Monday, December 12, 2011

Childless Woman Leaves Fortune To Her Cat


Roxy is at home right now plotting my demise. Or she's napping. You just never know.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BHBC Review: "The Lake Of Dreams" By Kim Edwards


I just finished reading "The Lake Of Dreams" by Kim Edwards. The book is about a young woman named Lucy Jarrett, who lives in Japan with her boyfriend, Yoshi. She is uncertain of what the future holds for her. When an email from home mentions her widowed mother has been injured in a fall, Lucy decides to return for a visit. While she's home, she discovers her own family's history isn't all that she thought it to be.

Written in the style of a Victorian novel --- which is one of my favorite genres -- I was at first, enchanted by the story that touched me because I grew up in a big old house next to a lake. But Edwards' book doesn't have the engrossing secondary characters that drew me into AS Byatt's "Possession." And the historical mystery at the heart of the story wasn't dark enough and didn't impact the main character enough to make it as intriguing as "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova. These two books hold down a place in my top ten favorite books of all time -- so that shouldn't diminish a future reader's interest in "The Lake Of Dreams." It is a wonderfully written book. The descriptions are delicious and the main character is easy to identify with -- but somehow, the book left me wanting more. Maybe you'll find the something that I didn't in the pages. Despite the fact that I'm not adding it to my top ten list, I'd recommend this book for readers who are looking for a book to read in front of a warm fire over the holidays. And now that I've read "The Lake of Dreams", I'm very curious about "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and am going to take a peek. I think Kim Edwards is a wonderful writer and a very clever storyteller.

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Terribly Awful Day


I had a bad day yesterday. I hate when they happen on a Monday. It somehow makes them twice, three times, maybe even four times as bad. To cheer myself, I decided to go for a walk through the neighborhood to see how the decorations were coming at one particular house. For weeks now, we've been watching through the front window as a woman put together a Christmas village of little holiday houses in her living room. She worked all alone with all of the lights blazing. The village fills her entire living room. There is no other furniture. I was thrilled to see the village had been completed and she had decorated the outside of her little dollhouse with dripping icicles and white lights. We took photos and I felt immensely better. I went to bed with a new book and thought that at midnight my terribly awful bad day would be over. And so I got up at 5:20am and turned on my laptop. And it wouldn't start. It was completely dead. And so I got in the car and drove to work. The only thing worse than a really bad day is when it dribbles over into a second day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's Better Than A Morning Cuppa Coffee?


A morning cuppa Joe, of course.

Naughty Strikes Again


This could only be the work of the feline superhero named Naughty Vance.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Long National Nightmare Over


The Caspari Thanksgiving Day napkins have arrived. There's a new light on the buffet. Let the holidays commence...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Tale Of Two Bathrooms



I try really hard to stay organized. I have a vivid imagination that makes me a bit scatterbrained and that tends to leak over into my real life. So I have to try a little harder. I keep all my clothes organized by type and use. I have all my skirts together, all my slacks together and I have bins for my jeans and a big bin for my play clothes.  It works pretty well.

And then there's the bathroom…

I've tried really hard to be organized in the bathroom. I went out and I bought bins and storage containers that fit on either side of the plumbing under the sink. I keep all my medical supplies, pills, contact lens solution, feminine products on the left. On the right I keep all of my beauty supplies. You'll notice there's not as much stuff on the right as the left. Hah!

The problem area in my bathroom is the countertop. I use the bathroom three times every day. At 5:00am when I grope around in the dark to take my medicine and put in my contacts. At 9:00am when I get ready for work. And again at 9:00pm when I get ready for bed. The result is that I end up with stuff spread out all over the counter – because I'm in too much of a hurry to organize. So everyday I come home to the counter top looking like this -- and I have to put everything back into it's proper place. That's my best tip. Make sure you have a proper place for your products and put them away right after you use them. I found this post on the BlogHer website about organizing a bathroom to be very helpful.  What is your best tip for keeping the counter top in your bathroom free from clutter? Tell BlogHer your best idea to keep a bathroom organized and clutter-free and you could win $250. Find out more on BlogHer.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Post-Modern Fairytale



A new way to tell an old story...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gotta Get My Hands On It!


I never learn about the good stuff until it's too late. I had no idea I could get all of my favorite author's work in one. Not to mention the fact that I love this photo -- that's how I think of her. A class act!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Late Bloomer

Photo courtesy of the Home Office.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's true! The modern witch flies Swiffer WetJet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ice Cream Trucks Are Like Stray Cats


On Sundays, the HMA and I check in at Jenny Craig. (Our success or failure can change the mood of the entire day...) After that we do some grocery shopping and then the HMA hunkers down to watch the football. This leaves me a lot of time to do stuff. Stuff that is not very worthwhile, like watch Masterpiece Theatre. I know..Egads! A couple of weeks ago, I heard the sounds of an ice cream truck and wandered downstairs. Sure enough there was a van driving very slowly down the street with a (very bad canned) calliope music blaring. The HMA told me that when he was a kid, he used to go out and stop the ice cream truck and then go and find his mother and ask for money. "But Mom!!!  He's waiting!!!!" He mentioned that if he had any cash he might dash out and stop the truck. I had a fiver in my wallet, so I handed it to him and he made a quick exit out the front door. I'm not sure what kind of transaction took place in the middle of our street, but he returned a few minutes later with two ice cream sandwiches and no money. "I got one for you," he said. "Two ice creams cost five bucks?" It literally seemed like highway robbery to me. "No, he said, "I tipped the guy a dollar." Hmmmm... The next week the guy came buy again on Sunday afternoon. He didn't drive past our house...he just stopped right out front and waited. Eventually, the HMA went out and got an ice cream. The next Sunday, the HMA's son was visiting. He was surprised when his dad leaped to his feet and made a mad dash for the door at the first sounds of the ice cream truck. "Are you serious?" he asked. "We're getting ice cream?" That day it took awhile before they returned. "We couldn't decide what we wanted," was the excuse. Last Sunday, I heard the ice cream truck coming...and stop in front of the house. When I went downstairs I found the HMA sitting low in his chair -- hiding from the ice cream man. "I don't want him to think that I'm that easy." Eventually the ice cream man left. So I can hardly wait to see what happens this week. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Divide

