Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Loving memories are so precious and such a prevalent part of our transition from one year to the next. Would you agree? We hold onto them, cherish them, savor them, and carry them through time. I'm thinkin', as I post this New Year's Eve picture of my parents from a time long gone by:

"Timeless Evergreen Memories... Savor Yesterday's... Enjoy Today's... Anticipate Tomorrow's" NCS

Wishing you a blessed 2010, filled with evergreen love.

Reflections

2009 has flown by! It seems impossible to be sitting here on the morning of the last day of yet another year, reflecting on its treasures. As a child, I was always anticipating this or that event and saying, as most children do, "I can't wait for...." My Dad would respond, "Nick, don't rush your life away; it goes fast enough." Ah, were truer words ever spoken?

Our flurry of events this past year certainly afforded us lots of lovin' memories, fairly well chronicled right here in "Color Me Inspired". I am grateful, but it sure was a blur!! My hope is that your year was memorable in its happiness.

Santa replicas shall soon be tucked away, as the tree is dismantled. We'll leave the outside lights for awhile, though. There is something so comforting about their reflections of yet another kind, seemingly bouncing from window to window in our home, and warming the blustery effects of the Great Outdoors.

Here's to warm, twinkling bright lights in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sharing A Miracle

Rising To The Occasion

Fabulous honors last night, with a Sting finale-for-Bruce to die for! Great talent for our pure pleasure.

1 Calendar Month + 2 Full Moons = Blue

Don't look for the color, though. OnceInA*Blue*Moon is a great source for all the info one can possibly desire in preparation for our New Year's Eve full moon.

Of course, there is also the classic oldie, written by Rodgers and Hart in the 1930's and extremely popular with my parents' generation. Boomers enjoyed its revival-with-a-beat, by The Marcels. Once in a blue-blue moon, a new version comes along.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby, It's COLD Outside!


Love you, Vickster!
Mu-ah!

Tulips Temper The Temps

Niece Kim knows where my thoughts are on these blustery days. Ah, the power of suggestion!

Presence Vs. Presents


And so, another Christmas has gone by and made its way to the memory bank. We are grateful for having been blessed with the presence of our precious loved ones. Their presents were all dynamite and thoughtful, too; but absolutely nothing beats their presence.

Everyone found the child within themselves once again, as we celebrated the most significant birth*day of all. Here, the youngest and the oldest of our GrandLoves adorn their Great G'ma, whose smile of appreciation says it all.

Please stay tuned, as I wish for you all to see Great G'ma in her youth and at the wonderful young-love stage of life, with my Dad... photo to come on New Year's Eve. It's a stunner from yet another memory past. Till then, enjoy this holiday week. We'll try, with 35-mph winds blowing around 12-degree air! Brrrr.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Time For Heartwarming Surprises...


...that melt me to the core.

Nothin' Says Lovin'...

...like
somethin' from the oven. May your circle of love be warm and toasty this Christmas Eve.

Tracking Santa...

...to an appearance in Upstate NY, just last night, on Christmas Eve-Eve! We love Santa!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some Christmas Thanks

As our family readies itself to plunge into Christmas Eve-Eve, I'd like to say "Thank you, once again.." for your continuing readership and interaction via e-mail and phone. The sharing of thoughts and ideals has made my world an even warmer and brighter place, and I so look forward to photo journaling through the new year... won't you continue to come on in?

Yes, Virginia, There Really Is A Festivus

Excerpted from (link) BUZZ article:

"Although fictional, Festivus satisfies a longing for a noncommercial alternative in the Yuletide season, and has inspired parties, searches for cards, pole purchases, and look-ups into its traditions. Those include the Airing of Grievances (when people gripe about the year's disappointments) and Feats of Strength (the head of household wrestles with whomever he or she wants). A Festivus miracle is the opposite of what a person wants.The holiday may not have carols or decorative trees, but it's got a pole."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fabulous!

No need to be weaned from WEAN; it is music to my ears... "Thanks, Andy!"
A video, puh-lease..

Save Santa!

Today's (link) NY*TIMES


.... vintage Santa by Nicki

Chatting With Chloe


Work stops when grandkids call!

A Sob For Saab

This fan is hoping (link) Saab survives, regardless of the savior. My first indulgence looked just like this one, a 900 Turbo, with a burgundy-red leather interior. It was my all-time favorite; in it, I taxied my kids from school to ski meets and in between. Ahhhh... great times. Then, too, just gotta luv how funky it looked and drove... that is, "funky" according to the Urban Dictionary, "different, but cool, nice."

My Dad used to tell time and stories by the cars he drove. He'd get a kick out of knowing that my time has been marked by Saabs, ever since the 1980's.

*Supporting The Save*

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy, Snowy Feet

videoNot to worry about Ike, Ricky... he chases deer all the way to the fence in the backyard! Of course, the non-threatened deer are just lying on the other side!

Did Someone Say 'Merry Christmas'?

We really enjoyed the Christmas special taped at the White House. Its diversity belied any possible existence of a generation gap, a term that heavily applied to differences in musical taste, as baby boomers grew up. Luckily for me and my brother, even with three generations living under one roof, no such gap existed. Rather, an appreciation of all music and talent was open-mindedly respected and often (smile) enjoyed by each family member... no matter the boom, boom, boom. Personally, I am forever grateful for this gift of sharing one of my favorite aspects of life, thus allowing me to love what I perceive as the best of everyone from Al Jolson to Axl Rose.

Last night's special brought the youngest, my pen pal Michelle's favorite - Justin Bieber, and the oldest - my Neil Diamond, together with a brilliant array of talent that included my Granddaughter's favorite - Sugarland, and Joe's and my new iPod additions, Mary J. Blige, Usher and Rob Stewart.

Combine all of that talent with the wonderful MC warmth of George Lopez, and the Presidential greeting, wherein he actually uttered (currently) politically incorrect Christmas wishes, and we felt appreciative of the blend of peaceful sounds to our ears.

As I've said repeatedly, "So much music and so little time."
Maybe therein lies the universal pleasure that will someday afford us Peace On Earth.

Merry Christmas.

Morning Glory


Gav's Peek Through The Window


Beautifully shaded views, as seen in his colors of choice...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Color Your World...

...as you wish!
You own it!



"Seriously Santa" by Aubs

Mornin' Fluff




Saturday, December 19, 2009

Equal Shares


It takes so very little to create wonder in a child's eyes... ah, how indefinably grand to witness and share... the best gift of all.

If you can, build a house with the little kids in your life. It need not be a mansion; a modest cottage will do. Allow your babies to do the major construction, as you chat away... perfection is not a goal. It's the love in the air that really matters... sugary sweetness personified. Spirits soar during such moments... in this, I am a believer.

You know, my Christmas wish would be that every child on the planet could enjoy his or her equal share of safe shelter, adequate nourishment, and lots of lovin', sweet gingerbread moments in life.

For the children.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are You Having Fun Yet?

On Our Way To MSG To See ND
Have y'all seen the latest survey? It lists the states in which the "happiest" and"most miserable" of us live? Who, exactly, is surveyed in a survey? In my lifetime, I've never been asked to participate in one. Have you? Had someone asked...

... I'd have let it be known that I Love New York. The variety in our state is surpassed by none, from the tip of Long Island to the Falls of Niagara. In between, we can beach it, hike it, culture it, you name it. Self-inflicted misery can be found in any state. After all, the old cliché does say, "Home is where the heart is."

Now, descending from my soapbox, I'm here to admit that Number 2 (Why 2?), has a God-given edge. Hawai'i... land of my dreams, and where I was supposed to be placed upon birth, when locales were designated. Smile. Maybe the survey was conducted on Kaua'i, my island of choice; you think?? I recall asking Hawaiians of many different backgrounds, "What does living in such a breathtakingly beautiful place mean to you?" Responses were always almost identical - nearly wordless - as hands were swept across land and seascapes, and expressions of joy were felt. Not one person wanted to leave the Islands... many had never even ventured beyond their shores. Each understood the Gifts Of Nature. It was incredible to witness the purity of such appreciation.

Back to my reality, New York. It's not wicked, at all; it is simply misunderstood. Furthermore, we all "... have sweated beneath the same sun, looked up in wonder at the same moon..." ND. It's just a matter of recognizing our gifts, right? Even on a day like today, when the temps are sub-zero and the sun is not to be found under its cloud cover...
Sigh.

Here's to finding beauty, wherever it lurks!

Up Early To Catch The Hawaiian Sunrise

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Master Of His Craft

During a quick escape yesterday, we saw "Everybody's Fine", in which no one was actually fine, at all. Ultimately, all but one character fell upon his or her modified happy ending; ah, in just two hours! Whatever. It's impossible to summarize the vast emotional content of the film, as it metaphorically dissects the roller coaster that is life (a million feet of PVC-coated telephone wire, carrying good and bad news). Maybe, though, its message regards the need to find glimmers of bliss during our own trials and tribulations. Again, whatever. The film is definitely not a dose of holiday cheer, but it leaves the viewer with much to think about; and that makes it good.

Quick synopsis over, let me now say that Robert DeNiro was not just good; he was brilliant in his role... so amazing as to allow this viewer to forget she was watching an actor play a part. He becomes his character, with every worthy wrinkle on his face speaking for what his heart is feeling... haunting, in a sense. Yes, he's most definitely a master of his chosen craft.

Then there is the music, always of interest and importance to me, and more mastery here. A film that starts with a "P" and ends with a "P" can only be good listening. It kicks off with Perry Como's "Catch A Falling Star", a song of my youth, and ends with Paul McCartney's new "I Want To Come Home", written for the movie.

Wishing you a table full of loved ones this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Woof! Thanks for my name, Aubs!"

Happy Birthday, Mambo Peach

Mambo At Two Months
Mambo Ten Minutes Ago
Inspiration comes in different shapes and sizes; that's for sure! Honestly, I could write a book about my canine buddies. It's Mambo's turn today, his birthday. Time has flown by, and he has enhanced our lives beyond measure. Ever since we brought him home at eight weeks old, his only mission in life has been to be by our sides; he was never wild and crazy... just loyal and intelligent. Traveling with him is indescribably fantastic. Walking a couple of miles on the beach turns into a meet-and-greet with so many curious admirers. Children love him, seeming to ignore his size (currently 126 pounds), assuming he is a big, cuddly teddy bear. Well, he is; but I always remind strangers-who-become-friends that they should be sure to inquire about the gentleness of any dog, before approaching him or her.

My youngest recently asked, “Why do people get two dogs?” Well, I sure know the answer to that one!


We always thought ourselves to be a one-dog family; that was, until Mambo came along. Ike was just eight when Joe happened to read the “Pets For Sale” ads in our local newspaper. “Nick, you’ll never believe this... a local breeder has a litter of Black Russian Terriers!” said he.


To backtrack just a tad, we had two Giant Schnauzers, one at a time, when the boys were growing up; they were named Baron and Sly (actually, I’m Sylvester Sly, after the boys’ favorite Rocky actor!). During that twenty-year period, I had seen a photo of a BRT and was enraptured by some of the similarities to the huge Schnauzers we had. A rare breed, there were just a few BRT’s in the States; and they were not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. That was to change about a decade ago; but still, we had never seen one....


... leading me to say that my response to Joe was, “Oh, I just have to see them!” So, we gathered up our little granddaughter, four at the time, and took a ride to the breeder’s home, where I immediately fell in love. That was on a Thursday night. Five gorgeous, friendly puppies greeted us. As we left, I said to Aubs, “If we brought one home, what would you name him?” She replied, “Peaches,” to which I said, “Hmmm, he’s going to be very big and very black; any other thoughts?” Well, the week prior, we had taken her to see her first big-screen movie, “Happy Feet”. Mambo was our favorite dancing penguin, in the film. “Mambo!” exclaimed Aubs. “Perfect,” said I, “how about Mambo Peach?” And so it goes and so it goes...


Upon dropping Aubs off at her home, my oldest said, “Mom, you don’t want two dogs.” This remark came from his own experience. I slept on it, and the next morning called him and said, “You know, Bri, you’re right. We are absolutely a one-dog family!”


We brought Mambo home that night.


Joe and I couldn’t choose just one; so, we asked the breeder to do so for us. I could hug that Russian man for his choice. He had already taught my pooch many commands in his native tongue. At only eight weeks, Mambo was a very fast learner and soon became bilingual... smile. By three months, he was fetching the newspaper from the end of our very long driveway, and bringing it to us at the doorway. He is always off-lead, unless we are in a public place that requires tethering. He snowshoes with us and will ignore a herd of deer, choosing instead to remain by our side. He understands language (I know, I know; you're groaning) and responds to dozens of commands... requests, actually. He loves praise, people, kids, other animals, snow and the beach... and he still fetches the newspaper every day.


As a point of interest for dog lovers, his breed was developed about fifty years ago in Russia and is comprised of Giant Schnauzer, Airedale, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and another breed (?) to add “bark”. That’s right; he only speaks for a reason, when he has something to say. Very manly, right? Interesting, wouldn’t you agree, that we’ve had two Giants and currently have our Airedale Ike?! Hmmm; there must be something to analyze there, in our breed desires.


Mambo is three today. Yes, I fell in love with him; he's a real sweet peach and appropriately named, after all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twelve Is Good

Recently, I was asked, "How old are you..12?" A little taken aback by the question, I've now had time to consider its intent as legitimate; thus, my answer. Smiling here. Twelve was a very good year. Maybe that's why I love sites like this one, where I find young things to share with my Grands. When my own childlike imagination fails me, there is always the Internet.

Here's to nurturing the child in each of us.

More NY...We Were There...We ARE Here

Can you find us? I love Neil in NY.
Be still my heart...

Monday, December 14, 2009

NY... Bye, Bye Matsui...

'Tis a pity for our (link) Yankees... but certainly the Angels' gain.
Good Luck, HM,
except when you're playing us!

First Bowl

It was a perfect morning to blog... dark, cold and cloudy, with no promise of sun, at all. Drawing a blank, I resigned myself to the fact that I simply had nothing to say; sigh.

It was also a perfect morning to switch from my traditional egg white or yogurt breakfast. Enough, already! Behold a brand spanking new box of farina in the pantry. Thus was born "First Bowl", with its array of happy memories.

Smiling when I say that before global warming and in our youth, my brother and I suffered many a cold July and August morning in my Gran's summer cottage. To warm us up, she'd light the oven and leave its door open; then call us in to a steaming hot bowl of farina. Gran was a miracle worker.

On to my youngest who loved that bowl enough to request it during Florida vacations. He would crank the air (note the times that are a changin' here) and request it on ninety-degree mornings. Moms can be miracle workers, too; and I just happened to have it in our quickly assembled beach pantry.

Then there was my Godfather, who along with his sister, my Mom, kept the Cream Of Wheat tradition alive; remember Gran here! Padrino was conversing with us as an elderly man, espousing the absolute benefits of the bowl, as long as it had a huge pat of butter on top. If you're a Julia fan, you'll see yet another connection here; no one loved butter more than Julia.

Funniest memory of all, though, was of a Christmas Eve-Eve (two nights before the day). Our constant guest on this particular night was a friend of the boys. It was always festive, fun and food laden. On one past Eve-Eve, he stayed till after midnight, when the filling effects of dinner were long gone. We needed a snack. "Do you know what I feel like having?" asked I - "A bowl of farina." The thought of his incredulous response, "WHAT?", still makes me laugh aloud. "I had something like pizza in mind," said he. "Okay, okay already!"... we began calling a couple of pizza joints in our one-horse town. Nothing. Everything was closed. So, what to do but start making pizza; and we did. No name needed here; if he's reading, he'll recognize himself, for sure... even if his memory has faded!

Them thar were the good ole days...

Here's to a bowl. Bon Appétit!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Branding

Today's article in the (link) NEW*YORK*TIMES really touches on human nature and the throning and dethroning of our media-created celebrities. How fitting this 1961 excerpted statement, as it speaks to even those who are legitimately accomplished, but nothing more or less than a commodity to the public:

“The very agency which first makes the celebrity in the long run inevitably destroys him,” Mr. Boorstin wrote in 1961. “He will be destroyed, as he was made, by publicity. The newspapers make him, and they unmake him.” Historian Daniel Boorstin

How would Cleveland Amory's CELEBRITY REGISTER read today?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Too Precious To Wrap...

Flippers by Michelle

Lost In A Souffle

A Warning: Julia Child will forever remain my all-time favorite chef. She personified the art that is cooking, for me; and she touched many old souls, born with an inexplicable desire to get lost in a souffle.

This is and isn't a movie recommendation for "Julie and Julia". Meryl is fantastic; I love Stanley Tucci; I appreciate the Julia history lesson and the presentation of Julie's blog challenge. The succulent sensuality that personifies the food (preparation, presentation, consumption) is to die for. If you don't love Julia, or tall, quirky-sounding, funny, passionate ladies, though, you mightn't find joy in the movie. However, if you're even a slight foodie, "Yum!" As for me? Well, many coincidences in the film brought me to an understanding that my soul is a whole lot older than I thought; and, it has nothing to do with chronology! Now, to explain the photo...

The hilarious references throughout the film to THE JOY OF COOKING, first published in the 1930's, are relative. Joe had the boys inscribe an 18th-printing copy of the book to me as a Christmas gift, way back in the 1980's, when they were very young. Of course, I loved the thought and the addition to my cookbook collection; but the book doesn't have one egg stain on one page. A later gift was Julia's THE WAY TO COOK, currently full of bookmarks, paper clips, notes and LOTS of stains. Bingo! A family favorite from WAY is a recipe for the most amazing turkey gravy; my family has dubbed it "Liquid Gold". It is a two-turkey, several day, very laborious process to produce. Actually, you have to be a lunatic (I qualify) to create it, as it's devoured in a flash and not one person at the turkey table understands just how it arrived there.

The French fish poacher pictured is older than I am. My Godfather (not a foodie, as is his sister, my Mom) purchased it for the Paris memories it held for him. When he down-sized his home, he gifted it to me. Ah, when Julia was using one in the film, I just loved the scene and the memories it evoked.

Then, there is her table, completely laden with yellow ware bowls and whisks, as she attempts to muster up the best mayonnaise. How many times have I referenced the affection I have for these "... old bowls and the stories they might tell ..."?? Have I mentioned, perchance, the whisks I use in conjunction with them?? Smiling here.

The friend who recommended the film knows me well, albeit she knows little of what I've just written and pictured. I'm thinking she's an old soul, too; and I thank her for the time she has taken to understand me.

Bon Appétit!