30 March 2008

I am a famous runner

Well, almost.

My good friend Christine is the author of the Running and Jogging blog for About.com and she mentioned me in a recent post. It's quite exciting and it is also quite good advice that I started trying out this weekend.

Christine is one of those incredibly fortunate people who have managed to combine two things they really love into one great job. She is a writer as well as a runner/running coach and now she writes about running! So very cool -- just like she is.

Thanks again for the great, personal advice!

27 March 2008

Shadows of Easter

These were taken outside the restaurant where we had Easter lunch. I love taking pictures of shadows.

26 March 2008

A new look?

I've been thinking it might be time for a new look for my blog. The pink is getting kind of old. What do you think?

24 March 2008

Ask for what you want

My Mom and I took Zoe to the mall on Friday to fulfill some of her birthday wishes. Friday was her actual 6th birthday and luckily coincided with Good Friday so we were all off from work and school. Zoe's wishes included riding the carousel and getting to build a bear at "Build-a-Bear Workshop" (oh how I wish I had thought of that idea!), and a visit to her favorite store of all, Claire's.

After we rode the carousel, built a pink sparkly bear named "Pretty" (my Mom is a very generous grandmother!), and Zoe ate some McDonald's we set off to find Claire's. I am not familiar with the mall we were in so I didn't know where it would be. After walking around for a little while I said we should find a directory, but Zoe suggested we just ask someone. We were walking past a jewelry store and my Mom said we should ask there. Zoe marched right off in the direction of the women at the counter of the jewelry store and said, "Excuse me."

"Yes?" one of the women behind the counter said looking to my mother and me as we came up behind Zoe.

"Where is Claire's?" Zoe asked. No hesitation, not at all shy, just openly demanding. She had absolutely no problem walking up to this complete stranger to ask for what she wanted. I was really impressed. I think the women behind the counter were pretty surprised too. They told us where to find Claire's and then I saw the smiles creeping onto their faces. I had to stifle a few giggles myself because I didn't want Zoe to think I was laughing at her.

In truth I was and I wasn't. Mostly I was amazed at her. I am sure when I was Zoe's age I would never have approached someone like that. Even now as an adult I hate asking people things like that. I would much prefer the complete anonymity of a directory. That is one of the reasons I love the internet so much -- you don't have to talk to any actual people to find the information you want.

The Pooh Character Test

I got this from Emily and found it completely irresistible. I'd say it actually is a pretty good summation of me too. Now I must read some Pooh to Zoë tonight!

Your Score: Rabbit

You scored 18 Ego, 15 Anxiety, and 19 Agency!

IT was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days. As soon as he
woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him.
It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a
Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought
About It. It was a perfect morning for hurrying round to Pooh,
and saying, "Very well, then, I'll tell Piglet," and then going
to Piglet, and saying, "Pooh thinks--but perhaps I'd better see
Owl first." It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody
said, "Yes, Rabbit " and "No, Rabbit," and waited until he had
told them.

You scored as Rabbit!

ABOUT RABBIT: Rabbit is generally considered Clever by his many friends and relations. He is actually a much better reader and writer than Owl, but he doesn't consider it worth mentioning. Instead, Rabbit's real talent lies in Organizing Plans. He organizes rescue parties, makes schemes to reduce Tigger's bounciness, and goes on missions to find out what Christopher Robin does when he's not at the Hundred Acre Woods. Sometimes, however, his Plans do not always go as Planned.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are smart, practical and you plan ahead. People sometimes think that you don't stress or worry, but this is not the case. You are the kind of person who worries in a practical way. You think a) What are my anxieties about and b)what can be done about them? No useless fretting for you. You don't see the point in sitting around and waiting for things to work out, when you could actually work them out today and save yourself a lot of time and worry. Your friends tend to rely on you, because they know that they can trust you help them work things out.

You sometimes tend to be impatient with people who are less practical in their ways. You don't have much patience for idiots who moan about things but never actually DO anything about them. You have high expectations of everyone, including yourself. When you don't succeed at something, or when something goes wrong despite your best efforts to prevent it, you can get quite hard on yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and accept that everyone has their faults, even you, and THAT IS OKAY. Let yourself be faulty, every now and then, for the sake of your own sanity.

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test written by wolfcaroling on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(wolfcaroling)

18 March 2008

$#&%*&%$ SLR!

Saturday night was Zoë's birthday party and it was a big success. All her friends from school, all her cousins, and just about every other friend she has were in attendance at the Little Gym of Fairfield for the fete. There was running around, screaming, trampolining, and singing along to the songs from High School Musical. There was also a pinata, many cupcakes, balloons and 21 adorable children.

