02/14/14 1:23pm
02/14/2014 1:23 PM

Cake

RIVERHEAD

Congratulations to Karen and Michael Skop on the birth of their daughter, Adelaide Rose, born Jan. 25 weighing nine pounds and measuring 22 inches. Her big sister, Evelyn, is so happy to have a sister to play with. Grandparents Nancy and Howie Gassert and Susan and Victor Skop are so thrilled with the new addition to their family. The students at Aquebogue Elementary, where Karen is a kindergarten teacher, are also very happy to hear the great news. (more…)

02/13/14 1:00pm
02/13/2014 1:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Family said Barbara Tocci helped others without asking for anything in return.

Family said Barbara Tocci helped others without asking for anything in return. (Courtesy photo)

FLANDERS, RIVERSIDE & NORTHAMPTON

Hello, everyone. Before I go any further I’d like to apologize to a few people I neglected to mention in my last column. They were also the most important people in Barbara Tocci’s life and I forgot to include them, probably because my brain still can’t grasp what has happened. (more…)

02/08/14 11:00am
02/08/2014 11:00 AM

‘The Simpsons go Hollywood’ collage by Arnie Hansen.

WADING RIVER

The Town of Brookhaven announced its first state of emergency last week as a result of 12 inches of snow and frigid temperatures in the single digits. Such are the perils of winter. Once one arctic blast is finished another is on the way.

Arnie Hansen, a former contributing columnist for the North Shore Sun, has set his sights on a different artistic direction lately: art. He is now featured in an exhibition, “Piecing It All Together: Collages,” with Laura Benjamin, in the board room at St. Joseph’s College, 155 West Roe Blvd., Patchogue. These original works by Arnie and Laura are exclusively on loan from the artists for a limited time. The exhibition will be open to the public Saturdays during February only, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A meet-the-artists reception most likely was held already, so I’m sure Arnie will chime in with some news on how that went. For more information on the exhibition, email bigarnie1@optonline.net, visit arniehansen.com or call 631-744-8233. Arnie, I hope the public sees you for the great creative artist you are.

On the sign outside of C.K. Auto on Wading River Road are the words, “Happy 14th Birthday, Jason Guevara.” I remember being 14 and how special that age is — just two years away from 16. Happy birthday, Jason. We hope it was a pleasant one.

Another familiar sign, at North Shore United Methodist Church on Route 25A in Wading River, asks: “What Are You Doing For Others?” Such a great barometer for a life well-lived. Thanks for the reminder, NSUMC!

Reminder: NSUMC’s thrift shop will re-open Feb. 8. By purchasing quality merchandise for pennies on the dollar you’ll be supporting the church.

The following is the latest definition of faith by NSUMC and something to contemplate: “Take the first step even though you don’t see the whole staircase. Faith is really a mystery, yet to those who have it, it’s an absolute secret of the universe.”

I entertained my brother Nelson, years ago. Our family had gone to Truffles Restaurant and had a really nice dinner. He passed away recently. Nelson, you were a great brother and a wonderful guide and mentor. Thank you for telling my husband that you appreciated him taking such good care of me. Rest in peace, Nelson.

If you have any information or announcements to share with the community, that is why I’m here. Please send it along to my email address and have a good two weeks, until we meet again.

Contact Elizabeth Taggart at Etag5@optonline.net or 929-5933

02/07/14 11:00am
02/07/2014 11:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Pam Green of Kent Animal Shelter.

Barbaraellen Koch file photo  |  Pam Green of Kent Animal Shelter. The shelter is sponsoring a “Beat the Heat” spay/neuter campaign in February.

CALVERTON, BAITING HOLLOW AND MANORVILLE

So, what do you think? Does the groundhog know his stuff? I think he might be right this time. You might want to start some seeds indoors. Basil, parsley and other herbs are a great way to start. It will give you hope for warmer days ahead! (more…)

02/06/14 12:00pm
02/06/2014 12:00 PM

Aela Bailey is a third-grade student at Aquebogue Elementary School.

The Jamesport Meeting House is extremely pleased to announce that the 2014 season will begin with a performance by the Cassatt String Quartet on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. The program will feature the Dmitri Shostakovich Quartet No. 8, the Maurice Ravel String Quartet and Antonin Dvorak’s Cypresses. (more…)

06/27/13 1:59pm
06/27/2013 1:59 PM

I write my columns while out walking, mentally, that is. This particular morning I was coming up with zilch. My mom was always good for a column or two. Although she was chronologically 92 years old, her attitude was that of someone half her age. And with Mom, there was always a story to tell. Nothing to tell of late; she died over a year ago.

Of course, there was my “sweet Frank.” He was my straight man and we often played off each other. But alas, he died in April.

Ah, me. I suppose I’m in a funk.

My doctor said that I am doing fine, grieving appropriately and moving forward. Well, maybe so. But forward to where? Does this grief thing have a destination? I feel better for a few days, then grief sneaks up from behind and — gotcha! — I’m in funksville again.

They say that when facing any loss we must get on with our lives. Really? This cliché makes me laugh, even now. If any well-meaning folk would venture to give me this advice, I would blurt, “What the h— do you think I’m doing?”

And the death business is really a business. I don’t know how many times I’ve sent a death certificate to the same agency. I mean, really, dead is dead is dead! I have a missing husband to prove it.

I had a spell last month when my normal weirdness morphed into a full-blown case of eccentricity. Here’s what I did in the span of a few days:

I’m meticulous about my finances (or lack thereof ). When I received an overdraft notice from my bank, Ifreaked out. I remembered transferring funds to cover my bills, except that I didn’t know where the funds went or, worse yet, to whom!

Upon discovering an empty shampoo bottle, I began the blame game (dreadful of me, I know). Turns out that I left the bottle uncapped and the shampoo spilled into the plastic container that holds my hair products. While using a few choice words, I flung the container into the bathtub and began rinsing it. Lordy, lordy! That bathtub produced more bubbles than the Lawrence Welk show.

During a torrential rainstorm, I drove to a friend’s house. Trying to alight from my car, I opened the umbrella inside the car. The umbrella got stuck in an open position and me along with it. Oy!

Lest you think I’m a complainer, many graces have come my way. At first blush, however, they presented in odd packaging. For instance:

I am continually amazed and humbled by the support of my family, extended church family and friends. They sustain me.

And to my readers: Although I don’t know most of you personally, I deeply appreciate your expressions of sympathy and concern. Your cards and notes arrived in my mailbox just when I needed them the most.

Upon receiving the aforementioned overdraft letter, I made a beeline to my bank. The manager was sympathetic, fixed the error, offered cookies and dispensed some sage advice.

My across-the-street neighbors materialize regularly with food, tend to my trash cans and have been there for me in ways that give new meaning to the word “neighbors.” Truthfully, they are more like family.

Quite by chance, I landed a part-time job at a charming assisted-living facility in Cutchogue. I was hired to interact with the residents and engage them in stimulating activities. And bonus! I enjoy it. One can say I was at the right place at the right time. But I know better.

Last week, I heard someone laugh; that someone was me.

While contemplating this column I came across the following passage: “Sometimes you have to just stop worrying, wondering and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not how you planned, but just how it’s meant to be.”

And what do you know? This column just got written.

Hmm. Grace, definitely!

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

10/04/11 3:15pm
10/04/2011 3:15 PM

When I was a kid, returning to school in September was either welcome or fraught with a case of the jitters. There was, however, one thing I could make book on: I was invariably assigned to write an essay about what I did or learned during my summer vacation. I’m going to take a cue from the days of yore and tell you what I learned from our beautiful 14-year-old granddaughter, Ariana.

When Ariana visited us in July, she brought not only her bubbly personality, but also an array of pencils, tubs, tubes and other mysterious makeup paraphernalia. (I guess it runs in the family. I’ve been known to lug around an arsenal of anti-aging products while vacationing.)

One afternoon, I sat on the bed and watched as Ariana applied goop to her face and made up her eyes. Lord knows how, but she came off looking completely natural. When I asked Ariana how my makeup looked, she scrutinized my face (a gal of a certain age gets uncomfortable with close-up inspections) and said, “Pretty good, but …”

“But?”

Ariana picked up a brush and began dabbing here and there.

She held up a mirror and asked, “Better?”

I answered with a delighted, “Yes.”

Our trip to the nail salon enlightened me further. I selected my usual sheer pink nail polish, while Ariana was deciding between neon blue and green sparkle. When she suggested I try one of the sparkle polishes, I considered it, but only briefly. I remembered that I was the assigned chalice administrator on Sunday, and green sparkle polish might be a tad distracting to the communicants. Ariana choose the blue and I must say, it looked lovely — on her, that is.

Shopping at Tanger was a mind-boggling experience. We bypassed my favorite haunts and headed straight into the teen clothing stores. Sales associates who looked to be in their ‘tweens showed Ariana the latest fashions. Music was blaring, kids were swarming and the moms looked weary. Oy!

Ariana taught me the nuances of texting. Now I love texting almost as much as talking. But the most fascinating experience, by far, was my Facebook makeover.

I have a lukewarm relationship with Facebook. I keep an account to stay abreast of the local, national and global news, and that’s about it. I find it scary that folks can reshape themselves in the hope of being friended by other users and, similarly, with a mere click we can unfriend someone.

