Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High school reunion: reconnecting

My first big milestone since graduation was my 10 year reunion (I know, I'm younger than you thought). I somehow became the one in charge- organizing, setting the program, and most dreaded--locating everyone. The event went off without a hitch though only 1/3 of the grade came.
Here are my thoughts after the event:

It was so much fun seeing everyone and picking up where we left off!

I enjoyed seeing my close friends-who I am still in touch with- back in the old environment where we originally met

I literally cried when I saw a very close friend with whom I lost touch. It made me see what an amazing person I no longer have in my life. It made me feel like an awful person for not trying harder. It could be that the tears came because the last time I DID see this particular friend was at a memorial service for her father. Either way I was emotional.

Seeing the teachers was fun though not necessary. While they shaped our education throughout high school, the real experience was shaped by our friends.

There were natural cliques that formed at the reunion itself based on high school friendships. Rather than resent them as some might have back in school, I respected them and was proud people migrated right back into tight-knit groups.

Working with my former principal in preparation made me see her in a completely different light. We discussed the budget and the program and spoke more like peers or professionals working on a team for a specific program.

One member of our class became a teacher and inspirational teacher in the Jewish community. She wasn't an honor student or supremely outspoken at the time. It is amazing to see what each of us did with our lives to maximize our potential. We were honored to have her speak to the group briefly and were proud to listen to an eloquent presentation.

Though memories fade, friendships and our experiences remain with us always.

If you have read this, make and effort to track down and contact someone who means a lot to you even though you haven't been in touch. You will gain more than you will give.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg and Camp Simcha Girls' Cancer Session! INSPIRING :)

Mayor Bloomberg greets the campers of Camp Simcha girls' cancer session before they march the "March of Hope" across the Brooklyn Bridge.
If you are inspired, please comment!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Last night I went to curves with a friend, completing our three free trial
Tuesdays promotion. As we were working out, the woman who works there started to show us how to utilize each machine and maximize our workout. She showed me which muscles to flex when and how to get the most out of each 30 second interval. She really improved my workout and made me think about joining!
Of course after we were done, she gave us her pitch.
21 days in their sample fitness trial means you have to commit to 3 days per week. They weigh, measure and train you. If you compete the trial, you get an additional 7 days to workout at Curves for free. All this for $20! And we are perfect because we have SO MUCH energy! We should just tell our husbands that it's our 40 minutes and leave everything! When we get home we will have more energy to clean up anyway because working out gives you energy of course!
The irony in the program is that the flyer asks for "volunteers" to be in their trial...! And then they charge you $20! Admittedly, $20 is a good price for 21 to 28 days at a gym. But do me a favor, call us participants, not volunteers!
Well this offer is only good for the month of September in my specific Curves location. Unfortunately, I have so many Jewish holidays coming up in September that getting to the gym would be really difficult! Even if I have free time, I will have to spend it
...cooking for those holidays!
...or doing bedtime,
...or cooking dinner,
...or doing more laundry,
...or maybe even cleaning!
Don't fret, they open at 5am! ARE YOU CRAZY? And unfortunately they are only open until 8:15pm.
How will I ever get to Curves?!?!?!?!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Umbrella girlies

My 2 Mary Poppins girls sing "Let's Go Fly a Kite."

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Man With the Truck

If you said the man with the truck to me 3 years ago, I would be asking you which man with which truck?
But now that I have school-aged children I know exactly who you mean, where he is and when he comes. You see, there is a man who has made a pretty interesting business as a traveling salesman (Death of a Salesman Memories?). He comes with a truck and unloads his wares. He stocks lots of basic goods at closeout prices including $2 ties, $14 uniform skirts, $10 modest robes, $12 long skirts, $1.50 headbands, Hanes underwear, t-shirts, pants, socks, and more!
He finds a local parking lot of a synagogue or hall and sets out his goods. He has been coming to my town now every Thursday as parents frantically do their last minute school shopping. He doesn't always have what you want, but will gladly bring it the next week.
I had visited the man with the truck in Queens once and was pretty successful-- though at that price you almost can't go wrong. Now that I moved to Clifton, I discovered he comes here too and he is cheaper than the local stores. Friends who live near his "store" tell me when he is there so I can get whatever I need. The problem is that he is only open until 8pm, which is a little too early for me.
Bottom line is that the Man With the Truck is a staple in my community. You might see me there this week (and possibly the next one too!).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Letter To My Bored Coworkers

I work in an environment where much of our work is seasonal. The workload waxes and wanes and the summer is pretty much DEAD. I work "Dinner Season" which is my fundraising event equivalent of the accountant's "busy season."
But today I sit here with not much to do, browsing and making work for myself. I am researching, preparing lists, and looking ahead for our next strategic fund raising moves. And when I decide to slack off, I surf the web, twitter, facebook and write new blog posts (quietly).
The other side of the office is not quite as resourceful. The boss is away and the mice will play. It is too loud in here and too frivolous for me. This is still an office, a workplace. There are other people with deadlines and work to do. Try to use your phone rather than screaming to one another across the cubicle walls. Please, try to talk about something meaningful!
I sincerely hope I haven't insulted anyone, but I believe there should be a certain decorum at work.
Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Quest to Find the Best Sippy Cup: Results

This morning I ran out to buy sippy cups. My 14 month old son is now using them exclusively and we only owned 3 for him. 1 leaked terribly when he discovered he could squeeze the top and spill milk. The other two were pretty good but we misplaced one of course. I had purposely bought 3 different designs to test them out on him. I also wanted to determine if they were easy to keep clean and wash since so many have valves that are hard to reach with a normal bottle brush. I have been known to use toothpicks and q-tips to clean them. And then they get too gross to ever clean again and I throw them out.

