Archive for June, 2009

A Little Role Reversal…
June 30, 2009

Hmmmm...Craigslist, any good jobs today?

Hmmmm...Craigslist, any good jobs today?

We have the most fascinating dichotomy going on at our house right now. As you know, my daughter graduated from college this May, and moved home earlier this month.  So…she doesn’t have a job, like thousands and thousands of other graduates…and while she is interviewing and applying( at some things that I tell her sound sketchy as hell….NO!), so far, employment has remained elusive.

And having your kid come back home after school is O-V-E-R, not just for the summer, is a different animal. When her older brother graduated, his rent in Philly was paid through the summer. I told him, “After that my friend, if you don’t have a job, you’ll have to come home. We’re not paying rent for you to stay here.” Now let me just say, that was a threat for both of us….as much as he didn’t want to move home, I equally didn’t want him to. As it turns out, he did find a job…not that he stayed there very long, but it enabled him to get a start. Whew….One done.

Now that my baby has graduated in the middle of a recession, with a degree in …. wait for it…..psychology…it’s hard to know in which direction to head. We were going over to a friend’s house for dinner a week or so ago, and my daughter looked at us and asked, “What time will you be home?”  Awkward role reversal!! After a long look back, I said, “Not sure, but not late.” Her-“You know I don’t like to be here alone.” Hmmmmm.

So that’s how it is right now….kinda tough all around. I love having the kid at home, really…she’s good company, and  quite helpful, though she calls the chores I give her to do during the day..laundry, empty dishwasher, cooking( she does make a good spaghetti sauce), running errands, etc., being my slave.   And we only fight over the tv once in a while, as long as I give in every so often to back to back C.S.I. episodes. Yeah. And I know that one day before too long, she will find a job…and get an apartment…and possibly never live with us again, if life goes her way. So, I try to enjoy the good times we have together….sail on past the little irritations we have with each other on a regular basis,  and just be in the present moment, like they try to teach me in yoga class.  It’s all good, right? Though I must admit to the hope of finding no C.S.I. on the DVR when I get home.

A pulled pork weekend….
June 29, 2009

All you need is a bun or a piece of cornbread!

All you need is a bun or a piece of cornbread!

OK, here’s something I’ve made for the past two weekends in a row….it’s that good(and that easy).  You may remember that I had the caterer make pulled pork barbecue for the Friday night party in New York at my son’s wedding. It was just lovely, and got me to thinking….hey, why can’t I do that? So I looked over a few recipes, and kind of put together several,  for a slow-cooker-weekend-surefire-hit. Oh, and did I mention it’s easy on the budget? Well it is, baby, it is.

First, get a pork shoulder….my slow cooker will take about a 4 pounder, and you can find them at the supermarket for $1.99 a pound or less if they’re on sale.  I cut off any excess fat…though a little is good, let’s be honest. Dice an onion, put half in the bottom of your oiled cooker, plop the pork on top, salt and pepper, the rest of the onion…and maybe a cup or so of your favorite barbeque sauce( I like Baby Ray’s)…and a tiny bit (may a quarter cup) of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or until tender, OR on the high setting for about 5 hours. When the pork is tender, use two forks to pull it into shreds, drain some of the liquid, add more barbeque sauce. Dig in.

Simple, fabulous, thanks Callie...

Simple, fabulous, thanks Callie...

And for dessert, I made a super-easy cobbler recipe that I found on Callie’s Biscuits website….it’s called  A Cup, A Cup, A Cobbler.  And the title fits…it is pretty much a cup of this and a cup of that, extremely quick to throw together, and in this, the fresh fruit season where my beloved blueberries are yes, cheap, you can even make several and freeze them. And for those of you who who’ve never heard of Callie’s biscuits…I discovered them when I first went to Charleston a few  years back. These pricey, pretty delicacies are soooooo good. They only retailer that carries them in Maryland is Graul’s in Annapolis and St. Michaels. The benefit of not getting them mail order is avoiding the high shipping charges….and the price is high anyway…around $20 a dozen(little)biscuits…yikes….so I put this in the special treat category….that said, they are fabulous. 

Bonus recipe: this recipe from Apartment Therapy for slow cooked pork cooked on top of the stove also looks great…you might want to try it.

