used to make Linda, the next in line, search for them in the sheets and covers at the bottom of the double bed they shared when young.

I tried to calm my sister Cyndie down…asking if she could identify what kind it was, assuming it was a non-poisonous, garden variety.

“Are you freakin’ kidding me? I just screamed bloody murder, grabbed my big shovel and before it could do anything, I scooped it up and threw it in the garbage bag with the grass and weeds. Then I ran as fast as I could to my neighbors to calm down and get a big hug.”

Her daughter Alexa and grandson Brock soon stopped by. When her daughter asked where it was, Cyndie pointed to the garbage bag of weeds, now in her huge trash bin. “But Mom, you didn’t close the bag,” Alexa admonished her mother as she jumped back after opening the large trash bin.

“So it is now the trash man’s problem,” I concluded.

“I want to sell my house and move! I’m so upset I just took a drive away from there. How am I going to sleep?” Cyndie said. A widow, Cyndie lives alone and has frequent bouts of insomnia.

“You would be terrified,” she said.

“I’m sure I would,” agreeing with her. But then I reminded her of my encounter with a rattler while hiking as a neophyte backpacker with my former husband in the Mexican Baja desert eons ago. I had reached up to get a foothold on a rock and there it was, sunning itself!

“How could you ever think of going backpacking, knowing they were out there?”

“Hey, it was something new, we existed on one salary and we wanted to see the real desert…”
This was way before cell phones. A bus left us off Friday in the dark on a dirt road and did not come back until the end of our 3-day Sierra trek. We were miles from civilization in the desert.

“Never mind that we nearly lost our lives when the canyon washed out. Never mind that most of our food and supplies were washed away too. Never mind that we slept in a cave with our feet against a ledge until the spring storm subsided. Never mind that we ate chia seeds to feel full because they would expand in our stomachs.

“Never mind that every time I tried to go to the bathroom in the wilderness the vision of more snakes psychologically put a damper on things! My fear of you know what landed me in the ER and I was treated to an upper colon enema,” I recalled.

Cyndie did not want to hear more. She just wanted to go home to sleep.

I checked in with her the next day…she had slept little, and decided to take the garbage bag to the dumpster at work. Otherwise, it would still be there because her own trash pickup wasn’t until the next day.

Logical for her? Yes.

But there was so much Monday a.m. rush hour traffic, she forgot to dump the trash bag at work. It was now dark again, and she was riding home with it in her trunk.

Get up early before trash comes, I advised, and open your trunk in the daylight. I had visions of the wiggly thing in her trunk! I was now starting to get “sn–e” visions of my own!

One of my mentors, Louise, says she’s having a crowd for the Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and her dishwasher stopped working. Her hubby, usually very helpful, seems unfazed by the news. I told her to get him an apron, rubber gloves and to make sure he buys plenty of paper plates and plastic.

Reminds me of last Christmas when my dishwasher went on the fritz between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My landlord assured me he would replace it fast. (I had guests coming in two days.)

Before I left for work the next day, my landlord, my boyfriend and a plumber were lined up to haul the old one out and bring the new one in. I returned about eight hours later to find the old one in my dining area, blocking the way to the hallway. When I questioned my boyfriend, he told me that “someone” measured wrong. My landlord said they would be by the next day with the right size.

Next day, same drill – me leaving 3 strong men, only now with a new dishwasher in the hallway, on my way out the door. I returned hours later to find the old one gone (yes!) and the new one blocking the dining room and hallway. The culprit? The pipes under the sink had to be replaced so that the new fittings (???) fit.

My company arrived. We took them to dinner. When we returned, I used the dishwasher as a place to hang their coats. We ate on paper the rest of their stay. The landlord called me and told me that the plumber couldn’t work on this for at least a week!!! I sent my boyfriend to the store with my list: Festive tablecloth, candles, paper plates, plastic silverware and glasses. Oh, and WINE … the good kind.

I decorated my dishwasher ‘table.’ Company came and went. I ordered lots of takeout. My son even asked me when he visited if this was a new design flow popular on HGTV…walking around my festive dishwasher table to get anywhere in our condo.

Two weeks after he promised, my landlord and the plumber arrived for the big installation. Before leaving, I showed all three men my nails, told them I was going for the spa nail treatment and then shopping. I expected one thing – a working dishwasher when I got home. They all laughed nervously.

I returned home to find my hallway clear. TG, I had a new dishwasher installed under my kitchen counter! When I used it that night, it was so quiet, I thought something was wrong. It wasn’t.

But then I went to clean the floor and started finding screws all over the place. What are these? I asked my boyfriend. He just shrugged and said, “Extras.” “Extras????” Ok, if a DIY was installing my dishwasher, I’d expect to find many extra screws (I have a glass full,) because I know most men hate to read directions….but a professional??? So, yes, my new dishwasher works, although I expect it to just fall out from under the counter some day.

In the meantime, Louise, please send your hubby out for plastic, paper and Wine, yes more wine. Happy Thanksgiving my Canadian friends.

