Saturday, June 30, 2007


For someone supposed to be good with words, I'm not. I always did terribly on the verbal sections of standardized tests, and frequently got feedback from English teachers to expand my vocabulary. I'm a regular book reader but I tend to gloss over words I don't know rather than ingesting them. If I can glean the meanings from the context, good enough, but I don't ever look them up, and I almost never remember them. So I chose a career focused on remedying language disorders - interesting.

A few years ago I got a book called A Word A Day - a Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English. Some of the chapter titles themselves are intriguing: "Words about Words", "Words that Contain the Vowels AEIOU Once and Only Once", "Words for Body Parts that are Used Metaphorically", etc. I used it a few times with my middle schoolers when I was working, but that's it. I was purging my bookshelves today, all part of the year-long diet I'm putting our home on before our next move, and was going to toss it. But I decided I could put it to some use on the blog here - throw out a word-of-the-day once in awhile and see if it conjures any discussion. Maybe we can all practice using it in a sentence or something. Some of the chapters are entitled, "Discover the Theme", and you have to figure out what all the words in that chapter have in common. I cheated and looked up the answers in the back and thought they were pretty hard - this book is for hard-core word nerds, or (as the books calls you) verbivores.

Well, here goes.

In honor of my family's habit of applying Mom's words "snicky-snack" and "nippy-nap" to other words ("grippy-grape"), we take from the Reduplicatives Chapter:

shilly-shally (SHIL-ee-shal-ee)
verb intr. To procrastinate, hestitate or vacillate.
noun Indecision, vacillation.
adverb In an hesitant or irresolute manner.
adjective Vacillating. Exhibiting a lack of decisiveness.
From reduplication of the term "Shall I?"

"Herman shilly-shallied too long on whether to marry Wanda or Rama, and he was left to spend his life with his three black cats and a blind chihuahua."

OK, what's your sentence?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sing Along with Disco Mom: A Name Game

Now with answers! Thanks everyone for playing!

Let's cut to the chase. Below you will find song lyrics, with missing lines as indicated. What they have in common is that the missing line contains one (or more) proper names.

Fill in the line, and name the song and artist if you can. Cheating is ok, I really don't care.

1. "Come on without, come on within,
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn."
Mighty Quinn by Manfred Mann (and others)

2. "Eight-fifty i.s. if you need a lift
Who's the kid in the drop
Who else, Will Smith
Livin' that life some consider a myth"
Gettin' Jiggy Wit It by Will Smith

3. "They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face."
Vogue by Madonna

4. "He wakes to find the fires dead
And arrows in his hats
And Davey Crockett rides around
And says its cool for cats."
Cool for Cats by Squeeze

5. "Have you talked to Mark lately?
Uh..haven't really talked to him but..he looks pretty uh..down.
He looks pretty uh..down? (while laughing)
Yeah well maybe we should cheer him up then"
Steal my Sunshine by Len

6. " Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?"
I Need a Hero by Bonnie Tyler

7. "My name is Luca
I live on the second floor
Yes, I think you've seen me before."
Luca by Suzanne Vega

8. "Goodnight you moonlight ladies,
Rockabye sweet baby James."
Sweet Baby James by James Taylor

9. "Brend(er) and Eddie were the popular steadies
And the king and the queen of the prom,
Riding around with the car top down
and the radio on."
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel

10. "Saw the ghost of Elvis on Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
Then I watched him walk right through"
Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn

11. "Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son."
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

12. "God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray,
Hey, hey, hey"
Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel

"Guess it's tea and toast for breakfast again
Maybe I'll add a little TV too
No milk, oh God how I hate that
Guess I'll go to the corner, get breakfast from Jenny
She's got a black eye this morning
'Jenny, how'd you get it'
She said, 'Last night Bobby got a little bit out of hand'..."
Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning by Cowboy Junkies

