Friday, November 30, 2007

So glad it's Friday...

For a short week - I'm pretty tired!

Yesterday, I finished up on almost the remainder of my Christmas shopping.  The only things I have left to buy - are the gifts for my kids -- and the gift cards and/or ornaments for the adults.  I love exchanging ornaments -- they're so personal, and you always think of that person when decorating your tree -- so it's almost as if they're a part of the tradition, even if they're not sitting in the living room.

I went to Wrentham again yesterday.  (Insert angels choiring HERE).  My God I love that place.  And I can't wait to go back!  I found the BEST pair of Mary Jane shoes at Nine West (love love love Mary Jane shoes, but they must have a pointy toe AND high heel.  I'm so not into round toes, or little heels.  But I digress…)  that were available to be shipped to my house in both brown and black.  And, $29 a pair!  Buy one - get one 50% off.  I had them find me a pair, located in Lake George NY - but I didn't order them because…."I wasn't there for me.  I wasn't there for me".  That was my mantra all day long.   Not to say that I didn't get myself a little something -- new perfume:;jsessionid=FGB2LC5T20SO1LAUCJ2RXCQ?id=P48606&categoryId=C15137.  I couldn't resist.  My cousin wears it - and it was buy one, get one for $9.99, so we bought two and split the cost.  It cost us each $33 -- which is quite the steal!  And, I received two compliments on it thus far today - so…I'm glad it's a keeper!  AND - fun little tidbit -- my own perfume, Hanae Mori - happens to be a "similar" scent when looking at similar scents on the Sephora website.  Never would've have guessed because this one is much softer than mine.  So there you have it….And for the record - I think I AM going to order those shoes.    It's funny, I'll spend spend spend on everyone else, but really hesitate on spending for myself.  I even (get this) walked out of Ann Taylor without spending a dime on myself.  Can you imagine??

So, weekend is looking like this:  Yoga tonight; taking the kids to a fun "toys for tots" event in my town where they'll get to meet Santa; and then a birthday party on Sunday.  My cousin emailed me the other day saying they forgot us in the mailing of the invites.  I've been there, so know what it's like to be overwhelmed so I get it.  It's a Gymnastics party at a "Y" on the North Shore  - which should be a lot of fun.  We were tentatively planning on doing the skating on Frog Pond with another cousin, but I'm thinking that will get moved up to the following Sunday maybe?  My son was like "why can't we do both?"  and that might be an option, but we'll have to see how the day goes.   It's hard -- there's no one from my family going at this point outside of myself and the kids, so I'd hate to cancel - and I'm not sure if doing both is plausible, so we'll see…

So hard to believe that Christmas is less than a month away. 
Time to start wrapping…..!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Walkin' talkin' flim flam man...

So unimpressed with Mitt Romney. I have to tell you, when he was Governor here - I liked him. He was a moderate, middle of the road kind of Republican -- though fiscally conservative which is the way I tend to lean on money issues. But wow has he gone to the other extreme. Which makes me believe that he is the kind of man that will say whatever he thinks will win him the vote. And he did not present well at all. Which to me doesn't really matter because I wasn't going to vote for him anyway. But I was almost embarrassed to have him linked to Massachusetts; especially when he went on and on about being a Red Sox fan at the end. Seriously Mitt - you lived here for what, 2.5 years? Were you really always a Sox fan? I did however, love Rudy Guiliani's comments at the end about how the Yankees haven't won since he was Mayor. Very cute.

What was interesting about last nights debate was that they all were so different from one another in their points of views, whereas the Democratic candidates weren't all that much off the mark from each other's opinions on things. The Republicans ran one end of the spectrum to the other. Which sort of makes it difficult for me to choose a candidate to like in both instances. The Democrats are all rather wishy washy; the Republicans each have qualities that I long for -- but are often radically in the wrong direction of some of the social issues I believe in.

I have to say that Mike Huckabee surprised me and came across as the most rational -- even in the pro life/pro choice issue. I knew nothing about him going into this, and came out of it thinking that he seemed the most middle of the road. Guiliani came across well; McCain I thought came across a little too angry and condescending at times - though I agreed with much of what he said, the delivery was harsh. Should the delivery matter? I don't know. Perception is everything though, no? Ron Paul was very likeable as well...although I think he was anti-gay in the military, if I remember correctly - and that didn't sit well with me. But then again - not everything will, right?

What are the most important issues to me? Probably immigration, pro-choice, health care, fiscal health - not in that particular order, though immigration is top for me. But that's a rant for another day...

I just don't want this to come down to yet another "lesser of all evils."
So who's a girl to vote for?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ruminations of the day...

1. Prior to yesterday, my hair was really long. Wicked long, actually. (You know it was long if I revert to "wicked" as an adjective!). To my waist actually. I cut 4.5 inches off of it - and so now it's just long. But wow, it feels so short to me today! I still want to donate to Locks for Love…and I still will -- I'm just not ready to commit to shorter hair at the moment. But I'm quite fortunate in the respect that my hair is thick, and grows like a weed - so I'm sure that by the summer it will be close to where it was yesterday afternoon --and if I'm ready to commit at that point, I'll have more than enough hair to donate. I'm a firm believer in donating to all sorts of causes, and I try to donate to as many as I can regularly; and one that will help women and children when battling with Cancer is one that I just can't let pass by when I'm fortunate enough to be someone who can help in that respect.

2. Wow, is the media all over Brendan Meriweather now with the death of Sean Taylor. Well, the local media here is anyway -- specifically WEEI. I would tend to think that the Patriots did their homework on this kid when they brought him on, and I don't suspect that he'll go all "gangstah" and start shooting people because of his friend's death. Listen, Miami isn't Boston. The college crowds are a little different - the environment, mentality and lifestyles are a little different here than they are in Miami. I'm thinking that while he's probably grieving - he's loving his membership with the best team in the NFL more than he loved the thug life he supposedly was involved with 18 months or so ago.

