Friday, February 29, 2008

Women I Admire

WOMAN #1: Gail

Last weekend, the hubby and I drove up to Gail's lake house. She was having some work done on her dock and had to fire the crew because they were making little progress.

Gail is a no-nonsense kinda gal. We've known her for years through my husband's job. In fact, she was his boss at one time. If Gail faces a stumbling block caused by someone else, well, dammit, she'll just do it herself.

Gail seems to do everything well. She originally studied to be a jeweler but after graduation, decided to go back and get her degree in engineering. She's now a high-ranking engineer with an oil company. (Who still makes jewelry, by the way.)

She's a gourmet cook, has an eye for interior design and sews whatever she can't find in a store. She also took up carpentry along the way.

And so, of course Gail knew her way around a table saw and an electric drill. She became foreman to Greg, the crew. While the dogs looked on, the two of them tackled the arduous task of rebuilding the dock:

Gail's dog, Chase, kickin' back with Henry.

"Damn, I still can't get down the stairs! I'd looove to chew on some of those boards!"

Henry found a bit of shade:

There's Gail's other dog, Khaki, in the background.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling sick and was pretty worthless all day. Look at how pitiful I was:

Those tireless dock builders worked all day, until the light was almost gone:

Then they got up and did it all again on Sunday, while I bravely took care of my cold:

WOMAN #2: Chicken & Waffles

Because I respect her privacy, I'll use her online name, post NO photos and reveal nothing about her private life.

*crickets* do I write about her?

Chicken & Waffles is a woman I look up to. (OK, I didn't give anything away there) She lives a fast-paced life, doing a job...that...uh...I think it's safe to say that she's a Senior Vice President with her company. Hello? Did you hear me? SENIOR Vice President.

She churns out brilliant blog entries that would take me all day to write and does all these things while looking perfectly put together from her well coiffed hair to her smartly appointed shoes. I'm gonna go curl up in a fetal position and suck my thumb now.

I admire a lot of women, but these two have been on my mind as of late. They're special and they inspire me to try a little harder and dig a little deeper. And they do it just by being my friends.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Project Runway- Rami Moves on to Bryant Park

A fun Q&A with Chris and Rami over on the official Project Runway site. Enjoy:



Tim Gunn visits you while you're working on your collection -- first of all, what was it like having Tim Gunn in your apt and hanging out with your friends?
It was wonderful --Tim is such a benevolent and loving presence, everyone is made happier just by the fact that he exists. I love Tim (!).

How closely did you heed Tim Gunn's advice? What did you really think of his monkey house anecdote?
I took some of his advice, but I also wanted to do some things that would provoke -- because it's not all about winning or losing, it's about being who you are in spite of popular opinion. People who take risks are the ones who change the world. I guess I'm just wired that way.

I think his monkey house anecdote is brilliant -- I think we all have our own version of being "too close" to something.

OK -- let's talk about the human hair, probably the most provocative piece to your ensembles. How did you come up with this idea? Did you have any reservations? Is it something you will work with in the future?
I have used human hair in the past to simulate monkey fur and yak hair. We were not allowed to use animal fur of any kind so this fit the bill. (By the way, Fashion Week was full of this look in goat and yak hair, yet people really flipped out over my human hair looks). I love the look, the movement, and what the look evokes. I have no reservations about it -- I think it was stunning on many levels.

Your line was very dark -- is this something that inspires you in your designing in general?
No, it was just something I was into and inspired by at the time I was conceiving the collection. But yes, I do have a dark side (insert sly smile here)!

After seeing Rami's collection, did you know who would be going home? The judges' comments seemed pretty deadlocked between the two of you.

Well, to be completely honest, this whole thing was very difficult to navigate. I so wanted to do a collection more along the lines of Christian's (complete over-the-top couture fantasy) but we all know the judges would slaughter me for it. If I was TOO safe, I would get nailed the other way. To be completely honest with myself, I don't know if my heart was completely in it. I never thought they would let the "costume designer" guy into the finals. I guess it's my own fault, and I feel like I let down so many people who were rooting for me. Rami is a wonderful man who lives and breathes fashion. After I was eliminated, we were backstage and Rami hugged me and asked if I was OK, and I told him I was fine and that I was happy that he won, because it was what he needed, not what I needed. I am so proud to have lost to Rami. I hope people understand that.

