Tag Archives: new jersey

new york botanical gardens escape

16 Oct

while in NY for business, i got a chance to stay until saturday at my sister/brother in-laws house in chatham, nj.

you can’t beat new jersey in the fall.  you know, now that i think about it – new jersey and detroit are very similar.  yes, one is a state and one is a city but they both have totally skewed perceptions about them.  you’d think (from the media) that the minute you step in new jersey a mad housewife is going to come yelling at you or a snookie is going to bump into you at the grocery store.  but new jersey is gorgeous.

detroit – same thing.  while some of it true – it is still the murder capital of the country and all – no one ever mentions how fantastic the neighboring towns are.

anyway, fodder for a future post.  i was thinking it, so i wrote it.  

susan and i went to the beautiful new york botanical gardens in the bronx (hello…the bronx y’all!)  last week we stole away for a few hours and walked the grounds where there was a monet exhibit and had a wonderful lunch.  we also rode a tram (freezing cold!!) around the entire grounds.  who knew it was started in the 1800’s?  not i.

this picture above was not made in the future.  yes, it is only october, 2012 not 2013 but i can’t change it or don’t have time to – so please ignore.  thanks mom for letting me know!

appreciating susan…

16 Nov

but i hope not embarrassing her by talking about her so much!

susan and mike kindly put us up this past thursday through sunday.  i was in nyc for a conference and ROF flew in and we spent some quality time together.  i treasure the time we get to spend because it is never enough.  luckily, we get to go back very soon.  i hope that susan doesn’t think that everytime i come over i’m going to shoot pictures and blog about her (that would be uncomfortable, to say the least!) but i do want to give a shout out to her meals but something even more than that.

listen up those of you who have company coming over the holidays

i’ve learned something important from susan – ya gotta have a plan.  susan is a fantastic cook but also one that isn’t slaving away in the kitchen while you try and talk while assembling a meal.  for example, breakfasts were all planned, she had pre-made everything, so it just needed to be warmed.  when we went to the football game on saturday, she used a crock pot so not only was dinner ready when we got home, the house smelled so good.  so i’ve decided to give her a holla about the great meals she fixed while we were there. 

first, there was the sausage & peppas (peppers, but i like to use an italian accent here)  this was a request from my boy.  his favorite.  and i know why.  we’re going to have to get that recipe, susan.  she also made an edamame salad with red onion and a tangy dressing.

then for lunch the next day, she popped in a mac & cheese casserole with ham.  it was so good and fun to have a nice lunch together.  not your typical peanut butter and jelly, my friends!

we’re talking so much about food here, folks but you wouldn’t believe the fall foliage we were looking at!  I snapped a ton of shots:

just looking out the front door! lovely.

ok, back to food.  after lunch was a to-die for (made by susan in advance…) chocolate cake.  can you say good.  i especially loved the chocolate chips on top, they were slightly melty.

i’m sorry, i didn’t mean to get that close up!  i am drooling right now.  thank god it’s my husbands pillow i’m on, not mine.

that night, it was girls night and susan and i went to an awesome restaurant for dinner.  il mondo vecchio was the name of it and it was in madison, new jersey.  what a place!!  it was so quaint and nice inside.  the food was to die for.  i had the butternut squash ravioli and susan had the mushroom ravioli but we started with the special scallops in a saffron sauce.  would have loved to have snapped a pic of the food but it was gone before i could think of it.  thanks susan for the chats and the great place. 

Lastly, we take the food journey to breakfast the next day…this coffee cake (again, made in advance) waited for us that morning.

and there we complete our journey.  i was too tired to snap pictures of the moist (lol) pot roast, baked potatoes and brussel sprouts that was for dinner that night after the game.  sorry.  bad blogger.  but bucknell won!

thanks susan, mike and michael for opening your home to us this past weekend.  we had a great time and loved being with you!  xxoo

live from new jersey – hurricane lessons

28 Aug

we break into your regular scheduled programming

for an accounting of  hurricane irene damage.  guest recipe blogger and now on-the-scene reporter from new jersey, susan prendeville gives us some smart lessons learned this weekend.


i was a little smug and mildly excited.  we had been getting calls and texts all day asking “are you ok, scared, ready”?  mikes favorite show is “man vs. wild”  – we will be fine, i assured.  we live on a hill, so there was really no danger of flooding.  we had done the things one does:  gone to the grocery store, had 5 days of water and food like the governor suggested.  we had collected candles and flashlights and batteries.  i had prepared some no-cook foods like quesadillas and potato salad and cut up fruit.  mike was home before the rain started in earnest.  we watched the weather channel, had a drink, made coffee and put it in a thermos for the morning.  all evening we felt ready, we were ready, it was a really nice evening!



i had fallen asleep a while ago but the wind and rain woke me.  i had a message from my brother ROF, clever fellow, asking if he had the right number –  he was asking for irene –  have her call him, haha and a text from ‘the appreciator’ saying that she had said a prayer for us.  i went into the living room with my computer and checked my facebook (so many clever and slightly alarmed hurricane posts), the storm tracker (still a few hours before the real storm hit), and then the news (serious…hype…who knows).  i was just turning off lights when we lost power so I grabbed a flashlight and went back to bed and then to sleep without too much trouble.


oh yea, i think i forgot to mention that many big old trees surround our home. 

 mike heard a loud noise and bound from the bed and ran to the rear of the house which woke me and i followed him.  we figured out pretty quickly that a tree had fallen.  we went from window to window, upstairs and down, and almost all of them were covered in branches and leaves and the back door was blocked too. it was pitch dark out, the wind was whipping and the rain was pouring down.  we couldn’t see much but figured out that it was a maple by the leaves pressed against the window.  it must be the maple that stood by the great room, a favorite tree really, so sad.  now though, there was nothing to do but go back to bed and wait for mornings light. 

I lay there

and looked out the window at the treetops swaying wildly and the lightning flashes. I heard the thunder crashing and the rain beating the windows.   stomach was hurting, i was sweating, heart was pounding.  afraid, i cuddled against mike for comfort.  after what felt like a long time i finally fell back to sleep.


mike and i slept until morning light and then we woke and looked around outside.  it was not one huge tree that fell but three huge trees.  one of the trees lies feet from the house and stretches the whole length of it.  tree limbs have torn the gutters and screens off the back of the house and crushed the air conditioner.  one of the trees is resting on both of our cars. 


we are lucky that the trees did not crush our house and that we survived!  i’m serious and i am no longer smug or excited. 

the moral:

evacuate, prepare, listen to the governor, prioritize, be humble, be thankful.


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