28 February 2008

What are you wearing today?

As was recently revealed over on Musings from the Sofa my excellent friend and esteemed colleague is heading for greener pastures in the very near future. While I am truly thrilled for her, I am sad for me because although I have no doubt our friendship will remain constant there is much I will miss such as barging into her office whenever I feel the need, our regular lunches at our regular spot, and finally, seeing her clothing and shoe choices each day.

I know that last one may sound silly to some, however, the bar for fashion is set pretty low at my workplace (clean clothes often qualify as dressed-up). Becky is one of the few notable exceptions to this rule and I strive to be one myself. As Becky wisely pointed out we basically dress up for each other every day. And that is absolutely true. Now that we're not going to see each other everyday how will we communicate what we're wearing? Jokingly we thought there must be some social networking application out there that would allow us to share the info in a fun way -- kind of like Twitter, but just for clothes. One Google search led to another and I stumbled across a blog called What are you wearing today? Go ahead and take a look at it and then come back here.

Unbelievable, right? Can you imagine how much time this person spends just photographing his clothing selections for each day? Never mind how much time and money he spends acquiring these clothes. I never fancied myself the next editor of Vogue, but this guy really puts my fashion love in check. I would love to see his closets. This blog is a little like men's fashion porn.

I don't think Becky and I will go that far.

26 February 2008


In just under 36 hours from now I will be getting braces. No, not to hold up my pants, but to straighten my teeth.

This is something I have wanted to do for awhile and now need to do. The options in my case were: 1) braces or 2) an implant here, an extraction there followed by veneers or braces. As expensive as braces are option 1 is actually cheaper and shorter term. I am glad I am doing it because I am starting to feel a bit self-conscious about my teeth, but at the same time I am filled with dread. I know it is going to be uncomfortable and downright painful at times and just thinking about that kind of exhausts me.

Although I never had braces as kid, I keep having visions of my awkward, pimply-faced, nerdy, 14-year-old self. Will having braces on my teeth make me feel ugly and/or insecure? (Clearly I already sound like my whiny 14 year-old self!) I don't want to walk around feeling that way for 2 years so I am going to try hard not to focus on it, but I suspect it will be a bit of a struggle especially at first to not see only the braces. Or maybe not. Maybe (hopefully) I am making a bigger deal out of it than it will be because I am nervous and not looking forward to the discomfort. Fingers crossed!

25 February 2008

Manic Monday

A new Manic Monday:

How did you celebrate your last birthday?
I had a really good birthday this year that included 2 rather nice celebrations. I had a spa day which included a facial, manicure, and pedicure with my good friend Becky and then I had dinner with my family which ended with ice cream cake. Yum!

What's the last thing you bought yourself, just for fun?
That question is pathetically easy to answer in my case because I love to shop. On Thursday of last week I bought myself a little plaid wallet from J.Crew (which looks kind of like this, but is a wallet not a make-up bag) while out for my lunch time stroll. It is rather dangerous working so close to many nice stores.

What would the child you once were think of the adult you have become?
Wow, that is a good question. I guess it would depend on which version of me as a child you were asking. I think under 10 year old me would like the adult I have become. I think child me would think I was a pretty good Mom who liked to do fun stuff. Child me would like to hang out at my house. If you asked the over 10 year old me, I think that might be a slightly different story. I think that version of me might be a little disappointed to find me working in an office 9 to 5 and not doing something much more creative.

24 February 2008

The Pediatrician

This afternoon at the supermarket I ran into my daughter's pediatrician. We live in the same town so it is not that unusual, but every time I run into him outside of his office I am thrust into a feeling of incredible awkwardness and self-consciousness. It starts with what to call him. Should it be "Dr. Owens" or should I go with "Jeff" or try for a light-hearted "Dr. O?" I usually just say hello without mentioning his name. And that is just the first moment of awkwardness -- it only gets worse from there. What is it that makes me feel so insecure? I was sure he was examining the contents of my cart (even though I know deep down that couldn't possibly be true) and I was equally sure that I had babbled way too much by the time we said good-bye. The man is the same age as me, our children go to the same school, we go to the same gym, shop in the same supermarket. That should make us peers. And the fact that I pay him to do his job, should make him less of an authority figure in my eyes. And yet it doesn't.

