Archive for July, 2008

Don’t let the bedbugs bite…
July 31, 2008

look out, sucker!

look out, sucker!

My daughter is home from college for a few weeks after taking a summer course. The house in which she sublet a room this summer, is supposedly very nice, in a nice neighborhood, though any house can only be so nice, when it’s occupied by college students. She had told me earlier in the summer, there were bugs in the house, and she was getting bug bites. I asked if there was any chance they had bedbugs..she of course, has no idea what a bedbug is, but said one exterminator had said no. I didn’t think too much more about it.

But she got a phone call from Heidi…(you remember Heidi, she reads my blog, can be quite critical of it on occasion, all in (?)good fun)…and Heidi said tearfully….”There are bedbugs in the house…it’s infested with them!” Thank goodness my daughter has already moved out…..but WHAT IF SHE BROUGHT THEM HOME ???? That’s what I’m talking about.

And did you know bedbugs are on the rise once again in this country?  Experts think it’s because of so much more world wide travel…a little souvenier just for you ! Ever see how the little devils operate? Take a look.

How horrifying is that ??? They don’t hurt you really, just leave itchy bites, but according to the Mayo Clinic website, bedbugs are the source of much psychic stress….like mine right now. I mean really, what’s so disturbing about thinking there are lots of little tiny bugs in your mattress waiting for you to sleep, so they can suck your blood? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Anything  my daughter brought home is outside in a plastic bag in the sun….heat kills them…and we’re washing all her bedding (that’s still in her car trunk) in hot water, and keeping a watchful eye on things. And vacuuming…lots and lots of vacuuming. They never have bedbugs on Gossip Girl  or Greek !

This is the way to run a staff meeting !!
July 30, 2008

You love meetings, I love meetings, say it loud now…we all love meetings! Where lots and lots is said, and you resist looking at your watch or you cellphone or blackberry, and resist texting someone not in the meeting to say…”Oh crap, could this be any duller ? Help me!!”

We’ve all been there, most of us more than once. But these people know how to have a kick-back staff meeting….

Hey yall....let have a meeting...

Hey ya'll....let have a meeting...

You may recognize Mickey and Amelia in the center and Josh Spiegel on the left, from 98 Rock, and the whole morning crew…they work upstairs from the tv newsroom. They say the tv newsroom is much nicer than their digs…it may be true, it may be true, but there is definite envy as I get to walk through this crowd several times a week, on my way to the little gray door in the background. They always look like they’re having such a good time, really….laughing, all laid back….and on their way home pretty soon. Tomorrow they will be too “busy” to meet, I see on their website, they have Cancun Cantina chicks coming in to the studio. Should be interesting…..

The Ultimate Tea Diet???
July 29, 2008

Have a cuppa tea, luv...

Have a cuppa tea, luv...

OK, before we begin, lets get rid of all the negativity in your system. Don’t lie and tell me don’t have any…..puhleeze. Take a deep cleansing breath. Breathe in…..ok, let it out. One more time, breathe in…..release….feel all that negativity  going , going,  gone… Whew, I feel better.  Okie dokie, are you trying to diet but craving apple pie, a Mars or a Snickers bar? Hmmm?  Well, maybe tea is the answer. Specifically, “Dr. Tea” Ukra.  He sent me his book, The Ultimate Tea Diet and samples of his tea some time ago….this is all I have left of them, I scarfed the rest of them before I thought about sharing it with you!

Dr. Tea in action...

Dr. Tea in action...

I have checked out his 3 minute podcasts that talk about all the different teas (as you see here, he is quite animated), what they do, and  he prepares  some recipes (chicken cooked in tea!) and on the podcast #11, you’ll see why I say… get rid of the negativity, baby, or your food will taste bad!  The Ultimate Tea Diet says you can quell your food cravings with tea. Just tea. And I have to tell you, they do smell fabulous….I  made a cup of Caramel Rooibos earlier this morning….ummmm, the smell of caramel, with none of the calories. Does it feel like you’re having something you shouldn’t?  Not really, but it is very good.

How does it work? They say this: “The diet works because tea contains caffeine, L-Theanine, and the antioxidant EGCG which together:

 

  • stimulate your body’s metabolism
  • lower the levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • reduce your cravings for sweets
  • increase insulin’s effectiveness
  • lower cholesterol
  • stimulate thermogenesis- which helps the body burn fat for energy.” 

And don’t ask me what thermogenesis is(oooh, a good crossword word?)….I don’t know! If you visit L.A., Dr. Tea’s store is in West Hollywood on trendy Melrose Avenue, complete with a tea garden….(yes celebrities like Courteney Cox, Ellen Pompeo, Jeremy Piven, and Amy Smart reportedly use the tea diet) and you can enjoy a capa-teano!! In the meantime, his sampler pack of luscious teas are 5 bucks…they’re fun to try…I’m having a glass of iced orange sherbet green tea right now. Ummmmmm.

Weekend wrapup….
July 28, 2008

Well, let’s see… what did I do? I didn’t get done all the things I needed to…I still have a towel bar that needs to be selected, bought and installed (hey isn’t drying towels what the door is for?)…I still have the leaky toilet problem to be solved, but lets think on fun things. Went to the last of the season concert out at Oregon Ridge with the BSO…Billy and the Hillbillies were there doing bluegrass, and the the symphony seemed to be good sports about the whole thing, thought I have to admit, I enjoyed their show tunes more than I did Billy…nothing against Bluegrass, but they were…corny…OK?  See what I mean? Beautiful evening though, great fireworks, set off the immediately recognizable music of The Magnificent Seven. Nice.

Took a picnic that included some savory pork pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies new location in Hampden called The Savory House. They are just open a week, for breakfast lunch and dinner serving…yes, pie. Savory pies like BBQ pork, steak pie, ham and swiss, steak chili pie…and of course all kinds of dessert pies. If you like pie…here’s yourplace in Hampden…it’s on Chestnut.  I like their pie but…..I think the crust needs a little more shortening and salt. There. I’ve said it, and I feel better. Take my advice on this.

I have a turtle!!

I have a turtle!!

And I found a little  turtle in my garden! Have no idea where he came from, but I hope he sticks around . Any ideas what kind of turtle this is? Or is he a tortoise? Should I feed him or does he survive on his own? I mean, I know he’s made it this far without me and is not my pet, but….you know what I’m sayin’.

Waste Management Problems…..
July 25, 2008

Baby Girl considers her pee options...

Baby Girl considers her pee options...

I have several actually. First problem…Baby Girl and the litter box(boxes). She is very good to get on the litter box but then doesn’t squat. Her little fuzzy butt stays UP, and the pee goes….yup, right over the side onto the floor, newspaper, whatever. Not good, even in the basement.

yeah, I know...

yeah, I know...

The first solution I tried is cutting out part of a plastic hamper (it must be said I did not personally do this)…put the box inside. Now the pee collects in the pan below. Still undesirable. Putting newspaper up the sides like you see here (sorry Baltimore Sun-I did read it first), did sop up the pee, mostly, but still just not a good solution.

Solution for up-butts?

Solution for up-butts?

Suggestion from Falls Road Animal Hospital….try a covered litter pan! Ordered a big one from Amazon….it came in this week, and it is now in the basement….they suggested ordering just one to see if Baby would use it (some cats don’t like them too claustrophobic)….but before I put litter in, I tossed  in her favorite toy mouse a few times so she would go inside. Check. Put in litter, and threw mouse in a few times more…she took the bait. Check. A few minutes later I peer down the basement steps….Baby Girl is using the box!! Now the pee will flow into the litter  where it belongs…happiness…singing birds…fluffy clouds! “Don’t have a motorboat, but I could float your boat, Bay-bee Giiiirrrrrl!” ♥♥

Bad leaky toilet!

Bad leaky toilet!

OK, Next waste management problem….this little toilet in the main floor powder room. It’s only been in a few years when we redid the room ( I wish I could count how many coats of Chinese red paint it took to cover the walls)…it’s one of those “silent flush” models, and I like it but now….there’s just a little bit of water around the base. Not a lot, but it is definitely leaking from somewhere. WHy, why, why ??????????????  Now I have to track down a plumber and make an appointment and probably have him take the toilet off the floor…blah blah blah…money/ time. No likee.

But I’m accentuating the positive….the Baby Girl situation…solved I think….oh, and Mom did get home from the hospital yesterday. Relief on all sides. I hope all of you have a fabu weekend….I think I’m going to Oregon Ridge for the BSO (playing bluegrass if you can imagine that-I’m having trouble)…and there will be fireworks! What’s not to like?

SO…. Be nice, and come home safe, ’cause we miss you.

Say it with me now….Ooohhhhmmmmmmmmmm…
July 24, 2008

Told you yesterday that I would share with you more details of a yoga class…outside in the sunshine, right by the Inner Harbor.  Now for those of you who have never tried yoga, and I know there are quite a few of you…are saying…no way, I could never do that.  Come on, try something new! It’s for all levels, even beginners…And guess what? This class is free!!

You may be thinking that I am over enthusiastic about free things, and Gerry Sandusky said not too long ago he’s beginning to think I’m cheap, because I donwanna pay 50 bucks for a bottle of wine. Whatever. Back to the topic…you can try this class to see if you like yoga, and you’re not out anything.
I found about this 9am, 3 class series(this Saturday is the last, sorry)…from an email from the sponsors, Charm City Yoga. I’ve taken a few classes there….unfortunately,  in a hot yoga class. Now let me say there are loads of people who love hot yoga….meaning they love to sweat…but I’m not among them. It’s just tooooooo intense. Regular temps for me , please. But outdoor yoga is a lovely way to start your Saturday. And to all of you who left lovely get well notes for my mom…who we thinkis getting of the hospital today (fingers crossed)…thank you for your kindness. It means a lot to me, really, and I’ll make sure she sees them. Namaste ….I honor the spirit within you!

Report from the hospital zone…..
July 23, 2008

I have been at best, incommunicado…and my apologies for that. My little 88 year old Mommy has been in the hospital, and I had to go help my sister out. And writing just falls by the wayside, though it probably would have been a nice distraction. For any of you who have aging parents, you know the tag team thing this can become with siblings….and sooner or later, it is your turn. So, when I got the call Saturday morning that Mom had to go back to the hospital(she had been there much of last week, and then released), I knew there was only one thing to be done. The lovely feng shui of my Saturday morning outdoor yoga class(more on that tomorrow) was erased, to be replaced by the prospect of flying south, and several nights on a hard hospital recliner, surrounded by nurses that come in the middle of the night, and worry about a delicate little woman, who is, as my sisters agree, like a house of cards. One card goes, and it’s flattened.

I won’t bother you with her various health problems…though she’d make an interesting case study for many a doctor , and has, with her odd and interesting collection of ailments. You name it, I think she’s had it, or has it.

But here was my bottom line after flying home last night and my advice for you. If you have a loved one in the hospital…you really should be staying with them, unless they are only in for a couple of tests, and not very sick (in which case you probably wouldn’t be in the hospital!). I say this, because most hospitals, even the best, are  understaffed and overworked. I think most nurses would agree with me. One PCA (personal care assistant) who does all the hardest labor….helping people with their baths, getting them to the toilet, cleaning them, cleaning up after them….one PCA can have 17 patients. At least ours did. If you think all your needs will be quickly met, what happens quick is that you will be disabused of those quaint notions. And not that the intentions aren’t the best…they are, and the staff by and large, was kind and caring. But on several occasions, medicine that my Mom was not to receive was brought in. Those who are inclined to take whatever is put before them, put themselves in harms way. We had to say…”She’s not supposed to be getting that.” Hmmmmm, much perusing of the chart….”well, it doesn’t say that here”, blah, blah….so many miscommunications. A cast of doctors…one comes in and says…”congestive heart failure”…the next day another one say, “that’s debatable”. And not that I mind a different opinion, I welcome it, but it sometimes seems that no one is communicating with anyone else. So you better keep up with it.

