Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday's Cup of "The House Looks Fabulous!"

Okay...that was absolutely the coolest...ever.

In less than 3 hours she had my home looking like I had just moved in...walls...facings...baseboards...counters...appliances. Next visit she is steam cleaning the carpets!  I am so hooked!

May have to put a bowl of white roses on the!

Even Chris stopped by this morning and said "Wow! Look at this place!"

I know, right? 

Should have done this from the moment I moved in. 

She moved the sofa and loveseat to vacuum, and we MAY have found Jimmy Hoffa, just sayin'.

Actually, what we did find was all of Tucker's lost toys. We deposited them in his bed and he just jumped in and curled up in their midst looking very happy with himself. 

Woke this morning and the freshness of the place felt so good I was my own turndown service at 6 AM.


Celebrating Tina's 26th Birthday!  She and Chris at her Mom's today and then all of us together for Chinese later...and Saturday night at her Dad's. Chris woke up this morning to make her Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing and candles.

( fiancé ever...) 

 Don't let the dress up fool you, though. She is The Eternal Disney Girl. Found a Minnie Mouse Hoodie, A Registered Disney Minnie Huge Coffee Mug, and a perfect shade of pink throw to snuggle under that feels like it was "knitted from kittens" it is so soft and fuzzy-fluffy. I had the cake decorated in Minnie Mouse Pink with quarter-sized round flat dots and a black bow in one corner...lacking only the ears to be certified copyright infringement, I think. You could have heard the "happy-squeak" from there!

So, onward with the Virtual France Trip...exploring Arles and Montmartre and Giverny. Although I am waiting on Spring/Summer to explore Claude's gardens. It just seemed right.  The Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Pissaro, Renior) and the Post Impressionists (Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec )...Pointullism with Seurat,  a crash course in Absinthe louching and La Fee Verte.  [green fairy] Exploring the icon that was Moulin Rouge back in 1888...learning about colours and paint/canvas preparation and stretching.Painting on board and jute cloth...who knew? So much to see/learn/try!

Wanted too work on one of my own during this segment and have started working up that foxed parchment/paper look for a background.

Just the very very beginning...when complete it will have the Effel Tower and some muli-medium inlay (scrap parchment with French writing and the like...). A couple of twining "ghost balloons". The tower will be my first on-canvas attempt at painting with the palette knives. It is all very exciting! Salt helps achieve the foxed look. I learn something new every day.

Speaking of crash courses...I found something during my tour of French Patisseries that I simply must learn more about. Decorating. Specifically cookies, cupcakes and cakes. A pastry bag with assorted tips, dragees and edible confection glitter is in my near future. 

Yes. I can DO this...


This week's books are non-fiction centering around the life of Toulouse-Lautrec...and Monet...also a re-read of "The Yellow House" which details Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh's brief history together in Arles.

I think they refer to this as:   The Complete Immersion Method.

So, without further adieu...back to France in 1888 :)

And a tribute to Leonard Nimoy who died today at 83, and who taught all of us how to LLAP.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Oscars...Finishing Paris...and an APB for Spring

How do I feel about Birdman getting the Oscar for Best Picture...instead of...oh American Sniper or Selma...


Are you effing kidding me???????????????????????

Look...I think all the casting and subsequent acting was outstanding. Loved seeing Keaton return to the wide screen. Norton is always one of my favorite over-the-top actors. A lot of feeling, heart and soul poured into this film.

But, BEST Picture of the Year?
WTH are they smoking?

By the end of it, I wanted to shove Keaton out that open window, myself..okay?

The only flaw in American Sniper was the nursery scene. Maybe it did cost them the Oscar.  Even when I was watching the film I sat wondering...after all of this...why are they using a doll instead of a live baby?

 Later the press would explain that the original baby was sick the day of the shoot...and the back up baby didn't arrive...

So WHO made the call to use a doll?

 It had to be a guy.


There wasn't a woman alive who watched that on the wide screen, and didn't know 3 seconds into the scene that they used a prop for a baby. The rest of the film was so accurate and so well put together and well shot that it was even MORE obvious and disturbing.

You mean to say in the entire studio...NO one had a live child that you could borrow for the shoot. 

Seriously...your loss.

White and red seemed to be the colours de nuit and the best dress of the evening had to be Nyong'o and the white pearl creation. Just gorgeous.

And the very best Red dress rocked by Rosamund Pike. A v-notch neckline would have elevated this ensemble to "Goddess"

Just Saying.

And Jay Leto...

Who sadly let his mother (or possibly Prince) dress him before this year's ceremonies. You have to work pretty hard to make Leto un-sexy...but somehow they pulled it off. I want to  help institute a new rule from this year forward that Mr. Leto is not allowed on the red carpet unless he is clad in black leather. Maybe next year!

Back to the Virtual France Adventure after a brief hiatus...and ready to move on from Paris which I have pretty thoroughly explored and Arles and Montmartre. I enjoyed the cuisine and new recipes immensely . A package of truffles shipped from La Maison du Chocolat were exquisite. The Museums (I now have a poster from the Louve gift shop and a coffee mug) and The Eiffel Tower. The Seine and Champs Elysée. Also read Hemmingway's: A Moveable Feast. 
My Mother's House by Collette
and did a re-read of Camus: The Stranger. 
(which may actualy spawn a new tattoo...)

In the depths of winter, I discovered within me an endless summer.

“Au milieu de l'hiver, j'ai découvert en moi un invincible été.” ― Albert Camus

So, onward to Arles and Montmartre...and absinthe...artistes during the Impressionist Movement...and the reigon circa the late 1800's.

As an aside, I now realize that the France I crave is long gone. So perhaps virtual travel here is preferable in the 21st Century, anyway.

I'm a really frustrated gardener this week as my friends on the Western Pacific send pictures of their burgeoning blossoms and green pips peering above loamy soil. This morning I woke to inches of snow and permafrost and -5 degrees (real temp). The loamy soil here...a distant memory.

Not much longer now, though!

Come on, SPRING!

And realized this morning what a foreign concept having a housekeeper was to me when I found myself thinking how I needed to get...wait for it...

The house cleaned before she arrived this week.


This might take some getting used to...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Doughnuts and Chess...Bathtub Hooch and a Maid

Sunday's Doughnuts and Chess, early this morning, with Chris! And, although he can still trounce me...I am holding my own a little bit better now. The Practice Cube and the "Tao of Chess" is definitely helping. And...well the cocoa and doughnuts were still very good. 

Finally poured off my micro-batch of Honey Mead this afternoon. Going to save back a bit to share with Idgy when she is up. I used wildflower honey and a mix of fresh pear nectar to set this batch. Not as light as I had envisioned. More syrupy. And maybe the yeast/sugar ratio was off again because OMG is it strong. Less a Honey-Mead and more of a Honey-Shine. Needs something salty (pretzels,sardines,salted crackers, cavier) to pair with although it worked well with fresh long as you keep it way from matches!  Seriously. Nice pear and honey fragrance, and deep maple colour.

So my final micro-brew for a while

Gypsy Winery

2015 Vintage

"Some Like It Rough"

Wildflower Honey  (Shine) Mead

Bit the bullet yesterday and admitted what I have seen coming for the past year or so...there are just things that are getting more and more difficult...or exhaustive for me to keep up on in the house these days. Oh sure, I can keep the topical dusting and dishes and laundry and such fine...if perhaps a bit more slowly...but the deep cleaning...the stand on your head scrubbing the bathroom, toilet or tile floors...deep cleaning the wall to wall carpeting or the edgings/molding. Yeah...damned near impossible. So yesterday I hired a part time housekeeper. A maid. (...I have a maid?!!!)  Just for deep cleaning, for now.  She seems very nice. 

A Driver and now a Maid...who would have ever believed it?
(...hearing the theme song from the Jefferson's)


Also began training with Luminosity this week. Couldn't hurt. Might help. I hear good things.


                                                                         more days until Spring!!!!

  I have David Austin Roses ordered to cover the trellis, already!

And only

More days until Our Spring Adventure, Idgy! Can't wait! That is a lot of biscotti and coffee in the box to muddle through! And way way too many "Gazin' Balls"

And an idea for over the campfire whose time has come.  Dipping S'mores. Can also be made at home beneath the broiler.

Jumbo Marshmallows over Hershey's bars...and dipping Grahams!

Onward to the new week!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Appointment with Mr. Grey...

Yeah...I want this shirt.

It started way back friend Donna (Dayne's Mom) dropped the trilogy off on my dining room table.

"Er...Donna...why is there pornography on my table"

The table generally being reserved for the genuine article.


So, I read the trilogy. Fairly interesting storyline. Juvenile writing. Less than inspiring BDSM scenarios. In short all three books could have been edited harshly and condensed into one fairly good read.  Months and months then passed and the series never really crossed my mind again.

Until Monday...and the call from my friend came saying,

"Okay...we have an appointment with Mr. Grey on Wednesday!" 

Do what???

"Come see 50 Shades with me on Wednesday" 


And so off we went for a Wednesday Matinee in Avon and Steak and Shake. Nothing quite like an afternoon of Mommy Porn and Junk Food with a Good Friend. 

Actually, hilarity ensued before we even left the drive. Donna had let Dayne use her car for work...and was driving his to the show. Imagine stepping into the car and seeing a huge coiled tow-rope taking up half the back seat.

Yeah...take a minute and let it sink in.  Bondage movie. 
                                                              Half a seat full of rope. 

After laughing ourselves silly and contemplating the reactions to dragging it into the theater when we arrived...we did the next natural thing...we phoned Dayne.

He laughed his ass off...said we were disgusting and added that we weren't allowed to go anywhere else alone again...EVER.  

And probably phoned Chris and told on us when he got off the phone.


Then there was the whole "walker issue".

"I swear, Donna...I am going to walk in behind you with my eyes downcast and when they look at the walker I am going to mutter something about you being a really harsh bitch and say loudly- How the hell do you think I ended up like this?"

So plied with junk food...we finally arrived.

The film?

Much better than the book...but nothing stellar. Maybe a 5/10 rating. The actress for the role of Anna (Dakota Johnson) did an exceptional job and was perfectly cast.  Sadly, I can't say the same for Jamie Doman, who played Mr. Grey. Although he had the physical attributes...his face and affect were just wrong. The face could have been improved with maybe a well groomed mustache and beard. He was too boyish. He needed hardened a bit. Pardon the obvious pun. More...well..dominate. His affect was too soft for the hard core dominate he was suppose to be playing. I just couldn't take him seriously. The BDSM was...well to use Mr. Grey's own vocabulary "Vanilla". If you see this film and you are shocked by the tiny bit of rough-play exhibited yourself a favor and never delve further into the realm of real BDSM are going to have a STROKE.

Trust me on this.

The Cinematography was exceptional. Using colors and camera angles to add to the story/feeling. A great opportunity for a flashback sequence to Mr. Grey's traumatic childhood he sat at the edge of her bed while she was sleeping talking out loud about those events. It would have added so much to the film if they had faded to a good flashback. There was amazing Seattle at night from the air photography...just beautiful. And an afternoon of Ultra-Light Plane footage over Georgia that was breathtaking, as well.

They did a nice job portraying his ambivalence at getting involved with Anna...and she did an incredible (believable) job of her character's innocence in the beginning. As you could watch her could see his character "feeling more" becoming...which is, of course, what the entire Trilogy was about. 

I guess I should have expected it...being a Trilogy and all...they ended the first film where the first book ended, and did a good job of it. Anna walking out of Christian's life angrily.

So, there will be two more films. 

I'll catch those online.

One afternoon in the theater with Mr. Grey was more than enough...
                                                                                        and, sadly, found lacking.

The loaded cheeseburger and greasy onion rings and REAL fountain Coke were exceptional, though...and I'm thinking of painting the bedroom!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Valentine's Day Cup!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yeah, it's kind of like that...

Chocolates...Flowers...Bubble Bath...Cards...Candles...and a "Go Away, We're Closed!" sign for the door!

It just doesn't get a lot better.

Except, maybe, for the card taped by my youngest to the patio door this morning.

Since he has a house-key he ninja'd his way in early with chocolates and card and such...but when I went to let Tucker in I noticed an envelope taped to the outside of the patio door marked


Frum: Tucker

Inside was a cute card done up in "I can haz cheezburger" speak...per Chris and ending with




I had a wonderful week! With the transit running Monday through Friday, and the Cab Service in the evenings and weekends...I can get anywhere, now

So excited!

Enjoyed a long long long brunch out with my DIL's Mom this week at Almost Home...camping there so long we had to move the truck twice and STILL almost got a ticket...we talk...a lot...a Mother-In-Law time she is bringing Aiden along and not only will Nicole have a nice relaxing "soak in the tub" kind of day, but we can thoroughly spoil the minion together. Both Grandma's at one time! The minion who is getting closer and closer to toddling every day...we are reaching a kind of ambulatory equilibrium, he and I.

 I was also able to attend an evening Writer's workshop hosted by Kroeker and Craig (Co-authors of: On Being A Writer) and signed up for their Online Workshop beginning late March.

Working diligently now my own final edit of the last book in my Mindful Life:Zen Trilogy, and looking at an April Release.

Details trickling slowly in concerning my late friend/past lover's untimely death, and giving me a lot more closure. I think the couple weeks spent wondering what the hell happened was the worst. Now, it is just the getting my head around the fact that he is really gone. And a million thanks to Julie for going above and beyond to help me get roses to his grave. I owe you, huge!

Thinking of all the long walks and wildflower bouquets picked for me...and somehow bittersweet that now I bring flowers to you.

His death reminding me, perhaps more than ever...

Make it Spectacular!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Grammys...

If you were watching saying "WTH????" know you are NOT alone.

Hurricane Fencing as Haute Couture. Who saw THAT coming, eh?

It was nice to see Sam Smith get Best New Artist. And Beck, to get Album of The Year (...and would someone please remove Ms, Kardashian's husband from the stage...) Possibly from the entire future Grammy awards.

And Madonna still cavorted amidst the bare chested bull-men as though she hasn't looked in a mirror recently...kind of sad in an ageing stripper kind of way. Her looks and her talent, it seems, have finally reached equilibrium.

Kudos for Pharrell's and Beyonce's bold choreographic moves.The Hoodies and
Hands Up-Don't Shoot. 

All in all a fairly entertaining evening.

The youngest and I, instituting a new Sunday Tradition by starting the morning with his knock on the door...and a chess board.

Sunday Morning Coffee...Doughnuts and Chess!

He left the practice Solitaire Cube for me to beef up my game before next Sunday...and I got my ass handed to me twice. In my defense it had been years since I had played. 

However, the doughnuts were good. 

More anon!

An aside:  I may need an intervention with all these Girl Scout Cookies! This is what comes of having adorable grand-daughters!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Only 42 Days Till SPRING...Meeting Piper (Orange is the New Black-author)...and more...

The snow hasn't completely melted...but it has started. This year's influx of Gardening Porn.  And the David-Austin people have soooooooooooo got my number this year. Ordering three of their old-rose-scented climbers to begin the
Arch. All in pink...

Okay...maybe not. But they will look outstanding covering the arch in a variety of shades of pink blossoms.

Settling in tomorrow to work on a gardening plan for Spring. Just around the corner. This is a hard sell for my Massachusetts family and friends where another foot of snow is predicted for today. On top of the 33" they have already had recently.

                                              Winter Beach Scene

A week full of surprises. The BEST being a call from a (former) co-worker/friend, Tina, inviting me to accompany her to see/meet Piper Kerman author of the best-seller: Orange is the New Black.  (Now also made into a televised series.)  She was touring on the Ubben's Circuit and scheduled for Depauw on Wednesday. So despite the blowing and accumulting snow and the we went.

Articulate...funny...amazing. Conveying a serious and strong message.  I can't WAIT to read the book, and am waiting to watch the series after I have. Jodie Foster is actually going to be part of the third season!

My youngest son introduced me to a new game this week:

It is called Solitaire Chess, but what it really consists of are a box of preset cards and pieces that you use with them to help you develop your chess skills.

Remember these?

Well, the principle is the same. You use chess moves until you are down to one piece. It helps you develop the skill to quickly see moves on a full board and enhance your abilities.

The Tee-Triangle Game for the "Chess-set". 

You want to know who is REALLY brilliant, though?  The people who sat down and worked out all the possible moves on the individual cards. 

Like, NASA smart. 

Only 16 Squares, 4x4, and the cards show you which pieces you have to put into play, and their locations.

And we were sitting looking at the board together with quick gasps and

"OMG...I think I see won't work"  


And that feeling of accomplishment when you finally figure one board out...and then move to the next card in the series.

Chris and I worked on one board for a long long long time....and then it was like a light came on for him

"I SEE IT!" 

and he cleared the square with the two available Rooks...earning him the monniker


It is Official...I have got to get one of these!
(...channelling my inner Will Smith...)

The DIL, who scared the hell out of all of us this week,

                                        The Chest Scene From Alien

as she was rushed into emergency surgery for an Appendectomy. It had not ruptured, thankfully, and the surgery went smoothly. She was extremely lucky and we are so grateful. We were all up at the hospital with her Thursday...and she was able to be released Friday.

Home now, recuperating.

Idgy...I can't wait, either! Only

more days until our Spring Adventure. Yes...going over the checklist:



95 wax birthday candles...check



A Couple of Eyebrow Pencils....check

Got it covered!  

Can't wait to see you and plunder Franklin, again! 
No sleet this time!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Post-Game Prattle

So, how about that game?

Completely made up for the blow-out between the Broncos and the Seahawks last year.

Not much of a long pass or running game because both teams were just offensive and defensive monsters!  With the score tied  7-7 at the end of the first quarter and both teams had clawed their way inch by inch for those.  Lane was taken out with an injury early during an interception.

The 2nd Quarter was much of the same. At one point they remained tied at 14-14. The continuous tied scores do not give credit to the battle that was being waged on the field. These two teams were like watching gladiators push and gain ground by increments. This is the BEST Superbowl I have seen for several years. 

Then there was the half-time show...we'll come back to this.

And the commercials...we will come back to those, too.

By the 3rd Quarter the Seahawks had inched up to a 17-14 lead...from a field goal...and then proceeded to score a touchdown that brought them to a solid ten point lead.


Giving credit where credit is due...Chris Matthews was a "black hole" last night. Any time the ball was passed in his direction it was sucked instantly into his hands.  
Really, it was incredible.

If the Seahawks had won..Matthews would have definitely gotten MVP.

But, in the 4th Quarter the Patriots began to close the gap...and were 24-21 at the 6 minute mark.

By the 2 minute mark they would pull ahead to a 4 point lead  28-24.

And then...there at the one yard line...things got really weird. With less than two minutes on the clock instead of handing the ball off to, say, Lynch who is the human equivalent of a Mack Truck and could probably have made the touchdown with 3 or 4 Patriots clinging to him like cats trying to escape a bath...but no...

Wilson throws the ball..and is the one yard line.

Intercepted at the One Yard Line!


(...hell I am not a football player...I don't even play one on TV...but even I know you don't throw a ball at the one yard line...what the hell was he thinking??)

And it was intercepted by Malcom Butler.


Exactly my point.

An undrafted Rookie, whose name was pretty much unknown...well until last night anyway.

But wait...there was more. 

 I am sure that losing the Superbowl by the skin of your teeth was more than a little frustrating...but suddenly there in the end-zone Seahawk's Bruce Irvin decided to start throwing punches around and was summarily ejected from the game. With seconds left on the clock.

Yeah....that is the way I would want to be remembered...NOT.

The Patriots ran down the clock and won their 4th Superbowl.


An edge of your seat game from beginning to end.

The Half-Time Show and the Commercials?

Kind of bizarre as well.

Katie Perry on a ginormous mechanized lion while she sings about a tiger; wearing a cheap knock off of one of Cinnamon’s flamed creations very ala Hunger Games that had been sale racked at Kmart. 

Lenny Kravitz was the half-time's saving grace.

And the shooting star that snatched Perry up?
It just didn't come around soon enough. a friend posted in FB concerning Perry's performance...a picture does say more than a thousand words.

Seems reasonable.

The glowing orbs...the 3-D tiles and the chess-type pieces were entertaining...and the fireworks were outstanding!

And was it me? Or were the commercials a bit odd, this year, as well.

Oh, the Budweiser "lost puppy" ad was great, if predictable...and my personal favourite was the e-surance Heisenberg as a subbing pharmacist (made me laugh out loud) but most of the numerous automobile ads were ambiguous

What the hell are they selling???" 

"They want us to buy something...what is it????"

The Domestic violence ad was just chilling.
(And when you are fake ordering the pizza to get hold of the he will know.)

Seriously, who comes up with these?

And Nationwise...cute puppies, kittens and kids are okay.
Dead kids are NOT.


The most annoying ads were a toss up between the Vulture Data ad and the Kardashian ad.

And finally...the Colorado Truck AD which may have been the BEST (...or at the very least most persuasive AD...) of the evening.

 I can't even DRIVE, anymore...but by about the third time they aired this ad I was saying

"Hell yeah...Got to have me one of those!"

Especially liked it when they showed the little kids the photos and asked which kind of pet the driver of the Colorado might own.

"Maybe a rattlesnake..."

Would love to see February's sales figures on this one. I predict a boom!

 So, there you go...the good, the bad and the ugly of Superbowl 49...

Catch you next year
 at Superbowl 50

 (Where they have finally decided to stop using the Roman Numerals...probably because it makes the millennials heads explode...)

Oh...and that annoying rodent saw his shadow

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Superbowl Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it is a half hour to kick off!

Enjoyed a re-watch of The Replacements this afternoon and made a huge vat of vegetable soup and a round of herbed bread. Even took a cat-nap with an actual cat.  Nothing quite like cat-napping with a purring kitty!

Have NBC's live stream up

And ESPN's live commentary

and although both teams are amazing...

More anon...