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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow Bullets

I don't know what it is about a blizzard but the idiots were out in full force. Like, hey, today seems like the perfect day to drive to Home Depot for that wing nut! And those old folks who could barely walk under normal conditions who decided to go out with a shopping cart. Yes, a shopping cart...I kid you not.

The Blizzard of 2010 was a doozy. It actually stopped most of the NYC subway from running. Not even terrorists have managed that, you hear me Bin Laden. So, although it was an extra day off for my husband, it was hardly a day off considering he had to break his back shoveling and climbed mounds of snow to replenish our beer supply. Thanks, honey!

Meanwhile, I was taking trips up and down the block every four hours to check in on my mom, who had come down with the flu. "I should've got the flu shot," she said. Yeah, everything looks good in 20/20 hindsight and ironically, she tells me things like that all the time. Guess it's a bitter pill to swallow when you're aching, shivering and just plain miserable.


As unfortunate as it was, I considered it a blessing in disguise. If she weren't bedridden, she'd be one of those busybodies venturing out in the snow because I know she absolutely hates to be cooped up. And since she'd have no where to go, she'd undoubtedly be over my house inspecting our snow shoveling. My wrists were instantly sore from shoveling a pathway that was only big enough for Paris Hilton. Though my mom wasn't there to critique it, our neighbors were and they must've felt compelled to "correct" my measly pathway by shoveling one of their own. Whatever.

On my way to check on mom, the streets resembled a doomsday movie. Roads clogged with snow deep enough to reach my hips and still, I saw two different cars stuck, magnificently, in the middle of the road. Faced by a wall of snow up to the headlights, the drivers of each vehicle were standing outside their car...wondering what to do.

Why do these four-wheel driving morons think their car was Moses or something? Dude, the Red Sea parts in half, okay...not three feet of snow, you mother-trucker!

I was also entertained for a while when a taxi cab driver got stuck in a snow ditch in the middle of 40th Street and Greenpoint Avenue. Nobody offered to help - not even a tow truck that passed him by. You know why? Because he was that dumb to drive in this weather in the first place. Raj, even folks in Colorado take lessons driving in snow - where you come from you don't have Fords or snow so, stay home! What made him think that anybody would get in his cab, anyway?

Now, my boys who couldn't wait to go out in the snow, were a different story. All they wanted to do with the snow was play in it and considering it was their Christmas break I saw no reason why they shouldn't.

Besides, it gave me an opportunity to brush up on my snowball making. Density, size, amalgamation make for quality snowballs and it is - an art. I tried to teach the boys how to make snowballs but they were too retarded with excitement so they came back with a million excuses, finally resolving to ass-kissing. "You make them better than mines, Mommy so, can you make 'em for me? Like one-hundred of them?"

As I was compressing snowball number fifty-six, I realized how similar it was to making "onigiri," a Japanese riceball, which really is a misnomer because it's actually triangular in shape. It made me wonder what kind of snowball a Sushi Chef might make. If they could shape sushi rice with a couple of fingers into a palatable little platform for a beautiful piece of tuna, just imagine what they could make with a fistful of snow -  snowbullets, perhaps?

I quit after seventy-some-odd snowballs. There was no point in working this hard without even getting the pleasure of pelting the little bastards myself.

At the end of the day, my family was pooped and I guess that's a good thing. Things could've been worst - imagine if we had an emergency. The most unfortunate thing that came out of this blizzard was to be faced with the fact that despite the amount of taxes we pay, the city couldn't manage to clear the roads. If someone on 40th Street had to go to the hospital - there was no way an Emergency vehicle was going to take them there. If they wanted Chinese food, however, Ten Full Chinese Take Out was open.

Nothing like a blizzard to make you hungry for some lo-mein.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Blog Burrito

Disorganized? Me? You bet. It's an occupational hazard, I think, of motherhood. Lost brain cells from pregnancy to the idle numbness mode my brain goes into when the males in my house open their mouths to speak - my mind is fried...like Popeye's fried chicken.
 
