Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mile-high masterpieces

This one's going around Facebook lately: Artist and frequent traveler makes good use of long flights by dressing up in toilet paper covers, a la Flemish-Renaissance portraits. What I want to know is: Which airline has black backdrops in their lavatories? Or, did she bring her own?

Into every life, a rain delay

After three straight nights of fun but exhausting events, there is nothing I like more than a rainy Sunday with no plans, no obligations and no reason to even get out of my PJ pants. AND, new episodes of "Nurse Jackie," "The Big C" and "Mad Men" at the end of it. Nirvana.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Efudex: Two months later

I've received a few emails from readers, asking how my forehead looks now that my (pre-)skin cancer treatment is long over. I figure you may be considering doing the Efudex thing, too. And so, an update: Here's how it looked back in mid-February.  Here's how it looked this morning....
Do I have to mention this is sans make-up? I don't, do I?
There seem to be fewer lines, but there are still a few red patches, especially where the biggest, "third eye" lesion was. But, it's nothing that can't be covered up with my trusty war paint...
Here's a scary thought: What if mascara and bronzer had never been invented?!?
In the end, I'm happy I suffered through it, more for the peace of mind than "baby's butt" skin. I'm more faithful than ever about using sunscreen every day and I've started taking better care of my face, in general. As an aside, I'm liking Neutrogena products these days, as recommended by "Skin Rules" author, Dr. Debra Jaliman. I've been using the deep wrinkle serum every night for about a month and I'm really starting to see a difference.  (Now, with a nod to Nora Eprhon, if I could just get over feeling bad about my neck.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Leeks and stuff soup

Determined not to let my bounty of veggies go to waste, I cut up a bunch of leeks, a few stalks of celery, a Vidalia onion, one bunch each of green onions and early garlic, sauteed them for a while and let them simmer for 30 minutes in white wine and chicken stock.
Then, I tossed it all in the processor until smooth and added some fresh cream and Greek yogurt, salt and pepper to taste.  I topped it off with fresh-cut chives from the garden - along with a couple of pretty chive flowers - and served it for lunch to the grubby hubby who came in from the yard, undoubtedly expecting more hearty - or, at least, less frilly - fare.
"That was amazing," he said, two servings later, as he returned to the garage to cuss at the mower. "The flavors. Surprisingly complex." Wonders. Will they never cease?

Front yard drama

I stepped out to admire my bloomin' roses and inspiring irises this morning....
only to discover one of the red bud trees next to the driveway badly damaged.
     "What happened here?" I asked the hubs, who was dutifully cleaning the gutters. "A drunk kid crashed into it last night, left the car in the tree and made off with his friends before the police could arrive." "How do you know all that?" I asked, wondering how I escaped the late-night excitement. "Cop came to the door at 12:30, made me put on my clothes and go take a look. His card with the case number's on the bar."
    Score one in the LOSS column for living too close to campus. But, sleeping in my own room, upstairs with the fan going? That's a WIN, baby!

I see London...

Exactly six weeks from today, we'll be wheels-down in London, starting our 16-day tour of the British Isles including this fab 12-day cruise on the Oceania's Marina (same ship as last year).  As previously reported, the day we land (at 8:45 a.m.), is the day of the Queen's 60th Jubilee flotilla on the Thames. On such a momentous - and crowded - occasion, we'll be doing well to find our way to the hotel, check our bags, gobble some fish & chips and head to the River for a glimpse of the Royals. On Monday, the real sight-seeing begins with a double-decker bus tour of London. But, which one? There must be a dozen different lines. Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kiddie A-Go-Go

I found these videos hilarious and slightly disturbing at the same time. Can you imagine if they let kids dance like their big brothers and sisters on TV these days? On second thought, don't imagine. Ewww.

Vegging out

First trip of the season to the Farmers Market and I over-bought. Again. But, just look at those enormous spinach leaves and gorgeous purple asparagus spears! And the kale, good God, the kale! How could I resist? The kale farmer told me to slice it up - stems and all - and sautee' with garlic and onions, a can of crushed tomatoes then, at the end, a little cream. She puts it over pasta but I'm thinking adding some nice shrimp and maybe some cannellini beans and parsley. Mmmm. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why can't I paint like that?

This astonishing video makes me want to sign up for watercolor classes at the local arts center while, at the same time, makes me think, "why embarrass myself?" Wow.

RIP, Dick Clark.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A vote for reincarnation

Taking a hilarity break from cleaning the closet and waiting for the tornado.

The year of Ralph begins today

Purging my closet for the third time in as many months, I've decided to cure my fashion schizophrenia once and for all. From now on, it's classics and classics only, Ralph Lauren-style. (Yes, Mother, you were right, after all.) No trendy boho pieces, no wild animal prints (at least, not in anything bigger than a scarf), no hues that are not in my "summer" color palette. Using those guidelines and the "throw it out if you haven't worn it in a year" rule, my closet ought to have plenty of space. Let the spring cleaning begin!

Enough with the disasters, already!

