Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carving out a little family time

Darling husband did, in fact, come home with a lovely pumpkin yesterday, and after dinner we stripped the girl down and dug in. The handy dandy pumpkin carving kit from Grandma and Papa made the whole thing much less violent than usual, what with a selection of stencils and teeny tiny little blades much more suited to precision fruit carving than the machete used in last year's debauchery.

E enjoyed herself, although she didn't dive in elbow deep like I had hoped. She was actually quite reserved, letting out one disconcerted moan when I deigned to drop a string of goop on her arm. With a little coaxing, she participated a bit in the evisceration, but she was much more interested in providing moral support for our pumpkin friend with a steady supply of pats and hugs.

I'm very happy with the end result, both the Jack-o-Lantern and the family time. We had fun, we took pictures, and we were together. That's all this girl wants.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm not complaining...

So it turns out that you can't always force people to bend to your will.

I've tried this post a few times but haven't been able to make it not smack of disgruntled housewife.

The good news is that my "I'm too busy" husband and his "Mamaaaaaa, PICK YOU UP!" daughter have left me to my own devices so that I can get some much needed cleaning and decompressing done.

Hello, what's this?

The other good news is that a package has just arrived on my doorstep. I tried to wait, but heck, I'm in need of a little instant gratification...

This, my friends, is a flashback to my university days. My parents can put a care package together like no other. Yes indeed, that is a box of chocolates, Anctil-style. That is to say - a shoebox full of chocolate.

Thanks kids! You've come through in the clutch, once again. And, assuming he does what he's told...(insert sarcasm here)...he will come home bearing pumpkin for us to carve this evening, putting your kit to good use.

P.S. I know, I know. It still smacks. Deal with it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Family Time

I've decided that our little family needs to spend more quality time together. It seems like there is always a reason to stay home, to not take little trips or make our own special occasions. But now I find that when I look at pictures of my friends with their families enjoying trips to the pumpkin patch or little weekend getaways, it makes me sad to think that we are letting opportunities slip by.

Money is an issue. Time is an even bigger issue with J's ridiculous schedule. And it's so easy to hum and haw over to do or not to do for so long that the window is gone. But if we make it a priority, I'm sure that we can scrape together a few pennies, carve a couple of hours out of the day and find something fun and magical to do.

This weekend I've decided that we're going to do a photo shoot with E in the leaves at Prospect Park. Last year we did it on a day when dada was at work. This year we'll bring the whole family. Even Ralph. Yep, I said it. Even Ralph. He's been the red-headed step-child long enough. Yesterday we were reading Goodnight New York City for the one millionth time, and E was listing all of the places in the book that we've been.

"Bronx Zoo!" (that's a mouthful for a toddler) "E, mama and dada too! Not Ralph."
"Library!" "E and mama! Not Ralph."
"Brooklyn Bridge!" "E and mama and dada too! Not Ralph."
"Park!" "E and mama and dada too! Not Ralph."

Are you picking up on a pattern here? Okay, so Ralph would likely not be welcome at the zoo or the library, but he deserves to be a part of family time too. And spending the whole day outside sounds like just his cup of tea.

This morning mama and Ralph were sitting on the couch and E came over and said "Family hug! Group hug!" Once I disentangled myself from the love-fest I was able to catch these keepers:

Stay tuned for much more cuteness post-weekend...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Change of Plans

The dragon has been slayed. Well, he's fine actually. He has been sold to a lovely boy named Asa and his mom and I'm sure that they will make a truly adorable team.

E on the other hand - thanks to Great Grandma Kay and Great Auntie Tania - has decided to kick things up another notch in the realm of adorable with this little number:

Oh my god I just can't stand it. And neither could the rest of the neighbourhood when we took her out for a test drive on Monday to her Jitterbugs class. This girl was meant to be a fairy. Am I right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Running with a theme

There is such a gross disparity between the rich and the poor, especially in the United States and, I think, especially in New York. I witnessed a good example of this yesterday.

