Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pedicures and the Definition of Ability

I managed to paint my toenails Opi "Oriental Red" last night during a nice quiet moment with the dogs on the couch after Ian went to work and the kids finally fell asleep. I have to enjoy those quiet nights while I've got 'em! Ian just scored a sweet union job at Yale, so we're pretty much set for life. The benefits alone are amazing, nevermind pension, etc. While he'll still keep some shifts at the bar--that money is just too easy and too good to pass up, especially with Christmas coming--they'll likely be cut back at some point in the future. So for now, with the dogs bookending me in the livingroom, I'll enjoy my home pedicures followed by a little yoga.

I have to find a new nighttime routine anyway. It's playoff season for baseball, and I'll follow the games despite the fact that all the NY teams are out. I usually root for the AL...but we'll see this year. Six months or more out of the year I do yoga in front of a game on TV at night. But I admit it won't be the same this October. I will miss the musings of Ken Singleton, lulling me into statistics nirvana as I arch into upward bow.

Playoff season. Football season. Time for chili and cornbread. Time for more visits to Grandma's kitchen table, where I sat with her for an impromptu breakfast on my way to work last week. While we munched away on pumpkin muffins, she spoke of a good friend who had recently lost another friend to cancer.

"I guess she gave it a good fight," Grandma noted, her own body beating the odds and living with liver cancer that has shrunk considerably in the past year. "She was only in her mid-50s. What a story that woman had, though."

"Oh yeah?" I wondered, mouth full of pumpkin muffin. "What about it?"

"Well, her son contracted spinal menengitis as a child, and both of his arms and legs had to amputated--can you imagine?"

I stared at her, not chewing. No, I could not imagine.

"Because of that, she went on to argue for the importance of the vaccine, and it's because of her work on Capitol Hill that incoming college freshman have to be innoculated against it."

"That's really inspiring and really horrible."

"Well, it gets better. Her son recently competed in the ParaOlympics in Beijing. I can't remember if he's a swimmer, or--well, whatever his event is, he won the gold."

"That is amazing," I said, ready to cry. "Does he use prosthetics?"

"I guess he has them but dislikes using them, so he usually doesn't. He wasn't going to compete because his mother was at that point VERY sick, but his family encouraged him to go to China. So he went. I guess they kept the events on the television in his mother's hospital room. She had been pretty unresponsive up to that point, but whenever his name was mentioned on television, they noticed her heart rate would jump up. After he won the gold, she died."

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I trekked along at break-neck pace on my pre-dinner walk last week, passing by the home of my mother's best friend, Diane, who happened to be outside. I popped out the iPod earbuds and stopped and sat with her on the deck, catching up on the latest in each other's lives.

Diane has known me my whole life, since she and my mother became friends as freshmen in college, where I would accompany my very young mom to class on occasion. I have clear memories of those days as the daughter of a single mom who attended an all-woman's college in the 1970s. From a historical standpoint, it was a radical time. From my perspective as a five-year-old at her mother's college graduation party, it was a time to soak each other with water pistols filled with beer.

Thirty years later Diane and I sat and talked. It is moments like that in which I am trilled to have moved back to the neighborhood from whence I came, loving the full-circle of things--to an extent. She asked me about the boys, the dogs, Ian, work, etc. Toward the end of our 45 minute chat, she asked me about my ex-husband and how he was doing. I filled her in, happy to give her the updates and pleased that she, along with so many people, still asks for him and hopes he is well. After all, he and I had been together since we were 19, for a total of 13 years before it all blew apart. In the end, he is family. Especially because we are forever bonded as parents of the two best kids ever.

I mentioned to Diane that he'll be at the wedding, when Ian and I tie the knot next spring. She asked how he was doing with "it all", and I answered that he seemed fine, content in a relationship with a great woman that's been cooking for about a year, and happy to be working in New York. "Does he plan to remarry any time soon?" she wondered. I laughed, "No. I don't think so. Unless I'm just clueless. And I can be."

"Yeah, well, or maybe he's just not ready and you are."


"Or maybe he's just not over it. I mean, on some level, he could still be hanging on to the fact that you guys just seemed inevitable. Everyone thought so. It seemed like you would always be together--you had to be together."

I nodded. I wasn't sure how to respond. Inevitable? Us? Me and him? Maybe for a time, sure. We were. But damn it all we fucking tried to make that marriage work and it DID NOT. We tried, we tried, we tried... it was over long before any transgressions or separations. And still, we tried.

