Thursday, April 21, 2016

Passover 2016/5776

Auburn, NY, probably 1946
I usually look for a painting of Moses parting the Red Sea, or maybe one of the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts and lintels: 'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.' Exodus 12:5-8 But, today would have been my Dad's 94th birthday (top left) and I am feeling very full. So, as I was looking for a pic of him to post, I found this one, and in that fullness came a flood of thoughts about Passover, which begins tomorrow night at sunset. We were very blessed as kids to have my Mom's parents and my Father's Mom live down the street, (in Stuyvesant Town, it was up a hill and around a curve...) along with cousins and cousins cousins. Passover, always celebrated with the traditional Seder, Manischewitz wine, which were allowed to dilute and drink, my Gram's never to be repeated handmade gefilte fish, matzo balls which actually floated when cooked (I am still working on this...4 ingredients and I still cannot get it right!!!), the fun of searching for the Afikoman ( a half-piece of matzo which is broken in two during the early stages of the Passover Seder and set aside to be eaten as a dessert after the meal...whoever found it, usually received a dollar bill!!), and simply being together. Since those wonderful days, we have lost many along the way, and we are scattered across the country, but the tradition, of celebrating the Jewish people being delivered from the hand of the grasp of the terrible one, remains well intact. It is written: 'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments-- I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance...' Exodus 12: 12-14. I look at this picture, and I know that that permanent ordinance lives on in me and my Son, and his Sons yet to come, because of these people, my Family, and the many generations who came before them. It is amazing and stirring. So, as I attempt to make another round of matzo balls which actually float and are edible, we are deeply grateful to be celebrating yet another Passover together, whether in Spirit or not.

Happy Passover!!!

'On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.…'
                                                                                                     Exodus 12:16

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Labor of Love!!

So beautifully colored, thought out, labor intensive...
And framed...
Comforter, so skillfully crocheted by my Grandmother decades ago, still in use today...
Victorian doorknobs, 1 & 2,  circa, 1900, drawn by Me, from the Big House in R.I.

Today is National Siblings Day, so I include, Sibling-In-Law, i.e, my Sister-in-Law, Sheila. She has found a great way to spend some quiet time, midst her very busy and demanding job, and life in general. Upon discovery of coloring in, what to me look like the most elaborate Victorian doorknobs, Sheila has turned this wonderful hobby into a few 'labor of love' pieces, which she has signed, framed, popped in the mail to some very happy recipients. 'Moi' included. It came on Friday. I liken this gorgeous labor intensive piece to the crocheting of a quilt, or cross-stitch works, which were so carefully hand crafted by my Mom, Grandmother, Great-Aunt. Each, a treasure, withstanding the test of time.

Even though I have said it many times over at this point, I so appreciate the time, dedication, thought and love which was put into this beautiful drawing. Along with the colors of the matte, which my Brother chose, although without thinking, he said, our camp colors of blue and 'gold'. We have found a place of honor to hang it where the blazing Colorado sun will not touch it and make it fade or alter the colors in any way. 

So, many thank you's again, dear SIL!!!

'May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands..'
                                         Psaml 90:17

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Landscapes Art Exhibition, Special Merit...

'Lakeside in Colorado'
This pic of the gorgeous snow capped Rockies while standing at the lake in Cherry Creek State Park, was one of the first I took with the new camera. Still playing, allot, with the powerful zoom, I have been testing the waters, so to speak. I continue to enter on-line photo contests, and have started a gallery on the National Geographic "Your Shot' page, along with hundreds of thousands of other amazing photographers from around the globe. I have received notice from National Geographic, 2 times, of one of my pics 'trending'. Meaning it has received attention from the on-line community. This happens to hundreds of people, daily, on Nat. Geo, but, it happened to me...exciting!! I just received notice this morning that 'Lakeside in Colorado' received a Special Merit nod from the judges from the Light Space and Time On-Line Gallery! This is what was posted, for those who were awarded this recognition:

'The art which was selected for the Special Merit Category is any art from the various media categories that we believe could have also been placed in the top tier of the entries selected.  The only reason that this art was not selected for the top tier was due to the size constraints of this particular competition. Otherwise, the Special Merit art, in many cases, is interchangeable with any of the best art that we selected elsewhere.' 

