The Lunch Box

Why does an hour while at work creep by, yet the lunch hour passes in approximately 9 1/2 minutes?

Now that I have an actual lunch hour, wherein I leave the office at a certain time and then don't return to the office for one whole hour, I am trying to get some errands done during that time.

I work in an area that has everything--malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, restaurants, banks, gas stations--so I try to take advantage of "adult-only errands" during that time.

You know what those are: the types of errands that require one to get in and out of a vehicle fast, get in and out of a store fast, and move on to the next store.  Fast.

And, NOTHING can be done with a child fast.  Oh, except take a perfectly neat and clean room and make it look like a Fisher Price-themed, Little People-sponsored, Crayola-funded, primary colored bomb hit it. THAT always happens at mach speed.

The only problem with my master plan is that by the time I get to a store, I have to turn around and come back.  It's like the clock ticks a little faster from 12-1 p.m.  What gives?

Anyway, if you're in the Totowa/Little Falls/West Paterson/Wayne area around lunch time, and you see a woman with a cloud of smoke behind her zoom by, sweat dripping from her brow, words about time going too fast for her to return pants to Kohls AND stop for diapers, just ignore her.

I don't have time to stop and say hi anyway.  Sorry.


He's So Little!

This past Sunday night I was lying in bed flipping through channels trying to find something good on TV to fall asleep to.  I know that sounds funny, but I get that from my dad.  When it's time to fall asleep we put something boring on the TV, rather than what a normal person would do, which is turn it off.  No, we need to be lulled into slumber by uninteresting entertainment.  Works like a charm, too.  My sister can't even stay awake past opening credits. 

So, I was flipping through and there on the TV, late in the evening, on a randon Sunday night, was RUDY.


I cannot ever allow Rudy on the TV without watching it until the end.  No matter the time or situation.  That's just the way it is with Rudy.  Because of this fact, I have seen the last scene of Rudy approximately 869 times. 

Other movies that fall into this category are The Cutting Edge, Dirty Dancing, and 50 First Dates.

College friends reading this will wonder why I didn't list Sing, and the reason is because Sing will never be on TV.  I am quire sure that I am the only one who thinks Sing should have won an Academy Award.  The club scene? Come on!  Pure cinematic genius!

Anyway, I caught Rudy as the teammates were each surrendering their Jerseys to the coach in order for Rudy to dress for his final game.  By the time he was on the phone begging his brother to come to the game my face was soaked in tears.  Do not even get me started on when Rduy realizes they are chanting his name or when the coach tells him to go on the field to play.  And I was on tissue #8 by the time he made his famous tackle, and then they carried him off the field. 

I don't even like football.  Like at all.  But this movie is one of my faves.  I am not made of stone!

That little Rudy!  Gets me every time!



Dance Class

We were asked to attend another class this past Saturday, one with three year olds in it.  FIVE three year olds.  So, we gathered our leg warmers (despite it being approximately 80 degrees at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday--what can I say?  I am raising a fellow Slave To Fashion.) and we arrived ...

...to a class with one other two and a half year old who was there for the first time. ONE!  Class didn't go well.  The other little girl (who was such a trooper, I must mention) could not hold Leah's attention, and two minutes after class began, Leah was at the door banging to get out. 

We are told there's one more "actively-attended" class that we are going to try next week.  If that doesn't work out, ART CLASS it is.


Blech.  I don't want to talk about it.  I've been sick and busy, so my running has suffered. And so has my butt.


We are a sick household.  I've got a cold that will not die and now Greg and Leah are under the weather, too.  I may not be coming across as my normal, cheery self in this post, and this is why .  Today I had to be cleared by Pathmark security due to amount of NyQuil-related products I was purchasing. 

Greg's Birthday

Greg turned 35 on the 24th and we had dinner out together.  Alone.  By ourselves.  Sans kid.  Which was really friggen nice.  Thanks, Gab!


...is upon us!  As soon as stops being so darn hot!  I love the Fall: my birthday, apple and pumpkin picking, sweaters, Halloween!  I'm also excited for it to stop sweating under my boobies.

I'm sorry...was that too much information?


Batarseh, Doctor

I miss joking with my mom.  She always got my jokes; she always laughed at my jokes.  I knew she'd never take something I said the wrong way even if it might had been at her expense.  She knew it was all in good fun.  She was great at laughing at herself.  She reminded me of my friend Adele, who still to this day, despite being 145 years old, still loves to laugh at herself.

It's difficult to not have that one person who you can say anything to and know it's going to be all right.  Not taken the wrong way.  Not thrown in your face three months later.

It takes a lifetime to find someone like that, and it takes a lifetime to get over losing that person.

One day several years ago, I was having an incredibly busy day at work.  The phone was ringing off the hook, and my mom, who was a school nurse, and often had a lot of-how shall I put it-downtime, at her job (leg shaving, anyone) called me at work in the middle of all the hoopla to discus my doctor.  My PCP was (is) a great guy and I recommended him to everyone.  My mom was thinking of switching doctors (or maybe it was for my sister; I don't remember) and she wanted to discuss my doctor at length at that particular moment. 

The conversation, which went on for about five minutes, went a lot like this:

Mom:  Hi Dana!  Can we talk about your doctor?

Me:  Ma, I am so busy right now.  Can you make it quick?

Mom: Ok!  So, does he accept all different insurance companies?

Me: I don't know. Call hi-HOLD ON, my other line is ringing... ... ...ok, I'm back.

Mom: Do you think he's taking on more patients?  Is the wait to see him long?

Me: I don't know and no.  Ma, I am really busy!!

Mom: Now, where exactly is his office?  Oh hold on, a kid came into my office.  Yes, Michael, what is it?  A headache? (Heavy sigh) Just get your own ice pack and sit down; Mrs. Grieco is on a very important phone call.  Dana, is he good looking?  I seem to remember you saying that.

Me: !!!!!!

Mom: Hello?  Well, is he?

Me: Mother!  You have got to be kidding me!  I am swamped and you're asking about my doctor's looks?!  Please just call him yourself.

Mom: What is his phone number?


Mom: Fine.  I'll look it up. What's his last name again?


Mom: Ok, and what's his first name?



My mother says she laughed for 10 minutes after that phone call.  She made me tell the story over and over for years. Each time I exaggerated a little more how busy I was and how little she had to do at work.

From then on, whenever I mentioned going to the doctor she would ask, "What's his first name again?  DOCTOR, right?!!"  She loved that story, and I loved telling it.

I haven't told it in three years.  No one's asked to hear it.  I guess it's not as funny as it was to those involved, either. 

I don't care.  It's our story.


Tiny Dancer

On Saturday, Greg, Leah and I ventured to Perfect Pointe Dance School at 9:15 a.m. Leah was in her approved uniform of pink tights, a pink leotard, pink ballet shoes, and a pink skirt. She was excited to dance and had been showing off some of her mad skillz all week when asked. She met her teachers, Miss Amanda and Miss Alli, and shortly afterwards is when we realized that she was the only student in the class. The other little girl who was also registered never showed up. Leah did great by herself, but she really needed other children in the classroom to keep her occupied. If the class gets at least three students, then the school will keep it. If not, then the owner will cancel the class.

So, if anyone has a 2 or 3 year old in the Sparta area who wants to do a little dance make a little love, then sign up! Do it for LP!


Phone Call

Over the past two weeks, every few hours or so, I’ve had this weird feeling that I want to call my mom. Maybe it’s because I’m at a new workplace and the last time I started a new job my mom was still alive to listen to me talk about it. Maybe because it’s nearing the three year anniversary of her death, and that’s been on my mind. Maybe it’s because I still really miss her and I’m never going to get over her being gone.

To be honest with you, up until a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking that I was over her death. That while I would never forget about it, it was no longer effecting my daily life.  At least not in any negative way.  I was contemplating ending this blog, with an explanation to all that it had served its purpose. When I started it, I thought a lot about my mom and was sad. And, now, I don’t. And I’m not. But, that’s not the case. I’ve had a relapse, so to speak, and I’m painfully aware of her absence and it’s making me sad again.

So, I’ll continue on with my story. I’ll keep writing my open letter to her. I’ll update everyone in my life on what’s going on. I’ll talk about my family, my daughter, my life, my mom. I hope this relapse is short, because life was really good when I wasn’t always depressed and thinking about my mom and I could focus on everything else. But, now, in addition to all the minutia of regular life, I also have the thoughts of my mom’s death in my head again.


