Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So, the little Junco sits on the pool fence, only three feet from my lounge and lens, as he checks out the situation before diving into the low shrub to feed the babies. He's become quite trusting, of late, and thus quickly deemed it safe to tend to his offspring.
Nearby lies Mambo, bred to guard and doing just that. He ignores the Junco but watches my every move; he rarely sleeps when I join him by the pool. He's ultra-cautious, when it comes to the safety of our family. Not to worry, though... an "It's okay, Buddy!" from us earns instantaneous trust.
Ike sleeps nearby, looking towards Mambo, rather than me, his human. He used to sit rigidly, watching me do laps or sunbathe. Never called to my rescue, perhaps he's now confident of safety in our space, as he rests his eleven-year-old mind and body. He willingly forfeited the sentry position to his young canine brother. There seems to be major trust in his posturing, don't you think? I can almost hear his snores.

A quiet day... no sweet, little Baby Grands requesting grandparent cannonballs into the pool, snacks or drinks every ten minutes, or warming towels held ready for departure from the rapids. I pray that all are in trustworthy hands, at various summer day camps. I miss their Beautiful Noise (ND).

My mind remains in high gear. This is relaxation? What to do? I trust that when another day affords me such luxurious downtime, I'll be able to get back into my groove, my music, my book. Everything in life is just a matter of... well, you know...

One, two, one, two, three, four....

A Bungalow Morning♡

Last night, I dozed off to thoughts of the rather bizarre discovery in Wurtsboro (previous post). I awakened to the memory of a bungalow morning.

June has been hot and steamy, in offering up some very early "dog days (and nights) of summer". Hey, that's just fine with me; no complaints whatsoever. However, last night and today are quite reminiscent of summers of my youth.

We'd be arriving upstate at precisely this time of year, after school was finished for the term. Hot, crisp, brilliantly sunny and dry days were typical... but only after very chilly nights and, as I remember them, freezing cold mornings. It was this nighttime chill that appealed to most adults. Our primitive accommodations did not include heat or hot water. My brother, cousin and I would awaken to sounds of Gran in the kitchen, where she'd have the oven turned on and its door open. A pot of farina would be on one stove burner, as water boiled on another. By the time her little princess and princes awakened, the kitchen was toasty. A warm memory indeed.

Sending off special love to Gran via today's symbolic red rose.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Color Me Amazed

Little old Wurtsboro, still a sleepy little hamlet...
where my Grandparents built their summer cottage eighty-something years ago...
where that cottage still stands and is frequently the subject of my photos...
home to the Basha Kill, about which I've written on several occasions...
where Joe grew up and I spent summers...
the place responsible for our meeting and marriage...

where Russian spies hid the loot!

A Jellicle

I do believe we have a resident (link) Tuxedo Cat living in our pool shed... unless, that is, the guy walking down our driveway early this morning was a stray astray.
The story is...

Before our Neighbor Jim passed away, several feral cats had adopted him. You know, "Feed a cat and it's yours for life." Well, Jim had quite the arrangement going with the mostly-gray felines. He donned big, thick gloves and captured each individually for a trip to the vet to be neutered. Then, he let them roam, as cats will, always providing food under a nearby tree. Daily trips to Jim's Diner, combined with nature's fare, led to some real fat cats. As Jim's health waned, he expressed concern for his loyal buddies. His family members have filled the sad gap; they continue to provide for the grays. It seems that this black and white newcomer has joined the tribe. Upon spotting me, he bolted across the street to Jim's. I hope to shoot him soon... in a good way, with my Nikon.

As for us? We once fed a gray stray. Her name quickly became Kate, and she lived in our home for ten years. Post-Kate, we provide only shed shelters and unsuspecting rodents who might be sharing quarters...

The food chain prevails.

Color Me Purple

Seemingly with a "mind" of its own, our Purple Clematis decided to leave the front porch pillar to wander through Rhododendron bushes. This has created an interesting effect in our gardens - one that I rather like. Today, The Color Purple rules, reminding me that I must watch that movie again.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Have y'all heard of Kevin Costner's coming forth to help with the tragic Gulf oil spill? I wondered how he came to his knowledge. Here's the answer, excerpted from this TIME online article.