You stay on the chair and I'll curl up right here and everything will be all right.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just Like Esther Williams

I've long had a fascination with swim caps. I don't think I ever looked so hot in one (and I'm basically uncomfortable with anything that has a chin strap. You should see me in my bike helmet), but this little fashion show just blew me away...and made me nostalgic for the days of yesteryear.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dreams DO Come True!



It's an ad for a Norwegian bank. At the end it says, "some people are lucky...the rest of us need to save."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bonjour! I Think You're A Merde-y Driver.

I am a road warrior. I drive more than 50 miles every day to and from the office. My morning commute takes 45 minutes (on a spectacular day) and my evening commute takes an hour and a half (on a normal day.) I like to use the time that I'm trapped in the car every day for good rather than evil. I call people on the phone (Hi Mom!) from my "mobile office." I touch base with the HMA to let him know that I'm on the way and he should batten down the hatches at home. But there are only so many people you can call, only so many times before they realize that they're just being used because you're in the car. So I've learned to be more creative. I've been refreshing my French skills with a CD in the car. Bonjour! This has created the incongruous scenario in which I am counting to ten in a sing-song rhyme...une, deux, trois...while flipping off a guy in a big rig. I have the most powerful middle finger in the world! Pow! Pow! Pow! Most recently I've gone back to listening to books on CD in my car. I've done this before, and it is the most satisfying (and most expensive) of the ways I've found to spend my time while driving. It has become one my greatest pleasures. In fact, I almost look forward to driving when I'm in the middle of a book on CD in my car. But that doesn't mean that I can't occasionally tell someone what I think of their driving. Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who lived in a clamshell...Pow! Pow! Pow!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back To The Future


I told the HMA that this couple reminded me of us. He watched and said,'no. I look younger than that.' Enough said.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Naughty Kitten Is A Universal Language

We've moved into a new house with a front door that opens onto a busy residential street. And the youngest of the cats doesn't have any fear of the front door. The front door opens and she races across the room bounding up across the leather chair to make a bid for FREEDOM! Or what she sees as freedom. It's the out of doors. It's the open air. It must be fun because life is an adventure. Or so she believes. She is a living representation of the old adage "curiosity killed the cat." And I aim to not let that happen. That's why when the nice cable repairman tried to get in the house this morning, and she tried to get out...I smashed him in the door like a bug. It was horrible. I did it twice. The first time, I think he only managed to get his face and part of one arm through the door before I slammed it shut. The second time, he got a foot and part of his toolkit before I squashed the door right in his face.  While I was holding the door shut, I was swinging wildly in an attempt to grab the cat who was leaping for the open door. I kept apologizing. And so did he. He said it was ok. He understood. At least I think he did. That was his tone. He had a very thick Asian accent and I really only understood every third word he spoke, but he seemed okay with being smooshed. I got the idea that this had happened to him once or twice before. And once we corralled the cat, he came in and explained what the problem was with our service. He was nice. One of the good guys. Who I had smashed like a bug in our front door. Twice. Before nine o'clock in the morning. When I got to work this morning I called the vet and scheduled Roxy to be microchipped. I don't know what else to do. The HMA thinks it's drastic, but if she gets out...and we couldn't find her. I would be devastated. She's naughty, but we love her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Duck Into The Pub For A Pint


Is it just me, or do this man and his duck look alike? I think it's in the eyes. What do you think?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Must Be How The Pioneers Did It


Up before dawn and out to do hard labor at the local Starbucks. Washing dishes by hand. Sweeping off the wooden (albeit laminate) floors. Staying up late organizing the walk-in closet. Bruised shoulders from stumbling  through narrow hallways clogged by boxes and boxes of stuff. (I'm thinking of filling out an application for the HMA to audition to be on an upcoming episode of "Hoarders." No. I'm not kidding. Seriously!) Moving is not easy, but it's living without television or the Internet that I find unbelievably difficult. I keep telling myself that this must be how the pioneers on the prairie did it, but I honestly don't know how Laura Ingalls Wilder survived. Not just without indoor plumbing. Let's not even GO there! I just can't. It's the simple things. I'm having Internet withdrawal. No wonder Laura became a successful author of a dozen books. There is nothing else to do! If I didn't have the distraction of the Internet and the television, I wonder where I'd be on my way to successful authorship...please don't say it and burst my bubble.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nightmare on Jacaranda Lane

