Sunday, April 29, 2012

Love Grows

The flowers are SO confused, this year, with the lack of a wintry snow cover and then unusually warm temps that sent them into early bloom. Dad's French Lilac, normally abundant with Mother's Day blooms, has only a few premature blossoms to show. Not to worry, though, 'cause right next to it is the Bleeding Heart, a prolific breeder of love symbols. Together, they memorialize from whence my adoration of nature came.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We Are Family

Working hard to make the little ones warm and comfy...
Our friends at the Rondout provided us with entertainment of the most serene variety, today. There is at least one baby in the nest. Mama and Papa were extremely busy providing fresh bedding for their potential brood. 
Coming in for a landing with the first batch of fresh bedding...
As you might recall from seasons past, this nest is in full view from the road side, as it affords our birds of prey a proper perspective of the reservoir, where hunting opportunities abound. What a spectacular gift from Mother Nature... yes, the Rondout's rewards so justify the lengthy drive.
Guarding the nest...
I'm beyond thrilled with today's captures. Please enjoy them, and don't forget to left double-click to enlarge further. 
Look hard and you will see Mama, Papa and one newborn... trust me!
Here's to soaring peacefully in beautiful freedom...  Nicki
Another trip and a few more fresh linens...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Real Time - Stayin' Warm At The Stadium On "Free Ice Cream Night"

Photo Credits to Gramps
Wish I was there, too!!
Next Day Report: "G'ma, Jeter won the game in the ninth inning and Alex Rodriguez got a home run," said my sweet Hunter, who was hoping it would all go into extra innings. He also had some fun with Grandpa's phone; see for yourself:
Happy Self-Portrait

And One More Literal Blast From The Past

NBC Photo
Arriving this morning to its new home in New York is the Space Shuttle Enterprise. It will take up residence on the Intrepid. WOW! History in the remaking.

You Never Know Who You'll Find On A Neil Diamond Board

No longer am I registered and able to post on a certain message board, but I still read on occasion. Oooh-kay, having said that...

Along comes NOT Mary, but mention of The Association, by a Neil fan who intends to see the group in concert. IN CONCERT??? Did I read that correctly? Do you remember them? Talk about a time warp (CMI post below). Jeesh. Here's a tale:

Joe's lifetime BF invited us - then newlyweds - to spend a concert weekend in Oswego, where the band mentioned would be performing... this back in the late sixties. We left on a Friday and were caught in a mega-blizzard that closed highways. Soooo, the first night was spent at a motel in some town that I cannot remember the name of. When the roads opened the following day, we continued our journey.

You know, I don't remember much about the show.... but I do recall having taken a dare, along with Phil's then-fiancée, Deanna. We smoked cigars... big, fat, gross, disgusting cigars. No joke! Was that really me?

Deanna didn't last, in terms of a relationship. And Phil was gone, way too soon. Memories. Cherish.

The Vow

For me, the most difficult task of the grand jury is maintaining the required vow of secrecy. All that one is allowed to say is, "I am serving on the grand jury." Period. As the DA stated, "There are no Grisham novels, here." Pity, eh? And so it goes, and so it goes.

I am allowed, however, to mention that I'd not seen a certain court stenographer in over forty years, since law firm employment. I noticed this now-elderly gentleman and thought, "He must love his job." He's quite dapper looking, with thick, gray, spiked hair and perfect attire, from a gorgeous linen jacket right down to spit-shiny shoes. It took me a while to make the connection. Well, actually I didn't make the connection, till his name was mentioned. Then, my thoughts were all over the place. Wow, how time flies, only to sink you into a time warp.

'Twas the same when I heard that Barbra turned seventy, this past week. Can it be almost fifty years that she's been entertaining us? Did y'all know that she'll play Mama Rose in the incomparable "Gypsy"? Thing is, the part calls for a much younger woman, but I've got the faith... Ms. Streisand can accomplish anything she sets her brilliant mind to. Talk about a time warp.

