Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We like to plan ahead...

21! Blackjack!

Fancy, 21 weeks.

We went to get out 20 week ultrasound last Tuesday and FancyPants is doing A-OK.Heart rate is 154 beats per minute and the little bugger is measuring at about 13 ounces. S/he's only supposed to be about 11 but I'm tall. In a related note, we also had our 20 week doc's appointment and I found out I gained seven pounds in one month. SEVEN. And it's not like our last appointment was before Thanksgiving- it was after. So I gained all that weight for one holiday, not two.

I'm going to try not to lose my shit about this because I'm supposed to be gaining weight...and going on a diet certainly isn't an option. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled. Especially since it reinforced the fact I needed to buy new pants. Although I joked about living in yoga pants for nine months, they aren't the kind of things that make a girl feel too sexy. In comes my mother-in-law's Christmas gift.

Diane usually gets me a sweater or scarf of some sort- usually from one of the little boutiques in Warwick, NY but this year since she wasn't sure what kind of belly growth I'd be experiencing, she got me something that has come in VERY handy: A gift certificate to Showing with Style in Manayunk, PA. When I first walked in, I was really put off by the price tags on all of the clothes- I couldn't rationalize paying $150 for a pair of jeans that I'd wear for only 5-8 more months. I walked to the back of the store where they had another stash of jeans and since I was feeling very fat in my grey yoga pants, I tried on a pair that was listed as $100.

And I felt like a million bucks.

I still don't like paying $50 for jeans (less $50 MIL gift cert.) but at a time when I'm starting to not feel very pretty, it's all worth it. Especially since I've worn the jeans every day since I bought them.

Other things helping to make me feel a little better about seven pounds:

Lush Cosmetics. I went to Lush after receiving the paper gift my parents gave Todd and I to go stock up on their shampoo only to find that it's discontinued. Hmm. Now, let's be honest with ourselves, Lush, are you really a cosmetic store? You sell bath bombs, some facial scrubs, shampoos and conditioners and soap. I was under the impression that cosmetics consisted mostly of make-up and various face painting tools. So if we want a strict definition (as I always prefer) a cosmetic is a product that improves the appearance. Fair enough. So anyways, I got some stout shampoo to help control my VERY FLUFFY pregnant hair, a lotion bar (it warms up with skin contact) to help with the skin stretchies, a coconut powder deodorant and three bars of soap (which are buy one get TWO FREE.) And I smell like a full blown hippie.

Gap/Old Navy Maternity. It's cheap and most of the stuff fits- The Gap at 16th-ish and Walnut is where I scored some decent loot yesterday- and fairly priced as well. I realized that I'm going to two professional development workshops over the next two weeks- hopefully the people won't overlap otherwise they'll see my entire maternity wardrobe. Twice.

Springfield Mall Macy's Maternity nook right next to their children's department. Also with gift certs- I got something like seven (I'm seeing a pattern here) items for under $100. Oh yea, and I met my first married former student. I had her in eighth grade in 2004 (or so.) She's now going to Penn State Brandywine on a full scholarship, about to transfer to main campus and MEET her husband in January. He's coming over from their country (I forget where...somewhere in the Middle East) to live with her and her parents. They were married in October of this year.

I'm about to sit down and make my third snuggie I've made in a week. One for my brother and sister in-law and now one for my aunt. This is all.

With the pending crappy weather, Todd and I are searching around for something to do on New Year's Eve and Day. Anyone up to anything? I have about six gift certificates from that I bought at an 80% discount...I think we might use one of them. I suppose seven pounds isn't that surprising, now that I think about it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

it's time.

21 weeks. It's time to go buy new pants for I can no longer button them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad.

My nups.

Christmas card, 1995.

Introducing Ava to the finer things in life.

Not too sure.

Bill the Zhu Zhu

I LOVE watching Good Day Philadelphia. There's nothing like waking up to some messy and opinionated news reporting- it's really a great way to start your day. Good Day LA and Good Day New York are often the butt of many a joke on the Soup- and if Joel McHale was stopping by the city of brotherly love for a day, there's no way this one would get by without making his broadcast for a weekly clip.

Aside from the frequent blunders - yesterday Mike Jerrick (formerly of Mike and Juliet- another former Soup staple) was talking about something yesterday- Christmas gift related I think- and he commented that it would provide more "cushion for the pushin'." When he realized what he said, he quickly segwayed onto another topic. A few weeks back when the Tiger Woods nonsense was just getting started he and Jen Fredrick were asking people to send in their best joke about the scandal- so he read this on the air, "What do Tiger Woods and baby seals have in common? They both get clubbed by Norwegians!" After the next break he made a public apology for any harm he may have caused to the viewers about his off color ethnic remarks.

And like a car crash, it's why I watch.

Today...the little gem they provided: Zhu Zhu pets were at the local Toys R Us, one per customer.

I'm not sure which reason is more exciting for Todd about having babies: that we get to see the merging of our genes in a single person...or that he'll get to spend hours in a toy store choosing he perfect gifts for our offspring. It'll mean another round of Sea Monkeys, sporting equipment, dump trucks or dress up clothes- whatever our kid is into, I think there's a chance that he'll be just as excited.

So today, I went to the store and got me a Zhu zhu. Chunk, the white one, to be exact. I have to admit, he's pretty funny.We renamed him Dodger Bill

When I got to the office, I showed my new toy off to the girls and Denise mentioned that my boss (a father of four daughters) was looking for some. When he walked by my office later I quietly said, "I hear you're in the market for some Zhu Zhus" (as though I was picking up my paycheck from the Arby's on Baltimore Pike.) His eyes lit up. "Yea, who told you?" "Denise." "I need two."

I explained where Bill came from. About twenty minutes later (after he got a hold of his wife) he asked if I would go with him later on around 2pm to go pick a few up. I laughed and explained there would be NO WAY Toys R Us would still have any of this year's hottest toy left. He handed me his credit card and off me and the intramural director went to go find them. We got to the store...and they were out already. I felt like a failure to these two little girls.

