Thursday, July 2, 2015

Uh-Oh Those Summer Nights….

Tell me more, tell me more...

Is He Kidding?

There was a time I'd have voted for him… if he'd just shut that big mouth…
and stopped pointing that blankety-blank finger…
and he can't win New Jersey...
Tell me you're kidding, Chris Christie.

Bread Alone… Don't Judge Me

In a Dinner Declaration last night, I told Joe that I'd gladly make him a burger or something easy, but my fare would consist of blueberry pie à la mode… period (yesterday's blog). My calories would be used in a guilt-free substitution of dessert for dinner. Come on, Guys 'n' Gals, isn't less truly more? Reminds me of Niece Kim when she was a kid. If there was cheesecake in the fridge, she'd have it for breakfast and lunch, in lieu of other food… I digress…

My choice of Breyer's was vanilla, of course. What "matches" berries in a better way. Before you judge, consider the exorbitant amount of antioxidants I consumed, not to forget the inclusion of dairy and bread groups. So, if you think of it all as Pie Alone, herein lies my segue to…
Bread Alone. It's a brand delivered fresh to our local farm market (Broadway, Monti) on Tuesdays and Fridays. It's organic with no preservatives, making it imperative to buy fresh and freeze for further use, such as TOAST. Clearly, it makes the BEST toast to ever hit one's taste buds. But after last night's happy exclusion of "real" dinner, I thought to make breakfast extra healthy…
A slice of BA toast topped with thin layers of goat cheese, avocado and tomato did the trick. Oh, my. Try it; you'll love it.

Buon Appetito.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Someone Told Me that It's July!

What says, "July!" better than watermelon and berries? Sure, sure. There's lakes, oceans, sprinklers and swimming pools; sunshine; boats of all persuasions; sunshine; long days, often lazy and hazy; sunshine; kids happily home from school; sunshine… well supposedly.  

In my book, the season is measured by three months, a concept that has been mentioned ad nauseam, here on CMI. The calendar is irrelevant, though no one consulted moi during its establishment. Still I say, June is the Friday of summer, filled with anticipation; July is Saturday, to be savored; August is Sunday, the wind-down that always flies by too quickly. By September, vacations are over, kids are back in school, boats and campers are being considered for storage when weather tanks and days get shorter, etc., etc. So let's talk Friday, first… you know, when the rains came…

Quite the wet month and one for the record books, was June. Can we have a do-over, maybe?  Sure, we had some gorgeous days, reminiscent of past Fridays of summer. But that rain, right up to yesterday and through last night. Thunder, lightning, wind and sheets of hard rain a-fallin'. Jeesh.

Mambo pretty much slept through the last day of June, while I watched some mindless, sappy series-not-worth-recommending on Netflix, simultaneously working on that gift blanket and playing WORDS. Pathetic.

Not a typical summer's day, but hey, you've gotta go with the flow. Besides, when Chloe's artwork and message popped up on my device, I couldn't help but think that sunshine had arrived.
And then came Saturday… well, actually it's Wednesday, July 1st...

We awakened to lots of clouds that quickly parted to let Old Sol through for a peek. It's finally toasty and muggy, outdoors. YES! Bring it on. In celebration of the month, I had a red, white and blue breakfast, with yogurt, blueberries, raspberries and granola. Patriotic and delicious. Then, I just had to make a blueberry pie. The berries have been outrageously delicious, this year, abundant and cheap, cheap, cheap at Sam's. Who can resist? But truly, I was inspired by the chicken quiche I'd made earlier in the week. It was so good, especially topped with avocado-mayo-lemon juice dressing.

But it was the crust that was to die for, inspiring more baking.
 Let me give you my crust recipe, once again:

Put 2 level cups of flour in a bowl; stir in 1 teaspoon salt
Add all at once ½ cup canola oil and 5 tablespoons ice water
Stir quickly with a fork and divide as desired

Roll thin, thin, thin between 2 sheets of waxed paper
Peel off top paper and lift dough with bottom paper onto pie pan
Gently peel away paper and "play" with crust till as desired -
It will be damp and flexible

And there you have it, one of my best cucina offerings.

Happy, Healthy July! May the Saturday of Summer Linger!
Dine Al Fresco!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015


We moved the bench from Stacey for purposes such as after-dinner fishing in glassy waters, after gravity lounges are put away.
Mambo looking gorgeous, don't you think? Taken from the deck, looking downwards.
Old Glory in all her glory, flying high.
A white pigeon, roadside, caught Joe's attention.
"Nick, Nick, you've got to see this!"
Crystal clear waters never cease to amaze. Another beauty for our rock garden?