Progress: Running and Life Update

So, I'm still trying to settle into life with my new job.  Greg's got new work hours as well, so we are trying to figure out a new schedule with regards to daycare, classes, work, activities, car vs. truck usage, and running, of course.  Ah, running.

When it comes to sacrificing something due to lack of time in the day, it's always running that loses.  It shouldn't be that way, but it is.  As much as I'd like to make running a top priority in my life, often times it doesn't stack up to the other things.  Things such as Leah, Greg, sleep, work..I could go on. 

Last night I ran after a week and a half break.  The weather was cooler than it's ever been since I started training and the run went well.  Although you wouldn't have thought that if you heard me breathing as I arrived home afterwards.  I ran an entire mile without stopping, which was a personal record.  The second mile wasn't as easy but I got it done.  It's getting close to the Turkey Trot so I've got to keep up with this if I ever want to make my goal.

Although, spending time with this little girl is a goal too.  And I try to beat my personal record all the time.


Leah's Gonna Flip Out...

...when she sees who her father knows.



Abbe's Ritual

My Aunt Abbe has started a new ritual with Leah. Every few weeks she sends Leah a small gift, with a note inside. Leah loves seeing the boxes waiting at our door, and gets excited to open them up and look inside. I love the notes. They are so sweet and say cute little things that I read to Leah.

This was taken after she opened some adorable little hair ties from Aunt Abbe.

And this one was after she opened a new sippy cup with a cool straw. Of course, she had to use it immediately.

This is a sweet ritual that my Aunt’s started, and I can’t help but think it’s due mostly to the fact that my mom is not here to do this for Leah. My Aunt wants to keep a presence in Leah’s life—for her to know what it’s like to have so many relatives who love and care about her.

I’m saving the letters that come with the gifts and starting a scrapbook for Leah. I think she’ll get a kick out of reading them when she’s older.

Thanks, Aunt Abbe. We love you.


My Kid is Cute

Here's Leah all ready for school.  She loves the word school, even though technically she's going to in-home daycare.  She likes to get her backpack on and her lunch box packed and she'll even pose for a pre-school pic.  Greg took this and sent it to me at work today and I just about died from the cuteness.



Big Girl

My little baby is no longer a little baby. 

She doesn't want to cuddle, doesn't want to sit on my lap, doesn't want kisses.  In fact, today when I picked her up at daycare, she didn't want me!  She actually wanted to stay longer at daycare to continue playing.  That sort of broke my heart.  

So, I've created a new game.  I call it "Playing Baby."  Leah's into pretend play these days, so I tell her that we're going to pretend she's a little baby.  She runs and gets a baby bottle and some blankets, I wrap her up, and then pretend to give her a bottle.  She pretends to sleep, then pretends to wake up and cry, and then I pretend to rock her back to sleep.

It's all a ruse to get her to lie in my arms and cuddle.  She gets to play and I get my cuddle-fix.  Please don't tell her of my ulterior motives.  Thanks. 

Here is my big girl practicing her twirling in my sandals. 
Dance class starts on Saturday, so she's been practicing. 


First Day

If you're my friend on Facebook, you know that I've left my old job and found a new one.  This new job is closer to my home, as well as my hometown.  It's got some other perks, too.  Perks that I couldn't turn down.  So, I didn't.

I dislike change.  I'm a creature of habit.  I like things to stay the same, comfortable way, and, even if things are not ideal, or not even satisfactory, anymore, I tend to just leave it status quo rather than start fresh.  I hate not knowing what I'm doing:  starting at a new place, with new co-workers, with new policies, rules, and responsibilities.  For this reason, I've always dreaded the first day of school.  More so than is normal.

Senior year in high school my friend Maryann and I found out on the first day of class that we had lunch the second to last period of the day, which was also the latest lunch period.  After a particularly bad first day of classes, Maryann and I proceeded to the ketchup dispenser, pressed the lever, and were squirted with ketchup spooge out of an almost-empty dispenser all over our faces and shirts.  While we were lucky to have only one more class to get through with ketchup stained clothing, this is the type of stuff that happens to me on "first days." 

So, today, as I walked into my new office building, I thought I might vomit right there on the receptionist's lap.  But, I held it together.  Barely.  I was really uncomfortable all day, but I tried to make the best of it.  I sweat more than I normally do, and on a trip to the bathroom I realized that my bangs were parted quite strangely and I'm not sure for how long, but I muddled through the day to drive home in a torrential hail storm.  In September. 

