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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

The crud has officially taken over

Now both kids are sick. I have had a terrible headache for 2 days now. I think I can admit that we are now all officially sick. This is not going to be fun. The Boy is grouchy which seems to be the number one symptom. The house looks like a cyclone struck it. My home health aide is sick and in the hospital. Nobody has the strength to pick up a mop and wash the kitchen floor. Wah wah wah. Complain complain and more complaining.

I promise I'll be pleasant later on. For right now, I think I'm going to be throwing myself a big pity party. Maybe with a nice bottle of pinot grigio. Or a margarita.

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Ta Da! 30 days of posting for NaBloPoMo

I did it. I posted every day without fail, sometimes more than once per day, for NaBloPoMo. Not that it was exceedingly difficult, as I usually post about this often, but the pressure, the pressure to never skip a day was tough. I feel like a seasoned veteren though. Now I remember what it like to work to a deadline. It's been a while, and I feel like this whole exercise has been good for me. I'm fairly undisciplined on a good day, so having a schedule of sorts worked well for me.

I know that there were thousands of participants in NaBloPoMo. The list is daunting. As I browsed through the many many blogs with the help of the randomizer, it became apparent that a goodly amount of posters didn't make it to the end. Some never showed up, some only made it a week or so, some skipped a couple of days here and there, but there seems like a lively group that was determined to stick to the end of the line. Which is today!

I promised a t-shirt from my Cafe Press store to one person that posted daily. That was before I saw that thousands had entered. I have no clue as to how to pick a 'winner' so I've decided I'm going to be arbitrarily decisive. I'm going to use the randomizer to pick 10 blogs that have made it all the way through with at least 30 posts. I'm also going to look at the quality of posts, and discount any blog that used more than one meme or blogging test/survey. One was fine, more than one and you're out of the running. I'm going to discount any post that is so obligatory that it's a one-liner saying "I'm posting just to have something up for today." I worked to make every day count, so I expect at least that from my winners.

I'm also going to look for blogs I've never seen before but enjoyed reading. Another thing I'm looking for is an emotional attachment. If your blog makes me tear up, or laugh out loud lustily, I'm gonna love you. And lastly, design. I like blogs that are pleasing to the eye, that have a great design with nice fonts and is easy to read. If your blog font is 9 point, you can forget winning my prize. If I can't see it without strugging, I can't possibly read it. You know, because I'm an auld fart. And I have to read 30 entries from each candidate's blog. I need my brains unscrambled, thank you very much.

Once I've got 10 finalists, I'll be putting them into a hat and asking my young helpers to draw the winner's name from said hat. If that winner has contact information on his/her blog, then I'll email them and ask them for two things: contact information and a photo. It can be a photo of you, your kids, your pet, your favorite food or drink, or anything that you think properly represents you. Something I can post on my blog to announce you as the winner.

I'm sure that everyone else who has offered prizes isn't going to be as picky. Not surprising, because I'm the Queen of OCD and I like to choose my winners based on my own serendipitous and arcane criteria. That, my cheeky monkeys, is the way I roll. OK?

Good luck. And good posting!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hormones, hormones and more hormones

Another cheery morning at our house. Gosh, makes all of you want to just move on in with us, huh?

As the Girl is sick and permanently ensconced on the sofa, this morning I had the very dubious honor of waking up the Boy. This is never an easy or pleasant job, for you never know what you're going to get from day to day. The one promise is that you will get a taste of hormones gone awry. That never changes.

So I wake him up and he groans and turns back over for another few minutes of snoozing. I keep haranguing reminding him that it's time to get up, which he finally does with a groan and a bloop. He comes in for his obligatory morning head butt on my stomach, which he says is a 'hug'. I think otherwise. Then he notices the Girl is home and sleeping so he starts the "I don't feel good either" whinge, which I ignore. He feels fine.

He goes in and gets dressed in something wrinkled that has been sitting in his laundry basket since the last time he brought up clean clothes. Put things away? How last century of you! As he starts down the hallway I tell him to brush his teeth. This is a daily occurance. I do it every morning and every morning I get "I don't have time". My new threat is, no brushing, no computer. I know, I'm mean and unreasonable.

We do the toothbrushing dance, he has no time, I tell him no TV, he gets pissed off and slams off to the bathroom, saying:

B: "Why are you such a bitch?"
M: "Because I want you to have good oral hygiene?"
B: "That was a rhetorical question. Shut up."

I totally lose it. I am laughing so hard I can't contain it. I start guffawing. A rhetorical question. Man, he's a riot these days. He's just too annoyingly real to believe. And I still love him, too.

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Identifying real vs fake illness in teenagers

Sometimes we have bouts of fake illness in my home. I know, hard to believe, isn't it? Fake illness usually occurs when someone has a test they might be unwilling to take, but more likely when there is just so much homework that it can't all be done. That sounds pretty fake too, but the Girl gets at least 5 hours of homework every single night. It is infuriating, but that's another post for another time.

Today the Girl stayed after school for a couple of hours working on a group project with two other kids. It was yet another half day (I have made my thoughts well known on how much I hate half-days, right?), so after working on the project she went over to a friend's house, where she was taken out to a late lunch, and then deposited home around 4:30. When she got home she looked a bit pale and was grouchy, but grouchy isn't unusual so I don't consider that a pointer to illness.

She went upstairs obstensibly to get something and disappeared for a couple of hours. She had fallen asleep, also a daily occurance so not an illness indicator, per se. When I called her down to set the table, she was whinging about a stomach ache. Another non-indicator. This girl has more stomach aches than a colicky horse. She never did set the table, so her brother did it in her place. She sat down to eat, but didn't have much. Still no real indicator of illness. She's a notoriously picky eater and sometimes eats virtually nothing. Plus she had eaten a late lunch of pizza.

After dinner I asked her to please put the leftovers into a container and then into the fridge. She did so without much complaining about it not being her job, which was an indicator of something amiss. Never do we do anything that isn't specifically our jobs without complaining.

However, then the major indicator occurred. She opened the fridge and it evidentally closed on her hand. Remember, lots of rubber tubing round the fridge door, so not possibility of being hurt. But she completely and totally lost it. She burst into tears, dropped down on the the floor and sobbed and sobbed. Even the Boy looked alarmed. This was definately not normal. Not even close to her regular annoying bitching and moaning about manufactured illness. Nope, this was the real thing.

After I got her up off the floor, I felt her forehead. Clammy but not hot. But she wasn't right. Her skin was greenish. She kept saying she was going to throw up. Her stomach was aching. She was shaking like a leaf. So I pronounced no school tomorrow, and she started crying anew. She had too much homework. She had already written, but needed to type up her history paper. She had pages and pages of English vocab work to do. Plus reading in both subjects. She had two math assignments that she hadn't yet started, and then there was science stuff to do. She cried so hard, so I let her do some of her homework and she actually got everything done but the math. She's so afraid of falling behind that she would rather go to school sick than stay home. That's really scary.

Turns out her friend that she was visiting today had been sick all of last week with some deadly virus. The girl started sneezing and snorting later on in the evening. I was so fricking bummed, because I just got my flu shot, meaning I'm susceptible to illness right now. I will be completely out of luck if I get sick now. Getting sick for me is not a small deal. It can be life threatening.

I'm so not happy. But my baby girl is really sick and so we'll all do what we can to be nice to her. Even the Boy was nice this evening and left her alone all night. Only one poke the whole evening. That must have been really hard on him. No... he turned it all on me instead. Cause that's the kinda kid he is. Snort.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've got absolutely nothing, NaBloPoMo

I'm mired in the choosing of the Medicare Part 2 programs. I thought I had it narrowed down to 4, and then I found out that I have a whole bunch of different options I have never heard of, so it's time to start over. I think I will be dead from brain explosion before I get registered for this damn program.

Got my flu shot, finally. I don't think I mentioned the trauma of my primary care physician before. I loved my old PCP. She was brilliant, funny, and very helpful to me. We had great rapport. But she was working in what she said was a sick building and she went out on sick leave last spring, stating that she would be back in the fall once the A/C was resolved. I waited and waited for her to come back, and finally called to find out what was going on and learned that she wasn't coming back. The doctor that took over for her was gone, too. The receptionists were total bitches when I questioned what I was going to do. They didn't care. So I was back to finding a PCP. Calling the hospital for recommendations was a quagmire, but finally got a name and an appointment for January. That would be 6 full months without me seeing a doctor, which is rather dangerous since I'm supposed to be monitored rather closely, but heck... it's a lawsuit in the making, right?

All I wanted was a frigging flu shot, but this whole PCP mess was taking over my life. Today I had the appt. for the shot, and showed up on time and was seen promptly. One big point for the new doctor, who I didn't yet meet. She is in the same large practice as my cardiologist, a women's health center, which I like. Easy to get to and free parking. Very good points. While I was there I mentioned that I needed to get a bunch of prescriptions refilled and needed new scripts. I told them that the former practice wouldn't do it, and I'd call my cardiologist if nobody else would rewrite them, but they did it for me, which was another very positive point. And the best point of all: they have a social worker that helps with insurance issues like Medicare. So I'll be talking to her tomorrow. All in all, a positive visit so far.

