Thursday, December 29, 2011

Health Update

I'm sharing again, in case you want to know my health condition. It's NOT PRETTY, don't feel that you must read it if you don't want to know the details- we can still be friends and have fun again sometime soon!
 Rebecca's Caring Bridge Journal

Monday, November 7, 2011

A New Journey

Hi, I miss this blog!
I've had a rough summer and have made some challenging decisions regarding health care in recent weeks.
If you are wont to take a walk with me on this more difficult part of life's journey, you can visit this site and we will share it all over there.Rebecca's Caring Bridge Page
Otherwise, stay tuned to Cape Coop, we may not blog much but we'll certainly return for a visit soon!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Of Salads and Hope

 Last month I was given the opportunity to re-attempt a chemotherapy that I hadn't tolerated on my first go around a few years ago.
As this biologic drug sends triglycerides sky high the doctors put me on a cocktail of drugs to counteract that effect.
Of course, a low fat, low animal product diet is suggested- and as I've been eating a mostly vegan diet for years this hasn't been a big change for me- but I decided to completely give up all animal products except for honey and fish- and I've brought La Principessa along for the adventure of a mainly RAW diet!.
It's not difficult to eat fresh fruits and vegetables- a little chopping or peeling and you're good to go, but I ADORE making messes in the kitchen so I've been experimenting with unusual(for us) flavor combinations.
This AMAZING salad is my latest creation and Le Principessa couldn't get enough of it- I had made an IMMENSE bowl of this salad- she ate the entire bowl in one night!
Here's the recipe-if you can call it that.
                                                                 Fruit Salad Salad
(Super easy- mindless, really!)
spinach- chopped- one pound or so
watermelon- cubed- 2 cups
peach-sliced into slender ears-2 peaches
black grapes- cut in half- a cup
red onion- slivered- half a large onion
balsamic vinegar/lemon juice
olive oil
fresh basil-chopped- 1/2 a cup

Japanese soy sauce(optional)
black pepper

For the dressing: Blend an acid(I used balsamic this time) with some olive oil and chopped basil. 
This is a personal thing- the ratio of acid to fat- I like it half and half but my daughter only likes a little oil- we do things her way at the Coop! Here I used 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a half cup of balsamic vinegar. This week I also added a dash of Japanese soy sauce- we use the light sodium version but, of course, it's still high in sodium- not good for most folks, however here at the Coop we enjoy very low blood pressure!

Next: Get your progeny to wash and prep the fruits and spinach according to your taste.

Final steps: Mix the spinach and fruits in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it.

I put pepper at the table because my daughter doesn't care for pepper- I liberally pepper mine.
Yeah, I'm spicy like that. ;)

This week I also put pink Hawaiian salt on the table- just sprinkle a few grains atop your own bowl of salad. 
The salt grains almost melt- but not quite- you get a lovely tiny crunch here in the rare bite- and the salt has a flavor distinct from the kosher salt that we usually have. SO delicious!

You can add slivered carrots or jicama, almonds, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, whatever you like! Please know that the amounts are not set in stone- I don't measure salad. You just go with what you feel like eating.

We're having some legal and health challenges this month(and next) at the Coop, so we are spending most of our time facing those difficulties and trying to remain of good cheer- I'm not feeling up to blogging much right now, but one more post is coming- next week!

Jelly is famous!

The lovely lady who raised Jelly is a Rat Terrier breeder. She has a website showcasing her family of dogs and has put Jelly's latest photo up!
Here is her website:Meander Farm Rat Terriers
Mrs. Woodbury's lass named Aurora is about to whelp this weekend- I wonder if any of those puppies will be as cute and loveable as our dear Jelly?

And here is the page that Jelly's portrait is shown on! Meander's past puppies!
Isn't that sweet? Why, yes, it IS!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jelly Is In The House!

Meet Jelly!