It's much like "Nightmare On Elm Street," at least for our kitties. Over the weekend, we moved. We locked all three cats in a spare room with some dry food, water and littler box. They hid in the closet while the movers carried all our stuff, plus a washer, a dryer and a refrigerator, out to a waiting moving van. And then we left. Disappeared. All was quiet. Had they been abandoned? Two of them refused to come out of the closet to find out. The other one had no doubt and hung out by the door to wait until the door was opened and treaties were offered. (There MUST be treaties to make up for such awful treatment. She knew there would be treaties.) When we went back to get them a few hours later, they all wanted attention. The new house was in disarray, but the old house no longer looked like home. Outside the spare room I lined up three cat carriers: one cardboard box, one snazzy cloth "airline" bag, and one hard-sided traditional cat carrier. It was the smallest hard-sided carrier they make at PetCo and it cost $30. Thirty bucks! That's why I bought the smallest one, but while I had saved a few bucks, only the smallest cat would fit in that carrier. And then the fattest cat refused to get into the cloth bag. No way, Jose! It was easier to plop her into the cardboard box and shut the lid. Finally, the big boy cat was shoved into the snazzy jet bag. Face first. He didn't really fit. There wasn't enough room in the bag for him to turn around. I've seen looser fits on a sausage casing. The car trip would only take a few minutes -- we were only going less than a mile, so we tried not to worry. They were safe and would make the passage. My car was packed to the roof with crap -- so the HMA had to drive the catmobile. Three cats, protesting at the top of their lungs, for a mile -- it must've seemed like a 100 mile journey. Word is that it was a lovely symphony. They arrived at the new place and were hustled up to the master suite where they huddled under the bed. Except for the little one. The little one is fearless. She immediately demanded to be let out of the room to explore her new place, and she was the only one who ate dinner that night. She ate so fast that she threw it all right back up in the bowl. By morning, everyone was adjusting. All three cats walked over me during the night while I was in bed sleeping. After the last walk-by, I got up. It was about 5:00am. I stumbled downstairs and put out the cat chow. Everyone ate and then scattered into the darkness. Except for the little one, who stayed downstairs to look out all the windows and attempt to get into the laundry room and the garage, both of which are off-limits for her. Her fearlessness is remarkable. Completely unlike a traditional cat. This morning things are looking up for all three. There have been a lot of exploratory trips and tails are further up in the air than they've been. One of the two fraidy cats was spotted having a long snooze on TOP of the bed. Our long national nightmare may soon be over.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Really All About The Lemonade


PERSEVERANCE from Tom Poederbach on Vimeo.
Ever feel like you were a square peg trying desperately to fit into a round hole? Yeah, me too. And there's nothing that NASA scientists can come up with to make it better. Ever feel like life was giving you lemons when you wanted plums? Yeah, me too. I had gotten way tired of making lemonade until I saw this video. I think it's time to stop complaining. Whatever it is, just ge it done!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'll Get My Own Treaties, Thank you!


Sometimes I need to be reminded that we make our own happiness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Hump Day!


Two days from now...you'll be working for the weekend. Won't that feel good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Royal Baby


Have you heard the news? There's a new baby in the British Royal Family. No...Kate's not preggers. It seems that the lovely Camilla has adopted a new baby. You can read all about it on People.com. Not only is the new little precious one absolutely adorable, her new mother has decided to name her "Beth." Do you think that's after her Mother-in-law....Hmmmm...it's got me wondering.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Knew It All Along!




"Good Morning America" votes Sleeping Bear sand dunes the most beautiful place in America! You bet your ass it is! Read more on ABC News.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Bump In The Road


Some other animal lover put this up along my bike path. I thought it was sweet. There are a million of them out there. And jack rabbits, and coyotes, and the entire partridge family...They're what makes my ride such a pleasure.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nothing Under Cover About My Affairs


There are some TV shows that the HMA and I watch separately. I watch "Say Yes To The Dress." He watches "Overhaulin'." And then there are some shows that we watch together. We like "Torchwood," "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" and "Covert Affairs." While watching a recent episode of Covert Affairs, I was moved to remark, 'this show is really geared for a female audience.' And why, you might ask, did I say that? Because that episode featured one of the main characters without his shirt on for a prolonged period of time. The actor has a rockin' hard body and I though it seemed obvious to anyone with half-a-brain that the writers had noticed the actor was hot and had written an entire scene around getting this guy to take his shirt off for the lonely ladies at home watching the television alone in a darkened room. The HMA scoffed at my bitter assumption. But then within seconds of our interchange, in the lower left hand corner of the TV screen, a little graphic popped up that said, "Want more of shirtless Augie?" And we were directed to a website for more photos of said actor without his shirt. I rest my case. It was so obvious. A couple of days later, I noticed a photo on Facebook of that actor eating at one of my favorite restaurants. The link for the actor's Twitter was right there. So I clicked on it to follow him. I didn't think anything of it. And can you imagine how my little heart went pitter-pat when I got a DM (Direct Message) in reply within the hour. "Welcome Aboard," it said. Needless to say, The HMA was not impressed. And I'm still looking for those photos. Hmmmm....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Traverse City Goes Viral

Getting Our Priorities Straight


What did you do over the weekend? While President Obama had his hands full with the debt ceiling crisis and the world teetering on the edge of complete economic collapse, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was busy spamming up the Internets with footage of his newly adopted kitten, Stanley. I must admit, Stanley (he was named after the cup) does seem photo-ready. I guess  there's quite a lively debate going on up there about just what kind of cat Stanley might grow up to be. Whatever his bloodlines, I can tell you that he must be related to my Roxy. Oh, Canada...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Antiques Roadshow Jackpot


Starting to wonder if my mom has some rhino cups hidden in her garage. I'm guessing not. But if you think your mom might have some -- start looking now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Joey, The Counter Assistant


