Archive for the ‘PETS’ Category

A southern Christmas, a little bit early…
December 13, 2012

 

A picture I love of my sisters and me, from when Mom was alive.

Thanksgiving found me once again in Alabama with my sisters…I’m so sorry we did not do this while my Mom was alive…but it would have been difficult. And I know she would love the fact that we’re all together. And this year, we celebrated Christmas early, while we would all be together! We cut down a tree by the side of the road…

All the decorations(sans lights) had to be found on the property…

You know you’re almost there when you see this….

I love, love, love all these property signs…and wow have they grown over the years!

My daughter and Tommy…she loves being with her cousins. And the pets aren’t bad either!

My sister’s Thanksgiving table…again, mostly things from the property!

For game day(Auburn-Alabama game)…we made a big pot of gumbo…omg it was so good. Lots of chicken and sausage..added shrimp right at the end. Made for great leftovers too…

The pre-game spread…lots of Gulf shrimp my sis brought from Gulf Shores…my bro-in-law is in charge of those…he’s quite particular about how they’re cooked!

We did a pool so the game would be at least somewhat interesting. (Bama beat Auburn 49-0….ouch)….I won nothing of course.

The multi colored eggs my niece brought from her very own chickens at home….Martha Stewart would be so proud!!

Went shopping in Cullman one day…thought it was amusing this particular store was NOT open. Hey, we tried.

My Grand-niece Piper…how cute is she??!!

We played a mean game of Take-away Santa….I ended up with the Kapoosh knife holder…which Cowboy found quite cozy for a post game nap….

Last but not least: No trip to the south is complete without a stop at Krystal. Just can’t be done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m back!!
November 21, 2012

Sorry I’ve been a bad, bad blogger….technical issues…plain ole busy…you know the drill. So we have a little catching up to do, do we not?  In no particular order, let’s go. Ever see bookshelves made out of books? SO cute!

Saw these at Women’s Industrial Exchange downtown…

This is how the actual shelf looks…books cover the bracket.

The same artisan made this lampshade out of pages from a book.
An amazing idea…

Seriously, the Exchange has some wonderful gift ideas…

And speaking of gifts, I found these for my son who is a big Ravens fan…and Natty Boh too. I think he’s gonna love these…got them at Charm City Clothing….super cute, and they come in lots of colors(orange for O’s fans)…

Whoops, left out Buddy’s pic!!

This cute little kitty,  my daughter and I have been feeding a block from the station. Buddy(that’s what we call him) is such a sweetie, but needed a home really bad…wasn’t neutered and was living on the street. He and Tom… an old red cat(who is about 16, almost toothless, and so tattered, but sweet as pie) now are in homes, thanks to a young woman named Dani who scooped them up, took them to the vet, and placed them in homes. And who says angels don’t exist. This winter, both of them will be safe…and warm. Makes me happy.

As does this, in the morning….

Hot green tea, morning sunshine, and almond butter and banana on
toast…my fav way to start the day.

A recent Sunday night dinner….I love, love, love roast chicken!

Green beans, and cauliflower with cheese….yummers!

And roasting a chicken is so dead easy. SO. Dead. Easy. I know, I know…it’s no turkey.

Doesn’t that look delish?

And before I leave you to your Thanksgiving weekend…a question for all of you!

And I got my flu shot…did you get yours? It’s not too late!

Bunkbeds, mosquito netting, and lots of kids….
March 28, 2012

Our deluxe accommodations at Sozo...no screens on windows
but we did have mosquito netting. That's my nephew in the orange shirt...

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Uganda looks wise…but I didn’t think the countryside would be as lush and gorgeous as it is. We arrived around 1:30 am at Sozo…I wish you could have seen the van after it picked us up, in a pitch black parking lot at Entebbe airport. Seriously, no lighting at all , except the headlights of other cars pulling out…9 people getting off flights with mountains of luggage…trying to squeeze all of us and our stuff in and on top of the car(well, the luggage on top, us inside!). I would have taken a pic but…..Our dorm room was spartan but clean, and the mattress were super comfy(thanks Allen for buying Eurofoam!)…and it was all strangely comforting. at night..the sounds of crickets, and occasional barking fits from the dogs that are let loose only at night in the compound(more on how animals are seen in Uganda later), and the whirr of the fans.

