Monday, December 30, 2013

Disney World

So we are in Disney World. My mother and I got a bit of a shock on the Pirates of the Caribbean. We both thought it would be a ride where you sat in a boat and "watched stuff." But at one point the lights dimmed and our boat plunged down a steep slope! It was a kind of Space Mountain, roller-coaster-in-the-dark experience - just for a few minutes. I grabbed my mom's arm and yelled and she seized Zoe's hand (on her other side). Zoe stayed admirably calm. There was a baby behind us in the boat who had been shrieking the whole time and he was shocked into silence. At the end of the ride, he was grinning as if he had never been upset in the first place.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

No one was teething or vomiting last night! I got a decent night's sleep. Merry Christmas :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's the Christmas virus

***Don't read if you're squeamish***

A couple of nights ago, Zoe puked all night...then the virus traveled efficiently to Eric and both kids were vomiting...then I lost my lunch today (an unkind reminder of pregnancy with Zoe, when I basically threw up nonstop for the first few months. The fastest food to come up during that time was yogurt. D has been far.

The puking, by some kind of Proustian association, reminded me of a trip to DC years ago when 2 of us were likewise struck by a virus. I remember my friend saying, "It's the loneliest feeling, throwing up in the middle of the night." She was right - it is a lonely feeling even if two other people are throwing up with you.

So I waxed nostalgic for the time my friend and her boyfriend lived in DC (they are now married and live in Ann Arbor). I like DC - it is big enough to be interesting, small enough to be welcoming. Our friend A also came with us. He now lives in NJ and we don't see him very often. Oh well, hopefully we can all gather again in one place at one time. That time it was New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

27 shortcomings

A friend of mine is on (Well, she used to be my babysitter, but that is neither here nor there.) Anyway, she noticed that everyone's profile was a list of (probably fictitious) virtues: I run 10 miles a day, read the New York Review of Books, have won the Nobel Prize, etc. So she decided to list 27 of her shortcomings, including her overuse of the Oxford comma. She used to get a trickle of responses every day; she woke up to a flood. She's afraid the men will start climbing in through her air conditioning ducts.

I thought this was an interesting comment on human nature. Do flaws make people more likable? Or was everyone just tired of perfect profiles?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kinky boots

I saw Kinky Boots on Broadway today - a really neat, fun show about a shoe factory in working-class England and the drag queens who design (and model!) boots for them. I recommend it.

I saw this picture on Pinterest. I really like it. It brings back to mind my hippie days in college. God, I wonder if my college is even hippie anymore. They probably all have cellphones and want to be consultants.

Friday, December 13, 2013

D just called with juicy gossip. His cousin and his wife are splitting. Apparently she had been having an affair for a long time, spending weekends with the guy.

I have a few reactions.

Disbelief - they always wrote flowery tributes to each other on Facebook - e.g., "You are the best thing that ever happened to me" and "Happy anniversary, my love."

Disappointment - she is one of my favorite people in D's extended family and I will probably never see her again.

I guess I have no special perception/insight in this area. She is the LAST person I would expect to have an affair and they are the last couple I would expect to split up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Zoe just pulled off her diaper, said "Potty" and sat on her princess potty. She didn't pee in it, but...this development makes me very hopeful!
So the snow is here. It's pretty, but I feel housebound. Thankfully I don't *have* to go anywhere today, so I am luckier than most. I skipped Zoe's gymnastics class. Because of cabin fever, I might still go out to have lunch with D nearby. Haven't decided yet.

We have a friend who lives in Hawaii. He told us a while ago that a box of cereal costs 10 dollars there. Of course, it's not much less in Manhattan...unless you go to Trader Joe's.

Am still reading the Tess Monaghan series. I like it when you discover a new series and it gives you an abundance of reading material for a while.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Things are quiet here. We had Thanksgiving at a restaurant, which is probably the way to do it. (Though it did feel a bit like cheating.) I've done all my Christmas shopping thanks to Uncommon Goods (a quirky site with something for everyone). I'm using D's old computer because Z has appropriated mine to watch movies on. (He has his current one at work.) Anyway, using this old one, with its unresponsive keys, reminds me of how the keys always used to fall off his laptop and they regarded it as a security breach at the airport. We would be held up in line while the security guards inspected his poor mauled computer very, very carefully.

I discovered a new (to me) series - Tess Monaghan, by Laura Lippman. Tess is a feisty Irish Jewish detective from Baltimore.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Boxcar Children

When Eric was very young, I wrote a list of books I thought he might want to read. They were favorites from my own childhood, including Harriet the Spy, The Little House in the Big Woods, Ramona Quimby, Superfudge, etc. Eric has enjoyed some of the books I picked out for him, but his favorite is the Boxcar Children series, which I never even knew about. Written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, the stories focus on four plucky children with no parents (just one laissez-faire grandfather) who use their New England resourcefulness to get out of scrapes and solve mysteries. They're written in 1950s style, very wholesome.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm sure you've heard of Elizabeth Gilbert - she wrote Eat, Pray, Love, which I liked well enough, and more recently The Signature of All Things, which I actually preferred. It had a very memorable central character named Alma Whitaker, and I learned tons about botany and the 18th and 19th centuries in general. You don't need to be a botanist to enjoy it.