Every morning when I get out of the shower, Joey, the little lovebug cat is sprawled across the bathroom counter waiting for me. He knows that the next step in my morning routine is to apply a half dozen bottles of lotions, creams and potions to my face and body in order to make myself somewhat presentable when I go out in public. While I'm busy attending to my personal hygiene, Joey monitors my activity and seems to be approving each step as he's purring loud enough to be heard by passers-by out on the street. If I didn't have to hit freeway within the hour, I'd call it my favorite time of the day. Joey almost makes me hum "Hi, ho, hi ho" while I'm getting ready for work. His love for the bathroom counter and being involved in the activity reminded me of one of my favorite James Herriot cat stories. I can't remember which one of the "All Creatures Great & Small" books this story was in, but I know it was in his book of favorite cat stories. It was about Alfred, the sweet shop cat, who helped his person sell chocolates and sweets to people. Alfred believed his job was very important and held himself in a manner most dignified while at his post in the sweet shop until a mysterious illness made him experience an abnormal weight loss. Fortunately, his vet was able to put him right and he went back to work. The story got me to thinking…maybe we need to get Joey a job. Does anyone know if See's Candies is hiring? Can you imagine? Chocolate and Joey love – I'd never leave. That's two of my favorite things.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Original Crazy Cat Lady



Thank God there are people like this in the world who are willing to help the strays. My little Roxy looks just like the one that pops out of that cardboard box.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WTNW Dude In My Neighborhood

It's one of my favorite shows on television. And why wouldn't it be? Every week a woman with no sense of style and bad hair is whisked away to New York City where two style gurus take her clothes shopping, take her to see a top hair care professional, and give her a make-up makeover. And voila! The diamond in the rough is polished into a thing of beauty. "What Not To Wear" has all the elements that would appeal to any Cinderella. I DVR the shows every week, hoping that I'll get a clue about why I'm always such a fashion disaster – and I must say I've gotten a lot of tips from the show. I originally fell in love with the shows on BBC America. The hosts were two crazy women who would accost women in public and redo their wardrobes with style and a lot of sass. They were hilarious. I even wrote a fan letter to the BBC to tell them how much I enjoyed the show. I've written very few fan letters in my life – one to Joan Fontaine and one to the makers of ICE soda – are the only two I can remember ever. The US version of the show isn't as much fun. The hosts aren't as colorful, except for the hair stylist. He managed to create drama every week by always wanting to cut the hair off of women with long scraggily hair. And while the women cry and squirm – he usually makes them look better than when they walked in – much to their chagrin. So I was delighted when I was invited to a salon nearby to meet with Nick Arrojo along with a room filled with other SCV bloggers. He's no longer on the show – says he was unceremoniously fired. And it's too bad – the hair stylist they have on the show now is unremarkable. But it was great fun to meet Nick and all of the other women who are writing and posting stuff about their lives in Southern California.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If This Is A Book Club, Where’s The Wine?

I've been wanting to join a book club for some time now. I have a romantic view of a book club – a bunch of women sitting around with big balloon glasses full of red wine.
In my fantasies, the book club would look just like the scene in “It’s Complicated” when Meryl Streep tells her friends she’s having an affair with her ex-husband – all carefully art-directed with all members dressed in earth tones and a big wooden coffee table groaning under the weight of freshly baked goodies and quiche at the center of a big cream colored sectional sofa. Oh! And there should be quiche. There always needs to be quiche. So while I’m waiting for Meryl Streep to process my application for her book club, I am still in search of a real book club with real women who say real and funny things. That’s why I jumped at the chance to join a reading program through BlogHer that allows members to read a book and then post their review on the BlogHer website. It’s great fun. I’ve read some good books and some not-so-hot books. I’ve also discovered that there are people who are much funnier than I am when writing reviews. The only thing missing from the BlogHer Book Club is some pastries and a big glass of red wine. And maybe Meryl Streep…ya never know!

Psst...Tonight, There's Gonna Be A Jail Break

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's The Simple Things


When I came home last Wednesday night and inhaled the smell of cleaning products, I was immediately filled with relief and pleasure. The cleaning ladies had been in. There would be clean sheets on the bed, no ring around the bathtub and the pillows on the sofa would be fluffed and artfully arranged. Ah, bliss!  There is one more thing they do that I love most of all – they fold the toilet paper into a little arrow-shaped point in the holder. I don’t know what it is about that gesture – but it makes me smile. It usually only happens to me when I'm in an expensive hotel...and that happens rarely. But it's the thought that counts. Someone has taken the care to artfully arrange my toilet tissue. The King of Siam never had it so good! They also make tissue roses in all of the Kleenex boxes in the house. I love this gesture too, but the toilet paper is number one in my heart. So you can imagine my pleasure when the janitors at my office started doing the same thing in the ladies restroom at work. This is even better because it also lets you know that you’re the first to visit that stall. Woo hoo! And when I started thinking about it I realized that my favorite of Roxy’s many misbehaviors around the house (and there are many to choose from) is when she has her way with the toilet paper. Rather than fold the tissue into an arrow, Roxy nips and bites it until it turns into a long strand of lace strung all over the bathroom floor. Every time it happens it makes me laugh. Last Friday night we had company over and the man came out of our guest bathroom complaining about what "one of the cats" had done to our toilet paper. I looked over at Roxy, who seemed to have a mischievous little grin on her face, and thought if that guy only knew what a simple gift he’d been given. He should’ve been thrilled. In my world, it’s all about the toilet paper. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pippa Middleton Goes To Wimbledon


It's been a fun, fabulous month of June with Kate and Wills making appearances at various Royal functions. And now Pippa at Wimble-de-don. Could it be more fun? No. I doubt it. Except that next month Kate & Wills'll be in LA. Ooh La La! Think I'll see them hanging out at the Valencia Starbucks? I doubt that even more. We probably run in very different circles. Ah, well. If you haven't gotten your fill of the Royals, then check out this article on Daily Mail UK.com for latest photos. This article in Newsweek features a creepy back-from-the-dead Princess Diana on the cover. Did they need to turn our beloved People's Princess into a zombie? Are they trying to get us used to the idea before Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is released as a movie? Not working. Kate got a gift from Camilla. See it close up here. Love the coronet! And as if I needed a reason to love Kate more...turns out she's related to Jane. Read it in People.com

Friday, June 17, 2011

Can't Get Enough Betty

Betty White makes this whole getting older thing look good.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Neil Patrick Harris For President!



