Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I love Costco

With rumors of a new, big box food store coming to town (please, don't let it be Sam's) and news of a "farmer's market-type" grocery store planned for the west side, I continue to commute to Kansas City to visit my two favorite food markets - Costco and Trader Joe's.  Both seem like good places to work as evidenced by their happy employees, and they always seem to have new products that justify the extra gas mileage. Last week, I scored a handy dandy infusion pitcher set and the BEST DAMN GLUTEN FREE BREAD I'VE EVER TASTED!!
It's a given that when you give up gluten, you give up the fluffiness usually found in baked goods. Sometimes, though, denser is better, especially when combined with nuts and a multitude of who knows what kinds of grains. And, because it's gluten-free, it has an amazing shelf life, which is great when one only indulges in toast once or twice a week.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Protesting from my recliner

I spent the morning Facebook'ing the CVB's in Arizona, telling them they can kiss my tourism dollars goodbye if their governor signs the appalling SB 1062, aka the "Religious Freedom Act."  It's not exactly a march on Washington with picket signs, but it sure is comfy sitting here in my robe....


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

They don't write 'em like that anymore

For today's post, I'm going to direct you off of my site and over to my dear friend's blog. As some of you know, the Short Jewish Gal and I go way back. All the way to 1997, but I'm not certain. Long story. Anyway, the SJG recently suffered the loss of her father, a successful Hollywood screenwriter, and is now busy cleaning out his condo.  What she found - and posted on her blog - is probably one of the best letters I've ever read and it totally made my day. Here it is right here. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Omaha-ha-ha

To celebrate the hubs' 6-week post-surgical follow-up, which resulted in a clean bill of heath (yay!), we headed to Omaha for the weekend. (Because isn't that where everyone goes to celebrate a new hip?) But seriously, folks, our out-of-pocket expenses for the surgery were about what it would cost to go to Mexico for a week as previously planned, so compromise was required. Our goals were to get out of town in a short drive, experience the grand Magnolia Hotel, and devour a delicious Nebraska steak. What we didn't expect was to bump into the Cupid's Undie Run after lunch.....
Running a mile in their skivvies for charity.

or John Wayne in the coolest/weirdest Old Market antique mall/candy store we've ever seen. Candy from my youth, still being made apparently, made me nostalgic and happy I swore off sugar (for the most part) when I did. A girl with a sweet tooth could go crazy in that place....
Candy cigarettes.,... my old favorites!
FIZZIES!!  Be still my heart!
Me and Duke
A kid in a candy store





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Worry? It's what I do.

Since my son left town on Tuesday afternoon, his pick-up truck packed to the brim with all his worldly possessions, I have been engulfed in that age-old occupation practiced by mothers through time immemorial. Though he technically left for NYC two weeks ago, he had to find a place to live and then determine if it was practical to have a vehicle in his new neighborhood.  Fortunately, his new place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn was accommodating so he flew "home," freed his things from three storage places and hit the highway with a friend. The bed of his pick-up looked slightly more streamlined than this...
but there were valuable things, like golf clubs, tied under that blue tarp and he would need secure parking at every hotel. The first two nights - in St. Louis and Pittsburg PA - were challenging but uneventful and now he has a little more than 10 hours to get back to Brooklyn and load all that stuff into this 3rd floor apartment (no elevator, of course) before 6-10 inches of snow and ice hit the city.  I know this because I have checked not one but three weather sites several times since I got up this morning. I will text the latest weather update to him in a few minutes, even though he and his traveling companion have radar at their fingertips. At least, I didn't insist he call from every gas station, diner and rest area, like I used to do when he took road trips. Baby steps, friends. Baby steps.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

R.I.P. Madam Ambassador

The Good Ship Lollipop has sailed for the last time with Shirley Temple Black aboard. She was 85. Suddenly, I'm transported back to lazy Saturday afternoons as a kid, watching Shirley's movies on TV. This was one of my favorites, especially this dance number in which the little curly top never stole focus from her graceful co-star.
Shirley and Mr. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in "The Little Colonel"
I never wanted to be Shirley Temple. That kind of celebrity worship I reserved for the likes of Hayley Mills and Annette Funicello. Still, I remember admiring her talent and presence, that ubiquitous little pout notwithstanding, even as she matured to an accomplished post-Hollywood woman. Life well lived, Ms. Black!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

It was 50 years ago today

I remember it like it was last week (which isn't really saying a lot, since the last four weeks have been one snowy blur). We finished dinner early and gathered around the living room TV for Ed Sullivan. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing I had not laid eyes on the Beatles before that night. Ed introduced them in that signature Ed way, and there they were. I instantly fell madly in love with George vowing to marry him and have his children, while my mom yelled frantically to my dad who was still in the other room, "TOM! GET IN HERE! YOU HAVE TO SEE THEIR HAIR!!" I was 8. Suddenly feeling very elderly.

