Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dog in need of "toilet training"


The paper published my Sunday column online a day early. This week, it's about how my pooch gets a little too close for comfort in certain areas of the house. (That's her in my bathroom.  Note how close she is to my right foot. I'll assume you realize where I'm sitting.) Oh, and she's crazy about toilet paper, as you can see...

Eddie's getting married

It seems Chelsea Clinton isn't the only celebrity having a storybook wedding.  Here's a sweet story about that little heartthrob from The Munsters who is marrying a long-time fan and pen pal. Awww.....

Breakfast of champions

    This is what I've eaten for lunch every single day this week - a garden tomato sandwich with basil leaves, fresh Parmesan, a little mayo and the tiniest slivers of red onions in a toasted whole wheat pocket pita.  I am so addicted to them (and my supply of tomatoes seems endless), I decided to have one for breakfast, too! Who needs bacon?
    I can't wait for lunch!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hello Neti, my old friend....

   Shameless sympathy ploy: I have a sinus infection. I'm so swollen, my glasses are leaving large red divots on my nose. I managed to wrangle a prescription of antibiotics from my doc - without going in to see her (miracle!) - but they have yet to kick in.  I'm feeling so punk, I passed on our traditional TGIF dinner at my favorite restaurant forcing my husband to take my daughter as his date. Looks like I'll have to dig my Neti pot out of storage for some serious sinus protection, especially with all the kitchen dust in the air and ragweed season just around the corner.
   On an up note, this CNN report says taking calcium supplements can increase heart attack risk. Why is that an upper?  Because I can never remember to take my calcium, that's why.

Yellowstone bear hunters

Reading the news about the fatal grizzly attack near Yellowstone National Park reminded me of my trip there with a few of my girlfriends back in '07.  So, I dug up the old photos and was pleased to discover I've lost quite a few LBs since then....yay!
But, that's not my point.  My point is, we spent an inordinate amount of time on that trip looking for bears.  The buffalo sighting, while exciting, wasn't enough...
 The trip to Spasm Geyser (cue the sex jokes) was thrilling, but didn't quite cut it...
We REALLY wanted to see a bear so, cameras at the ready, we drove verrrrrry slowly through the park, scanning rivers and flamed-out timber for grizzlies doing their thing...
 We never saw a bear.  This woman did, though, and she lived to tell the tale.
Respect the bears, people.  They're getting aggressive.  Must be all the tourists chasing them all the time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

X marks the spot

As promised, here's the piece on "Walmart meets the Smithsonian."  Highly recommended to local blog readers.  I can't wait to go back.  It's been a week and a half and I didn't buy nearly enough wine.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wouldn't he look divine by the wet bar?

I went to the quirkiest place yesterday on assignment.  It's called Riverside Red X which is best described as 'Walmart meets the Smithsonian with a dash of Graceland.' You'll see the whole story tomorrow, but this is one of my photos that didn't make the cut.
 The man with the six-pack abs is a (life-sized??) statue of Bacchus, the god of wine.  I thought he'd look great in the new kitchen, next to the wine racks.  Unfortunately, he wasn't for sale.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Can you make limerence last?

limerence
n.
The state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically involuntary, and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.

Here's a great piece on Oprah.com about the phenomenon and how to foster it in your relationship.

Too much life

Just when I'd almost managed to lose my grip on reality in a Mad Men-induced haze....blamma!.... life jolted me back yesterday with a fractured hip for my mother-in-law and a funeral for a friend's father.  Husband now packing for a few days to be with Mom for surgery and the kitchen is officially on hold.  Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.  Cheers, boomers!

Monday, July 26, 2010

They snooze, why should we lose?

The story I wrote about the perils of secondhand snoring - something I know a LOT about - came out today. What I didn't mention in the article is a new product invented to combat this problem called SleepPhones...
   Dubbed "pajamas" for your ears, SleepPhones are removable speakers tucked away in a soft, fleece headband with a cord that connects to your iPod, CD player or what have you.  Invented by a physician, the product is marketed as an alternative to sleeping pills and an antidote to secondhand snoring.
  The company kindly sent me a complimentary sample to review and because I am such a, er, robust sleeper (think: circus acrobat), I had a little trouble keeping the cord from strangling my neck. Thus, my inability to give SleepPhones my full, unequivocal endorsement.
  That said, it's still a great idea and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend SleepPhones for more sedate slumberers and folks who travel a lot.

Kitchen confidential: The horror

   I took this shot of my contractor/spouse as we were getting ready to go out to dinner last night.  I thought it completely iconic, related to the kitchen remodeling process which involves a lot of meditation and existential thinking: Who am I? How do I want to live? Where will the TV go?  I cook, therefore I am...
  After showing the photo to a co-worker this morning, she said, "It looks like a poster for one of those horror movies, just before the guy freaks out and torches the place."
  Foreshadowing?  Let's hope not.

