Tuesday, November 30, 2010

say whaaaa?

So there’s this book.

And it looks all cute and sweet, right? And it is. I was reading it to Jane last night, and she’s really enjoying “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Hush, Little Baby” and "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" and then we get to this:
Goosey, Goosey, Gander
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs,
And in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man,
Who wouldn't say his prayers,
I took him by the left leg,
And threw him down the stairs.

Are you effing kidding me with this? I TOOK HIM BY HIS LEFT LEG AND THREW HIM DOWN THE STAIRS?!!? Nighty night, Jane! Sleep night! With visions of being tossed down the stairs by one leg dancing in your head! Sweet dreams! WTF??

So I had to Google that shit. And it turns out, this so-called nursery rhyme has some nefarious undertones, as so many seemingly innocent children’s songs and stories do. This is what the internets told me:

Zealous Protestants & Secret Priest Holes
Goosey, Goosey Gander is a rhyme with historical undertones - an attention grabber for a nursery rhyme which uses alliteration in the lyrics designed to intrigue any child. The 'lady's chamber' was a room that once upon a time a high born lady would have her own chamber, (also referred to as a solar). The origins of the nursery rhyme are believed to date back to the 16th century and refer to necessity for Catholic priests to hide in 'Priest Holes' ( very small secret rooms once found in many great houses in England) to avoid persecution from zealous Protestants who were totally against the old Catholic religion. If caught both the priest and members of any family found harbouring them were executed. The moral in Goosey Goosey Gander's lyrics imply that something unpleasant would surely happen to anyone failing to say their prayers correctly - meaning the Protestant Prayers, said in English as opposed to Catholic prayers which were said in Latin!

So it’s basically – you better get your prayers right, bitch – or you’re going to need crutches! Nice. I think I’ll be skipping over that page next time this book comes out of the bookcase.

And thus concludes NaBloPoMo. I cannot believe I actually posted every day. Yay me! I now get about a 12-hour break to refocus my brain and dive into reverb10 – hope you’ll stick around!

Special thanks to my friend Dwayne, who has managed to, as promised, comment on every post I’ve made this month. Now get your own blog!

Monday, November 29, 2010

gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

(The title of this blog post comes from a song called "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" by Barenaked Ladies, also known as one of my all-time favorite BNL songs ever. EVER.)

I don't know if you've noticed, but it's dark practically all the time now. I know we have three weeks left until we reach the shortest day of the year (December 21), but, friends, it feels like we are there already. I loathe this time of year. I want to live where it's light all the time, where people don't know when to go to bed because it's light at, like, midnight. I think this happens in Alaska for part of the year (of course, the trade-off is that it's dark practically 24 hours a day the other part of the year. But I would leave then.) Add in the cold, and the impending snow season, and I can whip up a serious case of the winter blahs.

Of course, Drs. Google and WebMD (along with myself) have diagnosed me with this. Now, the internet has diagnosed me with many things, some only slightly deadly, most very, very deadly, but this is the most accurate diagnosis I think I've ever gotten. Never have I nodded so much whilst reading a summary of symptoms (except for those many times I read the symptoms for various types of cancer). But seriously, I have this. And it sucks.

I want to get one of those light therapy boxes that simulates sunlight, but it turns out they are hella expensive for something I'm not sure would actually work. Since I get no actual daylight in my bat cave office at work, I make sure to get outside at lunchtime for some (albeit cold) air and sun with my lunch posse every day.

I've also started filling up my winter with activities to get me out of the house after the new year, which I'm sure I will talk about in December during reverb10.

But what I really want to know is this - do you love winter? Why? Seriously, I want lists. Inspire me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

winding down and gearing up

This weekend, I am trying to unplug from the internet as much as possible. I've spent a lot of time in November online, especially considering my participation in NaBloPoMo, which winds down on Tuesday. In my head, however, I'm gearing up for reverb10 (click on the link to the right to find out more info about this awesome challenge for the month of December). Yup - that's right. I'm participating in yet another month-long blogging project - my third this year. I couldn't resist! I'll be talking lots more about that this upcoming week - for now, just enjoy this cool sunrise I saw from my back deck a few days ago.
Hope you're having a great (long) weekend!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm thankful for....(day 5)

Today I am thankful that even though I've been off for two days, I still have entire weekend left!

These are the things I am thankful for right no: got some good deals at the mall today (we were there at 7 a.m.), including a bunch of stuff at Disney and Baby Gap, along with picking out a sweet pair of Nikes for myself (from Greg); going over to my friend Heather's tomorrow; have a bunch of DVR'ed shows I plan to watch tonight including The Biggest Loser, Glee, Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It and Parenthood; and I managed to snap a Christmas card-worthy picture of Jane yesterday, which, as you know, is a true Thanksgiving Day Miracle indeed.

I hope you have a great weekend -and don't forget to tell me what YOU are thankful for!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm thankful for....(day 4)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I had a great Thanksgiving today. Kicked it off with a long walk, watched some of the parade, and then went to my mom's for a great dinner and fun times with the fam. Jane was great - no meltdowns - so all in all, I give it an A+. Plus I won about 40 bucks in one of the games we play. Sweet! The only bummer is that my throat is killing me - it seems to be an annual thing for me to get sick on Thanksgiving. Aside from that, great day.

