20 December 2006

The One True Santa

About a week ago I took Zoë to a Christmas party at the school where my mother teaches. One of her fellow teachers agreed to dress up as Santa and distribute gifts to all the kids. It was a very nice party and Zoë was thrilled to see Santa up close and personal. You could tell she believed that was Santa Claus.

This past weekend we went to get our Christmas Tree at Jones Tree Farm in Shelton, CT. We cut our own and this year we got a really nice Douglas Fir. After we chose our tree we went to the gift shop area and guess who was there? Santa, of course. Zoë wanted to go see him, but when she got up to him she wouldn't even speak. I snapped this picture and as we walked away I asked her what was wrong.

"Mom, that's not Santa," she whispered. "He's not the same."
"Uh, well," I stammered and stalled for a few minutes until I came up with this one. "That's not the real Santa that we saw the other day. That's one of Santa's elves dressed up like Santa."
"An elf?" Zoë looked very disbelieving.
"Yes, elves help Santa with visits this time of year because there is so much to do getting ready for Christmas Eve."

After a bit more convincing and some help from Zoë's wonderful Aunt Brenda, she seemed to believe us. A little later we went back over to where Santa was and saw a little girl going up to see Santa. Zoë promptly announced, "That's not the real Santa!" I quickly hushed her and tried to explain that not everyone knew that.

I wonder how long it will be before she puts all the pieces together?

10 December 2006

The Birthday Party Diaries

It seems like just about every other weekend Zoë has a birthday party to go to. Between all the gifts and the mandatory pizza and cake one could seriously go broke and get fat in a big hurry. I don't actually mind going to the parties because it is nice to get a chance to chat with other working moms and because Zoë almost always has a really good time. Actually all the kids seem to love the parties which is kind of funny to me because it is a bit like a busman's holiday when you think about it. It's just like daycare in a new setting.

If the party is held at some kind of party place Zoe usually asks if her birthday party can be at that place too. So far in the last month she has changed her mind 3 times. Today's party was at The Little Gym and that is now the desired location of her "five birthday." Not including her first birthday, I have yet to throw Zoe a "proper party" with all her daycare friends and all the regular birthday accoutrements. We have just celebrated at the house with a couple of kids, some cake and a few goody bags. The writing is on the wall: I am not going to get away with that this year.

I do not want 20 4- and 5-year-olds in my house so we will definitely be going to one of those party places. They are a good racket, that is for sure. They are not cheap, but having now been to a lot of them, I see that they are worth it. Even if it is just for the no 20 kids with noisemakers in my house factor.

07 December 2006

Website of the Week: Enlighten Holiday Party Excuse Generator

'Tis the Season for all kinds of festivities. Anyone who knows anyone has no doubt been invited to at least a party or two. But some parties are more appealing than others, right? So, Enlighten Holiday Party Excuse Generator is here to help! All you have to do is answer a few simple questions about the upcoming event and the perfect little excuse note is generated for you.

You've just got to try it for yourself!

05 December 2006

A wish for a Christmas tree

I'm not sure when it was that Zoë got it into her head that she wanted her own Christmas tree in her room, but she has been voicing this request for awhile. So, the other day when I was at Target (you can always count on Target), I happened to see the perfect little tree. It is about 2 feet tall, comes in a little red pot and has lights already strung around it. (It is fake, of course.) I bought it and after building up that I had a surprise for her, I finally gave it to her on Sunday night. She was thrilled!

Last night when we got home from work and school she went up to her room and proceeded to decorate the tree. She used ribbon from a gift bow and her play money. We all had the same reaction -- "It's a money tree!" I will have to post a picture because it was quite creatively done. For the past two nights she has slept with the tree plugged in and lit right next to her bed.

Not sure, but I think she expects Santa to deliver her gifts to her very own tree.

01 December 2006

Website of the Week: Pacific Whale

Can I still call this "Website of the Week" even if I don't update it exactly weekly? Well, it is my blog so I guess I can! Besides, I like the alliteration.

OK, now on to the website. Pacific Whale (pacificwhale.org) is a site dedicated to protecting the whales and dolphins of the Pacific Ocean. They have all kinds of educational information including kids' camps and ocean cruises and other eco-tours (of course, you have to be in Australia, Hawaii, or California to participate).

Plus, if you are looking for a holiday gift for the person in your life who is somewhat ecologically minded or even a child who is into sea life, you can adopt a whale or a dolphin. Adoption packages start at $35 and you get an adoption certificate for a named whale or dolphin.

28 November 2006

The Cosmetics Counter: CoverGirl Lipslicks Lipgloss

I'm not usually one for CoverGirl or really most make-up that can purchased at CVS, but I have to admit I am a fan of this one particular product. CoverGirl Lipslick Lipgloss is really sheer and light. My two favorite shades are Hipster and Demure (admittedly they are the only two I have tried). It is the kind of lipstick that can be applied anywhere -- I mean, it should go on your lips, but you don't need to be in front of a mirror. I keep a tube in my office desk drawer and it is perfect for a quick application just before a meeting or whatever. Plus, it is really cheap -- at around $4 a tube so you can afford to have a few.

27 November 2006


Actual conversation had with Zoë on Thanksgiving day:

Me: So, are you going to try the turkey?
Zoë: No.
Me: What are you going to eat? How about mashed potatoes?
Zoë: No. I want to try the cranberry sauce.
Me: Cranberry sauce is good.
Zoë: And stuffing.
Me: Stuffing is delicious. I am sure you are going to like it.
Zoë: I know I am going to like it. (pause) Mom? What's stuffing made of? Is it made of stuffed animals?
Me: Stuffed animals?
Zoë: Yeah. Is it the stuffing from stuffed animals?
Me: I don't think so.
Zoë: I do.
Me: And you still want to eat it?
Zoë: Yes.
Me: OK

20 November 2006

Website of the Week: Go Fug Yourself

Go Fug Yourself. I've actually been a fan of this site for quite some time. It's one of my favorites for the morning or afternoon coffee break. If you enjoy fashion and especially the worst-dressed list, this site is for you. To be fair, they do give credit where credit is due.

In case you're not sure what "Fug" mean, be sure to check out their FAQ page.

16 November 2006

The heart of a stuffed animal

I was talking with Zoë tonight and she told me the following facts about stuffed animals:
  1. They can grow up.
  2. They have hearts, but their hearts are a different color than ours -- they are white.
  3. The white hearts make white blood.
  4. The white blood is called stuffing.
In case you were wondering, now you know from an expert.

15 November 2006

A face in the bubbles

Why are pictures of kids in the bath so cute? I love this one, but don't tell her ENT doctor because she doesn't have her earplugs in.

09 November 2006

The Momtini?

I find it amusing that this story is actually news -- as in it is some kind of new development. I would guess that mom and drinking have gone together a lot longer than mom and apple pie.

And if you want to laugh some more definitely check out the blog mentioned in the article: Suburban Bliss. I've never met this woman, but I can tell I would like her.

08 November 2006

The Cosmetics Counter: OH...To Be 25 Again!

Of course, we would all like to be 25 again, right? Well don't get your hopes up, this product is not a fountain of youth. Instead it is a terrific new shade of nail polish created by OPI as part of the 25th anniversary line.

According to all the fashionistas out there short, dark nails are the thing to have this year and this is the perfect shade for achieving just the right look. OH...To Be 25 Again is a rich dark brown -- just dark enough to be trendy, but not so dark it looks goth.

The look, and especially this color have completely revived my love of a good manicure. It makes for a nice pedicure too.

04 November 2006

Website of the Week: Second Life

I suspect I am the last person to hear about this site, but just in case there are few people out there who might happen upon the this blog and also have not heard of this site, here is your chance to get in the know.

Second Life is basically like one of the Sims games only you're not the only one playing in this world. Over a million other people are too.

From the site itself:
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 1,243,436 people from around the globe.

This looks so really cool and absorbing and I did spend about an hour exploring the other day, but I came to the sad conclusion that I don't have nearly enough time these days to spend any significant time on this site. And you definitely need time to make this work well for you.

This is kind of a strange recommendation, right? Do as I say, not as I do. However, if you're into these kinds of games and you make time in your life for them already and as mentioned above you are among the microcosm of people who haven't yet heard of the site, all I'm saying is it might be worth your while to check this out. At the very least you will now know what the heck people are talking about.

01 November 2006

The Cosmetics Counter: bareMinerals

A good friend recently turned me on to bareMinerals line and I admit I was skeptical, but the products actually work quite well. I don't like to wear liquid foundation because I don't need much coverage, but traditional powder compacts tend to wear off so quickly. bareMinerals foundation is a happy medium and you can put it on lightly or add more layers as you like. Plus, I don't know how, but it is SPF15 which is always a good thing.

I bought the starter kit and it comes with 2 shades of foundation, something called Mineral Veil which is a finishing powder, 3 different application brushes, warmth face color and glee face color (which I really love!). I have mostly used the foundation shade that is best for me and the glee face color which is a really nice kind of blush. The starter kit cost me $60 at the store where I bought it. On the bareMinerals website it is a little pricier, but you can find it for less at other sites like ulta.com.

The starter kit comes with an instructional DVD and I know it sounds silly, but it is quite helpful. I watched the entire thing and I am glad I did.

