Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In case you're wondering why I smell

Warning: This post fits under two new categories: TMI (Too Much Information) and TMTOMH (Too Much Time On My Hands).

At the grocery store, I tried to purchase some deodorant. Sounds simple enough. But, I kid you not, there were that at least 27 different types of the same brand:

Secret Platinum (in Unscented, Glacier Ridge, and Ocean Breeze). Total=3.
Secret Platinum with Conditioners (in Botanical Silk, Velvet Powder, Shower Fresh, Mystic Rain, and Ocean Breeze). Total=5

Secrete Platinum Expressions (in Tropical Tango, Vanilla Chai (wtf?), Afrikan Violet, Southern Peach, Asian Pear, Spanish Rose, Jasmine Orient, Arctic Apple, Eastern Lily, Passion Flower, Brazilian Cherry, Kuku Cocoa Butter, and English Bloom). Total=13

Then there were the basics:
Secret Roll-On, Secret Solid, Secret Invisible Solid, Secret Clinical (comes in a box looking very serious), and Secret Clear Gel . Total= 5.

And, my very favorite:
Secret Ultra Clear (just in case the regular clear is not clear enough).

Grand Total=27.

Alas, there was no Secret Regular, which was really all I wanted. So that's why I smell.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yummy Frosted Cars and Shoo Flies

On this morning's drive to school:

Me: "It was so cold last night that there is frost on some of the cars."
After a few minutes of silence:

Zander: "I don't see any frosting on the cars."


This reminded me of a few other misunderstandings. This one is from last week, also while driving to school:

Zander: "Alaska is in the sky, isn't it?"

Me: "Um, no honey, it's not in the sky."

Zander: "But Grandma Paula said Alaska is UP, not down."
It then dawns on me that on Zander's puzzle of the states, Alaska is at the bottom. So, I try to explain how most states are attached to another, except for Hawaii and Alaska. (I knew I shouldn't have skipped Geography class and went to the mall. I'm kidding Mom. I never skipped any classes.)

And finally, this one from pre-blog times:

Often when we would see a fly, we would say, "Shoo fly don't bother me." I think it's from a song or book or something. I don't recall how old Z was at the time, but one day we were sitting outside and he said, "Look mommy! A shoo fly!"

Sunday, October 28, 2007


All jobs have their perks. Brad works at Marriott and he gets discounted hotel rooms for us, family, and friends, on-site flu shots (and other special health events, such as skin cancer screenings), discounted on-site shipping services, an on-site gas station (!), and more.

And then there is the Annual Marriott Headquarters Family Picnic. We drove out to the Marriott Ranch yesterday to attend our first. It was a day of free food, rides (hayride, etc.), moon bounces, a rock-climbing wall, a petting zoo, pony rides for kids and horseback riding for adults, a laser tag tent, carnival-type amusement games, live music, face painting, clowns making balloons for kids, at least eight caricature artists, and a pumpkin-painting hut. It was pretty incredible. Here are some photos:

Me, I get THE most up-to-date and accurate social insurance news possible. No one can compete with that.

Friday, October 26, 2007

And I thought I was the one who made most of the rules around here

It's raining when we arrive at Zander's preschool this morning. I gather up his stuff from the car (rain boots, some back-up clothing, journal bag, etc) and this happens:

Zander: "Mom, you have to carry me."

Me (annoyed that he says I have to carry him and a tiny bit sad that he's starting to call me "mom" instead of "mama" or "mommy"): "No I don't. My hands are full."

Zander (whining): "But, I have a rule that my sneakers can't get wet!"

What I'm thinking: [Oh ya, buddy? Who made that rule? I'm not aware of it and I make most of the rules around here.]

What I say (thinking he'll never go for this): "Well, if I carry you, YOU will have to carry all of this stuff."

Zander: "Okay. Pick me up mom."

