Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Right off the boat"

Have you ever looked at an old photo and been transported right back to that day?

Tonight I was looking through some old photo's and came across one that filled me with such love and joy. Words can not even come close to describe how this picture makes me feel when I look at it.  It was captured at a time in my life when the whole world was fresh and new and I had no idea what my future would hold....and that was good!  

I remember the trip down to the dock that day.  My Grandpa was going "back to the old country" to visit.  This was the late 60's.   Grandpa had been in America for 40 some years.  This was pretty exciting for me.  He was going back  to Italy by boat, the same way he left.  We all went down to the docks to see him off that day.  I love this picture of my great Italian family. I love my Grandpa.

I think we were able to get on the boat before Grandpa left, but I don't know if it is a wishfull memory, or if it was real.  I love this rich part of my history.   What really warms my heart and fills me with such Joy, is.... Mom and I are dressed alike!   How really great is that! My Mom left us way too young.  I spend lots of time daydreaming about having as close an adult relationship as she and my Sister had.  On days when I come across something like this and see our matching outfits ~ I know we would have been very close...and it makes me happy, so very very happy.  As if this isn't enough to be dressed like my Mom, throw in the fact that she made the dresses she, my sister and I wore that day! (she and Grandma made most of our dresses ~ if not all back then).  You always can pick out my beautiful sister, she's the only redhead in the family!  I'm not sure about my cousins Sandy and Regina's dresses. ( I wouldn't be surprised if my talented cousin Sandy made them!). 

Please keep in mind that since this blog belongs to me, I am very selfish here and everyone in the photo also belong to Me!   By now you have identified me and Mom!   Grandpa is the stylish Italian Gentleman in the middle!  You've spotted Carol.   The little guy up front is my brother Andrew.  (we called him Peewee then and Ange now).  Ange was named after Grandpa.   "Andrew Gagliardo".  It was always his proudest possession.    The gentleman to the right is Mom's older brother, My Uncle Dom and his wife, my godmother and Aunt Angie.  The other girls are my cousins Sandy and Regina.   The tall young man,  my cousin Michael, who was always the coolest guy I knew.  My cousin Pauly is missing here.  I wonder where he was that day? Probably playing baseball or football or something.  My Dad was working and didn't make the picture and I don't know where Uncle Nick and Aunt Gen were.  I have no idea where Grandma was.  My neighbor, Mrs. Lambert took the photo...  another story how I remember that.

...My Gagliardo Family right "off the boat".   I really think we did get on the boat for a little bit, and then off ~ we could actually be on the boat in this photo.  They weren't the cruise ships of today back then.    I'm going to have to ask if anyone remembers...

I love that the time between when this photo was taken and today is around 40 some years, about the same amount of time that passed between when Grandpa left Italy in the early 1920's and when this picture was taken in the late 60's.  It makes me think that it is good that we don't know what the future brings.  I think about the things that happened in Grandpa's life, in the 40 some years in this country.... and I think about the things that have happened in our lives in the 40 some years since this picture was taken.  I love the feeling of love and hope and joy I have when I see this picture, and not having any idea of what would come...

It's funny how things happen.   Who knew back then that photography would play such a big part in my life?   Who knew I would live in the same town that George Eastman had so many years before?  Who knew I would spend my days taking photos?  I wonder if Grandpa did. I always thought he was a very smart man.   I have all his old photographs and I have the camera he used on his trip back to the old country...some of my proudest possessions.

I love my Grandpa.   I may be 50 something years old, but I am transformed back to the 8yr old in the photo and remember Grandpa's love for all of us.

It is also fun for me to look at this picture and see such style, the colors, our clothes... people try to create this look fun!

...but most of all I love that my Mom and I are dressed alike!

I am feeling such a sense of responsiblity to document our family for Carol's kids and grandchildren.  It's fun to find family photos like this and explain what our life was like then as best as I can remember.   That's the great thing about memories... they're mine and no one can ever take them away.

Well another late night of blogging.   Sadie and Jay are both snoring away.... time for me to join them!  


Thursday, November 17, 2011

I believe...

I believe people are good.... people want to be good.....I believe everyone has a best friend...People become best friends when they see things they like in one another,  I believe that everyone has good in them.

