Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Make A Big Deal Out Of Little Treasures♥

May your Spring celebrations be happy, healthy and filled with little pleasures... and treasures.

Girl Talk

Better than a pedicure.          Better than pepper spray.

BK*2 Update

Haven't seen Tramp in a few, but I was awakened by Big Kahuna at 5:30 a.m. today. He was chirpin' Neil Diamond right outside our bedroom window. I'm not so sure that I'm still lovin' him. It's late morning now; he's hungry.

DOF Morning Practice

Left double-click, please...


Gran's bowl is harboring some interesting texture.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


took us on an
"Midnight Train To Georgia"
Gladys Knight would surely approve.
Lee DeWyze takes second place for my night.
Great Stuff!

SoCal Solutions-Part II

You might recall a previous post wherein a different variety of (link) 
was addressed. Well, today's dilemma concerns a pair of Mallard ducks who have taken a liking to Friend/Photographer PV's pool. Ahhh, the serenity of it all. We concluded together that impending chlorine treatments would not serve reproducing ducks well; best thing to do, after a few Kodaks, was to discourage their presence. So, PV sent Ferocious Tara out to chase them, in a gentle sort of a way. They became fast friends. Now, this takes my interest in bird-watching to a whole new dimension... at the same time bringing me back to my childhood on Unqua Lake, Massapequa, NY. Thanks, PV. xo
UPDATE from SoCal... Not to worry, Friends; the Mallards took off in tandem flight to find safer quarters.

Social Media*n*

Remember this? Seems archaic, doesn't it? There's an innocence about it; would you agree? No call waiting or answering machine. A simple jingle would elicit a simple "Hello". No screening, believe it or not. Remember the Seinfeld episode below? Ahhh, it's a tad humiliating to know we're being listened to, as we leave our words of wisdom or message of warmth.
So, moving ahead just a few, we have more means of communication than ev-ah. If one is using social media for business purposes, his or her etiquette had better be up to par. But what about use for simple communication purposes? How does one make the decision, for example, to ignore an e-mail or three, over the course of several weeks, rather than simply hitting "Reply"? Maybe we need a new version of EMILY POST to set a few guidelines for a value median. Of course, there are endless articles online, addressing the issue; one would need a curator to organize them. Do basic manners no longer apply?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kids Say The Darndest Things ♥

Determined to master this (link) DOF thing-y, I try to shoot towards that goal each day. Today's sun-catcher was a gift from Aubs and Gavin, upon their return from Lake George, a couple of years ago. In expressing my love and appreciation, I said, "Oh, thank you so much for thinking of me while you were away." Aubs, then five, responded, "G'ma! I'm always thinking of you." 

That same evening, we were telling the kids that we were leaving for the Cape the following day. In trying to grasp just how long ten days was to be, Aubs was not a happy camper. She's always had a great sense of humor, and I was able to tease her out of her misery, ultimately saying, "Now, don't you forget me!" Another classic reply followed in, "G'ma! I could never forget you!" Ahhh, goose-bump city. 
And, look! How 'm I doin' with DOF? Smile.

SAN-druh Or SAHN-druh?

In keeping with her emphatic pronunciation instructions, we think "SAN-druh" Bullock is a clear winner of this year's Oscar. The return of rain and cold yesterday afforded us an excuse to catch a movie. Our choice was "The Blind Side", upon the recommendation of PV and Ricky. Thanks, Guys.

What a terrific story. Had it not been true, the movie would have joined the ranks of the trite. Seeing the real family photos at the end confirms a couple of issues: one, the casting was excellent; and two, they attest to the feel of each relationship. PV was right, in that my eyes were varying degrees of damp throughout; lots of emotions here... but lots of comic relief, too. My favorite line? "Hey... Deliverance..." Ah, you have to watch and know to get it! 

As for Sandra, I so feel for her. Yet another jerk-of-a-husband blindsided her, as he strolled through award show after award show, accepting thanks for being her inspiration. WTF?

She remains an inspiring Woman-Winner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Huisvuil, Ordures, Abfall, Immondizia, Lixo, Basura...

Garbage. Call it what you will. After the snowmelt, we find our beautiful countryside littered with it. Maybe it was the mood of the day, but I did not lift my camera once yesterday, during an auto excursion. The culprits seem unable to comprehend how the contents of even one thirty-gallon bag can decimate nature's palette. Then, there are the collections of old, rusty vehicles that seem to inhabit very rural areas. What is each individual's role in working towards the maintenance of the entire canvas?

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Please link, in memory. May he rest in peace.
A Month Ago
(left double-click on photos to enlarge)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Jazz Singer?

Mr. D. was at the Broadway premiere of "Come Fly Away", last evening. I have a vivid imagination and just love ND rumors, when they are favorable. So, I'm starting one! Maybe, just maybe, we'll see a Diamond Production on my favorite strip in NYC? Is he seein' how it's done? I'm SO there! The above photo was taken on our way in to MSG, August '08, to see the very subject of this blog - Joe's photo below. Jeesh, I know, I know; the poor guy just can't do anything, without some fan starting a rumor! Wicked Good!
Fueling The Fire Here:
So, it's now 3/30, and here's the agenda since the original "breakthrough":
He took in three musical B'way shows, "American Idiot" (Green Day); "Jersey Boys" (Four Seasons); and the Sinatra deal mentioned above...
Flew to Vegas to catch Garth Brooks and Lionel Richie.
Somethin' is comin' down, and this fan is psyched.
Please... humor me! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Turtle Doves...

You know, "On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me..." 
Also known as Mourning Doves, they are gentle and graceful, loyal and monogamous, and desirable as game birds, albeit not in our yard. They love sunflower seeds and we love them for cleaning up the ground underneath the feeders. Their natural camouflage makes them hard to spot. Named for their woeful cry, "woo..oo..oo," we usually hear them first. 

Election Update

 The absentee votes were counted; it's time to congratulate the two Trustees, T.C. and Rev. Matthews..... and to once again congratulate Bri for a nicely run campaign and incredibly fair share of voters' confidence. We hope for unity in striving for the betterment of the Village. Thanks to all here who have been so very supportive. As a family, we are certainly beyond appreciative.

X's Four

Have you seen the neat seed kits that are packaged in aluminum planters? They make awesome Easter baskets for the kids. Just remove the instructions and place inside; line with faux grass; then fill. Last year, I sent them home with our Grands. This year, I hope to plant with them. Don't forget to jazz them up with a little candy; we don't want disappointed recipients!

In 2009, our entire state suffered a blight that caused tomato plants to wilt and die, just before harvesting. What a heartbreaker! I was told, though, that the little kit tomatoes thrived for lots of pickin' and munchin'. Yay! Let's try again.

This year, I added two herb gardens to the mix. All edibles ease the pain of less chocolate... well, maybe! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Real Time - Five O'Clock Sky

Amazing IDOL...

Joe and I were in absolute awe of Crystal's per-
formance. We feel that she clearly won last night's competition. Sadly, there are several to choose from for elimination.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Harry Wilson

We had a track system in our high school, back in the Dark Ages. "A" and "Gifted" were reserved for the kids with the best grades. I worked hard enough to make A-track in most subjects. English was always my favorite. 

My junior-year English teacher didn't like a book report I turned in, resulting in his calling me "illiterate". There were no suggestions as to how to improve my work - just a cutting remark, intended to hurt. Man, was I ever rattled.  My parents were extremely offended, but dinnertime conversation calmed all of us. Together, we decided to extend him one free pass. It became my first consider-the-source lesson. Never a shy child (grin), I politely let it be known that his crude style was not appreciated; I had well established self-esteem and no intentions of allowing him to ruin my good academic standing. So, I humored him for the rest of the year and ended up with a fine grade. I can't even remember his name; that is how insignificant he became.

Senior year found me in a combined class. There were not enough Gifted kids to allow for a separate one; so, they joined Mr. Wilson's A-Track group, of which I was a member. Harry Wilson. I was thrilled from Day One. What an amazing year of discovering English literature. That man would mark a paper with an "A" and still offer tons of suggestions, printed in red ink on the right margin. Critique... not criticize with negativity. His valuable input allowed one to explore vast degrees of interpretation.