So when this girl couldn't remember where she put the computer cable for the camera, what did she do? She kept taking pictures until it turned up. Yeah, three weeks later. Now, she has about three weeks worth of events to post just days before Christmas and thus we have it - the Blog Burrito. That's really no excuse why she has to write in the third person but Elmo talks that way and people forgive his annoying behavior.

To begin, we'll start with the Sunnyside Ballet troupe's journey to Warren, New Jersey. Now I know what you're wondering - why would anyone go to New Jersey voluntarily? It's one thing to be hijacked there because New York's football teams can't find enough turf to play at home but to actually charter a bus to see a ballet seemed a bit radical.

But we had a very good reason: the troupe's ballet teacher was one of the creators of the Washington Rock Ballet's production of the Nutcracker. It was an opportunity to expose the kids to a ballet performance although I wasn't expecting much beyond High School Musical. Did they prove me wrong - I was floored. These young performers were exceptionally talented, the sets were beautiful and all in all, it was a stellar production. The only drawback was my four-year-old who thought it was a great idea to roar like a dinosaur during the quiet parts. But his older brother thoroughly enjoyed every bit. I think he was even inspired.

Jock straps in tights - how can you not watch?

And the bus ride was SWEET! We chartered a 38 seater bus by Skyliner Coach company and it was like going first class. Why can't airplanes be this comfortable?


If they were twelve years older, they'd be holding beers instead of lollipops.


The U.S.S. ENTERPRISE and her passengers

Next up, the Gingerbread House construction event at Samu's Pre-K. By 9:30 am, everyone agreed - someone needed to pass around a martini. If Martha Stewart tried to teach a shark how to construct a gingerbread house on the Disney Channel, it couldn't have been more disastrous.

I'm not talking about the brilliant idea of putting a plate of candy, frosting and graham crackers in front of a four-year old at 08:30 in the morning. As destructive as that seemed, it was actually inviting the parents to "help" out that spelled trouble. A dad next to us was diligently placing M&M's on the roof in a neat line. When his kid tried to stick a wayward gumdrop, the dad actually slapped his hand away. Whose project is this anyway? So the kid just popped the gumdrop in his mouth and followed it with a fistful of chocolate chips. Actually, every kid was busy picking the candy off the gingerbread house faster than their parents could stick it on.


Reindeers!

This boy ate the residents of the Gingerbread house - they were Gummy Bears

Revved up after seeing a real live ballet, the Sunnyside Ballet's Winter Recital performed with heart and soul. It was amazing to see just how much these children have grown in a year and a half. And though the kids have come a long way - actually executing steps and choreography - all the credit goes to their wonderful teacher. She is a true miracle worker.

Before the show

Listening to the teacher's opening speech

Nutcracker Soldiers


Uh, Nutcracker Soldiers?

Victory Cupcakes!

The Miracle Worker tames my little demon

Art for Kids at the School of Visual Arts is touted as an art program that isn't "Kiddish." There is no coddling, no baby voices and "Gee! That's beautiful!" It's a rather serious program that has forced Zuki to grow up a little. True, there was a noticeable change in his art; it's more involved, detailed and expressive but even more astounding is a slight air of sophistication he's picked up lately.

He's developed a taste for English Breakfast tea with milk and sugar. What's up with that? Is he going to start wearing a white silk scarf around his neck year round?

The last session was on Saturday. The school opened its studio doors thirty-minutes before the class was over and displayed the student's work in an Art show fashion with refreshments for the starving artists. No, seriously...they were starving.

There was 3-D art, art with recycled items and the strangest clay sculptures I'd ever seen but I chose to post this work of art from Zuki because the backdrop was pretty cool.


Finally, how do you get two uncooperative boys to pose for a Christmas e-card? You have them pose with the Gingerbread house and tell them they can devour it afterward.

Sugar high round two.

