Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ike - A Success Story

Some pre-birthday lovin'!
Y'all might recall Ike's year-long saga, from grim prognosis to home-remedy solution. So far, our lumpy, bumpy Airedale is thriving and seemingly pain free. This morning, he enjoyed his Trader's Chunky Peanut Butter and Glucosamine on a platter. It was followed by an extra biscuit... and a song. A 12th-year celebration comes as an appreciated bonus for a fabulous pooch.
"YUM! That was good."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shades-Of-Fall Soup

One cool day last week, I cooked the first fresh turkey of the season. I put up a huge pot of veggie-laden soup, as well. Hot soup lost its appeal, when the next day's temps reached the mid-eighties. Sooooo, rather than puréeing vegetables into the broth, as is my norm, I separated them. I froze the broth, as well as a package of roughly chopped white meat. 
Today, the house smelled delicious, as two butternut squash slow-baked in the oven. When done and cooled, I mashed the pulp of one and added to thawed broth and turkey; then came lots of snipped garden chives. I seasoned with nutmeg and freshly ground pepper and shall add a dollop of fat-free Chobani Greek plain,
 upon serving.

Fall Colors... Bon Appétit... -Healthy

Second Week: 3-P's + 3-B's = DWTS

Perhaps not a dancer, but an absolute Class Act
Just sayin' that I don't care for mixing 
Palin Politics with dancin' Pleasure...
Brutal Bruno could have been kinder towards the 
ever-gracious Bolton dude, who sings
 "When A Man Loves A Woman" 
like no other...
DWTS is otherwise lookin' good, this year!

(Disclaimer: This is not a political statement. Sigh.)

Awesome Neil Diamond News!

NY TIMES article here

Monday, September 27, 2010

What To Do With A Painted Sky?

It was a made-to-order weekend for a visit from our upstate Baby Grands. How 'bout a hayride? Maples Farm filled the bill... little did we realize the amazing creativity we'd encounter under the most exquisite sky.

We climbed aboard and headed through a swamp, where Pumpkin People had gotten stuck in their jeep. Then, into a unique pasture. Scottish Highland cattle came bounding towards us to claim the yummy carrots our tour guide provided. Kids of all ages :-) giggled gleefully, in the presence of these shaggy, horned creatures. 
After they enjoyed a considerable feast, we bid them "Adieu" and headed to the Pumpkin Patch. There, our greeters were of the prehistoric variety, each made of corn stalks and husks.
Choosing the right pumpkin is no easy task, but our group was not at all rushed. Finally, everyone was satisfied, and we headed back to the array of surprises that awaited us on the fairway. Music from a unique band that was comprised of Pumpkin People welcomed us. H and C quickly headed for the bouncy houses and slide, where they jumped and tumbled to their
 hearts' content.

A curious Highland calf watched from his shelter, as children ran and played. We headed for the Haunted House. G'pa and Chloe ran through, with the goal of reaching a friendly witch at the end of the trail; she had prize lollipops. Hunter peeked in, but must have felt that G'ma couldn't provide enough protection on the course. He opted for a round of Little League practice and nearly landed the perfect pitch! Finally, we left witches and ghosts and goblins behind, 
to head home. 
The scenery was  spectacular, as though G-d had taken a brush and personal palette to color us inspired. So, on Sunday morning, we took His suggestion. One quick demo from G'ma, and our six- and three-year-old artists were painting beautiful fall "dabbing" trees, putting colorful acrylics to good use.
 And so, this is what we did with... 
a painted sky,where the clouds are hung 
for the poet's eye...ND/JLS

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two-Day Century Celebration ♡

Today and tomorrow, my Dad would have been one hundred years old. We think date confusion resulted from his having been born at home on September 23, 1910, with an official birth certificate filed on the 24th? Whatever; we always celebrated on the 24th. But this year, I'm anxious to express myself, in his honor; and besides, it's almost midnight. For this birthday, I'm thinkin' "cars". My Dad really, really loved his cars. He could spend an entire day off with his head under this hood or that, doing we-still-don't-know-what. I can hear his chuckles, as I post the photo of a Buick buggy, circa his birth year!

My Dad used to tell lots of stories, always dated by the car he was driving at a particular time. I have a few auto-related humdingers of my own. It is with clarity that I recall a walk down Dunlop Avenue and the first glimpse of his new Nash. I would have been about 8 1/2 years old, and I can picture that big old grille, as though it was yesterday. It was the car that transported us from Jamaica to our then-new home in Massapequa. If memory serves me correctly, a friend named Russell Larson was shopping for his own very first car and bought it from Dad. 

Some years post-move, Dad must have been going through male mid-life crisis. At the time, I had no idea that there was an actual name for this malady... I just recall his coming home one night with a green convertible. Man, was my Mom pissed. He, however, was in Seventh Heaven. I think it was an Oldsmobile. I'll have to hit the old photos for confirmation.

Then, there was the gorgeous, blue Chrysler that Joe vomited in. He and I were 23, at the time, and just pregnant with Brian. My parents didn't even know about their soon-to-be Baby Grand, when we all attended my cousin's wedding, in Connecticut. We returned from the event with Bro Ronnie driving and my Dad in the front passenger seat. Mom, Joe and I were in the back. It seems that Joe had tossed back a few too many scotch and sodas, 'cause suddenly and violently, he upchucked in what was a massive projectile, headed straight for my Dad's cashmere coat and hat. My Dad never said a word, as my brother lowered the window; he just sat rigidly, till we got home, where Joe disappeared... sober enough to be extremely embarrassed and apologetic. My Dad really loved Joe, never chastised him, but perhaps made a passing comment or ten about how the stench never left the car. Joe became a teetotaler. Not to worry, though, 'cause the noxious odors became the perfect excuse for a trade-up to Dad's coveted Thunderbird, the vehicle that moved him and Mom to their nearby upstate residence. 

Happy Birthday, Daddy... I love you more today than yesterday, but less today than tomorrow... times 100. 

Stay Safe With S & S Safety

Rice Cooker Meets Pomì

Be sure to rinse rice thoroughly, before preparing. Here I used 2 cups of dry rice. For package-recommended amount of liquid, I combined water with about 3/4's of the tomatoes, added a healthy splash of Balsamic vinegar, and spiced with oregano and freshly ground pepper. Use remaining tomatoes (nuked to warm) and freshly shaved 
Pecorino Romano, to garnish. 
Buon Appetito!

"This Is Gonna End In Tears"

My brother and I were raised on the title quote. It's from Mom, who preached it to us on many an occasion, when Ronnie and I would get wild. Our "wild" was nothing, by comparison to the 2010 version. Generational?

A rather peaceful evening went awry, when Aubs and I counted up our pairs in an innocent game of Go Fish. Her hysterical laughter took on a different tone and became... well, it became hysterical. Rockin' Granny became an ogre... ya just gotta let a kid win.
 "G'ma, I don't mind when kids beat me, but grown-ups are not s'posed to."
Seems that she'll "...never...ever 'agin'..." play me. 
Fifty lashes here. She's crying in her sketch. Nooooooo...

Should have remembered Christian's mention, as an adult, of the fact that he descended to the basement playroom to cry if "...Dad beat me at basketball...when I was a kid." Joe's reply? "I was helping to build your character." Ha, ha. That wasn't workin' for my 
Girl Grand, last night.

Not to worry... I still got huge hugs and kisses and an 
"I Love You" at the end of the evening.
Character... ♥ ...All's Good

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Last Day Of Summer?

Roses are still blooming and we're promised temps
in the eighties. Reluctance to relinquish?
Lovin' this!

