How to be Classy

Posted on 2/28/2010 05:52:00 AM In:
No two ways about it, a commode on your curb brings crap loads of class and sophistication to any business establishment.


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Make Anything

Posted on 2/27/2010 05:47:00 AM
The Dormouse was pretty proud of her first freeform creation with Legos and she asked me to "take a picture and put in on the blog."



The Caterpillar, not to be outdone, required me to photograph her Lego creation.


Can you believe she didn't even have to follow the manual for that?

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Look at What I'm Dripping With... Little Girls

Posted on 2/26/2010 05:41:00 AM
When you're a normal sized two-year-old, it's kind of difficult to pick up a giant baby. But that shouldn't keep you from trying.



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Hardening of the Arteries

Posted on 2/25/2010 06:24:00 AM In:
Normally, I'm not a big French fry aficionado, but serve my old tennis shoes with six kinds of dipping sauce and I might be inclined to eat them.


My favorite part about this photo is that we felt like complete dorks, taking pictures of our food (not that that stopped us). Then a couple came in and since there weren't any open places to sit, we offered to share our table. Each of them immediately whipped out a camera and took a picture of their fries. See? I'm not the craziest person in the room anymore! Oh New York, reason #253 why I love you.

If you're ever in the area, you simply cannot pass up
Pommes Frites, a tiny little counter in Greenwich Village, where you have to suck in your gut to get past the cash register. Which is ironic, because I'm pretty sure the menu is designed to make regulars grow wide enough that they can't fit in the door. They have more kinds of sauces than you can count on your fingers and toes... and it's totally worth the sudden, early onset of heart disease brought on by excessive mayonnaise consumption.

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Casualty

Posted on 2/24/2010 06:12:00 AM
While we survived the snonami/snopocalypse/snomageddon of the past month, not everyone did. The snow tried to murder my beloved Daphne bush and the jury is still out on whether it will survive. I went outside and diligently dug it out as often as I could, but ultimately, the snow came too fast and the weight of it split my Daphne three ways right down the main trunk.

So there's another bush I couldn't keep alive.


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Lowered Expectations

Posted on 2/23/2010 02:14:00 PM
I don't know if you can hear it that well in this clip, but this is what she says every time she gets into the bathtub. She stretches out breathes a deep sigh and announces,

"Aaaaaah. This is the life."



I have no idea where it came from. I'm just thrilled that she enjoys living in my house now, because one day she'll wake up, look around this Hooverville we inhabit, and announce, "Wait a minute! This isn't the life, this is just filth and squalor." And I will play this video for her.

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Crowning

Posted on 2/23/2010 01:56:00 PM In:
While returning from my incident wherein I sinned against the museum support gods, I passed The Crown Building, better known as Playboy's New York headquarters. There was a gaggle of twenty-something men standing about taking each others' pictures standing next to the plaque next to the door that said, "Playboy Enterprises, Inc." while they pointed at it and tittered. I, however, was more interested in the ladies.


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Getting What We Pay For

Posted on 2/23/2010 07:56:00 AM
"Can you sing the ABC song, baby?"

"Yes! A B C D X Y Z, how I wonder what you are. Yay!" ::claps for self::

"Maybe we should look into paying that preschool of yours a little more money."

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You Deserve a Break

Posted on 2/22/2010 07:36:00 AM In:
Funky little statue just outside the south side of Central Park. It makes me think of a McDonald's sign gone horribly wrong: Over Eight Billion Served - before the apocalypse.


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Hey, It's a Healthy Snack

Posted on 2/21/2010 07:51:00 AM
KoH: "Are you eating a bowl of peanut butter with chocolate chips sprinkled in it?"

Me: "Yeah."

KoH: "Tsk, tsk." ::shakes head::

***pause***

Me: "You want some, don't you?"

KoH: "I kinda do."

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Breaking and Entering... or Just Entering

Posted on 2/20/2010 08:59:00 AM In:

The second reason I had, after
being denied by Cookie Monster, for going to New York City on President's day was to see one specific exhibit at one specific museum. But after writing about Cookie Monster the other day and getting contacted by the director of the BPL, I'm a little afraid to say which museum since the following post will probably not make said museum people very happy with me. Let's just say that museum is sometimes called "moe-mah."

I'm a big Tim Burton fan. Even if I didn't enjoy his movies, I would still go see them all because each is a work of art in itself: visually stunning, colorful, and completely and utterly unique. When I learned that he'd basically kept every sketch he'd ever drawn since the age of nine and they were going to create an exhibit out of it all, I knew that I had to see it.

How determined was I? Let me tell you.


After Sunday afternoon when we were shut down by the Brooklyn Public Library, I became even more determined to see the other of the two things I went to New York to see. (Full disclosure BPL people, it may sound like we're bitter, but that post was fairly tongue-in-cheek and really just an excuse to post the pictures of that incredible door and a funny photo on Monica. We're used to living with disappointment so we'll live. But in our defense, we Googled the exhibit to find the information and were taken straight to the exhibit page, which had no information about the closing, so while the main library page might have carried news about holiday hours, the exhibit page that also stated the hours said no such thing.) Monica had a meeting Monday morning and I was left to my own devices. So I headed off to Central Park South for my big moment which promised to nullify the letdown of the day before.

I walked into the lobby with my head and hopes held high, and saw: people.


A superabundance of people.


A profusion of people.

People aplenty.

Seriously, folks, I COULD. NOT. SEE. THE. FLOOR.

And that's when I realized: planning a trip to New York on a holiday weekend AND then going to two of the most publicized events in the city might not have been the most brilliant plan Monica and I have ever thought up.
Even the smartest women alive can have an off weekend. But whatever, I'd pay my $20, TWENTY DOLLARS!!, (To fully appreciate this travesty, by the way, you need to know that I haven't paid to go inside a museum in fifteen years. D.C. doesn't believe in charging for natioanal museums.) and deal with the crowds. So I walked, or rather waded, like a salmon searching for a place to spawn, through the crowds and up to the desk to pay my entry fee because it never occurred to me that I'd have to fight for tickets to get into an art museum or to consider buying them ahead of time. I know it should have... I'm just easily accustomed, I guess. Probably the same reason I still look out the window, see the sun, and assume I don't need a coat - even in January - because I once lived in a desert and that's how it was... there. I never thought to try and get tickets ahead of time or that they might sell out. But there they were as I approached the desk, a score or so of hand written, hastily printed on copy paper, terse signs which said things like:

NO MORE TIM BURTON TICKETS TODAY


and


BURTON EXHIBIT TIMED TICKETS SOLD OUT!!

and


NO BURTON TIX!!

and


DON'T EVEN ASK ME IF YOU CAN GET INTO THE TIM BURTON EXHIBIT

(Maybe that last one was more inferred than implied.)

::sigh::


So the ONLY TWO THINGS I came to New York for were both a bust.

I decided that I would not pay to get in because $20 seems like a lot of money to someone who is used to paying $0 and with the museum so crowded, I wasn't likely to see anything but the backs of folks' heads. I swam my way back to the door to think of something else to do in New York City (tough job). Right before I left, though, there was one big Burton piece in the lobby that everyone could see. So I stopped to take a photo. As I was standing there, I saw the long line and spiraling stanchions filled with people waiting to show their tickets. I also noticed how right next to where I was standing, there was a largely unmonitored exit area with one security person standing near. I'm not sure what came over me. Maybe it was the disappointment of not seeing Bert and Ernie. Maybe I felt righteous indignation. Maybe I just buckled to temptation. But I glanced over, saw that security guard turn his head to look at something else, and suddenly, my legs were carrying me in through the exit with an "I have every right to be here, Officer" attitude.

I quickly wandered up to the floor where the special exhibits were held before anyone could stop me but as I got to the door, I realized that the tickets people were showing at the front door were only museum tickets. There were different, TIMED tickets to go into the Burton exhibit and the entrance door was not nearly as disorganized or loosely controlled as the museum's front entrance.


::heavy sigh::

Oh well, it was worth a try.


I took a photo (above) of the entrance, got yelled at by the security guard there (because, as it turns out, when you walk in through the exit, you tend not to see the signs at the entrance that say No flash photography in the building), and then admitted defeat.

