Friday, November 30, 2007

OK, that's not all I have to say

Yes, there's a little more, but I was paranoid that I'd forget to post on the last day, so I had to just get one up there.

I am sooooo glad to see NaBloPoMo come to an end this year. I'm glad I stuck with it even though it wasn't always easy.


Anyway, thanks to Fabulous Mommy Fussypants for the survivor badge. It pretty much sums up exactly how I felt at times.


So . . . . it's November 30



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Once upon a time . . .

Today in the living room, Loaf noticed for the first time a framed photo of Mark and me on our wedding day. It has been in the same spot for years, but she’s never paid much attention to it before.

Wedding day!

“Mommy, wear crown,” she said pointing to my tiara.

“Yes, that’s right. A tiara. And this was my veil,” I said, running my finger along the fluff of white behind my face.

“Pretty white dress, Mommy.”

“Thank you.”

“Mommy, hair up. Pretty.”

“Thank you again. And who’s this guy?”

“That Daddy!” she said with surprise, seeming to notice him in the photo for the first time. (She has obviously inherited the female gene that recognizes the wedding day is All. About. The. Bride.)

“Do you like this picture?” I asked.


“Me too.”

“Happily ever after,” she said, still studying the picture.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Warning: Reduced speed ahead

Weeks ago, my boss and I scheduled a meeting with a client with offices in midtown Manhattan - two short blocks from Rockefeller Center.

At the time, we did not give much thought to the fact that it was a 3 p.m. meeting.
Nor did we think about the fact that we would officially be in the thick of "Holiday Season" in New York.
We did not think about the fact that it was likely to be a "Gridlock Alert Day."
And we certainly did not think that this day, of all days, was when they were lighting the Rock Center Christmas tree.


Gridlock alert day

5:36 p.m. West Side Highway, NYC.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sweet good night

It is 8:37 p.m. and Peanut is exhausted. She walks down the hall and climbs into her bed.

“I’ll be right there, honey,” I tell her. “Let me just finish up with this e-mail.”

Less than two minutes later, I am at her bedside. She is already in bed with the light off and eyes shut, her breathing slowing to a deep rhythm that signals sleep.

I lean over her, brushing her hair off her face and placing my lips against her forehead for a soft kiss.

“Good night, my love. Mommy loves you more than you know,” I whisper.

Straightening up, I look down at her. Her eyes are still closed and she has fallen asleep, but a big smile now graces her lips. She has heard me. I know she won’t remember this moment, but my message has gotten through. I can only hope she will hold it as close to her heart as I do.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Dear YMCA:

I would like to suggest that next year you have the trees for your annual Christmas sale delivered on a day other than the Monday after Thanksgiving, which aside from the first week of January, is probably the busiest gym day of the year. The two giant tractor trailer trucks that delivered the trees took up well over two dozen parking spots and caused a huge traffic jam as people tried to get in and out of the lot.

Minimally, how about having them delivered in the afternoon when the gym is less busy instead of at the peak hour of 9:30 a.m.? It just seems like common sense to me.


Cranky lady who got stuck in a huge traffic snafu, then had to park two blocks away and only had 45 minutes to work out today as a result

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reunion: Part Two

Don’t you love how I am milking this reunion for three posts in a row? Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Last night was the formal part of my reunion. The turnout was great—lots of people from a number of different “groups.” And what was best of all? The groups melded and blended and I talked with people I hardly spoke with in high school, which was extremely cool. People overall have aged really well – there are so many beautiful women in my class and everyone was really friendly, fun and in the mood to have a great time.

I am exhausted, having gotten less than four hours sleep last night, so this is going to have to do for tonight. Here are a few photos, along with some of my favorite moments and lines from the night:

We clean up pretty well, no?

Before the reunion

At my mom's house before the big event.

- Sitting up on a couch on a stage behind the DJ with two of my best girlfriends, putting my arms around them and saying, “Yep, I’m just chillin’ wit my bitches.”

- The room’s explosion of cheers when my friend Jen walked in carrying a tray loaded with shots.

- Opening up the dance floor, and closing the dance floor, with a group of my best friends.

Me and my friend Kim

My very, very good friend Kim. Isn't she adorable?

- Boy I once had a crush on: I’m buying you this drink to make up for all the times I was mean to you.
Me (jokingly): It’s going to take a lot more drinks so keep them coming.

- Girl to a man who shaves his head bald and has a graying goatee (and who looks great by the way): You look exactly the same as you did in high school! (He was clean shaven and had a full head of hair).
That man’s wife (looking at him): He does?!?

- Cool break dancing by my friend Marc.

- Singing the “Grease” megamix and acting out all the various dance moves with several students who were in our senior year production of “Grease.”