So, for the next eight weeks, I'll commit to keeping under wraps the stories of those whose lives shall be discussed in front of a panel of strangers. People. Clearly, we mark time together. Clearly, we touch each other. No secret there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

IDOL Confusion

Can you pick a winner? What an incredible season. Just when I think, "So-and-so takes the night," along comes another fabulous performance. In split rounds, last night, I can only say that it's anyone's prize... just hope Phillip Phillips didn't hurt himself with a ridiculously bizarre rendition of Dave. We shall see. 

And eliminated this week was Elise. She left the crowd with a dynamite performance that won't soon be forgotten. 
It's coming down to crunch-time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Old Friends

For several days, I've watched from our kitchen window to see slate-colored juncos building a nest. This morning, I powered up Nikon with the super-duper lens and captured this shot, as they rested in the nearby twisted nut tree. They then plunged into the thick, low shrub by the corner of the patio. Pays to keep the windows sparkling, thus enabling inside-out shots. Thing is, this is the third year that this family... or so I think... has nested in the very same bush. Creatures of habit, they are.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Playin' With The Fixed Fifty Lens

Soul Food - A Recipe Of Sorts

This morning afforded me a few hours to cook with a little passion and creativity. Time has been short, of late... hasn't it, Joe? We're in dire need of a serious food fix, so I put up a humongous pot of Bolognese sauce and baked an awesome tart. Y'all might recall the serious little gizmo I purchased for apple peeling, coring and slicing. Well, I'm here to tell you that it helps to bring a rustic apple tart to near perfection. As the fruit bakes and softens, it collapses onto itself in an orderly way, making each resulting mouthful burst with flavor. This one came crispy enough to serve as one would pizza. As for the recipe, I used honey to sweeten the apples and gingersnap crumbs/walnuts to top it. You know what to do.

Come on over for a cuppa, a wedge and a stroll through our erupting gardens. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Good Morning, World

LOOK at what greeted me, this morning! Squisito.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Get This!

We recently stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Their food is pathetic, but I like the shop. They carry lots of junky, too-flashy stuff that the KidGrands love to receive for holidays. Oooh-kay... in came the credit card bill. Yep, there are the legit charges, and there are...
A $700 charge to AT & T in Tennessee, this for a fancy-schmancy printer and other pricey merchandise... and...

A $162 charge to some alien store... and...

A credit for the $162.
We later discovered that the savvy merchant handling the latter charge requested answers to security questions; they could not be provided. OF COURSE. But the Big Kahuna amount somehow got through. It was reimbursed, the card cancelled and reissued, and the crook reported. We learned that he'd already been canned. Clearly, his criminal career will be shortlived.

Moral of the story... BEWARE! These incidents are becoming far too frequent. For the record, we did not send the card off with the guilty, although he did have it in his possession for swiping. Go figure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


From My Early Call -

Though Joe and I agreed that in a technical way Joshua took both rounds on last night's IDOL, let it be said that it's still anyone's win. The extent of talent is astounding, and personalities will clearly factor in. I also loved, loved Phillip Phillip's second round and Elise Testone's first. Who is going home? 
It's anybody's guess. If you love someone, you must VOTE!

And updating on elimination night: In yet another twist, Colton goes home. The IDOL audience is a fickle bunch... no one is a shoe-in.

Forever Young

Getty Image
Show me an American boomer who didn't grow up with Dick Clark and I'll show you a boomer-in-a-bubble. My gosh, I can conjure up our den in Massapequa, where I watched and listened, as early rock 'n' roll unfolded. Even the introduction of my Neil Diamond happened on "American Bandstand", in 1966. And how 'bout that Rate-A-Record segment of the show? Ever classy and ever young Dick Clark had the beat. May he rest in peace and eternal love. He'll be missed - 
another chunk of childhood gone.

Baby's Corner

Last weekend, in one of the largest fires ever seen in our Catskill county, the Grandview Palace burned. It originally opened in 1944 as the Brown's Hotel. Y'all know it as the inspiration for "Dirty Dancing". It had been converted into condominiums that almost four hundred people called home. Thank G-d no residents' or firefighters' lives were lost, due to the diligent ground patrol, as well as multiple responsive companies, including Brian's. Just a few weeks ago, Ellenville's Tamarack also burned; that one proved to be arson related. Enough said. 

