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Archive for the ‘Ha-P 2 B in OG’ Category

Laughing Gulls

I really like Sea Gulls;  They are raucous, clever, beautiful and so varied.  I used to think the only kind of Sea Gull was the one that looked like Jonathan Livingston Sea Gull.  But now, I spend time at the Jersey Shore I’ve come to know several varieties.  My favorite is the Laughing Gull.

Here's Laughing At You!

Here’s Laughing At You!

These sleek black-headed birds are seen in great numbers during the summer along the beaches and coasts of the Northeast.  Year-round they can be found around the Gulf of Mexico and the coasts of the Southeast.  They have long legs and fairly long wings.  Laughing Gulls eat almost anything, including food they catch or steal, handouts, garbage, and discards from fishing boats. They often congregate in parking lots, sandy beaches, and mud bars. Listen for their nasal, strident calls in flight, while feeding, and at rest.

Look for Laughing Gulls at the beach, especially during summer when their crisp black hoods and red bills make them easy to pick out from other gull species. You may also notice that their back and wings (the mantle) are considerably darker than common medium-sized gulls such as Ring-billed Gulls; this can also help you to pick them out from a crowd.

Soaring

Soaring

I like to feed the gulls any leftover stale bread I may have or those fried greasy crinkly things you get from the Chinese restaurant, they love them.  Anyway, my favorite gull to feed is the Laughing Gull.  They seem smarter than the others and they know it.   While hoards of gulls will gather on the sand below the dock where I am tossing the bread, each one trying to steal the piece that their neighbor has instead of going after a fresh one, the Laughing Gull disdains to join the crowd on the sand and circles me coming closer and closer.   He is quite happy to receive his bread in the air, swooping under it to catch it in his mouth or darting sideways to snatch it mid-air.  They will hover over my head like a helicopter waiting for me to toss a piece up in the air.

Murray Head has captured  fabulous photos of  these delightful creatures and I’m happy to share them with you.

Zeroing In For The Catch!

Zeroing In For The Catch!

Was It Something I Said?

Was It Something I Said?

Long Legs and Red Bills

Long Legs and Red Bills

OHHhhh My Dear!

OHHhhh My Dear!

Aerodynamically Perfect

Aerodynamically Perfect

So Much To Do So Little Time

So Much To Do So Little Time

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Of course it helps if you have a good eye for art or an artist’s eye that captures the art of everyday things.  My friend, Murray is an artist; He uses his eyes and the camera lens to capture the pure simplicity of the ordinary, the commonplace and when he takes the shot, it becomes art.  See for yourself.  The photographs were taken Thanksgiving weekend on the Jersey Shore.  There is beauty at the beach in the winter.  Without the maddening crowds, you can actually SEE more.

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Destruction Destiny

 

I Walk The Line

I Walk The Line

I'm The King Of The World

I’m The King Of The World

Beach Berries

Beach Berries

Fair Feather We're Having

Fair Feather We’re Having

True North

True North

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

The Angry Eel

The Angry Eel

High Tide Geysers

High Tide Geysers

Libra Gulls

Libra Gulls

There is quiet beauty at The Shore!

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My friend Murray Head loves squirrel watching as much my husband and I do.  Better yet, he photographs these cute critters in the wilds of Central Park and in our backyard at the Shore.  We feed the squirrels lots of peanuts and have ears of dried corn on a wheel.  These backyard acrobats love to hang onto the spokes of the wheel and nibble the corn.  Both Murray and my friend Wendy spent Thanksgiving with us and it was all about the squirrels because Wendy makes daily trips to Central Park where she feeds her squirrels.  As soon as she starts up the path to her bench, the squirrels come running out to grab the almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts she brings them.  Here we are at Costco loading up on food for our furry and feathered friends.

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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Birdseed and Peanuts

Just Sitting Around Chewing A Peanut

Just Sitting Around Chewing A Peanut

Anybody Here?

Anybody Here?

Can You Find The 5 Birds Patiently Waiting?

Can You Find The 5 Birds Patiently Waiting?

"Oh Wow, A Veritable Candy Store"

“Oh Wow, A Veritable Candy Store”

Squirrel On The Corn Wheel

Squirrel On The Corn Wheel

This Poor Little Guy Lost Some of His Tail!