It reminds me of my yearly New Years resolution. All year (all my life, really) I've been disappointed when I contemplate buying something. If there's a high priced item, too often I'll mull it over for too long and when I finally break down and get it, the store is either out of it or the price is too high. This may spur plenty of impulse buying but whatever- if my kid (or Todd) wants a Zhu Zhu, a Zhu Zhu is what s/he'll get.

And FYI, in case you need one:

Monday, December 21, 2009

I forget to take pictures WAY too often.

...and I'm not above fighting with a 90 year old woman.

On Sunday Todd and I decided we had enough of the indoors after 20+ inches of snow on Saturday. We made a trip to Walmart for the niece and nephew in our lives and made a call to Madge to make sure she was taking care of herself and her 30 yard driveway. Although she was fine, she asked if we could take a trip to Upper Darby to make sure that Grandmom was doing well also.

Grandmom lives in the 69th street region of Upper Darby- it might as well be Philadelphia. Walnut and Chestnut Streets continue to travel into the neighborhood and the only thing that separates this portion of Upper Darby from West Philadelphia is a small park surrounding Cobbs Creek. In a major snow storm, just like in Philadelphia, many of the side streets in Upper Darby go unplowed or are plowed after the storm is long over blocking in all of the cars on the street. When residents go to start the big dig where do they put all of the snow that surrounds their cars? Back in the street of course!

As I watched to the news all weekend Mayor Michael Nutter basically pleaded with the citizens of Philadelphia NOT to put the snow that walled in their cars back into the street, however, he didn't offer an alternative or make any as suspected, they put it right back into the street. Long digression...

Todd and I got to Grandmom's neighborhood around noon. I BOLTED out of the car when I saw her on the porch, shovel in hand pushing snow onto her front lawn. When I got there to tell her that Todd and I were there to help her, she looked around and when she didn't see Todd she looked confused. I asked her nicely to go inside and let us help her- Todd was parking at the nearby Sears parking lot and he'd be right there. "Oh, SEARS?! That's too far, he's going to get sick!" "Grandmom, it's only three blocks, he'll be right here." "Well I'll keep doing this until he get here. I'm not picking the snow up, I'm just breaking it up and sliding it off the porch. See? I'm not really even doing anything!"

Knowing I would make her mad long enough to distract her from doing more work, I picked up the broom nearby and started to help. At this point, she looked at me the way a mother bear eyes up cave intruders when her cubs are fresh out of the womb and yelled, "OH, NO! You WILL NOT help me. I don't want to lose this baby!!" I picked up a shovel, stared her in the eyes and told her, "I'LL GO INSIDE IF YOU'LL GO INSIDE." I knew I was being childish...but so what. So was she.

Grandmom has a really old fashion way about pregnant ladies- she's convinced that her first miscarriage was due to some heavy lifting- she was getting a box down off of a shelf and lost the baby a few days later. Is that possible? Of course. Did it actually happen? Probably not. Should I do what my Grandmother asks to placate her? Sure I should. Did I want to get into a conversation about which one of us was more healthy- the 29 year-old yoga teacher who is five months pregnant but who also works out 4-5 times a week... or the 90 year old with terrible arthritis? Whatever. It's all rhetoric.

Thank goodness Todd walks fast because that porch was about to turn into a WWE wrestling ring if she kept that nonsense up for much longer.

He got there to finish the porch so we went inside to get the bread crumbs ready to feed the birds, tuppence a bag.

This is a picture I paint-brushed after Thanksgiving, 2006ish. That year, grandmom lit her old fashion oven (you have to light it with a match) after the gas was running in it for about three minutes. It produced a fireball that burnt her eyebrows off. She's not as cute and innocent as she looks ;-)

My Entry For the Kia Sorento Ultimate Road Trip Sweepstakes

A) Create a new post titled "My Entry For the Kia Sorento Ultimate Road Trip Sweepstakes" (on your own personal blog) B) Within the blog post, answer the question "If you could take your family on a road trip anywhere, where would you go and why?C) Include in your post, a link back to this giveaway

Let's see...Todd and I were unable to get a trip together for this upcoming week- we were dying to get to a warm beach somewhere- one stipulation: it couldn't cost over $400 per person. We couldn't find a spot, so we're heading to the in-laws to beautiful Orange County New York.

If we could go anywhere though- and I mean anywhere,  I'd really love to drive across the country- take three or four weeks off and hit the road. Sure, I'm five months pregnant, but what a great story to tell later on. I'd leave tomorrow if it were possible. We test the boundaries of our marriage, the strength of the fabric in my yoga pants and the capabilities of whatever vehicle we take (most likely, it would be Todd's...)

I've never taken route 6 across the top of PA, I've never been to Texas, I've never been on route 66. I'd like to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway during the day (it was dark when I drove from LA to San Fran) and maybe even end up in Washington. On the way back with a cooler full of pb&j and tired children I'd like to hit up the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore- and probably swing down to Graceland (because we don't want to blow our load on the way out.)

My parents talked about taking us on a two week vacation one year- flying into LA and driving up to San Fran- I was so excited. You can imagine my disappointment when we spent another week in Sea Isle. 

I know that we would run in to road blocks and things would get VERY uncomfortable- especially if we planned this trip when we had an infant or fact, I'm sure there would be times on the trip when I would be down right miserable...but again- the story would be priceless.

Todd, for Christmas, will you promise me that we will take our family in a car across the country one year?


I hope I did this right. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I love to cook, I hate buying ingredients in recipes.

A few posts back, Shannon talked about cooking and becoming more familiar with her kitchen etc. I'm in a similar boat, I  really enjoy cooking. However, as previously discussed, I'm lazy and don't like to clean up. I also don't like to spend money on things that aren't clothes, books, fabric, yoga trainings and cat toys. What category do leg warmers fall into?

Anyway, there are SO many times when I go to the grocery store with a recipe in hand because I have a taste for something (an old-lady way of saying craving.) Far too frequently I bring items home that I never use again. I've got rice wine vinegar and sesame seed oil from when I was on a wok kick- when am I going to use it again? When's Chinese New Years? How about all of the baking chocolate left over from when I made fudge (I buy extra in case I screw it up)? Just sitting there.

