Wednesday, May 25, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, H♥NEY!

Love the RealTime pic you took, this morning, and so happy you love your gift so much… hope it is a constant reminder to you, 'cause...

YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE!
Thank you so much for all you do for me. I sure am a lucky gal.

HAPPY 'BIG' BIRTHDAY!!! I LOVE YOU!!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Yesterday - Part Two - CHLOE is a Star!

Did I mention that the weather was brilliant, yesterday? Sun. Seventies. Calm. I'm feelin' summer right around the corner. But I digress. It was the perfect day to meet Christian, Hunter and Chloe to watch my Little Pretty play soccer. She loves the sport, has excelled at a young age, and is on a couple of teams - spring and fall - including this one that travels. We met in Oneonta and enjoyed the ride up through greening mountains and endless farmland.

The girls play HARD, be assured. The score was 2-2 and we enjoyed every minute.




My guys cooperated with this fantastic, three-generation pose. Don't they look alike? Good gene pool, yes?!

Of course, Mambo joined us. He had an enormous big-screen "TV" to watch. A lot to absorb. :-)
Seems like enough for a day of perfection, but there's more. We all went out to a fun place for dinner, afterwards. Ah, those kids. Just precious. They own my heart.

Giving thanks for a beautiful Friday.

Bonus: Needed to take a break from writing this entry, 'cause Chloe FaceTimed me!

Yesterday - Part One - It's Been A Year!

We don't remember the exact date, but sometime in earlier May of 2015, we moved into our gorgeous LakeHouse. It's hard to believe a year has gone by. To celebrate, we planted a coveted hedge of American Boxwoods. Aren't they beautiful??!! 
Meanwhile, the "baby" Lace-leaf Maple from the Old Homestead has grown to adulthood,  while Michelle's memory Japanese Maple, also from Stacey Drive, has thrived to toddlerhood. And as for the Twisted Nut Tree, it speaks for itself. All are nothing short of spectacular, having survived wintry lake winds.

























To celebrate further, Joe's early birthday gift arrived… a little something to tell him how he lights up my life, as it enhances our space. He was thrilled, 'cause I pretended to nix the lighthouse when he fell in love with it. Surprise, surprise!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Too Exhausted to Lift his Head to the Pillow

The other day, Joe had about four-hours-worth of errands to run. I grabbed the opportunity to use the time to groom Mambo. There would be no distractions; just the two of us. He was long and shaggy, couldn't see out of his hairy eyes, and simply a mess. It seems that I'm the only one he's a perfect gentleman for, when it comes to this arena. A hundred-and-thirty pound pooch has a very large and strong head. If he decides to thrash it about, no groomer stands a chance. For moi, though? You wouldn't believe it…
Thing is, poor baby was pooped and we think he's still in recovery. Judging by this capture of Joe's, wouldn't you agree? He couldn't get that big noggin onto his comfy bed. Funny position to catch some zzzzzz's. But, hey, who's to judge??!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Real" Food

My biggest complaint about Sullivan County does not lie in its lack of shopping malls. Been there - done that. We are well compensated by its abundance spectacular mountains and pristine lakes. Yes, the great outdoors. Rather, it lies in the area's lack of fine dining. Even the "better" restaurants do not use the best of ingredients. And then, there are the mediocre chefs. Everything tastes like a version of fast food, to me….


When we had reason to be near a favorite Chinese haunt in Westchester County, the other day, we took advantage. They have live fish and lobster tanks. All it took was the power of suggestion for moi… done in a delightful ginger and scallion sauce… yum. Joe chose his usual ribs with a huge bowl of seafood, broccoli rabe and noodle soup… yum twice. They serve up the real deal, comparable to the various Chinatowns we've visited. Thing is, twice has a price…


The next day, Joe's credit card had been used not once, not twice, but thrice. Yep, three attempted charges to the tune of one grand, all declined. They emanated from none other that Westchester County and the only place Joe had used the card. We have our suspicions, as all were "girlie" charges. But the manager didn't want to hear about the incident. So now, it's a new card and the inconvenience of changing various websites. 