3. I am really looking forward to this evening's Republican debate. I've gotten the opportunity to see where the Democrats sit on views - so now I'm looking forward to hearing where the Republicans sit. My vote as I've expressed before - is entirely up for grabs. I took this test online, and it said that my views aligned with John McCain at 70%, Rudy Guilani at 59%, Joe Biden at 50% and Hilary Clinton at 48%. Which is interesting because I'm not entirely clear on what the differences are between the candidates themselves. Joe Biden didn't surprise me, I really liked him during the debate. Hilary -- that surprised me quite a bit. But again, the questions that I answered may or may not have been either clearly understood by me -- or they may have been presented in a way to align to one particular candidate -- which wouldn't properly reflect the views that I believe in with a candidate. But that's the thing - I'm more than likely not going to agree with any one particular candidate on everything. So it's almost a call of the "lesser of all evils". I just want someone who truly believes what they say - and won't flop to try to win the vote.

4. I think I've made my thoughts quite clear on child abuse and stories of that nature. The Madeleine McCann case is really an interesting one though. I'm not entirely convinced that the parents had any play in this. I think that they made horribly poor decisions in leaving their children unattended -- what parent does that??? Be that as it may -- something about the way it's all been handled just really doesn't add up. I can't see why two parents who went through years of infertility treatments to conceive their daughter -- would kill her? And why her - and not the other two boys? It just doesn't ring true to me. An acquaintance of mine works for Fox News and has been on location following that story - and is convinced that the family is innocent and the Portugese police is trying to pin it on the family because they really botched the investigation -- starting from the crime scene that night and moving forward. I'm just not sure what to believe. All I know is that I sincerely hope that this story ends with her being abducted as part of a illegal adoption ring and that she's living with some family that's caring for her at the moment. While no one wants to have a child abducted ever -- I'd so much rather have this story end with her alive and healthy, than the alternative -- which we all know is not the happiest of endings.

5. The Novelle of Natick.
For those who buy "Manolo's" and don't like to "rough it". Well. My gut reaction was "wow, what a great concept for condos - I'm openly envious." But then reading the quotes from the clearly pretentious couple who was interviewed for this article, all I can say is "thank GOD I'm not a member of THAT condo association." This couple clearly needs to get over themselves. Because honestly, I'm a 30 something who while I don't actually own a pair of Manolos -- can afford to buy a pair and just choose not to. But that doesn’t make me above the rest of the people who live in Boston. There are places to go outside of the college bars in town, and it sounds to me as if Miss Thing in here - goes to the wrong places just to show the world that she "buys Manolos". Seriously sister. This girl is just not impressed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Never good one's ever happy

So here's what I don't get.

I know the Pats defense looked lousy Sunday night. And truthfully - Tom Brady made some not so great plays -- yet statistically, he did okay.

For most other teams - that game would've been a loss. (Despite the fact that we were robbed of a touchdown…but that's a refereeing issue, which is a whole different subject in of itself. But I digress...)

Here's why it's almost impossible to have a perfect season: on any given Sunday - it can be anyone's game, no? And the teams that are coming in to play the Pats now, they're not coming in with their tails between their legs admitting defeat before the toss of the coin. They're going to pull out all the stops and play crazy ball against the Pats -- sort of what happened Sunday night, right? Everyone wants to be David, slewing Goliath.

On one hand, people (including NE fans) have been crying about how easy the games have been; on the other hand…we have an "off" night, don't look "perfect"….and everyone's on their case saying "it's a win, but…." and they're being pulled apart. Call me crazy, but seriously… they won. Isn't that really all that matters? Now it's time to focus on the future. And let's be honest - no one adjusts a team like Belichick in the middle of a game - let alone within a week.

This is what it's like in the Boston market though.
To coin an old phrase, "you can't win for losing!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Who does this kind of thing???

The authorities have finally identified Baby Grace.

It is amazing to see the photo of the victim, a beautiful 2 year old girl…and how closely the composite drawing of what the authorities think she would've looked like actually comes to the real thing.  Those artists and specialists who come up with the composite photos are just mind blowing.

And what is so especially devastating is the story behind this.   How can a mother do this to her own child?  My heart breaks when I think of this little child, the pain she must've endured and how she was just discarded like a piece of trash.

If there really are angels, I pray to God that little Riley - "Baby Grace"  is one of them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

'TIs the season to be jolly...

It's funny, with the Thanksgiving holiday - my schedule feel a little "off". Of course, being up for 24 hours didn't help much with keeping track of the days. But today is Saturday - and we have one of my nephew's birthday parties which should be alot of fun. It's a bowling party - and the kids are really looking forward to it. Tomorrow, it's Christmas Card picture day...and of course, the traditional transition to Christmas with decorating, and the "Pièce de résistance" - the tree.

This morning I realized it's been sometime since I posted a Saturday survey; and with the official kickoff to the holiday season having taken place, I thought that a holiday themed survey would be a good choice for today. Similar to other survey's I've done in the past but you know how these things go, they all vary on a theme. So sit back, and if you're truly that's just a few more things about this girl and my favorite time of year!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate...preferably with a touch of mint!

2. Letter to Santa? "Dear Santa, I already wrote on behalf of the kids, so this one's all me. Quick question for you...does the whole "naughty/nice" thing have to apply to grownups too? Because truly, I'm a little bored of the "nice" thing right now. I've got plenty of nice...could use a little naughty. A girl needs a break now and then, wouldn't you agree? Are there levels to this naughtiness thing? Just curious...Anyhow. I truly don't need much. Surprise me -- I love surprises. Could we talk about Jason Varitek somehow ending up under my tree....even for just, 10 minutes? I can definitely suppress the whole "naughty" thing if that's what it takes. Let's talk. Love you, and always a believer....Rebecca."

3. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa always wraps! And puts bows on...curly ribbon sometimes too. It's no fun for the kiddies if there's no wrapping to undo!

4. Colored lights on your tree/house or white? I'm a traditionalist, leaning towards the white. I used to be a multi color light kind of girl - but then I realized that the ornaments show up better with plain white. It makes them standout rather than get lost in all the color.

5. Do you hang mistletoe? No. And interestingly enough, I've never had anyone kiss me under it either... maybe it's because I've never hung it?

6. When do you put your decorations up? The Saturday or Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving.

7. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Truthfully, I make something different every year - I try to keep it interesting. But I guess ham might be one of them since I almost always include a ham in the menu. I love the stuffed scallops I make too though.

8. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Making play doh ornaments with my mother.

9. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth about Santa? Is he diabetic? Should I not be leaving out cookies??? I've often wondered why he doesn't eat them all...

10. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, I don't like to do that. When I was little we always did, I'd always ask. But as a grown up -- no. Guess I acquired patience somewhere along the line....

11. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I'm discovering a whole new appreciation for coordinated chaos. Having the kids help is the whole fun...but the type A in me is just realizing that I can enjoy it, truly. It's eclectic I guess...leans towards the Victorian side with the colors, has some "fou fou" with feathered ornaments; but remains traditional as well with handmade ornaments made by my Mom as well as traditional figurine ornaments.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes, I love love love it!!! Hoping to get to the Duck Pond -- maybe next Sunday?? I wish I had more time to go - but it just seems like once a year is the only time anymore.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I think my favorite gift ever was a cookbook that my parents made for me about 10 years ago now. It's got all their own "tried and true" recipes, plus a ton that my mom found online for me and printed out. I use it all the time still -- and about 6 years ago or so, in a non-gift related fashion - my Mother added to it with all sorts of crock pot recipes.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being with my family.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Obviously, anything with peanut butter. Outside of that, love love love chocolate pudding pie --so simple, and yet so flipping good.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Most definitely the decorating of the tree.

17. What tops your tree? A teddy bear angel that my Mom made, I don't know -- 25 years ago maybe? She always made crafts and would sell them at shows...but this one was either an extra one, or it didn't sell - I can't remember which. But I loved it -- It was one of the few things I asked for when I first moved out. And it's been on my tree every year since I was 18.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Love to give. Definitely my favorite. But it always feels nice to receive a little something as well...

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Traditional, I'd have to say "Little Drummer Boy" or "What child is this". Contemporary, I'd have to say "Little Drummer Boy" with Bing Crosby and David Bowie - as well as "Christmas in Sarajevo" by Transiberian Orchestra. New/Original, then I'd say "Believe" by Josh Groban.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yum! How can you not love a candy cane? Not only do they taste great - but they make your breath sweet and minty too! Who can't appreciate a candy that multi tasks?!?!

Friday, November 23, 2007

How tired am I?

So much so, that the word "tired" itself is an understatement.

I went to the Wrentham Outlets last night at midnight for "Midnight Madness".. and it was well worth it. My only regret was having to put back what I had in my arms at the Gap Outlet, but seriously - a one hour wait for the register is not what I'm up for at 1:30 in the morning.

First off, I was there by 11 sharp...but the exit was closed down. The State Police weren't allowing people to move on the exit until approximately 11:45. How irritated was I? Exceptionally so. girlfriend and I ended up one car away from each other in traffic, which is pretty funny considering that I came from the North and she from the South; so we were on our cell phones for the hour lamenting about the wait which in turn, made the wait not so unbearable.

I did really well - and for the first time ever - have about 70% of my shopping for people outside of my kids -- completed. I'm actually going back one day this week to re-capture the great things I had at the Gap that I had to "set free".

The only downside to the night was that as we were leaving, it took about an hour to get out of the parking lot and on to the highway - and it was so congested that we missed the turn to Cracker Barrell. So no fun breakfast for us. I did, however - stop in the Bellingham area Dunkin Donuts that gave me a piping hot, fresh wheat bagel. That was probably the most delicious bagel I'd ever had. And I didn't feel like I couldn't stay awake on the drive home, which might have been the case had I eaten bacon, ham, grits, and all things country from the Barrell. Everything happens for a reason, no?

I came home at 6, squeaked in one hour of sleep before Mom responsibilities kick in - and you know what -- I'm feeling pretty darn good despite my opening statement.

I would do it again next year... but with different expectations, and clearly a game plan on where to go first. But truly, with the fun friend experience and the great prices - definitely well worth the inconveniences and lack of sleep.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twas the Day before Thanksgiving....

So, I've been talking a lot with my kids over the past few weeks about what they're thankful for.
Which led me to think about what I'm thankful for.

And while I feel that I'm always relative open about what I appreciate, and try to always take the time to call out the things that are important to me - today is a good time to reiterate them again.

1.  Family I'm so very fortunate to have a solid family foundation; while my immediate family isn't always near by, it's that sense of "home" and belonging that I still hold tight to.  I think that helps keep me grounded throughout time.  Needless to say I'm so very thankful for my own little family…I couldn't imagine my life without them.

2.  Health Knock on wood, thus far - we're all healthy, with nothing major or life threatening involved at the moment.  And that is something to always be thankful for.

3.  Friendships What is life without friends?  I'm so very thankful that I have a solid core of friends -- and acquaintances -- that I'm proud to know and be associated with.  It's funny, as you get older -- even your circle of acquaintances are the types of people that you generally want in your life, as opposed to them just occupying space out of a necessity of either work or play.  Let's be honest, we all have choices in life as to whom we choose to interact with and I've found that I'm really happy with the people I've chosen -- or rather, might have chosen me -- to be a part of life.

4.  Outlook I can't begin to say express how thankful I am that I have a positive outlook on life, naturally.  It's something that doesn't come easy to everyone - we're all different, and have gone through different experiences in life that can lend a hand in cycnicsm or negativity.  And while I by no means have led a life that has been laden with primroses…I've never let the negativity that has been thrown at me bring me down.  I whistle all the time.  I'm always smiling, sincerely.  I'm geniunely always happy.  And you know what, I love that about me!!   If there was one thing about me that someone asked me, "what is your best feature" -- I think I'd say "my attitude and outlook."  I'm really thankful that I was "made" this way.

These are the three most important things I'm thankful for.  Seriously.   There are other things in life I'm thankful for on a grand scale - but these are the "biggies".
The following, however - are the "fluffy" things I'm thankful for.

