Saturday, February 21, 2015

Red glass plates and the mysterious copper pan

I spent yesterday afternoon with my mother, cleaning and sorting (again) for the last time before she moves to her new apartment in the retirement place.  (If it seems like this has been going on for months, it has.)  My sister found Mom a guy who will cart all manner of stuff away to sell, donate or dispose of, and we all couldn't be more thrilled about him. There is still a lot of stuff to sort through, but that will be up to us - the kids - after Mom moves and is sure she has everything she needs and wants in the new place. Yesterday, she had the dining room table full of kitchen and dining stuff, and my sisters and I carted some of it home and left the rest for "the guy who we're all thrilled about." I came home with these red glass plates...
For the record, I have taken none of the fine china my sisters wanted as I am not the 'fine china' type and probably never will be. The red plates, however, I have always coveted.  They look great with my informal china from our wedding (I did not register any formal china), as well as with the Polish pottery I've collected over the years.  And, by the way, red plates by themselves make your food look really sexy!
I also took home this old copper pan, which I'm dying to cook in if, by doing so, I won't kill my family. (Research on safety of cooking in old copper pots ongoing.)  Doesn't it just scream Julia Child at the Cordon Bleu?!?
What is mystifying is this inscription on the side of the pan...
I can't make heads or tails of it, even on Google. Antiques Roadshow, where are you when I need you?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Back in the saddle again

Phew-eeee, cowpokes! It's been a wild ride these last couple of weeks. But, I'm back in the saddle and ready to rope the topic of the day which is..... Fat Tuesday!!!  Yeehaw! This is (yet) another day on the calendar when I give myself permission to indulge in rich, unhealthy food and drink. But, wait. Isn't that what I've been doing all weekend? Who cares?!??!! Today, after a mountain of laundry, tons of catch-up work in my virtual office, and a restorative stop at the liquor store, I think I'll prepare a classic Fat Tuesday meal which is.... what, exactly? How do you pull off a classically decadent FT feast like this in Kansas? My kingdom for some beignets!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The play's the thing!

I've been busy, dear readers. This Saturday will be the first public reading of my first play, co-written with my dear friend Carol Starr Schneider aka Short Jewish Gal. It's a big deal, but it's not....but it really is. We'll be in a small theater space in the Crossroads District of Kansas City, testing the script with real, professional actors - rehearsal all day, performance at 6 pm that night.... because it's Valentine's Day and people need to get to their candlelit dinners by 8. Even with a supporting cast of a wonderful producer and directors, there's a lot to do before a reading. Obtaining workable props, for instance.  This week, I purchased one of these....
Official name is the Kong e-Collar, for the record.
 Not the dog, the cone of shame.  Then, I bought one of these (by mail order, mind you....)
Yes. This is a thing. A real thing they actually sell.
I don't think I'm giving too much away here but, if you're intrigued, there might be a couple of tickets remaining. Here is the info. And here is our Facebook page. 

After this weekend, I will get back to blogging with some regularity and may finally weigh in on the whole Brian Williams mess.  I gotta tell ya, my jury's still out on this one....but if he made up that robbed-at-gunpoint-selling-Christmas-trees story, I'm done.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Quiche Sunday

Quiche perfection
With so much going on in my life, I have found a needed diversion in my kitchen: The pursuit of the perfect crustless quiche.  In the past two weeks, I have tried the following varieties: Artichoke, fennel and brie; turkey bacon, carmelized onion and Havarti; and apple-smoked bacon, onion and salmon.  The other variable is always the egg-to-dairy mixture I carefully pour on top which has always been some artery-clogging combo of fresh dairy cream or Half & Half. (Note: cream and eggs are perfectly acceptable on the Atkins Diet to which I - er, fairly often - subscribe.) Sometimes, I use 4 eggs; other times, 3 or 5. Each quiche was satisfying in its own right, for various reasons, but perfection? Not quite. Yesterday, I broke the mold and did an asparagus & carmelized onion, Swiss/Gruyere cheese blend in a base with 1/3 fresh cream, 1/3 Kefir, 1/3 low fat ricotta cheese and 4 eggs.  As Henry Higgins said about Eliza Doolittle: "By George, she's got it! By George, she's got it!!!"

Monday, January 26, 2015

My week in pictures

Last week was one for the record books: My son got engaged to a fantastic woman whom he's known since first grade, my sister sailed through brain surgery, President Obama came to town, my mother's first grandchild (and my grandniece) was born; my husband finally got a high-tech hearing aid after ten years of my nagging, and my daughter landed a new job through which she can give me chemical peels! (Suffice it to say, I slept a LOT yesterday.)
These little babies are controlled by the coolest app on the hubs' new iPhone. Relationship changer. 
The picture that will live on Jayhawk fans' phones forever.
The happy couple sailing off into the sunset. Wedding in October.
My first beautiful grandniece.
Baby sis looking alarmed for nothing. All is well.
My esthetician daughter's new line of products made just for me. Just in time for a wedding.