Then I took the Boy to his pharmacologist appt, where we got his new scripts, and hershey's kisses. I really adore his psychopharm. He's funny and SO freaking smart. You can just tell he was the literary geek when he was in school. Just like me!

A stop at Walgreens to pick up the Girl's prescription, and we were home again in time to see Julia Roberts on Oprah.

All in all, a totally scintillating day! Bwahahaha.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

How the heck do they expect people to choose?

I'm eligible for Medicare starting in January. No, I'm not really 65 years old. I get Medicare because of my disability. You see, you get to wait two full years after you've filed for disability before you are eligible for Medicare, because you might be "cheating" the government by pretending to be really really sick. They expect people on disability to go without insurance for two years before they can actually get on the Medicare rolls. It's kind of unbelievable and makes absolutely no sense to anyone I've ever spoken to about this, but them's the facts, jack.

So now I'm finally eligible and they send me this crappy cardboard card like you get in the mail for AAA before you sign up. THIS is my eligibility card. Yahoo! Then, in another packet that arrives in the mail you get the most convoluted, confusing, bizarre booklet on how to decide upon the Part D prescription coverage. First you have to decide to take it, because it costs money, and not a small amount for those of us on a very fixed income. Then you have to decide WHICH program you want to sign up with. Every Walgreens, CVS, and RiteAid has a program. So do many insurance companies. Then there are the companies you don't even know about. You're evidentally supposed to call each program and find out if the medications you take are on their formulary. A formulary that can change at any time.

If you take generic type meds like Lipitor or Tenormin, then you're going to find coverage from most of the providers. If you take a lot of medications, like I do, then you seem to be screwed. Most programs don't seem to cover the majority of the 14 medications I take. Most cover the asthma meds, but don't cover my heart meds. Some cover my heart meds, but not my diabetes med. Some cover none of the above. It's a crap shoot at best.

What really pisses me off about this stupid program is that the Congress that supported it and voted it into law is patting themselves on the back for their brave movement towards helping the elderly, but they don't have to ever deal with Social Security. They have pensions and guaranteed for life insurance through the government. You gotta think that if they had to figure out this crap on a yearly basis, you wouldn't see such a lousy program. You'd have universal medication coverage.

Let's face it, the people on Medicare are the sickest of our population. They're either elderly or disabled. They need good medical coverage that covers prescriptions. Nobody should have to choose between food or meds. Heat or meds. Rent or meds. But that's what this stupid program is doing. It's too hard to figure out. It's too hard to deal with this agency. It's too hard to understand how the program actually works.

We're all gonna be old, people. A few of us are going to have decent health coverage. But most of us will not. We need to consider changes now, as the baby boomer generation ages and becomes eligible for Medicare. They just started turning 60 this year. We have very little time left. Your parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents are relying on us all to make this a better program for all. We need to act, people. Not just for the elderly, but the disabled as well. We need to provide what every other western nation in the world does: health care for all.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

At least it doesn't totally suck

Your Life is 23% Perfect

So your life isn't exactly perfect, but it's not horrible either.
Things are fairly bad at times... at least they're not likely to get much worse!
How Perfect is Your Life?

But even if it does suck quite a bit, I can describe all my worries and woes using a fabulous vocabulary. That's good, right?

Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.



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Saturday, November 25, 2006

We're hitting stage three

The Boy has a theory about Christmas themed commercials. Stage one is then there are a couple of commercials with Christmas themes shown, but most of the other commercials are just plain old commercials. Stage two is when around 50% of all commercials are Christmas shopping commercials. Stage three is when "every commercial, even the old people commercials" are about Christmas. It's total Christmas saturation 24/7. Only another month to go.

Speaking of commercials, I watched the network news tonight, something I don't do all that often. I'm much more of a PBS news person. But tonight I was too freaking lazy to get up and find the remote, so I got to see the most amazing display of medical commercials during the news. Every single commercial was for some medical product. Many were for prescription medicines, but there were some OTC commercials as well. Which leads me to ask the question "do they think everyone that watches the news is dying?" What is the deal here? I mean, I know the demographics say that only older people watch network news. But I'm an older person. I think I probably fit in that demographic. I have absolutely no interest in medical commercials. I don't 'ask my doctor' about medicines I see advertised on TV. In fact, I'm more prone to avoid drugs that advertise on TV, because then I know the medication is vastly overpriced in order to pay for the advertising.

I can't think of a time when a commercial for a medical product interested me enough to investigate it. Even the OTC remedies advertised don't interest me. I know Robetussin works, so I'm going to buy it with or without a commercial. Ditto for Zantac. But I'm never ever going to try some other OTC medication based on a commercial. If I haven't used it, or it hasn't been recommended by my doctor, I'm just not interested in taking it. That includes some of the vitamins being pushed for menopausal symptoms.

I can't figure out whether or not I'm just weird, or do these commercials actually influence people to buy medical products? What about you?

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Another short confession

Oh, I know, ho hum, ho hum. Boring when I promised interesting. The truth is, absolutely nothing the least bit interesting has passed my bloated mind in the past 48 hours. And now that I've seen college football has taken over the airwaves so I can't even watch mindless daytime TV, I'm feeling the need to get this ditty off my ample chest.

Today is Black Friday. That shopping day when the truely insane go outside at 4:00 am to line up outside electronics stores in order to snap up laptops at $300 each. Or get the XBox 360 for $199. Who brave Toys R Us in the middle of the night in order to save a few bucks on Monopoly and Clue. You know why it's called Black Friday? Because it's supposed to be the day when retail stores finally move into the black after 10 months of being in the red.

My confession: Black Friday means something very different to me. This is the day when I stop shopping until January. I do not enter stores unless it is a dire emergency from now till after New Years. I will go grocery shopping if I have to, but I try to find someone else to do it for me. I can't bear stores that are overcrowded, overdecorated, overly cheery, hot, and feel the need to replay Christmas music over and over again until I feel like I'm going to go into severe sensory overload.

Not surprisingly, we don't do Christmas in this house. We try as hard as we can to avoid it, in fact. It's not that hard in our community, which has a very large Jewish population and tries very hard to be sensitive to their clientele, most of whom couldn't care less about Christmas. So the local stores, the fancy boutiques and little shoppes, are pretty faithful about doing less offensive holiday decorations. Many only decorate for Hanukkah, in fact. Our town is good about working hard to respect all the residents, not just those that celebrate a 24 hour holiday for 3 months. I like that a lot about where we live.

However, once you venture beyond the little local businesses and branch out to the big box and chain stores, it's Christmas overload. This year most of the stores around here started their Christmas decorating and music before Halloween. It's too freaking much. The commercials started in AUGUST, for heavens sake, with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Show ticket commercial. By Halloween I was already sick of Christmas.

The onset of the holiday of overconsumption starts on Black Friday. That the shopping for Christmas is more important than the holiday itself is mind-boggling to me, and to many other people that do celebrate Christmas. It gets bigger and more invasive every year. There is no stopping it now. Soon it will start in June and be 6 months worth of red and green overload.

So I refuse to partake at all. Not for a second. Unless we have a severe underwear trauma, we just stop going to the store. What I can't order online waits until January. I just refuse to participate in this buying frenzy. I don't want any random purchase I make to be counted in the holiday sales figures. I know that seems radical and bizarre, but I don't support this kind of overconsumption at all, and I want to protest in my own little way against this shopping frenzy.

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I was guessing D list...

But what the fuck? How did THIS happen?

A-List Blogger

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Tryptophan kicked my ass tonight

Oh man, I knew I was tired when I got up this morning at 7:30, leaving me with a big 4 hours of sleep. With all the cooking and straightening up and the parade and dog show on TV, it was a busy day all day. So after dinner when we sat down to watch Gray's Anatomy I didn't think I'd pass out in the chair in a fit of coma sleep. But then again, I'm never quite sure when I'm going to sleep these days of serious insomnia.

Saw the first 10 minutes of Grays and then woke up when Letterman came on. Nothing like a lovely nap to make me totally groggy and feel like I've been smoking doobies all day. Yawn.

Nice day, not one fight between the kids, food was good, we all ate way too much, and the freaking Worthless pet scratched me right across the face. I believe he was a bit put out by the kids trying to put the tablecloth on over him. So who does he blame? Me, of course. Worthless, I tell you.

Tomorrow I will attempt to get back to more intelligent posting. But if I eat more turkey, all bets are off.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

I'm kinda cheating and posting my Thanksgiving post for NaBloPoMo in the middle of the night instead of during the day, but heck, I'm going to be really busy during the day tomorrow. You know, cooking and cleaning and cooking and baking and cooking. Oh, and did I mention eating? Because I plan to do a lot of eating. High fat, high sodium, really terrible for me eating. It's a holiday. No splenda for this girl on Thanksgiving. I've done it in the past. Yuck. I'll go back on the bland diet on Friday.

So far I've made both cranberry sauces, two pumpkin pies with two different recipes, and oddly enough, they look totally different, and lastly the sweet potato casserole. I haven't yet put the marshmallows on top, which is the Girls job, and then it needs a second baking. Later today I'll do another pie crust and we'll all make the apple pie together. Then I just have to do the stuffing, the turkey, and the roasted brussel sprouts. Easy peasy!

