Friday, January 29, 2010

Couples we know and love

In honor of sweethearts everywhere, here are a few magical and memorable couples we know and love.

Ricky and Lucy

Lucy! You got some 'splanin' to do!

This was the famous and familiar battlecry of the often beleaguered Ricky Ricardo to his wife Lucy. No doubt Lucy, the loving and naive housewife, had gotten into trouble again through some crazy hare-brained scheme to join Ricky in show business. Never mind that she could not carry a tune or play any instrument except a saxaphone...and badly!

There are two versions as to how this famous TV couple met. The first has Lucy McGillicuddy at age 22 being set up on a blind date who turned out to be Ricky Ricardo a Cuban conga drummer. An alternate scenario has Lucy and her best friend Susie, played by Ann Southern, taking a cruise to Havana and meeting Ricky in Cuba. Whichever way it really happened, we were lucky enough to follow this fun loving couple from 1951 to 1957 in I Love Lucy. There were 13 I Love Lucy specials that aired from 1957 through 1960.

Romeo and Juliet

My only love sprung from my only hate. Juliet says to her nurse as she discovers the identity of that cute boy at her father's masked ball. Alas, their love is doomed from the start as their families are in the middle of a blood feud. Romeo can no sooner escape being a Montague than Juliet, a Capulet. Star-crossed indeed!

I suppose the reason I identify with the Franco Zefferalli film version of Romeo and Juliet is because it was the first time the teenage characters were actually portrayed by teenagers, Olivia Hussey (15) and Leonard Whiting (17). There I was, a young teen, on a school field trip to the Cinerama Theater on South King Street in Honolulu sitting a little too close to the screen (our bus was late) and experiencing Shakespeare in all its glory. I was entranced and swept away to long ago Verona and a tragic story of forbidden love. Ah, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the sun and Juliet is the east. Help, I'm melting!

Oliver and Jenny

What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. The Beatles. And me. Love Story is ranked #9 on the list of most romantic movies of all time by the American Film Institute.

This is the story of Oliver Barrett IV (the preppy) and Jennifer Cavilleri (working class girl). Two kids each from the opposite side of the tracks who manage to find each other, and fall madly and deeply in love. Unfortunately, their time together turns out to be all too brief when after deciding to have a child, and not achieving the desired results, they consult a specialist. It is discovered that Jenny is tragically ill with only a short time to live. Eventually, with Jenny seriously ill in the hospital, she asks Oliver to hold her tightly before she dies. I ask you, was there a dry eye in the house when Oliver climbed into the hospital bed with her? Love, obviously, means never having to say you're sorry.

Roy & Dale

The King of the Cowboys and The Queen of the West kept many a kid glued to their old black and white TV set topped with rabbit ears. I should know, I was one of them! The show was set in the fictional town of Mineral City featuring ranch owner Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans as proprietress of the Eureka CafĂ©. They were surrounded by sidekicks including those of the animal variety namely Roy’s beautiful Palomino, Trigger and Bullet the wonder dog. There was also a wayward Jeep named Nellybelle who seemed to have a mind of her own. Each week they gave us standards to live by and taught us the difference between right and wrong.

But the real story here is of Roy and Dale’s deep abiding love for each other and their family. The couple, married for 51 years, had a large family including children from previous marriages, a child of their own, and four adopted children. Roy and Dale met in 1944 on a movie set, The Cowboy and the Senorita, and later married on New Year’s Eve 1947. Did you know Dale wrote their signature song Happy Trails? Roy passed away in 1998 and Dale in 2001 but not before becoming a treasured part of the American landscape.

A tribute to Valentine's Day would not be complete without this lovely poem written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 1845 while being courted by her future husband, Robert Browning.

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Martha 101, It's a Good Thing!

Welcome to Martha Stewart 101, It's a Good Thing.

As the final project for my business communications class, we were tasked with doing a power point presentation of either a famous person or a successful business. I figured Martha Stewart would take care of two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Yes, that's me presenting Martha 101

If you felt you knew Martha, perhaps you might learn a little something new. Here's my presentation:

The old axiom, from little acorns mighty oaks do grow, could be applied to a girl who grew up in the working class neighborhood of Nutley, New Jersey. Born August 3, 1941, one of five siblings, Martha Stewart‘s net worth today is valued at 638 million dollars by Forbes magazine. Stewart has had more influence on how Americans eat, entertain and decorate their homes and gardens than any one person in our history.

Gorgeous photo of Martha and her mom by Annie Leibowitz

Stewart is more than a domestic diva; she is a media mogul with a publicly traded company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO). Stewart oversees an empire that includes publishing (magazines and books), broadcasting (TV programs, satellite radio), Internet, and merchandising. She controls about 50% of MSLO's stock and about 90% of voting stock.

A lot of unflattering things have been said about Stewart through the years but here are the basics of how this young girl managed to elevate the domestic arts to a 638 million dollar business.

