30 December 2009

2009 Resolution Round-up

Here are my resolutions from last year and a report on how they worked out:

1. Read another 50 books.

Check. And that will be an ongoing goal.

2. Stay on top of my inbox.

I was doing really well with this until November and then things just fell apart. I hope to get back on track and it is more of a habit now so that is a good thing.

3. Cook.

Believe it or not, I did it. I think I am most proud of this. I have been cooking a lot and looking up recipes and all kinds of things I never thought I'd do. And while I can't say I really love cooking, it is good to be able to make what I want to eat and to know what I am eating.

4. Try doing more sports and outdoor activities.

Never made it skiing this year, but we did go ice skating. Also we got Chief who has brought a lot more walks and trips to the beach and park into my life. I did OK on this, but I'm just never going to be a kayak-er or anything like that.

5. Get rid of the clutter.

I'm getting there, but it could be better.

Overall I think I did pretty well this year. In addition to these goals, I lost 20lbs and am finally, FINALLY at my pre-pregnancy weight. And I have managed to keep it off and it feels like a real permanent change. It is a very good feeling.

OK now I have to get to work on my 2010 resolutions...

27 December 2009

TBR Challenge

Somehow in a weak moment I agreed to this challenge from Emily. Here's how she presented it:

So, here is how this challenge works. It begins December 1, 2009 (because I always believe in challenges that give you more than one year to complete) and ends no later than December 31, 2010, but it really ends whenever you manage to complete it. Here are the rules:

1. Choose 20 books from your TBR list (or tome, if you are like me), and post them on December 1, 2009. If you'd like, you can tell us why you chose each book (I'm sure you can guess what I'd "like").

2. Read those 20 books.

3. Oh, did I mention? You are not allowed to buy any of them. If you don't already own them, you must beg, borrow, or steal them in order to read them.

4. Oh, I guess I forgot the other difficult part: you are not allowed to buy any new (or used. No, you can't get around it that way) books until you have read (or attempted to read at least 30+ pages) of all the books on your list.

5. There is one exception to the rules (because I am a fair kinda gal and belong to 2 book discussion groups): you may buy books you have to read for book discussion groups before you have read all 20 on your list, if you can't get them any other way (i.e. your library system doesn't have them and employs the Sloth Express to deliver all interlibrary loans). However, I highly recommend that you encourage your book discussion groups to read books from your list of 20.

6. And then that final thing: write a blog post about each book as you finish (or decide you can't finish) it.

As you can see I have already broken the first rule because I did not get my list up by December 1. Since one rule is broken, I think I'll break a few more, like rule number 3. If I have to have that kind of impediment, there's no way I'll get through this list. So, I've decided that I can buy books from this list, but no other books (besides books for bookclub). And the last rule broken is number 6. I am not a great book reviewer so I can't promise more than stating I read the book. I will keep a special list on the column of my blog to track my progress instead. If I feel I have anything worth saying about the book, I will post. I have I made this half-assed, or what? Hopefully, Emily won't be too disappointed in my version.

OK, here's my list:

  1. Then We Came to the End -- Joshua Ferris
    This has been sitting on my shelf and I have wanted to read it, but I just never pick it up.
  2. Independence Day -- Richard Ford
    I read the Sportswriter over a year ago for book club and I have been wanting to read the second book ever since.
  3. Lay of the Land -- Richard Ford
    If I am going to read the second book, I might as well read the third.
  4. Breakfast at Tiffany's -- Truman Capote
    I can't believe I haven't read this.
  5. Sense and Sensibility -- Jane Austen
    This is a re-read, but one that I have been meaning to do for a few years.
  6. Lady Susan -- Jane Austen
    Speaking of Jane Austen, I've never read this one.
  7. Ten Days in the Hills -- Jane Smiley
    Another one that has been sitting on my shelf that I have been wanting to read and just never pick up.
  8. The Player -- Michael Tolkin
    I loved this movie and I'm not sure I knew it was a book until I heard about the second book. I figured I couldn't read the second book until I read the first...
  9. Return of the Player -- Michael Tolkin
    See above.
  10. Brideshead Revisited -- Evelyn Waugh
    Another book I can't believe I haven't read yet.
  11. The Glass Castle -- Jeannette Walls
  12. Miss Match -- Erynn Mangum
    Both #11 and #12 were gifts from my LibraryThing Santa 2 years ago and I still haven't read them. I feel like I should read these books someone took the time to pick out for me.
  13. The Believers -- Zoe Heller
    I bought the hardcover and still haven't read it. I want to get it read before the paperback comes out.
  14. The Best American Short Stories 2009
    I get this book as a gift from my Mom every Christmas and I don't usually finish it so this year that is my goal.
  15. Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life -- Carol Sklenicka
    I love Raymond Carver. I know this book just came out, but it immediately landed at the top of my TBR list.
  16. Never Let Me Go -- Kazou Ishiguro
    Another one that's been sitting on my shelf.
  17. The Poisonwood Bible -- Barbara Kingsolver
    So many people I know loved this book. I own it, but for some reason I've never read it. I am kind of afraid I won't like it, I think. We shall see...
  18. Casino Royale -- Ian Fleming
    I feel like I should read this.
  19. Mrs. Dalloway -- Virginia Woolf
    Just in case I'm feeling too happy.

24 December 2009

Happy Holidays!



All the best in 2010

20 December 2009

What is it about the holidays?

The holidays combined with the end of the year are just kicking my butt this year. Everything feels extra-intense -- the highs and the lows. Makes me kind of want to dive under the duvet until January 4th or so. Am I the only one feeling like this?

Zoe has certainly built up Christmas this year. She was very upset when we were decorating the tree because we didn't hang every ornament we own. She was afraid Santa would be disappointed. She is pushing on the Santa thing extra hard this year because I am afraid she is starting to question the whole thing. It breaks my heart a little. I want it to be extra special magic for her just a little longer.

The family stuff can be rough too. Its not too bad this year, but every little bump in the road gets magnified when Christmas or Hanukkah or New Year's is attached to it. I decided a few years ago that I wanted the holidays (including Thanksgiving) to be fun for me too and not just about familial obligation. Ultimately that has been good, but it does cause some tension. How can it not?

Work is insanity and I don't even want to talk about that. I just want a few days off to forget it. Hopefully I'll be able to put it mostly out of my mind. I will say that as rough a road as work has been this entire last year or more, I am ever more grateful for the wonderful people I work closely with. I have made a few very close friends that certainly make every day better. Some of them are far and farther flung, but it is no matter.

I hope for everyone that they can find something fun or special or just relaxing about this holiday season. I wish everyone all the best in 2010.

Coming soon...new year's resolutions...

14 December 2009

The Cosmetics Counter: 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

This is about as close as you can come to the perfect eyeliner.

The 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil by Urban Decay is my favorite cosmetics discovery of 2009. Sometime over the summer I read an article about waterproof eyeliners which I thought would be fun to try for swimming days. I tried a couple of other brands with mixed results, but I wasn't thrilled until I stumbled upon this eyeliner at one of my favorite stores, Sephora. My color of choice is Rockstar which is a dark purple, but any of the colors that don't include glitter or glimmer are excellent choices.

What makes it so great, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

  1. It is easy to apply -- unbelievably easy, really. You have to try it to see what I mean.
  2. It goes on super-smooth and even.
  3. It lasts a long, long time without running or smudging.
  4. Even though $17 may seem like a lot for an eyeliner, the pencil lasts a long time.
The only downside is that you should use eye make-up remover to take it off at the end of the day otherwise it can be a little bit too lasting.

So if you're looking for a new eyeliner, I suggest you give this one a try.

10 December 2009

SXSW Tour 09: Photos

I can't believe I never published this post. This is my collection of photos from my SXSW trip. Hope they are still somewhat interesting...

My favorite gas station quick mart (Somewhere in Louisiana):

Manicures and Pedicures for everyone! (Best manicure and pedicure ever, I should mention.)


Zoe and Samantha wrapped up with the presents.


Zoe and Samantha help with the Thanksgiving cooking.


Table is set and the first Thanksgiving meal I ever helped prepare is ready to be eaten! This was the first year I didn't just bring the wine.


The chefs!

The cool parking meters in Memphis just off Beale St.



Somewhere in Tennessee I spotted this helpful sign. Now what is a buiscuit and are they appropriate for the office??


Vacation is good.

The Gateway Arch. Missed it last year and thrilled I got to see it this year. It is pretty cool and something I've wanted to see since I was about 5.

Note to self: Remember to blog

How on Earth did it get to be December 10th already? I swear I just got back from vacation so that would make it around November 30. I want my 10 days back!

I've been swamped with work and holiday preparations and as a result, I have been neglecting my blog. The saddest part is that I didn't even realize how much time had gone by since I'd posted because I keep thinking about writing posts. Which just goes to prove that thinking it and doing it are two completely different things. Luckily my good friend Heather emailed me to find out if I was OK since I hadn't posted in so long. That has helped to kick my butt into gear.

And even sadder than the saddest part is that I discovered that I never even finished or published the last post I wrote, but I thought I had. Sad, lonely, unfinished post -- I will take care of you now.

Sad, lonely, blog -- I will do my best to neglect you no more. Holidays or not, crazy job or not, there should always be time for ZoesMom!

28 November 2009

SXSW09: The Journey Home

We hit the road for home yesterday afternoon. It was so hard to say good bye, but we wrenched ourselves away and set the GPS for Memphis.

It is a long, flat drive through East Texas and Arkansas. The highway is dotted with ranches and Walmarts and that's about it. So it was quite exciting to cross the bridge over the Mississippi river and arrive in the city of Memphis. Our hotel was right downtown and our room was on a high floor of the hotel so we had a great city view.

Almost immediately upon check in Zoe and I got our bathing suits on and went to seek out the indoor pool. The pool room had 2 walls of floor to ceiling windows with another nice view of the city. The pool itself was big and wonderfully warm. Zoe and I swam until we were exhausted and then went back up to the room and flopped happily into bed.

This morning we went to The Arcade Restaurant which is an old diner kind of place that claims to be the oldest cafe in Memphis. We found the place by accident on last year's trip and the memory of their delicious beignets was more than enough to entice us back. The restaurant is a few blocks from Beale St. in what looks to be an arty area. Zoe really didn't notice the food, but she was quite enamored with the painted parking meters. I have pictures on my camera which I'll post when I get home.

From Memphis we set a course for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO. Details on that to come.


- Posted from the road

27 November 2009

SXSW Tour 09: Turkey Week Wrap Up

It's hard to believe we're already on the road home, but before I start posting about the return trip, I should sum up 6 days in Dallas.

It was terrific to be with our friends and everyone took up right where they left off last time we were all together. It felt like we barely saw our daughters as they were so busy playing the whole time, they barely paid any attention to us grown-ups. That was a fine arrangement for us all!

As any trip to Dallas should be, the week was filled with good food and good shopping. I had two delicious Tex-Mex lunches including one at my favorite place, Mi Cocina. If you're ever in Dallas, I highly recommend a meal there. The restaurant's proximity to the Tory Burch and Cole Hahn stores is an added bonus. The shopping at Northpark Mall is my favorite in Dallas though. Karen and I did some damage at Sephora and we got new Kate Spade iPhone cases.

Dallas has a wonderful thing -- a drop-off childcare center that is open until 10pm on weeknights. This meant that we were able to go out for a really nice dinner at Cafe R+D without having to bring coloring or order anyone chicken nuggets. The Bellinis there along with all the food were fantastic.

And then I participated in my first Thanksgiving meal cooking. Karen and I made everything together from the turkey to the ice cream. In addition to those things, our meal included corn pudding, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, salad with home made dressing, corn muffins, biscuits, stuffing and 2 kinds of chocolate chip cookies. The only thing we bought were the cupcakes from Sprinkles. Truthfully I mostly cooked the desserts and bread items and Karen did the turkey, stuffing, etc. It was a pretty fair division of labor, but I still can't say I actually cooked a turkey. I was very glad I have been working on my cooking skills this year!

It was one of the more relaxing Thanksgiving Days that I can ever remember. We ended the day in our pajamas watching movies. I can't remember the last time I did that with friends.

It was very hard to leave today, but we have some road adventures to look forward to in Memphis, St. Louis, and Columbus.

22 November 2009

SXSW Tour 09: Day 3

Well, we made it! It's great to be back in Dallas. I know it has been a year, but in a way it feels like we were just here the other day. Zoe and Samantha ran right off to play as soon as we arrived which was wonderful to see. Rob and Ashton are hiding and talking about going to the shooting range (thinking we don't know what they're talking about) while Karen and I are making our own plans for the week. All is as it should be.

Before I settle into our stay here I just wanted to share this one last list...

Things we've seen on the road that you would never see in Connecticut:

Letty's Beauty salon and coin laundry

Get-n-Geaux (gas station quick mart)

Crawfish Tackle Box (@Popeyes drive thru)

Biscuitville Restaurant

Ranches with horses and cattle -- one even had camels

Aligator farms

Billboard advertising $990 cremations



And here's a picture of Zoe and Samantha. Reunited and it feels so good.






- Posted from my iPhone

21 November 2009

SXSW Tour 2009: Day 2

Today has been a great day, but also very long. We have just about reached our hotel for the night and I must say I am ready to get out of the car. Meanwhile here are observations from the road:

There's a whole lotta nothing much of Alabama and Mississippi -- at least in terms of what can be observed from the road.

Atlanta looks like a great city. We spent about an hour at the Underground and then drove around. I would love to go back and see more.

LaZboy furniture is much more popular than I realized. There has probably been one store for every 2 Wal-marts.

There was a big Clemson football game today. Fans go all out decorating their cars. It's amazing!

People in the south are so friendly. It is so unusual coming from the Northeast where everyone is in too much of a rush to be that friendly.

Mullets are still alive and well as a popular style in some places.

And while we spent much of today's ride listening to an audio book, Zoe spent her time with the portable DVD player looking like this;






And after spending the night in Jackson, MS tonight, tomorrow we make it to Dallas!

- Posted from the road

20 November 2009

SXSW Tour 2009: Day 1

Thanks to my iPhone I am blogging while we ride.

