Looking forward to getting home

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I am looking forward to getting home because I am curious to see how my little plants are doing, as you can see from the two pictures at the top, I have flowers and a couple of baby peppers growing, so I am a little excited to see how much bigger they have gotten in the 4 days that I have been gone.

Who knows, I may see some other “fruit” bearing flowers such as zuchinni blossoms, cucumber flowers, tomato flowers and eggplant flowers. As you can see I am not very good at waiting, I want to see a harvest tomorrow, not in 45 days.

I definitely need to spend a few days digging in the dirt, it makes me more zen and less impatient.

Exploring Chelsea Piers, New York City

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We visited the Chelsea Piers today, my husband for golfing purposes and I, to paint images in my head for my characters worldview arriving from the Old World via luxury cruise liner in 1925, as you can see the area nowadays is very lovely and family friendly, both for children and canine.

My husband found what he was looking for as did I, the facilities have beautiful full blown photo montages of the Pier’s history with very educational images of the era between the 1910’s and the 1920’s. It helps me put myself in a New York state for mind from an era long ago, because the reality of New York today is quite jarring when put next to New York of yesteryear. It oftens interferes with my stream of consciousness that enables me to put thought to “paper”.

I have been repeating myself often these past few months each time we walk around New York, too many people, too many cars, too much, just too much. I felt the same two years ago when my daughter and I were traveling through the South of France, I couldn’t help but feel claustaphobic, too many people and too many homes on top of each other, too much.

I think that maybe I have been living in Blandford for too long, it has rendered me ill-equipped to deal constructively with crowded spaces, I need room to breathe and think.

Another visual tour of the Big Apple

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My mother and I decided to meet at 60 East 42nd Street, right across the street from Grand Central. I was twenty minutes early, so I took the opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful historic Grand Central terminal with the magnificent Chrysler Building in the background. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the Pershing Square Cafe,  the building originally had  housed a tourist information burea which had been there forever, I remember giving the tourist bureau a passing glance each time I passed by, but I had never set foot in it. I don’t know when it was transformed into a cafe, but I am sure there have been thousands of satisfied diners since its transformation because if you look at the sign, it does say that it is the busiest and best place for breakfast in all of New York City.

We weren’t interested in breakfast, we were interested in lunch and specifically thin crust pizza if I am going to be precise; I had done my research and I told my mother that we needed to walk downtown towards 32nd Street and Lexington Avenue to an Italian restaurant called Vezzo’s. My research paid off because we ate the best thin crust pizza that either of us had tasted in a long, long time. We ordered two personal pizzas, one with mushrooms and one plain, we split them evenly down the middle and there was nothing left on either of our plates. The crust was so thin and crispy, the sauce was beautifully seasoned and there was the perfect amount of cheese and enough mushrooms, the portion was just enough, neither too much nor too little. I have to write a little blurb on their website asking them to open a Vezzo’s in Astoria, Queens, that pizza is a keeper! I have to perfect my pizza dough even more to figure out how to get it that thin, because when it is that thin, it gets crispy on its own.

After lunch we walked down to Union Square and then back up to the Flatiron district with a spin around 6th Avenue, within the vicinity of the early twenties is the home of three gorgeous buildings that I have always admired.

   
       

All in all we almost walked the 10,000 steps recommended by health experts, we were short by a couple of hundred steps, I might have gotten them in later because I left my mother at the subway station at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue and I walked back to where we are staying, 29th Street and 8th Avenue. 

We did luck out today for our little walkabout, the weather was infinitely more pleasant than yesterday, a civilized 82 as opposed to a sweaty 90 plus of yesterday. 

My feet are a little bit unhappy right now. They’ll get over it.

Maison Kaiser: a soupcon of France in New York City

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My husband and I had a delicious late lunch at Maison Kaiser, an evergrowing in popularity French patisserie in Manhattan, when we lived here in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Maison Kaiser did not exist, nowadays you can easily find one no matter where you are in the city.

This one was located at 21st and Broadway, right down the street from the Flat Iron building, we sat outside and while we waited for our food, we spent our moments together in silence doing the run of the mill New York thing, people watching. They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, nationalities, walks of life, a real cornucopia of humanity. It is one of my favorite pastimes, here and everywhere, people are always interesting.

My husband started his lunch with rillettes of duck, served with cornichons and French bread; rillettes of canard or rillettes of anything is simply a meat or fish that has been roasted or poached and then shredded and mixed with butter and salt and pepper, it is rich and decadent and so, so good! 

I started with something so basic and classic to French cuisine that it has been eons since I have seen it on a menu, poached leeks in a vinaigrette, I realize that it doesn’t sound like much to rave about, but trust me, the flavors are very reminiscent of asparagus with vinaigrette or hearts of palm with vinaigrette. My leeks were exactly what I had imagined and when I offered a bite to my husband, he was very surprised at how delicious it was, he wasn’t so sure when I had ordered it.

Our main courses were delightful as well, he had a cocotte of salmon and spring vegetables and it came in a baby dutch oven of the French variety, a mini Le Creuset, the presentation was adorable.

  
What I had placed in front of me was something similar to what I had ordered back in France in 2012, in Avignon when I was traveling with our daughter, it is called a tartine, basically an open-faced sandwich, mine was fava bean themed, the bread had a fava bean tapenade spread on it, with fava beans sauteed in olive oil and sea salt, sliced radishes, thin spears of asparagus and snippets of arugula, it was a festival of spring flavors laid out on wonderful French bread.

We got dessert to go and as you can see from the picture, they are little bits of scrumptious, I am saving them for later this evening.

It is crazy hot and muggy in New York today, we are under threat of severe thunderstorms and walking around reminds me of when my cousin and our friends came last year for their photography club outing. It is that hot outside and it is soupy, tomorrow hopefully will be cooler.

The last of my peonies

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Sadly I have to bid farewell to my blooming peonies, these are the last of them in the pitcher up above, all of the rest have faded to rest and store up their nutrients for next year’s blooms. I can’t complain, I have three gorgeous sets of peonies, each a bit different from the other and they get bigger and fuller each year.

Today is a beautiful, breezy day in Blandford, hot but pleasant due to our strong mountain breeze. I think that the rest of the week will be a wet one for the Northeast, we’ll be in New York for most of it. When I was young, I remember being none too happy whenever it rained, but as I have gotten older and became impassioned with gardening, rain has become my friend. I also don’t have to reel out the two water hoses, drag them back and forth and then have to reel them back in, not a question of it being too hard, more a question of feeling a little bit lazy. 

Water has always been a precious resource, but we have been treating it as a commodity and I think that has been a big mistake for us as a society. I am so grateful to live in an area that rarely gets to be in a drought situation and similarly rarely gets flooded. I know how lucky we are in the Northeast, despite having lived through  several devastating hurricanes and ice storms, on average we do much better than millions of others throughout the world on an annual basis.

Compassion, gratitude, humility and optimism are characteristics that I actively try to nurture in myself every day, I think that it helps with life in general being aware of these traits and trying to apply them to your own experiences. I think that it puts a lot of things in a more manageable perspective.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

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My husband has been busy in the kitchen this Father’s Day, actually he has always been as busy in the kitchen as I over the years, he loves to cook and he does it very well. He knows how easily I tire so this morning he made his own Father’s Day feast while I was sleeping.

They should have a Husband’s Day holiday as well, I suppose that our wedding anniversary covers that territory, I have to remember to give him an extra something for this year’s 25th.

Happy Father’s Day to my husband, the father of our two wonderful children.

    

  

Spy: a movie review

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My husband and I went to see the movie Spy starring Melissa McCarthy just to spend a few hours laughing and boy did I laugh and laugh and laugh. I love Melissa McCarthy and she has chemistry with everyone, man or woman, it doesn’t matter. I especially loved watching Miranda Hart and Melissa together, they were absolute perfection as friends and co-workers. My only experience watching Miranda Hart, has been on the Graham Norton show as a guest and she has always been funny and lovely there, I didn’t know that she was also cast in this movie and she was a comedic bonus.

What I enjoyed perhaps the most, aside from the laughter, is how the women carried the movie and the men played the supporting roles. It was a breath of fresh air in an action movie, albeit an action movie with a lot of shenanigans going on, but still refreshing to watch.

I have seen Jude Law in comedic roles before, but Jason Statham, his turn as a comedic was new to me , he more than held his own going toe to toe with Melissa McCarthy and the rest of the gang, I was impressed. Rose Byrne is an old pro when it comes to comedy and she and Melissa definitely make a great team.

My next favorite part of the movie had to be all of the location shots; I got to see Paris, Rome and Budapest, three beautiful cities, all for the price of a movie ticket. 

I urge everyone who needs a good laugh to go and see this movie, you will enjoy yourself for a few hours, I promise.

I got a nice welcome home

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When my husband and I pulled into our driveway, this is what greeted us, a bounty of beauty. Again I should have inserted a something to hold up their heavy heads, oh well, next year, if I remember. lol

The next item that welcomed us with squeals and jumping, our adorable duo Jack and Lulu:

 
I couldn’t ask for two better greetings, aside from that of our children, than that of our two little canine babies and gorgeous flowers.

This has been a long week away from home and we are very happy to be back amongst our loved ones.

A visit to Dominique Ansel’s bakery, Spring Street New York

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Dominique Ansel Bakery

exceptionally artistic and beautiful pastry collections

exceptionally artistic and beautiful pastry collections

An elegant boutique

An elegant boutique

My mother and I spent the latter part of the day walking through SOHO with one purpose in mind, finding and browsing through the Dominique Ansel Bakery, the famous home of the Cronut.

I had been there before, sometime last year and I had enjoyed a Kouign Aman, a specialty from Bretagne full of butter and sugar, YUMMY! Now that I think of it, isn’t everything in French pastry full of butter and sugar. lol

My mother and I split an almond croissant, it was flaky, buttery and had beautiful slivers of toasted almonds and within the croissant itself, there was a beautiful creme that was subtle, creamy and light, it was an absolute pleasure to devour right outside of the bakery.

We then leisurely walked up towards Union Square, walking the side streets parallel to Broadway, N.Y.U territory my Alma Mater, we followed Mercer Street and then sidled over to University Place. I had some nice moments of nostalgia, my time at N.Y.U was such a wonderful period in my life, I was very lucky to have been able to graduate from there.

Today was a very lovely day.

Blue skies…. so put on a happy face

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What a difference in just two days, I can see New Jersey clearly from my vantage point whereas it was only yesterday when I couldn’t see the top of the skyscrapers just outside my window. 

We spent these two days at this hotel, in small part a nod to nostalgia, we spent our wedding night here almost 25 years ago, but really for business purposes, an industry conference and it made sense to be right here in the midst of networking opportunities.

Later today I am going to hop over the Queensboro bridge and stay with my mother, spend quality time with her and get back to peace and quiet, at least relative to the hustle bustle of New York City, not quite the same as home, but still much quieter.lol

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