It became a highly competitive year for me. One gifted David D. sat to my right, front row, directly in front of Harry's desk. David was quite obviously offended to be placed in such a lowly group. His crappy, condescending attitude fired my spirit and drove me to beat his grade.

The final term paper of the year was to compare two significant novels by different authors, finding similarity in themes, differences in approach, etc. For the life of me, I cannot remember the two books I chose. This is what I do remember...

Upon receiving my graded paper from Mr. Wilson, the first thing I noticed was the lack of red ink in the margin. Then, I noticed the "A+". 
At the end of the paper, these words were written: 
"I've never given an 'A+'. This is a perfect paper. Would you mind returning it to me, so that I may use it as a model for future classes? 
Sincerely, Harry Wilson"

The only one more shocked than I was David D. As for me, I went from crushed (junior year) to confident (Mr. Wilson). Again, the details of the paper escape me; but the feeling of that moment has defined much of who I am. Hmm - roots to grow upon. Are we not all empowered to gift a good feeling every day, even in the face of gentle suggestion? Are all children not gifted gifts? Should we not be very careful with our labels, in an attempt to recognize each and every child's great potential? 

Maybe the old adage about youth being wasted on the young is true. I so wish that at seventeen, I'd have thought to tell Harry Wilson just how much a year in his classroom lifted me, as my love of the written word grew. That feeling...
It is not what we do for someone that really matters...
It is how we make them feel.
UPDATE 3/25:
LAST EVENING, I found myself awestruck in upstate NY. Sometimes a wish comes true. My better-late-than-never thanks were extended within one day. Two inquiries via e-mail and we were connected; thank you Massapequa High School Hall Of Fame Org. And thank you, Mr. Wilson, for your gracious note; I am delighted.

Maybe They Can Park At Clark's...

Our local grands are excited about their new 
digs-on-wheels. Watch out, World.

Roots To Grow Upon

In keeping with my post below regarding Sam, I can't help but think of Jack, his magic beans, and another frowned-upon book. The English have very prolific imaginations; how great! The author must have planted vine seeds of some variety. After a very short time, perhaps he became aware of "monsters" on his hands (thus the birth of Jack and the gigantic villain?).

I was a tad overzealous in planting too many Morning Glory seeds from last year's stash. I'm in big trouble and can only imagine my home overtaken by pinks and purples. Maybe I should write some fiction-based-on-fact? Ooooh, scary! But seriously...
There is nothing like a good root system upon which to grow.

Golden Memories

It saddens me to know that LITTLE BLACK SAMBO has long been in the ranks of "the unfavorable". With great fondness, I remember "Sam And The Tigers" (the current politically correct way to refer to the book). 

The story was written by Helen Bannerman, a British woman living in India... in India... where the children were black and tigers did abound. The children loved the stories and illustrations, written just for them in and about their culture. Can we not be trusted to appreciate these facts? Can we not be trusted to learn about other cultures, as they were then depicted with the imaginations of children in mind? Can we not be trusted to interpret the story as it applies to the universality of fleeting childhood, wherever one's heritage is derived from?

When timber tigers, aka chipmunks, return to our yard each spring, I summon up a Golden Book memory from my one-digit days. Upon arriving at my Gran's summer cottage, I exited the car to see a scurrying munk. With the story and graphics fresh in my mind, I exclaimed, "A tiger, a tiger." Hey, to a five-year-old....

My Dad was my reader, always acting out parts with emotional voices and deliberate facial expressions... I remember! I assure you that there were no negative racial connotations expressed in my young world. On the contrary, the fascination was derived from from Sam's being a beautiful kid, just like me. The fictitious adventure happened in his part of our vast world... a place to learn about... and my endless questions were always addressed by Dad. He just loved to repeat that "tiger story". It became his precious memory, as well. Sooooo, when I spotted this hungry little munk yesterday, I just couldn't resist a picture. Sure, he's just a rodent... but MJ had Ben, and I have Munk. 

