Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good Times, August Edition ...

The August cookie installment for the angelo:HOME blog features Almond Graham Biscotti with Hot Fudge and Marshmallow Fluff. It's my farewell to summer, a variation on s'mores.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Maybe Because I'm A Water Sign ...

I've always been drawn to colors in this family: green-blue, blue-green, peacock blue, teal.

When I was younger and graduated from chunky to regular crayons and was allowed to choose a box with more than 8 colors, I fell in love with blue-green and green-blue.

And while I grew up to favor decidedly more green hues – and wished for green eyes and now have them; don't ask me how that happened – my love of this color has started tapping me on the shoulder again.

I've been looking for art with this color in it for my living room. I thought about buying a canvas and a couple of tubes of paint and creating something myself, but then a) I saw an actual price tag on a pre-primed canvas in the size that I wanted and reconsidered my plan because b) I am not a painter. Walls? Yes. Art? No.

I once spied a faux-leather accent chair in peacock blue, but I thought that might be a bit too much of a commitment for my first foray into decorating with that color.

And then, last week, I saw this guy in an antique store. (The picture is a bit grainy because of the low light, but the low light better captures his color, though this still isn't exact.) I thought about buying him, but then thought about where I'd put him and I worked my way around to practicality and left him on the shelf.

But I kept thinking about him. And today, I decided to return to see if I still loved him.

And I did.

And he was 20% off.

So I brought him home.

I'm still not sure what I'll do with him or exactly where he'll go.

But this room already feels a little better with him in it. Livelier without being too lively. I am not the lively room type. My rooms like to be a bit subdued. But he's a welcome friend.

Now I need to find a few other pieces to keep him company.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Claim And Fortune ...

Fortunes aren't always fortunes, really.

Sometimes, they're more like pronouncements.

Then again, I guess those are the same. Fortunes are in the mind of the beholder.

Last week was long. Ping-ponging between clients, waking up every morning and needing remind myself of where it was I needed to point my car.

I was grateful to have two projects running last week, mind you. It was just a bit of a busy schedule.

So I was glad to finish up a bit early on Friday and head for home and find myself with enough energy to rent a couple of movies ("Bernie" and "Jeff Who Lives At Home," both worth your time) and come home and set up on the couch and let the week drain away while I made short work of an egg roll.

The nice guy at the Chinese joint popped three fortune cookies onto the top of my order, I was happy to note when I got home.

And the one I had grabbed randomly to crack open at the conclusion of my meal read, "You need not worry about your future." That struck me as nice. It even elicited an "Aww."

Now, you might argue that no one need worry about their future. After all, what's the point? Worrying never helped anything, right? Worrying is fear of something that may or may not come to pass and more often than not, it doesn't.

That's what I've found, anyway.

But still, as fortunes go, it was a nice one to receive on that particular night, given that my future is in a bit of flux.

Also, my Chinese word for the evening was "Long."

The next day, I nuked a plateful of leftovers for lunch and grabbed the second of the three cookies. "You will travel far and wide for both pleasure and business," it revealed to me. Chinese word? "Holiday."

Which, put together with the word from the night before, gave me "Long Holiday."

I surely hope so. A long holiday would be pleasant. To somewhere new and distant.

I hear Paris is nice.

Perhaps I can secure a macaron scholarship. I'd like to learn how to make those.

I finished the leftovers today. I don't remember what the fortune inside the third cookie read. It must not have resonated with me or else it didn't enhance the weekend's fortune-cookie narrative.

But even before I cracked into the first cookie, I knew that I need not worry about my future.

Something interesting always comes along.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Found In Nature, Too ...

I love that this little tomato looks like a strawberry. And a heart.

Found In Nature ...

I adore the color of plums.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Makes Beth Happy, August 23 ...

The Makes-Beth-Happy Word of the Day is:

Puppy!
"Puppy" as in "baby dog," yes, but also "puppy" as in any four-legged, tail-wagging, furry-dog friend.

