Friday, February 29, 2008
This post is going to be all about Lost so for those of you who don't watch...well, I don't know what to say to you except how could you NOT watch?

Anyway, awhile ago I complained about t
he fact that Penny, Desmond's girlfriend, who is supposed to be looking for him, hadn't been well represented in the story line since the end of season two. And that for me was a big problem. Don't show someone in a cliff hanger and then conveniently just gloss over the fact that she was close to finding him, thanks to the blokes she hired off in some igloo (I'm paraphrasing). We caught a quick glimpse of her at the end of season three but so what? We didn't learn anything new except that the freighter is not her boat.

Well, last night we hit paydirt, didn't we? Desmond not only MADE OFF THE ISLAND but he called Penny to wish her a MERRY CHRISTMAS. And he had to go back to the past to get her number in order to call her in the future. Now that's LOVE.

Merry Christmas, Brutha!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Spam Filters
Every day at work I receive an email from my spam filter showing what they've filtered out. Based on this, I wonder what the IT department must think of me.

Here's a snapshot of my spam filter on my personal email:

Monday, February 25, 2008
I saw only three of the movies nominated for an Oscar and none of them were up for best motion picture of the year. In our house we specialize in Animated Features so of course we saw Ratatouille and Surf's Up.

I also saw Once. I can't say enough about this movie. I loved it. Last night it won for Best Original Song. The music is fantastic. The movie is amazing. You should see it but if you don't, you MUST check out the site which streams songs from the soundtrack. I think you can still download a free song off the site, too. But if you like it (which you will) don't you think you should just buy the whole album? Yes. Yes, you should.

Sledding Kicked My Ass
I should have waited to post until 11am yesterday. That would have been a full 24 hours after our outing to sled with the kids. 24 hours is the magical time when the DEBILITATING pain sets in. And then lasts for 12 more hours. Everything from my hips to my toes hurt. Apparently, walking up a hill in the snow (with a three year old attached to you for one of the trips) is considered EXERCISE, and walking up a few flights of subway stairs 5 days a week is not considered training for this exercise.

At around 2pm yesterday, I thought it a good idea to hobble around the house with a vacuum cleaner in tow to clean under tables and chairs and in corners. I actually felt better being up and about and not sitting on a heating pad and downing ibuprofen. Then I used the hose attachment to reach under the tv stand and when I tried to pull the machine closer to me it fell over onto my foot. I have a nice purple bruise to prove what a klutz I am.

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Winter Fun
I was really looking forward the Alfred Hitchcock mini movie marathon TCM was showing all day Saturday. The weather forecast called for cold, snow, freezing rain and cloudy skies and I thought spending it on the couch watching this, this, this, this and this sounded heavenly.

Then John suggested taking the kids sledding, which meant up off the duff doing things other than watching Notorious. I'll admit, I was reluctant to participate but went anyway since this is likely to be the only snow we get this year, which means this is the only time we'll be able to go sledding.

We arrived at La Tourette park, which is one of our favorite spots to sled even if we have to pay $9 to cross a bridge to get there.

Here's Sophie, who told me she had "butterflies" in her stomach at the thought of going down the hill. God bless her, she hopped right on the sled with me and we FLEW down that hill. When we reached the bottom I asked her how she liked it. Her answer was "AWESOME!"

Here's a shot of the boys, right before they took their first trip down the hill.

La Tourette park is actually a golf course on Staten Island. Doesn't look like part of New York City, does it?

I saw a bunch of birds off in some bushes. I don't have telephoto lens and they flew away as I approached so just use your imagination to picture bright, red cardinals off in the distance.

The kids were pretty tired after we made them walk up and down a hill all day.

The winter fun didn't end there. While John chaperoned Sophie to a movie playdate, Harry and I stayed home and built a snowman. In the dark.
Say hello to Bob.

Bob's attire comes from the snowman kit John got as a Christmas gift. Hat by Armani, mittens by Gucci.

Are you talkin' to ME?

Then Bob collapsed. Drinking on the job again.

So we built another one. His name is...we didn't name him.
What do you think he should be called?

I was very happy to have not stayed inside all day yesterday. We had a great time together and it didn't involve lots of planning or coordinating. Definitely one of our better Saturdays.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Refresher Course
This weekend Sophie will take her first class in preparation for first Holy Communion. Last night I showed her the booklet our church uses to prepare for this sacrament and went over the {contemporary English} Lord's Prayer with her.