Today I am thankful for many things, but the one thing I will mention here is being thankful for all of you guys who stop by this blog, read it, and comment (you know I love comments!). I made my blog more public this month and although it kind of makes me feel weird (embarrassed?) overall I think it's cool to have people take the time to read. God knows people don't get enough of my blathering in real life... : )

Happy Thanksgiving once again - and please feel free to share what you are most thankful for today in comments!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm thankful for....(day 3)

We continue I'm thankful for... week with today's Thanksgiving Eve installment. Today I am thankful for this face. (No, not the one on the left, the one on the right. The cute one.) Jane never poses for a picture anymore - unless we are doing these silly self-portraits. Then she can't get enough. Frankly, I'm totally dreading taking her Christmas card picture this weekend, because, you guys, the girl. won't. pose. But since I'm just supposed to be posting things I'm thankful for this week, I'll stop complaining.
Now, I demand you tell me what you are thankful for today!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm thankful for....(day 2)

I'm thankful for.... week continues today with a two-parter. The first is my more immediate response, and the second is my planned response.

1) .....the giant glass of wine sitting in front of me.

2)....the fact that I live close to a beach. We took the whole fan-damily down to the beach on Sunday. Greg had the idea that we could bring the dogs down and they could run free because no one else would be there, right? Wrong. It was a seaside dog park on Sunday. The temp in the high 40s and it was a great, sunny day to walk around - and apparently we weren't the only ones with the idea. Jane made a sandcastle and, although the pups didn't get to run free (much), they still had a blast.

So, tell me, dear readers - what are you thankful right now?

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm thankful for.....(day 1)

Today begins my "I'm thankful for...." week. Because, you know, Thanksgiving is Thursday. So this week I will be doing little quick hits on things I am thankful for.

Today - especially, in this very moment - I am very thankful I am married to someone who knows when I am at the end of my rope and about to explode in a hormonal/postal fit and need to get the hell out of the house for some quality alone time. Because I was told just a minute ago, by Greg, to "just disappear!" (And not in a bad way.) So I am going to go return a book and possibly peruse a magazine or two before I head back here into the war zone (bedtime=war zone - sometimes, anyway).

I hope you will share something you are thankful for in comments! Even if it's silly or sarcastic.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

halloween (very, very belated)

Hey! Remember Halloween? Like, a hundred years ago? Jane went trick-or-treating for the first time this year. And if you look at the picture where she is sitting on Greg's shoulders, you will see the very moment she realized how freakin' awesome Halloween is. That's her "Are you serious? They give candy at EVERY HOUSE? LET'S GO!" face. Anyway, here are a few very, very belated pics. (As you can see, we had to switch out the witch hat for a more comfortable winter hat because it was freeezing.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Kids are All Right

Since yesterday's post was an extremely lengthy review of the new Harry Potter flick, I thought I'd just say that I spent some quality time with my Hollywood boyfriend, Mark Ruffalo, this afternoon when I watched The Kids are All Right.
My review: awesomesauce.

Please enjoy this picture of my and my boyfriend (ignore the other person). (Yes, I know I've posted this picture on this blog at least two other times but too bad. Look at how he's gripping my shoulder! Clearly in love with me.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

guest post!

And now, the much-anticipated review of the new Harry Potter movie by my friend, colleague, number-one commenter, and all-around insane person, Dwayne:

First, to those coming here today expecting to get your daily dose of Amanda, I apologize. While I would never presume I could replace her quality musings, I do suspect you will enjoy the following for two reasons: 1) it’s about Harry Potter, and 2) it’s by me.

If you have had the misfortune to stumble upon my recent blog comments, you will know that I am a Harry Potter fan (also that I am well prepared for the impending zombie apocalypse, that i am hypocritical when it comes to the length of blog posts vs blog comments, and that I very concerned with Jane’s upbringing). I saw the new movie last night, and Amanda allowed me (begged is a more appropriate verb) to write a review.

As I am sure is almost universally the case, it is the books that captured my heart; the movies are just the illegitimate children of my love affair with Harry. (It’s probably appropriate at this point to explain that I often use the term “Harry” to refer to the entire world of Harry Potter, not just the character.)

While book 5 (that’s Order of the Phoenix for all you muggles) is my favorite, book 7 (Deathly Hallows) is a very, very close second. There is so much stuff that happens in this book that it’s kind of ridiculous. We learn about the life and times of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. We hear the story of the three Peverell brothers through The Tales of Beedle the Bard. We spend some (painful) time inside Malfoy Manor. We lose Ron, but get him back. We lose others, but don’t get them back. We ride a half-blind dragon. Magic is Might. The Silver Doe. Battle of Hogwarts. King's Cross. SO MUCH HAPPENS, and I love every word of it. Every. Single. Word. Which is all really to say, I am biased toward loving this movie. And I do love it. A lot.

The best (read: easiest) way I can come up with to review this movie is to do it à la James Joyce’s Ulysses; that is to say, a stream-of-consciousness rambling of my thoughts as they occurred to me while watching the movie. So, if you really want to know my review, you might have to decipher a bit, but it is well worth it:

I am religious about watching the trailers; it’s part of the whole experience of watching a movie. OMG, The Green Lantern is going to suck. For reals suck.

Brilliant way to start the movie…it sets up the prevailing motifs perfectly.

Malfoy Manor reminds me of a M.C. Escher print…also, ugh, I hate snakes.

Wait, what the hell is happening?! There’s too much going on…brooms…thestrals…and an owl…I can’t keep up…this is not at all like a Jason Bourne action scene.

The wedding scene…I had such high expectations…wait, that’s not a lynx…it’s supposed to be a lynx, right?

Again, another action scene disappoints.

I hate that bitch Dolores Umbridge. Expecto Patronum! Oh shit, that’s not what I thought a splinching would look like.

The constant hum of the radio is a brilliant touch…you can see the tension building in Ron…he’s starting to look a bit crazy…like Frodo Baggins did toward the end of his journey to Mount Doom in LOTR.

Dancing? Now? Really? Fine. It’s random, but sweet.

Eff, I really hate snakes, and old people, and snakes dressed up as old people.

Wow…superfluous nudity…not sure if this is a win or fail, but the girls in the audience are literally screaming with delight.