Anyway, I started following her on Twitter, and oddly enough she seems to be what Anne of Green Gables would have called "a kindred spirit." I like how they crop up in the weirdest places.

Which brings me to one of my favorite words:

serendipity (n.) finding something good without looking for it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This is the scarf/shawl I finished today. It can also be used as a toddler blanket :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Instant gratification

I've been working on Clapotis, a huge scarf that takes it was fun to make these mitts over the weekend.

Also, E went to a "dance party" this weekend (for a classmate's birthday). He enjoyed wearing one of the pink hats they handed out.

Friday, November 08, 2013

So yesterday was kind of a crappy day. We are having some trouble with E's school. They think he's really smart but they want him to talk to the other kids more (he tends to talk to the teachers instead). Also, he was overtired so he was throwing tantrums about everything (out of character). To top it off, I have a 2-year-old who sometimes throws tantrums too (though now she is peacefully sleeping).

So today I got an almond danish pastry at Trader Joe's and had a giggly conversation on FB with a college friend about her high school crush. That is one of the sad parts of being an "adult" - no more crazy crushes. The pastry and the conversation were both fun, though.

Note: I put "adult" in quotes even though I am (gulp, gasp, yuck) 38...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I'm reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame). This book is totally different - fiction, big sprawling saga (500 pages), set mainly in the 19th century, focused on botany, Philadelphia, Tahiti, etc. (okay, I guess her love of travel is on display in both books). Among other things, I learned that the apple of Eden was most likely an apricot or a quince - there were no apples in Palestine.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today was a good day. The weather was perfect. I got to take a bike ride. I never have any sense of how many miles I've ridden, but I did one of my longer rides down the path along the river. Later I saw a friend at the park and got to hold her baby. Her baby is very charming and tried to nurse my Poland Springs bottle. I also got to see another baby, who is also cute and always wears a jeweled headband around her forehead. I can't decide whether this is cute or ridiculous. Maybe a little of both :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just finished Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. It's the first new Bridget novel in years. Bridget is so funny and silly and human. Very open about her flaws - namely, procrastination and overeating. In an age when everyone is trying to be perfect, she is refreshing. Hopefully, Helen Fielding will write another book about her soon.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Some friends of ours just had a baby, a little boy. I haven't met him yet. I'm excited for them, but the news also gave me a nostalgic feeling. So I went on Facebook, clicked on 2011, and looked at Zoe's baby pictures. She was swaddled in lots of pink fuzzy clothes. Her face and body were tiny.

And yet...having her at age 2 is just as fun. She and E started kicking in the bath tonight so that water was splashing everywhere, even landing on my sweatpants. E would complain about her kicking and then kick some more to encourage her. I'm glad they're having a good time together.

Reading Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews. Oddly enough, it makes me want to fix up a house. (Not really. But I like learning how.)

Friday, October 04, 2013

I finally figured out what Eric and Zoe are going to wear for Halloween. Eric will be a pirate, and Zoe will be a mermaid.

Right now I'm sitting in a nice tree-filled park while Zoe naps in her stroller. I have a good book, too: Who Asked You by Terry McMillan.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


My friend T and I had lunch at a slightly trendy diner and Julianne Moore walked in! It was very exciting. She seems very nice - smiled at me as they walked past, and then Zoe stopped right in front of her when we were coming back from the bathroom, and she smiled at her. It's always fun to see a celebrity.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Haruki Murakami

I'm reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It clocks in at 925 pages, which I would ordinarily find a little long, but it's very interesting. If you haven't read him before, I also recommend Norwegian Wood and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (a nonfiction book that helps explain him a little). I also love this cartoon:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

One of our neighbors has a daughter a little older than Eric - she's five and a half - and she just found her first loose tooth. This is happening too fast. I wonder if Eric will start the process then too. How much does the tooth fairy leave these days?

D and I saw Pippin. It was the first Broadway play I've seen since 2011. (The last one was the terrible Book of Mormon.) This one was good, if a little silly, and had some amazing acrobatics. We were in the second row so we got to see it all up close and personal.

Eric seems to be enjoying kindergarten. His school is uptown, a bit of a shlep, but the people seem nice. One mother in the class owns a restaurant and donated food from her restaurant for a cheese and wine pairing, so the parents could get to know each other. They had some very good Riesling.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The night guest

I'm excited to read The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (an Australian author). It's an Amazon Editors' Pick, about an older woman with a caretaker who has suspicious motives for helping her (not money, since she is being paid a pittance). The book is not out yet, but I read an excerpt and it seems really good. A tiger also comes into the plot somehow, maybe in a Life of Pi sort of way. 

Sand star

A sand star that Eric and I made today. A kind of goodbye to summer. 