My only complaint with these products is that they don't go on in a hurry. On those morning when I literally only have 5 minutes, I can't spend the time on it or I'll never even get to the mascara before I have to run.

29 October 2006

Guess what

Somehow the phrase "Guess what" has made it into Zoë's vocabulary and the usage is heavy to the point of abusive these days. She will tell a story and it will go something like this:

Zoë: Guess what Michael did today.
Me: What?
Zoë: He stuck his tongue out at Miss Jen and guess what.
Me: What?
Zoë: Miss Jen gave him a time out, but guess what.
Me: What?
Zoë: He kept sticking his tongue out from time out so guess what.
Me: What?
Zoë: He had to go to the office and guess what.
Me: What?
Zoë: He was crying.

That has been my entire weekend.

26 October 2006

Website of the Week: Grey Matter

I admit it. Like millions of others I am a huge Grey's Anatomy fan. Therefore I probably don't even need to tell you how disappointed I was to realize that there is not a new episode on tonight. Ugh! I was so looking forward to getting into bed and firing up the Tivo.

For nights like tonight and any other moment I am having a Grey's Anatomy jones, I have discovered a great site, really it's a blog, from the writers of the show. It's called Grey Matter. The writer of that week's episode posts so there is one posting per week. They don't give away plot details, but there are lots of nice insights into the show's development. And if you're into it, there are about 500 to 700 comments per post.

So, go get your fix because 7 days can be a long, long time.

25 October 2006

Costume craziness

Every year without fail Zoë has a last minute change of heart when it comes to what she wants to be for Halloween. Not inlcuding the first one when she couldn't talk or walk -- ah the good old days! It doesn't matter if she picked out the costume herself or if I bought it for her. She did not disappoint this year.

This past Spring we took her to the huge Toys R Us in Times Square. She had received a $50 gift card for her birthday and we were there to spend it. Among other things, she picked out a Snow White dress and declared that she would wear it for Halloween, despite the fact that Halloween was 6 months away. I wasn't counting on her sticking with being Snow White and when the first costume catalogs began to arrive I asked her if wanted to look through them to pick out a costume. She insisted she was going to be Snow White.

Finally, about a month ago, I gave up and decided she absolutely would be Snow White. And then this past weekend it happened.

"Mom, I changed my mind. I don't want to be Snow White. I want to be a cheerleader," she whined to me.

I know what Party City is like in the weeks before Halloween and I didn't want to experience it again this year so I firmly put my foot down and told her it was too late to change her mind. "Besides, Snow White is way cooler than a cheerleader," I added to my firm "absolutely not."

She seems to have accepted that she is stuck with Snow White. Quite a nice Snow White costume, I should add.

22 October 2006

The Cosmetics Counter

First of all, I apologize for my prolonged absence and complete lack of posts. I was traveling first for business, then for pleasure. It has taken me an additional 4 days to catch up with my life. However, I did put my quiet time to good use -- I thought of another feature for the blog. Starting today, I will be celebrating my love for make-up, nail polish, perfume, soaps, etc. I am calling this feature "The Cosmetics Counter" and each week I will discuss a new product that I have tried.

This week's product is Clinique In the Pink lipstick $14.00.

First of all $10.00 from your purchase helps support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s quest to find a cure. Besides my never ending love of lipsticks that was the primary motivation for purchasing this product. I am happy to report that it is a really nice shade of pink and the lipstick itself feels really good on your lips. It is very smooth and the look is slightly glossy. And one of my favorite things about Clinique lipsticks is that there is no odor to them. Because it is also relatively sheer, this is a flattering shade for anyone who can wear pink lipsticks.

13 October 2006

I Sad

I have been away on a business trip since Wendesday morning. Just before I left home, I left a note for a still sleeping Zoë on her chalkboard/easel. It said "I love you. See you soon! Mommy."

Wednesday night, all on her own, Zoë: wrote on the chalkboard "I sad Mommy miss." She's only 4! I am now completely convinced of my daughter's genius. She managed to impress me with her intelligence as well as make me feel guilty for being away in one swoop!


08 October 2006

Website of the Week: Picasa

At home I am a Mac user, but at work I am forced to use a PC. So, here's one for all you PC users who don't have iPhoto...Picasa!

Picasa (brought to you by Google, of course) is software that helps you instantly find, edit and share all the pictures on your PC. Every time you open Picasa, it automatically locates all your pictures (even ones you forgot you had) and sorts them into visual albums organized by date with folder names you will recognize. Picasa also makes advanced editing simple by putting one-click fixes and powerful effects at your fingertips.

Picasa also makes it a snap to share your pictures – you can email, print photos at home, and make gift CDs. And with the new Web Albums feature, you can upload your photos to the web very easily. It syncs amazingly well with popular web albums like Kodak's (formerly Ofoto). And it even lets you publish directly to popular blog sites like the one I use. The photo of Zoë in the previous post was published through Picasa in about 10 seconds.

It really is incredibly easy to use and is almost as good as having iPhoto on a PC.

05 October 2006

04 October 2006

Motor Mouth

There are some days that go by when I feel like Zoë has not stopped talking the entire day. And even though I was not with her for 8 hours of the day while I was at work, this definitely feels like one of those days. It has been and endless barrage of "How come?" and "Watch this!" and "I want" and a lot of other non-sensical stuff.

Jeez I have a headache!

Of course, on the days that she is quiet I worry that she is sick or upset and try to get her to talk. Can I never be satisfied?

01 October 2006

Website of the Week: eBeanstalk

eBeanstalk.com is the gift that keeps on giving for babies and kids. As a matter of fact every 3 months a new gift arrives for the kid of your choice. Place your order by age and and every three months they’ll send a new toy — every one chosen by development experts and moms to correspond to the child's age.

For Birthdays and Births simply click on the appropriate age category and you will be taken to a page where you can select one of the recommended gift series, or customize your own. Their reccommended series are great and keeps the need to think for yourself down to a real minimum.

For non Birthdays you can click the 'shop by age' button. And deliveries include instructions explaining why the toy is so perfect, which skills it will help develop, and the best ways to play with it together.

The only bad thing is that for kids older than 5 you're on your own. Their age ranges end at 4 to 5.

28 September 2006

25 September 2006

The Cost of War

This price tag is simply staggering -- especially when you look at in light of what the same money could have bought.

This number is based on an analysis of the legislation in which Congress has allocated money for war so far and research by the Congressional Research Service (latest report) which has access to Department of Defense financial reports. Read more about how it is calculated.

This cannot be the answer.

24 September 2006

One Singular Sensation Indeed!

Some might remember my post of June 8
when I excitedly reported on my purchase of tickets to the revival of A Chorus Line. Well, last night was the night. I went with my mom who was perfect company and I have to say it was everything I'd hoped for and a bit more. The show was excellent. It is still officially in previews so no "real" reviews have come out yet so let mine be among the first.

The revival was complete to the last sequin on the gold costumes in the last number. The set, the costumes, the lighting, the dancing and the singing were all faithfully revived, but it was not just a cold carbon copy. It was vital and very relevant. At first I was thinking it would be nice to see a modern day version of the show, but ultimately I am very glad they decided to keep the show set in the 1970's. In a way this was the very first "reality show" giving people a look into the world of auditions and a window into the souls of all the chorus dancers (and the like) out there who will never be stars. It is their fifteen minutes of fame. Undoubtedly some of the "secrets" that are revealed are somewhat less shocking to the general audience now than they were 20 or 30 years ago, but they still have bite. Standout performers were Deidre Goodwin as Sheila Ken Alan as Bobby and Natalie Cortez as Morales, but it is important to note that there were no weak links on the line. There was a lot of applause throughout the show and many opportunities to express enthusiasm in the form of clapping and cheering, however my only disappointment was that there was no real curtain call and therefore no real chance to give a standing ovation. I imagine, but can't remember that this was part of the original production, but I still hope the director will reconsider because it was a little bit unsatisfactory to not get to clap until your hands hurt. All-in-all I would say that Michael Bennett would be proud. Thank you so much to the cast and crew for an incredible night that made me remember what I love so much about the theater.

21 September 2006

Happy Half Birthday

Today is Zoë's half birthday -- she is exactly 4 and a half.

It is astounding to me to think that in 6 months she will be 5 and in a year from now she will have started school.

You know how everyone tells you it goes so fast -- turns out they're right!

19 September 2006

A theory on energy

How many times have you watched your kids run laps around the house, jump up and down, climb the sofa like it was Mt. Everest and asked yourself "where do they get the energy?" And how many times have you had to carry your oh-so-tired 40 pound kid out of the Christmas Tree farm, the museum, shopping mall, etc. because they just couldn't walk another step themselves? (While silently cursing yourself for not bringing the stroller, of course.)

It makes me wonder just how that energy comes and goes and I've come to the conclusion that it is parentally driven and it counter-corresponds directly to the amount of energy you want your child to have and expend at any given moment.

For example, if you want your daughter to sit down and have dinner, she will be running up and down the stairs faster and faster. However, if you are at and apple picking farm all the way down at the bottom of a big hill and carrying a bag filled with apples, at the farthest possible point from your car, that same daughter will be too tired and ask to be carried.

It's one possible theory.