Were you surprised with the decision?
No, not at all. It was the pure and right choice. And trust me, to have made it that far after being brought back and hearing such praise of my work was so gratifying. I always felt I had to do my best with this incredible gift the producers gave me. I will be eternally grateful.

What have you been up to since Fashion Week?

Time off. Meeting fans. Fielding offers. Trying to fathom the whole situation. Thanking my lucky stars.


Tim Gunn visits you while you're working on your collection -- first of all, what was it like having Tim Gunn in your home and hanging out with your friends?
It was nice seeing Mr. Tim Gunn again in a different environment! I prepared a nice breakfast
layout for him and invited two of my closest friends to join us. I think they were quite excited to meet Tim in person and especially to find out that he is exactly the same in person as on TV!

How closely did you heed Tim Gunn's advice?
I took everything that Tim Gunn said into consideration. I appreciate his feedback and
opinions. I did think that it was a little difficult for him to see most of the pieces that were still in sketches and not sewn. He was very encouraging and questioned why there is not enough draping in the collection. That is when I reminded him that the judges questioned whether there is something else I can do. I am confident that I can do a lot more than just drape, but it did feel as though Tim was pulling me towards one direction while the judges were pulling me towards another ... I was somewhere in the middle ... I had to just follow my own instinct in the end with consideration of some of their comments all together.

What did you think about the judges' comments? Especially Nina's comments about the coat and its proportions?

I honestly did not think too much about it. The judges had their opinions and they are certainly
entitled to them. I thought that Nina could appreciate the new designs that she had not seen from me before, but regarding the proportions of the coat, I honestly still believed in the design and was not offended at all. I did feel though that Michael did not understand my black gown and I was happy when Nina defended it and so did I.

After hearing the judges' comments, did you have any idea who was going home?
I had no idea who was going home. At that moment I still felt strongly about my collection and
stood behind it 100% so I simply just went with the flow and waited to hear what they decided.

Did you have an opinion on Chris' use of human hair? The judges seemed both shocked by it and intrigued by it.

In all honesty I did not understand Chris's collection. Some of the looks were not functional
to the point that some of his models simply could not walk due to the lack of room in his longer dresses. I felt that Chris knew it as well. I am not a fan of human hair on clothing if you ask me. I love Chris but that's just my opinion.

How much relief did the win give you? Or could you not relax because you knew you had still so much ahead of you?
I was relieved and felt that the judges appreciated the amount of work and detail involved in
my collection. I felt glad that I would get to show in Bryant Park..

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tina Fey

Do you think maybe she's sitting there wishing she could be me?

My cyberific friend, CW, recently blogged about a woman she kinda sorta identified with and maybe in teeny-tiny ways aspired to be. Am I making myself clear? I'm on cold medicine today and words are floating around like gumdrops. Do gumdrops float?

Anyhoo, yesterday I saw my eye doctor, got my refill box of contact lenses and was tempted yet again to buy glasses just like Tina Fey's. Of all the people in all the land that I'd like to be, it's Tina Fey.

She's beautiful, she's smart, she's cool and she's funny. I try. Lord knows, I try to be those things, but some things can't be learned or copied. It has to be there in your DNA the moment you come out wailing.

And that's OK. I'm content to be the Tina Fey of my family, yukking it up for the nieces and nephews, coming up with great one-liners for the dog. I kill at the dinner table.

But what about those glasses? Would I look like a sexy Weekend Update anchorwoman or an aging librarian? OK, I may be dreaming but I'm not delusional. I'll stick with the contacts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Taylor Tuesday

"Listen, I saw it in the window and I thought it was cool, OK? I'm not gay. Really. How come Prince can get away with wearing purple velvet and I can't?"



