Archive for March, 2007

Making my own cat food????????
March 30, 2007

Watching the Today Show this morning(I should have added that to my must-see list, as I watch it everyday), I saw a woman who was now making her own dogfood, after the pet food scare that has sickened and killed more animals than we presently know about. And not an easy death….animals that have grown sick over time, being slowly poisoned by their unknowing owners…and they’re left with thousands of dollars in vet bills. Horrifying enough to make you want to make your own pet food!
And I love my cats….

I have two, Wild Kitty, seen here with the raggedy ear, and Muffy, a little calico, a former barn kitten.
Wild Kitty wandered up about two years ago, and we first thought he was a feral cat(thus wild kitty), but I felt so sorry for him, foraging out in the cold, we began feeding him. SLowly over time, I realized he seemed tame….so tentatively…extremely tentatively, put down a hand to pet his head. A huge, rusty, purr burst from his chest, and he and I fell in love right then and there.
He’s a most unusual cat…big, always wants to be in your lap, and makes friends with anyone who comes through the front door. As a repairman remarked the other day, after Wild Kitty wouldn’t leave him alone…”He’s more like a dog than a cat.”
So true, even though I think it was thinly veiled insult to other cats….Wild Kitty is a love.
So I thought, maybe I could make their food…..and went to catnutrition.org and found this…..
“Small cats? They’re designed to eat other animals. And they’re built to eat those animals raw. Cooking is the enemy of the nutrients and living enzymes that cats need to thrive. No, the cats living under our roof are hardly living in the wild, but biologically, they remain true carnivores. And their ideal diet would consist, for example, of freshly killed mice and small birds.”
OK, so far, not my cup of tea. I really doon’t have the time to kill birds and mice for them….I went on to find an actual recipe that calls for raw meat and bones, raw heart(for taurine), liver , egg yolks, salmon oil, kelp, vitamin E…..quite complicated. Forget it.
But they did make a good point, as my vet did when last year I brought in a FAT Wild Kitty, that dry cat food is not good for a cat. It’s not what they were intended to eat. So I have switched to all wet cat food…OK, with a few sprinkles of dry on top…hey, they like it! He did drop some flab.
AND, if I did make my own, WK and Muffy would be deprived of the sound they love most in the world….the pop!, the catfood can makes when it’s peeled off. It’s like my being deprived of my boo-boop sound off the DVR.

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What’s on your tv???????
March 29, 2007

I am a little suspicious of people who say they “never watch tv”. Never, ever? First, I doubt their truthfulness, and then think, wow, what a lot of great stuff you’re missing (ok, and some crappy stuff…)
And then, there are people who make a point of telling me about their non-tv viewing, when they find I work in broadcasting. To me, that’s like saying to someone who works at Nordstrom’s, “Oh, I NEVER shop at Nordstrom’s”….kind of rude, really, when a simple “on, that must be interesting” would suffice. And I don’t really care if you watch tv or not. Ok, move on Donna.

I do think WHAT you watch says a lot about who you really are. As I told you yesterday, tivo makes you prioritize which shows are really important to you. If there are more than two at the same, you must choose. This is often painful. Here’s the top of my list these days, and yes, it has changed from last year….

Must-sees:
24….Still great after all these years. Stan Stovall missed it this week, but I’m taking him a copy. We’re both addicted.
Ugly Betty…funny, funny really sharp and different comedy. Love America Ferrera!
30 Rock….another new, very witty show. Tracey Jordan and Alec Baldwin steal the show. Unlike Studio 60, it’s a show based on the tv comedy world that you want to see. See Studio 60 below, way below.
Heroes…I’m the only one in the house who likes it, but I think it is so unique from other programs, but can they sustain it? Or will it become “Lost”?
Friday Night Lights…Some people were disappointed by the lack of football action, but the storyline is terrific, and I love the coach and his family.
Living with Ed…an HGTV program featuring actor Ed Begley Jr….I’ve written about this show previously, but it’s funny and you can pick up some interesting green tips. Quirky, but I love it, and oddly, so does my 20 year old daughter!

