Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Dressing for those $5'ers??

cartoon courtesy of John Darkow of the Columbia Daily Tribune


I just returned from the grocery store - the one in our area where "weekly specials and wonderful prices abound". It's also the place where "The Customer is Always Right". (By the way, there are animated critters throughout the store singing that ditty to you while you shop just to remind you. It's very special.) My bill came to $128.00. I bought 23 items. Only one of those was from the butcher shop and that was 2 lbs. of chicken breast fillets at $2.99 a pound (weekly special). Do the math. Any way you look at it, it stinks!


P.S. I've already washed my $5'ers and thrown 'em in the old salad bowl. They're perfectly dressed in vinegar & oil and ready to go...get me a fork! Gotta keep my fiber consumption up! Want to join me?

P.P.S. I found the above cartoon in my local CT paper. I was delighted to then discover it's from a political cartoon artist that's really making a name for himself and who is from my home-town newspaper, the above mentioned Columbia Daily Tribune! (I grew up in Columbia, MO.) NEAT!!

P.P.P.S. The above mentioned grocery store, Stew Leonard's, really is a very unique and very neat place to go - truly a tourist stop for anyone visiting us here in the Northeast - but their prices.....



Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Every Purpose Under the Sun

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

ecclesiastes 3:1-8



photo courtesy of mum bum

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sometimes the Circle of Life...

Is abruptly interrupted...

And ended...


I was eagerly looking forward to the end of the day so I could take new photos of the robin's nest. I had really been expecting to find a fifth egg in the nest or mama robin sitting on her eggs. You can imagine my dismay when I looked in the nest and saw that it was bare. Not an egg to be seen. All that's left is just the tiniest speck of blue in the middle of it. I looked around the base of the tree and found just one of the four eggs, and as you can see, it had become some predator's meal. The yolk was "fresh" so whoever did this, it was recent. Since the nest is in an enclosed courtyard that no mammal or snake has access to, it must have been a bird - maybe a crow - I think.

It's a rainy, chilly, dismal, depressing day here.
Fits my mood perfectly.



Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Serenity

Peace is not a relationship of nations.
It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul.
Peace is not merely the absence of war.
It is also a state of mind.
Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.

Jawaharlal Nehru



photo courtesy of mum bum

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Robin's Egg Blue ReDeux

In the Magnolia Tree...
April 25, 2008
In four days, four eggs!
There are bugs to catch! Robin
parents, get ready!

Obviously mama Robin doesn't place the magnolia leaves over her eggs as I thought.
After the leaves fall, perhaps mama Robin moves them where she wants them to be.

It's still magic!


Another meme has this way come! I'll attempt this meme, but don't hold your breath for any great revelations...well since there aren't any to begin with, expel your breath now. (sigh)
The rules:
a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.
g. Don't follow the rules if you don't want to (I added that! :-)

1. I've always wanted to live in a home with a big front porch that has lots of rocking chairs on it. Of course, I want this porch to come with butlers, or whomever, that would serve me & Co. the beverages and bites of our choice, but I'll settle for just the porch and rockers. I would like the roof of this porch to be tin and for it to be raining at least every third night or so as the sound of rain on a tin roof is just loverly. And last, I want my porch to be on my horse farm as:

2. I desperately want to own a horse farm. This had been a dream of mine for years tho I really don't know why. I do not want to ride them, per say, but I want to own the farm and help take care of the horses, both my own and those that will board with me. Oh, and on my horse farm there will be either a lake, pond, stream or river that my home with the porch will be by.

3. I hate hate hate phlegm. Even when it was my own kids' when they were growing up. Made and makes me feel like, well you know. Just about any other body fluid I can handle.

4. The only other human being in the entire universe that knows exactly what I weigh is my OB-GYN. He ain't tellin'. And if he does, I'm suin'!

6. My glass is not only half full, it's actually 3/4's full. There are those that think that's because I'm a Democrat (my husband). It's actually because I'm an Optimistic Realist.