Enter Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2009 where SuperCook was listed. It's the best. Ever. Last night, after grocery shopping, I brought the laptop into the kitchen, logged in and typed in just about every ingredient I had in my kitchen...and you know what it told me? That there were a possible 895 recipes I could choose from to make a combinations of main courses, sides, apps or desserts. What's even better is that they ask if you have other ingredients that would really up the number of recipes available. Also- it's lists recipes that you have all but one or two items remaining or you can highlight an ingredient that you want to use- let's say the plain yogurt is about to expire- they jump to the top of the list.

I went with this eggplant jawn minus the French bread- also, it was a major goal of mine to stay around the hundred dollar mark at the grocery store so that means buying meat in bulk. I walked away with close to ten pounds of Italian sausage so I was able to make an AMAZING dinner of eggplant parm, sausage and some garlic bread leaving enough left overs for lunch today and I froze a Pyrex of that ish for later on. (NOTE: there's absolutely no reason to turn down sausage for $1.49 a pound.)

I love this site. If only there was a similar site for closet contents like Cher had in Clueless to put my leg warmers with as many outfits as possible.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scare of my life.

I had the scare of my life this morning.
I was in the tub
and I looked down at my belly
and there was a small, black hair.
It looked like stubble from Todd's beard.
...and I thought it was growing out of my belly
Fortunately, it was not.


In the Marple Crossroads Shopping Center, there is a stored named this: GIANT BOOK WAREHOUSE.

As an English major in college, I have a snide, elitist chuckle at their expense every time I read it- if they only knew... But I wonder EVERY time I pass it- do they sell giant books or is it a giant warehouse FULL of books?

Working in a college athletic department has it's ups and downs- something I use to pass the time is making comments to coaches and students when they misuse grammar and/or punctuation. In a recent comment post on Tursi's blog, I note:

"I've been reading some of what my student athletes write on some applications for a training I'm doing- good God- Tursi, thank you for being able to string a sentence together. When I read the goodness of your blog and others, it's so fluent and easy...when I see misplaced punctuation and out of whack eyes/head/heart hurts."

Yesterday I read an email from a colleague- sometimes we get transfer students in. It went something like this- (but not exactly, I don't want to embarrass anyone ;-)

"WHEN did we find out about this one??????? Another transfer???? I don't see her on the website!!!!"

When I saw the person later I remarked, "were you really surprised/upset by that transfer notice? I was really caught off guard by your gratuitous use of punctuation..."

He replied with something along the lines of, "uh, no, I just, well, you know....(trail off into silence.)" Exit stage left, me, feeling like a jerk. Okay, so it's not acceptable to comment on people's grammar habits, I suppose. A little gauche, if you will. Whatever, these are people with advanced degrees, I don't really think it's out of line.

Another personal quirk: I refuse to use commonly accepted texting-type. I have a qwerty keyboard on my  phone. I'll use it to it's fullest, thank you.

Good writing is something I take COMPLETELY (I use caps when I want a word to stand out)  for granted. I read and reread my blog and make constant edits- but for what? I think I have three or four readers. I think the answer is that I do it all for the former eighth grade English teacher in me...

Monday, December 14, 2009


Yesterday was prenatal yoga training day- Todd and I drove up to NYC at 6am. He dropped me off at 36th and Madison and went out for an hour run in Central Park just in time for me to find out that I was at the wrong New York Sports Club (NYSC.) Awesome.

I ran seven blocks to the NYSC in Grand Central Station and sat through 8 hours of training. It was a really fun day- I was already aware of many of the modifications from the Level 1 training. We had a class at the beginning of the training and everyone had to "get pregnant" by putting a pillow or various other props under their shirt. Thank goodness I didn't have to pretend. The male teacher and the other male in the class played along too. It was neat.

At the beginning of class Josh the instructor dimmed the lights and had each of us put one hand on our heart and one on our belly to connect with our baby.

I remember in college when I was the ice queen. I didn't get emotional in 2001 when 9/11 survivors were on Oprah. I used to not know how to deal with various other emotional situations and would either avoid them completely or look at the floor. Things began to change as the years went by- I cried at the lyrics of a song while Todd and I were trying to choose a perfect wedding song (we went with Queen's "Best Friend"...I'm not sure anyone else on the planet tears up when they hear Queen.) I cried when I said my vows but...I did not cry when I found out I was pregnant.

It's all been a surreal experience so far- like it's still not happening to us yet. No morning sickness, no aversions, no real cravings for anything other than for food in general...seeing the baby on the ultra sound screen didn't even seal the deal for me 100%. I'm starting to feel what might be little Tae Bo session in my belly- but again, since I don't have a point of reference, I haven't been convinced...people constantly tell me, "I never would've known you were pregnant!" Yea. Me either. In fact, the other pregnant chick in my class was one week behind me...and she's already got a full-blown belly.

I sat with my hand on my heart feeling the solid, rhythmic beats and had the other hand on my belly that's starting to peek over the belt of my pants. Josh asked us to recognize the connection between mother and child with each breath. To think about the wonder of the human body- that our bodies are creating life- a person- and a love that otherwise we would never know.

I started to feel a tear drip from one I quickly wiped it away because it was so unexpectant...and I was in a room full of people. Then came another...and another... and finally, when I couldn't keep up with them I just let them run down my face. It was the first time this all felt real.

Todd and I have joked back and forth that I'm making a person but more in a "Can you go get me ice cream since I'm bearing your fruit" kind of a way. But man...

Reason #28 why I love Todd: I don't have to babysit him. He came with me to New York and he spent the day going for a run and walking around the city stopping in the NBA store to see if there was a Tshirt he'd been eyeing up and he swung by the movie theater to check out Fantastic Mr. Fox...I was so thankful that he came with me yesterday...I was comforted to know that when I came out of class, I'd be able to share with him the funny sight that I was crying in the middle of yoga class so I didn't feel alone.

After we returned from lunch, some of the other people in class (the non-pregs) asked Josh where he gets his little affirmations that he used "because they were so touching that I was tearing up."

Whew...I'm not messy alone.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Things that make me laugh...

I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday. This entire week I've been bored to tears. There are some days when I run around like a CRAZY lady (usually in the Fall or Spring during field hockey or lacrosse seasons) but in Winter and Summer...I'm literally climbing the walls of the Internet.

