Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good Bye 2011

As the end of the year nears and we all try to sort through the good and the bad, here are a few things that I hope fade quickly from memory (and fashion magazines where applicable).

1. Colored jeans. They are too tight, do not go with anything but black shoes, and were forgotten quickly the first time around. Would you even consider going back to egg white mouse and double gold necklaces? Then keep the colors above your waistline.

2. Fake feather extensions. I first thought they were earrings. When I realized they were actually anchored somehow in people's hair, I became even more confused. In my experience you don't want a reminder of a close encounter with a bird. Even if it's supposed to bring good luck.

3. Plaid and/or flannel shirts. We live in the northeast and consider cowboy boots a fashion accessory. Wild mustangs, johnny cakes, and belt buckles that double as a hood ornament do not exist in your world. Leave your cow girl clothes where they belong: the Neverland Ranch.

4. Katy Perry's naked thighs. Pretty sure we went through this with Beyonce and even her tan didn't help her escape the YouTube ridicule. Katy is a shade lighter than pale and must have forgotten she isn't 15 anymore. Her thighs are not setting off any fireworks for me.

5. Old school football/baseball/basketball uniforms. Why make it hard for the fans you still have to find their favorite team? Its so irritating trying to figure out who or what is being remembered. Just play the game and keep the home team in white. Plus, there was a reason why they updated their unis, stop second guessing the decision and get your butts down the field/baseline/court. Or take a cue from the Yankees and don't change a thing.

Feel free to add to the list. I may...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beyond Sorry

Can you imagine walking in to a wake and not having to wait in line? Then imagine you are only the seventh person to sign the guest book. You look among the rows of chairs, only to see a teenaged girl bookmarked by her two younger brothers. There is no one else in the room. Except for the solemn figure awaiting you at the casket. He stands there a devastated father morning the loss of his second wife to debilitating disease.

Imagine you kneel at the casket and rack your brain for some words of comfort to offer this grieving family. A family whose beloved mother passed on much too soon. You look about unable to face them. On her wrist sits the friendship bracelet that her ten year old son made for her; her name spelled out in heart charms.

Imagine you turn from the casket, tears streaming down your cheeks feeling something beyond sorry for this family. Imagine that instead of comforting him, your ten year old student hands you a tissue.

On second thought, don't imagine any of this and be so grateful that you have not had to experience this day and that unlike Daniel and Patrick you never will.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Card "Exchanging"

I will be the first person to admit that I sporadically send Christmas cards.  Some years I am super organized and find really nice cards (reasonably priced) and send them out to everyone I know: friends, colleagues, aunts, uncles, anyone that sends one to me.  Other years, unfortunately they are the last thing on my mind. 

I appreciate the cards that people send to me:  the funny ones from my sister, the traditional ones from my aunts, the picture cards from my friends with their adorable families on the front.  I am not on Facebook (believe it) so the updates that the picture provides are welcome.  Others however I don't quiet understand:  the piano keys on the card from my financial advisor, the wedding photo from two years ago from coworkers whose wedding we didn't attend, and adults who take pictures of themselves and send them as Christmas cards.  Wouldn't you rather save that picture in a frame instead of my recycling bin?

My favorite cards are the ones that are unexpected.  Your kids are waving from the beach, your dog is dressed as The Grinch,  they have a Holiday scratch off, and any card from Hallmark's Shoebox collection. 

This year I have received more cards than ever before and am feeling guilty that I didn't send a card to each of them in advance because exchanging cards means more than just receiving one.  My goal next year is to be more equitable and mail out the latest photo of my child to all that I know.  Maybe I will even throw in a three year old wedding photo as a bonus!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Salute the Boot

Tomorrow I turn the big 30 (plus 7) and this year instead of wallowing in self pity and yearning for those crazy years when I was young and thin and broke and could drink two days in a row, I am going to relish in my day and head down to the Biergarten.  They don't care that I have a child safety seat in my (gasp) 4-door sedan, that I donated all of my (say it isn't so) odd sized, low-riding jeans, or that I now share a bed with two other people (wait for it), one of whom is 17 months old and likes to stick her finger in my nose.  They are happy that I am an employed 30-something with a three bedroom house, a husband, and some loyal friends to share in my happiness. 

They also encourage me to celebrate my birthday by throwing wonderfully salty peanut shells on the floor and drinking German beer from a boot.  There will be soccer on the TV, beer pretzels at the table, and maybe even some spetzle with gravy to keep the spirit high.  There is also plenty of happiness to go around if you want to join us!  See you at the high top near the dart boards.  I will be the one with my head sticking out under the wooden elf hat.  Unless of course you join us later when I will be laying at the foot of the elf...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Has Political Correctness Gone Too Far?

Every year our school is visited by the Seal A Smile program.  It provides free dental care for any student whose parent completes a form stating that their child does not have dental insurance and is in need of a check up.  Four to five of my students usually visit the hygienist and I hate to think about what they discover in their gross little mouths.

Before the forms go home, the hygienist visits each classroom and reviews proper hygiene, tooth brushing techniques, and the importance of flossing.  Most of the students know that you need to change your toothbrush every few months (end of the school year, beginning of the school year, Christmas, and Easter), that soda rots your teeth, and that water is the best liquid for a healthy mouth (and body).  It is in asking such questions that political correctness may have gone too far...

When referring to the adults that the students live with and are seeking permission from the lovely, older, gray haired hygienist called them "your grown ups".  No longer are the people who bore us our parents or guardians, they have become our grown ups.  Does that make us their young downs?

Friday, November 18, 2011

What A Week!

It's been one of those weeks; long, crazy, and for me a full five days of work.  As I sit home, on a Friday night, catching up on things that I have been putting off all week I thought I would recap some of the craziness...

On Monday night Hope and Max danced their way off DWTS.  Yes, she looks beautiful in heels and make up.  Yes, she improved.  Yes, Max told off the judges more than once and even claimed the show was his.  But in the end, the highest scores Hope received were 9s and that isn't good enough to take home the mirror ball. Dammit...

On Tuesday night it was confirmed.  Hope and Max were in the bottom two.  And the "behind the scenes" backstage footage really didn't help their cause.  Sadly, they danced their last dance and more sadly, Hope didn't jump across the judges' table and lay out Carrie Ann.  She hates all women and is intimidated by the athletes.  She needs to go home as well! Bring back Carson Kressley in her place...

On Wednesday I took my fifth graders to the Capitol and NYS Museum.  What a beautiful, priceless, and extraordinary place.  They were even able to keep quiet for most of the tour.  Then we got on the bus to go home and they started singing.  Louder and louder and louder...

On Thursday we learned that a middle school student at a local school didn't in fact "fall" from the roof of her building but instead "jumped".  And survived?  And found the door to the roof unlocked? And wrote a note to her parents that was ignored? How on earth does this happen?  I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to get to the roof of my school.  In fact, I have no idea if my school even has a door leading to the roof.  And I am not the only person who can't find it.  There are playground balls up there that have been hanging around longer than the baked chicken parts in the cafeteria.  But good news:  the local police chief reassured the public that even though the School Resource Officer wasn't on duty, he probably wouldn't have been able to change the outcome.  Is that because he isn't that accurate catching a falling teenager or because keeping the students safe isn't in his job description...

Oh, and I saved $57.64 on my grocery bill!

Which brings us to Friday...
  • tonight a good friend is celebrating her one week anniversary with her husband at the place they first met
  • my godson was initiated into the rite of passage known as "The Civ"
  • my daughter ate her first taco
  • and I learned a local salon is offering Botox for your nether region
What A Week!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween Friends and like a full moon there are always some things that you just have to scratch your head about:

1.  One of my 5th graders is going to a costume party as Casey Anthony...
2.  People who have all of their lights on and cars in their driveway don't answer the door...
3.  People who have no lights on and no car do...
4.  Daisy Duke was a hot unfortunate costume for plus-sized middle schoolers...
5.  McDonald's in Vliet ran out of burgers and the drive-thru was still a 25 minute wait...

Hope you enjoyed it!

Now go and check your child's candy for razor blades, Kit Kat and Twix bars.  Funny how parents never have to make sure that the Smarties and gummy sandwiches are safe!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Fish, Two Fish


It's seems our (not) friends at the fish markets down state have been passing along less than acceptable fish to their patrons.  In a sting operation aimed to net (pun intended) disreputable vendons, researchers discovered that some of the more expensive brands are not as high quality as they should be.  Or are not even the species that they purport to be.  That red snapper that you overpaid for might actually be talapia.  And the albacore tuna perfectly seared on your plate might actually have been caught in the Hudson.  Well... let's hope not!

But not to worry:  the ground beef, chicken breasts, and the turkey and vegetables roasting in your Sunday oven still contain all of the growth hormones and irradiation that they have always claimed.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Reselling Your Wedding (dress)

There is a commentary in this morning's paper from a blogger who was recently married.  There is a beautiful picture of her wedding dress hanging demurely on a mannequin and then hugging her own curves nicely.  One might think that the article is about finding the perfect dress, exquisite tailoring, or dream weddings.  Nope... it is about selling your wedding dress.  Emphasis on the words YOUR.

