Archive for May, 2010

Jessica and Nick get a 2nd chance??
May 28, 2010

They're getting back together?

Seriously, that’s what I thought this morning when I was cleaning up my daughter’s old room…really more like an excavation. Because in spite of promises to come over and help me clean up the big old hot mess she left behind when she moved to her first apartment…..yeah, nothin’. So this  morning, in anticipation of my son and the lovely Jennifer coming in for the night, as they’re on their way to the Eastern Shore for a friend’s weekend wedding, I made a token effort at setting things to right. I put sheets on her bed, and put some extra unwanted clothes aside for Goodwill, and started putting about 3 dozen(at least) magazines and catalogues into the recycling. That’s when I realized how old this stuff was…some of it was almost in the collector category. Piled up some chick lit books to bring into work, and I had a quick taker for “You’ll Never Nanny in this Town Again“. Actually, I enjoyed that one myself….kind of like “Nanny Diaries” but with real names…no Mr X. I cannot imagine how the publisher escaped a lawsuit from the powerful people talked about…and maybe they didn’t. 

Wrappy McWrapwrap

We’re also doing an early celebration tonight for my daughter’s birthday while my son and daughter-in-law are in town, so last night I was wrapping gifts…why is it that always gives me a backache? Really…every time. But it’s done. And today, the new sofa arrives and the old one(fingers crossed) goes… a…way. 

Just a few of my "Sofa Notes"...could be the title of a book.

And I have amassed quite a compendium of resources as a result of all the reader comments(thank you!) and a little research I did trying to get rid of this thing….and I’ll put that together for you next week.  Actually, now that I washed its slipcover, it looks pretty darn good…so much so the hubby said, “Why are we getting rid of it?”…we just are sweetie, we just are. it’s time. The only possible hitch (think positive)is the truck that’s picking the old one up…may possibly be too full to take it. Iris at Rock City Church(a contact I got from Sheila, a habitat reader) said, they could probably get it but….it’s the last thing on the pickup list. (Send out positive energy.) I’m not sure what we’ll do if there are two big sofas…. think positive, think positive, think positive. 

Anyway, have to pick up a birthday cake at one place, and some scones for breakfast at another….Yes, I could have made them but I didn’t, ok?  Trust me when I say these are better than anything moi could have done. And it’s party time! Hope all of you have a great holiday weekend….I’m working on Monday, as are some of you no doubt…it’s no big thing.  It’s good to have a job. And I’ll let you know what happened in the saggy sofa saga(say that three times fast) Play nice and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

P.S. several hours later, I still have the old sofa…the group said it wasn’t good enough to take….:(  Back to square one.

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Lazy Man Lectures…What’s with the Q & A??
May 26, 2010

Bordain and Rippert on stage, with Reagan at the left....

OK, I told you I was attending the Anthony Bordain shindig Saturday night….he and Le Bernadin chef Eric Rippert were appearing at the Hippodrome for a “Foodie Experience“. Tickets were $50 a pop….that was just for the program btw, not including the tasting stations afterwards, which would have added a significant sum to the total for the evening(and rumor on the chef underground has it they blew off the tasting and jetted out)…my friend Elise from Chesapeake Foodie and I….opted out of the food part….we had a great dinner in the Brewer’s Art bar…killer pork belly on sweet potato biscuits…but I digress. 

Onstage at the Hipp…was a long sofa and a chair. Hmmmmm, that’s an interesting configuration…too much seating for two men, and I don’t think anyone’s taking a nap, so what gives? About fifteen minutes after the start time of 8pm, a guy strolls out, and introduces himself as Reagan of Mix 106.5 radio station….welcoming the crowd, ….I’ve done the intro act myself, so ok. He goes onto say that he has “been involved with this presentation from the beginning”… and then it became clear what was going on….Reagan was going to interview Bordain and Rippert onstage. Sigh(not a good sigh). A famous Band song comes to mind…”Take a load off Fannie, take a load for free“…. 

This is no knock on Reagan…I thought he did a pretty good job actually, so hat’s off, Reagan….but here’s the thing. It’s the lazy performer’s format. I experienced this for the first time when I went to hear author Michael Pollan(Omniviore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food) speak at Goucher College.  He came out onstage, sat down and announced he was here to answer your questions…no lecture, no here’s who I am and what I think….just… you got a question I’ll answer it, otherwise we’ll all just sit here in silence and contemplate our navels for an hour….sigh(again, bad sigh). Come on Pollan…anybody can sit and answer questions, it takes a little prep work, a little thought, a little….ummmm…work, to address a crowd who has come to hear you, though surely not much thought. He “speaks” a lot so surely there must be several set lectures on file in that brain. Here’s my complaint. Not only is it lazy…it skews the whole evening to being held hostage to whatever crazy, off topic question some knucklehead has. And that can be a lot. So you never get a good overview of his thoughts on things, just the answer to whatever question has been asked. And only answering questions assumes a GREAT deal of knowledge on the part of every audience member. Guess what? They’re not all BIG FANS. Some just have kinda heard of you and would like to hear your thoughts. At least it was free. 

