December 30, 2009

Chicago Has The Nicest People!

I was walking to the train last evening and passed a couple standing on a corner looking at a map, then looking around, then back at the map. So I went back and said, "Do you need help?"
They said, "Yes, thank you, where is the Drury Lane Theater?"
I gave them directions (they were very close) and then the man said, "Can you tell me something else?"
I said, "Sure."
In German-accented English he asked, "Why is it in Chicago whenever we open a map, boom! someone stops to help us? This doesn't happen in New York. It doesn't happen in any other city we visit. It's amazing. Chicago has the nicest people!"

December 28, 2009

The Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl

Do I care about college football? Not really. Did I follow the season? Only to see how Ohio State and Notre Dame were doing (passing interest). Did I watch any games? Maybe twelve and a half minutes, all told. So, you might ask, why the heck did I go to Detroit to the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl? Because my cousin Ken Hoffman (above right, with his son Luke) is the creator and Executive Director of that bowl game (which used to be The Motor City Bowl) and I love my cousin and don't get to see him very often. And it turns out to be a mini-family reunion and a chance to spend time with some more of my favorite cousins.

This year my sister and her husband from San Antonio were there and two of my nieces.
(My two nieces from Toledo and me with my sister who's wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt under her jacket.)

December 21, 2009

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Rock Star

Saturday night was my Bill's family's family Christmas, complete with Santa for the little ones. But the star of the night was little Jack Castady. What a cutie!

December 7, 2009

First Snow in Chicago

It was the perfect first snow in Chicago today; a light and fluffy coating on the trees and shrubs, then the sun came out and the streets and sidewalks were clear by 10 a.m.

December 1, 2009

Tiger Woods Update

Wait a minute. He's being issued a citation for reckless driving? In his driveway? OMG

The Real Tiger Woods Story

Jeez, how can so many people talk so much about a subject and say absolutely nothing? Every TV station, every newspaper, every radio show is obsessed with this non-story.
Yesterday, every talk show host on WGN talked about Tiger Woods, ad nauseum. Garry Meier (who I love) went on and on, doing nothing but speculating and fanning the flames. I turned him off after about 20 minutes and when I turned him back on (thinking he'd have moved on) he was still at it, an hour and a half later.
And they're still at it today. John Williams talked about Tiger Woods for the first hour of his show this morning. With nothing new to say. I don't get it.
Why are people so interested in this story? Why are they so anxious to believe that Tiger Woods is cheating on his wife and that she went after him with his own golf club? And even if that's the case who cares?
I hope Tiger Woods never elaborates further on what happened. The world will go crazy not knowing THE REAL TIGER WOODS STORY, but I'm confident it will continue spinning.
BTW, I'm also sick of those White House party crashers.

November 23, 2009

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a great time to show your appreciation for your family, your friends, your business, the roof over your head. Yes, it's a challenging time economically and everyone's felt it in some way, some more than others, but I bet you have things to be grateful for.
I am so grateful for the life I live. I feel blessed (not in a religious way) for all that I have, where I live, what I do, the people who love me.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your small business is give back, do something good for your community, get involved. It'll come back to you ten-fold. How? Here are five ways:
1. It makes you feel good about yourself when you help someone less fortunate than you. Feeling appreciated and needed are basic human desires.
2. You meet people in the business community, make new connections.
3. You gain a new perspective on life. Help someone whose life is not as easy as yours but who's hanging in there and it will make your problems look smaller.
4. You learn something new about yourself. Volunteer in an area of interest and gain experience and skills that can go on your resume.
5. Doing something outside of your comfort zone gives you a sense of accomplishment.
If you live in Chicago check out CASA of Cook County for a volunteer opportunity that gives abused/neglected kids a voice in court. You can make a big difference in these children's lives. Check out National CASA for opportunities in other parts of the country.
CLICK HERE to learn more.

November 14, 2009

What's Your Favorite Kitchen Tool?

I totally love this little submersible blender. If you don't have one of these you need one. It's great for puréeing soups. Just be sure it's totally submersed - the first time I used it it wasn't and I was wearing my soup!
It also has a whisk attachment and a chopping cup - great for nuts and spices. What a handy-dandy, easy-to-clean little tool.
Do you have a favorite kitchen tool?

November 2, 2009

Overused Expressions and Expressions I Hate

1. Awesome (e.g.: "What's for dinner?" "Pot roast." "Awesome."
"I'll pick you up at four." "Awesome."
"No traffic this morning." "Awesome." (Well...ok, that IS awesome.)
But really, the Grand Canyon is awesome, space travel is awesome...but everything in the world is not awesome.
2. (Fill in the blank) rules (e.g.: I rule, she rules, Yoga rules, peanut butter rules...)
3. You rock (he rocks, she rocks, air travel rocks, peanut butter rocks...)
4. 'Like' instead of said (e.g.: "He was like, I don’t believe it, and I was like, No really...”). Or 'like' in place of...well, nothing. (e.g.: it was like, so hot yesterday...)
5. How cool is that? How pretty is that? How good is that? How fun is that? How (fill in the blank) is that?
6. Good to go
7. My bad
8. No way. Way.
9. Homage, pronounced “O maj” instead of “Ah midj,” the way it’s always been in the dictionary
10. “Growing up as a kid…” How else do you grow up?
Do you have any of your own?

October 26, 2009

Redmoon Theater's Hunchback

Redmoon Theater's production of Hunchback was at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. It's a spectacular space but it's a church (read: no stadium seating) so the people in front of us (who were craning their necks to see) blocked our view and we blocked the view of the people behind. Oh well. It was a creative (read: funky) performance using people and puppets, the meaning of which continues to elude me. But the funniest thing was the T-shirt on the U. Of C. student in front of us. It said,"University of Chicago: Where the only thing that goes down on you is your GPA." I can't explain why I think that's so funny.

October 25, 2009

The Funniest Thing

You have to watch this - it's the funniest thing ever.
Was I right?

October 23, 2009

Autumn in Chicago

Chicago is beautiful in Autumn. It's not hiking-in-the-backwoods-of-Michigan beautiful. It's city-beautiful.

October 15, 2009

"It's like déjà vu, all over again." Yogi Berra

This is one of Yogi Berra's most famous quotes. Wikipedia says, "Berra, who quit school in the eighth grade, has a tendency toward malapropism and fracturing the English language in highly provocative, interesting ways. Simultaneously denying and confirming his reputation, Berra once stated, "I really didn't say everything I said."
I love that!
So "déjà vu all over again" is very funny and endearing. At least when he said it. But it seems that people today think that's the correct usage. You hear news anchors, reporters, business people, radio personalities using it that way. Do you think they don't know it's redundant?
Recently I was watching Entertainment Tonight (real intellectual stimulation) and there was an interview with John Gosselin (if you don't know who he is don't feel like you're missing something). He said, "If I love someone and that love isn't reciprocated back to me..." Made me crazy.
Does it bother you?

October 14, 2009

Decadent Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

My neighbor across the hall, Evelyn Finn, and I have a little goodie swap-thing going. When I bake I leave a little bag of my goodies on her door and she does the same. Nice to have neighbors like that, isn't it?
The other day she left me these Chocolate-Cherry Cookies which are outrageously delicious. It turns out they only have 3 grams of fat each but believe me, they don't taste low-fat - they are decadent!

Click here for the recipe:
Chocolate-Cherry Cookies
1½ cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 egg
1½ tsp vanilla
48 undrained maraschino cherries (about one 10-oz. jar
1 6-oz. pkg semisweet chocolate pieces
½ cup sweetened condensed milk

1. In a medium bowl combine flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat butter with elec. Mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, salt, baking powder and soda. Beat until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually beat in dry mixture.
3. Shape dough into 1” balls; place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press down center of each ball with thumb.
4. Drain cherries reserving juice. Place one cherry in center of each cookie.
5. For frosting, in a small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk. Heat and stir over medium heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 4 tsp. of cherry juice.
6. Spoon about 1 tsp. frosting over each cherry, spreading to cover cherry. (If necessary, frosting may be thinned with additional cherry juice.
7. Bake in a 350 degree oven 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
Makes 48 cookies.

Nutrition info per cookie: 82 calories, 3 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat)

September 29, 2009

Making Lasagna

What a pain in the ass it is to make lasagna. Jeez, you have to use every pot and pan and bowl in the whole house, not to mention wash all of them when you're done. Is it worth it? A big yes, but now I remember why I don't make it very often.
Here's the other thing:
I used The Food Network's Giada DeLaurentis's recipe (here's the link: Giada's recipe)for which you make your own tomato sauce, of course, and since you don't use it all she tells you to pour the remainder in one-two-cup portions into plastic freezer bags. Great idea but hah! have you ever tried to do that? Have fun cleaning up the spilled tomato sauce and sealing the bags with sauce smeared all over them.
Actually, this lasagna has a little too much Bechamel sauce and not enough tomato sauce...but that's just my opinion. Do you have a favorite lasagna recipe?

September 19, 2009

Painting Stripes on an Accent Wall

How often do you redecorate? Sometimes you just need some new scenery, and fresh paint makes a huge difference.
Last year I redid my bedroom (here's the 'before' on the left with a burgundy accent wall); I had it re-painted in two tones of a soft caramel color, the accent wall behind the bed being the darker. It was lovely but seemed to be missing something and I thought stripes on the focal wall might be interesing. If there's one thing I hate doing it's painting so I hired Claire Alshuler from Painting Ladies. She's fabulous! Here's a video from when she started the project.

And here are the 'before' and 'after' photos of my fresh, new bedroom. It's not evident from the picture but the darker stripes are semi-gloss and the lighter stripes are flat. It's a very cool effect. It's so much more interesting than just the solid wall, don't you think?

September 14, 2009

Funny Fashion Story

One Man and His Ugly Shoes.
A funny fashion story from The New York Times by Michelle Slatalla
Published: September 9, 2009

MY husband is wearing ugly shoes. Very ugly shoes.
At first, I didn’t notice. He had just returned from a business trip to New York, and there he stood, next to my desk, beaming.

“What?” I asked. “Is there something in my hair?”

He said nothing. Just kept smiling. He looked very happy.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he said, still smiling. Then he stuck out a toe and started stroking my calf
I shrieked and recoiled in terror. “Oh, my God, what is that you’re wearing?” I asked. His feet were sheathed in some kind of creepy black rubberized gorilla-feet things. “Is that a Halloween costume?”
Click here to read the rest of it.

September 7, 2009

Oprah Takes Over Michigan Avenue

Who else but Oprah could have Michigan Ave. shut down so she can have a party? This is in front of the Tribune Tower. At least she put up Porta-Potties.

August 31, 2009

Chicago Line Cruises

Chicago Line Cruises is a great little find if you're looking to do a boat tour of Chicago. Yesterday was a spectacular day in Chicago and Bill and I took the architectural tour with my friend Kathleen Skolnik as our guide. She's fabulous! Very knowledgeable, very accessible, and an excellent speaker.

Chicago Line Cruises is a little out of the way and tends to be overshadowed by the boats at Navy Pier and the Michigan Avenue Bridge, but I highly recommend it. Especially if you get Kathleen.
Check them out. Go to 465 N. McClurg Court and walk east on the River East Art Center promenade (that used to be the North Pier Terminal), to the ticket office. That's behind Fox and Obel on Illinois St.

August 28, 2009

Is Quentin Tarantino a Genius or Is He Just Nuts?

My answer? Yes and yes. Have you ever seen him interviewed? He's out there. He was on Conan O'Brien last week wearing a Spanky-and-Our-Gang kind of cap in an argyle plaid. And if that's not goofy enough he had it on backwards. Okay, it's a look...kind of a mental hospital thing. But, oh well, so he dresses weird. That doesn't make him crazy. But have you seen his movies? Did you see Inglourious Basterds?
Actually I loved it, I give it five stars, but you have to be a little nuts to make a movie like that. I happen to think it's genius; I love the way it's filmed, I love the music, the characters and the title cards used throughout. I love the type bubbles that point out who certain characters are. All very creative. I don't love the violence but that's Tarantino. You always know you're in for something gruesome when you see one of his movies. But you also know you're going to see a film that's unlike anyone else's, and is, in short, genius.

August 25, 2009

This Guy Cracks Me Up

Check out this guy on Twitter (click here). He cracks me up. His name is Justin and he's 28 years old. Here's his Twitter bio: I live with my 73-year-old dad. He is awesome. I just write down shit that he says.
You'll have to sign up on Twitter to read his stuff so if you don't have a Twitter account and don't want one keep reading. It's just ordinary, everyday stuff but it is so funny.
Here are a couple of samples:
"Don't touch the bacon, it's not done yet. You let me handle the bacon, and I'll let you handle..what ever it is you do. I guess nothing."
"Your brother brought his baby over this morning. He told me it could stand. It couldn't stand for shit. Just sat there. Big let down."
"My flight lands at 9:30 on Sunday...You want to watch what? What the fuck is mad men? I'm a mad man if you don't pick me the hell up."
"It's watering plants, Justin. You just take a God damned hose and you put it over the plant. You don't even pay rent, just do it. Shit."

August 23, 2009

Update on Dupuytren's

If you'd like to read about the clinical trials for the enzyme injections click here.

August 16, 2009

The Terrace at Trump Tower - One of the Best Views in Chicago

One of the best views in downtown Chicago is from The Terrace at Trump Tower, and it's only 16 floors up. In every direction there are amazing architectural treasures; The Wrigley Building clock tower and the Tribune Tower's flying buttresses to name two, and a fabulous view of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. It's really dramatic and impressive. Drinks are a little pricey but worth it for the ambiance, I think. We didn't have food, or even look at the menu so I can't comment although other people seemed to be enjoying what they were eating.
It's a fabulous place to have a summer cocktail and take in the Chicago landscape. And on Wednesdays and Saturdays you'd also be able to enjoy the fireworks at Navy Pier.

August 13, 2009

Lunch at Topolobampo, a Rick Bayless Restaurant

My Bill has been with his company for 25 years and was honored today at a lunch at Rick Bayless's Topolobampo Restaurant. If you're watching Top Chef Masters on Bravo you know that Rick is one of the finalists. His cuisine at Topolobampo is upscale Mexican, and it's beautiful, creative and delicious.
Oops, didn't mean to get carried WAS all about my Bill. I was pleased to be asked to join him and his co-workers for the celebration and a good time was had by all. He didn't get a gold watch but he did get, among other things, a gift certificate for a weekend stay at a lovely B&B in South Haven, Michigan, one of our favorite spots.

Many margueritas and several hours later I came home and took a nap while they all went back to work. Not sure how productive they were this afternoon!

August 11, 2009

Breakfast Conversation

This morning I had a meeting with Alicia Dale from Full Circle Management who I originally met at a networking event. Alicia's an amazing networker because she's very real and just likes to connect people. And she had some fabulous ideas for promoting my new business Blogging Made Simple.
Anyway, I got there a little early and was having coffee. Two older men (probably my age!) were seated in the booth behind me and they were talking about heart surgery.
One man said he hadn't scheduled his surgery yet because he was afraid that afterwards he wouldn't be able to do his two favorite things: golf and sex. The other man described the benefits of Cialis and while he said there was no ejaculate (I'm not making this up) the sensation of orgasm was still there. Good to know with your morning coffee.
One of them ordered oatmeal, the other ordered corned beef hash and two poached eggs. I think he was the one who hadn't scheduled his surgery yet.
They were just getting into a new topic, blood in the stool, when Alicia arrived and diverted my attention. Thank god.

August 4, 2009

Best Wedding Entrance

I bet you've never seen a wedding like this one. If you haven't seen it you have to watch. Very fun!

August 1, 2009

Book Review - Testimony (5 of 5 stars)

I'm not a big fan of books where each chapter is told from a different character's POV but Anita Shreve makes it work in this gripping story. The way the technique is used here gives you a 360 view of the situation, the hows and whys, and how events that are seemingly unrelated can have devastating effects. Testimony is the story of students at a private school and how one decision can change everything. Shreve captures each person's voice, and they are all unique. Exquisite writing. I couldn't put it down. This is a must-read.

July 31, 2009

Theatre Review - Blackbird at Victory Gardens *****

What more emotional subject is there than a sexual relationship between a 40-year old man and a twelve year old girl? Just reading those words probably made you cringe. But that's the subject of David Harrower's "Blackbird," on stage now at the Victory Gardens Theatre.
A powerful two-person play with William Peterson and Mattie Hawkinson, Blackbird is set fifteen years after the "affair." Una (Hawkinson) has sought out Ray/Peter (Peterson) to confront him with their past. The play explores the evolution of that original relationship and each character's motivation. Long, singular speeches that made me impatient add to the tension but also give you each person's perspective, which is an amazing feat. The raw emotion on stage is riveting and both performances are spectacular. This is a difficult story to tell but nothing is left out, and I'm sure the actors are drained after each performance. I know I was.

July 27, 2009

Weekend on the North Fork

It was like Camelot on the North Fork of Long Island this weekend; rain at night, beautiful during the day. I arrived Friday noon to spend the weekend with my friends Sam and Karen. They'd had torrential rains the night before but by the time I arrived it was lovely and sunny. Then it rained again Friday night and cleared up early on Saturday, rained Saturday night then cleared up during the day on Sunday. See? Camelot.
It was a lovely weekend with my dear friends, a trip that's been a tradition now for 6 or 7 years. They have a gorgeous home in a wooded setting with fabulous, elaborate gardens and a lovely deck and pool. It's always a relaxing time, lots of laughs, a chance to catch up on our lives, and it's always, always, always a gastronomic delight. They're both fabulous cooks.
On Friday we broke open the Prosecco as soon as we got back to the house, and ate lunch at their pool, a delicious eggplant spread on pita and a salad with prosciutto, watermelon and mint.
Seems like we just finished lunch when we were shaking martinis for cocktail hour and eating crostini either with tomato, mozzarella and basil roasted red peppers. Dinner was grilled lamb, salad of arugula and snap peas with herbs, and for dessert...........oops, can't remember what we had for dessert but I know it was delicious.
Saturday we took a drive to Shelter Island (took the ferry), then to Sag Harbor where we wandered around then got some yummy panini and ate them at the harbor. Then we drove on to South Hampton (LOVE South Hampton!) where we got gelati at Sant Ambreous, Sam and Karen's favorite gelati place. Yum!
By the time we got back to the house it was...surprise...cocktail hour. Dinner was FABULOUS! Whole lobster with roasted small potatoes and salad, wine (of course) and berries and cream for dessert. OH MY GOD. Do you think we ate enough?
For an after dinner drink (we NEEDED that) Sam served Fernet Branca, a vile-tasting digestif and another nearly-as-vile-tasting concoction. By that time I could barely move.
On Sunday, just in case we hadn't had enough to eat, Sam made a delicious fritatta stuffed full of goodies; potatoes, corn, peppers, cheese...with turkey bacon, and then I helped them to set up a blog. Check it out, it's a work in process but it'll be lots of info about living on the North Fork of Long Island (they call it Raggedwood), including recipes, gardening advice and fishing experiences. What a way to live.
Alas, then it was time to go home. Can't wait til next year.

July 20, 2009

A Monday Morning Run

It's a beautiful morning in Chicago, clear, sunny, cool; perfect running weather. So I headed out at 6:30 a.m. and ran down Michigan Ave. heading over to the lakefront path. A homeless man (one of the many on the streets at that time in the morning) was walking toward me and as he passed me he said, "See your nipples, girl."
Well, it was a little chilly.

July 15, 2009

A Sweet Wedding Video - First-Time Bride

My dear friends Barbara and Ron were married on July 9, 2009, 16 years to the day of when they met. This is Barbara's first marriage and this wedding was a long time coming so it's particularly sweet. I love the end, when he pronounces them husband and wife. You'll see it, but Barb, with tears in her eyes, throws her head back and laughs.
It brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.

July 13, 2009

Book Review - Bon Appetit: Fast, Easy, Fresh *****

My friends Lauren and Claire gave me this wonderful cookbook for my birthday and I love it. Last night I made Potato, Leek and Fennel Soup and it was delicious and, as advertised, fast and easy.
Other things I've made: Chicken Breasts with Pistachio-Cilantro Pesto (heavenly - that pesto is to die for) and Creamy Bean Soup with Fresh Herbs abd Spinach. Get this book. It's huge (over 700 pages) but full of fabulous, easy food.

July 6, 2009

Battle of the Corporate Bands 2009 in L.A.

NBC band High Definition at the Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands 2009 in L.A. My cousin Len Greenberg is the fabulous guitarist to the lead singer's right.
At the end of this video he does a killer guitar on Bohemian Rhapsody which happens to be my favorite rock song of all time.
They competed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October. Read about it here.

July 4, 2009

Faith in Humanity

The other day I took the bus to see a client (my new blogging business Blogging Made Simple) and when I left his house I realized I was missing a bag of clothing that I was going to return to the Gap. Turns out I'd left it on the bus that morning.
Well, I was sure that was the last I'd seen of it, someone surely would have taken it - there were a pair of jeans and a pair of shorts in there, both with the tags still on, and the receipt was in the bag. But, just for kicks, I called the CTA later that afternoon to see if by some small miracle someone had turned it in and imagine my surprise when they said yes, it was there. I went to pick it up later that day and everything was there, receipt and all. Amazing. Doesn't that restore your faith in humanity?

June 29, 2009

Book Review - Amy and Isabelle (5 of 5 stars)

I just read Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout, a compelling story of a mother and daughter and the secrets they keep from each other.
Elizabeth Strout gets into the hearts and souls of these characters and makes you care about them with all their faults and frailties. It's a story of people who learn to accept who they are, understand how they got that way and how they affect those who love them. Strout's writing is exquisite. Read this book and let me know what you think.

June 28, 2009

Daniel Kessler Quoted in The Associated Press

My best friend Judi's son Daniel works for Greenpeace. In this Associated Press article he's quoted with the likes of Barack Obama, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. Very cool. Little Daniel Kessler from Toledo, Ohio. Read the article here.

June 27, 2009

Thicker Hair/Stronger Nails!

A few weeks ago my sister sent me some products her hairdresser recommended called Remedée. It's a hair recovery system. Yeah, I know, I know, but what the hell. My hair's gotten thinner as I've gotten older, something needs to be done!
So I've been faithfully using the shampoo and hair treatment every day now for nearly a month. I shampoo my hair with the product and then use the treatment afterwards, massaging it into my hair and scalp. Well, so it hasn't done anything noticeable for my hair but I have to say my nails are growing like gangbusters. I haven't been able to grow nails for about 30 years. They've always chipped and split. But now they're strong as...well, nails.
I remarked on it to Bill the other day and he suggested that it was the hair stuff, which I laughed at. But he pointed out that I use my fingers to apply it so it makes some sense. And oddly enough, the nail thing has just been in the last month. Coincidence? when I run out of the hair stuff will my nails get crummy again? Will I have to keep using the hair stuff so I can keep my nails? It's such a dilemma.
I sure wish the stuff had worked on my hair, tho. If I have to choose between hair or nails, hair wins every time.

Mikki Williams' Demo Video

I am Director of Everything (my real title) for Mikki Williams, a fabulous, funny, flamboyant (she loooooves alliteration) professional speaker. Check out her demo video.
Find out more about Mikki here.

June 23, 2009

Baking in the Heat

It's close to 90 degrees today, not the kind of day when you think about turning the oven on. But what the hell, it's not as if I don't have air conditioning. I had this recipe that my friend Mikki gave me, and all the ingredients (except the walnuts) so I couldn't resist. And I have to say I just baked the most delicious chocolate chip cookies. Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 ounces walnuts, chopped
1 ½ cups chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix sugars and butter until combined. Stir in eggs one at a time, and vanilla.
In another bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to butter mixture with walnuts and chocolate and combine well. Drop by teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
As I said I didn't have walnuts but they're still fabulous. Make some. Or stop by and have some of mine. But you'd better hurry - they're going fast!

June 17, 2009

Great Little Gizmo

I LOVE this gizmo! It's a pet hair picker-upper called Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair and the best thing is, it really works! See the first picture? That's a new one. See all that gray stuff under the little dome in the second picture? Guess what that is? PET HAIR. Yippee!
I used to buy those lint roller refills by the carton. Really. If you have a pet you know the ones I mean, and I would use sheet after sheet after sheet to remove my cat's hair from my bedspread. But this new gizmo? A couple of swipes and voila! cat hair-free! You can buy it at Walgreen's or Target or probably a bunch of other places, and here's a link for more info:
You need one of these! P.S. I'm not getting a kickback from Pledge. Maybe I should be!

June 15, 2009

Chicago Naked Bike Ride

Much rowdier group than the London Naked Bike Ride, but not so naked! See the post below for the London ride.

Naked Bike Ride in London

Watch this video from the London ride - it's pretty funny. LOTS more naked people than the Chicago naked bike ride but veeeeery quiet, as if something reverent is going on.
When you watch the video from the Chicago ride you'll see a big difference.

June 12, 2009

The Hangover

No, not mine, the movie, which I'm embarrassed to say I went to see. Well, one of my closest friends (you know who you are) told me it was very funny.
I hadn't even considered seeing it before that but she's intelligent (I thought) and she doesn't like slapstick (well, turns out she does) so I thought, what the heck. Ooh, big mistake. Its brainlessness left me dizzy. And when I hadn't laughed after watching for an hour, I left. But hey, other people were laughing. The audience was mostly young, tho. Maybe there should be a new rating: R50 - no one over 50 should see this movie.

June 11, 2009

Naked Bike Ride In Chicago

Naked Bike Ride in Chicago on Saturday June 13th from 9-12pm. Woo hoo! You gotta love our city.
So, here's their tagline: Celebrating freedom from oil and the beauty of people.
I don't know what riding naked has to do with freedom from oil but I can't wait. Not to ride, silly, just to watch.

June 7, 2009

Bernard LaChance at The Chicago Theatre

Bill and I went to see Bernard LaChance last night at the Chicago Theatre. He's a French Canadian who used his life savings to rent the theatre for one night and then stood outside selling tickets one by one. Here's his story.
It's heartwarming, not only because of his ambition and creativity but because he's adorable, charming and hugely talented. Despite the technical problems the show was fabulous. The orchestra overpowered his singing at various times which was unfortunate because he has an amazing voice, but they seemed to resolve that for the second act. Also in the second act he had a choir of some 250-300 people (all volunteers) who sounded fantastic. It was a great show and I found myself just smiling through the whole thing.
This second video is where Gayle King surprises him in front of the Chicago Theatre and invites him to be on Oprah's show. It'll bring tears to your eyes.

June 3, 2009

Gizmo from Italy

When we were in Venice we wandered through a flea market that had a lot of cheap crap (hmmm...probably redundant). You know, T-shirts, souvenirs, the kind of stuff geared toward tourists.
Then there was this guy with quite a crowd around him who was demonstrating this little gizmo. He was like the Ron Popeil of Venice and he had this small plastic thing with a little spout and a tiny lid. Isn't it cute? He cut a slice off the end of a lemon, screwed the thing in (note the handy serrated edge at the bottom), opened the little lid and voila! poured lemon juice right out of it. Fun! He said you could close the lid and save the lemon for several days and when you needed more juice you just opened and poured.
Well, who doesn't need that? One for two Euros or three for five. Such a deal. So of course I bought three, picturing lemons and oranges and grapefruit in my fridge with their little spouts. Brought them home and couldn't wait to run out and buy some lemons. Screwed in the spout and got maybe two, three drops of lemon juice. Okay, well, that's all I needed that time so I stored the lemon with its spout in the fridge and by the next day it had shriveled up and died. So much for my cute little Italian gizmo.

May 30, 2009

Dupuytren's Update

Since I did this update I've seen more information about the needle aponeurotomy, and although I don't know much about it, it seems like it's worth looking into. Always good to explore your options.
Click here to go to my original blog entry about my procedure and read the comments about needle aponeurotomy. They're at the end of the post.

May 20, 2009

What's Better Than...?

What's better than taking a nap in the middle of a weekday afternoon with your cat asleep on your stomach?
My cat's favorite place in the world is my lap and when I get up he meows indignantly and then bats at me with his paw as if to say, "Hey! Where are you going? I was comfortable here!"

May 19, 2009

A New Perspective

Last week after I spoke at the CASA event I stood on the sidewalk and handed out flyers to passers-by to get them interested in CASA and in helping out our foster kids.
I'd offer the material and say something like, "Can you help the forgotten children?" or "We're working for foster kids. Can you help?" A couple people stopped to talk and see what it was all about but most took the flyer and hurried on by. A few would say, "No thanks," and then there were the ones who would completely ignore me as though I didn't exist. And I was dressed nice! It gives you a new perspective on the homeless people who ask for handouts or the Greenpeace people or animal rights activists.
Not that I'll quit ignoring them. Just gives you a new perspective.