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

The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree…Donna’s baby girl blogs too…
January 7, 2011

A girly blog look...for a girly girl...

I’ve told you quite a bit about my daughter(tmi?)…about difficulties she had in school-post here from May 2009-about her moving into her first apartment-post here from Jan. of 2010-(and we’ve made some changes in the apartment since then…I am her official decorator, and I’m cheap). But I’ve always told her, in high school and in college, that she should go to the school paper and offer to write a column about hair and skin care products….because that’s what she loves. She has always been fascinated with hair products and skin care and makeup…she just loves it. And while she never took my advice back then(more’s the pity), she is doing it today in the blogging world.

Her blog is called Recession is the New Blonde-here….and while she may need to change the name when the recession is over(oh, that’s right, everyone keeps telling us it IS over…but),  her focus is on reviewing beauty products that work for her. Hey, I didn’t even know you could get pure hylauronic acid for a moisturizer…and I should know about all that stuff. I love the look of the blog…it is so her…and she is doing something I’ve thought about trying for a while…video blogs.

Doing a blog just out of the shower? That's brave....

And her posts have gotten her some attention…she has been added to the blogging team of Lock and Mane-here, an upscale hair product and hair accessories website. I’ve ordered from them before..they have an extensive collection, and I love the fact that anything over $25 gets free shipping(you know I love that). Here is my girl’s first video blog for them-here reviewing a conditioner called Alterna. Pricey, but she says you only need a little.

If you think I am proud of her…you would be correct. When kids are little, you always wonder what they will be like when they are adults, you know? Will they be funny? Kind? Smart? What? And then when you really start to see the final product, it’s so lovely to be able to breathe a sigh of relief…yeah, she’s wonderful, she never needed braces, and she’s gonna make it on her own(hey MTM). Just wanted to share a little slice of happiness with you on this Friday. Have a great weekend…stay warm, cook something luscious(and eat it), play nice and come home safe…’cause we miss you!

Sunday Night Dinners…..
August 23, 2010

Sunday evening dinner...supper as my Mom would say...

I adore Sunday evening dinners….or suppers, as my late Mother would have called them. She rarely used the word dinner…in the south, especially on Sunday, dinner was served around 1:00 after church let out….and later that evening, you had supper. But however you refer to it….I adore the meal. It’s a lovely, informal time to have friends or family over. You can respectably and without comment,  start early…5 or six, no later. After all, people have to get up and go to work the next day(and let’s be honest…secretly want to watch Mad Men and the fabulousness of Don Draper when they get home-or after their guests leave). And my daughter is fond of trip-tropping over to hang out a little on Sunday, get some free food, and do her laundry without having to pay her weight in quarters to the machines at her apartment…you know the drill. We of course, adore seeing her, and figure good food and free laundry is a small price for her company.

Tomato risotto....cooking away....

This past Sunday evening, as promised, I made the tomato risotto, complete with roasted tomatoes and garlic, served with some sautéed shrimp on the side and roasted green beans. The risotto wasn’t difficult…or not any more than any risotto is. It does require some attention at the stove, stirring and stirring and stirring as the rice absorbs the wine and then the hot broth….but that’s about it. I don’t really measure the amount I put in…I just keep adding liquid and cooking until the rice is just cooked(not too much!).

The finished result.....dinnertime...

Shrimp sauteing...and I boiled the shells in the broth for flavor...

 One does want a little  protein, and Whole Foods had these lovely wild shrimp, which  I sauteed with some olive oil and spices…simple. Needed something green(besides sprigs of thyme)….roasted green beans filled the bill…you know how I love Roasted Veges of all varities. Loved it all.

Oh, and Saturday night, I made a Vegetable Gratin that I hadn’t prepared in a long time. Only this time I used an OXO Mandoline that my  Mom gave me a couple of years ago. It is definitely a keeper of a gadget to have around…

My OXO mandoline!!

 Here’s the terrible part….it was the first time I ever used it.  It’s shameful, really. Mother always loved buying her “girls”,  things she thought they needed or might want, and I so wish I had used it more while she was alive and told her how much I liked it, but….there it is. Some things can’t be undone. And what a shame from a cooking point of view too…because it created the nicest, most even slices of potato and zucchini I’ve ever seen…several passes and it’s done.

