The Blizzard of 2003


We’re waiting for a blizzard tonight.  If it arrives like the weather channel is predicting we will have plenty of snow to rock a good snowman/woman/person/ball by morning.

Almost 13 years ago, in February 2003,  my brother paid us a visit.  He brought 3 beautiful Micky Mouse Costumes for my daughters who were 2,2, & 4 at the time.  He said they were ridiculously cheap Halloween leftovers from the Disney store and the girls could wear them next year.   My first thought was that I didn’t need to store 3 beautiful Mickey Mouse Halloween Costumes that won’t fit by  Halloween.  My second thought was thanks.   I overreacted, my trademark.   I hated them, the kids loved them.

His plan was to spend the day at our house and stay for supper, but he said the forecast was calling for a major snow and he wanted to leave in time to beat the storm.   Again, I overreacted telling him that he was crazy, I’d heard nothing about snow and he should not worry.  But okay,  “Go if you feel you must.” And so he did.  May I add another bit about stay at home mom burnout?  I never heard the news,  I watched Barney on TV and Elmo music in the car.   To learn the weather, I woke up and looked out the window.

So after he left, I forged outside with the girls to get ready for the snow, just in case my brother was right about the weather.   First stop was the craft store. I was not going to be without glue, paint, or play-do and be stuck in the house.  Food could wait.   I bundled up the kids and off we went just as the snow began to fall. I don’t remember exactly what we bought in Michaels but I do remember that by the time I got out of the store there was 3″ of snow on my car.  I put the kids in the car, brushed of the windshield and thought maybe I should stop at the A&P before going home, just in case.

In and out of the car with three preschoolers in a snow storm, I must have been crazy, or determined, or desperate.  I remember seeing the manager in the crowded store and suggesting he close since he was pretty much out of food,  but all we needed was a couple of boxes of captain crunch, some boxed milk, and we were good to go.

That afternoon and the night that followed we got almost two feet of snow.  I was wrong about the snow and I was wrong about the Mickey Mouse costumes.  The girls put them on and refused to take them off for two days.   They wore them to play, to nap, to eat, and to bed.   I was right however about Halloween, the costumes didn’t fit them by then.  But who cares.

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Yiddish Demystified

8-Yiddish-Jewish-Words2When I was growing up, the lady who owned our local deli used to hold my cheeks and call me  “Shanya Punim.”  I always thought she was talking about pudding and I never understood why.   I was probably 20 when I learned that Shayna Punim  meant – “pretty face.”

One of the things I enjoy about Yiddish is how some of the words actually feel like their meaning.   Shmootz (dirt/yuk) for example.  There is no other way to describe shmootz, except that it’s… shmootz.

Another is Mazel Tov (congratulations).   There’s just something about the words coming as I speak them…I feel jubilant just saying it.

I tried to put some Yiddish in my conversation this morning.

Me: “Did you get the eye shmootz  from the dogs face?”

Him:   “I did!”

Me (petting the dog):    “Shayna punim.”

Me (to him):   Mazel Tov!

I hope you can find a few minutes and watch this video of some Jewish Seniors explaining Yiddish.

Grab a  nosh and settle in to hear the mishigas kibitzing all about  The Mysteries Of Yiddish

Leave Proper Table Settings to the Caterer


I’m trying to remember who taught me the way  to set a proper table but I’m not coming up with any distinct memory.  This means (a) it was too traumatic a lesson and I’ve erased the file, or (b) it just happened like putting on socks.  Probably it was the latter.

I bet my kids have no idea on which side the forks should be or where to put the water glass on a properly set table.  It’s not all their fault really since in our house it hardly matters.  We don’t have a dining room so our idea of setting the table is pretty much just pushing everything to one end of the kitchen table and fitting five people  on the other.

I think it’s kind of a shame that we’ve lost all sense of etiquette in our home  so as any tech savvy person living in the 20teens, I searched the internet for help and I found a list of some table manners / dining etiquette worthy of discussion.

1. SEATING ETIQUETTE –  Generally, the head of the family is the head of the table. This poses two problems for me because who’s in charge of the family changes at any given time, and,  our table is round.

2. FOOD SERVICE – Diners are supposed to help themselves to food and then pass each dish to others, or the hostess may dish out to food to each guest from the right.    We’ve tried the “take some and pass the platter” routine.  It never works.  Seems we are all good takers and but lousy passers.  Lucky for us the 1/2 table is small enough that you can pretty much reach everything you need without asking.    With regard to the hostess duties, I cook, I clean, I bitch and moan and mediate arguments – thus, I do not serve.

