Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Two Scoops?

My first real job (not the babysitting ones) was working at a Häagen-Dazs in Park Slope. The one I worked at (Michelle's Häagen-Dazs) is no longer there, but there's a new one two blocks down where the Neergaard pharmacy used to be (corner of President and Seventh, across from the Citibank). Now the Neergaard has moved too (next door to the Citibank).

Anyways, my first real job...

Scooping ice cream for a living is harder work than you'd think, especially Häagen-Dazs which is harder than your average ice cream. The trick is to keep your scoop in luke warm water between uses.

The first week I worked there I ate tons of ice cream. After that, I didn't eat ice cream again for about a year. You don't think of ice cream as having a smell, but when you've been scooping it all day, you go home smelling of it. Vanilla mostly. My cat found it very intriguing. I found it to completely eliminate any desire I had to eat ice cream. I lost three pounds that summer.

Back then, Häagen-Dazs had these t-shirts. You remember them. "Häagen-Dazs" across the front and a flavor in big letters across the back. I had several: Vanilla (black with white letters); Chocolate (brown with white letters); Boysenberry (purple with white letters); Coffee (tan with white letters? White with tan letters?); and the big error in judgment, Cherry Vanilla (white with red letters).

Moms and Dads out there, never ever let your teen-aged daughter out of the house wearing ANYTHING that says "Cherry Vanilla" across the back.

During my tenure there, they started changing the shirts to the ones that say "Häagen-Dazs" across the front with "Ice Cream" in script on a diagonal between the breasts. Also a mistake.

Häagen-Dazs is still up there on my list of favorite ice creams and it's definitely my favorite ice cream parlor. The chocolate crunchies alone are worth the price of admission and no one else seems to have them.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Dreaming of a ham sandwich

And not just any ham sandwich, but a ham hero from Hertzog's Delicatessen, the deli around the corner from my mom's house. Unfortunately, my mom's house is in Brooklyn and the deli is long gone. It was there through my childhood and then, when I went to college they went out of business (coincidence? I think not. I was in there 4 days a week).

Their ham hero was a masterpiece of italian bread (not too thick, not too thin), heaps of thinly sliced ham (you could see your hand through it), shredded lettuce, thin sliced tomatoes, mayonaise and mustard that was so thickly spread it oozed out the sides when you took your first (huge) bite. My beverage of choice to go with this sandwich nirvana was Coke, back before anyone ever thought of having a New Coke. I mean, really.

Their pickles were good too.


Explanation of the post below.

I decided to post a letter to Muffin Man that I found last month. This one's pretty typical, not quite as much just drooling over him as some, quite a bit more detail than others.

I was thinking about how he's really not that little baby anymore and yet...there's so much about him that is like that baby. His intense concentration when he wants to perfect a skill. His happy babbling. His imagination. His ticklish little belly.

Today we went for our usual brunch at That's Amore. We do this most Sunday mornings, and the Sunday Brunch Buffet at our local TA is great. Pretty good food, which we can serve to a hungry toddler quickly and teach him restaurant manners when other patrons won't be disturbed too much. So far, our evil plan is working pretty well.

Normally, we get there, get seated and I go and get MM's food, bring it back and then get food for myself. Today, we all went and got our food together, MM picking his own and even serving himself from the fruit plates and bagel basket (using tongs!), I mean he's gone to get dessert for himself before, but this is a whole new level!

Last week at home, he didn't like what we were offering him for dinner, so he went to the 'fridge, opened it, broke a Yo Baby yogurt off of the rest of the pack, closed the 'fridge, went to the silverware drawer, got a spoon, brought the spoon and the yogurt to the table, opened the yogurt, stirred it and ate it. With no help from anyone.

Where has my little baby gone?

Letter to Muffin Man (May 6 2002 - 13 weeks, 3 days)

You slept through the night 4 out of the last 6 nights - three of them were in a row!

Your favorite toy is a "Pentapus" - a 5 legged octopus that hangs on your Gymini. You grab it with both hands - a new skill. You used to flail wildly, then you batted at the pentapus purposefully, then you tried to grab it with one hand while the other flailed wildly. Once you've grabbed a leg or two in each hand, you shove its feet in your mouth. You talk to it, too. I don't know what you're saying, but you do find a lot to talk about. You also talk to the mobile above your crib.

You've really started talking to Daddy and me and we talk back, but it's pretty clear we're not talking about the same things yet.

You're starting to get ticklish and it's getting warm enough now that you are enjoying wearing only your diaper. Yesterday, I left you in just a diaper for about an hour and you wriggled a lot - feeling your play mat under your skin.

