Monday, May 21, 2018

Somehow Summer

Somehow, we're coming upon Memorial Day Weekend. Not sure how that happened, since those of us in NJ, never actually saw any of Spring. I know this because I've only needed one pedicure, and it was like, last week. Since October. I had one in October for my friend's daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Last week when it was time to actually put on flip flops, I realized it looked like I had a reverse French on my feet. I had a band of a deep gray color that grew to the tip of toenails.

Anyone not give any fcuks about the Royal Wedding? Me neither. Didn't see it, didn't read about it before or after, and I just saw the dresses on the noon news today. It's nice, yadda yadda, they got married, it's over. Lest you think I was more interested in the other brother and his bride, I wasn't. At 43, weddings and babies, especially those of people I don't know- I'm over it.

That brings me to what I want to talk about. Stuff. As in, stuff I've found that you are going to want also.

Every summer I mention the Whale Bag by Saltwater Canvas. All their bags are on 25% off sale until May 31. You definitely want to get in on THAT if you ever go to the pool or beach.

Last, but certainly not least, I just finally got a Cool Cabana for the beach. I've been wanting one for like two summers now- ever since I first saw them. But I waited, and now I got one on sale! Normally they're like $118 and they're on sale for $99 with free shipping. You can't get them on Ebay or Amazon unless you want to pay shipping too. It's more worth it to go through their site. It looks like the coolest thing ever so I hope it really is as cool as it looks!

Next thing on the agenda is addressing summer stink. Except not on me, but my kid. He turned nine, and while he doesn't exactly stink of body odor, however, he does smell like musty boy after running around all day, or just being in a hot school. Yeah, we don't have air conditioning here, like in the stone age. I found this deodorant for him called Every Man Jack that smells WONDERFUL. It's aluminum free, if that's a concern. It's not a real concern for me. I'm not so crunchy. I use what works. I figured for nine, if he doesn't have raging B.O., then aluminum free is fine. I don't know if it's aluminum that makes it work, but they took whatever they took out of over the counter cold meds, and now they all suck, so.... I bought Fresh Scent, and boy is it fresh!

As for not-particularly-summer-things, but cool Tara-recommended things, nonetheless: 

I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw something like- "30 things we're obsessed with on Amazon", so I thought I'd just check it out. One of them was the Mancro Slim Laptop Backpack. I needed a backpack that wasn't a ripped, dirty, old Under Armor one that E used for kindergarten and first grade. It was only twenty-six dollars so I bought it. I LOVE it. I got it in purple. It IS slim, it has a lot of inner and outer pockets, and it's cute! It also has a usb hole on the side so you can hide an external phone battery on the inside and charge something like a phone, iPod, or whatever in a pocket on the bag or on your person, hands-free.

Per the norm every few months, I notice as E's getting ready for school, in the beginning of April, that E's pants are floods again. I went to the mall to see about getting him a few pair of pants in either the Gymboree or Children's Place Outlet. There were NO pants. I went into Marshall's thinking there HAD to be pants there. Nope. I got so annoyed, I just saw a pair of RBX leggings in my favorite burgundy/merlot color. Very few workout leggings I see out are made in a soft cotton - I usually find them only in that really spandex, scuba suit feel. I hate that. So I took these and ran. OMG, I'm so in love. I ran back for four more, "space dyed" in the capri length. I think you can only get those on discount if you look around the internet. They're "performance leggings", whatever that means. I don't need them for performing, but forget that pyramid scheme Lularoe- THESE, are "like butter". If, you're looking for leggings to be like butter.

One day we were trying to look up something on YouTube on our Smart TV. We happen to have a Vizio downstairs. Trying to hunt and peck the letters is so time consuming & frustrating, I knew there had to be some kind of external keyboard. We didn't want some big bulky thing either though. I looked up bluetooth keyboard for tv and imagine this- Vizio has a universal remote for their tv sets that has a KEYBOARD ON THE BACK OF IT. Sold. Bought that baby for like eleven or twelve bucks and no more hunt and peck like it's 2004 and you're trying to send a text via flip phone.

Most people reading know I sell my old clothes on Poshmark. Sometimes I come across something I *would* still wear if I didn't ruin it with some kind of stain. I thought, what if I just try to dye these things. I did a little research and found idye in Blick art store when E asked me to take him there for some kind of eraser. On the idye package it says you can just throw the dye in the washer. You mean, no mess? Sign me up. We all know B hates a mess! I threw the first pack of dye in with major trepidation. It worked! An aqua/mint BCBG track suit from the early 2000's is now a really pretty plum color. I will say, it's not quite as deep a color as if you boiled the items in dye. But if you have something in good shape without major staining, it will change the color for sure. The kind you can throw in the washer is for natural fibers like cotton. They make a separate one for polyester and nylon. I did that one too- but you have to boil that. Boiling clothes in dye didn't go over well with B, so I have to stick to the kind in the washer, where there is no evidence left. You can get it at Jo-Ann Fabrics, Blick, Amazon, etc.

