Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My World...And Yours Too...

This Tuesday My World
Is Washington D.C. Heart
Of our Great Nation.

~~~

xoabb
always expect
patriotism in my world,
even in the heart of our troubles.
~
And here's a wish that all the world leaders
meeting in London this week listen to each other and
agree on answers/solutions to this
international economic crisis that's affecting
all of us in this world of ours.



~

Monday, March 30, 2009

My New Favorite Veggie Dish

As usual, we all gathered for Sunday Family Dinner last night. Brussels sprouts were on the menu. At least they were on my menu as everyone else in my immediate family cannot abide them (thank God there's a few in laws and nieces that have seen the brussels sprouts are delicious light so I wasn't eating them alone). Stew Leonard's, a grocery store experience in and of itself, has been having tastings of the above brussels sprouts recipe for the last few weeks and it is simply delicious! If you want the recipe, go here. I followed it for the most part, but it's one of those things that you really can do what you like to your taste. (Didn't use nearly as much olive oil as their recipe called for.)

Of course, Little Miss Magic was a SFD attendee and had a fabulous time pulling on Stella's tail playing with Miss Stella-Bella. I do think at this point, Miss Stella was pleading "Please make this baby go away!"

As always, a good time was had, wonderful food was eaten and memories were made. I'd say that makes for a very successful SFD!

~~~

xoabb
expect family connections!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Serenity

The color of Spring

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

BTW, Kacey, this is also my entry for your photo of the month contest
(Click on the green links to go to Kacey's place in the blog world.)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ruins...

What happened??
I need the end of this story! 
It's a requirement!
Just ask Jules.

~~~

xoabb
expect me to read the 
end of a book...first!

Spring Peeper Count-Down: Nope, not today!
There's spring chirping (at 11:43pm) but they're not Spring Peepers!

12:29 AM update:  YES YES YES - spring peepers are peeping! 
There is NO better sound in the world!
52º - must be the magic temp!

Friday, March 27, 2009

SWF & A New Way to Mail Stuff

Hole to Heaven Face Off...
I love the blue in this photo, and I swear I
can see two face silhouettes, one on the left
who is looking away into the blue and the
one on the right looking across at Lefty.
What do you see?
~


When I opened my mailbox this afternoon, this is what greeted me. (Thanks Bill & Chrissy, the three boxes of big zip bags arrived!) Hmm, I thought, the boxes must have fallen out of the envelope or box they were originally packaged in for mailing. They hadn't. It's the strangest packaging job I've ever seen!

My brother simply taped an very oddly shaped label (all three basically identical in shape, all with ragged edges and taped down in pink tape) to each box and mailed them off. I cannot believe all three arrived without bursting apart! Strange....but do I mean the packaging job or my brother? Hmmm....

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PURPLE, PEOPLE, PURPLE!!!

Over the last year I've come to ~know~ many folks I never would have had the opportunity to know if it weren't for this crazy thing called blogging. Yes, I know blogs and blogging have been around much longer than I've been aware of them, but I'm still amazed how much my personal world has been opened in the year I've been a part of this great blogging adventure. 
One of the blogging folks I've ~met~ and have become friends with is Michele. She's the author (blogthor??) of the blog, The Rocky Mountain Retreat (click on the name - duh! - to go there), a marvelous collection of gorgeous photos of British Columbia, fly fishing adventures and, well, just winter more than any other season. However, the heart of her blog is about her fight against the devastating effects of epilepsy. Admiration for this woman? In spades! Michele is so very compromised by epilepsy and every day in spite of that, puts a positive spin on her world. I am in awe, complete and total awe of her.  
(Please visit Michele's and my friend ~Fishing Guy~ His tribute to her is wonderful.) 


So in honor of Michele and Purple Day


Go here for my collection of flower purpleness!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

J is for...What Else???

Part of my family by marriage, 
but over the last 30 years, she's become 
one of my dearest, nearest, and best friends. 
Here for me and I'm there for her - forever always.
Doesn't get much better than that!
(this is the only photo she'd approve of to be seen here. Silly girl!)
(BTW, that's Jules' son Connor on the left  in that awesome Obama baseball hat.)

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My World...Late Tho The Post Is...

Every St. Patrick's Day the principal of our school makes several loaves of Irish Soda Bread (see the actual example above) for the staff of our school to enjoy. And enjoy it we do! Slathered with sweet butter, it is simply, deliciously a sublime bite! However...
Case in point: I was visiting my cousin's home. Let's just say, without naming names, my cousin had a loaf of "Irish Soda Bread" that had been gifted to her... It was a disc...a one inch tall very hard very heavy disc. She took an exploratory bite. And immediately spit it out. Inedible. Completely inedible. Had it been "frisbeed" toward someone, destruction and possibly death would have insued.
I'm just sayin'. Some folks certainly know their ISBs (Irish Soda Breads) some folks just don't....Irish or not!

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stella Really Was Quite Naughty

See that young man there? That's my son, Bly, with ~his~ dog, my Stella (tho yesterday, my dog? Not so much). Yesterday, he and his friends made a big batch of habanero wings. They ate some of them, then hurried downstairs to the satellite TV to see the end of one of the 1000's of basketball games on yesterday. They thought Stella was outside, so the wings were deemed to be safe and left on the kitchen table for a few minutes. About 20 of them. That was a mistake. A very big mistake. You guessed correctly. Sneaky Stella was upstairs, and when she heard the guys go downstairs, Miss Stealth Puppy came down to investigate, and my-o-my, she found the motherlode! Up on the kitchen table she got and down she ate every last one of those hotter than hot wings.
Do you know this is the very first time in Stella's life she has chosen not to throw up on one of the carpets in our house?? And believe me, this time it was waaay beyond a very good thing! Also for the very first time in my life, I found out about this calamity after the fact! And that's an even better thing. (The guys said the depths of grossness far surpassed anything they'd ever seen before.) After that debacle, Stella then spent a good many hours outside - and they made sure she really was outside that time. (By the way, today she's none the worse for wear.) The mother in me hopes lessons were learned by all parties involved - both human and dog!

