Friday, August 28, 2009

Simple and Simpler

I've been busy. Really busy. That's good, right, especially when the busy business has nothing to do with illness or doctor's appointments.

As far as cooking, I like to keep things simple in the summer time. See just how simple things get at Open Mouth, Insert Fork.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Top pic is Susan doing her best to look innocent. Apparently, cowboy boots and shorts were in vogue, circa 1956.

Bottom photo, Susan is still the little princess.....patent leathers and all.
I love my little sis. I miss those birthdays we used to celebrate together. (And the cakes.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's CRUNCH Time

That line always makes me think of the Seinfeld episode with an elderly Lloyd Bridges as Jerry's personal trainer.

Lately I've been enjoying a different kind of crunch - the sound of munching regional or home-made potato chips.

Are you salivating and ready for more? Go to Open Mouth, Insert Fork.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"A Different Demographic" at the Spa

One of the "riff raff" at Spa Montage

I had to laugh when I read this article in the LA Times Business Section about how the swanky Orange County resorts are dealing with slow business in these recessionary times.
"The Montage has offered rooms on certain slower weekdays this summer at $425, down $100 from the cheapest room two years ago, and the St. Regis dropped its price to $325 a night for a few rooms on off nights. And though Pelican Hill won't cut its sticker price, if you shell out $795 for an 847-square-foot bungalow you get two rounds of golf or two spa treatments thrown in.

"From a consumer standpoint, there are going to be some wonderful values," Wise said. "And tee times are more readily available."

But price cutting is tricky for hotels that on weekends even now can command minimum prices of $600 to $800 a night for vacationers. Cheaper rooms at upscale resorts attract "a different demographic," as Wise delicately put it -- people who hoteliers fear might spend lightly in restaurants, damage the furnishings and perhaps alienate wealthier travelers."

I think it's hilarious that clientele who are willing to pay the $425 bargain basement price are considered a "different demographic." I didn't know that spending nearly $500 (with tax) for a room qualifies one for the riff-raff crowd.

If that's the case, I must have been Spa Montage's* worst nightmare. You see, clients can pay for a service at the spa (in my case, a one-hour therapeutic massage) and then spend all day using the facilities and taking fitness classes. My friend and I started our day at 8 am with a cardio class, took a one-hour beach walk with an instructor and capped off the day with a late-afternoon yoga class. The rest of the time we soaked in the steam room or jacuzzi or swam in the pool. I think I must have used about 32 dozen towels. We closed the place down at 9 pm.

My favorite part was standing under the warm waterfall, but the wet pellets shot off my body on to unsuspecting guests. I don't know how to act. I'm used to the $15 Chinese foot massage places.

See? That Wise guy was right. I probably scared away the wealthy travelers.

*For the record, Spa Montage treated us like queens.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spa Day

It's time for a spa day.

And this time Benadryl, Rituxan and blue fuzzy socks will not be involved.

My good friend Terry and I are headed to the Spa Montage in Laguna Beach for a day of fitness classes, beach walking, steaming, soaking and kneading.

I think this may be just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Such a Wimp

About this time last year, when the EOS debilitated me, my dear friends had to push me around in a wheel chair during visits to City of Hope. I'll never forget my feeling of sheer, irrational terror when a friend brought the wheel chair into the examining room. I didn't want that symbol of weakness taunting me, and I didn't want my doctor seeing it. I insisted that it be removed. I must have been like the patient equivalent of a Bridezilla.

That time was a nightmare that I don't want to ever repeat. I came close this spring when the EOS started to go haywire again, but early steroid intervention kept me from going off the deep end.

I'm amazed now at how strong I feel physically and emotionally. But I'm equally amazed at what a fragile little tea cup I can be.

Take last night. I attended a Greek cooking class at hip cooks. I felt young and with-it among the hipsters in a downtown Brewery loft.

When it was time to roll the dolmas, a young woman student crossed the room in her stiletto heels and sweetly advised me to wash my hands because she had seen that I had coughed. (My coughing has nearly disappeared, but it does crop up occasionally, especially at night.) I said, "Oh, of course," and headed for the wash basin.

But on the way back, I coughed again. I knew she was watching me. Should I put my newly coughed-on hands on the grape leaves, rewash my hands or throw my hands in the air and sit it out. I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch instead of participate.

This made me sad because I really wanted to roll a dolma, but I didn't want to risk coughing. And then I started feeling like a social pariah on the sidelines and couldn't smile or enjoy watching the activity. Two sweet women came over and tried to rescue me. I told them about my cough and they said "Poppycock," or whatever hip young women say these days.

I continued to watch, feeling more morose by the minute. I considered fleeing the scene entirely but my growling stomach won out over my middle-school mentality.

When it was time to devour the eight dishes we prepared, I decided to eat in silence. This proved to be more impossible than stifling a cough. The sweet and hip young woman from Silver Lake told me she had coughed for the first 17 years of her life. I took a risk and did something more socially unacceptable than coughing: I told her about the eosinophils. She listened politely and even asked intelligent questions. Then I felt much better.

I began smiling and laughing and sharing stories. And the woman sitting across from me, the one who had asked me to wash my hands, was smiling at me and laughing at my stories.

She didn't hate me after all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the Road and Off the 'Roids

Those pesky eosinophils are under control, I get to taper down another notch on the 'roids (to 10 mg), and I'm looking forward to a full night's sleep. Ahh, sleep. Yes, I remember you.

My sleep may return, but I wonder if road food on road trips is a permanent thing of the past? On my recent fly-drive trip to four southern states, Ohio and WV, I found that good road food is about as scarce as, well, a good night's sleep.

Read more about it at Open Mouth, Insert Fork.