Sunday, November 30, 2008

Update on Dr. Mel Levine: All Kinds of Minds Founder Resigns, No Trial Date Set?

Since I first began posting about Dr. Mel Levine back in April, with my most recent Mel Levine update based on the New York Times article in August, I've had many visitors stop back at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives seeking more information on the civil suits against Levine for alleged child molestation.

While no court date has been set, the most recent news comes from the Durham News & Observer, reporting that Dr. Mel Levine, the doctor who founded All Kinds of Minds, a Durham, North Carolina institute dedicated to teaching children with learning disabilities, has resigned from the institute amidst the allegations of child molestation. The famed pediatrician is facing five lawsuits in Boston, Massachuetts, accusing him of molesting young boys during physical examinations. Carmen Durso, the Boston lawyer representing the five plaintiffs, said that more than 50 other former patients or their parents had contacted him with complaints. Dr. Levine has denied the abuse allegations, but has voluntarily suspended his license to practice and is under investigation by the North Carolina Medical Board. Dr. Levine announced on Tuesday, November 25th that he would leave All Kinds of Minds in June 2009, when his consulting contract, under which he is paid $150,000 per year, expires.

Until the accusations, Dr. Levine was the unchallenged guru of learning disabilities. Parents flocked to his lectures and lived by his books. In fact, it was the cancellation of a planned lecture by Dr. Levine at Mendham Township Elementary School that brought the lawsuits to my attention. Mel Levine was seen as a compassionate advocate for children with troubles, insisting that all students could learn and that the job of an educator was to find the approach that worked best for each child. He founded All Kinds of Minds in 1995 to focus on teacher training for children with learning disabilities, creating individual plans for children, and shunning labels like ADHD. The institute’s approach is based entirely on Levine’s books and teachings. Dr. Levine’s innovative approach drew patients from across the country and turned him into a world-famous child development expert. As a result, All Kinds of Minds has millions of dollars worth of contracts with schools across the nation.

According to The New York Times, since the lawsuits were filed against Levine, All Kinds of Minds has lost nine of its 80 contracts. In a prepared statement, All Kinds of Minds Board Chairman Roch Hillenbrand said the board regretted the circumstances surrounding Levine’s resignation, but maintained the move was necessary. “The mission of [All Kinds of Minds] is so critical to tens of thousands of young learners, and to those who teach, guide and counsel them, that it had to be placed above any one person,” Hillenbrand said. Charles Schwab, the co-founder of the All Kinds of Minds institute, who provided financing and served as co-chairman with Dr. Levine, resigned in September. The institute, which has teacher-training contracts with two states and dozens of individual schools, said it would continue its work of spreading Dr. Levine’s views on how children learn. “All Kinds of Minds was formed to create a venue and legacy for his work so the genius of this man wouldn’t die with the individual,” said Mary-Dean Barringer, chief executive of the institute. “Do I think we’ll make it through without him? I do.” Dr. Levine had not been involved in the day-to-day operations of All Kinds of Minds and the institute has been successful, even in the last month, in finding philanthropic support, including a pledge of $2.25 million over three years from the Oak Foundation.

In a prepared statement provided by his lawyer, Alan Schneider, Dr. Levine said he was leaving All Kinds of Minds to devote himself to a new program, Bringing Up Minds, that works directly with parents and clinicians to teach them how to help children succeed in school.

Are We Scaring Our Kids? The Subway Ride Heard Round the World

I don't know how I missed this story when it first made national news back in April, and then again in my October issue of Reader's Digest, but have all of you heard about the "Subway Mom"?

After her 9-year-old son begged her to plese let him find his way home from someplace on the New York City subway, Lenore Skenazy, a New York City mom, decided to let him. One Sunday afternoon, Skenazy left Izzy in the first-floor handbag department of the Manhattan Bloomingdales with a subway map, a transit card, $20 for emergencies, and a couple of quarters in case he needed to call her (No, no cell phone. Nine-year-olds lose things). After 45 minutes, he arrived home, far more tickled than your average commuter.

Lenore Skenazy wrote about the experience for the New York Sun, and suddenly found that her son's adventure had become the Subway Ride Heard Round the World. Skenazy and her son and the legendary subway ride were featured on the Today show, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, BBC, and in plenty of international newspapers. I guess the media vilified Skenazy for her decision, and she wrote the Reader's Digest article to explain and defend herself.

Skenazy wonders how her friend, a Harvard math major, can't rely on probability and statistics to get comfortable that the odds of anything bad happening to her daughter are tiny. I have to confess that I am at the far end of the overprotective spectrum with London and Maddie. I'm afraid that the emotional effect of the anecdotal evidence of bad things happening to kids far outweighs my logic center.

The counter to Skenazy's happy ending is a story passed along by a friend down in Bay Head, who has an 11-year-old daughter. When her daughter was eight or nine, she was in a class with a boy who pestered his mother to stop walking him across the street at school, soccer and other sports practices. Despite his mother's concerns, she agreed to give him greater independence, dropping him off a block or two from school or sports practice, and on his first or second trip across the street without her, he forgot to look both ways and was struck by an SUV and died. Now I know there's a point of view that would say that by being overprotective to that point, the mother had prevented her son from learning the basic "street smarts" of everyday living...they have to grow up and be independent one day, better to be prepared...

I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, running on the backstreets (actually the corn fields) and playing Capture the Flag past nightfall with the neighbor kids in elementary school, riding my bicycle (without a helmet) twenty to fifty miles a day to visit friends on the other side of town or to look for college boys in Princeton (35 mile round trip) during middle school and high school, getting into cars with pot-smoking strangers... as a mom, my attitude has really changed. I won't drop London and Maddie off at the mall, the movies or the roller rink for a birthday party, and I'm cautious about who drives them where. I'm still figuring out what makes sense in their emerging independence, and it's only going to get tougher as my litle girls grow up.

I'd appreciate your comments... what's your point of view on the Subway Ride Heard Round the World? How do you deal with the balance of kids needing the freedom to grow up, and a parent's concerns about the dangers of the world today?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What Are the Comment Spammers After?

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, I'm a fairly prolific blogger, posting to four blogs on a regular basis: Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, Roxy's Best Of... (my WordPress MU community of local sites), Bay Head Blog, and Roxiticus Best Blogs. In WordPress, the Akismet plugin prevents comment spam from getting through, but I have it set up so I can go through it to be sure no real comments get lost. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed a dramatic increase in the amount of comment spam, and I'm trying to understand it better. What are the comment spammers after? I can understand that they're trying to create links to their pathetic web sites, but really, what is someone getting by using links to phrases such as "spaghetti monster," "Cincinnati bingo dates," "flying circus theme," "red dog saloon alaska," or one of my all-time faves, "selsun blue hair loss."

