Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lake Steak

Tonight is our first, sleeping at the renovated LakeHouse. It's pretty exciting. We had steak by sunset. We've TV and Internet. And Netflix. :-) We hope to take a hike, in the morning. Mambo is loving his new bed. We'll be giving ours a first sleep. Hope it's comfy, 'cause we're exhausted. Got a lot accomplished, in completing the final steps to make our campout cozy. Wish us luck 'n' sweet dreams…
As I share the magnificent view with you.

Friday Fare

Typically, Friday night's TV menu includes a "Dateline" murder mystery. We often watch. According to advertising hype, though, this week's "most anticipated" show would be the Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer. With a going-to-the-circus attitude, we watched. Well, I did. Joe fell asleep about midway through - he was exhausted. I quickly lost that circus-y feel.

The age-old question of "How?" or "Why?" gender confusion happens was not (and never shall be) answered. But the effects of it are as obvious as the day is long. And I don't mean just the visuals. 'Tis a sad story.

Mr. Jenner appeared for the last time as a male. Next time we see him, he'll be as a female. So, with that vision yet to be fully completed, it's tough to get the Olympic visual out of my mind's eye…

Same as when Chastity Bono became Chaz. I could only "see" that little blonde girl with her famous parents. That smile. It never did change.

The numbers of people afflicted with gender confusion are staggering. The challenges are often beyond description. The suicide rate is high. Society's acceptance level is low.

It was pointed out during the show that by now, we all know a gay or lesbian couple. Most are "out" and mainstreamed and part of a society that no longer flinches, but rather accepts. Not the case for transgender men and women. They've a long way to go… and so do we.

And so, Bruce Jenner accomplished something in our living room. He, soon to be she, found empathy. It's still impossible to understand the "…but what happens when…?" unanswered questions. But while we wait for understanding, maybe we can start with tolerance.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


We awakened to a "dusting," this morning. Wrong type, though… should've been a dusting of yellow pollen.
There's something seriously wrong with this picture.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hmmm… Dad's Poetic Offerings… Of Daisies 'n' Woodchucks

Dad was my hero, and although gone from this earthly place for thirty-eight years, still he touches my daily life. Yes, he was a loving husband and father. A great provider. A terrific carpenter, an avid and knowledgable reader, a super story-teller, an excellent chef, a superior gardener. An honorable and honest human being. A rock with a terrific sense of humor. A poet, however, he was NOTAnd herein lies a connection of sorts. Mom's name and a backyard pest poetically united. Really...

Bernadette at the (link) PILOT wrote a super-duper column about nicknames. Her mention of Nicholas and Marguerite especially caught my attention...

My parents opted for Nicki over longer versions such as Nicolette or Nicole. I was named a nickname, after my maternal G'pa, Nicholas. Yes, Bernie :-) cited the traditional nickname as Nicky, albeit spelled differently. But… is it short enough? I'm Nick to those closest to me. Gotta love it. I do.

Moving on to Margaret and Marguerite. Who knew Daisy sometimes replaces Margaret, because Margaret is a derivative of Marguerite, which is French for… yep… a daisy. So, my beautiful Italian Mom had a French name. Not to worry. Though she loved flowers of all varieties, her nickname was Marge. Harsh-sounding by comparison to Marguerite, but you know - three syllables can be tough for everyday usage (inside humor for Bernie). I digress. Back to Dad and his poetic attempts. For Mom, just a teenager when they met, he wrote a ditty. Something special. Ahem…

Marguerite, go wash your feet
The Board of Health is across the street…
Ain't she neat, ain't she sweet
But smell the stink of her dirty feet.

Hey, be nice. I warned you! Enter the woodchuck.

We've always chased the big rats 'cause they've a tendency to nest under our pool shed. I've noticed the shed tilting, over the last few years, but have never made the connection, till now

A burrowing ten-pounder has invaded our yard, getting by two fencing systems. A Google search tells me that this architectural tendency can cause the weakening and collapse of small structures. In sharing the info with Bri, it turns out that his shed is suffering the loss of a pier on one corner, causing its partial fall. Yep. He had nesters of his own. Don't ask

As if this isn't enough, there's quite an arched entranceway gnawed into our shed. Did you know that these rodents possess teeth that never stop growing? Instead, they need to file them down, daily, so any available wood becomes their grinder… bringing me to more of Dad's poetry, this time borrowed-from-an-unknown author...

