Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This Might Be the Best Miss Manners Yet

Dear Miss Manners:
My 20-year-old daughter was recently married. She is also pregnant. One of the guests at the wedding gave a gift of Pampers and baby wipes. I was simply livid. It was such poor taste. I would like to know what is an appropriate response to this obvious slight.

A letter of thanks for a useful, if not glamorous, present.
Miss Manners does not understand why this troubles you. It is an insult to insinuate that a bride is pregnant, or at least it used to be. But one who is frankly so can hardly take offense when this is recognized.


So I mentioned to Ron yesterday that we should try Restaurant Week, because we never have before and it's happening the week of his birthday. I was thinking a romantic dinner for two but he said that his parents have always wanted to go--something I find hard to believe--and so I agreed to make reservations for the 4 of us.

What a freakin' mistake. It's not easy to get reservations during restaurant week and it's harder with 4 people. Harder still when two of the diners don't eat seafood and one of those also doesn't eat vegetables, anything with funny sauces or anything hard to pronounce.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Oh Ray

I seriously hope Ray Nagin stays in politics forever. That guy is just nuts and it's kinda funny.

I'm Moving to Chicago!

Okay, so I'm not really moving to Chicago. But I'd like to, and in fact there are only two drawbacks to moving there as far as I can tell: wickedly cold winters and sales tax on clothing. Bummer.

I love, love, LOVE Chicago. Here's a breakdown of my trip in case you're really, really bored.

Day 1:
Land in Chicago on time and check into our hotel early--about 11 a.m. We go to check out the Oak Street beach. Even though it's just a lake beach, it's pretty expansive. The water is a beautiful color. Look though I might, I commented to Ron that I could not find a single homeless person sleeping on the beach. We had lunch at the "beachfront" cafe where I had a Chicago hot dog, a decision that would haunt me, digestively speaking, for the next day. Ron went to go study some more and I explored the Magnificent Mile. I found a pair of Paper Denim & Cloth jeans that I loved in Filene's basement. They fit like a glove and I finally understood why people say that the right jeans are all about the ass. Unfortunately, they only had one pair in my size and it had a defective button. So I didn't get those jeans. I found alternatives in the Levi's store but I didn't rush to buy them.

Ron and I met up for a nice dinner at Rosebud on Rush. The bottle of wine we had was delish, although most likely ill-advised the night before a major exam. Ron headed back to the hotel to read, I wandered through the streets again and found tons of bars and restaurants to try on the Gold Coast.

Day 2:
Ron went off to exam-land, and since it was overcast, I scratched my plan to head to the beach and instead planned a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago is very walk-able, which is great for people like me who walk just about everywhere. It only took about 10 minutes to get to the museum from the hotel. I got to see a lot of great paintings including American Gothic, Nighthawks, Greyed Rainbow (which used to hang on my bedroom wall in high school), and A Sunday on La Grand Jatte. I am a fickle museum guest. While some could probably remain in just one wing of a museum for hours on end, I usually breeze through a whole musuem in a couple of hours. It's not that I'm not observant. I approach museums much in the way I do books. I only glance at the areas that somewhat bore me and pay closer attention to the sections that I find interesting. Sort of a speedreading for museums I suppose.

I also tooled around Millenium Park and lamented that we don't have a park quite so cool or accessible in Philadelphia. Lots of gardens, fountains and a theatre. I loved the huge, mirrored lima bean and I want one for my house. Again, I marvelled that there was nary a homeless person sleeping in the park or bathing in the fountains. Strange, I thought.

I did a little more window shopping at Marshal Field's, which is freaking huge by the way. Ron and I went for dinner at Boston Blackie's that night. Their onion rings are great and they still frost their beer mugs.

Day 3:
Ron left early in the morning for day 2 of the exam and I headed to the beach for a bit. It was so strange to look up from the sand and see the city skyline looming. I later told Ron that I much preferred it to sitting out in Rittenhouse. He replied that the beach wasn't all that big and I retorted that I could at least lay out on this beach without crazy men fondling themselves.

Then I spent a couple of hours trying on every pair of jeans at Levi. During one of Ron's breaks, we checked out of our first hotel, which his work was paying for and into our chain of choice: Marriott. I walked to Navy Pier to scope out the scene there. I love that the city has beaches and a boardwalk and the two aren't necessarily near each other. Seriously, Chicago has a lot to offer.

Ron, who was mentally drained at this point, was just very excited that his exam was over and we celebrated by having deep dish pizza at Gino's East. So filling, but so good. We got the Meaty Legend, which as you might imagine has about every variety of meat available on it. We proceeded to Jake Melnick's for beer and the Eagles game. All in all, it was Ron's dream night out: pizza, beer and football.

Day 4:
Boy, was this hectic. We got up relatively early, went to breakfast at the Original Pancake House in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Great eggs benedict, which came with potato pancakes. One of my favorite things on earth are potato pancakes. There was a wait for tables inside so we opted to eat outside which was a mistake. Know what a pancake house has a lot of? Syrup. Know what attracts? Bees. Regardless, breakfast was great, so filling we skipped lunch and we didn't get stung so everything was a-okay. After we went to the observatory of the John Hancock Building, then we headed out on an architecture river tour. Did you know that Chicago is called the Windy City, not because of windy weather conditions but because a NY reporter wrote a scathing article in 1893 that Chicagoans were a bunch of "windbags", after discovering that they lied about exhibits and hotels being ready for the World's Fair that year? I didn't know that either. I also didn't know that some of the buildings were built with what looks like a giant onion on top--but was really a blimp docking station.

We headed back through Millenium Park so Ron could see it, and then we went to the Skydeck at the Sears Tower. That whole section of town must be a business district, because even though it was Saturday, all the restaurants and stores were closed. A little strange. We ended the day by going to Navy Pier. I dragged Ron on the ferris wheel, which gave me the delicious feeling of being 6 years old again and then we had dinner at Joe's Be-Bop Cafe while listening to some jazz. We watched fireworks over Lake Michigan and called it a day.

Day 5:
Our last day and we decided to have breakfast at Ed Debevic's a 50's diner where the wait staff is humorously rude to you. We did a little shopping on Michigan Ave, which does, by the way, have panhandlers. I hesitate to call them homeless because these are some of the best-dressed panhandlers I've ever seen. Mostly, they hold signs and hang their heads and Ron theorized that this is so that people from their jobs wouldn't recognize them. ANYWAY, I was sad to leave, sad that it was our last day. Sad that Philly isn't a bit more like Chicago.

So we're home and I enjoyed being away and with any luck I'll enjoy getting out of town again this weekend. Although I think I made a huge dent in seeing a lot of downtown Chicago, there's still a bunch I want to experience next time, including Hugo's Frog Bar, Second City, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (a jazz club where Al Capone used to hang out!), the Lincoln Park neighborhood, and the Redhead Piano Bar. Fortunately for me if not for him, Ron will have to take these exams every few years...and always in Chicago.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Does Anyone Blog Anymore?

Seriously, almost everyone I know seems to have fallen off the blogearth. Have you also noticed that a lot of my sentences start with "seriously"?

Anyway, over the weekend I wound up going to the outlets in Lancaster and I have some near accessories to show for it and then on Sunday Meg and I went for lunch, which lasted for about 5 hours. It was lovely.

I'm off to the Windy City tomorrow. I most likely won't post until I get back. Have a great week and I'll have some deep dish pizza for you.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Circus Act

Seriously, does this guy have a lawyer? I mean he's so unphased by the media. I wonder if he'll have some public defender or if some high profile lawyer will step up for some pro bono work. The dude totally creeps me out, but I'm not sure if he's telling the truth either.

Friday, August 18, 2006


The house I loved not only lowered its price but it's also under contract.

Goodbye, house.

Trapped in the City

So I had hopes of going to the trailer down by the river this weekend, as it's likely the last weekend we'd be able to go. But as fate would have it, others are going to the trailer and we could only really go if no one else was so that Ron could study. It's so quiet down there, it's just great for studying. I was looking forward to sitting on the beach, reading, taking naps and grilling. I could still do those things here with some slight alterations. It would be sitting out in the park, not the beach and the grilling would be the George Foreman variety instead of the charcoal kind. And I could still nap, but it's just not the same.

I'm itching to get out of the city, so I might go to the outlets and just shopping in general. Of course, according to my new budget I techincally don't have any money to really go shopping. But I really just want to "go" somewhere, anywhere. So taking a trip out to Lancaster might not be too bad. We leave for Chicago on Wednesday, so while I won't be getting out of the city so to speak then either, at least it will be a change of scenery. And Chicago has a beach. Until then, I may just go stir crazy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Score

So far it's:
Me&Ron 3 / Mice 0

Seriously, we've been though this before. If you enter my house, I have to kill you. Run and tell your little friends: don't enter my house.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


How quickly our show of one-up-manship deteriorates:
Me (sitting surrounded by photos): Can you get me a post-it note?
R (standing in front of me): Hold on honey, here's a post-it note I just happened to pull out of my ass.
Me (looking at him crossly)
R: Seriously, where am I supposed to get a post-it?
Me: Never mind, I'll get it myself.
R: What, where am I supposed to get one?
Me: In the kitchen, where all the post-it notes have been kept for the last three years! Don't mind me, I'm just trying to make a birthday present for your sister and all I needed from you was a freaking a post-it.
R: And I'm trying to study for an exam so that I can put food on the table for you for the rest of your life.
Me: THANK GOD. I mean if I weren't for you, I would die penniless and starving in the street.
R: Thank God for me is right.
Me: Seriously, this post-it really is going up your ass now.

