Friday, October 26, 2012

Who Knew?

For a long time now, I've wanted to upgrade my vintage :-) LG phone to a smarter one. Sure, it was tough to sacrifice the qwerty keyboard for a mistake-prone virtual one. But there was a more important issue keeping me from taking the proverbial plunge.

Aubs and Hunter shall soon turn ten and nine, respectively. Ever since they were barely-talkin' babes, they've been leaving messages on my phone...

"Happy Bird-day, Gamma..."  "I wuv you, Gamma..."

The thought of losing those messages was unbearable... they will always bring huge smiles and immense joy.

Turns out, it was worth the wait. ND's Tom Hensley would be proud of my use of Garage Band on my MacBook Pro. I made a vocal recording of all the messages and can now play them back via iTunes on any of my devices. 

This Mac chick is lovin' the new iPhone 5 and its suit of armor by Otter. It has taken me a while to set it up to my bare-screen standards, but it arrived just in time to give me some device-relief from Mom's heartbreaking dilemma.

PS... Tom might be a tad upset to know that my first self-made iTunes Ringtone is excerpted from Billy Joel's version of Leonard Cohen's "Light As The Breeze", an all-time favorite of mine. Sure, I'll soon get around to one or two by ND et al. In the interim, perhaps Tom can properly channel the suggestion for a cover of "Breeze".

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thanks, Everyone...

Mom's status has not changed much... it is a rough go. 
Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

After Giving It Some Thought...

I've decided that I'm disgusted by both candidates. Each should be ashamed of contentious, childlike behavior during the second debate. We are in trouble... and just when I thought it couldn't get worse than 
Passive vs. AggressivePut that in binders full of women...

Thank You So Much, Dawn*Christian*Hunter*Chloe*Lyla

We love you all, so much!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's Easy When You're Of Like Mind ♡

Happy 46th Anniversary To Us... I Love You, Honey.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Color Us Hopeful

After a tough, disheartening day, Joe, Bri and I left the hospital to see a gorgeous double rainbow. 
It was incredible to hear excited gasps and see every person in its range stop to soak in the gift of beauty.
Maybe tomorrow will be better for Mom.

Mom Is Needing Your Prayers ♥

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wild For Turkey

What is it about October that makes us crave turkey and soup? Till Thanksgiving, the only whole birds available are frozen.  Joe managed to find a fresh Shady Brook breast, in his travels - delicious with baked potatoes and veggies on the side, the first night. Then, spectacular when warmed with the juices rendered after fat was removed. But what about soup?

The remaining frame wasn't adequate for hearty soup, so I added a package of chicken legs to the equation and let it all simmer away. You know the drill: carrots, onions, garlic, celery and whatever else you can fit in the pot. When done and cooled, I separated solids from broth to refrigerate separately. Skimmed and finished, it was laden with shredded poultry, mashed veggies and peppery seasoning... and... angel hair. Have I shared my skinny-pasta secret with you? Break angel hair into a bowl, cover with water and nuke it to boiling. It takes a few minutes of pot-free cooking to have fresh, al dente pasta ready-to-go. Then...

Joe spent a successful Saturday morning bow hunting. Don't ask. But I'm here to say that truly fresh turkey is something to experience. It was our first time. Blush. Here's what I did:

Meat soaked in marinade of EVOO, white balsamic, mustard, garlic and lemon-pepper spice for several hours, in fridge. I removed from soak, discarded the remainder and dredged in a crumb mixture of Italian bread, Ritz crackers, garlic powder, paprika and more lemon-pepper spice. After placing on a prepared pan, I surrounded it with Honeycrisp apple slices and dried cranberries, sweetened with sugar/cinnamon/ginger and sprayed... baked for 50 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven.

After this meal, it shall be even harder to fulfill our turkey expectations, but the Great White Hunter is allowed to tag two more birds, through rifle season. I just try not to think about that aspect of delicious food....

Buon Appetito.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cape Cod Viking Rental & Property Management, W. Dennis

Please allow me this digression from all things inspiring. Hey, I worked in the ducks!
Surely, they count for something...
Beyond the aggravation exists peace and tranquility...a scene from what could be a million-dollar property.
Soooo, you're thinking of renting a sweet little cottage in West Dennis, Massachusetts, are ya? Well, check with me first about Cape Cod Viking Rental & Property Management and associated salespersons, before you plunk down your hard-earned vacation $$$'s and that monster security deposit (supposedly to be returned within a week of departure). The same agent who thanked us for the quick transaction in the last-minute rental of a Swan River house ultimately lost all respect for the value of our time. It took multiple phone calls, lots of aggravation and a month of days to procure the return of our money. The latter is the reason I've waited till now to post about the other side of the vacation coin.