Well, folks, it happened, I wore La Principessa down and when I wear someone down I do a very good job!
You see, I've been wanting a dog for years- ever since we lost our dear David Doggie under sad circumstances in 1998- but by the time that we were free from our difficult situation and able to have a dog again we no longer had a home of our own.
Because the loss of David(and our cat, Lulu!) was
so hurtful I vowed to never have a pet that we might not be able to keep forever.
Cats are easy, a litter box, lots of petting and a big window- you've given them cat heaven.
Dogs- well, what if you need to move(or are temporarily homeless?) and the landlord says "no dogs"?
I couldn't chance it.

Then we acquired the Coop!
We had a home, a house of our own!
Nothing can take that from us- we're safe from landlords and the vagaries of other people's hearts now.
We can have a dog and know that we will always have a home for the dear thing.

So, I began my campaign.
At first La Principessa was afraid to think about a dog- she was affected in a serious manner by the loss of our pets way back when, although our dear Lilly has eased the hurt considerably over the past decade.
Her first decree was that we could have a dog if it cost less than 50 dollars.
We went to shelters a lot over the first few months that we owned the Coop; I was determined to find a dog that would break down her resistance.
Unfortunate for us, the county we live in seems to receive predominantly Dobermans, Pit Bulls and the ubiquitous"mix" that is really a Pit Bull under the witness protection program.
La Principessa was having none of them- they made her feel unsteady- so she said "NO, NO, & NO" many times.
But I didn't give up.
I got us the Coop, didn't I?
I am still fighting the lymphoma and still on my own feet, aren't I?
I can achieve anything, for I'm MOMMY- La Principessa says so all of the time, and who am I to dispute her opine?
We would have a dog.

A few months ago, I was envying a friend's dog on Facebook and my dear daughter chimed in with a post- "You can have a dog if it's free".
WELL, send me a challenge, why don't you?
I began looking on Craigslist and found a few free dogs, all Pit Bulls though- Kiddle said "NO".
Was she backing out on her word? Hmmph.

Last Friday Kiddle was contacted by an Amazon client who is a dog breeder - would we like her book collection?
She is moving to a farm in upstate NY and lightening her load.
Um, yes, we would, thank you very much and by the way Mommy has been campaigning for a dog but Kiddle's decree is it must be a free dog and all we have found so far are Pit Bulls.
Well, they chatted and we went to pick up the books in the late afternoon, and our client(and now FRIEND!) GAVE Mommy  an amazing, cute, adorable, delicious, frisky puppy, a five month old Rat Terrier!
The name on her papers is Snow Bunny, but we have renamed her-  
                              Isn't she just the sweetest little creature?    
                                I love her. 
                         Thank you, Kiddle.
                        Thank you for Jelly!
          And for your presence in this world. 
                           I love YOU.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Have you followed us on Facebook?

Keeping in touch with us is easy- just visit our Facebook page, click on the "Like" button and you'll get our updates in your Facebook feed and can send us a note whenever you like!

Cape Coop Facebook

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We're hanging in here!

What an adorable County Fair Ribbon! I adore county fairs, the contests, the varied offerings to eat, the animals to pet and coo over, the chickens to ogle!
This fall I hope to enter one of my own creations into the Salem County Fair- a delicious and pretty  fall appropriate pie I've been working on. I've always wanted a blue ribbon- and I know that it will be a nice addition to the kitchen wall of the Coop!

So, what DOES a Salem County Fair ribbon winning still life look like?

I acquired this lovely little painting last year at an auction, the ribbon is so sweet, and the still life is delicious- a wedge of Swiss cheese and a sliced red apple on a cheese board, just waiting for us to take a nibble! There is no signature that I can see, but it is titled on the back of the ribbon- "Cheese Board"- a solid, descriptive and accurate name- forthright and honest, I like that.

La Principessa is culling my art collections right now- as you well know from my previous posts from last spring- we need the funds and the space.
I hope that this sweet piece of art goes to someone who will adore it as much as I do.