Let the layering begin...don't forget the tomatoes...

Layer the potatoes on the bottom of your oiled pan, drizzle with salt and pepper and olive oil….some spices if you like, then zuchini…drizzle…then sliced tomatoes…drizzle…baked at 350 for 45 minutes or so, uncovered. Simple, but delicious. Bon appetit!

Overpacking..and other wasteful sins….
March 4, 2010

I've just begun...see how tight those suckers are wrapped?

When my late Father said he was sending package my way years ago, I knew I was in for a wrestling session. We had a saying at my house, ……when Bobby wraps a package, it stays wrapped. He used so much tape, the wrapping was barely visible, and one didn’t dare approach it without multiple, razor-sharp implements of destruction. He didn’t make it easy, but there was NO WAY something he sent, fell apart in transit.   No sir-ee.

Such as innocent looking box......

I was reminded of my Father’s endless devotion to over-packing, when I tried to recycle a box, in which a table for daughter’s apartment had arrived. Sounds simple enough, oui? But here’s the rub, gentle reader…or the wrap, I should say. Inside the box were at least 50 strips of cardboard, rolled and then individually wrapped in plastic strips….around and around and around and up and down, in something like Saran Wrap(or cling film as they call it in the U.K.). So to recycle all the cardboard strips under the plastic,(and people who know me, know I’m gonna recycle those suckers…I’ve almost had battles in the newsroom over this)….you had to individually UNWRAP all those little rolls. And they didn’t unwrap easy….there’s another Bobby out there. Sigh.

We love the table, truly…it came from ETSY…the website for people who are selling handmade things they individually make. But I would say this to the owner of Applewood  products……”Dear Mr. Applewood and Decor in Utah: I really love your little table, even though you sent a white one when we wanted a black on…(no problem, we’ll paint it)….but it must be said tha your packing is lamentable. Not that it was shoddily packed, oh no.  Perhaps a greater sin….over-packing. Only a maniac recycler like myself would have unwrapped each and every one of those little  #*&^#*# tubes….I had devote a full two weeks at it …off and on of course…but I did it. However,  in the feeling that we perhaps both desire the same thing….getting something safely to its destination without driving the person who receives said package insane….and in the interest of saving someone on your end much time(how long did it take to wrap those little suckers anyway?), and money(that giant wad of plastic has to be expensive…shall I mail it back to you?)….let’s just agree that there must be a better way. A way that is kinder to your wallet, kinder to me, kinder to the earth(Oh, Momma can you hear me?)…and just, well…better. Biodegradable peanuts? Cardboard rolled but not wrapped? Air bubbles? Yours for a better world, Donna Hamilton.

I'm closing in on the finish...Baby Girl doesn't like the looks of it....

Anyway to make a long story short(I know, too late for that)…I did get them all undone and drug the bunch out to recycling this week. I felt much better not looking at it in my living room, and even better still that MOST of it was recycled…I still have your giant wad of plastic wrap to put in the trash tomorrow. That makes me feel bad, and I don’t like people who make me feel bad. Can’t we find another way? Pretty please?

It’s Almost Moving Day…..
January 14, 2010

It's almost moving day!!

You may remember my daughter graduated from college last May(yeah!), and has lived at home ever since. This past summer was the summer of slumber….looking for jobs yes, but also deep, languorous, coma-like morning sleep, which is something at which all 20-somethings just out of college seem to excel. That girl is a champion sleeper.

Then, she found a full time job…one that required her to be in downtown Baltimore by 8:30 AM. Hmmmmm…a serious attitudinal adjustment about bedtime was in order…and a really rude awakening time of 6:45 am. It was a shock to her delicate system. But she has adjusted, to her credit….though on the weekends, we never see her before at least noon. Talent will not be denied.

But later this month, she moves on to her first independent apartment. Oh, she’s  lived in dorm apartments with other girls, and houses in the summer with other girls, but it will be the first time she has ever lived on her own. Our house has become a staging area really….full of boxes with things she has ordered for her cute little studio…and boxes of things her brother brought down at Christmas….hand-me-down pots and pans, bowls, just stuff he and the lovely Jennifer didn’t need anymore(they upgraded most everything when they married…you know how it is).

