Archive for July, 2010

Little girls and handbags….
July 29, 2010

That's Madison on the left, Emmaleigh on the right....

I was in Carroll County earlier this week, shooting a health story about one of the two precious little girls you see above…I won’t tell you the nature of the story(it would spoil the surprise and someone else might grab it-you know how journalists are), but I think you’ll find it interesting. I knew the focus of the story was five years old….and I also know how shy little girls can be, so what could help be an ice-breaker for a little girl? A present, that’s what.

So I went into my daughter’s old room(which looks, by the way, as if she slept there last night and still occupies it)….because she has a rather extensive handbag collection that has spanned the years. I found two cute little bags, just made for  little girls. 

Vera and Lilly...better together...

 The one with the wooden handle is a Lily Pulitzer, and you can switch covers on it( if you have an additional cover that is), and the other is a cute pink and white gingham Vera Bradley wristlet. My daughter really never used these bags, so they were in pretty much perfect condition. So I wrapped them in tissue and off I went.

As you might expect, they were a big hit. Little girls love pink and green..and they love purses….so it was a win-win….and the thaw was instant. Seriously, these two will win your heart when you see the story(I’ll let you know when it’s gonna be on)….

Al and his delish Carroll County tomatoes

And as we’re on our way back to the station….I begged the photographer Howard Melnick, to stop at a roadside vegetable stand. I had missed the weekend’s farmer’s market, and so was tomato-less…a sad predicament to be in, mid summer. The farmer’s name is Al…he bought his place in Eldersburg in 1965…and he says his Father used to own the land that Wal-Mart is on out there…his Dad sold it for around $30 thousand dollars, and then it was sold to Wal-Mart for five million. Sigh….but he loves Eldersburg…”Isn’t it pretty around here?”, he asked. I assured him it was indeed lovely. And when I asked did he really grow the tomatoes, he looked at me oddly, and said, “It’s not that hard growing tomatoes.”…..easy for him to say. But Al, I am very much enjoying the fruit of your labor….had a fantastic BLT with avocado for dinner that night. And thanks to all of you…for your tomatoes, and the story.

Who’s Watching the Turtles???
July 27, 2010

Tony Hayward....a "turtle" marked for greatness....

He was marked for great things…one of those really sharp go-getters, a hot-shot that the bosses prophesied would rise to the top, maybe one day be CEO. And so it was….Tony Hayward…one of the “turtles”, nicknamed after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, became the big boss at British Petroleum. He was supposed to be someone who would focus on safety in the company and change the so-called “champagne culture” at BP. What does that mean? Dunno for sure, but I’d venture a guess the prevailing attitude there was making money hand over fist. In other words, greed.

And perhaps Hayward did believe in those things, but unless the boss makes sure those far under him understand what it is that is desired…things float along as usual. So when a tech on the Horizon Deepwater oil rig at in the Gulf of Mexico saw some numbers that didn’t seem right…he dutifully reports those to his boss, though he probably knows what the answer will be. Maybe his boss gets a big bonus for bringing things in on time or ahead of schedule…and he loves that bonus.

So the conversation in any company might go like this….”Ummm, boss, sorry to bother you, but there’s a problem with the sprocket on flibbetegibit #2..some numbers that seem high.” He is frozen by a glacial stare from the boss who does not want to hear this bad news. “How bad is it? What are the chances that the sprocket will explode into a thousand fiery pieces, huh? What are the chances?” The employee acknowledges that odds are pretty low…..and the stare becomes more murderous…”So what are you doing here telling me about the sprocket for? Just get it done.” Many of you have been subject to conversations along lines like these….maybe just not about sprockets.

But the man whose job it was to let the rank and file know that safety was valued more than profit(I know, what a laugh)….now slinks off to another extravagantly paid job. His punishment? A settlement package that is rumored to be 15 million, give or take. So will things change at BP now? The “turtle” who was seen to be the great one…goes in disgrace with his millions.

Meanwhile, people along the Gulf Coast will live with the consequences of someone’s bad decision for many years to come… and the families of eleven men will go on without their husbands and fathers and sons. Reminds me of a line in a song by Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd on his album White Moth….the song is called Footprint….”Like a river runs through the mountain to the sun…the truth cannot be changed….. it has come. ” Who’s watching the turtles?

