Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Daring Baker's March Challenge!

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

The Lasagne recipe called for fresh made spinach pasta in a lasagne with bolognese sauce and bechemel. I elected to use Mario Batali's lasagne recipe as it has proven itself time and again to make a *terrific* lasagne.

First I used my chef's chopper to dice up mire poix. I could have pulled out the cuisinart, but I just love this little thing!

Then I diced up pancetta.

Next was sauteeing the mire poix and pancetta in butter and olive oil until the veggies are soft.

Then you add in your meat. Mario tells you to use a beef/pork/veal mixture, but WF only had beef, no ground veal or pork when I visited the store... so I used 85% 15% beef...

Once the beef begins to brown you add in white wine, milk (to tenderize the meat) and tomato paste. You can also season to taste. I usually also add in a bit of balsamic vinegar. Then you let it simmer, uncovered until reduced. Usually about an hour.

Then it was time to make the pasta! (not unlike "time to make the donuts!") The challenge requested that you make spinach pasta, but the fam vetoed that... so I went for basic pasta. I was completely amazed that with flour and eggs you can make pasta. How cool is that?

After kneading and kneading, I had my pasta dough ball ready to go... I let it rest in the fridge covered for about a half an hour and then it was time to roll it out...

Unfortunately, the ye old pasta maker is somewhere out in the garage, a victim of the Kitchen remodel. I thought about getting the attachment for my kitchenaid, but decided that after the last daring baker's challenge where a trip to Williams Sonoma ended up with me taking home an ice cream maker I would give it a bit of a rest and instead roll it out the old fashioned way!

I sectioned off my dough ball into smaller parts and then rolled them out until they were thin enough that I could see through to the granite countertops. I then laid the pasta sheets in a just dampened kitchen towel. I left the pasta sheets in uneven shapes until I was ready to put the lasagne together.

Next I made the bechemel. Butter, flour and milk... what could be easier, right?

While letting the bechemel cool Mario suggests that you cover it with a sheet of parchment that has been buttered. The idea being the butter will melt from the steam of the bechemel and it will drip into the sauce, inhibiting the formation of a sauce-skin!!

Next it was boiling the water for the pasta! I then cut up the pasta sheets into classic lasagne rectangles and proceeded to boil them, for just a moment (or until they rose to the top of the water) before putting them in my lasagne layers...

First layer... sauce!

Then pasta, bechemel (and some ricotta with egg... because everything is better with more cheese!), then more sauce...

Pasta layer!

Gratuitous side dish shot-- Panzanella a la Giada (but with feta!)

Done! Sorry, I don't have a good individual shot of a slice of the lasagne as we are like wolves by the time this stuff comes out of the oven and alas we never let it sit long enough to properly set up. Instead we just scoop it out and it oozes all over all cheesey, bolognese and tasty!

Monday, March 30, 2009

I won't consider myself to be in trouble until I start weeping blood

James Bond's got an answer for everything.

And I guess that's good, since yesterday errant nose mucous was coming out my tear duct every time I blew my nose.

That just never seems normal.

If it keeps up I'll get myself a hairless cat and you can expect to see me as Bond Villan #23.

In Your Dreams...

One of my photos will be on display as part of the "In Your Dreams" exhibit at the Pen and Brush Gallery in New York City begining April 3rd through April 26th. The show is curated by Edward J. Sullivan, Professor of Art History and Dean for the Humanities at New York University.

The Gallery is open: Thursday and Friday: 4:00pm - 7:00pm, Saturday and Sunday: 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chicken Soup!

Right now I am incredibly congested. The kind of congested where if you swallow you feel like your ears and head will explode (and this is with Nyquil). The Husband has gone downstairs to make me some chicken soup. How cool is that? Shout out to the Husband!!


Today we went to see the "Greatest Show on Earth"... Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey's latest show "Zing, Zang, Zoom!"

Sophie got to be a "Circus Celebrity" and we got called into the ring to sit and watch the show from *inside* the ring! The show was fab! (And yes, that is a special "circus" hat!!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Hat!

I made Miss B. a new hat for Easter! I used three balls of extra fine merino yarn that KK had given me, stranded together. The yarn color was white, lavender and a darker purple. I made two balls of yarn to start-- one that had one of each color and one ball that had two strands of lavender and one of white (I ran a bit short of the dark purple to do the whole hat in the one colorway). I knit the first two inches of the hat in the lighter color, the middle 5 inches in the darker color and then I alternated again towards the top. The Pattern came from Susan Anderson's "Itty Bitty Hats" book (which is a fabulous pattern book!) and the pattern calls for you to knit four rows with eyelets for the ribbons to be threaded through. To finish off the hat you tie additional ribbon cuttings on the top of the hat. It's fun for Spring and I think Miss B. is looking forward to trying it out!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Found It!