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Okay, okay, it's not Frost. However, it addresses the problem of what will soon reproduce to five destructive monsters. The problem is, trapping and transporting these pests is not allowed by the DEC. Illegal. Seems the department is not interested in our falling shed and doesn't want the problem added to more significant conservation issues. What to do…

You don't want to know. Great White Hunter is pissed at the prospect of fixing the shed. Oh, and did I mention the woodchuck's vegan diet? There won't be a daisy left, if…
Well, as Dad would rhyme, "This guy is cruisin' for a bruisin'."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

It Must Be Spring!

I know. For sure. Cases in point are abundant...


The birds are busy. There are red and yellow buds on huge trees that appear to be touching the sky. Sunshine is brilliant, temps are warm. The grass is turning green. There are pointy leaves popping up all over our gardens, as well as Autumn Joy. The neighbor's crocus flowers look gorgeous. I seem to have a paint brush in one hand and a can of spray paint in the other. And wherever I look, there are projects. One of my favorite things to do is to transform the old into something new and fresh… you know, like the rebirth that springtime represents. 

Consider Gran's and my dressing table and bench that separated our twin beds. That's right. Fifty-something  years ago, we began using them in our shared room. Honestly, I can picture Gran brushing out that long, long hair of hers, at bedtime. Out of the bun it would come and she'd make two braids. It was fantabulous to have the honor of sharing space with such an always-cool-and-before-her-time GrandLady. And so, I'll think of her daily as I enter the LakeHouse, drop my keys on the table and sit to take off those lace-up boots of mine. Yesterday, I made a cushion from leftover OldHomestead chair and valance fabric. Lovin' the results.

Left: Gav medaling at a recent tae kwon do competition
The symbolic Myrtle Beach ferris wheel and a reminder to…
 "forever possess la joie de vivre"

Aubs happy to have a summer snuggle with Mambo '14
Right: Chloe singing to us during an upstate visit '14
Lyla 'n' Rabbit, welcoming us on Easter Sunday '15
Excited Hunter on Christmas Day '14, receiving his iPad Mini

Then, there are those once-green and gold frames, formerly on the Homestead dining-room walls. They've been out of commission since we freshened up that room's grasscloth and changed the artwork. Hmmm. Perfect spaces to put some of my own photos of the GrandLoves, printed on my good old Epson. Those faces. Those expressions. Those special occasions, whenever we are with them. They've a place of honor at the lake, on the great-room wall - our Beauties.

Today's break-time included a hike around various lake roads, as we checked out different views of Old Wanaksink. No matter the angle, it is gorgeous and appreciated by all, proven by whimsical, hand-made wooden signs tucked into trees by mystery walkers. Clearly, they've a grasp on the joy of life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where's Pharrell When I'm Wanting to Sing "Happy"...

Why, you ask??? Gorgeous day. Gorgeous lake. Gorgeous water and no more ice!!
Bring on the kayaks!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Salad Stuff - A Recipe

Hunter and Chloe love salad. Long after his cousins and sister have been excused from the dinner table, it's not unusual to find Hunter still seated and enjoying a second plate of greens. We have ours after dinner, Italian style. It's made with a mix of high-nutrition lettuces and other traditional and not-so-traditional stuff. And then there's the dressing they truly enjoy. We've not purchased bottled dressing in about two decades. They simply cannot compete with healthy, homemade varieties.
Recipe for Hunter's 'n' Chloe's Favorite

Mix up a batch by mashing a ripe avocado to add to one part EVOO and two or three parts balsamic, depending upon how tangy you like it. Season or not with herbs and spices, as you wish. Shake thoroughly and dress the entire salad, rather than individual portions. That's what makes it delicious. No avocados in the house? Use a tablespoon or so of mustard, instead. 

We aim to please.
Mouths of Babes - Hunter

"What does that word mean, G'ma?"

"'Eat' in Italian, Honey."

"I like it better in Italian!"

Mangia! Buon Appetito!

Getting Serious for Just a Moment

Not sure if I'll be out of commission next week or not… a second, long-planned surgery might be calling. But wanted to mention this issue, just in case and before too much time goes by…

I'm not at liberty to say what exactly occurred… nor can I use certain GrandLove pics because of a certain incident. What I can say, though, is please be careful and extra watchful with your kids and grands when it comes to the Internet. This means keeping an eye on their circle of friends, too, as you mightn't be happy with what others do (or capture) around your own. These kids are way too savvy, some having way, way too much freedom with their devices. Unkindness is bullying and never acceptable.

Just sayin'... 

Winding Down

Man, it got quiet… after the kids left, that is. We played catch-up on Saturday and also had appointments with contractors on both that day and Sunday, after which we thought to grab a cuppa Dunkin' and head to the reservoir. We know the eagles are currently nesting. It was a magnificent, sixty-something, blue-sky day. But there was not a bird-in-the-wild to be seen. Just lots of fishermen, some walking into the water, sporting high waders. We drank in the scenery and our java, before heading back home, the long way... 
We passed Philwold, the B 'n' B that touts its own exotic animal farm. It's a tad bizarre to see and hear the huge resident camel that promptly walked over to the fence, where we lingered for a few. Further in, we spotted a donkey and llamas. No one opened locked gates to invite us for a tour, though… I'd love to see that place up close and personal. 
The springlike weather is awe-inspiring. Again yesterday, sunny temps reached even warmer seventies. I celebrated by giving Mambo a haircut. He's now sporting a new do and looking quite handsome. Don't you think? Exotic in his own big and beautiful way, gotta love the Dude.

Kids' Corner

Ah, yes, the joy of life. And so we experienced it, Easter week.
Littlest Girlfriend greeted us, along with her pal-with-ears. She's getting so big… and… so fast, it seems! After a well-planned-and-rehearsed show from our musical GrandLoves, we headed out for a spectacular buffet. Thanks to C and D, we experienced more ears (on a bigger scale), spectacular food, a chocolate fountain no Easter Sunday should be without, and - most importantly - the warmth of family. Afterwards…
We headed home with the H-man and C-girl in tow. Have to say, these two possess incredible levels of la joie de vivre. Every little thing excites. Soooo, when we spotted the huge eagle's nest just outside of Kingston, we pulled over for them to oooh and aaah. We were four lanes over, on the opposite side of the highway, and shot with my medium lens. Believe it or not, blown up one can see the white head of a nesting parent eagle. 'Tis the season. And speaking of seasons…
Monday rolled around, turning out to be a spectacular Spring day for the four kids to enjoy. They had a blast. Hmmm… now that's a no-brainer! In and out… Minecraft in the corner… in and out… food… in and out… berries… in and out… "What's for dinner?"… in and out… more Minecraft… in and out… more strawberries. You get the gist, right? But you're curious about the corner? Well, it goes like this…

Looking at the fireplace, the left-hand corner is a popular spot. When Aubs was younger, she used it as her private dressing room in which to change in and out of her swimsuit. It now seems to have become the place in which to gather to play wicked games of Minecraft. That's right, in this great big, well furnished house, this is where my GrandLoves choose to compete for whatever the heck they're striving for.

For nighttime reading, I brought forth Christian's "Creative Writing Stories" from fourth grade. The kids were enormously engrossed in the illustrated tales their Daddy had written at the age of nine. Heartwarming.

We very happily survived with no fevers or ailments. Hallelujah! We kept busy hitting various restaurants and ice cream haunts, the roller rink in Chester, the movies for "Home," the LakeHouse, etc. Mambo cuddles and artwork made the repertoire. Oh, and the kitchen… did I mention how I'd forgotten the full-time effort involved in keeping kids' appetites satiated. A rhetorical question.
Vacation weeks fell differently for the upstaters and locals, but we managed another play-date, after which B 'n' K met us at the lake for pizza and wings. Our couches came in and we needed to test them for comfort. They passed. Whew! Rave reviews from all were touching, as it was deemed by Hunter that, "…we'll have lots of fun down here, G'ma!" 

