Saturday, May 31, 2008

change of plans

Yesterday was May 30 - opening day for the Sex and the City movie that I have been drooling over for a year. Although I have only been to one (1) movie since Jane was born - the U23D movie - I was sure that I would be there for SATC the first day it opened, cosmo in hand, girl posse in tow.

Instead, I found myself at my friend Ken's wake last night. This was my former co-worker at The Record Journal, a mid-sized daily newspaper I used to write for after I got out of college. I did an internship there for Ken during my final semester, and after subsequently graduating and writing freelance stories and obits for a few months, I got a full-time reporter's gig covering arts and entertainment. And, yes, it was just about as awesome as you can imagine - free concerts, meals at restaurants, all the CDs you could imagine, tickets to shows, you name it - I covered it.

I sat right next to Ken for most of my time there. And when I say "next to," I mean "right next to." Newsrooms are not like the spacious ones you see on TV or in movies, at least not where I worked. It was just clusters of desks shoved together and a constant hum of phones ringing, interviews happening, scanners buzzing, and people talking.

Ken was one of several bosses I had during my time there, and he really was a phenomenal editor. His knowledge of the area we covered was unmatched. He grew up there, and knew everyone and everything about what we observed and recorded every day. I could go on and on, but truly, the thing I'll remember most about Ken is that he was freaking hilarious. He was one of the most sarcastic people I have ever known - a sarcasm mentor, if you will - and we laughed all. the. time. Sure, many times it was at my own expense, but I was constantly getting into trouble back then, and Ken had commentary for it all.

We had about a million inside jokes, many of which were ran through my head over the past several days. And over and over again this week, I found myself shaking my head. I couldn't believe he was gone. And I figured last night at the wake it would all sink in. But I still can't believe it. I really can't.

I know it must seem strange to be mourning someone who I haven't worked with for almost eight years. I did stay in contact with Ken, and most recently saw him about a year ago, he making fun of my ginormous pregnancy belly, and I ranking on him for wearing a tie to work (Ken was not known for his fancy attire) and his new office (with a door!), because he had just received a promotion.

But Ken was the reason I ever became a journalist. He was the reason I ever got paid to write. He taught me so much - a sentiment that was echoed by so many people at the service last night, whether by rookie reporters or the many hockey players that he coached that were in attendance. And by people like me - people who left the business nearly a decade ago but left a bit of herself in that newsroom.

I left the newspaper in late 2000 not because I didn't love it - because I did - and not because I wasn't good at it - because I was. I left because 10 months earlier my father had passed away, and I realized that I couldn't live a 24/7 newspaper life that was required of you if you were a reporter. It was very difficult to make plans, because you didn't know if you would be covering a story. I missed many birthday parties and holidays at the expense of a story. After my father died I knew I didn't want to miss out on another second of my life, so I made the jump. I sold out, as one not-so-close former co-worker put it.

Whenever I visited the newsroom after I left, Ken and I always fell right back into our jokey banter, as if I'd never left. But now he's really gone - and I still think I'll be shaking my head for a long, long time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I just found out that one of my editors and good friends at my old job in newspaperland died unexpectedly today. I am in real shock over this, because first of all, he was only 49, and second of all, it's totally fucked up, in the sense that whenever you hear about someone you really like dying it's totally fucked up. He was a good editor, a big factor in me becoming a writer who actually got paid for it, a hilarious and extremely sarcastic person, and a fine friend whose desk was squished up against mine for the better part of four years.

Say hi to Betty for me, Ken.

Friday, May 23, 2008

bitch and moan, moan and bitch

Well, this hasn't been my week, for various reasons, some of which I won't get into here, but if you've been on the receiving end of my bitching and moaning, thanks for lending an ear, and listening to me come up with creative new ways to swear and hate on life. And, I'm sure that I don't even have to write the part of this post where I report that Jane went back to daycare this week after our vacation, and wound up with a cold by Wednesday, which has only intensified over the past couple of days, and got me yesterday, rendering me completely energyless (yeah, it's a word. now.) today.


