Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah!

I wanted to be Jewish ever since I saw "Fiddler of the Roof" my sophomore year in high school. (Ask me to sing any song from that movie and I'll still know it, word for word.) Man, those people knew how to celebrate - the weddings, the receptions, the Sabbath prayers - even when the going got really, really rough. Now, I find out they get a double holiday this year as Hanukkah happens to fall on Thanksgiving! What can I do to sign up, Short Jewish Gal? (My kingdom for a pumpkin-cranberry kugel or chocolate beet rugelach!) Happy holiday(s) to all - Jew, and Gentile! Let the calorie consumption begin!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wanted: World's warmest gloves

OK, I get it now. Quite suddenly, I understand why people of advanced age turn the heat up full blast or move to Florida in the winter. And to think I used to silently mock my mother-in-law while I was sweating buckets in her overheated apartment. I'm sorry, MawMaw. I was too young to feel your pain. Fingers being so cold they actually hurt, toes that won't warm up in a 70-degree house without two pairs of fleece socks and sheepskin-lined slippers. I get it now. It's our circulation, isn't it? It ain't what it used to be. It hit me like a ton of ice on my traditional Thanksgiving Eve walk through campus. Admittedly, I was a bit under-dressed for the weather (forgot a hat, but wore fleece jacket and chenille gloves) but, by the time I got home, I was in agony! I used to prefer winter to summer, big time. But now, the prospect of three months in the deep freeze leaves me... sorry, I gotta say it....cold. I'm not ready to be a snowbird and I'm not a fan of Florida, necessarily. (Now, a month in New Orleans I could get into!) So, in the meantime, I'm in search of the best, warmest pair of gloves I can find. All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting down to Black Friday business

First of all, I will not shop on Thanksgiving. No how, no way, ne-VAH. I loathe the very idea of it. Shame, shame, shame, Macy's! Tut-tut, Target! Booooo, Best Buy! Woe to you, Wal-mart! 
    But, I will not judge. If someone wants to spend the holiday doing this...
who am I to say it's wrong...and completely insane? What I will do is participate in Black Friday. The last two years, I have had to work because, as the downtown director, I was solely responsible for Santa's arrival in my fair city. That, my friends, makes for a stressful day.
OK, maybe I had a little help from Fire and Rescue.
Now, since I'm retired and because my husband's hip surgery is moving up to mid-December, I'm jumping into the Black Friday fray and then again on Small Business Saturday. I'm developing my strategy now. Friday: "Bizarre Bazaar" crafts show at the arts center, 40% off everything sale at the garden center, then home to make Turkey Mulligatawny soup. (Can't overdo it on the first day.) Saturday: Support the small businesses by hitting three or four of my favorite shops downtown, then home to make turkey chili and decorate for Christmas.
   Then again, I may spend the whole weekend in my pj's.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Scattered pictures, meet Flip-Pal!

This is one of countless boxes of old photos containing memories dating back to the late 60's. There are four or five photo albums and a few scrapbooks floating around, too. Plus, all the pictures in frames on the walls and various tables. Not to mention all the great vintage family photos in my mom's house. I've been meaning to convert those images to digital for the last ten years, but my old scanner leaves much to be desired and takes up too much desktop space to keep out all the time.

That's why I'm tickled pink that a review sample of the  Flip-Pal mobile scanner is on its way to my house. Battery powered, the color flatbed scanner features a patented flip-and-scan technology that allows for scanning photos in place without removing them from an album or frame. This saves you time and the frustration of dismantling picture frames, only to break the glass and...well, maybe that's just me.
Flip-Pal is continuing its support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation by offering a $20 discount on its Pink Bundle—Flip-Pal scanner, commemorative scanner lid and pink carrying case. As a second-year sponsor, Flip-Pal donates 10% of the purchase price to the foundation in support of early detection programs. So, you can support a good cause AND save those precious memories for posterity!
Simply go here to order. Once the pink bundle is placed in the shopping cart, just enter the code "pink5" to get the discount. This offer is good through Nov. 28.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Have Crockpot, will travel

My 80-year-old mother still insists on hosting Thanksgiving (she's got the largest dining room) so I've volunteered to bring one of two turkeys, a pan of stuffing, sweet potatoes and plenty of Pinot Noir. With everyone schlepping dishes from near and far, the insane "rush to reheat" minutes before the meal is served is inevitable. Piping hot pans being rotated in and out of ovens by wine-slugging women in a crowded's downright dangerous, I tell ya! That's why, this year, I'm bringing my sweet potatoes, as seen on Rachel Ray, in my Crockpot. They'll cook all day, then I'll simply unplug the thing, put the whole shebang in the car, and plug it in when I get to Mom's. Why didn't I think of this 30 years ago?

To be young in the Big Apple

Except for the year he lived in New Zealand, my son has never been away from home on Thanksgiving. This year, he'll be in Brooklyn with his girlfriend (and future, er, roommate) celebrating the holiday with friends. He'll stay for two weeks, looking for a job and a new apartment for the two of them to share in January. I was getting a little melancholy last night, wondering what Thanksgiving will be like without him moaning loudly in appreciation over my stuffing and sweet potatoes. Then, his girlfriend posted this photo on Instagram:
My first reaction was "Fiddler on the Roof on Ice!" (He didn't have time to get a haircut before the trip.)  Then I thought what a lucky couple of kids. The night before, they sat two tables down from Mike Myers (Wayne's World) at a restaurant. (The texts were hilarious.) AND, we'll get to go visit in the spring!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The day we'll never forget

I was in third grade at St. Ann School but stayed home that day, sick with some kind of childhood bug. My mother had brought the portable TV to my room so I could watch "Queen for a Day," "The Price is Right" and the "Loretta Young Show" which I only watched because it seemed racy. Mom had just brought me her signature "sick day" orangeade on the special bed tray, when a special bulletin came on the air. "President Kennedy has been shot...." I called out for her: "Motherrrr!!" I must have sounded panic-stricken because she ran up the stairs and, together, we watched the tragedy unfold, crying on my little bed. (I didn't realize until today, that she had left my baby brother and sister downstairs, unattended for who knows how long. I'm assuming they were in the playpen.) Although my mother was a Republican, we were Catholic and deeply enamored with JFK and the first family...if not for substance, for style, in my case.  (I was 7. What did I know of politics?) The rest of that day is a blur, as are the days that followed except for the funeral procession and that heartbreaking little salute of John-John's.
I remember being struck that Caroline was my little sister's age and John-John, my other little sister's. It was the first time I think my young brain realized that not everyone gets to live to a ripe old age. And what kind of monster would kill the father of two little kids?
     How do you remember that day?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

He had it coming!

Tonight, I will be Lisa Richardson, escort service owner from New York City, who is accused of shooting her former business partner, Judge Paul Tu, in a premeditated ambush. Of course, I did it in self defense. At least, that's what I'm going to try to convince the jurors in my nephew's mock trial at law school. I would do anything for my nephew but I'll admit to being very nervous about tonight's performance.  He said his grade doesn't depend on it but added, "Of course, it's always nice to win." I will be cramming with the depositions all afternoon. In the meantime, what does a supposedly innocent madame wear to court?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hippy, hippy shake

Get a load of the retro art on the brochure. Don Draper's getting a new hip.
To say "my spouse is stoic" would be an understatement along the lines of "Miley Cyrus is unreserved." He thought he pulled a groin muscle during a workout but - ahem! - two-and-a-half months and lots of nagging (by me) later, he decided that maybe something else was going on. After a short stint at the chiropractor - which only made things worse - he paid a visit to our friendly, neighborhood orthopedic surgeon. Several x-rays later, turns out he's got bone-on-bone arthritis in his right hip. The doctor couldn't believe he'd only been suffering "such a short time." (As if anyone would know, doc.) The hubs wants a second opinion, of course. But, something tells me January is going to be the month that will test our marital mettle.

It's still Jill for tunics

I'd been off J. Jill for several years. In my never-to-be-a-fashion-maven's opinion, they went through a bad patch for a while, offering too many shapeless pieces in pizzazz-less colors. That's why I was happy to discover Soft Surroundings which filled in the gap, especially in the tunic department.
But, with yesterday's arrival of the J. Jill winter catalog, love has bloomed again! Jill is back with tunics, tunics and more tunics in rich, lovely colors. And that 30% off coupon on the cover doesn't hurt either!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to "self-clean" your racks

I'm throwing a reunion party this Saturday for all my former co-workers at the newspaper (of which there are many) and hosting book club on Monday night. This has given me the, er, opportunity to deep-clean my house before the holidays. I've cleaned and organized all my drawers, purged the fridge of all science experiments and, as we speak, am "self-cleaning" my oven for the first time.  (For the record, the oven has been cleaned but never "self cleaned.") Before the oven can clean itself, it asks you to remove the racks. "What?! You don't do racks, Miss Fancy Frigidaire Gallery Double Oven? What kind of a slacker are you?!?) I wasn't having it. There had to be some way to "self clean" oven racks...without cleaning them myself.  Internet to the rescue!
Thanks to this woman and her blog, my racks are now cleaning themselves in my bathtub. (Hint: The trick is dryer sheets.) I even threw in the rack from my stainless steel sink (which is grosser than the oven racks, if that's possible), for good measure. I'll let them sit for the suggested 18 hours and, hopefully, give them a quick brush and return to my oven all shiny and sparkling. I'm living' the dream, people!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