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Week in Our Life

Sometimes I wonder what I do everyday - I can't even remember from one day to the next. But I know I'm busy. And I know I'm tired. I know I'm constantly multi-tasking. And I know we don't see Ed much. Especially lately; the last few weeks have really been some of the most busy he's had in our two years here. So in case anyone else was wondering what life is like for us (and in case anyone else was considering a career in investment banking and needs dissuading), here's a week of it:

Saturday, June 16

I threw a baby shower for my friend Kirsten at our place. I started the preparations when I got up around 7, juggling the girls with Ed's help. At 10 the guests started arriving. Ed took Hazel to their last Gymboree class, and then to the park to play during the shower. Ginger stayed with me. The shower was super fun but of course had to end. Ed brought Hazel home around 12:30, had some lunch, and headed to work about 2pm. Worked until 2:30am. (Yes, you read that right. It was SATURDAY.)

Sunday, June 17
Whenever Ed has to work on a Sunday he usually comes to church with us (10-1), then heads in after church around 2pm, and works until whenever. But this being Father's Day we wanted some time with him as a family so we decided to send him in early, in the hopes of seeing him for dinner and some family time before the girls went to bed. That meant me taking the girls to church by myself for the first time. At 9:30am the girls and I left for church; Ed left just after. I spent sacrament meeting in and out with one or the other girl most of the time. Then my friend Nayat took Hazel to nursery and came back to take Ginger during Sunday School while I taught my primary class. After Sunday School she brought me Ginger to nurse, then I brought her back to Nayat in Relief Society and went to Primary. About halfway through she brought Ginger to me, crying, so I held her and tried to get her to sleep. After church someone brought Hazel to me, and both girls fell asleep on the way home. I parked about a block away, loaded Ginger's car seat and all our bags in the stroller, heisted Hazel up against my shoulder, and walked to our building pushing the stroller with one hand and holding Hazel with the other. Got a passer-by to open the first door to the building for me, then used my keys to get in the rest. Up the elevator, down the hall, in the apartment. Put both girls in bed, but both woke up and spent a fussy, grumpy afternoon waiting for Ed to come home. Ed came home at 5:30pm and we had a quick dinner, Father's Day presents and family walk before bed time. After the girls went down Ed worked from home on the computer until after 12am, which is when I went to bed.

Monday, June 18
We got up with the girls around 7 and Ed left around 8. I called some mom friends and we met at a park to let the kids play together in the sprinklers and playgrounds. Then we had them back to our place for more playing and lunch. They left and the girls took naps around 2-4. Wake time to dinner is the same most days - Hazel plays and watches some cartoons; I wash dishes, clean rooms, make dinner, do whatever I can that Ginger will allow, which usually isn't much; Ginger hangs out in swing, exersaucer, Bumbo, bouncey seat, bed, wherever she'll let me put her so I can do something... but only for short periods. Mostly she likes to be held, played with, talked to and of course fed during this time. I try to strike a balance. Dinner was...I can't even remember. After dinner I gave both girls baths, then put them down one at a time. Sometimes Ginger goes down before Hazel, sometimes after. Tonight it was before - swaddled her and rocked her a little, then put her in bed and read my book nearby for a few minutes until she was out. Hazel was watching Little Bear. Then Hazel's bedtime routine: brush teeth, jammies & diaper, stories, songs, prayer, kiss, bed. I spent the evening going up and down to the basement doing 5 loads of laundry and watching Mansfield Park from Netflix (only so-so) while I folded it. I went to bed around 12:30am, but only after emailing my friend Maureen from church. She's been offering for months for her and her husband Thomas to come babysit for us so we can have a date (they are newlyweds.) After the couple of tough weeks we've had, I decided to cash in on all such offers, starting with her. We set it up for a Saturday in July. Ed got home around 3:45am.

