Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm "Special to The Times"

It doesn't happen often, (okay, just one other time that I know of) but occasionally the print edition of the newspaper finds some of my work on the online side, and likes it enough to print it. Like today when they ran my Thom Filicia article on the front page of the Homes section.

The funny thing is, I never know when these occasions are. They just run a piece without a word and I get this nice little surprise when I read my horoscope or the latest local politician scandal.

I gotta tell you how much this warms this old heart of mine. I'm positively giddy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Kicking off Super Bowl Weekend

I put in a solid 17 minutes of work today which includes 4 minutes of overtime, so I’m ready to start the Super weekend’s festivities.

While some of the fam actually have terribly-overpriced tickets for the game on Sunday, I am watching at home with my children, the Intern and mother in-law and anyone else who wants some empanadas and guacamole. And beer.

So tonight we'll kick things off by going to the NFL Experience and dining at the restaurant that serves hamburgers and cupcakes that I cannot remember the name of, but dream of its tasty offerings nightly. Cupcakes...

But in the mean time, I’m putting this out there: how about a little contest? Email me if you are interested in getting game squares (no cost) this Sunday, and I will email you back with your numbers. It will work like traditional squares, I'll draw the numbers randomly. We'll have prizes for each quarter plus a game winner. (And if anyone wants to donate some prizes, well, email that too.)

Happy Super Weekend!

Florida Winners in Generation Huggies

The Generation Huggies project that rolled into town a few months back has made its selections for the national ad campaign featuring real moms from across the country sharing their perspectives on motherhood.

Of the 30 winners, seven are from the Sunshine state! All of the winning entries can be seen on, but take special note of these Floridians:

~Amanda L.
~Carrie M.
~Jennifer E.
~LaTriece L.
~LeQuyen M.
~Maite C.
~Patricia G.

Among other candid perspective you’ll see real moms talk about what the definition of "me time" has become, what issues are forefront of our minds, and just what it is being a mom today.

I loved watching the videos individually, but I have to say that it was quite powerful to watch the entire mosaic of motherhood.

So check out all of the winners on, and thank you to all of the mothers who took part in this wonderful project.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good thing we're redecorating...

The painters are here! The painters are here!

They are currently painting some bright mustard-yellow and cool brick over the red walls. Last night Moo told me he was happy we were painting.

"Why?" I asked, because I really liked the red.

"Because this room scares me at night. That's why I always run through it. It reminds of blood or something."

Dang, if that doesn't bring on the maternal guilt. Here I thought it kind of looked like a house of ill-repute in Amsterdam, but it turns out it is a house of ill-repute in Amityville.

Poor kid.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Can I do it?

I only have 3 days to do a complete top-to-bottom cleaning of the house in the midst of a remodel project, make appointments and take 2 kids to the doctor, complete the weekly assignments as well as update a gazillion websites, grocery shop, 2 basketball games, laundry, and set the Super Bowl plans.

That leaves precious little time to drive my husband crazy.

I better start now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writer's block

I'm stuck on this particular assignment--can't seem to generate anything about Barbie turning 50 except Haiku.

Barbie at fifty
Stretch Armstrong's Unknown.

Fine. I'll get back to work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The old floor is out

I have forgotten how much I hate the home improvement process. I love the before and after, it's the during I could live without.

You'd think that the complete remodel of two rooms we barely use wouldn't be such a hassle, but when you have to move everything out of those rooms and a fine film of sawdust settles on everything else, the whole house is in complete chaos. It's throwing me all off balance.

Where's my BFF Thom and if you win the $25,000 RoomADayGiveaway would you spot me a grand so I could hire someone to finish this? Please???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I am happy and hopeful today, and if you need me I'll be watching television.

That is all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

17 years ago today....

I think I read somewhere that the traditional gift for the 17th wedding anniversary is taking the kids to the mall so the husband can work on home improvements and then returning during football for a nice homecooked dinner and a rousing game of Blokus.

I'm nothing if not a traditionalist.

Happy Anniversary, honey.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Speaking of redecorating...

...I wonder if I'm eligible for that $25,000 Roomadaygiveaway makeover with my new BFF Thom Filicia, because methinks I might need it after this conversation with my husband this morning as he embarks on the next home improvement project--re-painting and laying new floors in the living room and dining room. Yes, we are replacing the bordello red...

Sean: I am going for small, attainable goals. Today, I'm just going to remove the baseboards in the dining room. (And make a huge mess, and then try to burn said baseboards in the fireplace causing toxic smoke and all the fire alarms to go off on the street.)

Me: Do you think we can be all finished by the Super Bowl before your parents come for their visit?

Sean: (Shrugging shoulders.) Why? What does it matter?

(No words, just silent sobbing.)

Help me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So I was chatting with my friend, Thom Filicia...

Sometimes when I browse through those glossy pages of design magazines, I think, sure they’re beautiful, but not exactly practical for a living, breathing family with a penchant for Italian food and Crayola products. Those white sofas and glass carpets wouldn’t last a minute in my house--or in anyone’s I know.

So when I got an opportunity to ask celebrity designer, Thom Filicia (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Dress My Nest) how to practically decorate a family home with kids, pets and husbands, he offered some very helpful advice.

His design philosophy begins with the concept that everyone’s “interior should tell your story.” Your home should reflect your personality and “what makes you unique and authentic.” So decorate with those family photographs and mementos from vacations, and anything else that makes you happy.

And what to do with all of those Legos? “Embrace the idea that kids are there,” he said. You’re going to have toys in your home--the key is organization.

~Look to Kindergarten classrooms for organization ideas. Teachers are masters of having to organize lots of different materials for many different kids.

~Use inexpensive bins and cubbies to keep the clutter under control.

~Make it fun--Make kids part of keeping their own space organized. Thom loves to use a stopwatch for a fast pick-up or to sort things by color in a matching game while picking up.

~No room should be “off-limits” to children, but do explain that certain rooms serve different purposes than others. The living room isn’t the best choice for coloring, but the playroom or kitchen table is.

~For kid’s rooms, he warns not to invest too much into trends or specific interests. Kids grow out of things faster than you think, and it may be Barney this year, but karate the next. Keep the backdrops neutral so the room can mature with the child.

And as we Mommas already know, frugality is going to be a top decorating trend of 2009. Thom assures us that’s a good thing. “Be honest with yourself about your budget and your goals.” He says we should definitely “reuse and repurpose what you already have.”

~Move things to different rooms to change the look.

~Add a coat of paint to older furniture or to make odd pieces coordinate.

~Shop at flea markets, Craigslist and tag sales, but also be on the lookout for really great bargains at traditional stores. You may be able to pick up a great deal on good quality pieces that will last for years.

~Don’t be afraid to “mix the timely with the timeless.”

And if you still need help? How about a $25,000 room makeover? After revealing his redesign of the dressing rooms on ABC’s, “The View” on Monday, Thom announced the Room-A-Day Giveaway sweepstakes to award 16 lucky winners $25,000 each for a room makeover sponsored by "The View" and Kimberly-Clark. Enter online daily through March 6, 2009 at or Winners will be announced daily on “The View” beginning on February 2nd.

For more of Thom’s tips, pick up his new book, Thom Filcia Style, or check out his blog.

Maybe we’ll make it onto those glossy magazine pages yet.

(Photos Courtesy of Thom Filicia)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My husband went to Vegas and didn't even get me a lousy T-shirt

Yep, he tried to pass off these as "spa products."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Queer Eye for the Sleepy girl

After my last Christmas celebration with my fabulous ex-neighbor, I was going to come straight home and write all about my earlier interview with celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia and then pen a brilliant book review on Wally Lamb's latest 736+ page novel, and then start filling this blog with actual content, but I stayed up until 2 in the morning reading 700 of those pages to finish before deadline and then was back up again at 6 for the most jammed-packed day I've had in a while, and right now the blinking cursor on blank Word document is about the exhausting thing I can imagine.

So, tomorrow I promise to fill your life with design tips from a real expert and a couple of funny stories from the interview, as well as that book review which should be awesome. But for now, I'm crashing.

Night night.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What I do when he's not home

You know what I fantasize about while my husband is out of town?

Not that, you sicko. I fantasize about sleep, getting things done around the house, and writing. All unrealistic.

But last night I did manage to get more sleep than the night before, and I did write both assigned work and a couple o' pages of fiction, so I guess I'm living the dream a little.

Tomorrow's a killer day--I totally mis-scheduled and over-committed and I'm deeply in debt to a few friends who are going to bail me out--I promise something wonderful or alcoholic to you. But it's such a cool thing that I'll be doing from 1:30-2:30 EDT, that you'll all forgive me when you hear the big news. I swearz.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Please do not try this at home

Circus time!

Last night we went to the circus. And no, I don't mean our normal life circus. The bona fide, elephant-tromping, trapeze-spinning, $12 cotton candy vending, tiger pissing circus.

Shockingly, (or not) this is something we attend every year. Much because it was my husband's place of employment, but also because the kids really enjoy it. A-dog loves herself some animals.

We sat really close, which was cool, but at times too close perhaps. We saw (and smelled) a little more of the reality than the magic, and that was a little disappointing. But everyone still had a great time.

Sean is off "consulting" this weekend, so it's time for me to write in between chauffeuring. Might see if I can type a manuscript on my iPhone at red lights...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A late addition to my Resolutions list

I will never begin any formal piece of writing this year with the words, "In this economy..."

Seriously, we aren't even into the double-digits of days in 2009 and already I want to hurl myself from a building whenever I turn on the news.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

But I floss everyday

It was the kids' first day back to school, and I celebrated by going to the dentist.

Now you know how much I hate going to the dentist. Hate. It. But I go to be a good example to my children, and to ensure that I will be able to eat peanuts when I'm 90. Today is supposed to be the 6 or 9 month cleaning, and oh yeah, we just want to replace one of your old childhood fillings with a new one. Not that it's broken or otherwise offensive except for the fact that it's silver and was put in during the Carter administration. But it's not bothering anyone since it is in the back of my mouth and he's the only one who can see it.

Anyway, I agree to replace it, because they start their fancy talk about bicuspids and fluoride and I get all confused and agree to needless medical treatments. And that makes me an idiot.

Dr. starts drilling away, and at first, I'm okay with it. This is part of being a grown-up--dealing with oral pain. I can do this. It hurts despite the Novocaine, but I persevere until he brings out the big guns. As in a big, loud, heaving jackhammer. He pulls this thing out and I immediately feel the plates in my head shift. A brain scan at that very moment would have registered a 6.8 on the Richter scale. I must have winced, or had a seizure, because Dr. said, "Oh, is that painful?"

"Not really painful, I'm just a little dizzy because I think my hypothalamus has dislodged."

I thought it was funny, but judging from his non reaction and his joyous return to the riveter, maybe for him not so much. I realize that perhaps 'hypothalamus' might sound curiously like, 'you're an ass' when your mouth is packed with gauze and you have no control over the left side of your face.

Six and a half hours later, he finishes replacing the perfectly fine filling, charges me $260 for the pleasure and I try to realign my eyesight enough to drive home.

At least I got a new toothbrush.

(And oh yeah, you are an ass.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's back to the post-holiday grind. Sigh.

If last month was "the most wonderful time of the year," then early January must be the worst. Because of all of my least favorite domestic chores of the year, today holds my most-despised.

It's time to de-holiday the house.

I hate this day. Un-decorating is so Scroogey. I feel like I'm taking a blow torch to Frosty. Or like I showed Rudolph his new 2009 Progress Energy rates.

It's just not nearly as much fun taking all of this down as it was putting it all up. A few weeks ago, the house smelled of gingerbread and cinnamon. Now it smells like sour eggnog and a fresh bottle of Dexatrim.

Perhaps the worst job of the many is the un-trimming of the tree. All of those ornaments that the kids helped put on the lowest boughs are now on the floor beneath an avalanche of dried needles. The scent of pine no longer hangs in the air as I pull off the half-dark lights from the petrified branches; the only things being released are allergens and cobwebs.

But I suppose like this stale popcorn garland, all good things must come to an end, and packing up the holidays is inevitable. One of the best tips I've picked up along the way was to write out a list of the items you need to restock and tape that list to the outside of one of boxes to avoid multiple last minute scrambles to the store next year before you unpack. Mine reads like a note to my future self:

Hey Gorgeous, nice sweater. You need:

1) 1 more strand of Christmas lights. (The one you had wouldn’t stop blinking so you threw it out before someone had a seizure.)

2) 1 pink Advent candle. (Post this on the Easter box because you’ll never find one in November.)

3) More ornament hooks. You’ve used every single one of the 50 you bought six years ago but keep thinking you have plenty. You are down to using paper clips on all of the glass bulbs.

4) Paper clips.

5) A sense of humor, a kind memory and perspective when you open this box. After weeks of non-stop partying, 38 trips to the attic with all of these bins, and glitter and pine needles in every orifice, you had precious little patience left to roll the light strands properly or separate the candles.

Have an eggnog, put on some Bing Crosby and enjoy it. You’ll understand this un-merry tone when the most wonderful time of the year ends all too quickly.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Did someone change the calendar page while I was gone?

I think every new year should begin from beside a hotel pool under sunny skies surrounded by good friends and cold drinks. Or, if that isn't on the agenda, then freezing your ass off at Disney World surrounded by 4 million strangers and the stench of gigantic turkey legs and churros.

Long lines notwithstanding, we had a wonderful New Year's and a perfect start to 2009. We are now home, and I am unpacking and reorganizing and trying to get back into reality even though I have absolutely no desire. There are more things that probably need to be shopped, washed or cleaned, but I don't much feel like it.

Happy New Year everyone.