We left CT around 7:00 this morning which was only an hour later than we had planned. (Mornings are tough for Rob.). Luckily it is Friday so the morning traffic out of NY wasn't too bad. Coffee and egg sandwiches from Starbucks fueled us all the way to Silver Springs, MD where we made our first stop. Interesting place, Silver Springs. From what little I saw it looks to be undergoing yuppification. That's not all bad or all good, but there were some nice shops and restaurants in one area so we were able to have a nice lunch and meander a bit.

Back in the car we pressed on to Charlottesville, VA. (Emily, please don't tell your parents we were there and didn't stop by to say hello.). After my brief visit there this summer, I wanted to stop so Rob could see the downtown Mall. It just so happened that they were lighting the Christmas tree tonight so things were bustling with music and activity. We walked around, Zoe talked us into buying her a stuffed animal, we had coffees and it was all very nice. I wish we could have spent more time in one of the awesome used bookstores, but used bookstores and 7 year olds are not generally a good combo. Rob said he would have liked 2 hours in the bookstore follwed by 2 hours in the coffee place to read, but alas we also had to get back on the road. Just as we were leaving we saw this cool book chair. Doesn't look too comfortable, but it would be an excellent addition to a library room!





So now we're on our way to Greensboro, NC where we will be spending the night. Tomorrow will be the really long day of driving so we need to get a good night's sleep.

More soon from points south.


- Posted from the road

19 November 2009

SXSW2 Tour 2009

Tomorrow morning will be the start of our 2nd annual South-by-southwest roadtrip. Our final destinatio will be Dallas, TX but we are hoping to make some interesting stops along the way.

Don't worry, I plan to keep you posted as well as keeping very good track of Eeyore.

10 November 2009

Have you seen this? Make Your Own Jeans

What is one of the hardest things to shop for? Bathing suits of course, but second to that is jeans! Imagine if you could have your own custom made pair without it costing an arm and a leg -- wouldn't that be fabulous? Well, now you can at Makeyourownjeans.com.

A number of years ago Levi's did this, but the options were very limited, but now on Makeyourownjeans.com you get so many options it is actually overwhelming. The jeans are made using 7 different measurements that you provide. You choose the type of denim, including options for stretch, weight, and color. You can also personalize them even more by choosing embroidery, buttons, rivets, pockets, patches, rips, washes, and thread color. Like I said, the number of choices is overwhelming.

And most of the jeans cost around $50!

I haven't ordered my own pair yet, but that is only because I have to do all the measuring stuff and I can't decide what I want. I will let you know what I think when I do order.

The only criticism is for the site itself. They desperately need the help of traciedesigns!

05 November 2009

B is for Bathtub

In college I lived in apartment that was the third floor of a house that had seen many better days. The place was kind of dumpy, the furniture was falling apart and it was hellish walking up the stairs just to get to the door, but there was one beautiful feature and that was the enormous claw foot bathtub. It was close to 6 feet long and maybe 2 feet deep. My roommate and very excellent friend HT and I really enjoyed it. We even once auctioned off a bubble bath in our tub for a department fundraiser.

The thing I remember even more than taking baths in the tub were the talks HT and I had while she was taking a bath. She was an end of day bather and would fill the tub with bubbles and go for a soak. I would hang out in the bathroom and we'd talk and talk about everything. Sex, school, life, you name it. It wasn't so much what we talked about as the intimacy of it. Not only because HT was naked under all the bubbles, but because it was so open and so unbound by time and and life's responsibilities. It seems like those moments with good friends are so few and far between these days. It is hard enough to find time to spend with good friends -- life and responsibility get in the way all the time. I'd love to have a few of those nights back. And maybe one more swim in that enormous tub would be nice too.

01 November 2009

Halloween Menu

Because Halloween fell on a Saturday this year, I decided to make a little party out of it. I invited my brother's family and Rob's brother's family. In years past I would have ordered pizza for an occasion like this, but since I have been cooking lately I felt that I could tackle cooking up a Halloween feast -- or at least something that passed for dinner. Worst case, a heavy dose of candy would make everyone happy in the end.

I based the meal around a chicken dish of my own invention and then pieced it together from there with a focus on kid-friendly-ness. The official menu was this:

Cereal Killer Chicken (cereal crusted chicken tenderloins)
Baked Cheesy Brains
Mummy Dogs
Witches Fingers (bread sticks)
Blood Red Wine
Pumpkin Cake (not pumpkin flavored, but shaped like one)

Zoe was my sous chef and she even created this menu:



I think the food was a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so I was really pleased. Of course that was all just to fill time before the real event -- trick-or-treating! Bags of candy were procured and there were belly-aches for all. And how could I not post a picture of Zoe in her costume...

30 October 2009

Euphemism

I love euphemisms. They really have a way of glossing over the ugly stuff.

I write this because I recently had the pimple that ate my face. (Luckily it has since spit my face back out and gone back into its cave.) However, rather than calling it a pimple, the lovely lady at the cosmetics store referred to it as a "blemish." When she said that, I thought to myself, lady, this is way more than a blemish, but whatever. Just give me what you've got to get it gone.

That little word blemish got me thinking about other famous euphemisms. Some of my favorites are:

Restroom. As a child I always found that one confusing because, well, there aren't any beds or couches in a restroom unless you go to one of the really fancy departments stores, of course.

Lavatory. This was even more confusing because just when I figured out what a restroom was, I got to school and they called it something else. Something that sounded a lot like laboratory.

Pro Life or Pro Choice. They are pretty meaningless when you think about what they really mean.

In a family way. There are so many more good ones for pregnancy, but that is my favorite.

Period. This is a good one. No one likes to think too much about this.

First Base, etc. Silly, but important to know.

Gay or Straight. I don't get it.

Concentration Camp. The prime example of how dangerous a euphemism can be. Its name says nothing about what it really is.

Toasted, buzzed, and any of the other 5,000 terms of that sort.

The list could go on for days, but I'll stop here.

So when I asked the nice lady to help me with my blemish I was hoping for magic, but instead was offered a product I already owned. I was SOL.

28 October 2009

Halloween Meme II

I was tagged by the Queen herself!

Rules:

1. Answer the questions on your own blog. -- Will do!

2. Tag 13 others to answer the questions on their blogs and link to them. -- Probably won't do since The Queen already tagged everyone! I'll just leave it at this -- if you want to do this meme, go for it!

And here we go...

1). Which urban legend ghost scared the bejeezus out of you when you were a kid?
The one about the guy who had the dog that would lick his hand at night and then one morning he woke up to discover his dog was dead and written in blood was "humans can lick too." This was one of the most popular campfire stories at my sleepaway camp. Not much sleep for me on the nights that story was told.

2). Which horror movie has the best premise?
The Birds or really any Alfred Hitchcock movie.

3). What is the most disappointing "treat" to receive in your bag on Halloween night?
It has to be an apple. Second to the apple is the little box of raisins. I mean really.

4). What's the best non-candy item to receive?
Bouncy balls. They were big in my neighborhood when I was a kid.

5). Did a monster live in your closet when you were a child?
Nope. The monster lived in the basement of course.

6). Which supernatural creature sent chills up your spine when you were ten and still does?
The headless horseman. I know it sounds silly, but that just creeps me right out.

