Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Working from *home*

The operative word in the above title is *from home*. This means, ideally, that the obnoxious troll-girl attorney on the other side (who I have know for 8 years now and we have about as good a relationship as Seinfeld and Newman) tracks me down on my local cell phone in the pasta and tomato sauce aisle at Wegmans in order to negotiate an SNDA. The woman had sent me an email like fifteen minutes before and I didn't have the chance yet to respond to it, why? BECAUSE I WAS AT THE GROCERY STORE. Not just at the grocery store but I was pushing around Miss Baby in the new Maclaren while simultaneously lugging a shopping basket which by the time I got to said pasta and tomato sauce aisle weighed like 25 pounds. Now an optimist would say, "oh, but wouldn't you rather be having the call at the grocery store? At least you weren't in the office!" NO, actually. I'd rather have the call at home, on my own schedule, as my work arrangement was to suggest. What was made worse was when troll attorney #1 then decides to "conference in" (let's just have that phrase tatooed on every lawyer's butt right next to the other over-used phrases "at the end of the day" and "it's a slippery slope") attorney #2 in Michigan to further address these nonsensical points which could have easily been handled over email twenty minutes later once I was back at my car. Argh!

Miss Kitty.

We're having Miss Kitty groomed by a woman named Loretta at Petsmart tomorrow. Personally, I'm shocked that Petsmart grooms cats and I have no idea exactly how they intend to accomplish this without a dart gun and a horse tranquilizer, but what the hell. In order to drop off Miss K we have to provide her rabies record. When I called the vet's office this afternoon, as usual they got Miss K's name wrong, "Oh, Mrs. Kitty?" No, not Mrs. Kitty! Haven't you people ever seen "Gunsmoke"?? It's Miss Kitty, damn it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There are Philosophers and then there are Philosophers...

Miss B and I went to Marshall's today. While there I spotted a very cute Ralph Lauren top for her. The first one I found was a size 18M and was marked $12.99. After looking through a couple of other racks I happened upon one that was 12M and had half the tag ripped off, but I didn't really think much of it. When we walked up to check out the top rang up at $14.99. Luckily I still had the 18m size with me so I pointed out to the cashier that the identical top, in a larger size, is marked $2.00 less. Her response: "But the code on this tag shows $14.99" My response: "I understand that, but why is one that's the same, but *larger* $2.00 less?" Her response: "But it's marked that" You can see where we're going with this. I can understand the concept that the price tag is different, but can't you understand the concept that perhaps it is mismarked as the identical item made with *more material* is $2.00 less? Finally, a manager interceded and we got our $2.00 back. What, that paid for a Kolo scrapbook that was on clearance!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Yesterday I spent about five or six hours at the emergency room. Things all started to go down hill at about 5:30am when I woke up sweaty and not feeling really well. Two bags of iv fluids and some anti-nausea medication (and other things which we're not going to go into in polite company) and I was back at home. The Husband took care of Miss Baby (thankfully!) and I pretty much dozed in and out of consciousness and random hot flashes/sweatiness for the rest of the evening, culminating once again at 3in the morning when my legs got really hot and I kept trying to equate the aches/sweat, etc. with parts of my kitchen order. Don't ask-- it made sense at the time. I think I was vaguely delirious.

During my time in the ER, the family in the next cubicle had brought Grandma in. I'm not quite sure what was wrong with her, but her family just kept saying that whatever it was she couldn't use her chopsticks. This was all very surreal.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I was at my local Whole Foods on Friday and I happened by the service desk and asked whether they carry Nantucket Nectars. (You see, Call Me Mommy introduced me to NN's "Half and Half" half lemonade/half iced tea combo and I've been hooked ever since... but it has been in quite dwindling supply in these parts). The gentleman at the service desk proceeded to launch into a semi-sermon about how Nantucket Nectars doesn't meet with the quality standards that Whole Foods has set and that they don't use enough natural ingredients in their products to make it onto the shelves of a Whole Foods, yada, yada, yada.... my response? "Really, because I just bought a bottle at your store in Columbus Circle the other day." His response: "Oh, some stores may carry different things." Yeah, thanks.