- Catching up with my friend Mark on Friday night and hearing he is going to run the Boston Marathon this year! (Go Mark!)

- Hearing so many great things about my husband.
He’s so nice!
We love him! We’ve accepted him as one of our own.
What a great guy for taking all those pictures for us.

(Anyone who knows Mark can guess that he knew just as many people as me by the time the night was over).

- Friend (hugging me at the end of the night): I love you.
Me: I love you too. You’re one of my best friends and always will be.

Friends: John, Shelly, Mark, Jen, Me, Mark, Kim

Our table after our (first) round of shots.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reunion: Part one

Last night was part one of my 20th class reunion.

So. Much. Fun.

It was casual - held in a local bar - and fairly small (maybe a couple of dozen people), but what a blast. It's so great to catch up with people and reminisce. I haven't laughed so much in a long time.

Tonight is the "formal" part of it - dinner and dancing at a local restaurant. Even more people will be there and I can't wait. Now that the ice is broken, it's time to really let loose. Stay tuned . . .

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Friday, November 23, 2007

All those years ago

The leftover turkey and stuffing and cranberry chutney (which, by the way, were all amazing and delicious) are packed away and today we pack ourselves up and drive to Massachusetts so that I can attend my 20th high school class reunion.

I am excited (extremely), but oh my . . . 20 years?!? HOW? And WHERE? And most importantly, WHY?

I keep talking about all the "kids" I'm going to see again (because afterall, since I'm their age that makes me a kid too). I had a good time in high school. It wasn't the best time of my life, but it was a good time - good enough to revisit for a night every decade or so.

I've been thinking back on the memories from that part of my life this week and some of my favorites include:

- The trip I took to Washington D.C. as part of the Honor's Society. Staying up all night, running through the hotel, wrapping my friend Jen up in toilet paper like a mummy, touring the Nation's Capital and photographing really important stuff like Archie Bunker's chair and Judy Garland's ruby slippers. So fun.

- The day my friend Steve tried to teach me to drive his father's ancient, no-power-steering Bronco on a back road in Vermont and I panicked and drove it straight into a ditch.

- Since my best friend Kim and I were pretty much inseparable, everyone called us Double Kim or Kim Squared.

- Slamming my friend Steve's (yes, same Steve as above) fingers in a locker and nearly severing the top of one. (Miraculously, Steve still spoke me years later and even came to my wedding. He's a very forgiving guy).

- Sitting out back behind the school between classes on a beautiful spring day with my friend Mark and daydreaming about the future.

- Parties (lots of them) at the end of dirt roads way up in the woods.

- Parties (even more) at my friend Pete's house where everyone would stay over and eat breakfast together the next day.

- Going to the prom with my friend Jay.

- A certain friend of mine (unnamed to protect the guilty) becoming convinced that a weed growing in my backyard was pot and trying to dry and smoke it. I also went on a number of dates with that friend and her boyfriend (at her request) to "protect" her.

- Eating lunch every day with Kim, Shelly, Jen, Jill, Shannon, Missy and a host of others – laughing at silly, ridiculous things, and worrying about things that turned out to be so inconsequential.

Cheers to all of my good friends from the past – looking forward to catching up with lots of you over the weekend!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving thanks

Grateful for my husband, your immense love, loyalty and support, for making me feel beautiful through your actions and words, for being an amazing, tender and supportive father and for sharing your life with me.

Grateful for my children for being two of the most pure, wonderful, sweet souls I have ever encountered, for all your squeezy hugs and smooshy kisses, for filling my heart with more love than I thought possible and my days with more joy than I deserve.

Grateful for my mom for being so strong and beautiful and wonderful and for not holding my teenage years against me.

Grateful for the rest of my family (including my inlaws), all of whom bring something special and cherished to my life.

Grateful for my home. Perfect though it is not, it keeps us warm and safe and comfortably holds 27 people on Thanksgiving.

Grateful for my friends, who I wish I had more time for right now, but who I know I will have more to give back to in the future.

Grateful for my cat, who is soft and warm and gentle and curls up with me, purring all night and giving me immense affection and joy.

Grateful for my health and the health of my family.

Grateful for those who have sacrificed—all throughout the ages—to make our country and our world free and safe.

Grateful for the food that we eat everyday, from the simplest snack to the most extravagant meal.

Grateful for life and all the wonderful surprises that it brings every single day.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A look back: Thanksgiving '06

Getting ready for the big day tomorrow, so here's a look back at last year. I can't believe how much the girls have grown and changed!

Thanksgiving centerpiece I made last year

The centerpiece I made. Considering I am about the least crafty person on the planet, I think this is pretty great.