So if you're a spammer, here's your chance. Leave a comment to explain to all of us what the heck you're up to with the bizarre comments you try to leave.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Roxy's Strange New Thanksgiving and Black Friday Tradition

Looking back on the past two days, this Thanksgiving and Black Friday have been quite relaxing for my family. Instead of trekking over the river and through the woods to Grandmom's house, since Grandmom is in Bridgeway rehab recovering from a broken pelvis, the four of us stayed at home yesterday and shared a quiet Thanksgiving feast. While we did venture out today to visit my Uncle Joe at the Veteran's Hospital in Lyons, and Grandmom at rehab in Bridgeway, mostly we just kicked back and enjoyed being home in the Roxiticus Valley.

I started a two-day project that may well turn out to be an annual Thanksgiving and Black Friday tradition: cleaning the house! While Rex spent Thanksgiving in the kitchen, today he helped me to better organize our home office and move some of my scary boxes of paperwork out of sight and into basement storage. Sometimes I fear that without Rex, I'd become one of those old ladies one of the neighbors finds amongst stacks of newspapers and twenty-seven cats, though my deadly cat allergies make the cat part unlikely. London and Maddie helped me to prepare the guest room for Saturday's Thanksgiving #2, when Grammy, Trader and his two kids will be staying over. London and Maddie and their niece are planning to sleep in Maddie's room, in the area I refer to as "the cupboard under the stairs" -- an oddly angled closet that my girls have turned into their secret clubhouse.

In time for tonight's bedtime stories, the house seems to be in great shape for our visitors, and I've uncovered a few treasures during the cleaning process that I may begin to post here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, or over on my currently less prolific Roxiticus Memoirs. Though I haven't been consistent with my Back to School Workout Program, I'm considering making a similar daily commitment to "letting go" -- taking 15 minutes each day to make sure I throw out more paperwork than I receive in the daily mail -- and at the same time, doing a better job of organizing Memory Books for London and Maddie instead of just stuffing their childhood creations into boxes.

So that's the start to Roxy's long weekend...I'd love to hear from all of you about your favorite (or not-so-favorite) Thanksgiving traditions...not to mention, with two Thanksgiving feasts this weekend, I'd appreciate your unique suggestions and recipes for the turkey leftovers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Double Decker Tag

I was just kicking back, enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving in the Roxiticus Valley with Rex, London, and Maddie, when Mariuca's Perfume Gallery dropped in and grabbed me with the Double Decker Tag. Even stuffed with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and the perfect Belle Glos Pinot Noir, this one seemed pretty easy, so I decided to do it right away. Basically you just have to provide two answers for each of the questions you see below:

Two names you go by
1. Roxy (short for Roxiticus, and the main identity I use on my Roxy's Best Of... WordPress MU community of local web sites);
2. Bree (my original fake identity when I launched Roxiticus Desperate Housewives in August 2005)

Two things you are wearing right now
1. Acqua di Gio
2. Low rise bell bottoms

Two things you want very badly at the moment
1. Less stress, more relaxation
2. Local bloggers to participate in the worldwide Roxy's Best Of... community by starting their own Roxy blogs and posting about their hometown faves -- kid stuff, restaurants, great customer service

Two things you did last night just before bed
1. Bedtime stories for London and Maddie...we read Pinkalicious
2. Mmmmmm....too much information if ya know what I mean!

Two things you ate today
1. Thanksgiving turkey
2. Mashed potatoes with gravy

Two people you just spoke with
1. Rex
2. London and Maddie

Two things you are doing tomorrow
1. Shopping for Thanksgiving #2...Rex's family is coming on Saturday for turkey deja vu
2. Visiting my mom in rehab to cheer her up while she recovers from a broken pelvis

Two longest car rides
1. Over 9 hours driving home from Duck, North Carolina to the Roxiticus Valley
2. From home in Mendham, NJ to the Mansion House on the Seaside of the DelMarVa Peninsula

Two favourite beverages
1. Coffee
2. Microbrewed beer

2+1 persons who are chosen to do this tag

1. SpicyBug, since I can't wait to read her spicy answers;

2. Jason, because I've never tagged him before and he needs something to blog about now that the "political season" is over;

3. Bono, since Mariuca didn't get him first!

4. If the Double Decker Tag looks like fun, I'd also like to invite all of you to leave a comment here and tag yourself. I'll add you to my list for linky love, and check out your responses to see if you've been naughty or nice.

Hope you'll all have fun with this one...

Wordless Weekend: Dinner Is Served

Dear Heavenly Father,
Bless this circle of love on Thanksgiving, bless this food to our use, and us to your service, make us grateful for all your mercies, and mindful of the needs of others. Amen.

A Time of Change, A Time of Hope

Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, whether you've been watching the stock market go up and down like a crazy rollercoaster ride every day on Wall Street, or just trying to keep things "business as usual" on Main Street, Thanksgiving feels like a welcome break in the action, a time to step back and be grateful for all that we have here in the United States. As Rex and I looked around the dinner table at our two sweet girls, the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy, we were reminded of how fortunate we are as a family.

While I did not vote for Barack Obama, I am grateful to see the steps he is taking as President-elect to deliver against the message of change that we heard throughout his campaign, and that my fellow Americans appear to trust him to take the steps necessary, relying on the advice of a solid group of wise men/financial advisors to turn our economy around.

Rebuilding of America Corporation (ROA) is offering a $20 socially responsible investment opportunity to strengthen and rebuild America. The cost to join is $20 plus a processing fee of $5. I haven't seen any similar investment program available at such an affordable level for the average Main Street investor. To make the investments safe and secure, ROA places each investment into Jumbo Certificates of Deposit, which are fully insured by the FDIC. ROA then leverages the CDs to purchase, rehabilitate, modernize or finish foreclosed income producing properties throughout the United States. 100% of the profits from these projects will be distributed back to the investors equally on an annual basis. ROA's operating capital is derived from the interest on the Certificates of Deposit, allowing investors to receive the maximum return on investment. The original investments are never compromised or used, remaining safe, secure and fully insured against any loss and will be returned to the investors after a five-year term. Instead of relying on government bailouts, ROA is determined to help people, the middle class of hard working men and women in the U.S. Check out a letter from Jim Jameson, CEO of Rebuilding Of America, who truly believes that we can and will make a difference in the economy. His letter quotes President-elect Barack Obama: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. I’m asking you to believe in yours.” Jameson uses the quote from Obama to encourage potential investors: "Don’t just sit here and talk about change, let’s make change happen."


Ten Things That Sound Dirty On Thankgiving But Aren't...

I don't know about your family's Thanksgiving traditions, but I've found that my family always ends up making the same stale jokes about turnips (which no one but Grandmom likes to eat). Even now that I'm all grown up with kids of my own, I'd never tell a naughty joke in front of my mother, but here are a few things that may sound a bit dirty on any other day of the year, but on Thanksgiving, they're just a part of the day's events:

  1. Reach in and grab the gibblets."

  2. "Whew...that's one terrific spread!"

  3. "I'm in the mood for a little dark meat!"

  4. "Tying the legs together will keep the inside moist."

