Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"I'm Dreaming Of A White...

Christmas Thanksgiving"
That's right. There's gonna be 6 to 12, today. Inches, that is. On the busiest travel day of the season. Groan. I am reminded of infant Brian's first turkey, when 2 FEET fell on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and we were unable to get to my parents' then-home in Massapequa. However, tomorrow is looking good for travel to our destination. Christian and Dawn must be working hard, today.

Giving Thanks in Monti.
Be safe, Family and Friends. Have a very Happy Turkey

A note to Great White Hunter - There's something about you, Bambi and snowy days.
A note to Great White Hunter, Jr. - Any day we can have lunch together is a good day.

Bolognese With A Dollop - Recipe For Success

Last Night's Soul Food
This Matzoh-Pizza From Massapequa is very fussy about her ricotta cheese. My Italian half wins in the culinary department. Pasta is my soul food and a Polly-O topper just doesn't cut it. Besides, we're rarely in Newburgh, a 45-minute drive away, to buy the fresh-from-Manhattan version at Adam's. So, this represents a pretty decent ShopRite discovery. That's right, Organic Valley produces a delicious version that is nearly natural. Put a dollop on your pasta, next time you desire a dish buttered or with your favorite bolognese. It's not just for lasagna!
BUON APPETITO!

And a note to Kelly - Here's to the power of suggestion!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hack This and Not That

Clearly, "hack" has a negative connotation for most of us. 'Tis the dreaded season of being more aware than ever, as we shop online or hand credit card information to perfect strangers. But then, there's the Urban Dictionary. Who knew hacking could be so helpful? Not familiar? Go see for yourselves; but if you browse, please don't hold me accountable for some of the less-useful-but-more-shocking words and phrases seemingly lacking from Webster's. On to those helpful hints:

Don't we all need edible shot glasses for our Bailey's?
Actually, Bailey's is not a player in my life. Marshmallows are simply for consuming, sans liquid. Ah, the perfect hit of pure, energizing sugar and irresistible when toasted… so, I perused the site for more applicable suggestions. This one sounds useful:
Need a few more? You'll find them here. 

All photos in this post are screen captures from sites mentioned. I know, I know… I need to find NIK and get more creative.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 24, 2014

For Girls Only - Leave It To Revlon!

Revlon and I have been friends for decades - ever since Mom represented them (and Clinique) in A & S, Babylon. She'd sure love this glittery innovation. Thing is, I'll have to hide it and my nails from Aubs, unless I purchase another bottle or two. My Girl will go wild in anticipation of holiday glitz!

Testing For Green!

Vid Capture



Thanks, Bri, for providing the great video, shortened a tad to suit CMI. 

CONGRATULATIONS to Gavin on yesterday's excellent work in earning GREEN, his favorite color!!!!
video

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It Happened!

Finally, a sip tasted good. Jeesh, that took long enough.
Good Morning, World!

NOT Missing Starz - Yet Another Cable Scam

Joe had heard about an eight-episode miniseries, The Missing, and was anxious to watch. So, last night we tuned into the depressing first episode on Starz TV. After an hour of horror, he asked if I was up to Episode 2. "Sure," said I, "why not…"

LOCKED. Yep, for $15.95, we can watch the rest of the series. Gotta love (NOT) cable providers. If they can't get you one way, they'll find another. 

If you've been reading along on CMI, you'll know where we stand on this one. The Missing shall be missing from our lives, till it's free. Or, shall I say, "Till it's included in cable's already-inflated-beyond-belief cost."

More shame on providers. But, it's okay, 'cause I need some humor in my life.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crème Brûlée

Joe came out of the woods to check out lake-house progress and take me to lunch. Danny's, a local hotspot in a nearby town, was absolutely hopping. It's fantastic to see the old establishment continuing to pack 'em in, while other places languish, often due to boring menus, inflated prices and poor attitudes.

We rarely ask for a dessert menu, but I needed something sweet to top off the occasion. Our waitress seemed elated to tell us about the fab choices. She need not have gone further than the first item. I can't remember my last indulgence in the exquisite combination of heavy cream, egg yolks and sugar. Trying to think of it as protein - so important for healing. :-)
"Borrowed Photo"
We shared. But I have to tell you that Danny's doesn't serve it in tiny ramekins. Happiness is clearly in burnt cream. Leave it to the French. Thinking of Julia, here.

