Thursday, November 27

Taking Food Coma to a New Level

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All Ready for Dinner


Okay, Some of It Was Homemade...


Homemade Spread, Of Course


A Beautiful Viking Stove, Probably Being Used for the First Time


Snuggled in to Watch the Parade on TV

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The Thanksgiving Adventures Begin...

It's a sad comment that we live in a 'burb fifteen minutes outside of Boston, and yet when we say we're going into "the City," we mean New York and we tend to do it about twice as often as we go into Boston.

Normally we host Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite things to do. Yes, that's right, I enjoy hosting Thanksgiving. I love the planning. I love the cooking. I love the decorating. I even love the cleaning up after and that satisfaction of a fridge full of leftovers. Yes, I am a geek. Yes, my mother will wonder how she raised a daughter like me after that paragraph (rebellion against childhood upbringing, of course).

But, obviously, with our tiny little apartment kitchen, our dining room table in the middle of the living room, and the general disarray of our house life, we're not hosting this year. Next year, ah, next year with my 36" stove and wide counter space... But this year, we decided to make the trek down to the City to have Thanksgiving with my parents and the Tweedle Twirp. Of course, my parents' city apartment is considerably larger than our home apartment, but the kitchen is 1) not that big and 2) completely not set up for cooking. It's set up for getting bagels from Murray's and burgers from New York Burger Company. In preparing what to cook (my mother's exact words, "You can have Thanksgiving at our place. But I'm not doing any cooking!"), I quizzed my father. "Do you have a muffin pan?" I hear rustling and clanking, "Ah, no." "Do you have a baking pan of any size? 8 x 8? 9 x 9? 9 x 13? Even a pie plate?" ""

So we're not exactly cooking a full meal. The Tweedle Twirp ordered a turkey, stuffing, gravy, and green beans (who really likes cooking green beans?) from Balducci's. I'm making bourbon-spiked sweet potato (and, yes, I'm going the gauche route and still added marshmallows; the bourbon is for me, the sweet potato is for my kids), sour cream-thyme muffins, and cranberry sauce. Tweeds is baking the pumpkin pie.

There's the background. Yesterday I convinced Adam to work from home. He got up early and got online while I buzzed around like a madwoman. Got Doodles to school. Plopped Pie in front of a very rare morning of TV. Packed. Cleaned. Organized. Got us all out the door and to Doodles's school by 10:30 a.m. ("We're late! Come on, Pie and Adam!" "It's only 10:25. Doesn't it start at 10:45?" Does this man live on some planet where the time is adjusted funny? Whenever I tell him a starting time, he adds at least fifteen minutes to it.)

We make it to his school just on time to see our little pilgrim enter the cafeteria for their big feast. Each class made a part of the feast. Doodles's class made corn bread. Another made soup. One made apple pies. And the fourth made--just like the pilgrims--fruit kabobs. After the feast, all the pilgrims got up and performed for us, such Thanksgiving classics such as "Albuquerque Turkey," "The Tom Tom Song," "There Are Many Things I'm Thankful For," and "Tony Chestnut." The singing ended at 11:14. At exactly 11:14:02 I had those kids in the bathroom and then out the door. We were on the road at 11:22. Which is awesome because apparently a few hours later there was an accident that caused the Pike to close a bit.

We made it down in decent time; we took on short cut and hit traffic outside of New Haven and Hartford and there was one relatively long pit stop when Pie had to pee, but we arrived in the city (meaning we crossed into the Bronx) about 4:30. It took a bit to get into Manhattan proper, but the great moment was when we got lost in Central Park. In my defense, in all my years living in New York, I never, ever drove. Really. Even on my own student film shoots at NYU when I had to rent a van, I got someone else to drive.

Why were we in Central Park in the first place? I had the brilliant idea that Adam would drop me and Pie off to watch the Thanksgiving Day balloons inflate (Doodles was invited as well, but he had no interest). I got the directions from Google Maps, which told us to take the 79th Street transverse. Only the 79th Street transverse was closed. So we entered at 72nd street. Which apparently takes us back up to 110th Street. By 5:30, Pie and I decamped at Central Park West and 81st.

In my mind, I envisioned a casual stroll among the balloons, a little oohing and ahhing, and then a quick subway back for dinner with everyone else. Not quite...

As we got to the corner, where we could see Buzz Lightyear and Spongebob we were stopped by barricades. First we were just stopped as Mayor Bloomberg passed. And then we were stopped as we were told that we had to enter the balloon inflating at 79th and Columbus. Pie was a real trooper and just kept periodically shouting, "New York! Yea, New York!" We headed over to 79th and Columbus. And waited. And waited. In masses and masses of crowds. Just waited. Finally we got to cross over and into the barricades where we got shuffled down to 77th Street.

