Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Travelin' Man, Oh, Man......

The highway from Binghamton to Roscoe takes us through very dense, lower Catskill mountains. The scenery is stunning, sharpening our senses and saving us from succumbing to the exhaustion of too many hours in a car. This year's monsoon season has turned our mountains into the richest shades of green we've ever witnessed. When the sky is blue and the cumulus clouds suspended...well, what more can I say?!
Always I'm reminded of childhood time traveling from Long Island to Gran's summer home. Upon arrival, I'd draw and color crisscrossed arches on paper, my vision to this day of beautiful Upstate New York.

During this trip, we added to our memory bank, having spent a delightful weekend with our favorite cousins, in celebration of dual graduations.

Speaking of memories, it's impossible to recall childhood dreams without factoring in this guy:

Simple Palette

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Art In The Afternoon

The girl loves to paint! I do believe she has honed in on her favorite medium. Can you blame her? Sit with a brush, some paper and acrylics sometime to discover their soothing rewards.... escapism at its best!

She celebrated her lost tooth and a gift from the Tooth Fairy; and, in the middle of Art, she decided that her hair should be in "a flip". G'ma turned hair stylist, while G'Daughter created...hey, I have a lot of experience with the Sixties Flip! Great-G'ma could not stop smiling during this event; children have that effect on one, you know?

Inspiration is grand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Color This!

There is no color on the palette quite like this, the result of stewing overripe purple plums and pushing them through a strainer or sieve.

Mix resulting hot pulp, some of the cooking juice, about 2 tablespoons tapioca and a tablespoon or so of pure maple syrup. Allow to cool.

In pre-baked and cooled tart shell, add a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese that has been whipped with cinnamon and a drop of maple syrup. Top with cooled plum mixture and refrigerate.

Joe tells me that this is a keeper. Pretty as a picture, too. :-)

Place Me, Please

I title this with tongue in cheek. The Saga Of Inflated Tickets continues, as TicketsNow probably loses "old" (in more ways than one) customers, such as myself. Once a great place to find a fair deal, their hook-up with TicketMonster cast dark shadows over their reputation, in my mind. All that said, here is the content of an e-mail to their customers (this also appears on their blog):

Placing Fans Up Front

Posted on June 16th, 2009
Shawn Freeman in News & Commentary

Over the past several months, we have heard from various customers, artists, and others that the ticket resale industry can be a confusing experience for fans just looking to get great seats to their favorite events. We agree, and last year we began taking steps to address these concerns. We talked directly to our customers and other fans to understand their issues. And we began building a new and better TicketsNow.com, one that we know will set a new standard for how live event resale tickets are sold online.

Today we are launching the initial features of this new initiative, “Fans Up Front.” These features are the first of many changes designed to give fans of live entertainment unprecedented information and insight into the ticket resale buying experience.

Initially available on some of the summer’s hottest concerts, the new “Fans Up Front” features include:

• Total Price Transparency – TicketsNow will show you the original ticket price (“face value”) in addition to resale market prices.
• Know Before You Buy – TicketsNow will let you know whether original price seats are still available on Ticketmaster and provides a direct link to take you there.

For a full list of tours and more information, click here.

These are ground-breaking new features that will help fans make more informed buying decisions to see their favorite artists this summer. And there is much more to come. In the coming months, we will be expanding the number of tours and events that are “Fans Up Front” enabled. And we have other exciting new features planned for later this year.

We are proud and excited about this first step in transforming our industry. Your feedback has helped us design these first features and your continued input will help us make sure we are building the absolute best resale buying experience. Please tell us what you think.

I look forward to sharing more details about “Fans Up Front” with you in the near future.

Shawn Freeman
President, TicketsNow

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Hobby - Rain Photography

What's that saying? "When G-d gives you lemons, you make lemonade!" Revision: "When G-d gives you rain...." Well, you know the rest!
Can you read the sign, as it appeared through a rain-drenched windshield?

Role Reversal

Look who reads to us now!

Father's Day

It's hard to believe how many years have gone by since this Christmas Eve, when my Dad held Christian and Joe held Brian, as they danced by the light of the holiday tree. Four grandchildren later, I can say that we are a family blessed with amazing Dads.

