Monday, December 21, 2009

Good bye Year 2009

Year 2009,

You have not been a kind one to me. First CBS killed Guiding Light. Then my Mom died. Today my Uncle also passed away. While I will mourn the above with all my heart, I will not be mourning the passing of the year 2009. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Good bye

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tis the season for gifts and giving

Do a little Christmas shopping this Tuesday and help the library.  The Ledgewood Barnes & Noble will host an In-store Book Sale for the Roxbury Library on December 15th.  The store will donate a portion of your purchase to the library. After buy your gifts, save some time and stop by the gift wrapping table. The Library and Key Club will be staffing the table for the day and will be happily take that chore off your to-do list. While you wait, relax and take advantage of the library bake sale. Many yummy treats will be on display to tempt you. There will also be programs for all to enjoy at the store that day.

     10:30am - Books for Babies
     2pm - Preschool Holiday Craft - Bring your preschooler to make holiday luminaries.  (Registration is required.  Call the library at 973-584-2400 x503 to register.)
     3pm - Book signing with Janet Pfeiffer, author of 
The Secret Side of Anger
     4pm - After School Craft - Making ornaments!!
     7pm - Creating a Holiday Centerpiece

A portion of the proceeds from your purchases will go to the Roxbury Library. - BUT only if you mention the Book Fair to the cashier or hand in the Book Fair Voucher. Book Fair Vouchers are available online at or stop by the library circulation desk.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter has arrived

Dear Mr. Snow Miser (Winter, if I may),

I was not prepared for your appearance today. While I know it is December and I live in the northeast, your brother Heat Miser has been dominating the weather here lately. Just yesterday I was running errands in only a light coat. Today, I had to break out my down coat, Uggs, and long underwear. This afternoon we have a full fledged snow storm. The change is far to jarring. Next Fall, please negotiate with your brother for a smoother transition. Thank you.

Your friend,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Obits aren’t Free Anymore

One of the bizarre, but interesting and useful bits of information I picked up during the process of my mother’s passing is regarding obituaries. While once considered news, in the tightening financial crunch newspapers have been facing for many years, obituaries are now considered classified ads. As such, the length of the record of your loved ones passing is counted by word and charged accordingly. Since it is now considered an ad, the rates fluctuate wildly region to region as well as the size and scope of the publication. 

We live in suburbia, our town’s weekly paper charges a couple hundred while the local daily rates are just under $400. The wider the reaching papers such as our state wide paper not only charges for the print ad, but an additional fee to publish it online as well. One story I recently heard was that the obituary in the New York Times for a stockbroker cost $12,000. That was more than the cost of his cremation and memorial combined. Obviously, obituary costs are now something you seriously need to consider when planning your loved ones final arrangements.

I want to thank my BFF Cathy McGuckin for helping our family write mom’s obit. For the record (and one that is still free), this is my mom’s obituary:

MT. ARLINGTON, NJ—Joyce D. Armstrong died on Friday, November 27, 2009, at Morristown Memorial Hospital after a brief illness. She was 77.

Born in Wilkensburg, PA, to the late Clinton and Mary (Ritts) Burket on October 23, 1932, she was a 34-year resident of Mendham until moving to Mt. Arlington in June, 2006.

Joyce graduated then worked at the Business Training College in Pittsburgh, PA, where she met her husband Joseph Armstrong. Joyce and Joe married on June 6, 1955, at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. She would fondly remember their ‘two-year honeymoon’ in Hawaii, while Joe served with the U.S. Marine Corps. Prior to their honeymoon, Joyce enjoyed working for Radio personality Mark Evans in Washington, DC.

Joyce was a member of the Newcomers’ Group of Mendham for more than 20 years and enjoyed playing in the bridge club. She also enjoyed traveling and the Naval Academy. Joyce will be remembered by friends and neighbors for her deep love of her family, her beautiful Mendham home—especially her porch swing, her Christmas Eve and Army-Navy Game parties, and her kindness.

She was predeceased by her brother Clinton (1993) and her sister Maybelle Gillespie (1992). Survivors include her husband of 54 years Joseph, her daughter Kimberly of Succasunna, her son Scott of Wilmington, NC, and her beloved grandson Colin of Rockaway.

A memorial service to celebrate Joyce’s life will be held at the Bailey Funeral Home on Saturday, December 12, 2009, at 1:00 PM. A reception will be held at the Elks Club in Gladstone. Entombment will take place at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, MD at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in Joyce’s name to Cancer Center for Education and Patient Support Fund, Morristown Memorial Health Foundation, PO Box 1956, Morristown, N.J. 07962.

Arrangements are by the Bailey Funeral Home, 8 Hilltop Road, Mendham, NJ, 07945—(973)543-4720,