Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!


"If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next." - Jane Austen

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Come Fly With Me!

I hope your holidays were fabulous. I have returned to Southern California and have gone back to work singing, "Hi ho, hi ho..." (That's for my boss...in case she's reading this -- the rest of you know the truth.) My holidays were a whirlwind of jet travel and family visits -- both of which can be treacherous. I arrived on the east coast to frigid weather and found myself in a blizzard two days later which slightly delayed my trip back to my beloved north woods of Michigan. I'm happy to report that I passed through the Detroit airport before the terrorist incident that is currently in the headlines.

I did, however, get to visit "the cottages" in the tony resort community of Newport, Rhode Island. I've never seen such outrageously ostentatious mansions -- and these were just summer homes. It was great fun on a gloriously sunny-but-dreadfully-cold winter day.

Last night we went and saw "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. I liked it better than I thought I would. My favorite part was the scenery and settings. The film was supposed to be set in Santa Barbara -- and that photogenic city never looked so good. Turns out most of the film wasn't shot there -- but the parts that were are recognizable and beautiful.

I have been devoted to my Kindle since I became the owner of one on my birthday. My first download was "The Blind-Side." It was a great book -- very well written by one of my favorite authors. The movie was almost as good. I've become a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and follow the play of their rookie tackle Michael Oher. Me. A woman who has a love-hate relationship with professional football. Seriously. If you want to learn more about Michael, 20/20 will be doing a feature about him and the Tuohy family tonight. It's well worth a peek -- a feel good story that doesn't come around that often.

But you'll have to set your DVRs because also on tonight are the Kennedy Center Honors. It's my mom's favorite television viewing night of the year -- and this year's honorees include some of my very favorite entertainers ever. It's on CBS -- and you won't want to miss it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Not A Creature Was Stirring....

If there is a mouse in my house...Roxy will find it. She's on the case 24/7. Sending Christmas wishes to you and yours...may you enjoy a blessed holiday season.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hey! There's a jungle gym in the living room

I was in need of a little Christmas right this very minute, so I put up a little tree. Roxy seems very excited by the whole idea of Christmas. I'm certain she's plotting some unusual activities for when I'm at work during the day. I just hope it's still standing when I get home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You just hold out your hand...

I know that Facebook is supposed to be a phenomenom of a generation twenty years younger than I am...but I honestly believe that it works better for the Over 40s. And here's why...we're the ones that have lost touch with our friends from middle school, high school and college. And we're the ones who benefit when those wonderful friends who drifted out of our lives twenty years ago...suddenly reappear. One of the greatest joys of my life over the past twelve months has been reconnecting with my sorority sisters. Not only are each and everyone of them just as bright and beautiful (and funny) as I remember, they seem to still know what makes me tick. How lovely is that? I was reminded today when one of them directed me to the facebook page of author Claire Cook and I found this video. I'm a fan. I'm also a fan of the lovely Susan Boyle, a Cinderella who has made her dreams come true. Find out about her most recent dream-turned-reality here. It's the Top Chef finale tonight. Still cheering for Kevin? Me too!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'll take the one in the turban...

The Kennedy Center Honors is my mom's favorite television program of the year. It's the only night when she wishes she could trade her 15 inch television for a 50 inch 1080p HD flat screen with a surround-sound Bose audio system. The program was held last night in Washington DC. It will air on CBS over the holidays -- check your program guides. This year, the crew of honorees included Bruce Springsteen, Robert DeNiro and Mel Brooks. I think Mel Brooks is hilarious. My favorite line is from "Young Frankenstein" -- when Igor is asked if he'll help with the bags, he responds, "you take the blond, and I'll take the one in the turban." Makes me giggle every single time. Thank you, Mel!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm with the band...

This is an ad for fancy-schmancy bottled water in the U.K. I think it's about as cute as it gets. I would buy the water and I think that most of the cats I know would be big fans...waiting outside the backstage cage for just a glimpse...or at the very least a whiff of the band.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eating Chocolates & Watching HGTV...

A new study has been released about what cats do when their owners go to work in order to earn the money to pay for their high-priced cat food. In Roxy's case, while her origins are shady, she will only eat Fancy Feast Appetizers. At $1.50 per container, it's the most expensive cat food out there. And to be honest, the grilled Talapia smells so good I've often thought of tasting it. And when have you ever heard a cat owner say that? Most cat food smells like the garbage container that's overflowing and been left too long. Blech! I know Roxy is very concerned about the health and well-being of the local birdlife population and spends a great deal of time monitoring their activities. I 'm certain that Roxy also watches a lot of television and attempts to rid the dining room table of its tablecloth. A good time is had by all. I dream of living her life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Julia Child never had help like this...

Roxy is in charge of the kitchen in my house. On Thanksgiving she was nearly out of her mind knowing that there was fresh bird meat in the kitchen. She spends most of her days in the kitchen window looking out at the birds in the bushes out there and someone had caught a big fat one and brought it inside to roast for her dinner. She was nearly delirious with joy.

And yes, she does fit perfectly into that roasting pan. I know because I caught her hunkered down in it -- I had to re-wash everything in the kitchen. Roxy makes me extra careful -- picking up bags and garbage -- no flowers -- cleaning food -- cleaning the counters -- cleaning the dishes -- she leaves no stone unturned in her daily explorations.

Her most recent kitchen discovery is the coffee maker where I make my tea. I came out this morning to pick-up my travel mug to leave for work and found her monitoring the noises coming out of the machine. She was very intrigued. She think's it's a cat toy. Isn't everything? Would it be wrong to buy my cat an E-Z Bake Oven for Christmas? Hmmmm....

Monday, November 30, 2009

It Was Like This...

How was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was as sweet and nice as this adorable little tickle-ish kitten. Mine was fun. It went like this...

Turkey. Tryptophan coma. Movie. Sushi. Hockey. Football. More Turkey.

