17th century still life painting with watermelons, pineapple, apples, pears and other fruit by  Dutch painter Albert Eckhout.

image: Still Life with Watermelons, Pineapple and Other Fruit by 17th-century Dutch painter Albert Eckhout. via Wikimedia

|| 25 July 2021

Summer: Watermelon Time

I love melon. While my preference is for the orange-fleshed such as Tuscan or cantaloupe, those big green, red-meated Black Diamond watermelons were a part of my childhood summers. For me, it would not be summer without at least one watermelon.

Saturday I bought a moderate-sized seedless watermelon. The seeded still win in the flavor category, but all the seeded watermelon were HUGE. I opted for seedless. This one is reasonably tasty. In the scorching heat of summer, a slice of chilled watermelon is easy to prepare (just slice) and so refreshing.

For its sweetness, watermelon is low in calories. Certainly low in calories compared to other summer dessert favorites such as peach pie and strawberry shortcake.

Watermelon has generous amounts of Vitamins A and C as well as potassium. Plus watermelon has more of the disease-fighting antioxidant lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is especially noted for helping prevent age-related eye disorders.

Exceptionally high summer temperatures are coming to many areas this week. Cool off with a nice slice of chilled watermelon.

be chic, stay slim, stay cool — Anne Barone

|| 19 July 2021

Catherine Deneuve’s Mother Dies at 109

Renée Dorléac, the mother of French actress Catherine Deneuve, is dead at 109. The long-lived former actress whose stage name was Renée Simonot passed away on 11 July. When sound was added to films beginning in around 1929, she began a career of French dubbing for American movie stars such as Judy Garland, Olivia de Havilland (in most of her films), Donna Reed, and Esther Williams. She retired in 1944 to raise her daughters.

You can read more about Renée Dorléac on the Wikipedia page for Renée Simonot. Note: I tried to give you a link to the page, but ran into technical problems. However, if you type Renée Simonot Wikipedia in a search box on Bing or Google, the link will take you to the page.

You can also read her obituary in The Guardian.

|| 14 July 2021

Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day 2021. The French will celebrate, of course. Despite the surge in Covid cases. In response to which President Macron has declared that vaccination is "the only path to return to normal life" and has decreed that cafes, restaurants, shopping malls and trains will be out of bounds for unvaccinated customers beginning in August. Particularly young people are booking appointments for the vaccine in record numbers. You can read more on NPR.

The French Rush For Vaccines After They're Told They'll Need Them To Go To Cafes

|| 8 July 2021

Raccoons Wreak Havoc

Likely it was the 4th of July firecracker noise that set off the raccoons on their destruction. The bangs and pops had begun Friday evening two days in advance of the Independence Day holiday. But beginning at dusk on the evening of the 4th, the noise in my neighborhood would make you think I was living in a war zone. Up until that point, problems caused by the four raccoons, Mama and her three babies, in my garage were relatively minor.

But when I opened the garage door on the morning of Monday, the 5th, the place was a disaster area.

A big plastic bag containing potting soil had been shredded and potting soil covered the floor of the garage. Boxes of gardening supplies had been pulled from shelves, torn apart, and contents scattered. Plastic storage containers had been opened and contents spilled.

Of the five or six flower pots that still held soil, the soil had been dug out and scattered, and the clay pots cracked and broken. Empty plastic flower pots scattered. Two new rolls of landscaping cloth had their covers torn off and one had been unrolled.

It took two and a half hours of shoveling, rebagging, sweeping, reshelving and hauling to the dumpster to bring order back. As soon as those babies are weaned, out comes my trap. These raccoons must go.

I hope your holiday was pleasant — and your Monday morning after the holiday brought no unpleasant surprises. Unpleasant surprises produce stress. And stress makes it harder to stay slim. Stay calm.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone