This is not Gotham City… Or is it?

So my sister Michelle and I were driving along down I-95 toward Miami a couple of months ago, just minding out own business, when out of nowhere we saw this:

Yes, folks, that is indeed the Batmobile just ahead of us and to the right.  We decided to get a little closer to inspect things.  Sure enough, Batman and Robin were driving.  There must have been an emergency at the next exit, because soon thereafter, they left the highway, probably to save the commissioner from unmistakable doom.

We kind of forgot all about our little road trip excitement until last weekend when I took a back road home from Tampa, and we saw this:

Holy doppelgangers!  Could Batman have a twin?  (Or is he following us?)  You decide.

Time to talk:  Who’s your favorite Batman: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, or the forthcoming Ben Affleck?  Which Batman villain do you like best?

Happy Birthday, Paul Reiser!

You might remember the actor Paul Reiser from his days as a stand-up comic, or on the big screen in Beverly Hills Cop I and II, or on the television show My Two Dads.  But my favorite role of his was as Paul Buchman when he played opposite of Helen Hunt as his wife Jamie Buchman on Mad About You.  You might even remember him in all these things, but did you know that Paul Reiser is also an author?

That’s right!  Paul wrote Couplehood back in 1995 when he and his wife Paula had been married only seven years.  (It was New York Times best seller for 40 weeks!)  Couplehood is unique in that it actually starts on page 145 to allow the readers to have a sense of accomplishment.

He wrote Babyhood in 1998 about his experiences as a first-time father to their first child Ezra born three years earlier.

He wrote Familyhood in 2011, eleven years after their family expanded to include his second son, Leon. Familyhood is a collection of humorous essays about family life.

And in 2014, he penned How to Get to Carnegie Hall.  In this book, he recalls his encounters with numerous legendary Hollywood greats who gave him advice on his way up the ladder to success.

His books are hilarious and are reminiscent of his character in Mad About You, which he intended to be modeled after himself.  If you ever get an opportunity to watch it, check out my very favorite episode entitled “Two Tickets to Paradise.”  If you’ve never seen the show, I encourage you to watch… and be ready to laugh!  Hard!

Let’s Talk:  Have you ever seen the show Mad About You?  Have you ever read any of Paul Reiser’s books?  When your favorite actors and actresses write books, do you read them?

Remember when I wasn’t Martha Stewart?

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’ll be giving you a follow-up to my post last year when I told you how I was no Martha Stewart and I shared some photos with you of previous years’ Thanksgiving name cards that I made for my guests.  I couldn’t share the ones I made in 2014 because my guests hadn’t seen them yet.

I was actually just going through my point and shoot camera the other day, and realized I still had the photos on there to show you later.  (Being as I typically use my studio camera, I tend to forget that I even have a point and shoot sometimes.)

Anyway, this is the little turkey that saved my seat at Thanksgiving.  This was the first time I ever used a pre-fab kit to make the place cards rather than making them from scratch, but I found myself running out of time as the big day approached.

Immediately following Thanksgiving dinner, Jeremy’s turkey fell to the ground, and our cat Dakota got hold of it.  By the time we rescued it, it looked almost as bad as a real Thanksgiving turkey after it had already been carved and picked down to the bones!

Let’s chat:  How early do you start planning for your holiday meals and guests?  Other than Thanksgiving and Christmas, what other large meals do you plan in advance?  Do you photograph funny things that your pets do to things around your house?  (That last question applies to everyone except my good buddy Mark Bialczak… I already know that he makes a very cool photographic anthology of his sweet dog Ellie B’s collections of things she shouldn’t have.)

It’s that time again…

Believe it or not, I’m not really into prairie living, but because I have so many allergies and intolerances, I have to do a lot of cooking at home.  Another thing I make at home is laundry soap as well as body and hand soap.  Usually when I make either of these, I like to make enough to last for several months so that I only have to do it a couple of times a year.  This weekend, I made the first batch of body and hand soap.

Step One: Gather your oils and ingredients.

