Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A new "do"

I bought a wig last Saturday. I thought it would be weird but I kind of like it. In this cold weather I like having something up there to keep my head warm!

Last time my hair fell out very slowly and I never bought a wig...just used scarves. But this time my hair fell out in four days. Seriously! I went from not a loose hair to almost bald in days. So.. I investigated wigs.

Just hope I don't forget their warning not to use the oven or get near an open flame with the thing on! I'm not into the toasted look!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

my hope for you

Just want to tell you that I hope you have a wonderful holiday, but more important a new year filled with appreciation for the wonderful little things in your life. Sometimes they get ignored by the things we think are "important."

Take time for yourself. You're worth it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Meal Delivery is on the way

If you have your hands full planning special holiday meals and party treats, you may want to rely on someone else to deliver everyday meals. I heard about Dishalicious from the Austin Wine Merchant. I haven't tried them but it sure sounds good. www.dishalicious.com Handmade comfort food from the farmer's market to your table.

And, of course, the great standby, Soup Peddler www.souppeddler.com , always has a good selection of soups, salads, entrees, and desserts. And delivered to most parts of the city!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Well, this was an unhappy surprise

I can't believe it. Everything was perfect. My cancer was dead. The scars healed well. And then a few weeks ago I felt a bump on my back. Sure enough.... it's back.I can be treated in Austin this time on an outpatient basis. I can still sleep with a purring kitty!

Anyway, I started chemo yesterday and feel fine now, but I know that will change. I just can't believe it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

An afternoon at Ann Taylor

There are some really good deals out there now....but not everything that sounds good really is! Ann Taylor had a sale after Thanksgiving that was the real deal.... 40 percent off your entire purchase...everything included. The next three days it was restricted to 40 percent off one item.

I found a soft sweater wrap and silky t-shirt. They also had great black dresses that would be perfect for lots of occasions. And they still have those pearl, rhinestone, and ribbon necklaces that Dale Coker mentioned earlier. Also an extra 40 percent off sale items.

Sales like this pop up quickly and I never have time to tell anyone. And sometimes they are online only.

On the other hand, I was looking at computers and was told that I could pay it out with no interest on all computers with a little logo on them. I glanced around and saw the little logo everywhere. So I took out a new credit card and picked out a computer, only to find out that was not the correct logo. Only three models (all over $1700) qualified for the deal. I was looking in the $300 price range! Oh well...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't forget the wine!

If you haven't already gotten wine for your Thanksgiving dinner or need a bottle to take to someone else's house, Austin Wine Merchant has some suggestions. They recommend fruitier, less tannic red wines such as Beaujolais, Burgundy, new world Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Merlot, Côtes-du-Rhône. For the white wines they recommend off-dry versions of Riesling, fresher more fruit forward versions of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. I got an Argyle Pinot Noir for $19. And maybe a bubbly wine to start!

I've also read that Thanksgiving is not necessarily the time to splurge on a wine. With all the strong competing flavors, get something good but save the bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2005! This is a time to enjoy good conversation and laughs with family and friends!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

EAST (East Austin Studio Tour) favorites

There are so many artists showing their work it is hard to know where to start. Besides, everyone has different tastes so it's hard to guide someone on such personal choices. But here are a few that I have to mention.

George Barry makes metal scultures from found objects such as birds from nuts and bolts. Or a life-size, operational figure on a bicycle. Very unusual and creative.

The artisans at Mendoza's Bella's Artes handcraft earrings, necklaces, and bracelets from silver and stones. Very reasonably priced.

The Pump Project on Shady Lane is a complex with many artists. One of my favorites was Erika Jaeggli. Love her still lifes and beaches!

I also love the porcelain dinnerware by Sunyong Chung. They look like watercolors.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Report from HEB

Sunday afternoon I stopped by the HEB on Bee Caves Road for a few things I forgot the day before. Over an hour later I emerged having eaten my way through the store! No dinner for me!