This Poor Little Guy Lost Some of His Tail!

Yes, I Do Have A Big White Belly

Yes, I Do Have A Big White Belly

Pink Is My Favorite Color

Pink Is My Favorite Color

"Geez, Hazelnuts!  Must Be A Holiday Or Something"

“Geez, Hazelnuts! Must Be A Holiday Or Something”

"I'm Just Looking"

“I’m Just Looking”

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

Feeding The Hungry On Thanksgiving

Feeding The Hungry On Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving in our house or apartment is never same old, same old.  That’s not to say I don’t serve some of the more traditional dishes associated with this tradition-bound holiday;  But we always have some twist to the event and this year at the last minute we added another guest.  It went like this….

Driving past the street where our friends Joe and Michael live, I realize that Michael must be here and Joe is in Australia, so who is Michael having dinner with??  He could be in The City with friends or he could be hosting, but I’m going to check.  I sent a text with inquiry and he wrote back stating he already shopped for all the food but he could come by for dessert.  Putting two and two together and coming out with ONE, I realized he certainly must not have guests.  Eating alone on Thanksgiving??!!! I wouldn’t hear of it, so I sent a strong invitation to join us.  Back comes the response how he loves to cook;  Back goes my reply, OK, you love to cook, so do I – so cook already and you bring some here.  That did it.

I thought maybe Michael could bring some stuffing or a dessert but no, he was planning on bringing a lot more even though I protested that there were only 5 of us and actually he and our friend Murray really don’t eat much.  I want to say they eat like birds but I think both of them are going to read this, so I’m not saying it.

The day dawned bright and clear following a horrible chilly and rainy Wednesday.  Wendy had arrived the day before and so the three of us started the morning with a broccoli and onion frittata and fresh fruit salad.  I put some aside for Murray who would be arriving around 11am.  So far so good.  I took the soup  and mashed potatoes out of the refrigerator, got the stuffing out of the refrigerator next door.  Oh I didn’t explain that I didn’t have enough room in my refrigerator for all the food so we stashed a lot of stuff in my neighbor’s refrigerator – very convenient actually.  Now we had to tackle moving furniture in the living room so we could open up the dropleaf table to accomodate the five of us.  You know in a normal house and by that I mean the kind you grow up in, not a beach cottage, this is an easy enough task.  But not here! First everything behind the couch has to go upstairs out of sight, everything on the table has to go upstairs and out of sight.  Then in order to get the two chairs that ARE upstairs and have to come downstairs to go around the dining room table, one has to remove two cat carriers, the laundry bag, the empty travel food bags, a blanket and two suitcases!!

Once Murray arrived and was fed, he took off for the beach to capture some beautiful shots of dogs running happily in the sand, peoples strolling the boardwalk (clearly guests and not hosts) and sea gulls swooping around.  I began to prepare and put together some of the remaining dishes.  The only problem occurred when he who shall not be named, wanted to change the dinner time!  He, who was sitting in a chair reading the New York Times!  Really?  Really??

Once I banned everyone from the kitchen and said to please leave me alone because I know what I’m doing and I have to do some things in certain order and trust me it will all get done.   This IS a really important factor because have you ever made Thanksgiving dinner on a 20″ stove?  Ha! The burners are so close together and don’t even talk to me about the oven size!  Once the turkey breast ( I opted out of the 12 lb bird I had in my shopping cart because I decided the bone to meat ratio wasn’t so good) goes in the oven, that’s the only thing that can go in the oven.

Sautéed the Crimini mushrooms for the String Bean and Shallot dish, mixed the previously sautéed Baby Bella mushrooms into the herb stuffing and put it in a casserole.  But before that can go in to warm up, I have to roast my pears.  The night before my friend, Elinor, posted a photo of her perfectly golden and caramelized pears on Facebook.  I set mine in oven and went about doing some one of the hundred things that need to be done before dinner.  Pretty soon I begin to smell the strong scent of burnt sugar. Uh huh, the bottoms of the pears were burning and sticking to the tin foil.  I pulled them out and immediately the smoke alarm on the second floor went off!  The first floor alarm had already been dismantled because it goes off if the oven door opens at any temperature!!  Alas my pears were not golden brown but rather pale tan on top and almost black on the bottom.

We are in the living room and Michael arrives, shopping bag and wine in hand.  He knows I said we had enough dessert but what the heck, he had already bought the Triple Berry pie.  We sat in the living room sipping Cider Bellini’s which were quite good and pretty to look at also.  I served my Sweet Potato Chipolte soup and we warmed ourselves up on alcohol and Chipolte pepper.

Time for dinner:  While the turkey rested, I alternately heated up Michael’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Caramelized Carrots, Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries and homemade gravy.  The Triple Berry pie had been delegated to the back porch (my other refrigerator).  Peter carved the Turkey Breast just the way the video at Wegman’s showed how and it was oh so juicy – I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and brushed the entire breast with a combination of Wegman’s Basting Oil, snipped fresh Rosemary, minced Garlic and a couple of strips of Lemon Zest, which I had heated up on the stove.

Menu

Cider Bellinis

Sweet Potato Chipolte Soup

Roasted Turkey Breast

Herbed Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Caramelized Carrots

String Beans Shallots and Mushroom

Herb Stuffing with Baby Bello Mushrooms

Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries

Cranberry Ginger Sauce

Baked Rolls (2 varieties)

Homemade Gravy

Turkey Gravy (from Wegman’s)

Roasted Pear, Arugula, Pomengranate Salad

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Triple Berry Pie

The table doesn’t look so elegant, but you have to remember we are at the cottage which has a 1950’s kitchen, so we are eating off of Melmac, and serving dishes are what you can find in the right size.  Some of the food couldn’t fit on the dinner table so the kitchen table was employed too. 

And more food

And more food

Here we are sitting at the table, halfway through the meal, Joe called from Australia (OMG, growing up I never imagined a phone call from Australia, using a cell phone and on speaker!!).

Michael and Wendy in between courses

Michael and Wendy in between courses

This year we all gave thanks for each other at the table.  When you spend Thanksgiving with your  family of the present, there’s never any unfinished business to rehash.  There’s no sibling rivalry, there’s no parental pressure or inquisition.  Just friends who came together this day to give thanks and celebrate with good food.  And in this case A LOT of good food.

Murray is ready for seconds

Murray is ready for seconds         

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The summer is quickly waning, I always know that when the Lariope  blooms its purple flowers, it won’t be long before nothing is blooming.  But last week I got a real treat from Mother Nature – a beautiful fragrant red and white rose blossomed.

This weekend we’ve had intense heat and sunshine and rain – a perfect combination to breathe  some extended life into the rose bushes and the geraniums.

My friend, Sarajane visited us at the cottage and she is the credited photographer for these beautiful photos.

Face Forward

Face Forward

 

Close Enough To Smell

Close Enough To Smell

Reaching For The Sun

Reaching For The Sun

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Today was a very Super Sunday!  First of all it was hot and sunny and a perfect beach day.  A sunny Sunday at the Shore is hard to beat.  Then there’s the soup;  This morning I got up early and made Gazpacho.  It’s the quintessential summer soup and a great Sunday night supper.  I love this recipe and so I made a huge batch, some for our dinner tonight and some for the freezer.  And since I think she’s reading the blog, I also put a small container of Gazpacho aside for Elinor.  If you would like the recipe for this Gazpacho, please see this prior post:  : https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/gazpacho-or-th…ersey-tomatoes

After an afternoon of wave surfing, well actually it was more like trying not to get swamped by the rolling waves, we went home, showered and had a quick cocktail.  The best was yet to come…. Tonight promised us the biggest moon of the year.  The sky had been clear all day and so we planned on heading back to the boardwalk at the time the moon was expected to rise.  I’ve been wanting to watch a moon rise for the last couple of weeks.  Tonight had all of the aspects for the perfect moon rising, the time was good for us and of all the moons, this one was going to BIG, BIG, BIG!

We enjoyed sitting on the boardwalk which happened to be heavily populated as a whole bunch of people were sitting and standing around waiting for this spectacular site.  Everybody was talking about the Super Moon.  While we waited, the sun, no slouch in the spectacular department went down in a blaze of glory.