Monday, September 02, 2013


On a walk around the neighborhood this morning, we bumped into a high school classmate (fellow clarinet player). She invited us over to see her chickens. One of them laid her first egg yesterday. Eric had a blast feeding them grape tomatoes from the garden. They also had an enthusiastic golden retriever puppy named Maggie.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Hampshire

Heading north to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It's bringing back my childhood - in the summer, we used to stay in cottages near various lakes in New Hampshire and Maine. I always forget that peaceful feeling you get when you cross the border. North of Massachusetts, everything feels more open and spacious. The highways are almost empty, flanked by tall pine trees. Our destination is a small, cute amusement park called Storyland that I loved as a toddler. Maybe I'll put up some pictures later.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New hat

I just finished knitting this hat.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

So I haven't left Zoe with a sitter much since she was born, because I thought it wouldn't work out, and part of me is as attached as she is. But I found a wonderful sitter whom we both like, and she has watched Zoe for a couple of hours so I can take a bike ride and relax a bit. One of the neighborhood dads saw her with Zoe at the park and was so impressed that he asked for her contact info, so she can watch his son sometimes.

So it looks like leaving her for a few hours to see Pippin in September won't be a problem (fingers crossed). She has a good comfort level with this sitter.

Also we are thinking of going to Hawaii in March. The school where Eric will be going to kindergarten has very long vacations. I haven't put much thought into planning yet, but I'm thinking of staying on Maui. I'm excited!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

So I was always wary of cutting my kids' nails - baby nails are so small, and there's always this fear of cutting the skin. Amazingly, I never have - but it was never a pleasant experience. My latest method was to have D hold her hands still while I clipped her nails, and she thrashed and screamed. Today, I simply clipped them while she was nursing. She giggled a little, but that was it.

I also saw a really good old movie - It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Gable was a charming rogue with a touch of vulnerability and Colbert, whom I'd never seen before, played a fun character as well. If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I am reading two good books: The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells (by Andrew Sean Greer) and The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez. I also really liked the last book I read, The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. I won't reveal the secret here, but it was unexpected. Yesterday I saw that Amazon had chosen it as one of their best books of the month.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Zoe seems like a little grownup to me sometimes. She dropped her Mounds bar at the playground, and she picked it up and put it in the trash can.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The Met

Today I went to the Met. D was taking Eric to a class there. It's inconvenient, but I'm always so glad when I do go there. There is magic for me in the nineteenth-century painting and sculpture (Degas and Monet in particular) and the ancient Greek and Roman art. I was especially taken with this third-century sarcophagus depicting Selene (a moon goddess).

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I was saying to my sister-in-law earlier how every summer I start off loving the season and then, suddenly, I'm ready for fall. That point has come. It's even in the air a little bit. I'm looking forward to the red and orange leaves.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Perfect weather today. Zoe had her second ballet class today. There is another little Z girl in her class - Zelda. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zoe now says cheese when I take her picture. Just like her brother.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The bowl

A while back, Judy asked me to post a photo of a cherry wood bowl I had bought. Sorry it took so long, but here it is.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yesterday I arranged a sample pre-ballet class for Zoe. I almost didn't go because it's so hot today, but we finally got out the door and I'm glad we did. She loved it. They had all these cute props, including ducks, bubbles, tiaras, tutus and wands. I signed her up for both the summer and fall sessions.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yesterday I witnessed some drama from a distance. I can't get too specific, but it made me think. At the core of the drama is a person who is very sweet and childlike, but she just can't take care of herself. She can't function, at least at this point in her life. (I do believe that, if we are lucky, life is long, and there are many opportunities to turn things around.) Anyway, viewing her predicament made me realize that it IS a good thing to grow up. That might seem self-evident to many of you, but our culture really does prize youth. Age and wisdom aren't as respected here as they probably are in China and some other places. But growing up really is worth it, even if you aren't as cute or carefree as you were when you were little. It's good to take responsibility. And I do hope she can eventually do that.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

So we got our kitchen "bombed" this morning (roach treatment). D took E on a long bike ride (which he loves) and I ended up on the lawn behind our building with Zoe. She started picking some little flowers, giving them to me, and then she would run in a little circle on the lawn, kiss me on the nose, and run some more. It was really cute.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Breakfast for dinner

I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner. Plus, I got a new blinged-out food processor with a grating attachment, so I've been grating everything in sight. (Actually just apples and zucchini so far, but potatoes are next.) Tonight I made apple cottage cheese pancakes, from the original Moosewood cookbook. They were fabulous.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting for Godot

I'm waiting for the exterminator. He gave us a 4-hour window starting at 8:30. It's 10:47 now and he hasn't shown up yet. I guess he's a busy guy.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

So Z is really wiped out after gymnastics today, taking a long-ish nap. She races around the whole gym, terrifying its inhabitants. Not really - they think she's cute. But she tried to jump into the ball pit with an older class, whose teacher told her, "You don't want to go in there with those girls, they're crazy." I told her, "She's crazier than any of them!" and she laughed but I was serious.

I made a little video of her doing an activity at the beginning of class:

The balance beam is her favorite. She's strangely reluctant to swing from the rings. She'll grip them, standing, but then let go. The teacher thinks she will get her to swing next time.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fourth of July

So it was a nice laid-back Fourth. We went for brunch/lunch at a favorite restaurant of mine, Veselka, where we had not been for a while.

We had potato pierogi, potato pancakes, and vegetable soup. Eric kept saying, "I love the soup," which was gratifying because he usually won't go near a vegetable. We ended up ordering an extra bowl. Later the boys took a bike ride to South Ferry and I took Zoe to the park. Now the fireworks are starting (my least favorite part, but can't complain, since it was such a nice day).

