Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Easier to Be in the Moment when You're too Exhausted to Be Anywhere Else

Back in college, way back in college, I took some acting classes. There was a time when I wanted to be an actress and fancied myself the next Katharine Hepburn. We both spell our name the same way so you know, it was like, fate. My given name is Katharine although my mom always asks why I use it instead of Kate since my parents wanted to name me Kate. But see, they didn't, they named me Katharine...I don't get it. But I digress...

So, I took this advanced acting class and we paired up and worked on scenes for the semester. I did a scene from Crimes of Heart by Beth Henley with this guy, Stephen, whose last name I cannot remember. The night before our final presentation I went out. Hey, it was college. Of course I went out too late and had a few too many beers. The class was at 8 am the next day. I remember getting up to do our scene and thinking, if I can just remember the first line and not throw up, I'll be happy.

I did some of the best acting I had ever done during that scene. It might not be saying much but we got tons of compliments and even the professor (Mark Alan Gordon, one of my favorite teachers) commented on my "talent" later that week. I had made quite an impression. So, I had to quit then right? Always best to quit while you're ahead.

Theater people do say a sick actor will give a better performance because he's concentrating on not getting sick. That's because the instincts take over and the actor's brain doesn't get in the way (it's too busy wondering where the bucket is). That's probably what happened that morning of my final.

I thought about that in Yoga today. Last night, I stayed up too late, not having too many beers, alas, I can't drink like I used to, but because Brian was gone on business and I can never sleep when he's away. So I stayed up late and watched TV in bed.

This morning I felt way too over-tired to go to yoga but I dragged my butt there because I felt I should. As I began my sun salutations I thought, just get through one pose at a time, don't push it. And I found, as I worked through the sequences, that it was very easy to be in the moment with each pose.

Normally, during yoga, I'm thinking too much: Is this the right pose? Should my foot be higher? I should not have had that extra cup of coffee. I should be in the moment but I am in the moment aren't I? If I'm thinking about being in the moment, is that the same as actually being in the moment?

Not today. All that went through my brain was, ahh, that feels good, yup still breathing, this is nice.

It was such a great feeling, I wish I could capture it for always but I don't think I'll stay up late before yoga from now on though. While the class went well, the rest of the day has been really difficult. Honestly, I have no idea how to end this post or if it even has a point...I think I was talking about my name....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh What A Night!

Every time I pop onto Blogger to post something, I end up getting sidetracked reading other people's blogs and the blogs that they follow. Oh well, it's great reading, these little glimpses into other people's lives. It's quite fascinating.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the Oscars last night. I thought Hugh Jackman did a great job. His opening number with the "hand-made" props was fabulous. They really let him do what he does best, namely act and sing. His tribute to the musical was great fun and I liked the Judd Apatow film with Seth Rogen and James Franco. Tina Fey and Steve Martin were the best presenters by far. It's too bad they came so early in the show because no one else lived up to them.

It's weird to see actors with absolutely no chemistry presenting awards together. I'm thinking of Daniel Craig and Sarah Jessica Parker who presented 3 awards, was it? It wasn't just weird, it was painful since they didn't seem to realize they were on the same stage together. I wonder who thought that would be a good pairing.

I've been reading the comments made on several post-show articles in the New York Times. It cracks me up when people go on and on about how much they hate the show or how boring it was. I wonder what made them keep watching. If the show was that awful why didn't they turn it off? Then, on top of not liking the Oscar show, they read an article about it and have to post a comment. If you hated it why read about it? Are you exploring new forms of torture? Am I supposed to give them an award for being such a martyr? Reading the Monday morning quarterbacking is almost as much fun as watching the Oscars themselves but without the fondue and cocktails.

So I liked the show for the most part. But then if it gets boring I tend to amuse myself by calling a neighbor or chatting with Brian. Plus I called the Penelope Cruz win so I'm happy. But now I'm in a quandary: for the past month I've been frantically watching the nominated movies, what do I do now?