Grown-up table before the feast

Grown-up table before the feast.

Waiting for everyone to arrive

Patiently waiting for everyone to arrive.

With Grandma and Grandpa

Posing with Grandma and Grandpa.

Loaf at Thanksgiving last year ('06)

Loaf in her high chair (!) last year. This kills me. She's still such a baby here. What a change.

Peanut at Thanksgiving '06

And here's Peanut. Something tells me she'll be able to reach the table a little better this year. Oh and no worries, that's not her wine. ;-)

Kids' table

Kids' table.

The kids' table

Another view of the kids. There will be a few more there this year.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An intimate dinner for 27

Over the past few days, I have gotten great amusement from telling people that I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 27 people at my home on Thursday.

This is our third Thanksgiving with a big crowd. We had 25 in 2005 and 21 last year, but our family keeps growing and my sister-in-law is coming all the way from Oregon with her new husband to be with us this year, so it’s the biggest crowd yet. When I tell people, the jaw drops, eye pops and questions are pretty entertaining.

Here are some of the most common questions:

Who are all these people?
They are all from my husband’s side of the family. There is my mother-in-law and her husband. Mark’s two sisters, his brother, their spouses and children. Then we have three of my mother-in-law’s husband’s adult children, their spouses and children (one couple in this group has five children ranging from a teenage girl to a five-month-old son. They are saints.) And then, of course, the four of us. There are 11 kids under 12, a couple of teenagers and then the rest are adults.

Are you cooking for all those people?
Yes and no. I have a number of things to prepare, but everyone who is coming is contributing something. There is no way I could pull this off without all the wonderful help I am receiving. I am happiest that I have no pie responsibilities (thank God, because while I love to bake, I cannot stand making pies).

Can you fit all of those people in your house?
Yes, and fairly well too. Our house is nothing fancy – just a 1950s-circa ranch. It has small bedrooms, but very large common rooms. We have two large “living rooms” (one I guess is technically a game room since it houses a pool table) that are next to each other and very open, a large dining room with VERY long antique dining room table and a fairly big kitchen.

Do you have a kids’ table?
Yes, we have a cover that converts our pool table into a flat surface. That serves as the kids’ table.

How do you feed everyone in an orderly way?
We feed the kids at the pool table first. All the respective parents set them up with food and drink and get them situated and eating. Then we wait until they are done. Honestly? This takes about 10-15 minutes. Kids are very fast eaters. Once they are done, the adults go into the dining room and eat.

It must be total chaos.
Well, yes, a bit. But it’s good chaos – a warm, happy chaos. The kids play together well and keep each other entertained for the most part while the adults mingle and spread out keeping an eye on things

So that should give you an idea of what my Turkey Day will be like this year. Fun. Crazy. Stressful. Warm. Loving.

What are you expecting this year?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

One big kitty cat

This is a really cool video of a lion hugging and kissing the woman who rescued him many years earlier. It's incredible - it looks like he's going in for an attack but instead wraps his giant paws around her neck and kisses her. Love!

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

8 things I learned at date night

Last year, we had a really fun night out with a couple of friends. It was so fun, that I was horribly hungover the next day, and still felt pretty substandard when Monday rolled around. Ouch.

While I think it's great to go out and tie one on every now and then, I've already done that this year at my sister-in-law's wedding (and for that one I got to fly home while feeling like death - fun! NOT!) and the memory of that is still waaaaay too fresh. So last night when we went out with the same friends, we decided to keep things a little more low key and just go to the The Melting Pot for dinner.

Still, there are always lessons to be learned, and here they are:

1. A bucket of cheese and a huge pile of bread make damn fine eatin'.
2. When going to a restaurant with a big pot of boiling water in the middle of the table, be sure to scope out which way the steam is blowing as you approach your table and sit on the OPPOSITE side, whilst you will get a facial with your meal.
3. When drinking a bright red pomegranate cosmos, set the glass down before giggling, especially if you are wearing a white top.
4. If your waitress is 20, named Gabrielle and wearing 87 pounds of bright blue glittery eye shadow, you will get excellent service, but be continuously reminded of Janice from Friends every time she opens her mouth. Consider yourself warned.
5. Cooking your own food at a restaurant is much more fun than cooking your own food at home. Which totally makes no sense. YOU are paying THEM to cook your own food. And doing so happily. (I blame the cosmos).
6. If you think the big vat 'o cheese was good, wait until the big vat 'o chocolate comes out for dessert. It's like sex in a pot.
7. A big vat of melted chocolate can only be made better by adding cheesecake, brownies, strawberries and marshmallows for dipping. Holy orgasmic food, Batman!
8. Eating so much will give you insomnia to the point where you might as well have been out until 4 a.m. anyway. So next year? Bring it on!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007


Extreme bedhead

This is Loaf in the morning – an average, typical morning. Please take note of the hair.