"Who knows," I finally said. "I mean, in some ways, when you have kids, you never get over the fact that you're divorced. We certainly never intended as parents to blow up the worlds of our two children, but that's what happened. It's what was happening anyway, though, and splitting up finally stopped the bleeding. I have a hard time forgiving myself for getting divorced solely for the impact it had on the kids, although I know we're all better for it than if we had stayed together just for the sake of the kids or simple, sickening codependence. So no, maybe he's not over it. I don't know. Inevitable? I don't know. What's inevitable? Maybe inevitable is really me and Ian, since I met Ian at the first party Keith and I ever went to together. Or maybe inevitable is the fact that Keith and I are meant to simply always be in each other's lives, because of the kids--as family but not as a couple. I don't know. I try not to question these things so much, Diane. It makes me crazy. Obviously. I mean, listen to me ramble."

"Well, no matter how you analyze it, you're lucky you get along so well, and the kids are going to benefit from the fact that you do. And that Ian gets along with Keith, and vice versa. I mean, you guys made it work even if you couldn't make it work."

"Thanks," I said. "That means a lot."

We chatted for a few more minutes, until I realized it was getting dark and way past dinnertime. I said goodbye, popped on the iPod and walked home quickly, nodding to other people walking by on their evening constitutionals. Inevitable? I kept thinking of the word. I wanted to cry, but I didn't. Some days I feel like I've come pretty far out of the shell I lived in during my first marriage. I've made mistakes, I've made improvements, I've kept the bills paid and the kids fed, relatively clean, and pretty happy. I've fallen in love again and this time, wow...this time it really is different. Now I *get* it, because if I didn't I sure wouldn't be getting married. Still, I felt like bursting into tears--but I didn't. I should have, though, just to let it out. But I didn't. I didn't want to cry on my evening walk. I didn't want to feel sorry for myself because I couldn't live my life hiding behind a fake smile in family pictures. Nope. I have to be proud of myself for saying so and making a break for it before even worse damage was done.

A few minutes later, drowning in a murky, self-obsessed swamp of pride and self-doubt, I turned down my street and headed toward the house. The kids were outside on their scooters and bikes with their best buddy from next door. Nolan spotted me and took off running up the sidewalk toward me. He leapt into my arms and hugged me. "Mommy, Mommy! We're taking turns winning!"

Yes we are.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Fall

And what better way to spend the last full day of summer on Sunday than at a fair with the kids, my grandmother, her brother and Ian. And I capped off the night watching all the pageantry and sentimental infield romping at Yankee Stadium for what was the last game ever played there---and Pettitte was the starting pitcher. AND they won.

I finished more curtains. Maybe I'll get around to posting pics soon. And I'm gearing up to stitch together a lil' lap quilt. Love those Moda packs of 5x5 squares.

Time to pick up the runts and head to Tae Kwon Do.

Happy Tuesday.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

Heide, Josh and Delma welcomed their latest addition at 5:17 AM! Their newest girl was born at St. Raphael's this morning, weighing in at 7lb 14oz and measuring 20.75 inches long. Welcome, Mimi!!!!!!

I can't wait to sniff the new baby!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I don't like moments like the one I endured this morning. They are the absolute drag of parenthood, and they are unfortunately some of the most important ones, too.

Nolan was whiney from the get-go today. Starting at 6AM when he woke up squealing "like a ninny", as Ian likes to say, until he was out the door with Ian and Sean at 8AM for the walk to school. In the meantime, his whiney-ness was peppered with his typical charm: he sat and watched cartoons in only his underwear, snuggled in a big fleece blanket with a single, bare foot poking out. He smiled that smile he has--a smile that outshines most. He flashed his dark little hazel eyes and arched his eyebrows while asking for Cheetos. ("No, Nolan. We don't eat Cheetos at 7:30 in the morning, honey.") He giggled and cuddled and wrestled with Sean. So far, despite being a little whiney, it was an okay morning.

Then it was time to leave for school.

Sean, my typically well-behaved first-born who is eager to please and devastated when he gets in trouble, waited patiently by the front door with his backpack while Nolan, still without socks or shoes on, tore through his closet upstairs on the hunt for a toy to bring to the aftercare program today at school.

"I want Venom!"

Venom, for the unititiated, is the dark side of Spider-Man. Exhibit A:

We have two Venom action figures in the house. One rides a motorcycle. The other is a simple, poseable "guy". Nolan had found the motorcycle but not the accompanying figure. He was not happy to take the simple "guy" with him to school.

Ian called from the stairwell: "Nolan, got your shoes on yet?"

"I'm trying to find Venom! I NEED to take him to after care!"

"Get your shoes on, Nolan."

And from there on, chaos ensued. Nolan whined and cried while putting on his sneakers. He whined and cried about having to take the "wrong" action figure to school. He whined and cried about being torn away from his closet to go to school. He whined and cried because we didn't have time to look through closets and toyboxes and baskets for the other Venom. It was time for school, and that's all we had time for. At the top of the stairs, he threw Venom and began to scream in a wail worthy of a call to DCF. I picked up the toy and sternly told him:

"You can either take this guy or nothing to school. Do you want to take nothing to school?"