Glad to see that my AMEX card had only fallen between the driver's seat and the console in the Wagon. Alas, it wasn't in the lining of my coat (that's where my second lens cap was...) who says I'm not organized?

Chuck E. Cheese

Today's adventure was visiting Chuck E. Cheese with some of the folks from Gymboree. You'll be pleased to know that, at least while we were there, Crazy Mom was on her best behavior. There was no diaper changing on the tables, nor did she spout off what a crazy schedule she has. However, that being said, we weren't actually there for very long. Miss B. lost interest pretty quickly.

What can I say, I had never been to a Chuck E. Cheese before so I didn't realize that the "little kids" area was just comprised of a couple of those mechanical ride on cars like they have outside of supermarkets. In fact, I think there is a larger selection of mechanical cars in front of our local Old Navy at the Mall. There was no ball pit (which is I guess for the best since the Husband and I discussed, pre-Cheese visit how those things must be impossible to sanitize, unless they were to just douse the entire ball pit with purell from the ceiling a la the mist-devices in the produce section at your local grocery store...), there was one whack-a-mole, one basketball toss, a monster truck, a Barney "train" engine and a Bob the Builder backhoe. Also, I was apparently the only mom who purchased tokens so the machines actually worked... everybody else just seemed to let their kids climb on the rides but then have them not move or light up.

After about twenty minutes of "exploring" the toddler section, Miss B. decided she needed to attempt the Roger Bannister 3-minute mile to the other side of the restaurant. We made those laps a couple of times and then decided it was best if we headed home. After four dollars worth of tokens, our work was done.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I spent $17 on old books today. $5 at the Princeton Theological Seminary Book Sale (it was Box day.... $5 per box, provided you have to be able to carry the box out of the place, otherwise they'll charge you for two boxes) and $12 at the Wellsley Book Sale (which boasts to be the largest used book sale on the East Coast... I don't know if that is true, but it is certainly large...)

I managed to get a First Edition Umberto Eco, a $25 copy of Hemingway's Old Man and The Sea from 1952, a Vonnegut, a copy of Franny and Zooey that appears on Abebooks for $59 and a really neat old copy of "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Not to mention an Oxford edition of Jonathan Swift, for the Husband. Over all I got more than 30 books for $17 total!


So, today's Gymboree was relatively uneventful. Hippie Mom actualy admonished her child for having her finger up her nose to the second knuckle (win one for personal hygiene!) and Crazy Mom kept her daughter's pants on and everyone was dressed in outside clothes, rather than jammies.

That being said, there were at least two little girls with the equivalent of hacking smokers' coughs. Just a reminder to Moms out there... Gymboree does have a "generous" make-up policy, so please, if you or your tot is exhibiting some sort of typhoid, stay home! I found it a bit ironic that after class, one of the sick kids' nanny's kept covering the child's mouth when she would cough.... mind you, her mother (who accompanied the child in class while Nanny sat outside and waited) didn't bother to do that. Oh, well! And, I was a bit surprised to see this set up at all given that we're in the 'burbs... it seemed so "Manhattan" to have a Nanny waiting while the mom and tot attend class.... so much for Recession Chic.

Now, the big excitement comes tomorrow... we're having a Gymboree meet-up at a local children friendly restaurant. I'm sure there will be stories to tell, that is, if I can be pulled away from the Skee-Ball! :)

How to Spend 24 Hours

A) Sleep as much as you can.

B) Once awoken, call office, speak to underlying. Make many more repeated phone calls and emails to Job colleagues re: closing.

C) Bathe. Dress. Bathe child. Dress child. You'd be surprised how many of our friends and neighbors think the "bathing" step is optional, both for themselves and their children. Apparently, Charles Schultz was on to something with "Pigpen". Of course, the other night when I made this observation to the Husband I mistakenly called the Peanuts creator George Schulz (aka the former Secretary of State) regardless, I'm sure he knew a lot about people who fail to take into account personal hygiene, too.

D) Get in Car to drive to City for Puppet Show and general fun-having.

E) Pick up Dunkin Donuts (toasted plain bagel, munchkins, Pepsi, cup of ice). It's Miss B's fave.

F) Proceed to have conference calls with opposing counsel re: last minute title issues, yada, yada, yada while navigating the New Jersey Turnpike. Thank goodness for that pesky hands-free device.

G) Call client while at lowest possible point in Lincoln Tunnel. Be shocked that AT&T service does not decide to "drop call" at crucial moment.

H) Spot NYC police officer directly outside of Lincoln Tunnel while on call with client. Be thankful for pesky hands-free device.

I) Travel up West Side Highway to parking garage destination at Museum of Natural History. Suit up Baby into stroller and attempt to locate "Swedish Cottage" in Central Park.

J) Locate Swedish Cottage, thanks to IKEA-esque Swedish Flag.

K) Attend Marionette Show with Thisbe and Wee Kraken. Reconsider appropriateness of themes in "Peter Pan". Wonder, why is Neverland a good place just because you don't have to take a bath? Question whether this is some sort of mass water-conserving conspiracy vis-a-vis lack of bathing. Hmpf.

L) Shake Shack. Chocolate Shake.

M) Wish farewell to Thisbe and Wee Kraken, now realize we are in New York Metro Area at 3pm. Certainly far too early to return to the wilds of Central New Jersey.

N) Pack Baby in Car, Baby falls asleep in car after approximately 35 seconds. Traverse George Washington Bridge. Find one's self on Route 4 nearing Paramus. If you're in Northern New Jersey, you've got to be near a mall.

O) Visit Bergen Town Center. Home to Nordstrom Rack, Century 21, Saks Off Fifth, Filene's Basement, etc., etc. That's Right. We've found the center of the Northern Jersey Discount Black Hole. Find cute outfits for Baby at Nordstrom. Cheap Seven for All Mankind jeans at Saks and an amazingly large liquor department at Whole Foods. Apparently, Bergen County's laws are far different from Mercer and Middlesex. Of course, you can't buy anything in Bergen on a Sunday, but you can buy wine while shopping for organic produce Monday through Saturday. Who Knew?

P) Next stop? IKEA. The Swedish thing is a theme, apparently. Discover that you can't live without: i) a bulletin board, ii) one small 5 X 7 frame, iii) flexible cutting boards and, finally, iv) two extremely large terra cotta pots (which require you to use a flatbed cart, while negotiating the store with a stroller in tow).

Q) Repeat the phrase: "If I keep the wheels straight, it will go straight" all the way to the parking lot, while using the stroller as a rudimentary rudder to keep flatbed cart stable.

R) Drive home via Garden State Parkway, Turnpike and Routes 1 and 18, thus having successfully circumnavigated the State of New Jersey.

S) Feed Baby Dinner, get Baby ready for bedtime.

T) Hang out with Husband while having tuna on toast and watching the Real Housewives.

U) Take shower. I'm big on this cleanliness thing.

V) Write droll blog entry about day's adventures, since clearly, everyone's dying to know how we spend 24 hours.

W) Repeat Step A above.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's the Last ER..... (dramatic pause....)

before the Finale!!! (What is that supposed to mean exactly?) NBC has really hit rock bottom with how they market their shows.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Gawker (and People Mag) confirm, the Real Housewives of New Jersey will be starting on Bravo May 12th. I love the quote from Gawker--- "If that doesn't spell New Jersey better than three big tanks reading "Oil" "Heats" and "Best," I don't know what does."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Update on the Crazy Mom

At this week's art class, as per the aforementioned e-mailed schedule from the Crazy Mom, Crazy Mom and two of her three tots (Bingo and Thing 1) joined in for a "make-up" class. In class we were making rocket ships and as Miss B. and I painted a recycled water bottle to make it look like a space shuttle I noticed that the younger of Crazy Mom's daughters, Bingo (who is 2), was wearing a seafoam green zip-up fleece footed pajama suit.

I thought to myself, "hmpf. that's odd. she's got on jammies..." but then I thought, "well, I remember someone saying they only dressed their child in old clothes for art class, so maybe she's using it as a smock??"

Then, a few minutes later another mom started doing the ye old sniff test because she could tell that someone had a diaper that needed changing. Turns out it was Bingo (the one in the PJs)... then I hear Crazy Mom say something to the effect of how the diaper is going to be a full one because it's the first diaper to be changed... and in hearing what she said, and noticing again the PJs, it made me think... wait a minute... have you not changed her diaper yet since she woke UP??

Then Crazy Mom proceeded to change her daughter on the floor in the art room in front of everybody (note, I wouldn't have thought this was a big issue if there a) hadn't been a changing facility at Gymboree 50 feet from where we were or b) if we were at someone's house and she asked if it was okay-- but honestly, I felt bad for the art teacher who appears to be a 17 year old girl who really seemed dismayed that there was a naked toddler butt on the floor in the middle of the room *during class*.) Then, once this is all done I notice that Bingo is now wearing a new outfit. That's right, she's not in jammies any more. And we're still painting, so there goes the theory that she had on the fleece pj suit as a smock.

Yes, as best I can tell Crazy Mom is so "busy" that she got Bingo up from sleep, kept her diaper unchanged and in PJs all the way from where they live three towns over just to get to art class on time. FYI: Sometimes it's okay to get to art class late.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Confessions of a Pilgrim Shopaholic

This short story by Paul Rudnick was in last week's New Yorker. It's too funny.



