Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oh, my G-d...

This redefines tragedy:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Bloodline" - This Week's NETFLIX Guilty Pleasure

Whew! Stick with the slow start 'cause you're in for a powerful finish.
Definitely recommended, with Australia's Ben Mendelsohn starring, in our opinion.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Let 'er Rip… I Mean Drip

You know how to make this!
Hit my cucina early, this morning, and prepared a spaghetti squash to go with fresh tuna, tonight. Great. A healthy, low-cal dinner, heading into Spring. Ah, but wait…

Just had to use those overripe pears. Combined them with apples and strawberries for a deep-dish pie. Thing is, my deep dish went home with Aubs, the other night, along with her very own apple pie. Soooo, my ingredients ended up in a tart pan with a partial top crust…

I'm here to tell y'all, let 'er drip. The aromas are forcing me to leave the house till dinnertime. The tart wouldn't make dessert-time, otherwise...

Just remember to line your oven with some foil to catch the mess.

Buon Appetito!
Leave it whole; pierce it; nuke it for ten minutes
or so… cool, split, remove seeds and scrape away,

allowing this incredible squash to form its "noodles"…
add a touch of EVOO and a sprinkling of
pepper 'n' parsley.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's the Spring of the Lingering Lion 'n' Loitering Lamb!

I read the news today, oh boy! (Beatles) Yep, and it said Spring is here. Problem is, the danged lion doesn't want to make way for the lamb of March. It snowed. The kids had half a day. So, when Momma Nature hands us snowflake-shaped lemons, we know what to do… 

First up was lunch at the diner, followed by two science projects executed by Curious Gavin.
Put some vinegar in the bottom of an empty water bottle. Measure a couple tablespoons of baking soda into a deflated balloon.
Place stem of balloon over bottle and watch what happens when the soda drops into the vinegar.
Then, fill a bowl with water. Fold over the corner of a paper towel and drop it into a bowl of water. Drizzle on food coloring.
Art in the making!
Gramps and Gav hit Wii after science. Aubs and I hit the cucina. No lemonade, but our Sugar made her first scratch crust 'n' pie.
It bubbled over. That means it's spectacular.
Happy Spring. Really, this is RealTime; but Mambo says, "I sense the loitering lamb."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Goin' Green

Bri posted this pic of Aubs earlier this morning, reminding me to wish y'all a
Happy Wearin' Of The Green!

Everyone's Irish, today, and so I fondly recall my Italian Mom's corned beef 'n' cabbage boiled dinners. Seriously…
We celebrated everything and everyone.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Incoherent "Inherent Vice"

We tried to help each other out, but in reality, neither of us could really pinpoint the definitive plot of this film. An erratic 2 ½ hours to the tune of $10 On Demand (that's on TV, Folks) left us mind-boggled. Would someone like to 'splain? Maybe one has to be high to get the drift, 'cause Doc Sportello, played by Joaquin Phoenix, was certainly in a constant hazy fog, as he weirdly executed his investigative duties.

All the above said, the acting was superb, even though we didn't know where the hell the story was going.
Just look at that cast! 

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were also paired in Walk The Line. Now, THAT we could grasp. Thank you, Johnny Cash???

Can't rate this one; you'll have to see for yourself. But it made me consider - what exactly ARE my inherent vices?
And... I sure loved hearing the OTHER Neil who occupies my music library:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Three Cs… Concert, Couch, Cucina

Please indulge me in my concern. Is it possible that Pan is being left behind? You know. Peter Pan. No, no, not the boy. You've noticed, I'm sure, he is always played by a she. Referenced here is the kid in me. Jeesh, I hope to never abandon that little girl; but clearly, I'm growing up. It's all about the three Cs.
Let's first consider our new LakeHouse cucina. Here it is, a first reveal on CMI. We are thrilled, to say the least. It was a long time comin', as you well know. Back in September, October and November, when I was so ill, we'd even had thoughts of abandoning the project. But when things began to look up, we went full throttle ahead. And now, we're goose-bump thrilled with our long planned effort. Soooo, the new kitchen occupies a portion of the great room, created when we took down a wall. If we chatted via phone, you'd hear my echo. Yep, we're in need of furniture. Like everything else, I considered scores of items, before focusing in on new beginnings.

