Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Family Hanukkah 2008

Annual Merry Zoo Day (at The Bronx Zoo)

Mike Love at Saks Fifth Avenue

And Even More Love from Saks for Mike

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More things overheard at Kay's (Jewish) Nursery School

Mom (looking at pretty, glittery menorah pictures made by the preschool class): Ooohhh, honey! These are so nice Which one is yours?

Daughter: This one!

Mom: I love it! And pink, your favorite color!

Daughter (pointing to another picture, of a shiny Mogen David): And this one is mine too!

Mom: That's great! I love it! It will look great on our Christmas Tree!

And yes, I'm sure she wasn't kidding.

You can read more stuff I've overheard here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A trip to the Larchmont post office

Last week I took your regular-ol trip to my local post office. I needed to mail a package. After getting postage for the package, I realized this being the holiday season and all, I should probably get some stamps. I'm not much of a holiday card sending kinda person, but I send a few. I asked for Hanukkah stamps. The postal employee cheerfully told me they were all out, "given Larchmont's sizable Jewish population as you know, I'm sure you're not surprised."

Actually, I was completely surprised. First, at the thought of Larchmont having a sizable Jewish population - it was news to me. And second, that the Jewish population had managed to clean out the post office of all its Hanukkah stamps by mid-December.

So I say "I can use any stamps, just as long as they're not Christmas." And he says, "How about Kwanzaa?" "Sorry," I say, "Any stamps as long as they're not Christmas or Kwanzaa. I meant anything non-holiday - don't you usually have snowflakes or snowmen or something like that?"

The postal employee replies, "No, I don't think so. We have all the holidays though. We even have Jihad stamps."

I look at him blankly.

He continues, "I know you won't want those. To be honest, they'rea tough sell. They came out right after 9-11. Bad timing. No one wanted to buy them. A few people did, I think they felt guilty. So they bought the Jihad stamps, but in general, they're not a good seller. Not like the Hanukkah stamps!"

At this point, I am kinda ready to leave without stamps, but being a small town post office with a small town feel, the lady in line at the teller next to me says, "Get the ones with the man carrying the heart. They're perfect."

Given that I had very low stamp requirements, I was sure these stamps were indeed perfect. The guy brings me green heart stamps. "Perfect!" I exclaim, delighted to be getting out of this suddenly too-long and too-religious post office outing, when my friendly postal line neighbor looks over and barks "Not the green ones! Those aren't the right ones! It has to be the red ones!"

Without consulting me, the teller then goes frantically from bay to bay looking for the red ones. At the last bay, he grabs a strip, and shouts to me "These are the last ones! You got here just in time!"

PS In case you're wondering like I was: it's Eid, not Jihad.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scholastic: This Means War

I have been dreading the first time that Magpie goes to a school Scholastic Book Fair ever since January, 2007, when I read this particularly depressing article from my oft-quoted Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

Last year, Caroline sent her seven-year-old son to his Scholastic school
book fair with five dollars and a note to his teacher that she wanted him to
pick a good reading book. Instead, he came home with a Batman drawing
book and three thirteen-inch flexible pencils.
I have been dreading the day, too, because I know that when my daughter brings home her version of the tale above, I am going to insist that her public school no longer holds Scholastic Book Fairs. And then, all the trouble I've gone to fitting-in will evaporate. Scholastic themselves claim that 35-40% of the books sold at a typical book fair are linked to a movie, television show or video game. This is not what I want for my child.
Have educators really just given-up? Just told the corporations, OK you win - make the kids consuming clones who think a book needs to go with a movie or TV show, that this is what life is all about?
Well, today was the day. Book Fair Day. I gave her twenty bucks. I told myself, my kid loves books as much - if not more - than any other kindergarten kid. She will bring home a good book. A classic, or maybe a new book destined to be a classic. I can't wait to see what she gets!
But, alas, that fairytale was not meant to be.
She brought home these:

1. Dora's Perfect Pumpkin - what possible plot could this book even have? Have we not already exhausted the Halloween genre completely?
And wait, it gets worse:

2. Barbie the Island Princess Panorama Sticker Book - this is not even an actual book, it is a sticker panorama!
So I ask you, my loyal readers? Is it time? Should I start a rival school Book Fair company? What would you do?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One more reason to avoid the big chain stores

I cannot believe that a man died on Friday because of shoppers insane desire for the latest and cheapest TV, or whatever it was that seemed worthy of line-waiting, five-am-arriving, running, and ultimately, ending a man's life in the quest of something sold at Wal-Mart. What has this world come to?

