Monday, April 30, 2007

The Heartbreak of Hail Damage

It's been a rather difficult day in Bizzyville. I was brought low by a Tsunami of a sinus headache that began last night and lasted well into the day. Many aspirin and a 24-hour prescription Clarinex later, I am, thankfully, recovered.

Earlier, while still on the couch, I caught the Tyra Banks show. Her theme today was "Hot Legs" and how to get them and look great in summer shorts. I have to admit that, in my headachey condition, I wasn't paying too much attention. Or I wasn't, that is, until they began discussing Nivea "Good-bye Cellulite" patches which, even through the fog of my headache, caused my ever-sensitive beauty-product-junkie-ears to perk up. (Annoyingly, I cannot link straight to the product, but you can get to it by visiting the Nivea website and clicking to it for more information.)

Because, let's face it girls, is there anything more annoying than or as impossible to get rid of as cellulite or, as it has come to be known recently, "hail damage" (a tragically appropriate moniker). Now, I realize that no doubt Nivea is paying through the nose for Tyra's endorsement but, I have to admit, for some reason, I don't think Tyra would showcase a product with faked results. On the show today, she profiled three different women who had used the patches for four weeks in before-and-after videos.

And the results were nothing short of amazing. Providing they were real. There was one woman? At least 300 lbs. Trust me. Initially, she had a case of hail damage so bad that it was present both on the backs AND fronts of her thighs. Four weeks later? Gone. Totally gone. (And, by the way, she was no thinner than she had been when she started the process).

All three of the participating women stressed that you have to use the product as directed for the FULL four weeks to get the results and that nothing much changed the first two weeks. BUT, if they are to be believed, after a full four weeks of treatment, their hail damage was NO MORE.

What if it really does work? Is all I'm saying.

Also, you're probably wondering what's new in my world organizationally? Well, funny you should ask. My friend Christina rolled into town last week and wrought an organizational miracle in my barn during her stay. Alas, I did not take "before" photos, so it would be hard to fully appreciate the miracle that after really is. I think I can adequately illustrate the situation by telling you that Christina unearthed FIVE SEPARATE GAS CANS. You know, the kind you fill up your mower from? Evidently, when Satan was too traumatized by the state of the barn to search for the gas can, he just went to Wal-Mart and bought another one.

FIVE TIMES (not that I blame him).

Maybe now you can understand why we have a barn AND a semi trailer. Which, by the way, I'm planning to take you on a tour of soon. So--something to look forward to, eh?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Musings

I just re-read yesterday's "Love in Bloom" post and it hit me why I was so obsessed with the garden cottage: it's tiny! Of course!

Long time readers will recall my obsession with the tiny. Tiny Christmas Village. Tiny pumpkins. Let's hope I don't suddenly become one of those people who paint intricate pictures on a single grain of rice with a tiny one bristled paint brush. ("Tiny Crafting" Horrors!)

Otherwise, let's be honest, I know you're all wondering about my take on the Alec Baldwin/Ireland Baldwin/Kim Bassinger controversy of late.

While I think we can all agree that the message is completely innappropriate, over the top, and a really, REALLY bad idea, at the same time, I think all divorced parents can probably relate to the frustration poor Alec is experiencing here. The guy just wants to talk to his daughter, has gone to the trouble of pre-arranging a time to do so, and then finds her phone shut off. I get the feeling that this isn't the first time Alec has had a problem reaching his child. I'm thinking that, like Rodney Dangerfield, Alec just "ain't getting no respect at all."

In fact, Alec has gone so far as to try to wriggle out of his contract on 30 Rock in order to devote himself "full-time to the issue of parental alienation". And, along with an appearance on The View, has consulted with Dr. Phil on the matter. NOT TO MENTION he is writing a book. Clearly, we're talking about a desperate father here.

The solution? I think these two crazy kids need to give it another try and head on over to Dr. Phil's couch with their daughter to once and for all work this thing out. A relationship that's really over doesn't continue to be quite THIS dramatic and is probably indicative of repressed feelings Kim and Alec continue to harbor for each other. After all, they were possibly the cutest, most well matched couple ever to hook up in tinsel town.

Whaddaya say?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Love in Bloom

We had a little love celebration tonight.

I became innappropriately enthralled with Stephanie Young's charming garden cottage and now aspire to run away and make it my permanent residence.

Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Saturday Morning

It's another perfectly gorgeous spring morning here in Lower Town. The sun is shining, the temperature is a balmy 75 degrees, and life is good. I've just managed to force myself through another strenuous session on the BowFlex. It just doesn't get any easier. My muscles seem to burn worse with each workout. I do, however, so love the self righteous feeling that comes from knowing I have adequately attended to my physical well being. Also, my "Running w/Scissors" has become the perfect soundtrack for my sessions.

Satan and I were treated to a lovely dinner last night by Steve and Karen of Philosophy Gallery. They have such a fabulous place and are such fun to be with (not to mention great cooks). We were so giddy with tasty food and wine that we didn't drag ourselves home until TEN THIRTY, the absolute MIDDLE of the night by Paducah standards.

