Thursday, April 30, 2009

"American Idol"-The Analysis From My Point Of View

Adam found himself in the bottom three of five on "American Idol" last night; stranger things have happened on the show.  Consider Chris Daughtry, and please read on.  It was fun to have my Buffalo Cousin Bonnie call, though, as we wondered, "What happened??" Here are a few reasons suiting my personal opinion:

1.  Competition has been lacking in the show, with Adam's level of performance being in a zone of its own.  Fans of the show usually enjoy the suspense.

2.  Randy's comment about Tuesday's performance being a bit too theatrical and Broadway-ish might have made some think twice about what exactly they wanted to see on an Idol stage.

3.  Danny, Kris and Allison were terrific.  Matt's elimination was correct, albeit tearjerking, I believe.  Rarely do I disagree with Simon's commentary; I was surprised to hear such extravagant kudos, in this case.

4.  Everyone loves an underdog...or underdogs, as here.  Maybe good old human nature kicked in to allow for their votes.

5.  There are those who are saying that Adam "...will do well anyway; someone else should get a career boost from an Idol win."  Hmmm; that one bothers me.  Maybe our new President should have moved over to allow the old(er) man one more moment in the sun? I know, I know; a poor analogy.  Hey, it's early; but a (potential) winner is a (potential) winner!  Again in my opinion, Adam clearly has Idol qualities.  

6.  "It ain't over till the fat lady sings!" (How appropriate this cliché here.)

Whatever!  Next week is Rock 'n' Roll week, my favorite.  I'd love to see Adam Lambert come out to perform his version of "One Night With You", as a reminder of an illustrious moment in Musical frills.....well, um, except for maybe slicked back hair and a black leather suit:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cheers To Pip!

On March 25th, I blogged "A Great Reason To Run" and mentioned a friend who intended to run the London Marathon, as she raised funds for a wonderful cause, Zoe's Place.  She did it; and I can just feel her excitement and pride, as vibes travel 'cross the pond, all the way to New York.

Good Wishes To Zoe's Place!

No Frills Hard-Core Healthy Quiche

Ah, this one is so just for me - not Joe's cup of tea!  Using the crust recipe provided in (link) "Gluten Free? Try This!", here goes:

Pat rice crust mixture into lightly greased quiche pan, spreading slightly up sides. Don't pre-bake yet!  Layer with sliced Vidalia onion, spritz with EVOO and sprinkle on paprika, garlic powder and freshly ground pepper.  Now pre-bake at 375 degrees till onions are softened and crust is well set.  

Squeeze moisture out of thawed chopped or lightly steamed fresh spinach; spread over onions.  Beat together fat-free Half & Half and eggs (easy on the yolks/extra on the whites), amount according to how covered you want your veggies to be. Top with slabs of firm Tofu and sliced, fresh tomatoes.  Spritz again with EVOO; season as you wish; sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.  Pop back into the oven for about half an hour or until set. 

Delicious out of the oven or cold....great sliced and reheated directly on oven grate, allowing the rice crust to crisp even further.  Calories are barely countable for a serving!  Jazz it up with your favorite cheese, added with the eggs, if desired.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 24, 2009

He Can Pick 'Em!

Yesterday morning found me running on the treadmill "with" Beyoncé, a guest on my favorite accompaniment, "The View". I lovingly thought of my 5-year-old grandson and chuckled to myself, as I listened to this classy, talented and gorgeous girl speak. He is a huge fan of hers.

Later on, I mentioned this via e-mail to my daughter-in-law (photo credit herein). She immediately responded that our little rock star had patiently awaited Beyoncé's appearance earlier yesterday morning on "The Today Show".  He then danced, clapped and sang along with her.  This boy, with his innate sense of music and talent, is good! He sure does inspire me to listen and smile!