I've been cooking a lot of fun stuff lately and was telling D that I might want to open a Mexican/Italian vegetarian restaurant (kind of a daydream/fantasy, with an element of reality). Not in Manhattan though - too intense for your first restaurant venture. Maybe Brooklyn or Hoboken.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I've made quiche a number of times without mishap, but tonight I tried making a tomato one and it bombed. I threw out the runny mess, then re-read the recipe and realized it just needed to cook longer. (The recipe said 35-40 minutes, but every quiche I've ever made has cooked for an hour.) Oh well, that is what Chinese food is for.

I'm kind of grumpy about Pride - it just seems like an excuse to party. My neighborhood is really crowded and they blocked off most of the bike path for it. 

D took E to see some animatronic dinosaurs in New Jersey (a quick ride on the New Jersey transit). I was going to go but Z fell asleep and I conked out too. The problem is, she's still sleeping (hours later). I remember E was narcoleptic like this once - falling asleep in his stroller and not even waking up when there was a crew cutting off branches with a buzz saw. Someone said it was a growth spurt. Hopefully this long nap of Zoe's has the same explanation.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I just made the most awesome peanut butter brownies from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven. Very rich and chocolate-y. The peanut butter flavor is subtle.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Just finished watching Summer Stock with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. I love a good campy movie.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Took yet another bike ride this morning! I feel great. It should probably be my goal to bike as often as possible. I really need to look into getting that bike seat so I can take Zoe with me when necessary. Eric has become quite a rider, too - he actually went over the George Washington Bridge with D into Edgewater, New Jersey one day.

I really like my bike also. D gave it to me 12 years ago on my birthday.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

3rd bike ride!

3rd bike ride of the week this morning! I woke up and Z was still sound asleep. So D and E played Cranium while I took a bike ride. (She had migrated to the other side of the mattress when I got back, but she didn't wake up.)

I went to Houston St. The early morning is the best time to bike. Not too hot or crowded.

In the elevator when I got back, this guy I thought I'd never seen before said, "Got a break, huh? Your two are little, right? We're getting rid of one in the fall - college! So we don't have to sneak out in the morning to exercise anymore." This was kind of funny, though the phrase "getting rid of" was unfortunate.

Looking forward to many more bike rides.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bike ride

I just took a bike ride for the first time in years! Zoe and I are pretty attached to each other but she is starting to get more comfortable with other people. So her grandparents took her to the park while I took a ride along the Hudson River. It was fantastic. I definitely need to go more often. I might want to get one of those bike seats that attach to the back of your bike. Hopefully it doesn't make the bike feel heavy and hard to balance. Zoe would probably love it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hillary, then and now

I saw a pin today on Pinterest, which I was unable to cut and paste here. Basically, it showed a photo of Hillary Clinton as a child, writing to NASA to ask about becoming an astronaut, and then it showed a more recent photo of Hillary as Secretary of State.

I was struck by the difference between Hillary's face as a child and her face as an adult. When she was young, she looked curious, interested, engaged, yet at ease, like someone you might want to hang out with. As an adult, she looks hard, cold, a little scary. I understand that her life has not been a bed of roses, and as a consequence, she is tough. But it's images like these that make me wary of her as a presidential candidate. Can't you just picture her pressing the red button? I wish Elizabeth Warren could be elected instead.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Zoe is wearing me out. She took this little blue table from the living room and dragged it to this high table that D calls a credenza. She used the smaller table to climb onto the high one. Then D hid the blue table and she grabbed the green chair that goes with it. She climbed on that to get to the high table. D hid the green chair. Earlier this morning she opened the fridge, grabbed a raw egg and tried to eat it, shell and all.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Baby steps

So I decided I was in a bit of a rut and decided to make some small changes. Usually I either make baked ziti or we order in; last night I made nachos and tonight I'm going to make spinach cheese burritos. Also, I've been wearing the same gray and black tiered skirts that I bought early in my pregnancy with Zoe. I ordered a tiered chiffon skirt from Old Navy and did some shopping at Ann Taylor Loft. They had many items marked down 40% and they were classy but not ostentatious. I got a few tops, skirts and even a pair of shorts. So that felt good.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Zoe in downward dog. She loves to copy my yoga poses.

Eric has 2 days off from school so we're playing Chutes & Ladders. It's strangely enjoyable. I like simple games that are easy to grasp :)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Eric is turning 5 today! 5 years ago, at 5:04 pm, I completed my first (and hardest) labor. All the cliches about time passing so quickly...are true. He is having multiple at his maternal grandmother's house over Memorial Day weekend, another at school (they had it early), one tonight at a random Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant (his choice, because he likes the fish in the tank), and one this weekend in the park (provided it doesn't rain).

Happy birthday, Eric.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

This is one of my old dolls, wearing a jumpsuit crocheted by my late aunt. She made a lot of amazing outfits for my dolls, as well as afghans for the whole family.

I'm reading Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand. Her books always taste like potato chips to me. She has another one coming out on June 25th. I can't wait.

Friday, May 24, 2013

I think some gender differences are innate. Eric was never very interested in clothes. Zoe brings me shorts and shoes daily. Her favorite shorts are pink with white polka dots. Her favorite shoes are pink Mary Janes with appliqued flowers on them. Her biggest disappointment is not being able to wear two pairs of shorts, or two pairs of shoes, at once.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Eight years ago

So this blog will be eight years old in June. (They grow up so fast.) I got thinking about this because I looked up the yoga studio website where I got my teacher certification. It was a central part of my life when I started the blog - its teachers, its politics, its classes. Now I couldn't care less (about that studio). I do yoga at home and am busy with my two children.

I wonder what changes the next eight years will bring.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Those little Table Talk pies you can get for 69 cents at Gristedes? Really good.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The leash

which she actually seems to love!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Today the organizer came. At first she came for free, because we won her services at an auction to benefit E's school, and then she started coming on a paid basis once a month or so. We have a walk-in closet near the front hall that was cluttered beyond belief, like an archaeological dig. Now you can actually walk into it and there are empty shelves! Yes.

Today she did E's closet, which also looks beautiful. The non walk-in closets are a lot faster to clean. It looks like someone waved a magic wand over it. When she comes next, in late June, we will tackle one of the other three closets. (We do have a decent amount of closet space for New York.)

If you do have the opportunity to hire an organizer, I recommend it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A couple cute moments from yesterday.

Eric walked up to me, beaming. "I look just like you!" he said, and then gave me a hug.

Zoe was watching Funny Face (Fred Astaire/Audrey Hepburn musical) and was inspired to do a little dancing herself. She started twirling in little circles, then did a little moonwalk across the floor.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

I finally caved and got Z a leash. It looks much better than it sounds. It's a little plush elephant backpack and the leash is the elephant's tail. She seems to love it. She did take a little spill while walking with it this morning, but the fall was unrelated to the leash. I figure it is just part of walking.

I had really mixed feelings about getting it, but it was becoming necessary because she has learned to stand up in the stroller and climb out of it, even with the straps fastened. A few people commented on how cute she was, walking with it, so I guess it doesn't look barbaric.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

So I do have strep. The doctor gave me some powerful form of penicillin that the "infectious disease people" recommend. It did start working right away. When I got to CVS, prepared for a long line, the pharmacist pulled me aside for a consult and told me, with a serious face, not to drink for the 2 weeks I am taking the meds, etc. I was a little startled because I know the pharmacist's name, he fills all our prescriptions as well as our in-laws', and I've never seen him looking so solemn.

If I get strep again, I might have to get my tonsils taken out.

I'm reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (who also wrote My Year of Meats, which I didn't read), and Diana Gabaldon's Dragonfly in Amber (the second book in the Outlander series). I didn't really care for the first one, but this one is really pulling me in.

Monday, April 29, 2013


I'm pretty sure I have strep again. Yesterday, my throat started to hurt, and today I saw white spots on my tonsils. One of the glands in my neck is swollen. Grrr. I read somewhere about someone getting a penicillin shot and then they stopped getting strep over and over. Maybe that is more effective than the pills. I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow morning.

Friday, April 26, 2013

There is a girl in Eric's class whom all the boys like. They want to walk home with her and marry her. One of them is even talking about rings. One of the other moms asked Eric, who seems immune to her so far, "Who do you want to marry?" He thought about it and said, "I'm going to decide when I'm older."

I'm knitting this:

And got a springy pocketbook:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reading a really good nonfiction book by Elinor Lipman - a collection of essays, most of them previously published, called I Can't Complain. One of the pieces appeared in the Boston Globe - an (erroneous) prediction of how Sex and the City would end, but she did neatly encapsulate the charm of the show - "a paper-moon land sans parents, inhibitions or comfortable shoes." She also described Aidan as a "hunky cabinetmaker," reminding me that he was my favorite of Carrie's boyfriends. Did anyone else find Big not appealing at all? Smarmy? Aidan was so sincere and genuine.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fearless child

I'm sure I have talked about this before, but it keeps reaching new heights. E was a fairly cautious child; even at age 2, he was afraid to go down the "curly slide." Z immediately goes to the tallest, scariest curly slide and plunges right down. Until last night, D had an exercise bike in the living room and she would use it as a stepping stone to climb onto the windowsill. He moved the bike to E's room and shut the door. This morning, I saw her eyeing the windowsill - How can I get up there? After a few seconds, she pulled over one of the little green chairs from E's little blue table and used it to climb onto the windowsill. (She also, unfortunately, has long legs, so she can climb pretty much everything.)

I don't really know what to do about fearless child syndrome. I try taking her to the playroom a lot, where the windows don't really have sills, but that gets boring after a while. I guess all I can do is hope that it will pass?

Monday, April 15, 2013

So this weekend I happened to be up near Columbia and saw this big concert going on. I had no idea who the performers were, but the students on the steps of the library were very excited to see them. So I asked E's babysitter (who goes to Barnard) who the band was. She said, "Oh yeah! Bacchanal!" I've never heard of them, have you?

