Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oprah has her favorites, now here are mine.

I've lived on Long Island, went to college in Cortland, spent 5 years in Rochester, four in NYC, and as of this month, four in Syracuse. And in between, as summers, weekends and vacations have allowed, I've been in the Adirondacks.

So I feel like I know NY State pretty well, and I decided to post about my favorite restaurants, stores, and areas to visit. Since I love food so much I felt it fitting to write about where M and I go for date nights, usually to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries.

Armory Square is a cool little gem in the heart of downtown Syracuse. Funky stores, bars, restaurants, hair salons (including mine) and condos fill the area. BC restaurant is owned and operated by a CNY couple who used to live and work in downtown Manhattan. This is where I get my NYC food fix. I always start off my meal with a Ketel One Dirty Martini, with bleu cheese stuffed olives. Soooo salty and cold. Their menu varies with the season, but one mainstay is the Lobster and Goat Cheese salad. I order it every time, and it doesn't disappoint.

But I don't want a mustache...

Five years ago today was my due date for L. And tonight is L's first school play, he and his preschool classmates are putting on a cirucs. L is the liontamer. I'm going to dress him up in a black tank top, camo shorts, and his green winter boots. I really want to slick his hair back and paint a mustache on him, but he's not into the makeup part. Either way, it should be hysterical.

Is that a wrinkle? A real one?!

I'm kind of a product junkie. Lotions, potions, creams. I wear makeup, but when I put it on, it's to make it look like I'm not wearing any. To look like myself, just better. I've always battled the usual zits and cystic acne, after L was born my face was truly a painful mess. I finally found relief at Mario Badescu, they set me straight, and I'm afraid to use any other product on my skin. Plus they include samples with my order, they sent me a kick ass bag of goodies at christmastime.

I turned 37 in January. GASP. I don't feel 37, which I think is a good thing. You're as young as you feel blah blah blah. But suddenly I noticed that I was getting wrinkles. They are very obvious when I smile, and I can see lines when I just look in the mirror. I'm not down with that. Pimples AND wrinkles, no thanks.

I bought a drugstore wrinkle cream, advertised by Sarah Jessica Parker, I wasn't impressed. While I was in Rochester last week I stopped at a skin spa that I buy my makeup from, and talked to the owner about my new issue. She gave me samples of a product that I heard about years ago. $78 for a month supply! I tried the sample, and it really stung my skin, which I equate to the product doing its job. Alas, my budget doesn't allow for it. She did say my wrinkles looked like a result of dehydration, which to me, means they can go away.

I went back to the drugstore and bought a deep wrinkle cream that is geared to the much older set. And seriously after 2 nights my skin looks much brighter, so maybe this will help. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How I love my books, not to mention magazines

I was thinking earlier about how books occupy a lot of space in my house. I have a bookcase in the living room, and I could kick myself for not buying two of this particular piece during a trip to Ikea. I'm running out of room on it, I'm stacking books wherever I can. I don't really want to stack them in front of other books, because I love to look at them all. Besides the living room, I have a bookcase full of cook books and decorating books in the kitchen, and in the tv room, L&E's books fill a shelf in the wall, as well as a shelf on the bottom of a table. We have a full bookcase in the guest room, and in the kids rooms, I have baskets, and shelves full of books, in addition to the piles on their floor, and dressers. I've got a stack on my bedside table. L already has a library card, and he knows how to read.

I love to read everything. I never got annoyed about the books we were assigned in English classes, well, other than Exodus, which I skimmed. My favorite author is Marian Keyes, who I got to meet at a book signing, and who is friends with M's coworker. She's considered chick lit, but I think she does chick lit with dark undertones. When I find a book that I like, I tend to revisit it over and over. Sometimes just a chapter, sometimes the whole thing. I'm very careful with my books, no broken bindings or ripped covers. I love buying the kids books that I loved when I was young, E already has a complete set of Little House on the Prarie books, the same editions I had. I found them in a little bookstore 12 years before she was born.

I've gotten better about magazines, at one point I had so many subscriptions I couldn't read them all. I have a basket in the living room that holds the issues I want to keep, and there are always a magazine or two in the downstairs bathroom. I've had a subscription to Glamour since Junior year of college.