Looking back at two legends….
June 26, 2009

This is how I will remember her....

This is how I will remember her....

OK, let me just say, it was one of the heartbreaks of my young life that I did not look like Farrah Fawcett. Look at her in her prime…..LOOK AT HER!  And while it was her blonde, big smile beauty, without question,  that made her a star…to her credit, she went on to also become a serious, Emmy Nominated  actress. She lived her life in the public eye, with a great deal of grace and poise, for the most part. Sure there was the occasional stumble like on David Letterman’s show that time…still not sure what that was about…but she always seemed like a genuinely nice Texas girl, who also happened to be one of the world’s great beauties.  And her documentary Farrah’s Story, watched by 9 million people that night, was a tour de force(if you missed it you can watch it here on Hulu and it’s also airing again tonight on WBAL at 9 pm)….an unflinching look at what it’s like fighting cancer. See her without her hair? Sure no problem. Throwing up in a pan? Bring it. Farrah was in the end a brave, tough lady. R.I.P. F.F.

Now, Michael Jackson. There’s a “complicated” legend for you.  And it would seem the redefining of the life has already begun. As announcers, news anchors and commentators kind of tiptoe around the untidy later portion of his life(see? I’m tiptoeing too…), referring to his “weird” life, appearance and “choices”…Vanity Fair’s Maureen Orth,  the late, great Tim Russert’s widow…pretty much said out loud this morning on NBC’s The Today Show, what a lot of people have been thinking, and saying privately. She referred to the victims of Michael Jackson….two boys…the only ones who accused him publicly of child sexual abuse.  One he settled with out of court, reportedly a multi-million dollar settlement…and of the other….the reporter said, “He was exonerated in that trial“. Orth said, “He was exonerated largely on the basis of his celebrity, and a very good lawyer who managed to put the Mother of the boy on trial.” I remember that….the questions were asked…if you thought your little boy was being abused, why did you let him go to stay at MJ’s house? Bad mother, bad!  Good question and possibly she was a mother with questionable motives(hey, parents exploiting their kids ain’t nothing new, alas-check out the breaking news of the Duke University official and his 5 year old adopted son), but it still doesn’t change the fact the child said he was sexually abused by MJ. Most experts agree, kids don’t make this stuff up.  What made the man as peculiaras he was? Carlton Munson, Ph/D,  at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and an expert in child psychology has researched the impact of trauma on great artists in our time. He said this, “Often, children who grow up as entertainers and on movie sets as adults have a hard time distinguishing between what they do and who they are.”

So what remains of the legend? For those of us who grew up loving his music, his life doesn’t change the fact that he was a brilliant musician who made a huge, lasting impact on the music world…but it sure shades it.

Hot Tip on Sweet Onions!
June 23, 2009

Get em while theyre hot...I mean, sweet...

Get 'em while they're hot...I mean, sweet...

Ok, I just got an email from Garden and Gun Magazine….that’s right, I said Garden and Gun….it’s an upscale southern magazine published in Charleston, SC…and it honestly does have some terrific travel and food articles in it…as any respecting Charleston based publication would have.

Anyway…the tip is about a new kind of super-sweet, southern onion.  I’ve long been a fan of Vidalia Onions…grown in Vidalia, Georgia, of course. Sweet, mild onions that are just soooooo good…but the Low Country Sweet Onion Company from Longstreet Farms claims to rival them(maybe surpass them?).  The scoop is that these onions were first grown privately on a 2 acre patch, for onion connoiseurs…true onion lovers.  L.B. Wannamaker (love the name)from St. Matthews SC is making a limited production of these sweets available for 2009 . This is evidently a pretty small farming company…when I called and ordered a big box($28 including shipping, comes out to about $1.10 a pound), a woman answered the phone and took my name and number and address and said “OK, thank you.” I quickly asked, “Don’t I need to pay for them?” 

Dont these look delicious?

Don't these look delicious?

 “Oh, I don’t usually answer this phone…somebody will call you back with all that. ” So it does seem to be…small and informal, but they say you will be able to tell the difference in these onions, so I’m in…all in. And they have a killer looking Sweet Onion Pie recipe on there….can’t wait to try it. Maybe L.B. will call me back tonight.