Xenophilius’s house is designed perfectly…wait…animation…what is happening?! This may have been the best part of the movie so far…such a brilliant way to tell that story.

Holy shit, this movie moves so fast…we barely have time to digest what just happened before moving on to something else.

WTF…another action scene fail...Dear Director Yates, please don’t ruin The Battle of Hogwarts. Please? Thanks.

And we’re back at Malfoy Manor… it’s going to be a hard, hard scene to get through. Effing love Bellatrix Lestrange…Helena Bonham Carter is crazy and it’s perfect.

Shit…I forgot about this part…it is definitely overdramatized, but it must work because numerous girls are openly sobbing now…loud…and disgustingly.

I hate grave robbers.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 wands made of holly with a core of phoenix feather.

PS: I should admit that I have never read Ulysses, in spite of trying numerous times. I have, however, read a lot about Ulysses and intend to read it one day. It's on my bucket list.

PPS: Since I am in the mood to confess things, I should also admit that I have never read the first two books or even seen the first two movies. I know. Bombshell.

[Editor's note: I have no idea what this entire post means. It makes literally no sense to me. But thanks for taking over for me for a day Dwayne!]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

we’re off to see the wizard

So, it seems like there is a very important movie coming out this weekend. Well, midnight tonight, to be more specific. And I’m not talking about Russell Crowe’s new movie that I won’t ever see, The Next Three Days. (What is this, anyway? Aren’t we over Russell Crowe at this point?)

Yes, it appears that the new Harry Potter movie is set to hit the big screen tonight, and from what I understand, it is going to be a very dark, terrifying, sad dramatic movie. No wonder all the kids love it! But I will not be one of the people in the multiplex for this one. I haven’t seen any of the Harry Potter movies, and I’ve only read one of the books. I think it was the fourth one – Harry “Half-Blood” Potter and the Sorcerer’s Chamber of Phoenixes, I believe it was, and it was an assignment at the newspaper where I worked at the time. But I read it. All 7,000 pages of it. It wasn’t my thing. I don’t like fantasy, I don’t like wizards, or magic, or dragons, or sorcery or death eaters or snapes or whatever the hell is in these books and movies.

So what I am about to say might shock you: I love the whole Cult of Harry Potter. I love when a new book comes out, mostly. I adore looking at pictures of the crowds lining up at the bookstores, and the kids (and adults) dressed up at their favorite characters, and everyone plopped down immediately after they make the transaction so they can start reading right away. Love love love it all.

I am a HUGE reader. I was an English major, for God’s sake! Being a book nerd is required. I absolutely love reading and think it's so important and when something like Harry Potter or (gag) Twilight*comes around that turns young people AWAY FROM THEIR VIDEO GAMES AND COMPUTERS and on to reading and books, I think it’s awesome. Reading books can very easily get lost in the shuffle of the overwhelming choices we have to entertain ourselves, especially with so many of them technology-based. (And I will never succumb to the Kindle or any e-reader, never ever ever. It’s not the same as reading an actual book. There’s no “new book” smell!)

And I’m happy to report that my faithful commenter Dwayne will be guest-posting on this blog tomorrow or Saturday to write a (very, very thorough, I imagine) review of the movie! Because “completely and totally and beyond-all-reason obsessed with Harry Potter” doesn’t even scratch the surface of his feelings for the books and the movies. I'm super-psyched! Get your reading glasses out, people! It's gonna be a long one!

*I am NOT equating the Harry Potter series to Twilight. Because while I might entertain the idea of reading Harry Potter, I will never crack open one of those Twilight books. I am not on Team Edward or Team Jacob - I am on Team PLEASE MAKE TWILIGHT STOP.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

two lines (an ode to a Target bathroom stall)

Attention male readers: The following post features some lady business. Proceed with caution.

Because I’m a total nerd, I remember a LOT of anniversaries. Sure, typical things like wedding anniversaries and birthdays and stuff like that, but also completely random anniversaries – which is why I know it was four years ago today that I found out I was pregnant.

We had been trying for just a couple of months. I had been feeling crampy and crappy for the previous few days, and figured I was getting my period. I was disappointed, sure (TRYING to have a baby can be super-stressful, and it forced me to do math, and pay attention to calendars, and ovulation and shit) but, like I said, it was only the second month, so I wasn’t freaking out.

Well, a day or two more passed, and now I was a couple of days late, but still, this wasn’t a big deal for me. I still felt totally yuck, but started to wonder to myself, “hmmm….maybe I am pregnant? Even though I feel completely PMS-ish?” So I asked my trusty friend Babycenter.com if it was possible. And the internet told me YES. Since I believe everything the internet tells me, I headed off to Target after work.

Even though I was 33 years old, I felt the need to distract the cashier from my purchase of a pregnancy test with a couple of other items. There is something awkward about buying pregnancy tests, but still, it’s not like I was 14 years old – like my mommy was going to ground me if she found out or something. I guess we just convince ourselves that the cashier will be so mesmerized by our other purchase (ooooh, a Snickers! Or, wooow, socks!) that he or she won’t notice the EPT box. (Because, you know, your local Target employee totally gives a shit whether you’re glowing with motherhood or not. TOTALLY.)

Well, at this point, I was pretty excited. So I went no further than the Target restroom to take the test. Yup, I can tell you the exact stall I was in when I saw the two lines pop up on the pregnancy test. I have deemed it my “good luck stall” and whenever I use the restroom at Target, I go back to where it all began (well, where it all began for Jane anyway.) (Well, not technically – oh, forget it.) (Clarification: Jane was NOT conceived in a Target bathroom stall.)

