Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Need an Inter-friend-tion...

I feel like I should be the female lead character in a Hallmark Christmas movie.  I've lost my Christmas spirit.  Normally I ooze Christmas.  I wear ugly Christmas sweaters, Christmas pajamas and Christmas ornament earrings.  I love the Christmas season.  We decorate both the inside and outside of the house.  I give to local food banks and even adopt families during the holiday season who can't afford Christmas for their children.  We are not materialistic here at Christmastime.  There are not an overabundance of packages spilling out from under the Christmas tree.  It has always been more about family and friends and helping others during the holiday.  

This year is different.  It's not one specific thing that's off.  There are many reasons I can put my finger on for feeling the way I feel.  It has been like this for months now.  As I sit here typing, I am the first one to admit that I have absolutely NO reason to complain in any way, shape or form.  I know this.  But that knowledge doesn't help alleviate my foul mood.   

Today I will be attending a wake for my friend's brother who died this past Sunday.  Another close friend will be accompanying her sister to a doctor's appointment to learn how successful her cancer treatments have been.  If her sister receives good news, she gets to have chemo immediately following the appointment.  Bad news would involve more extensive radiation and chemo.  And I'm sorry, that just sucks.  I had been under the impression that she was to get a break from the months of treatments for at least the holidays.  Last night I learned that's not the case.  Cancer sucks.  

We've had miserable colds and it's been raining all week which has put a damper on my mood.  It doesn't feel like Christmas.  I've been going through the motions.  The house and yard is decorated.  I did a little online shopping, but not much.  There hasn't been many get-togethers this month due to the colds, a couple of friends who are lucky enough to be on vacation, and just the hustle and bustle of the season.

The decorations are done, donations will be made, the shopping will be finished and the presents will be wrapped.  But I've lost the joy I usually have during this season.  And I wonder, how will my Hallmark movie end?  It's Christmas time, a time for miracles, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Motivational Monday ~ Have a Great Week!

A few hours late in posting, but Happy Monday!  The book fair is running at my sons' school and I committed to help out a few hours a day for the next week which put me on the bike path earlier than normal yesterday.  Saw these beauties on the path and thought what a wonderful day to start the week!

Have a great week everyone! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Say Cheese Mr. Hawk

There are just some days something incredulous happens and you just shake your head. Today was one of those day, but in a good way.   I left early for my bike ride and on the last three miles, came up upon a clearing.  A man was off his bicycle, speaking with a woman walker, both looking up into a tree.  I slowed down and he said, pointing, "I think it's a falcon and it's eating something.  I quickly retrieved my camera and zoomed in for a couple of shots.   I was pretty sure it was a juvenile red tail hawk.  (Later when I saw it fly, I saw the red tail feathers).  As I took a few photographs, the guy rode off on his bike and the woman walked on leaving me alone with the hawk.  

The first few shots came out dark due to the shadows and the trees, so I figured I'd use the flash.  If the hawk flew, so be it.  But he didn't. I ended up with over 50 shots, during the course of at least 20 minutes. A couple of times I tried to leave, but he would fly to another tree, almost taunting me to follow.  He went back and forth to 4 different trees and even landed on the ground at one point. I almost thought he was going to land on my bike's handlebars!  He seemed like he was enjoying getting his picture taken and had no fear of me at all. I was even talking to him.  I asked him, "Are you messing with me?", and he would tilt his head as if he was listening.  Finally after about 30 minutes I pedaled off and he was still hanging around.  I hope I see him again...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Air Force One and the POTUS in RI

President Obama flew into T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, RI to attend a fundraising event in Newport yesterday.  Given the fact that my top (and most unattainable) bucket list item is riding in Air Force Once coupled with the fact that my boys are avid history buffs, my oldest being very interested in Presidents, we decided to go to the airport to view Air Force One fly in.

My own fascination with Air Force One began after I saw the movie of that same name featuring Harrison Ford as the President and Gary Oldman as one of the terrorists who hijacked Air Force One.  Since that day, I've dreamed of seeing this fantastic plane that only a few have the privilege of traveling in.  Even though I know it will never happen, I've never taken it off my bucket list!

There would be no motorcade as President Obama would be flying on Marine One (helicopter) to get to Newport, RI, but we still wanted to see the plane even though there would likely be no sighting of the President.  Ordinary people like us don't usually get the opportunity to meet a President, not with a $15,000 price tag to attend these fundraisers.  My sons would be thrilled to meet a President of the United States, as would I, but we most likely will never be afforded that opportunity, so we were content to be in Warwick getting a glimpse of the POTUS fly in on the plane.

The coast guard helicopter was in the sky as the Warwick Police patrolled the area in cars and on motorcycle.  

Obama was scheduled to come in at 6:10.  A few minutes early, a plane flew  by in a different direction than the runway.  I took a photo and zoomed it in on my camera viewer and saw the American flag on the tail.  

Once Air Force One landed, we could make out people descending down both the front and rear stairs.  Several minutes later, Military One, another helicopter and three military helicopters flew off to whisk the group to the Newport fundraiser.  