More or less with a little bit of extras here and there, that was my holiday in a nutshell. A chocolate pecan nutshell.

On the train on the way to work this morning, I turned to my friend and said, "I'm pretending that I'm on a train on vacation in Europe." She looked out the window as we whizzed through the underbelly of Sylmar and said, "Yeah, the butt-ugly part."

There is no easy way of going back to work after a holiday. Not even if you're striving to be delusional.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just Gotta Get Right Outta Here!

I don't know what it is about the day before a holiday. Everything seems really overwhelming...there's so much work to be done before I leave the office early tomorrow. And then there's work to be done for Thanksgiving dinner. And the world doesn't seem to be cooperating with good news for the holiday -- everytime I look at the MSNBC website the story on the front page is about homeless pets, jobless people or the war in Afghanistan. And so when I stumbled across the Muppets doing a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" my heart sang along. I hope yours will too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Royal Wedding On The Way?

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I love British royal weddings. Charles & Diana...Andrew & Sarah...who cares if the marriages ended in divorce? It was all about the spectacle, baby! I was in a store the other day and thumbed through a coffee table book dedicated to "Diana's Dress." Just her wedding dress...can you believe it? I even toyed with the idea of buying it for my coffee table -- I could find that dress in the dark -- it was the most beautiful creation I've ever seen. It had big poufy sleeves and a huge train -- for years after I wore bridesmaids dress with big poufy sleeves because of Diana's dress. And I'm a girl with the kind of shoulders that really can't take big poufy sleeves -- in fact there was one church aisle where I feared I would have to walk to the altar sideways -- the aisle was small and my linebacker shoulders dressed in big poufy sleeves could poke an eye out of one of the guests. And so isn't it nice to entertain the idea that William & Kate -- two people with a limitless budget -- might be getting hitched in order to show us commoners exactly how it's supposed to be done. Besides, it'll give Memaw Queen Elizabeth a chance to dust off the royal jewels. And it would give me an excuse for a trip to London...as if I was needing one...I could always just stay home and watch Fred dance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Can't Hold Still



Phew! I've got three different 'to-do' lists and I don't think I've checked off anything on any of them today. I'm starting to think that if I combine my list into one big-ass 'to-do' list that I'll have a better chance of getting to just one thing on any of the lists...but then I convince myself that combining my individually categorized lists into one massive list would be so overwhelming that I wouldn't get anything done at all -- I would just sort of quiver in space. I guess you know where I'm going here -- I feel about as stable as a hummingbird. There's an adorable little hummingbird who lives near the pool in my complex. I call him "Frank." He's a dapper little fellow and seems very friendly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I don't know about you, but the best part of my day is the greeting I get from Roxy when I come through the door. Back when Goldie and I were living in Los Angeles at the end of a dead end street, I can remember driving a little faster than I should have down the street because I knew I was going to get to see her. When Goldie was very sick -- towards the end of her life -- it was the worst part of my day. My heart was filled with dread every time I turned into the parking lot. After she was gone, it was even worse. I kept hearing phantom sounds of her when I was alone in the apartment. I still miss her very much. Now, my life is filled with Roxy and she's hard not to notice. I can't imagine what it would be like to be away serving your country in a horrible environment like Afghanistan while your pet is missing you at home. Huffington Post has put up some of the videos soldiers have taken of their first greetings from their pets on their return. You can see more heart-warming greetings by following the link. I guess it's no surprise that we all look forward to going home -- and our pets are no small reason why. Two other sweet dog stories to warm the cockles of your heart. Here and here...with extra photos here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Come On Baby, Light My Fire

The weather has changed from summer to winter. There was no fall. We've started to have fires in the fireplace because they are so cheerful when the sky gets dark out at 5:30p.m. I have such a hard time adjusting to the early darkness. Very soon I will be leaving for work before light and getting home after dark. All the good sunny hours will be wasted at work. Bah! Humbug! The good news is that little Roxy had her first fire. And a good time was had by all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Backwards And In High Heels...



In one of the most male-dominated sports of all -- horse racing -- two little fillies have dominated the scene this year. They're calling it the 'Year Of The Girl.' And yet...a feat like this is hardly getting its due from the mainstream media. These two little fillies are world class athletes...the sport of horse racing has never seen the likes of these ladies. Rachel Alexandra kicked the butt of the Kentucky Derby winner this year, but she wasn't allowed to be entered into all of the Triple Crown races because she's a girl and her owner's an old-fashioned guy. Meanwhile, five year-old Zenyatta remains undefeated. That's right -- she's undefeated and she's five years-old -- can you believe it? You can watch her amazing come-from-behind win in the video above. It is perhaps one of the most exhilarating races I have ever watched. Seriously! It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from former Texas Governor Ann Richards. "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did -- only backwards and in high-heels.' Girl power!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Living With Picasso


Do you remember that four year-old girl who stunned the art world with her incredible abstract paintings? Marla Olmstead's works are for sale on her own website and hang in many prestigious galleries. She was featured on 60 Minutes and in a documentary. Her father is an artist and the question has been brought up many times if it is really Marla who is doing the painting. Maybe...maybe not. I can tell you that her bank account is probably bigger than mine.

My cat is a modern artist. I have submitted her most recent work above for your review. I think she is a genius and I would be happy to bring her over to your house any time to your convenience where for a nominal fee she can create a custom installation in your home that will bring you years of enjoyment. Or frustration...depending on your point of view -- sitting or standing -- at the time.

I couldn't be more proud.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Balls!

I woke up this morning covered in wet balls. Before you admonish me to keep my blog populated with family content, I should tell you that it's because Roxy likes to play fetch. She likes to play fetch 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I have a hard time sleeping through the night. I always have, but it's a little worse now than ever. If I show signs of life in the middle of the night, Roxy leaps onto the bed and drops a ball on me. Her little cat toy balls are made out of a rubber material that's like a sponge. Sometimes, I'm awake long enough to throw it a few times, much to her delight. She leaps into action. But Roxy is also a multi-tasker. She likes to stop off for a bite of chow and a sip of water while she's running back and forth retrieving. So her balls get a dunking when she goes by the water dish. I understand. If I were her, I wouldn't want to put down my toys either.

