01/16/12 3:00am

What weird weather this year, right? Last Saturday I was driving my truck down Route 58, going past Riverhead Raceway, when I just happened to look at my temperature gauge, which read 48 degrees. For some reason I looked at it again and the temperature had dropped. It kept dropping till it reached 41 degrees, which happened in just one mile. Then it began to rain and as I turned the corner it started snowing. Spooky stuff.

Congratulations to Benny Orlowski, who has retired from Cornell Cooperative Extension after 29 years. A great party was thrown for him at Indian Island, at which many of his co-workers and lots of family and friends helped him celebrate. Benny, all your friends, your lovely wife, Eileen, your children, grandchildren and myself wish you a very warm, sunny retirement with tropical breezes following you everywhere. Congratulations and have fun!

It’s spaghetti time! This Saturday, Jan. 21, is Baiting Hollow Congregational Church’s annual spaghetti dinner. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10. Call 591-0822. There are two seatings available: 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Do go, eat, relax and enjoy some great food and wonderful friends.

There’s an ongoing fundraiser at Riley where you can help raise money for the school by doing virtually nothing. Those with a Stop & Shop points card can help Riley earn money from your purchases. To register for 2012 log on to stopandshop.com/aplus or call 1-877-275-2758 and use school ID 09106. Do consider participating.

Many thanks to a few wonderful, kind and caring people at Riley: Mrs. Kappenberg and Mrs. Masterson for the holiday murals, which are brought to Peconic Bay Medical Center each year, much to the delight of its patients and staff. And to Rose’s Care and Share, RAPA and all our Riley parents who have donated many gifts to help families in need this past holiday season. Thank you all so much!

Belated happy birthday to Gary Pelis on Jan. 16 from all your family and friends. We hope you had a simply wonderful birthday, honey!

My mom grows orchids and she grows them amazingly. I was always leery about trying to grow them. I am happy to say she’s right, they are easy to grow as long as you feed them and water them regularly. It’s fun to watch their little buds pop out. Do try it. Get an orchid with or without flowers (they are much cheaper without flowers), sit back and watch the fun begin.

Take care, have a great week and I shall talk to you next time. Bye.

01/10/12 2:00am

I hope this column finds you totally relaxed and ready for some snow. Boy, did I call this one wrong, eh? I really thought we’d have a bad winter but, hey, we still have plenty of time, my fellow winter-lovers.

Let’s start by talking about having a fun night out. Baiting Hollow Congregational Church’s annual spaghetti dinner will take place Saturday, Jan. 21, at the church on Sound Avenue. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. There will be two seatings: 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. You need to go to this. Not only do you not have to cook, it’s so delicious! Call 591-0822 for information and tickets.

The annual Rockin’ for the Homeless fundraiser will take place Saturday, Jan. 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Polish Hall on Marcy Avenue in Riverhead. This is such a great cause. You will enjoy four great bands in four amazing hours. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. There will be all kinds of door prizes, and so much more. Call 298-4145 for tickets and info. Tickets can be purchased locally at Barth’s Drug Store or at the Polish Hall. Why not have some fun while helping a very worthy cause? Hey, two weekends with something for you to do — awesome!

On Saturday, Jan. 14, the Miss America contest will be seen on ABC television. Big deal, right? Yes it is. Robin Bonner, a patient of Dr. Bach’s, will be representing Rhode Island. We are very excited for her and wish her the best of luck. Do tune in. Maybe you, too, will know our next Miss America. Good luck, honey!

Riley Avenue Elementary School welcomed back all their students after the holiday break. I will let you know of all the upcoming happenings so stay tuned.

I’m very proud of myself for not letting a 1-year-old scare me. I babysat overnight for the first time for my granddaughter Julia last week and we really had a great time. All four of us — my Yorkie, Brooklyn, Julia’s boxer, Rocky, and us girls — enjoyed our time together doing baby stuff. The 5:30 a.m. wake-up call, complete with poopy diaper, didn’t even make me flinch — although my eyes were closed so that worked out well. Great job, Cheryl.

Happy birthday to my dad, Paul Troyan, who will celebrate on Jan. 15. We love you, Pop. From all your family and friends, we hope you have a really great birthday.

We sadly said goodbye to Calverton resident Peggy Perkins last week. Peggy died one day after her wedding anniversary to Perk. You will be missed, Peggy. You were a good friend who always had a kind word and smile for us all. God bless.

Happy New Year to all of you. Be safe and I shall talk to you next week. Take care. Bye.

