Thursday, April 30, 2009

The War Has Restarted With...Well...This...

I saw this beautiful yellow baby in my cherry tree....
And I knew...
My gold finches were coming home...
To me...and not to you, MPM
It's where they knew all along they belonged...
Yes right here, at TSannie's home.
(the niger is very very fresh here)
Last year's war...a thing of the past,
Now on to this year!
Can you see the 22, and let me spell that out in case you can't see those numbers clearly, TWENTY TWO, gold finches in that photo (plus that one errant sparrow)? I'm feeling very very good about my chance at a decisive victory in our ongoing Gold Finch War! I just don't think you stand a chance, MPM! Your gold finch babies have all flown the coop and they've come my way. Obviously the food is, well, better. Weep, my friend, just weep! 
News video below! (I hear it's being picked up by the AP!)

video
George Lucas I am not. 
Apologies offered far and wide!

P. S. Because of the video we shot, it has become apparent that the spoken word, "MAYHEM"  scares the cr*p out of gold finches...just scan to the end of the above video for evidence.
~
Never say MAYHEM in the presence of Gold Finches.

~~~
xoabb
expecting gold finches galore to stay!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Over & Out!

ABC Wednesday - It's An ~O~! 

Over-the-Top, this
Beauty of Spring. It's pinkness,
Gorgeousness...endless!

Out of Kilter,
Out of alignment! Oh! A
Cupola askew!

When my friend, WT commented, she pointed out,
quite rightly so, that the original second
line (above) was one haiku syllable short.
Problem corrected!
Thanks, WT!

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!


First photo - taken yesterday, Candy Cane Crab Apple in my front yard
Second photo - taken last weekend in DC , around 10th and I street,
no idea what building it is

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That's MY World!

Just last week I was complaining about the lack of blooms around my home. Found out all you need to correct this little problem is two days of 85º+ temps, which we had last weekend. You can guess what happens...non-stop bloomage! Above is a played-with photo of the weeping cherry tree you see below. Ms. Cherry Tree has really outdone herself this year! (And over the next few days/weeks I'll be posting more photos of her glorious glory! Aren't you excited now?)

I do apologize for the over-grown green tufts all over the yard. I think I have an idea of what causes certain patches of grass to grow much more vigorously than others...Stelllllaaaaa! I took this photo at 7:25 yesterday morning. By the time I got home around 3:15, the lawn had been cut and those annoying tufts were gone. At this very moment in our CT Spring, my front yard is truly gorgeous! And that's my personal world! Welcome to the view! And my world!

~~~

xoabb
expect Spring!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Now That's Really Good Stuff!!!

You gotta eat every day - that's a given. And it's always nice if the food you eat tastes good. Usually our food is good, but sometimes our food (which I'm responsible for, except for the excellent grilling hubby GB does) is simply outstanding! This weekend we had four incredible dishes. Salmon, a stir-fry and lemon cookies. (Also had spontaneous twice-baked potatoes. Thought we were having 5 for dinner and ended up with 9. So I cut the 6 taters I'd baked in half and made them into twice-baked! Never made them before, and I got lucky - they were delicious!)

Below are 3 of the 4 recipes. Twice-baked recipe to come! 

Yes, the asparagus was slightly over-done, and, yes, the color of that plate is hideous. I'm throwing it away now. But the salmon on that plate? It was simply spectacular!
 
Salmon with Maple-Lemon Glaze

3 T. fresh lemon juice
4 T. real maple syrup
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. canola oil 
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. skinless salmon filet
1 t. salt (or to taste)
1 t. fresh ground pepper (to taste)
cooking spray or canola oil

Preheat broiler. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add fish to bag, seal pressing air out of bag. Let marinate 15 minutes. Remove fish from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high till hot. Heat a large oven-proof nonstick or iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish evenly with the salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spary or canola oil. Add fish to pan, skinned side up, and cook about 3 minutes. Coat with marinade and turn fish over. If filet is quite thick, cook for another 2-3 minutes on the stove top. After that, or if your filet is thin, brush with more marinade and put in the oven to broil for another 3 or so minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is browned. Yield:  4 - 6 servings. Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2009


How can anyone cook without iron skillets in their kitchen???

