Wednesday, December 17, 2008


for Santa and a bit of snow ...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An evening with R & W

We have been very busy here at Christmas Central, crafting apple Santa Clauses . Here's how : first you must polish a round, red apple until it is shiny. Next, a walnut head is attached to this apple body with a toothpick and then a pointy hat is created from golden wrapping paper and much glue ( cut a half circle out of the paper and glue long sides together. Make sure it fits your walnut head.) Attach hat with glue and give your Santa two round little eyes and a sweet red nose. Last, glue on a cotton wool beard, but we used fleece from a white sheep instead. R opted for two fir branch arms and proceeded to trim each needle off very carefully.

Then she had a great idea - let's give Santa a cloak. " I know just what to do, Oma ! " and she did. She cut out and attached the cloak by herself and decorated it with a big golden star - very Santa Clausish, I think.

Two year-old brother made a Santa too, with a little help.

Then we got totally carried away and made a house for Santa, complete with Christmas tree and ornaments.

Where there is glue and cotton wool, there has to be some silliness, too, of course !

And where there's an Oma babysitting, there has to be some good-night story reading, as well. What a fine evening the three of us had !

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving '08

After the big turkey dinner and the laughter and fun of a big family, it's good to get outdoors and have a quiet moment and be thankful for some very special friends.

I think the expression on her face says it all . We hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving too !

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beef Beer Bread Bonanza

So, as I posted earlier, Kahlua Pig and I went to Oktoberfest cooking class last month. Tonight I was lonely cause Piggie has to work until 10, poor guy! I went nuts and made -- Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs. The photo does not come with smell-o-vision but it should. It is off the hook (as we say in the hood.) Then I made roasted winter root veggies to assuage the guilt of having zero nutritional goodness. The veggies are sweet potatoes, turnips, squash and onion coated in olive oil, s&p and roasted to perfection. Then I made the absolute coolest recipe of all BEER BREAD. That's right folks. Bread. With Beer. The recipe is so awesome I provide it below. It comes out gooey on the inside, yeasty and beery with a crispy outside. I am bringing my crazy beer bread to Thanksgiving. Try and stop me.
Beer bread (makes one loaf)
3 cups white flour
3 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1T baking soda
Combine the dry ingredients. Grease up a loaf pan with butter. Now, the fun part, take a 12 oz. bottle of some flavorful beer like a Sam Adams or a Guinness - a good ale or a stout - and pour it directly into the dry ingredients. Holy #$%$! It's foaming like a 6th grade science experiment! That, my friend, would be the yeasty goodness getting to work. Stir only enough to wet the dry ingredients leaving in plenty of lumps. Pour batter into the pan, break off a few chunks of butter to put on top so that the crust is nice and browned, then pop the loaf pan into a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 -40 mins. And....voila.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


We were looking forward this weekend to a long visit from our adorable grandchildren and had planned lots of fun and exciting adventures - hiking in the woods , playing in the creek, riding ponies, playing in the attic - but instead we spent most of the weekend tending to a very sick little boy.

Thank goodness he got better eventually and this morning we were greeting the dawn ( note condition of the sky through window ) by playing with every toy in the house. What a relief !

And just look at the fine crown which was made for Pete, prince of cats.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And now,

we return to our regularly scheduled program
The Greek Cruise
Episode One : The Ship

Tea is served on deck or in the Lounge where a grand piano accompanies the genteel tinkle of tea cups being placed on saucers

Our luxurious living room, doors lead out on to a veranda complete with chairs and a table, where tea can also be served, as well as any other little nosh you might fancy.

The pool deck, where there is a grill and a bar , but tea is also to be had.

The dessert buffet - in the center is a castle made entirely of dark and white chocolate. It is the size of a small bungalow in a modest subdivision of Smalltown, USA. Drink of choice ? Tea, of course !
Oh,yeah, in case you were wondering - there was lots of other stuff to drink besides tea ( the bar opened at 9AM and closed in the wee hours ) , it's just that I loved teatime so much....

Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode : The Sights !

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hope Springs Eternal

It's a new day in America - a time of change, progress and peaceful revolution. GO OBAMA!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008


We cruised, we toured, we island hopped in the Mediterranean and now we're back and still sorting through hundreds of pictures. Come back in a day or so and we'll share some of the most amazing pictures with you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Acropolis

After climbing the steep hill up to the Acropolis, we entered through the Propylae and saw the Parthenon for the first time. What an imposing structure, even with all the scaffolding all over it.

My favorite temple is the Erechteion, however. Notice that the columns now have Ionic capitals and are much slimmer and more graceful. The whole temple is just lovely, its feminity underscored by the wonderful karyatids which gaze out over the city of Athens.

This is how high the sacred rock of the Acropolis rises above the city.

Next stop, the ancient Agora at the foot of the Acropolis, where the public life of Athens took place and where Socrates, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Xenophon and St. Paul instructed in the stalls of the building below. Many of the great debates of Athenian democracy were held here. The Agora was marketplace, administrative center and THE place to hang out in the 6th century BC.

For now, however, I must say " καληνύχτα " ( that's good-night to you ) , we must go to bed so we can get up early for our last day here in Athens. What to do - more Agora, both Greek and Roman ? or the National Museum with priceless treasures from the ancient world ( gold mask of Telemachus anyone ? )
Time is just zipping along and getting short- tomorrow we also board our ship for the beginning of The Cruise ! There is so much to do and see here, I haven't talked yet about the food ( yummy ), the people ( fun to watch and very pleasant ) and the amazing breakthrought that happened to me late this afternoon in an alley - I am beginning to be able to read Greek !!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Greek Adventure Day 1

It seems like just a day or two ago that we were sitting in a little Greek restaurant at home, celebrating The Patriarch's 70th birthday and trying to recover from the shock of his magnificent present.We were still trying to come to grips with the reality of this magnificent gift as we were packing for the trip and now we are actually here !

Does this look familiar to anyone ? It's the Acropolis, as seen from just outside our adorable hotel, the O&B, a ( and I quote ) " boutique hotel, very modern, but very cozy. " And indeed it is. The staff is incredible, someone came out into the street as soon as we pulled up in our car (complete with driver ! The luxury ! ), greeted us, whisked our luggae to our room, brought us tea and frappe ( iced Greek coffee ) and made us feel totally welcome and at home.
The first thing we did after our loooong flight, was take a nap and then we took a stroll up to the Acropolis as the sun was setting and a big full moon came out to light our way. As in all mediterranean countries, the twilight hour is the time to take a stroll, to see and be seen, and we enjoyed not only the Antiquities at every step, but the local color as well.

Athens is a huge city,very spread out, but cozy in feel. There are mountains on three sides and the sea on the other. This hill has a small church on top which lit up fiery and golden as the sun set.
After a lovely dinner in our hotel ( American Greek food does NOT equal Greek food in Greece ! ) we are ready to turn in early so that we can do a long sightseeing day tomorrow - Acropolis, Agora, and more-a !!!!
Thank you again, incredible family, for making this dream come true !

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recession Amusement Park

Two seats aboard The Couch, newest ride at the Old Homestead Amusement Park - $0

One Indulgent Uncle - $39.99 (cost of Korean pork belly lunch)

Childish Mirth - Priceless


70 is a landmark birthday. Perhaps The Patriarch was expecting Le Cirque? Why was he driving further and further away from the bright lights of Baltimore into Greek town! Why on earth was he dressed to the nines standing outside a neighborhood hole in the wall? Surely his daughters had given him the wrong address? Where was valet parking?
We played in cool - greeting him with hugs and launching into a platter of never-ending souvlaki, saganaki, pita, hummus and leg of lamb. Fine food, but certainly not 70th worthy? Where was the filet mignon? The crystal, the linen tablecloth? A bottle of Moet was produced and toasts were had all around. This was more like it. Maybe they were scrimping because of the Dow? Poor daughters. How prudent of them. We presented the patriarch with "The Odyssey," a tale of epic adventure for a lifetime. How thoughtful.
As the evening was winding down we produced one more small gift - a silver box. Inside - SURPRISE!! Two tickets to a cruise of the Greek isles! Leaving on Tuesday! Tears, cheers of "Opa!" from the surrounding diners, many laughs and high-fives - success.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

R.I.P. Paul Newman

A sad day indeed, goodbye Paul Newman, my mother's husband in reserve. A great actor, humanitarian and all around hottie for the ages....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Common Ground Fair

It's a big place !

The first thing you better do, is study where you what you want to see and do. There are the usual farm fair sections which celebrate the harvest and the animals on the farm,

but there are also lots of other areas to investigate. There's a Social & Political Action area,alternative energy is represented, you can watch stone workers, learn about woodlot management and how to work with oxen. There are poetry readings, Reiki and herb healing, environmental concerns are addressed and don't forget the children's parade, where they all dress as vegetables ( organically grown, of course - the fair is put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners' Association, after all.)
Best of all ( almost ) are the many workshops. We learned what needs to be done in the fall and winter garden , how to raise beef on grass, and took a terrific workshop in Making Sourdough bread.

This is the wood-fired outdoor oven which was built by the instructor and which I want to build when I get home.

Her dough is rising in a nifty basket made of willow

here you can see the spiral pattern of the basket before the loaf is put into the oven

Voila, beautiful, crusty loaves, fresh from the wood-fired oven !
We learned so much today and enjoyed being with so many congenial people - where else can you sit down with 6 strangers to eat lunch and have a spirited political discussion where everyone agrees with each other ? Only at the Common Ground Fair here in Unity, maine !

Thursday, September 18, 2008

6:30 AM

Yup, still there...

Just checking ....

Midnight Update

We just refueled after a long and tiring day.

Here are the results of the day - hers is red, his is yellow. What's on the top of your car ???

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We came, we saw and we had a terrific time. The Book Barn in Niantic is definitely worth a trip ! There's not only a huge barn full of books, there are also numerous outbuildings (as you can see above in the bosky dell - yes, the bosky dell. This is a literary post, after all. ) These outbuildings house more books, of course, in every genre under the sun, 350,000 books to be precise. If you don't find a book to please you here, you're a hopeless case.
We found lots to please us - see bookstack above. And just in case you feel faint after perusing all those books, there are lots of nooks and crannies - inside and out - where you can sit down with a cup of tea and some cookies to revive you , all courtesy of the management.
Combine all of the above with a perfect early fall day of blue skies, sunshine and just enough nip in the air to require a light sweater and you have the beginning of a great vacation.