30 December 2007

New Doc on the Block

Paging Dr. Zoë, paging Dr. Zoë to the Christmas tree stat. More presents need opening.


Zoë from Santa this year was this medical trolley which comes equipped with stethoscope, blood pressure-taker, IV, ear checker, and cell phone. Rob managed to find a set of scrubs (sexistly labeled "Nurses outfit" ugh!) to go along with and now all the stuffed animals have been miraculously cured.

Zoe had so many presents under the tree that she actually took a break from opening them. What kid takes a break from opening presents? One who is clearly spoiled rotten, I guess. However, as I said to Rob, what is the point of having only one if we can't spoil her with presents? She had a great day which does make me happy too.

Santa even remembered to bring the DVD of Hairspray which was a big hit on the summer vacation to Maine we took with Ima (grandma). Watching that again on Christmas day brought back some nice memories of a fun trip.

20 December 2007

Christmas Tree Chopping

We made our annual pilgrimage to Jones Tree Farm to chop down our tree. We chose an angel white pine which is looking quite lovely in our family room near our new TV.

Check out more photos from the day here.

19 December 2007

The new member of my household

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of my household:

He's a Sony Bravia 40" LCD TV. Merry Christmas to us!

Yes, I wanted one of these cool flat panel TVs, but only because I think they're cool and appeal to my gadget-loving side. I mean this is kind of an uber-gadget, but a gadget none-the-less because we already had a TV, right? Wrong. It is a whole new world of TV watching in my house. It is kind of like having a little movie screen in the house. I really didn't expect to love it as much as I do, but I am completely smitten with this thing. And so is everyone else in my house. Yay for big, cool, nice looking TVs!

If you happen to be in the market for one of these babies, but have no idea the differences between plasma, LCD, or rear projection and want some knowledge before dealing with a salesperson, I highly recommend this article I found on cnet.com. It should be called "Big TVs for Dummies." For the average shopper this has everything you need to know. Seriously. I even surprised the sales guy with my knowledge.

17 December 2007

Manic Monday

Manic Monday for December 17:

What is your idea of a perfect romantic evening?
A warm Spring night in NYC that starts out with drinks outdoors somewhere -- preferably a balcony of a bar high above the city, followed by a delicious dinner with plenty of wine and concluded with a long, leisurely hand-holding walk around the city. (That describes the first date I had with my husband.)

Imagine you had to take part in the winter Olympics. What sport would you do? (Here's a link to the official sports, in case you need help.)
The luge! I have always wanted to try the luge. It looks like so much fun! I have contemplated trips to Lake Placid just to try luge. If only it weren't so darn cold there.

What's something that people do in traffic that really bothers you?
Read. It drives me completely insane to see someone holding a book or a magazine while driving. As my friend Becky says, when you're driving, it's not down time.

13 December 2007

Snow Day

It is just about 8AM and Zoë is still fast asleep since I didn't have to wake her for school. It's a snow day here (even though it is not actually snowing just yet) and since it is the first of the year I am not at all unhappy about it. Can't say I mind working from home -- especially since I am still in pajamas myself.

I keep thinking about the joy that always came with having a snow day when I was kid. No school! A day of sledding and hot chocolate and a little extra TV time. Somewhere along the line when jobs and responsibilities come along the joy of a snow day gets lost. (Unless you're a teacher, of course.) I think Zoë is still a little young to really appreciate her first real snow day, but it is just the first of many in her life.

First day of school, first snow day, first report card...so many firsts for Zoe this year.

My hope for Zoë is a much happier school experience than I had. A happier youth. I often wonder if that is truly possible. At least I know we can enjoy today -- the flakes are just now starting to fall.

10 December 2007

Manic Monday

Today's questions are:

For the holidays, are you a last-minute shopper or do you shop well ahead of time?
I definitely shop well ahead of time. Most years I am about done by Thanksgiving. This year I put it off a bit and done as of this weekend. I hate running around with all the crowds and just buying "something" for people. I like to think it over and make sure my gifts are really good for the person I am giving to.


If you had to pick a new first name for yourself, what name would you choose?
Jill. My middle name is Jill and I was supposed to be Jill, but at the last minute my parents were pressured into naming me after my great-grandmother who died a few weeks before I was born. I always wonder how my life would have been different, if at all, if I had had that name that was planned for me.

What's worse, having expectations that are too high, or having no expectations at all?
Expectations that are too high is the worst. It is always better to be pleasantly surprised than terribly let down. At least in my book.

06 December 2007

Ter-yum-me

Zoë has been a reluctant reader. She can do it, but she doesn't really try to do it voluntarily.

The other day Zoë, my Mom and I were in a GapBody store. Near the check-out desk (or cash-wrap as it is referred to by Gap insiders) there is a table of their new line of lotions and potions. As we were waiting to pay Zoë was smelling each and every bottle.

After a few minutes she turned to me and said, "Mommy, what does ter-yum-me mean?"

"Ter-yum-me," I asked, "Where do you see that?"

"Here," she said pointing to one of the bottles.

I picked it up and it had a sticker on it that said "Try me!"

Ter-yum-me = Try me.

I loved both her interpretation of the words and the fact that she is finally inspired to try reading on her own.

04 December 2007

In case you were wondering...

...about that new "Recipe Widget" that I've added to my blog I wanted to explain (and do a little more shameless promotion.) Because I am sure that some of you who know me well would be a little puzzled by that particular combination -- cooking + Bible definitely does not equal my usual interests.

Cookingwiththebible.com is my latest baby from work and possibly one of the more interesting sites I've worked on in awhile. It is based on the book of the same name that was published by my company last year. We've turned the book into a website that I think is pretty interesting and one of the cool parts of the site is the widget that you see on the right.

Go ahead, check it out.

03 December 2007

Manic Monday

Another Manic Monday meme...

What's the longest you've ever waited in line?
About 6 hours. I was waiting to get a passport.

It's been said that, "The best things in life are free." Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
I would agree with that. Some of the most miserable people I have known have all the money they ever need and I've never seen money buy love. However, money can buy some pretty amazing shoes.

If you could go back in time and re-live one day in your life, which day would you choose and why?
I would like to re-live the day my daughter was born. It was amazing and awful and hands down the most remarkable and incredible day of my life.

02 December 2007

The girl who cried stomach ache

I am sure I am going to suffer horrible guilt if it turns out that there is something truly wrong with her, but it seems like lately Zoe has a lot of convenient, phantom stomach aches. Here's a typical scenario:

It is 8:15 AM and Zoë is supposed to be getting dressed but instead she is just sitting on the potty.

Me: Zoë! Hurry up!
Zoë: (silence)
Me: Zoë! What are you doing?
Zoë: But Mommy, I have a stomach ache.
Me: Since when?
Zoë: It hurts.

You can change the time of day or where she's sitting, but this usually occurs when we're trying to get out the door to go somewhere or when she is on the verge of getting into trouble. I bought these children's Pepto Bismols and sometimes I give her one just so we can get a move on.

Does that make me a bad mother? I mean, a single children's Pepto tablet seems harmless enough. The dosage is two tablets.

And I almost always have really good instincts for when Zoe is truly sick and this just isn't ringing true with me. The stomach aches are just too conveniently timed. She is a smart girl, but she just doesn't know when a certain trick has worn thin.

