20 December 2010

Bad Mommy Moments

Yesterday I was reminded that the "Bad Mommy Moments" can happen to anyone. I spent a good portion of my day watching football. I am a sometimes football fan and this year, inexplicably, I am really into it. The first game up was 1pm Eagles @ Giants. I have to root for the Giants if for no other reason than I cannot root for a team that includes Michael Vick. He's a great player, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a dog killer.

Anyway, it started out as a great game for Giants fans. As a matter of fact the Giants were winning for most of the game. However, they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a series of misplays including the game-ender when rookie kicker, Matt Dodge kicked the ball directly to the Eagles when he should have been kicking it out of bounds. If you want to read the full story I suggest you check out the NY Times or ESPN because I am certainly not a sports reporter.

The part that struck me was when the Giants coach Tom Coughlin started yelling at Matt Dodge for his misplay before he could even get off the field. He was really giving it to him in that slightly out-of-control way that reminded me of times I have yelled at Zoe out of sheer frustration more than anything else. You know, the "Bad Mommy" kind of yelling. It was funny to see it on stage for the world to see between two grown men, but it was the same kind of moment as I have had so many times. I can't say it made me feel better about the times this has happened to me, but it is good to know it can happen to anyone.

I can't find a video of the full yelling, but you can see the start at the end of this video:

10 December 2010

Zoe Will Rock You

Someone recently taught Zoe the lyrics to "We Will Rock You" by Queen and she's been singing it non-stop. Also doing the stomping and clapping, but mostly just singing. Hearing that song repeatedly can get annoying, but somehow coming from her it just sounds, well, paradoxically adorable. Last night in the shower she was singing away in her sweet little girl voice:
Buddy you're a boy make a big noise
Playin' in the street gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on yo' face
You big disgrace
Kickin' your can all over the place
We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you
It just doesn't quite go, but it does make good comedy.

I've been trying to capture her on video, but haven't yet. Until I can post her version, here's the real thing:

I wonder where can I get some star-shaped sunglasses?

30 November 2010

Tuesday Shoesday: I Love Target

I have been a lover of Target for many, many years now. I can remember my first experience there in 1992 when I had just moved to Dallas. The northeast didn't yet know such a wonderful place could exist. I basically supplied my life from Target for the entire time I lived in Texas. However, not so much in the clothes and shoes area. I like to think of myself as somewhat stylish and back in those days Target and stylish didn't really equate. When Target did finally start opening stores in our area I was delighted to find that their clothes were much more stylish. Yes, they're not the best made clothes in the world, but that's OK for the price. However the workout pants turn grey and wear out at the same rate as the more expensive pairs I've owned and the kids' clothes really can't be beat.

Recently I've been really liking their shoes. (Finally we're getting to the important section of this post.) Last Spring I bought these black patent (non-leather) loafers for $24.99.

They are perfect loafers and they don't look (very) cheap. Best of all, they are excellent for rainy days since they are not real leather and they have a rubber sole. I've gotten tons of compliments on them and I'm even thinking of buying a second pair in case they stop carrying them after the ones I have wear out.

As you may have noticed knee-high boots are pretty popular these days, but for women like me who are afflicted with what I like to call "athletic" calves (some might call them "wide") it can be difficult to find knee high boots that pull up over or zip up. That pretty much ruled out the knee-high boot trend for me until last year when I tried on a pair at Target on a whim and I was amazed that they fit. They zipped right up. And they were only $29.99! Of course I bought them immediately and proceeded to wear and wear and wear them all winter. I had to throw them out at the end of the spring because they'd had it, but I think they served their purpose extremely well. This fall, I started looking for a replacement pair on my occasional trips to Target and just this past weekend I struck gold and found this excellent pair of black boots.

I'm going to try not to completely wear out this pair, but I fear that is unlikely because I really like them. I can't wait to wear them with some tights and a skirt.

So, if you're longing for some new shoes and you just don't have the cash, I highly recommend Target. Yes, not all the shoes are going to end up being as loved as these pairs have been for me, but even if you pay a lot for a pair of shoes, you don't get that guarantee, do you?

19 November 2010

Gadget Goodness

I am a complete gadget geek. I think it started with my Handspring or my original Rocket Book or maybe it goes all the way back to my Sony Walkman, but I love a good gadget no matter how short or long it's shelf life. Everyone knows I love my iPhone, but I was an iPod lover first. I got my first iPod in 2002 -- a second generation 20GB model that I still have. I am now the proud owner of 3 other iPods -- an 80GB classic, a shuffle, and a Nano. I can't really explain why because of course I don't need them all, but I can tell you I love them all and I use them all regularly.

There's nothing like Christmas time to put me in a gadget-getting frame of mind. Last year I was still so in love with my iPhone that there really wasn't another gadget I was craving. This year I think I'm ready for something, but what?

A Kindle? Maybe. I was kind of anti-Kindle at first. Maybe that's because I am slightly anti-Amazon, but the new version is so light and convenient that it really is tempting. Especially because my bookshelves are full and I don't have room for new ones.

An iPhone 4? Maybe, but there are already blogs and websites dedicated to the iPhone 5 which is rumored to be out Summer 2011. I think I'm going to hold out since there is nothing at all wrong with my current iPhone.

An iPad? Kind of expensive given the current economic outlook in my household, but a thing of beauty none-the-less. And at the same time, maybe I should hold out for iPad 2?

A Tivo Premiere? My love of Tivo is probably the only device that even comes close to my iPhone love. Then again, like my iPhone, there's nothing really wrong with my current Tivo.

What else? A wireless printer would be nice, but that's kind of boring. I've been thinking a UV Toothbrush cleaner would be a good idea, but that's kind of too ridiculous and too much like getting a blender or something. There are probably a few other kitchen gadgets I could use, but I don't know what they are except a Cuisinart. Again, not something I want to find under the tree.

OK, I guess I'll just tell Santa I want this.

08 November 2010

Parent/Teacher Conference Night

A few nights ago was Zoe's first third grade parent/teacher conference. I have to admit I was a little nervous going in. I think she's incredible -- smart, talented, funny -- but what if her teacher doesn't agree? What if she's got some horrible ways that I just can't see? What if I'm really a terrible mother and it shows all day every day of third grade??? Of course this was not my first parent/teacher conference, but what if Zoe had fooled all the teachers before and, at last, her third grade teacher was going to give me the awful truth?

OK, that didn't happen. In reality she's doing really well. She's excelling in reading, writing, and P.E. (that last one did not come from me). She's enjoying Social Studies and the research project they are doing on Native Americans. She needs to pay more attention to her handwriting (her sloppy handwriting also definitely not from me) and her math. Her teacher seems to genuinely like her and even when Rob and I made a few jokes about Zoe's tendency to talk a lot, her teacher did not really jump on the bandwagon and said she is quite attentive in class.

It kind of feels like walking on air when you walk out of a meeting like that knowing your kid is doing just fine.

01 November 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween was lots of fun at our house this year. There were costumes, decorations, good company, good food and candy. What more could you really want out of a holiday?

It took Zoe weeks of agonizing and pouring over catalogs to decide on a homemade vampire bat costume. I was more than happy to help her and I think it turned out spooky if not entirely bat-like.

I had some fun with the cooking of dinner and went for another Halloween themed meal including monster meat loaf, hot dog mummies, cheesy brains (cauliflower casserole) and this, my personal favorite, Ghoulcamole and chips. I stole the idea from Martha Stewart to cut tortillas out with cookie cutters and bake them. They not only looked good, they tasted really good.

