Friday, February 27, 2015

Five Netflix Documentaries That Make You Question Humanity

I know lists such as these are usually of the feel good type.  Aka, most romantic movies on Netflix, best movies to watch with your family over the holidays, best shows for kids, etc.  I've read such lists.  I've used such lists.  I've even written such lists.

But lately I've watched some really effed up stuff on Netflix that has made me (a la the title of this post) question humanity.  In the sense that the documentary credits roll, and I think to myself, What is wrong with people?  

The whole thing has me reflective in a weird way as I'm driving to do my preschool pick ups.  I find myself thinking things like:  Is the human race doomed to destroy itself?  Are we all solely driven by greed?  Are we all inherently violent?  What will become of me and my family and all of our offspring until the end of time?  What is time?  What will I make my family for dinner tonight?

I don't know.  I really have been in a good mood lately, so I'm not sure what the fixation is with the doom and gloom.  But if you for some reason, like me, want to watch some documentaries that really make you doubt the future of the human race, here they are:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Worst Time of Day. Everyday.

I didn't learn how to make pasta until my senior year in college.  And the first time I did, I was absolutely petrified to use the burner.

That's how much I know about cooking.  

This has never really posed a problem.  As a student, I used the dining halls, and became an expert in take out food.  As a young lawyer, I worked late and ordered in most nights (on the client's dime, of course).   On the weekends, I dined out and became a self proclaimed "foodie" (whatever that means).    And, lucky for me, my husband loves to cook.  I was always happy to encourage him. 

Then I had kids, and I breastfed them for the first 6 months of life, and that was all well and good. And then something happened that I never anticipated.  

They had to be fed.  Food, that is.  

Every.  Single.  Day.  Three.  Times.  A.  Day.  

This is literally - for me - the worst part of parenting.  I suppose it's a bit like working for the U.S. Postal Service.  Or being a toll booth collector.  Or working at a laundromat.   Because the work never ends.  Just when you are done with one meal, and you feel the slightest bit of satisfaction, it's ready for the next meal.  And then the next, and the next, and the next.  YOU ARE NEVER DONE. IT GOES ON FOREVER AND EVER.  

I hate every second of preparing, serving, and cleaning up after meals.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Six Years in the Making

The only time in my life that I regularly went to the gym was during my 18 month stint as an attorney at Skadden in New York.  Say what you want about Skadden, but it has a great gym, that happens to be onsite, complete with uniforms, classes, and trainers.  I would go almost every day, not so much to lose weight or get in shape, but to regain my sanity.  The gym served as my refuge whenever I needed a mental break.  I generally went in the early afternoon, and would then return to my desk to continue work and order dinner.

Then I left New York and moved to DC and started having babies.  And I hadn't entered another gym since.  

Until two weeks ago.  

On my first day back at the gym, I had a session with a personal trainer (complimentary for all new members).  Before we started our workout, she had me fill out a cheesy survey that asked about my eating habits, fitness level, and goals.  I told her my number one goal was to get some tone and build muscle.  

And how long have you had this goal?  

Six years.  I replied.  

I didn't think there was anything wrong with this response, but she looked visibly shocked.  She seemed to realize her response wasn't appropriate, so she gave me a nervous laugh and set the clipboard aside.  

I got defensive.  I have three kids!  Six and under!  I was pregnant for 27 months!  I was breastfeeding for 27 more!  I've been tired!  Really tired!  

She didn't care.  She was pushing 21 and probably thought I was a complete weirdo.  Okay, lady, that hasn't been able to tone a muscle in 6 years.  Just shut up and do a plank.  We did a 30 minute session and I couldn't walk for three days.  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Doggy on the TV (and Netflix)

We have a dog named Couscous.  I mean it when I say she is the most annoying dog ever.  She barks incessantly at anything that passes by our house (cars, birds, people, leaves).  She jumps all over anyone that dare enter our home.  She eats the kids' food off of the table and she chews up furniture and she once brought fleas into our house and I've never forgiven her for it.

But she does have one cool trick.  

She watches TV.  I mean, actually watches it.  When an animal comes on the screen, she gets all excited, and true, to form, barks at it.  My husband and I usually egg her on by shouting "Doggy on the TV," and then she's at full attention.  

Every month I write a post for the Netflix Stream Team, recommending shows on Netflix for the month.  This month's theme was animal related shows.  I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, until the other night when my husband and I were drunk bored, and we decided to give Cous a bit of entertainment and showcase our favorite animal related programming, to see if she reacted to any of them.  