18 September 2006

Website of the Week: Ideal Bite

Everyone knows it's not easy being green, but this site makes it just a little bit easier. Ideal Bite is basically an email newsletter sign up. The newsletter is emailed daily and contains simple tips and suggestions for leading a more planet-friendly "green" existence. The site itself also contains a tip library of past mailings.

The tips themselves are, for the most part, realistic and relatively simple changes to your activities of daily living. Plus you are given the facts, helpful resources and good suggestions for carrying out the changes.

Go for it and maybe green will be the new black.

14 September 2006

The Famous Gorilla

On the way into school this morning Zoë requested that I tell her a story about "the famous gorilla from Dusseldorf who took all his dog bones to Jupiter."

That is an exact quote.

Did she just channel some message from outer space?

Or is it from some TV show? She claims it is from Higglytown Heroes, but I'm not so sure.

10 September 2006

Website of the Week: NameVoyager

This week's site is a cool tool that is part of babynamewizard.com. It is the NameVoyager. Very useful for soon-to-be-parents, but the site is fun for everyone. See how popular your own name is. NameVoyager presents the info in a cool, fun-to-use graphical interface.

For the record the name "Zoe" hit an all time high as the 54th most popular name. In 2005 it was down to 59th. The name "Emily" was the most popular in 2002, the year my Zoe was born, but that was recently usurped by the name "Emma."

05 September 2006

Go see this movie!

Yesterday I saw Little Miss Sunshine and it is a fantastic movie and I think everyone should see it.

The basic plot is: A dysfunctional family travel across country to get their daughter to the finals of a beauty pageant.

But the story is about so much more than that. It is about the beautiful innocence of children and the fragility of human life and the ridiculous pursuits people dedicate themselves to. It will make you laugh out loud one minute and cry the next. Greg Kinnear, Toni Collete, and Alan Arkin star, but Abigail Breslin steals the show.

I can't say enough good things about this movie.

04 September 2006

Website of the Week: NY Times US Open Blog

OK, it is really a just a blog and not an entire site, but it is really good. NY Times US Open Blog is about as close as it comes to actually being there when you can't watch TV. In fact sometimes its better than watching on TV because it sums up the heart of each match really nicely. It kind of reminds me of the inning wrap-ups you can get for Major League Baseball games as ESPN.com. The coverage is insightful as well as enthusiastic.

One bit of advice -- catch the blog this week before it's gone -- at least until next year!

01 September 2006

School Supplies

If there was ever any doubt that Zoë and I share genetic code (which I don't think there was) it has now officially been proven that she is my daughter through the love of school supplies.

The other day we got a letter home from daycare about the official start of the pre-K year. Contained in the letter was a list of supplies -- pencils, crayons, markers, scissors and glue plus a box to put it all in. As it turned out due to a recent Staples shopping binge, we already had most of the supplies on hand so I packed up her orange plastic box with all her supplies and put it into her backpack that night. The next morning when I told Zoë about her new box of supplies, she was simply ecstatic. She had to open the box and carefully inspect each item. She determined she would like some different pencils, but otherwise everything was heavenly. Now each morning she checks her backpack to make sure her supplies are all there. I love it!

27 August 2006

Website of the Week: labelitorloseit

Someone I used to work with turned me on to this website when I was complaining about having to constantly write Zoë's name on all her sippy cups and tupperware for lunch and snacks at daycare.

The good people at labelitorloseit.com make waterproof stick-on labels. You can have your child's name or anything else you want printed on them plus you can pick a little icon to add some pizazz. They are essentially an amazing sticker. The best part about these labels is they survive many, many trips through the dishwasher and the microwave, but when you want to remove the label, they come off easily and don't leave any sticky mess behind. You get a set of 60 labels for $13.95. 60 labels could last you for years so it is definitely money well spent.

I haven't tried the iron-on labels yet, but if they are half as good as the stick-on kind, I am sure they are excellent.

25 August 2006

A Galactic Goodnight

Just the other day Zoë was telling me about how there are 9 planets in our solar system. She was singing about it as well. Where did she get this information, you ask? From Disney's new kids show Little Einsteins, of course. The episode is called "A Galactic Goodnight" and in it the Little Einsteins take a tour of the solar system. It's the kind of thing you hope for when you let your kids watch TV, right?

However, I hope they plan to make a part 2 where the Little Einsteins explain that Pluto is no longer a planet because I know Zoë is not going to believe it when it comes from me.

24 August 2006


I love the fact that Zoë's view of the world is quite utopian. Whenever we have any kind of race or contest (as in: who can get upstairs the fastest) in her view we all always win. It's so sweet that she would rather not declare herself the winner over anyone.

Today I had the good fortune to attend the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament being held in New Haven and I was telling Zoë about it when I got home. I told her that the winner gets a trophy and she wanted to know why only the winner gets it. I tried to explain. Then she said, "Mommy, if I never win a trophy, will you make me one?"

What do you think?

22 August 2006

Rockstar: Supernova

Out of total desperation because I just cannot watch another episode of Law and Order and there is nothing else on I have been watching Rockstar: Supernova tonight.

Is it just me or is the best part of this show watching Tommy Lee and Dave Navarro lounging on their Rockstar thrones and jamming along to the performances?

Unless you're a straight male -- then the best part is Brook Burke.

20 August 2006

Website of the Week: jacksonpollock.org

Bring out your inner artist with this fun and addictive site -- jacksonpollock.org You can create your very own Pollock-esque art with a few clicks and strokes of the mouse. When you're done, just print it out and voila!

17 August 2006

First chocolate and now...

COFFEE! The NYTimes has an article about health benefits from drinking 1 to 6 cups a coffee per day. Hooray! To think I've been limiting myself to only 2 to 3 cups. Dunkin Donuts, here I come!

So You Think You Won't Have Anything to Watch

Last night's finale of So You Think You Can Dance was quite bittersweet for me. It was a great 2 hours filled with incredible dancing and my almost favorite dancer won. (I really thought Heidi was the best, but I would have bet money on Benji.) But is it just me, or were you also incredibly taken off guard when she performed her solo and then was suddenly told she was not the winner? It almost seemed like they were going to end up announcing the winner by default. I hope they re-think that for next year's finale.

Although I haven't been a big fan of the musical guests throughout the season, I thought Fergie rocked the house. Ciara's lip-syncing was disappointing even though her dancing was great. Chris Brown was by far the best of all the guests they had.

OK, so now that this show is wrapped up for the summer, what am I going to watch? It is at least another month before the regular season starts up and being somewhat Ticketmaster inept I didn't even manage to get tickets for the tour. The New York performance was sold out in 11 minutes! So unfair.

Celebrity Duets here I come...

15 August 2006

Corn on the Cape

We've just returned from a long weekend of beautiful weather and relaxation on the Cape. We try to go for at least a weekend every year and last year when we went Zoë insisted that we were going to "Cape Calm." There was no convincing her otherwise.

On Saturday morning I jokingly said "we're off to Cape Calm!" She immediately corrected me. I then told her that Daddy was looking forward to eating some cod when get there. Surprisingly, she said she was too so I asked her if she knew what a cod was and she said, "Yes, cod, like corn on the cod."

We could not correct her because we were laughing too hard.

This conversation was bookended on they way home when I tried to explain that the word "cape" is what Superman wears, but it is also a piece of land that sticks out into the ocean. I'm not sure I ever got that across so I believe Zoë now thinks of Cape Cod as a place for eating corn and wearing Superman capes.

11 August 2006

Get a Bangalogue out of life

My smart and talented brother has somehow been shanghaied to Bangalore, India. Read his blog to find out more about it. Especially if you're a Star Wars fan.

Of course, given the news in the last day or so, I mostly look forward to his safe return (with souvenirs).

10 August 2006

Hats off to Single Parents

For the past several weeks my husband has been leaving for work at 6 AM and very often getting home after 9 PM or later. While I'm not complaining about the additional income this is bringing in, this means that I am in charge of all things Zoë. I get her up, make sure she gets dressed, brushes teeth and hair, and feed her breakfast before I drop her off at daycare. Then I go to work all day. At the end of the day I pick her up from daycare, spend some time playing with her when we get home, make her dinner (admittedly nothing elaborate), get her into pajamas, brush teeth, read stories, and then bedtime. After she's in bed I pack up her bag for the next day of daycare. By the time I actually sat down last night it was almost 9:30 PM.

It is an exhausting schedule. And I haven't even mentioned all the other things that need doing in a day or a week like going to the supermarket and laundry plus I try to get in gym visits.

I imagine this is how single parents live every day of every week of every year, therefore my hat is off to all of them. Especially the ones who don't have any and can't afford to hire any extra help.

07 August 2006

Website of the Week: Monk-e-mail

Are you looking for just the right way to send that special message or party invitation? Or perhaps you just want to give a friend a giggle? Then check out Monk-e-Mail.

I received my first Monk-e-mail the other day from my good friend Heather and I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Thank you Heather!

Here's how it works: You are given a selection of chimps to choose from. After that choice is made you make all sorts of selections about what the chimp is wearing, accessorized with and where he/she is. Finally you choose a voice -- there are pre-recorded messages, you can enter text that is converted to speech, or you can record your own. Then you send the message off to all your loved ones.

I really think I am going to have to use this for my next party invites.