Maybe tonight you'll make it 5 out of 7!



Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This made me laugh so hard, I swear I need to change my pjs.

Dooce has done it again. And I am so there. I've been there. I've seen it. But only Dooce could describe it so perfectly, so wickedly.

Pictures of the house of one year.

Bergen Street
Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.

The lower picture is the front door. The upper picture is my turret room. When I read Daddy Longlegs years later I pictured Judy sitting on her padded dresser top in that tiny window.

UPDATE: This house was built by a doctor when the neighborhood was thriving. He also built two houses next door to this one for his married daughters. By the time we lived there, the neighborhood had fallen on hard times. So, though the house is fabulous, it was not (at that time) fabulously expensive. Now? Well, the neighborhood is having a renaissance, so who knows?

Hey! Hey! Top Headline on Washington Post!

Didja see this?

Holy Guacamole Batman! I guess Newsweek didn't get it wrong, after all.

I love my parents but...(continued)

So. That was the first of three times in the one year we lived in that house that we were robbed. The other two times were your normal run-of-the-mill break-ins when no-one was home.

Which is why we only lived there one year. The following year Dad and Step-mom moved to a duplex in Greenwich Village. Also a lovely house. They have great taste.

Now, you may notice that Mom and Step-dad are still living in Brooklyn. I'm still going to the school I've always gone to in Brooklyn (not the greatest of schools academically, though excellent if you're interested in the life of Harriet Tubman. It's since been swallowed up by an academically superior school).

Are you now asking the $24,000 questions?

Q: Did the half-week/half-week schedule change to accomodate the move?
A: No.

Q: How did little Miss MysteryMommy get from her dad and step-mom's house in Greenwich Village to her school in Brooklyn?
A: The D or the F. By myself. In 6th grade. Oy.

Nothing ever happened to me on the subway until I was an adult (it's another story, save it for another post). But still! God, if I had a subway token for everytime I got lost and ended up somewhere I'd never heard of on the R or M line...BTW, if this ever happens to you, find the nearest token booth and/or the nearest police officer. They will help you find your way home. All the better if you are crying. Even better if you are very short. Thank you to all of the nice employees of New York City who helped me back then.

Note: Good survival technique for inexperienced subway riders - Sing loudly and off-key. Everyone will think you're crazy and they won't bother you. Oh! And don't wear flashy jewelry. And don't make eye-contact.

And just in case you think I'm picking on Dad & Stepmom in these two stories, I'm not. All of these decisions (no babysitter, no change in schedule, no guardian on the subway) were jointly made by all 4 of my parents.

I love my parents but...

Sometimes they didn't always make the wisest decisions. Apologies in advance Mom, Dad, Stepmom & Stepdad - I'm going to tell about 5th grade.

Scrivener was talking about an event in his life which brought up this memory for me.

When I was in 5th grade my dad and stepmom lived in a house on the corner of Bergin and Carlton in Brooklyn. Beautiful house. The house that is my standard for beautiful houses. The wood panelling alone...

I had the turret room on top. (Pictures will appear later)

The problem was that the neighborhood wasn't all that great. I didn't really notice at the time, but the local bodega was probably a drug hang-out. There was a very busy police station 2 blocks down.

One Wednesday, I get home from school and let myself in. (Yes, I was a latch-key kid). My parents had decided that I was old enough to stay alone without a babysitter. This is 5th grade, so I'm what? 10? 11? Like I said. Not the best of decisions.

'Round about 4 o'clock, the doorbell rings. I turn off my Blondie Auto-American album, put down my book and galumph down-stairs to see who it is.

It's a woman I've never seen before, she's in a house-coat and she says "I'm the new cleaning woman. Your dad hired me to come today to clean for the party?"

Which actually sounded reasonable to me. We were between cleaning women...I hadn't known about the party but I assumed it must be for Saturday night, when I wouldn't be there. And this being my first day back in the house for the week, I thought they'd neglected to tell me.

So I showed her where the cleaning supplies were and the clean linens when she asked for them and went back to reading my book and listening to music.

And then she came to tell me she was leaving. She had a pillowcase stuffed with jewelry and things and she ripped the phone out of the wall and scared the crap outta me and left...

Whereupon I called my dad at his office and found out, actually was reminded, that he was in London all week and wouldn't be back until the following Monday.

At which point I felt completely stupid. And guilty. I should have remembered. I should never have let her in. I was a horrible, horrible person. And the worst part was that nothing she stole was mine. It all belonged to my dad, my stepmom, my sister. I was evil.