Is it just me, or do the producers of the Tony Awards have this whole song-and-dance thing down cold? They really make you want to go to see a Broadway show. They make me laugh. They make me cry. And they dazzle me with the dancing. Incredible!



Because I just can't get enough of the Tony Awards. I stayed up way, way past my bedtime...and it was worth every extra bag under my eyes this morning.

And as far as I'm concerned, if Neil Patrick Harris is president, then Andrew Rannells (above) should be his Veep, and Sutton Foster (below), the Secretary of (Tap Dancing) State.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chillin' & Grillin'


We keep expecting summer to happen in southern California. So far this summer we've had more days that feel like winter than feel like summer. This makes me worried for the fall, when I start to wax poetic about crisp sunny days, cool evenings, apple pie and candy corn. Sometimes September and October in sunny SoCal can be scorchingly hot. I hope that the cool start to this summer doesn't portend a long, hot fall. I just couldn't take it. The cool days have done nothing to diminish my pleasure of enjoying my little patch of the out of doors. I've planted tomatoes (we have four ripening on the vine), some peppers (the current count is at five), and basil (we're having Caprese salad for dinner). I've also planted some rosemary and lavender just because I love the smell of it in the air. We've got a chaise lounge and a chair back there. All that we needed was a place for grillin'. We solved that problem on Friday night when we brought home a 'Smokey Joe.' It's a little mini-Weber grill. It looks exactly like the full grown ones -- only it's just a baby. Last night we kicked off our chillin' and grillin' season with a tri-tip. Tonight we're doing marinated chicken. All we need now is a good sangria recipe and we're all set for the summer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

For Cats' Eyes Only



This new TV commercial purports to be 'for cats only' and it features a crazy cat lady (at least she's crazier than I am. How do I know. She speaks 'Cattish.' Ahem. Enuf said. )I'm not sure this is working for me. Can I get a show of paws if it's working for the cats?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Missing A Pal & A Confidante



The guy who wrote this theme song died last week. I love Andrew Gold. And I think my passion for the Golden Girls goes without saying. Enjoy! Treat yourself and watch it more than once.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

La Bicyclette, Part Deux


I did buy a bike. And it was gorgeous! Lavender and sleek with a beautiful comfy black seat. I rode up and down the bike paths for one day and the bike developed a clunk. So the next day we took it to a bike shop. I paid $10 for a nice young heavily tattoo-ed guy to tighten the chain. Took it out the next day and the chain fell off. I had to escort my bike home for a half-mile. Walking a bike is so much less joyous than riding a bike. I got the chain back on --- but I couldn't get rid of the clunk. And it kept getting louder. So we took it to another bike shop where a nice man in bike pants (Why God? Why?) told me that my bike was "The Clunker." It was a cheap bike from Target and it would probably always clunk. I would have to learn to accept it. I was unable to accept this diagnosis, so we went to another bike shop. Another nice young man told me the same thing. You get what you pay for. So, with a heavy heart, we took the bike back to Target. There was a brief bit of drama when the girl behind the counter said that they don't take bikes on return. But the manager changed her mind, and all was well. I left my beautiful bike behind and went home. I still had the bike helmet. But I looked pretty silly in it when I was riding my bike. How silly was I going to look just hanging out around the house in a bike helmet. I was a bit heartbroken. I had gotten attached to that bike. Like a young girl gets attached to a pony. But after some online research, we headed back out again and found a beautiful bike with a price tag that was twice as big as the first. Sold! It rides like a dream. This time I have the endorsement of the bike shop guys. "That's a nice bike," they all say. I took it out for its maiden voyage on Sunday. My shoe lace got caught in the gears -- I went ass over teakettle and ended up in a heap on the bike path. The bike came through it nearly unscathed. I skinned my knee. I look like a middle-aged six year old with a band-aid on my knee. But now with my cool bike in the garage and an official case of road rash on my knee, I can go to sleep at night comfortable in the knowledge that I'm a real biker chick now.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Creature Comforts

Dear House Lady,
If you're not going to use your bath pillow per manufacturer guidelines, then it's officially a cat bed.
Love, Joey.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Never Perform With Kids Or Animals



I guess this guy didn't get the memo.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Backyard Bird Maternity Ward



    For a couple weeks now, we've had a pair of mourning doves who're sitting on eggs in a nest over the front door. It's a good location. The only person who uses the front door is the Fed Ex guy, and we don't get that many deliveries. It looks like there's just a mama bird in the nest, but we Googled the nesting habits of doves and found out that the incubation duties are shared by the male and female birds. Mama bird sits on the eggs during the day and then Daddy bird takes the night duty. The Internet resource we read said the exchange can happen so fast that it looks like just one bird is sitting on the nest. I will say that whichever one is sitting on the nest when I check on things first thing in the morning has one heck of a dirty look. I'm certain it's the Mama bird. Her look says, "Who you lookin' at, house lady?" Makes me slam the curtain down and feel bad about checking on her and her little family. We think we should have babies in the nest any day now. We're all very excited. 
     Last Friday we discovered a hummingbird nest in the Oleander bush in the backyard. That corner of the yard is quiet and hardly used, but the branch this little hummingbird built her nest on isn't very stable. We've had a lot of strong winds here and when she's in the nest, it's like she's riding a bucking bronco. I don't know how she does it. When we first found the nest on Friday, it was empty. Yesterday, there was one egg. Today, there's two. We had to research hummingbird incubation and found out that building the nest and sitting on the eggs is the female's job -- big daddy doesn't lift a finger. We're trying hard to keep the three indoor cats who live here from figuring out that there home has become a birdie maternity ward -- but we have a feeling they know that something's up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Power Of Love