In 1995, Kevin Costner directed and starred in "Waterworld", a post-apocalyptic nightmare fantasy that became an actual nightmare after the $175 million blockbuster-in-waiting grossed a mere $88 million domestically. But while working on"Waterworld", Costner learned about Ocean Therapy Solutions (OTS), a company working on a Department of Energy grant to develop centrifugal oil-water separators. The company, which he bought for $24 million, found little interest in its products until the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The largest machine, the V20, can clean 210,000 gallons of oily water each day to 97 percent purity. To bring attention to the machines, Costner testified before Congress, telling lawmakers, "I believe this machine, made over 12 years ago with all the care, science, and money that I could throw at it, is one major solve in this giant puzzle." He traveled to New Orleans and demonstrated the machine for local officials. On June 18, BP announced that it had purchased 32 machines for immediate use in the Gulf.

We Made The List!

(left double-click to enlarge for reading)
Please check out the following link, especially if you remember the Eagles Of Rondout from previous posts:


Things are happening fast in our gardens. When sunny days give way to nighttime rains, it is sheer perfection for everyone and thing concerned. Plants thrive; veggies peak; and I don't have to water. So, during a leisurely stroll this morning, I harvested a few of Konrad's babies and some green chives. Just a few feet away, a Slate-Colored Junco awaited my departure. He was angrily chirping through closed beak, hanging onto breakfast food for the recently-hatched babies. They reside somewhat precariously in a low shrub, next to our patio. I hope to see first flights, after mama and papa fatten them to perfection.

Now, please excuse me while I cook up an egg-white omelette with some ultra fresh veggies.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Penny For Your Thoughts, Vic? ♡

Yum! Berries...

Check out this link, for a definite keeper!

♡Sunshine & Sugar♡

My pet names for each of our four Baby Grands seem so appropriate to their personalities; honestly, they do!

When I said that it was time to "...hit the road," Sugar questioned the expression, much to the amusement of those at a nearby table in the hotel's restaurant. "G'ma, I thought you meant really hit the road and I was wondering..." They suffered through one more actual pose, with Sunshine exclaiming, "Oh, no, G'ma has the camera again!" They are truly great in dealing with my photo obsession. I think they actually realize that it's the price they must pay for those little books at the end of the year. Ya think?

Safe travels, Everyone.

3 Sisters+2 Brothers=5 First Cousins♥

A lovely moment in time...

Photo Op

Sun setting on the Laurel Winery, Long Island, NY

Let's Dance! ♥

If I say that my heart bursts when I see the fun and lovin' these first cousins share, it would be just mildly describing my emotions. A nearly perfect week was topped by a wonderful experience for two of our Grands. They attended their first wedding, as my brother and his new bride exchanged vows. We all had a great time, in wishing the newlyweds good health and much happiness.

What a week past... Joe and I are so grateful to be blessed with such a spirited and beautiful family.

The Graduate

In the midst of last week's commotion, Grand Gavin graduated from pre-K; he'll head to kindergarten this September. Many reward certificates were issued for cutest, funniest, best dressed, best dancer, best mathematician, kindest, most helpful, etc. Gav scored accolades for being the best reader. No wonder he can assemble just about anything already - he must be previewing the directions!

"Honey, I'll have to buy you a special book for this occasion," said I. "Thank you, G'ma, but not a chapter book," said he. "Why not?" I asked. "Because it's too hard and the print is too little."

From the mouths of babes... Congratulations, Sweetie.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fun 'N' Sun

After a super weekend at our distant Grands' home, we brought Hunter back to Monti for a few days. He was missing his little sis, so we rounded up his cousins to help give the pool a good, old fashioned workout. We had a gorgeous week, weather-wise... and an even more gorgeous week of lovin', huggin', smoochin' and swimmin'.
Joe thought to launch the kayak in the pool. Well, three excited adventurers could just have well been exploring the wild! Imaginary play intrigues me beyond words. Wacky noodles became paddles. There were long trips to different ports, as well as great "rabids" (rapids) to be conquered.
Snap, snap, snap... it's going to take me months to put together Christmas books this year, for each of our four babies. My not-so-new-anymore Nikon is being put to constant use. Herein are just a few of my recent pool faves. Splash!

Round Three ♥

Does this ongoing party mean that Joe is three years older in 2010? Loving Grands sure know how to make him feel special!
Make a wish...