"No," he whimpered.

"Then you'll stop screaming. And you will take this toy and get your backpack on. What do you say for yelling like that at me and Ian?"

Whimper: "Sorry."

"Thank you. Now get your backpack on and let's go."

At this point, we were all by the front door, which was wide open. Neighbors waved as they walked to school or got in their cars for work. Birds chirped. Squirrels scampered. The roofers across the street were busy ripping off the old shingles of our neighbor's house. Nolan seemed poised, briefly, for a nice walk on a sunny September morning. Then he remembered:

"I don't want this Venom! I want the other guy!"

At the front door he stood screaming at me. Sean was still patiently waiting to leave, this time on the sidewalk. Ian was on the porch. Nolan had once again morphed into an abysmal four year old. He was shrieking. It's not an exaggeration. I walked over to him and took the toy out of his hands.

"That's it, Nolan. You blew it. It was this guy or nothing, but you screamed at me again, so you get nothing."


"Go," I said to Ian. "Just go to school. Pick him up and go."

My heart broke. They walked up the street, Ian calmly carrying Nolan as he wailed, "Mooooooooooommmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I want my VENOM!" Sean scuffed along behind Ian. The neighborhood got a show.

I hated the whole thing. It's not that I don't like saying no to my kids. I need to say no, and often I'm quite comfortable with it. But I can't stand knowing that Nolan, for whatever reason befitting a four year old, was just having an absolutely rotten morning. He couldn't keep it together, and he couldn't follow the rules, which were simple: Behave, and you can take a toy to school. Don't behave, and you get nothing.

He's also the second kid, a role typically viewed as more difficult than the first. I don't know if he's more difficult--he's a real sweetheart. I don't like labels like "difficult", and I don't like treating my children or any child as if they are destined to be one way or another because of their birth order or any other irreversible fact about their life. But Nolan sure knows how to push buttons. He'll charm the pants offa ya and flash you a great smile while in the act of doing exactly what you've told him not to do. Sean, meanwhile, dissolves into a heap of tears if I simply look like I'm angry at him for misbehaving. He also finds creative ways to negotiate. He will come back to me a half hour after a discussion about something, because he's found a loophole in the arrangement. It's pretty amusing if frustrating, and I admire his thought process. But Nolan? When Nolan really wants something he can't have, he practically burns down the house--and then spits on it.

At the same time, he's the kid who crawls all over the dogs and hugs them. For all of his swagger and fiesty energy--and he has it in spades--he's an absolute love. He likes to be barefoot in the grass (and just about everywhere else). Sean, meanwhile, always has socks on his feet, and he prefers climate-controlled environments in which he can buy Doritos from a vending machine. But he always gets an extra bag for his screaming, barefoot and dirty little brother who rolls around in a pack of hairy animals. Sean tends toward being quietly thoughtful and considerate. Nolan tends toward being instensely affectionate and hands-on. They are as different as night and day.

And they teach me everything.

I didn't like being firm this morning. Really I just wanted everyone to be happy and not have to deal with any crap from anyone about anything. I just wanted to put on mascara in peace and maybe have an uninterrupted conversation with myself, let alone with someone else. But having children means being firmly rooted in the present moment and responding to the situations at hand, good or bad, while anticipating without anxiety what-comes-next. It's a delicate balance of energy and patience, hence my love-hate relationship with coffee.

My mom always said she wasn't "raising kids", but instead was "raising thinkers, taxpayers and voters." I understand: It's our job to raise our kids to function in the world. Whether or not they are smart is secondary to whether or not they work hard for what they achieve, grades or salary. Whether or not they are popular is less important than whether they treat others kindly and extend that same kindness to themselves and all living beings. Whether or not they are wealthy is far less important than if they are simply fiscally responsible. I just want them to be content with what they have and happy in their own skin while being compassionate, hard working people.

Am I setting them up to fail? Am I asking too much? Maybe I am.

Regardless, you don't get what you want in life by screaming and throwing things and pitching a full-blown hissy fit. I don't care how charming you are or how much I love you, it ain't gonna fly with me if you act like this:

Phew. It's Wednesday.



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Today's Double-Shot of Confidence Brought to You by a First Grader

Ian crawls into bed very late some nights after his shifts at the bar. Consequently, the following mornings I usually try to deflect the kids' attention and energy from our room, where they normally like to snuggle and wrestle in bed with the two of us and the two dogs. (We really need a king-sized bed. This queen thing is barely cuttin' it.)

This morning was no exception. Leaving Ian and the dogs to slumber in peace, I followed Nolan's morning "Mommy! Mommy!" whimpers into the kids' room, where his little mouse voice pleaded, "Snuggle, Mommy! Snuggle!" Sean climbed down from the top bunk to join us for a little cuddle time before I got up to make the coffee. (Yes, I'm sorta back on coffee. I drink it a few mornings a week; but the majority of the time I stick to my PG Tips tea with milk.) He might be almost seven years old, but he still loves his cuddles with mom.

