Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Rant 1: Need to register Erin for kindergarten soon. Georgia requires proof of immunization, etc from doctor. Erin is not due for a checkup until she's 5. Georgia won't accept California doctor's records. So, try to get her into pediatrition. Person at pediatrician's office keeps saying she's not due for a checkup, insurance won't cover. Then I say, "How do I get this paperwork filled out so I can register her for kindergarten?" "Well, we'd need to see her." "OK, can I bring her in?" "Well, no she's not due for a checkup until July." And so it goes... I offer to pay cash, not even deal with insurance. This really throws her. So now I'm hold with insurance company. Then I call back pediatrician. On hold for 35 minutes! They reluctantly make me an appointment. Then I go to mom's club playgroup and find out I can take Erin to health dept any Friday. So I can gladly cancel pediatrician appointment.

Rant 2: I ordered two barstools for our kitchen island. Wrong one came in. Now I have to return this big old box! Yuck. Ordered shelves from Pottery Barn kids for girls room. Realized I had ordered 2 sets of 2, so now I have 4 shelves instead of 2. Ordered books from Amazon and inadvertantly had them sent to our old California address. Not having luck with ordering online!

Rant 3: Last week get a message from shower pan/shower door install guy. "Give me a call." So I give him a call & leave my cell phone number. No return call. Next day, I get a human. I tell her I'm returning shower guy's call. She says he'll call me within hour. No return call. Third day, I get same human. I explain that shower guy wanted me to call HIM, so I'm not sure why I can't get him to talk to me. On hold for 10 minutes then he gets on phone. Wants to know what side of the shower door the handle should be on. Uh, couldn't he have left that in the message and then I could have left the info on his answering machine.

Good news from yesterday: Erin got into soccer for spring! She had been on waiting list. Hooray!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Famous (and not so famous) people I have met

Famous (and not so famous) people I have met (saw in person, not counting at a performance), in no particular order:

Ang Lee Ang Lee has been in the news a lot this week because he won Best Director at the Golden Globes for Brokeback Mountain. He's also directed Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When I owned my apartment in White Plains, NY in the mid 90's, I lived next door to Ang Lee and his family. When my manager at PeopleSoft at the time heard this, she said, "I have a whole new vision of where you live. It must be a gated community, very fancy." It was in fact a pretty modest 2 bedroom apartment he shared with his wife and (at the time) two small sons. The sons' bedroom wall was on the other side of my bedroom wall. I didn't realize who he was until I was moving out, and a neighbor told my mother who was waiting at my apartment for the moving company appraiser to come. They seemed pleasant. I think he lived there for a while after moving to a house in White Plains.

Kelly Coffield
I grew up with Kelly, and she was a good friend of mine in elementary school. Kelly's fame grew when she was in the cast of In Living Color. For a while she was the only white actress on the show. She's also had parts in Field of Dreams, Jerry McGuire, as well as episodes of Seinfeld, Once and Again and Law and Order. The last time I saw her was after her performance in a play in New York years ago. I try to keep an eye out for when she'll be in something.

Barack Obama He is the Illinois state senator who gained a lot of press at last year's Democratic convention for the speech he gave. At my first job out of college, I worked at Business International (now owned by The Economist as The Economist Intelligence Unit). I think I transcribed some interviews he had taped. I remember him as quiet, a very nice person.

Kurt Vonnegut
At that same job where I worked with Barack Obama, the office was first located at 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, not far from the UN in New York. Also in the building, sharing our bank of elevators, was Dell Publishing. Once in a while, I'd share an elevator with Kurt Vonnegut.

Kathleen Turner
While I was still working at Business International (or was it the Economist Intelligence Unit by then), a friend and coworker was trying to find a place to live in Manhattan. Her friend had given her a tip about someone who was subletting an apartment. She had to go to the owner's apartment to get the keys and then go see the sublet, so she asked me to come with her. The owner lived in UN towers in quite a swanky apartment. He told us the rent, said it was a steal, but he wasn't sure his business partner would approve such a low price. Even though the rent was too high for my friend, we went to look at the sublet anyway. I remember it being a dark dingy basement type place. Certainly not worth what they were asking and kind of creepy. So we went back to the owners apartment. He was entertaining some friends. He told us to go to the restaurant he owned, they'd be there soon, and he'd buy us a drink. So we went to the restaurant, and he came with his posse of friends: a female professional tennis player, some Democratic party political advisor and others I can't remember. The owner of the apartment & restaurant kept talking about his partner "Jay" and Kathleen, saying they might stop by. He invited us all to dinner on him. While we were at the table, a homeless man was outside the window of the restaurant with a shopping cart full of bright yellow stuffed large ducks he was selling. Our host sent a waiter outside with some cash and asked him to buy ducks for all the ladies at the table. Soon after, in walked "Jay" and his wife, Kathleen Turner. They came over and chatted with our host. He introduced us each to Kathleen. She shook my hand and said in that sultry voice of hers, "I love your duck." Kathleen and table went & took a table by themselves. I finished dinner & caught a train home. Never saw any of those folks again, except my friend, who could never afford to rent an apartment in Manhattan.

