Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice day today

Today was my third day off in a week due to the winter weather. Just came back into the house from chiseling off my car. It wasn't as bad as I anticipated, but I am glad I didn't wait till morning, right before I left for work.

I must admit, the ice-covered trees looked beautiful in the street lamps. There's this crabapple tree outside my living room window that looks especially spectacular. I would have taken pictures if it weren't so dark outside.

Apparently we're due for some more of the white stuff on Friday. Not sure how much; cable's out and I didn't get to see the local news this evening. I'm hoping it comes back before bed, so I can make plans for the weekend. Sister Kitten and I are supposed to go out to dinner Friday night, but more importantly, Mama Cat's having surgery. She's getting a freckle removed; the dermatologist wants to take it off as a precautionary measure.

I'm glad the temp's above freezing right now--33 degrees. I know, it's only one degree above freezing, but that's fine with me!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beauty tips for hard times: Coffee face and body scrub

During my hiatus I got into learning how to make homemade natural face and body treatments. I'd like to share with you one such treatment, which I got from the website eHow. (Video link to follow).

This recipe is for a face and body scrub made from three simple ingredients:
  • coffee grounds (organic is best)
  • cocoa powder (non-organic works, but if you've got the organic kind, use it)
  • extra virgin olive oil.
Here's how you make it:
  1. If you're making this scrub for your face, you will need two tablespoons of used coffee grounds. If you have a Keurig, this is about the amount of coffee grounds you will find in a K-Cup. If you're making this as a body scrub, you will need to use about four or five K-Cups, or whatever you use to make a pot of coffee.
  2. Use one or two tablespoons of cocoa for every two tablespoons of coffee grounds. Mix the coffee grounds and cocoa powder together till the mixture is chunky.
  3. Stir in enough olive oil to form a smooth paste. Don't make it too liquidy. (Unfortunately I don't have a specific measurement here; I just eyeball this until it looks okay).
Now, when you use this scrub on your face, make sure that it is freshly cleansed. If you're using this as a body scrub, you can use it right before you shower. (But don't use it right after you have been to the gym.)

I strongly advise you to use this scrub in the bathtub, before you start using the shower. If you use this outside of your bathtub it will take you forever to clean your bathroom. Trust me, I speak, unfortunately, from experience.

Stqart sing the scrub on your body. Really focus on the really dry areas, like your elbows, knees, and feet. Give your thighs a really good massage; caffeine is often used to treat cellulite, and is known to detoxify the skin. Finish up by scrubbing your face. Scrub your face more gently than your body, since the skin on your face is a little more delicate.

I need to add that this scrub smells absolutely decadent, like a mocha cake that has just come out of the oven to cool. Whatever you do, don't eat the scrub. Coffee grounds have a nasty texture in the mouth, as anyone who has sipped some leftover grounds at the bottom of a cup can attest.

Once you have scrubbed everything, turn on the shower and rinse! You will be brewing coffee as you rinse; make sure you rinse everything off, including in the bathtub. You don't want coffee stains in the tub!

Finally, follow up your scrub with some soap or body wash, to rinse the excess coffee off of your skin. This step may be optional for some, since the olive oil leaves a nice little moisture barrier on the skin.

Here's the link to the eHow video, if you would like to have that. If you're not familiar with eHow, think of it as YouTube full of instructional videos. The quality on many of these videos varies; this one is one of the best ones.

Try out the scrub and let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shari Lewis, Lamb Chop, and Kitten

Every now and then I get YouTube obsessions over the most random topics. My latest one started last week when I saw a report about ventriloquist Terry Fator on CBS News Sunday Morning:

My parents saw him in Vegas about a year ago and they loved him. It's easy to see why; he's amazingly good.

During that report, as you may have seen, there was a very small segment featuring Shari Lewis, Lamb Chop, and Charlie Horse. They were a big part of my childhood, through the old PBS show Lamb Chop's Play Along. I was fresh out of college when she died, and I felt the same sort of sadness that I experienced when Jim Henson died years earlier: It felt like a member of the family had left me. And then I thought, "Well, how is Lamb Chop going to go on? And Hush Puppy? And Charlie Horse?" (Personally, as much as I loved Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy was my favorite. I didn't care much for Charlie Horse).

Thankfully, Shari's daughter, Mallory, has taken over the act, and is now voicing Lamb Chop. And Lamb Chop sounds exactly like Shari's version. I honestly can't tell the difference.

Judge for yourself. Here's one of the many YouTube clips featuring Shari and Lamb Chop. I watch this particular clip and wonder why children's television these days can't be as good as it was back during my childhood. Shari doesn't talk down to the kids, and she's very creative in dealing with Lamb Chop:

And for comparison's sake, here's a segment with Mallory and Lamb Chop:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home again today

...and I still hear snowblowers around my condo complex, next door, and plows on the roads. Apparently they're still getting rid of the snow at work, which is why I'm home again today.

It's nice to know, though, that the main roads are clear again, so I can at least leave the house if I wanted to.

But those huge piles of laundry aren't going away any time soon...hmmm...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow day

The entire state of Connecticut is closed. Or so it seems. There's no one on the roads, and the city police just called every resident, via automated message, to advise everyone to stay off the roads. Our governor told everyone the same thing, and he's already had his fourth or fifth press conference about the storm today.

My neighbors are comparing this to the blizzard of '78. I was two years old at the time, so obviously, I have no memory of it.

But there are at least two feet of snow outside. The snowbanks from the plows and snowblowers come up to at least my waist.

I'm taking a temporary break from digging my car out of its parking space. I need to defrost a bit.

And then I'll go outside again...because, in all likelihood, I've gotta go back to work tomorrow.

And on a random note...is that Eric Roberts on The Young and the Restless? (I don't ever watch soaps, but I haven't had the chance to change the channel from the local noontime news yet).

Friday, January 7, 2011

A snowy Friday night at Bookkitten headquarters

...and I'm kinda bored. I figured I'd best explain in further detail the reasons for my sporadic hiatus. Basically, like I said in my last post, I had overbooked myself. Every weekend since mid-August, I had something to do for church, work, or social activities. And by December, everything caught up to me. After Thanksgiving, I felt run down. Exhausted. Sick. I didn't even put up Christmas decorations or send out cards. Holiday shopping became more of a chore than usual.

So, I decided to take charge. During my vacation the last week in December, I didn't do much. I didn't even attend a New Year's Eve party. I went over to Sister Kitten's, and we both were asleep after 12:30 AM. I rested, relaxed, and recuperated.

And my resolution this year is to take more time for me. For instance, I'm going to take the month off from social activities. I've been invited to a few outings with friends, but I'm not attending those. It's not that I don't want to see them; I do. But right now I feel it's best for me to spend some time alone--clean my house, organize things, and just decompress.

Wintertime is the perfect opportunity to do just that. The snowy weather, the cold, the wind--all pose perfect times to stay home by the fire, or in my case, the radiator. And as I'm typing this, I'm starting to realize what a friend of mine always says about winter being a time of rebirth--everything is at rest, getting ready for a season of rebirth and regrowth in the spring.

So I guess that's what I'm doing right now--but rather than "rebirthing" myself into a whole new person, I'm using the winter as a time of reflection.

So right now, I'm sitting by the television, with my laptop, watching the weathermen hype this latest storm (which took awhile to get to my little city). One cat is sleeping peacefully at my side, and the other just joined me at my left. I'm going to get up to go to the kitchen to pour a glass of wine, maybe two. A bubble bath may be in my future. And I've got flannel sheets and a down comforter on my bed. Life is good.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Already looking forward to 11.11.11

If we're all jazzed up for today, 1.1.11, imagine the celebrations we'll all have 11.11.11!!! Sorry I haven't been around, kittens...I want to assure you that nothing bad occurred, it's just that I overbooked myself (no pun intended) during the last quarter of 2010. (Man, that last sentence was a modern day punctuation/run-on horror). Anyhoo, hope you're all happy and safe on this New Year's Day. I will try to get back to blogging as soon as I have the time and the mojo...the well has certainly run dry lately. In the meantime, all the best for 2011 and hope to chat with y'all soon!