At least the photographer got paid in martinis.


Thank you for a wonderful year. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a most prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Makings Of A City Hillbilly

My grandmother was born in 1908. Don't ask me why I remember, because I often have to do math to recall what year both my sons were born and you'd think that would be etched in my memory. Perhaps it's because I can't imagine what life was like in 1908; a time before people had cars, phones, canned food and even electricity was uncommon. It must've been those conditions that made up her character - valuing virtue over material. After all it is just "stuff."

She didn't buy what she could make. So when I was eight and visited her in Japan, she sewed me a Yukata by hand. I wore it to all the Summer Dance Festivals that went on every weekend. While she patiently stitched all the pieces together, she taught me how to make one for my Barbie doll. From the late morning to lunch, we would sit side by side, each sewing sleeves, collars and panels. By the time she finished my Yukata, I had sewed three crappy ones for Barbie - none of which would cover her tremendous boobs.

When my son came home with his Cub Scouts shirt the other day, I went on a sewing frenzy. It started with sewing a couple of patches on a damned sleeve and lead to "Frankenpants." A pair of school pants (Nautica, mind you), that Zuki tore a hole in the knee. The pants were practically new and I knew my Grandmother would be turning in her grave if I threw them out over a gaping hole that she could mend like new.


But I can't sew like her. I did the best I could and it'll do for now. He'll look like a Hillbilly in patched up clothing but it's either that or looking Ghetto. Anyway, everyone knows I have no fashion sense even though we live in the Fashion Capital of the world...or is that France? Oh no, we don't live in France.

Aside from saving a perfectly good pair of pants, I'm proud of myself that I could still thread a needle without a magnifying glass and only stuck myself no less than fifteen times to boot. I've paid my dues and I'm done with the patches, too. Too much pressure not to look like "Shirt Of Frankenpants."

There's a fantastic tailor on Greenpoint Avenue and he charges peanuts. Well, not actual peanuts but certainly less than a box of Bandaids for pricked fingers. And if my grandmother can hear me, I'm not giving up on sewing...I'm just avoiding the same needle pricking activity heroine addicts do...not that she would know what a heroine addict is because she was born in 1908 and I think people just smoked morphine back then.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Look At It This Way

Oh, yeah...it's cold outside. For the past week, everyone around here have been freezing their balls off, especially moms. The roundtrip back and forth from school - two times per kid - is pure hell. But you know me, the Queen of Optimism(Hah!). I'm trying to look on the bright side of things because this weather can be damn depressing.

Twenty-degree temperature is for penguins, not humans - I agree. But look at it this way, at least the garbage doesn't stink because it's Refrigerated! Try eating that frozen pumpkin now, you bastard squirrel! It also freezes doggie poop, so all you have to do is sweep it away - even the soupier turds. And spit? Transformed into a solid crystal of bubbles and...er, something green in the middle. You think that's gross - try frozen vomit. Is that a whole White Castle hamburger in that mess?

Dressing warmly is heavy, man. Have on enough layers, you think? Personally, I wear a tank top, t-shirt, long sleeved shirt and vest for the top half and a wool mini skirt over my jeans to warm my mammoth ass and thighs. I don't even ask - I know I look fat. But I look at it this way, I look fat all around - not just in the mid-section - and it's harder to spot sweaty armpits. Zoo-wee-mama! The added bonus is, putting on and taking off all these layers to go to the bathroom is like doing Yoga, especially in a public bathroom when you're pressed for space and time.

And Lord knows I haven't done Yoga for about ten days now. Maybe I've gone about a month for any other workout. But who wants to exercise under these conditions? Of course, I feel the guilt and self doubt that consequently arises from skipping the exercise routine, but look at it this way. I'm saving energy and water because I don't have additional workout clothes to wash nor do I need to take as long of a shower. Besides, it's too cold outside to enjoy an ice cold beer inside so, in not having beers those calories are already canceled out, right? Although, I probably should be counting the hot toddies...nnnahhh.

