Category Archives: silliness

Linky Goodness, for better and worse

I’m in a rush today because I have a workshop of too many women to teach tomorrow. It will be nuno felting, wool on silk, a skill that requires a certain “touch” more than anything else, so there’s a learning curve that can be hard to gratify in less than 4 hours. Times eight. Ah, me. But I enjoy teaching so it will be a fun challenge.

Lots and lots of stuff drops unannounced and often times, unwelcome into my online mail box (I’m managing to circumvent a fair amount of hard copy mail by moving around; hopefully by the time we move to Asheville a walk down to the mailbox will result in a piece or two of meaningful mail, rather than 12 trees worth of junk.) During the past week several good things have come across this virtual desk and I wanted to share them with you.

First up (and funniest to me, you may well have seen it), FC over at Pure Florida posted something about his manly man and barely Bear successful fix of the refrigerator door. I, personally, used to love the SNL skit with the  superhero “Middle-Aged Man” who donned his cape and flew around the neighborhood with his pot belly and spectacles armed with every owners manual known to mankind. Me, who never reads directions and dumps those asap. Anyway, speaking of manly men, this ad is winning awards right and left in the media marketing world (of which we know something in this household).

In the “Awwww, unbelievably cute and endearing wildlife department” is this, again from the Brits and National Geographic. (Remember the thermal imaging of the arctic owl hunting that I shared with some of you? Those folks.) All I know is that to be this happy, you are a creature of God and discussions about my relative godlessness aside, I want to come back as one of these guys.

Finally, in the no news is bad news department- brace yourselves. I know I’ve been bracing myself since this incident originally happened and I wrote about it. Spirit, our resident bald eagle at Boyd Hill has-had- been making a remarkable recovery from a broken leg, complete with titanium pins. Truly, for a 24 year old bird, it was simply stunning what was happening, between her true Spirit and the care, skill and love of many rehabbers from here to Alaska. The last two days have not been good. We got her out into her own new mews, with perches a mere 8 inches off the ground and she seemed well and recovering right through Monday when she ate a full diet,  had normal mutes (poop) and horked a healthy cast (pellet). Tuesday morning found her curled and unresponsive in the corner of the mew and she has been in intensive care and guarded condition ever since. She is back with our incredibly gifted, kind and wonderful avian vet who is nourishing her, sedating her and giving her appropriate medication but still, she has had seizures and is not very responsive. Personally, the moment I heard about the break I thought, “That is too much for that old gal. Too much trauma, too much handling, too much anesthesia, too much surgery…” and my heart both broke and braced itself back then. Then I allowed myself to hope for the past couple of weeks but still…I am now back in brace mode. I haven’t gotten this morning’s update yet but I can barely write the end of this post, as it is. I love that bird. A whacky, whimsical, graceful, magnificent creature who greeted me with head thrown back and the high-pitched warble of the American Bald Eagle each and every time she saw me or heard my voice. I haven’t cared one whit that our relationship is based on either the hand that feeds her mullet or the copacetic bright white pate that we share; I love her and she has been my friend. How lucky can a person be to have a bald eagle in their circle of close and good friends. And so, my final link this morning is to Wren, who shares some photos of Spirit in better form, including one of my better photos of her. I’ll keep you posted.

Okay, now that you have been on a roller coaster of emotions (in short, the way my brain works constantly), you  may continue your day. TGIF.

You really really like me!

I’m planning my speech. You know, for Hollywood.

So it was a small budget Indy film that may never see the light of day. That was some adventure my friend Susan got me into. Susan is one of my Florida buddies from Family Village and we have all kinds of six degrees. Professionally, she worked in college athletics for years so there’s that whole NCAA/Rich’s work connection and I had been reading one of her good friend’s blogs long before I ever met her down here (Wayne? Are you there?). Most of all, we get along famously. The other day we had plans to go to the movies- Rich is traveling and I’d been wanting to see Juno and the chances of getting him to see that movie are slim to none. In the midst of arranging that, Susan got an e-mail saying that there was a movie production here in St. Petersburg and they needed extras. All we had to do was show up at the theatre at Eckerd College, dressed up to go to an evening concert. Cattle call began at 130 pm. Nine hours later, we knew all we want to know about movie production (it’s very s l o w) and we were ready to go on strike for more canteen breaks.


(Susan, looking radiant in central casting)

Misconceptions is a quirky little story about a Southern Evangelical Christian woman who feels called to serve as a surrogate mother for a couple of gay guys who want to adopt. (Why didn’t I think of this plot for my book?) Seriously, I think it’s better than that sounds. Ron Satlof is the director and the movie stars A. J. Cook (Virgin Suicides, Criminal Minds), David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls) Orlando Jones (Mad TV, Evolution) and Sarah Carter (Smallville). I’m embarrassed to say I only recognized Orlando Jones from Mad TV. Anyway, here’s a link to an article in the St. Petersburg Times about it with a far better, more substantial discussion of the movie plot, director and actors.

More to the point of this post is OUR fifteen minutes of potential fame. Okay, 4 seconds. That will surely end up on the cutting room floor. They needed an audience, you see, to fill up the seats at this dance concert that the stars were attending. Mostly, we sat in the seats and waited. Periodically, we all got up and filed in again so they could film the part where the audience is entering. We did that many times. Then we stood up and applauded and shouted “Bravo” many times. It dawned on Susan and myself fairly quickly that the key to stardom involved being strategically seated near the stars. As you might imagine, there was a fair amount of jockeying for those particular seats and we had to compete with a former zombie who had a bit part in Dawn of the Dead, a woman who had some very serious facial palsy/twitchy/grimacing thing going on, a stage mother and her less than precious preteen who kept sassing and numerous St. Petersburg socialites dressed to the nines in floor length, black velvet backless dresses. Plus, the author of the screenplay and all the friends of the director. I still have no idea how Susan got this e-mail call for extras in the first place because we were clearly the odd women out.


(Our new friend, the zombie from Dawn of the Dead)

So, it did seem as though we were at least in range for most of the audience shots and then at one point, the scary casting guy went around pointing, “You! you! you! c’mere!” I was the first one he pointed to and I was certain I was being tossed for disruptive audience behavior. (It was friggin’ COLD in there. You could see your breath and mostly we were just sitting waiting and so, after a while, we began to care more about sitting in the vicinity of the giant spot lights for warmth than we did stardom. That involved some shuffling. Plus, we were yukking it up with Dawn of the Dead guy and making fun of stage mom. I was sure I was getting thrown out when he said, “You!”

But no. This was my chance for a walk-on. When they started shooting the close up entrance of A. J. Cook and Sarah Carter, I got to be the first person who walks in right in front of them. I kept trying to stand up straight, suck in my stomach and smile- all behaviors that come naturally to most people but not me. Plus, I’m still missing tooth #14 (for all you dentites) and I was pretty anxious that this rictus would make me look like someone from the cast of Beverly Hillbillies, only fatter.


(waiting to make my entrance. For the umpteenth take. And Orlando Jones.)

For whatever reason, Orlando Jones was standing there next to me, also waiting, and we had a five minute discussion about zoo tigers. He seemed genuinely interested and talked about some time spent in Africa. Which was fortunate because it was that topic or me starting an inane comparison between Mad TV and SNL. Nice guy- and I appreciated that he was doing this film for not so much because he believed in this script. Yup, he told me that.


(These are REAL actors. You can just tell. They have all their teeth and see how beautiful they are?)

Movie production is very interesting. They really do that clap board thing and yell “quiet! sound! ACTION!” Over and over and over. They have many many bright lights and they set up little mini-train tracks and run a dolly back and forth with the assistant director and camera zooming in for closeups. They film the same scene from the front and the back and sides. There’s a makeup person slapping powder and straightening hair every two minutes. And they really set up a makeshift canteen and feed everybody pretty good pulled pork sandwiches.

(Center stage, cute camera guy, script lady, Director Ron Satlof and assistant director.)

Susan and I had a good time before we got so tired and cold that we began to rethink our acting careers. Plus, I’ve always figured that that horrible experience of being a “child therapy expert” on CBS This Morning years ago was my one big media travesty.

Susan has a new iPhone which is a highly entertaining little gizmo. When someone calls her she has it programmed with their picture and individually fitting songs for their ringtones start. I want one. Zombie guy had one, too, so we were playing with those when we weren’t busy acting, but Susan managed to discreetly snap some pictures. Eventually (next day) we did also get out to see Juno, a wonderful little film that started out as an Indy production and has become a huge hit. Not only is the acting great but all the characters are both very human and delightfully endearing. Who knows? Maybe Misconceptions will make it big, too.

Now, I’m back to real life- doing a little writing, working on some more felt construction and cooking up new things in the kitchen (Lord, I love the fresh produce down here). I will post pictures of felt and food, soon. I’m also getting ready to go to work at Family Village and see my young homeless friends tomorrow. Real life is good to me.


(Orlando Jones, my new friend after I told him all about tigers. Just before I fell on him and stepped on his feet. See? I’m already tipping over.)

Fun and Festive

I admit it. I sometimes have the food network turned on over across the room while I work at my desk. I like food and cooking and watching people cook good food. Also, I sort of feel as though I’m communing with my mother who watched the food network a lot during her last months.

Does anyone but me remember Carol Duvall? She didn’t do food shows; she did craft shows. I think it was Frank’s Nursery and Trims that was her major sponsor so maybe this was just a Detroit thing, but she was always busy making styrofoam snow people and wine cork lighthouse villages. If you were seven, it was absolutely riveting: all that glue, glitter and tin foil turned magically into holiday schmaltz.

I know it seems like I changed topics abruptly, but here’s the connection. The food network has some sort of neat shows- for example, a pleasantly plump barefoot contessa waltzing around her lavish east coast kitchen preparing four course dinners for her passive and appreciative monosyllabic husband. There’s the fried green tomato lady, up from nothing and now she has a very popular show with fans watching her cook grits eighty different ways- and oddly, they all look pretty tasty. The perennial favorite, Emeril, slinging crawfish and yelling “Bam!” I think male viewers tune in for this hot little Italian dish that comes on in the afternoons, cooking “every day” Lobster Fra Diavolo. I grind my teeth every time this one show comes on where the host uses, “extra special E-V-O-O” in everything from soup to nuts; it sounds vaguely obscene. Mostly, I like these shows as background noise that sometimes triggers a meal inspiration.

But then there’s this show: Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. This woman makes Carol Duvall seem as sophisticated as Jackie Kennedy. What is up with this show? I really want to know. I want to know who’s in her audience (besides me, when I occasionally get seduced into seeing what god awful concoction she’ll make next with Miracle Whip and Nestle’s Quik).

Have you seen this show? The woman dresses in clothing purchased- where? Sears formal wear department? I just don’t know. She’s a ditzy ditzy blond. She squeals and she oozes. Most everything is “fabulous” and the few things that aren’t are “just fantastically delicious.” The menus are not exotic, they’re bizarre. And they look really really gak. Today she took those teeny tiny rubbery frozen shrimp that are so close to krill they would slip between the gaps in your teeth and she coated them with some dough stuff, deep fried them and THEN tossed them in a sauce of mayonnaise, strawberry yogurt and cayenne pepper. And threw them on a bed of lettuce. (You think I jest. Look it up) This cannot possibly be on any kind of human diet, save a lobotomized Inuit. I KNOW she’s not eating that schlock or else she has a roaring case of bulimia.

One of the highlights of each show is when she presents a little seasonal theme in the form of a “tablescape.” I guess she’s got an advanced degree in tablescape architecture. Today she flattened out a Fruit Roll-up and filled it with Starburst candy and then tied it up like a little sack with red licorice and arranged it on a graham cracker and canned frosting Santa sleigh. Cute,huh? AND ‘semi-homemade’, too.

The other major feature of this particular show revolves around alcohol. She makes a new martini or two every show and then she swills them down and squeals, “just fabulous!” Today she made three: a Frosty Cocktail, a Candy Cane Cocktail and a Gingerbread Martini. You think I’m kidding? Here’s the recipe for the last one:

Gingerbread Martini

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee

1 shot vanilla vodka
1 shot hazelnut-flavored liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)
1/2 shot butterscotch schnapps
4 ounces ginger beer (recommended: Reed’s Ginger Brew)
Float dark rum
Ice cubes
Gingerbread man cookie (recommended: Pepperidge Farm), for garnish

Pour first 4 ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into high ball glass or any 8-ounce glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer. Pour a little dark rum over the back of a spoon and float on top of the ginger beer. Garnish with a gingerbread man cookie.

Just reading that recipe makes me want to down a straight shot of single malt. She drank all three martinis. I watched her- she poured all that alcohol, mixed it up, garnished it with cookies and candy and then she drank them, one after the other. And then she gushed: “Okay! Now I want to show you my most fabulous, fantastic, favorite, fun and festive Christmas tree EVER!” And she wobbled across the set and did a tipsy Vanna White thing as she flung her arms out and back in the general direction of a giant Christmas tree.

“Do you know how I made this special sensational silver and crystal tree? DO YOU??? I just took the contents of the bar and hung them upside down in the branches! SEE?”

Sure enough, it was an entire 8 foot Christmas tree decorated with wine and martini glasses. There were some martini shakers, too. It was topped with a disproportionately large Nutcracker (made by Carol Duvall out of a Pringles can and glitter) who was holding- I kid you not- one of those bright blue Frosty Cocktails.

Someone needs to report this to the FDA.


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It’s all happening at the zoo…


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