This is my first attempt at uploading a photo for a post, it's of the living room bookcase. You can see my copies of the Twilight books, in hardcover no less. Yes, they're targeted to teens, but I loved them! But that's a whole other post.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Other Mothers

This morning at the preschool pickup, I saw a fellow mom who gave birth at the end of February. She looked great, like she's never had kids, and she has three! Oh I'm jealous. I hate knowing so many people with babies, who are thinner than I am, and my baby is two and a half! I can't help physically comparing myself to other mothers. There is a mix at my son's school. I fall into the laid back group, I never shower before drop off, and most of the time, not before pick up either. I look presentable, but I definitely look like I rolled out of bed. Then there are the Moms who work, full or part time. They look great, with clean hair, a fresh face of makeup, and a cute outfit. I like looking at them just to see what is fashionable these days. The Moms I am really envious of are the ones who wear work out clothes, either they just got a work out in at home, or, they're like one Mother, who literally runs off on the walking trail after she says good bye to her son. I could fall into this last category, if I got my lazy butt out of bed at the crack of dawn and got onto the treadmill.
I wonder what the teacher thinks of all of us, while we chat away outside her door. I always feel bad for her whenever I see her. She lost her adult son to cancer last year, and was out for the school year because of it. Looking at Mrs. S reminds me to stop thinking about what doesn't matter, and focus on what does.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

oh why not

I applied for a job today. Last fall, on a random rainy Tuesday, I updated my resume. I've meant to do this since I left my last job, but it's like cleaning out your closets, you reeaaally have to be in the mood. After the holiday's, I posted it on Career Builder, and sent it to some local recruiters. I've wanted to try and find something part time for a while now, but logistics (nursery school, daycare?, M's job) kept getting in the way. Plus the fact that the economy sucks and people are trying to find full time work, forget part time. Well, I got some calls, including two from AXA Equitable. I really enjoy sales, and it's a family friendly type vocation. It just has to be the right type of sales job, not insurance, or, heaven help me, automotive. Career Builder sends me weekly posts, and lo and behold, one listing caught my eye. It's similar to what I used to do, in fact I used to work with this company on mutual accounts. Of course, now it's summer, and not the best time of year to want to go back to work, and here I am, putting the cart before the horse. But applying for this job is doing two things for me, one, it's making me appreciate my time with my kids. And two, I realize that I'm ready to start bringing home the bacon again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Rochester Home

I have lived in a few places, but they've all been in NY. Growing up, I assumed after I graduated from college, I would set off for parts unknown, checking out new coastlines or countries. Well, I did do that, in the form of vacations. After my one year gig at a magazine in NY, I moved to Rochester, where I had friends, and more importantly, a chance to get out of my Mother's house! Rochester is a great city, although a bit far from LI. We had a great apartment in a beautiful old house, in a young neighborhood with a lot going on. Niagra Falls and Toronto were a few hours away, while the Finger Lakes and vineyards were even closer. Did I mention the snow? Lots of snow? I got good at driving in it, and wasn't fazed when I did a 360 slide on an entrance ramp of the expressway. But I was always wondering what was going to come next. I lived vicarously through MTV's the Real World, to this day I regret not moving to San Francisco for a while. I had a chance to move to Charlotte, NC, and Boston, but I passed. I don't know what I was afraid of. NYC seemed an easier move to make, since I already knew it. M was game after I told him we could afford Queens. So that was that.

My very good friends B&D own a home in Rochester, where we spent LOTS of time. It's comforting to go back there, it's always the same, the way a home should be.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blame it on

I feel like the move from NYC was meant to be. Once we decided our game plan, I started looking at houses online. I couldn't get over the prices, and what we could get for our money. More than one bathroom, more than one tv room, a YARD, a finished basement??? 6 months before our move, I found a beautiful house, it truly was perfect. But we said oh well, we're not ready yet, and clicked off. Fast forward a few months, and the house was still there. We never saw the house in person until the day we closed on it. A January ice storm prevented our initial visit, but we put a bid in anyway, the estranged couple accepted it, and we were homeowners in just 8 hours. The kicker was that the square footage of our Astoria apartment was the same size as the deck on our new house!

Moving to M's hometown was not scary at all. I was very comfortable there, I actually considered my brother in law's house one of my homes (more on that later). The first few nights were funny, we couldn't get over how quiet it was. As we sat on the porch I felt like we should whisper. We are in a development, with 15 houses on our street, so it's not a deserted area. It's just a little quieter than Queens.

I Heart NY

After L was born, I remember he was 3 weeks old, and we brought him to our favorite outdoor neighborhood bar, the Bohemian Beer Garden. M and I sat outside with our Spaten's and discussed moving to CNY. I distinctly remember saying I didn't see any other option than to move. We loved our neighborhood, but houses were (surprise) expensive. I really didnt' want to put L into daycare, and the schools weren't the greatest, unless we moved to LI. But I started having that post 9/11 panic again, and I thought it was time to hightail it out of there.