6.1. I cannot abide blue cheese. I cannot state this enough. I cannot abide it. Ever. Even in little bits or pieces. Hate it. (This is a bonus thing about me. Aren't you happy you know that? ;-)

DANG - I don't know who to tag - well, how about kacey, kelly, kate, college mama, dlyn & mary if they stop by. This was fun! Thanks!



Friday, April 25, 2008

Robin's Egg Blue...

In a Blooming Pink Magnolia Tree
April 24, 2008
Does mama put the magnolia petal over her eggs
or does it just fall into place?
Either way, it's magic!

April 23, 2008
(notice that ant??)

April 22, 2008

The school I'm part of has an enclosed courtyard in the middle of it. It's an ideal place for any bird to nest - absolutely not a cat or catbird able to pillage - and it's a robin's nest we've been blessed with this Spring! Though the nest is relatively low to the ground, I have to shoot over the top of it without seeing what I'm taking, so the arrangement isn't always humanly ideal, but it's always robinly ideal.
As long as mama robin isn't on the nest, I'll be trying to document each day, weekends excluded, (sigh) for the next few weeks.

P. S. It's a golf weekend in Chicago.....there are claims that ~business~ is involved. I think I'll have to beg to differ...hmmph!



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Word of the Day


1. fawning or subservient

2. excessively eager to please or to obey all instructions...except when the tv remote is involved

3. obedient, dutiful

As used in a sentence:

Upon observing my husband's obsequious behavior of late, it suddenly occured to me that 1. He had a really big favor to ask of me and he wasn't at all sure I'd be happy about it, or 2. He had a really big golf trip with his buddies planned and he wasn't at all sure I'd be happy about it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sunday Family Dinner

Sunday Family Dinner
(yup, a beloved tradition)


The Fam (of course) & Some Friends (always)

Barbecued Ribs & Chicken
Roasted Veggies
Grapefruit, Onion & Basil Salad
Fresh Cucumbers in Cider Vinegar Salad
Lettuce Salad w/Bottled Dressing
Poppy Seed Noodles (for those not on South Beach)
Some Gross Gerber's Concoction for Little Miss Magic
(that she refused to eat, as you can see below)

"MOMMY! wha dees?" "i NO eat dees!"

"I eat dees!"
Little Miss Magic loves her ribs 'n chicken!
The veggies? Not so much.

Mood & AmbienceExcellent, as always!
To the right is the cast of dry characters that go into making perfect barbecued ribs. For a package of (Costco) ribs (about 9 pounds worth), line one very big cookie sheet with foil. Rinse ribs and put on cookie sheet, underside up. Sprinkle with fresh ground kosher/sea salt and black pepper, then with Penzey's Bavarian, Galena Street and Northwoods seasonings (Penzey's is my personal favorite brand). Finally, with a fine sprinkle of brown sugar. All amounts are to your personal taste. Turn ribs over and sprinkle with all seasonings again. Cover tightly with foil and put into a 250º oven for 2 to 3 hours - after 2 hours, check for tenderness. Continue baking until rib meat easily separates when tested with fork. When done, turn off oven. Ribs can be held at this point for an hour or two at room temp. Any longer than that, cool completely and store in fridge. Make your favorite barbecue sauce, (or buy your favorite) and simmer it until it is thickened. Don't forget to put your very own secret ingredients into your sauce
and simmer it until it is thickened, (one of my secrets is cayenne pepper. The other? Nope, not tellin'!). About 20 minutes before you eat, fire up the grill, put the ribs on, coat with barbecue sauce and grill till sauce caramelizes, 5 or so minutes per side. When taken off the grill, cover with foil. Just before serving, cut ribs into 3 - 4 rib pieces.

For the bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs, sprinkle with salt, pepper, Galena Street and Northwoods. Place on another cookie sheet and bake, uncovered, at 350º for about an hour, or until they are cooked to an internal temp. of 170º. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, until the barbecue sauce caramelizes.

