Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy 8th Birthday, London!

As London and Maddie were getting ready for bed tonight, we talked about what Mommy and Daddy were doing eight years ago tonight... it was Super Bowl Sunday, and we had spent the entire day at Lenox Hill Hospital, waiting for London... it took the rest of the night and lots of hours of labor, but when London arrived before noon the next day, we knew she was worth the wait.

Last year for "Incredible Kid Day" in London's first grade class, all of the parents were asked to take some time to reflect and think about why we feel our child is unique and truly incredible. Rex and I shared our thoughts with London by writing a special letter to her telling why we think she's incredible, and I thought it was worth a repeat performance tonight in honor of her 8th birthday.


On the day you were born, I was filled with so much joy and love that I thought you couldn’t be much more incredible…but as you’ve grown up to be an almost second grader, I’ve discovered that you grow more incredible with each passing day, week, and year. London, you are INCREDIBLE!

Incredibly poised, a graceful ballerina, and an agile gymnast.
Natural tennis player with confident strokes, you can serve, rally and score!
Creative writer, artist and avid reader. This spring, we’ve already spent several beach days sitting together in our beach chairs on Mount Street Beach in Bay Head, New Jersey, plowing through our “page turners” together. It makes me so happy that you love to read… and write creative stories and illustrate your books and draw fabulous fashions. We’ll both remember and enjoy our beach reading days for a lifetime.
Role model and loving sister – On the day we brought your sister home from the hospital, you said “Maddie - OUT!” While I was worried that you were trying to get this new little person OUT of our house, it turned out that 13-month-old-you were expressing delight that your baby sister was finally “OUT” in the world…the two of you have been best friends ever since and the love you and Maddie share is just incredible.
Entrepreneur at the beach…the way you and Maddie have been painting and selling seashells down by the seashore for 25 cents each since Memorial Day 2007 is impressive. You and your sister have earned over $150 towards Webkinz and your college savings plan….not to mention the friends and “fan club” who come every weekend to paint with you and admire your beautiful painted shells.
Dedicated and enthusiastic student. Every day when you wake up, you still jump out of bed (OK, so you move a little slowly in the morning just like Mommy) ready to get on the bus with busdriver Dan and go to school in Mrs. Brown’s class. You work so hard at spelling and math and you really really love to sit up there in the Author’s Chair to share your journal and special creative writing projects with the class.
Investigator and Scientist: Daddy and I were so proud of you this year when you brought your lava lamp experiment to the MTES Science Fair. It was terrific that you learned about the project through your 4-H club, and wanted to share your hypothesis and results with your friends from school.
Band leader, singing Hannah Montana & High School Musical faves with the three Singin’ Van de Kamp Sisters.
Loyal friend to all your friends, old and new. You’ve kept in touch with your best buddy from our apartment in New York City, and when you get together it’s like you were just running up and down the halls of our West Village apartment building yesterday…chat chat chat! You also keep up your friendships from Westmont Montessori, and you’re a loyal friend to many new buddies from your kindergarten and first grade classes.
Even if you couldn’t do any of these things, London, I’d still find you to be an incredible kid. Just by being yourself, you fill my life and our home with happiness and love…and that’s pretty darn incredible.

Happy 8th Birthday, London... Mommy, Daddy & Maddie love you!

How to Save a Life

On the eve of London's eighth birthday, we're reading bedtime stories, taking telephone orders for Girl Scout Cookies, planning on a delayed opening at Mendham Township Elementary School tomorrow morning due to the icy winter road conditions, and looking back on where Rex and I were this time eight years ago. Back then, medical technology allowed us the opportunity to "bank" the umbilical cord blood when London came into the world on Super Bowl Monday.

In the future, stem cells may be the basis of medical treatments for serious diseases such as breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, where pre-clinical trials are ongoing. Additional therapeutic developments may lead to the treat of major diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. There may also be cosmeceutical applications like wound-healing and anti-aging, providing the potential for a longer, healthier life. These days, a woman doesn't need to have a baby to protect her future with C'elle. Women can collect potentially life-saving stem cells found naturally each month... we may as well get some benefit from being cranky and bloated once a month, right?

When it comes to making major life decisions, there is no time like the present. Order C'elle Now and you'll get a special limited time offer. Use code CNB200 when ordering for a special price of $499 for an annual plan ($200 retail savings), plus a bonus, limited-edition rhinestone engraved C'elle satchel. Offer ends on January 31, 2009. If you're not convinced, you can visit the web site to see and hear videos of some amazing C'Elle Testimonials...thanks to C'elle's patented technology and easy-to-use collection kit, every month holds a miracle.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get Your Hot Beer Here

Now my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know that Roxy loves her beer, but it has been so cold here in the Roxiticus Valley that I've been thinking about... hot beer. Naturally, there's a Google answer for everything, so I'm going to share with all of you a recipe for hot/mulled beer. The WikiHow page promises, "For most of beer's 100 centuries of history, people enjoyed it without any kind of refrigeration, and so can you. This sweet, creamy recipe will warm you up on any cold, winter night." I haven't tried it yet, but I'm wondering if anyone out there has??


  • 12-16 oz decent-quality beer
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch ground ginger, or 1 slice (sometimes called "coins") of ginger, about 1/4" long
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 pinch(es) cinnamon, or 1" section of a cinnamon stick
  • 1 pinch ground cloves or 2-5 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • Put beer in a small saucepan and add spices
  • Heat beer and spices in a small saucepan on low to medium-low heat. If the beer begins to boil, turn down the heat. The beer will begin to foam, but should subside after a minute or two.
  • Separate the egg white from the egg yolk and put in a small bowl. This recipe only uses the egg yolk.
  • Add two teaspoons of sugar to the egg yolk.
  • Beat the sugar and yolk with a whisk or fork until it becomes nearly white (it's the hardest part!).
  • Optional but recommended - Temper the yolk mixture. To prevent "scrambling" the egg yolk mixture by the heat of the beer, you can temper the mixture by adding 1-2 tablespoon(s) of the hot beer to the yolk mixture very slowly and mixing thoroughly.
  • Add the yolk mixture slowly to the warm beer and continue to heat for 5 minutes. Stir gently.
  • Add honey to taste.
  • Use a strainer to sieve out any egg pieces that may have formed, if you like. This likely will not have happened if you tempered the yolk mixture before adding it to the beer.
  • Drink and enjoy!

New Toy for London and Maddie

Remember the other day when I posted about trying to find Girl Crush Hair Extensions for London's eighth birthday? What I didn't get a chance to tell you until now is that over the weekend, London and Maddie dragged me to Target near the Rockaway Mall to get the Girl Crush Hair Extensions and a Barbie iDesign Ultimate Stylist fashion cards and CD-Rom! Where did a tomboy like Roxy get two pink girly gurlz?

Anyway, I've just found a new CozmoTV Smart Girls at the Party widget, powered by Barbie (!!), for London and Maddie to play with here on Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. Maddie fell asleep, but London and I watched Amy Poehler interview a young lady who played the steel drums and enjoyed praise dancing, then mommies like me fondly reminisced about their favorite Barbie memories, including the Dream House with the pink walls and the elevator. I'm afraid that until I had two little girls of my own, my favorite Barbie memory involved cutting off their hair. Nowadays, though, London and Maddie get out their big basket full of Barbies and say, "Mommy, act your people!" and I have to play along. Check out the widget below, and if you've got girly gurlz like mine, you can get your own widget here.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Music Monday: Year of the Cat by Al Stewart

It's officially the Year of the Ox as we celebrate Chinese New Year on this Music Monday. London was born in the Year of the Snake, Maddie and I were born in the Year of the Horse, and Rex was born in the Year of the Rooster… I wonder what that says about all of us. I thought I'd share with you a video from Al Stewart singin' Year of the Cat. This version includes a nice piano solo at the beginning. Enjoy...and for those of you celebrating, Happy New Year!

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don't bother asking for explanations
She'll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

She doesn't give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow 'till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears

By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There's a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, I feel my life
Just like a river running through
The year of the cat

Well, she looks at you so cooly
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you take her, to find what's waiting inside
The year of the cat

Well, morning comes and you're still with her
And the bus and the tourists are gone
And you've thrown away the choice and lost your ticket
So you have to stay on

But the drum-beat strains of the night remain
In the rhythm of the new-born day
You know sometime you're bound to leave her
But for now you're going to stay
In the year of the cat

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 without prejudice.

What Women Want: Blogaddiction?

77%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

I found this little widget and survey over on Rebecca's Freaky Frugalite site last night and thought I'd try it out... I was sleepy and didn't read the fine print and thought I had to sign up for an online dating site in order to get my results. My proposed UserID "NotInterested," as well as "NotInterestedAtAll," was already taken, so I didn't get my results until I tried again this morning and learned that I didn't have to start a new speed dating career to find out about my BlogAddiction... ties in nicely with a story I wrote on my blog: What Women Want.... turns out today's New York Times Magazine has hopped on Roxy's bandwagon with an article about female desire... I'll let you know more after I've had time to enjoy my Sunday paper.

