31 August 2007

Girls Gone Wild

The last time we went out with this crowd, we woke up in NYC with arrhythmias, Jen pulling us aside and peeking from beneath mammoth sunglasses: "I think I might have to go to the hospital." It was a crazy weekend, chock full of poor judgment: Shady backroom deals with Canal Street criminals for crappy purses and an overindulgence in Red Bull that began at the SoHo Grand midafternoon on Saturday and ended in convulsions on a sidestreet off Time Square the next morning. Our dinner at Aquitaine last night was the polar opposite. We completely chilled out, catching up over some lemon sole and pinot gris, swapping baby photos and work stories. But somehow the wildness of that Manhattan night hovered over us like a bouquet of balloons. The table next to us kept asking us if we were on a bachelorette party. God, no! We were baffled as to how our quiet gathering could have possibly given them that impression. This perception was only made more ridiculous when the valet brought Siobhan's car around after dinner -- a Volvo wagon with Winnie the Pooh sunshades. Girls Gone Wild!

The rest of us headed next door to the Beehive where there was already a line. But again, we must've been giving off that loose party girl vibe in our cotton dresses and flat shoes because the doorman pulled the four of us out of line, brought us right inside and sat us at our own table downstairs. It was like the bar in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

We had a carafe, listened to the jazz band and people watched for a bit. I headed out around 11:30 to find the line winding around the Cyclorama. Two Irish men in line called out -- a quote of the night to a girl gone wild: "Is that it, now? It's not time for home! It's time for dancing! Is that it!?" That's it. I walked to my car wondering when the hell Boston got so friendly.

28 August 2007

Easy like Sunday: Zero Creepies, Plenty of Crappy Crudite

In the hopes of making Sunday nights easy like Sunday morning, we've established "Snackplate Sundays" here on the Shore this summer. These gatherings kick off in the late afternoon and wend their way into evening where daylight -- for now -- lingers past 8 p.m. During this time, all are welcome to loiter around a never-ending supply of crudite and some bottomless goblets of vino, and band together for a dual purpose: 1) to prolong the weekend and 2) to ward off the Sunday Night Creepies (for those unfamiliar with the term, the Creepies are the sinking feelings caused by miserable ruminations about and mindless preparations for the beginning of the work week.) So, while Irish Seisiun musicians meet at the pubs on Sunday night to exorcise their demons through music, we gather in the kitchen to seek solace in the snackplate (or as WMD's Irish relatives would say "To attack Monday. Attack."). Maybe it's just an excuse to cocktail. Either way, solace is often achieved on such Sundays and yesterday, in particular, was like butter.

For one, a large crew of pals just happened to be available yesterday -- a rare occurrence for a late-August Sunday afternoon. Friends arrived bearing steak tips, pasta salads, appetizers, Andy Capp's Hot Fries, cupcakes, and brownies in what became the perfect showcase for the new babies, a forum for streaking toddlers and indulgence in all things marinaded and pickled.

So, James sparked up the grill -- a platter of Meditterean chicken, tips, and hot dogs sweating beside him -- only to find our propane tank was spent. What to do? This is the burbs, damnit: Like a cup of sugar, we borrowed a tank of propane -- the Dell'Olio's tank was a mere 1.8 miles away after all – the distance was noted more than once, of course, betraying our notorious obsession with proximity. As the grilling of meat ensued, Brownguy played lifeguard to the kids and tried to inspire a whirlpool out back, his red swim trunks calling forth the heroism of the Ross Montolio era. The burds snacked and quacked around the kitchen island, passing around the wee babies. SAC had an obstacle course going in the side yard for the kids, all of whom were hopelessly hopped up on Hoodsies. We also took in a DVD of some of James' Thanksgiving Day football games from the 80s that inspired a hilarity that only a much better writer could describe.

In the wake of this grand time, there were too many great pix to be shared (even after the digicam was hijacked by the children), so enjoy this crappy low res slideshow, sprinkled with cute baby photos and Body Bombs.