Yesterday, we saw "Up" with Aubs and Gavin; it is far from just a children's movie. As with most Disney films, it speaks volumes. Seize those precious moments.


Friday, June 19, 2009


It didn't rain today!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tryin' To Keep My Sense Of Humor

Happy Birthday, Maddy!

Eighteen? Jeesh!
And you're still so darned cute!
Stay that way for-ev-ah, 'cause
we love you just the way you are!

See you in a few to deliver our b'day hugs in person!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Celebrating Cutie Cor's Day

Love you, you sweet thang... you sure do add color to our lives!

They're Back...A Culinary Thrill

Ready For The Oven

They are awesome unadulterated when in season... yum... so healthy (Antioxidant City!) and low in calorie (about 75 in a cupful). But if you crave something just a little sinful, this tart is ready for the oven in fifteen minutes:

Crust: 2 cups unbleached flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and stirred together. Pour 1/2 cup Canola oil into measuring cup and add 5 tablespoons ICE water. Quickly add liquid to dry, stirring with a fork till blended. Press moist dough into 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Don't have one? Press right onto a cookie sheet and bring sides up to hold berries; it will stay there!

Gently mix about 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries with 1/4 cup or less white sugar, about 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and a dash or three of cinnamon. Add to unbaked crust and toss into a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes to set crust up nicely. Then, lower oven to 350-degrees and bake for about 30-40 minutes more.

I'm done at this point...but if you want more...nuke some apricot jam till it's softened and pour or spoon over hot tart.

You know what to serve it with!! Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Aloha From Hawaii"

Recently, Joe and I had reason to speak of The King's 1973 performance from Hawai'i, the first ever live-via-satellite TV show. It was a benefit concert to raise $$$ for a new wing on an Island hospital, in memory of a young Hawaiian performer who had sadly died of the disease. Elvis fans know he was a great humanitarian. His drummer, visible at the very beginning of the video, is the fantastic Ron Tutt, who for many decades since has been in ND's band, in addition to having played with every name famous in the Rock 'n' Roll genre. I am always intrigued by the few degrees of separation between mega-talented musicians; but, I digress.
The year of '73 was amazingly special for us, as we were blessed in July by the birth of our beautiful youngest Son. And then there are the Islands, forever my favorite place on earth. The concert was and still is incredible; I must replace my worn out video with a new DVD. Ahhhhhh, Elvis:

Delish Dish

Boil together peeled potatoes, carrots and garlic, till all are soft; drain. Mash with a dollop of fat-free plain yogurt (Greek is the best), a light dose of Smart Balance Light margarine and freshly ground pepper. Pile into oven-safe pan, sprayed with Pam. Top with roughly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, a sprinkling of paprika and scissor-cut garden chives. Can be prepared ahead and popped into oven at dinner time to heat.
Bon Appetit!

Something So Simple To Soothe Society?

At six a.m., pre-java, I read Page 3 of our newspaper:

1."Police question teenager in shooting on playground"... local news of a visiting kid directing a BB gun's barrel into an elementary school playground, hitting an aide and a student. Thankfully, they were not seriously hurt in a physical way; but psychologically?

2."80-year-old farmer dies after tractor runs over him"...poor guy...irony in this one, and possibly the best of the worst stories. At least he met his demise in the attempt to do something he loved.

3."Phillipsport man charged in jewelry theft from home"...he's a "friend" of the victim's family.

4."Florida families protest against school bullying - Some feel district ignores issue"...bullied, amongst others, was a kindergarten student; my back is up.

5."Chester school chief charged with harrassment"...where are our children safe?