Then my stepmom came home and called the police (the phone was ripped out of the wall, but not disconnected) and we all spent the next few nights sleeping over at a friend's house. And my stepmom and sister chided me for letting in a stranger but agreed that her story was plausible and that they might have let her in, too.

After that, I had a babysitter again for a while. Very humiliating for me then. Now, I wish that I hadn't had that stretch of no sitter. And so do my parents.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Profgrrrrl's Cereal Meme

Which reminds me that I need to add Profgrrrrl to the links on the right...

Anyhoo, back to cereal:

When do you eat it and how often?: At least 3 mornings a week and very occasionally (once every other month or so) for dinner.

What are your favorite cereals: Currently Oatmeal (NOT instant or even 5-minute, but the real stuff), Kashi's Go-Lean Crunch, Honey Bunches of Oats (bought originally 'cause Costco was out of the Kashi), Cheerios in a pinch.

What kind will you not eat?: Grape Nuts. Mr. Spock and Muffin Man love 'em. Feh. Muffin Man like to eat a mix of whatever cold cereal I'm eating ("Mommy's Cereal") with Grape Nuts ("Daddy's Cereal"). Awwwwww.

What is the secret favorite that you don't always admit?: I have a nostalgic love for Apple Jacks and Cap'n Crunch.

What liquid do you pour on your cereal?: Skim milk.

What do you put on top of your cereal?: Brown sugar and occasionally raisins on Oatmeal. Cold cereal will get Strawberries/Bananas/Peaches/Nectarines depending on what, if anything, we have in the house.

Do you prefer cereal or other foods for breakfast?: My favorite is a sandwich I made up when I was in high school: The Jewish Egg McMuffin (non-kosher). Take one Bially/Bagel/English Muffin. Schmear with Cream Cheese w/ Chives (or plain cream cheese and sliced red onions), add some smoked whitefish or chubb (lox will do in a pinch, but it overwhelms the rest) and a fried (over-easy) egg. Have lots of napkins ready. Super yum.

Do you have any cereal-related rituals or other oddities?: I like it best when there is enough cereal so that you're not left with just milk in the bowl at the end.


Muffin Man was in a MUCH better frame of mind today. Whew! He did say he didn't want to go to school (daycare) today, but once we got there he pushed me out the door with his usual glee so all must be right with his world.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Yep, it's a Monday.

Traffic was HORRENDOUS coming home and Muffin Man resembled an ice cream cone in a hot car in the summer.

Meltdown City.

Our normal 30 minute bedtime routine took about an hour due to breaks for kicking and screaming.

I am bushed.

I wish I weren't allergic to alchohol. Would one of you drink a martini for me?

Even if today were Tuesday, it'd still be a Monday

Muffin Man was not at his most cooperative this morning. Didn't want to get out of his jammies, didn't want to lie down for the diaper change (I knew there was a poop in there! Needless to say, the changing mat is in the wash.) Didn't want to get dressed. And then, when I was at my last straw, he wanted me to carry him down stairs.

Now, normally I would have. Today, however, he'd drained all my energy just getting him dressed. So I said "No. You tired me out and now you have to walk." And then, during his melt down, he tried to hit me.

So now we have to go into the guest room for some quiet time. "Do you want to tell me the rule?" "NO!" "Okay, then I'll just sit at my computer and not pay attention to you."

Two minutes later, a tug on my sleeve. "Are you ready to tell me the rule?" Nod. "What's the rule?" "No hitting." "That's right. No hitting. Are you ready to go downstairs?" "Will you carry me?"


"No, sweetie, I won't carry you. Do you want to go down first or do you want me to go down first?" "I want you to carry me!" "No. Do you want to be the engine or the caboose?" "The engine! Chuggachuggachuggachugga" Going downstairs happily.

After that everything was okay, but I was late to work and I'm still grumpy.

And to top it all off, it's supposed to rain cats and dogs during the evening rush.

Feh, feh, feh.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

What happened to The Force?

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.

Can the girl in this picture really have written this? Is it possible that someone who was Princess Leia for Halloween TWO YEARS in a row has not yet seen Revenge of the Sith, and will probably wait for it to come out on DVD. And even then, she will rent -- not buy?

Lucas, Lucas, what hath thou wrought?

The Original Muffin

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.

A poem and the resulting comments over at Papernapkin reminded me of my late cat, the original Muffin.

We adopted Muffin as a kitten from the Brooklyn ASPCA when I was nine. My mom and I went into the kitten cage and this little skinny ball of fluff jumped right into my arms. From that moment, he was mine.

He was 8 weeks old when we got him, and he grew from a fluff-ball into a leggy teenager and then...

It was a few years before we realized he was a compulsive eater. We bought one of those dry food things that holds enough food for a week. We filled it up and went out to run some errands. When we got back, Muffin was passed out, face-down in the food bowl. There were three pieces of dry food left.

We once discovered that he had sneaked into a neighbor's house, beaten up their German Shepherd and was found eating his way to the bottom of the dog food bag.

He was a total lovey cat though. He looooooved to have his tummy rubbed (see picture). He would sleep next to me with his head on my pillow at night. When we came home he would come running for hugs and kisses.

By the time he was 3, he bore a pretty good likeness to the B. Kliban cats (which I would link to but their site is annoying. Phtttth.)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Children's Eyes Meme

Muffin Man's eyes
Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
No doubt about the color of his eyes. When he was born they were so dark, you couldn't see the pupil.

If only you could see the elephant ears he's wearing!

I'll never look at it the same way again

Read this post over at A Little Pregnant. Tell me if it doesn't change your shower shopping habits.

There's a blog I read...

But I can't tell you which one. Not because I want it to be a mystery type of a thing, but because the way I know about the blog is not typical. If any of you ever link to the blog I read, I'll be able to link to it saying, "I found this link on X's site" and that would be okay.

The blog whose name shall not be mentioned at this time is, like all the blogs linked to on the right, well-written. It is evocative. You are right there - seeing what the blogger sees, smelling aromas, and laughing out loud at the way the words are funny and true.

So...I hope one day one of you will link to it so that I can proclaim to the world, I Read This Blog Too.


This is the continuation of a discussion over at Phantom Scribbler's:

When I was ten years old, I was a short kinda skinny kid. Clumsy, too. Skinned knees, the works. Would have been a tom-boy if I had any coordination whatsoever, or if I hadn't preferred to sit on the bleachers and read.

Anyways, one fine June morning when I was ten, I woke up and I got dressed and I went downstairs and my mom (to the best of my memory, I think it was my mom.) says, "We need to get your stuff ready for camp, so let's go shopping and..." (looking me over) "....hmmmm, maybe we should buy you a training bra."

Okay, no problem. A training bra. We got the cutest little pink-and-white striped Sassoon number (wait, which was the brand with the fingers making an "okay" symbol, Sassoon or Jordache? I think it was Sassoon.) And shorts and t-shirts and sweat-shirts and new sandals.

So I go to summer camp. And over the summer that cute little pink-and-white number gets smaller and smaller.

Anyways...I come back from summer camp and my mom hugs me and looks me over and says "We need to get your stuff ready for school and...hmmmm...looks like we need to get you a bigger bra."

C cup.

I went from nothing to C cup in 10 weeks. At age ten.

And all my life since then, if I gain any weight it goes there first and doesn't go away. I'm now almost to the point where JC Penney won't cut it as a supplier. I'm not quite there, but it's a close run thing.

Up until I quit the bookstore, I was 98 pounds (soaking wet, with long hair). HUGE breasts on a teeny-tiny body. Now, it's not so...obviously off the scale. But still....

Mr. Spock marvels at how comfortable I feel about my body and in particular, the somewhat alien creatures that have taken up residence up front. I think I can explain it thusly:

Everyone has one Biggest Physical Problem. For some, it's their weight; for others, some facial feature that they are unhappy with; or perhaps some actual illness or physical handicap.

For me, that Biggest Physical Problem has always been my height. Kids in my grade school called me a "personal leaning post" and rested their elbows on my head. You know the type of thing. I firmly believe that you cannot have two Biggest Physical Problems. So, my breasts are a HUGE part of me, but they aren't perceived by me as a problem. They might have been if I were 5'3", but I'm 4'11". I can't buy even petite clothes without having to hem them. I can't reach the pedals on most cars without having to turn off the airbag 'cause I'm so close to the steering wheel (Yay for the Kia Sedona! A car that fits both me and my husband!). I constantly have to ask for help getting things down from the shelves in grocery stores. I have trouble getting Muffin Man in and out of shopping carts.

You get the picture. So while I'm occasionally irritated by my breasts, mostly I find them amusing. And that's the way it will probably stay until I can no longer shop for them conveniently. At that point, they may very well become my one Biggest Physical Problem.

But I doubt it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

More Meeting Haiku

Why do you never
change the agenda for the
weekly staff meeting?