This works for me and I am about to crown the new camera, my trustee little Sony. Below is one of the National Geographic pics which was trending, along with a week filled of birds. A Bald Eagle, a Hawk, with full zoom from the house, and two Pelicans. I was happy to be able to be closer to the Pelicans, as I was standing on the shore of the lake just yesterday at Cherry Creek State Park. Unfortunately, Mr. Eagle did not want to cooperate on the big screen...

April is upon us, and here, your can feel Spring literally ready to explode...more to come...
Reflection from early March sunset, using the Diptic app, trending on Nat. Geo...
Mr. Hawk...
American White Pelican...a very big bird..
....and two...
(links to pages highlighted)

“Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?  It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold.  From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar."
                                                                                                          Job 39:26-29

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mary, Mary and Salome...The Women!

Annibale Carracci, 1590
"When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."  Mark 16: 1-8

Oh my goodness, can you even imagine??

To All who rejoice in the empty tomb, 
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Windy city on Monday made the skies change and change and change...
...and change...
...all to give us this beamy sunset...
Playing with the zoom...the Rockies are at least 25 miles away, and this peak, 14,000 feet in elevation!!
Macro, lamplight, soft sweet Girl...
Similar to looking for a new place to live, I have a list of priorities. First question, 'Do they accept animals, cats?' When looking for a new camera, first question, 'Does it have Wifi?'. In both instances, the response was a resounding 'YES!!'. However, when rubber officially met the road, and we were literally hours away from signing a lease on a house, the rental agent called and said no animals, no cats allowed, and guess what, when I started toying with the new camera, I discovered that it had no Wifi. Even with my on-line research, and assuming that it actually did have Wifi, I missed this huge piece of information, or lack thereof. So when the instance of the 'no cat house' fell through, we found another house, this one, which is so far greater than we could have imagined.  Back to Best Buy we went this past Saturday, new camera in tow, having talked to the head of the camera department, who felt terrible that I had received misinformation. No worries, I said, what else do you have...knowing that there was something better. Lesson learned from the house debacle. Indeed he did. It was a step up from the original Sony I purchased 3 days earlier. In the 3 years since the purchase of my trustee little Nikon, technology, as we all know has grown in light year speed, rendering my old camera relatively extinct... (so sad). Anywho, I came home with a solid, small enough for my little hands, crazy intense zoom, (I'm thinking eagles, hawks, coyotes, mountain tops,  sunrise, sunset, and Lord knows what else!), and, yes, Wifi. 

You have to be somewhat, at least a little, technology literate and brave, I think, to delve into setting up the Wifi. Even with the instruction manual, help from Sony's web site, I only needed Edward's help one time, and that was finding the key pad on the camera, which needed to be registered and synced to Sony's web site on my computer. There were downloads and passwords and apps and immediately being thrown into the deep water. SWIM, if you want this camera to work!!! I could not possibly repeat the steps it took me to get there, but all I know is that the Wifi is hooked up, and it, like the powerful zoom, is crazy fast. Like any new piece of technology, it will take me a while to figure everything out. Already, I have found features, then lost them, wondering where they went, how do I get back there??? But, what I do know is that this camera is challenging my eye, making me sit with it to see what we can do together, and eventually, in time, it will be my trustee little Sony. 

...and, just because it is so pretty, and interesting. A Diptic pic of some Tulips I took with my iPhone the other day @ Whole Foods...


Wednesday, March 9, 2016


I started a new book this morning. The first entry of the last one was June 13, 2014, exactly 2 years to the date of the book before that. In true form, getting the ink to flow in my raidograph pen with lots of swirls on the top of the page, I began! I am also buying a new camera today. My trustee little Nikon simply stopped working, which I knew was coming. Lo and behold, I spent time yesterday w/ a Gal @ Best Buy, who is an actual camera nerd, her words, not mine. She was SO helpful. All I can tell you is that it is a Sony camera. From everything she told me and from the research I did on-line, it looks like the right camera for me. I am nervous, excited, a little scared about the camera. Clearly, it is time. A new book holding words, precious words, and a new camera, holding pictures, precious pictures. Both holding my heart in their hands.

'Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.'
                                                                                        Isaiah 43:19

Postscript: The good news, is that I bought the camera, but, the bad news, is that every Best Buy in 'the area' did not have it in stock, which in essence, is also good news. So, I will have to wait a couple of days for it to be delivered to my front shipping charge!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Reflections 4

February 3, morning after the storm...shadows and light
January sunset, 4:46pm sky...
January sunset, 4:31pm sky...
February after sunset, 5:50pm sky...
February after sunset, 5:37pm sky...
Deep into winter, this series, now, 'Reflections 4', definitely gives the feel of the season. Soft pastels, with some hints of the blazing Colorado sun. We see signs of spring, with the tiniest of buds on the trees and bushes, the days, markedly longer, enjoying some warm temps this week well into the 60's. So much so, sandals and short sleeves yesterday and a long long walk in Cherry Creek State Park. 

I am slowly working on a project with the 'Reflection' series, so for those of you who pray, I would ask, please pray for this handiwork to proceed forward and, which when completed and presented, it be a blessing!!
My shadow, yesterday at the defrosting lake...sweater hanging off my being, making for an interesting shape!

'In the midst of morn she quietly rose
to greet the dawn of silent repose
She searched beyond the frozen hills
and through the bough's of crystal frills
She danced in dream as clouds rolled by
in hopes the sun would pierce the sky 
As moments passed nil of light
the wind kicked up with all it's might
In tumbling turmoil the west winds raged
in fluttering beauty to turn the page 
Within a breath a single sigh
the Winter wrath had waved goodbye
As sunlight burned of velvet white
upon her face a shaft of light... '

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Rainbow Full

When I was deep into the blogosphere, there were (still are, I am certain) many blogs about animals. Our cats, dogs, horses, guinea pigs, every creature large and small can be social media darlings. We get to know them. So, when one of these precious 4 legged, feathered, etc., animals/family died, people would often times, refer to 'The Rainbow Bridge' and how their pet 'crossed the Rainbow Bridge'. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. I know there is a heaven, and I believe w/ heart and soul that heaven is also a place where animals go for all eternity. When Big Kitty died, I received so much love on Facebook, and beautiful, loving responses to the blog post, for which I am so so grateful. However, my Rhode Island friend, Sally, who took care of 'The Kids', (as she called them) whenever we went out of town, sent me the full story of the Rainbow Bridge and my heart simply overflowed. So, for any of you (many of you), who have said your good-byes to a precious pet, I pray that the full story of The Rainbow Bridge, brings comfort to your heart as well. Thank you Sally, so many thank you's.

'Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....'

Author unknown...

'And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good...'
                                                                           Genesis 1:25

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fare Thee Well Big Kitty...

We said our final good-byes, to Big Kitty, aka, Richie Havens, aka, The Old Man today. He was 18 and almost 1/2, which in human years is around 90. He started failing dramatically these past couple of weeks, and just Monday, 2 days ago, we knew it was time. As in life, death comes in waves, as first thing Monday morning I received an email that Mom's dearest friend from camp had passed away. The wires were burning, our camp wall on Facebook was lighting up all day, it was all day. All the while I was on the phone w/ our Vet to finalize today as we were deeply nuzzled in waiting for the storm. It was a good day to be home. There were allot of people feeling terribly sad on Monday. One of my #favoritepeople posted a song from 'Israel and NewBreed', and I wound up buying the album. I would say, timing is everything. It kept my spirits up. The music will keep my spirits up. (Thank you  #favoritepeople).
The day we brought Big Kitty home...a forever friendship was born..
We got Big Kitty from the North Shore Animal Shelter on Long Island. He was 4 months old, Edward was 8ish. From the minute we brought him home, he was present, he was totally with us. He was one of the best animals I have ever met. He moved with us 5 times, from our apartment in Mt. Vernon, to the 2 houses in Rhode Island and then the 2 houses in Colorado. He was a natural hunter, stalker of mice, moth catcher extra-ordinaire, insect eater, he was very fast. He was totally laid back and was the best snuggle buddy, always with an immediate loud purr. In 2005, I had some outpatient surgery, and he did not leave my side for days. He was the same way with Edward. Ever present during stomach aches, all nighters when not feeling well, and was especially close with Edward's initial diabetes diagnosis. He tolerated The Girl, barely, all these years. Somehow, they worked. I am curious to see how or if she is any different or even cares that he is not here. 

We are so grateful to have had him all these years, and the Vets all said, he was blessed to have us. We are so grateful that the process was quick and peaceful. I know Edward and I are both going to 'think we see him', probably for a while. 18 and almost 1/2 years was a great run for The Old Man. We are so grateful...
Mt. Vernon...
Rhode Island, the Big house..
Colorado Springs...
On his 18th birthday...
Always in our hearts, Big Kitty, aka, Richie Havens, aka, The Old Man.

