BlogExplosion

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rex!


Today is Rex's birthday, and up until a half hour ago, I was empty-handed. Then I put a sand castle butter yellow cake in the oven and we went to visit our neighboring artist, Kate Leigh Cutler. We came back owning the painting in the picture above, ahead of Katie's new show that really breaks new ground (or water) for her: The Maritime History of the Barnegat Coast. At least in the peek I've seen, her new paintings are haunting, tales of storms and shipwrecks.

The show starts with an opening reception on Sunday, July 27th from 5-8pm, and runs through September 1, 2008, at the New Jersey Museum of Boating (at Johnson Brother's Boat Works) in Bay Head, NJ.

Oh, and the cake didn't turn out so well from a visual perspective, but it's going to taste great.

Jersey Shore Artists: Kate Leigh Cutler, The Maritime History of the Barnegat Coast, NJ Museum of Boating


Since we're down at the beach in Bay Head for our annual week-long celebration of Rex's birthday, and since I apparently screwed up and entered the wrong blog in my current Battle of the Blogs, I thought I'd cross-promote my Bay Head Blog by posting some of our beach adventures here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives as wel.

Our neighboring artist, Kate Leigh Cutler, has a new show that really breaks new ground (or water) for her: The Maritime History of the Barnegat Coast. At least in the peek I've seen, her new paintings are dark and ominous, tales of storms and shipwrecks.

The show starts with an opening reception on Sunday, July 27th from 5-8pm, and runs through September 1, 2008, at the New Jersey Museum of Boating (at Johnson Brother's Boat Works) in Bay Head, New Jersey.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kit's Treehouse Fund

As I have mentioned here before, there's a new movie coming to theatres everywhere on Wednesday, July 2nd... Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. While Kit Kittredge in the story is a young girl growing up during the 1930's Depression, American Girl gives young girls growing up in the 2008 Recession the opportunity to spend $250 on Kit's Treehouse!

Maddie and London have, of course, been begging for Kit's Treehouse, and I agreed to pay half if they worked hard to raise $125 this summer...so my girls have been busy painting shells, folding napkins, making their beds and cleaning their rooms. With a combination of tooth fairy money, their allowances for helping out around the house, and this season's seashell earnings so far, the girls already have $75 in the Treehouse Fund, so Kit's Treehouse may be on its way sooner than I expected, in time for our month at the beach in Bay Head in August.

Now, I wanted to take pictures of my sweet girls with paper bags on their heads like in all of LJ's photos, but Rex claimed that we don't have any paper bags here in Bay Head, New Jersey. So all I can offer you is a picture of London and Maddie's Treehouse Fund and the unattended seashell sales station.

Coming Soon....Roxiticus Desperate Housewives in Your Heart, Mind, and E-Mailbox!

Good morning, Bloggers!! A couple of months ago, I posted here about IZEA's Zookoda e-mail marketing application, comparing Zookoda to sliced bread. Although I signed up for Zookoda as soon as I learned about the opportunity through SocialSpark, I have to confess that I haven't gotten around to sending out any Roxiticus Desperate Housewives e-mail blasts. It's true, the people who brought you RealRank, PayPerPost and SocialSpark (click on the widgets in my sidebar if you haven't already signed up), now deliver Zookoda! Catchy name, huh? Zookoda is IZEA's e-mail marketing application designed specifically for bloggers like me. It enables Roxiticus Desperate Housewives (or you...or Rex, but we'll get to that later) to send a daily, weekly or monthly summary of the latest blog posts directly into your visitors' inbox. Best of all, it’s absolutely FREE, FREE, FREE!

Zookoda enables bloggers to:
  • Manage e-mail newsletter subscribers (that's different than an RSS feed, as you the blogger can control which of your posts actually go out to your newsletter subscribers);
  • Enhance your blog with dynamic custom newsletter subscription forms that enable you to build a visitor base (once I get my Zookoda up and running, I'll put a badge in my sidebar for you to click on);
  • Design eye-catching newletters to match your blog design (or, in my case, to look better than my plain old blog design);
  • Schedule recurring broadcasts for each day, week or month;
  • View real-time open, bounce, click and unsubscribe reports (and make up naughty names to call unsubscribers);
  • Access mobile users by emailing blog content in text format (while my iPhone and Rex's Blackberry both view HTML just fine, sometimes it's just quicker and easier to read a text).

The way I intend to use Zookoda is not so much to reach my existing readers, but to get new readers interested. I've complained before that my friends and family don't really "get" my blogging. While I write all about the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, the reality of it is that each of them drops by my blog about once a year to see what's new...luckily, they drop by my house a lot more often, but that's probably thanks to Rex's cooking. Anyway, the lack of "friends & family traffic" to my blog has nothing to do with their level of interest....while they might benefit from an RSS feed, they would have to know what an RSS feed is, wouldn't they? With Zookoda I can contact my friends and family with only the specific blog posts that are most relevant to their lives. Zookoda gives me complete control over all my e-mail "marketing," so I can leave Grammy and Grandmom off the nipple piercing and sex scandal distribution lists.

Then there's the "blogging business" application of Zookoda, which means I can promote my blog to potential new readers by sending one-off promotional emails. Roxiticus Desperate Housewives currently maintains online directories of the Best of the Roxiticus Valley: Mendham NJ, Bernardsville NJ, Chester NJ, Far Hills NJ, Peapack-Gladstone NJ, Morris and Somerset County NJ (see "Best of" Links in the sidebar). The directories include restaurant reviews, shopping, kid stuff, summer camp, lots and lots of merchants who are included free of charge. Here's the kicker: most of them don't even know about all the free publicity they're getting from Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. If I can find the time to get serious about it, Zookoda enables me to send an e-mail blast out to the owners of the restaurants, shops, and services in the Best of the Roxiticus Valley. If I have dinner at Sammy's in Mendham NJ or the Limestone Cafe in Peapack NJ, I can blog about it the next day and send a Zookoda e-mail to the owner the next day.