Karen let me take a picture to share of her fabulous dining room light fixture. I have long admired it from the street while walking FurGirl, but this was the first time I'd ever seen it up close. It is absolutely beautiful. I'm not sure if the picture conveys just how large and cha-cha it is. Karen told us when they first moved in they were surprised to find people regularly stopped in their cars in the street to point at and admire it.

No wonder!

Friday, April 27, 2007

On the Walk Home


The first of Satan's roses.
(Edited to add: This and all my images are made possible through a grant from my Dad and Satan who graciously funded my camera, perhaps the most exciting gift I've ever gotten. If you click the flower image you can see just how large and detailed this photo actually is. It's nothing short of amazing even if I do say so myself.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Three Things

First, are these two about the cutest Super Heroes you ever did see or what? I'm thinking when the villanous bad guys see these two coming after them, they'll immediately stop trying to run away and, in Otis-the-Drunk style, just go ahead, lock themselves in the jail and swallow the key.

The magazine looks to be a publication of the Metro Chamber and is a summer vacation guide to the surrounding area. My congratulations to the Chamber on their obviously superior taste in very super girls.


In other news, I was completely riveted by this story in the LA Times today. Mike Penner, sports writer for the newspaper, comes out in his column and annouces his plan to undergo sex reassignment surgery after which he will continue in his position only this time as a woman known as Christine Daniels.

I don't know about you, but when I think "sports writer", I picture a very manly guy in rolled shirtsleeves hunting and pecking away on a manual typewriter chewing on a cigar. And, while I'm sure that's pretty much a stereotype that doesn't hold true anywhere anymore, still, I can only imagine the courage it took for this guy to step up and tell his co-workers about his plan. Wow.

To their credit, it sounds like the LA Times reacted in the best possible way and kudos to them for it. I hope Mike, or actually, Christine, will keep us posted on her progress. I would be fascinated to hear how the transition goes.


Lastly, I've recently been made aware of a groovy new website in our area known as iList Paducah. I've thought for some time that this town was sorely lacking by not having a centralized site for events (can I get a witness, Rhonda?) and even briefly toyed with the idea of doing it myself. I'm glad to see that Nikki May and Mary Thorsby have done such a bang-up job of it. You should sign up THIS minute.

I'm actually planning to work with Nikki to redesign this blog as well as on another exciting project that I hope to be linking to in the near future. It's all very exciting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Whole Truth

Today, I was asked for a book back that was loaned to me by a good friend. I had taken it from her about three months ago with every intention of reading it. Instead, the book never made it out of the car and has lurked there lo these last three long months.

And, having been patient with me for so long, this same friend now asked for the book back in order that she could share it with another friend who might actually, oh I don't know, maybe read it?

For those of you still with me, you know that this meant that I was going to have to fish the book out of my car.

Is that a problem you ask? Is there some reason why you, the most organized blogger EVER (reference my last post), would have a problem retrieving a book from your car?

And the answer to that question is yes. Yes, I actually would consider that a problem. Because while my skivvies are folded and organized by color and type and my collectible textiles are righteously tucked away in air tight bags, and my junk drawer is a sight Martha Stewart would envy, the hatchback of my car?

Well, the hatchback of my car looks like this:

I have no explanation. I really don't.

It's been this way for at least four months. No kidding. I can't even GROCERY SHOP with my car because I can't actually WEDGE grocery sacks in there. I have to borrow Satan's car if I want to do stocking up of any major proportion. Unless, of course, I'd like to rent a u-haul.

It makes absolutely no sense that my linen closet somehow became a near constant and totally undeniable irritant while the state of my car, a virtual rolling trash can that I ride around in every single day, just does not phase me.

I will say that there are advantages, though. Let's examine the contents, shall we? Petrified Rice Crispy Treats? I hate to state the obvious, but you never know when you might need a snack. A spent container that used to house a Bath and Body Works Christmas candle? Hey, when it gets REALLY hot, my car might start to smell like Christmas again. A pre-stuffed briefcase? Will do nicely as a makeshift pillow on those long, boring road trips. The box my cell phone came in two years ago? Can I just say a thousand and one uses?

Too bad I can't gas up my linen closet and drive IT around. Because, the truth is, I just am sort of unable to deal with vehicular clutter. Always have been. It brings to mind an incident that happened about twenty five years ago before even my starter marriage.

Actually, it was on the occassion of my starter marriage that my cousin David came up north to where I was living at the time to attend the ill-fated nuptials. Once he got to town, the starter husband and I roared over to his hotel in our 1974 Mercury Marquis, certainly one of the biggest American made cars ever manufactured. The car had recently lost a muffler and the resulting engine noise was so loud that one couldn't actually converse inside the car while it was running. (Seriously. We had to shut it off to place an order at any drive-thru. And we did that alot.)