Think human mommies invented being worried about their kids? Watch this doe circling dangerously close to the group of humans who are doing something loud and obviously dasterdly to her baby and you'll think again. And as if we needed another reason to think that firefighters are hot. These guys put their tools to good work to rescue a Bambi. Thank you, gentlemen! Now, where do I send the brownies?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Believe



"I have everything in the world that I need now."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Was A Suicidal Laura Ingalls Wilder

Let me be clear. I loved the "Little House On The Prairie" book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. "On the Banks Of Plum Creek" was my very, very favorite. The chapter where Mr. Edwards brings the lost Christmas gifts I can almost recite by heart, but please, I beg you, do not expect me to live in a little mud hut next to a body of water. Yesterday, some nice high school student ran over a transformer on his way to school and cut off the power to the high school and nearby neighborhoods -- that would be us.  SoCal Edison said we wouldn't get the power back until 10:00pm -- which seemed discouraging to say the least. Since the HMA works at home, he couldn't access his work on his home computer. He could go to Starbucks and work like everyone else -- except for one little sticky wicket -- he uses a desktop computer not a lap top. So, over his mild objections about what kind of idiots we would look like --- we loaded his computer into my car and took the whole she-boodle to Starbucks. Customers were curious about what we were doing. I heard some guy say, "Now he means business!" But everyone was friendly and sympathetic. They made room for us and made us feel welcome. The low point was when we had to return home, as twilight was fading, to a cold and ever increasingly dark house. We gathered up our flashlights and candles. (I was seriously worried about how putting three very active cats and a bunch of candles together in a dark house was going to turn out.) We checked on the food in the freezer. (We have hundreds of dollars of Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers ice cream in there, and as God is my witness, I was willing to sacrifice my own diet and eat it all before it went bad. Yes, I AM that cheap.) No matter, once we rounded up the troops, we decided to take ourselves off to our fave restaurant for dinner. We are treated like gods there. They know us by name and didn't seem to mind when we lingered after dinner. And as we drove up the long road back to our house, my eyes searched the shadowy outline for any signs of lights. There were none. It wasn't until we got up next to the house that we saw the lights were on and we were back in business. I've never been so thrilled.

Dear Electricity, I love you. Please don't ever leave me again. I can't live without you.
And don't ask me if I want to go camping. I don't mind sitting around a campfire at night singing "Kumbaya" and roasting S'mores. But when the sun comes up in the morning, I want to be at the Marriott in a white fluffy robe blow-drying my hair. Enuf said.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All I Need Is A Bell & A Basket


I bought a bike. It's purple and silver and has seven gears. I haven't been this excited about non-motorized equipment since I was in fifth grade. It just so happens that we live near some serious bike trails. Santa Clarita has 26 miles of bike trails -- most of which are completely intersection-free -- so you don't have to worry about cars. And while I've been out walking on the trails, I've seen people go buy on bikes. And I've thought, "Gee, that looks like fun." And I could cover a lot more territory. My walks are all HGTV-motivated. I go out to look at the neighbors' decorating and landscaping. So on Saturday, the HMA took me to Target where I made my selection. Of course, when I got to the store, I was wearing a dress. So I had to invest in an $8 pair of leggings to wear on my trip home. I bought a helmet and a bike pump too. After a couple of practice laps in the Target parking lot, I set out. (It's probably only four or five miles.) I made it right up to the top of the hill into the front of our subdivision before I tipped over. I hadn't had lunch and I was a little woozy. I called the HMA for a rescue. He came out and walked me and the bike 100-feet back to the house where he gave me an orange popsicle. What else do you give a middle-aged woman with low blood sugar who's behaving like she's in junior high?

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Sooper Sekrit Passion


I have a passion that I don't tell many people about. There are two reasons: one is that it is really silly. The other is that it isn't very politically correct or environmental. And since I grew up in one of the most beautiful spots that God created on earth, I always like to think that I put the environment first. And I do, except when it comes to paper napkins. That's it. That is my passion. I love paper napkins. There I said it. And I don't hear any sirens in the area...yet. I love festive napkins for every day of the year. Yes, most days I use half a paper towel for a dinner napkin, but as far as I'm concerned, I can't think of a more festive way to kick off a holiday than to break out the paper napkins. (My favorite brand is Caspari. They're the best! Caspari is  to napkins what Christian Louboutin is to shoes.) I love paper napkins for holidays -- but they can make any day more special. For Easter this year, the HMA and I drove out to Ojai and took a walk down the arcade. It was a little cool and overcast, but it was still a nice day in Ojai. We walked through a home decor store that has always caught my eye for having the most elegant paper napkins. And on this trip, their stock didn't disappoint. I found gorgeous gold embossed peacock napkins. Oh so elegant! And to go with them -- a gorgeous dark brass paper napkin tray. Are you kidding me? It just doesn't get any better for a paper napkin addict. Gorgeous napkins and a beautiful way to dispense and display them. I was thrilled when the HMA bought them for me as my Easter treat. It just doesn't get any better. Eat your heart out Mr. Louboutin!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Set Your Fascinators On Stun

Oh, no. It's not over. It seems Princess Beatrice's hat has gone viral. And the comedy doesn't end.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

They're Coming To America!