And it's been good here in suburbs, but I realllllly miss some things about NY. The bodega 50 feet from our front door, where I got my daily paper and coffee, and evening beers! Astoria Park with it's view of Manhattan. Manhattan itself, the restaurants, bars, the energy. Beautiful short springs, stifling hot summers, festive christmastime. There is seriously no better place to be than Christmas in NYC. And the first snowfall of the year, where everything came to a grinding halt. Going to St. Patrick's just to get Ash Wednesday ashes. Going to a show, a movie, Central Park to eat lunch during a workday. M also proposed to me in CP. After, the limo driver asked me where we wanted to eat, M said we could eat anywhere, and I chose pizza. The best pizza in the WORLD. Wandering around the Village and stopping for beers. A great job where you can expense meals in fantastic restaurants. Even as a kid I knew how lucky I was to be able to go to the city for field trips, to museums or shows. Shopping anytime you want, just got to be fast if it's during your lunch hour! Celebrity sightings. The subway....sometimes!! I will forever be affected by 9/11, I cried every day for over a month. Used to get nervous when I saw a plane in the sky. I rode the subway to work the next day, just to show them my life wasn't changed. It was like a movie, the way the streets were so empty, and full of shock. That city is a part of my life and it always will be.

There's No Place Like Home, well one of them anyway

Last week I brought the kids down to visit my family on LI. Being able to just load them into the car and take off is another perk of being a SAHM! I grew up in a beautiful town, full of trees and old homes, a five minute drive from the LI Sound. I spent my childhood on the beach, and as a teenager I worked as a gate guard and attended lifeguard parties at night. It really was an idyllic setting. One that I would love to return to, if I had some millions to spare. Some of my friends do still live there, but they have to work full time, and have large mortgages for small homes. It's a very materialistic area, one that I would rather not have my children grow up in. So that is another reason why we moved to CNY. I want to instill good values while I can, in a way that I can control. I don't want them to ever feel second best because they drive a '78 Chevy Malibu, as opposed to a new BMW. I took the kids to the beach one morning, and we were the only ones there, throwing rocks and walking along. I looked out to Connecticut and promised myself that I would one day return to live by the water. I don't know where or when, but I will.

Hopefully My Motivation is Back

I've been active my entire life. Love to swim, play tennis, ride my bike. About ten years ago I got into running, which I think is the greatest thing ever. Takes off the weight, you work up a great sweat, and puts me in the best mood. The only thing that really sucks are the injuries!! I had plantar faciitis for a while, and it still flares up from time to time. But that is nothing compared to a pulled hamstring coupled with tendonitis. I seriously had pain from it for a YEAR. After running my last 15k race, I took a loooong time off, and even did some PT. It's now almost May, and I'm looking at an extra 20 pounds hanging on my bod. So this past Monday, I finally got my act together, and have run 17 miles this week. I have a treadmill, which helps for winter runs. But I really loooove running outside with my ipod. love love love it. If I had my way, I would run outside every morning, but I'm a little nervous of someone messing with me. Plus I feel bad about running when the kids are up, I feel like I should be focusing on them and not me. But like I said, I've got some weight to lose, so I'm going to focus on me for a while.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I want my kids with me all the time, so what?

This morning I was reminded of why I love being home with my kids. I've started a habit which isn't probably the best, but it gives me a few more minutes of sleep in the morning. I keep an insulated bag with an ice pack, and sippy cup of milk on my bedside table. L comes in, uses our bathroom, picks up his bag and his Leapster, and trudges back to bed for a bit. But today L got into bed with me, and said he wanted to snuggle for a while. !?! that was nice. I laid there with him and thought of when he was teeny tiny, and we would fall asleep in the bed after the 5:00 a.m. feeding.

Times like that make me really dread his going off to kindergarten in the fall. yes, he's ready and excited, and I know he's going to do great. But I want to keep him in our cocoon a bit longer. I already told him he doesn't have to go to day camp this year if he doesn't want to....but of course he does!

I'm a real homebody with the kids. I love hanging at the house, going for walks, to the mall, to the nature center, to Target. I love snowy and rainy days, when we're forced to stay inside. I belong to a mommy and me group, but I'm really not that into it. Some Mom's that I know have an activity going on every day, which is fine. But I'm happy with one a week. I want to be their best friends right now, because I know there is a day looming in the future, when that's not going to be the case.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I love Facebook

I really love Facebook. And it doesn't matter that I'm in my late 30's (gasp!) and have a profile. I have younger sisters in their 20's, who are the original users, and I used to make fun of them for being on it. But my sister M who is closer to me in age, said I really had to join, because it was so much fun. So I did, and now I'm kind of obsessed. I don't do the quizes or send people stuff, but I love reconnecting with old friends. Plus the voyeuristic aspect is great. I love looking at people's pictures.