Two days ago I contemplated via my facebooks status (plural on purpose- it makes me laugh. Best Buys. Wawas) if I should get hair extensions or pay for a hotel on Saturday night in New York City before my prenatal yoga training on Sunday. I opted for the hair extensions telling myself that if I found a deal for under one hundred dollars, we'd spring for the hotel room too- credit does amazing things. I had a talk with Danielle, a friend from my grad class and who is a woman of color. She and I have about the same length hair- barely reaching our ears and about two weeks ago she came in with a new shoulder length hairdo. I asked her all about it and I told her that I was a little nervous about the trying the whole process but I wanted to get into it again.

Tuesday night while Todd was in class I made a trip to Sally beauty supply in Ridley and bought a few packs of hair- some that just about matched and one that was a little darker so I could throw in some low-lights. Last night I got home after the second poorly attended meeting this week (which made me all mopey) so I decided that it was time to open up the bag of tracks and start gluing instead of lay around, feel sorry for myself and watch TV.

My sisters met me with the following:

SK: I'm about to glue in a weave
j.madrak: Why?
SK: Why not?
JM: you're watching too much Wendy Williams.
(later she said: "Whoaaaa" and "Like!")

SK: I'm about to glue in extensions. Wanna come over and help?!
LMad: Wow- exciting...Can you do it yourself?
SK: I can
SK: Crying all the way because I'll be lonely
(censored pregnant lady talk)
LM: Take a picture [for me.]

The first track I tried to put in was a mess- I needed two mirrors- or a person to help so I could see the back of my head. I sat down and started to sew clips to the tracks only to discover that if I kept that up, I'd need about twenty packs of clips and my head would feel like I was wearing a helmet. I was still really nervous about the glue/rubber cement and doing it myself- mostly because I didn't want to look a mess....BUT I had spent the last few days searching EVERYTHING on the Interweb and had viewed three or four how-tos on YouTube about applying extensions to short hair- what did I have to lose? Two things could  happen: It would look awesome...or it would be a mess. Either way, it would be a good source of amusement.

I started sectioning my hair on the top and sides- I had both sides applied when Todd got home. I was working on the project upstairs so he came up to see me and gave me his very best Wendy Williams "How you doin?" (she wears a lot of fake hair.)

It's funny, even though I can be completely myself when I'm around Todd- and feel completely at ease I wasn't sure how he was going to react when he saw me gluing tracks of someone else's hair to my head...and that I needed his help to hold the mirror...he reacted exactly how I wanted him to...

Reason #853 why I love Todd: he helped with a smile, didn't judge and laughed right along with me about how fun/silly the whole scene was. I wanted to glue hair on my head and he wanted to watch Syracuse beat Florida. We have a TV in our bedroom so we all got what we wanted. He even glued one or two tracks in.

So...mission accomplished. I feel like a new woman with a new 'do. Although it doesn't exactly following along with the Wendyism of "the bigger the hair the smaller the hips" it still is helping me feel pretty. And I haven't felt very pretty with short hair and a belly peaking over my pants recently.

I'm ready and available to help anyone who needs a whole head or a few tracks to spice their game up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Change up.

I've been blogging about being hungry, food and home repairs...and that's it. I'm starting to think I'm pretty boring.

Here's what's exciting in everyone else's life (I made the links so they open a new window, btw, and all from craigslist, all safe for work.)

Want to conversate in French?

Heavy duty landscaping work masked in a free tree.

Call me and I'll kick your ass for free

I want to hunt/be a mentee

Is there an age limit?

It makes me laugh every time

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I couldn't sleep this morning. I knew something was going on. It was 4:30am and I laid awake for nearly an hour before I was able to get back to sleep. I surfed the interweb from my phone so I kept busy for the hour but I had a tough getting back to sleep. The sleep I had from then on was not a great sleep- I could hear the weather pounding down on our roof.

About two hours later, I could tell by the noises in the room that Todd was just about getting ready to leave for work...and then I hear it: the sound of a drop of water falling from above hit my pillow. I disregarded the noise- it had rained like CRAZY all summer and fall- there's NO WAY this was happening.

I heard it again.

And again.

I felt my pillow and sure enough...there was a leak coming from the ceiling.

Turns out it wasn't s huge deal- we got a guy recommended by our insurance agent over to the house by 9am. He was able to scoot up on the roof, find the hole near the original chimney and tell me that who ever put our new roof in ten or so years ago did a really shitty job.

Awesome. Todd gets to learn how to patch up roof holes real soon.

And now...not a cloud in the sky.

I've spent the past two days at work leafing through these: Time Magazine's Top 50 Websites of 2009.

You probably won't get any work done now, either. You're welcome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Had myself a busy little weekend.

December 7th.
I took another cue from Shannon using I never thought I'd have serious things that I love to put on one of these- but here they are!
1- Christmas Tree scented things. I bought one of these candles and lit it in the living room. Todd came on and said, "it smells like Christmas." Now I can't get enough. $3.33 at Michael's right now.
2. I'm starting to show a bit- and not feel much like a sex pot. I bought some pretty undies from Old Navy to lift my spirits. Mission accomplished. Three pair for $12.
3. I'm allowed to have one cup of coffee a day. I like to grind my own beans so I almost immedeatly wrote off Trader Joe's Wintry Blend- but decided to try it in the store yesterday for the heck of it. Not sure of the price- but it's GOOD.
4. Since I work at a college, there are open flame policies- when I saw the candle warmer on sale- ALSO FOR $3.33!!- I scooped it up.
5. There was nuh-huh-huh-huthing on TV last night...until I flipped to the Travel Channel in hopes of seeing a docu about someplace warm. There was a three hour mini-marathon for Meet the Natives: USA. It's about five men from Tanna in the South Pacific- I thought it was really going to exploit the Tannanians but it's really soft and heart warming- and every episode ends with the five men putting their penis sheathes back on and doing a circle dance in their host's living room. It's really fun/funny. In a good way.
The rest of the weekend was spent doing these things:
Todd installed a mailbox further up the hill so we have a greater chance of NOT getting hit by cars when walking to our house.

It might even be level!!

Shannon and I went here...and promtly left after seeing things like this:

I get it. It's art. 