Here is a link to the auction on ebaY: "Cheese Board"  
Put into a cunning basket alongside a wedge of Swiss, a few good apples and a real wood board-  this would have a deceptive low price for an original and lovely gift at any occasion!
I'm still worrying over health care plans and legal issues, but I'm here at home enjoying the change of seasons and my Principessa, and I hope to return with another installment on our little story very soon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The First Visit, Redux

Hello our dear Everyone!
We're just beginning a short few weeks of legal and medical wrangling- I might not be able to blog more for a bit of time.
Because of the posited paucity of prospective posts(yes, the dreaded double peepee!), I'm offering this quick link to the memory of our first moments visiting Cape Coop. First Visit, Redux . Enjoy reminiscing with us- about the moments when we first stepped foot in our blessed and beloved Cape Coop!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oh Sole Mio!

Kiddle opened another box and found some more Italian artistry-up it goes on ebaY!
The letter caddy was my faithful desktop compatriot for decades- I even had it on my desk at my first business in 1984!
Now I am using a letter caddy that my wonderful Kiddle made for me.

The tray is GORGEOUS and big- 16½" across and 1" high!

This week's offerings on ebaY!

And here is the fantastic Mario del Monaco singing "Oh Sole Mio"  for us!

Friday, February 25, 2011

You Can Buy ANYTHING Via Internet!

Chapter 1: Dream.
Kiddle and I like to browse online at whatever is for sale.
We tend to look at auction catalogs, book and music sites, and real estate sites the most. It's a fun virtual thrill that doesn't cost anything but time.
We have especially enjoyed looking at real estate offerings for the past couple of years. We've looked all over the world, but concentrated mainly on the East coast of the USA.
We would begin a browsing session by sitting near each other, our laptops running in tandem, sharing links to everything from mansions to farms to trailer homes. Then we would get down to the serious part of the virtual experience- we would look at homes for under 50k. The goal would be to find the cutest house possible for the lowest amount of money. But, of course, we didn't think that we could afford a house, for I'm ill and we had run out of proper funds way back in '06- we barely got by each month- but isn't if fun, and good for you, to dream?

I still mourn the house we saw on ebaY during the spring of '09 for 13k, it was offered completely furnished with the former owner's 92 years of collecting- a kitchen full of old dishes and cookware- there was even a piano in the parlor! But we didn't have 13k, and it was in rural Iowa, that house was just a clouded dream.
Then, also, we had found 2 lovely homes in Newburgh, NY- both about 80k- one was a tiny stone house with a crenelated tower, from the early part of the 20th century, the other a brownstone of the same vintage, all brick and romance. Kiddle couldn't get a mortgage, though, even with 35% down, not at 20 years old with no job history and no income.

One day we had a small setback in our personal housing situation. We took stock of things and FREAKED out!
OK, let's be cozy here for a minute, and I'll confide in you- I'm a single mom with cancer, I am too ill to work and had NO funds- I freaked out, but my Kiddle had no idea- for her life is a big safe adventure with Mommy always swooping in and saving the day.

We sat together one night on my bed with a pot of tea and A Decision Was Made. We would spend a few days ignoring reality and concentrate on shopping online for our dream home- a cute house that now must be 18k or less, for Kiddle had some birthday/holiday money all saved up in a box- from her entire childhood years, and we had found it in her closet when we were readying ourselves to give up our rented townhouse.
Oh, and of course the house must also be within affordable travel distance to New York City- for cancer treatments that I was undergoing at least once a week.
Let's face it, folks, CT/NJ/NY- are not the cheapest US states to buy a home in! We said to each other "It's not possible, but let's dream for a few days before we succumb to reality!". Well, I said this, but Kiddle assured me, "Mommy, you'll find a way to fix things, let's not worry!". So, OH BOY, did we dream! We each sat on a computer and messaged links back and forth. It was such fun to pretend that we would be buying a house, instead of paying rent for a year or so with our final bit of savings.
We searched New York first. Now, in NY you CAN find a home for 18k, if you're willing to be 350 miles NORTH of NYC. We couldn't do that. How would we get to NYC every week, sometimes twice?
We had always liked the idea of living in the country on a big piece of private land, but nothing was coming up near enough to NYC. We spent about five minutes looking in Connecticut-again, NOT affordable!

We looked in North New Jersey, we spoke with friends who live in North New Jersey, MAYBE we could find a trailer on an acre or so. Then, on a whim, we took a quick surf down to South New Jersey. We saw that Camden, NJ had a lot of cheap housing.
This intrigued us. The area where we could find affordable homes is quite depressed, and has a high crime rate, but we knew that having a roof over our heads in a high crime area is preferable to sleeping in our car. We honed in on South New Jersey.
Kiddle and I were surfing the South New Jersey offerings, and we both came upon an adorable house at the same time, in tandem we said "Hey, look at this one I found!"- and there it was.
 That, folks, is the original photo that we saw of our dear sweet Cape Coop. The listing was incorrect- so it had come up in our searches.
Although the Coop sits on a 50' by 50' plot of land, the advertisement insisted it was on .33 of an acre. Cape Coop has 2 bedrooms, but the optimistic Realtor had called the adorable and sun filled 6' by 6' room in the middle of the upstairs bedrooms a third bedroom.
There was a chimney in the photo, so surely there was a romantic fireplace- but, no, the wood stove had been ripped out years before, and oil heat was in it's place- whatever THAT was.
The price had been cut the night before we came upon the listing- from 48k to 28k.

I quickly searched the 'net for information on the tiny town that Cape Coop is located in- and for the price history of the Coop. Salem, a colonial era town, had an interesting history and gorgeous North American architecture running the gamut from the colonial era to the  mid 20th century, but was depressed financially- we would be isolated there, to be sure.
The Coop had been on the market for over 4 years by then, vacant- and had originally been marketed at 109k, before being lowered to 97k, 89k, 67k, 48k, and finally the C'mon, Mommy, You Can Do Anything price of 28k.
We emailed the Realtor, recounted Kiddle's box of money and I formulated A Plan.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's In That Box, Mom?

Gold Italian Florentine Trays

Gold Italian Florentine Tray
If you follow this link: Italian Trays on ebaY
you will see these oh-so-pretty trays that LaPrincipessa found in a box this weekend.
I used to collect Gilt Florentine "tole" ware, it was so feminine and versatile! We had a wonderful luncheon party once in our yard at the house in South Beach- a house that La Principessa had named SandyGate. I used dozens of these vintage trays on tables and shelves as platters for plates and bowls of food, to gather pitchers and bottles of drink, even to hold the flatware and napkins! It was such a sumptuous yet delicate look- I adored the decor of that party. now it is time for someone else to collect these lovely trays, and it is our turn to gather the funds to renovate the Coop! Kitchen cabinets, here we come!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Great Meals Begin With Love

Wild Rice Pilaf
Broccoli Salad
Luscious Carrots

We had a delicious meal a few weeks ago- Broccoli salad, Rice pilaf and steamed carrots dressed with sauteed onions!
La Principessa gave the rice dish a perfect rating, so I'd like to share it with you here.
This rice dish was originally a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine- but of course I had to Middle Eastern it up a little further!
Here is a link to the original recipe:
Bon Appetit Wild Rice Stuffing With Pine Nuts

And here is my tarted up Syrian Girl Cooks it up version!

*1/4 cup olive oil
*2 Teaspoons ground cumin
*2 big Spanish onions, chopped
* 8 large garlic cloves, mashed
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
* 1 cup wild rice
* 2 3/4 cups water
* 1 cup brown rice
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
* 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted


Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add cumin; stir until toasted and fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add onion and garlic; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Stir in thyme, pepper, and salt. Add wild rice; stir 2 minutes. Take a moment to realize how delicious this smells. Add the  water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until wild rice is almost tender, about 40 minutes.

Mix brown rice into wild rice; cover and simmer until most of liquid is absorbed and all rice is tender, about 40 minutes. (This is a good time to toast your pine nuts, just dump them in a pan and stir them about for a few minutes on your stove top and they should get nice and toasty.) Then stir in lemon juice; cover and continue to simmer until liquid is absorbed and all rice is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, then pine nuts; serve.Trust me, my tweaks bring this from good to PERFECTION- my daughter couldn't keep her spoon away from this!
I've just finished a month of daily spot radiation on most of my "spots" and then a week of having "strep throat" - I'm BACK and will do my best to post a few blogs over the next month to entertain you all!