Thursday, March 31, 2005

this picture is new, but it could have been in Vogue 50 years ago Posted by Hello

From George's Pajamas to High Fashion

I am a fashion photography junky. I can't help myself. Today there is an article in the New York Times about Michael Thompson, a newish photographer on the fashion scene, and there is a whole array of his flashy fashion photos to look at. When I go to the hairdresser, I use the hour to look at all the high fashion magazines, indulging myself in Bazaars and Vogues. It always seems a little funny to me, as I sit there in my wet spiky red hair, that I am addicted to reading these wild fashion ideas, most of which I will never be able to use in any productive way. Unlike most of the other women there, for those two hours, I am not interested in movie star news or Ladies Home Journal recipes or People magazine...I want the high-fashion fix. I always think that maybe I should be reading a good book.

Even as a young girl, I have always loved fashion magazines, and I think it is for the photography. The photos are creative and done with abandon and the clothes are so far out that no one would be able to wear them without being arrested. I often wonder what would happen if we tried. Everything is WAY over the top. I guess the person who seems to be trying the hardest to translate these into real life is Boy George. In real life, after the photos are taken, the models wash off all the red eye shadow and blue cheek powder and run out into the New York street wearing a t-shirt and jeans. These fashion ideas are just way out of control, and maybe that is why I like looking at them so much. They are not about this world. At least not about MY world.

George is lovely about all this. He watches the runway shows on TV with me on Saturday morning at 8:00. They show the fashion shows from Paris, Milan and London and he critiques the clothes with me. Most of them are unwearable. The pencil thin models in their strange gait are stunningly surreal and sometimes so ugly they are beautiful. They are a stretch into a creativity that we never will get to wear ourselves. They are like fashion science fiction.

Oh well. I like it.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

We had a good laugh over George's pajamas this morning. He said he heard a big rip in the middle of the night and then he made plans to use the rags to tie up the tomato plants.  Posted by Hello

Pretty Eyes

Yesterday I went to the doctor's office and got punctal plugs put into my tear ducts. These are tiny collagen plugs that fit into the bottom tear duct in the eye, and are used to help heal extreme dry eye. I'm hoping that they will help me. Often my eyes are red and dry and I have to use drops several times a day. I can feel the plugs, but like wearing glasses, once you get used to it, you forget about it. It is a little like having an eyelash turned backwards or something...not painful at all, just...there. The Dr. said there are no bad side effects and no chance of infection. The plugs are so tiny he said I could probably not see them even with a magnifying glass. I guess the only bad thing is that they sometimes come out on their own and you have to get them reinserted.

They haven't started helping yet, my eyes are still red this morning, but I should be better soon, and I'll continue to use my trusty bottle of eye moisturizer drops. (Visine is bad...not supposed to use that, although it is tempting when ones eyes look like they were up all night.) The proceedure was a little...hairy. First he put in a drop of anesthesia and then I had to stay very still with my chin resting on the plate of the unit used for eye exams while he put was looked like a sharp tweezer very near my eye. I stayed very calm and concentrated hard on a spot on the ceiling. It didn't take long, but he had to find the plugs that would fit my eye, I guess they come in different sizes. He didn't say much and I got the impression that this is pretty routine for him. He said it is not that new, and that it has been done foryears, especially for people who have lazer eye surgery which tends to make the eyes dry. Afterward I told him that I was fighting very hard the urge to run away.

I treated myself to a yummy yogurt cup with granola and a cup of fresh fruit at Au Bon Pain and went back to my office to rest up.

Last night I had an event to go to for work that lasted until 8:30 p.m., so I'm ready for a big cup of coffee and hopefully a quiet day at the office.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Happy Tuesday

I slept soundly all night and had a very long dream about wearing high heels and going on a big job interview for a large advertising agency in Chicago. I toured the place, met three managers, went to the art department (where they had a large in-house bar where they were running long tabs for everyone) and...when I woke up I could not believe the detail and I was really happy that it wasn't real. Whew.

Today I visit the eye surgeon to talk to him about my chronic dry eyes and the fact that drops don't really help that much. He will tell me about plugs that they put in the tear ducts (there are two in each eye) to stop the fluid from draining and which should help. I'm not sure if we will just talk, or whether he will just pop the tiny plugs in. I have heard good things about them from the lady in the optomistrist office. Most people I talk to have never heard of such a thing. We will see (no pun intended).

Tonight I have a meeting for work that doesn't start until 7 p.m. Might as well be midnight. It is a meeting to meet volunteers at a large company who might want to work for us. I will go to Weight Watchers at 6 and I'm pretty sure that I didn't lose even an ounce this week. In fact, I probably gained a little. Some weeks are like that. As long as I'm going in the general direction of "down" on the scale I'm ok with it. I don't lose weight every week. Patience is key and the most important thing for me is DO NOT QUIT! The goal is to feel better in shorts this summer and I'm working on it.

The cleaners are coming today and it is a hopeless cause. George and I skurried around this morning putting things away, is what it is. Perfection it is not.

Busy day ahead. Have a good one.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Circle in the Square Posted by Hello


When Mike was here he told me about Flickr, which is all about pictures. I have joined five groups and contributed some pictures myself. One of the most popular is called Circle in the Square, with over 8000 entries. I have three in there myself. I have enjoyed looking at what people contribute and really love the "Whats in my pocket" series. I notice today that they have a new group called "Whats in your refrigerator". There are lots of interesting photos and people really love this outlet for their creativity. I believe you have to log in to get to see the group photos, but it is worth the time.

Today it is raining and I'm sure that the little tulips and narcissus that are peeking out will love it. Spring is on the way and not a minute too soon.

Have a great day.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter coffee hour table Posted by Hello

Flowers! Posted by Hello

The altar dressed for Easter Services. Posted by Hello

Ending Holy Week

George and I served 170 people for coffee hour today. It was a huge success. We celebrated by using the last ounces of energy we had left to go to Koreana, our favorite Korean restaurant and having a nice hot bowl of Bi Bim Bap to celebrate Easter. It was a wonderful meal. It's now five o'clock and if I thought I could get away with it, I'd be in my pajamas. It was quite a day and quite a week.

See you tomorrow morning. zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Cakes ready to go to church tomorrow. Posted by Hello

Bakery in the kitchen

At 7:30 this morning I started baking. I made five bundt cakes and George made two batches of cookies. This is all going to church at 8:00 tomorrow morning to serve at coffee hour between Easter services. We went to Easter Vigil this evening, which starts with a bonfire and a service where we light candles outside and then walk together into the church. Halfway through the service, the candles are blown out, the lights come on and the service continues with Easter music. It is a nice service that I enjoy every year, and it is a shame that not many people come to it. We had about 40 people tonight, including the choir.

I know one thing, everyone is going to like eating these cakes tomorrow.

Have a Happy Easter!

Apricot bundt cake Posted by Hello

Vanilla Streusal cake Posted by Hello

I put together this basket of primroses and plants for the centerpiece tomorrow. Posted by Hello

Saturday morning--up with the birdies

George laughs at me because on weekends I always get up earlier than I do on weekdays. I guess it is because Saturday and Sundays are "my" days...and I want to hop up and get going on all my projects. Today I woke up thinking of making a chocolate cocoa cake first thing. I still have to go to the grocery store for sour cream and buttermilk to make the other cakes. George found cinnamon chips at a new Star Market near his office and bought five packages. Cinnamon chips are his secret ingredient in Oatmeal cookies that make them extra delicious and have people wondering what the devil makes them so good.

Easter is my favorite holiday because it comes with an expectation of Spring, and warm weather. At church I am a worker-bee at Easter, and try to make the coffee hour special and welcoming. I bought Dunkin Donuts coffee and two apple coffee cakes from the Swedish bakery yesterday. (I also bought six hot cross buns for our Easter breakfast.) Besides hosting coffee hour, and playing in the bell choir, I am also an usher tomorrow. Ushering is also fun because there are so many "newbies" there, and sometimes they need a little coaxing from the usher to do the right thing. I like to help. One of the keys to being a good usher at church is to smile, darnit. Sometimes the older men are so droll...newcomers are intimidated. Smiling helps everything.

When I was a young girl, performing on a highschool stage, I realized that the answer to stage fright was to think of the other person on the stage with you, or the person that was performing right before you. Getting out of yourself is the best cure for malaise of any kind and helping others is key to a healthy life I think. That is a philosophy of mine that I developed when I was about 13 years old and it has always worked for me. Doing something nice for someone else always makes me feel better.

Baking all these cakes today is a labor of love, and something that I want to do. I have a beautiful new professional-grade Kitchen-Aid mixer, and it just purrs along and makes things easy. With George here to help me gather the ingredients as we go, and to help me carry and transport the cakes and platters to the church will be fun and I'm eager to get started.

Have a great Easter everyone.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I sent these flowers to Omie for Easter from George, Mike and me. Posted by Hello

Yarn for the sweater I am starting this weekend in my spare time. Posted by Hello

New buds on the Orchid. Posted by Hello

Thunder waiting for her breakfast this morning. Posted by Hello

Good Friday

George and I went to church last night and enjoyed being there. The pastor said that a important part of Holy Week is a little three-letter word with a couple of exclaimation points behind it...NAP!!

We are a little tired this morning, but...we will be fine. Thunder is waiting for her breakfast. I noticed the other day that my orchid is putting out four new sprays of buds. This is a really big deal. It will mean that this little $20 plant that I have had blooming in the window all winter will now bloom all summer as well. It is a hardy and elegant plant and I'm really glad I discovered how nice it is to have orchids in the house.

There is frost on the pumpkin (?) the weather got below freezing last night. Everyone is having a jolly good laugh at the weathermen since there was no snow yesterday to speak of and they had forecast 6-12 inches of the awful stuff. So people were really ready to have a laugh at their expense and go out and enjoy the sunshine instead. It was a mini-celebration in the week.

Today is TGIF day, and I'm happy that the weekend is coming. I am planning to bake three bundt cakes tomorrow and George will make apricot oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies too. I've got the recipes ready for the cakes: apricot streusal, cinnamon streusal,lemon grove, and chocolate cocoa cake. We will then go to the bakery for the rest of the coffee cakes we need to serve 150 hungry people for Easter Coffee hour. There will be lots of people there who we only see once a year, so we might as well feed them and make them happy.

Have a great day.

Spring Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I finished this book last night. I could hardly wait to get home to read it. I liked this book very much even though it made me sad. When I finished, I was rather dazed by all that I had read, and a little depressed. An extra hug from George and a bowl of spaghetti made me feel better. I'm lucky. The world we live in is such a messed up place. This book is fiction, and I talked yesterday about how I like happy endings. This book tries very hard to have a happy ending, but I am still left with a sick feeling about the Taliban, the recent history of Afghanistan, and then spreading out from there, the history of all countries who have been taken over and vandalized in the name of some religion or another. I guess in the end, I felt a little manipulated, and that the twists in the book were a little too dark for me to handle.

In the second half of the novel, the hardest for me to read, the story is, in the author's words: "He went back to Afghanistan, then ruled by the Taliban, to settle an old score. He went back after a 20-year absence to atone for a sin he had committed as a boy. He went back to rescue a child he had never met, and to rescue himself from damnation." It is this part of the book that I found almost distressing. I am hurt when I read about bad things happening to children.

We live in hard times. This book seems so real it is hard to remember that it is fiction. I think I needed a happier ending. But it was a great read.

Have a good night.

Easter Lilies Posted by Hello

Holy Week

This is Holy Week, and we are gearing up to be at church every night. Last night I went to bell practice to practice the piece that we will play at the end of the Easter Service. It takes some concentration and energy to go to church for five days straight, and at bell practice last night, you could tell that people were thinking about it. Not everyone goes to all the services, of course, but there are probably a loyal group of 50 or 60 people, mostly us regulars, who will not miss any of it. I want to tell you about it: this is the Easter season at our ELCA Lutheran Church.

Tonight is Maundy Thursday and we will celebrate the Last Supper by having a service that will include foot washing, to commemmorate Christ's washing of the disciples feet. Afterwards, one of our members always hosts a little hospitality hour, with coffee and cake and cheese and crackers, and we will all enjoy being together, even though it isn't over until 10 p.m. on a work night. Holy Week isn't for the weak.

Friday evening is Good Friday and the service includes the process of taking everything off the altar, piece by piece, the music stops, and we all leave the church in the dark, and silent. It is very moving, and symbolic of the passion of Christ.

Saturday evening is the Vigil, and we start with a bonfire behind the church, light our candles and process into the dark church with our candles lit, to sing the service by the light of our candles only, until the middle of the service, when the lights come on, the music becomes festive again, and the celebration of the Risen Christ begins. The music and bells and choir make this a very exciting service after the solemn beginnings of the two nights before.

Sunday is Easter. The church will be full of people, about 200 people, many of whom we only see on Easter. For some reason, that is the holiday that people come out for and the families are dressed up and ready for their one service each year. All us regulars are very happy they come to our Easter service, but we can't help but wish that they would come other Sundays as well. Easter the church is ablaze with flowers, candles, fabulous music, including trumpets and bells and the choirs, and it is very exciting.

Each Easter, George and I like to host the coffee hour, where we can expect more than 100 people to come ready for cake and coffee. I will bake 3 or 4 bundt cakes, and buy other coffee cakes, and George will make his now-famous chocolate chip cookies, and we will set a pretty table with daffodils and a basket of primroses, which is my decoration idea this year. Easter we are also ushers, which takes some thought with that many people there, and I am playing in the bell choir at the end of the service.

Like I said, Holy Week isn't for the weak.

It was supposed to snow 7-12 inches today, and so far, there is little snow on the ground but it is coming down now. I have a tour to do at work this morning, and didn't want to have to use sled dogs to get there. You could tell last night that everyone was worried and a little depressed about the possibility of that much snow today. I think we are going to be spared. I am so happy George doesn't have to shovel this morning!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Happy Endings Posted by Hello

Happy Endings

I like books and movies with happy endings. After I have committed myself to a character, and come to care about that character, I just hate it when the writer has to make it end wrong. I'm at that place in Kite Runner right now. I call it the "Dances with Wolves" problem. Mike was horrified, and rightly so, that in the movie, Dances with Wolves, they killed the wolf. Why? That wolf wasn't doing anyone any harm. It was a great character, an animal that brought more warmth to the movie than the love story ever did, and boom, he's gone. Mike either walked out of the movie, or wanted to very much, and now I don't enjoy that movie much either. My son taught me another lesson.

I refuse to watch movies about youngsters being mistreated, abused, or killed. It is just something that I do not need to see, and I censor what I see for my own well-being. If a child has to be hurt to tell a story, then someone else can try to figure out why.

I am reading The Kite Runner and knowing it is about Afganistan in recent times, I guess I should have expected some "badness". But, within one paragrah, someone I truly came to admire and love was killed by the Taliban. Now my day is ruined. Well, maybe not my whole day, but. I hate the Taliban and all they did to try to distroy that country, but this is a novel and I'm sad that my favorite character had to die.

We recently watched a movie called The Weeping Camel. It is part drama, part documentary. The main story in the movie is that a young mother camel refuses to nurse her baby, who is kept alive by a family of herders in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. It is a lovely movie. There is a happy ending. And I enjoyed getting to see a little more of the Gobi Desert than I ever will in real life. Time to see these things now, before MacDonalds moves in.

Maybe I'm just simple, maybe I'm naive, but I really like it when the cowboy rides off into the sunset with the girl of his dreams on the back of the saddle. Or the loser manages to win and shoot the winning goal and become the town hero like Rudy, a movie that always makes George and I cry at the end. Maybe the movies I like aren't very exciting to most people, but nothing bad has to happen to make me happy.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Thunder and I spent the afternoon on the couch. I'm enjoying a good book, The Kite RunnerPosted by Hello

Home today

I'm home today with a mysterious ailment that started yesterday morning. I'm dizzy, and my head and shoulders ache and now I have a tummy ache too. Maybe it is nothing. Maybe it is a virus, or the flu. Whatever it is, I really had to drag myself through my afternoon at the office yesterday and then was sent home. I think it will be better tomorrow, but it will be a quiet day here at home. I didn't expect to have another day at home, and not sure what my plans are, except to read and maybe start knitting on a sweater. It would be a good idea if I feel better later, to start putting the squares together on Mike's afghan that I made for him for Christmas.

Have a good day and be well.

Monday, March 21, 2005

First Day of Spring

Michael leaves later this morning, and I am expected back at work at noon today. The snow and rain they forecast is not here. Tulips are peeking out of the flower beds along the house and the white ones we planted at church are showing their tops. We do not need any more snow. We need more tulips!

We had a very fun family night together last night, watching movies on TV and playing around and I knit a pair of slippers for Mike to take home with him. I'm always surprised that he likes what I knit so much. I made an apple pie, and served it with ice cream about eight o'clock and woke up wishing I hadn't eaten any. It is going to be tough to lose weight this week and I'm not looking forward to Tuesday night's weigh-in. We'll see. Maybe I will get lucky and have lost a few ounces.

It seems like a rude awakening this morning to have to take Mike to the airport and go back to work. It was so nice to have him and we had such a good weekend together.

But, on with the show. Have a great day, and safe travels to you, Mike.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Whats on my desk: my Kangaroo from Ixsta in Australia, my notebook, my silly clock, my serious world clock, my lipgloss, my kleenex box and my printer. Posted by Hello

The contents of my purse Posted by Hello

Whats in our pockets?

Michael came up with the idea of posting the contents of his pockets; a well thought out array of things from Moleskine notebooks to $100 Pilot vanishing point pen. My contents are pretty thought out too. You know how hard it is for me, a major packer, to bring only one lipstick? I noticed that I forgot a pen. Whoops.

The contents of Michael's pockets Posted by Hello

Madam Gateau by John Singer Sargeant. Looks like some of the ladies last night. Posted by Hello

Haystacks by Claude Monet, a painting we saw last night. Posted by Hello

A Bugatti Posted by Hello

A big night out

George and I went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts last night for the company once-a-year shindig. It was fun. The band was playing in the big marble foyer as we came in. That same marble floor would serve as a dance floor later, and my legs started to hurt just looking at it. The food stations were in several areas, and they gave you a little printed map and program as you came in the door. There were probably 300 or more people there, and many of the ladies were dressed in pretty sparkly dresses and strapless short gowns. It was fun to see everyone in their dress up clothes. The food was good and George and I quickly latched onto the shrimp wraps and the risotta. They also had greek dishes and ethnic dishes with all kinds of fresh veggies and fresh cheeses. We ate a parmesan "cracker" which they called a tuile, which was just toasted parmesan shaped into a cracker topped with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. These were tiny but very tasty. There were people passing hors d'oeuvres around but we missed most of them. People were lined up at the bars, mostly to get wine, but George and I both had diet pepsi with lime.

We went into the galleries and saw beautiful paintings by Winslow Homer and Monet and many others and then went to see the Ralph Lauren car collection: Bugattis, Porches and other glamourous and expensive cars. I won't try to pretend I know a lot about it, but they were shiny and beautiful and some went 240 mph. At that speed, you'd think they would just take off and fly up to the sky. They were all very expensive, and very high fashion. It seemed amazing to me that one man can afford to own them all.

We talked to a few people, roamed around the galleries and then left for home about 9:00. We wanted to be with Michael.

After some thought about wanting to be comfortable, but a little sparkly, I wore black slacks, a powder pink silk shirt, pink sparkly earrings (they arrived just in time from a store on Ebay), and a pink brooch. I also wore a hooded powder pink jacket that matched exactly the color of the shirt. No one actually wore anything quite like it but I didn't feel underdressed. Many of the women were in spaghetti straps and shawls. Some of them shouldn't have. (meow) It was a fine evening. We came home and quickly got into comfy clothes and had a bowl of ice cream and watched the first half of Troy before we all pooped out at 11:00 and went to bed.

It was a great time, and this morning, due to lack of dancing on marble floors, I do not have any aches at all and am ready to start cooking. We are having dinner later: roast chicken, corned beef and cabbage and home-made apple pie. Yum.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pretty Daffodils to remind us that Spring is here tomorrow. Posted by Hello