Me: Our father...

Sophie: heaven.

M: Hallow...

S: Halloween is your name.

M: Not Halloween! Hallowed.

S: Hallowed be your name.

M: Your kingdom...

S: come.

M&S: Your will be done on earth as is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

M: Save us...

S: ...Save us...

M: No, I mean for you to continue. Save us...


M: Save us from the time...

S: Machine? Save us from the time machine?

M: Trial! Save us from the time of trial!

S: Oh. Right. Trial.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Another One Bites the Dust - OR - The Preschooler's Verson of "Who's On First?"
Lovey II has passed on. And by passed on I mean it has disappeared. When I ask Harry where it is he says "in my backpack." But then I remind him that he took it to the sitter. "Did you hide it somewhere?" I ask. (Harry is famous for putting things in other things and then forgetting all about it. Kinda like my husband and his checkbook.)


"Where did you hide it?"

"In my backpack."

"Did you take it somewhere?"



"I don't know."

"What do you think happened to it?"

"I don't know. Is it in the wash?"

"No, remember? You brought it last week to the sitter. Did you hide it?"


"Did you lose it?"


"Which one?"

"Which one what?"

"Did you lose it or hide it?"


"Which one?"

"Which one what?"

That went on for a few days now. So Saturday morning I taught Harry all about the internet and how it is a magical tool for buying things with credit cards and *poof!* the things you buy arrive at your doorstep, delivered by UPS Joe, who is everyone's favorite UPS guy, me included because he has never once mentioned the time I answered the door in my bathrobe at 4pm in the afternoon while on maternity leave with Sophie. What a guy! Now Harry has to learn patience, as we wait for the package to be delivered via free ground shipping.

But Harry has learned other things in the process, including the emotion sadness. Yesterday I heard whimpering and found him in his crib. Just sitting there, recalling all the fun he and Lovey II had had together. When I asked him what was wrong he said "I'm SAD because I miss Lovey." So I gave him chocolate.

He's also learned stoicism. The other night I heard him in his bed and when I went in he was crying. I tried to comfort him and told him a new one would be coming soon. Then he said "Just go! Leave me alone!." So I gave myself chocolate.

Friday, February 15, 2008
Getting Caught Up
Here is the frozen tundra birthday cake from the Polar Party. See what global warming has done? The polar bears now have to share the sea ice with the penguins. And yes, the caribou are acting as peace keepers until Al Gore can get there to save the world.

Here's an aerial view of the cake. See the miniature marshmallow igloo? And yes, we did have a deranged luntic write "happy birthday" on the cake.

Didn't I tell you Clorox would find a way to market antibacterial products to you filthy, filthy office workers? (See bottom of package.) Behind the Clorox is our nifty new Toastation, compliments of my mother. She was convinced our other one was going to kill us. Thanks mom! And yes, those are genuine formica faux-marble counter tops.

Look who's knitting! Every night we sit down and knit together, which equals lots of good mother/daughter bonding. She's knitting this and I'm knitting that. And yes, that is the ugliest sofa on the face of the earth.

Harry got this cute new towel for his birthday. His new nickname is Casanova because of his fondness for hugging women and wishing them a Happy Valentine's Day. And yes, we do have a bathroom that is entirely pink tile.

Thursday, February 14, 2008
Hold the Mush
This year, I didn't get John a mushy card or one that waxes poetic about our journey through life together or how being a great dad is so romantic.

It says:
"I love you
with the lustful intensity
of a woman much younger
and with fewer kids
than me.

Happy Valentine's Day!"

Here's hoping your Valentine's Day is full of lustful intensity.
And chocolate.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
All The Crazy People in NYC Should Be This Friendly
Yesterday, we got a "snowstorm." If you could count 2.5" of snow as a snowstorm. As the night wore on, the snow changed to rain and now the streets are slushy. It made for a messy commute this morning and you could tell people were in that mid-week, mid-winter, slushy rut.

I had just sat down to a good Sudoku puzzle when a guy boarded the train and began greeting people. I didn't have to look up to know he was crazy. I could hear it in his voice.

"Good morning. How are you? Hello!" he said to everyone in his line of sight while feasting on potato chips.

