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.

May 14, 2009

Food Network Fanatic

Have I told you I'm addicted to the Food Network? It's my crack. When my TV is on, if it's not tuned to American Idol or Make Me a Supermodel (kidding - I hate that show) it's tuned to the Food Network.
Rachel Ray got on my nerves pretty quickly (a couple years, tho) with her "Guys" and "Man overboards" and "Good to gos," and Paula Deen's laugh could curdle milk but I love Giada and Ina and Bobby and Tyler, to name a few. Everything they make looks delicious altho I'm here to tell you that's not always the case. While I'm watching, tho, they make things look so enticing that I inevitably go to the FN website and copy the recipes into my folders. I have thousands, most of which I've never made and none of which I can find when I'm looking for it. Like the other day, Bobby Flay made salmon where he smeared half a pound of butter on the skin (how could that be bad?), then salt and peppered it, then threw it on the grill to sear, and of course I had to have that recipe. I bought a piece of salmon today and am all ready to prepare that fat-ladened dish but can't find the damn recipe in amongst the 800 other salmon recipes I saved.
A couple days ago Ina was making a birthday dinner and she served French martinis. Then next came Bobby Flay and HE, too made French martinis. So I HAD to have a French martini. Yum. My new favorite drink. Another of these and who cares what I do with that salmon.

May 9, 2009

Forgotten Children

Lanetta Haynes, Executive Director for CASA of Cook County (the organization for which I volunteer) spoke yesterday morning at a community awareness event Forgotten Children outside of the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.
I spoke as well but since I couldn't tape myself you get Lanetta, whose speech was better than mine anyway.
To learn more about CASA of Cook County, call 312.433.4928 or visit the website: ...because every child deserves a safe permanent home

May 4, 2009

Y2K Flu?

Anyone remember Y2K? Seems that now we have the Y2K flu or whatever the hell they're calling it now. Remember in 1999 when you couldn't pick up a paper or turn on the news or read a magazine without seeing some dire warning about what was going to happen when the clock struck midnight on December 31st? Computers were going to explode, businesses would collapse, power would be cut, hospitals would cease to function, the world as we knew it would come to an end...and on and on.
Companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new equipment, writing new programs and hiring consultants to avert certain disaster. And what happened? NOTHING. NADA. We woke up the next day, the sun still rose and all the computers buzzed happily along just like they had the night before. Biggest overreaction in the history of man.
Until now. Now we have people running in fear from the media blitz on what? Cholera? Malaria? Tuberculosis? No...the flu. The flu. People are walking around with masks, washing their hands 83 times a day and flooding emergency rooms if they so much as cough. Why? Because the media won't shut the f**k up about it. Relax, people. There are somewhere around 650 confirmed cases worldwide out of a world population of 6 billion people. You know what that percentage is? Well I don't either but I can assure you it's teeny, tiny. And there's only been one death here in the U.S. One. Sad but really, pandemic? Now I'm no expert but I'm saying not.
So chill out. Your chances of winning the lottery are a thousand times greater than your chances of dying from the Y2K flu. And we all know you're not going to win the lottery, don't we?

May 1, 2009

And on to Venice...

I'm so excited - I found this free Microsoft Photo Story program that helps you create a slide show of your photos so I did one of our Venice photos (and then went back and did one for Florence too). It's very cool. It'll also allow you to do a voice-over which would be great if I could figure out how to do it. Until then you'll just have to read the text and view the video. So here goes (video's at the end).

On Tuesday April 7th we took the train to Venice. I love the train! It took about 2 1/2 hours and we went to the dining car for a snack of prosciutto and mozzarella and wine (of course). It was like being in a movie. Our host, Diana, met us at the station and took us to our hotel, about a five minute walk from the station. The Hotel Principe looked very promising when we walked into the lobby. And it was right on the Grand Canal so it had some beautiful views. Unfortunately not from our tacky little room which faced a courtyard. None of the hotels was what it looked like on its internet site. They were all supposed to be four star. The rating system must be different in Europe. But enough of that. Diana gave us some info about Venice (and talked and talked and talked and talked) and then, when she finally shut up, we took off to walk around. We walked through the Jewish ghetto area to the Rialto Bridge to another square to the Calatrava bridge. Had dinner at an outdoor cafe on the Grand Canal - salad and lasagna. The pasta tastes different in Italy. Noticeably different, remarkably fresh and delicious. Every four feet is a photo-op in Venice. It's just beautiful, so picturesque. A little shabby but that just adds to the charm. The gondolas are amazing. Really garish - black lacquered with gold trim and throne-like seats, some with oriental rugs...quite something. On Wednesday we had a tour - took a water taxi to San Marco Square and had a tour of the Doges Palace, walked across the Bridge of Sighs, past the jail cells. Saw a glass-blowing demonstration and then got a really big pitch to buy some hugely expensive (and mostly gaudy) Murano glass. We resisted. After the tour we had lunch in the San Marco area at a little trattoria on one of the narrow winding streets. We sat outside, of course. We had Sarda in Saor which is a Venice specialty - big sardines unlike any I've ever seen here, lightly sauteed with onions in olive oil. Delicious. We also had spaghetti with black ink cuddle fish that was amazing, and of course the obligatory wine. What an unusual and yummy lunch. We met up with friends Sam and Karen (from NYC) at their hotel which was between the Rialto Bridge and San Marco Square. It was the Splendid Venice Hotel and it was splendid, indeed. Gorgeous. Exquisite. Unlike the dump we were staying at. Okay, okay, it wasn't a dump per se, but I pretty much really hated it after seeing Sam and Karen's. We had a drink (or two) with them as we got caught up on our lives, and then went our own way with plans to have dinner with them the next day. Bill and I had dinner that night at San Geremia Square, near the hotel. We had octupus with celery (yummy) and gnocchi in tomato sauce (fabulous). And wine (did you doubt that?). Such delicious food. I don't think you could get a bad meal in Italy. Not even if you tried. On Thursday we slept til 8:00 which felt really good and then we took the vaporetto over to the Accademia and walked across the wooden bridge and wandered through the streets. Had a glass of wine at the Piazza San Marguerita and made our way back to the hotel. Had a pizza near the hotel and then changed clothes and made our way back to Sam and Karen's hotel. Guess what we did first? Had a cocktail. Hah! Then we took a gondola ride and Sam brought champagne to toast my BIG birthday, and it was lovely. Stopped for another drink (drinking, drinking, drinking) at a little bar on the way to the restaurant. Sam and Karen had made reservations at DaFiore, a lovely restaurant whose chef they had met at a cooking demonstration at Macy's in New York City. The food was delicious. I'm pretty sure it was. After all the cocktails and then several bottles of wine with dinner I'm not even sure what we ate. But we had a great time and it was a fitting last meal in Italy. It was such a treat to meet up with Sam and Karen in Venice, and just a lucky coincidence that we were there at the same time. The next day was Friday, our departure day. We were flying from Venice to Munich to Boston to Chicago, but our first flight was canceled due to some electrical problem and we ended up flying to Frankfurt and staying overnight there (compliments of Lufthansa Airlines). Ironically, that hotel was the nicest one of the whole trip. On Saturday morning we had a 10:30a.m. flight direct to Chicago, so that was a bonus. All in all it was a fabulous, lovely trip and my favorite birthday of all time.