When I was dressed and ready to go to work I went back into my bedroom to make my bed. There were balls at the foot of the bed, down the hallway into the bathroom, scattered across my pillow and the down comforter. I was laughing the whole time I was making up the bed. Every time I found another one and tossed it her way, Roxy made this little chirping noise that seemed to say, 'oh, that's where I put the purple one. I'm so glad you found it.' She's just so silly and cheerful. I'm more than willing to play fetch with her 24/7. I consider it an honor.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Beleagured, Bothered & Bedragled

I often dress to match my hair.

At first glance, this little habit doesn't seem like a big deal. But I think that we can all agree that nothing can make a bad hair day worse faster than a bad outfit. That's really bad.

Yesterday, my hair didn't turn out well. I ended up with big poufy 80s bangs and I didn't know what to do with it. So I pulled it back into a ponytail. By the time that I was done, I looked fairly casual. So I dressed like I would've when I was in high school in a T-shirt, jeans, low-heeled shoes and cardigan sweater. There is no need to ask what color. It was black. I can always count on it to match. As my mom says when she looks in my closet, "Who died?" I claim that purple is my favorite color, but black is the one I wear most. It's slimming and versatile. It's become such a household standard that I think you can wear it to weddings as well as funerals these days. I know I do.

Anyway...back to yesterday.

I was dressed in my casual black high school outfit all day. I felt so underdressed. I sat in the old train car on the way home -- the new one was too good for me. And by the time I got home -- I looked pretty bedragled.

In the department I used to work in there was a young man who started wearing ties to work because he said his car was such a clunker that he was getting stopped by cops on the way to work who thought he had been living out of his car. He bought ties. His girlfriend bought him a bowtie and we all fussed over how great he looked everyday when he came to the office. I just heard that he's being promoted.

I need to rethink my dress to match my hair theory.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

There's No Business Like Show Business...


Just a few quick notes after a holiday weekend. Yes, a birthday is a holiday. And this year was one of my favorites. Not only did I dine with the Handsomest Man Alive at a fancy schmancy steakhouse...I also became the owner of an Amazon Kindle. I have dreamed of being a Kindle owner for quite some time, but since the Kindle falls into the category of a want rather than a need, I didn't think I would become a Kindle owner for quite some time. I asked for Ugg boots and a Timex watch. This is much better. Many fun free ebooks available at Manybooks.net.
Two stories on my mind today...Ricky Gervais has been selected as the host of the Golden Globes...as if that award ceremony could be any more fun. Why doesn't AMPAS learn to take themselves slightly less seriously? And it's a hard-knock life being a funny girl. Yeah, I had an idea that might be true.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Live video chat by Ustream Do you remember last year when we all got caught up in watching Puppycam? Hours went by and I couldn't tear my eyes away from watching little balls of fur wrassle and tussle. Those puppies all went to happy homes...but now there's a new litter...and they look just as rascally as the first bunch.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Supermarket Musical

It's been sweeping the internet, but just in case you haven't seen it, here's a spontaneous little musical that broke out in a grocery store in Queens. I've been keeping it a secret, but for most of my life, my deepest darkest desire is that my life will suddenly become a musical...just once. I hope someday to have something to sing about. What about you? What's your secret?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On the road in a hand basket

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If you believe everything you read or hear on the news, the world has gone to Hell in a handbasket. People are miserable, unemployed and homeless. Con artists are stealing the front page headlines. And then there's a little town in South Carolina, where its a privilege to join the Volunteer Fire Department and be the first one down the hole to rescue a little girl's pup. Some stories are better when they're true.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I can feel it in the air....

It's getting to be that time of year. It was back to summer last Friday. It was hot...damn hot. But the weather has gone back to being like a beautiful fall day during the day and cool and crisp at night. Last night I even popped into the Jacuzzi for a few minutes after dark to enjoy the difference between the cool air and warm water. It was lovely.

I received a care package from Leelanau County of molasses cookies and Bardenhagen 'Honey-Crisp' apples. I've been fortifying these delicacies with candy corn and central coast cabernet. Yes, it probably isn't an FDA-recommended diet...but if I were you I wouldn't try to snatch any of it away from me. It's all so yummy.

Articles that caught my interest today...Marie Clare hired a regular woman to write about fashion...shocking! Inspector Lewis on PBS...I haven't missed an episode this season and I wondered where he came from...and this new Jane Austen website intrigues me.

May your world be filled with candy corn on this beautiful fall day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Well, it turns out that I had strep throat. I don't think I've ever had it before but the doctor said my throat was not a pretty sight. When I looked up photos of strep throat on the Internet, all of them were missing front teeth -- because they were all between six and seven years old. Seriously, I thought I was too old for strep throat. You are contagious for 48 hours after you take the antibiotics -- so I had to stay home for two days. Roxy was also still recovering from surgery so she was happy to catnap on the sofa and watch too many reruns of "Murder, She Wrote." Back to work for one day...and then the weekend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Under Weather, Under Water, Underwear...


I woke up sick this morning. I feel pretty good, but I've got a sore throat. It feels like I swallowed pieces of glass. And because it hurts when my tongue touches my mouth I've taken to talking like Elmer Fudd's younger more glamorous sister. I've got hints of post-stroke Kirk Douglas in my lateral lisp.

Roxy, who is recovering from being spayed last Friday, is also under the weather. She threw up her breakfast. Goldie was a thrower-upper, but not Roxy. This is the first time she's been sick since she moved in back in July. So I'm worried about her. She hasn't been completely herself since returning from the vet -- but really -- who would be?

So I'm going to the doctor tonight and she's going to the vet in the morning. What a terrific tag team.

