Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Surprise

I never expected this, but the weather has been crazy this year.  I am doing OK

Look what the Nor'easter blew in.
At 9 am

At 11 am

At 11:30 am

At 11:45 am

At 12 pm

At 2 pm

At 3:30, sitting by the fire, listening to the sleet and snow on the roof.

At 4 pm

At 4:05, my beautiful Bradford Pear trees down

At 5 pm, making plans to follow the geese down south

At 6 pm, it is still snowing and sleeting.  What happened to Autumn?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cooking, It Used to Be So Easy

Looking through recipes and doing OK, sort of .

No mojo in the kitchen
Swedish poser.jpg
I am a good hostess, I can set a beautiful table, the wine is always fine, but the food, well, it can be iffy.  There was a time I considered myself quite adept at putting together a very nice meal, and was even  known for some of my dishes.  I loved cook books, searched for new recipes, and often did some tweaking to get it just the way I would like it (meaning spicy).  I was usually confident with what I made. We joined a gourmet club with friends and we would have a theme meal every 6 weeks or so.  It was great fun and we experimented with all types of food.  The cooking part of my life came to a crashing halt when I was unfortunate enough to get a job from hell that required me to be at work many times until 6 or 7 PM.   Hubby, aka, Barbecue Bob, took over the culinary aspect of our lives.  No problem; he enjoyed it and I still had my hands in some meals.  He then anointed himself as King of the Kitchen and again, no problem; it was nice to have that chore taken over. I still did certain dishes and cooked on holidays or when we had company. That job with the late hours only lasted for a year, but  I was able to milk the non-cooking situation for 20 years.

 Now since I have retired, I have taken up the spatula once more.  I do not like any meals that take longer than 15 minutes to prepare and if the cooking time is longer than 45 minutes, my Adult ADD kicks in.   My first meal for hubby after retirement included a simple boxed cheesy scalloped potatoes but I mistakenly threw in some of the cellophane wrapping into the casserole dish.  (See My Retirement, Day 2).  It really added a ,unique touch to the dinner.  I have gradually improved since then,with my specialty being soups.  Everything can be thrown into these and you can't really mess them up.  Put the wrong ingredient into the pot, just give the soup a different name.

We had guests last night and because it was a birthday celebration,  I cooked his favorite dish, lasagna.  The recipe's name was "The Best Ever Lasagna Recipe" and the comments assured me that this would be a winner.  After I assembled it, I realized a little mistake I had made (have not made this dish in years) and although it tasted good, it kind of fell apart.  I'll have to rename that one.

So today I went to Costco.  There in the cold cases were freshly made meals, looking delicious and all you had to do was stick them in the oven.  Included in them was a fabulous looking lasagna. There would be no prepping, no dirty dishes, no cleaning up my mess. This really was the Best Ever Lasagna, as it took no work. I will have to remember this for the next time.  I will just have to figure out how to get it out of the aluminum container and into my dish without messing it up.  However, messing it up may look even more like something I made. 

Well, I am off now to bake some "severed fingers cookies" for my granddaughter's Halloween party.  If they don't work out, I will just call them "severed toes from a Woolly Mammoth".  Who's to know?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ma, What Are You Listening to?/ Tom Waits and I, A Musical Love Affair

Singing along with Tom Waits and doing better than OK

Tommy Boy

Yes, I am a Tom Waits fan, a Leonard Cohen Fan and a Ryan Bingham fan.  I love the gravel-voice tone of these artists.  The first song I heard Tom Waits sing was Waltzing Matilda and it grabbed me in my belly and I was a gonner.  He is not every one's cup of tea, nor is he an acquired taste, he is "you like him or hate him" type artist.  My children are of the latter group and cannot understand my passion for this bluesy, honky-tonk man.  I have been criticized for putting on one of his albums in their company, but I don't care, since my taste in music is so much more advanced than theirs. 

