Friday, July 31, 2009

Befitting July

Conflicting articles proclaim two flowers to be the birth specialty for the month of July; the Larkspur and the Water Lily. I choose the latter. It is a given, for me.

The home of my youth was on a pretty lake in Massapequa. Water Lilies grew in abundance, necessitating occasional dredging. Without it, the possibility of The Boat That I Row (ND) was impossible. The flowers and big leaves were so pretty, though. After Dad risked life and limb to gather a few for Mom, she would float them on water in a gorgeous cut-glass dish, a family heirloom; I can reclaim that image. You see, I have a history with the Water Lily.

So, in bidding Au Revoir to July, I'm a tad saddened that the Saturday of summer is winding down. I'll miss it for eleven months and welcome it by being sure to have some Water Lilies in next year's garden pond; I promise, G-d willing, of course.

Here's to a sunny August?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Promise... It's Not A Repeat... Yet Another

Can you name its color?

A Little Dignity For MJ

So very happy to read that the issue of guardianship for Michael Jackson's gorgeous children has been resolved. If you've not read the news, here is the link to the

Taking The ND Challenge For Those Who Are Inspired By His Music

Please left double-click, if necessary; and thanks to those likeminded Neil Nuts who get it! Smile. :-)

Soon, Mambo

The Virtues of Changing Concepts

There are three huge tree stumps remaining in the depths of our backyard. They form a perfect triangular "footprint"; and at one time, they supported huge pine trees, shelter for the boys' tent. Is there something psychological keeping us from having them removed? "Yes," I'm sure. Childhood memories, whether our own or gifted us by our children, are so palpably precious!

Brian and Christian had a real tent; huge and protective. Non-threatening at about eighty feet from the house, they loved to camp out in it with their cousins and friends. Well, sort of camp out; maybe for half the night, anyway. My niece Kim used the tent for an occasional, self-inflicted time-out. When she and her sister Vicki would erupt into girlie squabbles in the pool, Kim would go inside, find art supplies in the drawer that still houses them, and retreat to the tent for soothing solitude.

Well, the times they ARE a-changin' (BD). For the grandkids, I've resorted to a pop-up tent, placed right next to the made-up bed in their room. When they sicken of the virtues of this camping concept, it shall be removed to the downstairs playroom. It will serve well as happy diversion in the ever-changing imaginary play that happens in this magical place.

Hey, it's not easy finding solutions to West Nile, lyme ticks, carcinogenic bug sprays, constant and violent lightening storms, and all the other issues this generation is dealing with.

We can't wait for our first round of sleepover g'kids tomorrow night. They are in for a pre-treat before "camping out"; you'll just never guess what it is! If all goes well, I'll report back after the festivities. Kids sure do keep us young at heart.


During yesterday's torrential rains, Mop-tops hid under their own leaves, while German tomatoes sought shelter under Day Lilies. Ah, the power of nature.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just For Fun... Well, Sort Of

If you please, Google "The Summer That Wasn't" to see how many current entries are entitled accordingly. I know, I know; yesterday was our reprieve. Somehow, it didn't last long enough to afford a banking opportunity for the natural vitamins C and D that one derives from the sun. Please, Al Gore, won't you kindly restore...

Well, you know the rest!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't chEAT!

Today was hot, humid, steamy, sticky, buggy, muggy, sunny, and all the remaining qualifications necessary for a real July day in the northeast. In celebration, I designated it as one to lounge by or in the pool, book in tow. While doing so, a chicken salad sandwich loomed in my mind's eye; just had to have one for lunch. So, romaine lettuce became my bread substitute, and Dannon plain replaced mayo. I mixed yogurt with a little horseradish mustard, added snipped chives, freshly ground pepper and lots of lemon juice. Cut tomato lined the lettuce, topped with chicken mixture; wrapped and secured with a toothpick, then garnished with avocado. Delicious, nutritious, and perfect for bathing-suit weather. Don't chEAT. Bon Appetit!

Recognizing Roaring Reds

If floral close-ups make you happy, please left double-click to check these out, being sure to notice the morning dewdrops on the rose petals... so pretty!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Good And The Bad

First, the bad: I was scammed online. A few weeks back, I informed my family and friends here of a link I had used to order chia seeds; I've since removed the link. Nada. That's right; no response to my speedy PayPal payment, no shipping info, and absolutely no response to my inquiries via e-mail.

The good: I quickly filed a PayPal complaint and my money has already been refunded. Yay, PayPal; thanks!

This does not tarnish my faith in online transactions. As an eBayer with multiple sites and thousands of transactions under my proverbial belt, I can count the number of dishonest people I've met online on just one hand. eBay works on the honor system; and well, it works, as do so many other online shopping and auction sites.

So, I'll just go on Keeping The Faith! (BJ)

Penny For Your Dreams

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Click to discover the HappyQualities
of a Trident chew!
Thanks for the forward,

Ask Me If I Planned This!

Aubs and Gav presented us with this beautiful sun-catcher, purchased while on vacation, the night before Joe and I were to leave for ten days last August. Aubs had a million questions about the length of time we'd be gone, needing a little assurance that time really would fly by.

In expressing gratitude for the beautiful gift, I said, "Thank you so much for thinking of us while you were away." Aubs responded, "Grandma!" quite sternly, "We missed you; of course we were thinking of you."

Later that evening, as they left, she said, very tenderly, "G'ma, I won't forget you while you're gone." Ah, blessings.

Now, the pretty flowers have been hanging in our kitchen window since. I grew the Impatiens in the outside window box from seed, with no thought to color or shape. Surprise, surprise.

A Day To Savor, Yesterday

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good Morning, Glory


Girls were born to do it; multitasking, that is. Our Littlest Princess is very good at it. She'll sit for-ev-ah having her gorgeous, golden locks played with; and G'ma loves to play! Give her the two bags of hair adornments her parents have accumulated, and in no time at all, she'll have tiny rubber bands and scrunchies all over her fingers and wrists. Then, the game becomes an intense one of color identification and serious chatter. What fun! Oh, and not to forget - she turns upon request, moving her little stash right along with her, so that all angles of her new "do" can be braided, curled and twirled. This makes for an incredible bonding experience. Yes, we solved the problems of the world in just a flash! Now, I'm off to do some serious multitasking at the Old Homestead; I assure you, it won't be as much fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eat Salad

Click to my favorite

Happy Birthday, Christian!

TODAY is the most incredible day for us, as it gifted us this Son-shine of the most precious variety. On our wedding day, we awakened to rain. I remember my Gran calming me down and saying, "It's good, Honey, because rain blesses a marriage." By the time we arrived at our outdoor-by-the-sea cocktail hour, the sun was shining brightly. Today is similar, weather-wise. We awakened to the gentle blessing of rain, to be rewarded now by brilliant sunshine. It shines brightly... warmly... just like our youngest Son's smile. We love you so much, Christian...Happy 36th.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Expressing Gratitude Today....

I must say, there is no experience comparable to that of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

"Treetops" by HJS
"Hibiscus" by HJS

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today's Surprise

Two-Toned Calla Lily
I love surprising myself by planting and then forgetting what I've planted! There are times that senior moments are just fine. Enjoy with me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Three A's....Really?

Hey, I'm psyched to be your average, well-adjusted, adaptable pal. That was easy. So, what else can you tell me? :-)

Bias Is Boring

Some people just don't realize how cool they are; i.e., my Aunt Yetta. She lived to be pretty old, in spite of a slew of serious medical problems. When I slept over my Russian Jew grandparents' house, Aunt Yetta took charge. She showed me the "secret attic" in the home that had previously been owned by my Italian Catholic grandparents; a pretty liberal place, don't you think? Is it any wonder that I think bias is boring?

When I was a child, she taught me how to make matzoh brie. When she visited Massapequa where I grew up, I showed her the contents of my very private "junk draw". She never laughed at my treasures, rather found them intriguing. She loved my junk... and she never "told". Ah, trust is everything. In her old age, she crocheted little wreath ornaments for our tree. Ya had to love Aunt Yetta, a woman who understood balance: lasagna/matzoh brie and Christmas ornaments/Chanukah menorahs. The world never has enough compassion for difference.

Most astounding from this gem of a human being was her kindness when my Dad, her brother, died; it is still palpable to me. She came upstate and stayed with our family till she sensed that we were okay to be alone with our sorrow; and she said, "Your Dad had so much to live for, I wish G-d had taken me." I sadly heard that again from Michael Jackson's brother a couple of weeks ago. Does that epitomize love, or what? Of course, I didn't want Aunt Yetta to go, understanding that life just doesn't work that way; but, still....

We never forgot each other's birthdays. So, as I thank my family and friends for a superior and ongoing July 16th celebration, I must say, "Happy July 17th, Aunt Yetta; you are still the coolest to me!"

Seriously, everyone needs an Aunt Yetta.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hey, Joe..... Remember "Exercising"?

Please left double-click to read; or

Easy As Pie!

It's summertime, and livin' is supposed to be easy. We need to think outside of the box; or is it the bowl? Washing dishes is a "no-no"; and barbecuing is SO in. Try this no-mess pizza dough:

Allow 2 tsps. of active, dry yeast to soften in 3/4 cup warm water; about 15 minutes or so. Add a tablespoon or two of your favorite EVOO to the liquid. Meanwhile, measure 2 cups unbleached flour and 1 tsp. salt into a gallon-sized baggie. Add the liquid; mix and knead for a few minutes....yep, knead right in the baggie. Zip it shut, being sure to remove all air, and let it rise, while you go walk the pooch.

Push the baggie inside out, moving risen dough onto a lightly floured (2nd) baggie; divide, or not, according to your needs. Joe and I like thin, thin crust and different toppings; so a couple of minis serve us well. Another little ball of dough might go around some yummy salmon and be baked; another might make a few bread sticks. Do you like fat Sicilian pizza? Use the whole batch. Hand press (no rolling pin here!) onto a cookie sheet and shape up the sides; pile on the "whatever"; toss into a hot, 400-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, according to the density of toppings.

I like to freeze those little raw pizza rounds, take them off the pans, top them and cook right on the grill or oven rack....
ten minutes to dinnertime.

Oh yeah; That's Amore!

Worlds Colliding

In revisiting (link) Ichsia this morning, as I enjoyed my first cup of java, I could not help but notice that the book's main character keeps mentioning Bob Dylan. Most recently, Laura did so as she enjoyed her own first cup. Hmmm; one of my all-time favorites from BD popped up for a listen on my iPod yesterday, too. And then, there is his upcoming concert at Bethel, where I anticipate being in attendance. Granted, his vocals no longer compare to those in this duet with Emmy Lou Harris; but not to worry. It is still great to share space with a music legend who continues to love executing his mission on the planet. He is playing all of his instruments again; and his touring band is out of sight. Sure do hope he makes his way through One More Cup Of Coffee For The Road.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Aloha To La Bella Vita, Elaine

Early this morning, I traveled to Ischia, all the while thinking of Elaine. She remains a significant influence in my life, as a reliable book mentor, second only to my Dad. I'll never forget walking into her bookstore and being greeted by, "Nicki, have I got a recommendation for you!" One such day, her excitement resulted from having read THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, prior to its public release. At that time, our young family was headed away for a beach vacation. She insisted that I take her complimentary pre-release with me, citing it as the perfect escapism to share with Jonathan (another day), the surf and the sand.

If I encountered Elaine away from her shop, she always carried a mess of heavy books under one arm, excitedly telling me about the beautiful life she found through their settings and characters. She was relatively well traveled; but let's face it - no one visits three distanced continents in one week. When she was being treated for breast cancer, she not only carried her pile of literature, but was also saddled with a sizable device hanging from her neck. It administered her chemo meds. She had told the docs that there was no time to spare for sedentary treatment.

Elaine would be astounded by my SONY reader and the luxury it affords, allowing a virtual library to be carried in a smaller-than-book-sized device. So, back to this morning. I chose AN ITALIAN AFFAIR as my read-of-the-day. After all, variety is the spice of la bella vita. Wouldn't you agree?

I must download a copy of BRIDGES......but not before I check out Aubrey's illustrated entry, 'cause Junie B. is going to my favorite place of all. Hawai'i, here we come!

Friday, July 10, 2009

All Work & No Play.....

Well, you know the rest!

Queue Up And Admit It....

You love Mr. D. Come on - just name one song that you can't live without! When I share these in a few years, you'll come a-begging.
Neil Diamond Iris

To-Day Lily

Links To The Three L's

The LiveStrong site is fabulous and contains something for everyone, even if Lance's journey does not interest you. Le Tour.... an intriguing, inspiring comeback.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Create Once - Dine Twice

Who Can Choose?

Still No Tart Pan? Freestyle It!



Nothing transforms quite the way Hydrangea does. White blossoms, each comprised of many tiny flowers, display every shade of the rainbow before finally settling in on just one. In fall, they dry into huge, beautiful globes, worthy of Gran's bowl on our dining room table. 'Tis the season; won't you share with us?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Inspiring Bargain

Thx to CozKhrista for the heads up that lead to this 12-dollar bargain, including shipping! Visit ELF, before it's too late!

Where Is Sirius?

Elvis is easy to find on Sirius radio; but here I speak of a namesake. What happened to (link)SiriusTheDogStar? Come out, come out, wherever you are..... it's July and we need your Dog Days and Nights! What happened to global warming? Are we returning to ancient patterns of constellation alignment when those infamous sultry days arrived later in the month? Whatever! The Clematis is happy, 'cause it likes the coolness; i.e., 48 at 6:15 a.m. this July 8th morning.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Perfect Match

The Diamond Connection aside, I'm so very touched by your taking the time to know me so well, PV! Thank you from the bottom of my little ole heart. Niece Vicki is going to love her connection herein. She clearly understands the perfect match.

It's hard to distinguish who inspires whom, regarding the written word; but more thanks in that arena, as well.

Forgive my inability to await the 16th. I must have sensed something special, as it was coffee break time! Here's to longevity in fanship and friendship...lookin' back...

I'm Sylvester Sly

Just heard that today is Sylvester Stallone's 63rd birthday.... another July baby! Man, time flies when you're Rocky! Gotta luv him for all the fun he bestowed upon our family. We are all fans, not to mention that our second Giant Schnauzer was named in his honor. He came to us breeder-designated as I'm A Love. This handle was well suited to his disposition, but the boys quickly opted to change it. Love became I'm Sylvester Sly, and we called him Sly. On occasion, he lived up to Webster's meaning of the word sly; i.e., lowering his huge head and slinking into the kitchen from the mud room, before he was dry enough from having played in the snow. That said, he always remained a love, friend to all who entered our domain; i.e., the cable guy, refrigerator repairman, telephone linesman. You get the gist!

Happy Birthday, Sly Stallone..... and "Woof" to our buddy Sly, a true love.

This is a pooch story, so I'm dedicating it to Steven and family; you remain in our loving thoughts and prayers.