As he descended the ladder and hit the floor, he looked at Nolan's bed and exclaimed with an embarassed tone: "Mommy!"

"What?" I couldn't imagine what I had done.

"You're so short your feet don't even reach the end of the bed! You are SO SHORT."

"Yes, I am. And that's one of the reasons you love me, right?"

"Yeah. But seriously, Mom. I can't BELIEVE how SHORT you are."

I never really think of myself as short, though. Only when I'm trying to reach something in a high cabinet, or when I have to move the driver's seat up after Ian's been in my car. Or when I want to buy a long-sleeve shirt that isn't petite, and the damn arms hang down to my knees.

I don't mind. At least my abbreviated height will always keep my kids laughing, which is one of my priorities in life anyway.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Life and Death, Rock and Roll

Ian texted me Friday night from work at the bar: "Copland tonight."

Sgt. Aponte, the recently fallen New Haven officer, was waked Friday night two blocks from Rudy's. So it was no surprise to anyone that the bar was packed that evening with many a sweet 'stache playing the likes of (eek!) Nickelback on the jukebox.

Ian didn't have many nice things to say about their song selections the next morning at the breakfast table. I tried to see it a different way: "Maybe Aponte loved Nickelback," I suggested. "I mean, one of their own just died. I think they're entitled to play whatever they want."

Then again, in 10 years behind the bar, Ian's heard just about everything--and music is the least of it. (Bartenders hear every conversation and know everything about your life. Some might even know more about your life than you do.) The past couple of years, however, the music has gotten much worse--ever since the bar replaced its standard, well-loved jukebox with a new, soulless "internet" one.

Once upon a time the jukebox at Rudy's was legendary. It featured carefully chosen albums (and mix CDs) that offered a wide range in genre (from jazz and classic rock to punk and hardcore) and popularity (from corporate rock and one-hit-wonders to local bands and obscure B-sides). To strike a balance like that on any jukebox requires talent. It's an art. In fact, I've enountered two such jukeboxes in my life: The first being at Rudy's; The second is at 7B's, a bar on the corner of 7th Street and Avenue B in New York. The bar actually has a different name, but everyone calls it 7B's. I haven't been there in ages, but I digress.

The new jukebox at Rudy's features just about every song you could ever want to hear. For a price, you can play pretty much anything. There is an upside to this: Deeper tracks from less-popular albums are available to hear. But few people appreciate this option. Or maybe I'm just being cranky about change. After all, I don't go to Rudy's very much anymore. I've scaled back to going there just a handful of times a year, preferring to hit the likes of Firehouse 12 on the now-rare occasion of going out for a drink. And at Firehouse 12, I can get a good glass of wine. But I do like going to Rudy's once in a while, and when I do, I miss the old jukebox.

This past weekend I didn't go to any bars. I stayed home and sewed all night on Friday, while Ian slung beers for cops. I sewed the kitchen valances; yesterday I finished sewing the curtains for the kids' room, as well as one for the mudroom by the fish bowl and the turtle tank. Since I'm pretty much done with curtains, I need to move on to something new. Next up: A few purses from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. And then I'm onto sewing my first quilt--a loosey, goosey, easy-breezy pattern from the same book. After all the coasters, napkins, make-up bags, change-purses, and curtains that I've sewn, it's time to branch out beyond stitching all things square and rectangular.

And while driving to yoga class yesterday, I saw the best thing: Two boys--most likely brothers, about ages 8 and 10--were on the corner of Cold Spring and Livingston Streets. Their bikes were parked about 4 feet from them, and they were having a contest to see who could spit the farthest--and reach their bike. It made my day.

Also, a word of unsolicited advice: If you're having trouble getting motivated to clean your house, throw on some Zeppelin. I did this on Saturday. It's been a while since I felt the need to hear Zeppelin (Renee pretty much killed them for me in high school), but Saturday morning I threw on their fourth (and untitled) album, and rocked out while dusting and vacuuming. "Misty Mountain Hop" and "When the Levee Breaks" sounded really good Saturday morning while I cleaned and Hurricane Ike raged in Texas. Maybe it's because I threw vinyl on the turntable. It's the only way to listen to most anything, really.

When the Levee Breaks.... Hard to believe that was already three years ago.

Happy Monday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Life is a Journey, with Steve Perry to Guide You

I'm pissed that all the YouTube videos for Journey's "Separate Ways" have their embedding disabled. So annoying. I was totally psyched to post it here today, after hanging out at Renee's last night, where Courtney and I had a long talk about the relative awesomeness of Journey (which I finally understand at age 35), and in particular the greatness of that video. Courtney was STOKED to talk about it: "You know all those songs are about his ex-wife? It's so sad! And "Oh, Sherry"??? That's about her--and she's in the video!"

