Monday, December 26, 2005
  Nana Picklehead

The Cutie Patootie, while still a man of few words has ways of getting his point across. For instance, if his tummy tells him it's getting close to dinner time he has been known to lead his grandfather by the hand to the kitchen stove, and look at him as if to say "for goodness sakes man! get cooking!" He can articulate "daddy" and" cat", and makes a fair approximation of the words "apple" and "doggie". We know he can say Momma, but he seems to prefer torturing his mother by refusing to utter it except when you are not really listening so you aren't 100 percent sure you heard that right. This isn't to say he isn't talkative. Sometimes he chatters away like a magpie. We just have no idea what he's saying.

A few days ago I was greeted at the front door by the CP and Sarcasdad. "Here's Nana" Sarcasdad said. Nana ? Where had that come from? Sarcasdad insisted the baby had seen me and called me Nana. Just for the record this child could refer to me as Picklehead, and I would be enchanted. I don't care what he calls me as long as he calls. I was lobbying for Grandmom. I can live with Mom Mom, although to be honest I always found that to be kind of a made up sounding name. Plus, our family is already rife with Mom Moms. Nana was what I called my grandmother . I don't have a great deal of memories about her , but I can recall a little grey haired woman who was slightly stooped and shrinking with age, who although nice to me was described by my mother as being tough as nails and manipulative. Not the imagine I want to project. The next day my daughter said " I know you don't want to hear this but your Grandson went into your room this morning and he called for Nana". Of course he says 'nana' to everything. Sometimes it's nanananana. I don't think it's me. Then last Thursday we are at my mother-in-law's (aka Mom mom Kirk) to celebrate her birthday. The baby put his arms up to me to be picked up and my MIL said, "did he call you Nana?" I swear I didn't hear it.

When Sarcasmo was an infant she was blessed to have 2 grandmothers and one great grandmother, all of whom, wanted to be called Mom Mom. We as first time parents thought this would be confusing and put some serious thought into working it all out without ruffling any feathers. Had we only known that Sarcasmo herself would have the solution we would have rested easier. She simply called them the way she saw them. Mom Mom Kirk was so named because Sarcasdad's youngest brother, Kirk, lived at home and Sarcasmo always looked for him to be there. My mother had a dog named Contessa, so she became Mom Mom Tessa. And great grandmom became Mom Mom Newton as it was her last name and her five grandsons affectionately called her "the Newt". Thirty two years later and the names are still in use. Not only for Sarcasmo and her sisters, but for cousins as well.

What's in a name? Whatever you put there I guess. However he calls me , by any name , will be sweet.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My trading card
I was cleaning the house in preparation for the upcoming festivities and guess what I found under a layer of dust on the desk? Yep, the keyboard. I think it is time to stop deluding myself. The holidays are just not conducive to blogging. So I am just going to put a big bow on the monitor for now. If I make it back this way between now and then I will consider it a Christmas Miracle, awesome enough to earn an angel her wings. In case I don't, I wanted to wish one and all a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Holiday of your choosing.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cutie Patootie, today you are one year old! I am writing this before the party and the cake and the presents. I am curious to see how you react to it all.

You started the year so far away from us. We woke each day after you arrival, hoping for new images in our email. We lingered over them, wishing we could reach through the screen and across the miles to touch you.

When the day for us to meet finally arrived you were so unimpressed that I had journeyed so far. Twenty four hours and six thousand miles door - to -door. Snuggled in your carseat, cosseted by lambs wool and a white knit hat, you slumbered peacefully through our first face to face encounter. Even still ,we bonded as we explored a country as new to me as it was to you. And I am the only grandmother among my circle of friends who can claim to have changed a diaper in the shadow of Mount Fuji.

Separated again by distance we gave thanks daily for the internet so we could see you as you grew. We read you stories and watched you play, and wished that we could hold you.

Finally you are here to stay. I wonder if the grown up Cutie Patootie will have any memories of living at Gramdmom and Grandpop's house. If you don't , it's okay. We'll have plenty. I think that no matter how old you get, or how far away you go, you will always be the little boy in footed jammies, running down the hallway to give me a morning hug.

Happy Birthday Cutie Patooie. We love you..

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
  Woman of The Year

Finally, the recognition she deserves. I give you Sarcasmo,Time Magazine's Woman of The Year. For about 10 minutes the other day anyway. That still leaves her 5 minutes of fame to come.