We were smushed in, but that Pie didn't care. "Where are the balloons? Where are the balloons?" Finally, after about an hour, we made it to the balloons. And Pie was entranced. "Who's that? Who's that?" We saw Pikachu (who I originally said, "Look, it's Homer Simpson!") and Ronald McDonald and Hello Kitty (who I said, "Look! A turkey!") and Dora the Explorer (recognizable at 1000 paces), Snoopy (who I said was, "I have no idea who that is"), the Energizer bunny. At the end of the row was a Smurf. "Pie, I said. That's a smurf!" At that moment we came to a sudden halt (I will say that we were able to get right up to the barricades and see the balloons and it moved at an easy pace) as the mayor gave a press conference. "That's the mayor I told Pie."

Finally we made it down 77th Street. I did gave Pie the choice of going to the balloons on 81st Street or heading back down to the apartment for dinner. She thought about it and decided to head back, which was good because it was already after 7 and I was hungry.

We headed to the subway. You've never seen a kid so excited to be on a subway. "It's the subway! Yea, subway! Why isn't the subway moving? Oh, that's silly! It is! Is this our stop? Is this our stop? Is this our stop? Yea, subway!"

Back at the apartment, we got ourselves some burgers, came back, played. My kids did nap in the car. Their normal bedtime is 7 p.m. At 10:15 Pie finally fell asleep. Doodles fell asleep shortly after.

So 10:15 bedtime. Any guesses on wake up time? Yep, 5:45 for Pie. A cranky 5:45. But she got up. And since she was up, we had the obligatory conversation about whether or not to go see the parade in person (general advice is to arrive by 6:30 a.m. to get a good place to see the 9 a.m. parade). My daughter exhibited a rare moment of wisdom and opted for the TV.

Happily, the Nana was up soon, so Pie had a playmate while Adam and I went back to sleep. I got up just in time for the start of the parade. The kids were very enthusiastic and sure enough, Pie yelled, "I saw that last night. I saw that bunny last night! I saw that star last night!" And as that giant Smurf passed by, that great big blue inflated Smurf, Pie yelled out, "Look! It's the mayor! Doodles, that's the mayor!"

And that's our Thanksgiving until now, 9:30 a.m. Doodles is playing with Tinker Toys. Pie is doing naked tushie dancing in front of the parade on TV. Adam and my father are off picking up a pre-cooked turkey. And we've got a whole weekend ahead of us. Tune in for more turkey adventures. And happy Thanksgiving!

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Thursday, November 20

Shopping with Pie

So as a completely biased, totally subjective, blinded-by-love mom, I can state with absolute certainty that my son is the most adorable five year old ever created and my daughter is the most beautiful thing on earth. I'm fine if you disagree with me. In fact, I expect you to.

The thing is, people tend to fawn over Pie a bit. The girl is unquestionably a fashionista and whenever possible, she will dress as if she were going to a black tie event. Today, though, after her ice skating class, we headed to the mall to make a dent in our holiday shopping (and, Peter, if you don't tell me ASAP what you want, you're getting this). We went straight from her ice skating class, so she was donned in her "dancing" outfit--a pink leotard with a flower skirt (over a turtleneck and tights). We could not walk more than 50 yards without an "Oh, isn't she adorable! [Person standing next to her] Have you ever seen someone so darling?" I worry what it's going to do to her, all these folks telling her how pretty she is. I mean, I'm her mom. That's my job. Honestly, I think it was the outfit. But the message is questionable.

But we made it through shopping. We went to the mall because I had bought Doodles a pair of gloves that was size 4-6. Those things won't fit him until he's 12. Seriously. He looks like some (very good looking) robot thing when he has them on. So Pie and I headed to the mall after skating class. I got a holiday gift for my brother- & sister-in-law. I got some lovely Hanukkah bowls for my family. I got Eloise for my kids as we're going to NYC for Thanksgiving and I thought it would get them in a New York holiday kind of mood. A couple of other holiday gifts were taken care of. And the mittens? The mittens that were the sole purpose of my trip to the mall? I remembered those halfway down the Middlesex Turnpike on my home. So, kindergarten, here comes robot-boy!

While I was at the mall with a most agreeable shopper (seriously, that girl loves to shop especially if there are samples. Any kind of samples. Food. Lotion. Lip gloss), I figured it was nigh time I bought myself a lipstick. I own a lip stick. It's very pretty. I got it for my wedding. Six and a half years ago. I figure it's time to update my collection. I've also been meaning to do this crazy thing I've been hearing about: washing my face at night. Yep, I never got into the habit. I stopped by Sephora.

I needed help. Really. So I asked for help. "I need a lipstick. Not expensive." And it was actually helpful because I ended up with a lipstick in--I think--a not hideous color for under $20, which I figured was fine. I mean, according to the New York Times sales of lipstick is an indicator of the economy (which may be a myth, but who cares?). I'm just proving the economy is in the crapper. The woman said to me, "Do you want to try another product?"

"Sure," I said. "I'm game."

She proceeds to pull out some skin stuff. "Are you wearing makeup now?"

"I'm wearing makeup never," I told her.

"Okay," she says and she goes into her spiel about this great new skin product. It's a foundation! It's a concealer! It's a powder!

"It's how much?" I ask.

"$57," she said.

"Yikes!" I replied. "A bit much for me."

"It's really economical," she assured me. "It takes the place of your foundation and your powder and your concealer--"

"Yes, but since I don't use any of those anyway, it's really not saving me any money, is it?"

And I left her speechless. From the look on her champion saleswoman face, I'm guessing that doesn't happen too often. No comeback. She had the good grace to let me go quietly.

The woman in skin care was more my speed. "I don't wash my face. Really. When I do wash it in the shower, I use plain old soap. But I'm forty. And there are wrinkles. I won't spend a lot. Do something for me." She steered me to a (relatively) cheap face wash and loaded me up with samples. "Use one pump twice a day."

"Really?" I said. "Because if I remember to use it once a day, I'll consider myself really well groomed."

So now I have a lipstick. And a face wash. And it's exciting. Which means that the transformation to suburban haus frau is complete. I went shopping. With my beauty pageant daughter. And then I blogged about it. Tomorrow's post will be about how to remove those stubborn coffee and tea stains from your white mugs (sneak preview: baking soda!).

It's a good thing.

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Wednesday, November 19

Random Notes from the Front Lines

The object of the board game Pretty, Pretty Princess is to get the crown, two earrings, bracelet, and necklace (look, it was a gift!). You can't win, though, if you have the black ring. We were playing, just me and Pie. It's Pie's favorite game (surprise!). Pie had everything but one earring. She landed on the black ring. "No!" she shrieked. "I don't want that! Here." And she moved her piece one extra spot to get the last earring. Very pleased with herself, she announced, "Now I'm a pretty, pretty princess!"


Reason #326 I love my neighborhood

Yesterday, at kindergarten drop-off on our first frost-bitten day, one of the moms brought a Thermos of hot chocolate. And the real stuff, made with vahlrona chocolate. None of that Swiss Miss crap. She topped everyone's coffee cups off with the stuff. What a heavenly way to start a day. Yes, that's right folks. I have nothing snarky to say here. I just really thought it was a nice moment that I'd share. Don't worry--this moment will pass quickly. Oh wait, there it goes...


Me: Why didn't you put away Doodles's Leapster when you were done with it?
Pie [whispering, arms held wide]: Because I didn't want to.

Oh, silly me. Of course.


In the car ride home today from swimming class, Doodles said to me: Mom! You won’t believe what happened today!
Me: What?
Doodles: During snack time, Mae (not her real name) came up to me... and she kissed me!
Me: She did?
Doodles: Yeah! On the forehead! For no reason at all!
Me: No reason at all?
Doodles: No reason at all! Mae kissed me on the forehead. And then all the girls laughed.
Me: Oh, they did?
Doodles: Yeah. Why did Mae do that?
Me: I have no idea...
Doodles: It was so strange!

So here I am, mentally picking out his senior prom outfit, when I report this to his mother. Only Doodles apparently is back-up guy. Because Mae told her mother that she was in love with another boy in class, Z., only another girl, J., was going to marry him. Ah, the complicated romances of kindergarten...


Time to start planning for next year, when I have my yard back. I'm TOTALLY hitting the after holiday sales for one of these.


Reason #327 that I love our neighborhood:

I love Pie's preschool. Love, love, love it. And I really, really love the moms and dads I've met there (and I think it's so nice that I have gotten to know dads--they're definitely an active part of the life there). I've made some really good parent friends. But the thing is, at Pie's preschool, I feel like I'm the bad influence. I'm always the one saying, "My daughter did what? Oy. Time to hit the martinis," or "Damn, why don't they serve wine at these things?" or, "It's a Wednesday! That calls for bourbon!" And I have to say, I get shot down every time and I feel like I've somehow gotten a reputation for being the juvenile delinquent mom.

But kindergarten--ah, kindergarten is a whole new world! Today I did my volunteer stint in the classroom. Workboard. I helped kids find words that started with the letters in "G-I-V-E T-H-A-N-K-S." I prompted them to write a sentence. I supervised some serious coloring and cutting. Two other moms and the teacher were also working the room. After the kids were on their way to lunch, I made the comment, "Let's go get our martinis now." One responded, "I'm more of a margarita person," and the other one said, "I make a mean gimlet. Let's go back to my place for drinks now! Seriously, I can mix up just about any drink."

Friends, let me tell you, it was painful being the responsible adult, but I pulled through, knowing I had just an hour till I had to pick Pie up from preschool. I apologized profusely, not wanting to be that mom, you know, the mom who doesn't drink (aaagggg!). The mom understood, and she promised me that anytime she's happy to mix up a drink.

"It's true," another mom said. "It doesn't take much to get her to pop the cork."

"It's always five o'clock somewhere," she assured me.

Be still my heart. I've found my home. And it is kindergarten. Let the drinking begin.

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Monday, November 17

Welcome to Miami

Did you guys know that there's a show called Paris Hilton: My New BFF, and I haven't been watching it! What has my life turned into?

But that's not what I came here for. This past weekend I headed down to Miami for a weekend without my children. It was a novel event. Although, little do they know, it's the start of a trend because I also have a trip without them planned for both December and January. This weekend, in theory, was for a serious family event, however, if you know my family, it was pretty much anything but.

For starters, that lovely photo above was taken off my cousin's boat. It's a gorgeous view isn't it? The weekend was unexpected. I arrived a little late on Friday to a house full of people at my parents' place. I stayed up too late talking to my parents and then, all because of a five minute nap on the plane, I couldn't sleep (um, remind you of a daughter of mine?). Which would have been fine except my eight-month-old cousin woke me up in the pre-7 a.m. hour the next morning. Now, don't get me wrong. This cousin is incredibly cute, very well behaved, and exceedingly quiet for a baby. But you know how it is. Once you have a kid, you're programmed. The slightest baby noise and you're up, calling, "What! What! Bottle? Diaper? Potty? Bad dream? What??" And then you're up. I swear, I felt bad for my other cousin, the eight-month-old's mother, because I've somehow reverted to single gal in babyhood terms. I took the baby, and pretty much felt like I was holding her at arm's length, like, "Cute baby. What do I do with you again?" Those early years have been erased from my mind. I seriously didn't know what to do! Yes, my child-bearing years are done. The family is complete. Done. Finis.

Saturday though was a whirlwind. My favorite cafe con leches and Cuban toast. A pedicure. A ride on the Triple Play (and here comes the inevitalbe shout out to B., her freakishly smart daughter, H., and her always charming mother, C. Hi guys! It was fun!).

The next night I was up way too late because I spent the night at my cousin's house and he's building a new house around the corner, and of course I needed a tour. And then we got up at 4:50 the next morning to run a half marathon. (My cousin is running his first marathon with me in January. I called him and said, "We should do a long run while I'm home." He said, "I can't, I'm doing a half." So I signed on! He did amazing for a first half. Really pushed himself. Wait till he sees what I make him do at the marathon!) Family function. Family drama. Trip to the airport. Make my way home to my claustrophobic little apartment.

And what did I come home to? I came home to kids who were clearly happy to see me (or perhaps it was the Epicure cookies I brought home for them). But the euphoria was short--very short--lived. I stayed up waaaay too late in order to spend time with Adam--I got back to the apartment at 10 p.m. and he had to leave at 6 a.m. for an almost-week-long trip to L.A. and there was oh-so-much to catch him up on. So I'm exhausted but at 5:42 a.m. I hear, "Mommy, you're back! How was your trip? I got a flashlight. Daddy, Doodles, and I walked to Trader Joe's and I got to use my flashlight. It's green. That's your favorite color! I want breakfast. Where's Daddy? Is he at the gym or is he on his trip? The clock? It says thirteen hundred o'clock. Did you bring me something? I went to a movie, and I got glasses! The astronaut scared me but I laughed when he broke the glass and..."

I get the kids up and fed and clothed with little trouble. Pie is definitely in a volatile stage--so much so that after nearly a year, she's sent me back to the parenting books--and I made it to Doodles's school on time. Pie and I went back to check on the house. Progress is amazing. Shingles going up on the family room roof, electricians doing their thang, things are just falling into place. Only Pie tells me she has to go to the bathroom. I run her to her preschool, and magically, she no longer has to go. Hmmm. She didn't go all morning. Of course, she doesn't want to enter her preschool, so I end up slinging her under my arm, a la a football hold, and carry her in screaming. But I make it out with nary a scratch.

I head home to do a little Nano-ing. A note on the Nano. As you can see by my word count, I'm woefully behind. But I'm psyched to say that I'm making steady progress on my novel (doing editing as I go, which is verboten in Nano world), and I'm feeling good about it. So no, I won't hit 50,000 words, but I just might finish this damn thing! Anyway, a smidgen of Nano and then off to volunteer at Doodles's school. I started out in the cafeteria at kindergarten lunch. Um, do you guys remember your kindergarten lunch? As far as I remember, it was sink or swim. Not anymore. For starters, kindergarten, first, and second graders are not allowed (plastic) knives. Today was pancake day. So my job was to go around and cut pancakes for kids. Seriously! I also opened milks, peeled clementines, and told kids to get their butts back into their seats. I also spent five minutes consoling my son when it was time for me to leave. He was happy to see that I was there, and pretty much ignored me. But toward the end, he got the rubby eyes and the teary frowns and then the clinging for dear life to my arm. Eventually the teacher's aide was able to release me, but it's a terrible way to leave your child. Thank goodness I had to pass by the room later, and I saw him very happily building a habitat out of blocks with friends. Otherwise, the guilt would have stayed with me all day.

And then I went to pick up Pie. Pie Pie. Potty-trained Pie. Potty-trained Pie who was wearing the school's pants because she had not one, but two pee accidents at school today. And did she care? No. She was just happy because Jasmine's mom told her she could wear Jasmine's sandals (someone was shoeless because she peed all over her shoes) so we didn't have to go straight home after school. Oy.

So now, I should be sleeping. I should crawl into bed because tomorrow is all Pie all the time and I know she'll be up at 5:42 a.m., I'm instead telling you about my life. Actually, I'm not crawling into bed because of the five (yes five) cups of coffee I had today. But let's pretend it's because of you. Somehow that just makes it all a little better.

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Thursday, November 13

The Most Loved Mommy

Doodles was a guinea pig today at the Lab for Developmental Studies at our local Fancy Pants Ivy League school. He's done a ton of these and he loves doing them. Pie loves it too, but they didn't have a study for her today. Today's study was on multiplication and kids innate understanding of it (or lack thereof).

Me: So, Pie, someone will come out to play with you while Doodles does his study.
Pie: Someone will play with me?
Me: Yes.
Pie: Yea!
Doodles: But I don't need you to come in with me!
Me: You want to go in by yourself?
Doodles: Yes!
Me: Okay. Well, then Pie, I'll stay out and play with you.
Pie, voice rising: No! I want to play with someone else!

Ah, it's so good to be wanted...

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Potty Talk

I'm sitting at my computer. I hear a child in the bathroom. He's singing. He's telling himself stories. He's humming. La la la la la.
Me: Make sure you wipe really, really well after you poop.
Doodles: [silent for a moment, then, with true curiosity in his voice]: How did you know I was pooping!

I'm just magic like that I guess.

On a related note: I think I've set a bad precedent. Pie was having her morning constitutional and of course that's when Doodles decided he had to go RIGHT NOW, REALLY BADLY, I MEAN IT, I CAN'T WAIT! So I let him pee in the shower. Anyone want to bet when/where he's gonna want to pee tomorrow morning? Maybe we should buy stock in the tub cleaner now...


Wednesday, November 12

For Emily

Day 12 of Nanowrimo (and yes, I'm totally behind) (the challenge [modified] "And then she said to me, 'I know Barack Obama is really talented. But don't you think your expectations are a bit too high? Don't you think it's dangerous to put him on a pedestal?'):

Chaim jumped to my defense. “If she doesn’t like the word, don’t use the word! She’s a guest in our community. She doesn’t know our ways”

Lilach quickly agreed. “Yankel, use another word.”

“Fine, fine. But can you imagine…”

I jumped in. “And can you imagine the alternative? That hotheaded, arrogant, socially repressive McCain?” I sawed into the brisket until I realized that there was absolute silence.

“Perhaps we change the subject,” Tzippi said quickly.

“No, no. I’d like to hear this,” Yankel said, a little snidely. “I’d like to understand how this little one could think that a man with Muslim roots, a man who has publicly sided with the Palestinians, could possibly be a better choice than one who has fought America’s wars, who has come out on the side of Israel, who wants to return real values to our country.”

“Bush has done a truly—” I stopped myself quickly, censoring the “fucked up” out my speech as I saw the flash of fear cross Tzippi’s face—“messed up job with this country and this old man is going to change things? If there’s any hope of ending the war, if there’s any hope of getting health care back on track, if there’s any hope at all of the United States being able to hold our head up when we face other nations, then we’ve got to go with Obama.”

"I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts. The man has no experience.”

Tzippi entered in the fray, clearly seeing that things had the potential of spinning out of control. “Don't you think that, just possibly, your expectations are a bit too high? Don't you think it's dangerous to put him on a pedestal?"

“I don’t think I’m putting him on a pedestal. I’m just not pulling McCain out of the gutter.”

“Listen—” Yankel started, clearly getting hotter by the moment, but Lilach jumped up right then.

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Facebook Statuses I Didn't Post

Jenny... apparently living with Princess Pee Pee and King La La in the Land of Underwear

...doesn't understand why--even after she (okay Adam) repeatedly washes her running clothes--her workout clothes drawer STINKS!

...isn't answering another question (Mommy, why are the lights on? Because it's dark. Oh. But why are those lights on! Because it's dark there, too. But, Mommy, what about-- It's dark everywhere, damn it!) annoyed at Trader Joe's (if you buy a kit that says "Hyacinth Indoor Blooming Kit, Easy to Grow in 3 Simple Steps!" don't expect to go home and plant them with your kids. Because the first "simple step" is "Remove bulb from kit and chill in a dry, dark, 40-45 degree F location for 8 weeks." Note, we are skipping that step and reducing the chill time to one hour, which is how long you're supposed to let the compressed planting mix soak in water. All of which means in about ten weeks, I'll have to buy some stupid plants, replace the bulbs, and tell the kids they're magic flowers that develop fully in one single night.)

...has got to stop thinking that Pie is ready to give up the nighttime Pull-Ups, because that's just invitation to a nighttime soaking. about to harm an inanimate object. {Please refer to the previous status update. Sheets soaked with pee. Jenny puts sheets in a laundry basket, carts them down the two flights of stairs, puts them in the washer, inserts $1.25, washes sheets and mattress cover. In 20 minutes she returns, moves sheets and mattress cover to dryer, inserts $1.25... and nothing. Jenny brings sheets back upstairs and drapes them all over apartment to try and get them to dry decently enough to return to bed by nightfall.)

...isn't answering another question (Please don't touch the sheets when we get home. The dryer broke, so the sheets are drying in the apartment on the chairs. But why are the sheets drying? Because I had to wash them and then the dryer broke. Will the dryer be fixed? Yes, I called the management company; they said they'd fix it. Why did it break? I don't know. But you understand what you're not supposed to do? What? Please don't touch the sheets. Why? Because they're clean and I don't want you getting them dirty and they're hanging up in the apartment. Why? Because the dryer broke? So you won't touch them, right? Touch what? The sheets! Why? Because they're clean and you're not. Why are they clean?...)

...doesn't have a snack for you.

...thinks seven meals a day should be plenty for anyone.

...really, truly, doesn't have a snack for you. Please. Go ahead. Check my purse. going to make you a snack from the year-old crumbs that are trapped beneath your car seat. done. So very, very, very done.


Monday, November 10

The Thanksgiving That Target Forgot...

I am a sucker for holidays. No doubt about it. I love the decorating (both the house and the kids), the food, the crafts--you name it, I like it. And I like all holidays pretty much equally. We obviously don't do Christmas and Easter, but I'll decorate and throw a party for anything else--July 4th? How about a BBQ! Rosh Hashanah? Let's invite all the kids over for apples and honey. Hanukkah? That's our big bash of the year. Many of you longtime readers will remember the long running debate (like here and here) on holiday decorations at our house.

However, in the apartment, the holidays have gotten swallowed a bit. No decorations for Halloween. No inviting classmates over for Rosh Hashanah. There will be no big Hanukkah party. There's no where to hang decorations.

But the one thing I can do is my dishes. I have dishes for every occasion. I put most of our toys, apparently some of my clothes (or else they've just walked off), our TV, our photos, our craft supplies--I put a lot--into storage, except I, of course, kept out the appropriate seasonal plates for the holidays we'd be spending in the apartment. If there's a holiday, I have a plate. And preferably a bowl and cup to go with it.

But the thing is, I owned two turkey plates. And one of them got broke. I won't say by whom (Adam) but it's now broken and I have just one turkey plate. Which is unacceptable.

So Pie and I made the journey to Target to stock up on our turkey supplies. However, Thanksgiving apparently no longer exists at Target. Because at the beginning of November, we've gone straight to Christmas, do not pass Thanksgiving, do not collect any cranberry sauce. Target had preciously one set of wash cloths and a handful of paper plates with a Thanksgiving theme. I was annoyed; Pie was confused. "Where's Thanksgiving? I don't see Thanksgiving!" Who has Thanksgiving? Why Pottery Barn Kids, of course. For about five times the price. I like holiday decorations. I don't like spending an arm and a leg on them.

How did this happen? Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays and I'm bummed I can't host this year. The least I can have is my damn turkey plates! Stupid retailers. Don't they know they could commercialize Thanksgiving like every other self-respecting holiday?

Gobble, gobble! E-bay here I come.


Sunday, November 9

This Year's Nano...

So, I am to some degree doing Nanowrimo this year. But let me come right out and admit this: I'm cheating. Yep, cheating. I'm a cheater, cheater, cheater. The FAQ clearly states, with no ambiguity:
Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1?


This sounds like a dumb, arbitrary rule, we know. But bringing a half-finished manuscript into NaNoWriMo all but guarantees a miserable month. You'll care about the characters and story too much to write with the gleeful, anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo such a creative rush. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate, and you'll tap into realms of imagination and intuition that are out-of-reach when working on pre-existing manuscripts.

I'm not starting from scratch. Not even close to scratch. The plain truth is I actually liked the novel I started last year, and I'm determined to finish it. I plan on writing 50,000 words--or really the completion--of this novel, however many words that takes. It goes against the rules. They'll kick me out! They'll publicly chastise me! They'll, they'll, they'll... Okay, they won't do a damn thing because it's all on the honor system and there are no real prizes other than the satisfaction of writing. They don't give a hoot what I do.