Though it wound up being the smaller of the 2 Air Force 'Ones', my sons and I were thrilled to watch the plane fly in.  And I still retain my bucket list dream of sometime riding in this gorgeous plane!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Where Has The Summer Gone?

There's a cool breeze out today for mid-August.  It actually feels like autumn today.  We are finally home and I spent this past weekend organizing the literally thousands of photos from this summer, reliving the fantastic days that have flown by.  I realize that as we get older, time seems to fly faster, but this summer passed by at warp speed.  There were only a couple of days of rain during our month at the beach, which was filled with sun, sand, ocean, sunsets and fun (except for the whale watch when we all got sick)!  

We saw old friends, made some new friends, watched the super moon rise out of the ocean, set off fireworks for Fourth of July, made s'mores but more importantly made wonderful, heartwarming memories.  

After the beach, my family went on our yearly trip to Vermont.  Again we visited with old friends as we trekked all over the state to visit some favorite spots and discover new places we hadn't yet seen.  We ate great food, watched the dragon boat festival in Burlington and spent an evening on Lake Champlain for a beautiful sunset sail.  The antique car show in Stowe fell on our weekend to leave but we found a last minute cancellation and extended our trip so we could attend the show.


As I unpacked from Vermont, I simultaneously packed for a couple of days to spend with my daughter who recently rented a house on Yirrell Beach, a private beach in Winthrop, Massachusetts.  My friend Linda, my sons and I took a train up to Boston, then the T to avoid the crazy traffic and got there in just over an hour.

We toasted marshmallows, celebrated my daughter's birthday with a lobster dinner, searched for sea glass and walked around Deer Island.  We watched a red moon rise over the ocean and then set our alarms to get up and watch the sun rise the next morning.  

Everyone is sleeping in this morning.  School starts in a week.  I will be working on my summer photo book soon, but for now, I am sipping my coffee and wondering where has the summer gone?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Farfalle with Grilled Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives and Capers

My high school friend Pat shared a recipe of her mother-in-law's with me when she saw a Facebook post of my shopping cart from Trader Joe's loaded up with lots of good food including several packages of their frozen artichoke hearts.  I made the pasta earlier in the week and we loved it, but the second time I made it, I added grilled chicken. (Pat said her mother-in-law must be spinning in her grave! But what the heck is wrong with grilled chicken??)    

The oohs and aaahhs just kept coming, so I guess this will become a staple in my household!  I actually split the dish, omitted the cheese to keep it allergy friendly for my boys who are allergic to dairy.  I also substituted black olives in their plate because the jar of kalamata olives listed lactic acid and I was unsure if it was derived from vegetable sources or dairy so we decided to err on the side of caution. 

When Pat gave me this recipe, she didn't give amounts of ingredients, I just threw in what I thought looked and tasted good.  I tried to adjust the amounts to something measurable, but you may want to adjust to your own taste!  This made approximately 6 hearty servings and I accompanied this with a garden salad.

Farfalle with Grilled Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives and Capers

Box of Farfalle  (1lb)

3 whole boneless chicken breasts cut in 1/2 (or 6 thin sliced boneless chicken breasts)
1 envelope of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
olive oil

1 - 2 packages of frozen artichoke hearts (or 1-2 cans of artichoke hearts)  or if you are daring, use fresh artichoke hearts!

several cloves of garlic (to taste)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine
capers (to taste)
crushed red pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Fresh parmesan cheese

Wash and trim chicken breasts.  Place in a bowl.  Mix 1 envelope of Good Seasons Italian Dressing with 4 tablespoons of olive oil.   Pour over the chicken breasts, mix well to coat chicken.  Grill, chop up in bite size pieces and set aside.

Cook Farfalle.  Reserve some of the pasta water.

In a medium to large skillet or fry pan, add garlic and artichoke hearts (right from the freezer if frozen) to approximately 1/2 cup olive oil.   Saute on medium heat until cooked, approximately 10 minutes.  

Add 1 cup of white wine (I used a single size serving bottle of pino grigio).  Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low/medium.  Add salt, pepper and hot pepper to taste.  Add the olives and capers just before adding to the Farfalle.  Add some of the pasta water if dish needs more liquid. 

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chocolate Sushi

Chocolate Sushi?  Oh yeah...  

Now to clarify, there is no fish.  This dessert is a creative take on sushi and for an admittedly 'not a big dessert person', I am utterly in love with this tasty sweet concoction.

My husband took me to Jamestown for dinner at Simpatico Jamestown, recently renovated and under new management (formerly Trattoria Simpatico).   All of our food was delicious, but when our server listed the desert options, Chocolate Sushi piqued my curiosity.

The 'rice' is actually coconut which circles the rich, chocolate center.  Carmelized banana and fresh berries with whipped cream garnish the 'sushi'.  It was rich, decadent and delicious.  I absolutely must go back soon for more.

Located on Narragansett Avenue in Jamestown, Simpatico is a short walk to the harbor and the beautiful views of the Pell Bridge (formerly the Newport Bridge).   This restaurant is most definitely worth a visit if in the Rhode Island area, but be sure to call for reservations.  And don't forget to try the chocolate sushi!