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

The moon rise web site said the moon would rise in the ESE direction and about 7:43pm.  I kept scanning the horizon looking for that thin red line to appear on top of the water in the distance.  Sometimes you can’t see what you’re looking for because what you’re looking for is a bit obscured and appears not as expected.  The red rim of the rising moon never graced the horizon BUT then about 8pm, there it was!  NOT on the horizon but rather quite a bit above the water line and not looking very red orange – it was a big fat round white ghost in the sky!  I guess the sky was not quite as clear as we thought, the cloud cover obscured the rising moon until it was a ways above the water.

The Ghost of a Moon

The Ghost of a Moon

As it rose higher and the atmosphere cleared, the moon not only got bigger, it got orange too!  It was quite the sight, that blushing man in the moon smiling down on us.  It loomed larger and brighter and it was like being in a planetarium because the moon hung there in the sky right in front of us and it felt like we were watching this phenomena in 3-D.

Big Red

Big Red

We called it a Super Moon, but it has had many other names over the years.  It’s a Mega-moon, a perigee moon.  Native American tribes that were basically fishermen noted this August moon as the Sturgeon Moon because ti was during the time of this full moon that the sturgeon were more readily caught.  It was also known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon by other Native Americans.  Also known as the Full Red Moon as it appeared when rising through a sultry haze.

 

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He wrote songs that tell a story and touch our hearts long before Billy Joel started and he plays classical piano and embraces the audience in the manner Liberace did. This is Neil Sedaka !!!

That Was Then

That Was Then

 

This Is Now

This Is Now

Last night we went to a FABULOUSLY entertaining concert in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium.  Neil Sedaka performed and he is truly the ultimate entertainer. He LOVES the audience and they love him. Really, what’s not to love?  The man steps onto to the stage blowing kisses to the crowd!

 Prior to his stage appearance, we are shown clips of one great performer after another singing hit songs that Neil Sedaka wrote and they recorded. His songs were sung by the likes of Elvis Presley, Elton John, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Jones, Captain and Tenille, JUST to name a few.

 Of course, the average age of the crowd was just perfect for him because we all knew all of the songs he played and sang. He’s energetic, jumping up after each song and relating anecdotes replete with humor and wit, and he even does a few dance steps with some of the songs. That might not sound like such a big deal but he is 75 years old and his voice is amazingly strong and clear. He belts out a song as well as anybody 40 years younger AND of course you can actually understand what he’s saying.

He’s a classically trained musician; he went to Juilliard in New York. His parents were not exactly thrilled when they realized he was writing pop music songs and singing them too! Early on he sold his first song and was hooked. Obviously song-writing comes easily to him – he has written 800 songs!

 Mr. Sedaka gave us what we came for; he crooned all the oldies we know so well. We were treated to OH CAROL, BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, SOLITAIRE, CALENDAR GIRL, LAUGHTER IN THE RAIN, EARTH ANGEL, TEARS ON MY PILLOW, WHERE THE BOYS ARE, YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET SIXTEEN, NEXT DOOR TO AN ANGEL and so many more.  The crowd went wild and applauded loudly at the beginning chords of each hit song.

 Neil Sedaka told us he sold 40 Million records between 1958-1963 and then asked the audience what did we think happened in 1963? The answer was pretty obvious to all of us and in a chorus we called out – “The Beatles”! His response, “NOT GOOD”!! The advent of the Beatles and the British Invasion was the demise of the Sedaka sound. For the next 12 years, he was virtually retired, working somewhat in England. It was there that he met Elton John, a BIG Sedaka fan, and who was thrilled to sign Neil Sedaka to his recording company, Rocket Records. This event heralded the comeback of Sedaka.

 As the evening wound down, although the songs never did, Mr. Sedaka regaled the crowd with a stunning example of his piano virtuosity. He played a beautiful piece of symphonic classical music, thrilling the audience once again with his talents. He is one fantastic entertainer, we enjoyed every single minute of this performance.

I’m amending this blog post because I found a YOUtube video of Neil Sedaka singing one of his newer songs.  THIS is real love song, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have listening to it over and over.

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