Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Parker Visit

Parker and Marge came to visit us today.  He'll be 3 months old next week. 
Parker and Grampie are both wearing their blue and yellow Polo shirts.  Who called who?
A good smile.
Parker and Mom
Getting ready to go home

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ginny's Remembrance for Karen


We were ten; Barb, Beth, Betsy, Ginny, Jackie, Joan, Karen, Kathy, Kay and Sue.  Our Bridge Club.

Once each year, the conversation was the same.

“We’ve got to get a photo. We should put a piece in the paper.”

Why? We are ten!

Until August 23, 2011, we ten met once a month, always a Thursday, for 43 years.

On August 23, we ten became nine.  Karen passed away.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aunt Harrie is a Fashionista

This is so amazing.  Sometimes I think I have supernatural powers or else there are a lot of coincidences in my life.  Didn't someone say there isn't any such thing as coincidence?  Yesterday I was on the Overview page of my blog in Blogger and of course I got distracted by the heading "Recent Blogs of Note," so I thought I had to check them out to see what they had that I didn't (ha, ha - somebody reads them).  I looked at the first one which was a sort of food blog and then got hooked on the one called ADVANCED STYLE.  It caught my attention right away, because the blogger is a young guy combing the streets of New York looking for stylish older folks and most of them are older than me so I thought I could learn something.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Black Bean Soup

On occasion, I like to cook.  One of those times is when I'm listening to a good book because it's easy to cook and listen.  I also have to be under no pressure to have anything done by a certain time or for company.  It just has to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
I like to make soups and desserts and today was a soup day.  It was a little chilly so it seemed like a perfect soup day.   The other day Audrey asked me if I had a Black Bean soup recipe and I remembered the one I got from Ann a number of years ago after I had it at one of her multi-soup dinners.  Last winter I bought a case (6 pack) of Black Beans but never made the soup so I just had to get some of the fresh ingredients to go with it and I did that after Yoga this morning.

I sort of doubled the recipe, sort of because I only had 7 cans of beans, not 8 and I only used one can of corn.  If I'm going to create a mess and spend the time cooking, I believe in making enough for lots of leftovers.  We had it for dinner tonight and I froze the 6 quarts that were left.

Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 pinch black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. In a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth.
  7. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Karen's New Adventure

We had bridge last night just like we have every month for the past 43 years.  Our bridge club has evolved over the years so that now we have two permanent subs.  It's been so long that we don't care who the subs are and who the regulars are.  Out of 10 people we can usually find a Thursday in the month when we can get 8 players together.  We even sit at one big table so we can have a joint conversation and not miss out on anything, obviously it's not about the bridge game.

Last night was no exception except for one difference.  One of us would never be coming back.

Jackie was on an Alaskan cruise but Karen had died.

She died two days before and we found out the day before when Joan sent an email.  She called Karen's house to find out if she wanted a ride.  Bob (her husband) said he was in the process of notifying us when she called.  Karen died the previous day and would be cremated the next.  A memorial service will be sometime in the next couple of weeks.

The relaying of the conversation was kind of funny in a sad way.
"Hi Bob, how are you?"
"I'm doing OK, I'm a tough guy."  Now why did he say that?
"Where is Karen, I haven't heard from her?"
"She's at the funeral home."  Oh, not unusual, she could have gone to someone's calling hours.

Obviously Bob didn't realize he was talking to someone who didn't know that Karen died.  That was as much as we knew until last night when Joan got a return call from Bob and Karen's daughter-in-law who filled her in on the details.

Karen suffered from Multiple Myeloma for many years.  It was detected, as many cases are, during a routine blood test.  She didn't have any symptoms and it was watched on a regular basis.  Once the disease came out of the "do nothing stage", she had medications and then a successsful bone marrow transplant.  She was able to keep going with her ever busy, non-stop life.  While visiting her daughter one year she had what seemed like a stroke but after reading about the complications of the disease it was more like one of the side effects of the disease which is paralysis from tumor or spinal cord compression.  All of this is just my recollection, so don't quote me.   Life wasn't easy for Karen after that but it didn't keep her down.  She couldn't drive anymore, she practically had to learn to walk again but once she was able to get out she came to bridge and our dinner outings.