Have you never heard
of tracking action items?
What is up with that?

If it weren't for the
homily (changed weekly)
I'd think you lazy

No one wants a sermon
on their agenda. Really,
that's not what it's for

Pontificate on
your own time. Seriously,
your God isn't mine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Eyes Meme

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Here are my eyes in glasses. Nowadays they are more often seen bare (contacts, y'know).

If the color doesn't come through, they are hazel. Brown, green, blue, orange, and grey.

Nine Years.

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. Spock! I love you so much. Thank you for being in my life and for taking us to Kauai for our fifth anniversary. I loved our view then and I love our "Little Souvenier".

History of the Gilligan/Dr. Smith Award

So I was talking with SuzanH over at her site about last night's episode of Gilmore Girls and one thing led to another and suddenly I was talking about our family's tradition of awarding the Gilligan/Dr. Smith Award to one character from every show we watch.

The recipient of the award is the person whom, if the cast of the show were stranded on a desert island or Lost In Space, would be the first to be killed and eaten. The award is named after the classic examples of awardees. Honestly, I can't get through an episode of Lost in Space without shouting, "Kill him and eat him! Kill him and eat him!"

Anyhoo, on Gilmore Girls the awardee is Kirk. On Smallville, it's Lana. On Joan of Arcadia, it's Joan's boyfriend who can't seem to remember that her name is JOAN, NOT JANE! and always wears either a hoodie or a stupid knit cap.

We haven't been able to award one on Good Eats, but Alton cooks and eats something every episode so that's close enough.

Any of you have nominations?

UPDATED: Agh! Agh! They almost killed her, they could have gotten rid of her, but noooooo Lana has to live. Agh! Agh! Agh!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Threes Meme

Saw it at Jo(e)'s first.

3 Names you go by: Mommy, Liz, Sweetie

3 Screen Names you've had: MysteryMommy, Liz, I haven't been here long enough to have a third.

3 physical things you like about yourself: Height, Breasts, Eyes

3 physical things you don't like about yourself: Height, Breasts, Tummy. Hey! It depends on the day people!

3 Parts of your heritage: Jewish, New York (Brooklyn!) , Eastern Europe

3 Things you are wearing now: PJ's, Wrist watch, Wedding ring (this was true when I wrote it last night, now I'm wearing a suit, pantyhose, pumps (and watch and ring))

3 Favorite Bands/Musical Artists: Peter Gabriel, The Police, The Proclaimers (among others)

3 Most recently listened to songs: Gotta be (Desiree), Breathe (Anna Nalick(sp?)), Sing Verdi Very Loud (Beethovan's Wig 2)

3 Physical Things about men that appeal to you: Hands, Eyes, Shoulders

3 Favorite Hobbies: Reading, Blogging, NY Times Crossword Puzzles

3 Things you want to do badly right now: Sleep, Kiss Muffin Man, Kiss Mr. Spock (again, true last night, now switch "Sleep" to "Go Home"

3 Things that scare you: Cancer, Plane crash, War

3 Everyday Essentials: Chocolate , Water, Hugs

3 Careers you have considered/are considering: Radio Disc Jockey (actually did this in college), Book Store Owner (managed one anyway), Teacher

3 Places you want to go on vacation: Kauai, Kauai, Kauai

3 Kids names you like: Muffin Man's real name, Emily, Margaret

3 Things you wanna do before you die: Visit England, Read everything, Meet my grandkids

3 Things you want in a relationship: Mr. Spock.

3 Ways in which you are stereotypically a boy: Don't like wearing make-up, Enjoyed Circle of Iron, Would rather hire a cleaning crew than do it myself

3 Ways in which you are stereotypically a girl: I neaten everything before the cleaning crew comes, love receiving jewelry as gifts, Get all excited and trembly about newborns and weddings.

3 Celebrity Crushes: Steve Martin, Harrison Ford (BCF), Paul Newman

Monday, May 16, 2005

Recipe for Low-Fat Mushroom Risotto (for Genevieve)

Makes 4 Servings

3 cups Fat-free Chicken Broth (plus some water, maybe)
1 cup Arborio Rice
1 large onion (or 2 shallots)
1 pkg sliced mushrooms (or you can slice 'em yourself, but why?)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 splash madeira or marsala
1/4 cup freshly grated parmasan cheese

In a large sauce pan, warm the chicken broth. In a small sauce pan cook the mushrooms until they are tender.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and cook the onions until they are transluscent. Add the rice to the onions and toast the rice (stirring frequently) until it is transluscent with little white spots in the center (about 4 minutes). Over high heat, add one ladleful of chicken broth to the rice and stir constantly until the bottom of the pan looks dry when you move the rice away from it. Continue adding broth ladleful by ladleful, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender with no crunchy bits. This will take 20 to 40 minutes. If you run out of broth before the rice is done, start using warm water. The liquid you add to the risotto must be warm.