Now, you know how I love As Seen On TV. I have another one for you. The "Better Brella". It's that one you've seen in commercials that opens inside out so you don't get soaked getting in and out of the car with it. I've been wanting this ever since I saw it. I bought the small one. Meaning, there's a big one, and this is a normal size one. I can't imagine how it won't work. It's automatic, and comes in blue and black right now. Of course, I bought it Saturday evening and now it's sunny. I'll take the sun for now and let you know how the umbrella works. But at Harmon, with a 20% off coupon, it's probably worth the fifteen dollars.

Another As Seen On TV product I picked up is Alert Drops. I actually didn't see a commercial for this first. I saw Potsie, from Happy Days, talking about it on Megyn Kelly. No, I do not normally watch Megyn Kelly. She's on at nine o'clock in the morning here, right when I'm getting in the shower and getting ready for work. I turned the tv on one morning and there were the Happy Days crew talking about what they're doing. Anson Williams was talking about making this stuff called Alert Drops to wake you up when you're driving while tired. I'm ashamed to say there have been times I've had to slap myself in the face while driving. He said his uncle is the Heimlich of the Heimlich maneuver. The elder Heimlich told him to bite on a lemon if you're tired and it wakes you up. Somehow they bottled this for money, and I bought it. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but I know one of us will need it on the way home from the shore this summer. #GardenStateParkwayTraffic

So that's what I have for you so far! I'm sure I'll have other life hacks and cool things for you as the summer goes on. I'll also come back to let you know how I fare with the new umbrella and the Alert Drops. You know- anything to make my life easier and get more enjoyment out of every second- I'm IN! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Taste the Rainbow

Pride Month- June, is coming up quick. That means PRIDE month to many. So here's the skinny on some of what to do, where to go, who to see!

June 1st: Glen Rock Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

June 3rd: NJ's 27th Annual LGBTQ Pride Celebration, Asbury Park. We've gone to this twice I think. It's a lot of fun. Vendors, rides, music, food, etc.

June 10th: North Jersey Pride Festival, Maplewood NJ. Memorial Park Ampitheater, Dunellen Rd.

June 24th: NYC Pride Parade and festivities. A personal favorite we've gone to every year!

More comprehensive calendar of all kinds of LGBTQ events in from May on through June:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Renegade: Take 2

I've had a Jeep Renegade since 2015, when they first came out. B really likes this Jeep because it's bigger than our Mini Cooper S and he likes the way it rides. I don't really care much about cars. I always want or NEED all the bells & whistles, then three years later when it's time to give the car back, I haven't used any of them and don't even know how. My Jeep Renegade was a pretty fully loaded Limited model so there wasn't many bells & whistles missing. I didn't have a sunroof though, which is something B really likes having. He has one in the Mini and always has had one. For him, if he had a car wishlist, I'm going to say that he'd probably ask for that.

The thing is, I got the Renegade with it first came out. There were some kinks that needed to be worked out. One major one was the electrical system. I had a problem with that the first week and had to go back for an "update". However, I don't think this is actually unique to this car. I think that now that we've made this move away from actual mechanics and toward total technology for cars, it's causing us major problems. Back in the day, if your car was broke down, you went to the mechanic. Now you need to go to the I.T. guy! I think this is every brand now. When you have computers running anything, you're going to have bugs. I get that.

Which brings me to what happened to me: My Renegade's electrical system went haywire last Friday. I don't know what happened, and it doesn't really matter. It resulted in the battery not working and me needing roadside assistance. Which, by the way, was covered fully. I knew I had to bring it in to the dealership though, which is totally inconvenient to me, since it isn't around the corner.

I emailed the service department but also emailed my friend Joe Loonam, who is a sales manager there, and who helped me get the Renegade the first time. It's not his department but with as much as I'm in the city with E for auditions and stuff, I can't come back to a parking garage for car that doesn't start. The Precision service department called me on Monday morning and had me come in on Wednesday morning. They told me by eight in the morning, but I came in at seven-thirty just to make sure I was like, first. Or close to it.

Luckily, I got Brian Pangione in service, and he was awesome. He did whatever tests he had to do, then came back to tell me that it was an electrical issue and I had about another hour. After another forty-five minutes, I thought to email Joe to say thanks for making sure they called me, and to tell him I was in the service area.