7). Which supernatural creature makes you yawn?
The Mummy. What is he really going to do? He's held together with medical tape! The new Mummy movies have not had any improved impact.

8). What's your favorite Halloween decoration?
Jack-o-lanterns. I love to see people get creative with the carving. I still haven't carved my pumpkins, but hopefully I will get to do it this year.

9). If you could be anywhere on Halloween night, where would you be?
Right where I'm going to be. Home and then trick-or-treating with Zoe and my nieces and nephew. Halloween is a kids' holiday to me. I love celebrating with them.

10). What's the scariest book you've read so far this year?
I don't like scary books so the only thing that comes close this year is 1984.

11). Haunted houses or haunted hayrides?
Haunted houses. I feel too trapped on the hayrides.

12). Which Stephen King novel/movie would you least like to find yourself trapped in?
Misery. That was scary, scary, SCARY to me.

13). Which are creepiest: evil dolls, evil pets, or evil children?
Evil dolls -- especially clowns.

25 October 2009

A weekend of funnies from Zoe

It seemed like just about everything Zoe had to say this weekend was having us all laugh out loud. Here are a few of my favorites:

The worst Halloween ever would be instead of getting candy, getting advice.

It's weird. Neil Armstrong and Louis Armstrong have the same last name, but they are not related at all. Not even a little bit. It's spelled the same and everything. A-R-M-S-T-R-O-N-G

Avatar [the TV Show] gives you spiritual advice. Don't make fun of that show, that show is my life.

It was more dangerous for Grandpa in his driveway than at the battle of the bulge. [Said when discussing the fact that Rob's father did not get any serious injuries in WW II, but he did manage to slice of part of a finger in a car engine fan.]

I have to cartwheel. It's who I am.

22 October 2009

Have you seen this? Recursion

I just stole this from a tweet from David Pogue (@Pogue). I could have re-tweeted, but it seemed like a perfect blog post too.

Here's what you do:

Google the word "recursion."

On the results page click "Did you mean?" spelling suggestion. (It will say recursion.)

Repeat.


Giggle.

15 October 2009

One is enough to fill my life with ...

I'm not sure if it has do with Zoe's age or mine or other factors I am not considering, but it seems like lately a lot of people have been asking me about having another child.

Does Zoe have an older brother or sister?

Do/did you want another?

Are you going to have another?

Typically followed by...

Why don't you have another?

Will you ever have another?

Don't you think Zoe would like a little brother or sister?

And after those questions are answered, I am usually given some comment on only children that vary in degree from good to bad, but very few land in the indifferent category.

I don't mind if someone asks me about having more children because I know it is common to have more than one. I accept that as polite conversation on the playground kind of thing. It is the relentless follow-up that gets to me. I mean, I don't go around asking pregnant women why they are having another baby. I don't ask people with 3 kids if they worry about their middle child. And even though I'd like to, I haven't asked my neighbor why on Earth she is having fourth kid. Do you know why? Because it is not my life and not my business.

I know that some faction of the world believes I am denying Zoe something crucial in life by not providing her with a brother or sister, but I don't believe that. I believe I am trying to be the best mother I can be for her -- and to me that includes not having any other children.

08 October 2009

Halloween -- a pictorial history

It's that time of year...leaves changing, pumpkins, and of course, Halloween. One of the favorite holidays in our house. What could be better than costumes and candy?

Zoe keeps asking me what she was for Halloween at every age. I wasn't sure I remembered everything so I went back and consulted my photos.

Here's the full history:

2002 First Halloween -- she had two costumes this year because really, is one enough?



She only lasted about 15 minutes in the Hershey kiss costume before breaking down into hysterical sobs, but the cow costume was worn until it didn't fit anymore.


2003 -- The First Flight of the Bumblebee
Also the first time trick-or-treating.


2004 -- The Bumblebee flies again.
The costume still fit so why not?

Next to Zoe is my niece -- that was her first Halloween.



2005 -- The Year of the Witch


This was the first year she chose her own costume. She had to have that witch hat.

2006 -- The Year of the Princesses


2007 -- Argh!
This was the only moment she was actually wearing all the pieces of this costume.

2008 -- A Friend of the Devil


I just realized that I've probably posted most of these photos over the years, but it is fun to look at them all together. I am looking forward to seeing her in this year's costume. I won't give it away so I have something to post on 11/1.

02 October 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned: All Work and No Play Makes Me Tired

I've been suffering from work overload lately and therefore I have not been blogging at my usual rate and I seem to have completely stopped creating these lists in the last few weeks. Not good. Time to get back to the blog ... and the bullets.

  • There is nothing so anti-climactic than the completion of a large project. All along I always think I am going to feel elation and relief when the project is done, but instead I tend to go into what I think of as my post-project depression. And I realize all the work that I had been neglecting and am swamped all over again. I am hoping that after this weekend I will be over the depression and magically caught up on my work (insert plea to elves here).
  • Kids don't love shoes. They may love a pair of shoes, like the sneakers Zoe is currently wearing into the ground, but in general shoes are just annoying even if they are necessary.
  • We are going to a family wedding on Saturday and Zoe will be wearing a DRESS. That's right, a dress. A dress that she chose and is actually excited to wear. Keep your fingers crossed that she won't be barefoot (see above).
  • Speaking of shoes...I wanted to start hating Zappos because they were bought by Amazon, but I just can't. Especially since they always send me shoes the next day for free and since reading this article on their CEO in the New Yorker. I'd like to work for this guy.
  • More about shoes...it is all of a sudden boots season around here. I don't know who flipped the switch, but I would have preferred something a little more gradual. The pool is closed, the heat is on. How can it be winter when we never had summer?? Oh well, I guess I better get shopping for those boots!

01 October 2009

Have you seen this? Mad Men on Sesame Street

I love Mad Men, but I have loved Sesame Street even longer...

28 September 2009

Alphabet History: A is for Apple Picking

I came across this idea at The Public, the Private and Everything in Between and I'm going for it. The idea is to work through the alphabet in short, memoir-like pieces. Anyone who wants to join in, should!

This time of year always makes me think about apple picking, but one of my favorite apple-picking memories is the time we went when I was pregnant. It was October 2001 -- about a month after 9/11. Some friends invited us to go apple picking and then to go back to their house for lunch. The U.S. was about to go to war with Afghanistan and that was all over the news, but we collectively agreed to turn off the news and not discuss it. It is the first post 9/11 memory I have that does not include fear and I think it may have been the day I started to relax.

I can remember so much about that day -- the perfect Fall weather, the leaves just beginning to change, the smell of the mashed apples, the apple-cider doughnuts, and the chili lunch with a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian chili -- just to name a few things. It felt so good to be out in the sunshine and to choose the perfect apples from the trees. As corny as it may sound now I felt like I was doing something healthy for my pregnancy too. As if the act of picking apples was somehow nourishing to the baby.

Like so many random days that end up being permanent memories, it is a day that Rob also remembers well. He keeps a picture on his desk of the two of us standing among the apple trees. You can see that my pregnancy is just starting to show. We both look so young and happy. Every time we've been apple-picking since, we compare it to that day.

22 September 2009

Never Enough Hours in the Day

I know there's nothing new in me saying that sometimes it feels like there are never enough hours in the day, but I can't help saying it right now anyway. The days seem to just disappear lately. There are so many things I want to do, read, write, see and I never seem to get to them all. I start and get a quarter or halfway through some things and other things I never even get to look at. I bet you know the feeling. It is so frustrating, isn't it?

15 September 2009

Have you seen this? See Jane Work

For those of you out there who, like myself, love stationery and office supplies, you must check out See Jane Work. Oh, and I know you're out there.

See Jane work has amassed a lovely collection of everything you need from mouse pads, to note pads, to tote bags. Why use plain old manila file folders when you can use these?

Why write with just any pen when you can get an entire set of Le Pens? I do love Le Pens!

They even have a nice selection of Eco-Friendly products which is always good.

10 September 2009

Life According to Literature Meme

I've been tagged for this one by a few people in blogs and on Facebook. I am finally getting to it...

The rules: Using only books you have read this year (2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: Another Mother's Life (Rowan Coleman)

How do you feel: A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You (Amy Bloom)

Describe where you currently live: Netherland (Joseph O'Neill)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Away (Amy Bloom)

Your favorite form of transportation: Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri)

Your best friend is: Coraline (Neil Gaiman)

You and your friends are: Smart Girls Like Me (Diane Vadino)

What’s the weather like: Labor Day (Joyce Maynard)

You fear: Gods Behaving Badly (Marie Phillips)

What is the best advice you have to give: There's No Place Like Here (Cecelia Ahern)

Thought for the day: Breath (Tim Winton)

How I would like to die: Slumberland (Paul Beatty)

My soul’s present condition: Dog Years (Mark Doty)

09 September 2009

Important "meme"

I was tagged by Emily to pass this along and I gladly will. I don't often get political on my blog, but since I don't think of this as a political issue I will jump in with my two cents:

Healthcare should be available to all.

I have been very fortunate to have health insurance most of my life, but I have no idea what I would do for me and my family if I didn't.

Please watch this video and then pass it along. If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged.

04 September 2009

... and she's off to 2nd grade!


and she's off to 2nd grade!, originally uploaded by Marcyjill.

Second grade is: Awesome!
New teacher is: Really cool!
First day was: Great!

Can't as for a better start than that, can you?

More photos from the first day here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcyjill/sets/72157622228522910/

03 September 2009

The Cosmetics Counter: Korres Mango Butter Lipstick


Last weekend I made a pilgrimage to my own personal Mecca, Sephora in search of something ... new. Since I have tried just about every cosmetic out there from eyebrow pencil to lip cream and everything in between, I decided to try a new brand. I selected Korres.

The Korres brand is from Athens, Greece and they are "committed to developing natural skincare, color, and body products that provide maximum results." Sounds like a good philosophy to me. Their products have a lot of appeal in packaging, fragrance, and color pallette. I am a lipstick fanatic so I opted for sampling the Mango Butter Lipstick. Doesn't that just sound delicious?

My color choice was natural purple which is a lovely brownish purple. It is a very sheer, lightweight formula that is also surprisingly long-lasting. The first time I wore it, I thought it wouldn't last more than an hour or so, but I was pleased when it actually lasted a few hours and didn't get dry and sticky in the corners of my mouth.

I will definitely be heading back to Sephora to try more Korres products sometime soon.

01 September 2009

Back-to-School

It is definitely that time. It is hard for me to believe it, but Zoe starts second grade on Thursday. We've bought clothes and supplies and a new backpack, we've figured out the first day outfit (of course there will be pictures!), we've examined the class list, and Zoe has even put in her request for a breakfast of French Toast on the first day. I'd say she's as ready as she's going to be.

It is a funny time of year filled with excitement and anticipation for the coming year and at the same time it is hard to let summer vacation go. As much as I may have complained about the lack of structure and schedule, there are parts of it that are really nice and can make an ordinary Tuesday, like today, feel like vacation even if it is just for an hour or so.

When I think back to what a difference a year of first grade made, I can't wait to see what this year brings for Zoe. I think I feel the same way about Zoe growing up as I do about the end of summer. I am both excited and pleased to see her blossoming into her own, independent person and at the same time I look back on the not-so-distant past with nostalgia for the little girl who needed me to wash her in the bath tub and the baby who slept right in my arms as if they were made for that purpose.

21 August 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned: Back-to-school edition

Camp (both the Y camp and tennis camp) are over, our end of summer trip to Cape Cod is complete, so that can only mean one thing...it is time to get ready for back-to-school. So, these are my back-to-school prep bullets:

  • Zoe is still at the age where going back to school is exciting. She starts second grade this year. Despite my love for summer, after a week of no camp or babysitting, I can't help feeling a bit like this:



  • The more backpack choices there are, the harder it is to choose. We went to 3 stores and probably 5 websites before Zoe settled on what is probably one of the most boring options out there. I didn't fight too hard on this one as I was just glad I didn't have to have the same argument as last year because that L.L. Bean backpack barely made it through the summer.



  • Somehow I knew acid wash jean would be making a come back and here they are! You'll note the site called them "tie-dyed" but having just seen them (and purchased them) I can tell you they are pretty much acid wash. I did love my acid wash jeans so I couldn't blame Zoe for wanting a pair.


  • Speaking of pants, I never, in one million years, would have picked out these pants for my daughter. But she picked them out for herself and insists that she is going to wear them so much that I will have to wash them at least once a week. I still have doubts.


  • Buying school supplies (notebooks, folders, pens, etc.) is still so much fun. There is so much promise in those fresh supplies. Besides my laptop I only need a notebook and a pen for my own work supplies these days and I miss all the other stuff.


  • The bulk of Zoe's summer reading has been done in the last couple of weeks. Do you think that is as effective as reading consistently all summer? Or is it another Bad Mommy moment?


  • Every once in awhile I think that I would like to go back to school and then I try to imagine where I would find the time for homework.


20 August 2009

Cape Cod weekend

Last weekend I had the great fortune of visiting family on Cape Cod. We had perfect weather and a really nice time on the beach, buying tacky souvenirs, exploring Provincetown, and eating ice cream. As always seems to be the case on the Cape, I got some fun photos which I, of course, am about to share:

This is Zoe with my niece and nephew. I think this shot sums each of them up pretty well.





And speaking of shots that exemplify someone's personality, I think this one is even better of Zoe. I have titled this picture "Fang" because there is something about that toothless yet maniacal grin on her face.



While we were at the beach I noticed the incredible shadows hitting the ground in front of me so I decided to try and capture them. First attempt is here:




And then my brother decided to "help" with my experiment. Brothers are good like that.





Finally a bit of inspiration struck for this shot which I like to call "Venus de Shadow":



Of course there are lots of beautiful things to take pictures of on the Cape so I have a camera full, but a few of my favorites are this:



And this:



This picture also makes me thing of that Lyle Lovett song..."If I had a boat, I'd go out on the ocean..."


And most especially this:

Have you seen this? This is why you're fat

Nope, it is not a dieting site. This is why you're fat is kind of an anti-dieting site actually because it features amazingly fattening foods. In truth a lot of these pictures really turned my stomach, but one or two looked pretty good! Incredible the food combos that people come up with. Plus you can submit your own photo.

