Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just made the Jell-o for the oozing brains exhibit, should have saved some for shots

In a few hours, I will be knee deep in All Hallows Eve Eve. Which for this gal, means our annual Trunk n' Treat event at school.

If you look back over the years, you'll see that I love this event, I really do. You will also see that I have skated any responsibility for this party which is probably why I like it so much.

That changes this year. They put me in charge of the whole thing because they are crazy. Or they don't read my blog to know that I am crazy. And unorganized and not fit for planning anything except how I can skirt more planning. It's pretty much a survival skill.

So tomorrow will be interesting. It will either be fine (because really, there isn't a whole lot of stuff you can do beforehand for this) or I will have screwed it up so horribly that they will lock me into a trunk and push me over a cliff.

But if I don't die in a flaming "accident" (Please forward this to law enforcement officials upon my untimely demise) I can always rely on my pumpkin-carving skills when we have to go on the lamb.

As long as that lamb is in Sleepy Hollow or something.

(Dang, don't forward that clue to my soon-to-be assassins.)

Princess Tiana: I met her!

Following a colorful procession in a horse-drawn carriage befitting royalty, the newest Disney princess made her debut at the Magic Kingdom on Monday.

Princess Tiana from the upcoming Disney film, The Princess and the Frog, made her way from the Louisiana Bayou to Cinderella’s castle as Mickey and the gang welcomed her into the fold.

The first Disney princess since Mulan in 1998, Princess Tiana is breaking new ground in the old classic fairy tale. The first African American princess, she is also the first to be set in modern times. The Princess and the Frog, which opens nationwide on December 11, 2009, also returns to the classic hand-drawn animation that audiences have adored for generations. The story is a comical “modern twist on a classic tale” set in the mystical bayous of Louisiana and features music by Oscar-winning composer Randy Newman.

Visitors to the Magic Kingdom can get a glimpse--and ear-- of the high-energy music in the attraction “Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee” which will run three shows daily until January 3, 2010. The nine minute show plays on the Liberty Belle Riverboat and features the movie characters as well as randomly-chosen park guests in the cleverly choreographed production that resembles a Mardi Gras parade on water. Fast-paced without the need for a Fast Pass, you can watch from the docks of Frontierland.

In addition to seeing a lot of Tiana on store shelves this holiday season, little ones can take a look in their magic mirrors after a trip to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a glittery view. Prices for the girl glam packages start at $49.95 and Tiana’s fresh look is among the royal styles available.

And if you can’t make it to her house at the Magic Kingdom, chances are you’ll be seeing a lot of the new princess knocking at your door this Halloween or on your kids’ wish lists this year--already her soft green and cream petal dress and plush doll are big sellers.

But it is in theaters where kids are sure to fall in love with the beautiful Tiana. The impressive team that has contributed to this movie since the project began in 2006 assures success.

You can see scenes of the film here and if you enter a theme park between now and November 22, 2009, you can get details on how to receive a voucher for a free child’s movie ticket.

(Cross-posted at Whoa Momma! )

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One day

Today--October 27th--the worst day of the year, I’m going to play a game.

I’m going to pretend I get my Mom back for one day.

Actually, I play this all of the time, and I have a nightmare about it at least once a week, but today I really thought about it.

First off, I’d cook you something. Something delicious and decadent and totally wonderful. When you got sick, you lost your appetite. You lost your ability to enjoy a meal with your family and I always hated that was another thing that got taken from you. I would make you Beef Wellington because you loved that. And one of the first real meals I ever cooked for you was that and a homemade mushroom bisque. You said you liked it--maybe you were being a kind, but I thought it was good.

Then we’d play a game. Double-solitaire. Which is a really stupid game, but when we played it our way it was fun and I loved that scurrying play to the finish. We would not play Scrabble because you would beat me--you were the true wordsmith of the family.

And then, like I was five again, I’d say, “Mom! Look what I made!” And I would introduce you to your grandchildren. And I know a day isn’t enough time, but you would be able to see how smart and kind they all are. You’d notice that Stevie LOOKS JUST YOU which you would deny out loud but secretly covet because you could even see it. You would see Matty and know that as old of a soul that Stevie is, Matty is a young one--forever a little boy who loves his dog and his little sister and isn’t at all embarrassed by that.

And Amy. Oh, how you would love Amy. And you would know. You would just know.

And Jessie needs a grandmother to spoil her and keep me from losing my mind with her. She would entrance you with her smile and personality, and you wouldn’t be able to get mad at her when she poured paint on your carpet.

And no matter what time of year it was--I don’t care if it was June--I would set up a Christmas tree and make Sean string lights through the palm trees. I would fly Wendy and your other two grandchildren in, Dad, your Dad, Uncle Norm, Gram and Gramp--anyone who is left and we would have a Christmas dinner and eat again around a huge table laughing and taking a million pictures. I’d make you pecan pie. (I put chocolate in mine and it’s really good.)

I’d wear your shoes. I’d play Neil Diamond. Grandpa would recite poetry from his amazing memory.

I would ask you to wear extra perfume so that it lingered on everything you touched and when you were gone again, I’d bury my face into the blanket and recall you.
I’d hold you.

I would be held.

And to those who would say that a day wouldn’t be enough, I’d risk it.

Because this day is long.

This day is way too long.


I will tell you all about happy things like Princesses and magic tomorrow, but today, like every year on this day for the last ten, I just want to think about my Mom.

And miss her without apology.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Meeting princesses this week

I got a tremendous amount of work done today out of necessity for the sheer amount of work I have to do for the week ahead. Yes, everyone has clean socks and it's not even Monday yet.

On Friday, we have our annual Trunk n' Treat event at school, the day in which the entire year orbits around. At least it does for me since I am chairing this, and I basically suck at doing anything more than 10 minutes out.

But before I fall flat on my painted face on Friday, tomorrow I get to wake up two hours earlier than a normal Monday so that I can go cover Princess Tiana's debut at Disney World, complete with parade, press box seating for her new show and interview opportunities with Disney staff.

And that is a pretty cool way to start a long, full week.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Learning more about this everyday

A few weeks ago I did a lot of research on the Swine Flu for the article in The St. Pete Times.

Since that article was published, things are still changing with this bizarre disease, and I’m still learning more about it as we go. In our own school, many more cases were diagnosed and confirmed, but luckily, none were severe and as far as I know, all of those students have returned to school.

But that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join a Walgreen’s teleconference with Dr. Gwenn O’Keefe of and, and I learned a little bit more about the H1N1 and why we need to be aware of it.

~First off, it’s seems to target our kids most of all. For some still unknown reason, this flu hits ages 0-24 the hardest, leaving the 65+ group almost untouched. Pregnant women are given the top priority on the vaccine list.

~90% of the flu circulating in the U.S. right now is H1N1. So chances are, if you feel like you have the flu, it’s probably H1N1.

~This strain isn’t peaking like the seasonal flu does every year. Instead of ebbing and falling like typical flu seasons, this one shows no sign of slowing down. Dr. Gwenn says we really need to pay attention to the statistics to realize how differently this strain behaves.

~She recommends both the regular flu shot as well as the H1N1 when it becomes available in your area. To the critics that say the vaccine for the Swine Flu isn’t “tested,” she says that it is the exact same science and testing as the seasonal flu shot that has been in existence for over 60 years with a rather impressive track record.

We also spoke extensively about the need to be prepared in case you get sick--stocking up on items and food well before you actually need them.

But a couple of things remained constant--wash your hands frequently and make sure your kids are as well. This is still our number one preventive measure.

And definitely don’t waste your money--and false confidence--on the facemasks.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Happy Birthday, A-Dog!

Someday you'll appreciate what we went through for your present.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, here's a fake I.O.U. for your fake hamster

I am currently on the last minute hunt for hamsters. Of the mechanical variety.

It's A-Dog's birthday tomorrow and I am scouring the entire greater Tampa/Orlando area for Zhu Zhu Pets, an endangered species according to Toy R Us. Who knew that they would be sold out before freaking Halloween?

Store clerks are laughing at me when I call and ask if they have any in stock. Amazon just has a huge 'LOL' banner across the page, and I swear Target had the Twitter fail whale on their toy site. It's crazy with a capital Zhu.

The absolute worst part of this whole thing? Not the disappointment when she opens her rain check, but that she might actually want a real hamster instead.

*&^%$ holiday Ebay conservationists...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Giving away goodness this week

I know you're thinking that with all of this partying and blog avoidance that I haven't been working, but you're so wrong.

I've been working incredibly hard giving things away. Make sure you enter all of these current contests to score some swag:

See's Candy (2 readers will recieve gift cards for $25 delicious dollars worth of sweet goodness)

Michael Buble's new CD (5 readers will receive sweet sounds of goodness)

A Journal from Energizer and Susan G. Komen for the Cure (to make sure we are all spreading the goodness.)

Make sure you're entered...

A Tasty Weekend

Since my last update regarding partying through October, we partied some more...

Took advantage of the long weekend to head to Disney. We hadn't ever done Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party (totally worth every penny--no lines!) and I got invited to Epcot's Party for the Senses, so it seemed like a good time to do both.

We stayed at the new Waldorf-Astoria which opened on October 1st, and was absolutely gorgeous. They were offering some pretty sweet Grand Opening specials which actually made it cheaper to stay there than at the Nick Hotel. No choice there. My only criticism may be that it they are going to tout their historic culinary contributions to the world in their in-room brochure--the Manhattan, Veal Oscar, 1000 Island Dressing, the Waldorf salad and Red Velvet Cake--they may actually consider offering them on their pricey menus. I would have paid a handsome sum for the original Red Velvet cake.

But I got my culinary freak on elsewhere.

You'll have to rely on your sense of imagination when I tell you about the Party for the Senses at Epcot since I forgot my camera like the slacker reporter that I am. If I had indeed brought it (which I desperately need a new one) I would have snapped impressive photos of an enormous room with dozens of stations offering the best wines and finest classic cuisine you've seen gathered in one place. Visiting chefs from around the world as well as Disney's award winners prepared an offering of amazing dishes that were delicious. My personal favorites included Confit of Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Toasted Almond Pain Perdu, Heirloom Apple, and Calvados Cider Reduction, the Herb-Crusted Lamb Chop with Red Wine Cherry Sauce and Crispy Triple Onion Polenta or the Roasted Beef Tenderloin "Diane." I'd list more, but each one has a descriptor twenty words long and it makes me hungry just with the recall.

You probably won't believe me, but I swear it's true: This was my first trip to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. I may be the only Floridian to ever have written those words in 2009. It is a hopping place and people take their food and wine very seriously. Or at least their wine.

It was absolutely packed on Saturday--the lines for the food stands were decades long and pushing a stroller or seven through the crowds of matching drinking gear T-shirts wasn't exactly a good time for me. Veterans at the party later, which was such a welcome respite from the crowds outside, told me that weekends are usually like that--your best bet is to come during the week. Which is what we'll do if we ever return (sans kids).

But the Party for the Senses was indeed a feast, and I loved every delicious moment of it.

We got home yesterday in time to celebrate the remaining hours of Sean's birthday and the cool weather and gear up for the busy week ahead.

I'm off to the store for that Calvados...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This explains a lot

Hey you...yeah, you over there in the fetal position in the corner after another football game and Columbus Day party. Yeah, move over, but don’t speak too loudly or she’ll hear us and I could really use a break.

Who? October, silly. The Calendar Party Girl. The cute one who looks to her right at September with its Back to School buzz kill and to the left at solemn November Black Friday and Election Day and determined frivolity is all up to her during autumn. She makes sure that all parties, school events, weddings, festivals, birthdays, tailgating and general fun are planned during her short weeks.

She stocks her crib with lots of food, drink and Fun Size Snickers so you can't possibly refuse her generous invitation even though you know you'll regret it later. There's no cover, but you'll pay the price of admission ten times over as you try to squeeze everything in.

She's the kind of roommate that plays the Black Eyed Peas too loud when you're trying to study or hides your shoes to make you late for work. She plays hooky and forges notes to the teacher. She's forever ordering the “final final.”

Oh, look who the black cat dragged in. Another late night I see, October.

We are half-way through this festive month, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm on to you, October. You may be dressed in that ridiculous Farrah Fawcett costume (that I stayed up late one night to make, I'll remind you) but I see right through you.

Don't look at me like that.

Yes, it would be fun just to stop by that Halloween party dressed up as Jon and Kate, but I don't have time to shop for an Ed Hardy T-shirt and a wig. We've got a book report due, remember?

No, we can't watch Charlie Brown in the car on the way and write something up in the morning, there's a rubric involved.

Of course a pumpkirazzi would be funny, but that would take hours to carve and we should have a nice healthy dinner and go to bed early tonight.

What? I don't think bobbing for apples counts as a serving of fruit. Neither does Tropical Skittles so don't even ask.

Seriously, we should really clean something and get a good night's sleep.

I know you could clean my clock in pumpkin corn hole, but I'm not playing tonight.

You're so 2000 and late.

You seriously need to step away from the World Series watch parties and run some bases around the gym. An imported beer belly is not any more sophisticated than a domestic one.

That is the sound of me putting my foot down, not a lead-off to a polka--you’re going to have to go to that Oktoberfest without me.

Is she gone?

Not yet? That’s right, it’s only the 15th. Unfortunately she doesn’t turn into a pumpkin until the 31st.

Yeah, fine. I’m coming. One refrain of “Monster Mash” and we’re out of there. I swear.

It’s no wonder why we’re so thankful in November...

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Maybe I just needed a quasi-festival to get me out of my quasi-funk.

Last night we headed down to our town's Okctofest--which was neither fest nor October themed. Under a 95 degree blanket, we walked past the kiosks of Italian Ice and Empanadas and quickly realized that we were not going to get the Brats and beer that we craved, so we all decided to walk down to a restaurant instead.

Our original table of 14 quickly doubled with other friends who completed their festival tour in 4.2 minutes, and pretty soon we had half of the outdoor restaurant in our pod.

We sat in front of a quasi-band that played their karaoke too loudly, but J. and J. got on the dance floor and quickly drew a crowd of cell phone camera paparazzi with their little toe heads bopping to "Dancing Queen." One woman asked if they were twins, then if they were brother and sister, and finally when she looked at me asked if they were adopted.

Dude, it's blond hair not a Roswell discovery. Is it that much of a stretch that I could have given birth to her? I don't think so...

Anyway, it was fun despite not having any of my fall-related cravings satiated and my maternity questioned.

Tonight we're off to a wedding after sports, and this morning the paper printed my swine flu tips because when our community faces a pandemic, it is Suburban Diva to whom the city looks to for quasi-guidance.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Experiment over

This telepathic blogging isn't as effective as the old way.

I'll probably go back to writing it down tomorrow.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A story problem

Question: If there are three confirmed swine flu cases at your elementary school and you have three kids enrolled in grades K-8 and at least two are running fevers at 100.1 or above, what is the total number of minutes your family will be in school next week?

Answer: 2.3 minutes. (But I will accept the 12 minutes of whining in carline before we turn around and come home tomorrow morning.)

Extra credit:
How much money will I spend on Kleenex, hand sanitizer and doctor's office copays over the next 3 days?

(Hint: anything under $17,000 is wrong.)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Well hello, blog.

It's been a little tough to be funny this week.

Not that there has been any earth-shattering disasters, it's just the everyday stuff that normally makes me laugh, hasn't.

Perhaps it's that the sense of humor is located in the sinus cavity, and everyone around here has theirs infected. Doctor visits, Nyquil and hand washing doesn't exactly tickle anyone's funny bone. Or at least not mine.

Usually when I have trouble finding humor at home, I can always find some at work. Or in the assignments I get. This week, I wrote about swine flu. Instead of surfing the Net for preschool pasties, I spent hours on the CDC website. Not exactly a knee-slapper.

The words left over at the end of these tough days ended up fixing a broken heart or writing emails for one of the many crazy events October brings. Or being sunk into the dangerously close end of the first draft of the novel.

Oh yeah, the novel.

I'm serious when I say the end is near. Very near. And the gift I'm giving myself this month (and my family which has to live with me as I pen this) is a completed first draft. It's time.

So this Sunday's dinner menu will be a little less-ambitious, and I'm going to get a haircut this morning hoping to take a few inches of weight from shoulders to make room for something else.

Or at least I can write hair jokes about myself.