Since I was already inside, I took the time to see the rest of the museum. It was amazing, really. I saw some of my favorite paintings ever and it was TOTALLY worth the price of admission. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, knowaddimean? I spent a couple of hours pouring through the rest of the museum and enjoying myself. I wandered from my sixth floor starting place all the way down to the bottom floor and saw everything I wanted to see. When I was about done, I ended up in a little photography exhibit that dead-ended into a room. As I was turning to backtrack, I noticed a couple of double doors with exit signs taped to them and as they opened, people were exiting through the back door of the Burton exhibit.

I think you know what comes next.


I turned on my very best blend-into-the-wallpaper mode and just stood there for awhile. Then when the opportunity presented itself, I accidentally wandered through the door. No one stopped me and I didn't even have to use the "I'm trying to find my friend - we got separated" excuse that the devil on my left shoulder had cooked up should anyone stop me. I was suddenly inside.
And oh my goodness, guys, it was totally worth the burdensome guilt I now carry and the fact that I now feel it necessary to confess my sins on the interweb here, because that exhibit was SO AMAZING. I took no photos, because a) there was no photography inside and if there's one thing this post has taught you about me, it's that I follow the rules... wait... nevermind, b) the security guards were really uptight about the no photography rule, and c) I was horribly afraid that if I even tried to sneak my camera out of my bag, the burly security guard would be like, "May I see your ticket, ma'am?" and I'd have to hit him over the head with one of the Willy Wonka dolls and run.

I was floored not by how much I loved everything there - I expected that - but by HOW MUCH STUFF was in there. In most exhibits there's a painting here... walk a few feet away... there's another painting... you stand in a mostly empty room and contemplate. In this one, however, there were very narrow passageways so as to create more surface area on which to hang the hundreds of sketches and paintings that were crowded onto the walls inches from one another and in rows. I could have spent hours just looking at everything he drew before he turned twenty.
Then there were the story boards, the sculptures, the films, the movie memorabilia...

So, if you can get yourself to New York City before this exhibit closes, you simply must do it.

But make sure you pay for a ticket.

Because sneaking into museums without paying is wrong.

So wrong.

In general, the building itself doesn't hold a lot of interest for me like some, but I did enjoy this view of the stairwell.


Frida Kahlo fascinates me. The piece on the right is a mirror and you can see a (probably paying) museum patron in the frame as well as what I think might be a Diego Rivera on the back wall.


I followed these school girls around for awhile because I was fascinated by their docent and how she dealt with them. Here she's addressing one girl's concern that there was "no reason for Picasso to paint those women without clothes." While I watched this exchange, a woman stood next to me trying to educate her teenage son, who could care less about such things, about how Picasso painted in a style called "Tubism." Fascinating.


Not a great picture of Starry, Starry Night - this room was understandably crowded - but I'd seen it only once before in a Van Gogh exhibit in Washington, D.C. and I couldn't take a photo then. This painting is So. Much More. Amazing. in person than you would ever guess.


Christina's World is an extremely famous Andrew Wyeth painting in the disability community. I personally, love the fact that he manages to make the colors both drab and vibrant at the same time. I tried to see it a couple of years ago in Philadelphia but was denied. Me and paying art museums - we don't get along, I guess. Up close you can see every blade of grass, every strand of hair, every fold on her dress, without noticing a single brush stroke - there's a reason why this is called Magic Realism. A teenage girl standing next to me here helpfully explained to her friend that this was the very first painter (born in 1917) to ever use a technique called "perspective." Where is that docent?


I was stunned to stumble onto Monet's Waterlillies. Partially because I didn't know it was here, but even more stunned to realize for the first time, HOW BIG THIS PAINTING IS.


Japanese Footbridge is one of my favorites by Monet. LOVE the colors.


I couldn't resist doing my Ferris Bueller's Day Off homage with this Seurat painting.


Here's the one Burton piece I can show you. It was in the front lobby. The light was awful and the picture came out badly, so I had some fun in Photoshop trying to make interesting at least.

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Winter in Central Park

Posted on 2/19/2010 06:15:00 AM In:
I spent a little bit of time in Central Park before heading to MoMa on Presidents' Day. Can you get any more idyllic than Central Park covered with snow? It was gorgeous and watching all these people from afar, I could almost envision a Norman Rockwell scene: The kids throwing snowballs, snowmen standing sentry from the side of the hills, the guy taking a picture of his son, people walking around holding hands.