27 November 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Tagged again by Becky.

1. Six guilty pleasures no one would suspect you of having:
  • Eating ice cream in bed. I don't know if no one would suspect that of me, but it isn't something I've broadcast. When I've had a bad day I like to eat a bowl of ice cream while in my PJs and tucked into bed.
  • Buying cosmetics and other bath and body type products. A few close friends wouldn't be surprised, but I don't think anyone really knows how much I enjoy buying a new lipstick or lotion or other promising potion.
  • 60's folkish/anti-war music. I can't explain it really, but I was exposed to it when quite young. Think Cat Stevens (pre-Buddhist), Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Neil Young, etc.
  • Neil Diamond. I know I am not alone here, but I don't generally advertise the fact that I know all the words to "Cracklin' Rosie." Again, I blame it on my parents. (And yes, I heard that "Sweet Caroline" was written for Caroline Kennedy.)
  • Rob Lowe. He's just so darn good looking. I have seen every movie and TV show he's ever graced. He was so good in West Wing and so foolish to leave. Even with that whole underage girl in the hotel stuff, I can't help it.
  • Expensive haircuts. Again my close friends already know, but I like to get good, expensive haircuts in NYC. My salon of choice is currently Arrojo Studio. You may recognize the name from Nick Arrojo of "What Not to Wear" fame -- it is one and the same. Although, I am not indulgent (or rich) enough to have Nick cut my hair, but I would love that.


2. Six guilty pleasures you wish you had the courage to indulge:
This is a hard one so I'm changing it to include things I'd also like to be able to afford or have time for.
  • Personal trainer.
  • Personal chef.
  • Custom made bras.
  • Going back to school.
  • Drawing.
  • Broadway shows. I love musicals and plays. I wish I could find the time and money to see many more. Right now I only get to about 1 or 2 a year.


3. Six pleasures you once considered guilty but have now made peace with:

  • Candy. I used to think I was the only person who liked candy, but then one day I realized that most grocery stores and CVS stores have entire aisles devoted to candy so I really can't be the only one buying the stuff.
  • Chick lit. I used to hide 'em, but now I freely admit to loving them. They are like the candy of the book world.
  • Lattes. I used to think it was utterly absurd not to mention completely wasteful to pay over $3 for what is essentially a cup of coffee with milk, but it is such good coffee. A good latte can make all the difference in the day.
  • Gadgets. Electronic gadgets, that is. I am an early adopter and have been since before the phrase was coined. I don't regret my 2 mega-pixel camera, my RocketBook or my Handspring module that played about 23 MP3s. I could probably open a gadget museum. I love them and since it seems that Apple has made the gadget cool, I am proud to show mine off.
  • Shoes. Yes, I buy a lot of shoes, but at least it is a better habit than gambling.
  • Buying more books -- I mean lots of books. I have shelves of unread books and I enjoy knowing they are there waiting for me.

26 November 2007

Manic Monday Meme

Which personality trait has gotten you into the most trouble?
My big mouth. Sometimes I just don't know when to shut up. It's not that I spill the secrets, but I just run off at the mouth and it makes me look silly.

If you had to gain 10 pounds what would you eat to gain the weight?
Milk shakes. When I was little a friend of mine was really, really skinny and he had to have a milkshake everyday to help him gain some weight. I remember being very jealous of that.

How is your private self different from your public self?

I'm quieter in my private life and not really so friendly and outgoing.

Thanks Manic Monday for another good set of questions.

25 November 2007

Playdates

Rob and I took Zoë to the playground this afternoon and by chance our neighbors were there too. While the kids were playing we got to talking about what it used to be like when we were kids and we could just go out and play. I can only remember being taken to an official play ground a handful of times. We didn't need to do that because our parents could just let us out the door and tell us to be home by dark. Nothing new in that I know, but it did get me thinking about these new-fangled "playdates" that never really existed when I was a kid.

Before this year a playdate meant a get together for me as well as for the Zoe and her friend. Sometimes this was fun and sometimes this was the opposite of fun. There's only so much coffee, chit chat and "kids, share with each other" I can stand.

This year a change has come to the playdate. Now that Zoë has reached the golden age of 5, drop off playdates are acceptable. I don't know who sets the age standards, but apparently 5 is the age. Drop off playdates are a good thing. Obviously when Zoë gets dropped off that means a few hours of time for me while she is having fun, but when Zoe has a friend over, that equates to a few hours of mostly quiet time at home for me. I can get things done around the house or just relax. On Friday while Zoë had a friend over I did 5 loads of laundry, balanced the check book, did some online Christmas shopping and watched a little TV. I made the girls lunch at one point and had to tell them to stop running around a couple of times, but other than that it was quite nice. I should also point out that Zoë had a fabulous time. She was quite sad when her friend was leaving and she can't wait until she can come again.

I am decidedly pro-playdates.

18 November 2007

Manic Monday

I just discovered a new site called Manic Monday.

Today's question are:

What is your least favorite day of the week and why?

What's the best way to end the day?

Which animal would you have left out of the ark?

My Answers:

Tuesday. It's got nothing going for it. It isn't Monday, it isn't hump day, it isn't the end of the week. All you have to look forward to on a Tuesday is most of the week ahead of you. (Unless you're on vacation, of course. Then Tuesday is a good day.)

Good dinner, good wine, warm bed.

Skunks. Sorry Pepe LePu and family, but that stink is the worst.

Same time next year

2006

2007


Can't wait to see next year's snapshot...

08 November 2007

"Me" Meme

I've been tagged again! (Thanks Becky)

This is a fun one, here are the instructions:

List one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your first or middle name. You can theme it to your blog or make it general. Then tag one person for each letter of your name.


M -- Mom
I know it is an obvious one, but being a Mom is a big part of my life. (In case you hadn't noticed from the blog.) I never really dreamed of being a Mom when I was a little girl. I didn't give it much thought one way or another and sometimes I even thought I wouldn't have kids, but sometime shortly after Rob and I were together we both new we'd have a baby. I'm not much for the paranormal, but it was as if having Zoe was something we couldn't stop or control. We were both suddenly consumed with the idea of having a baby. We both knew our baby would be a girl and from very early on we knew what her name would be. I can't even imagine life without Zoë in it.

A -- Artist
I think at some point in my life I considered myself an artist and I'd really like to get back to that feeling some day. The life of a true artist by profession is not an easy one and when I gave up on it I also gave up on the entire artistic side of me and I miss it a lot. I've started trying out photography for something new and at some point I'd like to take a class or two. I'd like to get back to that writing I dabble at too and then maybe someday put the two together into photo-essay books. Or maybe I'll just go back to drawing.

R -- Reading
I love reading and I love books. I wish I had more time than I do for reading and I am insanely jealous of the people I know who can read really fast, but at the same time I do enjoy savoring a really good book. The other part of reading that I love is book shopping. Book stores are wonderful places where amazing, life changing discoveries can be made and these days you can even get a good cup of coffee to go along with. I read to Zoë every day and I take Zoe to the book store a lot and hope that I can pass along both my love of reading and my love of book stores.

C -- Candy
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love candy. Note that I don't mean chocolate. Chocolate is good and has its place in the world, but my heart really belongs to candy -- like Mike & Ike's and Good 'N Plenty and Nerds and Blow-Pops and Smarties and ...I've loved candy for as long as I can remember. When my brother and I were little every Saturday was "Candy day" and my Dad would take us to the store -- Bob's Kit and Kaboodle and we were allowed to pick out 2 pieces of candy each. That was definitely my favorite day and if my dream of opening a candy store were to ever come true, I might just have to call it Marcy's Kit and Kaboodle.
(If any dentists are reading this -- yes, I do brush my teeth 2 or 3 times a day.)

Y -- Yes, I Can
OK, I know that is a stretch for the Y word, but Y is a tough one. Yes, I can is the attitude I am trying hard to adopt. Yes, I can find a job that where I both succeed and am happy. Yes, I can have a career I enjoy and still be a good mother. Yes, I can have a good, stable marriage. Yes, I can be happy.

Boycotting the NY Times

I just realized I have been boycotting the NY Times. I haven't even looked at it since last Thursday's outrage -- if you don't count the Sunday magazine. I guess that it is enough punishment for both of us.

Are unconscious boycotts effective?

01 November 2007

I'm no editor

And certainly I am not a NY Times editor, but I think something got mixed up today.