Okay, so I'm not any kind of a financial wizard or anything, and I'm sure other people have already thought of this, yada, yada, yada, but as a lawyer, I would ask... why is the government surprised that AIG is paying out those bonuses? I mean, if you were handing over that much of a dole to someone wouldn't you have conditioned delivery of the funds on a few things, such as that the money is not to be used to pay out bonuses, regardless of AIG's "contractual obligations" to do so?

It's the Federal Government. Essentially, they can do just about whatever they want to. They could have structured the bailout money as a loan and then as one of the loan conditions limited the ability of AIG to make distributions or otherwise make payments to employees outside of standard payroll operating expenses (with reasonable limitations thereon). It seems to me that there was no good reason why the bail out money couldn't have come with limitations. It seems like a bit of a "too little, too late" now trying to get the money back! Oooh, let's try and shame the executives into returning it. Sure, that'll work!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


How often do you find yourself in Hackensack!?!

Well, today, Miss B. and I went up to Morristown with the Husband who was attenting a lecture put on by the University of Chicago. While the Husband was in the lecture, we hit up the Morristown Century 21. Then, afterwards, the whole fam headed over to Houston's at the Shops at Riverside in Hackensack! Spinach dip, Chicken Fingers (and a lovely pork chop for the Husband) and we stuffed ourselves silly!

Then, once we came home, we started watching the Celebrity Apprentice and where were the gang? They were in front of St. Bart's! (Where the Husband and I got married...) Even Donald Trump said it's known for weddings!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Know You're a Mom When...

You wake up and put in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" for your child and end up paying more attention to it than they do. Then you find yourself doing vacuum cleaner repair, followed in short order by crayon stain removal from home furnishings. All before lunch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Overscheduling of the American Childhood

Earlier this week one of the Gymboree Moms circulated an email asking the Gymboree gang if we wanted to get together at a local Chuck E. Cheese for a playdate.

I've never been to the Cheese, but I thought it was a nice idea so I emailed back saying we were pretty much free any day but Thursday.

Today, we all got a message from one of the other moms. It seems, her schedule is a bit more complicated than the rest of ours.

In the interest of privacy, all of the names have been changed. Crazy Mom's youngest shall be known as "Bingo" and her two older children shall be known, in honor of Dr. Seuss, as "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" After having come to our house for a play date, it's appropriate, trust me.

To: Gymboree Moms
From: Crazy Mom
Re: Get Together

Hi all,

We would love to get together. The schedule is complex . . . apologies before I

Monday- this monday, and subsequent alternating mondays are not good. On the other weeks, I drop Thing 1 for playdate after gymnastics at 12:30 and pick up between 2:30-3, so Bingo & I are free 1-2:30.

Tuesday- 9-10:30 is free. 11am we have library class. Thing 1 at school 12:25-2:50, Bingo & I are free for playdate

Weds- Bingo & I go to 10:20 gymboree, free for lunch, playground, Chuck E Cheese or other until 2:50 Thing 1 pick up.

Thurs- 9-10:30 is free. Thing 1, Bingo & I go to 11:15 - 12 gymboree, then free until 3:35 Thing 2 pick-up

Fri- 9-12 is free. Drop Thing 1 at school 12:25. Bingo & I free until pick up Thing 1at 2:50. (FYI: Next week we're coming to Gymboree art to make up a missed sibling gym class, so we'll see you then.)

When you have to tell people that "subsequent alternating Monday's" aren't good you may be taking this a bit too seriously. I mean, come on. I'm currently negotiating documentation for a transaction valued at $200,000,000 and I can narrow things down to "Thursday's bad", do we really all need to see just how "booked-up" you are with five kinds of Gymboree, tumbling and "pre-school"? It's just Chuck E. Fricking Cheese, pick a time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


As of this Fall, it's going to be nine years that I've been doing the Job and I still get super stressed out before any big conference call. Even one's I'm not leading! Oy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I've Loved You So Long

So, I finally got around to watching this movie this evening (and then promptly spent hours and hours amassing an email with 26 attachments to circulate for the Job... but that's another story entirely)... it was very good. I can see why it was recommended by the NYTimes Arts pages when it was in theaters. Kristin Scott Thomas did a great job (and the poor thing looked like a whipped dog throughout, so as with Melissa Leo, kudos for the lack of make-up!) and Elsa Zylberstein was also very good. It was a somber movie but the character's story unfolds throughout and keeps you watching. If you like French flicks I would recommend it.

Next on the French film list? Tell No One, then "Man on Wire" (that's technically a documentary and not really a French film, just about a frenchman)... of course, who knows when these will be available either via Redbox or On Demand. So, in the meantime I've reserved Transporter 3 from the Box. So what if Jason Statham isn't highbrow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Co-Worker sends the following email, copies Boss-Guy:

Email to: Weef!
CC: Boss-Guy
Re: Missing X Documents

"I don't see a record of "X Document" ever being delivered in connection with "Transaction" (not so-subtle subtext being: Transaction is a transaction YOU were responsible for and it appears that YOU forgot to have this "Very Important X document" filed/delivered/whatever and I wanted to TELL EVERYONE!!!)