  5. "Talk about a HUGE breast!"

  6. "And he forces his way into the end zone!"

  7. "She's 5000 pounds fully inflated and it takes 15 men to hold her down."

  8. "It's cool whip time!"

  9. "If I don't unbutton my pants, I am going to burst!"

  10. "It must be broken 'cause when I push on the tip, nothing squirts out.

Personalized Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Roxy's List...Both Naughty and Nice

London, Maddie, Rex and I are having a lazy Thanksgiving Day Thursday at home in the Roxiticus Valley, just the four of us kickin' back and watching the parade on TV while Rex does all the cooking and makes our whole house smell like Thanksgiving. The girls have seen all of their favorite Disney characters and other stars, while I've started to plan out my holiday shopping strategy. Turns out Pexagon is offering 20% off four different personalized holiday gifts ideas for my friends, family, and my fellow Roxiticus Desperate Housewives.Opp-300x300

  • Personalized Thumb Drives are available in fourteen different colors, with up to 16GB in capacity with free custom laser engraving! London and Maddie can choose one of 32 themes, incluing "#1 Teacher" and engrave two lines of personalization text on the reverse side. Prices start at $7.99 after discount.
  • Personalized Pens in three unique styles, multiple colors and a free line of personalized laser engraved text. The price is right for party favors or Advent Calendar treats at $1.59 after discount.
  • Business Card Flash Drives starting at $15.99 after discount might make the perfect gift for Rex and Roxy's business clients. They look like business cards but the back side hides a small USB cable (2GB capacity) and the front side can be engraved for free with 3 lines of personalized text.
  • Wooden USB Flash Drives feature an environment-friendly, wooden design with attached cap and two color choices. Available in 2GB and 4GB capacities with 2-sided custom laser engraving absolutely free. Prices start at $15.99 after discount.

So those are a few of Roxy's suggestions for your holiday shopping...Happy Thanksgiving to all, and best of luck whatever your Black Friday plans may be.


Farewell to Pierre's Restaurant in Harding Township, New Jersey... The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives Are Going To Miss You!

My pre-Thanksgiving copy of the Observer-Tribune arrived yesterday, delivering the sad news that after 15 years, the landmark French cuisine restaurant known as Pierre's Restaurant and Wine Bar will be closing its doors for good on New Year's Day -- January 1, 2009.

Our table of ten Roxiticus Desperate Housewives (and Husbands) have enjoyed many a wine tasting dinner with Chef Michael over the past few years...

Continue reading

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Roxiticus Desperate Housewives Girls Night In with Canadian Designer Sande Chase

A couple of weeks back, I received an invitation from one of the other Roxiticus Desperate Housewives to attend a Girls Night In at her home, featuring wine, cheese, girl talk, and the new collection of gifts by Canadian designer Sande Chase. I had already made plans to attend the Mendham Township School Board meeting that night, so I couldn't make it to the get together, but I heard that I missed out on a great time, and that I'm now way behind on the latest Mendham and Far Hills gossip.

While I will have to try to catch up on the Roxiticus Desperate grapevine at neighborhood parties over the holiday season, my hostess tells me that I can visit the Oh la la Cadeau web site to shop for the gifts I missed out on the other night. The collection includes handmade boxed gift ensembles and the perfect small gifts with a classy design for each of the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. For just $29 (Canadian dollars!), I can get the bluebird file set as a hostess gift for Katherine's next big soiree, and Lynette will go wild over the tres chic sachet. The Canadian designer ships all across Canada and the United States via UPS, and with the value of the U.S. dollar it feels like we're getting 20% off the prices on the website. For orders under $200, no duties need to be paid through the border.

For those of you who plan to wake up at 5am and rush out to the mall on Black Friday, best of luck. Or, if you're planning to stay in your jammies like me and shop online, enjoy!



Looking for Clues: Is There A Fluoride Shortage in the United States?

It's all I can do to keep up with the bizarre fluctuations in gasoline prices, nevermind what appears to be a national shortage of fluoride. In October 2003, our family left New York City, where there's flouride in the city water, and moved to the Roxiticus Valley , where we have well water and with no fluoride in it. Now, I'll save the story of Maddie's pre-school experiences with pediatric dentistry for another day, but let's just say I became convinced that she was at risk of tooth decay. Worried about the effect of the lack of fluoridated water in our area on London and Maddie's teeth, we consulted Dr. David Matthews of Far Hills Dental Care in Far Hills, New Jersey. He recommended prescription multivitamins with a fluoride supplement included, and the girls have been taking PolyVitamin Fluoride Tablets for a few years now.

Then, at the end of the summer, we started having problems refilling London and Maddie's fluoride vitamin prescriptions at CVS in Chester, NJ. The pharmacist suggested a fluoride supplement combined with Flintstones chewable multi-vitamins, and we made the switch around the start of the new school year. When we went back to CVS to refill the fluoride supplement prescription in early November, however, the pharmacist was stumped. CVS (not just in Chester, but apparently nationwide) was now out of the fluoride supplement, the recalled PolyVitamin Fluoride Tablets were still missing in action, and we were out of fluoride options for London and Maddie's growing teeth.

Looking for clues online, I found an article about the fluoride crisis from the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennylvania and will share a few of the highlights and recommendations:

  • "If you are a parent attempting to stave off your child’s cavities using fluoride supplements, you may have noticed that filling these prescriptions has been a little challenging lately. Many area pharmacies have experienced shortages or no supply of fluoride tablets and multi-vitamins with fluoride for anywhere from two weeks to sometimes five months."
  • The shortage stems from the Actavis Group's recent recall of its multi-vitamin/fluoride supplements due to the product being "out of specification results for assay at the stability time point." Other manufacturers of similar prescription products were unable to increase production.
  • "These prescription fluoride supplements are known as systemic fluorides because they are ingested and absorbed by the body to strengthen the enamel of the permanent teeth that are forming. This process makes the teeth stronger and more resistant to cavities and tooth decay." The fluoride supplements are produced in three different strengths which are prescribed by pediatricians and pediatric dentists based on a child’s age
  • Although I've considered giving London and Maddie bottled fluorinated water until the Fluoride Crisis is over, the Times Leader article quoted Dr. Richard Brown from the Children’s Dental Center in Kingston, Pennsylvania, who does not recommend using it as an alternative to the supplements "because it is not known how much fluoride is in the water." Excessive fluoride could cause a complication called fluorosis. It is characterized by yellowing of teeth, white spots or pitting of the tooth’s enamel. In severe cases, teeth may have black or brown spots and/or cracks or pits in the teeth. Eew!!
  • Of course, topical fluoride products such as fluoride rinses (my girls use ACT "pink bubblegum rinse") and toothpaste will also help prevent decay in your child’s existing teeth. Unfortunately, Dr. Brown advises that brushing and rinsing is "not going to help the forming teeth.” Systemic fluoride benefits the formation of teeth because fluoride is easily absorbed by the body. Fluoride works in conjunction with other minerals—calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus — to help form and maintain teeth. Calcium has long been recommended for healthy teeth, but it is digested at a slower rate by the body than fluoride.