When I open NYTimes.com the first thing I usually check out is the 10 Most Popular Emailed articles and the current number one (as of 1:18 PM today) is The Feminine Critique. I was intrigued by the title so I clicked on the link, read the article and nodded along with it. For an experienced working woman, there is nothing new in this article, but it is interesting to read about the scientific studies. No surprise there that women still do not get equal treatment in the work place.

I was about to email the article to a colleague with whom I have had similar discussions, when I noticed what section the article appears -- Fashion & Style.

Really? Doesn't this belong in the Business section? By placing this article here below articles on organic cosmetics and and art/fashion performance, it seems to me the NY Times is perpetuating the very inequality discussed in this article. Come on, guys.

29 October 2007

I can fix it!

On Sunday we took possession of a practically new couch that my father was giving away. He's just moved house and decided to get all new couches. As these things often are, the couch moving was awkward, although not as awkward as the time we moved into our first apartment and had to bring most of the furniture including the couch in through a window. That explains why we left most of our furniture when we moved to the house.

I digress.

As the couch was being awkwardly moved into the house, one of the feet got knocked off. Once we got the couch in place Rob tipped the couch on its back to see if he could get the foot back on. He tried to jam it on, but then declared he would need tools as it was a screw situation. All of a sudden Zoë tore off and up the stairs. An instant later I knew exactly where she had gone.

"Where did she go?" my Dad asked.

"Wait a sec an you'll see," I said already smiling.

Feet thundering down the hall, she re-appeared tool box in hand. "I can fix it!" she declared. "I have tools!" She knelt down next to Rob, popped open her orange Home Depot tool box and said, "Do you need a phillips head or a flat head?"

I just love that kid!

23 October 2007

Halloween Strategery

The other night Zoë asked me if she and her two cousins could eat dinner after trick-or-treating on Halloween night this year. Traditionally the cousins come over with their parents (my brother and sister-in-law) and we all have dinner together before hitting the streets trolling for candy. Her argument was that it would be better for her younger cousins to go out earlier and then there would be plenty of time for dinner and they could still get to bed on time.

"Do you think I was born yesterday?" I asked her.

My brother is convinced she will grow up to be a lawyer or politician -- maybe both.

17 October 2007

Education complete

The other day Zoë brought home a drawing that said "I want to learn...to cross the monkey bars in kindergarten." The drawing is quite an effective representation of her actually swinging monkey-like on the playground bars rendered carefully in crayon. On Saturday, while we were away visiting friends, she managed to do exactly that -- she crossed the monkey bars. In fact, she did it so many times that I am not sure how she was able to lift her arms the next day.

Tonight I asked her, "Now that you have accomplished crossing the monkey bars, what do you want to learn in kindergarten next?"

"What does accomplish mean?" she asked.

"It means now that you have learned to do it. What do you want to learn now?"

"Nothing!"

I guess I don't need to worry about saving for college after all.

Guy Smiley, is that you?

Is it just me, or does Jake Gyllenhaal...



remind you of Guy Smiley...?

08 October 2007

While driving

I really thought I had seen everything people could do while driving from kissing to putting on make-up to, of course, talking on the cell phone. However, today I saw something I never saw before.

I was stuck behind this Saab that was driving erratically -- slowing down and speeding up with no rhyme or reason. Finally I was able to pass this car and when we came to a traffic light and I was stopped next to the car I looked over to see who was driving this car fully expecting to find someone talking on their phone. Instead, I saw the man in the driver's seat was eating corn on the cob.

Seriously, corn on the cob. While driving.

I don't understand that at all.

04 October 2007

Eeyore is sleeping

Last night my husband put Zoë to bed and as he was tucking her into her cozy bed filled with stuffed animals of a wide variety Zoë suddenly realized her beloved was missing. Her beloved is Eeyore, of course. She has had this same Eeyore since she was 6 months old and he is her one true lovey.

With panic rising in her voice she said, "Where's Eeyore?"

"He's downstairs sleeping on the couch," my husband replied calmly.

"When he wakes up, can you bring him upstairs?"

30 September 2007

The End of Summer

Summer seems to want to linger this year and I am not at all sorry. Each extra day of warmth and sunshine is like a gift and I don't even mind that my lawn has turned mostly brown from lack of rain. And even though some lovely new fall clothes hang patiently in my closet, I have been making an effort to keep wearing my light weight skirts, sandals and summery t-shirts. I want to take advantage of every day where no coat, scarf, or gloves are needed.

I just read a really great poem here, which has inspired me to put one of my own poems here...

The water like a slate
and the insects have all come
to share their secrets.

Listen closely.
It's a long way from home,
but little is asked of you.

They collect their toll in drops,
and stings,
leaving behind only a
permanent stain.
The dragonfly floats and stares
and delivers the summation.

Watch and don't turn away.
Just remember.

The butterflies already know,
their golden flash is the only thing
briefer.

25 September 2007

22 September 2007

Mega Tree House

Q. What does any good non-observant Jew with 5 year-old daughter who is not feeling 100% well do on the highest of holy days that also happens to be a dreary Saturday?

A. Troll the aisles of Target of course!

Upon setting out for Target with Zoe, I knew that I would not return without some toy or other. My guess was that it would be Halloween related since the retail world is in full swing for the occasion already. We did spend a good 20 minutes perusing the Halloween merchandise aisles, Zoe playing with each and every screaming or singing skeleton, skull or monster they had available. The only request that came out of that area was for some pink candy corn which I refused.

As we headed toward the toy section, Zoe had her heart set on a new ball to be chosen from the giant hopper that lives at the top of one of the aisles. My backyard already has so many of these balls it sometimes looks like they grow there spontaneously, but at $2.50 a pop it is an easy Mom win.

However, on the way to the true toys section we passed through the sporting goods and then a sort of transition aisle that included fishing gear and various Playhut tents for kids. Zoe stopped in her tracks to look over the tents as a large Dora the Explorer Tree House tent caught her eye. A quick look down at the price tag on the shelf and red flags were flying. $49.99! Not my idea of an impulse buy. I wanted to hurry us to the $2.50 balls and I was halfway into my "put it on your list for Christmas and remember that Santa only brings one special present" speech when a little orange sticker on the tent box caught my eye. I leaned in for closer inspection to see that the sticker read $12.12. Hmmm...I could see some mega Mom points headed my way.

A deal was struck immediately. No ball, no Cookie Crisp cereal, and no other toys or goodies this trip to Target if we got the tent. Lots of hugs and thank yous later I wrangled it into my red cart and made quick strides for the register. I had the cashier confirm the discounted price and was pleased when there was no error.

We were barely in the door at home when Zoe was clawing at the box to the tent. We took it out and set it up in our family room. Turns out there was nothing deceiving in the name "Mega Tree House." This thing is literally 5' x 5'. It took up all the open floor space in the family room. Zoe piled in her favorite blankets and pillows and settled in for a long afternoon of watching movies. It was true love from the start.

I have to say, of all the Playhut tents I've seen (and this makes Zoe's third) this is by far the coolest one. I am sure I would have enjoyed this little hideaway when I was a kid as I was forever making tents with the blankets and pillows in our den or setting up and sleeping in our pup tent in my room. There is something so cozy and yet adventurous about being in a tent -- even if it is planted on the middle of your carpet.

Tonight I even managed to wrestle the Mega Tree House back into its 2' x 2' flat nylon bag with relative ease, but I suspect that tent will be re-erected first thing tomorrow morning.

19 September 2007

The Cosmetics Counter: LUSH

I suspect I am a little late to the table on this one, but I have a new love and it is called LUSH. I must, first of all, thank Becky for the introduction to the world of LUSH.