06 August 2006

Check, please

Why don't waiters find it necessary to write down your order anymore? Is it some code among wait staff across the country that if you have to write it down, you're not a professional or you're not cool?

Well, if any waiters out there are reading (especially my waiter from Joe's American tonight) -- restaurant patrons are far more impressed when you get their order right and offer good service than when you take an order without writing anything down. I'd actually prefer that you wrote down that I want my dressing on the side -- or whatever other special requests I have -- because that will save me the trouble and embarrassment of having to send it back later. Please, there is nothing wrong with doing things the old fashioned way and writing it down.

04 August 2006

Dear Nigel,

I know I am a day late on this letter, but I was out on Wednesday night so I didn't catch up with my TiVo until last night. You are, I am sure, happy to know that So You Think You Can Dance is currently my number one season pass.

I was delighted by more fabulous dancing and I was not disappointed by the judging or the voting results. These dancers really look professional. The show is as sleek as it ever has been and it seems you've finally hired directors who know good camera angles for filming dance. I love the show and think you're a fabulous executive producer, but there's just one thing...

Why are you still making the dancers wear costumes that look like they came from Party City or last year's recital at the local ballet school? Donyelle's flapper style dress in her Swinging Broadway number with Benji was incredibly unflattering and it got in the way. You couldn't really see how she was moving because that darn dress was all over her. And while Donyelle's dress made her look heavier, all white on Benji made him look even more like toothpick. Their hip hop costumes weren't any better -- they were also totally unflattering and completely lacking in cool. Shane Sparks at least deserves better than that.

I can't comment on the contemporary/lyrical pajama dance outfits because I never like those, but definitely worst of all was the dress Heidi wore for her waltz. The girl has a perfect 10 body and she was covered her up in grandma's formal dress from her cruise.

So, dear Nigel, I am pleading with you to please hire a really good costume designer for next year's show (which I was thrilled to hear has already been picked up). I'm sure there are tons of really talented people out there that would kill for the job and given all your success with this show and American Idol, I think you can afford it.


03 August 2006

Have the driver bring the car around

My brother is traveling to Bangalore, India even as I type. In his last email to me he told me that the when you rent a car at Hertz in Bangalore the car comes with a driver. That got me wondering how exactly that works. Is it the same driver the entire time you have the car? What if you want to go somewhere at 2 AM -- will the driver be available 24/7? And what exactly does it cost to rent a car and driver?

I visited Hertz.com in the hopes of finding some more information, but the only facts I could ascertain are that there is, in fact, a Hertz outlet at the airport in Bangalore and that renting a mid-size car with air conditioning costs 3,135 INR per day. They don't mention anywhere that the car comes with a driver.

3,135 INR (Rupees) is about 67.40 US dollars per day.

Can you imagine being able to rent a car and a driver for $67.40 per day? Around where I live it costs at least $150 for a ride to the airport which is only about an hour away. From the little bit of googling I did on the subject, it looks like it costs upwards or $65/hour to rent a limo in NYC.

I am anxiously awaiting more details from my brother and will be sure to post an update as soon as possible. In the meantime I must share this video that my brother sent of traffic in Bangalore which clearly explains why you absolutely do need a driver.

01 August 2006

Is it Okay to Spank?

There is an article in this month's issue of Parenting titled "Is it Okay to Spank?" The very first sentence says:

94% of 3- and 4-year-olds have been spanked at least once during the past
year, according to one study.

Really??? It goes on to say that a majority of parents say they spank their kids. I was really surprised by this. Shocked, actually.

I only know of one friend who openly admits to spanking their child and while I prefer not to judge other people (well, maybe just their clothes and shoes) I really can't believe spanking is ever a good idea. When I say spanking, I'm talking about deliberately smacking a child's bottom (or whatever) as a form of punishment for some wrong-doing or misbehavior on their part.

I was spanked as a child and those are my most terrifying and vivid childhood memories. Don't get me wrong, I don't hold a grudge -- I have a great relationship with both my parents and I honestly believe they were doing what they thought was right. But now there has been a lot of research and many studies about the affects of spanking and I haven't heard of one that says spanking is a good thing.

I admit there have been moments of incredible frustration with my daughter where I was more than a little tempted to spank her or inflict some other kind of physical pain like a good pinch (something my first grade teacher was good at), but I held back because I am an adult and ultimately in control of and responsible for my actions. Just as I could never hit my husband or my friends, or really anyone unless it was self-defense, I could never hit my child. But I can see how it could happen by mistake and I think in those cases an apology to the child is warranted after the storm passes. An apology and an explanation.

However, most of my disciplining moments are fairly calm and rational. I think about the punishment I want to hand out and I simply cannot imagine deliberately spanking my child in one of those moments.

According to Parenting I am in the minority. To be fair, the article ultimately answers it's own question with a resounding "no."
The question of whether spanking works, or is safe, is beside the point.
Maybe the question should be "Is it really, absolutely necessary?" And, given
the moral Pandora's box that it unlocks, the less fraught options at your
disposal for addressing childish misbehavior, and the fact that your child is
watching, waiting, and learning from your decision, the answer seems clearly to
just be no.

31 July 2006

Website of the Week: mentalfloss.com

I haven't been very prolific with the posts lately, but I do have a new website of the week to share: mentalfloss.com.

This site is the online home of Mental Floss, the magazine. Even if you haven't heard of the magazine this site is worth checking out -- especially the blog which is full of incredibly witty and trivia laden info that you never knew you needed to know.

Blog entry authors include one of my favorites, David Israel who's novel Behind Everyman I wrote about here last year.

27 July 2006

So You Think You Can Tour!

I'm so excited because there really is going to be a tour of the top ten dancers from So You Think You Can Dance. Preliminary dates are here.

The show just keeps getting better. Last night had some amazing performances. I loved the hip hop routine that Donyelle and Travis did and didn't agree with the criticism of the masks. Shane Sparks is amazing. No less so in the routine he choreographed for Allison and Ivan which was also one of my favorites. The judges seemed to think that Heidi and Benji came out on top, but I'm not sure I completely agree although they were excellent. Overall I think the women outshine the men this year. Heidi, Allison and Donyelle are my favorites. I think Ryan will go home tonight, but I can't guess which woman it will be. Maybe Natalie....?

You can read a complete recap of last night's show here.

23 July 2006

Website of the Week

I've decided to start a new feature (technically the first feature) at ZoesMom and that is Website of the Week.

This week's site is: Fontifier.

Stealing the description right from their own site:

Fontifier lets you use your own handwriting for the text you write on your computer.
It turns a scanned sample of your handwriting into a handwriting font that you can use
in your word processor or graphics program, just like regular fonts such as Helvetica.

For anyone who is a little turned on by fonts, this is just so cool. I've had mine done (of course) and I am using it for a scrap book I am creating for Zoë. It is so cool! And it is cheap -- only $9 for a completely customized and personal font.

20 July 2006

Bert & Ernie & Zoe!

photo courtesy of Ashton Smith
©2006 Ashton Smith

18 July 2006

As a side note...

How great does My Super Ex-Girlfriend look?!

The tagline: He broke her heart. She broke his everything.

Where have I been???

On vacation, of course. I banned myself from the computer for a week while I was off from work and my friends were visiting and it was terrific. I mean, I am addicted to the internet and my email as anyone, but sometimes you just have to take a break from being "connected."

But, now I am back and vacation pictures will be coming soon. We made our annual pilgrimage to Sesame Place and it was another huge success. It was our 4th visit and Zoe is still completely convinced that the characters are real. We had a ball.

06 July 2006

So You Think You Can Costume? addendum

I can't believe I forgot to mention those fringed pants! Those were just awful. I couldn't even watch the dancing, I just kept thinking about what a poor idea those pants were. They looked like something David Lee Roth should have been wearing back in 1987. Allison, you desesrve so much better!

05 July 2006

So You Think You Can Costume?

I just finished watching tonight's installment of So You Think You Can Dance and while I think the choreography and the dancing on that show are fantastic, the costuming leaves something to be desired. Tonight was the worst yet. The costumes made the dancers look bad -- we're talking dancers with incredible dancer bodies. Worst offenders had to be:

Dmitry -- I don't care how cut his upper body is, sometimes a buttoned shirt with sleeves is more appropriate.
Natalie -- This girl is gorgeous and her dress made her look like a Christmas tree.

Many is the time I spout off about things I know little to nothing about, but anyone who knows me, knows I know what I am talking about here.

04 July 2006

The last thing I want to do...

...after a sun-filled 4-day weekend spent mostly in the pool or at the movies is go back to work. Ugh!

I really, really miss having summer vacations.

01 July 2006


Just got back from seeing the movie, "Wordplay." Whether or not you like crossword puzzles, this is a good movie. When it was over, I wanted to watch it all over again. If you've ever attempted a crossword puzzle, you will be impressed by the abilities of some of these people and there is no doubt that Will Shortz is enthusiastic about his job.

The only drawback in my mind was the fact that they didn't even mention Eugene T. Maleska, the editor of the NY Times puzzle from 1977 to 1993. There must be some bad blood between Will Shortz and him, but even so, I think it was unfair to not even mention him.