TSAnnie's By the Seat of my Pants Stir-Fry

8 oz. snow peas (how Stew Leonard's sells them), trimmed
8 oz. sugar snap peas (see above), trimmed
8 oz. or so frozen petite peas
1 smallish red pepper, cut in 1/4" X 1" strips
1 mediumish vadilia onion, cut in 1/4" rounds, then quarter those
canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
soy sauce
ground ginger
House of Tsang's Classic Stir Fry Sauce

Heat a large iron skillet and add canola oil to it to coat it, about 1 - 2 T. Add the onions and cook until they're becoming translucent. Add the pepper strips and cook a minute or two longer. Add the snow and sugar snap peas. Cook for about 5 minutes, adding soy sauce, ginger and stir fry sauce to your taste. Add frozen peas and stir around just to let them thaw. Serve over brown rice. Or not, it's up to you. 
This would be delicious with garlic added to it, fresh ginger...above is just a jumping off point. (And you don't really need the House of Tsang's sauce - just makes things easier.) 
My recipe I made up in my own little mind...


Lastly, these wonderful biscotti-like, cookie-like thingys that Martha Stewart's magazine "Everyday Cooking" calls Glazed Lemon Cookies. Just delicious, but cookies that should definitely be consumed within 48 hours of making them. The glaze just doesn't hold up. 

Glazed Lemon Cookies

2 C. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 T.++finely grated lemon zest
2 T.++fresh lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter @ room temp.
1 C. sugar
1 large egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract
(Lemon Glaze recipe to follow)

As far as the lemon zest and lemon juice goes, amounts given above are recipe specific - add more (I did) to your own lemon-love taste.) Preheat oven to 350º. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and lemon juice and beat until combined.  With mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture.
Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 1 inch apart (personally, next time I'll drop the dough by heaping bite-size teaspoonsful), onto two baking sheets (that are lined with parchment paper - I always use it). Bake until edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool 2 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Dip cookies in Lemon Glaze (I dipped them twice and it was a very good thing to do!) and let set for about an hour. 

Lemon Glaze

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 C.++ confectioners' sugar, 2 T. finely grated lemon zest and 1/3 C. fresh lemon juice until smooth.
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food , A Martha Stewart Magazine, May 2009.

~~~
xoabb
expect good eating!



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Serenity


Each year I unfurl
my petals for what? Sex? No!
Just beauty... the bloom.

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Good to Go! So Where Are You,

My little hummer friends?

No, I didn't add food coloring to the nectar. Just got lazy and bought ready-made nectar for now. The feeder's been hung for three hours now. And no hummers have come to sip yet. Don't those naughty hummers know I thrive on instant gratification??

That niger seed feeder on the left is from my bird-blogging friend Helen's on-line store, Backyard Boutique. It is the only feeder that has proven to be really and truly squirrel-proof. Every other feeder I've had this past season, even the one advertised as squirrel proof (read about it here) has been a food paradise for them. And those scallywag squirrels not only ate the suet out of two suet feeders, they actually stole them! Can't find them anywhere! I replaced the first one. After the second disappeared I officially declared the squirrels the victors of the season long War Over the Feeders and gave up. Sorry birds. I tried my best!

Please click on Helen's name to visit to her blog. 
Click on Backyard Boutique to visit to her wonderful store.

~~~
xoabb
expecting hummingbirds any minute now!

P. S. Had three hugely successful cooking flings yesterday...recipes to come!

Friday, April 24, 2009

SWF Looking Up w/A May Apple Aside

I know I'm not going to get it just right, but have to share my version of this story. Yesterday I posted photos of May apples. My mom, who reads my blog regularly (but hasn't commented because she hasn't figured out how to, (ahem, mom!)), told me she actually tried to comment as my story was so close to what she'd experienced. She saw my second photo (that was taken from the "up" position) and related this story: "When you were young, I also saw a group of May Apple's and wanted to take a photo of their flowers, which are always underneath their petals. You guys weren't up yet, so I thought I'd go photograph the flowers. Of course, that meant I had to lie down on the lawn. I did, took my pictures and came in to make your breakfast. Soon after I got back indoors, I became aware of this most awful smell...I finally looked down at my robe. I'd lied down on a pile of dog poop. Obviously a very big pile of dog poop! [Ann's aside: I do hope mom threw that robe OUT!] That ended my early morning photographing adventures forever!"
Leafing, not there yet
But sky is slowly being
Filled in with bud growth
~
Didn't do "same place" last Friday - I was in Washington DC - but there's not a lot of change so perhaps it's a good thing after all...looking up, if you look closely, the leaves are coming along, but have a looooong way to go!

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Gimme the Over Under!


Shot over the top,
Pretty, symmetrical leaves.
Interest just so-so.