I have quite a few of Tom's albums but I thought Closing Time (debut album) was one of his best and would have more appeal to people.  This is the beautiful "Martha", but also on this CD is Rosie, O'l 55, Midnight Lullaby, Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night, and one of my favorites, Old Shoes.   If you put your cursor across the near bottom of the video (at about 10 seconds into it), up will pop more songs (15), and if you will give it a try, you can listen to and get into a Tom Waits moment. 

Want to get down and dirty with the blues, look up Warm Beer, Cold Women .  My oh my, this man moves me.  If I ever smoked (which I haven't), I'd want to light up now.

Someone said of Tom "his songs are like whiskey, and makes the world a little more bearable."  I don't like whiskey or any hard liquor, but I can drink in all his talent.

(OK, I know that 75% of you hated it, and I understand.  Different strokes for different folks, but really, at least try Grapefruit Moon)

 Sing to me Tommy Baby, sing to me!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time to Say Goodbye

Somewhat sad, but doing OK.

Stock Photography Image: Hand Pushing Through Binary CodeIt has now officially come to a close.  The chilly, windy weather has arrived. There is no putting it off any longer, I have got to put an end to my summer plants.  Most have held on and done their best to keep blooming and possibly because of all the rain (and not depending on me), have lasted longer than their expected shelf life. They are showing their age now and instead of letting the frost get them, I will be compassionate and put them to sleep in a more dignified manner.  So as I dump them into the compost heap, I say farewell to them all.

Goodbye, Sun Impatiens, you grew to new heights. 

Toodles, begonias, you were mystical in my Zen garden

Hasta la vista fan flower  (Scaevola), you asked so little of me but gave much.

Chau Zinnias, you really brightened up the later part of the season.

Au revoir all you beautiful Hibiscus, you were magnifique!.

Sorry about that Picasso Petunias, you didn't make it though the summer.  I tried my best to keep you around, but like me, you wilted in the blistering hot sun.  I appreciated your splendor while you were here.

Arriverderci, Diamond Frost (Euphorbia).  You were like snow in summer without the miserable elements.

Ah, Knock Out Rose, you will need to be pruned for the winter, and what can I say, you were....., well you know what you were.
Knock out!

It was nice to meet you big green and red plant on my deck,  You will be spared as I am going to put you in my basement and take you out next spring.   Good luck, as I might forget about you every now and then.  It is survival of the fittest down there.  In a few years, that's where I may put hubby.
I have no idea what you are.

To all the other plants I had (who's names have been forgotten) but brightened up my days of summer, Chau.   I will welcome your seedlings back next year.

It is now time for Mums, cabbages and pumpkins.

I'll be back

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Festivus For the Rest of Us

Celebrating life and doing OK

Bringing us together.
Wife Carrying in Maine.
This is a great time of the year for festivals.  If we aren't busy with family, hubby and I like to visit the towns nearby that are having celebrations, with the criteria being that some sort of refreshments will be served.  Our area has some nice events and most of the ones we have gone to this year had the words "food, wine, and music" in their title.   It all rather tame when you compare it to all the Celebrations of Craziness that are held throughout the world. I am sure most of us have seen pictures of the Wife Carrying Contest Finals that are held in Finland and is covered by the media every year.  However, you may not know that there are regional contests for this that are held all over.  There is one that takes place in the very respectable state of Maine.  People come from all over to see men drag their wives though dirt and mud to gain the glory and win a prize of their wife's weight in beer.  Now I ask myself, what is in this for the wives.  What does she get after being hauled around in unnatural positions and hanging on for dear life as he crosses streams and shoots through trees.  My thought is that she she will be blessed with listening to his moaning about his back pain for the next few months.  If that happens, she should eat all the strawberry shortcake and pizza she can get her hands on till the next event he plans like that.

Splish, splash, I'm taking a bath.

If listening to grunting is not your cup of tea, you might want to attend the La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain.  Bring some pasta and bread and maybe a bottle of vino. Sauce is on the house.

