Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bed, Bath and beyond imagining why we need some of this stuff

It's been a while since I've given the "gadget wall" at Bed Bath & Beyond a good once-over.

My friend Jessica and I wandered through the store Saturday looking for a laundry drying rack, a hair turban and something useful for housing my bathroom counter knick-knacks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Complicated cord-cutting

When did watching television become so expensive? And when did efforts to curb that cost become so complicated? Shouldn't cord-cutting be simple? Isn't that the whole idea?

I remember paying a little more than $30 per month to CableVision for 50+ channels in the late 90's and thinking that was a pricey luxury.

And don't even get me started on my efforts to be wireless and how that seems to backfire every time some new gadget comes into my house. It's absurd.


So I'm sitting up in the wee hours of the morning, researching everything from Apple TV to Roku to Fire Stick.

And like a good nerd with insomnia, I'm making a list of all the things I actually watch on cable and what I would be giving up by ditching it. Turns out, not much. I regularly watch exactly five channels. Now that's eye-opening.

I'm also adding up the costs of things like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, and trying to decide if I would need or want any of those offerings in the absence of real cable.

I'll lay it out there:  I pay $160 every month for decent internet speed (whatever that means) and a laundry list of channels I don't watch. But if I want to get rid of the ones I don't watch, I lose the ones I do. There is no in-between, and the idea of "a la carte" gives AT&T Uverse the twitches.

And they do this super nice thing for you: they drill a special little box into your wall so your house is forever branded "AT&T-ready."

This must not continue. My wallet is no longer interested and I'm tired of being a sucker. So what if I miss a few old episodes of SVU? I mean, haven't we all seen them dozens of times, easily?

So far, I'm leaning towards Apple TV. It seems to offer the most options, and I'm an Apple girl.

Thankfully, I know an Apple guy who will graciously come to my house and set up all the little gizmos, gadgets and wireless things that just make me confused (another reason I'm thinking Apple).

I'll get started on this cord-cutting business first thing in the morning... Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Zucchini with a hint of Rachael Ray

I tried a new recipe, one given to me by my friend Kickingitwithmycrohnies via text message.

It went like this:

Yum, indeed!

My friend is super smart with food and recipes. As evident by her text, she's kind of a ninja at winging it in the kitchen. And as evident by the title of her blog, she's kind of had to be. I can't imagine a Crohn's diagnosis and the kind of guts it takes to fight every day. Yeah, I made a Crohn's joke. She will laugh.

So armed with her best explanation, I winged it and came up with a dinner for one that was pretty great! I under-seasoned which was a rookie mistake. Lesson learned.

Dining solo isn't my favorite thing. In 2007 I moved (back) to Louisiana, my home state and ate alone often. I truly believe it does something to your spirit to eat alone too much. And I think other people can tell. In a completely unsolicited (I swear!) moment, a friend said to me, "You've eaten too many meals alone lately."

It's also never a good sign when the woman in the Whataburger drive-thru recognizes you and lauds you as one of her favorite customers. That's when you know it's time to find a dinner date.

I didn't grow up in a house where I was taught to cook, much less wing it. Whenever my dad prepared his amazing meals, I just sat on the counter and talked his ear off, too wrapped up in my own gossip to bother learning any of the things he was doing. I did learn that he does one heck of a Julia Child impression.

So in my 30's I can't even credit my own dad with teaching me how to cook. All my thanks goes to Rachael Ray and the gang over at Food Network, without whom I might have no idea how to hollow out zucchini.

Here's how I did it:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Saute half an onion and one clove of garlic until onions are translucent
  • Add 3/4 lb of ground beef and brown (salt and pepper to taste)
  • Remove from heat and drain
  • While mixture cools enough to handle, slice two zucchini in half
  • Hollow out with a spoon, removing the flesh and seeds
  • Mix half a cup of sour cream and half a cup of shredded cheddar into the meat mixture until it is a consistency you like (test for seasoning!)
  • Spoon into the zucchini and sprinkle with breadcrumbs (and extra cheese if you'd like)
  • Bake filled zucchini for 20 minutes

***Mine weren't browning as much as I'd like, so I kicked on the broiler and let that do the work for about two minutes.  I also served with a tiny scoop of sour cream on the side for extra sass!

Bon Apetit!

Also, if you're a Rachael Ray fan like I am, check out this Wall Street Journal article for a look inside her actual kitchen! And PS, her cabinets are almost the same color as mine!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Two kinds of women

I heard some pretty solid truth on an old Law & Order episode the other day: "There are two kinds of women in this world: those with breast cancer, and those who are scared to death of getting it."

Right on, Lt. Van Buren. I hear that.

In just a few hours, hundreds of women, their families, friends, coworkers and even some pets will wake up to "race for the cure."

This annual ritual is a milestone in the battle against breast cancer for many, a blessing and celebration of survival, and a rite of passage for others.

Here in Cleveland, for the past three years, those who take part in the Susan G. Komen event have had to be pretty resolute for the cure, myself included.

As I type, rain is coming down in buckets, and as she has for the past few years, Mother Nature will continue to dump on the shores of Lake Erie for another 5k.

The pink will be covered with plastic bags, raincoats and umbrellas, but the army will assemble! It's  just a little water!

I'm always moved by the faces I see at the Race for the Cure: strong women who would probably say their lives weren't extraordinary before their diagnosis, but ordinary, typical, filled with husbands, kids, work, meetings, groceries and Browns games on Sundays.

Then, those words. All the air leaves the room. I can't imagine. I'm in "group two" of Lt. Van Buren's reference.

So this morning at 9 a.m., they will lace up their shoes, put on as much pink as they can find, and celebrate their forever-changed lives.

And the hope is that I and anyone else in "group two" will never have to know what it feels like to be in group one.

I won't be at the race this year, but my heart will, along with people I love and admire.

I will be thinking of them, each doing their part to help find a cure for cancer, so maybe someday there will still be two kinds of women in this world: those who fought breast cancer and won, and those who will never have to go to war.

Pic from the 2014 Race for the Cure, where my coworkers and I broadcast live in the rain!

Now, because you can't hear it enough, EARLY DETECTION IS CRITICAL!!!

If you've been putting off your breast healthcare because of financial concerns, MetroHealth Medical Center, University Hospitals, and Cleveland Clinic all offer free mammograms to uninsured and under-insured women.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Do you TBT with purpose?

Once a week I consider posting a photo on Facebook for Throwback Thursday. It always seems so self-serving, though. Like, who among my FB friends is truly interested in the photographic evidence of my Strawberry Shortcake Halloween costume when I was six(ish)? Incidentally, that costume was one of my favorites from childhood for several reasons. First and foremost, I got to wear red jeans. I lived in jeans then. I live in jeans now. I buy dresses and they look really pretty hanging in my closet over the kitten heel shoes that I also purchased for no apparent reason other than to gather dust.

As it turns out, that particular picture got liked more than most of my other photos. A lot more. I guess if a little validation/ego boost was what I was going for, mission accomplished. That's cool.

When I participate in the art/phenomenon/ritual of #tbt, I try to pick a photo from my past that's relevant in some way, one that serves as a tribute or homage to a person, place or event.

Easter's coming up? Better dig up that picture of my brother and me staring at the camera like a pair of bad eggs with nothing but disgust at the situation. Always a classic.

So to that end, it's Thursday, I'm back on the blogging, and I'm doing it with much inspiration from my friend Jess who is a rock star on her own kicken' blog! She's super strong, smart and sophisticated. I'm the one on the right.

This is a picture from the runners' expo the day before the 2015 Cleveland Half Marathon. Jessica had worked so hard to get there, and we were enjoying some free swag. The calm before the run. You can read about how it all turned out here.

Do you TBT with purpose? And coming soon... my compulsion to take too many pictures of my cat!