Wednesday, January 31, 2007
oh, please
singer brandy was involved in a fatal accident last month. have you heard about it? if not, read about it here.

now a civil rights group is claiming that brandy is being unfairly targeted for prosecution because she is a celebrity. um, no. not really. she's being targeted for prosecution because she killed someone with her car. the law calls that vehicular manslaughter and it has nothing to do with fame, race, age or gender.

while we're on the subject of law, i was asked, yet again, to fill out a questionnaire to determine my eligibility to serve jury duty. i've already served once before, so doesn't the state keep that information on file? of course not, that would be too logical!

when i received the request, there was an option to fill out the request online. so i did. easy peasy! this was about three weeks ago. this monday i received another request because they don't seem to have a record of my responses. so you can fill out a questionnaire online in theory, but not if you want the information to actually be logged in as received.

they want me to fill it out again. wtf? i have a real problem with this. if you are going to spend (tax) money to hire an IT professional to update your website to include the eligibility questionnaire, then it should actually work. the person on the other end who gets this information should know what to do with it, making it a seamless process. but then again, we are talking about the government so i should know better, shouldn't i?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
it is written in the stars
yesterday i had the best horoscope ever:

there is no point in worrying about what others might think because chances are they will think the worst anyway no matter what you choose to do, so you might as well go your own way and do your own thing and pretend you don't care one way or the other. with practice, you'll find that you don't.

that rocks.

mashed potato throwdown
i'm a card carrying member of the "try it! you'll like it!" club. i put all sorts of food in front of my kids and tell them "try it! you'll like it!" i'm not talking about anything exotic. i'm asking them to try blueberries, cantaloup, potatoes, baked ziti, grilled cheese sandwiches (why don't my children eat grilled cheese? what is wrong with them?). they thumb their noses at me every time.

the other day, we had dinner at our church. on the menu: virginia ham (something different for us), herbed mashed potatoes (yummy), red cabbage (so good) and mixed vegetables (only thing i thought the kids would eat; they wouldn't).

before dinner came the appetizer of pickled herring salad, something that is definitely classified under "acquired taste." i have not acquired this taste, (i've tried lots of fish, i just don't like it) so i politely refrained from eating it.

my (very smart) daughter noticed that i wasn't eating it. "try it, mom." said my daughter.
"no thanks. i'll wait."
"go ahead, mom. try it. you might like it."

wha? she was pulling that on me? me of all people!? me, who is trying to broaden her horizons beyond waffles and cold cereal in the morning and jelly sandwiches for lunch? me, who is single-handedly keeping annies mac and cheese co. in business? she's pulling that on me? i wasn't having it. sorry, kid. not today. you are dealing with the master of culinary negotiations.

"i'll make you a deal," i said. "i'll eat it if you eat the mashed potatoes."
"no way! i'm not eating mashed potatoes!"
"try it. you might like it!"
"no!" and then she ran from the table.

yeah, i didn't think so.

Monday, January 29, 2007
picked up some cute boots for the girl in marshall's since target was out of boots in her size. actually, they had one boot in her size, the mate was missing.

bring on spring!

brooklyn's version of groundhog day, no rodent needed
no need to wait until friday to see if we'll have six more weeks of winter. i, of little luck in recent weeks, am heading out to target this morning before work to pick up winter boots for the girl. i tried to get them in the fall when i was on an organizing hot streak but they weren't on the shelves yet.

we woke up to two inches of snow this morning and her poor feet were freezing on the way to school, plus she couldn't walk through the snow "drifts" without me telling her to stop it, your feet will get all wet once you get in the classroom, blah blah blah.

so, i will attempt to buy her boots. if they have them you can rest easy that we won't see another flake for the rest of the winter. if i leave empty handed, we will be bombarded with snow and another six weeks winter. because that's just my luck.

Saturday, January 27, 2007
no good deed goes unpunished
on thursday i wrote a very long post about freecycle and how you can give practically anything away except your husband. (although they explicitly state you can't give away pets but i've knowingly sent off mice in a trailer so who knows?)

thanks to the grandparents and the christmas free-for-all, lately i've been busy bagging up toys and gear my kids no longer need or want to make room for all the new things they've received. all the while hoping to give it to someone who could really use it. so, i thought to myself "self, why don't you write to freecycle and see if there's anyone out there who could use a backpack carrier or a stroller (or two)? or toys? or stuffed animals? or floor puzzles? or entire plastic villages for girls aged three and up...."

needless to say, i've been posting on freecycle. last night's offering? two free strollers.

now these are not the top of the line strollers but they ain't the worst, either. they're just decent strollers we no longer need. so, i took some pictures, dumped 'em into photobucket and posted my ad:

We are looking to give someone in need one or two of our extra strollers.The first is an Aprica stroller, navy blue with white provincial-type print. Handle is reversible so baby can look at you or face outward. Clean, basket is a little beat up. 3-point harness.