29 June 2006

A Walk to the Dairy Queen

Nothing says summer like walking to Dairy Queen after dinner. We did that last night and it was so much fun. It felt like we were on vacation. Zoë shared chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles with her entire body. I think she even managed to eat a little bit of it. I had my all-time favorite -- a Snickers Blizzard. (So much for that diet!)

Did you know there is a Blizzard Fan Club? I have to admit, I am tempted to join.

22 June 2006

Playdate follow-up

In all fairness, I feel I should report that last evening's playdate with Megan was much more pleasant than I expected. Megan's whole family (Mom, Dad, brother) are all quite nice and a good time was had by all.

I'm still a little unsure about the Mom picking Zoë up at school though...

21 June 2006


When did that word get coined? I can't decide if I like it. I once read an article about how it was so feminine sounding and it wasn't fair to boys, but I'm not sure I agree with that one. I guess, if you have to call it something, playdate will do, but it does conjure images of soccer moms in minivans...one of my least favorite stereotypes.

Anyway, Zoë was invited for a playdate today. Last week I found a note in her cubby at daycare from Megan's mom saying that Megan was dying to have a playdate with Zoë. (Megan obviously has good taste.) Megan's mom also says in the note that she would be happy to take Zoë home from school with her one afternoon because Megan leaves after lunch time. Megan's mom then left her email and phone number.

I have no idea which little girl is Megan and when I asked Zoë who Megan was she said, "I don't know." (Eventually she remembered.) I have never, ever met Megan's mom. Why on Earth would she think that I would let a perfect stranger take Zoë home from school? I was really, really surprised by that offer. I pretended it didn't happen when I emailed to make plans, but when we spoke on the phone, she re-iterated the offer. I didn't want to be rude, so I had to tell her that I didn't think Zoë was ready for that. Am I overprotective, or is Megan's mom just not thinking?

I am very interested to see how this playdate works out.

18 June 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the great Dads out there -- especially my husband, my brother, and my own dear old Dad.

There's a good piece in the NY Times magazine today that really shows just how much impact a Dad has on his daughter. Check it out here.

13 June 2006

Happy Anniversary Brenda & Jon

Today is my brother and sister-in-law's 9th wedding anniversary. In their honor I am posting the poem I wrote for them and read at their wedding.

There are so many more than
seven wonders.

I have seen water rush
and crash down a great cliff,
thousands of feet dropping,
merging with a lake
of stillness.
It never slows and never looks back.

There are places where the land,
so rich and vital,
produces the sweetest fruits,
purely of its own volition.
In celebration of itself.

Today we will see love and joy
create one entity.
Both beautiful with life,
an abundance to give, yet spaces to fill.
They share a love as natural as any
gift of the Earth.

There are so many more than seven wonders.
not the least of which is love.

12 June 2006

Life's a Beach

It was actually sunny yesterday so at Zoë's suggestion we went for a picnic lunch at the beach. Despite the wind, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Husband caught this beautiful shot of Zoë. Something about it feels like a window to what she will be like as an adult.

at the beach June 11

09 June 2006

A Star is Born!

Yesterday afternoon was Zoë's first dance recital. She has been taking a dance class all year at her daycare. It was so cute! She was terrific -- absolutely no stage fright and she was really into performing. Can't say she's going to grow up to become a dancer, but it was so much fun to watch!

And of course, here's a picture:

Zoe's recital

08 June 2006

One Singular Sensation...

I am so excited because the revival of the musical A Chorus Line is finally happening! I have been saying for a couple of years that is time. It is my all-time favorite musical and definitely the best show I ever saw on Broadway. Advanced tickets are on sale for American Express card holders so I bought tickets for September 23 last night. Don't call me that night, I'm busy! I didn't realize, but the show will still be in previews when I will be there because it doesn't officially open until October 5. But that's OK with me.

Unsurprisingly, there is a production blog on the website for the show which is pretty entertaining. Check it out here.

Kiss today good-bye and point me toward tomorrow...

07 June 2006

I love Maureen Dowd

I was wondering why the gay marriage issue had re-surfaced in the last couple of days and Maureen Dowd answered that question perfectly in her Op-Ed today. (Sorry if you don't have Times Select.)

06 June 2006

Something fun to read

Check out this piece from the LA Times written by David Israel. It is quite funny!

You may recall that David Israel is the author of Behind Everyman which I wrote about last year here. The book is now slated to become a movie sometime in the future. I really look forward to that.

04 June 2006

In search of Part 2

I was thinking about going to the movies with my husband tonight and the two top choices were X-Men 3 or Mission: Impossible III. It was then that I realized that some time was missing from my life because somehow I completely missed both X-Men 2 and Mission: Impossible II. Did I slip into some kind of time warp? Was I abducted by aliens? Was my memory erased? When did these movies come out and how did I miss them?

A quick stop on IMDB revealed that:

M:I II came out in 2000. 6 years ago! OK, I give myself a pass on that one because even if I had seen it, there is a chance I could have forgotten it. Perhaps the memory self-destructed?

X-2 was realeased in 2003. Again, I give myself a pass. I was just getting over surviving the first year of having a baby. If I did make it out to a movie, it certainly wasn't going to be to see X-2.

Interestingly enough, you know what these two movies have in common? Gay men pretending to be straight and tough. I've seen Hugh Jackman hosting the Tony's and if that isn't his authentic self then he is the world's finest actor. And I don't think I even have to start on Tom Cruise. He's just Cruis-azy!

Another mystery solved thanks to the power of the World Wide Web!

31 May 2006

It's the little things

I may have mentioned this before, but Zoë is not really into traditional toys. And if she does like something she plays with it in a way other than it was intended. For example, Legos. She loves her Legos, but she doesn't usually build anything with them. Instead she sorts them by size. That can occupy her for quite a long time.

But really her favorite things to play with are little things like rubber bands, straws, and loose beads. I actually put rubber bands and straws in her Christmas stocking and she could not have been more thrilled -- that may actually have been the two best presents she got.

A couple of weeks ago I took her into Toys R Us to pick out a present for being a really good girl. In my mind I had set a spending limit of around $20. Without much hesitation she picked a bag of lanyard strings that cost $2.99.
"Mom, can I please get this?" she begged.
"OK, but only because you've been so good," I conceded. I almost felt bad because she could have spent more, but she was so happy to have those strings!

Of course, this is a pattern that I hope continues well into the teen years. Doubtful, I know. I'll just have to try and remember these trips to Toys R Us when I am buying her her first $100 sneakers or similar.

26 May 2006

Dangerous Liasons

I just finished reading "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" also known as "Dangerous Liasons." What an excellent book! I can't believe I never read it before. It is kind of hard to believe this book was orignally written and published in the 18th century. Talk about risque. It was a selection from my book club and it is definitely the best book I've read with the club and the best book I've read in awhile. I definitely recommend it to just about anyone.

22 May 2006

Must have been those 2 years I lived in Dallas...

Your Linguistic Profile::
50% General American English
35% Yankee
10% Dixie
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern

Thanks to Queen of Slackers for that highly amusing link!

19 May 2006

Justice in a book review!

The New York Times review of Curtis Sittenfeld's new book, The Man of My Dreams is out today and it is not good.

The very critiques given to this book could so easily have been applied to her celebrated (especially by NYTimes) debut novel, Prep. Just when I was starting to lose faith in the NYTimes book reviews, they finally do some justice. They even compared her unfavorable to Melissa Bank saying...

"The Man of My Dreams," like the similarly quotidian but more varied and
assured oeuvre of Melissa Bank, is set up as a string of lonely-hearted short
stories rather than a fully imagined novel.

(Ms. Sittenfeld gave a scathing review to Melissa Bank's book The Wonder Spot back in June of last year.)

Baby Doll

Zoë: I wish Baby Doll would hurry up and grow up.

Me: But Baby Doll is a doll, honey.

Zoë: I want her to be a big girl, like me.

Baby Doll is, of course, Zoë's baby doll. I would say favorite if there were another, but she has never wanted another baby doll. I once bought her one and she completely rejected it -- going as far as throwing it out of her room into the hallway. It was a beautiful doll, too. Finally, I gave it to my niece rather than see it constantly rejected. Zoë has the whole kingdom in stuffed animals, but there is only one Baby Doll.

So, how do I explain that she will never grow up?

15 May 2006

Mother's Day

Spent Mother's Day at the Yankee game this year. It was a fantastic way to spend the day. Beats brunch hands down. Plus, it was Zoë's first baseball game and she loved it! She lasted until the end of the 7th inning and then had a complete meltdown followed by a very good nap in the car on the way home.

It could only have been better if the Yankees actually won.

10 May 2006

3 sentences

Zoë read almost 3 complete sentences the other night! I can almost declare that she can read. It was amazing to listen to her sounding out each word. And then when she got it all she was so proud of herself. I almost started to cry. My little baby is reading! I remember when she couldn't hold her head up on her own. Wowza!

For anyone starting to teach a child to read I highly recommend the Bob Books published by Scholastic. They are perfect. Start with: Bob Books First! Level A, Set 1

08 May 2006

Getting dressed

What is it about getting dressed that is so awful? Seems like every morning when I tell Zoë it is time to get dressed it is like I am telling her it is time to stick pins in herself. The whole operation takes less than 3 minutes, but she spends much more time than that in complaining about it.

This, of course, is completely different from playing dress-up. Zoë will gladly spend as much time as needed to put together the perfect Princess, Bumble Bee, Fairy, etc. costume from her dress-up box.