And just to show how responsible and conscientious I AM I will also add that:

"I have not found a copy on the closing disk and I do not see a Word version in our document system"

Which basically implies that X document never existed and wasn't even CONTEMPLATED!! HA-HA!

Finally, again, just to show how smart I AM...

"I'll reach out to "Colleague in local office" to see if we need "X document" filed in connection with "Transaction B" as well, given that we'll have a second mortgage on B Transaction."

This lovely missive allowed me to respond in kind:

E-Mail to: Colleague
CC: Boss-Guy
Subject: Copies of Filed X Documents


Thanks for your message. Attached are copies of:

1) Filed X Document in connection with Transaction. This copy was located on the systems you searched.

2) Filed X Document in connection with Transaction B which may not need to be refiled as "X Document" is filed in connection with Loan Agreements, not Mortgages.

Please do contact colleague in local office to confirm what is required at this time. Thanks!"

Subtle subtext being: Why don't we all try and work together and actually complete the documents we need to do rather than sit around "looking" for things that "weren't done" because guess what, I'm older than you and more experienced and I did this correctly the first time around you just look like an idiot because you couldn't find the copies. Thanks!!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This Place Must be a Geographical Oddity

Two Weeks from Everywhere!

A quote from "O, Brother, Where Art Thou", inspired by our recent string of Geographically inspired movie viewings.

First: In Bruges. Okay, the Dad didn't like "In Bruges", but the Dad did like Bangkok Dangerous, so I think we'll just have to leave this as a difference of opinion. I had been waiting for this to come to the Redbox but it never did, instead it finally showed up on HBO on Demand. We watched it the other night and I have to say-- I liked it! I even laughed out loud on more than one occasion. How often is it that you hear the phrase "racist dwarf"? I actually enjoyed Colin Farrell's performance. And, it's got Ralph Fiennes in it, so it can't be all bad, right? (Okay, to be honest, Ralph Fiennes films can be bad, very bad, it would appear from a quick scan of his imdb CV that I'd say one in every five is a good movie, but you get my point).

Second: Australia. Oh, geesh. What has Baz Lurhmann gotten himself into this time?!? The Mom had said "it was like a cartoon movie" and she was right, at first. I'd say easily through the first half hour it was cartoonish. Kind of in the same way that Moulin Rouge could be cartoonish. So, I was going with the flow and figuring it was just Baz being Baz. But, after about the hour mark it suddenly started to try and take itself seriously. Unfortunately, the sets still looked cartoonish, but now the actors were trying to act normal. As the Husband pointed out there was zero chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman and the last section of the movie seemed to be Pearl Harbor in Australia minus Ben Affleck. All in all? It was awful! We'll never get those three hours back! Save yourselves, run! And, let's hope that Peter Jackson's next film isn't "New Zealand!"


Today was the annual Spring Time Toddler Wipe-Out aka Day Light Saving Time Eve where our main goal is to tire out Miss B. and push through naptime so that we can readjust her bedtime schedule to "springing ahead".

How do we accomplish this? By heading to downtown Princeton to wander around and shop and have a nice lunch at Panera. Then we check out the Princeton University Store (children's book department) and Jazam's toy store. Then we headed back to the West Windsor Library Book Sale. Then we went to get ice cream at the local Dairy Cream in East Windsor and then we hit up the park in Cranbury (otherwise known as circumnavigating central New Jersey). Finally we returned "Australia" to the Redbox at the Stop N' Shop (or it could be a Shop Rite, I'm not quite sure which) on 522 and headed home for pizza bagels.

Did it work? It seems to have. Miss B. was pretty worn out after all of that activity. Now we're pretty worn out too.

In other news. The book sale. What can I say, I had to go back. Today was half-price day. That means all the hardbacks were $.50 (yes, that's right, Fifty Cents). What did I get? Well, I paid $8.50 for 17 books. Out of those 17 books I got the following:

1) The Reivers by William Faulkner, First Edition, 1962. Alibris shows this book's value range being between $200-$1,000 in the condition of our copy. (Makes that $8.50 tab look not too bad, huh?)

2) A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene, First Edition, 1961 with original store receipt from April 1961 in Dublin (in Gaelic!), this book's value range is between $45-$150 in its current condition. The other neat thing about this book is that the original store receipt (in Gaelic on one side) has an ad for "Knitters!" on the other and indicates that cash will be paid for handknit items... strange, but I liked it since I'm a knitter!)