What’s a mother like Roxy to do? The Times Leader article advises us not to panic. Some pharmacies are beginning to receive stock of the fluoride supplements. "Even though the orders are being shipped slowly, local pharmacists expect the [fluoride] shortage to be short-lived." In the meantime, kids' developing teeth might benefit from an increase in calcium consumption through natural sources such as dairy products or plant sources like tofu, kale, spinach or other green leafy vegetables. Just don't try to get Maddie to eat "that green stuff." My girls will stick with an extra helping of ice cream followed by two minutes of tooth brushing and pink rinse.

If you have any questions about fluoride supplements or the recall, talk to your pediatrician, pediatric dentist or pharmacist, or call Actavis Group directly at 800-432-8534. I'm seeing Dr. David Matthews at Far Hills Dental Care next Friday for my cleaning and Invisalign appointment, so I'll see if he has any new advice and I'll share it with all of you next week.

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is almost here, and I thought I'd stop for a moment and say a few words of thankfulness. This year, Rex, London, Maddie and I were all set for a big family Thanksgiving at Grandmom's house, the chance to catch up with my oldest sister and my nieces. Instead, the four of us will be having a quiet Thanksgiving at home on Thursday because my 83-year-old mom fell and broke her pelvis and is spending Thanksgiving in rehab at Bridgeway Care. Instead of expressing disappointment about the change in plans, I'd like to give thanks that my mom's situation is only temporary, she's still sharp as a tack and able to live on her own, not in a nursing home.

Thanksgiving also feels like a time to help others. With the Christmas holidays approaching, Sears has made it possible to help fulfill wishes for 30,583 military families (including military service members, veterans, and their families) by contributing online through the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry. Several of the families have shared their stories on the site, such as "A Special Holiday Season for My Young Hero" "It's Never Easy to Be Apart," and "My Son's First Christmas." Sears is collecting donations online, and will use the funds to provide gift cards to the registered military families. It seems like a great way to show our gratitude and support our troops.


Pinkalicious: Naming Mariuca's Perfume Gallery Teddy Bear

A few weeks ago, you may have read my post about BEAR-iuca, our family's entry into Mariuca's teddy bear naming contest on her Wishing on a Falling Star blog. While London, Maddie and have high hopes that BEAR-iuca will be coming to live with us in the Roxiticus Valley, we also liked the looks of BEAR-iuca's pink little sister on Mariuca's Perfume Gallery. We're entering the MPG teddy bear naming contest with the name Pinkalicious!

MPG will choose a winner based on the BEST NAME (Pinkalicious) and the BEST REASON for wanting to bring her sweet teddy home, so I'd like to share my plans for Pinkalicious:

  • As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, I have two great reasons for bringing Pinkalicious home to the Roxiticus Valley, and their names are London and Maddie. While my girls have had their eyes on BEAR-iuca since they first spotted him on Wishing on a Falling Star, his little sister is dressed up in pink, their signature color.

So click on the picture of Pinkalicious to drop by Mariuca's Perfume Gallery and let her know what you think of our name, Pinkalicious, and if you've got a more interesting notion, go ahead and enter to win...the girls and I don't mind a little friendly competition!

A Day in the Life of Roxy's Laptop and Laptop Bag

My loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know that Roxy does not have the best of luck with technology. In fact, I've often thought about creating my very own Roxy's Rule: "If you've spent a bundle on the latest, cutting edge technology, it will break down three days after the warranty has expired." In today's technology news, I received a Critical Update from Hewlett Packard that my almost brand new notebook is in a special class of computers that are prone to broken left display hinges...the terrific news is that I can have my laptop repaired for free by mailing it in to their service department and leaving it with them for a few short weeks.

Despite the fact that I've wondered why the left side of my laptop has been creaking and wobbling when I carry it around the house without closing it up, I don't think I'll be rushing to take them up on that free repair. I wasn't alone in my responses to the ABC tag when I said that my laptop is my essential item. I don't go anywhere without it, and a day in the life of my laptop and my laptop bag would take you with me on a bold adventure... sometimes just around the house, from home office to family room, but more often out and about to our New York City office, sometimes you'll find me pulling it out of its backpack while the girls participate in their activities at Randolph Gymnastics or Pavan's Tennis Academy or Garden State Ballet.

Beyond the broken hinge on the HP notebook itself, I've beaten up a wide range of laptop bags, from a fancy leather case with a handle that broke off in less than six months, to my current one-year-old backpack whose handle and straps are ready to go any day now. I hope Santa will consider a new laptop bag for Roxy from Spire USA, since they make laptop bags that last a lifetime. No matter where my travels take me, a Spire bag will protect my essential item under the roughest conditions. Durable, functional, comfortable, stylish and guaranteed for life proves that Spire laptop bags mean business.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Music Monday: There Goes My Life

I don't think I've seen a country song on Music Monday, so correct me if I'm wrong or let me be the love of country music dates back to a long distance romance with a country music disc jockey in 1993, and luckily Rex has gone country, too. Ah, I used to be so tough... and maybe I'm getting old, or maybe it is just being a mom, but this song never fails to make me cry.

Roxy's contribution to this week's Music Monday comes from country artist Kenny Chesney and "There Goes My Life."

All he could think about was I'm too young for this.
Got my whole life ahead.
Hell I'm just a kid myself.
How'm I gonna raise one.

All he could see were his dreams goin' up in smoke.
So much for ditchin' this town and hangin' out on the coast.
Oh well, those plans are long gone.

And he said,
There goes my life.
There goes my future, my everything.
Might as well kiss it all good-bye.
There goes my life...

A couple years of up all night and a few thousand diapers later.
That mistake he thought he made covers up the refrigerator.
Oh yeah...he loves that little girl.

Momma's waiting to tuck her in,
As she fumbles up those stairs.
She smiles back at him dragging that teddy bear.
Sleep tight, blue eyes and bouncin' curls.

He smiles...
There goes my life.
There goes my future, my everything.
I love you, daddy good-night.
There goes my life.

She had that Honda loaded down.
With Abercrombie clothes and 15 pairs of shoes and his American Express.
He checked the oil and slammed the hood, said you're good to go.
She hugged them both and headed off to the West Coast.

And he cried,
There goes my life.
There goes my future, my everything.
I love you.
Baby good-bye.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are strictly for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

London and Maddie Have Spoken: Cats at NJPAC Is a “Must See”

Before I share London, Maddie, Rex and Roxy's thoughts on today's performance of Cats at NJPAC, I'll start by saying that there are still some tickets left for the final performance of Cats at NJPAC at 3pm tomorrow – Sunday, November 23rd. If you live in or near New Jersey and have no plans for Sunday afternoon, here's your chance for some spontaneous family fun…grab a few of the remaining tickets (there's not a bad seat in the house at NJPAC), take the kids and share a memory you'll never forget.