18 February 2008

At the movies: Michael Clayton

A last minute impulse and bit of luck landed my husband and I in a movie theater last night where we saw "Michael Clayton." My husband hated it, branding it with his ultimate insult -- "it was a talk show." I enjoyed it quite a bit more than that and not only because I got to look at George Clooney throughout.

"Michael Clayton" is a dark and brooding movie about a fight for truth and justice despite the evil, American corporate way. Mr. Clooney as the lead role is the "fixer" for a large corporate law firm that is embroiled in a long and expensive defense of a chemical company. (Think of the bad guys in "Erin Brokovich" or "A Civil Action." ) Throughout the course of the movie Michael Clayton realizes he is stuck in a role where he serves evil and decides that he needs to fight the same evil he serves. This isn't a David and Goliath story though. There is no hope that just because one evil giant is eventually slain (at great expense to our hero) others will change their ways.

Overall I give it a solid B plus. George Clooney is this movie and he carries it well. Not sure that he will actually win the Oscar, but the nomination is certainly well-deserved. I especially enjoyed the scene that played opposite the final credits which was just a single camera focused on Mr. Clooney as he rides in a taxi away from the final showdown.

Finally no account of my experience with this movie would be complete without the inclusion of the couple sitting behind us. Apparently they had mistaken the movie theater for their own living room because they talked through the entire thing. At first it was really annoying, but after a while it became humorous because they were both having such a hard time understanding the movie. I even tried shushing them at one point. It was effective for about 5 minutes. At one point the man said, "I would have to sit through this again to understand it at all." I couldn't help thinking that if they had just shut up and paid attention they would have understood a lot more. My husband and I walked out of what was quite a serious movie in uncontrollable giggles because of those two.

Manic Monday

Here's the President's Day Manic Monday:

What do you order when you eat Chinese food?
General Tso's chicken and pork fried rice -- those are my two favorites. I also really like scallion pancakes, but it is hard to get good ones so it usually depends on where I am ordering. Hands down favorite Chinese food restaurant is Sammy's Noodle Shop on 6th Ave. & 11th St. NY, NY. When I am there I often order the chicken lo mein too because their noodles are the best!

How much have you controlled the course your life has taken?
Obviously as a kid I have had no control over the course of my life, but since college I would say that things have pretty much been in my control. I haven't always made the best decisions, but it has all been in my control. I chose my career path(s), I chose to get married, I chose to have a baby. That's not to say there aren't things I would change about my life, but I think I got myself exactly where I am right now.

Whose opinion do you value when deciding how to vote?
Frankly, no one. I prefer to make my own decisions about voting.

17 February 2008

The Writing Meme

Got this one from Emily.

What’s the last thing you wrote?
Not counting blog posts, emails, and work-related documents -- a letter to Zoe. I keep a journal of letters to her that was started at my baby shower. All my friends and family wrote letters to Zoe before she was born. I try to write 3 or 4 times a year.

Was it any good?
I think so. It might not be high quality writing, but it is honest and loving and I hope it will be something that she will like having when she is an adult.

What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
There is so much I don't have. I have a tendency to throw things away so the oldest thing I have is an essay I wrote in graduate school on Dr. Faustus. It is good and I love to look it over now and again and remember that I used to be able to think and write like that.

Write poetry?
Yes. I used to write a lot of it and even had a few poems published in some obscure poetry journals. I don't write poetry much these days because it requires a combination and coordination of inspiration and time that I find difficult to come by these days. I hope to get back to poetry at some point in the future.

Angsty poetry?
But of course. And some humorous.

Favourite genre of writing?
These days it has to be blogging, but overall it is short stories.

Most fun character you’ve ever created?
Zoë. Not my daughter Zoë, but that is how I first fell in love with the name. Way back in the day before blogs circa 1999 I used to write for a now defunct website called Grrl Talk. I had a series of articles called "My Inner Sixteen-Year-Old." In the articles I called my inner sixteen-year-old Zoe and she was the fun, silly, daring side of life. I was really sad when that site became a victim of the dot com bust.

Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

Mark. Fashioned after and ex-boyfriend who was equally annoying in reality.

