Thursday, May 26, 2011

We've Moved

Come visit "us" at!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where I've Been... Where I'm Going

I haven't posted much the past couple of weeks and I feel I owe both of you an explanation.

It's because I was kidnapped by blogger-seeking gnomes    I had absolutely nothing to say I was busy trying to pass myself off as Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child so I could lay claim to some of those sweet Terminator royalties.

No, actually, I was setting up our new home. We're moving.

We're moving to a fancy new space, with my own eponymous web address,  a new blogging platform and hopefully increased functionality.  And, oh yes, a new logo designed by the incomparable Patti Argoff, illustrator extraordinaire and my cousin.

I'll send out my change of address in the next few.  I hope you'll come visit.  At Body of Work, the light is always on. Even if there's nobody home.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The World Didn't End - An Avon 2-Day AGAINST Breast Cancer Training Update

Much to my chagrin, the world didn't end on Saturday, which meant I had to get up on Sunday and convince Thing 2 to go to Hebrew School.  For those of you who aren't Members of the Tribe (MOTB) and don't know from such things, this is a significantly more difficult task than convincing the Faithful that the world will end on a predestined date.  Most Jewish children hate Hebrew school, even though it is their surefire ticket in a few years to a bar/bat mitzvah with a chocolate fountain and nubile dancers.  Youth is wasted on the young - as are the chocolate danish and black and white cookies on the Viennese table.

In any case, I used my "bonus" day to do some more Avon 2 Day walk training with my faithful walking partner, She Who Will Not Be Named (SWWNBN).  We put in a good 4-5-6 miles in and around Central Park.  We don't know for sure the distance because we passed out several times along the way and couldn't remember anything that happened after EMS and a crowd of bystanders cut off our clothing and applied the defibrillation paddles to our lifeless bodies.  We carefully planned our  rest stops to include the hospital where SWWNBN works for electrolyte, turkey and Diet Coke IVs and foot massages, and a movie theater on the Upper East Side, where we spent two hours in air-conditioned comfort watching Bridesmaids.  That's marathoning at its Rosie Ruiz best.  It was a GOOD DAY.  Even if we weren't caught up in The Rapture.

The Avon 2 Day walk will take place in October and if my description above isn't enough to convince you to whip out your checkbooks and sponsor me, please visit my personal page and learn about the efforts of She Who Will Not Be Named and myself to eradicate breast cancer for once and for all.  Oh, for those of you who are new to my blog (making a total of 3 faithful readers), please note that I don't solicit funds everyday - just when I'm running low on electrolytes and Godiva chocolates.

Click here, do good (or is it, do well?)

Peace out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good fences make good tomatoes - A Tribute to Robert Frost

The garden is in and now I'm looking for a way to keep all the critters out to protect my investment.  This is not a simple task.  For the first couple of summers, all the creatures of the forest (rabbits, deer, squirrels) were deterred by a four foot high "rabbit fence" that not only worked against rabbits, but also against their more plentiful evil cousins, the squirrels.

But the past couple of summers, the squirrels have wised up, discovering how easy it is to climb the fence, given their sharp claws and all.  They've had some lovely summer salads at my expense.

Who knew there were so many different kinds of critter-repelling garden fences at the local Home Depot?  There's rabbit fencing and poultry netting and hardware cloth.  There's fencing in plastic and metal and black and orange, sized to deter two, three and even four foot tall rabbits!

Who knew I could spend so much money in so many different ways to reap $2.39 worth of mealy tomatoes?

These fences remind me of cosmetics, which are not merely mixtures of neuropeptide, phspholipids, polyphenols and alpha lipoic acids.  Oh no, cosmetics are "hope in a bottle" and I think that fences are too.  Hope that your garden will be a summer sanctuary.  Hope that your garden will provide a cornucopia of veggies for delightful family barbecues.  Hope that your fence will prevent you from stumbling facedown onto the garden thatcher one night when the moon is low and you've overdosed on dandelion wine.

In the end I decided not to buy a fence.  Instead, I'll dress the kids up in Beefeater costumes, and ask them to march around the perimeter of the garden in eight hour shifts, waving their arms like crazy people to scare away the critters.  It'll save me money in the long run, what with not having to send the little one to day camp.  He'll be outside getting exercise all day, which is exactly where he should be in the summer.  If he gets hungry, he can always wrestle a cucumber out of one of the squirrel's claws.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The cupboard is bare

I started to giggle as soon as I steered my cart into the fruit and vegetable aisle.  My giggle morphed into a chuckle as I passed the Vidalia onions and by the time I had reached the organic tofu, I was laughing maniacally.  But it was not until I was standing in front of the dried plums (aka prunes), feeling lost and frantically pulling scraps of tissues and rusted pennies out of my purse that I knew without a doubt that, once again, I was rudderless.  I could not find my shopping list.

It never fails that I lose my shopping list as soon as I set foot into a grocery store. I'm pretty useless under the best of circumstances, but when forced to choose among 1,700 kinds of pasta without a list I just stand around with a glazed look on my face, hoping to be guided by trails of Italian breadcrumbs on the floor.

I don't mean to imply that a list is the solution to all of my problems - there's also the not so little problem of my handwriting - which is patently illegible.  On the rare occasions when my list has managed to follow me into the store, (usually clinging to the toilet paper I am trailing on the sole of my shoe) it is not unusual for me to stand for several minutes by the tilapia and stare stupidly at the following:

Pint of gopher milk
Landmine toadies
Chuckle babies
Apple doozy - no flibber!!!

A guy named Bill Keaggy maintains a blog called Grocery  It claims to be the world's largest online collection of grocery lists (is there more than one)?  He started it when he found an abandoned list in the bottom of the cart, found it fun to read and started a collection.

I don't know if any of my errant lists have made it onto  But I'll be looking.  I still need to buy the ingredients for a great recipe I found in a magazine, including flounder eurteabia and turtle grog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Think It Over

At Thing 2's baseball game, I noticed a young teenage girl sitting in the bleachers - a girl I had never seen before, with no hips and wearing the shortest of shorts.  What stood out the most, however, was that she was "wearing" an infant in a carrier on her chest.  In the judgmental way I have, I assumed that her fashion accessory was the result of a Saturday night game of beer pong gone a little bit wild.

Then I noticed that the baby was a little bit pale and glossy, with a microchip embedded in his onesie - like a baby made of plastic.  In fact, the baby was made of plastic -and lots of wires and electronics.  This was Baby Think It Over - an "infant simulator with realistic computerized responses, which allows teens to experience some of the demands of infant care."  The desired effect of Baby Think It Over is for teenage girls to realize how difficult it would be to simultaneously raise an infant AND practice for text messaging speed contests:  

          An internal computer simulates an infant crying at realistic, random intervals 24 hours a day. Intervals      can be adjusted from 15 minutes to 6 hours for a normal, cranky, or particularly easy to care for (sic) baby.
The "parent" is given a non-transferable key attached to a hospital bracelet on his or her wrist that must be inserted in the Baby for a specific length of time to simulate feeding, bathing, diaper-changing and comforting. Care sessions last from 5 to 35 minutes. If the "baby" has been properly cared for, it will coo to signal the end of the session. If it is neglected (allowed to cry for more than one minute) or handled roughly (dropped, thrown or struck), tamper-proof indicators on the computer will alert the instructor. A drug-affected model, smaller in size, has the additional feature of simulating tremors due to withdrawal from a mother's drug addiction during pregnancy.

Mama was loving towards her baby, cradling him (her?) close to her chest, rocking him tenderly when he cried, feeding him when he was hungry.  That is, until the end of every half inning when her boyfriend, who was calling balls and strikes, was free to chat through the baby-protecting wire fence, while baby was left on the hard metal bleacher, face up to the blazing sun (with no sunscreen), supplicating his maker (RealityWorks of Eau Claire, WI) to rescue and take him back to the factory where he was born and remake him into a fun Rube Goldberg contraption.

Yes, I DID take the following photo. That's Mama on the right. At least she cushioned his head on her faux Coach purse:

Monday, May 9, 2011

OCD Lite

I am reading a book called Devil in the Details, by Jennifer Traig. It's a light, autobiographical romp through the author's life with a condition called Scrupulosity.

Wikipedia ("The Source!") defines Scrupulosity as a moral or religious form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, wherein sufferers perform ritualistic actions repeatedly to expiate themselves of perceived sins. (Note:  I came up with the word "expiate" all on my own).  For example, in the worst throes of her disease, Ms. Traig would pray for six consecutive hours after sitting on and getting "contaminated by" a couch previously occupied by a friend who, 12 years previously, had eaten a BLT (bacon being forbidden in Judaism).  Or, she might wash her hands in water so hot it left them red and raw as punishment for having coveted her neighbor's Playstation.

You get the picture.

I suspect the author and I could be good friends.  We have two things in common: 1) we're both Jewish and 2) the fact that we are both somewhat pleasantly mentally unhinged.

Long ago I made the vow that I would not use this blog to make fun of people less fortunate than I am (unless they are better looking or more successful than me), but I don't think we can consider someone whose roman a clef has been favorably reviewed in the New York Times lacking in the "fortunate" column.  Aside from that, I can - and do!  over and over again in these virtual pages - make fun of myself, which I am going to do right now because I too suffer from a mild form of Obsessive Compulsive Order - what I call OCD Lite.

How does OCD Lite manifest itself in my life?  Let me count (literally count) the ways:

  1. I favor odd counts of items over even counts and if I am forced to split the items into two groups, the odd count needs to go on the left hand side.  For example, if I have the choice of five or six M&Ms, I would choose the five, and put three in my left hand and two in my right.  If I wanted to "odd out" the score, I would add a seventh.  Which means four in my left and three in my right, which is not comfortable for me, so I go up to nine and then I'm happy again, with five in my left and four in my right.  Got it?  Good.  (And if you think this is just an excuse for demanding more M&Ms, you're right).
  2. I can't sleep if the closet door is open even a little crack.  My fear is that the dust bunnies will float out, settle on my face and start reproducing in my nostrils.  Sort of like Watership Down, only with me as the victim.
  3. At night, my shoes need to be placed just so at the side of my bed, left on the left (here we go again), right on the right, toes pointed slightly inward.  Because if they're not, we'll have Sarah Palin as President and Donald Trump as her Veep and 2012 will indeed have lived up to its name.
That last is a lot of responsibility, even for me, but I'm confident I can handle it. Particularly with five bags of M&Ms beside me, on my left, and four on my right, keeping the world safe from harm.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Out of the Box Mother's Day Gifts - from HK Interiors!