Friday, February 20, 2009

And the Oscar Goes To...

I think it's time to post a few of my picks for the Academy Awards this Sunday. I'll be watching with Brian and we're planning on having fondue. I found a new recipe in Bon Appetit that I want to try. Of course we'll have cocktails!

Back in upstate New York, I used to throw Oscar parties for all my girlfriends. It worked out well because none of the husbands wanted to watch the show so they all came over and Brian played bartender. I'd decorate the entire house with a red carpet and objects depicting the Best Picture nominees (a wine bottle for Sideways, a record for Ray, etc.). My friends all brought a dish inspired by the nominations. The year of Lost in Translation we had a lot of Japanese food. Nothing wrong with that. So we ate, drank, chatted and occasionally watched the show. I always insisted on silence during the monologue though. And this year, with Hugh Jackman hosting, there might not even be a monologue! So I'm curious to see what will happen since they are promising some surprises. But "they talk a lot, don't they..."

Okay, so here are some picks (and should wins):
Picture/Director: Slumdog Millionaire: Should win and will win, great film. And I think Danny Boyle will take home director. I can't see a split this year.

Actress: Kate Winslet will win. It's her year and it is a holocaust film (check out the first episode of Extras where she parodies her quest for an Oscar by doing a holocaust film), although I didn't really enjoy The Reader. I wish Melissa Leo would win because Frozen River was such a great film.

Actor: So difficult. I could give to one of three men: Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke and Frank Langella. I think Mr. Rourke might take it because of his backstory but Mr. Penn does have a chance. So if I had to choose, I think I'm going to with Sean Penn, just because he did a better job and the Academy has been known to award talent.

Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger. The guy was good. Scary good and crass as it might sound, it's now or never.

Supporting Actress: I have no idea but let's go with Penelope Cruz. She did a good job in Vicky Christina Barcelona (she's a great actress in Spanish films). And, I think people like her.

Animated Feature: Wall-E but honestly, I liked Kung Fu Panda better.

Foreign Film: Waltz with Bashir. I didn't see any foreign films this year but this one has gotten the most press. There might be an upset with The Class but it being a French film, it's a longshot.

Original Screenplay: Milk. I haven't heard any buzz on this category but I think people will go for Milk although it'd be great if Frozen River got it. Courtney Hunt, the writer/director of Frozen River cobbled together money to make this film and now it has two nominations. So exciting. Maybe they could make a movie about Ms. Hunt making this movie.

Adapted Screenplay: Another category I haven't heard much about but I doubt they will give it to Slumdog Millionaire so I'm going to go with Frost/Nixon and don't ask me why. It might be because I didn't like the other nominated films as much.

As for the other categories I don't think I could even begin to make a guess. We'll have to see what happens on Sunday night. I'm without a computer as my laptop sort of fell apart. I'll do a re-hashing on Monday though, don't worry!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

De-Clutter, De-Lovely

I've been feeling a bit down all week. It's probably from listening to NPR all the time and the doom and gloom about the economy, but it's made me not want to do anything. I get this way sometimes, I'm sure we all do, when we go through the motions wondering what it's all about? Perhaps it's the ennui felt by the romantic poets at the end of the 19th century. Ah, who am I kidding, I've just got suburban angst. If it is the economy, maybe I should follow Wenderina's advice over at Anxious Moments and buy a car...

One thing that does help is cleaning and de-cluttering. We call it purging in my house but most people think of something else when I use the word purge so I won't. Perhaps it's the physical activity of cleaning that lifts my spirits. I do feel better after a yoga class. I leave the class feeling warm and friendly toward my fellow man. Then I get in my car and my fellow man pulls out in front of me going 5 miles below the speed limit and I'm not so warm and friendly anymore.