A special thank you to everyone at The Aurora Animal Hospital, for your gentleness, your compassion, your thoroughness, overall care  and time, not just for our 4 legged loved ones, but for Us.
We are so grateful....

Friday, January 29, 2016


The Teahouse, from the inside...
Teahouse from the outside....
We have been having a beautiful stretch of weather, although Mr. Weatherman reminds us, do not get too used to it. It is supposed to snow on Monday, allot. In the meantime, seizing the moment, we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens yesterday to catch the Orchid Show. Much better than 'Stinky', the albatross of a plant. What amazed me, per usual, is the incredible variety and color, the full spectrum of the orchids. I enjoyed setting my camera to 'macro' mode and had a field day, as you can see, just snapping away. The challenge for me, and I suppose everyone else who has come through to take pictures, is that the 'background' is a concrete wall. I am certain that their placement was thoroughly thought out, however challenging it has turned out to be for those who have come with camera in tow. Anywho, a little creativity and editing left me with some beautiful pics. 

We did walk around and marveled at the frozen tundra, the Lily Pad pond, the Koi Fish pond, the bountiful herb garden, everything just waiting for Spring, to blossom forth once again. We made the requisite visit to the Teahouse, which I would love to furnish, and permanently reside.  I have made mention of that before, more than once. A girl can dream...

'Beauty of Orchid
Beyond Compare
Petals Soft
And Color pure
Stems Sleek
And Leaves Soft
Beauty of Orchid
 Beyond Compare'
                                                                  poem by Willard Wells

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


1/18,2016, 4:30pm sky!!!
So, I've been a bit quiet. January, 2016. Let's see, there is Iran, freed hostages, Syria, starvation, retiring elephants from Barnum and Bailey, a massacre just this morning at a university in Pakistan, The Oscars or not, a blizzard getting ready to pummel the East Coast, 5 planets aligning which we can see, lead riddled water in Michigan, Trump and now Palin, a mother of 6 stabbed to death in Israel, did I say Trump? I skim the surface. I am trying to pay attention, but I got a 2 day migraine and missed Pit Bulls and Parolees on Saturday. Wow, good thing they repeat the show from the week before. Winter, although the days are markedly longer, has settled in. The skies have been inspired, jaw dropping, majestic, gifted. How do I tie all this together? 

I return to my visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, in my head. Our docent extraordinaire, Earl Simons, recommended, strongly suggested some reading material. 'Mila 18', by Leon Uris, and 'The Wall', by John Hersey. There were more, but 2 books was definitely enough. I picked them both up @ Barnes and Noble when I returned from my East Coast jaunt. I started with 'Mila 18'. Pool reading this past summer. Both books about the Warsaw Ghetto. I am not sure how I missed reading 'Mila 18' or 'The Wall', which I know I have packed away in a box, someplace. It was Mom's. I am a fast reader, but once I got going into 'Mila 18', I went from around 100 to 15, just about 1/3 of the way into the book. 

This is just an overview of the Warsaw Ghetto. On October 12, 1940, the Germans decreed the establishment of a ghetto in Warsaw. The decree required all Jewish residents of Warsaw to move into a designated area, which German authorities sealed off from the rest of the city in November 1940. The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw. The population of the ghetto, increased by Jews compelled to move in from nearby towns, was estimated to be over 400,000 Jews. German authorities forced ghetto residents to live in an area of 1.3 square miles, with an average of 7.2 persons per room.  Eventually, as the ghetto was reduced to rubble, a few courageous (understatement, remember the Maccabee Brothers, this was the very same DNA) individuals with few weapons and no outside help assume command of ghetto defense, formed a makeshift army and made a stand.  Later, this army led to the formation of the state of Israel. All this to say, that the individual stories, (and the yet and still, simply impossible to wrap one's head around the big picture), which were being told by Leon Uris in 'Mila 18', although fictitious, were so graphic and so horrifying, that It took me 3 months to get through the book. I kept on putting it down. But, finish it I did. Then I binged watched 'Call the Midwife' on Netflix. A helpful antidote.

