Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spot on, but no cigar

    In the end, my Paula Deen may have been a bit too subtle for the over-the-top Halloween party we judged last night. (My hair kept losing its poof and no amount of back-combing could bring it back.) And, as it turns out, "Holmes on Homes" (nailing it with new haircut, signature wife beater and hand-drawn 'tattoos') went over most people's heads. (Paging HGTV: 'HOH' apparently isn't getting the ratings we had hoped for.)
   On the bright side, there were many other creative costumes at the party including the Devil, Rosemary and her baby; Popeye and Olive Oyl; the entire cast of "Gilligan's Island" (the Powells were bribing the judges with play money); "Bay Watch" babes in drag, Betty White and her Facebook page; and the winners who called themselves Rub-A-Dub-Dub - a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker in a bathtub.
  Now, I'm off to buy the obligatory bag of candy for tonight's beggars parade.  Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

So close....but not Paula enough

I think the hair needs to be bigger.  Who'd a thunk?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Temptation in a teapot

I will have two shelves, like this one next to the cooktop, flanking the sink. I couldn't wait to see how my Polish stoneware teapots will look on display. These are three out of the six I have, waiting for their new home.  OK, that's enough kitchen talk for now.  Must hit the gym and get ready to meet my mother's new boyfriend tonight.  (Wow. Talk about things you never thought you'd hear yourself say.)

Happy anniversary!

Last year, on the morning of our 30th, my spouse presented me with a strand of pearls, the traditional 30-year anniversary gift.
 This morning, one year later, he hung my cabinets and the moon.  Who knows? Maybe cabinetry is the traditional 31st-year anniversary gift and he's simply following tradition. Either way, I couldn't be more ecstatic. 'Think I'll throw on my pearls and do the happy-happy joy-joy dance....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Yeoman service," he said.

   My husband (of 31 years tomorrow) was so happy I spent 3 full days of my vacation packing up and cleaning out his hoarder mother's apartment (while he stayed home, at my adamant won't-take-no insistence, and worked on the kitchen)...
he didn't seem to mind that, in the end, I cast my packing strategy to the wind, and just tossed all the crap in the car.
   Happy anniversary, dear.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What an upper!

I wished for more cupboards and - voila! - they magically appeared while I was at the liquor store. (Do you think if I keep making scotch runs, more and more stuff will be delivered?) These are the upper cabinets which will be hung in the next two days. The bank on the left will have a top row of glass doors for displaying pretty things. Bank on the right is the pantry, including a quarter-round shelf to match the quarter-round shelves to flank the window over the sink. My husband made these with his own two hands. And there are three runs of lowers coming soon. Be still, my heart!

Double oven, here we come!

Returning home from Day 2 of "the move" - my car full of stuff for storage and my dogs barking - I was delighted to find the cabinet for the double oven almost in place (it'll slide over a bit to the left, covering the hole). Hopefully, its cabinet friends are soon to follow so we can attach the knobs that arrived today, start loading in some of our stuff and get this party started!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baubles, bangles and beads...on steroids!

I've returned from Day One of "the move" with one mission accomplished: To sort, pack and carry my MIL's extensive collection of costume jewelry home.  It took me 6 hours, but I did it.
In the interest of time, I didn't stop to take a lot of photos, but here's what the dresser looked like when I began.
A close-up.  That was approximately one-fifth of it.
This was what I pulled out of the pie safe.
Two smaller bins full of stuff stored here and there. In the end, there would be 3 small bins, two large and one extra-large, each stacked with 3 or 4 plastic trays containing multiple pieces.  Multiple, I tell you!
Thank God someone told me where to find the cart. And I filled 16 bags of trash and 7 trash bags for the Salvation Army and haven't even touched the closet. Yes, I'm going back tomorrow. Because, I'm on vacation!!

Two for the road

   I'm off to the MIL's apt to confront the colossal costume jewelry cache. (There isn't enough coffee in the world, friends!) But, before I go, here's my column, inspired by Oprah, and a feature on area vineyards.  Yes, Virginia, there are wineries in Kansas!
  I will return with photos of the bauble hoard. Promise!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

So long, linoleum!

The walls are painted and the old floor is a goner!
These old wood planks are much prettier than the old vinyl. Cement board will go down on top of the boards today, then the cabinets - now done and painted - will be installed next week.  After that, radiant heat, sub-floor and tiles.  Then, we can install the double oven and, at least, get crackin' on roasting some autumnal veggies while we wait for the counter tops and backsplash.  Still lots to be done but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Not blinding, but a light nonetheless!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Best "It Gets Better" so far


Bravo, Councilman Burns. Bravo.