Midnight, not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory
She is smiling alone.
In the lamplight the withered
leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan.

London was already bouncing up and down in her seat as we drove into Newark in our Red Jewel...the new GMC Acadia we bought at the end of September. "Mommy, is NJPAC the place where we saw those dancers on Mother's Day? If it is, I love that place. There's that giant disco ball that hangs from the ceiling all the way up at the top of the theatre...and it feels like we're so close to the dancers!" I told the girls that I had read in the Star-Ledger that the Cats actually come out into the audience during the show.

As the lights went down in the theatre, the girls' eyes widened as it turned out to be true and bright yellow glowing cats' eyes appeared in the aisle next to our seats. When I saw Cats on Broadway over 20 years ago, I remember the sets, costumes and the special effects being impressive, even to a jaded college student. Today at NJPAC, I experienced it all over again, this time through my daughters' eyes, filled with delight. The traveling set was even more amazing as I realized it had been put together for a four-day run at NJPAC, rather than "Now and Forever" on Broadway, and would be dismantled to move on to the next town after Sunday's performance in Newark, New Jersey. Next week, Cats moves on to St. Louis, Missouri, followed by Costa Mesa, California, then San Antonio, Texas...and so on, giving families like ours around the United States the chance to get a taste of the Broadway classic without leaving their own hometown. I've certainly grown spoiled by the easy drive into Newark instead of the challenge of Times Square.

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile like the old days
I was beautiful then, I remember
The time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every street lamp seems to beat
A fatalistic warning
Someone mutters and the street lamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

Maddie, as always, was a bit skeptical about a Broadway musical. "Will they talk? Like in Peter Pan?" Even though Maddie loves to dance at Garden State Ballet, she has serious hesitations about shows in which the performers express themselves entirely through body language and movement. Singing would be a step up from dance alone, but Maddie was still seeking dialogue. I told her that the show was based on poems from T.S. Eliot's "Old Possums Book of Practical Cats" but warned that the poems had been set to music and she could expect the cats to break into song rather than conversation.

Maddie ended up having a terrific time, although the show was a bit longer than her 6-year-old attention span. Like most of the parents (and grandparents) who had brought their younger children to NJPAC this afternoon, I was glad to expose Maddie to live theatre instead of limiting her concept of entertainment to "watching something" on the Disney Channel.

I must wait for the sun rise
I must think for the new life
And I mustn't give in

When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And the new day will begin

Favorites? Roxy's was the naughty Rum Tum Tugger, thrusting his pelvis like Elvis and bounding into the audience to pluck a young lady out of the crowd to dance in the aisle. Maddie was mesmerized by Grizabella the Glamour Cat and London favored Mr. Mistoffelees and his magic.

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
A street lamp dies
Another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with my memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun

-- "Memory": lyrics written by Trevor Nunn, based on poems by T.S. Eliot

In the end, for me, it is all about the memories....reminiscing about my first Broadway show (A Chorus Line), seeing Cats on Broadway, and creating new memories for London and Maddie. Since Cats left Broadway in September 2000, before London was born, NJPAC offered our family the unique opportunity to share a memory.

Changes Are Coming?


Apparently United States President-elect Barack Obama is not the only one who believes Changes are Coming. As Thanksgiving approaches, the jury is still out on whether change will be something we can all be thankful for in the New Year 2009. A new President, a new economy, a New Deal? Now that the election is over and Sarah Palin and John McCain have become much less interesting targets for political bloggers and comedians alike, there's a new movie on its way to make you laugh. “Changes are Coming” is a satirical movie about America’s final change, the change that takes us back to the days of ancient Rome (William Shatner fiddles while Rome burns?). God sends his only son, Jesus, to the White House to make sure history does not repeat itself...will America listen? Click the trailer below to get a preview of what happens. Then follow the link and leave comments on what you think of this new movie at the You Tube site.

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to see a comedy, particularly with a political message, but I know there are plenty of you out there in the blogosphere just wondering what to do with your time from now until the next Presidential election....or at least the next entertaining political scandal.

Embedded Video


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Fun: We're Off to See Cats at NJPAC!

London and Maddie, Rex and I are very excited...we've been listening to the Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording of Cats for weeks in anticipation of todays big event: Cats at NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey). We're heading out in a couple of hours to the 2pm matinee performance, so I will leave all of you with a video of Jellicle Cats to share in our weekend fun. Enjoy!

London and Maddie Go Christmas Caroling with the Girl Scouts, More Holiday Fun On Mendham’s Holly Trail Celebration – Saturday, December 6th

On Saturday, December 6th, the Holly Trail through Mendham, New Jersey, celebrates the season with fun for the whole family.

I first learned about Mendham's Holly Trail through an invitation for London and Maddie to go Christmas Caroling with the Girl Scouts at one of three locations: Hilltop School from 10 to 10:30am, Holly Manor from 11 to 11:30am, or in front of Kings supermarket from 10 to 10:30am, all in Mendham on Saturday, December 6th.

Beyond the caroling, the Mendham Business Association and the Mendham Borough Recreation Department has put together a full day of Holly Trail events on Saturday, December 6th:

Continue reading (complete schedule of events)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Roxy’s Mail Call: Where to Celebrate When Your Kids Have Already Done It All

Dear Roxy,

I was wondering if you could help me with some suggestions. I am in charge of planning the holiday party for the competitive gymnastics team at Randolph Gymnastics every year. So far we did bowling, ice skating, roller skating and swimming. I am running out of ideas! Do you have any suggestions? I know you work with places in the area. We have about 25 girls on the team, and their ages range from 5 to 13. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your help,

Shannon, Randolph Gymnastics & Climbing Center

Dear Shannon,

I will give it some more thought, but it sounds like you've really done it all! A couple of ideas would be "crafty" rather than the more physical activities you've done in previous years -- Studio U in Chester has crafts for all ages, including "Mom's Night Out" parties; Cooks and Crafts in Flanders does both crafts and cooking. New York Pizza in Chester lets groups in to make (and eat) pizzas together.

My other notion would be to attend an event together -- PaperMill Playhouse in Millburn has the Nutcracker in late November/December, NJPAC also has special holiday shows, or the Mayo Center (Community Theatre) in Morristown is closer and has some performances geared towards kids/teens.

Libby Lu in the Rockaway Mall does hair,nails, and make-up, Hannah Montana style. You could rent out a local movie theatre like Clearview Cinemas in Chester, particularly if there's a new (or old) gymnastics oriented movie all the girls would enjoy.

Hope that helps!


