The Battle Is On

A week after Halloween and we are divided.  What side are you on?  Is it still fall or are you in Christmas mode?

My feet are firmly planted in the current autumn season.  I love it WAY too much to end it so abruptly (not to mention prematurely).  And luckily there are many people I follow on Instagram who feel the same way, like Mayra who posted her beautiful mantle.

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(Courtesy of @cupcakecountrygirl)

But there are just as many pictures of Christmas decorations in my feed which I like, too, for ideas and inspiration.  Just like this gorgeous tiered tray by Crystal.

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(Courtesy of @crystaltara).

But I cannot start Christmas decorating at the expense of Thanksgiving!!!  I just can’t!!!

Some people let the seasons collide, sort of like at the retail stores where this time of year you can find Halloween clearance, Thanksgiving decor and Christmas items on display together.  This was evident during a recent trip to one of my favorite places on earth, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (not sponsored).  They are promoting their delicious menu for Thanksgiving along with their beautiful Christmas decor items.

The ambiance in the restaurant is very much all autumn:

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And the General Store is well stocked with fall items, too:

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CB kitchen towel

CB grit and grace pillow

But Christmas is in full swing at the Store as well:

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I just L-O-V-E this tree topper hat!!!

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And these two are my favorites of all their pretty ornaments.

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Even though Halloween is over, Cracker Barrel still has plenty of mega-sized candy available that could be a great gift for a difficult person on your list who may have a sweet tooth:

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So, what season is it for you right now?  What does your decor look like this time of year?

Now for a song.

This summer we lost a singer who was a sentimental favorite of mine.  Not just because he had a great husky voice with a blue-eyed soul thing going on, but because he was also family.  Community family.  He grew up in the same town I did and graduated from the same high school I went to.  And he put us on the map for a good reason after a lot of bad publicity stemming from an extraordinarily mortifying book banning incident.

He initially tried to join the family business as a cop in the NYC Police Department like his grandfather, dad & brother did before him.  However, he soon realized his heart was really in music, so he headed west to begin his career.  His debut album was released in 1977 and he was off.  He had more hits in the 1980’s & 1990’s, but his first one has always been my favorite.  In today’s social media driven world where many struggle to be  thankful for what they have vs. what they see, the lyrics are as relevant as ever:

“Don’t be thinkin’ ’bout what’s not enough, now baby
Just be thinkin’ ’bout what we got
Think of all my love, now
I’m gonna give you all I got.”  

Eddie Money    Eddie Money 2010

  Eddie Money’s 1977 album cover & in 2010 at the LI Music HOF ceremony (original sources unknown).  

I had the chance to meet him in 2010 at the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Huntington, NY.  He was sweet, kind and gracious and reminisced with me about our junior high vice principal.  It was a great thrill for me to meet him and a fantastic night of music to be a part of.  He was also a quiet champion for our veterans.  Rest in peace,  Edward Joseph Mahoney.  And thank you from all of us in your Levittown and Island Trees families.  You made us unbelievably proud.

Baby Hold On” – Eddie Money (1977, written by Eddie Money & Jimmy Lyon).

I do not own the rights to anything in this post.  I just enjoy sharing what I love with you.

Until next time, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

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Welcome To The Season Of “Ber” Months

 

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Image found on Pinterest.  Original source unknown.  

“The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky.”   William Butler Yates

It is finally October.   Hallelujah.  I feel this way every year after surviving another summer of triple H weather (hazy, hot & humid).  It’s not just the cool weather I embrace.  It’s all the fairs this time of year, the activities like apple and pumpkin picking and Halloween.  I may not trick-or-treat anymore, but I still watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and hope he gets more than a rock.  It’s also a great time for decorating, cooking and baking.

What are some of your favorite ways to welcome October and the coziness of fall?

The weather here in New England has cooled off considerably during the overnights, but a lot of the days still have temperatures between 75-80 degrees.  Even though the leaves have started to change and pumpkin patch signs are everywhere I turn, I still need a push to welcome fall.  And what better push than music.   Enjoy.

Eric Clapton:  “Autumn Leaves” (2010, written by Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer & Jacques Prevert).

Happy Autumn & Happy 70th Birthday, Bossman!!!

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Courtesy of Charles M. Schultz.

Fall is finally officially here.  Yay!!!

But just as important as the start of the new season is, so is the fact that 70 years ago today Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born.  And in case you are wondering, this is what 70 looks like on him:

Bruce on the beach.jpgOriginal source unknown. 

OK, this picture was actually taken six years ago.   But judging by his most recent album (his 19th) and its companion movie, Western Stars,  Springsteen looks just as great now.  And add to that the fact that we see him on a horse………well, say it with me:  saaaaaaaaaa-wooooooon!!!

The word is he will be touring next year which gives me yet another reason to say thank you to this incredible man.  For his words, his music, his heart and his voice.   And for Jungleland.  I cannot thank him enough for Jungleland.

So, today’s song is Jungleland.   Enjoy all 9:37 of it.  Especially the gorgeous intro.  My God, is it beautiful.

Happy Autumn, all!!!

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Happy Autumn

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Bruce Springsteen (original source:  Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com).

It has been one heck of a year for this man who has already racked up decades of good ones.  Since his last birthday, he has been starring in his Tony Award winning Broadway show.  It was originally supposed to run for only about two months, but due to the incredible demand for more performances, he extended it to the end of this year.  While several singers have chosen to headline residencies in Las Vegas, Springsteen has chosen a more intimate setting that has reinvented his epochal music in a new and even more illuminating way.  That is an unbelievable feat that could only be accomplished by a talent like his.  Happy birthday, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen.  You are a beautiful man with a beautiful soul.

We are also officially in the fall season.  Yay.  That deserves a song, too.  So today I am sharing two with you.

For The Bossman’s birthday, I chose the title track of his 2009 record.  In typical Springsteen fashion, he describes holding on to a vision of a better life despite all the road blocks that appear in its way.  And how love will help the dream along.

I’m working on a dream
Though trouble can feel like it’s here to stay
I’m working on a dream
Well our love will chase trouble away.

Bruce Springsteen:  “Working On A Dream

The second song honors the new season.  This iconic singer/songwriter performed here in Connecticut yesterday with a little help from some of his fellow musician friends at this year’s Farm Aid concert.  It sets the tone of this new autumn season perfectly.  And how love makes everything better.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.”

Neil Young:  “Harvest Moon“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of the people & music I love with you.

Until next time, happy digging.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hello again.  Hope you all had a great summer.  Fall is almost here.  Yay!!!

Sorry for the unplanned/unannounced hiatus.  It has been a rough summer (year actually) for me personally & professionally, and it has all taken a toll on my creativity.  When I am in that place, I do a lot of reflecting.  The older I get, that seems more normal than looking ahead.  I am trying desperately to change that, but it is so very difficult.

I am looking forward to reawakening myself with the upcoming change of season we are about to begin.  Like the quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald goes, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”.  I feel reborn when the weather cools and the leaves change.  This year I need a fresh start more than ever.

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The summer was hot and humid which was to be expected.  It was also full of loss which was not.  Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain losing their battle with depression was not only heartbreaking, but terrifying to anyone who suffers from that same disease (read:  me, although I prefer not to discuss this battle publicly).  I always hoped with more love and more success in my life I would feel more stable in fighting this demon.  But their stories only prove how much I have been kidding myself about this illness.  A few years ago I lost a dear family friend to the same battle.  We grew up together and I never knew what he was going through.  It scared me so much I had to stop looking at my fear because I was afraid if I didn’t, I was going to get lost in it and never come back.  Spade & Bourdain’s deaths so close together has made it impossible to look away.  And that is incredibly scary, too.  That is my present.

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Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain (original sources unknown).

The reflecting started with the death of one of my childhood heroes, legendary disc jockey Dan Ingram.  One of the best things about growing up in New York was listening to music radio WABC-77.  All of the DJ’s were phenomenal (especially Harry Harrison & Ron Lundy), but Ingram’s time slot of 2PM-6PM was the one I could listen to almost all the way through, and I fell head over heels in love with his voice.  It was deep yet elegant, sharp yet comforting and funny and irreverent as hell.  He was the reason I fell in love with both voices and vocabulary.  One of his daily events featured a word of the day.  I always thought he was making them up until I was in sixth grade and one of my spelling words-eloquent-was one I heard on his show.  Then I learned the words were real but his definitions were the punch line.  It made me love Ingram even more and helped expand my vocabulary exponentially.

His show also featured an honor group of the day which ranged from those in certain professions, or hobbyists and club members to every other group in between, making anyone feel welcome in his world.  He referred to his audience as “the Ingramess” but kept it personal with his signature sign off  of “Bye now, Kemosabe” while big band music played him off.  Years later he moved to WCBS-FM where he did weekend shows and he was better than ever.  When he died on June 24 at the age of 83 it was like losing one of my dearest, oldest friends.   And for those of you not lucky enough to know who this man was, here’s a clip of his genius.

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Dan Ingram at WCBS-FM circa 1990’s (courtesy of the NY Times).

The friends we make in childhood we remember forever.  And I had some of the best.  Winnie the Pooh courtesy of A.A. Milne & Walt Disney, Mr. Rogers, the Peanuts courtesy of Charles M. Schulz and the disc jockeys at 77-WABC.  All of them held a special place in my heart, but Ingram had me holding on to every word.  His comments were as important to me as the lyrics of the songs he played every weekday afternoon.  He was one of the best teachers I ever had.  My childhood was briefer than most but he was a huge part of it.  And in those memories of when my life was whole, happy and full of color, he was one of the most vibrant ones.  I had the chance to interview him by phone many years ago when I was writing an article about CBS-FM’s yearly Thanksgiving countdown and it was one of the high points of my life.  Getting the chance to thank him for being such a hero of mine was one of the greatest gifts I was ever given.  His loss has me heartbroken in so many ways.  It is like losing the last piece of my childhood.

Then less than two months later, we lost the Queen:  Aretha Franklin.  For those of you who follow my blog, you know how much I love music, so this loss is ENORMOUS.  There will never EVER be a singer like Aretha.  Her voice, her soul, her passion, her songs……sublime.  The world is truly a darker place without her in it.  Yes, we will always have the music.  But her mere presence made our world a better place.  I am just devastated.

This is not as popular as some of her other songs, but it is one of my favorites:  “Angel“.

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                                                     Aretha Franklin at her concert at Jones Beach, NY July, 2011. 

Now we have lost Burt Reynolds.   If you saw my Instagram post about him yesterday, you know the first film I saw of his was “The Longest Yard”.  His infectious laugh hit me harder than his looks.  Who did not love him in the “Smokey & the Bandit” films?  Or with Goldie Hawn in “Best Friends”?  And how great was he on one of my favorite (and sorely underrated) shows, “Evening Shade”?  And how about him with my favorite ladies on “The Golden Girls”?  He was definitely a big part of my childhood, and now he is gone too.  Sigh.

Burt with the girls

Burt Reynolds on “The Golden Girls” in 1986.  

I know full well that loss is a part of life, but this year has just brought so many that have forced me to revisit parts of my life I try to steer clear of.  Yes, avoidance works well for me.  Sometimes.

I tried writing about these losses as they occurred, but again, avoidance & the lack of creativity stopped that from happening.  But now that the summer is over but the losses continue, I am hoping that by finally writing about them will change my luck and the trajectory of the universe for a while.  One can hope, right?

The song I have been listening to almost non stop these last few months is one I have ADORED forever.  It is a sad song about the loss of a love but it is so achingly beautiful I find myself identifying with it while reflecting on the losses of my youth.  When I remember that this horribly underrated singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist wrote this song nearly 50 years ago before he turned 25 I am blown away.  If this was all he ever gave us, what a contribution it was on its own.  But he also blessed us with “For What It’s Worth”, “Suite:  Judy Blue Eyes”, “Love the One You’re With”, “Southern Cross” and many other songs which are enigmatic, timeless and beautiful.

“Stand by the stairway

You’ll see something certain to tell you

Confusion has its cost”

Stephen Stills (via Crosby, Stills & Nash):  “Helplessly Hoping“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of the people & things I love with you.

Until next time, happy digging.

Fall Kinds Of Fun: The Garlic & Harvest Festival

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you enjoying this beautiful fall season???  You know I am loving it which is why I have not had the time to blog.  But I indulged in a Connecticut fall tradition that was so fantastic I wanted to share it with you:  The Garlic & Harvest Festival.

Held every year in the scenic little town of Bethlehem, CT this autumnal feast celebrates all things garlic and more varieties of garlic than even an Italian American woman like me could imagine (Please forgive the quality of the pictures-they were taken on my iPhone and the weather was overcast, so some of the pictures are a little hazy).

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These pictures are only a taste (sorry, had to!) of the many different varieties of garlic that were showcased.  But there was so much more to do…and see…and buy…and  EAT!!!  Like…..

Wall climbing for the kiddos and some brave adults (i.e. not me!!!   🙂

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Seasonal ceramic shopping…..

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Country life shopping…..

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Time travel shopping back to the 1970’s courtesy of macrame crafts…..

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Or all natural hand-made soap shopping.

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If shopping for food was what you wanted, there was plenty to choose from like……

Smoked pork (the poor little thing…..it still has its curly Q tail!!!)…..

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Or cupcakes.  I asked if the whole truck was for sale.  For some reason, they looked at me funny…..

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or stuffed bread.  I sampled the potato & onion version because if you are a carb addict like me, two are ALWAYS better than one!!!  (Later in the day I had roasted corn on the cob followed by cider donuts.  I was so overloaded on carbs I forgot to take pictures but they were the best tasting part of my day!!!!!)

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And of course, you need something to was it all down with, right?  My choice……….