And just to rub salt into the wound, the normally blue skies of Los Angeles have turned dark, gray and nasty. The winds have picked up, and it's raining. It's that horrible hard rain that feels like little pin-pricks on your skin. I took the train into work to avoid driving in the rain. I brought a book and If I make a cup of tea for the ride home -- my commute today could be considered downright civil.

Seriously...there's so much wrong in the world and I'm sure that Roxy and I will be on the mend soon, so we're not putting up the streamers for the pity party...yet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are there darker forces at work here?

It's that time of year when even grown-ups like to play dress-up. And today I stumbled across a behind-the-scenes video of a new BBC production of "Emma." This new production hasn't even hit the airwaves in the UK and already I'm salivating to see it. I doubt it will see the light of day on PBS in the US for at least another year -- so I will spend a great deal of time watching this video over and over. "Emma" is my not my favorite of Jane's works -- that is "Persuasion," of course. But any Jane is better than no Jane.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Melancholy Monday


I took a day off last Friday, and I must say that there is nothing like a three-day weekend. Nothing like it until you're looking at it from the point of view of a Monday morning. Then you're wondering why you took an extra day off. It really doesn't feel like I had an extra day to lounge-about. And the traffic was way worse than I remember it had been last Thursday. Not to mention the fact that I'm completely out of the habit of working. Isn't it strange that you can get out of the habit after skipping a mere eight hours of work? Anyway...I'm just not in the mood. And this story of a precious dog finding her way back to her family suited me perfectly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everything old is new again

I'd like you to meet the anti-me. She's the ying to my yang. The sunshine to my rain. The get-up-and-go to my got-up-and-went. I wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of shorts with anything written across my cheeks -- but this 85 year-old pulls it off and then some. I wish I could say that she inspires me -- but I'm so dazzled by her razzle that I can't get up off the sofa. You go, Dorothy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The picture of grace


Did I mention that I'm not aging gracefully? When I was younger, I remember going over photos in magazines of gorgeous movie stars of a certain age and saying in the most dismissive tone, she's had some work done. And now I think, so what if she has? You go, girl!

I get it. You hit a certain point in your life when it isn't going to get better. You're not going to drop a few pounds and find out there was a rockin' body hidden beneath that flab. You're middle-aged! Your metabolism -- what you have left of it -- is working against you. I'm generally ok with what I look like. I say, go with what you got, sister! It just don't get any better than this!

The other day I found two white hairs (not gray -- we're talking snowy white owl WHITE!) in the base of my left eyebrow. Without hesitation I grabbed the tweezers and whipped those bad boys out of there. Good riddance. Until I realized that I now have a hole in the middle of my eyebrow. Oh! My left eyebrow looks like it has an eye -- like a tadpole swimming above my eye. This is not good. If I was a guy, I'd think about the temporary use of an eye patch because it would make me mysterious and sexy. Unfortunately, an eyepatch doesn't do the same thing for a middle-aged chick. Besides, my eyesight isn't so hot with two eyes working for me -- I don't want to limit my options for vanity's sake. I'd probably get in a car accident.

Later that same day, I noticed a zit growing up under my chin. And this sucker's huge. I would estimate that it could be compared to an aircraft carrier or the entire Rocky Mountain range in size. A lot of territory is involved. And it seems to have plans to make my under-chin a permanent home. It's not going away any time soon. In the meantime, while most people are unable to see it -- it has caused my chin to take on a decidedly pointed appearance. Let me just say that I fear that someone at work is going to ask me if I commute to work on my own broom. Yeah, it's that bad.

I have one happy thought that is comforting me through all of this. At least I know what I'm doing for a Halloween costume. I'm either going to be a pirate or a witch. Depends on which problem I'm still dealing with at the end of October.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The love that we shared in September


Today is my mom's birthday -- so Roxy joins me in sending big birthday wishes up to the Leelanau. I miss my mom. I miss being in Leland at this time of year. September and October, or as I like to call them, "Octember" is my absolute favorite time of year. In Leelanau County, it always works out that the leaves aren't at the height of their color by my mom's birthday, but by my birthday at the end of October, it's all over. My mom and I have decided that the optimum "leaf-peeping" time in Leelanau is the weekend in between our two birthdays. That's when the sun is warm during the day and the air is crisp in the evenings -- and the long golden rays of afternoon sunshine are magical. Anything can happen! Anything! And usually, I'm eating my weight in candy corn. I like to go down to the Leland Dam and watch the fish jump. That's where I buy my candy corn -- at the Dam Candy Store. And then I watch the salmon try to swim upstream. After that I like to wander back home and make some applesauce and then maybe curl up with something good to read...or watch. It just doesn't get much better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Better Than Michael Flatley

It's hot in Los Angeles. Way hot with no end expected in sight until some time next week. And the Santa Ana winds are blowing -- which means my allergies turn me into a zombie. I get blinding sinus headaches that make me want to draw the curtains and pull up the cover. Unfortunately, the other thing that the hot hot Santa Ana winds bring are wildfires. So that means instead of tucking in -- I'm working long hours. There are very few thing that I find entertaining right now. Perhaps, this is one of them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Dreamed A Dream That Came True



Just in the nick of time, Susan Boyle shows up to remind us to never give up on our dreams. No matter what. Mick Jagger's gotta love her version of this Rolling Stones song. She makes everything pretty. You go, girl!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Bo Obama is livin' the life. Hanging out on the front porch of the White House with his people, waiting for Dad to come home from work in Marine One so he can maybe steal a few tablescraps from dinner. Isn't that just what all dogs do? Maybe it's just because he always looks like he's dressed for a formal affair that I think he's so damn cute.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Time Of My Life


Dirty dancing final Patrick Swayze
by laetitoumi
Is there a woman alive who didn't dream of dancing with Patrick Swayze after seeing "Dirty Dancing" (Insert me swooning here.) If there is, I'd like to meet her. He's just too cool for words.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinah


That would be Roxy. I think I should've named her Julia. She spent her weekend supervising my kitchen slavery. Actually, it wasn't slavery, so much. I was thrilled to be there. I downloaded Julia Child's recipe for boeuf bourguignon in her book Mastering The Art of French Cooking last week. After a thrilling visit to the butcher shop to purchase the meat, I spent the rest of Saturday shopping for a casserole to cook it in. I have always dreamed of owning a Le Creuset casserole dish, but judging the current prices, I don't think that's a dream that's going to come true in this lifetime. I'll get over it.
The Handsomest Man Alive and I went to a number of different stores and finally came home with a very suitable navy blue enamel casserole dish by Emeril. I began to brown the meat at 9:30p.m. Roxy spent most of her evening on the pass-through monitoring my progress. The Handsomest Man Alive could also be seen in and out of the kitchen throughout the evening. Things were finally coming together around 1:00am when we were running the gravy through a sieve and browning mushrooms and onions in two separate pans.
We were exhausted, but looking forward to a wonderful Sunday dinner -- when we suddenly realized we had double-booked Sunday dinner. We never even have plans for Sunday dinner -- and now here we were with two meals planned. Crazy! Fortunately, the lovely people we had been planning to break bread with were willing to drive out to the countryside and be human guinea pigs for my very first Julia Child-inspired creation. They even brought an expensive and tasy bottle of Central Coast wine to go with it. Yum! A good time was had by this cook. I'm going to assume everyone else had a good time too because there were no leftovers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Make Way For Ducklings

A reminder today that being a hero means paying attention to the small things in life. I always hate it when people say, "don't sweat the small stuff." Don't they know that it's the small stuff that really matters? And by the way, if you've never read the book, you really should.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A World of Chocolate & Strawberries


My world changed after I saw Meryl Streep portray Julia Child in Julie & Julia. Streep is brilliant, but it is Child's joie de vrie that pops off the screen and has captured my imagination. I walked into Borders immediately following the movie and bought Child's book, "My Life in France," and haven't been able to put it down since. It is an incredible and enduring love story. And the period of the 1950s seems to reflect the current political climate. Bravo! Here's a little something I found about her Knopf editor Judith Jones. And here's a little something about another incredible woman who will soon have her life portrayed up on the silver screen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fasten your chinstraps, we're in for a bumpy night


Los Angeles is on fire. At least 122,000 acres of it is up in flames. Having lived in Los Angeles this long, it isn't wilderness --- trees and shrubs -- that come to mind when I picture the city in my mind. I think of cement. Miles and miles of pavement. It wasn't until I started living on the fringes of Los Angeles -- the very tippy tip top of the county -- that I realized that there are a lot of open spaces and greenery around L.A. The mountain areas can't be tamed, and they prove that every fire season. The acrid air of the city is choked with smoke and ash. And it's hot. Damn hot.

I'm working the late shift today. I'm not really cut out for it. I don't know what to do with morning free-time, and I'm ready to go home mentally at my regular quitting time, but instead I'll be here for six more hours. Yikes! This morning, I spent my free time playing fetch with Roxy. She loves fetch. And there is nothing more entertaining than watching her. She runs, and falls and trips, and flies through the air with the greatest of ease. She slams on the breaks, and tips ass-over-teakettle in the most amazing summersaults you've ever seen. Her efforts are all in order to get that little spongy ball and bring it back to you as fast as possible. She struts like a coyote on the way back -- bringing you her 'kill.' She's very proud. Roxy has a little black line of fur that runs under her chin from ear-to-ear. The Handsomest Man Alive says it's the chin strap that keeps her ears on. It does look like it. It reminds me of the string on a birthday hat. Or a bathing cap. I looked all over the internet for a photo of a vintage bathing cap with a chin strap. There were but a few. I think that's because those of us who wore them made sure not to get caught in Kodak Moment. It's not a good look. I doubt even Heidi Klum could pull it off.

Back in the days of yore I had a date with a guy who I wanted to introduce to the game of hockey. While he was watching his first NHL game ever -- a fight broke out. It was a doozy. The guys dropped their gloves and pushed off their helmets in order to knock each other's blocks off. Woo hoo! I love hockey fights! He remarked that if he was a hockey player and a fight broke out -- he'd be tightening up his chin strap and making sure his gloves were securely fastened in order to prevent inury. I don't think there was a third date...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I've been vandalized!


Some time while I was sleeping last night, someone broke into my home. They snuck into my bathroom and unrolled all of the toilet paper on the roll onto the floor of the bathroom. And then it looks like they skipped and ran through it a few dozen times. When I woke up this morning, there was no toilet paper left for use. Only for decoration. Roxy says she didn't see a thing. Can you believe it? What kind of creature could've done this?

Monday, August 24, 2009

And my life was Hell before I had cankles


Here's the thing. I have cankles. They're not as bad as the ones pictured above, but I have to tell you, any cankle is a bad cankle. There's no grey area when it comes to cankles. I'm a lovely middle-aged chick -- as long as you keep your eyes above my calves. Things go downhill pretty fast after that. I've always had lovely slim ankles and bony feet with well-shaped nails that look good with a pedicure. Well, those days are over. One of the few signs of aging that has been plaguing me over the past year or so are swollen ankles. Arthritis? No. Crumpled and rumpled skin? No. But ask me about cankles...and I'll excuse myself to go somewhere else. Anywhere else. I'm not quite sure why I have them...or what being afflicted by cankles means as to my health and life expectancy. I'm going to assume it means my days are numbered. If you have cankles, you don't care how much longer you're going to live.
I do wonder if the media wasn't fascinated with that particular female body flaw right now, if I wouldn't be ashamed of my cankles. If they didn't have a name for it, would I even know that I had them? Would I care? Would I learn to love my cankles? Can't imagine it. As any Cinderella would tell you -- anything that might prevent you from donning a pair of glass slippers is a tragedy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stop The DVR!