It's doubtful that I'll return to the paper today to read beyond Page 3; and I'll spare you the front page headlines. Suffice it to say that by six-thirty, Mambo and I had hit the photo trail to commune with Nature. I wonder if pooches and purple petunias (tulips?) possess healing powers....oh, to bottle something so simple to soothe society. Yeah, yeah; call me a dreamer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gratitude-Driven Inspiration

The thought of how quickly our lives can change is frightening. So today, I reflect on gratitude, strongly felt after my brother and his fiancée were spared from harm when their car was totaled by a drunken, uninsured driver who left the scene.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wedgwood Blue


Inside, outside, upstairs or down, from the back of our home one sees a gorgeous Blue Spruce. If not acknowledged by a human glance, its image reflects indoors on our cooktop, demanding attention and clearly defining its reigning presence. I adore its history:

When our now-38-year-old Sun Son was only four, he and Joe went for a hike through our surrounding woods; they discovered a small seedling. They proudly carried it home to show me and our then-one-year-old Sun Son. We planted it where it now looms proudly, its branches gracing our garden and our hearts.

So, you see, the Sun shines, after all!


The rain is to blame. Yes; definitely. For a week of mornings now, Joe and I have greeted each other thusly: "Good Morning. Do you believe this f'ing weather?" Yeah, yeah; I know ~ not too classy. Well, "Pardonne moi!" You just can't argue with gut feelings.

It's causing extreme duress amongst my blooms. Even the hardy yellow day lilies struggle to open against pelting rains. The prize-winning blooms of the day are the mushrooms growing in our lawn.

It's causing shopping cart violence at the local farmers market. The spoiled Snowbirds, accustomed to trekking to Florida at the threat of the first snowflake and returning to upstate New York post April showers, are miserable. Their sun-charred faces are fading; and, "We just can't have that!" They play "bumper cars" in the parking lot to vent frustration. It's dangerous. And the bakery is worse.
It's causing bug bites; a lot of bug bites. Seriously, I look like I have measles. No amount of bug spray can deter mosquitos the size of helicopters. They are fierce.

It's causing chilly temps. This effect is my fault, I must confess. Sick of winter and declaring it over in mid-March, I mistakenly removed the down comforters from the beds. Yep, I jinxed us, for sure.

Okay, you get the gist... enough is enough already... especially when it comes to rain!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Luvin' U Long Distance, Ron...

Happy, Happy Birthday to my Baby Bro...It's Howdy Doody Time!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taking Flight

The nest is getting crowded and sibling rivalry is strong. The little guy above (cellphone shot) was displaced last night. We put him in a faux nest we built, placing it  under the "Big House", as per instructions on the Net. He escaped and has been friskily hopping about today.

There's lots of loud squawking occurring, as I write. A sibling is now perched on a lower branch, getting ready to soar, perhaps. I ran in for my real camera, and he obliged me by waiting. Still, he sits there, emitting little chirps, and trying to gain confidence. Momma's doing a lot of flitting about.  Just gotta luv nature, especially when we're privy to the show!

Try Sitting Still

If you watch "Weeds" and saw Episode One of Season 5, you'll understand. Flash me some dance, please; and be sure to "Say Hey and I Love You!"

Worth The Wait

It took a number of years for this unusual variety of Clematis to take off in our garden, due to my lack of understanding about its growing habits.  This baby does not like to be pruned back for the winter. Its preference is to grow and bloom on the woody vines left from a previous season. Ah, I finally got it right and find great pleasure in the reward! Pale lavender and white flowers are poking through the most amazing places, as it vines up our fence and takes center stage today.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Give a five-year-old a camera and set him free:

Silly Self-Portrait

Sister's Framed Eye

I Screamed For Ice Cream

Golden, Flaxen, Waxen 

I Have Neat Feet!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Do You See What I See?

Left double-click me, please!

"Good Morning, Lynn"

Finally, they're here! This is just a glimpse of what's to come, as gorgeous Irises begin to grace our world with a new surprise each morning.

Most of our garden's perennials remind us in very special ways of loved ones; the Irises of many colors are no exception. Lynn T* loved her flowers! Not a square inch of her Long Island backyard was left to lawn. It was a Field Of Dreams of a floral variety.

One fall day a few years ago, a package arrived
from Lynn - an "unbirthday" gift, as Joe likes to call such a surprise. Enclosed were six unique varieties of this special flower. After an excited "thank-you" conversation with her, Joe and I hit the dirt and planted.  Each and every one of them took, and they produced an amazing rainbow of color.  Lynn was not to see their first bloom; but trust me when I say that the intent of her caring gift was clear. There is not a leaf that pokes its way through the soil or a petal of a flower that lifts off of its bud that does not screech to the skies...