I remember my hands were totally shaking. I couldn’t believe it. Even though I was actively trying to make it happen, I couldn’t believe I was looking at two lines. So of course I immediately took the second test (see, the box has two tests – or, as they are sometimes called, pee sticks) and sure enough – two lines.
WELL. I did whatever any rational newly-informed mom-to-be would do. I rushed to Walgreens to buy more pregnancy tests (as well as other random items, I’m sure). Seriously, I couldn’t believe it. In the meantime, I called my BF Heather and had this phone conversation:

ME: “Is it possible to be pregnant and have cramps? Is that a bad thing?”
HER: “No, I was totally the same way.”
ME: “Okaaay…..I am going to call you tomorrow.”
HER: “OK, bye”

See, I realized halfway through the conversation that there was someone else I should probably share this news with first. Yes, even before Heather.

So I called Greg up on the phone and asked him where he was. He was at band practice with his friends. So I said I’d see him later, and headed off to Borders to get my very first look at “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” I was very excited to FINALLY have a real reason to check this book out (NOTE: Although it was my bible during pregnancy, it also scared the hell out of me regularly.) On the way there, I started to get a weird migraine headache. I’ve only had two of these in my life, and I knew I shouldn’t drive. So I called up Greg again, and his friend drove him over to Borders to get me.

And here is the magical moment Greg found out he was going to be a dad.

Scene: my car

Me: So, I’m pregnant!
Greg: Good for you!

That response still cracks me up.

So that was four years ago today. Who could have projected that four years later to the day, I would be picking up Jimmy’s poop off the ground in the living room at 5:30 in the morning and Jane would be crying hysterically because I wouldn’t let her help?

I know this post is kind of weird but hey - blogging for 30 days straight is hard, yo!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking

Pardon this quick blog entry - 12 hours at work and my brain is fried. But this is important.

I read a lot of blogs written by women, and today I noticed a lot of chatter about The Girl Effect. This week, there is a Girl Effect Blogging Campaign to raise awareness about this project in time for International Children's Day on November 20. So I wanted to join in.

I wish I had more time to write about this. But what I can say off the top of my head is this - having a girl really affects how you view the world. In many, many ways, the world seems like a scarier place. In addition, having a child, boy or girl, affects how you view children's issues. If you look at the issues facing girls in poverty-stricken countries - married by 14, children by 15 (not to mention the high mortality rate during childbirth), major threat of HIV and AIDS, never breaking the cycle of poverty, therefore putting their own daughters in the same situation - you can't help but imagine your own child facing those issues. And that brings out the protective mama bear like nobody's business.

Age 12 is no time for the world to view you as a woman. I think I still played with dolls when I was 12. I didn't get married until I was 31 and I didn't have my child until I was 33. WHEN I WAS READY.

Let's do what we can so these girls can make their own decisions WHEN THEY ARE READY too. Because life can be a whole hell of a lot different when it's not predetermined for you.

(There are so many more eloquent things to say about this, but I really wanted to share this video as soon as possible. To read entries by writers much better than me, please visit here and scroll down.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

merry and bright

Christmas may be a month-and-a-half away on the calendar, but when you work in showbiz like we do, it can come a bit sooner. So we got in the spirit today like nobody's business. Well, some of us, anyway. And as you can see, Audrey and I were the MOST spirited, in our matchy-matchy (and totally unplanned) outfits. Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

short and sweet

If you ever read the comments on this here blog, you may have noticed that my friend Dwayne has committed to commenting on each blog post I make during NaBloPoMo. He doesn't really think I can stick to my promise of participating, and knowing how much I love comments, he offered up that incentive. And, if you read his comments, you know that although they don't really make sense a lot of time, they are blog-worthy on their own.

But now Dwayne is annoyed that my posts have gotten too long, and I haven't stuck to my plan of posting quick pictures and videos on the weekend. So Dwayne, this one's for you.

Dumb Cat Can't Figure Out How To Drink - Watch more Funny Videos

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I want to have my cake and eat it too

As you know, potty training Jane was a holy hellish nightmare from the depths of Hades. Basically, it was bad. We started in January, and it wasn't until June that I felt safe to put her in underwear - and that was when I was having a mental breakdown because she was regressing terribly in her Pull-Ups - having accidents all the time - and I couldn't take it anymore. I knew she was ready, so I said, "THAT'S IT. YOU'RE GOING TO UNDERWEAR." (Just like that. All caps-style.) And that day she had one accident in her underwear, and has been great since. Sure, we spend hours of quality time in public restrooms, but it's worth it.

However, since then I have kept her in Pull-Ups at night. I just didn't want to have to deal with middle-of-the-night accidents (because I'm lazy). But over the past couple of months, she has had a dry Pull-Up pretty much every morning. So last week, when we ran out of Pull-Ups, instead of giving the fine people at the Pampers Corporation anymore of my hard-earned dollars, I said, once again, "THAT'S IT. YOU'RE DONE." (But not as loud this time.)

Now, waaaaaay back in January, when my brain was spiraling out of control because potty training sucks complete and total ass, my lovely and very talented friend Lisa sensed that I was losing my shit, to put it mildly. Lisa, who is very talented at cooking, baking, making jewelry, art, raising chickens, and riding motorcyles, among many other things, offered me a light at the end of the tunnel - she would make me a delicious cake once Jane was potty trained. And maybe she said it out of desperation, just wanting me to SHUT THE EFF UP about potty training, but I never forgot the promise. And when Jane was officially and truly and completely done with potty training last week, I knew it was time to cash in, so I've helpfully reminded Lisa several times of her promise.