Poor Loaf!

Loaf says: I don’t know which of your genes are responsible for this, but I promise you I will find out. And you will pay!

Side view

Side view: I check it every morning for small varmints and birds.

Please, no more photos of my bedhead

Loaf says: No more pictures of my bedhead, please, or I will have to get all Jack Nicholson on you and start swinging objects. Now where’s my toy golf club?

Back view

Back view: Why do I suddenly want to bust out singing the chorus of “Hair.”

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining
Gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted;
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and spaghettied!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

When good news is really just mediocre news in disguise

For most of life, my skin and I have been at war.

I recall having blackheads on my chin long before anyone else my age – around 2nd or 3rd grade. By the time I got to high school, I had full-blown acne. I’d get giant, painful cystic pimples that sat under the skin but grew to the size of pennies. Big, red welts covered by jawline almost constantly.

My weapons of choice ranged from everything from over-the-counter Clearasil to tetracycline and Retin A prescribed by my dermatologist. But my most-used and most-loved weapon was the sun.

Every possible sunny moment, I sat outside slathered in suntan lotion with little to no SPF. In the winter months, the tanning booth was my best friend. I visited two to three days a week – just enough to keep my skin a lovely mahogany brown. I don’t believe the sun stopped the breakouts, but it helped conceal them and that was good enough for me.

I kept right on tanning until I was in my mid-20s, never giving much thought to wrinkles, never mind skin cancer. And if I did get skin cancer? So what? Skin cancer wasn’t deadly (so I thought). It was just a funny little mole that had to be taken off and then life went on. I’d had moles taken off and it was no big deal. So I didn’t worry. And I kept right on tanning.

Until one day I saw an article about skin cancer that truly terrified me. It was graphic, showing people with parts of their noses removed or with horrible scars on every part of their body where lesions had been cut out – along with lots of surrounding skin. It talked about types of skin cancer that spread to other organs and become deadly. It scared the crap out of me and ever since I’ve been a religious user of hats, sunglasses and sunscreens with high SPFs.

Soon after, I went for my first full-body skin check by a dermatologist. I held my breath while he gave me the once over, pointing out moles I needed to watch, but in the end giving me the all clear. No cancer.

After the babies came, I did what a lot of new mothers do and neglected by own professional health care for a while. My last skin cancer check was in 2002, many months before I got pregnant with Peanut.

About six weeks ago I stepped out of the shower and began toweling off when I noticed it. On the back of my arm – a funny, irregular shaped mole that I’d never seen before. Standing close to the mirror, I ran my finger over it. It was flat, which was good, but oddly shaped, unevenly colored and kind of big. It sent me into a panic.

The very next day, I was on the phone with my doctor getting a referral to a dermatologist. It was a long wait – over a month just to get in for a check up, but today my appointment finally came.

I’m happy to say, it is nothing.

“Just an age spot,” the doctor said. “It will probably get bigger. Here’s another one starting here on your chest.”

So, PHEW. Good news. Great news, right? Right . . . ?

Sure. If you consider the fact that instead of having cancer, I’m just getting damn old and my skin has found a new way to torment me.


The age spot that ate New Jersey.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Government for the people? What people?

I try, generally, not to get too political on this blog. But every now and then there is an issue that is so near and dear to my heart that I simply cannot resist stepping up on my soapbox for a minute. So bear with me.

Yesterday, I read this article in the New York Times that talks about Pennsylvania’s recent decision to ban labels on milk and dairy products that say it comes from cows that haven’t been treated with artificial bovine growth hormone, which is sometimes known as rBGH or rBST.

The PA Department of Agriculture’s reason for the ban? Basically, that consumers are too dumb to understand the distinction, and that labeling dairy products as rBGH or rBSt free implies that dairy products produced with the use of these artificial hormones are inferior.

Those ridiculous arguments aside, the problem with this ban is that it eliminates a clear and important choice for consumers.

Despite what the federal government says about artificial hormones, not every one feels comfortable having them in their food (myself and Mark included). Quite frankly, I don’t give a rat’s butt what the FDA says. The FDA, in my opinion, is so deeply embedded with hosts of special interest groups and lobbyists that I take a fraction of what they say to heart.

Now, organic milk does not contain rBGH or rBStT, so anyone in Pennsylvania looking to avoid the hormones can still buy organic. However, organic milk is expensive—beyond the means of a lot of families—and if avoiding the hormones is your biggest concern, you have a viable and more affordable option in dairy products labeled “hormone free.” Or at least you did. Now, the government in Pennsylvania has taken that choice from you. And that, to put it plainly, sucks.

