Friday, January 31, 2014

Absence...Did It Make Your Heart Grow Fonder?

Hi all y'all! Well, I've been absent from this here bloggity, but for good reason...

I'm living with a dear friend of mine in a beautiful condo in Salem, MA. And, well...there was a bit of an issue with one of the pipes in the sprinkler system. The issue, you ask? Well, due to the ridiculously cold temperatures we experienced last week, the pipe froze and then cracked.  And then when the temperatures moderated last Saturday? Well, let's just say deluge might begin to cover it.

The water was GUSHING out of the ceiling in my friend's bathroom and closet (she has a huge walk-in closet off of her bathroom). So, the gushing water (seriously it was coming down gallons per SECOND) went all over the bathroom, the closet (all of her clothes, shoes, files, paperwork, mementos), and then started just flooding her bedroom, then it crept under the walls and flooded my bathroom, my bedroom, the laundry room and office...It was UNSTOPPABLE!

So, I called the fire department, they came and shut off the water and then quickly determined that it was the faulty sprinkler pipe.

After about seven thousand people came - the clean up people, movers, electricians, contractor, alarm people, fire inspectors, sprinkler people, insurance adjusters, and on and on and ON - well, it was determined that the entire floor and some of the walls are going to have to be torn out and replaced. It's gonna take a long, long time. A month? Maybe two?


That means that for the past week, we've been packing all of our clothes, belongings, linens, bathroom necessities, ALL of that stuff - all had to be removed from the lower floor of the house - including furniture, artwork, chairs...Really a giant pain in the tookus.

So, I'm leaving tomorrow to go stay for a while at my Aunt and Uncle's house in Georgia. I've been visiting them there at that same house for 25+ years, so it's very much a home away from home for me. PLUS they have three dogs, two cats, a very friendly cockatiel and even some fish! I'm seriously in animal heaven when I'm there! (And I sorta like my Aunt and Uncle too).

I'll probably rent a car at some point and drive down to visit with my Mom and then my Dad lives over on the Gulf Coast of FL, so I'll try to get over there to see him, too. And, very exciting news - my best friend over there at Bye Bye, Pie is either gonna come down to visit me, or I'll drive up to visit her (and to see her doggies and kitties that I happen to adore). I'll make the best of the crazy inconvenience of having to leave!

That's my saga...I'll try to blog as often as I can while I'm away.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a giggle sent to me from my good friend, Hank:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Grammy Awards Round-Up

Ok. Is it just me or is there such a thing as over-producing a show? The other awards shows, I don't know, aren't as slick somehow. They seem a little more...I don't know...spontaneous? Even though I know that's not really true, the Grammy's just seem a little too contrived? Is that the word? I don't know. Maybe it was my mood or something. I just didn't really enjoy them all that much.

Some of the performances were amazing, though.

I really, really, REALLY loved the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performance and all the couples getting married during the show. It was touching and the song was VERY poignant. The only weird part of that was the appearance of Madonna. WTF with her? She looked AWFUL. And I'm being kind.

Did you get a gander at her? Here she is arriving with her son in a matching get-up:

That poor kid. And here, get a gander at Madonna during her performance at the end of Macklemore & Lewis' awesome song:

If you click on her picture, it will enlarge and you might notice the overly-botoxed face. Her face. Ugh. Madonna looks like her own Grandmother! Honestly. And she seemed wobbly and kind of "off" as she was onstage. I don't know. It all just made me feel really old.

Other highlights for me were Pharrell Williams (whose recent song I LOVE) and his riDICulous hat. In my notes, I wrote "Look, it's Smokey the Bear's younger cousin!" He looked dumb in that hat and his Run DMC track suit. Jeez. Dress up for a minute. He was trying SO hard to look cool that he utterly and completely missed the mark:

His outfit is dumb, but his song, Happy, is just that! SO happy. The official music video is below. It's well worth watching and hearing:

And I was not all that familiar with the Daft Punk group. Apparently they are from France and they CLEANED up last night. If you are not familiar with them, they look like robots and they don't speak. Very strange. Apparently they guys under the costumes want to sort of remain anonymous and lead normal lives, so there's that. Here's what they look like:

Really freaky. And you can't see a speck of skin when they're in their get-ups. It's odd.

The fake 1/2 time show with Deion Sanders, Terry Bradshaw, Shannon Sharpe and Ditka was pretty funny. It was basically a Pepsi commercial, but it was a cute theme. Here  it is if you're interested:

Other highlights and lowlights were:

Katy Perry. Boring.

Robin Thicke & Chicago? Nope. Chicago shoulda been out there by themselves. Robin Thicke is a major dufus.

Keith Urban and Gary Clark, Jr. was AWKWARD. It didn't work.

John Legend and piano. Perfect.

Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons - was very cool, indeed.

Taylor Swift. Yaaawn. And what's with the head-banging? Jeez.