1.  Boston Sports.  Does it get much better than this?  'Nuff said / Nuf Ced.  (Anyone watch "Rooters" yet??)

2.  Mia Bella Candles I'm so thankful that I discovered these candles this past weekend.  I'm supposed to be attending a party Monday evening where there will be candles available for purchase.  I might have been skeptical had I not bought one this past weekend.  Love, love, love these.  Can't say enough about them.   Soy candles, that melt into complete liquid evenly -- and the best part is -- no black soot.  At all.  Anywhere.  Candle lovers everywhere MUST get these candles.   (There, I not only am thankful - but I'm generous too, because I'm spreading the word! Hahaha)

3.  Yoga Best thing I did this year was get myself in this activity.  I'm so thankful that I added it to my work out routine.  I feel better, sleep better, and work out with better endurance and stamina as a result of it.  I've always eaten "right" but it almost entices you to always eat right, and do good things for your body all the time.  How can you go wrong with that?

4.  The Body Shop I'm so thankful that I gave the shop another chance.  Didn't love their stuff too too much before.  But the Body Butter -- is to die for.  Gotta have.  So thankful I got a gift card for my birthday this year because now, I'm hooked.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving -- be it at home, with family, or a restaurant -- it doesn't really matter.  Be happy, appreciative and thankful…there's always another day to have a good day, even if you aren't in the best of places in life at the moment. Every day you wake up -- is a great day.  And know that you make a difference and have an impact on someone else's life. 

And isn't that something in of itself that's worth being thankfulr about?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday's Thoughts...

1.  Mike Lowell stays.  How cool is that?  It's such a great feeling to know that the key pieces to the puzzle with baseball are in place.  Love not having the huge drama issues!  I'm really hoping that we see a new shortstop somewhere along the line.  Don't get me wrong, everyone's a "nice guy", and I'm not trying to put anyone in particular down, but seriously - I never understood why we let Orlando Cabrera go in the first place.

2.  Disgusted with my medical insurance and my company.  Today I found out for the second time this year that my company changed a policy and didn't tell me.  I never received new cards - or the mailing they "sent out".  I discovered today that my copay for an emergency room visit went up from $50.00 to $150.00.  Prescriptions from $10/$30 to $30/$60.  And now I have a $1500 deductible?!?  What the heck's a deductible for???   I'm sorry, to add insult to injury - my health insurance went up over $55 a month.  I pay almost $350 a month now, and my coverage itself declined?!?  Seriously?!?!  Here's a phrase for you:  WTF!!!!

3.  First snow of the season.  I went out at lunch today to get my nails done (which I did in a dark color for the first time since last Spring.  Lovin' it.  "Suzi says 'Da' " -- whatever "Da" means.  But I digress…) and it was really kind of nice out.  Funny thing is, I don't remember the last time it snowed before Thanksgiving?  It's been a while!  Technically - it snowed yesterday, just nothing stuck.  Today, we have white lining the trees.  So while it's sad to finally say goodbye to open toed sandals on those occasionally warm days - it's great to say hello to fun boots on a full time basis.  Although rumor has it we're going to be in the 60s over the next couple of days…

4.  Thanksgiving Midnight Madness.  So I'm quite excited because I've always wanted to go and do crazy Midnight Madness shopping but haven't been able to do it.  Well, this year my girlfriend and I are going to the Wrentham Outlets!  Bundled in pajamas, (a.k.a sweats) and armed with endless amounts of Dunkin Donuts (because America "runs on Dunkins") we're going to shop shop shop.  Stores open at midnight - and we're going full force until at least dawn.  I plan on being home at 7, just in time for the kiddies to wake up and want to hang out.  Eh, I work best on less sleep anyway.

5.  Football.  Whining.  Revisited.  Seriously folks.  To all those cry babies who are complaining about running up the score, enough already!!!!!!!!!!  Isn't it more of an insult to kick a field goal and just assume the defense isn't capable of stopping a team?  Get your panties out of a bunch and man up to the fact that "your team" (insert team of choice name HERE) just isn't doing that well this year.  It's okay…we've been through it here in New England many a time, for many a year.  We got through it - and so will you. 

Now go put your shoulderpads on, your mouth gear in and shut up and play.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I can't believe it - but I'm hooked.

Okay, so I've always believed myself to be more of a purist with regards to certain technologies - the phone being one of them. I don't need my phone to be a camcorder, or a camera...a web browser or an IPOD. I just need it to be a phone.


I had to go and get myself a new cell phone because my old one "mysteriously" just had the "red light of death" happen to it over the weekend. The phone was fully charged - but would just not boot up anymore. Which means, I've lost every contact information I ever had in there. (Note to self: Join Verizon's online account group so I can back up my own data from here on in.) Note to you, my friends - who know me outside of the blogosphere: PLEASE give me all of your information again. Yes Mom & Dad - this means you too. It's amazing how reliant we become on technology when you can't even remember your own best friends and family's telephone numbers any longer. But I digress...

So, I got this fun little Samsung phone that has a camcorder, and a camera - and oh yes, it is an MP3 player. That functionality will probably fall to the way side with me. But it DOES flip to the side and become a keyboard with true, real typing technology. No more annoying T9 for texts. How exciting! That in of itself holds it's weight in gold.

Love, love, love my new phone. So excited. And I just can't wait to have numbers in there so I can actually call people with it!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's not a's an 8 head!

Listen. A girl has to know her imperfections. I certainly know mine - and there are plenty of them. But I try to hide them -- this is the magic of being a girl. It's something we're taught to do almost as soon as we're taught to talk, walk, and brush our own teeth.

One of them that was brought to my attention at a very young age, is the fact that I have a high forehead. No matter how much I wanted to be like my little girlfriends when I was young, with their bangs off their forehead in pretty little barrettes -- or pulled back into a pretty headband -- I could not pull it off. Oh, and I tried. Despite my mother's continual urging of me pushing my bangs back on to my face when I would pull them back, I was convinced that she was wrong, wrong, wrong - and that I did not look silly with my hair off my forehead. So, one year -- it was third grade actually, I thought "I'll show her". I snuck two yellow barrettes that would match the dress she painstakingly chose for me to wear on my picture day in school. And then, when they passed out those little black plastic combs for us to comb our hair with, I parted my bangs down the middle and snapped those little barrettes, one on each side. I felt proud, even jubilant when I walked away after the flash went off. I wore my hair that way for the remainder of the day, of course removing them before getting home so as not to let onto my "surprise".