So, I end up carrying him and all of the stuff wedged between us. I'm definitely losing this battle.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Nationals got a shame

On Tuesday, while away on business travel I had the pure joy of catching Jill and Zander by phone around dinner-time. This means I actually got quality time on speaker phone, and in this case I was graced with a duet rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". It was music to my ears when away missing my crew I heard (over a speakerphone) "If they don't win it's a shame. For its 1, 2, 3 strikes you're out at the old ball game." Here's what happened next:

Zander: The Nationals got a shame.
Jill: What do you mean "shame?"
Zander: The Phillies won so that means the Nationals got a shame.

Hmmm, "If they don't win it's a shame." He's right (in a way).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How do we make sand?

Some of the latest Zander questions...

"What is poo poo?"

"What makes poo poo yucky?"

"What makes poo poo brown?"

[Are you noticing a theme?]

There was also this one:

"How do we make sand?" For this one, since Brad did not know the answer, he instead started to explain how glass is made from sand. I'm thinking, "It is? Who knew?!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Busy Fall Weekend

Now that I'm done kvetching (for the time being at least) about yesterday's drive to the office, I can post about the busy Fall weekend we had. Saturday included a trip to Claude Moore Colonial Farm (an 18th Century Living History Farm) with some other families from Zander's preschool. Sunday morning Zander and I took a trip to the old neighborhood for the annual Burke Nursery Pumpkin Playground and Brad went to Annapolis to get in some wakeboarding before the water gets too cold. Yes, yes, I thought this September trip would be his last for the season, but I was wrong. (It's rare, but it happens.)

Here's a short video clip from before we entered the Pumpkin Playground. They have some motion-activated animated things at the entrance. (I'm sure there is a technical term other than "things" but I can't come up with it.) Initially, Z was scared to get near any of them, but as you can see from the the clip, he warmed up to the skeleton in just a few minutes and started to boogie.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Kvetch is a Yiddish word meaning "to complain habitually." For example, “All Jill does is kvetch about traffic.” What’s the difference between a kvetch and a rant you ask? I’ve decided that a kvetch is short and a rant is long. But I reserve the right to post a ranting kvetch if it applies to the situation. Here’s today’s:

I left my house at about 7:35am. I did not get to my office until 10:00am. That’s almost two and half hours. (For the record, this also included dropping Z off at preschool.)

Traffic is always worse in September and October apparently. It has something to do with both Congress and school being back in session. However, another semi-annual event that screws up traffic around here is the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. Streets are closed and protesters are lying down in the middle of intersections. Unfortunately, the only person I can take it out on is Brad. Poor husband got back to his desk to two separate and very grumpy messages complete with foul language and new things that he needs to do to fix my traffic. Sorry honey.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Challenging Phase

Our child is definitely in an annoying a challenging phase right now. I mean, he's still cute and all, but sometimes, jeez.

He is trying hard to learn the art of manipulation. Last night I told him that it wasn't time to play with X, it was time for Y. Without hesitating, he said, "Mama, my poo-poo says I have to play with that right now!" Oh, right! How could I have forgotten about the talking poo-poo?! I said, "What Mama says overrides what the poo-poo says," and he instantly broke into tears. Real tears. If it wasn't so funny, I might have cried some real tears too.

P.S. Earlier in the evening, Brad said to me, "My poo-poo says..." I'm kidding. What he really said was (as Zander was running around like a chicken-with-his-head-cut-off and interrupting any and every conversation we were tyring to have),"Has he always been like this and we just didn't notice it or has it gotten worse?"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Our Gangster Boy

This photo was taken earlier in the week at Z's (not a gang name) preschool while "splatter painting" (not a early form of graffiti). Lest anyone think that we're actually encouraging the 'Gangsta' look a little early, do not be alarmed. His pants are below his hips because he is a tallish, skinny kid and sometimes we forget to tighten the "adjustable" waistband, Beeotch.

Please don't take me off your e-mail list all together, but...

...FOR THE LAST TIME, cell phone numbers are NOT going public. It's a hoax. They weren't in 2004 and they are not in 2007. I realize that I post this at the risk of someone deciding not to forward me a truly important e-mail, such as an announcement of a one-time extra 50% off sale at Costco, or something else life-and-death related.

The place I go to check these things out is Snopes.com, but I'm sure there are other sites as well. Here's the link at Snopes related to the cell-phone-do-not-call-registry, fyi:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You don't work full time...

