News + Views

Moving or Relocating — House to House

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



This time of year usually signals when people start looking to buy a new home since it works well with their children’s school calendar as well as better weather. We have several recently retired friends who are downsizing and moving to a smaller home or to warmer climate states. No matter the situation, these moving tips can easily apply to each family. The suggestions are passed along from conversations with friends that are in the midst of this complicated, exhausting and often emotional change in their lives — moving.


It is difficult to part with decades of artifact memories, which is understandable. However, the new home is often smaller with little-to-no room for excess items collected over the years. If stored in the attic or basement, untouched for years, they are probably not needed. Often the couple moving, especially the newly retired, will think they have more time to sort through the items after the move. Why pay the moving company extra money to transport items that will be discarded later or given away? Once the decision to move has been made, start cleaning out unwanted items before finding your new home. There are many charities and civic organizations looking for gently used items as donations for needy families or to sell at their tag sale fundraisers.

Food items are another area that needs special attention when it comes to transporting perishables. Obviously, items from the freezer or refrigerator should be packed in coolers with ice to prevent spoilage. One friend suggested using and eating as many items as possible from the freezer beforehand so there is less to transport. The same can apply to canned goods that may add the weight and volume of several cartons or more, thereby increasing moving costs. Be creative and look for ways to use up any canned, bottled or packaged food items months before the move.


Make it easy for movers to carry your items to the appropriate rooms. Buy colored circle stickers to mark the cartons — red for kitchen, blue for living room, green for playroom, yellow for master bedroom, etc. Give the moving company the code sheet with the name of each room with the corresponding colored circle next to it. This makes it easier for them to put the box in the right room without a family member having to be nearby to constantly direct.

Happy Moving!


May 17, 2017 |

Literary Quiz for the Readers Among Us

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Quite by accident I recently watched a new PBS movie about the life of the famed Bronte sisters. I’ve read books or poetry by the three women, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, but was not familiar with their life story.

To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters is a chronicle of their lives in overcoming obstacles during the era in which they lived. The story line includes how they dealt with caring for a vision-impaired father and an alcoholic younger brother, Branwell. For a woman to be published at all during that time period was a considerable feat. After much strife in doing so, their works have become some of the greatest in the English language. Whether you’ve read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights or watched the film versions, these hauntingly dramatic works are never forgotten, as are the women who created these masterpieces. This was a well-done two-hour movie and is worth trying to see. Normally these programs are rebroadcast on several PBS stations.

While on the theme of literature, think back to your school days or reading pastime to see how many answers you can come up with in this literary quiz. Give yourself ten points for each correct answer in both children’s and adult literature. For some questions you may really have to go way back in time and search your memory bank!


  1. Which character in a Shakespearean play said, “Thus with a kiss I die”?
  2. Who had a loyal companion named Sancho Panza?
  3. The children’s book Matilda was written by?
  4. Dr. Zhivago, the great Russian novel, was written by?
  5. In which book are the characters Flopsy and Mopsy part of the story?
  6. The scary story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, was written by?
  7. What was the name of the ship that sailed to Treasure Island?
  8. Peyton Place was written by what author?
  9. What is the name of the tiny people in Gulliver’s Travels?
  10. The children’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends was written by?



  1. Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet
  2. Don Quixote
  3. Roald Dahl (who also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  4. Boris Pasternak (Watch the fabulous film version, too, if you can)
  5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  6. Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Hispaniola
  8. Grace Metalious (remember the 1960’s TV series that was a ratings hit?)
  9. The Lilliputians
  10. Shel Silverstein
May 10, 2017 |

Dale Chihuly Exhibit Dazzles at the New York Botanical Garden

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







by Evelyn J.   Mocbeichel



The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) never ceases to impress with the outstanding exhibits and themes they feature that tie in with the botanical exhibits. Their latest exhibit, the glass works of renowned artist Dale Chihuly, which runs through October 29th, continues in this tradition.

There are twenty installations, drawings and early works that show the evolution and development of Chihuly’s artistic process during his long, celebrated career. Having never seen his works in person, their beauty, creativity and uniqueness were absolutely amazing. Many of the blown glass pieces are so huge and whimsical that it was hard not to be impressed by their size and the often hundreds of components that compile the works. The vibrant colors and delicate nature of each piece are like looking at a Rorschach test, with viewers coming up with their own interpretation of what was seen. Is it an underwater sculpture or something from a distant universe or purely blown glass with intricately woven pieces that pull together as a genius’s creation into a fine art?

The glass exhibits are placed around the grounds in such a way that the color palates of both the botanicals and structures work together to show Chihuly’s works at the forefront. When asked why he first picked glass as his medium, he indicated it was because it is one of the materials that are translucent, with light able to go through the vibrant colored glass. See some of the beauty by visiting:

For this exhibit, among the works at the Garden are the original 2006 Blue Herons. Inside the Victorian-style glass conservatory, the Tower and Chandelier series are in new configurations, and the spectacular early works are on display in the art gallery of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library building. Accordingly, visitors have a wide scope of areas and artifacts to visit for this presentation.

The Garden will be presenting a Summer Concert Series — Jazz & Chihuly — on Fridays June 16th, July 14th and August 18th. Before and after each concert, guests will be able to stroll among the Chihuly art works, glistening at dusk and mesmerizing when lit after sunset.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Dale Chihuly’s works in this serene, romantic and inspirational setting — the New York Botanical Garden.


The NYBG is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458. For additional information visit:


May 3, 2017 |

Bridal Dress Shopping — Picking the Perfect Dress!

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Several friends are in the midst of an exciting experience right now—shopping with their daughters for a bridal gown. No matter how many photos you see on line, bridal consultants in the shops offer a wealth of information that helps in making the final selection. Each bride should be open-minded in looking at different types of fabrics, styles, necklines, and fullness, even if they think they know what they want from photographs. Keep in mind height, weight, body shape, personality and age to find the dress that best suits what emphasizes the style, personality and formality of the day you are planning. What may look wonderful on a professional model might not feel or look the same on the bride-to-be if your body type and personality aren’t a combination that fits the dress.

What style are you?   Many bridal consultants feel that different personality types may match the styles of wedding dresses. Are you a classic, romantic, town and country, dramatic, delicate or natural? While the appearance of the dress is the number one priority, its comfort level has to be next. If your dress is off the shoulder, will you spend most of the day tugging one sleeve back into place or carrying bunched-up fabric so you don’t trip on the hemline?

Think about your headpiece and veil. Do you plan to wear them both all evening? This is the only day you will be walking around with a veil and decorative headpiece, so why not leave them on for all of your guests to enjoy and for the photographer to capture? If the style is too uncomfortable to wear, then perhaps you are making the wrong choice. What length of veil do you want? The options are shoulder length, waist length, fingertip, semi-cathedral, and cathedral.

Shop early because most bridal dress orders take from six to nine months. Dress shopping is a fun day, a happy experience, but a very tiring one. I would suggest that once you are engaged to be married, start looking, even though you don’t have a wedding date in mind. This way you will have an idea of what looks good on you when the actual search begins.

Finding the dress of your dreams is only the start of a long list of decisions to make for your special day!

April 26, 2017 |

Exploring the Land of Pharaohs



Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Ever since I was a child in elementary school, I have been fascinated with movies about Egypt. It probably started when my father and I would watch the old black & white horror film The Mummy, starring English actor Boris Karloff. It seemed so mystical the idea of a body that was preserved by being wrapped in gauzy bandages, then coming alive and walking the Earth again. Years later, I enjoyed school trips to the city’s museums and then later as an adult visiting any museum with Egyptian items. For those readers that are also intrigued with ancient Egyptian culture, there is a month long recognition being held in April at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a celebration of one of their most popular exhibits, The Temple of Dendur.

