Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holidays Happened

Obviously I haven't updated in awhile. I just sort of didn't know what to write about after twenty kids, not much older than mine, and their teachers/administrators got gunned down in the Newtown, CT shooting. Was I going to talk about holiday gifting? Food? Lament on how to fill these days off for my own kid who is alive and well? I don't think so. Nothing seemed...seems?....appropriate. But I'm at work today while B took E to the American Museum of Natural History today. So I thought I'd just try to dive back in.

Hope everyone had nice holidays- whatever it is you may celebrate. For me, it actually came and went in a blur. I didn't even get to take advantage of the "holiday hours" in the mall(s). Normally, I just like the frenzy of it all. I just wasn't motivated this year. I didn't do the Black Friday thing like I usually do. I never "need" anything and sometimes I don't even buy anything. It sounds crazy, I know, but I just like being part of the energy. I opted to sleep instead. We didn't really have any gifts to buy, except for E, and we didn't even have that much to buy for him either. I feel like I was at work most of December.

I definitely was at work that fateful Friday of the shootings. I'm not going to say a lot about it- it's already all been said, meme'd on FB, argued, debated, and I'm tired. I'm just sad. Sad for those who lost their lives, for the parents and families, and just in general. I've never been a scared or neurotic person any day of my life. I don't fear dark parking lots, I don't worry about driving through "bad" neighborhoods...I've gone anywhere I've needed to go, alone if need be, anytime I needed to and never even thought twice about it. It's just been life. I've always been on the go-go-go. I don't have time to wait for an escort. When I was eight months pregnant, I got it in my head that I needed a mannequin. I wanted to sell my clothes and I felt they'd look better displayed on a mannequin. The only place it looked like I'd be able to get one was Newark. I just said to B- hey, by the way, I need to go to Newark to get a mannequin. It's not like he'd tell me that I couldn't go and if he did, I'd look at him like he lost his damn mind. If I need something, wherever it is, I'm going. The only thing I'd say I'm scared of are bugs. BUT, NOW, I also can't say that anytime I'm sitting in a movie theater I don't have a fleeting thought of, "Wow. People came to a movie, innocently, there to relax...only to lose or almost lose their lives...". Or just wondering what it would be like if I was in one of those life-threatening/altering situations. It would have never even occurred to me prior to the movie theater shooting. It's jarring. I hate that I even have that though. We can all point fingers, needing to find somewhere or someone to place the blame on. But the bottom line is that innocent people lost their lives suddenly, painfully and unfairly. I hope we, as a nation, are able to come up with some solutions, quickly, to stop all the madness.

I didn't do anything different by the way. I don't do anything different. I didn't run to get E from school that day. I wanted to see him of course, but I didn't run out like a lunatic. I didn't change his routine or buy him gifts just because I was thankful for him. For me, the best way to honor those who were savagely murdered was to just live. Live like we always do. On the go. Not let my world be rocked on the outside even if I was crying on the inside. I can't let situations like that change me. I'm not going live scared. I'm not going to let my kid live in fear or in a bubble. It's easy to succumb to sadness and fear but it's not my way. It never will be. Not after 9/11 and not after these crazy, random rampages. They will not win. The only way for me to feel some sense of control is to go on, business as usual and just make sure my kid feels happy and secure as usual. People have been discussing where to turn to get through this type of nightmare and for me- I just turn inward to my own strength reserve. Through my own life experieneces, I've learned I have a wealth of it to draw from.

I'm going to lighten the mood a little, talk about what we were up to and do some reviews. Work has been crazy the past few weeks. It SUCKED after Hurricane Sandy- SCARY sucked. I think though, with that storm, people weren't really ready for Thanksgiving or couldn't host it. We're usually slow right AFTER Thanksgiving, when everyone else picks up. But I think people decided Christmas was going to be their Thanksgiving this year and wanted their homes to look good. We had more chandelier orders than usual that people NEEDED for the holidays. It was crazy trying to get them done, but we did- EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And they all looked fab if I do say so myself. There are some pics on our FB page. If you're not friended to us- by all means, click that like button. We were really excited for them because we'd visited the homes prior, knew where they were going and couldn't wait to see them hung and lit.

We had a very low-key Jewish Christmas. We did nothing on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we went to the Edgewater Multiplex Theater to see Wreck It Ralph at 12:50p. It was the perfect time because people were still home doing whatever is their holiday tradition, so the place was pretty empty. It was crazy there by the time the movie ended. E liked the movie. I fell asleep in the first fifteen minutes, so I have no idea how the movie was up till about the middle. I didn't LOVE some of the name-calling in it but other than that- it was pretty innocuous. I always spend the whole time in those animated movies trying to figure out who the voices are. Dinner was at Kiku in Paramus not long after the movie ended. E ate pretty much nothing as predicted but hibachi was a compromise between B and I. I know it's in my DNA to want Chinese food on Christmas but I don't really LIKE Chinese food. I really need to be in the mood for it, not forced because that's what the rest of the Jews are doing that day. It was fine. I knew I also had a Pam special (A la Cupcakes) "chocolate chip cookie cupcake" waiting for me at home so dinner really didn't matter to me. My friend Margaret also dropped off a box of homemade holiday cookies so I knew those were there too. But that was it. Like I said- low-key.

Someone asked me about Miller's Ale House the other day and I realized I forgot to write about it. It's the new place next to 24 Hour Fitness- where the Tenplex used to me. We tried to get in there once, but it was already like an hour wait at around 6p. We bailed that time. But on Black Friday, I think everyone had already been to the malls in the morning and had too many Thanksgiving leftovers to bother going out to eat. We were able to get in right away. It's HUGE. I guess it would be considered THE Bergen County sports bar now. I'm not exactly sure what constitutes the title "sports bar" but this place has like 100 tv's, all over, all tuned into sports. I know they play sports on tv at the Allendale Bar & Grill, Glen Rock Inn, and I'm sure many smaller-type pubs in every town. Even TGIFriday's. THIS, though, is a sports bar. It's just gigantic with a menu to match. They have a HUGE menu. Now, I'll admit- I think I made a personal mistake with my food choice. I ordered lobster tails. But they were broiled, like it said on the menu and I didn't really like them. BUT that was my own fault. I think I just don't like broiled fish. I forget what E and B had but they both liked their meal. That's saying a lot when talking about E. It also was fairly inexpensive. The service was good and all in all I have no complaints. I'd go back if there wasn't a huge wait. I'd just pick something else to eat. It's definitely kid friendly. It looks like a young crowd and it's definitely a "hang out" for the college (over 21's) and early to late 20's crowd. I can't say I didn't feel a little old.

My friend also mentioned taking the kids to Kid-netic in Montville during this break from school. I have actually been there. Just for a birthday party in the spring. I put the address in my GPS and was stymied to learn that it is only twenty-five minutes from Glen Rock. I didn't believe it at first. I went to pick up a train table from an old high school friend who lives there and I felt like it took me at least forty-five minutes to an hour to get to her. Maybe Montville is really big? At any rate, I meant to write about it after the birthday party and never got to it. It's a great kid place. I'm a little afraid to write about it because it seems like every time I do write about somewhere, they close. Hello, that means you Cutie Patooties. Kidnetic is clean and they serve food- like for lunch, to daily patrons. The food thing is a huge bonus. The only other places I've encountered that does that are Funtime Junction in Fairfield, NJ and Wee Play in Nanuet- which I don't even know if it's still open. They have one of those huge climbing jungle gym things like at Kids U but it seems more manageable for the littler ones for some reason. I didn't have to go in there for E at all. Then they just have open floor space with things to climb on and a zip line thing. It's good for getting out all that energy for sure. It just looks nice in there too. I've never been there for an open play but I'd definitely go if I had the time. It looks like they have some cool classes too.

I don't know what I'm going to get to do the rest of this week. I'm not sure how many days and when I'll be at work vs home. But if I go anywhere cool, I'll let you know. Happy and healthy to you all!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Real Housewife of NJ

I suppose I'm a "real housewife" in my own right. Although, as real housewifing goes, I'm not too adept in the kitchen or at "homemaking" in general, but that's not really what people think of when you say "Real Housewives" anymore. If you walk into a conversation about them, you're talking about New Jersey, NYC, The OC, Beverly Hills, Miami or Atlanta. Possibly even DC if they are a real aficionado on the topic since those ladies only lasted one season.

B and I always end up in such random situations. One night I was out with a friend and B was walking with Ethan in town. He walked by the Glen Rock Inn and lo and behold, just casually having dinner outside was Rosie Pierri (Kathy Wakile's sister), of RHONJ fame. I got a text from B that she was there, quickly prompting a text back saying, "You got a picture with her, right??!". Since my loving husband hates to disappoint me, he did go back making our three and a half year old do his dirty work. He had E go up to her and say hello. Yadda yadda, he got the picture. E and Rosie. She was super nice and she introduced B to her friends, one of which is Robyn Levy, the editor/owner of New Jersey Dining Out magazine.

Robyn invited B (and +1) to an event she was having this past Friday night at Al Di La in East Rutherford. It was a cocktail party collecting toys for children in need. B thought it would be nice to get out and go to it. He was appreciative of the invite and we had toys to give anyway. I happened to wake up with a cold that morning, it was raining and about forty degrees out so we thought about cancelling, but we already RSVP'd and had a sitter so we figured we'd just go. Well, I couldn't have been happier that we did decide to go!