My experience started with the wonderful, fresh smell of the store. It is hard to tell from their website just how delicious the store smells so I highly recommend going to an actual B&M location if you can find one near you. Then the lovely sales assistant helped Becky and I to a hand treatment that left the skin on my hands smoother than Zoë's baby you-know-what. After that I got a tour of the store and learned that all their products are hand made and never tested on animals. They use all natural ingredients and most of the products even come stamped with a best if used by date.

The hand treatment products were amazing, but I knew I would never go through all those steps on a regular basis. The bath soaps were incredibly tempting, but I hated the idea of such a great soap wasting away in the shower and getting all used up by Rob. Ultimately I settled on a set of 3 products to make up a new facial cleansing routine. The names of the products alone are quite alluring:

"Angels on Bare Skin" is the name of my new cleanser/exfoliator.
"Breath of Fresh Air" is my new toner.
"Imperialis" is my new moisturizer.

Yes, the products are on the expensive side, but so far they are really fabulous.

13 September 2007

Happy 5768!

This morning Zoë told us that today was an important holiday for Russian people because it is Russia-shanah. Is that a perfect interpretation or what?

L'shanah tova. May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

11 September 2007

6 years

I can't believe it has been 6 years since 9/11/01. In some ways it still feels like yesterday and in other ways it feels like 20 years ago.

So much changed that day.

This anniversary reminds me to be grateful for all that I still have. I was one of the very lucky ones.

10 September 2007

Royal Bank of Scotland will not get my business

Have you ever seen this commercial? I've seen a couple of times -- most recently this morning at the gym. It is so sexist that I find it infuriating. Why is the one woman made to look a complete idiot. The brush? The scream? Come on.

I'm sure they're not too concerned, but I won't be getting any of my money. You never know, that might actually mean something someday.


09 September 2007

These quizzes are so powerful!

This one knew all about me...

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

07 September 2007

7:25 on a Friday morning

And what a nice Friday morning it was...

After my shower this morning I saw that it was already 7:25 AM and Zoë was not yet out of bed. I went into her room and started pulling up the shades -- her room and especially her bed gets all the gorgeous morning sun. Now bathed in that sunlight, she started to stir in her bed and I gently said, "Time to get up my wonderful girl."

She was lying on her stomach and her face was turned toward me and this sweet little smile spread across her face. Her eyes were still closed and she looked almost angelic. I knelt down next to her bed and leaned over to kiss her cheek. My face was centimeters from hers and I was awestruck. I know it sounds melodramatic, but it is true. I can't believe I had a hand in creating this beautiful child. It felt like falling love all over again.

30 August 2007

The First Day!

Today was the big day -- Zoë's first day of kindergarten. She got on the bus no problem and looked back only to get her picture taken. She got to her classroom (we followed the bus to school), and sat right now in a circle with everyone else. And then there she was this afternoon getting off the bus like she had been doing it for years. When she got off the bus she said her day was "fantastic!"

I only shed a few tears.

Pictures to come soon...

27 August 2007

What are you reading right now?

I've beenn tagged for another book meme by Becky.

What are you reading right now?
Roots
I started it about a week ago and am almopst halfway through. It is for bookclub and is the follow-up read to last month's Gone With the Wind. In this case it could be called "The Other Side of the Story."

I am also reading the latest New Yorker magazine (haven't gotten past Talk of the Town yet) and the latest edition of Tin House to which I received a gift subscription for my birthday. It is an interesting publication that contains excellent work along with some stuff that looks like it was pulled from the local high school's "literary" magazine.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
My shelves of unread books overflows, but I'm leaning toward "The Evil B. B. Chow and other Stories" by Steve Almond. I haven't read a short story collection in a while and the few Steve Almond pieces I've read have me intrigued. Of course a trip to the bookstore could quickly derail that plan. It will be something to look forward to after completing all 888 grueling pages of Roots.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
The New Yorker, Wired, Marie Claire, Outside and something I would not have believed existed until my husband brought it home called Primitive Archer. Seriously. Clearly my husband has never gotten over Y2K.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
The Silent Cry is the worst thing in recent memory. I wasn't exactly forced because it was for my book club so no grades or money depended on it, but it was torturous for me. Farther back to my school days I would have to say some of the plays I was forced to read in my theater classes were among the worst including Ioneesco's Rhinoceros. I just didn't "get" the greatness of that one. (Sorry J. Fred.)

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?

I tend to always recommend the last book I really, really loved. Right now that book is Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I just really enjoyed and was completely taken by surprise by that book and I have mentioned it to just about everyone I know that reads. There are certainly things I think everyone should read, but I generally don't go around making recommendations like that.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
Definitely not. Don't tell the people I work with, but I don't even have a library card of my own. (Yes, Zoe has one.) I like to own my books. Lend them out if I choose too. Let them sit on my shelf for months unread like delicious fruits ripe for picking at any moment. I love books and I am rarely satisfied with borrowing them. (My own copy of Special Topics is on its way to be me as I type.)

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
I think The Secret History by Donna Tartt falls squarely in that category. I don't even know why, but I just really enjoyed that book (both times I read it), but I have never met anyone else who would list it among their favorites.

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?

While eating: Whenever I get the chance. I especially love leisurely breakfasts with a good book or magazine. Reading while eating is one of the best parts of eating alone.

While bathing: Nah. Not a bath taker and books and showers just don't go well together. If they did, I would probably try it.

While watching movies or TV: Definitely while watching TV and especially when the TV show is something aimed at my daughter or that my hsuband has chosen. Never while watching a movie. I love movies so I pay attention to them.

While you listen to music: Not usually because I just don't put music on that much if I am not at my desk at work or in the car and I think driving, listening to music and reading would be a bit hazardous.

While on the computer: No. I mean a lot of being at the computer is reading, but I don't read something else while I am doing something on the computer.

While having sex: No. Reading material is usually cast aside at that time.

While you're driving: No. See "While you listen to music" above.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?

No, but it used to drive my Dad crazy. He used to say that my brother and I were the only two kids who had to be told to put the book down and go outside to play. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't reading something, but I think my true obsession with books hit me right after I quit graduate school and I had a job, but was overwhelmed with the free time on my hands even after working 40 hours a week. It was then that I discovered Half Price Book Store and truly fell in love with reading just for the enjoyment of it.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
I don't know. Since I had Zoe I haven't been able to force myself to stay awake to read like I used to. I can remember reading Jurassic Park all in one night as well as a few Jane Green novels, but I have no idea what the last book was.

26 August 2007

Becoming Pride and Prejudice

By some miracle (thanks again Mom!) I was able to slip out to a movie last night. I had to make a quick decision of what to see. The choices have been pretty bleak all summer (Bourne Redundancy, anyone?), but there was actually a few options last night so my decision, after ruling out "The Nanny Diaries," which I really want to see with a friend, was based on time. "Becoming Jane" was playing at 9PM and therefore declared the movie of choice.

I went in with low expectations due to a few cool reviews I'd read. Frankly, I was just pleased to be sitting in the theater with my popcorn and the fact that the film I was about to see had nothing to do with Pixar. I was quite pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained. Although I am a big fan of Jane Austen's novels I know very little about her actual life so the fantastical story didn't bother me even though I am sure it didn't have much to do with reality. The entire movie was basically a reflection of the plot of "Pride and Prejudice", but this time with a different sort of happy ending. The idea was that you could see where Jane Austen got inspiration for each character and plot twist in her famous book. That aspect was quite enjoyable and the fact that she doesn't end up with the man of her dreams is also satisfying. Her desire to be a writer trumps all other desires in her life. Anyone who has read and re-read "Pride and Prejudice" will likely enjoy this movie as well.

My only complaint with the movie is the fact that Anne Hathaway is (in the tradition of Keira Knieghtly playing Elizabeth Bennet, perhaps) downright skeletal. Her British accent was not perfect, but better than expected, but she looked like a stiff wind would blow her over at any moment and her collar bones were so spiky that I would be afraid to hug her. She was really so much prettier with a few more pounds on her in "The Devil Wears Prada."