Tuesday, June 19
We got up around 7 and Ed left around 8:30. We got our act together (breakfast, diapers, clothes, diaper bag put together, shower, more diaper changes, etc.) and met Corey & Violet at the park for the morning. Hazel and Violet played in the sprinkler and playground and each had no less than two nasty, scrapey falls. Something about bare knees (or perhaps water shoes they're not used to walking and running in) just invites nasty falls. It was a beautiful day, though, the park being right by the bay, so there was a nice breeze, and Ginger was so happy watching the kids. Lunch was PBJ sandwiches, then naps for both girls and I even got a short one! They got up around 3:30 and for an hour and a half I worked towards getting us out the door for some errands in the neighborhood. I had to call Ed to find out which pants and shirts he wanted taken to the cleaners, then round them up. Feed and burp Ginger, change both diapers. Get Hazel a snack so she's occupied and not constantly underfoot. Repack diaper bag with fresh diapers, water, snacks. Round up library books and shopping list. Check and change diapers again, plus change Ginger's outfit and rinse the old one because we broke containment. Around 5pm we FINALLY got out the door with the double stroller loaded with two girls, diaper bag, 3 pants & 6 shirts for the cleaners, and 7 library books to return. We walked to the cleaners, then the library, also checking out 3 new ones I had on the reserve shelf (our branch SUCKS but I can request books from the main one to be sent there.) Then to the grocery store, careful to only get what I can pack in the stroller (about $30 worth - yogurt, bread, oj, chicken, lettuce, pineapple, etc.) I noticed Ginger had fallen asleep at this point. Finally Rite Aid to get more band aids, wipes, vitamins. After all the errands were done I let Hazel out of the stroller to walk home, and within a block she took yet another nasty fall, creating two new bloody scrapes on palms and knees. So we sat on a stoop and I cleaned her up with wipes and new band aids, making a mental note to start keeping band aids in the diaper bag regularly. Made sure to walk, not run, the rest of the way home. Dinner was rotisserie chicken from the store, couscous, fruit smoothies. Dinner was later than usual tonight so we just moved right into bedtime from there. Girls were both down by 8:30. I spent the next 2 hours balancing all the bank accounts and paying bills, then watched Good Eats with a bowl of ice cream, and went to bed at 11:45pm. Ed came home around 2am.

Wednesday, June 20
We all got up around 7:30. Ed left around 8:30. I got the girls breakfast, diapers, dressed, etc. Took a quick shower. We were going to walk to the library, about 30 minutes walk, for story time at 10:30, but it was raining and I haven't gotten around to getting a rain cover for the double stroller. So we drove and were amazingly lucky enough to park on the same block. Saw some of our friends there - Violet, Kaleigh, Pierson. Chloe the librarian is only slightly less of a wet blanket than all the other librarians at the other branches, which is why we go to her story time - it's all relative in the Brooklyn Public Library system. During the first book - about a farm, which Hazel should have loved - Hazel became fixated on a rug circle Violet was sitting on, and threw a fit because there wasn't one for her. So I took her out and we missed that book. She survived the rest of the story time, but just barely - still emotional. Did better when we stood up and did action songs. We stayed and played in the children's room after story time, then drove home and had lunch - PBJ and grapes for Hazel, salad & pineapple for me. Ginger slept a mere 15 minutes all morning, so went down for a good nap in the afternoon, same as Hazel. I read my (library) book. The afternoon went about the same as Monday. More bearable, though, because it wasn't so hot and humid today. I've been working my way through the dishes all week, never quite getting ahead though. After dinner I put Ginger on the bed and tried to clean in the bedroom for a little while. Lots of clutter hot spots in there that never really get taken care of. Also called my mother-in-law to hear about her recent Europe trip and let her talk to Hazel. Ginger napped from 7-8, then hung out with us for Hazel's bedtime routine, which also included - special tonight! - standing her in the bathtub for a quick bangs trim. We also read her new library books. I spent the evening at first watching tv, then catching up on email and blogs. Caught dishy Matt Damon on Letterman. Ed emailed at 12:30am to see if I was still up, which, lamo, I was, so I called him. Caught up on each other's days since he still had several hours of work to do. I went to bed at 1 am. Ed rolled in at a cool 4am.