Anway, at the hotel, we explained to him and my other cousins that were along about the engine noise as we were heading to the car. We all piled in and the SH turned the key and the engine roared to deafening life. I don't think that, up until that moment, they actually BELIEVED the car was that loud. What I had neglected to mention was that the car MIGHT HAVE BEEN just a TAD messy as well.

We drove to our destination amid the trash and the deafening noise. When we arrived, and the SH finally turned off the key, I turned to look back at my passengers who were, the three of them, sitting in the back seat knee deep in MacDonald's fast food burger containers, empty cigarette packs, and about a case or two of empty beer cans.

As the engine noise finally died away and the ringing in our ears subsided, David took a look around car (remember, it was big) and partially lifted one foot out of the rubble. It just then occurred to me that, yah, maybe I should have at least shoveled out the car. In the shocked silence that followed David looked at me and said,

"Well. I will say this for you guys. You for sure don't litter."

Yep. Still don't.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Obsession: Organization

I've been bitten by the organization bug for a while. It was maybe a year ago that I spent a couple of weeks finally organizing a huge bag of photos I'd been dragging around with me for years into an album of at least a near approximation of chronological order. Alert readers will remember that around that same time I organized my junk drawer.

A short time later I got turned on to The Container Store and, most recently, I've been into Real Simple.

In the past, my idea of being organized amounted to congratulating myself if my socks matched or feeling smug if I could locate my tax records in under an hour. This whole disorganized condition was exacerbated by having a son who, it turned out, somehow possessed the ability to retain an almost encyclopedic knowledge of where everything was located in our chaotic household. Many is the frantic morning before work I can remember pacing around smoking nervously while a five or six-year-old Chase unearthed my car keys from behind a throw pillow or found my favorite black flats after I'd somehow managed to kick them off behind a door.

When Chase grew up and moved on, among the swirl of emotions I felt was also, very incidentally, the fear that I would never, left to my own devices ever, be able to find anything again.

But, gradually, I got better. And lately, I've been on what can only be described as a tear. I went from my junk drawer to the back porch, from the back porch to my dresser drawers, from there to the utility closet, to my own closet which has, at this point, undergone several organization attempts that haven't entirely taken.

This passed week has been a little nuts.

I've re-done my dresser drawers, my closet, and, saints preserve us, I've even finally tackled the dreaded Linen Closet. And all I can say about that is two words: Space Bags.

Run, don't walk to the nearest WalMart and invest in some yourself. It really is true, you can cram a TON of CRAP into them, vacuum the air out, and store said things in a third of the space they used to take up. Check out the top shelf of my linen closet:

In total, those bags contain four blankets, two quilts, a queen sized bedspread, assorted textiles, some curtains, and one hideously ugly afghan made by Satan's insane (and quite possibly color blind) Aunt Ruth. Actually, you can see the afghan in that middle bag? That bright yellow, maroon, orange and white thing on the left? Yah, that's it. We're saving that. No, NO you can't have it!

ANYWAY...the point is that before these items were space bagged, they were taking up approximately one half of my shelf space and they are now stored in less than one half of a shelf.

Here is the finished linen closet and, please note, EMPTY SHELF SPACE, the Holy Grail of organization.

I've also purchased shoe storage boxes which are storing my out of season and little worn footwear.

And, finally, a partial shot of my closet.

I'd love to stay and write more, but my frozen foods need alphabetizing and after that I need to re-stack my paper clips.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Missy Jenkins looks back on the Heath Shootings.

News Bulletin: Dave-Dave Sighting

I'm interrupting my normal posting schedule to bring you this special report.

Dave-Dave the Party Wave was spotted by me at Walmart just a few short moments ago. He was pushing his cart and minding his own business.

The encounter went something like this:

(Looking at Dave.)

(Looking at me.)


Hello, beautiful.

(Damn, I'd forgotten how smart Dave always was!)

So, it turns out Dave is now divorced with a seven-year-old son, Austin, a straight-A student and ball player. Dave now lives with his girlfriend, Emily (a mere child of 25), somewhere nearby.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

Gardeners are Pretty

My gardening breakfast simply couldn't have gone any better today. It was heavily attended by many of my very favorite people, I didn't burn anything, and the weather was gorgeous. On the menu was fresh fruit, blackberry muffins, and my go-to company breakfast dish, Bacon and Asparagus Quiche. Pitty Pat contributed some melt-in-your-mouth chocolate covered peanuts.

Bacon and Asparagus Quiche

Yields one 9 inch quiche
25 Min
35 Min
1 Hr

1/2 pound fresh asparagus
4 slices thick slice bacon
1 (8 inch) unbaked pie shells (I use Pillsbury that come rolled up)
1/2 egg white, lightly beaten
2 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Snap asparagues into approx. 1 inch pieces discarding tougher bottom pieces. Line a shallow jelly roll pan w/tin foil, spray w/ nonstick cooking spray. Place asparagus on foil, drizzle w/olive oil, sprinkle w/salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minuties or until tender. Cool.
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
Brush pie shells with beaten egg white. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and chopped asparagus into pie shells.
In a bowl, beat together eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Sprinkle Swiss cheese over bacon and asparagus. Pour egg mixture on top of cheese.
Bake uncovered in preheated oven until firm, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving

As is our way, we chatted away at about 90 miles through the entire event. Satan, who mysteriously disappeared at the time of the first arrivals, spent quite a bit of time sequestered on his porch sprucing up his plant collection and no doubt feeling smug about his already beautifully blooming Clematis. At one point I went out to get him (so he could say hi to our guests) only to find the porch desserted. No one had seen him traverse the living room, which could only mean that, at some point, he actually leapt to the ground (a one-story drop).

