Archive for December, 2006

Cupcakes anyone??
December 31, 2006


OK, after dinner in the West VIllage, join the crowd at Magnolia Cupcakes on Bleecker St. and 11th….you will almost always find a line, and it’s the only place I know that limits the amount of cupcakes you can buy. 12 to a customer please. But I only need a couple….delicious buttercream frosting mounded high…They also have Banana pudding, coconut cake, and other goodies but their cupcakes are the claim to fame. Take a few out, and don’t feel bad standing outside eating them on the street licking your fingers. Everybody else is doing the same thing.
But you should know, the same quality cupcake can be had here in Baltimore, on Fort Ave in Locust Point…The Baltimore Cupcake Company is in a cute pink building with black and white awnings…they make so many different flavors of real buttercream frosted cupcakes….and actually I rate them better than Magnolia Bakery. Seriously.
And if you have a birthday party or other special occasion, they will make for you a cupcake tree….with full size or mini cupcakes….You’d have to see one to appreciate how cute they are.

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Cafe Cluny…great village dinner!
December 31, 2006


Greenwich Village I find an easier to handle part of New York…smaller, buildings not so tall, little streets. If you venture there….don’t miss Cafe Cluny…a cute little bistro at 12th St. and West 4th St. that feels like a neighborhood hangout. I had read something about it…so I booked a table for dinner…and you really should call for reservations, though many Village restaurants don’t take them.
This village brasserie is just….lovely really. All cream colors, pretty flowers at the bar…the wait staff knows their stuff and their food, and they’re friendly. This goes a long way with me. But the food is good too!
Had the beet salad with aged goat cheese….fabulous, especially if you like beets…for me it’s more like love. And for Pete’s sake, if you’ve never tried anything but a pickled beet, give roasted beets a chance. They bear no resemblance.
Like any self respecting bistro, they have steak-frite though the potatoes aren’t fries, and they are good. But the dish to order is the beef short ribs with foie gras…luscious reduction sauce, and the foie gras with it is just so decadent and rich…almost over the top, but not quite. I wish I had some right now!
The wine list is pretty much French, and you’ll be happy too know you can get a nice glass of wine for 8 bucks, maybe 9. Not bad for New York.

quick trip to the Big Apple
December 31, 2006


I know lots of people who really do love NY. But to be honest I have always found it a little…inntimidating? They say “the shopping is great”, but to me I don’t know where to start. THe city is just too big. But I’m trying to get a handle on it, it little bits. I used to always go via Amrak, and its still my favorite. But if there are several of you traveling, the Train has gotten pricey. Around 200 bucks round trip! the way to get there these days, people who go there alot tell me, is Superior Bus Tours. So I tried it….you book in advance, and there are several places the bus does pickups…Pikesville, Towson, Aberdeen….It’s a nice big bus, comfy seats, but it leaves early…around 6:30 in the moring. Many of the passengers will go and return that night…the bus leaves NY 6:30 that night. Roundtrip fifty dollars…If you want to stay overnight, you can, just book another return …so your total is $100….HALF the price of the train.
Boy is the place crowded around the holidays! Especially if go to tourist central, Fifth Ave….Rockefeller Center, the tree, Saks, you know…get ready for shoulder to shoulder traffic on the sidewalks. It feels like you could pick up your feet and still be moved along by the crowd, though I did not try this.

Just hanging around…ahhhhhhh…
December 29, 2006

This year we have not traveled back to ‘bama to visit family after Christmas….we’ve taken off years before, but this is the first one in a while. The announcement that we are not coming down at xmas, is always anticipated by family members with much dread, and generally I put off telling them the truth. My sisters will ask repeatedly, as does my Mom, throughout the fall….over and over…”Have you decided about Christmas?” usually I haven’t, but this year, I really, really really wanted to stay home. A week off with no place to go, no promises to keep, no airports to shamble through, no security lines to wait in, no packing, is just too good to ignore. So I’m home.
And yesterday was one of those nice days with no big plans, but ended up having lunch in Annapolis…every time I go there I’m struck by just how darn pretty the place is…especially at holiday time. Had lunch at a new restaurant that’s only been open for 6 weeks. Osteria(pronounced ahster-ee’ah, not ahs-ter’ia I discovered) is right on Main Street, Italian/Mediterranean…nice mix of dark wood walls and crystal chandeliers and industrial stainless steel ducts at the ceiling. Very good paninis…had one with grilled chicken, cheese, and a lovely roasted red pepper sauce, and a baby arugula salad with pomegranite and gorgonzola . The place gets a big thumbs up…
Then drove over the the bridge to the Chesapeake Outlets. Just shopped around for a while as others spent their gift cards…..came back and had dinner out with friends we hadn’t seen in a while at a wonderful Indian restaurant in Catonsville…..Aptly named Indian Delight on Frederick Road. Great chicken tikka masala, and such a bargain. It’s a byob place, and the bill for four was 66 bucks. Love it!
And THAT day I couldn’t have had, if I had been traveling. I’m sooooo glad to be home.

the passing of President Ford
December 28, 2006

It hit me this morning as I was watching coverage of the death of Pres. Gerald Ford and plans for his well-deserved state funeral….his wife Betty, who I think he would agree was his finest asset, reminds me of my dear departed Mother-in law. Don’t know why it never struck me before…Shirley even looked like Betty Ford, and like her, she wasn’t what you would call an outspoken woman. They were both I think somewhat quiet women who didn’t say a lot but when they spoke you listened, because it meant something needed to be said. Betty Ford made the difference to millions of women when she spoke publicly of having breast cancer, at a time most people would have trouble remembering…when women didn’t really speak of it…it had a kind of embarassing stigma.
And she also changed how the world looks at alcohol and drug abuse. There was a time when only drunks and bums drank too much. Not really of course, there were and are, plenty of quiet desperate drinkers….nice women with families and husbands, who had a “little problem”. When she began the Betty Ford Clinic….it became respectable, desirable even, to seek help.
My Mother-in -law never did those things of course…she didn’t have a platform and she didn’t have breast cancer, or a drinking problem. She was one of the quiet, steady women who shepherded their kids through all sorts of difficulties and good times…though it must be said, she never gave advice unless she was asked, and even then it was given gently. Not even to her daughter-in-law. She died almost two years ago from lung cancer…she had been a smoker since she was a teenage girl but had quit some 15 years ago. Shirley died as she lived….quietly and with dignity…not complaining about her lot. But it was too soon for her to go, and not the way any of us would have chosen for her.
I wonder if she ever thought she looked like Betty Ford? Neat, attractive, always put together and hair done….Maybe. I think she would like the comparison.

movies for the holidays
December 28, 2006

One thing I have really looked forward to this week…besides the usual stuff, is catching up on movies I haven’t seen…..a lot are out right now, and quite a few I’ve missed, so I’m netflilx-ing them…can netflix be a verb? It is now…..
Saw Talledega Nights which we missed….Liked it, as I love Will Ferrell, but didn’t love it..Saw The Good Shepherd with Matt Damon, who is fabulous in the part, but really a loooong movie. Saw The Holiday with Jude Law….Cameron Diaz was quite correct when she says inthe film that he is insanely good looking. Wow…..and the film is funny, sweet, a good little flick! The Queen which is still at the Charles, I saw with my daughter who is 20….We both loved it….What a portarit of Queen Elizabeth…and the difficult times she had after Princess Diana died. A must see.
Columbia Mall is crazy this week!! We went there last night for dinner at PF Changs and movie…luckily we had made reservations….other people were being told a 2 hour wait!! I wouldn’t wait two hours for Lutece(which I should add that I have never been there but know it’s fabulous.)…and no doubt they don’t ask people to do that. Just summarily dismiss them with a flick of the hand….

getting back to normal
December 27, 2006

It’s funny how the holidays seem to swallow time whole….it seems like just a few days ago it was the Friday before Christmas….and now it’s the Wednesday after….and the time in between in a kind of furry edged blur.
Finally have the HD really up for business….got the tv early December but nowhere….nowhere, could you get the HD-DVR for Directv. They had you waiting until Jan….so ordered one off the internet…then guys have to put the new hd satellite on the roof…install the box….just let me say it was truly a process…a long process, though I’m sure there are easier ways. My son was home from NY and he added to the process by giving me a new universal remote…one he assured me would render alll others obsolete. I was….skeptical. And he worked on programming the thing for a couple of days…which I would never have done. But it’s true. It does everything. But learning where everything is on a new and complicated remote is….again, a process.
On the other hnd I’m watching a special on the building of the ice hotel in Sweden, I think…..it was program made for high definition. Beautiful.
I hope all of you had a happy, or at least satisfying holiday. We invest so much in it, don’t we? Both financially and emotionally….it’s way too easy to be disappointed by things. I managed to avoid that, pretty much. And this week I’m off, just taking it easy, hanging out with friends and family….working in some hair and doctor’s appts. So exciting!!

I met an angel!!
December 22, 2006

I walked out of WBAL at lunchtime yesterday on my way to get my usual salad…got in my little car and started down the driveway. A strange metallic thrwump thrwump sound was coming from the right rear wheel. Stopped, got out, and you guessed it….flatter than a pancake. What a terrible feeling that is.
But luckily, the angel I was referring to, had stopped his truck when he saw me get out…could have easily driven on by…didn’t know anything was wrong, but waited to find out.
His company, Johnson’s Security and Controls Inc., does out security gate and cameras….he was by to fix a problem….but he had all kinds of tools on his truck, and said, “No problem, I can get you on the road in a minute.” And he proceeded to do just that, put on the spare and the tire with a bolt in it, in my trunk. Hopped in his truck and was gone….What a nice, nice man….Earl, thank you again!!!!!
You see, angels do exist in the world….

Blogging away…..
December 21, 2006

Ok, here’s the thing about blogging. You gotta think about it. It’s kind of like writing a journal…it can be difficult to “find your voice”, at least you unselfconcious voice. Have you ever read something you wrote….FOR YOUR EYES ONLY….years later? It isn’t as though you thought you were writing it for public consumption, yet there is often such a stilted, awkward fake serious quality to it years later, that you laugh at it.
Now I’m pretty used to writing for public viewing or hearing, as I do it almost every day when I write a story or items in 11 News at Five. But that is different. It’s about someone else, not me! Totally different.
First, you don’t want to say something you can’t take back. That is what lots of people have said to me, both inside WBAL and outside….”Aren’t you afraid you’ll say something that you shouldn’t and there it is, for all eternity?” I did think about that, sure. But when you work on television, especially live television, you develop this little internal gauge that tells you …don’t go there, don’t say that, you’ll be sorry. And yes, there are many, many, many things that flit across your mind to say during a newscast, but you certainly don’t say them. Or you don’t if you like your job. And I am very fond of my job.
So that little gauge has served me well for quite a few years on tv, and I hope it will serve me well here. And the purpose of the blog isn’t to be outrageous, at least mine isn’t….it’s just another way of communicating with people, as the world of communications around us changes so fast and so radically that it can take your breath away.
I realized long ago that when you’re on television, you have a relationship with the people who watch you, and they each view that relationship in a different way. Some people like you very much, some too much, and some don’t like you at all. As someone explained to me years ago…you come into their living rooms(or media rooms today), and talk to them about things. In a way, you share their lives. So it is a kind of relationship…this is simply another way of sharing thoughts.
So I leave you with a rule of personal success that I have passed along to my kids and others….and has kept me to good stead….Don’t say five or six things a day you think about saying. Really.

FRUIT FLUSH DIET LIVES ON……
December 20, 2006

Today I had yet another person ask about the Fruit Flush detox diet…..how did I like it, etc. And as I’ have said, I would do it again and may after the holidays to get “back on track”…but I will include in this post an email from a viewer who tried the diet during November and her subsequent results…..You’ll find it interesting:

“MESSAGE:
I wanted to contact Donna Hamilton with an update on MY Fruit Flush experience, here in Texas. I wanted to let her know that I did the Fruit Flush that Wed-Fri weighing in at 202 on Tuesday and 191 on Saturday. I continued eating fruits and veggies and limiting soda, beer, and snacks. I continue to eat a salad for dinner every night along with a very small portion of whatever I prepared for dinner for the rest of my family. I work out 3 days a week – which I’ve done for a few years now. And I do fall of the wagon from time to time. I do a protein day once every couple of weeks too! I have managed to lose more weight and keep it all off. I am at 187 and it is 1 week before Christmas. THANK YOU for the Fruit Flush. My friends and husband have noticed and many ask me about how I am doing it. I say, I am eating what I am supposed to eat. I DO eat bread or chips or cheese or nuts or candy from time to time…but over all, I am just a very careful eater now! THANK YOU!!!
Debbie From Texas “
There you have it from someone other than me….and I am trying not to overdo during the holidays….but man, is it difficult to avoid all temptation and honestly, I don’t want to!