Monday, February 28, 2011

Eating a Bowlful of Sharp Glass

    .
    Walking.

    Walking has become a monu- mental endeavor. I am so out of shape that the simple act of walking from point A to point B is like marathon exercise. I did my walk this afternoon, heading down to 91st street and back, and as usual I picked up a stray. A homeless man that at first was just walking at the same pace beside me down the sidewalk. But once these mental defectives notice this, they begin talking to themselves, or in other words, YOU.

    I hate people so much when I'm walking that I hate when the homeless, who are not even not talking to you even more. I gritted my teeth and was about to stop short and let him walk on. I got to the end of the block, and as he stopped to wait for the light to change to cross the fucking street, I gleefully turned around and headed back in the complete opposite direction. There is something wonderful about times like that, when you can show complete disregard for idiots and just walk off. It's magical, do you hear me? Magical!

    Okay, my right knee and left calf begin to protest the walk, but what the fuck? I'll get home and sit down and it'll all be over. I did, relaxing, but not sleeping, merely writing on my laptop until it was time for me to get ready to go and meet DJ down in the Village. I got dressed, killed a little time, because I tend to get down to the Astor Place Starbucks so fucking early that I have to find something to do for forty five minutes. So this time I killed a little time, prepping a short story for mailing to a publisher. Printing it out, shoving it into an envelope with a self addressed stamped envelope and addresses. Before long, it was ready to be mailed.

    I slipped out into the night and dealt with the walk, the stairs, the steep inclines of the subway stations and other whatnot to ride the trains down to Astor Place, and got to the Starbucks ten minutes early instead of forty five. I stood outside, panting, out of breath from walking up simple flights of stairs. Oh mi gawd! What the fuck did I do to myself? Allow my muscles to atrophy?

    DJ showed up and asked if I wanted to go play pool as my birthday present. Hell's yeah. I haven't played pool in so long that I would love to do a game or two. He stopped off for a pizza first to eat, and then we went to Amsterdam Billiards. We played several games for the rest of the night until we grew exhausted, no longer able to even play the game. I have to admit, I was more sore than tired. The soreness was making me tired. The simple act of bending, twisting, stretching and so forth to make a shot was like yoga exercise to me. After awhile that shit began hurting my tender atrophying muscles.

    When I left the pool hall I was sore from head to motherfucking toe. I wished DJ goodnight, thanked him for the wonderful birthday present and headed home, nearly limping, my knees aching, muscles throbbing and weak, bones brittle with pain. I was hurting like a man rolled over with a steamroller driven by an insane nun. On top of all this pain I had to WALK to the nearest subway station, which was on 14th street, many blocks away, CLIMB up and down stairs, MARCH up and down inclines in the subway, STAND up in train cars, and deal with MOVING about to avoid other straphangers. Fuck this shit. But it had to be done to get home.

    Walking into my room, my entire body was on fire. I stumbled in more than walked, and undressed painfully. I did some light typing but could take the pain and exhaustion no more. I crawled into bed and got an hour's sleep. This was the only solace from the suffering. That was until I awoke and it pounced on me once again. I went to my medicine shelf and found the bottle of hydrocodone and popped two, hoping that it would deal primarily with the terrific pain in my back. By some miracle it dealt with all the pain in my body, washing the entire framework of agony away.

    I breathed a sigh of relief. I honestly have to do this shit more often or I'm going to doom myself. I can no longer just stay in the room, stretched across the bed. I have to exercise, go places, do things.

    Or die.

    HobobobSource URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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March Upcoming Attractions

    Spring is almost here! To celebrate, we have a fabulous line-up of March guests. Here's our sneak peak:




    March 2: Gerri Russell returns to the Lair to chat with Nancy about the ups and downs of an author's career.




    March 3: Paranormal romance author Lori Handeland makes her Lair debut as Nancy's guest to chat about her new release, Moon Cursed.














    March 4: USA Today bestselling author Julianne Maclean (http://juliannemaclean.com/) visits the lair to tell us about her fabulous new Scottish historical CAPTURED BY THE HIGHLANDER.