Rex is going to be all over Zookoda. We actually use something similar (but not FREE, FREE, FREE) in our investment banking business communications. It is a service called Constant Contact (which Brent and I jokingly call Constant Comment) that enables businesses to send out regular e-mail communications to clients and/or prospects. The interesting concept for me is that Rex has been thinking about starting an investment banking blog for our company, and we could probably use Zookoda to blast out his valuation insights.

And here's a little tease for all of my most loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers... if you sign up for my Zookoda newsletter, you'll be the first to know when I introduce my new self-hosted WordPress MU community....coming in late July or early August 2008....don't let it pass you by, sign up now!

Sponsored by Zookoda

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's EntreCard Saturday....and Buddy's Fitness News is My EntreFind!



A couple weeks ago, I was honored when The Mom With Brownies chose me as her "Entre-Find." I thought EntreCard Saturday was a pretty cool idea, though I'm nowhere near diligent enough to post one every week. So here's my first, and we'll hope it's not my last, contribution to EntreCard Saturday. Enjoy!

Whether you're visiting via BlogExplosion, SocialSpark, or EntreCard, I'd like to let all of my visitors know about Buddy's Fitness News. I'm not entirely clear how I stumbled upon Buddy's blog, but I decided to "advertise" my EntreCard on Buddy's widget and the results were amazing...for a price of 256EC, I got 144 click-throughs, and many of Buddy's fans stayed on to read and came back to Roxiticus Desperate Housewives again and again. Buddy, pictured at left accepting not one but two Arte y Pico awards and bestowing one upon this humble blog during his acceptance speech, is a very talented dog... an expert with PhotoShop, Buddy is supporting his mom's new job by picking up the slack to provide all of us with interesting blog posts to read while his mom's away at work.

If you have an Entre-Find that you'd like to share with the rest of us, just click the widget at the top of this post and it will take you right over to The Mom With Brownies, where you'll find the details on EntreCard Saturday. But maybe you'll want to leave me a comment here first, so Roxy can get in before the secret gets out and the EntreCard price goes up!

Is There A Senior Tech in the House?

Now I don't know about you, but I sometimes wish we could go back to the days of cave painting instead of relying on the latest technologies. Brent and I have a standing joke around the office about one of us always having to play the role of Senior Tech, complete with broken glasses and pocket protector, overcharging by the hour to fix one of our company's ongoing problems with Internet service, Bill Gates' dog, or the wireless router and firewall in our Lizworld headquarters. In a small investment banking firm, there's no room in the payroll for a Chief Technology Officer, or even an entry-level geek, so we tend to rely on an outsourced technology consultant named Smug Robert and wish that someone in-house had his or her Cisco certification. In fact, Cisco has a whole learning network where Brent and I could participate in exciting conversations about advancing our careers, and discover more about the future of networking technology. Instead of counting on an outsider to deal with our in-house technology issues, we could teach Smug Robert a thing or two. When I visit Other People's Blogs ("OPB") and read about all of the problems my fellow bloggers have, rebooting their Windows Vista computers several times a day (the lovely, gracious and talented Mariuca has done two full restores over the past month or two!) or having Internet connectivity issues in the middle of a shopping or banking transaction, it makes me want to learn more about Cisco certification programs, and training. No wonder there are wildly growing career opportunities within IT. One thing I know for sure...next time I hire an outsourced IT consultant to handle my business or blogging computer repairs, I'm going to make sure they have their Cisco certification. Instead of taking a gamble on a technology "expert's" credentials, I would know that a Cisco-certified technician had completed a training program and passed an exam...a real credibility builder.

Sponsored by Cisco

Something for Everyone in Roxy's Latest Shameful Page Turner: Emily Giffin's "Love the One You're With"

I've picked up a new shameful page turner for the beach: "Love the One You're With" by Emily Giffin.



According to the blurb on the book jacket, "Love the One You're With" is a story for anyone who has ever wondered: "How can I truly love the one I'm with when I can't forget the one who got away?" Ellen and Andy's marriage doesn't just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she's living is the one she' s meant to live. "Love the One You're With" is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

While I'm only up to Chapter Nine, I've already found a little something for everyone.

For Matt of MTMD and his ABBA fetish:
I will have time to shower, light a few candles, open a bottle of wine, and find the exact right soundtrack to purge the last traces of the past from my mind -- something cheerful, with absolutely no Leo associations. "Dancing Queen" would fit the bill, I think, smiling to myself. There is absolutely nothing about ABBA that conjures Leo.

I've not run into any of my eXes since I've been married to Rex...though Rex was there when I brought Johnny MoneyBags to our former employer's black tie Christmas party, and Johnny Moneybags made a pass at one of the partners' wives: "Charlotte, you know you want me, you want to jump my bones."

Mad



I'm moving the entire "Mad" post to my Roxiticus Memoirs blog, since I ended up feeling sorry for Trader...but not until the screen door hit him on the way out!