Rob, in all the years that we have been together has never once dressed in a costume for Halloween. Although if you ask me, he sometimes wears costumes in his daily life -- there's the gas station attendant look (dirty sweatshirt and dirty jeans), the college boy look (clean sweatshirt, shorts in winter, and baseball cap) and the car salesman look (nice shirt, nice tie, comfortable shoes). Zoe was desperate for Rob to dress up this year and she kept pestering him about it and he kept saying no so no one was more surprised than me when he appeared in the outfit pictured below which he claims is a poacher. I think it is a little more like scary militia guys, but either way it made Zoe very happy. (I came dressed in my usual costume.)

And how could the night be complete without dessert. You would think the candy would be enough, but I couldn't resist making these ghost cupcakes.

20 October 2010

Anniversary Note

This past Saturday, October 16, was our 11th wedding anniversary. In some ways 11 years sounds like a long time and in others, it sounds short. I haven't held any one job for 11 years, but I can barely remember not being married to Rob. A lot has happened over the years and obviously the most significant is Zoe. She certainly changed our lives both as individuals and by making us parents. It's been 99% joy being Zoe's parents (as I think this blog will attest) and one of the best parts is that she never ceases to surprise us.

On Saturday night Rob and I went out for a quiet dinner and a movie. (We saw The American with George Clooney -- don't bother.) Maybe not the most glamorous night out, but dinner and a movie is a treat we really enjoy doing together and we rarely get to do it. My Mom was home babysitting for Zoe. When we got home we found a note on the table and it was signed "Love, Zoe" but after reading it we were somewhat dubious about who the author really was because it just didn't sound like her at all. Here's her note...

Mom and Zoe both swear that it was fully Zoe's work. And the more I think about it, the more I am sure it was Zoe, but Zoe trying to sound grown up. It made us both laugh. It was a nice ending to a nice evening.

13 October 2010

Out Here, On My Own

I’ve been on a business trip to my company HQ in Santa Barbara, CA all week. It is the first time in a long time that I’ve been away without my family and it has been a strange experience. I know a week in Santa Barbara doesn’t sound like it would be a punishment, but since I am primarily working I haven’t seen much more than the inside of the office and the inside of my hotel room. I could really be anywhere and I am un-used to be alone so much of the time.

I think most Moms I know would say that a week alone sounds amazing. A week without laundry, bus stops, homework, cooking dinner, or cleaning up is kind of a vacation all on its own. But at the same time it is really weird! (And, frankly, a bit lonely.)

I think the fact that I now have been working from home for so long I am used to being home more often than not. I like to think of myself as an independent woman, but I haven’t had to really put that to the test in quite some time. On this trip I’ve had to travel across the country, rent a car, find my hotel, find the office, introduce myself around the office and eat a number of meals by myself. I realize that none of that sounds like a very big deal and it isn’t as if any one of these things has been particularly tough but put it all together and it is exhausting and completely out of my comfort zone.

I knew I would miss Rob, Zoe and my Mom, but I didn’t think I would feel it so much. I am used to having them around me everyday. I like having them around me everyday -- even if I do sometimes complain.

I head back Connecticut tomorrow and even though I don’t exactly look forward to going back to laundry, cooking, etc. I think I am going to have a new appreciation for my home and all the people in it.

[commence heels clicking]

05 October 2010

Tuesday Shoesday: Striking Gold

Did you ever buy an article of clothing or especially a pair of shoes and immediately incorporate it into your wardrobe so fast that it became a "go to" item overnight?

It doesn't happen often, even when you think it will. Sometimes things that you think will become your new staples turn out to be very disappointing. So, you know it is special when it does happen.

This past Saturday I was lucky enough to go to the Woodbury Commons outlets with my good friend and shopping buddy, Tracie. We got their early and stayed late. We hit every store that had a remote possibility of having treasures waiting for us. And boy did we find a lot of treasure -- so much that we filled up my little car. Beetle trunks are surprisingly big, but not that big. We had to employ the back seat too! (Sorry Mattio.)

OK, so, now we finally get to the shoes. I know it is boot-buying season and boots are everywhere, but I've had it in my head for awhile that what I'd really like is a pair of gold ballet flats. I don't know why, but I just really felt they would enhance my wardrobe. As luck would have it my golden treasure was waiting for me at the Cole Haan outlet where I scored these beauties:

This photo doesn't do them justice because it was surprisingly hard to get a decent picture of gold shoes. I don't have any good lighting around. I guess I should have tried outside in the daylight, but I digress.

These are the best shoes I've bought in ages. They were a bargain, they had my size, they are extremely comfortable, and they were exactly what I had in mind. I put them on first thing Sunday morning, wore them all day until I went to bed and then repeated the same today. I am going on a business trip next week and I am already planning my outfits around these shoes. I think they will look especially good with my navy blue dress.

Hooray for new shoes! If only all new shoe purchases could be this successful.

03 October 2010

The Time Traveler's Meme

I was tagged by the Queen herself for this one and since I helped provide the inspiration, I felt I really should take part in this meme.

The Rules:
1. Depending on your age, go back 10, 15, 20, or even more years.
2. Tell us how many years back you have traveled.
3. Pretend you have met yourself during that era, and tell us where you are.
4. You only have one "date" with this former self.
5. Answer the questions.

I'm going back 20 years...to my 19 year old self who would be a junior in college.

1. Would your younger self recognize you when you first meet?
I'm pretty sure I would recognize myself. I look pretty much the same, just older. However, I wasn't very self-aware when I was 19 so then again, I might not.

2. Would she be surprised to discover what you are doing job wise?
Definitely. I was a theater major and imagined my future was all about costume design. I think I thought I'd either be teaching full time or working full time at a theater by now. The idea of the internet and even email just barely registered on my radar at 19. I don't think I could have imagined how much time I would spend working on a computer producing work to be used on computers. I think my younger self would be disappointed that I'd left behind art, but very interested in the internet.

3. What piece of fashion advice would you give her?
Over-sized clothes should really be avoided. It is not a good look no matter what. And wear a lot more short skirts while you can. Otherwise, continue to enjoy all the trendy stuff through your 20s.

4. What do you think she is most going to want to know?
I think she will most want to know when she will find "the one." My 19 year-old self cared a lot about having a boyfriend and thought a lot about getting married. Somehow that was the answer to everything.

5. How would you answer her question?
I would tell her that you will find "the one", but in the mean time you should enjoy the ride a lot more. Once you get out of college, a lot more boys will notice you and you should enjoy their company and be confident that the right guy is out there and you'll know it when you finally get together with him.

6. What would probably be the best thing to tell her?
Be a lot more confident. A whole lot more. Don't let people treat you badly. Take graphic design classes. Learn how to manage money and do it.

7. What is something that you probably wouldn't tell her?
I wouldn't tell her about September 11th. I wouldn't want to scare her away from living in NYC and there would be no way to explain it that would make any sense.

8. What do you think will most surprise her about you?
The fact that I don't work in theater and do work with computers and web sites. I always knew I wanted to get married and I think I assumed having at least one kid would go along with that. I think I'd be mildly surprised to learn I live back in CT. At 19 I didn't think I'd ever come back.

9. What do you think will least surprise her?
That I am still friends with Karen and Heather. I don't think I could ever imagine my life not including them.

10. At this point in your life, would you like to run into "you" from the future?
Yes, I would love to! I could go for some advice just like this and I'd really like to have a peak how life looks at 59.

If you haven't been tagged by the Queen already, then consider yourself tagged now.

27 September 2010

The boy who ate it all

Zoe is not much of an eater. She really likes a few things, but even with those, she stops eating when she's full. It is a unique ability in our house. For example, the other morning we made a pilgrimage to Neil's Donut's up in Wallingford. Neil's donuts are probably the best donuts I have ever had. They are featured in several books including 500 Things to Eat Before it is Too Late and Road Food. Zoe happens to love chocolate frosted donuts with sprinkles and Neil's version is unequaled. It makes the Dunkin Donuts version look like amateur hour. We're all devouring our donuts and then halfway through hers, Zoe stops, wraps the remainder of her donut in a napkin and hands it to me saying she's full. I didn't know it was possible to stop eating a donut halfway through unless you were being forced to share! Imagine stopping eating something as delicious as a donut just because you were full? (OK, it was a huge donut.)

My nephew, Joseph, on the other hand is seeming bottomless pit. His ability to eat is equally as impressive as Zoe's ability not to eat. The other day my sister-in-law listed all the food he had eaten the day before and it is an impressive list:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 1 piece of toast
  • 2 glasses of milk
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • chips
  • Wheat Thins
  • fruit snacks
  • apple
  • donut
  • hamburger
  • french fries
  • milkshake
  • peas
  • Jell-o with whipped cream
  • piece of challah
  • banana
  • crackers
  • raisins
  • water
  • 6 chicken dinosaurs
  • 3 Oreos
  • more peas
  • half an apple
  • 2 more glasses of milk
And no, he didn't throw up. And of course, he's skinny as a rail. I'm glad I don't have to buy the groceries for their house!

20 September 2010

Deafness a.k.a. Selective Hearing

As many of you know, my father suffers from pronounced hearing loss. He has a very hard time in restaurants, at parties, and sometimes it can even be a challenge to have a face-to-face conversation with him. If there is any background noise at all it next to impossible for him to hear well despite the state-of-the-art hearing aids he wears. Because he tries with the hearing aids, with lip reading and now with texting I cut him a lot of slack and have learned to speak loudly when I am with him. Frustrating as it maybe be at times.

Zoe, on the other hand, suffers from a completely different kind of deafness for which I have zero tolerance. When the TV is on I can literally stand right in front of her and speak to her and she will have no idea that I've said a word. For example:

[I walk in front of Zoe and stand between her and the TV]

Me: Zoe! You need to go brush your teeth.

Zoe: [blank stare]

Me (again): Zoe! Did you hear me? You need to go brush your teeth.

Zoe: [blank stare]

Me: Zoe!?! Zoe! Teeth! Now!

Zoe: [blank stare] OK. [pause as I walk away] Wait, what?

Me: #$@&*"^$!($ Brush your teeth!

It's a real comedy routine.

I yell at her for it, I punish her, I turn off the TV, but the problem seems only to get worse. I'd blame the TV, but it seems to happen at other times too. Like when she's outside playing and I want her to come in for dinner or when it is time to feed the dog or one of her other 2 second "chores."

Perhaps I need to take her to an audiologist? It's that or a therapist for me!

18 September 2010

The One Where Zoe Disappears

Since it is the last weekend of summer, I thought I would share one of my favorite summer memories ...

08 September 2010

The Ankle Drama

The other day Zoe claimed that her ankle hurt. Since she had come running off and there was no ankle twisting incident or any occurrence that could have produced a hurt ankle, the source of the ankle pain was a mystery, but apparently she was in a lot of pain.

It hurt so badly that:
  • she could not walk on it
  • she wrapped it in a bandanna (not sure how that helped)
  • she put ice on it
  • she was sure to alert Rob or me each time we walked by her lying on the couch
  • she would not let me touch it or even look at it
Both Rob and I were convinced she had a cramp, or what we like to call "fake sprained ankle" which is one of those debilitating ankle cramps that really hurt, but the only cure is to walk on it and move it around. Zoe would not believe our assessment or take our suggestion to walk around on it so we ignored her complaints. She went to bed convinced she had a broken ankle.

Morning came and there was no more mention of ankle pain, but later that next day I was putting some stuff away in her room and I found this note peeking out from beneath her bed.

(Translation: Sadly my [ankle] is still in pain. Hurts!!!! Lots! HELP!)

07 September 2010

Tuesday Shoesday: Boots!

If you're shopping for new shoes these days you'd be hard pressed to find something other than boots. I thought boots were big last year, but this year it appears that boots are back with a vengeance.

I know I already mentioned my distaste for the open-toed boots so I won't revisit. (Even though I do hope that is a short-lived trend!) But speaking of trends here are some I've found interesting.

I love this folded over look from Boutique 9. These boots look like they would look good with skirts or jeans and would get worn to death. They are only available in brown suede, but that's OK. After all, what fabric says autumn more than brown suede.

I think I am ready to click "add to cart" on this pair!

Speaking of suede...

as a kid I used to love my desert boots. There are a number of desert boot inspired styles out there this year. I like this pair (aptly named Dessertt) from Steve Madden, but I am on the fence because they are a bit too trendy. I like the nostalgia of them, but I wonder if I would want to wear them more than one season or two.

And Speaking of trends...

The over the knee boot is not a trend you'll ever find me in mainly because I am short and curvy and I think these are really meant for those of you blessed with height. However, if I were to get a pair, I would go totally over the top with a pair like these from Joie. Wowza. I can only think of one person I know who could seriously pull these off. She'd have to beat them off with sticks if she did.

Thus ends my shoe-gasm for the day. Hope you enjoyed.

P.S. I have recently recently re-discovered my life and shall be returning to regular blogging.

13 August 2010

Zoe's Guide to Getting What You Want

A couple of weekends ago my father (aka Papa) was babysitting for Zoe and when I picked her up they had just come from getting ice cream. From 2 different ice cream shops. When I asked her how she managed to get her Papa to go to 2 different ice cream shops she said, "I just asked and he said OK."

Papa is clearly a pushover.

The conversation went on to cover the ways in which Zoe gets what she wants from people. Here's her guide:

Papa -- we know, just ask and it shall be yours.

Ima (my mother) -- Say: "Ima, I love you. Can I please [insert request]? Please? " and it shall be yours.

Rob (aka Daddy) -- Say, "Please?"
Rob says, "No."
"Alright! Now be quiet already."

Me -- say "Mom, can I please [insert request]? I promise I will [insert mom-desired behavior such as come in when you call me the first time, feed the dog, listen, etc.]"

I say, "Oh, OK, but you'd better [insert desired behavior]."

I'd say she pretty much nailed all of us. Clever, manipulative little thing.

02 August 2010

Have you seen this: BeFunky.com

Check out this picture I found in my attic!

Doesn't it look just like someone I (and a lot of you) know?!

Ok, I probably didn't fool you, so I'll tell you how I got this photo to look this cool. But first answer these two questions:

Do you like playing with digital images? Do you have 3 hours to giveaway?

If you answered yes to both of those questions then you are going to love this site: BeFunky.com

BeFunky.com has all kinds of fun effects that are really easy to apply and adjust. In no time I created the above image and this one below:

Please don't say I didn't warn you about the 3 hours thing.

BTW, in the free version the images come with the watermark, but if you want to pay for a more expanded service you can get it without the watermark.

30 July 2010

Seven Things I Have Been Doing Other Than Blogging...

1. Working. It is so awfully unfair that my work has to be so intensely busy during one of the best summers I can remember. I don't ever remember being this overloaded at work. I often find that I stare out my window like a kid looking into a candy store looking at the beautiful sunny weather and wishing I was out in it. And if I could get out more, I'd certainly have more to blog about.

2. Pilates. I've tried yoga, but I it doesn't do it for me. Pilates does it. It is a tough work out but also very relaxing and stress-relieving. I have especially been enjoying Saturday morning Pilates on the beach.