Ag Day!

Today we visited the Rutgers Cook College Ag Field Day! Ah, it brought back memories of the ye old Cornell Dairy Barn... anyhoo, Miss B enjoyed getting to see all the various farm animals including piglets, hogs, heifers, horses and sheep! Baaa!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Yup, we've taken the plunge, we're redoing our kitchen. More like firebombing it, but whatever. Anyhoo, we finally got down to the knitty-gritty with Marilyn our "designer" at the HD and she did seem to come around to our design ideas (hallelujah!)

We've gone with the Savannah line of cabinets from American Woodmark, made out of maple with the cream glaze. We tried not to go overboard but we do have some fun doo-hickies including a wine rack and a cookbook case. Sadly, I did forgo the pull-out spice rack, instead opting for the in-drawer spice organizer (what, I actually use spices! I've got quite a collection going).

For countertops, we're going with Arctic Moon. The photo on the website doesn't really do it justice-- I'll have to upload a picture of the sample we received-- its really pretty neat! (Of course, this ended up being the same price as marble, but the marble in the end looked too grey... upside to Arctic Moon is it will come sealed with a guarantee on the seal for 15 years!)

Now we have to work on coordinating our electrical work (as the HD contractor's won't be doing this), getting a new cooktop/vent, getting someone to actually put a hole in the side of the house in order to use the vent, get a new baseboard to replace our old radiator, coordinate floor refinishing with the hardwood floor guys, get verizon to relocate the phone and cable lines, pick out knobs and island chairs/stools and oh, yeah, the Husband has to drywall the ceiling and build a dummy wall behind which the main drainline for the entire house will be hidden. What can I say, the HD contractors wanted $4700 to drywall the ceiling. That cost more than my old Saab!

Thursday the HD contractors come to do the "affirmation" (which sounds like some kind of religious experience) wherein they remeasure everything and go into more specifics about the actual work. We'll keep you posted, and pictures of the process, of course, will follow!


Our home phone number was previously assigned to a local business owner, we'll say a widget repairman. Apparently one rather well known in the field, including having a number of past NJ governors and other bigwigs as clients. Unfortunately for us, for the past four years we have gotten a lot of calls on our answering machine and otherwise from people looking to use his services. People locally, people from New York and beyond. Credit card companies call looking to sell their services to our "business". At 10:51pm this evening I got a call (this surprised me since most people who would be likely to call us know that Miss B goes to sleep well before 10:51, so it is basically verboten to call at this hour...) well the person on the other end sounded more than harried and launched into a whole spiel about how they have this great widget that is in storage and needs to be moved *by tomorrow* or else it will be confiscated and he either needs someone who can help him move it or he'll be willing to sell this really nice widget and somebody would be getting a great deal on it. I let this man finish his story and then let him know that we're not in the widget business, and that I have an infant which he most likely just woke up thanks to the phone ringing. But, by the way, Bucks County Widgets over the border in Pennsylvania might be able to help, they move widgets for $250. He sounded a bit taken aback and said, "Oh, I'll call them."

This little episode prompted me to do some internet research on our phone number. I was hoping to find more information so I could contact the widget business and ask them to intercede on our behalf and get the phone number situation worked out. Sadly, I learned that the widget repairman passed away at age 87 in 2005. In his obituary it said that "he enjoyed painting, traveling, learning, and finding humor in everything."


In the category of "people will sell anything", today I got in the mail my two old issues of Vitals Magazine! After my corn and crab chowder post (see below) I got to thinking about just how many issues of Vitals Woman were actually produced. I went on to Ebay and lo and behold someone was selling the two copies I have and also another copy with Hillary Swank on the cover. Then I noticed there was a copy of Vitals Man with Ewan McGregor on the cover! I bought both and they arrived today. Nothing says "what the hell are you doing with your life" like reading three year old magazines.

Communal Living...

