Friday, September 12, 2008

Special Thanks...

I received a ton of personal emails and forwards reflecting on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I was touched and, at times, too emotional to respond.

Thanks for helping us to remember one of the most terrifying moments in our own history, and also helping to make sure it is never forgotten.

***In addition to the art of illustration, the New Yorker magazine has also mastered the art of scandal through its various choice of covers. The above image was the first cover following the attacks in 2001 and, as a subscriber, I remember feeling very haunted by it. My mother-in-law had given me a time capsule in which to save things from the first year of our marriage. Having barely been married a month, I immediately placed the magazine inside.

Week In Review

The Top 5 Things I Learned This Week

5) Despite their perfectly pink leotard and tutu with their dainty little ballet shoes, despite their adorable little scamper as they excitedly enter the studio, despite their sweet little plie and jete, when you try to put a bun in their hair....the animal within reveals itself.

4) Nothing quite ruins a week (or a fantasy football season) like a philandering football player with a bum knee.

3) Pre-school homework is not a reflection of you, your home, or your abilities as a parent. She is only 3, she is only 3, she is only 3......

2) Whether it's food, money, or just an old dress you'd never wear again anyway, nothing feels better than doing something for a stranger in need.

And, of course, putting all levity aside....

1) Let us never let go of the memories of "where you were when", the images of planes without peaceful pilots, and the hope that even amid threats, divisive politics, and revisionist histories, a nation can hold onto its spirit, it solemnity, and its freedom.

Guess Who?

TOO EASY......

Brady Who?

Though Tom Brady has enjoyed the company of many beautiful woman, and the adulation of an international fashion community who's plastered his image on more than a few endorsements, my little heart has always gone out to the cute, somewhat dorky, and adorably self-deprecating Tony Romo.

THIS story just makes me him that much more crushworthy.

Special Thanks...

Special thanks to anyone who managed to throw a dress or two in the mail for the Marine Corp Ball Charity.

I quite literally "threw" in two, but thankfully a woman volunteered her seamstress and steaming abilities to make sure the selection is as polished as it is philanthropic.

Goodness begets goodness.....

Quote of the Day

"I've got a hundred bucks that says my baby beats Pete's baby. I've got genetics on my side." -Andre Agassi

Picture of the Day

There's nothing quite like summer time in Syracuse.

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering Mychal Judge

When I think on all the lives lost today, the most visual image I have is of Fr. Mychal Judge being carried away from the rubble by a group of firefighters he had to come assist. Fr. Michal was a friar at Siena College, where I went to school along with many other readers of this blog. He was known for compassion, sincerity, and sacrifice.

After the first tower was hit, Fr. Mychal ran to the World Trade to assist both physically and spirtually the many rescue workers who were already on the scene. One of the first people he encountered was Mayor Guiliani who turned to him, resting his hand on his shoulder, and said,"Please pray for us, Mike".

"I always do," he responded.

He then proceeded to enter the building with the other rescuers in an attempt to usher everyone out, and even help carry some of the injured firefighters. When he went in to administer the Sacrament of Last Rights to a gravely injured fireman, an explosion rocked the lobby, killing him instantly.

One of the most famous images from this day (pictured above) is that of rescuers carrying his body out of the rubble. They carried him to St. Peter's Church a few blocks away. They laid his lifeless body on the altar, covered it in a white sheet, and rested his helmet and badge on his chest.

The men prayed and a short while later, the towers came down.

I distinclty remember an interview Fr. Mychal's nephew gave after the tragedy. He said that his uncle firmly believed that God gave every person only as much as He knew they could handle. For that reason, the nephew believed this may have been too much for his uncle, and so he was taken.

He also believed his uncle to now be an angel of God, with his first blessing bestowed on the firement who carried him out. This act was to honor him, and in doing so, kept them from danger as they would surely have been in the towers when they came down.

Fr. Mychal Judge is listed as the first victim of 9/11 and he was among the first buried.

The greatest honor to pay all of those who have been buried is to promise that their memories never will be.


"All of a sudden there were people screaming. I saw people jumping out of the building. Their arms were flailing. I stopped taking pictures and started crying." --Michael Walters, a free-lance photo journalist in Manhattan.

Remembering Through Stories

I spent a lot of time feeling sad about the events surrounding September 11th. Now, I think I just feel angry.

I was very newly married and beginning a new school year teaching in a school that seemed so far from the career I'd started at that great little school in the Bronx. My friends and family were back in New York, but my new life was in New Jersey.