I kind of thought that I was odd because I picked out my dress before I even entertained the idea of being married.  I was tanning one afternoon and happened to pick up a magazine while waiting for my sister to finish her session.  Anyone who knows my sister understands I had mere seconds before she emerged from the booth pale and happy with SPF 50 in her hands.

Anyway, I came across this advertisement with a porcelain faced blond in a white and purple dress.  It was simple but so different from anything I had ever seen before.  No beads, no long train, full but not prommy.  It was me, even down to the tiny roses the framed the bust line.  Without thinking, I tore the page from the magazine and hid it away in my underwear drawer for safe keeping.

When I got engaged two years ago, I pulled out the picture.  Not surprisingly the dress was no longer in stock and the store that was advertising it was no longer in business.  But I was determined to wear it.  And I did with the help of an amazing dress maker.

So the thought of selling my dress today boggles my mind.  I haven't even had it cleaned because I don't want to wash away all of those memories from one of the best days of my life.  

In the commentary I was reading, she mentioned that she too thought about her dress before she met her future husband (romantic).  But unlike me, she actually purchased it (weird).  She purchased it for 30% off (smart) hoping at the time of purchase to resell it for 20% more than what she paid (what).  She called it a "use now" purchase.  And she is ready to sell after having been married for only two months.  Wonder when she will be ready to trade in her "use now" husband?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kanya West is the 1%

Every evening on the news you see more and more Wall Street protesters marching for equality in taxes, jobs, and life.  Many are young people who are out of work and fed up with the political gibberish that promises to help them.  They have babies strapped to their chests, drums banging in their hands, and sometimes zip ties across their wrists.  They have a message that is quickly spreading across the country and around the world.  And it's an important one.

This week the "99%" as they are known marched through some posh neighborhoods in Manhattan and paid Donald Trump and the like a visit.  Strangely, they were joined by Kanya West.  Who I'm sure was sporting a Tag Heur watch, designer duds, and a diamond in his ear.  Jewelry whose value could probably help feed an out of work family for a year.  Not quite the message that should be spread. 

Please Kanya, don't act like you are one of us, because you are not.  Living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to go on vacation every year is not your life.  Let's be honest, your whole life is a vacation.  Do us 99% a favor and stick to insulting your own celebrity kind.  Let us handle the politicians.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Haircut House call

As we speak my husband and brother are having their hair cut professionally in my kitchen.  Their stylists barbers hair cutters bring all of their supplies in rather large backpacks, plug in their clippers and go to work.  They have been coming since the summer when they abruptly quit their barber shop.  Seems there was a rather loud disagreement with the owner.  They grabbed their stuff and their customers and are now making house calls.

At first, I thought what a joy it would be for my stylist to visit my home.  No battling traffic, no waiting in the lounge because she is running late, no getting out of my pjs.  But then I remembered that my cuts also involve a color, a shampoo, and a two hour time block.  Suddenly my kitchen sink and bar stool are not so inviting.

But hats off to the ladies for making the most of their situation.  $20 for about 15 minutes of their time.  And they don't even have to get out of their pjs. But they should...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hope Solo in the Bottom Two?

Thanks people, you have done it again.  You have let your political views cloud your good judgement.  Though not a fan, Kristin Cavalleri did not deserve to go home last night.  And Hope and Max in the bottom two?  Maybe their outfits, but certainly not their dancing!

Nancy Grace is about as graceful as a sea lion waddling up the beach.  Not only does she not have any musicality, her poor partner cannot reach his arms around her waist.  So it always looks like he is dancing with a carnival prize.  And if I have to look at Chaz Bono's armpits one more time I may jump on the bandwagon and start ordering my daughter chemically treated apples with her Happy Meal.  Don't you remember when Marie Osmond fainted on the stage?  Chaz has a real chance of being DWTS first fatality.  Put him out of his misery!

Make your political statements in a letter to the editor, at the voting booth, or from the nearest bar stool.  Stop wasting your votes on people that I am embarrassed to watch dance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kim Kardashian Named Most Annoying Celebrity

Is it me or are the Kadashians EVERYWHERE?  They have 1? 2? 3? reality shows.  They are on the cover of all of the tabloids.  Their mom showed up on The Talk.  Their little sister is illegally modeling on the runways of fashion week and Kim's wedding was more hyped than the Superbowl.  It's no wonder that the King Kardashian, Kim has been named the most annoying celebrity.

I do feel bad for Rob though, the left out brother.  You always hear about Brody and he is not even a Kardashian.  Maybe it's because they didn't name him Kob or Kobe or Kennedy or K... 

He isn't even known as himself on DWTS.  Every dance so far they have compared him to Kim.  But unlike his annoying sister he has managed to make it past week 2!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Summer is over and ...

