Monday, August 30, 2010

Our daughters, ourselves, our businesses

Could you work side-by-side with your daughter? (My answer would have to be, "It would depend on the day and time of the month."  I found three moms who do....or did....in today's feature story.

Mad Men & Emmy: A perplexing post-game

   I don't know what I find more bewildering - January Jones' odd cone bra Versace number and bed head hair at the Emmy's last night, or Mad Men's "Waldorf Stories."
  So many questions, not the least of which is why, at his ego's highest point in months, did Don go on a "Lost Weekend" bender, to the point of introducing himself as Dick to Doris the waitress? And did you catch the kiss Don laid on Joan when he won the Clio (after the classic under-the-table hand-holding sandwich scene with Roger?) Was a Don-Joanie hook-up being foreshadowed there? Please, Matt Weiner, say it ain't so!
   And did Don intentionally get Roger drunk, on that first meeting, so he'd hire him? Or, did inebriated Roger really tell Don to report to work, at all? Was the episode suggesting Draper's career started, and may very well end, in a blackout?
   On the other hand, cheers to MM and my favorite comedy, Modern Family, for kicking butt at the Emmy Awards.  'Loved that the show began with an award for Piper, Kansas boy Eric Stonestreet, who won best supporting actor for MoFam. It almost made up for January's inexplicable fashion faux pas.
   P.S.: Oh!  And is there a woman alive who wouldn't love to get the best of an obnoxious male co-worker in a naked stare down and make fun of his shortcomings? "I just changed one tiny little thing." You go, Peggy, you 1965 woman!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rocked....and I helped!

The kitchen has walls! This view is looking over the breakfast bar into the work area. Large hole on right is for my flat screen TV, a Christmas present from last year, which will be mounted on a swivel-type bracket. Little hole is for thermostat controlling radiant heat floor, which will feel fab next Christmas morning under stocking feet.
This is the lifter which did most of the work.  That's not to say my assistance wasn't invaluable.  I'm quite sure he couldn't have done it without me holding the gypsum board in place while he...
...put the screws to it.  Well, OK, he could have done it without me. But, it wouldn't have gone as smoothly, I can tell you that.

A scent-sational place

My Sunday "Worth the trip" feature is about Penzeys Spices, a store (and catalog) I hadn't heard of until recently, even though they've been around for 40 years.  (They have 47 stores - maybe one near you?) After my visit, I've asked my contractor to custom-build a big spice drawer for the kitchen, to hold nothing but Penzeys spices in glass jars, especially the little 1/4 cup size. No more tins for me!

Confessions of a jealous wife

My column today has been a longtime coming.  It speaks of a situation best illustrated by this picture:
 At least, he's still sleeping with me at night.  Or we'd REALLY have a problem.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time for a break

   "On three," he said. "One, two, three...lift!!"
   While hoisting a piece of sheetrock high onto the wall, I said to my contractor, "Let's blow this pop stand next weekend and get away," fully expecting him to say, "Are you kidding?! We've got a project to finish."
  "Hell, yes," he grunted.
  In life, just as in sheetrock hanging, timing is everything.
  I think we'll check out Omaha.  It's close, it's supposed to have a cool downtown and there's a bridge named for Bob Kerrey.  What's not to love?

Dry wall day!

    While the rest of you are out hitting the shops or hiking the trails on this glorious Saturday, I will be assisting my able-bodied contractor in sheetrocking the new kitchen. I know. You're jealous.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Michael Bolton...who knew?

I hereby take back all the Michael Bolton jokes I made in the 80's:

I still wish he'd cut that hair, however.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When the going gets tough.... get shoes!

   I've had an intensely stressful couple of days, the details of which I will spare you as I'm sure you have enough stress of your own. So, what did I do? I dug out an old DSW gift card and bought these Steve Madden booties for practically pennies over my lunch hour.  It's amazing how much better I feel!
   Retail therapy didn't die in the recession, people. It just comes in smaller doses now.

No helmet required

I love it when I can turn my kids on to the latest cool thing on the web. It reminds them that I'm a) still alive and kicking, and b) not a totally unfortunate old fogey. This one's getting forwarded to my son, the daredevil skier.  It's a fun, stylish and simple game (even I could play it!) and the best part is, he can't get hurt....unless he falls off his couch.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Insulation Day!