The picture below was at our 2007 Christmas dinner and Karen was on oxygen after a hospital stay.
Top Row: Joan, Jackie, Kathy, Ginny
 Bottom Row: Karen, Beth, Betsy, Barb (me) Missing: Sue, Kay
This one was taken at Ginny's house on a bridge night in 2009.
Top Row: Kathy, Sue, Betsy, Ginny, Jackie, Joan, Kay (thanks to her hubby John's photoshopping)
 Bottom Row: Beth, Karen, Barb (me), Ginny
Karen was one of the most active people I knew.  Over the years, with all her activities, projects, children, husband, job, exchange students and later grandchildren she barely took time out to sleep.  What didn't she do?

Karen, I know that wherever you are, you are on to a new adventure.  You're not one to let life (or "afterlife") pass you by.   I hope you are able to play and ski and fence and paint or whatever it is you would like to do wherever you are and I will miss you and your boundless energy,  perseverance and smiling face.

With Love,
This is her obituary that describes her so much better than I did:

Karen E. Chan
Chan, Karen E.

Scottsville, NY: Karen passed away on August 23, 2011 after a long courageous battle against cancer. She never admitted defeat and faced each new challenge with determination and grace. Karen is survived by her husband of 40 years, Bob, daughters Alexandra (Brent), and MeeRa, step son Rob (Susan), sister Margaret (David) Szewczyk and brother Jared (Deborah) Smith plus grand and great grand children, nieces and nephews.

Karen possessed a rare gift. She had a voracious curiosity about the world, driven by a brilliant, analytic mind that allowed her to succeed in a man's world of business, but also a deep wellspring of artistic creativity that saw and expressed beauty in many elegant ways. She retired from Kodak and pursued numerous passions including Rotary Youth Exchange, a lifelong love of theatre, music, and skiing not only at Hunt Hollow but locations around the world, and ultimately found new forms of self expression and realization in the creation of her silk painting business, Chance Designs. Above all, family and friends were most important and her reach was worldwide. Karen was a steadfast pillar of her family and best friend of husband Bob. All whose life she touched, here and around the globe, were accepted into her heart and they each have lost a caring, loving friend.

A memorial service is planned at at 10:00am Saturday, September 17th 2011 at the Union Presbyterian Church, Scottsville, NY with a reception to follow. Please no flowers. Remember Karen's life by supporting the Scottsville Ambulance, the above Church, the Scottsville Free Library or Gilda's Club of Rochester will be appreciated. To leave an online condolence, please visit Arr: J.H. Cameron Funeral Home, Scottsville.

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on August 28, 2011 

 Check out Ginny's excellent remembrance here.  

Another Boston-Rochester Connection

This article is from the Boston Herald and this morning it was mentioned on Good Morning America. I saw a newscast about it the other day too.
Another plug for Rochester on TV. There was something the other day too, but of course I can't remember what it was.
And pretty soon there will be Wegmans in the area. Rochester is invading Boston!!

Step by Step: Chef, famous bros get fired up over Wahlburgers
By Brendan Lynch
| Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | | Business and Markets

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


We had a mini earthquake today in Webster at 1:55 PM.  Parts of the northeast had it more severe but when I felt it I didn't realize anyone else was experiencing the same thing outside of my immediate area.  In fact I called Audrey across the street just to make sure she felt the same thing. I was sitting at my island and all of a sudden my chair felt like it was swaying.  Then I looked around to see if there was some big wind I was unaware of and it felt like the whole house was swaying.  Then it all stopped but I grabbed my camera and was able to get a video of the after effects.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Basque Cake

I was watching the latest episode of The Big C today.  Cathy was making a Thanksgiving dinner with all her favorite sides and invited her friend and clinical trial buddy Lee.  He said that his favorite dish at Thanksgiving was a Basque cake that his mother used to make.  Cathy said she would make one for him.  I never heard of a Basque cake and of course first looked it up as Bask - nothing there.  Then remembered he said it was French so once I spelled it right I was able to find it.  I'm going to try making it because it looks pretty good.  I found two recipes that I'm including here.  One gives instructions in 10 steps and the other makes it seem much more complicated but it is more detailed, so I'm going to include them both here.