Ah, the price one pays for a delicious meal.
Buon Appetito and Beware!

Reflecting...

Upon returning from congested NYC, last night, this was our view. Joe captured it when he went to fetch Mambo from his "daycare center." We are so grateful to thoughtful and kind Kip at Rock Ridge for allowing him to be picked up whenever we get back. Big Dog is an old man, now, and he suffers when confined to any size cage. Daycare helps him to fare fairly well.
This morning, we awakened to a crystal clear lake that reflected trees filling in with green, blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Gorgeous. Still. Food for great thought about the beauty of nature and the blessings of living lakeside.
video
Today promises to be a "whole" gorgeous day, with no violent rainstorms threatening. Time to do more planting, with the hope that nighttime frosts have left for good.
Back at the Old Homestead, Dad's gorgeous French lilac is in bloom. Joe stopped by to snap an annual picture for me. Look at that color. Ooooh, thanks, Dad. I love you.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

This puts Sorrento and Polly-O to shame. It does, however, compare to the city's Littly Italy version that we once got from Adam's in Newburgh - fresh on Thursdays, when I'd ride shotgun with Joe. Now that ricotta was pure and absolutely delicious.

If you've ever asked me what my favorite foods are, I've most likely answered homemade mozzarella and freshly whipped cream, minus the sugar, in all their purity. I'd have forgotten REAL ricotta cheese. There's a running theme, here.

The recipe is the simplest you'll ever find… a few ingredients and a little time. But let's be clear, it's not for the lactose intolerant or cholesterol challenged. Moderation is seriously key for all!
The transformation is magical. I saved the liquid whey for use later on. Waste not, want not! And to note, we used light buttermilk. I know, I know - kind of laughable, right? Point is, it worked. It's like having skimmed milk with a full-fledged brownie! Or like the TAB I asked my Dad to buy for me, as a teen, only to drink it along with some ice cream or cookies. That one baffled Dad. ♡ 
Alex Guarnaschelli on the Food Network gets all the credit. Here's her recipe:

BUON APPETITO!! 
Hot pasta with a "scoop-of" is on tonight's menu. YUM!
Then, there's lasagna, white pizza or just dabs of deliciousness.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tennis, Anyone? And More Thanks...

Gramps, Hunter and Chloe rode bikes to a nearby park, on Sunday, for a few rallies on the gorgeous courts. According to the returning chatter, they had a blast! Our upstaters live in a wonderful, thriving area. Photos by Joe and his iPhone.
Meanwhile, I'd be remiss were I forget to thank my little circle (where extra lovin' abounds) for all the amazing calls on Mother's Day. I'm talkin' Ron, Kim, Vicki, Nicole and Lisa T. I'm honored to have been remembered. Love you all.

Monday, May 9, 2016

That Was FUN!

Thought to blog while still basking in the glow of a beautiful Mother's Day…





Christian took over the grill to cook delicious steak 'n' spuds for the Mommas and the rest of the family. Joe took over NIK for a few captures. Hunter entertained, playing a new and complicated piece, brilliantly. Chloe loved her new soccer stuff, immediately ready to try out the fancy-schmancy ball. Lyla strummed the ukulele and proudly demonstrated her many new toddler skills, such as puzzle-solving. Gorgeous, aren't they!! A rhetorical question, of course.

As for moi? What can I say. It was such a beautiful day. I think I'm in lve.
And finally, we're blooming!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

So, What Does M♥ther's Day Have To Do With The OBX?

'Splain, Lucy. Okay, okay; I'll try…but you'll have to connect the dots, where my explanations are lacking. Deal? Ooooh-kay…

Mother's Day is one of those bittersweet celebratory occasions. Sometimes bitter and sweet, all rolled in one. You know. Bitter for the Moms 'n' Grans we miss but sweet for the endless, loving memories we harbor. Tomorrow shall be bitter for Khrista, Nicole and Mads, as Bonnie's demise was so shocking and so recent. But then, we hope Nic finds some sweetness in her first such occasion with Baby Dominic. And bitter for Evelyn, in the loss of Gina, so fresh in her heart and mind. Big heart holes. And a lot left to remaining children, as they try to help make the day easier. We never stop missing our loved ones.