Bon Appétit!!

LakeHouse Progress - Pardon Our Dust!





We're in full swing, again, with our contractors seemingly sharing our excitement. How nice of Aaron to text us after just starting the floor installation to say how nice our choice is. He's just begun the daunting job of laying it diagonally. Stay tuned to see the ensuing kitchen installation, complete with diagonals of its own!! Irving's start-call is right around the corner, now. Please pardon the white film. We're a tad dusty from spackling and taping.




The leaded window went in via the wall in the newly created master bathroom. Use your imagination to picture the quarter-round moulding that will finish it off. Our neighbors approve. Again, a nice job by Aaron and crew.
Never had a chance to post a picture of the retaining wall Joe surprised me with when I came home from the hospital. Chris, who's also responsible for the stamped concrete patio, did a gorgeous job. Besides its aesthetic value, it will keep lake water from eroding our shoreline. This type of work has to be done in the fall, when water levels are lower and the lake dammed for winter. We hope to have a new dock built in the spring; G-d willing.
We'd initially hoped to have a holiday lake-warming party… but as I mentioned in an earlier post, we're learning all about patience. Besides, good things are always worth waiting for. Wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When Life Throws You A Lemon, Go Have Lunch By The River

Looks like my December 2nd date-with-a-surgeon is postponed, much to my chagrin. A recent test revealed that patience needs to be my greatest virtue - at least for a few more weeks. So, I was a tad down, this morning…

But on the bright side, my stamina has returned. Giving thanks, here. And I received an invitation to ride along for Shotgun Thursday. Who could resist? Mambo joined us.

Do you recognize (link) "our spot" in these photos? It was a glorious day to hit Torches and be seated next to the window. What a view! Furthermore, who can argue with grilled panko chicken smothered in roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella??!! Sure beats Boost.

Thanks to Hero Joe and (Wo)Man's Best Friend for saving my day. The wait is on, again, but that's life.

Erratic At Best

WHEW! This is NOT us!
So, how's your weather been? Messaged Cousin Bonnie, yesterday, after hearing about Buffalo's latest winter storm. FIVE FEET????!!! BEFORE THANKSGIVING???!!! BUT IT'S NOT EVEN WINTER YET.

Thankfully, blizzard conditions were just south of them. Snyder only got "a dusting" of six inches, with the same amount set to fall, today. Hey, it's all relative and my relatives don't even blink at six inches. But danger threatens neighbors who dig out from vast amounts of white stuff.

A few European pals of CMI are asking if we're in western New York and similarly buried, as per their news. Thanks so much for the concern. NO SNOW! But it has been nuts. The previous two days were nothing short of frigid, with windchill factors that drove already-icy temps to near zero. Great White Hunters, Joe and Bri, have been cuddling next to heaters in their makeshift blinds. Bri scored early yesterday, but we won't talk about that, right now...

We take what we get, right? Are any decisions really and truly ours for the making? Well, sure - a few, maybe; e.g., I think it's gonna be oatmeal in a big mug for breakfast, this morning. But why sweat the big stuff, when it's just not our call. A rhetorical question.
Today shall be in the thirties. And then, it's on to a heat wave. :-)

Who can resist talking about the weather?

EVENING UPDATE IN REAL TIME - 10:30 p.m.
Any attempt at humor in this morning's post has been lost in tonight's news. We just heard that before this storm is finished, the Buffalo area will have ninety inches of snow on their rooftops, roads, cars, shrubs, etc. Ten people have already perished, some from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from being stuck in cars; roads are now closed. Others died from heart attacks, brought on by shoveling. Weather has gone from a nuisance to a dangerous threat. What a nightmare. 

NY TIMES ARTICLE AND SLIDE SHOW HERE

Our neighbors to the northwest are accustomed to tough winters - but the above mentioned ninety inches is normally the total snowfall amount for an entire winter.

