Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Merry

You probably won't hear much from me until January, as we have our Christmas festivities tomorrow and then we are off to Beaver Creek, CO. IF we get there, given they have had 8 1/2 FEET of snow so far this month. Gah! What does that even look like? And now, given my tendency to be totally neurotic about my kids' safety, I am worried about avalanches in addition to the existing fear of them crashing or falling off the chair lift. Ah yes, how relaxing this vacation will be.


Oh, and happy birthday to me (a New Year's Eve baby.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santas, Santas everywhere

Last weekend, my daughter and I were sitting in the back seat of a cab when what before our wondrous eye should appear but hundreds of Santas parading down the Third Avenue. Girl Santas. Boy Santas. Even a Hanukkah Santa. We both laughed while I crossed my fingers that she wouldn't witness a Puking Santa, since the majority of them were streaming out of local pubs.
I guess I didn't realize that this was A Thing, until I saw pictures in the Styles section of the NYTimes this morning. I'm a bit too old and grouchy (grinchy?) to participate. Maybe 10 years ago.
Anyway, apparently there were 5,000 Santas this year, donning red suits and walking around Manhattan for no reason whatsoever. I'd say "only in New York," but I guess they share the joy in other cities as well. Maybe "only in New York" would I see hundreds of Santas, think WTF?, chuckle, and then forget all about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Awful. And yet, I can't stop laughing

At the 9 most disturbingly misogynistic old print ads.

Caution: so, so offensive! Especially the first one. Ew. But the others are funny/scary.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Cutie Patooty

It's my kid's 7th birthday. The one on the left wearing the doggy shirt. I'm sure you all care, but it's my blog and I'll be as sappy as I wish. So there. Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

Tomorrow we leave for Christmas break, which will include a visit to the in-laws, a visit the parents, and then a ski trip to Colorado. Let me tell you how much I love skiing: not at all.

This terrifies me.

But my family likes it, so off I go, to sit at the bottom of the mountain and hold everyone's stuff. I have one private lesson scheduled, but frankly, I have the wrong attitude. (Namely, skiing sucks.) I'm having second thoughts after last year's bruised-ass-snowboarding-fiasco. I kind of pity my instructor.
So, I may or may not be blogging, depending on the success of my lesson (fat chance) and the availability of an internet connection.
What do you think? Should I suck it up and take the lesson?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why it's important to know your body type

Let me get one thing straight. I am not someone obsessed with my appearance, nor am I a Watching-My-Figure type or a No-No-I-Couldn't-Possibly-Have-A-Slice-Of-Cake type.

But. Apparently there IS some truth about knowing what kinds of clothes are flattering on your body. A really LOVELY picture of me ran in one of those local magazines, and now some people who haven't seen me in a while think I'm...


Can't imagine why. That puppy's going off to Goodwill, and I think I'll catch a few episodes of What Not to Wear.

And, sorry. I really couldn't think of anything better to blog about today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Strange and harmless crushes

With an emphasis on the harmless.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, who, just for the sake of context, is tall, blonde and gorgeous. And friendly and adorable. She is also married to a very tall, very handsome, and very charming man who everyone likes.
The conversation quickly wound to the absurd and confessed to me that she had a TV crush on this guy:

That's right, Jim Cramer. The screaming trader from Mad Money. I don't get it.
But then again, I used to have a thing for Woody Allen, and he's no looker.

This was pre-Soon Yi Previn--that kind of ruined it for me. So now my TV boyfriend is Jon Stewart. Better looking and just as funny.
I suspect my husband has a crush on Padma Lakshmi, but that one is boring. Who wouldn't? My dad, however, holds a torch for....Queen Latifah.
How about you? Any weird crushes? (Harmless! Please don't confess any real-life affairs. TMI!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PSA: About those Christmas brag-o-grams

...also known as "family updates," often included in holiday cards. I have no problem with them, theoretically. In fact, I enjoy hearing about Janie's interest in soccer, your trip to Disneyworld, or the birth of Little Snookums. I do. Especially when your family lives far away.

But. Perhaps this isn't the year to go on an on about the new 40 foot boat, or your husband's huge promotion, or all the time you are spending at your third country house. All that's nice and all, and I'm glad you are having a great time.

Just, you know, tone it down a little this year. And maybe pick up a newspaper.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Heedless of the wind and weather

One of my favorite Christmas traditions to huddle with strangers in the middle of a busy street and demonstrate my dreadfully low contralto voice by singing carols. Luckily for me, New York City actually blocks traffic on Park Avenue one night a year to do this.

