Sunday, October 24, 2010


As a kid, come October 1st, Halloween loomed large. We couldn't wait for my mom to take down the Big Bag o' Halloween Stuff. In addition to the beloved, well-worn (and well scotch-taped) pictures of pumpkins, black cats and bats, there were various dress-up accessories to inspire us in our annual costume selection.

My mother assures me that I was an imaginative child, but for some reason I tended to cling to the same costume ideas over and over. I was a rabbit in feety pajamas (accessory = plush headband with ears) for at least three years in a row. And when I wasn't hippity-hopping, I was almost always a gypsy (gold hoop earring) or a pirate (very cool hook and sword).

My mom was down on store-bought costumes. Fortunately for her, we never really thought to think beyond the realm of The Bag.

This year I could have used The Bag: my daughter just couldn't make up her mind as to what she wanted to be.

First she wanted to be a dog.

Then she wanted to be a dog dressed as a clown.

Now she is going to be her Zumbuddy. A Zumbuddy is a Webkinz butterfly. Sort of. Not surprisingly, there's no store bought option for something practically nobody has ever heard of. And so, I'm making her costume.

We're not talking about any heavy duty pattern making or sewing. There's just a whole lot of felt, fabric glue and purple cellophane. I've actually been having fun. The only problem is that I'm a control freak and my daughter wants to help. She attacked the felt with the craft scissors and actually did a pretty good job (for a five year old) of recreating the emblem that emblazons the chest of her Zumbuddy. But I could do better.

It's like a cartoon with the angel version of me perched on one shoulder, the devil on the other.

Angel: It's her costume! How wonderful that she had a hand in making it! It's not perfect but it's hers!

Devil: Ugh. It looks terrible. It will undermine all the other work you've done. You have to redo it. Throw hers away while she's asleep.

Angel: (sharp intake of breath, aghast)


So.... my daughter will be a slightly less than perfect Zumbuddy for Halloween. Until then, I'll be smothering my controlling urges with peanut butter cups and milky ways.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jurrassic Park

I know it may come as a big surprise, but law school can be a little dry.

Compounding the inherent dullness of some of the material (I'm looking at you, civil procedure) was the dullness of many of the people.

Happily, like finds like. It wasn't long before my small section buddy and I were drawing on our hands like Senor Wences and dubbing them Learned Hand in a twisted homage to the celebrated judge and judicial philosopher.

For some reason, our Learned Hand spoke in a trilling vibrato and only spouted inane trivia. Our minds must have been filled to capacity with law stuff, because we were woefully weak in the trivia department. So Learned Hand mostly said stuff like "You may THINK that New York is the capital of New York... but it is actually Allllllbany!" or "The CHEEEEEETAAHHH is the fastest land mammal."

I only wish our Learned Hand had said something about modern day birds being related to dinosaurs because then I would have had the perfect lead-in for this picture that I took (with my phone) of a heron in the park.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Picture This

On Tuesday, my eldest daughter woke up with a very red and swollen face. The other two had small rashes - my son on the back of his neck and around his left eye and my little one in her hairline - but were otherwise fine. I racked my brain trying to remember what we had eaten the night before, whether we had used new soap or lotion. Nothing.

Concerned, I took her to the doctor who immediately diagnosed Strep and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. It felt wrong (why did the other two have very localized rashes then?) because the only symptom was a rash. Yes, her tonsils were huge, but then her tonsils are aways huge. And the quick Strep test came back negative.

On Wednesday morning my daughter was unrecognizable; channeling Eric Stoltz from Mask. "I look like that woman who threw acid in her own face!", she wailed. "No, you don't!", I reassured (yes, she did). Meanwhile, the other two were presenting classic symptoms of poison ivy. Ohhhhhhhh! The "nature walk" they went on with the sitter on Monday ...

Back to the doctor, who immediately stops the antibiotics and prescribes an intense course of steroids for a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy.

Wait, but here's the cherry on top: Wednesday was school photo day. You cannot make this stuff up.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

None of the Above?

Growing up, my older sister and I shared a room. Our six year age difference doesn't matter at all now, but back then... well, let's just say that, back then, if you had made a Venn Diagram of our interests, the overlapping section would have contained little more than Rocky Lee pizza, the original Broadway cast recordings of Pippin and Godspell, and the New York Giants.

But, on the rare nights that we were both lying awake in the dark in our respective beds, we would play a game (a game I always thought we made up): Who Do You Like Better?

Poor grammar aside, the game is pretty self-explanatory: Player 1 serves up a choice to Player 2-- A or B? (Darien or Abby? Adam or John? Smooth or chunky?) The possibilities are endless and, to us, some choices were as difficult to make as Sophie's.

Imagine my surprise the other day when Howard Stern began to give the set-up before he played some on-the-street interviews his staff did. He said that his guys went out and asked people "who do you like better?" (it was clear from the way he said it that he had played the same game my sister and I did-- with the same butchering of the language).

In fact, what was asked of the people on the street was actually "Who is worse?" And it was Howard vs. Mel Gibson. Howard vs. Woody Allen. Howard vs. Roman Polanski. I don't have any proof, but I think they just asked my mom the questions over and over because, shockingly, I think Howard "won" every time.

Howard was incensed that he could be viewed as more evil than some pretty bad guys. So he sent his people back out to delve further, to give more choices: Howard vs. the mosque at ground zero (Howard). Howard vs. V.D. (V.D.) Howard vs. Bed Bugs (Bed Bugs).

I think maybe even my mom would have to choose Howard Stern over bed bugs.

Yesterday I learned that someone in my son's class has lice. Trying to keep the dark cloud of cuckoo away, I forced myself to admit that given the choice of lice or bed bugs, I like lice better.