Monday, January 31, 2011


Just couldn't resist another shot of our resident icicles, this one taken from a sunny, south-side window. 
They sparkled like spectacular diamonds. 

Secret Soup

Little bits of this 'n' that got tossed into a soup pot, this morning. 'Twas an unlikely combo, in mild cabbage, butternut squash, sweet onion, white potatoes, carrots, garlic and fresh ginger. The veggie drawer is currently empty. 
On a hot element, I sautéed veggies in a couple tablespoons of EVOO, seasoned with paprika and pepper. After some nice color developed, I deglazed and covered with filtered water... chicken or veggie broth would have been better, but my larder is bare. I let it simmer for a couple of hours and then creamed the whole shebang with the immersion blender. In went a package of cut-up tofu noodles that I first nuked, as per package directions. To finish, I seasoned with more pepper and parsley, ladled into pretty bowls and garnished with plain, fat-free Chobani. We enjoyed its delicate flavor.

"What makes it a secret?" you ask. Joe can never know the ingredients. Shhhh. Buon Appetito.

Pilfered Pic

National Ski Patrol Training
While the kids run gates and train, Brian puts his time to good use at Holiday, donning yet another skillful hat. Since boyhood, he's been known to wear chapeaux of many flavors. He's in the forefront of this shot I pilfered from FB.

Flurry Of Feathers

Woody 'n' Chickadee Sharing Real Estate

Ah, yes, today we enjoy Old Sol and his attempts to warm things up from a whopping twelve degrees. 
But the birds always know best. Judging by their numbers, you can be assured that forecasters are right in predicting back-to-back storms, to come tomorrow and Wednesday. Batten down the hatches and fill the fridge and feeders. 
Woody Losing Favor With Joe-
Japanese Maple Is Off Limits

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Ike 'n' Puppy Mambo
Yesterday, as we pulled away from Home Depot, we heard a car horn and noticed someone motioning for us to stop.  A man with a heavy Russian accent asked, "Is he a Black Russian Terrier?" (Mambo had his head hanging out of the car window.) "He is," we replied. "I have two," said he, repeatedly mentioning what sounded like a name. Unable to understand him, I volunteered, "We got him from a breeder named Victor." He exclaimed, "Yes, yes... Victor!"  We were finally on the same page.

In a heartbreaking revelation, he said Victor had fallen ill, forcing him to return to the city and closer proximity to his doctors. He further said that his friend's adult BRT's had been left in his care. 
What a difficult decision...

A unique breeder, Victor worried that his pups were entrusted to caring humans. He popped in on us several times. We recognized and appreciated his good intentions. He allowed us to borrow training crates, saving us additional expense. Best of all, he chose Mambo from the litter, at our request, with our only specification being that we wanted a male. Need I elaborate on his choice? Victor continues to touch our lives, daily, and he's in our thoughts and prayers. 

Equal Time

Yay, Gavin! It took an extra week or two for Gav to build the courage it takes to kick out of that start gate, but today was his day. Maybe it has something to do with turning six, last Monday. Keep an eye on our little downhill racer. We love you, Honey.
Photo credits to Gramps.

Jonagold Derivative

New York's very own Jonagold apples are awesome for baking. You know the drill, so I won't repeat the recipe. The switch-up comes by way of using this variety of fruit, combined with nutritious mixed berries and a couple tablespoons of honey, instead of maple syrup. Outrageous! And remember, my pies and tarts are minus that nasty, atypical cup of sugar, as well as butter, in the filling. Combined with very thin crusts, they're a go for legality. Cinnamon and freshly grated ginger add 
bonus antioxidants. Buon Appetito.

What To Do?

Yesterday afternoon, it occurred to us that we'd done nothing memorable to mark the day. An earlier stop at Home Depot, combined with errands, inspired us to find something pretty to shoot; so we headed to the Rio. Unfortunately, it resembles a frozen tundra, and our Baldies have departed for open waters. I'm told that they currently favor the Hudson River and can be found at various viewing points. Not an option. Ooooh-kay. What to do?
We thought conditions might  be perfect for snowshoeing; and they were. Mambo was ecstatic, when he saw the equipment on the driveway; he's always ready to hit the woods. Genius that he is, he knows to stay behind his human, thus allowing Joe the privilege of cutting a nice trail for us. Smile. An icy underlayer made a perfect platform for all the fresh snow. Gorgeous. Joe and I carried cameras; there were tons of photo ops. I stopped often. Not to worry, though, as I was being guarded. How sweet the canine welcome, when I approached my men.
We exited the woods from a different spot, this time. Twenty-eleven marks forty years of living in this beautiful abode that we built. Odd that I'd never taken the time to enjoy it from this approach. How pretty, the woodsy view! Then, there's full view, and my heart tingles for all the memories harbored by the Old Homestead.