Well, the joke was on me. About a month later when we received our class photos, I was crushed to see just how horrific -- yes, horrific -- I looked. I was devastated, and of course knew my Mother would not be happy when she saw it. And yes, she had quite the laugh over the picture when I got home. But she hung that picture up -- and gave them out to the rest of the family as if it was a gorgeous portrait -- and that photo is still to this day, a running joke in my family.

So here's what I don't understand. When I see a girl who clearly needs bangs and doesn't use them.
Let's use Giada DeLaurentis for an example. Look at her:

She's flipping gorgeous. Phenomenal figure, beautiful smile... soon to be a Mom!
But really, the girl needs some bangs!!

Or how about Elizabeth Reaser, who plays "Rebecca / Ava" on Grey's Anatomy:

I'm sorry, I get embracing the forehead....but cover it up!!!

Ladies...don't to your stylist.

And for god's sake -- get yourself some bangs!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Something as simple as the morning walk...

My son very recently became a "car rider" and no longer takes the bus to his elementary school.  Truly, we live 4 minutes away by car - why should the poor kid have to sit on a bus for 45 minutes every day because he's the first one on, and the last one off?  So, he and I as of this week - start our days together on the road.  The 4 minutes actually becomes a little longer, because I must have my Dunkin Donut's fix - and there isn't another one on my commute, so we go to the one closest to the house before heading towards school.

On our way this morning, I noticed something that struck me as rather interesting.  Not one child could be seen walking to school; not even down the street that the school is on.  There were lots of buses - and cars - but no children.  So I mentioned to my son how different it is today from when I was a kid.  Back then (we rode dinosaurs to school….wore paper on the bottom of our heels instead of getting new shoes…) we walked to school.  You'd see groups of kids walking to the elementary schools.  You could start off walking by yourself, and you'd almost never end up at the school door alone.  You'd see some people and yell "hey, wait up"…start chit chatting and then, of course the obligatory "can I walk with ya" (yes, we said "ya" because after all - I am from Boston!)

Seeing no kids walking anywhere within the town is an interesting commentary of our society today.  This is not a world where we as parents feel that it is safe to let our kids out of adult supervision, for any length of time -- at least not until they're old enough to drive themselves it seems.  And while this is definitely true of how I feel -- it still was sort of sad to see the streets themselves so quiet.  I used to love walking to school, it was a great way for me to spend extra time with my friends.  Maybe one of us would be inspired to go over the other's house after school to do homework or something, maybe even have dinner at someone's house. 

Those days are gone now.  It's all chaueffered, chaperoned, coordinated and communicated. The free spiritedness and impulsiveness of being a kid is gone.  The innocence of life is much smaller now because of the sick, twisted psychopaths knowns as pedophiles not only live in our own backyards - but they're reaching out to our kids via every means of communication possible. MYSPACE, AOL, Facebook and every other online chatroom in the world are the breeding grounds for these people to encroach upon our precious children.  We see them on Dateline NBC, and we as parents know that they are trying really hard to be creative, and cunning in their efforts to ditch the law and feed their addiction to preying on children -- without getting caught.

Hmmm.  Nothing like saying how I really feel.

I get that this isn't 1955 -- or even 1985. Back in those days, you just were supposed to be afraid of strange men offering you candy at the playground - or luring you to see a puppy in their car or van.  I know the world is a dangerous place, as it's always been.  I just wish it wasn't so in my face all the time.  I liked my childhood growing up; I loved being able to play with my friends, and not have my parents (who were insanely strict and overprotective in comparison to my other friend's parents) be overly worried about me.   And funny enough, something as small and subtle as not seeing any children, or hearing any laughter on a residential street of an elementary school really drove that point home for me today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random Thoughts...

1. Politics. Very interesting to see all the backstabbing, semantic playing and backpeddeling going on within the Democratic party. I was watching Bill Maher last night and one of his guests - I believe it was Martin Short - was slamming the Independent voters a bit, claiming that we are "wishy washy". Funny, I tend to think of myself as anything but wishy washy. Being Independent gives me the flexibilty and freedom to vote for the candidate that I think best serves the views that are important to me. Both Republican and Democratic parties in their true forms are far too extreme for me; my views are a bit more middle of the road - and therefore, by not claiming a party -- I have the luxury and the freedom of voting for a candidate that I feel best represents me. Why should I declare "loyalty" to a party? I am a free thinking individual, and capable of determining what my own values are; that very principal is what America and democracy is based upon, is it not? My vote is up for grabs. I want to be impressed by someone who I believe truly stands for what they believe in. I don't like wishy washy, poll watching candidates. Don't say what you think is going to get you the "minority vote", the "women's vote", the "ethnic vote" -- say what you mean and mean what you say. If you believe it - then so will we. And maybe, you'll win the election. I truly don't know whom I think the best candidate will be, and I'm truly looking forward to the debates once we have our main contenders lined up.

2. Food. I can't stop thinking about cooking lately. I love to cook, and though I'm not having Thanksgiving at home - I can't wait for Christmas. I am a bonafide FoodTv addict, I have to confess. I mean, if I have even a minute to watch television - what do I put on? FoodTV. And if I don't like what's on -- I find it "On Demand". Not a big Paula Deen fan I have to tell you. I know, I know - everyone loves her. She's okay - but I just can't take too much of her. Giada DeLaurentis is really growing on me. Her recipes are really very nice. I've always like Mario Batali, Ina Garden (aka Barefoot Contessa) and I love love love watching Ace of Cakes. The cakes they make are out of control. Anyway -- I'm really looking forward to trying some very cool recipes I've seen over the past few days. And while turkey isn't necessarily my favorite food in the world, I am a little sad that I’m not going to be able to try and make this really yummy looking Turkey w. Pomegranite gravy that Tyler Florence made. I don't do turkey on Christmas. Christmas is always something that I tend to go overboard with -- and I've got something pretty special lined up for this year's menu. But I’m not quite ready to release the details just yet...