Without much fanfare summer has left us and we are now settling into fall.  It happened early Friday morning and somewhat appropriately, was completely washed away by rain.  As I almost put white capri pants on my daughter this morning, I got to thinking that summer is over and...

1.  I didn't make it to a Yankee game.
2.  I only had ice cream at Snowman once.
3.  I never had a fire in my backyard.
4.  Mini-golf and the Saratoga Racetrack escaped me again.
5.  I missed out on Capri pizza and an few Aquanett shows.
6.  St. Patrick's Day is less that 6 months away!

How would you complete the sentence?

Dancing With Hope Solo


I am renaming DWTS because the only one that I really want to see is Hope and Max.  I am so glad that he reached out to her and she agreed to be on the show.  Yes, there were some akward moments.  Yes, she has bigger muscles than her partner.  Yes, you have to suffer through Chaz Bono and Nancy Grace, but there were some really great moments on the season premier that will make me tune in again tomorrow.

Hope looked beautiful, even graceful at times.  She was honest and tough and gave a shout out to her teammates in Seatle.  Carson Kressley was hillarious.  There is no Edita to stubble through her praise and steal the spotlight.  And just as it should be Metacomet (or whatever Ron Artest is calling himself these days) was sent home. 

I may need to eat my words and watch the whole season...I even voted on Monday.  That I usually save for the semi-finals.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th

The Nation Remembers...


Never Forget...

                          Image: Robert Peraza, who lost his son Robert David Peraza in the attacks at the World Trade Center, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial before the 10th anniversary ceremony at the site (© Justin Lane/Pool/AP)

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Crossings

Since the sun was shining brightly today when I left work, I decided to pick up my daughter and bring her to The Crossings in Colonie.  The smooth paths are very conducive to jogging with the stroller and she loves the huge sand box and slides.

Unfortunately due to all of the tropical weather we have been subjected to lately, the playground (with all of the slides and sandbox) was closed due to flooding.  In fact many of the open spaces had pools of water; some of which had ducks happily swimming about.

More unfortunate was the path that I chose.  I slowed down so that the puddles would not spray us as we made our way through.  But one rather large puddle rose above my ankles and waterlogged my sneakers.  You would think that they would have that clearly marked.  Kind of like when the flashing signs warn you against driving through standing water.

As we both unhappily slogged our way back to the car I did see two interesting things:
1.  A man we passed walking on the path was walking in dress pants and dress shoes...making bird calls.  He was heading right for the engulfing puddle to become one with the birds,I guess.
2.  A woman was changing from her jeans into sweat pants...right in the parking lot.  Her daughters were trying to block her from view, unsuccessfully.

But the most interesting bizarre thing I saw was on the road driving in front of us.  A tan Buick with a large pair of testicles hanging from its licence plate.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ten Year Anniversary

I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2011.   I was sitting on my couch watching “Today” when Matt Lauer mentioned a plane hitting the World Trade Center.  As shocking as it was to hear, it was believed that the tragedy was a result of an accident.  A short while later footage of the second plane hitting the south tower was shown live on TV.  I knew then that something terrible was happening.
I was in college and working in a restaurant at the time.  I went to work that day and wondered if anything else could happen.  While there, a friend called me to let me know that my father’s office building was being evacuated.  It was just a precaution, but I was scared.  I lived just blocks from the Watervliet Arsenal.  What if a site that produced weapons was next on their list?
I was glued to my television for the next three days.  I watched footage from The Pentagon and from Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  Mostly though I saw the devastation and desperate pleas from people who lived near Ground Zero.  The towers had completely collapsed; debris was everywhere.  Dust filled the air as people raced to safety.  Memorials were set up along fences and on street corners.  And people pleaded with the public to help them find their missing husbands, wives, sisters, and friends.
It has been ten years since those awful days.  Security procedures at airports and government buildings have completely changed.  The towers have been rebuilt.  The Pentagon repaired and a memorial now stands in a small field in Pennsylvania.  On May 1, 2011 Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11 was finally brought to justice.  His body was released into the ocean by a brave unit of United States Marines.  For some people this brought a sense of closure.  But for me, I still have a fear that this could happen again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Favorite Foods in the World

CNN is out with a list of the world's favorite foods.  You will find some of your favorites included:  lobster, ice cream, pizza (#2) and chocolate (#3).  You will also find some that are no so appealing well-known to us Yankees:  Champ, stinky tofu, and Massamun Curry (#1).

Personally anything that leaves a curry after smell would be immediately cut from my list.  I don't understand why people subject themselves to that spice.  It really doesn't taste that great and it permeates from your pores longer than garlic sauce.  It just reminds me of being dirty.  Why don't you just let your cat spray you and then get dressed for a date?  Or better yet, approach that skunk in your back yard and jump in bed with your husband.  Sounds appealing, eh?

