Still, I like them to be neat and clean. Thus, this morning's project: Tidying up the spice drawer... and the tea drawer... Next on the list, the make-up drawer and the underwear drawer, which contains WAY too many drawers for one drawer. In fact, I have so many drawers, I need at least three drawers for my drawers alone!
My fellow cast members - wonderful women all - survived our performance of "The Vagina Monologues" last night without major slip-ups, and were gratified by the number of people who came out and supported the cause - fighting violence against women, locally and globally. My daughter and son were in the audience and my boy (one of a few men in attendance) gave me the ultimate compliment: "Great job, Mom. I'm proud of you." I think he may have learned a little something, too.
I've been left up to my own devices this weekend while the hubs enjoys a reunion with his former high school teammates. Last night, they gathered at a local pub - with old coaches, classmates and friends - and watched grainy football films, circa 1972, that probably looked something like this: He's having a blast reveling in his past on the gridiron and the hardwood. Me? I've got my own game plan that includes shopping for travel shoes, a WAY overdue pedicure and, if I can get it, a deep tissue massage.
My reentry into the workaday world temporarily halted my travel planning. As a result, I lost out on a great apartment rental in Vernazza - in Italy's Cinque Terre - where we intend to spend 3 or 4 days. Back to the drawing board. I'm tempted to throw caution to the wind, arrive without a reservation and see what we can get. In my youth, I'd have no problem winging it like that. Why should it scare me now?
The hubs is getting a tad too excited about his boys' weekend, starting tomorrow. It's a reunion of the starting five from his high school basketball team. The guys are flying in from all over the country to relive their glory days and watch some serious hoops. The itinerary includes a game at their alma mater in Emporia, KS, then down to Norman, Oklahoma for the KU/OU game, and onto OK City to watch the Lakers take on the Thunder. Can you say "testosterone fest?"
Of course, this has given him the perfect excuse to miss me performing (and moaning) in "The Vagina Monologues" tomorrow night. No wonder he's so thrilled.
The new gig is going exceedingly well. People have been wonderfully welcoming. I have a nice, spacious office and am slowly getting acclimated to Windows after years on a Mac. There's just one thing: My bathroom is in the basement under lock and key...."key" meaning a 5-digit combination that I've had to commit to memory. This wouldn't have been a problem two, three years ago. But, lately, my memory isn't what it used to be. And, I'm experiencing periodic episodes of - how do I put this delicately - powder room urgency. Today, I almost wet my pants trying to enter my debit card pin number instead of the combination. I can't afford to make any more mistakes or I'll be wearing Depends under my Spanx.
I developed a crush on Colin Firth with "Bridget Jones Diary." It turned into full-fledged, head-over-heels adoration in "Love, Actually." Apparently, I'm not alone. Darn! And I thought the Firth man was my little secret. Now, it's going to be even harder to get a spot on his arm for the Oscars.
Ding dong, the bells are going to chime! My invitation is supposed to arrive today. Surely, Kate and Will know I'll be in Italy at that time. A fast train could get me and the mister to the church on time, spruced up and looking in our prime. Surely, they know I'm the world's biggest Anglophile (or, at least, in the state of Kansas) and have every word of "My Fair Lady" committed to memory for life. Surely, I'm on the list. Surely.
I co-emcee'd the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Charity Auction last night and spent my 'off' time sitting with friends who worked themselves into a bidding frenzy. The Irish have their auction strategy down pat: Give party-goers all the beer and wine they can drink - heck, deliver it to their table in grocery baskets - and watch the mayhem ensue. Here's a shot of a chagrined friend (who shall remain nameless) after placing the winning $400 bid on what he thought was attic insulation. Turned out, he actually won a grocery cart full of liquor, as the auctioneers are trying to explain to him. (This is exactly why I don't do live auctions or Vegas.) Funny thing was, he opted out of the booze and took home the insulation. That wasn't very Irish of him.
I was in a pinch for time and couldn't make dessert for our company last night. (Not that I am - by any stretch of the imagination - a baker.) Instead, I bought some good quality vanilla ice cream and drizzled a little cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar on it with a sprinkle of Vietnamese cinnamon from Penzey's. Major hit! So easy and light, and it would work with any fruit-infused balsamic - blueberry, fig, pomegranate. You don't even have to bother making a reduction. Give it a try.