3) A Treasury of Gilbert and Sullivan, 1941, First Edition: $140

4) The Oxford Pocket Dictionary, an edition from the 1920s about $50

5) Harvard University Class of 1916 25th Anniversary , 1941, about $30-$35

6) Seven volumes of The Yale Shakespeare, 1957 editions, Yale University Press each between $5-$10

I also got a first edition Pearl S. Buck and an anthology of New Yorker Short Stories from 1950-1960 (which includes Nabokov, among other authors) First Edition-- worth about $20.

All in all, not a bad haul. I love book sales (especially when the books are Fifty Cents!!!)

I have to say though, I kind of felt bad because the woman who rang up my sale was really excited about the books that I found. I almost thought she wasn't going to let go of the Gilbert & Sullivan treasury. I still am amazed at the Faulkner. It wasn't even in the old/rare book section, it was just sitting out on top of a pile of Fiction books, next to the Pearl Buck, just sitting there as if to say: "Buy me! Take me home!"

Thursday, March 05, 2009

West Windsor Book Sale!

Yay!! We love a good book sale! Today we hit up the annual West Windsor Library Book Sale...

We got some good stuff including the Comander's Palace cookbook for the Mom, some Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs for Miss B., first editions of "Thurber's Dogs" by James Thurber and The Sand Pebbles.

I also got Henry Fool on VHS (I've never seen it, but apparently its some sort of cult movie that's got Parker Posey in it so I thought I would give it a try) and I also got a cool travel guide to Italy from 1950.

Let's not forget, too, a jigsaw puzzle that's a road map of New Jersey. I'm sure a good portion of the 500 pieces will be missing, and really, what is sadder than putting together a used jigsaw puzzle, but hey what do you want for $1??

The sale runs through Sunday. I might just have to go back!!

Opting Out.

Ana has a great link on her site today for a Conference at Yale Law School "Opt Out" or Pushed Out: Are Women Choosing to Leave the Legal Profession? Just thought I'd pass it on!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Not too long ago I found a link on the web that offered a free subscription to Martha Stewart Living magazine if I filled out a survey. I fully expected that this was just a ploy to get my address, but alas, my magazine arrived yesterday! (Of course, I got both the February and March issues at the same time... as magazines love to do, but I called up and let them know that I had already bought the February issue and they offered to extend my subscription by two months)

I have to just say, Martha. Oh, Martha. I love Martha and respect her (even with that whole insider trading thing) but I just can't get my head around what living her life must be like. In the February 2008 issue she has a whole article on packing tips. These are great tips. But if you aren't Martha I just don't see how you can implement these and do all of the other things that Martha must do during one day and not have your brain melt.

Martha advises that you should pack your clothes (separated into outfits) on hangers and wrapped in plastic bags (no need for pressing once you get to your destination! let's not discuss how you fit a hanger into your carry-on...) Then your shoes are in shoe bags, your belts are in belt bags, tights and socks are in their own bags as are all of your undergarments. Each electrical appliance (iPod, blackberry, etc.) is in its own labeled plastic bag with a separate plastic bag for its charger. Laptop? In a resealable plastic bag. Kindle? Plastic bag. Don't forget to bring extra plastic bags and god forbid never leave your luggage with a bellman or permit a driver or any other person to separate you from your luggage because they might damage it. Since the TSA has a pesky habit of breaking open luggage locks, used waxed twine to tie together the zippers of your luggage. That way you can see if anyone has opened your bag.

Don't get me wrong. All of these things are great ideas and I have to say that I, like Martha, have some sort of unhealthy attachment to plastic ziploc bags (not to mention that I have also actually tied luggage zippers together), but even I have to say: Who has the time for all of this?? You'll spend more time packing than you'll actually spend on your trip! I love the idea of living a regimented and organized life (and I also won't let anyone put my luggage on the ground) but wow! Somebody needs a Valium.

My Day with Miss Baby...

(kind of like "My Dinner with Andre", except with a toddler)...

Today started with a visit to Gymboree. For some reason Miss B. was wildly popular with the menfolk in her class today. First there was Devin. Devin is a cute little boy with dark hair who is accompanied in class by his Grandma. Once Devin saw Sophie he just kept coming up to her and trying to give her a hug, hold her hand and touch the bird that was on her blouse. I think a big part of the sudden interest in Miss B. had to do with her lovely velour pant set-- much as we have learned in nature, the male of the species is traditionally attracted to bright colors. Miss B.'s top was a lovely shade of orange sherbet velour (with yellow bird detail) and her pants were bright pink. Between this highly colorful garb and Miss B.'s curly hair she just proved to be far too interesting for Devin. Throughout the rest of the class he just kept coming up to her-- so often that Devin's Grandma had to keep interceding and apologizing and saying things like "I've never seen him like this before!"

Half way through class, during parachute time (lead again by Miss Sherri) Miss B. was in the middle of the parachute and Devin didn't see her, but instead honed in on me and stared at me as if to say: "Why are you here? Where's the little girl?? Where did *SHE* go???"