Best plot you’ve ever created?
I guess it has to be the plot of one of my favorite short stories which is called Taxi Ride. In the story a NYC cab driver gives a young woman a free ride.

Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?
I'm not so big on twists, but the closest I've come is with the ending of the story mentioned above. It more just not obvious than any kind of real twist.

How often do you get writer’s block?
When I was really writing, it didn't happen often. I could move on to something else. The fact that I don't write much these days has more to do with time and energy and a lack of focusing on myself than it is a block.

Write fan fiction?
Nope. Never even considered it.

Do you save everything you write?
Nope. I wish I did.

Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?
Yes. That can be great for me -- especially when I was writing poetry. I kept pages and pages of ideas that I would frequently go back to.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve written?
It is a tie between that same short story, Taxi Ride that I mentioned above and the poem I wrote for my brother's wedding.

What’s everyone else’s favourite story that you’ve written?
I would have to let people read more than one to know that.

Do you ever show people your work?
Occasionally and mostly through this blog.

Did you ever write a novel?
Nope. I would like to.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?No romance, but definitely some angsty teen drama short stories, poetry and plays.

What’s your favourite setting for your characters?

New York City.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Two not including the blog.

Do you want to write for a living?


Have you ever won an award for your writing?

No, but I've never submitted my work for any awards either.

Ever written anything in script or play format?

Yes, I have written a few plays.

What are your five favourite words?

I find that really difficult to answer. I like lots and lots of words, but I don't know that I could narrow things down that much.

Do you ever write based on yourself?


What character have you created that is most like yourself?

A lot of my characters are strong representations of me in a particular time.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?

My life.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No, I rarely remember my dreams.

Do you favour happy endings, sad endings or cliff-hangers?

I prefer to read happy endings, but often end up writing sad endings.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you’ve seen?

Nope, but that is an interesting idea.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes -- especially spelling.

Ever write anything in chatspeak (how r u?)

Only when on IM.

Entirely in L337?

Definitely not.

Was that question appalling and unwriterly?

No, just not for me.

Does music help you write?

Yes. Music helps me do almost everything -- drive, work, sleep, etc. It helps me to focus by covering over all the other background noises.

Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops into your head.

"Life often imitates art."

15 February 2008

A Valentine's Story: The Lost Ring

Earlier this week while passing some time before boarding my train home (from NYC) I wandered through some of the shops at Grand Central. I was surprised to find that there is a Pylones there now. I have shopped their Spring Street location and gotten some cute gifts for Zoë. With Valentine's day coming, I decided to pop in and look for a little present for her and I was not disappointed. I found an adorable chunky plastic ring that was blue with little red hearts -- definitely right up her alley.

On Valentine's Day morning when she was all ready for school and we were just about to go to the bus stop I gave her the ring and, as predicted, she loved it. She hugged me and thanked me like I had given her a diamond and immediately put it on. "Mommy it is so beautiful!"

Then we got our coats, hats, and gloves on and headed out. When her good friend Hannah arrived at the bus stop she wanted to show off her ring so she yanked off her glove and with the glove the adorable chunky plastic ring that was blue with little red hearts went flying off her finger and promptly down into the storm drain. There was a moment of silence as everyone at the bus stop realized what had happened and then Zoë immediately broke down into sobs. She wrapped herself around me and shook with crying.

"I'll get you a new one," I promised in an effort to make her feel better despite the fact that I had no idea how I would go about getting back to New York and back to the Pylones store.

"But Mommy," she weeped. "I loved it so much."

"I know honey. I promise I will get you a new one. It is OK, really." I held her as she cried until the bus pulled up to the corner. Then I wiped her tears with my coat sleeve and she ran to board the bus.

"Oh man, that is rough. What are you going to do? The lunch time scramble?" asked one of the parents. I really didn't know because there was no way I could get to Grand Central. On my way into work I figured that I would go shopping at lunch time in hopes of finding a suitable substitute gift. I had the good fortune of being out to lunch with Becky who, after enduring yet another long Zoë story, brilliantly recalled seeing similar rings at our local Papyrus. The rings were there! Although they didn't have the same design they had some nice ones so I picked out a red and pink design and felt that I had done my best at making it all better.

