Thursday, May 31, 2007

Today Would Have Been So Much Easier If I Could Have Done My Job From My Recliner

I seem to have contracted some strange stomach bug that causes a lot of pain, but no fever, and allows me to feel fine when I am still. But when I move? Oy. Oh, and also when I eat, oy again. So today I mentioned it to the kids' dad, but was obviously still up and mobile, and I didn't ask for a sick day, and he didn't offer, so instead of sitting in comfort in the recliner, I made a Polish cake for Al's class research project festival tomorrow and also put together a delicious dinner that I couldn't eat. It was really great. Especially the part where I had to remake the custard filling for the cake because it fell out of the fridge and splattered all over the kitchen. Banner day! Yeah!

I know that there are a lot of things about being a nanny that make it easier than being a mom, but on days like this I find that I wish I were the mom. Because the mom? Could totally decide to order take out.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

By the Way

The best song ever for serious StairMaster exertion is "Fighting in a Sack" by The Shins. I have declared it, and thus it is so.

You may now return to your shortened work week.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I Can't Have It Both Ways

Not that I'd want to. But... Well...

Tomorrow morning I fly to Kansas City for what will be my last visit before I officially move home. Which: HOORAY! But also: Oh. Wait. Hold on! I'm just getting good at this! I finally figured out the flight that I like to take, how I prefer to get to the airport, and exactly how much time I need to allow to get to Starbucks and back to the car to grab my luggage before I board the train. No running involved. And now here I am about to embark on the last trip I'll take like that. It can't be over, can it?

I know it may seem strange, because I am so very excited to get on with my next phase of life, but I will really miss this part of life here. I will miss the train I take and strolling blithely through Grand Central to catch the shuttle. I'll miss my favorite spot in Terminal B and the possibility of people watching at LaGuardia. I'll miss the big city-ness of it all, because the truth is that one thing I have loved about here is how accessible everything is, how easy and natural it has become for me to travel from one place to another without breaking a sweat (unless it's, you know, hideously hot or something). It's been a good, commuting back and forth between here and there. I've come to like it quite a lot.

So I plan to relish tomorrow. Celebrate it, even. I'm going to take it to the limit. I'm going to get a venti iced mocha and a pastry with frosting. Maybe I'll even buy TWO magazines to read on the train. CRAZY!

(See you soon, Kansas City.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Should Probably Be Kicked Out of the Country

I've already mentioned that I don't enjoy puppies. Perhaps I even used stronger language than that. Maybe I tossed around the word hate like it was a baseball. Which I shouldn't have done because I don't like tossing baseballs. Not even a little bit. In fact, I pretty much hate baseball.

There. I said it. Not only do I hate puppies, I also hate baseball. I know! Downright unAmerican! Probably next I'll confess that I regularly pass up apple pie and fries. But it's true. I just can't stand baseball. Not the playing part, at least. Al is trying mightily to endear me to the finer points of the game, but I have yet to recognize them. I don't like throwing. I don't like catching. I don't like hitting. And I most certainly do not like pitching. And so I have been throwing the game. I've been slacking off. I've been doing worse than my best, which isn't very good anyway, in order to escape myriad white balls with red lacing being hurtled towards me via erratic pitching arm or wayward bat. I just can't stand the danger, I guess. And I've got bruises and a fair share of whining to go with them to prove it.

I've already notified Jarod that if our future children want to play baseball, he's officially in charge of all those shenanigans. I'm the one that will be in charge of teaching them the important things, like how baseball really exists so that lazyasses like us can pay to sit in hard plastic seats and gorge ourselves on hot dogs and nachos. Now that's the side of baseball I can get behind.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

'Round These Parts We Like Some Jokin'

I just had to clear up with my mom that there is nothing wrong between Jarod and me; she read that last post, where I pretty much named applesauce as my runner-up spouse, and thought that all might not be well. In case any of the rest of you have brains that work like my mom's, I'd like to clarify that it's highly unlikely that Jarod won't show up for the wedding. "Who's applesauce?" she asked. Applesauce is applesauce. You know, the food? Which you can't actually marry, I don't think. It was a joke, see, with the laughing and the funny and the haha? For the record, though, I would like you to know that behind applesauce, agave nectar is waiting in the wings, and behind that, probably my pillow. I do love my pillow a great deal. I wonder if I could justify being a polygamist if all the things I'd like to marry are inanimate objects?

I have been eating a great deal of applesauce lately. It's the lazy girl's fruit choice. No peeling or cutting required--just grab a spoon! And while you're at it, use that same spoon to stir agave nectar into just about everything.

Which is my way of saying that I'm still doing that whole eating healthy thing, but I cheat more than one day a week. There is that one day that I set aside to be THE day for all things flour and sugar and fried-in-hot-oil related, but I am not going to lie and tell you that there aren't times that I don't allow a little leeway, particularly when Frank and I are both starving due to waiting an extra hour at the orthodontist's office, and the only parking space in White Plains is in front of an ice cream parlor. (True story! It happened to us!) (White Plains, by the way, is not on my list of things/places I'd marry if Jarod didn't show up. It's on the HATE list. Right above I-95, and that's pretty serious.) I do my best to eat the kind of meals recommended by the plan, but if a couple of times a week I end up eating something that is not one hundred percent completely healthily awesome, I'm not going to worry about it. I'd say I've made great strides just by eliminating "multiple Skor bars" off the meal options chart, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Because I Lack Postal Addresses for These Recipients

Dear Circadian Rhythm,

Why can't we just get along? You're kind of killing me with the insomnia. Stop it already.

Yours until the day I die, not that I like it that way,
Mary

...

Dear Isabella,

Where have you been all my life? I hope you last pretty much forever.

Rainbows, hearts, and unicorns,
Mary

...

Dear applesauce,

If Jarod fails to show up at the altar, will you marry me?

Wishing I were kidding, but I'M NOT,
Mary

...

Dear laundry,

Why can't you just learn to wash yourself?

GEEZ,
Mary

...

Dear Trader Joe's,

Please restock the Organic High Fiber Os as soon as possible because I love that cereal and cannot live without it, much like I cannot live without creating run-on sentences. So crunchy! I know that I should probably be about eighty, what with all the love and adoration I throw at a cereal that plainly states in its name that it's full of the material that keeps folks "regular," but at least I haven't gotten into prune juice just yet. Help a girl out, won't you?

Your friend,
Mary

Sunday, May 20, 2007

If You Asked My Feet, They Would Tell You This Was the BEST. DAY. EVER.

our toes are pretty much adorable

And if you asked my whole self, I would tell you that it was a good day all around. I'd elaborate, but I feel a little sleepy. 'Night, y'all.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Only Time My Thighs Don't Touch is When I Stand With My Feet Kinda Far Apart

I keep seeing photos of people whose thighs don't touch, celebrities mostly, and also models, and I kind of want to ask them how that happens, but they're just photos, so how could I? And then last weekend I saw a girl with thighs so far apart that I'm sure she couldn't have made them touch even if she really, really wanted to, so far apart that you could have fit the Lincoln Tunnel between them and driven great numbers of vehicles side by side through them, and I had to stop myself from obsessing over crafting the perfect opening line so that I could ask her about it. I mean, what am I going to say, "Hi, we're both going into H&M! May I ask a few questions about your freakishly tiny thighs?" Rude and embarrassing! And yet, I wanted desperately to ask. I'm just sayin'.

...

In less than an hour I'll be boarding the train to meet my dear friend Rachel in Grand Central. She's flying in for the weekend, and we are both doing something we have never done before, something daring and fascinating and downright remarkable. We are getting pedicures! I KNOW! You are probably both squeeing with delight over the thought of our feet looking adorable and gasping in horror to think of what those poor pedicurists will encounter on our previously unpedicured feet. Try to focus on the adorableness, and I will not mention a thing about the state of my feet except to point out that this is the first spring I've had all my toenails intact since my pre-Pikes Peak Marathon days. The pedicurists can thank my long work hours and my upcoming wedding for that favor.

...