But I think de-cluttering also helps make the chi flow freer, leaving me lighter and clearer. I'm a big believer in chi. When I clutter up my house with junk, the chi seems stuck and so do I. It's funny, I do believe in chi, but I'm not sure I subscribe to the notion of the universe talking to me. Those two seem to go hand in hand. I've never heard the universe talking to me. Maybe it has and I've been too busy listening to NPR to notice.

Part of this de-cluttering activity has been spurred on by our basement project. We've taken down the old drop ceiling in our basement. In it's stead, we've put up insulation and are covering it with scenic muslin. It's going to look so cool. Or, it's going to look like crap. Time will tell. But whatever it looks like, it'll be a cleaner, lighter, chi-flowing basement without all the unused junk in it.

It's rather strange that we're putting material on our basement ceiling because I'm not a material girl. Oh that was funny. Anyway, what I mean is, I hate linens of all sorts: curtains, dust ruffles, tablecloths, etc. Our house is set back from the street so you can't see into it which has allowed me to get rid of most of the curtains in my house (except for the kids' rooms, they kind of need them). You know what's wrong with curtains? They get dirty and you have to wash them. As part of my de-cluttering, I also threw out the dust ruffle on my daughter's bed. Who needs dust ruffles? They are so redundant. Now the chi can flow smoothly under her bed as well. If she cleans under there of course. I'm not touching it.

So has the de-cluttering helped? I think it has. The house certainly looks better if nothing else. Hopefully, the chi will start flowing. And if it doesn't, at least tonight is Thursday which means cocktails. So if the de-cluttering doesn't get rid of my ennui (c'mon it's such a better word than angst) a gorgeous cosmo will have me singing Cole Porter tunes in no time! It's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely...

Now, I've got you singing them too,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adventures in Song

I can't sing. I've been tone-deaf my entire life. Well, technically I'm not tone deaf because I can tell when two pitches don't match but I can't tell when my pitch doesn't match. I'm missing something between my head and my ear so that when I sing, I think I sound great. I can tell I don't sound great because everyone else in the room cringes.

Learning to sing has been one of those 'it's on my to-do list' items. But when I turned 40, I realized that I had better start crossing stuff off that list or I'd never get anything done. The price of singing lessons always held me back though. I didn't want to spend $20 or $30 on a weekly lesson when I can't even match pitch. So, during Candide I asked the musical director if he had any ideas. He suggested software that could tell me if I was on pitch or not. Brian looked into it and found me "Singing Coach." It's a program to help me learn to stay on pitch. It's a bit cheesy with Mic, the singing microphone introducing all the lessons.

I start out by humming pitches and I'm quite good at that which really boosted my confidence. My downfall comes when it's time to sing songs. The first song, Hot Cross Buns, was disaster. The computer shows me when I'm too sharp or flat for each note and I was all over the place. But I'm trying to stick with it. I keep telling myself to give it time; I've spent 40 years on the wrong note, I won't become singing sensation overnight. Today Mic the singing microphone, tomorrow, Broadway! I don't think so. Besides, I'd have to learn how to act and dance as well.

But I am wondering, how long does it take to teach an old dog new tricks?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reach Out and Touch

Dreams, telephones, and to-do lists all converged this week around an old friend.

First the backstory (gotta have a backstory): I hate telephones. I really, really hate to call people. I'll do it if I have to but most of the time I prefer to e mail or I make someone else do it. When an actor is late, I have my assistant call him or her. I tell myself that I need to be free in case the director needs me. I tell myself a lot of things.
I see people on their cell phones all the time and I wonder who they could possibly be talking to. My son attended a birthday party and I watched the mom of the birthday boy chat on her cell phone while the cake was being served. I don't get it.

So, all this past week I've been having really vivid dreams. The kind that when you wake up, you're not sure if it's real or not. In one dream, I was writing a list of things to do when I had 5 minutes of spare time. You know, when the water is boiling, waiting for the microwave or the kids to come home. I'm a bit anal about time management which makes for a good stage manager but probably annoys everyone else in my real life. Well, the idea of such a to-do list sounded so good that I wrote one up. It had practical items such as file, clean the utensil drawer and personal items like update my iPod, catch up on blogs, etc.