And yes, Henson, these are all our real names.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Roxy Presents.... My Banal Maundering

In response to a story by and about Emily Gould, former editor of Gawker.com (the snarky New York media blog), in the Memorial Day Weekend edition of The New York Times Magazine, Charles Pregaldin of Tacoma, Washington, wrote a letter that included the following fabulous quote:

"The great irony of the present century threatens to be that the Internet, a medium with far greater potential than television, will prove to be a wasteland yet vaster, used mainly for looking at pornography and by egomaniacs publishing their banal maundering."

Having just lost my most recent Battle of the Blogs by an historically humiliating vote of 14-1, I can't help but find the quote apropos. As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, I'm really looking forward to having my very own self-hosted WordPress blog, and one of the cool things I'll be able to do with it is to share a rotating "quote of the day" with my readers, and Charles Pregaldin will be right up there with Bruce Springsteen, MeatLoaf, Ayn Rand and Kierkegaard. Oh, and Jason Buckley, who taught me the magnificent expressions "asshattery" and "holier than thou panties all knotted up."

Moro's Automotive Has Roxy's Baby Ready to Rock to the Beach!


According to Bruce Springsteen, "Summer's here and the time is right for racing in the street." Up until Monday, however, Roxy's baby has been waiting patiently in the garage with a dead battery and a flat tire.

My Toyota Celica convertible is 12 years old with only 26,000 miles on her...almost as if a little old lady (from Pasadena) only drives her to church on Sundays. The truth is, the Roxiticus Valley in winter is not friendly to convertibles, so Rex and I and most of our neighbors only drive big gas hog SUVs with four-wheel drive once the snow starts to fall. Our convertible sits in the garage and we try to start her up and go for a ride once a week to keep the battery alive, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I call Triple A every spring/summer, and they come over and jump-start the convertible to get us going for the new season.

This year, however, the left rear tire was flat, so Moro's had to replace two tires, and I decided to have the oil changed as well. With most auto service places and an older vehicle, that's just asking for trouble. They open the hood and...."Ma'am, there's a sea monster clinging to your engine...he's got his tentacles wrapped around the abominator, so you're going to need a whole new pentraxel system. Gonna cost ya a coupla grand, to be expected with an antique hot rod like this beauty."

But not Moro's...I drove my baby out of there for $269.81: two new high-speed-rated tires (don't tell the Mendham police force) and an oil change.

Moro's Automotive Service is located at 8 Cold Hill Road in Mendham, NJ. Call Dennis at (973) 543-7282. And tell him the Roxiticus Desperate Housewife with the red Celica convertible sent you...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pierre's Restaurant 14th Annual Seafood Dinner: July 16th or August 14th, 2008


Okay, readers, I know I deceived you once before about my availability to attend the Chef's Table Dinner at Pierre's on June 12th and then ditched you for a prior commitment to Movin' Out at NJPAC....but this time, I've marked my calendar and I'm pulling together a table of ten or more for Pierre's 14th Annual Seafood Dinner. We're going to the one on Thursday, August 14th, during a brief break from the beach in Bay Head, but if that date doesn't work for you or if you like to wear orange pants for your night out on the town (see note below), Chef Michael is serving up the same menu and wines on Wednesday, July 16th. It just won't be as much fun.

NOTE TO ORANGE PANTS, AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE (or should I post last year's photo of you with a special finger in the air?): Please make plans to attend Pierre's Summer Seafood Dinner on Wednesday, July 16th, or be forewarned, we will have one or two tables full of Roxiticus Desperate Housewives in cheerful attendance on Thursday, August 14th.

Now, moving on to the dinner, this year Chef Michael has paired his seafood dishes with white wines from Italy. Good friend and Italian wine aficionado Roberto Rosenfeld will be at Pierre's on both nights to talk a little about the wines. The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives will try to keep it down so that others can hear, but we may not be able to restrain ourselves from helping ourselves to seconds of our favorite wines.

If you enjoy fish and shellfish this is a dinner you do not want to miss. Casual dress is welcomed, especially if the weather is warm. And now, without further adieu (Tish, you spoke French!), here's the menu for Pierre's 14th Annual Seafood Dinner:

Reception (likely to be held on the porch if the weather is nice):
Mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, marinated salmon, crabmeat
Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico

Menu:

Tuna tartare with wasabi caviar
Pojer e Sandri Muller Thurgau della Dolomiti 2006
Soft-shell crab a la provencale
Alois Lageder Lagrein Rosato 2007

Fresh pasta with lobster and julienne vegetables
Marco Felluga Molamatta 2006

Braised striped bass with cucumbers
Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico 2005

Blueberry tart and crème fraiche
Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2006

Please RSVP to Bree at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives dot com and let me know if you'll be able to join us for Pierre's 14th Annual Seafood Dinner on Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 7:00pm. Alternate Date: Wednesday, July 16th at 7:00pm (Orange Pants and the Sophisticated Elderly Set, Please). The price is $95 prepaid per person (tax and gratuity included). If you're planning to attend on your own, please call Pierre's at 973.425.1212 to make your reservation or click here for the resevation form. Please let Chef Michael know the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you, and do drop by our table (oh, you'll know which one) and raise a glass with us!

Sammy's Has Soft Shell Crabs!!

Rex just reminded me that right about now is the start of soft shell crab season, and that Sammy's Restaurant in Mendham, NJ, has the biggest, tastiest soft shell crabs in the entire world. We thought we'd have to rush out to Sammy's tonight to be sure to enjoy our soft shells in lemon garlic butter sauce before the short season ended, but I called Sammy's (973-543-7675) and the manager assured me that the soft shell crab season runs safely through July and frequently into early August.