What A Tease!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick Rice Cooker Apples

The little rice cooker I mentioned here has practically been in daily use, since its arrival. Today's quickie is a side or dessert of Gala and Golden apples. Just pile portions of pictured ingredients into the bowl, in the amounts you see fit, being sure to crush the nuts before adding. Turn on the cooker and watch carefully - it's fast. When apples are soft, unplug, give a stir and let retained heat finish cooking to desired degree of doneness... then, transfer to serving dish. To modify, toss in anything you'd like. Not ready to spring for this appliance? Okay, okay; the stove or microwave will work equally well.
Buon Appetito - Heart Healthy

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rio Reservoir Reflections

Our Trail Of Discovery has led us to many beautiful places, over the last few months. We've become hooked on bald eagles, too; and bird people love to talk - trust me! They are responsible for having steered us to the Rio, recently blogged about here. We thought we'd return during the wintertime, when migrating eagles call the reservoir home. However, yesterday's warm temps inspired us to hit the water. 

Out came our inflatable kayak... the one we thought would be stored till April. What a spectacular day! There are no words to impart the feeling of serenity we found on top of glass-like waters that reflected everything in sight.
The old, collapsed wooden bridge was especially intriguing, with its sprouting plant-life. Joe was reminded of the 17-Mile Drive, in northern California, where we saw the Lone Cypress. That was part of a great vacation with Brian and Christian... I must dig out some photos... but, I digress. Back to the Rio.
Other than the ramp provided for launching small, motor-less watercraft, such as ours, the only sign of development is a small area designated as a private beach for Orange and Rockland Utilities. We did hear tons of wildlife, but only witnessed a hawk, an owl and several ducks. We were unable to capture anything worthwhile, with the less sophisticated camera onboard.
With a little luck and more great weather, we hope to return when the foliage has peaked. We're not putting the kayak away, quite yet. Next time? A thermos of coffee and a picnic lunch will tag along.
An awesome day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This One's For Coz

I'm Sunday. Et vous? Yeah, yeah, it's complex, like me; but Coz K will "get it", in light of recent, Cape-inspired discussions. Apologies to CMI friends for the 
too-tough-to-explain innuendo herein.

Just when I was about to give up on Season Six of "Weeds" for its lack of content, Joe talked me into "just one more" episode. Finally, two "classics" from Episode Four to make me stick around for awhile; thanks, Joe - you're a pretty cool Monday... 

Nancy, somewhat verbatim: 
"Men are the (NY TIMES) Monday puzzle... women are the Sunday puzzle." 

Andy, in defining a personal high (pun intended):
"This is my EAT PRAY LOVE moment."

Second Chances: I need to revisit the book and maybe a few other people, places or things in life!

Answers For My Baby Grands

The Migrating Generation?
On our picnic table, this morning.
"How long does a monarch live?"
"Why do monarchs migrate south?" 
The answers to these two questions go hand-in-hand. Children ask them all the time. Most monarchs live from two to six weeks as an adult butterfly, but the Monarch's migration is the KEY to its yearly life cycle. 

The total time frame for one butterfly's life cycle (one generation) is about 6-8 weeks . . . egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar's life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 - 6 weeks.

February/March - hibernating monarchs in Mexico and southern California reawaken, become active, find a mate, begin the flight northward and lay their eggs. Finally they die. These special monarchs have lived about 4-5 months through the long winter. 

March/April -the 1st generation monarchs are born -egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly; 
May/June - the 2nd generation is born - egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly; 
July/August - the 3rd generation is born - egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly; 
Sept/Oct - the 4th generation is born - egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult butterfly . . . but THIS generation does not die. It MIGRATES south and lives 6-8 months in Mexico or Southern California. They begin awakening and mating in February/March of the NEXT SPRING, and then lay their eggs! Withered and tattered from their migration and hibernation . . . they finally die.
The cycles goes on as the new baby caterpillars are born each spring and the cycle continues throughout the year into the next spring. MAGICAL and AMAZING! 
Info copied and pasted from here.