Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

How Can This Grow To These Proportions?


Honestly, the story linked above will give you nightmares.  It was featured on "20/20" last night.  TRUST - where do we find it?

Reminded of the old African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child", I am inspired by this worst of offenses to be more aware in my own community.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Our home sits high, opposite mountains across the highway, and facing south. With no eastern-exposure windows, sunrise surprises have been minimal over our many decades here.

We disliked seeing the demise of a gorgeous tree in our yard, except for the fact that it was becoming obstructive to one of our northeast windows, a precious source of light. When finally we made the decision to send it to Hemlock Heaven, look above to see what awaited us on the other side!

Granted, it's tough to beat even a cloudy-morning Maui sunrise (below), captured a few years ago. But hey, I'm inspired whenever I am gifted in such a way! 

IDOL "A-Team"

Had the show come to the finals last night, it would have been an Adam vs. Allison duel.  Amazing performances from the A-Team!

Strong opinions here about who should go home; we'll see!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


A Great Reason To Run

An acquaintance from across the pond is running the London Marathon on April 26th, in the attempt to acquire some funding for a very good cause.  If you have an extra pound or two, go run off the weight variety and please donate the currency variety!  She'll be appreciative, and so will the kids:


Ah, the coincidence in reading this NY TIMES article, knowing that the antioxidant qualities of the flavonoids in dark chocolate are so beneficial to one's health, especially mental health during an economy then have your loving, unaware husband walk in with a bag of one-ounce servings of that enhancing treat.

There must be something to the yearning many women experience immediately after know the one....."I need something sweet!"  We could have written the articles addressing those benefits eons ago! Remember, though:  One Ounce to keep it from being waistline-threatening!

Here's to Chocolate!  And here's to the memory of our dear friend Phil, who was my book mentor at one time, and recommended one of my all-time favorite books, available at Amazon.

Have a sweet day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"So, So What..I Am A Rock Star..I Got My Rock Moves.."

Move over, Mr. D., and make room for my favorite Rock Star, who sings Pink like no other!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do You Have Six Minutes For Friendship?

Funny that our pediatrician used to call our oldest Son-Sun "Brian the Lion"; and funny that our youngest Son-Sun is named "Christian".  This wonderful story of 
A LION CALLED CHRISTIAN was filmed in the early seventies, when our Sunshines were born.  It clearly speaks to the beauty of freedom, friendship and ever-lasting love.

Happy Spring! Time To Fertilize....

Is It Rhoda Or Rhonda?

My Granddaughter phoned me last evening to say that she was working on another story about Tink (February 28th post, "Tink").  Needless to say, I was thrilled! She was concerned about "messing up some words", and of course I encouraged her to continue without worry.  In a similar fashion, when her color choices differ from those in standard models of people, places or things, I always affirm her efforts. "WE are the artists!", I tell her, explaining that we can perceive things as we choose. I am very clear, though, in pointing out that this approach will not always work with the art teacher in school, where artistic freedom is not always encouraged. She giggles at that thought!! :-)

While working on Tinks of different colors, I decided to add high gloves and tall socks to my Tink-of-the-moment.  My little girl asked, "Why are you giving her gloves and socks, G'ma?"  As I looked up from my creation, there was this pretty, smiling face, beating me to the answer, "I know, G'ma; 'cause WE are the artists!"  We slapped a high-five and had a great chuckle over the light-bulb moment.

These little "artistic" moments always remind me of my dear friend, Rhoda.  If EVER there's a person to think outside of the box, it is Rhoda, referred to in Ma Bell directories as Rhonda. We first met over forty years ago. Rhoda was and still is "an artist"!  Just ask her great-grandchild, "Where do you get your talent from?" and he'll be happy to tell you.

If Rhoda had a function to go to, she'd buy a swath of material in the morning and create some hippie frock by evening.  If Rhoda was tired of the look of a room, she'd choose a wall and paint a mural; and repaint that same wall when she needed to replace Italy with France.  I just love how Rhoda thinks. We later became interested in quilting together. I loved our similar affinity for funky fabrics; just show us some batiks!  And then there are books.  Need a recommendation? She has devoured a few good ones in her day.

Soon, she'll return from her second home to the mountains she loves so dearly.  We'll share a light lunch and heavy conversation; and we'll always be thinking that butterflies are free!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Day To Be Sad

My heart breaks for Natasha Richardson, her tragic death, and all she'll miss, as she herself is sadly missed by her beautiful sons, husband, mother, family, friends and fans.
"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Light, Lovin' Lasagna Leapt To LA

What fun to know that Love and Lasagna ("3 1/2 Italians...A Recipe For Love"-March 2nd Post) has such countrywide appeal! With a few Barilla noodles and a box or two of Pomi tomatoes, dinner-in-a-flash found friends in LA. Photo credits to pvonesch, who captured this Kodak meal prior to popping it into the oven and sharing it with hubby and friends. Ya just gotta luv that Italian soul food and friends who are happy with anything pasta!