It's not as exciting as Independence Day but we're insulated, by golly, which means sheet rock and flooring can't be far behind. Hurrah! My contractor/better half is psyched about the R-factor we're going to get from this eco-friendly insulation made from recycled newspaper (fitting for a reporter, yes?) and a little bit of glue.
I'm psyched not to be looking at hollow walls, anymore.  Happiness is what you make it, especially in remodeling mode.

What a way to go

   I've been thinking about how I want to go out since I wrote this story on non-traditional funerals. It's amazing how creative people can get in the face of death.
   I'll be cremated, I know that, and kept in a Polish pottery soup tureen. Where my ashes will be scattered remains to be seen.  If I had to decide today, I'd say out in the herb garden where I can see my new kitchen for eternity.
  There will also be a huge party with all my favorite food, wine, crystal and music.
  Beyond that, I really don't know. But, it's a fun thing to think about.... except when it's depressing as hell.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mad Men: The shame of it all!!

    I was ten years old in 1965, just like poor little Sally Draper. My life looked a lot like hers - except I was happy, my mom was actually human, and my dad didn't chase everything in a skirt or drink all day.  But, I wore the same clothes (Lanz nightgowns, plaid skirts and tights) and lived in a house very much like the suburban center hall two-story Sally hates to call home. I even tried to cut my hair once ('though I was much younger) and, in fourth grade, wore a page boy exactly like the one seen above.  And, yes, I was taught - like most children in the mid 60's (especially Catholic ones) - that sexual feelings were to be kept in the closet. The difference is, while everyone else was crushing on David McCallum in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," I was smitten with Robert Vaughn, which makes no sense given my taste in men today. Yes, last night's episode was a weird trip down Memory Lane for the Boomer Girl.
   But the show just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?  That play for the Honda account was genius. Why Don still pursues that boring Bethany is beyond me, however. Mrs. Blankenship would be a more interesting dinner date.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More from the Buskerfest

I could totally do this.

Seriously, ridiculously adorable

Mock-up No. 2

I'm a notorious second-guesser.  That's why I'm kind of glad the kitchen remodel is taking so long to complete.  It gives me a chance to second-, third- and fourth-guess every decision we make.  Today, while washing dishes at the master bath sink, I had the idea of staging a little vignette.  I turned on the overhead lights and opened the blinds to match the light levels in the kitchen, put the new tile on the floor...
and my chosen backsplash tile (4 x 12 "Morning Coffee" glass) and Corian "Thyme" samples on the counter top with a piece of butcher block and a couple pieces of my pottery (Polish stoneware on the left, the fabulous Marie Deborah Wald on the right.)
Does this mean an end to my second-guessing? Probably not.  But, I'm really liking the way it's all coming together.  I'm even thinking glass knobs might be the way to go for the upper cabinets, too.

Busker, do!

 This weekend is the 2nd annual Buskerfest in Lawrence, Kansas, where you'll find a uniquely talented and insanely enthusiastic street performer on every corner.
In spite of another humidity wave, we had a blast last evening strolling downtown, enjoying the carnival atmosphere and entertainers who came to town to solicit cash from  entertain the citizenry.
    My husband, ever the champion of underdogs and musicians, gave all our spare cash to these guys...
    Not the best buskers in the bunch, but the man's a sucker for an accordion.
   I've been thinking that buskering could be the perfect second career for yours truly. I explore the limited possibilities in this week's column.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mission accomplished!

Every time I say that, I remind myself of George Bush.  But, this particular mission really is accomplished:

Pamesa Arinsal Oxido porcelain floor tile. (This is how it will look against white kitchen cabinets.) It's rich and practical and will transition nicely from our oak floors in the other rooms and hallway. I selected it in record time. AND, I found the same tile online for half of what the store wanted!! I officially declare myself Tile Queen.

"I'm on a mission from God."

Well, not from God, really.  From my husband who threw the dog on the bed this morning and said, "Get your butt to Kansas City and pick out some floor tile....today!!" This is something I planned to do next week, but his sense of urgency could mean installation is imminent, so.....Kansas City, here I come! (Those are the tiles I'm trying to match in color...but bigger, and maybe rectangular, in shape.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wee, wee, wee!

