Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Best Medicine

Tommy suffered through two shots and a photo session yesterday. He was unpleasant today, to put it mildly.

So, we played on Mom & Dad's [unmade] bed, tortured the cats, and engaged in other such foolery in the hopes of avoiding a total meltdown. Yes, foolery...

and Tylenol.

Then tonight, just as we were about to put his pajamas on, I said "I love you little baby."

And he laughed. Not the odd kind of hardy chuckle he's been offering from time to time [particularly to
my parents' dog]. This was a real little laugh, like he meant it. He continued laughing until he drifted to sleep.

I do love him. More than anything.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Backdating this post, as I was so preoccupied with the [crying, fussy, un-photogenic for the first time in his seven month little life] baby and our photo session that blogging slipped my mind. Bad Blogger, indeed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Spirit

This post over at Jason. For the love of God. has been lingering in my head since yesterday [and in the inboxes of some people I thought would enjoy the sentiment as well]. Stephanie's an amazing woman, mother, and writer. Her blog is one of the things I'm thankful for on days like today, where it feels like it's all I can do to get through the day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy As...

There's a pie contest this Saturday.

I fully intend to lose.

Edited to Add:

Me: I'm entering a pie contest.

Oldest Sister, T: You're kidding. Who's recipe, Mrs. Smith's?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Picture Perfect?

Braving the elements, the baby and I went to a nearby outlet center to forage for holiday portrait attire.

Alas, while we're still missing some essentials (most notably, clothes for the mommy that do not liken her to a blue whale), we were fairly successful:

1. To match a crazy stripe hooded one-piece gifted to the baby [after I openly oogled it], a crazy stripe scarf [for Mike] and gloves [for me]. I'm hoping the crazy stripe theme will be subtle enough to be charming.

2. Fleece-lined OshKosh corduroy overalls for $3.99. I was too cheap to buy a red corduroy button down at the Gymboree outlet for $12.99, but if I can find nothing else, Tom and I may be taking yet another trip to the outlets on Friday.

3. A delicious hot dog and french fry lunch. Definitely essential.

Hopefully Tom will cooperate with the photographer and we'll have some lovely portraits of him to treasure forever. Or until he pukes on them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Gotcha Paradox

Mike and I are very different people. Like everyone else, we have our strengths and our weaknesses. He maintains a BigLaw paycheck, for which I am very grateful, what with my particular weakness being a supreme inability to do so.

I think part of the reason that my sense of self imploded at the old firm was that I couldn't handle feeling as if I was set up for failure time and time again; where meeting ninety-nine completely unrealistic requests with some measure of success means less than nothing when you've met the hundredth with mere sufficiency; where extinguishing a metaphorical fire is overlooked if you're thirty seconds late for a monumentally insignificant conference call. Where the word 'failure' manifested itself in my internal dialogue.

This morning Mike called, exasperated. One partner, long ago cementing her status as a thorn in his side, trapped him in this Gotcha Paradox and he was... angry.


I never got there at Old Firm. Instead, I internalized every slight, real or not, intended or not. I validated every negative implication or imagination by dwelling on them, letting them dwell in me. In doing so, I gave those power. Toward the end, I couldn't look at some of my colleagues, those senior associates and partners who derived some pleasure in putting me in that situation, without wincing at my own incompetence. And so I gave them power.

What I am coming to understand is that whether this was really happening or whether it was all in my mind doesn't really matter, because it's how I
felt, and there's no escaping that once it's taken hold.

But my husband can face this monster day in and day out, the one that bested me in a matter of months, really. And then come home and make me brownies.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday House

Yesterday we managed to sneak away from the baby for a couple of hours to the Holiday House, an Upper East Side home transformed into a showcase of holiday visions (ranging from Thanksgiving and Christmas to Engagements and Anniversaries). Designers include Charles Pavarini III, Charlotte Moss, Harry Heissmann, and Barbara Ostrom, among several notable others.

I could spend days at the Holiday House, absorbing all of the inspirations and details.

We spent a few minutes chatting with Kathy Abbott, who designed the Sitting Room in a Kwanzaa theme. Hearing about how she implemented her vision, completely transforming the entire room [literally, from floor to ceiling] into a clean, comfortable space with the African celebration in mind was fascinating, especially because she had no familiarity with Kwanzaa before it was the holiday assigned to her space.

The best part about the Holiday House? All proceeds from the event [showcased through December 7] benefit the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Visit for more information.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Visiting friends in the city this afternoon led me dangerously close to the old law firm.

As we passed, I closed my eyes.

I don't think I'm ready yet. To even see it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

8. Avoid Eating Said Pad Thai

Rosie's latest party invitation assigned me to bring Pad Thai, a delicacy I've never ingested.