Just wanted to come clean with you guys. But I still need your help. I've got one line to work in tomorrow (and, Emily, I will be taking liberties with it, just because the action takes place pre-election), but I still need more props, lines, tidbits, etcetera to work in.

I'm a little behind. But I'll catch up. That's just the kind of slapdash, half-assed, writing-without-editing kind of person I am.

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For Yuri

Day 9 of Nanowrimo (the challenge: "a french baguette"):

I hid my iPhone under the table, so I could surreptitiously text Gary what was going on. It was rude, I know, but it wasn’t breaking any rules. Luckily, I was very good at the one-handed text. He was having an early breakfast in Paris before his shoot began as I was having a dinner that wouldn’t rate many Michelin stars.
Just served something brown. Could be meat. Might be a basketball. Can’t tell. I texted while smiling across the table.

Gary texted me back immediately. Just served an absolutely delectable French baguette—crispy outside, buttery inside. Spreading on Nutella as I drink the most perfect café au lait I’ve ever experienced. I could practically see the taunting smirk on his face. A moment later he wrote, I’d share it with you if you were here.

I smiled as a blob of what looked like carrot slaw filled with dried out looking raisins was slapped onto my plate. “Can you have slaw with meat?” I whispered to Tzippi. “Isn’t the sauce dairy?”

She shook her head. “Mayonnaise is parve. No dairy in it.”

I texted back, I’d give you all my carrot slaw if you were here.
Tzippi saw me peering under the table cloth. She narrowed her eyes and shook her head ever so slightly.

Whoops, caught. I’ll text later. xxxooo

A bientot, he wrote back.

“Try this,” Tzippi said, watching to make sure I put my phone away. “You’ll love it.” I looked at the blackened noodles of a kugel on my plate and forced a smile. A bacon cheeseburger, I love, I thought, as I smiled widely at Lilach at the end of the table and forced a large bite down my throat.

“Delicious,” I choked out. I didn’t even have any excuses not to eat. One can’t plead lactose intolerance at a meat dinner.

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House Design

Adam signed up for a site called icovia, which is a site for decorators that let's you lay out rooms. It's kind of silly, because we realized that once we've paid for our kitchen, there will be no money to furnish the rooms that need furniture (which are our bedrooms, my office, the living room, and the family room). But I've been playing with the site anyway, and have discovered it has some pretty nifty features on it. Adam's not too sure about the Santa, but I figure this is kind of what it's all going to look like:

(Do all interior decorators have to factor in crime scenes when planning out a house? I mean, it strikes me as fairly practical, but it requires an awful lot of forethought.)


Friday, November 7

NaNo NaNo

I'm back to Nanowrimo, but, as usual, I'm stuck. Anyone got anything for me? A line, an object, an anything I can work into this thing? Look at that poor word counter in the right hand column. It's hungry for more words! Feed it!

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Tuesday, November 4

While Waiting for the Election Results...

Me: Dude! I win! You lose!
Adam: What did you win?
Me, making a toking motion.
Adam: Good for you.
Me: Decriminalization of small amounts of pot won, there's still an income tax, and no more dog racing.
Adam: Not surprising.
Me: Oh, and Kerry won again.
Adam: There's a shocker.
Me: I assume you voted against him?
Adam: [making a phish noise]: Duh.
Me: Do you know who the other guy is?
Adam: Nope. Not a clue.
Me: Why do you hate him so much?
Adam: Every time I think I could be a Democrat--you know, one of those Reagen Democrats--John Kerry and Barney Frank remind me of everything I hate about the Democratic party.

But he voted for Obama. Pie and Doodles were there and saw it. Either that or the chocolate chip cookie Adam bought for them at the PTO bake sale worked as a bribe to keep their mouths shut.


The 10th Circle of Hell

Dante thought there were nine circles of hell. The lustful. The gluttonous. The heretics. The violents. And so on.

Dante was wrong. There are ten circles of hell. That final, forgotten circle? That e 10th ring? It is, of course, is life with a three-year-old and five-year-old. A sampling from our past week:

"Pie, will you have a muffin or a scone today?"
"I'll have a muffin. I only eat scones when it's hot."

At 4 a.m. I can't sleep. My mind won't stop churning. And what is it churning? "I love being a princess. I love being a princess." Over and over. By the Backyardigans. "If you want to dress like this, and wear a shiny crown;
If you like how people look when they are bowing down; If princess life is what you want, your choice is crystal clear; Go find some other country, pal; 'Cause I'm the princess here!" If you know the tune at all--ha! Now it's in your head too.

Full scale meltdowns that end with me putting a jacket on my naked daughter because the boy is not going to be late for kindergarten. And what sets off these kinds of meltdowns? Isn't it obvious? I picked out the wrong underwear.

