Friday, April 27, 2007
Our Tax Dollars At Work
Supposedly our tax dollars pay the salaries of those whose job it is to "advise" President Bush. So where were they yesterday? Helloooo? We pay you to tell him what to do but more importantly, we also pay you to tell him what NOT to do.

Someone's falling down on the job.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Oddly Mesmerizing

Monday, April 23, 2007
All Aboard!
Of all the stories my father's ever told me, my favorite is when he discovered trains for the first time. He was a boy, standing in a field in Florida just killing time, when out of nowhere, a huge train thundered past him. He's been a train buff ever since.

Well, whatever gene is in his DNA that unleashes the affinity for things all things rail related, I believe it skips a generation. None of my brothers, to the best of my knowledge love trains. Tattoos, yes. THAT they are into. But trains? Not so much.

Then along came Harry. He is a carrier for this gene except we are beginning to wonder if it has mutated. The boy played with trains ALL DAY LONG on Sunday. He woke up, found a toy train and carried it with him to church, to the table to eat, he had it while playing in the backyard and had it when he played with a little boy down the block in the afternoon. Every toy train he owns comes with a sheet that shows you all the other trains and accessories you can buy in case your child doesn't have enough already. He poured over that while playing with trains.

I realize we enable this obsession by allowing him to watch Thomas and Friends, dressing him in Thomas pajamas and putting his feet in Thomas shoes that light up. I'm wondering if is us that is in need of an intervention instead of Harry?

Sunday, April 22, 2007
Fun House

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Now that the weather matches the calendar, we thought it high time to get the kids out of the house for real. Brooklyn. Fun.

We did our usual running around in the morning and then high tailed it on the F train over to Coney Island for Nathan's, rides and games. As you can see, the kids loved not being cooped up in the car:

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And Nathan's? Pure hot dog divinity which Harry slept right through.

There were rides:

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And many games of skee ball. Sophie has gotten quite good at it. Harry couldn't figure out why they wouldn't let him take a large wooden ball home with him or why crawling up the skee ball alley was forbidden.

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But our trip was about more than hot dogs and skee ball. Coney Island, which has seen rebirth and decline more than once already, is the next Times Square. Developers and the city have it in their crosshairs for a renaissance all in the name of the almighty Luxury Condo. And Astroland is slated to be torn down because it is in the way. But it won't be torn down this year. No, this year The Donald and his developers will be drawing up plans for luxury living and resorts. The Go-Karts and Batting Cages are already gone. So get your Astroland, whatever's left of it, while you can.

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While you're at it, you should also get as much Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium as you can as both venues will be replaced with brand spanking new arenas in the next couple of years.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I'm sure that's EXACTLY what the founders of Earth Day had in mind when they designated April 22nd as Earth Day.
"This weekend is Earth Day, mom."

"I know."

"What is Earth Day?"

"Earth day is when we remember the Earth is a living thing and we renew our vow to take care of it."

"How do you celebrate it?"

"Well, in high school my friends did 'shrooms instead of acid because they were all natural we could plant something or not drive our car or recycle something."

"OK! How about we sweep the house and go to Chuck E. Cheese?"

Yeah, because nothing screams "ecology" like going to a retail-style emporium to eat trans-fat laden pizza, drink fruit-punch with high-fructose corn syrup, play on plastic equipment while getting chased by a giant mouse.

Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Modern Family
Hello blog. Long time no see. I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t had time to update you. You have missed quite a week. Last Sunday was Easter. I got exactly three pictures of the kids in their Easter outfits, and only one was worthy of emailing to the grandparents, which I’ve yet to do. We went out to eat for Easter dinner which is so unlike us. Usually we cook at home or eat at a relative’s home for any sort of holiday meal but this was a welcome departure from the norm. I was able to eat lamb which really is just a perfect Easter entrée but it was just OK. The chef could have kept it a little rarer. There was enough on the menu to keep the kids satisfied and maintain a minimum of whining. And then there was poor Harry. So exausted from the festivities of the day, plus an appearance at church, (where, after sharing peace with the rest of the parishioners, he kept saying “Thank you! Thank you!” like a comedian) he fell asleep right at the table in the restaurant. I seized the opportunity to get in some cuddling with him while I finished my coffee. Then, as we walked home, it snowed. ON EASTER. There is something not right about seeing all the spring flowers in bloom with snowflakes swirling around them.

Then there was the work week, or, my own personal hell. I am lucky in that I really like my job and I really love what I do but this one project is killing me. Slowly. No sooner do I get a large chunk of work completed when another big chunk crops up. And my new paradox for the week is that you can’t actually get work done at work. How frigging ironic. I was able to borrow a laptop where I’ve been getting more work done when I’m at home.

And now we are the modern family, ad nauseum.

We come home, make something or order something that resembles dinner. Hang with the kids for what feels like 5 seconds and get them to bed. I field phone calls and emails and once the kids are in bed I retreat to the laptop while John does work on the desktop. We talk to one another but not about anything all that interesting. Usually, it’s about work schedules or something work related. But we did find a new subject: dental bills and the fact that we’ve paid our pediatric dentist almost $1000 in cash over the past two months and she hasn’t filed the claims correctly (or not at all for one appointment). When Sophie goes in on Tuesday for her impressions for the dental spacers she needs one of us will need to set the record straight with their billing person. Plan on a dental themed post on Wednesday!