If horses sweat, just call me Trigger.

I joined my first gym in 1972. I was 16. It wasn't really a gym, by today's standards. It was called Elaine Powers' Figure Salon in Prairie Village, Kansas. But, I went there - almost daily that summer - to "exercise" on equipment like this...
There were about six positions for the vibrating belt, as I recall. You just stood there, jiggling.
And this...
I can't believe I'm old enough to have sat on one of these...a not altogether unpleasant experience, if you catch my drift.
Back then, it was unattractive to be caught sweating even in an, er, exercise salon. (My mother adamantly preached the 'horses sweat, humans perspire' mantra. I wasn't even allowed to use the word 'sweat' in front of her.) Of course, with hand weights no heavier than 5 pounds and machines offering little to no resistance, no one ever got drenched at Elaine Powers'. Although, given our 100% nylon outfits, that's quite surprising....
I wore leotards and tights. Some of the older ladies wore panty hose. Ugh.
 I thought about all of this while working out at my new ladies-only gym yesterday, a far cry from Elaine's...
Don't bother trying to find me in this photo. I'm up on the balcony.
And, I thought about how much I really love to sweat. In fact, the deeper the sweat line on my t-shirt, the better I feel...
That's 60 minutes of cardio right there!
 I'm just thankful Mom doesn't read my blog.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Good fortune trifecta!

This past weekend, I received two wonderful offers: 1) To house sit for a friend in Santa Fe for two weeks, late March to mid-April, which I immediately accepted with no reservations; and 2) a free two-week pass to the ladies-only gym in my neighborhood, including four personal training sessions, which I immediately accepted with one or two reservations. After all, I've been down the gym membership road before and it can get bumpy. You pay all that money and start out gung-ho, only to peter out to the point where you avert your eyes every time you drive by the place. Today, I discovered that, due to a 'snowstorm of the season' special, the gym in question is offering $10 off their initiation fee for every inch of snow we received yesterday...that's a $140 discount which makes my guilt considerably less. I'm thinking I'd better play the lottery today.

Snow Day Deux

My inner cave woman's finest hour.
With 14 inches of snow came a lot of manual labor yesterday: chili cooking, fire building, driveway shoveling (which, thanks to continued snowfall through the evening, I will do again today).
Believe or not, that walkway to the front porch has been shoveled once.
I have to admit, I enjoyed every minute of it and fell asleep in my Cuddl Duds last night with a huge sense of accomplishment. Today might be another story. The temperature at 9 a.m. is 3 degrees, and the chili is running low. I do have eggs. Three dozen of them, due to short-term memory failure at the market. But, with the hubs and the daughter home (he still on medical leave; she snowed out of work), my patience will become tested. It might be time to break out the.... (cue: foreboding music - Dun, dun, duuunnnn!) .... Kahlua.  Not really. I meant (dun, dun, duuuuunn) the....
Of course, that penguin duck tape serves a purpose.
knitting basket! My love affair with knitting has always run hot and cold. I was into it BIG time in the 90's and knitted upwards of 3000 scarves because, you see, I obsess and that's all I know how to knit. Thanks to my 80-year-old mother who can only knit scarves herself, I've discovered a variation on the theme: infinity scarves. She makes really short ones (instant gratification) that sit on top of a crew neck sweater or t-shirt like a detachable cowl neck. They're fabulous! So, that's my project today. That, and convincing my dog it's OK to pee outside. And, maybe a liquor run for Kahlua.
"You want me to go where?!?"

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Februrary: Cabin Fever Project No. 1

I decided to take January off to concentrate on nursing my spouse back to health after his aforementioned too many times hip surgery. Now that it's finally February, I'm ready to tackle the first of many household projects, namely, renovating the powder room. We converted the closet under the stairs to a half bath shortly after moving into this house in 1988.  The room had all kinds of weird angles, so I decided to paper the walls with my collection of old sheet music. It was labor intensive, let me tell you.
You can see how the edges of the sheets are starting to peel up
Our guests have loved our little powder room, mainly because it was unexpected and gave them a lot to look at as they, well, sat around.
I even found some music in a frame at a garage sale once. More is more.
Now, it needs to change. I'm tired of looking at it and want a look less busy while still visually entertaining for our guests.
This was the spot of a small fire during a New Year's Eve party. I used to burn candles on that little shelf. No more.
We have a hammered copper bar sink left over from the kitchen remodel, so I'm going to ask the hubby to build a small vanity for it. Then, I'll strip the sheet music (God help me) and paint the walls a nice, flattering color. For visual interest, some strategically-placed pieces of humorous art, like the one I saw on the internet, which I plan on printing and framing. As a female living in Kansas, I've been called Dorothy by countless out-of-staters, but that's only one reason I find this hilarious...