Color Coordinated

Little Chickadee 

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I'll be the messenger... 

Joe had a prescription to fill, yesterday, and a choice to make in which direction he'd take to do so. Five miles east would bring him to Little Guy; five miles west to Walmart. He chose LG, without price shopping.

Upon arriving home and opening the package, he commented to me that $32 seemed excessive for a tiny tube of ointment. I agreed... he phoned Walmart, where it was $4, and Rite Aid who bid at $6. Then, he called LG, who was too busy to speak, till his assistant relayed the message. He then took the phone - with attitude. He (1) could not take a return because it is illegal to do so; (2) could not meet Walmart prices, 'cause after all, they bring customers in with one tantalizing price and gouge them elsewhere; (3) had put it through our insurance, and that's their cost, though $10 is his own cash price; (4) is an upstanding guy and would have to look into the issue; (5) blah, blah, blah; (6) would get back to us.

A short while later, in came his call. He (1) couldn't understand what happened; (2) would have to further investigate with the insurance company; (3) was surprised, upon calling the pharmaceutical company, that the price of the item had actually come down; (4) would not only give us a refund, but would match Walmart's price; (5) was soooo appreciative of Joe's having brought this to his attention because... well... he's an upstanding guy.

You be the judge.

Friday, January 28, 2011


As promised, I've begun to list Michelle's own designs on eBay. PLEASE order HERS, before special ordering. You'll make her day and mine... and you'll feel so good, so good, so good, 'cause I promise that these colors will light up your life. Please also note that I've changed the photo-link to the right of my opening screen to take you to my Bay site  -  send your friends over for a visit. Be sure to keep checking back for new options. Thanks so much.
**Price for Friends of CMI is the originally stated $15.00 per pair, which includes shipping.**
♥ HOPE ♥

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Idle IDOL Chatter - We're Hooked

For us, it has been a seamless segue from Simon to Steven. I'm pretty surprised, 'cause I thought we'd be missing Simon and simultaneously sniping at Steven. Not the case at all. We like Steven and his sometimes-saucy, sometimes-sensitive, sometimes-salacious tenor. It's really good to be tucked in on long winter nights with rockin' Randy, gracious and gorgeous JLo, call-me Steven and so many talented kids. It's a whole different show, in an acceptable and good way. We listened to a couple of "possibles", tonight, including the closing act, Lauren Alaina. This is actually her second appearance in tryouts; and her "duet" with ST was semi-staged. Check out this NY TIMES article, for more. We shall see.

Gallivanting Joe

Gorgeous Gardiner Farm - Today - by Joe

'Splain, Lucy

  Joe dislikes this rendition of our pooch, created with a new app on iPad. It "...creeps me out...," says he, preferring our BRT depicted in his luxurious black.  Next time, I'll try a colorful cupcake, as per the Apple ad for GlowColoring
Apple Photo

Hey, it's fun to play during IDOL... I have busy hands. Please, just color me ever so inspired. Smile.

Bird Bias

Scores of favorite birds flocked to our yard, this morning. The snow brought them out in full force, even though we had a mere four inches, last night. Many surrounding areas experienced well over a fresh foot of the white and not-so-fluffy stuff. During my photo shoot, visitors included cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, goldfinches, titmice, bluejays and slate-colored juncos. Isn't that incredible?
Nuthatch - This Morning
(even more adorable when feeding upside down)

All those mentioned are always welcomed. However, there are several varieties I discriminate against.