They were selling pizza slices for $2. The slices were worth the drive. Also, we found out what age a person becomes too cool/old for a picture on a hipster's lap who's dressed up like Santa: 29. May have been 28 but I wasn't propositioned at that age.

Cravings this week: pizza a salt and vinegar potato chips. Old wives' tales tell us baby would be a boy based on these reasons. We'll see.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holy Pulled Pork, Batman!

I was roped into subscribing to a Sunday delivery of the Philadelphia Inquirer some time ago- usually the paper gets taken out of the bag some time on Sunday and thrown on the coffee table- sometimes I'll leaf through it, most times I won't. I'm in it for the coupons. The selling point for the subscription came when the customer service rep offered a complimentary $10 Target gift card and a daily subscription to the online edition of the paper. So far because of the daily local section, I've found out about some pretty righteous events: the Lithuanian Festival in Port Richmond and now that Dan King has opened a farmers market in Chester, just one town over from where I live.

Read about the history here

I read this article on Monday and couldn't WAIT until today, opening day. I got there around 1:15pm and it was clearly opening day- they were already out of many items (chicken wings, whole chickens) but had reserves waiting in the wings (ha!) behind the counter in the rotisserie that about ten people were waiting on.

I opted for the BBQ pork sandwich ($3.00), a small side of mac and cheese ($.75- beat that, Wawa!) and a small side of collard greens ($.75). Total price of lunch: $4.50. AND it may be the best pulled pork bbq sammy I've ever had. Ever.

They offer so many choices for BBQ- ribs, half and whole chickens, BBQ pork, roasted ham- and as I mentioned, there were out of a few things so I'm certain there's more and it's all delicious.

Aside from the BBQ, there's an Amish raw meat section, a  pie and dessert stand as well as deli and produce sections.

There are a few tables to eat in if you'd like but I opted to drive back to work...and nearly tore through the bag because it all smelled SO GOOD.

In true Amish tradition, they're only open Thursday through Saturday but it's worth the wait- (Thurs 7am-5pm, Friday 7am-7pm, Sat 7am-3pm). Also, there is 15 minute parking right across the street so the market is VERY accessible.

The community is a little run down as the article discusses but hopefully this little spot will attract patrons from nearby communities to swing by. I'm so excited to go back...**cleaning up drool from my keyboard**

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Saint Katherine Drexel

Seven of my field hockey players with seventh graders from Saint Katherine Drexel Neumann Academy in Chester, PA.

One of the many tasks I'm charged with at work is coordinating community service projects through the Saint Katherine Drexel Neumann Academy with our athletes. So far, we've sent four teams and made six trips. Each team goes to help out with their after school program and basically has a Catholic grade school gym class for about an hour and 45 minutes.

Today I revisited my days from the St. Andrew School yard where Mrs. Shinn-Ross taught us the rules to capture the flag and let us run loose. Now I know why that was her favorite gym activity: the kids LOVE it and it can last for hours.

The first game didn't have a lot of strategy involved- masses of children (in their full uniforms) just tried to run over to the other side. Of course, they were immediately caught and sent packing to jail where they waited for their teammates to set them free and/or acted as eyes for their other teammates.

My favorite part was probably when they stood toe to toe at the half court line and stepped over the line and back trying to bait each other to catch them...or when they danced at the half court line to draw attention while their teammates either sprinted over to the other side to try and recover their flag or free people in the jail. Final favorite part: running DIVES, FULL blown DIVES across the line missing being tagged by mere millimeters. It was hilarious. And fun.

But mostly hilarious.

Best. Christmas. Pic. Ever.

I mean, really.

Niece, Ava, Christmas 2009.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanks for the help, Cooks!

Cookie is a special little cat. According to her vet and my sister in-law, Katie, because of a portosystemic liver shunt, she isn't able to digest proteins and as a result, is basically drunk all the time off of the by-products from the food she eats. Since this makes life a little more interesting, we've developed quite a little persona for Mrs. Cookie Pinkelstein- some days she's a frail old lady who looks like she'll fall over and croak at any second, other days, she the HILARIOUS drunk aunt who wears mix-matched socks and earrings to holiday parties and when it's brought to her attention she looks at you, takes a drag of the cigarette she has on one of those long, old time cigarette holders and bellows, "Thanks, hun, now be a dear and pass the whiskey."

Todd and I are creative. What can we say? (Above- Cookie helping put up the Christmas Tree by holding down the decoration box. Below, end result. Nice job, Pickles.)

So she's been having a few good days since two weeks ago when she's was throwing up everything she managed to swallow down. As of late, our little gem climbs up on anything and everything to see if there's a snack waiting for her. Because it's pretty annoying, we continue on with the Pickles (short for Pinkelstein) story pretending like she's helping us whenever we're doing anything.

Last night, Cooks helped me with dinner and nearly burnt her little nose off in the rice.

So here's the deets:

_____oz. of V8 (replace V8 for amount of water that the slow cook rice calls for)
1 cup of regular rice- I used long grain brown rice
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
 and basically follow the recipe on the rice package- it packs 2 servings of veggies- and basically tastes like tomato basil soup with rice. Pretty good with the butter, garlic talapia. Yum.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Have you had your V8 today?

Week 4

17 weeks, 3 days. Yep, there's a baby in there alright.

What a crappy picture my phone took though.

In week 17 preg peeps are supposed to start experiencing congestion and general stuffiness but I'm pretty sure I caught a cold. I scoffed at the email about the congestion because those idiots have been wrong all along in my case so why would they know anything about Fancy at this point?

So I've been stubborn- I spent the morning blowing my nose in toilet paper and paper towels and got exactly what I deserved: a raw nose.

Juvie yoga was fun again and but we had a short class today- the kiddies were a little late. I emailed James yesterday my proposal asking for $50 an hour for weekly visits. After a little research, $25-50 is a normal going rate when you're not charging per person so I went with the high end hoping to fall somewhere in that ball park. A few extra bucks would be nice for Christmas.

I had a delicious little can of V8 today. I've been SOOOOO hungry as of late so I'm trying to do what I can to eat good things. I was surfing on to see what's what and came across a recipe I'm going to try out tonight. It might be gross but either way, I'm going to omit the pepper and maybe add a side or brock-reeee. Updates to come.