Here are the results:

Okay, so it's a cat, not a dog.  Cous wasn't a fan.  But, the kids happened to love it - it's a new series on Netflix that just came out on January 16th.    

An oldie, but a goodie.  And it features the voice of Mel Gibson from back in 2000, before he became an antisemetic obnoxious drunk.  Notwithstanding the fact that Cous goes ape shit over raw chicken meat, she had no interest.   

I'm a self proclaimed documentary fanatic, so I couldn't leave a documentary off of this list.  Yes, it's depressing.  Yes, it's probably not a good idea to view it on New Year's Eve with a bottle of champagne (I speak from experience).  And yes, you will vow to never go to Sea World ever again. But it's so worth watching, even if it makes you a little angry.  I so wanted Cous to react and curse Sea World, but again, she sat there dumb as dog shit (no pun intended). 

Finally, a movie with actual dogs!  - Says Cous.  

Who's scarier - the animated Cruella De Vil or Glenn Close?  I argue Glenn Close, but watch it yourself to weigh in.  Notwithstanding the fact that the film is filled with dogs, Cous withheld her approval.

This is a series that aired in 2000.  I was 22 then and a bit drunk and crazy and wasn't interested in such a show.  In fact, I was unemployed back then, unlike these dogs, who ... had jobs.  There's a celebrity dog.  A service dog.  A police dog.  An earthquake dog.  A seizure dog.  A mine detector dog.  And even a run of the mill sled dog.  It's kind of incredible, all of these dogs with gainful employment.  Cous may have a bit of an inferiority complex about it, which explains why it's the one show she got all excited about...

Happy Netflixing, animals and humans alike!


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursdays in Baltimore

Every other Thursday, Casey, my four year old, and I head to Baltimore for our 1:30 appointment at Johns Hopkins.  I should be be thankful for this - so incredibly thankful- because we travel there for a peanut allergy clinical trial that very few people are able to participate in.  If all goes well, at the end of three years, Casey will be, for lack of a better word, "cured."  And that's huge.

But going to Baltimore from DC so often has proved to be a pain.

Every other Thursday, I pick Casey up early from school.  I take him to the McDonald's drive through and get him a happy meal.  And then I battle traffic for the hour drive up 1-95, drive through the swanky and then the mean streets of Baltimore, and arrive at the kingdom that is Johns Hopkins.  Casey takes his dose, we sit and watch TV for an hour before we are cleared to go, and then we come home, and battle the traffic once again.  And before I know it, two weeks fly by and we are back at it again.  Back to Baltimore.

In the midst of everything else going on in my life, I generally grimace when I realize it's another Thursday.  Because it's just SO MUCH on top of everything.  On top of normal school pick ups and activities and napping babies and other doctor's appointments and diaper rashes and teaching a class and furniture delivery windows and feeding the family 3 meals a day.  On our Baltimore Thursdays, I usually leave the house at 11am and get home at 4pm when all is said and done. That's 5 hours out of a day that is extremely hectic as it is.

This morning was a doozy.  The babysitter showed up at 11am to watch Colin, my 14 month old, and as soon as I was getting ready to walk out the door, I realized I couldn't find my car keys. ANYWHERE.  I ended up having to take the babysitter's car to pick Casey up, have my husband meet me at Casey's school to give me his spare key, go pick up McDonalds, drop the babysitter's car back off, switch cars, and then head to Baltimore 15 minutes past the time I had planned (and I hate being late.  HATE).  I realized as I was getting on the highway that I had forgotten to call my oldest son's school to let them know he needed to go to aftercare, since I would be in Baltimore when school let out.  I then realized that I didn't have blue tooth in the car so I could not make said call.  As I glanced at my phone to connect the Bluetooth (which did not ultimately work), I realized I had 6+ emails from students from a class that I am teaching, all of whom wanted immediate answers.  Then the babysitter called.  The cleaning people had arrived, and they couldn't find the check I had left.  And Colin wouldn't go down for his nap and was crying hysterically and what should she do.

I had to exhale.

I had to drive to Baltimore.

Casey slept the whole way.  And I thought.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Thing to Obsess Over, and It's Oh So Much Fun

It's no wonder I was a litigator.  I LOVE to research.  It gets borderline obsessive, actually.  I will dig deeper and deeper and deeper and scour all available resources until I have reached near expert status.  Then I feel satisfied, abandon, and move on to the next thing to obsess over.

I go on kicks - research for vacation planning, research on local real estate listings, etc. and now.... interior design.