19 August 2009

Serious School Supplies

I took Zoe shopping for her back-to-school supplies this afternoon. When we thought we had everything on the list in our basket we were going through it to make sure. Zoe was reading the list and I was locating the items.

At the end of the list she asked, "No crayons?"

I scanned the list and confirmed, "Nope, no crayons."

"Wow, that is serious."

11 August 2009

Dog Years


I just finished reading "Dog Years" by Mark Doty. To be honest, I bought this book from the bargain table at Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago mainly because I liked the picture of the dogs on the cover and I may have recently watched the movie of "Marley & Me" so I was susceptible to dog stories. However, my expectations weren't high and I anticipated a light, perhaps somewhat maudlin read when I picked it off my shelf last week.

On the contrary, I was completely blown away by this book. Sadly, I am not a talented enough book reviewer to explain why, but I can say that the writing is truly gorgeous and while the subject is rather sentimental it is unbelievably well handled with both tenderness and honesty. Even though you know what happens in this story throughout, the telling is so wonderful that I wished it wouldn't end. Tears fell from my eyes on more than one occasion while reading. Tears for the story, tears for Rob and Spanky, and tears for Chief -- for the love I have for him now as well as the inevitable. It is actually a beautiful love story.

Mark Doty is a poet and that skill is evident throughout this book. Much of the prose is wonderfully poetic in its styling and phrasing. There are also lots of Emily Dickinson quotes as well as others (my favorite is from "The House Dog's Grave").

Even if you prefer cats, I suggest you give this book a read.

10 August 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned: On Monday

I seem to be having trouble getting back into the swing of my Friday bullet points, but I still like them so rather than skip them for another week, I've decided to just post them on Monday instead. It is my blog after all so it looks like I can change the rules whenever I want. It is the only place in my life where that is true, so please don't complain much.

Anyway, bullets...

  • I really love summer. Now that it finally feels like summer around these parts, I have been quite happy. I like not having to worry about jackets or even sweaters. I like the beach, I like the pool, I like cook-outs and ice cream trucks. Summer is good.
  • I really love fall clothes. Despite my enjoyment of the summer weather (see above) I've equally been enjoying the catalogs arriving with fall clothes and the early fall collections that have hit the stores. Unlike buying sandals in March which is just a terrible tease, I don't mind buying fall clothes early. They are probably the only good part about the weather getting cooler. OK, the leaves are nice too.
  • Zoe is slowly turning back into a girl. At least a little bit. She has been wearing more of her clothes from the girls department lately. This weekend she wore French braids in her hair. The other day she asked me to help her pick out an outfit that was "cute" and this morning she asked for sneakers that weren't boy's as her current pair are. Of course the current pair are only a few weeks old, but I said yes, she could have a second pair. They are shoes, after all.
  • I heard on the news early last week that we had just hit the mid-way point of summer. Is that really true? I guess I always think of summer ending when school starts, but really it continues until September 20. In the spirit of extending summer to its true length I've decided we're keeping our pool open until at least the last day of summer and at least once we're going to crank the heater on a day when it really is too cold to swim.
  • Chief has a new habit of sleeping on my clothes or shoes. I usually put my dirty clothes on the floor by the door of my bedroom to be brought to the hamper in the morning. Now those clothes are usually covered in dog hair every morning. If I don't leave any clothes he will sleep on my shoes and worst-case scenario he goes over to Rob's side of the bed where there's always some clothes on the floor (ahem!) and sleeps on those.
  • Sometimes when I buy something for Zoe that I think she will really like, she doesn't and I am disappointed so it was with trepidation that I bought her a copy of one of my favorite books from my childhood, "Little House in the Big Woods." (BTW, I bought this book on the quest you can read about here and here.) Her initial reaction was to turn her nose up a bit, but when I offered to lie in her bed and read it to her at bed time, she figured it was worth a shot. I am so happy to report that she just loves it. I've decided to read the entire book to her so we've been having lots of fun bedtimes lately. It does my heart good to see her loving this book.
  • On the flip side of that, sometime last year I bought Zoe a color book called "Scribbles" which is unique because it is not just a color in the lines book. The pages have parts of drawings with directions like "Its a beautiful day today: draw a bright sunny sky," or "this is a leopard...draw its spots." Great idea, right? Zoe wouldn't touch it. Just last week we had some house guests who brought Zoe a very similar book called "The Girls Doodle Book." It is the same idea, but this time she loves it. She takes this book with her everywhere. I am happy to see her enjoying it, but do feel like telling "I told you so!"

06 August 2009

The Summer of Cartwheels

It seems like ever since the local Memorial Day parade, Zoe has been doing non-stop cartwheels. She cartwheeled the entire parade route that day (and wondered why her arms hurt the next day) and has since gotten addicted. She cartwheels in the house, at the bus stop, off the diving board, in the pool, on the sidewalks of NYC -- just about anywhere she can find the space. Lately she's been working on one-handed an no-handed cartwheels as well.

Even though I know I did it too, I can't remember ever enjoying throwing my body around the way she does. I wasn't a cartwheel addict, but I did like rolling down hills, running races, trampoline jumping and just about any kind of jumping or diving off a diving board. These days I would be hard-pressed to do any of the above. Trampoline jumping is still fun, but you can pretty much keep the rest.

When does that change happen in our physical selves? Maybe it never happens for some people, but I think it does for most. Somewhere along the line we stop enjoying the playground and cartwheels and trampolines. Maybe it gets to dangerous or painful or maybe we get too lazy. I don't know. But I do know that I love to watch Zoe and her joy in cartwheels.

03 August 2009

Have you seen this? Mad Men Yourself

If you're a fan of teh show Mad Men then you've got to give this a try. On the AMC site you can "Mad Men" yourself!

I had so much fun with this, but I couldn't decide if I would be one of the office girls (that's me in red) ...


Or if I was more of a stay-at-home Mom ...

29 July 2009

Have you seen this? Etsy

I'm guessing most of you have seen this site, but I wanted to give it some love by blogging about it.

Etsy.com is a site that sells handmade products of a very wide variety. The handmade products come from around the world as do the buyers. It is a great idea when you think about it. Their mission:
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.

Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:

Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.


My favorite thing on this site is the "Pounce" feature that allows you to visit "shops" (sellers) that have not yet had a sale or just sold something. It is a fun way to see a random selection of items.

And, of course, I am a big fan of the bags and purses category. I am thinking of ordering this: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=28247124&ref=sc_2

So if you haven't been to this site before, I encourage you to go for a browse.

28 July 2009

1 Word

My blogging has been slow lately because life has been busy. I didn't want to go another week without a post so I stole this meme (I wasn't even tagged) from ModernMom.