I'm using Google Chrome- what's the story on where the spell check went, eh?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Who's that baby in my Tipi?

It's me! It's me!

Looong weekend came to an end- and it only reinforced that I don't want to the traditional sense of the word, at least.

Let's see, this weekend was filled with the Dewetzel nups, another baby check up, White Christmas at the Academy and...putting up the tree.

1. Baby check up went like this: Me: Why do I keep getting headaches? Gazelle (the midwife, another reason why I want to name my kid something awesome) You've doubled the amount of blood in your body so it's pretty common. G: lay down, let's check out the baby. (pulls out Doppler) Fancy: beat, beat, beat, beat (muffled wrestling) beat, beat, beat) G: Oh, did you hear that, that was a kick!Todd: (raised eye brow) hi-ya!

It was neat- last time they tried to listen to Fancy, they had to PRESS the Doppler really hard into my month later, the little bugger was found by my belly button. S/he's moved about 5 inches up in a month. Someone told me this month (and I can't remember who) that if babies continue to grow at the rate they do in utero, they'd be the size of the sun by the time they're 2ish. Crazy.

2. Dewetzel nups- the reception was in a very Dewee-esque joint- converted farm house. It was rustic and pretty and simple- but cool- and very Andy and Katie. Congrats to the Dewetzels. Card's in the mail, btw (because OF COURSE, I bought it that morning and forgot it at home.) Very me.

3. Christmas'd the house up. Todd had basketball practice on Saturday- I dug out our decos- and found two bags that Todd hadn't unpacked from our move in JULY 2008. Yup. I was dreading getting the Christmas ornaments out for about a month. I thought the nook under our stairs in the bottom floor was STUFFed with crap we've accumulated. As it turns out, although it's sort of true, the two bags got washed quickly, half the junk tossed and I was able to see the bottom of the floor in seconds. I got out the musty old tree and had it up  and the living room dusted and cleaned in about an hour and a half. It's a table top tree so the cats aren't too interested in it.

4. White Christmas. Saw it in the city. It was fine. If you can get cheap/free tickets, go. Otherwise, just about every seat in the Academy has an obstructed view so don't pay full price. I had a bar in front of my face for the whole show... this would be acceptable, of course, if it were a bar with drinks...or a chocolate bar...or a gold bar. Nope. It was a "don't fall from the third balcony bar." Boo.

5. What's this Google wave business? I'm if you have one too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


After bitching and moaning to my poor husband all day that we don't make "enough" money I dragged my feet to Juvenile Detention yoga where I had a tremendous session. Two residents and three guards participated. I discovered that people of the African American flavor do yoga the same way they do horror flicks: by hootin' and hollering throughout the whole damn thing.

I think I mentioned last week that the female residents talked through the whole session- the males residents were quiet...but the guards couldn't hold it together. It was fun. And funny. And upon conclusion of the hour said hootin' and hollering guard said, "Uh, I think I need to show my wife that downward facing dog." I love it. La-la-la-love it.

I brought up to James that I'm not going to be able to do much more charity work after my four weeks is completed so he asked me to put together a proposal to submit to his boss with a salary request. I'm in. But how much is one hour a week worth? Help a sister out and offer suggestions, will ya?

The detention center is conveniently located right next to the Granite Run Mall- I was able to skip over to Payless only to find out they don't have the Christian Sirianos in store. Makes. Me. Want. Them. More. To cap off the feeling-sorry-for-myself afternoon, a 20 minute massage was just what the doctor ordered at the mall...before heading home to watch the DVR'd Wendy Williams. Now I'm about to teach two more FREE yoga classes.

I think I have a New Year's resolution start charging people for my services.

Devil's playground aka I'm a grump.

It's starting to hit me (and in turn, Todd.) I'm starting to freak out a little that in a few short months, we'll be parents. That's not necessarily the bad part. In fact, I'm pretty excited about the rocking to sleep, seeing how I handle midnight feedings, the trials and tribulations of an infant growing into a toddler. Bring that stuff on!

The problem is more along the lines of having champagne tastes on a beer budget. I'm meeting with my HR rep next week to discuss my maternity benefits. I'm a little nervous about what's going to happen financially during the four-ish weeks where I'm sort of, but not really sure if I get a pay check or not. It's a little unnerving. Especially with that pesky mortgage hanging over our heads.

I've spend all day looking over plans and details about starting a yoga class- do I start my own at a local library? Teach at someone else's studio? What about insurance, renting space, and marketing for my classes? And how about teaching yoga eight moths pregnant...that's gonna be a real sight.

I'm sure everyone has the same worries that I'm having- there's never enough money in the world to have it all and certainly not with a kid on the way. There isn't enough to do at work this week to keep my mind from drifting back to the thoughts over and over again and what's worse...I'm always hungry.

Oh well, I have to go get ready to teach three free yoga classes today. This seems counterproductive.

Monday, November 23, 2009

And I need them.

Please, please look at these.

Ok, after yesterday's little excursion to Target where I spent way too much money on things that don't fit in my house (apparently I have a realllly tall toilet and a very uneven floor) or cleaning supplies that I promised myself I'd use, I didn't think I'd find anything else I'd want to buy. Yesterday was one of those days where I had a BAD case of buyers remorse. Bad. As it turns out, the steam cleaner really, REALLY works- so I feel better today. The only downside is only two cleaning pads are I need to wash them in between each use...which is fine since I don't like to clean for long periods of time anyway. It's a win-win.

And now, since I obviously made the right choice on the steamer (I'm thinking about going home and use it again today after yoga class) I think I'll make the right call on these shoes. I just need a snazzy little scarf to dress up an all black outfit to wear on turkey day. (Please note: pants worn on T-Day will be a spandex blend as will the over sized sweater...I plan to maximize the potential of my stuffing exposure.)

Augutsten Burroughs' new Christmas compilation is out (also found at Target 30% off) and is a nice little first-person pessimistic warm-up for the Season. I'm half way through it already and he's discussed his adolescent confusion between Santa and Jesus, waking up in bed with a department store Santa (he's gay for all of you who aren't familiar), a touching(/hysterical/eerie reminder of what it's like to be a dysfunctional/functional drunk) living the life as a bum for two days (blacked out) prior to Christmas and various other little Christmas gems. Go get it- you'll finish it in a day or two as I'm about to.