I'm sick of complaining (yeah, you read that right) so let's focus on the good things right now. The weather! Ah, the weather. Finally. We've been waiting for you, lovely summertime temps and rain-free skies. The fact that it's a three day weekend is a great thing too, especially since it's relatively obligation free, until Monday. Which is when I start auditions for the show I'm co-directing this summer. Save the date - All Shook Up will rock the hizzouse at the SHS Fine Arts Center on July 25 and 26. And Alan, although I know you hate musicals, I am coming to see you in STAR TREK - THE KLINGTASTIC MUSICAL, so you have to come see my show. Oh, and speaking of shows, I went to see a pretty good one last night, Saved at Playwrights Horizons off-Broadway. And get this - Neil Patrick Harris was in the audience! And he looks dang good! Oh, and today is Jane's ten monthiversary! And to think, she's only been sick for seven of those ten months!

So I suppose that's about it for now. Pretty optimistic and cheery, coming from someone who got less than three hours of sleep last night and can't really breathe that well, huh?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

read this book now.

You guys know how busy I am these days. And as much as I love to read, it took me three nights last week to finish the article about John McCain in New York magazine (perhaps it was the subject matter? I digress..) So when I tell you that I read a book (a real book, not Snuggle Puppy or Clifford's Peekaboo) in 24 hours this weekend, please take a moment to be duly impressed. The book in question was Schuyler's Monster.

I first came across the writing of Robert Rummel-Hudson in Wonder Time magazine, which is a fairly cool parenting magazine that I read every now and then. There was an excerpt of his book, Schuyler's Monster, in the issue, pegged as a story about how parenting can affect marriage. I quickly realized that while this excerpt did talk about issues that Robert and his wife Julie had in their marriage, it wasn't the typical new parents scared shitless issues. It focused on the problems they had after their daughter Schuyler (pronounced Skyler) was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder, bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, which is caused by a malformation of the brain.

Well, you know me. The moment I find out there might be a sad story in my entertainment, especially health related, I put down the magazine or book, turn off the TV, return the movie. I like my entertainment light with a side of frothy. However, there was something very intriguing about his story, and when I found his blog, Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords, I was instantly hooked on the stories of the punky, adorable Schuyler and her Monster (which is what Robert calls her disorder).

I don't mean to candy coat it. In his blog and his book, Schulyer's Monster, Robert details the horrifying journey that began when his 18-month-old daughter's pediatrician asked him and his wife if Schuyler had begun speaking yet, and ended with the ultimate diagnosis of bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, which affects a large portion of Schuyler's brain. Thie malformation primarily presents itself by robbing Schuyler of the ability to speak.

The story will break your heart in about a million different ways. Robert's love for his daughter is palpable - which is what makes her diagnosis that much more painful. It is brutally honest - the aforementioned marriage problems are explored, the deep, dark fears he has for her future are mentioned often, and his conflicting feelings about God are woven throughout, never to be completely resolved.

But there is humor, lots of it, and a wealth of love and devotion for a child who he refers to as a "little rock star." And by the end, you will feel the same way about this engaging little girl. I swear, you'll want her autograph. More than that, you'll want to her hear speak with her Big Box Of Words.

Oh yes, Schuyler finds her voice, just not in the typical way. But she's definitely not a typical girl.

I know I sound ridiculously gushy, but as a parent, this book hit me hard. Because whether your child is diagnosed with something you've never heard of, or has a learning disorder, or is the most popular, straight-A kid in school, you're going to worry yourself sick. This is something I've learned over the past 10 months. Parenthood is great is all kinds of ways, but the primary feeling you have is worry. I felt for Robert and Julie as parents - and I will root for this little family every day, because, in short, they rock. And you'll root for them too.

Go read Schuyler's Monster. NOW.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

wish you were here!

