Friday, December 31, 2010

The end of the year...the end of my rope

Between vacation-imposed family togetherness and the two feet of snow that has kept us in the house A LOT this week, I've been feeling kind of desperate.

I knew I had reached my breaking point this evening when I went into the spare bedroom, shut the door, removed the hamster from his cage and started steering her around the room in a small plastic dump truck that had been gifted to Thing 1 when he was three.

One of the cats stared at me in horror as I laughed maniacally.  I didn't care - I'm the one who controls the kibble.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What happens when it snows

No mail for the past two days.  Maybe this is why I haven't received my "Save the Date" card for the royal wedding?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My first serious post - because some stories must be told

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Post Blizzard Poem

The sun is out now
Mocking us with her ineffective warmth.

Oh, I know how you work
You'll melt the snow on our neighbor's side of the street

Then, given that we bought a house
On a street with a "gentle" slope (and paid too much for it)
Our neighbor's runoff will "run off" onto our property
And freeze overnight.

When I awaken tomorrow in the morn
And venture forth onto the driveway to retrieve
The mess of fliers from CVS, Pathmark and the Liquor Depot (New Year's Eve approacheth)
I will take a spill...a very bad spill.
One requiring heat...or is that ice? 

My pride and coccyx will ache
But not enough to garner me any major sympathy
In a house where I am the only female
And apparently the only one who knows how to
Microwave a plate of macaroni and cheese.

I curse your warmth, oh sun.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Storm Update

I sent DH out for milk before the storm got too intense.  It should taste delicious with the chocolate chips, poptarts and wine I'm serving for dinner tonight.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday and Weather Closings

Body of Work will be closed on Saturday, December 25 and Sunday, December 26 to allow our employees to spend time with their families over the Christmas holidays.

We thank our employees for the tremendous contribution they have made to the success of this blog not allowing this blog to die a most deserved natural death over the past year and encourage them to celebrate the holiday in the manner most consistent with their spiritual and emotional beliefs, whether this involves frankinscense, myrhh or moo goo gai pan.  

Please note that New Jersey is under a storm warning for the hours from mid-day Sunday to early Monday morning.  While under normal circumstances weather should not affect the operations of an endeavor like Body of Work (given that I can write this thing while lying in bed, flanked by a couple of cats and dressed in a clown costume), we firmly believe that everyone needs an excuse to not come to work every now and then to stay home and lay in bed (flanked by a couple of cats and wearing a clown costume).

Body of Work is an equal opportunity employer.  We do not discriminate based on looks, IQ or strange obsessions.  Because that would be hypocritical and icky.  I know, because I asked my friend Knucklehead.  Right Knucklehead?

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Yesterday the Today Show aired a segment about unusual compulsions.  Three women were featured, each with an unquenchable desire to:
  • practice ventriloquism (and she did, the entire interview. The interview essentially took place with her dummy)
  • eat toilet paper and
  • sleep with a blowdryer (in her defense, her hair looked great).

Here's the interview.  It's apparently part of a new TLC program about..strange addictions (I just know this is one for the Deiblers).

Watching this segment made me feel much better about my own minor foibles.  It put a spring in my step, all the way down the sidewalk - avoiding the cracks and ending on my right foot, as I must.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The One

The Number One arrived in Times Square to great fanfare yesterday.  A limo, TV coverage, celebrity photos, a red carpet - because how would an inanimate object feel if it didn't get the attention it deserved?

I don't remember the number zero getting all this attention last year when we were turning over to 2010.  Maybe that's because there's an implicit "nothingness" to zero.

I could give birth to tetratuplets, win the Nobel Peace prize, find the cure for the common cold, or even prepare an edible dinner for my family and never get all that attention.

I guess that's because I'm not The One.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sleeping Alone

For a long time, I was satisfied.  The closeness, the warmth, the snuggling.  The furtive nuzzles.  The knowledge that, in the wee, small hours of the morning, there was always a warm body keeping me safe, loving me.

And then one night last week, I finally got really sick of trying to sleep with one cat draped over my head and the other cat resting heavily on my bladder. 

So I'm ready to banish both cats from the bedroom.  As with most things in my life, this isn't as simple as it sounds.  I can't close the door to the bedroom, because Thing 2 gets "scared" if our door is closed.  So I can stay awake until he's asleep and then close the door -- but this often isn't until 11.  I can shut the cats behind the door in the guest/sewing/hamster room, but I don't want to add "crapper" to the multitude of functions that room satisfies.

The only other solution I can think of is a dog.  Cats are afraid of dogs, aren't they?  So if a dog was sleeping in our bed....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dressing Up

I had to dress up and look nice for something one day two weeks ago.  In my case "looking nice" is a relative term.  In reality, there's not much you can do with brillo hair, a deathlike pallor and the start of a turkey neck.  At least not in the three hours I had allotted to me.

So I washed my hair and started to dry it carefully with my blowdryer.  Usually I just hurry through this step and the hair on the crown of my head ends up flat.  But this time I took my time, so that it had body, bounce and shine.  My cowlick was behaving and there were no obvious nits.  A heady success.

At which time I saw that the comb sitting on the sink was filthy with toothpaste so I rinsed it off under the faucet.  I then noticed that my hair needed a little neatening up, so I ran the comb through my just dried hair.  Except that the comb was still wet (though toothpasteless) and my carefully coiffed hair was now streaky-wet, rendering me looking as though I had just emerged from the shower.

I decided to forget my hair and concentrate on my make-up.  I pulled my vial of Cover Girl lipstick from my cosmetic bag and attempted to apply it to my lips.  Except that it broke in half and I ended up with half a stick of Berry Red sliding down my throat.

So now my hair is soaking wet, I'm choking on lipstick and it's time to go.  But I knew that, had my mother been present, she would have been pleased, my having applied color to my lips.

This is a true story. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Excellent News!

According to, the web traffic reporting reporting site, Body of Work is moving up in the blogosphere.

It is now the 2,652,595th most visited site in the world!  That's an improvement from about 3,053,387 last month!

(By contrast, my popularity in the U.S. has dropped since last month, probably because of all the foreign words I use, like "oy vey").

Just think about it -- only 2.6 million more websites to overcome and I'll be playing with the big boys, like Google, Facebook, Amazon and  It's a level of success I never imagined.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In the next couple of weeks, we're going to see lots and lots of lists recapping the year 2010 and taking a prospective view towards 2011: the best of, the worst of, those we lost, the Person of the Year, resolutions for 2011, why it was a good year, why it was a bad year etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.
Time did not name me Person of the Year for 2010 (that honor went to my hero, Mark Zuckerberg) and I did not make the best-dressed or the worst-dressed lists (though my name was short-listed for the latter for my splendid performance at the PTA holiday party, where I wore short-shorts, a Hoochie Mama maternity tee-shirt and pink Crocs).
But I've got my own list. Here's what I accomplished this year:
  • Launched one kid into the college-sphere. And he did me proud, washing his clothing at least once during the semester and avoiding arrest the entire semester.
  • Changed my computer hard drive - myself. It was a solemn act, one requiring complete silence, a steady hand and a red phone hooked up to Geek Squad.

  • Lost my job - and did not cry. I did drool a little, but they deserved that.
  • Watched lots of Real Housewives tv. Which gave me a new appreciation for quality reality tv, like Fox News.
How was your year? Do tell.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Forget full body scans, the TSA and indecent pat-downs. What's an even more annoying tactic in the name of safety and security?

It's called a Captcha and, according to Wikipedia (the "Source"), a Captcha is a "type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer. The process usually involves one computer asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human."

Here's a Captcha I came across today:

Carly Abscess

And then they superimpose a web over it:

and you end up with something like this:

which is very, very annoying, particularly on a full stomach.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Heart of the Home

For a long time I maintained the delusion that I didn't and couldn't cook much because I didn't have the time to do it properly.

Now that I've been home for six months without a job, that theory has gone the way of my latest adventures in reconstituted chocolate pudding. I have plenty of time, but chose to spend it in other ways, like aimlessly surfing the interwebz searching for relevant pyramid schemes.

My new excuse is that I don't have the proper tools. Enter into evidence my oven (below). The only way to keep it closed and prevent the heat from escaping is by propping a Breuer chair against it.

The stove broke a number of years ago. Add to that the flame-blackened cabinets, victim of Chanukah candles burning a little bit too high and a little too bright and the refrigerator that is too small for a family of two adults and two Things. I won't buy a new oven, cabinets or fridge because what we really need is an entire kitchen remodel. And we're just not in a position now to undertake that.
The one advantage of the Breuer chair in front of the stove is that someone always has a warm seat (and maybe a few singed eyelashes). It's my little way of welcoming guests to the heart of my home.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I am your worst nightmare, the woman who strikes up long involved conversations with you, a stranger, in public places. I think that one loses ones inhibitions as one ages (and is no longer embarrassed to pen a sentence like the previous one, in which I used the "royal" one three times in a row).

So I was taking the train into Manhattan yesterday and noticed three young men sitting in the seat across the aisle, fully decked out in Santa Claus regalia. The man to my left saw me looking at them and whispered that there were also a variety of elves and reindeer on the train.

So looked at the young man closest to me and in true uninhibited fashion asked him, "Where are you going?"

"Into the city," he replied.

I shot him a dirty look and then he added sheepishly, "For Santa-Con." He explained that Santa-Con was some sort of convention, he didn't really know what it was, but he was going.

Then, without missing a beat (and realizing that I didn't have a blog post prepared for Monday) I asked him, "Can I take your picture?" So here are the three young men, the first of many festively-clad I saw yesterday:

I corralled another couple of S. Claus' on an escalator, who also admitted they had no idea what SantaCon was all about, but that they had heard that jumping rope was involved.

Here are some more of them:

When I got home I looked up SantaCon on the web, but the website didn't explain the event too well either:

Only 368 more days until the next SantaCon. And next year, since I already kind of know what the event is about, I promise not to pepper you with questions in public. But best to not sit next to me on a long airplane flight.

P.S. One of the office buildings I passed had a lovely Christmas scene in the window with merry squirrels, seamstress elves and this frightening little guy with the Star Trek ear....I just had to share.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One day....

...the meaning of all this will become clear.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Arc of My Year - a Derivative Post

It all started with my FB status updates, which tracked my weird, wonderful and uber-sexy life. Then it became a blog and the rest, as they say, is her-story.

Anyway, FB just rolled out an app that lets you review the past year’s status updates and collate them into a picture! So in putting mine together, I had the opportunity to reminisce about 2010.

This is what I’ve been up to this year, in a nutshell!

I wish I could take the day off from being insightful today and just stuff envelopes or something.

Was just terminated. Seriously.

My MBA has paid for itself many times over – now I’m just looking for a really good Ponzi scheme to see me through to retirement.

The cat keeps bringing me Pokemon cards, but I refuse to play with her.

I am simultaneously googling “sofa repair services” and “cost to declaw a cat.

Countdown to Martha. Rotating my lampshades and calling the fishmonger.

I can’t find my haggadim or seder plates, but I DID find a Kwaanza photo frame.

It’s Tzedakah, not Sudoku, shanah punim.

Passover is just a few weeks away and already I am looking forward to the gentle and familiar rhythm of our tradtion. Here’s an example: the annual phone call from my mother in Florida, demanding to know whether I got 5 one pound boxes of matzoh free with an additional $25 purchase at the A&P. When I tell her no, she yells at me.

Kids Say and Do the Darndest Things
First thing this morning, I cut my thumb on the blade of the Cuisinart while putting it away (not even while using it!). Thing 2 say to me, “Already?”

Sometime after we put him to bed last night, Thing 2 nipped out of his room into the bathroom and cut some designs in his hair. Apparently he didn’t break any house rules, because the only place he is allowed to go after lights out is to the bathroom. Funny how we didn’t think to establish any “no cutting designs into hair” rules when we first thought out this parenting gig.

From Channel 4 news this morning, “The shooting victim walked to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

This cracked me up: the name of Raquel Welch’s new autobiography: Raquel – Beyond the Cleavage.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pulling an Adult All-Nighter

It's been many years since I last wrote a paper for a class. When I was in college and then in grad school, I was always so anal-retentively hyper-organized (and needed my sleep) that I always finished my work way ahead of schedule. So I never had a social life, but I got the beauty sleep I would have needed had I had a social life.

So I never had the occasion to "pull" an all-nighter. Now I'm in grad school again, but since i'm not working outside the home and both kids are in school, I have plenty of time to work on the two papers I have this semester. Perversely, I have too much time - I've been puttering around with the papers for a couple of months now and would just like to get them finished. I guess I work better under pressure.So next semester, I've vowed, I'm not going to start working on my papers until nearly the very last minute. This will be a much more efficient means of getting them done. Which means I could conceivably be pulling the first all nighter of my life!

I wonder what an adult all-nighter looks like?

  • Pink Floyd vs. Pink Pepto-Bismol

  • Amphetamines -- "uppers" to keep me awake vs. sleep-depriving menopausal hot flashes (I don't actually get these, but I know more than a few ladies who would be more than happy to lend me some).

  • Middle of the night pizza delivery vs. middle of the night existential angst-driven Entenmann's fest.

Paper's due tomorrow. Awesome! See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In the Wee, Small Hours of the Morning

It always starts at the most inopportune of times. I've just chased Thing 2 into his room for the fifth time that night and he is finally dropping off into that Netherworld where hyperactive kids go when their motor finally wears down. I've climbed into bed and warmed up the cold sheets, pulled the blanket up to my chin. One cat is snuggled into the crook of my neck and the other has found a home on my bladder. I reach for the remote, turn on the news and lay my head back on the pillow, my sleeping husband snoring to beat the band next to me.

And then it starts: Squeak, squeak, squeak, SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK.

It's Sammy the Hammy on her nocturnal journey to California. She's in the guest bedroom/sewing room/man cave three stairs down and to the right and her hamster wheel needs oiling - a fact I never remember until I am comfortably settled into bed.

At first, I try to ignore it. I turn up the volume on the tv, remove the hand I had clamped down over my snoring husband's mouth and nose in an attempt to ratchet up his volume to blot out the squeak (an added bonus is that he can breathe now and will survive to make me coffee in the morning).

But I can't stand it. It's driving me crazy, like a Paris Hilton News-a-Thon. I feel the way I do in the middle of the night, when I have to go to the bathroom and wish I could delegate the task to someone else (a human catheter?)

So I get up, walk down the three stairs and then another flight of stairs down to the kitchen, reach for the cooking oil and a paper towel and trudge back upstairs to oil the hamster wheel. Cause I've got nothing better to do at midnight.

The obvious solution would be to buy an extra bottle of vegetable oil and a roll of paper towels and keep them in Sammy's room for middle-of-the-night emergencies. But I don't want to be known as that woman who keeps oil in the bedroom. Or do I?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Road to Hell is Paved with Milles Bornes

I wanted to make it a very merry, non-electronic holiday season.  So we bought Thing 2 a bike, and, in a misguided attempt to foster closeness and bond as a family, I bought him some games we could play together in front of the faux electric fireplace on a cold winter's night.

It was a mistake.

The game was Milles Bornes, the card version of a game I used to play as a kid.  And like so many kids' games, the instructions are entirely incomprehensible.  Even for an intellectual - and an idiot savant - like me.

Here is an excerpt from the instructions:
  • Green Go cards are very important.  Remember you can only play Distance cards when you have a Go card on top of your Drive Pile.
  • Always follow a Remedy card with a Go card before you play any Distance cards!
  • Play red Hazard cards on your opponents to stop them from playing Distance cards!  If someone plays a Hazard on you, fix it with its matching Remedy card.  ALWAYS follow a Remedy with a Go card to get moving again!  There are 5 types of Hazard cards.
And on and on and on.  And we hadn't even gotten to the part yet that tells me how to cheat, cut family time short and get back to my Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Thing 2 was staring at me expectantly, with that look that said, "If you don't hurry up and figure this out, I'm going to hack into your Facebook account and sign you up for Farmville."

So I did the only thing I could think of to keep peace in the house:  I sent him to the computer to surf for porn with his dad.  After all, a kid can bond with his dad as well as his mom, can't he?

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I had completely forgotten about the following incident until I heard a cat meowing from the wrong side of the basement door this morning.  There's an important message here - if you figure out what it is, please let me know.

Several years ago, Thing 1 had a day off from school and I went to work as usual (this was in the days when I was still employed and not just sucking the marrow from society like the leech I am today).  He was still sleeping when I left.  Towards late morning, I called the house to say good morning (to Thing 1, not the house), but he didn't answer.  I tried again about 20 minutes later.  Still no answer.  It was pretty uncharacteristic of him to sleep quite this late and he wasn't answering his cell phone, so I started to get a little nervous.

My work was a mere 20 minute drive from home and I considered sneaking out to check up on him, but I was determined to talk myself down from the ledge.  There were about a gazillion possible explanations for why I couldn't get in touch with him and I was going to prove myself optimistic, reasonable and level-headed, even if I had to overdose on tranquilizers to achieve these blissful states. Why, he was probably outside taking a walk....or at a friend's house.....or being held hostage by a three-headed alien...or freshly kidnapped and indoctrinated into the Tea Party.....

Three p.m. finally rolled around and I drove home leisurely, looking forward to finding him safe, showered and vacuuming his room (in other words, the movie based on the incident would be both a fairy tale and a fantasy).  I even stopped for a gallon of  milk before pulling into the driveway, opening the door and singing out, "Thing One?  Thing One???"  No answer.

I rushed upstairs and found myself in front of a closed bathroom door.  From the other side I heard a "Mom? I'm locked in!"  (Remember the cat at the beginning of this excruciatingly and boring long story?).

He had gone into the bathroom to take a shower, the doorknob/lock jammed and he'd been stuck inside for six hours.  He tried to escape through the window and by taking the door off its hinges, but failed on both counts.  He lined the bathtub with some towels, climbed in and contemplated the mold on the ceiling.

Thing 1 was hungry but otherwise unscathed.  Unlike the cat, who found plenty of mice to eat in the basement.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If You Give a Moose a Muffin.....

....and squint, and turn your head to the side and take a couple of hallucinogenic drugs, you might even believe this is a real fireplace.

Does the electrical cord give away its fauxness?