Go With The Flow

We can learn from our beloved pets, I believe. It hit about 54 degrees here yesterday, and Old Ike found himself a sunny spot in which to take a little afternoon siesta.  He can't go snowshoeing with us anymore; but not to worry.  There are always deer hanging out on the other side of the fence, allowing him to imagine "the hunt"; and there is always sunbathing time.  Yes; Ike just goes with the flow, and he's a case in point for taking advantage of whatever Mother Nature affords us on any given day.

Idle "IDOL" Wild Card?

We enjoy this time of year, as each week of "American Idol" produces a new winner-of-the-night.  This year's Justin Timberlake look-a-like stole the show last night, in our humblest of opinions.  Country night gave the kids Randy Travis as a mentor. He is a true gentleman; and he was warm and helpful to the kids. Most amazing were several song choices from the catalogue of recent "Idol" winner, Carrie Underwood.  

Our winning choice this week is Matt Giraud and his Baby Grand.  The competition is heating up and we are continually amazed by the poise of the very young, as they perform in front of millions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's For Dinner?

Growing up, we lived next to little Unqua Lake. 'Twas not much in terms of size; but it afforded us lots of fun, via rowboat, ice skates and fishing poles. And there were ducks...and more ducks....and more ducks. Of course, there were swans and geese, too; but they had a tendency towards nastiness, guarding our lawn when we wanted to bask in the sun, while lying next to the lake. The ducks, though, were just gentle little inhabitants, brightening our day. Thus, I have never tasted duck in my dining experiences. "Never" as in "Not Ever"! Just can't devour my little buddies. 

But celebrate life we did, and St. Patrick's Day was no different than any other holiday to dine by. My amazing Parents educated us about many cultures, and took great pleasure in celebrating the holidays of others. Hey, if food was involved, it was a win-win situation; bloodlines mattered not! So, in honor of St. Pat, we went traditional with a New England boiled dinner. It was salty as all get-out, and delicious; or so it seemed at a special time in life!

Here's to the Luck o' the Irish and a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  Hmmm; some green pesto sauce is appropriate for tonight, ya think?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tend Your Fires!

So, you think women do all the talking, do you? Well, please read on:

In an attempt to burn a communal mess on our lovely cul-de-sac, Joe and the neighbor barged ahead. Problem is, all that chat about deer hunting, fishing, skiing, the economy, local politics and health issues got in the way of success. The fire dwindled. The guys realized it as a good thing, because right above the site were the electrical and cable wires that feed our neighborhood.  Ah, yes; the smell of burning wire casing......'twould have been lover-ly.

Yesterday, Joe tackled the mess single-handedly (the neighbor was too busy tending yet another fire on his own property), first moving the pile of debris. The fire raged; success. As it dwindled into the night, putting itself out, we looked outside to see fire engines with glaring lights on the hill. Seems we had an "unattended fire" (not true, as Joe was trotting out there every half hour). But another neighbor, unaware of our kindly clean-up attempts, came home late to find flames lighting her way.....and she called 911. 

If my Fireman Son-Sun is reading, he'll be very proud (role reversal here) to know that Dad had a burning permit....

Lesson here? Tend your fires and enjoy some Sunday Sun.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Konrad's Peas & Other Extraordinary Veggies

While awaiting warmth to allow outdoor planting, we have found that an indoor garden can thrive, especially when it is fed with cross-continental love.  Yes, it can. These veggies are very special, as they were started from seeds that were gifts of love from a friend across the pond. Beans are climbing; Konrad's peas are gaining strength; and tomatoes, peppers, flowers and pumpkins have second sets of leaves.  But the real story lies in the long-distance sharing of the love of gardening and nature...all the while nurturing a special friendship.  My friend, with English as her second language, says it much better, though.  So much charm is added to the story, as she embellishes it with her special touch; unedited: 
Hiya Nicki,
here is the story from that sugar pea seeds so that you can be sure to have a very special sort of peas on your plate later in the year:
 I ate my first sugar peas from Guido's Mum and it was so delicious. The plants where as high as a knee.
2 years ago I talk about that peas to very very lovely neighbours and they said, that they also have sugar peas. The neighbours are the parents from my neighbour pal Gerda - Konrad and Adele, both are in the 80th and where farmers all live. They still have such a wonderful veggie-garden all the year, simply wonderful. And Konrad gave me seeds from their sugar peas - also 2 years ago and told me this: these sugar peas are such an old species that seeds are not available in shops. (Because of this lovely neighbour we call it Konrad-peas ha ha ha.) The new ones are only growing as high as knees, but the old peas are growing 2 meters high. The only thing that never has to happen is, that the plants fall from rain or storm - it's killed then. So give it something to climb and tie a bit.
Rose took a pic from me the other year. It's not the best photo because it was late eve, but I try to find it and send it to you in a few minutes.
 I must take some pics from my tomatos and peppers this weekend and send you also.
 Ohhh Nicki, I love so much to see your first success and I can't wait to share lovely recepies soon
 XXX and giant hugs"