From the top floor of the orphanage, which is really a big house which Sozo now rents, there is a great balcony…from which I shot this:View from Sozo

Laundry day(which is almost every day) at Sozo. They now
have a washing machine(which they adore)...it used to be done
by hand, but drying is still sunshine.

But it’s a really happy atmosphere inside the walls of Sozo Children…kids laughing and yelling, like schoolyard, really. They also do plenty of work here, and help with the laundry, the cooking, cleaning….and there’s always plenty to do. But they LOVE, love, love to play games. Look what happened when I drew a hopscotch board on the patio: Hopscotch Ugandan style!

Two days we went to the Kabalagala slum, to help out at the Rays of Hope school…which is day school for 300 children, who otherwise might never see the inside of a schoolroom.

Three boys share a book at Rays of Hope school...

We handed out breakfast to these kids, who were soooo incredibly patient. Other kids who are not enrolled in school are occasionally dropped by a parent who are just hoping they can get something to eat(and they do)….here’s what it looks like at breakfast time: Breakfast at Rays of Hope

Tons 'o cups to fill with hot milk and sugar...

We took turns getting up at 4 am(yes really) to help get the kids'(who also get up at four) breakfast ready to be served…they leave for school between 5:30 and 6. It’s a pretty simple meal…buttered bread, some fruit or peanuts, hot milk with a spoonful of sugar in it(that’s the way they like it), maybe a boiled egg. And then we would fall back into bed. zzzzzzzzzz…..

Food here was carb loaded…lots of potatoes, rice, bread, cabbage(the only green vege we had)…rarely any meat, and no sweets. For breakfast I would eat a banana(plentiful in Uganda) and almond butter, which I toted from home across the the Atlantic. So when we got the chance to eat pizza one day….

Hello lover...come to mama...

We fell on it like starving dogs…not that we were starving really…just hungry for a taste of home, and something different(spoiled Americans!)….

Working the night shift…
February 23, 2012

Here we are, making tv widgets.....around the clock...

Most of tend to think of people who work shift work, as perhaps factory jobs, where things roll around the clock…or maybe a 24 hour restaurant. My Dad worked over 40 years at a place that made cast iron pipe in Birmingham, Alabama. He would change shifts every two weeks as I remember. Imagine, for two weeks working 3:30am-noon, then two weeks day shift, and then two weeks 8 pm to 3:30 am….it must have been brutal, a continual sort of jet lag.

AC yes, but we didn't have a clothes dryer for years!

That was why we got air conditioning back in the day…he was trying to sleep during the hot summer months with 3 little girls running around screaming outside the windows. Yeah.

And as I’m sure some of you have noticed, I am now on the night shift. Television is also a business, like hospitals or factories, that operate 24-7. And those shifts have to be covered. So I’m working mid afternoon until after the 11 pm newscast. A man I saw at Whole Foods tonight said, “Wow, I see you on the 11 o’clock newscast. I know that’s tough.”

And while there positives and negatives  about everything…here’s the positive I have found in this move.

I have yet to achieve this look....

-I have time for all kinds of appointments! Hair, doctors, yoga class…running errands…You have good quality daytime hours to do things, and when your off hours are at night, many things aren’t open, or you don’t have the energy after work.

nap like a rock star...

Naps. I try to take a little while before I get ready for work to lie down for a little while, and maybe even take a nap…which I love. The nap is a much underrated pleasure.

Muffy!

-Feeding the cats. OK, that sounds truly weird, but Muffy is a grazer, and weighs almost nothing…that’s because  when I feed the cats in the morning, she nibbles and then wanders away, and Baby Girl gobbles everything she left. So now I feed Muffy several times a day, and she is actually gaining a little weight. Score!