To give you a little background on Sammy's Ye Olde Cider Mill... Every couple of months, Rex & I will be in the mood for a steak, and we'll round up some friends and/or take the girls to Sammy's in Mendham NJ. It's a funny place with no sign to announce itself, a white building on "old" Route 24 (353 Mendham Road West) in Mendham, near Westmont Montessori School.

From Sammy's web site: Established in 1933 and now run by third generation family members, Sam, Phil and MaryAnn Fornaro, Sammy's has outlived most other restaurants and the prohibition era to become a legend in these parts because it consistently serves its clientele the best.

You'll order your food as you walk in the door. The fun starts when they send you down to the bar in the basement, where the kids can play pinball and you can get a start on one of over 120 bottles of fine wine. Sammy's is where we discovered Darioush Cabernet with our friends Susan and Mike, Lynette and Tom, back when we all had kids over at Westmont Montessori and we'd all sneak off together after back-to-school night.

For about a month when they're in season in the summer (starting right now in late June through early August), Sammy's has the most amazing, huge soft shell crabs that they serve in a lemon garlic butter sauce. The rest of the year, we'll order veal chops, steak, lobster, or a little of both. I like Sammy's surf & turf combo because they'll serve a New York strip steak with a lobster, instead of insisting that filet mignon is the only "turf" in the house. Rex and I always start with shrimp scampi Sammy's style and spaghetti with roasted garlic & oil.

If you need directions, you can reach Sammy's by phone: (973) 543-7675.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about it, but I'm prepared to wait until we return from the beach in July....why don't we make a date for dinner at Sammy's?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wow, Visitor #20,000 Blew Right By Me...

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, I'm almost always up for a celebration but today, Visitor #20,000 took me by surprise while I was hard at work in my NYC office.

I always wish I knew more than Sitemeter can tell me about what goes on in the minds of my visitors...like Visitor #20,024, who came in from Pequannock, New Jersey, seeking "sexy polish housekeepers," but left after only 5 seconds when he found my sexy Polish housekeeper here. And when I do learn more about my visitors, I like to share with all of you. One of my Anonymous Commenters was inspired to start his own blog, The Park Bench Chronicles. Taking a page from Mariuca's playbook, I've been getting more comments each and every day...thanks to all of you who've taken the time to comment during your daily rounds of the blogosphere!

So...we know very little about Visitor #20,000, who snuck in from Andover, New Jersey, to vote in my Tuesday afternoon Battle of the Blogs against Schadenfreude and his Fifth Column blog. I won the battle, 9-6, but have no idea whether Visitor #20,000 voted for me.

Let's raise a glass to Visitor #20,000, and to all the rest of you who made it possible to get so far. More fun to come this summer! And as for a bigger, wilder celebration, let's look ahead to Visitor #25,000 and Post #500...I'll try to get there at the same moment.

Thanks for reading, and for coming back again and again and bringing your friends!

Mary’s Doll Hospital in Chester, New Jersey

I was a tomboy from birth through high school… playing softball and Capture the Flag with the neighborhood boys, begging my parents to let Skipper (nee Lester) or Eddie (who played on the high school baseball team and envied my fast-pitch) be my teenage babysitter (a heartbreaking no go, as my parents recognized my predilection for older men early on and attempted to squelch it).

Growing up, and for many years of my adult life, I could not have imagined that one day I'd be saying, "I brought Kailey in to Mary's Doll Hospital with a broken arm and she came back as good as new." I don't know where my girls got the girly-girl gene, but London and Maddie each have about eight American Girl dolls, excluding Bald Bitty Baby and the Bitty Twins. Hmm, let's see if I can name them. London has: Merle, Samantha, Elizabeth, Marisol, Kit, Emily, Nikki and Mia. Maddie has: Kailey, Nellie, Felicity, Jess, Molly, Nikki, Mia, and Rex took a trip up to Times Square this afternoon to pick up Ruthie so that Ruthie and Kit can join us down at the beach for Kit Kittredge, the new American Girl Movie coming to theatres everywhere on July 2nd, 2008.

My worst fears of London and Maddie's girly-girlhood mixed with their mother's tomboy genes have come to pass. When we moved out from New York City's West Village to the Roxiticus Valley in October 2003, my girls were 2½ and 1½, and I think Maddie got Kailey (Girl of the Year 2004) for her 2nd birthday, even though American Girl recommends that you stick with Bitty Baby and the Bitty Twins and avoid the dolls with hair until your girly-girls get to be eight years old, when I'll secretly be hoping that my girls will move on to basketball (London is 4 foot 6 at the end of the first grade) and softball (like their mom, who will continue our family tradition of denying my daughters hot teenage boy babysitters). Anyway, despite the girly-girl gene that got them the dolls in the first place, London had Kailey by the arm and Maddie grabbed hold of Kailey's leg to try to get her back, and the leg snapped right off. It was time for one of many lectures on respecting our special dolls ("When mommy was little, I ripped the heads off my dolls and drowned them in the bathtub, but I wasn't asking Santa for any more special dolls to replace them"), followed by a trip to Mary's Doll Hospital in Chester, New Jersey, where Mary promises that "all dolls and animals will be restored and repaired." I wish I could add, "no questions asked." But Mary is a charming and inquisitive woman, who wanted all the gory details about the Incident and also wanted to know "what in tarnation happened to her hair?!" The operation in question is referred to as "re-stringing," (I think we paid $20-$25) but Mary really wanted to clean and detangle Kailey's rat hair for an additional $20 - $25. This tomboy knew better, since not only would the hair be re-tangled within a week, but it turns out that Kailey made her second "re-stringing" visit to Mary's Doll Hospital within a year of the original Incident.