Just when I thought I had planned out my television viewing for the rest of the year, I see a promo on TLC about a new show starring Trinny and Susannah. What? I've been doing a battle with a bout of super-duper-expialidocious insomnia and I saw the promo at approximately 2:00am while enjoying an episode of 18 and Counting. (Yes, that is the one about the lovely Duggar family from Arkansas -- the one with the mom who's got a clown car for a vagina. She's had eighteen kids. And counting. Don't watch it. Seriously!) The next morning I checked the schedule and there it was -- Making Over America with Trinny and Susannah.

Trinny and Susannah are my style gurus. Of course, if they saw what I wear to work everyday, they'd probably disown me. They can shave years off your age and pounds off your hips by showing you what clothes look best on your body and with your own personal style. I love them. I've written two fan letters in my life. One was to Trinny and Susannah and the other was to Joan Fontaine. Joan took time away from her busy golf schedule in Carmel, California to answer me. Trinny and Susannah did not. But that doesn't mean that I didn't set up a series pass for their new show. Check it out! These chicks rock.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tonight's the Night





It's return of my beloved Tim Gunn. He's the fashion guru who gives advice to all the little fashionista-wannabees on Project Runway. Season Six returns tonight -- which is very exciting because it is in Los Angeles. So I'm kind of hoping to see all of the hopefuls at locations that I recognize around town.

Last night was the grand finale (insert fireworks display here) of Top Chef Masters. Rick Bayless walked away with the big prize. He beat-out the French chef Hubert Keller (and you know the French are the original foodies) to claim the top prize. He's also from Chicago -- so go Midwest! And he seems like an all-around good egg.

It was also the first episode of Top Chef: Las Vegas. It was a fun episode except you really can't tell the boys from the girls. (I sound just like my grandma Azalia.) They all have androgynous haircuts and their bodies are all tatt-ed up. It's nasty. A few of them can cook though, and it was fun picking out the best of the bunch from the first elimination challenge. I've already got my favorites. It was also fun because they were going to all kinds of locations that we recognized in Las Vegas. The Top Chef kitchens are in the new M Resort that we explored on our way out of town last time. It was pretty swank.

And Mad Men is back. Or should I say ARE back. I guess for me the focus isn't always on the men of Mad Men. While I find Don Draper to be very yummy, it's the storylines of the female characters that absolutely fascinate and intrigue me. It's just too too much fun to bear.

What do you think it says about me that all of my favorite shows are mid-summer place holders for the primetime television season that doesn't start until October? Ok. Maybe. But say, what you will...I think I've got great taste. And a full DVR...that's true happiness.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anything your cat can do...

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...mine can do better. Only I don't own a piano.

Roxy may not know how to play the piano yet, but she continues to dazzle everyone with her sunshine attitude. For Roxy, every morning is Christmas morning and she's never had a bad day. I see her run around the corner into the living room and dive on top of her flying squirrel toy with total abandon and sheer joy. It is a sight to see.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

World is Waiting for the Sunrise

I don’t know what it is about Saturday mornings, but I have always loved them. Little bits of snippets of fond memories from my youth involve Saturday mornings. From going to a swim class at the Greenfield Village pool to going to the Farmers Market in Ann Arbor, I think of Saturday mornings as full of possibilities. Monday mornings I have to pry myself out of bed with a crowbar, but on Saturday mornings, I’m up with the dawn. The day awaits and I don’t want to waste a moment of it. And I’m living with a rambunctious kitten now. Roxy believes that every morning is Christmas morning when she sees her toys. To her, they’re like long-lost friends that need to be greeted with great enthusiasm once again.

I was really busy this week, but I was nudged by readers to noticed this glamorous photo spread of Susan Boyle in Harper's Bazaar. I also took note of this “dating after forty” guide from a Hollywood trophy wife. As if! But my favorite story of the week involves the mysterious new Hunt for Red October.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And now on the podium...

I used to be a regular figure skating. I haven't skated in years, but if I did skate again, I'd want to be wearing a dress by Tania Bass. She's the choice of all the Olympic hopefuls. I was never an Olympic hopeful -- but in my imagination and the mirror in my bedroom, I accepted the gold medal for my performance many times between the ages of 8 and 16. My talent level just never lived up to the level of my imagination. Still doesn't.

The Handsomest Man Alive checked in today with two little nuggets about two of my favorite things. I thought they were both worthy of passing along to you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Can't Stop the Crazy

Roxy spent more time by herself than usual this weekend as we went to Las Vegas. No worries! She had plenty of people looking in on her and a professional cat sitter tending to her food and water. She got a great report from the sitter on Saturday. Unfortunately, she had blown a gasket from too much "me-time" by Sunday. She took my purse apart and proceeded to chew on some tampons, benedryl packages (she didn't get to the actual drugs) and lip gloss. When we got home Sunday night, she ran around the house like a crazy cat. At one point, we saw her hiding underneath the placemat on the dining room table. It is very cute. My only problem with it is that I'm missing my car keys. I swear, I put them in the key cup by the front door on Friday. And now...they aren't there. Hmmmm....makes you wonder doesn't it? Which is the more likely suspect in the disappearance of my keys? My terrible memory or Roxy's terrible desire for toys? It's hard to say, isn't it?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Call Me Master of the Obvious


My life is pretty much dominated by three pounds of cat fur right now. I wake up when the fur says I should...else I'm bitten. I put the food in the dish when the fur tells me I should...else I'm bitten. I throw the ball when the fur says I should...else I'm bitten. I sneak around and do household tasks that don't pertain to the fur when it's asleep. It doesn't really matter, because I'm bitten no matter what.

Fortunately, the fur is very cute. And I'm relieved to know that there are other people who are also playing indentured servant to their cats. In fact, the
vast majority of cat people are well-trained by their pets.