If I didn't already semi-boycott chain stores, this would be reason enough to start. I don't shop 100% local, but I do try to buy from the "little guy" when I can. I blame the culture of possession in this country just as much as I blame every one of the people involved in this horrifying expression of Americanism. I don't even celebrate Christmas, but I am pretty sure this is not what the "Christmas spirit" is all about.

As I read on another blog: "You know, it makes so much sense that this happened at Wal-Mart, the epitome of American grossness. I hope that on Christmas morning, when the Wal-Mart savages' children are opening their stupid presents, they tell them "I hope you like it, because I had to kill a man for it."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And One Last Halloween Update - What We Gave Out to the Trick or Treaters

After all the candy discussions, we got no trick-or-treaters at all, probably because there was a large sewer truck parked outside of our house due to a problem at the house about three doors down.

If we had gotten a trick-or-treater, you can see what our two candy bowls looked like: mini-fruit-roll-ups, mini play-dohs, leftover kosher lollipops, and dum-dums with gum in the middle I bought by accident back in August.
It's almost like someone had already told the local kids to skip our house....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The pirates and their treasure

Halloween, Suburban NY, 2008

A Larchmont Halloween

Some people's houses were impressive....

...but the highlight of the night was going to Franklin's house:

Anna (to Franklin's mom, when she opens the door): Hi! Magpie and Kay insisted that the house they wanted to go to the most was Franklin's!

Franklin's mom: Isn't that sweet! I don't know where Franklin is right now, or I'd have him come say hello... honey (yells to husband) do you know where Franklin is?

Franklin's dad: I'm not sure, I think he might have gone up the street...

Mike, Mapgie/Kay dad: Hi, I'm Mike. Nice to meet you. Are Franklin and Magpie in the same class at school?

Magpie and Kelly: Daddy!!!!! Franklin's a cat!!!!!
Mike: Oh.
After Franklin's house, the second highlight of the night was... CANDY!

This Little Light of Mine

When you hear the line: "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.."
What do you think of?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Lil Pumpkins

In Case You're Wondering (Overheard at Kay's Nursery School)

In case you're wondering, these are the two times the name of Jesus was invoked at my daughter's (Jewish) nursery school.

Incident #1:
Caregiver A: School is closed tomorrow.
Caregiver B: Again, tomorrow? Really? There's another holiday?
Caregiver A: Yes, there's another holiday."
Caregiver B: Sweet Jesus, have mercy! I can't believe they're having another day off!

Incident #2:
Mother A: (Reading a sign) There's another meeting?
Mother B: Yes, I just read it too, I guess there's another meeting tomorrow morning.
Mother A: Jesus Christ! How many meetings are there going to be?

Jesus is Alive

Number of times I have heard the name Jesus at Kay's current (Jewish) nursery school: 2
Number of months Kay has attended this school: 2

Number of times I heard the name Jesus at Kay's Chabad nursery school: 0
Number of months Kay attended Chabad nursery school: 10

Number of times I would hear the name Jesus if Kay went to the Chabad nursery school for the next 100 months: 0

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween - What to Give the Trick or Treaters?

Halloween. I've got a scary skull ninja and an adorable scarecrow living at my house. I can't wait for the trick or treating. Last year, I gave out stickers. I don't think we got anyone over the age of four at our apartment house in New York City, so these were a big hit.

I didn't see anything wrong with giving out stickers.

But then the huz came home from work and saw the little bowl of stickers, and said "What? We're the people giving out STICKERS? And no candy? I can't be those people."

He vowed to "make things right" this year. I said, "If you want candy, you need to go get some. I like being the healthy and wholesome house, even if it's the healthy and wholesome, covered with toilet paper, house."

This year we're giving out Play-doh, unless the man of the house gets candy between now and Friday.

What do you think? Is candy the only acceptable offering to the trick-or-treating ghouls and goblins?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An old email i came across from my mother

"...I got Kay a Kenzo suede coat- I'm pretty sure she'll like it and it will go well with her evening black bag and brown dog...
In case you're wondering, dear readers, the Kay mentioned above, was two-years-old when this email was written.