02 May 2006

Garbage Cow

I know the warm weather has officially begun because we paid a visit to Garbage Cow after dinner last night.

Who's Garbage Cow? He's the big cow that stands next to the big garbage can outside Sunny Daes ice cream, of course. The first time we went to Sunny Daes, Zoë was about 1 and just learning to talk. She saw the big cow and the big garbage can and identified each "Garbage" and "Cow." A couple of days later we were driving by and she saw Sunny Daes out the car window and she shouted "Garbage Cow!" And the name has stuck from there.

I'm not sure which Zoë loves more about Sunny Daes -- the chocolate ice cream or the Garbage Cow. When we left last night, as is the case every time we're there, we had to stop and hug and kiss the cow. She told him (no convincing Zoe that cows are girls) not to worry, she'd come back and visit soon. I never thought it was possible to love a big fake cow, but clearly it is.

24 April 2006

I hear myself everywhere

Just spent the weekend in NYC with husband. It was our first weekend away without Zoë in at least 2 and half years and it was truly wonderful. I could go into lots of romantic details, but I won't.

Instead I will go into listening to all the other parents and kids I saw. NYC is definitely a melting pot and I saw parents of just about every description and the thing I noticed is that all parents (myself included) say the same things! I couldn't help but giggle every time I heard a parent say, "Are you listening to me?" or "Pay attention" or "I told you to stop that." Frankly, it made me feel so much better to hear those same phrases that spill out of my mouth repeatedly on a daily basis. At least I am not the only one. And it wasn't just the exact phrases, it was the same tone of voice. I try to be a very conscientious parent, but sometimes it is hard to know if what you're doing is right. I'm not saying that just because everyone else is doing it, that makes it right, but it does make me feel better anyway to know my child isn't the only one who needs to be told these things.

18 April 2006

Questions about Easter

Zoë: Where does the Easter Bunny live?
Me: At the North Pole of course.

Why is there so much Easter candy in the store -- doesn't the Easter Bunny bring the candy in baskets?

Yes, the Easter Bunny brings baskets for little girls and little boys. Grown-ups have to buy their own candy.

Does the Easter Bunny know Santa Claus?
Of course, they both live at the North Pole.

Yes, but the Easter Bunny lives underground at the North Pole and Santa lives in his village and all the elves are like his children. Right?
Right. And the Tooth Fairy lives there too.

13 April 2006

Spring Fever

I feel like I am suffocating in my office. It is so stuffy and quiet! No more so than usual, but now that some nice weather is here, I just want to be out wandering around and enjoying it. I couldn't be happier that Zoë's daycare is closed tomorrow for Good Friday so I am forced to take a day off. I have not accomplished one thing of note this entire week.

10 April 2006

All Partied Out

Yesterday we had the third and final party in an almost month-long celebration of Zoë's 4th birthday. Yesterday was the kids party and I think it came off pretty well. Aside from the glitter glue myniecee got in her eye (and all over her face and the wall, the floor, the table, etc.) there were no tragedies. Poor Sophia was still glittering when she left the party, but it didn't seem to slow down her good time. I think Zoë had a ball and she got some good presents too -- including a complete trunk of Princess play shoes. What a great idea that is.

Many members of my family have birthdays this time of year so there has really been a lot of celebrating lately and a lot of cake. With Easter and Passover impending, the celebrations show no sign of stopping. More cake! (Followed by many hours at the gym to pay for it all.)

08 April 2006


We went out to dinner tonight and had a babysitter for Zoë. The babysitter is a very nice girl who works part time at day care. She is also a college student and Zoë just adores her. As young as this girl looks to me, and as long as it has been since I've actually babysat, it still cracks me up to be the "grown-ups" going out and not the babysitter in this scenario.

05 April 2006

Strange Creature Found in Family Room

She's ready for a flying underwater mardi-gras adventure!*

*Thanks to JKo for that excellent description.

03 April 2006

Mission: successful

I feel like it is some kind of triumph that I went into a Toys R Us store on Saturday and managed to purchase the exact booster seats I was looking for. I didn't even have to wait more than 10 minutes at the customer pick-up counter. The gods were smiling upon me.

Zoë's 4 year check up was this morning and she came through with flying colors. 100% healthy and completely precocious. Not even a flinch at the finger prick and very short-lived tears after the two shots. I was really impressed with her. I think the fact that we didn't tell her she would have shots until the last minute really helped because then she didn't have a chance to build up anxiety.

31 March 2006

I have a cold

Did you know it is nearly impossible to sleep when you can't breathe through your nose? I've lately discovered that fact.

I can't remember being quite this stuffed up before. I'm not a big fan of taking cold medicine because it leaves me feeling so completely out of it no matter how non-drowsy it claims to be, but I think I may have to break down and buy some.

The thing that really annoys me is that I have been well all the cold and dreary winter long and now that some beautiful, sunny, warm Spring weather has finally come our way, I'm feeling rather crappy and not much like getting out and enjoying.

Oh well. I should probably find something real to complain about.

Big plans for the weekend include buying a booster seat for Zoë! Bye-bye old car seat, my little girl is growing up. Zoë is not the only one excited about this.
I've chosen this one:
Graco Turbo BoosterGraco Turbo Booster

I'm sure buying a booster seat doesn't sound like such a big deal, but every time she grows past some piece of baby equipment (like the high chair, bottles, etc.) I feel it is a milestone of her growing up. What everyone says is, in this case, actually true -- it goes by so fast!

27 March 2006

Birthday party hell

This past Saturday I took Zoë to one of her daycare classmate's birthday party. It was at a kid's music class place in Wilton. It started off well. The kids all sat around in a circle while "Robert the Guitar Guy" played music and used puppets and silly voices. Zoë was very into it and she was her usual boisterous self and a bit dominating in the area of answering questions or offering suggestions when Guitar Guy asked for them. Nothing that she was doing was aggressive or out of turn, however. She was just very involved and hasn't learned to contain herself.

Then, at one point all the kids were supposed to be sitting up and Zoë pointed out that two of the little boys were still lying down. Guitar Guy turns to her and says, "Zoë you know what? Your job is Zoë." And it was in this nasty tone of voice. Thank goodness my daughter came back with this, "My name is Zoë, my job isn't Zoë:."

And thank goodness that she isn't old enough to have been embarrassed by a comment like that. I wanted to throttle the guy. He is neither her parent nor her teacher and had no right to speak to her that way. It was a birthday party! A few of the other mothers commented on how inappropriate they thought he was which made me feel better. I am still in the middle of composing my nasty email to "Robert the Guitar Guy".

26 March 2006

The Food Channel

Is it just me, or does it seem completely counter-intuitive to watch cooking shows on the food channel while working out at the gym?

24 March 2006

It's good to be home, but...

it was kind of nice to be away too.

I just got back from a quick business trip to Boston and the best part about it was going out for drinks last night and not having to worry about getting home, or driving, or getting up the next day, or even paying. It felt a little like my old single days and it was fun.

It also didn't hurt that my hotel was quite nice -- The Westin at Copley Square. The rooms have modern decor and they have what they call the "heavenly bed." I am happy to report it lived up to its name. I slept dead center in that heavenly bed and was very happy not to have to share it. We were discussing the beds last night and I commented that when you're single and you walk into a hotel room and see a bed like that you wonder who you can get to join you in it, but when you're married with kids, you look at a bed like that and smile knowing you get it all to yourself.

22 March 2006

The girl turned 4

With much fanfare, cake, and almost a dozen balloons, Zoë turned 4 yesterday! She wore a crown all day that said "Birthday Girl" and she loved every minute of the day. It was the first year she really got into celebrating her birthday and really understood that all the festivities were just for her. I had to sing "Happy Birthday" multiple times.

First question when she woke up this morning:
Mom, when will I be 5?

20 March 2006

7:30 AM Sunday

Zoë had just crawled into bed with my husband and me and we were snuggling. It was delicious. Then sitting up a little Zoë notices a box of Reeses Pieces sitting on my nightstand. She instinctively seemed to know it was something good.

Zoë: Mommy, what's that orange box?

Me: (trying to think of a plausible fib, but coming up empty and finally admitting) It's candy.

Zoë: What kind? I never saw that before.

Me: Reeses Pieces.

Zoë: What do they taste like?

You gotta give the kid credit for cleverness!

16 March 2006

March madness

Despite the fact that March is the month in which my beautiful daughter Zoë was born, I think I am starting to hate this month -- maybe even moreso than February. February doesn't make any false pretenses about itself.

Things I hate about March:

  1. The changeable weather. One minute it is 65 degrees and sunny and you're taking off your coat and the next minute it has dropped 30 degrees, snow is expected and you're wondering where you left your gloves.

  2. Shopping for clothing is impossible. All the clothes and shoes in the stores are all for Spring -- Spring somewhere a lot warmer that is around here. Try buying your almost 4-year-old a party/Easter/Passover dress when everything they have is shortsleeved or sleeveless. You just can't count on it being warm enough for that kind of thing.

  3. St. Patrick's Day. No offense to the Irish, but come on, this is a day that has gotten way out of control. It has been completely "Hallmarked." Next thing you know people are going to start buying St. Patrick's Day presents. I'm all for a green beer or a green bagel, but I think we've really entered the land of overkill now.