Baby Gaga Prozac update…readers share their problems
July 21, 2010

Quite a few of you were interested in my problems with Baby Girl( who is still pee-free btw)…the inappropriate peeing and going on prozac…and some of you had ideas and questions. Here goes:

This from Debbie:  “My best friend  is at her wit’s end with the same problem with her cat, and is about ready to take her to the shelter (so sad — she’s otherwise a really nice kitty).  I shared your blog with her, and she was curious who your vet is that prescribed Prozac — I told her I would ask.  Can you share?”

I would indeed…Dr. Heather Graddy at  Westview Animal Hospital did the prescribing…she has been really helpful in trying to get to the bottom of this behavior(sometimes it can be something like a door that scares your cat). And if you’ve on the verge of getting rid of your pet, all avenues should be explored…even drugs.

This from Lainey: “Donna – something did change (don’t remember when though) when your daughter moved out. She also likely brings Spencer’s scent when she visits.Just and FYI too, cats hate citrus so placing orange peels or spritzing with citrus scented stuff is a good deterrent in general (not sure if it would help with Baby Girl’s issue, though).

Lainey, I did not know about citrus being a cat repellant, though I have some and will definitely employ it! Thanks for the tip.

And finally, from Stephanie…..”My Cat’s name is baby girl (3-4)years old also has the same issue. My problem is that she was fixed and she has an ovarian remnant in which she need surgery when she goes in to her heat periods and after she is out of heat she starts to pee on things or she is holding her pee she has had a bad bladder infection. She pees on anything and everything she has even pee when i went to pick her up. I didnt know about the citrus either maybe i will try that as well. how did you get the prozac would love to try that to see if it would help her. do you need to get from a vet?? I just cant afford the surgery as I’m out of work.”

Wow, that is a serious problem Steph…you must be at your wit’s end! I’d call the vet who did the surgery and see if you can negotiate a reduced rate for further surgery. I spoke with Dr. Graddy about it…she said there are some tests you can do to see if that is the issue, but the only answer is probably(as you know) another surgery. You might also ask about valium for your cat…it’s a more serious and immediate fix(and I’ve heard it works wonders), though riskier for the animal’s health as I understand it. But then, you also have a serious problem. Prozac takes weeks to kick in. Let me know what happens!

Baby’s on Prozac….
July 20, 2010

She looks so sweet...doesn't she??

Well, it’s finally come to this…Baby Girl…alias Baby GagaB to the G…is on drugs. I went to a place called Professional Arts Pharmacy a week or so ago, to pick up a prescription of Prozac, for Baby.  It was recommended by my vet for a “little problem” we’ve been having for a while now….Baby relieving herself  in unexpected places(though after a while it’s expected and you look for it). She had several nooks of which she was very fond….a cabinet by the television, any bags left on the floor-danger zone(sorry about your messenger bag, lovely Jennifer)….our shredder at one time, though it did fall out of favor. And I tried everything…all the kitty feel good products of sprays and little scent balls that plug-in(and aren’t cheap let me tell you) that are supposed, to let Baby know that all is well. Not.

The first thing the vet asked me, was what I had already asked myself….what’s changed around the house(nothing)...has anything or anyone new been introduced(no)…is anything causing Baby stress(are you kidding? After I die I want to come back as Baby!)…in other words, she’s just acting out…cause unknown. But as we all know, this is a situation that causes a great deal of stress in the house, as you have to leap of top of a “situation” before it has a chance to cause permanent damage. Luckily we don’t have carpet(oh, the horror of that…I truly feel for those of you with carpet and this issue), and a stone floor is pretty easy to clean, but still.  Just, no.

Liquid Prozac for Baby Girl....

So finally(after a checkup that revealed no physical issues) the vet suggested trying Prozac, saying that it does help cats about  90% of the time(evidently there is quite a big club of us inappropriate-peeing-cat-owners…I know of  two others here at WBAL, whom you would know, but want to remain anonymous). And the people behind the counter at Professional Arts Pharmacy..they evidentally compound a lot of drugs including liquid Prozac for animals….assured me lots of cats take it. I know it takes weeks to take effect, whether in animals or humans, but I will say Baby hasn’t had an accident in almost a week….I’m ecstatic and I’m giving her much love and praise. and I think something else may have helped…when we went on vacation for 10 days we sent Baby to boarding school.  The  Kitty Castle(here’s a link) is run by some extremely nice women…cat people, obviously. Baby loved it, and I loved not worrying about what she was doing at home while I was gone, and she had no problems while there, and used only her litter box…I think the change of scene helped create a break in the bahavior. Maybe Baby Gaga needed a holiday too!

Kitty Castle...boarding school for Baby Girl...

Baby also now  has three litter boxes to choose from in the basement, with 3 different litters…. I know, I know.  The extra litter box(one more litter box than you have cats-)was a suggestion from animal behaviorist Mark Katz from Falls Road Animal Hospital, so maybe that is also helping. There is a great article I found that you might find helpful…here’s a link.

Advice for Sarah Palin….one mom to another…
July 15, 2010

As they say in Great Britain......the adorable couple

I feel you girl..as do many other mothers out there. Whether we agree with your politics or not, Sarah….we feel you. Here’s about the only thing you can say(in my humble opinion) to a daughter who is embarking on what you believe is a disastrous course with a regretable man who has caused much pain and embarassment….in the words of that wise sage Maya Angelou, who’s seen her share of heartache…”Baby, when people tell you who they are…believe them.”  Then say no more.

Sure people can change, they can grow up, they can change(kinda)….but while it was perhaps  ok for Levi Johnston to say, “Hey Bristol, this is not what I signed up for when I dated you, and I’m not ready to marry anyone.” You can live with that…but when that person goes on to badmouth the family in public, embarrass everyone by posing nude in Playgirl, and just generally being a non-supportive jackass…well…Levi has shown you who he is.

Pics like this must make someone want to get out the darts....

But Sarah, here’s the thing….. there isn’t a dang thing you can do about it. You could cut off all financial support, but that would really only alienate your daughter and hurt your grandchild. Or you could cut them off emotionally, but that would only alienate your daughter and hurt your grandchild…see where I’m going here?

Really, your only choice is to bite your tongue and get with the program, girl. Smile for the camera, make nice, and bide your time. Your daughter and your grandchild will need you down the road….because you know who your son-in-law is…he told you.

Mom-In-a-Box…..why didn’t I think of that?
July 9, 2010

Argggghhhh....another graduation gift...what do I do???

Every once in a while…much more often than I’d care to admit…I stumble across something rather brilliant and think…”Why didn’t I come up with that??” Because I’m not smart enough, that’s why…but others are thank goodness, and so comes maybe the most practical graduation or off to school gift ever….Mom in a Box(here’s link). 

38 little necessities of life....from tampons to a screwdriver....

When the kiddies head off to college, there is such a mountain of things that they will need, that it staggers the mind to even begin to grasp then all…so this California mother of four decided to make it easy on the rest of us. There’s a Mom in a Box for women, and one for men. For la femme…you get all the stuff you see above….38 items, everything from lip balm and a screwdriver and tampons and a flashlight and shampoo and disposable razors and wipes… seriously this mom has thought of just about everything. The basic Mom-in-a Box is $49.99….for another $25 it can be the deluxe version, with Tylenol, Advil, Cough Drops, Dayquil, Nyquil, Pepto-Bismol and more….we could call that one Doctor-in-a Box! (Feel free to use my idea.) 

roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini, lemon=Baba Ghanoush

On another note…I have chicken legs and thighs marinating in buttermilk and lemon juice, all ready to grill tonight…it is Friday after all, the best day. I will probably do a quinoa salad with fresh tomatoes and roasted red peppers( did that this morning)….and maybe some eggplant. I saw a great eggplant recipe for Baba Ghanoush(here’s a link) on Chowhound that I may try…would be delicious with some pita bread. Crack a bottle of wine, put on whatever Netflix has sent this week(Brooklyn’s Finest, I think), and hollah…let’s have a party. Hope all of you have a great weekend…be nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe….’cause we miss you. 

 

No-Sweat Fresh Blueberry Jam
July 6, 2010

 

Doesn't get any better than this....and no sweat...

Let me say up front….I’m not a jam or jelly maker. Sure, I enjoy cooking and occasionally baking, but the standing and stirring and pectin and water baths and  boiling of  jars…just, no, ok? So this recipe I can present to you as something that is guaranteed easy, guaranteed no-sweat and even the pickiest jam lover will think you’re a genius. 

Two ingredients...that's it...

The ingredients: 

1. one pint of fresh, washed blueberries  

2. one jar Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Preserves. That’s it.  

Mix the preserves with the berries, stir, put it in a pretty bowl, Grab the butter the biscuitsand hey, it’s time for breakfast on the back porch….you’re done.  

Add a warm biscuit...it's blueberry heaven....

 

You’re now in blueberry heaven. Seriously, this is so good, with a few variations it could even be a gourmet fruit topping for ice cream…almost like a compote. Add a little brandy or liquer that you like, maybe a squeeze of lemon, warm slightly(not too much or you’ll pop the berries and the freshness is gone), top with a few more blueberries and a sprig of fresh green mint….gourmet dessert. Enjoy, my fellow shortcut lovers. And let me know if you have other simple things you do to make something special out of a couple of simple ingredients….I’ll share with everyone. 

 

FOURTH OF JULY CHECKLIST….
July 2, 2010

Co-workers have slobbered over my pie...keep away!

OK, let’s see….I have about 15 minutes to write this before my newscast begins…but I’ve been busy today…getting stuff I need for the 4th weekend.

1. Chicken thighs for barbecueing to take to a potluck dinner…check.

2. Blue berry that may pass for homemade (maybe?)when I put it in my own darling red pie dish…check.

Fresh mint for Potatoes Fontecchio..sounds odd but it works

3. Fresh mint for Potatoes Fontecchio…here’s a link to recipe)…it’s one of my favorites, simple yet delicious and no mayo….check.

4. Two for one potato salad from Whole Foods…that is really good and come on, it’s two for the price of one!!…..check.

5. After newscast, meet daughter and hubby for dinner out…check.

6. Get ready to kick back for the holiday weekend, during which I hope to see a movie, (Letter’s for Juliet), visit some old friends by which I mean friends I’ve had for a long time, do some reading on my Nook…(just finished Wench-fabulous..and have moved on to A Reliable Wife)…check.

7. Wish all of you a most felicitous and joyful Fourth of July….be nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

The Scope of the Oil Spill is “Beyond Belief”…
July 1, 2010

Oil spill workers on the Biloxi beach.....

Since I got back from down South, the first thing people ask me after the polite “Did you have a good time“, is “Did you see any oil?” The answer to that is… a little. We were in Biloxi that has, so far, not been too impacted by the BP oil spill. But I took a walk on the beach there to see what was going on….and something that wasn’t going on, was fun and games on the beach. Only one family getting ready for a day at the seaside(and this was a Saturday)…I guess everyone else was busy losing money at the casinos, which have pretty much gobbled up this little seaside town.

Dead fish....plenty of them....

But I did see lots of dead fish on the beach….that can’t be the norm. And there were workers picking up the black stuff you see in the pictures and taking it in baggies for analysis…the head guy said it was oil, but they test it anyway.

Oil at the water's edge....

But if you want to see what really happening out on the gulf that no one can see from the beach(hello, network reporters)…check out the video from Alabama conservationist John Wathen..here’s a link. Quite simply, it is devastating. He’s been filming on flights out over the gulf, ever since the spill began, and what he is now seeing, is so much more widespread and horrifying than anything shown on network news, with pods of dolphins dead and in distress. He says on the video, “The scope of the oil spill is beyond belief.  Why aren’t the networks  out flying themselves over the Gulf  to see what’s going on… they seem pretty content with talking heads and a reporter on the beach. Get out there. Go see for yourselves what’s happening to this beautiful body of water and the creatures that live in it and around it. Please?

little bits of crude start to wash up in Biloxi...these will be tested...

I heard this morning an NBC  reporter say that BP had done testing on the oil and the dispersants, and found that the dispersants, while toxic, aren’t as toxic as the oil. How lovely. But adding millions of gallons of something that’s a little less toxic, to the millions of gallons of toxic oil=more toxicity…..doesn’t it?  Am I missing something? The math sounds a little hinky. And some experts say the big problem with the dispersants is that it is just hides the problem and is killing the oxygen in the water…yeah, that’s oxygen the fish need to live.  My brother-in-law George lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama….he tells me he has personally seen for the first time in his lifetime, huge schools of fish at the surface of the water, like a feeding frenzy, only they’re not eating anything….they’re trying to breathe. If that doesn’t hit you in the gut, then you’re tougher than me.

And I understand the  frustration of the people who live in the area seeing their way of life possibly spoiled forever….it’s an area that for the most part, did not vote for President Obama, and I can tell him that many of them feel, mistakenly I think, that he doesn’t really care. They just want to see definitively, that EVERYTHING  that can be done, IS being done. So let’s do it. Again, a plea for cutting the red tape…use all available help…now.