Saturday, August 10, 2013

Butterflies are free

Ned had his first official outing where he had to walk more than a few minutes. We went to the Butterfly Pavilion is the largest butterfly atrium in the U.S. You can watch the butterflies emerge from their cocoon's in a special area as well. It was such fun!  Ned did very well walking around. Enjoy the pictures.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dollie time out

I went to play with dolls last week in LA. This was a trip that was planned before Ned's surgery and I wasn't sure I could actually go. We asked one of Ned's sons if he would be able to come visit so I could get a break.
I am in love with Sybarite dolls. They are 16" high fashion dolls made by Superdoll in the UK; the dolls have attitude and fashions to die for. This was to be the first official U.S. event giving many collectors the opportunity to attend an event outside of London.  A special doll is given to each of the attendees and it is usually very coveted since it is a limited edition. An unofficial pre-event took place  on Wedensday evening so that those who came from longer distances and had to come in a day earlier could get together.

Of course my trip started off with a bang. I just knew I had forgotten something! I was invited to attend the early cocktail party so I flew in a day earlier. While getting ready to party I found that I had left my makeup case at home!!! There was going to be a visit to CVS come morning. West Los Angeles is very green....not only in foliage but also in recycling....they charge you for bags. The party was at the home of the incomparable Abbe Lane who was honored last year with a look -a -like doll.

Of course first thing on my agenda the next morning was a walk to CVS.  Ned could have overnighted my makeup case for what it cost me for basics except it was too late on Wednesday to do it. Oh well. While I am not particularly vain, naked face is only for the house. The rest of the day was spent walking around the area with friends and window shopping. I really tried to spend some money on hot outfits but I couldn't find anything that fit. Whew!! Thursday evening was the official kick off event cocktail party held on the gorgeous terrace garden of The London hotel. The views of the setting sun over LA were gorgeous..... of course I forgot my camera and I almost never remember I can use the camera on my phone.... just give me 1 glass of wine and my brain is fried! We each received a goody bag filled with... what else? Goodies! Included was a teaser outfit for the doll to be presented Saturday night, and silly stuff...yep, we are really kids at heart. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends and to make new ones. The internet is a wondrous thing. I got to finally meet people who I have been talking to online and put a face to a name. I also got to spend time with people I met before but didn't have a lot of time to chat with. The time flew by and the staff finally kicked us out. Some of us decided to continue the party at one of the local bars in West Los Angeles. We ended up at one of the ubiquitous gay bars down the street. It wasn't my first and I am sure it won't be my last. They are always a lot of fun. This one had a bunch of "dancers" up on the stage... sorry, not posting those pics...I don't want Google to think this is an X rated blog! This one is some of our group in a "hug".
Yeah, we had fun.

Since I have done the tourist stuff in LA before, I opted to spend the morning at the mall with friends. Who knew that I needed $300+ cream for my face??? Sorry, Oil of Olay is my speed. I did get a sample but so far can't see a difference.  Seemed like most of the shops on Rodeo drive were also represented here. Nice eye candy. We got back to the hotel in time to change for our luncheon.

As we entered the banquet room we started to drool... no, it wasn't the food. It was the doll standing on each of the tables. Little did we know at the time that these beauties  would be going home with 8 lucky people.
I won, I won, I won! I was flying. Take a deep breath Sherryl.
Getting ahead of myself here.... Many collectors brought their One of a kind dolls for the rest of us to see. They were all drool worthy.
We very rarely get to see these beauties as they are all in private collections. Thankfully, I had taken photos before we ate or I would never have been able to hold the camera still as my adrenalin was in high gear after the raffle.  We also got a sneak peak at Superdolls current collection of dolls.

 We were given a second goody bag with a more incredible outfit.

The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur. Many of us spent it in the hotel lobby chatting away then went back to our rooms for a rest before making dinner plans and deciding what we would do the next day. We were on our own.
We had spectacular weather in LA... not too hot, not much of a marine layer in the mornings.  A group of us went to the Getty museum with the generous offer of one of the locals who had a car. I had never been to the new museum. It is a spectacular collection of art with breathtaking views and gardens to only dream of. Because the weather was so cooperating we actually spent more time outside than inside.

I will definitely do a return visit. The day passed quickly and we returned to our hotel to rest up and get gussied up for our red carpet affair in the evening. This was dress up night and a professional photographer was on hand for photos. Excitement was running high in expectation of our special doll. An elegant sit down dinner, catered by the world renown chef Gordon Ramsey, was the setting for our last night. The food was perfection as was the service. Everyone was getting antsy waiting. But wait, there was another surprise in store for us. There was going to be another raffle. Ten lucky winners would go home with another prize. The prizes were all different. There were several gift certificates of varying  amounts to spend in the Superdoll salon or website, one salon outfit, and one doll from the current collection. I should have gone and bought a lottery ticket. I won the doll. I was really in shock this time. The doll I won was Meadow. If you scroll back up you can see her with her sisters... she is the blue one.