So yesterday I was chatting with a friend (who shall remain nameless given the subject matter) and we got on to the topic of changing in front of others. Said friend indicated that she, for example, will go to and from the gym dressed for the gym rather than changing there. This lead me to question then whether the communal dressing rooms at Loehmann's were out. Indeed, they are. All of this got me thinking. I basically share the same philosophy. As a general matter I would prefer not to change clothes in front of others-- at the gym, at the spa, etc. However, I have noticed that when it comes to communal dressing rooms at discount clothing retailers I will forgo modesty in order to either a) avoid waiting in line for a dressing room with a door or b) being limited to "8" items. I'm not proud of it, but that's the fact. I just try to focus on my little bit of mirror and black out everything else around me!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bulbs Do Work!

Earlier this year the Husband planted perrenial bulbs for us! Who knew they would really bloom!

Horton Hears a Who!

How cool is this?? We have this wacky tree in the backyard (which I believe may be in the Maple family)... it looks like sometime in its past it had a violent meeting with a bolt of lightening because it is very craggy and kind of gnarled at the top. It's also got a big hole in it. I love the tree, the Husband not so much. However, for the time being I think it gets a reprieve. We've heard an owl around these parts for years. I think we've finally found its nest!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The World According to Tom Hanks...

In You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks' character, Joe Fox, says that The Godfather is the "i-ching", "The Godfather answers all of life's questions".

As I'm sure you can tell from prior posts, I think the same can be said of the Code. So, today when I got a return call from the dentist's office regarding my wisdom teeth, it reminded me of the scene at the end of the Code where Tom Hanks asks Audrey Tautou's character what would the "last living descendant of Jesus Christ do?" "Would she destroy faith, or renew it?"

In my case, the question was more like: "What would a tired, stressed out and generally overworked mom of a newly minted toddler do?" "Would she have two wisdom teeth removed or would she take that same money and buy a pair of gold lame Prada gladiator sandals?"

(Clearly the answer is neither, but I'm telling you, I'm so *not* getting the wisdom teeth taken out.)

In Honor of Earth Day

Tuesday, April 22nd!

Randomness and Some Knitting, Sort Of...

Okay, so you know that we love Statcounter, right? Here are some of our latest searches which have returned "rue de la clef", thank you very much...

a reader from Stockholm searching for "Saks presale May 2007" (talk about specific)...

Many more searches for Hungarian Goulash (who knew it was so popular)?

Quite a few looking for the Real Housewives of NYC

One "Scarface Mansion Interior" (Warsaw, Poland), not to be outdone by "Sockless look peds", and of course, a timely inquiry regarding "Pillsbury pain au chocolat"

Interestingly, no one has been looking for Sting's Favorite Pasta or Tom Selleck's Avocado Ranch. Sorry, guys.

On to the Knitting, sort of. I just finished the "Friday Night Knitting Club", thanks to Mel! It was a fun read! We'll be passing it on to Miss Leda next! If you like to knit or are looking for good escapist fare I would recommend it, especially if you've ever been to Yarn & Co. on the West Side... you'll be able to picture "Walker & Daughter" in your head quite easily!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Corn and Crab Chowder!

Tonight's dinner was Corn and Crab Chowder thanks to a recipe I've been wanting to make for three years! I found it in the Heidi Klum issue of Vitals Woman Magazine. It's truly a shame that Vitals never caught on-- it was a great mag and I have been hoarding the two copies I bought on the newsstand since 2005. (I come from a long line of magazine hoarders... my Mom's magazine claim to fame is that she has every issue of Country Living that has ever been published.)

Anyhoo, on to the Chowder.

The Recipe is from the Mermaid's Inn in New York (with some modifications)...

Makes about four servings and takes about 40 minutes.

You'll need:

2 slices of bacon (diced)... I used three slices
1 1/2 tablespoon of butter (I used about 3 tablespoons... more on that below)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped/diced
1/4 cup celery, diced (* I used a bag of pre-diced celery/onion combo from Wegmans..)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fish or shellfish stock
2 cups whole milk (I also added a bit of half and half...)
2 cups fresh corn cut from the cob (I used frozen sweet white baby corn)
2 medium potatoes, diced and parboiled for five minutes in salted water (I used a handful of red potatoes, diced small and one small yukon gold potato, also diced small... no parboiling...)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
3/4 pound jumbo lump crabmeat (I used a half a pound and there was more than enough crab...)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used more than that and some Tabasco to boot!)