People on the night shift. Rod Daniels(who brings in Big Pup Bandit every now and again), Kai Reed, Gerry Sandusky, Tom Tasselmyer, Jerome Chester , Sheldon Dutes…all great people I enjoy being around very much. And working on a shared project….a terrfic 11 pm newscast…is something we all share and craft together.

So it’s all good…much to my surprise, I’m enjoying being on the night shift…more than I ever thought I would. Now what has taken a beating is this blog, because I haven’t quite found the groove that allows me to do it as often. But I promise to put out a blog at least once a week. And maybe I’ll find the time to do more than that.

Someone asked had I deserted the blog for Facebook….no…but a Facebook post takes a few minutes if that, and a blog takes a block of time. If you aren’t on FB and Twitter, I encourage you to try it…you might find it much more rewarding than you think. On Twitter, I’m @donnahamiltontv, and on Facebook Donna Hamilton WBAL-TV. And it’s easy. Really.

Gloomy Day Gloombusters
January 23, 2012

Hmmmm...too sweet?

Ok, at the risk of sounding like Julie Andrews, a little too happily singing, “These are a few of my favorite things“…I, like many of you, was feeling a little…gloomy today. The weather is terrible, snow on the ground AND it’s raining and gray and cold, and yeah, the Ravens lost to the Patriots. But I found there were quite a few things that made me feel better, so I share them with you in hopes they may offer the same respite. In no particular order:

Cardinal on the snow....so pretty...watched him for a while...

No, not whiskers on kittens, but a huge fuzzy Baby Girl tail!!

News that one of my favs, The Dogwood Restaurant in Hampden, will start offering Saturday and Sunday brunch this coming weekend….think about this: “Fried Chesapeake Oysters on Hoppin‘ John… fresh black-eyed peas braised with green chilies, andouille and the trinity, chipotle aioli.” That ain’t nothin’ but hopeful.

A funny crab hat gift(From Cafe HON)...come on, that is funny.

Thinking about George CLooney doesn't hurt either...

Listening to the soundtrack from The Descendants-preview the songs here…for a movie that had more than a few melancholy moments, the exclusively Hawaiian music is so lovely….very peaceful and surprisingly upbeat. It just makes me happy to hear it. Helps if I look at a pic of George Clooney at the same time…

Living wreath...still lives! There is hope...

This living ivy wreath I bought back in December…..it’s been gorgeous through the holidays…you just take it to the sink every few days and douse it with water, drain and rehang. A storm door in front of it protects it from the worst weather, but while it’s cold…it’s happy there. So I’m happy too.

She escaped the Christmas sweep….and lives to sing….

And this little angel is a Christmas decoration from my childhood, that somehow escaped the after holiday roundup. And she seems so ecstatic over the whole thing with her little harp and all, I think I may just let her stay out this year. Who’s gonna notice, really. And hopefully, one of these things has brightened your day too.

Gift List II…here we go!
December 15, 2011

My gift wrapping station, that now consumes the dining room....

I was talking to Jennifer Franciotti today…she said she had mostly finished her holiday shopping…but had to “fill in the gaps“. I know exactly what she means. While I have a pile of stuff in my house(some of which still needs wrapping), I haven’t really taken a count. Which means, do I have too much for some and not enough for others? I think I got this “super-equal” mindset from my parents… who were always overly conscious about how many presents each of 3 daughters had, and how much money had been spent on each. I mean, they were religious about it. So some of that has kinda slopped over onto me…you know?

And since you may also be “filling in the gaps“…I’m here to help with some things I am giving… or have received, that I very much love…in several price ranges.

Love, love, love my Jambox!!

First, the Jambox. My son gave me this Bluetooth wireless speaker(it’s about 6 x 2′)…so tiny, but so portable and has AMAZING sound. It’s on the expensive side, but if you know someone who loves music and is a techno geek…they will adore this. I use mine constantly(I can even have music on the iPad downstairs and take the Jawbone upstairs-still plays). Found it online for $159.00.

