Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

OK, so yes - I'm trying to fill up a little bit of blog time while Bruce and I are on the road to Florida.  When I first showed Bruce the video below (please go to my blog if you are receiving this via e-mail and the video does not come through) he said - 

                               "Hey I can knit! Why, I can even knit while watching football!"

The Knitting Rocking Chair was invented by students at ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne Switzerland.  The motion of the chair turns the gears, which in turn operate a loom knitter -  producing a hat.
Clever, clever!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house, nothing would fit me, not even a blouse." ~ Unknown

I'd say that Santa's look pretty well sums it up!  We have spent several wonderful days with family and friends, and are now pulling ourselves together to head south for a few months.  I will be writing to you soon from sunny shores.  My son will remain behind and keep the home fires burning - we will miss you Alex!  

I hope that your Christmas was a wonderful one!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

“Now Christmas comes, 'tis fit that we should feast and sing, and merry be." ~ from the 1766 ‘Virginia Almanack’

The other evening marked our last BITE get-together until the spring (2 out of the 4 of us will be heading south for the winter).  Hosted by Ellen, she chose "Our favorite Christmas dish" as our theme.
Her festively decorated home provided the perfect backdrop - good company, good food - wonderful time!

The appetizers were provided by Chris, who brought some shrimp cocktail and the stuffed mushrooms that her family always serves.  She does not have a specific recipe for these, and for our meal she chose to stuff the mushrooms with chicken sausage.  Now, I have tried to like mushrooms, I really have - but we just don't see eye-to-eye.  I did, however, eat the sausage stuffing - and it was delicious!

I brought the side-dish.  Every Christmas I make Carmelized Onion Pudding, and I must admit that it is wonderful.  I was especially glad to make this for our dinner as we are forgoing our big Christmas dinner at home this year in favor of a gazillion appetizers.

Carmelized Onion Pudding

Ellen's entree of "Christmas Chicken" was a sensation - so good and - bless her - she made a separate portion for me sans mushrooms!  This is one of those recipes that is on a card, not online, so please head over to The BITE Page where I have written the recipe out.

Christmas Chicken (please go to BITE page for recipe)
Baked, mashed potatoes 

Lastly we have Tierney's Gingerbread Pear Trifle, which was as beautiful as it was delicious.  If you check out the original site for the recipe - her version looks picture perfect!  What an amazing combination of flavors!

Gingerbread Pear Trifle

So there you have it - our last meal till April, which I will be hosting.  I have already chosen the theme - which will be Downton Abbey.  This should give Ellen the opportunity to catch up on the episodes.  I even purchased The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook!  In keeping with that theme, and with the fact that Christmas is on our doorstep, check out this amazing video!

An update as I get ready to post this on Facebook - 9:10 a.m. Saturday morning - several inches of white, fluffy snow!!!
Have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Experience the splendor of the late nineteenth century at The 1890 House Museum."

I am holding off on my BITE post as I await the recipe for our entree (believe me - you will want it!).  In the meantime, I am going to share photos with you of the Wassail Party held at The 1890 House, here in Cortland.  I remember taking my son to the Wassail Party when he was a toddler - I pulled him there on his sled - no snow this year, I'm sorry to say - but the interior, with its ornate windows and grandeur, is beautiful.

"Experience the splendor of the late nineteenth century at The 1890 House Museum near downtown Cortland, New York.  This grand limestone mansion, built by successful industrialist Chester F. Wickwire, is a symbol of the grandeur of the Victorian and Gilded ages.  The lavish interiors of the 30-room mansion feature parquet floors, jewel-like stained-glass windows, ornate decorative stenciling, and oak and cherry woodwork.  Discover  artifact-filled period rooms, gilded-era interior and exterior architecture, rotating exhibits and display cases,  and carriages on view in the Carriage House. There is literally something for everyone at The 1890 House Museum and Center for the Arts.  The 1890 House Museum is the focal point of the Historic District of the City of Cortland and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

“Our hearts are broken." ~ President Barack Obama

It had been my intention to bring you another holiday filled post today, but in light of yesterday's heartbreaking tragedy in Connecticut, I just can't do it.  As a parent, a grandparent, and a retired teacher of 30 years, with hundreds of students in my past - well - there just are no words.  I will return here on Wednesday with our most recent BITE gathering.  In the meantime, I will leave you with the following memory.

On the morning of September 11th, the school secretary called my room to tell me that a parent was coming to pick up her son because of what had happened.  "What has happened?" I asked. At that moment, I did not know the horror that had occurred - then my life, all of our lives, changed forever.  As we all struggled through that first day - what to say and how to say it to our students, I kept things very simple (I had much younger students then).  I told them that a terrible thing had happened and that people had died; they were going to see and hear many things on T.V. and that they needed to be with their parents when they watched it.  I then asked them to remember that most of the people that they knew; most of the people in the world, were good people.  I am reminding myself of that at this very moment.  

Most of the people I know, most of the people in the world, are good people.  My heart goes out to the families and community members of Newtown, Connecticut.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." ~ The News from Lake Woebegone - Garrison Keillor

Last year, Bruce and I were in New York City to see A Prairie Home Companion, with Garrison Keillor.  We had a wonderful time and as I shared the experience with my mom, she said, as I knew was true, that she had always wanted to see his show.   

I had remembered that while we were there, Garrison Keillor had acknowledged a group in the audience who had travelled from Syracuse by bus, sponsored by WRVO, an NPR station.   With that knowledge - I began contacting  WRVO early this past summer to see if they had such a trip planned again.  Bonnie, from WRVO, and I began earnest communication for a couple of months while the station made arrangements, and seats for a December show were secured.  

So - this past Saturday, my mother and I joined nearly 100 other travelers on two buses headed south to New York City from Syracuse to see A Prairie Home Companion.  It was our good fortune that they picked us up, and dropped us back off right here in Cortland on the way.

The traffic into the city was incredible - the Lincoln Tunnel seemed like a huge funnel!  Eventually though, we made it and were dropped off at Bryant Park.  The weather, while overcast, was really perfect - not too cool, not warm, and not windy.

With a few hours of free time, Mom and I headed to Rockerfeller Center to take in the tree and all of its splendor.

Next we headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral.  I would have loved to have gotten a shot of the outside - which is spectacular, but it is covered in scaffolding as repairs to both the outside and inside are underway.  I did get some shots of the interior - it's just amazing- which these pictures just can't convey.

We then returned to Bryant Park, where there were dozens and dozens of lovely little outdoor shops to browse.  Imagine my mother's astonishment (not mine, as it had been carefully planned), when, as she was strolling along, she "bumped into" my sister Alison and her beau Mark!  What a wonderful surprise! We then all headed to an early dinner (since A Prairie Home Companion is broadcast live - you have to be in your seat by 5:45 as it begins promptly at 6:00).  

Mark had made dinner reservations for us at Saju Bistro, which turned out to be an absolutely charming restaurant just a block from the theater.  Our meal was just wonderful, with all of us enjoying our food, the atmosphere, and most importantly - the company.

After dinner, on to the show!  While Alison and Mark were not seated with us, we knew that they were in the audience enjoying it as much as we were.  It was wonderful in every way - you can listen to is in its entirety if you'd like!  I even managed to capture a few shots of Garrison Keillor during the intermission!  The music, the humor, the uncanny timing and synchronization - it was a delight from beginning to end.

Finally - back to Bryant Park to wait for our bus and our return trip home.  Mom and I were seated in the very front of the bus - so the city's holiday lights were on stage as we left - it was beautiful!

I'm so glad that my mom and I got to do this trip together, and that Alison and Mark were able to join us.  It was a wonderful, wonderful day!  Thanks Mom!