Around the water cooler at WSJ

    If you, like me, enjoy spending Monday mornings dissecting every moment of your favorite TV drama (now, officially, in its 4th season) with people who really pay attention, check out the Wall Street Journal's new series on the Speakeasy page.  It's kind of an online water cooler confab with four divergent scholarly types who will break down and discuss each Mad Men episode for 'morning after' reading. 
   I just have one thing to add:  Did Peggy and Pete remind you a little of Sally and Buddy on The Dick Van Dyke Show? Peggy is suddenly so ON!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I was waiting fairly patiently, until I saw this...

The cast is trying so hard not to divulge any surprises, it's almost comical:

Those Red Hats got nothin' on me

My column today is about a proposed alternative over-50 society open to anybody who sweats, which is just about everybody.  (Am I right ladies?)

   In the meantime, I'm counting the hours to MM4 (Mad Men: Season 4) and frantically searching for my girdle.  (Fortunately, my martini shaker is right where I left it.)
  Cheers, MM4 fans!  Meet me here tomorrow.  Same Mad Men time, same Mad Men station....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chip off the old block

   My 28-year-old son popped in unexpectedly last evening, just as I was test-driving my Polish stoneware against a sample piece of quartz countertop and the glass backsplash tile.  He picked up a mug and put it down on the countertop as if finishing a cup of coffee.  "Listen to how loud it is, Mom," he said. "It's like that restaurant you always say is too loud because the tables are made with this stuff and the acoustics are so bouncy. You'll hate this."
   I'll be damned, but he was right. I never even considered the sound of a surface but my new samples of Corian aren't half as noisy as quartz or granite.  Doesn't seem like a huge deal but it could be a factor, when we're emptying the dishwasher, for instance.  I guess it's back to the drawing board.  But, I am liking the "Rosemary" color in Corian seen above.

The Don will come out tomorrow...

'Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be Don.
Just thinkin' about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow, till there's none.
When I'm stuck in a day that's gray and lonely,
I just stick out my chin and grin and say, oooohhh...,.
The Don will come out tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on till tomorrow, come what may.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, Don Draper...
You're only a daaaaaaaay....aaaaaaaaa.....waaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Friday, July 23, 2010

One more reason not to shop at Wal-Mart

Since Target moved to town several years ago, I have shopped at Wal-Mart a total of 4 times, twice to buy fish for my pond.  After reading this, I'll make every effort not to return EXCEPT for fish, as I doubt even Wal-Mart can figure out how to affix tracking tags to scales.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm in hot water

Dear readers:  If you notice I stop blogging for two, maybe three days in a row, call the police.  The kitchen remodel just took a turn for the worse.

And Peggy wins for the best line ever...

Funny girls

When I was a theater major in college, my least favorite class was Improvisation. It scared me speechless. Literally. Fortunately, I grew up to be fairly adept at winging it, but in my late teens/early 20s? Fuhgettaboutit.  That's why I was impressed by these girls who formed an all-female improv troupe here in town. If laughter truly is the best aphrodisiac - and I believe it is - these girls have nothing to worry about.

Rock 'n' Roll Grandma tells all

Here's a juicy and fun behind-the-scenes look at the rock 'n' roll world of the 80's from my friend, Penny Valladares, known on the former edition of BoomerGirl.com as Rock 'n' Roll Grandma.  A backstage caterer in her former life, Penny dishes on the stars she served - and there were plenty of them - until the business became too much to handle.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

God bless the bloggernet!

I just discovered a blog sent from heaven, aptly named Kitchen Tile Backsplashes.  It has a plethora of photos with all kinds of ideas for countertop/backsplash combos, which is timely for me since the countertops I thought we were going with (see below) are too purple in natural light.  Thus, the name "Cabarnet," I suppose.  Back to the drawing board.... and yet another restaurant.

Mad Men get new digs

Did you think I'd miss even a day of my Mad Men: Season 4 countdown?  Don't even!  Here's a little ditty in the NYTimes about the new digs of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDP).  I'll miss the old office, but I can't wait to see what they've done to the new place!

