Friday, April 20, 2007

Just in Time for Summer

Fruity cocktails count as health food, study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fruity cocktail may not only be fun to drink but may count as health food, U.S. and Thai researchers said on Thursday.
Adding ethanol -- the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits -- boosted the antioxidant nutrients in strawberries and blackberries, the researchers found.
Any colored fruit might be made even more healthful with the addition of a splash of alcohol, they report in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Dr. Korakot Chanjirakul and colleagues at Kasetsart University in Thailand and scientists at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture stumbled upon their finding unexpectedly.
They were exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage. Treating the berries with alcohol increased in antioxidant capacity and free radical scavenging activity, they found.
Any colored fruit or vegetable is rich in antioxidants, which are chemicals that can cancel out the cell-damaging effects of compounds called free radicals.
Berries, for instance, contain compounds known as polyphenols and anthocyanins. People who eat more of these fruits and vegetables have a documented lower risk of cancer, heart disease and some neurological diseases.
The study did not address whether adding a little cocktail umbrella enhanced the effects.

Drink your strawberry margaritas, everybody!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

DemiGoddess Guerilla Art

A couple of nights ago, I stepped out my front door to take out the trash and found this:

Spring, it seems, has sprung.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Little Bit Like the Fireplace at the Cabin

My washing machine crapped out again a couple of weeks ago, which, while annoying, didn’t seem like a big deal at the time because (as I’ve written previously) I was wise enough to purchase the extended warranty when I bought the washer four years ago. So I will not have to pay for this latest $800 repair, just like I didn’t have to pay for the four previous $300 repairs on what has proved to be a highly unreliable home appliance. (I am not strong with the math, but it seems to me they would have been better off buying me a new washer by now, no?)

In fact, however, this latest crapping out has turned out to be a big, giant, smelly pile of a deal, because the repairman can’t fix my washing machine until all the parts arrive from the manufacturer, and to date only two of the four parts he ordered at the time of his first visit—three weeks ago—have arrived.

When the DemiGoddesses were little and we lived in an apartment, schlepping the laundry was a weekly ritual. Our building had only one coin-operated washer and dryer for eight apartments, and those machines were in constant use by other tenants. Not that it really mattered to us, of course, since we were always too broke to pay to use them anyway. For years, every Sunday morning, I hauled both kids and a carload of dirty clothes over to my parents’ house, and then stayed there all day long while I washed and dried load after load after endless bloody load. When we finally bought a house that had a washer and dryer, I swore that I would never complain about doing the laundry again, because my days of hauling baskets of dirty socks and underpants to and from the car were finally OVER.

But about a week and a half ago, strange aromas began to emanate from the DemiGoddesses. I could see that they had stopped wearing socks altogether. I did not ask about underwear. As much as I hated to admit it, I could no longer deny the inevitable. Laundry would have to be schlepped.

So two Thursdays ago I left work early, picked up $30 in quarters at the bank, and took a mountain of clothes to the nearest self-serve laundromat. I had never visited it before and, in fact, had only found the place by looking it up on the internet, even though it turned out to be less than two miles from my house and I have probably driven right past it a thousand times.

I fully expected the laundromat experience to suck rocks. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the place clean (relatively), quiet, and completely empty when I arrived. It smelled reassuringly of fabric softener, and, best of all, there were four triple-sized washers. I washed, dried and folded every article of clothing in the Goddess household in less than two hours.

By yesterday the Demis were running low on clean jeans again, and I was astonished to find myself actually looking forward to another visit to my good friend #40 Mega Washer. I even invited DemiGoddess the Younger to come with me. And, once there, she had to agree with me that it was strangely soothing, watching the suds and the water and her favorite jeans swish, swish, swishing in circles behind the round glass door.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Question Posed During Last Night’s Merciless Pounding Baseball Game

Why is it that no one on the Yankees team ever seems to age?

Pettitte and Jeter and even Mariano Rivera have looked exactly the same since 1996.
I think they must drink the blood of small children during the off season.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Successful Living with a Teenage Daughter in Four Easy Steps

Step 1—No matter what outrageous, baiting, completely detached from reality utterance comes out of her mouth, DO NOT RESPOND. Do not speak. Don’t even open your mouth.

Step 2—Go directly into your bedroom.

Step 3—Shut the door.

Step 4—Stay there until*:

a) She graduates from high school; or

b) She no longer has any memory whatsoever of what she was angry about in the first place (usually about two hours).

*Alcohol consumption is optional.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Celebrity Snark, Goddess Style

Last weekend DemiGoddess the Younger spent an afternoon at the Mall of America (insert cat-hacking-up-hairball sound clip here) with a group of her friends. The next day she announced that, after much searching, she had finally found a perfume that she wants to purchase. Because it smells soooo good.

“But,” she said, “it’s kind of an embarrassing brand.”

“Was it JLo perfume?” I asked.

“No. More embarrassing.” She said.

“What could be more embarrassing than JLo perfume?”

“Britney Spears perfume.”

“Oh. Oh, no. Are you seriously going to tell your friends at school, when they ask what you’re wearing, that it’s Britney Spears perfume?”

“I’ll just tell them it’s hairspray.”

That’s my girl. When in doubt, lie to save face.

“What does it even smell like?” I asked. “Bald people?”

That earned a snort from DemiGoddess the Elder.

“Well, I thought it would smell like Red Bull and Cheetos, but it doesn’t. It smells really good.”

“I know what it doesn’t smell like,” said Demi the Elder, who, apparently, had been waiting patiently for her intro.


(Thank you, you’ve been a great audience. We’ll be here all week.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Most Excellent Hope Opener

Joe Mauer hit a single in his first at bat, which was exciting for a few minutes until it was upstaged by back-to-back homeruns courtesy of Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter. Rondell White made an amazing catch, and the American League MVP made an old time hockey-style hit at home plate that inexplicably did not force the Orioles catcher to drop the ball, but did have him running to the dugout for a Band-Aid. Mi Corazón sat down six, the bullpen struck out several more, and my darling beloveds beat Baltimore by a score of 7-4. An optimistic start to the season, I think.

For the first time, DemiGoddess the Elder did not sit with Demi the Younger, My Ho and me. She attended the game with her friend Hannah. Just before Brad Radke threw out the first pitch, she called me on my cell phone to ask if I could see her “Circle Me Bert” sign (she had cleverly created it on the white underside of a vinyl snow tube she got for Christmas and then popped during an extra-vigorous sledding party over the winter). Yes, I said, we could see it, waaaaaaay up in the nosebleed seats, across the Metrodome from where we were sitting in the lower deck. She said she could see us waving through Hannah’s dad’s binoculars. Then she had to hang up because the game was about to start.

A good time was had by all on our end of the Dome, and she had a lot of fun with her friend, in spite of the altitude. But even though her absence meant more peanuts and Twizzlers for the rest of us, it still seemed like our opening day roster was a player short.

There’s going to be a lot more of that in the future, I’m sure.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Porch Song

Herb Carneal

"Just give me two pillows
and a bottle of beer,
And the Twins game on radio
next to my ear,
Some hark to the sound
of the loon or the teal...
But I love the voice
Of Herb Carneal."

--from “Porch Song,” by Garrison Keillor