That being said, on the last afternoon of her stay, Ariana showed me how she could alter her Face­book profile picture using Photoshop.

Ariana asked, “Want me to airbrush your picture?”

“Sure.”

I looked over her shoulder and wow! There was a smiling me, looking five years younger. Encouraged, I said, “Ariana, do more.”

“OK, watch this.”

She set to work, and magically erased 10, then 20 years from my picture. Talk about reversing the signs of aging! Meanwhile, Frank, with keys in hand, was waiting to drive Ariana home. I forgot about the picture until …

I started receiving comments about my profile picture. I logged in to Facebook and, sure enough, there, on my profile page, was my retouched picture. One Facebook friend commented, “Ceil, Long Island agrees with you; you’re looking younger.”

I often wonder about the forever-young Hollywood crowd featured in those glossy magazines. I realize they probably look ordinary — wrinkles, bulges and all — until they are airbrushed to the max. Mystery solved.
Well, folks, I’m Facebook challenged and clueless on how to get my original picture back on my profile page. I’ll figure it out eventually, or send Ariana an SOS. For now, I’ll let my picture stand.

The fact that I’m lying to the Facebook community, and myself, is a tad disconcerting, but what the heck. If the Hollywood crowd can get away with it, why not the Riverhead crowd?

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

09/21/11 1:28pm
09/21/2011 1:28 PM

It’s not a happy ending. The last page reveals Borders bookstores nationwide are closing. That, of course, includes the Riverhead store, where, over the years, thousands of North Forkers have browsed and bought.
Seems the chain failed to keep pace with electronic technology. I can relate to that. It takes me 20 minutes to set the microwave clock each and every time the power goes off.

No matter. The story here is books. I’m pleased to say most North Forkers get their very own books from many sources in addition to Borders. On our fork there are several small independent bookstores. They’ve served us well for years. Then there are the other book suppliers, some a bit unconventional, but all geared to keep us turning pages.

For example, I volunteer once a week at a Greenport thrift shop. Clothing, pots and pans, toys — all kinds of stuff, including shelves and shelves of books. Over time I’ve gotten everything from cookbooks (100 ways to prepare meatloaf and still all mine taste the same) to Margaret Truman mysteries, to Thoreau’s “The Maine Woods,” to a biography of Teddy Roosevelt I’m in the middle of right now.

My husband, on the other hand, spreads out catalogs of books on the kitchen table and orders his reading by mail. From one of his favorite catalogs we’ve dozens of books, from aviation history (I like that Glenn Curtiss guy) to steam railroads (Durango & Silverton is tops, I think). Just say that whenever a book catalog arrives in our mailbox, my husband drops from sight for hours.

Out East Marion way there’s a very fine gent, Dr. Bill Emerson, who claims he gets “95 percent of my books at yard sales.” And I’m sure Dr. Bill has a good number of books because he’s a professor at Queens College. A math professor! That’s pretty impressive. It’s possible I’ve seen Dr. Bill at yard sales. But I doubt it. Unless he’s looking for fabric, too. Does he quilt, I wonder.

Now I figure if Dr. Bill buys lots of 30-dollar books for one or two dollars each, that’s a whopping savings each year. Like maybe $28 saved on each book purchased. See how good I am at math? Perhaps Dr. Bill could find me a position in the math department at Queens College.

This next book spot might very well be reserved for readers over the age of 21. Because the “help-yourself-to-a-free-book” rack is just inside Peconic Liquors in Cutchogue. Folks drop by to donate books or select a book and the whole North Fork community benefits.

On a recent afternoon I spent a half-hour browsing through the books and saw quite a variety of titles — from “A History of Western Political Theory” to a few romantic novels by Phyllis A. Whitney to some scary stuff by Stephen King. All these are guaranteed to keep readers in good spirits.

Let’s not forget North Fork libraries. Book sales are frequent and some of our libraries even have their own “bookstore.” You can purchase books, for example, at Southold’s Book Cottage or at Riverhead’s Yellow Barn.
And listen to where Jane Minerva, retired Cutchogue librarian, gets many of her books: The reuse area at the town solid waste facility in Cutchogue. Jane’s home contains packed floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Jane claims she never gets to dust all those books. But she does read them and that’s what counts. Matter of fact, you’ll find bookcases, lamps and comfortable chairs at the reuse area. Everything needed to enjoy a book.

Well, here we are. Electronic reading devices seem to be taking over and we’re told someday a child will ask the incredible question, “Mom, what’s a book?” But for now, let’s not worry. North Forkers will continue to fill their homes with books because they know a book in hand is worth two on a screen.

Ms. Lombardi is a resident of Cutchogue.