Saturday, January 22, 2011

Venus, Redux

Sadly, Venus Williams had to retire from her match this morning at the Australian Open after re-injuring a muscle in her side. She is always competitive and I believe this is the first time she has ever retired from a match.

For me, tho, the second sadness in her retirement is that we only got three days of new tennis dresses from her. The press was buzzing from the first day, and now we can be, also.

Day 1 she appeared in the most talked-about dress... er tunic. It's a lovely shade of blue and the fabric is alternating "stripes" of net and fabric, so that it looks like stripes in this picture. The real issue was the length... very, very short. Actually it barely covered her black spanky pants - remember them from high school? She told reporters that she initially planned to wear flesh-colored, which would have caused even more comment. I love the fabric, but doubt that I would have tried this look - even at my target weight! With her good figure she looked good in this and I rather liked it.

Day 2 she changed to an edgy yellow number. The lattice work in the bodice appears to be open-work with no netting. I really like that part. What I think doesn't work well is the patterned skirt. The black print is fine, but there doesn't appear to be any yellow in the print that matches the bodice. The tennis ball in the front - nice touch! - is too green. If that matched, or with a matching solid yellow (or solid black) skirt, this would really be a neat dress. And, it's long enough to please almost anyone.

Then today she chose my favorite of the week. The black bodice is alternating stripes of solid black fabric and a great silver-studded black. It's worn over matching black shorts that give "good coverage". It's the sort of tennis "costume" that has started showing up at evening matches at the U.S. Open. If she wears it again, she may get comments about the silver-studded band that runs across her breasts - it's a bit Madonna-like, but overall I do like it a lot.

If Venus were just about clothing, and not a top notch player, I probably wouldn't comment on her outfits, but she is first and foremost a fine athlete and after 17 years as a professional tennis player still rated as one of the finest players of the open era. So, bear with me. If she keeps wearing interesting things, I plan to keep commenting. Perhaps that is my niche in blogger-dom!

Besides it must be warm somewhere if they are playing tennis!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby, it's Cold Outside!

Grim, gray morning, but covered in ice. A bit of sun would have made it gorgeous, but alas not a sunbeam in the forecast for several days.

Thank goodness for the fireplace!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gutters or Shutters?

Today was that rite of winter-wishing-to-be-spring ... the Home and Garden Show. You know The day when everyone who has a product or service even vaguely related to home, hearth, and garden brings it all together to that folks who are yearning for better weather [that would be me!] come to spend money they don't have on projects... that they might need.

We have had both good and bad experiences in the past. The first year in our new house we found a great blind cleaner, i.e, he comes to your house and cleans your mini-blinds, as well as a guy who molded concrete borders for our garden. Both are now out of business [for which we are sorry!] but we got good service from each.

Other years we have wandered around and found nothing that we needed, and nothing that was interesting. The main trends today were gutters or shutters, garden rooms and food.

1) Gutters - It seems that there are lots of things one can do to avoid cleaning one's gutters. There were three different systems to cover the gutters and prevent leaves collecting in them, as well as my personal favorite - a gutter that flips down and dumps out the leaves. You gotta love flip down gutters! In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that our house came with gutter guards, so we passed.

2) Shutters - well, actually siding, but shutters rhymes so well. You can get siding in all sorts of colors, patterns, and materials - all apparently preferable to vinyl. Paintable or with the color baked in, colonial or textured - they come in many different styles and prices. Fortunately, our house came with siding, so we are set there.

3) Food - I think the tie-in is that you make food in your home - assuming that you have a kitchen. Today you could choose dips to mix with cream cheese or mayonnaise in 20 different flavors. Three for $10 or six for $15. Clearly a deal. I couldn't decide what flavors, so passed on this opportunity.

4) Gardens as rooms - Apparently people are not moving to larger homes this year (had you already guessed that?) so they are enlarging their existing homes by incorporating garden rooms. We saw huge patios, huge patios with pergolas, and huge patio kitchens. Big stone, big walls, just plain big. Acres of large pavers were lovely, but who has a yard that big? Passed on this, too.

4) Food - cheese from a cooperative, Virginia raised beef, cheese straws, peanuts (this is Virginia) or jellies and preserves. Lots of opportunities to taste, but we passed again - at least on purchasing.

5) Solar - Saw some interesting things here. The state-wide solar green initiative had lots of information on building with solar panels and going greener. We are far enough south that one day all homes built in Virginia will have solar panels. We're going to look into a solar powered attic exhaust fan. It's reasonably priced and we can get a 30% tax rebate since it's solar. I think it might save enough to pay for itself in a couple of year. Definitely on the follow-up list. There was also an interesting solar oven. I've had a bit of curiosity about getting one.

6) Food - well, wine. Three local wineries were giving tastings of their wares. Couldn't insult them by not at least sampling... right? Didn't actually add any bottles to our "cellar", but did try a couple of things that we liked enough to write down for future reference.

Two others vendors with whom I plan to follow-up are a company that refinishes kitchen counters and one that installs pull-out shelves in existing kitchen cabinets. I'd like both for my kitchen. Like others, we plan to stay here for the long term so we are upgrading a bit over time.

If the Home and Garden Show is here, can spring be far behind?


Didn't post last weekend because somehow my obsession with losing weight seemed very frivolous with all that was happening in Tucson. Down 10 pounds and 2.5 inches. Had a couple of hard days this week and regained a couple of pounds, but am back on track. Clothes are fitting noticeably better now.