Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Location: MA, United States

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Chuck E.

I am an insane person.

I willingly strapped myself into the Volvo with J, E, O & J's infamous friend, SB this morning, and headed off to see the famous pizza schilling mouse. No, not Mickey, he sells dreams and long lines and exorbitantly priced admission to theme parks; I mean Chuck E. Cheese!

I managed to squeeze in a few rounds of SkeeBall, and the kids racked up 486 tickets, which were promptly spent on absolute garbage. O toddled around, grinning at all the flashing lights, and pressing all the buttons that lit up - he's such a star. (Of course, he's not napping again today, so that sucks, but you can only have so many good things in a day, I s'pose...) We stayed for more than two hours, and consumed terrible pizza and SB didn't like any of the bad food, and I didn't cry once! I am so brave!

The truth of the matter is that I'm exhausted, crabby, and sick to death of SB, but I'm trying to stay positive. On a random Friday at the end of March, CEC is pretty tame, and the kids all had a good time. Due to the unseasonably gorgeous weather here in Boston this week, I wish we had a proper yard; then I could kick them all outside. Mais alors, non. We only have the street - quiet enough to play on supervised, but if I take them out to play on the street, I can't hear the monitor for the baby's room. Damn the brick construction! And poor Maurice in his Elizabethan collar can't go for dog park romps, so we're SOL on that front, too. Boo.

This weekend I'll be seeing my old friend Al and his fiance in NH - time to taste cake for their wedding, the first of two I'm doing this year. Concord should be nice in this lovely weather. Too bad Mark is too busy to come along... Someday we'll have the time to get away together. ::sigh::

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Someone's In the Kitchen with Mary

Someone's in the kitchen, I know-oh-oh-oh-oh
Someone's in the kitchen with Mary Poppins,
Strummin' on the ol' banjo!

I could go into the whole "singing fee-fi-fiddly-i-oh!" bit, but I'll spare you. Good moods after a prolonged period of misery are like drugs. I feel really.... up! I mean, I still have a cough that would put consumptive Gilbert Blythe to shame, and my tissue usage is still above average, but I feel better than I have in a week and a half.

So, I'm in my kitchen, cooking up our Pasta Wednesday (oh, the triteness of me! where's Anthony?) with Maurice, singing about Dinah and the ol' banjo. You know I'm happy when the campfire songs come out from the rock in my memory under which they live. O slept five hours today, and when he awoke, it was like a tiny sun had risen over us all. Now if the older two would only magically have to go back to school several days early.... I wonder could I work something out with the administration of B-&M-?

J finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on the plane home from their ski trip, and he and I were s'posed to rent the movie today while his little sister was out on a playdate, but the tiny neighborhood video store in Beacon Hill only had one copy on DVD, and it was rented, so we saw Chicken Little instead. Actually, pretty cute.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Need A Boozinizer

Yep, it was that kind of day. The cold/fluish thingy that I've had for a week now, O has with a vengeance, and it's making me crazy. He can't sleep, he's exhausted, and today, just for kicks, he cried from 4-7 pm.

Now Bob, from the eponymous discount furniture store, is offering me a Bobinizer with my bedroom set for only $499... He says I can use it as a Boozinizer, a Boomboxinizer.... well, let me tell you, I needed me the Boozinizer!

Now, with my Harry Potter jones satisfied by watching "Goblet of Fire" last night, we're watching bad NBC sitcoms, and I have nothing to watch or read. I'M BORED with my usual media addictions. Boo.

And our Mental Patient Pug hasn't got an off switch, and he's only making my Boozinizer issues worse.

Oh, and I'd really like to win the lottery. The one for which I rarely buy a ticket. That's not going to work....

Monday, March 27, 2006

Still Rolling Downhill

Lost another 3.6 at this past week's meeting - since that stood for three weeks work, it wasn't tremendous, but we NEVER say boo to losses.


Oh, How I Have Been Ill!! and other Miscellany

I sincerely tried to write this into a stirring Early American Ballad (who's been watching The Carter Family on PBS?, but I just don't have it in me right now.

I've been miserably sick since Sunday, with the worst of it on Tuesday and Wednesday, and lingering symptoms and malaise trainling me into Boston this morning. Sick sucks, and I'm particularly bad about it. There were a few years where I had an Immune System of Steel, but I think that that was when I was working out four times a week, watching my eating habits, and otherwise behaving like I was invinvcible and immortal. Who would have thought that staying out late on weeknights and drinking too much was a great way to stay healthy?

But now, I'm on the mend, sleeping without the assistance of CVS brand generic NyQuil, down to five or six tissues as opposed to half a box a day...

Our friends Odin and Nikki were in town this past weekend, with their dog, Scout. We had a delicious dinner - I outdid myself! Roast beef tenderloin, marinated all day in EVOO, balsamic, and a secret garlic/herb blend... Skin-on mashed potatoes with a Vermouth, shallot, garlic and horseradish reduction, made with plenty of butter and milk... and brown sugar glazed baby carrots. Oh, and homemade, double cream, espresso ice cream profiteroles. I am a dinner party goddess! The only thing missing was the presence of our friends L&T, who had another social engagement that night. We missed you!

Maurice went in to be neutered on Friday, so he's sporting a smart elizabethan collar to keep him from chewing at his stitches. He's pretty pathetic, and yet, pretty funny! Stitches come out next week... By then he should back to his old naughty self.

Today marks the first day of the second week of spring break for the monkeys, so I'm home with them for the week, and longing for next week, when I'll be back to my regular routing with O. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Five Things About Cleveland And A Hat

In the spirit of being the best houseguest EVER, I came down with a monstrous cold at J's house. Yesterday was spent recovering in the comfort of my bed and my couch, complete with late afternoon Jane Austenian fever-break. Tres dramatic.
Here are five belated observations about the greater Cleveland area:

1: Ohio has concealed carry laws. Guns. Carrying concealed weapons is LEGAL there.
2: Managers in fast food restaurants check on the diners (ie: "how is everything, ladies?")
3: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is in a RED STATE.
4: I-90 is toll free!!!!
5: Property values are SO low. It makes me almost want to live there.

I finished my hat on the plane out there, and then didn't like the size, so frogged the top and finished it again. Now I'm totally happy with it! Yay. I've frogged the scarf three times. I want a skinny scarf, but I don't like the look of the basketweave with my yarn, so maybe wide ribs? I'm thinking about it...
Still recovering from my cold, but I'm hoping I'll be OK enough for my trip to IKEA tomorrow with my Mom.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Cleveland Rocks!!!

There. I said it.

Friday, March 17, 2006


I feel like a fool... A naive, green girl in a world of women...

I paid $8.79 for pasta and sauce last night.

This all begins with a lack of organization and forethought and ends with me running into a certain neighborhood grocery here in Beacon Hill to grab some pasta and a jar of sauce for our dinner last night. Silly me. Now, I know there's going to be a price hike due to the small retailer and the neighborhood in question, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make under these circumstances. So, I go in and grab a box of orechiette and a jar of chianti and mushroom sauce. In Framingham, I can get a pound of dry pasta for $0.69-1.69, with orechiette falling towards the high end, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. Did I look at the price tag? No. Our usual Newman's Own sauce runs about $2.49 a jar, and some of the pricier brands are as much as $4.49, so once again I figured I knew what I was getting into. Did I look at the price tag? No.

The cashier rang up my pasta: $2.29!!
The cashier rang up my sauce: $6.39!!!

Tax= (yes, tax on groceries!)$0.11!!!!

I was too flabbergasted to react then and there - which ultimately saved me much embarrassment, but I have been stewing on this ever since. I should have gone to the Stop&Shop.

Penne at S&S: $0.89
Newman's Cab Marinara: $2.29
No tax at the grocery store....

Dinner = $3.18

Peace of mind: Friggin' Priceless!

What really bothered me? That after buying dinner last night, I didn't have enough money for a latte this morning.
I'm pathetic.

In KnittingLand, I frogged my scarf, and started over, adding a ribbed end and a stripe, in order to better coordinate with the hat. I should be all set for the trip to Cleveland in the morning!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

When knitting, pre-kindergarteners, and the TSA intersect

To provide a backdrop for today, I should mention that I've been trying to save a little of my cash by not spending $3 a day on lattes at Starbucks. That said, today, due to a wormhole on the Pike, I got into to work 20 minutes early, so, "Caffienate Me!!!" I cried!

I go to the same Starbucks all the time, the staff has been pretty consistent over the last year, and the manager prides himself on knowing his regulars. This morning, after standing in line with 15 other people for five minutes, I approach the counter, and the manager grins from the bar, and says, "Mornin', C--. Tall nonfat latte, 1 Splenda? Got it already," and puts my hot latte on the bar. I fork over my $2.78 before taking the drink, ignoring the evil eyes I'm collecting from people actually waiting for their soy mistos, half caff vanilla lattes, and americanos. I am known, people, and this simultaneously amuses and disturbs me.

On to the intersection mentioned in the title.

Yesterday I went to Windsor Button and bought me all the needles and whatnots for my hat and mittens adventure. I already told you that. Well, I caved and started the hat. One day off from the afghan, now I'm back on the wagon. I promise. But, oh! The excitement! The thrills! I cast on to dpns!!! (Knitting jargon, please ignore if you don't knit). First time ever using them, and it was great. I felt like a natural. I did the ribbing, and added a stripe into the stockinette when I knitted it onto the one-size-larger circulars to finish the body. So, there I am knitting away, when E says, "How come you're using those wooden kind for the hat?" (Note: my afghan is also on circular needles, but it's on Susan Bates aluminum ones in shocking pink! E likes them) When I mentioned that it was easier to take the wooden ones on the plane, she nodded sagely and said, "Make sure you wear your slip-on shoes, too, in case you have to take them off. I always do."

Out of the mouths of babes, no?

I'm leavin' on a jet plane, for Cleveland, in two days! JZ, here I come!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I've Been Tagged!

VJ-S apparently does hate me, because she tagged me with this little bit of time wasting this morning. I'm going to post my answers here and send it along to anyone I can think of who might need to break up their day...

Four jobs you have had in your life:
1. retail clothing sales associate (never again!): Eddie Bauer, Marlborough, MA, and Kisses', Worcester, MA
2. camp counselor (Go Green Eyrie!): Camp Green Eyrie, Harvard, MA
3. theatre tech, campus tourguide, admin. assisant, performance usher (simultaneously): Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
4. pastry cook: Langham Hotel, Boston, MA

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Sixteen Candles
2. The Breakfast Club
3. The Princess Bride
4. tie: When Harry Met Sally & Edward Scissorhands

Four places you have lived (other than my current residence):
1. Worcester, MA
2. Harvard, MA
3. Middebury, VT
4. Somerville/Medford, MA

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. West Wing (preferably seasons 1-3)
2. Scrubs
3. Gilmore Girls
4. Smallville (guilty pleasure with Mark!)

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Hawaii
2. Barbados
3. London
4. Venice, Florence, Rome (same trip)

Four websites I visit daily:
1. crazy aunt purl
2. (to check in on the knitting world in boston)
3. burger of the month
4. baptism of fiber

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Vosges Haute Chocolat Naga truffles
2. The Filet Mignon Rossini at Harris' Restaurant
3. spicy tuna handrolls with tempura crumb at Oishii Too
4. underripe bartlett pears

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. home with Mark and Maurice and Lola
2. on Maui
3. the big winner's press conference for the Mass Lottery
4. on a train in Europe with Mark

Four friends I am tagging that I think will respond:
- No one...unless you are really really bored (I stole this from VJ-S)

Four friends I WANT to respond who generally don't have the time or are not on the computer (or are just way too important/fabulous):
1. Tracy
2. Lex
3. Yseult
4. Jason

In Knitting News
I went to Windson Button this morning and bought all kinds of hardware for hats and mittens. I'm going to learn this summer! and I resisted buying yarn!!!!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baby Yuppies and Alpaca Scarves

VJ-S once told me I should post all of my knitting on my blog, and now (if she's still reading) she hates me! I wore my fabulous Innaugural Project (you can catch a reference to it here) today. I made this scarf in October, from Reynolds "Blizzard" in color # 661, it's a 65% alpaca/35% acrylic blend. It's yummy, right? Soft and fuzzy, not scratchy, warm as all get-out! It's just cast on 15 stitches and garter stitch for a million feet. Ok, so really it was about 8 feet when I knit it up, but it stretches to almost 10 feet. Insane! I did it on big, chunky (size 11?) beginner needles, but since I bought the yarn on Newbury Street, it cost a gazillion dollars. No more of that! I am a Windsor Button Girl! In fact, I may go there today. I need me some circular needles and yarn needles, and because I'm a little yarn whore, I'll probably buy some yarn, too...

O practiced being a tiny yuppy today. His preferred toys this morning were a rinsed out Starbucks cup and a defunct cell phone - now discarded in favor of a nap. I managed to get a picture with the cup, but he kept dropping the cell phone and reaching for the camera ("Oooooh! Shiny!) Silly baby. At least I got one that only shows his profile so I can post it. had some image loading issues today. Not psyched about that, since I have all these fabulous pictures... I finally had to host them on my long ignored online storage facility link to them. Poo. I'll try to get them up on the page soon.

6:30 PM: So, as you can see I got two of the images up, and in the process broke the links to the other two. Just can't win ::sigh:: today.... Will try again later.
8:45 PM: Did try again, with more success. Enjoy!

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Monday, March 13, 2006

More knitting!

I haven't got anything interesting going on right now. Only that I was so excited to have my car back that I was PSYCHED to be on traffic on the Pike this morning. Pathetic.

In knitting news, however, I started my Magic Scarf, using my loverly Takumi #8 bamboo needles and a skein of hand spun, hand dyed yarn from my Aunt Nan in Mio, Michigan. I have another skein; maybe I can make an Easy Roll Brim Hat?
The best part about this new project is all the help I'm getting from Maurice. He's really diggin' on the hand spun yarn. It still smells like sheep, I'm sure. (Pugs love to help, and they love the smell of the sheep - knitting is the BEST!)
Another cool thing is that while the yarn itself is kind of scratchy, but it knits up, it's fairly soft. Bonus!

My afghan is coming along. I knitted like a wee fiend yesterday and today, and got more than twenty rows done. Maybe I'll even get it done by Easter...


Saturday, March 11, 2006

My First Knitting Related Post

We just brought my VW home, and all bets are off! The friendly folks at Maaco actually detailed my car for me! Part of the large sum of money I spent, I suppose, but a nice unexpected touch....

Now, on to the ressurected knitting project. I started this afghan in October, nominally as a Christmas gift for my brother, future sister-in-law and niece. Clearly that hasn't happened yet... It's meant to be 4'x6'. Right now it's 39"x45". Close-ish, right? Well, the width I can't add to for obvious reasons, but I'm plugging along at the barely 4 feet of length. I'll get there. I SWEAR! And when I'm done, I'm going to try blocking it, as inspired by the fabulous Crazy Aunt Purl.

For those of you who knit, I'm using Malabrigo Uruguayan Merino, worsted weight, in "Alpine Pearl." It's handpainted, which accounts for some of the crazy color variations. I'm using US#8 circular needles. The actual pattern will be forthcoming. I promise!


When the Pets Drive You Out of Your House

Ah, Maurice. You thought we'd abandoned him or sold him to gypsies, right? No no... He has been here all along, and recently he has be "helping" Mark with a few projects. These radiator covers are for a Back Bay client of his, and they're ready top leave Mark's workshop and go out for priming and painting. Maurice helped by providing scale for Mark's archival pictures of the project. And he brought his mangey duck, Quack, along.

Now, here in our household we are equal opprtunity pet parents, and allow both of our furry family members to "help." Largely, Lola is a behind-the-scenes helper; often helping me with knitting projects by swatting at my needles and clawing my yarn. She does, from time to time, however, get involved in home improvement. Such as the time she modeled the diningroom for us during a particularly crucial phase.

Such helpful animals. Now, if only they'd both leave me alone! It must be the springlike weather. They're both being ginormous pains in the ass! Lucky for Maurice and I, I have to rake leaves from last fall, so the lawn doesn't rot, today, and lucky for Lola, I can open a window for her, and she can watch the Nature Channel Live Edition.

Because I'm a dummy, and didn't call to pay for my car repairs, I can't go pick my car up now until Mark gets home from work. Will there still be daylight for me to clean my car? Those of you who talked to bookies about the wager might want to switch your bets, since the odds in my favor may have actually increased to ten gabillion to one that I won't get any car cleaning done today.

I'm off to get some yardwork done before I do murder (REDRUM!) to one of my pets.

Friday, March 10, 2006

You're A Drunk Baby!

O likes to take his bottles like a man these days; a casual one-handed swigger of Enfamil, He! (Yo ho ho and a bottle of formula!) So, he sat his little tush down on the kitchen floor, bottle in hand, took a great big, sucking swig and promptly fell over. Not hard. Just over. He sat up, grinned up at me, and burped.

Clearly drunk on comfort proteins or something like that.

What Is Idle Prattle For?

Woe is me!

My iBook's batteries were dead on the train this morning. I had George Lucasesque plans for a conclusion to my "Real Commuters Blog on the Train" series. It was gonna be great. I was thinking about getting some of my fellow commuters to dress like Ewoks.

Maybe on the way home?

My car will be home tonight! My Precious VW will be good as new. I'm even inspired to take advantage of the impending warm snap and .... WASH MY CAR! I know. You're shocked. If you've ever been inside my car, you know it's a hole. I have a secret trash problem. I toss all trash onto the floor of the backseat. When I cleaned it out before taking it to Maaco, I found three latte cups from Starbucks, two cores from what may have once been apples or pears, reciepts from gas and groceries dating from the Iron Age (or Before We Bought the House), and a bag full of miscellaneous fast food containers, including a Cinnabon box from our trip to Bar Harbor, ME, to bring Maurice home. ("Memories... In the corner of my mind...."). I'm contemplating a full Windex and Armor-All Fest. Odds are about four zillion to one that I will blog instead of washing my car. If you care to place a wager, I'm sure someone who knows about gambling can set that up.

So, earlier today Baby O figured out how to get the Banana Crackers out of the box. Commence snacking! Banana crackers are a Gerber toddler snack that dissolve upon contact with saliva, thus making them safer for the newly self-feeding, and when this unholy union of cracker and saliva dries, it forms a bond that rivals SuperGlue, rendering garments unwearable due to a crust of dried Banana Cracker and Dust Cattle. I'm psyched for the clean up....

What does it say about my mental state today that I let him make a spectacular mess out of crackers, and didn't care a whit? He was happy, and he's been cranky all morning, so if this mischief will bought a few minutes of not carrying him around frantically bouncing my left hip and humming, so be it.

T-minus 7 days until my rockin' trip to the metro-Cleveland area. I really can't wait to hang with JZ. She's the wonderfulest. She's so wonderful, I don't even mind getting up at 3AM in order to make my flight!

Seeing as how it's one of those steely gray days, damp and not as warm as you want it to be, that remind you why you hate early spring in Boston, I'm going to curl up with a trashy novel involving a pirate and an English widow and wish for some Calgon to Take Me Away.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gas Mask Lady and Trash Man

Sounds like a Ben Folds song to me...

An IM with my aspiring actor friend in LA reminded me of some of my early MBTA woes, and since they were entertaining at the time, I thought I’d share.

When I first moved to Boston, fresh from Addison County, VT, and the grey stone halls of the College on the Hill, I lived with a former high school classmate in a third floor apartment about 3/4 of a mile from Davis Sq, Somerville, and everyday I walked to the T and rode in to Copley Sq. to work.

My first week of work, I was reading on the train ride in, and when we stopped at Harvard Sq., I saw an older woman get on the train. She backed onto the train, pulling a rollaway, and I was struck by her just-from-the-beauty-parlor helmet hair and her vintage Chanel suit. She was wearing a faux pearl bracelet and classic black pumps. Her stockings had seams! She looked like a super classy Cambridge grandmother on vacation. Then, she turned around. What I hadn’t seen was a full gas mask strapped to her head. It looked almost as old as she was, circa 1940’s. I saw Gas Mask Lady three more times, each time impeccably - if outmodedly - dressed and coiffed and accessorized with her gas mask.

Trash Man was a regular at Davis Sq. when I was there. We must have kept similar hours. He was an average grubby vagrant whose specialty was hauling around several industrial sized bags of rancid garbage. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being near the dumpster of a major hotel or restaurant, you know the kind of smell I’m trying to conjure. Besides the extraordinary rankness of his luggage, he was remarkable for his manners. He was polite and sociable, even funny and friendly some mornings, and not in a crazy-guy kind of way either. He was just a nice, dirty man with lots of stinky garbage. I never knew what to make of him. I always said good morning, and he always smiled. Often, I’d wait for him to offer to share some garbage, his manners were so flawless. Thank my stars he wasn’t that nice!

I guess my suburban commuter woes aren’t so bad, after all... The worst character I’ve encountered this week was a fellow victim of yesterday’s malarkey who said, “Fuck!” a lot. He made me think of Quagmire, and I kept waiting for the “Giggity giggity.” I’m a sick woman.

Bad Things Come in Threes: Home Invasion Edition

Recently I’ve been at the eye of a storm of break-ins. First, a dear friends’ apartment was broken into, they took a laptop, a nice backpack, some jewelry, a digital camera, and one other beloved item... Then, just a few weeks ago, a thief was caught coming out of the home I work in. Now, my Grandmother-In-Law’s home has been invaded. Luckily for all involved, no one was home - thus everyone was safe, and nothing of extraordinary value was lost. Still scary, though.

I sincerely hope that bad things do come in threes, so we can all put this trio behind us.

I'm Gonna Get You: Baby Laughs and World Peace

Yesterday, O and I played a great game of “I’m gonna get you!” He’s discovered the joy of persuit. I brandish my tickling fingers and crouch down, whisper, “I’m gonna get you!" and off he goes, as fast as his fat baby feet can carry him, giggling maniacally. I follow, shuffling my feet and wiggling my fingers menacingly until I “catch up” with him. He is then promptly zerbitted, which sets off more fits of baby laughs. I should work on a way to bottle baby laughs. They’re almost impossible to resist, and I believe if statesmen and politicians and religious leaders were exposed to them more often, they could work out their differences with less strain.

Real Commuters Blog on the Train, Part 2

It'’s time to get back inside my own head, and take some advantage of my situation. Here I am, on a train full of folks I don’t know, and will rarely ever see again, and probably never be friends with. Time to sketch them for posterity!

I'm parked at the table seat in the center of the upper concourse of the car. The gentleman who just sat down catty corner from me is slightly paunchy with thin hair that's slipping up off his forehead like a hat that's too small, He'’s wearing a plaid button down in a grassy green, tucked into blue jeans that are slung under a considerable beer-style gut. His belt gives me a moment of pause. It’s a black leather belt, but with a double tongued buckle and silver rivets over the holes. It's the same belt my punk girl, super-stylish pal T wears. His gaze over the screen of his laptop is squinty. He's breathing through his mouth a little, parted lips revealing crooked but otherwise inoffensive front teeth. His whole face has a pudgy hangdog look. While his hair is dark, and graying just a little behind his ears, his eyebrows are bushy and ginger colored, and he tucks his chin down contemplating his computer, throwing his double chin into harsh relief. His hands are dry, and he has a peeling cuticle on his left middle finger, but his nails are clean and nicely trimmed.

There's a suburban power couple in the table seat opposite us. The suburban power couple is slightly different from its urban counterpart. Less stage presence, and less glossy finish. She's slim, quietly dressed in a gray suit with a lightweight cabled turtleneck sweater in cream. Her hair is wavy in a structured way, and leans toward dirty blond between highlighting sessions. She purses her lips while she reads. She's reading the Metro. Her shoes border on frumpy, and her glasses, while not unattractive, are plain, and a little librarianesque. She wears little or no makeup, and her skin's in pretty good shape. He’s got a large chin. His hair looks like Steven King's did ten years ago, shaggy and black, salted with gray, and his glasses are a man's version of hers - manbrarianesque? Frameless lenses with brassy earpieces. He’s much more casually dressed, wearing a half zip pullover and fine wale cords in navy blue. Sort of professor-chic. His loafers look like they've been around the block. He's reading a more significant paper. I can't tell if it's the Globe or the NY Times. Definitely not the WSJ. Double income, no kids? Or maybe children old enough to get themselves out the door? They don'’t converse.

We’re gliding along through Wellesley, and I think I'll read for a while.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Battles and The War

Follow up: The express dropped me at Back Bay just after 9:30, and I hauled my cookies north and east the 9ish blocks to work. Lucky for me, there was a backup at the Doctor's office, and O got home after I got to work. I win! The MBTA may have won the battles, but I won the war!

Real Commuters Blog on the Train

God, I feel like a commuter this morning. A real commuter, not one of the schlubs on the Pike in their SUVs. I’m taking the commuter rail from Framingham to Back Bay station (as I’ve been all week), listening to the Shins on my iPod, clicking away on my iBook - looking like I’m actually doing work.

What am I doing? Maybe I’m writing a grant proposal, or a corporate memo? Maybe I’m working on copy for a webzine? Maybe I’m a writer or a journalist, catching up on some work during the commute? It’s kind of fun to step outside myself, and wonder what I look like to the other people on the trains.

I think it’s clear I’m not a banker, lawyer, or other scary corporate type, since I’m in frayed jeans, a sweater, and my bashed up riding boots, wet hair from the shower in a braid... I could be just about anything else, though, and how many people will guess that I’m a nanny, on my way in to Beacon Hill for a day of shuttling kids around and playing with a one year old?

Except for being dependent on the whims of the MBTA (more on that later), I like taking the train. I’ve always liked passive transit. Don’t get me wrong. VW says, “Drivers wanted.” I’m there. I’m a Driver, but it’s hard to be a Driver when you and every Camry and Lexus SUV are going 40 in a 65, weaving like psychotic bumper cars, jockeying for a poisition in a lane that will guarantee you get to the toll booth before someone - anyone - else!

It’s nice to be able to sit and look out the damn window, just knowing that you’re getting to work wothout a hint of stress.

Unless, of course, you’re me today. You see, I have a bone to pick with the MBTA on this gorgeous, sunny, and frozen March morning. Due to doctor’s appointments for two out of three of my monkeys, I didn’t have to be at work until 9:30, so I planned to take the 8:15 train. Easy, right? Well, let’s begin with me being a bit if a flake and forgetting to leave the house on time... Ooops. So, I was going to miss the 8:15. No problem, there’s an 8:30, and I’d still be on time to work.

Mark and I pull into the station at 8:20, and lo! there’s an eastbound train idling at the platform. As I’m opening the car door, the conductor looks at me, and at the man running down the platform to get to the train, and pulls away. Would it have killed him to wait an extra 30 seconds? Perhaps.

No worries, right? There’s still the 8:30 train, right?

At 8:30, on the dot, the train that’s been idling on the westbound side of the platform, starts up and heads.... EAST! It was the damn 8:30 train, and despite the folks congregated on the proper platform, no one bothered to make a last call for the train headed to Boston, from the Worcester-bound platform! Would it have been so hard for a conductor to call out to all of us waiting where we were supposed to wait, that they were departing from the wrong side? Perhaps.

After a frantic call to Mark, who finds out the next train is an 8:53 express, and a frantic call to the kids’ father to let him know I will be late, I seethed on the platform until the 8:53 arrived, on the correct platform, at 8:58. If I weren’t safely on the train, speeding through Wellesley, I’d be certain I wasn’t meant to get to work today.

Almost time to pack up, since we’re approaching Back Bay at about 65 mph, maybe a little faster. Yay express!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Back on the Wagon Again

The passage of time since I last blogged from the scale is shameful, and somehow indicative of my committment to the whole WW program. I'm crawling back on the wagon, clinging for dear life - and panting because I'm back on the treadmill for the first time in months. Phew!

I can't seem to progress past the first five pounds; it's like I'm plateauing really early on, and I'm yo-yoing constantly. I thought maybe adding some physical activity might help. So three times on the treadmill this week is the plan. Also, since I'm taking the train into the city more this week, I have 15 minutes of walking twice most days. Maybe we'll actually see some results?!


Trying Not to Snack as a Hobby

When snacking departs from hunger and arrives at boredom, anger, frustration, pain, fear, celebration, or hobby, you know you have a problem. I've known this for more years than I care to admit, but it doesn't seem to matter when the snacky foods are singing their siren song... So, I'm back to blogging as a distraction. Back to journaling and getting back on the treadmill, and hoping to break out of my rut and shed some of my wife-fat.

O hauled in quite the sack of gifts last night, and enjoyed his Carvell Ice Cream Cake, even if it wasn't CookiePuss... He's kinda freaky, no? The only thing missing was a party hat. Do kids not do party hats anymore? One birthday, I don't remember which, I had a Kermit the Frog themed party, and we all wore green Kermit party hats that were the standard cone shape with an additional Kermit head/face, and had frog arms and legs made of accordioned crepe paper. They were hilarious!

I hereby form the Society for the Preservation of Party Hats (or SPPH for short)!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, O!

Baby O is a baby no more. At least on paper. He turns one year old today. He got his first real haircut over the weekend, and his carseat now faces forward. That's more milestones than you get on most birthdays...

I have to confess, I'm a little sad about the haircut. There's something very... grownup? about the angles and clean lines of a little boy's haircut. You see a ghost of the man they'll be in their face, cleared of wispy baby hair. I swear even the texture is different - though that is more likely attributed to the layering of the cut than to some cosmic shift in his age... I guess I'm being maudlin in a maternal way.

Of note, MOMP will be takin' it to the streets of Rocky River, Ohio come the 18th, to visit La Diva JZ in her politically charged home outside of Cleveland. "Who takes a Spring Break long weekend in Cleveland?" you might ask.. "I do," say I.

My VW is in the shop this week, having a little facelift from the unfortunate incidents in August and February, so I'm stuck relying on the kindness of my husband and the ever so friendly and timely folks at the MBTA Commuter Rail. ::sigh:: Our driveway looks empty.

Lastly, the painting project in the DR has begun. I primed everything on Saturday, and Mark plans to install trim and beadboard wainscoting while he working at home this week. Hopefully, I'll be set up to do the final coats of paint on the walls and trim over the remainder of my Spring Break. We might actually get the DR done by the anniversary of our move-in day! Whenever we get it done (which, of course, excludes the bamboo flooring, since that has to wait for more rooms to be remodeled), there will be before and after pictures. It's kind of staggering...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Sound of Chewing

Sunday morning, watching The Soup on the DVR... desperately wishing that the breakfast fairy would drop in for a visit. The dog is chewing on a bone and a rope.

Our house is very messy and we have no groceries.

Lord, we're pathetic.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Let the streetwalking begin!

Today, I'm stuck on a Windows machine, and I'm reminded of why I made the switch back to Mac last year. Windows sucks it.

Today, I'm also dogsitting. I'm still marveling at Mark's cleverness. He was s'posed to be working a half day at home today, so we called off the dogwalker and that should have been that. But no, his often jackass boss decides to send him off to a jobsite. Then he says, "Well why don't you take Maurice, and then when I get home I can sand the plaster. Then you can get it primed this weekend." In one exchange, he's off the hook for the dog, and I'm set up for a weekend of labor. Boo. On the other hand, we're going to save some money, since he'll be home most of next week, so we won't need the dogwalker those days either.

O's sleeping, the Pod is playing on the LR speakers, and Maurice is trying to get the peanut butter out of his bone, so I get some free time. Since I left my trusty iBook at home, it looks like I'm stuck on the Dell here at work. Eeeeew. I did have time, though, to peruse the pages of the Restoration Hardware spring collection.

I would be their whore for furniture.

They have a sofa, a bed, lamps, rugs, all exactly what I want for our house. Sadly, they want many thousands of dollars in exchange. Let the streetwalking begin!

Having woken up thinking it was Saturday again this morning, I find I'm a little dull. I think I'll just go back to my book until O wakes up or the dog has to go out.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

He Shall Be "fryPod"

AppleCare and I are best friends 4eva!

Yesterday I had a little incident with my iPod... I plugged it in, and there was a sickening snap, the screen flashed, and it had breathed its last... there was no reviving it, resetting it, restoring it.

I fried my iPod. Yeah.

It's digital soul was gone to wherever good little iPods go... (here I envision a land in reverse coloration, dark silhouettes dancing with little iPods in their silhouetted ears against a sky in primary colors)

So, I made a concierge appointment with my local Genius Bar, and I trucked O and I east along the Esplanade, around the Museum of Science, and into the CambridgeSide Galleria, home of the nearest Apple Store. They checked my power adaptor and firewire cable, then checked the Pod itself. Three minutes later, I was signing the paperwork for the exchange, and leaving with my factory refurbished Pod.

In honor of his fallen comrade, he shall be "fryPod," and he shall be a good Pod, in tradition with the family plan.

Off to register the little guy.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Needles and Wire!

Six years of working with kids will give you a jaundiced perspective on a lot of things, but today I am reminded of one of my favorite gripes - overdone gifts.

J's 7th birthday was last Sunday, and as is only fair, his siblings got a few gifts, so they wouldn't feel left out of the unwrapping fun. I support this wholeheartedly. The trouble is, the kids have a Great Aunt (GA) who has always sent inappropriate gifts, most often gifts that are too advanced for the recipient. The most recent chapter in this saga arrived yesterday, and was awaiting me upon my arrival this morning. GA gave E a jewelry making kit - the kind marketed towards 'tween girls. It requires super fine motor skills, patience, advanced reading skills, and knot tying. She's four! Of course she saw the kit, so she knows it's hers, and wants to make jewelry, but she has the patience of a gnat - and frankly the handiwork requires a lot of understanding of how jewelry is contructed. I'm shocked there's no sautering! This translates to me having to read all the complicated directions, prep everything, and then help her string beads that her fingers can barely pick up. Grrrrrrr! There are needles and wire in this kit. Needles and wire! Does the Demon Barber of Lime Street need needles and wire, scissors and clear nail polish? I think not!

She would have gotten more pure enjoyment out of an activity book or a nice set of markers.

So we started with a ribbon and bead bracelet. That was about all she could handle. The waiting for string to seal with nail polish, or the idea of twisting wire into specific desired patterns is far beyond her right now. I'm just annoyed because I ended up having to do all the work, which isn't very fun for her. (never mind me)

J is being walked home today by one of the moms at the bus stop - a very cool mom (we'll call her VCM) who's got the best job ever. She's a private concierge. People hire her to be available to them for concierge duties: theatre tickets, catering, reservations, transportation, house/dog/kid sitting, having their pied a terre in the city clean and stocked when they get there, that kind of thing. How does one develope a clientele for this kind of work, and how can I get into it? Sounds like a good next step for a retired nanny. And I will retire from nannying when this family no longer needs me. My adventures with Drool Man in Allston were enough to turn me off from other families forEVER.

So VCM is walking J home because O's naps get all screwed up on Wednesdays and he's finally asleep. I hate having to wake him up for trip down the block in the freezing cold. Happy!

Now E is playing with her sparkly "My Little Pony" Play-Doh. Much more appropriate for a four and half year old than needles and wire.

In personal news, my brother-in-law the chef is back on the market. That's all I'm saying.

Enjoy your over-the-hump day.