Segue to my cousin, Chris, Evelyn's oldest and the godson of my parents, Gus 'n' Marge, whom you've met so many times, here on CMI. :-) Evelyn's hubby, Nunz, was Mom's first cousin, not to be confused with Uncle Nunz, my godfather and Mom's bro. What can I say? Nunzio was a popular Italian name, back in the day, and several family members on that side of my gene pool got lucky. Hahaha. I digress. Hadn't seen Chris in far too long, but he lives in Norfolk and occasions don't arise frequently. Sooo, this is how it goes…
A few weeks ago, Joe and I had been scoping condos in the OBX. We missed our Wild Horses of Corolla. Sometimes, one just needs a horse fix. On a Wednesday, we booked a beauty in Windswept, a favorite spot. By Friday, we were on our way, Mambo in tow. What a pleasure for Joe!! No customers to notify, only to have them in panic mode, needing this 'n' that before he left. There are great benefits to retirement. We took our time and landed in Exmore, VA, for the first night. There's that Italian restaurant previously mentioned, Little Italy, nearby; we enjoyed a great dinner. In the morning, we headed for a traditional pitstop in Cape Charles; it continues to thrive, with many new homes. More importantly, old mansions in restoration mode abound. Nice to see.














Then, we were off to a lunch date with Chris and his lovely wife, Carolyn. Destination? Just over the Bay-Bridge Tunnel in Virginia Beach, at a restaurant called Buoy 44. We sat waterside and Chris managed to get Mambo to the table. Hmmm. Seems he suddenly became a service hound. Hey, creativity runs in the family. Time flew. We had a great visit, before parting ways and finishing our trip to find equines. And ever so interesting is the fact that in this six-degrees-or-fewer-of separation world we live in, ND/CMI pal, Jane, is acquainted with Carolyn in real life!
Our condo didn't disappoint, especially when we arose to the magnificent sunrise over ocean waves, the next morning. We headed to the lovely Corolla beach and waited for the tide to go out, so that we could hit the sand highway in search of Mr. Ed. We found one loner. Next day, we repeated the drill and found a band of horses, the palomino stallion intent on chasing a rogue male. That chase provided me with my capture-of-the-trip, as Blackie headed into the dunes and then graced us with his gorgeous head and windswept mane for that unique Kodak moment in time.




As if our Spanish Mustang buddies weren't enough, Joe uncovered an already-painted shell in the dunes. Only in the OBX. Thanks C.W., whomever you are.
Now, where does "motherhood" fit into all this. Or, shall I say "parenthood." Well, we weren't in our borrowed digs for twenty-four hours, when Bri called to tell us he was in the local hospital. The infection he'd been fighting for weeks and weeks had worsened; he needed IV antibiotics and further tests. Then, a couple days later, he was transferred to Mt. Sinai in the city. It seemed that his mitral heart valve was threatened and the dreaded word, "surgery," was mentioned. That was it. We headed home, doing the trip in one day; next day, minus Mambo, we headed to NYC. By that time, the infection was under control and surgery was no longer emergent. Whew. BIG sigh of relief and major thanks to the Man upstairs. 

I guess the moral of the story is that motherhood/parenthood are life-long commitments. You can't sneak away from it if, G-d forbid, your children are in jeopardy. There's no retirement. Or job change. Or vacation, for that matter. Joe and I would have it no other way.

Later in the week during a conversation with Ev, she said,

"I always told my children, 'Every day is Mother's Day.'"

Man, did THAT sound familiar as one of the same mantras I raised the boys on.

We are exorbitantly grateful for Bri's restored health and nonetheless grateful for our beautiful-albeit-aborted time on one of our favorite places. That's right. Giving thanks…

And tomorrow, we head to our upstate family to celebrate Hallmark's designated day…

HAPPY MTHER'S DAY! 
Enjoy the photos. NIK, Joe and I always enjoy the hunt for inspiring things to share.
A FEW MORE RANDOMS