Well, apparently Jane felt she needed to prove a point. Lisa and her equally-lovely husband Luke were at our house this morning, as they were coming to pick up a motorcycle from our basement that they had purchased from my father-in-law, after coveting it for several years. While we were hanging outside, enjoying the amazingly beautiful weather, I saw Jane dragging something outside from the garage. I noticed that it was the little kid potty we had kept downstairs during the godforsaken training period. She hasn't used it in many months. She then brought it out to the driveway, pulled her pants down, sat down, and peed right in front of me and Lisa. As if to say, "where is my cake?"

But there's no way I'm sharing it with her.

Friday, November 12, 2010

weekend update.

Well, before I get to my weekly update on all of my exciting weekend plans, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has popped in this week to this blog. Even though I have had this blog for well over four years (not to mention another blog on Yahoo! for a year before that) I didn't really share its existence with too many people. I'm not sure why - probably out of embarrassment - let's face it, my life isn't that thrilling. But after a bunch of people suggested I start a blog based on my Facebook statuses, I figured it was time to let the cat out of the bag, at least a bit. So, this was a really long way of saying HELLO! And thanks for reading. I'm sure this site confirms the fact that I am a complete and total tool.

Anyway, so it's another exciting Friday night in my household. I can hear Greg yelling at Junior for taking Jane's food, and "The Princess and the Frog" is all set up to depress me for another night. I have Conan's interview with Don Draper - I mean, John Hamm - paused on my DVR because everyone keeps making too much noise for me to pay attention. And I really like to pay attention to my Don Draper. So, essentially, it's another hot night in the city over here. Here's what's on tap for the weekend:

Saturday: I haven't seen my in-laws in quite a while, so we're headed down to the beach to see my mother-in-law. We'll walk down the street from their house to the little beach nearby, Jane will throw a kajillion rocks into the water, we'll drag her kicking and screaming from that fun to go to lunch (hoping to get a lobster roll out of this trip) and then probably for ice cream. The best part will be getting the gossip from that side of the family, because God knows, I am incredibly, incredibly nosy.

Sunday: Chores, chores, chores. I have to head to the mother ship - I have many things on my list, including art supplies, because once again, we have homework for daycare this weekend. We have to decorate a cut-out of a little girl to depict Jane's culture. Yes, friends, I have to artistically represent Jane's Irish, Italian and French Canadian heritage. I printed out some clip art this week - you know, flags, clovers, pizza, maps, stuff like that - and I figured we'd glue it all over the cut out and that would be that. I noticed today that some of the already-finished ones (who are these people are who get these projects done before the deadline?) and they seem to have taken a different, some might say more detailed route - coloring, drawing in faces, culturally-appropriate clothing and stuff - but for us, clip art will be the way to go. I swear to God, we have homework every couple of weeks. After a day of chores and artistry, we will go to my mom's.

Another thing I will be doing this weekend is watching this movie. And I don't care if you make fun of me - I want to see this sooo badly - I adored the Ramona books as a kid - and I actually got teary when I saw the PREVIEW. Can't. Wait.

And what are YOU doing this weekend? It has GOT to be more exciting than mine!

PS Here is a special shout-out to Lisa L., who is irritated I haven't mentioned her on this blog yet. Is it as magical as you expected it to be, Lisa?!

ETA: Don Draper just mentioned mall walking. Nice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

mall walker

My mornings during the work week are stupidly hectic. One reason why this is true is my need to, if at all possible, stop at Au Bon Pain before I drive into work for approximately 8-10 minutes of Amanda Time. I just need a few seconds for my brain to calm down before I head into work mode, you know? Anyway, because of this almost-daily stop, I now cannot wait for the day that I can retire and become a mall walker. I’m serious.

I live about five minutes from the mall, which is where my Au Bon Pain is located. It’s easier and faster than going to Dunkin Donuts (although there IS a DD right next door to Au Bon Pain, if I so please) And God knows it’s better than Starbucks these days. I usually get a quick coffee (but I’ve limited coffee to once – ok, sometimes twice – a week, because of my summer stomach issues) and/or a bagel or muffin. (Aside: their limited-time-only pumpkin muffin is ah-may-zing. Love.)

And this is when I become incredibly nosy. I sit at a table for a few minutes and channel my inner Harriet the Spy and listen to all of the old people who hang out there. And as each moment passes,as I hear them railing on about “Obamacare” and The Situation (yup, the guy from "Jersey Shore." That day was a real highlight for me. I literally stopped in my tracks to make sure they were talking about “The Situation” and not just “the situation”) I get more and more jealous in my heart.

These people live the life! Oh, I know they would probably say the same about me, but I totally draw the short stick in terms of morning fun compared to this crowd. First of all, they get way more exercise than I do. They get up, hop into their tracksuits or sweats - they are all super-coordinated - head to the mall, and do their laps, usually in groups. Then they hit Au Bon Pain, get their oatmeal and coffee and pastries, and just laugh and laugh and have a great time. Sometimes it’s someone’s birthday, and they all sing. Sometimes it’s no one’s birthday, and they still sing. A lot of times, they are gossiping about their friends and families. Often they are upset about politics. But they are always loud and boisterous and seem to be having a blast.

Oh, and they love kids. The only time they will pay attention to me is when I bring Jane, which I’ve done on days off once or twice. They think she’s the shit - so cute, so great, so fun. The Jane Show is always a big hit with the mall walkers. But when it’s me alone, a rushed, haggard worker bee heading off for another day, they really don’t care. What about me? Am I not cute enough for them?

I cannot wait until I'm retired- because I'm totally going to rule that mall.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

it's a small (tragically sad) world

This will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me, but I HATE HATE HATE most animated movies. Ever since Pinocchio scared the life out of me (the only time I went to the movies with my father that I can remember – and legend has it that I was screaming so loud the whole theater was looking at me), and Dumbo tore at my soul (OMG sadness) and Bambi….well, let’s be real, I’ve never seen Bambi, and I never will….I have avoided animated movies like the plague.