But I digress... check out the link and see if your favorites made the cut.  I am still looking for the mac and cheese.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Oxymorons

Hopefully, friends you are not among the many that are cleaning up from Irene.  We escaped unscathed, luckily, but I have been keeping up with the struggles of others through the newspaper and Internet.  Some things have struck me:

1.  Schenectady has a marina. (It must really be in Scotia.)
2.  Floods are only covered by flood insurance and you have to live in a flood plain to get it. (People that choose to live in a flood plain agree to take their chances.)
3.  Vermont is a land-locked state with widespread flooding. (Where will all that water go?)
4.  To clean up after a flood, you need more water. (Doesn't seem fair.)
5.  FEMA is out of money, but the government did manage to "loose" 60 BILLION dollars in Afghanistan.  (That is just moronic.)

I Didn't Leave a Tip

Today is my sister's birthday.  Happy 32nd C!  In keeping with tradition, we had our girls' lunch.  Bucking tradition, we had our lunch on the honoree's birthday.

We decided on Holmes and Watson in Troy.  We should have walked right out the door as soon as we walked in and the music stopped so the four patrons at the bar could turn and stare at us.  "Can I help you?" asked the bartender.  Well, it's 12:30 on a Wednesday... "Are you serving lunch?"  Maybe it was the baby in my arms.

We sat ourselves at an outdoor table and opened the umbrella to shield C and the baby from what became a very hot sun.  As anyone sitting in direct sunlight for 90 minutes would agree.  Twenty minutes later our menus arrived. "Sorry for the wait." Twenty minutes after that our drinks.  No explanation.  When our food finally landed on the table we had been sitting for almost an hour and were out of baby snacks.   I immediately asked for our bill.  He never checked back.

The food was decent except for my cole slaw which was wilted and rancid.  We gave up though after fighting off the bees.  Our bill was $39.60.  We left two twenty dollar bills and headed to Snowman.  I have never left a restaurant so sweaty and thirsty.  And don't hope to again.

Dancing With the 'Stars''

The last season that I watched of "Dancing With the Stars" featured some of the most diverse and entertaining stars on television and in sports.  Erin Andrews, Pam Anderson, Chad Ochocinco, Evan Lysacek, and Shannon Doherty.  Nicole Scherzinger stole the show and was deservingly crowned with a mirror ball.  Granted Buzz Aldrin and Kate Gosselin were ridiculous but they always need the token old timer and Kate was happily promoting her minus John phase.

The next season a bunch of B listers signed on and I tuned out.  Which was just fine because the judges were beginning to get on my nerves.   Really how many times can Bruno jump on the scorer's table and gyrate to some open chested celebrity dancing?  Or Bruno admonish a couple for too much acting and for using props?  And Carrie Ann... can they just do some lifts, please?  It makes the show so much more exciting!

I couldn't tell you any of the stars that were on last season.  Though I seem to recall that Sarah Palin's daughter made it quite far thanks to all of you Tea Partiers.  I guess that not only do you not have to have any dancing talent, you also don't need a personality or any celebrity status of your own.

The most recent cast was just announced.  If it wasn't for Hope Solo, the "Stars" should be completely removed from the title.  David Arquette?  Star of Scream (that came out in the 90s) and formerly starring as Courtney Cox's husband.  Chaz Bono?  Former star daughter of Sonny and Cher, now a 300 lb "man" with facial hair.  Nancy Grace and Ron Artest?  They could star in a boxing match and be more entertaining.  Ricki Lake and China Philips?  Has been stars that most ABC viewers in the coveted 18-30 category won't remember.  And the token reality stars:  Rob Kardashian and Kristen Cavallari.  I guess the sisters were still recovering from Kim's wedding.  Maybe George Clooney's ex can dance.  At least she will look good in the barely there costumes.  And don't forget Carsen Kressley.  He will tell her if she doesn't.  Ugh... 

Hopefully, Hope doesn't get voted off the first week... or hopefully she does!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Big Mean Irene


In 2003, my husband and I were on vacation in Daytona Beach, Florida.  There was a hurricane speeding toward us and the only indication was the enormous waves and the caution flags that dotted the beach.  People were not in a hurry to evacuate, there was not constant coverage on the TV, and most beach goers seemed pretty unconcerned.  In fact, the greatest cause for alarm was the small shark that was circling through the serf.  Even he didn't cause most swimmers to leave the ocean.  (We were not most, we ran for the safety of our hotel room.)