I have to assume that someone at the PA Department of Agriculture just got his or her pockets lined by ultra-profitable Monsanto (biggest producer of the artificial hormones) or some other lobbyist representing hormone-using dairy farmers. There doesn’t seem to be any other viable reason.

Why should I, or you, care about this ban if you don’t live in Pennsylvania (as I do not)? Well, Ohio is considering a similar ban. If there’s one thing I’ve observed in my lifetime, stupid government ideas seem to catch hold like wildfire spreading faster than lice at a sleepover.

So I’m just putting this out there, for anyone who is thinking of trying to slip this through the New Jersey legislature. Don’t. Even. Try. It.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Driving to work today, I suddenly noticed a sea of flashing brake lights as the four lanes of traffic in front of me started slowing down. Since I was a good distance from most of these cars, I simply let up on the accelerator, but I started thinking: OH CRAP. What now? What horrible traffic nightmare lies ahead of me? An accident? A jack-knifed truck?

As my speedometer slowly inched downward—66, 65, 63, 62—I kept my eyes peeled for what was going on.

And then, I saw it.

Up ahead, a police officer had pulled over another driver. Both cars were well into the right-hand breakdown lane, the lights on the police car flashing continuously. By the time I reached them, I had caught up to the cars ahead of me and was doing just barely 55/mph (the speed limit is 65/mph on this particular road).

Good shit, why do people hit their brakes when they see this? People—Here is a tip: The cop already pulled someone over. He can't get you! He is busy. There may actually be no better time to speed and contrary to what you may think, you do not get extra credit for slowing down at this point.

Yes, I am really cranky today.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Too many cooks

Today, I decided to bake pumpkin muffins with my children. This is one of those activities where the idea is always way better than the reality.

In my head, I stand at the island in the kitchen. My two sweet, obedient children stand on chairs on the other side. We smile happily at each other as I hand them measuring cups and spoons loaded with ingredients and allow them to alternately dump them into the mixing bowl.

Then, we take turns stirring and in the end I give them spoons to happily lick. They play quietly and patiently while my home fills with the yummy aroma of pumpkin muffins.

Finally, we all sit down to munch on our freshly baked, delicious treats while relishing in the joy and beauty of the day.

HOWEVER, since I am not June Cleaver, the process went more like this:

I stood at the island in the kitchen. My two children grabbed at everything in sight. I scowled as they knocked a half cup of flour onto the floor, stuck their fingers in the bowl, scattered ingredients all over the countertop, pushed each other and continually asked, “Mommy can I lick the spoon now? Mommy can I lick the spoon now?”

And for every time one of them asked that, I said some variation of:
“Don’t touch that!”
“No, fingers out please.”
“Girls, please, I said no.”
“Stop! OK! Stop it.”

As I attempted to stir the batter, Loaf tossed a teaspoon into it. I fished the goopy spoon out and threw it toward the sink. On the way there, dollops of batter splattered onto the kitchen floor.

Finally, it was time to put the muffins in the oven. I turned to survey the destruction. Flour was everywhere including all over my children. Glops of batter dotted the counter and floor. Every measuring spoon and cup lay on the counter (I had to keep taking out new ones every time one went in someone’s mouth).

And as the muffins baked, instead of being able to clean up the mess, I broke up 3 fights and turned off the oven light every time someone turned it on (approximately every 39 seconds).

When the muffins were finally done, my kids sat and ate them quietly and happily, though now there were crumbs all over the kitchen table and under (not that it really mattered at this point).


At least two things turned out the way I hoped. My house did smell yummy and the muffins were delicious.

Licking the (egg free) spoon

Another satisfied customer


Sooo happy to be eating her muffin

In this last one, Loaf looks surprised that they taste good. I guess given the chaos that ensued in their making, I can't blame her.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Tick tock, tick tock

It's 9:29 p.m.

Do you know where your NaBloPoMo post is?

Mine seems to be lost. Stuck. Blocked.

I have surfed the web, read the paper and listened to the radio hoping for something interesting to inspire me. But nothing is happening. I am soooo very tired and soooo very sick of looking at the computer. So for tonight, this is going to have to suffice.

Why do I just know that as soon as I hit post and log off, something really good is going to pop into my head? Oh well, if that happens, at least I'll have something to write about tomorrow.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wow! Look how green that grass is over there.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I work part time. I go into my office two days a week, and work a few additional hours at home on the other three days. I work hard to keep a balance and keep all my clients – the big ones at work and the wee ones here at home – happy.

Last week, I had to go to work two days in a row. I chugged up to my office on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday. Doing two days in a row out of the house is not ideal for a number of reasons, but sometimes that’s just the way it has to be and we all make the best of it.