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This is mere glimpse of what this festival had to offer.  There was live music, food sampling galore, carnival rides, cooking demonstrations and so much more.  It was really a lot of fun.   I enjoyed it so much I was planning to go back on the second day, but the rain stopped me.  And if the festival was not enough of a joy in and of itself, I got to explore the charm of another adorable small town in CT while I indulged in the beauty of this season:

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And saw more pumpkins than even Linus, the Great Pumpkin believer himself, could imagine……

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Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a great New England fall festival.

And don’t forget, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” turns 50 this year (the first time we heard that pitiful sigh, “I got a rock” was on October 27, 1966) so don’t forget to wish this Peanuts classic a happy golden anniversary while watching Sally swoon over her Sweet Baboo, Linus!!!

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Wanderings

Hello, Vixens!!!  Have my fellow East Coasters thawed yet from the sub-zero temperatures we had this weekend??? Brrrrrrrrrr!!!  But I must admit I do find the frigid air a little exhilarating (in very small doses), plus it is great cuddling weather so it is not all bad, right?!?!

Despite how cold it was, I went out and about.  Unfortunately, not to any estate sales as there still are not any in my area, so I checked out a few thrift stores and Goodwill.  Nothing really spoke to me, but I did enjoy looking.  I miss that.

Then I did my usual exploring around the back roads of CT.  During my travels, I came across what looked like an old airplane in a make shift hangar, sitting at the end of a farm. I thought it was a pretty neat discovery.

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I also went down a country road that has become one of my favorite routes.  In the fall, I came across this beautiful tree, and thought I would take a picture of it in winter to document the whole different seasons, different views thing.

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Kind of cool, right?  Got to love nature and the seasons 🙂

Saturday night I was introduced to a great place to eat, the White Horse Pub & Restaurant.  What a fantastic place with delicious food!!!  I had the Pear and Blue Cheese Salad and a heaping bowl of French Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese.  Sensational.  I took pictures but they barely came out do to the low lighting in the place (it was the night before Valentine’s Day, after all).  This is just my humble opinion and not a sponsored post.  I am just sharing a great find with you, since you may be new to the area like me so referrals are quite helpful!!!

Sunday was all about some chores, a few errands and a quick trip to the library.  A friend recommended a book to me:  “The Forgetting Time” by Sharon Guskin.  I picked that up and will begin reading that and my book club selection this week.  I love to snuggle under the covers and immerse myself in good reads when it is this cold.  And in great movies, too.  TCM showed “Adam’s Rib“*** and “Now, Voyager“*** yesterday-two of my all time favorites.  Tracy and Hepburn are my most beloved on screen pair EVER, and Bette Davis was so beautiful and glamorous in “Voyager” it is almost hard to believe she was the same actress who played Jane in another one of my most adored flicks, “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?“***

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Davis in a still from “Now, Voyager” (1942)
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Davis in a still from “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” (1962)

I also discovered two things that made me extremely happy, and I want to share them with you.  The first is I just heard (I know, where have I been???  LOL) that “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is coming out next month with the original cast.  I watched the trailer and it looks as funny, if not more, than the original.  Yay!!!

The second is that Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is being released in September.  I do not know how the fact that he was writing a book got by me, but now that I know I have no idea how I will make it until the fall to read it!!!  Do you think he will finally reveal that his greatest sadness in life was not marrying me???  One can hope and be delusional, can’t one 🙂 ???

Bruce autobiography

Source:  BruceSpringsteen.net

Oh, and speaking of the Boss, I was supposed to see him in concert this week in Hartford, but I swapped tickets with one of my friends who lives in MD and had tickets for his show there in April.  She completely forgot she will be away on a cruise the night of the concert, so being the good friend I am I thought I would add MD to one of the states I travel to for my Boss obsession.  However, I must admit when she told me he sang “Because The Night”, “Cover Me”, “Loose Ends”, “Bobby Jean” AND “Rosalita”, all of which are in my top 10 favorite songs by him, my heart went into an arrhythmia it has yet to recover from.

I mean, I was glad to help her out and I will still get to see Bruce on “The River” tour, but if he does not perform those five songs the night I go I am afraid I might end up throwing myself on the stage kicking and screaming.  Maybe then he will rethink the set list???  LOL  But he will be singing “Fade Away” since that is from the album, and that may make up for everything since I ADORE that song, too!!!  I always thought it would make a great duet, especially if he sang it with me!!!  SAAAAAA-WOOOOON!!!  Here is Bruce meeting with some Veterans before his show in DC last month.  I love that he is such a staunch supporter of the men & women who served (and continue to serve) our country!!!

Bruce and the veterans

Source:  BruceSpringsteen.net/Pete Souza/The River Tour in DC-Jan 2016

Please note that the starred links*** are my affiliate links. I only share what I love and am grateful for the support 🙂

So, how did you spend your weekend?  And if you are lucky enough to be off tomorrow (unlike me 😦 ), enjoy it!!!  Happy President’s Day!!!

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!