"Alabama musicians, producers and other achievers are commemorated with memorabilia in the hall of fame's museum in Tuscumbia. Hicks said he donated his 'infamous purple jacket' ...for his display case at the museum."

And, for some background information on the jacket, from TMZ, May 24, 2006:

"The jacket is by Dolce & Gabbana and retails for a whopping $1,648. Taylor was with his stylist when he purchased the jacket from the trendy LA store Traffic. Sources tell TMZ that the moment Taylor tried the velvet number on, his comment was, 'Okay, I feel it!' and instantly bought the jacket!"

So, what do you think? Did you like the jacket when it debuted on the finale? Frankly, I didn't. But I know that Taylor was quoted as saying that if he made it to the finale, he was wearing that jacket. It was important to him, so mazol tov!

I'm just glad he didn't know there were pants, too:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Speaking of Music This Monday

I just found out that c2what is shutting down. It's been one of the best Taylor-related blogs on the Internet. And yes, I'll admit some posts were over my head, but I liked knowing it was there, giving his fan base some legitimacy.

Stop in over there and wish "what" well:

Music Monday

"And now, taking the floor for the first time as husband and wife..."

I never thought of Taylor Hicks' song, "The Right Place" as a good wedding song, but it really worked on Regis and Kelly last week.

I still cringe when I think of the song I chose for our first dance at our wedding reception. I have to do some 'splainin' before I tell you what it was. It was the 80's! It was a crazy time! The nation had been bitten by a country & western bug.

"Urban Cowboy" was out in theaters and everyone was tuning in to country stations. Add to that the fact that this little "Lawn Giland" (Long Island) girl was actually moving to Texas with her new husband right after the wedding.

We danced to Kenny Rogers, "Through the Years". I think the song is meant to be played at anniversary parties- not weddings- but I chose it because we had already been together for six years. I still think it was inappropriate and kind of fuddy-duddyish.

I told you mine, now you tell me yours.

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Year Ago Today

A year ago today I met Taylor Hicks for the first time. And though I was just another fan to him, it meant a lot to me. I don't know why. I've tried for the past year to understand what it is about him that makes him sort of a sexy messiah, but I come up empty. All I know is that watching him perform took me from a sad, dark place and made me happy again.

2006 had been a rough year. In March, my mother-in-law wound up in the emergency room, complaining of excruciating pain in her right leg. Turns out she had blocked arteries and would have to undergo bypass surgery.

She lived about 3 hrs from us, but I made the trip down after the surgery was over to spend a few days with her. (She had other family who lived near her). She seemed to be doing fine, but about a week after I returned home we got a call that she was back in the hospital.

The bypass failed and the only recourse was to amputate the leg below the knee. Her toes were already turning purple. The foot was dying.

This was a woman who had been working full time, driving and living on her own. She accepted the news well. She was looking forward to getting a prosthetic leg and getting on with her life.

My husband and I took turns driving down to see her because our kids had obligations back home. I was the first to see her without the bottom half of her leg. She was sitting in a wheelchair in her hospital room with an enormous bandage wrapped around her knee. It looked like a big cotton-y ball where the knee would be. And below it...empty space.

An orderly came in just then to help her into bed. After she was settled, laying down and covered up, she asked me to please get the blanket off of the leg that had been operated on because the weight of it was causing her pain. I did just that. She winced and asked me to please get it off the foot, too. She pointed to the empty space. I told her, "I don't understand. You want me to move the blanket off of the foot that isn't there?" She nodded yes and after I flipped it back away from the invisible foot, her face relaxed. Freaky.

Her physical rehab kept being interrupted by infections. And then another amputation. The rest of the leg had to come off. She had been living in hospitals and nursing homes for months now. My husband and I continued our twice monthly visits, during which we took care of whatever maintenance had to be done at her house. It was a difficult schedule and we fell behind on a few things around our own house.

Every Sunday before I left her house to return home, I walked through her rooms, cleaning as I went along. I put fresh sheets on her bed and made sure her left slipper was within reach on the floor. She still planned to return to her own house. The man next door lived alone in a wheelchair, she reasoned. "Why can't I?"

But then in November we got a call that she had had a stroke and was on her way to the hospital. Before my husband made it to his car to leave his office, he got another call that she had died. We were told that as she was being wheeled out of the nursing home, she seemed happy. She called goodbye to all the nurses and said, "Be sure to tell my kids I'm going home!"

I hate that the last time she saw her house was the night she left to go to the emergency room. I hate that I couldn't make it happen when she said to me, "Just take me home and let nature take it's course." And I hate that she died alone in some hospital.

So it was with these events still fresh in my mind that I happened to catch that guy from American Idol on TV. He was singing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." Lovely. Slow and clear. But then he got a kind of sparkle in his eye, a sly smile and the tempo changed. It was jazzy, bouncy and hot. I realized I was smiling. I think this song should be mandatory listening for anyone going through a tough time.

I got online, googled "Taylor Hicks" and was directed to I wanted to know if he had a CD out yet. I learned the release date for the CD and that he would be touring the CD in 2007.

During those sad months I escaped from my life by learning more about this Taylor guy. I listened to tracks of his original songs, read newspaper articles and watched his interviews- all supplied by this surprisingly cool group of fans I met through We shared information and we waited for the tour dates to be announced.

In the meantime, I started planning a trip to Florida to see my family. My Uncle was celebrating his 70th birthday and I had agreed to fly over from Houston. Everyone thought it would be good for me to get away. Mom wrote in an e-mail that she was flying down from NY for the party. We decided to meet at the airport and rent a car together.

The party was planned for February 23rd, in a town not too far from Tampa. When the first dates of Taylor's tour were announced, I had to read them twice. He was doing a show in Tampa the DAY before my Uncle's party! Do you think God takes the time to make things like that happen? Maybe my mother-in-law had a hand in it.

My Mom told me I absolutely had to fly to Tampa a day early to go to that show. When I checked for concert tickets, I found it was already sold out. But luckily, someone from graycharles had an extra ticket in the fourth row! I mailed her a check and she sent me the ticket.

Mom and I met at the airport and drove to the hotel. We decided to walk around town a bit and see if we could find the theater. It was only a few blocks away, so I was all set for the concert that night.

As we stood at a light, waiting to cross the street back to our hotel, I noticed a large bus parked at the entrance. I said to my Mom, "That can't be Taylor's tour bus, could it?" Crossing the street and walking around to the other side of the bus, we saw about five people getting luggage out of the storage area. One of them was Taylor.

He was wearing a thick gray sweater, a scarf, a hat and sunglasses, but I knew it was him. He hopped back on the bus and the door closed. We decided to wait to take his picture as he walked into the hotel. As we loitered, a hotel employee told us to move to the side to "respect his privacy." Fine, you little hotel Nazi. We moved to the side.

Taylor finally came out, walked over to a man with a clipboard and signed something as we snapped photos. There were no other fans around. I was thinking, "Wow! Taylor Hicks is right there, like ten feet away from me! How cool is this?"

But then, through my camera lens, I saw him turn and walk towards me. (Holy crap! I thought, lowering my camera.) He said, "How y'all doing?" Without even saying hello, I blurted out, "Can I take a picture with you?" He said "sure", put down his backpack, turned towards my Mom's camera and slipped his arm around my waist.

I put mine around his, feeling awkward but aware that this was my chance to tell him how his voice had lifted me out of despair and that his determination was inspiring and that the way he can move people through music is a gift.

"How was the show last night?", was all I could manage. He replied, "good." Mom clicked the photo, we thanked him and he was gone.

I don't know what it means. I don't know if it even matters if you meet someone you admire. He forgot us the moment he walked away. But I'll never forget how nice he was to us.