Roxy Saves: Coupon Promotion Codes for Favorite Online Retailers

It feels like holiday music on the radio and holiday shopping get started earlier every year. While one of my sisters has everyone's Christmas gifts purchased, wrapped and ready to go by the end of July, I tend to wait until Thanksgiving and the chill of December put me in a festive mood for holiday shopping. Every year, Rex, London, Maddie and I spend one December Sunday shopping in our old West Village neighborhood in Manhattan, and one day exploring our favorite shops in Lambertville, New Jersey and Newhope, Pennsylvania. Shops in nearby Bernardsville and Chester frequently offer up just the right unique gift for Grammy, Aunt Veg, PostBoy and MathGirl. For power shopping, though, there's nothing like online shopping, starting around Black Friday and waiting for the coupon and promotional codes to pour into Roxy's e-mail bag.

As part of our new Roxy Saves feature, I'll be sharing the best ones with my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers over the coming weeks, starting right now:

  • Maddie just got a beautiful new winter coat from Mini Boden, and Johnny Boden wants you to save $20 when you spend $80 or more, plus free shipping and free returns. I couldn't find a coupon code but this link seems to take you there. Valid until 11:59pm on Sunday, November 30, 2008.
  • I use Kodak Gallery to archive and print all of the thousands of photos I take of London, Maddie, and our family's adventures, and I've found that if I wait long enough, there's always a way to save big on prints, holiday cards, and photo gifts. Right now through Thanksgiving Thursday, November 27, 2008, use coupon code TURKEY30 to save 30% when you spend $60 or more on photo gifts site-wide at KodakGallery.
  • Particularly for pre-schoolers, but even as kids get older, Halloween can be a year-round celebration. London and Maddie and their friends love to dress up – as princesses, pirates, and pop stars – so I always wait until after Halloween to stock up on costumes and wigs for holiday gifts and winter birthday parties. Now through 11:59pm on Saturday, November 22, 2008, use coupon code 20offsale to save 20% off already marked down sale items at I just bought a Yoda costume for an upcoming birthday party and saved ten bucks.
  • It's no secret that London and Maddie love their American Girl dolls. They can play together for hours at a time, inventing their own stories about American Girls like Felicity and Elizabeth, Samantha and Nellie, Molly and Emily, not to mention the Bitty Twins. We have Ziplocs filled with American Girl outfits, and it seems like someone is always changing from nightgown to ball gown or riding outfit and back again. The dolls, outfits and accessories are pricey to begin with, but shipping seems to get me every time, so I was thrilled to see a coupon code (GIFTSHIP) for free shipping on every American Girl order with no minimum purchase now through Tuesday, November 25, 2008.
  • While there are plenty of parents who have had enough of Disney for a lifetime, my girls started out as toddlers adoring the Disney princesses, have grown up with Disney, and continue to enjoy Disney movies and their friends from the Disney channel – Hannah Montana, the Jonas Brothers, the Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and of course, High School Musical. Use coupon code HOLIDAY25 to save 25% off sitewide on through Friday, November 30, 2008.
  • Look for savings of up to 40% on designers and use coupon code SAKSFS at Saks Fifth Avenue to get free shipping on orders of $200 or more, now through Sunday, November 23, 2008.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy As A, B, C...

You went to school to learn girl
things you never knew before
like "I before E except after C" and why 2 plus 2 makes 4
now, now, now
I'm gonna teach you, teach you, teach you
all about love girl, all about love
sit yourself down, take a seat
all you gotta do is repeat after me

A B C , It's easy as
1 2 3 , as simple as
do re mi, A B C, 1 2 3
baby you and me girl

Come on and love me just a little bit
Im gonna teach you how to sing it out
come on, come on, come on
let me tell you what its all about
reading, writing, arithmatic
are the branches of the learning tree
but without the roots of love everyday girl
your education aint complete
teachers gonna show you (shes gonna show you)
how to get an A? (na,na,na,na,na,na)
how to spell me? you? add the two
listen to me baby thats all you got to do

A B C , Its easy as
1 2 3 , as simple as
do re mi, A B C, 1 2 3
baby you and me girl
A B C its easy, its like counting up to 3
singing simple melodies
thats how easy love can be
singing simple melodies
1 2 3 baby you and me

Why the Jackson Five lyrics? The lovely, gracious and talented Mariuca got me with the A,B,C tag. It looked simple and fun, so here goes:

A. Attached or single? Happily married to Rex.

B. Best friend? Also Rex, though if we said best girl friend it would have to be Melissa, who I have known since the sixth grade.

C. Cake or pie? Rex cooks every meal in our household, but when it comes time to bake, that's Roxy's job. I like both cake and pie, but since Thanksgiving is coming next week, I'm going to go with pumpkin pie, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

D. Day of choice? As the Bay City Rollers would say "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y!" The first day of the weekend...we can wake up late and lounge around and in the summer we head straight to the beach in Bay Head, NJ.

E. Essential item? Like Mariuca, it's my laptop. For business and blogging, I don't go anywhere without it.

F. Favorite color? Blue, though London and Maddie have gotten me much more comfortable with pink and purple.

G. Gummy bears or worms? Gummy bears for me please!

H. Hometown? Born in Plainfield, New Jersey (home of Henson's Hell), grew up in Branchburg, and I plan to spend the rest of my days in Mendham, NJ.

I. Favorite indulgence? Fudge-like brownies, no nuts....along with a hot mug of coffee and a good book.

J. January or July? January is London's birthday month, so it holds a special place in my heart, but I'd have to say July since I love summer at the beach.

K. Kids? Two beautiful girls...London and Maddie.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Rex, London and Maddie.

M. Marriage date? September 19, 1998. Rex and I just celebrated our tenth anniversary, along with London and Maddie, at the Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, NJ.

N. Number of magazine subscriptions? Hmmm...let's say 3 that come to me -- Cookie, Parenting, and the Reader's Digest, though Rex gets a few others and so do the girls. I used to get Cosmo but it must have expired since I haven't seen any of those great sex tips lately.

O. Oranges or apples? Apples.

P. Phobias? Mushrooms and taxicabs....I've been hit by a taxi in Manhattan and Rex and I were in a taxi that spun out of control and left us hanging upside down (in a state of shock but otherwise unharmed) in a ditch a few feet from a cliff on our honeymoon in Corsica.

Q. Quotes? From Casey Kasem, "Keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars!"

R. Reasons to smile? Rex, London, Maddie and my good friends, the real Roxiticus Desperate Housewives.

S. Season of choice? Summer, Summer, and more Summer!

T. Tag 5 people. I'm going to tag more than five, hope that's OK: SpicyBug for good luck, Henson (the funniest person I know) and hope he has time to "do the homework," as well as a few friends who signed up to "follow this blog"... Shelly (the Mom with Brownies, my favorite indulgence), Maitri, MamaFlo, Health Nut Wannabee Mom, Mik, Elaine, Darlene, Lucky Lady and Lola (watch out, she bites!). It's a great way to learn more about new blogosphere buddies so I'll try to catch up with all of you on my EntreCard rounds over the next few days...and if I missed anyone and the tag looks like fun to you, please leave me a comment to tag yourself and I'll add you to my list.

