When I saw this…
March 5, 2012

ImageWhen I saw this picture of those swirl vases on the dining table at the HGTV Dream Home 2012, it was love. And when I saw they are from Ethan Allen, and knew I had an unused  Groupon to Ethan Allen…it was happiness. Here’s what I did with mine….

Curly willow in my swirl vase.....

The thing weighs a ton….seriously, it’s a hunk of glass, but I love it…and roots from the curly willow are growing…not sure why I’m happy about that but I am…

Curly willow roots growing...can I plant it outside this spring??

My daughter gave her first big girl dinner party….she called, to talk it over, and I asked if she needed anything. Yes, as it turns out…plates, cutlery, wine glasses, a table cloth(for the floor-no dining table), candles, etc. Sooooooooo…

Salad servers, check...big serving bowl, check....

I loaded it all up and drove over Saturday afternoon…and while I left the final setup to her… I love the result of her dresser turned bar.

This piece belonged to my Grandmother...I painted it red when I was a teenager, but I love the color!

Adiosing all the makeup and hair stuff, and putting the wine glasses and wine and flowers there…is just beautiful. I wish she would keep it like that, but I know.. life intervenes.(And a girl needs a place to do her makeup!!)

And this I show you just because I thought it was such a great looking way to deal with the litter box issue, when you don’t have a basement in which to keep it….a litter box with classic French style, made with wooden wine crates…hinged on the back. You can find out more about in on Apartment Therapy…love it!

Chat boîtes!!


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.

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.

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

Baby Girl Melanoma!!
March 9, 2011

Get in the cat carrier, Baby...just get in please.

I noticed this strange thing on my beloved Baby Girl’s right hip maybe a month ago…and I thought at first it was a tick….about the same size, dark brown…almost black. So I got out my trusty tweezers and alcohol, ready  to do what I had done many times before on various animals…remove the darn thing. But I couldn’t get under it…. and B to the G made how she felt about me trying, painfully clear.

I attempted this again a few days later…same results. So clearly, if this is a tick it is deeply embedded, and Dr. Donna is not gonna be able to handle this one. Or…it’s something else, like a growth. So I made an appointment with my vet one morning before work….and off we go.

The trusty Pet Taxi....Baby hates it...

Dr. Cohen looks at it and says, “It’s definitely not a tick“…..and he squeezes it a little and rubs it …here’s the weird thing…dark pigment came off on his finger. Eeuuuw. He continued, “It’s definitely a growth of some kind…good you didn’t try to remove it(true dat-could have been messy)…..but what worries me is the pigmented nature of it.” He said to leave Baby there for the day, and they would remove the growth that afternoon….”Whatever it is, it probably needs to come off.”  Poor Baby Girl.

Baby's incision..stitches come out next week....

I picked her up that evening…she was a little sad and still a bit woozy, but otherwise fine(nothing seems to dent Baby’s appetite-that girl can eat!)….and it was yesterday that Dr. Cohen called me with the biopsy results. Benign melanoma,(have you ever heard of that on a cat?) but some of the cells in one part of it were atypical. Not good. But the doc had removed a wide margin of skin around the lesion, and all those margins were clear. He said, “Keep on eye on that area  in the future and let me know if anything appears anywhere else.” He was actually amazed that I found that one, because Baby is, as he referred to her, “heavily furred“. Yeah she is, Baby doesn’t fool around when it comes to fur…she’s all in.  So just a heads up to pet owners…it sometimes pays to do the thorough petting session. And B to the G sends her furry love….

Everyone’s a comic…..
December 15, 2010

I'm sure there was a huge laugh when this was written....

I work with a lot of people here at WBAL, some of whom are very funny indeed, and some who fancy themselves so…you know what I’m sayin’. So it didn’t surprise me much when this anonymous note showed up a desk a this week. What the note refers to is the refrigerator, door and dishwasher that are in my yard that make me look like…well…Fred Samford does come to mind, or the Clampett family perhaps.

Anyway, just so you know, they are all off today to the Salvation Army, to live again hopefully….because they all worked quite well, but are no longer needed. And the kitchen is ALMOST finished….a little strip of granite that was somehow left off the template is coming today, the range is in(Oh, JennAir did the controls have to be so complicated?), and the new stainless French door frig, which spent last night in my entry way, and the new dishwasher…. will be hooked up today.

I love these knobs, and they look great on new cabinets.

The the “fun part” of putting everything that has been residing in the living room, back into the kitchen, and no doubt getting rid of some stuff along the way. Oh, and the knobs above are something I’m resusing….I loved them when I bought them(and they weren’t cheap) and still do. A little recycling. Something old, something new.

First Christmas with Spencer...

And I haven’t done any decorating at all..yet. It’s gonna be a hectic weekend getting everything together, just in time for Xmas. Whew! But my sweet daughter is excited about her first Christmas in her own apartment, with Spencer of course. She got the little tree at Target….and says Spencer loves the tree(a little too much).