The other day, I was startled by a dozen starlings. Hopefully, they were just passing through. UGH. They are gross to look at and known for carrying disease. They brought to mind the creeped-out feeling I experienced years ago from Alfred Hitchcock's (link) "The Birds". I can only think, "Stay away from my window....," and give you Rod. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Mambo - The Finishing Touch
Have I mentioned that I'm Mambo's stylist? Yes; it's true. He doesn't mind the groomer, at all... that is, for tending to his body, legs and feet. However, no one except moi gets past his neck. We think that one overzealous soul concentrated just a tad too much on cleaning his big, floppy ears. That was it. I am now the only one he patiently trusts. Sooooo....

This morning was stylin' time. I trimmed and measured and clipped and buzzed, till he looked as handsome as handsome can be. When I told him that we were finished, he immediately gave the slider a loud paw-smack, asking to go outside... seemed that it was time for a snow bath. 

Universal Vibes ♥

Soon after posting my morning's entry about flipper sales, in came the mail with two boxes filled with the Real Deal. "What," you ask, "is the Real Deal?" They are flippers that Michelle herself created during a healthy period of remission. Last spring, she had orchestrated a local fundraiser; these are the remaining unsold items. I'd previously offered to give them a go, so to speak; and I'm delighted that she entrusted these beauties to me. I must say that there is no competing with Michelle's bright talent. Each artistically wrapped pair elicits a sense of inspiring, colorful fun and hope. 

My plan is to list them on eBay. After doing so, I'll provide the link here, on CMI. If you're interested in purchasing any of these, you'll please let me know, so that I can end the auction(s) for the designated pair(s) and sell them to you at CMI prices. They are slightly higher on the Bay, for obvious reasons. We'll all have to wait together to see what comes of this. 
Wish us luck, please.

Thanks So Much ♥

It is my pleasure to thank dear Cousin Myra, sincere Friend PV, beloved Niece Victoria and newly acquainted Friend of Myra, for having deluged me with orders in honor of Michelle's fight. I am equally grateful to guests of CMI who have sent prayers and support. The universe is truly abundant with positive vibes and prayerful HOPE.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peppers, Please

Sauté freshly chopped garlic in a tad of your best EVOO, in whatever pot you'll be cooking rice. Add water and rinsed rice; I used red jasmine today. Steam till almost done. Add roughly chopped raw veggies - carrot peels, broccoli and spinach here. Cover and steam the whole shebang for a few more minutes... veggies should remain with lots of bite, as they'll be further cooked.

Meanwhile, char the peppers. These were huge; so I split them before popping under broiler. To finish, peel and then press into large, Pam-sprayed ramekins.

After tossing rice/veggie mix together, pile some into each ramekin. Poke a half wedge of Laughing Cow Light onto each portion; grind on pepper; spray once again with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes and serve hot.
To Note: Tops will crisp - that is, including rice. If you prefer it to stay soft, loosely cover with foil, before baking.

Buon Appetito

Bye, Bye Jets

Heartlights ♥♥

70th B'day Photo-ND Twitter
By now, y'all know that Gavin was born by prediction - a tad early and just before midnight - in time to share ND's 24th birthday. I can only say,
"What a day!" 

Happy 6th To Our Gavin ♥

Gavin is six...WOW! After singing to him this morning, I asked how old he is, saying, "You must be 29, 'cause you're so smart." Answered our little whiz kid with that don't-be-silly tone, "G'ma, from 5 to 29?" I'm still chuckling. Our little boy is always thinking and sometimes conniving , as he works towards his personal goal of mastering everything in his world. Only in kindergarten and reading at second-grade level, he's also extremely technologically and mechanically inclined... a boy of many hats, like his Daddy. Though he might ask a question or two, he's already quietly observed the execution of most tasks, preferring to figure things out for himself. It's amazing to observe... and it boils down to his wanting to know just what makes everyone and everything tick. A smart and adorable cookie, who doesn't particularly care for cookies... just give him yogurt and soy milk... quick and easy, to be devoured on the run. "The run to where?" you ask. Why, to the next activity... biking, reading, Wii, skiing, soccer, running, computer games, puzzles, swimming... mischief... you've got the gist!