Little Miss Magic's mommy (Miss H.) made the grapefruit salad and it was FANTASTIC! (It's a recipe from Giada de Laurentis and you can find it here.) Must admit I tried it because Miss H. was hovering right next to me and I really didn't want to be rude by not at least trying it. You see, I eat with my eyes, I hate olives, so, consequently anything with olives in it or on I don't eat. Suffice it to say this was one time I am so glad I went beyond my usual expectations. Oh. My. GOD! You can't even begin to understand what an unbelievably wonderful, delicious, perfection-in-a-bite combination that fresh grapefruit and fresh basil are! Get rid of the olives and I'll eat this till the cows come home. FABU!
Our next little treat was a huge platter of roasted veggies Jules (the other usual family hostess) "threw together". BTW, she throws everything together, and always brilliantly. You see, she is throw 'n go cook so there's no set recipe. This time, she marinated green and yellow squash, grape tomatoes, red peppers, sweet onions, eggplant, portabello's and whole garlic cloves in a combination of balsamic, olive oil and a bit of molasses that was mixed with salt, pepper and a bunch of herbs. When all was said and roasted, she threw a handful of feta cheese over everything. The veggies were served at room temp. Bee-You-Tee-Full!!

Hmmm...we also had my family's famous - at least to us - Fresh Cucumber Salad. We take an English cucumber, peel it in stripes, slice it about 1/4" thick and place it in a bowl. Sprinkle the bowl liberally with fresh or dry dill and fresh ground black pepper. If you're of the Southern persuasion, you can also add a pinch of sugar at this point. Then we cover the cukes with apple cider vinegar (no other will do), add some water and cover all with ice cubes. Sprinkle salt over the ice cubes and let sit for no less than 30 minutes. Serve cukes with a slotted spoon so you don't make a mess of your plate. This dish usually doesn't make it to the actual dinner. There are many pilferers that make short work of this.

Our meal also included mundane greens with your choice of mundane bottled dressing - it's Jules' and my way of protesting that people don't eat what's served to them (dammit!). And because there were so many protests from the carb-addicted-non-South-Beach-embracing segment of this unruly crowd, Poppy Seed Noodles were also a last minute addition. They're wonderful, delicious, fabulous...and totally unnecessary. So be it! If you're interested, Poppy Seed Noodles are simply hot cooked egg noodles tossed with butter, poppy seeds and fresh ground black pepper. Top with Parmesan or Romano. Oh, and be sure to offer a fresh roll of dental floss to all those eating this.

Dessert is never a big thing - but there's usually ice cream, and, of course, Oreo cookies, around so those with sweet tooths don't feel too deprived.

The very most important part of this day is the FAMILY in the Sunday Family Dinner. Jules and I (along with our hubby's...well...sorta) have inadvertantly established a family tradition that I truly believe will long outlive us. Our six kiddos really do get upset with us if we miss too many Sunday's in a row. It has become an important part of their lives.

We couldn't be happier.

Here's to Sunday Family Dinners.
Here's to Family Traditions whatever they are.
So very important!

P. S. Pretty sure the meal was well liked. ;-)



P. S. (and a very serious one): We found out today that Jules' dad has had a very serious medical emergency. She and the rest of her brothers and sister have flown to Milwaukee to be with him. Please offer your thoughts and prayers. It will be so very appreciated. Thank you so very much!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coming Home

This is so deserving of a few minutes of your day:

~please come home~



Monday, April 21, 2008

King of the Side Table...

...has figured out where all the occupied bedroom windows are. When he decides it's time to come inside from his night of cat carousing and debauchery (I'm living vicariously through him), usually around 4:00am, give or take 15 minutes, he simply goes to each of the windows and meows, scratches and bangs on them until he's finally driven one of the humans over the edge and they open the window for him. I have recently discovered one of my family humans has solved this nightly nightmare by leaving her window permanently open. Below, behold the incriminating evidence. It does cut down on interrupted sleep...however...I can think of several drawbacks to this plan...