Reading the online reviews, are ya? Well, Trip Advisor truly does a fine job of posting them, but unscrupulous realtors remove the negative ones, as fast as they're posted... and therein we have just one fine example of the dishonesty to which I speak. I've advised TA of the deletion, but I'm sure they've no control over the issue.

Always preferring to stay positive, I'll say that this is a great part of the Cape to explore. Chapin Memorial Beach sunsets alone make the trip worthwhile... and we had a fantastic time at the National Seashore. G-d willing, we'll be back, certain to explore options more cautiously, in the future. Be sure to take pictures, if anything in your rental seems awry. Without my photos, we'd be out a couple hundred dollars. The house was clearly not up to our standards - we left it far cleaner than we found it. How different the scenario after another vacation, several years ago...

We'd rented an OBX house in Corolla. The realtor felt terrible, when we met him at the recommended time and found the cleaning staff still working. We were fine with the delay and simply headed to the beach. Then, upon our return to Monti, we found a gift of wine and note of gratitude awaiting us... unnecessary, but appreciated.

Forewarned is forearmed... don't be snowed. You know where to find me, so let's chat. 
Just don't erase me, 'cause that'll really piss me off!. :-)

Nice Haircut for the Tired, Hungry Little Man ♡

End-Of-The-Week Exhaustion 

Joe fetched the kids from school while I stayed home to start pancakes, a favorite snack... ahem... meal. Aubs was a little disappointed that I'd begun without her, but I know how ravenous they are at the end of a long day. Gavin walked into the mudroom, kicked off his sneakers, saw me at the stove and said with pure glee, "I knew you'd be making that for us, G'ma!!" Next came the most ginormous hug ever. Moral of the story? Well, you know... it's the old one about the way to a man's heart. Oops... I almost forgot to mention the side of eggs, yogurt and milk. 

I kid you not.

As for the new 'do, he soaked in the compliments and proceeded to describe the look 

"...when we spike it up..."

Color Me Enchanted

Through The Dirty Windshield

Hey, it's New York... stand still for five minutes and the weather will change. Even a dirty windshield couldn't disguise Old Sol's brilliance, as it broke through a variety of clouds to shed some light on our parade. 
G-d, how gorgeous. 

Back In Business... Call!

"Vintage" Advertising for
Time-Tested Business
If you're local, you know!

GO... Tonight...

On to Detroit...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Outrageously Doctored Cornbread

Trader's cake and bread mixes are delicious and so handy to keep in the pantry. I'm not always in the mood, nor do I have time, to bake from scratch. I like to doctor contents, for several reasons. Additions make great stretchers and keep us from devouring too much plain cake/bread, thus too many calories. More importantly, they add nutrients... in this case, lots of antioxidants. And then, there is the flavor burst of combos...

After spreading the batter more thinly than required, I topped with frozen mixed berries, chopped walnuts and cinnamon. Since it was in Pyrex, I lowered oven temp to 325 degrees and baked a little longer than box instructions required.
Ready For The Oven
It's incredible to bite into the sweet bread with corn kernels, fruit and nuts. I'd like it topped with Chobani plain yogurt, for dessert; but it shall go nicely as a side to our turkey-soup dinner, too.

Celebrate Convenience...Buon Appetito. 

Gorgeous Rendition of ND's "Holly Holy" by Charice

Becca and Lolu

Ann Romney might just be her husband's best asset, a few weeks from now. This mother of sons appreciates her spunk. "A horse is a horse, of course, of course"... so she discovered and was thus lifted from a deep, disease-related depression into a new world... one that ultimately led her to the Paralympics and an encounter with Beautiful Becca and  Lovable Lolu.

Yesterday morning, she appeared on GMA as a guest host. Hmm, clearly the right choice of morning shows, IMO. Her nonpartisan discussion with Rebecca Hart was most engaging. Lord Ludger, aka Lolu, participated with a few adorable snorts, now and again, as he handled NYC traffic like a pro. Go meet them at the link provided. They are true champions.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm realizing just how much my Wild Horses of Corolla are missed. We must go visit again, very soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More Penn State

 Link Here
30 to 60 for the creep... is it enough? No. The harm inflicted can never be undone. His wife should go on trial, next. She knew. Previously on CMI.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Delicious Tortilla Quiches - A Recipe

My favorite Glidden mixing bowl was begging for some action, this morning. Meanwhile, the same old-same old didn't appeal to me, for breakfast. So, I shot for brunch. It was well worth the wait.