Enter a couch. Well, actually a couch and love seat combo. They are gorgeous and purchased Friday morning, in the same time slot that I was considering which seats to take for…

The concert. We had a two-night reservation in Philly, to catch Neil for a second time. But after my successful retail therapy, I had a very serious adrenaline rush. Over sofas? Now, I'm really worried about myself. Just could not bring myself to spend hundreds more on a lengthy drive, hotel bill and pricy tickets. (I'm a spoiled brat and will only sit close to Mr. D.) Joe was astonished when I suggested the cancelation of plans. Oh, did I mention? Astonished and thrilled. No, no; please don't misinterpret. He loves our soundtrack-maker, but has no need to see him twice per tour. He does that part for me, claiming to get extra pleasure from my joy.
He's a good man, my Joe. I am blessed.

So, here I am, on a rainy/snowy Sunday morning, acknowledging my great level of maturity. Ahem. But not to worry, Pan, you'll always reside in this heart 'n' soul.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Skiing Pretty

Joe and Brian shared a great "Aspen Day" at Hunter Mountain. Bri took the father/son selfie.
Joe later grabbed an opportunity to capture Bri's expert run down a Double-D. We love watching our boys when they're skiin' pretty.
video

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Simple Lemon-Oregano Chicken Thighs

Epicurious ran a similar-but-too-involved recipe, just today. Funny thing is, I'd already taken a package of skinless/boneless chicken thighs out of the freezer, when I noticed the link on my start page. Hey, stranger things have happened. Thing is, their's called for skin-on/bone-in chicken and multiple steps and ingredients to get to the same end. Less is more, so I simplified. Here's what to do:

With a scant couple tablespoons EVOO, coat chicken and place in pan. You do not need extra oil or liquid; you'll soon see why.

Sprinkle with garlic powder and paprika; place thinly sliced lemon on each piece, tossing any extra into the pan; top with a healthy hit of oregano flakes.
Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes to an hour. Remove to serving platter, lemon intact for presentation but not to eat. Note all the fat and liquid in your pan… case rested.
It doesn't get any easier than this. We enjoyed ours with cranberry sauce, a spring-mix salad and dinner rolls.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Consider Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan… Graying With Grace… and MUSIC

There's a fantastic article in this month's AARP magazine. What a pity you can't hear me chuckling aloud, as I write. When the first suggestion that I join came by mail at the "youthful" age of fifty-two, I was outraged. Tossed it in the trash and never looked back. Well, that is till I hit my sixties.



Now, with seventy in the not-too-distant future, I'm lovin' their cover stories with the likes of R.R. SuperStar (Robert Redford) and Bob Dylan, to name just a couple. Hey, 'tis good company I'm growing old with, wouldn't you agree? See for yourself, in this (link)  fabulous interview with Mr. Dylan, whose profound poetry owns a huge part of my music library, along with you-know-who-else. Read what he has to say about past life, current existence, aging towards the future and music. Here's a sampling:
Interesting comments from Mr. Dylan, often realistic and applicable. But STILL, I'm passionate. I have to be…



Consider Uncle Neil, a little family reference here. Please understand, I was teased mercilessly about my fan-ship, back in the day. Even after my boys enjoyed a couple live concerts with us, circa 1980-something, they couldn't stop about Uncle Neil. Admittedly, they are in good-natured disbelief that we're STILL traveling long distances to see Unc in concert. But they are happy for us. Unlike some disgruntled fans who seem to have nothing better to do than complain…

If ever there was a disgraceful fan board, his is it. Sadly, the naysayers have taken comment-control and want the energy of the seventies back for his current world tour, even though many say they're not attending. They want longer, cheaper concerts. They want smaller venues. In the next breath, they want  huge, packed arenas. They practically demand setlist changes. They want personal choices. "Where does he come off singing this or that?" Jeesh… cut the guy a break...