Despite this disappearing act, he still managed to point out to one guest his rose bushes which are on the verge of mad crazy blooms.

I myself could not help but ponder this morning how lucky I am to have such bright, intelligent, articulate women in my life.

I am truly blessed.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Late Night Blogging

Ya'll. It is ELEVEN THIRTY in the p.m. and I am still conscious. That's right, it's CRAZY around here.

I'm off work tomorrow, so I waited super late to take my OTC three-pill never-fail sleep cocktail (10:30 p.m.). I've got, let's see, about twenty seven minutes of consciousness left before my forehead slaps the keyboard. And, to be honest, nothing to say really. Not that I'm pretending that's ever stopped me before.

Let's see...I've dragged the majority of my plants BACK out on to the porch. If it freezes again? I've got one word for my needy green friends: Sionara. I'm no longer Down on my Back and managed to accomplish my entire BowFlex workout tonight. Ouch. It doesn't get any easier. I'm starting to get a little worried about my upper body. As in, I've always been wide through the shoulders and now that I'm developing musculature in my upper arms I'm a little concerned about looking manly. They don't seem to be shrinking any, but rather getting beefier. Happily, the same cannot be said for my thunder thighs, they are tightening up, praise God. At this rate, they should be presentable in under three years.

Oh, and news on William Sledd. He is featured in Elle Magazine this month! Yes! Elle! I've looked over the website, but can't find any mention of him in the online version. I've been assured, though, that he is present in print, so something to do in the checkout line this weekend.

Darn! I'm beginning to nod off.

Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Seeing Dead People

This blog post by Arianna Huffington totally kills.

I would imagine we all see a few dead people now and then. Take me, for instance. I keep seeing a particularly Limburger-y one. And it doesn't know it's dead either.

But it sure does smell bad.

Monday, April 16, 2007

And now Blacksburg.

Another day, another horrendous school shooting.

Unfortunately, here in this town, many of us know all too well the horror of waking on an average Monday to learn that a gunman has gone on a rampage in the school our child attends. That sick/sinking/panicked/helpless feeling of knowing there isn't a single thing you can do to help your child but pray, pray that the shadow will pass or has already passed over him and then come to the ultimate realization that if it does, it does so on a roll of the dice, a coin toss, the flick of a wrist, a simple twist of fate.

And then there's the media. The unending talking heads, the inevitable attachment of labels: "hero", "victim", "good", "evil". As if it was really all that simple. And then the speculation, the knee-jerk reactions. Blah-blah-blah.

I remember those days as a blur. I remember, intially, having the immediate, visceral heart-hammering adrenalin rush, the almost irresistible urge to actually run toward the school (a good fifteen miles from where I was). Later, I remember just sitting on the couch for a long time. I remember looking at my kids and trying to imagine the pain of those parents, right around the corner, who would never, ever see their child again. And it was then and it still is unimaginable. But, at the same time, so unimaginably close.

I remember the funeral. Three caskets all in a row. A video montage that told the story of each girl, from baby to toddler to tween to teen, with their friends, with their families. Smiling, always smiling. They played the song, "How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes. The funeral procession to the graveyard went on forever; the entire town had stopped moving, out of respect, I suppose. But it was just eerie; as if the community had died too. Certainly our innocence was dead. What little we had left.

Eventually, we somehow put our kids back on those buses and sent them back to school. At least the ones lucky enough to have survived, and like Blacksburg now, the majority did. The vast majority. Some wounded, one crippled, all scarred but, still, alive.

And through every difficult experience of my life, I always eventually always ask myself this same question: what have I learned from this? What has this difficult or miserable or exhausting or trying experience taught me? And the answer usually comes, sometimes immediately, sometimes not: patience, perserverance, humility, resilience.

You know what I learned from the Heath School shootings?

Not a damn thing.

And I don't think it will be any different for Blacksburg.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

An Important Announcement and an Invitation

Good Sunday morning to you!

With the exception of the unseasonably frigid weather, I've had a really nice weekend. Attended my cousin Bethany's bridal shower yesterday, a lovely time was had by all, and I think she got a lot of great stuff. While at the shower, I learned ChristaD has finally started her own blog which is, of course, Very Excellent indeed.

In my continuing quest to get organized (don't laugh! it could happen!) I purchased a three bin laundry sorter, an organizational tool that I have been debating on for a few months now. I'm proud to report that I actually assembled it myself (but to be honest, a one-eyed monkey could have too) and my dirty laundry is all now righteously sorted and silently waiting it's turn next to the washer.

In that same vein, I finally remembered to pick up some Woolite Dark, a new detergent that is supposedly specially formulated for dark clothes. Finally! Someone catches on that 75% of everybody's wardrobe is black! This new product is supposed to prevent dark clothes from fading, very good news for me as I continually try and pospone washing my favorite black jeans/sweaters/tee-shirts/you-name-it for fear of fading. I will report back on my results.

Last, but not least, I'm again hosting a breakfast next Saturday, April 21st at 9:00 a.m. at my house after which a trek to the Purchase Area Master Gardeners Plant Sale is planned so we can all beef up our collections. Right now, the forecast is calling for a temperature of 73 degrees that day! Woohoo! A heatwave.

I hope you can make it and don't worry about bringing anything but yourself and some cash if you plan to buy plants at the sale. Just e-mail me and let me know you're coming so I can get a head count. I'll be making my bacon and asparagus quiche, muffins, fruit, juice and coffee. I will have de-caf on hand for those of you that prefer it.

Speaking of gardening, look Julie, my Amaryllis is blooming agin!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Short Update

Greetings and salutations!

Just a quick pop-in to let you know I learned this morning that our own William Sledd has an article in the Los Angeles Times! Check it out. I continue to be amazed at how this town seems to be largely unaware that the Next Big Thing in fashion is among us.

I'm still hoping to recruit him for an event at our neighborhood festival. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Something There to Remind Me

I've just been scooped on the Anna Nicole situation in an e-mail from my Mother. Yes, indeed, it seems, Larry Birkhead IS the father of poor little Dannielynn Smith.

Of course Mom and I had deduced this fact months ago based on a scientific analysis of little Dannielynn's facial structure. It went something like this:

Can you even BELIEVE that Howard Stern is trying to claim he is the father of that child?!

No, I cannot. It's positively ridiculous.

That baby looks JUST LIKE Larry Birkhead

The kid clearly has Larry's face only smaller and more girly.

Well, OBVIOUSLY! I mean, HELLO?!

They could (and should) have called us MONTHS ago and settled this without all that needless drama.

At any rate, maybe I can finally get some sleep around here knowing that poor child has finally been rescued from the clutches of evil, gold-digging Howard Stern.

In more local news, I worked out on the BowFlex tonight for the first time in nearly a week. Why so long you ask? Well, it finally happened. I was: "Down on My Back", a colloquial term that translates to Holy Sh--! Does my back ever HURT! It happened while I was transferring some wet clothes from washer to dryer (not anything even heavy, mind you) when I had the sudden, awful sensation that lightening had struck my lower back.

After the fairly horrendous initial pain passed, I found that, if I kept my back perfectly straight, I had no pain. Bending, however, was a bad bad thing. Just to be safe, I decided to lay off the BowFlex for a while.

Tonight, I'm happy to report, I could still complete my entire workout save for one exercise, that involves bending at the waist and lifting weight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this whole back thing just keeps on going away. (Please?!)

Overall, I've had a pretty wonderful day. At lunch, some friends and I stopped in at a favorite local nursery where I fed my garden fever by buying a small start of Lantana and something else that I just couldn't say no to:

It makes me unreasonably happy every time I look at it. And reminds me of a show or a movie I saw where some scientists were demonstrating the power of words (it may have been this movie). This is going to sound crazy, but they had affixed various words to containers of water. One container had "love" on it; another "war". Somehow, they showed the the subatomic particles were reacting favorably in the container with "love" on it, and were reacting just the opposite in the container with "war". Whether it was true or not, I don't know, but it was an unforgettable image.

And, anyway, I choose to believe that words are that powerful.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A New Old Obsession

So, about six months ago (or more now, actually) I found a bunch of record album frames on sale at Michael's, a franchise art supply store in our newest strip mall. They were only FIVE DOLLARS each, and thinking of Satan's fairly large collection, I tried to interest him in purchasing some and memorializing a few of his favorites.

When I couldn't interest him (he drives me INSANE on purpose by being totally disengaged with anything that doesn't specifically have something to do with his work), I ended up picking up four and thinking we'd get to it some time.

I unearthed them again yesterday and, !again!, could not interest Satan, so I ended up digging through his collection myself.

And can I just say? Oh! What fun!

Check it out (apologies for the bad quality of this shot--major reflection problems):

Most of you will probably recognize those fairly iconic covers. They are (from left): The Divine Miss M (Bette Middler), Santana's Greatest Hits, Loaded (The Velvet Underground), and Layla (Derek and the Dominos). I had a blast selecting these to frame. Satan also has a large Beatles collection that I may frame for a seperate display.

Just as I was getting ready to hike back out of the semi trailer with my treasure (yes! we still have the semi trailer! It's where we keep our albums! Handy!), I came across at least a partial stash of MY OWN record albums from the days of yore.