Own it. La joie de vivre. It's ours for the taking. Children bring it, big-time…
and then there are the little things in life.
Giving thanks.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

This Week's Netflix and Then...

It's all looney loony. Yep, the psychological thriller, "The Fall," all eleven episodes (Seasons 1 and 2) currently available on Netflix. We watched. It's not sit-back-and-relax entertainment, but it certainly holds one's attention. Great acting. Filmed on location in Belfast, Ireland. Will be back for a third season, presented by the BBC. Recommended. I think.

Then there's Bugs and "Looney Tunes," so perfect to demonstrate my point, this Easter week. We'll be switching to kids' stuff, as of tomorrow evening. Hunter and Chloe shall call the shots. Excitement is mounting. Here's to rabbit ears…

My Queen Mary ♡

In the midst of Spring holidays comes a huge one for our family… Gran's birthday. You've
met Mary T. countless times, here on CMI. I amaze even myself when I search "Gran," so as to recapture special anecdotes.

There's no such thing as closure. Maybe acceptance of something we can't change. Gran's in my life every day, still. It takes very little to trigger a fond and loving memory of her blind, inspiring love for me…

"Honey, you have hands of gold." 

Happy Birthday, Gran. I'll forever love you to the moon and back.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mouths of Babes - Chloe ♡

Excitement is peaking for an Easter visit to our upstate GrandLoves and then, Chloe's and Hunter's return trip with us. Honestly, the kids are so danged cute. Y'all might recall that Little Missy had a high fever on Christmas morn and missed the holiday here, as did Lyla and Dawn. Thankfully, the men-children, Christian and Hunter, made it, but so much time has gone by… we miss each other…

…and so, this was our exchange, last night. I'm the blue and Chloe is the other. Makes me wonder, how long will a visit to us be considered as best days… but for sure, these few words made my day.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sisters Speak

How awesome are these Brazilian beauties, triplets, marrying on the same day and in the same dress just slightly varied.
A rhetorical question. 
Banishing sisterly sibling rivalry, they bond in such a beautiful way. Congratulations to all for creating such an amazing (link)
human interest story.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

So, THIS is what April looks like?? I'd forgotten...

Ahem. We were so focused on the 60-something-degree days we're to experience by the end of the week that we simply overlooked the forecast for what was to come before we got to the tropics. Here it is. In all it's glory. White and very wintry-Norman Rockwell looking. But, everything has its rewards…
There was a family of deer bedded down in our "peninsula," this morning. I'm lost between two shores homes and left my wildlife lens at the LakeHouse. But my everyday lens didn't do a terrible job of capturing peaceful yearling Bambis, still in dreamland and not yet with their defenses up, as Momma guards them in the breaking light…

Accompanying the vision was the love song of Big Kahuna, the male cardinal. After all, it IS Spring and mating time. I located him deep within a holly tree, but was unable to score a capture. He is ever so wary and always camouflaged by one thing or another…

Nonetheless, Easter is just days away, as is a visit from Hunter and Chloe. We anticipate with colorful, Spring-y food and sunshine in our hearts. The powers of suggestion…

Happy April. Happy Easter. Happy Passover.
Celebrate. Pretend, if you must…

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Kinda ThrowBackThursday

TBT, as it's come to be known on Instagram, begs for old(er) pictures to resurface. Well, mine doesn't qualify as ancient, but it sure represents a long haul.

This past Thursday, Christian was nearby to conduct a deposition in a current case. Imagine my joy when he suggested a stopover for dinner, before heading home. Hadn't seen him since Christmas Day, when this photo was taken… that's an abnormally long stretch for us and this momma was feelin' it in the heart, where it hurts.

As much as I love the bedlam the kids create, it sure was nice to have him to ourselves for a few hours. We needed that.

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."