Mary's Doll Hospital, 75 Main Street in Chester, NJ. I'll give you two phone numbers: (908) 879-4101. (973) 366-9485. Mary keeps odd hours, so call to make sure she'll be there before you bring in your precious amputee for repair.


Guess Where Rex Is Right Now?


He's on his way uptown to American Girl Place to pick up the Ruthie doll for Maddie...so that London and Kit and Maddie and Ruthie will be ready for the new American Girl movie...Kit Kittredge!


What a dad!


Now the girls are saving all of the money they earn from selling seashells down by the seashore (at 25 cents each) to buy Kit's Treehouse:



I told them I'd split the $250 price with them if they earned $125 by the end of the summer. Wish us all luck!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cheating On My Cleaning Lady

My loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know that we've had the same Polish cleaning lady for almost four years. Our housekeeper, Margaret, usually comes every Thursday, but right now I am cheating on her while she's on a two month vacation. Even though Margaret does a terrific job cleaning up after Rex's masterpieces in the kitchen and all the toys and dolls the girls leave all over the house, she drives me nuts because she cannot organize and "tidy up" the kind of paperwork messes I make. The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives all share the symptoms of Pre Housekeeper Traumatic Stress Disorder in which we lose our minds trying to prepare for the cleaning lady the night before she comes!

Now, to justify the longings of my cheatin' heart... You may have heard through the grapevine about the day my girls now refer to as "The Hairbrush Incident" here a couple of weeks ago. Just a few days before Incredible Kid Day, our nanny asked me what had happened to the girls' hairbrushes...she couldn't find them anywhere. I had no idea, suggested she look in corners and under beds and in bags (one of Margaret's weird housekeeper things)...no dice. The next morning I came out of the shower and...MY HAIRBRUSH WAS GONE! Nowhere to be found...after all, our nanny had turned the house upside down searching for hairbrushes the day before. I ran around the house ranting and raving like a total lunatic. Luckily, the Mother of the Year award people weren't lurking or I'd have gotten ten demerits.

The Hairbrush Incident wasn't Margaret's fault, but her boss chose that day to "bait and switch" me. The usual minivan full of Polish housekeepers pulled into the driveway as I was packing the girls' lunches for school and finishing up other last-minute tasks before the schoolbus, but this time, the driver and a random Polish housekeeper jumped out. "Margaret no come. Train her!" says the driver. As Maddie repeated at kindergarten show-and-tell for the remainder of the year, Mommy said "TAKE HER AWAY IN YOUR VAN!" When I followed up later with the bosslady of the cleaning agency, she said, "Margaret didn't tell you? She's on vacation for two months!" Well, bosslady got an earful about her bait and switch routine, along with the message that we would not be needing her services until Margaret's return. Let the cheating begin!

Given an estimate of "$20/hour, maybe takes five hours," we tested out one of the other Roxiticus Desperate Housewives referrals last Monday, to get the house cleaned up before our big Roxiticus Sunset Party on Friday. Rex was away for the day, and returned to learn that the agency had sent two women who spent five hours chatting, perhaps watching soap operas, but accumulating ten woman-hours, charging $200 for their happy day here in the Roxiticus Valley, and leaving me with a load of napkins to be folded. I probably violated a couple of child labor laws by paying my girls and their two play-dates 50 cents each to fold them all and put them away. Rex insisted that they never come back, so I called their evil bosslady to fire them.

We interviewed our second set of housekeepers on Saturday among the detritus of our party, but made it no further than the laundry room. When the English-speaking translator told the worker bee that we expected her to wash, dry and fold our laundry during the day while she was here, she made such a disgusted face that I believe the translator must have said something about expecting her to provide a clean house while servicing all of the landscapers and pool guys behind the barn for one price. This pair apologized, but on Sunday they sent another member of the Extended Housekeeping Family, who gave us a fair estimate and arrives for her try-out tomorrow (Tuesday).

I will let you know how it goes, but at this point I'm thinking I'll just give up, have the girls run an energy-saving Dirt Devil around the carpet in the family room and downstairs play room, and bring the Roxiticus Desperate Goats in from our backyard to lap up any kitchen spills. I'll save money as well as energy -- the new AccuCharge Stick Vac and Hand Vac use 70% less energy – making AccuCharge the first cordless cleaning technology to earn Energy Star approval.

The good news for my local readers is that, given my bad housekeeping karma, once I find the right housekeeper, I'll be able to give all of you the recommendation of a lifetime! Oh, and if you have any suggestions for me, drop a line to my e-mail address...you'll find it in the top of my sidebar.

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Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Wordless Wee Hours of Monday Morning: Favorite Photo from Roxiticus Sunset Party

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sharing a Latte with Mariuca

I found this little "blogthing" over at Mariuca's Perfume Gallery and found it to be remarkably accurate...so have a cup of java on me, take the test, and let us know how it turns out!



What Your Latte Says About You



You are very decadent in all aspects of your life. You never scale back, and you always live large.

You can be quite silly at times, but you know when to buckle down and be serious.

Intense and energetic, you aren't completely happy unless you are bouncing off the walls.

You're addicted to caffeine. There's no denying it.

You are responsible, mature, and truly an adult. You're occasionally playful, but you find it hard to be carefree.

You are sophisticated and daring, but you are never snobby.

