28 February 2007


I may not be smarter than one, but at least if I went head-to-head with a fifth-grader, there's a very good possibility I might come out on top.

According to a quiz on the Fox Website, I am AS smart as a fifth-grader - not bad when you consider it has been many years since I was a student in Mr. DelSesto's fifth grade class at Lippitt Elementary School in Warwick, RI.

Answering 9 out of 10 questions correctly, the only one I missed was "What is the largest South American country by area?" I nearly selected the correct answer - Brazil - but instead checked Argentina. I'm not sure why. Maybe because the name is longer.

I'm old enough now to know that I should always follow my gut, which is the advice I would give the adult contestants who'll appear on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?, a game show hosted by redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy and conceived by Survivor creator Mark Burnett, which premiers in three episodes this week. (Way to milk it.)

On the show, adult contestants will be asked a series of questions, supposedly taken from an elementary-school text book. If they answer 11 questions correctly, they win a million bucks. Not bad. And apparently, if they don't know the answers, contestants will have the opportunity to ask a panel of actual fifth-graders who play along. Hopefully these fifth-graders are not just a gang of pint-sized know-it-alls who bask in the glory of stupefying adults. Cause I know how I'd react to that.

They look innocent enough. But I'd watch out for the tall girl in the jean jacket. She looks like she's ready to rip you a new one.

26 February 2007

And the winner is...

Beats the hell out of me. I didn't bother to watch because the only nominated movie I saw was Little Miss Sunshine, which I suspected wouldn't win.

My only news of the Oscars came from Sandi during the tail-end of lunch at Friendly's with two screaming toddlers who were in need of naps. And now I've forgotten what she told me.

Incidentally, a Friendly's lunch too close to nap time - bad idea. (Is it ever really a good idea?!) Not only did I receive my garden salad (aka iceberg lettuce with loads of cheese) only moments before the check, but when, in an attempt to make my crispy chicken wrap a more healthy meal, I asked for it in lieu of fries, I was told the fries come with it anyway. Bastards!

To top it all off, we waited for the check as the kids serenaded the entire place with screams of dada! crayons! juice! hi! and our clueless waitress lingered at the table of two tattooed (ahem) gentlemen, discussing the semantics of serpents. This would have been the perfect opportunity to chew and screw (known in some circles as dine and dash) but I figured since I'm a mom now, I probably shouldn't risk getting arrested.

Instead, I knocked a dollar off her tip. So there!

21 February 2007

The power of Seuss

So I never really got Dr. Seuss. I mean, I understood the stories - in the way that you can understand stories about rotting food and one creature's quest to get another to eat them.

But what I mean is, I never really quite got why the writer is so well-loved, so revered. But now I do. Before my son was even born, he received a ton of Dr. Seuss books. But, for some reason, maybe because I thought he wasn't old enough yet, I put them aside each and every time story time rolled around. Yesterday, he seemed so hell bent on being read Green Eggs and Ham, that I decided to go for it. Two things happened.

1. He giggled through the ENTIRE book. I mean an all-out belly laugh that was totally infectious and one that usually only occurs during major tickle battles. The more excited he became, the more animated I became until we found ourselves laughing through all 62 pages - quite a feat for an easily distracted 21-month-old. Rather then reading a story just to pass some time, it was more like an experience. As if I were possessed by the ghost of some Shakespearean actor, I began reading the absurd rhymes - Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox? - in tongues I had not thought myself capable of, and my son, nestled comfortably in my lap, would keep looking back at me, with those saucer-like green-brown eyes, to watch the expression on my face as I recited the words. He loved it all. He even marveled at the surreal drawings.

2. I too was reminded of an important lesson, thanks to the pestering, but lovable, Sam-I-Am. Don't knock something until you've tried it. Because if you do, you might just be missing out on a really great time.

20 February 2007


A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed members of the band Sunchunck, a trio of guys you'd want to be friends with before you even heard their music. They scored fourth place overall during last summer's Boston Emergenza festival and their new EP, titled "Late" is due out mid-March.

The band's bassist, Mike Bertolami, tried to coax me into singing backup during the interview - which took place during a recording session at Bobcat Studios - after I told him that I had once recorded a song with a few work friends a couple years back. Our single, which we recorded under the name AFPCB (the All For Profit Christmas Band - yeah, not my idea) was moderately successful, and it was given away free to friends and family members.

Anyway, you won't hear my voice on Sunchunck's new album (thank goodness for them) but you will hear band members Bertolami, John Catino and Brett Manoloff rocking their melodic sound on four brand-new songs.

Hear them live at the Grog in Newburyport on St. Patty's Day. And check out my story on them in the upcoming issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine.

18 February 2007

The end is near

We are approaching the end of our childless long weekend. Two days, one hour and fifty-two minutes ago, I dropped off our son at his Grammy's house, which, with the help of Toys R' Us, had been transformed into a toddler's dream worthy of the type of magic only Christmas morning can bring.

And slow, but sure, the novelty of our temporary freedom has worn itself just a little thin as we navigated our way through the streets of downtown Newburyport this morning, looking wistfully at other parents holding the tiny hands of their toddlers, guiding them over the dirty banks of snow. Yes, we are enjoying our time, but this morning, we spent nearly a half-hour in Eureka perusing the shelves of toddler puzzles and trains as if our son has been gone a month and it'll be another month before we can see him again.

However, the weekend has not been without it's pleasures. Among them:

1. Sleeping late, which for us means 8:30. And it's not even really sleeping, more like a forced laying in bed, periodically checking the alarm clock for a respectable time to rise.

2. Eating out, Out of the six childless meals we've had, only one has been at home.

3. Drinking, Self-explanatory. When you are expected to rise at the break of dawn to take care of a well-rested toddler, you just can't drink like you used to. We still can't drink like we used to, but in the absence of our son, at least we can pretend. And we did.

4. Enjoying a leisurely pot of expertly brewed tea at Licorice and Sloe, where we learned that drinking tea without accoutrements such as cream and sugar (preferred by experts) is called enjoying it "neat," and where the extremely polite teenage staffer informed us that they prefer you do not bus your own table, as this would cause "cross-contamination" at the tea counter, where drinks are brewed for customers. These guys are the real deal. We even witnessed Licorice and Sloe owner, Bil Siliker, quizzing his "Tea-Slingers" on random tea facts. Incidentally, the Nilgiris, or Blue Mountains, of Southern India is home to many tea farms.

5. Voguing. When DJ Rhythm Nights started spinning Madonna's Vogue at the Harborside Saturday night, you could see the people squirming in their seats. But the dance floor remained empty. Taking a chug of her Sam Adams, Sandi turns to me and says, "How much will you give me to get out there and vogue?" I tell her $20. She quickly lays her coat over a chair at the bar, slams down her beer and saunters to the dance floor. Then, much to Rich's chagrin, (you told her $20???!!!), Sandi vogues like the wind, to the backdrop of the NBA's Slam Dunk contest on the big screen.

Me and the husbands sipped our beers and cracked up on the sidelines. Funny thing is, no one else seemed to notice.

14 February 2007

I heart the snow

Well, it's here.

I don't know where you are, but up here on the North Shore, it's snowing to beat the band, whatever that means.

Even though I don't work out of the home, and my son is too young yet for school, it still feels like one of those snowstorms of old, when I'd sit by the television, praying that Warwick, RI, would appear in the scrolling list of districts that were cancelling school, an experience second only to hearing legendary WPRO radio host Salty Brine shouting his infamous "No School Foster-Glocester," a sound as inherently Rhode Island as squawking seagulls eating discarded clam cakes at Rocky Point.

Well, there's no more Salty, but today's snowstorm has been enjoyed just as much, as the Sandy Acres rat pack of miniature snow bunnies got outside for a little sledding and fun.
Nothing says I Love You more than a big and blustery Nor' Easter. Happy Valentine's Day!

13 February 2007

Hug it out bitch

I am truly saddened.

We just finished watching the last disc of season two of Entourage. Part of our Netflix queue, it took us a while, (we are lame-o's and only subscribe to the one-disc-at-a-time plan), but over the last few weeks, I have grown quite fond of Vince, Eric, Drama and Turtle and will miss those guys. I will also miss Ari's gay, Chinese assistant Lloyd, who, at the end of season two, in a Jerry Maguire moment, decides to stick with Ari (despite the racist and sexist harrassment he suffers) as his ass is being tossed from the agency he helped build.

I know season three is well under way. But we don't have HBO, so, unfortunately, we will be left in limbo about how Aquaman will turn out and if Vince crumbles again over Mandy Moore. We won't know if Drama scores his dream part. Or if Turtle will hit it big with Saigon.

I think the reason I like it so much is because Entourage is like a throw-back to youth. (No, I was never a million dollar movie star living in L.A.) But more than once I looked over at Rich, and said, "Wouldn't that be awesome?"

He usually said no. But we were still doubled over laughing at every episode. These guys, sadly enough, had become part of our rotation of nightly entertainment. Now, alas, our Tuesday nights (Mondays=24, Wednesdays=Friday Night Lights and Lost, Thursdays=The Office) will be devoid of meaning.

Until April 3, 2007.

The aftermath

Jack Bauer and Co. didn't disappoint last night, as the action-packed drama unfolded over two glorius hours. I was equal parts pissed (the skulking duo of Lennox and Reed planning President Palmers demise in high voltage utility closets); elated (when someone, finally! was made aware of Papa Bauer's pure wickedness) and disgusted (poor Morris and that drill).

Rich, insistent that had he been in Morris' place, he would have attempted to attack one of the terrorists, forcing them to shoot him, rather than be tortured by Fayed's drill and frightened into building the detonator and possibly leading the U.S. to its destruction, kept knocking the poor bastard after his rescue.

Me? I'm guessing I would have folded after the first blow to the head.

12 February 2007

Two hours!

I don't think that even if I won the Massachusetts State Lottery, I could be any more jazzed than I am right now.

Okay, okay. I could use the millions. But seriously. Two hours of 24! You can bet the rest of my day will be focused on getting my to-do list done before 8 p.m. - and that includes putting my CTU tee (bought after season 1, thank you very much) through the wash.


11 February 2007

Showing New England Up - Big time

People enjoy skaing at the Bartlett Mall on a wintry Sunday.

Depending on how you look at things, we've been real lucky so far this winter. A pretty mild first half, and no bona fide snow to speak of.

Last year, we went in on a snowblower with our neighbors. The husbands trekked up to Sears one Sunday morning, on the verge of the season's first storm, and returned, giddy with excitement, eager to see what that puppy could do. Later that afternoon, as what would turn out to be nearly a foot of snow, began coating our driveway, we finally felt part of the winter-fighting in-crowd, as snowblowers revved up around the neighborhood, and arches of propelled snow lined the street.

It was the only time our purchase saw the light of day last year. This year, we haven't even thought about the thing. Didn't even bother to get the hunk of metal tuned up.

Most people I know consider this an uncommon stroke of good luck. It's friggin' cold, but thank God there's no snow.

In Massachusetts, the mere hint of a snowstorm jumpstarts the local meteorologists into quick action - with their stormtrack, winter force teams, doppler radar and hourly updates - and frightens even the most "hardy" New Englander into making an emergency trip to the grocery store. And that's if we're expecting a few inches of snow. Inches!

Can you imagine, then, if somehow the entire population of Massachusetts were magically transported to the upstate New York village of Redfield, where they are on the brink of breaking the state record of the most snowfall in a week? The record was set in 2002, where ten feet, seven inches fell over a seven-day period in the nearby town of Montague. Redfield is reported to have seen 11 feet of snowfall last week. Tomorrow, an official from the National Weather Service will verify that claim. There are some Bay Staters who, no doubt, could handle it. But most of us would be curled up in the fetal position wondering how the hell we were going to watch 24 with no electricity.

Quoted in an AP article, lifelong Redfield resident Allan Babcock said, "It's snow. We get a lot of it. So what?"

He makes us hardy New Englanders, complaining about our recent cold snap, look like a bunch of you-know-whats.

Yeah, it's cold. But it's winter. In New England.

10 February 2007

MC Toddler

He definitely gets it from his mother.....

Oh and forgive the looped video with cheesy, dubbed music. It was my first time uploading from my camcorder. But better to hear the soundtrack to a late 90's step aerobics video than my way-to-hyper voice screaming, "Do it again baby! Show mommy how you dance."

Bizzare love triangle

Silly old me. I really thought that the long-awaited legal union of Phyllis and Bob would pave the way for lovebirds Jim and Pam. I was literally heartbroken when Pam, instead, snuck off with Roy, her ex-fiancee who's still hanging onto the notion that he and she will reunite, after dancing to a Scrantonicity version of Jewel's You Were Meant for Me.

Jim, seeing this, claims "I am so glad I'm with Karen."

Damn those writers from The Office.

07 February 2007

No more crack

Rich says I have lost my calling card.

I say I am gaining back some long-lost self respect.

Whatever you want to call it, I finally purchased some new glasses. For those of you who know me, you know too that this was indeed long overdue. It was humiliating to tell an interview subject for the second time that my infant son - who is now almost 2 - had thrown my glasses on the floor at the grocery store.

While I am happy wearing my new (and unarguably more stylish) specs, part of me feels a piece of my identity has been sacrificed.

06 February 2007


It has been brought to my attention that I made parenting sound like the worst thing that could possibly happen to a person.

Not at all.

Parenting is the best thing in the world. Though the long and cold winter days may induce claustrophobia and stir-craziness, there are a million other things to rejoice about day to day. Like this blissful bagel and cream cheese session at breakfast.


It's five degrees. My son is sick. My house is basically uninhabitable by humans (though we seem to be managing ok). And I have a shitload of work to do.

To top it off, I've had no sleep - I shared my bed last night with said sick toddler, who flopped like a fish out of water until 4:30 a.m.

As we speak, he is handing me a partially-chewed raisin, which he found on the dust-bunny covered floor, and begging, like a forlorn puppy dog, for more snacks.

I know how today is going to go. He'll ask to construct his jumbo Thomas puzzle, which request I will oblige. But halfway through, he'll pull apart the pieces I have sleepily put together, then dump out his wooden train set. By the time I have that set up, his heart will again be set on Thomas, not the puzzle, but the squadron of various blue trains bearing that creepy happy face that are too big to push on said train track. The puzzle is interesting again. He'll point to the window and ask to see the moon, which is not yet visible. I will wipe his nose. This routine will go on for a good hour or two.

I'll call my next-door-neighbor Sandi, who thankfully will listen to my lament and have a few toddler horror stories of her own. My son will emit screams of displeasure and throw something to get my attention. We'll eat lunch.

He'll nap. I'll search the net, trying to self-diagnose the disease of the week, then when I am finally fully prepared to work, he'll wake. I'll bemoan that I have no time. Sub-zero temperatures persist, so of course we can't go outside. So, the afternoon will go much the same.

But of course, I love all this. It's part of being a parent. And on Wednesdays, at least, we have music class.

05 February 2007

If you're gonna hurl.....

I read yesterday in a blurb published in the Sunday Globe Magazine that some Boston-area restaurants are now serving a popular French delicacy that might make even cow tongue- and frog leg-eaters shiver.

Bone marrow.

The writer describes the gelatinous-looking material as having a deeply meaty flavor. I wonder if Kathy Burge tried it herself.

It's served by one restaurant, the piece explains, as a red wine and bone marrow risotto. At another, as a side dish to the filet mignon. And in the most appalling and revolting (at least to me) way, it's offered to diners at one restaurant right on the bone.

I like to think of myself as having sophisticated palate, but when I think about eating the insides of an animal's bone, I want to hurl.