Yes, we have this nice new big house and nothing to put in it.  We must buy a coffee table, kitchen table, bar stools, wall hangings, knick knacks, and who knows what else.  Many, many things!  At first it was daunting, and I was dreading it actually.  After all, I'm not really a shopper, and I'm completely lacking in taste.  But slowly but surely, I have gotten into it.  Big time.

There's all sorts of blogs on the topic.  I never knew that!  Apartment Therapy has become a daily read.  And Houzz.  Have you seen Houzz?  Endless hours of fun!  I also peruse Overstock and West Elm and Joss & Main and One Kings Lane and CB2 and other websites I never knew existed. And Pinterest!  I finally understand the purpose of Pinterest!  (You can follow me by clicking here).

After all of this perusing, I have discovered I have modern taste.  Or is it called contemporary?  Who knows?  But I all of a sudden care what my house looks like, whereas before it was.... well, disheveled is a kind word.  It actually was a large piece of shit we inhabited.  So much so that we ditched pretty much all of our family room furniture prior to moving because it was just that disgusting.  But now we don't live in a piece of shit anymore - we actually like our new house (for now anyway).  And we have space!  Actual space!  So my challenge?  To fill said space as cheaply and as stylishly as possible.  (Who doesn't love a challenge?)

Don't fear - this will not become a design blog.  Because this is a momentary obsession and I'm not artistic enough to become a design expert.  But indulge me.  Just for a minute.  Because this is oh so fun.  

Here's what we have purchased for our new house so far:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

From Sponges to Lemurs - Ringing in 2015

We never really do anything special for New Year's, and it's been years since I've stayed up past midnight.  Last year, after the kids went to bed, my husband and I split a bottle of champagne and watched Blackfish.  I ended up tipsy and depressed thinking about the poor killer whales and vowing to never visit Sea World, or a zoo, ever again (Casey may or may not have had his birthday party at the zoo this year).

It wasn't all solemn, though.  Before the kids went to bed, we had a family New Year's celebration.  I sent my husband out to get some hats and streamers, and the like.  As it turns out, it isn't the best idea to wait until 5pm on New Year's Eve to get New Year's paraphernalia.  Because all that was left was Sponge Bob.

New Year's 2014 Partay!

The hats had nothing to do with New Year's, and my kids had never seen Sponge Bob.  But after our New Year's party, they became obsessed with the show and still are to this day.  (Note to parents out there - perhaps not the best idea, as last month my oldest went around telling his younger brother to "go sell stupid elsewhere" - a direct quote from the show).

This year, thanks to the Netflix Stream Team, we are prepared.  As part of a promotion, earlier this month we received a party kit themed for the new show on Netflix, All Hail King Julien.  The show is a spin-off from the Madagascar franchise, which my kids absolutely love.  So they were thrilled to sport this party garb earlier today:

Bring on 2015!

We just moved a few days ago, and since we have yet to get our cable sorted, the kids have been Netflix-ing it up.  They have watched all 5 King Julien episodes several times over, as well as countless other shows/movies/shorts that have added up to way more than 2 hours of screen time per day.  But I have approximately 22 boxes to unpack, so it must be.

Tonight, I will set the unpacking aside.  I will sport lemur garb.  And I will drink champagne.  And then some more champagne.   And then I will put on my anti-wrinkle cream and go to bed around 11pm.

However it is you are celebrating tonight, enjoy!  Happy 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Last Big FU From My House to Me

Dear House,

I have been kind to you.  Sure, I have bitched about you and complained about you and cursed you and your money sucking ways.  But I've cared for you and spruced you up and even wrote a long emotional blog post about you a couple weeks ago.  I think I even shed a tear for you, god dammit. I was sad to move and leave you forever.

We only have eight days left together before we depart.  Can't we make them happy ones?

Apparently not.  Apparently you are pissed.

Because you had to give us one last fuck you, didn't you?

You thought eight days before our departure would be a good time to break the heater?  Thanks! Thanks so much!

Bundled up and cold in my Christmas PJs.

You just couldn't let it rest, could you?  You had to give us one night of freezing cold to remind us that you can never really be trusted. One night of walking around in sweatshirts and thick socks and hoodies.  Of calling repairmen during their off hours and pleading with them to come fix you.

And you just couldn't wait for the serviceman to come today, could you?  To fiddle with you and fix you and charge us 500 fucking dollars for a new motor for the heater that we will use for eight days.