Ignore Your Teeth and They'll Go Away

Dear loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers,

I had no idea how much you cared....I've been so busy this weekend that I've been unable to post much, drop many EntreCards, or participate in BlogExplosion Battle(s) of the Blogs...and my readership had dropped to less than half its usual size....about 225-250 visitors per day down to 110 on Sunday, so it isn't just because Matt at MTMD went away for the weekend and, denied a webcam at the Roxiticus Sunset Party on Friday, Wally Banners left on his big trip to Europe...

Maybe it's a broader trend...it is summer, after all, and I'm not the only one who has lots of plans with family and friends. I will post about our weekend activities sometime on Monday, and then we'll be off to the beach in Bay Head by the end of the week!

Let's hear about your summer plans, gang!

And for you, the few, the proud, the Visitors, thanks for reading!

Roxy

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Garden State Ballet Recital Today!



Roxiticus Desperate Housewives can't say enough good things about Garden State Ballet in Randolph, NJ. My girls have danced there with Miss Katie for two years now (baby blue pre-ballet class last year, "white" beginner class this year) and plan to continue in the pink class in Fall 2008. Miss Katie also delivered a beautiful ballet lesson at my younger daughter's birthday party in our home in March 2008. Now today's the day for the annual recital, and Rex and the girls and I are off to Secaucus to see them shine.

While the Roxiticus Desperate Tomboy Mother has no idea where my girls got the ballet gene, I have developed quite a bit of experience and wisdom about ballet, for pre-schoolers on up to high-schoolers, over the past five years.

My youngest daughter started ballet at age 3.5 when we first moved out here to the Roxiticus Valley from the West Village in NYC. We went to a place called Showcase Studios in Far Hills, NJ. While my daughter enjoyed dressing up in a leotard and tutu and "making cookie dough" and "dancing like fairies," we didn't take it very seriously, it was just for fun. Good thing. Despite the pressure, we didn't sign up for the recital or the accompanying $300 costumes etc. Two weeks before the recital, Showcase Studios was evicted...no more lessons, no recital.

The next year, we "started over" at Art of Dance in Chester, NJ. This time both girls signed up for ballet class. I think all of my friends have tried Art of Dance for some period of time, but no one stays on....my girls just didn't have much fun there, and in pre-school, that's what ballet classes should be all about. Again, we thankfully skipped the recital....waaaay too much make-up and kinda trashy costumes.

In September 2006, both girls and one of their best gal pals signed up for the baby blue pre-ballet class (4 and 5 year-olds, I believe) at Garden State Ballet. When I learned that the recital was on Father's Day, I was all set to skip another year's recital...but I'm glad I didn't. At the recital, each class performed a basic routine and we snapped pictures of our little darlings. After a brief intermission, the stronger dancers returned to demonstrate almost professional skill in modern dance. While my daughters may or may not continue to dance as they get older, if they do, Garden State Ballet is the right place for a serious dancer.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I May Not Be the Hottest Mommy Blogger, Yet...But I've Won An Award! (Isn't It Beautiful?)

Henson’s Hell has given me an award! My very first here in the Blogosphere. And not just any award... it's the esteemed "Arte y Pico Award." My mama is gonna be so proud, I almost want to wake her up and shout about it. Actually, for as long as I've known her, my mother has stayed up much, much later than I do, even now that I'm all grown up and she's not in control of my bedtime. Brings back the good old days of elementary school when she would wake me up at one in the morning to see Andy Gibb or Abba on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert.

Back to the award at hand... this little beauty was designed by the “Arte y Pico Blog” as part of a tag initiative where you pass along the compliment to other bloggers.

I am truly honored by this award, and I'd like to steal a quote from Henson in accepting the kind honor he has bestowed upon me: "Yes, it has been a long struggle to win this achievement, and yes, I had to compromise every moral and value I held sacred just to scratch and claw my way to the winner's circle." I will use that one when I saunter on stage, stepping over Dooce in my gladiator heels, to accept my Golden Booty for Hottest Mommy Blogger, too.

Now, here are the rules and regulations, as well as my nominees for the next five deserving winners of the Arte y Pico Award:

1) Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award (http://arteypico.blogspot.com/) Dios mio! Arte y Pico es un blog espanol! I took about six years of Spanish, starting in sixth grade, and don't really remember a word. Well, Gracias, Arte, for cooking this one up, and Juan and I are gonna vamos off a la biblioteca. Mas vale tarde que nunca!

Drum roll, please...though I wish I could tag everyone with this special honor and tasty trophy, I can only choose five. And here they are:

  • With more Technorati links and daily comments on her blog than there are stars in the sky, the lovely, gracious and talented.... Mariuca!
  • Spreading her midnight magic around the blogosphere, fueled by a rocket of hot coffee... Lady Java!
  • An entrepreneurial mom and grandmom looking for a ride from Connecticut to our Roxiticus Sunset Party on Friday night to accept her award in her throw me down shoes...Moomette!
  • Keeping the Blogosphere hot and spicy and doling out the Battle of the Blogs votes and linky love while keeping track of MightyBug and MiniBug...SpicyBug! Please drop by her blog and let her know where she left her hairbrush...
  • Last but not least, here's someone I bet most of you haven't visited...more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, helping out Dummies like me every day of the week, and hard at work on designing my new WordPress blog in between interesting posts on her JustAGirlintheWorld blog... Lisa Sabin-Wilson!

Please visit all the great blogs above, and see why they are truly at the top of their game.

