Wednesday, November 30, 2005

i endeavor to prevent you from making my mistakes

I am fairly low-maintenance in the hair care category. I wash it every other day, brush and go. Sometimes it doesn't even get brushed on the non-washing mornings, but it is so straight that as I've mentioned before, you can't really tell. I occasionally try to stretch the hair washing out to three days, but on those rare occasions when I wake up late or have an emergency, I tie it back and hope that folks confuse the greasy look for shine. Lots and lots of shine.

One morning in my third year of law school, I had one of those mornings when I somehow slept through the alarm and was caught with only 15 minutes until the start of class. I got dressed in record time, ran into the bathroom to pull my hair into the pony tail and upon looking in the mirror realized, nooooo, ohhh noooo, not even a pony tail will work today.

And then, I remember a trick I'd read about so many times in magazines. I'd just sprinkle some talcum powder into my hair, the powder would absorb the grease, thus leaving my hair looking clean although a bit dull, and I'd be on my merry way.

I sprang into action, pulled baby powder out of the linen closet, hung my head upside down over the tub, and began liberally shaking the powder over my scalp. Once I'd shaken enough out, I set down the bottle and ran my hands and a brush through the hair to shake out the excess. Surprisingly, though, not much excess seemed to be coming out.

I turned my hair right side up and looked in the mirror. White hair. I had a full head of white hair, with clumps of powder that had soaked up the natural oiliness and turned into crusted strands. I frantically shook it out again, running the brush through, rubbing it with a towel, and eyeing the clock nervously. This professor did not permit tardiness and would be more than happy to call me out if I snuck in past the start of class.

The crusted and clumpy white hairs remained. I had two choices, I could abandon my attempts to get to class and wash out the disaster on my head, or I could find a cover up. I pulled one of Josh's hats off from behind the door, tucked the mess under the hat and hoped that no one noticed that the pony tail poking out the back looked suspiciously gray in color. I also hoped that no professor demanded for me to take off the (not permitted) hat in class, or I would really look foolish.

Apparently when the magazines tell you to put talcum powder in your hair, they mean for you to rub a tiny amount between your fingers and run your fingers through your hair. Further explanation would have been nice, but at least now YOU know. I aim to please.

Monday, November 28, 2005

there was no work...

and it was sooooo good. These past four days of no work, no calls, no blackberry messages, no last minute assignments were exactly what I needed- a recharging of the spirit. I love my job, but lately I'd begun to feel that drain, that tiredness that doesn't let up even when you get out of work at a semi-reasonable time of night. Last weekend I realized that I needed more than one day off of work, I needed a good couple of days free of the computer and agreements and clients. Despite some false alarms on Wednesday night, I did get my few days away from work and I feel much better.

This year's Thanksgiving was a new experience for us. Josh's exam schedule and my crazy work schedule kept us from traveling to either Florida or California to visit family, so we decided to stick around the area and visit nearby friends. As Josh spoke to his classmates and found that many of them, particularly some of his foreign friends, had nowhere to go for the holiday, he began extending invitations for people to come to our house. We ended up hosting a whole contingent of students from all over the world- India, Mexico, Columbia and Argentina.

Frankly, last week I was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. Not only did I have to prepare a whole Thanksgiving dinner, I had to prepare it without my mother-in-law hovering over me giving advice. Plus, as international students, they were wholly unfamiliar with the whole Thanksgiving thing. They had to pick their eyes up off of the floor when I told them we were eating at 4pm. "Four?" Asked one incredulously, "I take my afternoon tea at four!" So I told them not to eat for the whole day in preparation of their Thanksgiving feast.

My fears were for naught, because the dinner went off without a hitch and they were suitably impressed with Thanksgiving and all its spoils. We played Pictionary afterwards, followed by an unsatisfactory game of Scene It. Turns out that foreigners don't do well with games about U.S. movies- go figure.

Friday was spent shopping shopping shopping, Saturday was spent cleaning the house and saying goodbye to a friend moving abroad, and Sunday was spent vegetating around the house and admiring our new television. Her name is Wanda. And I organized my cds, because that could be done in front of Wanda.

Oh, and I put white lights around our railings on the front stoop. Given our half-Jewish family, we don't do much in the way of Christmas decorations, but the husband consented to some decorative white lights, and so I put them up, cursing all the time at the freezing weather and tangled bulbs. We're festive though!

Now I am back at work, ready to take on all client requests and deadlines. I probably have another 25 days in me, then I'll need another mini-vacation.

Hope your weekends were fabulous and restful as well!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

thanksgiving blessings

Frankie wrote the sweetest post about some of her Thanksgiving blessings, namely her two gorgeous kittens. They are DARLING and her pictures melt my heart, and I'm not even typically a cat person! These two are just too cute, though.

