Sunday, September 26, 2010

Six Word Sunday

In the tradition of Ernest Hemingway, who was once challenged to write a short story in six words.
His six-word story was:  "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Each week I will choose a theme. It is your mission, if you choose to accept it, to meet that challenge in six words, no more, no less.
If you like, you may illustrate with a photo, or not.
Punctuation will be your biggest ally.

If you decide to play, please link back to this post, and leave the link to your post in comments here.
If you don't want to create your own post, you can write your six-word story in my comments.

The Theme:

Read one, just because you can.

Thank you for playing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Serenade

One of my favorite songs is the signature song of my mother's namesake, Edith Piaf. It makes me want to learn French just so I can understand the words that she wrote and sang. There is an English version, but it just doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi. The movie "La Vie en Rose" (2007) is not always easy to watch, but Marion Cotillard's performance as the "Little Sparrow" is mesmerizing, and her Oscar for best actress was well-deserved.

I love Louis Armstrong's version, too, and always watch the credits at the end of "French Kiss" just so I can hear him sing it. Interestingly, when researching the song, Wiki gave a list of notable people who had sung it. Here are a few of the singers I would never have associated with this song:

  • Aretha Franklin
  • Barbara Feldon (Get Smart)
  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Brenda Lee
  • Connie Francis
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Donna Summer
  • Grace Jones
  • Jack Nicholson (I forgot about his karaoke scene in "Something's Gotta Give")
  • KT Tunstall (Black Horse in a Cherry Tree)
  • Petula Clark
Who knew?

Comments are not required. This is for your listening and learning pleasure only.

Monday, September 20, 2010

TV premiere week

Yep, I confess, I'm a TV addict. I'm salivating over all the new shows premiering this week and next. I can't remember the last time I was this excited about television. My DVR is probably going to have a meltdown trying to keep up! Some of my favorite stars are returning to the small screen. Well, in our case it's a 42" small screen...kinda different from when they coined that phrase, dontcha think?

I loved Maura Tierney in ER. She played nurse-turned-medical student-turned doctor Abby Lockhart in 189 episodes. Despite having been raised in an upper-crust family from the Hyde Park district of Boston, she played middle-class Abby with distinction and truth. There was never a false moment in her portrayal of a woman who is fragile and vulnerable on the inside, but tough on the outside, and who is afraid to love and let someone into her heart. Now, after a year of fighting breast cancer (in which she gave up the lead role in "Parenthood", and I'm glad she did), she has the lead in a new courtroom drama called "The Whole Truth". I have no doubt she will be awesome in the role.

Also making a comeback is Sela Ward. Remember her as "Teddy" Reed on the series "Sisters", for which she won an Emmy. She was the only reason I watched the show. Her stint with George Clooney (before his movie career took off) as Falconer was my reason for living at that time. Sela also starred in the highly-acclaimed series "Once and Again", again winning an Emmy for best actress. I've never watched a "CSI" show before, but I will have to give "CSI: NY" a try. She is playing a crime scene forensics expert (what else?) after Melina Kanakaredes' exit from the show.

And now I totally get "Glee". I've been hearing accolades from several sources, including Char from ramblins. The show won several Emmys this year. The songs are great...ones I can sing along with, it has much better dancing than "Dancing with the Stars", and Jane Lynch is fabulous in the role of head cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Never has there been a more ruthless coach (with a teensy soft spot in her heart) in cheerleading history. I recently caught up with a few of last seasons's episodes. I loved the storyline between Rachel (Lea Michelle) and the rival glee club coach played by Idina Menzel, who defined the role of Elphaba in the original stage production of "Wicked". Their duets were powerful and moving and perfectly in sync. I can't wait to see the season premiere on Tuesday. Oh, I almost forgot! It's set in Lima, cool is that?!!

Top on my list of returning shows is "The Good Wife" which will be premiering its sophomore season. This drama stars another of my favorite actresses, Julianna Margulies. I didn't think she would ever get another role equal to Carol Hathaway on "ER", but her portrayal of Alicia Florrick, wife of a Chicago politico (who was disgraced and imprisoned over a nasty sex scandal), who returns to work in a law firm to support her family, is nuanced, layered and perfectly on pitch. The show has a wonderful ensemble cast, including Archie Panjabi, Chris Noth, Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and Josh Charles. But make no mistake, it is Margulies' show. The writing is superb with subtle twists and turns and I'm riveted to the screen from beginning to end, and then can't wait until the next week's show airs.

Then there are my favorite comedies to look forward to. "The Middle" with Patricia Heaton seriously makes me laugh out loud, guffawing even. The parents are inept and detached, but loving, and they usually get it right in the end. The kids are just hilarious, each one having his or her unique quirks. And it's set in Indiana, but it could just as easily be right here in Ohio. There's very little difference.

I've gone back and forth on "Modern Family", but it won so many Emmys that I'll have to give it another chance. "30 Rock" is just insane. Alec Baldwin cracks me up with his deadpan delivery. "Cougar Town" is my guilty pleasure...Courney Cox is a hoot.

Shows that have captured my attention, but I'll reserve judgement until I've seen a few episodes:

  • "Blue Bloods"--starring Tom Selleck, this generational family cop drama is getting great first notice from the critics. I don't agree with his politics, but you gotta give 'Magnum' credit, he knows how to wear a 'stache.
  • "The Event"--starring Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood and Laura Innes. NBC has been keeping this one a mystery, but word has it that it centers on a conspiracy to do harm to the President of the United States. I'm not sure I can handle a whole season of an arcing storyline, but I'll give it a try.
  • "Body of Proof"--starring Dana Delaney. I've loved her since "China Beach", 'nuff said.
There are more returns from last season, but I'll spare you the rest. Just know that I probably won't be getting a lot of reading done. Gotta run, "Chuck" is on. But you can watch a clip from "The Middle".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Six Word Sunday

In the tradition of Ernest Hemingway, who was once challenged to write a short story in six words.
His six-word story was:  "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Each week I will choose a theme. It is your mission, if you choose to accept it, to meet that challenge in six words, no more, no less.
If you like, you may illustrate with a photo, or not.
Punctuation will be your biggest ally.

If you decide to play, please link back to this post, and leave the link to your post in comments here.
If you don't want to create your own post, you can write your six-word story in my comments.

The Theme:

Babysitting grandkids makes me crave it.

Thank you for playing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Serenade

Thank goodness, it's almost over.

If you've never listened to Heywood Banks, you don't know what you've been missing. 

No comments required...this is for your listening and learning pleasure only.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

other things

Since we came back from vacation, there has been plenty to keep me busy. Two days before we left for Pennsylvania, the husband brought this home and said, "Can we keep it?" "Sure, why not," was my reply.

I've been scurrying around looking for items to outfit it in time for some weekend camping this month and next. That has been a fun project. I can't wait to take it out for its maiden voyage.

A few shots of the inside...notice in the upper right hand corner the repurposed CD rack that is now a perfect towel and wash cloth holder. I replaced the bedspread that came with the "queen-sized" bed with one of my quilts...much cozier. The camper sleeps eight...I'm guessing they're talking little people, not full-fledged adults, although the dinette is fairly roomy and the sofa makes into a very comfortable air mattress bed. It also has two bunks near the bathroom. I realize that some of you may not consider this to be "real" camping, but I'm old and I need my own bathroom, especially in the middle of the night. No tents for me.

These little guys have been occupying a lot of my time this summer. Now that they're back in school, I have a little more free time.

(Lauren wears an eye patch every day to correct amblyopia. She loves feeding and petting the chickens. Matthew is such a good talker at two years old. He was collecting acorns and trying to walk the plank at the same time. Not easy.)

(Gaige and Nathan are working on posters that now grace their wall at home, and here, too. Kaitlyn is trying to figure out how to combine Barbies and farm animals. I don't really think Barbie is much of a farm girl though. I've also been babysitting my grand-dog Loki a bit.)

And some pictures for you lichen likers.

This is what I will be doing for the next couple of months. I'm the Popcorn Kernel, (yes, I said Popcorn Kernel ) for our Cub Scout pack. That means I am in charge of sales, ordering, distribution of product, and awards for the lucky sales winners. Of course, everyone's a winner if they sell anything at all. We can't have upset Cub Scouts, y'know. There is one thing I will not do and that is wear the ridiculous foam ear of popcorn hat. I don't look good in green and yellow.

Finally, no really, finally...last Sunday I made the best pizza I think I have ever eaten...anywhere...and you know I don't like to brag on myself, but it was that good.

I made a half white and half whole wheat crust. Grilled some eggplant, zucchini, thick-sliced onions, and all colors of sweet peppers until they were almost tender and had some good grill marks. But first, I brushed all of the veggies with olive oil, then sprinkled with salt and a good garlic-herb seasoning (my favorite is Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute). Except for the eggplant, which I left in circles, I rough chopped the rest of the veggies.

To assemble the pizza:

Pat out the dough and cover with your favorite pizza sauce.
Top the sauce with sliced mushrooms, any variety, and frozen, thawed spinach, squeezed dry.
Top with mozzarella first, then a medium sprinkling of shredded asiago cheese.
Arrange grilled veggies on top of the cheese. Then sprinkle with Parmesan, or if you prefer, parmagiano reggiano.
Bake at 500 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, depending on how dark you like it. I start checking mine at 10 minutes.

I ate until I was stuffed. Yum-oh!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

I know there are a couple of dedicated Swamp rats (you know who you are) who have been anticipating my return from my self-imposed exile. I'm easing my toes back into the murky depths of Bear Swamp with a back-to-blog pictorial essay.

Our trip to Pennsylvania.

Our visit to State College, PA, home of Penn State University, brought us to this old farm on one of the best trout-fishing streams in the eastern part of the state. I spent some time exploring while David got his line wet.

There were stone posts around the perimeter of the yard. I think they were once linked by fencing material.

The yard was very shaded by hardwood trees and enormous firs, making for some interesting moss and lichen formations.

It almost resembles a globe, don't you think?

After we left State College, we visited friends near Bethlehem, PA. This is one of several bridges built in the early 1900's that cross the Lehigh River. We were walking along the river to MusicFest, where my twelve-year-old goddaughter Sofia was dancing with her Irish Dance academy. (At the end of the post you will get a chance to see her in action.)

When we arrived in Tunkhannock, PA (near Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and of which David will never learn the correct pronunciation), we were delighted by my online choice of our bed & breakfast called Sharpe's House, owned by Harry and Dorothy Sharpe. We didn't get to meet Dorothy, because she was in Michigan having a reunion with several of her high school chums. Harry was a wonderful host though, and Dorothy had left several choices of nut breads for him to serve each morning. He's a very good slicer. He also did very well cutting up large dishes of summer fruits and made a perfect pot of coffee. He even made us hard-boiled eggs each morning. He was friendly, but not intrusive, and so accomodating. We were the only guests the first night, and since we would have had to share a bathroom, Harry turned down two last minute requests for rooms on the subsequent days. Isn't it wonderful to be liked?

There were walking paths with discoveries, both whimsical,

and sublime.

Finally, the wedding day of our dear friends' daughter, Sharon, arrived. I loved the setting of a simple country church with summer flowers befitting their surroundings. The ceremony was meaningful and full of humor. And the bride was lovely.

Here is Sofia's promised dance. No, that isn't her real hair; they all wear insanely curly wigs. They're big into uniformity.