P.S. -- Matt of MTMD has nominated my Roxiticus Best Blogs for this prestigious award, so I've got five more nominations for bloggers who play their cards right...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Days When the Dog Ate My Post

The other night I happened to read a post on the IZEA/SocialSpark blog about the quality blog content required to fall in true linky love:

"Is your blog something I can be proud to talk about on my blog? Do you feature original content that invites your readers' interest? Having a personal blog is a good way to chronicle your daily life for family and friends. Your mother wants to know how the weather looks outside your window and what you're wearing to work today. Most of the rest of us don't and won't become regular visitors if that's as good as your content gets. If you want to build your readership (and get some linky lovin') you have to give your readers a bit more of yourself. How many blogs have you seen that look something like this:

Day One:

  • Three-line weather report
  • Sponsored post
  • Short paragraph about the baby being cranky
  • Sponsored post
    Roast is in the oven. Out of lettuce - no salad

Day Two:

  • Sponsored post
  • Three-line weather report
  • Sponsored post
  • Baby still cranky
  • Sponsored post
and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam."

I'll frequently see a fellow blogger offering up advice on how to keep Entrecarders (or other visitors) coming back for more. I think we all know when we've written a post that is going to win every Battle of the Blogs by a wide margin, and when we've written "just enough to get paid." However, I'd like to say a word or two hundred in defense of my own "dog ate my post" days.

Before I ever started blogging, I kept a handwritten journal, and I still do. Way back when, before I met Rex and had a family to keep me busy, my most intriguing "posts" often came during a time of solitude and introspection, when I had plenty of time to create a dark, well-written Roxiticus Memoir because I didn't have a date or a fun weekend with my girlfriends to distract me. These days, I find that I don't write as much or as well as I could about my day-to-day adventures because I'm too busy living them. Not that I don't think about my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers all the time, I do… to the point where it drives Rex nuts, and London and Maddie joke that "Mommy wouldn't have forgotten to [fill in the blanks] if she wasn't always blogging!"

While thoroughly enjoying Movin' Out at NJPAC last Thursday night, I thought about all the things I wanted to say about all the memories the show brought back and how I might post some Roxy flashbacks along with related Billy Joel lyrics, but I didn't take the time to write them down. The next day, I ended up writing what I thought was a half-decent post about Adega Grill, the Newark restaurant where we had dinner that night, but I had my investment banking work to attend to until we left for the beach and I never got back to Movin' Out because Father's Day Weekend got in the way (in a good way)!

All that being said, Rex and the girls and I had an absolutely glorious Father's Day Weekend at our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey, and I'm going to try to do it justice with a post over on my Bay Head Blog.

Roxy Gets Dressed Up for a Little Sex in the City

Have you ever wondered how I create Bree's look from Desperate Housewives right here in the Roxiticus Valley? Wishing you could step out in a pair of Samantha's gladiator heels or your other favorite Sex and the City clothes? If you'd like to dress and accessorize like your favorite movie star, whether you're going out for a night on the town or never leaving your boudouir, Roxy steps in as your Movie Fashions finder. "I Saw It In" is a web site that helps you to find dresses, jeans, jackets, necklaces, sunglasses and all the celebrity fashions in one place. Knock yourself out, and go get yourslef a pair of those gladiator heels tonight!



Sponsored by ISawItIn.com - Movie Fashions, Online

Brent's Mama is Coming for Thanksgiving: The Silver Ladle Joke

Brent's mama has made plans to visit Brent and Fitz's new home in Westchester, New York, for Thanksgiving, which prompted us to re-tell the silver ladle story over lunch today:

Brent invites his mama to spend a long weekend at his new home in the country. When Mama arrives, she can't help but notice how hot Fitz is, and how the two boys exchange glances across the room. Brent tells her that they are just roommates, they have a strictly platonic relationship, and assures her that nothing is going on between them. Mama enjoys a nice dinner and weekend visit, and goes back home to South Carolina.

Two weeks later Fitz says to Brent, "It's funny, but ever since your mother came for the weekend, I can't find my silver gravy ladle." Brent writes his mother a letter saying, "Mama, I'm not saying that you did take the silver gravy ladle, and I'm not saying that you did not take the silver gravy ladle, but the fact remains, it has been missing since you came to visit."


Mama wrote a letter back to Brent saying, "Son, I'm not saying that you do sleep with Fitz, and I'm not saying that you do not sleep with Fitz, but the fact remains... if Fitz was sleeping in his own bed, he would have found the silver ladle under his pillow by now."

Roxiticus Sunset Party on Friday!!

Everything is coming together for our 5th annual Roxiticus Sunset Party on Friday evening. It will be our biggest party ever, with 134 guests: 67 kids and 67 grown-ups (including 8 teenage "babysitters" to provide supervision). Last year we only had 81 guests. I think most of the increase is due to Maddie's great year in kindergarten at Mendham Township Elementary School...she delivered a whole new gang of friends for the whole family!




Rex and I were getting a little nervous about all of the additional guests (we didn't really expect everyone to say yes!), but we talked to our Grillmaster, Carl Posey, who has catered our party five years running, and he's actually excited. The menu includes jumbo grilled shrimp with Bacardi cocktail sauce, grilled steak with goat cheese on garlic croutons, rack of lamb "lollipops," our favorite Blue Cheese Burgers, hot dogs, and the most amazing chicken fingers for the kids.

Now I know that I owe my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers a Father's Day Weekend recap, which I will post as soon as I can get to it over on my Bay Head Blog, but things have really been hectic between investment banking (potential new clients as well as helping existing clients to get to the finish line despite the high hurdles) and getting ready for the big Roxiticus Sunset event. I never seem to get to all of the tasks at hand. In fact, please don't check back on any of the posts where I promised to write more later (thankfully, that's not one of my tags). You already know I was almost the Mom Without Brownies last week on London's Incredible Kid Day. Both of my girls finished the year without any patches sewn or ironed on to their Brownie and Daisy Girl Scout vests...my friend Lynette suggested that I use a stapler, but I'm thinking of reaching out to The Sewing Mom.

