Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Wish I'd Just Read The Encyclopedia, Instead Of This Month's Selection, And How Julie Andrews Makes Lemonade Out Of Her Lemons

Do you belong to a Book Club? Do you always feel worse after reading the selection? The cure is to watch Julie Andrews in Eloise at Christmas singing Jingle Bell Rock in the raspy voice that is all that's left after a botched surgery (according to John, my encyclopedic husband). Do you all sing the Encyclopedia Song when trying to remember how to spell "encyclopedia"? I've sung it twice already for this short post. "Look inside this book and you will see, Everything from A clear down to Z!" Thank you Disney and Jiminy Cricket!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is World Peace And.....

I want some of those Wii games that have Dance in the title - Dance Party, or Zumba Dance Party, or - you get the idea. I want DVD's of Christmas Movies, French Comedies, and British Sitcoms. I want shooting lessons, maybe with a bow and arrow. And a concealed carry permit. Stuff I need to live in both the worlds that I currently inhabit.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cracking The Code To Tulsa Thrift Shopping

I may have already covered this, but since it is the most confusing thing about shopping in Oklahoma, it, perhaps, bears repeating. The prices at the Oklahoma thrift stores have very little to do with the original retail price of the item. For example, today there were three pairs of shoes that caught my eye - two pairs were used Born brand, being examined by a little old lady who wanted them for her dog to chew on, instead of the Born shoes that she already owned and wore, that her dog would not leave alone. Since her eyes were bad, I had to point out to her that these too small shoes were $25 per pair, way higher than she (or any rational person) expected to pay for shoes that were less than $100 when new. She tossed them back in the bin, where they landed next to a pair of $8 shoes, brand new Escada Couture, absolutely never worn, and probably around $1000 originally. This is bad news for thrift store shoppers who like the Target, Kmart, QVC, and Walmart brands - Katie Lee and Miley Cyrus brands are very overpriced. I'm guessing that the pricers at the Goodwill and such stores charge more for the brands they are familiar with. Luckily, I like Eileen Fisher, Misook, and the like. And Escada - maybe next time those shoes will be in my size. Yeah!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does Moscow, Idaho Even Have A Ballet Company?

In Seattle, I used to take my kids to see the Nutcracker Ballet every Christmas. It was fabulous. World class! Maurice Sendak sets and amazing dancers. Luckily, Patricia Barker wanted to live in the Northwest, so I was able to see her dance many times. A truly magical start to my Christmas - so magical that from the time she was 5, (the first time I took her), Amanda never uttered a peep during the program. Zach was just as well behaved, but not quite as enraptured as Amanda and I. Nick lost interest quickly, so he got to stay home with John, who never went. So, when I saw that the Moscow Ballet was coming to Tulsa to do the Nutcracker and promised world class ballet, I checked into it. Around $60 per ticket and no kids to go with, so it wasn't going to happen. I was slightly disappointed - until I read the review after the performance. I'll just give you one point which the reviewer made and that sums up his whole point - he thought he was going to see a ballet company from Moscow, Russia, not Moscow, Idaho. Evidently he was confused.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shop Local Saturday

We did our part - John got a haircut. Can't get much more local than that. And we stocked up at our small locally owned liquor store. And none of that cheap Chinese whiskey for us. I was so proud!.

