Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category

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

Our deluxe accommodations at 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) 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!)….

March 26, 2012

That's Allen in the back on the left....he's such a great kid(sorry, man)

3-16-2012 I leave today for Uganda….this is a trip my sisters and I first talked about last Thanksgiving…really at the time we were joking, and now here we are headed for Africa!  My nephew Allen, has been involved with the Methodist missionary group Sozo Children for several years now… may remember when I wrote about him being in one of the bombings in Uganda at World Cup time-here. And he was instrumental in beginning the orphanage there. How could he not? Don’t you love those little faces?

Getting on Dulles Airport futuristic trains to who knows where...

So the talk ended with us all deciding we would go on a trip to Sozo Children in March. I admit there has been some waffling since then…my daughter does not want me to go, nor does the lovely Jennifer(I think they worry for me.)…. And there have been a couple of times I thought about not going. But I want to see the work Allen and the group is doing there, and I want to see Uganda. And let’s be honest, I love being with my sisters. Love.

My sister Audrey asked several days prior to leaving(in all seriousness)…”Are you taking heels?” I thought, only a girl raised in the south would ask that. “No, it’s flats, flip-flops, and tennies for me this trip

Lounge for first class passengers at Dulles. You can order an entire, amazing meal before you fly so you can sleep in the air. How civilized.

So tonight I’m off…after totally raiding my AMEX travel points account to upgrade my ticket(I mean, it’s a loooooong trip), and the only flight I never wanted to end, was one where I flew from London to Baltimore in British Airfirst class. I mean…They. Do. It. Freakin’. Right. Seriously, I didn’t want it to end. And now they have “pod” beds, whatever that means. That in itself is an adventure.

Here's the's like your own little the end of the pod you can see the pajamas they gave me to sleep in. To this, my sister said, "I hate you." And the bed is flat so you can actually sleep!!

Breakfast at 40,000 feet...almost to London...

Next stop, Entebbe(yes, as in THe Raid on Entebbe)...Uganda, almost there!

More tomorrow!


Au Revoir Gallbladder…
March 13, 2012

My view at Mercy Medical Center for a few hours....

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my daughter was quite sick last week…she’s been staying at our house since Sunday a week ago….when she became terribly ill after lunch out(the babies always come home when sick). At first we thought food poisoning? But we all ate the same thing so, that couldn’t be it. Virus? Possible, but the throwing up was so unrelenting. And just the week before she’d had an endoscopy, because of several severe, painful attacks of what we thought was GERD… or gastro esophageal reflux disease. The endoscopy did show inflammation of the esophagus, so she was put on Nexium. And now this.

A call to the gastroenterologist …..who said, “I think we may have overlooked a gallbladder problem.” I was floored. So she went in for an ultrasound…and sure enough, her gallbladder was packed with gallstones. Next stop…surgery.

Baby girl, resting after surgery....

So Friday morning very early(we had to be there by 6:30 and after working the 11 pm news-oy vay)…..and the waiting begins….her surgery was laparoscopic, thank goodness. So we called back to get her dressed and take her home a few hours later. My daughter is saucy, it must be said, and to one nurse who was loudly clapping her hands and saying “Let’s move, let’s move, let’s move! “…she stared at her groggy from anesthesia and said, “Go. Just get out of here“, and waved her away. She has no memory of it now…but it was kinda funny.

A good friend delivered homemade matzoh ball's amazing....

She’s been recuperating at our house of course, where the supplies are stocked, the sheets are clean, and there’s always help or soup at hand(or most the time). But she’s getting better every day, and just today commented on how great it is to not feel sick anymore. Sore, yes, but not sick. Big difference.

Hendrick's Gin and Tonic for the nurse,'s Miller time...


Lots of people have asked if it’s common for someone in the 20s to have their gallbladder removed…I don’t think you’d call it common, but it’s not uncommon. Her surgeon at Mercy said it happens a lot more than you’d think. So she’s gonna be fine….and so am I. 🙂

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.


-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.

The perfect day off…..from toes to Zoe…
October 27, 2011

Ok, I had a couple of days off this week…in the middle of the week…with nothing really planned for those days. Unusual for me. And lovely. And for at least one of those days, I think I put together the perfect  schedule….Step one: start the day nice and slow…

A little iPad, Today Show, and green tea....bliss!

Step 2: a little tv….got to watch Regis and Kelly….can I say I will miss Regis? They have this odd, cranky chemistry that is gonna be hard to replace with someone younger and cooler.

Oh Regis...waxing poetic over something....

Step 3: Take daughter to lunch….always good to catch up with my girl. She had the gumbo…I had the grilled salmon salad(and a glass of wine-at lunch!)

Good eats in Langerman's...

Step 4: Pedi at About Faces in Canton.

How decadent is a mid-week, mid-day pedi??

My toes really needed some attention, and I had a gift certificate to pay for it. How fabulous is that?

the color: "You Don't Know Jacques"

Step 5: Make another cup of tea at home, and catch up on magazines and catalogues. They’ve been waiting patiently… for a look-see, or the recycling bin.