And also in case you're wondering, the coat did in fact go quite well with both her evening bag and her brown dog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today is Rosh Hashanah

We had a great eruv Rosh Hashanah last night, photos to be posted soon. I also got a very kind email from one of Magpie's morahs that was really nice. It's here for everyone else to enjoy too:

Wishing you all a k'sivah vachasimah tova! shana tovah umesuka!May you all be blessed for a very good year with only brachos and happiness and only revealed good!!May we meet in Yerushalayim with Moshiach now!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Magpie's Second day of school

Kindergarten, Larchmont, NY
Yesterday afternoon was a feverish attempt to have the second attempt at school to go a little better than the first. I went into town and got Magpie a delightfully tween backpack (knowing how she likes to be sophisticated) in tie-dyed purple and a rhinestone tattoo-style heart, a purple polka dotted folder (she had been very upset not to have her folder on the first day of school) and then later that evening we went on a family outing to CVS to get the rest of the pencils, markers, paper and scissors to the teacher's exact specifications.

I also went to the grocery and got a snack that could only be the envy of the other kindergartners, since being snackless the first day had also been one of her major complaints with the school day.

And so, off we set to school, Magpie having packed the snack herself and wearing her gigantic backpack, and looking every bit a kid who was going to have a much better day at school. Did I mention she was wearing her sparkly English Roses purple lace dress and her rhinestone-studded sushi headband - a power outfit if ever there was one. And her hello kitty socks and pink rhinestone shoes.

And, yes, by golly we did it!

Mommy: How was school today?
Magpie: A
Mommy: That's great! I'm so glad to hear that.
Magpie: Well, actually it could be an A plus.
Mommy: Really, how?
Magpie: You could take me for ice cream.
Mommy: That's ok, an A is fine.

Every day can't be an A+.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Magpie's First day of Kindergarten

Mommy: How was School?
Magpie: F.
Mommy: Really? An F? You don't really mean an F, do you?
Magpie: Well, actually, you're right, I don't... F minus.
Mommy: Really? Everything or just some parts?
Magpie: F minus. Everything.
Mommy: The teacher? She seemed so nice.
Magpie: F minus.
Mommy: Well, what about the snack? How could snack be an F minus?
Magpie: F minus. It was way too salty.
Mommy? How about the walk to school?
Magpie: It's not that it's too long, it's just that it's unpleasant. I told you F minus everything!!!!!!!

Sigh. There really should be a grade lower than F.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The road to Larchmont is paved in rhinestones

Who knew that the road from Manhattan to Larchmont would be lined in rhinestones? But it is literally from our move last week. I can not go three feet without spying another rhinestone. On the stairs of our new house. On the driveway outside. Not to mention the apartment we left, everywhere I looked - rhinestones, rhinestones, rhinestones.

My younger daughter Kay is obsessed with rhinestones -and always has been - which is why there are so many. We had piles stashed around our home like a drunken pirate who wanted to know at any moment he could reach out and run his fingers through his piles of jewels and treasure. In our case we had rhinestones under (and over, and between, and inside of) every surface, because you never knew when you might hear the plaintive wail of "where are my rhinestones?" and need to refill whatever pirates chest or satchel Kay would give you "where's me gold" style 'till it was overfull of her shiny jewels.

I wonder if rhinestones will continue to be our currency of choice out here in the suburbs? Personally, I'm betting on itty-bitty boots and multi-colored dresses from the rare and exotic Island of Polly Pocket.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Save Our Kids from the Corporate Machine - Sign the Petition!

And yes, I understand this message is coming from me, and I've never claimed to be anything but the material girl I am and always have been and always will be.

But sometimes the corporate culture just goes to far. I'm talking about marketing junk food to really little kids, advertising violent movies to preschoolers, and putting soda machines in schools and McDonalds advertising on report cards. That's not good for anyone - and I'm not talking in a vague sort of way. I'm talking in a huge rise in childhood obesity and diabetes kind of way. More violence kind of way. Kids self-esteem being linked to what they own and don't own.

So please, take a minute and read the petition from the Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood. And if you agree, please sign it twice. One time to be submitted to the Democrats and one time to be submitted to the Republicans.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Upper West Side Relics

I cannot believe this. I went to Oppenheimer Prime Meat's and Seafood today. And there it was in the window. Yet another "LEASE AVAILABLE" sign staring me in the face.

I could not be more broken-hearted. This was the place I was going to miss most when I left the Upper West Side for the bleak suburbs beyond. This is the place that made my special occasions special. This is the place I got brisket for Hanukkah. Roast chicken for Rosh Hashanah. Short ribs for Pesach. Bologna for the kids. Burgers for Mike.

And worst of all, it will give away the fact that I am not a great cook - I just have (or should I say had) a fantastic butcher.