I spent the morning getting down to Kelley Hunt's latest CD, "Gravity Loves You," a gift from the artist herself, who came to dinner last night. Kelley grew up two doors down from my husband in Emporia, KS, and has since made a name (and a thriving career) for herself on the international rhythm and blues scene. If you've never heard of her (or even if you're a huge fan, like me), check out her website and a preview of a song from the new album, via YouTube:
Then, be sure to pick up her album. I highly recommend it with scones and a mixed berry smoothie!
With temperatures in the 70's and company coming for dinner tonight, I spent yesterday deep-cleaning my house with my new squeeze, Mr. Clean. Specifically, Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers. OMG, have you tried these things? They are, in a word, magical. Between Mr. Clean and my trusty Swiffer, I made swift work of spring cleaning. Until, we shampooed the muddy dog last night, causing her to shed profusely all over my newly vacuumed furniture.
The arrival of the annual SI swimsuit edition raises the perennial moral dilemma: Do I pitch it in the trash and claim it never arrived? Or, let him have it and suffer the inevitable downsizing of my self-esteem?
Tonight, the hubs and I decided to forgo the traditional - and expensive - Valentine's dinner for a cheap meal at our favorite downtown burger joint. Why? Because the joint in question had Boulevard's new Chocolate Ale on tap. What a concept: Beer and chocolate combined! We sampled the brew before dinner and it was, as advertised, decidedly chocolate-y, especially the top notes. Interesting but, in the end, a one-and-done situation. I opted for a Malbec with my burger (delish - try it sometime) and then it was home to watch basketball. KU-K-State. Hey, what do you expect when V-Day falls on Big Monday?
Whatever happened to handmade doily valentines? I miss them. They were a staple of my childhood. I especially miss that tasty paste we used to stick the construction paper on. Not that I ate it intentionally, mind you. Only nerdy losers did that. But, if a little paste happened to get on my fingers... mmm-mm. And how about the little classroom valentines of old, like this one? "I'll cop you yet"? Seriously, little 2nd grader? "Let me press you to me"? I'd have to think good and hard about which little boy was getting that sentiment from me! This one was more my speed. Seemingly innocent, yet subtly suggestive. And dig that crazy space luggage! Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. And may the chocolate heart you receive NOT be anatomically correct! (Sometimes, I really do miss the old days.)
Let's face it, guys aren't the only ones who procrastinate gift-buying on Valentine's Day. (I might be the world's worst offender.) If you're looking for a last-minute home run (and I don't mean that kind of score unless, of course, that's your goal) look for the new book: I love you even though... by Rebecca M Schuler and Christine W. Regan. Dubbed "A gift of love from her to him," the book contains jewels like:
* I love you even though you can recite entire scenes from "The Godfather" ('To the mattresses'... 'Leave the gun, take the cannolis') but you always forget at least three items on the grocery list, and * You don't understand the fundamental difference between having three glasses of wine with dinner and three beers at the bar.
Last night, after a traditional Japanese sushi dinner prepared by Mexican chefs, the hubs and I wandered into a bookstore and bought a crash course in Italian. We've got eight weeks to learn useful phrases like "Where is the train station?" (Dov e la stazione?), "Can you speak more slowly?" (Puo parlare piu lentamente?) and, molto importante for the BoomerGirl: "Where is the bathroom? (Dov e il bagno?)
After a brief review, I've noticed that Italian is fairly similar to Spanish, which I studied (and I use the word loosely) for three years in high school. I also took four semesters of Latin in college which should come in handy. Still, the brain isn't what it used to be. So, while I get busy exercising my legs and glutes for those steep hillside climbs, I'd better get the old cerebellum into shape, too. Isn't there some kind of pill for that?
Here I am backstage, hamming it up with my fellow performers at the "Dueling Divas" fundraiser for the community theatre last night. The event was a smash and I raised lots of money (sincere thanks to dear readers who "voted" for me - your donations are 100% tax deductible), despite a crippling case of laryngitis that rendered me voiceless. I did manage to take the stage for the group numbers - doing my best Milli Vanilli shtick - but the frozen pipes would not allow my solos. In the end, it might have been a blessing in disguise. The other divas were so seriously fabulous, I was never even a contender. Oh well, that's showbiz!
The ship we'll be boarding for our fabulous Mediterranean cruise (compliments of Food & Wine Trails) was featured on Entertainment Tonight last night. Why? Because Mary Hart is the ship's "godmother" which, I suppose, is the name they give to the woman who christens the boat. I'm not sure I can adjust to such luxury. Just sleeping on 400 thread count sheets makes me feel unworthy.