Sunday, December 11, 2005
  Pass the Bon Bons

In keeping with my unintended, but nevertheless apparent Christmas theme for my posts of late, this one is at least Christmas related. I was cleaning the bathroom this morning and I had ABC's Good Morning America playing on the radio. So I didn't actually see this part of the program. I only heard it.

A woman named Mistrella Murphy, from Lucky Magazine, was on with a segment called "Gifts She'll Love". A Calvin Klein fur hat to keep her head warm. An appliance that makes an entire egg and muffin sandwich in 4 minutes. (What's not to love?). And a cashmere robe. Now I'm sure the robe was very nice. As I said I couldn't see it. What made me stop scrubbing and take note was that Ms. Murphy was touting this robe as the perfect gift for a new mom. What better way to pamper yourself when you are lying around doing nothing. Seriously. That's what she said. Now, I haven't been a "new" mom for better than 25 years , but I don't remember too many days of lying around doing nothing back then. In fact I can't recall a one. Did I do it wrong? No wonder all you Mommy Bloggers find time to post. You're just lounging around. Well, now you can do it in cashmere.

If there is a new mom in your life who might enjoy receiving the cashmere robe, with I might add , a cashmere hood, you can find a retail outlet here. Just make sure you include instructions for getting baby drool out of the fabric.

Saturday, December 10, 2005
  Paging Mr. Claus

Among the decorations that I cherish each yuletide season (can you still say that?) are pictures of my girls sitting on Santa's lap. You can chart our family's progress through the years. One child whispering in Santa's ear, then two, then three. And of course the obligatory one of a daughter screaming her head off while her older sister looks charmingly at the camera .Good stuff. We visited Santa at the same mall each year, and told the girls he was the one true Santa, and the other malls were manned by Santa's helpers. Because, awesome as he is , even Santa can do only so much. I think they believed that. Actually, I think they still believe that. We would dress them each in their new Christmas outfits of red and green velvets and adorn their hair with ribbons. You had to go right after Thanksgiving because, in PDP,(pre-digital photography) times you had to order the pictures and go back and get them 2 weeks later. It was always frigid outside so the girls would be bundled in coats , hats and mittens. When they were all ready it was out to the car, and off to the mall. The mall that was usually overheated to near tropic conditions. Where you got in line behind the other thousand or so families that chose that precise day and time to visit the one true Santa. And you did your level best to get three little girls to the front of the line in some semblance of the pristine condition they were in when they left the house. Despite the fact that they had been sweating, crawling on the floor, crying, pulling each others ribbons and demanding potty breaks.

Today Sarcasis and her hubby took the Cutie Patootie to meet Santa in person for the very first time. In keeping with family tradition they took him to see the one true Santa at the very same mall. When they got there, they were given a pager so they could shop in the mall, have lunch, take a nap , or whatever. When it was almost their turn some helpful little elf gave them a buzz.

Kids today. They have it soooo easy.

Here's the Cutie Patootie with Santa. You should be able to tell which is which.

Rhys & Santa

Friday, December 02, 2005
  You Were Maybe Expecting The Tooth Fairy?

Today we went Christmas shopping at a local mega mall. We stopped at Johnny Rockets for lunch, mostly because it was there and we were hungry. As we entered the restaurant from the mall we were greeted by a woman dressed in the all white 50's style Johnny Rocket uniform. I think she was about 4 foot nothing, somewhere in the vicinity of her mid 60's, weighing in at 80 pounds give or take a few. She had the expression of someone who has served up one too many burgers to the general public. Her name tag read: SANTA.

Thursday, December 01, 2005
  New York, New York

This week Sarcasdad and I are on well deserved vacations from work. In my head that sounded like time to catch up on my reading, time to relax, and time to blog. Wrong. Every night so far I have fallen into bed exhausted, promising myself that I'll get to all that tomorrow. On the plus side, the house is decorated and after today the Xmas shopping will hopefully be mostly done. Yesterday we treated ourselves to a day in New York City.

Ahhh, New York, New York, that toddlin town. And I do mean toddlin. Sarcasdad and I eschewed a cab in favor of walking the 14 blocks from Penn Center to train station to Times Square. To us , walking is a way to get from point A to point B. We don't stroll, We don't meander. We walk. I am sure we miss some stuff along the way but we are goal oriented folks. We expected the throng of people we encountered on 7th Avenue. What we didn't expect was the snail's pace they were moving at. Where are all those New Yorkers you see on TV shows, gamely hoofing it through the city? After a couple of blocks I think I got a handle on it. New Yorkers probably stay off of 7th Ave. because it is clogged with tourists. Tourists looking up instead of where they are walking. (Look- a tall building. Look, another tall building). Tourists stopping dead in there tracks to take a picture . And, my personal favorite. Tourists pouring out of a store or a restaurant by the busload and stopping right there , in front or the door to decide where to go next. This is New York people! Keep moving!