In my most recent real-life example of waiting until the last minute, I had seen the Ion Portable PA System for my iPod (pictured below) in Hammacher Schlemmer over the winter, and thought it would make a great addition to the party for my karaoke kids. They have a band we call the Singin' Van de Kamp Sisters. But did I order the little luggagelike metallic beauty over the winter, with low cost shipping? Noooooooooo.....I kept mentioning it to my family, and saying "I've got to order that, or it won't get here in time for the party." Finally, on Monday night, the girls and I were having Hills Pizza Brothers (908-470-4457 for delivery in the Bedminster, NJ area) pizza and wings and cheese fries in the family room because Rex was away at a Board meeting in Connecticut, and London started doing her Hannah Montana moves and singing, and I realized that I was in big, big trouble. I called Hammacher Schlemmer and they told me they could get it to me with 2-day shipping for an EXTRA $210....aaargh! But I Googled and Googled and blew up the photo so I could see the brand name, and finally I found it on a site called Same Day Music....they shipped it today via UPS (have I mentioned what a great UPS delivery guy we have on our route? Go Big Brown!) to arrive on Thursday....for $24 extra!! Huzzah!

Police Line Do Not Cross

This afternoon, on her way back to our house for a play date with three little girls in boosters in the back seat of the Suburban, our Roxiticus Desperate Nanny got busted. The Mendham Township Police officer (pictured at left) suggested that she was doing 50 in a 30 mph zone, but I believe her when she said she was doing 35, though the officer didn't...and asked if she wanted to argue with him in front of the kids...which is when Maddie's little playmate piped up, "What is your name, OFFICER??!!" Even though my current registration and insurance card were safe in my purse upstairs in the bedroom, while our nanny was left with faded and yellowing documents from 2006, there's a happy ending that doesn't involve women's prison or even a juvenile hall for the inquisitive kindergartner.


Most of my fellow Roxiticus Desperate Housewives have been pulled over for speeding at one time or another, but none of us have been in a serious accident. Though I banged up the front quarter panel on my old Celica in a snowstorm many years ago and the deer are always jumping out in front of me here in the Roxiticus Valley, I've never been in a car accident with another car.
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And for the rest of you, slow down, stay safe and don't cross that police line!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've Got Victory Hair Even Though I've Lost My Last Six BlogExplosion Battles of the Blogs

...and here's why. I got this little widget from Suzette while voting for her in a Battle of the Blogs and I like it a lot better than the rich guy in my sidebar who says my blog is worth less than $10,000! In fact, you may not see his smirking George Washington face the next time you stop by, because....


102,430

How much money is your blog worth? Give it a try for your own blog...it's a quick questionnaire and lots of fun.

Time for Another Lapdance Haircut!

About six weeks back, I posted here about how spoiled and pampered a Roxiticus Desperate Housewife I am, at least as far as my Victory Hair goes. Ever since we moved out here to the Roxiticus Valley from New York City in October 2003, my hairdresser has been making house calls. Madeline and I go waaaay back. She has been doing my haircuts and highlights for almost 25 years, including Roxy's wild single years when I was competing every weekend in the Ultimate Flirting Championship in all of my favorite Jersey Shore bars. While things have changed over the years, every six weeks, Madeline comes out and keeps these shiny red locks looking their best, cuts Rex's hair, and gives each of my girls a trim, too. Tomorrow, when Rex and I head in to our office in NYC, I'll be singin' Tonight's the Night all day, since Madeline is coming for a visit... We'll drink a little wine, enjoy some girl talk, and my hair will look terrific at the end of the night. Then I'll read the girls a bedtime story, send them off to their rooms, and SHAZZAM! One thing will lead to another with Rex...Victory Hair! Yay me!

Shortly after my original post, somebody Googled "lapdance haircuts in Morris County, NJ" and suddenly found themselves here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. I believe the confusion resulted from two recent, separate, posts: one about a humorous blogger, Deb on the Rocks, who uses "lapdance" on her EntreCard; the other about my fabulous hairdresser from The Edge in Landing, NJ (who can be reached for an appointment at 973-398-3988, but does NOT provide lapdances along with her haircuts). I am not offering any lapdance haircuts here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, but am referring those seeking such services to a salon in Knoxville, Tennessee featured in a post entitled "Need a Trim? Bring Some Singles" on BeyondtheNeon, a blog about strippers that the prim and proper Bree only visits for purposes of voting in a Battle of the Blogs (click my BlogExplosion Banner at the top of the page if you'd like to join in the fun). I guess early market research indicates that if Gentlemen's Top Cuts is looking to expand, there's an eager market right here in Morris County, New Jersey. Perhaps they can open up a branch in that massage parlor they shut down over in Chester last year.

In the meantime, our loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers (or perhaps those who are still confused and looking for lapdance haircuts) have been stopping in to the Edge in Landing, New Jersey, seeking the Roxiticus Desperate Hairstyle. While you can't get Madeline's amazing service in your own home, if you live in Morris County, you can play the "Ultimate Flirting Championship" by clicking through the widget below and you can set yourself up with an appointment at the Edge in Landing, NJ (973-398-3988), for Roxy's patented Victory Hair: the special Roxiticus Desperate Housewives cut and two-color blondest blonde and strawberry blonde highlights treatment, then maybe a dash of Extreme Style by VO5....there, my secret's out!


For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com

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