Add the mushrooms and the madeira to the rice and stir. Add the cheese and stir until the whole mixture sort of looks like oatmeal.

Serve in bowls with a salad (tomatoes and balsamic vinegar go very well with this.)

HINT: The person who is doing the stirring should NOT be the person who tests the rice for doneness. Trust me on this. You'll end up with crunchy risotto if you don't pay attention to this hint and nobody likes that.

UPDATE: Weight Watchers 3 points a serving.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What we're listening to around our house

And in the car.

Beethovan's Wig and Beethovan's Wig 2. Super silly lyrics set to well-known classical music. Muffin Man looooooves it and asks for it by name EVERY. TIME. we get in the car. "I want BAYTOWGAN'S Wig". Excellent albums (particularly the first one). I warn you though, you will get them stuck in your head.

Anyways, I've used his love of these albums to introduce Disney's Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 to him. He loves anything that doesn't over-do the thunder-and-lightning and volcanos. Not so much into The Sorcerer's Apprentice (too scary) or the dying dynosaurs (ditto). He loves the cavorting animals, flowers, and fairies on both DVD's.


Walked outside this morning and the scent brought me right back to summer camp. You know that scent, the one of warm air right after the rain with just a touch of freshly mown grass and a dash of honeysuckle? It gets me every time.

Why will Muffin Man fight tooth and nail to avoid taking a bath, and then fight tooth and nail to avoid getting out of the bath once he's in it? Does anyone else's child behave this way?

I made Osso Bucco tonight. First time ever. I served it over Mr. Spock's low-fat mushroom risotto. Delish. But why is it that the most scrumptious meals are the ones that are least likely to be on one's diet?

Osso Bucco & Risotto = 15 points on Weight Watchers. I'm only allowed 20 a day. Thank Goodness for swapping in exercise or I'd be in serious trouble.

Does anyone know how many calories are burned by giving piggy-back rides (including galloping and jumping) to a 30-lb 3-year-old for about a half-hour? If you do, please let me know.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Me on the porch in Cape Cod. Age 2.

Originally uploaded by Mystery Mommy.

This goes with My First Summer Memory below.

Jo(e)'s summer meme

Favorite summer flower: Ummm....Let's change this to:
Favorite summer Flora: Blackberries growing wild on Fischer Road.
Flavor of ice cream: B&J Chocolate Fudge Brownie.
Mode of transportation: Feet or Bicycle.
Music: Anything I learned at Camp Onas sung by 120 children of varying ages.
Food: See this post.
Favorite game to play: Capture the Flag.
Earliest childhood summer memory: Playing on the beach in Cape Cod.
Favorite Drink: Lemonade from a thermos.
Favorite Snack: Goldfish.
Place to read: On the beach.
Most annoying: Mosquitoes in the bedroom at night.
How I handle the heat: By whining.
Pet Peeve: Dead horse flies by the side of the pool.
All-time favorite bathing suit: Purple & black striped speedo one piece with open back. I looked good in that suit.
Best Time of Day: Sunset.
Most romantic: Not really summer but...vacation in Kauai 4 years ago this week.
Summer movie: Grease.

View from the playground

So yesterday, Mr. Spock and I walked over to Muffin Man's daycare center to pick him up. We toted along his tricycle and his ladybug helmet so that he could pedal home if he wanted. Our way back takes us past a playground (or as it's known in our family "Swings and Slides!") and we stopped there to do a bit of swingin' and slidin'.

I'm sitting on a bench, watching the fun while MS & MM are playing on the slides.

MS & MM (together): "1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Whee!" MM slides down.
MS: "Can you count backwards?"
MM (turning around so his back is to MS): "1, 2, 3, 4, 5!" Falls down laughing.


I swear, we haven't even let him see "Airplane!" yet.

What are they thinking????

Pentagon Proposes Shutting Walter Reed. WALTER REED! The best hospital anywhere for treating burns, amputees, and all the other horrors of war. They want to close it during wartime? Are they crazy?!?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Blame it on Travels in Booland

This post reminded me of...