The second is a Graco stroller. 3 point harness. Bigger basket.

so last night i log on to see if anyone's gonna come pick up the strollers this weekend and i get the following email:

I'd like to suggest donating them to the Salvation Army or homeless shelter rather than to those of us affluent enough to have a computer.

so i retaliate respond with:

The Salvation Army sells goods that you donate. Several calls to shelters asking if they accept donations have gone unreturned. Owning a computer is not proof of affluence and many people use computers at their local library to go online. "In need" is a broad term which applies to many different kinds of people. Non- and not-for profit organizations use Freecycle when they are in need of something, as do strapped-for-cash parents, struggling students, daycare centers, artists, babysitters, grandparents, hosts to visiting friends and family, etc. Most, hopefully all, are socially and ecologically-minded individuals and/or groups.

i promise i didn't end that email with "so shut yer damn pie hole already!" but i wanted to.

Friday, January 26, 2007
baby, it's cold outside
if you happen to live in the northeast, you might have noticed that there is a little chill in the air. some would describe it as being nippy, cold, frigid, f*cking freezing, etc. so what does every news station do? they send some reporter out to ask people how they feel about-what else?-the cold!

"it's cooold!"
"too cold for me. i'm f-f-f-freezing!"
the reporter will always find some guy who's happy as a clam that it's cold. "i love it!" he'll say as he skips off to work in a t-shirt.
then the weather "personality" comes on to talk about the cold, how long it will last, yada yada yada.

the newspapers are no better. there is always an obligatory shot of someone bundled up because....say it with me's cold!

here's a tip for all the news folks out there: it is january. it is supposed to be cold. a mere mention of the seasonality of the cold will suffice, thank you very much.

don't get me started about snow. you know it's coming. we'll be expecting a storm and it'll garner it's own friggin' logo (blizzard of 2007!), stores will run out of milk, bread and eggs and every network will send a reporter to home depot, which will be sold out of rock salt and snow shovels. and everyone will be going "wha? what happened to all the snow shovels?" here's another tip: how about keeping a snow shovel from year to year? or, if yours breaks, you buy a replacement! buy rock salt when you turn the heat on in october. a little planning on your part saves me from groaning and rolling my eyes while trying to keep up with current events. i mean, really.

Thursday, January 25, 2007
saving the planet, one item at a time (with a super long post to boot)
three or four years ago we bought a lot in a pennsylvania at a tax auction. well, "lot" is too fancy a word. it is a campsite, really, and sitting on the site was a 1972 nomad trailer. my husband and father were convinced we could live in the trailer with our two small children on the weekends. whenever they would tell me that, i would roll my eyes because i knew in my heart of hearts that this thing was uninhabitable. not just because it skeeved me out but because it really was uninhabitable. in a condemned kind of uninhabitable way. both were positive that with a little elbow grease and a lot of bleach, it would be livable. i refused to believe it.

then my dad, who owns the lot next door, was able to pop the lock on the trailer (remember, we bought it at auction so we didn't have keys) and have a look around. what he found was not pretty. water damage. rodent infestation. food that had been left in the fridge and cupboards for years (decades, maybe). he called me up and said "whatever you do, don't open the refrigerator." as if.

i was able to give this thing away. that's right. i got a guy to take the thing off my hands. and it didn't cost me a dime.

i found a little site called
freecycle, which promotes giving away perfectly good albeit unneeded items to people who really have a use for it. their mission statement is this:

Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.
i wrote my ad:
free travel trailer. offered as is. you move it; everything inside the trailer included. needs work. probably better for parts or scrap metal.
you would not believe the number of inquiries i received. one woman was so excited, she wanted to see it that very day. i had to break it to her that i was in brooklyn but could show her the trailer later that week. "that'll be great! i have a gynocologist's appointment in town on friday. does that work for you?"
"you do realize that this thing needs a lot of work, right?"
"oh, i've fixed up plenty of campers before. i'm not afraid of a little work."
"it has mice. and food from the dark ages in the fridge."
"why are you trying to talk me out of it?"
"well, it's really not a livable trailer, i don't think-"
"i'll just take a look at it. see you friday!"

so the lady showed up, and that was the very first time i set foot in the trailer. she inspected every inch of it while i pretended to not want to throw up. in the end, she refused to take it not because of the rodent problem, not because of the musty smell, not because of the fridge but because the seam on the outside had pulled away at one corner and she felt that was going to be a lot of work to repair. "you know, dry rot," she said.

one girl called me again and again. she wanted to give the trailer to her dad to put on his land so he could have a place stay when hunted. one guy wanted to travel cross country in it. i was getting responses so, my ad was reaching people but perhaps my message needed to be clarified?

i reposted:
free 1972 nomad travel trailer. offer includes all items inside, including
rodents and an experiment in pennicillin growth in the fridge. this trailer has water damage and is best for parts, scrap metal or just the frame it sits on. no air in the tires. you will need to move this yourself. uninhabitable. available for showings this weekend.

no one called or wrote. that was more like it!

i drove back to brooklyn, prepared to give the property owners association a lot of money to dispose of the trailer. then my phone rang. it was the lady who'd seen the trailer. she saw an ad on freecycle for a guy who needed.......a trailer for parts! could she give him my number?

