Archive for May, 2007

My New Summer Guilty Pleasure….
May 31, 2007

OK, here’s the truth. ever since The O.C. went off the air, there’s been a hole in my tv viewing. A hole in my tv soul…if there is such a thing.
I’ve been iso:
1. Beautiful settings.
2. Complicated, conflicted teenagers.
3. Sexy parents who have problems of their own, ok, so don’t bother me….
4. Twists and turns in the plot.
5. Nothing I have to give too much thought to.
6. A show my daughter and I can talk about, as in, “Can you believe what happened on Hidden Palms last night?!”

I think I’ve found my new show. Hidden Palms, on the CW Network at 8 PM. It’s by Kevin Williamson, of Dawson’s Creek fame. He knows complicated teens.
You’ve got a kid who’s fresh out of rehab after his Dad killed himself in front of the kid(so thoughtful, that father), a Mom who promptly marries the next meal ticket, another kid who blows up her garage, another one who seems perfect on the surface but CLEARLY has something dark going on…read, mystery, …a girl who likes to run through the sprinklers at night on the immaculately groomed golf course(bet the groundskeeper loves that), and the rest of the parents who are story lines waiting to be fleshed out. What’s not to like?
Oh, and it’s pretty…very very pretty. A great home decorating show if the fiction part doesn’t work out.
I think I like it…..Delicious, and guilty, like an Otterbein’s chocolate chip cookie, which I’m eating right now.

P.S. Tonight, another guilty summer pleasure to look forward to….The Starter Wife on USA Channel, starring Debra Messing of Will and Grace fame. When her husband tells her he’s leaving her, she describes all the things she has done for him so he didn’t have to do them and end with “And I did it all with PERFECT HAIR!!!”
I can relate… least to the part where you have to do it with perfect hair.
Time to make a color appt.

Just when Lindsay Lohan needs a parent…..
May 30, 2007

I have followed like many of you, what are called the “antics” of Lindsay Lohan. She’s such a cute girl, and seems to be a pretty talented actress….but here she is splashed across the covers of many, many newspapers and gossip magazines, either asleep or passed out in the front seat of a car.
“Lohan gives up the money shot” says an article in The Baltimore Sun, a fascinating look at how a picture like that(you wonder how on earth they are at the right moment at the right time…an inside job?), means big bucks to paparazzi agency X17.
And just when Lindsay Lohan needs her Mom and Dad to take her in hand and say, “OK young lady, something has to change and now”…they don’t really have a big say, in all probability. That’s the problem when a 20 year old makes more money than God.

My daughter turns 21 this week…she’s a college student and I haven’t had access to her medical records for a few years now….I’ve called her at 7 in the morning before, while trying to straighten out a prescription problem, when the person at Merck told me they couldn’t release any information without my daughter’ consent.
“Hey, guess who’s paying for this prescription?” I wanted to yell, but just meekly woke up my slumbering girl for a 3-way call to talk medicine.
Soooooo, she will soon be 21…an adult in every respect, but I still have a lot of clout with her. That is partly emotional…she really cares what I think,(most the time). That’s the carrot. And it’s also financial….she NEEDS us for money. That’s the big stick.
Lindsay’s parents don’t have that and haven’t for a long time. And not only do they not have the money stick, they may even be monetarily dependant on her for their own living.
And this my friends, is things get seriously mucked up. When your kid is a meal ticket, I don’t care how much you love them, it’s hard to separate the money forest from the money trees. Know what I mean?
Holy greenback, if you really tell your kid to stop it right now….they might just say, “Mom, you’re fired.”
Not a good situation for anyone. Certainly not for LL, who needs a strong Mom and Dad right now, more than she ever did.

Reading the obits……
May 29, 2007

I’m home today with a virus…the yucky kind…so I’ve had a little more time than usual to pore overr the obituaries. I think reading the obits is an aquired taste…you probably don’t do it when you’re in your 20s, unless you’re a little morbid…but as you get older, I don’t know if it’s that you get a whiff of your own mortality, or you just have more interest in someone’s life story, or both, but I often find them completely fascinating.
One earlier this week in The Sun, was about anesthesiologist John Wells who had died at the age of 92! He was the fourth of six children, grew up in Pimlico, took flute lessons from Jean-Pierre-Louis Rampal while stationed in France in WWII, built sailboats….you get it…an interesting life well lived.
And of course on the front page today, the death of former congressman Parren Mitchell…civil rights activist, Maryland’s first black congressman…that I knew, but I didn’t know he was a commissioned army office in WWII and received the Purple Heart.
Not everyone gets the big well-written obit, much less the front page of course. Sometimes it’s no more than a paragraph that has the challenge of summing up a life. And I have a theory, that anyone’s life….ansolutely anyone’s, is fascinating if you take the time to hear their story. And everyone has a story.

On this Memorial Day, Turn Down the Thermostat…
May 28, 2007

I have finally replaced all the old thermostats(I being a loosely used term for they)in my house, and with a big old fat BGE rate increase set to fall in place this Friday, it will help save a few bucks. In spite of your best efforts to remember to turn down the thermostat when you leave the house or go to bed, it’s easy to forget, and there it is…the whole system chugging away, heating or cooling for nobody. What a terrible waste, and a silly expense.
I’m a pretty frugal person really. I was brought up that way…my Mom would only run maybe four inches in the bathtub for our baths…when we would ask for more, she’d just say, “That’s plenty of water for a bath. Water costs money.”
And it does, and there are plenty of people who say one day, water will be more expensive than oil….which in spite of our pain at the gas pump these days, it’s still cheap. Too cheap for us to have really started taking conservation seriously.

I watched a sobering documentary this weekend….that really got me thinking. There are many experts in A Crude Awakening (on both sides of the political spectrum…and MD Congressman Roscoe Bartlett is quoted quite a few times) who say Americans especially, who slurp up 25 % of the world’s energy, yet only have 2% of the world’s oil reserves, are in for a rude shock down the road, and that the end of that oil-slicked road may be sooner than we think, unless some things change, pronto.
One expert says, “We Americans think our eyes are being gouged out paying $3.20 a gallon for gas.” He goes on to say that is 20 cents a cup! So we pay about 50 bucks a gallon for Starbucks coffee…..and do so happily, every day, yet the public is unwilling to pay the same or more for the very thing that keeps our society rolling merrily along. Hmmmmmmm. What’s wrong with this picture?
I dare you to rent and watch A Crude Awakening.

And while I’m at it( might a well really use my time on the soapbox fully), here’s a practical and cute little book I saw at HOMETOWN GIRL in Hampden,(OK, everything in the store is cute)….called 1001 Ways to Save the Earth.
It’s by Joanna Yarrow, a United Kingdom-based expert on sustainable living. The book is packed with tips that will inspire even veteran recyclers, like myself….

Here’s one….”Longer grass retains moisture better than short turf, so in hot weather, let your grass grow to at least 1&1/2″ before you cut it to avoid brown patches and unnecessary watering”.
So don’t cut the grass, turn down the thermostat, and try not to make a trip in the car today…. Happy Memorial Day!!

Stop to smell the roses
May 24, 2007

I try to walk in the mornings…it’s good exercise and the weather is soooo nice right now, It really gets my day off to a good start. And you see some things that if you were driving, you’d probably never notice. I love this little planter…not big or terribly showy, but just such a colorful addition to their porch.

And I’m sure you would see lots of these critters in your neighborhood as well…window cats. I’ve often thought for cat lovers at least, a calendar of cats in windows would be a good seller. They just look so cute, and what cat doesn’t like a good view?
This basket I noticed hanging from a tree…just so pretty. Again, not big but such a pretty focal point if you can see it through your window.

A Good Haircut….Priceless…
May 24, 2007

One of the things I have to make time for is a haircut….a good haircut. OK, sometimes I put it off a little longer than I should, but I get there eventurally. And I know many of you will agree with me, getting a really good cut is sometimes easier said than done. Over my lifetime, I’ve had a few, just a few, that left me horrified!
So when you find someone who does a great cut, you stick to them like glue, and hope they don’t leave town. For the last eight years or so, I’ve made a beeline for Chas in Federal Hill(I don’t think he knew I took this picture, sorry)….such a lovely man, I always enjoy his company, AND more importantly, I leave feeling really good about my hair. No small task, as I’m not that easy to please.
I told Chas that one time a couple of years ago, we were going out to dinner with friends….the man’s wife and I were in the backseat talking hair…who does yours, etc., your hair is so pretty, no yours is…you know the conversation.
When I said Chas cut my hair, her husband whipped his head around and exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to meet someone who had their hair cut by Chas!”
I assured him that his quest was over.
Hair, especially when you work on tv, is a funny thing. I think one of the very first blogs I wrote was that it’s all about the hair. That no matter how great a newscast you do, or how fascinating a story you did, if your hair isn’t right, viewers don’t see anything but that. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HAIR, SO IGNORE IT AT YOUR OWN PERIL. Fortunately, most people don’t live like that, but even in the non tv world, a good haircut is priceless. Thanks Chas!!

What’s on my nightstand, and my Netflix list
May 23, 2007

OK, this movie I got from Netflix, was a hard sell at home. Twilight Samurai was made in 2002 by
Director Yoji Yamada…..about a poor Samurai in the last days of the Samurai warriors, trying to support his two young daughters and ailing elderly mother… struggling between caring for them and doing his duty as a Samurai….It’s touching, powerful and mesmerizing. Gorgeous scenery in China.
Even the skeptics watching with me, were silenced pretty soon….yes, there are subtitles.
We were talking about subtitles yesterday at work. One person said he just COULD NOT watch anything with them, and another photog agreed with me that after a few minutes, you forget you’re even reading subtitles! Just try it….I’d love too know what you think about this film.

What I’m reading…just finished it actually, is Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD. Yeah I know, Oprah picked it a good while ago, but I never read it then, OK? So now, it’s Donna’s pick.
It was a little hard to get into at first, but once you do, what a harrowing tale of survival in the world, after the apocalypse. Sobering, thought provoking, and frightening fiction.
But a reminder what a fine, fine line there is between civilization and chaos. And sometimes things can’t be made right again. You won’t quickly forget this father and son….or the scary world they live in.
Oh, and I forgot to say I’m not just watching artsy, foreign movies, though it does sound tres cool…I also loved the finale for Heroes, one the most imaginative tv shows to come along in a great while. Watched the finale for Dancing with the Stars…..that was a toss up, but I kinda wanted Joey Fatone to win…And what’s with Apolo Anton Ohno thanking everyone but the partner who got him where he was last night after winning?? And I think he said, he had learned a lot from himself?
Luckily the host prompted him saying,”And do you want to say something to Julianne?”
Apolo, Apolo…..have you no manners?

Proof I’ve done something right!!
May 22, 2007

This weekend, my daughter had been back home from college for a few days, and was then in the process of packing up again, to head back for summer classes. It wasn’t that long ago, I would be asking, “Have you washed your clothes?”, “got your medicine?”, “Don’t forget the toiletries”.

I found this list she had made….without my prompting, by the way. And it pretty much covered the bases. My baby girl, making lists!!
It’s one of those signs we see along the way, they are doing pretty darn well on their own, and don’t need constant reminding and intervention. As many parents who have passed before me in this will agree, this is both happy and sad. Happy because it’s one less thing to worry about, and sad, because….she doesn’t need me anymore!
I know that’s not true, that she does need me in many ways.
1. Money….this can’t be overstated, as she has none.
2. Emotional support….she still needs to be talked off the roof sometimes, but not as often.
3.Muscle power…who else will help haul her stuff to the car?
So, our relationship is changing, and that’s for the good. We have begun the transition from parent-child relationship to friends. We won’t be there for a while, but I think we will be one day. When she doesn’t need my intervention anymore, I want to be able to NOT give advice, and be her mother always, but also her friend.
My late Mother-in-law Shirley amazed me. She never gave advice to her adult children or their spouses…unless you asked her. Seriously, never. And even then, she didn’t like it. She treated me as a good friend, and I so enjoyed her company, and still miss her.
But she gave me a gift that I hope to pass along…being the non-meddling Mom.

Preakness up on roof…..
May 21, 2007

I had a different assignment at Preakness this year…instead of hobnobbing in the Corporate Village, I was to be “up on the roof”(can you hear the tune?) with Gerry Sandusky and Tom Tasselmyer…I must have stepped on someone’s toes last year at the village….

ANYWAY, there I was, on the roof, which was, unbeknownst to me, was covered with a metal grating, through which anyone’s high heels would fall. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture at the right…behind Gerry, who’s studying his race pics. Luckily, I had thrown in my tote bag at the last minute a pair of flip flops…there can be a lot of walking at the Preakness, and there’s no sense ending up with blisters. They were a lifesaver.
Up there, you don’t really have a sense of being at the Preakness…you’re not mixing with the crowd…infield or corporate village…but it is quite a view, as you can see.
I even saw the Preakness horses close up and got a picture of one of their ….behinds….not sure which one this is….And I won! I won!! Thinking that the horses that won in the Derby were by far the three best horses, I bet a trifecta…boxed, as per Gerry Sandusky’s instructions. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but found out at the window it means the horses can come in in any order. And soooo, I won. Not big….I only had 6 bucks to wager, so I’m not sure exactly what the winnings are, nothing spectacular, but I still won!

Well shod, on and off the track!!
May 18, 2007

For those of you who don’t really get horse racing, and the thrill involved….and not just when there’s money involved…for the real thrill of seeing magnificent animals blast around a track, check out the “race of the century”, the 1938 race between Triple Crown winner War Admiral and crooked-legged, poor man’s horse Seabiscuit, on youtube.
If that doesn’t give you chills, try watching Street Sense’ victory at the Kentucky Derby this year. If you didn’t catch it live, you can also see that on youtube he comes from 19th place, to win. That’s some horse. And how could you not fall in love with Street’s jockey, Calvin Borel, who dropped out of school in the 8th grade to ride horses…cleaned out stalls, did whatever, and appears this year in the Winner’s Circle at the Derby, tears streaming down his face,as he explains what the win means to him. Love that man….

As always, WHAT TO WEAR, looms large if you’re a woman going to the Preakness…unless you’re in the infield, then really, a t-shirt, jeans and sunscreen is all you need.
These are the shoes I’m planning an outfit around….I love them. Fortunately, I won’t be walking around too much during our broadcast from 2-5 PM, otherwsie I might have to rethink them…the heels are from hell, but hey, it’s Preakness.
Add a black and white mini-check skirt, yellow jacket, black and yellow hat…I’m done. Now let’s pray it doesn’t rain. Because let me tell you , I’ve covered the Preakness when the weather is pleasant, extremely hot, extremely cold, and extremely wet, and hands down, pleasant is the best. Otherwise it can be an endurance test.
Maybe I’ll see you there!
Oh, and if you’ve never read Laura Hillenbrand’s book Seabiscuit”An American Legend, it’s time and never a better weekend to start it!!