    March 5: Mayhem breaks loose over at historical author Ashley March’s blog (http://www.ashleymarch.com/blog/) when the Bandits invade for the day as part of March Madness, a month-long party. There will be prizes--and did I mention mayhem? And look out for Ashley’s visit to the lair in September!


    On March 7th, Jana DeLeon visits with Suz to talk about her first release with Harlequin Intrigue, The Secret of Cypriere Bayou. A steamy mystery set in the Louisiana Bayous, a place Jana know intimately.


    March 16th brings NY best-selling author Brenda Novak back to the Lair as Jo's guest. She'll be talking about the fun and excitement of reader conventions, as well as her upcoming Bulletproof series.















    March 22nd: The fabulous Julie James joins us to talk about her smart, sexy contemporary romances and her latest release "A Lot Like Love."
















    March 26: Ellis Flynn returns to the lair to talk about language and words with Nancy.


    On May 30th, Misa Ramirez returns to the Lair as Jo's guest. She'll discuss her recent promotion and marketing book for writers -- THE TRICKED-OUT TOOLBOX and her romantic suspense release A DEADLY CURSE.


























    March 31: Love Regencies? Love paranormal? Now you can have both. Colleen Gleason will be on the blog March 31 to talk about her new vampire series launching this month. This author of the popular Gardella Vampire Chronicles has created a new world of the Regency Draculia. The Vampire Voss, out this month, launches three back-to-back titles that also include The Vampire Dimitri in April and The Vampire Narcise in May.









    Contests!

    Anna Campbell is celebrating the launch of her brand-new website by sharing some great prizes! SIX lucky readers will receive a luscious reading double! First up, your choice from Anna’s backlist (please check out her Books page http://www.annacampbell.info/books.html if you need help choosing). Each winner will also win a gorgeous hardcover Rhapsody Book Club edition of either Laura Lee Guhrke’s WEDDING OF THE SEASON or Madeline Hunter’s RAVISHING IN RED.

    To be in the draw, just email Anna on anna@annacampbell.info with two pieces of information – your favorite romance read from 2010 and which book from her backlist you’d like to win. Good luck! For more information, please visit Anna’s contest page. http://www.annacampbell.info/contest.html And don’t forget to check out her great new website atwww.annacampbell.info, including the excerpt from her forthcoming release MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. The contest closes 31st March, 2011.

    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Low Flow Toilets Causing Major Stink

    San Francisco, Feb 28, 2011. San Francisco's changed their building codes to require that new construction have low-flow toilets.

    And this has turned the city into giant stinkhole!

    Cuting the water allowed for each flush in half does save water, but it also results in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes.

    According to Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission, this has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

    Apparently, the low flow "flush" doesn't provide enough water to move sewage through the pipes fast enough. So some of the sludge sticks to the pipes. Like a septic "hardening of the arteries."  And when you have enough of these low flow toilets in an area you end up with a horrible smell.

    The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

    Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite - better known as bleach - to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city's treated water before it's dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

    This means that 8.5 million pounds of bleach is either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.

    And some city residents think this is a bad idea.

    A "Don't Bleach Our Bay" alert has just gone out from eco-blogger Adam Lowry who says that the city would be much better off using a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide - or better yet, a solution that would naturally break down the bacteria.

    Are the environmentally friendly, low-flow toilets are worth the trouble? They have helped cut San Francisco's annual water consumption by about 20 million gallons.... if you can stand the smell!Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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NYC staycation

    Our staycation in New York last week was really refreshing and relaxing. (Thanks again to Miss Moss for guest posting!) While my mom took care of Toby, Alex and I met up with friends, rode bikes to Williamsburg, went bowling (for real), got massages, sipped gin cocktails at this rad bar, saw The King's Speech, hit up the Guggenheim, and went ice skating in Central Park. It was so great to just be together and "knock around," as Alex says. We felt like tourists in our own city.

    We also chilled with my mom and Toby, including brunch at a Mexican place in our neighborhood, where Toby thought the tablecloth was delicious. :) We miss you already, Mama!
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Hobobob's First Ever Award

A Comment From A Satisfied Customer

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    "Ah ha ha, Ard Azz here, loving it here in Miami, and loving Hobobob's blog! Once again he's back with his witty insights and loving commentary on the human condition. I can sleep at nights knowing that there is such a conscientious man questioning what he sees is going wrong in this country. He's another Rush Limb...er, Rush Limb...errr, the fat guy. I look forward to reading his award winning blog posts every day and I have to say, I wouldn't be able to put my dentures in without him in the mornings. Thank you Hobobob. Keep up the good work!"
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Logging The 83rd Academy Awards

    The Academy Awards are always a big deal at terhand doel's house but the 2011 edition was made an even bigger deal because 1.) terhand doel had someone for whom he was openly rooting and 2.) One of terhand doel's oldest and best friends was in Chicago this weekend and, thus, able to join me in watching the ceremony much like we used to do every year back in the days of yore (i.e. six years ago).

    The questions were bountiful! Would James Franco & Anne Hathaway live up to my high expectations as hosts? Would the person for whom I was openly rooting (let's call her Natalie) earn victory so I could rub it in the faces of all the haters? Would one of my oldest and best friends (let's call her Nicolle) become upset when we reached the inevitable point in the evening when I forced her to watch Lady Gaga on DVR? Roll the tape!

    5:57 PM (CST): I typically do not watch the pre-gala, red carpet brou ha ha but Nicolle is all about the gre-gala, red carpet brou ha ha which is why we find ourselves watching a woefully un-prepared Ryan Seacrest (seriously, half the time this guy had no idea why the people he was interviewing were even there) interview actors and actresses trying to get the heck inside the building. It is also at this point I learn that the odds one of the major winners of the evening will cry is going off at 3/2 which must mean that the odds of whatever major winners of the evening cry get mocked tomorrow morning are going off at 1/1.

    6:25: It turns out feathers are currently a major fashion trend. Nicolle confirms this. I had no idea. I am so uncool.

    6:58: First Natalie Portman sighting! She looks insanely nervous which just makes me insanely nervous which means it's time for the first Sierra Nevada of the evening. (Champagne is on standby for when the Best Actress category is announced but we're getting way ahead of ourselves.)

    7:25: Halle Berry literally just called herself "a slave to fashion." I am so not going there.

    7:33: Our hosts for the evening, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, are in the midst of an "Inception" spoof when Alec Baldwin (one of last year's hosts) turns up and drops the line "ambien juicebox." Classic.

    7:37: Now James and Anne are in the midst of a "Back to the Future" spoof. They climb into the DeLorean and rocket to the Academy Awards and for a moment I think they might actually drive a DeLorean on to the stage......but no. If you're gonna go for it, go all the way.

    7:41: Anne Hathaway just dropped the line "dancing lesbians." It wasn't so much the line as the unbridled enthusiasm with which she said it. I think she's funny.

    Anne Hathaway & The Male Lady Gaga
    7:43: First awards of the night. "Alice in Wonderland" gets Art Direction and "Inception" gets Cinematography (i.e. Roger Deakins will never win).

    7:51: Is it just me or is James Franco's smile totally insincere? Like, a meta smirk?

    7:52: Kirk Douglas up to present for Best Supporting Actress who, at the ripe old age of, what, 94, goes way off script and appears to admit to having the hots for Anne Hathaway before eventually (which is the key word) presenting the Oscar to Melissa Leo for "The Fighter" who campaigned so actively and relentlessly on behalf of herself that I would have figured she'd practiced her speech about 350 times but gets so flustered she drops what I believe to be the first F-bomb I've ever heard at the Academy Awards (time delay!) and then departs the stage with Kirk Douglas, who has his arm around her, apparently, as Nicolle points out, trying to feel her up. Although you can't blame him. The woman's using his cain. He needs some support there. That was all just....wild. I'm so confused. Time for another Sierra Nevada.

    8:07: Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis turn up to present Best Animated Feature and Kunis has officially earned terhand doel's 2nd Best 83rd Academy Awards Dress, a dress best described as being (ahem) "Boob Enhancing." Anyway..."Toy Story 3" wins Animated Feature and, honestly, this might be the only pick I get right all night. My picks were kind of purposely ridiculous but still.