Later on that afternoon I recounted the saga to my husband who just happened to be home early. About ten minutes later he called me back asking me which storm drain exactly because he was outside with one of the pool nets and was going to try and find the ring. He spent an hour digging sludge out of the storm drain looking for this ring. Sadly, he never found it although he did report finding a lot of plastic forks. I'm not sure why plastic forks are attracted to storm drains, but apparently they are. Personally, I wouldn't touch the stuff in a storm drain -- even with the ten foot pole he was using, but I give the man real "props" for this one.

When I got home from work I gave Zoë the substitute red and pink design ring and she hugged me fiercely and said, "Oh Mommy, this one is even prettier!"

Is that a Valentine from my family, or what?

12 February 2008

Frozen Grand Central

Having just spent 2 days commuting in and out of NYC, I think it is interesting that my good friend Heather emailed me this today. I really wish I could have seen this in person, but the video is pretty great. Check it out...

Complete story here.

08 February 2008


I am sure it comes as no surprise when I say that I really enjoy shopping. I find it fun and relaxing and satisfying. I am often just browsing, but it is fun to look and think about what I want and to even occasionally catch something terrific on sale.

My 3 favorite things to shop for are shoes, bags, and clothes for Zoë. Make-up is a close 4th. None of these things are fun to shop for in February. The stores are filled with all kinds of light and bright spring clothes -- or worse "cruise-wear." Unfortunately neither spring nor a cruise is really on the horizon right now -- especially the latter as spring will, I trust, come eventually. It is just awful to buy any kind of open-toed, strappy, sanadaly type shoe or an adorable outfit for Zoë now when even the warmest possible day would not call for such a thing. Who wants to look at a brand new pair of shoes and know that you can't even wear them for months? No thanks. As it is I have to fight to get Zoë to dress warmly enough -- what kind of message does it send if I bring home summer clothes now? February is a ruiner of shopping!

It is just one of the many reasons why I loathe the month of February. Therefore I feel it is time I continue my February tradition by posting the following passage:

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.

February 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 accident 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! Where you twice your tiresome length, few of us would survive to greet the merry month of May.

from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

05 February 2008


with cheeks, originally uploaded by Marcyjill.

Since she started sleeping in the crib, every night after I brush my teeth and right before I get into bed, I check on Zoe. I love to see her asleep. She is so beautiful and peaceful and I regularly stand there feeling a strange combination of awe and relief. I am in awe of her beauty and her energy that is still so evident even when she is at rest and I am relieved that she is safe and sound for another night.

Over the years I have taken many, many photographs of her sleeping. Here are a few of my favorites.

04 February 2008

Cheaters Never Win

As just about everyone knows, last night the Super Bowl was played. It was probably the most exciting football game I ever watched and since I was rooting for the Giants it was especially great. (And I just have to mention that it was incredible on my new TV -- that HD is amazing.) Somewhere in the 4th Quarter when it looked bleak for the Giants my mother issued a challenge -- who can come up with the most trite wrap-up? You win some, you lose some. They played a good game. Etc.

Obviously, things turned around for the Giants and as we were all jumping up and down and high-fiving each other my brother said, "How about this for trite -- cheaters never win!" You see my family are die-hard Jets fans and we have not forgotten a little scandal that took place some months ago where the Patriots perpetrated a wrong-doing on our men in green. They were caught illegally filming the signals of New York Jets coaches in the season opener. That's a no-no. At the time they were fined -- both the team and the coach and they lost their first round draft pick. Now you can add one more thing to that list that they lost! Karma has a way of coming around eventually.

Speaking of the Super Bowl for me, the stand-out over the top commercial was this one:


Manic Monday

M.M. for Feb. 4

Is there anything too serious to joke about? If so, what falls into that category for you?
To me there is nothing too serious to joke about. The harder, more serious the situation the more I tend to deal with it with humor. It is my defense mechanism and it is my comfort when things get rough. That being said, I do recognize that not everyone feels the same as me and try to be sensitive.

Would you rather be a tortured genius or a happy simple-minded person? Why?
Tortured genius because I'd always rather know and do and create and over-think than sit back and accept.

A dear friend or family member has a terminal illness and is in agony. He/she wants you to help him/her die. What would you do?
I would help. It would not be easy for me, but I would do it. I think people have a right to their dignity even when they are dying.