To those of you not fleeing the Upper West Side for lands afar, I think the time has come to take back your neighborhood. No more Oppenheimer. No more Jake's Fish Market. No more Little Extras. No more Liberty House. No more Ivy's Books, MurderInk, Embassy Florist, or Happy Burger.

The time for (real) change is now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When Summer Vacation is More Summer Than Vacation

Every day my kids ask me about going to school.

The older one says "When do we get to go back to school?" and the little one just plaintively wails "Schhooolll. Schhoool. I wanna go to school!"

At Le Pain Quotidien on the way to Hippo Park Playground
And every day, I say cheerful as can be "In the summer, it's a vacation from school. We do fun stuff together, go to the playground, to the library, play with your friends...."

As soon as I'm done with my happy little speech, the kids just ask again about school. So, I offer up the big ticket items I have to offer over school - we can go to the zoo! Grandpa's beach-house! Out for ice-cream!  Out for breakfast and then spend the whole day at Hippo Park!

And still, they just want to go to school.

Which makes me have to wonder, is it really that bad hanging out with me?

And, more to the point, is it time I called their school and asked them if they have two spaces for the last three weeks of summer camp?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hello New Readers!

Now that we are "live" on FaceBook I am looking forward to greeting some new readers of this blog. If you're here for the first time please take a minute to give your opinion on our latest poll or to leave a comment, and please accept our hearty welcome!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Now This I Gotta Buy

Magpie and Kay are both promised dogs - or the pet of their choice - on their ninth birthday. Never have I so much wished for a family dog as now, just so we could have the pooch wear this.

For more elitist merchandise, go here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Learning about Suburban Life with the Learning House by Fisher Price

When Magpie's sister Kay was born, we decided we needed to get Magpie a really good Big Sister gift. Partially, we were doing this because she deserved something good to soften the blow of  going from top banana to just another banana.

And partially, we were giving Magpie a big gift so she'd have something to do when the other banana needed to be fed, put to sleep, or any of those other pesky things babies are always needing.

On the recommendations of several friends we got her Fisher Price's Learning House.  And it was great.  Magpie, and later Kay, spent hours playing with it and exploring the many features from telling time, to counting, to shape sorting on the door.

The funniest part, though, were the House aspects of the toy that were totally foreign to this apartment-dwelling city kid.

What's a mailbox?

What's a front door?

What's a door bell?

Magpie, Uncle Ethan, and Baby Kay.

And my brother, pictured below, loved most Magpie's confusion about what the red thingy was and the green stuff all over the base of the toy.

It's a flower, Magpie.  And the green plastic? It's grass

Just goes to show you: you can put the suburbs in a New York City apartment, but you can't put it in a City

Girl's heart.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"No more quarter hunts!"

"No more quarter hunts!"

This was my daughter Magpie's response when I told her about our apartment building's gleaming new laundry room. The new laundry room, unlike the old one with its coin-operated machines, would take a slick, ultra-white re-fillable cash card instead.

And this means: we will no longer need to procure one-million-trillion quarters every time we need to do the laundry.

For us, finding the requisite quantity of quarters required for even the most humble amount of laundry meant hunting around the apartment for hours in the vain hope that a stray quarter might be stowed here or there, in a random drawer, hidden in an overfilled dish or perhaps forged from a forgotten corner of the floor.

This initial search was inevitably followed by raiding the piggy bank, the tzedakah box, and on one particularly bad day, even the state quarter map.

Farewell, quarter hunts. We will miss you.

And just like that, another relic of childhood... gone forever.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A website everyone should check out

I rarely find a site or organization I feel compelled to pass along, but I am a really big fan of an organization in Boston working to curb marketing and advertising to children. They are Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), and I cannot believe some of the things the corporate world is doing. Some examples:

  • McDonalds being allowed to advertise on public school report cards in Florida
  • Bratz and other commercial items being sold by Scholastic at School Book Fairs
  • BabyFirstTV, the first TV channel aimed at infants as young as six-months old.

The CCFC successfully protested against all these attempts by the corporate world to truly act against the best interests of children, and I am just genuinely grateful these folks are out there looking out for children and doing something about the ridiculous marketing to kids that is so incredibly widespread these days.

If you feel like getting angry about the state of the world, definitely check out CCFC's website and the links to current campaigns. And then, you can click "take action" on their campaigns, and feel a little better about this little over-producing, global warming, materialistic chunk of dirt and water we call earth.

{Keep Reading}

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...