If you’re not familiar with the soap-making process, basically, you mix various oils with lye and heat it.  It’s actually a bit more complicated than that, and everything has to be measured precisely by weight on a digital scale.  There has to be a certain percentage of each type of oil to get the desired results, such as how hard you want the soap to be, how sudsy it will get, how moisturizing it will be, etc.  I like to add cocoa butter and shea butter as well as goat’s milk because these all add extra moisture.  Castor oil and coconut oil add for extra cleansing, and olive oil and almond oil add extra creaminess.

Step Two: Mix the lye water with the heated oils.

After the oil-lye mixture has cooked for the appropriate amount of time (around four hours), I add essential oil to make it smell pretty then pour it in a mold.  Because I use hot process (meaning I cook it), I can unmold it the next day and use it soon thereafter.  If I used the cold process method, it would be more “liquidy” and I could pour it in pretty shaped molds.  But then it would take weeks to “saponify” meaning for the lye to have a chemical reaction with the oil and not be caustic any longer.

Step Three: Cook it for a really long time.

This time, I made gardenia soap.  Later this week, I’ll be making a batch of lavender to which I’ll add some dried lavender buds to make it pretty, as well as some honey-oat-almond, which will smell like almond, and have honey as well as ground oats in it for extra exfoliation.  I actually prefer to use this oat soap in the kitchen because it smells so much like food!

Step Four: Pour it into a mold and let it harden overnight, then slice.

You can buy homemade soaps all over the place these days, as they are increasingly popular.  I did that for a few years, but they used fragrance oil rather than essential oil to keep their costs down, and I became allergic to the perfume in the fragrance.

Step Five: Enjoy!

If you’ve never used homemade soap before, let me tell you that once you do, you’ll never want to use store bought soap again.  The first time you use homemade, it feels like you just washed ten years of yuck off your skin! You’ll also realize after that, store bought soap actually feels slimy in comparison.  Your skin will be softer, your shave will be closer, and you’ll feel the cleanest you’ve ever felt.

Time to talk:  Have you ever used homemade soap?  Do you have any allergies?  Would you use soap with ground oats or lavender buds inside?

First week of spring, my butt!

I can’t believe it was only last Friday that spring arrived.  Here where I live, today it was 86°F at 5:00 PM!  Yesterday, at 5:45, it was 89°F!  Of course, with the humidity, it feels a good 10°F hotter than that.  I can only imagine how miserable it’s going to be once summer gets here.

Let’s talk:  How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?   Do you prefer extremely hot weather or extremely cold weather and why?  Is it humid where you are?

My House Caught on Fire!

Last week, my sister Michelle and I had to go somewhere, and we stayed out late.  while we were gone, my son Jeremy accidentally locked himself outside when he got home from work, so he sat on the front porch to wait for us.

When Michelle and I got home, the three of us walked inside together, and we immediately noticed a bad smell.  Because all of us were gone all day, we were afraid that one of the cats may have launched a mutiny and used the bathroom somewhere other than their litter boxes.  But the more we smelled, the more we all decided it didn’t smell like that kind of foul smell.

It was late, so after we cleaned the litter boxes and changed our clothes, we made dinner and watched a little television before bed.  An hour or so later, as Michelle was in her bedroom getting ready for bed, I heard her scream.  When I went in to see what happened, she told me that something black caught her eye and she was afraid that our black cat Zsa Zsa had lost a large tuft of fur in a fight.  (The other cats tend to pick on poor Zsa Zsa when we’re not around.)  When she bent over to pick it up, however, she noticed that her surge protector was stuck to the carpet on top of the “black fur.”  She then pulled on it and realized that it was not cat fur at all, but that her surge protector had apparently caught on fire!  (By the way, only her computer and monitor were plugged in.  Thankfully, they both still work.)

I have no idea why our smoke detector didn’t go off, and I know it works because it went off just the week before when I had some candles lit.  Luckily, the fire must have put itself out, or perhaps heat and smoke was as far as it got.  And thankfully all our belongings — and more importantly our cats — were not caught in a blazing home!  We still have no idea how or why this happened, but we do intend to write to the manufacturer of the surge protector company and see what they have to say.  How scary is this?

Time to talk:  Have you ever personally known someone this has happened to?  What do you think made this happen?  Have you even known someone whose house caught fire?