~~~

xoabb
expect surprises!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Serenity

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, 
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through 
to achieve that beauty.

 ~Maya Angelou

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Photo: Taken 8/12/8 in my folks' MO garden

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Start of Something...

Very Good...
...and more than a bit scary!
(No, those rectangular squares you see in the above photo are not future tombstone plots!) 

Got a call from our Recreation & Parks Department this week. For the grand sum of $10.00, I am now the proud keeper of a 4 X 12 foot garden plot at Norwalk, CT's Fodor Farms Community Garden. Although my folks are both close to being master gardeners, me not so much. I'm excited, tho, and if a positive attitude counts toward a successful harvest, this should be a piece of cake! HA!

When I went to see the plot yesterday, this was as close as I could get. What you see is the second phase of Norwalk's community garden. Fodor Farms was at one time a magnificent farm with two beautiful homes and lots of land around it. Different groups have been battling for years to figure out what to do with all this open space. An elementary school, condominiums, houses, and keeping it an open space have all been promoted as the best use for the land. I'm pleased that the open space folks won. We have enough housing in Norwalk, and it's cheaper to fix a school than build from scratch. By this time last year every single one of the initial 220 garden plots had been sold (at $5.00 a piece - inflation even in garden plots) and there was a 100+ long waiting list. This year, as you can see, the other field is being converted into more plots. I'll let you know how we're progressing as the spring and summer rolls along. Gotta go now. Must call mom and dad now. I need help with this!

~~~
xoabb
expecting glorious ripe home-grown tomatoes!

An excerpt from here:  Seven years ago the fate of Fodor Farm, Norwalk's last remaining farm, looked grim. The city planned to build a new elementary school on the property. Three historic houses would be torn down, and the bucolic landscape would succumb to parking lots and ball fields. With the city's permission a long attempt was made to find someone to move the main house to save it from demolition. A firm deal did not emerge, even after several listings in the Exchange and a feature in the "Save This Old House" column of This Old House Magazine. But now, after years of existing on borrowed time, Fodor Farm faces a bright future. More information about Fodor Farms herehere and here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unexpected

I have no idea why I'm so disturbed by the death of Natasha Richardson, but I am. She is and was a brilliant human. And I'm going to miss her mark on this world of ours. Silly, isn't it?

Rest in peace, dear lady, do rest in peace.

~~~

xoabb
Sympathy...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ABC Wednesday - I, as in Irish!

Above, the dregs of our Irish Feast...

Below, the before of our Incredible Irish feast....
Mama and I loved every single bite!

ABC Wednesday - It's I!

~~~
xoabb
Expect me to be Irish! At least on March 17.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My World...My Neighbors

A few days ago, I was out on my bi-annual daily stroll power walk around the part of my world that is my neighborhood when I came upon these...creatures...
I ask you...
Is it any wonder I'm too lazy to scared to stroll power-walk around my neighborhood???

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!
~
Happy St. Patrick's Day, my friends!
It's corned beef and cabbage for me! And you?
~

Monday, March 16, 2009

R. I. P.

I was just goofing around taking inventive (in my mind at least) photos of my various paper weights. After a while I became bored, turned my camera off and went on to other things. An hour or so later, something else caught my eye that I had to take a photo of. 

Alas...my trusty just-over-a-year-old Pentax Optio W30 camera had decided the above was the very last good (relative term there) photo she would ever take. I tried every troubleshooting thing I could think of, from resetting the camera, to calling my brother (he wasn't home, which was probably just as well as I would have most likely frustrated the hell out of him - and myself), to calling Pentax. (Nice Mr. Pentax spokesman: "Of course it's not under warranty! Send it to us and we'll give you a free estimate of what the repairs would cost!" I just know I heard him cackling at me.  O. Joy.)

At first Ms. Pentax Optio was taking photos like the above. Lovely, don't you think? Then she just up and died a complete and thorough death. Not only does she not take any kind of photos, when you attempt to turn her on, the green ~on~ button flashes for about 1/100th of a second and then promptly goes out. 

I am having a burial at sea tomorrow. 
(sigh)

xoabb
expecting a new camera under my pillow tomorrow morning!
What?!?!? There isn't a camera fairy???
 


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Serenity

First Crocus

This morning, flowers cracked open
the earth’s brown shell. Spring
leaves spilled everywhere
though winter’s stern hand
could come down again at any moment
to break the delicate yolk
of a new bloom.

The crocus don’t see this as they chatter
beneath a cheerful petal of spring sky.
They ignore the air’s brisk arm
as they peer at their fresh stems, step
on the leftover fragments
of old leaves.

When the night wind twists them to pieces,
they will die like this: laughing,
tossing their brilliant heads
in the bitter air.

~ Christine Klocek-Lim

~~~
xoabb
expect...spring!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Springs Forth...

First Beauty of a Spring
That is Certain to Come.

xoabb
expecting a new season to begin!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Glorious Sky with - OH YES!!! Crocus!

My hopes are realized,
Crocus have burst into bloom.
Spring is almost here!

Beautiful bouquet!
Only nature can do this.
It's just wonderful!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Photos: Taken yesterday around 3:20 EDT,
Riverside Avenue (Rte. 33), Westport, CT


Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Rufous Aside

I've had several folks question if possibly I got the identification of my towhee photo wrong when I identified it as an Eastern Towhee instead of a Rufous-sided Towhee. Maybe...maybe not. According to my usually trusty National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds (© 1994) there is only one towhee with similar markings and coloring to the one in my photo and that's the Rufous-sided Towhee. 
However, upon further investigation I found several sites that attest the Towhee is now considered to have two species (click on the names to see photos of each):

"Rufous-sided Towhee" - old name, is now split into two species:
Eastern Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus and
Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus

(I've pulled this info from Wikipedia, (mainly because I love this site so much), 
but if you google either of the above birds, you'll find much information on both.) 

Hmm...maybe we should do what my 2 year old niece does 
and just call all our feathered friends: "Ooo...Pretty Birdie!".

~~~

xoabb
expect new knowledge just about any time!

My Very First CT Sighting EVER!

A poor picture, yes
But my very first sighting!

~~~

xoabb
expect firsts at times - Yippee!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

H is for....Headstone

I'm not called The Tombstone Chronicler for nuthin'...

Bird-poop stained but still readable. 
Now forever photo-documented even after 
the ravages of time finally destroy the words. 

