Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reduce stroke risk: Eat chocolate

As someone whose entire paternal side of her family died from stroke (or stroke-related illness,) I'm totally going with this study.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gotta love those Episcopalians!

Only God and St. Catherine (for whom I am named, by the way) know if this sign is real or Photoshopped but, either way, the 'choir practice at 7' tagline is pure gold.

Desktop dalliances

    My boomerang daughter likes to stay up late at night, fooling around on my computer (because, she claims, it's so much faster and cooler than hers). Just for fun, she'll change my desktop art to something sexy...like this attractive actor from one of those ubiquitous vampire shows, no doubt. He gave me such a start this morning, my heart actually stopped. At my age, that can be dangerous. Note to offspring: I have no problem discovering naked men with six-pack abs under the sheets in the morning (I fully support the idea, in fact), but not before I've had my first cup of coffee.
    On the other hand, it's a helluva way to start the last week of a hot summer!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mudroom love

Not to be confused with Muskrat Love (that was the theme last week), my love this week is for our newly-completed mudroom/laundry. (See old room here.)
I love the way my "clothesline series" from Italy turned out - so inexpensive to do with two-dollar prints from Kinko's and half-price frames from Hobby Lobby.
I even like the curtain that hides the washer and dryer with my enameled French cow I completely forgot I had, and the vintage "Family Dog House" plaque salvaged from my mother-in-law's house.
Yes, that's me in the doghouse. I can be a real bitch during home improvement projects.

A legend in her living room


With apologies to Annie Lennox, Adele burns it up with this achingly beautiful torch song, recorded from the living room of her London home with a lone piano for accompaniment. Is there anything better than a killer ballad performed by a soulful siren, with cutaways of stylish decor and cool tchotchkes? (Thanks to Penny for posting on Facebook.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gummies for grown-ups

    My complimentary "press sampler" from VitaFusion arrived yesterday. The new, albeit retro, concept? Gummy bear-style vitamins for adults.
    To be honest, I was never a gummy bear fan as a kid. (I was more of a SweeTarts kind of girl.) But, I wondered if chewable vitamins and supplements might be faster absorbed and, thus, easier on the old stomach than the horse pills I've been swallowing lately.
    Well, the experiment has begun and I can report that, indeed, there has been very little burpage or heartburn episodes with the gummies. The problem is, most of the products carry a whopping 5 carbs and 25 calories per serving, except for the sugar-free "Weight Management" Fiber Gummies.  That probably explains why the the gummies are so yummy, but I'm afraid that's a deal-breaker for me. I will continue to take the fiber, because they're ever so much better than Metamucil. And, besides, they are kinda fun to chew!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Perhaps the most beautiful love song ever

This explains everything

    The headline reads: "Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue?' My answer: A definite YES! Finally, this NYTimes piece offers a reason why I sometimes go out to dinner and cannot decide what to order to save my life. Why? Because I've made too many other decisions earlier in the day and my brain is plum tuckered out.
   I found the rest of the article fascinating, too, including a theory on how, by resisting temptation throughout the day (saying 'no' to pasta al fredo or cupcakes, for instance), we can actually reduce our ability to resist other vices at night (too many cocktails, one night stands or reality TV):  "The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation." 
   Since I've always found it impossible to avoid temptation, I'm not sure what the take-away here is....unless it's to say 'yes' to everything and let the chips fall where they may.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Here come the brides!

The fall wedding season begins for us next weekend. I wrote about how weddings have changed since the 70s in my column this morning. Later, I realized that the Ozark mountain wedding I went to in 1978 was a lot like the "Magic Woods Wedding" that my son officiated (after becoming ordained on the Internet) last fall. I guess things don't change all that much, after all.

