May 30, 2009


If April showers bring May flowers, what does June bring?

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in the arctic tundra. I'd give it a 10 - warm but not hot, slight breeze, blue sky and plenty of sunshine. So what did we do on such a delightful day? Spent it watching Night At The Museum 2 inside a movie theater. Hubby had to work and I wanted to do something fun with the kids. I wish we'd seen Up but Sassy won the three-way coin toss: heads for Up of course and tails for Night. We spent a little time at "slice of summer", our city block party. Very disappointing turnout - nothing like the street fairs in NYC where everyone is out (rain or shine) and there's something to see or do everywhere you turn.

Summer is fast approaching. That's usually a very good thing, but at this moment it feels like I'm on the super highway of life and I don't know where the last few months have gone. I need time to slow down so I can savor every moment of summer while it lasts. June will be a little busy with kids out of school, a baton twirling contest (working not participating) and work, but I'm really hoping to achieve a good balance so I can enjoy all there is to enjoy. I've been dragging my feet a little, but it's time to have a serious conversation with Sassy about life - school, work, values, etc. We've had serious talks before but in my heart I know this is the right time to refresh and reassess.

The answer ... junebugs!

May 28, 2009


I love tile, fabric and furnishings like some people love jewelry. Oh yeah, shiny stuff!
When we moved to our new (older) home three years ago, I desperately tried to talk my daughter into lovely mirrored furniture. She wrinkled her nose at it which probably saved me mucho dinero and my marriage since we purchased quality furniture for Sassy when she was three years old and it's still in beautiful condition. I dream of remodeling our entertainment room with a gas wall fireplace (black) surrounded by shiny tile (click on Products > Avani > Collection). I'd add a huge sectional in comfy fabric covered with funky pillows, then flank with hip lighting. Sprinkle in a forest or dandelions and that's one cool room. Unfortunately for me someone in South Dakota won the lottery so my dream room will have to wait. Dear South Dakota winner: if you're reading this, feel free to call me and I'll help you spend your money.

May 26, 2009

Money, money, money,

Can you hear the song? As in the Apprentice Theme - For the Love of Money by the O'Jays? The current Powerball jackpot is $222 Million with $113 Million cash value. Twelve co-workers and I pitched in a $1 each so the payout (after admin fee according to the organizer) would be just over $4 Million each. My attorney, accountant, publicist and stylist will all be working over time after Wednesday. Think of how jazzy this blog could be?!

May 24, 2009

Off, Off, WAY Off Broadway

Chunky's school spring concert was um, there's just no nice way of saying it, torture. Each year the 8th graders put on a play - Christmas and spring - while the other grades (K-7) interrupt the festivities to sing a song or two. The spring play was "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and it seemed to be George M. Cohan visting a modern day town??? If you're wondering who George M. Cohan is, I've included an excerpt from Wikipedia - Known as "the man who owned Broadway" in the decade before WWI, he is considered the father of American musical comedy. Chunky's 3rd grade class (along with the 4th graders) sang the title song while waving little American flags. Typically the beginning strings portion is brutal, but this year it was by far the best part of the evening. It'll be a miracle if there are any Broadway actors in this year's graduating class. There were significant audio difficulties as well - not sure if that made it better or worse. What can I say, it's tradition. It bears mentioning how handsome Chunky looked - he insisted on wearing a suit, complete with clip-on tie! Of course there are no accompanying photos (bad mother).

May 23, 2009

NYC Part 3

Totally forgot that we saw another play on Saturday - The 39 Steps. It was a comical take on a classic Alfred Hitchcock film. It had rave reviews but I'd only give it three out of five stars. I liked In The Heights better and there was a bonus with that one - an overly enthusiastic audience member sitting in front of us. Dude knew every line, every song and was quite animated.

After the food tour, we headed just a few short blocks over to Greenwich Village. We were on a mission to find Oliviers & C0. from last year's food tour. I thought it odd to have a food tasting in an olive oil store, but the oil and balsamic vinegar were unlike anything I'd ever tasted. Last year I ended up shipping home a small crate full of goodies and saved some for my mom's birthday gift in October. She thought it odd at first, but she too was soon hooked and asked that I replenish her stock as a Mother's Day gift this year. Remember what I dislike most about NYC? Well, O&Co no longer resides in The Village. So disappointing. I did find out once I returned home and logged online to place the order for my mom they have a store in Grand Central Station. Figures, the one time I didn't make it there on my annual trip. The only way to recover from our disappointment was to head next door to Rocco's Pastry Shop for cannoli. After our treat we were on our way to the annual "Ye Olde Village Fair" on Bedford Street. Music, food and shopping in Greenwich Village We were tempted by many things, from t-shirts to fine jewelry, but we ended up just walking from one end to another. I think we walked from 10am to 6pm that day with only a few short breaks in between.

