Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I want to work with children. I have an interview on Friday to not only work with children, but also manage a program very similar to the one I was managing locally. It's just that it's an hour away. Sixty minutes as compared to 6 minutes seems rather a lot.

The boss, should I take the position, appears unable to commit. I've mentioned this job possibility before, more than a month ago, if memory serves. At first she wanted me as a consultant, in May. That did not play out. I never know whether she does or does not want me, does or does not have a job to offer, or remembers what she was doing one week to the next.

Children with trauma are my real interest, and remediating trauma as much as possible is what I feel driven to do. DMH doesn't always see trauma as a condition 'worthy' of DMH involvement. This job would be a DMH-funded position. I think DCF may be where it's at, as far as traumatic experience is concerned.

Out of the Hospital?

As of today, my daughter is supposed to be discharged from the hospital. She will still need heparin shots. She suffered a pulmonary embolism over the weekend. Talk about scarey. That's what killed Captain Phil, of Deadliest Catch (you'd think it was the massive stroke, but it was an embolism after the stroke, I'm told).

My mother was discharged yesterday to a rehab facility. You know, my daughter recently spent five weeks in a rehab where she had a phone, a TV, and air conditioning. The facility that now houses my mother has none of these things, at least not 'covered' as part of the stay. This stinks!

Other things that don't smell nice: A projected cost of four grand to fill in a foot-wide, missing piece of wall upstairs, and raise a 2-foot-wide section of roof. My dad's coming up to Gloucester to look at what needs changing in my mother's house and to help me do the damn drywall myself.


I like how these look together, tho' they are a yard apart in reality, and bloom in different weeks.


From a few areas of the backyard: pretty in purple, pink, and blue.


Sunflower petals are safe as food. It appears that my fish wants to have a snack. Don't you love my fish?

The massed and apparently tiny sunflowers are my perennial ones, and they're actually about 5' tall. I think I'm going to be dividing them this year, so let me know if you want any.

Nasturtium Flowers

I have loved nasturtiums since I was little. I love how they taste: peppery. I put not only the leaves into salads, but also the flowers -- and I'd love to try using those flowers in nonsalad foods.

I did some research on flowers that are edible, and I found that the petals of a number of the flowers that I grow can be used in/as food.

Tall Phlox

I love tall phlox in all colors, but it looks like pink is what thrives this year. I know that I have blue, purple, and orange around somewhere. Maybe the orange never took.

Notice that in the brilliant-pink phlox picture you can see my kitty, Sisco, at bottom right. Sadly, my sister's cat Chewbacca, or Chewy for short, has been missing for a week now. Vic said the last time we saw Chewy that he looked like a cat at the end of life. If he has passed on, let's all hope he went naturally and he went missing so as to go with dignity.


The monarda again this year attracted hummingbirds (or at least one, who visited repeatedly). We have far more red than magenta and lilac monarda this year; the perennial sunflower seems to have outpaced even the aggressive monarda's growth.

Rose Garden

This year we (at last) kind of have a rose garden. Vic says that, if he had thought to mulch out there from the get-go, I may not have lost nearly $100 worth of rose bushes (five or six specimens). The creamy white one is the sole survivor from my initial investment, five years back.

At least he footed the bill for the two newer ones. And it does look nice now.


Here are some harvested and yet-to-be harvested edibles, plus a pic -- at last -- of the herb garden.


These are in bloom in my sun garden.


Neither of these bloom in beds, per se. The butterfly bush backs the irises; the black-eyed susan borders the bridge. (Hey, that's 8 B's.) The black-eyed susan pic was taken weeks later than the butterfly bush one.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I need to give over one day to planting in the garden. Gifts of flowers, and a purchase in memory of my sister-in-law, await immersion in the rich food supply that is our yard. However, it has been so ghastly hot and humid that even standing up results, for me, in a body-wide film of sweat.

In addition, I want to move a peony to a spot where I do not now have a bed, and plant my purple coreopsis where that peony is now. But Vic doesn't like the idea of a bed where I want the peony to be. So I need to re-think the arrangement of beds.


I'm going to have to move one or both of these; the ferns overgrow them before the middle of July.