12/18/11 3:28pm

Here we go … bring on Christmas! I hope you’ve finished your shopping and wrapping and are nice and relaxed and ready for Santa. I for one am ready for lots of nice white snow. Mother Nature could surely bring us snow lovers a white Christmas, a white New Year’s or a white any day of the week. Good luck to us all.

Riley Avenue Elementary School would like to wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas, happy holidays and the best New Year ever. School will be back in session on Jan. 3, after everyone has enjoyed a break from homework and the everyday things that go with learning. So have a great time, enjoy and relax.

Don’t forget the fourth annual Rockin’ for the Homeless fundraiser will take place Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Polish Hall in Riverhead. Tickets go on sale Monday, Jan. 2, and may be purchased at Barth’s Drug Store in both Riverhead and Mattituck, at the Polish Hall in Riverhead and at Mattituck Presbyterian Church. This is a great event that benefits a great cause. Come enjoy four great hours with four great bands. By the time the event approaches we’ll all need a fun night out — you know, cabin fever and all that stuff.

Here’s some good news. Now that winter has arrived the days will now begin to get a little bit longer. Yes, my friends, we have endured yet another day, the shortest, darkest day of the year, and now it is all uphill. So enjoy that little bit of extra sunlight at the end of the day.

Congratulations to my friend and Riverhead resident Barbara Mongelut, who has once again won an Outstanding Rental Agent award for her expertise in the realty field. Barbara, congrats to you from everyone in the Fairfield community and all your family and friends. Great job, honey!

I have lots of solar lights. I figure if I can have my yard look really nice without paying LIPA a dime it’s all good. Anyway, the moral of the story is: Change your batteries in your solar lights. If you don’t they will weaken and won’t give off enough light.

A very happy 30th birthday to my daughter-in-law (and great mom to my granddaughter), Jaime Pelis, who will celebrate Dec. 27, and to my son, Robbie (a great dad), who will celebrate Dec. 28. We love you both dearly and hope your day is very special. Your cutie-pie daughter and my granddaughter, Julia, and all your family and friends wish you a happy, happy birthday! Also, birthday wishes are sent to our friend of many years Karl Kohler, who now lives in Florida, but has left us with so many great memories. We wish you a great birthday, Karl. We love and miss you!

That is all for 2011. I wish each and every one of you a simply perfect holiday season, full of happiness, good health and wealth, and the simple things in life that truly make life so nice. I will talk to you all again in my next column on Jan. 12, 2012. Be safe, take care and God bless. Bye.

cpcolumncal@aol.com

12/09/11 12:40pm

Only 10 days till Santa Claus arrives, so get a move on! Wasn’t it just the Fourth of July? Or even Labor Day, when we were sad to see the summer go? Where did the time go?

The staff at Riley Avenue Elementary School has hung murals at Peconic Bay Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility and the residents and staff there are delighted with the artwork. Riley chorus members will soon be Christmas caroling there, a highly anticipated annual event.

Rebecca Cohen, a third-grader at Riley, had the privilege of having her dad visit Mrs. Menis’ class to teach the students about Veterans Day. The children really learned a lot. Many thanks to Mr. Cohen and all who protect our country.

On Sunday, Jan. 8, at 11:30 a.m. Matt Kar and Rowland, Patti and Jessica Hautsch invite you to enjoy a buffet brunch and some very good company at the Jamesport Manor Inn in memory of Ryan Hautsch, whom we lost so tragically and all to soon. Ryan lives on in our hearts and in a scholarship in his name for local culinary arts students. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for teens and $12 for children. Soda, coffee and tea are included. For reservations, call 722-0500. All proceeds support the Ryan Hautsch Scholarship Fund. Once again, many thanks to Matt for his thoughtfulness.

Belated happy birthday to Holly Burke, who celebrated on Dec. 11, from your husband, Sean, your children and grandchildren, and especially Joan. We hope you had a perfect birthday. DeeJay Chasse celebrated his 30th on Dec. 10 with a surprise party in his honor. We hope you had a really fun time.

Happy birthday on Dec. 15 to DeeJay’s wife, Danielle, my number one pumpkin helper (OK, number two. Sorry, Danielle; Jamie was there first). We all love you, honey! Wishes also go to Calverton resident Florence Danowski on Dec. 18. Happy birthday to this wonderful, fun lady from all your family and friends. May your day be perfect, Florence. We love you lots.

My little Julia celebrated her first birthday with a party last weekend and I do believe she loved it. There were so many toys, all of which she played with to everyone’s delight — a perfect little hostess. We all had a great time and can’t wait to see what Christmas will bring.