Joe came back to say hello and we started talking about how my lease would be up soon. He said he was going to look at the specifics and maybe we should just get me into a new car right away. He worked numbers and saw that he had two 2018 Renegades on the lot and was trying to figure out how to get me in one with relatively the same payment I had already. Then he set me up with Tommy Deroberto as my actual salesman. Joe knows me and thought Tommy and I would be "intellectually aligned" and he couldn't have been more correct. I was so pleased, even if I ended up spending the better part of the day in a car dealership.

They got me into a new Jeep Renegade Limited 4x4. While I thank Brian for his fantastic service and helpfulness, I was happier to take a new car home. I have to assume at least some kinks were worked out with the electrical. Also, I don't want anything bigger. If I can't have a Mini, then the Renegade is as big as I can go. It totally flies under the radar as an SUV. Garages in NYC don't consider it an SUV so I don't have to pay an oversize charge. Plus, when I had the CRV, and B's Pathfinder, I hit everything in those SUVs. 

My new car is black, which isn't really me, as you all know. It's boring. Have no fear, I already put my magnets back on - the ones that still stick, and I ordered like five more. I'll just cover as much as I can with my Damn-The-Man feelings in magnet form.

*Let's also say that I was clearly not prepared to be giving up my car that day because it looked like squatters were living in my car. For months. Good times having to transfer all my stuff. And while I was catching up with Joe, Tommy was the one who actually took my piles of crap and put it in the trunk of the new car. Let's also say it was hot as balls yesterday, and Tommy was in a shirt, pants, and maybe even a tie (I forget).

If you're looking for a Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, or Ram. Joe and Tommy at Precision are the way to go. I wouldn't trust anyone else. Buying or leasing a car is a big decision. Normally, for big decisions, B and I do things like that jointly. I would normally have him there or at least consult him. I trust Joe, and Tom, so much, that I didn't even tell B until after it was already underway and I had some questions about minor things, like whether to get coverage for dings and dents. I'm pretty independent, but it's a well known rumor (fact or fiction, I don't know) that women tend to get taken advantage at car dealerships when they come alone. Both B and I knew that Joe would do right by me, so I felt totally comfortable making a unilateral decision.

Tom was just a bonus- fun to talk to, got the job done, and if you get to talking to him, a really interesting guy. He sells cars by day and writes screenplays in his downtime. He's not the typical "car salesman" that gets referenced all the time. You know he's doing his best for you.

**What's changed in the 2018 Renegade vs 2015:  I read there's more storage. There's a little bit. Same tiny on-the-door compartments. But there's an added space in between the front seats for your phone and whatever else fits in there. It's like a side long slot that wasn't there before. I don't know what else. The back up camera/navigation/control screen is bigger and I think you control everything from there. It's touchscreen. Other than that- it's only been less than twenty-four hours and I haven't even finished combing through all the stuff that came out of the old car. Tommy set Howard Stern 100 and 101 on Sirius for me and that's pretty much as far as I got. You know, the most important things first.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Coolsculpting update & SculpSure

Someone recently asked me about CoolSculpting and whether it works or not. I pointed them to my blog, but I thought I should actually do an update since it's been a little over a year.

Just to remind everyone- I had what they call six "sessions". Four parts of my stomach- above the belly button, below, and the sides of those areas. Sort of a square but slanted on the sides like a V. Then, one on each side where the muffin top resides.

Do I still think CoolSculpting is magic?  Sort of. Did it work? That's where it gets a little more complicated. I had a pooch- under the belly button. That really is gone. If I bend over, still, to this day, there isn't really fat there. It's not quite as flat as it was when the swelling went down and I saw the results. But it's pretty flat in comparison to what it was before I did anything.

HOWEVER- above the belly button, to me, is like a bit of a shelf. I guess fat has to go somewhere, right? It's not like I eat Paleo or something, so vodka sauce has to settle somewhere. Above my belly button is softer than it's ever been and has a bit of cellulite. I don't recall that being there before. Or if it was, it matched the pooch so it wasn't as noticeable to me. It doesn't look like botched surgery or anything, but if you were looking, for purposes of comparison or in talking about CoolSculpting, you'd be like- "Oh...I totally see that".

I was told when I did it that I might need more than one time. But to just do that area even is still expensive- like $750. I'm not paying that because I don't have $750 to throw at my jelly belly.

My OB/gyn was considering getting a CoolSculpting machine. He'd asked me about it months ago because they have a weight loss program in the office so it seemed to be synergistic. He ended up doing a ton of research since the last I'd seen him. He went with SculpSure instead, which is like the hot version of CoolSculpting and a little different. A week or two ago, they had an open house for SculpSure at their office. I'm friends on Facebook, with Emily, who works in the office, and she told me about the Open House, so I decided to go just to get some info for friends who asked if I knew anything about it.