Sometimes, I think my sense of humor is hopelessly juvenile. I just laughed out loud for five minutes at this Geiko spot:

Fridge riddle

I was sitting at my makeshift breakfast bar this morning, sipping coffee and contemplating floor tiles and radiant heat, when I glanced at the refrigerator (the only remaining appliance in the room) and noticed something odd that appeared overnight.
   "Honey?" I called to my spouse. "When did we get grandchildren?"
   "We didn't," he replied. "Not that I can recall, anyway."
    Hmm. I'm going to need another cup of coffee to figure this one out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Forget the whales, save the words!

(I don't mean it. I love whales - from a distance - and firmly believe they need to be saved.) But, the good people of SaveTheWords have a different kind of preservation in mind. Check them out. And, while you're at it, learn the definition of panchymagogue and use it in a sentence!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quote of the day

Saw this on Facebook and, after watching a bit of the "Babies" movie at home over the lunch hour, thought I'd pass it along: “Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I love me a good mock-up

    I'm a verbal kind of gal. Words are my stock and trade.  My mate is more of a visual guy.  He thinks in pictures, works with blueprints and sketches. This makes for some, er, interesting challenges, especially now as we (slo-o-o-o-wly) redo our kitchen. 
   After much debate about the size and scope of the breakfast bar (me not being able to "see" it from Sharpie lines drawn on the floor), he erected a rough model for my visualizing pleasure. What you see is the breakfast bar only.  A cooktop will go inside the 'L' where the black rectangle is.
   Last night, we sat at our makeshift counter on the old bar stools, wine glasses atop flimsy plywood, and dreamed about the day, weeks months from now, when we christen the new kitchen with a proper toast.
  Meanwhile, other progress has been made including can lights, all plumbing and wiring (including speakers in the ceiling) and scads of duct work you can't see.
 Still, I'm counting the days until Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rock 'n' roll, Hoochie Koo!

    I love to dance and I'd like to think I still "rock," but I'm not what you'd call a big rocker.  I have my favorite bands but, except for the Beatles, I'm probably not able to tell you who played guitar, bass or drums in many of them.  I tend to remember lead singers - Jagger, Daltrey, Tyler, Nicks and McVie - but, honestly, I can't think of any more, at the moment.
   That said, I live with a huge music fan (rock, jazz, bluegrass, you name it) and understand the motivation behind this new site - RockandRollTribe.com.  There, boomer rock fans (whose partners may or may not share their extreme enthusiasm) can connect with others "who still rock" around the world and, if all goes according to plan, get together in "real life" through local chapters.
  One of the Tribe's founders, Jon Bard, a fellow Mad Men fan, contacted me yesterday to give me the heads-up. It's a great idea that I'm happy to pass along to all of my "kick-ass grownup" readers.

Flower power!

Flower children, young and old, will love this groovy new site.  It's like an Etch-A-Sketch that draws with blooms instead of lines.  If you've got grandkids, this has to be worth 20 minutes of attention-holding bliss, at least.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Brides Against Cancer holds sale

If any of you local readers know a bride who's searching for a wedding gown at a great price, check out my story today about a big sale happening next weekend in the K.C. area.  It benefits a wonderful cause and the inventory includes ---- wait for it ----- Vera Wang!!

I always knew I was a bit of a nut. But, salty?

Never one to pass up a personality quiz (because, after all, it's all about me), I took this one on the Fisher nut website.  Turns out, I'm a salty peanut: a dramatic extrovert who craves novelty (check) and thrives as the center of attention (well, sometimes).  They are easily bored with the usual routine (check) and while charming in social situations (why, thank you!), are sensitive to criticism and rejection (I AM NOT!!). These are people to take to a party. They probably love roller coasters and karaoke.  (Check and double check.)