By the time I got home Wednesday night, I was tired of work and in serious withdrawal. All I wanted was to talk with, sit with, read to and cuddle my girls. And I did. A lot.

Then came Thursday. And Friday. And Saturday. And today.

Over the past four days, I have endured an unknown number of tantrums, crying fits, fights, screeching, whining and drama. I have fixed 10 meals, fetched an unknown number of snacks and poured copious quantities of milk and juice.

I have played too many rounds of Candy Land and I have participated in a seemingly endless stream of role-playing games. I have been the Beast, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and Grumpy from Snow White (and no, it’s not lost on me that I am always assigned the roles of the meanest, ugliest characters – what the hell?)

Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun too. We played outside and sang silly songs and colored and read a bunch of stories. We went to Target and had a great time oogling the well decorated Christmas section. We watched a movie together nestled under a big blanket. But right now, I'm desperate for a change of pace.

Tomorrow, I am off to work and I'm really looking forward to it. I love my children more than I can even articulate, but those two days give me a chance to catch my breath and appreciate so much more what I have - in both of my roles. Going to work makes me a better mother and being at home makes me a better employee. Each part of my life encourages me to pour all that I have into the other, to look down and think, "wow, look how green the grass is here under my feet," as well as to appreciate how green it grows on the other side.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reason #763 why my husband rocks

He got me a new iPod Shuffle for the gym—250 songs on something no bigger than a book of matches:



Just because he lubs me.

That and my other iPod (a 20GB) is a full two generations earlier than what Apple quaintly just renamed the “classic," and I think he was sick of me complaining about how cumbersome it is to use at the gym.

So now I can workout and listen to music without worrying about:
- Having to fish my giant, antique iPod out of my underwear because the only reasonable way to use it at the gym was to tuck it into the waistband of my workout pants where sweat and movement = slippery iPod
- Stepping on my giant, antique iPod after dropping it as I move my exercise equipment into position
- Knocking my giant, antique iPod off the top of the treadmill and watching helplessly as it bounces three times before spinning 39 times and landing in the middle of the aisle in front of me

Not that ANY of those things have ever happened.

whistling and looking up at the ceiling

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Dog and teenage boy show

When Mark was in high school, he was a fairly responsible guy. A good student. A very loyal friend (as he remains to this day). He had a lot of fun, but wasn’t a huge partier.

That said, sometimes his judgment left a teeny bit to be desired.

For example, when he was 15 or 16 years old (prior to having his driver’s license) he bought himself a used car. He was a hard worker from an early age and always was a big saver. So I guess he found a reasonable car and went and bought it, but with no license, it sat in his parent’s driveway unregistered and uninsured taunting him – begging to be driven. (You can guess where this is going, right? Well you’re on the right track, but it gets better).

So one day after school he decides to take his car out for a spin. Except, instead of sitting in the driver side, he thought it would be oh-so-much-more amusing to sit in the passenger seat.


Well, so he plunk Charlie, his family’s big St. Bernardish mix dog, in the driver’s seat of course. (Duh!)

And so with the dog in the driver’s seat and Mark on the passenger side, off they went for a ride.

Now, one more tidbit you should know – the car was a standard transmission. So he had to sit with his legs swung way over the side to work the clutch, while also steering and shifting left-handed.

So there goes unlicensed Mark, down the road in his uninsured, unregistered vehicle with the dog in the front seat appearing to drive and who does he pass?

His mother.


Fortunately for him, she is a very good Catholic and much into forgiveness. Otherwise, he would have been in the dog house (heh, sorry, could not resist) for a veeerrrry long time.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

To be a kid again

I think one of the greatest things about having children is reliving the best parts of your childhood through them. There is nothing as amazing as Halloween or Christmas morning viewed through the eyes of your own children. But the thrill doesn't have to come from the grandiose or exceptional. It can also come about in the simple, ordinary, every day stuff. Raking leaves, for example:



Just off camera, Mark is raking leaves onto them. And they are loving it.




I love this one. Doesn't it make you want to go flop down in a big pile of leaves?


Daddy gets in on the action.


I adore this picture.


And now the fun is over. The girls are heading inside for a snack and poor Mark is left to finish the job by himself. It sure stinks being a grown-up sometimes.

Our yard

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Damn you, Ben Franklin

So here we are on day four since the clocks went back and, just like last year, we are in hell.

Peanut woke up this morning at 4:57 a.m.

So guess what happened tonight? This:

Asleep on the kitchen floor. TIme? 6:49 p.m.

The aftermath of the time change

Actual time of photograph: 6:49 p.m.