I guess I haven't mentioned yet that I am not running the Pikes Peak Marathon this year. So! Hey! Everybody! I'm not running the Pikes Peak Marathon this year! It has a lot to do with planning the wedding while working a whole darn lot, but the truth is that it's also about the tan lines. I cannot be having a weirdy runner's tan this year; there's not time for it to fade before the wedding, and the dress I've chosen isn't exactly a high-necked, long-sleeved Victorian era number.

...

Crap, I'm running late, and I haven't even made Rachel's bed yet. I guess this is all you get. Weekend, enjoy, have fun, and all that...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More

There are three bags of clothes and shoes next to my door to be taken to a charity tomorrow, but it should be more. There are clothes I sent home already that I knew I shouldn't keep, but I sent them anyway because I am a greedy hoarder. I say that about myself in the kindest way possible, of course, because I think that being self-deprecating has limits, but recognize at the same time that it's 100% true. I have a habit of keeping things because maybe I might on the off chance use them someday. But I looked in my closet the other day, and I listened to some words that someone else said today, and I realized that it's just not right. Others have nothing, and I have...I have more. More than I need. More than is good or fair or right. I've always loved the line in Sabrina where she says, "Sometimes more isn't better, Linus. Sometimes it's just more." What I have isn't better; it's just more.

So I'm giving away the more. I listened to my heart, or my gut, or whatever you may call it, on this one, and if I felt that it should go, I put it in the bag, regardless of whether I really liked it or would likely use it or not. Because I know in my heart/gut what is good and right; sometimes I just don't pay attention. And this time I am determined to pay better attention.

I feel compelled to give to the charity here in town for many reasons, not the least of which is that they give the items to people who truly need them, free of charge, as opposed to selling them in a thrift shop. I like that. I like knowing that my excess will fill someone's true lack, not just go to anyone who wants to save a buck by buying used things (or some, ahem, new things I bought and haven't gotten around to wearing). My gut tells me it's the right place to go, and do you see this thing I've got going on with the gut and the listening? I'm for real, yo.

Now the only remaining question is: Should I give my roller skates away, or might I someday be involved in roller disco?

Please feel free to discuss.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Muddled MishMash, For Your Reading Pleasure

Some days discouragement creeps up on me, the kind that makes it a little unbearable to think of making it nearly three more months, living where I work, doing the job I do, and this was one of those days. Maybe it had something to do with being awakened this morning by Al's shrill playful screams, the pitch of which would wake every dog in our neighborhood, not to mention four towns over and across Long Island Sound. Maybe it's that the weekend goes by all too quickly when I could use just a little more time to myself. Maybe it's that it's been too long since I've seen Jarod's face in person. Maybe it's a little bit of everything. I hate to say that because 1) I recognize that I chose to stay here for the summer, and I have a thing about not complaining about it since I did make this choice knowing full well that it would be hard sometimes, and 2) I did have such a good weekend that I hate to spoil it by focusing on the negative. So let's get the negative out of the way, and then I'll let you in on the good stuff. Deal?

I really have just one negative thing to mention, beyond the vague reference to not wanting to deal with working and living where I do, and it is just a quick public service announcement.

Dear Ladies of New York City, Residents and Tourists Alike,

It is not necessary to pee on public restroom seats. I realize that you may be reluctant to touch the seat of a public toilet, but there are options other than hovering ineffectively and peeing all over the place. If your quads and glutes are not strong enough to hold you aloft and still so that everything goes where it is intended to go, you really need to just sit down or use your own bathroom before you leave the house (or hotel, for you tourists). Period. It is not polite to pee on a seat because you don't want to touch it. Someone has to clean up after you, you know, whether it's the next person in the stall or the employee forced to deal with your untidy habits. Please make note that toilet seats are designed so that no bodily-fluid-emitting surface actually touches the seat, so it's quite ridiculous of you to hover and cause what is normally a fairly clean surface to be contaminated. It's generally just the backs of the thighs that touch the actual seat surface, and let's just be practical, ladies, and recognize that the backs of thighs are generally covered by pants or a skirt, protected from most elements and grime, and therefore kept cleaner than much of the rest of the body. Unless the person who has used the stall before you has not bathed in quite some time, you can assume that the backs of their thighs are going to be fairly clean. If you are going to go so far as to assume that they haven't bathed, and therefore it is too dirty for you, simply use a toilet seat cover or some fresh, sanitary toilet paper to make a barrier between the seat and your person. Otherwise, as mentioned before, just go at home.