I know that time will make things better, despite how painful it is for time to pass.  I will soon figure out what my new job entails, and who my new co-workers are, and what this new place is all about.

But, until then, things are weird.  And strange.  I didn't really like talking about my old job on this blog, and I will most likely not talk about my new job on here as well, but I just wanted to let you know what's going on.


Myrtle Beach Wrap Up

While down in the low country, Leah found a new best friend: her Pop Pop John.

Mama Ba Ba was a suitable replacement when Pop Pop wasn't around, since she would drag Leah around the perimeter of the house on a boogie board.  But, Pop Pop was just the bees knees.

I might have made fun of Myrtle Beach because of all of its fried food, and I totally disappointed myself by not running, but all in all, this was a great trip.  We really had a good time.

From our wait in the airport...

To our time at the condo on the Isle of Palms...

To questionable shoe choices...

To interesting packing techniques...


We had a dang good time in the South.  Thank you, John and Barbara, for being such gracious hosts.  And thank you, Greg and Leah, for being such wonderful traveling buddies.  May our future continue to take us on awesome adventures.




We interrupt our regularly scheduled “Myrtle Beach, Part 456” update to bring you the following.

To all the women out there (woman to Danielle) who not only make the bacon, but bring it home too, this post is for you.

My child gets kisses, hugs, attention and love. I may not be able to do it in person all day long, but she knows that when we are apart, I still love her more than anything in this world.

My child goes to zoos, parks, classes, and activities with me. We do them after 5 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends. And, that’s ok. It’s all right that I don’t take her to Gyminee Crickets on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., because I’ll just take her to Music Together on Sundays at 4:15 p.m. And we are fine.

My house is clean, my meals are home cooked, my rugs are vacuumed.

My toes are pedicured, my hair is cut, and my briefcase is full.

I am a housewife and a working mother. I stress, I hurry, and I rush, just like every woman in this world. I multitask, and I get it all done. Eventually.

My child has friends and a social life. She likes to go to playdates and understands that Mom will be back later. She makes friends easily. She’s confident and independent.

And I have friends and a social life. I go to work and I make the best of it. Even if it’s tough to leave in the mornings, I know I’ll be back later on. I run when I can. I enjoy Thursday Wine Nights.

I refuse to feel guilty for this. I refuse to listen to people who tell me that on my deathbed I’ll never say, “Gee I wish I worked more,” because, at this point in the game, if I gave up my career, my salary, and everything that I would have to sacrifice as a result of that, I think I might just utter those words on my deathbed. And every time I found myself mopping the floors on a random Wednesday, screaming at my kids to stop fighting, checking on the crock pot of whatever I am serving for dinner. Not all women are hardwired to be the same type of mother. Not all women want to quit their jobs to stay home with their children. It doesn’t make us bad people. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have had children. I spent the two thirds of my life learning and educating so that I could use those skills to live. I spent my 20s paying off school loans. I break my back each month to add to a college fund for my daughter so that she will get an education.

And why should it mean that because I want to use my education and have a career that I can't also have a family?  Why must I choose? 

I want to do it all. I want to be a mom, and I want to have a career. I want to be a woman and have friends and a social life.  I want to be a wife to my husband.  I want to wipe tears and write reports. And I can do that. I may have to work with a tighter schedule but I can still do it. And just because I may employ outside childcare, and she may spend more time with my husband than she does with me, it doesn’t mean that I love her less than a stay at home mom or that I am doing her any disservice.

I make that bacon. I bring home that bacon.  I cook it, serve it, wrap up leftovers, and clean up that bacon pan. I do it all, and I do it well. And I’m not going to let those who do it different affect the way that I do it.

I kick that bacon’s ass.


Isle of Palms

When we were in Myrtle Beach, we were able to sneak away for a few days to the Isle of Palms, just the three of us. We stayed in a condo in the Wild Dunes Resort.

When you have a two year old, you get to the beach before even the fish wake up, and you can get some really good pictures that make it look like you were staying on a deserted island.

When you have MY two year old, you start to see a pattern when it comes to the people she enjoys keeping company with. In short, they are usually 1) male and 2) older.