Sunday was adventure day. We wanted someplace "interesting" for breakfast/brunch. We were on our own while the rest of our party headed to Carnegie Deli. We asked the hotel concierge for advice and her first suggestion was Sbarro's. Really?! We're in NYC and you're telling people to go there?! She quickly offered another suggestion - The Stardust Diner in Times Square. She said it was a 1950's throwback with waitstaff on rollerskates. Now that's more like it. Well she was half right - the diner is set in the 1950's but no rollerskates. Better! They take take turns singing. Turns out it's kind of a start-up place for Broadway wannabes. This was a great place -unique, good food and friendly staff. Two cons: loud and crammed. We had a prime table though - most of the crooners wound up perched right behind our table. I dared Mrs M to lean back and make it a duet!

After our fabulous breakfast, we were off to the American Museum of Natural History. It was okay - the highlight was the dinosaur hall complete with T rex from the movie Night at the Museum. I've got to say once you've seen the Smithsonian in DC everything else pales in comparison. We left in search of more adventures and wound our way through a portion of Central Park - just in time to collide with the annual AIDS walk. Only a few people participated, like 45,000! We navigated through the crowd and decided to turn west at 69th to see what we could find. God was shining down upon us as we ended up in front of Magnolia Bakery. Hello cupcake! We purchased coffee drinks, two cupcakes and found a spot on a townhouse stoop. It made for interesting people watching. A couple (mother and son?) were walking their dog and the dog stopped for a... relief. Beside a car in front of us on the sidewalk. Very appetizing. Another couple drove by and stopped to ask if the dogwalkers were leaving (assuming it was their parked car they were standing beside). The lady dogwalker was picking up doggy doody and the man just stood there shrugging his shoulders and telling the lady dogwalker that someone wanted to speak with her. When she finally clued in to the people in the car, she said "I'm walking my dog" in a very annoyed tone. You gotta love New Yorkers.

We walked another hundred miles (seriously I have to bring my pedometer next time), checking out shops and architecture. We have no idea what building this is, but it is spectacular. I didn't get a good look at the address on the awning (across Broadway which is a very wide and busy at 74th). We asked others on the street and no one knew. What a shame.

Our next mission was to find Fishs Eddy (or what we call "Ed, Edd n Eddy" after the Cartoon Network show 'cause that's how we roll). They have an eclectic mix of vintage tableware, glassware and silverware, as well as their own modern designs. I collect business cards from shops and restaurants we've found memorable over the years and my Fishs Eddy card said there should be a store on the upper west side; alas it had been replaced by a restaurant. We hopped a subway to the Flatiron District hoping to find the original store and we were rewarded.

We needed a break from our own walking tour and decided to find a place for a mid-afternoon cocktail. Again, God was shining on us as we stumbled upon Rosa Mexicano. We ordered guacamole and drinks (sangria for me). As Rach would say, yumm-o. We decided to head back to the hotel to catch up with the rest of our party and freshen up before dinner. We found the Love, Peace and Marriage Equality rally happening two blocks from our hotel at Avenue of the Americas and 46th. Evidently Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon announced her engagement at the event. We figured a politician must also be in attendance as the place was teeming with security.

We finished our day and the trip with a visit to the legendary Tavern on the Green. It was a lovely evening.

Until next year NYC - don't move anything!

May 20, 2009

NYC Part 2

Back to the NYC trip. Last Saturday we had reservations for a 3 hr food tour of SoHo (that's south of Houston Street) at Noon. We did one last year in Greenwich Village and it was Fab.U.Lous. Mrs M and I were bound and determined to find a costume jewelry store in the vicinity we'd been to a year or two ago and we decided to go on an adventure before the food tour. What I love most about NYC is that things are constantly changing - I go back year after year and there's always something new to explore. What I dislike most about NYC is that things are constantly changing - stores and restaurants come and go and shops I cherished or used to orient myself have moved or are altogether gone. We were not having any luck finding the jewelry store and thought perhaps it had suffered one of the aforementioned fates, but we soon determined I was directionally challenged. The subway trip was interesting though -

I think there were bottles in the bags on the floor. I wonder if he took the time to wrap them or if someone else did? He snored too. LOUDLY.

