Motivational Monday…Vulnerability = Confidence

Vulnerability is the cornerstone of confidence…Brene Brown

I love this! The more vulnerable you allow yourself to be and the more courage you have to be imperfect, gives you confidence to know you can handle anything. Thank you Brene!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Sunday Mornings…Oven Bacon Avocado wrap

I have bacon almost every Sunday…and only on Sunday. It’s my NY Times, Sunday morning ritual…that I love!! Most times I just have it by itself ’cause it really doesn’t need much help.

Who doesn’t love avocado toast?? I didn’t have any bread, but did have some butter lettuce, so decided to elevate my Sunday morning bacon by adding some avocado, some ginger dressing and making a, no bread, new version of avocado toast.

I’ve never been good at making bacon ’cause I’m impaitent, watch the pan, want the cooking over with, and inevitably it comes out a little too dark/burnt. The was-band was much better at bacon. When I started living alone I still wanted my bacon and realized that I’ve made large quantities of it in the oven when I needed it for a party. Why not do that in my toaster oven with just a few slices. BINGO! It comes out perfect every time and I can go about doing other things while it’s cooking.

Preheat oven to 325ºF

Line your toaster oven pan with aluminum foil and lay down your bacon. Set a timer for 25 minutes (give or take a few…you might want to start with 20 & adjust according to your oven’s finickiness)

Perfect crispiness every time!! ….and the cleanup is easy!

I took 1/2 avocado and mashed it up, adding a touch of kosher salt. I then plopped some on a piece of butter lettuce, placed the bacon on top and finished it with a little dollop of Makato ginger dressing. It would probably be good with a simple ponzu sauce too.

Elevate your bacon game this Sunday by making a lettuce wrap! Bon Appetit!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Go For It!

Go for it now. The future is promised to no one….Wayne Dyer
It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined…Henry James

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….Beach


(okay…not super “motivational” but it’s summer, so take a deep breath & imagine yourself here!)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….Act X 2

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does! — William James

…what we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows….Alexandra Stoddard

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Steve’s Bees….A lesson in backyard beekeeping!

I would venture to say that most people have a hobby or two…something that you enjoy when you’re not working…right??

Well, one of my neighbors, Steve, decided to take up a different kind of hobby….bee-keeping….quite by accident, about 20 years ago. It all started with a swarm of bees at the golf course he owns. Nobody wanted to go near it, but the branch it was on was near a wash rack that they needed to clean off their equipment at the end of the day. Steve and one of his employees put a big cardboard box under the branch where the hive was, cut the branch and the ball of bees dropped into the box. The bees were very quiet. They sealed it up, cut a little triangular hole so the bees could go in and out and put it in the corner of the maintenance yard.  A few months went by and one of the workers told him he needed to come and see it. The box was bursting and he realized it was filled with honey. He eventually got a wooden bee box and the rest, as they say, is history.

What started as a curiosity has turned into seven colonies, which, he says, is a fairly small number for a bee keeper. So, about a month ago a few of us were out chatting in the neighborhood and he was in his garage getting ready to “harvest” some of the honey. I had to see what it was all about and ask a bunch of questions. Here are some pics of the process…

First they collect the honeycombs, sliding them out of the hive (with Maggie, Steve’s wife)

Then they scrape them with a “hot knife” to strip the wax and expose the honey.

….and then he spins them in a machine that sucks the honey from the hives & then transfers it to a bucket.

…then it’s time to bottle the delicious bee creation…

….slave labor….mom and sister

Here’s some fascinating information that Steve shared with me about bee keeping….

  • They only harvest honey twice a year, once after winter and then early to mid-summer. You don’t harvest in winter because the bees use the honey as food until plants start to flower in the Spring.
  • After harvesting, most of the wax honey comb remains in the frames. They reinstall those frames in the hives, so the bees can start refilling the honey comb with honey instead of having to make all the new honey comb.
  • Honey lasts forever and never spoils. It has even been found in Egyptian tombs.
  • Eating local honey helps with allergies.
  • Burning candles made of bees wax purifies the air.
  • Bee stings have been used to treat joint pain similar to a cortisone shot and has also been used to help treat the symptoms of MS and arthritis.
  • Bees create a new queen by selecting a bee larva and feeding it royal jelly.
  • After a queen bee is born it takes a mating flight and drone (male) bees fly after her and impregnate her. She will take other mating flights throughout her young life.
  • If a hive gets too big, they will create another queen and split off to form a new colony.
  • When you see a ball or swarm of bees, like the original one Steve and his employees found, they are usually just resting and protecting their new queen until they find a new home. Scout bees fly out and find potential new homes. They fly back to the hive, do a little waggle dance and tell all the bees about the new home and then it’s “follow me!!” to the new hive location.
  • Bees communicate by pheromones and dancing. The waggle dance tells the quality of location, distance and direction of the potential new home.