  4. March madness. I am a basketball fan, but who can keep up with all those college teams? It's just an excuse to go drink beer -- as if the world needed another one of those.

  5. Spring Break related news stories. Enough already. We all know just how drunk you can get in Cancun.

Do I sound like a total March Grinch, or what???

14 March 2006


I am so bored today. It's not like I don't have work to do, but I just can't bring myself to do it because it is just so boring. I am in a complete funk and just want to go lay down somewhere and watch Dr. Phil or something. Sigh. I've even tried playing my favorite online game, Text Twist, but I think that has only made things worse. I want this day to be over now. And damn the fact that it is only Tuesday. I really have no idea how I am going to get through the rest of this week.

10 March 2006

Mom, I need you!

Around 8:45 this evening (about an hour after she is supposed to be in bed and sleeping) I hear Zoë call out "Mom, I need you!" Usually the delay tactics are more along the lines of "I have to potty" or "I'm thirsty" so I went up to see why it was that she needed me.

"Mom! I looked out the window and there are kids playing outside in the middle of the night!" Her eyes were completely lit up and she looked at me expectantly. "I saw them outside," she repeated.

I explained to her that those kids outside are older and older kids are allowed to stay up later.

"Mommy, when I get to be 8, can I play outside in the middle of the night?"

Of course I said yes. What else could I say???

09 March 2006

Conversation with Papa

Zoë: Papa, you need a wife.

Papa: I agree. I'm working on it. I'd like to have a wife.

Zoë: What will you name her?

07 March 2006

Book club

Just got home from my book club. This month's selection was "My Name is Red" by Orhan Pamuk. To be honest, I hated this book. The only other person who openly admitted to hating it, decided not to even come to the discussion because she couldn't even finish it. It was a struggle for me to finish it, that's for sure. And I cannot figure out what the others saw in this, let alone anyone else who's enjoyed this book. I honestly think that, as is the case with some really inscrutable films, people claim to like this book because they don't get it at all and figure that if it is so hard to understand, it must be good. I am not afraid to admit that I didn't get this book and I really don't want to.

Happily, next month's selection is "Jane Eyre."

02 March 2006

The Wizard Voz

We just spent our half a snow day watching The Wizard Voz. Twice. In a row.

Yes, of course, I mean the The Wizard of Oz, but Zoë insists it is "Voz" and who am I to argue?

Isn't it interesting how young kids aren't sure the movie will turn out the same way it did last time? Maybe this time the Wicked Witch won't get melted and Dorothy won't get back to Kansas. Repeated viewings are necessary just to be sure. I guess that explains how I could stand to watch repeats of The Brady Bunch night after night when I was a kid. We didn't have a DVD player or even a VCR back then.

01 March 2006

I'm taking my toys and I'm going home

If I could have said/done that today I would have. I would have gone home and had a good sulk.

27 February 2006

We've just about survived another February

Which brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors:

(Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins)

They say that February is the shortest month, but you know they could be wrong.

Compared, calendar page against calendar page, it looks to be the shortest, all right. Spread between January and March like lard on bread, it fails to reach the crust on either slice. In its galoshes it's a full head shorter than December, although in leap years, when it has growth spurts, it comes up to April's nose.

However more abbreviated than it's cousins it may look, February feels longer than any of them. It is the meanest moon of winter, all the more cruel because it will masquerade as spring, occasionally for hours at a time, only to rip off it's mask with a sadistic laugh and spit icicles into every gullible face, behavior that grows quickly old.

Febuary is pitiless, and it's boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those? The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine's Day. It was no acident that our ancestors pinned Valentine's day on February's shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.

Except to the extent that it "tints the buds and swells the leaves within" February is as useless as the extra r in it's name. It behaves like an obstacle, a wedge of slush and mud and ennui holding both progress and contentment at bay.

If February is the color of lard on rye, its aroma is that of wet wool trousers. As for sound, it is an abstract melody played on a squeaky violin, the petty whine of a shrew with cabin fever. O February, you may be little but you're small! Were you twice your tiresome length, few of us would survive to greet the merry month of May.

25 February 2006

Cake is not lunch

OK, sometimes cake can be lunch, but not for 3 and 4 year-olds.

I took Zoë to a birthday party this morning -- the second party this month I must add. The party started at 10:30 and was to end at 12. That's a little shorter than the usual party, but that didn't bother me. What did bother me was that after we did t-shirt painting and then the birthday girl opened her presents (note to self: do not open presents at party) we went into the dining room for cake and juice boxes. No lunch was served. There was some fruit and muffins in the kitchen, but that was supposedly for the parents. Is it just me who thinks giving their kid cake before lunch is a bad idea???? I don't get it.

23 February 2006

A day well spent

There is something so satisfying about a day well spent. I took a personal day today and I:

  • slept late

  • took the train to NYC

  • visited very good friend and her very handsome new baby boy

  • went to the Much exhibit at MoMA

  • bought excellent boots on sale

Said boots:

20 February 2006

My new nephew!

Welcome Joseph David!
born: 02/17/06, 7:16 am, 7lbs. 110z., 20 inches
baby Joseph

16 February 2006

Does the food fall on the baby?

Zoë often asks me the most interesting questions.

Today while I was driving her to school we were talking about my sister-in-law, her aunt, who is about to have a baby. Zoë asked me this question:
Mommy, when Aunt Brenda eats, does the food fall on the baby?

I could tell by the way she asked that she had really been thinking this one over. And when you think about it, that is a perfectly reasonable question since for months we have all been telling her that Aunt Brenda has a baby growing in her belly.

15 February 2006

Made for Saturday Night Live

Is it just me or are you also having a hard time mustering up sympathy for Harry Whittington? (The guy our V.P. accidentally shot.)

The writers for Saturday Night Live couldn't have dreamed up something this great, but at least they have fantastic material for this week's show.

Although, I think Jon Stewart already beat them to it. The Daily Show was absolutely hysterical last night. I was laughing so hard I was crying. I tivo'd it and watched it all over again right away. I plan to watch it again tonight.

12 February 2006

It seems like we just had...

...an entire winter's snow all at once! Yikes!

I am hopeful that we've gotten it all overwith in one fell swoop.

09 February 2006

It's always Thursday

When I was in college my roommate used to say that it was always Thursday.

She was right. If it isn't actually Thursday, it will be Thursday tomorrow or it was Thursday yesterday. Thursday is a good day and a great night for happy hour. (Not that I've been to happy hour since I got pregnant, but I used to have a really great time at happy hour.) Even Thursday night TV is usually good.

I guess once you make it to Thursday you've basically made it through the week and you stop paying attention to what day it is until Monday. No one wants to think too much about Monday. You shoulder up to the grindstone for another week and wait for Thursday to roll around again when you can start to feel the pressure lift off a bit and start thinking about the weekend. And it starts all over again.

07 February 2006

Selective hearing

I was talking to a friend today who has a daughter almost the same age as Zoë and we were complaining about how challenging this age can be. I told my friend that I was seriously considering getting Zoë's hearing checked because I could be standing right in front of her and talking right to her face and yet she will seemingly not hear me at all. Not hear me at all. It is an amazing thing. The other thing Zoë will do is say "what, Mom?" repeatedly. This is how it usually goes:
"Zoë put the that down."
no response
"Zoë, I said put that down. Do you hear me?"
"What, Mom?"
"Put that down."
"What, Mom?"
"Are you listening? I said put that down."
"What, Mom?"
"Is it that you can't hear me or you don't understand what I am saying?"
"I hear you."
"What did I say?"
"I don't know."
blowing top now "I said put that down! Put it down now!"

I know it sounds inane bordering on the impossible, but this is true.

Anyway, the good news is I can hold off on the hearing check -- and hold onto my $20 co-pay -- because my friend's daughter does the same thing and she really did get her hearing checked and she was fine.

06 February 2006


Sunday night my father-in-law was taken to the emergency room at 3 AM. There's nothing like that middle of the night phone call to start your heart, huh? Actually I thought it was going to be my brother or sister-in-law. My sister-in-law is due with her second baby in about a month so it is not out of the question. Anyway, my father-in-law is now doing OK. He seems to be suffering some complications from the painkillers he takes regularly. They are keeping him in the hospital for at least another night, but I am happy to say he should be going home soon. It was a really good scare though. My father-in-law is 83 and not in the best of health. I wonder at times like these how my husband will deal with his inevitable passing.

And in related news, my boss went in for his surgery today. He has colon cancer and they went in to remove the tumor and probably a pretty large chunk of his intestines as well. I finally just got an email from his mother saying he is out of surgery. I think recovery will be tough for him, but I never saw someone with an attitude better than his. All the time that he has been going through this I think I only saw him visibly down once. Amazing.

I hate hospitals.

02 February 2006

6 more weeks of winter

Phil, I even said please. When's the last time you predicted an early Spring anyway?

I have decided not to believe you this year.

Anyway, I'd rather believe that my buying a new winter coat and new snow boots ensured a winter with minimal snow.

01 February 2006

Dear Punxsutawney Phil

I hope you're having a restful winter. Please don't see your shadow tomorrow.


Happy Birthday Husband!