It was a cocktail party to collect toys, BUT it was also part of an episode of RHONJ's next season. If there was any event for me to randomly end up, anyone that knows me knows this would be it. How exciting, right? Whatever- judge away if you're a Housewives Hater but I know for plenty, it's definitely a fun guilty pleasure. For me, it's not even a hidden one- I'm out and proud of my Housewives love.

At first, we didn't see anyone affiliated with the show. We were there for what seemed like awhile, made friends with another couple- Christina & Matt, who made the night really fun just by being cool to hang out with and very friendly. B & I can always find stuff to talk about with each other, but it's nice at one of these kinds of things, to find other people to chat with.

THEN, we see Cameras, Flashbulbs, and HOUSEWIVES (and husbands, grown children, and siblings)! Oh my! I realized that since it was FOR Dine Out NJ, food and drink companies were sponsoring and there to get their stuff out there. Kathy was promoting her cannolis, Christopher Laurita was promoting BLK Water (and maybe other liquids?), and I guess Jacqueline was there to support her husband (and just be...herself), Rosie was there because she's Kathy's sister and friends with Robyn, and Rich Wakile and kids were there to support Kathy. I think Rich's sister was there too. She looked familiar. I feel like she may have been on the show at least once. Or she just looks familiar to me.

First of all- all the women are SMALL. Way smaller than on TV. Not that they're "big" on tv, but you know what I mean. Jacqueline is SO tiny! Like, I felt like the jolly Green Giant next to her. They were all VERY nice and very happy to take pictures. I am obviously not shy about asking- just ask Matthew Settle (Rufus, Gossip Girl) who I chased down on a Manhattan street for a photo. Everyone was trying to get their attention but they were very personable and friendly. Rosie remembered B from the time they met on the street so that was pretty cool.

The cameras were on them all from the minute they came in until we left hours later. It was odd- I love have some tv moments but I really couldn't imagine being on camera for THAT long, just having regular conversations. It's not like cameras are just "around" unobtrusively. These are big, lighted, in-your-face cameras. More than one at a time. And I think the "characters" are supposed to just try to "act natural". But I don't even know how you could. B, Matt, Christina and I were all in the background of the filming at least 3/4 of the time but we could move around, talk freely, etc, and not have to be "on". It actually seemed like a lot of work!

We had fun. It was a really nice party in general. I'd never been to Al Di La before but the food was REALLY good. They had a pasta station with a vodka and a red sauce and both were delicious. I LOVE vodka sauce but it has to be good. Apparently there are so many ways of making it, some places can really mess it up. Well, mess it up for me anyway. But this was PERFECT vodka sauce. They had a chocolate fountain, the cannolis, a candy bar, an OPEN bar (alcohol), and lots of passed hors d'oeuvres. There were even pigs in a blanket. No event is complete without them. Again, at least in my book.

I didn't get to meet Robyn because she was all over the place doing her thing. I didn't want to interrupt her. So I just want to publicly thank her for throwing a great party and including us. It was an awesome event to get to be a part of and I got great pictures. Anytime I get good pictures, life is good.

Al Di La:
New Jersey DiningOut:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Camp

I was looking for something for E to do over winter break because I work. There really isn't anything I found that seems like a deal worth the cost. There were a few things I saw but they were for 2-3 hours a day which doesn't really help me. I'd basically be bringing him somewhere then turning around and picking him up. No good.

BUT- when I was in college, I worked at the YJCC Bergen in Washington Township hostessing birthday parties and doing "winter camp" there. I looked them up and they still do it! Doesn't help ME because they start at kindergarten age and E isn't there yet but I thought I'd pass on the info for anyone who needs it-

Basketball & all-day fun PDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday and Thursday, December 26 and 27 Vacation Camp is under way for children in grades K-3; Thursday and Friday, December 27 and 28, Basketball Mini Camp is in session for children in grades K-8.

YJCC Vacation Camp invites children in kindergarten through third grade to enjoy a fun-filled day of activities, including swimming, gym, arts and crafts, a special activity, lunch and snack on Wednesday and Thursday, December 26 and 27. The program fee for each day, lunch and snack included, is $70 for YJCC members and $80 for non-members.
For information about Vacation Camp, contact Wendy Fox at (201) 666-6610, ext. 5820 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Click here for a registration form.

Basketball Mini Camp is offered for children in kindergarten through eighth grade on Thursday and Friday, December 27 and 28, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Drills and a variety of skills are practiced, under the direction of Jenny Jurjevic, YJCC athletic director. The fee for Basketball Mini Camp is $30 per day, which includes a camp T-shirt. An extended day program is available until 2:00 p.m. for an additional $15 per day (lunch not included).
For information about Basketball Mini Camp, contact Jenny Jurjevic at (201) 666-6610, ext. 5790 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Click here for a registration form.