Monday, June 29, 2015


UGH!  I wish someone would tell our local T.V. Meteorologists that there is nothing wrong with a little rain in the Summer.  Yes, I know many people live for the weekend; and this weekend was a big graduation party weekend with much of the schools in the Capital Region graduating this past week.  And yes, I understand that many people can only do things on the weekends; but we are still in a rain deficit and we need it.  Although it is not as dry as it was in the Spring; the Dog Days of Summer have yet to arrive and we need the rain for those very hot dry days to come.

So, it was a cool, cloudy and rainy weekend; I was lucky to be able to get outside on Saturday a bit to get some reading in.  Although cloudy and cool it was nice to slip into a sweat shirt and sip hot tea in the Adirondack Chairs with my book. Sunday was a mystery movie day.  I watched HAUNTED HONEYMOON with Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner and Dom DeLuise.  I love this movie and had not seen it for awhile.  The fire place on and comfort food curled up in front of the T.V.  Sometimes you need a weekend like this. 

But first I load up on some easy Summer time favorites for the weekend.  Start with some left over grilled corn on the cob.  Removing the kernels is not my favorite thing but it is that difficult.

Slice up some vine ripened tomatoes.
Green onions.  Oh and my little lemon cutting board from the Dollar Tree, the last time I was in I saw they had several other fruits and I didn't pick them up.  Hopefully they will be there my next visit.  They come with a matching knife, so cute.
Toss with a little oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. 
A perfect side to some grilled chicken drizzled with a sesame ginger dressing.
And a second helping of salad.
Seedless watermelon and prosciutto instead of melon.  I love the sweet and salty combination.
Another favorite salad is hearts of romaine, roast beef and feta topped with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
And for the cooler of the nights a little fettuccine and stir fried veggies.  I use Swanson Flavor Boost to add a little more flavor too the veggies.
I add the cooked fettuccine to the veggies and toss to coat.
Smother with Parmesan cheese.
And with flowers in the house everyday is sunny.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Since I retired we have done so many things and gone to so many places we wanted to go and do when we worked, but there never seemed to be enough time.  Not to say we were not very active and social all those working years; but it seemed we had to cram so much into those days off and vacations.  A very good family friend, Dan, always says about retirement "every day is Saturday."  I have decided to take it one step further and say "every day is like being on vacation."  So, when we head out into the beautiful Capital Region, we like to go out as if we were on vacation.  Do and see things like a tourist in our home town.  And, the days don't have to be jam packed.  We can head out in the morning leisurely and get home early.  The Capital Region is a pretty densely populated region so rush hour is.....well.....uhm.....let's just say if you don't have to be out there it is best to be home.  We like to be home by 4:00 p.m.

Today we decided to head a bit south of Albany to Coxsackie to check out the Coxsackie Antique Center.  But since I have not been to the Christmas Tree Shops in a few weeks we headed there first.  And, I had a $25.00 gift card burning a hole in my pocket.  It is amazing what you can come home with for only $25.00.

A fun beach theme beverage pitcher, two pairs of fabric flip flops (anchors and lobsters,) a cute Uncle Sam, a patriotic bird, a tote bag and Independence Day earrings.

I love the earrings!
After a quick Dunkin Donuts stop we jumped on the NYS Thruway and headed south 3 exits.  Just off the Thruway is the antique center.
What is great about this multi vendor center is the rustic feel when you approach.  Although the grounds may look unkempt, everything is very strategically placed.  There are several little vignettes like this with the old farm machines and little chickens,
Rocks, statuary and flowers mixed in with the rustic rural growth around the building.
More antique equipment surrounded by lush greenery.
Although a pretty nondescript building on the outside, the building is full of wonderful vintage finds. 
A head vase to add to my small collection, as well as another August Angel, and the unique wood bobble-head cat.
On the way home we decided to take State Route 9W back up north so we could make a few stops along the way and grab some lunch.
Van Allen Farms  in Glenmont.  And we also hit a Dollar Tree and a Tuesday Morning.  For lunch we decided Panera would be an easy choice.  And, I love the Panera menu.
I decided on the bbq chicken salad, perfect for a Summer day.
And a couple of double chocolate cookies for tonight.
After lunch we headed on home.  After unloading the days loot and settling in, a  quick jump in the pool to wash off the day.  And then a quick dinner.  When we were at lunch I was dieing for soup but it seemed a bit warm, after getting home and the jump in the pool the evening started to cool down.  So I decided to have my soup.  I love the simple combination of cheese tortellini with chives and cheese in a savor beef broth.  It is so quick and easy but very satisfying.
PJs on and settling in for the night. 
This is the kind of day we would have on vacation, and I am so pleased to be able to have it here at home.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Since today is the Summer Solstice, I decided to fast forward out to the other outdoor room in my home; my back yard.  Like my front yard, my back yard is a small city yard; but I maximize it as much as I can.  And, to repeat myself, there are many things about my home that are not new and perfect (like so many other homes,) but keeping things neat, tidy with tons of personal touches can make a world of difference.

I can't say enough about fences, and although my yard is small, the fence actually makes it seem bigger.  Unfortunately the fence I had installed only encloses two sides of my yard.  The fence on the third side is not the best, but I try to camouflage it with flowers and some coastal decor.  The four little pine trees mixed in with the Lilies were just tiny little twigs that my credit union gave out on Earth Day several years ago.  Once the are a bit bigger I will have them root balled into burlap and I will donate them to the Saratoga National Cemetery.

Inpatients do well along the sidewalk to the garage pass through door.  A hanging basket, a coordinating pot and more coastal and some patriotic decor on the back fence and garage.  Color and personality in every corner.
The potting table is not only useful, it is a perfect place to add a little more style to the yard.  An old teak patio chair holds a pot; and flowers, flowers and more flowers.
The patio is small but there is just enough room to a black iron set and cedar Adirondack Chairs.  The red iron table between the chairs is a plant stand.  The red matches the umbrella perfectly.  I prefer umbrellas with teak poles and cord pulleys.  It does not tilt but it is much more stylish than those with metal poles.  The chiminea only holds candles.  The timber boxes around the patio are filled with wild Pansies.  The boxes follow up to the lower back door and Terra cotta pots and hanging baskets with my favorite combination of red, white and blue.
Pillows and cushions are a must, it softens the furniture and makes the the outdoors feel more like an extension of the house.  And like inside my home, I love to have as many textures as possible.
I was not able to  install a traditional pool due to code requirements, but I found this alternative.
EZ Pools Portable Swimming Pools offered a great solution.  They come in many sizes, I did choose one of the smaller sizes, it is perfect to just climb in and cool off.  Since we really only have 12 maybe 14 weeks to swim, this is just enough.  Since I  have black iron on my home, the fence (purely decorative,) the plant hooks and garden lights are all black iron.  And I like how the black iron looks with the weathered wood of the fence and timbers.  The pool area gets a few teak chairs, and of course more pillows.  I found the cedar runners to make a perfect walk way for the pool.
Yellow lillies soften the fence and sea shells and a little ceramic bucket for that personality I love.
Another old teak chair as a planter.  Below a cat bird feeder.
My favorite shell planter.
The yard is small and the two car garage takes up a great deal of space (but I wouldn't live with out my garage!)  But all it takes is a little work to make it feel cozy and homey.  I spend so much time in the yard from March right through November.  Out door space was a priority for me on my house hunt; and this is just enough.

Friday, June 19, 2015


I am very happy to report I have completed another book.  The weather was just perfect the last three days; high 70's, a mix of clouds and sun, low dew point and humidity with a light breeze.  I stuck around the house all three days.  Each day I did a little yard work, hung out in the pool and read DEMISE IN DENIM  by Duffy Brown.