Bad Muffy!…or, whose feathers are those?
September 21, 2010

Muffy, captured on a closeup...my, what green eyes you have!

Many of you know Muffy…my lithe, snarky(complains if I pet her more than 20 seconds) little calico cat. She’s about 8 years old now… a truly finicky eater…when I put down her wet cat food, she sniffs it and waits expectantly for the topping that’s not really good for her…a sprinkle of dry food.

B to the G, watching tv...

 She gets it(of course) and will then eat… only a few bites. If I’m home with Muffy on a Saturday, I feed her  little spoonfuls all day long…it’s really the only way to get some food  into her, because whatever she leaves, Baby Girl, who’s furry body is as solid and round as Muffy’s is long and lean, eats whatever she leaves.

This morning, Muffy gets out. I really try to avoid this, as we have lots of birds around our yard, and Muff is quick as lightning, and moves on little silent feet.  But she is fast and can dart around your legs quicker than you can yell, “ Muffy, no!” And all my usual tricks to lure her in are to no avail.

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty......

 Usually shaking the dry cat food container will do it, or clicking my nails on a window or calling her name(ok, that almost never works)but none did it this morning…Muffy had birds on the brain. So I chase her around the yard for a while…she coyly lies on her back and rolls around but as soon as I get close….whish…she’s gone.

GET over here...you slippery little...cat

She runs about 10 feet away and commences the seductive come-on sequence…repeat.  Finally I give up, because I have to go to work so I can afford to buy you nice cat food, you little….

Meow...let me in...and then clean the window...

I come down later, and sure enough, she’s at the back door, wailing as though I was the one who put her out in the cold(emotionally speaking). Please.

 And then… the worst of all, I find feathers in the yard. Muffy, what have you done?

Evidence of Muffy's perfidy....

No lifeless body, so I’m hoping …hoping hoping… this one escaped…. a few feathers lighter, but a wiser bird. Oh, Muffy…I can’t be mad at her, because it’s just what a cat does, you know? And you’re right, I have to be even more careful not to let her out…but, there it is.

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.

Baby GaGa…..fu-fu-fu-furry face fu-fu furry face
February 17, 2010

Baby GaGa....refusing to even look at me....

You can see in the picture Baby Girl has adopted a certain disdain for me…fewer loving looks, a couple of actual growls when I try to comb her….she hasn’t started doing anything too terrible like peeing in a secret place, but still. And now, she demands to be called Baby GaGa…simply refuses to answer to anything else. Sing it with me now to the tune of Lady GaGa’s song….fu-fu-fu-furry face, fu-fu-furry face….underneath all that fur…nothing but ice.

Spencer...lapping up the good life...

What has happened? I believe she knows about Spencer, my daughter’s new rescue kitty…he’s so cute, so lovey, so well-behaved…could she have heard me talking about him? I know she suspects something…perhaps she has smelled him on me when I come home. The smell of a strange perfume, kitty lipstick on the collar…I’m quite sure she is suspicious, and has grown quite cold.

Cat yoga....hold that pose....

I’ve suggested kitty yoga to her….other cats swear by it and say it has helped them find their equilibrium in troubled times, but so far she won’t even try a downward dog, much less merudandasana! Actually I have trouble with that one too. What will placate baby? Perhaps some of that expensive cat food Spencer gets from his indulgent owner….you know, the 89 cents a tiny can stuff. I’ll get some today, and tell Baby, sorry, Baby GaGa…that she’s the only cat for me, that my time with Spencer meant nothing to me, please forgive me my  dalliance. I’ll let you know if it works.

A tale of mice, and lamb…
May 13, 2009

Spotted: Spotnips!!

Spotted: Spotnips!!

I have finally found Baby Girl’s favorite mice…not real ones, though I think she loves these because they remind her of the real thing. And yes, she has seen one, close up. So these little toy mice, while expensive in my book…about 7 bucks for a bag…they provide her with so much unmitigated joy, that it’s worth the splurge.

What’s so special about these? For starters, they have feathers for tails! And they are covered in real fur! And they rattle when you shake them! I can only imagine that they sell a lot of these in France….because on the back it says….”Vous avez fait le choix par-r-r-fait!” And a lot of other French stuff, like “pour le securite’“….oh just let me say it in English…to ensure safety,  your pet should be supervised when playing with toys.  They’re kidding, right?  Maybe not, but once this sucker gets on the floor…you try to take it away from B to the G(Baby Girl’s rock star name). I will be her favorite person tonight.

Lamb headed my way....

Lamb headed my way....

And I started to buy some lamb chops…I love lamb, but then I remembered …a bushel basket of lamb(no kidding) is headed my way from the Eastern Shore. A good friend has a neighbor who raises lamb for…well, you know. To eat.  My friend wrote that if it mattered to me, they are raised very happily and healthily, which only makes me feel worse, but yes, it does matter to me.  I will for certain have to find someone to share the lamb, as I don’t have that much room in my freezer. lamb chops, anyone?