New Hampshire Vacation

Just came back from a week in New Hampshire.  Gerry Z & Nadine rented a house there and invited Gerry B & Kay and Larry & I to join them. We did a lot, considering that we had two days of rain.  I was glad to see that when we got home it had also rained here.  Our brown lawns turned to green while we were gone. Here's a rundown of some of the things we did. We started out each day on the deck and were back there again in the afternoons.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I bought another Groupon for one of the "paint your own pottery" places around here and I needed to use it by today.  Last week I went to Mud About You and didn't have a clue what I was going to paint and on what.  There wasn't too much of a selection left, a new shipment was coming in the next day but I didn't want to wait.  So how could you go wrong with a mug.  Now, what was I going to put on it?  My creativity is sort of lacking and then I thought, what about a logo mug for my blog.
I picked it up on Tuesday after working at Weight Watchers which is just down the road.  I was lucky,  it hadn't made it into the computer yet as being completed but it was in the back room waiting to be entered. 
For a review of the 3 places I went to with my Groupons:

Winter in Summer?

I saw this during the weather on TV and then found the same thing on the station's website.

Is it really going to be 20° for the low on Wednesday?  I can't be the only one who noticed this.  I sent an email to the station, wonder if they can fix it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Great Egg Sandwich

When I came home from working tonight, I wanted to have something light and since we were leaving town on Friday, I also wanted to help clean out the refrigerator.  I came up with the best dinner so I need to remember to make it again.  It was so simple too.  I used to love Eggbeater sandwiches made on an English muffin with a slice of tomato and onion but this one was even better.

Eggbeater Sandwich
1 flatout
1/4 -1/2 cup eggbeaters, cooked
1oz Laughing Cow cheese (I used Queso Fresco & Chipotle)

Warm the Flatout in the microwave for 10 sec
Spread with cheese.  Add cooked egg and fold.

I had a Weight Watcher chocolate smoothie and Weight Watcher Popped Barbeque Potato Crisps on the side.

PointsPlus Values
Sandwich - 4
Smoothie - 2
Crisps - 2
Total : 8 PointsPlus

Do You Remember?

I was watching a television commercial the other day and I said to Larry, do you remember blowing bubbles in your milk when you were a kid?  He didn't.  The next day I poured a glass of milk and we blew bubbles.  He wasn't that thrilled with doing it, but give me a break, he's old.  When I was a kid, I loved to blow bubbles in my milk.


I am searching for the perfect smoothie so I've been trying out different recipes.
Here's my first try which was good but I was looking for something with less points plus.
I also discovered that using frozen bananas works better than fresh ones for giving the smoothie more thickness.

Smoothie with Juice
1 cup orange mango juice (any juice would work)
6 oz fat free yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen other fruit (mixed is good)
 6 points plus - this one I gave to Larry

Smoothie with Crystal Light
1 1/2 cups Fruit Punch Crystal Light
1 envelope Weight Watcher Vanilla Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup mixed frozen fruit
2 points plus

Combine all ingredients in blender and process at Frappe until smooth.
Add more liquid if you want it thinner.

Mini chocolate cakewiches

This recipe was in the July issue of Self and looks good to try.  There was only one comment by someone who made it and it was that the cakes didn't rise.  I think I'll keep looking for more comments before I try it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mussels Marinara

Mussels Marinara

4 pounds mussels
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbls olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 28 oz can basil, garlic and oregano diced tomatoes
The following to taste:
hot red pepper
salt and pepper

Clean the mussels following the step by step guide posted here. 
Place the mussels in a large pot and cover and cook over high heat until they open, about 4-5 minutes.
Remove mussels from pot and discard any that haven't opened.

Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, herbs and mussel cooking liquid.  Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. 

Cook pasta.

If desired, most of the mussels can be removed from the shells and added to the sauce.

Serve sauce over pasta and garnish with mussels in shells.

Adapted from

Mussels in Wine

I was going to adapt the Shellfish and Tomato Stew recipe that we saw in the WSJ this morning, but since I was just doing mussels I took a few of the seasoning ideas and incorporated them into my recipe.  I'll try that one at a later time.