22 August 2007

Cricket Ejection Strategies

The PU is in need of advice. A house-invading cricket has turned our typically quiescent James into Carl from Caddyshack.

The other night, I woke to find the panels from the baseboard heat removed, the furniture moved away from walls, and face down on the floor -- James with a giant flashlight, was mumbling to himself: "Where are you, you little bastard."

Between the cricket and Vito's earth-shaking snoring, James is on little-to-no sleep. I'm under the influence of sleep aids so it's not bothering me so much. But, believe me -- a louder chirping cricket you will not find. The thing must be huge. I don't know how it's stayed hidden for so long.
I found a few cricket ejection strategies online earlier. One involved duct tape and dog food, where you place a few kibbles on a piece of duct tape, sticky side up, to attract and trap the little bugger. Unfortunately, Vito keeps eating the kibble. Therefore, any other advice on cricket removal is appreciated.

20 August 2007

Random Quizzilla

1) Do you leave a tip even if you thought the service was poor?
Yes. At least 20 percent. More if the service was excellent.

2) Would you name your child after a character in a book or movie?
Sure. As long as it had a positive association. Not that we will ever have to worry about that. All done.

3) Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately.
This! An Australian woman was accidentally crushed to death by her 60th birthday present -- a camel -- when it tried to have sex with her.

4) At what age will you truly consider yourself old?
I don't know, maybe when Suppah Club conversations start revolving around ailments. I've known people in their 20s who were old or couldn't wait to get old. My grandmother was 81 when she died and was one of the youngest people I've ever known. A friend of a friend, age 31, once cancelled dinner plans because her "bunions were hurting." I love being 37 but the number is certainly higher than how I feel inside.

5) Describe a toy from your childhood.
With all the shark talk over the past week, thoughts turned to that JAWS game where you had to fish old tires, fishbones and other garbage out of the shark's mouth without the jaws clamping shut. Those were some good times.

17 August 2007

Suppah Club: A Big Night Timpano, Birds in a Ficus, and Midwestern Horrification

It was my turn to plan Suppah Club this month and I thought it'd be nice to do Restaurant Week in the North End. Several weeks ago, I made a reservation for 8 people at Taranta but realized only a few days prior to SC that their Restaurant Week policy was crafted by a bunch of fascists. "Only full parties will be seated. If you change/cancel your reservation within 48 hours, you must pay a $25 cancellation fee as well as the full price of the meal." WTF. This would not jive with Suppah Club, which in its very essence is non-commital -- for valid reasons. Planes are delayed, babysitters cancel, people have to work late or can only make it for drinks or dessert.

Needless to say, I put the kibosh on the Taranta reservation a full 96 hours in advance and booked at Bricco instead --- a place that we've been dying to try for a while, a place that wanted NO part of Restaurant Week. It was a good call on many fronts. First, the reservation for 8 dwindled to 2 thanks to vacations on the Cape and in Maine, business travel and, of course, new mamas tending to newborns. Cameo and I, Bricco cheerleaders from the outstart were the dynamic duo. I requested, via Opentable, a table by the window so we could sit in the open air and peoplewatch on Hanover Street. When we arrived, there was line out the door but our sidewalk-side table was waiting for us. It was all very romantic and Cam noted it was the best date she’d been on in a while but assured me I wouldn’t have to put out.

Feasting: Spice crusted rare tuna appetizer (tonno!) with three different sauces, a Timpano -- pasta wrapped stuffed pasta wrapped in pasta -- inspired by the movie "Big Night," roasted chicken and sausage raviolis and a few organic meatballs. Conversation turned philosophical; it was reminiscent of our roundtable chinwags in EB, except we had some Doris Kearns-Goodwin look-a-like eavesdropping at the next table.

Then Suppah Club added another layer to the evening in the form of the spontaneous good time.

When we were being seated, we spotted Mike Mc sitting a few tables from the front door, entertaining some clients from the midwest and ordering up the wild boar entree. (“Was it gamey? I bet it was gamey.” – Cam) It was so pleasantly random, that the meeting almost appeared staged, his clients sizing up Cam and I, no doubt wondering if Mike had added some high-end hookers to the expense account to escort them round town. After dinner, we joined them at the Living Room for a glass of Pinot where we hung out on big couches next to a overgrown ficus tree that I swore had birds living in it. A ton of laughs followed, although I'm certain we horrified the midwesterner. I'm sad/thankful my camera batteries died.

We took off, grateful that Cam was in the custody of Suppah Club this evening and not in Peru where the earth was quakin. We drove back through the city, playing Silversun Pickups on the radio loudly. Until next month...Gwennie, you're up!

15 August 2007

Farewell and Adieu to You Fair Spanish Ladies...

That song's been in my head all week having learned a Great White Shark has been snacking on seals off South Beach in Chatham.

Official advice to beachgoers: "Don’t swim with seals, don’t wear seal suits."

Selectman Ronald J. Bergstrom, doing his best Larry Vaughn, said he was not concerned about shark sightings scaring away tourists.

"All I can tell you is the town is packed, and I don't see anyone rushing back over the bridge," he said.

"But, as you see, it's a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time. Amity, as you know, means 'friendship.'"

I’m miles away from Chatham. I'm familiar with the stats. I watch Shark Week every year.

There hasn't been a fatal shark attack in New England since 1936. According to GreatWhite.org, Great White Sharks have been responsible for only 63 deaths worldwide since 1876, with a mere 232 recorded non-fatal attacks worldwide. And most attacks were supposedly cases of mistaken identity.

I know the facts from the fiction.

Yet all I hear in my head the voice of Mr. Quint. "Bad fish...This shark, swallow you whole. No shakin', no tenderizin', down you go."

13 August 2007


You 've heard the stories. A toddler who can barely walk, talk or identify an apple -- seized by an innate instinct -- dials 911 and saves his/her mother's life when she suddenly collapses.

This is not one of those stories.

Perhaps it's the story a young female police officer in Scituate expected to uncover when she appeared in the doorway of the beachhouse on Sunday, for she appeared disappointed when she found the mama (me) completely upright, waltzing around in a beach towel with a bag of Stacy’s Pita Chips.

I was startled by the doorbell but even more so by the sight of the police woman in the doorframe.

Oh, crap. Did someone leave a beer can on the seawall?

"Can I help you?" I asked.

"Someone called 911? "

"Uh, no."

"Uh. Yes. Yes. someone did," she said, annoyed but pleasant.

*Flash of Paulie playing with old rotary phone upstairs that I thought was out of use.*

"Oh...wait a minute," I said, backing up. "My son was playing with an old phone upstairs, I thought it was unplugged."

"Well it wasn't. The dispatcher said she heard a little kid on the end, but we still have to come, you know, in case," she said.

Yes -- in case the mother was unconscious and unable to save herself and her child had the werewithal to dial 911 and in turn saved her life, thus making the national news...

"Right," I said.


" 37."

"No, your son's age," she said (the "you dumb blonde" in silent direct address at the end of the sentence.)

"He's 3."

"I’m supposed to give the lecture about dialing 911. Do you think he’ll understand," she asked.

"You can try. At the very least, he’ll be excited to see a police officer."

“Ok then,” she said, barely tolerating me.

In the living room, a more innocuous scene could not have been staged. Baby Jack was rolling his roly poly self back and forth on the carpet. Paulie was right next to him, on his belly, playing with his trains. A pregnant Auntie, a VitaminWater resting upon her belly, watched the Sox game on the couch next to proud papa Bags.

“Woah,” Paulie said, sitting up as the officer walked into the room.