We then went on to talk about how we missed the days when "Hot" rockstars were so freaking ugly and not hot at all. I miss those days. They just rocked, and that's what made them so awesome. Steve Perry wouldn't stand a chance in these metrosexual times.

Last night was so great. Such a simple, good night with friends that didn't involve being at Toad's for a show. We ate cake and pretzels and drank wine. The girls talked away and made lots of jokes at the boys' expense--the boys being Renee's boyfriend Jeff, Ian, and Laurie's amazing-and-growing-like-a-weed son, Chris. Just the four of us girls and the guys. Talking about the mundane (Journey), the big stuff (fill in your own blanks here), and fun stuff like crime. Case in point: Courtney's purse was stolen on Chapel St. yesterday. We all wondered why Craig wasn't there to save her.

Craig. Craig is one of the most incredible friends that I have, and I'm honored and blessed to have him as such a close person in my life. Especially since he is a writer by day and superhero by night. Just read the following police report from the New Haven Independent:

Daylight Mugging At Edgewood Park
by Melissa Bailey
September 2, 2008 5:02 PM

A 33 year-old woman walking in Edgewood Park was punched twice and then robbed Sunday afternoon.

The incident occurred around 1:25 p.m.

The woman was walking near the foot bridge past the dog run, that connects the road through the park with the woods on the other side of the West River. The mugger took her wallet and fled. The woman screamed.

A friend of the woman happened to be riding his bike through the park at the time on his way home from work. He rode after the mugger on the dirt path, caught up with him, and confronted him. He demanded that the mugger give him the bag he was carrying. The mugger did. He also flashed a screwdriver, and got away.

It turned out the bag had other people’s wallets in it, but not the woman’s.

The block watch is circulating an as-yet unconfirmed report that two 14-year-olds may have been mugged in the park, too.

Craig is the "friend of the woman". To quote one comment after the article, Craig has "balls the size of church bells" for confronting the mugger. I'll say. I've had AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" in my head for more than a week.

But even superheroes can't be everywhere all the time, so Courtney was SOL when her purse disappeared yesterday. She was more upset about the fact that it was her only fancy-pants accessory--a Marc Jacobs--than about having to cancel the cards inside it. I commented that I'm trying to be less attached to stuff, but even I would be bummed if I lost a Marc Jacobs. Then the conversation turned to seven years ago yesterday, and how on 9/11 and in the days immediately following, the value of a designer purse would have been easily relegated to the bottom of the priorities barrel.

Courtney also spent 45 minutes on hold with the police dept. after she called in to report her purse missing. The irony is that it was stolen just a couple of blocks from the scene of a major police investigation that is currently underway after two New Haven officers crashed their squad cars while responding to a domestic call in Fair Haven late Tuesday night. One officer is dead; the other remains in critical condition. It's been a sad week in New Haven.

I never used to appreciate the work of police officers until I lived in Westville and frequently called in some pretty nasty crap I saw going on in the neighborhood. Perhaps the turning point was the night I called in an obvious asshole drugdealer parked in front of my house, waiting to sell to someone who was more than likely about to drive up and toss money through the car window and receive his dope through the same. I had seen it a million times before, especially when I was home during the day with two little kids.

I called it in (I kind of HAD to, since I was a blockwatch captain. My neighbors called me McGruff.). Within minutes, several squad cars arrived and blocked in the car. As I watched from my bedroom as Office Lalli, a cop I had come to know through the blockwatch, step out of his car and approach the rolled-up, tinted windows of the bass-thumping, shitty Integra parked outside my house, my heart leapt to my throat. Police officers never know what the hell they're walking into. Ever. That kind of bravery does not excuse the bullshit some cops pull when they abuse their power and authority. But it made me respect cops much, much more.

They arrested the driver. It even made the paper, since the arrest netted $2k worth of heroin AND $2k in cash. Idiot. And of course the seller was some white trash kid from the Valley. Nice.

Anyway, back to today:

It's Friday. I am so tired. I was up past my bedtime last night, and I overslept this morning, since the kids were at their dad's and Ian & I had the odd day without two boys jumping on the bed at 6AM. This weekend I'll finish up sewing the kitchen valances, and maybe I'll even make a dent printing some photos. At the very least, I'm going to get some yoga in. I'm also going to play with my new Sony cellphone. I love new toys! I love expensive phones that I can get for a penny from Amazon, as part of some "deal" that is really just a bunch of BS but makes me feel like I got a bargain! Wheee!! Hooray for fancy, red $400 cellphones that are only worth $50!