Last April my family was vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The day we arrived a tornado warning was issued for the county in which we were located.  There were scrolls of updates streaming across the bottom of the TV screen and warning windows were popping up all over the Weather Channel maps.  Again, there was little indication of concern.  People were still strolling up and down the beach or sitting outside enjoying their dinner.  I was myself seated on a bar stool in an open air burger joint waiting for my order to be completed.  Until I asked, I didn't even know what county I was vacationing in so I was only mildly concerned.  The tornado actually touched down one county over and we went about our vacation completely oblivious.

Today I sit here bombarded by doomsday predictions of Hurricane Irene, a category 2 1 at last check.  The newspapers, radio stations, and television news programs talk of nothing else.  Every expert along the east coast is predicting the impending damage.  Even my Allstate agent sent my husband a preparedness email last night in case of disaster. 

Sporting events have been cancelled.  States of emergency have been issued.  The National Guard is organizing.  Kmart has taped up its windows.  People were wandering around Price Chopper last night adding random items to their carts.  We bought baked goods, fruit, bread, and applesauce.  All things that would sustain us in case of a power outage.  We also threw in beer, yogurt, cheese, ground beef, and Cheetos just in case all this prep is for naught.

I do not live on the coast.  I do not live in the Southeast.  The nearest body of water, besides my neighbor's pool, is the Hudson River.  Its massiveness could be easily conquered by an experienced swimmer who was willing to risk its pollution level.  Even still, the police chief of my small metropolis phoned residents last night to recommend that they pack a bag and plot a course to the nearest shelter.  Shelter is a pretty scary word.

Apparently, my street was one of the vulnerable roads that could be washed away if (what I thought was a mythical) damn gives way.  So like a good citizen, my family's bag is packed, my refrigerator is set to its highest level, our outdoor furniture is stowed and secure, and our important papers are safe.

However when we Northeasterners panic in the wake of a blizzard, it almost always manages to miss us with never a flake in sky.  But with Irene covering roughly the square mileage of Europe, will we be that lucky?

In case our Irish heritage doesn't fully shield us in the next 48 hours, here is some advice you might not think of: 
1.  Do all of your laundry, the power may be out for awhile. 
2.  Don't put all of your drinks in the fridge, see #1.
3.  Move your car to a spot that is not directly in line of a falling tree.
4.  Change your sheets, you might suddenly have a lot of spare time in the dark.

Stay safe friends!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

She Had Reading Material

I am not one to linger in the bathroom.  I do not have a stocked magazine rack next to my toilet.  I do not bring the paper with me.  I do not lock the door for some alone time.  I get in and get out.  The bathroom is a place for one thing, and it is not something that I like to think about or discuss in polite company.  And I am talking about my own bathroom.  A place that I clean.  A place where I know all of the people that use it. 

Public restrooms are another horror entirely.  Before I had a child I would avoid them at all costs.  Work was not problem.  My body was highly trained to retain all bodily fluids between the hours of 8 and 3.  I would use my own before I left the house so I couldn't tell you where they are located at the mall, most restaurants, or any grocery store.  I am a little more versed in their placement at local bars, but that was born of necessity.  And luckily a little effect of local bars is often selective blackout.  If I can't remember using a public restroom, did it really happen?

So imagine my disgust today when I walked into the locker room at my gym.  I found an available locker, secured my things and stepped on the scale.  Then I walked back to the sinks to wash my hands (gyms are a breeding ground for MRSA you know!) and I saw her.  She was coming from the bathroom stalls.  She was smiling from ear to ear.  She had reading material.

Who does that??????

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Foot Washing

There are a few blogs that I follow regularly and I often get ideas to comment upon from them.  It is kind of like teaching and Hollywood.  There are only so many original ideas.  We borrow things all the time.


Yesterday I saw a post with the sign above.  It was taken at the Saratoga Race Track.  The blogger wondered why on earth anyone would ever consider doing that at the Track.  People responded with some funny blurbs ( always want to wash your feet before you insert them in your mouth) and some practical ones ( does get muddy in the picnic area). It made me think about a wedding that I attended this summer. 

At Mallozzi's in Rotterdam.  The Magnet Man was there.  Open bar.  Fabulous cocktail hour.  As you can imagine, it was beautiful.  The food was very good and a great time was had by all.  Except my feet.

I searched and searched for the perfect dress and decided to purchase two and make a last minute decision. During my search, I went back to the same store twice and while trying on dresses I used the same pair of fabulous 3 inch heels.  I took that as a sign to buy the shoes as well and they looked great.  And they felt great during the 20 minutes or so I spent trying on dresses.  Five hours in the real world didn't work out so well.