Meet the neighbors
One festival I would love to attend would be the one in New Mexico.  No, not the beautiful Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but rather the Alien Festival in Roswell.  This is, (yes, I am going to say it) out of this world.  So if you are interested in flying saucers or maybe have one of your own,  put on your Spock ears, ask Scottie to beam you up and head for Roswell.  I hear they serve a mean alien pate. 

Local events bring back the old community spirit that was so central to the quality of life when I was growing up.  Even in New York, we knew everybody on our block, children played together, and people always dropped by.  Today we are supposedly so connected technically, but disconnected socially.  People don't even talk on phones anymore, but rather text.  There is too much unimportant information freely put out there, but little personal interaction.  Sad, but this is the way it is today, however, we don't have to accept it.  When we have those opportunities to meet with our neighbors and celebrate something that could brings us together, we should go, participate, and enjoy.

P.S. Leave your IPhone or Blackberry at home and instead "link" to the people around you.  You might meet a new "real" friend.
Me, I am planning on jumping on hubby's back and heading for the next fall harvest festival.  He'll be glad I got on this diet. Giddy up, big guy.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Late for the Willow Manor Ball

(This post is in answer to an invitation to a vitual ball where we are asked to bring a famous person and dress as if we were visiting royalty.  It is total fantasy.  Doesn't everybody need that every now and then)

All dressed up for the Willow Manor Ball and doing OK

My day has been chaotic.  First Truman (Capote) called and told me that he was running a tad behind schedule and would I mind meeting him at the Rainbow Room. Of course I obliged, even though I thought it was a bit churlish of him.  Truman was not my first choice for the date but when he found out where I was going, he begged and begged.  How could I turn this little man down (even though he can be such a boor at times).  Now though, I would have to be ready earlier and I had not planned for this.  My vintage Ginger Rogers dress had not arrived yet, and where oh where was my hairdresser.  I was in such a tizzy, I finished the bottle of champagne that was sent along with the invitation.  I wonder if everybody got that, or was it just the "special" guests.  Finally at 5 PM, my gown arrived.
It had been too big for me when I first tried it on and it needed some alterations to fit me properly.
At 5:30 pm Harry Winston came by with my jewelry.  I decided on just some small diamond earrings  and a jeweled purse.  As you can see by my dress, I love simplicity.

The limo came for me at 7 and I was pleased to see a bottle of Dom Perignon waiting for me.  Oh, that Truman, he is so thoughtful.  It took forever to get to the Rainbow Room, as we seemed to stop at every light.  However, the champagne made the trip so much more pleasant and I was able put a nice little dent in the bottle.  Finally, I arrived at 7:30 and my date was no where to be found.  I sent the driver in to find him.  I was in a panic, so I had a little more champagne.  About 15 minutes later, out he comes with some wretched little excuse that he was interviewing some serial killer for a new book.  I thought, really, not another blood bath novel, but I kept my tongue, because time was slipping by and we were already dreadfully late for the ball. 

We did not get there till 9 pm and there was such merriment about at the bar. My throat was a little dry, so I had a delightful Cosmo or two.  Some early goers had already left, but the fun people were still there.  I saw Tommy and Dick Smothers arguing over who Delores Feathernest liked best.  She just smiled and smiled.  That lady was dressed to the nines and oh, those diamonds she wore were fabulous!  I looked around for some other familiar faces and we found John Grey (sans beard) of Going Gentley over in the corner petting the hostess' pet Bull Mastiff.  They both looked so content.   And at the bar was Molly from Some Other Mountain.  My, my, Brad Pitt is all over her. I waved to Cro from Magnon Meanderings as he waltzed by with his arm around Maureen O'Hara, but he didn't notice.  Perhaps though he did, but did not want to acknowledge us. I had heard that he and Tom Stephenson had quite a tiff with Truman.  I think it had more to do with Tom than Cro, and the rumor is that it was about candlesticks.

It is 10 pm now and I am finding it a bit difficult to maneuver around.  Maybe a glass of wine will steady my nerves.  The music is wonderful and oh, how I would love to do the Argentine Tango, but for some reason, I am a little woozy.  I think  it is time to go home and write my blog. 