3. Reading. Since I have completely given into my desire to read trashy fiction, I have been reading a ton. I am sure I will break my record of 50 books read in a year this year. Problem is most of the books I am reading are so trashy, I'm embarrassed to write about them here.

4. Twitter/Facebook. I tend to get out the things I wish to share immediately via Twitter or Facebook. Somethings probably would make a good blog post, but since time is an issue for me and for everyone these days, Twitter/Facebook is so efficient.

5. Swimming. Last summer it rained just about every day of June and July. When it finally stopped and got warm in August, our pool heater had some kind of infarction and let loose with some strange substances into the pool that took weeks to clean. By the time it was swim-able, it was just about time to close the pool for the year. This year we are trying to make up for lost time and are swimming as much as possible. Plus I am trying to have "open swim" days where I let all our friends and family know the gate to the backyard is open, come on over. It has been a lot of fun.

6. Baking. When I'm stressed out I find baking comforting. Baking takes concentration so it gets my mind off of the things that are stressing me out. Plus the results (cookies, cakes, granola bars) are usually very well-received so that is motivating.

7. Convertible Rides. Did I tell you I got a new car? It is my new baby, a 2007 Beetle convertible in harvest moon and I have been loving going for rides with the top down. The neighborhood kids are always asking me for rides too. It is the first time I've ever owned a car that I truly wanted and it so much fun. I like to think of it as an early 40th birthday present to myself or my mid-life crisis car.

I'm not expecting to be a much more productive blogger over the rest of the summer, but I am hoping that things will improve in September. Until then, I will do my best, please stick with me.

20 July 2010

Tuesday Shoesday: It is too soon but...

It really is too early to be thinking about Fall shoes or Fall anything since we've just barely reached the midpoint of summer, but you know I can't resist looking at shoes. It is especially difficult when I am inundated with emails featuring previews of Fall shoes. I'm not ready to commit to any purchases, but here's some shoes and boots I'm thinking about...

I bought a pair of menswear inspired black wingtip oxfords in the Spring which I love, but I think I love these more. My only issue with these and the wingtips I already own is figuring out the best way to wear them. I think they look cute with skinny jeans, but I am not really a skinny jeans girl. I might have to skip these, but they are really special looking.

Ah, the peep toe bootie. Can someone explain the appeal of this style to me? I don't get it. I don't think these will be making my shopping list this year.

These boots are another story. I love the classic riding style. I had a pair of these back in college and I wore them to death. I think I could get into wearing out another pair.

But seriously, it is way too early to think about these kinds of serious shoes when my feet are mostly in flip flops these days.

15 July 2010

China Dina: A Restaurant Review

The other day Zoe and her friend Samantha were playing restaurant and I was invited to dine at their establishment, China Dina.

I entered and was immediately seated at a low, but cozy table for two which had no chairs, but instead a pillows for seating. My place setting consisted of paper folded napkins and a piece of paper plate. Table decorations were kitschy cool including a lava lamp drawing and a bottle of some kind of purple "goo."

Each menu was hand-crafted (mine is pictured to the left) and featured an amazing array of dining options.

Wheat Thins

Hawaiian Punch

Chocolate bars

With all those choices, I didn't know what to order, but I ultimately decided on Wheat Thins and Lobster with Water followed by Candy for dessert.

I cannot remember being served a more interesting meal.

08 July 2010

Yes, it has been HOT

Record temperatures around ZoesMom's town this week, but as I promised all winter long while freezing to death and shoveling snow, I am absolutely not complaining. I am incredibly lucky to have A/C and a pool. When I haven't been in one, I've been in the other. Along with everyone else in my house, neighbors and visitors from near and far. Occasional trips out for ice cream have broken up the basic routine and except that work just keeps insisting on getting in the way, it has felt a lot like vacation lately.

So I say: summer, keep bringing it on!

30 June 2010

Summer Camp

I am so jealous of Zoe these days. She's on summer vacation from school and going to daycamp. She comes from camp home filthy, exhausted and happy each day. Her big decision after the camp day is if she should play with the neighborhood kids or go for a swim. That is followed by dinner and then sleeping like a stone.

I absolutely adored summer camp when I was her age. I loved the swimming, the sports, the arts and crafts, the songs...everything. Even better was when I was old enough for sleepaway camp. The other day Zoe and I were discussing sleepaway camp and she told me she thought it would be hard to go. I told her she didn't have to go until she was ready or ever. To which she responded,
"I mean it will be hard for you. But I really should go."

She's probably right.

21 June 2010

Toy Story 3

Over the weekend we went to see Toy Story 3. I'm not usually the biggest fan of kids' movies, but I have to admit I was excited for this one. I can still remember the night I went to see the original Toy Story movie and I was completely blown away by the graphics. I missed Toy Story 2 in the theaters -- probably because I didn't yet have have a Zoe in my life. However, once I did have a Zoe in my life, it wasn't long before we watched it on DVD and I was not disappointed.

Since it has been about 11 years since a new Toy Story movie has come out this movie opening was quite an event. I think I've been looking forward to it for about 6 months and I know Zoe and my niece and nephew have been looking forward to it at least that long. So, we decided to make a small party out of it and we bought advanced tickets for a Saturday showing of the 3-D version on opening weekend (this past weekend). Despite the fact that Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny day we all went into the theater loaded down with candy and other snacks and settled into our seats in the dark and cold theater. 3 kids in front and 4 adults sitting behind them.

From the moment the movie started the only movement from the row in front was hands reaching back to request more candy. The movie was so good that it made me cry as well as laugh -- a lot. It was really delightful and truly impressive in terms of animation. I don't know how those people at Pixar do it, but based on all the credits it sure takes a lot them to achieve a movie like this. And I'm guessing it took the full 11 years as well. But it was all worth it. I think this movie is as much a winner for kids as it is for adults. I like this quote from the NY Times review:
“Toy Story 3” is as sweet, as touching, as humane a movie as you are likely to see this summer, and yet it is all about doodads stamped and molded out of plastic and polyester. Therein lies its genius, and its uncanny authenticity.
My only complaint -- someone please tell me the point of 3-D. It really didn't add much in this case and those darn glasses give me a headache. My advice -- go see the non-3-D version, but go see it.

17 June 2010

The True Confessions Meme

A new one from the Queen! I am so excited! (Queen's original post here.)

The Rules:
Think of ten books it seems you should have read by now but never have. Post them. Feel free to say anything you want about why you haven't read them. Tag others when you're done.

  1. The following Shakespeare plays: Richard II, Richard III, Timon of Athens
    I lump them all into one to leave more room for other confessions. Having studies theater in college and graduate school you might imagine I read a lot of Shakespeare, and it is true, I did. But these three I never read and I think after all that school I just can't bring myself to read another one. Ever.
  2. A Tale of Two Cities. I was forced to read Great Expectations in 10th grade. Swore off Dickens at that point and cannot convince my adult brain to give it another go no matter how much I'd like to.
  3. War and Peace. It is a title someone literary should read, right? But in my mind it has so many strikes against it, not the least of which is the fact that it is Russian.
  4. Anna Karenina. See above.
  5. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. At this point given how much the story has been retold in various ways, I don't see how I wouldn't be disappointed.
  6. The Time Machine (or anything else by H.G. Wells) I have no good or bad reason. I just don't want to.
  7. The Poisonwood Bible. Too many people have told me how much I will like it.
  8. Three Cups of Tea. I want to care, I do. But, in fact, it seems I don't.
  9. Mrs. Dalloway. I don't know. I probably would like it.
  10. In Cold Blood. Now that I've seen the great movie version I know I'll never read it.
I almost put Ulysses on this list, but then decided not to because I've never felt I should read that one.