3. Friends. I swear, I feel like I haven't had time to stop this year. One of my girlfriends is having Baby X at this very moment! We don't know if it's a boy or a girl - but they are on their way this very minute via C-section. Another one of my friends is having a birthday get together for this evening that I can't attend. While I did manage to see a few of my girlfriends at a fundraiser last Friday night, it just seems like I haven't been able to have a good girl's night in with them all in ages. I think the last time we were all together at a time that I was able to attend - was in April? Seriously! I'm really looking forward to our December holiday get together - and hope to make one of this coming year's resolutions be "MAKE the time to spend with the girls". Life is busy - we're going in different directions at the moment - but truly, spending time with my girlfriends is something that this girl really loves -- and needs.

4. Sports. (You knew I had to throw some sports in there, right?) CC Sabathia won the Cy Young. Hmmm. Okay? I often wonder how they deem people worthy of voting on things. Moving on... Dustin Pedroia - Rookie of the Year. Fantastic! I guess the Sox are playing Opening Season games in Japan…yum, the thought of having really fresh sushi sounds amazing. (Sorry, digressing back to food. I told you it's on my mind!). I am so psyched for the Patriots game on Sunday -- a "bye" week is so quiet! Outside of watching the Colts lose. I'm sorry - was that not a nice thing to say? I'm not a Peyton Manning fan - never have been, probably never will be. Who's my favorite player? Hmmm. Rodney Harrison is one; Assante Samuels is another. Laurence Maroney. I mean, obviously everyone loves the Quarterback and Receivers. But those three are probably my favorite players on the team overall.

I've got lots of other thoughts floating around as well - but I think this is good enough for now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's really quite simple...

Say the pledge of allegiance.
Maybe sing to yourself the song "God Bless America" or the "Star Spangled Banner".

And then just even think a word or two of thanks to those who have served and continue to serve our country.

They deserve it, don't you think?

Friday, November 09, 2007

This is why there's nothing better than being a Mom...

When I come home every day, my daughter runs up to me, and wraps her arms around me and yells "Mommy, you're home!!!!!!!!!".

As if she hasn’t' seen me for 3 weeks. How great is that?

So yesterday before dinner, we were discussing Thanksgiving and what we were thankful for. My son - who can be so wise beyond his years sometimes - says, "I’m thankful for my health, my family, my pets, Santa Claus, and all my toys". My daughter says "I'm thankful for you because you're my best girlfriend in the whole world, and Daddy, and brother, and Connie (her stuffed cow) and that someday I might not be allergic to cheese". How hard did I laugh???? It was the best. Out of the mouth of babes.

Then, my son says he wants to write a letter to Santa. Which he did. And as he's writing it, he stops and says to me "Do you think I really need to write to him?" and so, surprised by his question I said "Why not? I think he likes to hear from you!". And he said "but, should I really be asking for something? Shouldn't I just get what I get?" Interesting point. So I said, "well, I think Santa likes to have a few ideas as to what you might want that's special, that’s all. You don't have to ask for anything though, you can just say hi." So, he finished his letter all by himself - and he even thought to mention something for his sister.

I've always been very good about donating toys, food and clothing to those in need. And I've always explained to the kids why we're doing it. But I think that my son is just really getting it now. A few months back, I said I was going to take him to the food kitchen to help feed those who didn't have homes, and he wasn't sure about it. But two days ago, when he came home with a slip from school asking for each kid to bring in one of their favorite food items to donate to our town Food Pantry - he couldn't wait to do it. As a matter of fact, he wouldn't stop with one -- he brought in a whole bag of things. I tried to keep it to a minimum and he said "Well, we can afford to buy more and they can't. Isn't it better to give than to receive?". Damn it, my 6 year old is smarter than I am. So I said to him - "Hey, remember I said I wanted to take you to the shelter or church so we can feed people who don't have a place to eat? Would you like to go and see how your food is used?" And he said "yes". And of course then my daughter was like "Can I go, can I go?" which of course doesn't mean she understands -- she just wants to go wherever her brother goes. But she'll get it one day too.

These are just some of the many reasons I have daily that make my job as Mom the most gratifying and rewarding times of my life.

I will be so very sad when these tender years are over.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crossing genres?

So last night I missed the CMAs and Kellie Pickler's emotional performance. I'll have to catch the replay on YouTube it seems.

Instead, I watched Dennis Miller's comeback new show on Versus: Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller. His debut guest was our very own local sports hero Curt Shilling.

Who, might I say seems to be a busy man. He needs to take a break now! The off season is here…he's signed, relax a little.

(That's code for this girl thinking that he looked a little tired last night.)

Thougts on the show are as follows. Love Dennis Miller..always have, always will. He reigns supreme in political satire.

Well, not so much.

Not judging -- I could never do his job. And it's quite clear that he loves sports. However… when he was on Monday Night Football I was psyched because I love him and I thought, "wow, how fun will that be?" Well, it just seemed to me that he was rather awkward and never really quite fit in that genre, unfortunately.

So I was surprised to see he's got this new sports show. Again, it's evident that he's a sports fan -- a New England one at that -- but he still seemed awkward to me, most especially in his monologue. I know, it's new….opening night jitters. I'm going to keep watching and I hope he picks up steam and the show does well.

Afterwards, I rewatched the Pats/Colts game on NFL network. Can I just tell you? LOVE the way they rebroadcast. Love it.

So that's my story for today. And, I…am….outta here….!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Don't you just love a bargain...

I'm sorry, I can shop with the best of them. I love to go to places like Natick Collection…or score a tremendous amount of sales at the Wrentham Outlets.

But can I just tell you -- nothing beats Burlington Coat factory for a really great bargain.

Especially with kids clothing. Here's the dress I got my daughter for Christmas Eve and our Christmas card picture…beautiful.

But I did not pay $42.00 plus shipping. Oh no, I paid $24 -- cash and carry, thank you very much!

And, for her Christmas day outfit, this very fun red velour Santa-type sweat suit but the top is a swing top. So pretty, lined with white faux fur and a glittery snowflake on the front. $14.99. Fantastic! I'd show a pic but just can't find any online.

And as for Moi…so many shoes and boots to choose from! I didn’t know what to buy first and everything was just priced so well. I only bought one pair of shoes, I have to admit. I'm trying to hold back on my shopping a little you know? But I got these very fun, brown on brown - though I'd say brown and taupe - fun high heeled shoes by Wild Rose. For $15.00 - how could I resist?