The Bermuda In Me

Zu really made my day, with her blog commentary and sense of humor. It's so fun to find her mail via my inbox. Intriguing how one can have so much in common with a virtual sista. First of all, we're the mothers of sons. That counts for a whole lot and the rest seems to fall naturally in place. It all started with a crochet pattern. The rest is history. Consider our mutual love of flowers. Hmm, seems that I have some Bermuda in my soul...
Who knew that elephant ears and hibiscus remind her so much of her Bermudian home. It's hell being a transplant, especially to a cold climate, such as Scotland. But she adapted well by bringing slices of her old homestead into her new environment.

I'm a transplant of sorts, too… from warmer Long Island beaches to colder upstate mountains. And I'm a hibiscus and elephant-ear lover. Check 'em out… finally producing… and this is just the beginning, I hope!

Pay a visit to my pal, Zu; her blog is guaranteed to make you smile. It'll give you boatloads of beautiful, creative ideas, as well. Meanwhile, this one's for you, Zu. xo
And FYI, Friends of CMI… feed those annual hibiscus plants once per week with a light dose of Miracle Gro. You'll be guaranteed huge blooms, all summer long.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Flying Lessons

So, what else is new? I had the wrong lens on NIK, when this phenomenal photo op came my way. Nonetheless, I think the capture demonstrates a juvenile eagle teaching an even younger brethren (this year's fledgling???) the proverbial ropes.
In real life and real time, we saw inklings of white plumage under the larger bird, meaning it's beginning to become of age. You see, it takes this species five years to change color in the appropriate places. Even its beak turns yellow gradually. For that amount of time, they are considered to be juveniles. Once the five-year mark is reached, it is impossible to tell their age, even though they can live for a few decades. I digress… The younger bird was half the size of big brother and incredible to watch, as it kept up with the sibling's antics.
Mother Nature's gifts, here on Golden Pond, where Mambo seemed to find the view more appealing in the opposite direction, yesterday. Maybe he liked the lake's reflection?? Ah, but wait…

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Neil Diamond - It's a Telepathy Thing

This afternoon, I coincidentally turned on my iPad just as Neil was beginning his live show in Paris. Yes. That's Paris, France. Success! A quick link to Periscope and there it was - the vid AND sound. Thank you, Katie Diamond. Loved her split screens throughout most of the show. Lookin' so good, so good, so good, Mr. D…. and that voice. Brilliant for over two hours. What a great show from a chatty ND. And what a perfect part of a lazy, hazy, crazy day of summer.

Rock On, Brother Lve!
Merci Beaucoup, Paris!!

Just ONE Flag...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Officially Summertime and the Livin' is Easy...

So, today was the first full day of summer…

It's so peaceful, here on Golden Pond. There are no words to express how much we're enjoying it. God-given gifts to witness and cherish each day… serenity now! Even the torrential rains of a few days were appreciated. The lake was so low from lack of significant drops… we needed a few inches of wet stuff in order to move and set our dock. Done. Now, let Old Sol have his way.

I gifted Joe a new fishing pole and reel for Father's Day. He's loving the return to an old pastime. If he doesn't respond to my call every now and again, a quick glance reveals his location - offshore in the kayak, casting and casting again. Yeah, yeah, occasionally catching a lunker, too!

Pasta salad with "real" may-o-nnaise is always a sure sign of summertime. It has to be Hellman's; but you know that. I'm sure the recipe is in the archives, somewhere, but I'm too lazy to look.

Trending on the lake are party boats. We looked into the purchase of one. The price is staggering. The cleaning, wrapping and storage fees for a long harsh winter - ugh.

Tempting? Sure. Necessary? Positively not. Just can justify the cost, so maybe for now we'll just enjoy watching the fifty or so that have popped up on glassy waters. One rarely sees a Hobie, these days, including our own… those sails were soooo pretty.
The operative word for the season? Lazy. You know…" lazy, hazy days of summer." Just watch how Mambo does it.

Giving thanks.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Our Family's Fathers… That's A Lot Of Lovin'

Monday Update:

We had such a nice time at BKAG's, last night, in honor of Father's Day.
Giving Thanks.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

FYI - I'm Excited!

Apologies. I'm sure you're tired of Japanese and/or lace-leaf maple posts. But I can't help myself. There it was. Yet another offspring of the latter variety awaiting my attention at the Old Homestead. Just had to do it… transplant it to the Lake House. There's gonna be lotsa burgundy red 'round here. 
Do you have trees of these varieties? If so, just know they become very prolific in their old age. Gotta love Mother Nature.

Happy Planting!