U. Unknown fact about me? If I told you, it wouldn't be unknown, now would it?

V. Vegetable? Corn on the cob.

W. Worst habit? Biting my fingernails.

X. X-ray or ultrasound? Ultrasound.

Y. Your favorite foods? Anything Rex cooks, but celebration dinners at the Bernards Inn, the Limestone Cafe, Grill 73, Theresa's South, or Dennis Foy's Bay Point Prime. I also enjoy sushi and most everything spicy.

Z. Zodiac sign? Libra.

Baby, It's Cold Outside...Warm Up with Cozy Deals from Kmart

Baby, it's cold outside! I'm getting ready to wake London and Maddie up to catch the school bus, and I know they're going to want to stay warm under their covers today. I saw 26 degrees on my car's thermometer yesterday, shivered, and cranked up the heat. It won't be long before my friend Mary Alice taunts me with a text message from the beach in California.

I did hear on the CBS Early Show that Kmart has comfy savings on a couple of warm and cozy items for holiday shopping:

  • Cuddle up in an Attention Women's Kimono Wrap Sweater -- extra 10% off online only (search ID# 70198911)
  • Stay under the covers with Abbey Hill bedding, Medallion Dream bedding collection -- extra 30% online only (search ID# 96096112)
  • Diamonds are a girl's best friend and can warm you up on a cold winter's night: 1/4ct diamond 5-stone Journey Pendant and Earrings Set in 10K Yellow Gold -- extra 10% off online only (search ID# 89270115)
Get shopping online now, as the online discount is only through November 26th. The sale price is shown in the cart (not on the product page). Now through December, Kmart will also be offering an additional 10% (online only) on the following key categories:

  • Womens plus sleepwear
  • Womens Attention brand
  • Girls tops
  • ALL juniors
  • Boys tops
  • Mens shirts and bottoms
  • Big mens shirts and bottoms
  • Infant and toddler bedding
Look for the hidden ornaments throughout every week until Christmas for extra savings on already great prices with a secret coupon code just for you!

Stay warm and happy shopping!

Click Here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Roxy's Report from the Mendham Township School Board Work Session Meeting Tonight -- Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At the Mendham Township Home and School Association (HSA) meeting following Elementary School Principal Michael Craver’s resignation, School Board President Mark Ford urged interested parents, “If you want to know what’s going on with the School Board, what issues we’re addressing, go to the School Board meetings. They’re open to the public.” Before tonight, I had only attended one other School Board meeting, the one in September welcoming our new Superintendent, Kristopher Harrison. While I certainly would have preferred to stay home tonight and do math facts and read stories with London and Maddie, I wanted to learn more about the recruitment process for our next Elementary School Principal. The agenda included quite a few items, none of which were clearly labeled, “How’s the Principal recruitment process going?” That was eventually covered when Mark Ford asked for questions/issues from the public, but before we got there I learned a few things that I’d like to pass along.

Continue reading

Monday, November 17, 2008

Music Monday: Hips Don't Lie

For the most loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers, this post may feel like a repeat, as Shakira's Hips Don't Lie has been the theme song for Roxy's back-to-school workout program since early September. However, this is only the second time that I'm participating in the Music Monday Meme, so I hope my new visitors will find the song (and the video) as inspirational as I have.

I'd also like to fill you in on my workout program progress. Back in September, I borrowed a page from Bridget Jones' Diary and started to post updates on my fitness plan. On Pop Tart Friday, September 5th, 2008, I weighed in at 160 pounds (I'm 5'7") with the goal of dropping 25 pounds by losing 1 pound per week until I get back to my "fighting weight" of 135, which I haven't really seen since Rex started cooking for me in 1996.

In the early going and through the month of September, I worked out, using my iTunes Genius playlists, about 5 days each week on the elliptical trainer, dropping 1 to 2 pounds per week until we went away for a long Columbus Day weekend in Duck, North Carolina. The dismal economy destroyed my appetite and my will to work out during the month of October, and despite the lack of exercise I dropped another 10 pounds to weigh in at 145 on Pop Tart Friday, November 14th. With a boost from my good friend Lynette last Thursday, I broke out of my funk and decided to get back on the elliptical trainer and kick-start my fitness program on Friday and Saturday. No matter how I got there, working out 15 pounds lighter and seeing my new self in the mirror provided an incredible motivation to KEEP IT UP! It felt so good as I worked out to my hip-hop playlist that I could feel it in my hips....Roxy's Got Her Groove Back! As Shakira says, Hips Don't Lie!

Ladies up in here tonight
No fighting, no fighting
We got the refugees up in here
No fighting, no fighting

Shakira, Shakira

I never really knew that she could dance like this
She makes a man want to speak Spanish,
Como se llama, bonita, mi casa, su casa
Shakira, Shakira

Oh baby when you talk like that
You make a woman go mad
So be wise and keep on
Reading the signs of my body

And I'm on tonight
You know my hips don't lie
And I'm starting to feel it's right
All the attraction, the tension
Don't you see baby, this is perfection

Hey Girl, I can see your body moving
And it's driving me crazy
And I didn't have the slightest idea
Until I saw you dancing

And when you walk up on the dance floor
Nobody cannot ignore the way you move
your body, girl
And everything so unexpected - the way
you right and left it
So you can keep on shaking it

I never really knew that she could dance like this
She makes a man want to speak Spanish
Como se llama, bonita, mi casa, su casa
Shakira, Shakira

Oh baby when you talk like that
You make a woman go mad
So be wise and keep on
Reading the signs of my body

And I'm on tonight
You know my hips don't lie
And I am starting to feel you boy
Come on let's go, real slow
Don't you see baby asi es perfecto

Oh I know I am on tonight my hips don't lie
And I'm starting to feel it's right
All the attraction, the tension
Don't you see baby, this is perfection
Shakira, Shakira

Oh boy, I can see your body moving
Half animal, half man
I don't, don't really know what I'm doing
But you seem to have a plan
My will and self restraint
Have come to fail now, fail now
See, I am doing what I can, but I can't so
you know
That's a bit too hard to explain

Baila en la calle de noche
Baila en la calle de dia
Baila en la calle de noche
Baila en la calle de dia

I never really knew that she could dance like this
She makes a man want to speak Spanish
Como se llama, bonita, mi casa, su casa
Shakira, Shakira

Oh baby when you talk like that
You know you got me hypnotized
So be wise and keep on
Reading the signs of my body

SeƱorita, feel the conga, let me see you
move like you come from Colombia

Mira en Barranquilla se baila asi, say it!
Mira en Barranquilla se baila asi

She's so sexy every man's fantasy
a refugee like me back with the Fugees
from a 3rd world country
I go back like when 'pac carried crates for
Humpty Humpty
I need a whole club dizzy
Why the CIA wanna watch us?
Colombians and Haitians
I ain't guilty, it's a musical transaction
No more we do snatch ropes
Refugees run the seas 'cause we own our
own boats

I'm on tonight, my hips don't lie
And I'm starting to feel you boy
Come on let's go, real slow
Baby, like this is perfecto

Oh, you know I'm on tonight and my
hips don't lie
And I'm starting to feel it's right
The attraction, the tension
Baby, like this is perfection

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are strictly for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Making a List, Checking It Twice, Holiday Shopping at Sears on Roxy's iPhone!