3. NAPKINS – You are supposed to remove the napkin from it’s pretty origami display and spread it on your lap immediately upon taking your place at the table.   Assuming we have napkins that day, they are cheap paper and far to small for folding.   If you use it and put it on your lap, our dog’s  interpretation is that you’re offering him  flavored paper which he will steal, and eat like a ninja.

4.  UTENSILS – I read that you should hold your fork in your left hand with tines facing down and cut your food in small pieces with your right index finger along the top of the knife blade.  Put your fork and knife down in between bites.   Now, I don’t pay much attention to who uses what, or  how,  when we eat.  As long as nobody bleeds or launches peas with their spoon, I’m happy.

5.  TABLE SETTINGS – this was just too long to reiterate however, the gist of it is forks on the left, knives on the right.   That’s so funny, we have forks in the dishwasher usually, and knives in the sink.  Wash one and use it.

There’s a ton more information about dining etiquette on the internet and if you are looking for examples of what NOT to do, you might enjoy this vignette from one of my favorite TV shows:   The King Of Queens  Bad Table Manners

But if you really want to enjoy a lesson on what you should be doing, try this how to on  Good Table Manners

Footnote:  I have set the table properly for us all once upon a time.   I never used paper plates and we had cloth napkins exclusively.   I know this doesn’t sound at all like me but it’s true.   One day I might break out some good china and give it another go.  If I only had good china.

Blame Oprah

OprahOn my way to my regular Weight Watchers meeting last week I heard that stocks of Weight Watchers were up over 25%, blame Oprah.

After I came to terms with not owning Weight Watchers stock, (although my years of investing as a customer should garner me something), I arrived at the meeting and there she was! Haha, not in the flesh, but on a larger than life poster on the wall, and I thought now everything’s gonna be good, blame Oprah.

So I looked to her for inspiration yesterday afternoon as I was about to hit the giant reset button that is the first day of the New Year – day one of the rest of them.

When all is said and done 2015 wasn’t so bad, there were challenges, disappointments, and celebrations, just like every year. A few really good moments, and a couple I’d like to forget.

So here are my favorite of the gazillion quotes from Oprah that I hope will lead me into this new year with renewed hope for health and happiness. I won’t complain if some wealth shows up either. I hope you like them, and if you don’t … there’s plenty of Oprah to go around.

My goal is to have a spectacular 2016, and blame Oprah.

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”

― Oprah Winfrey

“One if the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn.”

― Oprah Winfrey

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”

― Oprah Winfrey


8 FUN Secret Santa Gifts for ages 6-105

imagesYour kids come in need of a  gift for a schoolmate, or your co-workers decide it would be fun to pick names and exchange gifts and sometimes you barely know the person who’s name is on the but ,you want to make a good impression.   Here’s a list of gender neutral gifts  that you can pick up for under $4 to $15.    Happy Holidays!

  1. Learn to juggle –   I got this for a co-worker one year, my husband saw it first and is now a world class supermarket juggler of oranges, pepperoni sticks and blocks of cheese.   Juggling for the Complete Klutz

2. Robotic Banks – put a penny in it for good luck.   Here’s a cute selection from Gearbest

3. Gingerbread cookies to go –  If you don’t have time to whip up a batch from scratch, Toll House has a ready cut cut sheet of gingerbread that makes as many as 4 dozen cookies deepening on the size.    See gingerbread cookie sheets here   Cut’m, bake’m and give’m with a pouch of cookie frosting from Betty Crocker for a DIY treat!

4. Novelty Socks – I have to admit this is one of my favorites.   Socks come in school colors, with cats, star wars themes, you name it, it’s on a sock.   Shop for novelty socks on Googl

4. Earbuds –   need I say more?  Earbuds from $5 – $5

6. Simon – who won’t like something made by the a company called Basic Fun?

7. Peg Solitaire –  never gets old – and while you’re at Cracker Barrel picking one up, have lunch

8. Rubik’s Cube – I once saw a Rubik’s cube “secret kit” that was just a package of fresh stickers
…  Rubik’s Cube at Toys R Us


As November 2015 Ends…


Another year ending, resolutions unmet,

I didn’t get organized,  slim, or worst yet –

I don’t even where I put that darn list.

I must  try and find it!   shaking a fist.

I sigh, I’m defeated.

I cannot remember,

But what is the point?

It’s almost December.

Hey nobody’s perfect!

well, okay

I  failed,

to go to the gym or to block  junk email,

to be nicer and read more but hell, it’s all lies.

A wishlist for dreamers

who still want to try.

I ‘ll go get a pencil

and paper

and tea

I’ll sit in a chair to describe the new me

For next year! Why not?

I cannot resist .

I’ll drop a dress size  –

It’s #1 on my list.


I wish Anthony Williams lived next door.




Even if you are not a fan of Project Runway, you should know Anthony.    He was the kind of contestant that would take lemons and make lemon chiffon pie.   Now I know that it’s all in the editing, but that being said – so are next door neighbors.  I’m certain the neighbors on either side of my house are not always the pleasant happy people I know from borrowing cups of sugar, but that’s the best part!  We say hello, enjoy the exchange of pleasantries and part with a wave and a warm fuzzy feeling.

So why do I wish Anthony Williams lived next door?  I like my neighbors, but sometimes I replace them with people I know from tv.  Wouldn’t  it be fun to  have ‘that person’ move in, just for a while?   The imaginary moving van has delivered a dozen people in and out of my neighborhood and not all of them good.  I thought about sharing property lines with all kinds of people from from Jimmy Fallon to Robert Durst, what would it be like if they lived next door in my middle class neighborhood in the middle of New Jersey?

So now that I’ve revealed that weird quirk, I thought I’d share one of the people I’ve thought about in ‘next door neighbor make believe’.  Anthony Williams was a contestant on Project Runway Season 7 who made me feel good from the moment he moved into those Atlas Apartments in Midtown Manhattan.   I just love his attitude.  He handles himself with the absolute best sense of humor, he’s talented, kind, and has great teeth!  What more could you want in a neighbor?

So meet Anthony who made me think about a kinder way to be today, and sprinkle yourself  with a little humor Anthony Williams style. 

“Our color palette is bright yellow, red and black. So, at this point, I think we are designing a gown for the vice president of McDonald’s. However, everybody needs a dress.” — Commenting on his teamwork effort with a fellow contestant.




Whale always love you


It seems fitting that I am writing about birthdays today, since today is my birthday.    When I turned 50 the only thing I wanted was  NOT to be 50.   I did not get what I asked for.

This year (having gotten over the 50 hurdle) I told my family that I wanted the house to be cleaned without me having to clean it.  I did not get what I asked for.

I did however get a full day to work on a project that I really like, Sunday Supper made and cleaned up without my involvement, a birthday card for my scrapbook, and a video of my oldest daughter singing my favorite song – all that just for me.   I also got a birthday hug this morning from one of my kids who isn’t really a hugger so I took the note  to memorize how gently she holds people, and how her hair smells like fruit and flowers.    I will have that with me all day today.

I guess my point is to resist complaining about NOT getting what I asked for because the house is still messy, but MAYBE that’s just a sign that they know better.   When they aren’t picking up dirty discarded socks near the sofa, they may be doing something more important.

It reminds me of the scene from Freaky Friday when Tess (speaking as Anna) offers her 17 year old perspective through the body and voice of her mother:

“Do you know why adults are so tired all the time? Because they spend their time obsessing over stupid, lame things they don’t have to do.  Like cooking.  I mean have you never heard of takeout?  And cleaning.  Let’s don’t and say we did!”

So today I won’t  notice the mess in the house.  What the heck, I might even toss some dirty socks out there by the sofa.  Evidently that’s where they belong!

Holy ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ Batman!


The other day I learned the origin of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.   In Vegas you could once get a chicken dinner for $2 and place a bet on a blackjack table for the same amount of money.  If you won, the dealer would call ‘winner winner chicken dinner!’  I guess if you stopped gambling right there you’d eat on the house, but chances are they gave our more bills for $2 than they gave two dollar bills.

Colloquialism or Idiom?  I’m  not sure what the difference is but it got me thinking about other phrases I use and one thing led to another as it usually does on Google.  I tried to find the origin of Holy Cow which is either unknown, or goes back to a Hindu Sacred Bovine.

Stream of consciousness going full steam, I remembered Batman and Robin episodes where Robin would say “Holy (everything/anything)  Batman!   One search on You Tube and I found 109 Holy exclamations on this video.  Thank you A Pennyworth whoever you are.

Batman and Robin fans, enjoy.

Please Don’t Rearrange My Supermarket


Milano CookiesAfter I dropped off my kids this morning, I checked on my friends house and fed her cat.  After that I ran through the list of things I wanted to do before noon today.  Get cat food and cereal, make two phone calls, work on a writing assignment and exercise – check, check, check.  So I stopped at the store  on my way home and did my nomral route in the store –  produce aisle to cereal ailse,  meat department, then circle round for milk, eggs and butter  …

But today they moved the butter.

Dear Shoprite – today you moved the butter.  When you do that, you force people like me to find a person to help them find the butter.   This morning that inquiry lead me into an aisle that I rarely visit.  I  have worked hard over the years to ingore the cookies, to pass by the Milanos and Oreos without a glance because they are delicious and irresistible to a girl like me.   My kids ask for them but I never go down aisle 14.  But today you moved the butter. 

So I came home today with a bag of Milano and no cat food.

Sorry kitty.  I  hope you like cookies.