9-year old Martha

While still in high school, Martha Stewart began a successful modeling career while continuing to excel in extracurricular activities like the school newspaper and art club. With straight A’s, Stewart was awarded a partial scholarship to Barnard College in New York. Stewart left Barnard briefly but returned to graduate with a double major in History and Architectural History. It was while she was in New York that she met and married Andrew Stewart in 1961 and in 1965 their daughter Alexis was born.

Model Martha

In 1967, she became a successful stockbroker but left the profession in 1973 to spend more time with her daughter and restore her new home in Connecticut. Stewart and her husband undertook a massive restoration of the historic 1805 farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road which would eventually serve as the set of the Martha Stewart Living television program.

With Norma Collier, a friend from her modeling days, Stewart began a successful catering business in her basement on Turkey Hill in 1976. Although their catering enterprise flourished, their business and personal relationship soured and Stewart bought out Collier’s portion of the business.

Martha in her Turkey Hill kitchen during her catering days

Meanwhile, through her husband who had become the president of a prominent New York City publisher, Stewart catered a book release party. It was there she was introduced to Alan Mirken head of Crown Publishing. Impressed by Stewart’s talent, Mirken contacted her to develop a cookbook which eventually became Entertaining, a New York Times best seller and the first of many books by Stewart.

Martha's first book and first best seller, Entertaining

It’s at this point that Stewart’s star begins its rise to stellar heights as she starts attracting a national audience. Unfortunately, Stewart’s marriage was not able to survive her growing celebrity and the couple divorced in 1989. Business opportunities happened in quick succession:

· 1990 Stewart begins a weekly half hour television show
· 1993 debuts Martha Stewart Living magazine to coincide with her show
· 1997 Martha Stewart Everyday begins selling products in Kmart
· 1999 MSLO goes public on the NY Stock Exchange
· 2004 finds Stewart convicted of insider stock trading
· 2005 launches the return of Stewart’s highly publicized comeback and return to television
· 2006 Stewart’s daily show is nominated for six emmys
· 2007 Stewart launches an upscale line of housewares for Macy’s
· 2010 MSLO begins its alignment with Home Depot

Emeril Lagasse and Martha on the Martha Stewart Show

Stewart has shown persistence and good humor over the years in the face of the criticism and satire that are the inevitable with public figures. She showed extreme fortitude with the investigation into insider trading in 2003. She has maintained her innocence of all charges but a jury found her guilty of misleading federal investigators and obstructing an investigation. Stewart appealed the conviction but spent five months in prison and five months under house arrest.

Re-runs of Martha can be seen on the Fine Living channel

Through hard work and determination, Stewart went about the business of rebuilding her brand to profitability. She did not shy away from the limelight and instead embraced it. Stewart and her company continue to inspire and engage consumers with unique lifestyle content and high-quality products.

Francesca and Sharkey, Martha's French Bulldogs

Say what you will about Martha Stewart but this gutsy girl from Nutley, New Jersey rose from relative obscurity to command a multi media empire. Martha Stewart is an instinctual survivor with a firm grasp on what it takes to be successful in life and in business.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

In retrospect, the day started out with such promise. The sun was shining and the weather had started to warm up. No matter that my dryer was on the fritz and I had to make a special trip to the laundromat! And no matter that a winter storm system was working it's way down the SoCal coast.

A beautiful day in Coronado

Yesterday was THE DAY our San Diego Chargers, aka the Bolts, made their bid for the Super Bowl. The air was literally sparking with electricity even for someone like me who is not much of a football fan. But it's fun to know that your home town team was in the playoffs after having come off an 11 (consecutive) game winning streak! It's no wonder we were just a little more than hopeful.

A packed house at Qualcomm Stadium

Sadly, although the Bolts were winning right through the 2nd half, as the clouds started to roll in the team's sensibilities and winning plays began to cloud over as well.

This fan's rather dazed and glum expression sums up how the whole town is feeling! Waaaaaa!

We have to give it up to the New York Jets who played a better game, Jets: 17 and Chargers: 14. But here's the good news...there's always next season! Go Chargers!

Good season or bad, Charger fans support their team all the way. Yesterday's San Diego Union Tribune profiled a few....

Super charged fan, Arturo Ruiz

Arturo not only tricked out his 1966 Chevy truck but painted his house in Charger blue and gold. His son Jose has the honor of placing Charger flags on the fence of the family's home. To quote Arturo, “In my heart, no matter what, if they win or if they lose, I always support them,” he said. “Every day, I wake up thinking, it’s almost Sunday.”

Charger logo

Cute couple, Alvaro and Danielle Gonzalez and their dog Charger

They have lightning-bolt tattoos, a boxer named Charger and vanity license plates BOLTZ 1 and CHRGGRS. Alvaro, a public defender, proposed to Danielle at a Charger game by way of an airplane banner flown over Qualcomm Stadium. Talk about romance, this guy's got it in spades! Their wedding vows even included...loving one another in good seasons and bad!

The Bolt logo

Mike Geraci has been to every Charger game since 1961!