So the same complaint somewhat held true for the Bordain/Rippert Foodie experience. It was an Q&A interview format, followed by more Q&A by audience members! Oh the joy! It’s a cheap and much too easy format(ok not cheap, $50 a ticket x 1800 people=90 grand, thank you very much). Anyone can sit and answer questions…and sure they did it in an entertaining fashion. And Reagan covered the bases, but come on, famous people.  Do the prep work..give me my $50 worth…or maybe …just let us know in advance that this is what I’m gonna get. Oh, one amusing note….Bordain was admonishing workers in the kitchen to “have respect for your chef…just show up for work on time”. I’d agree…but add you might have the same respect for your audience and show up on stage at 8, not 8:15.  Any questions?? Anyone??

Saggy sofa 911…what to do with an old couch??
May 24, 2010

What my new sofa looks like......

Finally, I have a new sofa being delivered this Friday. The sofa in our family room has…well…seen better days. Much better days. I’ve ordered slip covers, which cover the surface, but the cushions are tired of being sat on by various derrieres, and have said, “That’s it, honey. We’re done“. So after probably a dozen years of hard living, a new sofa from Arhaus is being delivered this Friday. But never, never, never did I know I’d have such a problem getting rid of the old one. Because while this sofa is older, it still has a little life in it.

I tried Salvation Army…their first pickup avail  is well into the summer…and I have no place to store it until then. I called Goodwill…I was told by a very nice woman that they no longer do pickups. I said, “Maybe I can find a way to get it to you?” And she said, “We’re not accepting any upholstered furniture unless it’s in like new condition.” I said, “I’ll bet you don’t get much of that, do you?” She said, “Nope“. And like-new does  not describe my sofa…even though my daughter still loves it and hates to see it go. It is still pretty comfy. Perfect for a college apartment…you don’t have to worry about spilling something on it.

So while I hate the idea of putting something in a landfill….I went online to Baltimore City to schedule a bulk trash pickup. The link for pickup request no longer exists….so I called 311 to inquire about it..knowing with the current budget troubles, there had been talk of getting rid of bulk trash service. Anthony at 311 confirmed that this is the last month for bulk trash, and since the 4th Friday(as in this Friday) is my pickup day(see where I’m going here? One last pickup for old time’s sake?)….but Anthony quickly disabused me of that notion. “Oh, this Friday is a furlough day, so Baltimore City workers are off that day.” Damn. Budget problems coming home to roost…at my house.

So here’s a question for you…what does one do with a sofa one no longer wants? Hmmmmm? Leave it by the side of the road somewhere, with a note saying, “Please take care of me” ? ?  Just kidding everyone, I would never do that, but here’s the problem…lots of people will do that without a backward glance, if there’s no bulk trash pickup available. So what is already a problem in the city…trash dumping…will only get worse as the places to get rid of things close their doors.

It’s Friday, People!!
May 21, 2010

Problem solved...my Nook is behaving!!

First of all, happy Friday to you….and let me announce, my Nook “issue” has been sol-ved. Evidently all  I needed was a download of 1.3  Nook, which while it says it will “enhance your Nook experience“…what it will actually do is solve a few gremlins in the machine, like the freezing issue, and I suppose that does enhance one’s Nook experience. Mine is now smooth as silk, and yes…..I love that little gizmo. Have already finished “Little Bee“, which I highly recommend and have dived into “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy. 

Chef Parks with Caprece Jackson-Garrett

Went to a lovely little soiree last night in a beautiful backyard garden for a tasting of the cuisine of Chef Bernard Parks(that’s event planner Caprese on his arm….he said, “always have a pretty woman on your arm”…), formerly of Creme Cafe in Washington D.C….he’s planning on opening a Baltimore Creme  on Charles Street, maybe by mid June!  The location…..the site of  the long ago and much beloved Louis’s Bookstore Cafe, and its later incarnation, Ixia.  And if last night is any indication, and I know it is…his food is kickin’. 

Ok, these were only fabulous....

We had little crab cakes on romaine lettuce with an unusual Caesar salad dressing…of which I wished I could take home gallon or so, it was that good. That was followed by Shrimp Risotto with Truffle Oil, Peking Duck Wraps with Hoisin Sauce, and Oxtail and Grits…hollah!! I’ve heard Creme’s chicken and waffles at brunch are off the hook, and people wait in a line down the street to get in for this signature dish(here’s a link to D.C. Creme’s menu), which will also be on the menu in Baltimore. That’s something to look forward to. 

Oh Anthony, you naughty boy....