"You are lookin' at me?"

"You are not worthy of my look, so I shall bathe now and ignore you..."
(unlike my dog who would immediately come
back in the room, all a-dither for attention)
(15 minutes later)
"My stomach - it roars!"

"YES! I am too quick for the slow human's camera.
Must. Find. Food. Now!"
~~~Hmmm...maybe I should make him into a lamp...



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Serenity

The wonder of the world,

The beauty and the power,

The shape of things,

Their color, lights and shades,

These things I saw.

Look ye also while life lasts.
Inscribed On a Tombstone in Cumberland, England



Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's Just Wrong!

There's something so very wrong about a big plate of delicious looking cheese and meat covered nachos with a side of salsaed sour cream sitting next to all those diet books. I'll bet there isn't a recipe for nachos in even one of them! As you will see, my youngest daughter, Brynnly, has absolutely no empathy for me or my friend!

Miss LaLa walked over to my house with her various diet books as I have finally embraced the awful truth that since Christmas I have put on a few pounds and they simply aren't going away. I've also drifted closer to the floor. My mother, who knows a lot and is always willing to share, has told me numerous times that this occurs to everyone as they age, it just isn't those of us with big ol' muffin tops. Since drifting's a given, having an out-of-control muffin top is quite literally adding insult to injury.

I added my own books to the pile and then we spent the next 15 minutes or so having a highly philosophical discussion about the various pros and cons of the various horrifying diets represented and how we both really needed to embrace one of the diets and stick to it. There was a lot of highly philosophical cussing, too. Cussing and talking about diets seem to go hand in hand. I wonder why.

We weren't really paying much attention to anything other than ourselves when we both became aware that there was a lovely aroma in the air. The kind of aroma that makes your mouth water. The kind of aroma that can only mean big-time calories. While eavesdropping on us, Brynnly had the audacity to make nachos, carry the nachos to the table, plunk them down by our diet books and eat them in front of us. She also said something along the lines of "Oh my GOD!! You guys are talking diets again? Why? You know you two will stick to it for, like, about 5 days and that'll be that!" I said for that snooty little remark, I was going to take pictures of her eating that sinful plate of calories and post them here. "Well," Miss Smarty Pants replied, "I am not going to pose for any darn picture and you better hurry because I'm not stopping eating just to wait for you to take a picture." She can be so bratty at times!

Little Miss Smarty Pants then asked us if we wanted a bite. Can you imagine that? Because we both have such control, we both yelled an emphatic "NO" at the same time. I then reminded her that she was my daughter after all and just maybe in the future she might have a teensy tinsy little old weight problem as well. I cannot tell you what her reply was, as I try to keep this at least a PG rated place. Suffice it to say Brynnly is sure extra poundage will never be a problem for her. HA! That's what she thinks. And when her time comes, I promise I will refrain from saying "Told you so!" I will! No, I REALLY will!

Um...I'd like an order of skinny, please, along with a side of svelte. No, don't Super-Size it.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Golden, Too

Hurray!! They're here and it's about time! It took eight loooong & painful days (for me) for the goldfinches to discover their brand spankin' new sock feeder here at my corner of Cocktail Corner. Now they're coming in droves! Hope I haven't stolen any of Mental Mama's goldfinch friends, after all, she's the one who inspired me to go get the feeder in the first place. Her back yard is full of goldies and I've never had even a single one in my yard, though there are numerous feeders. Picky eaters!
I love this time of year with all the spring bloomage.
Daff's are one of my favorite.

This one got herself a tad dirty - I wonder how she managed that?

Can't remember the name* of this bush....
*winetipper just reminded me - it's an andromeda bush.

Forsythia - there isn't anything prettier. Or yellower.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

That Would Be Me!

Sometimes even a novice Bridge player,
has a stroke of genius,
(ahem...perhaps just phenomenal luck??).

Last night I had a GRAND SLAM!!!!
(The ultimate triumph in Bridge World, I've learned)
And my partner, Jane, aka
Miss Walking Encyclopedia of Bridge
didn't even help me.
What's that old saying?
"Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and again."
Guess I found that ole' acorn!

It's a good thing I did because the first hand Miss Jane and I were dealt, I totally misbid - suffice it to say it was a complete disaster. I'm quite happy she likes me better as a friend than a bridge partner. ;-) We certainly had fun, tho!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Country Girl Kate tagged me for two meme's...
And after a little blog sleuthing, I found that the first meme
was thought up by dlyn and she wants to do it once a month
or so to see what the different seasons, and possibly neighbors bring.
Isn't that a terrific idea?

Meme 1: The Front Door, Back Door Meme
I'm to take a picture out my front door, a picture out my back door and then post them.
Out my front door

Out my back door


Meme 2: This one is about your significant other. I'm with Kate - we're getting a wee bit personal so I'll keep it brief. Plus, half the questions happened so long ago I really don't remember.

How long have you been together?
Since 1977. Spring Break in Daytona. I was in college, he was marketing (pushing) Wild Turkey Bourbon. Nuff said!
How long did you date? 1 year, 1 week and 1 day. Got married April Fool's Day 1978. He said he needed a date he couldn't forget....I think I believe him...maybe not, tho.
How old is he? He's 57. Sometimes I think he's 70. Other times, 35. It's all relative.

Who said ‘I love you’ first?
I have no idea - maybe it was a mutual blurting??
Who is taller? He is, dammit, I've always wanted to be 6', too!
Who is smarter? We sort of split it down the middle. Except when it comes to math. Then, we're both doofuses.
Who does the laundry? I do. Except when I'm out of town. Then he does. He has discovered that khaki pants become pink and yellow blotched when bleached...twice.
Who does the dishes? We both do. But he'll tell you that he does. Honestly, I did them for the past 28 years. I think he can do some now, don't you? (This could very well have been written by me, except the 28 years would be 30 years. BUT it was actually written by Country Girl Kate!)
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does. I like my side. It's on the left. Always has been always will be. (CGKate and I agree again!)
Who pays the bills? We both have sets of bills that we pay. (Yep, agree again.)
Who mows the lawn? Guilty secret - neither of us. We have it done by a friend who has a lawn service.
Who cooks dinner? All grilling done excellently by him - and that's most nights. All indoor stuff is my domain.
Who is more stubborn? Definitely
Who kissed who first? The stars were shining, our hearts pounding as loudly as the ocean's waves. With one glance we knew, knew in our heart of hearts we were going to lock lips and stay that way for the foreseeable future. Since it takes two to kiss, I'd say it was a concurrent happening. And now you know why I'm not a romance writer!
Who asked who out? It was spring break. I don't think there was a lot of asking out. He did call my home 3 times before I got there to see if I'd arrived safely. (My mother upon my arrival: "Ann, just who is this George W. Turkey that keeps on calling here??)
Who proposed? He did at Thanksgiving with all my family, and his mom there. He'd frozen my ring in an ice cube in my water glass. Everyone panicked when I got up with the glass and went to the kitchen sink. The sink had a disposal and they were afraid I was throwing my ice and water down the drain. I kinda figured out something was going on about that point. And when I looked up and was 6 people standing there staring at me with horror written all over their faces, it kinda confirmed it.
Who is more sensitive? Him about reality stuff. Me about make-believe stuff.
As far as tagging - hmmm....


Monday, April 14, 2008

Some Unexpected Tombstoning Surprises

I've been Tombstone Chronicling for several years now. During family genealogy research I came upon the FindAGrave (the site is also referred to as FAG - one of the only times that word is acceptable) website. Their goal is to chronicle with a picture (and any bio that can be added) each and every tombstone in America - actually they're going for chronicling the entire world.