And next on the agenda: We'll finally meet the JP who is going to marry us. :o)

Don't forget about Journey.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last night at bed, while half-asleep and anxious to tell me about their day, Nolan launched into a story about a little girl in his class who cries every day after her mother leaves. He's very worried about her.

"But when will she stop crying, Mommy?"

"As soon as she feels comfortable being at school. Maybe you can help her feel comfortable by being a good friend to her."

"Well, I will. But first I have to listen to my teachers and sit at my desk and take out my folder with the papers in it."

I won't argue with that.

Sean piped up from the top bunk: "Daddy saw a fox."

"Really? How cool! When?"

"The other day at his house. I saw it, too."

"You did? What did it look like?"

"It was red, and was creeping along the back of Joe's yard. He was like a little dog."

His eyes were almost closed at this point. My little boy was drifting off to sleep, dreaming of foxes.

Speaking of foxes, Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox is due to come out...eventually. It's been in post-production forever, but it should hopefully be out soon. And Ian sent me a link this morning to the following tidbit from Variety:

Source: Variety
by: Daniel Barna

Wes Anderson is known for his completely original scripts, idiosyncratic little ditties that can charm even the most hardened of souls. It comes as somewhat of a surprise then, to learn that Anderson is tapped to write MY BEST FRIEND, a remake of the 2006 Patrice Leconte-directed French comedy MON MEILLEUR AMI. Apparently Anderson is also interested in directing the film, which centers around a cranky antiques dealer who learns at a dinner with his closest friends that none of them actually like him because of he's a selfish prick (sounds like my average Saturday night). When his business partner bets him a valuable vase that he can't produce a best friend, the dealer tries to get an likeable cab driver to pose as his bffaeae. Sounds like the perfect project for Anderson. Nevermind the usual high concept story and the eccentric ensemble cast, he also gets to play with antiques!

I can't wait. The release of The Darjeeling Limited seems so long ago!

Here's a little something for your Wednesday. I fell in love with Wes Anderson's brain when I saw Bottle Rocket in 1996. :o)

Happy Hump Day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Didn't I Just Do This?

I moved again. I'm in my "new" office around the corner and down the hall from my old one. Same job. Same people. Different digs. So, as if moving my home wasn't enough, I now need to adjust to the new space here at work. Apparently, I'm not afraid of change.


In other news, I'm kind of over the word "poop". My youngest son is four, and kids of three or four years old just looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove to talk about poop. Every chance they get, they sneak some poop into a story, song, or dinner conversation. I have no evidence that girls are like this; for the most part, I have been surrounded by little boys the past six years or so. And most of the boys, especially mine, are poop-obsessed during the preschool years.

If you don't believe me, consider Nolan's modified lyrics of this song, which he sung just last night:

Twinkle, twinkle, little poop
How I wonder what you poop
Up above the world so poop
Like a diamond in the poop
[note: this last line elicited much laughter from Sean and even me...]
Twinkle, twinkle, little poop
How I poop-poop poop poop pooooooooooooooooooooooooooop.

In other news, the Yanks got whacked last night by the Angels. Pudge Rodriguez started a fight and was suspended. I love players that make the sign of the cross every chance they get--at the plate, after a hit, crossing the plate... and then throw punches on the field. How Christian of them. God must be so proud. Regardless, and leaving God out of it, they're definitely not making it to the playoffs this year. And, Yankee fan that I am, I think that's a good thing. I love the Yanks, but the only way to start winning again is to first start losing again--badly. They'll need to clean house, get rid of their older players, and take on a younger team. I wish to God they would get rid of A-Rod, whose contract with the Yanks has in all likelihood Reversed the Curse. But I said I would leave God out of it, so....

And there will be no Supersuckers for me this week after all. Renee has decided she wants to hang at her new apartment with all of us instead. It's okay. Between all of us who will be together on Thursday, we've probably seen the Supersuckers more than 50 times. We can skip a show to eat cake and drink wine in Goatville.

In the meantime, I should REALLY get downtown today to finally pay the car taxes. I can't complain: Ian's car is in the shop, so we've got a loaner. I get to drive a brand new C-Class for the day. I fit right in around the Cove. I just need to put on about four more pounds of makeup.

Is it 5 yet? I owe Sean some mom time with two board games tonight. Wonder which ones he'll choose...

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Put It on The List

There are lots of lists in our house. They are typically broken down into the following categories: grocery store; hardware store; pet store; Costco; To-Do's for the kids' school; wedding planning, and so on. But there is one list that trumps all others. It is simply known as The List.

The List cannot be found on paper anywhere in the house, nor is it limited to purchases, tasks, or future planning of one sort or another. Instead, The List is simply a memorized and oft-referred to Grand Plan of Chores, Errands, Things, Dates, Budgets, Hopes, and Dreams. Anything is fair game for The List. In fact, most things are assigned to The List before they are appropriately reassigned and recategorized into a sub-list.