And if I hadn't accidentally put my fancy schmancy digital SLR camera on the wrong damn setting I would probably have tons of great pictures to share. I took 101 pictures that night. I only realized the camera was on the wrong setting in the last 20 minutes of the party. I couldn't even bring myself to download the pictures until tonight and I stupidly hoped there would be some happy accidents. Alas there were not. 98 shots went right in the trash.

This is one of the 3 halfway decent pictures that I got.

It is pretty cute, but still. Damn it!!

17 March 2008

Manic Monday

Manic Monday for March 17, 2008

If you could have any music group or musician play at a party, who would you hire?
Wow, that is a tough one because a lot would depend on the kind of party. In fantasy land I'd go with the Beatles circa 1967 (the year Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released). Back in reality I think I would choose Paul Simon joined by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I do like a lot more current music, but for music for a party that I would host, that is what I would want. I am not a big fan of loud live music.

Name three things to be happy about today.
1. Zoe's birthday party was a huge success and she is still really pleased about it and therefore so am I.
2. I lost another pound.
3. The sun is shining.

How do you release frustration?
Sometimes shopping (retail therapy), sometimes at the gym or taking a walk, and sometimes by just bitching and moaning for a spell.

16 March 2008

Bringing Home the Birkin

I was the lucky recipient of an Early Reviewer's copy of Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello. This book is the equivalent of all those mountain climbing, desert marching, storm sailing adventure books out there, but in this case the sport is shopping. (A sport I like to participate in myself, but my level is junior amateur in comparison.) It is also very similar to chick lit except that in this case instead of the typical spunky, unlucky in love, career, etc waiting for the big break heroine, this hero(ine?) is an openly gay man. who manages to turn a love and a knack for shopping into a business as well as quite a nice life for himself.

The book is subtitled My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag. That handbag being the Hermes Birkin. I have heard a few stories of the famous Birkin waitlist and there was even an episode of "Sex and the City" that featured the same. I have only seen a few Birkins in person on the arms of clearly wealthy women, but they are distinct enough to be instantly recognizable. They are the ultimate elite status symbol.

Mr. Tonello's business involved luxurious travel to major European destinations to purchase Birkins from Hermes shops and then re-selling them on E-Bay from his envy-inspiring apartment in Barcelona. His trials and triumphs are amusing and the hotels and dining he describes could serve as a travel guide. The story works because the author never takes himself to seriously or fails to realize what a charmed life he's leading. Mr. Tonello has an amazing positive attitude self described as "Always half-full, that glass, always." Which is from a section describing a stay in a hospital where he was treated for severe anemia.

A family tragedy brings about the eventual end of his Birkin hunting in the way that kind of thing can do by making you take a look at what you're actually spending your time doing. He could no longer deal with "people who lacked for nothing, but who longed for more" and got himself out before he became that way himself.

So, if you're in the mood for a light-hearted romp through the luxurious side of Europe I think you'll enjoy this one. I definitely did.

13 March 2008

Love & Marriage

I got this meme from Noble Savage and thought it looked like fun.

1. Where / how did you meet?
We first met at my Dad's house the summer after my freshman year in college. Rob was my brother's friend from his summer construction job and he brought him to my Dad's house one day to help out with some home improvement project. My Dad used to love to assign my brother and I home improvement projects just to torture us, I am pretty sure.

2. How long have you known each other?
18 and a half years. I didn't even realize it was that long.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?
We had a few dates over the course of several years, but we didn't start really dating until about 8 years after we first met.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?
A year and a half.

5. How long was your engagement?
8 months.

6. How long have you been married?
8 years.

7. What is your anniversary?
October 16

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?
106 -- don't ask me why, but I remember the exact final count.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?
Carvel ice cream cake -- it is my favorite and we had individual cakes for each table rather than one big cake.

10. Where was your wedding?
The Top of the Tower at the Beekman Tower Hotel in New York City.

11. What did you serve for the meal?
It was a choice of Fillet Mignon, salmon, or ravioli. I didn't get to eat any of it so I don't know if it was good.

12. How many people were in your bridal party?
2 -- one each.

13. Are you still friends with them all?
No. Rob's best man never forgave me for taking him away.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?
During the reception, standing out on one of the balconies watching the sunset and just holding hands.