So, here are the results of my tests, from not bad to better to best:

Not bad: This cup is good for transition stage from bottles, around 1 year to 14 months, because the silicone nipple is really pliable, easily washable, and it comes with a cover too (which I of course misplace the first time I use it outside the house). It also had two handles coming from the cover that make it easy for baby to hold. Unfortunately, baby has learned to squeeze the milk out of the nipple. Also, the nipple spins as you seal the cap so that it isn't always positioned in between the handles. I have since mastered the skill of screwing the cap on and getting the nipple centered!
Pampers Natural Stages Airwave Venting System, Stage 4, Twin Pack, Pink/Blue, 7 Ounces

Better: Gerber Nuk cup has a soft nipple spout that is durable and still bends. The cup has a nuk valve which is better than playtex valves, which are hard to clean. Nuk valves are short and easy to reach with the small side of a basic bottle brush. The only down side I found to this cup is that the handles are positioned at the base of the cup so I can't throw it into the side pocket of my diaper bag or place it in the stroller or high chair cup holder because the base is too wide.
Best: Gerber makes the same cup only slightly larger and with handles at the top! This is it, the winner! I bought 2 more today and I am happy to use these!
This post may be completely irrelevant to you (sorry), or may actually help you choose your favorite sippy cup!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quiet Shabbos??

This weekend I had originally made plans to have some friends over- a family of 11 who had most of the kids away and was going to come with just 4 of them. Unfortunately, 2 more ended up home for the weekend, at which point we could no longer have them comfortably.
This was when I decided to make it a quiet Shabbos. I decided to go easy on the cooking and get some rest.
Well, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray."
It was really my fault because I was hungry while I was preparing. I made:
  • challah
  • chicken soup
  • chicken with stuffing!
  • meatballs
  • rice (to go with the meatballs)
  • chulent (served with turkey breast cold cuts)
  • colloci (cauliflower/broccoli) kugel
  • chocolate chip sticks
All this for 4 people (2 prefer to eat cereal and milk or yogurt).
So now I basically cooked a ton, ate a ton, and slept a ton.
Luckily, I like leftovers for lunch during the week.
Next time I plan a quiet Shabbos, remind me to eat before I cook!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Miss independent

My second daughter is super independent and extremely resourceful. But she is only 3. Sometimes her independence can wreak havoc. No matter what the situation is and what she might have done, she always has good intentions.
Example 1: one time when she was toilet training at age 2, we were eating lunch with friends on Shabbos/sabbath morning. All of a sudden she comes running over to me holding soaking wet undies. At first I assume she had an accident but the underwear was just too wet! I ran into the bathroom only to find she made and tried to flush it but dropped her underwear into the toilet instead! OY VEY.
Example 2: she always wants to help me with the baby to give him his sippy and help him in the morning. But she cant reach the crib so she usually just throws the cup at him, barely missing some body part or another.
Example 3: she wanted to serve the yogurt at breakfast so she went to the fridge to get the container and carry it to the table. Well the cover was slightly damaged (not her fault) but when she grabbed it by said cover, it spilled ALL OVER the kitchen!

I continue to let her "help" because I think it is a valuable lesson and I would never discourage helping. In the meantime I try to emphasize being CAREFUL since she could be a real help when she is. So i give her specific jobs i trust her with. For example, she's our official garbage bag replacement system. She has been going into the cabinet, opening the bag, and placing it in the bin since age 2. And she loves to wash veggies- something I don't think she can really mess up with.
So, I'll take the occasional mess for a helpful attentive child. Hopefully she'll learn to be a little more careful. For her sake. And mine.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sufferin' in Suffern

I took the express train to Suffern!
Not on purpose.
For the second time in my life!
My husband has asked me, "Why are you so organized in your life, but when it comes to trains and commuting, you are a mess?"
Good Question.
Suffern is far- the train ride is about 25 minutes to get there and the return train came a half hour after I arrived in Suffern and that second ride is another half an hour.
I was so proud that I would be coming home early! My trip ended up being over 2 hours door to door.
And I was traveling with a friend! You see, we both messed up. We were distracted, talking. The train arrived and we hopped on. Two trains come on the SAME TRACK within 2 minutes of each other. The doors closed and the announcement came, "Express train. Express to Suffern."
Why don't they make the announcement BEFORE the doors close?
We run for the door but it is too late.
I can't believe I did that (again).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

♫ One shoe on and one shoe off...♫

Growing up we always had a song or more like a cheer that went, "One shoe on and one shoe off, that's how Estee went to bed..."
Today I would sing "One shoe on and one shoe off, that's how Estee boarded the train..."
I kid you not. Here I am gunning for the 4:52 train (yes, I left 10 min early) and the train is announced on track 11. The furthest track of course. I get down with time to spare but the train is only 1/4 on the platform and of course I need to run the entire track to reach the open car doors. And as I run I can see briefcases and arms flying and hear the grunts of those running and the measured pitter patter of flip flops behind me.
I keep up my pace in line and head to the first car.
And then everything slows when the lady behind me steps on my heel and my shoe lands on the platform. Barely a sorry and she's back to the chase. The stampede continues with no room to squeeze by the other eager commuters. No room to retrieve my shoe. For a moment I feel like Cindarella escaping the ball, leaving my shoe behind.
My shoe just sits there on the narrow strip of the platform and not one person stops to wonder why or to help the barefooted.
I resign myself to the fact that I might miss this train. And I wait for the coast to clear and pick up my shoe.
Luckily, I made it to the train with both shoes on and happily stroll along as if nothing even happened.

Come again!