An example goes something like this:

Me: "Honey, we should really fix the leak in the shower."

Ian: "It's on The List."

This means it's in his brain, and he won't forget to write down the supplies he needs next time he heads to the hardware store. [Note: Ian went to the store today with a list, and later fixed the shower. What a man.]

Another example goes something like this:

Me: "Honey, I really want to get an apartment on the Riviera. Can we do that?"

Ian: "It's on The List."

So far, that item (and many other items of mine), have remained fixed on The List and have not yet been "reassigned".

In that vein, we tackled a lot this weekend: The last room to get organized--the study--was finally put in some kind of order. I managed to get halfway through sewing the bathroom curtains, in between two neighbors stopping by with their kids and my mom calling me on the phone "for just a sec". Long walks with the dogs, Thai with Ian Friday followed by beers with Renee and Jeff at le Rude, downloading the latest Beck album, and cooking a yummy gnocchi and pesto dinner on Saturday went a long way in making the weekend awesome. Not to mention the kids playing with the hose in the driveway yesterday, as we washed my car and simultaneously hosed down Cee Cee (Sparkplug ran and hid--she's not a big fan of the hose)...and the grass...and the neighbor's grass....and the kitchen window...and each other.

Ooh! And I have a basketful of apples I'm going to core and peel with my new apple peeler from Heide! I'm all set to make streudel.... mmmmm....where is my domestic goddess crown? Oh, right...tarnished and tossed long ago. Time to get a new one, I guess.

In other news, the wedding invitations have been picked out and purchased (Oh, Etsy!!! How I love thee!!). My sister and I will finally go dress shopping in a few weeks. I'm so looking forward to that, since I'm not buying a traditional "bridal" gown. In fact, I'm not buying a gown at all. I'm not even buying anything that falls below my knees.

Today is spectacular. Have you been outside? I went home at lunch to play with the dogs and eat leftovers. The sky is such a gorgeous blue. I had forgotten how beautiful early September can be. Beautiful time of year for a birthday. This Thursday is Renee's. We'll celebrate it at the Supersuckers show...

In the spirit of that, here's some old Supersuckers for ya, back when I used to go see them at the Wetlands and CB's. I think this week will be the sixth or seventh time I've seen them. Eddie Spaghetti. Swoon.....

Happy Monday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Taxes, Fabric, Drinks on a Friday

My car needs an oil change. I also need to finally pay my car taxes. We had an issue where my car was being taxed in the wrong town, because our section of New Haven shares a zip code with the neighboring East Haven. I knew that if I ignored the oversight and paid the taxes for East Haven--which are far cheaper--it would all eventually come back to bite me in the ass. So I had the error corrected, and now I owe $577 to the City of New Haven. How's THAT for a bite in the ass?

As a result, I am at risk of getting the boot on my car until I pay up, which I plan to do next week. I plan to take Ian's car on the errand to City Hall, as well, since it would be my Irish luck to get towed while inside paying the late bill (officially due yesterday, since my transfer of taxes didn't happen until August). I won't argue with a chance to drive the 4matic.

However, tonight when I head out with Renee and Jeff for our quarterly visit to Rudy's while Ian's working, I'll leave my car in a nearby lot. I do NOT need to leave the bar after a couple of beers and a pile of frites to find my car missing. Not tonight--a night long overdue at the crap-ass dive bar we all love to hate because we love it so much. I'm sure we'll be out of there before 10:30. I'm a lightweight, and that is a good thing.

In the meantime, I've got bidniss to finish up here at work. Heide's left for maternity leave and I am SO SAD. I miss her already. As for the house, we're pretty well settled in, with our quirky, snaking stairwell bedecked in Ian's awesome collection of movie posters (Scorpio, Marnie, Blade Runner...). The last room to officially tackle is the study, which right now needs more shelves because our combined collection of books has taken over the house and spilled onto the floor with nowhere left to go.

I also plan to finally sew up some curtains for the bathroom and kitchen this weekend. For the bathroom, I'm using cooordinating prints from Heather Ross that rock:


And for the kitchen, I've got some of Sandi Henderson's Apple Dot cotton. I LOVE this fabric. I cannot wait to use it:

Decorating has been a blast. I'm a big fan of vinyl wall decals, too. For the kids' room, I picked up this guy from HumsandTiddelyPoms on Etsy:

I also grabbed a similar one from her that is a replica of a Lego Mars Mission ship. Unfortunately, I don't have an image to show you, but it's awesome. When I get off my duff and start taking pics of the house, I'll post 'em here.

It's Friday. It's about time. I'm looking forward to a long rainy day with the newspaper and my sewing machine tomorrow.