Now the under shot.
Green leaves, blue skies and the sun...
Looks just right to me!

~~~
xoabb
expect Spring!

Photo taken 4/18, Alexandria VA.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

N as in Nuthin'

Nuthin' happening
In this little brain of mine
This will have to do...

~~~

xoabb
expect...whatever!

Do join us!

~~~

UPDATE @ 1:44 pm: I swear, sometimes I only use a tiny little portion of my brain! As someone asked me: "Isn't that a narcissus, and doesn't narcissus begin with an N and isn't it N week on the ABC Wednesday meme??" I missed the oh so very obvious - hate it when that happens! I googled narcissus because it occured to me I had no idea if there was a difference between narcissus, daffodils and jonquils or if they were synonyms for each other. Turns out narcissus is the genus they all belong to! Go here for more information, which in part says:

What's the difference between jonquils, narcissus, and daffodils you ask? It's an age old question. Botanically speaking, they're all different species of the genus Narcissus. To the average gardener however the differences are fairly distinct.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Snail W/Blue

Helllooo!?!  I'm comin', just give me a minute!!!

A CD was shattered tonight (please don't ask the circumstances, it's not something I want to talk about...ok, frustration is the reason) and the above ~snail~ resulted. I have no idea why this means anything to me, but it does and I like it...it's part of my world!  

xoabb
expect idiocracy at times!



My Roomie

Went to see my sis and her hubby this weekend. When I arrived, I opened my suitcase with every intent to hang up my clothes. Never got there. As you can see, my new roomie took over the unhung clothes and made them her very own little nest. Baby Heather turned out to be a very good roomie. She doesn't snore. 

~~~
xoabb
by the time you read this, I will have 
been asleep for HOURS! 
Trip home was waaaay toooo looooong.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Serenity


Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune--without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

~Emily Dickinson

~~~
xoabb
whose expectations are always hopeful!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Well, Look At That!

Twice in the last several week, I've seen license plates that have immediately reminded me of two gals that have become friends of mine through this blogging thingy we do. 
First, the lovely and always interesting blogger, Asthma Girl, who has a profound and not always rational love of all things chihuahua. Isn't this just the perfect license plate for her? Maybe it's still available in her home state. Anyone notice the chihuahua head on the antennae of that really really cute car? (Also love that bonus Obama sticker - OK, I'll stop being political now!) Had I been staging this photo and not doing a drive-by shoot I certainly would have removed that annoying grocery bag!
Then there's my friend, Chesapeake Bay Woman. I nearly wrecked the car taking this picture for her, as I was driving and trying to turn left all at the same time. It wasn't pretty. (It also was a dark and rainy afternoon, thus the blur.) Must tell you, if you haven't visited her, you should. Her writing is this side of brilliant. You'll laugh, you'll cry...well probably not, but I guarantee you'll be marvelously entertained! Especially by all the cross-throughs she does. ;-)

~

In other news: I'm having a great time here in DC/Alexandria VA with my sis and b-i-l. Care and I spent most of the day purging her closet(s). How many ways can you define ~pack-rat~? A synonym for every definition is my sis's name. However, today, we fought the closet and we won! Eight bags to Salvation Army, 2 bags to trash, 1 bag to recycling! (Shhhhh....she's coming to my house for the same purging very soon!)

~~~

xoabb
purging is very good!

Friday, April 17, 2009

SWF & The Bee Whisperer

Missouri Sky
I'm visiting my sis and forgot my photo cable, 
so have borrowed a photo from my brother Bill for this Sky Watch Friday
The above photo of Dodgie was taken several years ago in our parent's MO garden. 

My Dodgie (aka nephew/godson) has a strong affinity toward all creatures belonging to the bug world. Bees buzz around him and never sting him. Butterflies land on him with a regularity not known to most anyone. He captures his bug friends regularly, but is always careful to never hurt them and also lets them go when he's through observing them. I also know this is the reason why he can't abide anyone fishing with worms whenever he visits his grandparents and their MO pond or my family and our CT pond. (Hmmm...possibly his love of bugs came from his dad who, when he was Dodgie's age, had two pet houseflies named (appropriately) Smith & Jones. Bill wouldn't allow any flies to be murdered in our home as all the flies were either Smith or Jones. However, kill them we did when he wasn't looking!)
 
Listen to Dodgie for just a while. 
His bug knowledge will simply astound you! 

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bird Life...Interrupted!

Stella is keeping our side of the pond free of it...
(sigh)

xoabb
expect anything!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Miscellanea and Miss Magic

This past Sunday we celebrated Easter together and, as always, it was wonderful. Family and dear friends gathered together. Everyone should have such a wonderful day! 