Consequently, My Pad Thai Recipe:

1. Go to local Asian market. Locate Asian employee. Beg for assistance.

2. Select excessively overpriced Pad Thai sauce and rice sticks [assume rice sticks = rice noodles].

3. Call husband. What do bean sprouts look like?

4. Go to everyday market. Locate bean sprouts, unsalted dry roasted [
not cocktail] peanuts. [Also purchase fun-sized Crunch bars [for me] and Butterfingers [for husband].]

5. Overcook rice sticks.

6. Improvise. Saute vegetable oil, garlic, chopped onion, lemon juice, said excessively overpriced Pad Thai sauce, shrimp, beaten eggs. Mix in overcooked rice sticks, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts.

7. Attempt to beautify. Garnish with sliced lemons and a few raw bean sprouts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spaghetti Tuesdays, Part I

Working for the family business was important to me. It was something I needed to do. After all, each of my siblings had spent time in that house on the corner of Prince Street, brimming with hand-written records and myriad cartographical treasures. I had to complete the circle. And the time had come.

I'd quit my BigLaw job [which is exactly what it was - a job - because it certainly wasn't any kind of career I'd imagined]. I wasn't yet pregnant. My father's staff had trimmed to himself and one assistant. The one assistant was my brother. I figured I wouldn't have much trouble fitting in. [I was right.]

So, over dinner at a seafood place where, week after week, Mike and I met with my parents for Sunday Dinner Specials [nevermind that the only menu item I could stomach was Chicken Parmesan], I announced that I'd be joining his little outfit, just as soon as I could pack up my desk and burn my monthly train ticket [tickets, really, because getting to work involved two trains and a subway].

My father could rip up the business cards he liked to hand out about town because they had my name [chosen, of course, by his lovely, departed mother] under the fancy logo of a firm whose name he'd never correctly pronounced. I was now in the family business.

I don't think he was disappointed. Probably because he still had a box of my sister's business cards on his desk, and her name was in larger print anyway. He shrugged and got up to fetch a plate full of shrimp cocktail from the salad bar.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sale Sighting: GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy

At the Give & Get event, 30% off all your purchases at GAP, Banana Republic, and Old Navy this weekend!

There are a bunch of links floating around via Google, but if you still need one, let me know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

18 Minutes

8:45 PM: Asleep enough for his crib? Nope.

8:55 PM: Definitely asleep. Brace yourself, woman.

8:57 PM: Stand up. Phew... still asleep.

8:58 PM: Silently contemplate searching for long lost pacifier, missing since 5. Immediately abandon pursuit.

8:585:30: Proceed through kitchen and dining room. Confront gate.

8:58:45: Ease knee into gate, walk through, close [but DO. NOT. LATCH.] gate. Proceed to nursery.

8:59 PM: Kiss on forehead, place in crib, cover with blanket. Project confidence; slightest hesitation will be detected and seized upon.

9:00 PM: Curse bootleg trousers that "swoosh" at the ankles.

9:01 PM: Creep through master bedroom in search of cotton sweatpants. Avoid traps: shoes, toys, laundry basket. Put on sweatpants. Ahh.

9:02 PM: Re-enter nursery. Delight at the sight of baby sleeping soundly, as an angel. Heart breaks. Grab diaper pail of horrors.

9:03 PM: Hasty retreat from nursery. Quick stop at kitchen garbage can. Land on couch; watch Biggest Loser; eat brownie; drink soda. Lament stomachache.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

When I was a kid, Veteran's Day was about tagging along with my parents to a few memorial services around our county.

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to make pretend that we owned a radio station. He would be the DJ, and I was the weather girl [my line in every 'show' was: You want the weather? Look out the window!].

It's different now.

Now, my brother is a Marine [veteran, bracketed because I get the distinct impression that once you're a Marine, you're always a Marine, active service or not]. He saw combat in Afghanistan, his boat being deployed there from Australia moments after the September 11 attacks.

He's different now.

Now, my brother is racked with memories he can't talk about. Now, he struggles with alcohol [even though he would beg to differ]. Now, he wants his life back the way it was before the war, before the combat.

Life's different now.

Since he's been home, he's been married. And divorced.

He's been to the funeral of his best friend [killed in combat days after he was finally sent home]. And held my newborn son.

He's lived in California. And New York.

He's worked for the family business. And not worked for the family business.

He's been jovial. And depressed.

But mostly? He's been different.

Veteran's Day now, for me, isn't about ceremonies and Taps and a day off from school anymore. It's about remembering that as frustrating, talented, infuriating, charming, awful and wonderful as my brother is, he's even more than that.

He's a Veteran.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doggone It

I've got a happy baby. Perpetually cheerful, he's always willing to lend a smile to friends and strangers alike.