Here’s how it works: USE ONLY ONE WORD!
It’s not as easy as you might think. Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your hair? brown
3. Your mother? curly
4. Your father? straight
5. Your favorite food? ice cream (it is one of the 5 major food groups)
6. Your dream last night? none
7. Your favorite drink? diet coke
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. What room are you in? bedroom
10. Your hobby? photography
11. Your fear? ill-health
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? content
13. Where were you last night? pizza
14. Something that you aren’t? blonde
15. Muffins? blueberry
16. Wish list item? car
17. Where did you grow up? Connecticut
18. Last thing you did? dinner
19. What are you wearing? pajamas
20. Your TV? on
21. Your pets? sleeping
22. Friends? excellent
23. Your life? hectic
24. Your mood? concerned (is that a mood?)
25. Missing someone? Rob
26. Vehicle? Jeep
27. Something you’re not wearing? pants
28. Your favorite store? Sephora
29. Your favorite color? blues
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? weeks
32. One place that I go to over and over? Loft
33. One person who emails me regularly? Becky
34. Favorite place to eat? NYC

If you feel like it, consider yourself tagged.

23 July 2009

A kid's main goals in life

The other night over dinner Zoe shared with me that a kid has three main goals in life. They are:

  1. Be happy
  2. Get candy
  3. Do everything possible
That's a pretty good set of goals for just about anyone, don't you think?

16 July 2009

Swimming buddies

It's been another crazy week and tonight I am sneaking away for a long girls weekend so I don't have too much time to blog this week, but there's always time for pictures.

Here's one of Zoe and Chief enjoying the pool. The first time he saw Zoe in her goggles he barked at her like he didn't know who she was. I wonder if they make goggles for dogs??

15 July 2009

Harry Potter Hype

I bet most people reading this know that the new Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opened today. There is tons of media attention on this one so it would be hard to miss. A lot of my friends are quiet excited to see the movie and many have already bought tickets for showings this weekend.

I have to admit I am a little jealous over all the excitement.

I somehow missed the initial Harry Potter train and I've never really been able to catch it since. I saw the first movie, but I was kind of underwhelmed. I imagine that is because I never read the first book. I saw the second movie and had the same reaction. By that point Harry Potter had become like a religion and I was turned off so it was too late for me to turn back to book 1. I made the decision to let the train go by.

After all the hype over all these years, I am more put off than ever on reading the books or seeing any more of the movies, but there is something so delicious about a long-awaited film or book that I am envious of the anticipation that has been everywhere and gratification about to come.

So, for all the Harry Potter fans out there -- I hope the movie is great and worth the wait! Eat some popcorn for me.

10 July 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned: Back to the Bullets

I skipped my Friday bullet points in honor of Independence Day last week. Actually, I was too busy over-dosing on Wimbledon tennis to write anything. But today we are back to regularly scheduled programming. It's been an up and down week so let's see...
  • One somewhat upsetting incident can really kill my productivity for hours at a time. I was on the receiving end of some rather insulting attitude at work this week and it really killed my day yesterday until I could get myself over it and move on. Thanks to those of you who listened yesterday -- I really appreciate it.
  • It is much easier to decide what to wear for "before" pictures than it is for "after." Tomorrow I have my final weigh-in for the contest I have been participating in at my gym and they are also going to take the "after" photos. I spent over an hour working out what to wear. Ridiculous! It has been a tough 8 weeks, but the results are just what I was hoping for. And after the "after" photos, I think I am going to get a cappuccino and a muffin because I deserve it!
  • I am so glad summer has decided to come to Connecticut. It could be warmer as far as I'm concerned, but I am just glad to wear the shorts and flip flops and to not need an umbrella EVERY day.
  • Dogs and boys are a lot alike. Think about it and you will see what I mean.
  • Despite wearing sunblock with an SPF of 50 all day every day, Zoe is completely tan after only 2 weeks of camp. Her hair has gotten lighter from the sun and I think in another 2 weeks her hair and skin will be about the same shades. She is just loving camp. If there was ever a kid made for camp, she is it. It is so nice to see her go off with a smile everyday and come home with it too. Don't worry, I'll post more pictures soon.
Have a great weekend everyone!

07 July 2009

Meme Award


I'm pleased and flattered to report that I've recieved a Meme/Award from a fellow blogger, ModernMom.

To accept this award, I must list 7 personality traits about myself and I must pass this award onto 7 other blogs that deserve such fine recognition for the personalities that they share with the blogging world.

7 personality traits:

1. I am a planner. I make social plans, I make sure to get driving directions, I buy travel books or read online when I am going someplace new. I generally like to think ahead about most things I do.

2. I am very loyal. Friends to the end kind of loyal. But sometimes beyond reason loyal winding me up quite hurt and disappointed.

3. I am shy. I am not quiet, but I am shy. I don't do well meeting or talking to strangers. I find it quite stressful just to call someone I don't know. I will often try to compensate by pretending to be quite confident, but inside I am all kinds of uncomfortable.

4. I try to find the bright side. I complain yes, but most of the time I try to focus on the good things and be happy for those things. I try to put the bad stuff in perspective.

5. I am not patient. When I want something or I want to know something, I want it NOW.

6. I am not serious. I would almost always rather laugh and joke around than be serious and have serious conversations. I was the kid in class with the smart remarks.

7. I am open to trying new things in just about any area except trying new foods. I have worked at being more open with food over the last several years and have come a long way, but no one would ever call me an adventurous eater.

7 Awards/Tags:
1. Emily
2. Becky
3. Tracie
4. Sara
5. Charlotte
6. Heather
7. Courtney

05 July 2009

How I spent my July 4th by Chief the dog

Independence Day

Yesterday I was explaining to Zoe why 4th of July is also called Independence Day and it made me think of all the ways she has become independent lately. I hear "I can do it myself" a lot these days and most of the time I welcome it.

Zoe now can:
  • Open the car door, get herself into the car, put on her seatbelt and close the car door without any help. Those of you who don't have kids can't imagine what a relief that is and those of you that do, I am sure you know.
  • Go to the restroom at restaurants without me.
  • Wash her own hair and body in the shower without any help.
  • Clear her dishes from the table (not that she does it all the time).
  • Pick out clothes and put them on -- and sometimes the clothes even match.
  • Find the shows she wants to watch on TV.
  • Read her own bedtime story (in truth she goes back and forth on this -- sometimes she reads and sometimes I do).
I wonder what's next?

(I had to use the bullet points because I skipped my usual Friday post.)

02 July 2009

The 3/50 Project

I just read this post from traciedesigns and I had to share it too because I think it is a great idea.

I'm sure everyone has noticed lots of local businesses disappearing in the last 6 months to a year. I know I've lost a couple of favorite spots (including my beloved Katzenbergs). The 3/50 Project is simple: pick 3 local, independently owned businesses you really like and commit to spending $50 a month in each.

For more info, background and some great statistics, visit the 3/50 Project website.

I'm on board, how about you? If so, spread the word!

30 June 2009

Have you seen this? Life.com

Remember Life magazine with all the awesome pictures? Well, it has been reincarnated into Life.com and it is all about the photos. They've broken the images into major categories, but they also have a pretty good search. Each image has options to email, share, rate, print, link and license. You can find images of just about any major event you can think of. Great site for browsing or searching. Very nicely done.