Then there was Andrew. Andrew came up to Miss B. while she was about to negotiate some of the play structure and he just started shouting at her. Well, needless to say she wanted none of that so she started yelling back in some sort of proto-Klingon toddler speak (clearly we've been watching one too many episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation). Next thing you know, both kids are going through the tunnel structures and when they come out the other end, Andrew says: "HI!!!!!" Again, Sophie: Not impressed.

While we're there one of the Gymboree Moms invites herself over for a playdate.

Which is basically a veiled way of saying:

"We don't have plans tomorrow and we haven't gone grocery shopping this week so we're coming over to your house to "play". Make sure you stock up on juice boxes, cookies, oh, and by the way, I like 18 year old scotch or if that's not available I'll take a '56 Bordeaux and some of your finest caviar, after all I could use a break."

This is the same mom who while attempting to put her daughter's hair in pigtails without the aid of a hairbrush said: "She really doesn't have a part in her hair". Yes, that's true, if you don't use a brush! This same child was wearing a maroon tutu and a mismatched character t-shirt. Alas, this must be how hippies are born. This is all very foreign to me. I spent way too many hours as a child having my hair brushed, blowdried and elaborately braided for any of this to make sense to me.

Finally. In the scarred for life department... we have a stink bug problem. Apparently, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug has infiltrated our area, or as the Penn State website says: "has apparently been accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania" with the logical conclusion being that it has since migrated into Western and Central New Jersey. These little buggers manage to get in to your home through any crack or crevice that they can find, including your windows, etc. Well. Every time we see one we get a piece of toilet paper and gingerly pick it up and flush it away. Unfortunately, Miss B. now associates all Bugs with this ritual, including ladybugs. Anytime Miss B. sees a ladybug (whether it be embroidered on the rug in her room, or in a picture book) she gestures for us to throw it in the toilet. Today, there was a stink bug in the nursery but it was up too high for me to reach. Miss B., ever helpful, went into her bathroom and the next thing I know she has come out with a trail of toilet paper all the way from the toilet paper holder to where she is standing, handing me the paper so I can dispose of the "BHU-G!"

I find this disturbing as I had been trying very hard to eradicate all bugs from my life. This is a natural reaction to having lived in Florida where bugs are so prevalent they practically can register to vote. Now, my poor child thinks even ladybugs get flushed down the toilet!

More Redbox!

Last week I rented The Changeling, What Just Happened and Religilous (sp??) I've still got Religilous and if I don't watch it tomorrow I'm just taking it back! As the Husband noted, the Changeling was shot like a Lifetime movie. It even had a Lifetime movie score (thanks, Clint). Well told, but really depressing (and even made more so since it was a true story)... as for What Just Happened... damn fine question! My answer? I just turned off the DVD player half way through. Boring, unfunny, yada, yada, yada.

But, this shall not deter us! This morning I logged on to Redbox.com right after my conference call with the Job and reserved both "Australia" and "I've Loved You So Long". Woo-hoo! Here's to Hugh Jackman shirtless and Kristen Scott Thomas speaking French. Let's hope these are better than our last picks!

But, of course, nothing can go too smoothly. When I headed over to McCaffrey's to pick up the reserved flicks I was stuck behind a lady who had clearly never used the box before. In fact, she may have never even used a credit card swiper device before. Or possibly never been out of the house, I'm not sure. The Husband and Miss B. were waiting for me in the parking lot and here's the lady in front of me slowly scrolling through *all* 16 pages of movie titles. Then she goes back and picks out "W.", then she tries to check out. She managed to swipe her credit card in every conceivable direction *but* the one that would have had the strip in the right place. Then the box times out her transaction and goes back to the "View Cart" screen. At this point I step in and intercede. I actually had to take her credit card out of her hand and orient it properly in front of the machine to show her how to use it. In order to keep my calm I then started telling her all about how you can reserve your movies on-line and just pick them up at the Box, and better yet, you can *search* for movies on-line and it will tell you which box has the movie you're looking for! Then she tells me how she's looking for "The Changeling" and she thanked me for showing her how to use the machine.... glad to be of service, now, please, if you don't mind I'm going to pick up my movies before my head explodes!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Snow, Snow, Go Away!

You can come back some other day!!

Yesterday was our big "snow" day! It wasn't really that big of a deal for us... we've seen much larger snow falls (especially in Ithaca) and sadly, the Husband only had a partial snow day, having to head in to the office after dutifully shoveling the drive and steps. But we did get some fun pictures!

Monday, March 02, 2009

I Don't Mean to be a Hater.... but....