Ms. Kim shared a story that was just funny beyond funny! Her hubby and 3 compatriots were out for a very early game of golf on Sunday morning. One of the participants has lower back issues and regularly takes three Advils before any golf game he plays. Last Sunday, either he didn't have on his glasses or he was half asleep, as he accidently took three Advil PM's instead. The other three said they just poked him in the butt whenever he started nodding off...

It was also Little Miss Magic's birthday (well, 2 days late, but she didn't mind!) so we sang a birthday song and she tried her darndest to blow out the candles. Her mama helped - and that was a very good thing!

Little Miss Magic
Can't imagine life before
Her. She is precious!

Glorious Easter!
Remy's arrangement made for
Our Easter table.

~~~

xoabb
expect tradition!

~

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My World - It's Lacking in Spring Bloomage

Forsythia. It's
The only thing blooming here,
Besides daffodils.

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Requiem

I must tell you about two of my son's very best and dearest childhood friends, Tommy and Kyle. The three of them met and became close through many years of Babe Ruth baseball. There were trials and tribulations, but through it all they remained (and are still) close. Tommy and Kyle have the added cache of not only sharing a birthday, but that their moms were roommates (they didn't know each other at the time) in the maternity ward when the two of them were born. 

Bly got a call from Tommy last weekend. Tommy's dad had very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. He was 51.
 
Bly got a call from Kyle this Sunday morning. Kyle's dad had very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. He was 53.

GB and I were talking about all of this last night and I told him how upset Bly sounded. GB wondered why, because though Bly knew both men, he wasn't particularly close to either of them. I said I thought Bly is emotional because he's just witnessed two of his closest friends losing their fathers and it makes him think about losing his own dad, who happens to be older than both of those men, something he simply couldn't imagine until now. 

Say what you need to say.

xoabb
 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Only Blessings...

(It's a long list.)
Thank you for what you give me.
It is more than wonderful. 

~~~

xoabb
expect blessings!

A good Easter/Passover to all!

Photo courtesy of Mum-Bum!



Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dirty Girl Redeux

A nice enough photo of a daffodil...
Uh-oh...look at the bottom of that petal...

Yes, I'm showcasing sex on my blog....

~~~
xoabb
expect irritating things at times!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Such A Dirty Girl!


She's looking up to the sky!

"Don't tell me a little dirt wrecks my beauty!"


Now for week II of SPLooking Up:

Trees in my backyard
Still bare, but next week they'll be
Budding...I promise!

P.S. - I just knew I could walk out into my backyard and know exactly where I was standing when I took last week's photo. HA! Even after I printed out last week's photo and spent a good 20 minutes getting dizzy from looking only up, I still could not find the exact same place I was standing. The things you think are the easiest...oh well, that's a philosophical thingy I'm not going to think about. As I was saying, though the above isn't taken in the exact same place as the photo of last week, those are the same trees. And I'm sadly disappointed there isn't more budding progress on those tree limbs. Guess you just can't hurry Mother Nature! Ahhh....the promise of next week! Hope springs eternal!

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Damn Cat & Carnage Proven

Stare-Down

Every morning the routine is the same. I get up, let Stella out and Trey-you, (aka King of the Side Table) either out or in, depending on where he'd decided to spend the prior evening. A bit later, when I either let Trey-you back in or he's through with his breakfast, up he comes to our bathroom.
He jumps up on the vanity by GB's sink and stares either at me or at the faucet until I get his bigger than life hint that he wants the water turned on. I turn it on, and he proceeds to drink and play. This goes on for at least 15 minutes. Every morning. Every single morning. As you can kind of see below, Trey-you's modus operandi is to stick his paw under the water and then lick the water off of it. Whatever works.
Refreshment Paws
(and, no, we're not on 100's of meds - just a lot of reflection goin' on!)

On weekends? I'm sure the bedroom door is tightly shut. I can hear him scratching on the other side, though, and it nearly drives me crazy! Or, even worse, when he's decided to stay out for the night, he plants himself under my window (directly over my head and nearly always cracked open) and meows LOUDLY. Drives me crazier and always works in his favor. Up I must get to let him in. It's then a race to see if I can make it back to the bedroom and get the door closed before he get there too. Damn cat usually wins.

And on another note...
Taken 4/8/9.
( Former goose nest on the peninsula that juts out into our pond)

Early last Sunday morning I was woken up by very loud and distressed-sounding Canada goose honking that lasted for what seemed to be an interminable amount of time. I even tweeted about it (It's 12:30am and the Canada Geese are honking...a lot. I'm worried. I don't like carnage and that's probably what's happening at this time.) Yesterday my daughter discovered the Canada goose carnage and as you can see, the outcome - for the goose/geese at least - wasn't pretty. But somewhere close by there's a coyote or fox that's pretty darn full and happy. Yeah, I know it's that old circle of life thing once again. I just don't like it shoved in my face, ok?

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lilac Love...

ABC Wednesday - It's L time!

Most lovely blooms of
Early Spring. You warm my heart
Each and every year.