And so, I have a new project. I'll be picking up more frames in which to display a selection of my favorite album covers and I've decided, tentatively, to paint the two walls of my thus far undecorated bedroom a velvety charcoal gray (the other two walls are exposed brick) and then hang our newly framed album covers. Wee! I hope to document this process in the blog again in order to keep myself motivated. Long time readers will remember my travails painting the family room bright red. It took three coats of paint, and damn near killed me. I'm hoping gray paint and only two walls will prove to be a little less traumatic.

In other news, check out all the celebrities with mental health disorders! Not surprising, really, when you think about it.

Speaking of the seventies, it's my sad duty to bring you up-to-date on our old friend and former seventies heartthrob, Leif (pronounced "Lafe") Garrett. Who can forget that riveting VHS "Behind the Music" episode where Leif was reunited with that poor kid, his best friend, who was permanently crippled in a car crash while riding as a passenger in Leif's car (with Leif at the wheel). That was some serious television, right there.

Anyway, as I may be the last to learn, despite Leif's professed desire on the VH1 BTM episode that he was working to get his life back on track, it looks like he hasn't been too successful, judging by this 2006 mug shot that I ran across today:

I think it's pretty safe to say at this point that Leif has almost certainly not kept away from runaround Sue.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter: The Last Day of Vacation

Ah, yes, all good things must come to an end. I must say it's been a really nice vacation even if it wasn't as productive as I'd first hoped. I never did organize my linen closet or clean out my car (still a faint hope that I'll accomplish that today).

On the bright side, I did:
-Shoe shop
-Go Antiqueing
-Save the lives of my plants by moving them indoors
-Visit with my Dad
-Blog nearly every day
-Dine with Wisconsin peoples
-Spend some time at the Library
-Sleep in every day
-Cook a few dishes fancier than usual

Last night I attempted Coconut Chicken for the first time which is a favorite dish of mine and Satan's when we eat out. I was surprised to find the recipe was a little harder to locate than I would have thought (read: It didn't come up immediately on a search of I ended up going off of this recipe which sounded the closest to how I think the dish should taste:

Printed from COOKS.COM

6 skinned & boned chicken breasts
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 lb. coconut
3 c. vegetable oil

Cut each chicken breast half into 6 pieces. Mix lemon juice, salt, curry and ginger. Add chicken; stir to coat and marinate 30 minutes.
Make a batter with flour, baking powder and milk.
Drain marinade from chicken, stirring marinade into batter. Dredge chicken in flour. Dip in batter and roll in coconut. Heat oil in skillet to 355 degrees. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to paper towel as they brown.

Make ahead and freeze in a single layer and defrost in single layer on cookie sheet. Heat in moderate oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

For a first attempt, it turned out fairly well. Although, somehow, pretty much the whole kitchen including both the dog and I ended up covered in flour. I didn't buy whole chicken breasts, but rather used a packet of chicken breast tenders which I halved and it worked perfectly (and is a whole lot cheaper).

Once you get passed the mess, the tricky part, as with any fried chicken, is getting the grease to the right temperature. Especially if you're like me and don't own a thermometer. The grease needs to be hot enough to cook the chicken quickly, but not so hot that it sticks (disastrous when you've got this much breading).

In the end, what worked for me was pre-heating the grease to about medium/high. I had the grease on 'high' for my first batch, and I burnt some coconut and ended up with some naked chicken when the breading stuck. I'd recommend halving this receipe if you're cooking for two; this makes A WHOLE LOT of chicken.

I caught the premiere of Stacy London's (of "What Not to Wear" fame) new show, "Shut Up! It's Stacy London" yesterday. I can't help but like Stacy and LOVE her talent for snarky comments on WNTW, however, I must report that Stacy's new show just seems like a platform to push products. This became even more evident when I visited the website which includes, right up front, a list of the items they had on the show and where to buy them.

Now, granted, if you're watching this show, you may want to buy the stuff they feature, but I do think there's a better way. Stacy could easily showcase styles and fashion without being so specific as to brand (like on WNTW) and include product information on the website without having it ON THE FIRST PAGE. Just seems a little name brand conscious (whorey) to me. Is all I'm saying.

One other thing, at one point, Stacy featered Lisa Rinna, wife of Harry Hamlin and evidently a winner on "Dancing w/the Stars" (I didn't watch that season). Lisa has a line of clothing that looked super cute and Lisa herself, while clearly fortysomething, has a smokin' hot body and looks fantastic...except. Except! Girlfriend has the worst, WORST case of trout pout I've ever seen in my life.

And, friends, I've seen some trout pout (Meg Ryan anyone?).

I just did a quick web search, and I'm not the first to comment on the phenom. Here's a photo from "The Bastardly Smile" website:

Seriously! And that photo does not even do justice to just how bad it is when the woman actually SPEAKS. Ew! It looks positively indecent. Like maybe part of her front butt migrated to her upper lip somehow.

Ahem. Okay, enough of that. And on Easter too! I am so very bad.

Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vacation: The Downhill Side

Good Saturday morning to you all!

So much has happened since my last post, I hardly know where to begin.