Let’s see….I’m heading to the Hippodrome Theatre Saturday night to listen to the often hilarious and usually profane chef and author Anthony Bordain of No Reservations….if you’ve never read his book Kitchen Confidential….grab a copy..or download one on your eReader :)….it’s funny, horrifying and enlightening. I can guarantee you’ll never look at restaurant food the same way again. Have a great weekend…play nice and come safe.

Hats to Hose…..and a Nook Hiccup
May 14, 2010

I love the name....and the people who work there...

Ok, we’ve talked about hats all week  people, and nothing about MY hat. I shall unveil it tomorrow, and actually I’d show you today but I don’t have it here and won’t get it until Preakness day. But here’s what I did. I hate shopping for a hat, and since I had a hat I wore several year ago and it fits my enormous alien head(yes, Lisa and Deb have pin heads, while mine is huge)…I took the hat to Phyllis Eley, custom milliner at Hat to Hose(love the name…so funny to say out loud)….and she is refurbishing it for me. Took off the black and white polka dot sash and is replacing it with navy grosgrain and red flowers to match my navy and red striped dress I’m wearing. And total credit for this idea goes to the lovely Lisa Robinson….she’s just so green…so into recycling…even hats. Love it. 

I know just how he feels.....

Ok, enough about Lisa….there has been an electronic hiccup already with the Nook. Night  before last, I was changing the font size(which is a great feature and you can also change the style), but the screen froze on the changing font page….at first I thought to turn it off but couldn’t….so next, “I’ll just give it a night to do whatever it’s doing”…but the next day….same thing. So I go online and google, “My Nook Froze“….I immediately saw I was not alone in this problem. The supposed fix? As there is no reset button on the Nook, you must pop off the back cover and take a teeny tiny screwdriver(oddly I had one for eyeglass fixes) and unscrew the single screw that holds the battery in(Why is a screw needed? I have no idea), pop the battery , wait a few minutes, plug the Nook into your computer with the battery still out and it will reboot. Then put the battery  back in, rescrew it, back on with the cover….I did all these laborious things and it did reboot, and them immediately froze on that screen. Enough. 

And as I don’t want to be always doing all of the above….and thinking maybe I just have a hinky Nook…you know, there are lemons in every bunch of electronics, I took it back last night to the place from whence it cometh. They took it back, and gave me a new one, no questions. I asked the girl if she had seen a lot of this, and she told me it was her first Nook swap. So I’m hopeful that this will be the cure…but as other posters out there have asked, was the Nook rushed out on the market before it quite ready for prime time? We shall see…..we shall see. I’ll let you know how it goes, because lots of people are interested in these gadgets, and are deciding between the Nook and the Kindle. They each have their advantages and the Nook honestly has features I value, that the Kindle doesn’t have. But I don’t want a problem ridden machine that’s always doing some glitchy thing, either. I’ll update the situation next week. 

And it’s Friday….I’ll see you tomorrow in person or on television at the Preakness…you can check out my hat then! Adios….I have to go get a pedi! Trust me… I need one.

High tech Momma’s Day…help me….
May 11, 2010

Studying my Blackberry instruction book...

My daughter was able to spirit away my phone this weekend without my knowledge, and take it toVerizon to exchange it for…you  guessed it…a Blackberry. So sweet and so thoughtful…I’m looking at it right now . There’s a little red blinking, and I’m not sure what that means. I have a phone call? An email? A SMS message(and what does that stand for anyway? I know I will probably get used to it, but I think I may need remedial tutoring. I can make and receive a phone call, look at and reply to an email, and send a text message. That’s it. I can’t initiate an email, and while I can take the picture, I don’t know how to send it(Lisa Robinson, also a Blackberry newbie, sent the picture above for me)…I just don’t find the device very intuitive, and perhaps I’m not either. Sigh. Maybe by the end of the week we’ll be better friends.

On the other hand, a device I have wanted for a long time…an e-book reader…is now mine. I got the Nook instead of the Kindle,  a big surprise from my husband….and I learned how to use it in no time, and have been on a rampage downloading books(my AMEX must wonder what’s going on)….and am currently reading one called, “Little Bee“. It was suggested by a couple of friends, and I love it so much already, I’m suggesting you might enjoy it too…via paper or ebook. What’s next on my reading list?  South of Broad by Pat Conroy, all about Charleston, one of  my fave cities…and Dead Until Dark….the first in the Sookie Stackhouse vampire series, on while the HBO series True Blood is based. Can’t wait….vampires are all the rage. Oh, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, bu Sarah Addison Allen….it’s a story  about a quirky Southern town(is there any other kind? I’m just sayin’), wher two very different women discover how to find their place in the world. “Here are rooms where wallpaper  changes to suit your mood“….whah? This was a whimsical download…I’ll let you know how good it is.

I promise…pics by the end of the week or bust. You’ll see.