Saute your bacon in a stockpot over medium high heat and cook, stirring until the bacon begins to brown a bit. The add butter, onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook until softened. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Here in the recipe it indicated that I should have had a "resulting roux" "light amber in color"... mine was more like flour coated veggie and bacon parts with a good bit of browning on the pot-bottom. Surely, I guess my "medium-high" heat was a touch too high. In order to remedy this situation I tried adding more butter (hence the change to the ingredient list above) and then I added some cooking sherry in order to attempt to deglaze. This started to work, but not wanting to add too much sherry, I then went with a bit of water until the roux started to come together. Next, you're to add the stock and the milk, up the heat to high and when the liquid simmers, add the corn, potatoes and thyme and then reduce your heat to low. Simmer until the corn and potatoes are tender. The recipe then has you taking the chowder off of the heat and adding the crabmeat and cayenne. I added the crabmeat, cayenne, a few shakes of Tabasco and a tiny bit of lemon juice all while the soup was still on the heat (a bad episode with an anemone has taught me that it is always important to thoroughly cook your fish/shellfish, even if you did buy the "pasteurized" jumbo lump crabmeat at the WF... but I digress).

I finished it off with a bit of fresh ground black pepper and some coarse salt. Served up with oyster crackers and some crusty bread and it was quite a winner. I was really impressed that it actually *looked* like a true chowder! Chowder, kind of like the old adage from the supreme court about pornography is definitely something that you'll know when you see it.

The Husband enjoyed it and suggested that I could use the chowder base for a fire-roasted red pepper and corn chowder. I was intrigued... substitute vegetable stock for the fish stock, add a bit more in the pepper department (perhaps green chilis as well.... Au Bon Pain does have that "Corn and Green Chili Bisque"... and we could have something very interesting!)

Anyhoo, I do hope some of the readers try this recipe, and let me know how it goes!


I had originally booked spa appointments at Bliss for Saturday, then I got a call to do background work for Duplicity on Sunday (Yay! Julia and Clive). I was told by the casting agency to call today after 12pm to get my call time, etc. I cancelled my bliss appointments this morning to avoid a charge. I called the Casting Agency-- shoot has been postponed. Call Bliss? My appointments have been given away. But, the dentist's office called and I can come in for a cleaning at 11am. Oh yeah. No spa, no movie, but clean teeth.

Luckily, after heavy negotiations with a Bliss employee I was able to score a new facial and a manicure appointment after 5pm.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


During last night's debate, Mrs. Clinton indicated that though there would be tax increases for individuals earning $250,000 per year or more, they wouldn't be more than the taxes which were imposed on that tax bracket during the "nineties". Okay, so does that mean we'll also make the dollar worth what it was worth in the nineties and also roll back the cost of living as well?

In a small attempt to accomplish this, the clothing chain "Steve and Barry's" is having a special sale where everything in the store is $8.98 (including, presumably things which were originally less than this price...) Great concept, but have you been to a Steve and Barry's? I never had but today Miss B and I hit up the Menlo Park Mall and alas, wandered into one of these establishments (drawn in out of curiosity over the fact that "SJP" has her clothing line "Bitten" exclusively at S&B's). While there were a couple of cute little black dresses (each $8.98) in the Bitten clearance area, they were all giant sized and looked as though they would be rather linty. Overall, though, the Bitten line was mostly uninspired and disappointing. There was way too many unshapely khakis and plaid shirts which just made it look like SJP was trying to outfit Cynthia Nixon's life partner more than a hip young crowd.

I was much more excited about H&M's new "inspired by" Marimekko line.

Sorry to be Picky, But...