Three Ladies and Some Wine

You realize as an adult that you don't know much. Sometimes if you think about all the things in the world that you don't really know about, it's a little overwhelming and you can feel just a little stupid. Which is why I hate when they change the things we were taught as kids. I have a certain stability in knowing that grade school knowledge. So why do they gotta fuck with the solar system? I almost had a heart attack when I heard they might demote Pluto from planet status. This morning I learn, oh no, instead they're going to add three more planets. What the hell? Where did these three extra planets come from? I mean I know they were always there and this would just be a reclassification, but I liked knowing there were 9 planets. I could name them. An astronomer on CNN today asserted that teaching children to count planets is really an ineffective exercise. "My very educated mother just served us nine pies" is one of the mantras of my life. I'm disgusted with this development.

At any rate, Christy and I are going to Meg's for dinner and wine tonight. I'm looking forward to it immensely.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Well this is a surprise to just about no one. I just wonder why it took so long?

Monday, August 14, 2006


I'm psyching myself up to not go to the gym tonight. Yeah, you heard me; I'm trying to get excited for not going to the gym.

I didn't go to the gym Saturday or Sunday, as I was out of town. In Gettysburg, which is lovely, by the way and a place I need to return again for a proper visit. At any rate, after two days of not going, I really need to go to the gym tonight, but I'm trying to talk myself out of it.

I'm tired. I worked Friday night, had a wedding Saturday and a 50th birthday party last night. We were constantly on the go--not to mention awake until the wee hours of the morning. I need to do (what else?) laundry tonight. I need to clean the apartment, which is beginning to look like a small tornado blew through. I need to get something for dinner and cook. I need the something I make for dinner to be something healthy because I ate crap all weekend (see the previous post re: bloating), so take-out isn't really an option. I'd like to go to bed early tonight, because I really am tired.

So in order to do what I need to get done tonight, I feel like I need to cut back somewhere. Because laundry, cleaning, dinner, cooking, working out and getting to bed at 9p.m. just seems like too much. The gym seems like the easiest thing to cut. Actually, I guess I could work out for a little bit, while the laundry is happening.

The problem, what will take the longest, will be cleaning the apartment. Because it needs some THOROUGH cleaning and straightening. Last night I came home and noticed that the peanut butter that's on the mouse traps in our apartment has suspiciously vanished. I see no other evidence of visitors, but it means I have some work to do. Remind me why I renewed this apartment for another year?

I am hoping, against all hope, that Ron and I can go to the trailer down by the river this weekend.

My Eyelids Are Itchy

Just a couple of random notes:

Is it just me or is Beyonce becoming more and more like Tina Turner? In her latest video, "Deja Vu", I think she's even starting to really look like her.

I'm loving Christina Augilera's look these days. She's rocking the 1930s look and I like that she released a second CD produced to sound like a record from that time period. Historically, Xtina kind of reminded me of someone you would find in a trailer park, but I'm liking her. For this minute anyway.

I bought new make up last week and decided to try a new brand. It's making my eyelids itch. Not good. I'm randomly allegic to some eye makeup. Unfortunately, it seems to include the kind of expensive kind.

I'm seriously bloated today and it's kind of pissing me off.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


People, my hand is messed up. Several weeks ago, I literally but not intentionally punched my nightstand while putting freshly washed sheets on the bed. My knuckle, pinky and ring fingers started to swell up immediately. Ron took one look at it and said, "You broke your hand." I, of course, laughed in his face because honestly, who the hell does he think he is? My hand didn't really hurt, which was strange. I mean, it would hurt if I broke it, right? I've never broken anything before, but I assume that usually hurts. Ron shrugged his shoulders and repeated that I probably broke it or at the very least did some nerve damage. I put ice on it and called it a night.

