Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
Bad things happen when good bloggers decide to present themselves as healthy, athletic-y type people. This lesson was made painfully clear to me while attempting to improve my body through some actual exercise, guided by a personal trainer. I prefer the "by-proxy" type, which means that I lounge on the sofa while I watch an exercise video and shout criticisms at the TV while pelting it with Cheetos - the crispy kind, not the puffy kind!
This year on my birthday I made a declaration that I was going to trade in my present day physique for the one I covered up with my wedding dress and uncovered on my honeymoon 18 years ago. I am well aware, that having a great body can't be acquired by a twitch of the nose a-la-Samantha-Stevens, although I've truly tried to tap my "inner Bewitched." Typically, I just look like a crazy person with really bad allergies. If reinventing one's body were that simple, I'd be Gisele Bündchen. Please don't get me wrong, I'm totally for self-improvement and self-actualization. I truly believe everyone should take care of the body they've been given, and realize their potential, to chase after goals, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah . . .
Of course, no establishment is more sobering, with it's droves of 20-something members clad in belly bearing work-out gear, than a gym. While I was waiting for my trainer, I noticed this lovely, long legged, perfectly tanned and toned young woman bring in her children and get them registered and comfortable in the day-care that was provided. Did I mention they were triplets and maybe about 6 or 7 months old, and it looked more like I had just had those babies, than she? As I craned my neck to see around the stroller top, I read baby #1's little tee, it read "I Party Naked", baby #2's tee read "I'm a Boob Man" and lastly, baby #3's tee read "Mother Sucker." As I sat passing judgments and thinking she was probably one of those women who "whore" . . . I mean "wore" maternity wear that said "Knocked Up", a perky voice said, "LeAnn" . . I look up, and guess who's standing there? Yep, Octumom minus 3! She smiled and extended her perfectly manicured hand and said, "Hi! Are you ready to get started?" I'm not really clear on what happened next, I'm pretty sure all the blood left my head after about the 50th lunge and I woke up in the ladies locker room, my body wrapped in a terry cloth towel with matching terry cloth turban on my head. The exhibitionist tendencies of my youth have turned into an almost Amish-like sense of modesty, I mean I'm an actual member of "Sensible Knickers Club" - no more thongs and trap doors for this chick! I tell you this to let you know that my tender constitution cannot really bare (if you'll pardon the pun) all the rampant nakedness that was going on in this locker room. Just as I look up, around the corner comes a lady, not just any lady, but an octogenarian. She's naked and seems to be kinda trying to wrangle her flat, long lady lumps into a bra, and for added effect, she's sporting a complete absence of afore mentioned knickers - sensible or otherwise. Let me just say this, I saw some images today that will be burned into my corneas for eternity - someone please, hold me. . . . I'm truly traumatized !
In my haste to cover my girly bits and divert my gaze away from "Naked Nanna," I stood up too quickly and bonked my elbow on the locker, which made me drop the towel around my body, and the towel around my hair fell over my half of my face. Just as this is all happening, old lady #2 comes scooting around the corner and giggles for an inordinately long time at my expense and exposure. Ten buck says two weeks from now an entire Mahjong-playin', caftan-wearing, Mojito-swilling old ladies club will be yuckin' it up when they recount this scene.
Though none of this has anything what-so-ever to do with the "vintage" or "inspirational" premise of this blog, It does address the "exhibiting exceptional skills" aspect of my posts. My trainer is really good at her job! So in closing, I feel the need to give some background here and explain that there are muscles in my body that have not been flexed since the Clinton administration . . . and now they HURT!! . . . and I feel VINTAGE!
Vintage postcard courtesy Photobucket.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
This morning I’m chin deep in fellas dressed in short sleeved white button downs, black ties and pants and pocket protectors. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit and my head is beginning to spin, but it's my computer that is doing the better Linda Blair impression and truly messing with my world! However, my knights in shinning VW Beetle are here!
So, to calm my mind and soothe my soul I need to be transported to a kinder gentler place - one without RAM, CRASHES or SYSTEM ERRORS. And the remedy has been supplied by a fellow “old soul” and favorite friend. He introduced me to an amazing artist that I would like to share with you, and her name is Janet Klein. I think she is quite possibly one of the most charming people I've ever been introduced to!
I have discovered that it is virtually impossible to listen to singer, chanteuse Janet Klein and her band, The Parlor Boys, without smiling. Her love of lost classics, vaudeville melodies, and Yiddish songs of a bygone era are brought back to effervescent life through their stylings. Klein might seem at first to be a novelty act, with her sleek bob hairdo and vintage clothing, but when she opens her mouth to sing the obscure, naughty songs from the 1910s, 20s and 30s, her amazing talent and passion for curating these tunes is evident.