I was teaching a group of unassuming ninth graders when another teacher frantically came to my door. She waved me to her and I begrudgingly obliged, assuming the snack machine was down again the faculty lounge. I was so clueless.

The news of a plane hitting a tower seemed to rush out of her as some other apprehensive teachers watched my reaction from a distance. I remember trying to remember which building Tony (my husband's best friend) was in, and if this was another case of my 18th birthday.

When I was 18, I lived on Governors Island (next to the Statue of Liberty) and the first World Trade Center bombing occurred, prohibiting anyone from leaving the island since the ferry slip was located right in Battery Park. Like a truly narcissistic teenager, I was so angry at the inconvenience.

Anyway, the gravity of the situation had yet to sink in.

Minutes later the same frantic teacher appeared in my door to announce that the second tower had been struck....and the bottom kind of fell out of me.

The rule of teaching is, no matter what, you need to be the calming port in the storm for your students. No matter what situation might present itself, your children (yes, 15 year olds are still children) need to feel safe. They look to you for guidance, for security.

And then the Pentagon was hit.

I made it through fourth period, though I have no idea what or how I did.

When the kids bounced off to lunch, I broke down. They sent the New Yorker home early to try to make contact with a long list of people who may or may not be lost.

Friends and family at both towers.
My brother was supposed to be at the Pentagon.
My best friend was flying out of Logan for a business trip.

And the worst part was, I couldn't stop watching the television. Horrible images, unbelievable stories, and a sense that I should have been in New York.

Now, years removed, I still have a hard to reconciling all that happened...but I guess that's the point, there has been no reconciliation. When will there be?

****I know we all have our "Where were you when...." stories. Feel free to share them in the Comments. In particular, a request to my friend Sutty to share the "wedding table" story involving the Cantor Fitzgerald people.


I have to think the greatness tragedy to come out of all this is allowing oursleves to forget.

Quote of the Day

"To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today." - Anonymous

Picture of the Day

Though the budding fashionista had expertly chosen the lip color of the season (Chanel Aqualumiere Lipstick in Papeete), it seems the application still needs some work.
Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quick Question

I know there are more than a few seasoned mothers who stop by from time to time, and so I guess this is directed at you....

Is there ever a point when you're not exhausted?

Sometimes I hit a big lull in the late afternoon, but more times than not I am foggy from 11 AM on...and I wish I had more energy to really do better with the mom stuff (playing, engaging, really interacting).

On another tangent, does anyone know how to self-administer caffeine through an IV drip?


The Management

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My 3 year old nephew refers to gymnastics as:


Stimulating the Economy

When I first heard of the "economic stimulus" checks being administered to address our recessive state, I remember thinking that the idea was completely meritless.

But there is one upside....

According to the AP:

Deadbeat dads and moms around the country are discovering that their
economic stimulus checks from Washington — intended to encourage the purchase of TVs, cars and other goods — are being intercepted and funneled toward the support of their children.

Treasury Department figures obtained by The Associated Press show that more than 1.4 million of the checks have been seized since the payments began last spring, and a total of $831 million has been collected by child support agencies nationwide.

Can we also do that with tax returns?


Though I wasn't expecting it, homework has already found its way home and I couldn't be happier. The thought of making collages, diaramas, and anything with puffy paints has me more excited than the possibility of another Kelly-Brenda conflict (I need a reason to keep watching).

Anyway, the first assignment had my daughter and I filling out a worksheet about her favorite things. We just needed to answer the questions, color the images, and attach a collage of pictures of our family, our pets, and our home.

And the last requirement was where I found myself in a dilemma. I love photography and though I do not have the talents of my favorite Shirley, I am snapping away non-stop. So, when it comes to having to choose images that represent our family, I am simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task.

Among the considerations:

1) Do I really have to include a picture of my house?? What if that grumpy mom I cut off in the parking lot this morning spies my location and retaliates? I know that sounds like a long shot, but she was wearing head-to-toe spandex and blaring Jock Jams....she's definitely got the crazies.

2) Does the picture of myself have to be a recent one? Would it be inappropriate to include one of me from college when I was many pounds lighter? I do have one from my earlt twenties that has a slight blur, giving the illusion of soft hair and no freckles....

3) I have a really funny picture of my husband that I once used to scare away the bird that was stalking my sliding backdoor. Now that would be funny....until he found out.