The Euca-mint is my fav scent....

Ok Eco-Armour-here,  is the bomb. Add to that it’s locally made, and smells divine, and will save you money-a no-brainer. “Virtually eliminate ingrown hairs, red bumps, razor burn, nicks, cuts and dull blades“…I will tell you that for women(or men) who shave in more, ummmm, delicate areas….this product makes it a breeze. Seriously. Around $24 for the large bottle…and it lasts a long time.

Cheese, nuts, spreads, crackers...how can you go wrong?

Food. We all eat it. We all love it. A basket of goodies from Whole Foodswould make anyone smile(and can be any price range), but they also have these super-cute gift cards, that could be a nice stocking stuffer, or be tucked in a basket of cheeses and crackers. My favorite: “Hugs and Quiches“…or maybe “Dough“. As a rule, I hate gift cards(I know, I know…everyone else loves them-whatever, not me…) but these are too cute to dislike.

Just for the Halibut.....that's funny....

Fresh Pasta ...what's not to love??

Or put together some fresh pastas, sauces and olive oils from Casa di Pasta in Little Italy. I would so dig a present like that….and the shop is run by a wonderful father-son team. Just a great place.

Monograms...on your phone!

Ok, I cannot imagine a girl(or woman) who wouldn’t love this(if they’re into monograms like my daughter)…a monogrammed iPhone case from Neiman Marcus….it’s $56…very chic. Though monograms I know, are one of those preppy, certainly southern things that are not for everyone. But I like them.

Jonathan Adler...very popular home designer...

OK, here’s a way to have some designer style with none of the cost….the Jonathan Adler coffee mug-here. Porcelain with silicone lid and sleeve, it comes in lots of designs…for a measly $13.95. Please, it may be the buy of the year.

Wouldn't Fido look so dashing in this???

And speaking of Jonathan Adler….he even makes something smart for your puppy…a dashing scarf-here (that also comes in  pink and orange), for $14.95. It makes me want a dog.

Gummys in a paint can....

Last but not least…sweets for the sweet….a paint can filled with gummy bears!! And the paint can, can be used later for snacks or cookies or on your desk(you can also get them filled with gum balls and other treats)…$15.

So get busy…fill in those gaps! Have a great weekend everyone(I’m off tomorrow)…it’s the last weekend to make it count before Hanukhah and Christmas. But I hope it’s relatively peaceful for you as well. Yeah, I know. Come home safe, ’cause we miss you!

 

 

What’s in a week? The most appalling secrets of Donna’s week off!.
December 13, 2011

OK, here’s the thing…I’m not used to having a week off with no plans. As in….I’m not traveling. I’m not sick. I’m just…not working. SO, I had planned to do all sorts of crazy productive things…things that really needed to be done(clean out closet/basement/litter box/car), but in reality… I only did a smattering of them. Oh well. Here’s what I did on my vacation, in pictures.

Put up Xmas lights, while listening to Chris Botti, drinking red wine!

Made this from things I had IN MY BASEMENT!!

The container is from Pottery Barn(and I have more downstairs from my son’s “Maine wedding” that ended up in NYC….so the birch, not quite the thing), the twigs I got at Nettleton Hollow-here…great source for all things twiggy….and the moss from..somewhere.

Here's a closeup...

It’s not the sturdiest creation I’ve ever put together, but as long as the wind doesn’t blow hard, and Baby Girl doesn’t get rambunctious…it should be fine, and I do love the way it looks!

Took my daughter to lunch at American Can Company(love the tree)!

I also needed a pedi badly(really they were awful), and I had a Groupon for one at Juste B-here…..on Fort Avenue in  Locust Point.

Hot stones between my toesies!!

When you walk in you immediately notice a difference at Juste B…no chemical smell. That’s because they use only water based polishes and removers…no bad chemical odors….much better for you and them. Loved the place!