MIDDLING SHOWS….on their way down or up, are the following:
Planet Earth…Just started this Sunday on Discovery HD, but spectacular! I think this will become a must see….give it a try.
The Riches…Quirky show about gypsies taking over someone else’s upscale life. I like it…on it’s way up my list, I think.
Brothers and Sisters…I like it, but not a must see.On the way down?
Medium…It’s first season, I adored this show, and I still like it very much. The family interplay is still first rate, I guess it has suffered from a “seen-it” effect.
CSI…I still enjoy the show, but….
Daily Show…still love Jon Stewart, but it does come on a lot, and can clog up the tivo a bit.
House….It’s always excellant and I always enjoy it when I see it, which is…sometimes.

Show that have fallen off my radar:
Studio 60….Much ballyhooed by NBC….Thought I’d love it, tivoed it, watched it at the first of the season, waiting for the love to come. It never did.That seemed to happen to lots of people.
Desperate Housewives….I don’t know what happened here. I really loved the show the first two seasons, but this season,I just haven’t watched.
Lost…This one hurts me, because I really loved the show the first two seasons, and was a devoted viewer. But this season I (and my dvr) missed the first episode, so I just never got on board. Haven’t seen one all season….and I survived anyway!!

Me and my "tivo"
March 28, 2007

Someone told me, a year or two ago, that having Tivo would change your life…change the way you watch television. I believe I scoffed at them….how is that possible?
Now, I know it is true. It is quite distressing to me today, to watch television without Tivo…which I did recently on vacation. So, so old school!
For those of you who don’t have it (and one day you will, mark my words), let me explain. It changes the way you watch tv…..no, no,no, someone else said that.
Actually the biggest change for me is that while I could NEVER record on a vcr, unless I was standing there to actually push the record button, which most often, deleted the need for the recording, now I can record, at will. Anything I want. Really. And it’s easy!
The other way thing that has changed is the ability to pause television at will. There was a time my mind couldn’t wrap itself around that concept. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? But it is, and the ability to watch a scene over again, because of purient interest value, or because you didn’t quite catch what someone said, is pricelss! Now when someone says’ “Did you see that?, and you didn’t, now you can…a thousand times , if you wish.
Now, I should clarify…I don’t really have Tivo. I use the term generically, like lots of people do, but my system, alas, isn’t Tivo. As I have Directv, my high def system is their HR-20….they left tivo behind. Why I could not tell you.
First, there is no boo-boop. That is the cute little sound made before, when I fast forwarded through something or rewatched something. I loved that sound. It has been silenced with the HR-20.
And something much more disturbing has been happening. Through certain shows, often 24…I don’t know why…the audio digitilizes, which sounds like a voice is digitally garbled, or the sound drops out commpletely for a few seconds. And it can do this a couple of times, OR render the program virtaully unwatchable.
I called Directv about my problem, and they agreeably sent a repairman to take a look at things. He said he had no clue as to what was happening…..maybe a glitch in the matrix, I asked. He gave me a thin smile.
But from what I read (oh yes, I googled my problem), I am not alone out there. Not even close! This seems to be, according to those who know more than I do about the subject, a dark side to the HR-20….this is Directv’s HD DVR recorder. It has “some problems”. Yeah, tell me something I don’t know. The answer? Unknown.
But last night I watched 24 with only a couple of glitches….no big problems. And even with some issues, watching tv with the system is sooooo much better than without. And my “tivo” has made me realize which shows are really important to me. It mades you priortize.And those decisions tell you who you really are.
Tomorrow I’ll share which shows are high on my list, the middling ones, and which have, sob, fallen off my radar completely.Why Lost, why?

Oh, for Pete’s sake…..
March 27, 2007

Perhaps it isn’t surprising, all the hubbub over John and Elizabeth Edwards continuing his presidential quest, in the face of her breast cancer returning. I heard many people commenting they would never consider continuing such a daunting activity as a political campaign, but then again, they are not the Edwards family. It takes a most unusual and driven person…and couple… to WANT to run for president anyway, so it’s kinda difficult to imagine being them.
But if I found I had cancer today, or member of family did, would I quit my job and stop carrying on my life as I know it? No, I wouldn’t. I think I would try to maintain my career, and my activities and my family life as normal….even though there would no doubt be some interruptions. And it seems, that’s what John and Elizabeth Edwards are doing, even though their lives involve the presidential campaign trail, something most of us cannot imagine.
Would it be my decision or yours? Maybe not, but it is theirs. And I wish her and her children all the best.
What columnist Ann Landers used with some frequency comes to mind, when people would write in concerning themselves with other people’s lives….MYOB….for those who never read Ann Landers….mind your own business.

Sunshine, and sore muscles…..
March 25, 2007

Saturday, in that dreary, chilly half rain, I could not resist the siren call of Home Depot’s garden department. Oh, I wasn’t alone. There were a few other sad sacks, wishing spring into existence with the very act of buying flowers and plants. I bought some pansies…periwinkle blue…and some other little things I don’t know the name of, but like the looks of.
Having made the mistake of wearing my little thin soled black flats….what did I think the weather was, anyway….I was gingerly sidestepping puddles, and thinking, what as I doing here? But I convinced myself I should go ahead and buy some plants, it was supposed to be sunny tomorrow. At least I have the plants in hand and the buying is done…on to planting.
So I bought, and left them in the car, deciding they’d be happier there overnight than out in the cold.
This afternoon, with spring much more in the air than yesterday, I go to it. Planted the front window boxes(and they look pretty, a nice mix of the pansies and the others I don’t know), and some pots in the back. And grabbed a pretty, fern…nothing says warm weather like a fern. I’m looking at it right now out the back garden, blowing gently in the wind, right by the “water feature”, as they say in England. A couple of years ago we added one in the back…I love the sound of trickling water, though several people have told me it makes them go to the bathroom. There’s medication for that, I replied.
Whatever, spring is springing…almost…I know, I know, we could still get snow, most probably a frost. I don’t care!! I am willing spring to be here…NOW. And in my garden, with some sweat equity, it looks a little more like that is true. My back assures me it is. I’m so ready for spring.

It’s a winner!! Actually two winners!!
March 24, 2007

I told you I would report back about Dogwood Deli on 36th St. in Hampden. Three words for you…..they get it. There are those establishments who seem to understand what people are looking for when they eat out. Good food, nice surroundings, competent, friendly service. It seems like such a simple formula reallly, that it’s surprising more can’t accomplish it. Dogwood does.
They took the funky, “quaint” interiors of Mamie’s(which had a pretty nice vibe) and streamlined them into a modern, subdued yet colorful room, with lots of candles.(I am a candle lover.)
And the food? Well last week one night after working a little late, I stopped by their gourmet to go, and picked up two Rosemary-Peppered Roast Beef and Blue sandwiches. Grass fed beef from Pa, roasted and siced thin, served on ciabatta bread, topped with apricot horseradish chutney, blud cheese and thyme grilled onions, servd warm. Ab Fab.(absolutely fabulous for those of you who’ve never seen the show.) Price: $8.10 each…not cheap but worth the price.
Dinner last night started with a glass of the wine I had bought earlier at Well’s Liquors wine sale going on….a pinot grigio….Right now Dogwood does not have a liquor license, though it’s in the works, so you’re free to bring your own!!
Started with four grilled Chesapeake oysters($11.75)…topped with sauteed spinach, local smoked bacon and grain mustard-chevre sauce. What a terrific combination of flavors…but you could still taste the oysters. Then on to lamb shank braised in guiness(26.50) and seared wild Chesapeake rockfish with crabcake($21.00). Both really, really excellant. The rockfish was soooooooo tender.
You’ll find all Dogwood’s menus online.Great dinner. And you know what’s really nice? Their mission is to provide natural food from local suppliers and farmers they trust, use as much organic as possible,and treat their employees right. Chef Galen Sampson was, by the way, the Executive Chef at Harbor Court for 9 years….and owning his own restaurant has been a dream of his and wife Bridget, for a long time. Bridget is the “face” of Dogwood….and so nice.
OK, the movie! The Shooter, starring Mark the hunkster Wahlberg. I give it a solid B, maybe a B plus. Good plot with twist and turns, plenty of action scenes(natch), even a little romance thrown in….I really enjoyed it. Saw it at the Rotunda, which oddly, didn’t have it on the marqee outside, but it is playing there. There was this one scene tha I found amusing….our hero is having a bullet cut out of his shoulder, the camera is overhead gazing down him on the bed, naughty bits covered discreetly by a small towel….and the only light is a bedside lamp, which does admittedly throw his admirable musculature into relief quite beautifully…but come on….she has no light to operate by! Just kinda funny.

Moving Day!!! The joy and the ugh…..
March 23, 2007

Here at WBAL….we are moving into a brand new newsroom, as the first part of a total building renovation. I’m sorry to gloat, truly I am… but I’m really, really glad we get to move into new digs first!!
Now, here’s the thing. Where we have been, on the first floor, is being transferred up to the second floor, so down here is …today totally trashed, though that’s where the newscasts are being produced from today. I mean really, awfully, dustily, dirtily, stuff-all-over-the-place…trashed. You know the look when you move. And you wouldn’t believe all the old pictures, plaques, tapes, books that people (including me, have saved, for reasons unknown.)
Not that I’m complaining…..far from it. I can’t wait to get up to a new modern, high ceilinged, plasma-screen looking, fancy bathroomed second floor. Where we have been forever, is…how to put this delicately and inoffensively. Modest? No,no, that’s not honest. Old-school? Still, too nice. Oh, for Pete’s sake, it was kind of a pit, OK? Just an OLD, kinda dirty newsroom. I feel like I’m going to heaven!
And the new bathrooms! Our bathrooms here hadn’t been renovated, since the building went up in 1962 (I think)…..you know the look. REAL vintage. Now, the new bathrooms look like restrooms in a really upscale hotel in Scottsdale(as one person put it, but I thought it was accurate)…gorgeous tile and fixtures. I may move into one.
And, it’s Friday! You know how I feel about Friday. I’m gonna eat out tonight at the Dogwood Deli restaurant on 36th St. in Hampden….I’ll let you know how it is…..and seeing The Shooter with Mark Wahlburg….love him! I saw the Sun gave it a B-….so for an action movie, which critics often don’t like it seems to me, that’s not too bad of a review. I’m in.

Ah, Wilderness!
March 22, 2007

No, I didn’t take a trip into the forest,but I did go downtown to Center Stage for the opening night of their new production of Eugene O’Neill’s play….that’s right….”Ah, Wilderness”. I love Center Stage. The Pearlstone Theatre is so intimate…all the seats are great, and you’re so close to the action, no matter where you sit. Now the play.
I truly enjoyed it. While no theatre critic, I took a trip back to a sweeter, more innocent era than the one in which we now live. O’Neill himself described the play as a kind of “wishing out loud”, for a life he himself never got to lead, nor most of us, I’m sure. But it’s also about a young man who has many yearnings, which his parents think are immoral and dangerous…and they’re trying to mold him into being the kind of young man THEY think he should be. Ummmm, sound like your folks?
Bob Braswell is wonderful as the young man…..He has a real sweetness about him, that is perfect for an idealistic young man on the cusp of adulthood.And the play is very funny!!
Anyway…go see it….it’s at Center Stage through April 15th.
And if you’re looking for dinner beforehand, we went to The Helmand, on Charles St., Just 3 blocks from Center Stage, so you can walk over and back…no problem.
If you’ve never tried Afgan cuisine….let me assure you, it’s delish! We had Lamb Lawand, boneless lamb sautéed with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, and herb seasoning topped with a dressing of yogurt and sour crème. Served with sabzy (spinach) and challow(rice), and Chopendez, Tenderloin of beef, marinated in fresh garlic, Afghan seasonings and onions char-grilled. Yummy. And for those of you who are fans of Helmand, you know that this place is a great dining bargain….most entrees are around 13 bucks! Nice reasonable wine list…and try the Kaddo Borawni…
pan fried and baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce. I know, I know, it sounds like pumpkin pie, but it’s a fabulous appetizer.
I was so happy to rediscover this jewel, and on a Wednesday night, it was packed! Reservations never hurt, though we didn’t have any, and they had room anyway…good evening!

Update: I am just so mad!!
March 20, 2007

I received several kind emails about what happened to my Mom over the weekend….like this one from a similarly outraged viewer….

“I read Donna Hamilton’s Blog often and really enjoy it. It is usually very informative and today’s hit close to home. I wish that someone would go further with the way our senior citizens get taken across. The piece on NBC didn’t touch the tip of the iceburg. What happened to Donna’s Mom is outrageous and I trust they catch the dirty thief and prosecute to the fullest. A few years ago I had an elderly aunt and uncle that were as close to me as parents. A woman from their church started to spend time with them and before I knew it she had their power of attorney, had them change their will, and finally distance themselves from me and my family. When they passed away she inherited practically everything including a substantial amount of money and some family heirlooms. So this is just another way that the elderly are getting taken and you normally don’t see it coming until it is too late.”

Yes, taking advantage of the elderly, is all to easy for many people. They are vulnerable. My Mom, by the way is feeling a little better about the whole sad thing.Still no arrest. I don’t know that she will ever trust someone in her home again, though we have begged her to allow more help….and now this.
But she is a tough little lady, who’s been through plenty in her life, one of the “greatest generation” don’t you know. She doesn’t whine a lot, just picks herself up and moves on. I hope I am like her in that regard….resilient….because you never knows what’s around the corner.

I am just so mad!!
March 20, 2007

My Mom, who will be 87 this spring, lives in Alabama, which is also where I grew up. I got a phone call last night from my sister…one of my sisters…telling me my sweet little Mommy, who uses a walker and a wheelchair to get around, had been robbed. Not by a mugger in an alley, but by someone who had supposedly come in to “help” her.
Can you imagine? An elderly woman taking a bath, so you use the time to take her credit cards and license, and social security card.
This all happened on Saturday….My sister who lives close, was at the lake, so Mom didn’t want to bother her, but she’d had a dizzy spell….she’s had problems with vertigo lately. So she felt quite proud of herself, that she called the mangement of the retirement community where she lives to get some help while she bathed. They told her their “personal care” people weren’t there on the weekend, but they contracted out to an agency who would supply someone. And they did. Thanks a lot for the help.
The awful thing is that my Mom, who is suspicious anyway( probably good for her), will now be totally robbed of trusting people who really are there to help her. No small loss, even though no monetary loss has occured(at least so far as we know). Walmart turned down a $2000 charge attempt….another smelled something wrong with a $1500 attempt. My Mom had no idea anything had happened until the credit card companies called her yesterday over “suspicious activity” on her card. Thank goodness for that. Otherwise she might still have no idea….it’s not as though she runs out to the store everyday like I do.
Anyway, I just feel so angry for her. Not that’s it’s unusual to take advantage of the weak and elderly…it happens all the time, alas. But it’s just another example of how hard it is for families to take care of their aging parents, when they live far away, and even when they live right in town.
NBC did a terrific series on aging parent issues….using Brian Williams, Ann Curry and Tim Russert and their elderly parents and the problems and obstacles they face. And they, like our family, are ones who are fortunate to have resources, and it’s still hard! I can only imagine how difficult it is, when those resources don’t exist. My heart goes out to them.
And for those of you whose parents aren’t yet in that situation of needing lots of help, you might want to at least begin thinking about it. Because it is coming. Lots of difficult and sometimes painful decisions to be made. When to leave the family home….how to handle finances…who will do the caretaking.
I hope my Mom can put this behind her, although she feels so violated. Not too strange really. She was.