And for all those people who told me that there's porn on the internet and I didn't believe them...here's a little something-something. Yes, there may be porn out there somewhere, but most of us come here
looking for kittens.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Get on the Clue Bus


Yesterday, I had a bad day. I mean it was stinking bad. The server was down at work -- when the Internets are broken, it's hard to work on the Internet...and everything was my fault. Three phone calls to the hair salon -- and I still couldn't get an appointment. My own personal plumbing has gone on the fritz again. I spent the night huddled into a ball of pain on the bed. But the kitten was very comfortable nestled in against my body heat. She never has a bad day...and when she does, she doesn't let it get to her the way I do. And while my train hit an old man on the way home from work -- it didn't hurt him -- it just knocked the shopping cart out of his hands. So that's a good thing.

Today is Friday. I have high hopes for making it through the day...but am very doubtful that my dignity will be intact. You can't ask for miracles. I am hoping that my train home doesn't hit anyone or anything. I will declare the day a success.


Ed. Note: The video story about Caspar the commuter cat has been removed from the Internets. It looks like all of the Internets. So here's the story...in text. I can't guarantee that it won't disappear...so read it now...or else!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mad Men and Bad Women

The countdown has begun until the start of the third season of Mad Men. I can hardly wait. The first summer I was the only person I knew who was watching this crazy show on AMC. It was on two late for me to watch it at its original broadcast time of 11:00pm. So I used to watch it the next day when I got home from work. I didn't have air conditioning at the time. So I remember sitting there in the heat, watching this hot show, but not having anyone to talk to about it. Everyone started watching the second season. Then the amazing little show that could won the Emmy, and now everyone is anxiously anticipating the third season. Me too! My other two favs -- Project Runway and Top Chef also both return in August. Project Runway is going to be based in Los Angeles this season, and Top Chef in Las Vegas -- which makes me even more excited.

When I named the kitten Roxy, I thought I was giving her a name that matched her sassy little personality. Now that I know her better, I realize that I should've named her Sugar, because she is just a little sweetie. Every time we go to the grocery store, I come home with another little toy for her. She treats all her toys like treasures. Last night at the grocery store we had all our stuff up on the conveyer belt when they told us we would have to move to another check-out aisle. With the assistance of a bagger who couldn't have cared less if our stuff was breakable or not, we had to refill the cart and then transfer it all back onto the conveyer belt at the new check-out stand. I noticed that the top of one of the yogurt containers had been opened in all of the loading and reloading -- so I went to the back of the store to find another one. When I got back, the checkout guy, the bagger and the HMA were waiting on me. All my stuff had been haphazardly tossed into plastic sacks. (Isn't that just the kind of casual disregard that got the yogurt lid busted in the first place? I mean, really? But I digress...) It was like nine hundred-eleventy-thousand degrees in the parking lot, and we were in a big fat hurry to get everything loaded before we burned up. While putting the bags in the trunk of the car, I found the cat toy in the cart outside of one of the bags. I never looked at the receipt, but I'm not completely sure I paid for that toy. I do know that Roxy considers it her most favorite treasure of all -- and I wonder if it's because it's like pirate's booty. Perhaps, I should've considered a pirate name...

Susan Boyle has recorded one of my favorite songs...and here's a wonderful summer movie you shouldn't miss.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Suddenly I'm finding myself with an obsession for grey tabby cats. I can't imagine why.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Kitten Formerly Known As NNY...


I haven't written in awhile. It's because I've adopted a kitten and found out that's a full-time job. She was a little stray who wandered into a farmyard outside of Paso Robles. A friend of mine contacted me to say that a friend of hers was looking to place a boy kitten in a good home. It took me a couple of days, and a trip to the animal shelter (which is not for the faint-of-heart), for me to make the decision. I was going to adopt the little boy kitten and name him Oliver.

Oliver made the two and a half hour car ride the next day on the lap of his Paso Robles family. They adored him and would have kept him if they had more of a stay-at-home lifestyle. His first mother left him with a homemade cat toy that he still loves. Two days later, we took him to the vet and found out that he was a she. That's when I realized we couldn't call her Oliver any more. The vet's assistant changed the label on her chart from Oliver to NNY (No Name Yet) and sent me home with a kit for collecting a stool sample.

At first I was very disappointed that I was the mom of another girl cat. I was broken hearted when Goldie was put to sleep. I didn't want the new cat to be anything like her. And after missing an entire night's sleep due to her little kitten antics, I worried that I wouldn't ever get attached to her.

I shouldn't have worried.

Each day is a holiday with this adorable kitten in the house. She gets up out of bed every day like it's Christmas morning and races out to the living room to play with her toys. Every new thing she discovers brings her joy. She is curious and fearless. She races to greet everyone who walks through her door as if she was greeting the Queen of England. She purrs more than not. She is a beautiful little tabby kitten who is going to grow up into a beautiful tabby cat.

This morning, the vet called with the results of her tests. She has a little parasite that will require treatment for the next 20 days. She was too excited over seeing her toys again this morning to eat her breakfast, and I worried that she was going downhill. Panic set in, and I realized that I had gotten very attached to her and couldn't let anything happen to her. What would I do? The Handsomest Man Alive to the rescue -- he visited her at lunch and found that she had finished her breakfast and was ready to play. She not only took her first dose of medication like a lady -- she licked the applicator afterward.

I still miss Goldie more than I ever thought possible, but I think I'm going to learn a lot from this little face. She turns medicine into joy. I wish I could do that more often in my own life.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to formally introduce you to...Roxy Elizabeth...Foxy Roxy who's got a lot of moxie.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Walking On Sunshine

Don't know what it's like in your part of the world this weekend, but here in Southern California we're laying in supplies for an extreme heat advisory. I'm not sure what exactly knowing that it's going to be incredibly hot in advance of the heat actually does to help the situation. I can't remember changing any plans because it's so damn hot. I do know that I tend to get a lot less done when it's really hot. And I complain a lot more.