“Paul, 9-1-1 is only for emergencies, OK? Only dial those numbers if there is an emergency," she said.

*Awestruck* Staring.*

"My Spiderman ice cream fell on the ground today," he said.

Once we established that that was no reason to dial 911, everything returned to normal.

Now we have our "my kid dialed 911" story. Hopefully it is the last, though one day, I'll probably be choking on an Oreo, Paulie will hear the officer's words in his head and decide it would be less troublesome to just let me die.

10 August 2007

Example #5287 of How the Fates Conspire to Make Me Look Like a White Trash Mama Despite All Efforts to the Contrary

Yesterday afternoon, Caroline and I were off to Target to pick up the odd collection of essentials usually involved in trips to Target. About twice a year, like 80 percent of the population, I am stricken with mad allergies. I've been on every OTC pill on the market. I've tried every prescription drug hocked in TV commercials with people frolicking carefree among flowering trees and pet dander. None of them worked. The only thing that has ever worked for me is Sudafed, and not that fake Sudafed that’s out now but the old one, with the ingnoble, much poo-poo-ed pseudoephedrine. A few years back pseudephedrine was exiled from the shelves like some rabid societal menace thanks to idiot methheads who were baking it up in suburban labs. Now, trying to purchase old Sudafed is a huge process: You have to sign a release and present a photo ID so they can run your name through a computer to make sure you haven't been buying the stuff in bulk. I have no problem with the red tape. The product really works -- and if you happen to get a little bonus buzz from it, what's the harm?


"Can I help you," the pharmaceutical assistant says, stepping down from his perch. He is a thirtysomething dude with a pervy little rat tail circa 1985 -- and not an ironically retro one -- he is just a hick. He looks at the Sudafed card, sighs loudly and grabs the box from the shelf. Then, he pauses, turns slowly toward me and starts tapping the Sudafed against his chest. “So, did you hear they found a meth lab in Framingham," he says. “No, I hadn’t heard that." “Yeah. Well. They did," he says. Long silence. Still tapping against his chest. “Do you know what they use to make meth?” “Um...could it be Sudafed? Yeah I’m well aware." I'm starting to feel like I am in the deep South trying to purchase birth control pills from some Jesus freak at Walmart. "Can I just sign and go, please," I say. He continues his loud, loathesome sighing; a martyr bleeding inside for a drug-free America. I print my name and scribble my signature beside it, trying to get out of this bad episode of Law & Order as quickly as possible. Suddenly: “Mama, what’s a meth lab?" I glare at pharmaceutical hick “That's awesome. Thank you very much. ” I snatch the Sudafed off the counter, throw into the carriage and storm off in my yoga pants and wifebeater. "What's wrong," Caroline asks as we swerve around the corner into the paper products aisle. "Nothing, sweetie, he's just a very bad man." "You're a very bad man!" she exclaims so loudly that I'm certain he's heard it. "That's right, baby" I yell just as loudly, drawing the stares of other customers. [By now, you know I’ve already emailed a rant to that Target and its corporate headquarters.]

On the ride home, Caroline sings along to the radio: "They tried to make me go to Rehab and I said NO, NO, NO."

08 August 2007

No Love

I now understand the term “shoot the messenger.”

Who buys the Goldfish, Yogurt, Juice Boxes, Fruitsnacks and Granola bars? – The Peapod Guy (“Mama, look what Peapod brought us…popsicles! He’s such a nice man!”)

Who orders books from Scholastic and counterfeit Disney DVDs from Singapore on eBay? -- Stu, the mailman.

Who makes sure Caroline’s milk is delivered to the door each week so we’re not forever running up to Assinippi? – Hornstra Farms (milkman)

Who fulfilled Caroline’s and Paulie’s incessant requests for green and blue Crocs? -- The UPS man

06 August 2007

Crowded House @ Pavillion

(Neil & Nick)

I fell in love with Crowded House in the summer of 86. Their tape took up residence in my Sony Walkman in July and stayed for the better part of the year before cracking in half from overplay. It was one of the first albums I'd ever heard where I felt every song applied to everything going on around me at the time.