Furthermore, I loved Dad's Sunday-morning pancakes, and I wonder if even that fact had something to do with the 169 cakes devoured by Sambo, after the successful mastering of his challenging situation with the tigers. See what you think: (link) Sam

Monday, March 22, 2010

Danke, Christiane and Guido!

Ahhh, international tomato plants of great variety are sprouting from their most viable seeds... and after only eight days! I love your handwriting on my markers, Christiane; and now, I truly think of you every day, as I watch them grow. Morning Glory seedlings are residing next to them; they shall be on the Easter table for all the ladies. Those are herbs in the aluminum planter. Your beans and Konrad's peas shall go straight into the ground this year. Love and thanks... what better way to share life across the miles...
(please left double-click on photo to enlarge)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pack 'Em With Nutrition

My Baby Grands love pancakes. No matter what time of day they arrive, we find ourselves heating up the griddle. Aubs likes the chocolate chip variety; but I squashed that "habit" the other day. I pre-made nutrition-packed cakes. They were a huge hit. She has a pretty fine palate, at only seven. Recognizing a favorite ingredient, she exclaimed, "G'ma! They have cinnamon in them!!" I was anxious to duplicate the recipe for our Sunday morning brunch, adding berries to the equation (something the kids like only on the side). You'll have to figure amounts to get the consistency you like... thinner or thicker batter. It's easy; just use this blend:

Mash a small banana in a bowl. Add one egg and liquid (I had leftover Vanilla Soy, the kids' fave... so, I used it. YUM~). Add a couple tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce and lots of cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in as much pancake mix (whole wheat here) as needed. Last, but certainly not least in an adult world... berries galore.
Joe likes them served with pure maple syrup; be sure to warm it up. I like mine with a bit of low-fat plain yogurt. Garnish with banana.

To Note: Make them gluten-free by using your special flour mix. Need them a tad sweeter? Just put a bit of maple syrup in the batter, keeping them all natural.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


photo by Jun Sato/ 
Can this possibly be the IDOL I'm missing???

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boomers Unite... remember Fess Parker and his rugged, good-looking character. Ronnie and I were one-digit numbers, when we sang his catchy ode, accompanied by a very scratchy record. Another lifetime or just yesterday? R.I.P and thanks for the memories....
Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee
The greenest state in the land of the free
Killed himself a b'ar when he was only three.....


So, my new Nikon and I are becoming best buds, traveling together, both near and far. Worlds of creativity are welcoming me, encouraging thought outside of the box. I've begun entering photos into contests here and there, sadly reporting that nothing has won so much as an honorable mention. Don't cry for me, Argentina; herein lies a good lesson! There is just so much to learn... and relearn.

Depth of field is an option I now have... something I paid little attention to, back in the days of our Minolta 35mm system. Hey, just ignore that old-dogs-and-new-tricks adage. Just triple-double-dare me!

My precious Hunter presented me with the beautiful Valentine rose; and the resulting perfection in DOF was by sheer chance. But check out the planned pepper mill. Please let me explain that contest holders have suggested the off-center placement of subjects. Jeesh. Blurry backgrounds and misplaced subjects... gotta luv the challenge of accomplishing the exact opposite of what I've always strived for. The pepper mill definitely "pops", doesn't it? And, I see the need to polish its brass knob. The naked eye is much kinder on flaws. Nonetheless, maybe this mess would win a prize?

The Prize

Aubs made my day twice, this past Tuesday. First time was when I waited for her in the school auditorium, at the end of the day. I didn't see her approaching, and she ever-so-gleefully jumped into my arms for a hug and kiss "Hello". Then, when we got back here, she opened the door to see my seed cells, filled with dirt and sitting in the sun. She exclaimed, "G'ma, YOU PLANTED!" Well, yes, I had... on Sunday, during the power outage. Four days later, it seems that Morning Glories are even more anxious than I for the arrival of consistently hot and steamy days! YIPPEE.

The prize? Aubs' sheer joy about every little aspect of her very full days. That's my Sugar.

Buy Champagne In December

This terrific book is packed with practical and fun info, applicable to all our lives... (link):
I've already learned that my Baby Grands need sunscreen applied about a half hour before going outside... the time necessary for it to take effect. And...

In the event one is planning a big bash for Christmas this year, champagne is at its cheapest in December. When competition is the hottest, cost comes down, down.
Now, just grab a copy for an entertaining read in discovering cost and time-saving ways. It is available for SONY and Kindle readers, as well.

Election Update

Our newspaper, the TIMES HERALD-RECORD, leapt to quick conclusions in calling the results of the political race Brian has been involved in. What's that they say about the fat lady and her vocals? Come on, Guys, wait till everything is tallied and then "speak". Here is the link to today's correction, for those of you who have been kind enough to ask:

Be assured that the proper outcome shall be highly respected here, with best wishes to the two elected Trustees, in their efforts to help the Village.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Some hiatus, huh? Okay... I'm excited and seriously taking back everything said in (link) this previous post. Maybe I was suffering from Adam withdrawal, as last year's flamboyant contestant certainly got my attention. Do we have a female counterpart, as suggested by Kara? Far Out Siobhan is coming on strong, strong, strong; Joe and I are loving her... and she's from Barnstable on Cape Cod, making her too cool for us to take!! We're also finding ourselves ooohing and aaahing over Big Vociferous Mike, Natural Rocker Casey, and Fabulously Funky Crystal, whom I've loved from Day One. So, hiatus is over, and I sure hope America gets it right tonight. Last week's elimination was a farce.

Niece Alex, are you reading? We're SO on the same page... again! 

PS - Just to add that we truly do admire all of the kids for their amazing perseverance and courage, in taking that big, big stage to entertain. 

PPS - Stay with the show, Simon!

PPPS - The name, Siobhan, is pronounced Sha-vahn; it's of Irish origin and means "G-d's grace". I had to know!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When Cultures Collide

In just a couple of hours, NY time, we'll all be Irish; it's tradition. I love colliding cultures. Growing up, it was the norm in our household, to the point of my creating a sign for Christmas of 1964. It read, "Welcome To Firemark's League Of Nations." Joe first met my extended family that year; he quickly got the gist of our blend.

Cultures collide immaculately when music is involved. My Irish ND pal, Michael, sees Neil in Croke Park, Dublin, where the fans are just as devoted, wild and crazy as those in the States. No divide. Music - the universal language - obliterating differences.

Michael thought to introduce me to Liam Clancy, an amazing Irish folk singer who sadly passed away not too long ago. He sent the video below, knowing that I'd love the Dylan connection... or, shall I say collision. Liam's exuberance is surpassed by none... and his eyes are truly windows to his soul. 

When I began to write this entry, I realized that I had seen Liam before. He appeared in "No Direction Home", the 2005 Martin Corcese chronicle about Bob Dylan's musical evolution. So, if you're reading, Michael, I plan to watch the amazing film again, paying better attention this time.

Whew... it's taking me far too long to say, 
"Happy St. Patrick's Day... enjoy the wearin' of the green!"
(sorry - video removed by YouTube)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow... Remember Tomorrow...


Kodaks sure do have a way of stopping time. Surely I have better beach photos of Aunt Vee (photo in thread below); but my excitement upon discovering "Big Doins At The Village Barn" halted my search. Lots of history is revealed in this classic!

If you've followed my blog, I thank you and ask that you recall my mention of Gran's liberal way of thinking - long, long before it was suggested by Steinem types. Well, check her out, here amongst her daughters and cronies. Only in New York would my Inspirations be hangin' out at a rocking hoedown in a (link) GreenwichVillageEstablishment. Mom recalls that Aunt Vee worked for the American Hotel Association, during the pre-war 1940's. The boss, a Mr. Chasen, took a liking to my fiery Aunt, often gifting her complimentary passes to NY eateries. Mom mentions that even she was allowed to tag along with Big Sis, with whom she'd ride the train to "work", where little jobs would be found for her. I really need to scour her brain more, with pictures such as this in hand. 
How about the (link) WalterWinchell and (link) JimmyJemail references. Jeesh; I'm getting a history lesson here, to boot!

Yes, great New York women have certainly afforded me some pretty awesome roots.