More Christmas Bakery Excitement

Well, there is hope for Oklahoma yet. I walked into the more upscale grocery store off Hgy 169 and sitting right there by the door was a display with Holiday Bakery items. Since we were headed for one of my Water Aerobic instructor's house for dinner and cards, (something we had never done before - might not be a West Coast thing, or our friends weren't the card playing type), I picked up a huge plate of assorted Brownies. Looked pretty good but, as usual, they just weren't all that scrumptious. I really do think they need to use better, or fresher, baking powder. (I suggest Rumford's - it's aluminum-free.) And butter instead of shortning. But that's not the point - and I do have one - on the same display with the Brownies, was one of my other most favorite Christmas baked treats - Panettone. It's the Italian's answer to the British Fruitcake. My grandparents used to serve it at Christmas. When I lived in Seattle (shudder), I had to search everywhere for it. I finally found the Cost Plus World Market chain and would run there at the beginning of the season to get my fix. My favorite had raisins and citrus peel and candied angelica (and I don't actually know what angelica is, but L'Occitane used to use it in a shampoo for dry hair that had the most divine scent). Yum! But you guessed it already, didn't you, since a reoccurring theme of my Oklahoma home is the lack of decent shopping - along with no Ikea or Nordstroms, there is no Cost Plus in Oklahoma!! So, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw one of the bright yellow packages with the picture of Panettone right there next to the mediocre Brownies. I just don't understand why this particular brand had to be made in Brazil. Or why they used candied papaya. But they are quite proud of the fact that their raisins are Sunmaid. Nevertheless, I am already on my second loaf of the season. And, yes, that is a Blue Willow pattern plate. I promise I will get out the Christmas dishes today.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bad Holiday Commercial For Audi

Who is Audi trying to appeal to with this commercial? You see a tall, cute guy in a suit with an overnight bag and a large, merrily decorated shopping bag with Christmas presents peeking out the top come in out of the snow. He enters a room with a huge Christmas tree and calls out, "Mom....Dad". And then rather plaintively, "Guys?". While this is happening an attractive couple in their 60's sneak out of the house and get into an Audi and roar away on the snowy road. The screen goes to black with white writing that says, "Make new holiday traditions." then back to the couple in the car as they put a few more miles between them and their son who has come home for the holiday. The husband turns to the wife and says, "He'll be fine."
Will he?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nick's Coming To Paris!!

Yeah! I was hoping my oldest would do a little world travelling. When I invited him to come to Paris with Amanda and me, (and bring his girlfriend if he liked), I was excited about the possibility that he might, but realistic about the demands of his job. (And that the appeal of traveling with his mother and sister wouldn't hold a candle to going to Vegas with his law school buddies.) But last night he sent me his airline confirmation. He'll just be there for 4 days, so Amanda is probable working on the most magical 4 day tour possible. And we'll have another 4 days without him for the girl stuff. The last time I went to Paris was a little over 2 years ago and my second son, Zach went with me. We were meeting up with Amanda who had gotten herself into a Parisian college in order to save on tuition costs, and had a month break. Zach was an amazing traveller, learning enough French to order off the menu and make simple purchases in just a few days.
Now don't go getting all jealous of my life - I have to live in Oklahoma to be able to live like this. But I have 3 great kids and a charming husband (Amanda is the one who came up with that description for John and it is just perfect). Waiting in California for tons of love and petting are two of the cutest grand dogs (Morkies - Maltese mother and Yorkie father) and a 22 year old Himalayan who I hope makes it one more Christmas. (I have said this the last 6 Christmases, but she keeps hanging in there.) And a place to stay in Southern California, my own room where I have already put up the Christmas lights so they'll be ready when we go there on December 19th. (And where most of my sewing lives.) Alright, even with this living most of my time in Oklahoma thing, I still have it pretty good. And I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ick, Ick, Ick, Ick, Ick - You Get The Point!

Back in Seattle, we had Raccoons - lots of them. Five of them lived under my garden shed. (The Barnlett, so named for its resemblance to a tiny barn.) At some point, they ate through the roof and moved into the Barnlett. I am NOT a fan of Raccoons! Since moving to Oklahoma, I have not seen a single live Racoon. I have seen lots of dead ones lying by the side of the road. (No, I am not going to check the grammar of lay, lie, laid - it's just too complicated with the animal being dead and all - so how different is it from putting down an inanimate object and leaving it lying there. Book = Dead Raccoon for grammar purpose.) But back to my point, and I do have one - from the Raccoons I have seen since moving to Oklahoma, I was under the impression that the strain of Raccoon that live (and had died) here were tailless. Or at best had short, stubby little tails. Then I made the stupid mistake of saying something about the different tailless Raccoons of Oklahoma to a real Okie, and guess what he told me. Warning - this is where the "ick" comes in. They aren't tailless - I had just never seen one before the tail collectors had gotten there. Although he called these guys "hunters", I can't think of them as that legitimate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Gingerbread From Starbucks!

It's finally here. I don't know what to call it when I try to ask when it is coming to the local Starbucks, since they have changed the name THREE times. Good Grief! Ginger Loaf, Ginger Slice, and now Holiday Gingerbread. Or at least I think that's what they were calling it. I was drooling so heavily that I had to bolt for the napkins in the midst of ordering. And, yes, I ordered more than one slice, or there wouldn't have been a picture. And I had to order more than one slice just in case the great gingerbread drought of Ought 9 (the year when Starbucks RAN OUT of Ginger Slices at the beginning of December - the year when I didn't get a single piece), should reappear. This stuff is Heaven and very Christmasy. It is a ginger flavored quick bread with chopped candied ginger and a cream cheese frosting with candied orange peel sprinkled on top. And, yes, I know I could duplicate it in my own kitchen, but I should never have a full batch of it in the house at once. It has to be bought piece by piece and consumed in the same fashion. I really tried to send off tiny loaves of the stuff to my family along with the Springerlie and Spritz and Chex Mix. And Family, don't feel bad if you didn't get a loaf, because unlike the Peppermint Bark, which I only sent to the ones of you that I really like, no one got any of the Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Love A Good Book

What the heck were my sister, Claire and sister-in-law, Marya doing at a school book fair together? They don't even live in the same town. But the most important thing is that these two fabulous women found a present for me! Beryl - A Pig's Tale by Jane Simmons arrived yesterday and I've already read the whole thing. OK, it is just a 3rd grade book, but it had over 200 pages. I'm already operating on a highly sentimental level, thanks to the Hallmark Channel and their constant Christmas movies, so I can't be sure, but I think this one is a real tear jerker. At dinner last night, my favorite non-fiction writer predicted that it would end happily, with Beryl finding a new home. This guy is good! (Or perhaps he had already read the book?) But oh, the twists and turns and surprises along the way. No, I'm not going to tell.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Saturday Night In Tulsa

I had a great time tonight! Went to the Philbrook and saw the Christmas Trees and Garden Lights with another Oklahoma Transplant, Catherine of Aesthetic Alterations and her very entertaining Significant Other. John really enjoyed the evening and is on the computer looking for some of the books we discussed right now. What an amazing couple!! There just isn't enough space to describe all we talked about. Since her birthday was Monday, I made her a card to celebrate her new Kelly bag with mini croissant and madeleines inside. And John met Santa. I got a great top with red stripes at the Goodwill for $4 that is by Misook. Good times!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Tulsa Sherlock Holmes Society Has Such Interesting Members!

Not everyone agrees with me about the waste of time (I think) it is remaking old movies. Tonight at the Sherlock Holmes Society meeting, one of the gentlemen mentioned that he would love to see Barbarella remade. Good grief! So I told him I would only agree to the concept if Jane Fonda was cast in her original role. And he agreed with me - after I pointed out that the concept of the movie works even better as the meanderings of a nearly senile woman. And that Jane Fonda might just look better naked today than she did in the original - many, many years and exercise classes ago.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Going To France

This January I am cashing in airmiles and going to France. Pretty exciting. Amanda is coming too. I'm not looking forward to all that French being spoken - it always makes me a little edgy, but Amanda is very excited to be able to practice. Anyone who has ever travelled with me knows what a light packer I am, so if you need me to bring back some French stuff for you, just warn me ahead of time so I can bring my one allowed checked bag - empty, of course. Of course, if I do take a checked bag, I will stick a few bottle of wine in it for the trip home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies

John is on a short business trip, so it's a perfect time to watch those Hallmark Channel Christmas movies that I DVR'ed to watch alone, since some of them are just too sentimental to watch with him. He watches and likes most of the Christmas movies that I do, but some of them are just over the top. Tonight I watched "Cancel Christmas", and sniffled and snuffled the whole way through. Hint - dogs and widow/widower plus wheel chairs and a pony. Oh my! I don't think I should even DVR "A Dog Named Christmas", which is described as "A man finds homes for dogs during the holidays". Not only is it a guaranteed bawl-fest, it would send John running to the pound to bring home a couple dogs. I am pretty sure he can wait until his birthday, April, to bring home some dogs, but it's a struggle. And it looks like they might have remade "Miracle on 34th Street" again and called it "A Case For Christmas" with Dean Cain. The original did need to be colorized, (not film noir - didn't need the shadows and lights to heighten the suspense), but that made it perfect. No need to remake!! Couldn't we all list at least 10 movies remakes that were better the first time? Three of them would be the "Miracle on 34th Street" ones.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What Would Leonardo da Vinci Do?

I almost left the store without eggs yesterday. It was just too hard to choose. I know for sure that I want cage free eggs. Let those chickens roam around and I'll be happy to eat the eggs. Don't think I care about the assurance that they are fed an organic diet; too much pesticide and the shells aren't thick enough to ship anyway. Do I want the diet to be all vegetarian? Well, I don't care if they eat the occasional worm in fine cartoonorial fashion. But, please, no cannibalization in my chicken's kingdom. And I refuse to pay more for brown shells. In my mother's day, she only had to choose the size of egg. If she wanted brown eggs, she went to a farm stand or dairy.
Which leads me to my point, (and I do have one) - I remember reading that Leonardo da Vinci didn't plan on stopping until he knew everything and that he came quite close to having all the knowledge available in his day. Now we can barely learn everything there is to know about choosing a dozen (or 18) eggs.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One Craft Fair, And Now I'm Broke

More than one person told me about the great Christmas Craft Fair in Broken Arrow this Saturday. I got fresh pecans, huge peanuts, tatted Christmas Ornaments, a wonderful home baked pumpkin pie that was still warm, chocolate oatmeal cookies, and strawberry rhubarb spead. I can't afford any more craft fares this season.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Albertus Swanepoel Hats

Oh my! You must all run to your local Target store and try on these hats! Albertus_Swanepoel makes the cutest hats. I could barely choose, but the one I liked best (and that my husband also thought was the cutest on me) was so wonderful that I bought two of them, so that when my daughter has to have mine, I will have a spare. When he gets back in town. I'll have him take a picture to show you.

I have been meaning to write a little about my husband, mainly for our kids who haven't known with him as long as I have and who will be surprised at how many different things he has done. They know about his education, which would have been cut short by Vietnam service, (his birthday was #12 in the lottery), until his draft board surprised him by telling him his knees were too bad, and even if they weren't, his blood pressure was too low, as was his heart beat. In those days, they didn't understand the power of exercise (marathon jogging), to reduce blood pressure. And the reason why he started jogging was because he was told that if he lost weight, his knees (damaged by high school football) wouldn't hurt as much. So he did, probably 80 to 100 pounds, which he has never regained. He is a very disciplined man. He used to model for the local Seattle Courrèges store, very high end French sportswear, until it went out of business, just for fun. This was when he had his black, European style beard. He decided to shave off his beard and took his young sons into the bathroom with him, so they would know it was still him. I should have gone too, since it was a total transformation. Still handsome, with a cleft chin that I had no idea was there. He was a master at the Yo yo, giving demonstrations at the local grade schools. He was quite the piano player, (I have heard from tons of people that he was really good) but the only reason he had lessons was as a cover for the fact that the Piano player at the bar at the Washington Athletic Club was dating his mother. Since the lessons weren't his idea, after they ended, he stopped even touching the keys. Not the only time I've heard of the phenomenon. He was a chess champ in middle school, being sent to play the only guy at the University of Washington who ever beat Bobby Fisher, and beating him. He modestly explains this feat, by noting that his was one of 8 games being played by this guy at the same time. Although he is an only child, he is a surviving twin. And one of his feet is 1 1/2 sizes bigger than the other - that's why not having a Nordstrom store (where they will split two pairs of shoes for him to fit both his feet), in Tulsa is so sad. OK, that's enough for now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Missoni For Target Back In The Stores

If anyone is still interested in the Missoni Collection for Target, there is a lot of it back in my local Tulsa store - and it's on clearance. All sizes in that beautiful real suede leather heels with the zig zag toe design, at $19.99. They run large, so if you got them from Ebay and trusted the size, they must be falling off your feet. Plus, you spent way too much. Some sweaters and tights, but none of the good scarves. None of the totes, but they looked so cheap, I wouldn't have spent even $20 for one. (Ok, maybe $20, but certainly not $30.) Those sweaters are still pretty cute, and even though the side seams are serged instead of a continuous knit like Missoni's own label, they are very carefully serged. (If you are a seamstress, you know what I mean.) And now they're $34.49, instead of $49.99. Customer Service wasn't busy, so I got to ask about all the Missoni returns. He just rolled his eyes and laughed. I'll bet that lots of them are Ebay.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Did You Know That Crickets (The Insect, Not The Sport) Have A Season?

Well, I didn't. It seems that as soon as I got used to my garage sounding like the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at Disneyland and having the little varmints jumping around in the showers at the Y, their season has ended. My garage is silent, their little bodies littering the concrete floor. I am going to have to go out and get a proper garage broom to clean them up. I had given it up as a hopeless task, not realizing that they weren't a year round pest. Actually, pest is too strong a word, one that should be reserved for my most disliked of all insects, the Earwig. I'm actually missing all the crickets.
And on that annoying Halloween candy subject, my husband is in Chicago for a few days on business, and since I was on my own, I had them for dinner. Well, it was that or left-over stuffed peppers. Not a fair choice, since I make my peppers with no fat ground turkey and high fibre brown rice. If my other option was a Smashburger, I would have resisted. Smashburgers are one of the best burgers in Tulsa. However, if you want the world's best burger, you need to go to Seattle to the Lunchbox Laboratory on one of the days when they make their Fillet Mignon Burger.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Do They Think It's My Fault?

This morning, in the pool, my water aerobics class introduced me to a new theory about the recent chaos in Oklahoma. They are pretty sure it's all my fault. The facts as they see them: worst winter, worst summer, worst earthquake - what was I planning for the rest of the year? Would there be more tornadoes? Could I produce a hurricane? We all laughed it off. After the additional moderate earthquake this evening (at least this was the proper 5 second length) and the tornado warning for Tulsa which is in effect until 4 am - a very long tornado watch - I don't know if I can go back tomorrow. But I do know that if I had moved to Prague, where most of these earthquakes are centered, I would be on a plane right now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Down, Three To Go, Or What To Do To Prepare For "The Big One"

Last night could have been "The Big One"! That's right, my world could have ended and I would have left uneaten Halloween Mini Snickers in my freezer. Not OK. I took most of today to remedy this situation. I thawed out two of the Almond Snickers and ate them as soon as they defrosted. So, 100% of those calories were utilized. Since I still had a lot of candy left, I had to try alternate methods to keep calorie utilization percentage lower. First, I tried to eat the Snicker Peanut Butter Crunch ones while still frozen. (All 5 of them.) Since a calorie is a unit of heat, basically, I figured that my body would have to come up with some way to warm these little beauties to body temp, and therefore, the true calorie utilization percentage would have to be below 100% - and I would hope way below 100%, maybe at about 5%. For the last few plain ones, I tried to peel all the chocolate off the sides, since at this point, I was getting a little sick of all that milk chocolate. (Normally I eat Chocolate with a minimum of 85% Cocoa and 5 or less grams of sugar.) Not sure what this did to the calorie count, but at least I finished the bag with slightly fewer. Oh, did I mention that this is just the first of four bags?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

OK Oklahoma, I'll Go Back To The West Coast If You Want Me To

Worst snow in recent history, record breaking heat this summer, tornadoes, torrential downpours, drought - fine - these are new to me and I don't really know what to expect. But I know earthquakes, and the one we had tonight (just about 5 minutes ago) lasted too long! I told my husband it was at least a 5, which wouldn't have been overly exciting, but duration wise it was over 10 seconds. I wish I'd timed it, but I was busy getting all the cupboards closed. I'm expecting a few aftershocks. And having a few Baileys. And trying not to call the movers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Travel -Not Just For The Rich, When You Live In Tulsa

Even though it was a well thought out decision on her part, going to graduate school instead of taking her job in France wasn't totally satisfactory for Amanda. And some of my favorite blogs are full of plans for winters breaks and summers in Paris. So when she sends me links to inexpensive Paris vacations, I follow them and start dreaming. I actually went as far as to check my frequent flyer accounts and got such a surprise. My trip to the Czech Republic was charged on my cousin's credit card to maximize the mileage award. (She is a Million Mile Flyer on Delta.) And it certainly did maximize it. I got triple miles. That's almost enough for a free trip. One more flight to Southern California and I'll have over 40,000 miles - low season American Airlines to Paris. I'd prefer Air France, but can't argue with free. I would have to be back in Southern California by January 15th, when John has a business trip to Hawaii that I am included in. So should we go to France? One of the reasons I constantly give for living in Tulsa is that it is so much cheaper than Seattle that I can travel any time I please. But this would be pretty indulgent, without even including the trip to Ireland that John and I are planning for April. I feel like a millionaire just having these choices.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Can Hardly Wait - Christmas Exposed: An Evening with The Onion

I love The Onion. I just wish my kids could be here to go with me.
Christmas Exposed: An Evening with The Onion
December 6, 2011 7pm - Harwelden Mansion (A beautiful place and the reason this is limited to 100 people.)
I got my tickets last night. Called and placed my order the minute I had the information. Here's the ticket info:
Tickets are NOW on sale for this amazing holiday event with The Onion. There are only 100 seats available. Don't wait! The cutoff date for advanced tickets is Friday, Dec. 2nd. All others will have to pay at the door. However, this event will sell out fast.
Phone Number: 918-583-7737
Cost: $20 - Visa and MasterCard only

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Computer Woes

My battery on my netbook is dead. And unlike my HP computer service plan, where this kind of problem is assigned high priority and a new battery shows up the next day, my netbook is a Samsung with a Geek Squad/Best Buy Black Tie insurance plan. This means that you go into the store, wait almost a week for the wrong battery to get shipped to you, take it back to a store, and get told to call a number because they aren't going to help you. But they do want to make sure that you know that they will want their wrong battery back. In the mean time, every time the cord is even slightly jostled, my netbook turns completely off and I lose everything I have been working. This is why I spent half an hour in the business center of my apartment complex. And sort of met one of my neighbors. He was late 40's - early 50's agewise and was at the computer next to me with his wife at his side. They were trying to pay for something, I think, but I was very carefully not eavesdropping. When it became obvious that he couldn't figure out how to get the computer to do what he wanted, I was pretty sure it involved the printer. In less than a dozen words, I informed him that if he was trying to get something printed, he might have to use an alternate method. (Control/P) He very clearly told me that he wasn't trying to print anything. Would anyone be surprised to learn that the next thing he said to his wife was that he was getting pretty upset that he just couldn't get this receipt printed? And then he left his credit card sitting on the keyboard. Some men give men a bad name.
Since I've done nothing but whine today, I must say that the weather has been absolutely perfect this week, my water aerobics classes have been great, and the TV viewing has been better than ever. My husband will let anyone help him with his computer, male or female alike. And I have survived 10 months of Tulsa living and look forward to more.