Archive for the 'Random acts of mothering' Category

Writer? Runner? Neither? Still take this quiz.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The Hairpin has run a clever inspirational quiz asking you to plug in the word writing or running to a quote. It’s a fun distraction on a dreary day and you may even be inclined to add some of the quotes on your vision board. The quotes can go both ways, and yes the word fucking can beautifully work too.

Take the quiz!

A post for 5th grade mothers concerned about middle school

Friday, January 10th, 2014

I think I’m getting stressed about middle school. Last night I had a really bad dream that I was in middle school with Conrad and Dash and they completely ignored me and there was no room for me at their lunch table. Dashy was slightly nicer than Conrad, but it was so isolating and David worked at French Connection and I didn’t have the right kind of money to buy lunch so I had to go to his work to get money (thankfully he was nice) and then I went back to the lunch cafeteria (which was actually the Conde Nast cafeteria) and bought a lunch that was weird and people thought it was a risky choice and didn’t want to be near me…

Check out my story in Good Housekeeping

Friday, January 3rd, 2014


Here’s the link: How-To Bring the Outdoors Inside

My favorite discovery in this story was the Wooly Pocket. It’s a planter that you hang flush to the wall that creates a living art peices when you use a bunch. Here’s my favorite example…


Poppycock Press Released That Has Me Sold

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

My hair has been on my mind lately. It seems that if I can’t get Botox/Radiesse injections and often as I need my hair is really my best defense against wrinkles. I know it probably doesn’t make sense but I’m stuck on this idea that that if I have great hair, it will diffuse what’s going on on my face.  The boys are getting used to seeing me walking around the house with velcro rollers and spraying my hair with Elenet before I go out for teachers conference. And today this press release arrived in my in box.

Subject: The Vitamin B5 Blowout

Cut drying time by 50% while power boosting youth back into hair with Peter Coppola Keratin Concept’s Vitamin B5 Blowout

To rewind the strands of time and achieve a younger looking, blow dry each and every style time, the next big blowout trend has arrived: The Vitamin B5 Blowout. With products containing the ingredient of Pro Vitamin B5, this powerful beauty vitamin is celebrated for its moisturizing, detangling and thickening features, while its ability to reflect light will make tresses shinier and glossier.

Now mind you a I’m not easily swayed. I swear. Yesterday I turned down and invitation to have a “Mouth Facial”  because my bogus beauty radar is in working order. I googled vitamin B5 because I didn’t really know if it’s an actual vitamin. According to WedMD (the online medical school where I’ve earned my self-diagnosing doctorate) it is a real vitamin and is used to treat a stunning array of health issues such as: acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feetsyndrome (WHEN DO YOU GET THAT?!), yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions, and cystitis. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair (THIS IS A GOOD SIGN), headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, neuralgia, and obesity…and believe it or not much much more.

So if the vitamin can do all that, it’s worth a spritz or two and who knows what else it can help with.

My Injections Story in W

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Hi all,

Here’s the link to my story in the Oct issue of W about how injections keep me and my family happier!

We’ve enjoyed the Mail’s rereporting! And yes I am ‘highly competitive’ when it comes to who is more tired in our house.

It’s 6:30. Lights Out.

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Okay so its 6:30 and my very nearly 10 year old and my 7 year old are in bed—asleep because I sent them there. I didn’t know where else they could go after being so relentessly flip, so “no I’m not going to wash my hands”, so “yeah I’m going to expect something in my advent calendar and still not listen you tell me to put my homework in my backpack,” for the third—no fourth time.

They were doing nothing and so they were doing everything—wrong. And  I know they were hungry, and tired. I know Dash didn’t get enough time at recess. I know Conrad was home sick and on an Advil high.

But the more I  tired to redirect them by saying things like ” It looks like you need a job, go walk the dog,” or “Help me set the table,” the more rolling around on the floor there was, the more snickering and giggling and secret jokes there were between them. I refused to “get mad” to raise my voice as in the olden days of when they were 5 and 3. Instead I removed myself I told them I wasn’t going to have a dinner where people weren’t listening, or respecting me. I told them I was going to Hawaii… (more…)

Remembering to call my mother

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I probably get my tendency to think long-term from my mother. She is always thinking ahead—I mean way ahead, like to her funeral. I know all her burial plans: She doesn’t want a wake, just a party; she doesn’t want a grave, just a big hydrangea bush instead. At 72, she can outsmoke Mad Men’s Roger Sterling, but despite her habit, she’s in very good health. Death, however, still lurks in every conversation. When I called her last week, our conversation started about a leak in her bathroom and ended with her saying she should sell the house because if my dad were to drop dead, she didn’t want to be in an old house worrying about a leaking bathroom. Her concerns are valid, but they also depress me, and I end up calling her less.

This week I let the calls slide by five days but it wasn’t just because I didn’t want to hear her stories I had my own Debbie Downer tales. Our vet thinks Chewie has liver cancer or Cushings disease both not cureable illnesses in a dog that’s 15. David and I have been annoying each other, so much so that when our voices pick up Conrad or Dashiell or both will say, “Okay guys, not everything has to be a fight.” Then the kids didn’t have school so I missed a day of work. Then I went on the fourth grade field trip to Sandy Hook and that night I served a bunch of homeless folks dinner at my church and then we had soccer and went to the maker faire where I got officially reprapped out… and then it was Monday I was driving home with Dashiell after his first drumming lesson and 24 balloons in my car for Stacie’s birthday and I decided to call her.

Immediately I could hear in her voice that she was annoyed. When my mom is angry but trying to be cool about it she stretches out her hello to sound like hellllllnooo.  The emphasis is on the hell part as in I‘ve put her through hell by not calling and she drops her voice down a notch for the noooo part as in no you are not going to be able to make it up to me. I immediately apologized and also told her Dashiell was in the car so she knew she was on speaker. We talked a bit but with a kid listening in we found we couldn’t really talk about why I hadn’t called or what we were planning for Christmas (a constant topic of ours) so I told her I’d call her later.

Later came at 9:30 while walking the dogs. We had a kooky night because I lingered over a drink with stacie and her balloons so dinner was late and when I got home we found out that Conrad had a math test and Dash had also had homework which he did in his bed at 8:00 in tears because he didn’t have time to play and Chewie had peed on the floor and thrown up and….I was the one calling with a story sequence of sad, sadder and saddest.

I was launching into all the reasons I hadn’t called: the field trip,  having to heat each meal individually in the microwave Friday night because the stove didn’t work and one of the men got so upset he was hitting himself on the head which was upsetting the other guests and now the vet thinks it’s Cushings which is actually better than cancer because there’s a drug but it may be super expensive and then I hear a clacking and banging and clacking and thumping.

My mom dropped the phone.

It takes at least three more clacks, and whirrs (the cord perhaps) and a little ding of the phone until she is back on.

“I dropped the phone,” she says.

“I know,” I say.

I’m about to launch right back into a rant about Conrad’s new nasty science teacher when I hear clang, ding, bang fumble fumble fumble again.

It takes a minute, but she’s back.

“I dropped it again,” she say.

“I know.” I start talking but I something’s not right she sounds really far away.

“You sound really far away mom. Is the phone okay?”

“Yes. It’s fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, its fine I’m here,” she says but it sounds like the phone is still on the floor and she’s talking into it while lying on the bed.

“I really can’t hear you…”

“Wait wait I know why, you can’t hear me. I’m holding the phone upside down.”

And there it is a contagious crazy moment between us. Me under a tree on the corner and her in her room with cigarette smoke and TMC in the background laughing so hard, I almost have to pee and I know really need to call my mother more often.

Check Out My Harmless Halloween Pranks Story in Parents

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

skullIf you don’t know about it already Parents is running 100 Days of Holidays, a newsletter packed with cute and  clever ways to celebrate all the holidays that fall between the first day of school and New Years.

I wrote up a post on a few silly ways to spook your kids out— it’s all in good fun. By the 10th prank you start to think I’m a little crazy, but I’m not suggesting you do them all. There are some for really little kids and some for big kids. My faves are the skull eggs and bacon (above) and tying a plastic skeleton to a dining room chair to freak them out when you call them to the dinner table.

Try one and let me know how it goes or share some of your best Halloween pranks. We are very pro-prank household so we’re open to anything.

The best prank every played on me was in 1981 when I was in the 7th grade. My dad had picked me and my friend Adrienne Johnson up from a Halloween party at Nancy Hargrave’s house in Lloyd Harbor. From a 7th grade perspective the party was “amazing” the boys brought Lacrosse sticks and eggs and chased all the girls through open fields in a nature reserve lobbing eggs in our direction. We retaliated with hiding in bushes and staging surprise attacks with silly string and shaving cream. Teenage dream, right?

But it was after the party that was the most memorable. As I said my dad picked me and Adrienne up and on the way home he made an unexpected detour and suggested we check out a graveyard high up on a hill. We drove down some winding roads, got out and parked and wandered through the graveyard, finding people who died on our birthdays and getting genuinely creeped out.  At one point we realized that my dad was no longer with us. We walked through the graveyard calling his name, but he didn’t respond. We kept calling but there was nothing. Nothing for a long time and our laughing turned to pleading. We were deep into the graveyard at this point and  I’m pretty sure Adrienne was on the verge of tears when my dad suddenly jumped out behind an gravestone shouting Booooooooooooo!!

We screamed and cried and laughed and I don’t think I’ve loved anyone as much as I loved my dad that night.

Check out my Fall Coat Story in USA Today Weekend

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012


If you’re looking for a new fall coat, you’ve got lots of cute options. Check out my round up of the newest trends and mini slide show on USA Today Weekend.

Happiness is Finishing a Triathlon Without Needing to Puke

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

To be clear it was a sprint. 1/4 swim. 10 mile bike ride. 5k run.

img_1989Team Monclair at 6:30 in the morning. If I look tense and cold it’s because I was. There was a D.J. playing Queen so that was reassuring.

photo-8My transition spot. I tried to make it intimidating for all the tough mudders and seasoned triathletes. I was wise enough to take my basket off my bike before the big day.

img_1993Post race bliss. My time was 1.35 15 sec. I was able to run each of the three miles in 9.59 seconds. My swim was something like 13 minutes and my bike 45 min and then there’s all the transitions. Must work on getting my socks on faster! But we were happy and glowing and glad  and after the triathlon we started a marathon of drinking.