prospect #2 called. could he go look at it? "sure. i'll let the security office know you're coming. if you are interested let me know." then he called back. he would take it. "really?" i asked, trying not to sound shocked. "yes, you see, i'm building a camper out of an old school bus and need things like rv-sized light fixtures, sinks, appliances. it'll take too long to order them from the rv supply place." bing. o.

the moral of this story is there is a lid for every pot. and, when looking to get rid of something that you simply no longer have a need for, there is no need to throw it away. there is someone out there who needs it or wants it. you'll be helping out your fellow man and your planet. and it is quite easy. you join freecycle (using your yahoo id), post a message in your local group and arrange with the recipient how they will pick the stuff up. that's right. you don't have to go anywhere (unless, of course you want to).

happy recycling with freecycle!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
just when i think i'm the worst parent in the world....
along comes jo frost, aka supernanny to prove me wrong. then right. then wrong. here's how last night's ego stroking went:

i put my kids to bed, pour a glass of red and and slip into my smug uniform. tonight she is featuring marine biologists living in hawaii with two boys ages 3 years and 18 months old. so i think to myself "what could be so bad? they look like normal people. they have a super cute red-headed boy. and they live in hawaii which is paradise, no?" wrong! one boy shrieks so badly their neighbors have called the police not once but twice and their main instrument of baby-proofing is the bungee cord. (maybe this is the duct tape of the pacific?)

people! what is wrong with you? don't you know anything? how can you save the ocean's wildlife from extinction if you can't even deal with your own offspring? ha! my kids are in bed, i say to no one in particular. i'm drinking wine at 9:30. my lunches and bottles and coffee are all set up for the morning. by the time you get those rugrats to sleep i could be schnockered. you just gotta get yourself some cojones and deal, yo.

then the mom talks about how she's exhausted. and frustrated. it's just easier for them to give in. (isn't it always?) suddenly i'm feeling a bit uncomfortable in my uniform of smugness. the collar is feeling a little restrictive and it's getting warm. exhausted? yeah, been there. frustrated? done that. give in? yes, on occasion. alright, more often with the boy because he's headstrong and persistent. then i remember where i was a week ago, chasing a two year old boy around priceless works of art in a museum, muttering things under my breath all in the name of culture.

it seems i'm not supermom. just average mom, much like marine biologist mrs. smith. i've just had the luck to get my kids on a bedtime schedule sooner rather than later. but things get pretty hairy around our house sometimes so maybe we would benefit if someone came in and gave us a couple of pointers.

then the 3 year old slaps the mom in the face. and suddenly, i'm back to my smugness. my kids never did that, i say to myself. jo reminds mrs. smith to get to the same eye level as the child. i do that! give him a warning, she advises. i do that too! then carry out the action you warned about. that's me! that is so totally me!

but what goes around comes around, i remind myself. and while i lounge around in my smug duds, judging another mother, i remember that this feeling of superiority may very well be the reason the terrible two's are kicking my ass (or maybe it is the reason i have gray hair, fine lines around my eyes and acne at the same time).

i decide i can't take the roller coaster of good mom/bad mom emotions so i change the channel and pour another glass of wine.

Monday, January 22, 2007

today marks the 34th anniversary of the supreme court's decision on roe v. wade.
jessica at bushvchoice sums it up very well:
It’s about trusting women.
I trust women to make their own decisions. I trust that women (of all ages) don’t need to be told what to do with their bodies or their futures because they know what’s best for themselves and their families. And I truly believe that the folks who are fighting so hard to limit women’s reproductive choices are doing so because they don’t trust women. And that terrifies me—because if women aren’t trusted to make decisions about something as personal as their own bodies, we’re in big trouble.

i'm pro-choice and proud of it.

blue monday for you. for us, not so much
today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, according to psychologists. for us, we celebrate the girl's entrance into the world:

six years ago today (well, yesterday, really), i was on light bedrest while i was waiting for my first child to be born. lazing on the couch early sunday morning, keeping my ballooning ankles aloft on a cushion, i was mortified, mortified, to discover that the worst had happened: i was incontinent. every time i got up, i felt a little trickle. about 12 hours later, i thought i should call the doctor. i wondered if it was normal to be like that?

if i call the doctor, i thought to myself, they'll make me go to the hospital. then i remembered the words of my wise childbirth instructor: eat before you go! they will not let you eat once you are in the hospital. they only give you ice chips which is soooo not chocolate or big macs. so, i did what any pregnant woman would do: i made a meatloaf with mashed potatoes. then i called the doctor.

sure enough dr. perlman said: "go to the hospital."

when we arrived, i told the nurses "i think my water may have broken."
"if you don't know for sure honey, then it probably didn't." wtf? was she doubting me, the wise, pregnant, but more likely incontinent, precious vessel that i was?
"well, my doctor said to have you check me." i said in my best what-the-heck-do-you-know voice.

so they checked me. the doctor on call said "no, your sac is still intact. i'll just double check with a litmus pa-hey look, your waters really did break!" then he said something terrifying: "hmmm? how is this possible?" now, when two conflicting things are happening in your body and the doctor is audibly befuddled, the second to last thing you want to hear is " is this possible?" (the very last being "wow! that's bad." which i've heard twice in my lifetime already. but that is another post.) out came the sonogram machine and there it was: a tiny tear at the top of the sac.