Anyway , after much maneuvering we made it to Times Square and the line at the TKTS booth, where you can score some half price tickets for a Wed. matinee. Our short wait in line was enlivened by musical accompaniment. I ask you. Where but in Times Square can you hear "My Favorite Things" from the sound of Music played on an electric steel drum? We closed our eyes and tried to imagine ourselves in Aruba.

After we got our tickets to Sweeny Todd we visited the Hershey store where we picked up a few trinkets for the Cutie Patootie and the Toys R Us where we didn't. There are, after all Toys R Us stores back home. This particular location is a bit different as it has a ferris wheel inside. It was really cute, as all the cars on the ride were themed to toys. In a very Disney way, you are stopped on your way in the door to have your photo snapped which is suitable for framing and purchasing on your way out. That doesn't happen at our local store. We passed on the chance to bring ours home and proudly advertise Toys R Us in our living room.

We had lunch at Carmine's , a family style Italian restaurant which came highly recommended to me by friends. They were right . The food was outstanding and the service was excellent. We were given a seat upstairs by a window, which looked out onto a side street and the loading dock for the Nokia Center. The whole time we were eating, sound and lighting equipment as being unloaded for whatever event would be staged there. Our waiter admonished our to keep our eyes peeled for a celebrity, like Jon Bon Jovi. We saw some limos but they appeared to be full of tourists. presumably tired of lumbering down 7th Ave on foot.

After lunch we took our full stomachs on a waddle to Rockafeller Center where preparations were underway for a live show that aired on NBC last night. We saw th tree, although unadorned,and the ice rink absent any skaters. But the mood was festive and the crowd was polite. We watched the goings on for a bit and then strolled around the area a bit looking at the holiday decorations, and poking around some souvenir stores. We took our tired feet to a bar called Hurleys for a pre- theater aperitif. As we sipped we were privy to a conversation between the bartender and a patron. They were lamenting the crowds on the streets. The bartender recounted her efforts to get to work on Thanksgiving Day. She had to get a police officer to escort her through the barricade of parade watchers who refused to grant her passage. The patron opined how he was much more tolerant of tourists since 9/11 because they were sorely needed. However he still finds busloads of school kids and "blue hairs" who spill out of attractions, clogging the sidewalks (see paragraph 2) annoying. Sarcasdad noted that while the gentleman's hair wasn't "blue", it was decidedly gray, in a pot calling the kettle kind of way.

Leaving Hurley's we made our way to the Eugene O'Neill theater for our play. Here is where we encountered the only New Yorker who was less than friendly. He was pulling a hand truck down the side walk, loudly calling for everyone to move out of his way. There were only a few people gathered and his access was totally unimpeded. Some one may have pointed this out, although I didn't hear it. The truck handler yelled out "I'm a jerk? Well welcome to f***ing New York". There's a guy who loves his job!.

The theater was small inside, but beautifully ornate. Much like the ones in Philly. This was our first time seeing a production on Broadway. The play was awesome. I won't bore you with a review. Go see it yourself. But I do have to tell you that Patti LuPone played Mrs. Lovett, and she is amazing! I will tell you about the ladies room. I don't believe that in any of my travels, domestic or international. I have ever been in a ladies room with a queue defined by movie theater ropes and poles. The line moved quickly. When I it was my turn at the front I apparently didn't move quick enough when a stall opened up, causing the woman behind me to direct me post haste to my left. Here, apparently, New Yorkers do hurry.

We decided to forgo the cab again and hoof it back to Penn Station. The sidewalks were, if possible, even more crowded at 4:30 pm than they were at 930am. Thanks goodness I honed my walking skills in local malls. Traversing 7th Ave. at this hour was not for the faint of heart. You had to stand your ground and expect other people to get out of your way. Anyone showing the least hesitation was trampled by the masses. By the way, hats off to the couple pushing the stroller. You are braver people than I. The one thing I was not used to was getting bumped into by people going the other direction. No one gives an inch, and due to the amount of people there was a fair amount physical contact. And I have the bruise to prove it.

If you are going to be at the mall Christmas shopping today, watch out. I navigated 7th Ave, and lived to blog about it!

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