Neiman Marcus gift book.....oooh, lovely.

Step 6: Lazy girl’s dinner…carrryout!Went to the new Manchurian Rice in Harbor East….they were pretty fast. Chicken and mushrooms, and Mongolian Beef…both delish(served on real dishes of course…all the better to fool you with).'s good they have a powerful fan system.....

Step 7: Glass of wine and catch up on Rachel Zoe Project…..

Oh,'re a Mommy(with a baby in Chanel!)

This show is my guilty pleasure that I can only watch alone, or with my daughter…who understands me. I mean, it’s so MAJ…..obvie.

Step 8: Go to bed a little early and read my other guilty pleasure….The Faefever Series by Karen Moning. Seriously, I’m a little ashamed of liking these books so much, so don’t tell anyone. Please.

Sahara Desert eyes…..Donna has the red eye blues….
September 13, 2011

Yikes...they are red!!

I’ve had this “little issue” now for several months… I wake up at night, and my eyeballs feel like dry little orbs covered with a sandpaper lid….no moisture at all to blink.  I’ve been handling this uncomfortable problem in one of several high-tech(not) ways…pull my eyelids up and blink without the lid touching the eyeball to get some tears started…dip a finger in the glass of water on the beside table and put a drop in each eye(so hygienic)…or, and I feel terrible admitting this…spit on a finger and put that in my eye. Hey, it worked. But not doctor approved.

And I have to thank a viewer for kicking me enough to go have this seen about. She wrote: “I am a loyal watcher of Channel 11 News, but I’ve noticed that Donna Hamilton’s eyes are often red and bloodshot…her eyes are too pretty to be red!” Ok…I know my eyes are kinda pink on occasion, especially if I fill in on the 11 pm show(I’m normally asleep by then!), but I didn’t think viewers could see that. Thanks HD.

I bought the ultra...the tears are a little thicker for night...

So I did see the doc yesterday morning(And I did not admit the spit part) and told him about the dry eye and red eye thing…he said even though my eyes FEEL fine in the daytime, they’re probably still dry, and the eye’s way of getting oxygen when there’s not enough moisture is for the blood vessels to dilate. Not pretty. So he recommended for a first try, artificial tears called Systane…to try at night and during the day…and if the nighttime trouble continues,  he gave me a nighttime ointment, that I hope I won’t need.

And I’m adding some other things that I found on a website called the Dry Eye Zone….which has some interesting tips of dealing with dry eyes, including putting warm rice bags on your eyes, right before you go to sleep, to stimulate the oil protection….using an eye mask, and drops of course.

An eye mask helps keep moisture in...

The mask also helps to protect the eyes from ac or fans that might blow in your face. Last night, I used only the Systane Ultra and a mask…and it was much better than previous nights. I still woke up, but didn’t have to add drops, because my eyes felt pretty moist. Tonight I’ll give the rice bags a try. I’ll let you  know how it goes!


Just waitin’ on Irene…and other random hurricane related thoughts….
August 26, 2011

It's a big one....really, really big...

Well, here we go everyone…here…we…goooooooooooo. As Hurricane Irene approaches this weekend, I’ve done all I can to get ready for this thing, and the extremely possible power outages headed our way.

Prozac refill for Baby Girl, check….I mean, you can see how stressed she is.

Oh B to the a good girl...

Grocery shopping, check. Cans of soup(which I normally never buy), some tuna, cat food(see above), diet tonic water(yes to me the diet tastes as good as regular) for a Hendricks gin and tonic(which will be much deserved, I have a feeling)….

Oh, and batteries for the flashlight...

Bananas and almond butter, check. I also found some almond butter that is crunchy!! How huge is that? And one of my new favorite go-to-can’t-leave-my-desk lunches, is a banana slathered with some almond butter, sprinkled with sea salt. It is seriously delicious, and you feel like you’re eating something naughty, but you’re not. Love it.

let's call it lunch...

Earthquake, check.  Really? You can see in the picture below how fast the newsroom emptied out. I just started putting on makeup, because I knew the building wasn’t gonna fall down(having experienced a worse quake in L.A.), and also knew we would have to be on the air, pronto, which we were. Long afternoon…but satisfying.

Yes, that's a banana on my desk....

I hope all of you stay safe and dry this weekend, and none of you lose power…I know that won’t be the case, of course…but I wish it were. Play nice with the people you’re cooped up with(you know what I mean), don’t throw rocks, go get some ice and batteries….and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

Breathless from Ballroom….Donna learns to dance…
May 6, 2011

In my dreams...