Another night, I dreamt about an old friend of mine from college. We're close and we try hard to stay in touch but she lives in Vermont with her family and I live in Glenside with mine. It can be difficult. Well, the next day she sent me an e mail. I love when those coincidences happen; you think of someone and they call or e mail. Incidentally, this same friend once remarked to me that in college I never wasted my time. When I had 5 or 10 minutes to spare I would study or organize my notes. See, it's all coming together.

So when I got her e mail, I thought, I should call her and catch up. We missed each other a few times but finally last night we chatted for a bit while she waited for her daughter's class to end. It was such a great conversation that it left me in a wonderful mood for the rest of the evening.

At the end of our conversation she said, "I wonder why we don't do this more often? Call each other when we have 10 or so minutes to spare?"

And she's right. So I'm getting over my dislike of phones and I'm putting 'Call a Friend' at the top of my 'What to do with 5 Minutes' list.

Why I Like the Oscars

I watched Frozen River last week because Melissa Leo is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. In truth, I had forgotten about this movie. I had read the review when it first came out and thought, oh I should watch that. Time went by and I forgot until the Oscar nominations came out.

What a powerful movie. I lamented in an earlier blog about the scarcity of strong female roles in films and then I saw Frozen River which has two strong female characters. I was amazed at the power of the film and so glad to see it up for two Oscars (Best Screenplay as well, also by a woman). Had it not been nominated, I might have missed it.

Coincidentally, while I was thinking about this blog post, I read an article in the New York Times praising the lesser known nominees. Speaking about Ms. Leo's nomination, David Carr writes:
Playing the lead in a film about people on the edges of culture and
country, Ms. Leo brought dignity to the struggle of those who live in trailer
parks we pass on the way to somewhere else.

That quote made me realize how much I thought about that film after watching it. How would I survive? Would I break the law as well? It presented the struggle for survival in such human terms. I mean, I saw Milk, and loved it but most people who watch Milk, already support gay rights. How many minds did it change? Did people think about that film for days after? Well, I guess I did think about Sean Penn's great acting.

Another great film that has a Best Actor nomination is The Visitor with Richard Jenkins. It too deals with people on the edges. It's quietness belies its powerful portrait of humans trying to connect. And again, had it not been nominated, I might have missed it.

It's happened in the past for me as well. I thought Pan's Labyrinth would win Best Foreign Language Film at the 2006 Oscars. And first, I have to say that Pan's Labyrinth is a wonderful film. My friend cals the movie, note perfect and she has a point. But The Lives of Others took home the prize. So I decided I should watch it. It blew me away.

So, yeah, this year, the buzz is all about Mickey Rourke's comback, Brad Pitt aging backwards, Heath Ledger's untimely demise, and of course, the Slumdog who took home Millions. And I'm going to be right there on Sunday night watching the festivities and joining in the fun (and blogging live). But if you listen hard enough, you'll hear the whispers of a few gems the Academy was smart enough to uncover for us.

And since no good movies come out this time of year, I recommend checking out Frozen River and The Visitor, you won't be sorry.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ensconced in Celluloid

Remember that Seinfeld episode when George said he would love to be ensconced in velvet?

Last week, I felt that way about movies. Let me clarify, I would love to be continually ensconced in celluloid or at least watching celluloid and I came pretty close last week; I watched 7 movies over the course of 4 days.

The Catholic in me wants to confess. Would it be gluttony or sloth?

It started on Wednesday. I had meant to go to the movies on Tuesday night but with the snow, I didn't want to risk driving with other Pennsylvania drivers. Vermonters I trust, other states, not so much.