I'd tag, but Emily probably already has. If she didn't, consider yourself tagged.

15 June 2010

Tuesday Shoesday: Sneakers

I've worn out my favorite pair of casual sneakers. You know the kind you wear with shorts or to the supermarket, not the kind for the gym. (If you're particular about those kinds of things, which, clearly, I am.) So, I went to my favorite shoe site, Zappos, to browse for some new ones.

At first I was considering something new for me, but with a retro vibe so I was looking at these:
Onitsuka Tiger by Asics

Then I thought maybe something a little more modern, something a little different would be good so I was looking at these:
PUMA Sky Lite Ballerina

But I wasn't sure I was crazy about those. Plus I haven't worn PUMA sneakers since I was about Zoe's age so I wasn't sure how they fit and I didn't want to go through the hassle of returning. I could go shopping and trying on, but sometimes I really do enjoy having new shoes delivered to my front door.

And then I hit on it. Of course, these would be the ones. They're classics. You can't go wrong with a classic. Plus they are just a little over-the-top preppy which I like. This is probably the 15th pair of my life. They arrived today and they are just as great as I remember them being. They are:

Tretorn Nylite Canvas

And in case you're interested here's some facts about Tretorn and these shoes:

  • In 1891 Tretorn was founded by Henry Dunker in Helsingborg, Sweden
  • The Tretorn Nylite tennis shoes, born in 1967, were regarded as the first luxury sports shoe
  • The Tretorn brand was acquired by Puma in 2001

Am I a shoe geek, or what?

09 June 2010

List of things for High School

Zoe has been into making lists lately. Lists of all kinds -- what she wants to be for Halloween, her friends, her favorite foods, etc. The most recent list I found had to do with when she gets into high school. Very interesting.

Here is a scan of the actual list:

And in case you can't read it, here's what is says:

Things I might get:
Jeans with howls [holes], tattoo
(henna) dyed hair four
pieces, dark Jeans catar [guitar] picks
elecktrick blue vw beatle

Classes I might take:
Art cooking sewing club

To prom I might wear:
Long earings, small clutch
bag, ankle strap high
heels, gold anklet
long gown lose [loose] hair

I don't think this needs any further comment.

08 June 2010

Tuesday Shoesday: Wedge Espadrilles

Earlier this spring I bought this pair of espadrille wedges from Banana Republic. I've tried to wear them 3 times now and 3 times they've been ridiculous. They just wont' stay on my feet. I know I bought the right size because the next smaller pair were really too tight. I tried heel grips, insoles and nothing works. After walking around like Frankenstein in them last night, I've decided I have to give them up. (Becky -- you have first shot at them, if you're interested.)

So, now I have to find something to replace them because I really wanted a wedge type espadrille sandal for the summer. Here are some options I'm considering:

Eric Michael -- Paloma
They look like good basics.

Kate Spade -- Candice
Maybe I could afford them if I saved.

Lifestride -- Sunny
These look cute and comfortable.


03 June 2010

Have you seen this: Custom Food

And I thought custom jeans were cool (no, I still haven't ordered a pair), check out this site: http://www.createmychocolate.com/ where you can literally create your chocolate bar. You choose the type of chocolate, dark, milk, white or a combination of milk and white then you choose what to put in and on your chocolate. There is fruit, spices, nuts, candy, and grains (which includes fun stuff like cereal, pretzels and bacon -- yes, bacon!). You can choose up to 5 toppings, mix-ins, etc.

It is a little expensive for chocolate. I put together a creation for fun of strawberries, caramel and pretzels with milk chocolate and with the cost of delivery it comes to about $15. Probably a little much to indulge for yourself, however, they sell gift certificates and I think that would be a pretty cool gift to give.

Another site doing something similar is You Bar: http://www.youbars.com/custombars where you can create custom protein/energy bars. The best part of this site is that it gives nutritional information as you go along so if you're trying to stay within certain limits on carbs or sugar or fat, it is really easy. Plus you get to name your bar and they create a customized wrapper with your name on it for each bar. That's fun! Lately I've been into making my own granola bars, but when I get tired of that, I may just have to give this a try.

You Bar also has sites for Trail Mix, Shakes, Cereal, and Cookies.

Can you tell I'm hungry right now?

02 June 2010

Easy Summer Make-up

Those of you who know me, know I am somewhat obsessed with make-up. I wear make-up every day, but most days I prefer a fairly natural look. Each season I try to come up with a go-to look for everyday that is just a little different. I am really pleased with what I've started wearing for summer so I want to share because I think anyone can do it and it is so easy. I admit that I stole a lot of this from Bobbi Brown's website, but my version is even easier.

OK, so here it is, ZoesMom's easy summer make-up:

Step 1: Use a light powder foundation or tinted moisturizer all over your face. I prefer products with an SPF of 15 of higher. I'm using Clinique's Almost Powder. (I also use under eye concealer for my dark circles, but if you don't need it, don't bother.)

Step 2: Apply matte eyeshadow in very light pink, light peach, or off-white from your eyebrow to your lashes -- in other words all over. One light coat. Make sure the shadow is matte and not shimmer. I'm using Cover Girl French Vanilla (matte) or Sephora's Eye Shadow in Porcelain.

Step 3: Apply 2 coats of dark mascara to your lashes. I'm using Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes or Maybelline Great Lash.

Step 4: If you have thick eyebrows like I do, brush your eyebrows up. You can also use eyebrow gel if you have it, but it's not necessary.

Step: 5: Use a somewhat bright pink to coral blush on the apples of your cheeks. Doesn't matter if it's powder or cream just as long as it is a little bright. I'm using Tarte's Cheek Stain. (This blush is a little expensive, but it lasts forever and it's organic.)

Step 6: Apply a sheer lipstick in a somewhat bright pink to coral shade. You can also use lip gloss in the same shades. I have about 10 lipsticks/glosses that fit this bill, but I just bought Korres' Mango Butter Lipstick in Peach and I'm loving it. It is organic and also has SPF 10 which is nice for summer.

And that's it, you're ready to walk out the door.

01 June 2010

Tuesday Shoesday

Shoes I am currently lusting after:
These are the Tory Burch Caroline Ballet Flat. As my shoe wardrobe will attest, I do love a nice ballet flat. Doesn't that red just make these?

I am saving my pennies (and dollars and twenties...).

These are the Calvin Klein Cora. Not sooo expensive, but I'd need a place to wear them to justify the purchase. That has to be the biggest downside to working from home -- no getting dressed up for the office.

Slipping over into total fantasy land for a moment, wouldn't it be fun to have the lifestyle, legs, and bank to warrant these babies...The Darcy by Jimmy Choo

I hope you enjoyed these half as much as I did. Perhaps I have found a new feature for ZoesMom?

23 May 2010

How to Prolong Bedtime

Zoe has become the master of prolonging bedtime. If you're looking for tips, here are some of her favorites:

  • When you are told to go up to bed be sure to leave something crucial behind like your beloved stuffed animal Eeeyore thus necessitating a return trip downstairs for retrieval.
  • Sit on the toilet without actually going until a parent comes upstairs.
  • Use much more shampoo than is necessary thus necessitating lots and lots of rinsing.
  • Spend at least 5 minutes brushing your hair and staring in the mirror while making crazy faces. Longer if parent is not watching.
  • Agonize over what pajamas to wear.
  • Agonize over what clothes to wear tomorrow.
  • Agonize over what book to read.
  • Develop sudden case of OCD in regards to specific placement of stuffed animals, blankets or pillows on the bed.
  • Suddenly remember that you have not kissed other parent good night.
  • Ask a lot of questions about random things.
  • Tell a story about how someone hurt your feelings that day.
  • Ask to be tucked in.
  • Ask for a back rub.
  • Ask for a drink.
  • Ask for a hug.
  • Ask for a kiss.
  • Say you suddenly don't feel well. Your stomach, head, or knee hurts. Be sure to vary the source of the pain.
She regularly employs 3 to 5 of these techniques on any given night.