He does indeed have a gift because here it is one year later and even though all I've got is a mildly interesting story, the memory of that day and the show that night still makes me giggle like a school girl.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Project Runway Reunion

Last night all 15 designers were reunited on the show for a little gab fest. It was fun! We also learned who won the title of "Fan Favorite." Christian seemed genuinely surprised when his name was announced, but it was no big shocker to me. My readers chose him as their favorite a long time ago (ignore the poll over there! I'm talking about the readers who post comments here.)

For an extra treat, I found this behind-the-scenes video from the reunion show:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Project Runway

A tease for tonight's episode. And btw, I'm totally getting Heidi's haircut! (It'll hide my wattle neck):

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Taylor Tuesday

Taylor Hicks the singer, Taylor the songwriter, Taylor the athlete?

Well, yeah! Actually he's not bad. We fans have all heard stories about Taylor playing basketball, soccer and baseball in High School. We've shared photos of Taylor tossing a football around with the guys on the AI tour:

We've seen the golf photos:

In fact, here's one of Taylor swinging the club with a harmonica in his mouth. Talk about multi-tasking!

This past Friday Taylor participated in the McDonald's NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. He held his own! In fact, he showed us a few impressive moves. One sportscaster commented that Taylor hustled more than most of the other guys on the court.

May I say though, he put the "dork" in "dorkilicious" a couple of times. When Terrell Owens was receiving his MVP award, Taylor lurked behind the two men, grinning and trying to get in the shot. Oh, Taylor! You silly boy. I guess you really do dig being a celebrity.

So now I hear there's another charity golf game on the horizon. More info here:

Um, Taylor? Don't let your guitar gather dust, OK? As much as we all enjoyed the short pants, we miss Taylor the singer/songwriter.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Music Monday

I happened to catch the Beatles movie, "Help!" on TV this weekend. It's completely juvenile and silly. My kind of movie! I forgot how fun it is. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I ever saw the whole flick.

I was just a kid when the Beatles hit the scene. I could hear my big sisters' albums playing down the hall but I was never welcome inside their too-cool-for-me room. The Beatles played sophisticated and grown-up music. If I was caught lurking outside their door, my sisters would shoo me back to my own pink phonograph and my Monkees 45's.

Aaaanyway...enjoy this clip! How can you NOT sing along?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tips For a Happy Marriage

Many people ask my husband and I, "How do ya do it? How do you stay so happy?" Well, of course, no one who's actually MET us has asked us that, but stay with me. As I sit waiting for my dear valentine to get off the damned phone so we can go out to eat, I thought I'd type up my secrets to a happy marriage. I hope these will help you find the kind of peace and harmony we enjoy:

Tip #1: I find it helpful if one of you travels a lot. If his work doesn't take him out of town occasionally, then get yourself a job as a stewardess, circus clown or war correspondent. Whatever it takes.

Tip #2: When your husband gets mad about something and is yelling at you, take off your shirt. He will be momentarily disoriented and will forget what he was mad about.

Tip #3: Fetch frozen French fries from the freezer frequently. If dinner is a little "iffy" because you passed out on the couch during a "Real World" marathon, serve whatever you've got with French fries. He'll love it.

Tip #4: Give him the perfect gift every time. Here's a simple technique which will assure that he receives exactly what he wants: Listen for clues about his likes and dislikes, notice when he admires something, make notes and finally, toss him the car keys and tell him to buy his gift himself.

Tip #5: Look like Pamela Anderson. My husband says that when I wear tight jeans, fluff up my hair and stand in a poorly-lit room while he squints real hard at me after drinking a lot of booze, that I kind of look like an older, flatter, brunette version of that Baywatch babe.

I can't speak for my husband about how he manages to get along so beautifully with me. He'd have to write about that himself. But because he's so manly, sexy and intelligent, he doesn't have time for such ruminations. Which brings us to:

Tip #6: Shower him with compliments, especially if you write a blog all of his friends will read.

Tip #7: Shower. Always good advice.

Tip #8: The cornerstone of every solid marriage is honesty. Tell the truth. Except of course about your weight or about passing out on the couch during a "Real World" marathon. Hey, it's not like I'm married to honesty!