Thursday, June 21
I got up with the girls at 7:30. Ed slept an hour longer and got up at 8:30. We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Every year in June Ed's group at work has a retreat/roast/send-off for the exiting analysts, like a year-end party. For some reason it's in Miami and you have to fly there on your own dime. Whatever. So Ed had an 11:30 flight to Miami, which meant he had to leave by 10 at the latest. I also had to leave by 10 for a playgroup - every week a group of moms from church meet at a different park for a morning playgroup. Since I organize it, pick the park, and send out the email, it's a good idea for me to be there. So the morning was hectic, trying to get us all ready and out the door. Playgroup was fun - it was a sunny day with unseasonably low humidity, and some of Hazel's favorite friends were there - Bruce and Pierson. All the parks here have nice water features, so we usually split our time between water and playground, which means packing an extra bag with swimsuit, water shoes, buckets, towel, etc. in addition to the usual snacks, water, sunscreen, hats, changing pad, wipes, etc. Hazel fell asleep on the way home and stayed asleep when I transferred her to the crib, so it was an early nap for her, about 12:30-2:30. Ginger overlapped slightly with that, so I got a quiet lunch reading a magazine. The afternoon is a blur because lack of sleep was catching up with me. We played some games, read some books, I attempted some dishes, and gave Hazel a long bubble bath, with Ginger watching from the Bumbo and I flipped through magazines on the bathroom floor. Dinner was grilled cheese sandwiches and mandarin oranges. I thought about ordering out but nothing sounded good so I figured might as well just make something. Save the take-out opportunities for something yummy. After dinner I gave Ginger a bath and put on a show for Hazel. Then fed Ginger, did Hazel's bedtime routine and put her down, put Ginger down. Watched an hour of TV and decided to get to bed early, about 10:30pm. The window air conditioner in our room was flashing an error signal E1, which means it needs to be reset, which I thought I knew how to do, but 10 minutes later it shut off and flashed E1 again. So I spent an hour and a half troubleshooting the a/c unit, having to wait 10 minutes after each thing I did to see if it would stay on or shut off. Finally figured it out. Lights out at 12:15am.

Friday, June 22
I got up with Ginger at 6, fed her and put her back down by 7. Hazel woke up at 7:30 so I got up with her, got her breakfast, etc. Ginger woke up at 8:30 and we all started our day. I had some errands to do at "the mall", things I've been putting off because I'm afraid of such a monumental outing with both girls. We have one mall about 20 minutes away, with a pay-parking lot (at least there are always spaces!), so it's kind of a production. The girls did ok at the first 2 stores, then Ginger got fed up so I held/carried her while pushing the double stroller with Hazel in it, who was also losing it but being a trooper. I bought her a cookie on the way out - oatmeal raisin so melted chocolate wouldn't get all over. We got home and I started to make Hazel lunch when Ed walked in the door and my jaw dropped. He had planned to fly back from Miami and go straight to the office, but changed his mind and came home. He'd had a nice time with his group, but a lot of airport hassles, including dropping and busting his BlackBerry in security, and delays which kept him from getting much-needed sleep. So he had lunch with us and went down for a nap same time as the girls. We spent an unprecedented Friday evening together as a family. Loaded into the stroller, got deli sandwiches for dinner and ate them at a park. Then we walked to another park where we know the ice cream truck regularly stops, and played until it came. Hazel knows the look and music of the "ha-mee tutt" but we've never bought from him, so she was more than thrilled to get her own chocolate cone, and Ed was just as thrilled to buy it for her. We came home and put the girls to bed by 9, then Ed had to log in remotely to work. I went to bed at 10 and Ed worked until 12:30am, sadly his earliest night all week.

It was interesting to do the math:
Ed worked or travelled for about 100 hours (60% of a week)
Ed slept for about 43 hours (25 % of a week; average 5.7 hrs/night)
Ed was awake at home for about 25 hours (15% of a week; average 3.6 hrs/day)

I think a percentage ratio for most normal working people would be more like work and travel 30% (50 hrs)/ sleep 30% (50 hrs)/ home or recreation 40% (68 hrs)



Mom Tip: Getting Sand Off

Have you ever gone to the beach (or other sandy place - lakeshore, sandbox, whatever), especially with a baby, and become frustrated at getting sand all over hands & feet, face, legs, in the diaper, and you can't clean your hands off well enough to brush it off, especially when things are wet? Wipes just spread it around. The only solution seems to be a complete bath or shower, and that's not always immediately available.

Well I read a tip in a magazine and decided to try it out. Today was Hazel's friend Kaleigh's birthday party, at Manhattan Beach (which is actually in Brooklyn.) Lots and lots of sand. Hazel dug in it for two hours, and was buried up to her chest at least twice. When it came time to leave, she had sand caked to almost every inch of her, even inside the diaper. Time to try the tip.

The Secret? Baby powder.

Worked like a charm. We used it on our own hands and feet and all over Hazel. Just sprinkle it on, rub it a little, and the sand falls right off leaving clean, smooth skin. (Of course I forgot to empty her pockets before laying her in the crib for a nap, so there was sand all over when she woke up. But anyway...)

Next time you're going to the beach, toss baby powder in your bag and try it for yourself!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Say Along with Disco Mom - Movie Quotes!

Updated with answers!

Tonight I've put my to-do list on the shelf and settled down in front of the AFI 100 Years 100 Movies special on CBS. During the commercial I went to the AFI website and found all their other "100 Movies" lists and thought it'd be fun to do some stuff with those lists on here once in awhile. So as an extension to the Singalong series, let's do some quotes, shall we? And for this one I do have to insist you do it from your head and don't cheat with the internet. Where's the fun in that?

Name the movies these quotes come from:

1. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Gone with the Wind
2. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. Auntie Mame
3. Snap out of it! Moonstruck
4. Hasta la vista, baby. Terminator 2
5. You've got to ask yourself one question: do you feel lucky? Well do ya punk? Dirty Harry
6. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. Casablanca
7. I'm walking here! I'm walking here! Midnight Cowboy
8. I am big! It's the picture that got small. Sunset Boulevard
9. Go ahead, make my day. Sudden Impact (Dirty Harry)
10. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. All About Eve
11. You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender, instead of a bum, which is what I am. On the Waterfront
12. You talking to me? Taxi Driver
13. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Apocalypse Now
14. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. Streetcar Named Desire
15. What we have here is a failure to communicate. Sweetie Pie Cool Hand Luke

Some great ones here...has anyone seen all of them? (FYI, Casablanca was the most represented on the AFI list, with seven quotes.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ode to Ed

An ode is really supposed to be a "lyric poem with complex stanza structure." I am not a poet, but it makes a damn fine title for this Father's Day tribute to the best father, husband and man I know.

My first impression of Ed was - this guy needs to loosen up. While that was in fact true, it didn't take away from my impression slowly shifting to - I wish I could be more like him; and later - I don't want to live without him. I'm so, so lucky that I don't have to.

He taught me how to work a room - not that I do it - but I could in a pinch thanks to his impeccable social skills, sensitivity and manners.

The characteristic I noticed first and have loved the longest about Ed is his gentleness. He keeps his cool, laughs at himself, keeps perspective, and is extremely gentle with other people. This, I knew, would make him the best father in the world. And it has. Just ask the girls.

Ed has an endless supply of...well, Ed-isms. Apparently most of them are colloquialisms I had just never heard before, like "behind the 8-ball", "out like scouts", "riding the pine", "in your grill", etc. But then there are ones all his own. This includes the nicknames he's invented for the girls, like bungaroo, munchkinator, sugar pops, and others.

I could go on, but I want to get this posted for Father's Day. And what I really want to say about Ed is simple - we love him. And we wouldn't change a thing.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Leaven Heaven

I got a bread machine at a thrift store last year for $25. Couldn't resist the "deal", plus I was curious about its usefulness. I made pizza dough and white bread in it a few times, from the recipes in the user guide, and they were so-so. Kind of dense and dry, but good for toast. I figured it was either defunct as a second-hander or that's just how machine bread comes out. But recently I tried a recipe from one of my cookbooks (and King Arthur bread flour instead of the cheap store brand), and a whole new world opened up over the machine's potential.