Perhaps, that's where the excessive heat advisory comes in. I can justify my complaints because we've already been advised that it's excessive heat. Ah well, the one thing I don't like to do when it's hot is turn on the oven. The whole place heats up and the A/C has to be turned up accordingly.

So here's a great idea to do something constructive during the hot, hot heat. Not only will I have a load of baked goods when I'm done, my car will have the smell of freshly baked cookies rather than the smell of faux lemon stank from my Michelle Obama air freshener. I think someone should write an entire book of recipes to be cooked in a hot car. They'd make a fortune in Southern California. And how cool would it be to get into your car at the end of a long stressful day, knowing that dinner is already cooked? All you have to do is avoid spilling the pot roast on your commute from Hell to home and you're golden. Honestly, I'd just eat it right there in the parking lot.

The New York Times invited Bo Obama to write an Op-Ed piece...and so he did. There are economists from coast-to-coast who are kicking themselves that the White House dog got something in the Times before they did.

Speaking of the Obamas -- I thought this was an interesting article about what kind of long cool beverages are being served in the White House.

Weekend List of Things To Do:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Before the Parade Passes By...


So Robert Redford went off and got hitched without me. I wasn't even invited, but I guess if he wasn't going to marry me, it was best that I not be there to loudly protest the oversight. I read a snarky post by a witty young blogger this morning about Redford's marriage. It said that the only people who care about Redford's wedding are middle-age women, who are all now in mourning. To which, I respond less pithily -- you bet your ass we are!

I fell in love with the genre of 'Chick Lit' when I read the first Bridget Jones's Diary a few years ago. I had never read a book that had such an honest tone about modern dating, yet kept me laughing out loud. I was so taken with the book that I sent away to England to get Helen Fielding's two earlier and much less popular novels. Both books were later also released in the United States. Neither one comes close to capturing a zeitgeist the way that Bridget did -- but one of them made me laugh-out loud twice. The plot featured a young woman who was dating a celebrity and didn't have anything to wear to an awards show and ended up in her prom dress that spread out across the laps of the two celebrities on either side of her at the banquet. I'm sorry to hear that they're going to try to make that movie franchise into a triple threat. The first movie was pure genius -- the second was pure dreck!

And then there is this little tidbit about a tragic-comic marriage in Italy. Hmmmm...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Prince Charming Nominates Cinderella


The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor kick-off today in Washington DC. This is the first big show for Saturday Night Live Alum and now Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken. I hope everything goes well for him. I'd send wishes for Sonia to break a leg -- but she already did. So all I can say is go, girl!

Here's a little reminder to never mess with a well-accessorized woman.

And I thought this was an interesting -- fact-based -- article for women over 40 about skin care. I always feel like I'm being sold a bill of goods about what I should and shouldn't be doing. Some of the stuff is so expensive -- and in the end -- I'm never sure how much good it's doing.

Television Alert! I've become addicted to this show on BBC America. It's a couple of years old -- but it follows Andrew Lloyd Webber selecting the lead for a new version of 'Sound of Music.' The selection process is very interesting. Also, get ready for the British Open this weekend. I love golf in real weather.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Walk Softly And Carry A Big Stick

I go away for a few days and the world seems to go to Hell in a handbasket. Last Friday we went on an hour-long boat ride. When we got back, Sarah Palin had resigned as Alaska's Governor and they'd planned a big party for Michael Jackson. Maybe I'm a little crazy -- because I'm not so intrigued by those big stories that seem to be keeping everyone glued to the television.

I'm following the news of a fabulous new documentaryabout the 'Garden Girls' with great interest. Hmmm...wouldn't that be a great place for a spy movie to begin. I've also been thinking about becoming an Avon Lady, because I guess that's what everyone's doing..and I don't want to miss out on the latest trend. And according to Entertainment Weekly, if that doesn't work out, then there's always a life of crime.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Big Wheels Keep On Turning




I suspect that someday I'll be hanging a sign in the back window of my Honda Civic to annouce how many miles we've rolled over together. If you got a good thing...don't mess with it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

That's right, you can call me Cougarella...

About a month ago I started receiving email advertisements in my inbox for a local Santa Clarita watering hole that has a reputation as a 'cougar' hangout. For those of you who aren't up on the hippest lingo (and since I'm using the word 'lingo' I totally resemble that remark), a 'cougar' is a middle-aged woman who spends her days (and nights) in pursuit of hot young men. For centuries, men have been chasing women half their age, and we never gave them a predatory name. But when women start thinking what's good for the gander is good for the goose...that's when the name-calling and finger-pointing begins.

I'd like to know how I got on the list of Santa Clarita cougars. Am I being discriminated against because of my age? And more importantly, should I be thrilled or devastated that I'm being included in that particular group. Yes, I have on occasion had impure thoughts about Justin Timberlake, but I don't remember sharing that with anyone. Oops! There goes that theory.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

High Kick For The Sidekick!

If my life were a movie it would be a romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock, and I would be the sidekick. It's an honorable profession and those that do it well, like Ed McMahon, make the star of the show shine. We lost one of the best sidekicks ever today. I know Ed was the host of 'Star Search' but I think of him best as Johnny Carson's sidekick. Ed's in Heaven now, reunited with Johnny and making all of his jokes seem funnier with his uncontrollable giggle. Godspeed, old friend.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Classic By Any Other Name...


I caught the last half-hour of one of my all-time favorite films on Saturday night. Random Harvest stars Greer Garson and the dashing Ronald Coleman. I believe the word dashing was invented just for Mr. Coleman who was kind of like the George Clooney of his day. And the beautiful Greer Garson who wasn't shown to her full potential in a black & white film because of her gorgeous mane of red hair.
If you haven't seen Random Harvest, you're missing a rare treat to enjoy a classic women's film of the 1940s. Get your hankies out, because this one is a delight based on amnesia, mistaken identity and true love. Oh yes, it's cheesy like Velveeta, but every once in awhile, who doesn't need a little processed cheese in their diet. It's good for the soul.