Ok, let me say..if you think the picture above in some way depicts what my first lessons have been  like…it does not.  Let’s start at the beginning….I was asked by an acquaintance to be part of a fundraiser for The Tuerk House-here, a non-profit substance abuse house in Baltimore. These folks do really great work, and provide many, many services to recovering addicts. So it’s hard to say no to those who do good works. And when Lucy Henningfield asked if  I would learn and perform a ballroom dance(something I have NEVER done)….I agreed. Because it’s a good cause, sure. But also, we all get to a point in our lives where we are comfy…and we like comfy. This was absolutely not in my comfort zone, so before I could say, “Ummmmm, no“….I said yes. Let the lessons commence.

Again, not me...yet...

My teacher John McCraw is at the Arthur Murray studio on York Road…beautiful, light filled studio.  I enter with great trepidation…I mean, I have pretty good balance, I do yoga, but I don’t have any sort of dance background(which was I think, pretty disappointing to my instructor….my Mom really let me down). “Ballet, tap, anything?”, he asked….nope,  just a big old blank slate. But he is very patient(thank God).

We are doing a bolero(for those of us who are ignorant of bolero-here’s one)…which I am told is a combination of a waltz and a samba. Is it hard? Yes. And you have probably seen enough Dancing with the Stars to know how some of those practice session go, especially at first. Yeah.  Next week I will share some video that we shot at a practice yesterday…I just don’t have time today to get it together. You’ll see what I mean.

Love outdoor yoga!

It’s a busy weekend tomorrow, have a doctor’s appt at 7:30 Saturday morning(I know-who does appts at 7:30 on Saturday?), then an outdoor yoga class, followed by a dance lesson(doing the bolero, of course), after which I hope, there is a nap…..then onto the Center Stage Gala that evening, for which I have to figure out what on earth I’m going to wear(it has to be something in my closet-I’m NOT going shopping). Whatever you do, have a lovely Mother’s Day, and if your Mom is still living…enjoy her, I miss mine so much. Cook something tasty for her or take her out, and just let her know you care…that’s what she really wants. And come home safe, ’cause we miss you!

All those receipts…can cream puffs be far away?
February 25, 2011

Oh, the papers, papers, papers, papers!

I’m not talking about tax receipts…those are still patiently awaiting my attention….but my health insurance company has $500 that belongs to be and I want it back. Oh, the FSA account. You know, your company cuts the money pre-tax from your check, and they reimburse you(from your own money) to pay for co-pays, deductibles, glasses, etc…things that aren’t covered. This is my weekend project…yawn.

But I must say…a lot of people here don’t do the FSA because it is, a hassle. I need to add up all the expenses(for which I must have receipts)…and hope it totals 500 bucks…if it adds up to $400…I lose the $100. Which doesn’t seem fair, because it is my money, but “them’s the rules’“. Just got off the phone with my dentist to get a receipt I don’t seem to have from last year…that’s being emailed. Oh enough with this.  Boring.

Green tea and thinking thin....better than nothing

This is lunch today..some decaf green tea and a Think Thin bar….because I don’t feel like schlogging around in the rain…oh wait…the sun’s out!

Puffs and Pastries on the Avenue....

Maybe I will get out for a bit, because I have a Groupon to redeem at Puffs and Pastries(hollah) in Hampden for a dozen assorted cream puffs(which makes the Think Thin bar kind of a giggle)….but still…. 100 calories saved is 100 calories earned, oui? Good for one cream puff.

Oh, you luscious little devil...

Have a wonderful weekend….do something fun, eat a cream puff(but only one), play nice and don’t throw rocks. Oh, and come home safe….’cause we miss you!

Kitchen Hell….
December 2, 2010

When I left for New York last Wednesday night, my kitchen looked like this after taking everything off the counters and emptying the cabinets….(can I tell you how horrifying a couple of drawers were? Hello birthday candles from 1000 b.c.)…

Get all the junk out...check!

And let me tell you, the kitchen looks better in this picture(definitely not high def) than it did in person. We had an easy makeover on the cheap a 10 or 15 years ago…new fronts on cabinets….but still had laminate countertops(one of the last people in the world), and I have always wanted to open the kitchen into the dining room by removing the top half of the wall.

Bye-bye wall, hello dust....

This is what it looked like when we came home..after destruction. And I know that to knock down walls and take down cabinets, a mess will be made…the old breaking eggs thing. I think I just hadn’t realized how much, and how bad. This is what the living room next door(with all the dining room furniture crammed in) looks like.

Dust anyone? Anyone?

So this is how I’m living right now, and to be honest I’ve had to work hard to keep a positive attitude….as someone who values order in their lives. All my order is topsy-tervy…and everyone says, “But it will be so beautiful in the end“…”Think how much you’ll enjoy it!”…and I know that is true. But-I-really-want-this-to-be-over.

And to add insult to injury, this morning our Pella storm door that cannot be more than two years old…. won’t open. Not from the outside, not from the inside…the mechanism inside the lock seems to be broken and nothing moves it..and you can’t get to the hinges to take it off. Not good. And I have a busy day ahead…need to write a story(besides my tale of woe) and get ready for the Washington Monument Lighting tonight in My Vernon. Just me and Elmo, hanging out in Baltie. 🙂