    8:13: Best Adapted Screenplay. David Lindsay Abaire ("Rabbit Hole") is currently at home with Cool Ranch Dorito crumbs all down his sweatshirt. Not that I'm bitter. Aaron Sorkin, as expected, wins for "The Social Network" and actually gives a fairly classy speech. Throwing out Paddy Chayefsky's name first-thing was a nice touch. David Fincher, however, director of "The Social Network", looks pissed off to be there.

    8:18: Best Original Screenplay goes to David Siedler for "The King's Speech." Somewhere Christopher Hitchens just took another shot of vodka. Siedler opens: "The writer's speech. This is terrifying." Nice.

    8:24: Potbelly sandwiches & Anne Hathaway singing!

    8:25: James Franco turns up in drag which is actually completely perfect because earlier in the day I was trying to pitch to Nicolle the idea that James Franco, with his never-ending schedule, is like a male Lady Gaga.

    8:32: Best Supporting Actor goes to Christian Bale for "The Fighter". Everything's playing to form. This is a good sign for Natalie Portman even if it might make for an uneventful evening otherwise. And I'm pretty sure Bale was the first major winner of the evening to get a little misty-eyed. And if you mock him he'll kick your ass.

    8:40: Anne Hathaway introduces Hugh Jackman by saying "The wolve to my rine." Did anyone else find this as funny as me?

    8:41: Jackman & Nicole Kidman take the stage to present Best Music Score and so I will take this moment to plug the first hour-and-forty-five minutes of "Australia" which I happen to think is certifiably brilliant. And no, Kidman haters, I don't care if her forehead doesn't move.

    8:44: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross win Best Score for "The Social Network." My friend Matt texts me: "Do you think he's going to f--- that Oscar like an animal?" Do you think if I forwarded this text to James Franco he'd say it on the air?

    8:45: David Fincher still looks pissed.

    8:46: Let's make it official - terhand doel's Best 83rd Academy Awards Dress goes to Scarlett Johansson.

    Apparently Scarlett Johansson is turning up on the Worst Dressed List the morning after so perhaps she'll take solace in the fact terhand doel, fashion mogul, names it Dress Of The Night.
    8:56: "The Wolfman" wins for Best Makeup (ye gods! I got that right!) and Rick Baker & Dave Elsey give, possibly, the best acceptance speech of the night. Short, classy, funny, genuine.

    9:02: Via video President Barack Obama gives a shout out to "Casablanca." And just like that he gets my vote again in 2012.

    9:28: Old school Oscar host Billy Crystal shows up to toss off a few bad-to-semi-decent one liners. Call me crazy, since I am, but I'll take Anne Hathaway's annunciation of "dancing lesbians" over Billy Crystal one-liners from now 'til the end of time.

    9:31: The newly Sienna-less Jude Law turns up with Robert Downey Jr. to present Best Visual Effects (which goes to "Inception") and Nicolle declares them to be the "Presenters of the night." I cannot disagree.

    9:36: Best Editing to "The Social Network." David Fincher is still pissed.

    9:41: Nicolle makes the observation of the night and it is this: that James Franco is not actually hosting but playing a part (perhaps that of "Oscar Host"?) that he will dissect in the class he's teaching at Columbia College. I mean, really, is this how he was acting in rehearsals? Were the producers watching and going, "Oh my God, we're screwed"? I don't think so. I think he probably nailed it in rehearsals, just to throw 'em off the scent, and then threw the actual set because Oscar hosts always get backlash and he needed the backlash to properly teach the course.

    9:43: Florence of Florence + Machine turns up to sing but doesn't sing one of her own songs as I'd hoped. Boo. Then we have to listen to Gwyneth Paltrow sing a song that has waaaaaaaaaaaay too many syllables in every line. Who the hell wrote that thing? Randy Newman wins Best Song and then kinda mocks the Academy in regards to only four nominees in his category as opposed to the traditional five by saying "They couldn't find a fifth song?" to which I say "Randy, I'm stunned they could find four. Shut it and move along."

    10:01: Anne Hathaway keeps wooing. Every time she introduces someone she woos. She's such a Woo Girl. Franco's going to get mocked for being too insincere and Hathaway's going to get mocked for being too sincere. Mark it down. No one should ever host because you just can't win.