Tip #9: Get used to watching TV in the other room, on the smaller TV. Face it, you'll have to pry that remote from his cold, dead hands. If you refuse to leave the room, then learn to like televised miniature golf and The Weather Channel.

Tip #10: Don't complain to him about anything he does. Save that for conversations with friends, family, neighbors and grocery store checkout girls.

Time for me to conclude Marriage 101 and wrap whatever it is he got himself for Valentine's Day. Nothing's too good for my man. After all, he is the sweetest, strongest and most handsome man who ever lived. (Refer to Tip #6).

What Was Their Inspiration?

I found this video from Wednesday's episode of Project Runway. You can see the works of art chosen by the designers as their inspiration for the challenge.

Project Runway

This week's challenge decided which three designers would go on to show at Bryant Park. The looks had to be inspired by a work of art. Let me show you the designs (with my commentary)and then I'll tell you the outcome:

Design by Chris:

Very reminiscent of that crazy avant-garde gown that everyone (but me) loved!

Design by Christian:

I know, I know, you all LOVE it, right? He's a talented designer, no doubt about that. But I think this looks ridiculous. You're all thinking I just don't get it. That's OK.

Design by Rami:

I don't mind that Rami stuck with draping. He felt strongly about this dress and I think that's what it's all about. Personally, I don't think draping flatters a woman's body.

Design by Sweet P:

Really blah! I like her and I like the interaction between Sweet P and Christian, but this design was really boring.

Design by Jillian:

Really cute. I would wear this (if I were twenty years younger!) The dress underneath the jacket is all gold and fun.

The winner of this challenge was...drumroll please...Christian! The loser was Sweet P. No big surprise there.

Jillian was told that she'll be going to Fashion Week with Christian. Then in a surprising twist, Chris AND Rami were told that they are still "in". The only snag in the seam (see what I did there?) is that they're still competing against one another. They'll both produce a line for the show and the judges will decide which ONE of them will go on to show it at Bryant Park.

huh? HOLD EVERYTHING! I was looking for more photos over on the official Project Runway site when I ran across something labeled, "Final Collections". I clicked on it and it looks like the actual final runway collections. It includes Christian, Jillian, Chris, Rami AND Sweet P. Why would they post this before that episode airs? Could it be a mistake? Go have a look, unless you want to wait and see it all for the first time on the final show:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Taylor Tuesday

"Dude! I GOTTA have more cowbell!"

We Taylor Hicks fans should be very proud of ourselves. I say that without a bit of sarcasm. We're backing a musician we can feel good about. I don't know what may have occured behind closed doors, but from my point of view, it seems Taylor's been fighting for the MUSIC since that first audition for American Idol.

That fight for musical integrity may have cost him backing by J Records. Everything I've read leads me to believe that Taylor didn't want to be a sell-out. He didn't want to produce some generic CD with catchy little tunes perfect for radio. He didn't want to just lay back and let the label have it's way with him. He wants to produce music that's meaningful.

An unwillingness to shut up and do what you're told can make you an unpopular guy. But in the end the most important thing-the only thing- is what happens when you pop in his CD or watch him come out on stage. A moment of anticipation and then, he lifts the mic and sings. Chills.

Ignore that lousy American Idol band and listen to his voice. Gorgeous.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Music Monday

I'm disgusted! Yesterday I learned that Fergie is being paid to mention "Candies" in her LYRICS!

"The 32-year-old Black Eyed Peas singer is the first global star to consent to product placement in her songs - agreeing to include...Candie's in her lyrics... The musician born Stacy Ann making history by blurring the lines between jingle and pop song.

Under the deal with Candie's, Fergie will be appearing in TV advertisements and also allowing Candie's 'style advisers' to dress up fans at her shows.

While Fergie was on tour last week, her advisers said such product placement marked the future of music.

'With record sales in decline, you must find novel ways to make money out of the music. The trick is to make the brand part of the song, so that it slips down easily rather than chokes the fan,' an executive at Interscope, Fergie's record company in Los Angeles, told the Sunday Times of London.