It’ Friday people! Momma’s Day and Half-price Frappuccino??
May 7, 2010

Momma and Poppa Goose

Yes, yes, yes…it is indeed that lovely day to which we all look forward..no matter how much we enjoy our work…the felicitous 24 hours known far and wide as …..Friday.

I love poppies....but I can't grow them, for some reason.

I started mine off with a brisk walk this morning…I saw some gorgeous orange poppies in  bloom…”poppies, beautiful poppies”…remember, Wizard of Oz? Oh never mind. And I also saw a pair of geese wandering through the grass, one keeping a close eye on me while the other one grazed…lovely sight that. I predict I will see baby geese..goslets?…soon, if I keep a close eye.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday…and it will be the first of such days without my own Mother to call and send good wishes. The first year I haven’t needed to try and think of one more thing that she might enjoy, as she wasn’t enjoying nearly as much at the end. Sweets usually went over well, and I ordered several times a year from Fat Witch Bakery in NYC, for their fabulous brownies, that I first discovered at the Chelsea Market there….you should stop by if you’re ever in the Big Apple.  And they do such a great job of packing them in a cute way….and I love the little witch. I would get Mom the “brownie babies“…individually wrapped mini-brownies that she could give away to staff and friends. She enjoyed giving treats.

I also have to plant these peonies I bought.....

I’m being taken out to brunch Sunday by my sweet daughter…she and a long time girlfriend of hers(since diapers) are taking me and her Mom, who’s a friend of mine…(you may remember Clare, whose head I helped shave during her rounds of chemo) out, for a treat. I’m looking forward to catching up with the girls, and I’m so happy to report Clare is doing well.  And last night, when I got home, I found a big box on my  doorstep, with a cooler inside  filled with delicious varieties of Callie’s Biscuits ….from the lovely Jennifer and my son…oh, and a really cute Callie’s t-shirt too. They know I adore those biscuits(then again, who doesn’t?), but it’s such a tasty way to send a bit of Charleston love to Baltimore.

A different kind of happy hour....

Last, but not least, treat yourself to a Frappuccino today and this weekend, at half-price(take one to your Mom, she won’t know it was half price)! Starbucks is having a Frappuccino Happy Hour  every day, from 3 to 5 pm starting today, through May 16th. Don’t say I never tried to save you some bucks.

I wish for all of you a lovely weekend….don’t forget your Mom….you’ll never regret the time you spent with her, but you may regret the time you didn’t spend. Play nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

Thoughts on “love”…. the tragedy at UVA
May 5, 2010

My heart aches for the Mother of Yeardley Love…and for the mother of the man who is accused of killing her. As a mother of a 23 year old daughter, I can only imagine the sickening feeling  of that phone call…that it can’t be real, this can’t possibly be happening.  But I look at such a thing and wonder, what can we pass along to our kids..especially our daughters who face the world of love and romance in a new age….not that domestic violence is anything new to the scene….not even remotely.

I sent the information to my sweet daughter, hoping to tell her….what? That people who will do you harm, don’t just look like threatening strangers? Be careful who get involved with?  It is a sobering statistic that of the 15 to 19 year old women who are murdered in this country each  year, about 30 percent of them were killed by a boyfriend or husband. Oh, love….can thy name be violence?

When I was in my 20s, I had only a minor brush with such a thing….I’d been dating a guy, pretty seriously, and then I didn’t want to see him anymore. But he couldn’t accept that ending….he came to my apartment several times uninvited, even when I was leaving on a date, saying he had to talk to me. I remember his hands were shaking as we sat in his car….he simply couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to be with him anymore. I didn’t understand either really…I just didn’t. He even drove 30 miles to see my parents and talk to them about it…I was embarassed, and as you can imagine…horrified. This was someting I had carefully kept from my Mother. After a while he did finally leave me alone, but being stalked was no fun, and it could have ended badly…but it didn’t.

I think most young women  think they can handle the situation…I did. You don’t want to make legal trouble for someone or embarrass them, and you may think things will get worse if you call his parents….his coach…his friends…his boss.  But sometimes, you have to get serious about what could be a lethal threat. And I hope my daughter will recognize the signs of  a young man who has troubled emotions in this delicate area…as women we often mistake  jealousy and control, for love. It ain’t, sister. When someone says “where were you” and “who did you see“, and “You can’t go to that party“…they aren’t loving you…they’re treating you like a possession…like a car. And behavior like that once it starts, is a definite trouble sign. It never gets better and it almost always gets worse. Cut the cord then….before you’re more involved. As the poet and author Maya Angelou, who’s taken her own walk on the dark side,  said so wisely, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them“.  Believe them.

I send all my good thoughts and wishes to Yeardley’s Mom and  her family, who are now living in a nightmare from which they cannot awaken. I’m so sorry for your terrible, terrible loss.