So when I heard they were coming to Boston, I knew I was going to go. Of course I was. I didn’t make any plans, get tickets or find out if anyone wanted to come with me but there was no question. So, the day of the show, I made plans, got tickets and found pals to come with. KT signed on immediately, especially since we'd missed each other at the Police last week. Code Red, horrified that she didn't know they were in town, said "Yes, please" to Crowded House -- with an ocean breeze -- at the Pavillion.

(KT: “Yeah, that’s right. I’m 40.”)
We squeezed into a jam-packed LTK where we were carded two different times by three different bartenders. We thought the fact that we were going to Crowded House was ID enough, but graciously accepted the compliment.

We spent the remainder of preshow doubled over laughing at Code Red’s tales of “The Men eHarmony Thinks I’m Compatible With.” It’s not that they were unattractive, it was more their curious choice of photos. For instance, when searching for a soul mate, why you would you ever (ever) upload a photo of yourself in a full-on shoot-the-duck position, flashing the peace sign? Hobbies of some of the men Code Red is compatible with: “Banging around Boston”and “medieval reenactment.” We don’t know what either of those mean.

We ran into fellow throwbacks T-Bag and Dawnie inside. (Of course they were going to go). There were a lot of sing-a-longs and sway-dancing. The set list had almost everything you'd want to hear. I was hoping they'd mix it up and play that transcendent Hunters & Collectors tune "Throw Your Arms Around Me" as they have in the past but it was not to be. They did play Distant Sun, however -- an absolute favorite that has made many an appearance on a myriad of mixes over the years. I taped the entire song and was psyched to have my own personal video to watch when the spirit moved me. Unfortunately, the video settings were on "time lapse," courtesy of Carrie who had been shooting footage of Vito whining beside the fridge earlier in the day.

Now all my videos are completely psychedelic. I figured I'd upload them anyway because they're kind of cool looking. Here they are, please don't have a seizure.

05 August 2007

It's a Princess!

Yet another baby burd is here! Emily Ann, 7 lbs, 8 oz. arrived yesterday -- two weeks early -- at 12:15 p.m! All are doing well. Congratulations, Jess & Joe! We love you guys.

03 August 2007

Random Quizzilla

1)Has your car ever broken down on the highway? Did other drivers help you out?
Yes and yes. Three incidences stand out:

a) First, I learned how to change a tire specifically so I wouldn't require the assistance of roving strangers but I'm useless. I got a flat tire on 93 pre-cell phones and tried to change it myself. Some driver saw me bumbling on the roadside, pulled over, changed the tire in like 10 seconds and continued on his way. He barely spoke; he just saw someone who needed help and delivered it.

b) Another time, Goy and I broke down on the Mass Pike coming home from college. The Gutless Cutlass overheated and smoke began pouring out from beneath the hood. We freaked out, pulled over and ran into the woods because we thought the car might explode. We were cowering behind some jersey barriers when a scrawny Chinese teenager named Chi pulled up in a red Escort. He was headed to Boston and asked us if we needed a ride. We were leery but were pretty sure the two of us could take him if he tried anything funny. The whole ride into Boston, he kept the radio on "scan," which changed the stations every few seconds. It was stuck that way, he explained, yet had no interest in putting on the mix tape I offered up. At least we didn't end up in a ditch.

c) I was about six years old when my family and I were driving back from the Cape and broke down on route 6. It was cold and rainy and I remember never being hungrier in my entire life. Some lumbering guy stopped to help us and took us back to his house so we could call AAA. While we waited, his wife served P and I heaping bowls of ziti with tomato sauce, warm bread that melted in your mouth like cotton candy, and giant glasses of Coke in Looney Tunes glasses. We spent hours there in the company of strangers. Later, we wrote thank you notes and sent them some sort of food basket from the local salumeria. I’m certain we never saw them again. That would never, ever happen today. First, you could never go off with a stranger -- especially with your kids. Also, our cell phones (as long as they're charged) completely eliminate the need for these random roadside interactions, which is good and bad I suppose.