~~~

xoabb
expect the loveliness of Spring...any time now!


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Wet World & Other Treats

If I were a duck
This is the pond I'd call home,
Rain showers and all.

~Perfect Pond Circles~
Photo taken yesterday afternoon from our back deck.

~

Back from NYC.
We had a blast! The bloggers
Meet-up was a hit!

Miss La-La (Mental Pause Mama) and I, along with her kids Augie and the Bird, drove in to meet up with our Daryl and meet (for the very first time) Miss Angie, of Big Hair Envy. Along for the ride was Angie's hubby and beautiful daughter. We all met for dinner at The Red Cat Restaurant and proceeded to spend the next two and a half hours getting to know each other, oh alright we really spent the majority of our time together just laughing ourselves silly! The company, the laughs, the place, the food were all simply wonderful! Thank you, my friends, my time was very well spent!
The above photo courtesy of Daryl. Thanks, my friend!

~~~

xoabb
expect unexpected friendships!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Gour-Met!

Saturday night we gathered once again for Gourmet Group. This time around we were channeling that most delightful Barefoot Contessa, aka Ina Garten. A good theme as I don't think that gal has ever concoted an unfortunate recipe!

Jules and Andy were our hosts for the evening. Here's Jules draining the pasta. She did that very efficiently. And with a smile on her face! (Yes, she will kill me for posting this photo.)
I was responsible for appies. Tuna tartar, and tho the photo kinda really sucks and it was simply delicious! This is out of the Barefoot Contessa's Family cookbook.  
I also made her grilled chicken satay. It was in her very first cookbook. Though ONCE AGAIN the photo is not great It was wonderful! For the first time, every appetizer was eaten meaning for once I didn't make enough appies for a dang army, just enough for the 10 of us - imagine that!. Also made her delicious parmesan/thyme savory crackers - OMG - wonderful! That recipe is from her latest cookbook, "Back to Basics".
Patty made the arugula with parmesan shavings salad. A perfect palate cleanser. (Also from her first cookbook.)

Next, the main course - of course! Baked Shrimp Scampi. Can you say YUM??? Simply delicious! And enough garlic to keep vampires away for at least a year. Just sublime. (From Back to Basics.)
See that little tomato concoction? That was made by Suzanne. It was beyond superb. It was beyond wonderful. It was simply awesome! (Back to Basics cookbook.)
Last but not least, Stephanie (with the help of her ~baby~, Gabby, and we all know the help of a child makes everything better) made Tiramisu. (Don't remember the cookbook that's from.)
It was unbelievably delicious.
It had enough rum in it to anesthetize a horse. 
~
Our evening was long and lovely. 
I slept in Sunday, even missing
most of CBS Sunday Morning.
I never miss CBS Sunday Morning.

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Serenity

Foggy mist, misty fog
Marvellous manifestation
Of magnificent nature! 
~Subbaraman  N V

~~~

xoabb
expect anything!

Friday, April 03, 2009

SWF - Looking Up

Trees in my back yard
Bare now, but in few weeks?
Loaded with new leaves!

For the next few weeks, for SWF I'll be taking a photo from the same position of the above limbs (aka "SPLooking Up"). It'll be interesting (well, to me at keast) to see the changes from Friday to Friday!

~~~
xoabb
expect anything!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bittersweet

A bittersweet day here in our home. Sweet because it's my mom's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY dear mother of mine! I've been nothing but blessed to have you be my very own mom.


Bittersweet because it's the one year anniversary of GB's mom's death. I really can't believe it's a year already! Our Mimi was just a one-of-a-kind glorious gal and is so very missed, but the memories we have of her are just wonderful and though she's not here anymore, she's always in our hearts. 90 years young and a life so very thoroughly lived - we should all be so lucky...


That old circle of life.

It's ever going.


~~~


xoabb

expect anything!
Photo courtesy of the birthday girl.