Last but not least: copulation. You know, sex. In marriage, it's always the Big Gray Area. You love your partner of X-many-years that you know him inside out and that means he's, well...repulsive. Sometimes. Anyway, so this thing you used to do all the time kind of dies down year after year and you start looking for excuses to gracefully bow out.

Some couples go weeks, even months without doing it. I don't know this for a fact because I never ask but I can always tell when a friend had been "cozy" with his or her spouse - they usually crave a burger and fries for lunch the next day. No, I'm just kidding! Enjoy your Five Guys handmade burger, already.

Getting back on track, here. I've discovered that, "it's too cold," works better than, "I've got a headache." For this to work, however, the thermostat at home must be set at sixty-eight degrees. During the day, with natural sunlight to warm the rooms, it's not so bad. But at night...brrrr. You'll find that keeping the house cool also has the same effect as a cold shower. Though in my case, I think it's the Tinkerbell flannel pajama bottoms that puts out the fire of his desire more than the temperature.

And - on the other hand - the little chill in the air can bring out the animal in any old relationship. A wrestling match under the covers? A hot shower to-ge-ther? Hmmm...This is turning into a Redbook article. But before I stop, ever wonder why there are so many birthdays in September, October, November? Well, that's the way I look at it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Killing Santa

To believe or not to believe - that is the question. Why we encourage our kids to believe in Santa Claus is a constant riddle to me. We summon his omnipresence when October rolls around, threatening that bad behavior from this point on will earn them nothing but a sack of coals. And are they good? Well...temporarily.

I'm guilty, too. But as I tell my boys that Santa is reconsidering their list if they don't stop fooling around I can see that deep down, they know I'm feeding them a bunch of malarkey.

I know what's important to them: it's that they get the lousy toys they asked for. Who gets it for them or how it gets delivered is of no importance whatsoever. They play along with the charade, however, whether it's to humor me or to have the power to bust a brother's chops.

Just the other morning at breakfast, pandemonium broke out because I served eggs instead of chocolate Cheerios. When Zuki decided to spill some eggs on the table rather than eat it, his little brother was quick to conjure Santa's power.

"Ooo, Santa's not gonna bring you any presents cuz you made a mess, right Mommy?"

I didn't concur. As a matter of fact, I wondered what I created - a four-year-old using Santa's name in vain...how is this situation any different from George Orwell's "1984"?

It isn't really. And I find it typically Western - be good because you are being watched and judged by some guy! It's either Jesus, Santa or Big Brother but at any rate you can be sure they're not using AT&T to have that much coverage.

Eastern culture, on the other hand, relies on Karma. It's not seasonal, marketable or even selective. If you choose to believe what goes around, comes around then you know there's a price to pay for every action. Sometimes it's instant, like the time Samu kicked his brother, gave him a Bronx Cheer and took off only to smash into a wall. Other times, it takes a day - like the time I kept the change of a hundred-dollar bill instead of the fifty I used to pay a tab. I was smug with my profit but the very next day, I was served a fifty-dollar fine for not picking up my dog's poop. That was some expensive shit, right there.


There is no reason why the boys can't live with both, Karma and Santa. I guess it's the need for children to personify and put a face to Santa that disturbs me a little. They refuse to sit on the lap of a man dressed as Santa at a shopping mall. Yet, the UPS man - who is Black - delivered packages last week and my four-year-old who assumed the packages were Christmas presents asked the UPS man, "Are you Santa?" Luckily, the UPS guy was smart. He told my son that Santa wears a red uniform, not a brown one.

Hopefully, when my boys discover that there is no such thing as Santa, they won't be too devastated. Of course they'll understand that the reason they get presents at Christmas is because they have family and friends that love them and not because there's an Elf sweatshop somewhere at the North Pole. Until then, I'll have to check myself that I don't accidentally spill the beans - it's right up there with watching my language.
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