I believe the only control I have in life is over myself.  I believe I can choose the direction I go in.

I believe in integrity and the things I stand for.

I believe if you wake up each day,  it's a good day! 

I believe we are a mirror to those around us everyday.   We will reflect back to them, what they show us.  I believe those around me are also a mirror for me, so why not give something good to reflect back...

I believe that it will all make sense, somehow, someway, sometime.... It will all make sense.

I believe if the differences in others is too much for you, you need to go in another direction.  I believe that only you can gage what you can handle in others.  Sometimes it just becomes time to move on.

I believe we all are doing the best we can at any given moment. 

I believe in reality.  I believe that life can seem to complicated if we choose to look at it that way.  I believe that we search to hard to find things that are right in front of us.  I believe when we stop looking we'll see it was right there in front of our eyes.

I believe in all the people I love who are a part of my universe.... I love my universe...  the good, beautiful, crazy, mixed up, wonderful, happy, colorful and rich life that I call mine.

It has been a crazy, crooked, torturous road that has led me to this beautiful world I call home.  I love being home.        

I believe Sadie just gave a heavy sigh in my ear indicating it's getting late and she is ready to go upstairs to bed.   I believe it is important to listen to you dog.    She is the wisest person I know!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Buenos Aires, Argentina...

We made it home safe and sound!  Another continent to add to the list of "been there!".   It was a quick trip, we never had time to leave the City.  What a city is it!  It has a population of about 3 million.  Argentina has a female president ~ Christina Fernandez de Kirchner and she lives in Casa Rosada!  (The Pink House) in Buenos Aires. 
"The Pink House"
How cool is that?  Elections are soon.  I'm backing Christina!  We know she's running as we watched people putting up posters supporting her like crazy. 

                                            The changing of the guards. 

  Evita's Wedding Dress and Wedding Portrait!  (even though Jay wouldn't let me 
   sing, I did sing silently to myself when I saw the dress!  don't cry for me....)

We arrived at 11am in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, couldn't check in to our hotel until 2pm, so we wandered around ~ very tired Americans...  On Thursday I wanted to see a Palace, so we walked to Casa Rosada only to find we couldn't go through it.  Thursday night we were your typical tourists and went to an Argentine Tango Opera.  It was really fun (I know touristy but hey we're tourists!).  I love watching Dancing with The Stars so much that Jay thought it would be fun for me to see a real Tango show.  He was so right, it was fun.   Amazing!  I'm going to really be able to rate the dancers now that I know what a real Argentine Tango looks like!  It is nothing like on DWTS.

We had until 5pm on friday to wander.  I was so looking forward to seeing the southern sky while we were down there.  I wanted to see how different it was, or if you could tell you were in the southern hemisphere.   Unfortunately we didn't leave the city.  It was either clouds or city lights that prevented us from seeing stars, so on friday we decided to go to the planetarium to see if we could catch a show.  We walked until I couldn't any longer and we took a cab once we were halfway there, only to find the it was closed for remodeling.  Oh well! 

Jay had to work Friday evening and all day Saturday.  Saturday morning I sat at a local spot and drank  cafe con lache.  Oh how I love cafe con lache!  It was almost as good as the cafe con lache that Jay's Mom makes.  After sitting and people watching for a while, I hit some local shops and came upon a street celebration....

Oh such fun!  And so, here are some of my favorite shots from the trip.

Our hotel room view!
Before our trip, I spent a lot of time looking at Buenos Aires photos other people have posted.  I challenged myself not to duplicate what I saw.  Wednesday was a very grey day.  It was raining all day.  They even had some sleet. Thursday was cloudyand rainy on and off.   Friday the sun came out and there was a very pretty blue sky.  I was able to practise shooting in high bright sun...

Traffic!  Lots and lots of traffic. Notice ~ no real lanes.  The really crazy thing is the left turns from right lanes and right turns from left lanes.  Amazing. 

On our way to the planetarium, Jay and I walked to United Nations Square. This was the one thing I had seen a picture of and wanted to see in person.   It is made of stainless steel and aluminium.  It represents a flower.  The petals open each day and close each evening.  It is controlled by a hydraulic system and photo-electric cells.  It's name, "Floralis Generica".  It is beautiful!

We also saw lots of dog walkers.  I tried to count, she had at least 10 puppers.

People had told us that meals all consist of beef and more beef.  We did find that to be true.  This is the sweet little family owned resturant that we ate at.  The beef is family raised. as well as the wine they serve is from their own winery.  The meal was to die for!  It was delicious.  Below is a shot of how they cooked our meal.  Each meal was served on the dishes you see in at the top of the photo with hot coals to keep it warm.

Buenos Aires is beautiful.  The architecture incredible.  I was so intrigued by the contrast of old and new.

... and then the palm trees... to know me is to know I love palm trees.  I will not bore you with all the pictures I took of palm trees, but here is one of my favorite shots...

It was spring when we got there.  We learned that the climate is more like that in the Carolinas rather than NY.  I had packed all wrong.  I think I packed for summer and was so proud of myself for not overpacking, until we got there.  Oh well.  I did have comfortable walking shoes.  Good thing.

 Well Sadie girl was well cared for.  She had Josh during the week and Mike, Mark, Marci and Jimmy on the weekend.  From what I can tell, she was spoiled!  I approve of that.

Well thanks for reading.....  Visit soon.    


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buenos Aires ~ October 13, 2011

Planes, trains and automobiles.  I should know that long distance travel involves planes, trains (buses actually) and automobiles and lots of them for long periods of time.  I should have remembered that from our trip to Mt Fuji. 

It was a looong haul getting here!  We left home at 11 am on Tuesday, flew to Newark, NJ.  (I think we flew over Housewive's houses~ saw some pretty impressive ones from the air).  In Newark, we took 2 buses, (not one ~ but TWO) from our first plane to the plane we had to transfer to.   Then we flew to Dulles, (that's Dulles, not Dallas).  We had a four and a half hour layover there!  Oh my..... 

We boarded our plane at 9pm, took off at 10pm..... and flew.  This is the first time I have flown internationally in 10 yrs.  I didn't realize that "First Class" now has beds!  Oh yeah!   "First Class" passangers have their own little cubical with a comfy chair that turns into a bed!  No, we did not fly first class.  We flew economy.  "Business Class" is not quite as luxurious, but their chairs also turn into beds.  Then there is "Economy +".  "Economy +" gets 5 extra inches, no beds.  Then there was us ~ Economy.  The worst part about it, is they made us walk through the other areas before getting to our economy (sardine can) space.  It worked, at the end of our flight, we decided to try to upgrade to "Economy +" on the way home.

Sardine can aside, I do love traveling with Jay.  I love the getting there process with him as much as the being there with him.  Although I must say this is our first trip since we have been married without Tracy.  (It's going well).  ~ This trip, I decided to pay attention to why I love the process of "getting there" so much with Jay.  When I am with him, I feel like I am home, wherever we are.  Then there is the part that he focuses so much on me.  I mean he dotes on me.  If I cough, he is concerned that something is wrong.  If I look the least bit uncomfortable, he tries to make me comfortable. If things don't go as planned, he doesn't get upset, he handles it with a smile.  If things REALLY start to go wrong, he sings.   He is friendly and helpful to everyone and everyone enjoys talking to us. Even when things go really bad.  (like when we thought we lost our credit card last night). When I think about it, this is how our everyday life is.  When we travel it's hightened!  I love this man!

Okay, Argentina..... we arrived about 9:30 am Argentine time on Tuesday October 12.  We made it through customs and caught a cab to our hotel.  The first thing I  noticed (besides the cab drivers belong on a race track) is that this place reminds me of a mix between the Bronx and Puerto Rico.  That's a good thing.  I love Puerto Rico and some of my favorite people started out in the Bronx.  Like my Mom and Colin Powell.  What does Colin Powell have to do with Arentina?  Nothing ~ he is just one of my personnal heros.  He's right up there with Springsteen, Hemmingway and Micheangelo.  The other men in my life!  But I digress.  Back to Argentina.

The Bronx because of the houses and all the people!

It probably reminds me of Puerto Rico because everyone speaks Spanish, Jay does all the talking and I smile and nod.  Sometimes I say "ah ha" when people address me in Spanish.  All the billboards and signs here are also in Spanish, just like in PR.  Which is good, cause I know what they mean!  I know my Spanish sight words!   Yay ~  I'm a Kindergarden Spanish reader!