Ingredients for Chicken Marbella...from Silver Palate's 1st book

Had some longtime friends over for dinner one Saturday night, and feeling a little nostalgic, made one of my old fav recipes….Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella-recipe here. The first time I made it was back in the 80s…and I felt so chic taking Chicken Marbella to a party….until a big pan of it spilled an oily, garlicy mess into the back seat of my Volvo…the car reeked of garlic for weeks. But I still love the dish…it’s amazing how simple ingredients like chicken, olives, prunes, garlic, wine and brown sugar can combine in the most delightful way.

Ready to pop in the oven...but wait, something is missing!

Something is missing all right…I forgot to put on the cup of brown sugar right before baking…and I will tell you-that is a key ingredient. It was pretty good anyway, but ain’t Chicken Marbella without the brown sugar. Made me sad.

Redeemed a Groupon at Casa di Pasta in Little Italy....

Their lasagna is the bomb….and the fresh pasta…is molto delizioso. Great little shop on Albemarle Street that is sooooo worth a visit!! Frank Vellegia’s Casa di Pasta-here.

Had an amazing dinner at Sotto Sopra on Charles Street....

And then headed over to see The Lion King at the Hippodrome Theatre-here…if you haven’t…it’s a must see.

Amazing costumes...

I HAVE seen the show before, but I love it enought to see it again….wonderful production! The show is in town through New Year’s Eve, and the week after Christmas….they also have a matinee every day. What a treat for the kids to see this performance(the night we were there, there were LOTS of young children in the audience which frankly worried me, but the show is so mesmerizing-they were actually quiet!).

OK, the things I didn’t get done😦and this is just a sampling-there are more)…

Didn't giftwrap these shirts for my son....sigh...

Didn't take clothes to the cleaners, or mail these cd's to my sister!

So plenty remains on my to-do list…just like yours, I suspect. But there’s still time…a little, right?

Boiled peanuts and boat rides….Thanksgiving down south…
November 28, 2011

Things were pretty civilized Thursday am at BWI....

Most of you know I traveled back to Alabama for Thanksgiving…the first time I’ve done so since I moved to Baltimore in the 80s….suffice it to say…it’s been a while. And it was amazing. Relaxing, good times, good weather, boat rides, cooking, hanging out with the fam…just a fabulous long weekend. I attempted to recreate the weekend for you in pictures….

Intense fog over Smith Lake in the distance ….

Sign down the road...none of us are sure what a turkey shoot is...

I was the lucky one…arriving on Thanksgiving Day…dinner is already cooked!! Love the table my sister set(all from foraging, not buying)…and I did make the pear name tags!!

Ok, I did buy the pears, but we ate them later...

I was tempted to buy some boiled peanuts…I am a recent convert to the treat….and look they’re right there, just open the can!

So easy right? Just open the can...

But in the end, we boiled our own…..though it takes HOURS(seriously). And as we couldn’t find green peanuts(ours were dried, but not roasted)…they were good, but could have been better I think.

My first time actually boiling peanuts....they're not bad!

"Confederate Roses" my sister put by the bed....

And we actually went for boat rides on the lake, it was so warm out….

My nephew Allen, and my daughter are ready to go...

Tommy enjoys the ride more than anyone....ears flying..note the AU collar.

When in doubt, wear pearls.....

And there was a precious antique store that’s opened up just down the road….they had some amazing things in there…and a great eye for display. Love the lunchboxes….just like the one my Father took to work every day.

So cute, mounted in multiples!!

My daughter fell in love with these owl cookie jars...

And we all love these coffee cups….the joke is, Crane Hill is really just a four way stop, with a little store there….Love it.

Crane Hill folks wish all of you happy holidays!!