On today's View Joy started in about Kennedy and the Cuban Missle Crisis and she said that she remembered it and she had seen the movie... "thirty days" and Whoopi chimed in with: "Thirty days in May".... okay folks. I was born in 1975, but I do know that the Cuban Missle crisis happened in OCTOBER. BTW, "Thirty Days in May" is a colloquial reference to the Indy 500 (and there's a book by that name about the race, too.)

Can we please do *some* research here, people???

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pain au Chocolat....

The latest issue of Real Simple magazine has a simpleton's version of Pain au Chocolate (ala pillsbury crescent rolls and tollhouse chocolate chunks). Yup, that was it, put a bunch of chocolate chunks in the center of a crescent roll triangle, fold up the sides of the triangle to make a little pocket and pop it in the oven. About 10 minutes later--- voila! Warm gooey chocolate. Not much in the dessert realm can beat that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Real Housewives of New York City!

Okay so I totally love this show. (I'm also a fan of the Real Housewives of Orange County) but what's with this being the "season finale"? They only had like five episodes... well, at least next week there's a reunion!

BTW, have you heard the news that Project Runway is moving to Lifetime?? I don't know how I feel about that.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Third Time's a Charm...

Another photo has been chosen for an art exhibition! One of my black and white pictures from our trip to Venice has been chosen for the annual Juried Photography Exhibition at the Mills Pond House Gallery of the Smithtown Township Arts Council in St. James, NY on Long Island! Woo-hoo!


Tonight we had Ratatouille again. (Thanks to the Gourmet Cookbook! Which does, indeed, have every recipe you'll ever need in it.) Served over couscous with roasted potatoes and a nice loaf of crusty french bread. Yummy- who knew vegetarian eating could be so tasty? It almost makes one want to snap up one of the infamous Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks. Almost.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dinner and all that....

The other night I made Green Curry Chicken! One of my personal faves. Inspired by the recipe found in New Thai Cuisine by Nathan Hyam. I do add my own touhes though, like incorporating potatoes (ala massaman curry) because everything is better with potatoes. I also used red peppers (in addition to green peppers and onions), yellow squash and zucchini. I served it with a bit of cilantro-lime basmati rice.

Today I made german chocolate cake cupcakes thanks to a recipe from the Mom. Who knew you could make german chocolate frosting with eggs, sugar, half and half, pecans and coconut (well, the pecans and coconuts make sense, but I would have never guessed about the eggs and half and half.)

I was going to make ratatouille tonight but I have copped out (after the cupcakes) and am going to put it on the menu for tomorrow.

Today has been a good movie day... both The Da Vinci Code and You've Got Mail...

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today we ventured to Ikea and the gi-normous Babies r' Us/Toys r' Us at the infamous Exit 13A (this after a lovely lunch en plein air with the Husband-- what, it was 70 today, who wouldn't want to lunch outside?)

We ended up coming home with: i) a case of formula, ii) a case of 24 small ready-to-feed bottles, iii) a Fisher-Price tiger/basketball contraption, iii) a toddler sized table and two chairs, iv) a child's sized picnic table, all of this in addition to the Maclaren and Bugaboo which permanently live in the trunk. Before going to Ikea I had thought that I might have to tie something to the roof, but who was I kidding? I've got the wagon (and I was, after all, hauling child-sized furniture, but still!) I was pretty impressed that we fit everything in and had room to spare!

Mission Accomplished!

It has taken me since October 21, 1999 but I have finally truly worn off on the Husband. Last night he actually quoted a line from a Woody Allen movie!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Yesterday we visited the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange. Unfortunately, the Zoo is somewhat under construction and a number of the animals were still in their winter habitats where ever that may be and were not on display-- (case in point, alligator habitat? There was one lone duck, no gator, hopefully they'll remove the duck before the gator get's back...) But, there were also a couple of neat animals like these gigantic woolly buffalo things and some kind of mid-sized cougars. The cougar enclosure looked relatively new, but upon closer inspection I would have to say I was hopeful that the cougars were well fed as the enclosure looked to be really just a giant net with a two foot high electrified fence around it. I'm sitting there with Miss B about 15 feet away from a pair of cougars and it really didn't look like that much was holding them in. Big kitty plus little fence equals: mom and baby getting the heck out of there and back over to the llama section.