I'm sure you've realized, however, that I am a head over heels dog person. And I am particularly head over heels for my two munchkins. As I was reading Frankie's post, I realized that Murray was also a Thanksgiving blessing for our little family. He arrived with Josh after an 11 hour drive, each way, from New York City to Coolville, Ohio.

Murray also arrived after an unfortunate series of events that had left me soured on having a second dog. You see, on the recommendation of doggy friends of ours, we visited a breeder in New Jersey to purchase a puppy. Our initial plan was to visit her house, see the facilities, determine whether we liked her and her puppies and then possibly bring one home. Anyone that has ever attempted to look at puppies without buying one knows that it is fairly impossible to look at squirming balls of fur and not sneak one home with you. We were hooked, and that night we came home with Samba, our little black Brussels Griffon. Samba and Tango, don't you love it?

Something was just not quite right with Samba, though. We'd gone through puppy rearing with Tango, so I was prepared for sleepless nights and potty accidents, but Samba was strange, almost out of control. After a visit to the veterinarian, we discovered that she had worms, as well as a rash on her belly that the vet thought was ringworm. The vet also thought she just didn't look good on the whole for a 13 week old puppy. She advised me to call the breeder and ask some more questions about the other puppies.

In the meantime, Samba was a terror. She bit constantly, ignored my cries of no when she did something, attacked Tango nonstop, and Tango DETESTED her. Hate is a strong word, but he really seemed to hate her. 6 days after we'd brought her home, the breeder called us in tears. Samba's sister had dropped dead from a seizure just days after her new family had brought her home. She advised us to take her back to the vet for testing, and a call to the vet confirmed my worst suspicions... We needed to give her back to the breeder or risk her dying from some unknown problem.

I cried for two days at the idea of letting go of the sweet pup, and I cried at the thought that I'd somehow exposed Tango to some mysterious illness that could kill him. At the end of that weekend, Josh drove her back so that the breeder could do the necessary tests and decide whether she would ever go to live with a family again. And I swore off of getting a second pup. In the end, I'd wanted company for Tango, but not at the risk of ruining the wonderful situation we had then.

Josh encouraged me to call more breeders, particularly those I'd seen on the televised dog shows, and when I did, they told me of terrible stories related to Samba's breeder. She was known amongst more reputable breeders as careless and dangerous with her dogs. He encouraged me not to let this one bad instance keep me from getting another dog, and after a slight pause, told me that he might have the dog for me.

A couple of phone calls later, and I was speaking to a wonderfully sweet woman who had 3 puppies. 2 that were going to the breeder I'd called earlier, and one male puppy that she called Long-Tail. Long-Tail had been born tiny, and they'd hesitated to crop his tail because they didn't want to cause him trauma. She'd planned on keeping him because he was such a sweetheart, but after hearing my story, she offered him to us. She didn't have a digital camera, but she promised "I ain't lying, he's real cute."

That is how, sight unseen, Josh drove 11 hours, in each direction, to pick up little Murray from Coolville, Ohio. I refused to go, because I couldn't bear seeing another puppy and having to walk away. I made Josh swear that if there was ANYTHING wrong with Long-Tail, he'd turn around and come home. Murray was perfectly adorable, though, and when Josh made it home after the long drive, this is the little monster I met:

Could you die from the cuteness?

Murray and Tango loved each other, and Murray became Tango's little shadow.

If Tango played, Murray played the same way.

If Tango slept, Murray slept curled against him.

And we were in love. With Murray, and his long tail!

Murray may be one of the sweetest dogs that has ever lived. He is a ball of pure, unadulterated love. He follows us around the house and a simple look is enough to send his whole back end wagging around. If you get close enough, he will kiss you ecstatically. He waits patiently outside of our shower for the opportunity to lick our toes. If you hand him a treat, he won't pause to sniff it, but snorts enthusiastically as he gobbles it gently from your fingers. He is my little "pochito morfoni," a chubby little Argentine cartoon character that loves to eat.

And most importantly, Murray has taught us an important lesson in life. You should love your friends and family with all your heart. You should be happy in everything that you do. And never forget to stop and smell the flowers.

I hope all your Thanksgiving blessings bring you this much joy!

Monday, November 21, 2005

random observations

I've been having chills all day and just realized that maybe it is the flu shot I got this afternoon. Now I remember why I usually opt not to get it.

I think that everyone who rides the subway and walks along public streets should be required to attend a class on personal space. It is not okay for you to rub up against me as we are walking by each other.

Knowing that there is a package waiting for you at the post office that you are unable to pick up may be one of the worst forms of torture.