For starters, my Running With Scissors soundtrack CD arrived in the mail yesterday and it's been all seventies all the time around here ever since. Go ahead, click the link and listen to all the cuts. With the exception of some groovy tunes from Nat King Cole, the rest of the compilation will have you wishing you could still throw on that super cute pair of royal blue silky boxer shorts, your go-go boots, and a spritz of Love's Baby Soft perfume. Right on! I even caught Satan, who considers most all seventies music an abomination, rocking out to "Pick Up the Pieces" by the Average White Band. And then there's "Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart--totally takes me away. Don't even get me started.

My love affair with Augusten Burroughs continues. After reading "Running With Scissors", I immediately picked up "Magical Thinking" and I'm nearly finished with "Dry" a memior about Augusten's experiences giving up drinking and going through rehab. While neither of the subsequent reads reaches the level of RWS, I still enjoyed them and remain in awe of Augusten's ability to turn a phrase and make me laugh out loud on a regular basis.

(Check it out, I'm now listening to "Poetry Man" by Phoebe Snow. How could I possibly have forgotten a song this groovy?! How?).

Next up on the AB reading list: Possible Side Effects. Also, if you'd like me to burn you a copy of the RWS soundtrack, just e-mail me. In something of the same vein, I have the soundtrack to "The Squid and the Whale" on the way as well. (I buy everything used. Dear Amazon Marketplace: I love you man!)

Thursday night, Satan and I dined with the Mayor of a fairly well known mid-sized Wisconsin city and his entourage who were in town to learn more about a certain artsy neighborhood program. They humored me by allowing me to snap the photo below and then Satan just had to announce that it would no doubt show up on the blog. I think it turned out fairly well, with the exception that that older guy looks to be looking at his wine bottle in a way that suggests he'd like to get naughty with it.

The Mayor, on the far right, was seated next to me, and I really enjoyed getting to know him (I was in one of my rare convivial moods). We ended up splitting a piece of chocolate cake for dessert which me and my by now good friend Gary both agreed was decidedly mediocre.

My Dad and his wife stopped in last night for a brief overnight stay. They were on the final leg of a trip to Texas. I believe my Dad was fairly traumatized by my dinner offering: a lovely big bowl of Pad Thai. I have managed to perfect the dish over the last few months. My Dad, however, has a fairly narrow list of acceptable foods which goes something like: Steak, steak, potatoes, steak, well-cooked vegetables, ice cream. I keep trying to broaden his horizons, but I have thus far not been too successful. I can report that Dad's wife, Ruth, went back for seconds. So there.

I did manage to have a leisurely browse through a downtown antique store on Friday. This was one of those activities on my vacation list that I wanted to accomplish as something I always mean to do, but hardly ever get around to actually doing. I picked up some cute old fashioned planters.

And, speaking of gardening, the temperatures in these parts remain pretty frigid.

I continue to look forward to the final thaw. As does a certain, stir-crazy furry mutt.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's a Jungle in Here

So, I lugged all the plants indoors yesterday. Including those on Satan's balconey. It's a good thing I've built a little muscle mass on the Bow Flex. It's 34 degrees right now and the forecast calls for lower temperatures tomorrow.

I've learned my lesson. No plants on the balconey before Easter ever again.

Meanwhile, I'm having a sinking spell since I envisioned all my vacation activities taking place with me wearing sandals in balmy spring weather. Not so much in temperatures at the freeze point and below.

Feeling punky, I called Satan just now who speculated that the weather would likely rebound by the time I return to work on Monday.

No! Don't try and make me feel better!

I'm considering cheering myself up by organizing my linen closet.

I know, I am completely wild and crazy.

I was inspired by an article at Real Simple this morning. It is so appealing to think of all my sheets, napkins and towels in neat little rows. With labels! They even know how to fold a fitted sheet over at Real Simple.

I caught on to this website six or eight months ago (and probably several years after the rest of the world) and have even subscribed to the magazine. Just reading about being organized makes me feel better. Also, watching other people get organized in various TV shows like "Mission Organization" or Clean House makes me feel better. And I do watch these shows endlessly (much to Satan's chagrin).

I have to say, it never ceases to amaze me how the clients in these shows never seem to be ashamed of their incredibly messy, dirty, and disorganized homes. I'm not saying I've never suffered from these afflictions myself (because, Lord knows I have and do), I'm just saying that nothing would cure me faster than knowing a television crew was going to be showing up at my front door anytime soon.

I'd be all,

"The 'Clean House' crew is coming to help clean and organize my home! Fantastic!"

And then I'd frantically clean and organize my home before they got there.

Of course, none of the clutter victims profiled ever do this or they wouldn't have a show. I saw an episode early on where they were re-doing this woman's bedroom and, along with an endless supply of empty cat food cans (in her BEDROOM), there was actual cat poop in the floor.

NOT in a litter box, oh no. ON the carpet.

Cat. Poop.

On national television. In her bedroom.