20 minutes later, i was hooked up to a monitor. "do you know that you are having contractions every three minutes?" the nurse asked. i didn't know that, i was too busy wondering if my child would be born before the chinese new year. "do you think this'll be over before tuesday?" i asked. "why, do you have plans, dear?" the nurse asked. "no, it's just that if the baby is born before tuesday, it'll be born under a dragon year according to the chinese calendar, which is considered lucky and only comes along once every 25 years." all she could say was "it's sunday. of course you'll be done by tuesday." thank goodness, i thought! a lucky baby! this was gonna to be great! and we're not even chinese! we're irish so surely there's some sort of cross-cultural luck thing going on....

then came the iv. now, until this moment, i'd never been admitted into a hospital and i'd never had an iv. my nerves were on edge because of this. plus i'm a big fat whiny baby. throw in the fact that i can't stand the sight of my own blood and i was a mess (but only on the inside; on the outside i was a zen eve who was bring life forth into the world). so my nurse put the iv in. then i felt a warm trickle down my arm and my nurse said "whoa" and then i looked down and said "my knees are buckling" and then i nearly fainted. the iv wasn't delivering fluid; the blood was backing up into it and running down my hand all over the place. the floor looked like a crime scene.

one epidural later, i was able to catch some zzz's for a couple of hours before telling my husband "hey you! wake up. get the epidural guy. the drugs have worn off and i need more." but the guy with the drugs didn't come. it was the doctor to check me. "you're ready to push!" she said. she had just returned from a carribbean vacation so she was pretty jolly and laid back mon, but she didn't have the goods so i could have cared less.

two and a half hours later, my beautiful baby girl arrived. she was, and still is, pure perfection with her red hair and give-'em-hell crying. all 7lbs 4oz of her. she's been by my side ever since, usually dressed from head to toe in pink and carrying a doll in various states of disarray and/or undress. she has a killer sense of humor, is bossy (i don't know where she gets that from) and she's smart as a frickin' whip. happy, happy birthday to the best daughter anyone could ask for!

Sunday, January 21, 2007
"it goes without saying" doesn't work in our house
what is obvious to an adult is not always obvious to children, as illustrated by the following three statements yours truly has had to utter.

"we do not lick public bathroom walls!"
said to: sophie
where: navy pier restroom, chicago, il
when: september 2003

"we do not put fingers in that part of the cat!"
said to: harry
where: brooklyn, ny
when: august 2006

and this beaut:

"who peed in the bathroom wastepaper basket?"
said to: everyone i live with
where: brooklyn, ny
when: january 21, 2007

so, are there any things you've said to your kids that have surprised you? tell me what it the comment line below...

Friday, January 19, 2007
how will life choose to smite me today?
i feel like its been one thing after another since christmas. sick fish, sick boy, sick mommy, sick boy again, dead fish, sick mommy. and what was yesterday's blue plate special at cafe smite? sick daughter.

luckily, my boss is female, a mom of two and a recent victim of the same stomach bug we are battling on our homefront so she totally understood when i ran into her office yesterday and said "i gotta go. my daughter's sick." her look was pure pity.

the husband was assigned sick ward duty for today which meant he stayed late at work last night to try to clear his desk. this exchange took place last night, upon the husband's return home:

him: "are there any leftovers i could heat up for dinner?"
me: "we always have leftovers. just pick whatever you won't mind throwing up later because you are the last man standing."

so far so good on the husband being plague-free. keep your fingers crossed for me him.

Thursday, January 18, 2007
the internet lied to me - or - how i learned to stop being delusional and love knitting again
i love to knit. i am a nerd. and my husband wants to visit ireland someday. i am delusional. this, my friend, is not a good combination.

about 5 years ago, i took knitting lessons from a lovely irish woman. she is so lovely, i've forgotten her name. anyway, she taught us to knit while crafting from her hands some of the most amazing sweaters i've ever seen in my life. she told us about growing up on a farm in ireland, and how she would shear the sheep and make her own wool. she was knitting perfection to me and i wanted to be just like her when i grew up.

because i am a nerd and recently learned how to cable my knitting, i thought it would be great to learn about aran knit sweaters, those cream-colored "fisherman" sweaters that have beautiful cables and feature intricate patterns on them. i found a lot of information on the subject on the web. it seems every pattern is unique to family names so that when a fisherman was lost at sea, you could identify the body when it washed up just by the pattern of the sweater. a little irish lady would get a knock on her door and somebody would say "we found this lad and this is the sweater he was wearin' " and the lady would say "aye, that would be me youngest, colin." interesting, isn't it? just say yes, and we'll get on with the rest of the story.

my husband would love to visit ireland someday. so would i. one day we will go there. we love to travel, and ireland is up there on our list of places to visit (at least it was the last time i looked).

yes, one day we will go there and have a wonderful time. maybe we'll have the kids with us; maybe we won't. in any case, we'll go there and i would really like to visit a place to pick up a murphy family name aran sweater pattern so i'll find a local shop in a tiny village while the husband waits for me in a pub. the shop keeper will be a nice older woman who is more than happy find out that i am looking for the pattern for our family. she'll put the kettle on and we'll have a nice cuppa tea while we look over the pattern. (this is the delusional part, in case you hadn't noticed). she'll sell me yarn from her brother's farm and throw in a couple of extra skeins because we got on so well. i'll stay for another cuppa tea and then i'll be on my way.