E is getting really into chapter books and I'm reading all these childhood favorites, like George's Marvelous Medicine and The Twits, with him. I like Roald Dahl's twisted sense of humor.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

So I'm reading The Trail of the Spellmans. Very funny book about a snarky detective living in San Francisco. The series was supposed to end, and then the author decided to start it up again. There's a new one coming out soon.

I'm currently hooked on old movies. Zoe loves to watch them with me. Basically anything with Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn, or directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Almost any movie in those categories is good.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It happened.

I remember when everyone said, "You'll forget the pain of childbirth." I never thought I would. But I have. I remember that it wasn't a picnic, but the sensation of pain has faded away.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

So Zoe's "new" music class started today. It really just cycles on indefinitely, but every few months they say it's a new class, we pay a new fee, some new parents join and some others drop out. I found out that one of the kids is moving back to Australia. Two of the kids are named Heath and Walker, and a hipster dad showed up today, with a beard, horn-rimmed glasses and an anchor tattoo.

Zoe no longer sits in my lap for the whole class. She moves around, dances, climbs on chairs and dances on them.

Reading a new book called The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore, about adoption. That topic has always held a strange fascination for me.

Monday, April 08, 2013

So it seems that Hillary Clinton may be running for President in 2016. I think it's about time to have a female President, but I don't think she will win. Too many people hate her. My brother's MIL, who is a staunch Republican, briefly registered as a Democrat so she could vote for Obama during the primaries (before Obama's first election). That was how much she didn't want Hillary to win. And I think a lot of people feel like that. I'd like to see Elizabeth Warren as a candidate. But I guess she has not been in the public eye long enough.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Mary Tyler Moore

I saw on Amazon that a book is coming out about the Mary Tyler Moore show. Initially, network executives said that no one would want to watch a show about "men with mustaches," among other things. But of course the show was a success. This brought back memories for me of watching Mary Tyler Moore as a child. I was pretty young, so I don't remember much about it aside from how I spelled her name mentally. I had only ever heard her name pronounced with a Boston accent, so I thought it was Mary Tyla Moore.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

So we've been getting a steady stream of rejection letters for our novel, some more encouraging than others. (One said it was really funny and spot-on, though the genre was out of her comfort zone.) I sent a few queries out yesterday and had a good feeling about one of the agents; she recently represented an interesting-looking author. Plus, she just seemed cool. Today there was a really nice email from her in my inbox, saying that our book looked really fun and she'd love to look at it. So keep your fingers crossed for us!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

So we got home from vacation to find a terrible smell in the kitchen. I put some baking soda in the sink drain and lit some cinnamon candles, but the smell remained. Then I lifted a pot lid that was on the kitchen table and saw a dead mouse beneath it. One of the worst things I have ever seen. D is going to clean it off the table after he takes a shower (I would personally take the shower afterward, but whatever) and I ordered some peppermint oil online. Pinterest said it drives mice away and they have not let me down yet. Another piece of valuable advice from them: If you buy bananas in a bunch, separate them as soon as you get home from the store. They won't turn brown as quickly.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Today the sun came out and we went to the pool, where E had a virgin chocolate mudslide. We also saw an alligator lounging in front of the hotel.

Friday, March 29, 2013

So right now I am on an island near Charleston, South Carolina. The weather finally warmed up enough today to sit by the pool for a while. Some pictures I have taken:

The last photo shows a turtle dozing in a pond.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This woman downstairs keeps complaining that our toilet is leaking on her. So maintenance came and ripped our toilet out and did a bunch of work. Silence for a while. Then maintenance came back. She is still complaining. So now they are ripping off the medicine cabinet to explore a pipe behind it. Never a dull moment around here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I am really looking forward to the day when Zoe is toilet trained. Apparently, it is faster and easier with girls. This is the method they use in Vietnam:

In a two year study, Swedish researchers followed 47 Vietnamese infants and their mothers in Vietnam where potty training starts at birth and infants are usually trained by nine months of age. The technique is based on learning to be sensitive to when the baby needs to urinate. "The woman then makes a special whistling sound to remind her baby. The whistling method starts at birth and serves as an increasingly powerful means of communication as time goes on." According to the study, most babies can use the potty on their own by nine months of age if they are reminded, and they can generally take care of all their toileting needs by the age of two. (from Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, I can't whistle :(

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ugh...I used to be healthy as a horse before I had a kid in nursery school. I just finished a course of antibiotics for strep throat. A night after I got off the antibiotics, my throat started to feel sore again. Plus chills and decrease in appetite (always a sign that something is wrong). So I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow morning. Another mom in the neighborhood is having the same problem with her daughter. She's had strep 3 times in one month. So people on Facebook are suggesting getting her tonsils removed or a penicillin shot. The thought of surgery makes me uncomfortable, so hopefully a shot or a 2nd course of antibiotics will work for me. I'll find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened, a memoir by Jenny Lawson. It is pretty much the strangest, funniest book I've ever read.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recently I got some new artwork for the apartment. I really like it. (In two of the pictures, you can see me taking the photo, which distorts things a bit.)

I like the flowers and ocean the best.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I just finished Tin Horse by Janice Steinberg and now I have that sad feeling you get when you finish a really good book. It was set in the Boyle Heights community in Los Angeles in the 30s and 40s. It seemed so real that I assumed it was based on the author's childhood...but no, in the acknowledgments she thanked all the people who helped her learn about the neighborhood. She actually grew up in Wisconsin herself.