Sporty Segue

With the 2010 NBA finals history and the World Cup deemed unbearable to watch, we found ourselves enjoying a rip-roaring T-ball game that our six-year-old Grand invited us to. Now, this was exciting! Little Slugger was very proud to run in his homer. A lucky #9 shirt can't hurt in this arena, when you're a Yankee fan. Y'all remember Roger Maris, right? Baby Grand tells me, though, "Everyone wanted #2, G'ma." Well, Derek is no slouch, that's for sure. Who doesn't love him and his talent? Out of the mouths of babes.

Hey, wasn't it just yesterday that Joe coached our Indians, the team Brian and Christian played for? Jeesh. Time truly does fly when you're having fun. Now, we see Christian donning the celebrated coach's cap.

Our presence was much appreciated, and our Grand flashed big smiles our way from home plate, first and third bases, and his position in the field. I'm not so sure that we helped "his game"! Regardless, this fine league sends no child home without bragging rights.

Batter, batter, batter.......

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Do I Care?

So, the Lakers won; hip, hip hooray. Do I care? Ahem; nooooooo. Am I pleased? Ah, yes, I'm pleased that it's over; the decibel level in the living room was unbearable, from both the TV and the screaming maniac sitting in the Lazy Boy. Was he rooting for the Lakers? No. Will I miss Jack? Well, yes; Jack is da bomb. Did I think Neil looked cool in his fake mustache? No comment... but, Neil, what were you thinking? (An act of kindness here, in refraining from posting a photo.)

Paying homage.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Real Time ♡ Time Out

Love Grows ♥ The Dance Part II

Happy Father's Day
to all the Dads in my life...

A beautiful Christmas Eve past... my Dad dancing with Christian and Joe with Brian. Time marches on, and our beautiful boys have reached the revered rank of fatherhood, too. A great gene pool enhanced by even greater example has provided them with loving skills - all they'll ever need to assure our Grands that they sure are loved.

I feel blessed.

Where Does Love Begin? ♥ The Dance Part I

And so, it's Father's Day weekend...
The best gift to bestow upon our children is that of love and security. We then set them up for a lifetime of success... that is, if you believe that success lies in loving and being loved,
as do I. It is amazing to see how alike we look in this photo, each with the identical expression, as we smiled through sweet tears of mutual adoration. We danced to the timeless "Daddy's Little Girl".. I am.

Thank you, Daddy, for your profound gift - I love you more today than yesterday and less today than tomorrow. We dance in my heart and my soul, every single day.

"Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known you'd ever say goodbye
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance" Garth

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Visiting Vet

If we're lucky, our pooches will only need occasional shots to get them through a lifetime of blissful running in fields of clover. As with human medicine, there is an arsenal of readily available remedies to inject, consume or apply; but we like to keep it as holistically simple as possible. It's nice to find a concerned vet with a similar goal... one who understands the whole picture. Sooooooo.....

Today I had the wonderful experience of meeting a visiting vet. Mambo needed a rabies shot... can't go without that one. Minus the trauma of a confining exam room, he made friends with his new doc. A few yummies later, there was not even a whimper or a flinch, as he was injected. An excellent experience... and a recommendation, with permission, for locals to contact

Luann M. Steele, D.V.M., 845-439-3004.

Buy It By The Bushel

In my home, there is a box in the medicine cabinet, a second in the fridge, and a third placed with other baking ingredients in the pantry. After reading here, I'm thinking that I need to purchase a lot more Arm & Hammer. Its gentle, pure qualities make it an awesome replacement for so many products used daily, many including harsh, carcinogenic ingredients. Just one of forty suggestions for its use is quoted below; it's a great tip for my                            Camping Kids:

"37. Cure all camping needs
Baking soda is a must-have for your next camping trip. It's a dish-washer, pot-scrubber, hand-cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, and fire extinguisher, and has many other uses.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Theme That Is Timeless

Couldn't resist posting a couple more OBX pics... 
You know his name!