Beyond The Bowl Of Bananas

"No grass grows under her feet," said my Parents and Gran, as I was growing.  As a child, I never quite understood what exactly that little proverb meant.  Now, though, I recognize that its meaning contributes to my insomnia.  There are culprits everywhere; they invade my sub-conscience and awaken me early.  Sometimes, though, that is a good thing; i.e., I rarely miss a sunrise!

From where Mac and I share space on my kitchen island, the view is spectacular. Shortly after the Cardinals awaken me with their songs, I remember that next in the order of the day comes sunrise.  This morning's did not disappoint, its beauty barely captured in my photos. Have a great Friday and don't waste a minute of sunshine!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gluten Free? Try This!

2 - 3 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
1 Egg
Seasoning, only if you wish

Mix and press into lightly greased pie/quiche/tart pan; bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Leave in pan to fill with quiche or other ingredients to return to oven; or remove for freestanding faux pizza shell.  Sweeten the rice a tad and try a pie; anything goes.


To Note: Charred pieces of rice are hazardous to your pearly whites... please be careful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"I Love, I Love, I Love My Dinosaur Pet"

Never a huge fan of his music, I've become a huge fan of the Man; the "other" Neil...Sedaka, that is.  His appearance on "The Regis Philbin Show" yesterday morning was worth a mention to Joe at dinnertime.

Mr. Sedaka, now a whopping 70 years old, has three grandchildren in his life, for whom he often plays piano and sings.  It occurred to him that revising the lyrics of his most popular happy tunes was in order.  Thus, he rewrote "Calendar Girl" and ten others to suit his "little Bubelas", inviting them to sing back-up on the finished product, found at Amazon, link here: WakingUpIsHardToDo

Classy guy....a nice Jewish family man, who happens to have had an impeccable, decades-long career in sharing his undeniable gifts with the world.

I am so inspired to share this music with my own little Bubelas!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Each brilliant performance sends chills from my head to my toes, and this week's was no exception.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening Preempts Blogging

This is good news, as nature's pretty surprises poke through the remains of fall and winter debris, reminding us it's that time of year again.  Yes, the inspirations of Springtime are beautiful to behold!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"There's A Battle Outside And It's Ragin'"

My sweet niece Kim said something quite profound the other day.  In conversation regarding the ills of society, I had expressed my rage at the sight of a handgun in its holster, as we lunched with our grandkids in a family-geared environment. She asked me, "When was the first time you first saw a gun exposed in such a way, Aunt Nick?"  I responded, "Kim, that was the first time in my 62 years."  She continued, "Exactly!", and went on to comment that this prevalence of weapons is just one of society's "newer issues" to be dealt with, as she and others attempt to raise their her case, a teenaged boy. 

That conversation plays back frequently, as I mentally calculate the quickly growing number of "newer issues" we've managed to inflict upon ourselves.  The technology we've all become so fond of has certainly contributed to the vast number of problems, as per GoodMorningAmerica this morning.  Please take a minute or two to link and go to "Parents Discuss Sexting With Teens".  There is a lot of valuable information about the current trend, found by browsing the site. Just one hint was worth the watching, and it regards slumber parties, a popular time slot for sexting to occur.  Are you the hosting parent?  Take the kids' phones upon entry to your home, and redistribute upon departure.  One quick solution; it takes a village.

"'The times they are a-changin'" (Dylan)

"IDOL"...Great Night Of Music

Last night, I left tunnel vision behind and enjoyed every performance, as our Idols sang from a catalogue of legendary songs...each and every one with its place on my iPod. Give me songs from Lionel Richie, Bryan Adams, Bette Midler, Steven Tyler, etc., etc., any day of the week!  Who to send home?  I just don't know.

Quentin Tarantino was an odd mentor, manic at times.  I prefer the songsters of the past; i.e., Barry Gibb, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, etc.  But hey, that's just me!  What do I know?  You can't argue with success.

My only complaint is with regard to the new protocol of having only two judges speak for each contestant....not good, as this practice often eliminates an altering and helpful opinion.  It seems that last week's show did not meet time constraints, causing Adam Lambert's amazing performance of "Mad World" to be aborted on TiVo tapings; thus the reasoning herein.