Not that he needs defending. He's a success story STILL in the making, at seventy-four years old, long qualifying for AARP. :-) It's a miracle he's not sitting on a couch, croonin' his tunes from a home studio, rather than embarking on yet another tour. So what if he chooses songs according to what he's comfy with. Why complain, Fans? If you don't like it, stay home. But, please don't disparage the man, after all he's contributed to the soundtracks of our lives. That hurts. STILL, here's what I say:

As one ages, life has a way of becoming one big "Used to..." You know - "I used to do this or that." In my own case, I used to alpine ski all day long and then come home, change and go out for a five-mile jog. Yep, the good ole days. With that in mind, consider ND. His operative word? We've heard it in concert many, many times. You know it. 

STILL. At 74. STILL. 

Old Cape Cod

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"That was a nice, relaxing day, G'ma."

"Were you tired, Honey? Did you need a relaxing day?"

"Yes, I did…"

"Well, I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for hanging out with me."
"Big Hero 2," recommended by Gav, was terrific; by Disney.
"G'ma, did you know that it was made by the same creators as 'Frozen?'"
Two bowls of popcorn tasted so good, so good, so good.
SCRABBLE at Gav's suggestion! Stress-free with no scorekeeping, at mine!
     
Good things happen, when the iPad is left at home.
Ask how many hugs and kisses accompanied all this.
A great day.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Surreal Sunset - But Then...

Saturday's cloudy sunset gave way to Daylight Savings and longer days, beginning yesterday. Total awesomeness! What's not to like? As for today… mid-forties combined with the brilliance of Old Sol. We're havin' a heatwave!

YAY!! SPRING IS IN THE AIR!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

So Proud For Aubs

What a fabulous way to spend a wintry Saturday afternoon. Congratulations, Sugar!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sweetest Little Thing Seeking Shelter

Baby, it's cold outside. Still. Again. And this sweet little titmouse seems to be seeking shelter on the other side of our kitchen window and screen, in the frozen tundra of a flower box. Wish I could invite him in for a hot cuppa. 
This is RealTime in Upstate New York.

"Chunky"

Today's chunky, silver 'n' black effort is pretty, I think… needs to go solo, for the best look.

Neil Diamond FAN or FANatic?

PhonePhoto by Joe
Just a few years back, four female fans sat directly in front of us at a New England show. Though I recognized them from their many pics and proclamations posted on a certain site, they were clueless as to my identity. One woman in particular just about claimed ownership of our rock star, in her writings. She assumed the responsibility of turning 'round to tell us in no uncertain terms, "WE STAND UP!" The End. Ahem. I shuddered at her rudeness and was somewhat amused by her constant spiraling to check on us. To make sure we were on our feet, perhaps??? Not to worry, Sweetie...

We like to stand, too. Her presumed directive didn't upset us in the least; but her tone certainly did. So maybe, just maybe, all ND fans are not the nicest people in the world, as they often like to proclaim themselves.

Halo glowing (haha) and prior to any show, I try to assess those behind us for health issues, before asking if they're okay with our standing for rockin' numbers. Ya know, this fan base is aging - there are walkers to be seen. I digress… there has never been a negative response to my inquiry, even though remaining seated just might have been preferred.

In Allentown on opening night, we had a few extremely charming fan-neighbors. To our right was a young, under-forty couple. Mr. D. needs young-uns! The wife was a huge fan, practically jumping out of her skin at (a) her first concert and (b) the incredible seats her husband had scored for Valentine's Day. They were adorable and bursting with pleasure. In front of us was another couple, fifty-something. The Mister was the one who said a Neil concert had been on his bucket list for many years. He was so excited, apparently wanting to stand but refusing to do so. You see, at 6' 2", he was concerned about blocking us. I kept telling him to get on his feet, but instead he'd crouch deeper into his seat. Finally, when Neil and Cherry Baby were bringing the house down, I insisted that he rise 'n' rock. He did and all inhibitions escaped into the arena's atmosphere. You'll see his head a-risin' in Joe's mini-vid below!

Hmmm. What's the point of this post. Just sayin', I guess… interpretation left to y'all. But that group we shared space with last Friday sure did enhance the (link) feel of Neil.
video
CAN'T STAND STILL WHILE THE MUSIC IS PLAYIN'
ND

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Let-Me-Tell-You-What-I-Did Faux Lasagna

Carmela of DeFilippis in our hometown has recently added fresh mozzarella to her repertoire. Joe bought a huge chunk, a couple weeks ago. Fresh mozz is my favorite food. When properly made, its purity is so very tantalizing. For the sake of my waistline, I immediately cut it into thirds, keeping one portion for immediate consumption and freezing the rest. Today, it was the last bit left that inspired dinner.
With the cheese, a few Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles, plain Chobani/Greek nonfat yogurt and a small container of thick venison sauce from the freezer, I layered. The top layer of pasta and mozz was sprinkled with some EVOO and parsley. For extra liquid, I poured almond milk (fake béchamel???) over the entire shebang, covered with foil and baked for half an hour at 325 degrees… and another 15 minutes, uncovered.

By the way, I made this in an oval, just-for-two dish. Break the noodles, if need be, to fill those corners. 

No eggs. No ricotta. The only decadence is in that mozz. Quick. Easy as pie. Delicious with a wilted spinach side salad.

A Less Is More Recipe
Buon Appetito!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

RealTime Evening - March 1st - In Like A Lion

Not much has changed in our weather world. But spring is just around the corner, right??
19 degrees 'n' dropping

UPDATE: The Morning After/March 2nd
1-3"??? We think not!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feeling Neil Diamond

by Joe… thanks, Honey!
Ah, the feel of Neil, words often used in the glittering fan-world. OPENING NIGHT. A new experience for us! Every song a surprise. No knowledge of set or setlist. And to think, I considered missing this gem of a show. Joe knew not to allow that, later reminding me of the last few rough months of doubt that we'd ever again enjoy life so very much. Thanks, Honey, for the push…

Fourth Row, dead center in the gorgeous new PPL Center in Allentown, PA. Does he recognize us, after all these years?

Mr. D. performed for over two hours like the rock star that he is, in an exceptionally driven show analogous to those of his hungry years, decades ago. It was like he had something to prove… again. I'm still here. I'm still relevant. I still rock. Listen. Watch.

It's true. Each and every lyric was sung with incredible passion. 

From Joe's perspective, comments that I loved absorbing:

"An excellent show. You couldn't ask for more."
"He gave every song his all."
"He's the ultimate showman."

From mine:

All of the above, plus the overwhelming emotion of the night, driven home by my all-time, rarely-performed-live favorite song from Neil's catalogue, If You Know What I Mean, circa 1976. I swear, he did it just for me, with the message, "And you considered not coming???" 'Twas the moment I lost it, tears of gratitude blurring my vision. And then…

There's one song I immediately fell in love with from his new album, Melody Road, called Nothing But A Heartache and previously mentioned on CMIIt has shades of young, hurting, intense Neil-of-the-sixties 'n' seventies, its lyrics already embedded in my brain, accompanied by that rich, deep, unmistakable voice. Joe took this souvenir vid for me. It's just a small indicator of why you should buy tickets, if you've been on the fence till now:
It was a new, attractive set, though it landed the fabulous band too far back on the stage. I had to search for Tom Hensley with keyboard, behind the horn section. King Errisson with congas and Ron Tutt with drums were barely visible, even from our excellent seats. That said, a hit-laden setlist included just enough Caroline to please the masses without overshadowing Play Me, Brother Love, Holly Holy and scores of others.

********
Neil owned the night. He looked amazing, at 74 years young. Katie agrees with him, for sure. His voice was impeccable and strong. He was animated, excited, emotional, sensual… still… if you know what I mean...