Breathe Sherryl, breathe!

Drum roll! Finally the doll everyone was waiting for... she was worth the wait. Her name is ONYX and she has one gold eye and one silver eye. She is standing in front of a backdrop that was created special for us and given out in doll size to take home with her.

Did I have a good time... silly question. Hope they do this again next year.

This trip would not be complete without some additional excitement on the way home. As I mentioned, Evan, my stepson was keeping Ned company while I was gone. The plan was that he would leave the car for me at the airport on Sunday when he left and I would pick it up coming home later. Ned showed him where we park it when they dropped me off a the airport on Wednesday. Evan had to be at the airport about 5:00 a.m. We normally park our cars at the Parking Spot 2 lot. Evan texted me where he left the car. I arrive with the shuttle bus and no car. Hmmm. The wonderful driver then started to drive me around the lot (it's big) looking for the car. Still no car. He finally drops me off at the office so we can figure this all out. ( I did tip him well). I tried to call Evan but he still hadn't landed and his phone was off. Of course I called Ned in a near panic. He was about to come get me. I do have a customer card for the Parking Spot and we told Evan to use it when he entered the lot. The manager ran my card and nothing came up. We then had the brilliant idea to check the sister lot. They had record of my card!! By this time Ned was able to get in touch with Evan. He got lost in the morning and saw a shuttle for Parking Spot so followed it. He didn't know there were 2 of them. The manager had someone drive me over to the other lot. All's well that ends well and a good chuckle was had by all.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mango Blueberry ice pops

I am really sorry I didn't get the bigger unit. These pops are addictive.... and they are healthy!

Today's concoction is Mango, blueberry, lime pops. I blended fresh mango, blueberries, some lime juice, and a bit of almond milk to make up 8 oz of liquid.
This made up 4 pops with a bit of liquid left over.... so I drank it! I haven't tasted the pops but the liquid sure was good :-). I am sure all of these recipes could be used in a mold maker rather than the Zoku. I don't measure much.. just eyeball stuff and taste as I go along. These pops are not particularly sweet as I am trying not to add sugar. I would imagine yogurt would add to the creaminess but I cannot eat frozen yogurt. These really take no time at all to make But they did need 8 minutes for the first batch and 9 for the second to freeze up. Still a pretty short time.

I am planning on picking up the set of extra sticks when we go out this afternoon.... if we get out. At the moment we are having a wild monsoon storm. The rain is coming down in sheets and I would imagine that it would sting the skin if we were out in it.  The temperature has dropped but it feels like Florida.... muggy as all get out.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cherry Ice Pops....

This one is an unqualified success. I may have to go buy some more sticks so I can keep a few of these in the freezer.
I pitted about a cup of fresh cherries which just happened to be on sale at the grocery store. I tossed in a handful of semi sweet chocolate morsels, and some lime juice.... blended it all together and poured it into the Zoku mold... the chocolate is still a bit chunky. Oh my! These are not going to last long.

These pops have been perfect for the hot weather we have been having. I also get to eat these all by myself. Ned doesn't seem to want any.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Well tonight's experiment didn't do to well. I tried to make an avocado and lime ice pop... I really should have known better. As I was whipping it all up, I had a feeling this was not going to fly. Recipe.... sort of since I didn't measure anything: 1 overripe avocado, lime juice, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of salt, and some Stevia dissolved in hot water. Into the blender it all went. It all came out quite smooth but I was leery so I only filled one slot in the Zoku. I used the rest as a dressing for my tomatoes. It was quite good as a dressing.  It failed as an ice pop. I think I will go back to fruit.

Having a bit of fun

To say that things are a bit stressful here would be an understatement.. granted, some of that stress is self inflicted so I am trying to find ways to diffuse it. I found a new toy to play with!

I have have been on a maintenance lowish carb diet for about 2 years now and sometimes find it hard to stick with it. Our last  2 1/2 week trip to Italy didn't help as I had a hard time resisting all that yummy pasta and good wine. Result is that I added 5 pounds... it all settles in my belly :-(.  With Ned's surgery and rehab I have not been as diligent as I should be and haven't had the energy to fight it. I have been craving snacks. I needed to find something that would allow me to snack in a healthy manner and not make me feel guilty. Enter the Zoku Ice Pop maker!!!
I eat lots of fruits and veggies in the summer so making ice pops in a matter of minutes is right up my alley. They are fresh, they have no artificial ingredients, and I can control the sugar/carbs. It is a win/win situation with almost instant gratification.

The unit is available in 1, 2 and 3 pop sizes. I was intending to get the 3 pop size but no one in my area had it and I didn't want to wait a week to have it shipped... talk about lack of patience! I bought the 2 pop mold which comes with 4 sticks/4 drip catchers and it really is all I need. I can buy more sticks if I really want to store the pops in the freezer. Once you initially freeze the unit for 24 hours you are good to go. All you need is a blender and some imagination and you can have a delicious treat in 7-8 minutes. REALLY! If you lack imagination the internet has zillions of recipes for you to try. Weird, but Zoku doesn't provide any with the machine. They do have quite a few on their website and blog but one would think they would at least provide you with a basic one.

One of my favorite apps is Evernote and its ancillary helper Web Clipper. When I find something on the internet I want to keep, I just highlight it and "CLIP" it. I now have a large collection of recipes to use with the Zoku if I do not want to try my own. The best is that is syncs automatically with all my devices so I can take my ipad with me into the kitchen and have a reference library at my fingertips.

The short instructions...make your pop filling and put it in something you can use to pour it with. Take the Zoku unit out of the freezer and insert the sticks. Pour your filling into the molds and wait 7/8 minutes. Screw on the removal tool and pull out your creations. You are good to go! You can make 6 pops before you have to refreeze the unit.

My first experiment on Monday night:
We had a ton of blueberries in the house ( I love blueberries) and some peaches. I picked some fresh mint to add to it and I added 1 tsp sugar because I wasn't sure how sweet it would be without. I made up 4 pops. Since I don't really count the carbs of my fruits, the sugar added 1 carb to each of the pops. I am not sure I needed the sugar and will try without. If I feel I need some I will use unrefined next time. I used 1 cup of blueberries, 1 medium peach with skin removed, a few sprigs of mint, and 1 tsp sugar. I tossed it all in the blender and liquified it. They were good! I can see they can also be addictive.

These pops are the perfect snack. They are also very refreshing in the heat here in Arizona.

To say I was hooked would be an accurate statement. You can make these pops with just about anything you can think of...there are even some for "adults" that contain alcohol. I have my eye on a mojito pop! You really have to read the instructions carefully if you are using liquor of any sort as it doesn't freeze well. If the pop is not rock hard you won't be able to get it out of the mold and you will have a mess on your hands... no, I haven't tried this yet but I have been doing my reading homework!

Many people use yogurt with added ingredients to make their ice pops and there are tons of recipes for these. Since I am lactose intolerant, killing off the live cultures is the kiss of death for me. I am probably going to use Almond and Coconut milk instead.

I needed a new pop for Tuesday night... yep, I ate three of the first batch between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon. I had a failed experiment sitting in my freezer that I was sure would be a perfect candidate for a do over. Some weeks back on Facebook I saw what looked like a lovely snack. Silly me, I didn't read it and didn't save it so I had to wing it. It was for frozen chocolate covered peanut butter filled banana sandwiches. Lets just say the execution left something to be desired and the visual result was less than expected. Since I never saw the directions I might have missed something! They tasted good though but only after the bananas partially thawed. I had a few but they just didn't float my boat. For fun, I cut a few thin slices of banana and added them to the sides of the mold. I defrosted the rejects, tossed them in the blender with a bit of Almond milk to get them to the proper consistency and poured them into my mold. I only had enough to make 2 pops. Oh my! These were good and far better than their first incarnation. Probably a good thing there were only 2 of them!
I started to eat it before I remembered to take a picture!
It doesn't look very pretty but it sure was yummy! The chocolate was still hard so it was in little pieces and the peanut butter was the chunky kind. I kind of liked the texture.

I saw a recipe for an avocado and lime pop... I happen to have an overripe avocado that I was going to make into guacamole but I may try this instead.

The options are endless and I don't feel guilty having healthy snacks.

If you get one of these gadgets, please share your recipes!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A bit of excitement

On July 2, my hubby had a double knee replacement. Needless to say I was very concerned about his rehab. I fully expected him to have to go to a rehab facility from the hospital and had these visions of god knows what in my head. All I can say is that Ned should be the poster child for his surgeon!

I spent the first night with him in the hospital... he was losing a lot of blood and it scared the crap out of me. They usually have patients up and walking the first afternoon. Because of his blood loss and low blood pressure that didn't happen. I am amazed at the advances in medical science. They now capture your own blood and can transfuse it back to you within a certain period of time. Ned got 2 + liters of his own blood back. He lost a lot more but time ran out so they had to boost him back. Next day they had him up and walking. He did rather well and seemed to have made up for lost time! Day 2 was even better. No rehab facility needed for him. He had the surgery on Tuesday morning and was discharged Friday afternoon!