You couldn't have waited 8 more freaking days?  Until you're someone else's problem?

You know what?

Fuck you.

I'm over you.  I'm done with you.  Good riddance.

There will be no more of this over the next 8 days, you hear me?  No more.  You can save your falling apart for 2015.



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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

27 Months (Twice Over)

It's an inside joke between my husband and I.  Every time there is a task that we don't want to do - say change a diaper or clean a dirty pan that's been sitting in the sink or be the designated driver - I sing my little jingle.

27 months!

That's how long I was pregnant with our three boys.  3 x 9 (full term babies) = 27 months.  Twenty seven months of creating and living for another human being.  Of dealing with nausea and pain and blood draws and hemorrhoids and stretch marks and peeing 5 times a night.  And then somehow ejecting each of the three babies from my body.

So you want me to change some urine soaked sheets at 2am?

27 months!

And now, 27 months has new meaning.

Last night, I breastfed Colin for the very last time.  At 13 months, it was time.  I didn't want to wean, to be honest.  But for a number of reasons, I did it anyway.  I thought I was going to cry throughout the whole feeding.  After all, I sobbed with both of his two older brothers, both of whom I weaned at 7 months.

But I didn't.  Instead, I did some mental math.  7 months + 7 months + 13 months = 27 months.

Twenty seven months of pregnancy.  Twenty seven months of breastfeeding.

And now, it comes to an end.  I think the finality of it all is what kept my tears from flowing.  It was just too much - too significant.  If I had let my emotions run wild, I feared I would lose myself a bit.  I didn't really want to go that deep.  Because there will be no more pregnancies.  No more breastfeeding.  And no more babies.

A chapter is ending.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tis the Season of Giving Uncommon Gifts + A GIVEAWAY

I've been a bit bah humbug with holiday gift giving over the past few years.  For one, I've stopped doing it with certain people altogether.  After several years of basically trading cash via gift cards, my sister and father and I all mutually agreed to stop with the madness!  No more gifts.  Same goes for the hubby - if we want something, we just go to our joint checking account and buy it for ourselves.

But then there's always that danger of becoming a huge asshole come holiday time should the person that you have mutually agreed to not give gifts to actually gives you a gift (I'm talking to you Dad, sister, and hubby).  Then you feel really bad, and angry at the same time.

But we said no gifts!  

Oh, but it's just a little something. 

It's like those birthday parties that say, "No gifts, please."  Bullshit.  Everyone brings a gift.

So I am always on the lookout for "a little something" for my loved ones to avoid the aforementioned anger and self loathing.  And this year, I've found my source!

I received an email a few weeks back from someone at a company called Uncommon Goods, to see if I would be willing to review some of their products for the holidays.  I looked at their website and was intrigued - their stuff is kind of funky/awesome.  Uncommon, if you will.  It also seems to be a nice company - their seasonal workers start at 50% above the minimum wage, half of what they sell is made by hand, and one third of their entire collection incorporates recycled and/or up cycled materials.

So sure, I'll take some stuff!  Lets go shopping!

I perused their website, which is organized well for Christmas gifts (click here), stocking stuffers (click here), and gifts under $50 (click here).  I think I spent a good hour scrolling through all the products, which were, again, uncommon.  I selected three gifts for my sister, father, and husband (so now you are on notice - you are all getting "a little something," and if you don't want to know what it is, stop reading now):

For Dad, an eye glass holder (he will love this).  

For my husband, wine pearls (For those times when you have white wine that hasn't yet been chilled, but you just can't wait any longer, and you don't want it to get all watered down by ice. Finally, a solution!  And, they're kind of pretty.)

And my personal favorite, for my sister, a wiener dog oil and vinegar set.  (Full disclosure - I bought these with her in mind, but after getting them, I may keep them for myself.  I mean how awesome are they?  So Rachie, no need to get me a "little something" because you may not have something in return.)

And now you too could live the wiener dog dream!

Uncommon Goods is offering a $50 gift certificate to the lucky person who wins this GIVEAWAY! Here's how to enter:

1) Like me on Facebook (if you haven't already) by clicking here.

2) Leave a comment (on the blog or on Facebook) and include your email address.

3) Enter by Thursday, December 11th.  The winner will be notified via email on Friday, December 12th.

And even if you don't win, I highly recommend checking out their website for some great gift ideas. In addition to their wiener dog oil and vinegar set, they also have an F-Bomb paperweight and row boat salad bowl, among other things.


I received free products from Uncommon Goods.  All opinions reflected are my own.  

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