Last night, I picked up 'The Wall', and just read the introduction. One of the things I learned @ the Holocaust Museum was that there were time capsules buried throughout the Ghetto. 'The Wall', like 'Mila 18', a book of fiction, based on truth, is about The Levinson Archives, a wonder of documentation. The story overview is: It was the summer after the war. There were 17 boxes and small parcels, wrapped in rags and old clothes. There was nothing left, I repeat nothing, of the Warsaw Ghetto, except the wall, and a small handful of survivors. Levinson made sure, through smuggling letters out of the Ghetto, having people memorize where everything was buried, down to the depth in meters and centimeters, how far out from corners of buildings which no longer existed, where the boxes could be found. Two days' digging brought up the whole treasure. Long after the archive had been found, other sets of directions were still drifting back to Warsaw from as far away as Shanghai. Levinson was a meticulous man, as was Hersey. We shall see how long this book takes me plow through. I remain, compelled.
Old milk container used as a time capsule in the Warsaw Ghetto. There were, 3, yet only 2 of them have been found!
The atmosphere today, the singling out of groups of people is all too reminiscent of the pre-Holocaust era. There is allot of fear and hatred being spewed from around the globe, and very much so in our own country. I am going to repeat myself, sort of. We are living in difficult days, as the world, planet Earth, feels at times like it is spinning off its axis. We all see it unfold before our eyes, everyday. I pray that those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, will keep precious oil in their lamps, and pray for those who do not, as we are into week 3 of 2016.

'Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.'
                                                             Psalms 119:105 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Chew On This...

 I would say to some of you, proceed with caution, as many of you are preparing to forge ahead with 'The Daniel Fast'. This post is about ravioli, handmade, yummy ravioli. We are eating very green, I have been for a long time, but as a Family, we are taking it to another level of healthy eating. That said, my twenty-something #1Son, is still living at home and healthy as he is (thank goodness), he still enjoys a hearty bowl of pasta. My skills of making my own pasta are sharpened, and on my list of , 'I can do that', making ravioli was near the top. 

I bought a ravioli stamp @ Crate & Barrel. I say stamp and not cutter, because I assumed that it was a cutter, but really, it just marks the dough, which is good. I found a filling which, clearly was going to be delicious. Fresh spinach, ricotta and Parmesan. It is amazing how the first time is wrought with mistakes. I made the dough, prepped the filling, and proceeded in my normal fashion of rolling out the dough with my pasta roller gadget. I have never gone to the thinnest setting, which is #7. I did not go there on the first round. I should have. I sort of used the stamp, thinking it was going to cut, not stamp, so I set it aside. I should not have done that either. So, I eyeballed the squares for shaping the ravioli. Big mistake. I used a tablespoon measure for the filling. Mistake #4. It was way too much. I deemed the ravioli, 'rustic', which they were. However, when all 12 were finished, they looked like ravioli on steroids!!! They were SO big, having puffed up after boiling, that one was equal to four. Did they get eaten, you ask? Well, yes, they were delicious, best meal Jimmy ever had, he said.

So, determined to get the hang of this, I went for round 2. I rolled out the dough in my normal fashion with the pasta roller gadget, but I went to #7, which is paper thin. Off to a good start. I used the stamp to clearly mark the squares. Good move. I used 1/2 a tablespoon for the filling. Just the right amount. I gently laid out the top part of the ravioli, and marked the squares with the side of my hand, then made the cuts. Also, a good move. Still, somewhat rustic, but smaller. I had 18 instead of 12 monster sized ravioli. As with the first batch, I had way too much filling left over in the bowl, so I simply floured a baking dish and put the rest of that yummy combo in the oven. I baked it until the top and sides were nice and toasted looking. This round, all in all, a far greater success. What is so nice about ravioli, is that you can put just about anything in them for a filling, which I intend to do.

These pics are from round 2. I finished them up in the sauce pan, turned off the heat, added some shredded parm and fresh basil!! The bottom pic of the ravioli in the bowl, ready for eating is not as good as I would have liked, because someone, who will remain nameless, was chomping at the bit. Anywho, my adventures in the be continued...

Rolled, stamped, measured and filled...
Ready for cutting and sealing...
Well sealed, ready for boiling, all 18 of them...
Finished off in the sauce pan, adding shredded parm and fresh basil...
A healthy serving of 3, well, he came back for more...

'She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her...' Proverbs 31:27-28 
(Good thought Proverbs....)