5/14/15 Why They’re Not Asked to Trivia Nights Anymore …. imagesSo two hip seniors are updating each other on what they saw or might have missed on TV the last two nights …

He: So Demi Moore’s and Tom Cruise’s daughter is in the finals on Dancing with the Stars?

She: Demi Moore isn’t married to Tom Cruise. You must be thinking of Cruise because we mentioned him last night at dinner talking about Top Gun.

He: No, it’s because your son mentioned an expose on scientology.

She: No, it’s because I started talking about the restaurant we ate at in Key West called Kelly’s. Kelly’s is owned by Kelly McGillis, who played opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun and yes, he is a Scientologist and that’s why his wife Katie Holmes ran away from him with his daughter while he was making a film in another country. …But anyway, you’re right, Rumor Willis, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’s daughter, is in the finals. She just made the finals.

He: Wow! So, I’m afraid to ask. Who else made it?

She: Riker, the Disney show teen heartthrob your grandkids root for and Noah Galloway, the double amputee veteran who proposed to his girlfriend on the show.

He: So what happened to the Olympian, Nastia, who performed a phenomenal quickstep and came in with perfect scores Monday night???

She: Didn’t have fan base like the others. Voted off… sadly. Hmm, you see Letterman last night?

He: Yes, I did. I couldn’t believe that actress – what she was wearing, what she was saying. She was so funny.

She: What’re you talking about?

He: The comedian with blonde hair from that TV show that flopped and in that movie with you know, the comedian who’s really funny doing some schtick,,,,ooh, ooh,,,c’mon, help me out here…

She: Are you talking about the Letterman Show? He had Julia Roberts on…

He: Oh, she’s one of my favorites. This woman was in that movie with you know…the one whose son of the guy who plays… hmmm, George’s Dad on Seinfeld…

She: Ben Stiller?

He: Yes, now c’mon who was the other comedian…he just makes me laugh so much.

She: Lots of people do, including you and this…

He: Oh, he was so funny and it was so tragic… saw him on a magazine recently…

She: That narrows it down to about 200 comedians. This actress wasn’t on Letterman, she was on ….oh, the comedian is Mork…

He: Right, I meant Robin Williams …

She: You’re thinking of the Night at the Museum …and the actress you ‘re talking about was on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. Yes, she was funny…I saw parts.

He: What was with Julia Roberts…

She: She was talking about Mystic Pizza and how Dave intimidated her when she first came on the show years ago. She also talked about her role as a prostitute in Pretty in Pink….sorry, no that isn’t it

He: That actress’ name on Fallon’s escapes me…she’s in Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 Her new film looks hilarious…..

She: Her movie is with Richard Gere. Do you know the script was much different when she tried out for the film? It called for a very dark ending.

He: Erin Brockovich?

She: One of her best! Oh, Pretty Woman! Luckily, Gary Marshall and Disney got ahold of it and changed the tone. Scripts were written daily and a lot was improvised. Everyone was wowed. The cast and director and people involved recently had a 25th reunion.

He: She doesn’t even look 25.

She: She’s 30. I’m talking Julia Roberts, who’s more like 50 and Richard Gere. Then a couple of weeks after the reunion Julia meets him by accident on a street corner.

He: We’re talking Richard Gere or some other actor?

She: Richard! Oh, just remembered that blonde actress/comedian’s name – (think rebel without a cause) Rebel Wilson…and yes, she is super funny. And honey?

He: What?

She: Dave planted a big smooch on Julia for you.

He: Nice. Any more film news????

She: Pssst…. I love you, but my brain and memory hurt and I’m exhausted. No more today!

Mom on the Spirit of New York at a party 1990's

Mom on the Spirit of New York at a party 1990’s

Happy Birthday Mom, Grandma, Aunt Ann, good friend! Ann Stagg Woodbury would have been 96 today. Her biggest legacy was her five children, 8 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews.

Some of her favorites: everything family – celebrations, babies, children, hamming it up, putting her toes in the sand and swimming in salt water at Lavalette , LBI and Cape May , NJ; going on jaunts with her sister Aunt Alice, her mom Alma Stagg, her daughters –Pam, Linda, Joan, Cyndie, and her son Woody, (she even took him ice fishing) and with her friends of all ages (She kept her friends forever – two sororities for life!)

More than just us: Mom helped Dad, Howard, in his Woodbury Real Estate business and Wyckoff Fire Department in Wyckoff, NJ. She loved going on dates (they were married 60+ years) – vacations, football games, dancing to Frank Sinatra, firemen conventions, parties, playing cards, entertaining.

Her solitary passions: crossword puzzles, knitting, gardening, reading, writing ditties and poems.

Her culinary favorites: Dewar’s on the rocks, or a smooth Manhattan, a hot dog with the works from Clixie’s, a hot fudge sundae with nuts, and a once-in-a-while cold beer with soft shell crabs.

She was known for: Always being dressed like the lady she was; her ready smile, her helping hand, her wry sense of humor, her mischievous playful side, her high expectations and standards for herself and her children.

She taught us: to get along, to respect one another, to be there for each other in good times and bad, to love, laugh and enjoy life. We all have learned much from her.

What’s your favorite memory of Ann Woodbury?