Summer days

Now that we've finally had a few days of actual summer weather I am starting to believe it is real. I just got back from dropping Zoe off at the camp bus and I am filled with longing for my own camper days. I went to day camp and then sleep away camp from the time I was about 6 until I was 13 or 14 and I loved it. I loved the swimming, the arts and crafts, the singing, the campfires, the bad food, the s'mores, the everything. It was all special and unique to summers. To me, that is what summer should be all about and not sitting here at my desk doing the same job like it was any other day.

Growing up kinda sucks sometimes.

26 June 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned: It's Friday again already?

I'm not complaining that it is Friday again, I just can't believe how quickly this week went by. I only managed one post between last Friday and this. I hate when that happens. OK, on with this week's list:

  • Losing weight feels really good, but having your "skinny" jeans (not as in the style, but as in the ones you can wear on your skinny feeling days) be too big feels downright amazing. I'm just about to start the 6th week of the competition at my gym and it has been a wonderfully motivating experience.
  • Nothing scares me like a sick or injured Zoe. On Wednesday of this week she did something to her neck. It hurt her so much that she was crying and couldn't really lift her head. At first I thought it was a muscle strain and then when it wasn't better in the morning my mind started to jump to all kinds of worst case scenarios like meningitis or something like that. I took her to the pediatrician and luckily it turned out to mild whiplash. I have no idea what she did to herself, but I think it was either from jumping on the bed or Chief pulling too hard while she was holding the leash. She's feeling much better now. Phew!
  • Saying "Calgon, take me away!" does not actually magically transport you to a luxurious bubble bath, no matter what that commercial says.

  • Chief likes to carry a tennis ball in his mouth where ever he goes. And sometimes around the house he will drop it out of his mouth and let it bounce up so he can catch it. I never saw a dog do that before. Have I mentioned that he's a great dog?
  • Meteorology is a lost art.

24 June 2009

An ABC Meme

Got this one from Queen Emily, of course. She says is really one of those Facebook quizzes, but I like it better for the blog.

You are supposed to write a note with the ABCs of YOU. (Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to do this one.)

A - An advantage that you have: White & college-educated.

B - Blue or brown eyes: Sometimes mine are blue and sometimes they are green, but Zoe has beautiful brown eyes that look like candy drops.

C - Chore you hate: Changing the sheets. Actually I hate the entire process. I hate pulling the sheets off the bed, I hate washing the sheets, I hate folding sheets, and I hate putting new sheets on the bed. I don't mind regular making the bed though.

D - Dad's name: David. It is interesting to note that he has no middle name.

E - Essential start of your day: Brushing my teeth

F - Favorite color: I don't have a favorite, but I am not often drawn to yellow.

G - Greatest thing you've ever done that made you feel really good: Almost every year for Zoe's birthday party I ask party guests to make a donation to Save the Children instead of bringing a gift. We've raised a few thousand dollars over the years.

H - Habit you have: iPhone. Not sure if that is a habit or a way of life.

I - Issue you hate that the world tries to make you pursue: Jon and Kate Plus 8. Who really gives a crap?

J - Job title: Senior Project Manager

K - Khols or Target: Target all the way. I rarely go to Khols of my own volition.

L - Living arrangements: House in Fairfield, CT that I share with my husband, my Mom, Zoe and our newest resident, Chief.

M - Music you like: The music they play on the Sirius Satellite station, The Spectrum and classic 80's New Wave.

N - Nicknames: No one really calls me by a nickname anymore, but in the past I have been called Mertz, Marsh, Mars, and M

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Hernia repair surgery

P - Pet Peeve: When people say "FYI." I don't mind it as much in an email, but when someone actually says it, I find it highly irritating. Close second to that is when people sum something up by saying "it is what it is."

Q - Quote that you like most: "Leap and the net will appear."

R - Right or left handed: Extremely right-handed

S - Siblings: One, his name is Jon.

T - Time you wake up: 5:30 AM

U - Underwear: Yes.

V - Vegetable you dislike: broccoli

W - What makes you run late: Rob

X-rays you've had: Right foot (after dropping a heavy stapler on it), pelvis (after falling down icy stairs), face (after bad fall while playing basketball), and teeth.

Y - Yummy food you make: Several different kinds of cookies including Linzer tarts, macaroons, and peanut butter.

Z- Zoo Animal- I'm partial to the giraffes.

19 June 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned: A Week in Photos

This week I am too lazy and exhausted to write full bullet points so I am relying on pictures. We all know how many words they are worth, right?

  • I was finally able to catch a photo of one half of the cardinal couple that frequent my bird feeder. This is Ruby:

    Her mate, Carmine, is still camera shy.

  • Zoe was into crazy outfits this week. Yes those are socks on her hands, and yes that is her underwear over her pants.



  • Chief likes to sleep on the floor next to my side of the bed with his "baby." He is probably the best dog, ever.



  • We had another visit from the Tooth Fairy this week. Zoe lost her first top tooth and now has that jack-o-lantern look!



  • Yes, you may have noticed there are no pictures of Rob this week. He's been too busy working his crazy summer schedule to participate in any of my photo shoots, but I will share that my excellent friend Heather has started a hysterical new blog called Rob hates blogs about him. Anyone out there who wants author rights, let me know.

18 June 2009

Have you seen this? The MP3 Experiment

I read about this a couple of weeks ago on David Pogue's blog. He gives an excellent description of the day from a participants point of view. But, better still is this video:

16 June 2009

Hail to my Chief

Chief the dog came home to us at last. He's finally all recovered from his surgery and now he's all ours. The first night was a little tough because he was quite nervous, but by midday today he seemed to start relaxing. We had a few nice walks and he spent a good deal of time sleeping under my desk while I worked. I loved that! Zoe had some fun throwing the tennis ball for him and in general just showing him off to the neighbors and enjoying having a dog. Tonight he's been following me from room to room which is pretty funny.

Only 2 things concern me. The first is that he has a tendency to nip when he's nervous and because he is a bigger dog, that is a bit scary. The second thing is that he was clearly never trained to walk on a leash. Our last walk tonight was me being taken out for a drag. I think both of those things are surmountable issues which we will begin to tackle tomorrow. And despite those issues, it is definitely a love match here in our house. I think Chief and his new family are going to be very happy together.

I wonder if this means I should change my blog to ChiefsMom?

12 June 2009

Friday's Lessons Learned (Or who wore what this week)

  • When I tell Rob he looks like a gas station attendant, he seems to think that is a good thing. I know he doesn't have a desk job, but does that mean he must always go out looking like he's going to lay down under a car all day? [Obviously, the answer is yes.]
  • I will never be able to predict what Zoe wants to wear. I must never, ever assume. (I am still holding my breath that she will actually wear the dress tomorrow.)
  • I am no longer capable of keeping all the dates I need to remember in my head. Feels like tt is getting to the point where I need calendar entries for brushing my teeth. I try very hard to put everything important into my calendar, but if I forget, oy. Not sure if I am busier or just have less room/capabilities in my brain.
  • It is very hard to take a picture of birds. I am considering setting my camera up on the tripod and taking pictures on a timer. If I can figure it out.
  • Turns out Rob has a broken arm! Man that Zoe is tough. He'll be fine, he just needs physical therapy -- no cast or anything.
  • The more I think about how much Rob hates it, the more I blog about him.
  • The promise of pizza and wine make for short blog posts.