Most people were oblivious that they were being spoken to until he spoke a little louder. "I said, HOW ARE YOU THIS MORNING?"

People grumbled "fine," in response and went back to their newspapers but one guy, the poor soul, got the deluxe treatment. "Are you warm enough, today? Oh, and Happy Valentine's day!" The man thanked him and went back to drinking his coffee.

Then someone coughed. "Are you alright?" the Friendly Crazy Guy asked. The cougher assured him he was.

Then Friendly Crazy Guy sat down right near me. I must have done a great job blending into the scenery because he didn't speak to me. But he did continue to greet every person boarding the train, as well as wishing those exiting a fond farewell. "So long now! Bye. Take care!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Table for One
Last month, our local hardware store had a sale on bird seed. Three 20 lb bags for $11. Of course I bought some, because don't all NYC apartments have space for 60lbs of bird seed? (The answer is NO. And attempts to pawn it off on neighbors and my father have been unsuccessful.)

So, every morning I sprinkle some seeds on the back patio and listen to the birds chirping and watch the cats fuh-reak out over the nearness of the birds to their claws IF ONLY THIS PANE OF GLASS WASN'T IN THE WAY.

Anyway, we've enjoyed blue jays, sparrows, starlings, mourning doves and cardinals. Also that squirrel. You know what I'm talking about. Yeah, him. And all his bushy tailed punk friends.

But I digress.

You may remember that last year I mentioned that the pair of cardinals that live in our backyard had welcomed a
new addition to their family. That baby, has since up and left the nest. So for awhile we were back to just the adult cardinals visiting us but now I've noticed that it is just the female cardinal that is visiting us lately. I haven't seen the male at all and I am worried. Of course, it is entirely possible that he is eating the seed when I'm not looking but our gal looks lonely. Usually the male would be nearby and you'd hear his chirp and off they'd go, back to their nest. But she comes and pecks around, stays longer than usual and then takes off, all alone.

I would like to think that the male could be caring for young hatchlings but I don't know if cardinals have young this early in the year. Anyone out there know if they do?

Monday, February 11, 2008
A River Train Runs Through It
One day, we would like to own a home. One day. In the mean time, we have a great place that serves us well and isn't breaking the bank. Our childcare arrangements are fantastic so we're in no rush to go anywhere. So, we bide our time and look. And look. And wait. Wait some more. Watch the mortgage industry fail. Hold off, look again, fight about it and start the process all over again.

Last year, we thought we'd found a house. Actually, we did but our offer wasn't accepted. Some of you know this already because you heard me WHINE about the whole SAGA and talk about it ad nauseum. But for those of you who didn't have the pleasure of hearing me talk about our once and future home, consider yourselves lucky that you didn't hear me wax poetic about lally columns and water tables.

John is a good shopper because he does all his research before hand which is very irritating to me because I like to get a base understanding of something, do a quick comparison and MAKE A DARNED DECISION ALREADY. But for monsieur, its all crunch numbers, check data, recheck data, drive on every single street in the town, double check crime rates and cross reference the demographics to make sure we aren't living in Senior Citizen City or College Town-ville. Then he crunches the numbers again, divides it by drive-his-wife-crazy and multiplies it by school test scores in order to arrive at a price he's willing to pay for a house. According to some of our friends, that price is insulting to homeowners but the man knows what we should pay if we'd like eat and have hot showers and dagnabbit, that's the price he's sticking to. Plus, we've been insulted by homeowners asking outrageous sums of money for homes that boast 1.5 bathrooms only to discover that the .5 bathroom is a toilet in the basement. That's it. A toilet. With no walls.

So this real estate game? It's a give and take.

Yesterday I drove out to the town His Royal Highness has deemed worthy enough to live in (read: cheap enough to afford) to an open house. HRH had seen this home a few months ago. He thought it worth a look if someone, like a realtor, was already going to be there from 1-4 pm on a Sunday. So I ditched him and the kids after church and drove out to see it.

So, there I was and the wind was HOWLING through the windows that need to be replaced while the realtor told me that the home has a lot of "potential." Which is a synonym for "needs a lot of work." We went upstairs first, since another couple was there and they'd seen the downstairs already. We walked on LIME GREEN carpeting "which we might want to replace" past a lovely stained glass window. Saw all three bedrooms and one full bath on the second floor and then got to see a neat hall of closets which offers "a lot of storage options." I think it would be better suited to a second full bathroom, but that's potential for ya.