Personally? If that were me? And millions of viewers had just witnessed a pile petrified cat turds next to my bed in the floor of the room WHERE I SLEEP? I would then just go and quietly hang myself in the barn. They would find me swinging from the a rafter with a note pinned to my chest that would read, "Sorry about the cat sh--".

Not this woman, though. She was all giggling and shrugging her shoulders and like, "Yes! I sure do love my cat!"


And here I should point out that I wasn't so upset by all this that I changed the channel or anything. Nope!

Perhaps that's the point of these shows. So people like me can sit sprawled on their couch, eating ice cream out of the tub, congratulating themselves on the fact that, while sure, there are beachball sized tumbleweeds of dog fur blowing about the house, and their fitted sheets are wadded up and stuffed in the closet between an old Twister game and a set of hot rollers circa 1979, and there MAY BE a couch under that pile of clothes the master bedroom (who can remember?), there are CERTAINLY NO CAT TURDS on the floor.

Of course, we don't have an indoor cat, either.

But, that's not the point, now is it?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Let the Vacation Begin

I've just celebrated the beginning of my five-day vacation by enjoying a nice rainstorm on my porch. Which is good since, come tomorrow, I will have to haul all the delicate plants I dragged OUT on the porch two weeks ago back IN since the forecast is now calling for temperatures below freezing beginning tomorrow night and lasting through Friday.

None too happy about that.

I took the most delightful quiz today at the Newsweek site, and I insist that all of you take it too (this means you too Mom and Dad). It's a baby boomer car quiz and I scored a 60%. I quickly fowarded the test on to Satan who claims to have scored a 70%. This from a man who you probably won't be surprised to learn is FATALLY competitive.

Here's where you can find the quiz. E-mail me your score or leave it in the comments. Here's hoping somebody bests Satan!

Have I mentioned I'm working out on the BowFlex?


I'm working out on the BowFlex. Have been since February.

Boy, is it miserable. I think they advertise the program as twenty minutes a day? Not quite. My work-out program took me an hour and a half to accomplish when I first started it due in large part to the amount of time it took to configure the equipment to each exercise. Now that I've gotten the hang of it, I can complete my routine in an hour exactly since I'm much quicker at configuring.

I will say that I'm seeing and feeling results very quickly. I've always read that working with weight is the quickest and most effective way of whipping yourself into some kind of shape, and this is proving to be true. I notice I have way more stamina and am noticeably stronger already. I know I need to incorporate some sort of aerobic training into my routine (Frankentraining, for instance) but, dang, I'm just too whiney right now. Sheesh.

Lastly, I must report that mine and Satan's most exiciting video viewing of late has been, uncharacteristically, had on cable television, a Sunday night series called Planet Earth. This eleven part series took five years to film and is the planetary equivalent of "Blue Planet". Through some HD photographic innovations that would make Marlin Perkins weep, this program brings the natural world to life in a way that I've never quite experienced before. I recommend watching and even buying it without reservation. See a video sample here.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I came home from work today to find these lovely pink Hydrangeas on my kitchen counter, a present from Christina, who resumed her travels this afternoon by heading east.
I am tired today, too tired. It must be all the pollen in the air.
My Mom sent me a quote today that I enjoyed so much, I have to share it with you:
A woman who writes feels too much, those trances and portents!
As if cycles and children and islands weren’t enough;
as if mourners and gossips and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warn the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.
From “The Black Art” by Anne Sexton
And now, I suggest you go ahead on and enjoy the latest writing of her very own from my Mom, Blue Waltz.
[This spacing problem with Blogger is driving me to utter MADNESS! Rest assured I have not lost the ability to know when to add a paragraph break. It's a Blogger glitch. AND A VERY ANNOYING ONE AT THAT.]

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Another Gorgeous Sunday

Today could not be a more perfect spring day.

We awoke some time around nine, and ran into a favorite neighbor, Mark, as we took the dogs out for a morning potty. Mark joined us briefly for coffee and conversation.

After that, we lollygagged on the balconies enjoying the breeze. This put us inevitably into the gardening notion, and so we took ourselves off to Wal-Mart where we stocked up on a few necessities such as my soon-to-be-potted herb garden pictured above. The plants are (from left): Lavender, thyme, sweet basil, and rosemary. Also, I could not resist a small hyacinth. Satan bought two Mexican heather plants to be used in his annual "Kill-a-Mexican-heather Ritual". (He doesn't mean to do it, but it always seems to happen that way).

For lunch, I improvised a very spicey chicken taco conconction cosisting of chicken along with tomatillas, corn, and onions served on very righteous low-carb whole wheat tortillas. If only we had some salsa.

Later, we will go to Mark's for dinner.

If only every day could be a spring Sunday.
Oh, also! In a completely different vein! I have recently embarked on a crusade to get William Sledd who is already a utube phenom, and continues to teeter on the verge of world-wide fashion domination, to make a personal appearance at our local neighborhood festival. William has most recently been featured on the blog of Suze Schwartz, who is editor-at-large of Glamour magazine. Wow!