Her debut album, 1998's Come Into My Parlor, is almost a solo record, with Klein's vocals and ukulele occasionally supported by, John Reynolds' guitar and producer and husband Robert Loveless' accordion, mandolin, harmonica and triangle. Klein's second album, Paradise Wobble, was credited to Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys, and, like the first album, was bedecked in vintage photos and perfect replications of early 20th century graphic design. Subsequent albums, including her newest release, Ready For You, can be found here.
She performs with her band mostly in the Los Angeles area and continues to utilize her collection of vintage photographic matter in graphic design projects, including two miniature books, "Love is A Boomerang" and "Take A Picture of the Moon", and has plans for a DVD of musical film shorts and live concert footage. There are two must see videos that perfectly illustrate Klein’s charm and eccentricities. The first is Klein singing an Irving Berlin tune entitled, "Cohen Owes Me Ninety-seven Dollars" at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California - it’s hilarious! The other is an instructional Ukulele video that can be found here and is a charming example of her manner and gentle spirit. Her Facebook and MySpace pages will lead you to her site where you can find their tour dates. This Sunday, April 26th at 7 pm, Janet the boys will be "Backstage" at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena, California.
There . . . all calm . . . now, to find my Ukulele.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
Since it is Earth Day and all, I'd like to do my part and reduce my carbon footprint. My plan is to stop cooking - well, at least to stop burning what I'm cooking.
Lately I've been all about the turkey and provolone - I'm trying to get everyone at my house in touch with their "Inner Deli". There's that, and the fact that when it comes to cooking, I am functionally retarded. I know I'm not supposed to say "retarded" because that insults all the developmentally disabled people of the world - people who, incidentally, could cook circles around me. I offer my apologies, but truly there is no better descriptive term for my lack of skills. So, when the natives started getting restless and voicing their discontent, I instituted a subsequent "All Pizza Hut, All the Time" tactic - that has not gone well, either. I have really tried to make friends with that white box in the kitchen with the fire coming out of it, but that has yielded mixed results, meaning that I caught a dish towel on fire, set off all of the fire alarms in the house, and set up a healthy neurosis for my children. This way, at their first session of therapy, their shrink can see they have clearly defined "mama-trauma" issues!
After multiple burns to my digits and other assorted limbs that were usually accompanied by mild streams of profanity, I figured it was time to seek some professional help of the culinary persuasion. (My therapist has taken to stabbing herself in the ear whenever I start recounting one of my disastrous cooking stories.) Imagine my surprise when my most recent foodie failure, blackened oven mitt with a side of "my-gag-reflex-isn't-what-it-used-to-be" was not a huge success - no accounting for taste, I suppose!
My searches proved successful and I found some wonderful mentors and ideas that I'd love to share with you. Moving beyond "Cooking for Dummies," I found a "breast-tacular" chicken recipe in this month's issue of Sunset Magazine as well as great inspiration from Donna Hay's site and magazine. Donna gave me great ideas for side dishs and Ina Garten's site, The Barefoot Contessa supplied me with a smorgasbord of selections for desert.
In conclusion, I'd like to address my family and say, "Leather up Nancy boys and girls, and grab a fork, because your going to be fine . . . but just in case, keep the take out menus near by."
Photos courtesy of Sunset Magazine, Donna Hay and The Barefoot Contessa.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
My friend Jeanie's doll head collection - she illuminated the heads at night - she's a riot!
I'm almost fully recovered from my Warrenton/Round Top coma. I've been relishing the fact that I am not out in a field with 45 to 50 MPH sustained winds, hoards of rain and rotating 40 degree to 80 degree temperatures! I'm presently about a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper away from having the "National Soft Drink Council of America" sponsor the remaining years of my life on this planet - can you say - OVER CAFFEINATED???!!! I have spent most of the past 2 weeks sitting on the sofa surfing the most excellent daytime programming available to me - please note the dripping sarcasm intended here. I've watched "I Love the 80s" marathon on VH1, I miss big hair and shoulder pads so much! And just so I can get a little exercise by proxy, I stopped on some yoga instructor telling me how important my "core" is on the "I No Longer have Self Esteem Channel", and turns out my pelvis has a floor - who knew? I've also taken it upon myself to test all the items in the pantry and refrigerator containing chocolate, high fat or ingredient contents that sounds unhealthy - Christian service work, don't you know? I don't want my husband or children to eat a bad Ding Dong or Dorito. I don't mean to get all religious on you here, but I'm fairly sure Dark Chocolate Dove Bars are proof that Jesus loves me. To be completely honest the only thing missing from this full force "lazy-fair" has been booze!
My neighbor and friend at the show, Maggie from The Veranda nails the Vintage Garden-Paris Chic-Rmantic Cottage look everytime!
Well, I have to get back to WHAM and Boy George, but I thought I'd leave you with some great images I snapped while out wandering the fields during Antiques Weekend.
And of course "Large Marge" from the Junk Gypsys has to make her appearance.
I'll return tomorrow with something wonderfully inspirational and "calorie-free."
Carolyn from Carolyn Westbrook Home was there with here usual amazing set up.