I love cooking, but I've got absolutely NO counter space in my horrid little kitchen. It's very hard to cook with as little space as I have, so I've been eyeing kitchen islands for a while. I think I've finally found the one I lust for and it's on sale. Not that I can afford it, but it's perfect for what I need. Not to fancy, which would look stupid in my oh, so not fancy kitchen, enough extra storage to put bowls and platters away, two drawers for potholders and kitchen towels, and best of all, it's got a flip up bar that I would only use for food storage when I'm cooking for holidays. Otherwise, I'd keep it down.

There are other similar ones with granite tops and stainless steel tops that I kind of lust after, but I've got plenty of nice cutting boards, so the wood finished top is fine with me. This small amount of extra space would give me a place to prepare foods without always having to do the dishes before I cook. I'd really like that. And it would give me a lot more storage space on my large shelf so I could put all my appliances on the shelves instead of the floor of the pantry. Nothing says pain in the ass like having to dig though the pantry floor to find a piece of my food processor. And it's even more of a pain that I have to wash everything before I use it every single time. So appliance storage would be key.

Blah blah blah. How boring IS this entry?

Hope you all have a lovely holiday, those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving. And oh, how many people besides me are already sick of Christmas commercials on TV?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Shake Rattle and Roll

Last night at 2:45 am there was a huge explosion in Danvers, a suburban town on the coast a bit north of Boston. The explosion was in a chemical factory that makes inks and solvents. It was such a huge boom that the initial fire was 30 feet in the air. The explosion was so strong that it was felt in Maine and New Hampster. The local earthquake monitoring organization in Weston measured the blast as a 0.5 earthquake. The resulting fire destroyed a whole neighborhood and caused an evacuation of a number of streets and a home for adult deaf mutes. They were all taken to the high school which has been turned into red cross evacuation center.



Twenty people were rushed to two hospitals in the area. Amazingly, nobody was killed, nobody was seriously injured. All injuries were minor lacerations.


Because this was not a natural disaster, homeowners will have no problems collecting on their homeowners insurance policies. There are obviously going to be lawsuits galore. There is a fund being set up at the Danvers National Bank for the people displaced by this tragedy.


We didn't feel or hear the blast as we're way to far west, but watching it on TV from very early this morning when it was still dark, and then seeing the damage unfurl as the sun came up was very sobering. I'm so thankful that nobody was seriously injured. The Occasional Governor came on TV at noon today and spouted a lot of rhetoric and called this a "Thanksgiving Miracle". No comment.

For video coverage, visit here.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Did you SEE them?

I've been sitting on a little secret. It's nothing titilating. It's just that The Girl is the queen of talent these days. Genetic talent that evidentally skips a generation because I so do not have even an inkling of this talent. But my Girl sure does.

She can sew. She can design outfits. She can make hats. And she can make these. Yes, go look at them, for they are fabulous. I'll wait.... hmmm, hooohummmm, la di dah....

Oh, you're back. So, did I lie? And was that model not adorable? My heart, it is full of love for both of those girls. Maybe, if you're REALLY nice, she might take orders!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

OJ: Buh Bye

Cancelled! Both the book deal and the Fox TV show have been cancelled. By none other than Rupert Murdoch. You gotta admit it, you're surprised that Murdoch would ever admit that he made a mistake. I know I am. Even more surprising was the Bill O'Reilly has been railing against FOX, his own network, for allowing this travesty to appear on air. Bill O'Reilly! I never thought I would ever agree with anything he said. But then again, I guess pigs DO fly.

I think a lot of people, leading with Ron Goldman and Nicole's families, are very relieved. It warms my heart to think that the nation was so repulsed by this book deal that they spoke up everywhere. Sometimes it's true, when something really bad happens, we pull together to work on a solution. Good for us, America!

Toodles, OJ. Go back to your obscurity and maybe you might consider getting a job. You know, like work. Oh, and pay the Goldman family the 3.5 million dollars you owe them, you deadbeat.

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Announcement: LIVE from Canada it's Greetings.ca


I mentioned a while back that I've been working on a new blog that would eventually go live. Well, today is the day, and the announcement has been put up for everyone to see.

Please go check out Greetings.ca, a blog specifically geared toward holiday blogging. Year round there are holidays to discover, holidays to celebrate, and new rituals to consider. Greetings.ca is the place to talk about such things, including decorating, recipes, and family traditions.

Hope to see you there!
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She is not normal

It appears, by the outdoor thermometer right outside my office window, that the temperature is 40 degrees. Chilly, yes. Freezing... I think not.

However, I am not the Girl, who is frozen stiff in the middle of summer. Today she is very prepared for the weather. She is wearing, and I swear I am not lying, long underwear (silk), a long sleeved t-shirt, another t-shirt on top of that, a hoodie sweatshirt, jeans, polar fleece socks, and a Northface Jacket. Apparently she is going on an artic expedition after school. I think she's always planned on visiting the polar regions. She sure dresses for it.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

We made it back safely

Oh my goodness, you should have seen the grocery store. We went to one we've never been to before because I just knew the closer one would be jam packed with no parking. We headed off to Dedham and had to fight our way through the MWRA construction site, the longest running construction since the big dig. Out the other end, we swung into the Staaah and, ahem, no parking. No handicap parking, no frigging parking at all. So we waited patiently for a nice couple to unload their 800 bags into their Ode to the Tasmanian Devil and drive off.

Once parked we entered to shrine to all things edible and then some. This supermarket is frigging huge. It's so long you need binoculars to see from one end to the other. We had very little to buy, but of course one of the items I needed was totally out of stock. Bummer. This means off to another store tomorrow. There were hardly any turkeys left, and those that were still in stock were gigantic. They didn't have any of the brand I buy, but we already have ours in the freezer from when they were last on sale.

With only one more small trip, we have enough to make an entire Thanksgiving dinner that can't be beat. Somehow, it all seems really exhausting at this point, but once I start baking pies, I'll be a happy camper.

What kind of pies will you have at your dinner (if you're American)?
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It's the trip from hell

Pray for us. I'm off to the grocery store right before Thanksgiving. If I don't get back in 24 hours, phone the police.
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Leaves and Grass

With apologies to Walt Whitman.

This morning at the ungodly hour of 8 am I was awakened by the sound of leaf blowers. In my community they are not allowed to be used until 9 am on weekend mornings, so I was all set to pull up my socks and be really pissed off at my neighbor who does not tend to follow the rules. But it was our gardener making the racket, and the reason he woke me was that he was using the biggest freaking leaf blower I've ever seen. No backpack blowers for this guy...nope, he had a huge push version. The leaves were blowing right into the woods, where they belong. So I lay my sleepy head back down and snoozed for a bit, secure in the knowledge that I wouldn't have to rake a single leaf this fall.

But wait...what is THAT noise? Was the leaf blower not enough? Evidentally not, for now he is mowing the lawn. How odd is that? It has been so warm the last few weeks, and wet as well, that the lawn still needed to be mowed. Usually by mid-November the lawn is turning a wintery brown, but under all those leaves was a long, shaggy, verdant green lawn, now perfectly coiffed.

Except for the bald trees, you would swear it was early summer. The sloping front lawn is a carpet of lucious green that invites you to roll down it. However, underneath that green carpet is mud. Lots and lots of damp mud. Now it is starting to finally turn cold, and the ground might freeze soon. I wonder how the bulbs we've planted are going to take this weird weather. Mid-November and no frost yet. We're still eating tomatos from our plants.

For all the anger I feel over global warming and the damage it is doing to our planet, I have to secretly (ok, not that secretly) admit that I'm loving this warm fall weather. It's so much more civilized than snow in November.
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Friday, November 17, 2006

Dunkin Donuts: I give up!

Dear Dunks,

I can't take it any more. I call Uncle. I'm done. Fried. Finished. You must stop.

Not making your lucious coffee, please. Thats where your talents excel. And certainly not baking donuts. Oh my, never stop making donuts. Mmmmmm, donuts.

But you MUST stop that damn "Alarm Clock Catastrophe" commercial. Right now! Stop it. I can no longer take it. It is the earworm that kills and maims. It runs through my head at the oddest of times. Over and over and over, because you are evil people and you want to drive all of your customers insane. There is no other reason for this cruelty to humans. We are your customers. We want to spend our pennies on iced coffee and chocolate sticks. Honestly, we do.

However, if you do not stop that commercial, I will no longer be your friend. I will have to drag my ass to Starbucks and spend much more money for inferior baked goods and burnt coffee served by uppity baristas. OK, they speak English and they don't fuck up every single order, but still... they don't have donuts.

So stop already. It must be time to pull out the Christmas commercials. Heaven knows, everyone else has already bombasted us with the red and green. It must be your turn. Because it's time to make the donuts.

Your formerly loyal customer that you have driven insane with that stupid jingle,

Margalit
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You gotta wonder about OJ

O.J. Simpson. Yes, he's dispicable. He is the worst kid of disgusting, reprehensible garbage. Feeding off the murder of his wife and her friend Ron Goldman is beyond the pale. Doing so to earn money when he has not paid the Goldman family one penny of the 3.5 million dollar judgement they won against him for Nicole's murder. Not a penny. Then he sued to gain custody of those two poor kids, who have to live with him knowing that he murdered their mother and got away with it. They are certainly old enough now to have figured out what a rich black ex-football player had to do in order to get off scott free. But still they have to live with the man whom they know killed their beloved mother. That has gotta be a certain kind of hell.

What I wonder about is how he told those kids that he is now capitalizing upon the murder by publishing his gross tripe of a book called "If I did it" that Regan Publishing is marketing as his confession. His confession! Scary stuff, but even scarier is that 10 years after the trial, due to double jeapordy laws in the USA, he can confess from the rooftops and there is absolutely nothing to be done. He cannot be tried again.

Can you imagine the scene?

OJ: "Kids, come in her for a second, I want to talk to you."

Kids march into the room fearing the murder who is their father.

OJ: " I bet you have been wondering what I've been working on when I'm on the computer. No, I'm not taking part in NaBoWriMo, but I am actually writing a book. It's about to be published and I wanted to tell you what it's about."

Kids stare silently, knowing what is about to come.

OJ: "I'm writing a book telling how I would have killed your mother, IF I had killed her. But you guys know I didn't, right? Because I was never convicted of the crime, remember?"

Kids mumble fake agreement.

OJ: "The book is going to be called "If I Did It". The publishers are 'mistakenly' marketing it as a confession, but it really isn't. It's just a hypothesis I've created over the years. You know how much I loved your mother, and besides, the glove didn't fit at the trial, remember?"

Kids look numb.

OJ: "Do you have any questions about the book?"

Kids stare down at feet and mumble "nope" in unison.

OJ: "OK then, you can go back to your homework."

Kids run off, and discuss how they can escape from this madman. Running away and hopping the rails all of a sudden sounds really attractive.

It's apparent that his NFL pension and paid speaking engagements aren't enough to keep him knee deep in golf balls, so he had to find yet another way to fund his Florida lifestyle. Why not publish a tell-all book. There can be no consequence from this other than to make money. His publishers have no ulterior motive either; they want to make money.

But Fox News agreeing to an interview with this murderer who confesses to his crimes with a smirk, knowing full well that he's gotten off and can not capitalize while remaining free. What were they thinking? Fox news is the worst kind of sleazy biased reporting, thanks to it's owner Rupert Murdoch, who seems not to understand that news is supposed to be non-biased. Does Murdoch need more money? Does Fox need more money? What about the companies foolish enough to advertise during this show. Are they all so broke that they can push aside their morality and allow this murderer to show American how he outsmarted the justice system?

I don't know about you, but I have no plans to ever read this book, watch the TV show, and I will boycott any and all companies that advertise on this spectacle of a confessional. I hope you all do as well.
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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dysfunctional Family Bingo Returns

http://www.townonline.com/blogs/bostonMommy/wp-content/dysfunctionfull.jpg

It's that time of year again, fellow Americans. The time when you gather together with your relatives and frequently blanch at the thought you're related to this crowd of whackos. Here's a game to pass the time between the first football game, the meal, and the time when the first relative passes out.

This isn't really a game you want to win, but heck, if you're willing to play, I'm in for a free T-shirt from my Cafe-Press store to the first one that wins and can tell the tales.

Good luck!
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I am woman... Hear me whine

Maybe bleat is a better term than whine. For I am whimpering with desire. Can you hear it? Did you see it? Did you get the email from Piperlime, the new online shoe store that the Gap just opened? That's why I'm whimpering, bleating, and whining. Because they have really hot shoes, coupons for $20 off, and free shipping both ways and oh my God, look at these shoes.

Do you not love them? Do you not want them so badly you feel compelled to rob a bank? Or hold up a minimart? Alas, I will not be owning these shoes because they do not come in my size. Nothing even remotely cute comes in my size. I am cursed.

I want to have cute shoes. I want boots like these to wear on cold winter days that might happen sometime around January, the way things are going. But they are the boots I desire. All those buckles, that deep rich leather, the sturdy build. Guess what? They don't come in my size either.


Once again, another online shoe store has adorable shoes but the shoes they do have in my size are hideous and I would rather eat penny nails than wear those shoes. Which is why I will continue to wear Crocs and Uggs. They might be ugly, but they fit!
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New England Cheapskates?

Apparently, New England is not only the land of pretty white churches and gorgeous fall leaves, we're also the land of cheapskates. In Forbes Magazine's survey of the habits of individual state's charitable giving, New England states were in the bottom half of the survey. Oddly, the highest ranking New England state for charitable giving was Maine. Maine...the poorest New England state. I'm just saying...

In the study, which was adjusted for cost of living, the most generous states were Utah, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota and Georgia. Wealthy people--those with incomes over $200,000--in those states gave 1.1% of their assets to charity, well above the national average of 0.7%.

The richest states, ironically, are among the stingiest. None of the ten richest states cracked the top 25 in giving percentage. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas couldn't match their neighbors who gave more with less.

New Hampster was at the very bottom of the pile at number 49. Now that doesn't surprise me, seeing as they can't even decide whether or not seatbelts are a personal freedom. Libertarians aren't by nature very charitable, either economically or politically, and let's face it, the Hamster state has never been known for it's giving nature. Live Free and Die Poor, What do We Care? should be on their license plates. For shame, New Hampster.

New England, we can do better. We should do better. I challange you all to dig deeper into your pockets, not just during the holiday season, but all year long. Project Bread has recently reported that hunger in Massachusetts has doubled in the past 3 years. We're a rich state, and yet people go hungry. Why is that?

New Hampshire

Rank: 49

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 13,660

Percent of assets donated: 0.48%

Percent of people who volunteer: 31.6%

Massachusetts

Rank: 32

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 97,936

Percent of assets donated: 0.66%

Percent of people who volunteer: 27.0%

Maine

Rank: 29

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 7,735

Percent of assets donated: 0.67%

Percent of people who volunteer: 33.3%

The bottom five included:

Rhode Island

Rank: 42

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 8,906

Percent of assets donated: 0.56%

Percent of people who volunteer: 26.6%

Vermont

Rank: 43

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 4,425

Percent of assets donated: 0.55%

Percent of people who volunteer: 39.8%

Connecticut

Rank: 36

Number of people making over $200,000 a year: 65,782

Percent of assets donated: 0.64%

Percent of people who volunteer: 30.7%
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NaBloPoMo update

We're half way there, and so far, this hasn't been difficult at all. I've tried to keep the posts fairly short for all those people stopping by via the randomizer. It's hard to read all those long posts. I'm doing it for you, internets. It's all in your best interest. Honestly, I have tons to say, but I'm being kind, because we aim to please.

OK, enough lying.

Now for some proud mama bragging. My girl is getting an A in physics. I cannot believe how proud I am of her. An A... I'm telling you, this is miraculous. She's in the first Freshman Physics class they've ever offered, and at first she was very hesitant about it because it seemed to be very hard and the class was filled with "science geeks" (her words, not mine). But she's really loving it. And she's learning so much. The class is very hands on, and they get to build a lot of stuff. So far they've made an "ideal" shopping cart, and just finished a mousetrap car. This is so up the Girl's alley. She's very creative and likes to design stuff. This class has really boosted her academic self confidence, along with great history and math grades. English continues to be a bugaboo, but she's doing well and her grade is improving. She works so hard and her grades are so important to her.

And could this weather get any stranger? We're in mid-November and I'm wearing a T-shirt and shorts. It's bizarre. Not that I'm complaining, but geesh, what is March going to be like?
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's a love/hate relationship

I recently won a contest held by The Zero Boss. Honestly, it was just luck because I hardly ever win anything. The prize was a videogame just released by Lucas Arts called Thrillville. We got the Xbox edition and it arrived today, thank goodness. Because it was a horrible, no good, very bad day for the Boy at school.

He was supposed to be on a field trip most of the day, and thus didn't bring his backpack or anything he needed for his core classes. Unbeknownst to him, the teacher that scheduled the field trip mistakenly scheduled the bus for the wrong day. The bus is coming tomorrow. Um... this was a big problem. A BIG problem. In high school, coming unprepared to class is a serious offense. Even if it's not your fault and the errant teacher talks to all your other teachers taking the blame, it's still a no-no. One of the Boy's teachers in particular gave him a really hard time about this, and a detention for tomorrow. The Boy came home and burst into tears he was so upset at this bad turn of events.

I let him rant for a bit and then told him that the videogame arrived in the mail today. The first question he asked was, "did they send any junk food?" (part of the prize which didn't arrive). I said "no", and he moped his way downstairs and set up the Xbox on the good tv, so he could enjoy the graphics.

That was 4 hours ago. He's still playing this game and having a blast. The Girl was all sulky too, and took a long nap. She then went downstairs and was nasty and petulant for a bit, and then got sucked into the game. They're both laughing their butts off now playing Saucer Soccer. There is no way I'm going to get them off of this game. They're having a blast.

This is going to be a great addition to our videogames. It's chock full of arcade-type mini-games, and the themepark is similar to our all time favorite family game, RollerCoaster Tycoon. Oh the nights I've spent building themeparks and watching the patrons vomit all over the sidewalks. I love that game!

Thrillville is officially released by Lucas Arts on November 29 and will cost $39.99. I hope it does really well because it's a blast to play.

