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Showing posts from 2011

Movie Snob? That Would Be Me

I could go with Entertainment Snob, but we would be here for days and that is not fair when the holidays are have arrived. :) 
To be clear, I am not all high brow and no humor. Hardly. When it comes to movies I love the high end cheese along with the epics. Schindler's List moved me to tears and Old School moved me to laugh out loud. I could barely stay in my seat during South Park: The Movie or Jackass. The first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan had me crying and heaving in horror. Those are the experiences I want when I pay good money to be entertained and that is what bugs me about most movies and television now. Most of it is just pure unadulterated garbage. I loathe, loathe, loathe reality television. Except for Deadliest Catch. For some reason we are addicted in our house. Go figure. I hate all of our Houswives, the Kardashians, stars who dance, fame whores who try to "survive" or eat bugs and idiots who want to be idols. Harsh? Too bad. The world is bitter an…

House Envy Part Deux

Bathrooms.

Like kitchens, they can be an oasis, a place to linger or they can be a place you do your business and get the hell out!  If one has a place to soak, relax and spa then it is lovely. Then again, most of us do not have the space to accommodate a massive retreat so what does one do? The least you can do is make it somewhat enjoyable when taking a shower or brushing your teeth. So says the woman whose shower does not work in the upstairs bath and has the evil poorly grouted pink bathroom on the first floor. I know I gripe about this a lot, but it does amaze me when someone will do shoddy work and live with it. Grrrrr! We are aiming to get the second floor done in the spring. Fingers are crossed!

Anyhoo, while a black bathroom will most likely not occur in our house, I do like the look of this one taken back in 2009 at a Brooklyn townhouse.

Now, while I do adore the color purple, I am not sure I could do this, but it is well executed. Here is link to full house tour.



This bathr…

House Envy

Sometimes I like to peruse real estate for fun, especially the ridiculous over the top 10,000 square foot villa. Manicured lawns, marble baths, the kitchen that pretty much can house two hundred people comfortably. I understand why most folks dig the "staged home", but I prefer a more lived in look. That does not mean I cannot appreciate a stellar photo shoot.
Via the blog Lark & Linen I came across this gorgeous farm house. Isn't it just lovely? Bright and airy kitchens make me swoon and this one is divine. While white is not my first choice in a kitchen, you cannot deny how elegant it looks.
From The Right Bank has a list of beautiful gray kitchens. I do like the dark cabinets, I think it is a such an unexpected touch. Once again, I covet the Aga stove.
This Tobi Fairley kitchen and bath featured on House of Turquoise are just stunning. I like the shots of blue color used through out both rooms.
Cheers! MissFifi

Ahhhh Design

The old standard theme rooms for baby nurseries do not work for me. Disney is a no no and anything too genderized, boy means blue and girl means pink, is totally against my sensibilities. When we found out that we would be put to the ultimate life test and become parents one of my thoughts were, "How to decorate?'
Okay, not really, but it sounded good right?
Actually, my husband is a comic book geek. I can appreciate this to a point. Most of his collection sits in a box in the closet and this makes me twitch. Reason being that some of the cover artwork is stunning and deserves to be displayed. So using my genius I persuaded him that we should frame a few to put up in the nursery as artwork. No matter if it was a boy or a girl, the comic books were going up. X-Men, Batman and a few others were chosen and framed. I have to say it looks really awesome and this inspired him to pull out his Star Wars bobble heads and put them out on a shelf in the room as well. I know that as parent…

What's In A Name?

Some names are passed down from generation to generation. Others are chosen out of respect for the dead and to carry on their memory. Then are those chosen simply because of their meaning or because after much searching, the parents found something they really like.My own name is very unusual and I happen to love it. I also went to grammar Catholic school with many children of various backgrounds, Hispanic, Italian and Black, all who had wonderful ethnic names. No one was made fun of, and this was the seventies and early eighties. There are names I have loved and would have used on our forthcoming bundle of joy if, and only if, DH's last name was not quite so hard. It is German in origin and not an easy one to match things too. So choosing a name has been quite the task. Once we found it we were happy, but also reluctant to share. Why is this you ask? Because everyone has an opinion on what you name your child. And the most aggressive opinion comes from my in-laws. Imagine my amaze…

Self Publishing Trudges Ahead

A darling friend sent me an article about an author who after numerous rejections, took it upon herself to self publish. A lot of us who toil away at this solitary career also squirm and toil away writing query letters and various forms of a synopsis. Those are not the only things I dread from time to time. With any sort of publishing comes the anonymous reviewers that can tear apart your book. Sure i have thick skin thanks to numerous rejection letters, but one does worry about sending out an imperfect product. Then again, I can just go over it once more, and roll with the punches. The point would be to get it out there, push for it to sell, even at a mere 99 cents, and hope it generates buzz like Darcie Chan's debut novel discussed in the article at Yahoo.
One of my favorite things about the article is Ms. Chan's description of her novel. "It didn't really fit any genre," Ms. Chan says. "It has elements of romance, suspense, mystery, but it falls into the …

The Cost of E Books

Are eBooks too expensive?
This question is asked by the SmartMoney blog and I must agree. I constantly question paying $12 for an eBook when the paperback is $6.99. Heck, the library is free. Publishers seem to be just as baffled as the music industry was back in the days of Napster and files sharing. They are not sure what to do with those of us who want physical books in our hands as well as an eBook. We want to pay money and support the authors, but not be overcharged. Will this ever get worked out? I hope so. Though we do have a current round of publishers being jerky about the Kindle Lending Library and limiting the amount of times and eBook can go out. Read about that here.
Cheers! MissFifi


I Hear Music

On a perkier note today, here are some songs/videos that have been getting serious play in our casa.

Foo Fighters - Rope (Deadmau5 remix) I like it more then the original version.

Aloe Blacc - Loving You Is Killing Me. Fantastic beat and love the kid getting his groove on.

I was cleaning out old cassettes and came across some forgotten but still beloved treasures.

Christian Death - Incendiary Lover. Gothic at its best.

Metallica - The Wait. Well done cover of this awesome Killing Joke song.

Peter Murphy - Deep Ocean Vast Sea. He always delivers.

Julian Cope - Spacehopper. Full of pure innuendo.

Enjoy my darlings.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Society and Politics

I normally do not like to discuss politics on my blog for the simple reason I am not looking to get into arguments or slander people for their political affiliations. But headlines over the last few days have made me want to bust open a wall. Let us start with societal ills shall we?
Wal Mart's Black Friday.
I should not even need to say much more about this since the world watched a bunch of dolts fight over $2 toasters, $1 towels and pepper spraying fellow shoppers for an XBox. As someone pointed out, "What would these people do during a real crisis like a food, fuel or water shortage?" Clearly the herd would be seriously thinned during a major crisis. It was sad to witness these folks who were rabid with the need for goods that will pretty much crap out after use. (Sorry China, I went there.) You want to shop, shop, but please, act like a civilized human being. Then again, and this will sound elitist and I will not apologize, it also shows the caliber of customer Wal …

Education

Hope everyone had a lovely, fun filled Thanksgiving. We spent it with friends who live close by and it was great. The food was delicious, the company was great and we pretty much rolled home.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of seeing a dear friend that now lives outside Atlanta, Georgia. We met at another friends house and had a terrific time catching up and meeting her little 19 month old boy. At one point during the visit she announced that once her son goes back to school she would be going back to school to pursue pediatric nursing. We all commended her and moved on to various other topics. On the ride home, my husband and I began to discuss career changes and school. As we all know, right now, the economy has pretty much beat a lot of this country's citizens into the ground. So the usual solutions thrown out is get a job, get a new career, move to a new city and all on your own time and own dime and own struggles. Now, I am not asking the government to pay for anything, but for…

Money, Money, Money

I used to love that song by ABBA. Of course, for some of us in today's world, it is truly worrisome thing, money. We think we have enough, but we may not. We work hard, but salaries are stagnant while corporations rake it in and bank it offshore. How I would love to have an offshore account. Ha ha! Money has become an overwhelming abstract and concrete thing in our lives. A dueling force that drives panic, greed, contempt and every other emotion one can conjure.
But let us focus on a pleasant way money can be used. Charity, donations, gift giving, experiences. Not that I am trying to push hardcore consumerism or anything, but to lighten the mood, I wanted to find things one could give even if they have a little money.
The Ticket Kitchen - Sticks of fine hot chocolate. A nice hostess gift or stocking stuffer.
Happy Hen Handbag - The Humane Society has hit it out of the park with this fabulous piece of fashionable kitsch.
Arturo Rios' over the top Red Fascinator Cocktail Hat - Kat…

Mish Mash

Spent the weekend doing lots of errands around the house. For the past few weeks we have been gathering stuff to donate to the United War Veterans Council. they will be picking it up today and I cannot wait for it all to go. Old furniture, dishes and clothes we no longer need or use will go help those in need. Better then just chucking it out in the garbage to go to a landfill.
In keeping with my ridiculous obsession with BBC programming, a friend recommended I watch a series on PBS called Case Histories. I have always had a thing for actor Jason Isaacs. Ever since I saw him in the series "Brotherhood". He is fantastic in this new show and so is the actress that plays his 8 year old daughter. The show takes place in the absolutely stunning city of Edinburgh, Scotland. (That is the picture above. Scotland will now be high on my must-travel to list) I watched all three episodes on PBS online yesterday and I do recommend it. I have also begun watching the crime drama "Luth…

Food Daddy Food!

That phrase was uttered by a TRU.com colleague's little girl almost ten years ago. Let me give you the story. The man's wife was not much of a cook. I guess frozen and fast food were more what she laid out for the kids to eat most of the time. Anyway, they were at a relatives house, perhaps for a holiday, and when all the food started to get brought out, the little girl clapped and smiled and shouted out to her father about the food with glee. When our friend relayed this story we all cracked up and even now, I will use that phrase as a goof. Sadly, our colleague passed away a few years back from a brain tumor. Since this is the season where food becomes the highlight of the season from now until January, I want to honor him by posting some delicious recipes.
I have an obsession with beets. I want this...right now.
Pecan pie french toast. Yes that is the picture of it at the top. Sweet God in heaven does it look fabulous!
Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread. This looks so pretty and I…

Save Not Spend

When reading My50syearblog, I came across this video Your Thrift Habits. I think it is so awesome and in all honesty, should be shown in schools today. I do not care how hokey it looks to modern eyes, it is still a valuable lesson.When did we lose the idea of putting money aside? When did we decide there is no reason to live within our means? Everyone says it is when credit cards came about, but was it just that? How do we refuse to accept it as also partly our own fault? Sure it is easy to blame the banks, Wall Street, mortgage companies, and let us be honest, they have behaved pretty nasty and then got bailed out. But as consumers, we also have a responsibility. For those who wanted to live larger than life, I hold them culpable for their own situation. For those who lost jobs, had medical bankruptcy, I feel for them. Crappy of me to be choosy I know, but it is true. You bought a $500K house while making $40K a year, you are a jackass for thinking you could handle the payments. &quo…

October Noreaster = Self Reliance

We were without power for about 2 1/2 days. Our house got down to about 52 degrees which was really fun at night when it was 28 degrees outside. Thank goodness we had flannel sheets, a blanket and 2 duvets on the bed. Our cat slept between us and our dog was burritoed in a fleece blanket between us as well. Body heat was used as a great source between species and appreciated. I was lucky enough to go to the office with my husband on Monday to shower and charge our cell phones and computers. It was really weird sitting in a cubicle after 3-4 years. I do not miss it that is for sure. I was happy to have a warm place to sit and work though :)
This year we have lost power about 3 times in 2 months. Not a good sign. As we spoke to neighbors and acquaintances we found out that 20 years ago, if power was lost, it was only out for a day or day and half. Now it is 4 to 5 days. Proof our infrastructure has gone to crap and we need to update. Of course this would mean higher taxes which no one i…

Just A Few Things

Still on my documentary kick, on a friends recommendation, I have been watching Sister Wives. I have to say, out of all the reality shows I have ever been exposed to, this one is the mildest. I watch it and feel like I am just being allowed a glimpse into how one family lives without stupid drama, over scripted screaming and tacky broads. (Thank you Housewives of ______) I get that polygamy grosses out some folks, but here are consenting adults, doing their thing, raising well adjusted, God fearing kids that they encourage to pursue their dreams. That is more then I can say about the Duggars where the girls are expected to just be baby machines.I get that it is considered illegal, but in all honesty, they are not hurting anyone and I think most folks would agree that there are much worse crimes going on than polygamy. As one reviewer pointed out you see it more of a matriarchal set up instead of patriarchal. I agree to an extent because in some ways, the women definitely rule the hom…

Small Closets and Small Bank Accounts

Earlier this week, while putting laundry away, I got to thinking how way back when, instead of 20+ pairs of underwear, they may have had a max of ten. Then I mused about how many coats people may have owned or pairs of shoes they had. I glanced around out closet which we had made larger in our bedroom because in a 1920's house, the closets were made for small wardrobes. I am sure there is research and data online somewhere, but I highly doubt everyone had a clothing collection like those depicted in Hollywood films "The Women" or "Auntie Mame". Imagine wearing the same dress twice a week. To some women that would be akin to committing a crime. I may have thought that way when I was much younger, but now I could give a hoot. Since I write from home I sit in my jammies, I am not ashamed, then when I get ready for the gym I throw on the workout clothes. Do not misunderstand me, I love a fabulous pair of shoes and a good outfit, but if I do not need it or cannot af…

Two Films That Were Too Bad

Ever watch a movie and by the end of it you are left undecided about how you feel or if it was worth your time? I have had that happen with the last two films I watched.
Sometimes it is fun to go through Netflix by actor and see what may catch my eye. I was going though Ethan Hawke and came across "Staten Island". I read the description and a few re3views and figured, why not? Along with Mr. Hawke we have Vincent D'Onofrio and Seymour Cassel. While their performances were good, though D'Onofrio portrayed his mobster a little quirkier then what one usually sees, the story seemed a little off. A few times I sort of sat there with a furrowed brow just wondering where the hell this was all going. It seemed disjointed at times and other times it tried to have a heart while missing a beat or two. The ending was a little hard to believe, but hey, it is a movie. I believe I rated it 2 stars, or maybe it was 3. Forgive me, I have mommy brain. LOL
This morning, while I worked on…

Visual Inspiration

Homes in movies, redesigns of kitchens, gardens big and small, these are a few things that can bring me a calm breath. Especially when my days are spent writing and researching various religious topics for my novel getting one overloaded on bible literalism. This is where a blog like Hooked On Houses gives me much pleasure. I really enjoy Before and Afters like this small bathroom makeover. It gets me excited for when we finally get to do our own bathroom makeover. Of course it will be nothing like taking out a few extra rooms to expand it, but using the footprint we have with no issue. This house in Encino is lovely, but my goodness, I could not imagine cleaning that much white upholstery, rugs, walls, cabinets, etc. My white stove and cabinets always look dingy. Such a shame. My admiration for Candice Olson has existed for a very long time and I would sell my car to have her revamp my home. Okay, I need my car, but if had the cashola, I would hire her in a NY minute. House of Turquoi…

State of Wonder

Upon reading a review of Ann Patchett's book, State of Wonder, I downloaded a sample to my Kindle and read it. I liked what I read and got on my local library's wait list to get my hands on the novel. I just finished reading it and I find myself trying to figure out how I feel. I liked it. I did not love it, but I enjoyed the journey. The reasons I did not love it is because the main character, Marina, pissed me off by not standing up for herself at any point with her indomitable, former teacher/mentor, Dr. Swenson. I get Marina was emotionally stunted and that a prior awful experience in her medical residency threw her into the pharmaceutical field. But there were times, especially when she was in the Amazon, interacting once again with Dr, Swenson, where I felt she should have gotten a back bone. Then there was the whole drug company/fertility/malaria drug story that at times was a touch confusing. The novel had a few other moments throughout it where I could not suspend my …

For The Love Of Series - Please, Do Sit Down.

When I write, I like to have music or movies on to help inspire me. As of late, I have been watching the BBC One series Lark Rise to Candleford. This is based on the book by Flora Thompson which I am hoping to get my hands on at some point. My Anglophile obsession started very young. I am not quite sure when or where it fueled into such a huge interest. The Beatles played in my house growing up and I was well aware of Buckingham Palace, but I cannot recall the exact moment my fascination kicked in and stuck. Maybe it was the stories of Peter Pan and Robin Hood, including the Errol Flynn and Disney versions, when I was a child? Regardless, it has never waned. So much so that when I Netflix a series, most of the time it ends up being part of the BBC brigade. Now before anyone thinks I am daft, I do not have some romantic notion of British life. I am well aware of the undercurrent of incivility and injustice that lies in all societies and the UK is no different. Do we need to rehash Brit…

Sandman

Neil Gaiman is one of the few authors that if I ever met him, I may gush and scream in his face. How 14 of me and how scary that would be for Mr. Gaiman. All that silliness aside, my first exposure to him was when I picked up the first issue of the iconic graphic novel, Sandman, many moons ago. For whatever reason, I never stayed with the series, but it had made quite an impression. Now, a few decades later, I have begun to read the series in its entity and may I say I am blown away. Thanks to my lovely local library, I am able to get the The Sandman Library which has all ten collections of the run. Yes I would love to purchase it, but it is a little out of our price range at the moment. Regardless, last night I finished reading The Dolls' House and may I say it was the creepiest, most offensive and repulsive thing I ever read. yes, it was sheer awesomeness. A whole section about serial killers at a convention of their own kind was too unbelievable. His imagination spans realms th…

Crumblin' Down

John Mellencamp sang it best, "When the walls come tumblin' down"
10 Things You Should Know This Morning on Business Insider is what preempted me to think of the song. We can only hope things will get better, but it is touch. I was listening to NPR yesterday and the ex-Governor of Michigan made a great point. She said, not verbatim, "We cannot solve 21st century problems with 20th century solutions. We need structural change to function in this global economy." I agree. This problem needs to be approached in an entirely different way then it has been. But we o have brats on both sides in Washington DC so this will be a long haul indeed.
Cheers! MissFifi

Fabulous Documentaries

I have been on a serious documentary kick of late. One that got me going was called The Art of the Steal and let it be said that when it is all over, you will have a very different view of Philadelphia, The Annenberg Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust and those that broke the Last Will and Testament of Dr. Barnes. The art collection Dr. Branes had amassed shows what vision he had regarding who and when he purchased it all.
Now I am sitting through a very disturbing documentary about true white trash: The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. I am just speechless to be honest. Family member Jesco White is a famous American mountain dancer who has battled drugs and depression for a long time without much success. The rest of his clan also represent everything that goes wrong when you are uneducated, drug addled and believe might makes right. I cannot fathom where their moral compasses are set since none have an issue snorting coke in front of Grandma or stabbing spouses/boyfriends. …

Forensic Pathology

This is a field I love and if I could turn back time, cue Cher, I would work towards becoming a Chief Medical Examiner.
Marcella Fiero was interviewed in the Frontline documentary Post Mortem. I think she is brilliant and I love how her and some of her colleagues want to implement serious and necessary changes within the medical examiner system. What pissed me off was the amount of incompetence shown throughout parts of the United States. New Orleans was particularly aggravating. The coroner is a former ob/gyn with a team of forensic pathologists working under him. Coroners are the ones who get the final say in how someone passed away. Some of his cases seemed to err in favor of the police. Unfortunately, New Orleans law enforcement has always had a sketchy existence and the story did not make it much better. What also floored me was how if a pathologist screwed up in one state, he would just move to another and get a new job. There are no federal mandates or funding. Of course there …

Economist Article: Mass-market retailing changed publishing before the e-book

Last night I came across an interesting article in The Economist which was how publishing has changed. I found this timely considering what I posted about yesterday. A lot of the article is right in line with what Editor X had discussed during the Q&A about big names get churned out to keep the publishing house in cash to then fund unknowns to an extent. It does make me ponder if self publishing will be the way I have to go since the death knell of many booksellers are ringing throughout the land. The more that happens, the harder it will be for the Big 6 publishers to push the little guy. Makes one think of how the music industry almost imploded when people took to making and distributing music on their own terms. Perhaps the publishers need to think about that or else they too will feel the heat. Considering the amount of self published works selling on Amazon already though, they may be a little late to the game.
"Few people will mourn publishers’ losses from increased pri…

Who Needs Editors?

The Smart Bitches blog did a two part series called "Ask The Editor". May I say my ire rose quite a few times in response to the editor's answers on certain questions. Let me share just a few things that made me want to scream. You learn why authors such as James Patterson and Nora Roberts can publish a few bad books and keep going. Hell, they are the money makers and as such get massive passes. They feed the machine and let the publishing house pick up an unknown here and there thanks to the big bucks crankers. I have no problem with that. I have a problem when the big money makers can get away with filling in the blanks and it is considered good to publish because it is by "So and so". You also find out if you are trying to break into the business, your manuscript better be as close to perfect as possible. I am doing my best to create and send in something that could pretty much just be put out to the public, but I do not like that big names can phone it in a…

A Sunny Friday

Today is sunny and it makes one want to skip around in the grass with joy. Not that it means places are not still flooded or filled with stagnant water. All it really means is that there is finally a reprieve from all the downpours we have endured day after day. Hurricane season, in a word, sucks. And not just for coastal cities anymore it seems. Myself, I would have liked to have been able to store this water and send it to Texas to give them a hand with their drought. Alas, it was not to be.
Due to the impending arrival of a bundle of joy in the next few months, we have had to move rooms and possessions around to accommodate. What I have discovered is that not only is my husband a whirlwind when he gets going on a serious project, but that moving the office to the room off the kitchen was actually a fantastic idea. I am happy to sit here at the desk and write/knit/sew with complete abandon. My husband likes it because he is just in the living room and we are on the same floor so he c…

American Hollow

Way back when, 1999 to be exact, I had seen a documentary by Rory Kennedy called American Hollow. I was blown away by the standard of living the family has pretty much stayed in for about 100 years. If I recall correctly, one of the family members had "escaped" and came back to try and get one of the young men to go with him, back to Ohio I think, but the kid could not hack it. Having just come back from North Carolina and Appalachian country, it made me think of this documentary again and I found it on You Tube. Unless someone from the area was to tell me different, I would say it is pretty accurate in showing how welfare can be detrimental to a rural family. Instead of offering them job training or help to get out. Then again, this LA Times article puts a different spin to it:
Why, despite more education, more opportunities, and more exposure to the outside world, do so many younger men and women--including all of Iree's children--venture out to more prosperous regions…

Vacation and Irene

Last week I had the pleasure of renting a cabin with the hubby and dog in Asheville, NC. We had been there about 4 years ago and loved it so this time we decided to spend a nice amount of time there. We stayed at this delightful cabin in East Asheville called Azalea Mountain Cabin. It was conveniently located to everything and had a nice size yard for Isadora to hang out and play in with a cool porch in front and nice deck in back. The other plus was that it was secluded which made it really nice. Very quiet at night. The interesting thing was we had no cell phone or internet service at the cabin. Thankfully the cabin had a landline if one needed to make a call for whatever reason. We got to visit the NC Arboretum which made us both rethink how one landscapes their yard. When my inlaws came for an overnight visit with my brother in law and nephew we took them to the WNC Nature Center. One of my favorite places is Malaprops Bookstore and we took the family there before we went and had …

Words As Art

I have officially decided to divorce my sinuses. This is the second infection in about a month and a half, two months. Someone suggested I get an air purifier which I am going to look into. I have been using a neti pot which is sort of funky feeling, but it helps.
Writing has been cumbersome. This is because I gave myself writer's block by changing something so I deserve to be frustrated. I just keep thinking, "this too shall pass" and every other cliched saying you can come up with. Like I said, it is my own fault, but I gotta suck it up and get it done. I have given myself a deadline of end of the month> I am not sure if this is wise and who knows? I may end up setting my Kindle on fire, I doubt it, but it is in front of me and so it is the lucky choice. Once I get a move on I will be fine, but this stop and start and crazy story line hijacking on my part has got to stop.
A friend decided she wants to get a tattoo of Alice in Wonderland slaying the Jabberwocky. A sea…