I've made this recipe twice now, both times using the delay timer. Once I put it in the machine Sunday morning and we came home hungry from church to the heavenly yeast-and-cinnamon scent. The second time was even better - I put it together Sunday night and we awoke Monday morning to the smell of fresh bread - quite the pick-me-up we needed at the dreaded start of the week. The cookbook I got it from calls it "Cinnamon Raisin Bread" but it's so much more than that to me. It's Leaven Heaven.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons butter
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast (1 packet)

1 cup raisins*

1. Place all ingredients except the raisins in the bread machine pan in the order your bread machine suggests (usually wet on bottom, dry on top). Put the raisins in last.
2. Process on the sweet or basic/white cycle. (I processed on basic, with light crust.)

Tough, huh? Oh, it's so delicious warm, toasted, french toasted, leftover, dipped in milk, etc.

*Of course you can improvise with the dried fruit. My favorite is Trader Joe's Golden Berry blend, but I've also done Craisins and dried black currants.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sing Along with Disco Mom: Alternative Scrambles

I recently watched the movie Music and Lyrics - not too bad as far as romantic comedies go. It was no French Kiss or Say Anything but they can't all be. Hugh Grant plays an "80's Has-Been", a former pop star who now does gigs at amusement parks and 80's high school reunions. It got me thinking about some of my high school favorites, though it was really the early 90's for me. Through the influence of friends I fell in love with alternative music and so tonight we are paying homage to my four foundational cornerstones of alternative:

Depeche Mode (DM)

The Smiths (TS)

re (ER)

The Cure (CU)

Below are scrambled song titles from these guys, from the late 80's to early 90's era. Only my favorites, only the best. These guys are the very best! It's hard to imagine David Gahan, Robert Smith or Morrissey doing the Class of '93 Robinson reunion - they've all had a little more musical staying power than that. Though that is one way to get me to go to a reunion.

It would be fun to do another singalong where we look at secondary and tertiary alternative bands, the weight-bearing beams and flying buttresses. Most of them can probably trace their influences back to these four. But that is for another day.

Can you unscramble:

  1. ptso (ER)
  2. hctca (CU)
  3. eeloppraeppolee (3 words - DM)
  4. fidigrrlne ni a maoc (TS)
  5. rlatepclria rigl (CU)
  6. stju atcn etg nhuoge (DM)
  7. emrceyet gstea(TS)
  8. het ectrpfe lrig (CU)
  9. htiyergvne osnctu (DM)
  10. elvo ot eath uyo (ER)
  11. who noso si won (TS)
  12. noplignsa (CU)
  13. pish fo slofo (ER)

OK, I can take a hint! They were too hard so here's the easier version, broken up into separate words, except for #3 which any DM fan should get.

Mom Tip: Washing Stuffed Animals

Now updated with picture of the real (and real clean) Cosmo!

Hi guys. Please don't write me off for my recent lapse in posts, nor for my occasional domestic expositions, like this one. Different things come up at different times in life.

Hazel has a favorite stuffed animal, a teddy bear named Cosmo. (I name all of her dolls and animals from our list of baby names that will realistically never make the cut.) Sadly, Cosmo has never been washed in his 27 months with us. Disgusting, I know, but his tag says "surface clean only", which I've never bothered with, and I was afraid of ruining him in the washer. Bad, bad news if Cosmo got ruined (no back-up.) But last night I realized Cosmo was so gross it was worth the risk of losing him - none of us could go on with him in our lives that dirty.

I read a tip in some parent magazine about washing stuffed animals. Those parent magazines hunt me down, I get 3 or 4 of them and I've never paid for a subscription. I do like to read some of the features, though - they always make me realize my experiences that seem earth-shattering are actually universal, and I'm on par with the good and the bad of other mothers. Anyway, the tip was to put the bear in a pillowcase and knot it, then run it through the washer and dryer. I looked it up on the internet just to see if that same tip was out there, and it was on several sites.

Cosmo came out perfect, and several shades lighter, I might add. I never knew he was light brown, and now he just smells like Dreft, and not kid sweat. So thumbs up on the pillowcase technique - it really works.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

#1 Customers

Maren got a little over-excited with the "secret-revealing" thing, but I probably got her hopes up with my "once in a lifetime" cliffhanger description of something cool that happened to us this week. Big build-up for a little story but here it is anyway.

On Thursday, my first day here with the girls, we loaded up and made a great trek to Wal-Mart. As mixed as some people's feelings are about Wal-Mart, I love to go when I'm here because it has so many things on my list all in one place, which is truly a luxury. There are no Wal-Marts within NYC limits, probably with good reason, so my closest one is an hour away on Long Island or $15 of tolls away in New Jersey. So I only go in VA.

After shopping we decided to go by Subway in Burke to pick up lunch. As we pulled into the parking lot Mom said they were putting in a new Chipotle in that strip and we could see if it was open yet. The banner out front said, "Grande Opening Thursday, May 31." Took us a minute to realize that was today's date. What luck!

I was first introduced to Chipotle in Colorado - it was started in Denver and expanded quickly from there. I became accustomed to being within arm's reach of Chipotle, Qdoba or Baja Fresh anywhere I went in Colorado, and I ate five people's shares of burritos and taco salads over the years - never got tired of the deliciousness. Then I move to Brooklyn where yes, there's great pizza, Italian and Middle Eastern food but not a decent burrito to be found anywhere. So, like Wal-Mart, any chance I get for the good stuff makes my day.

We parked the car and unstrapped the girls and herded the entourage through the door. We looked around and realized all the people eating at tables were wearing Chipotle t-shirts and visors: the employees. A friendly manager-guy came over to tell us they didn't open f0r 10 more minutes (then why was the door unlocked??), but we were welcome to sit at a table and wait to be their first customer ever. We watched as the employees cleaned up, probably eating the results of morning practice, and did last-minute drills with ingredient picture flashcards. A crowd started to gather outside waiting for the place to open - they obviously paid attention to the hours posted on the door, which we hadn't. At 11am the manager let us go up to order before letting the masses in. Mom did a quick calculation and we figured if we didn't order drinks she could pay in cash. And sure enough, the manager saved out one of her dollar bills to go in a frame. They also took a picture of us waiting and paying.

So, no, it's not a big secret. But being the first customer ever and providing the dollar that goes in the frame is kind of cool and probably a once in a lifetime thing. We'd just happened upon that fun opportunity and it gave us something to talk about and tell people, like here on the blog. It also opened the way for other good luck I'm having here, like arriving just in time for Bath & Body Works' semiannual sale, which I love and we're hitting on Monday...

Friday, June 01, 2007

On Vacation, Need a Haircut

I'm down at my parents' house in VA right now with the girls for a visit. Maren asked me if I'm still going to post to my blog while I'm down here and I realized I hadn't even checked it in two days. I suppose I didn't feel the need to reach out to the real world through my blog because I am actually living in it, at least for a visit. Not so much to be cynical about when I'm in air conditioning, with lots of parking everywhere and grandparents to cook and help with the kids. In fact, I'm rather relaxed. But don't you worry - I've got a good one cooking up, and perhaps a singalong or two up my sleeve.

In the meantime, I'm considering taking advantage of the adult-to-child ratio here and getting myself a real haircut. But I need some pictures to take with me, to show the stylist I've never met what I want. I'm thinking a tousle-and-go layery-bob thingy but I need pictures. So if you have some, please send my way. I'm too busy relaxing to do all that computer work.
Mom and I have made a list of all the things we need to do and are starting to map them onto the calendar so we pace ourselves. Outings include the farmer's market, birthday shopping for certain people, a cousin playdate, Trader Joe's and more Trader Joe's. I've also been making earrings for party favors for a baby shower I'm throwing this month. That's about it. Stay tuned for more from Happy Vacation Disco Mom.
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