Okay, through a Facebook post I was lead to a certain food blog. And stumbled upon a page full of "dip" recipes. Now I love comfort food, don't get me wrong. But I guess some where along the line I've become a bit of a food snob because the concept of using canned chicken to make "buffalo chicken wing dip" just grosses me out. Also, using canned jalepenos because real jalepenos can be hard to work with? You want to try hard to work with? Try a habanero. That's something that can burn your skin/eyes/melt your brain. A jalepeno is like a bell pepper compared to one of those babies! Well, I can say that after seeing some of these recipes (including the jalepeno "popper" dip-- because frying can be "messy") all it did was remind me of when my Wisconsin sister-in-law made barbeque meatballs using grape jelly. Yowzers.

This Week's GOOP Newsletter Dans Paris!

Check out this week's Goop Newsletter it's all about Gwyneth's favorite places to eat and stay in Paris, with a lovely little story about her first visit there with her Dad. All I can say is everyone loves Paris! (Or at least, everyone should love Paris. What's not to love?)

Laundry Room!

Kudos to the Husband for remodeling our laundry room/utility room. Sadly, I can't find my true "before" picture. You know, the one that shows the scary-nasty linoleum floor, the event scarier giant sized freezer that lived in the corner of the room and the "home-made" shelving and storage units that had been anchored to the concrete walls! Instead, I just have some photos mid-process (where you can see the framing that Husband installed in order to drywall).

Now we've got a lovely tile floor, *real* walls (primed and painted!), a nice shelving system from IKEA and a work table. We're going to be putting in the Husband's wine rack next and then I get to fill up the shelves with goodies such as my Gourmet and Bon Appetite Magazine archive and finally, a permanent place for our microwave! Woo-hoo!!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fire up a colortini, sit back, relax, and watch the pictures, now, as they fly through the air

So, I've had some inquiries into our wedding gift from Tom Snyder and exactly how that came about... so here's the story.

Years ago, when I was in high school I watched Tom Snyder's show on CNBC nightly (which later was followed by The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder on CBS). What can I say, I was a geek. This truth is supported by the fact that one of my big nights out senior year was going over to one of my classmate's houses to play Axis and Allies with two of our other classmates. Needless to say I was the only girl. But I digress. Tom's show was a great format and the Mom & Dad had remembered Tom from all of his prior incantations on TV and so I was a loyal watcher too. When I went away to college, suddenly I was living in a dorm and was, for the first time since 1979, without access to cable television. Thus, no CNBC, and there was no such thing as YouTube or simulcast on the computer... (who would think that 1994 was the stone ages, but alas, it was). Being without tv, the Mom would send me up VHS tapes of various shows, including Tom's.

Now sometime during high school I had watched an episode of Saturday Night Live which included a skit about how everyone could do an Ethel Merman impression. This made me decide that if everyone can do Ethel, than I could too. So, I began developing my own Ethel impersonation, specifically being able to belt out "There's No Business Like Show Business" (with occasional forays into "Everything's Coming Up Roses!!!!!!"

Leave it to my Mom to find a way for my Tom Snyder watching and my Ethel impersonating to find a way to converge. Tom was a member of the Train Collector's Association, and my Dad's been a member of the TCA since it began and every year the TCA prints out a directory. Tom's contact info was in it, and apparently my Mom sent Tom a note letting him know that I was a loyal viewer but that I wasn't able to watch his show now that I was away at school... and that I had this talent, albeit not necessarily so unique...

Then, one night during my first semester the phone rings. My roommate, Cynthia Lanier from Maine answers the phone. It's Tom Snyder. Calling. Live. His guest that night was the woman who voices Bart Simpson and he had taken time out of his show to give me a call (the ultimate Shout out, you could say) and Tom asked me to do my Ethel impersonation. How could I say no?

So there I was, on a cold, dark, winter night in Ithaca being simulcast across the country bellowing "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Afterwards, I sent Tom a Cornell Tie (as he was fond of wearing college ties on air) and from then on there would be the occasional correspondence... when the Husband and I were sending out our wedding invitations we sent one Tom's way, just in case he happened to be in NYC the weekend we were getting married (which just happened to be the same day that Conan O'Brien and his wife were married... it's a good weekend!) Alas, he couldn't make it, but in his stead he sent us a lovely Krups Ice Cream maker from our Williams Sonoma registry.

The ice cream maker made it from our apartment on 50th Street to our new old house when we moved in 2004, but alas, when I finally went to use it we just couldn't figure it out and the box was long since gone. Thanks to the Daring Baker's challenge I've moved on to a new cuisinart, but I'll never forget Tom, his colortinis and our ice cream maker.


Mo Willems coined the phrase "and then she went Boneless" in his classic children's picture book "Knuffle Bunny".

Today, at Wollman Rink, Miss B. "went boneless".

Needless to say, ice skating really wasn't in the cards for us today. We're thinking we'll try again. Perhaps when she is four, or thereabouts.