More stuff to move....linens, pots and pans....

I heard her complain to her bro over Christmas…something like,”Mom is trying to take over decorating my apartment…”, to which he replied, sagely, “Let her!”. Jennifer echoed, “Yeah, let her.”  Now let me say this in my defense…I’m not trying to take over the look of the apartment, I’m just … guiding. As in…you need to pare down your colors…you can’t have yellow and red and Lily Pulitzer pink and green(I mean you can, but sheesh). Something’s got to go. Preventive apartment therapy.I want her to have a look that she’ll enjoy for a long time, and looks like an adult lives there, not a girl in college. Which she isn’t….not anymore. She was talking to a sorority sister about taking all her paraphernalia from sorority(and there’s a lot of it, believe me, much of it covered with sequins). Here sister offered this advice..”Leave it at home in a drawer.” Thank you Heidi.

My Mother and I had talked about this upcoming move…she knew Cada had a job and was planning to move….and while she was really happy for Cada, she also said, “You’re really gonna miss that girl.” Don’t I know it. I really enjoy her being home most nights….watching tv together, fixing her a cup of hot tea in the morning before she heads off to work, hanging a little on the weekend. And while I’ll still see her a lot…she won’t be far at all, it will be different. I know I’ve survived her leaving before…when she went to college, so I know I’ll survive again. And these months of living together post-college has been like a little gift, really. It’s a time we probably won’t ever have again(unless something unfortunate happens, as is sometimes the way). But the time for moving on has come….for her, and for me. Because I have to go write a story for the news, and stop blogging!! Oh, and tomorrow, I have something for those of you looking for a “calm” year….that seems to be a lot of us. See ya….

Rue La La! Competitive shopping at its finest…
August 7, 2009

You may rue the day you found Rue La La....

You may rue the day you found Rue La La....

My daughter sent me a link, actually it’s called an “invitation”, to join Rue La La. What, you may well ask, is Rue La La? Well, here’s a hint. Today’s “invitation” read like this….”slip on the edgy sweetness of Vera Wang Lavender Label. Fun, flirty and feminine collide with sultry, dark and romantic.” Say again?

Basically, it’s a website where virtual “boutiques’ selling different designer goods, and even hotel rooms,  at 50-80% off, open at certain hour….Vera Wang’s opened at 11 this morning, and then, it’s an online rush like you see every year  at the Filene’s Basement wedding gown sale. Only instead of women rushing through the doors and elbowing each other our of the way to get to wedding gowns, it’s women crouched at their computers, waiting until the clock strikes 11, and then elbowing each other “virtually” out of their way. And I’ll have to tell you… the stuff  goes fast. If you’re not there right at 11….all that’s left is size 0 and 2.

Oops....too late...loser.

Oops....too late...loser.

Or….you see the Sold Out ribbon gaily festooned on the picture, reminding you that others are faster, better online…or tinier than you…and got there first. I must admit it creates an odd kind of competitiveness in me, and the idea that if you don’t get it, someone else will! And that’s probably the idea.

The running of the bulls..I mean brides…in Filene’s were to be studied by academics, they would no doubt find the same mentality going on. Throw it on my pile…even if I can’t use it, I sure don’t want you to have it. Some kind of bizarre, survival, hoarding instinct that comes from our barely upright ancestors? Basic human greed? The need to adorn ourselves? Honestly I don’t know. But it works.

Here’s my little confession. The first day on Rue La La…the Lulu Lemon Boutique opened. Only those who are yoga people like me know what Lulu Lemon is, and the only reason I know, is the lovely Jennifer in New York told me that’s what all the cool girls in yoga class wear.  I had no idea!! Sooooo, long story short, I got a couple of Lulu Lemon tops and a pair of pants…and I seriously would not have paid full Lulu Lemon prices. No way. But at such a bargain price…how could I NOT buy them? I know, I know…sucker punched. But today I was wiser. The crafty Vera Wang did not lure me into her dark, flirty, romantic boudoir. Unh-uh. This girl didn’t buy a thing. However, I just told my daughter I was writing a blog about Rue La La, and she said, “NO! Don’t tell other people about it!”  and then comforted herself with… “But they can only join if they’re invited“…isn’t that innocent? She thinks it’s actually a club, instead of just another ploy to get us to buy things we don’t need and they want to get rid of.   Oooh, gotta run….the Laundry by Shelli Segal boutique opens in 5 minutes!! Have a great weekend, play nice and come home safe.

It’s graduation day….
May 14, 2009

Wheeee...its over!!

Wheeee...it's over!!

I wrote about my daughter in a post couple of years ago… (can it be that long?), about how high school doesn’t define you, and that even kids who have had difficulties  in middle school or grade school, whether they were the nerdy kid everyone made fun of, or a popular girl who had problems no one could see, or a kid that had learning disabilities that made him feel dumb….there are better times ahead. You too can go to college..there’s one for everybody…and create a new life for yourself. High school doesn’t define you.

And I wrote in particular about my sweet daughter, who had her own struggles in high school…I have the report cards to prove it. Those were complicated times for all of us. But tomorrow, and here’s the hope for all of you out there with kids who are struggling…. my girl graduates from college tomorrow.  I’m so proud of her. Because even though she struggled there too, I kept telling her…”You just need to get through and get your degree. You just need to get through.” And she has. And she has come out on the other side perhaps wiser than kids who easily sailed through school. She knows what it’s like to have to tell your parents you have another bad grade, what it’s like to really have to dig down deep and work harder, she knows herself better, I think, than kids on whom the sun shines all the time. Though it would be lovely to be one of those kids.

So to my daughter who will no doubt read this…she and her friends read my blog….(Her friend Heidi said the other day, “You got a whole sentence in your Mom’s blog!”, meaning that I’ve been a little wedding obsessed lately.), I salute you my daughter. When you could given up , you didn’t. When you could have justifiably been surly and mean, you weren’t. ( not much..) One day you will pass along to your daughter the lessons you have learned…the things you have dared to try…sometimes failing, but you tried. You are intelligent, funny, beautiful…and such a sweet spirit.  I have no doubt made many mistakes raising you, but you forgave me. As Maya Angelou said, “Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you’ve been thinking. You may find a new solution.” And you somehow always did that. You may not see me in the crowd tomorrow, but you’ll know that I am there….watching… another proud mother.

Captain Underpants and the Angry Angel!!
October 31, 2008

Nooooo...I dont like this costume!!!!!

"Nooooo...I don't like this costume!!!!!"

I’ll be honest, I don’t much blame this little boy on The Today Show, for being thoroughly disturbed that he was… not only in his Dad’s tightie-whities….not only was he in public…now he had to go on national tv! Maybe when the idea was first presented it sounded like fun, but no doubt, the reality of what would have to lived down his entire life, hit with the clarity of a ton of bricks when it time for his grand appearance. The dad made him go on…I guess that’s ok(?), but it felt just a little mean to make this kid stand there, clearly unhappy about the whole thing…just ’cause dad said they would for a show segment.

And really, what is the Today Show’s fixation on Halloween?  Is it just me ,or do they spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR COSTUMES AND SHOWING THEM OFF?? Right before a national election, I just found it a little annoying today, that we had to sit though this interminable setup fairy tale. Sure, the costumes are fetching….hey, mine would be too if I had  professional costume designer. How hard is that?  I know, I know, they do this every year, and surely some people really enjoy it, but this morning I found myself fingering the remote.  Ok, I feel better now.

But the little kid screaming thing reminded me of a “child changes mind on wearing costume” episode of my own. My daughter was about five and was in a church Christmas pageant. And pretty happy about it…she got to wear angel wings,  which we found at the Disney store…but that day was a hard day. There’s always one day from hell right before Christmas. Sorry about the hell-Christmas in the same sentence thing, but it is the only term that applies here.You know that day….. there are two open houses to attend, there’s holiday concert at one child’s school, and oh yeah, your most temperamental child is in a church pageant that night when they are done. Just done. Parents know what I’m talking about. So she has a little nap first, wakes up totally cranky, and now Mommy(me)-dearest, says brightly with a big smile, “Now it’s time to go be an angel !!”

My baby girl is the one the middle with the snarky look...

My baby girl is the one the middle with the snarky look...

