Archive for June, 2008

I am not intimidated by my son’s genius girlfriend. Not much.
June 30, 2008

You know I write from time to time about the lovely Jennifer, my son’s girlfriend. I don’t know if I have ever told you that in addition to being funny, and pretty…she’s also a brainiac. I know. It could be a little intimidating, if one were put off by such an awesome combo of attributes, but I’m not. I just wonder from time to time what she sees in my boy…but then, he’s always been lucky.

ExcelRainManJennifer thinks up ideas, and she has the energy and the enthusiasm to actually implement them! She also happens to be a little math whiz, and discovered at work, she was always being asked to help other people with their Excel stuff….so she thought, Hmmmmm….there must be a lot of people out there like that (those who need help, not those who can give it), and voila, the ExcelRainMan was born! What is it? In Jennifer’s words…”Do you cringe at the thought of another spreadsheet? Are you embarrassed that you can’t do a pivot table? Do you know that there must be a quicker way to some of the boring aspects of your work done? Or do you love Excel, but need a little help with a new challenge? It’s time to ask the Excel Rain Man for help!”

First thing that happened was she got press in Daily Candy New York. For those of you who need to get out more often, Daily Candy is an email newsletter of Today’s Candy…tips on what to do this weekend, new restaurants, salons, shops, fashion, etc…..there isn’t one for Baltimore, alas (maybe one day? Should I start it?), and the closest one is D.C.

Well, when you’re in Daily Candy, lots and lots and lots of people read about you, as in lots and lots. So the lovely Jennifer is definitely off to a fast start with her creation. And it is keeping her busy. And while I never have to use Excel…not being in a mathalacious job myself….it looks pretty cool. If Daily Candy thinks so, coolness is confirmed. Congrats Jennifer…I’m so proud of you! Don’t dump my son!!

A Matter of Mangoes…..
June 27, 2008

My daughter called me from school the end of last week, complaining of a virulent itchy rash on her arm. Knowing that she is extremely allergic to poison ivy, (one time after a camping trip with her elementary grade class, her face was all puffed up and one eye was swollen shut…people stared in the most awful fashion as we filled her prescription)  it made sense to me that she had unknowingly brushed by some…somehow. She said that wasn’t possible, but finally went to a clinic there to have a doc look at it. They weren’t sure what it was either, but suggested antihistamines,  antibiotics, and some prednisone. Hmmmmm. A week goes by, and she isn’t significantly better…and those of you who have a girl at college will probably know this…when something isn’t going well, especially healthwise….THEY WILL CALL YOU. A LOT. Why haven’t you fixed this??

“Please, Mom, I want to come home and have an appointment with a real doctor.”

“You did see a real doctor”

“I mean a dermatologist. A specialist!”

Ahhhhh….now I get it. So I call the lovely Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien in Towson…we’ve done a couple of stories with her on WBAL and I liked her so much that when I have a skin issue( and who on tv doesn’t have skin issues), that’s who I see.  After all, she graduated from the Yale school of Medicine…not bad. She very kindly  agreed to squeeze my baby girl in for a consult, and her conclusions really surprised us both….

She took a look and asked if my itchy girl if she had eaten mango recently. Mango?  Why, yes indeed she had…a whole container of chopped mango from Wegman’s. Delicious!  “There’s your culprit“, said Dr. O’Brien. She explained that mango and poison ivy are actually cross allergens….and eating the mango had really activated the allergic system…so much so, that after writing a couple of prescriptions, she advised using fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products (detergent, shampoo, face wash, lotion, you name it) for a long, long time to come. And don’t even look at a mango. Don’t be in the same room with one. Seriously. No more mango salsa.

On the plus side, at least in my daughter’s view, was that she could go out and buy all new product lines. Wheeeeeeee! So she is loaded up with new prescription creams and pills…feeling much better already….and she has her own dermatologist now…that is big, for some reason. I, on the the other hand, am a couple of hundred bucks poorer. At least. But the dilemna did get her home for a couple of days. And that I always love.

Baby Girl Digs the Fan….
June 24, 2008

At my house, energy saving…on heat, on ac, on lights…it’s all on the table. I’ve unplugged all the often unused appliances..the little vampires…I turn off lights, we’ve have all learned the secret of the fan. If you have a fan on in a room, you can run your ac at considerably higher temperatures than if the air is not being stirred like a chilled martini. I have two ceiling fans in the family room, and there’s one in the bedroom, and I have a couple of little ones I cart around to different areas.

baby girlAnd even Baby Girl has gotten in on the action. Cats usually dislike fans in my experience…they get suspicious of anything that blows their fun around too much. I’ve always laughed when cats go outside and the wind blows….they look around to see who’s doing that…and please stop.

baby girlBut now Baby seems to enjoy the breeze….she regularly joins me in the bathroom where I do hair and a little makeup…and doing hair, I don’t need to tell you, is a hot proposition, blowdryer and all. So, the fan keeps me cooler without having to chill all the other rooms too…thus a lower energy bill and more coin for Nine Lives. Baby Girl digs it….totally.

A Girl’s Weekend…So What are Men Doing Here??
June 23, 2008

I told you I was headed to the Eastern Shore this weekend for a girl’s getaway….two of us went over on Thursday, and those of us who had to work(including me) made the trip Friday night. The first thing we heard when we arrived at the house was the voice of a man…a husband, to be specific. Looks were exchanged…that said, “What’s he doing here?”  And we found out moments later that there were actually two husbands there. Two of them! And we like these guys, it Must be said…good guys both of them…fun to be around, but….certain conversations are seriously curtailed when husband-types are there. You know, just skews the talk.

We had a glass of wine and  got over it.

The weather was gorgeous, as you know…did a little shopping in St. Michaels…and went to what is I think my favorite store there, called London’s. Just a lovely little store, with all kinds of things you might never see anywhere else. I bought two fabulous smelling candles, one for me and one for my hostess…and some matches. Wow, big spender, matches, you’re saying…but wait, these are matches that are 1. a little longer than normal..and 2. contained in beautiful boxes…birds, fruit, sea creatures…you’d have to see them to appreciate them.

CANDLELIGHT AT BELLA LUNAWe ate dinner that Saturday night at Bella Luna….it’s just up the street from the Bellvue Ferry…in Royal Oak. Such a gem of a place. No men allowed….homemade mozzarella caprese, mussels in a spiced, garlic wine sauce,  sauteed soft crabs over roasted corn salad….oh, it was delightful….. great evening.

HYDRANGEASAnd the hydrangeas are in full bloom now…if you’re a hydrangea freak like me, you notice these things. One of the “girls” this weekend said, “You know it’s funny, I love hydrangeas now, but when I was growing up I thought of them as an old lady flower for some reason.” Please. You’re thinking of chrysanthemums. Or baby’s breath. Anyway, I brought back a bunch of hydrangeas as a reminder of  our girls/guys weekend…I love them. And they’re not an old lady flower!

Why am I cooking zuchini??
June 20, 2008

rescuing zuchs from certain decay...Why was I cooking these zucchini in the early hours of the morning today? It’s all part of my somewhat new/sporadic/heartfelt push to be more frugal. Honestly, I have been bad all my life but don’t tell my Mom, to let items, especially veges, go bad in the frig. I see them starting to wilt, and …I…just…don’t…want…to …cook them. I really don’t.  But with the price of food today..holy cow…to be racing decay these days is more than just being not wasteful.  Who can afford to let several expensive zuchini/yellow squash/eggplant go bad. Actually I think the eggplant is beyond my reach now. Sorry about that.

And as I’m heading to the Eastern Shore with some girlfriends for the weekend, I knew NO ONE would cook the in-better-shape squash and they’d be lost for all eternity. So in a fit of austerity, I sliced them up and sauteed them in some EVOO. I feel pretty good about it….of course, you already know that because otherwise, why on earth would I write about cooking some darn vegetables on a blog if I didn’t feel quite proud about the whole thing? I’m starting to regret writing about it right now. But it’s too late. The zuchs are cooked and in the frig, the picture taken and the blog written. To get rid of it all would be just another terrible waste of time and energy, correct? So, go race some decay of your own…you know they’re there…in the frig, waiting on you. And have a great weekend. Be nice, and come home safe. Cause we miss you.

If I just didn’t have to do my work….
June 19, 2008

You know, I’d blog a lot more often if I were a real blogger. I really wonder what bloggers do all day….But I’m just a kinda-sometimes blogger. When I got in today there was a story from the feeds that the producer wanted me to cut down and put some voiceovers in….technical talk for rework the piece, for the 5:00 newscast. And then something still staring me in the face…an online sexual harassment seminar we all have to complete( I think I’m already past the deadline…whoops..but I was off last week), and a story that airs on Monday needs to be logged (lots of looking at tapes, writing down what is said and what time on the tape it is located), and written today so it can be edited tomorrow, so I can shoot a story tomorrow about…oh, I can’t tell you that because if I did, our competitors might decide to do the story too, and try to get it on before us. Sneaky. Reminds me of a line from the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou….the radio station manager who discovers the Foggy Bottom Boys, in a chat about the competition, says “Oh, mercy yes…got to beat that competition!” Hilarious line…at least it was in the movie. Seems to lose a little something in print. Sigh.

Sooooooo, if I didn’t have all this stuff to do (for which I get paid, and I do like that), then I could blog my little heart out. That, by the way, is not an invitation to my boss to make that happen for me….No siree…it’s more an explanation, ok rationalization, as to why sometimes I don’t get it done as often as I’d like. 

wronged by a thong?Oh, here’s a little note to the Today Show…which I generally love. Please don’t allot so much time  to a strange woman and her strange attorney who are suing Victoria’s Secret, because a buckle holding her thong underwear together popped and hit her in the eye.  Oh, we’ll have the story, be assured of that. But I thought I detected a bit of annoyance, maybe impatience, from Meredith Viera at having to do such a banal interview for so long, over such a nothing of a story.  It was worth 30 seconds at best…which is probably what we’ll give it tonight at five. 

 

Back from ‘bama….
June 17, 2008

I know, I know….no blogs for a while. I decided not to take my laptopwith me to Alabama last week on vaca….it’s heavy, didn’t wanna lug it around, lazy…you know the story. And here’s the thing. When you don’t write for a while…like when you don’t exercise or do any other habit that takes some effort, for a while…it gets easier not to do it. Especially when there’s no punishment involved for not doing so. Sure, you gain weight if you don’t exercise, so there is some retribution there, but if I don’t blog, really who cares? But I did get an email from a reader named Elaine, saying, “wha happen?”…and my daughter’s college roomate, whom I really don’t know…Heidi…said through my daughter, “Your Mom’s blog really needsto be updated”.  She is evidentally a dedicated reader. So, you two, and thanks to both of you, have gotten me back on track.

goats for sale-really.Though Heidi tried to give me a list of what not to write about. She said she wasn’t interested in hearing about my trip to ‘bama. Girl, girl girl!! Where else would you get to learn that there are goats for sale by the side of the road? Really, I passed by the sign several times, and finally saw the goats. Cute little critters, Heidi, very very cute.

And where else would see my favorite meal in Alabama? I’ll bet Heidi, that you have never had a plate of fried catfish…it’s one of my must have meals when I’m there. yummy-catfish!We go to a place called The Angler a few miles down the road in Cullman from the family lake house (that’s where I pass by the goats for sale sign, among others)….and while they have other fare, gumbo, grilled chicken salad, some pastas, etc….I alwaysget the whole catfish ( fillets are for sissies), with hushpuppies, natch, and greens and slaw. Some very fine eating, Heidi. sweet or unsweet?And iced tea of course. Pitchers of sweetened and unsweetened, though I forgot momentarily that when you order tea in ‘bama…..if you don’t specify unsweetened, they assume you want sweet tea. Important tip if you ever visit there, Heidi. You strike me as an “unsweetened” girl…so am I.

But there is more I have to tell you about my little trip to ‘bama…about a kind of genealogical search my sister and I were on…but more on that later. Go order a glass of iced tea, Heidi…it’ll do you good and help you too, as my Momma would say.

Don’t Underestimate the Pedi….
June 6, 2008

My toes!!When it’s springtime, almost summer really, thatmeans open-toed shoes. And open-toed shoes mean toes…loads of them will come pitter-pattering to the salons for their pedis…..I go to a little informal salon, not too far from WBAL…they take walk ins if you’re willing to take your chances. And while I call ahead for an “appointment”…it doesn’t really mean anything. OK, that’s not totally accurate. It means a little bit. If you say, have an “appointment” at 2 pm, and you show up at 2 or a little before, do notexpect the technician to be waiting for you.  Taking walk ins means that whoever walks in gets the next  chair available. So you often wait. Now, here’s the value of the appointment…sorry..”appointment”. If there is a whole slew of women(and men sometimes) waiting and they are all walk ins, you get the next chair because you have an “appointment”. But hey, don’t expect things to be like it is at a fancy place like the Red Doorin Cross Keys (which is delicious, btw)…beautiful lighting, softly scented, privacy, luxury), you know. But here’s the deal….my pedi is twenty bucks!! Seriously, a 20, plus tip of course. And they do a really nice job. The lights are bright, it can be loud, it smells more like nail polish than lavender, and there’s no privacy…at all. A trade off I guess. But in my book it’s worth it.

And like many salons of this type,  most of the nail technicians are from other countries…here, mostly from Vietnam. So one thing that bothered me a little at first, and others will know exactly what I’m talking about, the ladies often talk to each other in Vietnamese…chattering away, then breaking into peals of laughter…and sometime you get the uneasy feeling they are talking and laughing about you!! But you know, I’ve gotten over that feeling…I mean, it’s really not all about me (alas), and even if they are talking about me…I just don’t care. As you know from Gossip Girls, you’re no one, if no one talks about you.

(And for Angela who asked about how they found the goat on the bus from the news yesterday…it was Craig’s List….EVIDENTLY YOU CAN FIND ANYTHING, INCLUDING A GOAT THERE.)

Wild Weather=Wild Newsroom
June 5, 2008

Trees downed....Wow, it was quite a scene yesterday, and I’ll tell you…as many  severe weather situations as I’ve covered over the years, and that is quite a few, it never feels any less intense. When you hear the words…”tornado warning”…in the newsroom, it’s time to  get ready to go on the air…asap. Trucks are dispatched to wherever it’s thought the action and damage will be, and chief meterologist Tom Tasselmyer always hits the air first…if he’s in the house. I mean it’s his show, really. And I was so glad he was there yesterday. The man knows his weather, a master really…I’ve seen very few people over the years that could match him. My Mother in Birmingham feels the same way about a guy named James Spann…but you’d have a tough time convincing me he’s as good as Tom.

On the set, we simply try to provide extra information here and there, which until some comes in, isn’t all that much. So you try to give Tom a little breather, so he can swallow…seriously, the swallow is much underappreciated. When you have to talk endlessly, you will have a need to simply…swallow. But it’s hard to do on the air….but sometimes it will not be denied…gulp. Oh, and we ask Tom questions…like yesterday, we thought he was talking about a “train spotter”, who had seen a tornado. Hmmmm. Dunno what that is. So finally I ask…”What is a train spotter Tom?”. He laughs and said, “Oh, is that what it sounded like what I said? ” He meant a trained tornado spotter….big difference…we all had a laugh over that. 

crane rescueAnd then there was that huge crane down at  Sparrow’s Point , with two men trapped inside. There’s a situation that could have ended in tragedy, but it was so nice it did not. Both men were rescued far above the ground by those firefighters we all love so much. And we saw live on the air  a stretcher approach the first guy down, and he waves them off….”Aw, this is nothing fellows!”.  And applause here for Captain Roy Taylor and his mucho talented photog Mac Finney for their enormous contributions. They can get the pictures when a ground crew could never get there in time. It makes our coverage sooooo much better. With Tom in the weather center and Roy in the air, I have confidence that everything, though fly by the seat of your pants, will be OK.

Oh, and even better…when I got home, my power was on!! That unfortunately was not true for thousands of people around the state….such a bummer. When I flicked on a light switch and things worked as usual, it just makes one profoundly grateful. For the simple things.

Dinner and a Movie….
June 2, 2008

Saute' in CantonFound a new place this weekend that I really like, in Canton. I don’t live there, so I don’t know Canton all that well, but we were looking for a place for Sunday lunch/brunch there this weekend. Passed by a nice looking place I’d never seen before, called Saute’….but I see on Chowhound.com it has been much discussed as people waited for it to open, and afterwards.

Saute SignBrunch is new for Saute’….so service was a little slow but friendly….but I really liked the space, and as it was a nice day the big windows fold up, so it feels like you’re eating outdoors. Loads of flat screen tv’s….nice I guess if you want to watch a game or something, though the manager tells me they are off during the dinner hour, as they don’t want female customers to think of Saute’ as a sports bar. Our food was good….though we ordered pretty basic…grilled ham and cheese, it was on grilled pita, and “fondue fries”, which meant there was a little cheese sauce over them…but really good fries. inside of  light fixture A group of women was sitting in a big booth centered under a big window, having  gourmet pizza and glasses of wine, looking for all the world like a group getting ready to go see “Sex and the City”…you know what I mean? I enjoyed Saute’ and I’d go back…no, it’s not great cuisine like you get at Jack’s in Canton, but I liked it. And the light fixture’s are divine…barrel shade chandelier with the coolest retro print inside…loved them.

Netflixed ramboOK, this may surprise you, but I really liked the new Rambo film. Seriously, I thought it was pretty darn good…never boring, that’s for sure, and it has a really sweet twist at the end…I won’t spoil it for you. Bloody, for sure, definitely some killin’, but come on, it’s Rambo!