19 May 2010

The More Things Change, The More They Change

Funny how change can be both wonderful and terrifying, isn't it? And why is it that change seems to beget change?

Feels like life is in a constant state of flux these days and I find myself struggling just a bit to keep up. Here's a sampling of some of the change that's happening:

  • My boss, the best boss I ever had, recently left his post for greener pastures. I am pleased for him, but I do wish he hadn't deserted me.
  • One of my closest friends is moving back to England all of a sudden and really soon. I am pleased for her, but selfishly I really want her to stay here.
  • Another of my closest friends just recently told me she's pregnant. I am thrilled for her, especially because I know she has wanted another baby. However, her first daughter is close in age to Zoe, our husbands are very good friends and we were always a perfect matched set. I know we'll still have lots of fun together, but the matched set idea is out the window. Yes, this is incredibly small and selfish. (Are you sensing a theme?)
Times like these always remind me of a book of short stories that I was given as a gift when I graduated college, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley. Honestly, I don't remember that much about the stories except that I liked them, but the title has always stuck with me because that's almost always what big changes feel like to me.

I'm going to roll with it and I think almost all the changes underway will lead to good things and happiness, but right now I am a tad overwhelmed.

17 May 2010

How to Have a Great Weekend Away

Step 1:
Invite yourself to a good friend's house where you like visiting. Make sure that friend's house is full of things you really like (like books and comfy chairs and chocolate cake and wine). It also helps if that friend lives in a town called Paradise.

Step 2:
Get another good friend to join you for the weekend so you don't have to make the journey alone. If you're really clever, you'll even get that friend to do all the driving while you do a somewhat poor job of navigating while singing along to their CDs.

Step 3:
Arrange for Mother Nature to provide some unusual weather and therefore affording you with dramatic lighting on cityscape views and streaks of lightning crossing the sky.

Step 4:
Arrive and immediately be presented with a glass of wine followed by a delicious home made dinner. A dinner that you didn't have to shop for or prepare at a table already set. Eat, drink, talk, eat cake, talk. Be amazed by such a wonderful meal.

Step 5:
Enthusiastically sample the local delicacies -- especially if those delicacies include sticky buns and coffee cake. Eat and talk.

Step 6:
Buy a few pounds of chocolate at the local chocolate shop.

Step 7:
Wander through little shops then drink tea and eat crumpets and scones from lovely floral china.

Step 8:
Open a bottle of prosecco and horn in on hosts' tradition of picking winners for the Preakness. All pile onto a bed and root for your horse (always pick the favorite) with lots of shouting and cheering. When your horse wins, feel like you've actually won, even though no actual bets were placed.

Step 9:
Get gussied up in dresses for dinner at the local pub and take photos in the yard like you're going to the junior prom.

Step 10:
Bring and excellent bodyguard to dinner at the pub. Eat, drink, be merry, talk, and get Blizzards from Dairy Queen on the way home just to make sure you are good and full.

Step 11:
Fall into bed and sleep like a log. Wake up an loll about in the morning while hosts are busy getting ready to attend to their responsibilities. Finally clean up and go out for a diner breakfast.

Step 12:
Pack up all your stuff and goodies acquired along the way. Reluctantly say good-bye to incredibly generous and fun hosts.

Step 13:
Sing along to every song on Madonna's Immaculate Collection CD to pass the time while stuck in traffic.

Step 14:
Arrive home to big hugs from Zoe.

11 May 2010

ZoesMom's Bear

If you've been reading this blog for awhile or you've been in Zoe's room, you know how much she loves stuffed animals. I think we have just about one of every kind of animal ever made in stuffed animal form -- including a duck-billed platypus, a porcupine, and a salmon. Therefore I am sure it comes as no surprise to learn that one of her favorite stores is Build-a-Bear. I have lost count of how many bears, dogs, etc. that we have now "built," but it is surely enough for a small army.

For those of you that don't know the Build-a-Bear business model, it is really all about the clothes and other accessories. The bears and whatnot are relatively inexpensive, but they get you with the other stuff. It is brilliant really. Luckily for me, Zoe has never cared for the clothes or the accessories so supporting her habit has been relatively inexpensive. Not worse than something like Pokemon cards. But I digress.

This year for Mother's Day I received from Zoe my very own Build-a-Bear! She had Rob take her to the mall, she brought her own money, and she "built" this bear for me. Because it is something that she loves so much, I love it too. It is part of the mother's curse to love these kinds of presents, but it is a burden I am willing to bear. (Ha. Get it? Bear.)

So, ladies and gentleman, I now introduce you to my new bear friend Justice. She even wears a t-shirt that says "Happy Mother's Day" to commemorate the occasion.

Yes, I got some beautiful flowers and some delicious shower gel and lotion from my wonderful husband, but this is my favorite gift.

26 April 2010

Check-up Time

Zoe had her 8 year-old check-up today and it was markedly different from all other check-ups we've had.

First of all, the nurse and the doctor talked primarily to her and she primarily provided all the answers.

Second, there was no drama. None. Not over peeing in the cup -- which she managed by herself with only a little coaching from me. Not over getting undressed. Not over the eye exam (I accidentally told her last year she might need glasses.) And not even over the finger prick. I was amazed.

Most amazing and wonderful of all is that Zoe is 100% healthy and in my opinion perfection in a child. I am ever grateful and am feeling kind of like I won the lottery tonight.

19 April 2010

Shopping with Zoe

It started about a month ago. Every pair of pants that Zoe pulled on (that aren't leggings or yoga pants) were too small. As of last week we were down to one pair of jeans that fit, but they weren't a particularly favorite pair so they weren't worn either except under duress. (I.e. me saying, I can't stand to see you in yoga pants again!)

The straw that broke the camel's back was when her favorite sneakers were too small. That meant that surely some of the other lesser worn shoes were small too. So, yesterday we were off to the mall. Not just any mall, however. We went for it and drove to the Palisades Mall in Nyack, NY. They've got every store you want from Target to Macy's and everything in between. The place is enormous!

We shopped for about 5 hours and I think we managed to get Zoe a wardrobe that will carry her through spring and summer. There was a break for lunch and a break to ride the Ferris wheel (yes, the mall is that big that it can hold a Ferris wheel), but otherwise we were shopping the entire time.

When we were looking at clothes for Zoe the conversation went like this:

"What about this shirt?" I would ask holding up something I think she would like.
"Yeah," she would reply.
"Yeah you like it, or yeah it is a shirt?"
"Yeah I like it."
"Do you really like it?" I would ask.
"Yes, I really like it."
"But are you going to wear it?" I would implore.
Brief hesitation usually followed by, "Probably not." And back on the rack it goes.

I just don't remember being that picky. Actually I don't think I ever had a choice when I was 8. Alas, I give choices.

However, my goal this year has been to cut down on the amount of unworn and worn once clothing in Zoe's closet. I love my nieces and I am very happy to pass along Zoe's hand-me-downs to them, but it does drive me crazy when I know I am giving away brand new items. I sometimes feel like I might as well be stuffing cash into the bag as well. So, I had to wait for Zoe to actually look around the store we were in and then actually pick something up that she liked or I had to wait for the "Yes, yes I really like that!" accompanied by vigorous head nodding to be sure I picked something that would actually get worn.

