Sunday, December 30, 2007


I never make New Year's Resolutions. Because let's face it: Why would I be able to resist the donut on January 1st, if I can't today?

But I'm not saying resolutions are all bad. Please don't let me stop you from making any. (1) As a matter of fact I've decided to be extra-special helpful by making resolutions for a few people. Those are way easier to keep, and I'll help!

So in 2008 . . .

PCSguy: Will learn to properly load the dishwasher. Normal families do not need to run their dishwashers after every meal.

the left side of my brain hurts just looking at this

Spatial relations are just not this man's thing. Once we were going to the beach and we had piled the suitcases, coolers and like 74 tons of baby gear next to the car. PCSguy put the first bag in the trunk, shook his head and said "That's it. Nothing else will fit. Maybe we can tie something to the roof."(2)

Lady at the gym every Wednesday afternoon: In 2008, I think you should stop wearing your fanny pack on the stairmaster. It creeps me out.

Hollywood Writers and Whoever is Making them Mad Enough to Strike: I'd like you to please resolve to solve your differences pronto. There's only so much reality tv even I can watch, and things are getting dicey around here. PCSguy and I have been reading at night. Books. Thank you in advance.

1) Although I think you're perfect just as you are.
2) So I tied him to the roof, went to the beach and had a nice vacation.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mission Impossible

I woke up this morning with one goal in mind.


Get the fuck out of this fucking house as soon as fucking possible.

Personally I think this is reasonable. I've been under virtual house arrest for eleven days. That's a long time in a 926 square foot house with three kids who got a karaoke machine for Hanukkah. Remember when Martha Stewart was under house arrest and everyone was like "Oh that's not so bad"? They should have sent her here. (1)

Being almost forty, I have lots of experience leaving the house. First thing you need to do is choose a destination. This is way harder than it sounds. There are THREE of those little people (2) and only one of me. One just had knee surgery so nothing with too much walking. They have way different interests and little ability to compromise.

So the mall it is.

Don't get all scoffy at me. I considered other things. I thought about the zoo, but then I remembered that tiger that escaped at the
San Francisco zoo. Eli's already paranoid that the tiger wants to eat him, so that's out.

I can't imagine who put that idea in his head.

Then I thought about the natural history museum. Get a little education into everyone, try to salvage their tv-addled brains. But Eli's afraid the dinosaur will eat him.

Christmas is over, Santa's gone. Nobody's going to try to eat him at the mall.

So the mall it was. My long-time reader will remember a little bet I had with PCSguy that I could stay out of the mall from Thanksgiving until Christmas (3) so this was exciting stuff.

You know what? It was a major letdown. The kids got haircuts. We ate a couple of tacos. We admired the animal decorations. But when Eli got tired we turned tail and left. It's possible that my six week hiatus was like Phase One of the South Beach Mall diet. I no longer crave it.

But you know what else? I got out of the house. Mission complete.

Oh, and nobody got eaten. Bonus.

1) That would have worked out well, actually. That would be punishment for her and she could have helped me sort out my tupperware cabinet.
2) Did I say that already? This, extended vacation we can call it, has allowed me plenty of time to count and recount my children.
3) A bet I won.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I did over my Winter Vacation
by ShallowGal

PCSguy knows that I absolutely need a break from the cold winter air, so he booked a large fully-staffed villa on Tortola. The seven of us (1) flew business class, nonstop from DC to Tortola and spent 7 sunny days on the white sand beaches. At night, under the stars, we danced and drank and celebrated life. It was a relaxing break and we can now enter the new year fully recharged.

Oh wait, no. That's the dream I don't even have ten seconds to have (2)

What I Really Did On my Winter Break
by a hollowed-out shell of ShallowGal

The day before break began, I decided that I could not listen to Noa's coughing one more second. With $20 left to spend in our Flexible Spending Account, I dragged her to the pediatricians office hoping for extra-strength cough syrup. Instead I left with the award for World's worst mommy ever having missed an obvious case of pneumonia and as a bonus, a few extra germs for myself.

By Sunday I had a raging case of something nasty. I spent the next four days in a feverish haze, watching my home being slowly decimated by a very bored toddler in wiggles underpants and a robot mask. (3) Just as I started to feel somewhat better (Wednesday night? Wait did I miss Christmas?) Eli imploded. He spent all night puking and crying in my lap in the rocking chair.

The pediatrician diagnosed an ear infection so nasty that for the first time in my ten years as a mother, I was offered a prescription for baby tylenol with codeine (4) I spent the rest of the day doing pukey laundry while my sick children napped peacefully.

Although I spent four days eating nothing but soup and ginger-ale, I managed to gain two and a half pounds. I have a Dior Gaucho Tote worth of Omnicef, Z-Paks and tylenol with codeine on my kitchen counter. George Bailey, I ain't. My winter break sucked.

1)Me, PCSguy, all three kids, the nanny and the night nanny
2) Seriously. In the shower today I only got to shave one leg
3) Actually he did it very quickly.
4) Is this a great country or what?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

PCSguy has been, well let's call it fussy, for the past week or so. It's definitely either something at work or something I did or something that happened at the gym, I'm like 51% sure. I hate seeing my beloved so unhappy so I did what every good wife does.

I looked up his biorhythms to see what the hell was wrong.

It all makes sense now

But obviously you can't translate this information in a vacuum so I re-ran his chart with mine.