16. Any funny moments?
Rob forgot to actually say "I do" until I reminded him.

17. Any big disasters?
None. It was pretty close to perfect.

18. Where did you go on honeymoon?

19. How long were you gone?
1 week.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?
There was part of me that wanted one of those island weddings at Sandals or something, but if I were to change the wedding I had, I would invite about 20 less people and go on a longer honeymoon.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep in?
On the right in our bed at home, but my criteria when we travel is not right or left it is the side with the nightstand. If both sides have nightstands then I want the side that is closer to the bathroom. Rob is wonderfully not picky about sides of the bed.

22. What size is your bed?

23. Greatest strength as a couple?
We are able to be completely ourselves with each other.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?
I like to be organized and to think things through -- maybe to to a fault. Rob does not.

25. Who literally pays the bills?

26. What is your song?
"Moondance" by Van Morrison

27. What did you dance your first dance to?
"Crazy Love" by Van Morrison

28. Describe your wedding dress
Ivory silk, empire waist with an a-line skirt to the floor (no train). The best part was the back that was a deep V. There was beading around the neckline that went around the deep V and also around the waistline. It was pretty simple, but I really loved it.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?
Red roses. There were a few other flowers for the ceremony, but all I remember is the red roses.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved?
Yes. They both say: Always 10-16-99

10 March 2008

Oprah's Big Give

Last night I was in the mood to watch a little TV. I didn't want to invest in an entire movie -- I just wanted to watch for an hour or so. Much channel surfing ensued and I landed on an episode of a new show called "Oprah's Big Give." I believe last night's episode was the second in the series and in it the contestants were dropped in the middle of Denver, CO and given 48 hours to give away some money "in the most creative and dramatic ways." Some of the contestants sought out charitable organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and a home for children and some found random strangers in need.

Of course I am all for helping out the needy and for trumpeting the fact that there are so many people in need, but there is something about this show that bothers me. I can't put my finger on what bothers me most. Is it the fact that it is a contest? Is it the randomness of the give aways? Or is it the wealthy celebrity judges who get to decide who did the most good? The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth and it surprised me that it did because I usually find Oprah's charitable works to be exemplary.

Am I missing something or do you agree that there something wrong with this idea?

Manic Monday

Today's questions are:

What's your favorite thing to spend money on?
Shoes and cosmetics. They are my default items to shop for when I am in the mood for shopping. Handbags run a very close third, but I don't buy those often.

If you could retire tomorrow what would you do?
Read more, see more movies, take more photos, write more, and sleep more.

Should anything be censored and if so, what and why?
Nope. I think children should be limited in their exposure to things, but adults can choose what they want to see, hear, read.

06 March 2008

One week of braces

1 new WaterPik
2 "emergency" orthodontist visits
3 pounds lost
4 doses of Advil per day
5 brushings of teeth daily
6 moments of regret
7 days and counting without chewing gum, popcorn, apples, or any truly solid food

OK, I'm done complaining about my braces on this blog for good (barring any unusual disasters). Besides, the 4 pounds lost almost makes up for all the other stuff.

05 March 2008

What's in your handbag?

Becky recently posed the question: what are the items you must have with you?

I liked this post so much that I decided that rather than answering her in a comment, I would use it as a sort of meme.

Looking my handbag you will find the following items (in no particular order):

1. Wallet. I am very particular about my wallet and tend to use the same one for years. I just got a beautiful new Kate Spade wallet for my birthday and I like seeing it looking so pretty inside my bag.

2. Blackberry. Yes, they call it a Crackberry for a reason and I love that little thing. It is especially good for keeping in touch with my husband who is, like me, never separated from his Blackberry.

3. 2 lipsticks. One from Clinique which is boringly named "pink," but is still a good lipstick and one from Laura Mercier called "Purple Haze." I love lipstick.

4. Lip balm. Yes, in addition to the lipsticks, I like to have lip balm too. In fact, I am hopelessly addicted to lip balm and I keep one everywhere -- by the bed, in the bathroom, in my car, at my desk and, of course, in my bag. Right now I have 2 different lip balms -- a Burt's Bees lip balm and a tinted lip balm by Tarte called "Thursday." Ordinarily I only carry my long enduring favorite Cherry ChapStick.

5. iPod. This is one of those things that whenever I decide to leave it at home, I immediately find myself in a situation where I desperately wish I had it. I love that most handbags come designed with the double inside pockets these days that neatly fit an iPod and a phone.

6. Bath & Body Works Pink Grapefruit Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Lotion. It does 2 things in one -- I love the efficiency -- especially after using a public restroom which is almost always equipped with industrial strength soap that can double as a furniture stripping agent.

7. Key ring with the minimum number of keys needed for my life -- 2. One for the car and one for the house. I hate carrying extra keys. I do have a cute peace symbol key fob too. I also have a separate key ring just for the fob that opens the doors to my office building.