Three years ago Mr. Spock and I watched the Nero Wolfe Mysteries every Sunday on A&E. I have read and loved many of the books and MS and I were in love with the show, which is just as clever and witty as the books. Because we got such a kick out of the cook in the series, Fritz, and his relationship with Nero Wolfe and Nero's relationship with food (a good one, Nero is one-seventh of a ton), I went looking on the web to see if the Nero Wolfe Cookbook by Rex Stout and Fritz Brenner, had come back into print. It had. I bought it for MS for our sixth anniversary and was very smug about how I would surprise him by getting him something I was sure he didn't even know the existence of. On the night before our anniversary, MS apologized for the fact that the present he ordered for me would not come on time.
"I only found out about the existence of this today." he said. I felt a strange eerie sensation.
"Did you buy it from Amazon.com?" I asked.
"From off my wish list?"
"No." My eerie feeling grew. I knew. Beyond the shadow of a doubt I knew.
"I think we got each other the same thing" I said.
"No we didn't."
"Yes, I'm pretty sure we did."
"Fiction or non-fiction?" was the question he threw at me, like a fastball.
"Yes." I tossed back. There was a pause.
"Is one of the authors a fictional character?" tentatively.
"Yes." Giggling. I got up and ran to get the box and gave it to MS.
"Happy Anniversary to us!" We had indeed each bought the other The Nero Wolfe Cookbook.

We ate corn-on-the-cob cooked as Nero insists it should be done - in the husk in a very hot oven, served with husk and silk still on the ear. You peel back the husk and the silk just comes right off. As Nero says, "With butter and salt, nothing else, it is ambrosia".

Just found this blog (via Yankee Transplant)

Falling Down is Also a Gift who talks movingly and beautifully about the blessings of organ donation in this post (as well as the idiocy of Gray's Anatomy on ABC.). Needless to say, I'll be adding her blog in the list to the left, but that will have to wait for tomorrow as I am very tired.

'Night all.

UPDATED 5/11/05: I've put a link to her page to the right, not the left, the right. I really was sleepy.

So why aren't I working at the bookstore?

I worked at Murder Ink for three years, first as a clerk then as a manager. I truly loved my job. I loved the customers, I loved the cheap books (employee discounts and advance reader's copies!), I loved the whole thing.

Except the pay. And the bathroom in the basement. But you can live with low pay and strange facilities when you love what you do.

In January 1996, I was going about my routine at the store. We had recently hired a very nice man who was a mystery-lover in his mid-fifties and had a heart condition, so the job was perfect for him (not too much stress). We were working well together, putting together mail-order stuff to go out and chatting. A few customers came in, we sold them books.

One guy came in and he sort of smelled like a shop-lifter. I don't mean he actually smelled, I mean he felt wrong. He was just....wrong. So, I grabbed the feather duster and wandered about dusting the shelves, keeping him in sight. All the other customers in the store paid and left and he went up to my co-worker and said "Open the cash register."

Me (I can only see his back): "I'm sorry, sir, we can't do that"
Shop-lifter: "I have a gun"
Me: "Oh, well, in that case."

I went behind the counter. He had the gun pointed at me. It's an automatic. He's wearing glasses. They're taped with cellophane tape up on the right-hand side. He's black, maybe in his forties.

I opened the register and gave him all the money in the top of the tray. He asked me for the stuff underneath as well, so I gave him that too.

All the time, I'm looking at him. And praying in my head, "C0-worker, please don't have a heart attack. Please don't have a heart-attack."

Shop-lifter leaves. We call the cops. Detective Refridgerator Perry (seriously, he's 6'6" and as wide as I am tall) takes our statements and a description of Shop-lifter. I go with him to look through the books for a match.

Fast forward to the next day. I ask my boss to install a camera and a panic button. He says "No."

Mr. Spock, when I get home that night, asks, "Why are you risking you butt for bupkes, when you could easily learn to program computers and make big money?"

So the next day I tell my boss, "Cameras and a panic button, or I quit."
Boss: "No."
Me: "Okay. It was great working with you."

And that's why I'm a computer programmer.

Epilogue 1: Detective Refridgerator Perry called me to come in and view a line-up.

DRF: "I heard you quit your job."
Me: "Yes"
DRF: "Don't you think that's over-reacting?"
Me: "Probably, if I were built like you and licensed to
carry a gun."
DRF: "Hmmmf."
Me: "Detective Perry, you're a police man. How many
times have you had a gun pointed at you?"
DRF: "Never."
Me: "This was my third."
DRF: "..."

Shop-lifter wasn't in the line-up.

Epilogue 2: So many other employees at the store threatened to quit that the boss finally did get cameras installed.