Why, you ask? Well, they are ALWAYS sad. Think of your favorite animated film. Oh, I bet you will try to tell me it wasn’t sad. But, if pushed to remember, I bet you will think of something that would make a sap like me cry. I have a friend who is enraged that I have never seen Finding Nemo. I mean, he’s really mad at me about this. Is it sad, I asked? No, no, it isn’t he said. But sure enough, something tragic happens to Nemo’s mother (always with the mother) at the beginning. I actually got teary reading a REVIEW of Toy Story 3 earlier this year. And, basically, I don’t like to cry at movies. I don’t like to be a miserable puddle of sadness. So I have avoided this genre altogether.

But now I have a kid. A kid who seems to like such movies. We started off slow, with Cinderella. She became completely and totally obsessed with it (to the point that she calls any heels I own “glass slippers” and declares herself a “pincense” on a daily basis) and then somehow we lost the DVD at the boat. To make up for it, Greg bought her The Princess and the Frog, the most recent Disney animated film. (Of course we called it “Cinderella and the Frog” to distract her from the fact that we lost her original movie.)

Now, when Jane is watching these movies, I sit with her, but I’ll either be reading or messing around online, so I’m not really paying attention. I like to protect myself from the sadness as much as possible. But the other day, upon the 10 millionth viewing of Cinderella and the Frog, I noticed that on the screen was [SPOLIER ALERT – but if you know animated movies you know what’s coming] a very sickly looking firefly. I asked Greg what was wrong with him. See, Greg would know, because being a boy with no siblings, he never really got to see any of the Disney movies (which is why he was shocked that the Prince in Cinderella immediately got to marry her after he found that the glass slipper fit her – and I told him that movies like these are why many women believe in fairy tale romances. If it happened to Cinderella, it can happen to us. Except most of the time it doesn’t. Don’t get me started..) ANYWAY, he thinks these movies are just great and loves the music in The Princess and the Frog so much so that I might buy him the soundtrack. And it’s true – it really is good New Orleans-style music. I cannot fault him for this.
God, am I getting sidetracked. So I asked Greg what was wrong with the firefly, and apparently he (the firefly, not Greg) got run over by “Shadow Man” (or something like that) and was on his way to firefly heaven. But it wasn’t even firefly heaven – see, apparently the firefly was in love with a star in the sky throughout the movie, so when he died (after a big long tortuous death scene) you see that he is reunited with the star in the sky.

WELL. I lost it. I barely knew any characters in the movie, I didn’t even know there WAS a firefly up until this point, and I was bawling, tears and tears and more tears. It was just SO SAD. And then I started railing on (again) about why do these movies have to be this way, and Greg said that Jane didn’t even understand it so it wasn’t a big deal, and then I said she WOULD understand it someday, and then WHAT WILL WE TELL HER and on and on and I am not even making any of this up.

I really don’t know how I’m going to make it through her childhood without her realizing I’m completely nuts.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Gingerbread Latte FAIL

Today I had Jane’s parent-teacher conference. Now, I’m not going to lie – these things make me nervous. I used to be on the brink of throwing up every time my parents went to one of these things. And now I’m stressed about it because, well, Jane spends a lot of time at daycare, and who the hell knows what goes on there? (I kid. Of course we know what goes on there. I ask Jane every day what happened at school. And I get detailed responses like “Daphne” or “spaghetti” or “Max” or “Mr. Fields.” So I’m totally in the know.)

But luckily we found out that she is doing great in the preschool – super-social (shocker), big helper, right on target cognitively and fine motor skills-wise – so I proudly took my “My Daughter is an Honor Student at [name of daycare]” sticker and went on my merry way.

I figured I’d reward myself for my fine parenting skills (see what I’m doing here? I’m taking all the credit for her good report) with a quick stop at Starbucks. My typical Starbucks order is a caramel or mocha Frappuccino with skim milk or an iced mocha with skim milk. BUT they had a big sign announcing, with all sorts of fanfare and glory, the return of the Gingerbread Latte. And since it was kind of cold, and I’ve always been a sucker for Starbucks’ red holiday season cups, I thought I’d try it. I mean, I like gingerbread cookies, right? (Answer: I like ALL cookies.)

This thing tastes like ass. There is truly no other way to describe it. Just hot, gross, swampy ass. I didn’t even finish a quarter of my tall cup. I paid almost $4 for a cup of ass. Save yourselves and do not get this. Or you can just have the rest of mine, if you want it so badly.

At least I got the sticker at daycare.

Monday, November 08, 2010

I have failed Jane already.

Holy balls, people. I learned something today whilst flipping through a (germ-infested) magazine at the doctor's office today. I have ALREADY FAILED JANE.

You see, I saw an advertisement for the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System. Oh, and before there is any speculation, I was not at the OB/GYN. I was at my regular doctor's office which also doubles as a pediatrician's office. There are no babies in my belly, unless you count food babies, in which case I think I have triplets in there. Also, as a side note, I think I was the only patient above age 5 in the waiting room.

ANYWAY, I encourage you to click on the link. Seriously, do it. When you do, you will see that, stupid-assed failure of a mother I am, I neglected to strap this bitch on my belly beginning at 18 weeks pregnant so Jane could, you know, LEARN STUFF. From what I can discern from the website (beside the fact that I clearly do not care about Jane's education), the device mimics the mother's heartbeat - but, you know, not quite - but sort of - so that the child learns how to differentiate sounds. Or something.

But what about all that classic music I played for Jane in utero? (Except I really didn't. But I DO remember her kicking a lot when I listened to RENT. True story.) Well, apparently all that external noise comes across very muffled to the wee one in your belly, once the sound has to make its way through the miles and miles of organs and fat and amniotic fluid and stuff. The BabyPlus creates CLEAR SOUNDS, so your little genius can learn...uhh...things. Things of great importance!