We made it to the meeting place for the food tour with not a minute to spare and the rest of our party had just arrived. We walked for 3 hrs straight with just a few stops for food tasting all around the Washington Square Park area. Our first stop was Yatagan on MacDougal Street. It was not much larger than my bedroom and a gentleman on his bike stopped at the window to order while we were there (I marveled at how he did the whole transaction while on his bike). We sampled Doner Kebab - lamb meat served with pita bread and a "white sauce" (same as greek cucumber or tzatziki sauce). The meat was stacked onto a vertical skewer over a heat source (didn't get close enough to see what kind) and they sliced it off with a big knife. I felt very adventurous. We also ate falafel. I'd heard of this before but didn't know what it was - it's a fried chickpea patty. Both were quite good. Our next stop was just down the block at Monte's, an italian restaurant. The tour guide said she recalled eating there as a child. We had penne bolognese and it was wonderful though I secretly wished we were sampling the ricotta cheesecake. We walked a bit further looking at architecture. The guide dazzled us with her knowledge of real estate - a brownstone in a desirable location was likely $10M while another smaller townhouse off a main street was only $6M. Next stop was Ali Baba where we sampled Halva. This is a confection made of sesame paste, honey and pistachios (there are likely other ingredients, but this is all I recall the guide mentioning). I thought I'd really like it as I'm a big fan of pistachios, but it was rather dry and not very sweet. We checked out a few clubs - Cafe Wha?, The Players Theatre, Next Door and The Blue Note. Evidently Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Prince have played at Cafe Wha? and it's quite the happening place. Our next sampling was at a restaurant called Cuba. I don't know that I've ever had authentic cuban food before, but I definitely will seek it out again. We had beef and chicken empanadas, yucca and a cilantro sauce that was so good I wanted to lick the bowl. The best thing I tasted however was the mojito. OMG!!! It was light, refreshing, not too sweet, with just a lot of mint and packed a punch!

Please note Mrs M's skull necklace - that was a morning jewelry purchase. My necklace was a birthday gift from my BFF :)

I think the only two photos of myself on this blog include an alcoholic beverage. Don't judge me.

Okay, continuing on. We stopped at Rafetto's for ravioli, Joe's Dairy for fresh smoked mozzarella, Pino's Meats for salami and Once Upon a Tart for a chocolate pear tart. AMAZING! I love the name - I think that might be a good name for my place if I ever open one.

There's so much more to tell, but I'll save it for another post. If you're on to me, yes I am trying to eek out as many posts as I can to achieve the all important #10 for the month of May. I probably need professional help.

NYC Part 1

Hubby is out of town and I'm bonding with my DVR - I have some serious catching up to do. Season finale of Desperate Housewives was a little flat for me. I'm assuming Mike marries Susan. I thought it odd that Susan's first husband would attend the wedding if Mike was marrying Katherine. Tomorrow is Chunky's annual spring concert at school. I usually secure first or second row seats at the Spring Fun Fest auction but this year I was too busy in the kitchen to pay close attention to the bidding. Alas, I will need to hike over there two hours early and save seats for Sassy and myself with a beach towel. We're classy like that. I'm listening to American Idol while I type this (I'm notorious for watching the finales of shows - I've only watched one or two regular episodes from beginning to end). OMG - they just sang Rod Stewart's "Do ya think I'm sexy?". What has the world come to?!

I was in NYC last weekend for a girls trip and had a blast. Where to start? My friend Mrs M and I arrived on Friday and planned to walk around midtown Manhattan. That went out the window fast when we heard the rest of our party (who had arrived on Thursday) was in Chinatown shopping (wink, wink). We did a little unpacking at "The Flea" (the hotel which in all fairness is pretty sharp after going through a two-year remodel) and raced ourselves to the nearest subway station. Destination: Canal Street. That place is insane - it's like a wreck, you can't help yourself from watching and getting sucked into the drama. We had dinner reservations at 6:00 and then off to see "In The Heights". More later - truth be told I'm still recovering from a lack of sleep and a lot of walking. Also, I don't want to miss anymore trainwreck flashbacks on American Idol. They're calling the acts"music royalty" - Lionel Ritchie, Kiss, etc. Steve Martin and some folky singers might be a stretch in that category.

May 9, 2009


I absolutely love this site! Cool stuff, fantastic web site tools and great people.

What is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade. Their mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Their vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.

Things I've purchased:
- Twilight inspired lotion, body spray and lip balm from essenceoftwilight
- The infamous Easter collage card from PaisleyPrintsEtc
- Earrings from portobello (funky headpieces)

My favorites - future purchases:
- Hand stamped jewelry personalized with my kids' names from mncmoon
- Soap bars from sunbasilgarden
- Vinyl wall art from singlestonestudios, artwallproject, BadassCustomDecals and ChuckEBrydWallArt
- Because I often channel Martha Stewart - bakeitpretty

May 6, 2009

I Heart Amy

There are a lot of Amys (I know an extra special one :) but I'm talking about Amy Grant today. I like all her music, but it seems her christian music has found me at times when I really needed personal uplifting in my life. I literally wore out my "Unguarded" cassette tape back in 1985. My favorite Amy song is "Everywhere I Go". I rediscovered her a couple of years later when she was touring and made a concert stop at my TX University. I also love her Christmas songs, especially "Tennessee Christmas" and "Grown-Up Christmas List". I've seen Amy in concert at least three times - she rocks the house and exudes a warmth that makes you feel like she's one of your best girlfriends. Who didn't love "Baby, Baby" in 1991? Now Amy has partnered with Philosophy (my favorite skin care) to support a wonderful cause. With Mother's Day just a few days away I can't help but think of all the mothers, grandmothers, sisters and others who have been imapacted by breast cancer (or any type of cancer for that matter). This is definitely a cause worth supporting. Check out Amy's new EP "She Colors My Day" on iTunes.

Philosophy’s She Colors My Day project began when a mother dying of breast cancer created a keepsake for the four daughters she was preparing to leave behind. Unbeknownst to Annette, a long-time Nordstrom employee and nurturer of the Philosophy brand, her act of love would become the inspiration for Philosophy founder and creator, Cristina Carlino, to begin the She Colors My Day movement. Cristina began by writing a song about her daughter Grace that would later be recorded by multi- grammy award winner, Amy Grant.

May 3, 2009

Excused Absences

The school year is drawing to an end and enough time has passed that I feel I can write about the incident referenced in my Getting Started post without my blood boiling. Sassy started attending a private high school last fall - it was a big decision for all of us. She wanted to be with most of her friends who were going to the public high school less than a mile from our home (only one good friend was also attending the private school) and she was feeling anxious about transitioning from a little pond (42 in her 8th grade class) to a big pond (approx. 200). We cautioned her there were even more kids per grade in the public school (approx. 600) and we felt she'd get the structure and motivation she needed from the private school. Both hubby and I graduated from private high schools (same sex no less) so we're a bit biased, but I honestly gave public school serious thought. For one thing, it's free (or I should say already funded by our tax dollars) and for another, our neighbors kids went there and one went on to Harvard and another just graduated from West Point. In the end we decided private and we've had our ups and downs, but in general we feel it was the right decision. Except for the unexcused absence.

I let my daughter out of school early the day "Twilight" opened. Sassy is obsessed with the books and I had become equally obsessed by the time the movie debuted in November. The school transition had been rough for Sassy and I thought she deserved a little something special. I was also anxious to spend time with her over a shared interest. I wrote a note a couple of days in advance advising the school of her absence - I did not ask permission or cite a reason, rather I wrote a general request - Please excuse Sassy from school on Friday, November 21st. I picked up Sassy and her friend "Chica" (whose mother had given permission as well) for our date at Noon - just two hours shy of the end of the school day. We ate lunch, saw the movie and had a great time. The next Monday Sassy came home from school with a detention notice. One of the vice principals knew she was at a movie and said this was not an "excused absence" so she would pay the penalty with an hour of detention on an upcoming Wednesday after school. I asked Sassy how the vp knew she attended a movie and she said they saw him as she and Chica left on Friday and he told them to "cheer loudly". Sassy asked what he meant and he said he assumed they were going to the school swim meet. Sassy truthfully replied they were going to a movie with her mom.

In the end I believe she was punished for telling the truth - she went to a movie and vp did not think it was an acceptable reason to miss school. I called vp and stated my belief that it should not matter why she was out of school nor what she was doing with her time, the fact is I approved the absence and provided advance notice. He stated all absences must be approved by the school per the handbook (which I neglected to read cover to cover, surely everyone else does). I provided alternate scenarios and he replied that had Sassy gone to the school swim meet or been out for a planned vacation (I gave the example of a Noon absence for a weekend trip to an out of town waterpark), then these would have been approved. He used the analogy of taking her out of school to go shopping for the afternoon. My response was that it is not their right to determine how we spend our family time and that I see no difference between a family vacation for a weekend and a "family day". I felt he was judging me as a parent and my right to determine what is an acceptable use of family time. He stood by his decision (and went so far as to say he could have actually given her two hours) and we ended our conversation at an impasse. Sassy served the hour of detention and said it was a joke because it's not well supervised and everyone clowns around the whole time. Others may not agree with why I allowed Sassy out of school, but I feel the principle is I as the parent approved the absence and that should be enough. Maybe I would have understood his reasoning if she had missed a lot of school, but she had zero absences up to that point. I felt he was self-righteous and that irks me. If she had lied, he would have never known the difference and I'm not okay with his punishing her for telling the truth.

Months later when we took our planned family vacation I wrote a note - Please excuse Sassy from school the week of January x. I expect this absence will be excused and if there are any questions please contact me immediately . I wrote it on paper with another private school logo at the top. We never heard a word. Passive-aggressive maybe, but it felt good!