Then I got to see the kitchen which needs "updating" or a complete overhaul, depending on who you ask. It had a built in ironing board, though! And part of the room had been chopped off to form a half bathroom. The living room "boasts" a fireplace, which may or may not work, may or may not be gas and probably hasn't been used since Reagan was in office. There's a "sunny" family room off the living room. The "sunny" room has a lot of windows to let in said sunshine and hoo-boy was it cold in there.

The piece de resistance was the basement, with its top hat and walking stick motif embedded in the linoleum at bottom of the stairs. It screams "entertainment center!" And that's exactly what the owner used the space for: dancing the lindy while drinking rob roys in his hey day.

There's a two-car garage with "space" above it (think the Fonz's apartment over the Cunningham's garage without running water or a place to prepare food). The house comes complete with a nosy neighbor who kept eyeing me suspiciously as I inspected the front yard.

My gut feeling on the house was: yeesh. needs a lot of work; worried about the "For Rent" signs across the street but if they came waaaaay down, we could afford the work and the house. And food. The price I'm thinking is very low. Perhaps it is not a yeesh but a possible maybe?

Next I drove over a part of town which is supposed to be closer to transportation looking for some more open houses. I was thoroughly enjoying my drive through pretty, tree lined streets when I found a nice house with balloons out front. I popped in for a look. A very nice realtor took me through a "nicely appointed" home in "desirable" __________ Town; I'd crossed the border and in doing so would be paying 100k more than the house I'd just seen (for half the space) and 50% more in taxes. I stayed anyway and was shown the usual high-end features: granite counter tops, stainless appliances, hardwood floors, crown moulding and a formal dining area. The realtor was quick to point out that "they just don't make homes with dining areas anymore." Really? Can that be true?

Then quick quick quick was shown the backyard, which was large and very close to transportation. So close, in fact, NJ Transit trains run right through it. I realized they were getting me in and out before the the 2:45 barreled past, blaring its whistle.

And so we bide our time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
On Trying to Eat Healthier
Did you know that merely possessing one unit of bagged salad does not help you lose weight? You are supposed to eat it, along with other vegetables and fruit and exercise if you'd like to shed some excess poundage. I think eating less chocolate also factors in somehow but I haven't figured out how. (And I don't want to.)

Since January 1st (the day to begin eating better and healthier) I've thrown away a lot o
f slimy bagged salads because I had every intention of eating it when I was standing in the grocery store produce section. But by the time I checked out, I'd been through so many other exciting aisles in the store that the bagged salad, it just ends up forgotten. Relegated to the back of the fridge, behind the guacamole and pudding. Tell me, what chance does the salad have when it goes up against pudding?

I've since taken to immediately transferring the salad to a clear storage container and keeping up in front, where it can taunt me every time I go open the refrigerator door.

Eddie Izzard does a great bit on supermarkets and produce. Take a look:

Monday, February 4, 2008
Sunday night during the Superbowl John and I were thoroughly enjoying Tom Petty's half-time performance when Sophie asked "Why isn't Miley Cyrus playing?"

We tried explaining that the half-time show needs to appeal to a broader audience. She wasn't buying it. She wrinkled her nose and then mocked his singing in a twangy voice. MOCKED HIM!

I would like her to grow up appreciating all kinds of music, not mocking the music of her parents' generation (even if it did involve A Flock of Seagulls and a Girlfriend in a Coma). Her punishment for mocking Tom Petty? I'm secretly loading his greatest hits onto her mix stick.

Why does raising a seven year old sometimes make you act like one?

Sunday, February 3, 2008
Giants Win!

Go Giants!
I'm not really a sports nut, but I am looking forward to tonight's game. There's the whole New York/Boston rivalry and the fact that it's my local team playing that has everyone here pumped. Plus, I work in advertising so if I want to be able to participate in watercooler talk tomorrow, I'd better be watching those commercials. I have ground beef ready for the chili pot, two boxes in the office pool and the only thing we need to pick up is beer.

But Superbowl is only one of many things happening this week. It is a kickoff, if you'll excuse the pun, to other important and exciting occasions.