Now you can see why it took 5 hours.

And we didn't even get to shoes.

14 April 2010


Celebrating 5 years of ZoesMom!

Time flies when you're having fun.

12 April 2010

These Were the Days

My neighborhood is the kind with postage stamp size lots and the ability to see into the next house from your own. My block happens to be packed with kids who are all about the same age. There are 4 second graders (including Zoe) in a row with a 5th a few houses further down. There are 3 fifth graders, a third grader and some kindergartners too. In other words, it is an instant play group.

Over the winter during the few snow days we had all the kids got together outside a few times to play in the snow, but since the weather has turned nicer in the last few weeks they are outside playing almost every day after school, weekends, and today they've been out there all day because it is spring break from school. It seems like they are all suddenly old enough to go out without their parents and without being fenced in to one backyard or set up on designated "playdates". At first I was nervous about Zoe being out there unsupervised, but then I realized that I can see Zoe just about anywhere without leaving my yard so checking up on her is pretty easy. Also, she has a pretty loud voice so I can usually just hear her too. We set down some rules and she seems to be sticking to them pretty well.

These are the days I remember most about being Zoe's age. The endless games of tag, the riding of bikes, the staying out until "dark." It was a constant playdate with no parental intervention and it was a first taste of independence without any worry since home was right there.

To top of the joy that is spending the entire day outside running around, having water gun fights, playing catch, and using sidewalk chalk, the ice cream man just came down the street. Zoe came screaming into the house and I swear I thought I was going to have to call 911 until I heard, "The ice cream man is here! Hurry I need money before he leaves!" Despite the fact that dinner is in an hour I gave her money because what could possibly be better than the first ice cream from the ice cream man of the year?

Nothing I can think of.

06 April 2010


Recently a book was thrust upon me by my father -- Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi. As a lot of you know, I am a very big tennis fan (as is my father -- where do you think I got it from?), but I am not a big reader of biographies, I was always more of a Sampras fan, and my TBR pile is already two stories tall so I didn't really need another book on the pile. Despite all of that fraternal pressure won and I decided to give it a go.

I was hooked almost instantly. I know Agassi had a ghost writer (J.R. Moehringer) who helped him with a lot of this, but it doesn't matter. It feels very authentic and is quite moving. As one reviewer wrote, "It's a completely unexpected trip to places you've never been." Of course I never knew most of what is in this book and I never would have guessed.

This was one of those books I could not put down. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about the next chance I would get to read it. I think it probably helps if you follow tennis just a little so you know most of the players, but other than that this book stands on it's own as an incredible journey of growing up.

I mean, this book was so good I was motivated to write a review despite the fact that I don't like to write reviews. So read it already.

31 March 2010

No Amount of Planning...

OK I realize it is only Wednesday, but it has been a week already. I mean, I am completely ready to call it quits on this one and start again on Monday. It's not that any one particular dramatic thing took place, but rather a series of small events combined with plans, obligations and a little help from Mother Nature that have led me to wish I could just get back into bed and stay there for the duration.

Here's a taste of what's been making me want to dive under the duvet:

  • Zoe was sent home from school on Monday at Noon because she was not feeling well and had a sore throat. This progressed into a fever by Monday night.
  • Monday night was the first night of Passover and Seder attendance was required along with cooking. I didn't have too much to prepare -- just macaroons, but it added another thing to do into an already busy and shortened work day.
  • No school for Zoe on Tuesday because she was still running a fever at 3AM when she woke up crying. (Which also = no sleep for Mom that night.)
  • It feels like up until this afternoon it has rained for 40 days and 40 nights.
  • Work meeting frustrations too long and ridiculous and uninteresting to expound upon.
  • Easter planning/family nonsense.
  • Issuing performance reviews to all my direct reports had to be completed this week
  • After a midday visit to the pediatrician it turns out Zoe's illness is most likely strep throat and she definitely can't go to school again tomorrow which will basically mean she has missed the entire week because, of course, school is closed Friday for Good Friday.
I shudder to think what new joys Thursday and Friday will bring.

28 March 2010

Reason #943 Why I Will Never Understand My Husband

I'm sorry because I know he hates when I blog about him, but I just can't help it today because I am so confused/annoyed/truly puzzled.

I like to bake and Rob likes to eat what I bake. I make a lot of cookies because they are popular among all household members and fun to make. I tend to store these cookies in Tupperware-type containers and I can always tell when Rob has had cookies (or brownies or my newest baked good -- granola bars) because the top to the Tupperware is only 95% closed. There is always, every time, without fail, that one corner he has not pushed down all the way. I complete the seal on the container whenever I notice it, but since Rob's favorite time to eat these baked goods is after everyone else is in bed, I often don't notice it until well into the next day. The part that really kills me is when he complains 2 days later that the cookies are stale already.

Why is it so hard to close the container all the way? Is there some way I can encourage him to close it more? (I have asked, nagged, begged about a thousand times now.) I just don't understand.

21 March 2010

Happy 8th Birthday Zoe!

This is a picture of me holding Zoe for the very first time. I am finding it very hard to believe that was 8 years ago!

19 March 2010

The Cosmetics Counter: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Last week Zoe brought home the gift of conjunctivitis, AKA pink eye. First she had it and a couple of days later Rob contracted it. I thought I had escaped, but no such luck. My eyes started to turn red this past Monday and I wasted no time getting to the walk-in so I could start my eye drops.

Of course there is no good time to get pink eye, but this timing was particularly awful since I had two important meetings to attend and by that I mean attend in person, not like my usual conference calls. The doctor at the walk-in clinic told me I had to throw away all my eye make-up and that I should avoid using make-up for a few days. Now anyone who knows my make-up buying habits knows that throwing away my eye make-up is no small hit in itself, but then being told not to use make-up was the killer since I had to be in a room with company bigwigs.

Normally I buy the more expensive stuff sold at Sephora or department stores, but it occurred to me I could buy some inexpensive make-up at CVS that I could more easily treat as single use. As I was scanning the cosmetics aisle looking for the minimum products I could buy and I came across Maybelline's Great Lash Mascara. Many make-up artists consider this to be the best mascara out there. I was never sold on it because frankly I can be a make-up snob, but I can't say for sure that I'd ever really tried it. Since I didn't know what else might be good, I bought it in Brownish Black.

I have to say I was incredibly surprised by this mascara. It really is good stuff. It goes on smoothly and easily without clumps. The color was exactly what I expected and it lasted all day. It certainly out-performed many other much more expensive mascaras I have owned and at $5.49 each I can afford every color.

09 March 2010

Life is Good

Lately it seems like I've been leading a life that is not mine because I've been having too much fun. Seriously. I was actually away for 2 weekends in a row!

2 weeks ago Rob and I spent the weekend in NYC. The weekend away including babysitting was a gift from my Mom for our 10th anniversary and my brother and sister-in-law put the icing on the cake with a gift certificate to our favorite steak place. Rob and I had a weekend like we haven't had since Zoe was born. We meandered around the city. We spent hours in the Barnes and Noble at Union Square. We lingered over dinner. We slept late. We window-shopped. We held hands a lot. It was just all romantic and perfect. We could use about 10 more weekends just like that.

