Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thoughts in my head...

My husband forgot his cell phone at home today.

He’s been calling his cellphone every hour to check his messages.

You’d think I’d be suspicious, thinking he’s checking for some hot tottie’s message. However, I know he’s checking his voice mail because he’s hoping to receive a call that his Xbox 360 came in.

I don’t need a kid when I have my husband.

Added note: My husband has asked me to ask you to contact me if you have any inside skinny on stores that have shipments coming in. If you know any news, please drop me an email. You might get a meal out it!

You mean I have to put this stuff away too?

Christmas every year is a whirlwind of activity from Thanksgiving (sometimes Halloween) through December 26th. My free time during this period is spent running around like a mad woman baking, planning, decorating, shopping, wrapping, mailing and budgeting.

Hence, I get the Christmas blues after the big day. Most people get a sense of relief. For me, I get a sense of relief and then despair. My blues come from the fact that I have to put everything away. The china needs to be stored in twenty feet of bubble wrap. The ornaments need to be cradled in their egg containers. The tree needs to be recycled.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not want to keep this stuff out all year. I just don’t want to think about taking the bloody things down.

One year, Lrudlrick suggested we just chuck the tree, lights and all, out our 6th floor window. You laugh but he was serious. He’s my little Oscar Madison. He calculated that it would land within 5 feet from the curb where recyclables are picked up. The idea of shards of glass or even broken branches hitting our neighbor’s window convinced him that it may be a bad idea.

We generally put away our Christmas decorations around January 7th. I have one week to psyche myself out.

Oh, just to let you know, I definitely recommend ordering a fresh tree. This is the first year, that I have not seen accumulations of pine needles on my rug. If you tug a branch now, the needles still stay in place and it still smells of pine.

Now that Christmas and after-Christmas shopping have passed, I’m ready to move on to New Years. We’re fuddy-duddy types and spend most of our New Years indoors. Sure, we could go out to Times Square or a black tie shindig but there is something about ringing in the New Years in your pjs and take out Chinese.

I just realized something, out of all the holidays, my mother actually used to go out for New Years. I guess that’s why I prefer to stay in. My mother and I are really polar opposites. No wonder we disagreed so much.

The other reason we don’t really go out is because we’re techno junkies and the last day of the calendar year is the best time to find deals. We spend our mornings and afternoons scouring the electronic stores for goodies.

We head home exhausted and sometimes happy at our finds. We flop into our pjs, play with our toys, order Chinese and watch Dick Clark. At midnight, we champagne toast, kiss and hug our dogs. Then we spend the next hour calling all our relatives and friends. The calls are usually short, sweet and consist of a lot of shouting.

pg: Happy New Year!
pg: Pantrygirl. Your daughter.
pg: Your daughter!
pg: We just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year!
pg: I’m about to.
Mom: WHAT?

The next day we eat like medieval warriors back from a crusade and watch The Honeymooners marathon.

See, I told you. We’re fuddy-duddies. At least my feet don’t swell in my fuzzy slippers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"Gonzo is so dumb - I told him there was a water shortage and he suggested we dilute it! Ahhhhh!" -- Fozzie Bear

P-man annoyed we awoke him to take a picture

Just when I think being a mother to someone would be nice something comes along that changes my view.

My SIL has hit that wonderful pre-hormone stage called pre-teen angst. Add to this a heaping helping of "I'm the only child and you will pay attention to me" and we had a blow up that lead for a scene like no other.

Apparently, she still is learning how to displace her anxiety. She hasn’t quite figured out what to do yet so instead of releasing it in a constructive way, she overreacts, snaps at others and reverts to crying. Hey, that sounds like what I do.

Her anxiety was the request from her father to play the piano for her grandparents. My SIL is extremely reluctant to play piano for relatives. She’ll happily play for strangers but for family, she refuses. Well, this year, she was told by her father that if anything, she should play for her grandparents. When they arrived, she began snapping at everyone. When we asked to see her Christmas gifts, she’d respond, “They’re right there under the tree. You can see them yourself.”

As we were asking her mother how her ankle was doing she slipped at work in November and sprained it, we hear an earth shattering scream from the home office. Apparently, she hit her ankle on the side of the desk as she was swiveling around on her dad’s chair. That’s when the tears started and the shrieking. The tears were understandable. My toes and fingers are attracted to table legs and door hinges so I can empathize. The shrieking, though, was totally unnecessary.

Immediately, the grandmother and mother ran to see what happened. The screams and heaving were just what we needed to liven up our usually mundane visits to Staten Island. Lrudlrick ran over to see what happened. My FIL, my SIL’s grandfather and I stayed at the dining room watching the scene.

Lrudlrick began rationalizing with his sister.

L: Let’s take a look.
SiL: It hurts! Iiiiiiiiiii hit it on thhhhhhhheeeeee table!
L:Yes, I heard. Can you move it?
SiL: Yess!!!!! But it hurts! Iiiiiiii hit it on the desk!
L:Yes. Yes. I understand. Well, you can move it and it’s not swollen so it’s not broken. It just stings a little because you hit the bone. It will be ok.
SiL: Nooooo it won’t!
L:I’ve broken my wrist bone twice. Yes it will.
SiL: But it’s about me! I’m hurt!

That’s when Lrudlrick laughed and let the women fawn over her. A half hour of crying and whining later, she hobbled out of the office and we left for home. Sadly, we didn’t get any photos with her this year.

Alexis' Christmas tree

On the other front and the homefront, Christmas brought much cheer and Santa was very nice to me. Laile played Christmas songs on her new electric guitar. Matthew discovered Soy Milk is no substitute for Yoo-hoo and Lrudlrick discovered cinammon toothpicks rock.

Kris Kringle was extended to the kids so each kid bought someone a present. Thank you James for the Season One DVD of Scrubs. I can't wait to crack it open. I also received my much coveted sauté pan! Thank you Santa!

Lrudlrick saves a tear in his wrapping

My brother came over with Gentlemen’s Jack and Season One of The Muppet Show. After a delicious rib roast and lobster pasta, we settled down for a long overdue rest and watched Rita Moreno and Animal duel it out. I still don't know what Scooter is supposed to be and I think Piggy is a bit too much but I still love Pigs in Space.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

I wish you nothing but love, peace, happiness and the joy of the season fill you not only today but for every day for the new year.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The MTA strikes and all I got was two pairs of shoes.

Suppose you live in a major metropolis. Suppose said metropolis has a citywide transit strike. The commute by car is riddled with bumper to bumper traffic. By the time you get home, the only parking you find is next to a bus shelter that isn't being used.

Would you park there?

L: Come on. Our butt sticks out just a little bit. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't chance it.

pg: True but it's not like the bus shelter is being used. The city would have to have some big balls to ticket us during the strike.

Well, the city of New York has a round and shiny pair. $115 fine. We can't help it if C4's ass is comparable to Beyonce's.

Here is a shoddy photo taken during the wee hours of the night:

Now, I'm not a rule breaker. Anyone who knows me knows for the most part I'm a goody-two shoes. Years of parochial school and Asian upbringing has turned me into a hall monitor.

I understand that if NYC does not enforce parking regulations, all hell would break loose but come on. My husband just spent most of his night driving home. There are no parking spaces anywhere and he needs to wake up early to carpool in to sit in traffic once more.

My mother-in-law called me again. "Where are you?"

pg: In a car.
MIL: I saw on the news thousands of people on the street walking.
pg: There are always thousands of people on the street in December in NYC.
MIL: Be careful. Why are you out?
pg: I have to work. I'm ok. We're New Yorkers. We're pretty resilient.
MIL: Ok. I'll call you tomorrow. I love you.

During this conversation, my husband, the son of this woman, is screaming "There's looting and rioting everywhere! Everywhere!" Thanks Lrudlrick for your help in calming your mother.

I have two holiday parties tonight I'm not looking forward to. Call me Grinch, but I'd rather be hiking home.

Today's thoughts:

My shins are on fire. Walking 50+ blocks. If this keeps up, maybe I will get Angelina's thighs.

All this walking lead me to a 50% shoe sale. I guess, that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dear Santa Paws:

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

On Z-girl's wish list for Christmas

NYC Transit Strike: Now What?

Ok, so I can walk to work. This doesn’t mean I like to walk to work.

My MIL just called and told me to tell my boss that I shouldn’t be walking to work. It’s too dangerous.

She also told me to tell her son that driving into work with complete strangers, even though he is their supervisor, is dangerous. Oh and don’t get ‘The Road Rage’.

My job has an 8 page contingency plan with maps and bus schedules. I guess I really do have to go into work.

My doctor, whom I’ve tried to schedule with since August, just called to confirm come hell or high water, I’m supposed to make it to her tomorrow. Otherwise, I need to wait until February for an appointment.

I honestly think this strike is happening because they know I’m out of birth control and I seriously need to see my doctor.

Craigslist has become a cesspool of trollers.

I’d have more compassion for the union workers if I had a pension plan and a guaranteed 6% increase for the next 3 years.

Heck, I’d be happy to have a pension plan I can cash in on when I’m 50.

Darren said it best yesterday, “It’s not important that you know all the ins and outs of the strike, but, basically, the transit workers asked for a twenty-five percent raise per month until retirement, the age of which they’re trying to lower to thirty-two. Or something like that."

Please oh please, let the FreshDirect delivery make its way to my apartment. I’m out of cheese.

Even though I have to walk to work, I’m grateful to be living in Manhattan and not the outer boroughs.

Muthafunga's answer to the strike: Decimation. "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9... excuse me... here is your pink slip... please fill your name on the top." "if you'd like to apply for your former job.. here are the re-applications with 8% decrease in pay forms" "...1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9..."

Public teachers make less than you make now.

Your parent union isn’t supporting you.

You just lost 1/3 of your fund. What do you really want? Stop throwing out more insane requests.

Male refrigerator blindness extends past the chill chest.

I’m not a seller however, when I have something extra that someone may want or can use, I’ll happily sell it. My husband would rather throw out a perfectly good item because he’s too lazy to ship/drive the item to someone.

Whining and complaining begins. It’s as if he’s never used a pc before. “How do I make a label? How do I send an invoice? Reading the simple form titles is too much for his brain. He simply shuts down.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fond of the whole thing either but I also know that whining isn’t going to get me anywhere.

I’ve offered to handle the selling aspect of an item for him. I’ve also suggested asking Dave to do it for a nominal fee. Dave is the best online salesman I know. In his past life he must have been a copy writer. Of course, being a male, he takes this as a challenge. “Me Male. Me do.”

Because he's not keen on the whole process yet feels he must do it for the sake of his ego, selling something as small as a VCR becomes painful for both him and me.

I honestly believe in male blindness. Male blindness is when something is blazingly apparent but the viewer by sheer will denies its existence. It’s like selective hearing except it’s your visual acuity that is interrupted. Call me whatever but this talent seems to run in those with a Y-chromosome.

L: I can’t find the mailing address.
pg: It’s on the payment receipt.
L: Where?
pg: Under the heading, ‘Shipping Address’.
L: silence
pg: Shipping Address: John Smith 1 Pocahontas Way. Cleveland, OH
L: Ah. Ok. I see it now.

L: I can’t find the Snapple.
pg: It’s in the fridge, on the second shelf, left of the milk carton.
L: silence
pg: It’s right of the orange juice before the bottled water.
L: Ah. Ok. I see it now.

L: I can’t find my metrocard.
pg: It’s probably in your jacket.
L: No. I checked.
pg: Is it by your keys?
L: Where are my keys?
pg:You left them on the table in the living room by the recliner.
L: silence
pg:Next to the Snapple bottle, behind the photo frame my brother gave us.
L: Ah. Ok. I see it now.

Someone needs to start a Male Blindness Foundation to combat M.B. I’m not sure if it’s a neurological, ophthalmological or psychological based disease. I tend to lean towards the later.

I think Male Blindness is a defense mechanism. The X-chromosomes seem to have a lock on Multi-tasking. Most Y-chromosomes do not have this ability. When asked to compute something while meeting the one objective, it doesn’t know what to do. Focus becomes erratic. Perspiration increases. Heart rate increases. Should I head to work or should I find my keys? Should I take the trash out or refill the trash bag?

For X, it’s not whether one should be done or not but in what order shall both tasks be done. Without this multi-tasking gene, Y’s brain begins the shutdown sequence. Just like a pc overheats and hibernates, so too does Y’s brain. “I just want to make an omelet!” I don’t care about how many eggs or where to find the skillet and spatula. That’s too complicated!

We need a cure. Until that time, women (and some men) will have to endure the calls at odd hours looking for items. Just one note ladies, turn your phone off at the gynecologist’s office. You don’t want to get the odd call asking where the extension cords are while your feet are on the stirrups. Trust me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

This season, SNL has one good skit so far...

Thank you Gawker for posting the link to The Chronic of Narnia.

I'd like to know...

Who is going to reimburse me for my monthly metrocard? What about the poor folks that bought a weekly?

Cookies, Truffles and movies.

I know I have been bad. The Christmas dinner and the cookie brigade has consumed me for the last 4-5 days.

Mom’s dinner was nice. We had turkey and ham with the usual side dishes. The diabetic cherry cookies were a hit. Mom is no rationing them off to Joe to ensure he doesn’t eat the entire box in one sitting. I made Nigella’s Clementine Cake for dessert but everyone was too full to eat it. I had the next day with coffee and it reminded me of my Grandfather. Grandpa loved orange marmalade and that is exactly how it tasted. In short, if you don’t like syrupy like cakes, don’t try this one. Next time I think I’ll add a few ingredients to tweak it.

Sample of the mailed cookies
Sample of the distributed cookies

I finished the cookies and truffles for my mail out. The postman is picking up the packages today to deliver. I’ve also finished the packages for my office and our building and have delivered most of them. Now, I just have to finish boxes for Lrudlrick’s office, Narda’s and Lrudlrick’s. Yes, Lrudlrick gets his very own with extra walnuts and cherries.

Oooh! Santa Claus arrived early this year! Santa’s helper, Lrudlrick, delivered 4 brand new silpats and a granite counter butcher block to me. He said that I had been so busy in the kitchen for the last 5 days I started looking like a Keebler elf. He hoped an early Christmas present or two would help me. I’ve never had a butcher block before. It’s really cute and fits in the nook by the sink. Thank you, my Elf. I can’t wait to roll out biscuits on this baby.

The silpats are a godsend. I don’t think they founding fathers used as many parchment sheets as I have the last few days. I didn’t spend that much time in the kitchen baking the last few years and I made more varieties back then. I think I miscalculated the idle time needed to rehydrate the cherries, chill the dough, set the ganache and set the chocolate dip. So even though the cookies and truffles are rather simple to make, it takes twice as long to make a batch because I need to let it rest between steps.

Did anyone see Family Guy Sunday night? I can’t believe they used The Pinball Song. Amanda saw it too. I had to pause it at each frame to see Stewie’s contorted body. Too funny.

I hope the rumors about AD are true. Last night’s episode had me cracking up. I loved the ‘Curb’ reference. Ok, I’ll admit it. I watched the Sound of Music the other night. Lrudlrick passed out during Sound.

I hadn’t watched Sound in years. The Sound of Music was played every year at my grammar school. For a quarter, we each got to watch it played from the school projector. We all sat in the school gymnasium and watched as the nuns fiddled with the numerous reels that made up the 3 hour movie. Chrissy and I would sneak in an origami fortune teller and ask it silly questions like, “Is Scott smelly?” Scott by the way, was my first crush. He also was my first heart break. He was the only boy who didn’t show up to my birthday party.

There I was packaging my truffles and cookies humming and singing the songs in The Sound of Music. Somehow, my brain remembered most of the songs. Lrudlrick would wake up every now and then and ask if the Nazis landed yet and then pass out. He’s never seen it in its entirety. How you can go through parochial school and not see The Sound of Music is beyond me.

The Sound reminded me of nights with my brother watching old RKO films. My brother and I would hide out in my bedroom with a giant bowl of popcorn and watch these flicks over and over again. Once my mother caught me trying to mimic Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon. Let’s just say cackling laughter from your own mother doesn’t bolster self esteem.

I suppose there is a resurgence of musical movies but I think were more cynical now and these feel good, life ends well movies don’t always hit with the audience. The next Broadway show which really was a fine movie to come out is The Producers. I’ve heard mixed reviews. Honestly, I was apprehensive when I heard Mel Brooks was trying to convert it into a Broadway show. Still, I went not once but three times and loved each time. Maybe the film will be a hit. I still wish Lawrence St. Dubois was a character in the new rendition but I suppose the laughs would be lost.

This Christmas our movie line up will be King Kong, The Ringer and The Producers. What are you going to watch?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Was I the only kid who truly appreciated Bert's neatness?

See, you take the Golden "An" and give it to Dan, the man in the tan van.

Ok, I'm not sure if it is a tan van but I'm pretty sure it's the same Dan.

What's your favorite Sesame Street, Electric Company or childhood program sketch?

Here's ten that keep swimming in my head: (in no particular order)

1. The Ladybug Picnic "They had twelve sacks so they ran sack races and they fell on their backs and they fell on their faces. The ladybugs twelve at the ladybugs' picnic."
2. The one where Ernie rhymes everything that Bert says, ticking him off.
3. Letterman (all eps) "Faster than a rolling O! Stronger than Silent E! Able to leap Capital T with a single bound! It's a word! It's a plan! It's Letterman!
4. The Bald Headed Blue Guy & Grover as a waiter
Muthafunga, do you remember? "In a hurry to be fed, beady eyes and big blue head."
5. Morgan Freeman and the chick as the shadows who prounounce syllables.
6. Morgan Freeman as Shy Sheldon the turtle
7. The Pointer Sisters’ singing The Pinball Song. “1,2,3,4,5…6,7,8,9,10…11,12. Do-do-do-do-do Do-do-do-do-do Do-do-do-do-do!”
8. Any super 8 reel played on Picture Picture. The crayon one always pops in my head.
9. The yip yip martians. “Brrrrring! Brrrrring!”
10. The Count singing “Doing the batty bat!” “Batty, batty bat. Batty bat. Batty bat. Batty bat!”

Sadly, I can recall the lyrics to most of the songs listed in their entirety yet I still rely on my cell phone for my husband's work phone number.

I could probably name more but I just spent the entire day on my feet in the kitchen baking cookies and cooking Christmas dinner for mom. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

By the way, I have not included any Schoolhouse Rock because SHR warrants its own entry.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Who can say they heard their boss sing a Journey song?

Tonight was our office party. Many a tears and memories were shared.

It’s incredible how we’ve grown. It’s amazing how many memories we’ve made. It’s unimaginable how much we’ve been through together and how much we’ll take with us in our new careers. At one point someone mentioned how 10 of us were leaving and the night turned reflective. That’s also when the round of shots began. I’m extremely grateful for my experience here.

I just came back from our Christmas party and I’m surely going to miss the cast of characters that comprised our work family. It was hard to leave. After our dinner we had drinks at a local bar for another 2.5 hours.

I’ll never have a family like this again. I know this. Everyone knows this. Even Brian said it during a toast. “I’ll never have this again nor do I want this again. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’m very lucky to have had this in my life.”

My boss loved her present. Most of all, I’m happy that my old boss loved her present. It meant a lot to me that she really enjoyed the tailgating package I gave her. I wanted her to know that I appreciate her and am glad that we had a chance to work together however brief it was.

I’d add pictures but honestly after 7 hours of cocktails, I’m surprised I made it home in one piece. At one point I made it home to drop off my gift and realized three hours later that I walked home with a Santa hat and wore it back to the bar. Tomorrow will be spent catching up on the cookies and truffles I should have made today.

I know my boss never see this, but I’m very grateful for every experience granted to me in my 8 years at my department. Sure there were some emotional and crazy moments there but I’ve made lasting friendships and colleagues. I hope to carry these relationships with me in my new endeavors. By the way, the tear jerker present was a jersey with my name and my intercom number. We each received one and took a photo with them on. A few tears were shed from all.

I’m off to take two Aleve and hope that the shots don’t bite me tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Honey, we might need to order Showtime.

Showtime may rescue 'Arrested Development'

How can a program that has won an Emmy for its writing fizzle into the good night?

It's days like these I wish I had 3 layers of fur.

Every neighborhood has that one strip of street where every dog does their business. It’s less apparent for most. The only time you really know this is dog poop alley is during a rather humid day and when ice and snow reveal what you’re truly walking on.

That’s why I hate snow in the city. The only snow in the city I like is blizzard snow or just fallen snow. Both are mostly untouched, clean snow. Snow in the city not only shows you what you’re truly walking around but what you’re breathing in.

Z-girl loves the snow. She waits in anticipation for the first snowfall. If the snow does not accumulate enough to provide a sufficient pile to pounce on and in, she looks up at us as if we can magically produce more snow for her. Much to the chagrin of her owners and her brother, she’ll walk and walk and walk in search of the elusive snow pile.

By our third snowfall this season, we had a sufficient snow accumulation to take her to the park and let loose.

P-man isn’t a snow frolicking fool, like Z. He’s much more refined. He’ll bound around but he would be just as happy curled up in what he thinks is his own king size bed.

But that snowfall has long past and the frigid temps have left piles of frozen grey, yellow, brown guck that is repulsive. My dogs have been wise enough to avoid these patches but they’ll happily add to the disgusting snow cone. In fact, Z-girl loves to find a clear patch to melt. I don’t know what it is about snow and ice but she’ll purposely go out of her way to find a clear patch to melt.

Ok, I know this post is getting pretty gross. This is how I’ve started my morning for the last few days. You think that’s gross? Try maneuvering your way around this path to pick up your dog’s poop. Nothing says I love my dog as much as squatting in subzero temps with a plastic baggie and a paper towel between me and my dog’s steaming pile of love.

This is the time of the season I wish I still had a dog walker. Maybe for Christmas, Santa will give me a dog walker.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for another snowstorm to hit in the evening into Friday. Sadly, I’ll know that the disgusting sludge will only be masked temporarily by fresh snow. At least they’ll have the clean snow in the park.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Let the jokes begin...

McDonald's Opens First Drive Thru in China

Yes, I'm Asian but I can drive. To my husband's delight, I also drive stick.

Why I ask my guests to take their shoes off before entering...

The Gothamist pointed me to this sickening, Oh-my-god-I'm-not-taking-mass-transit-again photo.

Excuse me as I upchuck my Beef Barley soup.

Disclaimer: If you have serious hygiene issues, do not for the love of Pete click the link. The photo will make you seriously consider becoming agoraphobic.

"For eight is enough to fill our lives with love."

It’s Office Party Season, folks. Pull out the cable knit sweaters and dig in to cocktail weenies and cheap champagne.

I’m not an office party person. I don’t like playing Kris Kringle with people I don’t know. If it’s a small office or department within an organization, it’s one thing. When it’s 50+ people, many you don’t know, what the heck do you get for a person? My fall back is lotto tickets. I know this will bite me one day.

The other issue with office parties is the schmoozing. I get invited to parties because it’s a network thing. I’m not a schmoozing type. Ok, I am if I have to but I don’t prefer to. Most of the time, I know maybe 3 people at these shindigs. I have to sit there nursing my warm champagne as I try not to cling to someone too much.

Lastly, within my department, we have a division that has a party every month. No lie. Cake is served almost twice a month. Oh, did I mention we have to pay for our parties? Yup. We’re not like some people who get free lunches every Friday or ‘Fun Days’. ahem.

I think I’ve mentioned these parties in the past but did I mention the gift fund? Yes, we have a fund and a bounty hunter who will track you for the cash. For Christmas this year, I was asked to contribute $80. In addition, I was told to bring a gag gift. Then last week, I was also asked if I wanted to participate in a $25 Kris Kringle. Uh, call me The Grinch, but no.

I make cookies for everyone and that’s my present to them. I also get individual gifts for my boss and several co-workers. I really can’t spare another square for office gifts.

You’d think partying every other week would make the office a wild and crazy place to work but it really isn’t. The spirit of the celebration has fizzled.

The get-togethers began in the early 90’s when we were an office of 8 people. Back then, we were building a department from scratch and we spent many an hour together. We grew into a family that celebrated and shared grief together.

Nowadays the dynamic is different. The department has grown tremendously. Work has tripled and it’s impossible to expect that family dynamic to continue.
Yet, there are a few who still believe it can and although I give them ‘A’ for effort, we’re no longer the family we once was.

This year is the last year many of the core family will be attending. This year 5 of the original crew are leaving/have left. We understand this year’s party will be a sentimental one and we’re all attending. I’m off that day but I’ll be coming in.

So for one day, I’ll be less cynical about office shindigs and I’ll savor the camaraderie that I developed in my 8 years here. To the crew of 8, we may never have as crazy of a work crew as we had ever again.

Working at an Elaine Benes office:
1. A party every week , sometimes two.
2. Having to shell out for these parties.
3. After work hour parties.
4. Sugar highs at 11 in the morning.
5. Watching your officemates do the Thriller after several Cranberry Vodka smoothies.
6. One word: Karaoke
7. Being considered a party pooper/non-network type for not attending soiree.
8. BYO food parties.
9. The never ending memories of beer after hours, hidden sausages, moo-moos and shaving cream.

I'm dreaming of warm fingers and toes...

Dear MTA:

I understand the holiday season brings added traffic and gridlock but this shouldn’t explain the 30 minutes I’ve had to wait for a bus on 3 separate occasions. In the past two weeks, I’ve stood in frigid temps hoping to see the electronic sign on a bus creeping down the street.

As the fellow commuters and I huddled together en masse like penguins seeking bodily warmth, we watched 6 buses drive past us going southbound. 4 of these buses were Not in Service.

Please be considerate to your passengers and adjust for the traffic you may hit in midtown. Take those Not In Service buses and put them to work in the Upper West Side.

Frigidly yours,


Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas stress is rolling its ugly head my way.

Wow, who knew blogging on the weekends was so hard. Yes, I cheated, sort of. My December weekends are packed to the brim with projects and to dos that pictures will have to suffice.

I’m beginning to feel behind on my Holiday to dos. Last week, I was so bummed about childish gossip; I spent most of my weeknights finding solace in Law and Order. I’m feeling much better today. I’m not going to let third party banter get the best of me.

Well, I’ve hit the big C week. This week, I need to make my Christmas cookies which means, I’ll be knee deep in flour, chocolate and parchment paper. I still need to finish wrapping presents and I’m determined to get this finished tonight.

You’d think wrapping would be the easy to do on my list. No. Instead, Mothra needs to make everything unique and different. Mothra has to spend 5 minutes mulling over which wrapping paper fits which person/gift.

I hit Mecca last night, The Container Store and I went ribbon happy. Every year, I tell Lrudlrick that I need to get a part time job at TCS just for the discount. Every year, he catches me giving a packaging suggestion for a fellow TCS shopper. This year, I suggested using mini takeout containers for a kid’s holiday party. Each kid could decorate their own personal take away container and fill it with cookies and candies.

Inspiration also hit me while at the TCS. Usually I make a giant container of cookies and bring it to work. This year, for some reason, I’ve decided to make individual truffles and package them for each person. I’m a glutton for punishment. I think I just wanted to make it a little more personal this year, since this will be my last Christmas party with the old crew.

It’s becoming abundantly clear that Christmas is extremely biased. I’m not talking about Christ’s birth. I’m talking about the commercial Christmas. If Christmas was handled by Lrudlrick…

…the Christmas tree would die a painful death due to dehydration.
…it would be decorated with net lighting and maybe a few balls.
…you’d be lucky to get a Christmas call, let alone a Christmas card.
…December 23rd would be spent in armor fending off fellow last minute shoppers at Toys R’ Us.
…some kid would be missing a present.
… the kids that had presents would have labels that say, “the short one” “the cute one” “the one that likes horses”
…Christmas dinner would be General Tso’s Chicken and Spare Ribs.
…our newspaper would arrive in pieces if at all because he didn’t leave a tip.
…our building staff would get liquor and plenty of it.
…the boulders like packages under the brown tree are the presents.
…Christmas cookies would come in a nice pre-packaged container with the label ‘Entenmanns’.

Now that I think about it, it sounds much less stressful. Maybe next year we’ll have a Lrudlrick Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Train Show at the NY Botanical Garden

If you go, remember there is a reason why Frosty didn't last too long in the nursery.
Wear layers!

Lrudlrick, hope this provides you inspiration for this year's train design.

The Train Show at the NY Botanical Garden


City Hall

Brooklyn Bridge

Yankee Stadium

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Radio City Music Hall

The Guggenheim (You can't tell in the photo but that' a fungus carved.)

The Little Red Lighthouse Under the Great Grey Bridge

The Dairy at Central Park

Bethseda Fountain & Bow Bridge

Gazebo at Central Park

Saturday, December 10, 2005

O Tannenbaum suffers a casualty

I did it. I put up the tree by myself. I even cut the 1” off the trunk too!

I did suffer a casualty. I castrated the tree. I didn’t mean to. I was moving it and I guess I was a bit too rough.

If you want to know if there is a difference from a corner stand tree and a tree from a tree farm, its freshness. This sucker was damp, sappy and the needles didn’t fall off when you pull a branch. Of course, freshness also means that Tanny drinks more water than any other tree I’ve had. The first night I refilled the 1 ½ gallon trough 3 times!

It’s fully fallen now so now I begin decorating it now.

Now I have to get my butt in gear with the wrapping.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words their like daggers.

Today I propose should be Positive Reinforcement Day.

We've all been there folks. Your self esteem goes on vacation. You have a thesis due and have only completed 40% of the research. You are faced with a soiree for every Aunt and Uncle west of the Mississippi and you've miscalculated and only bought enough meat for 5 people. You have looming deadlines and no resources to help you.

When you resign and have an impending new position your self esteem shoots up. Like a Roman candle, your confidence rises. You can do no wrong. Someone out there wants you.

Then the moment hits when you start questioning yourself. Can I do this? Am I capable of doing this? Most of the time it subsides and you realize you can do it. Today, I heard the rumor mills and my self esteem plummeted.

It's a fact, when you leave an organization, anything that can go wrong is blamed on you. It's nothing personal, it's just a fact. I just didn't think that they'd do it while I was still within earshot.

I have had a turbulent relationship with someone here. I honestly don't know what I did to set her off but since she started, there has been closeted animosity. When people ask me what's up between the two of us, all I can say is that we have different work styles. I'm not contriving some polite reason either. Aside from that, I really don't know what could have lead her to be passive aggressive towards me.

Well, the rumor mills have brought to my attention that the word on the street is that this woman will be taking over leadership of my project and has made it known that 'this time, we'll do it correct."

Now I know I shouldn't let words hurt me, especially when they come from someone who dislikes me but they do. I'm nervous already about my new position and now I have added baggage of low self esteem. Thanks. 10+ years after my high school days and I feel like I'm still in Mean Girls.

This got me thinking, how many times have we all had a Bad Self-Esteem Day? We know deep down inside it will pass but we wish it would hurry along its way. Usually, that's when we call our personal pep squad and get a little boost of confidence to pull us through it.

Why shouldn't we have something similar on paperor pseudo-paper? Today, I suggest you write something positive about someone you know, online or off. It can be a public or private declaration. In any case, the recipient will get a wonderful uplifting surprise that can be pulled out every now and then as a reminder. If writing seems too much, you can just say a small line about that person.

Here is my public list (in no particular order): If I don't include you, please do not be offended. I am only limiting myself to 8 people.

JudyRoc is a great listener and has a independent spirit that more women should have.

Kestrel is an amazing artist with more talent in her pinky than any artist I've seen showcased in Soho and that includes some personal friends. Shhh. Don't tell them.

Stef is a wonderful role model for any woman juggling parenthood and work life. Her no nonsense approach to life's curveballs shows women are really stronger than men.

Judy is a wonderful mother to two adorable, makes-my-ovaries-ache boys and a devoted wife. If more mothers were like her, the future would truly be brighter.

Amy is the most dependable and loyal friend around. You can always guarantee that she'll be there for you to listen, to vent or to just gossip about the latest starlet. Plus, she can hold down more liquor than a 250 lb linebacker.

Indigo runs miles over most, literally! Her dedication and determination is something everyone should aspire towards. Now if she can only bottle her dedication to running and sell it, I'd have Angelina Jolie's thighs. Ok, maybe not but still…

Marie knows what she wants and she gets it. More women should be as assertive and committed.

Brianna's family values and strong
sense of tradition makes me strive to learn more about my family's tradition and to start some of my own. BTW, if you want to see a wonderful example of Positive Reinforcement, check out her sister's letter to her.

Ok, you might be asking why only women? Well, it's not that I think men don't need a confidence boost every now and then. As a woman, I know men need the ego stroke too and I'm not referring to the dirty kind.

I just don't see men calling their friends after someone defames them. I also don't see many men defaming other men. "I can't believe that John said that. He should talk. If he stuck his head out of his ass he'd see the whole picture and refrain from putting his foot in his mouth."

Here is a universal stroke for the men out there. "Insert name, you're the best at solving my problems. You know just what to say to make it better. I'm glad I have you to protect me."

Ok, it's your turn, whether public or private, tell someone you know something you admire about them. Go on. Get.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Where were you on December 8th?

Every year on this day, I think about the back seat of my dad’s station wagon. It was a cold December night. I don’t remember why I was up so late nor do I remember why my Dad and Mom let me stay up but I was in the backseat of my dad’s car. My dad at the driver’s seat was pushing the radio preset to one of our favorite stations. Ok folks. Everyone stop for a second and think about that radio with the 6 six silver buttons. When you pushed it, the lighted orange dial would move to the station set. It was the coolest piece of technology man would invent, or so we thought.

We were waiting for my mom. She went to pick up my baby brother from the baby sitter’s. Dad and I were singing a song on the radio when the song cut off and an announcement was made. My dad sat silent. He told me the man who sang a lot of the songs I liked from The Beatles was shot and had died. He kept telling me that he was a good man who wanted peace in the world.

I remember the news announcement said it happened in New York City and that it was close to his home. I couldn’t comprehend why someone would hurt a man who didn’t harm anyone.

For some reason I had to see my brother right away. I kept asking my dad why it was taking so long for my brother and mom to come out of the house. He told me to be patient but I just wanted some visual confirmation they were ok.

I recall staring into my mittens as if my mittens had powers that could produce my mom and brother in front of me. It seemed like an hour had passed when in actuality I’m sure it was only a few minutes. When they finally appeared and got into the car, I recall making sure my brother’s seatbelt was strapped tightly around his baby seat. I’m not sure why John Lennon’s death did what it did but from that night forward I wasn’t the same person.

There was a realization that innocence is fragile and fleeting. I wanted us to experience the joys of innocence and a carefree life that every child should have. I learned that day that there are powers out there that are beyond rationalization. There is good and bad and for some reason they are co-dependant.

By the way, thanks go to Michele for asking the question, “Where were you?”

Nobody Puts Tanny in the Corner.

Tree Day. Today is tree day. Usually, Lrudlrick and I do a Harry and Sally and buy a tree off the street and lug it up the hill towards our apartment. In the process we lose 40% of the needles. This year, I purchased a tree from a small family run farm. I hear they are fresher and well, I was influenced by the Ben and Jerry’s commercial where the Vermont farmer talks about family farms are a dying lot.

L: I think Ben and Jerry meant Dairy farmers.
pg: Cow. Tree. It’s all the same.

According to the lady I spoke with, O Tannenbaum, should arrive today. What more can a girl ask for, groceries, dog food and the occasional 7 foot spruce all can be delivered to my doorstep.

Speaking of groceries, I received an email a few days ago from a supervisor at FreshDirect's PR firm thanking me for mentioning FD.

Being the New Yorker that I am, at first I was apprehensive. Corporations never talk to the little people but I'm going to take it as is and accept the thanks.

If you are fortunate enough to have FreshDirect in your neighborhood, I strongly suggest you check them out. Without them, my shindigs would be more stressful to prepare for. They have a great selection of fresh veggies, fruits, meats and seafood and the delivery men have been nothing but nice to me. Ok, I had a small run in with one guy involving my dog and walking it but that's a long story that goes no where.

Anyway, I'm shamelessly plugging FreshDirect again. My three holiday meals are on their way to be a success because of these guys. If your neighborhood is like mine, there are only a few grocery stores and the selection is pallid. You also have a high end food mart but that comes with high end prices. Sure, I do occasionally purchase small items at the grocery store but when it comes down to quality selection, especially in their growing organic division, FreshDirect beats them hands down in selection and convenience.

I still buy stuff at Chelsea Market and will do an occasional trip to Western Beef or Fairway but you can't beat ordering a crown rib in the comforts of your own home.

Disclaimer: Before the rumors fly, there was no under the table deal of any kind made with FD. FD and I did not do a Bennifer 2.0 deal (alleged deal). I have not signed a 'Starbucks'-like contract and am not receiving any monetary gift for this plug although, if someone really wanted to discuss inserting a banner or sidebar hyperlink, I wouldn't oppose it. Yes, I like them that much.

Back to tree day. If the tree does arrive tonight, I have the daunting task of hacking 1” off the trunk by myself. Lrudlrick is heading to the Depeche Mode concert tonight with his buddies. It’s been a tradition with these guys since the late 80’s. It sounds like fun and I’m sure it will beat out the horrific Duran Duran concert of 2003. Don’t get me wrong, Duran Duran had its moment and my dad can attest to my infatuation with Simon Le Bon back in the days but it was horrible to watch these men fight their aging bodies and tour. Duran is not The Stones. The last time I saw the Stones, Mick was in better shape than I was. Holy cow, I was 7 rows from the front and the man was in fine form. Simon, before you tour again, pick up a Bowflex and do some cardio, please. Depeche should be fun. The Bravery is opening and I like their singles but I’ve always liked the UK rock sound. Enjoy boys! Don’t forget to wipe the eyeliner off before you taxi it home.

Last year, because I was paranoid, I thought I might try fire proofing my tree. I read an article about how a solution of corn syrup, bleach and borax would soak the tree to the point it was nearly fire proof. I don’t know why I was paranoid. I have had a fresh tree in my apartment since the 90’s and never did I fire proof it. Nevertheless, I did fire proof the bloody thing and well, it was a pain in the ass. In the end, I decided that I’ve done so far to avoid a burning bush incident and that it was unnecessary to go through the rigmarole again.

Every year I ask myself the same question about live trees and NYC. This year, I’m putting it out in the blogsphere. How and where are we supposed to be sawing 1” of trunk off? In all my years in NYC, I have never seen people lugging their trees out on the street, propping them up on cinderblocks and lobbing off the ends. Logically you would think tree sellers would offer this service but all I’ve seen are tree sellers willing to net and/or spike your tree. Am I the only New Yorker who cuts 1” off the base? If you are a New Yorker, what do you do?

This year, I’m contemplating asking our building’s porter to drag Tanny to the courtyard and do the dirty deed. On second thought, that sentence conjured some obscene thoughts. No one is doing anything nasty to my Tanny.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Daily conversations

M: falcons and N.O.? thats gonna suck

pg: Don't know much about the Falcons or the Saints but if the rumble was with actual falcons and saints, I'd watch.

M:Atlanta 7 5 0 New Orleans 3 9 0

pg: 867-5309 you drool on yourself daily?

"We're so happy you're so happy! Just as long as you stay happy, We'll stay happy too!" -- Into The Woods

When it comes to Christmas songs my tastes run towards the Judy Garland Christmas special from the 60's, tipsy, drugged and unnaturally happy sounding with a twinge of sad. In other words, I love the old cocktail hour renditions of Christmas carols. Here is a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs in no particular order:

1. Welcome Christmas from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
2. The 12 Days of Christmas by the Muppets "Ba Dum Dum Dum"
3. Put One Foot in Front of the Other from Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. Any Christmas Song sung by Ella Fitzgerald
5. White Christmas by The Drifters
6. HeatMiser/SnowMiser from The Year Without Santa
7. The 12 Days of Christmas by the gang from Shrek "ya ya ya"
8. The Christmas Clock Song from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
9. Even a Miracle Needs a Hand from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
10. Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
11. Winter Wonderland sung by Eurythmics
12. Christmas Time is Here sung by Mel Torme
13. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas sung by Perry Como
14. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire sung by The Carpenters
15. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams
16. The Holiday Season by Andy Williams

Note, I have not included any religious songs because, well, tipsy versions of O Holy Night aren't good.

Don't get me wrong, there are few modern songs that are catchy. I just love the Stepford Wife sound of the 50's and 60's renditions. I guess I developed my fondness during my childhood. Back in the 70's, Christmas wasn't Christmas until Andy Williams, the Mandrell sisters and yes, Lawrence Welk, had a Christmas themed show. Fake snow, fake fires in fake fireplaces, laugh tracks and fake family get-togethers by the said fake fire heralded Christmas on tv.

My uncle Stephen gave us a stack of albums he bought during his youth. My uncle also had OCD. On each vinyl cover, he had a sticker with his type written name upper right hand corner. Among his stacks, was Christmas with Andy Williams and the Williams Brothers. I played that album every year. The people on the cover and back looked so jubiliant in their turtlenecks and knit sweaters. My father must have wanted to choke Mr. Williams with his own sweater. I swear, if he could have hid that album, he would have.

There are a few songs I have issue with, mainly anything Barbara Streisand sings. I'm sorry, I don't think Barbara should be singing O Little Town of Bethlehem. Maybe I'm just not a Streisand fan.

I've also grown tired of and I'm going to get flack about it, especially by Bowie loving husband. It's not that the song is bad although Crosby clearly has no idea why he's singing with Bowie . I swear there is a part in the song where you can actually here Bing think out loud, "Why the hell am I here?" It just gets played over and over and over and over and over.

My all time favorite song is 'O Christmas Tree'. Why? Because at any given moment during Christmas, my husband will break out in an a cappella rendition of 'O Christmas Tree', Lrudlrick style.

O Christmas Tree.
O Christmas Tree.
You are so very cuddly.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Let the River Run. Kudos to Mike Nichols for making the SI ferry look inspirational.

Before I forget, thanks go to my man, Jeff, who found my email, corporate calendar and task manager. You restored my sanity! Thank you, you are the best! One week without your calendar and task manager makes you appreciate a paper planner. Thanks again.

Ok. I can’t say much about my alter-ego, Working Girl not associated with Melanie Griffith or Sigourney Weaver, but I did resign last night. I’ve never resigned without feeling relief about it. Usually, there is some sort of excitement about my future and the new mis-adventures I’ll have in the working world. And one day, hopefully, the mis-adventures of leaving the working world. This time, I left my boss’ office with a knot in my stomach so tight that I thought I’d keel over on the street with my face in a pile of grey/yellow slush.

I’m not sure if that’s a premonition or just the fact that I had not had lunch yet. I suppose the lack of nourishment, the stress of telling someone, “hey, I’m outty” and the fact that I ran out of a 3 hour meeting to catch my boss to tell her “I’m outty” had something to do with it. BTW, have you ever had a meeting that sucked so much out of your head that the top of your head is so warm, you could feel steam rising? My brain nearly overheated yesterday.

I love my job. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy what I do. However, when an opportunity knocks on your doorstep and the only reason you have to turn it down is complacency and fear, then you need to really smack yourself awake.

I wish I could say I quit without a plan. I wish I was so carefree and fly by night but I’m not. I delude myself and say that I’m winging it but I honestly know that if I didn’t get the offer, I would be still doing what I’m doing this time next month.

I guess the idea of being a free spirit seems more adventurous than what I am. I’m a fuddy duddy. I can admit this and be proud of it but a part of me wishes I could fly by the seat of my pants, quit my job and change careers. Narda mailed me an article she found in Newsweek, ‘The Taste Makers’ by Dorothy Kalins. It follows the proliferation of entrepreneurs in the food industry. “Hey P. Thought you might find this interesting. N.”

Nothing like a well intentioned note to kick you in the ass. I know she meant well and I appreciate that she thought of me when she read it but I really feel like a grand fuddy duddy for not being like these people who drop everything and go for the gusto.

See, I have ambition. He got that ambition baby look in his eyes. Can someone please remove this from the playlist of every major radio station? I just don’t like the business end of business. I’d prefer to have a partner handle the wheeling, dealing and spieling. Not to mention the whole $$$ thing. My streets aren’t lined with gold. In fact, right now, the street is lined with some nasty looking snow/ice chunks. I still work for a living. I’ve paid less than 20% of my mortgage off. I’m a delicate flower. I need shelter, food and the occasional shoe sale.

On the Christmas front, I started wrapping the presents. I have this one medium size present that is in a soft oval pouch that I can’t figure out how to wrap without it looking funny. I’m not a bag girl, unless it’s wine so I’m taking suggestions. Oh, and I gave up on my FIL and have decided to stop off at the local wine shop and grab a few bottles of organic wines and call it a day. Maybe I’ll give it a French theme and wrap it in a basket with cheese and bread.

Finally in a true testament to my true masochism, I’ve signed up to participate in Holidailies 2005. MissMeliss and Michele motivated me to do so. In short, “Holidailies participants solemnly vow to update their Web sites daily from Dec. 7 to Jan. 6.” I barely am able to update the 3 times a week I’ve set as a personal goal yet I figured it would be a way to test my mettle and maybe document the mayhem in my head during the holiday season. I get the feeling towards the end, you may very well be inundated by photos of P and Z but if I do, I promise to include one of them in their snowbooties.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Daily Conversations

How do I look?
Like the gaudy Jew on Coffee Tawk.
um, ok. I'm not sure that was the look I was looking for.

I did it.

I resigned.

More details (or what I can say without shooting myself in the ass to come).

I'll just say this is the first time I resigned where I left with stomach pains and the need for a cheese sandwich.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Yes, I've been listening to Christmas music. At least I don't sing along (in front of company).

Today is a good day. I lapped up the crisp December air as I walked to my bus stop. Even the jack hammering didn’t distract. Nor did the cool breeze blowing up my hiked up skirt throw me. It was only when I entered the bus shelter that I noticed the right side of my skirt hiked up farther than a dancer’s skirt at Scores. Still, it was a good day.

Last night, Mothra set a world record. I completed my 2005 Christmas cards, stamps and all. This frees up the next two weeks for tree trimming, package wrapping and cookie baking. I have never been so ahead of the game before.

It’s much more colorful than last year’s stark blue and white.

Most people ask me why I make my cards instead of buying a package of cards. My secret desire is to be a Hallmark corporate employee. Yes, I’d love to be a card maker. I read an article in Life about a the day in the life of a Hallmark writer which left me daydreaming about it.

I make homemade cards for practically every event. I have made an original card for every move, every invitation and every holiday celebration. When I card is not required, I make an original party menu. Yes, I have an addiction to paper, scissors and glue.

Lrudlrick watched as I cut out my patterns in awe at the amount of time and energy I will devote to something, most people put on a card tree or even throw out. Honestly, I make the cards for myself, not the recipient. What they do with my card is up to them. I know not everyone saves the cards and recycles them. Yes, I recycle received cards. I’ll make ornaments, gift tags and whatever comes into my head. In my past life, I must have been a kindergarten teacher.

In 8th grade, our class ‘adopted’ a kindergarten student. We made homemade stockings and stuffed them with candy and bric-a-brac. The day before break, we all dressed as ‘Santa’s helpers’ and delivered the stockings to the kids during their Christmas party. Of course, I went all out on my stocking. Fake fur, beads and even embroidered trim were on my stocking. Apparently, I started some trouble because a classmate remarked to my teacher that my ‘adopted’ child would be the envy of the other students. So I had to make two. I don’t know why two was better than one but I didn’t complain. Others thought it unfair that I had to do twice the work but I was having too much fun to think it was work.

Funny thing is, I was horrible in art class. I was a B student and that was only because my teacher knew very well that I had some type of disorder that required me to be exact with everything. I had more erasers than anyone in class. My perspective piece had so many erase lines that it actually started looking three dimensional.

My mail is still on the fritz at work but my initial OCD attack has subsided. My boss has a knack of knowing when my OCD gets the better of me and calmed me down. Thankfully she did, otherwise, last night’s holiday party could have been professionally crippling.

Jeff, the guru of my pc, will be in next week so for now, I’m relegated to online mail. The historical mail is somewhere and for my peace of mind, I hope Jeff finds it. Granted, it’s only mail but I annotate everything at work via email. It’s my electronic note.

Oh, and not that you really care, but I’m running out of hosiery again. I’m down two pairs of stockings. Last year, I spent all winter in pants because I was too cheap to buy stockings. I might be going the same route again this year. Has anyone found a tried and true way to keep your stockings for more than a handful of wears? Last night during an office holiday party, I kept trying to keep my left leg behind me because of a run at my knee cap. I’m like the kid in the class picture with the 3” hole in her stockings.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

She's making a list. She's checking it twice. She's throwing it out the window.

Happy 1 weeek post-starch laden feast! I’m up to my ears in Bourbon sweet potato but that’s ok. All the stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes and biscuits were eaten within days. Now, I’m finishing the last of the sweet potatoes.

This year was the first year since I was a child, where I got to take a nap. I took a nap before dessert. It’s the simple things in life that make it worth living.

I volunteered Thanksgiving morning to serve senior citizens a Thanksgiving Day meal. It was less arduous than past volunteering duties. It was actually fun. There was a swing band and dancing. Volunteering only took 4 hours of my time. If I can, I plan to do it again next year.

Oh, I actually stayed to watch a portion of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I watched Pikachu and the giant Nutcracker parade down CPW. It was actually kind of fun being the spectator.

Because we stayed home for the holiday, life was pretty uneventful for us. I kind of like it that way. It’s sort of the calm before the storm that is Christmas and New Year’s.

Oh, I did find out that the traditional gifts for each kid has been changed to gift for a kid. Yes, after more than a decade of buying gifts for each individual under 18, kids are now entered into the grab bag. Each person will purchase a gift for one person.

My plan to finish Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving has turned against me. Drat! Double Drat! Lrudlrick, the avid-shop-at-Toys-R-Us-on-12.24, has not stopped ribbing me about this. “See, if you plan to far in advance, it kicks you in the rear. When are you going to learn that you cannot plan for anything with my family?”

He has a point. I’ve decided one of my resolutions this year is to take his statement to heart. Case in point, his cousin came up to visit. Originally it was a guys only night out which later turned into a couple only stay in which turned into a family stay in.

For the first time, I planned nothing and allowed Lrudlrick to handle the affairs. As he struggled to vacuum, I sat on the couch and worked on my Christmas card. I didn’t plan an activity for the kids. I didn’t prepare any eats. I let Lrudlrick run the show.

Lrudlrick later agreed that stress levels increase exponentially when plans are altered but there is a curve. If you plan too early, you increase expectation and stress levels. If you don’t plan, you increase stress levels. If no one follows the plan, it’s Armageddon and one person is left to be the parent wrangling in the kids in the playground.

So I guess, the lesson today is plan but don’t plan too early or too late. Give yourself enough wiggle room and if it’s just too much for you, plan your trip to Bali and enjoy the holidays Island style.

Words to Live By

Your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, For it is written: Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less. - 2 Cor 8:14-15

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

To the marketing gurus at The Daily Show:

Jason Jones' piece, "New Jersey Slogan!" has spawned the best slogan I have heard so far, "New Jersey, you have to drive through us at some point."

The succinctness is sublime.

I strongly suggest you get a copyright going and start printing some tees. You'd make a killing!

If you don't, someone will open a cafe press account and the chinatown t-shirt guy will be selling them 3 for $10.

To all my Jerseyite family and friends: Think back, my friend, to when you were a New Yorker or when you longed to be one.

Lrudlrick's closet. If you search hard enough, you might find the Brave Little Toaster.

Some of you told me that I should just tell my husband that he really doesn’t need a 360. I’m not going to deny him the chance to play it. The deal is, sell the original Xbox and you can have the Xbox 360. This time, I added a time clause.

The past few times I didn’t do this and well, let’s just say his closet is only 40% filled with clothing. After our sidewalk sale, I tried to make selling his old toys easier for him. I piled them on a table and even attached the manuals and remote controls to each piece.

All he had to do was take a picture and post them on EBay or Craigslist.

Alas, even this was too much for him. Finally, last night he complained what an eyesore it was to have a table filled with stuff he doesn’t use anymore hanging out in our foyer.

“Yes, it is,” I remarked, that was the whole point.
“Now that we have storage in the basement, we can…”
“You will do no such thing. We're not paying rental fees so you can put your past toys in there.”
“But it won’t be an eyesore.”
“The whole point of storage is not to store the crap you don’t want anymore but to store the crap you want but you don’t know you don’t want yet. Clearly, I don’t want this crap and you don’t want this crap. Just sell it.”

Two hours later I go to the bedroom to find Lrudlrick stuffing the stuff in his closet.

“What are you doing?”
“I’m putting the stuff to sell in my closet. See if fits perfectly on my sweater shelf.”
“I’m… I’m… Whatever. It’s your closet. When you get sick of shoving all your sweaters on one shelf, you’ll do something about it. I wash my hands of the whole thing.”
“What? Do you want me to sell this stuff now?”

No, I want you to cellar these items because the appreciation rate on a VCR is phenomenal.

At least, for now, in the off chance I want to watch my college production of The Importance of Being Earnest, I know where I can find a VCR.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Daily Conversations

I have to poop but I can't yet.
have a banana.
No, I can, just not yet. After I install pcany on my.
Or maybe right now.
oh. so it's not a biological can't.

What would you do for a Klondike bar? How about an Xbox 360?

I am a grumpy New Yorker. Yes, I’m the New Yorker that grumbles bout the crowds as I past the Macy’s holiday displays.

I’m sorry, I’m just not cut out for the Black Friday crowds. We went to Herald Square on Friday because Lrudlrick doesn’t realize yet that to get an Xbox 360, you need to be on a waitlist longer than the National Kidney Association’s list. “Why didn’t you just reserve one like I told you?” “Because hunting for the elusive 360 is part of the fun.”

Friday in Midtown during the trifecta (busiest shopping day, highest gridlock alert day, most popular tourist attraction season) is not my idea of fun. However, since I was still in need of a present for my FIL and I did need a hat, I tagged along.

Usually, I can hold my own on the street. It takes a lot of chutzpah to maneuver the city streets when you’re 5’3”. However, on Friday, I needed more than bravery and sheer determination. I needed a crossbow. People go nuts when they see a sale and they will do anything, include stomp over you to get to the Cowl neck sweaters on sale at The Limited.

Even Home Depot was mauled with people. Apparently many of you, including possibly myself, will be getting tools for the holidays. We went in looking for a combo dimmer/occupancy sensor switch for our hallway. Do you know that there isn’t one? Apparently, you can have a dimmer or an occupancy sensor but you can’t have them both.

Back to my grumpiness. See, I was shoved and pushed and hovered over to the point where I screamed, for people to get the bloody hell away from me. If you were one of the unfortunate tourists that had to witness NYC hospitality at its weakest, I’m genuinely sorry. You caught me on a really bad day. I’m very hospitable. Honest.

Oh, and the icing on the cake was some guy had the nerve to hit on my while I was plowing my way through the throngs of pedestrians. Lrudlrick, the ever-vigilant husband, was oblivious to the man who felt the need to crotch his 6’4” self down to whisper the worst line I’ve heard in ages. Sadly, I was about to flirt back with him so he could pick me up and fly me over the flock of bargain shoppers and window gawkers like Patrick Swayze and Baby in Dirty Dancing.

What was the come on line? Something about being the true window display. I remember thinking, has that really worked on anyone?

Anyway, we did a search on Craigslist for an Xbox 360. Actually, Lrudlrick did. People will do anything for this thing. One ad, offered oral gratification for an Xbox 360. Now, maybe, I’m not getting it but oral gratification for a gaming console? Really? Are you that desperate?

“Listen, Lrudlrick, if you are that desperate you’d pimp out your wife for this toy, I go only as far as allowing some strange person to suck my toes and even that would require a paper bag over my head and a lot of alcohol.”

If you have any leads and accept cash for the console, then email me. Act now and you’ll get a homemade box of cookies. What? Were you hoping for the toe sucking? Otherwise, my husband will just have to wait until Valentine’s Day for this baby.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Can you say my head is inflated like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon?

I just received a call from the coordinator of the pie contest I entered last month.

She asked the person handling the sign in for my information.

She wanted to know if I could share my recipe with her. She had a slice of my pie dirty and would like to make it for Thanksgiving dessert.

Ok, it's not like Food Network called me and asked me for the recipe but heck, I'm honored she went out of her way to find my info and call me for my recipe, a month after the fact.

I've been asked for recipes before but this really got my engines running, especially as I near my prep work for Turkey Day.

You know, I'd love to have a job in a taste kitchen. Seriously, I wouldn't mind being a test cook for Reynold's Wrap or the like. Being paid to create recipes and to cook would be my cup of tea.

I'd have to put my foot down on which kitchen it would be though. I couldn't be the test cook for French's Fried Onions or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. You can only do so much with one packaged product.

What does it take to get a job at Cook's Illustrated? I wouldn't mind being the tester of pans and bakeware. Oh, what I would do to be given moola and told to go out and buy groceries and come up with something.

I’ve lived in NYC all my life and I’ve only been to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day once and that was because I was marching in it. You know how they say that New Yorker’s don’t appreciate what they have? Well, I do appreciate it and I can appreciate it at the comforts of a warm apartment/house where I get front row seats to inflated balloons and crazy volunteer wranglers struggling to get Snoopy’s nose past the Columbus Circle fountain. Instead of standing the freezing cold, guessing whether or not my nose is actually running or just feels like it’s running, I can casually enjoy the festivities with a warm cup of hot cocoa. I can bypass the cheesy lip syncing. I can fast forward the tenth band to play ‘Seven Nation Army’.

Ever since Lrudlrick called me at Chelsea Market to listen to a Tuba player blow his heart out to ‘Seven Nation Army’, I can’t listen to it without picturing this husky kid turning red faced as the cymbalists clang.

See, I froze my tail the year I played in the parade. That’s when I knew band and baton twirling were not for me. I marched in parades throughout the city in either band or baton for years. For some reason, it never struck me that I really didn’t want to be parading around in frigid temperatures until that year. I suppose that was the year I realized I had a choice.

I didn’t play any cool instruments either. It wasn’t like I got to use the cymbals or the drums. I was the girl who played the glockenspiel. A glockenspiel is an upright xylophone. It was heavy and metal so your finger tips were cold.

I began to play the glockenspiel after I realized band members got to wear pants. When I twirled baton, I was always in shimmery tights freezing my tuckus, shaking my pom-pom laden shoes. Since my only experience in a musical instrument was a piano, the band leader gave me the glockenspiel. You memorized the notes and did a little choreography and you were in.

We weren’t high caliber band material but we were a band and whenever there was a parade, we were obligated to march.

I don’t regret marching. It was an experience I suppose most kids should do. Years from now, when I’m wiping snot off my kid’s face as he/she is watching the balloons inflate, I can tell them I marched in the parade and it was fun. Then I can perpetuate the cycle and let him/her freeze their buns just so they can tell their kids they marched.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Everyone I know watches AD, so who are the TV ratings sample population?

I rarely agree with Dalton Ross or anyone else from Entertainment Weekly but I agreed with him 100% when he said,

"It's kind of depressing, actually. All people keep talking about is how dumb and predictable network sitcoms are, but when they actually go and put an original and somewhat complex comedy like “Arrested Development” or “The Office” on the air, nobody tunes in."
-- "TV Review." NY1. Dalton Ross for Entertainment Weekly & NY1. 21 Nov. 2005.

The post where I state my fondness for Craisins.

I like Thanksgiving. I like the premise. We generally forget that we should be thankful for things. Although it has turned into a holiday known for gluttony (yes, Black Friday is part of Thanksgiving, too), it’s nice to know that ‘Thanks’ hasn’t been fully removed from Thanksgiving.

During this time, things get hectic for most of us. For me, my workload increases which only makes my holiday to do time frame that much tighter. I’m actually taking it in stride this year. Dave and Judy will not be able to make volunteering so this Thursday will be an intimate dinner for two which makes my prep work less labor intensive. I’m knocking two items off my Turkey day feast and will not have to make fish stock or chop pumpkin.

I should be done with my prep work Wednesday night and still have time to bake an apple pie for dessert Thursday. I only have 4 presents left to purchase and I plan to pick out our tree next week. I’m still debating on holding a New Years Day brunch. I’d like to but I may be too pooped to prep.

Work hours have extended again. 9-7 is my schedule for the last week. I’ve been coming home too pooped to think about holidays, yet somehow, I’m slowly going through my to do list. Once I get my tree plans done, I’m going to focus on the cards so I can worry about the annual cookie bake off.

I bake cookies for everyone and Lrudlrick believes I go overboard. Personally, I think a box of homemade cookies would be a nice present for a mailman, but apparently, Lrudlrick thinks he’d be happier with something else. Since rules prohibit monetary gifts, what else do you give the postman and delivery person? I can’t be the only New Yorker that gives cookies out.

Anyway, the point of today’s entry is not to state how busy I am but how I am thankful that I am busy. I’m not sure if idle hands are the devil’s workshop but I do know that idle minds make trouble. A clear example is The Cat in the Hat. See what happens when you’re idle?

Aside from the given (Lrudlrick, my family, our health, the roof over our head), this year, I am thankful for the following:

1. Being busy
I know I’m always searching for downtime but I know I’m fortunate to have a job and personal life that keeps me running around.

2. My sight
My first 20/20 vision movie and it was Harry Potter in Imax. I know on Imax, I don’t need 20/20 vision. I haven’t missed squirting solution into a white cup searching for an invisible lens at 8 in the morning. Again, if you can get this done, get it done. You will not believe how free you feel. Unchain yourself from the lens case!

3. Dried cranberries
These things are awesome! I’m addicted. I’ve eaten a handful every day for the last few months.

4. The brilliant weather we’ve had
Ok, today my hair looks like a bird made it into a nest but until the middle of last week, we’ve had some lovely weather days. Sure we had the rain soaked weeks in October but a little rain isn’t a bad thing.
Oh, my friend’s father has a theory that global warming is shifting the seasons so that actual seasons begin a month later. So far, it’s been holding true. Let’s see how long winter lasts.

5. My UPS delivery guy, Omar
Without him, my Christmas would be even more chaotic. Omar, you the man.

6. FreshDirect
Without you, I’d be hobbling back with my granny go cart complaining about the lack of variety at my local market.

7. My Woolrich Down Pillow
The little sleep I do get is thanks to you, my friend. Thank you. I promise to keep you tucked in the duvet so P-man won’t use you as his royal mattress. Is my dog the only dog that takes pillows off the couch and bed to use as a mattress? He will sometimes wait until I lay a pillow on the ground for him to curl up.

8. Father Pat
He left for Japan in September but I’m very grateful that I had the chance to meet him and receive his guidance. He has taught me to be more patient, more compassionate and more simplistic. I know that the parish in Japan are very lucky to have man like him.

9. Snausages
Without you, giving my dog the horse pill for her allergies would be near impossible.

10. Everything good and bad that has happened in my life
I know that sounds hokey but every now and then we hit a point in our life where we realize what we have experienced has lead us to where we are now. It may not be where we want to be but we are who we are and what we make of what we have, little or a lot, is what matters. I’m at this point again.
Listen, I can watch our president doing a Midvale School for the Gifted and understand the symbolism of the locked door in US/China relations and still find it humorous and not get worked up about it. Life is good. Shit happens but tomorrow is another day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

My only winter hat makes me look like Mushmouth.

Mother Nature woke up and told Heat Miser to head South. The first snowfall hit Buffalo yesterday and thus entered Snow Miser. I don’t mind the cold really. What I abhor is the wind. In NYC, the skyscrapers cause a tunnel effect on certain blocks causing wind velocities to increase. In short, I get blown all over the place.

When wind picks up and the chill factor increases, I have a difficult time steadying myself in my heels. Last night, I regretted not wearing nylons under my trumpet skirt. I huddled at the very corner of the bus shelter praying a bus would make it’s way up Broadway quickly.

Every winter I encounter a dilemma: winter weather gear. I have more gloves than I can count. I have several scarves to keep me warm. What I don’t have is a hat. I had a hat. It was a beautiful cozy hat but I lost it. Every year, I tell myself I need to go buy a hat. Every year, winter comes and I’ve forgotten to get one.

Why don’t you just go out and buy a bloody hat? It’s not that simple. I’m a vain individual when it comes to my hat. Now, if there is a snowstorm, I have no problem putting on that one piece head scarf, I look like a ninja hat Lrudlrick bought me two winters ago for Christmas. I just can’t wear that thing under normal winter weather.

When I walk the dogs, I wear any old hat I can find. I honestly don’t care what I look like when I walk the dogs, so long as I am relatively toasty and my hands are accessible to pick up poop as needed. When I go to work though, I can’t very well walk in with a ski-mask.

I’m like the cute little knit caps that everyone is wearing now. I just can’t justify $20 for a knit cap. Banana, I don’t understand how you can justify $40 for yours. I’ve paid $25 for my spring/fall bucket hat, but that’s a bucket hat. You want me to pay $20 for what essentially is a newborn stocking cap!

Does H&M sell winter hats? Anyone know an inexpensive place to buy a simple winter hat?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. or how one blog entry can highlight my dorkattitude.

I dated this guy once who swore my mother was Yoda. He actually thought this would be a compliment to her. How do you tell your girlfriend’s mother she looks like a 1000 year old puppet with ear hair? Needless to say, we didn’t last very long.

I don’t know why Yoda popped into my head but the last few weeks, I’ve seen enough stupidity and hate that I think I need to buy a talking Yoda doll and keep it on my property.

There was the crazy lady on Trading Spouses that rebuked everything in the name of Jesus. My favorite scene in the episode was when Hippie Dad asked her how she could dislike something that God created. Then there was the neo-Nazi Olsen Twins article I read. Everyday, someone comes up with another way to hate that shocks me.

Perhaps I’m naïve but I’ve always had it in my mind that living beings have a predisposition towards good. For example, pit bulls aren’t born mean. I’ve known many a pit bull that was loveable, huggable and an all-around softie. Heck my second dog was a pit bull. His name was King and he was my dad’s dog. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t have the affinity towards dogs that dog owners should have. Dad was like the 8 year old who wants a puppy but doesn’t realize the commitment required of a dog owner. King was a softie that scared the crap out of my mother and all 50 lbs of me. I was and still am the runt. I was the poor schmo that had to sit on the floor Indian style and hold the plaque up that said your grade and teacher. I think I was more scared of the king size poops he produced than his actual size and lanky gait.

Now I’m not saying I walk around like Elle Woods thinking all pink stars and caribou but I’d like to think that the guy on the train next to me drooling on himself and picking his nose is generally a nice guy with synapse disorders. He’s not harassing me or any other passengers. He’s staying to his seating area and his conversation with his imaginary friend is with his inside voice.

My MIL thinks the complete opposite. Her job puts her in the line of many people who have been found guilty by a jury of their peers. She doesn’t live in New York City but she did for nearly 20+ years of her life during the crime laden era. In her mind, NYC equals a soup bowl of evil. She’s forever asking us to leave and move. Apparently crime doesn’t happen in rural towns. I’ve told her time and time again that we’re not moving to a place where our rotting corpses wouldn’t be found for months, maybe even years. If I need to hike a mile to borrow a cup of sugar from my neighbor, I’m staying put. Honestly, I’ve never ever knocked on my neighbor’s door and borrowed sugar. Their door is less than 20 paces from mine and I’ve always walked the two blocks to the bodega. I wonder what the reaction would be from my neighbor if I did knock on his/her door. “Is the bodega closed?”

Truth be told, for a person who enjoys the 20,000 people per square mile aspect of NYC, I really don’t socialize with many of them. The number drops drastically when you discount the ‘Heys’, ‘the hand wavers’ and the dry cleaner, the pizza delivery guy, the mailman and the UPS guy.

When I first moved to our neighborhood, I made a concerted effort to remember names. Honestly I did. I wrote them down with notes and everything. Then I subsequently lost that notepad and have since been doing the, “Hey……. You.”

My favorite people that I meet are the nodders. The nod says, “Hey, I know you but we don’t need to talk.” I’m fine with that except in elevators. For some reason, in my apartment elevator, I feel the need to talk to whomever is in the elevator. Maybe it’s a nervous tick. I sometimes pray the person getting in will get off on the first two floors. The shorter the trip with the stranger, the better. The first two floors allow for the nod from both parties and then a brief stare at the elevator door until their stop.

Once I pass the third floor, I have to say something. I can’t just stare at the door as if the wood paneling is all that interesting anymore. Usually it’s a pithy statement. Yesterday it was “It’s a small priority.” What the hell is a small priority? I meant a low priority but like the ass that I am, I said small priority. In my defense, the gentleman’s floor was coming and I felt I needed to finish my statement before the doors opened which would have forced him to stand between the doors until the conversation was completed. So the pressure got to me.

What was the small priority, you ask? The floor buttons in my elevator are supposed to light up when you press them but for 2 months now the light for my particular floor has been out. So when strangers go into the elevator with me, it looks like I haven’t pressed a button. Some people ask me what floor but others, mainly elderly look at me like I’m some thug who is waiting for the doors to close to mug them. Honestly, I know there are tough Asian chicks but would a 5’3” petite female mug you in Rossi stilettos? Unless we’re in a movie and I’ve handcuffed you to the bed, naked and blindfolded, you won’t need to worry.

The gentleman in the elevator inquired why I didn’t tell the super of the broken light. I could have gone on a rant about how I told the Board President but decided to answer with a short, “It’s small beans.” That’s when my synapses misfired and I said, “It’s a small priority.”

I’ve heard of deals brokered in elevators. I’m not one of those people. I’m the dorkus who loses all verbal skills and leaves the fellow rider with some pithy, unintelligible comment. That’s why I always race to be the first to say, “Have a good evening.” I don’t want to end the conversation with the awkward comment. I need to end it clean. It’s as if I hold my breath when I feel the elevator suddenly stop on the designated floor. I wonder if the anticipation is on my face. Tonight, I have to watch my face in the security mirror. Would that make me appear stranger than I already feel in an elevator?

Courtesy of Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, it ain't, but that's alright with me.

We’re at our half way mark for NaNoWriMo and I just want to offer encouragement to all those participating! You can do it guys! Keep up the good work. In the words of Tony Little, “You can do it!” I only have one tip for you guys, Ctrl+S. Save and save often.

Remember how I said I’d like to try to keep things simple this holiday season? I have to confess that I say this to myself every year and every year, it’s never simple. It’s not difficult. It’s just not simple. I’m not complaining though. Mothra thrives on this. In my past life I must have been a caterer or something involving large get-togethers. Hey, that’s what you don’t see often, Caterers to the S&M clientele. Maybe I should look into that. I can make spreadable tables and sexual desserts.

Well, now, I’ve got this brilliant idea to invite Dave and Judy over to share our Thanksgiving Day favorites dinner. Why? Well, they may be joining us in volunteering on Thanksgiving. Plus, I’ve had this recipe for Pumpkin Stew for years and haven’t had anyone to taste test it with. I know this is purely selfish and in no way altruistic. I know stew doesn’t sound so Thanksgiving-like but come on people, our Thanksgiving day meal isn’t historically accurate either. Unless you’re living in a forest, twigs, berries and some root vegetables is not our idea of a feast.

So I’ve been grinning from ear to ear as I flip through my notes on ingredients and wondering if I will finally attempt the Pumpkin Stew. In the words of Justin Long, “I’m super-psyched and ready!”

On the menu is Roast Turkey Breast, Garlicky Mashed Potatoes, Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Chestnut Stuffing, Homestyle Creamed Corn, Cranberries in a Jar because everyone loves that jiggly stuff, Southern-style Biscuits, Glazed Almond Carrots, Apple Pie and if Dave and Judy pop by, Pumpkin Stew. Wow, that’s a lot of orange. Maybe I’ll skip the carrots.

Since most of my morning and early afternoon will be volunteering, I’m planning to make foods I can make easily and if possible beforehand. Pretty much everything except the turkey, mashed potatoes, biscuits and pumpkin stew can be made in advance.

Oh, and I almost forgot the turkey loaf for the dogs. This is where you begin shaking your heads. Yes folks, for Thanksgiving, I also make my dogs a turkey loaf. Essentially it’s a meatloaf with turkey sans onion and garlic. Hey, until I have children to spoil, my four-legged kids are getting the affection.

Turkey loaf began when my MIL decided to bring 3 of her 4 pooches with her to Thanksgiving dinner. I swear, we should have taken a picture with all the animals that packed our 1 bedroom apartment. If I didn’t know better, I’d expect to see us on Animal Precinct next to the lady with 300 cats in a studio apartment.

To keep the dogs from begging and bothering us at the dinner table filled with goblets and fine china, I made mini-turkey loafs for the dogs which kept them occupied for a large chunk of the dinner.

Since then turkey loaf has been a semi-tradition. One year I deviated to pumpkin cookies but that didn’t keep them at bay as long as the loaf.

As you laugh and shake your head, I’ll also let you in that I buy Christmas presents for them as well. I know they could care less but everyone in the house should have a new toy. I’m sure many do this too but can you say you have paw stockings on your mantle? Yes, I’m one of those crazy people with paw stockings.

Every Christmas, the dogs get new squirrel toys. So far, I’ve been able to purchase distinct squirrels each year. This year, I found a chew squirrel that squirms around. You pull something on it’s butt and it zig zags around the floor for a few seconds.

If you could see how many squirrels they have in their toy bin, you’d laugh. After a usual romp, you can expect to see at least 3 squirrels, a tennis ball and a pig hoof in our living room floor. To Lrudlrick’s enjoyment, some squirrels are missing their squeakers. Others have eyes missing. It looks like s CSI: Central Park crime scene in my living room.