First, we have Recovery Monday, in which we will have the opportunity to heal ourselves after the gluttony of Superbowl. Every one marks this occasion differently so celebrate as you wish.

Tuesday will be a busy one because it will be doing double-duty as Mardi Gras (the last day of the season of Carnival) and Super Tuesday. (Which has nothing to do with the Superbowl. Crazy. I know.). In between gorging yourself as a last hurrah before Lent begins you should find time to vote if you live in one of the 24 states holding caucuses and primaries. Vote for who you'd really like to see in office...BECAUSE YOU CAN.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for most Christians, the season of reflection, prayer and fasting before Easter. (It also kicks off what I call Pizza Season here in Brooklyn, the time of year when many families who choose to not eat meat on Fridays have pizza. Delivery times go from 30 minutes to nearly 60 for the six weeks of Lent.)

Thursday is Lunar New Year. Gung Hay Fat Choy! (For New Yorkers: no alternate side of the street parking. Woohoo!)

Friday: 1st Friday in Pizza Season. Plan accordingly.

Saturday, February 2, 2008
I should have set up mobile blogging. Then you could have read this post in real time.

What follows are my thoughts typed on my BlackBerry throughout the 8:40 am showing of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert film.

8:57 After lots of previews,* the 8:40 show finally begins.

8:58 On-screen screeching begins.

9:00 Notice that Miley Cyrus' legs are impossibly skinny.

9:05 I really hate Billy Ray Cyrus' soul patch.

9:07 Notice during the rehearsal segment in the movie one of Miley's back-up singers wears a Cheap Trick t-shirt. Miley probably doesn't even know who Cheap Trick is. Come to think of it, I think the back-up singer is too young to know who Cheap Trick is.

9:15 It is too freaking early for all this screeching.

9:27 The 3D effect is making me dizzy.

9:32 I think the Jonas brother sitting at the piano doesn't really know how to play it. I haven't seen his fingers move ONCE. They wear skinny ties (which is soooo 80's and that means I love their outfits).

9:33 Wait. One of the Jonas Brothers is wearing a vest and a scarf tied round his neck. Another is wearing a gold track jacket. Hmmm...maybe I don't love their look that much.

9:47 Maybe that back-up singer really IS old enough to know who Cheap Trick is. Huh. Good make-up!

9:49 High Heel Derby. Footage of a race featuring dads running a race in high heels in order to win 4 tickets to a Miley Cyrus concert. Interesting.

9:50 The 3D effect is making me nauseous.

9:58 At least Miley Cyrus can actually plan an instrument (guitar).

10:07 Movie ends.

Ok, the movie wasn't terrible. I already knew all the songs so it wasn't all foreign to me. Sophie seemed to enjoy herself but thought the movie was "too short." We were two of six people in the theater but the next showing was significantly more populated. After noon, all the shows were sold out so yay me for thinking ahead.

The music is upbeat and positive so I can't complain because Sophie could could have worse taste in music. I hate to take this cheap shot, but I won't mind Sophie following this talent as long as the talent doesn't go "Britney."

*Did you know there was a U2 3D movie? I didn't and I am PSYCHED! Look at the widget!

Friday, February 1, 2008
Earliest Movie I'll Ever Attend
My salary ought to be called "The Disney Fund" because it seems lots of my hard-earned money funnels to the Mouse Corporation, both directly (in the form of a vacation in 2006) and indirectly (through character licensing on every product imaginable). I ponied up and bought Sophie tickets to see this because owning all her music, one DVD, two t-shirts, one backpack and a Hannah Montana Mix-Stick isn't enough.

Actually, she didn't ask. I just did it because I knew it would make her happy even if I did it through gritted teeth thinking "maybe the mouse can buy himself a shirt with THIS contribution to his empire."

Rather than fight crowds, which, let's face it, will be full of girls, aged 7-15 with their mothers/fathers/legal guardians, vying for the best seats and not shutting up and generally being annoying, I opted for the second earliest showing on the second day of release. Over and done with before lunch. Then I will be free for the rest of the day to jam a screwdriver into my ear in an effort to stop hearing "Best of Both Worlds" over and over in my head.

Any suggestions on what to eat on Saturday at an 8:40 AM showing of a teeny bopper/"rock" concert? Obviously it'll be a tad too early to eat hot dogs, nachos and Skittles.