October 31, 2010

Halloween Can Be Dangerous

Warning for Halloween: Keep your pumpkins away from the alcohol.

October 29, 2010

5 Uses For Tin Foil!

5 Uses for Tin Foil. Love this! Did you know you can use a ball of tin foil in place of a dryer sheet? Or to soften brown sugar? Who knew? So many uses for tin foil.

October 25, 2010

Dupuytren's Info

I haven't posted anything about Dupuytren's for a while although I continue to hear from people who are waiting to get the enzyme injections, now that they're on the open market. I heard from Fred in Kansas City who was going to get the treatment. This was in August and I don't know if he's had it by now. But here are his before pictures. You're not going to believe this. (Beware it's kind of disturbing - makes me so grateful that mine is not worse.)
More pictures here.
You might think he's intentionally bending the fingers on his left hand, but that's what the disease does in the worst cases.
There's lots more Dupuytren's info on this website. Just type it into the search box.
Also a series of videos about the enzyme injection on YouTube

October 22, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Friday Morning

I saw Bobby Flay this morning on Michigan Ave.! We passed each other running and by the time my brain kicked in that it was him he was too far away for me to shout, "Bobby, I love you!"

I hate when that damn pump thing quits working when there's still 2" of cream in the bottom of the container. They can put a man on the moon...can't they come up with a pump thing that'll suck up EVERY LAST OUNCE?

My friend Teresa finally read Mr. Right-Enough. She was afraid to for fear that she wouldn't like it. Here's what she said: "Wow, I've been wanting to write you for several days, ever since I finished reading your book. I started it, I think last Th or Fri and simply could not put it down! The only reason it took me 3 days to finish was that I had tons of work to do. And for the first 2 days I neglected that work often just to keep reading. Then what happened was that I slowed down a bit only because I wanted the story to keep going forever, you know how that feels--when you want to savor it and not have it end."
Thanks so much, T! Don't forget that Amazon review!

My computer's sooooooo slow. So annoying. Does it make sense to add memory to a 5-yr-old computer or should I just buy a new one?

Is there anything that doesn't taste good with whipped cream on it? I squirted a dollop of Reddy-Whip on my Greek tasteless yogurt and granola this morning. Yum! Oh, come on...it's fat free!

October 21, 2010

Jambayala For Breakfast?

I cooked jambalaya in my slow-cooker the other night and when I got up in the morning it smelled amazing in here. It's not exactly my idea of breakfast food but I couldn't help taking a couple spoonfuls. Yum. Just didn't go with my orange juice. Anyway, it's a really simple recipe and really, really good.
Here it is:


* 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" cubes
* 1 pound sausage, cooked
* 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes, crushed
* 1 cup onion, chopped
* 1 cup green pepper, chopped
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 2 teaspoons oregano
* 2 teaspoons parsley
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons seasoning
* 1-1/2 pounds shrimp, cooked
* 2 cups quick cooking rice

1. Combine all ingredients in a 6-7 quart slow cooker except shrimp and rice. Stir well.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours HIGH for 5 hours.
3. Stir in rice and shrimp. (If you don't have quick cooking rice cook the rice beforehand and just heat for a few more minutes to combine.)
4. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serves: 10-12

October 19, 2010

Movie Review: The Social Network

3 1/2 stars out of 5
I love the opening scene with Aaron Sorkin's clever, sarcastic, shot-gun dialogue where Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend breaks up with him, telling him he'll probably be a really successful computer person but he'll end up alone. Not sure that's the case in real life but her words paint the mood of this film.
Is he really the unethical schmuck the script shows him to be? I have a friend who gives his behavior a pass with a medical diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder. My medical diagnosis: Gigantic Asshole Disorder. If this story is to be believed Zuckerberg's an unethical, back-stabbing liar so if you like that kind of person you'll root for him but I found him sadly despicable. And Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of him left me a little flat. He's a great comic actor (the Jewish Michael Cera), but not that good in a dramatic role. His performance was one-dimensional. I would have liked more nuance; some humanity, vulnerability. Without that it's hard to sympathize.

One of my favorite things about the movie which I didn't know while watching it was that the twins, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, were both played, digitally, by Armie Hammer (great name). Technical wizardry at its best.
But there was another digital enhancement which drove me crazy. In a scene where Zuckerberg and his buddy go outside of a bar to have a private conversation (where we're told it's 20 degrees) they don't appear to be all that cold but there's an excess of digital condensation coming from their mouths as they talked. Weirdly unnecessary and obvious.
All in all this is a good two hours. Not great but good.
BTW, I didn't believe for a minute that a nerd like Zuckerberg would have such an intelligent and hot girlfriend (remember that beginning scene?).

October 15, 2010

Hot-Dogging on a Segway

I'm generally pretty coordinated so after a little personalized demo on the Segway I was tooling around like a pro. Until I crashed into my significant-other. Not my fault - he was showing off his spectacular Segway prowess by starting and stopping really fast (admittedly not the easiest thing to do), but I only crashed into him a little bit and no one was hurt. The Segway and I were unscathed and I learned to give Bill, the hot-dogger, a wide berth.
Did you ever try one of these things? You should, they're a kick. And a great way to see the city. Go to Segway Tours on Randolph. Our guide was Parker, a med student with 92 other degrees in various and sundry other (apparently useless) occupations. No matter, he's a hell of a Segway tour guide (even though he told the group they reversed the flow of the Chicago River in 1999 and he was 99 years off on that one). That's all right, Bill the hot-dogger enjoyed correcting him.

October 12, 2010

Book Launch/Signing

I think everyone had a great time last week at my book launch party. I KNOW I did!
One of the most fun things was that we did an audience participation reading. I re-wrote part of a scene as a script, and Claire Alshuler and John Gawlik read the parts of Libby and Michael, two of the main characters, while I read the narrative. They were fabulous. Claire's a natural (ham), and John (whom I met for the first time that night) was amazing. It made it so much fun and the audience seemed to get a kick out of it. Unfortunately I don't have still pictures of the them but I'll have some video up soon.
Stay tuned.

October 11, 2010

Have You Reconnected With Your High School Sweetheart?

A lovely letter from Grace about Mr. Right-Enough:
"I just finished your book. I loved it.
I'm 53 and I lost my mom years back so in many ways I could relate to Libby.
My sister Amy ran into her high school boyfriend and
they talked for 36 hours. Then she went back to Philly, told her live-in that she was moving back to Chicago. She married her "Patrick" 2 months later.
Loved it, loved it!"

Mr. Right-Enough
is the story of 50-year-old Libby Carson who reconnects online with her high school sweetheart on the same day her significant-other proposes. This is Libby's story as her desire for security battles with her craving for passion.
Get your copy on Amazon.com

October 10, 2010

I'm Still Recovering from the Marathon This Morning

Not because I ran it, silly. Been there, done that. And truly, I have no idea what possessed me to run eight marathons or how the hell I did all that training. But Bill and I were out there today, cheering on the participants and watching for his nephew, Greg Castady (right), who's an amazing runner...and I'm just exhausted. All that watching and screaming and clapping for two hours...well it just wore me out. And congratulations to Greg who finished in 2 hours and 39 minutes - 13th in his division and 165th overall - out of 43,000 runners! OMG!

October 7, 2010

I'm on a High!

Just got home from my book launch party and it far exceeded my expectations. The venue was wonderful (Flourish Studios) and I was thrilled and humbled by the people who showed up to support me. Thanks to you all for coming!
And a special thanks to Mikki Williams for a
funny and heartwarming introduction, and an amazing outfit. Pictures to follow!

October 5, 2010

I'm Samantha and I am a Sprinkles-holic

Since the Sprinkles Cupcakes store opened two blocks from my home I've made it my mission to work my way through their entire menu. And I have to say I'm doing an admirable job. I know this is true because they say, "Hi Sam," when I walk in.
I'm about to dig into this chocolate chip peanut butter cupcake which looks a bit like a hamburger in this picture. I am confident it won't taste like one. I added the flower because it just looked sad sitting on the plate but I can assure you it will not be sad to eat. I'll let you know.
And right after that I'm heading off to Sprinkles Rehab.

October 3, 2010

All Fired Up!

I just got back from NYC where I attended the Gotham Self-Publishing Book Expo and Conference. The conference was perfectly timed for me and got me all fired up with great new ideas and information about how to market my book. If you're a self-published author you should put it on your calendar for next year.
One thing I learned was the importance of reviews on Amazon.com so I'm sending out a call to everyone who's read my book: Please write a review for me!
Just click here and when you get there scroll down to five sections below my picture, to the Customer Reviews section, and on the right is a button that says "Create Your Own Review."
And please don't agonize over it. A short, quick review works as well as a long one. Something like, "A fun read about real people," would suffice (don't use that, tho, unless you're the first!).
I would so appreciate your help.

October 1, 2010

My Metabolism is Missing by Molly Campbell

Cute article (that hits home) from a very funny lady.

When I was in my teens, I could come home from school, eat five brownies, and three hours later, do justice to my Mother’s home cooking. Before bed, I often had a handful of potato chips. I ate three squares a day. I was underweight.

In college, I was very busy, and found time to eat only breakfast, which consisted of multiple slices of toast, eggs or cereal, two big tumblers of juice, and a glass of milk. I filled in the rest of the day with snacks on the run. I had the body of a super model.

Then I became a young Mom myself. I raced around after two little girls, drove to school events and soccer games. There were horse shows and school plays. I made time to play racquetball and bake cookies. I was a rail.

My children grew up. When they left home, I substituted writing for all those frenzied mothering activities. I still found time for going to the gym regularly, walking the dog, and stooping to pick up nylabones and stray books and magazines off the floor. I felt good, and seemed to look lumpless in my clothing. I was smug.

Somewhere during the aging process, in between perimenopause and AARP membership, my metabolism left.
Read the rest of the story.