What else...oh yea, Todd and I finally got a chance to check out Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts. On Friday I saw an ad for 50% off tickets on facebook (it's usually $38.50 for one which includes the price of admission for whichever museum the hunt is held) so we got a good little deal. We showed up late so they finished giving the three groups their instructions before Todd and I were sent on our way- and given a time extension...but the competitive nature in both of us shined right through and we finished in record time.

There were 24 questions to answer with maps and "clues" all over the museum. Some of the clues were more of a seek and find (clue provided, once the painting/sculpture was found you use the description to fill in the blanks) but some had patterns (using the Chinese calendar.) We got stuck on one for about twenty minutes only to find out that it was eliminated (that's what we get for being late) but it still didn't matter...because we won! Our prize was free admission into a hunt in the next 90 days (there's one at the Franklin Institute that looks dope or one at the Reading Terminal Market) so we really paid $38.50 for four hunts. We're so thrifty.

...still doesn't make up for the steamer.

I started practicing the guitar again this weekend. My fingers are a little sore. I read somewhere that the baby can hear sound at this point so I'm hoping that after months of playing tunes if the little bugger gets restless in his/her crib, I can whip out the axe and soothe his/her tired eyes...with the whole experience being so easy so far I'm just thinking that this HAS to be the quiet before the storm. If not and my kid continues to be awesome, at least I'll be able to wail.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I did it again.

I cleared my schedule for tomorrow to complete one of the many items on the to do list:

1. clean our drawers and make a donation to the goodwill
2. finish project for last grad class (which is just busy work, btw. A compilation of a paper from each of the classes inculding an introduction and a conclusion regarding my growth as a leader throughout the process.)
3. clean the house
4. rake the lawn
5. anything productive around the house
6. read

Instead, an hour ago, I got (and paid for tickets to) a facebook wall post:

Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts Philly: Get 1/2 off tickets for tomorrow's Murder at the Philadelphia Museum Scavenger Hunt! A murdered curator has left a trail of clues connected with secrets in works of art. Can your team of sleuths crack the code and find out who dunnit? To receive your 50% discount, click on the link below and enter "YoAdrian" at ...checkout. This offer is good on the next 10 tickets sold and can only be used on the November 21 Murder at the Philadelphia Museum Scavenger Hunt.

I just saw Yes Man this Sunday and I don't want to pass up a fun opportunity. Who wants to clean my house?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yoga in Detention

Through my YogaFit training, it's required that we complete eight hours of community service. Although I'm teaching an intramural at Neumann on Mondays for an hour and a half for FREE, my athletic director took a call a few months back from an alum who is the activities director at the Juvenile Detention Center at Lima. They're always looking for people to volunteer their time to spend with the residents- so I said, "Sure! I'm three months pregnant! What the heck- let's do this!"

I didn't know what to expect.
If you've never been to Lima, it basically looks like any other government-run office building (blue walls, 70's yellowish counter tops and beige everywhere else) except this place also has doors you have to be buzzed into and lock behind you- places to sign in and out and guards and other workers everywhere.

I was escorted to this room:

With this view:

Six girls were brought to participate in the session yesterday. It reminded me of my WORST classes when I taught at BH. The difference here- I didn't HAVE to get anything done- also, I was the fun teacher that day. I was the reason they were able to get out of class or not be trapped in their rooms. I went through and easy/beginner session, working on breathing and focus. If you've ever been to a yoga class, you know that quiet is the norm but if I expected and demanded that yesterday, I was going to be disappointed. We laughed the whole time, the girls asked why some poses were named after animals and some weren't and otherwise, they seems to appreciate the time to talk about focus and appreciating the light that's inside others (the meaning of the word we say to each other at the end of class: namaste.)

I'm going back for three more sessions- all Tuesdays from 3-4. Next week, I think if we have the space, I'll try a head stand or a shoulder stand with them. When you teach yoga to adults, they don't always have the sense of wonder- and they aren't as willing to try some of the inversions or poses that take them out of their comfort zones...but kids are invincible.

I had a funny moment at the end of class- I usually thank people for coming and tell them that I look forward to helping them on their journey and through their practice but in this case- I hope I don't see these girls again. Once they're on good behavior or serve their time, they go home. I was reminded by the director that these kids have seen it all and been through it all- stuff that you or I would think only happens to people movies. I got a taste of that when I worked with a few of my students at BH with just one of my classes but let's face it- I have no idea what they deal with. I'm a white girl from Drexel Hill and now I'm a married white woman who owns a house and can pay for (albeit on credit) yoga teacher trainings.

I hope they had fun yesterday. I did and I'm looking forward to going back next week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ultrasound results are in! Todd and I are having a....


Fancy Pants, 14 weeks, 5 days.

Our midwife Jamesina wanted to see if the due date was correct (I suppose my year long record of my cycle wasn't enough for them...) and low and behold- it was! Fancy is moving right along.

It's pretty awesome too. I get daily emails showing how far along the little peanut is and some are alien-esque at best. But in some of these shots, I could see a little arm, little legs (our kid's gonna be able to dunk) and a big old head! Also, as Tursi pointed out, I'm pretty sure we have a thumb sucker on our hands- I was a thumb sucker until I was about seven so why shouldn't Fancy?

Our poor kid- I've gotta post some pics of both Todd and I as youngins'. Thank goodness we both grew into our teeth. Buck teeth or not, I'm sure Fancy will be a looker.

So on to non-baby related items. I'd like to talk about Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme. After T-bone and I went to Hawaii for the h-moon, I became obsessed with all things coconut. I still have my Beachcomber Bud's Tanning Oil. I have to sit it in front of the heater in the winter because it congeals at around 70 degrees. Neat. Congeals is a good word. I was at Walgreens this morning picking up a few migraine reliefs items (Hershey Kisses, ginger ale, ActivOn) and I saw Burt's foot creme. I've never been one to use products directly as the label suggests to obviously I'm going to use this stuff and hand an face creme. Sure, it's a little gooier than most face/hand cremes (that's how it's spelled on the bottle) but it smells like Hawaii. And what better way to relieve a migraine than to take a mini vacation right in the comfort of my own office.