16 weeks and still in the swim

My lane - indicated by kick board, fins, water shoes and aqua booties.
I've been swimming/water walking for sixteen weeks. That's an hour a day, five times a week for almost four months. Despite a patch or two of dry skin, I feel fantastic. It's not just the exercise, it's the pool itself. Water is uniquely therapeutic. A slow swim or fast walk through water can be meditative, even hypnotic. You can think through a problem or simply forget your worries entirely. It's up to you. I love that. I love creating my own current, going with the flow...not to mention being weightless. And, I love the way nobody gives a flip-turn about what anyone looks like at the aquatic center. There's no preening, no posing, no hiding under a blanket from sand-kicking bullies. Everyone's the same; we all just swim. I've even made new friends. My favorite is an feisty gal named Jane who swims for an hour-and-a-half every day and takes guff from no one. When I give her a hard time, she says, "You better watch it or I'll get your hair wet." (She thinks I never put my head under, but that's not entirely true.) Best of all, I've seen her and a few other ladies copy my signature moves.  Like this one:
Except I kneel on the board. Sitting's for wimps.
It's a fantastic thing to discover a form of exercise that gives you more than a mere workout. Swimming is the cure for what ails me. Try it. I'll bet it can cure you, too.

Baggy, bunching pants problem solved

I've been trying to rock the leggings/skinny jeans-and-boots look. But, because I wear my leggings on the loose side (57-year-old legs in skin-tight pants tend to resemble sausage casing), I couldn't keep them from riding up out of my boots and bunching around the knees. Not a good look. I tried tucking my jeans into tight socks, but that only worked for about a half hour. Then, I found Jean Straps - a simple but genius solution to my problem.

Employing those funny little garters we once used to hold up our stockings, pre-pantyhose days (and, yes, you could make your own...but why?), these little gadgets do the trick. But, if you want something even simpler, I just discovered that Macy's still sells stirrup pants in a ponte knit...and they're on sale right now (yes, I bought two pair.)
Yeah, so those nude pumps - not so much.
 Don't laugh. Under boots and a tunic sweater, these are going to be fab! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Checking back in to "Club Med"

The most compelling evidence to date on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet was presented this week here, here and here. Okay, okay. So, maybe that's the way to go, especially if you want to live past 70. I was getting bored with the Atkins/Ketogenic/hybrid thing I've been trying lately. I miss my quinoa and rice...oh, and fruit! Bring on the fruit!  And now, a little shopping....

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Call my agent!

Something tells me she's going to get more work than I will.
Not that I would wear it, but I could legitimately buy one of these t-shirts because -- drumroll, please! -- I  just signed on the dotted line with a talent agency in the big city! This is something I've wanted to do my whole life, but those pesky day jobs - and two busy kids - prevented me from going on auditions until now. So, here I am at age 57, arranging photo shoots and recording sessions for my demo reel (because most of my broadcast work is recorded on technology that is now obsolete) and wondering if there might even be a national gig out there for me - like the gray-haired spokesperson for Peepers, Estroven or Depend.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Boomerang Boy Returns

Items BB will not be taking to New York but, for whatever reason, didn't go into storage.
One of the many upsides of Number One Son returning home for two months is that we get our old refrigerator back. I love having a fridge in the garage for extra beer, frozen items and party trays. Trouble is, I don't want the fridge right there IN MY PARKING SPOT! Serenity now.... serenity now....

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hot pads be gone!

I'm an accident waiting to happen in the kitchen.  I will cut, burn or otherwise injure myself every time I attempt to cook a meal. My worst trick is trying to lift a lid from a steaming pot on the stove without the benefit of a hot pad or oven mitt.  Thankfully, I saw this on the internet today.
Now, I can stir my sautéed cinnamon apples without scorching my digits!
My God, what a brilliant idea! Just slip three corks through the lid handle and - voila! - no more finger burns. I wish I could remember the source of this genius so I could offer proper attribution. Whatever it was - whoever they were - they have my undying gratitude.

Boomerang times two

Not to be confused with double rainbows
Today, my adult son moves back into his old room, making it a full house at Chez BoomerGirl once again. Unlike his sister's, this scenario has an end date. He's moving to Brooklyn to start a new life on Jan. 5th.  The lease was up on his apartment this what's a parent to do? We offered. His sister will be happy to have someone to commiserate with, even if she will have to share the upstairs bathroom. Me? I'm doing the best I can to prepare: cleaning out drawer space in his old room (my office), grocery shopping, installing a lock on the liquor cabinet, refilling my Xanax prescription, meditating.  I'm sure the next two months will go by like that.

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 ...