Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Roses are red... roses are pink...Roses last longer with water to drink

Who doesn't like roses? They are just one of those things that make everything around them look, well, just look better. Kind of like rose-colored glasses. Huh... look at that. Funny how that works isn't it? Roses, rose-colored glasses. Go figure.

Be that as it may, sometimes you might find that roses in a vase in your home don't keep things looking better as long as you think they should - they get all droopy and brown and all in all, not very inspiring. Sometimes that could be a function of the quality of the roses, but sometimes it could be the processing. Seriously, roses have a process. And, get this, the better the process, the better the roses. You thought it was all just a bed of roses, didn't you? Didn't you?

How to process cut roses so they last:

  1. cut your roses about an inch longer than you want them
  2. in a bowl of water, submerge the stem and with it completely underwater, cut it to the right length
  3. then, keeping the stem under water, pierce the stem about an inch from the end with the point of the scissor, making a hole in the stem
  4. lastly, arrange the roses in your vase
  5. every other day, change the water
Next week - the secret to raising roses from the dead. Really. Really rosie. (I couldn't resist.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday card kudos

Full disclosure: I'm terrible at the holiday routine. I mean, I can light and decorate a mean tree, and my chocolate english toffee is to die for, but the card thing? Waaaay beyond me. Thus, I am beyond grateful to and impressed by my friends, who are probably 14 times as busy as I am since they, every last one of them, has a minimum of 2 kids (hey, come to think of it, my friends may be averaging 2.7 kids and .6 dogs each. Wow. Who knew my friends were so... normal? So far though, they are handily beating that nasty divorce statistic. Keep it up, folks - you give me faith in true love.)

Anyway, back to the grateful and impressed part - each year I get a trove of cards, personally signed (which, I learned from my friend Margi, who knows ALL about these things, is the sign that the recipient is a personal friend - and if there's a handwritten message and signature - well, that's the jackpot of "close, personal friend" - and let me pause right here to thank my close, personal friends for remembering me and including me in their holiday tradition. I love you too.)

But to return to my point - I think I had one. Oh, yes... this post is simply to say thank you and happy holidays to my friends, all my friends - it may not be signed, or even handwritten - but it is distinctly heartfelt. (I even made the little image thing-y all by myself.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Juno and, more better - Diablo

You know that if I, as far removed from high school, Previas, the midwest, and snow as can be, walk out of a movie kinda wishing I were that accidentally pregnant 16 year old... something good was up there on that mythic silver screen. After 90 minutes with Juno I really wished I could be that clever and cool even some of the time, let alone all the time. Mostly, though, after seeing Juno, the movie, what I really wanted was to meet Diablo Cody, screenwriter thereof. Well you know what comes next: thank heavens for the internet. 'Cause, maybe I can't meet her in person, but... aha! she has a blog.

And, sickeningly, she seems to be just as cool on her blog as she came across in her movie. I know, I know, it wasn't her up there -- but they were her words -- and her dialog is up there with some of the best I've heard in a long, long, long time. It doesn't hurt that the fabulous Ellen Page -- if you don't know her, a) imagine that Winona Ryder and Jena Malone had a daughter who was raised by Wendy Wasserstein - that's sort of Ellen Page and b) go rent "Hard Candy" -- spoke about 50% of the dialog, and that the rest rested on the shoulders of hacks like Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner...

It's a real gift to write a movie that is enjoyable and serious, funny and honest, that zings along until the end comes and the audience is left saying, "wait, that's it? There's no more?" After the string of over-promised and under-delivered sea of dross I've been sitting through, this was a golden moment. Magical movie alchemy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Even your ketchup...

My sister is an organic maven. No, really. Push the right button and she'll list which fruits and vegetables are more important to buy organic, and why. (I, on the other hand, know that strawberries are high on the "you should really buy organic" list, but that's about it.)
So you can just imagine how well my niece, Eliza, eats. Suffice it to say, very, very well. Okay, that doesn't suffice it to say, so let me go on - she eats so well that I often prefer to eat her food over other choices. Fish sticks, sweet potato fries, spinach pancakes, turkey dogs, mac and cheese, edamame? Yum.
And what is her condiment of choice?
Organic ketchup, of course. Which, I just learned, has three times the amount of lycopene (according to, ongoing preliminary research suggests that lycopene is associated with reduced risk of macular degenerative disease, serum lipid oxidation and cancers of the lung, bladder, cervix and skin) than regular ketchup.
So, go ahead, dip your fries. Your body will thank you.

Fortune favors the fictional...

...or Forbes does, in this case. I don't know about you, but I find something snarkily satisfying about perusing the Forbes list of people rolling in filthy lucre each year.
Comparing Oprah's rank to Tom's (#1 to #8). Seeing how far Johnny Depp has sailed the Black Pearl (to reach #6! That rocks.). Wondering how it's possible that Jessica Simpson ranked higher than Reese Witherspoon (?!). And those are just the celebrities. Looking at the list of truly rich people - have you ever stopped to really think about how much money $56B is? I mean, honestly, $56B? Let me write it out this way: $56,000,000,000. That's nine zeros. (By the way, in case it had slipped your mind, the $56B would be Mr. William Gates III's net worth, thank you very much.)
But today I stumbled across Forbes list of the Fictional 15, complete with rules, guidelines, and a proprietary calculation algorithm. Here they are:

1. Scrooge McDuck
2. Ming The Merciless
3. Richie Rich
4. Mom
5. Jed Clampett
6. C. Montgomery Burns
7. Carter Pewterschmidt
8. Bruce Wayne
9. Thurston Howell III
10. Tony Stark
11. Fake Steve Jobs
12. Gomez Addams
13. Willy Wonka
14. Lucius Malfoy
15. Princess Peach

Don't you just love this?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Rule #3

Thanksgiving wasn’t that long ago – but I started fantasizing about my mother’s mulled wine the very next day, and haven't stopped. For some reason, she only makes it once a year, for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s perfect; it’s winy and sweet and spicy and slightly numbing. Here’s my New Rule #3: mulled wine (or cider – I’m an equal opportunity imbiber) should be simmering on the stove from Thanksgiving through January.

Here’s my mother’s recipe - it's fantastic:

Combine and boil together for 10 minutes:
1 Cup Sugar
3 Sticks Cinnamon
½ Cup Water
24 Cloves
3 Lemon slices

Add and heat
2 Cups Pineapple Juice
2 Cups Orange Juice
Juice of 1 Lemon

Add and heat until hot. Do Not Boil.
2 bottles Red Wine
Thin Orange & Lemon slices

It doesn't get better than this, folks, trust me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The power of too

Eliza lesson #274: You're just right the way you are.
Yesterday, trying to impress upon my niece Eliza the danger of going out into the street on her own, her mom told Eliza that the cars couldn't see her because she was "too little." And Eliza, tears streaming down her face (more because both Mama and Papa had scolded her for going into the street), cried "I'm not too little. I'm very big!"
She's right - she's not too little. She's just the right size.
We could all do to remember that a bit more often - we're just right the way we are.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Can't you just feel the moon shine?

All right, this will (really) not be a surprise to anyone who knows me well, or even a little. I kind of have a thing for Carole King. Not really a small thing either. Kind of a big thing. I mean, I flew with my best friend to Tokyo earlier this month just to see her perform.

So last week, you can only imagine my state of alt when I saw Carole King perform with James Taylor in a venue the size of a shoebox. As my friend Melani put it – a Gillian-dream-come-true night. And it was.

The joke has always been “I want to be Carole when I grow up” – not that I wanted to be a songwriter or singer (a good thing, considering I can’t carry a note in bucket) – what I wanted to be was as thoroughly immersed in my talent, as astoundingly generous with it, and having as much fun as she always seems to be. And did she, and he, ever have fun back where they’d performed together 30 some odd years before (“evidently,” quipped JT, claiming not to remember much of that time period at all). 

Did you know that James calls Carole “baby grand?” Or that he heard, and remembers hearing despite earlier confessions, Carole sing “You’ve Got a Friend” right there in the Troubadour and asking her if he could put it on his album? “You did a good job with it,” she told him last week with a wink, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. 

In my mind, I’m going to Carole King – can’t you just see the sunshine?