25 February 2010


A good winter night movie choice, and NetFlix lets you watch it on-line for free!

Colin Firth, Kristen Scott Thomas, Jessica Biel... A period piece set in the roaring 20s in the English countryside. A clash of cultures and wills.

Great cinematography and styling. Jessica Biel surprised me, and Colin Firth raised the bar on my normal opinion of him.

24 February 2010


This always happens to me--life gets hectic and overwhelming or I get hyped-up and over-commit, and then I go into shut-down. I pull back and quiet down, and for a bit I revel in the peace and low demands. Then, I over-do the recovery thing and begin to slide into lethargy and subtle discontent.

The cure is to dig in and clean house, start a project, help someone out--produce! Productivity is necessary to beat the malaise. Starting a project with a short-term solution is best. Finishing a project and the resulting dopamine surge from accomplishment is just the bump I need to get back into a normal flow of life.

Yep! I'm sliding into inertia, but it's a short slippery slope because I have good plans for tomorrow and Friday, and guests are coming on Sunday evening so I have no time to wallow.

Winter is just too long here in the Midwest, and we need more sunlight!

22 February 2010


E-filing is the best! We did the run-through at the end of January but I just haven't been up to finalizing our tax stuff. Tonight was the night. It is never painless, but electronic filing is as close to as possible.

There will be a refund, but it's already committed... Great tax planning on our part. The first quarter of the year is always a cash crunch, so not paying out money to Uncle Sam is mandatory.

21 February 2010


If it's been on Oprah, it must be true...

I've been hankering for a massage for several weeks now. Thought I might book one in Sedona but it didn't work out, and then I came home sick... I even went so far as to track down my favorite masseuse/yoga teacher, but she is sidelined with a serious injury.

This article in today's Chicago Tribune fascinates me, and I want to sign-up for the ten sessions. Just as soon as I secure that extra $1,000.

Anyway, based on years of back pain and many physical therapy appointments, I am a believer. These practioners are on level with miracle workers. My entire life changed when I learned to properly stretch my muscles and tendons. And, I did experience first-hand some fascia work--not Rolfing--that had a serious positive impact.

If money were no object or if health insurers were more humane, I would be started on my Rolfing adventure at the earliest possible moment.

GIGANTIC: The movie

Not a great movie, but certainly worth viewing on a cold and snowy Saturday night.

Brian Weathersby (PAUL DANO) is a 28 year-old salesman at a high-end Swedish mattress company. The afterthought child to elderly parents (ED ASNER, JANE ALEXANDER), and the youngest son in a trio of successful brothers, a shady oil man (IAN ROBERTS), a surgeon (ROBERT STANTON), Brian is searching for his place in the world. Unfulfilled by his work he spends a good portion of his day pursuing his goal of someday adopting a baby from China. He gets swept up in a romance with the lovely but misguided Harriet Lolly (ZOOEY DESCHANEL) when she comes in to his store one day and falls asleep on one of the beds. To win her over, he must compete with her bear of a father, Al Lolly, (JOHN GOODMAN) an art-collecting loudmouth with a bad back and deep pockets. GIGANTIC is a funny, surreal love story about the anxiety that comes when two people with crazy families collide unexpectedly and fall for each other.

Best line I've heard in awhile, delivered by Ed Asner while holding his new Chinese granddaughter (and sniffing her diaper area), "Brian, there's a deuce loose in her caboose."

20 February 2010


I'm not shopping for a family, so once in awhile I take not the economincal, but the easy path. I love this bacon! It comes ready to microwave--4 slices and a blotting towel all sealed together in a clear plastic pouch. I never have to deal with touching, prying, peeling, or any otherwise nasty tactile challenges required to get just the right amount of bacon for dinner/sandwiches/breakfast for just two.

My only beef is that it is regular-sliced and not thick cut.


from cococozy

I am looking forward to spending time with my friends next week. This looks like the perfect meeting place. I'll be there just as soon as I get my venti whole milk, extra hot, dry cappuccino...

19 February 2010


The best thing about blogging...

Having the gift of revisiting days gone by and having a reminder of the little things. It's been almost two weeks since the little girls and their parents and baby sister went back to Europe. We miss them, but it's safe to say that all adults involved in the big time sleepover are happy to be back in their respective homes.

When I read back through the days and weeks and months of days with LG and KF, I am filled with joy and delight at all the simple, happy moments that made up our days together. Yep, there was noise and tears and tantrums, but the golden moments are not forgotten. They are captured in this blog.

15 February 2010


I'm sick. Really. Nothing tragic, just coughing, sneezing, aching, runny nose, congestion, dry eyes, and self pity.

11 February 2010


A sunny morning and after another lazy start we take a brisk walk around the resort property—the red rock vistas are non-stop and stunning. Wish we’d done more walking this trip, but it takes a bit of time to explore the opportunities and limitations of any new venue, and the weather really didn't cooperate most mornings so we ended up in the car.

We’ve found our pace, and are almost to the relaxed state that was the goal of this trip. I’m not convinced that Arizona and Sedona in particular will require a return visit, but we’re thoroughly enjoying this new experience.

10 February 2010


Every evening by 6:00pm we have to close the drapes shutting out the natural light due to a noticeable drop in temperature as the sun goes down. So, with the drapes closed, we've been sleeping in these mornings--it’s difficult to know how early or late in the morning it is.

We’ve become fans of Starbucks Via, essentially instant coffee, which is micro-ground. The perfect blend is 1-1/2 tubes to 16 oz of hot water. Really a good cup of coffee. Coffee and a muffin and/or half a banana has become our breakfast of choice.

09 February 2010


We sleep in this morning and are pleased to get up to sunshine! Today’s the day for the potentially cheesy galleries—Mexidona and a local Art Mart. We discover only a few interesting, but not compelling, things at the Art Mart. First, a taupe linen towel designed to hang on your frig or stove. The linen towel is nicely hemmed and then hand stitched just a bit above the hem with a same color thread. The part that buttons over the handle is a bad print (double-sided), but I’m interested in making these myself using a fantastic print with the linen, and an over-the-top button closure—either bedazzled or tortoise shell.

And, a few chunks of red rock with a lone SW figure etched into each stone—paperweights or coasters. Also, a cowgirl-print apron with faux-leather pockets and a flouncy ruffle and cute polka-dotted neck closure.

08 February 2010


It REALLY snowed last night! Yep! And the weather is very unstable, so we dally about the studio most of the morning. Mid-day we drive to Flagstaff along Rt-89A North, the scenic route. First through a gorgeous red rock canyon along Oak Creek, and then in Coconino National Forest and up, up, up to Flagstaff. The trees and mountains are snow covered and the temp is at least 10 degrees cooler up here.

07 February 2010


Friends from Phoenix call with regrets and cancel their plans to join us today, which is probably a good thing because our weather is iffy and encompasses a broad spectrum—snow when we awake, then sleet, hail, rain, and sun rotating throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

06 February 2010


I’m awake at an unearthly hour and a bit stir crazy--maybe a studio is too small for this week. I silently beg CA’s indulgence and proceed to brew a pot of Ghirardelli coffee… We’ll add a defective and incomplete coffee maker to our list of unsatisfactory amenities. The coffee brewing experience is a freaking mess, takes way too long to brew, and tastes burnt once the dripping finally stops. Can I just say that all this occurs prior to 4:00am…

05 February 2010


An early morning flight from O’Hare to Phoenix and we pick up an hour in Mountain Time. Absolutely no glitches unless you count the hard sales pitch at the rental car counter and the resulting delay.

A great start, and fortunately a bit of research this week led to my discovering a recommended Mexican restaurant just a few blocks from Sky Harbor Airport—Carolina’s, The Original. Just the right amount of dive-ness. You wait on-line with locals stopping by for their lunch break, and grab a table or join a communal table in this no-frills open dining room.

04 February 2010


Francesca Simon's writing room

Found two cool sites today--Five Chapters and Writers' Rooms.

Five Chapters publishes a short story in five parts each week, and Writers' Rooms is/was a feature in the U.K. Guardian. Both fascinating and fun finds. And, both make me want to write for real.

03 February 2010


Some of my favorite photos of the three "big" kids visiting grandpa and grandma.

02 February 2010


And then you blend it...

Tonight the little girls and their parents have a 10:00pm flight from O'Hare to Vienna, via Krakow. It's been a great four months, but everybody is ready for life to return to normal. LG has been counting the days until she returns to Chorvatsky Grob.

KF caps off the day--pun intended, get ready for it--by opening the safety lids on the liquid Tylenol and the Claritin. DM takes her to the emergency room for 3+hours and the final verdict is that she probably didn't imbibe. There is no safety lid that this 2-year old can't figure out.

We had planned on Nick's pizza one more time, but circumstances being what they are... I realize I need to get a meal together and thankfully I stop at the grocery on my way home from working out. I don't buy produce at WalMart--we have some great independent grocery-produce-deli's in our area that I depend on for fresh foods. But, today I am drawn to the red tulips as I walk through WalMart toward the paper aisle.. I buy two bunches and also one of fancy white mums.

Then, as I continue down the aisle there are huge, sparkling white heads of cauliflower and I can't resist. I've not made fresh cauliflower in any form in years, but I used to steam it and then surround it with baby peas and steamed carrots, and then top it all off with a creamy cheese sauce. It was a family favorite with roasted meat.

I find this recipe on-line and the only change I make is to add additional chicken stock and a bit more milk because this is a big head of cauliflower. And, I don't totally purée it because I like soup a bit chunky. We don't have parsley, so we garnish with some young celery tops. Thinking a sprinkle of cheese would be an added touch.