The Makes-Beth-Happy Recipe of the Day is:

Pistachio Gelato

Oh, pistachio. It's the best part of spumoni. Hazelnut and pistachio battle for my gelato affection. I don't know why. I should just order both.

And the Makes-Beth-Happy Objet of the Day is:

Golden Vases

I don't need them, of course, and I think most stuff at Jayson is ridiculously overpriced, but I love their color and their shimmer and their forms.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wayward Pennies ...

I was sifting through my jar of change, pulling out pennies for a project.

It is a special project which I may or may not disclose at a later date, but I decided that the pennies I chose for it had to be the prettiest pennies, not all shiny, necessarily, but penny-like, like you hope to find on a walk.

So I set aside the not-so-pretty pennies.

Of course, they are much more interesting than the pennies in the pretty-penny pile.

These pennies have been around. These pennies have patina – some literally. Some of them have scars. At least one of them has on it what appears to be dried blood.

Pennies are a lot like people. Some are older, some are newer. Some look older than they should for their age and some have aged well. But the ones that differ capture my interest.

I didn't take a picture of the pretty pennies.

You've seen those before.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More Posts For The Purposes Of Pinterest ...

The thing about Pinterest is that you have to pin from somewhere digital, somewhere on the web. So today, I leafed through my design file – and by "file," I mean "a couple thousand pages jammed into a manila folder that is too full to actually contain said pages in a meaningful way and so the folder, in turn, is stuffed into a banker's box/magazine file" (but hey, it has the word "file" in it!) – and was amused to note what used to grab my eye. Ah, yes, my tastes have evolved. I have long since broken free of the Shabby Chic spell. I'm still fond of florals but now I know my limits. Hey man, I can quit any time I want.

Anyway, the point is, this post is part post and part Pinterest repository, a glimpse into Beth's style. Yessiree.

First, my "design file," to prove my point, and because it amuses me. Yep, not the tiniest bit of organization here.


I have a real affinity for white and wood, especially in kitchens, despite posting an image of a living room here. I also discovered, leafing through so many pages, that I tore out a huge number of images that contain hydrangeas. They make an appearance in magazine photos more than any other flower, apparently.


If ever there were any doubt as to my affinity for brown, this seals the deal. This image is a bit yellow due to the light that was overhead when I took it (camera settings be damned) but you get my point. Brown. Love it. Far too much.


Why do I not own this table?!


And lastly, this. I'm surprised by how much I love this room, its mostly monochromatic-ness, the velvet and chrome chair, the jolt of acid green (I know, it looks more yellow here), and, of course, the very subtle horse painting.

More Really Rather Brief Movie Reviews ...

My love affair with Redbox continues. Really, we might be seeing too much of each other. We might need to take a little time apart. But you know how it is when you meet someone new. It's a heady time.

Crazy Stupid Love
Hey, girl, you know, Ryan Gosling's in this movie, which is about as much as many women would need to know. (I never did join the Ryan Gosling party, but he does have very nice eyes. Yes, I know that that's not what he's known for.) The writing is really good and Julianne Moore can do no wrong and poor Steve Carell's character. Love is indeed often crazy and stupid but it's often worth it in the end.

Moneyball
I am not so much the sports-movie viewer but I was interested since the first time I saw the trailer and I would watch Philip Seymour Hoffman order a taco let alone transform himself into yet another character he's never played before. P.S. Brad Pitt, honey? You're aging well.

The Muppets
I have long loved Miss Piggy. She was, hands down, my Muppet of choice. But I love all of them. And Chris Cooper? Hell, who doesn't love Chris Cooper? So I was pleased to settle in on the couch the other night with Chinese food and my childhood friends. My hat's off to the person who pulled together the soundtrack. Nicely done! But it wasn't until Kermit performed "Rainbow Connection" that I remembered everyone saying they cried when they saw the movie, which made total sense to me as I found myself spontaneously sobbing even as I was saying, "What is wrong with me?!" Ah, memories. They're powerful, mysterious things.

Drive
Hey, girl, you know Ryan Gosling's in this movie, too, which is crazy dark and which I had no idea about until I saw a trailer the other night. Amazing cast with Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks and a small but explosive role for Christina Hendricks. Compelling. Not a rainstorm or a notebook in sight.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spaces Worth Admiring ...

One of the Pinterest boards that I created is titled Spaces Worth Admiring. And while I have found many such spaces to admire, this space has my utmost admiration. It's the solarium of a home in Milan. And I first saw it in House & Garden, which is no longer published in the United States. So despite efforts to find an image online over the years, I came empty-handed.

But that's why we have cameras, right? To take images of images if need be? (Among other things.)

So tonight, I took one. And I'm posting it here so I can pin it to Pinterest and so if anyone is ever looking for Claudio and Maria Luti's solarium online, as I was, now they'll find it.


Right Footed ...

I have a thing for footed dishes.

I don't know why. They're just more charming, more interesting than their more-terrestrial friends.

Of course, I don't need footed dishes (well, you know, not any more than I already own), but one day, I saw these and I flipped!

They're little trifle bowls! Aren't they cute?!

Of course they're cute! They're footed!

Regularly $2.95, on sale for $2.50. A measly $2.50. I spend more on a latte.

Of course, I wouldn't buy just one. Not that I'm buying any. But $2.50! Such a deal.

Until you consider these:

They're not little trifle bowls. They're barware, I presume. I can see a small, overpriced mixed drink in one of those, can't you? Maybe with a maraschino cherry impaled on a little plastic sword?

I pick these up at Goodwill from time to time, when I see them. I like to serve a bit of gelato out of them, perched on a plate, with a side of biscotti. The stems on these aren't all the same thickness (I have two that are thickish and two that are thin) but I don't care.

Most glasses at Goodwill, unless otherwise marked, are 25 cents.

I popped by today and found one of the friends you see above, a mate for the other thinner-stemmed one that I already owned.

And today was 50%-Off Day.

So he set me back 13 cents.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Editor / Writer For Hire (Bonus: Baker, Too!) ...

I am making a full-throttle return to the job hunt. (I get great mileage.) I'm looking for an engaging group of people who need an editor who can provide the final polish to their work to make it gleam. My background is predominantly in newspapers, but I've edited books, white papers, trade articles, sales collateral, you name it. I also write. And bake. And I bring what I bake to the office. Who needs more incentive to hire me than that?! I'll appreciate suggestions and leads. My network has always served me extremely well. I'm a fortunate woman indeed.

My interactive resumé is here.

My web site is here.

My LinkedIn profile is here.

And here's a shot of madeleines:


There Is An Astonishing Amount Of Good In The World ...

There is so much sadness.

Every day, the news. The whiplash of it all. Aurora then Oak Creek. Senseless killings far away and closer to home. Every Monday brings with it a new report of a weekend of too many murdered and hurt. Climate change and wildfires and droughts and, conversely, storms and damage from them all.

And, every day, somewhere, life-changing illness.

My friend Patti posted the news the other day: "John has cancer."

Such a simple sentence. Such a seismic shift.

And they do not have insurance. They make their own way in the world. They do not work for anyone but themselves. They have one daughter in college. They have another daughter on a very different journey. They are extraordinarily fine people, full of kindness and thoughtfulness and love.

Patti has created a vast circle of virtual family with her work. She touches thousands of lives every day. And since the news has been told, her online family has flocked to their side and the kindness I have seen offered back to them has brought me to tears.

There is an astonishing amount of good in the world.

It may be harder to see as individual acts, but it is there, everywhere.

That is easy to forget but vital to remember.

I will try to be more mindful and do more good every day.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Really Rather Brief Movie Reviews ...

I am enormously late in seeing all of these, but as you know (or will know now), I broke up with Netflix last year, and so my viewing of movies fell woefully behind.

But I Redboxed a few flicks and watched all three and, well, they were all pretty watchable.

Friends with Kids
There was not nearly enough Hamm in it for my tastes, but given that his girlfriend wrote and directed it, perhaps they didn't want to seem ego-centric, considering she was also the lead. Good performances all around, but you go into it knowing how it's going to end, because all such films end that way because we get pissed when such films end otherwise.

The Ides of March
There was not nearly enough Clooney in it for my tastes, but given that he's not the protagonist of the film, I guess that's OK. Also good performances all around, as well as another bit of cement for my decision to never enter politics. Not that there was much chance of that happening anyway, despite regular encouragement from L.A. Dave.

Hugo
There was not nearly enough brevity in it for my tastes, but given that Scorsese can do whatever the hell he wants and that Sir Ben Kingsley could read me my Miranda rights and I'd be captivated, it was fine. Everyone who'd told me they'd seen it mentioned that it could have been a half-hour shorter. Yep, I concur. But I'm glad I stuck with it because the ending is delightful. Also, I do believe I was born in the wrong time. I could have happily lived there, then. Then again, I also could have lived in Lionel's office in "The King's Speech," and I already knew that I like older spaces.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Tainted Chicken ...

Son of a bitch, I'm writing a post about Chick-fil-A.

I wasn't going to, but seeing images today of throngs of people supporting the purveyor of bigot chicken pissed me off.

Sigh.

People.

What the fuck?

Seriously.

Why were you there today?

If you were there because a few mayors made some noise about Chick-fil-A not being welcome in a few cities, we're on the same page. Granted, the mayors didn't actually ban anything, they were just making noise, but in making that noise, they waded into a pool of wrong. We can't deny people legal rights because we don't like someone's speech or behavior.

See what I did there?

I just made my Chick-fil-A argument:

We can't deny people legal rights because we don't like someone's speech or behavior.

Hello, marriage equality, the root of this entire issue.

The reason Dan Cathy's comments set off such a firestorm wasn't because he was one man expressing his opinion but because Chick-fil-A as a corporation – of which Cathy is the head – gives millions of dollars – millions – to anti-gay organizations that actively seek to deny gays the right to marry.

The legal right to marry.

LEGAL.

He cites the Bible, but the Bible has nothing to with this argument.

NOTHING.

Never mind that his Biblical version of "traditional marriage" doesn't, you know, exist. He's trying to invoke the idea of a "traditional family" but the Bible has some out-there things to say about marriage and none of them are about a mom, a dad, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence.

All those who like to use the Bible as a shield for their bigotry, please familiarize yourself with the text.

But here's the thing: It doesn't matter if you think it's weird that a man might want to marry a man or a woman might want to marry a woman.

It. Doesn't. Matter.

Legally, there is no justification to deny them that right.

This isn't about the Bible. This isn't about churches wanting to deny gays the chance to get married at an altar. That is another fight for another day.

This is about two people who love each other having the right to get a piece of paper that gives them the same rights that so many others enjoy. Legal rights. That's what this is about. Denying people legal rights.

There is no legal justification for denying them that right.

None.

Period.

The Defense of Marriage Act is on its way to being really most sincerely dead.

Because there is no legal justification for it.

So screw Dan Cathy and every single one of his bigot-chicken-loving "friends."

I have many friends who are gay. And the exchanges we've had these past few days have broken my heart. So many of them report that there are people in their lives who say, "I don't care. I'm still going to eat there."

What a kick in the head, to have loved ones and friends say, in effect, "This chicken sandwich is more important to me than your civil rights."

I still remain unable to fathom why so many have such hatred toward gays.

I mean, I understand that it's rooted in fear.

Everything comes down to love or fear.

And the way they're treating gay men and women sure as hell ain't love.

But what are they afraid of?

That a gay person might find them attractive? Trust me, no gay person wants to hit on a bigot.

Or are they afraid that they, themselves, might be gay but they've grown up in environments that have so vilified it that they can never admit who they are, even to themselves?

I have no idea.

But I do know this: Denying others a civil right is wrong.

And I also know this, as someone on Twitter wrote today: The train of marriage equality has left the station and it is not coming back.

Those who continue to root against equality are on the wrong side of history.

Allowing people to be who they are, to love who they love, is a good thing. It is not something to fear.

Chew on that.