A Must-See Movie Fantasy


Do yourself a favor!

Spring Ahead

A Robin sighting always says, "Spring has sprung."  YIPPEE!

Many generations of Robin Red Breasts return to nest in our hemlock trees each year. We've enjoyed watching mature birds hatch babies, busily feed them regurgitated worms and ultimately teach them how to fly. It is a privilege to behold nature at its finest.  

Once they've flown the coop, we watch the fledglings consume every berry and fruit blooming on prolific trees, planted just for them??!! :-) Yes, the Robins are nothing short of inspiring, and we can sure learn from them. 

Worms are for the birds! But delicious, nutritious berries as a source of energizing antioxidants?? YUM!

Light as a breeze, kid-friendly and containing only three ingredients are Strawberry Ice Pops. A healthy, guilt-free snack for all...not necessarily guaranteed to make you fly!

Friday, March 13, 2009

According To SARK

Do y'all know SARK?  If not, you should really visit PlanetSARK because her view of life is wonderfully spirited and childlike, in a way that should be preserved.  According to SARK, God created the dog for us as a faithful companion; and he reversed the spelling of his own name to honor his creation, Dog.  SARK has also deemed the written letter one receives by snail mail a "missile of love".  How can you not love SARK?  Oh, and for the record, Ike was the big dog once!  

This post is with thoughts of MaryAnn and Steven.


If you suffer from the above named phobia, you are probably home in your jammies and have no intention whatsoever of leaving that safe (you hope!) environment.  So, maybe you'll swing by this blog and find some empathy.

In researching this day of superstitions, I sought some humorous anecdote to impart to the two Birthday Girls mentioned earlier......certainly enhancers in my life, making today a lucky day of celebration!  Instead, I found the unpronounceable name of an actual phobia - a fear of this day in particular - and lots of 'sticious stories.  (pvonesch, I hope you are a guest today)  So many sufferers exist; I had no idea.  To compound the issue, in this year 2009, there are three such occasions:  February Friday the 13th; today, March Friday the 13th; and one yet to come, November Friday the 13th.  How debilitating for those afflicted.

No humor here:  IsItReal?

Ah, Cyberspace affords one such an incredible opportunity to learn something new every day, eh?   Good Friday to you!

Two Neils & Double-Diamond Birthday Wishes With Flowery Love...

To Cousin Khrista and my ND Girlfriend Iris on this lucky Friday the 13th!
And connecting those degrees, Happy Birthday today to Mr. Neil Sedaka, a great artist (married to an upstate NY gal!), who in the linked video below sings with "my" Mr. Neil Diamond; they are accompanied by Mr. Paul Shaffer!  If you listen carefully, you'll hear Mr. D. refer to the two Neils as "The Jewish Everly Brothers"......don't even get me started on my favorite harmonizing brothers!  Jeesh; talk about narrowing degrees of separation, especially in music!  Here's to another Friday the 13th gift:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


First, "scalpers" became "brokers".  Now, we have "Live Nation" and "Ticket Exchange". The latter has tickets for sale at inflated prices before you can click "Enter" on your Ticketmaster purchase, during the very SECOND that sales begin. Hmmm; now surely we know why. Point is, screwed is screwed.  

We are concert goers.  And, I am a ticket snob whose one vice in life lies in the first seven or eight rows of chosen venues. Long before the Internet, when ticket outlets were distances away from us, and after Joe's being nearly trampled by a bunch of crazy women on a Ticketmaster queue, we decided to purchase resale tickets. It was all very hush-hush back then, and our tickets were usually found in Sunday TIMES ads.

When scalpers became brokers, and suddenly there was no legal issue involved(?), and the NY Attorney General seemed to give up on correcting the situation, we "graduated" to online purchases from TicketsNow. They were always somewhat fair, hosting individuals reselling their loot. The artists were not involved, back in the day. I would wait till about two days before a show and score unsold tickets, often dead center in the first few rows, for only a few dollars above face value.