LIM - Simple Salmon Sandwich

Last night's baked salmon and onions became a delicious lunch salad, when combined with Chobani plain and hummus. It's easy to skip the mayo, with this combo. Trader's corn tacos are so delicious, as mentioned before. An extra serves as a crunchy bonus and enables me to resist Joe's oily, salty tater chips.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's Tulip Time

Seemingly overnight, tulips began popping out in our gardens... gorgeous, gorgeous. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

"*Injoy* The Story! I Hope You Do!" ♡

We had such a happy time with Hunter and Chloe, in spite of threatening fevers and rashes. :-) Furthermore, did you know that we are cool? "Why?" you ask. "I can't believe I have a G'ma and G'pa with Wii in their house," 
said Hunter, as we drove home to Stacey, last week. 
Wii games aside, we had lots of time slots to fill with events. We did it all, blessed with balmy temps and somewhat sunny skies. Even the postponed Christmas project was accomplished, for Dawn and Christian. 
And Junior Jeter got a piece of almost every ball that was pitched to him.
In my previous entry, I mentioned the drawing that the children love to do, in the wee, wee hours of the morning. In addition, Hunter likes to write and illustrate stories. This trip's version was hand assembled and crafted for Lil Sis. It's about the unlikely love between an eagle and a tiger. 
Imagination... it is such an exquisite thing... I share a bit of it with you, *in joy*...

Precious, our Babes. We miss them already. It's so quiet around here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Silly Faces In The House♡

Several Soll-family members went down like a bunch of Dominos, this Spring break: Aubs with her tonsils and a longer-than-anticipated road back to her girlie voice; Hunter and Chloe inflicted with some bizarre virus that delayed their arrival; an ailing Great Grandmother; and ultimately, two daddies... Christian with weird fevers and Bri with calamari-related food poisoning, we think. Jeesh. I suggest that we go back to the days of old and rent a condo on the Gulf, where germs seem to be non-existent???

Yesterday, we finally met Christian to gather our distant, germy-but-adorable Grands for a shorter-than-anticipated stay. Hey, we'll take what we can get! Furthermore, we're notorious for cramming a lot into a day. 
And so....
We'd already had a diner breakfast of pancakes and bacon, when we hit the Goshen florist for a quick errand. Check out the time on the steeple clock... the kids allowed me a minute to snap the pretty view, but they were happy to arrive "home" to an official start of playtime.
After an active workout and a "late night" till 9:00 p.m. (musical kids love IDOL), they were quick to fall asleep and rarin' to go again, this morning. To digress... one of Joe's and my favorite things to do when Brian and Christian were growing up was to pretend we were asleep, as we listened to their morning exchanges. They'd go into their bathroom with the double sinks, only to engage in really neat exchanges that we could hear through shared walls. Precious. And so, I let the KidGrands do their 6:00 a.m. artwork, as I secretly listened. Hunter usually supervises this part of the day, but in a role reversal, Chloe knew exactly what the drawing was to depict:
"This is a tank of water, Hunter, and the waterfall is here. It's under the sea, 
and the octopus is like the Nemo one," etc., etc.

"That's a really good idea, Chloe, and it's okay for this one to be for G'ma and G'pa; we'll do another one 
for Mommy and Daddy," responded Big Bro, as he added his hot air balloon, turtle, and lovin'.

Top Of The Mornin' to y'all. Back to the laughter in the house, our first twenty-four hours successful.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

IDOL Chatter - Don't Count Her Out

My pick for last night's win is Elise Testone, performing none other than the Lady herself. Awesome job... 
She's a contender and is pictured (#2) in my "call" shot from early in the season! Yep, there they are, five of my six picks, still remaining... not too shabby.