I rationalized that I had spent Monday and Tuesday cleaning and baking so I took Wednesday off and went to see The Wrestler while my kids were in school. What a well-made movie! I find it hard to believe that it's not up for Best Picture. I will say that I didn't care for the wrestling scenes too much but only because I don't like that sport. As for Best Actor, I still think Sean Penn tops Mickey Rourke acting-wise but that doesn't mean that Mr. Penn will win. Mr. Rourke has the come-back going for him and he did a great job in a good film. In addition, did you see his thank you speech at the BAFTAs? Hollywood eats that stuff up! Think Tommy Lee Jones.

Well, Wednesday night, I was not that sleepy so I thought I'd pop out to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button while I had the stamina. Although it garnered the most nominations, it had to be the one I wanted to see the least. And it proved true. It wasn't painful,just long and boring. It was Forrest Gump, expanded and updated for the new century. Too many similarities and I didn't really care for Forrest Gump in the first place. For example, in Forrest Gump, the saying was: Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get. And in Benjamin Button we have: You never know what's coming. I can't believe they nominated Brad Pitt, he doesn't do anything but age backwards, and that's the technology. Run Benjamin run!

Thursday, I had to return to my regularly scheduled life already in progress. But Thursday night was cocktail night so Brian and I sat down to watch Knocked Up. A perfect movie to go along with cocktails. I'm always putting movies into two categories: Wednesday night flicks are ones to pay attention to and Friday night flicks are for opening a beer. Knocked Up is definitely the latter. A fine film with a few laughs. It did cause a bit of a discussion about how women are portrayed in films but neither the discussion nor the memory of the movie lasted long.

On Friday, I returned to the Ritz at the Bourse (one of the arty cinemas in Philly) because it was showing the Oscar Nominated Live Action and Animated Shorts. I have never seen them so I took a gander at the animated shorts. It was quite enjoyable. Interestingly, I noticed that none of the nominated shorts had dialogue in them. Along with the nominated shorts, they showed the "Highly Commended" shorts, some of which did have dialogue. Just an odd coincidence I suppose. Anyway, I wish more theaters would show the shorts, it's just good fun.

Friday night, my daughter brought home Mamma Mia!, she had borrowed it from a friend. I didn't want to disappoint her so we sat down and watched it. Now that's a Friday night movie: a fun, cheesy romp. After we played ABBA and danced around the living room. Who doesn't like ABBA?

Saturday, on a visit to the library, my daughter picked up two movies, Miss Congeniality (remember that film? Sandra Bullock does a good job) and Swing Time (with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers). My neighbors had come over the night before and stayed too late, so when my daughter wanted to have a mini-movie marathon and watch both movies, who was I to say no? Talk about mother and daughter bonding time.

Ah! What a week! While I might feel a bit guilty, I also have that giddy feeling one gets when one has gotten away with something. I feel like I played hooky and didn't get caught.

I can't say I'd do it again but there are two weeks until the Oscars!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Daze

Inspired by a blog post about a snowfall in Dublin (and I'm sad to say I didn't bookmark the blog so I can't find it again), I wanted to write a few notes about the snow here in the Philly suburbs:
It doesn't snow much here or I should say it snows but doesn't stick. When we do have a "snow day" from school, it is usually due to ice rather than snow. Snow only causes delays.

It snowed all day on Tuesday so that by the time the kids came home from school, the lawn was actually covered with it.

The temperature hovered around 35 degrees Fahrenheit making the snow sticky and perfect for snow balls and snowmen. Not quite enough snow had fallen so the snowballs we made to build our snowman collected the grass, leaves and sticks under the snow. Our poor snowman was pretty dirty.

We imported snow from the backyard to polish him up. The kids named him My Buddy Billy and here he is in all his glory

We used frozen jalapeno peppers for the eyes, a carrot for the nose, and some frozen edamame for the mouth. He seemed very healthy until we turned our back on him and he lost his head. I wondered why he kept listing to starboard.