What An Exhausting Day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Real Time Morning

Early winter sunrises are easily captured by looking out from the great-room slider, or by stepping onto the patio. The nearby mountain range offers a perfect setting. Now that we are cocooned in, though, one must walk towards the back of our property to catch the long-risen sun peeking over treetops, in completion of its arrival on our cul-de-sac. What a spectacular view, no matter the time or perspective.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Shish Kabob Season

You know how to make them. If you're adding potatoes, here's a technique to employ for even cooking when meat or poultry is also involved:

Scrub and quarter small new potatoes; place in a large baggie and add about 1/4 cup water. Microwave on high for a few minutes or till just slightly tender, but not fully cooked. Stop cooking with cold water, and place on paper toweling to thoroughly dry. Spray with Pam and season. Forge ahead with your recipe; they'll cook quickly and brown beautifully.


On Demand

Gotta luv the current Sunday conflict, with Henry VIII near death, as Sookie and Bill return to night-stalking... all at nine p.m. Ah, saved by technology and its replay options.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Birds Of Different Feathers

Yesterday, we thought to check on the baby eagles, before they fly the proverbial coop for good (May entries, "Watching The Wheels - Parts I, II, III"). So, for a very sociable hour on a gloomy day, we joined others to observe the not-so-little-anymore birds flap their wings, moving from nest to branch and back again, as they practiced the earliest stages of flying. A cloudy sky offered poor lighting for photos; however, I gave it a literal shot, with good enough results to make a point.

After leaving the fledglings behind, we spotted this errant bird. I detest seeing edible critters. Maybe I'll forget her by Turkey Day - maybe 100% vegan is the way to go?

On to some hidden treasures in the higher Catskills... but not before lunch. Our last eagle day uncovered a little gem of a place called Russ's Country Kitchen. Trust me when I say that it's in the middle of nowhere. When we walked in last month, we were welcomed by the owner and his friendly staff. "What do you feel like today? Do you need menus? Russ just took a pork roast out of the oven; interested?" You get the gist. Joe had pork roast; I had an egg-white omelette. We made a memory. Soooooooo, we sought out the same place for what would now be a four o'clock lunch; we were hungry. It was in between mealtimes and the place was not busy. Russ's replacement chef was relaxing at a table, from where he suggested that we not even look at the menu; he wanted to "... cook for us." 
He talked Joe into pasta and white clam sauce. He kept pushing "real food" on me."How about shrimp marinara?" I am a very finicky person, when it comes to my Italian soul food. My haughty self thought, "Decent Italian food, here?" I did consent, though; he was so anxious to please. He retreated to his kitchen, from where we heard lots of pounding. Garlicky aromas were wafting to our table. We were drinking delicious coffee during the half-hour wait. "You wait for good food... it doesn't wait for you!" - a mantra my kids grew up on. We were cracking up with laughter, 'cause we realized that lunch had become dinner, in somewhat of an early-bird special. Ah, senior citizenship, for sure. The food was delish... and not to forget the complimentary ribs sent to our table, hot and fresh from the smoker... Joe was happy and wants all to know, "... there were 18 clams in that bowl!" BIG smile. We really enjoyed Chef George and Waitress Brianna; we'll be back. You can always trust a blue-eyed Yankee fan.
We traveled through the little one-horse, one-train town of Arkville. How about a ride into the deep mountains? How enterprising and beautiful, all at the same time. Please left double-click photo to see party options.
Fleischmanns and Margaretville - it has been years since we've explored these towns. My late cousin used to own a neat old house in Fleischmanns. He'd be amazed to see the restoration of so many treasures. Mambo loved the park, where he met a new Chocolate Lab friend. Playtime. More chat, for us. Joe said, "People sure like to talk, don't they?"  I responded, "Ha; you are no slouch!" It's true.
Margaretville was hustling and bustling. "Very pretty," we commented to a local. "Yeah," responded he, "it's pretty, unless you live here. We watch grass grow for excitement." These towns are being resurrected by wealthy investors who, on weekends, feel the need to escape big city jungle-time and replace it with the laid back variety found here. Locals exude a palpable tad of resentment; they do not possess choice. It sure works for us, though. It's awesome to see rebirth.
We traveled afar, finding ourselves a couple of hours from home. Another local directed us to a shortcut through the mountains, next to the Pepacton Reservoir. Nasty thunderstorms squelched my picture-taking, at this point. 'Tis a pity, as it's always incredible to witness the bodies of water that quench thirsts all the way to Manhattan.

Here's to wanderin'.