Elimination Night Update: In the bottom-right corner of the photo sits Jessica, clearly the best voice in this year's competition. But appeal counts, and it seems that the teenybopper girls did their part in affording her the lowest number of votes. She was set up to go home, but the judges used their one save, begging the audience to please vote for "the best". Goes to show that a package performance does count, even more so than technical skills. We shall see. A twist on IDOL.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Every Picture Tells A Story

Circa Last Friday
The KidGrands love to hear stories about their Dads. Who wouldn't? Brian and Christian are so darned cute!! 
So, when Gavin came in with a bouquet of double-daffodils, the other day, I said, "Uh-oh, Honey, I hope these weren't from the neighbor's garden," thus reminding myself of a time gone by...
Circa Childhood... L♥ve Grows 
Ink Sketch Circa auction
find I could not part with

My boys used to love to surprise me with flowers... or, rocks that we would then paint. They were especially fond of Neighbor Bonnie's marble stones... you know... the expensive kind that many use for the final touch on garden beds. Of course, we quickly taught them to go for the less extravagant, random ones that are found in the woods or on the roadside. Gavin got a big kick out of this anecdote, saying, "Did they get in trouble, G'ma?" 
Mouths of babes...

Not to worry about the flowers. It seems that another neighbor discarded many garden cuttings in the woods beneath our home, gifting us an amazing field of doubles. 
Aren't they gorgeous? 

Boys Will Be Boys

It's A Start

Unfortunately, the Catskills began to tank before the word "recession" began falling from tongues. And when the economy took its real nose dive, the effects were disastrous, here. Empty storefronts still abound, in spite of the mandated aesthetic improvements we've watched unfold, over the last few years. "Town" actually looks pretty, with its rows of nifty streetlights and blooming flowers, all along Broadway. Now what? The economy is still tanked; real estate values have plummeted; more businesses are failing. Where was everyone, when I shot this at 6:30 p.m., last evening? Hey, but we're brighter... 
a good sign?

Vicki's Moon ♡

Happy Birthday, Sweetie. I guess Mother Nature somehow drove me to an early awakening, this morning, for a capture of your moon... shot at 5:55 a.m., from our front yard. Serenity now. Give thanks. 
We love you so much... Aunt Nick 'n' Uncle Joey

Monday, April 9, 2012

LIM - Another Crustless Quiche

As Aubrey's sous chef, I was extended permission to add to the fare, yesterday morning. It's a pity that I didn't remember to take a picture as my quiche exited the oven, when it was all poufy and gorgeous. C'est la vie
It's still not too shabby looking, a day later. It included sautéed onions, artie hearts, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, eggs, milk and Swiss cheese, all enhanced by lots of herbs. The secret ingredient, though, came by way of the bagel-crumb topping. YUM! What crunch it added, as gazillions of crust calories were saved. 
Oh, and since Easter is an egg-y sort of a day, I used a few yolks.


Reporting back to say that the Grand Opening of JANG'S was a huge success. I relinquished my quick-action-seat-to-the-kitchen to our Master Chef, who did a fine job of executing and serving. Her first customer? It was our co-owner, the G in our namewho had worked up an appetite by giving guided tours and taking orders from a fixed menu.

We did a time tally at the table, adding the hours spent on Friday to the prep time of the morning; it totaled about five hours. Then, I asked Aubs, "And how much time did it take to devour your delicious fare?" With comical emphasis, she responded, "About forty-five minutes, G'ma!" Bingo. Then, I shared someone's quote... was it Julia's? 
"That's why you wait for good food...
it doesn't wait for you."

As I write, Aubs is having her tonsils removed. She'll be rarin' to go, upon recovery. In the kitchen, a place she's growing to love, we'll be moving on to some more complicated recipes. She's ready. In thinking back, I remember being able to put a meal on the table by the age of ten. It's a genetic thing,
the love of cooking. 

And as I conclude, Kelly's message and photo arrives... ALL DONE! 
Happy Days.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

As Easter and Passover Collide, May Yours Be Blessed and Colorfully Inspired ♡

Sneak Preview of JANG'S

We surprised Aubs and Gav with a sleepover on Thursday night, and during yesterday's early chill, they set about getting (link) JANG'S ready for Easter morning. They are dedicated workers, and with goals in mind, they spent hours creating what it takes to debut the best restaurant in town. So what if there's a little dust on the dishes and the cake is two days oldSome things need to be thought out, with great attention paid to artistic detail. 
I share with you the joys of egg dyeing, cake baking, sign making, silverware rolling, table setting and coloring.

Happy Easter from JANG'S!