Friday, February 28, 2014

For The Birds!

Man, that expression has taken on new meaning during winter '14!! But not to worry, 'cause it has warmed up to a steamy 12 degrees,
this Friday afternoon. 
Spring is coming.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chloe Love

When we hooked up with Christian and the kids, last week, Chloe couldn't wait to hand me an envelope stuffed with her beautiful artwork. During our weekly phone chats, I always ask about Miss Stephie's art projects.
"We've been learning how to draw eyes, G'ma. I'll teach you."
At six years old, she is exceptionally creative and able to envision an end result. Such is the case with the bear she asked me to create.

I think it a good idea for children to see a work in progress; and so, we began with the head.
She watched me crochet it and then she stuffed it with fiberfill.
"Is this cotton, G'ma?"
Next up was the fat body, about halfway done by the time our visit was up.
She was understanding how one piece would be attached to the other. Somehow, a bear would be borne.
And so it was…
Off it went via Priority Mail, yesterday, with a warm knitted blanket to help ease the way to Albany.
I know she'll be excited to receive it, all finished with a muzzle and a big heart…
just like her own.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Don't Say "Thanks" Enough

This morning's message from a dear friend of CMI's reminded me that it has been a while…

All Friends of CMI, please accept my never-ending Thanks for your time spent reading my blah, blah, blah blog. I apologize again for having "Comments" disabled, but must say that your e-mail versions of the same are treasured. 

And to Tigger… what can I say? You've gifted me Sunday Sun on a rather rainy day. 

We Aim To Please

It seems that our whirlwind visit with Hunter and Chloe was a success. Hunter tells me we managed to squeeze in everything on his mental list of things-to-do. Chloe had hoped for a visit to their cousins' house, in addition to our planned get-together. Next time. 

Whew. So what if we collapsed after hooking up with Christian for their return trip?? What are grandparents for? Seems that all the kids know the answer to that oneas we continually try to fulfill their every little wish.

On Friday, the fog and mist turned snow into the perfect degree of squishiness to make a witchy sort of Frosty, after sledding on the mini hill became tiresome. The choco-chips that were supposed to be used for decorations seem to have found the way to Hunter's lips, if you look carefully.
When Aubs and Gav arrived, all you-know-what broke loose. By dinnertime, Bri 'n' Kell walked into a kiddie-style zoo. Thing is, we managed a bit of adult conversation, too. It was nice. What's the big deal if we had to lock the kids in the playroom??
Just kidding… a few threats did the trick. :-)
We sang "Happy Birthday" to the boys - again. Their special events were in January, but they weren't together to celebrate, this year. What the heck. It's always the right time for a par-tay. Before we could blink, departure day was on the horizon.
At Saturday's designated Dunkin' meeting place, we found a Punch Buggy just starting to reappear after what seemed to be a snow burial.
Thing is, it hasn't snowed in over a week, so we're wonderin' what it looked like immediately after the dual blizzards. Also a bit strange in this photo is the oak tree, behind the Bug. Notice how it never shed spent leaves.

Good-bye hugs and kisses are always a tad bittersweet, but Hunter left me smiling. He was about to get into the car when he bounded back to me, reaching out and saying,

"Just one more hug, G'ma. I love you."

Yes. That is Grand Love at its very sweetest. Be still, my heart.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Look Who's Here!

In between snowflakes and freezing raindrops, we managed to meet Christian on Wednesday night, in order to bring Hunter and Chloe to the Old Homestead for a few days. Believe me, it was a nerve-wracking ride home from our halfway point in Kingston. We had such precious cargo in the car. Gramps couldn't take his eyes off the slippery roads for a half-second, as the three of us amused him with lots of catch-up conversation…

But lo and behold, yesterday morning we awakened to brilliant sunshine and what we like to refer to as an "Aspen Day", for skiing. Holiday was groomed to perfection and temps reached into the forties, allowing this amateur photographer to perch on a snow mound to enjoy scenic surroundings, at the same time capturing our little downhill racers. Gramps got quite the workout!

Today's special event shall be a get-together with Cousins Aubs and Gav, who actually have school this week. We anxiously await their arrival… the operative word being "anxiously". 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Still or Again?

Here in Monti, it's impossible to tell if it is still snowing or simply snowing again. Just have to go with flow and wait it out. There's always…

A brand new sketchbook to keep a budding artist busy, while snow gear is dried for another round of wet play. And...