     Did I mention I'm taking a cruise in seven short weeks? It's a dream vacation - 12 days sailing around the British Isles with my spouse, preceded by four days in London during the Queen's 60th Jubilee. (I hope to snag press seats for the 1000-boat flotilla on the Thames.) We're still excited, despite all the Titanic 100-year anniversary hoopla that reminds us, on a daily basis, how a pleasure cruise can suddenly turn, well, not fun.
    Now, comes an "unprecedented" warning of a massive tornado outbreak in the Midwest tonight.  OK, media peeps, you got our attention.     
   And speaking of catastrophes, did I mention I was called for jury duty yesterday? 'Seems my number comes up every other spring. If only I had the same luck with the Mega Millions lottery.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Soup and salad for spring!

Lunch today was lightly-dressed micro-greens and split pea soup I made with a HoneyBaked hambone, carrots and asparagus, all left over from Easter. Here's the recipe I modified, deleting the celery and replacing the marjoram with fresh chopped rosemary and chives from the garden. Delicious.

"Somebody That I Used to Know"...who knew?

Every Wednesday night, my 1st-year-in-law-school nephew comes over for a home-cooked meal and "Modern Family." When the show's over, he usually scampers back to his apartment to hit the books. Last night, he stuck around and we all watched "American Idol" for the first time this season. (I used to be a loyal fan, but thought the show took a slide a couple years ago.) Wow! What a talented group of finalists this year. This catchy tune - which, according to my daughter and nephew - is all the rage, stuck in my head to the point where I couldn't turn it off at bedtime. (Dig the crazy black & white animated graphics, too!) This is why it's good to keep kids, er, young adults, in your life. Otherwise, you might miss out on gems like this one:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No regrets? Really?

I read this piece on the "Top Five Regrets of the Dying" the other day.  Today, I discovered this video, "Make It Count," on Facebook. (Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.) It makes me wonder: Can you actually live - and die - with no regrets? And, should that be the goal?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Elements of Easter





Forget the eggs, I'm hunting for Durkee's

I've got a bee in my Easter bonnet, people! I discovered last night that my grocery store (Dillons, of the Kroger family) no longer carries Durkee Famous Sauce. Don't they know it's famous!?? There are members of my clan who, despite the exotic offerings of my fabulous mustard bar, will consider their ham sandwich incomplete without a generous shmear of the Durk. So, it is off to HyVee I go in hopes of putting a Durkee's in my basket.  Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

So tempted, and yet....

I'm posting these adorable deviled egg chicks just in case any of you have more ambition than I do. (Baking and frosting 60 mini cupcakes today did me in.) The eyes are black olive pieces and the beaks are slivers of carrot.  I'm guessing the yolks pop out the top fairly easily. They are pretty damn cute (oops. Sorry again, Jesus) but I'd have to make 3 dozen of them! I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Sunday menu

Lovely, large paper plates. Matching cocktail napkins, too, although I'm using solid lime dinner napkins.
The family is coming for Easter for the first time ever, I think. (If they've been here before, it must not have gone well since I blocked it from memory.) I'm excited, especially after scoring these beautiful paper plates from Tuesday Morning (I'm having 19 people; paper's a must) and my first-ever HoneyBaked ham. The ham cost a small fortune, but what the hell? (Oops. Sorry, Jesus.) Here's the full menu with recipe links, as available:
   HoneyBaked ham on egg rolls with assorted mustards
   Passover Brisket
   Roasted asparagus spears
   Potatoes (my sister's choice)
   Green salad (my other sister's choice)
   Deviled eggs with curry
   Chocolate orange cupcakes (chocolate cake mix with blood orange olive oil instead of vegetable oil)
   Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
   Wine:  Pinot noir from the Russian River Valley
Bring on the bunny!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Detox: Day One

     Well, the party's over. The home team fought the good fight, but went down in defeat at the hands of a better team. Oh, but what a ride! Watch parties every weekend. Friends and family in our living room, jumping up and down, screaming and high-fiving, rubbing my husband's thighs for luck (it was the 'lucky' pajama pants we were rubbing, for the record). I'm glad it's all over. I have had the equivalent of six New Year's Eves in three weeks and I'm clearly too old for that sort of behavior.
    Today, the discipline begins anew. I'm back on the wheat-free, sugar-free bandwagon (you can't turn down a "lucky" Jayhawk sugar cookie, after all). I'm finding much motivation in this "60 Minutes" piece on the toxicity of sugar, as if the number on the scale isn't enough.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

There's got to be a morning after

Somewhere in that crowd there's a 56-year-old woman who thinks she can party like a 20-year-old.
I woke today at 11 am after partying most of the night downtown when the home team beat Ohio State in the ugliest game I've seen to date.
I almost forgot I wrote a column this week until a couple friends emailed to say it made them cry. It really isn't whether you win or lose. But, winning is a helluva lot more fun.
The girl in green is wondering "Who is this crazed woman and why is she sticking her head in our picture?"

Boomer Girl Review: Ultimate Oriole Feeder

I've still got a way to go before I'm feeding pigeons on the steps of St. Paul's (which I never thought was a bad thing to do ...