2) What is your earliest memory of being frightened?
Coincidentally, my earliest memory of being scaaared involves another Good Samaritan scenario. I was probably three years old. My brother P and I were in our car seats; P was sleeping. We were on the highway and I saw a car in front of us veer off the road and start rolling down the embankment. I remember saying out loud: “Look at that funny car.” Then it happened in a flash: There was gasping, a couple of "Oh my Gods" and the entire mood shifted in the car. We pulled off, my father jumped out of our car and took off -- I'd never seem him run that fast -- toward the rolling one. My mother was trying not to freak out but I could see the fear in her face – probably thinking the car was going to catch fire and blow up. I watched -- trembling -- as my father and two other guys who came out of nowhere pulled the man from the car (which ended up catching fire but did not blow up.) Then there were fire engines, ambulances and loud sirens and chaos. P woke up; he was crying, I was crying. Apparently, the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. He was carted off in the ambulance and my father returned to the car where he wiped blood off his hands with Wet Naps. I had nightmares about it for weeks.

3) Have you ever been to a spa? What services do you typically have?
Hell, yes -- whenever I have time and gift cards. Facials and massages. There is a day spa up the street with a steam room so I’ve been trying to get in there once a week. I recently got to test drive the new DNA facial at Mario Russo for a story – it’s likely the only time I’ll ever have a $400 service again. It’s a two-parter. I got a DNA test a few weeks ago and the lab is formulating a face cream customized for my skin’s DNA. It’s supposed to be the next big thing. Anti-hag cream! We’ll see!

4) Do you have a favorite lunch place?
Several. Standouts are Strawberry Fair, Sebastians, Viga, DeLucas, Lamberts. I went to the Atrium CafĂ© last week after BB Smooth J and I were laughing about the perverted sandwichmaker who used to work there. His name was Popeye. He was a short & stout Hispanic man who wore a giant chef’s hat every day while manning the sandwich board. He’d uneventfully make you your chicken salad sandwich, but as he was wrapping it up, he’d lean over the counter, leer at you from beneath his hat, and in his deep, gravelly voice just above a whisper, say: “Do you want a pickle?” Yes, please. “Big pickle?” Shrug. “How ‘bout two pickles.” Then he’d flicker his eye brows at you in a pervy way and you’d opt for the salad bar the next time. Of course, he no longer works there but I was surprised to find I was little disappointed.

5) Would you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?
Is this a repeat question, quizilla? I feel like I’ve answered this one before. Slacker. I’m 50-50. I've always known that and Myers-Briggs confirms it. I'm an "INFP," (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceived) aka "a mess." I was so on the cusp between introvert and extrovert that the uber-corporate HR lady said she almost ranked me as I/ENFP but didn't want to "get too crazy"(her words). I love spending time with people, throwing dinner parties, going out, but I savor solitude equally as much. I/E.

01 August 2007

Breaking: IT'S ON!

(Bring it)

UPDATE: James Stephen, (7 lbs, 3 oz, 19 inches) has arrived! Word came via cell while Cameo, Goy, Code Red and I were drowning our anticipation and anxiety over the impending birth in a few cocktails at Scarlet Oak Tavern this evening. Big welcoming toasts all around to Sweet Baby James. We love you, LPD & WMD. The entire Scarlet Oak wished you well and can't wait to welcome you back with a car seat. xoxo

LPD was scheduled to get induced at 6 a.m. today. According to Bags, "they run those inductions like a German train schedule over there" so we could have a new baby burd in the world shortly. Trying to restrain myself from calling WMD's cell every 10 minutes. Here's hoping for a speedy delivery!