Of note on my trip to DC:  If you look at the books I am currently reading, you will see "On Hallowed Ground".  This book details the taking of the Robert E. Lee home in Virginia at the start of the Civil War and the establishment of Arlington Cemetery.  Not going into detail here, but the trip to view the Custis Mansion, now referred to as Arlington House, was much more interesting after reading the book.  Thanks especially to the very knowledgeable Parks Service guide who spoke with me for a very long time about the home and the actions of Lee in making his very difficult decision to defend his home and the Commonwealth of Virginia at the risk of losing the legacy provided to his wife by her father, the son of Martha Custis Washington (George's wife), and his commission in the US Army.  The last time I went to Arlington was back in the 70's.  I'm very glad I went again.
Robert E. Lee home at Arlington

January Wrap-up

It is the end of the month and the end of the first month for this blog. 

I have just spent four days in DC.  It is one of my favorite cities, along with Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Paris.  They all have great sites to see, great food, and great public transportation.  While some could argue that Detroit has two of these (not me), no one could say that Detroit has great public transportation;  more like non-existent.  While there are attempts at same, the schedules and routes fall far short of convenience.  Imagine being able to take the train from the airport right to your hotel as I did on this trip and, from DC, being able to ride the rails to New York City.  Think how much money you could save if you did not have to own, insure, and maintain a vehicle.  Unfortunately, I will not see that improvement here in my lifetime.

Note to self:  DO NOT ever fly late in the day again.  I know better.  Sometimes one has to have a late afternoon or evening flight, like when flying to Europe.  The big problem with these flights are that the later in the day, the more likely of a delay, and I have experienced just that.  I prefer to fly between 10 am and noon.  But this time I agreed to take a flight after 6 pm.  Bad idea.  There was a snowstorm in DC and even though I got on an earlier flight, I arrived home later than my original flight was supposed to land.  I am beat.

On the upside, I had a good night's sleep in my own bed with no hammering.  Yes, hammering.  The Grand Hyatt is being renovated.  So, we listened to noise at all hours even though we were seven floors above the construction.  After a few complaints they sent up a complimentary bottle of wine and some fruit.  I think they were trying to knock us out for the night.

I came home to over 150 emails, not counting junk.  I have yet to go through my mail and I still need to unpack.  So, that's it for now.  Ciao.


With CNY just around the corner, I'm searching frantically for dresses. What can I say? I'm obsessed with dresses. And I'm lucky dress-everything, just as its name says, offers such a wide choice of dresses:

They offer lots of accessories too; belts, earrings, name it!

And here comes the good part: Readers of get 10% discount off any purchase! Just mention "I love to" and you'll be eligible =)

So hurry over to dress-everything to dress-everything now before someone else grabs your favourite piece! girl,

Take a BOW

Nothing like a bow to add "cuteness" into your look. I have loved ribbons and bows since... for-EVER! This 35-year old icon has rocked this look since she was born! =)

Here are some pieces which are really worth checking out or even adding into your wardrobe collection.

For those who are afraid of being overly "cutetified", here's a great piece to wear under a dress or a long tee as it has a subtle hint of "cuteness"!

Go grab it now from The Black Apple for RM 36.

Another sweet apparel from Oh, popsicles!
Depending on which accessories you wear it with or which outer garments you match it with... it'll bound to make heads turn! =)

Pastel Fun sells for RM 45.

Sometimes, just wearing a pair of great earrings can do a HUGE difference to your outfit!

This uber cute pair just screams classy yet sweet!

Be quick to purchase this pair from iceblingbling for RM 30.

(The original price was RM 55!?! Could you believe that? This is definitely a steal!~)

With all your long tops or dresses and leggings lying around... what better accessory to compliment your look other than a Dark Brown Velvet Studded Clincher!?!

Little Angel Shoppe is selling this item for an awesome price of RM 25.

Thinking of a casual bag with a bit of 'edge'?!? I'd totally carry this everywhere I go, being able to carry my necessities and umbrella =) It's so sweet and nice, isn't it?

Xiawa Dressroom 's Bo25 is going for RM 48.
Plus, it comes in four colors too~!
Interested anyone? Clickety-click here then. =P

Crafted By Mei is offering this masterpiece for RM 25 only! Don't you just love the ribbon there?

It's been reserved already =( But fear not my friends, Mei can remake upon request and also you can even request for personalization!

If you're really into this bow/ribbon style? Why not go a mile further and trying this hairstyle?!?!

Those of you who did (esp. since CNY is edging closer? ) send us a picture of you with this cute hairstyle! *anticipates* Hehehehe

*psst pssttt* Don't you think this hairstyle is going to be IN like I do??? Hehehe... girl,

I'm bringin' sexy back...literally

Another one of those fashion trends that is still hot..
Cut-out backs for those who have the body and are not afraid to flaunt it!

This piece is amazing! A little pricey though at RM69, but if you're willing to pay a little bit more for the quality and the pure awesomeness, head over to my vintage garden now!

A sweet floral top with sexy zig-zags at the back. Definitely a unique piece! Check it out at m0icLos3tte! (RM47)

The classic cut out dress for all ocassions. RM45 at Oh, popsicles!


Some days you are just losing it

Today.  I think my brain went on vacation a few days early. 

First, I called Visa to question the reward points calculation on my statement.  It was pretty obvious after the young woman explained it, and kinda funny when I got it, but boy, for a minute there I felt like a complete dunce.

Then, knowing I had to go to the grocery store, I started making a list of what I needed.  At the top of the list was dropping a book at the library that I had finished.  Finally ready, I got in the car, drove out to the main road, and went left instead of right.  OK.  I can drop the book off on my way home.  NBD.

Get to the grocery store and look for the list.  Can't find it.  Figure I must have left it at home, though I was sure I put it in my purse.  So, up and down every aisle looking at items and trying to make sure I don't forget anything essential.  Check out.  Reach into my coat for my keys and 'guess what'?  List.  I never put lists in my coat so I never though to look there.  Luckily, I had remembered everything, so to speak.

These senior moments happen more and more, but I think the bigger problem is the constant multi-tasking all of us try to do.  I am sure you have all started out doing one thing in one room and, thirty minutes later, you have not accomplished it, but have started ten other things. 

Hopefully, when I finish this post, I will remember what brought me into the computer room in the first place.

Did i stumble upon a time machine?

because it looks like the 80's are back. Way back when our parents were young and cool, the hottest thing around was shoulder pads. Clothes back then were so heavily padded that everyone looked like an Olympic swimmer.

I'm sure most of us here has had an experience where they went through their parents' old photos or even went through their old clothes and laughed at their horrible fashion. And our parent's would either cringe in agreement or tell us, "Laugh now, but eventually this will be back in fashion and see who's laughing then!"

Well, guessed what, our parents are right. What was popular then is now making a comeback. I guess they're the ones with the last laugh.

Shoulder pads, or what we currently refer to as Power Shoulders are making a comeback. It is among one of the hottest trend in the fashion world and is a prominent feature in the collection of top designers.

And, it's all the rage here in Asia as well. All the top stars in Asia can be seen parading around in Power Shoulders. Here, popular Korean actress Yoon Eun Hye (the girl in Goong, Coffee Prince and most recently My Fair Lady) rocks the power shoulder look. She's looking all powerful and fierce in a heavily padded blazer. (Yes, I'm guilty of being a Yoon Eun Hye fangirl)

But then again, everything looks good on models and actresses. After all you can throw them a sack and they can probably make it work. But how about us mere mortals? Can we pull off the power shoulder look without looking like we raided our mum's closet (or worse, our grandma's)?

I think it really depends. If you're confident wearing it and can strut down the hallway like you own it, then yes, I'll say. But if you're only wearing it because it's the trend and everyone else is wearing it, then I'll probably say, "Leave it for the runway".

For me, I'm honestly not too fond of power shoulders but that is a personal opinion and I just think that it would not suit me. But, I can appreciate it on other people.

And the great thing is, a lot of power shoulder clothes out there are very toned down, I guess most likely to cater to people like me.

Take this simple dress for example. The emphasis on the shoulders makes this simple dress into something more special. Lady Gaga Available from Buttons and Biscotti. RM 55.

Something a little more boxy. You'll definitely stand out in the crowd in this number. Shoulder Language Rm 43 from Basic House. They stock a number of power shoulder numbers, some less dramatic than the one pictured above. Worth checking out if you're into power shoulders.

So, do you think you can rock power shouldered tops/dresses or would you rather just leave it to the models/actresses? girl,

Follow Up

Well, just when you thought no one knew her, Stella Paris, that is, here comes her son giving an interview to the local paper.  Turns out that Stella was a mail-order bride from Greece in 1938.  An unhappy bride.  She had three sons with her husband; one son is now deceased.  She left her husband and children in the 50's and started living in Greektown.  Sadly, until reading their mother's death notice in the paper, they had not known of her whereabouts for the last 15 years.

Thanks to the Greektown merchants, Stella was laid to rest at their expense this morning.  May she truly rest in peace.

Leggings anyone?

Did you notice that leggings are like a separate section on online boutiques nowadays?

Pt#1 Always wear leggings or tights as they are. Do NOT wear them like pants! (Although they can be as thick and as comfy as they look)

Pt#2 Plus-sized people can rock leggings too! Just try to avoid certain patterns or materials like huge horizontal stripes and shiny/metallic/ liquid leggings. =) Always choose darker colors too.

Well, we all know that fashion comes and goes...and some would linger around for quite some time...But, there are so many types of styles we could choose from (well more for the girls and less for the boys). However, I do have a firm belief in ONLY buying clothes that can flatter your body and making you look beautiful!! Fret not as with the choices available to us today...just admit it, we're spoiled with the huge amount of choices out there =)

With leopard prints being commonly seen around, zebra stripes
are bringing in a refreshing wild look!

These zebra long leggings would look great under a black dress for dinner or a night out with your friends! Also, it's able to give you a chic look under a long top like shown in the picture =P

Comes in 3 different colours too! Get it for RM 38 from Irenelim fashion!

Are these jeans? Nope, they're "jeggings"! Yes, I heard some of
you had just moaned "NOoooo, not this please!"

Hahaha but hear me out, my personal opinion is in only getting a 3/4 denim leggings to match with long tops (remember point #1!!)

If you would like a longer one... go buy a pair of skinny jeans...
Well, cause the choices are so much better compared to the long jeggings. ^^

Ultimate-dazzle offers an unique design for only RM 15.

I totally love this look! With a different top,
one can pull off many styles, be it casual look to uni, or "beach-y" look with a halter top. Versatility! Me likey =)

I'm not too sure what to call these... but I like the idea of putting a skirt on top of leggings! Now, you don't need to look for tops that could cover your crotch anymore =P

Do Not Bleach sells this innovative piece for just RM 35.

MCA: Tights <-- closing soon! sells great quality leggings for an affordable price. Really sad that it's closing =(

Too Many Tights! (Black Milk) <--- If you have a lot of money to burn and looking for super-unique styles of tights. All the way from Aussie, bringing you both style and comfort.

*psst* even men has their own leggings which may soon hit M'sia's shelves =P "meggings" is what they're called on the net. I personally don't think it's gay or not good at all? I mean it's as comfy as pants but NOT to be worn as pants, so as long as he's wearing it correctly & comfortably, why not? girl,

Floral Dresses

Like lace dresses, floral dresses have been around for a while. well at least long enough for me to accumulate close to 10 floral dresses, all in different styles and patterns. To be honest, when you think floral, you think spring and summer. But for us, living in Malaysia means we get to wear floral dresses year round. I knew there's some good in living in a tropical country despite the sweltering heat.

I think the main appeal of floral dresses is the cuteness. but that does not mean it's only for the girly girls. even if you're epic-ly ungirly and clumsy like me *sobs*, floral dresses can and most probably will be a staple in your closet. It gives off the impression that you're all girly and sweet even if you're not *hehe*. and plus, with the zipper trend, floral dresses are no longer just flowy and girly but can be pretty structured and I guess more edgy too.

Something frilly and flowly for the girly girls. And of course, the kimono style cut makes it very flattering for everyone. From the attires' attic

Miss Hannah RM 39

Another gorgeous flowy floral dress. I really love the pattern and the vibrant colours on this dress. And i think the pattern is something we don't see everyday.
From cocktails and martinis

Spring beauty RM 45

Something less flowy and more structured. I really love this piece and i'm almost tempted not to share it as I really want it for myself. But since I've been spending a tad too much lately I'll probably have to give it a miss *sobs* *thinks to self: hmm. it's chinese new year soon. ohoho.*
From Double-Woot

Dandelion Love RM 48

So, the question remains though, do you think floral will still be in this year? I mean if we're talking about trends we see in 2009, floral is definitely up there but how about for the new year?

I'm really hoping the trend will stay strong but for me regardless of whether it's the "IN" thing, floral will definitely still be prominent. After all, what says nice and sweet better than florals???? girl,

The People you Meet - or not

Live long enough you will meet plenty of characters, or at least get to see them; everyday folks who wander past your life, through your life, or hang out there in your peripheral vision.  Forty some odd years ago (gee, that makes me sound ancient) a 'character' occassionally passed in my periphery.  I say in my 'periphery' 'cause if I saw her I trekked to the other side - of the street that is. 

I never knew her full name until today when I read her obituary in the Detroit News.  Her name was Stella Paris and she died at 97.  She was one of so many homeless people I would see hanging around the Greektown area where I spent most of my time from 1966 til 1977, either attending classes at Wayne State's Medical School or working at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Frankly, Stella scared the dickens out of me.  She reminded my of one of our old neighbor ladies who chased kids with a rolling pin.  Not that Stella was violent, she was more 'creepy'.  Standing on the corner yelling in some strange language, some of it Greek, some not.  One of my co-workers used to give her money.  Me, I never got that close.  You just never knew.

When I read the paper this morning and saw the story, I realized that never once did I ever think about the homeless folks who would often sleep in front of the heat vents in front of the hospital after I left my job.  I never wondered what happened in their lives that caused them to be on the streets when I was working there.  Was it their choice, or someone else's? 

As for Stella, no one sems to know what her story really was.  I would hope that at some point in her long life she was important to someone.  And that whatever demons seemed to haunt her all those years on the streets found their rest long before she finally did.


The lace craze has been going around for a while now, but still going strong! I am an avid gossip girl fan, and I'm sure most of you girls out there are. I mean, how can anybody deny the awesome fashion in that series? Too many a time have I spotted Blair in laced goodies (dresses /stockings/headbands) and I adore them to bits and pieces. Come to think about it, that's probably where my lace obsession came about. Lookie here, laced stuff are so versatile.. some give out an elegant vibe, and at other times, a hint of cutesy:

Super adorable laced dress going for RM 42 at

2-in-1: A sexy bodycon+laced piece for a more matured look. RM 45 at Clothesbucket.

They're currently open for back order due to very high demand. A red piece for CNY maybe? *grins*

Laced leggings anyone?? I haven't seen this anywhere else..caught me by surprise! And I thought those laced leggings couldn't get any better..RM 33 at I've got OCD.

Gotta love this piece! A flattering v-cut to show just enough, complete with a laced-back. Only RM40 at
Buttons & Biscotti.

This cute piece really gives out the vibe of an angel, doesn't it? Fits really well with the background too^^ Get it for RM 42 at
I ♥ This !.



the girls

When four old friends get together to bake, there's bound to be lots of gossiping and talking. Well, if the four old friends happen to be avid online shoppers (who can blame us right???), the topic of online shopping is bound to come up (ok. who are we kidding. our main topic of conversation IS ONLINE SHOPPING). So, it suddenly dawned on the four old friends that they spend a tad too much time stalking blog shops and it would be a complete waste of their time if they don't share their findings. Then they thought to themselves, "why shouldn't we start our own online shopping review blog??" At first they were all hesitant. But before they knew it, they came up with a name for their review blog and they got excited. So, *poof*, eat-gossip-shop was born.

Ok. I'm done talking in the third person voice. So, Hi, We're the "four old friends" and we're really excited about starting this project. We really LOVE online shopping and just want to share our love for it with the rest of you.

Through this blog, we hope to share our little findings and our opinions on what we see. We'll mostly be discussing and reviewing online blog-shops but at time we might randomly share recipes, hence the eat component.

For the next week, we'll be giving our thoughts and opinion and reviewing the trends that we've been seeing in the online shopping world like lace dresses, floral dresses, power shoulders, cut out back dresses and many more.

Do look forward to it.

the girls

If I want your opinion, I'll ask for it

There is only one comic that I make sure I read every day.  Frazz.  For those of you are too important for such trivial reading as the comics and do not know Frazz, he is a janitor at an elementary school in Lansing, Michigan.

This comic brought back memories of Phil Donahue running around his studio audience with his microphone, getting various opinions from those attending the broadcast.  If you don't remember Phil Donahue, here is a link: with some good information.  Phil had a way of introducing a controversial topic and then presenting both sides of an issue in a thoughtful and entertaining manner.  It is the only talk show I ever watched and in 'my opinion', the only one ever worth watching.

Today, we can all voice our opinion by posting our own blog, OR posting on the websites that ask for your opinion.  Yikes!  Are there that many adults out there who can neither spell, construct a proper sentence, or even address the topic?  If so, our education system is really in the toilet.

Oh well.  I am sure many of us have heard the title of this post directed at them. Not you? Consider yourself lucky. I actually heard a township trustee tell another trustee that their opinion was wrong. Huh? That is why it is called an 'opinion'. 

As for me, I have several friends from whom I often seek opinions.  Sometimes, they prove invaluable.

Best Laid Plans - or Waylaid in this case

When I was planning my retirement in 2008, a big question from friends was 'What will you DO???  Actually, not doing anything sounded pretty good to me.  But I did have some serious plans to spend my mornings drinking my coffee and reading my newspapers.  I had not done that for twenty years.  I could do my NY Times Crossword puzzle in the morning.  Who had time for that with a full-time plus job and three kids?

So, there I was a few short months after retirement, when the Detroit News and Free Press, who had already merged their Sunday editions, decided to only home deliver three days a week.  The other days were available online.  Sitting in front of the computer with coffee is not exactly what I had in mind.  Plus, I can be a bit of a klutz.  Coffee + keyboard = potential disaster.

To my surprise, I actually enjoy the online edition (after I drink the coffee in the kitchen, just in case).  I hit the highlights: major news, editorial, Frazz, Dilbert and anything else that may look interesting.  I also get the Oakland Press everyday for local news (and aforementioned NYT X-word).  A major benefit to not having the daily paper in 'paper' form is fewer bags of newspapers to recycle each week.

As for the NYT X-word, did you know that Alpo was the first sponsor of '60 Minutes'?  I had the four-letter word starting with A and I am like 'Alpo?  You must be kidding.  Must be something else'.  Nope.  Alpo.  So there.  See how invaluable it is get a newspaper and have time to read it.  If you are on a game show and they ask that question, now you know.

To Tree or not to Tree

Whilst shopping in the mall today, I overheard three store employees talking about taking down their Christmas decorations.  One of the women said that she did not put up a tree anymore, and I chimed in with a 'Hallelujah'.  One of the other salespeople turned to her said she must be a very unhappy person.  Since I was ready to make my purchases, Mrs. Scrooge and I headed over to the cashier's area.

She asked me if I indeed did not put up a tree and I said that I had not put one up for the last two years.  The tree I have is almost eight feet tall.  I explained that it had just gotten too difficult to make the trips up and down the stairs, set up, take down, etc.  I had asked my two sons who live in the area if they wished to complete the ordeal just to have a tree up for Christmas dinner and they said 'No'. 

When they were younger, I actually put up two trees.  Hey, I was younger too.  It was fun.  The tree went up the Sunday before Christmas and came down mid-January.  They were here every day to enjoy it.  Not so much anymore.

This weekend, one of my sons helped me take the Santas to the basement storage area.  The snowmen will stay on the tabletops until the snow is gone or Easter, whichever is earlier.

I explained to the clerk that I refuse to be made to feel guilty for not putting up a tree for everyone to look at while opening gifts.  I did spend a lot of time wrapping the gifts in pretty packages with real bows.  I do all the cooking and baking for the family.  So, do you want to eat or look at the tree?  I finally have to admit that I am not Superwoman.  Unfortunately for tree lovers, my family has figured it out also.

Beam me up Scotty

I love Science Fiction.  I do not always understand it.  I couldn't tell you how many times I have seen the Matrix movies.  And couldn't explain it if my life depended on it. 
'Battlestar Gallactica', though, I loved and understood.  The youngest of my three sons did not like it. He said it was too political. Well, it was. But I understood it. I didn't like it, but I knew why people played the games they played to survive. C'mon, their world had been destroyed and they did not know whom to trust.  Watching all of it on DVD or the internet over a three month period helped it stay fresh in my mind (versus five seasons on TV).  And 'The Plan' was a hoot.  The Cylons had a plan and I would constantly be asking, 'WHAT is it?'

For something more realistic, that may have been science fiction to our grandparents when they were young, I highly recommend 'From Earth to the Moon'.  It is a twelve hour series that was done for HBO.  Sadly, when I watched the episodes of the later moon landings, I did not remember that men had lived up there for three days.  I guess I got so used to men in space, I went on with my business.  If nothing bad happened, I didn't pay much attention.  Shame on me.

The space program was ultimately killed by, you guessed it, politics.  Hard for me to find the good in that.  If we are going to kill something off, I say let it be politics.

A Good reason to stay home on Monday night

Since I no longer work on Monday nights, I have every reason to stay home.  Yet I found myself once again traveling to my old haunts to criticize those who now sit where I did for twenty years or so.  And they have an excuse for everything.  This time is was because their attorney said their illegal expenditure, which I questioned, was really OK.  Well, what do I know?  I should just bury my head in the sand like most citizens and stay home on Monday night and read a book.

It is tempting to address all the political stuff that happens in our area.  There is plenty.  I have only sent one letter to the editor and one guest opinion to the Oakland Press in the last year.  On two of my favorite (NOT) topics - trash and roundabouts.  Here is my opinion on trash:

Here is the opinion that prompted my letter on roundabouts:
And my response:
A group of us were just talking at breakfast yesterday about how horrible the roundabouts are in West Bloomfield and here comes Gary Piotrowicz of the RCOC telling us how great they are. Gary, they pay you to write this stuff don't they?
First, please tell me how many traffic fatalities you have had in the last thirty years at the three intersections in West Bloomfield where you built the roundabouts. My guess is none, since I cannot remember any, but I could be wrong. If your goal is to reduce fatalities by 90 percent, why not put them at high fatality intersections first?
Second, have you ever tried to make a left out of the Jewish Community Center onto Maple Road? Where are the traffic gaps? People exiting the facility are sitting in the left turn lane on Maple trying to merge going eastbound. It should be posted right only at the exit or there will be a fatality.
I know many people who go out of their way to avoid going through the roundabouts, especially seniors, which probably accounts for any improvement in congestion (though I have not noticed it).
Furthermore, if you travel west down the road, traffic is backed up from Haggerty about three-fourths of a mile after three or four pm since the timing on the light is short for east-west traffic on Maple and traffic coming through the roundabout ends up there.
I suspect that Piotrowicz does not spend much time actually driving on Maple Road during the day. I do.

So, my political rant, for what it is worth.  Back to interesting stuff tomorrow.

Deer in the Headlights

Seems like the stories of the week are all about animals.  Deer, coyotes, wild pigs.  Enough already.  First is was the store owner, 'sporting goods', I love it, who had four deer come crashing through his windows.  Not the first time it has happened in this area.  Check out the video:

I have feared the same thing will happen to me at my home.  See 'Mr. Buck Stops Here' in my back yard in November.  The day before deer season started.  Of course, you cannot shoot a firearm or hunt here, so he was safe.  And determined to stay.  As he stood fifteen feet away from me I told him to go, went inside for the camera, and he waited to strike a pose.

Several years ago I had a cocktail party and the deer provided rollicking in the snow entertainment for my guests.  I can't tell you how much money I have spent trying to keep deer from eating everything in my yard.  They have six acres of park just behind my house, but like the 'ambience' in my yard and my neighbors for dining out.

As for coyotes, they are welcome here as they have killed the miserable groundhogs that are determined to dig under my deck and right up to the foundation of the house.  Another several hundred spent on removing them this year.

As for the wild pigs, I have not seen them.  Thank God.  Apparently, there was one running wild in Detroit last year. 

Rabbits, chipmunks, red squirrels, gray squirrels, hawks.  Just an everyday occurence around here.  Welcome to suburbia.  This place is a zoo.

You're running a 'Little Late'?

Breakfast once a month is always at the same place. This month, 'Our leader' suggested we try a new restaurant.  We planned to meet at ten when the restaurant opened.  I arrived about ten minutes til and saw no cars in the parking lot.  I wondered where all the staff was.  The others arrived and we made the brilliant decision that the place was closed (Hint: no lights and the door was locked).  We were discussing going back to our usual hang-out when a young man walked up and said they were 'running a little late'.  Hah! 

What were they planning on serving?  Toast and coffee?  Maybe they only have continental breakfasts.  Anyway, breakfast and girl talk was fun and relaxing at our usual haunt.

I, on the other hand, was not running late this morning.  I was up and cooking the beef at 7 am for beef burgundy.  Had everything in the slow cooker by 8.  I'm cooling it down now for lunch tomorrow.  The house smells sooo good.  You know stews of any kind always taste better the next day.

Just Life

One of those run around, get things done days.  That was after I got the four inches or so of snow on the driveway.  Not bad since it was light and fluffy.  The sun was out and the winds were low, so I did not freeze.

I received my latest Costco coupons in the mail, so that was one errand to run.  I was waiting for them because they always have a coupon for $10 off TurboTax.  Now I just need my statements.  If I planned this right, I should just about break even when I file.

Going to make some comfort food tomorrow in my slow cooker.  Beef Burgundy.  That meant going out and buying everything I needed.  I am also a recipe tester for Cook's Illustrated, so I picked up what I needed for that also.  Couscous with carrots and pine nuts. 

But that will be after I meet some friends for our once-a-month breakfast where we discuss anything but politics.  More about that on another day.


Way back when I was a senior in college, I had my first volunteer experience.  It was at a free clinic in a housing project in the City of Detroit.  I only lasted a few weeks.  Even though I was serving an internship at the City hospital and was used to 'not-so-great' working conditions, the free clinic was even worse.  Instead, I found a part-time job on weekends.

When I quit working at the hospital to be a stay-at-home mom, I had some time to volunteer.  I got involved with my sons' Cub Scout Pack.  I stayed involved as they moved through the ranks, and today, 25+ years later, I am the treasurer for the local Boy Scout Troop 1000.  My sons, of course, have been gone from scouting for many years.

I also found time to volunteer at my church, teach religion, participate in school committees and be involved in the community.  Then I went back to grad school and back to work.  Volunteering took a back seat, along with my hobbies.  Not that I still did not do them, but the focus was on organizational work associated with my career.

So, when I retired, I decided to devote some time to regular volunteering that I might enjoy for me.  Though for many years I had manned our local used book shop in our library once-a-month, I wanted to pursue one of my passions.

When a new hospital opened in town and was looking for volunteers I submitted my name.  During the interview, they asked about my talents and interests.  I had been taking evening adult ed classes in culinary arts at a local college for the last few years.  So, along with listing my career experience in pharmacy, laboratory medicine, and finance, I also said that I love to cook.  And voila, I got assigned to the kitchen.

Today was my scheduled day.  I usually work in the pastry kitchen.  I finish up whatever the pastry chefs have not had time to complete for the day.  Baking off cookies and cakes, dipping and wrapping cookies, packaging sweet treats, whatever.  While I love the work, the best part is knowing that someone appreciates what I am doing.  And they tell me that everytime I am there.

In my last career, I was more likely to hear people complain.  When I announced my decision to retire, I had people calling and stopping by the office to tell me how much I would be missed and what a great job I had been doing.  I wished that I had heard that over the 20+ years I was there.  Oh, I know that I had support in the community, but very few people were verbal about it.  And thinking about it when I was leaving, I wished that I had thanked people more often for the wonderful job they did.  So, thanks again to all of you who work so hard to serve your community.

Blogging for Dollars - NOT!

OK.  Let's face it.  No one is going to write a book or make a movie about this blog. 

This past week I watched "Julie and Julia"  based on a blog about cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's first cookbook.  None of us would realistically do this, would we?  There are 50 pages on sauces alone.  I cook a lot and have even taken classes at Schoolcraft College on sauces, but no way would I make all 50 pages of sauces in one year.

Yesterday, there was an article on the web about a woman who lived a year of her life following everything Oprah said to do.  Now I have only watched Oprah's show once.  I was on vacation and my travelling companion insisted on watching the show with Sarah Jessica Parker launching her new line of clothing.  (I've never seen 'Sex and the City' either).  This woman blogged about 'living la vida Oprah' and turned it into a book.  I say, 'Who Cares?'

Today another article on the net is about a woman who spent a year blogging about her search for a husband.  Well, thinking about some of the losers I've met since I have been single, her blog might have some humorous stuff in it.

The point being, I started this for myself and to put my thoughts down.  If friends or acquaintances find something interesting, so be it.  If they say 'who cares', that is OK too.  But don't look for me to be on Oprah's couch anytime in 2011.

Tuesday Night and CBS

I never watched television during the years I was working, with the exception of Seinfeld.  Three years ago I had an accident and spent several months at home in front of the TV while I recuperated.  My son got me a Netflix subscription and I discovered that I had missed some interesting made for TV movies and programs.

After viewing these and rating them on Netflix, I got suggestions for more programs I might enjoy.  And my list of movies kept growing.  I got hooked.  And after I caught up on old seasons of programs, I got hooked on watching the current season.

Thus, on Tuesday night I sit down with NCIS, NCIS LA, and the Good Wife.  CBS also airs CSI, CSI: Miami, and Numbers.  Next month LOST will return and I will find myself glued to the TV and trying to put all the pieces together.

Of course, watching them on DVD, On Demand, or on the net, eliminates all those irritating commercials, which is what I hated about TV before and still do.

It's Monday and I do not have to go to work

This is the Monday after a long holiday weekend.  Most people I know headed back to work. I headed into my kitchen to bake bread.  I used a new technique of refrigerating the dough overnight and baking in the morning.  The whole wheat ciabatta needs something.  I have to go and see why some recipes in Reinhart's book call for honey or agave nectar.  I think it would have improved the taste of this bread, though it was not so bad with peanut butter on it. 

While waiting for the bread to cool, I made some Potato, Leek, and Corn Soup.  Turned out very good and I would be happy to share the recipe.  I know, potato, corn, milk, bread.  What can I say?  I like carbs.

P.S.  OK. I live in Michigan and I am used to lousy weather. So, I will not discuss it again unless I get snowed in, not this one-inch a day stuff. Here is the latest on weather in the US from CNN:

Are you sure this is an indoor market?

I know it's Michigan and I should expect cold weather, currently 19 degrees.  But that is outside.  Went to the grocer's today and it was cold inside.  Pushing the cart with my gloves on and almost put my hood up on my coat to keep my head warm.  Even worse when I got to the checkout line, right in front of the sliding outside doors.  Brrr.

Looks to be more of this cold weather all week, so I will curl up with some good books.  And maybe bake some bread.  Received two Peter Reinhart bread books for Christmas, so now I have three and am anxious to try some whole wheat bread recipes.

As for those taxes from yesterday, I broke down last night and sorted everything.  Now I just need my tax statements and I'm ready to go.  There is always something.

Most days I wonder where the time went and how I ever found time to work.  My son did remark at Christmas that I never wrapped gifts with paper and bows (real ones, not stick-on) when I was working, I just threw everything in those nice gift bags. 

Thought for the day:  It isn't that I look ten years younger since I retired (so I'm told), it's just that I don't look ten years older than I am, which is what happened when I was employed full-time plus.

Cold and Sunny

It is kind of a good news/bad news day.  It is sunny today, but bitterly cold.  Officially it is only 9 degrees, but my outdoor temp here says --.-.  So, either it is so cold the digital temp is frozen or I need to change the batteries. 

Better part of the day spent watering my orchid collection.  Several are sending up new flower shoots.  Am still battling mealy bug on two plants.  Much better than six months ago when almost every plant (around 25) had bugs.  Ugh!

Have walked past my home office at least six times today and thought I should start sorting receipts for tax preparation.  Why does this have to be so daunting?  I guess on the upside, it creates work for a lot of people who actually understand how to fill out all the forms.  Who says government cannot create jobs? 

Til tomorrow.

01/01/10 - Day one.

I retired on November 21, 2008. I have spent a good deal of the time since then answering the question (now a big pain in the you-know-what): 'So, how do like retirement?' You would think I had either just returned from experiencing an alien abduction or at least had been the first person ever to survive retirement. EVERYBODY wants to hear the answer.

It's retirement. I love it. I can do what I want whenever I want. Or not do it, too.

When I retired, a long-time friend (that's you Debbie) suggested that I start a blog. Yeah, right. Like I had time to do this. Then I would be wondering, just what DID I do last Friday? It was Friday wasn't it?

So, now that my days and adventures all run together, I have decided to write a blog each night about what has occurred during my day. Sounds boring, I know. And I'll probably not even remember half the stuff.

Today was New Year's Day. I made French Onion Soup and Quiche Lorraine. Both recipes straight out of Julia Child's first cookbook. And the first time I ever made any of her recipes. While cooking I also watched 'The Man from Laramie', Criminal Minds, and 'The Last Days'.

Watching TV, movies and cooking from scratch are all things I didn't get to do enough of when I was employed. Ah, living life. C'est bon.

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