Prayers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mangia! A Recipe

These letters set the mood for my cucina. I've been baking, cooking and feeding people since the age of ten, when I could serve up a close-to-gourmet meal. Imagine my amazement when recent blood work revealed me to be anemic and malnourished. How's that for irony? Moi? The one who crams in nutrition wherever and whenever she can? The one about whom my son says, "You eat too healthy and that's why the mosquitos go after you… when you start eating junk food, they'll leave you alone." Not to worry. It's all part of the illness I suffered and I'm on the way back to better numbers. Junk food is still pretty much banned. But I'm cramming in more nutrition than ever and consuming the occasional piece of "the other white meat" or rare beef, albeit in small amounts. Bringing me to pork chops…
Joe goes for big and thick, so no surprise that he brought home these giants when I told him we could have a rare meal of lean pork. I egged and dredged them in seasoned flour before browning them in EVOO - stovetop in an ovenproof pan. After searing, I splashed them with balsamic and then cut two apples into wedges, putting them in every available space around the meat. Then, into the oven till done. You'll know. For these, it was 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

The big tip here is the fruit. A few nights ago, we had meatloaf with pear wedges baked around the meat. Yum

For savory fruit, just allow it to pick up garlic powder, paprika, pepper, etc. used to season meat. For a sweet version, carefully sprinkle with cinnamon and a touch of sugar.

Mangia!
Buon Appetito!

Watch Your Wallets!

'Tis the season. Yep. Time for scams and new episodes. Joe experienced a three-fer, yesterday:

Macy's: He thought to buy some pajamas for me. Interestingly, I had purchased some online at Macy's, the night before. Didn't mention that to him. We just think alike, I guess. Back to his tale of woe. Everything was reduced, but when he checked out, full prices appeared on the register. "Oh," said the salesperson, "these are marked down for tomorrow's sale."  Joe told her to void the sale. Needless to say, he got sale prices.
*******
McDonald's: We gifted Aubs and Gav $15 gift cards, when they came trick-or-treating. Joe got his charge card bill, yesterday; it included separate charges of $30 and $20 for good old Mickey D's. Off to the local hotspot went he, where they returned the overcharge of $20. Mistake? You decide.
*******
Time Warner: Y'all might recall last July's fiasco. No? Here ya go. It's all worked out just fine, with On Demand and Netflix filling in where HBO and Showtime used to be. That is, till "Homeland" started. My danged cousin kept tweeting about how amazing each episode has been, with Carrie and Saul reunited and conquering terror with terror of their own. Will Nicolas Brody return from the dead? We have to know... we just had to get limited cable back…

Sooooo, Joe called with the intention of a partial renewal. But when he compared Direct TV prices, he saw that we could have everything for the same reduced price assumed last summer. Our provider reacted with a matched-price deal. We're back to a Showtime, HBO and scores of other channels to surf. Problem is…

WHY did we suffer inflation for so long? How many people don't know what a down-and-out SCAM they're victims of? What is the NAME of this GAME??
*******
Hey, it's not paranoia when it's based on fact…

Watch your wallets! And watch tortured Carrie.

Grandad 'Cross The Pond

My beyond-WORDS pal, Andy, enjoys a close bond with his Grandad. Even in a virtual world, its intensity is palpable. I benefit by hearing a great story, every now and again. This one is classic - who can't relate on some level? Please observe THE OBSERVER.

The times, they are a-changin'. But Grandad has managed to segue well, maintaining a deserved center stage, especially in his family. Just look at the pride on his son's face!

Congratulations, Mr. T.
Thanks for permission to share, Andy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Déjà Vu… Aubrey's In Love

Aubs is not alone in her love affair with the boys men of One Direction. Young girls are wild for them and usually have a favorite. Come on, y'all know of Harry and Liam, right? Hmmm, I wonder if "boy band" is still an appropriate reference. I digress...

Just as long-past styles have a way of reappearing in the women's world of fashion, so do old practices in life return when proper times are indicated. Such was the case, this morning…

I happened to channel surf by Matt and Al in time to catch an interview with band members. NIK did a pretty good job of capturing them from the screen for my girl. Reminds me of days long gone by…

When Mr. D. would be on TV or a NEW YORK TIMES ad would appear for an upcoming tour, I'd receive scores of phone calls. Mom would always be first, as she was a very early riser…

"Nick, Neil is going to be on, this morning!"