Oh, and if want to see a funny video they just posted on youtube that will also make you hungry…click right here, sweetie.

Thank goodness for cell phones…the death of Nada…
June 22, 2009

Here in the U.S., in our safe insulated  little world, we tend to forget the deadly seriousness of what is going on in protest torn Iran right now….with thousands of demonstrators saying their presidential election was stolen. And to gather and say it out loud,  is very very dangerous indeed.

This is brought home in a shocking manner…by  a cell phone video that captured the death of a young woman named Nada….who seems to have been just watching the demonstrations with her Father, when she was shot…a witness says, by an Iranian policeman or militiaman, on a rooftop.  The video I’m linking to here is graphic…I warn you of that in advance…but it speaks volumes about what’s going on over there. Troubling, dangerous times indeed. If not for cell phone video, and the web….we would have little knowledge of what’s happening….but governments that would do so,  haven’t yet found a way to completely circumvent technology. Thank goodness.

What Donna’s watching this summer….
June 19, 2009

While television watching seasons have changed a lots in the past few years…summer , which used to the land of reruns(or encore presentations as the networks like to call them), now quite a few really great series air or make their debut in the summer. Before any more time goes by…her are my favorites so far. There are some good ones.


So beautiful, so compassionate...

So beautiful, so compassionate...

HawthoRNe/TNT…..starring the truly gorgous Jada Pickett Smith(and there are plenty of closeups for big fans), this medical series centers more on the nursing staff, instead of the doctors. I really liked one scene, where a doctor who made a mistake is trying to blame if on one of her nurses(Jada is the head honcho nurse), and she says, “Oh that’s right…doctors don’t get fired, do they?” Good acting, good writing…and if I am to believe what I’ve read about the series, Jada’s very famous spouse is like an unpaid and constant consultant on the show. While that’s probably good for her and the show, I’ll bet the producers would love for him to take  a hike. Nobody likes somebody from the outside throwing their weight around(especially if they know what they’re doing,and Will Smith does).

Look how the sun glints on his chiseled cheekbones!!

Look how the sun glints on his chiseled cheekbones!!

Royal Pains /USA….eye candy alert! “Dr. Hank”(Mark Feuerstein) is a top notch ER doc from NYC, where he’s been a bad boy, for saving the life of a poor kid over a big hospital donor.Awwwww, that’s sweet.  And now he’s blacklisted from other hospitals!  Sooooo, he winds up in the Hamptons(the rich part) where they need…wait for it…a good doctor…a concierge doctor! Even the rich on  need medical care, right? Funny brother, pretty cars, big houses, beaches, fancy parties….Don’t be a cidiot(Hamptons local term for city people who come out on the weekend)…what’s not to like? 

I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here/NBC….ok, let me say, this is one I have to watch alone. The other people who live in my house think this show is ridiculous, so I’ve been driven underground, to watch it in secret.  It feels so dirty. But the Baldwin brothers and the skeletal Janice Dickenson duking it out…and Speidi? I know it’ s awful, but that’s what makes it good.

And I asked some guys here at work about what they’re watching and got these two suggestions: Fourth and Long/Spike TV…..a reality tv football show with Michael Irvin. Once I went to the website…I could see why I had never watched anything on Spike.  It’s not my…ummmm….. cup of tea. Cup of beer is more like it. Also suggested…Raising the Bar/TNTa lawyer show, but it is by producer Steven Bochco, so that’s something…I’ve never seen it.

Ok, share…have any of you found some great…ok, at least interesting new series you’d like enough to suggest for the rest of us? Let me know. Have a fantastic weekend…be good, and come home safe. DH out.

No Show Today!!
June 18, 2009

Tigers Happy Dance...I can relate...

Tiger's Happy Dance...I can relate...

OK, number one…an apology for not blogging all this week…sometimes the week just gets by me.  Scusi…pardone…you know. Anyway…when I came in this morning, Mindy Basara rushed over….ok, that means news, and not the kind you put on television, if you know what I mean. And it just so happens, in this instance, I can share it with you. Other times, I’d get sued or fired, so….sorry. 

Did you know there’s no 5:00 show tonight?” , she exclaimed…I probably looked pretty dazed and confused…”noooo“, I say slowly. She explains, “It’s golf !” Oh yeah, I do remember seeing something on The Today Show this morning about the U.S. Open starting today, and wondered how it might impact  Eleven News at Five, and now I’s blowing it out of the water…today and tomorrow. So I will not have the pleasure of sharing that hour together with you, that quality time that we usually get…I will be…ummmm…well, blogging, for one thing. Now that I don’t have a newscast to think about, that frees up time for this very thing.

And I have my mammogram today….so I won’t feel so pressured to get in and out like a flash. I was writing a story just a couple of weeks ago, about how mammograms have dropped in the U.S., across all age and socioeconomic groups, and I thought to myself….when was my last mammogram? I called and got the answer…2007. Oooops. So I made my appointment right then and there, and today is the day!  I know a lot of people dread them…but you know, it’s just a moment of discomfort, some would call it pain…but just when you get ready to say, “Hey lady that really hurts!”, it stops. I can take anything for a second or two.

Tomorrow there is no 5:00 newscast as well….so I will write a story that I had to get written anyway…I’ll just have more time to do it, and maybe work on some other projects for the future. Maybe I’ll even get crazy and eat lunch out, instead of at my desk….imagine that! But no worries, I will be back with you again…Monday, at five o’clock…and yes, I will watch the U-S Open. And while I like the rest of the world, worship at the feet of the the master, Tiger Woods…I will secretly root for Angel Cabrera to pull off an upset. I like him….but I don’t know…Tiger is healthy this year, which makes him seem insurmountable, but you never know. You just never know.

Do what you wanna do, this weekend…
June 12, 2009

Will you be wearing a wineglass necklace this weekend??

Will you be wearing a wineglass necklace this weekend??

What are you doing this weekend? here’s my plan….sleep as late as possible tomorrow morning, something crazy like 8:30 am… Maybe 9 if Muffy the cat doesn’t walk all over me. Next, something  fun and something I’m really looking forward to.  Not. Cleaning all my clothing out of my daughters closet and finding a place(?) to put them. Here’s what’s happened. As she as been at school(for years), and my closet is kinda small(miniscule)…not one of those palatial walk-ins…I have “expanded into her closet. And the guest room closet. Yeah. And now that she will be home next week for…ummm…until she finds a job, an apartment and starts her grownup life…the girl needs her closet. So, that will take some time.

I’m having dinner at a friends house Saturday(yipee no cooking), and while I will offer(sincerely) to bring a dessert, they may decline that offer…and then, what can I do? Insist on bringing something? That would be rude. Anyway, Marianne Banister gave me a lovely bottle of wine for my birthday…I found it on my desk yesterday,…with the funniest card. The front reads “I read about a woman who makes ice cubes from leftover wine…I didn’t know that was possible! (open the card)“..have leftover wine, that is.” I love it MB…maybe I’ll take the wine to dinner.

Ok, let’s see…what else. I also hope to get to a movie…maybe Pelham 123?  Didn’t get great reviews..from anyone… but still want to check it out. Maybe barbecue on Father’s Day…that is Sunday right?(I have subsequently learned it is not this Sunday but next) Which means the Father gets to show off their grill-skills(they can still be shown off). And less cooking for me. Just kidding…the side dishes are the hard part anyway.

And Sunday afternoon….a wine festival?  It’s called the  Great Grapes Wine Art and Food Festival, at Oregon Ridge…and you may not know there are quite a few wineries in the state these days making some very good wines. The most famous being Boordy Vineyards with Rob DeFord at the helm…he does  a lovely job on the seyval blanc there…and Basignani wines have gotten some great reviews. What’s not to like really, wandering around tasting wine and sampling food Sunday afternoon for a while, with a wine glass as your necklace for the day? Odd, but hey, it works. Oh, and they can make ice cubes from the leftover wine. Have a lovely weekend…play nice, and come home safe.