"At least we have a picture," my daughter said and the kids moved on to creating the Snow Drop Cafe which served snowballs, snow soup, and snow drinks all for the price of a snowball. No Sno-Cones however, because, as my daughter said, they aren't really made from snow.

It snowed all through the night and in the morning we had this:

A veritable winter wonderland. Not enough to stop school, just enough to delay it.

Growing up in Vermont, we had snow all the time. Battling the cold winters here in Philly with the ice and rain, I wonder how I stood the long winters in Vermont. And then it snows here, and I remember building snow forts, sledding, cross-country skiing, snowmen, snow angels, snow down the back, sugar on snow, laying on my back in the snow as if I was at a beach, finding and eating icicles.

But snow here doesn't last long enough to create such memories. It's supposed to be in the 40's by the weekend.
When the kids came home from school on Wednesday, they wanted to wait on homework and go outside and play. How could I say no? They'll always have homework.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Facebook 2: The Sequel

I've been on Facebook a few months now after debating whether or not to join (no worries, I blogged about it here). Contrary to popular wisdom, I have not found it addicting as some others have said I would. I pop on it every so often and poke around a bit before jumping off and continuing my real life. I will say that I love the lists people post about themselves. The latest list making the rounds is "25 Random Things About Me." It may sound cheesy, but I am kinda addicted to them. Each list is like a mini-blog; some are witty, some are funny, some are beautifully written and all reflect the personality of the writer.

But I have to admit that some aspects of Facebook are rather annoying. The first is the "Status Update." At the top of my page there is the question, "What are you doing?" and a box that starts "Kate is..." I'm supposed to fill in the rest. Well, to be nit picky, if I'm typing in that box than what I'm actually doing is updating my status aren't I? I know that Facebook wants us users to fill in the box with something witty or the details of our current pursuits.

Over drinks one night my friends (real) and I decided we preferred the witty updates as opposed to the minutiae of our friends' daily lives. I do not need to know how your cold is progressing unless of course it lands you in the hospital. In which case, you are probably not on Facebook anyway.

One of my friends commented that most of my status updates included a reference to alcohol. Well, that's because I usually check Facebook on Cocktail Thursdays or another night when I'm relaxing with a beer. It's not as if I'm going to update my status while practicing yoga. "Kate is in Downward Dog." I don't think so. She actually made the comment because she put my updates in the witty rather than boring column. But lest my Facebook friends think of me as a lush, I have omitted most of my references to alcohol. My real friends, well, that's another story...

The other aspect that bothers me is the tagging and poking and sending people things because it's not real. It's virtual poking so I guess that okay because it doesn't really hurt? Over the holidays I kept getting ornaments for a tree I don't have. So if I don't actually have a tree why do I need ornaments? And since it's not real why are you sending them?

And as for sending people virtual beer, well that's just cruel.

Recently, I read this article in the New York Times, about unfriending or de-friending which is eliminating a friend from your Facebook list. Burger King ran an ad saying they would give a free Whopper to anyone who unfriended 10 people from their Facebook list. Burger King then sent a note to the unfriended people saying they had been unfriended for a Whopper.

And Facebook users did this. But really, I think the unfriended person is better off don't you? Who wants to be friends with someone who prefers a processed piece of imitation meat?

One man, profiled in the article, asked Facebook to create tiers of friends such as BFFs, close personal friends, personal friends (but not close), acquaintances, etc. Then the user could moderate which information the "friend" could see.

What is this high school? He sounds like my daughter when she was four, "Rebekah is my bestest friend, and my next best friend is Emily, and..." And, seriously, if you're spending your time putting your virtual friends into different tier groups, I'm thinking it may be time to get some real friends.