We got to hour hotel after a very interesting crazy cab ride.  I must say though, he was a very good looking dark Argentine Man.   Most roads don't have lines ~ lanes marked on them.  Jay said because no one stays in any lane, so they saved $$$ on the paint.  They can squeeze cars into the tinyest spaces. 

Once we got to our hotel and checked it, they told us we couldn't get in our room until 1400. (at leat 2pm). Two and a half hours..... we had not showered, changed or stretched out since 11am the day before.  Here we are in this unknown City left to waste 2.5 hours.  So we did some exploring.  We found the equivalent of a local farmers market.  That was fun.  It was mostly outside and it started to rain.  Has been raining here all week and is suppose to continue all week.  So the pictures are going to be cloudy and grey!.

When we changed directions we found what appears to be similar to 5th Avenue in NYC.  Great place to shop.  I did mostly window shopping.  2pm we think is was lunch time here, because the crowds were huge!  Very congested!  Like a Toyko Train.  People to People. 

Last night we ate our first Argentine meal.  It was delicious.  I have to say, they have been meeting my food needs nicely here.  I was able to get a big salad for lunch.   Dinner, I was able to get a big plate of grilled veggies!  Argentina is known for it's beef  ~ and Beef we had for dinner!  We found a great little famly owned place to eat.  The beef family grown.  They cooked it on an open coal grill.  Oh it was so good and the service impecable!    Then came our first heart stopper of the trip..... Jay went to pay and he couldn't find his credit card.  He had it earlier, but now it was gone.  Jay doesn't panic.  We did some back tracking.  Oh, we paid cash for the meal.  (only $80 for two huge steaks, a large plate of grilled veggies, a bottle of wine, a bottle of sparkling water and a beer ~ not bad!)
When we decided the card was gone and we exhausted all possiblities of where it could be, Jay decided to call and cancel it.  He tried, but for some reason, the blackberry system was down and he couldn't get through.  Good thing.  This morning, it came to me that when we checked into the hotel, the girl handed back the credit card with our passports.  I checked my passport and there it was!  Last night I only checked Jay's passport, didn't think to check mine.  Our angels are doing a good job!

Well today who knows.  It's very cloudy and is raining on and off.  We shall see what the day brings.

I can't get on Facebook.  For some reason the hotel browser blocks it.  Can you believe it?

I miss Sadie and everyonce in a while, think oh Tracy would love this!  I am loving my husband here and am enjoying this new adveture. Check back again for more updates.....

Oh wait, I almost forgot the first thing I checked when we landed here in the Southern Hemisphere of the World..... it's true, the toilets do flush counter clockwise.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Buenos Aires Here We Come!

I love traveling with my husband!   I'm not just talking about the destination part, but also the getting there part.  I don't know, there is just something about it that I love!  maybe it's him and I in a crowd of strangers and the closeness I feel?  I'm not sure, but I do love it!

Today we are heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Jay is going for work, I'm going because I can!  The traveling part is 24 hours door to door.  I'm not sure how much I am going to like it on the way home, but I am looking forward to the next 24 hours and then some.

I have never thought of or had a desire to go to Buenos Aires.  But it sounds exotic doesn't it?  Then again, I never had a desire to go to Japan and when I had the opportunity to go with Tracy, I just loved it!

Speaking of Tracy.  This is the first trip Jay and I are taking since we have been married with out Tracy....  I'll miss him!

One of my biggest worries when we travel is Sadie.  Back when Andrew was alive, I never worried, because I knew she would be well taken care of, in fact probably better taken care of then I would do. (as if that's possible!).  This trip, I am not so worried,   My stepson Josh and nephew Mike are staying with her.  I have no worries.  I feel like they'll do just as well as Andrew would have. 

So, Buenos Aires.  I have no idea what to expect.  It is suppose to be very European.  We shall see.  Since Jay is going for work, we should have internet connect, so check back for some updates on our Excellant Adventure!

                        Gotta go spend some quality time with Sadie before I leave!  


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jamie & Eric

Have you ever come in contact with a family who felt like an extension of your own, not through marriage or anything, but through friendship, goodness and heart? This summer Kristen and I had the honor of documenting a wedding for a family who have become an extension of our very own! Jamie and her family are what I love most about this town!

This spring Jamie's mother called and asked if I was available August 20, 2011 to shoot Jamie & Eric's Wedding. It didn't matter if I was available or not, for them I would make myself available! I was honored they asked me. My husband knew how important this wedding was to me, so much so that he went and ordered the new D7 I had been wanting to upgrade to just so I would have it for their Wedding!

It was a beautiful day here in Rush (although a bit hot!). Jamie was radiant and Eric was beaming. From start to finish the day was perfect!

Here are just a few of my favorite shots.....

Ohhhh, they are so perfect together!

I Just Love Dan & Melissa in the background here!

I can not help but have a dog picture whenever
the opportunity presents itself!

Jamie dancin' for her Man!

Lisa & Danny Celebrating their 6th Anniversary that evening!

My beautiful niece Kristen and her "oh so good looking husband",
Jeff (he pays me to say things like that!).

Jamie & Eric ~ I wish you a lifetime of love, happiness and fireworks! Thank you for letting me
share in your day & your family.  I loved every minute of it and
 am so honored to have been a part of it all!  


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sisters, Best Friends & People who mean the world to Us

Today I spent the day running around.  I always find myself thinking crazy, deep thoughts when I'm alone in my car.  Today was no different.................................

I got to thinking about Sisters & Best Friends and the significance of the relationship those titles allude to.  When we introduce someone as our sister, it is someone we are very close to. Someone we grew up with, confided in, someone we love.  Then I got to thinking, sometimes people might not "get it" and we go on to explain,  "she's my sister and my best friend"  as if being sisters doesn't convey the strength of the relationship.  I realize that there may be people who have sisters that they aren't that close to, and best friends who are closer.  To have a sister who really is your best friend, oh my goodness, there is nothing quite like it.  Having a sister is one of God's greatest gifts. I am so fortunate to have had Carol for the first 46 years of my life, and I am incredibly grateful for the gifts she has given me.  While we are different in many ways, we are the same in others and I always like to think, together we were the best of our Mom.

My thinking didn't stop there, oh no,  I went on to think about when we introduce our best friend to people.  For friends we are really close to and have had in our lives for a long time, "best friend" doesn't always convey the significance of the relationship.  So we take it one step further and explain, She's my best friend and more "like a sister".  I am fortunate enough to have friends who I explain they are "my family",  I count myself lucky to have those relationships.

Isn't it funny how the words and titles we use, when used alone don't always convey the depth and significance of the relationship &  have to use the other to strengthen it...

I think this can be said for any close relationship whether a sister, mother, brother, father, aunt or uncle.  I know when I tell people Kristen is my niece, I want them to know, that she is oh so much more to me than a niece,  She's also my sister, my best friend and lately she's been reminding of my Mother!  She has so many of my Mom's qualities.  It's amazing.  I just love seeing it.   Maybe Kristen and I are the best of her Mother (my sister) and my Mother (her Grandmother) ...  I love that thought.

I could write for days about my sister and the amazing relationship we have.  I won't tonight for I choose to keep it close to my heart.  One thing I know for sure is that the joy of the relationship is why there is so much pain when the relationship changes.  My relationship with Carol is still as strong as ever in my heart, the change is that I can't have the two way, out loud conversation with her that I had most of my life.

I wish you all the love of a sister and strength of a best friend, the joy that makes the pain worth it..........

August 2011 has been an interesting month.  Lots of things have happened this month to bring Carol (my sister and best friend) to the fore front of my mind. 
It has been a great month having her spirit so close.

Carol & Kristen 2005  <3

Before I was anything else I was Carol's little sister
                                                                                     aka ~  Janet

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our Little Max Man

Tonight was my first solo night with Max.  How great it was....

There is nothing better than cuddling with an infant. Oh my goodness.  He is so so sweet.  My little Max Man.   I could go on, but won't.  I'll just get to the photos, 'cause ya know I had my camera.  Max's Mother does take tons of pictures of the little man and so I had to challenge myself to try something different with him.   Let me know what you think, (don't worry I won't share the 240 pictures I took of him, I'll just share my favorites)

                          And so, folks,  I'd like to introduce you to Max!