This year, I've noticed some unpleasant Signs(ND), especially as it concerns this particular performer and now Billy??? These two have always touted reasonable prices to suit the masses. TicketsNow is suddenly an affiliate of Ticketmaster. Irving Azoff's name is mentioned in more areas than I care to acknowledge. People are actually BUYING LiveNation seats, with ridiculously contrived packages of crap, to sit in the first few rows that I am sitting in by being patient. And, those packages of crap contain articles seemingly "donated" by the artists themselves. For the record, patience is annoying, because we have to travel to any venue that we choose, and some planning is nice. But, we know all those outrageously priced tickets will be tossed back into the sale at the last minute.

Okay, okay; you don't feel sorry for me, because if you're reading, you know that we go to our fair share of shows. And now, if you know me very well, you know that I'm trying to score tickets for The Boss. Well, guess what?  "Cheers" for The Boss.  He took a public stand. Tickets are STILL pricey; but at least it's your everyday "commoner" doing the scalping for Bruce.  Oh, pardon me; it's doing the brokering.

The following article is disheartening; and I'm not feeling colorful OR inspired. Please link Screwed

Nothing Idle About Last Night's IDOL!!!

There is clearly no gray area here!  Link to watch:  BlackOrWhite!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Keep Trying!

Having a tough day, are you?  Well, just keep trying!  Photo and inspiration credits to pvonesch, a great teacher!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thank You, Mr. President

We join Steven and his family and scores of others in celebrating the lifting of the ban on StemCellResearch.  There is Hope.

Who Will Tend The Empty Gardens?

Fifteen hundred children, students in our relatively small tri-county area, are homeless, according to a RECORD article in yesterday's paper. Imagine (Lennon). On a personal level and because of Joe's field of work, we've seen a slump coming for a long, long time. But in our wildest imaginations, we never pictured a "recession" of this magnitude.  

*Recession:  a period of temporary economic decline

*Regression:  a return to a former or less developed state

*Depression:  a long and severe recession in an economy or market

*Depression:  severe despondency and rejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy

A naive image of those who constitute the growing number of homeless in our country has the ability to suggest older people who have lost their way; i.e., men and women we see clustered in cities or walking our local streets. But the CHILDREN! How do we quietly help them and their parents in their need, without making them feel needy, at the same time attempting to nurture their self-esteem?  

I recall a wonderful lady who once collected ski clothing and equipment and anonymously distributed the items amongst local families who could not otherwise afford such luxuries for their children.  She committed the donors to silence, in not commenting when they recognized clothing; thus, she preserved pride for the recipients.  And, she provided the means to lift tickets and lessons for those kids. She became a wonderful equalizer in our small community. Wouldn't it be wonderful to return to a time when such luxury could be a priority? Now, it's a challenge to get those kids in similar situations into a classroom....well rested and well fed.  I digress; but I also wonder, as homes are abandoned, who will tend the empty gardens of the earth and of the mind?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Encore! Siegfried and Roy

Talk about inspiration! On more levels than can be counted, Siegfried and Roy spoke to the human spirit and the power it sometimes possesses. Roy's physical return and continuing determination towards "more" has defied medicine. Siegfried's eloquence in describing a comeback from a deep, dark depression has the power to double the chills already tingling my spine. Together, their dedication to each other is astounding. And their heartwarming encore performance with Montecore certainly confirms what we already knew about their love of animals, as it replaces a profoundly negative image with that of a hopeful one. In case you missed "20/20" last night, there are some recaps on the ABC website, linked here:

Friday, March 6, 2009

"No Line On The Horizon" U2

More often than not, I'm happy to have my favorite artists leave the interpretation of his or her lyrics to my imagination.  I can then hold them dear at any given moment, in any given situation, and derive from them the message I'm in need of.

Not so this morning, when GMA gave us a mini-concert by my all-time favorite rock 'n' roll band, U2. Performing at Fordham University in the Bronx, they were wide awake and rarin' to go at 8:05 a.m.

During an interview, Bono revealed the inspiration behind U2's new album, No Line On The Horizon, as the moment in time during sunset over Killarney Bay, when the sky and the sea meet and blend into one color, representing infinity....and further in his interpretation as " end in sight...for mankind".  As he spoke, I recalled the above photo, taken at a rare and brief moment in time, when we were treated to the parting of the clouds and the view of the Na Pali Coast from our vantage point, high in the sky of Waimea, Hawai'i.

Further intrigue for me in the few degrees of separation between the people, thoughts and events of my life factored in; here's why: Joe and I enjoyed gorgeous views of the Hudson River yesterday, as we dined in a window seat of a riverside restaurant; our inside-looking-out view is here. We commented on the soothing qualities that any body of water seems to possess.  I thought aloud that while that is so true, "..there is nothing like the endless view we experience from we wonder about what lies beyond."  Bono said it better; but, hey, this morning I feel a connection.

So much music, and so little time.  My hope is to someday rock live with Bono and the boys....before I need a walker!!  Here's to a...

Beautiful Day (U2)

"See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out" U2


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Big Inspirations Come In Little Packages

A perfect day
To snap away
As she did play
And I did say,


Fall '08
Our Littlest Love

Idle "IDOL" Chatter 2

We hope America gets it right tonight, as there were some hot contenders last evening. If you're a fan, you know that only three from this group shall earn a spot in the finals.

For me, the highlight of the show came via Jorge, his intense delivery of Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and the resulting emotions.  His comment about being unable to think or speak in English when so emotional really touched my heart. Funny thing about that, I always ask multi-lingual acquaintances the question, "Which language to you think in?"

Joe and I would have a tough time choosing only vous?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Men Hunt - Part I

Finding the right bird is a challenge today.  We do not eat chickens with 34-D breasts and bright yellow skin.  Nor do we eat chickens that are in brine, salted and/or flavored.  Sorry; I know you get my gist....we're chicken snobs.  This said, Joe came home with three perfect little beauties the other night, straight from our favorite butcher.

My mind was spinning with plans for various parts of these little fellas. Thoughts of my Dad must have put my palate in the mood for some chopped liver. Anticipating an appetizer, I went searching for the livers, as I cleaned the chickens for refrigeration. Not only were there no livers, but no giblets or necks were to be found in any little cavity.

Poor Joe was so startled when I yelled out, "Where the **&&^^%% are the ****&&^^% livers??"  "What are you talking about?" said he.  "THE LIVERS!"

Well, you have to understand, Joe's tastes are not as ethnically diverse as mine; and a week-long fast would not encourage him to eat liver.....thus, an explanation ensued.

I began thinking aloud, "With the economy in such dire straits, I'll bet our butcher is selling the livers separately."  Yep, thought I, "And he's probably putting them in recycled, pint-sized Chinese soup containers, truth be known!"

Sorry, chopped liver in your honor this week.

Soon, I'll tell my venison stories.  Be prepared, 'cause Men Hunt!

Monday, March 2, 2009

What About Matzohs?

Enter my other heritage half, with fond memories of first seders and chicken soup containing feet. "Shh," said my parents, "just eat around them!" Funny, I recently learned that the feet have the highest gelatinous qualities and are sought by the serious soup chef!! I'm sure my Dad knew, with his ability to satisfy my every query with an interesting response!

He introduced me to Webster (before Webster married Merriam), Roget and Gulliver and fed my soul with stories, words, music and love. He's my Editor-In-Chief to this day, residing on my shoulder, influencing my thoughts.  It's Impossible (Perry Como) to speak of today without remembering yesterday.

He introduced me to Perry, Nat, Doris, Rosemary, Mario, Dean, Frank, Al; "The Jazz Singer" (Jolson) and "The Student Prince".  He segued with me to The Brothers Everly, Ricky, Johnny, Brenda, John, Paul, George, Ringo, Bobby, Dion, Neil, Elvis, and took me to Freedomland to see my idols, sitting through double shows. No musical generation gap here, 'cause It's Impossible (Elvis).

It is impossible to keep from wishing that he had lived to see Neil's version of "The Jazz Singer" and to hear the current mega-star version of  Somos Novios!  Please link:
I'm inspired by my roots and just love being a Matzoh-Pizza from Massapequa! Now, for some "Two-Day Jewish Penicillin":

Toss a chicken, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and sweet/white potatoes into your stockpot; cover with water and simmer away.  When it smells delicious, drain off the liquid to cool and refrigerate.  Night 1: have boiled chicken and veggies.  Night 2:  skim fat from broth; add shredded leftover chicken and diced veggies; bring to a simmer and add some quick-cooking noodles, parsley and pepper.  For extra oomph, scramble an egg and slowly stir into simmering liquid, allowing it to thread. 
Bon Appetit!

3 1/2 Italians...A Recipe For Love

This said, necessity remains the mother of invention!  We still splurge on the holidays.  But when random snowy days make us long for foods to nurture our souls, we layer instead low-fat farmer's cheese mixed with egg whites and lots of pepper and parsley; Pomi tomatoes with a sprinkling of oregano; and Barilla no-cook noodles, broken to fit the pan of our choice.  Topped with just a dash of decadent grated Parmesan cheese, we indulge ourselves.....always nurtured by...

Love and Lasagna.