I walked down into the park and noticed a group of people crowding around and peering into a little cave off the walkway. This was looking back at us:


And then I spent about twenty minutes hanging around eavesdropping on the crowd's conversations, which went something like this:

"What's that?"

"I don't know. Do you?"

"It's an animal."

"I know it's an animal. What kind of animal is it?"

"I have no idea."


"Is it a badger?"

"Oh, I hope it's not a badger, I heard those are mean."

"I don't think it's a badger."

"Do you know what kind of animal that is?"

"Nah, I don't know."

"Maybe it's a rat."

"I don't think rats get that big."

"...."

"Porcupine?"


And finally, our little ring-tailed friend went back in his cave, possibly to look for this book to loan to the New Yorkers who have no idea what a raccoon looks like.


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More Compliments from a 2 Year Old

Posted on 2/18/2010 12:42:00 PM
"I love how well you're talking these days, honey."

"Thanks momma, I love your bosom."

"Can we please stop talking about my bosom?"

Personally, I think it's passed down on the Y chromosome... oh wait, that doesn't make sense.

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Goodbye Cookie Monster

Posted on 2/18/2010 07:30:00 AM In:


This is the front door of the Brooklyn Public Library. The library that is holding the Sesame Street exhibit that was the main reason I went to New York last weekend. The Sesame Street that began when I was a year old and that I watched my whole life. The exhibit that ends February 21st and that this was my last chance to see. The library that has a website that we checked ahead of time to make sure they had weekend hours. The website that said nothing about it being closed on both Sunday and Monday of the Presidents' Day weekend. The door that, once we walked up to it, had this scotch taped to the glass:


So thanks, Brooklyn Public Library. From the two of us who rode a bus all the way to New York from Washington, D.C., walked to Brooklyn from Manhattan in thirty-six degree weather, and then shared a row of seats on the way back with a woman who didn't think it was necessary to buy a seat for her toddler but did think it was necessary to call everyone she knew and talk on the phone for the entire trip in the middle of the night.

We're not at all disappointed.


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Flatiron Building

Posted on 2/17/2010 06:07:00 AM In:
I know basically nothing about architecture (unless you count having read The Fountainhead five times) but I love it just the same. I have a favorite building in every city I've ever lived in or visited. In Chicago, there's the Associates' Center and Marina City. In Phoenix, there's Gamage and Tempe City Hall. In Oak Park, there's the Unity Temple. In San Francisco, the Transamerica Pyramid. The Grand Hotel in Michigan. Belleview Biltmore in San Diego. In Pennsylvania you've got Fallingwater... I'm the only person I know who chooses vacation spots by virtue of what good buildings are close. My husband has gotten used to this ridiculous predilection of mine and happily goes along with every nonsense road trip I've ever dreamed up where I said, "Hey, let's drive eleven hours so we can go stand outside of a building that we're not allowed to go inside." This is just one of the reasons we've remained married for twelve years.

Actually, I have a favorite building in every city I've ever been in with two exceptions: Washington, D.C. and New York City. Washington, D.C. because that marble, faux Greek/Roman style simply doesn't appeal to me (although, oddly, Washington is my favorite city) and New York because there are just too many to narrow down to one or two.

Once I attended a master class with Pinchas Zuckerman and the gentleman sitting in front of me asked "Pinky" (I feel I can call him that now - afterall we've been in the same room together) a question about what piece of music was his favorite. He gave the answer that we all expected: that he simply could not narrow it down to one piece of music; there were so many. But the man, who had brought his four daughters to the master class and was trying to impress them, wouldn't let it go and kept pushing, naming some of Zuckerman's most prominent recordings and prodding him to choose one, just one, that was the best, the most well-played, the most cherished. He got pretty much the same answer the second time, but he was dogged in his determination and asked a third time. Zuckerman obviously grew weary with the man's refusal to accept his answer and he finally sat back in his chair, sighed loudly and said, "Are those your children?"

"Yes," the man replied, "I have my four daughters with me today."

Zuckerman leaned out toward the audience and stared at him, "Which one of them do you love the most?"

If, for some horrible reason, one day I had to make the Sophie's Choice of choosing my favorite building in New York, I think I would have just as much trouble answering. But the Flatiron building would probably be in my top ten... or twenty.

I had a great time photographing it this weekend but I'll save the precious bandwidth and only show you my seven favorite photos.