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Roxy's shopping on her iPhone
I'm making a list
And checking it twice
I'll shop for you at Sears if you're naughty OR nice
Roxy's shopping on her iPhone
I'm shopping when you're sleeping
I shop while you're awake
I don't care if you're bad or good
Just blog it for goodness sake!
Oh! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Roxy's shopping on her iPhone

I'm in for a hectic week at work this week, going in on the train for meetings in New York City every day, so I apologize in advance if I'm not up to my usual prolific posting. I do want to tell you all about High School Musical On Stage over the weekend... London, Maddie, Rex and I had a great outing to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn NJ with London's Brownie troop.

I usually get work done on my train commute, but this week I'm going to try to do some holiday shopping on my iPhone with Sears2Go. Just in time for the busy holiday shopping season, has announced the launch of Sears2Go, the first on-the-go mobile commerce web site offered by a United States retailer. I can use my mobile phone to browse, search for and buy select merchandise, and use a store locator to find the nearest store. The holiday elves at Sears will send me a text message alert when my sack of goodies is ready for in-store pickup.

Many of the same features of are available through Sears2go... the shopping cart and checkout, product reviews, special offers and order status are designed to make Roxy's mobile shopping just as easy as shopping online. If you'd like to join in the fun, text SHOP to 73277 or visit on your mobile phone. Standard text messaging rates may apply.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Raise a Glass! 50,000th Visitor and 635th Post at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives

Sunday Morning Update on Visitor #50,000...I think it was LJ! Our distinguished visitor came in from Kuala Lumpur at 3:48am, while Roxy was sleeping. Zzzzz. The referring URL was LJ's Music Monday meme, where I had left LJ a question about the Top Commenters widget in my sidebar (does anyone know why only nine of my commenters are listed instead of ten??!!). Visitor #50,000 stayed only 10 seconds before clicking on the Top Commenters widget and dashing away in the night.

It's a rainy weekend here in the Roxiticus Valley, so I thought I would liven things up with a little's time to raise a glass and join me in a toast to our 50,000th visitor (and 635th post) here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. As of 7:30pm on Saturday night, we're up to Visitor #49,909, so YOU could be the one who helps me hit the big 5-0-K. Scroll down and check the Sitemeter at the bottom of the page, and please leave a comment if you're The One.

And what kind of celebration would it be without a gala awards ceremony? I'm going to slip into a little black dress to accept an award on behalf of Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and pass it on to other deserving sites. My good blogosphere buddy Mariuca honored me with the Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award, a blog award given to a site that:
~ inspires you
~ makes you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design
~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

I'd like to honor the following blogs with the Uber Amazing Blog Award, and I'm hoping to pick a few of my faves that haven't already been tagged and that many of my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives haven't visited on a regular basis:

Unless I'm fast asleep when it happens, I'll be sure to give you an update when our 50,000th visitor joins the party here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. In the meantime, do drop in and visit these five terrific blogs. And don't forget, tell 'em Roxy sent you!

The Widows of Eastwick, The Witches of the Blogosphere

I just picked up my November issue of Reader's Digest and read a great interview with "The Scribe of Suburbia" -- John Updike, who at age 76 just completed his new novel, The Widows of Eastwick. It's a sequel his 1984 bestseller, The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a fun movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Jack Nicholson. The Widows of Eastwick picks up with the same intriguing trio of witches, several decades older now but at no loss for fresh challenges.

The following negative review from Publishers Weekly still has me mesmerized by Updike's Witches/Widows: "Motivated by advancing age, loneliness, latent guilt and a sense of unfinished business, the erstwhile Witches of Eastwick return to their former Rhode Island coastal town in this tepid sequel to the 1984 novel. Alexandra, the fleshy Earth Mother; Jane, the wasp-tongued snob; and Sukie, a would-be sexpot operating beyond her expiration date, have each survived the second marriages that took place following their flight from Eastwick in the early '70s, after a rival, Jenny Gabriel, died as a result of their spell. Where before they were strong, sassy, lusty and empowered, now in late middle-age they are vulnerable, fearful and in thrall to their aging bodies. Witchcraft is now beyond them; when they try to resurrect their supernatural powers to atone for their guilt, an inadvertent death ensues. While Updike remains amazingly capable of capturing women's thoughts about their bodies and their sex lives, the plot never gains momentum; the first hundred pages, in fact, are tedious travelogues covering the widows' travels to Egypt and China. Updike's observations about culture and social disharmony flash with their customary brilliance—a less than sparkling Updike novel is still an Updike novel."

In both "Witches" and "Widows," the leading ladies have magical powers and men are helpless to resist them. I'm excited to see how the three witches have changed over the past 25 years. As Updike shared in his Reader's Digest interview, "One way to deal with being elderly as a writer is to make your characters elderly, so I aged the witches and had them return to the place of their prime. It was fun to write."

Updike's sequel definitely made it to the top of Roxy's Christmas Wish List and got me thinking about all of the witches I run into when making my way around the blogosphere via EntreCard or BlogExplosion. One of the charming elements of the Witches of Eastwick movie back in the late 80s was the notion that there were beautiful witches living quietly among us in suburbia, coming up with spells to solve problems in daily lives. From what I've found in the blogosphere, John Updike was onto something, and there really are witches among us. Check out a few of my favorite Witches of the Blogosphere:

Pandora's Casket: From working on Ebay to pagan issues and raising a family in a small town, one never knows what they will find here.

Modern Witchcraft School: Tips, hints and other fun and thought provoking articles for students and general viewers to gain more insightful knowledge on what "we" are really about.

The Simple Witch: a monthly print publication (since 2006) relating to Wicca, Paganism, Spiritualism and other New Age beliefs.

Stir the Cauldron: Lady Rose and Mama Kelly (best friends, wiccan, and Reiki practitioners) share their collection and knowledge -- including tarot basics and how tos, facts, trivia and fun, with a touch of magic, and related topics such as spirit guides, spirituality, Reiki, divination, Wicca, and the paranormal.

Now, as far as I know, I've never met a witch in person. Since our family moved out from Manhattan's West Village to the Roxiticus Valley (Mendham, Bernardsville, Chester, Randolph, Far Hills, Morris and Somerset Counties), NJ, I've wondered if I might run into a witch here in suburbia. Perhaps she would stand out from the crowd on Halloween as we met our neighbors trick-or-treating? Or, instead of inviting the Westmont Montessori moms over for a tupperware, jewelry, or lingerie party, a witch might have a more creative theme night at her place?

How 'bout it, loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers... Are you a witch? Have you ever met one? Am I living in the wrong neighborhood for witchcraft? How will I know if I do run into a witch or two in suburbia?