8 x-large eggs scrambled with a touch of milk, shredded cheddar and mixed veggies filled 9 wholewheat tortillas. Black pepper added kick. Remember to spray tins and tops and bake in a 350-degree preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. 

Calories amounted to about 200 per serving. Trader's tortillas are wholewheat/reduced carb/45 calories each. Refrigerate leftovers. To retain crispiness, warm for a few minutes right on oven rack at about 325 degrees.
Absolutely anything goes in this recipe... pick your cheese, your veggies/pre-cooked meats and spices. 
Finger-food!! Bri grabbed a couple, taste-tested and liked. I'm already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving leftovers.

Buon Appetito.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apples On Steroids - A Quick Recipe

Honey 'n' Mac... So Cute Together
Two Washington state Honeycrisp apples weighed in at almost three pounds. You can do the math, at $2.50 per pound. They were worth every cent, even though Joe gagged. There's a lot less peeling and hardly a core, if baked goods or applesauce are on the menu. "A bargain," says this chef. Here's what I did with just one:

After rolling our favorite pie dough right on a cookie sheet, I peeled and sliced the monster onto the dough. 
If apples are very firm (these are!) and you like a softer filling, you might want to nuke slices for a minute, before layering.

A careful misting with OJ and pure maple syrup ensued... then a heavy hit of Trader's cinnamon/sugar/ginger... and a few dabs of butter.

In came the remaining dough, to be pinched at the bottom (helps to keep juices contained). After a sprinkling of chopped walnuts and another hit of Trader's c/s/g, into a 375-degree oven it went for about fifty minutes. I covered very lightly with foil, after a half hour of baking. Joe is feeling a whole lot better, now.
To think, there is an apple remaining... my imagination is running wild, though this variety is absolutely delicious in its raw state, as well.

Buon Appetito. YUM.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We Need To Talk

After spending yet another night in the ER with Mom, I feel qualified to advise the candidates regarding health care issues. Wanna talk cutbacks, Messrs. Obama and Romney? There is something radically wrong with the need for seven hours to execute three tests and one breathing treatment, on a (thankfully) slow night. An antibiotic was prescribed for a UTI and bronchitis... no antidote for the agonizing time spent. Criticism might have been held to a minimum, had George wandered through, all decked out in scrubs. But that was not the case. Nothing and no one glamorous here.

Not to worry, as Mom is doing a bit better, today... and we hope to score more than an hour of sleep, tonight. 

Unidentified Species in the Woods

Bambi Is In Hiding.
Is it any wonder?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another Year...Another Columbus Day Weekend

Photo by RLT FB Page

The holiday is being celebrated this weekend, prior to its actual date. Nothing has changed... it is still wrong, IMO. But the good news is that Robert Looks Twice has graduated from high school. Congratulations!! He still aspires to be President of these United States. How wonderful. May good fortune be his in the fulfillment of dreams. Now, I'll refer you to same time, last year.

TGIF and Sunny and Warm

We were surprised to note mostly bare trees on the way to Roscoe, earlier today. Audible groan, here. Sure, closer to home it was pretty; but 'twas not blazingly gorgeous, like other years. Weathermen have commented that the drought of spring and summer is responsible for less brilliant color and early loss of foliage. 

It is said that there is a fine line between love and hate - herein lies my relationship with Autumn. While my artistic side adores Mother Nature's palette, beachy me is despising the impending nakedness of the landscape and threat of cold weather. For today, though, I can dream.

Makeover 2...So, Why Didn't I Think Of This Before?

Ah, this new ombré orange looks fantastic, across the room from the Chapin sunset canvas!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Guy ♡

"DID YOU KNOW... Our Outside Salesman, Joe Soller, has been with us *50* years this year!?!? What an impressive milestone! We are happy to have you on the team, Joe!"