So what’s it like inside the honey bee hive??

  • There are 20-60 thousand bees in an active hice
  • Worker bees live 4-7 weeks
  • Drone bees live until they mate…they are then pushed out of the hive before the winter to conserve food (HARSH!)
  • Queen bees live 3-5 years
  • The bee larva is called a brood
  • A hive contains one queen, a few hundred drones and lots of worker bees. The queen tells the worker bees what they need to do. Besides foraging, they also sound alarms when the hive is in danger and they protect the entrance of the hive from instruders.

Not only does Steve harvest the delicious honey (not like any you’ve tasted from the store), but he and his wife, Maggie, harvest the wax caps that have been scraped away from the comb to release the honey and make candles, body bars and lip balms. They’ve even made medicinal salves and lotions.

….and that’s your education in backyard bee-keeping! As I said, fascinating!!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

A Visit to the Whitney Museum

the iconic American Gothic

I’ve always loved visiting Austin and Kate in NY two to three times a year…to see them and take advantage of their proximity to Manhattan. Since baby Jude was born back in December I go visit them much more often to hug and spend time with them….and hopefully give A&K a night or two off from their parental duties. I’ve been pretty successful in going every two months since she was born (okay, I’ve been 4 times, but who’s counting?) and I hope I can continue as time goes on…I already have my July and October plans in the works. I’d be visiting them if they lived in the middle of nowhere…but they don’t…so I try to take advantage of all that NYC & Brooklyn have to offer by spending at least half a day going to a museum, play or just hanging out in my favorite city.

I happened to read in the NY Times that there was an exhibit of artist Grant Wood’s work at The Whitney Museum of American Art. You know him as the guy who did the iconic painting, American Gothic. I’ve also wanted to stop for coffee at The Laughing Man since seeing Hugh Jackman talk about it, and his foundation on the Sunday Morning Show. It’s just a tiny coffee shop in Tribeca with a little outdoor seating area (there’s another larger one on North End Ave), but I was going over that way, so thought I’d stop for a morning cup and a croissant. I had the turmeric latte and it was delish…and the weather was so gorgeous that I continued walking  up the west side to The Whitney.

It moved to this much more beautiful building, in my opinion, on the Hudson in May of 2015, from it’s older uglier building on 75th & Madison on the Upper East Side. This was my first visit!

I was so pleasantly surprised by the artwork of Grant Wood. American Gothic seems a bit serious, with somewhat muted colors, but I discovered that so much of his artwork is whimsical, with bright colors, polka dots and patterns. I loved it! Here’s a sample…

The detail, color and whimsy were so refreshing…and still so bright after all these years!

I was also fortunate enough to see some works by Edward Hopper, depictions of  scenes from his hometown, Nyack, NY & some Americana….

…and one of my favorites…a beautiful, colorful, piece by Henry Koerner called Mirror of Life. As you walk by, at first glance it looks kind of fun, colorful and silly, but looking more closely it is a depiction of his life. He was Jewish, born in Vienna, fled to Italy and then ultimately America, finding out later that his parents, who remained in Vienna during WWII perished in concentration camps.

I heard some people talking about these next “works of art” dismissing them, because…. REALLY??? Okay, anyone could probably do this, but, as a traveler, I loved what these two displays evoked…traveling, vintage luggage and a life of adventure….

I so want some of these pieces!!

Lastly, I have to mention that The Whitney’s location is great, at the base of the high-lineright on the Hudson with beautiful floor to ceiling windows on couple of the floors. I decided to have a quick bite for lunch before heading back to Brooklyn and opted for the 8th floor Studio Cafe  (a Danny Meyer restaurant)..with, again, beautiful view of the Hudson. I opted for the popcorn chicken with the herbed buttermilk…basically a really good ranch dressing…and it was soooo good. I happened to have tasted the, much hyped, fried chicken strips from David Chang’s place, FUKU the day before at EEEEEatsCon in LA and was not impressed at all. The popcorn chicken at The Whitney was so much better, crunchy, with the perfect amount of spice. I’m looking forward to going back some time at sunset, to enjoy a glass of wine, some of these delectable snacks and the beautiful view.

I still had about half an hour to walk along the high line, taking in the view, the ambiance and reading my book. I enjoyed the Whitney so much that I became a member and can go for free, avoiding the lines, whenever I’m in NY…with reciprocal benefits at a few other museums around the country. YAY!!! I’m looking forward to whatever their next exhibit might be!!

….and then I got to go back to Brooklyn and pick up this adorable little girl from daycare!!

…then pizza Monday on a Brooklyn rooftop with these awesome people…

….another great NY adventure with the people I love!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…No Regrets

“The only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.” — Ted Hughes

I’m doing my best to live up to this ethos, with a little help from these peeps!
….how about you?

….and, unrelated, I just love the colors & composition in this pic!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!