I didn't think weekends away could get better until this past weekend with Emily and Becky in Philadelphia. Why Philadelphia, you ask? Well, thanks again to my Mom who gave me this trip as a birthday present. (Mom is on a roll with the excellent presents!) The idea was for me and a "guest of my choice" to go to the Barnes Foundation museum which is just outside Philly. I had never heard of the place, but it sounded like my cup of tea so I called my favorite tea-drinker (aka Becky) and asked her if she wanted to go. Then I immediately realized that we'd be in Emily's neck of the woods so we'd have to have her along too to make another girls' weekend out of it. Luckily it didn't take too much calendar examining to come up with a weekend that suited all three of us.

The Barnes Foundation is a pretty amazing place. It is filled with French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings among other works of art including furniture, sculpture and pottery. Despite the rather stringent security measures (The White House should take notes from them!) the galleries are really wonderful to walk through and there were quite a few surprises including a beautiful Matisse I had never seen. And they even had a poster of that Matisse.

The museum was followed by lunch and then very excellent shopping in Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia. Then there was dinner at Parc, a French bistro. Lots of good girl talk, book shopping, new jeans, and some good food -- a recipe for perfection. I really didn't want the weekend to end. Thanks to both Emily and Becky for their excellent company.

And to top off all this goodness, like a cherry on my sundae when we were shopping on Saturday afternoon we made a stop in the Lucky Brand store. In the store there was a moment I will never forget. As some of you know I have been working quite hard to lose weight and get in shape over the last year. I've lost about 25 pounds and I am pretty fit, if I do say so myself. I don't think I was quite this thin on my wedding day and it feels really great, but I still think of myself as being, well, fat. While we were waiting our turn to try on jeans I was looking at a top and I asked the sales person if it came in black and she said to me, "Yes, what size do you need?" and she turned and looked at me, "a small, right?"

It might not sound like a big deal, but in my entire adult life I can't remember anyone ever asking me if I wore a size small. It felt soooooo good. (Especially because the small was the right size.)

Life is good even if it isn't all weekends away and shopping, but wouldn't it be nice if it were?

05 March 2010

TBR Challenge: Miss Match

I know it is surprising to see another TBR Challenge post so soon, but I had to do something I rarely ever do and that is abandon a book. Gasp!

The book in question is Miss Match by Erynn Mangum and was given to me as a gift. (To be fair, it was given to me by someone who doesn't know me at all.) I was quite surprised to discover that this book is so-called "Christian fiction." That was a new genre for me. I mean I am sure if I'd ever given it thought I would have realized that it had to exist, but I never have given it any thought.

In an attempt to be open-minded I read the first 50 something pages the other night, but I felt really uncomfortable about what I'd read. I wasn't sure why because I've read plenty of books about people of other religions. When I woke up the next morning I realized that what was making uncomfortable was that the "born again" aspects of the book (and there were quite a few for only 50 pages in) were a lot like preaching and not just part of the plot. I struggled with the decision, but ultimately decided the book must be abandoned because life is too short and there are too many other books out there.

04 March 2010

Am I a Big Girl Now?

I am finding it hard to believe, but Zoe's 8th birthday is coming up in just a few weeks. (Yes, that means I will be posting her baby picture again soon.) In some ways these have been the fastest 8 years of my life. I have no idea where so much time went because it feels like only yesterday that we brought little baby Zoe home from the hospital. At the same time, I can't remember or imagine my life without her in it. But I will save the rest of the "remember when" stuff for her actual birthday because that's not what I wanted to write about today.

Zoe is obsessed with being a big girl. When she got up on her own and got herself dressed without being told she asked me, "am I acting like a big girl?" She has opinions on what big girls wear, read, play with, etc. I've been encouraging her efforts, of course.

This morning, however, I had to correct one of her ideas about being a big girl. Just before leaving for the bus stop Zoe asked me, "When I turn 8, can I say f**k?"

I forced myself not to laugh and said, "No, that's a grown-up word. Not even big girls should say that word."

"But Asher says f**k," she replied. Asher is her 12 year-old cousin.

"He shouldn't," I replied.

"He shouldn't say it to grown-ups," Zoe answered. I couldn't argue with that one.

I re-iterated that it is not a word she should use, but that some people do it in frustration. I suggested she use "phooey" instead.

"Phooey is a baby word." She got me again.

So finally I told her, "life just doesn't make sense sometimes, does it?"

24 February 2010

TBR Challenge: Sense and Sensibilty

Back in December I agreed to participate in Emily's TBR Challenge. Several weeks ago I finished my first book for the challenge and that book was Sense and Sensibility. According to rule #6 I am supposed to write a blog post about each book I read for the challenge. Since I have a feeling I am going to have a hard time with a lot of the other rules that are part of this challenge (like not buying new books!) I am going to try to adhere to the blog post rule. So, even though I am not the most talented book reviewer, here goes.

This was my third reading of Sense and Sensibility, but my last reading was sometime in the 90s so it had been awhile. I had a pretty good memory of the overall plot, but had certainly forgot much of the details. It was excellent to have my memory refreshed to this wonderful book.

Despite the fact that I knew a happy ending was forthcoming, I was held in suspense much of the time while both Elinor and Marianne careened toward heartbreak and sunk into it. I found it interesting that both their views on love and the way to happiness turned out to be wrong and their heartbreak and disappointments give them both a better understanding of love and the way of the world.

This book also has some of my favorite secondary characters. Especially the girls' brother John and his wretched wife. They are quite funny caricatures, horrible in their behavior, but still amusing to observe. They and the others (Mrs. Ferrars, Lucy Steele, etc.) add to the color of the book and keep you from arriving at the happy ending too soon.

That all being said, I still think Colonel Brandon was too old for Marianne.

22 February 2010

Play day #2

One day off wasn't enough for me last week so I decided to take Friday off for some more playing.

My good friend Tracie invited Zoe and me to come skiing with her and her daughter and since that is something I have been dying to do, and actually resolved to do this year, it was an offer I couldn't refuse.

Before Friday I hadn't actually been skiing since the winter before I got pregnant with Zoe so that was 8 years ago! I was a little nervous about remembering how to actually ski, but a little voice in my head was reminding me of an article that my father clipped and mailed to me once about "muscle memory." Besides a day of bad skiing has to be better than even a good day of work, right?

So, off we went Friday morning up into the Berkshires. I do love it up there -- as a place to visit. I could never really live there. Zoe and Tracie's daughter were singing along to their iPods and we were chatting away and before I knew it we arrived at Butternut. Zoe and I struggled our way through the ski rental process and got all our gear on and then we had a quick lunch in the lodge before Zoe's lesson started.

I dropped Zoe off for her lesson and she was pretty nervous. So nervous that she really didn't speak. Anyone who knows Zoe, knows how unusual that is for her! I was only a bit worried about her though. She's pretty coordinated and very strong. There was no reason why she couldn't get pretty far along in learning how to ski in a 3 hour lesson.

Tracie, her daughter and I then headed for the bunny hill chair lift line. There were a few butterflies in my stomach as we rode up. I struggled a little to get off the lift, but easily maneuvered to the top of the mountain from there. And just like that we started skiing and I was doing it. It was a thrill. One more run down the bunny hill and we moved on to better parts of the mountain. I think I had a smile on my face for the entire time. Until my legs started to ache anyway. Luckily that coincided with the end of Zoe's lesson. I couldn't wait to see how she did. I was hoping for a smiling face, but prepared for a serious pout.

We made our way over to the lesson area and there was Zoe going up the chair lift with her instructor. When she saw me below she shouted to me, "Mom! Mom! I can ski!!" The grin on her face was about a mile wide. It was awesome. I was so proud and happy. We can't wait to hit the slopes again!

I think this picture pretty well sums up what a great day it was:

Thanks again Tracie!