Perhaps, I'm just jealous because I don't have a ton of friends on Facebook. If I ever unfriended 10 people, I'd probably have no friends left at all. But really, I do like Facebook. I don't even mind the status updates although I think it's weird when I write "I'm baking (with a cocktail!)" when I'm actually typing. Facebook is a great way to get back in touch with old friends and see what other people are up to. Oh and the pictures! I love seeing pictures of children and trips and such. Just don't tell me how your cold is doing.

Oh, and don't even think about sending me a virtual beer because then I will unfriend you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday to the Walnut Street Theatre!

Located right here in Philadelphia, the Walnut is America's oldest theatre. On this day in 1809, it opened as a circus that showcased equestrian acts. It became a producing company when Bernard Havard took the reins (no pun intended) in the early 1980's The Philadelphia Inquirer published several, great, in-depth articles about the Walnut Street Theatre and it's origins.

A line in one of the articles that profiles Bernard Havard struck home with me. The article discusses Mr. Havard's commitment to hiring local Philly actors:

"...underscoring a general Philadelphia-area notion that theater artists here
should be able to buy homes and raise families without having to wait

Before we were married, Brian and I lived in DC where many artists both lived and worked and it gave all of us in the arts a real sense of community. It was sad to leave the area but after my daughter was born we wanted to be closer to family. It also gave me the choice of not having to return to work right away. When we decided it was time to return to a city, DC had become too expensive. Philly on the other hand has a vibrant theater scene as well as suburbs with great schools and easy commutes to the city. I also love that most of the actors and other theater artists I meet have families of their own. Way back in the day, when I started in theater as an intern, no one had children. I didn't know how to have both a theater career and a family because I had no role models.

Now, everybody shares my pain or at least understands it. It's not pain as much as panic when schools are closed or children are sick. When I thought that my children might have a snow day on the last day of the Tulipomania workshop, the production manager said, "Oh, just bring the kids here." And she meant it because I often arrive at the Arden to find at least one parent with child in tow.

I probably have the Walnut to thank for that as well as the rest of the Philly theater community. If you get a chance peruse some of the articles or check out the Walnut fun facts. I learned that when John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln, his brother and sister were owners of the Walnut Street Theater. It certainly has seen some history.

So Happy Birthday Walnut! May all Philly theaters have as long a history!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


For the past three days I've been embracing my inner domestic diva. Still, Martha has nothing to worry about. I may have played the happy housewife frugally making her own ricotta but I'm done now. I scanned the movie listings today wondering if Brian or the kids would notice if I was gone for a couple of hours. I love the sense of accomplishment but enough is enough.

It all started on Thursday when I scrubbed the kitchen, even cleaning out the fridge. Friday, I decided to bake. I've been baking instead of buying bread lately and I've found a couple of great, easy and quick (in the bread making sense of the word). No, I don't use a bread machine but I do knead in my KitchenAid. I'd also been eyeing this recipe in Bon Appetit which called for homemade ricotta (really it couldn't be easier) as well as ciabatta bread. Not wanting to break my streak, I made the ciabatta bread. It proved a bit tricky as I needed to start with a sponge. I've had bad luck with sponge breads but this one turned out just fine.

Here's a photo of the ciabatta bread and the rustic potato bread that I made. As well as a photo of the wine we had with our feast! Along with the bruschetta, I put out carrots (for the kids) cheeses, and shrimp. We tend to like appetizers in our house.
Since I'm tooting my own horn, I'll add that not only did I make the breads, I also made some vegetable broth. This is all a part of eating less processed food. Mark Bittman doesn't believe in canned broth or bouillon so I figured, I was in the kitchen, why not? If you're going to be domestic, go big, I always say. Okay, I don't really say that. Don't worry, I don't have a picture of the broth, I'm sure you can imagine it yourself.

But that's not all folks! I also finished the curtains for my daughter's room and here they are:Now, I know for the sewing gurus out there these curtains don't look all that difficult. But hey, for me, sewing a straight line is quite an accomplishment.
But I'm done for now. Three days of domesticity is enough. Now it's on to bigger, when is the next showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button?