Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why is it.....

Dear Clothing Retailers,

I feel the need to comment on the selection of "plus-size" clothing that is out there in the world. What is it about the words "plus size" that make you think either: a, big, bright colors, b: weird embellishments that aren't flattering, c: bizarre, old-lady styles that even old ladys wouldn't wear or d, all of the above???

I went shopping tonight for something suitable to wear to a business meeting next week, as all of my suits are in a pre-baby size. I came up with bubkis. Low-cut, bright green sweaters don't exactly scream "business attire." Neither do navy blue skirts appliqued in anchors. (Hey....what's THAT implying?) And I do not need collar jewels, front ties on pants or 70's print caftans, either. These little weirdo embellishments aren't necessary to remind a girl that she's in the plus-size section. Trust me, she already knows. Some of us are professional, 20-30-40-somethings that need something decent to wear to work as teachers, managers, receptionists and a slew of other things. Short, halter-style floral dresses and midriff-baring t-shirts don't exactly fit the bill. So if you would, please, find some decent clothes for those ladies who would like to shop in the plus-size section with a little dignity.

And catalogs---you're on the hook too. You shouldn't call yourself a plus-size catalog if you use models who clearly aren't. We'd like to have an idea of what we'd REALLY look in that dress or leather jacket, not guess that if the tall, slim brunette looks good in it, we will too.

It's nights like these I'd like to learn how to sew....

Orchids and Onions

Some people have a talent for singing, or dancing. Or for acting, writing, fixing stuff, etc. My talent is a cracker-jack memory. I'm like a sponge, I take it all in and hold onto it.

I read an article a long time ago that became relevant this week. The article was about a woman who, when she is dealing with the outside world in retail or customer service, strides to comment on good things as much as bad things. (Which has to be difficult, because when something bad happens to you that is customer-service related, you tend to tell ANYONE who will listen to your horrible experience!) If it was good thing, she would write a letter to a supervisor, etc, and call it an Orchid letter. An orchid is a beautiful, fragrant flower. If it was was an onion letter for well, you get the jist of things. Silly way of putting it, but I kind of liked the idea at the time.

So for a positive change, I would like to share an orchid experience. I was shopping last weekend with Brian, Will and my friend Maureen. We were in a craft store, and I was pushing Will in his stroller. I was turned away, looking at cross-stitch kits when I heard a loud SNAP!! I quickly turned around and Will had been sitting in the stroller before, and was now reclined in it. Upon inspection, we discovered that the plastic clip that holds the reclining mechanism had broken in two, sending Will backwards. He was ok, thank goodness. I however, was incensed. That evening, I composed an email to the stroller company, telling them what happened and that I was upset about it because it had broken and the stroller wasn't that old. Not only that, they don't sell a replacement part for the broken piece. Within 24 hours, they had sent an email back apologizing for what had happened and that they were glad that my son wasn't hurt. They also went on to say that since what happened was not our fault and could not be repaired, they would gladly send me a stroller of my choice for only the cost of shipping and handling! ($25)

I have to say, I was totally prepared for a fight. But they took the wind out of my sails and surprised me by taking care of it without a hard time. So now I am happy to be a loyal customer of a company who stands behind their products, and to tell people about my experience!

If you really want to know the name of the company....send me an email. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Classics Challenge

My first Blog Challenge....taken from Lost in a Good Story!
I love, love, LOVE to read! I've been stuck in one book or another since the second grade, and I have no intention of stopping now! I'm a bit of an overachiever when it comes to books too, like in junior high it wasn't enough to read the minimum five books on the school reading list, I had to read as many as possible. (Go ahead and say it---Nerd!)

"Deb from the A Novel Challenge yahoo group posted a link to this list of Entertainment Weekly's list of new classics, what they call the best reads from 1983 to 2008.

So the challenge rules are:
1) Copy the list and bold the titles that you have already read.2) Choose at least 6 other books from the list , read and review them between 1 August 2008 and 31 January 2009.

2) Come back here and post links to your reviews.

3) In January 2009, cast your vote for which one of the 100 books on the list is your favorite (and write a post on why).

The New Classics: Books
The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

And now for my six challenge books.....

22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)

36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)

60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)

4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)

41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)

94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday Fun!

We had a great day today. First, Karen came to visit and brought her kids to play with Will, and Auntie Moe came over too! The kids all had a fantastic time coloring and playing with Will's toys while the three of us caught up on each other's lives for the past few years and reminisced a bit about good old Salve Regina. Will had a great time with Julianna and Kevin, and was sad to see them go! I have to also say that Kevin was soooooo cute, with the way he copied his Mama saying "Hello Little Man" to Will and giving him hugs!

Later on came the best part....meeting up at the Cheesecake Factory with a few more Salve girls...Shannon and Kim! Add drinks, dinner and of course cheesecake, and it was a night to remember. Thanks for such a fun time girls, hopefully we get to do it again sometime!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Let the Savings Begin!

Our attic is finished!! The insulation company spent the day yesterday spraying big piles of fluffy, itchy pink insulation in our attic. Brian took a look and said that it's a sea of pink up there, and you can't even walk in there anymore. I personally have never been in the attic, so I will have to take his word for it. You see, our attic doesn't have a ladder entrance, and it's in our basement stairwell so you have to "shimmy" the walls. No thanks!

Today the insulation company is doing under my family room, where there is no foundation. It's always been pretty chilly out here in winter, now this year it will be nice and toasty. And I can already feel the difference in temperature! The temp outside right now is 74. Usually at this temp, it's hot, humid and gross in the house. Today I have the slider open and the ceiling fan on and it's so pleasant. Now I just can't wait to see some savings on my over-$300-a-month oil bill!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rainy-Day Music Man

Will and I are hanging out at home the next couple of days, as our daycare provider is on vacation. Today I brought out a music set to have something different to play with. My boy plays a mean maraca! The set has a snare drum too, but sadly, we can't find the sticks. Maybe not SO sadly!

We're stuck in the house the next couple of days unfortunately. It's going to rain quite a bit, and also we have a contractor coming in to insulate our attic. There's not a whole lot of insulation up there, and that makes for not only chilly winters, but really hot and humid summers. Oftentimes, it can be bearable outside and totally unbearable inside because the heat doesn't really have anywhere to go. I've learned a bit in the past few weeks about insulation and energy savings. Hoping this job makes our oil bill just a little more tolerable during the winter months!!

This Friday is going to be a lot of fun! I'm meeting some college girlfriends for a "Salve Girls Night" in Providence. Good food, good drinks, good times! I haven't seen a couple of them in a few years!

Sleepy Music Man. I LOVE how he's holding onto the toy dangling from his crib mirror!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Stitch in Time..... can find blogs on almost any subject, huh? I've bookmarked some new stitching blogs to read. Mostly I can just gaze with envy at these other women's projects!

I love to cross-stitch. Actually, that statement doesn't do it justice. I love to take embroidery floss and create something so beautiful like a wedding record, Christmas ornament set, etc... I've been doing it for about either years now, and I'm just as hooked as I was back then!

I first learned to cross-stitch in 2000. Anyone who spends a snowy winter in Central New Hampshire knows that you need to find a hobby because you get stuck in the house, a lot!! Back then, I could afford the time to cross stitch all day if I wanted. And I often did, on the weekends. I had to stop that kind of daily stitching because of sore wrists and fingers. Now, I go through spurts, I'll do it every night for weeks, then put it down for a month. I've mentioned before that I am not a very patient person. Stitching is one thing that has definitely taught me patience, to sit and concentrate on something like that takes patience and I've been able to build up to that over the years.

Right now I am working on a wedding sampler for my brother and his fiancee. I won't post a picture just yet....I want the design to be a surprise!! My next project I believe will be a Christmas Tree Skirt. I've had it for years...and I've been putting it off because I believe it will TAKE years! Hopefully I'll be able to finish it in time before Will is moving out to a house and a Christmas tree of his very own!

Here are some photos of past projects:

A wedding record I made for my friend Maureen, November 2005

Finished sampler for my mother-in-law, January 2001

This snowy village hangs in my living room. Despite its winter theme....I love it so much that I keep it up year-round! Finished March, 2006.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Totally Random!

Just for the heck of it, thought I'd post some random facts:

1. I'm a member of the Preemie Club. When I was born I weighed 2 lbs 2 oz. To give an idea of how small that is, my son at birth outweighed me at three times that and a little more. And people called him a small baby!!

2. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are supposed to be the ultimate kid food. I absolutely despised them until I was pregnant, and still will only eat one if it's on toast.

3. I adore office supplies. Especially multi-colored pens and post-its.

4. I truly think life would be cooler and obviously easier, if we all had magic a la Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I mean....point your finger and laundry washes, dries and folds itself? Sign me up to live in The Other Realm!! :) (I also read somewhere that Melissa Joan Hart, the actress that played Sabrina, is now writing a potty-training blog about her oldest son, Mason. I'd love to check that she's missing the "magic" now!!)

5. I've had sun poisoning twice. And it was absolutely awful, both times. I love the beach....but the sunshine soooo doesn't love me!

6. My dog, Joey, is a rescued Sato dog. And it's true what they say....he picked us, we didn't pick him. I'm very proud of adopting a shelter pet!

7. Favorite vegetable: butternut squash. Oh........I love this stuff.

8. I'm pretty versatile. I'm comfortable surrounded with a group of biker enthusiasts, and I can fit in with a group of nuns I'm having lunch with at their convent. As a matter of fact...I can be mistaken for a nun at the convent. ( i used to have a few nuns living at the senior housing site I managed, they invited me for lunch one day. One of the superiors mistook me for a person interested in becoming a nun, I forget the word for it. Anyway...I'll never live it down!)

9. I'm generous to a fault, I give and give and give. Time, an ear, random And oftentimes find I haven't left much for myself. Only recently has this become a problem.

10. I'm not what I'd call a patient person. But I've learned how to be by learning how to cross-stitch. That takes an awful lot of patience! And I really love to cross-stitch.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boo-Boo Bubby

Will has a lot of tumbles, now that he loves to run so much. Usually, he trips and falls, and bangs his head and cries a little. Most of the time he just rubs his head and keeps on running, or if I scoop him up, is mad that he's not doing what he wants. Today is a different story. Brian was talking to me as I was getting out of the shower, and Will came running with his toy cars. He tripped over Daddy's foot and WHAM! went headfirst into the towel cabinet. So he has a bump and big cut over his left eye. He was really, really upset! We rushed around, trying to soothe him, putting a band-aid on and icing the bump. He's doing better now, nothing some couch time with Daddy couldn't fix. He hates the band-aid, so maybe the Curious George ones I bought will make it easier. :) Now we just finished with some kiddie pool time and are sharing popcorn while watching "Cars." Now, THAT'S the thing that will make it all better!
In other news, Will now knows how to talk on the phone. I put Daddy on the phone with him the other night and he said Hi, Car, Daddy BUBYE!!! It's the cutest thing ever. He has also taken to saying "Hi, George!" to Curious George in his books. That boy.....I love him so much, a little more every day!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Real Life

I am shamelessly stealing this blog idea from my friend Karen. She said it wasn't her idea either though, so I have no idea who I'm really stealing this from. :) But anyway....The topic of this "Real Life," according to her blog, is "Momentous Occasions" and I'm supposed to share photos of momentous occasions in my life. So here goes! Sit back and Enjoy.

This is Brian's proposal, on May 14, 1999 at my college Commencement Ball.

College days.....some of the most fun I've had in my life!

My Mom's own graduation from college....I was so proud!

The arrival of our sweet baby boy, William James

Baby's First Christmas

Will's first trip to the beach....Wells, ME

Will's Christening in Philadelphia. Posing with his godparents, his Uncle John and Aunt Patricia

Posing with my friend Jen and her daughter, Will's girlfriend Livvie Lu

Aunt Beth with our favorite Flyer's Fan

Our Little Family, in Lincoln Woods last month

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I re-arranged my schedule to take Will to the beach today for some summer fun, just the two of us!
After our last experience, I was a little gun-shy to go to the beach. You might remember that there was no swimming the last time we tried due to high bacteria levels in the water. But it ended up being the absolute PERFECT beach day! We went to a different place this time, a little beach a couple of towns over that I had never heard of. It was pretty hot out, but definitely cooler by the water at the little beach we went to. I almost scrapped the plans after playing a game of "Who's More Stubborn?" with Will. (Will: "Mama, I don't like my bathing suit or swim diapers. And what is this spray you're torturing me with!?") I'm glad I stuck with it though, and I think Will decided the aforementioned torture session was worth it!

Upon getting to the beach, we meet up with a few other moms from the playgroup we belong to. Will was a little unsure of the water at first, but then his inner fish came out and he loved splashing and walking around with Mama. But the sand was by far his favorite! He loves to fill a pail with sand and dump it. Mostly, he likes to walk around the beach and pick up other kid's toys. Other kids' toys always are more appealing than your own, right??

We stayed for two hours and then it was back home again, where an instant bath was definitely needed for all that sand and sunscreen. And then a 2 1/2 hour sleep off all of that fun!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"What Not to Wear"

I have a new guilty pleasure. It's 'What Not to Wear" on TLC. I know, this show is nothing new. But I'm always the last person to get into something that everyone is already interested in. For example, I've discovered the beauty of iTunes in the past year or so, and I got into "Sex and the City" not until at least the second season. American Idol hasn't sparkled into my world yet, but when it does, I'll let you know!

Anyway, What Not To Wear." An unfortuntate-dressing frump/weirdo/mess/sometimes all three! has friends and family that hate how they dress. So they get nominated to go on the show, bring their entire wardrobe for the two hosts to criticize and then trash. Then the person gets to go shopping (!) with $5K (!!) in New York City (!!!) for a new wardrobe. They get a hair and makeup makeover. (I've only seen ones with women so far, but I GUESS men could get makeup done too!) Lastly, there is a big reveal of "The New You" to friends and family. What's not to love?? The hosts can be a bit mean and catty. But some of these the chick that accessorizes everything with fairy wings!!! Or the woman that wears pinstriped pants that not only don't fit anymore, they're held together with safety pins! To work! This stuff is just delicious fodder. I'm excited all over again for our DVR and reruns. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Word about Motivation...

I came home from playgroup today and Brian was in the kitchen opening the mail. He asks me, "Wanna hear the bad news?" Apparently our town has seen some of the towns surrounding us having their residents pay for special trash bags in order to have their trash picked up, and likes the idea. In about a month, we will have to use their special trash bags at $.75 a bag, and purchase special stickers for bigger items (like a couch) for $10.00 apiece. Ugh!

When I think back about some of the things Brian and I have thrown away (both honestly and covertly!) I shudder at the thought of how many "stickers" we would have needed. Then Brian asks me, "When's the next day that both of us are off that we can attack the basement and get rid of anything we don't want?" time like the present! Nothing like the threat of paying for trash removal to motivate you to clean out your basement, the most dreaded task in the chore world.

My basement is like a store. Kind of like Babies R Us, for the most part! There's a ton of baby clothes, diapers, swing, toddler bed for later, etc etc etc. Nothing I want to get rid of because eventually we'll have another baby. But the other's kind of like looking at The Pit of Despair. Musical instruments, craft items, electronics, and well, a bunch of crap that one doesn't know what to do with. Like college textbooks. Or goalie gloves. Things you might need someday, but not stuff you want to see everyday. I know I could have a yard sale, but I don't want to lug all that stuff into my yard to have people hem and haw and think I'm selling it for too much and try to talk me down to a quarter for a book I spent $24.95 on. So I'd rather give it away. I posted a bunch of stuff on Freecycle and already have some takers.

Freecycle is pretty interesting. You post stuff you're offering, or stuff you're looking for. The rule is that it has to be good, useable stuff and it has to be free. I've gotten a file cabinet, raincoat for Will, (there were none in stores) and a hand mixer. I've given away countless things. I know I know, yard sale. But the stuff is out of my house, and that's what matters to me!

So, Brian and I worked for two hours, filled four trash bags and culled a bunch of stuff into a Freecycle Pile. We're on deadline, people! :)