Friday, March 08, 2013

It's snowing again this morning, much more seriously this time. My cousin put up a picture of Vegas on Facebook:

Makes me want to go there!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The snow is falling. Always reminds me of that Robert Frost poem, "And miles to go before I sleep." I tried a new mac-and-cheese recipe, from one of Rachael Ray's cookbooks. The sauce seemed just about perfect and then I added the Dijon mustard and it turned...strange. Still good, though.

I started a book by Janice Steinberg, The Tin Horse. It seems promising. (Just finished Mariana by Susanna Kearsley.)

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I'm feeling proud of myself right now :) I ordered some artwork recently and hung it up in the living room. Then tonight, I remembered that a Babar painting has been sitting in the corner of E's room forever. I checked the back of the painting and it had one of those easy strings. So I found a nail and a hook and hung it up! It looks much better on the wall, and that corner is less cluttered.

I also took Z to music class today. It was a real breakthrough. Usually she sits on my lap for the whole class. Today she got up, danced a little, shook her tambourine, and grinned at the teacher as she shook the little eggs (they make a shaking sound when you move them, like there are Rice Krispies inside or something). So she is getting more comfortable.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just finished The Husband List by Janet Evanovich. Fun, light historical romance, set in New York in 1890. Recommended if you are looking for an engaging read. I actually stayed up late to finish it. Haven't done that in a while.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The piano lesson ended up going fine. Z hung back, probably because she hadn't met the piano teacher before. The teacher was nice but a little intense - wanted to move the family photos off the piano so E wouldn't be distracted, etc. She taught him how to play "Hot Cross Buns" and they talked about middle C. E told me afterward, "We didn't learn that much," but it seemed like a fair amount. I don't know if he will continue after the 3-pack ends or not; he said he'd decide then.

Monday, February 25, 2013


There was an auction to benefit E's school a few weeks ago, and D bid on a few items. Among other things, he won a three-pack of piano lessons for E. There's a piano at the in-laws' apartment, so the lessons can be there. Currently they're in Florida.

I'm a little nervous about the lesson because Z wants to do whatever E is doing. I guess this is common with siblings; my nephew wanted to do whatever his older sister was doing, including painting his toenails. I actually went to their apartment for a few minutes today and Z played something quite melodic on the piano. Unfortunately, the teacher will only teach kids who are 4 1/2 and up. So I might have to take Z into another room or even to CVS or something. The first lesson is tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I miss Cancun already.

Wondering what other super-beautiful places I should visit...any recommendations?

Monday, February 18, 2013

So I'm in Cancun! It's very relaxing. More when I get back. (I hear there will be snow on Saturday, in Massachusetts anyway. Hopefully not in New York.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Zoe said "baby" today, over and over. I think it qualifies as her first word...she has said Mama, Daddy and "up," but none of them as frequently.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I really want winter to be over.

Friday, February 08, 2013


I've been trapped inside most of the day. I took a brief walk while D watched the kids, and picked up some wine. (The liquor store was busy.) We still haven't heard from all of E's schools, but the drama of private school applications has been overshadowed by the drama of the storm. So far there isn't much accumulation, but it's quite messy and I think we're supposed to get more snow overnight.

So today was supposed to be the big day when we would find out where E got in. So far we have got responses from 3 schools out of 11: one yes, one no, one waitlist. We haven't found out from our top choice yet. But it's good to get a yes :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Homemade cupcakes

So E has this book, Cupcake, and it has a recipe for cupcakes in the back. They are plain vanilla, with vanilla icing. So my hopes weren't high. But we went ahead and made them, and they were delicious! He especially liked the frosting.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

D and I went to a fundraiser for E's school last night. It was held at his school. They transformed the social hall into a nightclub setting. There was roulette, craps, blackjack and a "signature drink" (champagne and strawberry juice with pomegranate seeds on the bottom). One mother only drank soda water but was chomping at the bit to gamble. I played craps for the first time, coached by the croupiers and one of the dads. It was kind of interesting though complicated. When we got home, you could tell that Z felt abandoned, even though we had a very nice babysitter. That did make me feel bad, though I had a nice time and it was fun to engage with the "adult" world.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

We had to go through all this passport mishegoss today...went to the P.O. right before 12 and left at 1:37...waited and waited and waited and then the woman decided we needed two, not one, copies of our passports (in addition to the originals)...I had to run outside and make copies and come back. What a nightmare. Later I heard that song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something and it really brought me right back to college...anyone remember that song?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The plague

So the plague has been sweeping through our apartment - but we are all getting different versions. First I had a flu-type plague (chills, fever, congestion). Then D had a bathroom plague. Now E has a vomiting/bathroom plague. It seems to have passed over - but strep and pinkeye are taking over his classroom. E seems immune to pinkeye (famous last words) but has had strep without symptoms several times (passing it to D and me).


Saturday we have to go to the post office, en famille, to get E and Z's passports. I guess the presence of both parents is necessary to make sure no one is being kidnapped. What a pain in the a**. It is infinitely harder to get passports for a minor than for yourself. What's more, the handy passport coordinator was dwelling on driver's licenses. I told him I didn't have one. He said, "Do you have a passport? Is it valid?" Yes. Yes. So that was fine. What's up with their website, then, saying a driver's license was good enough and a passport wasn't? It's enough to make your head spin.

(As a side note - I considered putting up a picture of the little girl from The Exorcist whose head spins. But the image is just too disturbing, even for a 1970s film that has largely slid into camp.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

My niece just sent me a photo of her prom dress. I feel so old! I remember when she was three years old and used to say, "I wub you."

Although...more seriously, getting "older" is bothering me less. I will turn 40 in July 2015, but I think with the right attitude, it could be an adventure. I think as women get older, they care less what others think about them. I can feel it happening already.
So I'm trying to get passports for the kids. We're thinking of going to Cancun for E's winter break. I've never been to Mexico before, and I was looking forward to it. But getting passports is a b***h! I gathered up E's and Z's social security cards and birth certificates (an accomplishment in itself) and located a rush passport service (we had to hold on to E's birth certificate for a while, which is another story for another time). I also have to get 2X2 photos of them taken at CVS, which seems a little ludicrous because Z is only one, but whatever. The sticking point is...they want ID for the parents as well, and a passport is apparently NOT ENOUGH. And I currently have no license (yet another story).

P.S. My mother came to the rescue, mailing my birth certificate and social security card. Also, D thinks the rush passport service is wrong about the requirements, because he thinks the state department will accept a passport as parental ID. However, I want to meet the rush passport service's requirements, because they can do it faster than the government.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm feeling nostalgic for a bike ride I used to take. I haven't used my bike since before I got pregnant with Zoe. I didn't want to ride while I was pregnant, and since then we've been pretty much attached at the hip. But someday, when she starts going to preschool, I plan to ride my bike on a regular basis again.

Anyway, this ride involved leaving my hometown, Danvers, and going to Topsfield, which was pretty rural and had a fancy cul-de-sac, William Fairfield Road, where I used to walk my dog and daydream about living (never happened). The bike path was hilly and thick with trees. Eventually it turned into a road, which was pretty deserted. You'd go through Amesbury and a series of tiny towns. Then, if you persevered for twenty miles, you were in Gloucester. Good Harbor Beach. The summer I turned 18, I had a lot of energy and I did this ride (forty miles round trip) on a regular basis. Once I went with a friend. I remember when we got to the beach, she fell asleep on the sand. I wonder if I could even do that ride now. I like the Hudson River bike path, but that is much shorter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm reading The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James. She also wrote a book about Charlotte Bronte and the "lost memoirs" of Jane Austen. It's really cute, a nice read. Basically her main character finds a missing manuscript that Jane Austen wrote, and the whole thing is embedded in the novel. I compared it to Emma (also on my Kindle) and she pretty much got the tone right.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Here is the hat I finished today.

It was a fun knit, though there was lots of purling. The yarn is called Snapdragon. I think it should be called Watermelon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today I got my hair highlighted and cut in long layers. I really do feel like a new woman. Funny how small things can make a big difference. I like looking at my hair and seeing little bursts of color.

Z likes to bring me the DVD for Bridget Jones's Diary. We watch it on my computer together, usually just a few scenes because her attention span is not that long. I forgot how funny that movie is.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Today my SIL came over, I had some clothes to give her (for the baby), plus a present for her baby from my mom, and the tray for the highchair I already gave her. She seemed kind of frazzled and overwhelmed. It turned out the baby was "breathing shallowly" in her sleep earlier and she freaked out and took her to the pediatrician, who checked her lungs and said she was fine. Also, the baby won't sleep anywhere at night except her car seat.

Almost done with book 3 of the Dragon Tattoo trilogy (officially known as the Millennium trilogy, after the magazine they work for in the series, but isn't my name better?). He's a gripping writer but he goes off on boring tangents that you can skip because he never mentions them again.

Read a really juicy blog entry today. I won't reveal the blog, but whoa!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A certain baby napped for a long time today. That enabled me to finish book 2 in the Stieg Larsson trilogy. But it means she's not interested in bed now. I've started book 3 of the trilogy. I'm happy I came late to the series, so I can just whip through the whole thing and not have to wait for each book to come out.

Today I made Rachael Ray's tomato pasta soup. I really liked it. I may even prefer it to the more complicated minestrone from Moosewood that I've been making all these years.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

D picked up a book today. He said originally it was printed in a limited run, $500 per copy; now it is publicly available.

It's a charming book. In its original form, it was a letter from Joyce to his grandson, Stephen James Joyce.

(The lunch in the background was good too. I had a pear salad with pomegranate seeds and a pesto ricotta pizza.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Our building toddler association didn't have a New Year's Eve party this year, so we decided to throw one ourselves. It seemed to go well. Nobody can get a babysitter that night anyway and people seemed relieved to have something they could take their kids to. Some of the kids pretended E's bed was a spaceship:

One woman told me, "You guys are saints for letting everyone's kids come over." When we got up the next morning, I saw what she meant: puzzle pieces everywhere. We did get it all cleaned up, and I don't regret it. Though the kids ended up going to bed at 10:30.