If I can't go to England...I guess this is the next best thing. Can hardly wait to see you, Duchess? Wanna grab a coffee at the Farmer's Market at Third and Fairfax? Check your social calendar and have your peeps call mine. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On The Prowl



I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one who saw a link between Princess Beatrice & Princess Eugenie and Cinderella's ugly stepsisters. I was starting to worry that I am cold-hearted. (And yes, I do think that looks like Roxy in the above photo, but then she's always into mischief.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Happily Ever After Kind Of Weekend

The beautiful girl marries the handsome prince and the evil villain is dead. It was a Happily Ever After kind of weekend. And President Obama? Don't mess with this guy. He can issue a kill order and then go out and kill at a comedy routine. What I really want to know more about is the US Navy Seal Team Six. These aren't the guys you want bringing your room service tray in the morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I've Got The Fever

The day is FINALLY here. Tonight is the night that 2 billion people around the globe stay up late or get up early in order to see Cinderella and Prince Charming get hitched. Listen, no one does the whole Pomp & Circumstance better than the Brits. You can decide where to view all that needs to be seen on this handy-dandy TV viewing guide. And this little tid-bit is more off-beat.

And All The King's Men...


Early morning rehearsals are going well, but as long as they've got the horses all saddled up and the uniforms on, these guys ought to consider invading Liechtenstein. I'm mean why the Hell not?

All The King's Horses


Can hardly wait.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Can I Have That To Go?


Here's the food truck I saw on the freeway on the way home last night. I'm not sure if I'd want to have food from "The Wien" or not. I'm not even sure if I know how to pronounce it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Have A Size Three Butt!

It all started in September. I was feeling mighty blue and out of control. I knew I needed to go on a diet, but I had never been successful at Weight Watchers. I know that's the one listed in Consumer Reports as the best, but I couldn't lose weight on it, let alone keep it off. My mom encouraged me to go to Jenny Craig. I was still reluctant -- isn't it expensive? When I called to make the appointment, they told me to bring my "support system." And of course, the HMA agreed to go with me. (He's not only the HMA. He's also the NMA. You can puzzle that one out on your own.) We talked to the lovely intake person, and then he made a suggestion I never would've thought of if I had been there alone. Can we have a piece of food as a tasting sample? We took home a slice of double chocolate cheesecake and everyone in the house had a bite of it. It was delicious. And I don't know how it happened, but the next thing I knew the HMA was agreeing to go on the diet with me and we were buying food and planning meals. And losing weight! I don't think I could've done it without him. No way! And now here we are, seven months later and both about 35 lbs lighter! I haven't bought a lot of new clothes. Although I did buy a new pair of jeans last week -- size three in the juniors dept. I haven't visited the juniors dept. since I was in junior high. Mostly, I've been enjoying pulling stuff out of the archives and having people admire a six year-old shirt as if it was new. Our family has jumped on the bandwagon. We've got close family members (you know who you are) who are now dieting and are losing it much faster and much easier than us. (We're foodies! We love food! We had to figure out a way to diet AND indulge now and then.) We're just happy that we were their inspiration. If we can do it....ANYONE can!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can Hardly Wait

The Antidote To Your Bad Day

A baby penguin gets tickled. That is all. Seriously...what else do you need?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In The House Of Love



The Huffington Post is reporting that Sophie Cranston has been selected to be the designer of Kate Middleton's wedding dress. You can check out her website here. And read the exclusive article here. Two weeks to go. I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What's Better Than A Corgi?



Three corgis on their way to a Royal Wedding viewing party...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where The Cats And The Dolphins Play...



Do you think one of these guys knows that the other one often calls him "dinner"?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's A Girl To Do?


Kate Middleton's got to pick a tiara to wear to her wedding. Fortunately, she doesn't have to drive-thru Brides 'R Us to pick up some sparkly headgear because William's granny has got the keys to the crown jewels. But what will she choose? Will QEII give her some finery? It's fun just to speculate as the Wedding day gets closer. And while you're waiting you can get to know the Middletons a little better.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Chick's Got Style

We're now within three weeks of the Royal Wedding. Can. Hardly. Wait! And finally the magazines are putting out the stories that I've been wanting to read ever since Wills & Kate announced the wedding. And I hope that for weeks after the wedding, there will be books and magazines devoted to what she wore, where she wore it and what's she doing now. When Diana got married, we didn't have the Internet and I had to wait for weeks for People magazine to publish a few photos here and there. Or I had to go to the bookstore where they had an extensive magazine rack in order to look over the photos in two-week old British magazines and newspapers. You can read about how Catherine Elizabeth (good middle name) Middleton is going to single-handedly save the Monarchy in Newsweek. And see photos from her childhood on Huffington Post.com. What I really want is an article about her hats...let me know if you find it first.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh, Yes! He's A Lucky Dog



Last week you watched him get rescued from a floating island of wreckage in the middle of the ocean nearly three weeks after an earthquake and tsunami had separated him from his people. And today, he was reunited with his owner. I think they're both feeling pretty good about it. I know I am.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Goose Takes A Gander


A nice Sunday kind of story... Maria the goose and the rest of the Echo Park flock have been relocated to the LA Zoo. She now gets weekly visitations from her best friend, Bob. There's something else new about Maria too. You'll have to read the story at the end of the link to find out the rest.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I've Got The LA Laundromat Blues