So here I am on my fabulous home. And really, I wouldn't have it any other way. I've had a very enjoyable week so far. It's amazing how much more low-key I feel when I'm not rushing, rushing, rushing all the time. Jane has taken on some sort of weird sleeping schedule where she now naps at about 8:30 a.m. (very early), and the other night didn't go to sleep until 9 (very late). Last night she woke up crying every hour on the hour. Who knows what's up with that crazy lady. She's really on the verge of crawling, so maybe that's messing with her mind.

On Sunday, I celebrated my first Mother's Day by going to my mom's (makes sense, no?). In the afternoon, Greg, Jane, Jimmy, Junior and I took a walk down in West Hartford Center. As it turns out, Mother's Day is the busiest day ever down there, or at least as busy as I've ever seen it. Junior chose that day to be a real pain in the ass, which doesn't always work out when people want to pet him all the time. The whole thing was pretty exhausting, and I have to say that these dogs are lucky we feel guilty all the time, because they would never take as many road trips as they do now, if we treated them like dogs instead of like humans.

The past couple of days I've seen some friends, which has been great, I went to the library, because I'm a nerd, I've spent too much money, I contemplated buying a dress for a wedding I have to go to on Sunday, because the only one I have that fits right is black - is it OK to wear black to a Sunday wedding in May? Probably not, huh? But I don't want to buy a whole new dress that I will only wear once this year. Pathetically, I have only one event on the calendar this year that requires a dress. I'm a fancy pants, don't ya know.

I also am looking ahead to the next few weeks with a little trepidation. I won't be home three nights next week (two due to work and one due to social) and the next week I have three nights of auditions for All Shook Up and the the first read-through. I can't believe that rehearsals are almost here. Life is about to get super-crazed, so I'm so glad that I took this time off while I could.

It really has been great to spend all this time with Jane. If you told me two years ago that an ideal vacation for me would be to hang around a baby all day, I would have rolled my eyes. But It's been so nice to be in control of her day and get to spend the good part of the day with her, not just the busy mornings and nights. Well, perhaps it's not an ideal vacation - if we were doing all of this in San Diego, well, then it would be ideal.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

like mother, like daughter

At around 6 p.m. every night, you can count on Jane to get a bit cranky. I have found one trick that ALWAYS makes her happy. I log on to the Sex and the City movie site, load up the trailer, and play it a whole bunch of times. Maybe it's a little unorthodox, and I'm sure I'm frying her tender little brain cells in front of the computer, but it puts a smile on her face EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Me too! Can't wait for May 30!

mother's day

Well, it's my first official Mother's Day. And instead of a big smarmy post about how great I think it is to be a mom - how all of the hard work, no sleep, insane amounts of worry, and persistant pounds that refuse to go away is completely and totally 100% worth it - I will tell you that, man, I feel old! I know at the ripe old age of 34 I'm hardly "babies having babies" over here, but for some reason, Mother's Day seems like something old people should be celebrating. Anyway, it's still cool, because as you all know, I love s*** like this, and I love getting little presents and cards, and so I'm pretty psyched. I'm heading off to my mom's in a little bit, but I wanted to say Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there, whether you are mom to a kid, or a cat, or a dog, or a fish, or a friend, or whathaveyou. You rock!

PS Shane, go visit your mom (there is your second shout out - are you happy?).

Thursday, May 08, 2008


This whole entirely fucked up nasty event happened on Tuesday night that involved literally hundreds of mosquitoes. Shane asked if I was going to write about it on the blog; I said that it was way too long a story to type, plus it works better if I act it out for you live. Instead, I present you with this haiku:

The mosquitoes came.
They invaded my whole house.
Now they are gone. Phew.

The end.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

hey! look up there!

Did you notice my super cool and cute new banner (with just a dash of snarkiness)?? I'm sure you can already guess who created it for me. What? You thought it was me? My, my, my, you know nothing about my design skillz then. Instead, I give you the one and only Lisa, the artist of all trades. Now, pop over to her site and buy something, dammit. Mother's Day is just around the corner.

You truly brightened my day with this one, Artsy Fartsy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

fun like a hole in the head

One of the blogs I pop over to every now and again, Brooklyn Girl, made a statement in a recent post that mirrors exactly how I feel these days. She said:

I want to have fun. I want to be fun. I just don't remember how.

If you've been on the receiving end of any sort of communication from me in the past six days, whether it be this blog, an email, a phone call or, God bless you, an actual face-to-face conversation, you know the drill: Jane is sick. I am sick. Greg is sick. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. This time it was a stomach bug. She and I are still shaking off the last bits of it; luckily, Greg managed to escape this one (knock wood) with only some mild nausea. Last week was supposed to be a regrouping week for me at work, in between two super-busy weeks, and instead, I only got a couple of days in before the rest was eaten up by sick days. Now I'm in the weeds more than ever.

Sending Jane off to daycare today was hard. I knew she wasn't exactly 100% - her mood was great, but I knew her stomach still was a little touchy, so I told the teachers to feed her gently, don't let her bounce around too much after eating, no weird foods, just bananas and rice cereal. They are great, and when I picked her up at the end of the day, she had had a pretty good day, despite the fact that she got less than an hour nap the whole time (this should be illegal). But I know another sickness is right around the corner.

The first year of daycare is the roughest, everyone tells me. It's always like this. It helps build their immune systems. Pardon me for not being thrilled that she has had a runny nose for a good half of her life. And, please, after the hand/foot/mouth drama and this latest stomach monster, a runny nose is practically welcomed with a ticker tape parade. I scoff at you, runny nose.

I, as you can see, am a little bit of a mess. I know exactly how Brooklyn Girl feels. Every day the past week I've felt like I have barely kept it together, at the very brink of losing it at any moment, never mind actually having or being any fun. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel sick. I feel like a nag. I feel like I'm spending too much money on Infant's Tylenol. I'm tired of being sicked upon. I. Just. Want. Jane. To. Be. Healthy. Is that too much to ask?

I know there are people with real problems. No one has to tell me this. I know I am lucky. No one has to tell me this either. I remind myself all the time. But I do, from time to time, permit myself a big ol' "WHY ME?" Why does it seem like we can't get one nice sunny weekend, where no one is sick, nothing is broken, everyone is happy, and everyone can actually recharge?

I want to have fun. I want to be fun. I just don't remember how.

Friday, May 02, 2008

gross ick nasty ugh

Look, I know this is horrible in absolutely every way, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to thinking it a wee bit funny. Particularly because I spent the better part of the morning with my head in the toilet, because I caught Jane's stomach bug overnight. For those of you counting, I have now taken 2 1/2 days off of work this week due to daycare-related illness, both on the parts of me and Jane. She's happy as a loon right now, while I'm at the point where I truly and honestly can't even lift her up, I'm so weak. Thank God Greg is working from home today, or I would have had to call my mommy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

the weather. we are under it.

So, everyone in Casa Me, My Dogs, My Life is sickity sick sick sick. I got the call around noon that Jane had a stomach bug (I will refrain from the details) and both Greg and I have a cold. We are all still recovering. Poor Jane! I hate seeing her sick and I want her to be better, stat. For those of you keeping track, this is the fifth illness in a month and a half. I could go on and on for paragraphs about all the reasons why I am miserable and so sick (literally and figuratively) of daycare, etc, etc, on and on, et al, to infinity and beyond. But instead, I will tell you the one reason I am glad I'm home sick today:

The cast of Sex and the City is on Oprah today! Hells to the yeah! I'm psyched.

I am also posting this pic of Jane that Lisa posted on her blog the other day - she took it at a party we were all at on Friday night, in ye olden days of healthiness. This is one of my favorite pics of Jane yet!