"...I am not surprised to see her or her label taking the cash - the marketing of this artist has always been about cash and flash above any sense of musical's one thing for an artist to give a shout-out to their favorite brand(s) in a song and another, more distasteful thing for the artist to accept cash to ensure that a brand is mentioned in one or more songs they record...It's making the song a commercial in and of itself."

So, Fergie is a freakin' millionaire because she's a good salesperson, not because she's a superior artist. She knows how to sell herself and her music. I have no respect for her and am sorry I posted one of her videos here a couple of months ago.

I didn't watch the Grammy Awards last night, because it's all meaningless. Aren't the Grammys based on how many albums an artist sells? None of it has anything to do with art. And consumers are told who to like. Yeah, you heard me. But let's save that rant for another day.

Grr!!! The more I learn about the music industry the more disgusted I become.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Baby's First Steps

Henry has had a tough time with the stairs. For the longest time, he would get himself on the third or fourth step and then cry to be rescued. I'll be honest, I liked the fact that he couldn't get himself upstairs or downstairs. I could escape from his little nipping jaws, by heading for the stairs.

Last night he finally reached the summit. It took a couple of tries, but he wound up on the second floor all by himself. Now he just has to figure out how to get back down:

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Every now and then my Mom tries out for a game show. She's a brilliant woman, but she hasn't made it on to one yet. A couple of months ago she went into NYC with my sister, Cathy, (another brainiac) to try out for the "Millionaire" show.

Here's her account of what the process is like:

"We got to New York at 67th Street at 9:15 a.m. to stand in a line, in the rain!, and wait until about 10:00 be allowed into the building. After a security check, '...what do you have in that bag, lady?', we were moved to another line that was, gratefully, outside the bathrooms. After a potty break, we were back on line and then ushered up some rickety stairs to the sound stage for the show.

The seating is built like an amphitheater with seating in the round. After they had seated and shifted people around to their liking, we were given the test. 30 questions to answer in 10 minutes. Do you really remember what an unequal triangle is called or what they call a mixed bag of music? We thought we were smart to know who the senator from Illinois is!

Out of about 250 applicants only 20 people passed the written audition test and I am embarrassed and crestfallen to say that neither Cathy nor I were among the lucky and bright 20. We were really bummed!

So then more waiting.They told us there were technical difficulties they were working on. The warm up guy did his best to keep everyone happy.

Finally things got underway.

Meredith Viera was very nice and it was interesting to see the contestants struggle through their questions -BUT - we were there for three shows! The warm up guy had to keep us at a fever-pitch of loudness and enthusiasm. They resorted to tossing t-shirts into the audience (Cathy got one that she gave to me because it was a double X) and bribing us with cassettes (I got one of obscure music that Bruce seemed mildly interested in).

No water, food or potty breaks until we were all released at 3:00 p.m.

What a day! But we saw the inner workings of the show and that's always interesting.

Will I go again? In a heart-beat! I want to pass that test!"

So, have any of you ever been on a game show? Tell us about it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Project Runway-Episode 10

"Raw Talent"

This week's challenge was to create an outfit for the WWE Divas to wear in the ring. It was a difficult assignment for some (Sweet Pea, Ricky and Rami), whose fashion sensibilities clashed with what the wrestlers wanted to wear.

Chris, Christian and Jillian seemed to enjoy playing around with a costumy theme for a change. It showed. The designers who struggled came up with the least interesting designs, while the ones who had fun with it WOWed us.

Chris won with this ensemble (which reminds me of something Shania Twain wore in one of her videos.):

design by Jillian:

design by Christian:

design by Sweet Pea:

design by Rami:

It was finally time for Ricky to go:

If you can't get enough of Project Runway, here are some behind the scenes photos:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew


"Celebrity Rehab" is the first television series to chronicle the dramatic, unscripted real life experiences of a group of actual celebrities as they make the life-changing decision to enter themselves into a drug, alcohol and addiction treatment program with the sincere desire to achieve true rehabilitation and recovery."