Remember that tip I gave you about keeping raccoons out of the garbage by putting ammonia on top of the bags? Well, I had no ammonia and instead sprayed Westley’s Bleche-Wite tire cleaner on top. I have to say, not one little varmint has dined on my trash. Try it. It’ll give you peace of mind, as you won’t have to keep picking up your trash in the morning before you go to work. Ugh.

A very happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate. May your holiday be lovely, happy and healthy.

Be safe, take care and I shall talk to you next week, which, by the way, will be my last column until Jan. 12. Bye.

12/06/11 11:34am

OK, last year we had snow flurries on Dec. 6 and it was quite cold. So far there hasn’t been a flake in sight but I’m not giving up hope. The snow will come, my friends — just wait!

Riley Avenue Elementary School is in full holiday mode as its annual Winter Wonderland kicks off Dec. 13-15. This event, which goes way back to when my kids were in school, offers the students the opportunity to shop for their families with the help of the wonderful school volunteers. Winter Wonderland is made possible by the Riley Avenue Parent Association. Many thanks for this truly nice event for the students.

Riley’s annual fourth-grade holiday concert will take place on Monday, Dec. 12, in the Riverhead High School auditorium at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend and hear some beautiful music. Also, the annual visit to Peconic Bay Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility will take place once again this year, an event that is much looked forward to by the patients, staff and children alike. The before-school program went above and beyond again this year as they put together amazing Thanksgiving baskets for local families in need.

Many thanks to RAPA for their generous gift card donations, and to all the students, parents and staff who brought in donations. It is much appreciated. This wonderful group is also sending a nice package of treats (candy, gum, granola bars, coffee, beef jerky and holiday cards) to an Air Force unit in Afghanistan. Donations are being accepted till Dec. 10. I know it’s short notice but if you could drop off a little something to make our soldiers feel the holiday spirit, it would be great. If you choose to drop off a card, please address it Dear Airmen.

Are you ready to rock and roll again? The fourth annual Rockin’ for the Homeless will take place Jan. 28 at the Polish Hall in Riverhead. With four hours of fun and four fantastic bands it’s sure to be a great time. Tickets go on sale Jan. 2. Stay tuned for more details.

A very happy birthday to my little granddaughter Julia, who will turn 1 year old on Dec. 11. The year has flown so quickly. Julia has grown up to be quite a little lady, with her own ideas on how life should be. So my little punkin, I love you and wish you the best first birthday ever. From your mommy and daddy, auntie Jamie and all your family and friends, big and little, happy birthday, honey!

That is all for this week. Get out into the woods and cut some fresh pines for your windowboxes and planters. It looks and smells so nice and will last the entire winter fresh and green. Take care, be safe and I shall talk to you next week. Bye.

Cpcolumncal@aol.com

11/25/11 2:17pm

Here we go … bring on Christmas! I already bought my tree, cut the end and stuck it in a bucket of water. Jamie and I actually met some of our Manorville neighbors who started out going to buy paint but ended up getting their tree also. Wherever you decide to get your tree, make sure you cut off the end and give it lots of water. Like I’ve said before, this will help it stay fresh for a long time.

Mrs. Messina and Mrs. Kent, teachers at Riley Avenue Elementary School, held a Thanksgiving feast for their second-grade classes that was amazing. Included were three huge turkeys. These two classrooms have the most generous parents, and both teachers would like to thank them for all they do for their children. The children also put on a play, and a great time was had by all. First-grade teacher Jeanne Stearns also had her children present a Thanksgiving play, which everyone enjoyed very much. I will keep you updated on the Christmas festivities at Riley as they become available.

I’m sure many of you have cats and have problems with your Christmas tree. Here are a few tips that might make life a little merrier this season. First, an artificial tree is safer for your cat as the needles are not quite as sharp. Whichever type tree you decide on, make sure you have a strong base to support it. Use fishing line to tie your tree to the ceiling to give it a fighting chance. It will give you peace of mind and no one will see it because it’s clear. Also, keep the tree away from potential launching pads such as chairs, shelves or even the television. Don’t give them the chance to be flying kitties. And, finally, don’t decorate too soon. Let them get used to the tree for a while. When you do decorate, put the shiny, tempting ornaments higher up. I hope this works for you. Good luck!

A very happy birthday to our little Yorkie Brooklyn, who turns 8 on Dec. 6. What a joy she is. I love her so much! Guess who’s granddaughter will be turning 1 soon? Mine! I will let you know all about it next week.

