Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And Three Seasons Collide

How interesting, the merger of falling leaves and summer Impatiens, frosted by early, wintry white stuff and reflecting in slick bluestone.

They Were DE-licious!

Both have inserts. The larger one has a locking lid,
making it perfect for transporting soups and sauces.
The smaller one is perfect for the two of us.
Y'all know what meatballs look like. This is a good thing, 'cause I've no photo proof. Gone! And before I realized how memorable they'd be...

Pressed for time, yesterday, I tossed a concoction into the crockpot. In went a mess of veggies (onions, carrots, eggplant, red peppers) and EVOO, on top of which I placed the **meatballs** and then added tomatoes and seasoning. 

**In a baggie, I mixed together a pound of lean, chopped beef, an egg, home-made and seasoned potato breadcrumbs AND the remainder of the (Cuisinart) processed sun-dried tomatoes and fresh garlic I'd used earlier for Artie and his twin.**

OMG! Deliciously served over cappellini. So good that Joe brown-bagged it, today. There's not a morsel left. 
Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Robin is very ill with the same intestinal issues that ultimately caused the death of his twin, Maurice. I, for one, am sending heartfelt, healing vibes into the universe. As with millions of others, the Brothers' music touches my soul.

Who's That In The Rice Cooker?

It's Artie! Hey, why not? The amazing little pot was out after it cooked up a batch of (link) apples. Remember those? Art and his twin hung out with some EVOO, red peppers, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and home-style, seasoned breadcrumbs. With a little H2O added for steamin', they tenderized to perfection. YUM!

Song Choice

If there are two Neil songs that I dislike in concert, they're "Sweet Caroline" and "I'm A Believer". Why? Well, Lady C sounds nothing like she did, in the original version. She's been transformed into the voice of a repetitious anthem; this is fine for a ballgame. Back in the day, when concerts were three hours long, it was also okay to whoa-whoa in one reprise. But now? A triple play takes up way too much time. Please.....   
Can Anybody Hear Me? 

On to Believers. Clearly, I am one and have been so for decades. This aside, I couldn't help but empathize with the poor kid who did an awful rendition of my second choice, last night on "X Factor". It earned him the boot. Why didn't he ask me, if he wanted to sing Neil Diamond? I'd have chosen better. Whatever. My objection, as it applies "in concert"? Those danged horns that ND added years ago pierce my senses. Joe disagrees and likes the sound. But, then, he's a tad hard of hearing. No kidding; I'm not being facetious. I think that maybe the blow is softened. To add salt to the wound, Mr. Diamond decided to re-record the song in a slow version. Now, he does both in concert. Another time slot wasted in what is currently an under-two-hour show. Some songs should be left to Smash Mouth and Shrek, who did a fine job of popularizing the tune for yet another generation.

Song choice is everything... but the no-longer Solitary Man didn't ask me to choose his set list. I guess one just can't argue with success, though, as Joe frequently reminds me.

So, You Tell Me

Is it "his" show? Hey, a little eye candy never hurt any blog. Besides, the poor guy needs just a tad more self-confidence. Smile. Can't help but wonder how Len's ego is doing, today.


Joe and I were on the same two pages, last night. "X Factor" bumped the "Dancing With The Stars" results show. I clicked in time, though, to see and hear Chaz Bono depart with dignity and grace, his mission accomplished. That's not the dance mission, obviously; he didn't make it to the finals. Rather, it's his survival mission, in gaining recognition for those who are radically different in this judgmental world we live in. Judge Bruno Tonioli was vile, the previous night. He doesn't deserve space on my blog or any other, for that matter. Suffice it to say that his vicious name-calling was noted, and Chaz excelled in the Class Category. I still remember the first time Sonny and Cher brought Chastity on stage. That infectious little smile is the one thing that can't be changed.
It wins. Click...

Josh Krajcik did Dylan proud in his crystal clear version of the classic, "Forever Young". Whether or not he'll win the popular vote and the ultimate prize remains to be seen. But the consensus amongst the judges is that Josh is in a class of his own, voice-wise. I've adopted him. I actually felt tension yesterday, in awaiting his turn. You know... the kind of stress you feel when you're wanting a child to do his or her best. He wins, whatever happens. Click...

That's all she wrote, till next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

For Fun

Y'all might recall my baby avocado plant and rebloomin' birthday orchid. Here's a little horticultural update. Not too shabby! We've a mini shade tree that shall soon require bigger digs... and a touch of flowering color.