We spent the evening on the Upper East Side. We had a great time, enjoyed wonderful company and an absolute excess of food. So much food that I saw a tray full of perfectly good cookies thrown in the garbage, and a beautiful, untouched cake that would likely suffer the same fate later in the evening.

We also saw a man on the subway named Jake. When he started talking he sounded like the kind of rough character you see on the subway often. Homeless, hungry and asking for help. But what he said surprised me, and probably everyone else on the subway car. He announced that he is the founder of the organization Hope for Hope. He carries around a bag of food - including sandwiches, yogurt, salads, etc. - and gives it to homeless people. He also takes women and children he finds on the streets and tries to get them into shelters, and takes those who are sick and helps to get them medical care. He was asking for food to add to his supplies or money to purchase more food. I bet some people thought he was lying. I believed him. And I'm willing to bet that he's homeless or close to it as well.

And there you have it. That's humanity. A human being helping other human beings, because he can. He makes no excuses for himself, he just helps. I wish I could have the evening back so that I could give that food to Jake. He is a role model for the rest of us.

Now don't tell me for a second that there's nothing that each of us can do.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today we were walking by the subway station at the top of our street and noticed a display of flowers by the entrance. There was also a platter of sandwiches and a picture of the man in the wheelchair who usually sits by the stairs panhandling. His name was Gilbert. He died of a heart attack 3 days ago.

When I got home I looked online to find out what had happened to him. This is what I found.

What really got my attention was the comment section. I was absolutely appalled at some of them. I was actually moved to comment myself:

"I can’t believe how horribly uncaring people can be about other human beings. So quick to label good and bad, and to treat accordingly. Gilbert was a human being. He may have done some terrible things, he may have done some wonderful things. I have only lived here for a year and a half. I live on 2nd Street and would see Gilbert at least twice a day. The only personal experiences I had with him involved sweet comments he would make about my daughter, to which I would reply “thank you” and be on my way. To be honest, I didn’t engage him because I was a bit afraid. I had seen him in heated discussions with people from time to time, and didn’t know if he was mentally ill or prone to violence. Having an infant with me at all times has made me wary.
The point is that when I saw the display by the subway entrance today and learned that he had died, I was sad. I was sad because a person had died. This man, like the rest of us, made choices in his life - good and bad. What purpose does speaking ill of him do now? If people want to mourn him, who are you to try to prevent that by trying to tarnish their good memories? What good could you possibly think you are doing? He's dead. If you don’t want to mourn, then go on with your day and show some respect for another human being by allowing others to mourn his loss. He may not have made your choices, or even the right choices, but he had challenges in life like the rest of us, and he lived and died, which is all any of us will ever do."

Is it just me, or have people completely lost touch?

The one thing I didn't mention in the comment, and I'm not sure why, is something that has haunted me for months. One night last winter, I was coming home on the subway alone and decided to fill up my MetroCard on the way out of the station. It was fairly late and there was no one around. I was at the machine and had just finished my transaction when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I looked over, and inches away from me, right up against the machine was a wheelchair. When I took a better look I noticed that there was a person in it, doubled over with his head right in the corner against the wall. I was horrified. The thought that a human being was forced to endure this kind of indignity and suffering made me physically ill. I'm having a hard time just writing about it now.

I don't care if Gilbert was a drug dealer or a thief. Maybe he deserved to be in prison. But he did NOT deserve to be stuffed into a corner like a bag of garbage. I judge him based on the experiences I had with him, and there were people who cared for him. I can't say it enough. He was a human being. It has really made me stop and think about how I want to treat people in this world, and what kind of person I want to be. I want to be the kind of person that extends a hand instead of turning away. I want to be the kind of person who gives someone the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. I want to be the person that gives comfort when they have the chance to do so.

I am going to remember Gilbert. And I am going to be a better person for it.

