"The funniest, truest
book I have read
about the music business."

           - James Patterson

The UFOs and Lake Winnipesaukee

Posted in Music, New England, UFOs by Susan Hamilton on January 5, 2014 No Comments yet

WE STOOD ON THE TOWN DOCKS, my father and I. We were waiting for the mail boat that would take us to my summer music camp out on Melody Island. Bathed in the otherworldly light of a fading red-gold sunset that filled the whole sky, we didn’t speak. We didn’t have to. I was five years old, and my small hand was nestled within his big warm one; ­­­it made me feel safe.

Lake Winnipesaukee sunsetWe watched in silence as the little boat chugged toward us, growing from a speck at the edge of the big lake.

The colors disappeared and the darkness grew quickly. I tilted my head back and looked up into the now almost black sky.

“What are those, Papa?” I asked.

He raised his eyes and just stared. His answer came slowly, “Well I don’t know, Sue.” (He was the only person who ever called me “Sue.”)

A few other people had also noticed; now all of us were frozen, eyes fixed upward. We were looking at two orbs of bright light, maybe 50 yards from each other, moving above the lake very slowly, in tandem, parallel to the shoreline. They made no noise at all. To me, they looked like two giant glowing grapefruits.

The year was 1950; we were on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee—the ‘crown jewel’ of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire—and in the town of Wolfeboro, “The Oldest Summer Resort in the America.” New Hampshire had long been known as a focal point for extra-terrestrial activity. All over the country, from the late ’40’s into the early ‘60s, there was a huge spike in reported sightings, including the yet-to-be-explained Betty and Barney Hill abduction incident. New Mexico may have led the pack with its Roswell, but New Hampshire was always right up there in the top five. And the Lakes Region reported more activity than any other part of the state. My father’s and my experience was written up in the local newspaper, but I didn’t hear anything more about it until many years later.

UFO beacon? Lake Winnepesaukee

The “striking aerial map” – UFO beacon? courtesty duncanpressinc.com

I was showing a visiting friend the turn-of-the-century Castle In the Clouds, and had paused before a striking aerial map of area. I remarked to my friend how, seen from far above, it’s easy to hypothesize how the Lake, the surrounding mountain ranges and giant caldera could serve as beacons or markers for whoever or whatever we’d seen back in 1950.

I was immediately accosted by an intense little man who had been eavesdropping. He had to know every detail. As I told him about that sunset sighting, his eyes widened, his face paled.  He grabbed my arm.

“Oh my dear, do you have any idea what you saw?!  It was another sighting of the Golden Globes! There were two others around that same time: a famous one in Exeter, and a different one somewhere up North!” He hurried off, mumbling about how he was going to have to write this up…


An Irving Berlin Christmas look…

Posted in Christmas, dogs, New England, pop music by Susan Hamilton on December 24, 2013 No Comments yet

Christmas is at last here in New Hampshire.  Our little town of Wolfeboro maintains a definite Irving Berlin Christmas look to it.  Unfortunately, last week’s fluffy white snow has now turned into limb-breaking sheets of ice on our driveway, steps and deck. Even the dogs with their FOUR legs are having a hard time staying upright: splaying and skating all over the place (they don’t seem to mind).

An Irving Berlin Christmas look with the house all lit up in the snow

…we light up the place…

Most years we light up the place like this, although there was the one year when we returned from a Thanksgiving trip to the other coast to find the gutters so cemented with ice More…

What to Cook For Christmas Dinner? (part 2)

Posted in Christmas, cooking, dogs, New England by Susan Hamilton on December 20, 2013 No Comments yet

(A Prime Rib Primer – Conclusion)

prime rib roast after aging at home



Twas the Night Before Christmas Dinner and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… (well, except for you) as you sneak downstairs to rub the marinade you made earlier in the day into your now perfectly dry-aged prime rib roast.  If it looks a little leathery, try not to worry: everything’s going to be fine.

Marinade for prime rib

(get out the food processor with the metal blade)

6 cloves peeled garlic

2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

1 ½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 heaping tablespoon dried thyme leaves

2 tablespoons roasted fennel seeds (toss in small skillet over high heat ‘til fragrant)

3 tablespoons olive oil

 Note: these quantities are for a 5 rib roast – halve them if you really only want a 3 rib…

With the motor running, drop the garlic cloves one by one down the chute. Watch them pulverize and stick to the sides of the bowl. With a rubber spatula, scrape them down and add the olive oil and salt. Run the motor again while pouring the fennel seeds down the chute. Let it run for a minute or so to crush the seeds a bit. Scrape down again, add the pepper and thyme — 3 or 4 1-second pulses and you’re done!

Put in small glass bowl, cover and set aside for later that evening (no need to refrigerate).

Late Christmas Eve, massage the rub into the meat, digging into every little crevice with your More…

What To Cook for Christmas Dinner? (part 1)…

Posted in Christmas, cooking, dogs, New England by Susan Hamilton on December 17, 2013 No Comments yet

Gatsby in the morning snowIt’s a little after 7 am — 5° outside, and it’s barely daylight. The three big dogs have already been out, racing each other to see who can pee the fastest and get back into the house. The two cats barely got within two feet of the cracked open door before — with tails angrily switching — they scurried down to the basement to its furnace room and their cat box.

We are expecting our first major snowstorm (9 to 12 inches of light fluffy snow) and I’m sitting with my Keurig cup of black coffeeSchanuzers in the morning snow  — too lazy to fire up the Rancilio and make myself a cup of Illy cappuccino (which is what I really wanted). I’ve got to get to the store before the flakes fly…

Living in a tiny tourist town in New Hampshire, you have  to plan ahead for holiday meals. The closest large supermarket is about 50 miles away… A comprehensive list is mandatory; there’ll be no dashing down the street for that important, exotic ingredient you forgot.

I’ve already decided that the big Christmas feast this year will be English: dry-aged prime rib, individual Yorkshire puddings, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes au jus and a Lawry’s salad.  Lawry’s salad, you ask?

Both Michael and I grew up in the Los Angeles area.  And both of us spent a certain amount of time back East.   We didn’t meet until the early ‘90s, but one thing we had in common was our fond childhood memories of Lawry’s Prime Rib Restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The spinning ice cold bowl of Lawry’s salad as the waitress (yes, waitress) simultaneously spun and poured just the right amount of Lawry’s Sherry French dressing was a treasured dramatic interlude that led up to the main event. More…