But it's hard to get this kid to laugh. And you never know what will strike his fancy [which is especially frustrating when you've been standing on your head in a clown suit for half an hour, and he decides that his father simply
walking into the room is utterly hilarious].

We've got two cats, and Tom smiles at and 'talks' to them all day, and is even learning to gently pet them [instead of making a mad grab for their fur, causing them to hide under any available furniture].

But my parents' dog? Apparently, is the funniest. thing. ever.

It would be cute if anything I, his long-suffering mother, did could provoke even a chuckle.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

These Friends of Mine

There are those things about our husbands that we overlook, for the sake of love.

Oh, my, there are
those things.

1.) My husband, he who wears a snowmobile jacket over his suit to work in the winter, was in the marching band. And he's proud of it. And for the beginning of our relationship, I pretended I was totally cool with it. But, eventually, when the new wears off, and it's OK to tell each other what you really think? I told him I think marching bands are lame. [But because he was only in the drumline, I got over it.] [But not when he prances around the house doing the 'marching band walk' to get under my skin. That's when I cut my toenails in the living room. Because that gets under his skin.]

2.) When he was like 10, my husband was a semi-finalist in the Nintendo World Championship. Apparently, a freak aversion to Rad Racer tripped him up and he was ousted, with only a cap to show for his efforts. Still, he'll tell anyone all about it whenever he can tangentially relate it to a conversation. I bet he's even told people at work. And they let him show up there anyway. In fact, he's told this story in my presence so many times that I am loathe to hear it again. Of course, my friends [if you can call such people friends] bring it up whenever they can just to see me squirm.

So, at the baby's baptism, what did he get?

Two t-shirts, the first of which reads "I'm with the Marching Band," and the second, "Future Nintento Semi-Finalist."


[Pictures forthcoming on, you know, one of those days where I have hours laying around to get things done.]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Before and After

A lot of relationships are defined by "befores" and "afters."

And so it is with me and D, one of those people in this world that just gets me, in all my OMG-I-ate-too-many-brownies-I'm-going-to-throw-up glory. And I get her, and I understand how she can watch a Dr. Phil about morbidly obese people and sadly observe "These people have no self-control" while shoving Entenmann's cookies in her mouth.

But was that before?

Before her fiance got cancer? Before I got pregnant?

Those two events coalesced into an axis of estrangement that neither of us could really break through. My heart was breaking for her, and I just couldn't talk to her about the baby.

I know it was the wrong thing to do. Evil, even. But how could I be joyful about anything while she was in the midst of such pain?

So, I did what came easily. I avoided talking about myself, and eventually we both got so deeply involved in our stories that we drifted apart.

But now it's after.

Yesterday, we finally spilled our guts to each other and suddenly we're right back in law school IM'ing each other into laughing fits that get us dirty looks from our peers.

It's a good thing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Sneaker Story

So, I mentioned earlier that I'd tell you guys the shoe story. Well, it's 11:28 PM and I've got to get this post up pretty quickly because 1.) I'm trying to keep up with NaBloPoMo and 2.) seriously? It's 11:28 and someone's got to get the baby to bed and I don't think it's going to be the man singing along to Celebrity Don't Forget the Lyrics - En Vogue Edition and dancing around the living room, baby in hand.

So, the backstory: SIL has, by far, the worst case of Keeping-Up-With-The-Joneses of anyone I will ever meet. Example: She moved 2 hours from where she and her husband lived to "beat" us to our chosen suburb - she'd never even been to this place before the day she bought a house here. I kid you not, my friends. This is what we're dealing with.

The shoes:

SIL1 had obsessively purchased Stride-Rite shoes for her son every X number of days since he could walk. Whatever, right? I figured she had an affinity for the brand (and style - because that little boy wore exactly the same color and style shoe for the first four years of his life) and left it at that.

Then he got to kindergarten, and SIL convinced herself that her son was about to be tortured on the playground. The reason? His shoes.

So SIL? Spent $105 on a new pair of shoes for her son. Who's in kindergarten. With completely unremarkable feet. $105!

I know, I know: mind my own beeswax. And I do. I've never mentioned the shoe story to anyone, except, oh, the whole internets.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Please check out the Pioneer Woman's blog this week - Marlboro Man and the girls are in the Dominican Republic with the aid group Compassion. What an experience.

And, as a bonus while you're over there, get sucked into Black Heels for a while.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mommy Vice

I've got a Mommy Vice.

I don't much care about what brand of clothing the little one sports (I gravitate to the clearance rack of our local Carter's outlet), what kind of shoe he'll wear (look for a post on SIL's shoe meltdown sometime soon), the brand of his crib (he's quite happy and comfortable in this little number), toys (unless they try to maim him, also a post for another day), my diaper bag, or the like.