Friday, October 22, 2010


My first thought when I saw this "word" was: Man, what is it with this obssession people have to abbreviate everything??? I mean seriously, WTF?

My second thought, after checking out the website, was: Sign me up!

And so I did. It's part of my unofficial Just Do It campaign to spend less time procrastinating and more time actually doing things. One of those things is writing, and sometimes you just need to be accountable to something to get something done. Wise words there.

And if I wasn't sold before, I just found these beauties. I always appreciate self-deprecating sarcasm.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hallowe'en preparations

E is going to be a dragon for Hallowe'en this year. Why? Because after agonizing over the decision for months, we found an adorable dragon costume in her size at a stoop sale a few weeks ago for $3. Done.

Now for mom and dad. We think she's at the age now where she'd get a real kick out of seeing us in costumes. She's already obsessed about hers, and she yells "Hallowe'en decorations!" whenever she sees pumpkins on stoops and ghosts strung up in trees. Why not go the whole nine yards and make it a big deal this year? Soon she'll be wanting to be dress up as a "punk" (like mama was in one form or another for about 8 years in a row) and go out with her friends to terrorize the neighbourhood.

We want to do the Ant and the Aardvark, her favourite (and only) show.

But this is proving to be a difficult task. There are costumes that can be purchased online, for the Sale Price of $1049.00!!! So, DIY it is. But I'm at a loss creatively and could use some ideas. I've figured out that I (the ant) will dress all in red and get some red antennae, but how to create the segments? J (the aardvark) will wear all blue, but what to do about the nose? Are there any crafty people out there who can help me out? I guess the second choice would be Sesame Street characters, who she has recently developed a strong affinity for, but there are plenty of years for that. Besides, Elmo and the Cookie Monster are a dime a dozen. I'm willing to bet a lot of money I don't have that we'll be the only Ant and Aardvark comedy team to hit the streets in Brooklyn. With our pet dragon.

Running tunes

I have an unorthodox selection of running music. Part of that has to do with not having added to my music collection for several years, but part of it is just a reflection of the 80's loving cheeseball that I am. Yesterday I finally remembered to bring my iPod to the gym with me, and was reacquainted with the music that kept me motivated during my late pregnancy/early post-natal workouts. Janis Joplin features prominently, as does Queen, but the best running music for me by far comes from good old MJ. It's all I can do not to grab myself and shout "WHOOOOO!" at the top of my lungs on the treadmill, and I feel like I can run for hours to his tunes. You'll never guess which one is my favourite. Go ahead. Man in the Mirror. Oh, stop. It's very uplifting. I'm pretty sure that that song in a continuous loop with Strength of a Woman by Shaggy would get me through a marathon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Even better the second night...

Here's a shot of the soup I wrote about a couple of days ago, in case you need any more motivation to make it for yourself:

I recommend making a double batch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Soup's on!

We had the most delicious soup for dinner last night, if I might toot my own horn a little. The inspiration was a Rachael Ray recipe from an article on dinners for $10 or less. You may or may not have heard that there is a new budget in town in our household, and it's pretty stingy. This, however, was a wonderfully hearty and comforting dish that didn't for a second feel like I was back in my dorm room heating up KD in a hot plate. And, surprisingly enough, it's one of my first real recipe creations. I'm a bit of a slave to the recipe and don't often venture off on my own. I'm like my mom that way, and the polar opposite of my dad, who has rarely met two foods he hasn't combined in some way. But after this experience, you may just see more of these creations popping up on here. Personally, I think the garnishes are what really make this a hit. I'm a big fan of the garnish. On the side I roasted a bulb of garlic, mashed it into some melted butter and spread it on toasted english muffins. Dee-lish. I'd love for you to try this soup out and tell me what you think. Things are not very objective around our kitchen table.