Mike has a special "Charger Room" full of memorabilia including beer steins, socks, jackets, magnets, stool seat covers, rugs, hats, posters, prints, programs, photographs, autographs and necklaces. Even a trash can. I think you can say this guy's got it covered in every possible way!

This week in weather! Lot's of rain!

As for the San Diego weather, there are three storm systems traveling down the coast. I can tell you right now, the wind is blustering outside my window and the wind chimes in the patio are going crazy. It's drizzly but no storm as yet. It definitely promises to be a week for little yellow duckies.

And finally, today is a day that we celebrate a man who had a dream.

Visit this website to learn more about Martin Luther King. Whatever you do, don't skip the intro, if you do you, you will miss a very stirring speach.

Stay dry everybody!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year one and all!

I hope the new year finds everyone comfortable, safe and secure. Oh, and WARM!

The January issues of a few of my favorite magazines have made their appearance and here is a brief roundup in no particular order!

Martha Stewart Living

A friend once told me that I like to pretend that I'm Martha Stewart! Well what's wrong with gracious living I said! It doesn't matter that I am NOT the world's greatest housekeeper, I strive to be and in my head I AM! Say what you will about Martha but she has single handedly influenced how we eat, entertain, and decorate our homes and gardens. She has elevated the domestic arts to higher heights than even Heloise did.

Here's a tip from Martha: “Refrigerate salad plates for an hour before setting the table. The chilled dishes will keep greens and vegetables crisp.” Now, as much as I do adore Martha, and that little tidbit does make sense, I admit I will probably never do that!

O, The Oprah Magazine

What is wrong with this picture? Is it just me or does Oprah look a little odd, like this is airbrushing at its worst? That aside, there are some interesting articles in this January issue. Here is one on New Year resolutions. I was never one for making a New Year's resolution but this year I have decided to focus on simplicity and living life in the moment and deliberately. I have come to that decision after reading recent posts from two of my favorite bloggers, Anita at Castles Crowns and Cottages and Ruben at Rattus Sribbus. Anita and Ruben are Mr. & Mrs. by the way!

Country Living

Here is a little bit of trivia I found in this month's issue of Country Living, and I quote: Sure, Sir Isaac Newton defined the law of gravity-but he also invented the first known kitty door! Now I love that, an egghead with both feet planted in the every day. This featured tidbit was taken from the book Bubble Gum and Hula Hoops by Harry Oliver. I do have a subscription to this magazine but if I didn't, the picture of that adorable dog on the cover would be worth the price of a single copy!


Whitney's on a comeback and is this month's covergirl! The six-time Grammy Award winner opens up about being a sex symbol at age 46 and raising her daughter, Bobbi Kristina. Whitney reveals how she bounced back from the brink and says she is happy, healthy and ready for what's around the corner.

P.S. Clear baubles and eye popping prints are on the Spring fashion horizon!


The focus of Sunset magazine is on travel, home design, outdoor living and recipes and menus that celebrate the 13 Western states. My mother used to subscribe to this wonderful magazine and tried many a recipe and decorating idea with great results. One Sunday, she invited a few family members to the house to debut a new recipe from the magazine, it was Cioppino. It was outstanding and I have been a fan of this seafood "stew" ever since.

Following is a recipe for Posole (pictured above). I was first introduced to Posole when I arrived in San Diego back in 2000. It was on the cafeteria menu at work and I instantly fell in love with it. At work it was made with pork instead of chicken. I think what I like most about this dish are all the condiments you can add...lime wedges, cabbage, cilantro, radish, etc. to make it your own. Every bowl is basically the same and yet individual and unique. I thought I would share the following recipe that I found in the latest issue of Sunset. I haven't tried it yet but believe me I intend to.

Speedy Chicken Posole with Avocado and Lime

3 large poblano chiles (1 lb. total)
6 garlic cloves
1 large onion
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) white hominy
1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano*, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons ground red New Mexico chiles*

Garnishes: sliced avocado, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs, and sour cream

1. Preheat broiler. When hot, broil poblanos on a baking sheet until blackened, turning as needed, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, whirl garlic to mince. Cut onion in chunks and pulse with garlic until chopped; set aside. Drain hominy; set aside.

3. Cut chicken into 1- to 1 1/2-in. chunks and sprinkle with salt and 1 tsp. oregano. Heat oil in a 5- to 6-qt. pan over high heat. Brown half the chicken lightly, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion mixture and remaining 1 tsp. oregano to pan and sauté until onion is softened, 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave broth until steaming, about 3 minutes. Add ground chiles to pan and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

5. Add broth, hominy, and chicken to pan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer to blend flavors, 10 minutes.

6. Remove stems, skins, and seeds from poblanos and discard; chop poblanos.

7. Stir poblanos into posole and cook 1 minute. Ladle into bowls; top with garnishes.

*Find Mexican oregano at well-stocked grocery stores, along with ground red New Mexico chiles

This all sounds yummy to me and is sure to warm body and soul on a cold winter's night!