Over the next couple of days, my hand turned all sorts of pretty colors. Still, it didn't really hurt and I had full range of motion in all my fingers. However, I started to notice a tingling in my hand up through my elbow. A day or so after that, something new started. It wasn't a pain in my hand so much as it was a dull ache. Now since then, on and off, there is tingling and these weird aches. I've complained to Ron about the tingling. "That's not good," he said, "Nerve damage. Does it shoot up to your elbow?" Why yes, yes it does. He really tried not to have a "told-you-so" look on his face.

Still, I did nothing. Finally, today, I started Googling "broken hand". Of course, OF COURSE, tingling is a symptom of a broken hand. What I can't decipher is whether it's normal to not have felt any real pain. Ron claimed that there are some tiny bones in your hand that might not affect the normal range of motion or that something might just be misaligned now and is pressing on a nerve. Anyway, so it's been like 3 weeks now since this happened and I'm just now getting around to freaking out about it. Only because the websites I found lead me to believe that if I have nerve damage and it goes untreated, my hand will basically fall off.

So I called my doctor, who of course can't see me until the end of the month. I guess I could go to an emergency room, but this isn't exactly an emergency and frankly, I don't feel like sitting around for 18 hours in the waiting room. And it's probably nothing. It's not even bruised anymore. And it doesn't really hurt. I can just see a ER doctor looking at me, saying "So it's not bruised, it doesn't hurt and this happened 3 weeks ago? Why are you here?" "Because it tingles," I will say. "I am here because of the tingling."

For now, I'm going to do more of nothing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Time to Plan

So I leave for Chicago the week after next and I still haven't researched what I plan on doing while I'm there which is so totally unlike me. To boot, I haven't decided where we're going for our long weekend trip in October. I'm pretty sure we'll do one day and night in Mystic, CT and two days and two nights in Newport, RI. But I haven't booked anything. Mystic and Newport are only 4 and 5 hours away respectively, so the drive won't be too bad. And I'd love to go to Vermont or New Hampshire, but the majority of those two states are "past peak" leaf season by mid-October. One year I totally want to go on one of those trains in New Hampshire. How awesome does that look? Actually, it looks like an accident waiting to happen, but I'm up for it.

I'm currently in love with the Castle Hill Inn in Newport. Originally, I had been thinking more "fall foliage" than "coastal" in terms of what we wanted from this little excursion, but who could resist that hotel?

Friday, August 04, 2006


So the new Macy's ain't all that. They don't have the traditional Macy's Cellar. What the hell good is a Macy's with no houseware section?

They didn't change much--I'm not sure why the store had to be closed for 2 months. It might have taken the union guys that long to change the sign from Lord & Taylor's to Macy's. The upolestry on the chairs in the shoe department is even the same. You would never know it was a different store. Don't get me wrong, it's always been a nice building, always a nice store. But I'd like some new. There's no real new there. And I'd like housewares. I'm not even sure there's a children's clothes department. No, that can't be right. There must be one and I just didn't notice.

All I know is I can't buy stuff off my registry there. Ugh.

In other news, since I sounded like an insensitive bitch in my last post about Macy's earlier this week, I do realize that people are very attached to the lightshow. It's sentimental. It's nostalgic. Lots of stuff we did as kids with our families, we want to continue doing. For me, it was the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I'm a huge Baseball Hall of Fame fan. Because that's where I went as a kid. I'm sure if I saw it for the first time as an adult, I would be bored by it. Although a true baseball fall wouldn't be bored by it. So I get it. You love your light show. Trust me, if you moved here and saw it for the first time as an adult, your reaction would probably be something like "Huh." But Macy's is promising to restore it to its "former splendor". But I get it.

Dude, Where's My Car?

So I am officially the proud owner of a CR-V in Pewter Pearl. We got the Special Edition version with leather everything for no other reason than the cloth interior was freaking hideous. I'm still not loving in interior design but it's got a sunroof so it's not so bad. It has new car smell and I like that too.

I drove it to Ron's parents' house last night, because we were dropping their car back off to them. And then Ron made me drive home. I realized it was the end of an era. As much as I've wanted my own car, I rather liked having a chauffeur.

At any rate, I might run some errands tonight (Target, here I come) and Sunday, I might drive to see my grandmother. Ron will have the car during the week, driving to work, but I get first right of use after he's home :) I'm totally drunk with my new sense of freedom.

I'm not so enthralled with my newly acquired car payment.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


R: I'd like to go to Cuba.
Me: Really?
R: Yeah, I really would. We should go to Cuba.
Me: You know you can't just "go to Cuba", right?
R: Well you could, like, fly there.
Me: Uh-huh. And what airline do you know of that flies into Cuba?
R: I'm sure there's a black market for this sort of thing.
Me: Yeah, that's my idea of relaxing. A nice black market vacation.
R: I'm sure it can be done.
Me: I'm sure it can be too. You just have to leave from another country. But isn't it strange when you think about it, that we're actually not allowed to go to Cuba? Like our government sort of bans us from going. It's strange. I mean we can go just about everywhere else.
R: Yeah.
Me: I think I would be grossly disappointed in Havana. I mean I think of Havana in a glamous 1940s sort of way, with Ernest Hemingway smoking a cigar.


