Sunday, February 28, 2010

Newly Framed Cross-Stitch. What do you think?

Received my Angel cross-stitch back from New Creation Framing. What do you think?

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Single Men Watch.....Figure Skating?!!!

     I plug my mobile phone into the charger in my car and notice that I have a voicemail message.  Hmm, a call must have come in last night when my phone was turned off.  I quickly put on my Bluetooth wireless ear piece, dial into my voicemail and this is what I hear:

"Romes, hey, Happy Winter Olympics! I just want to let you know that I'm a single guy right now...I'm a single guy, [pause] watching pairs figure skating, [pause] by myself.  I can only admit this to one person on the earth and that's you, because I know how much you love figure skating. I wish I lived with my fiancée, so I can blame it on her that I am watching pairs figure skating, but I can't, so I'll just admit that yes, I'm watching it by myself...."

         At this point, I'm laughing out loud like a hyena in my car and I'm getting strange looks for other drivers around me at the traffic light. How sad that a straight single (albeit engaged) man is so embarrassed to confess to watching Olympic pairs figure skating and actually liking it. I'm sure my male friend (I'll refrain from mentioning his name in this post in order not to bring on further embarrassment) isn't the only straight man out there that secretly likes to watch figure skating.  To me the sport of figure skating is the most perfect blend of athleticism and artistry.  Top competitive figure skaters work just as hard as any other professional athlete at the Olympic Games, whether it be a alpine ski racer, a hockey player, a ski jumper or cross-country skier.  Imagine gliding full speed across the ice on a 1/4 inch metal blade, then using all of your strength to propel yourself into the air to complete the three tight rotations of a triple salchow only to perfectly land backwards on the blade of your opposite foot.  Nope, that does not take any skill or strength at all.  Yet, because figure skating costumes have sequins and lace and the skaters compete to classical music or show tunes, somehow, real men are embarrassed to watch this sport.  This totally cracks me up.  The thought of my friend sitting on the couch in his apartment, alone, watching the pairs figure skating competition on TV and having no one to talk to about how much he is enjoying the competition is both sad and sweet at the same time.  So for all you straight men who like figure skating out there, I just wanted to share this story, so that you don't feel so alone.  You are not a freak.  You should not feel ashamed of your deep, dark figure skating secret.  Here is a link to the top ten reasons men watch figure skating.

Guys, it really is o.k. to watch figure skating!

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Color Purple with Fantasia

Missed watching both American Idol and the Vancouver Olympics on television last night to attend a performance of "The Color Purple" starring the 2004 American Idol winner Fantasia.  Well as it turned out, what was happening on television last night was the farthest thing from my mind, because the live performance of "The Color Purple" was fantastic.  Fantasia was born to play the role of Celie, the heroine of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name that was previously adapted as a motion picture in 1985 by Steven Spielberg and now as a staged musical which originally opened on Broadway in 2005.  Celie is the pre-cursor to this year's Precious, a young black woman sexually abused by her father, who bears two children by him by the age of 14.  Then she is given away to be the wife of a horribly abusive man, where she basically lives in domestic servitude. Celie is repeatedly told she is ugly and worthless, and lives in passive acceptance of this fact for many years. Fantasia plays the role of Celie with remarkable finesse and restraint.  Anyone who has seen her perform in concert or on Idol, knows that in real life, Fantasia has a big voice and a big personality to match.  The role of Celie requires passivity and quiet resolution for most of the play, which Fantasia pulls off very well.  Her voice remains strong throughout the performance, but her ability to play down her personality and transform it into the beaten down by life Celie is remarkable.

The rest of the cast is just as strong. As Celie's abusive husband Mister, Rufus Bonds Jr. is terrific, with a strong domineering stage presence and voice to match. Two more standouts were Felicia P. Fields as Celie's "take no prisoners" daughter-in-law Sophia and Stu James as her happy-go-lucky husband, Harpo. Sofia, played most memorably by Oprah Winfrey in the 1985 motion picture, is the antithesis of Celie, big, proud, beautiful and strong-willed. When Harpo seems unable to take firm control of her, Mister urges Harpo to beat Sofia to keep her in-line. Harpo, deeply in love with Sofia, is reluctant to do so, and goes to Celie for advice. Celie passively agrees with Mister and also urges Harpo to beat Sofia.  Well one attempted beating was enough for Sofia to turn into a hurricane, to make Harpo look like a "mule had kicked him" and to pick up and leave. Sofia parting song "Hell No", sung to Celie after confronting her about advising Harpo wrongly, is rousing and masterfully delivered by Fields.  Another standout is Angela Robinson as Shug Avery, a tawdry blues singer who Mister has been in love with all of his life and who comes to live with him and Celie for a spell.   Robinson plays Shug with sass and sophistication, as she seduces everyone around her, even Celie.  Another nice surprise in the cast is fellow Idol alum LaToya London, who portrays Nettie, Celie's younger sister.  Fantasia and LaToya do a wonderful job harmonizing together and their real life friendship clearly enhances their roles as close sisters.  Despite the rather harsh subject matter, there is always an undertone of hope that things will eventually work out for Celie.  The stage design is minimal, but the costumes are colorful and the relatively large cast fills the stage with great dancing and song. 

