Like so many, I've struggled to keep my weight under control for most of my adult life. When I set out on my weight-loss journey 14 months ago, I knew that depriving myself with the standard tasteless diet food fare would not be a long-term solution for me. I wasn't looking for a temporary fix. I wanted to change my life forever and become on the outside what I felt like on the inside. I didn't become overweight from eating junk. I gained the bulk of my chunk from preparing gorgeous gourmet meals for my husband and myself throughout our first six years of matrimony.
It has been at least 10 years, way before Katrina, since I last went to New Orleans. Recently I returned, guest of daughter Nora Frances and son-in-law Vaughan, for a birthday visit. I was eager to see if that gallant lady had changed much. I knew the dreadful hurricane had not greatly damaged the French Quarter, not like the Mississippi Coast, which is almost beyond recognition, I think. But, after all, years had passed. I was surprised to see things look so much the same.
Well, hello there, spring! The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, and the South is in full bloom. My gardening obsession is in full swing, which means I can say goodbye to a $20 water bill, my manicure, and that winter insulation I've been carrying around on my thighs.
If you ask me what's hot this season, I might tell you of a smoking hot haircut or equally sizzling hair color, but I am also going to share some of the hottest styling tools. First, all hair is not created equally (no big surprise), but neither are the tools on the market. Let's begin with hair dryers, shall we?
This is a beautiful time of year in our area. After such a gentle winter, spring caught me by surprise. Azaleas and tulips and dogwood are exploding in unexpected palettes of pink and lavender and sunny yellow. The oak trees are powdering porches with their soft green dust. Mother Nature mixes colors that might be too flamboyant if combined in our clothing or home décor. But she pulls it all off with an exquisite finesse.
Recently, Mayors Robert Smith of Columbus and Scott Ross of West Point signed proclamations designating March as Red Cross Month. For 95 years, the Red Cross has played an important role in helping people in the Golden Triangle area. It was in 1917 that the local chapters were founded in response to the events of World War I.
In a perfect world we would all have the knowledge, time and money to nourish ourselves with healthy, delicious local and/or organic homemade meals and snacks. My personal fantasy also includes a gourmet kitchen and a personal chef with an advanced nutrition degree. Alas, over here in the real world we have to do the best we can with what we have. In the safety and comfort of our homes, it's relatively easy to make good choices. My philosophy is: You can't eat it if you don't have it. So I make a point to keep junky foods out of our home, and that solves that problem.
I love gardens. The tulips in my neighbor's lovely little cottage garden all stand at attention this time of year, nodding into the wind and signaling that spring is upon us. For as long as I can remember, flowers and I have been in a whirlwind romance. It's a love affair I cherish, whether it's a bundle of pink stargazer lilies taking center stage on my dining room table or a bouquet of roses in delicate hues on a nightstand to wake to each morning, I'm in love.
As gardeners look forward to the spring planting season, many go in droves to the various garden shows and displays to see some of the newest and flashiest flowers on the market.
I'm a huge fan of multitasking in all areas of my life. To me nothing is more satisfying than a productive Sunday evening at home, a purifying mask on my face, a conditioning treatment in my hair, supper (and tomorrow's lunch) in the oven, the dishwasher running, a load of laundry washing and one drying, a Swiffer duster in one hand, the vacuum in the other, and "Hoarders" on the TV in the background. My husband must really adore me, for I am quite a sight!
It was done for comedic purposes on a sitcom, but no woman wants it as her reality. Not long ago, a hairdo in despair ran, not walked, into my salon for some emergency care just before dialing 911 or shaving her head. I do corrective work, and apparently her "beautician" had tossed aside all the knowledge she learned in beauty school about damaging hair and had been coloring and perming on the same day. As if this was not enough to warrant concern, this poor client had been scheduled every four weeks, which is far too often. The aftermath was a frizzy, fuzzy substance that once resembled hair.
Sir Walter Scott wrote, "Breathes there a man with soul so dead who never to himself hath said, "This is my own, my native land ... " These words came to my mind -- almost romantically nostalgic -- because recently Sylvia Higginbotham invited me to accompany her on a business trip to nearby Maben. She was assisting a Maben resident, Maury Shurlds, publish his memoirs, entitled "Memories." She had invited me because she knew I had Maben roots; I spent the first two years of my life there.
I have a tendency to want to over-nourish myself. I love the thought of getting all of the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes my body needs to run at its very best. I could easily get carried away with the anti-aging, disease-preventing, and healing power of nutritious foods. (Have I mentioned that I'm a tad OCD?)
Last week Columbus was so fortunate to have a spectacular cast of professional actors performing Tennessee Williams' play, "Orpheus Descending." It was an amazing experience, with characters coming and going from the theater's front, back, sides and even speaking from the balcony. Sometimes it was hard to tell who were the actors and who was the audience.
Spring is blooming out all over. The buttercups are popping up everywhere and my, oh, my, aren't the redbud trees a sight to behold with their fuchsia blooms. The Japanese magnolias have shown up and shown out all over the South, but it's the Hollywood glitterati that performed like a colorful bouquet in a spring garden this year at the Oscars.
The benefits of exercise go far beyond bodily transformation. So often we think of exercise as a means to an end -- pounding away at the pavement to create a calorie deficit in order to lose a few pounds, or sprinting up hills to burn off that extra dessert from Saturday night out with friends.
Spring's boldest accessory is not sitting in your closet. It's on your face, so just look up. Thicker brows are the sure-fire way to make the face appear more youthful, because the brows naturally get lighter and sparser as we age. Plus, when you have beautiful eyes, a thicker brow can make the perfect frame.
I have a schizophrenic heart. Its chambers echo with beats from two cities. New Orleans jazz and Columbus blues blend in rhythms that are sometimes archaic, sometimes contemporary, always miraculous. The taunts of rival Indian tribes (Mardi Gras Indians, that is) and Big Joe Shelton's amazing harmonica are all objects of my bipolar love.
When our family first moved to Columbus, my parents rented a house on Second Avenue North from Blanch McClanahan until they could build. I was in the fifth grade, and the neighborhood was a great choice for me, because there were at least 24 children of various ages nearby, maybe more. We lived there for two years, and I enjoyed it fully. Although we "played out" en masse, those who were near the same age formed smaller groups. I was lucky.
I'm not the type to hand out compliments with reckless abandon. Not that there's anything wrong with it; I'm just not one to use flattery to break the ice, I guess. So if I say, "You look great," well then, you must be channeling a model or movie star because I always try to say what I mean and mean what I say.