So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Ben "hey-let's-screw-with-the-clocks-twice-a-year" Franklin for making my life hell for six months a year (though according to Wikipedia some guy named William Willet {whoever the fuck that is} was the one who actually foisted it upon the rest of us. Jerkoff.)

I'm sure Mr. Franklin and Mr. Willet didn't intend to cause utter chaos in the Gav household when they conceived of their idea. I'm sure they had no idea that decades later some poor mother would be dealing with a small child at her bedside every morning between 4 and 5 a.m. demanding breakfast because the night before she fell asleep before dinner. I'm sure none of that crossed their minds and they were genuinely all about getting people to go out and enjoy the sunshine and feel alive and be happy and all that other bullshit.

But you know what? Right now, none of that is making me feel much better. So thank you Mr. Franklin and Mr. Willett (both MEN by the way, who probably never ONCE in their lives had to get up with a child). I wish I could wake you up tomorrow morning when my child wakes and make you drag your sorry ass out of bed before the heat has even kicked on to fetch her some cereal, but unfortunately, you are both dead and getting all the sleep you want. How convenient.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Four-year-old brain vs. 38-year-old brain. You decide.

Mark’s father died in March 2003. He left behind a great many things, and a great many of those things made their way to our home. There were chairs and pictures and prints and a couple of giant ceramic leopards (oh yes – they are in our basement if you must know, and if I continue to get my way, there they shall stay) and dishes and other artifacts.

What there was not much of was clothing. My father-in-law's wardrobe was oh? About two decades out of date. Maybe more.

However, there was one item of his father’s that Mark loved: a suede jacket. It looked brand new and being one of those timeless items that never really goes out of style, he took it back with him and has gotten very good use out of it.

Last Saturday, we left for the afternoon. Being chillier than it’s been, Mark decided to forgo the suede jacket for something warmer and left it lying on the pool table.

Upon our return that evening, we discovered that the cat had puked on the pool table. On the jacket. Right in the dead center of the back of it.

Now, I have to admit that in a 2,000-something square-foot house, 85 percent of which is covered with hardwood floors, it is somewhat remarkable that the cat puked right there. I mean, I know she didn’t do it on purpose, but come on!?

Mark was understandably upset, cursing the cat out of frustration. I believe her untimely death may have been wished for.

The next day, Peanut walked up to me as I sat at my desk.

Peanut: Mommy? Did BadCat throw up on Daddy’s jacket?
Me: Yes, she did.
Peanut: Why?
Me: Well, I don’t know, maybe she had a lot of fur in her tummy from cleaning herself.
Peanut: And that gave her a tummy ache?
Me: Yes, that can happen to cats sometimes.

She silently mulled the situation over for a few seconds.

“You know, Mommy,” she said very seriously, “if Daddy had just picked up his jacket and hung it up with the others, that never would have happened.”


So I gave her a huge hug then walked her straight into the kitchen and gave her a cookie. I firmly believe that type of thought process must be rewarded.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Imagine all the people . . . wearing pink crowns.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.
—Albert Einstein

This morning, my kids were having the most ridiculous fight over nothing.


I was in the kitchen cleaning up breakfast when Loaf ran into the kitchen at top speed followed by a screeching Peanut.

“AAAAAAHHHHHHH! Mommmmy! She took my pink crown!”

I looked over at Loaf, who appeared to be clutching an invisible ball. She smiled wryly then moved her hands over to one side.

“MINE!” she retorted, the smile never leaving her lips.

“NOOOOO!” responded Peanut.

Completely baffled, I looked over at Loaf, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything, but her hands were still empty.

Just then, Peanut lunged forward and “snatched” a ball of air from Loaf’s hands.

“That’s my pink crown,” she yelled. “Mine!”

Loaf responded in turn by snatching the ball of air back. “My crown!” she said triumphantly.

“Holy moly, what is going on here?” I asked impatiently.

“She keeps taking my imaginary crown,” Peanut said with her best “can-you-believe-that?” inflection. Which, quite frankly, I could not.

“OH. MY. GOD. Are you two for real? Are you really telling me you are fighting over an IMAGINARY crown?”

“YES!” responded Peanut in an entirely different “mommy-I-cannot-believe-how-dense-you-are-sometimes” tone.

“That is the MOST ludicrous thing I have ever heard. Seriously. Why don’t you just imagine another one? If you are imagining crowns, you can imagine as many as you like We can all have them. Look,” I said, pausing for dramatic effect and raising my hands to my head, “now I’m wearing one too.”

“AAAAAHHHH! NOOOOOO!” she hollered back jumping up and trying to retrieve it from my head.

Seeing that tactic going nowhere, I turned to Loaf. "Why don’t you just imagine your own crown? Maybe you’d like a blue one?”