Time Warner Cable... Can You Hear Me?

We have a 3-in-1 package with Time Warner Cable that includes phone, Internet and television services. Here's a little timeline; see what you think:

10/14 - On this particular Friday, our phones began acting erratically. We'd occasionally have a dial tone, and then not. Incoming calls were aborted, midway. We reported to TWC and were given a next-day appointment, to be confirmed on Joe's cellphone. We always try to schedule for days that Joe is able to be home.

10/15 - When no one called or showed by late afternoon, we called Technical Support again. "But your phone is working," we were told. We explained that it was an erratic issue and it was out of service, more than not. "We're sorry, but your appointment is postponed till Tuesday." Not good... Joe would be working... but we took it.

10/18 - Tuesday. At 3:00 p.m., a technician finally appeared. I took him upstairs to Joe's office, where the connections are. I stayed till he diagnosed the problem as a faulty phone wire in the modem. He went to his truck to get a replacement. When he returned, I did not immediately follow him back to the worksite. About ten minutes later, I went to check on his progress and found him sitting at Joe's desk WITH A DRAWER OPENED. I walked in, closed the drawer, backed up to the hall doorway and remained there until he completed the work. I never challenged him and pretended nothing had happened. The minute he left the house, I called Joe, whose reaction you'll need to imagine. I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle it. When Joe got home and began to call TWC, I told him to hold off till I got the automated survey call.

10/18 Evening - The call. You've received them, yes? I answered every question with the corresponding worst score, after which explanations were repeated at least three times, to make sure I understood grading system. At the end of this series, there was an option to leave a voice message. My call was ended the moment I began to speak. There is a human behind these automated calls, of course. I HAD NO CALL-BACK AS A RESULT OF THIS NEGATIVE FEEDBACK.

10/20 - Joe stopped at the Middletown office to file a complaint. He was promised that it would be forwarded to the right party and I would have a return call. Didn't happen.

10/21 It's Friday again - I phoned our cable number and worked my way up the menu to a supposed higher office in charge of support. I spoke with a woman who seemed appalled by the incident I'd been trying to draw attention to. She said that when a negative survey is returned, a supervisor ALWAYS CALLS about the same. She PROMISED that I'd receive a call from her superior, name provided, out of the Staten Island office. You see, the universality of service calls is part of the problem. It's tough to personalize an issue, when you're dealing with Big(ger) Kahunas who are not even remotely connected in a tangible way to a community. 

10/24 - It's Monday. Nada. Now, I do plan to get a little attention by changing our triple service to another provider. But, you know the story... it's a drop in the proverbial bucket-of-success, for a conglomerate. Still, I need a tad of satisfaction. As for the danger element in having people in our homes...

If I'm in such a situation again, I'll have my cell phone dialed to 911 and in my hand, with the need only to click "Send". I was afraid to confront this guy... one just never knows how something might escalate. But I felt violated, in finding him with an open desk drawer. What more might he have done?

FOLLOW UP - 10/28:
A Tech supervisor DID reach out to me this week, on two separate occasions. I'm not sure exactly what "disciplinary action" is being taken with regard to the perpetrator, but I do know that I was loud and clear. Thanks to Ozzie. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Cuppa Fall

Please left double-click on photo to enlarge
Scusimi? October is one week from being over? Jeesh. Before it's history, I couldn't resist capturing this festive Window On Broadway. This particular merchant does such a fabulous job. Soon, I'll feature the town's gorgeous renovation. It's something to be proud of. Let's see how long residents will keep it glowing.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my summery mug has been tucked away, in order to make room for this guy. Seasonally cute, isn't he? I especially enjoy his desktop presence when bathed in sunbeams. Next up? Why, cornucopias, first... then Frosty, of course. 
Time flies.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuna Steaks Twice

Ronnie came up to share in the observance of Dad's days. We always connect on a subconscious level, during this roller-coaster period of time. It's nice to ultimately be together.
Prior to hitting the road, he called to ask if we like ocean-fresh tunafish; a friend had just experienced a successful fishing trip. OMG, do we ev-ah! And so, he brought us a bunch of steaks. I purposely cooked way too much, the first night. When ready to grill and after marinating in EVOO, mustard, paprika, garlic and pepper, I sprinkled them with fresh lemon juice. We enjoyed dinner immensely. The fish cooked to perfection, requiring only a simple side of jasmine rice.