If you live in Los Angeles, you have only until February 28th to catch Fantasia in "The Color Purple" at the Pantages in Hollywood. You will definitely enjoy it.

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rosemary, Lavender and Cross-Stitch

I received a sweet little bouquet yesterday of rosemary and lavender.  I can't tell you how wonderful it smells with such a small amount.  I have placed the bouquet in a little vase.  I am definitely going to plant some rosemary and lavender in my patio garden so I can recreate this bouquet again. 

I also wanted to share some of my cross-stitch with you.  Here is an angel, which I completed last year and is currently being framed at New Creation Framing, who always do a fantastic job. 

Here is my work in progress, a sampler called "The Stitcher" designed by Sandra Sullivan.  I have added the floral border and changed the color scheme and design slightly.  I should be finished stitching it this weekend. 

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gentlemen, are you a Gastrosexual?

Gentlemen, have you ever made a fabulously delicious dish to impress a potential or current lover, hoping that the savory flavors that invade your date's mouth peak their sexual desire for you?  If so, then you may be a gastrosexual. Don't know what that means?  Pursing the Urban Dictionary, the term is defined as "Men who use their culinary skills to impress their friends and potential love interests." Personally, I find a man who can cook well, extremely attractive.

Food can be very sensual. Certain foods are capable of emitting powerful odor that invade the nasal cavity and literally make you swoon with longing. For me the smells of baking bread, braising pot roast, fresh brewing coffee, simmering marinara and of course sizzling bacon, are irresistible. Everyone can relate to the welcoming smell of home cooking when you walk through the front door. The aroma is an irresistible force beckoning you towards the kitchen. The person preparing the meal becomes the center on your attention and fascination. Watching a man cook can be a revelation. The measuring of spices, the chopping of vegetables to the precise shape and size, the kneading of dough, the carving of meat, and the tasting of sauces, the ability to know what is working and what's not and how to make it better. Preparing food requires a difficult balance of concentration, delicacy, decisiveness and stamina. If you think about it, these skills, all very important to have in the kitchen, could translate as well in bedroom!

Of course after all of that build up to the meal, the real payoff for a gastrosexual is his date's reaction to the carefully crafted food as it is savored in her mouth.  A reaction to well prepared meal can be very intense. A sudden burst of flavor can provoke the taster's eyes to flutter and an uncontrollable "mmmmm" to utter from the back of her throat.  The savoring of a deliciously prepared meal, together with a good wine and conversation, can go a long way in impressing a woman.  Even if the meal is not professional chef quality, it does not matter. It's just the effort put into the planning and preparing a home cooked meal can be enough to make a woman swoon.  So, gentlemen with Valentine’s Day on the horizon think about skipping the reservation at a crowded restaurant and break out the pots and pans. You too can be a gastrosexual.

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Valentine for Art Lovers, Free Renoir Lecture at LACMA

"Gabrielle with a Rose" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

I wanted to pass along the news about a Free art history lecture about the works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled "Late Renoir and the Eternal Feminine".  At 2pm on Sunday, February 14th, Jim Herbert, Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at UC Irvine, will discuss how Renoir devoted the latter years of his career to creating paintings, drawings, and sculpture that were both traditional and modern. This lecture is Free and no reservations are required. The lecture will be held in the Bing Theatre at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90036. 

Also opening on February 14th is the LACMA exhibition of Renoir's works called "Renoir in the 20th Century".  This exhibition focuses on the last three decades of Renoir’s career.  This is the first time an exhibit of Renoir's work solely examines the latter period of his life, during which he abandoned impressionism and concentrated more on the classical style.  This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, and the Musée d’Orsay in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The "Renoir in the 20th Century" exhibition will run through May 9, 2010.

A special valentine for Art Lovers. 

More information here.