Blanket love

This is not an ad. This is my favorite napping blanket. This is the company we found a few years ago in Woodstock, Vermont. Maybe it was more than a few years ago. We loved it so much we bought many other people this blanket. If you didn’t get one and want one, and are related to me or plan to buy me something nice – tell me and I’ll get you one too.

It’s attractive enough. But that’s not the reason you love it. The reason you love it is that it’s heavy. I know weighted blankets are all the rage now, but this is naturally heavy. You sink deeper into the coach or chair when it’s on you. This is not the blanket you want if you’re binge watching a show, or curling up with a good book. You’ll be snoring 5 minutes in. Not that that’s a bad thing.

It’s like anesthesia.

And if you’re like me, you enjoy anything that makes you numb, sleepy and out of it.

Or maybe you’re not like me and you like to live life, do things and feel all emotions. To each his own.

I literally just yawned writing this.

Happy weekend.

And when they met….it was Murdah….

Only kids who grew up in the 80s with no outside hobbies will know that reference. It’s the opening line from Hart to Hart, said by the butler with a very strong New York City accent. Here’s the IMDB blurb:

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Self-made millionaire Jonathan and freelance writer Jennifer are the Harts – a globetrotting married couple with a talent for finding mysteries wherever they go. And even when they’re uncovering thefts, espionage and assorted skullduggery, they still find time for romance.

I mean what’s there not to like? Thefts, espionage, skullduggery (really?), and romance!  Welcome to the 80s. Pretend you’re a young Indian gal in Harrisburg, PA with a really bad haircut watching upstairs in her parent’s bedroom. Or pretend you’re a not-so-young Indian gal in Yardley, PA watching reruns on the Hallmark Network on her phone so no one sees – either way – set the scene.

Side note – I was also completely unaware of the whole Robert Wagner/Natalie Wood thing. Which takes the whole murder thing in another direction.

Anyway I have always enjoyed a murder mystery. In all honesty there doesn’t even need to be a mystery. I’ve just always enjoyed….murder. Let that sink in. I did start out lightheartedly. Hart to Hart. Remington Steele. Murder, she Wrote. But it went downhill fast. I blame Law and Order. I just love a gruesome tale.

Turns out, I’m not the only one. Michelle McNamara was obsessed with The Golden State Killer case for years. The notorious unsolved crime of someone who had committed upward of 50 sexual assaults and at least 10 murders in California in the 1970s and 1980s, was left untouched until her book (published posthumously), I’ll be Gone in the Dark, came out.

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The book and her research fueled blogs, podcasts, etc. and relaunched the search. The killer was captured within a year using a DNA website. I read the book. Listened to the podcasts. Read all the blogs. I couldn’t get enough. And neither could a million other people. Just sayin’, I’m not the only weirdo.

Now here’s where my interest takes a turn…so maybe I am a weirdo.

I don’t remember if I’ve shared this with you before. If I’ve already talked about my massive crush on Frances Glessner Lee, I’m sorry to repeat myself. But she is so freaking cool. Or was so freaking cool. She grew up in the 30’s and 40’s in a wealthy family. Her passion was police work from an early age, a profession that was considered both beneath her class and out of her league as a woman. She tried to join the police force, but her family objected. Instead she started spending time volunteering in police stations. She noticed that during murder investigations, there was no way to re-create the crime scene. Because most of her leisure time was spent on sewing, painting, etc., she started recreating crime scenes using dollhouse miniatures. Genius. And weird. And useful. All things I love in a person.

Long morbid story short, she became the “mother of forensic science”, eventually joining the police force and also becoming the first female police captain in the country. The techniques she developed helped revolutionize the way police reports were created. She was bad-ass.

You’re probably wondering how I found out about her? You’re not? I’ll tell you anyway. I decided last year that in the near future, say 10 or 15 years from now, I’m going to start working on a dollhouse. Obviously I plan to get creepier with age. As I was researching dollhouses and the weirdos who work on them, I found a podcast called,”Murder is Her Hobby”. It had me at hello. It might as well have been called,”Listen to this Neha, you’ll love it”.

I think you’ll love it too. What’s not to love about a crocheted crime scene?

Another podcast that speaks my name is, My Favorite Murder. 

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Until some years ago I had no people named April in my life. Now I have two. The first one is like family and lives a few houses down. She introduced me to the second one during a girl’s weekend. The second one introduced me to this podcast – and that’s when I knew I’d found a friend for life. That and her love for tequila.

Tonight, both my Aprils and I are heading into Philadelphia (which is sometimes called Killadelphia by smart alecks but really fits with everything we’re talking about here, don’t you think?).

We are going to see that podcast, My Favorite Murder, live! In person. Geeky and edgy all at the same time.

A night of murdah…what could be better? Don’t answer that.

Bird Box, The Favourite, Vice, and more…

You know how sometimes you hit the Netflix jackpot? Or when there are a ton of good movies to see? This is not that time for me. I’ve been striking out. Bigly. (Please note this is just my opinion, if you liked any of these – bless your heart).

Bird Box – I like Sandra Bullock. I’m a fan. I watch The Lakehouse whenever I randomly find it. I even liked that movie she did with Ryan Reynolds, or was it Ryan Gosling? I don’t even mind that she’s had massive amounts of plastic surgery. I plan to follow suit at some point. But this movie… come on. Have you seen it? John Malcovich is in it for god’s sake. Sarah Paulson too! I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but there aren’t really any spoilers for the movie. You’ve already seen it right? If you have and you like it… why?? Tell me please! I’m just going to say a couple of things… 1) there weren’t enough birds in a box for me. I mean it’s not meant to be some under the radar title. It literally tells you how these people will survive. The birds in the box will help them. But when? Where? It happened once. Once. Come on. I need more. 2) You cannot row a boat for 3 days with a f’ing eye mask on! With two kids. You can’t. I can suspend a lot of disbelief. Like a lot. I like Hallmark Christmas movies. But this was crazy. And not the kind of crazy I can get behind, like the Bent Neck Lady crazy. Omg, did you watch Haunting of Hill House? If no, do it now!

The Favourite – yes I’m spelling it right. I had high hopes. I love everyone in it and it was about 68% good. It wasn’t awful. But it’s not my favorite. 🙂

Vice – after you get over the usual Christian Bale weight gain, which is no-doubt impressive, it’s an ok telling of the Dick Cheney story. The fact that it took 2 plus hours to tell an ok story was also a negative. Go for a nice walk instead. You’ll be happier.

Homecoming- I had high hopes. Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, what could go wrong? Hmmm, how about everything. The butter in my fridge is more interesting.

This is why I’ll be watching reality tv, Food Network, and make-up tutorials on YouTube. They never let me down. Everything else is for the birds.

GoT Speak

Sorry about the acronym. Do you watch Game of Thrones (GoT)? You don’t? Why? Are you reading or parenting or something? You need to watch.

For those of you who do watch, maybe you’ll agree with me here. Not since Breaking Bad has a show had this much impact on my daily language (Yo Mista White…). I basically have either emojis or GoT dialogue in my head all day.

My gut reaction when new people introduce themselves to me is to say ,” a girl has no name.” Or how about when I sneak an extra cookie from the cookie jar and say to myself,” shame…shame…shame…” as I walk back to the couch.  Or when I say, “You know nothing Jon Snow” in my head every time I’m mad at my husband. Seriously. That’s not normal.

Last night my son, who is almost finished with 6th grade, showed me what he got from school that day. He’d won an award for physical fitness. In our house, we show-off all good grades, artwork, etc. on our bulletin board in the kitchen. We’ve done it with both kids since they were little. Usually they both mildly object but deep down I know they love it.

That said, I knew this award meant more to him then a good grade. He prides himself on keeping active and fit and I knew he was so thrilled to get this in front of his friends.

But then I noticed something…

 
A tear. A little corner was ripped off and then taped back.

“What happened to it?” I asked.