There was also a "petting" zoo, though arguably the sheep and goats looked a bit shop worn, so we didn't encourage any actual petting. Miss B did seem intrigued by the donkey and chickens, though and before leaving we went on a little train ride which she really enjoyed. I would have had a bit more fun myself on the train had it not been for Stosh and his mom sitting in front of us. Stosh (who is five but looked seven, at least) thought that every pile of sticks the train went by was a beaver dam but most importantly, Stosh's mom was clearly looking for someone to talk to. I soon learned when Stosh was potty trained, what his first words were, when he got his first tooth, how his school teachers say what a large vocabulary he has, even though some of his pronunciation needs work, and how Stosh's grandparents feel about all of these things.

After the zoo we hit up a lovely little playground in Millburn and tried out the swings which Baby enjoyed all of which resulted in quite a good nap on the ride home. So much so, in fact, that Baby even slept through my quick trip to the drive through at none other than White Castle.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Congestion Pricing....

thankfully has been defeated... now if only someone can get Corzine out of left-field with his proposal to raise turnpike fares by almost 800% we'd be in business... (oh, and let's not forget his plan to get rid of NJ's Department of Agriculture, so much for that whole "garden state" thing...)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Food & Wine!

This month's issue of Food & Wine boasts the "World's Best Recipes" and I have to hand it to them, I never expected to see recipes for Yemenite flat breads, Circassian Chicken Salad, Neapolitan Meatloaf and Lemonade Slushies all together in one place at the same time.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Yesterday we had our new carpet runners installed on our staircases. When I was doing the research for all of this I measured the steps and had guestimated that it should have been about $600 per staircase for materials. Unfortunately, after the flooring folk's measurement guy came out and once we got the actual quote it turned out to be over $3200. I was a bit gobsmacked but for some reason I assumed that I measured wrong.

Then, once the installation was completed I noticed that we had quite a bit of excess carpet left over. 55 linear feet to be exact. It turns out they charged us for 86 linear feet. We needed 31 linear feet. Thankfully, they took it back quite easily and most appologetically. 55 linear feet at $32.90 per foot, quite a savings and proof that my original math wasn't that bad after all.

As for the rest of the day, I got a great pedicure at Koi Spa (with Husband watching Miss B)... but for some random reason I got a giant headache on my way home. Four hours of napping and heating pad sitting, finally I'm feeling better. I also have downed a *lot* of water. Me thinks I was a bit dehydrated...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Update on Chris Isaak!

We have tickets, though oddly, they're standing room... I've been to the Nokia Theater before... its a bit of an odd venue... it should be interesting....!

From the People Who Brought You "Hindi for Pre-Schoolers..."

"Friday, April 18th at 8pm, Ladies Nite Out, all-male revue at the Hightstown Fire Department!"

Am I the only person who finds this a bit odd??

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chris Isaak!

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon. The show is August 20th at the Nokia Theater in Times Square. Okay, I have four months to find a baby sitter!

Help Me, Tooth Fairy, Help Me!

Alas, we have finally hit pay dirt, or in this case, enamel. Miss B's first tooth is breaking through the surface (and actually, adding to the tooth-induced cranky, it would appear that both bottom front teeth are trying to come through at about the same time...) Baby Orajel? Let's just say that's working about as well for Baby as the lone ambien did for me during labor.

Stein Mart

Have you ever been to one of these places?? They recently opened a new one in Franklin Township in what used to be the old Stop n' Shop (alas, a new, "Super Stop n' Shop" was built in the adjacent shopping center). Anyhoo, I got a coupon in the mail and thought I'd check it out as there are Stein Marts in Atlanta.

Let's just say the whole thing was a little touch of Atlanta in the middle of Somerset County. I've never seen so many bright colors, patterns, bedazzling and bad lace in one place north of the Mason Dixon Line. The only recognizable brand name in the whole store was one small Michael Kors rack (but this was like no Michael Kors wear that I've ever seen). Needless to say, we can cross this store off our list.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008