Thank you,
That Girl Who Somehow Always Ends Up in the Stall Right After You and Isn't Too Thrilled About Your Habits

...

Yesterday I went to Greenwich (which I like to call by its full name, Greenwich Pain-in-the-Ass Connecticut) on an emergency skincare errand. I have been using Proactiv for a few years, but a couple of months ago I finally got fed up with the way it bleaches out the neckbands of my shirts and also the part where I have to order it and receive it in the mail more than a week later (not exactly handy when I've been busy and don't realize until the last moment that I'm nearly out of something essential). So I decided to switch to Philopsophy products, which are easier to come by, do not contain benzoyl peroxide, and come highly recommended by several sources.

Except I made a mistake.

I chose my new skincare regimen based on how my skin is while using Proactiv, and not how my skin actually is on its own. On Proactiv, my skin is still a little congested. I still get blackheads on my nose and I break out at, ahem, that time of the month or when I'm stressed out or too tired. So initially I chose this set because I was in denial. MAJOR denial, as it happens. I used the products for a couple of weeks, but the warmer the weather got, the more irritated my skin got, until finally on Friday night it was so broken out and painful that I would have gone to Sephora in the middle of the night if they'd been open. Because what I really needed? From the get-go? Was this. The box that says ACNE on it in huge letters so everyone will know. (I say this as if they wouldn't know anyway by the ginormous zits all over my face and neck.)

I've always hoped that as an adult, my acne would go away. I wanted it to be something that I grew out of over time. And when that didn't happen, I wanted to relegate it to the area of vanity and cosmetic disappointment so that I wouldn't have to deal with it or spend great sums of money making it go away. I felt guilty spending money controlling it because I think that as a society we tend to see it as just a cosmetic issue, and I was totally buying into that. But the truth is that acne is, in fact, a chronic medical condition for many people, and it's more than just a vanity issue. Acne is a bacterial infection in the skin. It's physically uncomfortable, even painful when there are inflamed areas and pustules (I hate that word, by the way, but there it is). I have finally come to the place where I accept that and am allowing myself to spend what it takes to bring it under control. I am fortunate that my acne responds to over the counter treatments. I am thrilled that after just twenty-four hours this new set of products seems to be working brilliantly. And I don't at all regret taking on an extra job this weekend to be able to pay for it. Not one little bit.

(Also, just as an aside, if your skin is acne-prone and sensitive, like mine, I highly recommend this foundation, which I picked up with the cash I had left in my wallet once I'd paid for my ACNE treatment kit. I normally can't make it a whole day in foundation without feeling like I need to either wash my face immediately or just claw my skin right off, but I went all day with this on and didn't feel it at all. My skin just felt normal. It may have helped that I also put on a primer; I bought the tiny travel size tube of this one so I could try it out. I know that both products are lots more expensive than anything you might get at Target, but I finally just got over myself and, with the help of Sephora's generous return policy, decided to go for something that I might actually be able to wear. That thing about getting what you pay for? Totally true in this case.)

...

Today I visited The Museum of the City of New York, and I loved it. It's a smaller museum, and not as well known as, say, MoMA or The Guggenheim, so it was not too crowded. I especially enjoyed the do-wop concert in the basement (lots of hootin' and hollerin' goin' on) and this exhibit, which I recommend to anyone who is in or will be in the NYC vicinity between now and September 4. Remarkable.

...