    10:03: Tom Hooper wins Best Director for "The King's Speech." David Fincher's still pissed, but Hooper's speech, whether you wanted him to win or not (and I, as we all know too well, was an Aronofsky - who had no chance - man), gives a good speech, touching on fate and the rewards of "listening to your mother."

    10:07: Francis Ford Coppola & Jean Luc Godard (who isn't actually at the ceremony), slightly important figures in the cinema, get, oh, roughly, 17 seconds of screen time. But thank the heavens we got to listen to Mandy Moore & "Chuck" sing whatever song that was they sang. So unbelievable I don't even want to discuss it further.

    10:12: And now it's arrived. Best Actress. The only one that's really mattered in this house all night. Jeff Bridges presenting. Bottle of Vueve de Vernay now outta the fridge and at the ready. Bridges opens the envelope. And I actually am stricken with terror for that brief moment where he dramatically pauses. But then he says the magic words I've been waiting to hear since Sunday evening December 5, 2010. And, thus, for the rest of her life, like it or not, Natalie Portman's named will be preceded by Academy Award Winner.

    "Thor", starring Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman. Late yesterday afternoon Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman gave birth to a beautiful baby (boy/girl). "Table for two?" "Certainly. What's the name?" "Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman." And so on.

    "I was wondering if I could change the name on my passport to read Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman?"
    And then I have to pause the DVR after Natalie's speech (in which she impressively kept composed despite listing about half-a-thousand names and, by the way, she can list any name she wants because it's her moment, not yours) because Nicolle and I find ourselves in the midst of what we'll dub The Natalie Portman Oscar Champagne Fiasco, which is to say I cannot get the damn cork popped. (Perhaps this is a good moment to tell the ladies I bench press a cool 17.) I try and then Nicolle tries and then I try again and finally I have to soak a dish towel and wrap it around the cork and yank on it and then it pops and I spill champagne on my floor and by the time we have composed ourselves after the ridiculousness of The Natalie Portman Oscar Champagne Fiasco, and toasted to her Oscar, and sat back down, well, Colin Firth winning Best Actor for "The King's Speech" and "The King's Speech" winning Best Picture really don't interest me at all. I'm hardly even paying attention. But I think that's about right.

    I know a lot of people who check in with this blog from time to time weren't as brazen about Natalie's work in "Black Swan" as I was and that's completely cool. But I ask you to consider this: How often does your favorite performance - literally, your favorite performance - of the year win the Oscar? Not often, right? Maybe never. My favorite performance last year was Kelly Macdonald in "The Merry Gentleman", a performance I cherished just as much as I cherished Portman as Nina Sayers, and I'm still convinced only 39 other people in America even saw that movie. It never even had a chance to be nominated for an Oscar, let alone win. Uma lost to Weist, Kate The Great lost to Hunt, Amy Ryan lost to Tilda Swinton, Johnny Depp never really had a prayer for the first "Pirates of the Caribbean", Billy Crudup's never even been nominated, and none of that really matters because that validation shouldn't be and isn't necessary but, you know, I'm not gonna lie, it was nice. It was nice to see my favorite performance win. It was nice to see Natalie Portman beam up there onstage. I was so happy for her. Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" is why I go to the movies. The girl acted her ass off and I'll defend her to the death if she starts popping up on those Who Didn't Deserve Their Oscar lists 10 years from now. I hope she soaks it in for all its freaking worth because she deserves it. James Franco & Anne Hathaway may have been disappointing and the entire telecast may have been entirely predictable and a little boring but I got to watch it with one of my best friends and Natalie Portman won so yeah......pretty good Oscars. Pretty good Oscars.

    The Natalie Portman Oscar Champagne.
    Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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God of Love

Profiles in Stupidity: Congressman Barney Frank

    With this issue of the Spin Cycle we are starting a new recurring feature. "Profiles in Stupidity" will highlight the dumbest politicians in America today.

    Congressman Barney Frank, D-MA, is the Representative for Massachusetts 4th congressional district, serving since 1981. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He won his first full term in 1980 and has been re-elected ever since by wide margins.

    From 2007 to 2011, Frank was the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the entire financial services industry including the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries and was considered to be one of the most powerful members of Congress.

    As Chairman of this committee, Frank had a key role in creating all the rules and regulations that forced banks to write bad loans.

    He was the architect of the 2008 housing market collapse and financial meltdown, but took absolutely no responsibility for it. He blamed everyone but himself for the crisis.

    Congressman Frank then assumed the posture of an innocent bystander rather than a powerful head of the House Financial Services Committee, saying:

    'The private sector got us into this mess. The government has to get us out of it. The current financial crisis is the spawn of the free market run amok, with the political class guilty only of failing to rein the capitalists in. The Wall Street meltdown was caused by bad decisions that were made by people in the private sector,"
    But was this true?

    Lets look at some things Barney Frank told us before the housing market collapse:
    "The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial loses to the Treasury, which I do not see." Sept 10, 2003
    "These two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis." Sept 11, 2003
    "I want to roll the dice a little more in this situation towards subsidizing housing." Sept 25, 2003

    "Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, they are not in danger of going under... I do think their prospects going forward are very sound." July 14, 2008
    The roots of this crisis go back to the Carter administration. That was when government officials, egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing mortgage lenders of racism and "redlining" because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate than suburban whites.

    The pressure to make more loans to minorities (read: to borrowers with weak credit histories) became relentless. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to "meet the credit needs" of "low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods."

    Later, President Clinton and the Democrat Party expanded the CRA, and Attorney General Janet Reno even threatened to throw bank CEOs in prison if they failed to write enough loans to minorities.

    Congressman Frank was the chairman of the committee that wrote the rules, and was supposed to regulate and provide oversight for banks. Frank and his party created this mess, and now they act like innocent bystanders. Never before in our history has anyone had as much control and influence over a problem they created, and has so completely disavowed any responsibility for it.Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

TRUE GRIT

    by Suzanne

    Since I write western historical romances, both erotic, (THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN) and just plain sexy, (REFUGE), I loved getting to go see True Grit a while back. When my son and I walked out of the theater after watching this remake of the old classic, we talked about what we like about the movie. One of the things he said to me was, "Mom, the person who had the most grit in that movie, wasn't Rooster Cogburn. It was Mattie." And he was right.

    Mattie Ross had true grit.When her father was murdered hundreds of miles from home, she took it upon herself not only to go collect his body and send him home to be buried, but to find someone to help her track down the low-down murdering sidewinder and see he was brought to justice.She weathered low opinions men of the time had for a slip of a girl, nearly drowning in a river, shooting her first man, tumbling down a huge pit and being bitten by a rattler. (I won't tell you how it ends, just in case you haven't had the time to go see this movie.)

    As this is the last day of the AHA GO RED for Women month and the Bandits celebration of such, I thought we should look at other women who throughout history have shown true grit.

    Queen Elizabeth I: Talk about someone walking into a pit of snakes...the human kind. She took over the English crown when the kingdom was broke, under threat of both the Spanish and French invading, not to mention some rowdy Scots to the north. But her country had just gone through some very bloody years at the hands of her sister. Her kingdom was writhe with spies and traitors, advisors who saw her as nothing more than a brood mare to provide a male heir to take her place.Yet she was able to rule with cunning and a strong will for 45 years. Her country and it's empire grew in land, strength and finances during her rein.

    Elizabeth Blackwell: Growing up in England where she watched eight of her siblings and eight of her cousins die, Elizabeth decided to go to medical school after her family moved to America. Elizabeth was rejected by 16 medical schools but was finally accepted by Geneva (New York) Medical College. Despite the taunts of not only the other students, but the people in the college town, she graduated on January 23, 1849. While furthering her medical studies in Paris, she developed an eye infection that cost her sight in her left eye. Undaunted, she continued to study. She returned to America two years later and opened a school to help other women become doctors. She also raised money with her sister Emily and opened The New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857. Run by women doctors, it was the first of its kind anywhere in the world.



    Marian Anderson: Despite many years of prejudicial treatment, even being refused entrance to a local musical school after graduating high school because of her color, Marian rose to be the first black opera singer to be a regular cast member of the New York Metropolitan Opera. She sang for Kings and Queens, many presidents, including FDR and JFK. She also quietly fought many of the segregation laws that were in place during the early part of her career, by insisting on "vertical seating" in segregated cities. This meant that black audience members would be slotted in seats on all levels of the auditoriums. For many, it was the first time they'd ever sat in orchestra level seats.


    Sylvia and Cristobal Pankhurst and the Suffragettes: (doesn't that sound like a rock band?) At a time when women were little more than chattel, they literally fought for women's right to vote. So passionate about their beliefs they thought nothing of chaining themselves to public building railings, smashing windows, interrupting public debates and even setting off bombs. Many of their followers, including Cristobal herself, went to prison, where they conducted hunger strikes to get their message across. Finally, during World War I political changes were made to give limited voting rights to women in England. In 1920 American Women achieved the right to vote through the Nineteenth Ammendment to the Constitution and by 1928 full suffrage equal to those of men were granted to women in England.

    These are some women who have grit to stick to their beliefs, dreams or goals throughout history. Do you have any favorites you look up to? Admire? Or just appreciate their grit?

    Romance Writers of America and the American Heart Association have partnered to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Visit Go Red for Women to learn how to fight heart disease.
    Sign up for the Go Red Better U Program and receive two free romance e-books. From Feb 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's Better U Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited edition magazine (that features this offer) on newstands and in a grocery store near you.Go Red for Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books. 

    Here's your heart healty tip for today: Whether cooking or making dressings, use the oils that are lowest in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol – such as canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil – but use them sparingly, because they contain 120 calories per tablespoon. (I personally prefer to mix a small amount of butter with olive oil for most cooking, and vegetable oil for baking.) You can also cut back on sugars and oil in baking by adding applesauce to cake recipes!

    As always this month, one commentor will receive a GO RED for Women pin and today I'll give that same winner a $10 gift card to Amazon.com. (Heck you might use it to buy a copy of THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN or some other book to make your heart race!)Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Playing Golf on the Moon

    .
    I'm trying to write this blog post.

    I'm really trying. I'm just pissed off that I can't think of anything but Skeks playing on the elevator. It's hard to write a blog. It's very difficult letting the brain kick in and find something to grouse over. All I can think about are the little things in life, and it brings me back to the Queen of all Mommy Bloggers....Ms. Heather Armstrong.

    I don't have a washing machine to complain about. Neither do I have children, or a husband... not that I want one of those, but a wife is another story. Nope. Don't have one of those either. All I've got is me and my lonesome...and movies. Lots and lots of movies, because of Netflix. I could complain about washing dishes, but I like that shit. I could complain about chopping up veggies, but I like that shit too. I can bitch and moan about being alone, but I have to admit, I like it. I like it a lot.

    I can bitch about my mis- shapened body. I'm getting fat in strange places, such as under my arms, across my chest and my love handles have turned into a tire that has turned into a barrel. I have a problem with this. I don't give a shit. Not that I'm feeling good about getting fatter, I just don't let it bum me out. Listen, I have been depressed for an entire month and on a down slide for two or three. During that time I did nothing but lay in bed. I didn't have the energy to keep walking and burning calories like I did in September and so the weight slowly crept back.

    But now Wellbutrin is back in my blood- stream, and it's starting to kick my ass. My up is going way up, and my down is almost gone. With this fact I exercise. I have the energy for it, so I'm doing it. Today I got up and got the fuck out of the room. I marched down to 91st street, one block more than yesterday, and I huffed and puffed less. My muscles were very knotted afterward though, but I was not half as winded as I was yesterday. This is beautiful.

    So I do what I have to do. I do this and I do that now that I have the energy. But I still don't know what to write about. I'm sitting down at my laptop, staring at the screen and chewing on my upper lip, but still I have nothing to say. If everyone else lives a mundane life, mine must be super mundane, super droll. Even Paula, across the hall, has been silent today, giving me nothing to bitch about.

    So, I guess you can say that today was clearly a very good day for me, and that I should be happy with it. I should, for the first time in my ungrateful life, be pleased with the day and vow to make the best of it. But I do not. I do not vow. I've just decided that today I'm going to blog and blog about absolutely nothing. Just let my fingers tickle the keyboard and see what lovely letters pop up on the screen. As if this blog has to have some damned meaning to begin with. It doesn't. All it needs is something stupid to come out of my pineapple head.

    And I'm full of stupid shit. Further, now that the Wellbutrin is building in my blood- stream, I am a very happy camper, doing whatever it is that I want to do, and now having the energy to do it with. You'd be proud of me. I've also been working on my numerous short stories and sending them out to publishers also. I'm acting like a real author now, planning and scheming on how to get my manuscript into the marketplace. That is the thing. Keep those query letters, cover letters, synopses, bios out there to that they can be read and acted upon.

    Just like a fisherman gets up early in the morning, baits and casts his line and sits by the water all day until evening, it takes persistence to win in the publishing game. This tenacity I KNOW I have. I find it very hard to give up anything. I will not give this up. So with that being said, I'm going to print out more short stories and keep them out in the marketplace along with my novels and see if I can start a string of successes that begin something great in my life.

    Either that or I'm going to have the energy to write my blog, but absolutely nothing to write about. All this because I don't have a washing machine to bitch and moan over.

    Sorry.

    HobobobSource URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Versace Fall 2011 Runway Review

    The luxury Lifestyle blog (the home of luxury Lifestyle) presents Versace Fall 2011 Runway Review.

      
    Oscar-worthy dresses – of course. No one does sexy like Donatella Versace, but who would have thought that Versace would present stunning bridal-worthy gowns for her Fall 2011 collection? Naturally, the designer’s signature high-impact, skin-revealing looks were on the runway, but in a more restrained way this season, which was achieved mainly by keeping looks in monochromatic palettes so as to not take away from daring cuts, graphic accents, or intricate appliqué embellishments.

     
    Aside from flowing gowns, there were flawlessly tailored military-inspired outerwear and cocktail dresses including a gorgeous black military coat that came belted and accented with gold hardware, which opened the show and then later made its way out in a white iteration. The gold hardware detailing translated into separates and little black dresses as well, and lest anyone think Versace left fur out this season, it was shown wrapped around models' necks, on outerwear, and even in one case accenting the sleeves of a belted white coat.

     
    Brava Versace for creating a parade of tasteful high impact looks that didn’t rely on sex appeal for their luster.

    Similar Posts:

    Antonio Marras Fall 2011 Runway Review
    Spring 2011 Trend: Bright Colors
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    Save and share Versace Fall 2011 Runway Review

    To share this post with your family and friends? Click the button below to send them an email or save this to your favorite social network.Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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Antonio Marras Fall 2011 Runway Review

    The luxury Lifestyle blog (the home of luxury Lifestyle) presents Antonio Marras Fall 2011 Runway Review.

    Italian men love their mamas and designer Antonio Marras is eager to express his gratitude to his own. Marras dedicated a whole collection inspired by his Italian mother for Fall 2011. Long, lean silhouettes in black referenced a 1940s style. Beautiful, brightly color floral prints stood out on the solid canvases. Menswear was a huge part of the collection shown in houndstooth jackets, white collar shirts, and tailored trousers.


    Stripes were also a major component shown in different widths on dresses and sweaters. They had a nautical feel as well as a menswear cut tailored for a lady. A series of gorgeous full skirts were also shown in dark colors and prints in pleated silks.

     
    Another nod towards Marras’ Italian mother were the knee-high socks that looked fresh and modern paired with a front slit, wool skirt. Memories from Marras childhood were referenced in the prints, styling, and remodeling of menswear into womenswear which was a habit of his mother's. From the looks of his collection, Italian mothers know how to dress.

     
    Similar Posts:

    Spring 2011 Trend: Bright Colors
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    Spring 2011 Trend: Stripes
    Dressing Up In Your Spring Time Fashions
    Green Fashion Trends
    Emporio Armani x Reebok EA7

    Save and share Antonio Marras Fall 2011 Runway Review

    To share this post with your family and friends? Click the button below to send them an email or save this to your favorite social network.Source URL: http://afrenchkitchengardenweekend.blogspot.com/2011/02/
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