How I spent my mother's day.

Mr. Spock & Muffin Man took me out to brunch. I paid.

We went to visit a farm, lots of cows and calves, two horses and a dog. Muffin Man was in heaven. We brought home mint plants to grow. Thank you Mr. Farmer!

When MM went down for a nap, Mr. Spock made brownies while I cooked dinner. MM woke up and insisted on wearing Big Boy Underwear. We all had dinner, played some games, drew pictures.

MM WROTE HIS NAME! (Mom, Stepdad, Dad, Stepmom -- I'll e-mail you the picture I took)

MM WENT ON THE POTTY! (gummy bears were given)

Both my men were in bed and asleep by 9:00PM.

And that is a true and complete account of my day. Oh! And I spoke on the phone with Mom & Stepmom.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

So, what's the first thing you notice about me?

If you ever get to see me in person, you'll probably notice that I am short. I'm 4'11''. My almost-twelve-year-old neice is taller than me. I am shrimpy.

The second thing you'll probably notice is that I'm....not Calista Flockheart.

I'm built pretty much like my Grandma Hilda (Dad's mom). She died when I was 4 of a heart attack. Dad's dad died when my dad was nine of a heart attack. My mom's dad (still going strong at age 95) had a heart attack. My dad (very well now, thank the gods) had a heart attack in his thirties. One of his brothers had a heart attack.

So, I found out several months ago that, unless I start exercising and eating right...which I knew but was denying.

My triglycerides were in the 400's. Even on medication. They're supposed to be below 150. In the last few months I got them down to the mid 200's.

How? Two small changes.

1. I got a pedometer. I started walking more (taking the stairs and parking at the far end of the garage). I record my steps at http://www.americaonthemove.org.

2. I drink 60 oz of water everyday. Keeps me hydrated, eating less, and walking more (to the kitchen at work to refill my water bottle and to the bathroom.)

My friend Preludes and Nocturnes and her fiance (who's our long-time friend from NYC) also helped me get more aware of some food decisions, so I started eating more veggies and fruit.

Because my triglycerides are still a tad too high, my doctor wants me to exercise more and lose some weight. So, along with my sister (up in New England) I joined Weight Watchers on-line. And you know? It's not bad! I'm not hungry and I seem to be losing some weight. I'll let y'all know how it goes after my next appointment.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Meeting Haiku

This is haiku I wrote today in a large meeting room where the a/c is cranked up for some unknown reason.

Why would they turn up
the air-conditioning so high?
Cold as death, tomb-like.

Is it not enough
that we must sit pretending
interest in this?

Oh well. If we die
of boredom at this meeting,
at least we won't rot.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Phantom Scribbler started it.

Almost as an aside in this post, Phantom Scribbler mentions Little Women*, which automatically reminded me of the early days in Mr. Spock's & my relationship.

In those days we were living in a two room apartment on West 96th Street in NYC. That is not a typo - two rooms, not two bedrooms.

He was doing something in one room (watching tv? working on the computer?) at this distance, I don't recall exactly what. I was in the other room reading Little Women, something I do about once a year. Beth had just died. I was going past him to get to the bathroom, sobbing.

Him: "What's the matter? Why are you crying?"
Me: "B-b-b-beth d-d-d-died."
Him: "What? When?"
Me: "J-just now in the b-book."
Him: "But....haven't you read it before?"
Me: "Yes."
Him: "So, why are you crying?"
Me: "She died!"

He never really got it. Somehow it's always a surprise when Beth dies.

*This is the edition I have. Beautiful illustrations.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Busy weekend.

Muffin Man had a great time at sister-in-law's house. She and her fiance took him out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday's where he ate a cheeseburger, fries and dessert and left NOTHING on his plate. He slept long and well and ate a good breakfast.

After that, Mr. Spock and I threw him into the minivan and we drove to the wilds of northern Pennsylvania to celebrate Passover with my dad, step-mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, and 4 cousins (actually: step-cousin, step-cousin-by-marriage, and 2 step-cousins-once-removed).

Aside from the 6 hour drive there and the 5 hour drive back, it was a lovely visit. Muffin Man was a trouper (practically no whining, absolutely no melt-downs.) and ate and slept well. He also charmed the dickens out of everybody. One of our cousins is a month older than Muffin Man and they had a pretty good time together (though MM hurt my cousin's feelings once because he wouldn't play catch with him)

And any weekend I get to eat soft-shell crab is a good one in my book. What? You say crab's not kosher? Neither am I.