Even when it's hard here, there is still so much to love, so much I'll miss. I have been working for two Brit families from time to time, and I get such a warm reception from both sets of children that it's simply a joy to take on the additional hours. In fact, last night's job would have been cancelled, as their mother didn't really feel like going out, except that the children were so looking forward to my visit that she felt she couldn't deny them the evening with me. I think that is positively lovely. I will miss them dearly when I go.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

This is the Post I Wrote Before I Proceeded to Work One Twelve Hour Day and Four Sixteen Hour Days

I'm sure you can figure out why it hasn't actually shown up on the internet until today, when I have the luxury of sitting around in my pajamas for an hour, waiting for my breakfast to digest before I do a quick workout and get on with the twenty kajillion things that I didn't manage to get done during the week. Anyway, onward...

snappin'

Last weekend my mom came into town to play sidekick to her good friend Andrea, who has never visited New York City and wanted to experience its finest offerings. I proceeded to do to Mom and Andrea the thing that Mom is all to familiar with by now, which is to walk their little legs off and then send them back for more. On Saturday we managed to hit all the most fabulous gastronomic destinations in my tour guide repertoire as well as the hottest sight-seeing spots (and by "hottest" I mean "in direct sunlight"). We returned to Connecticut at 10pm with full stomachs and a box of cupcakes. As is only good and right.

andrea and mom visit mecca

Sunday morning came all too early, and I must admit that by the time we had missed the Today Show by five minutes (we're brilliant!), tromped through Macy's, and had a quick lunch, I was pretty well wiped out. In the dark of the theatre, in the middle of the impressive production that is The Lion King, I wondered to myself if anyone would notice if I just shut my eyes for a minute. I began to wish I'd gotten a third enormous cup of coffee instead of stopping after the second. I'm sure you can guess that once we'd hit Zabar's and I had eaten my weight in delicious French toast at EJ's, I was feeling a little sluggish. It was no small feat to make it through a rather vague tour of Central Park (there's that one big fountain over there...somewhere...) through the subway, and onto our train back to the Constitution State.

Still, we all made it.

And we did it, mostly anyway, smiling.

andrea and mom on the brooklyn bridge

Monday, May 07, 2007

I Saw These in a Window in New York City

And now I neeeeeeeed one.

I mean that. NEED.

My mom and her friend Andrea, who has never been to NYC before, were in town this past weekend. Photos and commentary coming once I catch up on my precious sleep.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Small Wonders

Last night Mary Liz called me to chat a bit about the recent Ward Parkway shootings. I used to take her (and also Jack) there quite a bit, and she wanted to tell me that it was closed right now, and it was very sad, and that she missed playing on "those cars at the Target" (coin-operated ride-on vehicles and animals which we rarely put coins in). I reassured her that it would reopen, but that since something bad had happened there, they'd need to make sure everything was okay and clean up the mess before people could go back. She seemed satisfied. We chatted a bit more about weather both here in Connecticut and in Kansas City, and then she said, "I really miss you very much, and I think you should come home very, very soon."

Me, too, squiglet. How about August? Will August work for you?

...

One of the great difficulties of my new! healthy! eating! plan! is that it doesn't include chocolate, as most chocolates I know of have lots of sugar in them or are confections made with both sugar and flour. I don't know if you got the memo, but this new! healthy! eating! plan! does not allow flour and sugar except on cheat day. However, my suffering has ended, for I have a recipe for healthy! delicious! chocolate! treats! Which I will share with you, for I am a giver:

1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup flax seeds
1 cup cocoa
1 cup natural peanut butter
3/4 cup agave nectar

Mix together and press into a very lightly oiled 8x8 pan. Refrigerate until firm (I just did mine at the end of the day and left it in overnight), cut into 25 small squares, and store in tupperware/rubbermaid/whathaveyou in the fridge. Full of omega 3s, fiber, antioxidants, and low on the glycemic index to boot. Also? Great with a glass of milk.

...

The family has started training the puppy on the invisible fence system, which means that he wears a collar that gives him a warning in the form of beeping and then a small shock if he gets too close to the boundaries. However, he kept coming across boundaries, and even sitting there with the collar beeping. We thought it must not be working, but then Frank observed him sitting by a boundary, twitching just a bit every few moments. He was being shocked, he just hadn't figured out that if he moved, it would stop. We thought he was smart, what with the Houdini-esque escapes from the kitchen (he can open the gates that are set up), but in this case he's really not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007