A Halloween treat: scrambled eggs made in one of those impossible-to-use impossible-to-clean William Sonoma pancake molds. And the verdict? "Mommy, I don't like pumpkin eggs! I like skeleton eggs!" From the girl terrified of skeletons, mind you.

A son who declares to his friend (the architect's son, mind you), that his house, which is undergoing what seems to be a multimillion dollar renovation, is "so totally not cool."

One bathroom. Two kids. One who might as well be taking the entire Sunday New York Times in with him; the other who doesn't have to go, no really, doesn't have to go... until someone else is sitting on the toilet in which case she has to go right now this very second!.

A five-year-old son, who yells, when his 14-year-old babysitter walks by the playground with a friend, "Hey babes!"

My life. In hell.

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Monday, November 3

More Political Upheaval

Me, pulling out "The Official Massachusetts Information for Voters" guide: I have no idea what else I'm voting for.
[Note, for those of you not on Facebook, Adam and I have moved our dispute over there, and he wrote: "actually, I'll just come out and say it- I'm voting for Obama. Reluctantly, but he's the better of the two choices."]
Adam: What else is there?
Me: Well, I know I'm voting no on question 1, which eliminates personal income tax.
Adam: Isn't prop 2 about marijuana?
Me: Um [flipping pages]. Yeah, it is.
Adam: How are you voting on it.
Me, scanning the copy: I'm voting yes. ["A Yes vote would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties."]
Adam: I'm absolutely voting no.
Me: Really?
Adam: Yes! That's like an invitation to drug dealers. "Go ahead! Sell an ounce of pot to anyone you like!"
Me: So when they come to cart me away, you'll just be like, "Tough shit?"
Adam: Pretty much.

Just when I thought we'd finally come to terms politically in this household....


And a Word from Our Political Sponsors

I know this video pisses Adam off, but I don't care. I found it powerful. Remember to vote tomorrow, no matter who you're voting for.


Sunday, November 2

13.1 and Counting

In a marathon, it's very important not to focus on the end point. Sure, in training, visualizing myself crossing the finish line can be really helpful in getting me through some tedious long runs. And then there are those glorious days, when I feel like I could run forever--say the leaves along the trail are in full fall color, the air is nippy but not not cold enough yet for gloves and hat, and my legs just feel powerful and strong--when I pick up the pace and picture myself sprinting across the finish line to the undulating sounds of the crowds on the side lines.

But really, those thoughts are few and far between. Because when you're at the start of a marathon, that finish line is a lifetime away. For me, the only way to get through the marathon, is to break it into smaller pieces. The first two miles fly by. Really. Adrenaline. The crowds. The freshness of your body. But it doesn't take long for that feeling to set in. "Three down... Twenty-three point two left to go." That kind of feeling will kill you. So you focus on the first 10k. Then the second 10k. All you think about is making it to 13.1, the halfway point. Because the finish is simply unreal.

But then, then I hit the halfway point, and it doesn't seem so difficult. After all, at that halfway point, all I have is a half marathon left. And I run like four of those a year. No big deal. At 13 mile run isn't even worth going to sleep early for. It's not worth forgoing that second glass of wine. Because from 13.1, 15 miles is just around the corner. And from there, 18 is easy breezy. At 20, you've blasted through the wall and are in the final 10k. Of course, that's when it all gets hard again. That final 10k is somehow the longer than the previous 20 miles and the last mile is simply the longest mile you will ever run. Ever. Ever! So there's this magic window of marathoning, when life is good and fun and you even entertain thoughts of picking up the pace, of breaking a few records, of going for it all the way.

I'm discovering house remodeling is similar. That first half marathon was a killer. After a week, the novelty of being in this teeny tiny apartment wore off, and the miles were just too daunting face.

And now, now we've hit the half marathon point. The second floor is framed. The roof will be complete in a matter of days. We are two months into our four month project (and, yes, so far things are on schedule). While I am still having problems envisioning how this shell of a house will transform itself into a livable space by January, I'm starting to feel just a twinge of hope, a smidgen of optimism. The stove has been purchased. The refrigerator is on order. The studs of walls-to-be are defining an actual living space.

Every time I do something in this apartment, I wonder how many more times I'll have to do it. Changing the roll of toilet paper. Vacuuming up the crumbs under the kids' seats at the table. Yelling at the kids that they can't be stomping dinosaurs before 7 a.m. on a weekday or 9 a.m. on a Sunday. How many times will I go for something, only to remember it's sitting deep in some vault in Wilmington. I feel like we're on the back side of those numbers.

So yes the apartment is miserable. Yes, everyone's tensions are high. Yes, I'm tired of being the noise police and vacuuming cereal from where it adheres to the rug. But we're in the magic window. We're on the backside of the race. We're sailing free and easy and clear and all will be good... right up to that last 10k. Dear God, please don't let that last 10k shred us! I'm already mentally crossing that finish line.