But, Heavens to Moses [is that the right phrase?], I love my stroller. From its hi-tech rubber-coated chrome-finish wheels to its cushioned, telescoping handle and all its parts in between, I can't use it enough.

I don't know exactly when I morphed from regular person into stroller-psycho, but the crazy's taken over. Even now, post-stroller purchase and utterly content with our one and only baby-mobile, I still check out stroller message boards to hear about the latest and greatest innovations in child carts. And, I confess, I cannot help but glance at nearly every single stroller I pass, though, at this point, I've checked out so many strollers that one has to be either (a.) incredibly rare or (b.) really, truly awful to warrant a second look.

Also? I get a little thrill when other moms check out Tom's ride. Not because I'm vain about it [OK, not
only because I'm a little vain], but because every now and then, in the briefest moment at a Barnes and Noble/Target/TJ Maxx/whathaveyou, it happens. Just by the look in her eye, I'll know it. I've found a fellow stroller-phile. Then the baby will punt a toy across the room and we'll both move on with our day.

So, what's your Mommy Vice?

And for the record, I push the
UppaBaby Vista, whose line is so awesome that it's not long until it takes over the world. Or, you know, the [reserving my commentary] Bugaboo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time To Vote

Have you voted? I pulled a lever today!

I can't say I'm completely, 100%, ZOMG IN LUUUUUV with one ticket or the other, and there are some issues very personal to my life and my situation that have been weighing heavily on my mind. In the end, I had to choose the person about whose leadership I would feel most confident.

No matter the outcome, I'm glad I fulfilled my civic duty, and I hope that the integrity of each person's right to a [single] vote is upheld tonight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who Could It Be, Now?

Albert Einstein?

The Quaker Oats man?

No, gentle readers...

It's a boy who loves his Papa.

I think the feeling is mutual.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hallo-Weenies/Petty Larceny

I'll get you some pictures of the Apple Monster thoroughly enjoying his Halloween adventures with his grandfather as soon as I find a cord to hook up my mother's EasyShare to my computer, as I didn't realize I'd forgotten my DSLR on the kitchen island until it was too late.

But for now, the events that transpired on my front yard Friday night:

4 PM: Pay the 8th grader next door two Twix bars to break into a bedroom window because the house keys were sitting next to the camera in the kitchen.

5 PM: Regret feeding the baby prunes; clean up resultant poop-splosion.

5:30 PM: Put Jack the Pumpkin Head just outside on the entryway, leaving glass door locked, main front door open, so I can hear trick-or-treating happening while I nurse the baby in the next room. NOTE: Jack is teeming with full-sized candy bars.

6 PM: Hear first trick-or-treaters, one of whom exclaims "Look at all the candy these people have!" Place sleeping infant in his crib, grab monitor, head to front door.

6:01 PM: Mothers of young children notice me at the door, hurriedly rush off of my entryway, off of the yard, skip neighbor's houses, and run down the street.

6:02 PM: To my horror, discover that Jack? Is now empty.

6:03 PM: Whilst standing in the yard looking distraught, Dental Hygienist neighbor asks what's going on. Aghast, she takes off in her SUV to confront the offenders.

6:04 PM: DenHyg reports that they do not speak English, or are pretending to not speak English.

6:45 PM: Spotting the offenders making their way back up the street (the beauty of living on a cul-de-sac is revealed: they must return to the scene of the crime!), nonchalantly inquire as to whether they might know who took every candy out of Jack? "Oh, no, we took one per person," they offer. So they do speak English! "That's strange," I reply, "because you're the only trick-or-treaters so far tonight, and there's about 8 kids in your group, and I left out enough candy for more than 50 children." Return to the house.

6:46 PM: Watch through the drapes as mothers put some candy back into Jack. Start to feel a little better about the situation.

6:48 PM: Discover that about 10 "fun-size" candies were put back, in place of the 50+ full-size candies that were stolen.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

In Comparison

On her birthday in 2004, my sister, four years my senior, forty times the lawyer I'll ever be, sent me the following, no doubt in response to a message of malaise from yours truly:

"Going to law school sucks. Going to law school does not suck as bad as working for a law firm. Working for a law firm does not suck as bad as being a soldier in Iraq. Being a soldier in Iraq does not suck as bad as being a POW in a warcamp. Being a POW does not suck as bad as....well, I don't know. Anyway, you get the point. Sometimes I like to switch it up a little by throwing in something like "working in Wal-Mart" or "being Grandma when Mom won't leave her alone." It keeps it interesting."

I big puffy pink heart her. You would too if you knew her. You might already; what do I know?

Anyway, I thought perhaps some law student might find this one day and take some comfort in it.