The station at the Cafe on the Run counter had turkey & potatoes (good), cranberry chutney (very good), green beans (good). The meat department had ham (good), roast beef (very good) with horseradish sauce, and mashed potatoes. The scallops (not my favorite) were in the fish department and behind it were egg nog (2% and yummy) and cookies. And then truffles (wow!) and coffee. And then....pumpkin ice cream and chocolate mint chip ice cream (great). I nearly forgot...pumpkin pie also! What a day!

I guess they were featuring their Thanksgiving foods....They sold me. If they do this again, go try the goodies.

Earlier in the day, I had wandered into Williams Sonoma and they were serving turkey & dressing made from focaccia (very good), mashed potatoes and gravy (great), and green bean casserole (good). If this keeps up, I'll put on the pounds before we even get to Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wine Night!

I love Tuesday night when it a wine class with Jeremy Parzen! Tonight we talked about and tasted the wines of Veneto. If you don't remember my first blog about Jeremy, he has a Ph.D. in Italian and has traveled, studied, and tasted throughout Italy. His blog, Do Biancho, is great fun for an approachable look at wines. By the way, he will be at Vino Vino with Kermit Lynch on Monday, Nov. 9 to introduce Kermit's new CD, Man's Temptation. (But you need reservations; call 512-465-9282 ) To preview: http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Temptation-Kermit-Lynch/dp/B002JODUN4

But back to the wine. We started with Bisol Prosecco. I love this! Light in body (11-12 percent alcohol) and great with food, especially seafood. This is not a cheap substitute for Champagne, but a great food wine. $18

I bought a Soave Classico by Inama. Remember when Soave was a cheap bulk wine? No more! This one had bright acidity and is a great value for $15.

We moved to the reds with two Zenato Valpolicellas. Higher alcohol content here. These wines come from near Lake Garda and enjoy good drainage and ventilation from the lake. In the $25 range.

But the treat was a Valpolicella Classico Superiore from Quintarelli, a legend in Italian winemaking. $62 (at Austin Wine Merchant)but this was a special purchase; it retails for more! We're talking handwritten labels and a winemaker who won't release a wine until it meets his high standards.

The classes have not been "stuffy" and Jeremy makes wine even more interesting by sharing his experiences in Italy. These have been wine & food classes, not just wine tasting. Thanks, Jeremy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Outing to Nordstrom Rack

I'm sorry; I posted this a couple of days ago, but something ate it so I'm posting it again.

You knew I would make it to Nordstrom Rack soon! I love a discount but some discount stores carry secondary lines. The store had already been open for several days when I got there, but it was still crowded.

They carry lots of good brands but I don't think all of this merchandise is carried in their stores. They had lots of Sofft shoes (which are a necessity due to my early days of pointy shoes and high heels) but they fit sort of weird, perhaps why they were here. But I could spend a long time just browsing the shoes! Lots of shoes.

Separate racks for designers such as Nanette Lapore separates and Alberto Makali tops, but again I'm not sure that these are from the store. I did see some great leather gloves that were very reasonable.

I would definitely go again. I think you could find some good deals but you have to be lucky also.... or find out when they get shipments!

While I was out that way, I stopped by Ann Taylor. Dale Coker has been telling us about the this season's classic looks there. They had some basics like a black skirt and white blouse for $39 each. They looked a lot more expensive!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This is going to be a great Thanksgiving!

Guess what! My son, Scott, is coming home for Thanksgiving. This is a big deal..my kids live in Arizona and New York so they don't get home often. Scott and I are going to research new restaurants, exhibits, etc. so I'll have lots to tell you about!

Also, I think I'm going to break down and get a new computer. If you've tried to email me or Pat's Picks you may have had trouble. Lots of emails are going in a black hole. I hate setting up things like a new computer..... sounds simple but it never is. But I'll have expert assistance with Scott here.

By the way, I saw Dan and Linda Baker, jewelers from Dallas, at the International Gem & Jewelry Show. They have beautiful things... love to look and hear the stories about how they develop the pieces. Anyway, they are thinking of having their Master's Art Show in Austin. That would be great! The artists are selected to be the best in their fields.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jewelry on 5th

The Art of Jewelry opened Friday night, and, not being one to miss any jewelry show, I was there. It was a wonderful chance to see one-of-a-kind creations from award-winning artists. Intricate metal designs, beads, gems and the artists were there to explain how they created the pieces.

I spotted some earrings that reminded me of some I bought years ago. Sure enough, it was the same artist only now she has a full line of earrings, cuffs, necklaces & more. Christi Klug cuts delicate shapes in metal for unique shapes. One of her designs is above (center). Check the Website http://www.arton5th.com/Jewelry-Perm/Preview/preview-AOJ.htm for a peek at some of the other designs.

The jewelry was modeled by 5'11" gorgeous models in strapless, black cocktail dresses. I'm not sure they would look the same on a 5'4" slightly pudgy woman in jeans!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Italian Wine 101

Hurrah! I was on the wait list for the first Italian wine class at the Austin Wine Merchant and I got in! Jeremy Parzen teaches the six-class series. Jeremy has a Ph.D. in Italian from UCLA and is a published author and translator of Italian works. In addition, his articles on food, wine and food history have appeared in national cooking magazines.

He is at his best in a class like the ones at Austin Wine Merchant. This is not a wine geek class but a very approachable look at the food and wine of some of the major producing regions of Italy. When talking about the structure of the wine, he calls the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo a Friday night wine...good with pizza. The Campania Aglianico is a Saturday night wine... for steaks and hearty stew.

And....he has kept all wines in a reasonable price range. All were $13 - $25. These are beautiful wines, many from small producers.
There are five more classes: Tuscany (Oct 13, $37.50), The Other Piedmont (Oct. 20, $25), Piedmont's De Facto Cru System (Oct. 27, $37.50), the Enigmatic Wines of the Venato (Nov. 3, $37.50), and Italian Wine & Civilization (Nov. 10, $25)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jewelry in 95 degrees

It may have been 95 degrees but I was out there at Pecan Street Festival trying on jewelry. The Gilded Giraffe was there with their shell and silver pieces. I had to buy the pearl earrings with silver beads imprinted with tiny dragonflies. Unfortunately, they don't have a Web site.

I also discovered Jessica Weiss from Knoxville. She does unusual, primarily dangling, earrings with stones. Her Web site is http://www.jessicaweissjewelry.com/ Don't be shocked...the designs on theWeb site are usually in 18K or 22K gold, that is, expensive. They run several hundred to several thousand dollars. But at Pecan Street she had silver and gold plate. A pair of earrings would run $30 - $80. Very delicate leaf shapes, branches or circles with turquoise, black onyx, pearls. She said you could order and she would ship, but the pieces at the show are not on the Web site. Don't know how that would work.

A similar look is Windy Mink http://www.wendyminkjewelry.com/ , a NYC jeweler who is featured in numerous magazines and occasionally on Gilt.com, the designer discount Web site. She has a sale going on right now on her blog.
The earrings at the top of this post are Windy Mink's.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not your ordinary library

Last Sunday I visited Laura's Library, the new Westbank location on the southeast corner of Bee Caves and Cuernavaca. This is not what I was expecting! It is what you always dreamed a public library could be.

Lots of new titles.. books and CDs....and plenty of comfortable seating to browse. I checked out a set of CDs from The Great Courses on music theory. I had wanted to order it for some time but it is very expensive. Now I can enjoy it!

If you love to cook, they have a collection worthy of the best bookstore. It's not a big library but well chosen selections.

I especially love the nooks (some with leather chairs!) to read in a soothing atmosphere. And did I mention the views? Amazing. So comfortable and homey.... better than my home!

They are open M & T Noon-8, Wed-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-4, and Sun 1-6.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The real devil

I saw The September Issue last weekend. I loved it! It's a documentary about the production of the September issue of Vogue magazine, featuring Anna Wintour, of course. In case you don't know, The Devil Wears Prada was based on her and her role as editor of Vogue.

Loved seeing how they put together a large issue... behind the camera at photo shoots, discussions of photo quality, etc. And to top it off, when I got home The Devil Wears Prada was on TV!

Before I close, Victoria wants you to know that the service around here is deteriorating. She has always preferred her water straight from the bathroom faucet, but now she wants it from the tub faucet. I heard a meow echoing in the bathroom and found her in the tub looking longingly at the faucet.

But if it runs too fast, it gets her feet wet, which is a problem. And it's not easy to get a tub faucet to trickle just right. Only a cat owner could understand this!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fly with Me!

There really are some good flight deals right now. But you have to act fast. I got three notices today, Tues., September 8, for deals that must be purchased by Thurs, September 10. Southwest has specials from Austin to Chicago for $99 each way, San Francisco $98, West Palm Beach $103 (& lots of other destinations).

Jet Blue has specials to Ft. Lauderdale for $89 each way, Orlando $89, and New York (JFK) $109.

Alaska Airlines has Austin to Seattle for $99 each way (& more deals).

Check back if you miss out on these deals (remember they expire 9-10). Travel is for the fall.

There are similar deals from San Antonio and Houston.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Birthday Massage

Today is my birthday! Hurrah! Over the weekend I got a massage at Lake Austin Spa. It was wonderful...the woman had been trained at M.D. Anderson and knew exactly the pressure needed for cancer patients, no heat, etc.

If you know someone who is or was recently in treatment for cancer, tell them about Pamela at Lake Austin. I could stand straighter after she had worked the scar tissue.

My physical therapist had suggested massage for the scar tissue but I was afraid to go to someone who didn't understand my surgery. The muscles aren't where they used to be! Anyway, I was glad to find someone who understood.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lentil Soup for the masses

I have been cooking up a storm, trying to eat healthy. It goes against my natural inclinations...cooking, that is, but I really do want to eat better. Today I made Lentil Soup from French Women for All Seasons. I've made it before....I think.

It's really easy to make, but it requires lots of the "C" word (chopping). It says it serves four, but I'd like to see the size of those four people. I freeze a lot and store the rest in containers for lunch.

Oops, I was talking to my mother and forgot to add the tomatoes. Oh well, how much cooking could they need. I'll just add them at the end. Maybe a chocolate chip to settle my nerves.

Back to storage issues: I put as much as I could in glass containers. But (and this is a big but) there is a lot left over. I saw someone store liquids in baggies so...... It's still sort of hot so I put the baggies in the fridge. Just a couple of chocolate chips to make things more pleasant.

When I checked the baggies they had leaked and run down the fridge and settled under the vegetable bin. Yuk! How many paper towels does it take to soak up that stuff? A handful of chocolate chips helps.

Here is the recipe; it really is good!
2 qts vegetable stock
1/2 lb lentils
2 T olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 T chopped parsley
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
salt & pepper
Bring stock to a simmer & drop in lentils. Heat oil in skillet and add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook until golden, 3-5 minutes. Add parsley & tomatoes; cook 8-10 minutes. After lentils have been cooking for 35-40 minutes, add onion mixture to pot & cover. Simmer until lentils are soft, 5-10 more minutes. Season with salt & peper.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finally! A place to turn my Ferrari loose (I'm joking!)

There is no real point in this blog other than I thought it was really interesting. I met one of my neighbors recently, and he was on his way to Nice to stay at a friend's villa. Yeah, well, I'm on my way to San Antonio and I'm thinking of stopping at the snake farm!

Anyway, I asked him what he did that he would be in Nice. Among his many projects is Driveway, a training track in East Austin. It is used to train EMS drivers, homeland security employees, and law enforcement. The founder is a retired racecar driver who drove for Ferrari.

The 90 acre facility is 10 minutes from downtown Austin and is surrounded by a greenbelt keeping it isolated from adjacent development. The Web site is http://www.drivewayaustin.com/ I had no idea this facility was in Austin. The only world class racing track I've seen is Loop 360 on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another lesson from cancer

My birthday is coming up soon, and I've been trying to decide what I wanted to do this year. It needs to be special since last year I had just had my first round of chemo on my birthday and it was a doozy! I barely remember that day (and probably a good thing).

Then I realized that I don't really care what I do as long as I'm with people I love and are positive, faithful friends and family. I used to think of lots of places I wanted to go, but they don't seem as wonderful if I can't share the experience.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Keeping up with tests

I'm trying to get back on schedule with my checkups with my local doctors. You know, mammogram, colonoscopy, etc. I remember reading in Health magazine about the tests you should have at each stage of your life. Worth repeating!

In your 30s:
Gyno check, Thyroid check (if you've had a baby)
Heart check
Skin check
Eye exam

In your 40s:
Gyno check, Diabetes test
Heart check, Mammogram
Skin check, Vitamin D test
Eye exam

In your 50s:
Gyno check, Diabetes test, Thyroid test
Heart check, Mammogram, Bone-density scan
Skin check, Vitamin D test
Eye check, Colonoscopy

Excuse me... what about 60s, 70s, etc.? I guess they're the same as 50s but I'm not sure. You know, I always read those articles about how to dress in your 20s, 30s, etc. but it's depressing when they stop at 50. What do they think we wear... flannel pajamas? But that's another blog.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm sorry I'm late with this blog. The cat threw up in my bed last night and I spent quite some time cleaning it up. Then she started whining; I suspect it wasn't clean enough for her. I don't mind sleeping on wet sheets if it means a few minutes of peace and quiet!

Anyway, I was so tired I drove right past the dumpster with my garbage still in my trunk. So I got to work and have been looking for a dumpster. I hate to think what garbage smells like after it's been roasting in 103 degrees all day.

PS I found a dumpster but I'm not telling where!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I got my hair highlighted last Friday, and I feel a lot more like my old self. I didn't realize how much a part of personality a hair style could be. Don't get me wrong; I'm just grateful to have any hair. But it is nice to look more like I remember me!

I waited until after my first checkup because apparently they don't want people with some kinds of cancer to use hair color. But not the cancer I had, and......the reports were all good. I thought they would be, but just being at M.D. Anderson again and going through all the tests made me anxious. They even cancelled the tests on the second day.... unnecessary.

And to make it even better, I stopped at a shop on the way out of Houston, and they had just marked down their summer clothes 75 percent. What a day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tired from happiness

I really had trouble sleeping last week. My first checkup at M.D. Anderson was Tues & Wed....and everything was good! In fact, I was able to leave earlier than planned. Hurrah! Going back was more difficult than I had thought. Memories.

But that's not the reason I couldn't sleep. Wed, Thurs, & Friday nights I would just lie there thinking how pretty the moon was, how happy I was to have my kitty curled up at my feet, and how glad to have the luxury of worrying about a few extra pounds I had put on. Just happy.

But the next day I would be pooped. I hope you are tired from happiness also!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Big birthdays on the 4th

A guest post from Margaret. Yes, her birthday really is July 4!

Yippee! Despite terrorism, recession, arthritis and asthma, America and I celebrated our respective birthdays on July 4.

Although I am one year away from celebrating three-fourth of a century worth of birthdays, I remain grateful that my mother had the wisdom to give birth to her only child on a day that the entire nation observes.

July 4 is the quintessential American holiday, and it requires little effort to celebrate in style.

No presents to buy, no turkey to cook, no eggs to dye and no roses to send.
Fly an American flag, cook some wieners, cut a watermelon, light a Roman candle, and before you can say, "The British are coming," it’s a red, white and blue Fourth.

This year I celebrated with friends in Sun City where Pat was looking great after her long battle with cancer, and our hostess was gloriously happy in her new home.

Although I have received some great presents, the best gifts are seeing a good friend recover her health, another happy, children’s phone calls, grandchildren’s text messages, silly cards from far away friends, unexpected e-cards, and a Skype equipped laptop so I may see, as well as talk, to my loving husband as his job takes him around the world.

Each year, I also am grateful for the military men and women whose service and sacrifice have made it possible for all Americans to wake up on July 4 in the land of the free.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I washed my I Phone!

The I Phone is not a cold water wash item. Not even if the detergent is eco-friendly!

I was in a hurry and pulled the sheets off my bed and dropped them in the washer quickly. I thought I heard a thump but decided I must have bumped that thingie in the middle that turns. I went back into the bedroom to grab my glasses and the I Phone so that I could leave. Where is the phone? Like a flash it hit me..... that thump was my phone.

I screamed and ran back to the washing machine. It was still filling with water, and I fished around in the water. Yep, wrapped up in the sheets was the distinct outline of an I Phone.

I took it immediately to the AT&T store, water running out of it. They don't fix IPhones but recommended a repair shop down the street, which was, of course, was closed since it was Sunday. I went to the Apple store, which was willing to sell me a new phone for $199. Keep in mind that if you buy the same phone with a contract it's only $99. But my phone is so new that my contract is too new to qualify. And, of course, the warranty doesn't include water damage.

OK, I can live without a cell phone. Of course, I still have to pay $100 a month for the service whether I use it or not. I have nothing to lose at this point so I took the phone to the repair shop on Monday. "Maybe we can save it; maybe we can't."

They called me back the next day.... my phone has been saved! I can't believe it; they saved my phone. And the charge? $35!

So I must tell you about these guys: They work out of the Finish Line Car Wash on Bee Caves Road. It's called Celltech and it's just two guys at a counter but do they ever know cell phones!

2900 Bee Caves Road

Monday, June 22, 2009

Suit Shopping

Margaret and Mike go shopping: Guest blog from Margaret Patterson

My husband and I went suit shopping recently. Like most Texas men, he equates buying a new suit to a root canal. After insisting that he wears a size he hasn’t worn for more than 10 years, he finally settled on another dark suit. In the process, however, my heart went out to him because he was forced to admit, as I was long ago, that the sands of time had descended to the bottom of the hourglass and settled there.

I had an aunt who stood on her head for five to 10 minutes each day to "fight gravity." I kidded her about it, but now I recall that when she was the age I am now, she still looked good in a size 8 swimsuit.

Unfortunately, in the case of my figure and my husband’s physique, it would take more than turning over the hourglass to force the sands of time up instead of down.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Visit with Porsche

I visited my ancient horse for the first time since my surgery in March. She may be old but she's strong so I was afraid to visit until I was sure my back could handle her.

Now we both have back issues: she's sway backed and I'm numb in places! Anyway, she looked great, especially for a lady of her years. She was glad to see me but not overwhelmed. Now I know why... a friend had offered to look after her while I was in treatment. Well, she has been washing, grooming, and walking her.... and giving her special treats. I am really going to have to step up my game to keep up with that! Thanks, Dana, it meant a lot to know someone was checking in on her.

It was really good to be out in the open air again. There was a light breeze despite the fact that it will get to 100 degrees this afternoon. And the grass is still green enough to be a treat for Porsche; later in the summer we'll have to look longer to find a green patch.

When I rub her forehead she rests her chin on my shoulder. I remember when she was young and frisky I was afraid of her... and she knew it. But now we have both mellowed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And They're Off!

This is a guest post from Elaine Douglas.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever hear myself say “I hope to get my braces off by my 64th birthday.” But I did. Many times. And it almost happened. They actually came off a couple of weeks after the birthday. How did I get here? Definitely a F(requently)A(sked) Q(uestion)!!

About two years ago when I was in for my (almost) semi-annual appointment, my dentist decided to develop a “long range plan treatment plan” for me. Actually it is quite encouraging to begin a long-range plan when you’re nearly ready for Medicare. Anyway, one of the first recommendations was orthodontia. Most of us probably remember from junior high school: metal bands, regular tightening of the brackets, wax to prevent the wires from poking the inside of our mouth, etc. Not fun!! But this time it was a lot different. I didn’t spring for the more expensive Invisalign braces. I figure they aren’t truly invisible so I might as well not try to kid anyone. Today the brackets are applied directly to the teeth, skipping the awful metal bands. Fortunately, each adjustment only resulted in a day or two of minimal pressure, never any actual pain. It always amazed me how many adult patients I saw in the waiting room, and how many people I encountered in other places who were also in braces. I guess I just never noticed before. This journey has been worth it. Whether you had braces a half-century ago and have noticed some shifting of your teeth, or just always wished you could straighten them, I can definitely recommend considering seeing an orthodontist.

Finally, one week ago the braces came off, I got my retainer, and now I’m ready for the next step in my long-range plan. This will involve “restorative work”, ie a little cosmetic dentistry. But why not? The kids are grown and flown (certainly with memories of their own braces) and I guess now it’s my turn again. I have fond memories of incredulous stares at the 45-year high school reunion. I must have been the youngest looking one there with braces and (now) glasses! It was like I was in junior high all over again.

But for the 50-year reunion in a few more years, I hope to have contact lenses, or at least snazzier frames. Now about these few extra pounds. This will really require some dedication.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Big Sink Cleaning

I cleaned the kitchen sink today. Not just the quick wipe around the edges, but the disposer, every little part of the faucet, scrubbing the stainless with a real stainless steel cleaner.

I was inspired by the healthy housekeeper. Laura Dellutri has a Website at www.healthyhousekeeper.com with lots of organizing and cleaning tips. She suggests rinsing your sink with bleach and water after you've cooked with raw food. Did you notice recently that they never found the cuprits in several food poisoning cases? Instead food manufacturers recommend cooking food at higher temperatures.

Well, I'm thinking I should be more careful with food preparation. I've also discovered that Victoria has developed some bad habits while I've been in Houston. She feels free to get on the kitchen counters!

Laura also suggests you use paper towels when handling raw meat. If you wipe your hands on a cloth towel you may be spreading germs. Clean counters with a disinfecting wipe that says it kills 99.9 percent of germs & bacteria. Clean sponges by soaking them in a bowl of water with one teaspoon of bleach. Or microwave 2-3 minutes in bowl covered with water (Make sure the sponge doesn't have a metal scrubber side.)

And, of course, wash your hands! A lot.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What you need to know when caring for the elderly

If you care for an elderly family member, do you know what documents you would need in an emergency? I had never really thought about things like this until my cancer treatment. Better to think about it ahead time than to wait until you really need it.

Imagine that your loved one living with dementia has unexpectedly fallen and is in need of medical attention. Imagine your loved one has wandered and
you need to contact the authorities. Will you have your medical information
about your loved one readily available to share with the professional who could
save their life? Will you have their legal documents readily accessible should
you need them in an emergency?

Amy Praskac is the founder of On the Record which helps families compile
critical information notebooks to help when an emergency strikes. Come and
learn what information you need to gather to be prepared when a personal
emergency strikes.

When a Personal Emergency Strikes–Will You Be Prepared?
Free & open to the public
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Call 512-918-2800 or email austin@arden-courts.com for reservations.

Seating is limited, so make your reservation early. Adult day care will
be provided by qualified staff. Please ask for this service when making your
reservation. Light refreshments will be served.

Event to be held at:
Arden Courts
Alzheimer’s Assisted Living
11630 Four Iron Drive
Austin, TX 78750

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Looking for a Job?

Several years ago when I was laid off from my job as an Air Force contractor, I needed help getting back in the job search mode. My resume needed to be updated. I felt I needed interview tips. I got lots of tips from the classes at the Texas Workforce Commission on Airport Blvd. Kathy L taught the classes and told me about the Launch Pad Job Club.

I am hearing about lots of young adults getting laid off now and they might benefit from this. You only have to attend one meeting to have access to their (and here is the important part) job listings. As people, especially Kathy, hear about openings they are posted on this Yahoo! based club. Quite a few of the listings are tech-related but some are government (what I was looking for) and other areas.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So glad to be back

I am so glad to have finished my cancer treatment(9 months!)and I am so glad to be back writing. Many thanks for all of the prayers. I have spent a lot of time at M.D. Anderson undergoing chemo, radiation, and surgery. I met some wonderful caregivers and patients there. The staff at M.D. Anderson are incredible! We are so lucky to have this facility in Texas. And cancer patients are some of the bravest (& most determined) people in the world.

My doctors are very pleased but I understand that there are no promises in life. I so very grateful to God and my family and friends who kept me moving forward when I was just plain tired of being sick. It was a rare and aggressive tumor in my back next to my spine.

I had always been in perfect health so this was a real shock. I will never take health for granted again. In fact, there are many things that I will not take for granted.