Speaking of the actors, newcomer James McAvoy was both handsome and excellent as Ms. Austen's love, Tom LeFroy. I look forward to seeing him in the upcoming film version of "Atonement."

24 August 2007

Last Day of Babyhood

Today is Zoë's last day at Pumpkin Preschool.

Pumpkin Preschool is the daycare she has been attending since she was 6 months old. It is both a relief and a sadness to be done with the place. My little baby has grown up there and now she will embark on a whole new chapter of her life (kindergarten!). One that I am sure will be exciting and wonderful and that I know she is ready as can be for, but she'll never be a baby again. I have to say, she was the cutest baby EVER. Seriously. Look at this picture of her at about 6 months:


Starting next week I lose her a little more to the world. But you know, when it comes right down to it, she will always be my baby.

22 August 2007

Green is the New Black

Yes, I mean green as in eco-friendly, recycling, bottled water is bad. Yawn, right? Everyone from Oprah to Tom Friedman have been spouting off on the need to "go green." However, I've been on the recyclying and conservation band wagon since my college days in Ithaca so I have to say it is good to see the rest of the country getting on board. The more the better when it comes to saving the Earth.

All of this increased awareness in the media and otherwise has led me to think about what more I can do to get even "greener." (For the record, in clothing I am really drawn to blue these days and not green.) I have felt the need to do more than the standard recycling of newspapers and soda cans. (Further for the record I am not, never have been, and probably never will be someone you would consider "granola" or "crunchy.") So far I've come up with a few fairly simple things and as I think of more I'll post about them. Here's what I've got so far:

  • I buy the largest size available of products that come in plastic bottles like shampoo and other cosmetics, soda, and cleaning supplies.
  • I've conquered my addiction to Olay Daily Facials Express. While these make face washing incredibly easy, it does mean throwing away the little cloth every time.
  • I take at least one less napkin at fast food/to-go style restaurants.
  • I used to use two paper towels to wipe down the cardio equipment I've been using at the gym and I now only use one.
  • I bought re-usable grocery bags. To aviod any financial impact on the grocery bill, I did this one bag at a time for several weeks and I now have enough for the weekly shop.

Those are the highlights. More to come and I am definitely open to suggestions.

14 August 2007

Tom Chapin

Anyone who's ever had satellite radio can tell you exactly why it is aptly nick-named "Crack Radio." I am lucky enough to have Sirius Satellite radio in my car and even though I also have AM/FM radio and a 6-CD player, I listen to my satellite radio exclusively. And for those of you who immediately think of Howard Stern, I have never listened to him once.

However, I have discovered a number of artists I might not other wise have heard of. Especially in kids' music. Sirius channel 116, Kids Stuff, is all kids music all the time and Zoe just loves it. While I think the station name should be changed to Laurie Berkner and friends radio, I am so pleased that we discovered Tom Chapin through this station.

Tom Chapin is the brother of the late Harry Chapin and as it turns out he is a fairly prolific musician. His songs are really great and have wonderful lyrics that are just right for younger kids, but enjoyable for grown-ups too. Of course the brother of the man who wrote 30,000 Pounds of Bananas should have the same talent for lyrics. (Yes, we have no bananas in Scranton, PA...)

One of my favorites songs of his is called "Questions" The chorus goes like this: "I want to know why and how and which and what and where and when so I am gonna ask and ask and ask and ask and ask again." Then he goes on to pose a long list of questions. The funniest part is that when the song comes on Zoe will provide an answer to each one of the questions.

Some examples:

How does an iPod play?
You turn it on.

Who puts the stuff in stores?
Trucks bring the stuff.

When did your hair turn gray?
When you got old.

Why do we still have wars?
Because boys are mean.

Where do you go when you die?
Heaven

And my favorite is...

How does the tooth fairy know?
Practice.

09 August 2007

Plan ahead to do NOTHING

Did you know that tomorrow (August 10) is National Lazy Day? It's true!

And as luck would have it National Lazy Day just happens to coincide with National S'mores Day!

Of course, neither of these holidays are, as of yet, officially recognized, but look out for your local Hallmark store to start selling "Happy S'mores Day" cards any minute now.

By the way, today just happens to be one of my favorites -- Book Lovers Day. I think I'll go celebrate at my local B&N.

08 August 2007

Ask and ask and ask and still no tell

On Monday morning Zoë seemed to not be feeling her best. She was unusually lethargic and coughing and I got the feeling she was acting, but I knew she was also exhausted from the very busy weekend we'd had so I decided to keep her home. She was on and off cranky and spent a good part of the day watching TV and by midday she seemed to be perked up and feeling better. I kept asking her how she felt and I couldn't get a real answer.

Tuesday morning I brought Zoë to school and 2 hours after I dropped her off I got a call from her teacher telling me that Zoe wasn't feeling well, but it was unclear exactly what was wrong. She was cranky -- very cranky. Her throat hurt, her stomach hurt, it kept changing. Lucky for both Zoë and me my mother was able to pick her up and take her home for the day. Again she seemed to be feeling better by the afternoon. And again I kept asking her how she felt or what was bothering her and I got no answer.

This morning (Wednesday morning) on the way to school Zoë told me her ear hurt. Finally! It all fell into place. Since she was a baby, Zoë has behaved pretty much this exact same way when she has an ear infection. It is a cranky, whiny thing combined with bursts of energy to throw you off the scent of the problem. Since she has had about 2 dozen ear infections I can't believe I didn't figure it out by Tuesday morning. I was distracted by about a hundred other things otherwise I am sure I would have recognized it immediately.

This afternoon a quick trip to the pediatrician confirmed my diagnosis. Of course when the doctor asked what was wrong, she told him immediately. At least the antibiotics work faster than Zoë answers a question.

18 July 2007

Monster Spray

One night a few weeks ago Zoë called to me from her bed where she was supposed to be sleeping.

"Mom! I think there is a monster in my room!"

This was the first time she ever claimed to see a monster in her room and I was a little surprised by it. As I was climbing the stairs I was thinking to myself that I didn't want to make a big deal out of this and out of nowhere I was hit with what turned out to be a great idea. I grabbed the can of Lysol from the bathroom and went into her room with my "Monster Spray." I sprayed the spot where Zoe claimed to see a monster and when she asked me how it worked I said monsters are repelled by the smell, just like bug spray.

Zoë being the trusting, darling child that she is accepted this completely. She was fully satisfied that the monster was not coming back. At first I was concerned that this would bring on nightly monster scares, but there has only been one other since and it was just as quickly wrapped up with a couple of sprays of Lysol.

I wonder if the Lysol company knows about this added use for their product?

12 July 2007

Xanadu on Broadway

Yesterday I just happened to read the NY Times' review of the new Broadway show "Xanadu." I don't ordinarily read the theatre reviews because I don't get to the theatre very often. And yes, it is "Xanadu" based on the cinematic gem by the same name that starred Olivia Newton John, but that is not the part I am excited about.

I am excited because this production stars Kerry Butler and the review is glowing. I attended college with Kerry Butler. We graduated the same year, same theater department. (Clearly she made good use of her degree unlike myself.) While this is hardly her first Broadway show or even her first starring role, the review about her work is amazing. It is really nice to see such great praise for someone you know and who's talent you have always admired. Plus everyone likes to brag about the famous people they knew "way back when."
The article says:

Kerry Butler, as the Greek demi-goddess Clio, who also roams Venice Beach as the Australian mortal Kira, is simply heaven on eight little polyurethane wheels. Or heaven in leg warmers.

...