Well, here is something from my page, I did the "25 Random Things About Me" note. This is a sampling from that list:

1. I believe in everything in moderation, including moderation.
2. I read the New York Post and watch Fox News every day.
3. I have 27 first cousins.
4. Both times I gave birth, the epidural only worked on my right side.
5. I could eat pizza every day.
8. I grew up in a haunted house, and I’ve seen the ghost. So has L and my sisters.
9. I love to run.
10. I used to travel the world before I had kids.
11. I think cats are creepy.
13. I love vampire books and movies, and I think I saw one in New Orleans.
14. I have a great group of friends, although they’re all scattered across the state/country.
15. I've been an insomniac since the 4th grade.
16. I enjoy cooking and baking, I'm very good with casseroles : ) When I was a kid I thought about being a chef.
17. I used to be a beer kind of girl, but now I’m a wine kind of girl.
18. I'm clumsy, and I've sprained ankles, broken my ankle twice, broken toes, and had an operation on my toe.
19. I'm good at being a housewife, I find pleasure in doing the dishes, vaccuuming and doing laundry. Those are tasks that have a definite finish!

It's Monday again

Oh work. Obviously we are defined by what we do for a living. And no one is ever really happy with their choice. right? or am I wrong? I started my career babysitting. The best part of that was after the kids went to bed, and I could sit in front of the tv with my book and snack. AND get paid! I loved getting my first worker's permit. I was first a volunteer at the Summer Rec program, and later a counselor. The big bucks started rolling in when I was a busgirl, then worked at the video store, and was a gateguard at the local beach. One summer I worked three jobs, it was well worth it. I liked staying busy, and I liked the cash. I really liked the cash. My parents were divorced, and my mother was constantly worrying and struggling over money. I knew that no matter what I did, I had to do something to get the big bucks. I toyed with trying to get into modeling, since Manhattan was just a train ride away. But no one was very encouraging. So as I worked my teen jobs, I started to think of what I could do with my life. And herein is where my problems lie. I honestly have several iterests, but not one true love. As the saying goes, if you do what you love the money will follow. Well, what do I really love? Cooking, reading, television, my kids. Writing? Sales? Waitressing? For myself, what rings truer, is work hard and the money will follow. I ended up moving to Rochester after working at a magazine in NYC for a year. I would look at the commuters on the train, some of them had ridden that train for 20 years. I didn't want to get into THAT grind yet, so I ran north. After five years, I came back, ready for the grind. I proceeded to land a great gig as a salesperson at one of the top 3 papers in the city. And proceeded to do well, REALLY well there. I saved the check stub from one bonus, that was equal to one year's salary at a past job. I felt like I just got lucky. But maybe it wasn't luck, it was that working hard thing. Maybe I should cut myself some slack, and not try to find one true thing. Just work hard.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

To many, Easter is the beginning of spring, a sign of rebirth. I feel the same, along with thanking Jesus for all I have in my life, to remember the love he has for me. There are so many ways to start over and give yourself a rebirth. New Years, Easter, a random Monday morning. I never feel like I HAVE to start over, because I've always been happy with myself, give or take a few pounds. As I write this, I look back to when I really felt reborn, with a new start. It was with the birth of my son. Honestly, once you have a child, nothing really matters anymore. And everyone says it because it's true. That child is the absolute focus, and you're never the same. L was born in May, right when spring was underway, in NYC. We brought him home to our little apartment, sat him in his swing, and ordered take out. I sat down and felt I could stay there forever. He was a perfect baby, so sweet, a great eater, and slept through the night at 3 months. Worked out perfectly as I had to return to work. And when I did go back, I felt a shift. A sad shift from my new mommy cocoon, I was now a working mother, and my focus couldn't entirely be on my sweet baby. I had to worry about quotas, presentations. And I just didn't care. I still worked hard, and did well, but it was a true turn within myselft. I could care less about work, which was so odd. I started working when I was 15, the age you are allowed to get your learners permit. Work, where I worked, where I was going to work, what kind of work, THAT had been the focus. But that was done now, the focus was on L.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Blog is Born

I've had mixed feelings about starting a blog. I should have started this four years ago, when I first moved with my family from Queens to Upstate New York. For 32 years I knew who I was. And I still do, but it comes and goes. I feel like I'm still searching for something, and what that is I honestly don't know. I'm hoping that by putting my thoughts into this blog, I can get myself to where I need to be.