"And here's to the songs we used to sing
And here's to the times we used to know
It's hard to hold them in our arms again
But hard to let them go"

ND

********

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"5 Things Neil Diamond Could Do…. in Allentown…"

John Moser writes a terrific (link) column of suggestions for Mr. D. to consider during his Allentown stay. He forgot one, though. Neil could always come hang out with us, 'cause I caved. Yep. In a last-minute decision to catch opening night of the tour, we scored 4th Row/Center seats in the gorgeous, new PPL Center. If any fanatics work their way here, please know they're FACE VALUE tickets. Yes, that's right. Patience pays off in this world of scalping and specialty packages. Wait till the last minute when the box office miraculously/mysteriously reacquires preferred seats. Furthermore, 1st row seats were available for the same price; but Joe and I prefer 3rd or 4th. Thing is, even the correct amount paid is way too high...

I know, I know… I'm weak. Didn't think we'd catch this tour. But, hey, we figured we had no choice in yet another trip to Presbyterian, yesterday. Thankfully, all went well, reminding me to say that we SO appreciate the concern of Friends of CMI. You have our endless gratitude. I digress…

Why not an elective trip to PA to catch ND? We've a long history together, so it makes sense
if you know what I mean!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hot, Hot Off the Press - Beach Dreamin'??

White sand and aquamarine water… can you feel it?

Conversation with Joe

When Joe called from the road, today, he said:

"Wow, it really turned out to be a gorgeous day, didn't it? It's so sunny."

My response:

"Ya think? It's 3:00 p.m. and 18 effing degrees outside, with gale-force winds bringing temps down to 0 degrees."

Clearly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Motherlode of This 'n' That - A Venison Recipe

Less Is More. Hmmm. Kind of making its mark as a standard line around here. Cases in point:

Joe has an ongoing relationship with Sam's Club. Thing is, we're not always in need of a motherlode of, let's say, apples and bananas. Oooh-kay, the weather still sucks, so I don't mind using Zo to bake some healthy fruit-breads, 'specially when we can share with Bri and crew. Today, I added choco-chips, so now it's fruit-cake.


But then, what to do with the motherlode of kiwifruit? Jeesh. Yep, Joe's find during yesterday's trip. I'm not sure why he was so enthralled by the fuzzy little beasts, since he claims to dislike them. That said, I was immediately reminded of Kramer's excessive purchase of bargain beef-a-reeno. Remember? He fed it to Rusty amidst the Seinfeld insanity of an amazing episode, "The Rye." So many hilarious incidentals in a story proclaimed by Jerry to be about nothing. And to continue...



By coincidence, I'd taken butterfly steaks out of the "big" freezer, where we seem to have a motherlode of venison. Don't even get me started. As it thawed, I thought to Google "…what to do with a lot of kiwifruit…" Well, I'll be danged. Who knew of its tenderizing abilities? A match made in heaven for tonight's dinner. Thing is, only one half a fruit will work on five pounds of meat. Just bludgeon me now, why don't ya; that leaves boatloads of kiwis. I digress. Do NOT rub the meat too soon or you'll have smush instead of tender bites. About forty-five minutes to cooking time is perfect. 
Delicious, sprinkled with garlic powder/paprika, sautéed in a little hot EVOO and served with onions.

Buon Appetito.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Florida vs. California as it Applies to the Avocado

We've been to both states. Each has its advantages. California is so diverse… ski in the  morning and hit the beach by afternoon. It's fun, with endless places to see and fall in love with. Florida has the better Disney and the aquamarine waters of the Gulf, making it perfect for blending action with vegging out. It seems equality almost factors in when addressing the two. Same with their avocados…

California has the Haas, probably one of the creamiest, most delicious and healthful foods available. Hard to compete with Haas, but enter the Sunshine State's version. They've fewer calories per ounce, but then they're twice the size of their competitors. A higher water content makes them less creamy. Don't be fooled by the "SlimCado" label; it's a marketing vice. Size is size and calories are calories. Depends upon your intake. Please read hereHeart-healthy can never be bad, as long as you remember to eat your choice in moderation...

LESS IS MORE!