"Good Morning, Lynn; we love you and shall always feel your most gracious presence."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No More Excuses

Long Island Girls love the ocean; period. My earliest childhood memory is of being in the surf with my Dad and having a wave crash over our heads. I was not frightened; my Dad held me and I felt secure. I was five.

Then came "Jaws". It was embarrassing to admit that "fiction" had the power to curb my enthusiasm for the surf; so, I made up other excuses. You know: the undertow is too strong; my left calf hurts; the waves are too low; the waves are too high; etc. I was 29.

Enter Cape Cod, where we spent many vacations with our kids, as they grew. We never saw a gray seal in Cape waters. I was still young.

Ah, but the Times They Are A-Changin' (BD). About ten years ago, occasional sightings began to occur. Tour boats took to the seas to find clusters of seals bathing on Provincetown or Chatham rocks. Now, as we lounge or walk, we are accompanied by herds of grays, just a few shown in my photo taken last summer. Where there are seals are there not sharks? "Jaws" doesn't seem like such a lame excuse anymore. Age is irrelevant!

Watch those waters.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

They're Here...Don't Blink!

When they are fresh and thin and crunchy, they are delicious raw.  If the better part of the bunch hangs around till dinnertime, try this one-pot quickie:

Put water up to boil for your favorite short pasta. Meanwhile, slice a huge Vidalia onion into a large baggie; add a dash or three of your most flavorful EVOO, and sprinkle with paprika, freshly ground pepper and garlic powder (or, chopped fresh garlic - it can never hurt).  Nuke on high for about four minutes...while you...

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and wash; rough cut, stems and all.

As the pasta cooks, add the asparagus to the bag of onions to nuke for about another minute or two, depending upon just how al dente you like them.  Pile veggies on your drained pasta and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino. Add chopped fresh parsley or chives, if desired.

If there is a morsel remaining, refrigerate overnight, add your best Modena Balsamic, and enjoy your cold pasta salad for lunch.

So many recipes and such a short season.  Don't blink!

Ame Con Todo

Sharing the absolute highlight of Tour '08 with you, this video from Bakersfield, CA.  Diamonds Are Forever...oh, Hell Yeah!

A "Unicorn" And A Happy Ending

This STORY guarantees a smile!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

For PV & Dion Fans...We Know There's A Song For Every Thought...

And, ya just gotta luv Dion! He's still cute, as of two years ago, when we last saw him....and mega, mega, mega talented, just lovin' what he's doin'....still! Did you know that he plays the meanest guitar this side of Heaven?  But that's not why I posted "The Wanderer" from 1961....before ND there was Dion...and how nice that there still is! Of course, you're too young to remember all this, eh, PV?  :-) But rumor has it that wanderers are prevalent in your family!

"I Think The Next Best Thing Is Heaven" (MaryT)

The recent mention of "artichokes from Liguria" by Mario Batali sparked my memory to tell this (link) Gran story:

Joe and I spent the better part of 2001 planning a trip to Italy, very carefully studying each region, and finally honing in on Liguria. This small, northwestern region borders France and seemed to possess all of the qualities we desired. Upon making our decision, we immediately booked our Alitalia flight to Milan, rented a gorgeous villa and a little car.  Squisito!

We excitedly shared our plans with Mom, who then produced letters and postcards Gran had written to us during her long Italian holiday, circa 1963. They had been tucked away for almost (at that time) forty years. 

 We read each precious, enthusiastic letter and card in chronological order. Last in the stack was sent from Rapallo in Liguria, just before she was to fly to Paris and then return home. I share part of that missile of love above; please left double-click to enlarge. When we checked our reservations, we found the villa we had booked to be two blocks from Gran's hotel. I love my Gran.

Signs like moments hung suspended
echo just beneath the heart
Speak in voices half remembered
and half forgotten play their part.
Signs that come as we lay sleeping
left behind for our keeping... (ND)