“This kid grabbed it from me and tore it.” he said matter-of-factly.

“What? Why? When? Where was the teacher? Who was it? What’s his name?” I could not contain my anger.

In that moment I completely channeled my inner Cersei from GoT. Even though she’s mostly evil and unequivocally messed up – I wished in that moment that I had the The Mountain next to me and I could have said,” I choose violence.”

Because I did. I do.

For those who don’t watch the show – this week, in a pivotal scene, after those lines are uttered – a man’s head is basically popped off like a bottle cap.

Terrible. Awful. Why would that be what pops in my head?

This world is violent enough and it’s the last thing that I should be thinking about, but oh would I love to have a moment with that little twerp. His parents are probably wolves.

This is when my husband would turn to me and say his favorite one liner (his own),” When did you get so angry?”

To which I always say,” You alright! I learned it by watching you!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Marsala and other things

Happy January! Is the new year treating you well so far? Are you deflating slowly from the merriment like I am? Well, I’m trying to atleast. Work goes into hyper speed until…oh about June. Gulp. Here’s what we’ve been up to – a visual tour:

I call this, I spend a lot of time with chicken for a vegetarian.

 

We’ve been trying to cook more often and I went all old school this past weekend with a Chicken Marsala. The way to my husband’s heart is pretty simple – a meat, a gravy, and a noodle. This was an old Martha recipe. Remember when it was just Martha and all her superiority? Miss that.

I took some time off during the holidays from work and I think my husband and I may have seen a movie a day. One of the benefits of our kids getting bigger is that we are no longer tied to a sitter. If we want to go to a movie, we go. The kids manage to survive for a couple of hours. Here’s three of our favorites. Two of these movies aren’t for the faint of heart – and the other is not the love story you would expect.

My daughter, Kera, spent this long weekend at her high school’s senior retreat. Even though my husband and I both went to Catholic schools, neither one of us ever went to a retreat.  We blame Obama. Just kidding. Last night we went to pick her up in the “homecoming” ceremony. It was so raw and emotional. I fully expected the girls to be crying and happy when they walked in, because that’s how I would be. And isn’t it all about me? No? Ok. You’re right. What I didn’t understand was how many young men would walk in that room with tears in their eyes and talk about their emotions. And the mix of kids was also amazing. The sports guy, the cheerleader, the computer geek, the comedian – all together. The entire weekend is called Kairos, which is a Greek word that means “the right” or “the moment”. That’s about all I can tell  you because the cell phone/tv/computer free retreat, is also about how to protect the things that your peers have shared with you. Each group did get to share one thing with the parents – surprisingly it was all boys talking about their experience, except for one, brave, strong, beautiful girl. Guess which one? Yep. Here she is walking in from her “Kai High” as it’s called.


One last thing. For many years I’ve heard funny, crazy, happy, sad, and completely engrosing stories about my mother-in-law’s childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Old Yorkville. When we lost her too early, I started asking even more questions. Her two sisters and extended family have been filling me in. Initially I was just interested in my mother-in-law’s story, but now I’m obsessed with her mother, Irene. She was a stone cold beauty in every sense of that phrase. I met her just twice. By the time I came into the picture, she had lived a hard life. She didn’t play a huge part in my husband’s childhood, which was dominated by the other grandmother in his life – on his father’s side – Nana. That’s a cool story too. When I first met Joe I didn’t even know he had two grandmothers. I only heard about Nana. I didn’t meet Irene until amost 3 years into our relationship. She was so different than all the other women in his family that I’d met. A little withdrawen and quiet. I was so absorbed with my own little life back then that I really didn’t open up to her at all. Now I’m completely obsessed. Her marriages, her daughthers, her life – I want to know it all. I’ve been bugging everyone to share their stories, and they have. Generously. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. I do hope to share some of what I learn here (if it’s ok with the family). Here’s a picture of Irene on her wedding day. Makes you want to know more about her doesn’t it?


Writing this blog makes me so happy, but it also requires that the people in my life are ok with what I choose to share. I usually don’t ask permission, but I am careful. It’s a tough line and that I’m constantly pushing. Why do I think you want to know about what I made for dinner or what movies I saw? Because if we were to ever meet, or had a cup of coffee together – that’s what I would ask you. Not because I think what I’m doing is so important – but because it’s a detail of life. And I love all the details that go into a person’s life. Do you agree?

 

 

Shopgirl

My favorite part of my favorite movie was on exactly when I needed it.

Today was about baking. And burning. And not thinking I didn’t needed parchment paper and then needing parchment paper. It was about being pissed off because my mother buys me a roll of parchment paper every time I see her. And toilet paper and ziploc bags. So even though I had 10 rolls of parchment paper I didn’t use it. And the coconut macaroons paid. They paid dearly. 

There was also an episode involving using light brown sugar instead of dark brown. Can’t things be easier??

Suffice it to say – I spent the whole day acting like I’ve never baked. Then I remembered that I actually haven’t baked since his time last year. But that’s not an excuse. All I had to do was follow directions. And the directions said use f@@king parchment paper.

So after that day I took a bath. Took an Advil. And turned the TV on. 

  
And instantly I’m in a good mood again. 

I’m easy. Easy like parchment paper.

A Midfall Night’s Dream

It’s November. Did you know that? I kinda knew that but it didn’t sink in until about two hours ago. It’s 2am. I’m up. I went to bed at 10pm after we caught up on Homeland (Carrie is off her meds and its super fun!) About an hour later I woke up and haven’t been able to sleep. My mind is reeling. October is over. But it feels like late September. It’s sunny and not too cool (actually right now it’s pitch black and nippy out but you get my point). The Fall foliage is in Technicolor – no filters needed.  I can’t believe I’m talking about foliage at 2am. Correction – 2:10am.

Here’s everything that’s happened in the last few weeks non sequitur:

  • We kicked-off college visits with my baby girl and I’m sad/happy/excited/scared/jealous/weepy for her. Who will be my partner in crime for all foods ethnic? Definitely not her father and brother, their idea of ethnic food is salsa. Who will tell me about cool new music and make me feel like I’m in the know? I know what you’re thinking. All these things are about me. But she’s about me. She’s mine. I’m not ready to let the world have her yet. The world isn’t good enough. I wish she could experience all those amazing things that are around the corner for her, but still come home every night and sleep in her bed. So now I cry randomly when I’m alone thinking about dropping her off at school. Good times.
  • I’m obsessed with Project Greenlight. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were supposed to be the most interesting thing about this show – and yet they are the least. Effy, the valley-girl-dreadlocked-feminist producer who lives to drive newbie director Jason crazy with her control issues is what’s interesting. The fact that Jason looks like a real life version of Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas is just a bonus. Watch it watch it!!
  • Babes with Books is still going strong! In fact, it’s my turn to host book club next week and I’m excited to see the ladies. We picked Me Before You. Have you read it? Did you love it? I read it in one day. Couldn’t put it down. It could have been a predictable story but it wasn’t – even the parts that you can predict are slightly twisted. Read it read it!!
  • We hosted 8 birthdays in one day. 8. Birthdays. Efficient and crazy. That’s how we roll. See birthday cake as proof!
  • My baby boy was one of those birthdays. He’s 12 now. 12 years ago I woke up at 4am and hightailed it up to Vassar Brother’s Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. 12 years ago I brought home this little, strong-willed, creative, smart, kind boy who makes me laugh every day (when he’s not driving me crazy). 12 years flew by like 12 minutes. See his picture below –  at 9am, eating a hot dog and drinking an Icee on what he called his “cheat day”. I don’t even know what that means. But I’ll play along. Forever.
  • Fall in our town is my jam. One of our very good friends is a gifted photographer and generously shares amazing shots. Marcello you are the best!  I posted some of my favorites below.
  • So….Halloween down. 8 birthdays down. 1st college visit down. Bring on November! Or continue on with November!

jack! Delawarepic Canalpic 8birthdayscake

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