She just went and plopped her butt down next to this kid and started building sand castles with him. No introductions, no small talk. It’s actually kinda neat. I wish that adults could initiate relationships, whether friendly or professional, with such ease. Imagine it being socially acceptable to go up to a complete stranger and cut his steak for him? Or to just take someone’s bike and begin riding it, without asking? That sounds like fun.

Greg got to do some fishing while we were there.

The splash park was fun.

We had a nice dinner at a restaurant on the Marina.

You know you’ve had a good time when you fall asleep in the car on the way back.



Getting Back on Track-Running Update

While in Myrtle Beach, I ran once. The heat was unbearable, as Myrtle Beach is closer to hell, er, I mean the equator, and I just couldn’t find a time when I could step outside and not instantly start melting. Just from standing in place. So, I didn’t run…although I felt incredibly guilty about the whole thing.

The one night that I did run was rough.  I couldn't complete the run, and ended up walking a lot more than I normally do.  Also, while drivers in Sparta aren't always happy that they have to share the road with a runner, they don't want me dead.  Drivers in Myrtle Beach seemed downright angry about the fact that someone was running on the side of their road and therefore that person needed some schoolin' 'bout how things are done in the South.  I almost had to jump in a nearby pond when I swear I saw a woman swerve towards me as she passed.  She may have been smiling.

So, I gave up the endeavor and surrendered to the Land O'Hush Puppy and vowed that I'd resume my running program when I returned home.  Only I wasn't expecting it to get dark so early these days, and, at the risk of sounding like a broken record--the heat, mylanta, the heat--and therefore, here we are on Friday, four days after I've returned from vacation, and I've only run once. 

I'm not giving up on the running.  I'd be too proud to have to admit to you that I failed.  Plus, I enjoy running.  I especially enjoy talking about running.  But, I'm just in a rut.  I've had some very. big. things. happening in my life, things that I will be bringing up soon, and running just hasn't been a priority.  But, I still have 3 sections of my program to complete, and the Turkey Trot is looming closer, and I think that I need just one ideal run to whip me back into shape.  You know, just one run that's perfect: perfect weather, perfect time of day, perfect level of motivation, perfect amount of sleep the night before.  I need a run that I enjoy immensely to remind me why I like doing this and why I want to keep it up.

I'm hoping to complete that run this weekend.  So, wish me luck.



Going To The Carnival

I mentioned in a previous post that Leah was not fond of rides.  Especially the ones where you put the quarter in to get it to move back and forth for a minute or so that were very popular outside of grocery stores when I was young.

So, you can imagine my surprise when my mother in law told me that Leah had really enjoyed herself in one of those rides while I was paying for something in a nearby store.  (Oh, who am I kidding; it was Coach. I'm a slave for their handbags.)  In fact, I made her prove it to me.

It may not look like it, but she is really having fun here.

Leah wanted to go on several more rides while we were there, but we didn't have enough quarters.  Do you know that these rides cost 75 cents each?  Wow.  Times are different from when I was a kid...and I walked back and forth to school...uphill both ways...and paid 25 cents for a ride.

So, we told her that we'd have to come back so she could go on more rides.  And so I could buy more purses.

A few days later we returned with a metric ton of change in our pockets.  I told Leah we were at the Carnival and we let her ride all the rides.

Once again, I assure you she is having a good time.

Of course, after she rode a million rides while we stood in the heat sighing heavily praying for each ride to end already, she complained when we told her we were out of money.  This then lead to a tantrum, as most things do these days, and most likely ended with some really well thought out words on my part, such as,

"That's it! I am never doing anything nice for you.  You take advantage of situations and don't know that when mommy and daddy say no, we mean no, get in the stroller now.  No, you don't want to? Fine then you are NOT getting a souvenir and I am not rubbing your back at nap time.  And I am calling Santa because this is ridiculous!  Get in your car seat-stop squirming!  Leah what is wrong, that's it, no popcorn! No snacks! Start the car, Greg, we are going right home. No ice cream!  EVER!"

Not my proudest moment, I admit.

Hey, at least the Carnival was fun.



A Very Big Sand Box

On our first full day in Myrtle Beach we spent some time at the beach. Leah hadn’t been to a beach since last September, so I'm not sure she remembered what the ocean was.  Upon stepping onto the sand she proclaimed, “A big sand box!” and started running like crazy. 

We spent a couple of hours playing in the sand and going in the water.  It took some time for her to get used to the waves, but soon she was a natural beach bunny.