Bill Gates Years ago when Bill Gates was famous for Microsoft, but certainly not one of the richest men around (but pretty darn rich), I met him at a Microsoft SQL Server conference. I'm trying to think when it was, it had to be in the early 1990's. I was in San Francisco for the first time (and had no idea I'd eventually move to the bay area). During one of the evenings there was a Microsoft hosted cocktail party, which Bill Gates attended. My manager at the time, also named Bill (who was there as well as my colleague Danny) must have encountered Bill Gates another time. He went up to talk to him and introduced us. These were Bill Gates' single days and there were a lot of Microsoft women hovering around him. "Do you need another drink, Bill?" "Can I get you something to eat, Bill?" It was pretty funny. I was wearing a dress that had a handkerchief in the upper pocket. Bill and Danny kept urging me to drop my hanky in front of Bill Gates to attract his attention. I declined.

Ethel Kennedy
When I was moving from NY to California, I had to work the in the PeopleSoft Waltham office (outside Boston) the week before the move, so I flew from Boston to San Francisco. I had lots of frequent flier miles in those days, so I thought I'd try to upgrade to first class. Ahead of me in the line trying to do the same thing was Ethel Kennedy. Neither of us got into first class. Later, she stood behind me waiting for the airplaine potty. Just like regular folk.

James Taylor When I lived in Manhattan soon after graduating from college, I lived on the upper west side. One day, walking along Amsterdam Avenue with my roommates, we saw James Taylor walking along with his two young children. We tried to nonchalantly walk in front of them so we could get a peek, then stop in a store, then walk behind them, etc. I think these days this would be called "stalking".

Mary Tyler Moore Again, while living in Manhattan, with the same roommates, one evening we were walking up Columbus Avenue. As we were about to turn the corner onto our street, we noticed that Mary Tyler Moore was sitting an an outdoor cafe and at her feet was a beautiful golden retriever. Of course, we had to go pet the dog.

John Malkovich Same neighborhood, same roommates. Was in an ice cream shop on Columbus Avenue and John Malkovich was behind us on line.

Chuck Scarborough and others
If you're not from the NY area, you wouldn't know Chuck, but he's long been the anchor for the local WNBC news. My first job (besides babysitting) was at a Baskin Robbins. One day Chuck walked in and I made him a strawberry cone. Another day we served girl who played "Dee" on the show What's Happening? (C'mon, you know the show. With Dee and her brother Raj and they're friend Rerun who was always saying "Hey, Hey, Hey".) Oh and there was the gal I worked with at Dollar Savings Bank in the Bronx as a bank teller in the summers during college. Her name was Tracy Parnell and she had been in the movie Fame. And Rene would like me to mention that we had lunch next to the Charlie Daniels Band (sans Charlie) when we first arrived in Augusta. Oh, and I walked past David Crosby of CSN fame in San Francisco once. My cousin reminds me that we saw Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond at the ice cream store in Long Beach Island one summer (although I'm not sure if I was actually with them at at the store or back at the house). A year later, I did see the mom, Doris Roberts, from Everybody Loves Raymond, at the airport in NY.

What does this tell you? Not a lot, but it gives you a sense of where I lived and worked over the years.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ch, ch, changes

Lauren has decided she doesn't like wet diapers. Which has resulted in her saying every 5-10 minutes, "Change! Change me mommy! Please!" So now she's on the potty. And has been for about 20 minutes. We did this earlier today and it took about 20 minutes, but she did it eventually. The masses rejoiced! And there she goes, now!

She's a little young to be potty training, and I don't think she'll get it right away, but hopefully she'll learn there's an alternative to requesting your diaper be changed every 5 minuts.

Yeah Lauren!

Not that Georgia Aquarium

Yesterday we went to Magnolia Springs State Park and the aquarium there. No, not that aquarium. Not the new Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta that is huge and cool. The aquarium we went to had at most 20 windows of displays. There wasn't even anyone working there.

Then we walked to the park, which was very nice. We saw lots of signs advising us not to feed the alligators. We saw lots and lots of turtles. Finally, Rene and Erin took a walk and indeed saw a big alligator. Erin did not want to observe him for long! It was a nice park.

Oh, by the way, diet update. Have lost a total of 7.8 pounds. Of course, after the park we went to Pizza Hut and previously I had some of Erin & Rene's banana bread. I try to let myself have one day where I don't focus too much on watching what I eat. Seems to be working.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Rainy weekend

Rene returned from Jacksonville yesterday. Hooray! We were all happy to see him. He was tired, as were the girls after school. So there was a whole lotta napping going on. Then the girls got to play outside with the kids across the street. Good thing, today (Saturday) and tomorrow will be rainy.

Todays challenge: get out of the house and find some indoor rainy day activity.

I found out that Lauren can go one more day to school, so starting in February she will go Wednesday and Friday mornings. I think this will be good for her as it's hard to adjust to only one day a week. She seems to enjoy it there. Plus, I'll have another morning to myself to get things done.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Yesterday we went to the EdVenture children's museum in Columbia, SC. Now we have two fun reasons to visit Columbia: the Riverbanks Zoo and EdVenture.

First, we ventured downtown. Most of downtown seemed closed for Sunday, but then we made our way to the Vista area, where we found many restaurants. It was really a nice area. We ate at the Liberty tap room. Erin drew a picture of the Statue of Liberty, after copying it from the children's menu. She's becoming quite the artist. She can copy pictures and does a good job. It's 6 am this morning, Erin and Lauren are painting at the kitchen table. We like to paint.

After our lunch, we headed to the Edventure children's museum. This is a great place! There was lots to do, including the "world's largest kid". You could walk inside his brain, ride down a slide in his body. You could also pretend to be a dentist, doctor, grocer, cook, firefighter with real clothes & a real fire truck to climb on. Lauren's favorite was the art room and the music room where you could jump on a musical hopscotch board. We coudn't get her off. Erin enjoyed getting her face painted like a butterfly. We'll definitely be visiting Edventure again.

Today is Monday, MLK day. And sadly, Rene left this morning for Jacksonville, Florida. He returns Friday. He's staying at the World Golf Village, whoo hoo! Too bad he has no interest in golf.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday, wonderful Friday

Today is Friday. Why are Fridays good? Let me count the ways:

* It's a movie night! Whoo hoo. What will it be? Barbie Fairytopia? Sleeping Beauty?

* It's a school day for Lauren! That means mom's morning to herself! Hooray! Haircut today.

* It's a late day at school for Erin. Some Fridays, the kids can stay late (until 3:00) for $5. (Can you say, bargain?) Erin has never wanted to do this before, but she requested to do it today. Which means she must be more comfortable with school. Actually, we've been meeting her friend Sam (Samantha, not that mean Samuel in her class who is also a Sam) for playdates and I think they really enjoy playing together. Which means I'll be back and forth to Aldersgate a few times: drop off both girls, pick up Lauren at 1:00, pick up Erin at 3:00, but that's OK.

* Rene is taking day off! He had to use up two days leftover from last year, so this will be one. Rene will be travelling to Florida next week for work, so it will be nice to have him home today. And what will Rene be doing with his day off? While he'll be preparing for ....

THE BEAST! Since we have a new grill, Rene bought a new cookbook on grillin', so he's preparing a Beast (that would be a Feast to the rest of you.) We'll have chicken, homemade ice cream, and maybe some grilled veggies. The only problem is that it looks like it might rain for our Beast. Might have to use the grill in the garage. Note that I keep saying "grill", not "barbecue". In the south, you do not barbecue food, you grill it. Barbecue is a noun referring to a type of food that is prepared on a grill and I assume prepared with some special barbecue sauce.

IN OTHER NEWS: We'll be having some visitors in coming months. Uncle John will stop by on his way to Florida at the end of January. And Rene's son Alexander will visit us for his spring break in March. Hooray! We're trying to see if Rene's dad & brother can come at that time as well.

Finally, I was thinking about what do to for a semi blank wall in the kitchen. I found some web sites that will give you quotes to stick on the wall in any size, font, color. One is Wallwords, and the other is Wonderful Graffiti. Was perusing the quotes and while there are many inspirational ones, nothing grabbed me. I thought about putting up "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme", but that seemed boring. Then I found this quote. I think it appropriately reflects our sense of humor, but not sure if people would think we were strange. Thoughts, anyone?

Very stupid to kill the servants. Now we don't even know where to find the marmalade.

-Agatha Christie

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Here are some recent pictures. I would have posted more, but I experienced technical difficulty. Here's the link:

Also, since I had posted Erin's Christmas photo, for equal time purposes, here's Lauren in her beloved Dora hat. Our love for Dora is immense!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy anniversary, baby! Happy 2006!

First of all, today is Rene and my anniversary. It took me a long time to find the love of my life, but it was worth the wait! We've had a lot of joy the past five years. I love you, Rene!

Second, lost 5.2 pounds this week on WW! This is pretty typical for me on the first week of a diet. From then on, it's usually slow going. Of course, I went off the diet a bit today...

We drove to Athens, GA, today. It's a pretty cool little town. Lots of neat restaurants and stores. Athens is home of the University of Georgia and the Georgia Bulldogs (Go Dawgs!), which would explain the many bulldog statues around town. (Will update this post with pictures in a day or two). Athens is also the home of the musical groups REM and the B52's. We had lunch, walked around, and had a nice day. We stopped briefly at the Callaway Plantation in Washington, GA and walked around. We returned home and spent sometime playing outside. We spend a lot of time "cooking" in our play kitchen. Then we got take out Thai food for dinner. Yum!

On Wednesday, Erin returned to preschool in the mornings, and Lauren went on Friday. After school on Friday, we met Erin's friend Sam from school and her mom, Sandy at a nearby park. We're back into our routine. Next week it's our turn to bring the "letter of the week" snack on Friday. Our letter is "N". Nutterbutters? Nilla wafers? Nectarines? Decisions, decisions.

PS that song "happy anniversary baby" has been in my mind all day. Who sings it? Ah, what would I do without Google? The Little River Band. Thank you, Google. Thank you too for your stock price. Those of you who scoffed at my purchase (you know who you are, Rene), are now now thankful for my 401k balance.