I'm fascinated by this show. I hope its not pure voyeurism bringing me back every week. I don't think so. I think it's interesting the way the "celebrities" interact and support one another.

Jeff Conaway (you know him from "Taxi") has the most serious problems: horrible childhood trauma and debilitating back pain which he has tried to quiet using drugs and alcohol. One night the residents convince him to stick it out in rehab and after getting himself into bed, we see Chyna Doll (the wrestler) lovingly covering him with a blanket. Sweet.

It breaks your heart to hear their stories (except for that Ricco Rodriguez guy, whoever he is. He is an "American mixed martial arts fighter", they say, but I've never heard of him. After a bad car accident, he moved his girlfriend's body behind the steering wheel because he thought she was dead. She wasn't, and is still with him. He thinks this is a funny story!)

Here are the residents of the rehab facility: Jaimee Foxworth, Seth "Shifty" Binzer, Ricco Rodriguez, Daniel Baldwin, Brigitte Nielsen, Chyna (Joan Marie Laurer), Mary Carey, Jeff Conaway.

And, as usual, I'm developing a crush on the guy who's in charge:

New shows air on VH1, Thursdays at 10/9c.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This One's For C&W

I don't know why, but this photo made me think of you (C&W). Maybe because of something you said at Gray Charles once. (Remember, my mother pops in here from time to time, so let's just say it's because you enjoy basketball.)

Livingston Taylor

I think my big sisters must have been pretty cool. Growing up, they introduced me to a lot of music that wasn't readily available on the radio. Didja know that James Taylor has a brother who's a singer/songwriter? He ain't bad.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Not Beautiful

The other day in the parking lot of Target, a young man insulted me. Unfortunately, I didn't completely understand what he said, so I couldn't come back with one of my zingers. Okay, so maybe I don't have any zingers, but I could have at least given him a really mean look.

It sounded as though he said, "Hey, you dropped your spinal tap back there. And it went really great with your outfit, that's for sure!" Then he shot me a challenging smirk. In the silence of the next two seconds, I saw that I hadn't dropped anything and had to decide if the gibberish I heard had been a compliment or a jab. Judging by his superior attitude and the fact that I had just come from the gym, I knew it had been a slam. Well, I showed him. I smiled and giggled. Way to go, Caryl.

So why can't I just let it go? Well, shucks. I need the world to be nice to me right now. I have a fragile ego these days.

Last weekend my husband took me to a fancy-schmancy business dinner at Magic Island in Houston. I pulled out all the stops. I wiggled into my outfit, curled up my hair and loaded on the make up. I put on my best jewelry and stood back to assess my work. "Lookin' gooood!" I said to the babe in the mirror.

I felt confident as I strutted past my husband to the car, ready to dazzle his coworkers. Upon arrival, we were asked to pose for a picture, which would be given to us at the end of the evening.

Magic Island serves a wonderful dinner followed by a magic show. After eating, we were escorted into a small theater. Music pulsated, smoke swirled in a spotlight as the magician dazzled us with his tricks. Quite a show, really, but I couldn't get past the fact that his assistant had my old body. The confidence I felt at home was slowly waning and completely hit rock bottom when we were presented with our souvenir photo.

I had done some magic of my own, managing to give the illusion of a double chin as I stared at the camera with a frightened expression. My fabulous sleeveless shell accentuated my flabby little arms, and my sexy black skirt didn't cover enough of my stubby legs.

(Yes, Oprah, I hear you. Woman, love thyself. Blah, blah, blah....)

Actually, my self-image is usually fine. I've never been a knockout, and I've never cared. But lately when I celebrate another birthday, I get a little sad when it's thrown in my face that I'm not a sweet young thang anymore. For years I've been waiting to finally bloom when the truth is, I've already begun to wilt. When did I peak?

Please, I'm not fishing for compliments. I just had to get this off my flat chest. And to that young man at Target, the old adage is true: "If you can't say something nice, SHUT THE @#$%^&! UP!" So there.