Today is my husband's 40th birthday. It's kind of weird to think that my husband is 40. That sounds so grown up! And I don't really think of either of us as grown-ups. He seems to be taking it pretty well in stride. He was a little distressed about it in the weeks leading up, but I think he's over it by now. I think I'd like to keep him around for at least 40 more birthdays.

30 January 2006

A prevailing bad mood

I'm not sure what it is, but I seem to be consistently in a bad mood these days -- especially in the evenings. Maybe I'm not getting enough sleep or I'm eating the wrong foods or possibly it is the winter blues. Maybe I just need some more vitamin D -- seeing the sun for only 2 minutes a day starts to catch up to me at this point in winter. Whatever it is, I wish I could shake it. (Not like a Polaroid picture, more like a sandy towel.)

29 January 2006

Zoe Bright and Dark

Way back in early middle school, I read this book, "Lisa Bright and Dark" about a teenager who has some kind of bi-polar disorder and she completely cracks up over the course of the book. It was kind of a scary read for a kid.

Anyway, sometimes I think Zoë is behaving like she suffers some sort of bi-polar disorder even though I eventually realize it is just a case of being 3. One minute she is behaving like a good, calm, sane child and the next she is screaming and crying over some mysterious injustice or minor injury. I don't expect her to behave perfectly all the time, I just would like to find a way to extend the periods of good behavior and minimize the bad and seemingly insane behavior. Any advice here would be appreciated. As long as it isn't wait another 2 years.

On a completely unrelated note, I measured Zoë this morning and she has grown almost 4 inches in the last year!

26 January 2006

A good day for a tantrum

Today would have been a good day for a tantrum. If only it were socially acceptable for 35 year-olds to have tantrums, I certainly would have been lying on the floor flailing arms, kicking and screaming at least once today. And it could have been as early as 7:15 AM when I returned home from the gym to find my husband still sleeping when he should have been up and showering. That got things off on the wrong foot for the day and my mood never recovered. Given the rest of my day, it never really had a chance, but that is a long, boring story filled with minutiae. I really think the kicking and screaming might have helped.

The more I think about it, the more I think how much I could really use a wife just like me. Then I would never have to set an alarm clock or worry about there being food in the house or soap in the shower. I know, I've said this all before and I am sure I will say it again so stay tuned...

25 January 2006


This blog is not a space I usually use to express my political opinions, but in this instance, I can't help it.

Yesterday, Google announced a new and special version of their search engine created especially to comply with the rules of the Chinese government. This version excludes e-mail messaging and the ability to create blogs, but that is not the part that really gets me. This new Google will comply with Chinese law and censor information deemed inappropriate or illegal by the Chinese authorities. Specific words will be blocked including: Tibet, Falun Gong and Tiananmen Square. Additionally, they will pass user information back to the government. From today's NY Times article:
In one case two years ago, Yahoo provided information that helped the government convict a Chinese journalist, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, on charges of leaking state secrets to a foreign Web site.

I don't feel good about this. It makes me want to stop using Google, and Yahoo for that matter. Aren't these companies rich enough without trading in civil rights for more profit? I know there is a great desire to be in the Chinese market place, but if companies like Google and Yahoo who can afford to ban doing business with China would do so, it would be an incredible statement.

Again from the NY Times:
The Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders, which tracks the activities of Western technology companies seeking to do business with repressive regimes, condemned the Google-China deal as "hypocrisy" and called it "a black day for freedom of expression in China" in a statement published on its Web site.

24 January 2006

Remember the Alamo! part dos

It can be lonely traveling on business. Especially when I'm in the hotel alone at times I would normally be with Zoë and husband or Mom. It feels so quiet without them and strange to be all by myself.

Yesterday I was so happy to be home from San Antonio and back with my loving family. That lasted until about 11:30PM last night when my husband began having repeated coughing fits that woke me up each time. Now, before you think I am unsympathetic to some illness he is suffering, let it be known that he has been having this same cough for weeks and weeks and I have asked him many times to go to the doctor. He does not have a cold. Then shortly after he finally settled down to sleep (around 1AM), Zoë woke up crying, "I can't find Eyore!" Eyore is one of her beloved so I knew I had to get up and help her find him wherever he had wandered off to (deep under the covers it turned out). This then led to "I have to go potty" and "I need a drink of water" and finally "Please snuggle" and it was almost 2AM by the time I got back into my own bed. By that time I was seriously missing that quiet and lonely hotel room!

23 January 2006

Remember the Alamo!

I was just in San Antonio for the past few days on business and I got to see the Alamo. It is conveniently located downtown and across the street from the wax museum. And it turns out to be kind of a depressing and somber place to visit. In essence it is a place where an awful lot of people were killed and it is much like visiting a big grave. Complete with bullet holes and gift shop.

Overall, I think the trip was good. I did my best at work and I got to see one of my best friends, her husband and their daughter. Their daughter is so incredibly well behaved that it made me feel that I must be doing something seriously wrong in my own parenting. It's not as if her parents are extremely strict either -- she is just naturally good and sweet. I have to admit I felt slightly better when the little girl had a minor tantrum when Mom said no to buying her a book. That was more like it!

17 January 2006

Little boys are kissing my daughter

Today when I picked up Zoë to take her home from school, one of the little boys in her class hugged and kissed her good-bye. Yikes!

Happy Birthday to me

As per usual, the weather on my birthday (Sunday) was total crap. Woke up to howling winds, snow and ice. Nope, no trip to the big apple for me. It's just not fun to walk around in that kind of weather -- even just a few blocks. I was quite disappointed at the turn of events, but not at all surprised. We were supposed to go meet Duncan too, but Zoë's kennel cough re-appeared Saturday night and her nose was running so that cancelled that idea. You just can't bring a snotty-nosed 3-year-old to the home of a newborn. Especially not one that is only a little over a week old. Next time, we'll weather the weather if there's no illness.

Anyway, the day didn't turn out all bad. I had a fabulously relaxing breakfast in bed prepared by Mom and Zoë. I actually lounged in my bed until almost 10 am! Unheard of! I got some swell gifts too.

All-in-all turning 35 was mostly painless and even some fun.

13 January 2006


Who doesn't like Friendly's? If you don't know what I mean and you've never experienced a Fribble, you need to go out and find the nearest Friendly's restaurant ASAP.

We've just come from dinner at this fine dining establishment and they have got how to make kids happy in a restaurant down pat. From the blue and pink soda drinks to the Monster Mash sundae to the giant tub of crayons, life is good as a kid at Friendly's. At least for my kid. She had a ball and she was definitely the loudest kid in the place. Where does such a little person get such a big voice?

Turns out Friendly's is also the place for divorced dads. There was no less than 5 tables of kids with just their dad. It can't be that it was mom's night out for everyone -- unless I missed an important memo.

12 January 2006

Neil Diamond -- 12 Songs

Believe it or not, Neil Diamond's new CD is really good. I am listening to it now. I mean it's not the old stuff like Sweet Caroline, but it is good. Two thumbs up for good old Neil.

10 January 2006

Open the windows!

Today I opened the window in my office! It was a beautiful thing for the 10th of January.

It's been unusually warm here in the Northeast the last couple of days and it has really been wonderful. The last few winters have been so cold and snowy, we were definitely due for a milder winter. Of course, the tables could still turn, but by this time last year I had already shoveled my driveway 5 or 6 times. In a way I think I insured a milder winter by finally breaking down and buying new snow boots this year.

Don't worry, I know February is busy getting itself ready as I type.

09 January 2006

Opportunity, is that you?

I really hope so. I've been waiting by the door for you.

I don't want to jinx this one by even writing about it here, but if it does happen, I promise to let you know.

(It has nothing to do with pregnancy.)

07 January 2006

Welcome Duncan!

Got some great news last night about the birth of Duncan. The new Mom, my long-time friend, and baby are both doing well. I can't wait to visit them. Congratulations to the new family!

It's funny how long ago those newborn days seem -- especially now as Zoë's fourth birthday rapidly approaches. I can't say I miss those days, but there is something amazing about just holding your baby in the first few weeks. I remember looking at her for hours and I just couldn't believe I made something so perfectly beautiful. Every little turn of the head is a moment of amazement.

I also remember how good it felt to roll over in bed for the first time and not have that huge belly in my way anymore.

04 January 2006

Return to school

I'm sure you know that Christmas Carol "It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas." There's a line in the song that goes...
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

When I was a kid I used to think that line wasn't very nice, but now, NOW, I totally get it. I mean I GET IT.

Yesterday Zoë's school was closed because of what turned out to be mostly a slush storm so I stayed at home with her and did my best to work from home. For most of the day we couldn't even really go anywhere because it was so gross outside and after the second viewing of "Madagascar" cabin fever began to set in and I thought she was literally going to start bouncing off the walls.

With the holidays and the snow, we've just had too many days at home lately and she really needed to be back at school running around. That kid has so much energy! This morning I had to take her to a doctor's appointment and we arrived a few minutes early and the office wasn't open yet. There was nowhere to sit or anything -- we just had to stand in the hall. No one was around so I told Zoë to see how fast she could run to the end of the hallway and back. I was half joking, half serious, but she did it! Multiple times. It was hysterical to watch. All that running and she was barely even winded. I definitely need to get her involved in more physical activities. Thank goodness school was back in session today.