It's 7 degrees outside and, instead of bitching (more than I already have), I'm projecting myself ten weeks into the future when I'll be boarding the Oceania's Marina in Monte Carlo. I just realized we will be in Italy for Good Friday and Easter. I can't wait to see the processions, celebrations and fireworks. There. I feel warmer already.
I have yet to ask for the "senior" discount since I turned 55 two months ago. Maybe I need to purchase one of these fashion statements to save myself from uttering the dreaded words: Nah. Trucker hats don't do a thing for me. Oh, well. If any of you want to know where your advanced age will get you ten or fifteen percent off, this is a pretty good list from GiftCardGranny. All you have to do is get your lips to form the word: s-s-s-s-senior. (How hard can it be?)
I'm throwing a birthday party for my mother-in-law's 94th birthday tonight. We'll be bringing her over - wheelchair and all - for a feast of hamburgers and angel food cake (her favorites), complete with balloons, party hats and noisemakers. She's excited her birthday has come, especially since she's insisted for the past several months that she's already 94.
I was eight degrees of distracted during the big game last night but, upon further review, here are my picks for best commercials of the night:
#3: Black Beetle (VW) and not just because the Beetle was my first car in 1973. Loved the animation. See it here.
#2: The Force (VW Passat) because it was freaking adorable and that could be my own cape-wearing son 25 years ago:
#1: Imported from Detroit. Not something I'd normally go for, but it worked on every level. Home run.
Yes, it was painful to watch. But, not because Christina Aguilera forgot a line to our beloved yet celebrity-bewildering national anthem. It was the melisma that butchered it. Melisma - my musical pet peeve - is the act of singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Taken to extremes, as seems to be the case with every modern pop singer (and, yes, I'm still talking about you Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston - you started it!). Why can't these young gals take a page from Barbra's time-tested handbook. Let the song speak for itself. Less is more, and all of that stuff. That's my rant for the day. Now, it's off to Salon to watch the commercials I missed.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. You know, another way to get out of my comfort zone. Achieve a little personal growth. That's why I said 'yes' when asked to be in this year's local production of Eve Ensler's ever-evolving play. The first cast meeting was this afternoon. I was assigned the "Hair" monologue, among other roles. Some involve moaning. Lots and lots of moaning. I think I just saw my comfort zone fly out the window.
My column today is about the blizzard, which was the biggest thing that happened last week... until I won the Mediterranean cruise. Since I've been watching videos of sunny Italy practically non-stop ever since, (see Vernazza below, one of our planned post-cruise stops), the snow-in-Kansas storyline seems so five minutes ago. This week's "big thing" is my mother-in-law's 94th birthday. Relatives flying in; preparations to be made. Travel planning is taking a much-needed siesta. Oh, and I guess there's a big football game on tonight. I'll be rooting for the Packers, based on my love for cheese and a chance encounter with some lovable cheeseheads in Madison, Wisconsin, years ago.
I mean "winner," of course, but I feel like a weiner for keeping my friends in suspense so long. (Sorry, friends.) The secret, officially revealed this morning by Food & Wine Trails Epicurean Tours, is that I won a 5-day Mediterranean cruise (thus the pic of Love Boat's Isaac Washington) sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, which will take me and mine from Monte Carlo (shades of Grace Kelly) to Rome, location of my favorite movie of all time: And, if that isn't enough to blow my excitement-starved mind, we sail - in late April - on Oceania's brand new Marina, where the bathrooms are bodacious and the cuisine is, in the words of my Food & Wine Trails booking agent, "over the top." Here's some info on the cruise.
First cruise. First trip to Europe. First first-place prize.
People do win contests, people. You can't win if you don't enter! (Which reminds me, I think I'd better play the Powerball tonight!)
OK, I've got big...no, huge....no, colossal news! But, I can't tell. Not yet. I'm such a tease, right? Just like in high school. But, I promise to tell just as soon as it's officially announced elsewhere. And I can't tell you where 'elsewhere' is. Don't even ask me. I might just - oh, I don't know - blurt it out! In the meantime, here's a little clue: Stay tuned. Clue 2 is coming soon!
(In which the players, having survived the storm, take way too many photos of the aftermath.) A bridge separates the upper pond from the lower pond in this photo shot through the living room window, before the photographer located her L.L. Bean indoor-outdoor slippers. Our deck, where we can only imagine ourselves sipping margaritas by the pond, someday. Someday. Our street, not yet plowed because we are, apparently, Priority 2. Or 32. Freedom is on the other side of the mudroom door. So close, and yet so very far away.