Anniversary Recognition

Back in April 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded the museum the temple that the U.S. was given by the Egyptian government. This fabulous gift—the Temple of Dendur—was built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15BC, during the reign of Augustus Caesar. The Temple, made of Aeolian sandstone, is installed in the Sackler Wing and is one of the iconic and most beloved works at the museum. To walk through this 2,000-year-old structure is truly a once in a lifetime experience, if you feel you will never walk on Egyptian soil in your lifetime. In celebration of the anniversary, the temple has been cleaned from roof to floor, freshening up the appearance of the red-brown Nubian sandstone. During April, the museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the award with organized events, informational displays, presentations, light displays, sketching courses and children’s programs. The website has new informational panels detailing the temple’s ancient history and political and religious significance, visits of 19th-century explorers and tourists, and the rescue of the temple during the 1960–1980 UNESCO Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. During the month of April, the original award letter, a memo announcing the temple’s arrival in New York, and a photograph showing crates with temple blocks being unloaded from the freighter Concordia Star will be on view near the temple. To read more about the events visit:

The Museum is located at 1000 5th Avenue, N.Y., N.Y. 10028. Tel: 1 (800) 662-3397.

April 12, 2017 |

Mamma Mia + ABBA = Westchester Broadway Theatre Winner!

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel


It will be hard not to sing along or sway in your seat during the latest production at the Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT) in Elmsford. As its 200th production, Mamma Mia! opened on March 23rd and will run through June 25th, with music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and some songs with Stig Anderson. The story is based on a book by Catherine Johnson. The play is directed and choreographed by Mark Martino, with musical direction by Eric Alford.

Inspired by the storytelling magic of ABBA’s songs from “Dancing Queenand S.O.S.toMoney, Money, Moneyand Take a Chance on Me,” Mamma Mia! is a celebration of mothers and daughters, old friends and new family found. Mamma Mia! tells the story of Donna Sheridan, an independent, single mother who is about to give away Sophie, the spirited daughter she’s raised alone on an idyllic Greek island. For Sophie’s wedding, Donna has invited her two best girlfriends to celebrate the occasion, but Sophie has secretly invited guests of her own—three men from Donna’s past—in the hopes that one of them will be the father she’s never known. Over 24 chaotic hours, new love blooms and old romances are rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities. Mamma Mia! is one of the most successful musicals of all time, the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. The West End production is now in its eighteenth year. To date the show has been seen by over 60 million people worldwide in 50 productions in 16 different languages.

Come out and enjoy another fabulous night of entertainment and dinner at this venue that has delighted audiences for over forty years! The WBT is known for its imaginative set décor, extraordinary costumes, and multi-talented singing and dancing cast members; the full package! Parking is free and the WBT offers both matinee and evening performances. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more.

Ticket Prices: Dinner and show range between $56.00 and $84.00 plus tax depending on the performances chosen. Beverage service and gratuities are not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. For ongoing special offers, call (914)-592-2222 or visit the website at:

Upcoming Shows: Annie – June 29 – September 10, 2017; Annie Get Your Gun– September 14 – December 3, 2017.

April 5, 2017 |

Word Origins and Expressions

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



I find the discovery of the origin of many of our standard expressions fascinating. The root seldom comes from where we expect. Each time I learn about one, it becomes another “trivia notch” on my belt to share.

If you are a fan of old Westerns, as my dad was, these expressions could be heard regularly in John Wayne movies and other films of that era. A cowboy would saunter up to the bar and ask for a “shot of whiskey,” which was the drink of choice back then. Why was it called a shot? In the Old West, a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents; so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand were low on cash, he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.

What about when a ranch was sold and the contract was known to be “ironclad” between the buyer and seller? Where did the term “ironclad” come from? It came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.

A more somber expression, when someone “bought the farm” was synonymous with dying. During World War I, soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm back then, so if you died, you “bought the farm” for your survivors.

Speaking of living in a farmhouse, back during colonial times the expression “dirt poor” comes from that time period when the floors of houses were literally made of dirt. Only wealthy people had some kind of flooring such as slate or wooden planks to cover the walking areas of their home. So if a family had only soil on the floor, they were known as being “dirt poor.”

One expression I’ve used for years is to wish someone a good night’s sleep and to “sleep tight.” I learned that this term went back to colonial times. Back then, beds were made with a wooden frame with ropes tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then placed on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night’s sleep. So to sleep tight meant that your bed didn’t sag and you were able to have a comfortable sleep, which makes sense!

March 29, 2017 |
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