Deconstructing Episode 4

   Oh, Mad Men.  You always give me tons to think about as my head hits the pillow. (Wonder if that's the reason I never sleep well on Sunday nights?)
   Dear Don, you're on a highway to hell and I'm not enjoying the ride. Pull your drunken, lung-polluting, brooding self together.  I'm getting sick of looking at you. 'Can't believe I just said that, but it's true.
   Dear Pete, wow! You do have your moments. Leveraging your wife's unlikely pregnancy to get the whole kit and kaboodle account (minus Clearasil) from Daddy-in-Law? Genius.
   Dear Joan, it sucks being you right now, and I don't like that either.  You need a Pete moment. Or an Allison moment. 
   Dear Allison, good for you, turning a focus group meltdown into a triumph. I do believe you gave Don something to think about as he dives for rock bottom.
   Dear Roger (whose real-life alter ego directed the episode), I loved, loved, loved the first "conference call" scene with Lucky Strike. You're hilarious and fun.  Thank God.
   And dear, dear Peggy, I love you as the confident, lesbian-spurning, weed-smoking Bohemian (best line of the night: "No, but he's renting it.")... not to mention that beatnik-inspired turtleneck you wore to the party. You've never looked better all season.  But, alas, you were smitten with that wedding ring, weren't you? And Pete's paternity news just about had you floored.  That lingering glance between you and your would-be baby daddy at the end of the show broke my heart.
   (Have I mentioned I actually use Pond's cold cream?  It's the best make-up remover I've found, to date.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Adios, heat wave!

My pictures from the "Salsarita" party last night all came out hazy.  Why?  Because it was a freakin' sauna in that suburban backyard!
It would have been bearable (for a couple of hours, at least) if I didn't have to judge the homemade salsa contest that included 6 entries in the "hot" category.
The party was fun, festive and incredibly well run.  The judges had printed forms to fill out, ranking each salsa, blindly, from 1 to 10.
I liked the 'alternative' or fruity salsas the best because they didn't cause me to internally combust ....unlike the spicy ones (photographed below after the sampling gave me the vapors and I lost the ability to focus my camera.)  Fortunately, the margarita contest provided several nice antidotes. No recipes yet but stay tuned. I hope to get my friend, Adrienne's grapefruit margarita recipe.  To. die. for.
Thank God the heat wave broke overnight, which is the theme of this Sunday's column.  No more excuses for this BoomerGirl.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it

I've been asked to be a guest judge at a big "Salsarita" party tonight.  I will be judging a homemade salsa contest and a margarita contest, along with the local cooking show host and other judges. I consider this my civic duty and I'm taking it very seriously.  (I've been resting my palate all day.) I hope to return to BGD tomorrow (tequila, willing) with the winning recipes from the party, too.  Adios, amigos.

Blue ribbon recipes

I had never been to a county fair before moving to this town (which happens to be the county seat) 20 years ago.  They really are very charming events, especially all of the 4-H and open class cooking, baking and sewing competitions. Our newspaper always publishes the winning recipes (which is equally charming, I think.)  I'm not a big baker myself but, if you are, you might want to try some real winners.

It's all Greek to me

I live in a Greek neighborhood.  Not Greek like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Greek like Fraternity Row.  At this time of year, you can drive down the streets and hear sorority girls singing to would-be BFFs in what is known as "Recruitment." Back in the day, it was called "Rush," something I participated in twice - once as a rushee, once as a rusher.  (I lasted only one year at the Kappa house.) It wasn't pleasant either time.  Way too stressful and emotional. BUT, back in 1975, Rush was the only time of year when you could get all the free cigarettes you wanted, on the house.  There were silver trays of them lying everywhere at all the rush parties.  We'd always take one to smoke and one for our purse. Can you imagine?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bosom Buttons to the rescue!

    To anyone who's ever worn a low-cut dress to a wedding, then spent the entire evening wondering if "the girls" would make a surprise appearance on the dance floor, this one's for you.  A new product promising to put an end to embarrassing pop-outs has hit the market.  Personally, I think their price point is a tad high, but what's peace of mind truly worth?
   I really could have used one of these in the senior play in high school.  Don't ask.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time-strapped booklovers, rejoice!

Love to read, but hate sifting through all the unexceptional titles to get to the good ones?  Check out Five Books, where experts in their fields choose the five best books on their specialty subject.  It's all subjective, of course, but it makes the browsing more fun.

Herrrrrrre's Johnny!

    Nostalgia buffs like me will love the old clips available now at JohnnyCarson.com. It was a rare treat to be able to watch The Tonight Show in those days, limited to Friday nights during the school year and summer sleep-overs at my grandmother's house.  (She's the one who taught me to apply a "wee dab of perfume" before going to bed. Grandma, you siren!!  I didn't really get that until much later in life.)
   This site has some great bawdy bits and the potential to be a real time suck.  Then again, it's going to be 104 degrees today, so why not?  Enjoy!