I’m home now, and so enjoyed sleeping in my own bed last night. Sister # 1 is on duty and calling with updates, bless her heart, to take a little of the stress off  sister # 3 who lives nearest my Mom…she gets the brutal brunt of it…and bless her heart too. I wonder. What happens to the elderly who don’t have anyone when they go to the hospital?  Seriously, what happens? Who gets them what they need…a  sip of water, quick help to the bathroom (or in our case a bedside potty-there’s a fresh experience for you), your hairbrush, your toothbrush? I knew Mom was feeling a little better when she asked for her mirror and brush. She stared into the mirror for a minute and remarked, “I look like an old woman.” We started to laugh….and didn’t have to add the obvious…that she is an old woman. A lot of folks never make it to 88, for Pete’s sake. But she’s a feisty one. And she’s still standing. Kinda.

To Facebook or not to Facebook? And the Blue Screen of Death….
July 18, 2008

Lowells Facebook page...

Lowell's Facebook page...

Yesterday, WBAL-TV reporter Lowell Melser said to me, pretty much out of the blue…”Are you on Facebook? (and when I shook my head)…”You should be on Facebook“. And then then went on to list all the people  in the newsroom who are. It was a pretty good list, though many people are not, and a few(babies) are on My Space.

“Well, uhm…Why should I? What’s in is for me?”, I politely inquired.

Reporter Josh Davidsburg piped up, “It’s social networking”, as though he was speaking someone who was a little Facebook impaired…true enough I guess.

“Josh, I know what Facebook is, but still the question, what’s in it for me? I mean why should I?”

And here’s the thing. No one ever really fully answered that question. My son and daughter are on Facebook, that I know. And I know there are plenty of actual adults, not just teens and 20-somethings, who are also on Facebook. But can anyone explain to me what one actually does there? I mean, is it an easy way to keep up with people that you’d otherwise not see or communicate with? That would be pretty cool, though it also assumes the idea that people you know and want to communicate with, are also on Facebook. Would it enable me to stay in better contact with my taciturn emailer son? I don’t know, maybe. I hear he’d have to “friend” me….. I might really enjoy it…I mean, I heard a lady in the grocery line ahead of me say, “All this computer stuff, I just don’t fool with it.” I wanted to tell her that she was missing out on some things that might make her life better, that she really could do it, and should become computer literate. I remained mute, of course. Nothing worse than a tv person telling you should be doing. The audacity.

Sooooooo, I put it to you. Are you on Facebook? Do you like it? What do you get out of it, and is it worth my time and trouble? Take a lot of time?

Blue Screen of Death!

Blue Screen of Death!

And on to the blue screen of death….it’s started showing up more and more often when I turn on my laptop at home. So far, I’ve been able to restart her (a Dell), and it goes away, but the fatal error thingie is kinda scary. And I didn’t do anything…..just closed all the windows I had opened and then gently closed it. Is my computer starting to breathe very shallowly….you know what I’m saying…is it…dying? Noooooooooo….I love it, and though it’s a few years old, surely it has some life left in it. Any ideas on what I should do to it?

  Anyway, it’s Friday()….there’s Artscape this weekend..always fun…and sweaty. Stay cool, be nice and come home safe. Cause we miss you….

Wicked Shoe Torture Doesn’t Pay Off….
July 17, 2008

Bad shoe, Bad!

Bad shoe, Bad!

WICKED SHOE TORTURE DOESN’T PAY OFF“…..That would be my headline about the Olympic Zone promo that is currently running on WBAL-TV….it’s a program that will begin August 8th at 7:30 PM, with everything Olympics leading into NBC’s Olympic coverage at 8:00. Sooooooo, promos have to be shot for this.

Now, this wasn’t scheduled to shoot until 11 PM….they wanted the Clipper Mill condo pool just down the hill from the station, which is just across the street from Woodberry Kitchen restaurant. If you’ve never seen the pool…it is really gorgeous. And we have to wait for Gerry Sandusky who doesn’t get off until 11:30.  So I arrive around 10:30 PM….we’re doing some solo shots of me first….and I’ve decided to wear the pair of shoes I blogged about earlier this year….killer shoes, but not in a good way, in a bad they-torture-you way….If you’ve ever worn extremely painful high heels, you’ll know what I mean.

I know you’re thinking, “Well idiot, if they hurt, why on earth wear them?”…..good point, but here was my logic.  They may hurt to walk in, but maybe they’ll be just find to simply stand around in. And there’s no denying they look good….Makes sense, right? Alas, it made no sense at all. None whatsoever. Because they hurt just as bad standing in them.

a frame of shoe

a frame of shoe

And to add insult to injury….they barely show in the promo….you really can’t see them except in a frame or two, a brief millisecond on the screen. What a waste of foot pain.

Let that be a lesson to me. Never, ever wear these shoes again. Even though I took them off at every opportunity, each time I put them back on was increasingly awful. When the shoot was over around maybe 12:30 or 1 AM, I limped off into the night in my flip-flops….sadder but wiser. And my daughter is following  in my (limping) footsteps. Last spring she wore a pair of painful high heels all day at rush parties at school…and the ball of her foot was numb for a long time…as in weeks, not hours.  I told her never to wear those shoes again.  Though my Mom tells me that she used to do housework in high heels! Seriously, at least I never do that….but perhaps the high heel thing is genetic..who knows?

Project Runway is here…and should we forget breast self-exams?
July 16, 2008

Forget the breast self exam?

Forget the breast self exam?

I just finished writing a story for tonight’s newscast at 5 PM…it basically says that women can just forget all about doing self breast examinations looking for lumps…that really it doesn’t change anything, and that you might get an unnecessary biopsy. And indeed, the American Cancer Society changed their guidelines that recommended self exams in 2003 after similar studies. Hmmmm.

I can certainly understand the end conclusion that overall, it doesn’t change the breast cancer death rate. But here’s the thing…I can’t tell you how many women I’ve spoken with over the years who found their own breast cancer, often pretty soon after a clean bill of health from a mammogram or a doctor’s examination. So if they had not discovered this lump and gone back to the doctor and started treatment, would it have made no difference in the end result if they have waited maybe another year?  Maybe, but it’s hard to swallow. It might make no statistical difference when looking at millions of cases, but for that particular case…if it’s you, say…it just might make all the difference in the world.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’d say you still need to periodically “stay in touch” with your body. No one knows it better than you do….and I’d rather be that case who found it early and got help, than someone who didn’t and had it found 6 or 8 months later. As Dr. Neil Friedman, the much respected director of The Breast Center at Mercy, told me when we were discussing this very subject after similar studies came out a few years ago….” I think many women find it empowering to do self exams. Are they absolutely necessary? No…but anytime you can take control of your own health, that’s a good thing.” This new study will probably come as a relief for many women who think, “Whew, one less thing to do.” That, I totally get. 

Cleared for landing on Project Runway

Cleared for landing on Project Runway

On a (much) lighter note…..WHO’S READY FOR PROJECT RUNWAY? WHO IS? WHO IS?  That’s right, it’s moi! Tonight…join me… and for those of you who may have never seen this fashion extravaganza (sad, so sad), plus all the hair pulling and knashing of teeth (delicious)….I included a little introductory link above. Enjoy. We’ll talk tomorrow.