Evening Addition -
Hugs Accomplished xo
Can't wait to give special hugs over pizza and cupcakes tonight, 'cause G'pa and I love you sooooooo much, my Little Chickadee. How much?
You know

Real Time - Morning


Sunday, January 23, 2011

"On The Road" by Joe

Window-Framed Washingtonville Farm
Part Of A Huge Herd

Sub-Zero Sunday Race Day

Tuck, Aubs! ♥ Photo by G'pa 1/23

Must-See TV

Link here for more info about HBO's "The Music In Me" 

Holiday Mountain Baldy

Last weekend, Brian told us that he had spotted a bald eagle sailing above our Holiday and its bordering Neversink River. Sure enough, as we drove by the vicinity yesterday, there he was... flying low in the pristine cerulean sky. My Nikon was at home, all tucked in and cozy. Some photographer.

"The King's Speech"

What a fabulous movie, earning a decisive 9.5 on our scale of 10. It left us wanting more of Bertie, Lionel and their heartwarming (true) story of personal triumph and lifelong friendship. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were phenomenal. Brian and Christian, if you're reading, we couldn't help but think of Uncle Charlie, whose stammer never inhibited his lively expression. For this, our gratitude has been heightened. I digress...

Home of Downing Film Center
Newburgh, NY
Enhancing the experience was our decision to check out the intimate Downing Film Center. It holds only 60 viewers, in an atmosphere similar to that of a screening room; reservations are a must. Its staff members are warm and welcoming... and insistent upon replacing popcorn spilled by patrons. Smile, Joe; you're on "Candid Camera".

Post film, a hop-skip across the parking lot put us right into yet another new restaurant on Front Street, with a bird's eye view of the gorgeous Hudson River and the... um... abundant birds flitting about. A fun place, Billy Joe's Ribworkswhere my Joe ordered his ribs naked and declared them to be delicious. Moi? Loved the sweet potato fries. It was a great date.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Long Distance Art

Imagine my surprise, yesterday, upon receipt of an artwork-laden envelope from Julia. I'm sure there is no need to reintroduce her. Included in my hand-decorated envelope was a treasure trove of her amazing work, reproduced in framable, print form. The pieces date all the way back to 1940, when she was a high school senior. I sat for a very long time with a cup of java, her two-page HANDWRITTEN letter and contents, perusing it all, leisurely and carefully. I could not help but notice the sense of whimsy and fun, in much of her work. Even her signature is a work of art.

Her note alluded to the hope that my Baby Grands would be inspired by the tangible benefits of a lifetime of creative expression. By the time I phoned her with my thanks, I had picked the work that would surely be their favorite. How ironic that she sent me two copies of that particular piece.

Enthusiasm is a key to long-term well being; of this I am sure. Julia possesses an abundance of it - trust me! Need proof? Here ya go:

She had recently spoken with a friend who told her of a favorite technique to use when painting with acrylics. "Lay down thick layers of paint and sprinkle it with salt, preferably the kosher variety. Gently shake off the excess. Allow to dry and witness the resulting textures." Julia was so excited by the prospect of trying a concept that was new to her. Personally? I can't wait to attempt pen-and-ink, after an encouraging art lesson, by phone.

Thank you so much, Julia. You are a gem. Thanks, Coz Dale, for playing postman. Color Me Inspired.

Friday, January 21, 2011

And The Tally...

Mambo's steamy breath tells the story: Baby, it's cold outside. And snowy.  "What about school?" you ask.

 Monday was MLK, Jr., Day - a legit holiday. Tuesday was a snow day (closed). Wednesday's delayed start was weather related. Thursday was a full day. Today was another snow day. Simple math.

Craving Attention?

Just in case your week has been too busy to allow time for the nightly news, I thought to post this little ditty. Perhaps it shall afford some comic relief. As you're ingesting, might I opine? No one knew her identity on YouTube, till she came forward to file suit. Ahem. Did she not think it possible that one might delve into just what makes her tick? Allegedly, that is.
More Here

Snap, Crackle 'n' Pop Omelette

Prima Colazione Squisita
Feast on neg-
ligible calories; that's the name of the game. Spray your pan with Pam; pile in the spaghetti squash and firm tofu slices; toss in a handful of Rice Krispies; sprinkle with paprika. Add five large-egg whites (75 calories of pure protein). Cover with a piece of tinfoil and finish cooking. You'll be amazed by the cloud of nutritious, delicious fluff that welcomes your fork. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Reuters Photo
Welcome Back, IDOL. It was time for a change.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011