Buskering in a blaze of glory

After two gloriously comfortable nights at the Lawrence BuskerFest (it's amazing what a 20-degree drop in temperature can do for my attitude), I can honestly say: Put a flaming fork in me, I'm done!
I was the kid who seriously wanted to run away and join the circus, so the busker lifestyle has a certain appeal...
This act - the guy lying face down in a pile of broken glass - is not appealing.
But, what amazes me is how many buskers are baby boomers who travel from fest to fest, like gypsies, working strictly for tips and enduring hecklers, clueless kids and pop-up thunderstorms.
This guy sat in that position for a good thirty minutes, letting kids change this hat and props.
 I'm not sure I could handle it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gettin' crafty with it

While the hubs installed beadboard wainscoting in the mud room/laundry today, I whipped up some curtains to hang in front of the washer and dryer closet. We got this yummy fabric at Kaplan's in Kansas City. Astonishingly, the nail gun-toting cowboy picked it out, pink flowers and all.
The beadboard will be painted dark green with white trim, and a soft gold on the wall above. That's where I'll hang my "laundry series" taken in Vernazza, which I framed in inexpensive white Italian-ish frames.
'Still have to paint the room and hem the curtains but, I must admit, it feels good to get in touch with your inner crafter once in while. (As long as she doesn't want to come out too often.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Buskers! Boo-yaa!!

The annual Downtown Lawrence Busker Festival starts tonight with a preview show at Abe & Jake's Landing. I can't wait. For the uninitiated, a busker is a street performer of the circus or vaudeville variety...and variety there will be. Think belly dancers and magicians....
sword swallowers and acrobats....
and lots of guys doing cool stuff with fire....
These acts will be scattered about downtown on Mass. Street sidewalks and closed-off side streets all weekend long. The performances are free to the public, but the buskers gladly accept - and actively encourage - tipping. Lawrence has one of the few busker festivals in the nation, thanks to the tireless efforts (actually, I'll bet he's kind of tired right now) of one Richard Renner. I encourage my local blog friends to get downtown and get buskered. You won't regret it.

Cooper cracks up and can't stop

This is Anderson Cooper losing it on live TV over a story about actor Gerard Depardieu relieving himself in the aisle of an airliner. I love to see cool guys lose their cool once in a while. So endearing:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Memory Lane medley

I couldn't decide whether to laugh or sing watching this great video montage. So, I did both.

Lovin' the Lion!

I upgraded my MacBook to the new "Lion"operating system (OS X) today and the new toys it came with made me squeal like a little girl on Christmas morning. Here's the annotation "thought bubble" tool above (a weary blogger's dream!) and there are new backgrounds in Photo Booth, too....
This one's called Lovestruck















And this one's called "Bug Out"
Who says geekdom is a guy's domain?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Talbots: That's what I'm talking about!

 
I love what Julianne Moore is wearing on the cover of the Talbots' fall catalog. It's the classic age-defying look. They really have come a long way in the last several years. Wouldn't you know Talbots just closed their one and only store in my town? Sigh.

Stolen: Another great summer read

I found this book on my mother's bookshelf last weekend and borrowed it without asking (because she was in Connecticut with her new husband, for crying it out loud.... Argh! I'm 55 years old! Why do I feel so guilty?!?)  I could be the last person on earth to read it, because it came out in '03 and was on the Today show's book club and won all kinds of awards. Nevertheless, it is very fresh and compelling. An easy yet, often, challenging read. Here's the scoop via amazon.  Highly recommended, especially if you have any personal connection to a person with Asperger's syndrome.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

If these walls could talk

If my mudroom walls could talk, they'd regale you with an amusing story about the time I sponge-painted them (really badly) in turquoise, terracotta and cream - no doubt suffering from some kind of Martha Stewart- (or crack-) inspired shabby chic kick. I honestly don't know what I was thinking.
Layer 1: sponge paint; Layer 2: wallpaper and border
That phase didn't last long, the walls would add, because, just a few years later, I was back - this time with wallpaper of forest green plaid and leaves with a grapevine border that I hung upside down.
Look closely. The grape clusters are hanging UP. We discovered our mistake five minutes after we finished the job.
The paper is coming off now, and those walls will be painted a non-trendy soft gold to flow easily into the new kitchen and family room. Painted white bead board will create a tall wainscoting from the coat rack to the floor with framed photographs of Italy above. "Much better," the walls would say.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

R.I.P., Mr. Coffee

   Cue the bagpipes and call the caterer. Ding dong, the coffee pot is dead!
   I know, (she said sheepishly.) It seems like so much petty materialistic fluff. But, I couldn't WAIT for that thing to kick the bucket, what with its mismatched replacement carafe and the deafening gurgling sounds it made at the end of the brew. I just couldn't justify buying a new one before the old one died. Now it has! I can go forth to Target or Costco or even Williams-Sonoma (where my sis gets a discount) and pick out a new one. I'm thinking stainless steel, to match the kitchen appliances. Do they exist, I wonder? Let the small appliance shopping begin. Woo hoo!!!

Ah, true love.

With thanks to my funny friend, Carol.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Three buck Chuck and Aldi cheese

What to do after another devastating day on Wall Street? Throw yourself a wine and cheese party that won't break the bank! A friend recently told me that Trader Joe's is owned by the same family-owned company that owns Aldi, the discount grocery store. Another friend, more familiar with Aldi than I, said the A-store actually carries some high-quality items, especially their dairy products that contain no growth hormones. I took a trip to Aldi last night to see for myself and am happy to report the cheese (that's Jalapeno Havarti on the plate) is simply delicious, especially with the Charles Shaw cab. Best of all, that little snack you see in the photo cost me around 95 cents.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So much for all those soy lattes

Remember all that tofu you dutifully tossed on your greens at the salad bar, in order to fend off hot flashes? Turns out, it didn't work. Or, so says the latest study on soy and menopause.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm in love.

It was hard enough to put this book down long enough to take a picture. It's nearly impossible to lay it on the nightstand overnight. Tom McNeal writes like a dream in "To Be Sung Underwater," the hypnotic, heart-wrenching story of a woman who ventures to find her first love, a man she left behind when she went off to college 27 years ago. It's not a page-turner, in the sense that you can't wait to see what happens next.  It's a book that invites you to savor each sentence, each scene. For that reason, I don't know when I'll finish it, but I don't need to know how the story ends to highly recommend it.

Time out in a camera-free zone

I took a short break from the "every day" and spent the last few nights at my mother's house, while she is away, vacationing with her new husband. I took not a single photograph and blogged not a single word while there. I was, you see, a little burned out -- on the incessant heat, on the "every day," and, especially, on the constant picture taking. Not surprisingly, that's the subject of my column today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So tempted, yet too tired.

Rumor (aka Facebook) has it that the designers from "Extreme Home Makeover: Excessive Heat Edition" will be at Johnny's Tavern tonight (a popular pub, here in town) partying it up and collecting money for the family in need. Starting at 11 p.m. Ack!! Lord knows, I would love to be rubbing elbows with all those beautiful, talented people with impossibly white teeth, but I've got a big day tomorrow and, besides, my beloved dog woke me up this morning before first light. I think I'd just rather read about the happening tomorrow. Put yet another tick in the 'sorry, too old' column. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cucumber-infused G & T

    Is there anything more refreshing on a 111-degree day than a cold, crisp cucumber? Yes! Ice cold cucumber-infused Beefeaters and sugar-free tonic! I speed-infused (sped-infused?) this gin by chopping up a whole, peeled cucumber, adding it to a jar of gin and shaking vigorously until I started to perspire. Then, I gave it a good chill in the fridge and - voila! - a delightful adult nectar and a lovely reward for making it through one of the hottest days on record without flipping anyone off.
   But, I'm only having one. Too much alcohol in weather like this can be dangerously dehydrating. (Note to self.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's too hot, even for Ty.

According to the local news, ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has come to our area to build a new home for an injured U.S. soldier and his family.
    According to a friend's Facebook post, Ty Pennnington is somewhere in town, apparently cavorting with mobs of women in his spare time. (The location seems to be the new hotel in town.)
    Normally, I'd be all over this...seeking out the visiting celebrity, camera and autograph book in hand. Not this week. With highs expected in the 100s today (tomorrow and the next day), it would take an act of God to get me out to the Extreme Makeover construction site. (And, yes, I considered volunteering, but the 'help wanted' list had nothing to match my skill set.)
   Maybe, a cameo appearance by one of these guys would change my mind....
 Hey, it's a weather emergency. A girl's gotta have her priorities.