when we get back home, i'll knit, as a surprise, aran sweaters for the entire family. four identical sweaters. if we have a dog i'll even knit a little coat for fido as well with my freebie skeins. we'll take a family photo in it and i'll send a copy to my friend in the yarn shop back in ireland. people will come into her shop and say "my what a lovely family. and look at those jumpers!" and my friend will say "aye, that was a nice woman from new york. knit the whole clan those sweaters with yarn from me brudder's fahrm." and my kids would give the sweaters to their kids, explaining how there was a picture of them in a shop in ireland wearing the sweaters and that their grandmother had made them on the sly. (i told you i was delusional.)

yesterday, there was a knitting show on hgtv about aran sweaters. this i had to see, so i tuned in. according to janet szabo, the guest expert on knitty gritty yesterday, the aran sweater/dead fisherman family pattern story is a myth. a myth! it isn't true at all! the patterns just evolved with adventuresome crafters. it's a lie. and now my whole trip to ireland is now ruined. ruined!

oh, well. now i am back, with my feet planted firmly in reality; the delusion is gone. i guess it's better to know before you go, anyway. so i'll just keep on knitting. no need to give up a perfectly good obsession (you would give up chocolate because the antioxidant claim turned out to be false, would you?). my current project: a scarf for our wonderful babysitter. originally intended for christmas, it will now be a birthday present (not only am i delusional, i'm a slow knitter, too.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
i tried to avoid it but....
i told you on thursday we mark occasions in our family by what the disease du jour is. yesterday was our eighth anniversary. it was also the day i was felled by the stomach flu. i'm better, but still achy, with a slight fever.

so, what have i learned while lying here these past two days? i learned to never, ever, under any circumstance, think you have eradicated disease from your home. i washed linens and towels and coats in hot water, hoping to kill what ever stomach virus lingered on my son's clothing last wednesday. i washed my hands hundreds of times. i made everyone else wash their hands hundreds of times. i wiped everything down with disinfecting wipes. i sprayed surfaces with lysol. just as i got confident enough to think "hey, i think i've avoided infecting the rest of the household!" bam, it hit me.

know what else i learned? daytime tv sucks. really, it is daytime tv alone that makes me happy to have a full time job. there is a show on right now called the greg behrendt show. greg behrendt is a comedian, former writer for 'sex and the city' and co-author of 'he's just not that into you.' today's problem: people whose sex lives are suffering because they have kids. imagine that! the advice is pretty bad. for example: when your sex life is good your relationship will be rockin'!

and now on maury povich: did my man chubby cheat on me because i have only one leg? (i'm not kidding, that really is the subject of today's maury!) i also confirmed my belief that rachel ray is annoying.

eight years ago today....
a girl from brooklyn married a guy from the midwest
and they lived happily ever after.

Monday, January 15, 2007
things i didn't know about 2 year old boys before today
2 year old boys do not need culture. nope. not one bit. in fact, they could care less about it.

2 year old boys don't get "come to mummy" jokes in the egyptian room at the met.

2 year old boys will suddenly, and for no apparent reason, drop most phrases from their repertoire and replace them with "no, " "watch cars movie" and "no."

2 year old boys only want to eat the food you didn't pack for lunch. everything else is poison.

2 year old boys don't really need sleep.

2 year old boys get bored on subways quickly.

2 year old boys whine. a. lot.

it has been a most trying day.

Sunday, January 14, 2007
things i have learned the hard way
if you read this, you might avoid some inconveniences and embarrasment. just another service i offer my readers:

  • the following items do not get better on their own: strange automobile sounds, holes in pantyhose, leaks of any kind and footpain cause by ill-fitting shoes
  • cutting your child's hair yourself may save money but everyone will ask "what happened to him?"
  • be careful who you google; sometimes you find stuff out that you just didn't need to know
  • chapstick goes through the wash just fine but not the dryer
  • even with minimal effort you can't teach a two year old to say "i'm two!" but you can teach him to say "shit" without even trying
  • a surefire way to get your husband/boyfriend/significant other to talk to you is to open a book for some "me" time
  • homemade oatmeal facials clog plumbing
  • it is much cheaper to make a set of keys to keep with a trusted neighbor than to call a locksmith
  • when you lose your wallet, the nice lady's husband down the street will find a few credit cards, your license and your jcpenney buy-10-get-one-free bra and panty card
  • you boss will never see you when you are up to your eyeballs in projects. but once you have finished and popped out for coffee and a chat on the cell, he will surely turn up and wonder if you have enough to do to
  • pulling an immersion blender out of the pot of tomato sauce while it's still running will render every surface in your kitchen a canvas for a pollock-inspired painting called "marinara"

Saturday, January 13, 2007
after brief illness, nemo the goldfish dead at approximately age 4
the aquatic world is reeling from the death of "nemo" the goldfish this morning. his owners found him floating in a pool of his own water after a brief illness.