I started this series right at the beginning and was instantly hooked.  It is written in the first person, which I prefer; I like the feeling of being right in the mystery.  And it is set in Savannah; if you have never been to this amazing city, you must attempt to get there.  The historic district is a beautiful, iconic Southern city.  The majestic architecture, the cobblestone streets, the live oaks covered in moss and the FOOD make Savannah special.  And Duffy Brown gets it so right.  When I read these books I travel back to my visits.  She really knows the city and writes it as it is.  She is very descriptive and much of the locations are real. 
The main sleuth Reagan is smart and sassy; she has turned the main floor of her Victorian home into a consignment shop to earn a living after her divorce.  She and her wonderful Aunt KiKi and occasionally, her rescue dog, BW (Bruce Willis) get into all sorts of mayhem.  And then there is Walker Boone!  He is so well written, you can't help but fall in love with him.  And, since the beginning of the series, I have met many wonderfully diverse, colorful and lovable characters.
In this story Walker is the suspect and it is up to Reagan to solve the mystery.  But Walker is always there in the shadows (like usual.)  Reagan has to dodge an angry detective, trophy wives, thugs and alligators.
As with all the previous books in this series, the mystery is very well crafted.  It is funny and filled with laugh-out-loud moments.  When I say Reagan gets into all sorts of mayhem, I mean it.  This series is so well written I actually find myself reading it with a southern accent.  It is so fast paced, once I start reading, I can't put it down.  But, one warning, DO NOT read this on an empty stomach.  There are no bad meals in Savannah and all those wonderful meals are in these books.
I can't say enough about this series, I love all the books I read, but The Consignment Shop Mysteries are right at the top of my list. 

Monday, June 15, 2015


Sorry Karen, but rainy days and Mondays never get me down.  Yes, because of being retired, everyday is Saturday, so Mondays don't cause the same stress they did before; and I love a cloudy rainy day once in a while.  It rained all night and the rain stopped falling by 9:00 a.m. but the clouds remained.  Instead of hanging around the house, we headed to another local lake for a little lunch at   Brown's Beach which for years had been closed.

This beautiful public access beach opened in the 1800s, but was sold to a developer who wanted to build houses (boo! hiss! boo!)  Fortunately this never happened, but unfortunately the developer retained the property and it sat there deteriorating for years.  The town of Stillwater wanted to buy the land and reopen it as a (truly) public beach.  So with financial help from Global Foundries and NYSERDA the town was able to purchase the land.  Two longtime local businesses were granted long term contracts to run the restaurant, inn, snack shop, pavilion and marina.  After MAJOR restoration and renovations it is almost there. 

The restaurant Dock Brown's is open and we headed there for lunch.  Do to the soggy weather we sat inside; but we still had a lovely view of the lake.  The Nest  is the inn at Saratoga Lake and has just recently opened for guest.  We are planning an overnight there this Fall.

The deck is completely new and quite large.  We can't wait for a drier day to try it out.  But lunch was wonderful none-the-less.  Since it was cool we enjoyed french onion soup, grilled chicken sandwich with cheddar, a porkchop sandwich with tobacco onions and a side of homemade mac salad.
The beautiful lake, beach and park.  The future holds a permanent pavilion, beach bar, cabanas and rest rooms with showers and changing stalls.  There will also be a full service marina that also offers snowmobile repair.  Saratoga lake is popular in the winter for ice racing and ice fishing.
And since there is still much work to be done and active construction, we overlook the orange cones and barricades.  Remember it takes a lot to be beautiful.
We have had a lot of rain recently so the beach is a bit messy.  And it was closed today do to the weather and potential storms.
They are adding lovely stone paths to lead around the grounds.
These fun giant Adirondack Chairs were installed for the grand opening and those who attended were asked to add their hand prints.
Homeward bound with a quick stop at a Dollar Tree.  And since it is going to be a cool damp night, we will settle in with some tea and popcorn infront of a fire to watch DEVIOUS MAIDS and  UNREAL.