Debating Passive Aggression

No, there was not a passive aggressive candidate... there was one passive, one aggressive and a moderator who lost control, very early on. Mr. President did not help himself, seeming to be an amateur, onstage. Governor Romney won the night and a few converts, I'm sure. We shall see... but were you smiling the way these two were? Not I.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sure, there are days I'd love a total makeover from head to toe; but it's not happenin'. It is what it is. Not so, though, for some resident coffee-filter flowers. The color served me well, for a while. Now, it's time for a change and I simply do not have the time to start a new bouquet. So, in the depths of my kitchen sink, with some trusty yellow and red food coloring, we did a dye job. I doused the victims with both colors, gave them a swirl in the well blended drippings, and set them out to dry. The only water involved was to wash out the newly shaded porcelain. Results are not too shabby, for a rushed effort... and I'm lovin' the currently popular combo of orange and pink.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

James Frey's BRIGHT SHINY MORNING - Fabulous!

In the event the author's Oprah fiasco is still disturbing to you, please do get over it and read this fantastic book. The first time 'round, I put it down after a few pages and proceeded to consume several other titles, before picking it up again. Second time 'round, I was hooked. You see, it's his extraordinarily unique style that takes a little getting used to. It's analogous to putting the unpunctuated thoughts of one's mind to paper, for all to read. I often write in fragments, but then chicken out and properly edit. Not so, James Frey. He is a confident man, in his assumption that his audience will read, comprehend and linger. "Linger?" you ask. Yes. While the City of Angels is the main character, those in his four underlying narratives come alive... in my case, to the point of wanting to keep them around. More, please?!

The human and historical epic is comprised of both fact and fiction. But hey, isn't all fiction based on fact? Characters intertwine under the spell of a personified Los Angeles. Funny, but during frequent pauses to consider what I'd read, my brain would kick into an old Elvis tune, "Follow That Dream"... this by no means suggesting frivolity to the story. The American Dream. Human Nature. Here's an excerpt, as written and somewhat punctuated by Mr. Frey:

"And so they come. To live with Angels and chase their dreams. It ain't all bright lights and billboards. Some dream of a roof, some dream of a bed, some dream of a job, some dream of enough money to eat, some dream the dream of forgetting, leaving, hiding, transforming, becoming, some dream the simple dream of getting through a day without worrying about dying, some dream of families here or there or wherever they left them dream of bring them and starting over and actually having a f'ing chance, some dream of being allowed to live, speak, believe and dress as they please. Some dream of bright lights and billboards but they are few too many who dream of a place that will accept them, nourish them, allow them to grow into whatever flower or whatever poison they want to become, allow them to scream yell decry pray beg discuss deal buy sell steal give take become or not whatever the f' they want because it's possible, it's possible here."

Thanks to Karin for such an excellent recommendation. Now, I pass it along, twofold.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How Did October Happen?

The waning days of September were a busy blur. As we rode up to see Mom, last Friday, I commented that the foliage had changed color, seemingly overnight. Then, when Kim spoke of her maternal cousin's wedding, last night, I said, "I thought his wedding was to be in October???" Ahem. So, it is October, today, and it is raining leaves... Christopher is getting married, on Saturday... it's all official.
I'm not quite sure how this happened, though. Wasn't it just summertime? My day lilies are of like mind, as they continue to bloom, taunting Fall's purple dahlias.
Have a good month... and remember...

"The Good Wife" and "Homeland"
have geared up for the new season. Each started with a bang.
Do you watch?

A Reunion Of Sorts

We had fun!! ♡ No words, 'cause they've all been spoken!

"For Greater Glory" - The Movie

This is a fantastic movie, bringing me way, way back to an Easter vacation in Mexico, many moons ago. I now have a deeper understanding of the elderly women we witnessed climbing the stairway of the Virgin Of Guadeloupe Shrine. But this film isn't really about Catholicism... it's about the never-ending battle for the freedom of choice, be it during the early 1900's or now. It is the denial of basic freedoms that embroil humanity in the never-ending cycle of death by war. Okay, I'm off my pulpit, no pun intended. 

Joe and I say, "Just watch!!" Andy Garcia was never more impressive, and his supporting cast turned in equally incredible performances. We see Oscar...

Joie de Vivre!

Aubrey is so sweet. Her project instructions to choose no more than eight events of her nine (almost ten!) years became quite the challenge. She is so enthusiastic about everything and everyone... how to choose only eight?

We began by brain-
storming and making notes, earlier in the week. On Saturday, she dedicated four and a half hours to completing the "Timeline Of The Seasons Of My Life". She designed, painted, cut, decoupaged and composed. She's now busy practicing for her presentation, on Wednesday. The grade shall be based on many elements, elocution included.

She's an A++++, in my book!