Jungle Habitat Extension - Over and Under

Since I'd already dubbed the Old Homestead with its nickname, "Jungle Habitat," a slightly revised alternate was necessary for the LakeHouse. "Extension" works for me, as we're inundated with wildlife, here on Golden Pond. Hopefully, you'll agree that all these critters and creatures make for interesting photo ops. Some opportunities, however are missed…

Consider, for example, our awakening on Thursday morning to garbage all over the yard. We weren't sure if the culprit was a bear or raccoon. However, when we noticed another's similar dilemma, the bear theory was confirmed. Furthermore, our receptacle is under the deck, behind a post, with a locking lid and it's heavy…. 'twas dragged out and strewn about as though a bucket of weightless feathers. We eat well. Big Blackie must have been pleased. Eventually, I'll capture him with my lens. But for now…

A robin decided to nest under the upper deck. Sure, we can see it and momma flying in and out from the lower patio view… but then there are the eggs, barely visible from the over side on the deck. Tough to angle in for a decent capture, but you'll get the gist if you look hard - really hard. :-) Moving along to yesterday morning…

Old habits are hard to break; therefore, I continue to take my morning garden stroll, NIK in hand, here at our new digs. First the side beds; then the roadside, after which I bound down to the patio and lakeside. Yesterday's surprise came by way of a large nest, built overnight by scores of ambitious yellow jackets that were swarming around it, when I arrived. Location??? Right next to the birds. Jeesh. Didn't they know about squatters rights?? That puppy had to go. What you're seeing here is an after-the-spray shot. My hero came down, bomb in hand, and made that sucker all shiny, its residents gone forever. Can't get sentimental about those stingers. On to some jungle blooms and a small sampling of…

Yesterday's flowers. Check out Mom's pink anemone roses (Zu, are you here?). I see her in every one of them, enjoying from her perch on my shoulder. Couldn't resist adding the apricot minis, last summer. They survived the brutality of winter. Now, please excuse me

It's time for today's surprises.
Happy Saturday to y'all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What Hatred Leaves Behind - Sadness in Charleston

Meet the victims here, in this NY TIMES article. When will it ever end?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Everything Here is a Repeat :-)

So, bludgeon me, if you must. But seriously, are any two sunsets or post-sunsets EVER identical. And then there's the recipe, at this link. I'd promised to share salad dressing secrets with my LakeHouse neighbor and was surprised to find "Mangia" included in the throwback post. Bringing me to:

"Why not show you where that word of wisdom has been moved to??!!" 
And there you have it, on this lazy, rainy day that requires an even lazier post. Is it a recipe for success? Hoping so... 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Toss your wire grill brush, please. Check out the "why" at the link provided. Trust me, you don't want to take a chance of having to undergo abdominal surgery. Instead, buy a fabulous grill stone at Home Depot or a similar store. It can be used to clean a hot or cold grill, without risk.

Catching Up with LakeScapes and a Fishy Recipe

All this staring at water, waiting for eagles to fly by and photo-shooting is clearly detracting from blog-time. If you're still here, you have my apologies, as well as my endless gratitude. It's incredible to feel like we're on a scenic vacation, every day. It's even more incredible how time flies by. So, herein I'll try to catch up and share...

Needless to say, that big bass already mentioned was the excitement of the week past. Thing is, Gav is a fussy eater with an incredibly delicate palate… meaning… don't try to pass something off on him by neglecting to mention ingredients. But he was bound and determined to consume that big fish, especially after watching the scaling and cleaning process for the first time. We had a bit of trouble deboning and filleting properly, wasting too much delicate meat. But the results weren't too bad, for our first big catch. Now, we'll invest in the proper knives, 'cause you never know… there might be a big brother out there in Golden Pond. Hope it doesn't take another thirty years to find him. :-) Here's the simple recipe:

While the grill was firing up to the highest of temps, I poured not-too-much EVOO in pan and ran both sides of fish through it, leaving it skin-side down. Spread top side with some Dijon mustard; sprinkled with paprika, garlic powder, fresh pepper; squeezed on fresh lemon juice; topped with very thin coating of cornmeal, to hold it all in. Another spritz of oil and into the hot grill it went for a very quick bake of about 12-15 minutes.

Gav was anxious to play another game of Monopoly and didn't want to wait for Gramps, who was busy doing a few real-life things around here. So, we went head-to-head. The kid is smart. After only two games, he already understands which properties to buy and when. He's a whiz at math, making logistics a breeze for him. Real estate and mortgages and now understood. And the kicker? He beat me fair and square. I mortgaged properties on three consecutive turns, in order to pay the honcho rent!! Finally, I conceded. Joe wanted to know what all the laughing was about… that game was hot and fun. It's been a long, looong time since Christian brought friends home on half-day snow days and we played equally exciting games.

Meanwhile, flowers abound and the first leaf has popped up on the elephant ear plant. Okay, okay, so it's a baby elephant. But stay tuned! We planted morning glory around the newly erected mailbox.

Best of all are late dinners by the most incredible sunsets and post-sunset views. Gav's comments:

"It's like staying in a hotel, G'ma."

"Can you move back to the other house, so that we can live here?"
(This after much anguish about our moving at all!)

"I love the reflection of the sun on the water, during sunsets."

Mouths of Babes. What more can I say?

Actually, there is one more thing. This last photo is, to me, THE capture of last week. We'd had a violent storm, but it cleared in time for a beautiful sunset. About twenty minutes afterwards, I snapped this unfiltered shot of an incredible sky. See what you think…