Ms. Butler is the rare Broadway ingénue who is as funny as she is pretty, and she sings gloriously, too, both in her own tangy Broadway belt and in a devastatingly funny impersonation of Ms. Newton-John’s sweetly sighing soprano. (When Ms. Butler is speaking Australian, she’s actually a ringer for a fresher import from Down Under, Nicole Kidman.) She’s got a lovely line in arabesque on those skates, too! Can Audra McDonald or Kristin Chenoweth do that?

11 July 2007

If Super-Powers were widely available

I'm not sure what exactly started me on this train of thought, but I've been thinking lately about Super-Powers I would like to have. Yes, there are the obvious ones like flying or x-ray vision or mind-reading, but lets say those are all taken and any"evil" powers do not apply. Here are some I'd like to have:

  1. The ability to suspend time for the purpose of reading. As long as I was reading something, time would stop and I could continue reading for as long as I desired without being interrupted, falling asleep, or even getting hungry.
  2. The ability to make children fall asleep and stay asleep for what would be a normal and appropriate length of time. At night that would mean 10 hours or so and mid-day that would be about 2 hours.
  3. The ability to eat calorie-rich delicious foods without the terrible side-effects of weight gain. (This had to be included.)
  4. The ability to regulate temperature in indoor settings. Mother Nature is free to continue to control the outdoors, but I would like to set the temperature when I am inside.
  5. Perfect spelling and grammar at all times. I'm not saying I want stiff and formal speech or writing, but it really drives me crazy when I realize I've said something grammatically incorrect or I've written something with a spelling error.
Those are the powers I've come up with so far. I'll let you know if I think of any more. What would your powers be?

10 July 2007

The Dog Bed

Last weekend we went foraging at Target. One of the items on our list was dog food and as we wandered the multiple pet supply aisles Rob became enamored of an enormous faux-shearling dog bed. After only a few moments of contemplation Rob, who will hesitate at spending $9.99 on a new shirt, put the $39.99 dog bed into our cart. I would have had no problem with the idea or even spending the money except that our dog, Spanky, is 14 and he has never slept on a dog bed so it seems unlikely he would start now. You know the whole old dog, new tricks bit...

Anyway, despite my mild protests we brought the bed home and set it up in the spot in our upstairs hallway where Spanky usually sleeps at night. As predicted, he won't go near it. I mean he won't even lay near it and now has switched to his alternate sleep location (Zoë's room) on a full-time basis.

So I told Rob I wanted to return the bed. Zoë then promptly lay down on it and said if Spanky didn't want it then she did. The bed is so big that Zoe could actually use it for a bed, but I pointed out to her that she has a much bigger and nicer bed in her room already.

"But Eeyore needs a bed."

"Isn't this kind of a big bed for Eeyore?" I asked her. Eeyore is her most beloved stuffed animal, but he isn't more than 12 inches long.

"Yes, but he moves around a lot at night," she replied matter-of-factly. So credibly that for half a second I almost acquiesced.

05 July 2007

Website of the Week: BookSwim

OK I know it isn't really right for me to call it "Website of the Week" since it has been months since I've posted one, but I still like the alliteration.

Anyway, the site is BookSwim.com

They are self-described as Netflix for readers.
BookSwim is the first online BOOK RENTAL LIBRARY CLUB lending you paperbacks and hardcovers direct to your house WITHOUT THE NEED TO PURCHASE! Whether it's New Releases, Bestsellers, or Classics, we've got 80,000 titles to choose from, with FREE SHIPPING BOTH WAYS! Read your books as long as you want -- no late fees! Even choose to purchase and keep the titles you love!


It sounds like an interesting ideas. Especially for those books you read fast and then look to give away because you don't want them to take up precious shelf space. (Think chick-lit or airport reads.) The site is in beta right now and I am hopeful that there will be two improvements:
1. More options in pricing plans like Netflix has. Right now the options are limited and the price is a little high for more books than I could read in a month. I would like to see something more like $5.00 a month for 2 books like the lowest level Netflix plan.

2. More new titles. The selection looked current, but not up to the minute.

01 July 2007

Zoe Graduates Pre-K!



(The band-aid on her lip is from stitches that were the result of a run-in with a flying piggy-bank.)

27 June 2007

26 June 2007

"C" is for Cookie


This past weekend we made our annual pilgrimage to Sesame Place. The day before the trip Zoë and I were at the supermarket and I told her to pick out some snacks for the car ride. She picked out one of those boxes with little bags of Cheez-its, Ritz Bits, and mini Chips Ahoy! I was a little surprised at her choice because none of those are her particular favorite, but it was the one she really wanted so we bought it.

In the car I discovered the real reason for her selection -- it was not because she had discovered a love for Ritz Bits from stealing other kids' snacks, but that she wanted the Chips Ahoy! so she could give some to Cookie Monster! He does love cookies so how could I refuse?

On our second day in Sesame Place we had lunch with the characters and there Zoë got her big chance. She was so excited to give him the cookies and I have to give a lot of credit to the person in the Cookie Monster costume because he did a great job of accepting the bag of cookies and then passing them off unseen by Zoë. Plus he acted thrilled to be getting the cookies. It made my day and it especially made Zoe's. For that one moment alone she will go on believing for another year.

19 June 2007

Meme Madness

O.K. here's one more from the same source. This time it’s simple. Just go to Google and search for “[your name] needs…”

Marcy needs...

Marcy needs a goatee to help him look older than his graduate students.
Hmmm...no, I don't think I do need a goatee since I am not a "he" and I don't have graduate students. If I did have graduate students I would want to look older than them, but I think I'd pick high heels or suits rather than a goatee to convey my maturity. By the way, I've never heard of a man called "Marcy."

Marcy needs to cancel the PO that was sent in for the softball game.
She certainly does! Marcy hates softball.

Marcy needs two people for a special assignment.
Codename: babysitting.

(There weren't a lot of good results for "Marcy needs..." so I tried "Marcy wants..." and got these additional returns:

Marcy wants him to get rid of it, but he refuses.
The potential "its" are long here. My husband is a pack rat. And then there is the old, dying and quite hard to live with dog... (I know that is mean, but you try cleaning up poop every day and getting woken up at 2am regularly by an old dog who needs to go out and pee.)

Marcy wants to discuss recycling.
I would love to discuss recycling, actually -- especially with those who don't do it. I am a big supporter of recycling. I have a recycling bin in my office and I often wonder if the cleaning people actually recycle the paper or just dump it in with the rest of the trash. I really hope it is the former.

13 June 2007

Happy Anniversary -- again

My brother and his wife celebrate 10 years of marriage today!

See last year's anniversary post to read the poem I wrote for them.


Today also marks 10 years that my husband and I are together. We pretty much fell in love on my brother's wedding day -- at the wedding, of course. I believe it was the 5 or 6 Tom Collins that made me vulnerable.

08 June 2007

8 Random Things

Taking on another tag from my friend on the sofa here's 8 random things...

  1. I love Friday afternoon. The whole weekend is still ahead. It is a wonderful thing to know that work is just about to go on temporary hold.
  2. I would go to a movie at the movie theater every week if I possibly could. Before I had Zoë, I pretty much did. Renting movies is just not the same for me. I like the whole experience of sitting in the dark theater, the popcorn, the leaving everything else behind for 2 hours or so.
  3. I had no idea how much having a baby would change my life and I'm glad I never stopped to think about it before I did because maybe I never would have.
  4. I would be happy to eat only pizza and ice cream for the rest of my days and if I didn't worry about my weight that's probably about all I would eat. Seriously.
  5. I recently got addicted to satellite radio (also known as "radio crack") and I love the station that is all New Wave hits from the 80's, but it was a scary moment when I realized that all that music is at least 20 years old! When I make Zoë listen to it in the car I am basically subjecting her to "oldies."
  6. It is harder than it seems to come up with "8 Random Things" that are at all interesting. I actually started this post on Friday and as of this morning I still only had 5. I think this one is kind of cheating and maybe I should change the name of my post to "7 Random Things and One Cop Out."
  7. If I shopped less I could probably go on more vacations, but then what would I wear?
  8. Speaking of shopping, I sometimes wish I could empty out my house and start over. From sheets and towels to the sofa. It would be so fun to pick out all new stuff. I mean how often do you get to go shopping for furniture for an entire room?