So many decisions! The worst part is that these pictures are going in an album with the worksheet to be sent home to each family after its completion. I think I'll make an appointment at Glamour Shots....I imagine my husband will look fantastic in a boa, surrounded by laser lighting.

I Hate To Admit It But....

The new 90210 is AWFUL. I mean, it isn't even the good, campy kind of awful that is fun to make fun's just bad.

Why didn't they just recast the original people and have them pick up where they left off? At least I could bask in the heat that is the Andrea - Jesse passion, or the hypnotizing dance of Dylan's amputated eyebrow.

Quote of the Day

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." -- Charles R. Swindoll

Picture of the Day

Happiness is the first day of school in stylin' clothes and a backpack you could hide yourself in.

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Marine Corps Ball

Every year the Marine Corps Ball is held in early December. The event is very formal and is open to all members of the Corp. and their respectives. Unfortunately, given the formality of the dress, many women who cannot afford the cost of a nice gown are unable to attend what is a morale boosting tradition.

To ensure every person eligible has the opportunity to attend, a group of women in North Carolina (headed by Julie the Nurse) are collecting gowns for the occasion. Each woman will pay $1 for a gown, and they can only choose one.

If you are like me (my closet is a history of cocktail dresses that have seen more weddings than a Las Vegas chapel), and you can find the time to swing by the post office tomorrow, please send whatever formal dresses you no longer have use for to:

Julie Weaver 109 Emmen Rd., New Bern, NC 28562.

Any dresses not used wil be donated to charity.

The only catch is that she needs it by the end of the week!!!

Thanks, in advance, for your consideration.

Preschool Lessons

Today I learned that:

Sitting "Indian Style" = OUT.

Criss-cross apple sauce = IN

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My daughter calls her nostrils .....

"Nose Balls".

What's Worse Than Losing Your First Round Draft Pick?

Losing your first game to a guy whose nickname rhymes with Plunk.

Quote of the Day

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." - Honore' de Balzac

Monday, September 8, 2008

Growing and Growing

Now that we are officially into the second week of preschool, I consider myself a more seasoned parent.

I feel more confident managing the morning rush to ensure she is neatly dressed, well fed, and drained of all "bladdery" fluids. I think I can do this....and she loves it.

But as goes everything with parenting, once you get comfortable, they enter a new phase.

This week class!!

Well, "Pre-Dance" as the Academy designates it. It is a formal introduction to ballet, jazz, tap, and expressive movement (I'm not sure what they mean by "expressive movement" but it better not include a poll). The class is also designated for the littlest dancers and so I may just explode from all the cuteness I am certain is coming my way.

The preparation for class was more than a little involved as specific directions for leotards, ballet shoes, and tap shoes were disseminated, leading us all to rush around and compare interpretations to make sure we got everything right. We also have to make sure their hair is firmly pulled back with no fly aways, which means "expressive wrestling" will also be introduced as I attempt to finagle a bun on someone who hates anything having to do with well groomed hair.

Parenting truly is life's great experiment.

South Jersey Livin'

I actually passed a hitchhiker on the always clogged Rte 45 in Mantua.

Do people still do that?

I also had to stop to allow EIGHT chickens to cross the road.

Where am I?

And the Last Post About Tom Brady....

In the 2007, Tom Brady abandoned his pregnant girlfriend to go galivanting around the globe with the tackiest supermodel on the planet, Gisele Bungeon (Do you believe it is actually written in her contract that she will not accept dollars, only euros? Ugh).

In 2008, he loses the Superbowl to the typically talentless Giants in what many consider to be the upset of the century. Then, he begins the season by tearing his ACL.

What's that word? I think it rhymes with blarma....and I also think I hear Lawyer Boy weeping somewhere far, far away.

Hmmm.....I knew I shouldn't have drafted him.

Guess Who?

Though the above clip is arguably his greatest moment, Eric Martin (former lead singer of the short-loved rock band Mr. Big) went on to dabble in a solo career to capitalize on the band's great Japanese following (that is not a joke).

Since then, he has joined with equally legendary rockers Gunnar Nelson, Matthew Nelson, Kelly Keager (Night Ranger), and Mark Slaughter (Slaughter) to form the very unsucessful group "Scrap Metal".

Rock on.....

Monday's Eye Candy

He'd be even more appealing if he wan't with what's her name....

Fantasy Football

Yes, I have a team.

And my first round draft pick was Tom Brady.

Quote of the Day

"Children spell "love" ... T-I-M-E." - Dr. Anthony P. Witham