 I hope you enjoyed meeting Max.... Oh and the lovely embroidery,  done by none other that Max's Mom, Kristen! 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesdays are "Nana Days"!

Okay folks get ready... for the next couple of weeks, Wednesdays are "nana days".  I'm the nana and Jamison and Colin are mine, all mine, all to myself for a few hours each week.  Heaven!

There is nothing that melts my heart more than when I walk into daycare to pick them up in the afternoon and they coming running to me, arms up, calling "Naaaa Na".  Oh I love it.  For a brief minute, I am the center of their universe. 

Tonight we made pizza.  I think all the fun was in the making, because Sienna, their pupper ate the most.  Colin ate the toppings and Jamison had a bite or two.  Oh well.  I remember my mom saying, kids won't starve themselves.  If they are hungry, they will eat. 

We did have fun (I did anyway) and  I can't help but share the fun with you....


Sienna.... Lucky dog!

Don't cha love those eyes!  I do...

Stay tuned.... next week we're going to Micky D's playland on Nana Day!

                                         Home to Popi Jay and my Sadie Girl.


Monday, August 22, 2011

I believe....

I believe in love,  I believe that if you do good, good will come to you.  I believe in God.  My God.  It is a very personal relationship, it's my relationship with him.
I believe in friends.  My friends.  I believe in dogs.  My Dog.  I believe in pets, all pets.

I believe that true love sneaks up on you when you aren't looking!  I believe in  my wonderful husband. 

I believe in my family.  I believe that babies are a good start for a human!

I believe that bad things happen naturally.  We don't have to do anything to have bad things happen.  They just do.  I believe that we shouldn't waste our energy making bad things happen.  I believe we need to make good things happen.  I believe we need to be kind to one another and if we can't do that, we need to stay away from the person, activity or thing that we can't be kind to.

I believe in you!  I believe the things you believe in are important to you.  I will not tell you that what you believe is wrong.  I will support you to believe in your beliefs.

I believe you will support me in mine.  If I tell you something I believe in and you don't, don't burst my bubble... let me believe!

My little Grand Baby Luke says it perfectly!  When we say, "Lukey, I love you"  He responds with "Love me"  & I do!  Love you!  thank you for letting me believe!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Libby & Mike

Last weekend Kristen and I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon and evening with Libby & Mike, their family and about 130 of their closest friends.  What a blast!  Forget the hot, steamy weather, it didn't ruin the fun.  We're kind of used to it now.  Right... now we're used to it and before you know it ~ winter will return to western NY.  Sorry,  I know the thought of winter. Yuck...  I'm an Island Girl.  Okay, so a Long Island Girl but still an Island Girl!  Perhaps someday a PR Island Girl... hey, a girl can dream!

Anyway, back to Libby & Mike.  I'm glad we met them.  Libby grew up just a stone's throw away.  Really right down the street from us.  Imagine that ~ such a great family and I am just meeting them now.  I told her Mom the other day I love them so, I want to adopt them!   They are just the sweetest couple! Living in a small town, usually you know most people.  Guess there are just more folks I have to meet here.

Last weekend they celebrated their wedding and asked Kristen and I to document it.  (like that?  classy way of saying take the Wedding Pictures!)  Of course this great couple got married in the sweetest little church you ever want to see.  Libby's Mom told me it was the church she (Libby that is) was Baptised in.  It is just a beautiful little church.

We really had a great time.  I loved every minute of it!  How lucky I am.  I was able to take a job photographing the wedding two of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet, met a bunch of really interesting, funny, crazy people...had a great time to boot.    Love it!  Life doesn't get much better.... Oh yeah I forgot the best part... I did all this with my best friend and favorite niece, Kristen.

So enough about me and Home Town Weddings.  Here are some of our favorite shots of Libby & Mike's Wedding. I hope you like them as much as we do.  (not only Libby & Mike but the pics as well!)

I love these two!!!

Such a sweet, beautiful family.

Thank you Libby and Mike for letting us be a small part of your beautiful day.  Please keep in touch & come visit when you're back in town.

                                                                                   Janet & Kristen