I have to say, I watched the demonstration, and there was one thing that sealed the deal for me thinking this would work better than CoolSculpting. This woman who was having it done- she literally danced out of there. After my over-six-hours of CoolSculpting, I wasn't dancing anywhere. They may claim there's no downtime, and I *was* able to go to work the next day, I certainly wasn't up for dancing. I was really swollen too. I needed a compression garment. I don't think they tell anyone to wear one, but for best results, you need to wear it. I saw for my own eyes that there is really no downtime with SculpSure, so it's not like they just say that and it's not true.

SculpSure is only twenty-five minutes per treatment. That's a HUGE difference. CoolSculpting is an hour per session, and each session is one small area. To do just what I did was six hours, but it was actually more like over seven hours with small breaks to use the bathroom and prep the machine or skin in between. This woman was doing somewhere on her back. I think it was like bra fat. When she was finished, she just got up, no redness or soreness, and was good to go.

SculpSure uses up to four applicators per area. You might need only one or two, but you can use up to four for the area you're "sculpting". So it covers more area at one time than the one session of CoolSculpting, if that makes sense.

I'm not sure what the pricing is because my doctor's office gave out a coupon for anyone that booked by a certain time. Just call their office- Comprehensive Women's Care of Paramus- 201-262-7500 and ask for Emily or Mary. Ask if they're offering any special pricing. Comprehensive Women's Care of Paramus

I told them I'd be happy to try it out and write about it if they need someone to do that. Someone who can be totally honest and doesn't have a problem showcasing their fat for the world to see. So we'll see what happens. If I do it, rest assured, I will give all the details. I feel like I'm in the unique position to give an informed comparison of these fat killing procedures, having already had traditional liposuction and CoolSculpting. I'm definitely interested- I'd like to do my whole body. I definitely feel like most of my friends would be interested as well. Now that most of us are over forty, we're seeing that losing weight, especially in certain spots, isn't anywhere as easy as used to be. Or we're seeing fat in places we never had it all of a sudden. Getting old is a real buzzkill.

You can do your stomach area, inner and outer thigh, batwings (if there is fat there, which I have, not just hanging skin), and under the chin. Knowing what CoolSculpting feels like, I would do this 100x over under the chin before doing CoolSculpting there. I would think you would feel like you were choking to death otherwise. Not to mention, I don't know how you'd compress that area with the swelling. 

*Both CoolSculpting and SculpSure are spot/area treatments. This isn't for someone who has fat all over. This is for someone who is around their ideal weight but has stubborn fat pockets, like a baby pooch, or hormonal pooch, that won't go away even with diet and exercise. 

To read about my CoolSculpting experience- Mommy Makeover #1

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Update: Licked On By Kittens

So I had my second laser hair removal treatment yesterday afternoon. I assumed it would be the same as the first time- which was kind of painful.

I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. It hurt WAY less. Not that it hurt a lot- it just was...slightly uncomfortable. Doable because it was such a small area, but I'd said my eyes were watering the first time. Or, more than watering, they were streaming.

However, this time, it really was like nothing. And I don't think it's because I knew what to expect. It's just supposed to hurt less and it did. Rita, the technician, did say that next time she plans to turn it up a little- whatever that means. So, we shall see if that brings on the pain.

I will also say, while I didn't have a full on mustache, I did have enough that it had to be bleached. Rita gave me that razor to get rid of any stubble (I can't even with that), but I didn't need to use it. I did have some growth, but it definitely was less. I totally saw results in one session. I know that not everyone has that result, but I can honestly say that for ME, it works.

You also can't beat how short the appointment is, at least for the upper lip. I got there at like 1:23pm for a 1:30 appointment. I think I was seen at 1:25 and I was out before 1:40pm. I wasn't red either- not like I care, because whatever, I was just going to get E from school. But I could've gone out somewhere more dressed right after and been fine.

It kind of makes me want to do my armpits....

In any event, go to Ebates and sign up because Groupon always gives a good percentage of cash back. Then look up Elysium Groupon and get that deal! And ask for Rita.

Original blog entry: Licked On By Kittens

Thursday, April 19, 2018

We Were On A Break!

"WE WERE ON A BREAK!"- That could arguably be the most well known line from Friends. Coincidentally, that happens to be my favorite Friends episode, since it jumped the shark shortly after. I still watched till the beginning of the last season when life got hectic and I don't know what happened. I think it must have been that I still had to tape it on VHS tapes and never got around to watching. I still haven't seen the last season of Party Of Five because of piles unlabeled VHS tapes being just too daunting a task to go through.

Anyhow, back to being on a break... I was watching another show the other night (Chicago Med) and it was almost the same break thing as Ross and Rachel. Two best friends dating, Natalie & Will. There was a big disagreement about how some situations were handled- having nothing to do with them dating- they work together and it was a work related issue. She wanted "space" so for two weeks she was distant. He tried to connect, she didn't seem receptive. He went to the bar and got trashed. A woman came on to him and he went with it. All of a sudden, without even knowing about the other woman, his girlfriend came to him and warmly asked him to dinner. He said yes and they went. At the beginning of dinner, he decided to be honest and he told her he went home with this woman but that it wasn't anything. He explained that he didn't know where it was going with them, she'd been cold and shut him out.

She freaked out and left. She said when she asked for space it wasn't about wanting to be with someone else. He explained he didn't want to be with anyone else but he was drunk and this woman was there. Nat wasn't having it. She was fixated that he hooked up with someone else.

I'm totally Team Boyfriend here. THEY WERE ON A BREAK! If someone says they need space, that's usually code for - I don't want to be with you anymore, but I'm too chicken to tell you, so I'll just say I need space and then when the space becomes as big as the Grand Canyon, you'll just assume we're broken up and I'll never have to actually SAY it. No one mind reads. How is someone supposed to know what "space" even means? Or if you're even coming back, ever?

I was also Team Ross back in the day. In this one instance, anyway, before he became a whiny, temperamental jerk. If you ask for space, then you have to know that the other person may not just sit around pining for you. You have no right to get all indignant or angry that they decided to hang out with or date other people! In the case of the couple in the show I was watching- they were hanging out all the time, he'd been jerked around by her prior because she was dealing with her own emotional issues, and she just went totally cold- barely even talking to him, bordering on avoidance. He had every reason to think it was probably over.

When you're on a break, you're on a break. Whatever happens in between is your business. If you get back together and you want to discuss it, fine. Unless, of course, there are extenuating circumstances, like something happens with a person your significant other specifically asked you not to contact- you're just asking for trouble. And if you're getting back together, and you do decide to talk about it, it's best to be completely honest and answer whatever your person asks. Going back, after space, is your second chance. Don't F it up by lying. You both just have to agree that whatever information comes out isn't going to be held against either person later. Make sure you have ground rules and stick to them.

I just felt the need to write this out after watching this annoying exchange this morning.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Adventures in Seinfeldian Food Shopping

I don't know how there are people who don't get Seinfeld. I feel like I live a Seinfeld episode daily. It was a show about nothing, but that's precisely it- it's the nothing that makes up most of our days as humans, and the nothing that makes us crazy.

I can't be the only person who hardly cooks, but still needs to go to five different supermarkets or specialty stores to be able to cobble together some meals during the week. I CAN'T BE. I feel like people goof on me for this, but isn't anyone else a brand shopper?? I am not eating Bobo's mini wheats. I want Kellogg's. I want my Dickinson's Seedless Black Raspberry Jelly. I want Nature's something (Harvest? Own?) bread. JIF IS THE ONLY PEANUT BUTTER THAT SHOULD EXIST. For me. B and E don't care and I buy them different ones. You get my point. This seems like it shouldn't be a thing, yet it's a thing. A constant annoyance that I have to drive all over Bergen County because no one store is a food utopia. Again, for ME.

Wegmans opened a little over seven miles away from me. Seven miles doesn't sound far, but at peak traffic times, that could take like a half hour or even more maybe. I don't have all that time to be driving to supermarkets. It's bad enough I have to get to Paramus for Shop-Rite and Trader Joe's. Of course the Shop-Rite closest to me sucks but that's another story.

I haven't been to a Wegmans since I lived in Central Jersey and they put one on Rt 1, I think in Princeton. Or somewhere over there. I remember thinking it was awesome. I hadn't made it to the one here because I needed the hype to die down first. I'd heard it was a zoo just trying to park. We'd gone to Nyack for brunch yesterday so I thought we'd stop at Wegmans on the way home. I figured that it's so big, they must have everything I need. I assumed also that of course they'd have everything I need, just because I don't have the time to get there on a weekly basis.

THEY DID NOT. Weirdly, they have a very limited supply of sandwich bread. They had a lot of white bread, which I found odd, because who still eats white bread?? I don't think I've eaten white bread since high school- Wonder White. I bought the Wegmans Honey Wheat but it didn't look all that wheat-y.

They also didn't have my yogurt- Yoplait Greek or Yoplait Greek Whips. Nor did they have my Breakstone's cottage cheese singles with raspberry, or any of those. They had the small ones that come in a breakaway pack but that's not what I want. I wish I could just go with the flow but I can't. I need my little cup of raspberry puree to choke down something as gross as cottage cheese. Don't even talk to me about yogurt. I already hate yogurt but since I can't eat lunch food because the idea of lunch usually grosses me out, it's something I can grab and go with. It just has to be one of the two yogurts I mentioned, or I will dry heave trying to eat it. Most yogurt is vomitous.

What they did have, was stuff prepared already for you to cook, with INSTRUCTIONS. #thatswhatimtalkingabout - I would love to make myself salmon but I want the directions ON the package. On the package, they are! They also have whole meals like that are cooked and you just have to heat up. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and some other places have that, but not like this. Wegmans has WAY more choices in this kind of thing. Options for organic or healthier are there too. I bought a piece of salmon with a brown sugar glaze to put on it. B got Greek turkey burgers, for grilling, which looked appealing to him.

They also have a full on bakery with some real goodies for dessert. B got a single serving of cannoli cream with cannoli shell chips. I got some kind of blondie.

It was fine. I got most of what I needed for everyone else. Their prices were way better than most of the other supermarkets. Four sticks of Wegmans butter was $2.49. That's a deep sale price anywhere else. I think I definitely would have spent at least another twenty five dollars for the same order somewhere else. Even compared to Shop Rite, which I feel normally has the best prices of everywhere I food shop.

Their produce looks amazing. I bought giant blueberries that look mutant. I ate them today and they were fabulous. I got a container of GINORMOUS strawberries for $5.99 that E said were great this morning. I bought some tomatoes on the vine that look terrific. I felt a little rushed because B & E were there and they hate being in the food store. Plus I had twenty-four PB&J sandwiches to make for freezing and needed to get home to do that.

The takeaway from this excursion is that bigger can be deceiving. Like Fairway, Wegmans is a physically big place, where you can find specialty items you can't really find anywhere else, but the regular stuff you need- like staples, is in short supply. There was a really limited variety of peanut butter and jelly. That's weird to me. Very limited brands of ground turkey/chicken. Maybe it's because they do showcase a lot of their own Wegmans brand. So it could be like in CVS where they make it really difficult to buy name brands and seem to prefer you purchase their private label brand. I'm not really sure, and I did feel rushed so I might not have seen everything available to me. I'll have to go back on my own some time. Maybe when Alex is better...she likes food shopping, since she cooks.

Now I need to drive around today looking for my Special K flatbread bacon & egg breakfast sandwiches, my yogurt and cottage cheese, and just random other daily use things. I can't wait to make my salmon today though! I'm totally going back to Wegmans- just knowing it won't be the only supermarket stop that week.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Update: A Kidney for Alex

In my best Oprah- "YOU get a kidney! And YOU get a kidney! EVERYONE GETS A KIDNEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

You know who really got a kidney? Alex! I only wrote about Alex needing a kidney at the beginning of December '17 ( Kidney 4 Alex ). No one, including Alex, thought it would all happen so fast. I watch all the medical shows- Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Med, The Resident, The Good Doctor.... There are people waiting years for organs.

The ball got rolling, so many people came out of the woodwork to sign up to be tested, and the registry was even stopped for her because there were so many people willing to be tested. Turned out, romance stepped in, and the first match was the first one tested. That donor is Alex's husband Michael. Knowing them, that was the perfect way for it to go down. Keeping it in the immediate little family of three.

Of course that's scary because as the parents of an only child, that means both parents in for surgery, under anesthesia, and down for the count during recovery. But what's more romantic than really living your vows- for better or worse, in sickness and health and being able to donate an organ to the person to whom you've pledged that??

The surgery was a week ago. We had our "Last Supper" at Grand Lux Cafe in Garden State Plaza, fittingly, the Saturday night before Easter. Once all the i's were dotted and the t's crossed, it was a quickly scheduled surgery in NYC. They went in first thing Thursday morning and everything went off without a hitch. I was getting updates from Mike's mom - when he got out and when Alex went in, then when Alex came out. I was at work but happy to hear a thumbs up on all fronts.

They're doing well! Mike is a little sore but he's been walking around town. I took Alex to the doctor at the hospital this morning for her first post-operation check-up. We left the house at about quarter to six in the morning. I'm not really a morning person so I set three alarms. We made it and we were the second people there. They weren't even open yet. We were there for about three and a half hours, they checked her out, and all is well.

I'm so happy. I can see the difference in Alex already. Her demeanor is just...sunnier. She's smiling a lot and she feels more energetic. I wasn't really worried- since it's all about me, I felt that the universe wasn't giving me another terminal friend. I also just don't think negatively like that. It was serious though, and I was cognizant of that. So I'm just glad it's over and they're both on the road to recovery. Both B and I do like to joke how Mike is now inside her forever. Take that how you will. 

They both have some restrictions- no crowded places like supermarkets or restaurants. Everyone that comes into the house needs to wash their hands. No one with a cold or cough can visit. They really just need to stay away from germs as much as humanely possible. If you want to give Alex something she can use, give her some of those masks they wear at the nail salon or doctors wear during surgery. Seriously.

People keep asking what they can do for them. Alex and Mike would tell me to say nothing, because I asked them about a meal train and they thought I was crazy. But they have now used Fairway for grocery delivery so if you want to get them something, arrange for a Fairway delivery or send them a gift card for there. Mike really likes the cookies from The Cookie Connect in Bloomfield. Oh, and Alex likes Zadies in Fair Lawn, Rocca and Rock Kitchen in Glen Rock, and Trader Joe's. Just saying. By the way- They're going to kill me for writing this part because they have a hard time accepting help, but whatever. She didn't even want to ask me to drive her to the doctor today. But, they can't drive! Besides- people like to help, they like to give stuff, and Mike and Alex don't have a giant fridge for all the ziti trays people tend to make during a meal train.

So that's it. The road to recovery is long and there's many doctor's appointments in their futures, meds to take, and whatnot, but the worst is over! The surgery was successful so far and they're both home resting and spending time with their daughter and the rest of their families. And me, B, and E.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Licked On By Kittens

"Licked on by kittens" is a Rachel Green phrase from Friends. It was when Rachel and Phoebe went for tattoos and only Rachel got one because Phoebe didn't realize it was going to hurt. Rachel yells, that it didn't feel like it was licked on by kittens. Here's the video and quote- "Phoebe, how could you do this to me? This was all your idea! I know, I know, and I was going to get it, but then he came in with this needle, and d—did you know they do this with needles? Really! You don't say! Because mine was licked on by kittens!"

This is how I qualify or quantify any and all pain. Whether it feels like it was licked on by kittens or not. Now, I've never had a tattoo, but I can imagine how painful that is, and I'm not good with pain. I got a brazilian wax for the first time after losing a bet. That first wax was like fifteen years ago, and that was almost more pain than I could take. I'd have to go there, in a tank top, mid-winter because I'd be sweating from the pain. That was with the old kind of wax though, and now, with the new wax (I don't know what the difference is, but there's a major difference), it's a breeze these days.

I never waxed my eyebrows and/or lip. I have hair, but I'm not super hairy. I've always just plucked my eye brows in the middle, but never did anything to the shape. Well, that's not entirely true. I did it for a little while, not much, but a little. Then, I got Botox for migraine and my eyebrows shot up my face so much that I look like I'm constantly asking a question just with my eyes. I had to let my eyebrows grow back in, especially in the area I attempted to shape.  I definitely don't have enough to wax and I never wanted to get started with that.

Same with the lip. Aimee, my college roommate, taught me to bleach the hair there, our freshman year. Before that, I had a virgin lip. Of course, she didn't really give me a great guideline on how much bleach powder to add or how long to leave it on, especially when it felt like it was burning my skin. So before a date with my super crush, I look like I had a tattooed twelve year old's pre-shaving years 'stache going on. After that, I learned better and became a Jolen bleaching pro. Again, I don't have a lot of hair- especially in comparison to many I've seen. Plus I was always tan, until now (another story), so you really didn't see it.

Bleaching was becoming a pain though. Not literally. It was needing to be done too often. I don't know why as I've gotten older, the bleaching seemed to last for less time, but it was becoming a nuisance. I don't have time for this. I've always wanted to try laser, but my friend Stein told me it kind of hurt. Now, she's a pro with pain, and if she said it hurt, even a little, I'm out. Another two friends told me about this place in Pearl River that is awesome, but I don't have time to go back and forth to Pearl River, ever. They both live closer to there.

However, this past December, I saw a Groupon for a deal I couldn't refuse. ( Elysium deal. I bought it through Ebates when Groupon was 10% back and Groupon also had 20% off)  It's Elysium Aesthetics & Vein Care in Paramus. It's close and it cost me eighty dollars for a "small area". One of the choices for a small area is the upper lip. I didn't think about it- I just jumped on it. Then I didn't make the appointment until I saw it's about to expire. Because I was scared. I made my first appointment of six, for this past Tuesday.

I had no idea what to expect. I didn't do ANY research. I panicked when I called to make the appointment and they told me to shave beforehand. Shave, you say? What the what now? I'm not Caroline from the Real Housewives of NJ. I'm not shaving my face. So the girl on the phone said to just do nothing then. I did nothing.

I showed up and Rita, who looked like a Kardashian, in a good way, came to greet me. I felt like when Chandler and Ross wanted to quit the gym and the hot girl came out to distract them and get them not to quit. Let this hot girl get rid of your upper lip hair, and maybe you could, in a small part, look like her. Maybe you'd want to do your whole body...

By the way, it's not lost on me that her name is Rita, my mother's name, who would never have this done. My Rita was keeping her blue mascara AND her mustache.

Laser Rita, as I'll now call her, told me if I shaved, it would work better. I told Laser Rita that SHE was welcome to shave it, but *I* was not doing it. Listen- you all read how I gave myself a brazilian on the kitchen floor and how well (not) that went? I'll leave the spa treatments to the professionals, thanks. She shaved my lip. Then she put some gel stuff all over it like I had a baby under there. That's when the fun started. Oh, and I had some kind of goggles on- I guess to shield me from the laser light.

She started lasering, and it was like when you get your teeth whitened with Zoom or something like that. You get those zaps of pain all night. This only lasts like five minutes so it wasn't all night zaps, but my eyes were running like mad from the zaps of pain.

It wasn't bad enough that I can't or won't go back for the rest of the treatments. I'm not that much of a baby. It was more like- I don't understand how someone does this over their entire body, and there's NO WAY I could see doing this for a Brazilian. Maybe a bikini line, with A LOT of LMX 5%, but definitely not all up IN there. I know laser there would be WAY more convenient but there's just no way I could take that pain. That would be straight up masochistic. I know I'm going to have friends say I'm exaggerating, but everyone has a different pain threshold and mine is just not that high.

This was fine. For five minutes, it's fine. I asked how long it would take to see results. Laser Rita says the face is tougher than the body so it takes longer. It takes more visits. Hopefully six visits will be enough for this. She said I can shave in between visits. I'm not looking forward to that. I guess I'll do it because I don't want any stubble there. Which even typing out stubble sounds so gross to me.

All in all- it was fine. I'll continue the treatments and hope for the best. The office was clean, the people were friendly. Just remember your cash for gratuity. To me, in my mind, I was going to a "doctor's office". But it's more of a spa- where you do give a tip for services. Luckily I had a little cash on me, but I was definitely not fully prepared. Sorry Laser Rita, I got ya next time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Oh, The Drama!

Winter is for the birds. It's March. I know it's supposed to come in like a lion or something but damn, when March hits, I'm thinking it's almost time to be back at my perch at the pool. And I'm so annoyed too- the past few years we haven't used our snow days so we got the day after Memorial Day off. That was the BEST. No having to worry about getting back from down the shore at a reasonable hour for E to sleep for school. Or not having to run home from a BBQ so we can all get ready for the next work day. We've just been through two back to back "nor'easters". Luckily we didn't get hit too bad but I know a lot of people who lost power and may still not have it back.

I see I haven't written since February. That was only a blog letting people know about spring swim team at the YWCA. It wasn't an actual update. A lot of stuff has gone on, but I don't want to clutter one post up with everything, so I'll do it little by little.

Last month we went to the Glen Rock High School musical- Legally Blonde. We always go to the musical. Sometimes we go to the regular, non-musical play too, but we've been taking E to the whatever musical they're doing for years.

I have to say- try to support your high school drama program by going yourselves and/or taking your kids. We don't have high school age kids, but these kids work so hard and do such a great job, EVERY TIME. You also don't realize how time flies when you notice kids who were in the plays, then not, and it's because they graduated!

We've seen them do Beauty & The Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, The Matchmaker, and some others. We've seen some of the kids from when they were freshman through their last performance senior year. There have been families of kids who have all gone through the drama department in their four years.

I really hope E expresses an interest in being in the high school drama department. They all seem like such a nice group of kids with diverse interests and a lot of talent. There's a girl, Tina, who has been in every play we've seen. At Legally Blonde, we realized she's graduating this year. We don't even "know" her, but will be sad to see her go. She always seemed so much older than a high school kid and she's really talented. I always look forward to seeing her perform. Same with both Bennie and Frankie Fontana. Bennie graduated but her sister Frankie is also fantastic and did a kick-ass job as Paulette in Legally Blonde. I've only seen her in more supportive roles, but she had a big part and did terrific. Last but certainly not least, we miss Jake Aboyoun, who is the son of friends of ours. He also was in every play we say before he graduated. He was in the audience this time, a glaring reminder of how we miss seeing him on stage.

I think they always do one musical and one non-musical at GRHS. We'll probably see the non-musical too, just because we know it's always a great performance. It's a fun night out and you're helping support the arts! A win-win in my book!

Little Shop of Horrors