This is vacation?

Part of my vacation from work next week will be spent cleaning out my 93-year-old mother-in-law's apartment, 82 miles away. She has moved permanently into a nursing facility five minutes from our house. It's time for closure. The apartment is small. A few things will go into storage and the rest to charity. The problem is what to do with her vast - and I mean colossal - costume jewelry collection. I found a picture online that will give you a representation of what I mean....
...IF you multiply the bin above by - and I'm not exaggerating - 100! Needless to say, I'm open to suggestions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A time waster that's good for the brain

Here's how I've spent the last five minutes when I should have been working: Playing Scrabb.ly online. Be careful. It's a little like heroin!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

HRT: Is mine safe?

The latest study linking hormone replacement therapy with increased risk of death by breast cancer in post-menopausal women has me scratching my head. At first glance, it appears that estrogen-progestin is the only combo that presents a danger (and the stats were convincing). I take estradiol tablets and topical testosterone because, well, I'm not ready to give up my sex life....especially when I don't have a kitchen to putter around in. (Sorry, but it all goes back to that damn remodeling project.) Still, one has to wonder what the next study will show....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lobes of Love

Here's a story I wrote about a woman in my town who came up with a great idea to benefit breast cancer patients and to honor her mother, who is battling the disease.

I can't believe I'm cleaning out the fridge!

   When the folks who represent "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" asked me to participate in their Reach Right project, I asked what I would need to do. 
  "Clean out your refrigerator, stock it with healthy food (including "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter," presumably) and blog about it," came the answer. "We'll even help by sending you free supplies."
   What can I say? They had me at "free."
   The kit arrived yesterday and contained everything you see above: sponges, soap, baking soda, an eco-friendly shopping bag, cute lunch tote, food storage containers in every size and an Anne Taintor (my fave) shopping list pad.
  Now, comes the hard part. My fridge is the only appliance standing in an otherwise still-gutted kitchen. That's not to say we don't use it. We do. Multiple times a day. The problem is, there's no kitchen sink in which to do the cleaning. If I'm going to do this right (and, as you'll soon see, the fridge is in dire need of a wash), I'll be scrubbing my bins and shelves in the bathtub.
  Unfortunately, I did not think this through before volunteering for the experiment. Note to self.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tomorrow can't come soon enough

   "Tomorrowland," the Mad Men season finale left most of us Maddicts scratching our heads and crying, "Wha....??"
   One reviewer online said it felt like more of an intermission than a finale.  I agree. My feeling last night was that it seemed the writers took the easy way out.  Now that I've slept on it, I realize they've set up all kinds of drama for Season 5: Don's engagement and marriage, if it happens, will set him up to take the kids, if need be. Joanie's pregnancy with Roger's baby which she will eventually have to explain to hubby when if he comes home from Vietnam, and to Roger when if he takes his eyes off her breasts long enough to notice her pooch.
  I can only give this finale 3 out of 5 stars, but kudos to Joan and Peggy who provided the best scene of the night.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why dogs freak out and coal miners don't

   Those are the themes, respectively, of Sunday's feature story and my column this week. 
   The only thing left to do is to express my intense excitement, joy and sadness over tonight's "Mad Men" finale.  The teaser on the AMC website for this hotly anticipated episode merely says, "Opportunity arises for Don and Peggy." I'm agog, I tell you! All agog!!! 

Wedding in the woods

It was a little like "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  Except it was fall, and in the afternoon.
Guests traversed a steep hill to go deep into the woods for the ceremony. 
Countless hay bales were set up for seating.  How they got them all down there, I'll never know.
There's my newly-ordained son in pre-game.  He said later the nerves kicked in as soon as he opened his mouth. (He ended up doing an admirable job.)
Finally, the wedding march begins. Bridesmaids in cream-colored mini-dresses and boots.
 The bride and FOB in formal attire, looking down so they wouldn't fall.
A ritual of poetry, blessings, a tree planting and fairy dust.
Afterward, a reception in a big white tent and open air barn, built on the bride's parents' property for the occasion. Check out the old brick floor. Good times.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

OMG! LOL!

Funniest SNL skit ever.  Or, at least, in a long time.

Tiles and wall paint and knobs, oh my!