Love, love, love Burlington Coat Factory.
Definitely one of my favorite "go to" places to shop.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm not sad or anything. I'm just sort of blah. Given the fact that it's cold, wet and windy outside -- that might have something to do with it.

It's just one of those days that I feel like nothing is good with me externally. Internally I'm okay! But I'm just not loving the outward me today.

Bad hair. (These are the types of days I have to hold myself back from doing something drastic like cutting it!). It's too long. Not blonde enough? Maybe too blonde?

I'm not tan anymore since I stopped using sunless tanner and so I feel like I look pale and just blah.
And I've been working out like crazy and yet…not feeling like I'm in as good of shape as I was a few months ago.

Yesterday, I ran 2.5 miles and it was one of those days that I could've run forever -- I only stopped because I had to make it home in time for my sitter. Running is funny; somedays it's easy -- some days it's really a chore. I'm hoping today is another one of those good days because I’m going to leave a little early today and try to run 6 miles. I've never run more than 5, which sounds silly - but it's just I never really have the time to do it, you know? So, I'm going to make the time today to do it. And then….I'm going to yoga. I think that's part of the reason I'm feeling yukky on the outside. I haven't been able to take yoga but once in the past two weeks, and truly - I feel so physically amazing afterwards. So I'm thinking that should help some.

Good news on the Sox front…looks like Curt Shilling may be resigned! And it looks like talks with Lowell are happening, so….

I love the off season and all the drama that ensues.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday was all I'd hoped it would be

1.  How about those Patriots?  Not only did they have to play the Colts - but they had to play against the referees as well.  Wow, were there some lousy calls in yesterday's game.  But, despite it all the better team won.  I mean, truly I thought that up until the 4th quarter, the Pats looked a little flat -- but still they did okay.  Because at gut check time they come through.  Brady is grace under pressure.  Manning - not so much.  And to hear him whine about how they lost because they had injuries, bla bla bla.  I'm sorry, we had lots of injuries last year when they beat us -- but did we complain?  No.  We said that they outplayed us fair and square.  C'mon Manning.  Man up and just realize that sometimes, you can't be the golden boy.  And like Tom Brady said in one of his postgame interviews - it's great that they won and all, but truly all that matters is January.  This game was exciting and it was a real "game" in the respect of challege.  But it's in the rear view and time to move on and focus forward.   My opinion?  Sure - Indy had a great defense and they looked good.  They're definitely the second best team in football.

2.  There's nothing lke a good movie.  Saturday night I laid on the sofa and watched one of my all time favorite movies, that I have not seen in a long time.  "Legends of the Fall" is the movie that solidified my attraction to Brad Pitt when it first came out.  And though I've waned my affection for him some since he left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie (yes, I thought that was a crappy move on his end) -- watching that movie again just reiterated why he is such an amazing actor.  I mean, yeah - he's gorgeous - but he's just a wonderful wonderful actor.  There is no other actor I could ever envision in the role of "Tristan".  Just as Julia Ormond could be the only actress to play "Susannah".   He was so great in that movie, that had my daughter been a boy - I was going to name her "Tristan".  I loved the name anyway, but I really just felt endeared to that name based on the character played in the movie.  That is what the magic of movies are about.  If it moves you, makes you feel something - a connection -- then that is a piece of art. 

3.  Dunkin Donuts paying it forward?  I went to recharge my Dunkin's card which was in the negative.  I know this because I had to pay a dollar cash with the rest of my order last week when I picked up coffee for the girls in the office.  Well, imagine my surprise when I went in, and put $25 on the card - to discover I had a $51 balance?  According to Dunkin Donuts, on the 30th I charged my card with $30.  But…I did not.  The last time I charged my card was on the 21st.  So mysteriously - at 8:46 a.m. on the 30th -- my card was recharged.  Kind of tough to do considering I was in work!  So I don't know what happened -- but I'll take it!  I'd like to think it's karma, somehow paying it forward for all of the lousy coffees I've received over the past few months.  Maybe the big coffee God of Dunkin Donuts feels I've been treated poorly and since I've never once complained -- mysteriously money appears on the card.

Highly unlikely, yes I know.  But hey - considering it's a Monday - I'd say anything is possible!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Le Saturday Survey...!

So, it's been a while since I've posted a survey. And given it's a cold rainy Saturday -- it seems like as good of a day as any to post one. Blatantly "borrowed" from Ms. Ladybugs 12 - here's "more than you ever needed to know about Chez Just a Girl!

1. What kind of SOAP is in your bathtub right now? This amazing goat milk soap from a farm in NH. The name is escaping me at the moment, though I did post about them a few weeks

2. Do you have watermelon in your fridge right now? No, it's out of season, and rather mushy if you buy it right now I think.

3. What would you change about your living room? The accessories. And I'd settle on window treatments. I'm far too picky.

4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? I never have dishes in the sink. Irks me to no end.

5. What is in your fridge? Hmmm. Tons of things and yet nothing much since I need to go food shopping. Yogurt, hummus, rice milk/2% milk, cheese, spring water/juice, Can't believe it's not butter, condiments, garlic, and all sorts of stuff to cook with if I thaw some chicken/beef/turkey/pork. I can make anything out of anything - it's a gift.

6. White or wheat bread? Wheat/Oatmeal/Kids White

7. What is on top of your refrigerator? Bagels, spare loaf of bread, spare bottles of juice

8. What color or design is on your shower curtain? Purple, Sage and Cream floral

9. How many plants are in your home? One. A spider plant seedling from Glitter.

10. Is your bed made right now? Always. Yet another pet peeve.

11. Comet or Soft Scrub? Both

12. Is your closet organized? Yes, but no where to the level I want it to be. Clearly, I have control issues.

13. Can you describe your flashlight? Hmm, Yeah. Don't have one.

14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? Le bottle.

15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? Eww. Iced tea is gross.

16. If you have a garage, is it cluttered? Nope.

17. Curtains or blinds? Pleated fabric blinds.

18. How many pillows do you sleep with? One.

19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night? OH no. Must be total darkness.