Right now, I'm reading Timothy Ferris' The Four Hour Work Week. I'm convinced there's something more for us all out there (ie working less and playing more.) If it's in this book, I'll pass the word along.

Now's the time on Sprockets when we dance.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rising Dragon Fist.

Let's go:


Lean Cuisine Queen

BF (before Fancy) I used to be a Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine Queen. Giant would always have one or the other on sale for $2 each or 6 for $10 so it made PERFECT sense to grab a few to keep lunches-a-flowing in the Kurpel house. It works mostly because when it comes to getting ready in the morning, both my husband and I are minimalists: we only do the bare necessities when it comes to grooming and getting out of the house so we can fully maximize our time spent sleeping.

If you recall, although I haven't had any real nausea or food aversions due to Fancy, I have had little cravings and noticed that somethings make me feel better than others when I eat them- for example sugary or fried items- no good. Home cooked meals such as stuffed shells or scrambled eggs? Awesome. In the quck category fell my frozen lunches. I can't say it's a bad thing- stuff that isn't good for me isn't tasting as good as it used to- so Fancy, thanks! Although it puts a few extra minutes in my morning routine, but for you, Little Baby, I'm in.
I was running out of things to bring for lunch this week (and just about tired of eaing PB&Js) so I decided that it was time for an egg salad sammy. I put the two little eggies in the pot, watched it come to a boil (those jerks are liars, by the way, watched pots DO boil) set the egg timer for twelve minutes and ran upstairs to finish getting ready for work.
While making the rest of breakfast (Fancy and I share a love affair with breakfast meats), I removed the pot from the heat and dumped a cup of ice in to start the cooling process. I notoriously crack open the eggs WAY too early and they're still a little soggy in the mid so I decided to put them in a tup container as is (with two pickles) and bring them to work with the mayo/mustard/salt/pepper mixture in another.
In the recipe I found on my cell the chick suggested putting both salt and vinegar in the water while boiling the eggs. I put the salt in the water which is supposed to fix any cracks while boiling (no problems there) and figured the two pickles in the egg container would have enough vinegar- it's supposed to help the shell slide of easier. It did.

So there it is. Egg salad by computer light. I wasn't as easy as taking the cardboard box out of the freezer and pushing 5 buttons on the microwave but it was easy enough, I suppose, and Fancy likes it WAY better.

Todd and I get to meet Fancy face to face tonight. Well, face to screen, at least with our first ultrasound. Hopefully we'll have our first Fancy pics tonight. Hella excited. I hope s/he's waving or giving the finger or has a mohawk or something.

Our kid's gonna be awesome.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


After our loss on Saturday (which I'm a little bit more over now) I turned to Todd and said, "You're taking me out for dinner. I want to go to Ralph's."

We didn't go because he fell asleep on the floor and I fell asleep with Pickles (Cookie) resting on my chest. She's cute.

I was getting ready to plan for dinner yesterday afternoon and I still was craving either Chicken or Veal Mozzarella from Ralph's. If you've never been to Ralph's, please go. Now. I've been making trips so Ralph's since 2003 when we used to go just about Saturday night. It's one of those places in the city who still only accepts cash and to be a server there you have to be related or know someone...I'm not convinced that the servers (all men) aren't using it for a cover for something else- similar to the title of waste management if you get what I'm saying. Wink, wink.

Around the time when I made these weekly trips to Ralph's I bought the official Ralph's cook book to tried and make a few of the dishes myself. While trying to recreate my favorite dishes I had a good laugh (and made a HUGE mess) since each of the recipes in the book have ingredient lists that would be suitable for making banquet size portions. I quickly gave up on that dream and left it up to the pros. I like going out for dinner anyway.

So last night I decided that it was time to give it a shot again. I Googled Ralph's Veal Mozzarella and it came right up! Just like the cookbook, the Food Network also indicated that the ingredient list for the roux was for a banquet size proportion but after a few years of cooking experimentation, I was able to make a small batch- otherwise, the recipe worked out spectacularly as is (minus 20 slices of mozzarella.)

I made one change- I didn't want to buy veal at a grocery store so I stuck with the pork medallions I already had at home.

Side note- I had a funny little interaction in the liquor store when I bought the Sherry. I asked the lady behind the counter (HUGE gold earrings with a name plates, HUGE hair and a lip ring) about her experience with cooking with Sherry and she gave me the look I used to give to Sister Gertrude in Trig. I thought I'd try.

I've decided that even though I didn't try, you CAN'T make this dish without the Sherry. As soon as I poured the sherry into the pan of melting butter, that familiar aroma filled the kitchen and I my mouth WATERED. Whenever I make a recipe for the first time, I'm ALWAYS disappointed but the cooking gods were with me last night and dinner was a hit but then again, whenever I've used and ENTIRE stick of butter I've never been wronged either.

I'm going to give this dish a whirl again since I have plenty of bouillon on hand and a whole bottle of Sherry but next time I think I'll try it with Chicken and maybe margarine to make it a little friendlier on the waistline.

Oh yea, and if anyone wants to buy me a Christmas gift, I'd like a meat tenderizer. As it goes, although using a hammer to pound away at the meat isn't the worst idea I've ever had, it sure isn't the easiest way to work on a piece of meat.


  • 12 (2-ounce) medallions milk-fed veal, pounded thin
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 tablespoons roux, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 24 slices mozzarella, sliced thin


Dredge veal in flour. Saute veal in oil for 2 minutes on each side. When done, drain oil, add butter, roux and sherry. Bring to a boil lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

At this point, layer 2 mozzarella slices on each piece of veal. Put pan under broiler to melt cheese.

Serve 3 pieces of veal on each plate, spoon sauce over all.


  • 16 ounces chicken broth
  • 6 rounded tablespoons flour
  • 4 ounces water

In mixing bowl, add flour to water while whisking. Mixture must be smooth, with no lumps. Bring chicken broth to a boil. When boiling, whisk in flour mixture, again making sure there are no lumps. Allow to cool,then store, covered, in the refrigerator, until needed.

pot o' spaget.

Fresh mozzarella.

Beautiful little pork babies.