The Park Avenue Tree Lighting was tonight, and despite the 25 degree weather and the blow-you-over winds, my husband and I suited up our daughters in their ski gear and went. I thought for certain there wouldn't be much of a crowd, but still, a thousand or so people showed up to shiver and sing. Everyone is invited, and lots of different types of people come--people of all faiths or of no faith at all. Whatever. You can grab a carol sheet and sing or just stand and watch them turn on the trees. The Park Avenue Memorial trees (lights in pines for Christmas, in cherry trees for Hanukkah) are dedicated to those who died in our country's wars.

The trees run down the mall, from 96th street to the Met Life building in midtown. Like so:

I didn't actually take this picture, but mine were terrible so I copied it off a travel site. Don't tell on me.

We stood in front of Brick Presbyterian Church:

I'm not the most sentimental person you will ever meet, but there's just something about caroling with a group of cold-but-happy people that makes me smile. And sing loudly. And badly.

Any special holiday traditions you'd like to share?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gimmie all your money!

This could just as easily be titled Why People are Avoiding Wendy These Days. For some bizarre reason, I have been pegged as someone not afraid to ask for money. No, I haven't been out panhandling (yet!), but I've been asked with more frequency to help out with fundraising. Some of you know I'm involved with this charity, and I help out there in any way I can. Which usually involves squeezing dollars out of donors, both individual and corporate. I also make calls for my daughters' school annual fund, along with some other worthy causes.

That's all been just lovely up until this fall--New Yorkers, despite all their faults, are a generous bunch, especially if a party is involved. But now everyone is cutting (slashing!) back. For good reason, I might add, what with all the job cuts and general crappiness in the economy. We're doing it, too.

However, things have been getting...testy...when I have to make an ask. Believe me when I say I'm softening the pitch, but still, I'm quickly becoming persona non grata. Soon people will be throwing tomatoes at me as I walk to pickup.

Ah well. At least my blogging friends will still like me. Right? Right? And I promise I won't ask you for anything.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pere Noel pour les chiens

Why did I write that in French? No real reason. It just sounds more dignified in another language. My parents are friendly people. Uber freakishly friendly people. They will talk to anyone. And they looooove parties.

Example #1, Everyone's a Buddy: Cocktail party at their house. Mom says, "Wendy, let me introduce you to Abby. We met her at the furniture store last week." She sold them their couch, so they invited her over. To see it in it's new habitat, I guess. This kind of thing happens frequently.

Example #2, Harass the Driver : When visiting us in Manhattan, my dad will try to engage every taxi driver in conversation, to varying degrees of success. What if the driver is hostile? What if he doesn't speak English? No matter! Keep going until you find a topic he likes: sports, politics, family, country of origin. There must be *something* he wants to talk about with the old white guy in the back seat, right?

Example #3, Dog Santa: On a recent trip to the pet store to pick up some Eukanuba, my dad chatted up the owner about their new (pain in the ass) Maltese puppy. After a few minutes of conversation, the owner asked my dad, who is a round and jolly-looking guy, to be the store Santa for an upcoming Christmas party for dogs. And, of course, he said "Sure!" So now it's all set. Ho ho ho. Let's hope he doesn't get bitten.

I consider myself a moderately friendly person. I'm not shy, and I'm generally happy to talk to anyone. I have friends (real ones!) and I'm polite. But other times I just can't be bothered. I'm baffled at how they have the energy, not to mention the inclination, to be so talkative *all* the time.

How about you? Are you as friendly as my parents?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Two weeks in July

Over the weekend, I found a photo stuffed into my copy of Revolutionary Road, which I was re-reading months ago. It was taken in July at the Southampton Writers Conference. That's me, in the peach-colored top, squinting into the sunlight along with the other wannabe novelists. How hopeful we all look. Holding court in the middle is Meg Wolitzer, our group leader. (She was a fantastic teacher, by the way.)

I sometimes think of my fellow SWCers and how their writing is coming along. I only keep in touch with one other person from the group (and I won't say who because she's bashful), and she's doing very well. Are other people submitting? Revising? Did anyone give up? It was a craft workshop, so the majority of time was spent critiquing each other's first chapters and attending lectures. For 14 days, we were all serious writers. Jobs, kids, spouses--they all took a backseat for a short time. It was wonderful.

I hope they are all still writing.