There shall be Kleenex available for eliminations tonight....just love the spunk of all the kids!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Little Things In Life Keep Us Free



 Puppy Black Russian Terrier Mambo looks related to Presidential Puppy Portuguese Water Dog Bo.....what fun....wish I could help train the little guy!                 

Broken Newspapers...Can They Be Fixed?

What do you think about skinny newspapers and their fate?  Link here:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Join The 1.5 Million People Who Have Already Witnessed This Dream

Won't you please take seven minutes at the YouTube link below to share the dream of Susan Boyle, as she performs from my own all-time favorite play, "Les Miserables", its most exquisite song:

Is there a dry, uninspired eye in the house?

The Dream

UPDATE 4/17:

The number of those graced by listening to SusanBoyle on YouTube has reached over 18 MILLION!  Keep dreamin' those dreams!

Esther The Narrator

Just the other day, I commented to my son that there doesn't seem to be a thought expressed that was not already formulated by someone in the past.  Human nature is so consistent; and when one says something seemingly brilliant (to one's self, that is!!), surely it was thought in the past, G-d only knows how often.....bringing me to Esther in BLEAK HOUSE, this quote, one of my thoughts and my blog:

"I don't know how it is I seem to be always writing about myself.  I mean all the time to write about other people, and I try to think about myself as little as possible, and I am sure, when I find myself coming into the story again, I am really vexed and say, 'Dear, dear, you tiresome little creature, I wish you wouldn't!' but it is all of no use.  I hope anyone who may read what I write will understand that if these pages contain a great deal about me, I can only suppose it must be because I have really something to do with them and can't be kept out."  Charles Dickens circa 1852

Who can say it better?

Happy Monday circa 2009!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We love you! Happy Birthday! We've been dusting this Fourth of July photo for a lot of years! But Unc and I are still so young! Memories are made of this!

The Egg & How Four Bedrooms Come In Handy

In pondering the little old egg, symbolic of life and rebirth, I realize that therein lies both my "halves". My Jewish ancestors broke the fast of Yom Kippur with a simple hard-boiled egg, as they began anew, repentant and cleansed; and my Catholic relatives boiled, dyed and then ate them, honoring the rebirth of Christ on Easter, a time of new beginnings for all Believers. Tradition!

But when push comes to shove, my Grandkids just want to hunt for eggs, excited that the Rabbit stopped by their grandparents' house. So, what to do when there are four little ones, ranging in age from almost 2 to 6? We know who would score high yield, given an open field! A bedroom per child works out perfectly, with doors festively marked for each, and eggs divided equally. Hey, we don't watch Super Nanny Jo for nothing!

Happy Spring and whatever holiday you're celebrating....and here's to the new beginnings you pray for, combined with lasting peace for all.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Red Peppers

Buy some, 'cause they are cheap now.  Bring them home and roast them; the aroma throughout the house will be killer!  Create!  And as Julia would have said, "Bon Appetit!"


Look to the sky!  Do you see what I see?
Having trouble?  Left double-click on photo, please!


So, you doubt the ability of the bean to change direction and grow down, do you?  
(This for my scientific and gardening friends, with apologies to others who mightn't be following my winter-gardening escapades!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009



Please register my vote!

Addendum 4/9/09:  I cried last night during eliminations.  Though the right choice was probably made, I learned from Scott and will miss him in the weeks to come.  And more:

Yes, Neil friend who inquired, I did scream when Frankie Avalon strolled onto the stage; it went like this:

"OMG, I don't BELIEVE this!"  The response from the kitchen, where Joe was fixing dessert for us, "What now?" (I could hear the extended sigh regarding me, the drama queen!)  "Hurry, Joe; you're missing something AMAZING!"  Frankie is still adorable.  1959 - it was a very good year!