That doesn't look so good

Because I'm such a good wife (1) I decided to see if he'd be better off with Angelina Jolie:

I expected better because PCSguy looks just like Brad Pitt

Yikes. 14% compatability. Maybe I'd be better off with Angelina Jolie:

Angie and I should get together and compare tattoos dedicated to ex-husbands

See Angelina and I are both bad-asses that's why we're so emotionally compatable. But even the 45% physical compatibility should cheer PCSguy immeasurably. But just in case I ran me and Colin Farrell:

Holy Crap

But despite the obvious fact that Colin Farrell is my soul mate, I have PCSguy all nicely broken in so I think I'll keep him, fussy and all.(2)

1) As we've already determined
2)But I'll keep Colin in mind as a back-up plan:

Friday, December 21, 2007

I can put a price on anything

Two bottles of Absolut Vodka: $38.57

An 864 piece Lego castle: $19.97 (1)

Chinese food delivery three times in the same week: $135

Having a seven year old with pneumonia and a nine year old with knee surgery both the week before Christmas: $11,817.48 in medical bills (2) and 42 Christmas cookies that ShallowGal may as well apply directly to hips.

A full bottle of xanax, with 2 refills left: Priceless.

1) At Costco on clearance, is that an awesome deal or what?
2) Thus far.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Inquiring minds want to know

With a solid month of blogging under my belt and a copy of Blogging for Dummies beside me, I now feel qualified to answer some of the the many questions people have asked.

1) How do you find time to blog?
Two words: low expectations and playhouse Disney.

2) Does PCSguy mind that name?
Well that's really a question for him, isn't it now? Ooh, that's like Jeopardy, answering an answer with a question. Why do they do that anyway? Is it just a gimmick? (1) Isn't it enough that these people answer these tough questions? And have you noticed that the questions have gotten way easy? Remember when the categories used to be stuff like calculus? And hey ! Did you hear Alex Trebek had a heart attack? Maybe from the stress of having to pretend to know all the Chinese dynasties in order. Feel better Alex !

3) Have you updated your blog lately?
Hmm, that may be a question or it may be a dig. Not all of us can be EW's blog of the year. (2)

4) Are you going to blog about Jake's surgery?
I wasn't, originally, because I get all verklempt thinking about it. Plus I talk to pretty much all my readers a couple times a day on the phone. But for those lucky few who got here by googling pot-holder-drawer, here's the short version: Jake had a benign tumor removed from his leg yesterday at Children's Medical Center. The surgeon said on a scale from one to ten, this procedure was a 1.5. Jake's recovering well and will even go back to school tomorrow, far ahead of schedule.

So, yes, I get all choked up thinking about my first baby in pain, and even more so when I think about all those kids there who stay way, way longer than ten hours. But what pushed me over the edge, what brings out the mushy side of me that nobody wants to see, was the kindness of all our friends. Jake was showered with toys, books, videos, candy, cookies, homemade egg rolls. Huge cards. Calls from his teachers, coaches and friends. E-mails and IMs. Total insanity how many people love him. And way too cool. (3)

And not to knock my poor traumatized post-surgical child but do you remember the episode of the Office where Michael Scott burns his foot on the George Foreman grill and then hobbles around on crutches, even though he totally doesn't need them ? And refers to himself as disabled? I'm just saying.

1) You know, a gimmick. Like foot-noting a blog.
2) Maybe not blog of the year yet, but like every other honor you can bestow upon a blog. Well done girls !
3) But not surprising. He is one cool kid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If you thought my mind was a scary place, you should see my pot holder drawer

When I was growing up, my mom used to have a drawer where she threw dead batteries. "Just in case," she used to say. My sister and I made fun of her all the time; did she think they were going to spontaneously start working? Would she keep her dog if that died, you know, just in case?

Twenty years later I only wish I had a drawer full of dead batteries.

I read somewhere that everybody is entitled to one junk drawer. I have one in my desk. It looks like this:

If you look closely you can see my spare rubber chicken.(1)

All the other drawers in my house have a designated purpose. This drawer for example is my pot holder and petty cash drawer (2) It looks like this:

Make perfect sense too, cause you always need a pot holder to unload the dishwasher

And sure enough, if you clean out this drawer, like I do exactly once every eight and a half years you find pot holders. Eight of them to be exact.

Maybe because I have eight hands.

Ah, but that's not all Bob ! Tell them what else they'll find in the pot holder and petty cash drawer! That's right ! Two boo-boo bunnies (3) and five packs of sour ice-breakers.

Boo-boo bunny declined to be photographed for this article

Wait ! There's more ! A large zip-lock bag of combs I stole at school picture day, two unidentified screws and a small bag full of used pacifiers.

True story. Last month we were having dinner with some really cool friends at their house. Eli starts freaking out around 9pm because he's so tired. Rather than send PCS-guy home(4) for a pacifier to try to get him to sack out on the couch, we accept an old paci that our friends' daughter used. She's sixteen now. We gave Eli a FIFTEEN -year-old used pacifier rather than drag our sorry asses away from grown-up conversation and a bottle of red wine. And then Eli says, and I am not making this up, "Me get new pink paci. It must be me birthday."

Obviously my kids are going to have way bigger issues when they grow up than the contents of my pot holder drawer.

Next in the drawer: like a million packs of gum. And a pot holder that was trying to escape, bringing our total there to nine. It's like the Twelve Days of Christmas in there, because I swear, a turtle dove would not surprise me in the least at this point.

A pack for each maid a milking !

Now it starts to get scary. Yes, now. The instructions to a phone we no longer own, in a language we never spoke. (5) A dinosaur tattoo, THREE pairs of nail clippers, a tangle of safety pins and a customer loyalty card to Noodles & Co. We got 8 out of 9 punches. Not even sure they're still in business.

Ooh, so close !

Hang with me, we're almost to the bottom. A picture of my nephew taken in 2003. An unopened pack of Yu-i-oh cards. Three more combs trying to get the hell out of my kitchen (6) $1.02 in Canadian change. A plastic heart filled with puppy tattoos. Two hair bands, a lipstick, two random electrical thingees and Noa's library card.

You know what I never did find though? Petty cash.

1)Seriously, it's my spare. In case something happens to my everyday rubber chicken.
2)And by petty cash I do mean petty, like "tip the pizza" petty. So not worth pissing off the big dog, stalker-friends.
3) Boo-boo bunnies that have long since lost their ice pack and which no self-respecting 7 or 9 year-old would use. And of which the 2-year-old is terrified.
4)And it's like less than a mile.
5) Spanish

6) At this point I'd like to join them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All Done

This morning, at 11:36 am, I crossed the last item off my to-do list.

Don't be too impressed. It was last Thursday's list.

I can't decide if I expect too much of myself or if I'm just wildly inefficient. It's an interesting question though, and one that I will go consider over a glass of wine and the new People magazine. I'll let you know what I figure out. (1)

1) It's the first item on my new list.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Can I tell you something really embarrassing?

Promise you won't think less of me. It's that bad.

PCSguy watches Deal or No Deal.

And not in a "Oh I can't find the remote and the tv is just on for background noise" kind of way. He actually sits down at 8o'clock on Friday night and has an opinion about if the contestant should take the deal. He makes predictions about the banker's next offer. He yells at the tv when someone doesn't take his advice.

I told you it was embarrassing (1)

Why am I telling you this? No reason. Just looking for something to write about while the kids fight over their new karaoke machine. Three kids, two microphones and one disc. Eli refuses to nap and is still recovering from pink-eye. He's actually crying because he and Noa are playing pizza guy and Noa told him they were out of pizza. Out of imaginary pizza.

It's one of those rainy days and Mondays kinda deals, complete with whining and early school dismissal.

And no relief in sight. PCSguy is in Miami. (2) At the Doral. I heard it's warm there. He brought his tux. As per the usual, I'm still in my pajamas. At 3:21 pm.

At least he didn't bring his golf clubs. Then I'd have to tell you something REALLY embarrassing.

1) I never said it was about me.
2) Remember stalkers: BIG DOG

Saturday, December 8, 2007

ShallowGal's holiday present to the very best readers on the internet

It has come to ShallowGal's attention, that she actually has readers ! People who come by and shake their heads in disgust at my inability to pick a tense or choose a grammatical person (1) and then call me (2) to tell me they read my blog. So don't let the fact that only PSCguy uses the comment section fool you ! I have, at last count, at LEAST four readers.

And ShallowGal loves each and every one of you.

So as my holiday present to you, I am going to share my very famous, oft requested recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies. The very recipe which my Grandmother, who came to this country during WWII as a young bride and mother, would make me if she owned the America's Test Kitchen cookbook and wasn't locked up in an Alzheimer's facility.

You know how sometimes people say "If you only have one cookbook this should be it." Well I don't understand that. Why would you only have one cookbook? They aren't that expensive. I'm not saying you need to go buy anything crazy like Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook (3) But hey, loosen the purse strings and live a little. And totally you need America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. Costco always has it for $19.99

Okay, enough stalling. (4) Although all of ShallowGal's friends are kitchen goddesses, I'm going to really break down the steps for you so you don't make any rookie cookie mistakes.

Mexican Wedding Cookies
makes 4 dozen small cookies

2 cups walnuts (you can use pecans but walnuts are way better)
2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
3/4 tsp of salt
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/3 cup superfine sugar (Take 1/2 cup of sugar and grind it in a food processor for 30 seconds)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. (or more!) confectioners' sugar

Step 1: Adjust the oven racks to the uper and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Process 1 cup of nuts in a food processor for about 15 seconds, until they're the texture of coarse cornmeal. Put them in a medium bowl. Process the other 1 cup for only 5 seconds so they're coarsely chopped. Mix the two kinds of nuts along with the flour and salt.

Step 2: Drag out that Kitchen Aid you got for a wedding present. Wonder why you picked such an odd color. Berate yourself for not using it more often, it is a really nice piece of equipment. Beat the butter and sugar together using the flat beater (not the dough hook and not the wire thingee, you knew that right?) until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the nut mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula (Pampered Chef makes a nice one, and if you have a Pampered Chef party I'll totally come and buy another one) . Continue to beat until dough is cohesive, like 7 seconds.

Step 3: Roll dough into 1 inch balls, lay on a parchment lined baking sheets (believe it or not I have the best luck with my ratty old baking sheets instead of my new fancy schamncy ones that conduct the heat) After about 10 minutes switch the sheets so the top one moves to the bottom and V/V. The cookbook calls for 18 minutes, in my oven they take closer to 22 minutes.

Step 4: Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. I find that if you touch them before then, even lightly, they crumble, which is totally where that phrase comes from. Once cool roll in confectioners sugar and then re-roll before serving.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I buy massive bags of walnuts at Costco and store them in the freezer between baking sessions.

1) It is *so* a word.
2) On the phone. Which is so much more personal than commenting.
3) But it did get REALLY good reviews.
4) I'm afraid once Meg has my cookie recipe she won't feel the need to invite me to her cookie swap anymore and she has such awesome friends that it ups my cool factor just hanging out in her kitchen with them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ShallowGal and Posse Take New York

American Express tells tales of the boost to the U.S. economy when ShallowGal and ShallowGal's daughter and ShallowGal's daughter's doll (1) took New York. Unfortunately, it wasn't Bloomies or Bergdorf's or any of the 67 cute boutiques marked in Zagat's 2008 Shopping Guide.

The exorbitant charge was to the American Girl Doll Store.

Let me reiterate that, in case you missed the finer points of my sarcasm. We went to New York, the fashion capital of the world, and the doll got a new outfit (2) . The doll got a blow-out. The doll got a facial.

Felicity shall henceforth be referred to as ShallowDoll. ShallowGal's changing her name to Chump.

Clearly it is the doll who needs her hair combed

1) An awkward title for a book.
2) Plus the doll is a total sell-out and happily relinquished her colonial roots for a trendy skating ensemble.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Stuff they don't cover in the What to Expect Books

True confessions time: I own every parenting book ever written. Seriously, I just counted them and there are 47 of them. FORTY SEVEN. Everything from What to Eat when You're Expecting to What Your Fifth Grader needs To Know to Parenting through Crisis lined up neatly on my bookshelf.

Don't be too impressed, I haven't actually read any of them. I just hope to become a better mother through osmosis. Mostly I like to have them around so my kids think I know what I'm doing. Unfortunately by the time they can read the titles (1) they know better.

So basically they're there for emergency reference. And if any of my kids sticks a pea up their nose or loses a pet(2), I have the book to help me resolve the situation. But my kids are, well, my kids are unusual.

Last night I got a call from Jake's teacher. This was actually a huge surprise to me because Jake is my good kid. (3) After a few pleasantries, she got right down to business:

I'm afraid we have a problem with Jake. As you know, he's running for President. (4) And it's become a bit of an issue. The class has become distracted with his campaign. They want to have a dance, and they want to use school materials and they involved the Principal.

So here's the thing. None of my books cover this. I googled "What to do when your kid runs for US President and it bugs his teacher" Nada.
Jake and I had a talk about his campaign work being done at home and focusing on math and moon cycles and ancient Mali at school. But part of me is really annoyed by this. Jake is in a magnet program for gifted and talented kids, and his placement there is due in large part to his creativity. And here he's doing a creative project, using his free time to research politics and plan strategy and discuss real life things with his friends. He's even swapped his sweatpants for polo shirts and khakis. (5) It's not an obsession with Pokemon cards, for crying out loud.

Jake had a test last month where he needed to know things like what language the Algonquin Indians spoke. Post-SOLs (6)he will never need that information. But leadership skills and public speaking, I wish I had studied THAT in school. Jake loves school. I will be disappointed, no, scratch that, I will be pissed as hell if this changes that.

Maybe Border's has a copy of What to Expect When You Get Fed Up with the Public School System and all its Bullshit. I'll even read it this time.

How could you not vote for this kid?

1) And probably way way before
2) We don't have a pet.
3) Very important to label your kids, that's in one of my books, for sure.
4) Of the United States, not the school, btw.
5) I assumed for a girl, but no, he assures me it's for his campaign.
5) The test that kids in Virginia take at the end of the year.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to plan a trip to New York, ShallowGal style

Step 1- One month out:
Decide on a whim to take Noa to New York to see the holiday lights and windows. (1) Hope fervently that this will permanently end all middle child angst. Spend twenty minutes booking travel and deciding to splurge on orchestra seats to the Lion King. Rationalize that the airfare was less than $100 each and we'll be staying with my dad. Promise self to spend no more money on this trip.

Step 2-Three and a half weeks out:
Realize I chose one of the shows on strike. Spend next 3 weeks googling "New York Theater Strike" looking for secret clues. Find none.

Step 3-Three weeks out:
Start checking weather. Get frustrated at the limitation of modern meteorology. Instead start reading every guidebook available at the library, forgetting that I actually spent 18 years living in New York. Buy Zagat's guide to Shopping in New York. Justify $14 spent on book by planning a second trip to New York in the spring.

Step 4- One week out:
Allow laundry to pile up and children's brains to turn to mush in front of endless Disney channel while I turn attention to my bag saga.

Step 5-Yesterday:
Check weather. Realize it will snow. Express amazing amounts of surprise. (2) Turn attention to the shoe situation. Remember excellent experience with Zappos (3) Order these boots:

Speculate boots will look like too Wonder Woman-ish. Stress that PCSguy will learn what boots cost. Come up with plan to buy Wonder Woman outfit to appease him. Rationalize that I will use the money refunded from the Lion King tickets.

Step 6- Four hours later:
Learn theater strike is over. Check Zappos, see boots left Kentucky at 1 am and are already in Springfield. Marvel over Zappos. Feel momentarily guilty about my carbon footprint this week. Vow to plant a tree or something when it's tree planting season.

Step 7- Now:
Reminisce over previous trips to New York. Remember one with Jake when he was almost 2. (4) Recall standing outside the Today Show and Al Roker (5) made a bee-line over to talk to my adorable toddler. Watch Jake scream in terror, hysterical, on national television until I finally had to apologize to Al and walk away. Spend next 7 years worrying that America thinks I'm raising some kind of racist toddler.

1)Plus her grandfather has been wanting to take her to the American Girl store and who am I to prevent that?
2) Now in my NY fantasy, Noa and I were skating in Central Park with lightly falling snow. However, it was also 72 degrees the rest of the trip. Not my best thought out fantasy.
3) I have a memory like an elephant.
4)My elephant-like memory does not extend back to this trip, except for this one specific memory. I cannot remember what season it was or why we went. I have apparently blocked this trip, for good reason.
5)This was like 7 years ago so it was back when Al was fat. Maybe that's what scared Jake.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Today's Cage match is eBags vs. Zappos

May the best site win !

PCSguy needed new luggage (1) He's always been partial to eBags, something about a gym bag or a laptop bag, I don't know, something to do with a bag. I'm almost positive. As long as he was ordering, I decided to treat myself to a new bag for Noa's and my upcoming trip to New York.

Specifically this bag:

What is this? A bag for midgets?
It would have to be three times this size!

Right? It's cute and big enough to hold my Chloe wallet and it's classified as "urban" which I think is e-commerce for "You need this to go to New York with a 7 year old for the weekend." I ordered it from eBags on November 17th. Here's what it looks like, in real life, ten full days later:

It looked bigger online

What? You don't see it? Not even if you squint really hard? Huh. Let me ask eBags. Oh ! They say:

•Sherpani - Trevina Order Sent to Warehouse Nov 27, 2007 Not yet available*

Actually if you call them they tell you to fuck off, they're closed and if you e-mail them they just ignore you. But if you log unto my accounts page, they tell you it will be here sometime today, which I doubt unless the warehouse guy delivers it himself by unicorn or something.

So our next contestant in this cage match is the heavily favored Zappos. Now I've never actually kept a single thing I ordered from Zappos and guess what, they don't care ! They keep sending stuff to my house with my free return labels. No grudges. No "Do you think THIS time you might actually really want this?"

Zappos offered me 12% back on ebates (2) and even had choices from Sherpani (3) that didn't even exist back in the day, long ago, when I ordered from eBags. Last night (Cyber Monday) after putting kids to bed (but before Two and a Half Men) I picked out this one:

And at 2:55 PM (4), it looked like this:

Infinitely more usable, no?

Thus the first winner of our online shopping Cage match is Zappos.

1)Cause he travels, I may have mentioned that. And he's apparently unusually hard on luggage.
2) Seriously? You still haven't joined ebates?
3) Who I am obsessed with for no good reason except I saw one of their bags at REI and thought it was cute. Or possibly that was a Timbuck2 bag. They're also "urban."
4) That's tricky math there, let's just call it 18 hours.

Banana Non Gratis

This morning at breakfast, Eli received a very important call on his banana. It went something like this:

Hi? Banana people? Yes, this Eli. Hi. Yes. Yes.
OK. You want to talk to Mommy?

I held out my hand for the banana.

No? No you talk to Mommy? You sure?
Maybe tomorrow?
Ok, you have a nice day too. Bye bye.

Snubbed by a banana. In my own house. So uncool.

The banana people told me not to let you in here either.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The word that best describes our Thanksgiving

So. Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year (1) And the word that describes this year's festivities . . . authentic. That's because, except for my husband and children, everyone we spent Thanksgiving with actually arrived here on the Mayflower. You'd have to go to Del Boca Vista to find a dinner table with an older median age.

First there was my Grandmother and Aunt Ruth. 82 with advanced Alzheimers and 92 and just plain mean, respectively. We celebrated with them over at their nursing home. Did I mention that Aunt Ruth is actually my common-law, step-great-Aunt? (2) Both were in unusually good moods, Grandma even recognized me. That there, that's my Thanksgiving miracle. (3)

Our actual Thanksgiving dinner took place at my Mother-in-law's house. She invited three of her friends and the highlight of the evening was the Great Cane Debate of 2007 ("Is that my cane?" " No, that's my cane, your cane is in your hand." "So it is.") (4)

The other super-authentic thing about our Thanksgiving was the Kosher/ dairy egg salad turkey. Just like the Pilgrims had. Yummy.

Makes you kind of wish you hadn't shot down the turducken so fast, eh?

1) And no turducken for PCSguy. Better luck in '08!
2) We are all disguised white trash, you can't say I didn't warn you.
3) No seriously, it was really sweet. Except when I helped her to call my mom and she said "Amy's trippin over here.'"
4) I swear to G-d this conversation took place, PCSguy will back me up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The not so shallow side of me

ShallowGal does have some pet causes. Things that get me excited other than the friends and family sale over at Sephora. (1) Yes, most are extremely petty. For example, I'd like to see the abolition of vanity license plates. Early dismissal from school on Mondays is another.

But some of my mini-missions are legit; like Christmas presents for kids in foster care and boycotting anything related to the boy scouts until they stop their discrimination against homosexuals and agnostics.

Unfortunately I just dabble in these causes as they enter my atmosphere. Back in September, when my Synagogue started a Boy Scout troop, I protested vehemently. Until I forgot to. For weeks this was the only issue I was capable of discussing. Today I have no clue if there even is still a Boy Scout troop there. I step foot in that building SEVEN days a week and couldn't tell you if there's a sign in the lobby or not. I keep meaning to ask someone.

Christmas presents for kids in foster care, well luckily that is a short lived project anyway. But please, this Holiday season remember children who have already been through so much. I can help you find a local agency, please e-mail me or leave a comment.

Most near and dear to my heart, however, the issue I would use for my Presidential campaign, is the prompt and nonjudgmental treatment of women with postpartum depression.

The first OBGyn I tried to discuss it with suggested that an hour of strenuous exercise a day was all I needed to feel better. Another one happily scribbled a prescription for Prozac, but when questioned about it by CPS (2) wrote a long letter that denied any involvement or knowledge in the situation. Rat bastard. I got rejected for life insurance at 30 because I was on Prozac. PCS-guy scored a millions bucks worth, despite having cholesterol over 300.

Luckily for me and my family, I'm now under the care of an experienced and caring midwife. Who has done the research and knows that PPD is an illness. That I need zoloft the way a diabetic needs insulin. Who treats me in a nonjudgmental manner that allows me to feel safe when discussing symptoms and treatments.

I have friends, both in real life and through the internet who also suffer from depression. And because of the stigma that's attached, don't get help.

I promise this isn't going to become one of those "My life with PPD" blogs. (3) I'm not going to start sprouting stats about women and depression and suggesting 1-800 numbers. But I won't hide the issue in the closet for fear of being thought less of.

I know. As if.

1)Use the code FF2007 at checkout for 20% off your total. Today (Tuesday) go thru ebates for an extra 8% back.
2) For our foster care license, not the aqua-dotting of my children. Which again, I was only joking.
3) Or a nun bar (name *that* movie!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


You know how when you're playing Yahtzee and you get some sucky dice roll and it doesn't fit into any unused scoring category so you place a zero in one of the remaining categories? (1) This may look like another parenting issue but really it's my entry for Best Asian Blog. I wasn't a leading contender there anyway.

We were at a party last Saturday when the conversation turned to the recall of AquaDots because the plastic contains something similar to rohypnol. Nobody else could get this latest toy-of-death of their house fast enough. I commented how much money I'd save on benedryl.

OK. Maybe that came a little closer to crossing the line than I usually get out loud. Anyone who knows me, knows I would never *actually* aquadot my kids. I mean where would one find the dosage? (Crap I did it again) (2)

Fact: None of my kids slept thru the night before 18 months old. Noa was probably closer to three. When I wake that child up for school at 7 am by yanking the covers off and yelling "Payback's a bitch!" well, I won't lie, it feels pretty good.

Sleep is easily the rarest commodity in this house. (3) That's why when PCS-guy bet me I couldn't stay out of the malls until after Christmas, and let me choose my own reward I picked sleep. And when offered anything he wanted should he win (which he will not) he also choose sleep. (4)

So don't call me on December 26th. I'll be sleeping until noon.

On a completely related note (and do not expect that to happen again anytime soon!) tomorrow I plan to start a three part shopping guide for everyone on your list. Completely on-line of course.

(1) Like you aren't home playing Yahtzee on Saturday night too.
(2) Seriously, I'm so crunchy that I annoy myself. I have never drugged my kids to get them to sleep, even on long car trips or for daylight savings.
(3) The most common being the free crayons that come with kids meals.
(4) 15 years together is apparently the statue of limitations on winning sexual favors.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's a Family Affair

Most printer cartridge salesmen travel extensively for their job, my husband is no exception. (1) For the most part I'm used to it. Occasionally, though, I have a night like Tuesday:

It was my turn to drive carpool and it was also swim team "funraiser" night at Chicken Out. I decided to treat the entire carpool to dinner, at the time (2) it seemed easier than driving everyone home and turning around. Dinner was a disaster from the get-go; girl child is mad because I won't let her sit with the teenagers, the baby is mad because I got him mac and cheese instead of an M&M cookie and all the older kids are pestering me for their social security numbers so they can apply for jobs at Chicken Out. (3)

By the time we get home, the baby is running a fever. Girlchild somehow blows a circuit by jamming her night light into the socket too hard and shorts out half the house. It takes me until midnight to get all the electricity squared away and the clocks reset. The baby is up most of the night, and the next, it turns out.

Nights like that, I do wish I was married to a Nordstrom shoe salesman. (4)

Anyway, PCSguy now has his own blog (like I tell my kids, forgery is the nicest form of flattery) It's either about business travel or balancing work and family (depending on a complicated matrix involving the barometric pressure, the price of crude oil and the availability of Da Ali G show at his hotel)

Oh, I almost forgot: PCSguy saw American Gangster Tuesday. (5) He said it was really good. Also he highly recommends the Westin in Houston. The beds are particularly comfortable.

(1) Don't bother stalkers. I have an alarm system and a large Doberman Pinscher.
(2) Oy, those three words.
(3) They're nine, the lack of social security numbers on the application is not what's preventing them from getting this job.
(4)Just not the one at Pentagon City, he's hella-old.
(5) We both know that I *so* did not almost forget.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ShallowGal challenges YOU !

I cannot possibly be the only woman on the planet who spends way too much time (and money) at Nordstroms yet still ends up at preschool drop-off in yoga pants. (1) Surely someone else has had to tell their three year old "You have to do kiss-and-ride sweetie. Mommy can't walk you in wearing slippers." All these cute clothes are lingering in my closet and I'm wearing pajamas to the bus stop.

Sometimes I worry they might stage a mutiny.

Oh I have plenty of excuses; I might get to the gym that day, printer-cartridge-salesman guy is on the road and there's no time to shower, or I'm at some bloated point of the month where jeans are just a bad idea. Excuses are the specialty of the house.

FlyLady talks about getting up a half-hour before the rest of the family. Nice try. There are days I'd have to get up before I even went to bed (2)

This morning, my friend Linda (3) made the following challenge. For one week, starting tomorrow, we get dressed in actual clothes every single morning. Groundbreaking. But honestly, it does not take any longer to put on a nice top instead of a 20 year old college sweatshirt. When I nag the kids to pick out their clothes the night before, well, I can follow my own advice. And even if it doesn't make me any more productive, I deserve to look pretty.

ShallowGal loves company ! (4) Pledge to join me over in the comment section ! Photography will be used me to keep me honest.

If only we'd started today I wouldn't have had to negotiate with the contractor
while wearing zebra pajamas and a hoodie. At 4 in the afternoon.

1) With no intention of going to yoga natch
2) The lack of sleep in this house will be tomorrow's post.
3) Linda's motto is "no more shopping in the junior department" However we spend a lot of time at Forever 21. It's a close call.
4) Although if I get gussied up and you're still in track pants I do look that much nicer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Best Food Blog

I hate to admit this out loud, but I never saw the big deal about Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty to be thankful for and I'll happily sit around a table filled with food for hours and hours. And that parade with the giant balloons, well that's television at it's finest.

I guess the issue for me is I don't particularly like turkey or sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie so that basically leaves me with some soup and rolls. So being the ever thoughtful kind of gal I am, I am providing my perfect Thanksgiving menu. Here is *your* chance to change my mind about Thanksgiving !

I can be there by 1 and I'll bring the wine.

Appetizer: Since the turkey always takes like a full hour longer to cook than you think it will, something a little more substantial than cheese and crackers is in order. Red Pepper and Boursin Tarts are easy and can be made the day before. They're pretty yummy, better double the recipe.

Turkey: Printer-cartridge-salesman guy once read this article in the Wall Street Journal about something called a turducken. Basically some poor dude somewhere has to take a chicken and stuff it inside a duck and then shove that whole bugaboo inside a turkey. I know ! Like WTF? Since then PCSguy has been obsessed with having a turducken for Thanksgiving. So this is the year.(1) Please spring for the next day shipping, the thought of that baby sitting in a UPS truck all week gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Sides: I've tried out a bunch of different butternut squash lasagna over the years, and hands down the best one is by Giada De Laurentiis. Even my super-picky stepfather had thirds, and this way all the vegetarians and people skeeved out by the turducken have something fairly substantial.

Assorted steamed fresh vegetables.


Dessert: Cookies. This just seems so obvious to me. You make like 6 kinds of cookies and people can nibble them all evening. Why do cookie swaps always happen after Thanksgiving but before Christmas? What power-that-be made that the rule?

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish? I hate to sound like a broken record but this is what the comment section is for ! (2)This is *so* not what the Pilgrims wanted for us


1. Being as you're cooking and all.
2. Or better yet, make it and bring it over.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I made it SIX posts without being a Mommy blog

Continuing with my plan to try to blog everyday in a different category (1), I have chosen to take the easy way out today and try for BEST PARENTING BLOG. (Apparently the winner of this category this year is some chick also named Amy so I thought by typing both AMY and Best Parenting Blog maybe I'd get some random google hits. Diabolical. How has no one ever thought of this before?)

As a Stay at Home Mom, I take my children's successes and failures very personally. I know I shouldn't, but I do; I mean since all I really do 24/7 is raise these kids how can they NOT be a reflection on me? For that reason, teacher conferences tend to be the highlight of my month.

Generally I have a pretty good clue what to expect before any teacher conference. Especially when my kids are still in preschool; their proficiency with scissors, hopping on one foot, and napkin handing out, well, not to brag but they are legendary. That's why Noa's Pre-K conference was such a surprise.

"Noa is doing so well this year. She's picked up a lot of Hebrew words and knows all her letters and sounds. "

(I shrug modestly and smile.)

"But really, I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with how well you handle your situation. Not a lot of mothers could do that."

(I smile and nod and think about all the great things I do for my kids, and wonder exactly what situation she means)

" I could never live across the street for my husband's first wife and help raise their teenage daughter."

(I know, I am so awesome. Wait a second, WHAT?)

Turns out that Noa had been telling her teachers about her 16 year old half sister named Madeline who lived across the street. Everyday at circle time for 5 months Noa would share with her class detailed stories about things she had done with her half sister Madeline. Her teachers assumed that my husband had been married before, fathered a child, divorced, remarried, had 3 more children and moved across the street from his daughter and first wife.(2) None of this is even remotely true. Noa let them think it was. At 4.

Can you even imagine what I'll be saying at 13?

I still enjoy teacher conferences but I do approach them a little more cautiously these days.

(Below are footnotes, by the way. That's what those numbers mean. Blogger does not seem to like footnotes and I do so we will need to iron that out between us)

1 My plan is to sweep every category in the 2008 Weblogs
2 Had this not been a Jewish preschool, the obvious guess would have been bigamy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Assvice all around

"Blogging Again? I hope this blog doesn't interfere with you doing other stuff."

Originally I had planned to try my hand today at Mommy Blogging. Lord knows I have enough material. But this snarky little quote as I sat at the computer really pissed me off.

It reminded me of a question that a loyal reader asked: How do you take your husband's ego down a notch without actually hurting his earning potential? It's an interesting question, and one that I honestly hadn't considered before. I'm a fairly bitchy straightforward kinda person, so there isn't a lot of chance to actually become uppity around me to begin with. But I can see how this could be an issue.

In the almost ten years since I left the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom, my husband's career has skyrocketed. I'm very proud of his success, and more importantly, relieved that he makes enough money to support all five of us. But sometimes I get just a teensy bit jealous.

Promotions and perks don't come with the SAHM package, so we need to look for our fulfillment elsewhere. It's been a long time since one of my kids said anything along the lines of "Hey mom, Thanks for birthing me, raising me, feeding me 3 squares a day, keeping me in clean laundry, driving me 100 miles a week . . . " Oh wait, it never happened. That's why it's so annoying when our significant others not only get to leave the house for 60 hours a week but actually get paid and thanked. Their egos get stroked on a daily basis and we're left hoarding out the remaining xanax until our next OBGYN appointment.

So here's my answer. Leave your husband's ego alone (or I can teach you my little smirk / eye-roll combination which pretty much deflates all pomposity) but work on improving your own. If the kids aren't going to thank you, and they aren't, you need something that brings you self-satisfaction (and not in the battery operated way.) Find your own hobby, something with totally nothing to do with your children. It doesn't have to be fancy or life altering. (Personally, I'd prefer it have nothing to do with scrap booking but it's your life.) It just has to bring you a little gratification. Me, I've decided to blog.

Back to our regularly scheduled blog defining crisis tomorrow. As always, feel free to e-mail me or leave your life altering questions in the comment section.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Issue Number One ! Am I a shopping blog?

It's kind of a joke between me and my husband; I do all my best thinking in the shower and on the elliptical trainer. Sadly I don't spend enough time either place, hence my greasy hair, size 10 jeans and lack of original thoughts.

But yesterday was a red letter day ! I got my tush to the gym nice and early and a mere nine hours later showered and changed out of my workout clothes. But alas, much thinking took place. (And I promise this will be the last time I get so specific about HOW my thought process works)

I figured out how I will determine what kind of blog this will be. Each day I will try a different approach. using the categories so kindly established here. Unfortunately, I already promised today's post would be SHOPPING and ShallowGal never goes back on her word. And c'mon Weblog people, best shopping blog should totally be a category, way more than Best Technology blog or Best Canadian Blog. That is so not why Al Gore invented the internet.

And now, for my actual post (all that was just foreplay)

ShallowGal has many many addictions, but the least destructive one is my obsession with beauty product samples. I have bought way more Clinque that I never used solely for that little bottle of yellow moisturizer and teeny bronze little pencil. Hell, I'll even hoard the toiletries from the hotel bathroom.

Some web surfing the other day led my to this great website: SpaLook. It's reminds me of Sephora with an 8% ebates kickback. Same old, same old and then . . . WHOA. The Fragrance finder box. Six deluxe samples of perfumes, in the cutest miniature version of their full size bottles. I mean do you see that adorable L'Air du Temps bottle? That baby makes me want to go out and buy an old fashion vanity table for primping. The whole kit and kaboodle is $25 and you get a $20 gift card towards the full size version of one of those products. SpaLook threw in a bunch of skincare samples as well. Pure bliss. Spend $50 and get free FedEx second day shipping.

So? Do I have what it takes to be a shopping blog? This is what the comment section is for, people !

Friday, November 9, 2007

Who's Who around here

Long time readers of this blog (little inside joke there) will notice I've changed my title and URL. Glad you found me!

One of the most important things about writing a blog (location, location, location?) is deciding how you will refer to all your friends and family. I've noticed several options: 1) using everyone's real and full name and praying the stalkers live too far away to to anything about it or 2) use cutesy nicknames like "Baby Bear" or "the dad" 3) give everyone pseudonyms. I have given my friends the option to pick their own names that describe their own personality. Sadly, I have not offered my husband or children the same kindness.

The kids are easy, especially given my hope that this doesn't turn out to be a parenting blog. There are 3 of them: so the 9 year old becomes the oldest, the 7 year year old can either be the middle child or the girl-child. Much to the dismay of my friend Donna (whose real name I am using) I will refer to my almost 3 year old as the baby. Lordy, she hates that.

Naming my husband is tougher. The obvious choice is Printer-Cartridge-Salesman-Guy, but that's really a mouthful, no? I've always been partial to The father of three of my children. Kind of reveals us as the middle-upper-class white trash we are. Since he has already complained about the way he is portrayed on this blog possibly we'll just write him off. I'll get back to him.

Now me. I renamed this blog today; it used to be Let's Pretend you Asked because I love love love to give unsolicited advice. And I still plan to do that. But let's face it, I am seriously one of the shallowest people I know. I like shopping, wine and sleeping. I prefer InStyle to Time, America's Next Top Model to Masterpiece Theatre. In this paragraph alone I've used the word "I" EIGHT times already. That's not to say I don't have redeeming qualities, and we'll get into those at some point, but overall, I am one shallow chickadee . So henceforth, I shall be ShallowGal. (Or just "me" or "I" cause I'm really not into the third person speak) Or you can call me Amy, I think that's still vague enough to confuse the stalkers.

Tomorrow we start delving into what kind of blog this is. Possibility #1: Is it a shopping blog?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Defining myself thru a blog

So when I told all my friends (fine, both my friends) I had a blog, obviously the question came up: What kind of blog is it? Is it a parenting blog, you know, one of those mommy manifetos? Is it about shopping or drinking? Because c'mon, it's not like I'm flush with hobbies. (We discussed this over salad and shiraz at Nordstrom at 11:30 in the morning so you can pretty much assume this is not the place to find predictions about the next interest rate cut.)

So over the course of the next week, in between shopping for the perfect shoes to match my new eyeliner and carpooling to skating, swimming and Spanish, I will attempt to determine exactly what kind of blog this will be.

And for the record, my husband would like you all to know that he is NOT a printer cartridge salesman. He is actually A VERY IMPORTANT ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE.

I did it all by myself !

I did it all by myself. Without any help from my printer-salesman husband. Before 9 am even.

I have a blog. I have a blog. Now, the big question: who to mock first.