Archive for February, 2007

More Hydrangea Envy
February 27, 2007

This from Susan….

This is for Donna Hamilton … Donna read your blog about hydrangea’s (.sp?) and the reason you don’t get blooms year after year is because you cut the next year’s blooms off … hydrangea’s only produce blooms on “old wood” … so if you take cuttings, you’re taking next year’s blooms with you … admire from the outside … bring few into the home … and you’ll have loads of flowers … “

Susan, I don’t think so, because I’ve never really gotten blooms…just greenery. And I don’t cut them back in the winter because I think this one blooms on old wood…it may have something to do with freezing temps early in season. I’m not sure…..I am simply a failure at hydrangeas!

Donna, I’m so sorry … I have them all along the front of my home … I think about 8 or 9 plants … big ones, so big my husband wants me to cut them back but I won’t; don’t want to trim away this year’s flowers … I do use a product from QVC on them ( or 1-800-345-1515) … can’t hurt to try it … and then watch your plants go crazy … I have to say, mine did … the blooms were scarce and then I saw this product on qvc so I decided to try it … last year, I got so many blooms that the stems layed over … I’ll order it for you, if you tell me the address of the station, I’ll have it delivered to you … you’re certainly welcome to come by and cut some, if you’d like …

Susan, I’m gonna order some!! It can’t hurt, and I’ll try anything…I do really love them. And tell your hubbie he’s crazy!! Let the hys grow wild and free….and be careful what you offer…I could be lurking around your house this summer, with a pair of garden shears….

snow, oscars, and auctions….
February 26, 2007

What a beautiful sight outside….even though I was and am ready for spring, this is my favorite kind of snow…..that fluffy stuff that coats tree limbs, bushes, and garden structures like cotton.
Drove through it yesterday to get to the Center Stage Auction, to be one of their guest auctioneers…hopefully they made lots of money, selling off trips, fishing lessons, wedding gowns, jewelry, crabs, you name it, it was auctioned off. And Center Stage presents such terrific theatre…if you haven’t been, you must! Not only are the tickets actually reasonably priced, I love the shows. Death of a Maiden and Three Sisters, both of which I saw this season, are some of the most memorable productions I’ve seen in a long long time, and in a smaller more initimate theatre setting. Check out their website….
Last night had a tiny oscar party….pomegranite martinis , prime rib, mmmmmm-mmmmm. Love, really love Helen Mirren’s dress. It’s one of the biggest challanges for someone who isn’t 20 or 30 anymore,(and I know), to find a dress that flatters, is appropriate for you, but still beautiful and glamorous. Mirren was a knockout, and always so elegant. (Yes, I have a girl crush on Helen.)And if you haven’t seen the Queen yet…you have to go soon. I have seen it twice and would happily watch it again, and probably will.
Got to get the recycling out(an Inconvenient Truth won best documentary remember…ok, AIT to those in the know!)…cans and bottles today…I hope they come in spite of the snow, ’cause I’m on my way out the door, dragging it through the snow!

No More O.C.?
February 23, 2007

My daughter called me from college crying last night….actually weeping, after seeing the last episode of The O.C..Now, here is a show we have both loved for several years….soap opera, sure, but a very cool one, with fabulous clothes and hair, and really wonderful characters. There was even a test once that you could take to see which character you were most like. (It said I was most like the flawed vixen Julie, but I was pretty certain I most resembled the beauteous, almost always wise and virtuous Kirsten.)
The OC always featured really interesting music from many indie bands that became pretty famous because of the show along the way….and yes, I bought some of the soundtracks. Geekie? I don’t care…
Well, last night was the final episode…The OC is no more….I didn’t see it, but knew that Tivo had my back. As my daughter was, through her tears, revealing some of what happened in the finale, I pleaded with her not to tell too much, and reasssured her that life as we know it, would indeed go on, and there will be other shows, etc.
But this morning, I looked through my “list”… that’s the list of shows that are waiting to be watched recorded on the dvr, and….no OC from last night. NO OC FROM LAST NIGHT , DID YOU HEAR ME????
Yeah, who’s crying now?

Hydrangea Envy: the women who love them but can’t grow them
February 22, 2007

I have some really gorgeous hydrangeas sitting on my (messy) desk. A little spot of beauty in a sea of flotsam and jetsam. These particular hydrangeas, pink, are in a pretty basket with a polka-dotted pink bow on them.
I was at my desk Tuesday, when Carrie Engel from Valleyview Farms was on 11 News at noon….As soon as I saw she had my favorite flower with her, I grabbed my checkbook and headed up to the studio, and the moment she was off the air, said, “If no one else has called them, I want those hydrangeas!“. Carrie is so very kind, she gave them to me for more than a fair price, and now they are mine, all mine.
My relationship with hydrangeas, is…. complicated. I don’t really know why I like them so much…we didn’t have them around, growing up in Alabama…we had gardenia bushes that grew outside our door, and I usually had a gardenia clipped in my hair on Easter Sunday. I remember some tall hollyhocks, which when the blooms fell off, they look like a head, wearing a pleated dress….I used them as tiny dolls.(Gosh, that sounds so….sad, really, but it wasn’t.)
Anyway, we had no hydrangeas. But now, I covet them. Not like them a lot…covet them…am jealous of people who have huge bushes literally covered with blooms in the summer, seemingly with no effort. And I don’t really think they appreciate them…I’ll bet they don’t even cut a bouquet and take it indoors.
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about stopping at a complete stranger’s door and asking if I can cut a few blossoms from their thousands of them, for a few bucks. I have never done this, as people at the door would think me a possibly dangerous, demented woman…and who could blame them? But the truth is, I can’t grow hydrangeas…those glorious mopheads, pink and blue and white too….Oh I’ve tried, really I have, and the bush comes back with green leaves. One year it gave me a single, rather spindly bloom. But nothing worth looking at. What is wrong with me? Or what’s wrong with my garden? Why can’t I grow hydrangeas too?
Perhaps one day I’ll discover the secret. In the meantime, I’ll buy them…no I won’t stop at your door, don’t worry….from a real store. And to give these particular pink hydrangeas a better home, I’ll clean up my desk…promise.

Saving the Senator
February 20, 2007

If you’ve never gone to the Senator Theatre on York Road, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about….I mean, why go to an old theater WITHOUT STADIUM SEATING, which seems to be a necessary commodity for movie goers today. But for me, the Senator provides a step back into the past, in the most wonderful way. A fabulous lobby, real butter on the popcorn, and 900 seats, art deco bathrooms, a huge screen with all the modern blandishments like dolby surround sound. It is really an experience to see a movie there. No multiplex can really compare to it. Just try it, even if you have to drive a way, and you’ll seee what I mean.
And as an added note, owner Tom Kiefaber is the nicest guy in the world, a man truly devoted to keeping the Senator alive…it’s his life mission.
I’ve seen so many movies there over the years, and this state would lose a part of its soul, if we just let it slip away. So if you can, write a check, a little one or even better a big one(you can also dontate through paypal, and help preserve the Senator for those who will come behind you. You can take your kids or grandkids there, and say, “this is what it was like going to the moveis when I was a kid.”
Oh, and the movie playing there right now “Music and Lyrics”, starring Hugh Grant (my favorite) and Drew Barrymore, is really a terrific film. Noting heavy, just a really sweet, really funny romantic comedy, that will have you leaving the theatre happier, especially if you know that the Seantor will still be there for the next film.

Peanut butter and jelly anyone??
February 19, 2007

It’s the craziest story we’ve covered in a while( no wait, I can think of several crazier than this one)…but still you must admit it is unusual. Peanut butter making people sick?? It is the one staple you always thought just sat there, safe and sound on a shelf, unrefrigerated, but now, at least for one brand, it is the source of salmonella. We continue to get emails from viewers, thanking us for our coverage. Many of them had been sick several times, and just thought they had a virus, but now think it was the peanut butter.
Salmonella is usually associated with undercooked eggs and poultry,raw meat, but there have been cases of ususual foods contaminated with it…like raw almonds and tahini, of all things.And sometimes the source of the infection is never found. Here are some of the emails we’ve received:

“My husband and I are so thankful to you for telling us about the tainted peanut butter! I found “no sugar added” Peter Pan peanut butter which we were really excited about, so I bought 3 jars! However, we haven’t opened them yet, and I just checked to find that they have the numbers 21116 on them. I will be returning the lids to the address you have listed for us. We are forever indebted to you. Keep up the great work!”
“I am a another victim of the Peter Pan Pain in the stomach. I thought that I was getting a bad case of the stomach virse every month since Novemeber 2006. It was the flu season and a lot of that was going around. I had moved to a new work station and complained that since I was there I had the stomach virus three times. Just last week I had to sit in someone elses cube, so I used Lysole to wipe down everything for fear of getting sick again. Well last Friday night my husband began having very bad pains in the stomach and a bad case of diahrrea and I followed shortly after. We were both weak and tired. We stayed on soup and crackers for a few days until we got better and then was careful of what we ate for a week. The night before we had a snack that we eat a couple times a month. PEANUT BUTTER AND CRACKERS. I decided to look at the lid of the jar of Peter Pan that I have in my cabinet and low and behold I found the numbers 2111. “
” hi, I am a 77 yr old female, I have 1 jar of nearly finished Peter Pan Peanut Butter with the starting numbers of 2111, I have my 10 yr old grandson that lives with me, we have recently experienced what appearted to be repeated bouts of 24 hr stomach viruses that also caused my grandson to lose time from school, but not bad enough to see a doctor, but after hearing this thing about the Peter Pan Peanut Butter scare, now I know what to link our stomach illnesses to. Just wanted to contact you and let you know that I have become another Peter Pan Peanut Butter sufferer along with my 10 yr old grandson.”

Who Moved My Cheese??
February 18, 2007

Or rather, who ate my cheese….
One of my Alabama sisters, sent us an ususual Christmas gift this year. A can of cheese. Yes, a can of cheese.
Before it arrived, she told me that something was headed our way, and to put it in the frig until Christmas. I did, and on Christmas unwrapped this 1 lb. 14 oz. can of Natural Cougar Gold Cheese…It’s made at Washington State University. They have their own creamery, whose goal is to provide research and teaching opportunities, and financial support to students. They started putting cheese in cans in the 1930s, because there was no plastic yet, and wax cracked. And they still put it in cans!
On their website( you can order cheese…Cougar Gold being the favorite, a really nice, nutty cheddar, but they also make smokey cheddar, sweet basil, and hot pepper.
I was a little skeptical about cheese in a can, I won’t lie, but it is soooo yummy, and now, after any number of grilled cheese sandwiches and scrambled eggs with cheese, the can is empty, only a few cheddar crumbs left. The last chunk of it was happily consumed this morning. Time to order more canned cheese. I’ll recycle the can, though there are amusing ideas on things to make with the leftover cans on the creamery website….

something rotten in Denmark, I mean my freezer…
February 16, 2007

I really feel for all of you who have been without power the last few freezing days…Having spent one weekend without heating oil, during a snowstorm weekend a few years back, I remember how awful it was with no heat…but at least we had electricity!!!
But I had a very tiny slice of what happens without power this week. I have a spare refrigerator/freezer downstairs in the basement…just for extra stuff, and it’s nice to have the extra space when you need it. And if I find meat on sale, that’s where it goes, in that freezer.
Yesterday, I opened the spare refrigerator door and no light came on, and I quickly realized it was…oh please tell me it isn’t but it is……room temperature. Obviously there had been no power to it for some while and I just hadn’t opened the fridge!! There was only some soda and beer in the frig…no problem, but with a deep feeling of dread, I opened the freezer. Ohmigoodnesswhatasmell!!!! Some formerly nice steaks, a couple of pork loins and chicken breasts…all rotting and spilling their smelly juices everywhere. Trust me when I tell you that if this has never happened to you(and it never had to me either), it is truly disgusting. I enlisted my husband to get all the putrid stuff out…that’s what husbands do, am I right ladies? Then it was my part of the task to clean it out. Nasty business, that. Now it’s airing out, and hopefully….hopefully, it won’t smell when we replug it and close the doors.
I never did figure out how it came unplugged from the wall, but clearly it pays to check it every few days. And I fervently hope all of you have your power back, and soon!

Valentine’s addendum II
February 15, 2007

Ok last night I was leaving work to go home and tried to make a couple of calls on my cell phone….and I kept getting the same message…”Your account cannot be validated.” Wow, had I somehow neglected paying my bill? Surely not….and no, that wasn’t the case.
So I called my provider and FINALLY got an operator, told them of my issue, and after providing all the appropriate info, she told me “Your information has been transferred to a new phone”.
“That’s not possible”, I replied…I’m looking at the same old phone I’ve had since….well, forever it seems like. (I should add my daughter makes fun of me because of she considers an antiquated cell phone, but hey, it works.)
The operator assured me my information had indeed been transferred to a new account. That really scared me…identity theft? Someone using my name and account number???
But then she said something about a red razor phone….and it hit me. It was a Valentine’s gift…I had admired that very phone just a couple of weeks ago…
I told the operator that it must be a gift…she laughed and said, “yes it is, but please, act like it’s a surprise!”
And it is cute, and part of the money goes to help prevent aids in Africa, part of the RED campaign…As soon as I figure out how to work all its tricky little functions, I’ll call you!

Valentine’s addendum
February 14, 2007

OK, with all the flowers and diamonds being passed around today, I agree with something I heard on the Marc Steiner radio program around lunchtime…Love doesn’t make the world go round , but it does make the ride worthwhile.
As I was getting ready to go to work this morning, my husband asked if he could drive me to work, or follow me there to make sure I got there OK…I assured him I was up to the problem. And he said, “Ok, then I’m gonna go drive around to find out what the roads are like, and I’ll call you”. So sweet….and that’s what someone really wants on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, to know someone really cares about you. Thank you!