8. Sunglasses. I love sunglasses and I always have a pair with me unless I am paring down for an evening bag. (No Corey Hart impressions for me.)

9. Nice'n Clean Antibacterial Moist Wipes. They have saved me from many sticky situations -- pun intended! These are a must for being anywhere with children under the age of 10, but out of diapers. When they're in diapers you always have the wipes with you and I am hopeful that by the age of 10, kids can clean themselves up.

10. Opti-free Rewetting Drops. A couple of months ago I got new contact lenses and when my eyes were adjusting to them, I found the drops helped. They can probably be taken off the must include list since I hardly use them anymore.

11. Cosmetics bag with face powder, concealer, eye shadow and tweezers. Sometimes my lipsticks are in here and sometimes they are in the zipper pocket where my keys live.

12. 2 pens -- one stolen from the hotel on my last business trip and one that came as part of the latest swag from my job.

13. Dental wax for the braces. This is a new addition, but very essential at the moment. It has replaced the chewing gum that used to be a permanent fixture pre-braces.

And that's it. I clean out extraneous stuff like receipts and other bits on a nightly basis because I like my bag to be neat and organized.

5 Things

I was tagged by Lisa for this one...

Here are the rules:

1. List five kind things you do for yourself.

2.List five kind things you do for your closest friend, partner or child.

3.List five kind things you have done for a stranger.

4. Have fun!

5. Tag five people.

1. Five things I do for myself
- Exercise
- Buy myself really nice handbags
- Get manicures
- Read
- Take long, leisurely showers on the weekends

2. Five things I do for my closest friend, partner or child.
- Remember birthdays
- Laundry
- Buy candy they like
- Tell them I love them
- Be thoughtful of what is important to them

3. Five things I have done for a stranger.
- Saved their place in line at the grocery store
- Picked up something they dropped
- Given them a diaper and wipes for their child
- Let them cut in front of me in traffic
- Paid their toll

Tagging: Musings from the Sofa, Telecommuter Emily, Reading Nook Chris, Karen, & Tracie

Thanks Lisa!

04 March 2008

Star Wars -- What could have been

Of course I loved Star Wars when I was a kid, but nowadays I think I might prefer the version of that opens like this:

(Thanks to YesButNoButYes for the link.)

03 March 2008

Manic Monday

And the questions are...

You find that your best friend has stolen money to pay for medical treatment for a seriously ill relative. What would you do?
I would offer my friend whatever money I could to help them either pay back the stolen money or continue to pay for the medical treatment. It would be hard for me to judge them for stealing for this reason. A lot would depend on who the money was stolen from.

What three things you regret not learning to do?
  1. Play a musical instrument.
  2. Drive a standard.
  3. Play tennis well enough to have a regular game.

02 March 2008

Zoe's choice

This morning Zoë and I were discussing the plans for the day. We were supposed to be going to my brother's for a visit. Zoë loves playing with her cousins so she was quite excited to do that. Unfortunately, my brother had to have hernia repair surgery on Friday so when we called their house this morning my sister-in-law said she wasn't sure my he would be up for visitors. When I told Zoë that we may not be able to go see her cousins, I said we could do something else fun instead. She said, "If I'm good, can we go to Claire's?"

I agreed to that. She's been asking to go for weeks and another $10 spent at Claire's would buy me a cooperative child for the day. That seemed like a bargain, in fact. The errands were run, lunch was had, we were out with my Mom for a few more stops and then we were just about to head to Claire's when my sister-in-law called to say we were welcome to come over. By that time it was 2pm and it being a school night we didn't really have time for both, but it could have been done with a bit of rushing in both places. So, I said to Zoë, "What would you rather do -- go to Claire's or go see your cousins?" I would have been fine with either decision, but I fully expected her to choose Claire's especially because she had been wanting to go for awhile and she missed an opportunity yesterday.

"Go see my cousins!" she answered immediately and enthusiastically. "We can go to Claire's another time. Maybe tomorrow."

"Are you sure?" I was quite surprised.

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Because I don't think we'll get another chance to go to Claire's until next weekend," I warned.

"That's OK."

I would have truly understood if she had chosen Claire's and I probably would have done both if she had pushed. If the situations had been reversed, I'm not even sure what my choice would have been, but I strongly suspect it would have been Claire's. (I would have loved Claire's had such a thing existed when I was Zoë's age.)

Off we went to see her cousins -- as well as my brother (who appears to be recovering nicely from surgery) and sister-in-law. There was never a moment of regret on her part and we had a nice evening.

She can really be a great kid.