Garden, mid June to early July

I have been lax about uploading pics of the garden. I'm all discombobulated since my layoff. At the moment we have two family members in the hospital. Also, when I'm online, I just look endlessly at job postings (none in the area are 'right' for me), or at furnishings (for my parents' house) that accommodate low mobility. So, today, prepare for quite a number of pics of the garden!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Com-Pac at Home

Here's the new boat in our driveway. I went to Boston yesterday to transfer title and register it. Now we wait for the new title to come in the mail.

Victor is really excited about sailing her. We're assigning the name KIWI.

Monday, July 19, 2010



(Pics courtesy of (2) [Split Enz] and (1)

Vic and I went to see Crowded House on Saturday night. There was a ball game right across the street from the House of Blues, so the wait for dinner was excruciating -- but we walked right in to see the band.

The show was spectacular, a best-of concert that featured nearly every song that I wanted to hear (except Into Temptation, for me; for Vic, World Where You Live was missing). They did Hole in the River, an evocative, haunting yet beautiful song about, of all things, a suicide in the family (written at least ten years before the suicide of original CH drummer Paul Hester):

She left her car by the river
Left her shoes beside

and, taking my breath away, Message to My Girl. That's a =perfect= pop song that comes from the very earliest days of the band -- actually, the band's source, Split Enz, did a version at the end of its days, when it was morphing into Crowded House. Neil did it solo, at a piano:

Even Vic left saying the show was fantastic, and he's not a CH fan!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crab Remoulade

1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
1 tb capers
8 oz crabmeat
1/2 c celery
3 tb chives or scallion tops
1 t chives or scallion tops
1 tb lemon juice
bag pita chips

Drain capers. Pick over crab. Finely
chop celery. Chop chives.
Whisk 1st 3 items together, then stir in
crab, celery, tb (not t) chopped chives,
& lemon juice. Season w/pepper.
Transfer to serving bowl & garnish with
t (not tb) chives. Serve w/chips.
Yield: 8

Broiled Figs

2 fresh figs
1/2 oz blue cheese or Gorgonzola
4 walnut halves

Halve figs lengthwise. Distribute
cheese and nuts on top.
Broil just until cheese is melted,
under 1m.
Yield: 2


This is the townhouse from which we returned last night. It was splendiferous: decorated beautifully and outfitted smartly. I highly recommend it! We found it on, listing 47948.

There was a bottle of wine and a package of Trader Joe's chocolate peanut-butter cups waiting for us when we got there. You gotta love that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greedy Little Things

There are at least three hummingbirds living outside the living room windows here. They buzz around the four feeders all day. They twitter at each other, fight, and eat all day long: the hummingbirds of New Jersey?

Mini Vaca

My younger sister and I are in NH on a mini vacation, Saturday to Wednesday. We both had a number of things we needed to get done, wordsmithing. So we rationalized that somehow it made sense for us to come up here to Loon Mountain, where happily the phone doesn't ring and no one interrupts -- no offense intended to the callers and interrupters.

I'm using some of this time as though I'm on the Outer Banks, trying out recipes. See below!

Gorgonzola Quiche

Adapted from Julia Child!

3 oz crumbled Gorgonzola
6 oz cottage cheese
2 tb butter
3 tb heavy cream
2 eggs
1/4 t salt
1/4 t white pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
4 green scallion tops
9” frozen pie crust

Soften butter overnight. Put rack in
upper third of oven.
Thaw crust 15m while preheating oven
to 400. Cut scallion tops on
diagonal, about 3/4" long.
Prebake crust 8m. Remove, poke holes
in bottom w/fork, and put in 2m more.
Remove crust and lower temp to 375.
With fork, blend cheeses, butter, and
cream, then beat in the eggs with mixer.
Season to taste, then stir in scallions.
Pour into shell and bake 25-30m.
Yield: 6

Moroccan Carrot Soup

1/4 stick butter
1 c white onion
1 lb carrots
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 t cumin seeds
1 tb honey
1 t lemon juice
1/8 t allspice
1/2 c yogurt
Salt & pepper

Chop onion. Peel carrots and cut into
1/2-inch dice.
Melt butter in large pan over med-high.
Add onion, saute 2 min. Mix in carrots.
Add broth, bring to boil. Simmer 20m.
In separate skillet over med-high stir
cumin seeds until fragrant, 4-5m.
Grind in spice mill.
Puree soup in batches, return to pan,
and whisk in honey, lemon juice, and
allspice. Season w/salt & pepper.
Drizzle with yogurt once in bowls.
Sprinkle with cumin.
Yield: 4