Tis the Season for a Recital

Here's a picture from the previously mentioned recital starring my niece, Sophia. (The handsome guy with her is my brother.)


And here's a photo from Zoë's recital held last night. It was adorable.

04 June 2007

Hey Jealousy

It is so interesting (and sometimes annoying) to witness the open jealousy of children. Zoe is not afraid to admit when she is jealous -- which is something I encourage in her because I think it is better for her to talk about it than to go around biting or something similarly violent or destructive. Most frequent bouts of jealousy occur when I am holding someone else's baby. There fore there was nothing surprising about yesterday's attack of the green-eyed monster except that it came up so late in the day. We went to see my niece's dance recital and Zoe sat quite well through the hour plus show. She only got fidgety in the last 15 minutes, but by that point I think everyone was feeling that way. She seemed genuinely excited to see her cousin perform as well as watch all the other performances. I was waiting for the jealousy to strike and was surprised when it didn't come.

After the performance we all went to lunch and that is when the attack came on suddenly. I was not expecting to look over at her and see she was crying -- apparently because she wasn't sitting next to me. At that point there was no way to move seats so she could be next to me -- rather than just across from me. My husband and my brother did their best to try and draw her out of it, but she would not budge from her pout. It wasn't until she got taken to sit in the car with my husband that she finally came out of it.

It was a divided moment for me. On one hand I felt for her, but on the other hand I was incredibly frustrated by her. I think it is important that she learn that it is not all about her all of the time, but I know that is a hard lesson.

24 May 2007

Google humor

Go to Google, enter "New York to London", click maps. Look at step #21.

22 May 2007

He does exist!



Fresh from Disney World...Zoe and "the real Eeyore."

13 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day

It's kind of a funny day, isn't it? You're obligated to do something nice for your mother today. I think I'd prefer that sort of thing came naturally. Maybe it's just me, but even now that I am a mom myself, I still don't really get Mother's Day. I tend to think it is just a big ploy designed by the phone company and the florists. I'm not much for flowers or chats on the phone, I guess. Guilt does amazing things for capitalism.

Seriously, however, I do now appreciate what a difficult job it is to be a mother and I do feel that mothers everywhere deserve recognition and appreciation. Its just that I feel they deserve it on a daily basis rather than annually. And curmudgeon that I pretend I am, I must admit that it was nice to be together with my family today and enjoy time with my nieces and nephews especially. :-)

10 May 2007

I don't want to go/I don't want to leave

Every weekday morning I drop Zoë off at school and she almost never wants to go. Her behavior ranges from putting on a brave face to the rare, but never-the-less traumatic mini-tantrum as I try to leave and go to work.

Every afternoon after work when I get to school to pick Zoë up she doesn't want to leave. Her reaction at seeing me ranges from excited, but distracted to out and out disappointment.

Bath time is the same routine. She will do nearly anything to get out of taking a bath, but then once she's in the nice warm bath and splashing around with all her toys, she doesn't want to get out.

What is that? Seriously.

My theory is that it is a kind of training for having a teenager, but then again maybe it is just a special torture that only 5 year olds know how to inflict.

01 May 2007

The Bookish Meme

I am finally getting around to responding to my official "tagging" from my friend "Musing from the sofa."

What's more diverting than a little survey of sorts about books!?

Hb, trade pb, or mass market pb?
Frankly, I prefer mas market pb because I like the way they stack up on my book shelves. It is an edition that is harder and harder to come by in books I want to read, however.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
I am all about Amazon. My cart is my running list of books I want to buy. It makes for a very handy log. I also love buying used books through the "marketplace" for $1.00. It amuses me to pay more for shipping than I do for the actual book. I love being able go book shopping or browsing at any time of the day or night. That being said, I do enjoy a leisurely trip to Barnes and Noble -- especially the one in Union Square and most especially when I am there with my husband.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Barnes & Noble. When they built that massive 4-story B&N in Union Square and I was living walking distance from the place it was the beginning of a long love affair. I actually met one serious boyfriend there. (Keith, that's you if you're reading this.) I tend to think of all other B&N stores are good, but miniature imitations of that store and it brings back good memories. Even though I can currently walk to a Borders I find their organization a little confusing, but Zoë does love their children's section. That has saved many a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Bookmark or dogear?
Dogear?! Who would do such a thing? Please.

Alphabetize by author, title or random?
Random by general category (fiction, poetry, etc.) and then size. I alphabetized once, but then Zoë got to be about 14 months and started to enjoy pulling the books from the shelf and throwing them. It got too hard to always put them back in order. I've learned to live with a little more disorder in my life since having a child.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
Keep by default, but I have sold a few disappointments on the Amazon marketplace. Occasionally, I just give away when I am starting to run out of shelf space.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?
Keep, but remove while reading.

Short story or novel?
Both. I love short stories and in a way a good collection of short stories can feel like the experience of reading a novel. I'll take either.

Collection of short stories or anthology?
Collection, for sure. Especially for the reason expressed above -- I love a cohesive collection.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Neither. I haven't read either and I have no plans to do so. Unless, of course, Zoë discovers one or both which I suppose is inevitable. Ask me again in 3 to 5 years.

Stop reading when tired or chapter breaks?
When tired. I usually give up when the book falls on my face because I have fallen asleep reading it. That is usually after several re-reads of the same two sentences. I have never been able to force my way through the tiredness no matter how much I wanted to keep reading.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"
"Once upon a time." I'm not a big mystery fan. I find I either figure them out early on or miss the mystery all together because I wasn't paying enough attention while reading.

Buy or borrow?
Buy. I love to own the book. I don't mind lending, but I prefer to read my own copy of something. I am not a good library patron either.

New or used?
Either. I love buying new books, but there is something romantic and ecological feeling about getting a used book. I often wonder about who else read the same book.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
Book reviews or browse. I don't know what it is about recommendations that frequently turn me off. It is a strange character flaw.

Morning, afternoon, or nighttime reading?
Anytime I get the chance, but my newest favorite time is in the morning when I just wake up and it isn't time to get out of bed yet. That is a very relaxing way to start the day.

Favourite series?
I can't say I really have one. I am not a big series reader. I can't even think of one that I liked right now besides the "Little House on the Prairie" books I read as a kid.

Favourite children's book?
As stated above the "Little House on the Prairie" books, "Bridge to Teribithia", "Madeline", "Click Clack Moo" and "The Giant Jam Sandwich."

Favourite books read last year?
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Jane Eyre (re-read)
Pride and Prejudice (re-read)
Wicked

Least favourite book finished last year?
My Name Is Red

What are you reading now?
All the King's Men. I cannot wait for it to be over. I would give up, but it is for book club. Talk about verbose!

What are you reading next?
Not sure. Probably some chick lit as antidote to the above selection.

18 April 2007

My Little Pony vs. Superman

The other night we were at the supermarket which happens to have a toy/kid's books and movies aisle. (How come our local Grand Union didn't have that when I was a kid???) Zoë asked if she could get "something" -- her desired "something" being a book. Pleeeease.

She's been into those $3.95 "My Little Pony" books lately and they had a few that she was looking at until she saw the Spiderman book.

She clutched the book to herself, she turned to me, "Mom, can I please, please, please get this Spiderman book?" she begged. Of course, I said yes. It's an incredibly watered down version of the plot of the new Spiderman 3 movie that is coming out.

Looks like Spidey trumps Rarity and the gang in Zoë's book and it's just one of the many, many things I love about her.