My friend Holly Mantell Kalisher has done it again - personally selecting a wonderful range of kitchen-type items for Mom for Mother's Day.  Take a look - you KNOW she doesn't already have one of these!

Out of the Box Mothers Day gifts - from HK Interiors

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I coulda been a contender - I coulda been a ... Navy Seal

Many of you know this story already, and if you do, go ahead and to click on "next blog" above.  PSA: my blog is threaded into a series of born again Christian and Portuguese-language blogs, so do so at your own risk).

When I heard that Osama Bin Laden had been taken out by the Navy Seals, I, like many others the world over, was struck with admiration for these mysterious (and probably very well-built) young men who had embarked on this covert and dangerous mission.  With no apparent thought for their personal safety, well-being or whether their hair would get frizzy in the heat and humidity of a Pakistani spring, they displayed fortitude, courage and, in the words of my ancestors, kishkes.

But then I remembered that I, too, had once dipped my toe into the rarified waters surrounding this elite group.  In the tradition of Agent 99, Agent Orange, Agent Provocateur and Agent Valerie Plame (which ended badly), I was almost a spy.  In fact, I was a mere series of "extensive psychological tests" away from landing a position with the CIA, when I was young and in search of an exciting career.  (Never mind that   "psychological testing" was doomed to scuttle my application, unlike my "extensive background check" which only threatened to bore the Agents in Charge to death).

Here's how it unfolded.  As is my motto here at Body of Work:  EVERY. WORD. IS. TRUE.
  • I responded to an ad in the New York Times placed by the CIA.  The agency was seeking young people (which I was at the time) who  1) had lived abroad, 2) spoke a foreign language and 3) were good with people (check, check, gong!).
  • Got called in for an interview, instructed to meet a man whose name I cannot remember (he must have slipped a pill into my water) in a nice hotel on the east side.  He did not look like Pierce Brosnan (just saying).  Neither did I.
  • During my interview he asked if I liked spy novels.  I replied that I did not, but in true job interview fashion I offered that my major weakness was my tendency to work too hard and write mission statements in my spare time.
  • My interviewer asked me what I thought the position I was interviewing for entailed.  I told him I was imagining some "overt administrative position."  He assured me that I was, in fact, wrong and handed me a book called "Waterboarding for Dummies." 
  • The position for which I had been called in to interview was a REAL spy position, a job whose responsibilities might include waiting for hours in European train stations to pass notes to shadowy figures.  (This is the actual example he gave to me before he answered his shoe phone).
  • We both agreed that it was better for the country, nay, better for humankind, that I look elsewhere.  Because I look better back-lit with lots of black netting over my face, rather than in shadow.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Big Deal

I have been thinking quite a lot lately about Kate Middleton and her path to Buckingham Palace.  What must have passed through her head the first time she realized that it was the future King of England - and not just some schlub with a funny accent (though we now know that the two are not mutually exclusive) - who had asked her out for some fish and chips.  When it occurred to her that her art history degree (with honors) was besides the point.  When she knew for certain that she wouldn't be selling party favors over the Internet like her mum and daddy.

In other words, when she realized that she was A Big Deal.

Coming from poor, yet hearty Norwegian stock (my father was a fishmonger, my mother sold Viking souvenirs at Epcot) I knew I was probably destined for nothingness, unless I committed a major crime or fell into frigid water while ice-fishing, surviving long enough underwater to have a medical condition named after me.  Neither one of these situations panned out and I found myself as an adult in the New York metropolitan area looking for the break that would thrust me into the spotlight.  But it never arrived, probably because I still smelled of fish.

This morning, for example, I knew that I wasn't a Big Deal when I woke up, looked at my social calendar, and saw nothing but a notation that I needed to go out and buy a set of measuring cups, because the printed sizes (1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1 cup) had faded from the ones I bought about 15 years ago at a Tupperware party.  And a cup of salt is VERY different from a 1/4 cup of salt, especially when you're grinding it into an open wound or baking brownies.

Similarly, yesterday, I suspected that I wasn't A Big Deal because I went to bed on Friday night with my sink stacked high with pots and pans, and found they were still there when I woke up in the morning.  Had I been A Big Deal, someone dressed in a nice suit would have appeared in my kitchen during the night, cleaned up the mess in the sink and left me a little note in a beautiful cursive flanked by a red rose.

It doesn't bother me that I'm not A Big Deal because I have a beautiful new set of measuring cups.  Here's a photo of the ones I bought at Target:

I had wanted to buy them in blue, to match my kitchen, but they didn't have that color in stock.  And because I'm hearty and bounce back quickly from disappointment, that's okay with me.  It's not such A Big Deal.