Till next time, have a great week, be safe and get that shopping done! Take care, bye.

11/21/11 5:00am

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays in my opinion — very relaxed, turkey, gravy, football and no presents. It’s truly a time to give thanks for our crops, our family and all the things we take for granted. I always make a wreath on Thanksgiving morning and we hang it up at the farm just before dinner is served, a nice tradition we’ve upheld for 30 years or so. I will teach that to my little granddaughter as soon as she can hold onto some cedar branches. Unless, of course, her dad beats me to it as he learned to make wreaths from our “gramie” when he was very little. Why not start a tradition of your own? They are simply wonderful and you’ll be in awe as you think back to when they began.

Mrs. Sterns at Riley Avenue Elementary will hold a Thanksgiving play for all students this week to celebrate this fantastic holiday. We wish her first-graders the best of luck, as the whole school will be watching.
Thanks to all who donated to the food drive at Riley. It means so much. Riley is very proud of all its parent volunteers. Whether you’ve assisted with centers or various activities in the classroom or art room, your help is much appreciated. If you haven’t yet, do consider getting involved. It’s fun and you will meet so many nice people. From everyone at Riley, a very happy Thanksgiving to all!

Baiting Hollow Congregational Church will hold its annual “Green Sale” on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Available for purchase will be wreaths, sprays and all types of greens for the Christmas season. There will also be a white elephant table with all kinds of good things for everyone. So stop by and see this wonderful group and get yourself some holiday cheer.

If you’ve decided to make a homemade pumpkin pie from scratch, well good for you! But let me make a small suggestion. Bake your pumpkin and drain it thoroughly before you add the spices. The less water, the firmer the pie. Butternut squash or cheese pumpkins are really your best bet. By the way, did you know that when cranberries are ripe they bounce? They do! Now there’s a fun game for the entire family. Those little pockets in the berries make them bounce, however damaged berries do not. Hey, the kids are off for a few days. Why not make them earn their cranberry sauce? Check those berries.

One more thing. Buy your Christmas tree soon. I kid you not. I got mine the day after Thanksgiving last year with Mom. We took them home, cut their trunks a little and stuck the trees in buckets of water until we were ready to put them up. They lasted so well! Think of it this way: You might buy a tree the third week of December but that tree has been cut and sitting on concrete without water for weeks. The sooner it gets water the fresher and safer it will be. When I took mine down it lasted outside till March!

I wish you all a very happy, wonderful Thanksgiving! Take care and I shall talk to you next week. Bye.

cpcolumncal@aol.com

11/13/11 4:18pm

Riley Avenue Elementary School held its annual Halloween parade and, as usual, it was great. The kindergartners, first- and second-graders marched about in their spooky and fun costumes while students in the third and fourth grades participated in a walkathon in the back field and raised over $9,000 for the Trinca family. What a great job these kids did. Congratulations to each of you.

The morning program at Riley is holding its 12th annual Thanksgiving food drive. If you would like to help feed local families in need you can do so by dropping off donations of canned or dried goods — gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. Grocery store gift cards are also welcome to help purchase turkeys. I know times are very hard but a little extra here and there is so much appreciated.

Photo makeup day is Friday, Nov. 18, for those students who missed out the first time. The highly anticipated Thanksgiving break will start Nov. 23, with the children returning to school Monday the 28th. Have some fun, sleep late and maybe cook a turkey.

Riley continues to emphasize the importance of hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes to help minimize germs being spread at the school. That said, student attendance has been good. Keep up the good work!

Happy birthday to Betty Fox at Dr. Bach’s office who celebrated on Nov. 16. All your family and friends — especially the little ones — and everyone here at Dr. Bach’s wish you a very happy birthday, Betty.

The Leonid meteor showers will take place after midnight tonight, Thursday. This is a great show to see but this year seems it will be a little weaker than those in the past. The best time for viewing is a few hours before dawn. Look toward the northeast skies and see what you can find.

There is an early deadline for my column for the Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) issue. If you have any news for me, please get it to me by tonight, Nov. 17, so that I can send it in by Friday morning. Thanks!

The local scallops are here and they are so good. It looks like they’re less abundant this year so get yours while you can. Don’t be afraid to freeze them. We do it all the time and are able to cook them well into the winter. Don’t wash them, just put them in a freezer bag and you’ll be good to go.

Till next week, enjoy whatever weather Mother Nature decides to give us. It surely has been different each week. Take care, be safe and I shall talk to you next time. Bye.

cpcolumncal@aol.com