Noooooooooo, I don’t want tooooooo“, is screamed in your face. In all honesty, I donwanna either. But this angel is scheduled to appear. But I made what I think was the right decision. I told her that we were going to church, but if she didn’t want to be an angel, she didn’t have to….banking on the idea that when we got there and saw all the other angels, there would be no way on this earth she wasn’t putting on those wings!! And I lucked out. She did angel up….but as you can see in the picture, she’s , oh, let’s say an angel with an attitude, ok? She didn’t scream (oh, she could have, she has it in her)….just put a little snarky look on her face to show me I didn’t hold all the cards. Take that Mommy.

Melissa Carlson and her new baby boy Liam!!

Melissa Carlson and her new baby boy Liam!!

And look who just showed up at work this morning, pirate-baby in arms…..the lovely Melissa Carlson (how does she look like that after just having a baby-no fair!), and her brand new son Liam….who had to don his pirate costume after pooping through his first choice of Superman….hey, **it happens. We miss you Melissa…

Happy Halloween everyone….and remember candy at my house is limited, so don’t too many of you show up!

I didn’t jinx it…not this time…
October 3, 2008

Here’s the odd thing about my daughter at college coming home. There have been several occasions this fall, when she said she was coming home for the weekend. All excited, I dash to the grocery store to get her favorites, tidy up her room and put on fresh sheets. Even as I am doing these things…..I KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

Because I have gone to all this trouble, beat myself up really, run around like a mad woman..she will not be coming. Something has come up….”Oh, I didn’t realize there was a party we (the sorority)had to attend.” Please… spare me. There are now parties that must be attended?  Seriously, I have come to believe,  in the most superstitious way (and I’m not a superstitious person), that if I start doing things to prepare a great visit, a perfect visit home for her….she will not come. And yes, I do know how lame doing all those things is.

So when she announced a week or so ago, she would be home this weekend, I was pretty cool about the whole thing. “Oh, are you? That’s great.”  But as the days moved on…and she still said it was on, I must admit I felt the pull of  DOING THINGS….like a tractor beam inexorably dragging me toward vaccuming, dusting, shopping….NO!

So, it wasn’t until this morning, after she had alreaady arrived at the domicile, that I felt safe enough to get some ribs for dinner, which she loves. And I’ll be perfectly honest with you…I knew she would be home this time. No, it wasn’t love of parents or sleeping in her own bed, not even the cat Baby Girl could assure a visit. It was, as it always is, about the hair. I found out she needed highlights and had an appointment in Baltimore this afternoon. So without doubt, she would make it, even if there were mandatory parties this weekend, even if she had to claw her way home. No matter, no matter…. I cannot wait to see her tonight!!

Have a great weekend…be nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe..’cause we miss you.

Baby Girl, you’re on fire!!
January 25, 2008

0125080730.jpgIt all started last night with these little tea light candles. For those of you who don’t know, I am a confirmed candleholic…I just love them and will light at least a couple of tea lights every night, and more…oh, much more, on the weekend. The problem, these have been sitting on the coffee table in the family room. That means, it’s low enough for Baby Girl to be able to jump on, which she does regularly.
But last night, right in front of me(thank God), BG was right in front of the candles, waving her fluffy tail around…she is a long hair mix. And poof, in a flash, her tail was on fire IN TWO PLACES!!!For a millisecond, your eyes do not believe what they are seeing, as it is something you have never seen before…a cat on fire. I think I exclaimed something like, “Oh my God!” and put it out with my hands.
0125080731.jpgNo harm done to either of us, but the lovely..no make that horrible…smell of singed hair filled the room, and it must be said, the end of her tail has lost it’s fluff. She seemed to totally unaware of what had happened, except that her owner had suddenly had an unexplained fit.
0125080731a.jpgBut here is a picture taken of her this morning….no worse the wear and chasing her tail as usual, but let me tell you I’ve learned a valuable lesson….no more candles where Baby Girl can get to them.
And I am now waiting for the anguished cry from my daughter, who was loathe to leave BG when she left for college a week ago……”Mom, you caught Baby’s tail on Fire?”. She doesn’t mind assigning blame in times of trouble. Well, we’ll see how long it takes her to read the blog….’cause otherwise, I’m not telling.