Curried Fall Vegetable Soup

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup apple juice or cider
4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small head of cauliflower, roughly chopped

Olive oil
Plain yogurt
Chopped cilantro
French fried onions
Freshly squeezed lime juice

Heat olive oil in large saucepan or stock pot on medium heat. Add ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add curry powder and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Add apple juice and scrape bottom and sides of pan. Add water, sweet potato and squash and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and simmer until all vegetables are tender. Remove pan from heat and puree soup with immersion blender.

To serve, pour soup into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil, a dollop of yogurt, a tablespoon or so each of french fried onions and cilantro, and a splash of lime juice.

Picture to come soon! (I was too hungry to remember to take one last night, so you'll have to wait until the leftovers are heated up this evening...)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food on the brain

I think I need to live in a commune. Or adopt a houseful of hungry-but-not-obnoxious teenagers. Either way, my need to cook for people is just not being satisfied by one husband and one tiny daughter. And tiny though she may be, she really cuts into the time I could be spending in the kitchen. No, this isn't working for me at all.

I need a big kitchen, people to feed and lots of time to read recipes, wander grocery aisles and fritter away at the stove with an apron and a cup of coffee/glass of wine/spatula of frosting. I'm tired of having to choose between doing the dishes or preparing food because there isn't enough counter space to accommodate both dirty dishes and a cutting board. I'm tired of making a feast for a king and then either trying to cram it all in the freezer before it goes bad or waiting until it goes bad in the fridge and throwing it out. I'm tired of adding to a list of things to make that is only getting longer because nothing is getting crossed off.

I have 4 day old delicious tarte tatin, 2 day old delicious chocolate cake, a hankering like no other for this cake and some good old fashioned nanaimo bars. I have all of the ingredients sitting there winking at me when I open the fridge or the cupboard. Maybe it's more that my appetite needs to be reined in, or maybe this lack of satisfaction in the culinary department is suggestive of something lacking in other areas of my life. Who knows. How can I concentrate on all of this metaphysical mumbo jumbo when these mouth-watering confections are calling my name???

Please help. There's not much room in this apartment, but if you move in and help pay the exorbitant rent I'll feed you. I'll feed you good.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stoop Chic

As a reminder as much to myself as to the rest of you, I'd like to point out that being on a budget doesn't mean you can't look good.

Last week was my birthday and, like most women I know, I wanted to look cute on my birthday. I put together an outfit that I felt great in, even good enough to stroll around Tiffany's with my head held high. And somewhere on the F train it hit me: I was dressed head-to-toe in what I like to call stoop chic.

Designer jeans - fantastic stoop sale last summer by a woman with exactly my build who was clearing house to move to Dallas. The shirt - stoop sale a couple of weekends ago that, again, featured a petite woman like myself. The shoes - a stoop sale from last fall where I scored 3 pairs of shoes for $5! And the handbag - one of two Coach purses I picked up at a stoop sale almost exactly a year ago.

A couple of days later was date night. And, once again, before I realized what was coming out of my closet (so to speak), there I was dressed in someone else's clothes. It turns out that I like other people's taste more than my own. Which, in this city, turns out to be a cheaper option than trusting my own shopping instincts!

One of the things I like best about stoop chic is the personality that it injects into my wardrobe. I am a creature of habit. I tend to buy the same thing year in and year out, with minor variations of course, depending on whether pink is the new black or grey is the new brown. By rifling through other people's wardrobes, I can pick up things that may be quite a distance outside of my comfort zone, and it's just not that risky when I'm paying $2 for a shirt that I wouldn't normally buy.

So go on, move to New York! Or better yet, start looking for second-hand and consignment shops in your neighborhood. And don't be snooty about it. I found two gorgeous belts at a Goodwill store in Tribeca. I didn't know Tribeca did Goodwill, but there you go. Maybe Beyonce shops there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good Day

If you have the chance, I highly recommend finding a copy of A Good Day by Kevin Henkes at your local library. It's a children's book, yes, but it's got a great message.

This gratitude thing is quite catchy. I suggest you try it. I made a resolution of sorts on Thanksgiving to be more grateful for the people and things in my life, and to be better at showing my gratitude. It's funny how quickly you can get into the habit of something like this. Yesterday morning, while walking my husband to work with the girl and the dog, I kept noticing things. I noticed the wonderful fall smell, I noticed how pretty our street looks strewn with leaves from the storm the night before, I noticed how warm and inviting the houses look with their autumn wreaths and pumpkin displays. And I found myself grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy a family walk first thing in the morning, to have time to chat with J about nothing of importance and enjoy just being out in the fresh air with the people I love. I've always been a sucker for mornings.

Today is my birthday. For some reason this year I haven't wanted to make a big deal about it. I managed not to tell anyone at all that it was my birthday...until it slipped out last evening while talking to a neighbour. This year I want my birthday to be more about celebrating the people who are important to me. After all, all I did to deserve a birthday was get born. Seems to me that we should be celebrating my parents for that instead of me, no? Oh, how your perspective changes once you have a child. Anyhow, I don't feel like getting a sitter and making reservations at some Zagat-rated hotspot this year. I did it last year and it was, admittedly, an outstanding evening. But this year I want to hang out with my family and focus on them instead of an extensive wine list or an extravagantly prepared chef's menu.

So we're going to Sam's. Sam's is a place in Brooklyn that I have walked by a hundred times. Oddly, I often walk by on a Tuesday - the one day they're closed - and this has made me wonder if they are still open at all these days. They've been around for 80 years or so and my neighbours assure me that they serve the best pizza in Brooklyn, along with a pretty superb hoagie. Apparently they also love kids and make a big deal over babies. The last thing I want today is to feel bad as soon as I walk in with a stroller, so this place sounds perfect. Not to mention that if you ask E what she wants for dinner any day of the week, she will - 99% of the time - say PIZZA! I figure we can't go wrong here.

Before dinner J has some kind of pampering-related surprise for me, which I am very excited about. And it has already been a stellar day. I almost decided to skip my birthday all together when I heard E calling out "All done! Hey, mama! All done!" at 5:49am. By some divine birthday fairy miracle though, I brought her into bed and we slept until dada woke us up at 8:30 with breakfast in bed. (Those oatmeal carrot peach muffins I made last night came in handy for him!) Then E and I dressed up all pretty and went into the city for a trip to Tiffany's. My in-laws had purchased a beautiful bracelet for me and sent me to pick it up. What fun! I got to go up to the 6th floor, where the personal shoppers are, and pretend to be snooty. E was excessively charming. People were smitten. I was very proud.

I have been serenaded once by my husband and twice by my daughter. I have eaten a shamefully large piece of homemade chocolate cake. I have a sleeping baby and something sparkly on my wrist. I have received tons of messages, emails and a couple of phone calls to wish me a happy day. And the rest of the day is only going to get better. I should do this every year!

p.s. Happy Birthday to my wonderful brother, Hillary! I love sharing this day with you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Post-turkey digestion and reflection

"Thank you mama!" "Thank you dada!" "Thank you Ralphie!"

Our daughter certainly doesn't have any trouble with it. Sometimes she needs a reminder, but she's always happy to oblige. I think the rest of us could use those little reminders sometimes. Yesterday was a day full of things to be thankful for...

Thank you to E's hypothalamus for allowing her to wake up without a fever for the first time in 4 days.

Thank you to the floor of the laundromat for not chipping one of Elle's teeth or cutting her lip badly enough for stitches when she tripped and landed on her face.

Thank you to Ralph for not making me feel bad for forgetting about you and leaving you tied up outside the laundromat while I headed home with the laundry.

Thank you to the sleep gods for taking E for a second nap after the first 30 minute snooze followed by 45 minutes of screaming. And thank you for making that second nap long enough to let me make most of my Thanksgiving dinner preparations.

Thank you to E for waking up from nap #2 in a fantastic mood. Whew.

Thank you to my parents for a most wonderful Skype date (and to E again for being extra charming).

Thank you to J for coming home in time to distract the girl while I finished Thanksgiving dinner preparations.

Thank you to Mr. Beringer for the lovely Chardonnay, to Rachael Ray for the delicious Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, to Paula Deen for your outstanding Green Bean Casserole, to the Yukon for the creamy spuds, to Oceanspray for the recipe for cranberry sauce on the back of the bag (how convenient!), and to Molly Wizenberg for the thirds-worthy Tarte Tatin.

Thank you to my daughter (again) for at least eating a little cranberry sauce.

Thank you to my wonderful husband for his enthusiasm over Thanksgiving this year, and for his ever graceful tolerance of his hysterical wife.

Like I predicted, there were tears, there were fits of fury, and there were almost stitches, but I'm glad I went to the trouble. Yes, it was a great Thanksgiving this year. Or, as E calls it - "Happy Birthday-giving!" Makes it sound even better, doesn't it?

Now, let's have another look at that Tarte Tatin...

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's hard being a transplant

I forgot Canada Day this year. I also forgot May 24 and sometimes I forget the "u" in Labour Day. It's just tough to remember to celebrate something that no one else around me knows about. Heck, I even forgot Ralph's birthday this year, although I can't really blame that on the Americans. I do blame his obesity on them though. I haven't completely worked out the fine details of the argument, but I'm sure they're behind it.

So it's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and no one here gives a hoot. If it wasn't for Facebook, I probably wouldn't have had any advance warning myself. I have to do something. It's one of my favoUrite holdiays. Being centered around food and all. Ok, sure, it has other more significant meaning...well, does it really? To Canadians? I'm pretty sure to us it's about harvests and gathering and such. The Americans (there they go again) like to talk about Pilgrims and Indians and some kind of peace-making dealie-oh...but didn't they just end up sitting at a big table eating corn and pheasants? That's what I thought.

It always happens like this. There's a holiday of some kind coming up and I feel an acute urgency to cook an obscene amount of food for every person I feel kindly towards. And then I realize that I live in a shoebox with a small child who turns into a ticking time bomb after 7:30pm, no family within spitting distance and friends who have lives as complicated and difficult to schedule as ours. Not to mention a husband who looks on these compulsions of mine as rather silly and fairly inconvenient whims, possibly akin to what used to be diagnosed as "female hysteria". Doctors. They love their labels.

I'm going to celebrate this Thanksgiving. I'm doing it for me and I'm doing it for my girl. I'm going to make some kind of turkey product with homemade cranberry sauce. I'm going to make Paula Deen's famous green bean casserole as an homage to these Americans I've settled in with and mashed potatoes for my husband who will think it's more trouble than it's worth but who will no doubt make appreciative yummy noises as the garlic and butter soaked spuds hit the back of his throat.

It might be stressful, it might be a flop. It might result in tearful tirades, angry rants and maybe even stitches. But isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


That's the number of books that are currently sitting on my
to-read bookshelf. Some might find it daunting, my husband describes it as just shy of ludicrous, but I find it absolutely delightful. I love reading. Loooooove it. So the idea that I won't be stuck for pages to turn for the next - oh, let's say couple of years easy is a real treat. And it also means that when I finish a book I have my very own mini library to peruse. I can pick by genre, pick by author, pick by prettiest book cover - heck - I can eenie-meenie-mynie-mo myself a new book if I choose. CHOOSE. Such a lovely word.

Yesterday I started reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. It's the book I want to write. It's exactly the book I want to write. Which kind of depressed me during the first couple of pages, but then I thought hey, I'd read two of these books. Maybe someone else would too. I'm flying through it at warp speed, I anticipate being finished tomorrow. I'm not sure which book will be next...but I have a couple of options.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Music Therapy

Today is a tough day. The girl woke up early in a fantastic mood, but that quickly dissolved into a string of Oscar-worthy tirades (awards and The Grouch both apply here). I'm excessively tired for no good reason. It's chilly.

Then I got a link from a friend with this song featured in it. It's my favourite song in the whole wide world. Well, tied for first with this song. And after listening to them both, there's no way that the rest of this day won't rock.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The end of an era...or at least a really great read.

It took almost 7 years, just about the full span of Harry's adventure. Isn't that poetic?

I first heard about the Harry Potter series ten years ago, when I was working at a Montessori school and was subject to endless gushing by students and parents alike about this absolutely gripping new series. At first I dismissed it rather easily. Fantasy? Magic? Wizards? Not really my thing. Okay, there may have been a *very brief* period in my 16th year, involving a boy, that may have seen me *fleetingly* fall under the spell of Drizzt Do'urden and his Icewind Dale Trilogy. I can't believe I just admitted that....let's move on, shall we? (awkward cough and uncomfortable shifting movements)

Anyhoo...a few years later a client of mine was reading one of the books in the waiting room of my clinic. We got to talking about it and she offered to lend me the first three books. That was it. Sold. She's a genius, that J.K. Rowling. For so many reasons, not least of all for her pure storytelling prowess. She knocks my socks off. Shall we say, she had me at hello.

Tonight I finished Book 7, the last and final book in the series of Harry Potter and his valiant slog through seven years at wizarding school, each one tested to a new and more sinister level by an evil such as has never before existed. And, barring a bit of a cheesefest in the final chapter, I am completely and utterly satisfied. In fact, bring on the cheese. The woman managed to keep me on the line for 4224 pages. I'll have the cheeselovers combo, extra cheese.

I haven't watched a single movie, as (like most people) I tend to be disappointed with a movie after having read the book on which it is based, and I haven't wanted to influence my impression of the characters and the details with Hollywood's interpretation. I've even avoided talking to anyone about the books to avoid spoilers, and only figured out how to pronounce Hermione's name during Book 6 because they spelled it out phonetically at one point. (It's Er-my-knee.) All that time I'd been calling her Her-mee-own. How embarrassing. Now, however, I plan to watch the movies. All of them. One right after the other. I'd better book a sitter.

Coinciding with the completion of reading the series, just this past weekend I managed to also complete my collection of the books themselves. I read all of the books by borrowing from friends or from the library, and had grand plans to buy a box set one day at an abominable price. Ah, Brooklyn. Another reason to love you. I am now the proud owner of immaculate hardcover copies of all 7 books from stoop sales, or free on curbs, for a total of $8.

Goodnight all. I'll be dreaming of riding the Hogwarts Express, sipping Butterbeer and feasting on puddings in the Great Hall. Nox!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Any Given Sunday

Why didn't I think of this before?

Daughter and Da-da are over at AB's house watching football with her and her Da-da, Evan. It's brilliant. J gets to watch football and "spend time" with his daughter. E gets a playdate. Mom gets a break and some time to be productive. Everyone's happy.

On the way home from the park I taught E to say "I'm ready for some football!". I also told her that dad would teach her a couple of cheers and try not to swear too much. She definitely seemed excited.

So far I've been snacking on chocolate and peanut butter and browsing for excessively extravagant gifts for my husband, who I understand will someday finish medical school and is likely to deserve said gift.

I will be kicking it up a notch productivity-wise shortly...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy October!

It's my birthday month.

Thanksgiving #1 is in October.

It's Pumpkinfest tomorrow in Carroll Gardens.

Later this month E will kick adorable up a notch and run around the neighbourhood scoring me candy.

No less than 10 people I like immediately come to mind with birthdays and/or anniversaries in October.

Sweaters. Apples. Piles of leaves. Gaining an hour of sleep. Taking the A/C out of the window and being able to spoon again.

What's not to love about Fall?