Strawberry Spinach Salad

6 c spinach
1 tb sunflower seeds
2 tb honey
1 tb vinegar
1 1/2 c strawberries
1 sm Vidalia onion
2 tb Dijon mustard
1 head Romaine lettuce (opt)
2 oz exotic mushrooms, such as oyster
1/2 t salt & pepper

Stem, wash & dry spinach. Tear into
bite-size pieces. Stem mushrooms.
Slice strawberries and chop onion.
Mix spinach with berries, onion, and
sesame seeds.
Whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard,
salt, and pepper. Pour over salad
and toss. Taste for seasoning.
If using, place 1 Romaine leaf on plate;
add salad, and top with mushrooms.
Yield: 6

Sugar Snap Salad

8 oz sugar snap peas, raw
2 bunches watercress
2 tb peanut or canola oil
4 lg shallots
2 tb rice vinegar
2 t toasted sesame oil
1/4 t salt
1/4 c Asiago cheese

String peas. Stem cress. Thinly slice
shallot. Crumble or grate Asiago.
Bring small pot water to boil. Add peas
& cook 30sec. Drain in colander & rinse
w/cold water.
Transfer to lg bowl when cool. Add
cress & toss.
Heat oil in med nonstick skillet on low.
Add shallots & cook slowly, stirring
often, about 15m (golden brown).
Stir in vinegar, sesame oil & salt. Cook
10sec (until fragrant).
Pour warm dressing over peas. Top
w/cheese and serve.
Yield: 4

Romano-topped Fennel

4 fennel bulbs
2 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon
2 tb olive oil
1 t salt
3 tb butter
2 tb Romano cheese

Slice lemon. Cut stems and base from bulbs,
removing tough outer layers.
Cut bulbs into segments (long); put in lg
skillet. Crush garlic into skillet. Add
lemon slices, oil, & salt. Cover w/water
and bring to boil, then simmer 20m.
Drain well and put in baking dish.
Preheat broiler. Melt butter and drizzle
over fennel. Sprinkle w/cheese and season
to taste.
Put under broiler until cheese has
Yield: 4

Cheesy Steakhouse Spinach

1 1/2 lb fresh spinach
2 tb butter
2 tb flour
3/4 c light cream
1/2 c fontina, cheddar, or jack cheese
1/4 c Parmesan
1 t butter
1/2 t salt & pepper

Wash and stem spinach.
Boil spinach in salted water 2-3m.
Drain into colander and rinse with
cold water. Squeeze and chop.
Preheat oven to 400. Grate cheese(s).
Melt butter in skillet.
Whisk in flour and cook 2m. Add cream
and whisk till mix boils. Add salt &
pepper. Let simmer 2m, whisking.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese
and spinach. Spread into baking dish
and top w/Parmesan.
Bake 20m, until Parm is bubbling.
Yield: 4

Pesto Mash

2 c fresh basil
1/2 c Parmesan
1 t sea salt
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 c olive oil
1 1/2 lb russet potatoes
6 cloves garlic
4 tb unsalted butter
3/4 c Half & Half

Peel potatoes and cut into 2” cubes.
Blend basil, Parmesan, salt & pepper
flakes until minced; drizzle in olive
Boil potatoes and garlic in salted
water until tender, 15-20m. Drain and
return to pan. Melt butter and warm
Half & Half.
Dry potatoes briefly over med heat,
then mash.
Stir in butter, Half & Half + pesto.
Yield: 6

Cilantro Fig Salsa

2 onions
5 garlic cloves
1 lemon
1 bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 t sea salt
1 t cumin
3 tb olive oil
1 orange
8 fresh figs

Quarter onions. Peel garlic. Juice
lemon. Wash cilantro. Peel and dice
orange. Stem figs and cut into 1/8s.
Combine 1st 8 ingredients in food
processor till smooth. Stir in orange
and figs.
Yield: 8

NY Strip with Madeira

1 t sea salt
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t ground allspice
3 1/2 lb New York strip
1 tb canola oil
2 med shallots
2/3 c high-quality Madeira
2 c chicken broth
1/4 c unsalted butter

Cut butter into 1/2” cubes & freeze.
Trim NY strip. Mince shallots.
Mix salt, pepper & allspice in bowl.
Sprinkle over meat and let stand 1hr.
Preheat oven to 375.
Heat oil in lg ovenproof skillet on med-
high. Add meat to skillet. Cook 3-4m.
Turn & then transfer skillet to oven.
Roast until instant-read thermometer says
130. Transfer to platter & let rest.
Pour off all but 2 tb drippings & heat on
med-high. Add shallots & saute 3m.
Add Madeira; boil until reduced by 1/3.
Add juices from meat to skillet & boil
1m longer. Turn off heat & add frozen
butter. Swirl skillet until blended, then
season w/salt & pepper.
Yield: 8

Fried Halibut with Remoulade

I know that some claim that halibut is the most endangered Atlantic fish. I'm just not sure.

1/4 c flour
1/4 c panko
1 lg egg white
12 oz skinless halibut fillets
1/4 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1 tb canola oil
2 lemon wedges

Put flour and panko in 2 shallow bowls.
Put egg white in 3rd bowl.
Sprinkle fish evenly w/salt & pepper.
Dredge fillets in flour, then egg white,
then press panko in. Set aside.
Heat lg skillet over med-high. Add oil
and then fish; reduce heat to med.
Cook 4m each side or until browned.
Serve with Remoulade, below.

Remoulade Sauce
1 tb fresh parsley
2 tb mayonnaise
1 t capers
1 t Dijon whole-grain mustard
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t lemon juice

Chop parsley & capers. Mince garlic.
Combine all ingredients well.

Yield: 2

Chimichurri Steak

a lot like I order at the Border Cafe:

2/3 c fresh parsley
2 tb scallions
2 tb water
1 tb prepared horseradish
1 tb red wine vinegar
2 t olive oil
1/8 t salt
1 garlic clove
1 lb flank steak
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Combine first 8 ingredients (only ½ the
olive oil) in food processor until smooth.
Rub steak with cumin, salt & pepper.
Heat olive oil over med-high in large
skillet. Add steak and cook 3m on
each side.
Remove from pan, let stand 5m.
Cut diagonally across grain and serve
with chimichurri.
Yield: 3

Dark Chocolate "Flourless" Cake

Only 3 tbs of flour!

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
7 oz dark chocolate
2/3 c brown sugar-Splenda blend
5 lg eggs, cold
3 tb flour
1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 400. Chop chocolate.
Generously butter 9” cake pan & dust
Melt butter & chocolate in heavy pan
over very low heat.
Remove from heat & whisk in sugar &
eggs, 1 by 1. Stir vigorously 2-3x,
then gently whisk in flour & salt.
Pour batter into pan & rap 1x against
Bake 20m or until knife in center comes
out clean.
Cool 10m, then unmold.
Yield: 10

Creme Caramel Bread Pudding

1 1/4 c dark brown sugar
4 1/2 c cubes crustless egg bread
7 lg eggs
2 c whipping cream
1 c whole milk
2 tb sugar
2 t vanilla
1/4 t whole nutmeg
1/4 salt

Grate nutmeg. Cube challah or brioche.
Spread brown sugar evenly in bottom of
8x8x2 baking dish. Sprinkle cubes over
Combine eggs, cream, milk, sugar, va-
nilla, nutmeg & salt in lg bowl. Whisk.
Pour through sieve over bread.
Let stand 30m, pressing bread down
at intervals.
Preheat to 350 w/rack in center of oven.
Put baking dish in roasting pan. Pour
lukewarm water to 1/2way up sides.
Bake about 75m, till knife in center
comes out clean. Cool 20m.
Serve pudding still warm.
Yield: 8

Sunday, July 4, 2010


We go to the Rocky Neck beach, from which we launch our dinghy, every so often to make sure that the dinghy is present, unharmed, etc. On its back we installed wheels, which make moving it up and down the beach SOO much easier; thus we don't want it to disappear on us.

One of the recent times that we visited, Vic said, "We really should paint it." Now I grant you, it certainly looks like it's been put to hard use, but I like that about it. I said, "No."

I guess I should have thought twice. Vic went today, and some idiot had spray-painted his name on OUR dinghy! If it had been in our yard for a paint job, well...

We haven't sailed in a few years now, but that's due to a host of factors including the theft of a motor (right off our sailboat, on its mooring), our decision to trade boats, and so on. However, I don't care if we haven't used it in three months, two years, or TEN years -- YOU do not get to CLAIM it, "Dom Nesta"!

Vic packed it into his van and brought it home. The NERVE of some people!

Saturday, July 3, 2010