Ooh...random thought after last night's Open House at the kids' school, in which we learned we'll having a Beer Tasting AND a Wine Tasting as fundraisers this year: Dean Martin had the better voice; Frank Sinatra had the better character. But this is not only one of my favorites from Dino, it's pretty funny, too:

Happy Friday, all y'all....


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Playing Grown Up

I'm moving my office. I'm leaving the space I'm in and claiming a long-vacant space right next to Heide, complete with a french door and a small little window entirely obscured by a generator outside. A step up? I don't know. But I'm the office manager (according to my boss anyway) so I can do things like that. I just wave my little manager wand and poof! New office! We're also moving several other employees, so this works with the whole plan. Besides, now I'll get to sit next to Heide and get cracked out on chocolate all day--when she's back from maternity leave, that is.

It's been tough getting back into the swing of things here at the office after week off. The nice thing about the week off with the kids was that in addition to moving and camping and spending lots of time outside, I enjoyed a couple of simple things that make the three of us really happy:

We went to East Rock playground.
Then we went to Dairy Queen.

On the playground, the kids scampered and wrestled. Sean introduced himself to a few kids and made some friends. Nolan hung back and jumped in to play with the kids once Sean had laid the foundation for it. (Then he stole the show. Typical. Sean does all the work and then Nolan walks in and charms the hell out of everyone.) I love that Sean is not shy. He'll go far in life with that kind of open attitude toward people. Nolan isn't shy, either. He's just four years old. As he gets older, he'll no doubt be very much like Sean, since he already is extremely outgoing among people he knows.

Toward the end of our playground romp, we hit the swings. Nolan can't stand them--they make him dizzy and sick. So he kicked dirt while Sean and I raced each other to see who could go the highest on the swings. After a few minutes on the swingset, the boys laughed at me.

"What's so funny?"

"You!!!" Nolan yelled.

"What is so funny about me?" I asked, swinging up, swinging back, swinging up...

"Because you're like a kid!" said Sean.

"Why? Because I'm swinging?"

"Yes!" said Nolan. "You're like a swinging kid."

"Thanks, guys! That makes me happy! Aren't you glad your mom likes to swing with you at the playground, or would you prefer I be a boring old mom who just sits on the bench the whole time we're here?"

"No! I don't want you to be boring!" Sean yelled.

"Mommy's a kid!" Nolan kept laughing.

I didn't get why the sight of me on the swings suddenly amused them--they've seen it a million times before. But their delight in it made my day.

The next night while camping in Rhode Island, we played a game of "Trouble" after s'mores. We were all bundled up in our sweatshirts, and my hair was in a ponytail.

"You look like a teenager with your ponytail and sweatshirt," said Sean.

"Thanks, kid. I'm glad to hear that."

"Mommy's a teenager? What?" said Nolan.

"Mommy's just the littlest mommy EVER," said Sean. "AND she looks like a teenager."

The last few weeks (and about 9,000 weeks before that) have been so full of responsbility: A new mortgage, taking on much more responsibility at work, planning for a wedding and getting two children ready for a new school year. I'll take my play AND my compliments where I can get them. Besides, I pride myself on the fact that I am playful. What's the point of being here if we're not having fun? It doesn't mean we have to act stupid. But we can play, for God's sake.

For this afternoon, I've got to get back to the business of playing work. But when I get home, the gloves come off. I might pay the bills and make lots of decisions about raising children, but I can still roll around on the floor and wrestle. I can still swing on the swings. I can still do cartwheels in the yard. I can still withstand 9 rounds of Uno with Sean (he's brutal) followed by a game of War or Slap the Jack.

My kids don't keep me from being bored. They keep me from being boring.

Here's the song stuck in my head today:

Happy Wednesday.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to the New Old Routine

I'm back at work after more than a week off, and I feel completely out of it. It's going to take me at least half the day to get through all of the emails (that are still rolling in...), and I have to duck-out midmorning to take Nolan to his PreK orientation. Not that he needs it. He's a pro among the ABC and graham cracker set. And, since it's his last year of preschool--he's in preK 4--he thinks of himself as an upperclassman of sorts. In fact, he likes to refer to his new class as "PreK WAR", because that just sounds cooler--and he emphasizes the "war" with a loud, primal, battle-cry.

Meanwhile, I walked Sean to school this morning, glad to be able to do that in our new 'hood. Along the way, he stopped and picked a dandelion for me. Once there, he took off into the school yard, so happy to see so many friends after summer. It was so sweet to see all the kids running up to each other, hugging and high-fiving, excited to be big-time first-graders.

Then the bell rang, and away they went. With a quick hug and kiss and without a look back, Sean took off with his friends into school for a new year of learning. The staggered chorus of "I love you" from parents in the school yard was drowned out by the children's laughter and joking. I waved goodbye to Sean with the morning sun at my back, a small dandelion held tight in my right hand.

Happy Tuesday.