Now we are at the weekend again. We’ve done our usual running around between Girl Scouts, dance class, supermarket shopping and laundry. Harry wasn’t feeling well yesterday so I was able to get him down for a nap for over 2 hours while Sophie was at a play date and John was golfing. What did I do? Ordered Chinese and ate it while watching Lewis Black. Don’t try that at home. He is so funny I almost choked on my kung po chicken. Twice. Today it is Sophie’s turn to be sick, complete with a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and a fever so all plans for junior choir at church and a visit to Nana and Grandpa’s are cancelled. We are now holed up at home watching movies with the Sunday Times and the New York Daily news. It is pouring out so the Sunday papers and movies are the only things to do.

If retreating to work on separate computers every night isn’t the mark of a modern family, then surely being forced to relax by the weather and illness certainly is.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The casting couch
I used to pray for the day when Sophie would cancel her membership to the Church of Disney Princess. Sophie has discovered the other side of Disney and is slowly letting go of her fanatacism with all things Princess. And with so many to choose from it's been a long time coming.

Sophie is now obsessed with Hannah Montana, the Disney Channel TV show about a fourteen year old singing "sensation" that has also spawned a Nintendo DS game, an album and god knows what else. Tonight we watched the "world premiere" of Hannah's new video. It was no "Thriller."

At dinner Sophie told me that she just loves this show, with the zany girl and secret double life as Hannah Montana rock star (people, I use the term rock star very loosely), and her annoying brother. Don't forget the dad, played by her real life dad Billy Ray Cyrus. Yep, the Achey Breaky Heart guy. (Don't feel old enough yet? The show is produced by Fred Savage...the Wonder Years kid!)

Anyway, Sophie would like to star in her own version of Hannah Montana. I can be in it, too, but only if I remove a couple of moles. We'll either have to paint the house or build a beach front home (Sophie's offered to foot the bill) and she'll perform for her legions of fans. I need to work on my lines, though. I apparently can't carry off the role of Hannah's 12 year old best friend. I come off as too "old" but Sophie is willing to work with me. (What does she want? I'm at the age when I should be worried about getting my first mammogram. The best I can do is play 25 and even that would require a great deal of help from the make up department.) Harry will play her annoying brother. He has the act down pat, "because he is already very annoying." No word yet on who is slated to play the dad but she did hint that it would not be her own father.

This new obsession makes me a little sad because it is proof that she is growing up. At least when she was all Princess all the time I was the queen. Now I'm relegated to sidekick but only if I agree to her conditions.

Monday, April 9, 2007
I wonder how much penance I'll have to do for this one?
Easter Sunday. The Murphys are in church, dressed in their Easter finery. Harry running around. Husband flitting in and out of the church office. Daughter Sophie, disappears to sit with the Pastor's daughter. Me left alone in the pew.

Once I round everyone up, I quiet their protests and complaints with a lovely barrage of "we're all sitting together on Easter Sunday and you'll like it! And if you don't you can walk right across the street to the Presbyterian Church. I'm sure they'll have you!"

Yep. To hell in a handbasket. That's me.

Friday, April 6, 2007
Team Double D's
I started this post in a very lamentable fashion. I was trying to be upbeat but was failing miserably. I'd been planning this for awhile now and just couldn't quite get it right. It was depressing at best. I couldn't even work in a joke about Team Double D's and bra sizes. "Post it already," I said to myself. And just as I was about to hit the "publish" button, I checked this website and realized there there is much to be thankful for and optimistic about.

Back in October, a woman I know, Dina, was diagnosed with MS. Multiple Sclerosis.

I've actually known Dina and her family all my life. It was at Dina's sister's birthday party where I uttered my most famous phrase, at the tender age of two or three: "I don't want any of that shitting cake!" Thus paving the way for an illustrious career as a potty-mouth.

Our mothers are friends and have known each other since they were teenagers. Out of respect for the elderly I won't say how long that is. (Kidding!) Through another set of unfortunate events about a year and a half ago, I became reacquainted, albeit too briefly, with Dina and her family but now Dina's mom, Daureen, keeps me up to date on all the jokes floating around the internet. Back in January, I got an email from Daureen, but this time it wasn't a joke. This was an email about Dina, who has participated in the MS Walk just because it was a good and noble thing to do. Now Dina is walking for herself in one of life's crueler twists of fate. And Team Double D's was born.

Dina has assembled a team to walk with her. I think there are 25 members in total pulling double-duty as co-walkers and supporters of the larger fight Dina is engaged in. Team Double D's set a modest goal of $10,000. They are $600 shy of meeting that modest yet impressive number.

And that's where I found the upside, the optimism. Not in the money, not in how quickly they are achieving their goal. The upside, the glass-is-half-full side is that there is a need and people have banded together one way or another to stand beside Dina and help. The only thing worth more than that is a cure.

Click here to visit Dina's personal page on the MS Walk website. Walk if you want, Give if you can.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Only in New York, Part 2
My office is a stone's throw from Times Square and the Theater District in NYC. The church across the street from the building is St. Malachy's but it is also known as The Actor's Chapel.

I was just sitting here scarfing down a sandwich when I realized they were playing "There's No Business Like Show Business."
On the church bells.

Sunday, April 1, 2007
Only in New York
Living in New York, I see lots of crazy things, some good, some bad; some sad but mostly very funny. Some make you stare, like the men I saw once in purple suits with ginormous rhinestone buttons and pounds of bling hanging 'round their necks. Some just make you stop and go "huh," which is what I thought Sunday morning while driving to the grocery store. I was stopped behind someone with the following saying on their rear license plate frame:
And on the 8th day God created Gerard Depardieu.

There are lot of things I'd like to think God created on the 8th day, but I can assure you, Gerard Depardieu is not one of them.