Are We Back to Normal? by Gail Ingis

Are We Back to Normal? by Gail Ingis

Gail and Tom

Now that we are back to normal, wait, are we?

Where are you a year and a half later? Are you homeschooling? Are you working at home? Have you started a new business, a new hobby, new friends via zoom? Not too much has changed for Tom and me. We read, write, edit, do various work, and garden. Tom edited my revised historical novels with their artsy new covers. The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin and The Memorable Mrs. Dempsey will be out August 18, 2021, on the anniversary of women’s right to vote.

Gail’s upcoming releases.

We’re an hour from our New Jersey family, not that I’m complaining, but it might as well be another country. Life is busy, no dropping by, we must arrange get-together dates. We live on the way north, so we get visits from a family going that way. Travelers and the rest of the world must pass through the rolling hills of Connecticut to the upper northern New England states and Canada. Grandkids Ben and Stephanie are on their way to Maine, six hours north of us. The stop here cuts an hour off their trip. Grandkids are refreshing and fun.

“You had a long drive—would you like something cold to drink?” I ask.

Stephanie’s eyes sparkle. “Thanks.”

Refreshing SANPELLEGRINO

“Try this new one we found in Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious. SANPELLEGRINO Italian sparkling drinks Aranciata Rossa, it’s good and so sweet.”

Stephanie shakes her head and holds up her purple plastic water bottle. “Some fresh water and ice are fine, thanks.”

Ben holds up his gray bottle. “Me too.”

Spoil the grandkids, my mantra. Goodies—cookies, ice cream, popcorn—they love popcorn, anything but just water. I grab my colossal can of mega-sized peanuts, fill up small scoops, and hand them out. They munch the nuts and sip the water. It satisfies me for a minute. Feeding them supper—pizza, hamburgers and fries, dessert from the Portuguese bakery here in town, Pastéis de Nata, custard tarts with a rich egg custard nestled in shatteringly crisp pastry and chocolate chip cookies the size of your fist. That’s more like it.

These grown-up grandkids, Stephanie, nurse, Ben, mechanical engineer, like any friends I have, propose exciting subjects. Technological changes over the last sixty years. Unknown challenges. I’ve rewired. It’s a struggle, but each wrangle gets easier, even now whoever heard of plugging in a phone to recharge. What the heck? Batteries run life, like a hybrid car. Huh?

My most memorable decade, the 1950s and the polio epidemic summer, all the pools closed, the beaches empty. At fifteen, mother hurried me for my polio vaccine to a nearby doctor. Tom’s brother Will caught the dreaded polio. His right hand suffered from the crippling polio. According to the June 2021 AARP magazine, those who had polio can relapse in their elder years, like shingles from chickenpox.

I danced halfway through the ‘50s. My fav, the lindy, renamed the swing! Can you hear Tommy Dorsey piping in the swingin’ music? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers swirling and twirling.

Lilian August classic walnut desk

Ben and Steph, both homeschooled. Will they homeschool when they have kids? Maybe. We all agree there’s no simple answer for the best education. The evening ends too soon. That six-hour drive calls for an early rise. We don’t hear a sound when they leave. We’ll have another visit soon, delivering the classic walnut five-foot Lillian August desk to their new home. A gift from us.

How did you make it through with your crew? Who was the first person outside of your bubble that you hugged?

My Big Brother Jay Gerber – Success Written in the Sky

My Big Brother Jay Gerber – Success Written in the Sky

From the army to the skies – Jay Gerber never backs down from a challenge.

My big brother, Jay Gerber, is my spokesman for his memoir. You guessed it, I’m writing his story with him.

Jay has accomplished more in his 87 years than most people could in two lifetimes. But he’s not done yet! He wants to get it all down in a book – all his adventures, and he asked me to write it.

It was the beginning of him becoming a mature teenager—oh, I know that’s an oxymoron–but the high school at Carson Long Military Institute taught Jay a thing or two. Then off to college, then into the army, then back to university and successful completion of medical school. He did a short stint as a podiatrist but was too busy making movies, flying, then sat in his own Piper Cherokee 180, and filming football for NFL Films. Not necessarily in that order. And somewhere in-between he married a gorgeous blue-eyed blond, My fabulous, amazing sister-in-law and friend, Barb.

His love for flying and football always took center stage, and his knowledge in technology and photography is embedded in his DNA.

Jay has earned many accolades over the years.

At seven-years-old, he built his own planes from balsa wood and tissue paper. It all began after a trip with Dad to the 1939 World’s Fair Aviation Exhibit. He built the planes while I watched as he glued the pieces together and smelled up our shared bedroom. No, we don’t remember getting a hit from the glue. Back then, the glue was handy to put things together. Then he added rubber bands and threw the planes up in the air till they ran out of the twisted rubber bands and crash-landed. He didn’t care if they got damaged—he fixed them and threw them back into the air again. I asked Jay to build one for me so we could fly them together.

 

 

This model planes grew in size, then he installed engines and even created a control shift like the stick shifter in Dad’s 1938 Plymouth. He landed the plane by doing something with that stick, remote control is what it’s called. The planes kept growing until he eventually bought a ready-made plane that he sat in and flew. Jay was fortunate to own a Piper Cherokee 180 and then a Cherokee SIX 260. He certainly earned his wings including the private instrument, commercial, and twin ratings.

He sold the Cherokee SIX to a ham radio retailer. As part of the sale, he received a ham radio station. This led to his extra class license as an N3AW and a ham radio contest station where he competed in many worldwide phones and CW [Morse Code] contests.

“Very few people build their planes anymore. Many of these ships come pre-built as carbon fiber fuselages and foam core covered wings…and are beautiful…we have to do a lot of work to install all the motors, radio equipment, and servos (surface control devices) which are very costly,” Jay said.

And at the ripe young age of 72, Jay learned to play the piano. Well, it’s about time he learned. I’ve been playing since the age of 7. I asked Jay was he jealous of me playing the piano? “Nope” because he played clarinet and sax, and had a band when he was in college.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, what would retirement be without adding a few rounds of golf into the mix as well? Leave it to my brother — he’s an expert on the links too.

He’s been honored by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) for his brilliance in all the above. For most of his career, he worked for the NFL in their film and technical division.

Franco Harris, Steelers running back & President George Washington

 

Jay is also the guy who filmed the famous Immaculate Reception play during the Steelers and Raiders divisional playoff game on December 23, 1972, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. At the airport, there’s a statue of Franco Harris, who caught the football, next to one of George Washington. You all know who that is, right

The time Jay and I spend together is the best part of writing this book. All the memories of our childhood, teenage adventures, and the joyful and poignant changes that adulthood brings. Through it all Jay has always been my big brother. My first hero. And my dear friend.

 

Jay filming for NFL Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is us! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gail (Gerber) Ingis is an artist, interior designer, and published author. Her historical romances Indigo Sky and The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin are both available on Amazon. Gail is currently writing a memoir with her brother Jay S. Gerber. He’s a man that rose from rags to riches, find out how in his memoirs, maybe by the end of this year.

My current books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mangia! Mangia! Mangia!

Mangia! Mangia! Mangia!

I have a recipe for you today straight from Mrs. Maniscalco’s kitchen. About 70 years ago, I babysat for Mrs. Maniscalco’s grandson, Bennett. They lived above my parents’ variety store in Brooklyn. The one remark from her that stands out to me was, “Never skim off the fat, that’s where all the flavor comes from.” So, forget fat-free pasta sauce. I’m doing this from memory . . . and a little help from my Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

I’d love for you to join my new facebook group – called GAIL INGIS AUTHOR RECIPE EXCHANGE AND MORE… I posted Mrs. Maniscalco’s tomato sauce recipe – on the group page – but I also included it here. I hope you’ll join me in this fun facebook group – we’ll swap recipes and share memories of favorite food celebrations and family gatherings. I’m planning a Holiday/Christmas Cookie Exchange in November! Can’t wait!

I have fun with food in my new Gilded Age Romance, THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. My heroine, Allie Baldwin is a food connoisseur and enjoys good cooking like all of you do.

Here’s a taste from chapter 12: Allie poked at the duck l’orange, wild rice, and roasted vegetables, and to make sure no one would go hungry, also served was a platter of pasta covered in the thick brown sauce from the entree. Pasta, Allie’s favorite, not usually served at a formal dinner like this one, was a delightful treat. “Pass the sauce, please,” Allie requested, adding to the already drowning spaghetti. She twirled some onto her fork, using her tablespoon to catch any dangling pieces of pasta, and savored each bite.

The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin is available everywhere online:  Amazon. Hooray! I hope you’ll check it out.

You’re invited to my art show

You’re invited to my art show

Art has always been a big part of my life. Guess what? I’m having an art show and you’re invited. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, 10 am-5 pm. (rain date Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018). At my house. And the Sangria is on me. If you’re interested in attending and you’re in the area (Fairfield, Connecticut) you can email me directly at gail@gailingis.com.

Join me for my art show COLORFUL VISIONS and celebrate color and beauty in our world.

Art, nature, Sangria. Sounds like fun to me. Hope to see you there. xo Gail

Many of my paintings will be available for purchase, including the ones featured in the postcard above. I will be donating half of all sales of my paintings to Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. A National Historic Landmark since 1971, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Lockwood-Mathews holds educational programs throughout the year for schools, colleges, and universities along with other educational groups and for the general public. Lockwood-Mathews also hosts various events throughout the year for the public including art shows, flea markets, tea parties, costume balls, private tours as well as offering guided historical tours of the estate.