Physical Therapy was arranged for home as was a passive motion machine that bends the knees, walker, compression hose, elevated toilet seat, shower chair, and 2 ice machines. He went home with meds for everything... normal pain, nerve pain, blood thinners, anti inflammatories. It seemed like a walking pharmacy! PT guy came on Saturday to do an eval..... Ned was at least 3 weeks ahead of most single knee replacement patients. He was doing all the exercises he was assigned and staying on top of his pain. He could bend his knees further than the passive machine did so he ditched that early. He was really working hard. It was impossible to keep him home! We have been to the bridge club almost every day! By midweek he ditched the walker and was using a cane. He really doesn't even need it but uses it to humor me! After the 4th visit the PT told him he was doing too well for home visits. He needed to move up to outpatient. Surgeon sees him on Thursday to remove staples and to decide what he does to continue his rehab.

He has already started to wean off the pain meds. I am truly impressed with him.

I am exhausted! I think the hardest is getting his stockings on every day. Showers are fun too as his legs need to be waterproofed. However, he is is standing and not sitting. I got a no skid mat for the shower floor.  We have this down to a real science by now! He won't be able to drive for about 2 months so my major job these days is chauffeur.

His youngest son is coming for a visit next week and will spell me for a bit while I go have some fun playing with dollies. When I get back I will also get back to the quilt I am making for my grandson.

Having gone through this with him, I would definitely recommend having 2 done at once rather than one and one. You get it all over with sooner! It is a lot of extra work for the caregiver but worth it. Well, Ned is worth it. Love you hon.

I am looking forward to his being able to walk again. It has really put a huge damper on what we were able to do together. We actually went to the mall for a bit yesterday... they had motorized carts available for free so he didn't have to walk too far. The grocery store is on tap for later. You can't keep a good man down!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Almost wordless Wednesday

Lucy is helping me with the squares for Will's quilt!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Test post

I am trying out a new way to blog using my iPad. Blogsy is such a pain.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Last days in Italy...

ended with a bang rather than the whimper I feared. Friday night's dinner did not meet my expectations. We went out with one of Ned's coworkers and I was over ruled on restaurants. We went to one that Ned had gone to before but even he was disappointed. Oh well....the food wasn't bad, just not spectacular.
Saturday morning dawned clear and bright. Our plans were to just do some driving the back roads, stopping where we felt like and just taking it easy for the day. We were told of a local food and wine festival so we headed out that way. It was being held on an old estate called Villa Manin.
There were about 25 booths set up offering up local cuisine and wine. For the most part, we were not impressed but we did find a great wine that we were bringing as a house gift to Ned's sort of local boss who was making dinner for us.
Because it had been pouring for 2 days straight the ground was a bit soggy so we decided to head out. We wanted to stop at some of the local wineries and taste their fare. We didn't find anything great but the views were awesome.

We drove through a little town called is one lane to get in or out and is surrounded by old walls.
I love all these old buildings!
Ned's boss lives in a very old building that has been in his wife's family forever. It might be close to 800 years old but has undergone extensive renovation. Design is something the Italians excel at and I loved the decor. Nothing staid about this place!
Dinner was delicious and relaxed.
One of the views from near his home in Cividale del Friuli which is about 20 miles from the Slovenian border. You can see the Julian Alps in the background.
We had an earlier night than normal and were looking forward to spending Sunday in Venice before I had to fly home.
Disappointment abounded as we woke up to torrential rains Sunday morning. We had a leisurely breakfast and made our way to our hotel near the airport in Venice. We were prepared to spend the day at the hotel and only go out for meals. It was still pouring when we arrived so we parked ourselves in the lobby where the wifi was free. I noticed a break in the clouds and suggested that since we were going to go out for lunch anyway that we chance the bus into Venice. The sun came out and stayed out. I love walking around Venice...even though it was not tourist season yet, there were droves of people. There was some sort of regatta which brought out people from all over Europe in anything that floated. There were over 1600 entrants. I think we caught this same race about 5 years ago as well and it was still lots of fun to watch.

We took a vapporetto over to Murano as this was the only island of Venice I had never been to. Can't say it looked any different and I didn't find any glass I fell in love with.

We came back and strolled the little streets and enjoyed the fabulous day.

San Marco
We enjoyed the only early dinner we ate in 2 weeks as I had to be up at 4:30 to catch an early plane.

Sitting in the Frankfurt airport waiting for the next leg of my flight. Hope you enjoyed traveling with me.