17 April 2007

Website of the Week (or there abouts): True Mom Confessions

True Mom Confessions

It's like a real life version of taxi-cab confessions. Some of them are hilarious, some of them I can click the "me too" button for and some are kind of sad, but they're all interesting to read.

What's your confession?

15 April 2007

M.O.

M.O. also known as Mommy Only.

Seems like most kids go through it a few times at different ages. M.O. is when the only person in the world who can do whatever is required, who can possibly soothe or feed or read to is, of course, Mommy. M.O. means lots of crying, clinging, separation anxiety and "no Daddy." It can truly be exhausting.

But secretly, deep down (really, way down) most Moms will admit that M.O. is also the ultimate confirmation that Mom really does know best.

03 April 2007

5 years/50,000 miles

Zoë had her 5 year-old check up today. She is, as expected, the picture of health. Not short, not tall; not skinny, not fat; can hear and see, no curvature of the spine -- all that good stuff.

I actually came to the appointment prepared with a list of questions:
Q - Are the night time leg pains growing pains? Is there such a thing?
A - Yes, they are growing pains.

Q - She writes some letters backwards, but inconsistently. Should I be concerned?
A - No. That's normal -- especially for letters like "S."

Q - Should she take vitamins?
A - Only if you think so because she doesn't eat enough fruits and vegetables. (Can someone introduce me to the kid who does?)

Q - Is she ready for kindergarten?
A - She's so ready she will be the mayor of the school.

Gotta love that last answer -- especially coming from Zoë's doctor. He's more than a doctor and its hard to explain what I mean unless you've brought your very sick baby to someone and they have both helped you and her feel better.

O.K. I promise to move on to acceptance, but let me just say one last time that I can't believe Zoë is 5 already.

27 March 2007

From this...


To this...


In only 5 years!

26 March 2007

The effect was slight

Certainly the spin on this story in today's NY Times will not be using this quote from the second paragraph:
The effect was slight, and well within the normal range for healthy children, the researchers found. And as expected, parents’ guidance and their genes had by far the strongest influence on how children behaved.

I find it infuriating that the rest of the article goes on in a very biased manner to say that children who go to daycare are simply poorly behaved. The level of that misbehavior is barely described and the actual affect on the classroom is not even mentioned.

Daycare is a fact of life. And as far as I am concerned, some amount of preschool should be mandatory. My reaction to this is that teachers need to develop modern strategies to deal with the behaviors instead of relying on 60 year-old concepts where kids were largely coming from no previous experience with a school setting.

22 March 2007

What were you doing five years ago?

Zoë's birthday was yesterday. She's five years old now. Five! Damn time flies.

I got a well-timed email from a friend yesterday who said, "Trivia question: What were you doing five years ago today?"

Ouch! Did that ever bring back some painful memories. Zoë was born at 3:42 PM and the time stamp on the email was 12: 37 PM. That meant that five years ago at that moment I was just about to start 3 hours of pushing. Yes, 3 hours. That was definitely not the fun part -- especially when they turned off the magic epidural.


On a lighter note...I am getting great amusement out of Zoë's list of birthday presents. They are:

  1. Fisher Price Mega T-Rex
    (this was a specific request)
  2. Make-up (for kids)
  3. An electric pencil sharpener
  4. A flashlight that you have to shake (no batteries)
  5. Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera
  6. A book on reptiles
  7. A compass
  8. A purse with butterflies embroidered on it
  9. Rubber snakes (which promptly found a home in the above purse)
She has quite diverse tastes, huh?

15 March 2007

Does it suck?

Wondering if that new cell phone you're thinking about is cool or not? Thinking about going to a movie, but aren't sure if its any good? Well, then this new site is for you! It is sucks/rocks.

When you enter a search term, sucks/rocks searches the web for several positive and negative phrases using that term. The score is the fraction of positive results to the sum of positive and negative results, normalized to 10. You can stack up results next to each other so if you wanted to decide what movie to see you can enter the titles of 4 or 5 movies and see which one got more positive ratings.

I'm not sure how scientific it really is, but it is cool none-the-less.

12 March 2007

Congratulations R.E.M.

Anyone who knew me in th 80's and early 90's knows what a huge R.E.M. fan I am. I own every CD they have ever issued. That is why I am happy to say congratulations to them tonight as they are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Also included in this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class are:
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five -- tell me you don't remember dancing to "White Lines"???)
The Ronettes
Patti Smith
Van Halen (with Sammy or David, I wonder?).

And if you're ever in Cleveland be sure to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. It is a great time.

09 March 2007

Disney Dreams

The other day at school Zoë had to create a little book about her dream. Her teacher showed me her book and told me what an amazing job she had done. I was proud before I even saw the book, but after I saw it I felt a little like Mom of the year.

Zoë's dream book was about Disney World. The first page of the book had Mickey Mouse standing on top of a rainbow, the next page was a drawing of an airplane and the last page was some kind of ride.

Do you think Zoë is excited about our upcoming trip to Disney, or what?

Questions: Anyone out there have suggestions or hints about what we should be sure to do for Zoe's first visit?

08 March 2007

American Idol Review 2

It's definitely going to be a woman idol this year. They are soooo much stronger than the men! A league above! I also feel that I could be the 4th judge on the show. I take notes while watching ( I know a little obsessive) & as the contestants sing, I write down my thoughts on the song choice, the actual performance, etc. On most, I could read the judges words almost verbatim. Funny. I'll keep waiting for the fourth judge position to become available.

OK, down to business. The men were in a word, boring, last night. The 3 that I liked were the following: Blake, Sundance, & Chris S. Not all perfect performances, but somewhat memorable. Blake chose the correct song for his style, despite some of the off-key parts. I still thought he was true to himself & showed a younger style. (I was also proud of myself when Randy said he didn't know who or what that song was & I shouted to the TV, "It's 3-11!" It made me feel just a little more with it.)
I think Sundance chose a good song, but it wasn't perfect. I hope he'll be in the top 12. I'm sure with a little direction he will really shine. Chris Sligh was the best of the night. He just did a great job with his song. I didn't know what song it was, but I really liked it.
The rest were OK. Sanjaya...I'm going to die of boredom watching him. Don't even get me started on the fact he should not be here this week.... Jared is good, but it's so hard to pick a Stevie Wonder song. Leave Stevie out of it!
I think that Sanjaya and Brandon will go home tomorrow.


A lot more to say about the women. My favorites, and not necessarily in this order, are Stephanie, LaKisha, Gina, and Melinda. Stephanie picked a great song. That is absolutely one of my favorites, whether Chaka Khan or Mary J. sings it. It's just such a great song. Stephanie did a great job putting some of her own touches into it, so I didn't totally agree with the judges on that. I keep forgetting that she is so young with her great stage presence. What do I need to say about LaKisha? She brought tears to my eyes. She has permission to take on Whitney!! Gina was great tonight, I thought. She's very powerful and I really just like her personality. I think she chose a great song tonight. Melinda was truly the best of the night. She has an amazing voice & when she gets on stage, it's like she's playing a role. I just think she's wonderful. I predict her to be one of the top 2, if not the winner.
The rest of the women were pretty good. I just felt that most of them were nothing special, as Randy said, they didn't have the "Yo!" Admittedly, Antonella did better tonight; she definitely picked a better song than previous weeks. Again, how is she still here? She cannot compare to the other strong perfomers. Haley's song was cheesy & not a stand out at all. She strikes me as a Disney World singer or something. Can't you just see her performing as Cinderella or Snow White? She has a good voice, but she is not the American Idol. That will be due to poor song choice. I think that Antonella & Haley will go home tomorrow.

At this point, I'm looking ahead to the top 12 so I can see who will be singing on tour this summer. Hopefully, all my favorites. Until tomorrow night, Samantha's Mom....out. :)