Whew.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Barack Obama slept here

Air Force One's arrival last night in Topeka
Last night, the POTUS slept just 1.4 miles from my house. (I will refrain from commenting on the Holiday Inn's Holidome as the Secret Service's presidential lodging choice.) Today, he is speaking a half-mile away on the campus of Kansas University. The town is abuzz and, although I am not attending the event, I will be glued to the TV and computer, watching Barack Obama address many of my friends and former colleagues. Rumors have it that Obama - college basketball fan that he is - will meet the Jayhawk basketball team(s?) before or after his speech at Allen Fieldhouse. Meanwhile, enterprising downtown merchants are printing t-shirts and creating Obama burgers, in hopes of attracting attention.
Since I live so close to campus, I plan to keep my eyes peeled for the presidential motorcade - and take a morning walk to see how close I can get to the action - but keep my car off the streets until POTUS is winging his way back to the White House. I've never been a big fan of gridlock.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Love, discretion and social media

My son got engaged this past weekend to the woman of his dreams....and our dreams, too. (Cue fanfare and heavenly angel chorus.) I would have told you sooner, but I was bound by a promise not to blab until the happy couple announced it to the world via Instragram.  Here's how they did it (emoji not pictured)....
That's the happy couple standing in the ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico.  My son took a knee in (the shallow part of) the sea to pop the question because there were people on the beach and he wanted total privacy.  Evidently, he took his great-great-great grandmother's ring (engraved with the date '1875') into the drink with him, along with a beer.  This is a miracle on many levels, the least of which is that he did not lose the family heirloom in the freaking Atlantic!
Later that evening...on land.
Now, I prepare for my new role as MOG, realizing that in the big scheme of things, the mother of the groom is a character part, at best.  But, what the heck? I'm a character! And I've been rehearsing for this for 33 years. Wedding to be sometime in October.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dames in the desert: Part Deux

On Sunday, we treated our hostess to a spa day as thanks for putting us up and schlepping us around all weekend. I picked The Spa at Camelback Inn, simply because my parents used to stay there and I knew it was good.  It was. That said, I've had better massages for one-third the price here at home.
Site of the most intense massage I've ever received. I have bruises on my back. Seriously!
The obligatory feet by the pool shot. Still a little cool to swim, but not to hot tub. 
I love a fanciful succulent, don't you?
I was jump-up-and-down thrilled to obtain TSA pre-approved status on the flight home. I was the only one without it on the flight out and, let me tell you, it makes all the difference in the world. The other girls were almost on board before I got through the line and had my picture taken by the naked x-ray machine.  They told me it was because they were over 60 and I wasn't. I didn't buy that for a second.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dames in the desert

I'm re-posting the recap from Phoenix due to poor quality photos from my iPad Blogger app. It's warmed up to a balmy 18 degrees here in Kansas and I'm already missing those highs around 70.
Hiking by Red Mountain
This trail was just two blocks from our friend's house
The backyard pool we never swam in. A little too cool for lightweights. But lovely.
Saturday's trip to Singh Farms was a highlight. Agri-tourism at its best, this is a working farm with vendors, tons of creative natural seating areas and horticulture galore. Check it out here.  So cool...





The canopy I want to duplicate in my backyard.

Lemons like grapefruits.




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tea and strawberries

It's currently ten degrees outside, but I have no business complaining. In about 48 hours, I'll be in sunny (I hope) Phoenix, Arizona, having myself a girls' weekend. Still, it's a struggle keeping warm until then. Hot tea helps. Lots of hot tea. But, sometimes, the tea is just too hot. You want to drink it right away but, when you do, you burn your tongue (witness the blister on the tip of mine) which tends to ruin the Zen of the tea experience.  To solve this annoying albeit first world problem, I've come up with a solution. After brewing a cuppa, I drop one extra-large frozen strawberry into the drink. Voila! It quickly chills the beverage down to sipping temperature and provides a lovely natural sweetness, to boot! This is particularly tasty in lemon and mint-flavored teas. You're welcome.

Friday, January 2, 2015

By the time I get to Phoenix, I'll be warmer!

Not way warm, by anyone's standards, but warmer than I am here in Kansas...which is why I'm counting the days (7) to my upcoming girls' weekend in Mesa, Arizona.  Is 70 warm enough to enjoy swimming in my friend's backyard pool? Probably not. But, who cares? I can deal with 70 and sunshine. I can deal with mid 40s at night. These are my ideal climate conditions, people. And no Happy Light for 4 whole days!
Phoenix AZ long-range forecast

And, the greatest thing is, I don't have to pack my shorts and other skin-baring garb I wasn't mentally prepared to revisit so soon, anyway.
Lawrence KS long-range forecast
The only challenge in this embarrassingly fortunate scenario is paring down my shoes so I don't have to check my bag. But, it's a new year, dammit, and I am up to the task! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Go-go, Gadget...Boxing Day!

After the FitBit fiasco on my birthday, (which I don't believe I wrote about...suffice it to say my highly coveted new FitBit failed to count steps on the treadmill... apparently, you must have forward motion - who knew?) the hubs decided to make up for it two times over. Not only did he give me a fancy clip-on New Balance pedometer, he also gifted me an iPod Nano which - omigod - has a built-in pedometer and is cute as a bug's ear.  (My recently replaced iPhone in the larger '6' size was proving a little too large for my workout pants pocket.) I'm sure the NB pedometer cost considerably less, but you'd never know it by the epic operating instructions.
You can't be serious, pedometer people!
The little Nano, on the other hand, is elegantly easy to set up and is so light and small, it fits inside my exercise bra where the only problem will be keeping it dry. (For this reason, I may have to purchase a clip for it.)
I am giving them both a simultaneous test run to determine which device is the better step counter, on and off the treadmill.  (And, by 'better', I mean higher, of course.) Blissfully, that is all I have to do today besides detoxify myself and watch TV.  Here's to busy-less Boxing Day!