Loaf considered this for a moment then happily agreed. “OK!” she said, cheerfully skipping out of the room.

And just like that, the crisis was over. I daresay that future fights over real clothing and actual car keys will be far more difficult to negotiate.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

One down, ????? to go.

Every year at this time, we get a few mice in the house. I’m sure it’s a consequence of choosing to live surrounded by woods and I guess I can't blame them. Cold, burrow in a frost-covered log for the next three months or a nice, warm house with two kids who leave a trail of O's cereal everywhere they go. Hmmmm . . . tough choice.

And like last year, my cat seem to be hopeless at catching them. I see her, sitting with her nose pressed against a grate or sitting like a statue trying to will herself to fit under the refrigerator, but she rarely hits pay dirt.

So, we set our humane traps and every couple of nights we get one and we promptly march it out the door, head waaaaay across the yard, release it and hope it doesn’t find itself back in. (I wish I could play Wild Kingdom and put mini trackers them to see how many actually do find their way back. That could certainly prompt us to reevaluate our catch-and-release strategy.)

But anyway . . . today, while playing outside with the girls, the cat came happily bounding out of the woods from precisely the spot where we deposit the evicted rodents. At a distance, I could see she had something in her mouth. Hoping it wasn’t a bird or a rabbit, I ran toward her.

As she got closer, I could plainly see that it was a dead mouse. I’m willing to bet it’s one of the ones we dumped out that way in the last few days. What makes me think that?

She was extra proud. Prancing around and purring and rolling herself over for a belly scratch I could just imagine her thoughts: And you thought you could escape me. Fool! Now you’ll pay. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

And in my imagination she sounded exactly like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Which is no surprise because I’ve seen that about eighty-bazillion times in the last two months.

So I gave her a scratch on the head and left her to her prey. Maybe now that she’s got the taste of it, she’ll work a little harder when she’s inside.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Many kisses, many blessings

Yesterday, as I was leaving for work, both girls were lying on Peanut's bed. Climbing up to kiss them goodbye, I kneeled over Loaf and counted them off.

"One kiss." ::mwah::
"Two kisses." ::mwah::
"Three kisses. ::mwah::

Then I kneeled over Peanut and repeated the process.

Peanut: Are you going to sit here and kiss us all day?
Me: Oh, I wish I could, but I have to go to work.
Peanut: But it's more fun for you to stay here and kiss us.
Me: Yes, it is, but while kissing you makes me very, very happy, I don't get paid to do it. Happiness doesn't pay the mortgage.
Peanut: I could pay you.
Me: With what?
Peanut: My bank.
::gets up and brings me her piggy bank::
Me: You are the sweetest child alive.

And she is. Except for maybe Loaf. My Lord, how I am blessed.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

A Halloween story

So my girls are very girly and they love all things princessy and frilly and froofy and their Halloween costumes were no exception.

Peanut was Aurora from Sleeping Beauty:

Princess Aurora

Giving her best "princess" face

Her dramatic "princess face" cracks me up every time I see this picture.

And Loaf was a fairy. She likes blue, and was thrilled with this costume as you can see:

Blue is her favorite color - she was thrilled

In the morning, they had their school parade and parties to attend:

Loaf with her class

At one point she had the princess wave down pact

Finally, it was time for Trick or Treat:



And here we are back at home, too tired out to even walk over to the kitchen table for a drink of milk, so they just plunked down on the floor:


Hope you all had a great Halloween too!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

November 1st.

All day I've had this nagging feeling that I'm supposed to do something. What could it be? I picked Peanut and her friend up from school. I managed to keep three preschool girls entertained all afternoon without a single notable injury or meltdown. I updated a document for work and interviewed someone for my next project. I even did a load of a laundry.

Hmmm? What am I forgetting?

OH YES! Duh. November 1st!! The official start of National Blog Posting Month. How pathetic would it be if I forgot that on the first day out of the gate - yikes!

So here we go. Wheeeee!

I must admit, I'm a bit nervous about my participation this year. Last Year, I signed up on a whim, on November 1, after I randomly stumbled upon another participant's blog. I didn't think about it, didn't have any time to worry about or analyze what i was doing. As Nike says, the only thoughts in my head were, "Just Do It."

This year, I signed up what feels like ages ago. I've had weeks - literally - to try to think about how I'm going to fill my blog with interesting and engaging daily posts for an entire month. I'm especially worried, because I've suffered a bit of writer's block lately.

But I'm determined to get through it again this year. If there's one thing NaBloPoMo taught me, life can be pretty interesting if you stay alert and keep your eyes and ears open.

Good luck to all the NaBloPoMo-ers. I can't wait to see what you all come up with.

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