nemo is best remembered for his love of swimming and tenacity. in 2003, at the tender age of one, he was chosen to travel with a group of people known as carnies. during a stop in the garden state, at the new jersey state fair/sussex county farm and horse show, he was won by a little girl from brooklyn.

she traveled with him first to pennsylvania before finally taking him home to settle down in brooklyn, new york. he was not expected to survive the trips but flourished regardless. named after the title character in the 2003 film "finding nemo", nemo the goldfish was a fresh water fish who lived first in a tiny plastic tank on the kitchen shelf, then a larger, one gallon tank on the kitchen counter. frequent visitors to his tank included inky and oreo, the family's cats.

in early 2005, the family he lived with welcomed a second child, and nemo, as well as inky and oreo, began to suffer. the family would sometimes forget to feed the animals. but as the child grew, the care they received improved dramatically.

nemo went on to flourish again, this time in a bigger tank. it was there that nemo grew to his largest size, 6". but his overall health began to decline and over the holidays, nemo was found floating upside down. a spokesman for the family commented: "after finding him upside down on christmas, we immediately treated him for an aquatic bacterial and fungal infection. his treatment worked but we noticed that while his general appearance had improved his overall health had not which leads us to believe his problems were systemic. this saturday we woke up to find him floating vertically and we let nature take its own course. we are saddened by his death but know he is in a better place."

nemo is survived by a family of four and two cats. a private burial service is being planned.

Friday, January 12, 2007
ripped from the headlines
if you have nothing else going on tomorrow, you could join improv everywhere for a pantsless ride on the 6 train tomorrow. according to metro:

improv everywhere is organizing a pantsless ride on the 6 train. meet in front of the granite sculpture in foley square at 3pm, saturday. do not wear pants. [as if 'pantsless ride' would lead you to believe otherwise.] then ride the 6 from brooklyn bridge to 125th st. or, for the rest of us, just avoid the 6 for a couple of hours.

you should be so prolific [also from metro]:

members of the lubavitch jewish community buried maryasha garelik yesterday. garelik, who was approximately 106 years old when she died on january 10th, is survived by more than 550 direct descendants living on every continent except antarctica.

Thursday, January 11, 2007
howdy, partner!
this blog is doing wonders for my career. since its inception i have been a pillar of the universe, and yesterday i made partner! now don't go thinking they're going to etch my name on the front door or anything. partner is my company's word for vp. i already have most of the benefits of partner (in terms of time off) so the only thing extra i get is an executive health exam. from what i've heard, they hound you to get this done and it's like an all day affair which doesn't bode well for me because i'm not that fond of doctors and needles totally freak me out. i didn't even know the partnership was coming. completely surprised me. pretty cool, huh?

right after i left work, i popped into the food emporium to pick up cupcakes (which there were out of) so i ended up getting a baby birthday cake. you've seen them, they're half the size of a regular cake. i asked the guy "could you write happy birthday on it for me?" he was all "sure, no problem" and i was like "great!" then it became apparent that writing is not this man's forte. it took forever to write two words. i wanted to be all "don't you know i'm a partner?" but kept my mouth shut. the cake certainly says happy birthday and by the grace of god those two words are spelled correctly but it doesn't look so hot.

we are beginning to remember our family's occasions by what illness has struck my son on that particular day. for his first birthday, we remember not the momentous occasion of turning one but the double ear-infection he developed. for our trip to disney world, we reminisce about the boy's stomach virus. "ha! remember all the rest stops we visited along the florida turnpike and pulling into the hotel with one diaper and one one wipe left? crazy days those were!" columbus day 2006: bad diaper rash. christmas '06 is remembered for the boy's fever, runny nose, and ear infection. yesterday we celebrated his second birthday with a bout of stomach flu. it wasn't a very happy birthday and we didn't get to eat the cake. maybe tonight. maybe.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
two years ago today....
i woke up still pregnant, despite my obstetrician's assertion that i'd deliver my 2nd child before the new year. ha! i showed him!

i'd made it to my due date. so, i thought, my 2nd will be late. i just hoped the baby wouldn't come too late. i didn't want to wait another week, suffer 12 hours of back labor only to have the doctor show up and say, "gee, we think the baby's too big to make it out of you alive so we're going to cut you open give you a c-section. everything will be ok!"

well that afternoon, i had just picked up my daughter from school and was chatting with a friend on the phone when i suddenly, and quite nimbly i might add, jumped up from the couch thinking "gee, i've never been that incontinent before!" only to say to myself "you idiot! your water broke!"

at the hospital, i pulled aside a nurse and told her "see that guy over there? keep him away from me." i was talking about the intern/resident/doctor who had apparently skipped class the day they taught all soon-to-be obstetricians the gentle way to perform an internal exam. i'd been under his care exactly a week earlier when i was having labor pains and was sent to the hospital, so i knew first hand (ha! get it? first hand?) what an ungentle sonofabitch he could be. luckily, i got a nice little asian lady. key word? little.

then i saw my regular obstetrician, who was just coming off duty at the hospital. of all the advice i should have taken that day, his words remain at the forefront of my mind: "ask for your epidural as soon as you get settled in the delivery room."