Going green on the countertops

   Have finally decided (I hope) to cover the new kitchen counters in PaperStone in the color shown above (although my cabinets will be painted white).  PaperStone is a newish product made from post-consumer recycled paper and a proprietary, petroleum-free resin. It is the only solid surface material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, Smartwood and the Rainforest Alliance and, most importantly, it's about half the cost of granite.  I've never been a big fan of granite, anyway, preferring something with more of a matte finish.  Besides, we've got about 28 linear feet of counter space to cover and I don't want to break the bank before I get my instant hot water dispenser for the new sink. (It's the little things that make the difference, you know...like tea on demand!)
   Unless we go for something a little lighter, our back splash will probably be these 4 x 12" Mirage glass tiles in "Morning Coffee."  Easy to install (due to their size) and, because they're glass, they'll cast a lovely glow with under-cabinet lighting.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Barstool butt test #2: Fail

Esquina taqueria.  Excellent fish tacos. $2 Modelo beers on Monday.  The bar stools, on the other hand, are sadly lacking. We'll turn the other cheek and keep looking.

So many Mad Men, so little time!

And to take the overkill just one tiny step further, I Mad Men'ned myself. Again.  This time, with a whole new program featuring new outfits, accessories and scenes from Season 3!  You can do it, too. (What else are we supposed to do while waiting for the big Sunday night premiere?)

Monday, July 19, 2010

6 more days....

Talk about your excessive heat warning!
(This is Jon Hamm aka Don Draper, by the way. And, yes, as a grown woman I should know better and control myself.  And your point is...?)

Matchmaker moms? Not in the open, at least.

   For the first time ever, both of my adult children are in romantic relationships at the same time.  God only knows how long they'll last but, if they ended today, I would never embark on anything so blatantly interfering as "Date My Single Kid."  
  Am I above meddling?  Of course not.  But, I've learned the hard way to keep my nose out of my kids' love lives.  Besides, my son would disown me for life if my matchmaking efforts made it on CNN.

Lashes to dye for

   With another "excessive heat warning" (don't you love it? 'makes you hot and depressed before you even leave the house) issued for today, what better time to consider ditching your mascara in favor of eyelash tinting?  Before you try it, read my story first, and don't forget the part about eyelash extensions (yikes!). You may want to stick with your runny mascara, after all.
  Stay cool, peeps!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quote of the day

  "It’s the tragedy of loving, you can’t love anything more than something you miss." ~ Jonathan Foer
  So true.  For people, and carbs.

The countdown begins

   Speaking of hot men, Don Draper Mad Men: Season 4 returns to my living room one week from tonight!  I couldn't be more excited if Jon Hamm himself was sprawled on my divan.  If you want to be teased - and where Don is concerned, who doesn't? - read this preview of the first episode (caution: contains spoilers).
   Now, how can we make the next seven days go faster??

Hot guys, hot head

I've always appreciated hot men but, this week, I found a new appreciation for the hottest of them.  Unfortunately, as my weekly column obnoxiously explains, it didn't change my attitude toward the dog days of summer.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eat Pray Shop?

    Count me among the small but vocal minority who are annoyed by the success of "Eat Pray Love" (or EPL, as Oprah-phites say).  I mean, what problem couldn't by fixed by a trip around the world, unabashed pasta eating and taking all the time you need for inner reflection without worrying about paying next month's bills?
  Bitter, party of one? You bet, I am.
  But, the big O seemed to dig it, a movie's coming out starring Julia Roberts, and author Elizabeth Gilbert has become yet another self-indulgent guru of the New Age spirituality movement. And what would New Age spirituality be without its own shopping network show?!
   I'll be boycotting the movie.  (But, I might have to order that handsome tray for the new kitchen.)

Reasons I'm glad I'm over 50

#18
My obligation to go to amusement parks and risk getting stuck on a roller coaster, like the poor saps today on the Mamba at Worlds of Fun, is over.

From the "Who comes up with this stuff?" file...

Need a ransom note in a jiffy?  Go to Ransom Note Generator and have at it.  Of course, I don't expect any of my genteel readers to put the site to illicit use, but it might come in handy if you want to put an end to your neighbors' early morning mowing sessions.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two nods from the Times

This is an excellent piece in the LA Times today about BoomerGirls and our changing attitudes on aging.  And, in the same edition, another story on how gray is the new blond.  (I just love feeling like I'm on the cutting edge, even when I'm completely deluding myself.)

Take the Mad Men test

You know I hate to brag, but I just got 100% on USA Today's Mad Men: Season 3 quiz.  (Full disclosure: I'm almost done watching Season 3 again on On Demand.)  There's a two-page spread today on my favorite TV drama, premiering Season 4 a week from Sunday.  Just USA Today's way of saying 'Happy Friday, BoomerGirl!'

Barstool butt test #1: Fail

We parked our patootiess on the stools at the Casbah Burger Stand last night and deemed them too modern, too black and, ultimately, too uncomfortable for long-term sitting. The old man didn't like how far back he had to lean to take advantage of the seatback.  Apparently, he prefers a stool that pitches him forward, closer to his beer.  Oh, well. We'll keep looking....

A couple of barflies on a quest

    We're going out for dinner almost every night, anyway, we thought. So, why not do a little bar stool scouting while we're at it?
    The new kitchen will require four comfortable new stools when it's complete, and the options are endless. Swivel or non-swivel? Wood or metal? Cushion or no cushion? Fabric or leather? Arms or no arms...? This calls for an systematic process of elimination. To that end, starting last night, my spouse and I vowed to forsake those familiar 'tables for two' and eat at the bar, whenever possible, in hopes of finding the ultimate stool....which reminds me of one of my favorite flicks, "Waiting for Guffman"....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I write like Stephen King

    A website called "I Write Like" told me so.  Test your own writing style at http://iwl.me.  Simply put in a few paragraphs of your writing - from a blog, journal entry, letter, e-mail or chapter from your great unfinished novel - and see how you compare to the pros.
   I put in a recent column and got King.  For grins, I entered a second column and got David Foster Wallace.  Hmm. Not exactly reassuring. King is a weird duck and Wallace, tragically, hung himself after a lifelong battle with depression. Still, I'd trade royalty checks with either of them in a minute.
  Try it yourself, and be sure to tell me under Comments who you write like!

The early bird gets the red sheets

Today is the annual sidewalk sale in downtown Lawrence, a HUGE event and highlight (for some) of the summer.  Shoppers arrive before dawn to scour the clearance tables on Mass. Street for miscellaneous merch at bargain basement prices.  Me?  I arrived at 8:30 and did one block before coming into work.  (I just don't have the patience to go the distance anymore.)
I scored these king-size high thread count sheets at Weavers department store.  $110 down to $39.99! 'Thought the color would go with my Ralph Lauren-esque summer quilt and add a festive touch for Christmas and Valentine's Day.  And, they're a "cool" red, which complements my skin tone.  One's color palette is all-important, even - or especially - in bed. (Am I right, ladies?)
There's my backdoor neighbor who owns Weavers with her husband.  That's the great thing about the sidewalk sale - hobnobbing and shopping with all the people you know.  You don't get that in the big city!
One of my favorite little galleries had lots of artistic wares marked down and on display.  The looming price tag of my kitchen remodel prohibited me from even looking.  Score one for willpower!
I almost -- ALMOST -- dropped some major cash at the yarn store.  Then, I thought 'why buy another skein or six, just to have them sit in my knitting basket with the other ignored skeins for years to come?' Score one for reality checks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thoughts in the afterglow of hot asphalt

   I spent the morning out in the field, searching for the "hottest" jobs in town for a Sunday feature.  (It's 92 degrees already, and it's only noon, by the way.)  I interviewed a roofer, a house painter, a farmer and an asphalt layer, who was shoveling (as we spoke) molten asphalt onto a new entrance ramp on the Interstate. Did you know that asphalt is 300 degrees?  It can melt the soles off shoes. No joke. Not that anything about that is remotely funny.
  Back at my desk, mini fan blasting, I scanned the news to find - to my utter surprise and horror - Bristol Palin is marrying her baby daddy, Levi Johnston. And Sarah Palin may have been the last to know.  I have no words.  Fortunately, my brilliantly snarky friend, Carol Starr Schneider (aka Short Jewish Gal) has plenty of them.
   Then, a 4th tape recording of Mel Gibson has apparently surfaced - this one more horrifying than the last.  Understatement of the day (from Mel's surprisingly cool and calm wife): "You need medication."  Hmm, ya think?
   There's nothing understated about John Daly who wore a technicolor dreamcoat to a photo shoot of past British Open winners yesterday....
  (And, of course, that's me in the photo at the top.  I always cool down with scotch on the rocks.)

Dinner on the other side of the tracks

   Last evening, I was desperate - desperate, I tell you -  for a change.  "No more same ol', same ol'!" I declared, as my husband and I pondered where to eat out, yet again, during our kitchen remodel.          "How about the biker bar north of town?' I heard myself saying.  (Where did that come from?) "Cool," said Man of Few Words. After a short cruise across the river (via Toyota, not Harley-Davidson - I haven't gotten that bored, yet), we arrived at ....
   We were pleasantly surprised to find a small but decent blues band playing on the patio and enough cool breezes for me to belly up to the bar for dinner.  It was a lot of fun, one of those "feel like you're out of town" experiences.  (The photo below belies the real vibe of the place - tables were filled on both sides of the bar with a lively, diverse crowd.) And the patty melt and salad were better than average, too!
We'll be back. But, next time, I'll be wearing a bandana. It's too hot for my leather chaps.