Pink. Cool, but a repeat of last year's Cirque de Soleil-ish performance. Kinda lame to repeat it.

Ringo and Paul. I liked seeing them together. It wasn't awesome, but it WAS two of the Beatles!

Carole King looked amazing! She hasn't aged in the last 20 years!

Steven Tyler did his very best Jack Sparrow look last night!

Smokey Robinson? Please. Enough with the plastic surgery. Yikes.

The Lang Lang tribute to Van Cliburn was gorgeous.

Did you see Alisha Keyes? She had PECS last night. It was very distracting:

You can't see it all that well in this shot, but it looked like a man's chest. It was really strange.

There were other performances and of course, the awards, but that's all I got! I have a million things to do today and have to skedaddle in a few...

Ciao for today!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sick sick and then some!


I realize I have not been so bloggy of late. Well, I got pretty sick there for a while. I'm still left with a nasty head cold, but am feeling MUCH better after sleeping and sleeping and then I slept for a while and then I FINALLY got some sleep.

Yesterday was also a bit of a crazy thing - I awoke to the sound of the fire alarms sounding in the building (I'm living in a place with 5 condos that are all inside one of the prettiest historic buildings in town). Anywho, the fire alarms were going off, and there was no fire LUCKILY, however the alarm went off because there was something amiss in the alarm system.

What was wrong, you ask? Well, it turns out one of the pipes in the system had broken - ruptured from freezing with the ridiculously cold temperatures we've been having. And because yesterday was relatively warm (it got up to 38 degrees), the ice inside the pipe finally melted and let me tell you:

Broken pipe + melted water = FLOOD!

The entire contents of all of the pipes in the entire building emptied onto the floor of the lower level of this condo. Yep. Gallons of water per second, GUSHING from the ceiling of my roommate's bathroom. Oh, yes! It was a fine time.

Needless to say, the fire department had to come, shut off the water, check for fire everywhere and then the reality of what happened settled in! Let me ask you to imagine - every single thing that is on your floor right now? Furniture, bags, shoes, boxes, rugs, vases, decorations, plants, whatever...ALL of it has to come up off the floor! Oh, it's a smashing good time!

So, I was sick and pooped and had to help with whatever needed to get done. I was pretty lucky. My room was the least of it. My roommate lost LOADS of paperwork, files, ALL of her clothes got soaked (her main closet is part of the bathroom and the leak was centered right there in her closet). It basically sucked the big suck.

A cleaning crew came in and sucked up whatever water they could, and there are currently three GIANT dehumidifiers and about 12 giant fans all over the lower floor attempting to dry everything out. It's sort of like being in a windy sauna!

Anywho, it could have been far worse. No one got hurt, nobody died, we have heat, electricity and running water - they only had to shut the water off to the sprinkler system, so it's really okay. Not fun, but okay.

So, that's my world for the last few days. Wheee!

I'll leave you with some fine puns that my good friend Hank sent me today. He's always good for a pun! Enjoy:

·  I tried to catch some fog.  I mist.
·  When chemists die, they barium.
·  Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
·  A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
·  I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
·  How does Moses make his tea?  Hebrews it.
·  I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.  Then it dawned on me.
·  This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.
·  I'm reading a book about anti-gravity.  I can't put it down.
·  I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words .
·  They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.
·  This dyslexic man walks into a bra .
·  I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
·  A cross-eyed teacher lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils.
·  When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
·  What does a clock do when it's hungry?  It goes back four seconds.
·  I wondered why the ball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!
·  Broken pencils are pointless.
·  What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?  A thesaurus.
·  England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
·  I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
·  I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
·  All the toilets in London police stations have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on.
·  I took the job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
·  Velcro - what a rip off!
·  Cartoonist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SAG Awards - AKA the MAG (as in Magnificent) or the BAG (as in Bag it!)

Well, well. Despite feeling under the weather (what exactly does that mean. Aren't we always sort of under the weather? Or, I guess we are all more in the weather? I don't know. I'm obviously delirious), I finally am doing the SAG posty post.

Thanks so much to any and all who are reading. I really do appreciate it.

ONTO Snarkdom!

We'll start with the good ones again, k? There were only a handful of dresses that stood out in the pretty department for me. However, there were quite the LARGE field of dresses of the majorly UGH variety this time. Or maybe I'm just getting nastier with age, which is entirely possible. I will have you know I actually deleted quite a few that were on my worst-dressed list - like Amy Adams, Claire Danes and Cate Blanchette - they made most other best-dressed lists, but I simply did not like their dresses AT ALL. However, they were beat out by the utter sea of terribleness that graced the SAG red carpet!

Here we go.

The best best best best BEST of the night was again Lupita Nyong'o (and it's something that I can spell that now without even having to look it up):

Everything with this look is so gorgeous and pretty and THAT COLOR on her beautiful skin. Hair, makeup, jewelry, the fit of the dress! So flawless. And she won for her category and I'm really happy for her. 