"nah," i thought. "i want this overwith. i've delivered before so i think i'll forgo the drugs this time and do it natural. no need to hold things up with pain relief!" pregnant women are insane and no one should listen to them.

well, 2 hours later i was begging, begging, for anything to ease the pain. what could only be described as the absolute worst anesthesiologist ever created finally arrived. after a brief interview, a "you could be paralyzed" warning and three attempts at catheter insertion, the epidural took effect. "ahhh," said i. which was immediately followed by "hey! the baby's coming!"

and he did! a perfect little baby boy, who has grown into a smart, funny, articulate (as articulate as 2 year olds can get) little boy. he makes me smile when he sings the theme to the wonder pets and i howl with laughter when he quotes the show with "iss sewious" and answers questions with "alwight." he is obsessed with anything that moves on wheels, is lightening fast and stingy with kisses.

happy, happy 2nd birthday!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
it seems we need pepto bismol for the news today
for burning:
malibu mansions are hot right now
quick! let's start a malibu mansion relief fund to help the rich people rebuild their homes.

for gas:
nj is mad at ny for laying the blame on them for the gaseous odor that covered the city yesterday.
i say, whoever smelt it, dealt it.

for vomiting and diarrhea:
stomach flu rips through the nation
which would explain a lot of elevator conversations i've had the misfortunate to overhear.

Monday, January 8, 2007
national de-lurking week

today kicks off national de-lurking week in which bloggers and other web keepers encourage their readers to make their virtual presence known. so, if you are reading this, you are hereby summoned to leave a comment.
or else.
picture courtesy of paper napkin

in the news today....
this is from the chicago sun-times today. the woman featured is a friend of my friend stephanie. rhonda's story is amazing and was made possible with stem-cells.

also reported this morning in usa today: scientists have found a way to extract stem cells from amniotic fluid, which is a promising breakthrough for this therapy since obtaining the cells is virtually without controversy (but i'm sure someone will find fault with it just to be a trouble maker).

holy gas fumes, batman
so when i switched from the a to the c train this morning, i thought to myself "gee, it smells an awful lot like gas." then continued reading the paper like a good new yorker.

apparently, this is a wide-spread problem across manhattan, brooklyn, queens and new jersey which most of us here at the agency were oblivious to until our floor's mail clerk walked around telling us about it. the mayor says it isn't dangerous but some buildings have been evacuated and hvac systems need to be turned off in some areas.

while i await death in gigantic fireball, i thought i'd tell you that i love it when my kids try to be helpful.

last night, while we were eating dinner (which thankfully didn't include any references to animal slaughter), my daughter decided to give me some pointers on meal planning.

it seems she thinks we should dedicate different nights of the week to different meals. mondays should be chicken with rice and carrots. tuesdays should be hot dogs, baked beans and green beans. and so on and so forth.

"i try to cook based on what we have on hand and how much time i have to cook," i explained.
"well, maybe you should write this down. so you don't forget."

like it or not, they're getting pita bread pizzas tonight.

Sunday, January 7, 2007
t minus 30 days (and counting)
lost returns in 30 days, in case you needed reminding.
for 16 straight weeks.
bring on the polar bears!

is it hot in here or is it just me?
new york enjoyed record-breaking temperatures yesterday with a high of 72 degrees. 72! in january! it was so nice we ate lunch at roll n' roaster, took the kids to the aquarium and then for a walk on the boardwalk. we even played on the beach in coney island for awhile.

right before we left the house, i overheard a guy leaving a message on his cell phone:
"hi, it's me. are you out enjoying the end of the world or just screening your calls?"

our goldfish continues to improve, for those of you who are following the saga of the fish. yesterday he got a clean tank of water and we'll continue to administer his medication for at least another week. i went online to double check that i'm doing everything correctly, and in doing so i came across a site that helps you determine the sex of a fish. it appears our fish might be a girl. if (s)he is indeed a girl, (s)he could be old enough to begin laying eggs (which may cause a whole other set of symptoms which could be confused with illness but are actually normal). luckily nemo lives alone so if eggs are laid, i won't need to worry about having baby fish swimming around.

took the kids to church today. a woman we know from the congragation was there. we've known julie for awhile now and remember when her sons made their confirmations. julie just returned from visiting her son over the holidays. it seems he's been given notice that he's going to iraq. i found this news so upsetting. as you know, the husband's friend tom was shot while serving in iraq by sniper fire back in september.

i feel like being sent to iraq is like getting into a car that you know is going to crash. you can have front and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, you can wear your seatbelt, but the car is going to crash and you won't know when, where or how it's going to happen. or if you'll live to tell about it. keep our troops in your prayers, please. these men and women really need it. also remember their parents and families. they need the prayers almost as much.

Friday, January 5, 2007
new commandments
i pretty much have the ten commandments well under control. stealing? hasn't been a problem. killing? never. i have only one god, i honor my parents. coveting the neighbors? not a problem unless josh holloway, viggo mortensen or liam neeson move in next door.

so god, if you could please make these part of the universal rules, it'd make my remaining days on this planet much better and i'd be ever so appreciative:

thou shalt remove thy backpack on crowded subways
thou shalt scoop the poop when walking thy dog
thou shalt not use the street as thine own personal kleenex, spittoon or toilet
thou shalt not hover over the bqe in a helicopter to deliver traffic news
thou shalt signal a turn or lane change with your blinker
thou shalt learn to parallel park
thou shalt use spell check when communicating, especially in a business situation
thou shalt remove thy ipod earphones and rejoin society from time to time
thou shalt not block the aisle in the grocery store with thine cart


Thursday, January 4, 2007
on the spot
"what is this?" the girl asked as i put before her a beautiful piece of filet mignon, which her supermarket savvy mother got for a steal. oy vey, such a deal!
"steak" i replied (when it comes to the kids all red meat is "steak"; why complicate things?).
"was this a living animal once?" she asked.

christ. think of an answer, quick. think! think! c'mon. come up with something brilliant and honest yet simple.

"yes" is all i can mutter.

"well, i'm just going to have the write the president to tell him to stop all the killing." my daughter was not talking about the "conflict" in iraq.

the questions kept coming: why do we have to eat animals? how do they die? does it hurt? where do they kill them?

i tried my best. lord knows, i tried my best. i started with meat's nutritional value, tried to explain slaughter and how it is a sacrifice and how it can be done humanely (which is no easy feat. go on. try it. let's see what you come up with), then went with the "we use all of the animal like the native americans did; there's no waste like those asian poachers who only kill a shark for its fin."

"what about egypt? huh?"
"what about it, honey?"
"what do they eat there? there's only, like, sand and crocodiles."
"no, there's a river and people live near the river. they have food there."
"what about hospitals? how do moms get their babies out if there aren't any hospitals?"
"they have hospitals. and food. it's a modern country."
"well, i know they have a car. one. red. car. it was in my magic schoolbus book. really, it was!"

at this point, my son started chiming in because he wanted more carrots.

"stop, brother. we're talking about killing."
"we're not talking about killing. we're talking about food."
"no, we're talking about eating animals. and dad's on his way home so we should stop. he wouldn't want us talking about killing at the dinner table." (mind you, as she was going on and on about us eating meat, she was scarfing down the delicious, sacrificed-but-humanely-slaughtered animal formerly known as "cow".)

so we stopped talking about it and picked up a conversational thread about the circus, which we are seeing tomorrow evening, courtesy of some friends from our church. what i really wanted to ask (but kept my mouth shut): who the hell is talking to you at school about this? is it that kindergarten olson-twin wannabe who told you to drink carrot juice to lose weight? or the kid who gives you a hard time every time you eat a potato chip even though i've personally seen her own mother inhale junk food like a hoover?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007
new year, new look
i hated the old template i had for this blog. so i gots me a new one. you like? i like very much but it is a work in progress as i try to customize it. i don't really know html code so i've been doing a lot of trial and error changes. if it works i keep it, if not, i revert. can you tell that work is slow?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007
let us give thanks
let's say thanks

this is from my friend andie.

xerox has a site (you may have seen it) that lets you send a thank you card to military personnel serving overseas. you can't choose who it goes to, but you choose a design and xerox will print it with your name and hometown and send to a troop.

please send one. we just lost our 3000th troop while bush is busy revamping his "strategy"

lessons in english

isn't this video funny? watch the whole video, beyond the japanese-to-english taxi phrases. it reminds me of the time i went to have a skirt hemmed at our corner tailor.

our corner tailor, called cadet cleaners, was run by a very nice family of chinese women. they worked hard and did good work when it came to alterations. the store itself was nothing to write home about. it was purely utilitarian, had very few decorations and was very badly lit.

the women used to listen to an english language instruction radio program while they went about their business. i wish i could find it on the a.m. dial but i can't.

one day, i went in to have a skirt hemmed. while i was putting on said skirt in their bathroom/dressing room, i started listening to the calm, mesmerizing voice of the radio instructor. i won't pull a rosie o'donnell but think of what a chinese sentence sounds like. then imagine hearing this, the english translation:

"the customs agent has confiscated my sausage."

"hmmm," i thought to myself. "it sounds like he just said 'the customs agent has confiscated my sausage.'"

then i heard the chinese sentence again, followed by:

"the customs agent has confiscated my sausage."

he did say it! he really, really said it! his sausage was confiscated by the customs agent!

now picture me, hearing this half dressed, in a tiny, dingy bathroom, piled high with rice bowls and spare rolls of toilet paper laughing so hard i was crying.

i've taken french lessons before (and i'm guessing you've taken some sort of foreign language lessons, too) and never in any of my french-english dictionaries or in any of my travel guide books do phrases like "spare me my life", "i was robbed by two men", or "the customs agent has confiscated my sausage" show up. never.

Monday, January 1, 2007
tupperware, anyone?
anyone interested in buying tupperware? my friend ellen is selling it so shoot me an email and i'll get your order to her. click on the link above; they are having a year-end sale, too. but hurry, it is ending soon!

i can personally say i love these, we keep snacks for lunches in this, cheerios live in this in our house and i send the boy his lunch in this everyday. and tupperware makes the best sippy cups.