It was a very lovely evening and the hostess was marvelous.  I hope to be invited  next year but I won't bring Truman again,; I think he drank way too much.

I'm All That.

I am a superstar and I am doing OK

It might come as a surprise to you, but I don't live my life like the Kardashians', nor do my everyday activities have any resemblance to the ladies from The Housewives of NY, LA, Atlanta or wherever.  No slinky revealing dresses for me, (the world should be thankful for that), no lunch dates in famous restaurants, no fighting with my friends.  My conversation is not spiked with four letter words, although I do have one or two favorites that I like to use on occasion, but I usually save those for hubby.  I can go about town without people mobbing me and photographers taking my picture.  I did not spend four million dollars on weddings for my children, although I think that the baked beans that we served was top shelf.   So whose life is better?

All these ladies wear very tight fitting clothes,  Since they are on TV constantly, they probably have to wear Spanx and can only breathe out every 5 minutes when no one is looking.  I, on the other hand, often dress in lovely, somewhat loose fitting, elastic waist, athletic pants with either a tee or a sweat shirt.  I can do anything in these.  They are perfect for working out in my gardens, walking around my neighborhood, going to the store, and with the right accessories, even going to lunch with  friends.  Of course, for the more formal occasions, I do wear black.  These outfits do not impede the breathing process, I can bend or sit without worrying about a button popping off or hearing the awful sound of a rip coming from a backside seam. 

On the comfort scale - One for me, none for them.
Unlike these ladies with their 10 inch designer high heels, I like to wear my yellow duck shoes. They are for gardening and are so comfy that I have forgotten once or twice that I have them on and have ventured out to a store wearing them.  I love my rubber footwear as they grip the ground well and I have less chance of falling over .  If, by accident I do, and trip someplace in my yard, there will be no trouble finding me as the yellow neon will stand out. 

On the safety scale - One for me, none for them.
These famous for being famous women have over the top make-up that is probably always applied by professionals.  They need to look flawless so they must have an entourage following them around in case they sweat. I have to admit that I do love my creams and potions also.  I have been known to make mid-night calls into QVC to buy the newest anti-ageing face foundations, eyelash builders, contouring blushes and anything else they might be selling that promise me the impossible.  When they are delivered, I find that they don't hide my freckles (which, at my age, are called maturity spots), my short lashes look like I have now attached black widow spiders to my eyes and the blush really did not add contour to my jowls.  I usually put them all away, go back to my cheap drug store make-up and not care if my lipstick rubs off.  I am over a certain age, so I am invisible to most people anyway.

On the "it doesn't matter" scale - One for me, none for them.

So dressed in my comfy pants, gardening duck shoes, and bleeding lipstick, I win!!  My life is not glamorous by any standards, but it fits me just right. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Best Music Video of All Time

Oldie but goodie, and I am doing OK

It's just my opinion...

Doesn't this make you smile?

Two old men now, but Paul still makes beautiful music and Chevy will always make me laugh.  What can be better than that!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Sun WIll Come Out Tomorrow - They Say

Constantly  raining  but I'm doing OK, although my hair isn't.

Throw me a line.


                                    by Robert Louis Stevenson                                  

The rain is falling all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea


"Splash," said a raindrop
As it fell upon my hat;
"Splash" said another
as it trickled down my back.
"You are very rude," I said
As I looked up to the sky;
Then another raindrop splashed
Right into my eye.

Rain, Rain Go Away

By Mother Goose

Rain, Rain, go away,
Come again some other day,
Little Johnny wants to play

Rain, rain, go to Spain
Never show your face again.

It's Raining, It's Pouring

It's raining, it's pouring,
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed with a broken head,
And couldn't get up in the morning.

Not exactly highbrow poetry, but my brain is waterlogged.

Two months of drenching rain on the north-east coast.  We are floating away.  Looking for someone with ship-building skills.