So like many other revelers, I shed my shoes and took my bare feet to the dance floor.  I did my best to dodge the spilled beverages, vodka sauce, cake frosting, and various foot funk but finally gave up and marched myself to the bathroom.  Where I proceeded to wash my feet... in the sink.

Is that bad?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Instant Anxiety Attack

I just left Babies-R-Us and my head is spinning.  It seems like every expectant mother registers for the necessities there.  Why wouldn't you?  They carry everything you could possibly ever need to raise a child, except a partner of course.  And they have prime parking spaces marked with a cute little stork for Mom's to Be.  This will be easy right?

Wrong.  Just walking through their double doors is overwhelming to me and I have a small child.  I can't even imagine how it feels to a baby virgin.  You are immediately bombarded by boxes of 324 diapers (how many months will that last me?); 936 wipes (why can't they just match up hot dogs and buns?); racks and racks of clothes (should you really spend $29.99 on a newborn dress); and breast pumps, Diaper Genies, and video tracking devices monitors for your nursery.  There is so much stuff:  baby stuff, toddler stuff, travel stuff, bedding stuff, clothes, shoes, toys, food stuff, I could go on and on.

Did you know that there are strollers, joggers, travel systems, car seats, car seat bases, Snap and Go(s), Bundle Me(s), snack pods, stroller clips, and baby netting?  And that they are all interconnected and can be used together?  Did you know that there are pacifiers and Nuks and Soothies and teething rings and teething spoons and wipes to keep them all clean?  Not to mention wipe warmers, shopping cart protectors, end table bumpers, and a cup that keeps little guys from squirting you in the face as you are changing him.  Overwhelming!

Even more overwhelming are the aisles that do not follow numerically, the bedding that has been moved to the FAO Swartz display up front, and the items on the registry that are available in limited quantity.  That really means that they have been hidden away in an aisle of mish mash that does not have a number.  Just skip any stars on the registry and keep looking.

Registering for your  Retrieving items from said registry...add a bottle of Advil to your cart and immediately employ the help of the numerous associates that are walking the floor with you.  They are extremely helpful!  But maybe they wouldn't need so many if they just organized the store...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Reading

I have actually finished four books this summer!  One I actually started before school ended but I am going to count it anyway.  Clearly I have more time on my hands since I am taking full advantage of that excellent teacher perk "summers off", and I have actually been staying up past my 10:00 bedtime.  It is summer you know.

The first three books were a trilogy:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl that Played with Fire, and The Girl that Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  They were awesome!  The series was written by a Swede named Steig Larson so there are many IKEA and ...gatan references.  I found it very helpful to disguise all of the Swedish places with American pseudonyms.  It just makes for smoother reading.  But there are also places that you will be very familiar with like McDonald's (who knew it was so popular in Sweden), Starbucks (coffee is loved globally), Stockholm, Paris, Australia, and Philadelphia, PA.  I highly recommend the books about a kick-ass computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander if you like suspense, murder, governmental corruption, and kinky sex references.  (No romance novel slush here!) 

It is even being made into a movie.  Well actually... it was already produced in Sweden but since I don't often get to their cinemas, it is being made into a new movie.  For the life of me though, I can't imagine anyone else playing Lisbeth but Angelina Jolie.  And I Hate her...

Last night I finished The Help.  It has been a really long time since I finished a book in four days and turned the last page with tears running down my cheeks.  The setting is 1960s Mississippi.  It chronicles the lives of three families and the African American women they employ as their help.  The white attitudes toward their darker peers will anger you.  The love the "maids", as they are called, have for the young white babies they raise will melt your heart.  The treatment that is shown to some of the characters by their spouses, employers and mothers will turn your stomach.  But most importantly the struggle for equality that plays out in each chapter will open your eyes to things we have never experienced here in upstate New York.  The Help will have you thinking about why color once made such a difference.  And asking yourself if it still does?

It was an amazing tale.  Even more amazing is the fact that the story is based loosely on the author's own childhood growing up with an African American maid and never realizing that she should have said thank you and joined her for a meal at the kitchen table.  It is powerful, poignant, and I can't wait to see the movie.  I just hope that Aibeleen chooses not to walk away from Mae Mobley at the end.  Or we will all be crying along with the toddler.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Can sometime please share with me the evolutionary, natural selective, ruin a perfectly relaxing summer night purpose of the mosquito?  We don't need them to pollinate our flowers.  They do not help to drop seeds for the next season.  Our meat would still rot without their disgusting spawn.  Why exactly are they here?  And how many can there possibly be in one backyard?

It seems that if you swat and get rid of one, two more come to take its place.  They are everywhere.  Buzzing in your ear, attacking your ankles, and leaving you scratching long after you have shut the door on their annoyance. 

Bug spray, not a deterrent.  A fire, no effect.  Standing still, dryer sheets, Avon Skin-So-Soft, so does not work.  Nothing does!  Until you break down and come inside.  Ugh...

Friday, August 5, 2011


Every time I get invited to a BBQ I get excited.  I love cook out food, cold beverages, and hot sun (especially when there is a body of water nearby!).  I love when they start a little later so that we will still be drinking relaxing when it starts to get dark.  And that means that a fire pit will be crackling nearby and S'mores will be on the menu.  Just more evidence to support that fact that summer is by far the best season.  Sorry Fall Lovers.

The only dilemma?  What to bring!  Hmmm... 1.  Do you bring what you like?  2.  Do you bring the expected?  3.  Do you try something new?  4.  Will there be something that my husband, 1 year old, condiment phobic brother will eat?

1.  Sure!  Don't expect that someone else will bring the deviled eggs and dessert.  You can always suggest as much but there is no guarantee. So bring your favorite.  Others will thank you for it.
2.  Not necessarily.  The reason why people love your cucumber dip is because it is not readily available.  And no matter how many times you have given out the recipe it just doesn't taste the same when someone else makes it.  Luckily.
3.  If you are a gambler, go for it!  What's the worst that could happen?  It gets thrown out with the fly ridden burgers and congealed dip.  What the best?  You have a new 'expected' dish. 
4.  Everyone eats chips and cookies so slip some in your bag when you pick up your tasty beverage of choice and no one goes home hungry.

No matter what you bring your hostess will be appreciative.  Just make sure that you bring something.  Nobody wants to be that guy.  His next invite might some how never arrive.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Time Flies!

Hi Friends!  Sorry that I haven't been in touch for awhile.  It seems that the past two weeks have come and gone and I lost track of time.

Isn't it strange that time doesn't always pass at the same speed?  Like when you were a co-ed and sitting through a lecture on the curve of a hyperbole and its inverse function; every second passed in excruciating fashion.  Or when you were a kid sitting in the 5th pew (for 18 years) and  had already read the entire bulletin, all of the readings in the Missilette, and every stained glass window but somehow it still wasn't time for Communion yet.  We won't even touch on the fact that the month of June is the longest18 days of the school year.

Then there are times when it seems that the earth spins a bit faster and we can hardly remember how the minutes passed so quickly.  You are on the massage table and close your eyes only to hear the therapist say, "Take your time getting ready, and remember to hydrate."  Already? Or you are on the bumper cars at the amusement park and just when you are ready to really ram that annoying boy, out of juice.  Darn!  And we have all stepped off the plane in ecstatic anticipation of that island vacation when suddenly we having repacking our suitcase and enjoying our last mango for breakfast.  Say it isn't Friday already...

I can't believe how time flies. Somehow a year ago I gave birth to my daughter and in a nanosecond she started to smile, talk, crawl, hug, kiss, and take control of our house.  For the past two weeks we have been celebrating our little miracle with friends and family; cake and mac-n-cheese; a bounce house and cotton candy machine; Hoffman's; Hair of the Dog; and lots of cheer. 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Monday, July 18, 2011

USA Finishes 2nd


All of the hard work, perseverance, and an entire country rooting for them and it all came down to PKs...

For all of you soccer fans out there, you know that a penalty kick is like a free throw in basketball:  free points.  A penalty kick is awarded when a defender takes down an opposing player who was about to score a goal. The player is awarded a free kick ten yards from a stationary goalie.  It is a given that the penalty kick will go in.  The referee has helped to even out the score.  But just like the NBA players who shoot less than 80% from the free throw line, there is no guarantee.

At the professional level there really is no excuse for not making the shot.  It is something that every soccer player has practiced since they were playing U10.  Take 3 steps, keep your head down, aim for the side of the net. 

The goalie is at a severe disadvantage during a penalty kick and often has to guess which way the ball will go before it leaves the shooter's foot.  Guess correct and you are a hero.  Guess wrong and the kick goes the way it was intended.  The goalie is never to blame for missing the ball; the blame lies with the defender that originally committed the foal.

The US missed its first 2 shots; one rather predictably because Shannon Boxx always goes right.  The other sailed high over the cross bar, a result of Carlie Lloyd's dead legs.  Abby Wambach did manage to get one into the net but it was too late.  The Japanese were victorious.

It never should have come down to the uncertainty of PKs.  The US had too many chances in the first half and committed 2 costly defensive errors in the second.  But that doesn't lessen the disappointment that we all feel.

The country cheered with you and we hang our heads with you.  But... We are still behind you!  You are still our team!  USA in 2015!!