This bumper sticker is on our refrigerator. A colleague gave it to me while I was on maternity leave in 2004 and I still nod my head in agreement every time I read it. (Note: This is not meant as insult to non-moms, or to moms who who don't work outside the home, or to moms who don't nod their head at inanimate objects like refrigerators.) I just like it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Blast from the Past

Let me start by saying that if you weren't born sometime between 1962 and 1975, this post might not make sense to you. Also, I post at the risk of being disowned by my husband (who has boxes and boxes of actual vinyl records, one thousand or so CD's, and goes to numerous concerts all by respectable musicians).

Lately I’ve been surfing radio stations while driving alone in the car (instead of listening to our growing collection of children’s music mentioned in this post). The first 'flashback' happened on Sunday when I thought I heard Casey Kasem doing a top ten of sorts. I didn't think he could still be alive. But, indeed, it WAS Casey Kasem! Turns out he wasn’t so old back then, I just thought that all adults were old. His voice took me back, remembering how I would listen impatiently to see which song was #1 that particular week.

Then, as I’m driving to work early this morning, I hear a few chords of “Family Man,” by Daryll Hall and John Oats. I instantly (and maybe embarrassingly?) knew what song it was and could remember running to my boombox (which was even less high tech than this one and full of D batteries) to simultaneously press two buttons so the song would record to a cassette tape. And how I would play, rewind, play, rewind, and play those songs. Oh to be young again.

P.S. Who knew that Hall and Oats have their own website and a new CD?! And what was “Family Man” really about anyway? You can see it on YouTube here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Magical Land of Chocolate Cows

Tonight post-dinner as he puts his spoon into a small tub of chocolate pudding...

Zander: Chocolate comes from chocolate cows, doesn't it?

Brad launched into a detailed explanation of how chocolate comes from nuts and then it becomes powder and eventually becomes the chocolate we can eat. All I heard was "chocolate yada yada yada yada yada chocolate we can eat."

Sunday Football with Dad

The two photos above are from a Baltimore Ravens football game that Brad and Zander attended this past Sunday. We billed it as Zander's first football game, but it was really the first one that he can remember. According to our photo archive, we took him to a game in late August of 2004, before he was three months old. (I find this interesting, since I don't much recall leaving the house the first three months after he was born.) Regardless, here is the photo I took to prove it:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Decorations of Our Very Own

Before Zander was born, I was somewhat of a curmudgeon about Halloween. I always thought Halloween decorations were, well, a bit tacky. And ever since my cousin Lisa, who was my partner in dressing up slutty silly (for Halloween), had moved to California and I had gotten married, I wasn't much into costumes. Then Z came along and I got into a bit (see this post for proof).

Last year, our neighbors in Burke (hi Mary & Marcia if you're out there), put out a few decorations including a tame looking witch. Zander named her Mabel and quickly became attached. At that point, I went out and bought some fake cobwebs and put them in our bushes. (No jokes please.)

Fast forward to this year. Zander has been noticing all things Halloween-related, especially decorations. When we left the house on Saturday, we saw that our neighbors had put this up:

Zander asked for the 3rd time if we could put up some decorations at our house. That night, after a celebratory anniversary sushi dinner, Brad and I went to Walmart and bought some really expensive, really classy Halloween decorations all our own. On Sunday morning, Brad and an ecstatic Zander deposited them in our front yard. We've already noticed a steady series of onlookers driving by just to see them.

Friday, October 12, 2007

'Shout Out' #3: Jill / Wife / Mom / Blogger

Jillie (pictured the day after our wedding on the balcony of The Watergate), my wife of five wonderful years, may be too young to remember the Enjoli woman but the rest of us probably can. You know the jingle-based perfume commercial that set the bar so high that all women felt at least a bit inadequate. Well, I realized today that I actually married her – a successful, sexy, spirited, bright, beautiful woman who is a terrific companion and a co-parent without compare.

Ok, so Jews are not really touted for bringing home bacon (kinda rubs against the kosher thing) and Jill is not one for frying much up in the pan, she still possesses a wonderful balance between work and home and she “…never lets me forget I’m a man…” even though sometimes this means me taking out the trash or lifting heavy items.

All said, I would not exchange these past five years or my wife for anything no matter what it smells like….


When do numbers end?

We are in the middle of the "questions" phase with Z. Although, come to think of it, some months ago, Zander would call for one of us at night and say, "I have a question" and then not say anything else. We would ask what the question was and he would kind of stare at us thinking, "I got you here. Who needs a question?" Well, we're past that and now there are lots of good questions. Here are a few recent ones:

"How does hair get on eyebrows?"

"Why is 'apple' at the end of pineapple?"

"When do numbers end?" (This one was asked in the bath after singing the ABC's and then counting for awhile...)

If you want to take a stab at answers to any of these, feel free.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Death, Havoc, and Heat

If anyone was wondering the result of my sister’s run in the Chicago Marathon mentioned in this post, the good news is that she is alive. That’s not funny, I know. I'm not meaning it to be. In case you didn’t see it in the news, some runners did die. Hundreds were picked up by ambulances. They stopped the race due to excessive heat. You can read all about it in this New York Times article, the headline of which is “Death, Havoc and Heat Mar Chicago Race.

Her “chip time” was 4:06:39, with which she was very pleased. Her next run, the Philadelphia Marathon, is in six weeks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great State of Soda

Most parents of young children (as opposed to old children?) have a slew of funny stories about things their child has said or has mis-said. I assume that's what "Kids Say the Darndest Things" is all about. I don't think that Z is any more or less funny than the rest of 'em, but his wonderful grandmothers DO think so. On the heels of yesterday's monster truck post, I'm going to start noting these funny stories for the record here. Lucky you! Below are a few that I've been meaning to write down.

After we moved (about five months ago) we kept Zander at his old school for a few weeks to help ease the transition. But it was a loooong drive for me from McLean to Burke to Dupont Circle to Burke to McLean and for Brad to go from McLean to Burke to Gaithersburg (passing McLean on the way) and back to Burke. We would kill the time with Zander by listening to music and talking about different vehicles. For example, if we saw a big truck with photos of produce on it, we'd talk about what was probably in the truck, where it was going, where it came from, etc. One day, we saw truck with a large 24/7 on both sides. Z says: "That truck has numbers in it!"

Another truck story:
Zander: "What does it say on that truck?"
Me: "FedEx"
Zander: "That truck feeds X!"

Zander talking out loud to himself:
"Eighty-nine. Eighty-nine. Eight-TEE-Nine. That number has a letter in it!"

During pre-bedtime reading of a book with jellyfish in it:
Zander (pointing to the jellyfish): They're sticky.
Me (thinking whatever works for you, kid): Uh huh.
Zander: They eat jelly.
Me (finally realizing that he thinks they are sticky because they eat jelly, but blanking on how to respond since I have no idea what jellyfish DO eat.): [silence]

After telling him that we were going to drive to Delaware to visit Grandma Paula and Pap-Pap, we started talking about other states.
Zander: "Minnesota. Maybe that is where soda is from."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Scaredy Cars

We're in the car on the way to school, listening to a Choo Choo Soul / Genevieve song about a train in Japan called the Shinkansen, aka The Bullet Train. Part of the song goes like this:

If I was a car, I'd be a RACING car.
If I was a plane, I'd be a JET plane.
And if I was a truck, I'd be a MONSTER truck.
But, if I was a train, I'd be a BULLET train.

The song ends and Zander says: "Monster trucks are NOT allowed on the road with other cars."

I ask: "Why not?"

He says (quite assuredly): "Because the other cars will get scared."

Makes perfect sense to me. I get scared whenever I see a monster truck.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rant: Not Prominent Enough!

I have the day off for Columbus day and Zander’s school is closed. After checking online to be sure all of these options were open, I gave him some choices of things to do today (National Zoo, Reston Zoo, Air and Space Museum, National Building Museum, train bookstore). He asked a few questions and then decided on the National Building Museum.

A Bummer
Next, I call my friend Laura to see if Champe would be interested in joining too. So, Zander and I go to pick up Champe and Tine (the Mitchell's Au Pair) and head down to the museum. I’m using our new GPS thingamabob mentioned in this post and I am still making wrong turns. Regardless, after what seemed like a long ride, we arrive at our destination and get a parking spot right in front of the building. We head in, go over to the “Building Zone” for kids and there is a sign saying the room has reached it’s capacity and we needed to wait on line. Fine. But, there were two guys standing at the entrance who said it’s actually closed for renovation so they can build a new playhut and it would be open at 12:00pm. Fine. I tell Tine and the boys and then the guy corrects me – apparently I misheard and it will be open again on the 12th of October. Bummer. I bitch and moan about that information not being on the website and the young guy is somewhat apologetic but not really. Here’s how it goes from there:

Me: “Who can I complain to?” [Tine occupies the boys with toys from the diaper bag in the big room and they are fine.]

Guy: “I guess someone at the Information Desk.” [I walk over the information desk.]

Me: "It’s really a bummer that we headed all the way here and the kid’s room is closed."

Nice Information Desk Lady: "It’s closed???!! I’ve been sending people over there all morning!"[Nice Information Desk Lady walks over to confirm that it is, indeed, closed. She returns.]

Nice Information Desk Lady: "You’re right. It’s closed." [At this point, I notice a little sign on the information desk about being able to rent some kind of family activity kit.]

Me: "Where can I get the family activity kit?"

Nice Information Desk Lady: "Back at the entrance to the Building Zone."

‘I was Flustered’
At this point, I walk back over to the entrance of the Building Zone and ask about renting the kit, ready to push for a free one. But, then I think, hey, this is a museum and it's only $5.00. I do say to the guy, “Were you going to tell me about the activity kits?” He says, “I was flustered.” Now I just feel bad. But wait. It gets better.

They are out of kits for the younger crowd, so I leave with one for seven year olds and up, complete with a hammer, nails, safety goggles, measuring tape, compass, etc. I know that both boys have worked with hammers and nails at school, so I figure we’ll try it out.

The boys are busy with the kit so I take the opportunity to scout out options for the rest of the museum. I pass the museum store and was pulled in by a force greater than myself (probably the immensely powerful shopping gene that runs on the maternal side of my family). Anyway, I found something I thought would be a good toy for the boys to kill some time. I talk to the man who works there, telling him my sad story. He says, “The Building Zone is closed?” And then tells his associate that it is closed and not to send anyone else there. Sheesh. But, he’s a nice guy and also tells his associate to give me 20% off anything for my trouble.

Fast Food and the Football-Jersey-Stick-Up Thing
The boys play quite happily and then run around the huge hall having a blast. The Nice Information Desk Lady gave some suggestions for lunch places. We soon head out to one and cannot find the place she directed us to. After carrying two whining three year olds (okay, just Zander was whining), we cut our losses and go to Burger King. The boys both wanted kid’s meals with a cheeseburger, french fries, and chocolate milk. (Sorry Laura.) I notice there is a Little Tykes logo on the menu and it says that alternative toddler toys are available for the younger crowd. I request those since I didn’t think the boys would be that interested in the football- jersey-car-stick-up thing that comes with the regular kids I notice

I look in the bags and what’s there but a football-jersey-stick-up thing. I ask about the toddler toys and the manager looks at me and says, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” I point to the Little Tykes logo. “There! Up on your menu.” He disappears into the back and we all sit and have lunch. About half way through, he comes over with some type of mini plastic piƱata thing that has a flip book inside. Both boys promptly forget about their lunches and become engrossed with the toys. (Regardless, it was nice of him to dig something up for them. And, bonus, we left with both toys. Ha, ha, Burger King, we got two toys.

On the way home, the boys discover the second toy in their respective bags. Tine puts them together and both boys looooooove the silly football-jersey-stick-up thing. Who knew? We zip down I395 making good time (which is usually impossible) trying to get the boys home for their naps. Oops, traffic is crawling on I495 in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY ON A MONDAY. Finally, we drop Champe and Tine off and head home. Zander is asleep before we get to our exit. He wakes up as I carry him up to his room and has not been asleep a wink since.

I decide to check the National Building Museum website and there is, in fact, a message about the “Building Zone” being closed. I could insist that it wasn’t there this morning, but I’m just not sure about that. So, instead I will just say that it’s not prominent enough. It's all their fault, of course.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Dove Onslaught

There's lots of controversy over the Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" in general and there is sure to be more controversy over their new "Onslaught" video above. Either way, I think it is worth watching. The first installment of the campaign was a series of print ads with these women and then a video called Evolution made its way around the Internet.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


...I made a Freudian slip in that last post, pointed out by a loyal reader. (Thanks Laura.)

"Inertial fooDpod" should have been "inertial fooTpod." You got the point, right? What was my point there anyway?

For a second, I hoped that there WAS such a thing as an "inertial foodpod" and I could laugh it off with my usual, "I did that on purpose." But, no such luck. Seems I had something else on my mind.

One day I'll post about how, many years ago as editor of our synagogue's newsletter, my mom was supposed to have created a header with the words, "Contemporary Jewish Issues," but instead it read, "Contemporary Jewish Tissues." Typo or Freudian slip? You be the judge.

'Shout Out' #2: Run, Janet, Run!

My sister Janet is running in her 34th marathon this weekend. Yup, that says thirty-four. Her little 26.2 mile jog just happens to be The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. One of her long-time friends and running buddies, Michael, is joining in on the torture fun. And get this -- approximately 45,998 other nutjobs runners are doing the marathon with them! I'll get automatic electronic updates on her progress via the miracles of modern techonology inlcuding the intertial foodpod (chip) that they assign her.

In all seriousness, join me from afar in yelling, "RUN, JANET, RUN!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Our Child, The Greaser

For some reason, when Z's hair grows in the front, he tends to look like Squiggy from the TV show Laverne & Shirley. (I only remember the show from watching reruns after school, but even mentioning it dates me.) Regardless, I never liked Squiggy or his buddy Lenny. Not sure what that says about me, but there it is — out in the open for everyone to know — I didn't like Squiggy. So, you can imagine how it irks me when Zander's hair looks this way:

Can you see the Squiggy resemblance? I shouldn't complain because we've certainly come a long way from the few years when looking like Squiggy was the least of our hair-related problems:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Floridian, Fall, and the Milking of a Cow

Despite my heavy New York/New Jersey accent, I actually grew up in South Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale. (We moved from New Jersey when I was two.) And, while living in Florida was fun during the teen years, I never really understood the seasons until I came to D.C. for college. Even then, I was known to wear white shorts after Labor Day (gasp!) and go out without a coat in December.

Anyway, it's only been in the last year and a half or so that I even realized what a Fall Festival is (in addition to another a chance to let my child run around outside and tire himself out). Last year we went to the Pumpkin Playground in Burke five separate times. This past Saturday we trekked out to Cox Farms in Centreville, VA with Zander's friend Elizabeth and her mom. See short video clip below.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I doubt we'll have any dinner guests for awhile after this post

Brad is currently doing the Atkins diet. We did Atkins together before our wedding (October 12th -- hint, hint Brad) and it was successful for both of us. Granted, I also spent a ridiculous amount of money on a personal trainer three times a week, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, on this diet Brad loses ten pounds in a week (or at least it feels that way to me). He eats mounds of meat and cheese, has few negative side effects, and presto - he's lean again. Me, not so lucky with Atkins. I got soooooo tired from the lack of carbs that I was once caught found napping in the conference room/library of my office covered in company t-shirts. Really! So, I'm going the traditional, no taste lo-fat route and he's going the meat route.

In all seriousness, below are photos of what Brad grilled last night. And then he ate it ALL. I'm kidding, he didn't eat it all. But, give him three or four days. Anyway, if you get squeamish easily or are a vegetarian, you might not want to look.

Zander alternates between joining Brad and having zero-carb "spicy porkee rinds" (as Z calls them) and then asking for some of my 97% fat-free Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. Hey, a girl's gotta have some chocolate.