Hmmm, I thought, we have graveyards around here that are older than dirt, some of them totally neglected, and with tombstones that are becoming unreadable because they're either disintegrating, sinking into the ground, being absorbed by a tree, or worst of all, vandalized, and most of them haven't been photographed. Considering I also love to walk outdoors, particularly in cemeteries (it might sound odd, but don't knock it till you try it - it's so very peaceful), I realized this would be a great new thing to get involved with. So I did, and still do.
I've been able to do photo requests for several people of their ancestors and have found numerous of my ancestors. It's neat to finally see the tombstone of a gggg grandparent buried in West Virginia when you live in CT and there's little chance you'll ever be in that gggg's cemetery!

Sometimes when you go tombstoning, the unexpected will happen. Just once, I made the mistake of not wearing long pants and socks. After getting over the worst case of poison ivy I've had in a long time, even if it's 100º outside, fully covered I always am! (Actually, I'm now a fair weather tombstone photographer - I'll never be out there in that kind of weather again.)

 And then there was the time when I stepped backward to get a better camera angle. My foot went right into a hole. A small and very deep hole. Imagination kicked in and I knew the dead were pulling me under. Never in history has a 50ish, not in shape and not at her ideal weight (don't ask) gotten out of a hole faster. You would have thought the leg not stuck in the hole up to it's knee was a giant spring. I must have leaped at least 5 feet straight up in the air! It took a good 10 minutes for my heart to return to normal.

Yesterday, among the tombstones, I met a bug:

To take a picture of the larger tombstone, I pulled the smaller one forward.

There was a small beetle where the protective shade of the smaller stone had been.

I just love my new macro camera (thanks mom!). A tiny (about 1/2" long) beetle can be photographed up close and personal so all the world can see just how beautiful he really is. And yes, I put the smaller stone back just as it was and left Sir Beetle to do whatever it is that beetles do. BTW, that's a false potato or horse nettle beetle.



*Update from my gardening parents:
Those lovely flowers from yesterday's post are
~Scilla Siberica~ or ~Siberian Squill~

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Miss LaLa & I Take a Field Trip

~peace to all who enter~

My dear friend Mental Pause Mama, aka Miss Lala, aka Lauren, aka a LOT of other noms de plume, called me this morning. She told me that there were amazing flowering things happening around the grounds of her church and after reading about my confederate violets, she really thought I needed to go see what was blooming and that she most definitely needed to go with me. Road trip!

St. Paul's on the Green is a lovely Episcopal church in Norwalk, CT. It isn't my church, (actually I don't have a specific church), but is one that welcomes all comers regardless of, well, anything and that I've loved attending. But I digress.

For the many (um, few?!?!) of you who have been following me since the inception of this little old blog thing, you know that two of my loves are flowers and tombstones/cemeteries. Love em, love em!

Miss Lala thought these were forget-me-nots. I don't know what they are, but they aren't f-m-n's! What are these lovely little blue beauties? Some kind of hyacinth? *see update at bottom!

And by the slope that goes down to the Post Road, that would normally be covered with the detritus of we humans (think trash and lots of it), it's a veritable sea of those blue beauties! What are these flowers??

Anywho - our field trip and the lovely spring weather has truly inspired me to go tombstoning....reporting of my tombstone adventure comes tomorrow....or the next day. Hey! I'm on spring break...naps...they rule!



*Update from my gardening parents:
Those lovely flowers are
~Scilla Siberica~ or ~Siberian Squill~

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Confederate I Love

Every spring my heart warms
When I see their pretty faces
Peeking out from among the grass blades

Lovely, aren't they?



Friday, April 11, 2008

What The...?

Food Porn if I ever did see it...

Mom claims those eggplant "appendages" are ~arms~... I beg to differ.

(my mom's creation and photograph)