A documentation of what can no longer be deciphered...

On the opposite side of the  above stone, 
and why that added plaque is so very important.

Another headstone 
Still in quite good condition.
How long will that last? 

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Do visit and contribute to findagrave.com.
It is our collective history and heritage 
that's waiting to be preserved...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Was So Very Good!

After it's over....it's over.
But...It Was So Very Good!
Auntie Care & the Con-man who is inquiring if possibly it's time for
Auntie Care to retire from her birthday activities.
That Con-man...such a thoughtful young gentleman!


What a wonderful birthday weekend we had!
Auntie Care, the Con-Man & the Con-Man's mom, Jules

Of course, we were surrounded by the best of family and friends, and all was augmented by the very best eating and cocktailing experience any of us have had in a long while. Just perfection!

Our first night, we gathered at Taverna Cretekou, a traditional Greek restaurant in Alexandria, VA's Old Town. Atmosphere, service, & food were all simply fantastic. 18 of us were there, we all had different entrees, and it was just wonderful! I was going to have lemon/oregano chicken until my ~diplomatic~ - and I do use that term loosely - hubby announced to the entire table that if I had chicken instead of lamb at a Greek restaurant he was going to go screaming out into the night (actually he just threatened to never go to another restaurant with me ever again - almost as bad) because when in a Greek restaurant, you have what they do best - and especially if you love it...and I do...love lamb. I had the lamb. It was sublime. It was wonderful. It was one of the very best lamb dishes I've ever had! Seriously.

The next day all of us savvy world travelers - and again a term used loosely - decided to be the ultimate tourists and do the double decker circle line tour. It was just wonderful! Mr. Bob (as we named him) narrated us through all the major Washington DC highlights - we all learned more about this wonderful national capitol than any of us ever knew. Just before the end of the tour, we jumped off to go to the National Portrait Gallery - however decided en masse we needed lunch first. The birthday girl suggested an Irish pub she knew about. Hellllooo Fado! What a great place! Had the best Reuben there I've had in a long long time! Atmosphere was perfection, too. Go there! You won't regret it!

After our lovely lunch, off we all went to the National Portrait Gallery. Such a marvelous place to spend one's time touristing in DC - the portraits and associated biographies are simply phenomenal.

Later that night, we all traveled to Falls Church to Duangrat's Thai Restaurant, my sister's and brother-in-law's favorite, for her 50th birthday bash. I have to admit I've been to a not that good Thai restaurant once in my life, and my hubby never ever at all.
We both totally and completely fell in love with Duangrat's. Completely. And totally. No doubt about it. The spring rolls! The pork & asparagus! The Coconut Chicken Curry! That Beef thing! The...well, all the rest...I'm sure you get the picture. The food was simply sublime. Anytime you're in the DC area, do yourself a favor and visit this fine establishment. My sis was worried Duangrat's might not be "fancy" enough for a gathering. HA! It was simply perfection!

To top it all off, the weather for this first March weekend - a winter weekend, by the way - was just perfection. 70º weather, no rain and an overcast day. A taste of Spring. Sightseeing and walking perfection.

All I can say is this must mean my sis is a very good girl who was and will be blessed with good fortune on her 50th and for ever more. A perfect 50th birthday day - and a perfect life for her to come!

Happiness always, little sis, happiness always!

~~~

xoabb
baby seeester's are the BEST!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I'm Exhausticated...

What a weekend we had! Never stopped for a minute and we all had a blast! We birthday feted sister Care, we ate, we toasted the birthday girl many many times, we played long and hard, we reconnected with cousins not seen in a long long time, we did the tourist thing, we just did it all

And I'm exhausticated...I can actually hear my bed calling to me.


We're on the top of the double decker tour bus that's reflected in the window behind that really big, really neat spider sculpture.


Connor, Dodgie, Jules, Chrissy and Bill doin' the tourist thing.


An embarrassing collection (according to my sis, the birthday girl) of her earlier years. There were several photos she tried to turn over. Being the good relatives we are, we didn't let her. 

More tomorrow - must go horizontal....now!

~~~
xoabb
expect zzzzzz's!