20. How often do you vacuum? Too often! All the time. Again, control issues.

21. Standard toothbrush or electric? Plain ol' toothbrush.

22. What color is your toothbrush? Purple

23. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? Sure do! And this just reminded me I need to switch it out since Halloween is clearly over.

24. What is in your oven right now? Nada. I did make Cinnamon Rolls this morning though - does that count?

25. Is there anything under your bed? Nope.

26. Chore you hate doing the most? Sorting socks.

27. What retro items are in your home? I don't think anything actually!

28. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? Yes.

29. How many mirrors are in your home? 6. One in each bathroom - one in each bedroom.

30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? Sort of. It's not emergency money so much as it's Christmas shopping money.

31. What color are your walls? My first floor has many; lavendar, purple, sage, tan, and gold. Second floor is mostly tans and browns; office and third floor are sages

32. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home? Define "protection weapon"...

33. What does your home smell like right now? Clean. Laundry going at the moment. Fire in the fireplace. Kitchen has frosted berry candles lit, formal dining room has "Grandmas Kitchen" (think cinnamon, nutmeg and berry), office has kiwi melon incense, and son's bedroom has Sweet Strawberry burning.

34. Favorite candle scent? Such a toss up on my mood. Pumpkin Pie or Vanilla are almost always my most favorite "go to" scents.

35. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? Kosher Half Sour

36. What color is your favorite Bible? Is this a trick question?!

37. Ever been on your roof? No, and hope to god I never have to - cuz that would mean there was a fire.

38. Do you own a stereo? Hmmm. Do they still make them anymore? I have a sound system...

39. How many TVs do you have? Almost too many. 5

40. How many house phones? 4

41. Do you have a housekeeper? I have a person who comes once or twice a month. Psychologically it does wonders for me. Though I'm sure I keep the house just as clean as she gets it, it just makes me feel good to come home and smell cleaning products that I didn't have to do myself, you know?

42. What style do you decorate in? It's eclectic. I prefer French Country, but mix in a little Traditional as well.

43. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? I like to mix it up. Really depends on the pattern. I love stripes, and I adore mixing stripes and florals.

44. Is there a smoke detector in your home? Seriously?!?! Of course!

45. In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip?My kids, the dog and the kitties. And then I'd close my eyes and pray that all of my memory books might survive.

Is this health care reform?

Okay, so I get home yesterday and read the postcard that the state of MA sent out to all of her residents. While I don't have the message verbatim (because I ripped it up), I was a more than a little bothered by what it said.

Let me preface this first by saying, while I’m not a bleeding heart liberal by any stretch -- my thoughts and opinions are far more conservative generally -- I was absolutely shocked to see that the state plans on adminstering a fine to individuals in the amount of $219.00 per person, per household - who is uninsured. I'm sorry - but how does that make sense?

When you've got low income families who can barely afford to make the rent -- why would you penalize them for not being able to afford private health care? And trust me, I've been researching the health care options myself - as I've been wanting to open my own business and move away from my employment here at the base, so I'm well aware of the health care costs. And are they affordable? Yes. To me. But affordability is a relative term.

Some of the less expensive plans, while being affordable on a monthly basis - are so restrictive in what they cover, that they could actually deter people from obtaining medical assistance. So it's pay now -- or pay later. But either way, you have to pay. So, riddle me this Batman. If a family struggling to make ends meet, opts to go for the least amount of coverage that they can afford -- and God forbid something happens that requires a child or even a caregiver to require treatment that extends the boundaries of what they are covered for -- who picks that up? Or even worse -- are they denied service because they don't have "quality" health care?

Let's be honest. It's become a society of "treat and street" healthcare - with doctors often only treating patients as well as their health care will allow. So I just don't get the whole concept of penalizing those who are already carrying the financial burden of struggling to make ends meet. Especially since the state health care, which is phenomenal coverage - may turn away those who are truly in need because they don't meet that bottom line figure that means they're struggling quite enough.

I had very humble beginnings, and while I didn't realize it at the time -- I know now how hard my parents struggled to prevent us from going on assistance of any kind. You want people to strive, grow forward financially and get ahead. But if you impose ridiculous fines such as this one - you almost inspire people to be dishonest, and milk the systems from which they are trying to either get out of -- or avoid.

Maybe I'm missing something here…and if so, please feel free to enlighten me.
But for now - I'm just not getting it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Discovering a whole new appreciation...

So, last night I ate a lot of candy.
A lot.

Good thing I'm going to the gym today.
(Especially since I just ate three chocolate covered peanut butter bar things. Ugh, you know how you just feel like you gained 10lbs after you eat something? That's exactly how I feel at the moment. Ugh. How could I ever think about wearing yoga pants to the gym with a tank top today? Whatever was I thinking?!?!? Where's my XL tshirt when I need it? But, I digress…)

Anyway, I've discovered that not only am I entirely addicted to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups -- but I also enjoy other candies as well. Not nearly as much, but enough to make me gorge on them as I did last night. So, I figured I'd share.

Snickers. Yes, Snickers really do satisfy. Especially if you eat about 20 of them. Given the peanuts in them, clearly this isn't a huge shocker that I'd be enamored with them, but still. This one I knew I liked, but just never really knew just how much until last night.

Rolos. "You can roll a Rolo to your pal…" Um yes, that pal would be me, thank you very much.

Almond Joy. Would you believe I've never experienced this candy before this year? Um, what the heck was I thinking? Coconut AND almonds? Almost as good of a combination as chocolate and peanut butter! Clearly, I've been a nut all these years -- and not just feeling like one!

Twix. Waaaay better than Kit Kat. Who needs air crisped wafers when you can have cookie??

So clearly, as we all know my love for peanut butter is also evident in caramel as well. I'd say caramel is a distant second to peanut butter. One of my all time favorite candies that you really have a difficult time finding around here - or at least I do anyway - are Sugar Daddy's and Sugar Babies. Love, love, love them.

If anyone knows of a place in MA that actually sells them - this girl will be forever indebted to you.

Oh, and if you could possibly arrange to have Jason Varitek there while I buy them, that would be even better!
(Hmmm. Thinking that one might be too tall of an order….??)