I'd like to say I made it through the entire Oscars last night . . . so I will! Right 'til the very end, when my sleeping eyes watched The King's Speech take home the big honors. Yup, saying it makes it true.

Gotta say, I was disappointed. Anne and James did an admirable job (though it seemed Anne had a little more to do - ahem, singing, costume changes - than cutie pie James), the musical mashup of movies - including New Moon's "Doesn't he own a shirt?" - was my only personal highlight, but the wins were mind-numbingly, boringly predictable.* Add in too-long musical numbers (ooh, Gwyneth, you had a bad day, sister) and completely unexciting fashion, and I spent more time reading a magazine and chatting with my two friends than listening to the TV. Blah, blah, blahscars. That is, except for one lovely lady:

Cate Blanchett in Givenchy. She is awesome, original and stunning. I love her. She wins!
Okay, two people shook things up. 
Taking honorable mention to Cate's gold medal is Mila Kunis in a delicate, feminine Elie Saab dress (vastly outshining her co-star Natalie, who looked liked she was wearing a bedazzled Jaclyn Smith dress from Kmart - fail, Mulleavy sisters).

And because she is always good for entertainment and looked like she was about to jump on the stage and hit Kirk Douglas with his own cane while he stalled reading the Best Supporting Actress winner, Miss Helena Bonham Carter (that flag sure classes the ensemb up):

*I say predictable, and yet I lost the Oscar ballot contest I had going with my friends Emmie and Sunny. I threw some surprises in there, hoping they'd come true. They didn't. 



Growing up, my grandmother belonged to a beach club in Narragansett, Rhode Island called the Dunes Club. Their beach towels will forever be an image from my youth - short, waist-wrappers with a navy stripe lengthwise interrupted by 'DUNES CLUB' in all caps. At one point, the club had posters scattered across the grounds with requests for guests to return 2800 missing towels. Everyone used them (and apparently took them home).

I decided to do a version of the Duneser towel for my aunt and uncle, who hosted my mom and sisters in the Bahamas. It was an easy project, though it took a good amount of time and attention. I purchased beach towels, permanent fabric paint, stencils and brushes (found at Jo-Ann or Michael's) and taped out the design ('MOW' for Man-o-War, Bahamas).

 Because of the thickness of the towel threads, you spend most of your time thickly dabbing the paint on. Brush strokes are not your friend.

After the paint has dried (I gave each towel 24 hours), you'll want to to clean up any wayward threads. I used my sharpest sewing scissors.  

Ta da! The finished product. 
And here, on my excellent uncle Jack.


And You Wouldn't Believe What Else I Saw

. . . Driving down 'ol Queens "Highway" (stress on the quotation marks, as it was skinnier than an average American street) on Man-o-War . . . 

I screamed 'Go Pack Go' and the owner screeched to a halt. Us 'Sconsinites make friends wherever we go.

I took this stalker pic on a walk a few days later. 

Small world. 

View from Above

This is a bikini first:

Had I known the only thing I could see would be the tips of my toenails, I probably would have put a lot more thought into the color. And it's all uphill from here.

Man-o-War was wonderful, charming, relaxing and hard to leave. To get an idea of this tiny Abacoan island, here are some stats:

Year-round population? Around 300. 
Speed limit:
For golf carts

Middle School:

Post Office:

Bank? Open for 2 hours, one day a week. There's one restaurant, two grocery stores and a much-visited ice cream shop called Island Treats. Three local families run virtually every enterprise on the island, from boat-building, to the hardware and gift shops. 

Needless to say, you spend all of your time gazing at (and swimming in) this:

Flew back to 30 degree temps (heck yes! that's warm!) and snow on the ground. Ah, home.


Man o War

Living it up at my aunt and uncle's place in Man O War (the Bahamas easternmost island 'til . . Europe) celebrating my mother's birthday with my two sisters until late next week. Life is akin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - you get everywhere by boat, shoes are optional, and sunburns have already happened. Snow is . . . what is that stuff again? I'll try and get on the internet occasionally, but service is spotty and frankly, my fingers are too busy tanning-slash-burning. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


My Fixx

Last Thursday I joined 11 of my fellow writers from the Red Bird Red Oak writing center in Bay View and read an excerpt from a short story I've been working on (and off) for over a year. Though I hadn't done much to my story in recent months (it's called 'Elephant' and about an older, married woman who suddenly grows a tail; correct), I figured, hell, this'll be good for me. I'll do it. And Una will come and stand ovate for me. (Yeah, I made that a verb. It's a writerly thing to do.)

I participate in two RBRO monthly group workshops, and both leaders were in attendance and read (Kim and Robert). The majority of the other participants were strangers, and I enjoyed hearing their pieces, in particular Luke Patterson's, one of two high schoolers who read. He created a really vivid, futuristic story about post-apocalyptic London that I was making a movie of in my head as he read. Una's personal favorite was an older man's novel-in-progress entitled "Undead Vikings in Love" and featuring a title character called Grundel. I am not kidding.

Here I am before the 35 or so people in attendance:

A good experience and a reminder I need to be editing and rewriting all the time. As you can see, I was not alone at the mic (that belly grows daily). Little Bloomberry's first time on stage! Don't I look thrilled? I look forward to the days where Baby is up there and I am proudly watching from the darkened audience seats. 


It Burns, Ohio State

On Saturday, Una's boss took him and a number of other friends and Badger alums to see the Madison - Ohio State basketball game. Una rode up in his boss's 'Badger Bus,' which he takes to every home football and basketball game (this is the man who gets to watch the football games . . . standing next to the coach). 

Well, #1 Ohio State went down! The Badgers defeated them and it was an amazing, amazing game that went down to the last few seconds. It was also the first time in 49 years Badger basketball defeated a number one team, the second time this year that #1 Ohio State lost to Madison (this past Fall in football, a game we luckily also attended thanks to my parents' generous friends/alums) and the biggest upset in basketball this season. After the win, the students rushed the court:

Una got to sit courtside the first half with his boss, his feet on the shiny wood and listening in on the players' conversations. 

Needless to say, he loves his job.



Pink has officially been named the color of 2011 (and not just because it's Valentine's Day)! Pantone, "the color authority," named 18-2120 - "Honeysuckle" - as the color of the year, "emboldening us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor."

House Beautiful's latest issue is dedicated to the 'power of pink.'

Of course, I am right on trend, which is totally coincidental. I chose the color for our dining room in September. Our painter completed the room in January and I think it looks fantastic. I picked a pale, warm, orangey tone to work with the light wood that dominates our rental house. It gives such a cozy, subtle effect to the room, even Una likes it. The photos make it difficult to tell, but I promise the walls are pink!

 Art wall - we collect maps. Included here are Central Park, lower Manhattan, the Maldives and Morrocco (where we honeymooned) and a view of Providence. 

Our rental has built-ins that our landlord's father constructed when he was a young man. 

Adorable bar cart scored at a local store for $60 bucks. I haven't sampled a dang thing from it yet!

Now if only the baby's room color had worked out this well. Fail. Sorry I have been MIA - so much to do, so little time! Happy Valentine's Day!


And It's Only February

Running behind in everything! Have my first 15-page submission due for class today (uh . . . just finished; it's so-so), our neighbors are coming over for dinner tonight (house must be cleaned), am volunteering tomorrow, followed by a reading at a local cafe with my writer's group tomorrow night (my first ever!) which leaves Friday for all of the chores I haven't done and the sleep I haven't gotten.

In the meantime, our living room and dining room drapes were delivered on Monday - hallelujah, sweet baby Jesus! Here's a peek:

Drape fabric from Robert Allen, side table from Target, lamp from Salvation Army (spray-painted white), shade from Target, pillows made by moi. 



I love when Google commemorates a date with a special design. Today is in recognition of Jules Verne's birthday, author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and a pioneer of science fiction. Use the navigating tool to the right of the logo to dive the ocean and spy a giant octopus, underwater explorers, a narwhal . . . 

Image via Google


Go Pack Go!

Do we think it's a coincidence that Una and I move to Milwaukee and the following season the Packers win the Super Bowl?

Obviously not.

You're welcome, Wisconsin.


Sewing 101

I officially completed my first real sewing project: a bedskirt! (The throw pillows and tote bag just don't count.) I purchased this fabric in September to make a headboard and bedskirt for our bedroom. Yesterday, locked in the house due to the snow, I finally made it. Ta da!

 Cut fabric pieces

Sewing the bottom hem

Ingenious solution to the ever-shifting bedskirt - attach by velcro to the box spring (who needs the 'deck' portion anyway)! Just remove to dry clean (this fabric can't be washed). 

Three sides finished! All we need is the bed.* 


Okay, looks fabulous, but only because the several mistakes I made are more or less hidden. Such as: realizing my original two fabric cuts were off and adjusting the remaining pieces to meet the correct measurement . . . and then sewing the two longer pieces together and the two shorter pieces together. Sweet. Also: rushing to construct the end of the skirt and not judging which end pieces went best together pattern-wise (you can see in the middle where the pattern lines are off). Finally: sewing hems that should have simply been ironed over twice (a waste of thread). All in all, a huge learning experience and the first time I've felt as if I could actually use my sewing machine to complete something presentable to the public. 

Headboard to come. I need a nap! 

*Oh yeah, that long-haired thing on the floor would be our golden retriever wall-to-wall upstairs shag carpeting that came with the house. I said golden retriever. I'd be appalled if it wasn't just so ridiculous.


MKE Blizzard!

A groundhog wouldn't even try to get to work today. And neither did most of us. Hundreds of business and nearly all area schools closed in the wake of the historic blizzard as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declared an unofficial "weather holiday."
 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Frozen Lake Michigan. This ice shelf luckily kept the 15 foot waves from flooding the coastline areas. I'll post some photos of our area later - not quite as pretty, just covered in snow. It appears that our backyard received 3 feet, due to the massive snowdrifts created by the 55 mph winds. My guess is we got a foot, foot and a half in truth. 

Which means Una's working from home today (in a sweatsuit tuxedo, no less). Woo hoo!


Groundhog Day

Manana, February 2nd, is Groundhog Day. The holiday began as a German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, and has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the "prognosticator." Sounds fancy. 

Dear, groundhoggy Punxsatawney Phil the 33rd will either come out of his little home for a brief suntan . . . or burrow down in his underground chamber for a long, dreary spring-winter, thereby ruining my week. 

And a sacred badger?! Hello, Wisconsin is only a full-fledged badger town-slash-state. Why isn't this a local holiday?

P.S. That movie was the worst. Made me want to rip my hair out. Perhaps that explains Bill Murray's shiny dome.