Sunday, December 27, 2009


“Have you ever wanted to slap the Beast?” said my sister in subversive tone at our annual family Christmas get-together. We were looking for the rest of our dysfunction crew in the swarm of New Yorkers and tourists entering the main hall of Metropolitan Museum as we sat drinking in the balcony bar overlooking it all. With, of course, the string quartet playing…

“No…not yet,” I said, and then added, since she seemed disappointed—“ but I HAVE wanted to slap your son.” Seeing the look of horror on my sister’s face—I tried to back pedal…but it was too late. She did not want to hear my theory that boys belong in a large field with a ball to run wild with until they drop from exhaustion. That girls in general were mellower and threats of taking away their favorite skinny jeans, eye liner pencil, etc. normally was enough to stop dead in its tracks any ill behavior.

It is funny—as you get older the family dysfunction evolves as you do. It has moved from criticism of partner choice to choice of parenting styles.

We are too harsh on the Beast. The child does not even have an Xbox or a PlayStation. No TV in her room—oh the horrors! Thank GOD we finally got her UGGS so we do not have to hear about THAT anymore.

The small town Massachusetts brother does not even show-up to family functions any more—he was the first to have a child and we have been back-seat drivers on his parental journey since day one. Granted—they did try to home school the poor child—something I think is bizarre—because, honestly, free public education is a gift from god. But my brother sends his son to these family gatherings because the child loves New York City and all things not small town. Oddly enough, against all bets placed by his nasty aunts and uncles, the Country Cousin has grown up smart, handsome, strong and nice.

The other cousin is a fairy—slight, with long blond hair and pale, pale skin. When she was little she could not stop hopping and jumping and skipping. It was as if she could not stand to be held by gravity for any length of time which furthered my theory that the child was an ethereal creature. Her parents tried to make her a normal child—scolded her for her constant hopping and skipping. The child did transform. At the tender age of twelve she turned into, what looks like, a sultry sixteen year old. Whereas the beast does not seem to understand the power of her new body, the Fairy Princess seems abundantly aware. Heaven help the Upper Westside boys and her parents.

The youngest cousin, the Wild Child , the one who inspires violence in normally pacific, coffee drinking mothers, is an artist. His parents don’t seem to truly understand his artistic temperament. The child is brilliant and thoughtful and demands attention and is oh so annoying if he does not get the attention he requires.

Yet childhood slips by so quickly…it is only a matter of time before the Wild Child grows up and transforms. And I wait patiently with the napkin drawing I got from him yesterday…signed and dated. Just waiting to cash it in.

Hellllooo European retirement.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It started with the evil ducks and their glowing red eyes who surrounded the house.

My husband was concerned that The Beast was having these dreams. “Where did these evil ducks come from?! What has she been watching on TV? She is only three—how does she know they are evil? How does she know what evil is?”

“For heavens sakes—they are dreams—dreams are always odd.” I said. Unconcerned about what seemed, to me, like a perfectly normal dream.

I have always had graphic dreams that tend to be beautiful and sometimes highly disturbing—A bright aqua sea with huge, warm, beautiful waves washing up on the deck of my ferry as I cross I a large body of water that I can only assume is the Aegean Sea.... Flying just above treetops of a dark forest without the aid of wings... Playing on a beach with waves that change colors as they crash on shore... Picking my way through bloody bodies on subway stairs in a war torn city that looks vaguely like New York City, but not quite.

It was not until I met my husband and started telling him my dreams did I realize that perhaps they were not THAT normal.

The Beast continued to have dreams of beauty and terror--Monsters in jewel covered caves that had to be beaten back by The Beast with her magic arrow. Strange worlds that exist under the earth that are hidden behind secret doors in a town made completely of fancy woodwork….We could never find a TV show that would account for these wild nighttime flights of imagination.

I am pretty sure these psychedelic dreams come from my side of the family. My mother had them, I have them. My brother and sister used to share the same dreams and they would wake up singing the same song from their shared dream.

Who knows where these dreams really come from? Perhaps another lifetime or another world that has seeped into our psyche while we sleep.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Underage Drinking versus Violent Death--Which is Worse?

I am not that thrilled about the DARE program…mainly because I don’t like police in the schools AND they talk about alcohol like it is a bad thing…ANY amount of alcohol. But I have to say…WHATEVER those police officers are saying to those kids… IT is having an impact.

The other day I was at our infamous Mother-Daughter Book Club discussing yet ANOTHER disturbing “Young Adult” read called Catching Fire. If you have a tween/teen at home—I am sure you are all too familiar with this Sci Fi series. It is set in a bleak future after the world has been ravaged by the effects of global warming. The plot is slightly complicated, but the bottom line is that the world of this book is rather hostile and oppressive and the main event of the first book was the Hunger Game--a game in which children from different districts of this new society are forced to fight one another to the death.

Of course the graphic nature of the deaths and the various other examples of man’s inhumanities to man in the book were all taken in with a blasé “we have seen/read it all before” attitude by the girls in the book group. Yet, oddly enough—a scene in the book that the mothers did not even really take note of (because we are obviously drunks by DARE standards) shocked the girls.

The scene in question was when the main character, a teenage girl was given a bottle of alcohol by an adult so that she could get drunk and drown her sorrows. This act, above all the other horrors the book illustrated, was greeted by the girls with: “can you believe that?!” and “Oh My God! What was he thinking-- giving her alcohol!” Go figure. How did underage drinking somehow become worse than murder?

I have to say—Hats Off to the police. Could the police please start a program about helping out at home and getting homework done on time?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slug Fest Sunday

It is freezing. The ONLY things I want to eat are pasta, bread and red wine. Although I have logged many miles walking at the mall and around town--I have not unrolled by yoga mat all week. Ahhh.
I did, however, read a fun book called the Urban Hermit by Sam MacDonald. It is a “memoir” of a Yale grad who spent all his money drinking and eating and ended up 100 pounds overweight and in debt. His solution to his weight and money problem was funny, effective and life transforming. Check it out. They have it at the local library.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Decemember Disclosure

Christmas is just around the corner and I want to encourage everyone to shop locally. AND I don’t mean the local Target or god forbid the local Wal-Mart. If you live in my artsy-fartsy town or close by…go to the Sign of the Times—they have great toys and games and there is basically no price difference—plus they have nothing but cool toys—so there is no need to worry that you will get a groan from some bratty child.

Two other wonderful shops are Nyack Wine Cellar and Palmieri Wines and Spirits just in case you are looking for something for me.

For the kid who is too old for Sign of the Times—Nyack General Store on North Broadway by the knitting shop—which also looks nice, but is really not my thing, has more great things.

And of course my favorite bike store-Nyack Bicycle Outfitters (also on North Broadway), they have wonderful inexpensive and expensive TREK bikes. It is a great experience buying from Jim because he will adjust the bike for you and you can always ride in with your bike if there is a problem…A MUCH better feeling than buying some cheap bike from Wal-Mart. You might save $20-$50 at Wal-Mart, but you will get far more service if you buy from Jim.

However—if you must just do some massive holiday shopping for all the NON-Special people in your life…you know teachers, postman, assistant at work, your brother’s kids, your kid’s friends…just click on the little Amazon widget on your right and I will get 4% percent commission and you will be done with all that annoying Christmas Shopping. Plus—I offer suggests that you can take…or not.

Happy Shopping!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fitness Friday--Exercise Tips

In order to save time I will distilled the exercise tips that I have received so far

Proud Procrastinator and Smarty Pants Scientist are both strong believers in a variety of exercise so as not to get bored doing the same old thing day in and day out. However, their “variety of exercise” sounds more like an “Iron Man Contest” than anything I would even consider doing—They SO Driven. So they Lose!

Michele, who did not join the contest, but who always has positive suggestions—says: Just KEEP doing it. Sort of like Nike’s Just Do It…but with more oomph. I like the tip, but she is NOT in the contest…so she can’t win.

Ms. Seize the Moment--I am not completely sure what her thoughts on exercise are because her e-mails to me are SO FULL of expletives and it is hard to cull the information out from ALL the naughty words—who knew weight-loss was SO emotionally charged? Although I did not ask for a “Helpful” tips about exercise—it was implied. And I would share Ms. Seize the Moment’s rants because they are fun, but the sheer volume of curse words prevented me.

My exercise tip is not to make it a big deal—just unroll your yoga mat and start doing some crunches. If your don’t have time to do 30 minutes of exercises—screw it—work on the areas you obsess about—for me: Saddle bag thighs, jelly belly and wings of flesh on my arms. If you have time to do more—it is just a bonus. Although I think my tip is excellent for its laziness quality, I believe the best tip came from Ms. HR.

Ms. HR believes that ideally you should walk before you eat. If you are going out to lunch—walk to the restaurant and walk back. Before dinner—take a walk. Simple and easy. No exercise equipment needed, no plans, just move your butt. She is the winner!

As soon as I find the DVD, “Trouble Zones” by Juliann Michaels-- it will be shipped off to Ms. HR. And I must say…I saw Ms. HR at one of those annoying school events and she looked MARVELOUS! Congratulations!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don't Eat That Cookie that Fell on the Floor!

Oh...never mind...I guess I little dirt never hurt anyone.

For anyone who has ever felt guilty about not cleaning enough around the baby--here is the study for you.
Of course, I never felt guilty...but if you do/ are released from the name tag "bad mother."

Check out Free Range Kids Mom's article on the dangers of being TOO CLEAN.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reading Camp

“I’m thinking READING CAMP.” Said Ms. Seize the Moment in a hushed, anxious tone during one of those motherhood insecurity phases before you stop reading those idiotic child rearing books that list baby/toddler milestones.

“I am thinking that you better start sharing whatever drugs you are taking.”I said with all the sympathy of a NYC Policeman.

“What? You don’t think reading camp is a good idea?” she said in sheer disbelief.

“Sweetheart—the girls are three. No one wants a little egghead reading War and Peace at four…except perhaps my brother. It just isn’t right. I am happy that The Beast has stopped gnawing on her board books. “

“Okay…okay—how about private swimming lessons at a hotel pool in New Jersey?”

“Back to my first point about the drugs--really—what have you been taking? Please go back to Feng Shui-ing your house…because some energy must be lodged in the crazy zone of your home….maybe a crystal or wind chime will release it.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting like it was a Steven King novel so when someone gave me What to Expect: The First Year I tossed it. And What to Expect: The Toddler Years….please…like you don’t get ENOUGH advice when you have a kid.

Honestly—when getting gifts for new mothers—think wine or hard liquor.