Second place for me goes to Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad (one of the best TV series ever). Such a lovely color for her and it flattered her and brought out her pretty eyes. She tends to wear blush/skin tone dresses and can look washed out (which I thought was the case at the Golden Globes). This is just a pretty look all the way from head to toe and I love her loosy-goosy hair, the earrings and the clutch! I like when looks aren't too matchy matchy.

Next up? Jennifer Garner. While this is not the most exciting look or dress, she just looks so chic and demure and the dress fits her perfectly. Remember, too, this lady's had babies! She looks lovely.

Honorable mentions for me are: Elizabeth Moss, Gretchen Mol and Kelly Osbourne!
Not wild about the red color on her, but everything else is great here. 

This is different and I think it fits her perfectly. Some didn't like the t-shirty look, but I thought it was interesting and certainly flatters her perfect figure. Her hair, makeup and shoes are also just spot-on. Nothing wrong going on here.

Kelly! Looking faboo! This Zac Posen gown accentuated her in all the right places. Beautiful.
But honey? It's time to lose the silly pinky-lavender hair. Ok? 
I'm glad we had this talk. 

Now, onto the W   I   D   E field of Huhs? I shake my head at a lot of these and the others? Speechless. But I'll do my best for you, my 2 or 3 readers!! 

First up, the winner of the Oh No She DI-INT Award of the Evening: Mariah Carey.
Five words for Mimi:


This woman has millions upon millions upon MILLIONS of dollars. Why? WHY? WHYYYYY? The entire get-up is trashy and gross and the leather glove things? Ridiculous. I guess they were fishnet hose, too, as if she wasn't already street-walkery enough looking.

Mayim Bialik. Girl, I understand that your religion dictates that you cover your arms and look respectful and demure. But honestly? Why do you need to look like THIS? Honey. I know you also have a few dollars in the bank. Please find someone who will help you. This is just a big ugly lavender tablecloth with a modified ceremonial funeral scarf for a top. NO. And then there's the hair and the makeup and oh, boy. Please just find someone to help. 

Rose Leslie is next. Bra, anyone? WTF? Is this some sort of dare?

OK. Julie Bowen. AGAIN. This looks like a costume gone bad to me. Cowboy polyester play-time meets orange Madonna corset on top. I will say that at least she's gotten rid of the bows, bustles, gee-gaws, folds, shoulder pads and poufy princessy crap. So, there's that. But I really don't like the colors. The bottom would be okay with something else edgy on top, in my opinion. Which is redundant. 

Amanda Peet. Okie dokie. Ummmm, now....what? We've got the puffy striped sleeves, a shiny-patterned vest looking thing over that and then a different shiny-patterned skirt that is tea-length. Clunky gross shoes, bad hair, no jewelry (which is a blessing) and hardly-there makeup. This is decidedly NOT an awards-show type of get-up. I don't know where a person might wear this. Amish prom perhaps?

Kerry, sweetie. No. No no no no no. Not ever.

Oh, for Pete's SAKE again. Sarah Paulson. That hair? Princess dress? You are not 12 years old. Please, gurrrl. Yeesh.

And here Julia Roberts in her new role as Pepto-Gumby! In theaters this summer!

And last, but of course, never least is Sandra Bullock. She's wearing some upholstery fabric that they had left over from re-doing the curtains on a cruise ship. More than anything, this is just disappointing because up until the Golden Globes (which were also a miss for me) she has been looking beyond beautiful. This dress is just weird and the bottom is weird and it looks like it just might fall off at any second! Plus, either do the high-low thing, the slit or the weird bow thingy at the waist. One of those elements would be plenty. Simplicity is always best. CoCo Chanel advised that "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off."  I think the same goes for design - don't make it over-complicated or it just is a big fail.

So, that's it! That's what all two of you have been waiting for! Woot woot!

Hope it was satisfyingly snarky!

Ciao for today.

Bear Surprises Film Crew

For your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recipe request-ipeee!

Hi Kids,

Again, sorry about being remiss in my SAG awards ranty post. I had an unexpected evening out yesterday and then a busy day today. Last night walked over to a local Thai restaurant and had the MOST delicious meal. Shrimp stir fry in a ginger spicy sauce. It was beyond fresh and lovely with lots of shrimp, scallions, onion, mushrooms, green pepper and red pepper. It was nummy. The restaurant is called The Thai Place and here's a link to their website.

Right next door to The Thai Place is our little local movie theater, Salem Cinema, and we saw American Hustle. It was EXCELLENT! Everyone in the movie was stellar, and I just can't say enough about Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. Really a great, great movie. Top rating in my book!

Anywho, so I didn't get home until late and that was that. Today, had to go do lots of emails, return phone calls and then the requisite shopping before the snowstorm. It's the funniest phenomenon here in New England. Each time there's a snowstorm, people here immediately flock to the store for bread, milk, eggs, toilet paper and bottled water. It's a thing with people here. Of course, coming from Michigan I feel that everyone here is silly and ridiculous, but there ya go. Wherever you go, there you are (which I find rather obvious, no?).

In any case, I went to the grocery store with my friend because I was car-less yesterday and early today as my car was in the fixit shop getting some final work done. $1400 later, my car is again in tip-top condition. Mind you, I've been very neglectful of my fabulous little car, so that was a well-deserved $1400 fix. Get this - I've got a 2002 Volkswagen Passat and it's only got 45,000 miles on it! I know! That's nothing. And in all the years I've had my wonderful car, I have only put about $1000 into it. Really - that's nothing considering the car is 12 years old already.

So that brings me to about an hour ago and here I am. Exciting life, right? I'm sure you're just madly jealous of the fame and glory.

Annnnnnyway, one of my nice, faithful readers has requested recipes for the goodies I mentioned in yesterday's post, and asked for the cabbage soup in particular, so here goes:

Cabbage Soup (be warned I don't really measure things when I cook!)

You'll need:
Two large cans of diced tomatoes (I think they're 28 oz each)
Two full cans of water (using the tomato cans)
3 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 large head of cabbage, cut into bite-sized chunks
Medium/large vidalia onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced however you like
3 stalks celery, sliced however you like
1 large leek cut into rounds (I love leeks but they aren't essential)
Garlic powder (a tablespoon or more) or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic

Celery seed (about a tablespoon or more)

Seasoned salt (Lawry's is the best) to taste

If you like spicy (like I do), I also add some cayenne powder, red pepper flakes and 8-10 squirts of tabasco to the soup.

I also had about a cup of red wine that was a little past the drinking stage, so I added that, too.

You can also add cubed potatoes to this to make it heartier if you like.

Basically just plop it all in a big stew pot or even a crock pot and let it cook and cook until everything is tender.

You could really add any vegetable to this if you want - kale, spinach, beans of almost any sort. It's good and hearty and tomato-y!

Ok. Tomorrow I have a snow day - we're supposed to get dumped with something like 6-10 inches and even more in some isolated areas, so no more excuses about the lack of SAG award snark!

That's all I gots for today. Hope you're all safe and warm wherever you may be.

I will leave you to contemplate the bevy of baby woodchucks that I saw this summer near my favorite Salem beach:

Ciao for now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

So, I hope you had a nice weekend! Mine was pretty fun, actually. Went out with two of my favorite people on Friday evening (calm down, they are women friends) and we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant in Salem, MA called the Naumkeag Ordinary.

Odd name to those that don't live around here, I realize. The Naumkeag tribe were the Native Americans who inhabited this area originally. If you're interested, here's a short blurb on the Naumkeag people.

Annnyway, the food there is delicious and flavorful and it's just a really cozy little restaurant. I've been there three times now and have had three great meals! Yaay for that! Here's a link to their menu, if you're interested - I had the Arugula Salad (to die for and it was HUGE) and then had the Salmon in Beurre Blanc. I do like me a good Beurre Blanc. Yumm.

Friday was also my Mom's un-birthday. She is not liking the age she is, so that's too bad, but anyway, Happy Birthday to my Momma!

After we had dinner we decided to get our drink on (I make it sound like I'm some big partier! Hah!), so we ended up going to another bar/restaurant place downtown and ended up staying for a few hours! There were mens there and one of my friends, who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are (!) was a bit flirty shall we say and so he and his friends ended up at our table! They were nice guys and it was just a really pleasant evening overall.

I've also been enjoying the cooking again as part of this wonderful thing that it is to feel okay! So, I've been cooking up a storm recently! Some of the things I've made recently: pasta puttanesca (so good), mushroom crust quiche with kale, tomatoes, onion, gruyere and parmesan cheese (SO good), zucchini latkes, and cabbage soup with garlic, onion, celery and carrots. I do love me a good cabbage soup.

After a pretty good snowstorm last week, it's all pretty much melted and has been rather pleasant in the temperature department, so I was able to get out on some good walks last week. Four walks! It's such a gift in the winters here when we get these moderate weather periods. So lovely.

So, next up, I'm gonna do my "homework" and do a post on the SAG awards. I never did get to see the entire broadcast, but I've seen my good share of the dresses recently. Or not dresses, as it were. Did you see the ugly jumpsuit that Julia Roberts wore? Holy mother of UGLY! You have to see it:

Sorta like a pink Gumby! 

Okay. More snarky comments to follow as I gather photos and my wits. Ciao for now.

Oh, one more thing. Here's your deep thought for today - sent to me from my most excellent friend, Hank: 

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.