 

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

My Wild Walk on the Beach

My Wild Walk on the Beach

Rockaway Beach Morning Shoreline by Maureen E Ritter

I was alone. A sultry day in July, the sun was blazing, the temperature in the nineties. A walk on the beach sounded like a great escape. Sneaking away from my family was no big deal.

Jumping into the soaring waves was refreshing, revitalizing, invigorating. I waited for the next wave, then the next. Giggling at the cool spray that tickled my skin. The heat no longer bothered me after each successive splash of cold water coated my arms and legs. Suddenly, I found myself overcome by a giant wave. Unexpected. Scary. Gasping for air and flailing my arms I couldn’t stop the pull of this force of nature.

Would someone see me and come to my rescue? I hadn’t noticed a lifeguard. Who thinks about that when there’s so much fun to be had. I tried to drag myself out of the frothy water, onto the safety of the beach, but my strength was fading fast. The undertow pulled me farther and farther away from shore.

Rockaway Beach

Desperate. Frightened that I would drown, I fought the waves with all my might, dragging myself back. Finally, I managed to stand and slog my way through the shallows to shore.

I was eight years old.

Since that day, I have told this story hundreds of times. I promised myself I would never take the power of nature for granted ever again. I was pretty tall for my age and was a good swimmer, but it didn’t make a difference. I was at the mercy of the tides. Since then, I never go into the ocean when the waves are bigger than me.

Those lovely old cottages

Jones Beach undertow

My family had a cottage just up the street, in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. The experience put a damper on my love of the ocean. The almost-drowning is what I think of whenever I see a gigantic wave today.

I spent many a summer at Jones Beach watching my own kids jump in and out of the waves. I didn’t want to stop their fun or diminish their pleasure, but I was ready at a moment’s notice to leap to the rescue if one of my kids needed me.

Nature is beautiful but it’s also untameable. Wild. Have a safe summer.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

Those super duper roller skates (part 2)

Those super duper roller skates (part 2)

Park Circle Roller Rink. The kids today wear shorts or leggings, but back in the 1950s, the gals wore short skirts, similar to the tennis skirts the women wear today.

Remember those skates I told you about? The ones with the hole in the boot? They stayed with me until they got moldy in a move. I had another pair and recently found them in a box in my basement. Unfortunately, they have urethane wheels, which is good for skating on the sidewalk, or pavement  –  not in a roller rink. For that, you need wooden wheels. So I’m going to track down a pair and switch them out. Update on the wood wheels. I found a pair but they have no bearings. See the empty holes in the picture? We had no way to attach these to my skates.

My roller skates

For now, my skates must keep those urethane wheels. If someone could teach me how to control those wheels so I feel like I’m on my old roller skates and not ice skates, I would be thrilled. When I tried them on, I had to hold onto the kitchen counter for dear life. I already had one hip replaced, not looking for another one.

Thank goodness for the toe stops.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

Chocolate is Never a Mistake

Chocolate is Never a Mistake

It was a perfect plan, or so I thought. Last week, I sent out a newly revised newsletter to my subscribers. So many of you emailed me that you, “love the new look.” Thanks for that!

After proofreading several times, the newsletter looked pretty good. New logo, new banner, new images. And I included a fun, little quiz asking my subscribers what kind of chocolate they preferred: dark, milk, or white. As a treat, I would draw a name and send that person a $10 Amazon gift card.

We decided on Monday, April 23rd, midnight for the deadline to the quiz. And the draw on Tuesday, April 24th. Then we decided to change it to the 19th and 20th, but forgot to change the dates in the newsletter! Big sigh. So this is what I did: instead of one winner, we had two winners: one from Friday, the 20th, and one from Tuesday, the 24th. No way would I leave anyone out. Mistakes happen, every day, in every way. Whether big or small, I was happy to have two winners, that date change turned a mistake into a double delight. Love Gail.

By the way: here are the results of the chocolate survey: It was pretty even between those who preferred dark chocolate (40%) and those who preferred milk chocolate (40%), with a smaller group who preferred white chocolate (20%).For Tom and me, we prefer dark ’cause ‘they’ say it’s good for you. Right?

And of course, it’s never a mistake to enjoy a piece of chocolate: dark, milk, or white.

I post here every Thursday morning at 5 a.m. Hope you’ll stop by.

Here’s another delight for you, Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark, or their imported Belgian big bar with or without almonds, or from Phoenix, AZ, Cerreta French Mint Truffles.  Yum! Cerreta.com.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in summer 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

There’s A New Apple In My Life

There’s A New Apple In My Life

Remember when I told you that I wanted to break up with my MacBook? Well, I did. Old Mac and I parted ways.

It turns out we just didn’t get along. Old Mac had some major “binge issues”. He was constantly hoarding emails instead of letting them go. So Tom and I took him to the Apple Store near us and boy did they put Old Mac on a diet! He lost more than 1 million pounds! Er, I mean documents.

Even though Old Mac and I have been through a lot together, it was time for us to part ways. So I bought New Mac, a champion athlete, and one lean, mean, powerful machine.

Tom took pity on Old Mac and decided to become his personal coach. Tom will keep him in shape. After all, Tom was my diet support system and helped me lose 50 pounds. By the way, I’ve kept that weight off for more than fifteen years. So I have no doubt that Tom will keep Old Mac from getting bloated again.

Meanwhile, New Mac is humming along and working out great. Until next time, remember to keep up your daily workouts!

Love Gail and Tom xo

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

New Year’s Resolutions in Reverse by Gail Ingis

New Year’s Resolutions in Reverse by Gail Ingis

We didn’t need to return the champagne. Two sips, done and yum!

I’m going to tell you a little secret: I’ve never ever made a New Year’s Resolution. There! The cat’s out of the bag. Why? Every positive change I’ve made in my life happened because of slow, steady, hard work. Not after three glasses of champagne at 12:01 on Jan. 1st. You might say I do “Reverse Resolutions”.

There are a few other things I like to do “in reverse” and that includes shopping! Yup! This time of year is all about “reverse shopping”. Every year after the Holidays are over, I put my precious packages under my arm, and trudge to the mall through snow, hail, and threat of 40mph winds, just like the postman used to do. Lately I’ve seen them driving around in their nifty mail trucks.

It’s blooming lovely.

Many years ago, you couldn’t return anything without a good excuse. That was before stores like Costco and Walmart came on the scene and began to implement their return policies, then all the chi-chi stores followed suit. And so every January begins the “reverse shopping” trips: the Christmas lights that didn’t light. The flickering battery candles that didn’t flicker, the blingy jeans screaming bling, too much, even for this sassy Brooklyn blonde. This year Tom returned three bouquets of flowers that had already started to wilt before he even got home! I did manage to salvage a few surviving blooms.

To all of you I say, Happy New Year and remember, you don’t need a new year to make a positive change. But you do need your receipt, well, even Costco appreciates the receipt, but its not required like Walmart,  to return all the new stuff that didn’t work, broke down, or doesn’t fit.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR . . . by Gail Ingis

ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR . . . by Gail Ingis

My darling, I will love you until the end of time, an hour, a day, forever. Love at any age is contagious. it’s the kind of contagion you want. Catch a falling star, catch him in your arms. The stars tell all, or maybe your heart tells all. So many love songs, a little of Frankie here, What is this Thing Called Love.” 

Between us, Tom and I have nine grandsons, ages 11-31. And we have three granddaughters, (a set of twins, 13, and their 5 year-old sister). One of our boys got married on July 22. Jonathan married his childhood sweetheart, Taylor. And another grandson is getting married on Sunday, August 13. Ben is marrying his college sweetheart, Stephanie.

WOW! Two back-to-back weddings. Love and romance are certainly in the air! Something I know all about because I’ve been married to my love, Tom for almost 25 years.

Jonathan and Taylor’s wedding ceremony was on top of a mountain at the Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey, on what was reported to be the hottest day of the year. We traveled up the mountain standing in, what they call a cabriolet, (pronounced cab-ree-oh-lay).

Joanne, Gail & Tom riding up on the cabriolet

The ride up was breathtaking. We had a gorgeous view of the valley as the cabriolet carried us up and up, and the ground moved farther and farther away. The sun was a blazing furnace, and by the time we reached the top, we were wilted. Thank goodness for the never-ending supply of the wet stuff. Nope, not beer! Water! There were plenty of bottles to go around. Whew! The ceremony was beautiful and the reception, even more so. The big party was held in a beautiful backyard garden oasis at the home of my son, Rick and daughter-in-law, Tammy. Only one word can describe the celebration–awesome!

Ben & Steph

Ben and Steph’s wedding will be more traditional, in a banquet hall. I’m sure it will be beautiful. I can’t wait to be with everyone again, all dressed up in our best duds and having a wonderful celebration, another milestone in our wonderful family.

I hope these sweet young couples have discovered true romance. Not just the flowers and sweet words kind, but the every-day kind of love you show the person who means the most to you. It’s the little things you do for one another daily. In my house, I cook and Tom does the dishes. I dust, and am the sergeant of the latrines (we have three) and Tom vacuums. Who wouldn’t love a guy like that? He also does the laundry. Bet you think I’m kidding. Tom won my heart long ago. He’s a guy who knows about romance. First you have romance then you have love.

So why am I hung up on romance and love? I’m a romance writer after all.

Under the backyard tent

Tom and Gail

Joanne & Paul

Gail & Rick

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