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Sleepytired

Posted on 2/16/2010 08:18:00 AM
Call me pessimistic, but I don't think she's gonna finish her lunch.


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Made from the Best Part of the Princess

Posted on 2/15/2010 08:13:00 AM
The newest soup flavor from the good folks at Campbell's:


Princess Soup has become extremely popular in my house during the past week. If I admit that it took me a good five minutes looking at the label to even figure out what flavor this soup is, does that say more about me or Campbell's?

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Sled at Your Own Risk

Posted on 2/14/2010 05:49:00 AM
We took the girls to a real sleddin' hill yesterday and each one of us managed to get hurt in under twenty minutes. I'm pretty sure that was a new world record. I went down one run, got down toward the bottom, caught the edge of the sled in the snow, performed a maneuver that would make Shaun White jealous, and then landed on my head for my big finish. After that, I decided being the photographer was a little safer.

The KoH did a great job sacrificing his body for the baby:


And thanks to the continuous shutter release mode on my camera, here's what it looked like when The Dormouse took her maiden voyage down the hill:


After this frame, imagine her running into you, because that's what happened.

So word to the wise... photographer... not always the safer job description either.

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VD(ay)

Posted on 2/13/2010 05:38:00 AM
I'm trying very hard to not let Valentine's Day cards turn into another Christmas card fiasco, but elementary school is not helping matters much. Store bought Valentines cards range from the latest Disney nonsense to more Disney nonsense and that's pretty much it. I like the idea of kids' valentines parties; I just hate the options for cards. One year I found some Buffy the Vampire Slayer Valentine's Day cards and I think those were my favorite yet... except for maybe the year I sent out World Wrestling Federation Valentine's Day cards... because nothing says "I love you" like the World Wrestler's Federation.

This year, there were no such options so I went with something different.

First I got an appropriate picture of each girl. Shallow depth of field is the key here. I loved this one of The Dormouse, but I was duped into focusing on her cherubic face instead of her hand.


This one's better. You'll see why in a minute.


Getting a decent picture of The Caterpillar was a bit more difficult. You might not be surprised that telling a two year old to hold up her fist and pose for a picture was a difficult set of instructions to follow, but I was. She couldn't not figure out how to make a fist AND hold it out. We got this picture, which was cute.


But the smile was a bit cheesy and she looks like she's attempting an Arsenio Hall fist pump, so we went with this one.


I tried very hard to get a photo of her where the hand was in focus and her face was slightly out like with the above one of The Dormouse, but this girl simply doesn't hold still, and her arm wasn't long enough to push out farther into the camera lens, so I opened up the f-stop a bit and just went with a picture that was mostly all in focus. Because I wasn't into an hour long photo shoot for the sake of one picture. I could not be a professional photographer of children because, as with this one, after five or six shutter clicks, I tend to go "eh, that's enough" whether I've got the shot or not. This pose seemed to work for the concept anyway.

I have a ton and a half of four by six sized photo paper in the house; every time I buy a set of toner cartridges I get a free pack but I never use them. This is how this project became not expensive for me, but might be for most folks who don't have stacks and stacks of photo paper lying around. So I printed twenty (or thirty) or so copies of each. Then we laminated the photos. I'm thinking the laminating step is one that you could forego and just use the photographs, but I knew that The Dormouse was going to have to bring them to school with her and I was pretty sure they wouldn't make it without a little bit of extra help. Also I just bought a laminating machine which I can't stop finding reasons to use and if you haven't been reading along lately, there's the little matter of our being cabin bound for the last week...

The KoH punched holes at the top and bottom of each hand in the cards for us, because after using his special hole punching tool just twice, I had a bruise on my hand that still hasn't faded. A regular hole punch would have been fine, but the tools I own don't have the clearance to punch a single hole in the right spot on the photo. Fortunately, The KoH has every tool known to man and owned one just perfect for this purpose. It also has the ability to punch a hole slightly smaller than a regular hole punch hole. I think that made the effect better.


Add one lollipop, write names on the back, and ta da! Cuter than any card you can buy in the store, not to mention a whole heckuva lot more expensive (oh wait, that's not a good thing). I'm willing to deal with that last fact though, because I get to keep one of these:



Happy Valentine's Day!

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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