I've been struggling with the blues. I mean the serious blues. The lowdown, ain't no cure for it in sight, blues. I saw a video on TMZ.com a few weeks ago of Eric Clapton at a laundromat in Los Angeles. When the paparazzi called him out, he didn't say a word. He just stared. He looked so incredibly shocked and horrified that he'd been found. In a dirty little laundromat. In somewhere not-so-nice in Los Angeles. Alone. Folding his jeans, t-shirts and dainties. And I thought to myself, I've never seen a guy who sings the blues look so sad. It just wasn't right. The man's rock n' roll royalty and he's doing his dirty laundry in public. Literally. There has to be something seriously wrong...And so to shake myself out of my mood of doom and gloom I've employed several methods. One was to watch the video above. I mean, have you ever? The other is to surf some film websites for info about what's in production that might bring a smile to my face. I found this tasty little morsel about Jen Garner playing the young spinster version of my beloved Miss Marple. I'm feeling just a little better. Except now I'm wishing Emma Thompson was playing young-ish Miss Marple, and Jen Garner was playing an older Nancy Drew instead. Am I asking too much? Thought so.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

There Is Nothing Like A Dame


Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor died this morning. She was a favorite of mine. She was gorgeous and talented -- winning an Academy Award twice in her long career. I also liked the fact that she used her fame for good -- to raise money for AIDS research. I think that's something that's gone out of style. Vanity Fair posted a gogeous photo gallery of Liz in Persia. And you'll want to read how Richard Burton described his first glimpse of her. Oh, to be described as such.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tuppence A Bag

Just before Christmas, the Handsomest Man Alive and I discovered a new money pit. It's called Teavana and it's a wonderful little store where they sell very expensive teas, tea makers and tea pots. One sales guy actually attempted to sell the HMA on the merits of owning a $500 pot. Seriously. As if. Since we've been dieting for so long and always in search of treats that won't add calories to our daily intake, we had reached the point where $4 for a cup of coffee didn't seem at all unreasonable. In fact, woozy from a lack of food, we were happy to pay it. For Christmas, I got the tea and all the fixin's -- beautiful tins of delicious teas, a special measuring tea spoon, special rock sugar imported from Germany (Who knew Germany was the rock sugar capital of the world?), a tea maker and the tea cup. I make a pot of tea almost every night. In fact, I can even talk myself out of a dessert by telling myself that I can have a cup of tea instead.  But I gotta say, as the royal wedding approaches and my excitement builds, I just might have to figure out a way to get my hands on these Royal Tea Bags. Hmmm...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shamrocks, Shillelaghs & Shenanigans


I'm off to get me Shamrock Shake at the fine McRestaurant McDonalds. Enjoy the results of this 'write a letter to St. Patrick' contest in the Irish Times. Best wishes for a very happy St. Patrick's Day. May there be a pot o' gold at the end of every rainbow.

Ultimate Courage and Loyalty


I've been completely focused on the catastrophe in Japan for over a week now. The news is so bleak. There are so few bright spots that I've almost become immune to the many faces I've seen whose lives will never be the same again. When I saw this video on the news last night, it hit home...and it hit hard. I can't imagine an animal lover who wouldn't be moved by the sight of these two precious animals, shivering, sick and disoriented, but completely loyal to each other. And judging by the huge name plate under their chin, beloved by their humans. CNN and Telegraph UK are both reporting that these dogs have since been rescued, but this video is a reminder that there will likely be thousands of pets orphaned or involuntarily abandoned due to the catastrophe in Japan. FIND OUT how you can help.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Saucy Librarian

Who said reading wasn't sexy? Seriously.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Royal Wedding Swine Flu


I'm counting the days until the Royal Wedding. It's been over twenty years since I visited Westminster Abbey. Sarah Ferguson got married and Princess Diana's funeral was held there since my last visit. I feel strongly that a return to London is at the top of my personal bucket list, so it's probably not a shock to anyone that I can hardly wait for the Pomp & Circumstance of William & Kate's wedding. Most recently, I've been caught up in the drama surrounding the possibility that it was Sarah Burton (good name!) who had been chosen to sew the royal wedding gown. I secretly hope that it's someone else. I don't want to know before the wedding day. I want to be surprised. Over the weekend I became enthralled by the details of the royal 'hen party.' In the States we call it a 'bachelorette party' and we head off to Vegas to spend a drunken weekend going to shows like the -- Thunder Down Under which features male strippers -- despite pleas for no male strippers during the weekend getaway. They always turn up. Think Kate's sister Pippa (even better name!) is getting her a stripper? I hope so. I hope he gives Camilla a lap dance. But I digress. The real focus of this rant...er...post is that I want to use a vacation day to stay home and watch the royal wedding and all the surrounding events. From the glass carriage rides through London town to the royal wave from the balcony -- I gotta see it. It's important. Originally, I wanted to be in London for the wedding, but my bank account said no. If I lived in London, I'd have the day off. It's a national holiday. But I feel that I'm being discriminated against because I live across 'The Pond'. My heart is in London...so doesn't that count? I watch 'Masterpiece Thea-AH-ter every Sunday. I'm an honorary citizen, I'm sure. But those to whom I've presented my plan have called me crazy and poo-poo'ed my idea. I can see his (why be coy? It was the HMA.) point. But still I am not completely deterred. I'm certain that near the end of April I will develop a debilitating case of swine flu. I can feel it coming on already...who else is in? I'm buying snacks.