I forgot to send our families their Thanksgiving cards. Drat!!!

The husband's last final to his last class of his first semester of business school is tomorrow! That means 6 weeks of no classes! 6 weeks of him arriving home at a decent hour! 6 weeks of chores I can make him do!

I'm sleepy and I still have hours of work to do. Sigh.

Friday, November 18, 2005

flaming show and tell

Blackbird's request this week: show her the color red.

Finding something red was easy. Red is my favorite color. Red is my accent color for everything.

My first choice when picking a purse, an item of clothing, shoes!

The color I use to punch up an otherwise boring room!

Red makes you hungry, did you know that? Hence, my red dining room. I like to put cranberries into vases and then a candle in the middle. Fancy!

My new down throw that keeps me toasty warm in a chilly room? Red! The pups like it too.

I didn't use any red in my wedding, so I had to throw some red into a wedding frame. That's us!

And my favorite red item of all? My RED HOT husband (in a red shirt!).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

goodbye salad

When we lived in NYC, my coworkers often liked to pick up lunch from Cosi. I'd tag along, but unhappily. Nothing ever struck my fancy and I think the food was rather, ohhh, meh.

In the last couple of weeks, however, I have discovered the Signature Salad. Lordy, is that sucker good. I joked yesterday that it was almost like they threw some crack in the salad dressing because it was delectable.

Well, today my salad didn't taste right because they put in the wrong type of lettuce, so I popped over to the Cosi website to make sure I wasn't crazy. Much to my chagrin, I clicked on the nutritional information page, and thus ended my love affair with the Signature Salad.

SALAD NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION**Note: Salad nutritional info DOES NOT include dressing**

Serving Size(oz) = 1 portion 10
Calories 375
Fat Grams(g) 21
Carbs(g) 40
Protein(g) 15
Cholesterol(mg) 38
Sodium(mg) 629
Fiber(g) 7

Please note that as mentioned above, this infernal mess does NOT include the salad dressing. Let's take a gander over to the dressings, shall we?

Roasted Shallot Sherry Vinaigrette (aka Signature Salad dressing)

Serving Size(oz) = 1 portion 2oz
Calories 308
Fat Grams(g) 31
Carbs(g) 8
Protein(g) 0
Cholesterol(mg) 0
Sodium(mg) 120
Fiber(g) 0

The basic fact of the matter is that I expect that when I eat a @#&^%# SALAD, I will not be ingesting 683 calories, 52 grams of fat and 749 mg of Sodium. I'm sorry, but for that, I will just have a pumpkin pie for lunch and wash it down with some eggnog.

I'm so sad, though. 'Tis very disappointing, the crack in the dressing was really tasty.

Thanks for your kind comments to my post below, I actually have a reason for posting it which I will share in a bit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Growing up, I was a pretty good kid most of the time. Very mischievous and high energy, but not disobedient or unpleasant. Or so my parents tell me. My mom says that I was the best kid ever; my dad says "dear God, you NEVER STOPPED." So there you go, Halloweenlover as a child- sweet and hyper. Hmm, perhaps Halloweenlover as an adult too.

Anyway, my parents were also incredibly over-protective. INCREDIBLY over-protective. I wasn't allowed to walk downstairs in our apartment building by myself, I couldn't walk to the corner, my mom used to wait outside church dances to make sure I didn't leave the gym for one second. If I did, she'd later ask me why I'd gone outside when she'd forbidden me from doing so. For a long time, I was sure she had spies watching me at all times.

In high school, as one might imagine, I wasn't so keen on all of these restrictions. My friends went out with boys freely, went to parties without checking with their parents, but my restrictions were clear... No boys' houses, no going anywhere without my parents knowing where I was, no staying out too late and my parents insisted on speaking to the other parent if I was spending the night (the horror!!!). We struck a good balance when my parents gave me a cell phone for Christmas (the first of all my friends, which must have been a crazy luxury for them) and I told them where I was, with whom and for how long at all times. It worked.

I could attend parties as long as I said where they were, and sometimes I was permitted to go even if parents wouldn't be there. Given my new freedom, I rarely rebelled. I got home at the correct times, although I sometimes sped like a banshee to make it, and I never drank or smoked or experimented with drugs although they were in abundance at the parties we attended. Looking back, I wonder if private schools don't breed more drug and alcohol use, given the fact that those students often have greater access to the funds used to purchase such items.

There are only two times that stick out in my mind as my having clearly broken the rules put in place by my parents, and both times (lucky for all of us), I ended up regretting it despite never being caught.

My parents were certainly stricter than other parents, so I was often left out of late night shenanigans. Nothing too serious, just sitting by the pool into the wee hours of the morning, or staying at parties until the neighbors (or police) shut them down. Of course, I, like so many other teenage girls, had one unrequited love interest throughout high school. His name was Rob, he attended the all-boys school partnered with my all-girls school and he was oh-so-cute. During my junior year, following a particularly traumatic "breakup" with a boyfriend that had gone away to college, we became friends. Despite my best efforts to compete with girls around me, I wasn't really great high school girlfriend material. I wouldn't break the rules my parents put in place, I was really quite innocent on all matters, ahem, sexual, and I wouldn't drink or do drugs. I know that he liked me, but in comparison to far more available and willing girls, I must have been boring.

So the day that Rob asked me at the football game if I would go camping the next weekend with all of our friends, I couldn't bring myself to say no. "Camping," and you'll soon see why it is quote worthy, meant driving out to a public park in the city that was most certainly not intended for camping, sneaking in despite signs to the contrary, picking a deserted path, building a campfire, and "sleeping" in sleeping bags all piled around the campfire after drinking copious amounts. This Halloweenlover would NEVER go "camping" like that, but he asked, so I had to go.

I told my mom that I'd be sleeping at a friend's house, and to prevent the obvious questions about dirt on my sleeping bag or on my shoes, I told her we'd be camping in the backyard. She agreed, and off I was on my merry way.

It was exciting, don't get me wrong, and Rob did pay attention to me most of the night, but I was unbearably nervous of getting caught, getting mugged or attacked, or getting arrested. I couldn't relax all night, and I suspect he was rather disappointed at my unwillingness to "sleep" around the campfire. I eventually convinced a friend to leave with me when I finally decided my nerves couldn't take anymore. I told my mom about our little camping trip years later, and although she likely wanted to throttle me, she laughed instead.

In my second dalliance with rule-breaking, a friend of Rob's, let's call him Ethan, had begun actively seeking me out. He'd asked for my phone number and we'd gone out to the movies and met at parties and school functions. His interest in me seemed to annoy Rob, and so in my first move toward playing the Game, I feigned interest back. It wasn't all that difficult, to be honest. He was cute, funny, interesting and well-known as an accomplished soccer player at the all-boys school. Rob made his displeasure known to me, but I later realized that it had less to do with jealousy and more to do with real concern for me.

Ethan, I guess, was one of those supposed "bad boys" that manipulates girls with great pleasure. I didn't know it at the time, but he had a reputation for flirting endlessly only to drop a girl with great public fanfare.

Unluckily for me, Ethan behaved perfectly for the first couple of months that we dated. He called on schedule, he took me out, and he was sweet as pie. He finally convinced me to attend a party at his house while his parents were out of town. Ethan lived in a town far away from the city, in the mountains on the way to Lake Tahoe. I'd never have been allowed to drive that far, particularly to a parent-less party. My girlfriends and I loaded up a few cars, and traveled to Ethan's remote town. I was staying at a friend's house so we had no curfew and no one knew where we were.

As the hours of stupid teenage antics stretched by, Ethan asked me if I'd like a tour of the house, wink wink, and I stupidly agreed. When we got to his room, he implored me to come inside and see his bedroom. Then to sit on his bed. Then to lie down. And then he got pushy. And mean. God, my heart is pounding as I write this. Somehow, it was only then that I realized I might be in trouble. And I got scared. The music was blaring in the downstairs rooms, I hadn't told anyone where we were going. And he was being forceful despite my moves to leave the room. It felt like an eternity of him pushing me down and trying to grope me while I became increasingly upset. I still can't understand how a boy so young could have such malice in him. I began to cry and fight against his efforts and scream out when I could. And for some reason, he just stopped. He stopped while flinging insults and barbs and names, but he allowed me to flee the room, where I found an empty house and friends that had left without me. Luckily, I'd been one of the drivers and no one had taken my car so I grabbed my coat and keys and ran out of the house.

I cried during the long drive home for reasons that I couldn't yet quantify, but later I knew how close I'd come to having my life changed. And although certainly I suffered no great harm, per se. I left without anything truly awful happening; I think that night left me with serious distrust of men and a good deal of paranoia.

When I finally went away to college, I was never one of those girls who would comfortably go to boys' rooms or attend parties with abandon. I always worried for myself and for my girlfriends because I knew what could happen in a minute, even with someone you thought you knew.

And Rob? I did tell him what happened and he apologized for not warning me. We ended up being good friends that flirted quite a bit but nothing more. He went to my senior prom with me, we chatted on the phone quite often, we hung out regularly at his house and out at parties. But alas, never became love interests although I have no real reasons why.

I didn't tell anyone else what happened that night, not my parents and not my friends. I think I was ashamed of my stupidity, and of course, I worried that somehow it was my fault. I'd driven out to his house, I'd gone on the tour, I'd led him on. It wasn't until college that I put into words my fear and the lesson I'd learned. Now I'll tell anyone, and I'll certainly tell my future children and their friends. I was lucky, and I know how very many people aren't.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

more sanity savers (I hope)

Such excellent organizational solutions, my friends! Thank you!

Based on your suggestions, I have decided that several things are in order:

1. Some books about organization- here is what I've ordered.

Organizing Plain & Simple: A Ready Reference Guide with Hundreds of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges, by Donna Smallin

According to our reviewers, this book gives concrete solutions that are easy to implement. We like easy in the Halloweenlover household.

Next, we have The Home Organizing Workbook: Clearing Your Clutter, Step by Step, by Meryl Starr.

My favorite part of this book is that it is spiral bound, and has different sections for different rooms in the house. Need to tackle the bedroom? Turn straight to the chapter on bedrooms. I enjoy this kind of clarity and the ability for the book to stay open to my page when I set it down. We'll see whether this provides adequate motivation for my clutter issues.

Lastly, we have The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your life, by Kathy Waddill. This book simply proves what I have been trying to tell you all along, I overdo it with the reading and preparedness.

I originally hoped to evaluate why I have organizational problems in the first place by examining the ways I deal with stress and life changes. Instead, I suspect that by the time I finish the above two books, I'll be annoyed at all the book reading and be ready to get on to the organizing. But I'm crazy, so I had to get it.

More things I need...

2. Baskets because all of you keep speaking about junk mail here, shredding there, social invitations over there, and we have no baskets where we can place such items although we do indeed receive occasional social invitations, like the bar mitzvah I haven't responded to and is likely in a pile under the catalogs on the floor by the couch. Sigh.

3. Either 3 or 5 categories for the mail that we divide upon entry into the house (I like the idea of sorting the mail once and only once). Which is better though, the 3 categories or the 5 categories? If I do 5, does this mean I need 5 baskets? Because my house is quite small, where would my baskets go?

4. Plan of action with the husband. I suspect this part shall have to wait because he has final exams this week and next. Then he has a month off, and you bet your bottom dollar that I shall be instituting a list of chores for him to accomplish over that month. Stay tuned for whether he does any of them or am I reduced to a pile of blubbering mush.

Keep the suggestions coming if you have additional brilliant ideas! I love it! In the meantime, I shall be awaiting my delivery of my organizational books and trying to get a plan in place that will salvage my sanity. We'll see if it works.

Monday, November 14, 2005

back to the spilling

I have no advice yet about the Tide Pen, because as luck would have it, I haven't spilled anything yet since my previous post. Murphy's law, of course.

In related news, however, my parents read my post about constantly spilling stuff on myself and my mom called to let me know that she and my father had a good chuckle about it. She said that when I was little, they used to joke behind my back that I had "Season Tickets to the Spilling Party". In Spanish, of course.

Isn't that sweet? My issues are starting to make so much sense...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

organize away!

Ok, so when I said I had a problem with spilling, I failed to admit that I have more than just the one problem. I also have major organizational problems (among other things). Recently, the organizational situation has gotten worse.

For the past year, I've chosen to believe that my organizational dilemmas stem from major changes in my (and Josh's) lives, such as moving to Boston, living out of a suitcase for 4 months until we closed on our house, purchasing a new home, changing jobs, Josh quitting his job and starting school, increased workload, and a myriad of insignificant changes that add up over time.

I have hit a few low spots of feeling totally and utterly overwhelmed, particularly when Josh left for Costa Rica. It seems to be the little things that set me off, like a messy closet or a pile of bills. I used to be fine with massive amounts of disorganization, but that was when I was studying, and somehow, school seemed so much more manageable than work.

As I've realized what makes me feel better, I've tackled the little things before they upset me. For months the linen closet made me crazy. I was in it several times a day, pulling out towels or sheets or Advil or tampons. Each and every time, I'd cringe at the mess. Every time Josh needed something I'd have to come upstairs with him to hunt through the baskets because nothing was orderly or made sense. I finally took one evening and dumped everything out on our bed, catalogued it, and took a trip to the Container Store. Geez, I love that place. Walking in gets me excited these days. This is what resulted:

Oh, the pure unadulterated joy when I open the linen closet now... the satisfaction I feel when I can yell up to Josh precisely what (labeled) box he should look in to find his desired item. I'm telling you, I'm euphoric. My disorganized ways are over. I am a believer.

But, the problem is that the linen closet was an enclosed place. I had all the items right there in front of me. I knew I had hair products and over the counter medicines, and contact solution and deodorant- I just needed the boxes and the labels.

What about the rest of my house? I am at a loss! We have a few problems areas that need desperate attention, and I am in desperate need of suggestions.

1. Our entryway- we have a tiny entryway where we throw our shoes into a little ugly plastic tray and (hopefully) put our coat and gloves and scarves into the closet. Is there another solution? In a snowy climate, is there any way to not have to stick your wet shoes into your closet but not have them hanging out in the entryway? For a while, we put our wet shoes into the basement, but they ended up rotting and moldy. No more of that. Ick.

2. Our mail, especially the bills- our office is just across the living room, but somehow the mail ends up scattered on the floor, or on the dining room table, or in one basket that sits in the living room, and hence, bills are unpaid, rsvp cards are unanswered, junk mail piles up. Does anyone have a solution that works?

3. Food storage- does everyone have enough room for their food in their kitchen? We don't have a pantry so we end up with food overflowing onto the counters or I try to devise storage solutions where there are none. Right now we have food in the garage, but someday the spiders are going to notice it's there and then BLECH.

4. Random items- our bedrooms are upstairs but the living areas are downstairs, and inevitably we have books, clothing, etc. in the living room and dining room. How do you get everything upstairs?

5. And most importantly, what about the division of labor? I feel it is unfair for me to have to do all the grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking (although rare), organizing while I also work a full-time (and a half) job. What does everyone else do? Should I make lists for Josh? I've tried that, but I never know what to put on the list! I need some kind of system of weekly tasks. Do you have suggestions?

I'd even take suggestions for books or magazines or websites that are helpful to you. Anything would be welcome!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

now you can all come visit

Now that I've discovered your secret decorating talents, I refuse to let you get away.

I need more help, of course, and although I have MANY rooms to pester you about, I'll start with the guest room. Just think, the sooner my guest room is completed, the sooner you can all come visit. Winter is a lovely time in Boston, don't you think?

Here is the room we started with, in the previous homeowners' pictures:

First things first, we tore up all the carpet in the house. I wish I had more pictures to show you, but the carpet in this room was a sort of pukey greenish color.

Removing carpet isn't as difficult as one might think, we just pulled the carpet up and with this special staple removing tool called a wonderbar, Josh was able to crawl around the room pulling up the tacking strips. His hand was swollen and sore the next day, but I think that was because he did the WHOLE HOUSE in one day. One room would be fine.

This room had the most possibilities for colors and decoration, so I decided to go a little nutty. After exploring the spectrum of paint colors, I decided to paint the room in the green family. I brought home loads of paint samples because did you know that there are thousands of green possibilities? I ended up discovering that most of them were hideous, and on the advice of the paint guy at the store, I tried a green that I was convinced was far too light and far too tan. He was totally right, though- Benjamin Moore's Soft Fern is a terrific tannish pale green color that seems to change depending on the light.

After a lengthy search for fabric for curtains, a discovery by my MIL of a store in the Berkshires led me to Country Curtains where I finally found a match. Josh's parents bought us a fabulously beautiful bed frame, all our furniture is moved in and rearranged, and we are finally in business (just a year later).

Here is the current state of the room:

See how my curtains match my walls and match my bedspread with a matching bed skirt! I love it!

And if you come visit, we even have little bed lamps by which you can read a book. It's practically like a bed and breakfast!

There's even a guest book you can sign, see it on the right?

Isn't the bed frame pretty? There are glass knobs on every post! Our parents spoil us so...

Ignore the paint cans and drop cloth under the dresser, please, I was trying to hide them from the camera with little success.

But now I need your help, you see. Look at all the blank wall space! Except for our diplomas, there is no artwork! No style! I need assistance!

I bought a large canvas that I plan on covering with matching fabric and criss-crossing ribbons over it, to make one of those fancy shmancy picture boards, per Momtothelady's suggestion. But what else? Should I get a mirror? Pictures? Vases that hang from hooks on the wall?

HELP Internet Decorators!!!

Tomorrow: the Internet solves my organization dilemmas...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I never said I was perfect

I've spoken to you in the past about my problems with spilling items on myself...

It is a SERIOUS problem. I have to work, in a real office, with actual people around, and somehow I am incapable of getting food from a container to my mouth without spilling on myself. If I don't spend the latter half of the day with food splotches on my top and pants, then I spent the latter half of the day with discolored stains from Shout Wipes. Or discolored stains and a huge wet spot across my boobs because then I always try to rinse out part of the discolored stain in the hopes that you'll see it less. The Shout Wipes ALWAYS leave discolored stains, but yet I continue to use them.

This week I've updated my stain arsenal to see if this helps.

I'll give you a review as soon as I spill something on myself, probably in the next 10 minutes.

Honestly, though, I think I may be food and liquid cursed. For example, two days ago while walking with favorite Googly Eyes colleague, my Starbucks Maple Latte exploded out of the tiny hole in the top and all over my pale pink sweater set. Two items, off to the dry cleaner with big discolored stains from trying to remove coffee with the wipes.

Yesterday's lunch training? The piece of lettuce from my salad FLEW off my fork and landed in my lap.

Today? Walking to work, pulled my breakfast banana out of my purse, peeled just the top few inches, turned to see the new display in Boston's Downtown Crossing.

Hey! It's Christmas already!!!

Hey! Where'd the top of my banana go? Oh. Broke off and tumbled down the front of my pants.

Did you know that bananas leave an unsightly trail of spludge when they slide down your pants that is remarkably impervious to water, paper towels and Shout Wipes? Did you???

The one shining spot in my day? My Halloween flowers died a pitiful death over the weekend and the florist offered to replace them. Ta da!

They still aren't orange and black, but they'll do.

Friday, November 04, 2005

show and tell

Blackbird's show and tell this week is addiction.

I've discussed my addiction in the past, but here it is again in all its glory...

I LURVE Dunkin' Donuts iced coffees- extra extra milk and three splenda. Yummm. I have to control myself to not want to go down and get another later in the day. I often use them as a motivation to get up. The thought of drinking my iced coffee cheers me up every morning.

Now that I think about it, perhaps that really does count as an obsession.

Truthfully, though, my real Addiction (with a capital A) is this:

I love the little buggers, all three of them, and I can't live without 'em.

back to hilarity

I love that I will now be able to tune into to keep Tango and Murray company while they are home alone.

It is a message that many of her listeners need to hear. Ms. Harris is a D.J. on, a new Internet radio station for pets. Now dogs, cats, hamsters and parrots can keep the anxiety, the loneliness, the restlessness at bay while their owners are out. It is radio just for them, live 17 hours a day, 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time, and podcast for the rest of the 24 hours.

This is not at all crazy. Noooooo, not at all.

And in case you were concerned that since I work such long hours, perhaps Tango and Murray aren't keeping up their Spanish skills... fear not.

Since many pets are apparently bilingual, DogCatRadio also has a "Spanish Hour," 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time daily, with Hispanic commentary and music, like Luis Miguel's "No Se Tu": was started last June by Adrian Martinez, who is also president of Marusa records, an independent record label in Los Angeles. He runs the station out of a customized RV parked in his office lot in the Eagle Rock section of Los Angeles.

I know I will rest easier at night and be able to work more effectively for my employer knowing that the pups will be entertained.

Chew on.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

in which I risk you thinking I am a lunatic

One of the things I missed this Halloween was snuggling under a blanket with the scent and sounds of a crackling fire, watching old horror movie classics with the curtains drawn just in case someone might be outside watching me. I love the Shining and the Exorcist, or Friday the 13th and Halloween. Those movies don't scare me, because I find them fairly unbelievable. What does scare me, however, are movies or stories about ghosts or spirits. I used to have nightmares about Poltergeist and Pet Sematary (Cemetery). I've always maintained that I am UNINTERESTED in connecting with the "other side." I am fine in my little world of disbelief.

In my 101 things, though, I told you that I believe I once saw a ghost. And I do. I'll share my story with you, as long as we all agree that I am not crazy and didn't lose my mind for this one night.

As I've mentioned before, my little immediate family was the only family living in the United States, so we traveled pretty regularly to Argentina. My mother's mother, my Nonna, was the only person that came to visit us religiously. She lived with us from my birth until I was 9 months old, and then returned yearly, often staying for months at a time. In high school, as her health was deteriorating, she came to live with use in California. As you can imagine, she drove me nuts.

My Nonna loved me to death, but she was soooo nosy! She would ask where I was going, who I was seeing, what I was doing, and whatever my response, she had a story at the ready that didn't relate IN THE LEAST, but she'd find a connection somewhere.

Nonna was tough. She'd divorced my mother's father when my mother was 2, because she realized he was abusive. She raised my mother on her own, sewing clothing for a living and scraping together enough to give my mom anything she needed. When I met Josh, she told me that she was happy he was Jewish, because in the early years after her divorce, only the Jews would give her work because she'd violated her fellow Catholics' religious laws.

She was fabulous.

At the end of my first year of law school, Nonna decided she wanted to return to Argentina to visit friends and family, so my dad accompanied her for a short trip. He chastised her to never leave the house by herself and insisted he was happy to take her everywhere and anywhere, she just had to ask. But Nonna was stubborn. One day, when my dad went out, she decided to take a walk on her own. Although she had a friend with her, she fell in the hallway and shattered her leg. After being rushed to the hospital and undergoing surgery, the reality of the situation settled in. With a break like this one, she couldn't return easily to the United States and would have to be admitted to a nursing home, at least temporarily, until she had healed. In Nonna's mind, this was a death sentence.

She stopped eating and began saying that she was ready to die. At first, my mom and dad laughed it off and told her to stop being silly, it was just a broken leg. But within a few days, she stopped communicating and her health began to deteriorate. I booked a trip to Argentina for the next week, confident that seeing me would cheer her up. On the Sunday before my trip, my dad called my mom and told her that he thought my Nonna really was ready to die. That the doctors had told him that for no apparent or practical reason, her body was shutting down.

That evening, my dad put the phone to Nonna's ear and my mom told her that if she was ready to go, my mom would be okay. Nonna died that night, 4 days before I would have arrived in Buenos Aires.

I don't know the words to tell you how sad we were. My mom was distraught, I think I was in denial. Sometimes I would sit on the phone and my mom would cry and ask me over and over again how you die of a broken leg? It was terrible.

It wasn't until a few months later that I realized how far I was from believing she'd really passed away. I didn't see her every day since I was in Boston and she was at home in California, so it wasn't unusual to go long periods of time without seeing her. One night, though, I was sitting alone in Josh's apartment where I'd been staying while I summered at a Boston law firm. He was traveling to one of his exotic Midwest locations on a consulting project.

I'd been watching reruns of Sex and the City, and in one of these episodes, Miranda's mother dies. In one scene, Miranda cries in a dressing room as she realizes that she will never fight with her mother again. And then it hit me.

I'd never roll my eyes through another one of her stories, never hear her broken English ask me silly questions, never get to show her my new engagement ring. I'd never hug her, kiss her, fight with her again. So I cried. I cried more that night than I had when she'd first passed away and when I finally went to bed, my last thoughts before sleep were that I could not believe it possible for me to live another 70 years on this earth without seeing my Nonna again. It just didn't seem possible.

The next thing I remember is feeling a hand brushing against my cheek and sliding down my chin. I opened my eyes to a pitch black room, but above the bed in front of me was a shape. Not necessarily the shape of a person, but almost a cloud of shimmering sparkling light. The only way I can describe it is to say that it looked like oil and water when it separates, but the little particles of oil were lit up with this bright light. I gasped, and then it was gone. My heart was pounding as I fumbled for the lights and climbed out of bed. I dialed Josh's cell number with shaking hands and barely started to speak before the sobs began. I had only gotten a couple of sentences out when I remembered what my final thoughts of the night had been. I hung up quickly with Josh and called my mom. It took only a couple of words out of my mouth before we were both crying.

I slept with the lights on for the rest of that night, although given my tearful reaction I didn't think it would ever happen again.

Of course, there is always the possibility that I dreamed it, but I believe I was wide awake. I felt the weight of the hand against my face for hours after it happened- almost a tingling sensation. I don't know what it means, either, but I can tell you that it was beautiful and it made me believe that whatever comes after death, it cannot be bad because that shape and the lights were far from bad.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

happy day after halloween!

You all are the sweetest!

My dad is doing quite a bit better, and I thank you for your thoughts and prayers and good wishes. Lest I get sued for libel or slander, I will tell you that his employer is a car manufacturer who makes jeeps and whose name would fall into "get the hell out of _____." I'm not sure that our boycotting them would do much good, since they seem to be having financial troubles anyway. He is back in California, though, and happy to be with my mom again, who he hadn't seen in over a month and a half. He has been to speak with his former employer and we'll have to see what their response is. In the meantime, he'll be starting the job hunt elsewhere.

As for my favorite day of the year, I am sad to report that I didn't get out of work until 9pm, so I missed all the kiddies and costumes and scary movies. I generally don't mind working late, but last night I was bitter that I missed all the fun. I've decided that next year I am taking the day off or insisting on working from home. Halloween only comes around once a year, ya know?

It was SO sweet of all of you to think of me on Halloween! I loved all your comments!! I have to admit that it made me chuckle that you remembered me yesterday! Apparently the husband did also, because yesterday afternoon I received these at the office...

See? This is why I keep him around! Halloween flowers!

Thanks also for the compliments on the pumpkins! I've had lots of practice over the years, as you can imagine. I'll have to upload the picture from the year I carved a pumpkin to look like Tango. It was a hoot.

Tonight I'll need to start (sadly) taking down all of my spooky decorations, and then I'll start preparing for Halloween next year. Just kidding. I'll wait until January, at least, to do that ; )