So now we have something new to obsess over in our house. Thanks Jay!
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Because reading is FUNdamental

A book that changed my life:
A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry.
I read this a number of years ago when life was very challanging for me and I was hosting a year long pity party that I just couldn't snap out of. My friend Amy raved about this book and we share a love of reading about India, so I bought a copy. I couldn't put it down. I read it straight through, then I read it again. It moved me in ways that I didn't even know I could experience. Totally broke me out of my funk and made me see life very differently.

One book I read more than once:

East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Woods.
I've read it maybe 10 or 12 times. I read it almost every winter. It is a definate winter book, great for snuggling down in front of a fireplace with a blanket and a mug of warm cider. Hard to find, but so worth it. It's a Sensation Novel, an extremely popular but shocking for it's time novel about love and infidelity.

One book I would want on a deserted island:
What's Bred in the Bone, by Robertson Davies.
Another of those books I've read over and over again, this story of art forgery during WW2 is a real classic. If they put the whole of Davies trilogies in one huge book, I'd take that to an island. You just can't get better literature than Davies.

One book that made me laugh:

Any and all Al Franken books.
Al Franken is one of my favorite authors of all time. His books are pithy and sublimely hilarious. Nobody sends up American politics like Franken.

One book that made me cry:
A Child in Time by Ian McEwan
. This is, by far, the saddest book I've ever read. The first time I read it I was living in the Netherlands and I stayed up all night sobbing my way though this book. I came to work the next morning and my coworkers were alarmed because my eyes were almost swollen shut. This book is NOT for new mothers. It is about a child that disappears in a heartbeat and what that loss does to the parents.

One book I’d wish I’d written:
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz.
This Egyptian masterpiece is the first in the palace trilogy. It is a look at Egypt as it moves from the victorian era to the modern world. The prose is literally flowers on a page. It didn't win the Nobel Prize for Literature for nothing!

One book I wish had never been written:
Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks.
This is one of the most distressing books I've read about women in Islamic societies. It leaves very little to the imagination and covers genital mutilation, honor killings, rape, and adultry in Islam. I wish that the topic was such that nobody ever had to write about it because it did not exist. But the fact is, it does, and this book is honest in portraying the horrors of a woman living in an Islamic fundamentalist society.

One book I’m reading now:
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
. I just started this last night, so I don't have much to say about it. I've just finished reading two books, I, Nadia, Wife of a Terrorist by Baya Gacemi, which is an autobiography by an Algerian woman married to an Islamic terrorist. The other is Bliss, by O.Z. Livaneli, the story of a Turkish rape victim from an Islamic fundamentalist family that is marked for an honor killing. Evidentally I am obsessed with reading about Islamic women these days.

One book I have been meaning to read:
The Audacity of Hope, by Barak Obama
. The day it comes out in paperback, I'm all over it.

I'm tagging anyone that is a reader.
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Things that make you go hmmmmmm

I just have absolutely no comment on this, other than to say Wow!
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Chchchchchanges

So, some new stuff is happening here in Chez Cold and Cough. I'm going to be starring in a feature length motion picture, the Girl is getting married, and the Boy has just won a full scholarship to the Sorbonne.

Yeah, right. Kidding! Just kidding!

In actuality the Boy has a terrible cold and stayed home today. Because he whined and whinged all weekend about his sore throat and sniffles, I allowed him to stay home ONLY if he worked on all his assignments he put off due to feeling like crap. So he wrote a 5-minute oral speech on Sophocles, and an English paper on the Parable of the Sower and didn't turn on the TV the entire day. But the work...she is done!

The Girl came home and immediately put on her PJs and took a nap. Poor thing, she is exhausted from talking all day long in school. It's hard work being popular.

We're all recovering from the Bat Mitzvah this weekend. It was a lot of fun, and the bar mitzvah daughter did a great job. The party was a dessert party with the freaking loudest DJ on the face of the earth. The little kids danced their patooties off, but my guys were too sophisticated to cut a rug, although the Boy did slow dance with the mother of the 'bride'.

The best part of the evening was the chocolate fountain. Heck, if you're eating fruit, it's healthy, right? Me, I think I ate half a pineapple covered in moulton chocolate. To die for. The Boy was more interested in marshmallows, the Girl liked the strawberries and pound cake. Me, just put me in front of pineapple and let me die happy.

And what's the big news? I'm blogging in a bunch of new places. I've got several small blogging jobs right now, and a big one pending. Which means I can finally bid my old job a fond farewell and get on with my life. This is very good news for me.

Otherwise, life continues on as usual. And you?
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Doing something nice

The kids and I are volunteering at an event in Boston called Christmas in the City. When we watched the video clips from Chronicle last year, we immediately decided to sign up. What an amazing organization it is. Christmas in the City is a 100% volunteer-led organization that provides a huge party and individualized gifts for about 3000 homeless children in our community. Children in shelters are invited to tell "Santa" their gift wishes, and then those requests are purchased by volunteers, wrapped, and gift tagged especially for the child. As you can imagine, this entails a huge amount of effort by the organizers and the volunteers. But the rewards, people. The rewards are amazing. Watch the vidoes to see for yourself. I'm just totally psyched to wrap presents. I love to wrap, and as an award winning bow maker, I feel my talents are underrated in my own home.
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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Owww, them dogs are howling

Remember the shoe hunt from hell? Well, I found shoes, and wore them today to the bat mitzvah service. My feet, they will never be the same. These are the most painful shoes I've ever in my life worn. They do not fit my feet well. In fact, they don't fit at all. They are supposed to be wide. Double wide. Perhaps double wide for rulers, but not for my puppies. Never have my feet been in such excruciating pain.

Of course, this lead to a mega problem as now we're almost off the the party and I had to come up with an entirely new outfit in order to cast the shoes aside. I don't have any more fancy shoes, so I've gone with a backup, my Munroe slides. They're really comfy . But they're brown, which was another issue. The dress I had planned to wear was black. However, I had a backup dress, one nobody has seen before because when I was heavier I looked too lumpy in it. Now, it fits fine. In fact, it's a bit too big so it hangs well.

I'm wearing all new makeup, too.

Both kids looked totally snazzy in their fancy dress. The Boy's suit fit like a glove and man, he cleans up nicely. The Girl looked gorgeous in her lavender suit. They both complained constantly about their clothing. They've been comfortable way too long, evidentally.

More later, we're off now for the dessert party.
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Nablopomo Checkin

I've noted that when I'm making the rounds of my fellow Nablopomo compatriots that a lot of people have already dropped out. Now that surprised me. Surprised me a lot. Are you all finding this harder than you thought it would be? Or did you just forget to post and then realized you fell off the bandwagon?

I'm trying hard to post daily, but I've always posted daily so it's not so much of a stretch for me. I must admit to the pressure of trying to find a quality topic to post about, especially after the election. I'd been living an adreline for so long just trying to get through the election without getting my hopes dashed. So the let down isn't at all about the results, because I'm thrilled with the results. It's about being so hyped up for weeks on one thing, and that thing just kinda floats away after Rummy's resignation. I feel like kids must feel after opening all those Christmas presents they have been fantasizing about for months. Is that all there is?

But I'm so freaking happy. It's almost as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I can go to bed now and not be afraid to wake up to news that we've invaded Iran and North Korea because they both had WMDs, just like Iraq. Thank God we no longer have to fear Bush gone wild. Not that he won't keep trying, for the man is a moron, but at least we have a Congress that isn't just going to rubber stamp everything he suggests. At least I sure hope not.

Anyhow, I'm getting this Saturday morning post in early because we have the big bat mitzvah event tomorrow and I'm going to be busy most of the day and night. I think the camera battery died tonight, but if I can get a couple more photos out of the camera, I'll document the kids dressed in their very best finery. It should be a momentous occasion. I can't even remember the last time the Boy wore a whole suit, not just a jacket and slacks.

So, my pretty little chickadees, if you're participating in Nablopomo, keep on posting. And if you're not participating in Nobloshoemo, you gotta go over and check out the shoes. Some of them are to DIE for.
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Friday, November 10, 2006

The haircut

When the Girl was in second grade, she graciously let her friend Sarah cut her hair. This was after she had cut her own hair and had learned that this was a huge mistake. She had taken a chunk out of the top of her hair and it stuck up straight for months. And yet, when Sarah wanted to cut her hair, she evidentally handed her the scissors with glee.

When I got to school to pick her up I almost died. The whole front of her hair was about 1/4" short. It was bad. At first she denied cutting it, but there was absolutely no getting around the fact that her hair was in tattered bits all over her head. I just had no idea that little girls could be this...oh, shit... stupid about their hair.

When she had cut her hair the first time I told her if she ever did it again, I would take her to the salon and get it all cut off so she didn't look like a freak. Evidentally she either forgot that warning, or didn't believe I was serious. But she was just beginning to learn that when I say I'm going to do something, it's rarely a threat.

Off we went to Supercuts, and she got the worst haircut of her life. It was BAD. She looked like a little orphan I had picked up off the streets. Except she had adorable glasses. At the salon she cried and cried and the hairdresser thought I was the most evil mother in the world to ever bring this poor child in for a butchering. And I probably was, but it was the only way I figured I could keep the scissors out of her hand.



She definately learned her lesson. Since that haircut, she's never had her hair cut, only had trims and a shapening or two to get rid of the layers. She would no sooner cut that hair again than she would murder the cat.



I know it's not unusual for a child to give themselves a bad haircut. Usually they do it once, and then it's over and done with. Some kids need to learn the lesson a different way. I don't think the girl has ever gotten over this haircut, but I can promise you, keeping a photo of it around has kept her far away from fooling with her hair ever again.
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

When the world has turned blue

Blue has never been my favorite color, but lately, say in the past couple of days, I'm seeing blue everywhere. As in Montana and Virginia and Ohio. It used to be that Massachusetts was the lonely blue state. But we have friends now. Lots and lots of friends. Blue friends. This makes my heart sing.

The first issue I'd like to bring up to my blue congressman, Barney Frank, and my two blue senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, and my new blue governor Deval Patrick, is that the federal poverty level hasn't changed in about a billion years. It is such an outdated figure and yet for the poor of this nation, the services they need from the 'safety net' rely on these figures. The poverty level is never adjusted for cost of living, nor for special circumstances, like where you live. So the poverty level is the same for a family of 4 in San Francisco or New York City as it is for a family in rural Alabama or Texas. However the cost of living is totally and completely different in those areas of the country. The poverty level needs to adjust for that cost of living difference.

Raising the minimun wage is just the beginning. Even with a dollar or two more, many to many citizens are mired in poverty and can't get the services they need. We live in the richest country in the world and our citizens aren't covered by a universal health care plan. When Massachusetts mandated health care for all, they never considered how it would be paid for, and the burden of payment lay right on those who can ill afford to, the poor. Because the poverty level is what deems free care, people living on the edge, but over the outdated poverty level are not able to pay for the health care that is now mandated by law. The state is asking the poor to fork up around $300/month in health care costs, money that they don't have but are required to pay by law. You gotta wonder what lawmakers thought this was a good idea.

Subsidized housing is also offered by considering the poverty level. Families have to wait years and years to rise up the list for subsidized housing, and in the meantime they live in substandard housing rented from landlords disinterested in maintaining their properties but very interested in collecting very high rents. In Boston, the average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in the metropolitan area is $1600-1800/month. Many of these units are not regulated by any law because they are 2 or 3-family dwellings where the landlord lives in one of the unit and is thus protected by any tenant laws. Because Boston is populated with many thousands of students willing to pay anything in order to live in certain neighborhoods, landlords have learned that students will tolerate bugs, rodents, filth, and a lack of repairs as part of the student experience.

Food stamps are supposed to help poor families pay for food. They do not cover all the costs of feeding your family, they are designed to be supplemental. They also rely on the ancient poverty levels, thus keeping most poor families out of the program. What is the point of the a federal program if it is unable to help the people it's designed to help?

These are the domestic issues I'm most interested in seeing our blue politicians work on. There are so many more, but changing the poverty levels to a more reasonable level for life in America today would be the top on my list.
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LOST Discussion Thursday

OK guys, I feel like I'm talking to myself here. Please tell me you're reading these posts by commenting. That is all...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm more than willing to wait -albeit anxiously -for a 16 episode season of Lost with no repeats. Yowsa! Tonight's LOST was OK, but not fabulous and certainly not up the standards of season 1. But it one of the better ones this season. It just sucks that the wait to watch the conclusion from tonight is three months long. If lost were a regular episodic series, that would have been good. It had some real tender moments, some suspense, and of course an Operating Room cliffhanger. But since Lost is not a regular show, I was really expecting some new revelations about things yet unresolved. So how does it feel to wait?

After the episode was over I sat in my chair thinking. I suddenly realized that Lost is not about what I was watching it for in the beginning. The show used to be about the island, what was going on there, and the characters were part of that mystery. Now Lost is a character driven drama and the island has been relegated to merely the setting. The story used to be about the island, but now it's about the people on the island. The operating room cliffhanger might as well have been who shot JR.

ABC is taking a big risk, yanking Lost off the schedule for thirteen long cold weeks after tonight's episode (merely the sixth of the new season). The suits say the production schedule leaves them no choice. But the producers will be leaving us little crumbs along the way to the Feburary 7th return.

Well, not exactly crumbs, but what ABC is calling "Lost Nuggets"-- 30-second promotional clips of scenes from coming episodes, containing clues to what's ahead. The nuggets will run each week, sometime during each episode of the show's replacement series Day Break. Me, I think it's extortion. If you want to keep up with Lost, you have to watch Day Break. Now I love Tay Diggs. I really really love him. Like, oh my GAWD he's so hot. But... I don't want to be required to watch him in that show. Which I am if I want to keep up with the Lost tidbits. DAMN Disney! Anyhow, it all boils down to this:

Ben won't die. Or he does and Juliet takes over as evil queen bitch (which could be awesome).
Kate and Sawyer will get away. I mean, c'mon the writers said these six episodes were a miniseries, so now they'll get back to the mainland or something.
The brief image of the Eye-Patch Man totally ruled.

The only thing OBVIOUS is that these 1st six episodes didn't settle anything. I'm BORED with the status quo. How long can you keep the main characters locked up and keep it interesting. They should have gotten out three episodes ago. The hatches and the underground is far more interesting to me. The Others have too much control of the show right now and that's not how it should be.

Questions and Comments Galore

What did Jack tell Kate when she was stitching him? This is what I remember... Jack was operating on a 15 year old girl when he accidentally cut something wrong. Spinal fluid shot everywhere. He told her he counted to five, calmed down, and fixed everything. He advised her to try it when she was scared and she did when they first encountered the monster. Whether he is telling her to not be afraid or that he is going to purposefully botch Ben's surgery or both, I have no idea. Maybe it's just something he is sure that the Others won't know. So if she tells him the right story, it means that she's safe, and Jack will save Ben. If she tells him the wrong story, then it meas she's not safe, and Ben is a dead man.

Too bad Jack doesn't know they're stuck on another island. All that matters is that Sawyer and Kate know and therefore also know that the Others have a way off the island, i.e. their sub (Or Desmond's boat) if Sun and Jin don't still have it. I am pretty sure they are still on it, as we haven't seen them at all this season. So where are they?

In the episide where they claimed to implant Sawyer with a pace maker did he see the video monitor room? Thereby knowing people could watch him having sex.This could be the islands version of celebrity sex tapes. LOL. I can't remember if he saw the monitors, but I'm sure that he knew that they were listening to him and Kate talk. Remember they told him that if he told her about the pacemaker, they would do the same to her. He really took that serious too, he was not gonna tell her.

When is someone gonna fight back and shoot people? Jack... all those guns... pull a Rambo man. At least Jack finally grew a spine. Sayid's lack of ability to accomplish anything productive has been disappointing. I want him to be powerful again. I want Sayid to stand up to Locke. I want order out of the chaos!

I wonder why they have allowed Alex to go AWOL. Maybe she is Ben's hostage/daughter. Maybe Ben doesn't want Alex to love him, he just wants Alex to want to love him. I thought Ben and Juliet were sort of Alex's "legal guardians"; I think they had raised her since they abducted her from Danielle's shelter. That's why Alex referred to Ben as "Ben," not as "Dad."

In tonite's episode, Sayid asked Locke what killed Eko, and Locke replied, "They call it 'the monster.'" Maybe the writers forgot that Sayid had already called it "the monster" too--when he was captured by Danielle. It was *Danielle* who replied to him "There are no monsters."

I was waiting for Sayid to reply to Locke, "I know that, dummy. I called it 'the monster' too." Hey, at least Sayid finally asked a straight forward question about what that hell that black mist monster is and why it's around. Too bad Locke pussied out and didn't answer him. They've really made Locke totally uncool this season.

Plus, in tonite's episode, Nikki asked "What killed Eko?" It never occurred to her that the thing they witnessed from the premiere episode 1.01 that howled and knocked down trees might be responsible? Even though since she heard that same howl when she was in Pearl Station?

Have the writers dropped any hints as to when they will explain more about the end of season 2, where those two guys in the artic detected a "magnetic anamoly" and then called Penny and said "I think we've found him!"

I was really hoping we wouldn't have to wait to February to see more "life off the island" type stuff, but I could see the writers not addresing this at all until quite some time down the road.

Refresh my memory: Who was this "Jacob" Pickett mentioned before going to kill Sawyer? Maybe Jacob is Ethan's real name? Maybe Ethan's last name. Otherwise I suppose that Ethan's list was sent off-island and Jacob sent back a list of who to take. Or did I remember that in the first episode this season, both Ben & Juliet called "Ethan" Jacob when he was working under her house. A search of the transcripts at http://www.losthatch.com/transcripts.aspx shows absolutely no mention of the name Jacob in dialogue before tonight.

Coincidence or evil plot that all of the tail section survivors have been murdered? If I remember right, Bernard is the only adult left. I bet he doesn't survive the season. The only talies that are left are children, the innocent, who were taken away. The ones who were left seem to have a high mortality rate. Locke saw the monster as a white light. Others as black smoke. The ones who saw black smoke have directly or indirectly cause the death of another human. It seems like the "smoke" judges people. But unless the writers go back on their word, I don't see how the smoke can be explained without turning the show into a science fiction show. I will bet that later we will see that Bernard has caused someone's death. Then he will get offed. But, I've been wrong before...

To trust or not to trust...that is the question.

Jack has more reason to trust Ben then Juliet in that Ben has proved himself to be a man of his word with Michael and Walt. Jack doesn't know Juliet and has no reason to trust her, but he has seen with his own eyes them letting Michael go. That paired with the fact that Juliet is asking him to not only break his hypocritical (yeah I know, I'm pissed at doctors today) oath, but to commit outright murder. Besides, Ben has the better offer on the table. He offered Jack the freedom to leave the island if he saves Ben. Juliet has not offered Jack anything substantive. Not even in her video. Now we don't know if they truly let him go, but for Jack to make a decision based on what he knows, its a much better risk to side with Ben then Juliet.

I think that no matter what Jack believes to be the truth about Ben and Juliet that he would never kill Ben on the operating table. That is not in his character: Jack will try to save Ben because he is a doctor first and saving people is what he does. Ben, of course, has to trust Jack, I get that plot dynamic. But the Jack we know does not have to trust Ben in order to treat him.

Perhaps Juliet's card show is part of an elaborate test of Jack's integrity. Although I hope this is not the case. I prefer that Jack uses her plot as leverage that will either allow his escape and/or her come-uppance. I am not feeling a lot of love for Juliet right now. Sometimes I think that Juliet and Ben are working together and the cue cards was just a way to see if Jack would fall for such a thing. If Jack tells her no, the Ben can rest easy knowing that Jack doesn' have it in him to commit murder/mistake. Remember how Ben said that the original plan was to break Jack, but now that option was no longer. The weird scene where Ben leaves Juliet with Jack to drown, well I think that that was just a setup to make Jack think that they were at odds.

The Jury is still out on Michael, and Walt. Did Ben really let them go? We saw him give them the boat, but then what? Did they get away, or did Ben rig the boat to explode, or sink out to sea? I do not trust Ben, and I do not trust Juliet, very much.

I hope tonight's episode goes to resolve all these speculations. In fact, what I hope to not see is that this entire entire conflict between the survivors and the Others is some convoluted plot to get Jack to save Ben. There must be more to the conflict than just that.

Spoilers

http://tvguide.com/News-Views/Columnists/Ask-Ausiello/default.aspx

  • Kate has hot dirty sex with Sawyer in the cage, Jack operates on Ben, and only one of those doers is sincere in his or her intentions. [Source: Kristin of E!] My guess is that maybe Kate does this as part of some deal she struck with Ben during the scenes following her at the beach with him in the season premiere, probably as part of getting her pregnant for some reason or another.
  • We will eventually get back to the story of Michael and Walt, but not this season. [Source: Ask Ausiello]
  • "We certainly plan to tell the audience this year how Locke got in the wheelchair."
  • "We'll be getting a lot more detailed about what happened to Locke, Eko and Desmond following the immediate aftermath of the hatch exploding, imploding or potentially doing something else."
  • "We're doing a flashback story where you'll find out how Jack got his tattoos."
  • "And we'll begin peeling back layers of who the Others are, how long they've been on the island, what their origins are. That's really the sort of uber-plot of Season 3."
  • We'll get a "very real sense" of what happened to all the abducted children in the second episode back after the break.
  • The guy we saw with the eyepatch will figure in prominently this season.
  • A couple of "bombs" will be dropped when the show returns in February, including one involving a character (within the first three episodes) and one involving the story overall shortly afterwards. [Source: Ask Ausiello]

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pelosi: Impeach the Bastard!

Dear Speaker of the House Pelosi,

Did you hear or see Bush's speech this afternoon, Nancy? The speech where he announced Rumsfeld was finally biting the dust and Gates was taking over as the new Secretary of Defense. The speech where he said he was disappointed in the election results, but didn't really admit that his ridiculous foreign and domestic policies, coupled with an administration rife with corruption and sex scandals, might, just might have been his fault. Nah, couldn't be his fault. It's the liberals. It's all their fault, right Nancy?

But in a concession to your takeover of the house and your new appointment as the Speaker of the House, he said that he had spoken to you and recommended some White House interior decorators to help you choose new 'drapes' for your new office.

Wasn't that swell of him? Gosh, what a guy! But I noticed that he didn't mention offering Gates access to the interior decorator. Do you think that's because he's a tad bit sexist? Do you? Cause I do.

So now I'm gonna ask you again, why aren't you considering impeachment proceedings for this jerk? It's apparent he has no respect for you, and total disdain for the democrats. He can't admit to any failings of his own, and he's proven himself over and over to be the worst kind of leader. He's surrounded himself with a protective layer of corrupt, disdainful white men who believe that the Presidency is license to declare complete autonomy over the people. He's taken away civil rights because he believes that the government has the right to intrude on personal privacy. He's stuck his nose into the private doings of the citizens of this nation all while taking money from Halliburton while it rapes and pillages in Iraq. He's a racist, sexist jackass, he's got a brain that's a bit short of 2 lbs, and he's dishonest. He's personally responsible for the deaths of almost 3000 American men and women serving in Iraq, never mind the over 20,000 Iraqui citizens lost already. And we're not going to impeach him why?

Come on, Nancy. Give the country a break. We need to get rid of the garbage. Please rethink this decision.

Your friend,

Margalit
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Need a reason to vote?

This is why I vote.

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Our registrar deserved getting fired

Due to some nasty local politics regarding the building of a new high school in my city, the voter registrar was fired. He was fired for cause after he allowed a serious miscount of the number of registered voters on a petition, initially declaring that the petition was void due to a lack of proper signatures. Seems he didn't learn how to count in school and actually miscounted three full pages of signatures on the petition forms. That was unforgivable considering the amount of angst our city has gone through trying to build a high school for $141 million dollars. A high school designed by Graham Gund. Which never even came up on a ballot for the voters to express their opinions. And that's what the petition was about, a special ballot that will now be held in January.

Why am I telling you all this boring local news? Because it has to do directly with my inability to vote for the 4th freaking time in the same damn location. I know it's hard to believe that I could be disenfranchised on 4 sequential elections for the exact same reason each and every time, but then again, let's look at who the registrar was and his inability to read and write.

This is what happens. I go to my correct precinct polling place, the Hyde Community Center, to vote. They look at the list and I'm not on it. Then they look at the second list of voters that haven't voted in a while. I'm not on that list either. So I get sent to the special table, where the lady actually knows me, as I've done this so many times. I fill out the green form saying that I couldn't vote normally. Then she calls the registrar's office and they insist that I live someplace else, and that I should vote there. I refuse because I have a volunteer that drives me to the polls and I KNOW that if I vote at this other place I'll remain on the polls there forever. So I won't go across town to a polling place I'm never supposed to have voted in.

Then the lady hangs up the phone and looks at me sadly and says, "Provisional Ballot?" I say "Yup", and we fill out another form, and then she gives me the ballot. I go vote, put my ballot into a special provisional envelope, and it gets sent to the registrar's office where I'm sure they just throw it away. I think that because I've been doing this for years now, and they WILL NOT change my address to the right polling place. Between the primary, when this happened last, and this election today, I filled out three, count-em THREE different forms to register to vote. I passed one in to city hall at the registrar's office. I mailed one in a week after the primary. And I also filled out one that went into my provisional envelope with the paperwork.

You would think that after doing this so many times, they would change my address and register me to vote. But NOOOO. I've heard every excuse in the book. But the real reason they are so ineffectual is that they can be. The former registrar evidentally didn't give a hoot about how his office was run, and it shows in the way he handled the petition and how they have handled my voting rights.

What they are doing is called disenfranchisement, and it is ILLEGAL. That the people know me in my polling place by name tells me that I've had to fight this fight long enough. This city is falling apart piece by piece. We've got firefighters going 3 years without a contract, living in substandard housing and using substandard equipment. We have teachers working without a contact. We have a mayor that no longer connects to the people and his spokesperson can only be described as unpleasant. City hall isn't working. There is something seriously wrong when a voter fills out form after form after form and still is not registered to vote. I'd like to know what excuses they come up with next. But I'm no longer putting up with this. I'm going public.
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Assaulted from all sides

I bet you think that I do nothing all day long but sit in front of the computer in my nice silent house, waiting for the kids to come home. Well, you're pretty close. On most days, that's just about what goes on here. But not today. Today is special.

Let's see....upstairs in the kid's bathroom I've got the plumber replacing the dripping tub faucets with new faucets.

In the kitchen I've got Pentecoster, my home health aide, cooking some incredible smelling chicken and sweet potato stew. She's from Cameroon and her cooking is to die for.

In the basement I've got the Drain Doctor banging on something in order to snake out my drains and get the frigging tree roots out of the pipes so that the tub and shower drain, the toilets stop leaking, and we can resume daily showers. Sorry, TMI on the shower part. Shall we say we've all been a tad grungy the past week or so, since our plumbing traumas came to a head.

Oh, and my neighbor is outside blowing leaves. Pentecoster's phone keeps ringing and the ring tone is Jingle Bells. I'm about to jump out of my skin with all this over-stimulation. There are way to many people in my house and I just want to get under the spanking clean sheets on my bed and take a nap.

I remember quiet.
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You know what you're supposed to do

Are you an American citizen? Did you register to vote? Yes? Then go do it. VOTE. Make sure to have your voice heard. Vote.

You think your one vote can't make a difference? It can. Think of the last two elections. You know, the ones where George W. Bush stole the elections with small amount of disputed votes. Now think what could have been if everyone had voted. If every American citizen had determined the importance of having their voice heard. Do you think we'd be stuck in Iraq with a moron for a president and a triumverate of very scary white men running the country? I don't believe we would.

So VOTE. No, you're not to busy. I don't care what's on your plate today. It only takes a few minutes. Bring the kids. It's important for them to see you exercise your right to vote. Your boss will let you go. The polls are open after work. So VOTE. Please.

We can make a difference. You and I, we can both vote today. We can tell the world how we feel about the USA. But we can't if you won't vote. So make me proud of you. Make yourself proud of you. VOTE. Stand up and be heard. Let the entire world know that you're embarassed at what this country has become. Tell them that you want a change. VOTE.

Just VOTE.
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Is the holiday blues contageous?

I honestly haven't been feeling really horrid (yet) about Thanksgiving and then the dreaded march to the "you don't fit in anywhere for the next 8 weeks" holiday. But that was before I read Izzy's post today, where she talked about how sad she was feeling about Thanksgiving due to her lack of family.

Well, me too, Izzy. Me too. I try to put it out of my mind, but the reason I hate Thanksgiving more than any other holiday is because it's all-encompassing. It's for everyone that lives in the US and even for the ex-pats overseas. It's an American holiday. It's not a Christian holiday, or a Hallmark holiday, or a made up holiday. It's a traditional American holiday based, oddly enough, on Sukkot, a Jewish holiday. It is also a holiday that was designed to spend with your family. You don't go to church or synagogue, you don't congregate at parks to watch fireworks, you don't march in parades (unless you're in NYC and affiliated with Macys), you don't travel to far off lands.

You get together with your family and sometimes your friends and you eat. Some families dress up, some wear jeans. Some celebrate at the matriarch's house year after year, other families rotate amongst the different homes of which their family is comprised. The glaring point is, they all gather with families. You know, it's Norman Rockwell all over the USA.

Except there are lots of us out there that are Thanksgiving orphans. We don't have families. Or we do, but they are toxic. Or too far away. Or don't speak to us. Whatever the reason, Thanksgiving orphans feel a tremendous amount of pain this time of year. They don't belong anywhere. Nothing is weirder than celebrating with friends who invite your family almost as an afterthought, and you end up as the odd family out in a crowd of relatives that don't belong to you. It doesn't feel good. It just emphasizes the isolation you feel as a Thanksgiving orphan.

When I was younger and childless, I used to do Thanksgiving with several other orphan families. That was fine. We were all feeling alone and out of the mainstream. But when you're in your own family, albeit a small family of three, people tend to forget you exist. Or assume that you have someplace to go.

Plenty of us in blogland don't have a place to go. We need extra comfort and extra love this time of year. We need to come together in some way to celebrate each other as orphans. We need to feel loved and wanted.

So how do we do this? I've come up with a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure if they're any good. I was thinking of a conference call amongst those of us far away from each other but alone for Thanksgiving. Or maybe a small family Thanksgiving blog where we could share our lonely little holiday existance. What about reaching out to each other and inviting those of us who are close by to join together? Maybe sending card thru snailmail to those you know are going to be alone.

Anyone have any ideas?
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I did it at long last!


Every year the supermarkets around these here parts offer a free turkey and all the trimmings if you spend enough money in their store to earn 20 'points'. Between October 6th and November 16th you have to spend $500 to earn the points. Every year I swear I'm going to do this, and every year I fall short because I don't shop in supermarkets as much as I do Trader Joes. Plus, I don't spend $500/month on food for our family.

This year, however, I did it. I planned ahead because Belinda has me so nuts over coupons and saving money at the market that I've been plotting and planning for weeks in order to get my free turkey. Fortunately the Staaaah Maaaarket in my city has a huge Kosher section and sells 3 different Kosher brands of turkey, all glatt. So I wanted to get in on this in the worst way.

Of course, in order to do so, I had to use coupons judiciously and spend the big money on larger ticket items that I don't usually buy in the grocery. In other words, boy, is there a lot of chicken in my freezer! And meat. Mmmm, meat. And oh, I already have a large turkey. But I need another one because Thanksgiving is coming up, and then the turkey I already have will become the holiday meal, and the new turkey will take it's place of honor in my freezer until it's cold and a nice hot turkey dinner during a winter vacation will be a big surprise for my children, the turkey lovers.

Next week I'll redeem my turkey points and pick up my new turkey and whatever else I need to make Thanksgiving dinner. So far, I've got the sweet potatos, the Yukon Golds, the cranberries, the turkey, the stuffing package, and the makings of an apple pie. I still need the pumkin pie fixins', fresh veggies, and the marshmallows for the sweet potatos. I have to get those last minute because somebody in our house tends to steal the bag, take it upstairs to their bedroom, and eat them all.

Oddly, I find Thanksgiving the most depressing holiday of the year. But I do love the food, and I love cooking it for my kids. It's the one holiday where they're so appreciative and they eat everything on their plates. Several times over, in fact!
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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Shoe safari ends semi-successfully

Ah, alliteration. Nothing like it in a headline!

So the search for shoes for the bat mitzvah has finally ended. I found a pair of shoes totally by accident. I was moaning to a friend about never finding shoes and how I was going to have to wear my new green Uggs I got at Marshalls for $20, when she suggested I look at a clothing store catalog online. She said that had big shoes. When I checked out the catalog I saw several pairs that I didn't hate, and ended up purchasing the black velvet low-heeled pumps.


I don't love them. I am not squeeing over them. I sort of like them. And I think they're a good shoe to own as they'll go with quite a bit of my already existing wardrobe as well as both outfits I'm wearing next weekend. They were pretty cheap, too. They'll probably kill my feet, but I'm wearing them by hook or by crook. Because it's a choice of these or the Uggs.


I do love the Uggs. They might be ugly (hence the name) but they are so soft and warm and this time of year, nothing feels better on your feet than Uggs.

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Greatest Mail Order Crabcakes

Belinda asked me if I could search for the greatest mail order crab cakes. Sure. I've got nothing but food on my mind because I feel like total crap and it's better to imagine food than to actually eat food when you're feeling like this.

I know that there is a Maryland vs San Francisco Bay crab rivalry. To me, there is no contest. Absolutely none. Maryland Blue Crabs win, hands down. And I say that as a person that has not ingested a crab or crabmeat of any kind since around 1970. But I did live in Baltimore for a couple of years and I did eat more than my fill of delicious blue crabs, and they are literally heaven on a plate. My favorite are the steamed crabs dumped on your table that's covered with brown paper. You use a bib and mallets to crush the shells, and every piece of skin that touches the crabs starts to burn because they are covered with Old Bay seasoning. Hot, spicy and succulent. Can't get much better than that. Whereas California, where I spent my childhood, has big giant boring crab legs that taste sort of, well, tasteless.

I'm not an expert on crab cakes. Me, I make salmon cakes instead using canned red salmon (with the bones, quelle horror!). But I make them with a ton of Old Bay and matzoh meal and they remain one of my kids favorite meals. Anyhow, although I'm not a crab cake expert by any means, I have eaten in a couple of the more famous restaurants on the list below, and can attest to their excellence overall. So without further ado, here's my research which commences with an article on this very topic from Slashfood:

Crab cakes are a favorite food of many seafood lovers. They are made with crab meat that is bound together with a small amount of filler then fried (or baked) until crisp. There are a huge number of variations on the basic cake, but the most important ingredient is, of course, the crab. Summer is typically considered to be crab season, but thanks to frozen and imported meats, crab cakes are available to most people year-round. The question is not whether you can get them, but whether they are worth getting. The week, the Wall Street Journal's Catalogue critic asked that very question and taste-tested five kinds of mail-order crab cakes.

All the cakes had to be cooked at home before serving and all but one was shipped pre-formed. The top choices were Philips Seafood and Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes and More, which came in first and second with only the narrowest of margins deciding the winner. Third place was the Cadillac Crab Cake Co., the company that shipped the crab cakes unformed in a "loaf," allowing you to shape them according to your preferences.

The biggest drawback is that not only are the cakes expensive, but shipping is pricey, too, so keep that in mind when you decide you want a crab cake or three in the dead of winter.
Other restaurands that I am familiar with, and that ship crabcakes include Obrycki's in Baltimore and Legal Seafoods, a local Boston chain of fabulous seafood. At Legals, you can get a combination of crabcakes and chowder, just plain crabcakes, and you must must must add some bluefish pate to your order. Spread on slices of bagette, the bluefish pate is close to heaven in your mouth. We're lucky that one of Legal's restaurants is in our city, and it has a wonderful fish market attached.

I found a few other Maryland restaurants that ship crabcakes, but I have no personal experience with any of them. Here are the links anyhow. Crabcake Express and G&M Restaurant.

So there you go, Belinda. Hope you find what you're looking for.
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