Empty Gardens And Empty Malls

As the long-term effects of this nightmarish economy inflict palpable pain on so many, maybe we can look to a future of empty malls being converted into housing for the homeless and their scores and scores of innocent children:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Muse With Me On Teaching Aids

Random thoughts abound on this rainy New York Monday.  Here's hoping they make a little sense!

An acquaintance across the pond commented that she very much liked the Showtime series, "The Tudors"....this after my mention of the sizzling performance by Jonathan Rhys Myers in "August Rush".  Hey, this woman has good taste; the gems from the Arsenal Of Diamond are what brought us together in the first place.  As I watched JRM play Henry VIII, I kept thinking, "How ancient is the plague of religious strife, suffering its ill effects on the world for centuries;" and I thought of Mr. Baldwin.

Y'all know of Alec Baldwin and his thespian brothers, raised in Massapequa, as was I. Their Dad was my high school history teacher -  Alexander R. Baldwin, Jr.  He was dynamite; and this from someone who detested history lessons!  He made you love his class, and the resulting A's were a bonus.  As I watched "The Tudors", I thought that Mr. B's job could have been made so much simpler with the help of such visual aids as this series.  You've heard of a captive audience? :-)

Imagine then if Elvis had sung for G-d ceremonial hymns and prayers in your house of worship. What an attraction that would have been for the youth of my day, who had no understanding whatsoever of somber Latin masses!  Clearly emanated by his voice was depth of love and spiritual conviction, especially in this "Inspirational" Grammy-winning performance, recorded on my husband's birthday in 1966:

As my halves honor Easter and Passover during the same holiest of weeks, I can't help but still wish for an understanding in the world equal to that which comes via the universality of art.  I think it's called "Peace".

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Gran

Funny that when I awakened this morning to thoughts of my Gran's birthday, these photos popped into my mind's eye, where their images are etched for all eternity. I knew just where to find them, as well as the precious letters written home to us, as Gran traveled in Italy and France with her friend (to the right in second photo).  It was a milestone trip for her and will be spoken to at greater length in the very near future.  The photos, circa 1963, really did stop time, affording my current reflections on love.

So, when the sky clears tonight, please just look for the brightest star, and shout out some special wishes to the real Queen Mary, whom I love dearly. 

Friday, April 3, 2009


We are deeply saddened to hear of this latest massacre in none other than Binghamton, NY.  It is a city that was like a home-away-from home for our family for many years, as our youngest Son attended undergraduate school there.  It holds many fond memories. We are so very sorry for these victims and their families:

Danger - Bears Part II

Sightings have become more frequent for multiple reasons, not the least of which is a neighbor who has a penchant for feeding wildlife. It is said that "good fences make good neighbors", and this is true.  Rather than battle with the otherwise very nice neighbors, we fenced in a large part of our property in the back of our home.  

On one hot summer day last year, I left my Mom and two of our grandkids on the back patio, as I went inside for art supplies. My husband had just gone to buy some extra paint brushes for the boulder-painting event of the afternoon.  As I walked through our foyer, I caught a glimpse of something moving in our front yard.  I quickly grabbed the camera and called the kids and Great G'ma in to share this sighting, leaving our dogs well fenced-in. Photo was shot from our front portico, about ten or fifteen feet from Blackie.

Again, it's exciting to see...and this guy was a young 'un, too; unlike the adult bear running through our yard about a month later.  Not to be treated lightly...danger DOES lurk in coexistence with wildlife.  The article linked below will shock one back into reality.  The neighbor mentioned in my previous post was so right:

Relinquished Pleasure - Bears Part I

Birdwatching became a lot of fun for us, especially as the boys were growing.  We placed a few feeders on the edge of our patio and feasted our eyes and ears.  A really neat and informative book about the birds of North America became well worn, as we observed seemingly new varieties each spring.  That pleasure lasted from the early 1970's through the late 1990's.

Upon  returning home from spring break in '97, our family was inundated with neighborly phone calls and visits, warning us to be careful when jogging or biking, as there had been a lot of bear sightings.  "You mean you didn't SEE the bear near your yard?" asked Mr. B.  "Well," continued he, "remember they are kings of the jungle around here and they are NOT as cute as they look."  Shortly thereafter, this is what greeted me, as I gazed out our den slider very early one morning. This guy weighed about 150 pounds and would have been the previous year's cub, given the boot from the den to make room for new babies.  Once on their own, these yearlings can be found foraging just about anywhere, as they grow....bigger....and bigger.

Sightings in our yard remained relatively few, until about two years ago......

Please visit Part II.

They're Back!

If you don't mind being awakened just before the crack of dawn, the sweet sounds of spring mornings are notes to behold. The song of the Cardinal is quite complex; just listen very carefully! It's lucky for me that my body clock is set for that time frame; or, I mightn't be so welcoming!  

They winter over in our locale, appearing on occasion atop very snowy branches. However, they don't become vociferous till it's time to nest; and then, there is no doubting their tune! The sounds and smells of spring inspire me, for sure! I'm reminded by nature's alarm clock that my gardens await some attention!

Now, I must listen for little Chickadees....

Graphics Credit:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Big Old Bowls

The story goes that the ginourmous old bowl sitting on our dining room table was shipped home by my maternal Grandfather Nicholas, my namesake. He had traveled by train from New York to California and back, about a hundred or so years ago.  The bowl was a gift to my Gran (photo in post of March 2nd, "3 1/2 Italians..."), with whom it resided until his death, after which she and it moved in with my family. Here was a Grand Lady who could have educated Gloria Steinem about the liberation of women, eons before the phrase "Women's Lib" was coined. She was to be my roommate, as I grew up. Trust me when I say that I never longed for privacy; she was an enormously loving, inspirational role model in my life. Consider the era when I say that Gran took me, my brother and cousins to rodeos at Madison Square Garden, holiday shows at Radio City, and by train to visit relatives in Ohio and Florida...that is one long train ride and a story for another day. I digress; back to the bowl:

My Mom gifted the big old bowl to me decades ago. It occurs to me that this connection has something to do with my strong affinity for old bowls.  If only they could speak. It's no surprise that when I whip up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, I tend to choose another big old bowl over my sophisticated, powerful electric mixer, with its cold stainless vessel. There's just something about a battered (no pun intended!) stoneware bowl that makes the cookies turn out better.  It must be all the lovin' that has been stirred into its depths.

Finding myself in the business of buying and selling antiques, I'm always excited when "the hunt" produces a Banded Yellow Ware Bowl....especially a #12 in size!  With all its crazing, hairlines, bumps and bruises, herein lies a treasure. My Gran would be pleased.

April Showers--Keep Lookin' For That Bluebird!

My Dad introduced me to Al Jolson and his  version of "The Jazz Singer", a story my family actually lived. I love Al Jolson. Though the phrase about April showers originated in the mid-sixteenth century, it was Mr. J. who wrote the lyrics and recorded the song, during the early 1900's. It's a classic, as was he. How interesting to me that the person who posted this video on YouTube also inherited the love of Al Jolson from his/her Dad. If you  watch to the end, you'll see! 

This remains inspiring and connective in my life, and it brings fond memories home where they belong. I hope you'll be moved by it, too:

Leaving "Idle" Behind in "IDOL" Chatter.....

If he doesn't anger the public in any way, I think we're seeing the next American Idol in Adam Lambert, with his amazing stage presence and monstrous, diverse talent. That said, the real news lies in tonight's anticipated performance by Lady Gaga, one of the string of lady singers my five-year-old Rock Star is infatuated by (March 22nd post, "So, So What..I Am A Rock Star.....")!  Our personal "Idol" chatter will be very exciting this week, after he watches the recording of the show!

My littlest of critics is quite accurate in telling me about videos I should or should not watch, as some "..are not appropriate, G'ma!"

Grandkids--ya just gotta luv them--and we sure do!