Sunday Serenity


Photo:  Geranium flowers completing their circle of life, i.e., they're wilting...

~~~

But I know the heart of life is good"  ~JM

Saturday, March 07, 2009

It's all in the Angle, Baby!

Looks like two flowers
But it's not. Just one flower,
But two different angles...

Which is your favorite?
The goofy angle with bug,
Or the reflected?

~~~

xoabb
expect questions!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Sister...

She's 50!
Damn...I'm old!!
Isn't she beautiful?
(Care's peeps l to r: Father Irish Priest, Care, hubby Marty, F-I-L Wally Sr., brother Bill, nephew Bly)

We (GB, Jules, Connor & I) are off to D.C. to celebrate her big day with all the rest of our family! Our parents, Bro Bill & fam are flying in, aunts, uncles & cousins are coming, and of course, friends.  It's gonna be fun!

Happy birthday, dear sister, you'll never know how very much I (and a whole lot of other folks) love you. You are certainly just the very best.

~~~

xoabb
expect sisterly adoration at least once a year! 

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Nom Nom Nom....YUM!

I have come to understand that the new word for a mouthful of food that is beyond wonderful, delicious, delightful is...NOM...yup, just NOM. Don't know where it came from (O you wordsmiths/google travelers, do fill me in as I've not taken the time to research it yet), but it's a good descriptive word for food excellence.

Bel0w behold the most marvelous protein we shared tonight.
NOM NOM NOM
Pan seared tuna...

Coated with the most delightful seasonings that...

Come from this jar!

(You can get this wonderful jar here.)


~~~
xoabb
expect really really good tuna!


Sooo simple! All you do to make this is:

1. Buy very fresh tuna steaks, about 1/4 - 1/2 lb. per person
2. Rinse tuna steaks and dry them with paper towels
3. Place stainless steel or iron skillet (not non-stick) on stove over high heat
4. Pour just enough canola oil in pan to just coat it, (about 1 tablespoon or so)
5. Add toasted sesame oil to your taste, I used probably 2 teaspoons
6. As skillet is heating, pour seasoning on plate
7. Coat steaks thoroughly with seasoning
8. When skillet just begins to smoke, add tuna and sear 2 minutes per side for rare (above), 3 minutes a side for more well done. (Tuna will continue to cook after it's removed from the heat so be careful not to over-cook it.)
9. Place tuna on platter and slice as shown above
10. If you want to get all fancy-schmancy, decorate platter with stuff

Serve with the following sauce:
Mix Kikkoman soy sauce, about 1/4 - 1/2 cup (depending on amount of tuna being served) with 1 - 2 tablespoons (to your taste) Inglehoffer Wasabi Horseradish* (photo here). Ladle over tuna slices.

P. S. - *I love Inglehoffer Wasabi Horseradish....love love love it, bad ingredients and all!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

G is for Glorious...

Grasshopper!
A photo from my visit last summer to Missourahhh. This certainly works for me for ~ABC Wednesday - It's a G This Week~, but I can feel the backlash comin' already! I just know some entomologist, or entomologist-minded person is going to declare, in no uncertain terms, that the above bug is nowhere near a grasshopper! Do NOT spoil my day, you entomologist, you!

~~~
xoabb
expecting Spring...
Please???


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

SOMEBODY Has To Direct!!!

A Conflagration
of Red Winged Black Birds...Someone
Must Direct...It's Him!

~~~
xoabb
Not expecting red-winged black birds!
But glad they stopped by!


I know, I know, not a terribly good photo, but the red's were so skittish, I was lucky to get even this shot. It is very unusual for red-wings to be here this time of year, and I feel ~honored~ to even get this photo!

A Note:  I may very well go broke feeding the birds! (Just kidding...I think.) I had a snow day Monday so was watching the birds all day long. Filled the feeders just once, but threw out scoopfuls of sunflower seeds at least 4 and maybe 5 times. My birds were  -  and are -  very well fed!  That RW'ed blackbird wasn't hurt or looking for food. I had my camera on rapid fire because I wanted to get a photo of the red of his wing, so this fella was either flying in or out, thus his wings were spread. I still think he looks like he's directing an orchestra. ;-)