Mussels in Wine
3/4 cup white wine
4 lbs mussels
2 Tbls olive oil
2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
1 tomato seeded and chopped
1 green onion, thin sliced
1 Tbls fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

As in most recipes, I think your choice of herbs depends on what you like and/or what you have on hand.  I happen to have oregano and basil growing outdoors so that is what I used.  I always prefer fresh over dried if I have a choice.
Add wine to a dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat util reduced.  About 2-3 minutes.

Add the mussels, cover and cook for a few minutes until they open.

In the meantime, in a skillet saute the chopped garlic in olive oil about 1 minute or until golden brown.
Add the tomato, onion, oregano and basil and continue cooking, being careful not to let it burn.
Add some wine if necessary.
When both are ready, pour juice from mussels into skillet, and add salt and pepper.

Spoon mussels into dish and cover with wine sauce.
Serve with crusty bread.

Park Ave Festival

We went to the Park Ave Festival this morning.  It was a good day to walk around at a festival, cloudy and not hot.  Mostly that's all there was to do.  There didn't seem to be as many crafty booths as usual, or else there just wasn't anything I was interested in, but there were a lot of food concessions. I was glad that I wasn't hungry when I went because everything smelled so good.
We did get a sample of McDonald's Mango Pineapple Smoothie and it was really good.  Once I got home I checked the nutritional information and there are 5 PointsPlus in a 12 oz. serving. 
I liked the way there was an ATM machine at each end of the festival.
We liked that we got to walk 2 miles since we went from one end to the other and back again and got to spend two hours together too!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


We didn't do much planting this year because we were away so much.  Finally in mid June we bought some plants to put in some pots for the front and they looked pretty scrawny.  But this past week the Hibiscus started to blossom and I went outside to take some pictures and saw how pretty our pots filled in.

Larry's Breakfast

There's some saying that the jist of it is that no matter how much space you have, you'll manage to fill it.  The same goes for Larry's breakfast bowl. The one on the left is the one he used to use for breakfast until it was filled to overflowing.  Then he graduated to the one on the right.

This is a picture from February 2010.

And this is one from this morning.  Next he's going to be having his cereal in a mixing bowl.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Using iPhoto with Flickr and Picasa Web

It's amazing what you can learn when you have the time.  Since I've spent most of the last few weeks trying to learn how to be more creative with my blog I just learned two new things relating to iPhoto and Picasa and iphoto and Flickr.  It's always been such a pain for me to upload pictures to my blog because I didn't know how to do it efficiently until today.  It was very easy from my phone using the  BlogPress App since it  gave me the choice of using either of those services.
Today I found out how to set up my account to publish to Flickr and how to use those photos on my blog and how to export photos from iphoto to Picasa.

Picasa Web
I used to export my pictures to my hard drive in a suitable size for uploading and then create my post and add the pictures.  I thought there had to be some way to Export since I had set up exporting to Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly but never took the time to look.  Isn't it funny how it's so easy to continue doing things the way you always have rather than take the time to learn if there's a better way?  Today was finally that time.  I found the following answer.
After much searching, I found this link which said to go to the Google site and download the exporter.  The article in the link says it works for iphoto 11 but it also does for iphoto 09 which I'm still using.
I installed the exporter and it will upload as many pictures you select to whatever Picasa Web album you select in the size you select.  Then in blogger when you want to add a photo, from the Compose screen select the Insert Image icon and select From Picasa Web Albums.  All your albums will display and you can select the photos from the correct album.

There's a toolbar option for Flickr in iPhoto that allows you to create a Flickr album, much like the one you can create for Facebook.  Once it's created it uploads the pictures to your Flickr account which you previously set up and linked to from iPhoto.  Then, in Flickr you can set up a share to your blog.  Check out this link:
The problems I see with Flickr are:
  1. If you delete the album from iPhoto then the pictures are gone in Flickr.  A solution to this would be to create a new set and copy the pictures into it that you want to keep on the blog.
  2. I can't see how to send more than one picture to blogger at a time, and each picture creates a new post.
On the plus side, it's real easy to drag the photos over in iPhoto.  But for me the downsides make using it too inconvenient for me.

Some additonal information - with a free Flickr account, you can upload 2 videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month.

Picasa gives you 1 GB (1024 MB) of storage but photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won't count towards your free storage.

Conclusion:  After trying each one, for me the best choice is Picasa Web.