After dinner and with the next day in mind, I flaked the leftovers for tuna salad. I added mustard, mayo, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder and chopped celery. Outrageous!

Cook Once - Eat Twice - Double Delight 
Thanks, Ron.

Simply Bolognese

Joe was feeling a strong hankering for "real" sauce. Summertime quickies use a lot of fresh or Pomì tomatoes, straight from the box and with light seasoning. For him, though, there's nothing like the thick blend that results from simmering a meat sauce for a couple of hours. That's for a small amount. Back in the day, the big sauce pot would be filled to the brim, to bubble away for all of a Sunday afternoon. I must admit that I enjoyed it, though I'm usually more of a marinara girl. Actually, I love the pasta plain, straight from the boiling water. But the tantalizing aromas, this fall afternoon, really got to my senses.
My sauce is simple - minus the pork, mushrooms and other ingredients that many use. Just tons of roughly chopped garlic sautéed in my best EVOO, some fine ground beef, Pomì's, balsamic vinegar or wine, dried parsley and oregano, pepper, a touch of sugar, fresh basil if available, and one more fabulous ingredient.... 

In days of old, Gran used to add tomato paste to enhance the flavor. Not I.  My preference is to chop about one-half cup of sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the simmering sauce (this amount per two boxes of tomatoes). Their texture is perfectly soft, after cooking. They remain my secret ingredient... till now, that is.

Buon Appetito.

Soccer Sunday

"Aubs, when you goal keep..."

Sure, we could have gone to Hawai'i to celebrate the 16th. But then, we'd have missed a doubleheader. The kids are cute. They play their little hearts out; and Daddy's a darn good coach!
Déjà vu. 
"Yay! It's over. Did we win?"

Analogous Atrocities

Columbus Day weekend was gorgeous. I've come to refer to it as "the nicest weekend of summer", as the actual season left quite a bit to be desired, this year. You know - rain. C'est la vie. We're an adaptable lot. What to do? Hmmm, perfect weather for pulling the already-stored lounges back out of the shed, lighting a citronella candle or two, pretending that the pool's still aqua blue instead of pool-cover black, and devouring a book. Ah, if only this could be the biggest problem, universally.

Dawn had recommended what ended up being a terrific read. SARAH'S KEY, by Tatiana de Rosnay, was a blend of factual past and fictional present, interwoven into a story that educated the reader about the Vel' d'Hiv round-up that was aimed at reducing the number of Jews in occupied France. The sordid involvement of the French was a guarded skeleton for decades; that is, until President Jacques Chirac bit the proverbial bullet and forced tainted history to the surface. This slaughter was aimed at women and children. Before being shipped off to their deaths in concentration camps, these poor souls were held in squalid, dehumanizing conditions. Eventually, children were ripped away from their mothers. G-d, what agony. It happened in 1942, before I was born, but on July 16th, my birthday. I'm not liking that association, except for the fact that in my heart, I'll always remember. We must remember...

This brings me to the slanted history lessons we were taught. Columbus Day. There is something wrong in this celebration. Please link to this incredible input, found in a link-to-link search about Robert Looks Twice, whom you'll soon meet: 
What's Wrong With This Holiday?

Photo from Robert's FB Page
With perfect timing, Diane Sawyer and "20/20" presented "A Hidden America: Children Of The Plains". Did you watch? If not, please do find it in replay and be mesmerized by Robert Looks Twice. I'm not the only one to have fallen in love with this boy, as well as the other children and a certain selfless teacher. Robert has quickly become a bit of a celebrity and seemingly the new face of a nation... and, with a new FB pageYou need not join to look. This beautiful child has an old, old soul. It's in his eyes. You'll see for yourself, when you watch the show or peruse other photos.

I'd love to be on the start-up committee that obliterates the celebration of atrocities. How 'bout subbing in a day of remembrance and new beginnings? It'd work for me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The X Factor

Hello again, hello... but move over, Neil. My pick from the first time I heard him... Josh Krajcik... he's got the X- and the Chill- factors going on, the chills being what I get when I look and listen. Here's hoping...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7th

Very young Dad in riding attire of jodhpurs and boots, 
heading for the Jamaica, NY, stables.

"Oh I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they've got none..uh-huh" Pearl Jam

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Buck"...Horsemanship As It Applies....