Pass the cinnamon bread, and the sushi while you’re at it…
November 14, 2011

Greenlee's Cinnamon Bread...from San Jose, CA

Ok, I have to share with you the best cinnamon bread I’ve ever had….I picked a loaf at Whole Foods on a lark, a couple of weeks ago…one of those impulse purchases.(you know how good those feel) Ooooooohhh, frosted loveliness. Toasted? With butter? Amazing. It was so good, I picked up another loaf this past week, and with it, the most delectable French toast I’ve ever made. It wasn’t until I was taking a picture of it for this post when I saw it….a little sticker on the back.

Look past the price tag to that gooey frosting......

Yeah. $7.99 for a loaf of cinnamon bread. Someone(near and dear to me) asked me, logically, “Didn’t you look at the price?” Well, duh…no, I did not. But seriously…I don’t think of any kind of bread as being a high price item…you know? Oh, Greenlee’s….why did you have to turn me into an addict before I realized the price of my little habit…now I have to get a cinnamon monkey off my back. (Maybe a loaf every two weeks??….something?)

What!!? There's a washer and dryer in the unit???????

Was apartment shopping with my daughter Saturday…and can I just say it is AMAZING that you can see two apartments that cost exactly the same, and both in the same neighborhood, and one be so nice and the other be so ratty? Seriously. One on Charles Street..brand new(see above), hardwood floors, washer and dryer in a little closet(apartment dwellers know how huge this is), dishwasher(ditto)….granite countertops, exposed brick……NICE.

My girl fell in love with this brick wall....

And for the same price, we saw a place that was so ratty looking(I took no pictures of this, it was too awful)…I mean…a cracked front door, cracked kitchen floor, the most grotty bathroom ever, ever ever. We smiled and nodded(polite southern girls to the end), touched nothing….and ran away as soon as we could. What gives??

Joss has amazing fish....

But we had a chance to have some super-sushi at Joss on Charles Street, for lunch on Saturday. It always amazes me that this place isn’t covered UP, their food is so good.

Joss South

If you’ve been to the perennially popular Joss in Annnapolis, …their sushi(and other seafood cooked-it’s not all sushi), is the best in town. I get the feeling Joss in  Baltimore is waiting to be discovered. But it will be…it will be.

Let’s see…what else. Oh yeah…my daughter is always complaining that I favor one of my cats over the other….that Baby Girl gets all the glory, so just to prove her wrong, a pic of my lovely calico, Muffy.

Oh Muffy....so...quirky...

And because she will demand equal post space, one of the luxurious B to the G.

My sheepdog of a cat....Baby Girl

Here kitty, kitty, kitty….Making your own cat food…
November 3, 2011

Make your own? Maybe...

Ok, let me put it out there that I’ve never, ever made my own cat food. But I am one of many who sighs deeply when looking at the price for a can of the stuff. The things MY CATS will eat…range in price from around $.50 for a small can( will serve two of them for one meal) to $1.30…or more(Wellness at Whole Foods-$1.50, Newman’s Own-$1.40).  That can add up over the course of a year.

At the EXPO East show here in Baltimore, I stumbled across a booth for Wild Kitty Homemade Cat Food kit-website here. All you have to do is lightly cook a pound of ground whatever…beef, chicken, turkey(you can also add raw meat, if your cat is on a raw diet)…and add the packet from Wild Kitty. What’s in it? Accoding to the ingredient list….pretty good stuff, like clams, chicken liver, rice bran, broccoli(when’s the last time your cat ate his broccoli?), wheat germ oil, natural taurine, spinach, coral calcium, and so on…..And Wild Kitty says on its website that owners of indoor cats will notice an added bene….almost no smell in the litter box!

This makes a little over a pound of cat food....

If I am to be honest,  I’ve had this packet for over a month…and I have yet to actually use it. But I promise to make up some this weekend, and let you know how Baby Girl and Muffy react. They are, by any definition, picky eaters. The cost of 4 packets(to which you add meat) is $14.95…..but that makes, ummmmm, 4 plus pounds of cat food. That’s a lot. Don’t make me do the math. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty