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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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Anything Goes, A Review and More Than A Little Nostalgia

I went back in time on Saturday night, while being anchored fully in the surreal and now. Nearly sixteen years ago, in the spring of 1993, I was a chorus member in Worcester Academy's production of Anything Goes. While it was not my best role (that would come the next year, as the vampy, navel-bejeweled Courtesan in The Boys From Syracuse, but it's another story for another time), it was, by far, the best show we did in my four years there. Tap dancing, big numbers, brass in the pit, slapstick, gambling, drinking, mistaken identity, stuffy English guys, bawdy humor, romance; Anything Goes has it all.

Two years later, in the spring of 1995, along with classmate Jack Yu, I was the co-recipient of the inaugural Cole Porter Award in performing arts. Porter, as we all know, graduated from WA in 1909, and went on to be portrayed on film by Kevin Kline in 2004. He also wrote some music and stuff along the way.

So, if you've done your math, you know that this year marks the centennial of Cole Porter's graduation from my alma mater. In his honor, they reprised Anything Goes. They threw a per-performance dinner on campus, which included a tour of their recent installation of Cole Porter memorabilia. How could I not attend? I brought my mom as my date, because she appreciates such things.

For me, it was a unique mix of then and now. I knew the book, I knew the choreography, the blocking, the music, and sometimes, as I was watching the show, I was actually simultaneously seeing/hearing my friends who played those roles sixteen years ago. All the nostalgia aside, here's what I thought.

On the whole, the show was great fun, and a credit to both musical director/pit conductor Donald Irving, as well as director and Worcester area legend Bill Taylor. The pit orchestra, comprised of local professional musicians, including WA's own Al Vaudreuil, was top notch, and supported the cast with style. The costumes were a delightful surprise, with a student design crew, and in most cases based on authentic period patterns.

Nightclub chanteuse and self-proclaimed evangelist (saving "sinners" in a siren's red dress) Reno Sweeny, played by senior Sally Stempler, is a plum role, and Ms. Stempler deserved it. Her vocals were strong and nuanced, as was her presence on stage, and she delivered the choreography with grace. Liquor soaked Yale man, Eli Whitney [Leonard Kaminski], was winningly portrayed, as was financially troubled socialite mama Evangeline Harcourt [Abigail Small]. The show was, however, unarguably stolen by Evan Fonseca's gangster with a reluctant conscience, Moonface Martin. Fonseca hammed it up, visibly enjoying the role, and his comic timing and delivery were fantastic.

The only real trouble with the production was that, like many high school shows, it only ran for three days, and the rest of the '93 cast couldn't get there to see it.

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Angry Dreams

Last night I dreamed that I spilled rice pilaf on Angelina Jolie. We were in a crowded theater for a screening of her new movie. I was trying to avoid a crowd of teenage girls who were following the teen idol to whom I was giving a tour of some campus. In the next segment of the dream, Angelina had secreted herself in a Lexus which was subsequently packed with explosives, and driven into a pond, so that the explosives would make the pond deeper. (Yes, I think she might have still been inside.) There was another sequence wherein our car broke down on a deserted road, and a stranger offered to go into town to buy spare parts for $300. Meanwhile Felix (aged ten years in the dream) was criticized by the local mothers for writing a song which disparaged god. I screamed at them all to "GET THE F!%& OUT!" That just before the alarm went off.

I think I need to relax.

Any thoughts?


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


La Famille MoMP spent the recent long weekend in the woods of Maine. We went up to stay with Mark's aunt and uncle, who live in Peru, Maine. Mark was hanging some cabinets for them, so I had nothing to do but enjoy myself and lookout for Felix. It was great. I did neither cooking nor cleaning (except for tidying up after the monkey and doing a few dishes), and it was blissful. I also spent an afternoon with an old, dear friend and her husband, son, and cat (who leads a double life as a feline assassin and spy), in nearby Turner, Maine. Our sons are about eight weeks apart, so they're approaching the point where they'll be able to play together. For now, we at least got them playing in the same room!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Real Post Is Coming Next!

Gentle readers, I know you are tired of lists and getting-to-know-yous. But I am flooded by memes on Facebook and email, and I swear one is going to walk up to me on the street and ask me for 42 Dark Secrets from my Past on of these days (hey! maybe I should start that one up?).

Now, for every one of these I actually post, I've been invited to participate in three more. It's epidemic... or pandemic... or a pain in the ass? I'm not asking anyone else to do it, but they sometimes amuse.

Anyway, I got the "Name" Needs one recently, and had a good laugh. I goes like this (if you're lucky enough not to have been "tagged" or mass-forwarded), you Google your first name followed by needs (Hepzibah needs, etc), and post verbatim the first ten hits that come up.

CDG needs facial surgery after collision. (no, thank you)
CDG needs help with middle name. (I actually like mine)
CDG needs to avoid being a one idea pony. (hrmmm)
CDG needs bike security lesson. (maybe, it's been a few years)
CDG needs to being some sunshine back. (let's do it!)
CDG needs a new genre. (yes, one that doesn't include memes!)
CDG needs a new trick. (tying cherry stems with my tongue's not trashy enough?)
CDG needs to get off [her] arse. (YES!)
CDG needs to REPENT. (ok, this is likely true if the Christians are correct)
CDG needs an ass. (no, no I don't. I need to get rid of mine)


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Was It A Lie?

Here it is, another weekend meme post. For those of you who haven't put it together yet, I wasn't with my internet connection this weekend, and I set these up to keep you occupied until we are reunited.

The What Does Your iPod Say About You? meme, in which you put your Pod on shuffle, and skip to the next song to get your answer:
Since, mostly these just come out as lame, I've struck out the dumb ones, leaving the oddly coincidental answers for your reading pleasure.

What do your friends think of you?
Forever Is Tomorrow Is Today - David Gray

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say;
Color In Bloom - Percy Hill

How would you describe yourself?
7 - Prince

What do you like in a guy/girl?
Sea Legs - The Shins
*ok this one's kinda funny...

How do you feel today?
Sissyneck - Beck
*it's possible...

What is your life’s purpose?
The Shining - Badly Drawn Boy

What is your motto?
Pushover - The Long Winters
*I hope not!

What do you think about very often?
Today - Poe
*true enough...

What is 2 + 2?
In Repair - John Mayer
*Enigmatically possible

What do you think of your best friend?
Roads - Portishead

What do you think of the person you like?
Young Lust - Pink Floyd
*ok, the person I like? the person I like-like? or maybe the guy I married? this meme is totally created by teenagers

What is your life story?
A Pretty Girl Is Like A Pretty Girl - The Magnetic Fields
*oh, iPod, you flatterer!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lately - David Gray
*is my iPod asking a question back to me?

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Waltz (Better Than Fine) - Fiona Apple
*again, the person I like? if I interpret this one as a desire to dance with him...

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Spies - Coldplay

What will they play at your funeral?
Love Can Make You Blind - Every Mother's Nightmare
*only if Ari can find my junior high mix tape, "700 slow songs"

What is your hobby/interest?
Life Is Sweet - Natalie Merchant

What is your biggest fear?
Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
*eeek. iPod, you're oddly correct

What is your biggest secret?
Ringfinger - Nine Inch Nails
*so wrong, it had to make the cut

What do you think of your friends?
Kiss - Prince
*only my hot friends ;)

What will you post this as?
Was It A Lie? - Sleater-Kinney
*done, and done.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm getting soft in my old age. In honor of today's celebration of canned, freeze-dried, commercialized, too-sweet chocolate-dipped romance, I give you a meme about my marriage:

And now, a marriage meme:

  • How long have you known your spouse? since July of 2002
  • When was your engagement? October 17, 2003
  • When were you married? June 11, 2005
  • How long did you date before you were engaged? do the math :)
  • Where did you meet your spouse for the first time:? At Christopher's in Porter Square, Cambridge, but we'd spoken before we met.
  • What is your spouse’s full name? Mark William
  • Do you have any children yet? Yes
  • How many? 1, Felix, 18 months
  • Do you have any house pets? Yes, cat, Lola, 2 dogs, Maurice & Amelie
  • Do you own a house or rent? Technically, we don't own it yet... but we pay the bank every month :)
  • Do you live in the country or town/city? Suburb
  • What is one of your favorite activities together? Movies
  • Do you have a favorite vacation spot: so far, Maui
  • How many siblings (including in-laws)? 5, we have three brothers between us, and 2 are married.
  • What church do you attend? As little as possible... oh, that wasn't what they meant.
  • Is this the church you were married in? We were married on a lawn by a girlfriend of mine. So, no.
  • What town is your current address? Framingham
  • Do you work or stay at home? I stay at someone else's home at work.
  • Where did you honeymoon? Oahu, Maui, and San Francisco
  • Leave a piece of marriage advice: Easy. Say "I love you" every day.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

I know there are those of you out there who suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, but I hold 13 as my lucky number, and, as I turned 13 on a Friday the 13th, I like to think that these few Fridays a year are especially auspicious (say that 5 times, fast). A friend recently pointed out that there are three of them this year, which makes '09 a lucky year for me!

It's also an especially nice treat to have a half day at work on a lucky day, and to have it fall just before February 13th, Part II. (With the exception of one year, I've shunned this holiday maniacally since junior high.) With all this luck in the air, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket?


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Freedom of Bumper Stickers

Warning! Unpretty language represented below!!

I was trying to decide between a silly meme I got via email, or a post with actual content. Instead, here's the bumper sticker I followed on the Pike this morning. It made me giggle in the "it's funny 'cause it's true" way.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ten On Tuesday: Favorite Children's Movies

This turned out to be a tougher list than I would have thought. Since my favorites change, these are in no particular order.

  • Disney's Sleeping Beauty
  • Wall-E
  • Toy Story
  • Toy Story 2
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • The original, animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
  • The Neverending Story
  • The Lion King


Monday, February 09, 2009

Rough Inspection Retrospection

To commemorate the occasion of the remodel passing its rough inspections yesterday, I'd like to offer a gallery of it's progress over the last four years. It's a very image heavy post, so just keep scrolling:

This is what the front living room looked like when we first looked at it. Bland, and with awful carpeting, but not overly offensive.
Here it is again, with the carpet ripped up and some building materials instead of a couch.
Completely gutted. Still with the old windows. Like a genius, I forgot to photograph it from this angle with the new stud walls, plywood subfloor, and windows.

Here's the original staircase (with the previous owner's sweet amps - divorced guy with braces and an electric guitar!)

Note the lack of amps and walls, for that matter...
No stairs at all!!
New stairs, and a wall framed for the built-in we're planning for coats and shoes, etc.

The window and laundry closet, in the same room, catty corner to the couch. I wish I could express the grossness of the carpeting, but it would pale to what we found underneath it later.
The laundry closet, with our new washer and dryer, before we took everything apart.
And the walls start tumbling down.
This is the same view as two photos up, the one with the two vacuums in it, after new walls and windows, and before the space was subdivided for bath/laundry and office.
Here's the same view, but with the subdivision framed, and the washer and dryer in their new homes. That's a shower stall there on the right.

The space we carved up was a big, mildly L shaped space with a chimney smack in the middle. This is the bend in the L, with the laundry to the right and the front window behind. Pre-demolition, obviously.
Here's the same space, from the subdivision wall. It's going to be a small office/library.

This happened to every wall involved in the project, but this photo was the most dramatic. Note the old post and beam style framing we found. Turns out this part of the house is a lot older than the rest of it. It's like architectural archaeology.
Here's the dumpster we rented, which Mark packed very carefully to make sure we didn't go over the top (there would have been a fee...).


Friday, February 06, 2009

Seven, Eight, and Half of Nine Were Worth Waiting Out

Big Brother J, for whom I've been caring since he was 6 months old (even while I was not his nanny for two years, I still babysat, and visited at holidays), will turn ten in a few weeks.

Ten. I know, right?

Seven and eight were rough for J and I. He and I share a lot of common passions, a relentless thirst for new stuff to learn about, ravenous consumption of books, love of dogs; we are both first children and type Aish people. I get him. Seven and eight tested my patience because he was restless and obnoxious and apparently smarter than everyone else. This is not to say it was all bad. J's really a pretty good egg. But eight stayed for a while into the beginning of nine, and I'll admit, I grew frustrated.

With ten on the near horizon, though, I'm glad I'm here. J has turned out to be, when not behaving like a typical ten year old boy (fart jokes, sister baiting, etc), a responsible, smart, good natured, interesting kid. He's for the most part, kind to his little brother and to Felix, if not to his sister (they're two years apart, what do you expect?). He does his homework and can be trusted to stay home for small time periods. He's researching dog breeds and a trip to China. He will happily help out with Felix, including putting him in his high chair and getting him up from naps. What more can you ask for?

Oh, and he gives good reading recommedations. Seriously. Biased towards young adult fantasy and mystery/thrillers, but well written stuff for the most part.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Pregancy Meme from Facebook

It seems that memes are the new blog posts here at MoMP. This one is also pulled from Facebook. I got tagged by a few friends who are moms, so this is for them. If you could (understandably) care less about my pregnancy, come back tomorrow. Hopefully the content will be more to your liking.



3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? Were were thrilled. On the second try, no less!

4. HOW OLD WERE YOU? When I got pregnant? 29. 30 when he was born.

5. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? Pregnancy test to confirm it, but I had a feeling.

Mark. Then my Mom.

I could have waited, but Mark really wanted to know, so we found out. I'm glad we did. It made some of our decisions much easier.

8. DUE DATE? Nov. 6

Awful nausea for about eight weeks, then poof! I felt like a million bucks.

10. Cravings?
Watermelon and PB&J

Being pestered about the name. We weren't telling!


14. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY? 25, and then another 6 in fluids in the last week due to hypertension, so 31.


I helped pick the date.

17. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY? High blood pressure, pretty severe edema, and arthritis in my finger joints. All very manageable.

18. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH? Brigham and Women's Hospital

19. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR? I'm not exactly sure. I had mild contractions for about 16 hours before my water broke, so mild that I didn't know I was having real contractions until my doctor explained it. 17 hours from water breaking to delivery, only about 40 minutes of pushing.


21. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH? Mark, my Mom, the nurse, and Dr. Greenberg.


23. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? I did. I didn't necessarily come in wanting the drugs, but I was so worn down by contractions that the pain meds let me rest up for the pushing. Very worth it.

8 lbs. 12 oz.


26. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER? Felix Grayson

27. HOW OLD IS YOUR FIRST BORN TODAY? just shy of 15 months


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Composer, Curmudgeon, Cat?

I was reminded just now that yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn. Relevant, you ask? Not especially. No.

It did get me thinking about my little Felix, though. When we first tossed the name around, almost two years ago, we were basing it on Mark's great great grandfather Felix. We thought, not too strange, but not so common either. I Googled it, and got a local politician, a South American football player, a cartoon cat, and The Odd Couple. These were all references I could live with. Somehow, it escaped me that a composer of Mendelssohn's importance also shared the name. Apparently that degree really is rotting away and leaching out of my brain. Actually, we get asked more offten than anything else if he's named for Felix Gaeta, the Battlestar Galactica character. Mark watches the show, so I guess that could have been a possibility, and two years ago, Gaeta wasn't the scumbaggerous traitor that he's turned out to be this season (or so I overhear from the other room while Mark's watching it on the DVR). It was not, however, why we chose the name.

Like most names that have been around a while, there are lots of them throughout history. Check out the Wikipedia page for a varied sampling.

I like his name for its meaning (Latin for "happy" or "lucky"), and its connection to my husband's French Canadian family. His generation doesn't speak Woonsocket Quebecois anymore, and most of the deep connections with Canada are lost, but we've at least tied our son to his heritage through his name.

Of course, now that he's grown into it, what other name could he have?


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Cosmos All Around!

Warning! Potentially TMI.

I went to Starbucks this morning and ordered a mocha. With caffeine!
On Sunday, I had two glasses of wine while watching the Superbowl!

As much as I love my son, and am glad I was able to provide for him for as long as I did, I am now done lactating. After just shy of two years, I can drink coffee and booze with reckless abandon! Ok, maybe not reckless, since I'm a total lightweight... but you get the drift.

I am very excited. Invite me out for drinks! I'm in! Cosmos all around!


Monday, February 02, 2009


Yesterday was my 500th post and I didn't even celebrate.

So, instead, I'll show you what my two favorite men were doing while I wrote that 500th post.
Yep. Snuggling with a pug dog. What could more celebratory?

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Football and Cupcakes

It isn't the first Sunday in February without guacamole.

Here are the cupcakes I made for the Superbowl, but perfect for Valentine's Day, if you're in to that:

Cupcake Batter, adapted from Woman's Day

3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream

Place 16 foil cupcake liners on a tray, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. Spray liners with cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Blend the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl, set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream and vanilla, then flour and mix for a minute on medium speed.
Place two generous tablespoons of batter in each liner, and bake for 18 minutes. Cupcakes are done when the tops are dry, and spring back when touched.
Top with a dollop of frosting and garnish with a chocolate covered cherry.

Cherry Whipped Cream Frosting
8 oz. sour cream
1 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
8 oz. whipping cream

Whip the sour cream, confectioner's sugar and cherry juice in a food processor. With the machine running, add the cream. It won't need long (a minute or so) to firm up, and running the machine too long will result in butter, so watch it carefully.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

16 maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry
1/2 c. chopped semisweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. shortening

In a microwavable bowl (I used a Pyrex measuring cup), melt chocolate and shortening for 45 seconds. Stir, and repeat. Let the residual heat finish melting any solid chocolate, then stir to smooth it out. Dip the cherries in the chocolate (I did three coats for extra coverage, since the chocolate didn't readily stick), and put them on a wax paper lined tray to set up. They can be refrigerated in a covered container for 24 hours.

Also, a bonus of Felix, hosting the chips and salsa portion of Game Day.