Am I the only one who doesn't think this should be a top news story? The guy was drunk. Who the hell cares what he said. I don't. I've heard a lot worse from drunks. I'm actually a little more disturbed by the photos emerging from the party he was at where he was hanging all over what appear to be hot little college co-eds. What the hell, Mel? You're a A list celebrity. Why are you slumming it at a frat party?


Call me naive. I didn't really understand what my husband's career path would entail. Last night, he came home still wearing radiation detectors and suddenly I began to realize that maybe there is a reason why they're compensated so well in his field.

You know how when you go to get an X-ray, the technican usually leaves the room to take it? And that's because, while the radiation levels are relatively low, it's not good for the tech to be exposed to it all day long. Hell, even if you're just getting one X-ray, they still cover you, the patient, in lead protectors.

The issue is, in my husband's chosen medical specialty, they're taking X-rays while in surgery to see what the heck they're doing. So they can't leave the room. And while they do wear protection, they can't cover everything, including most notably, their heads. So they wear these radiation detectors on their hands, on their neck, near their thyroids and hanging from their waist near know, reproductive region. If the detector starts to turn green, they need to get the hell out of that room. And most likely start some sort of treatment.

I have to admit, even though the radiation levels are pretty low, this kind of wigs me out. The former head of this department died in his early 60s from brain cancer. Coincidence? Maybe. I don't think it would wig me out as much, strangely, if not for these detectors. It reminds me of a scene from Silkwood or something.

So between the radiation and my exposure to this, we're pretty much fucked.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I've hit a bit of a fitness plateau. I put on a couple of post-wedding pounds, but I've resumed working out regularly, so I'm not sure what the heck the problem is. I still hit the gym every day but there are definitely more days that I don't do my twice-a-day routine. It's summer, people and frankly, there are more fun things to do in the summer than spend time in a gym.

Usually when you plateau, fitness gurus suggest you switch up your routine. The problem is I already switch up my routine. Some days eliptical, some days weights, some days bike, some days treadmill. Hell, sometimes I even throw the stairmaster in there. I do pilates at least once a week, sometimes twice, and power yoga once a week. So my routine is pretty varied already. The only thing is that for the most part, I use any of these machines for about 30 minutes. Occasionally, I'll do 40 minutes, but usually it's 30. If I go to the gym in the morning and in the evening, I do 30 minutes each visit. The only thing I can think of doing differently is trying to do 45-50 minutes regularly, and elmininating the second visit to the gym entirely. I dread the thought of that though. I get really, really bored at the gym after 30 minutes. I've tried switching up machines before during a workout, like 20 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on the treadmill, and it helps my boredom somewhat, but my body knows when it's hit the 30 minute mark.

My two "problem" areas are my upper arms and my lower stomach. I need to tone these two areas and so far, what I'm doing isn't cutting it. Part of the upper arm issue is that I've been lax lately on lifting weights. I'm at a complete loss about the stomach. I mean pilates should have whipped that into shape. It's frustrating.

But not so frustrating that I'm laying off the cheese fries and beer.

Grand Opening

Tomorrow will be a good day. Over the weekend I got an "invitation" to the grand opening of Macy's in the city, which will open its doors tomorrow. Praise be to God, there will be a department store in the city again! Just in time. I need new shoes.

The invitation card was very interesting, because it seems to suggest that some Macy's executives apparently have had inimate dealings with Eagles fans in the 700 level of the now defunct Veteran's Statium. It's the only explanation I can think of as to why Macy's seems to be scared by Philadelphians.

The invitation is very careful to explain that the ever-impressive Light Show (aka the Nutcracker as written by someone on an acid trip) will continue, and that some Charles Dickens story will be relocated from the now defunct Strawbridge's to Macy's. In addition, they've saved the eagle statue that was in the Lord & Taylor's center court. And the organ! That stays too. And a pile of bricks they found near the store--they're saving those. Basically, anything that anyone may have loved and/ or ever noticed in either Lord & Taylor or Strawbridge's has been salvaged. Because apparently Macy's is afraid the citizens of Philadelphia will burn the city to the ground if they did not save these things.

All I know is they better freaking have good sales.

Free Blog Counter