P.S. late add for weekend: in Leakin Park Saturday June 13th….Maryland jazz flutist Trey Eley and his band will perform FOR FREE  from 6:30 to 7:30 . It’s near the mansion at 1901 Eagle Drive, 21207  off 4800 Windsor Mill Road. Park in the tennis courts parking lot and walk to the center meadow…then enjoy.( you might want to take a blanket or lawn chairs…and a picnic.). The next day on Sunday from 11- 3, also at Leakin Park, if your kids have never ridden the model steam trains  run by retired engineers…it’s a real treat. My kids have gone on board many times when they were little..and the engineers still do it!!

Me and My Teleprompter…
June 11, 2009

Funny story....

Funny story....

You may have seen an amusing story on The Today Show by Jamie Gangel about President Obama’s love for his teleprompter(in which the prompter actually gives a hysterical  interview). Presidents have used prompters for years, but evidentally this President takes his almost everywhere. Hey, I get that. It does help get rid of that dastardly trio of  unwanted verbal tics we all have…the  ummms, the you knows, and the ahhhs. Teleprompter is my friend..usually. I love my prompter…even though it has changed (of course)over the years. Haven’t we all?

When I first started in the business, prompter was a paper copy of the script, all the scripts were taped together and had to be run through a machine. As you can imagine, it was not uncommon for the paper to get hung up in the machine…oops, bad tape job, and …that was that until they got it straightened out.

Today, it’s all electronic….complete with all the problems that come along with that. While the producer can change things from the control room and update the scripts or add things as needed, ( and this can also can be tricky…when you see something different than you expect to see, your brain wonders for that split second, is that right?) electronic problem as we all know can be….as sticky as a bad tape job. Sometimes Mr. Prompter gets stuck on a script and just loops it over and over. Sometimes the person operating Mr. Prompter gets distracted and forgets to roll him. Or rolls his too fast. Or too slow. And sometimes it jus goes black, though none of this is a common occurance. And it is subject to typos. I try very ard, oops, I mean hard,  to catch all of those before we get to air, but sometimes things get put in at the last minute and the lack of or addition of a single letter can make a word or sentence unintelligible. Like “They can’t go far”..could be “They cart go for.” And you have to try to make sense of it, on the spot. Sometime I even succeed. But I have finished reads before and in the break said, “Ah for the want of a letter…” And just like a bad boyfriend, prompter is  better if it’s just gone, than to pop in and out, which leads to feelings of insecurity and anxiety…will it be there, is it gonna leave any second? When it’s down, at least you know you’re on your own.

It always surprises me when someone thinks we memorize all those words….ummmmm, no.(Sorry..had no prompter for that.) I know how President Obama feels about his prompter….a curious, needy, not very emotional but very real relationship. Mr. Prompter ain’t perfect, but my life is better with him, than without him. And so is the newscast you watch. Trust me on this. Oh, and the President’s prompter has its own name and blog …. TOTUS…it is pretty funny… he calls the President “the big guy”. As this anonymous blogger says, “There is no potus without Totus!”.

A Handful of vitamins and a sleeping pill…..
June 10, 2009

Such a great cast in this show....

Such a great cast in this show....

Ok, here’s what happened….I was at dinner last night for a quick birthday cheeseburger at Woodberry Kitchen down the street from WBAL…they make great burgers and the fries are divine(aren’t all fries?)…a  birthday treat. And because I was attending the new show at the Hippodrome after dinner…Spring AwakeningI brought along my vitamins….I’m serious about my vitamins. And because I have a bit of a sleeping issue(I’m also serious about my sleep)…I’ve discussed this here before, I wake up in the middle of the night, and can’t go back to sleep….so an over the counter sleep aid helps me slumber more peacefully. Unfortunately, as I gobbled my fistful of vitamins…I also gulped the sleeping pill….hmmmmm. That can’t be good.

I can only say, it is a real testament to how riveting Spring Awakening is, that I not only stayed awake….but actually remember the entire show! And let me tell you….if you are going expecting an updated Oklahoma….you will be in for a surprise. It is the story of young people coming into their sexuality and all the problems and issues that come along with that, and the show depicts it quite….ummmm…..graphically. As in bare body parts/looks pretty real to me sex on stage graphic. And as they say in the biz….”strong language”. That said, if that doesn’t bother you, you’ll love the show. And I guarantee you won’t go to sleep.