...To Life
My Favorite Capture OBX 2011 NCS
Just give me an excuse to repost one of my absolute favorite photos of the year, taken this past May. In all his wildness, it's as though he posed for me. I have such a love for these animals, bringing me to an incredible documentary film, available now on Pay-Per-View. I started watching "Buck" because of the horses... the visuals. Very quickly, though, I understood the film's far deeper message. In addition, there is so much to learn for a distant observer of the horse world.

A Sundance award-winning film, it is about Buck Brannaman, who stars in the film, along with Robert Redford. The two men first met during the filming of "The Horse Whisperer". I hope you have both seen the film and read the book by Nicholas Evans. Each is so very gorgeous. Buck became an important mentor to RR... and his horse doubled for the star animal, in a very poignant scene. But I don't want to reveal too much, 'cause I'm hoping you'll seek this out to see for yourself.

Buck survived and overcame a childhood of brutal abuse; his father was violent. After the death of his gentle mother and when physical scars became evident to others, he and his brother were removed from the home. They were placed with an incredible family, and his new "Mom" also makes several appearances. He has managed to take unspeakable pain and reshape it into a unique sensitivity. His equine connections speak to life itself... so much to take away from his quiet views.

I loved everything about the film, going so far as to watch it twice. The musical score is lovely, but Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder's "Just Breathe" takes on a life of its own, during the film. G-d, it stops me in my tracks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs

Mac, my devices and I say, 
"Thank you. Rest in peace."
The world is a little less brilliantly inspired, tonight.
(This entry made from my iPad.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seriously May-O-Nnaise

Nope, I'm not talkin' the Richard Gere variety, but rather this fabulous Serious Eats tutorial for making mayonnaise. There is no sugar in this recipe. I did not add salt, beyond that already in the mustard. I did add snipped, young chives to half the finished product. Be sure to tip and raise the immersion blender, as per instructions; otherwise, you'll have a mess. Learn how to pasteurize egg yolks here. Salmonella poisoning isn't pretty. Irradiated eggs are another option. It's fun to see it come together, but use sparingly, as a treat... it's still mayo. Substitute plain, fat-free Greek yogurt, more often than not.

WEBSTER, Take Note...

ABC Photo
Are y'all watching "Dancing..." this season? We click-click-clicked back and forth from the Yankees to the Stars, last night. While the Boys Of Summer lost an important game, we saw quite a few winners on the latter show. Personal stories were artistically expressed, and there were many exquisite moments. We found one to be the most touching. Now...

WEBSTER needs to simply link J.R. Martinezso as to newly define three words: beauty, heroic and mother.
 Not a dry eye in the house... 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Freedom Rings

Tainted, minimal DNA evidence does not hold up here, nor did it in the Italian courts. This one feels right. Praying that it is. The range of emotions was incredibly touching to witness... clearly the agony of the victim's family and the ecstasy of those acquitted.

Art Of The Essay - A Lesson

In SWEET AND SOUR, Andy Rooney marveled at the fact that he could sit down with nary a thought to write about, only to produce an essay of some value to someone, somewhere in society. Why? He determined that readers are always intrigued by thoughts that writers express. Why? Well, because we truly do think so similarly... we just don't all take the time or have the desire to share our thoughts in print. Funny, though, 'cause we're grateful to have those very lightbulb moments affirmed in print. Yep, that's sort of what he marveled at. 

I agree with Andy's "60 Minutes" au revoir speech, during which he concluded, "Writers don't retire." 
Thanks, Andy...looking forward to more.
One Month Later... So saddened to hear that Mr. Rooney passed away. We had sincerely hoped for more and more of his well articulated wisdom.

Room With A View ♡

Ah, 'tis a lovely approach to C, D, H 'n' C's new digs. Oops... can't forget Fiona. 

We were met at the front door by our Grands and quickly whisked away to see their new rooms, of which they are very proud. I have to laugh as history repeats itself, in that the babes settled into the ones with the best viewsJust park an easel in front of Hunter's window and then provide art supplies. 
Inside Looking Out... Hunter's View
Here's to good health, abundant happiness and endless love in the enjoyment of their beautiful surroundings.... 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Color It October

A Wiki Creative Commons Share Photo
The gemstone of hope represents October. Fitting that one can see rainbows or lightning in an opal... that's life. Read more about this particular stone here. Think Cosmos to spread some lovin' over your world.