Soup. This month's Aubrey favorite? Here ya go:
Questionable Chinese Egg Drop Soup

Homemade chicken broth with lots of ginger and garlic, defatted, with shredded chicken added back into it, brought to a simmer.

Optional: Add broken-up, super-quick-cooking angel hair pasta and simmer on for a couple minutes.

Season with parsley, nutmeg, pepper, salt to taste and thicken just a tad using cornstarch, premixed before adding.

Slowly drizzle in an egg or two, well beaten with a few drops of water. Stir constantly till egg is all added and serve it up, all steamy and hot. Hurry for your share, before Aubs consumes every last drop.

Moving along...

When the kids go home, it's time to tune in to another episode or two of "House Of Cards". Hey, if it's good enough for President Obama, it's good enough for us… and we're here to tell y'all to get Netflix and watch. We're happily hooked.

Had enough TV? I'm lovin' SYCAMORE ROW, John Grisham's latest. Jake Brigance returns for yet another racially tense trial. 

Multi-tasker, are ya? How 'bout yet another hat made with whatever's hangin' 'round, while you wait for that shipment of exotic yarn from Belize. WHAT A TRIP - literallyHope you're not in a rush when you place such an order; the  last tracking info received  on the 9th told me my package was vacationing in Bulgaria. See for yourself.

Okay, okay… enough already. Maybe now
I should consider Gavin's request:
"G'ma, will you please start skiing again?"

It's a thought. When all that snow has been groomed to perfection and it's about 25 degrees with no wind and bright sunshine - you know, a perfect Ten Day - I'm tempted. Maybe I should forget about that brutal spill I took at Belleayre and splurge on a pair of trending shorter skis to replace my 185's. Trend or not, there'd be something radically wrong with a 5'3" granny getting back on 185's. "We'll see, Honey."
There's always a tomorrow. G-d willing.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Reflecting On Yet Another Snow Day

February Blogging by Aubs

Hi, it's Aubs … your guest blogger. Well today, I have a lot to talk about. Where do I start?
I know the perfect place to start.. It was about 2 weeks ago, I went to a 6, 7, and 8 grade dance! It was really fun. I really didn't want to dance, though, so I hung out with my two BFFs; their names are Abby and Drew. 

What else should I talk about……………. GOT IT!!!!! I got third place in a ski race!!!!! I beat my other friend, Sarah, and this other girl named Mariel. I was really shocked when I beat both of them.

I learned how to cook chicken and biscuits. They were soooooooooooooooooooo easy to cook. IT WAS SO GOOD. Also, I learned how to bake lemon meringue pie, which was soooooooooooooooooo delicious.

(SNOW is coming again.) The snow was sooooooooo soft to ski on and play in (that will come up again…. you know the playing in the snow thing). If you ski you would know how nice it is and why you would want to ski in that snow……. like my mom says:

" It is pow-pow."

Last but not least, playing in the snow with someone towing us (his name is Grandpa, for a little hint).
It was so fun getting towed around behind the four wheeler….. then some of us got too tired to do it any longer (here is a new hint: It is Grandpa). Like ONE person said.. I am getting tired of giving hints… you should know who it is already.

"I am too exhausted to go outside"


One Of The Best and The Worst Olympic Moments

Congratulations to Bode Miller.
How exciting to have won the bronze at such a late stage in a brilliant career. It was heartwarming to witness, especially with such a supportive wife by his side. Brilliant… and coming after a most difficult year. Clearly a "best moment" of this year's games.

Within moments, the offensive Christin Cooper of NBC conducted a shameful interview, creating the worst Olympic moment I've seen thus far. Repeatedly badgering Bode about his tragic loss… one all fans already knew of… she kept it up and kept it up, seemingly determined to tamper with his happiness in success.

Shades of The Inlet

It's hard to believe that a month has gone by, since our return from Murrells Inlet. We had such a great time! To enhance our memories, I surprised Joe with two of our favorite shots of sunset as seen from the Huntington State Park bridge. Two views. Printed on canvas and 1.5" deep, they look like paintings. Wish you were here to see for yourself.

Once again, I highly recommend Canvas4Life. They run frequent specials and always offer free shipping. More importantly, if they detect any glitches in your work, someone will contact you before printing.

A little warmth for yet another snowy day...

YAY USA! Davis 'n' White Make History!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Suspicions Confirmed!!

Well, if you've read my post immediately below, here's an update containing the proof of the proverbial pudding, for sure…
and just a day after our first sighting!
Just as we thought!! The front-porch wreath's berry thief has been identified.

The remaining decorative berries in the kitchen window box have been discovered and shall disappear shortly, clearly serving as sustenance for our wayward Robin. It did take him a while to wander to the backyard to find them, though. 
In spite of diminishing color, we're loving this wintertime surprise!

Double Take

Our feeders are strategically placed in the Japanese Maple, affording us a bird's eye view from many windows and doors in the house. Sheer perfection, when it comes to watching nature from a warm perch, pun intended.

Gavin, nine years old and ALWAYS thinking and querying, loves to sit at the kitchen island, facing the big sliders. He'll munch his lunch and watch the show, identifying species as they appear. When one that is new to him comes along, he'll ask about it and then never forget its name.  

"G'ma, there's a BIG bird out there; it walks like a chicken and has a beak like one. What IS that?"

You know, the Mourning Dove DOES walk like a chicken, as Gav then demonstrated for Gramps! And it pecks like one, too, with a similar beak. Why didn't we think of that? Wish he was here yesterday, when…

I was swapping NIK's lens with the intention of capturing Big Kahuna, our elusive male Cardinal. He's been camera shy, this winter; I was determined. Suddenly and doing a bit of a double take, Joe exclaimed:

"Nick, what IS that in the tree?"

Its rump was facing us and at first, Joe thought it might be a red squirrel. But as it turned - offering a great photo op, I might add - we realized:

"OMG," said Joe, "it's a Robin!"

Well I have to tall y'all, this was a first for February in the tundra, especially when Robin and Kahuna opted to share a tree.

Now, it's doubtful that we're headed for an early Spring, so this guy must have decided to lay over for the winter. Since Robins do not eat birdseed - ever - frozen berries and such offer their means to survival. Also, they grow an under-layer of down feathers to hold in body heat and a Google search further tells me that they shiver to gain warmth.

It occurs to me, now, that when we returned from Murrells Inlet to find red berries added to our front-porch wreath gone, the culprit was this stray bird. That was a first, too, as we've always had to remove spent berries at the end of the season. Oh, and for the record, look who hung around for a portrait...
Nature. It never ceases to amaze us.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Pieces Of April" - A Movie

Not exactly sure how we missed this gem of a Sundance film, circa 2003… but so glad we found it, last night. It is short and sweet, a comedy-drama about family and acceptance… and Thanksgiving.

With no further adieu, I highly recommend "Pieces Of April", with the promise that it'll have you laughing and crying at the same time. A great cast supports Katie Holmes in the starring role.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine'sDay ♡ Sandwich

Yep, that's it. Meteorologists dubbed the latest snow event a "Sandwich Storm". Hmmm, was that one storm? It started to snow heavily on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, continuing throughout the day. Then, it warmed up a bit and turned into a sleet storm, after which temps plunged and moisture reverted back to another nighttime snowfall. Aubs and Gav arrived at dusk on Thursday for a Valentine's Day sleepover. Overnight, WE WERE PUMMELED and awakened to about sixteen inches of the white and not-so-fluffy stuff.
We thought that was it, but it turned into a triple-decker… you know, kind of like a turkey club sandwich. Old Sol teased us for a few hours, yesterday. We went to bed, confidently dreaming of sunshine that would once again color our temporary black 'n' white world with cerulean blues and shades of yellow, returning it to what we perceive as normal.

Not to be… this morning, we're being deluged once again. Another six to eight are anticipated, forcing us to cancel plans to meet with our upstate GrandLoves, though an even better plan for a several-day stay is on the horizon. Thing is

We enjoyed Valentine's Eve and Day with Aubs and Gav. We crammed boatloads of activities into a day, that's for sure. Gramps dusted off the four-wheeler and pulled the sled, when they tired of climbing the mountain of snow created by the snow plow. Aubs cooked a real chicken 'n' biscuit dinner and learned how to make lemon-meringue pie. Gav executed morning pancakes and made cinnamon rolls from extra pie dough. We watched "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2". Both sweethearts created beautiful and thoughtful art projects for their parents and for us, confirming that love, indeed, does grow.

I am feeling especially grateful to have my Special Valentine to spoil me with affection, after last year's scare. Giving thanks.

Belated but nonetheless Happy Hearts to y'all.