My contractor/long-suffering spouse says the cabinets are ready to be painted, so I'm off to purchase said paint today. Meanwhile, the glass back splash tiles (found online at a place in Brooklyn) were delivered intact. (Whew.)  Here's how the tile looks with the soapstone sample, butcher block and my white linen shirt, representing the cabinet color:
This morning, we slapped some paint on the trim and wall to confirm that I still like the combo after lo' these many months...
...and ordered a slew of clear glass knobs with kind of an old world feel, like the ones in our master suite. We needed so many, I wanted a style that would kind of disappear, but still be elegant and priced within our budget:
Will we make our Thanksgiving deadline? Doubtful. But, a New Year's Eve part is definitely in the offing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tears and cheers for "Conviction"

I almost never cry anymore. I don't know why.  Probably the estrogen deficiency. But, I just shed a few drops watching this trailer, and that's a sign I need to see this film:

My son, the preacher man

   By the power invested in him by the Internet, my boy is performing the marriage ceremony of his two best friends tomorrow afternoon. That's the Rev in the photo, with my mother, on a night out in New Orleans two years ago. (Mom had no idea she was posing under a nude painting.)
 The Rev has been uncharacteristically organized and serious about his appointed duty and the responsibility therein. He's purchased a new suit, trimmed his hair and beard. He has a plan and a script and seems - for the moment, at least - confident and calm.
  I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck. His father and I will be in attendance and I won't catch my breath until he utters the words, "I now pronounce you husband and wife." Then, I'll laugh uncontrollably because, seriously, the last thing I ever imagined happening in life was my son becoming a "man of the cloth."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Would you?

Thanks to my daughter for turning me on to this charming video I'd never seen before.  Double-click to view full-size.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Foxy anti-fur

Two thoughts:
1) I wish I had an extra $238 to spend on this "fox-friendly" knitted stole from Anthropologie.
2) Who, in this economy, is going to spend that kind of money on this kind of thing?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Make-up tips from the pros

I learned a lot working on this story for today's paper in which local make-up experts, like the Mary Kay consultant above, demonstrate their favorite tricks of the trade. So, you'd think that I'd have no excuse not to look like an "After" photo, every day from now on. Yeah. You'd think.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10.10.10

Before we hit the road, here are my contributions to today's paper. The theme, on this notable Sunday, is weddings.  My feature is about people who get ordained on the internet, something I did myself, as research. That, in turn, prompted today's column.

Jax Fish House

Following a short tour of local happy hours (which I'll write about later in a newspaper story), all "on the cheap" bets were off for our last meal in Boulder. Fish lovers that we are, we chose Jax Fish House where there is a new chef (not sure where Hosea ran off to after his "Top Chef" win) and a new menu.
 Jax provides crayons for patrons to decorate the paper-covered tables.  When in Rome...
Our appetizer was called "Back Alley" Smoked Idaho Trout Rillettes, which was almost a smoked trout pate'. Very nice, indeed.
I ordered the Duck Fat Roasted Colorado Striped Bass with sweet and sour eggplant and olive tapenade. Wow. It looked so good, I had to take a bite before I snapped a photo.
He had the Grilled Arctic Sea Char on a a thick clam chowder with edamame, smoked pork confit and pepper jam. An inspiring combo of textures and flavors.
And because HE insisted, we split the warm apple walnut oatmeal cobbler with a scoop of vanilla gelato on top.  Looks like it's salads and water for me on the way home!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Purveyor of "food porn"

While strolling through the Boulder Farmer's Market this morning, camera in hand, I got an idea to take close-ups of the gorgeous food, to frame and hang in the new kitchen. You know, to add some nice color and remind us of our soapstone shopping adventure. So, I started shooting what one of the editors at my paper calls food porn and the sexier, the better:
Come hither carrots
Bodacious Brussel sprouts
Plump pumpkins and gorgeous gourds
Provocative cabbages
And the "porniest" of all...
Naughty hot pretzels.
Is anyone else as turned on as I am, right now? Or, maybe it's just ordinary hunger. Tonight, it's off to Jax - home of "Top Chef" winner Hosea Rosenberg.  Reservation at 8!

Afternoon in Nederland

A visit to Colorado in October just isn't complete without a viewing of the aspens in all their golden glory.  That's why we took the 18 mile trip up Boulder Canyon to Nederland.
The route isn't overrun with as many aspens as, say, Aspen, CO, but the colors are brilliant nonetheless.
Then it was on to the funky little mountain town which is home to Yonder Mountain String Band...
 where we did some souvenir shopping...
and found yet another brewpub (they seem to be following us around).
Mama enjoyed a Mama's Wheat....
and we split a third of a slab of ribs before heading back down the mountain.  Nap time!