Now, it's my turn. Appreciation of the feel for the music and who's behind it is alive and well.

This one's for you, Sugar.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McClain

After two months of illness and recovery, I finally found clearer vision and focus, focus, focus, thus allowing me to return to this fantastic book that I began over the summer. Now, with only a few pages to go in the historical novel that started out a tad on the slow side, I don't want it to end. Hmmm. This might be the reason I took a blog break in the middle of an intense paragraph.

Told in the voice of Hadley, Ernest Hemingway's first wife, it affords the reader time spent with the Lost Generation of the 1920s. Fledgling-to-famous writers and bohemian artists mingled in what quickly became a hedonistic world… clearly a fast lane, especially when it came to keeping love 'n' romance alive. Poor Hadley. It's not a spoiler to say that she didn't stand a chance.
Kudos to Ms. McClain. I'll seek out more of her work. Give it a read, if you have a chance, and be amazed by the list of must-read literature one comes away with!

Neil Diamond Wearin' His Heart On His Sleeve

Not too crazy about ND's trip down Melody Road in his recent album release, with the exception of Nothing But A Heartache, an already-classic-in-my-mind tune. With just a few guitar chords, great background music and his gorgeous, heart-wrenching voice,the man is telling a story. Perfect. His Katie seemingly saved him from the depths of lovelorn despair and this fan couldn't be happier. He looks great at almost 74, his vocals are intact, he remains a romantic and he's (link) STILL in my life after almost 50 years. Imagine.

We almost shared space, recently. Unfortunately, almost doesn't count…

Neil made a return visit to his alma mater, Erasmus High School, and performed for some very appreciative fans. This fan was just a borough away, that night. But my docs simply didn't understand. How's that for yet more coincidence associated to the soundtrack of my life?

See ya on tour, ND, with NBAH on the setlist, please.

VEVO will not allow this vid to play on CMI, so please go watch HERE on YouTube.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

WAIT - There's More!

Seems that Great White Hunter is giving up all his secrets, today. Join me in a first glimpse of the exterior view of his woodsy man cave. Little did I know of the splendid abode being heated (post below) by such modern technology.

In the event Bambi wanders by, I'm sure he'll find it equally intriguing. My guess, though, is that the wild critter shall peruse the construction with a leery eye and then take an alternate route. Just sayin'…...
Another from Great White Hunter

Want To Guess??

What exactly do you think this photo represents? I'll give you a little hint. The Iroquois Nation would not approve. Come on. You can do it.
Photo by GWH aka Great White Hunter
No? Still wondering? Well, I'll help y'all out. Joe sent this picture from the comforts of his blind, deep in the swampy woods. Yep. Today is the first day of deer season. Those would be his pricey boots, gifted by moi, next to his portable heater. You see…

It's 25 degrees, today, with a windchill factor of only 18.

There has to be a screw loose, somewhere!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Substitutes

Look at that face! Circa '11
Life takes some bizarre twists, for sure. But as one who formerly dreamt of the morning's first cuppa, this one takes the proverbial cake. Coffee has lost its appeal. Believe me, I keep trying - a sip here or a small cup there (Dunkin'). Nada. It tastes like poison. 

It's not even the coffee itself that I miss. It's the ritual. You know. Especially upon arising. The celebration of a new day doesn't seem complete without an oversized mug in my hands. In the summer, 'twas taking it outside to watch the sun rise. In the winter, it's to the living room to wrap my hands around its warmth, meditate and wonder about temps beyond the picture windows. Yes, I'm a creature of habit.
Ahem! "Maison Du Cafe??"
Okay, okay - so I'm forced to give up something that can't be tolerated. That doesn't mean the porcelain vessel has to go, though.

So far, I've served up heart-healthy oatmeal, pasta, soups, mini-salads, yogurt with cereal and fruit, etc., etc. Even Boost, currently necessary to go no further than a 20-pound weight loss, tastes special. Of course, my British friends probably wonder, "How 'bout tea?" Just doesn't cut it, if not on ice and in a tall glass.
A toast, oatmeal in hand, to y'all… Happy, Healthy Friday!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Garden Gifts

With snow falling and accumulation forecasts questionable, Joe saved the last of the hydrangea blooms for me. Just have to love shades of summer, as winter descends upon us.

Please stay tuned. If they don't disintegrate all over our great-room floor, I've grandiose plans for them.

UPDATE:
The color was better when enhanced by the wet snow… completely dried, they lost some luster. They're nonetheless reminiscent of summer days, though!

RealTime - Nightfall

Cozy Up To COZI TV

Wintry weekend mornings occasionally find us back in bed with a first cuppa and the TV on. Ah, what luxury to be enjoyed in our recently redecorated space, gorgeous in its utter simplicity. However...

Early Saturday viewing choices are poor, so upon coming across an obscure sub-channel, we stopped. The Lone Ranger had caught our attention. We watched him and Tonto, in awe of fifties memories that flooded back. The dynamic duo did not quite finish conquering the wild west; next up were Hopalong Cassidy and Red. Joe was excited. He loved Hoppy, as a kid. Moi? Wasn't a fan. Jeesh, not to criticize members of my current niche, but he looked too old for my youthful taste. My favorite shall forever be Roy…

Gorgeous Gran
You know... Roy Rogers and Trigger, Dale Evans and Buttercup, Pat Brady and Nellybelle, and, last but not least, Bullet. Yep, I was once in love with the King Of The Cowboys and watched him religiously on childhood Saturday mornings. He just has to be somewhere on (link) COZI, wouldn't you think? Found...

It's true - today is Thursday. But hey, on Instragram it's known as Throwback Thursday. Why not? It's cloudy and only in the twenties, this morning. Where am I going? Ten-thirty a.m. is just fine for me… and what better throwback? I've a date with Roy. But wait, there's more...

Gran. A frequent star of my blog. When Ronnie and I were kids, she took us to THE Garden, as in Madison Square, to see Roy's rodeo production. As though it happened yesterday, I recall leaning over the first-tier rail, arm and hand extended. When Roy and Trigger rode by, his entourage close behind, he and I touched hands… 

Thanks for the memory, Gran. You are forever loved, cherished and remembered in my very being…

Now, please excuse me while I enjoy my rendezvous. You must try COZYing up, too. Meanwhile… happy trails to you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Beautiful Face Of Twelve ♡

Today is our Sugar's twelfth birthday. Jeesh. Talk about time flying. The actual day of her arrival was something we'll never forget…

After getting the call from Bri that Kelly was in the hospital and in labor, we quickly went for Mom and headed to Middletown to the then-named Horton. We waited and waited and waited some more. Bri relayed the news that it would be a long while before Baby Girl screamed her way into the world. So…

The three of us went to the movies. Funny thing is, neither Joe nor I can remember what we saw…

Original Zombie Nerd with a
Strange Minecrafter! 2014
Back to the hospital. Nada. Bri suggested we return to Monti to wait it out. No sooner did we drive the thirty miles and walk in the door, when…

Yep! Bri called. Aubs had arrived. Quickly…

We rushed back to welcome our Sugar to the world. What an event! And to this very day, she has done nothing but spread sunshine in all the lives she touches.

Yet again, I retell this story. Aubrey loves to hear it.
Loving our girl more than words can say.

Happy Birthday, Sugar!
Now, you can legally sit in the front seat and you're legitimately a pre-teen!!
(Just a little inside humor, here.)
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
MORAL OF THE STORY
Believe and Be Happy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

First Date

This just-past October 16th, Joe and I celebrated our 48th anniversary rather quietly, albeit with special gratitude. It's been a rough haul, since the beginning of September. Here it is November 9th already… and today, we went on a first date of sorts. NIK (my Nikon, in case you've forgotten) came along to capture the Sunday sun; we became happily reacquainted. You see, I was unable to leave hospital or house for a simple ride, lunch and photo shoot, favorite pastimes during foliage season. Views from various windows told me leaf colors were spectacular… but that's just not the same as finding remote trails with surprise palettes. I digress. Our first stop was at the lake house, where trees are rather barren. But there was a surprise in store for us…
November roses on a shrub we'd gifted Mom many, many moons ago were blooming brilliantly. We've had frosty mornings, yet here's the proof… and with winter holly berries framing them, no less. Phenomenal. Feeling Mom. 
Inside, the gutted great room awaits the installation of an oak floor and a spectacular kitchen by (link) Kaplan Cabinets. Through this ordeal, we've identified new friends whom we gratefully thank. Patient contractors, put on health-hold, were accepting of our situation. Their only question for Joe became, "How is Nicki feeling?" It has been a bit tough queueing them up again, in order to pick up where we left off. That's to be expected, though, as all are fantastic craftspeople and very busy. Meanwhile, though...

A serious shout-out needs to go to Irving Kaplan, responsible for executing my choices in our gorgeous Old Homestead cucina and currently storing the new lake version, long finished, in his box truck. It was supposed to be installed over a month ago and we can't wait to say the words, "We're ready for delivery!" Talk about patience. If you read this, please accept our heartfelt thanks, Irv. You're a pal.

Here's to first dates, simple rides, a burger and fries, a few pics, some glorious Sunday sun and the hope of being able to enjoy the results of this massive project we undertook.

Giving Thanks.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Gracepoint" - A Nick Nolte Spoiler

Just last week, I had reason to mention Pat Conroy's book, THE PRINCE OF TIDES, to someone. It remains an all-time favorite, for me. Then, there's the movie based on the book. It was terrific, except that you really didn't get to know The Prince, as you do in the book. Still, Nick Nolte gave an Oscar-nominated/Golden Globe-winning performance as Tom Wingo, playing opposite the one and only Barbra, who also directed the film. See here what Roger Ebert had to say, back in the day.
So, you ask, what does this have to do with the fabulous entry by FOX TV called "Gracepoint"…. a ten-episode whodunit?? Nick Nolte. He became this week's prime suspect, as a result of which - and here's the part that's a spoiler - we witnessed his swan song. I'm upset…

When we recognized him as old Jack, both Joe and I were thrilled. Now here's someone we haven't seen on the screen in too long of a time. Always a favorite, it is obvious as the day is long…

Mr. Nolte can sure evoke human agony well. One can feel his characters' internal pain, in many of his roles. It's palpable.

I highly recommend ALL of the above mentioned titles.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Back With Brock

Hello, my Friends. Please accept my apologies for the sudden disappearance… and my heartfelt thanks for your notes of concern and ensuing prayers. I do hope this finds everyone well and thriving.

Here it is November 5th - exactly two months to the day that I last blah, blah, blah blogged. Believe me when I say this was not by choice. But after a fabulous summer of sun 'n' fun and boatloads of lake house projects, I went down for the count. It is a tiny blessing amongst so many enormous ones just to be back, attempting to color each day with inspiration. 

My long, double-stay in NY Presbyterian totaled over three weeks. Not a place I'd willingly choose for a break, as nice as its riverside location is. But there was no choice in the matter. My three men rallied around me, their beautiful faces the first thing I saw upon awakening from surgery. I love them so much.

As for Brock, he's a trouper. He never left the hospital, sleeping in the car in the nearby parking lot. Imagine. He felt Jersey and a friend's apartment were too far. As for the two nights he did return home? Well, he couldn't sleep at all. A horrible solution for him, but totally comforting to me. Just knowing he was nearby...

And now, we've been home for just over a month. Brock has taken over household duties and has even learned to cook. He's amazed by how much it takes to keep the Old Homestead running smoothly. And meal planning? The #1 challenge. Then, there's work. His customers understand that he'll be there whenever. I became his priority.

Today, I'm feeling a little better and stronger. I put an apple pie in the oven. A little "thank you" for Brock. It is amazing how the simplest luxuries in life become magnified and missed, when they are taken away. 

There's a bit of mileage to cover on this road to recovery, with another surgery looming. Still, I count my blessings and give thanks. 

Now, let me introduce you to Brock, aka my Joe: