My Favorite TV Shows-over the past five or six years

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I have had several favorite TV shows over the past few yars, but most of them are over. If you want to see any of these shows, you can get them on Netflix. It is important to watch all these shows starting with Season one, Disc one.

My all time favorite was Sex in the City. I could watch those episodes again and again. It is not just a a chick flick. Really good if you can get your man to watch it too. He will learn a few things about women.

The Sopranos. What can I say?  A wonderful series. I missed it when it came out and so I watched it on DVD and luckily got to see the whole six years in about two months. (Like a  great book, I couldn’t put it down)

Deadwood. A fabulous epic of the old west. If you can get past the language, it is really a great story.  The writing is amazing and the characters have so much depth.

The Wire. A TV show about Baltimore, cops, drugs and gangs. Great photography, story and acting.

Six Feet Under. A terrific story about a family who run a funeral home. Went on for several seasons. I really got into all the characters. One of the main characters is gay, and if seeing a homosexual relationship developing offends you, then maybe this show is not for you.

Brothers and Sisters. Written by the same people who wrote Six Feet Under. Some of the same cast. Also a family drama with Sally Fields as the mother and Calista Flockhart as one of the daughters. (Sister). One of the brothers is gay and similar to the above series.

The Tudors. The life of Henry VIII from the time he was about thirty till he died. Very exciting, great drama and based on true events of history. I loved every minute of it. Jonathan Reys Meyers plays Henry and he is incredible. It will be easier to keep his six wives in order if you watch this show. Yes, Ann Bolyen was the most famous, but there were five others.

Dexter. I didn’t want to watch it at first as it is the story of a serial killer. But he is a good serial killer, and only kills bad guys. Very enjoyable and Michael C. Hall is great as Dexter.

For light hearted fun, Two and a Half Men is very funny. If you can separate Charlie Sheen in real life from the cad he plays on TV, you are in luck. John Crynor, the guy who plays his brother is fabulous and won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor.

Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David. Written by and about the man who created Seinfeld. Very funny.

Breaking Bad. A good drama about a high school teacher who gets into the meth making business. The lead won three years in a row for Best Actor and his cohort won this year for Best Supporting Actor.

I just started watching Boardwalk Empire. Haven’t formed an opinion yet, but the costumes of the period are terrific. A lot of the story is based on true characters in the 1920’s during Prohibition.

Well, dear Readers, these ought to keep you busy for a while. If you are looking for some good entertainment, take your pick, I guarantee you will be hooked, as I was.

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Postage Stamps, Pens and Greeting Cards

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I like to use interesting stamps on letters and cards. In the slideshow there is a sheet called The Hawaiian Rain Forest which is actually ten various size postage stamps. The one of me and Pierot is a Photo stamp and the comic strip is just a sheet of 44 cent stamps. The Christmas stamps just came out and I will get a sheet of those next time I go to the post office.

All you have to do is ask the postal clerk to let you see the book of available stamps as there are lots of different ones. I wish I had saved one from each batch over the years. It would be fun to look back on the various styles and prices. I remember when it was three cents for regular mail and seven cents for airmail.

Have you discovered Photostamps?

You can order these online with any photo you like and they are real postage stamps. I always have some of these on hand for special greeting cards. They are expensive, about $1.00 each for a 44 cent stamp. These make a wonderful present for that person who has everything. So for that difficult person, here you go. (About $20 for a sheet of 20 (with shipping)

I know with email and ecards and evites, it seems like we don’t send many cards through the snail mail. But just think how nice it is to go to the mailbox and get a handwritten envelope with a pretty stamp, instead of  just junk mail that comes every day.

To make that greeting card special, you can either make one yourself, or doctor up a simple card. Write the persons name in glue and sprinkle glitter on it. (Or buy a glitter pen). Glue pens and glue sticks are very handy. You can stick on trinkets, feathers, coins, little mirrors, rhinestones, and such.

If you don’t want to go to all that trouble, just get a set of colored marking pens and use these for your salutation, signature and address. I have a Martha Stewart set but a silver or gold marking pen is just fine.

Next time you are at Walmart check out their sticker department. You will be amazed at all the various themes. How nice to put a group of golf stickers on that card for a golfer or something special that says you care.

If you want to start doing this, use a special box for all your supplies.  You can use a shoe box, but if you get one of those plastic see through shoe boxes, you can see what’s what, cards, glue, pens, stickers and stamps, plus return address labels and an address book. You will be much more inclined if everything is in one place.

And don’t wait till you need a card. Buy a box of assorted cards to have on hand. Costco has a great box of 30 handmade cards for $15.99. Do the math. If you go buy one card at a time, it is about $3 or $4 a card. At $3 each that would be $90. There, you just ‘saved’ $75.

So even if you don’t use all those baby cards, you are still way ahead. And it is so nice to have just the right card on hand when you need it. Plus every time you go to the store you use gas and time (and you have to find a parking place).

One thing I learned from being a Girl Scout: ‘Be Prepared’.

What’s On My Bookshelf?

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Photos of me on couch all taken by my professional photographer friend

Most of the photos on the slideshow are me in front of my library wallpaper. I am a avid reader and a bookaholic. Is that a word?

When I was ten I had the complete collection of Nancy Drew. I can still remember the thrill of buying each new one the day it was released. Now I always have a “book going”.

I choose books by author. I have many favorites. I will list them in no particular order.

Jodi Picoult- for novels about real life issues. The first one I ever read and probably my favorite was Nineteen Minutes, about a school massacre and its effects on the parents, community etc. But all her books are great.

Nelson de Mille-Very good writer. UpCountry was my first foray into his books and I laughed outloud. I like all his books. Good for men and women readers.

Terry McMillan-Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got her Groove Back, Getting to Happy. Novels from the point of view of a wealthy black woman, and her friends. Chick flick books.

Jennifer Weiner- Good in Bed and all her other books. She is very funny. Chick flick books.

Jeffrey Archer-Cain and Able and all his other books. Great plots with a real twist at the end. Good for men and women readers.

Lee Child-The Jack Reacher novels. Jack is an ex MP, who is a nomad. He has no possessions, not even a watch. But he has a built in watch in his head. He buys clothes, wears them and then throws them away and buys some more. But he has no house, car etc. He does carry a toothbrush. Good for men and women readers.

Many of my books are ‘How to’ books on crafts, painting, needlework and decorating. My reference books include ones on health, astrology, art and artists. It’s good to have a lot of varied interests. (Don’t want to be a ‘one trick pony’).

I’m embarrassed to say I have never read Harry Potter. I tried, but just didn’t ‘get it’. Meanwhile, my eleven year old grandson has read them all.

I buy most of my paperbacks and “quality” paperbacks at Costco. It’s Doubleday Book Club for my hardbacks.

Here is my Book Club method. I join a Book Club and get six books for 99 cents for joining. That keeps me busy for a couple of months. Then when there is a sale, I buy two books, when there is another sale I buy two more. There, I’ve fulfilled my obligation and I have ten hardback books for around $60. Then I cancel my membership and in a month or so start over.

I check out the book section whenever I go to a thrift shop. Most books are $1 or $2 and paperbacks are even less. An even more economical way to get your books is to go to the Public Library, where they are free.

Have you tried audio books through Audible?  You can join for three months for $7.49 a month and try it. They have 75,000 titles and even I could figure out their website. You can download books to your computer/phone and play them in your car while you are wasting time in traffic or listen to them like a bed time story.

Whether you read books in print, or listen to them on your computer or phone, you are missing a lot in life, if you don’t read. There are thousands of books out there on any subject you can imagine.

p.s. The Martha Stewart Cupcake Cookbook Contest will be ending on Sunday. So far, not too many of you readers have left comments on my blog. But there is still time to leave a comment and be eligible to win that cookbook.

Banana Bread Loaf and Muffin Tops

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This is another repeat. I think this is the very best banana bread recipe and I felt it was worth another printing. For those of you who missed it in October 2010, here it is again.

Do you like banana bread? I do, and it is a good thing to make if you happen to have six ripe bananas. If you only have three ripe bananas, just halve the recipe. One cup sugar, one stick butter,  2 eggs etc. Here is the recipe for Kona Inn Banana Bread. (Some people call these Queen Surf banana muffins).

Preheat oven to 350 and grease two loaf pans or one loaf pan and a muffin pan. I use a muffin top pan ’cause I only like the tops.

Mash six ripe bananas in cuisinart, add four beaten eggs. set aside

2 sticks butter softened

2 cups sugar, or a less if you don’t like it too sweet.  1 1/2 is ok

Cream these together. Add bananas and eggs

Meanwhile sift 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 teas. salt and 2 teas baking soda together three times. Add and just mix into all wet ingredients. I like to add chopped walnuts.

Pour into pans and bake for 27 minutes for muffins and 45-55 minutes for the loaf pans.

p.s. if you use those little disposable loaf pans, it will make four or six and they make cute gifts and you probably only have to bake them about forty minutes or less.

ppss. You can leave it plain or if you want it more like a cake, you can frost with a cream cheese frosting. This also freezes very well.

The World Series 2010-Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants

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The World Series starts today, 1:30pm Hawaii Standard Time. I can hardly wait. I always enjoy a good baseball game and it will be fun to see two different teams this year.

I think I am for Texas, simply because it is their very first shot and I always tend to root for the underdog. (Although I prefer the Giant’s colors)

I will have to think up some good baseball watching food. Hot dogs of course and root beer. I just realized I have hot dogs, but no buns. So I looked online and found a recipe for making homemade hot dog buns. These can be hamburger buns also. Just a different shape.  Sounds easy and good. If they come out OK, I will put the recipe in my next blog.

Here is a good gambling game to play. (And you don’t have to know anything about baseball). Put ten slips of paper into a bowl. Number them 1-10. Depending on how many people are playing, each draws a number. But if only two are playing then you each get five slips. Each slip costs $1. So there is $10 in the “pot”.

This way it doesn’t matter which team wins and if the series goes the full seven games, everyone has a chance to win something. Worst case scenario: Two people play for seven games, one never wins a single game and so he loses $35 over nine days. (very unlikely)

The winner is the one whose number is the last digit of the total of the final scores. So if the score is 5-2, then seven is the winner and if the score is 12-6, then 8 is the winner.

If an uneven number of people are playing, you can decide who gets to buy the extra slips by dealing out some cards and highest, next highest and so on get to buy extra slips. If someone doesn’t want to, then it goes to the next one. Got it?

The first time I played this game was The World Series in 1955. I won the $10 and I took my boyfriend out to an Italian dinner. We each had lasagna, shared a pizza, had a bottle of Chianti wine, left a tip and I think I got some change.

LA Times Holiday Cookie Contest

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Nana’s Russian Tea Cookies

The Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Contest is going on now. My daughter, Jody Truitt, entered a favorite family cookie called Nana’s Russian Tea Cookies. They are really delicious. For the recipe just look up the link, but here’s a hint. Butter, cream cheese, flour. That’s it for the dough. For the details, you will have to check the LA times site.

There are some great sounding recipes. As of yesterday there were ove 50 entries. I’m sure you can find some good ones for the holidays.

The top ten will be printed in the LA Times Holiday food section. The bummer is that the top ten are chosen by votes. (not how good the cookie is) You have to register to vote, but then you can vote every day till November 14. It is a bit of a hassle to register, but Jody and I would really appreciate it if you would vote.

I heartily recommend this cookie. It has been passed down from her grandmother. She used to make it in a bowl, mashing the butter and cream cheese with a fork, but we do it in the cuisinart. Also, if you don’t eat them all up the first day, they freeze very well. I like to eat them frozen.

Nana’s Russian Tea Cookies

http://latimes.upickem.net/engine/Details.aspx?PageType=APPROVED&ContestID=21592&SubmissionID=5391749&IncrementNumber=1

My Cat Collection

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I have been collecting cat figurines for over forty years. Some were found on trips and in flea markets. Many were received as gifts from family and friends. I try to find small ones to fit in my curio case, but if there is a larger one I like, it goes on a bookshelf or coffee table.

This is a bank I am jeweling.

If you don’t have a collection of something, I highly recommend it as a fun hobby. Mine started many years ago, when I went to a garage sale. There was a little girl with her own table of toys and dolls and in the midst of the Barbies was a tiny ceramic cat with a missing ear. “How much?” “Twenty five cents.” I gave her one dollar and made her day.

I took my adopted cat home and replaced his ear with a mixture of spackle and glue. Then I painted it to match with some craft paint and a coat of nail polish. Even tho’ I have more than a hundred cats now, it has always been my favorite.

I have met many interesting people through my collecting hobby. While on a Mediterranean cruise I mentioned to a woman that at our next stop, Nice, France, I wanted to find a cat for my collection. She asked if she could go with me. I said, “What do you collect”. She said “Nothing”. So I started her on her new hobby. She couldn’t decide what to collect, but when we got to the curio shop, they had hundreds of angels and so I recommended she collect angels. It took her more than an hour to select one. Meanwhile I found a beautiful Lalique cat.

You can choose whatever you want. Cats, dogs, pigs, cows, angels, butterflies, owls. Once you decide, you will be amazed at how many different ones you will find. Sometimes your figurine might have a little flaw, but it is fun to repair them and makes  you feel very accomplished. My best “deal” was a Herend cat from a fine shop. It was $120, but the tip of the tail was broken, so it was marked down to $10. It was white porcelain and very easy to fix with a little spackle and white nail polish.

This is the top of my curio cabinet and cat sillouette is over my bedroom door

To display your collection, you will need a case or a shelf. I have outgrown several over the years. You can use all sorts of things as stands to make your collection more interesting. To get various heights and make more room on each shelf, I have used small boxes, upsidedown wine glasses, perfume bottles, and little tin cans and jars.

As your collection grows you will search for ways to expand your cabinet.  If your shelves are far apart, you can add another layer of glass shelves simply by laying a narrow piece of glass (like from a medicine cabinet) across two wine glasses.  I have six of these “additions” in my cabinet.

Simply placing an item on a mirror gives it a whole different look. And it is fun to mix in photos and other momentos with your collection. Thimbles, jewelry and little rocks here and there add variety.

Look in the grocery store for small bottles with flat tops, such as a pretty olive jar from Italy, or a jam jar from France. Asian and Mexican markets have great jars and cans. My most interesting stands are two cans of Spam, one regular and one Lite.

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