Frankly, I can't figure out exactly what it is they learn. But according to the website, BabyPlus babies are FAR SUPERIOR to other babies. Here are some of the advantages:
•More readily nurse
•Display an increased ability to self-soothe
•Are more interactive & responsive
•Are more relaxed & alert at birth
And later in life demonstrate:
•Earlier developmental milestones
•Enhanced intellectual abilities
•Longer attention spans
•Improved school readiness
•Greater creativity & independence

Well holy shit. I bet BabyPlus babies also do great at the dentist the first time they go! And don't get up at 4 a.m. when the time changes, like Jane has done for the past two mornings!

But then I started thinking about it. Are babies kind of, well, busy at 18-weeks gestation? Like, growing? So I took a visit to my old friend BabyCenter, where I tracked Jane's development week-by-week (obviously when I should have already been TEACHING HER, ohmygod I suck). And according to this, babies at this age are about the size of a bell pepper, their ears have just made it to their final destination, and their skin is more-or-less see-through. So obviously this kid has a LOT TO DO before 40 weeks hits, and may not appreciate the extra homework of the BabyPlus, thankyouverymuch.

I just hope Jane doesn't hate me for letting her down like this.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

it gets better.

I am a huge, huge fan of the It Gets Better Project. I was so, so lucky in school - I wasn't really bullied. I got through pretty easy. I really don't know how this happened - I was dorky and awkward and a drama geek - but somehow I got through with few scars. But I know people who were bullied badly - and it really leaves a mark, even 20+ years later.

With the rash of suicides by gay youth, there has been a strong public outcry against bullying. I can't imagine how hard it is to be young today - when I was in school, if you had a bad day, you could escape it when you came home. Now, between Twitter and Facebook and blogs and YouTube and texting and instant messaging, there is NO escape. I spend a lot of time thinking about this in regards to Jane, and hoping that I do everything right in letting her know that no matter how hard school may be for her (all the while crossing my fingers that it is relatively easy for her like it was for me) it DOES get better.

I'm sure you've seen all the It Gets Better videos that have been springing up everywhere, created by the likes of everyone from Barack Obama to Tim Gunn, and many many many others, encouraging young people and letting them know that the future truly is bright, and to get help if they need it. And because you know I'm a Broadway girl, this one is one of my favorites. One of the things I like about it is it doesn't just address people who may be enduring bullying because they are gay, but because they are poor, their religion, their ethnicity, etc. etc. It really applies to everyone.

One of my favorite parts of this is when Lin-Manuel Miranda (one of my Broadway boyfriends and creator and star of In the Heights) says this: "The very thing that makes you different in high school is the thing that makes you exceptional as an adult." Word to that.

Please watch (and like before, if the screen doesn't look right just click on the video to watch it on YouTube. But please watch. These people are all my heroes!).

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Since I'm blogging EVERY SINGLE DAY in November as part of NaBloPoMo, I decided to keep it light on the weekends with either photos or videos. Now, if we're friends on Facebook or you know me in real life, you may have already seen this - but a little serving of the dashing Don Draper from "Mad Men" never did anyone any harm. Quite the contrary, actually. And if you don't watch "Mad Men" you need to immediately drop whatever you're doing (unless you're holding a baby or a pet, then just place him/her down nicely) and go rent the first season. And then the second, third and fourth. This rocketed to my number favorite show this summer when I watched all four seasons. In conclusion - I looooove "Mad Men" - and you should too.

And besides, this is just funny.

PS For some reason the size doesn't adjust right on my blog, so you might just want to click on the video and watch the full-size version on YouTube.

Friday, November 05, 2010

weekend. update.

First, a little P.S. to yesterday's post. Jane woke me up at 4:00 a.m. to tell me how much she enjoyed her trip to the dentist. I am not kidding.

Anyway! It's Friday. And I don't want to get everyone jealous about my weekend, but allow me to bulletpoint my Friday night so far:
  • The delicious blandness of Olive Garden
  • Trip to the Disney store
  • Trip to Target
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

The rest of the weekend is as follows:

Saturday: I must go walking in the morning. If I don't, I want someone to punch me in the kidney the next time they see me. After that, Jane and I will go to my friend Heather's and play with her and her assorted children. Or, rather, Jane will play with Heather's youngest son and I will find out the latest gossip.

Tomorrow night, we are going to dinner at Todd and Alan's (here is where I would link to Alan's blog, but since he's refused to update it for over a year, I am not going to do that. It's called tough love, people). I am very excited about our big visit, except I have been threatened with harm if I bring something to dinner. Now, if you know these two, you would know they would NEVER come to your house for dinner without bringing something. Hell, they've come to our house for dinner - and brought the whole dinner. Dessert and everything. So I am going to have to find some way around this, or my mother would be very ashamed of my already pathetic manners.

Sunday: We have a birthday party Sunday afternoon for Jane's friend Olivia. What Jane doesn't know is this is a super girlie Tinkerbell-themed party. She gets to wear one of her princess dresses and everything. Plus they all get wands! Picture the very very best party you could ever go to - and this will be that party to Jane.

And what are YOU doing this weekend?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

open up and say ahh

Well, holy hell, Jane had her first dentist appointment today. And it was awful. Purely awful.

It was at a wonderful pediatric dentist's office. The place was great - toys, books, kid-friendly art, friendly staff - really perfect. The dentist came out to talk to us before we went into exam room - he was a very friendly older man who talked to me about how his whole goal is to make sure Jane doesn't ever get cavities - he said 99% of dentist offices have the goal of fixing teeth, and his is to make sure his patients' teeth don't need fixing - and Jane was smiling at him and all was well.

Until we went into the exam room.

Jane FREAKED. THE. EFF. OUT. He let her sit on my lap but every time he went for her mouth she screamed. And cried. And thrashed. I got kicked in the mouth at one point. He took her aside to talk to her a bunch of times. He had me leave the room for a while. He told her "kids who go there don't get to act like this." I wasn't upset that he was reprimanding her - he told me that kids to this to gain control, and frankly, Jane needs reprimanding at times - but for whatever reason, this is when I got weepy. Oh yes, they had to hand me tissues. I felt like such a loser. But Jane was gasping for breath because she was crying so hard and I felt like such a failure for not preparing her enough even though I really, really tried - so he was able to count her teeth and brush a bit, but let us go before the cleaning because he didn't want her to be terrified to come back.

Too late, I think. Even though she got a balloon, a new toothbrush and a purple ring, she told me when we left, "I don't want to be friends with him."

I asked them if she was the worst patient ever. They said no. I tried to do my usual thing - make jokes about the situation - by offering to bring Advil next time we came. But I felt so awful after. It was the worst appointment I've ever had with her, including the time they had to cut the weird-looking mole off her hand when she was one.

I think we'll BOTH need Valium when she goes back in three months.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Here's the thing:

I hate Wednesdays.

I try to be all cool and zen about it. I try to take the day in small chunks. I try to look at it like it's a marathon, not a sprint. But I still hate Wednesdays. And here's why:

1) Greg typically does daycare drop-off four days a week. I pick up five days a week. He has a weekly meeting on Wednesday mornings at 7 a.m., which means I'm in charge that day. I am no fan of drop-off, although (and I say this veeeerrrry quietly, knocking on wood the whole time) it has gotten easier since she moved up to the preschool. Sometimes I have to remind her to hug me goodbye before she runs off to play with her friends. However, even though it has gotten easier, I still hate drop-off. It makes me feel even more rushed on the only morning I absolutely have to be at work by a certain time for a weekly meeting. Sure, I am usually at work a good hour before said meeting, but it still stresses me out. In addition, the whole household has to get up a half hour earlier to make sure we're all out the door when we're supposed to be. Currently, the alarm clock goes off 90 minutes before the sun starts peeking over the horizon.

2) I do daycare pick-up pretty much every day. The reason I hate it on Wednesdays is Jane has dance class at 5. So even though I leave work 15 minutes early, I still have to rush to her daycare, and God forbid she's doing something super-fun like playing in the bouncy room, because if she is, I have to drag her kicking and screaming (I mean this quite literally) out of there to get her to class on time. It's such a time-crunch that I don't even have time to pick up my Parent of the Year award on the way out.

3) When we get to the studio, I have to wrestle her into her tights, leotard and ballet shoes in the bathroom. By the end of this extravaganza I am sweaty and beyond frazzled. If you think I'm kidding, try this activity with your average spastic three-year-old while in a public restroom, trying to make sure she is both clothed and not touching every nasty thing in the room.

4) By the time I get home, I'm kind of a bitch because I'm just exhausted. I thought I was tired being a full-time working mom when I had a baby, but having a preschooler with ACTIVITIES is a whole other ballgame. All I can think about when she is in class is the list of super-fun chores that await me at home: dinner, bathtime, arguing about bedtime, a fit or two (by one or both of us), and collapsing, feeling defeated by another day.

This is a TYPICAL Wednesday. Because of the job I have, Wednesdays can get a whole lot trickier. Once a month I have an early-morning obligation myself, so there is even more rush at the front end, and a few times a year I have additional work obligations on Wednesdays that take me out of the office and all over the place. And when I'm really lucky, it all collides on the same day, like last Wednesday.

I know, I know, I do this to myself. I don't even want to hear it! But this, friends, is why I hate Wednesdays.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I'm a registered Democrat. That probably didn't need to be said; it's pretty clear if you know me or if you've read this site for a while. This day was one of the most euphoric I can remember.

So tonight probably won't be the most celebratory of my life. But our right to vote makes it so we do have a voice in this process. It's incredibly easy to become completely disgusted by politics - the negative ads, the combative debates, the lies, lies...more lies. But it's so vitally important that we cut through the bullshit and take a stance on the issues that are important to us, and take five minutes on election day and cast an INFORMED vote. I have voted since I was able (my mother demanded I register the moment I turned 18), but the older I get, the more I understand how lucky we are to live in a country where we determine the leadership. We can't necessarily choose the path of our country, but we can choose our guides. People in other countries are dying for this right. Literally. It is handed to us on a silver platter, yet so many people can't be bothered.

I'm going to jump off my soapbox now and get myself some results-watching snacks. And all I ask is that Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell doesn't win.....let us maintain some level of sanity in this country.....PLEASE!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Nine years!

Welcome to NaBloPoMo! Here I am, your faithful lazy blogger trying to fulfill my promise to blog for 30 days in a row. It won’t be pretty, I can promise you that.

This monumental day happens to coincide with the ninth anniversary of my first date with Greg. I’m sure I’ve told this story before on this blog (but I’m way too lazy to go back to the archives and look) but, in short, Greg and I met on a blind date on November 1, 2001. It was a Thursday night, which was meaningful to both of us: to him, Thursday was not-quite-premium date night real estate, meaning I didn’t warrant a Friday or Saturday night because he had no idea who the hell I was; and to me, because Thursday night was “Survivor” night, and, as I told him on our date, he was “very lucky I was with him at all” because man, did I love that show (and still do, amazingly). I was clearly really good at the whole dating thing, as you can tell with awesome lines like that. Guys really love to hear how a night of television nearly beat them out on your social calendar.

One near-breakup, dog, engagement, wedding, another dog, and kid later, here we are. And my mother taped “Survivor” for me that night, so it all worked out!