So...go ahead and take the test, and come back here and leave a comment so we'll all know how addicted you are...but don't feel obligated to sign up for the online dating site!

What Women Want: Shoes?

I have not yet had the chance to read Daniel Bergner's article in today's New York Times Magazine about "What Women Want," but see that some of the possibilities include eye candy, intimacy, fantasy, and Denzel Washington. I wouldn't be surprised if, at least for some of my fellow Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, the answer turned out to be: Shoes. I've often told my girls, "you can never have too many friends or too many pairs of shoes," but that's just an expression I adapted from a movie rather than part of Roxy's reality. I think the original quote was "you can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many pairs of shoes," but I can't recall the movie... does anyone out there want to venture a guess?

I have discovered a closet full of Ferragamo pumps that are making their way back into my daily rotation as Rex and I spend more time on our investment banking practice in New York City, but I'm much happier in a pair of top siders or sneakers, or barefoot in the kitchen. I did see the hot little number on the left on a recent visit to the daniblack shoes web site, and thought a pair of these Riley sandals would take the bored out of the Board room and let me live on the edge with laser cut leather & studs... do you agree? What do women want?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Looth Tooth

After a bit of a break, it looks like the Tooth Fairy may be headed back to our home in the Roxiticus Valley. London and Maddie both lost their first eight (8) teeth in rapid succession when they were in pre-school and kindergarten. Their dentist reminded me on our last visit that the girls will lose a total of twenty (20) baby teeth, but that some adult teeth (excluding wisdom teeth) don't come in until middle school (ages 10-13). We were blessed with a nice tooth fairy break just in time for this year's school photos, but London has been grossing me out with her hands in her mouth for the past couple of days. I finally figured it out and asked her if she had a loose tooth, and she does... one of those pointy ones towards the front... incisors? I hope she can keep her smile intact for her birthday dinner at the Bernards Inn and her big birthday celebration on Saturday with Cirque Eloize at NJPAC.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seeking Wireless PC Card Advice from Roxiticus Desperate Housewives Readers

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers have learned, Rex and I have been spending more time in our New York office, which means lots more time commuting on New Jersey Transit from Bernardsville, NJ to Hoboken and home again, home again (jiggety jog). I'm thinking about getting an AT&T Wireless PC card for my HP notebook so I can access the Internet from the train.

Some questions for you, dear readers:

  • Have you had any luck with a wireless PC card while in motion... in the car (hopefully with someone else at the wheel), on a bus or train?
  • Is one wireless provider better for Internet access than another, and/or does it depend on your geography and AT&T and Verizon's coverage areas? I'm leaning towards AT&T Wireless because of my iPhone, but I'm not sure there's any financial benefit to being brand-loyal as a PC card doesn't seem to be part of the "family plan" packages
  • Is one PC card manufacturer better than another, or one form of connection? Looking at the AT&T Wireless web site, I see USBConnect Mercury, Sierra Wireless Aircard, and Option GT Ultra Express.... and I think there's also a way to connect through a "tethered Blackberry."
  • How does Internet access via a wireless PC card compare with an iPhone or Blackberry? I've read reviews that use terms like "lightning fast" and I can tell you neither my iPhone (on EDGE, not on the new 3G network) nor Rex's Blackberry does anything "lightning fast" on the train...
  • And ugh... $60/month seems a bit rich, and that's for 5GB of data... is that "enough data"? It looks like both AT&T and Verizon have the same $60/5GB plan, and Verizon was nice enough to pull together some examples supporting the theory that 5GB is plenty... a "typical web page lookup" is 150kb... based on this assumption, I would need to look up approximately 34,952 web pages in a month (or over one thousand per day) to reach 5GB. Now, my friends Mariuca and LadyJava may drop their EntreCards on 600 sites per day, but I doubt that even with a three hour round trip commute on the train that I'd go over the limit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Love Dogs and So Do You Presents... Tana

Since Maddie's sister, London, is allergic to most animals, we can't have our own dog at home, so Maddie did the next best thing. She started a blog, I Love Dogs and So Do You dot blogspot dot com. We don't post there very often, but every now and then Maddie finds a dog who is just too cute to be ignored. That would be Tana, a new golden retriever puppy who arrived in the Roxitius Valley just before Christmas. Tana, short for "Montana," came to live with my good friend and fellow Roxiticus Desperate Housewife, Susan, her husband Mike, and their daughter, Abbey. Tana is so sweet that we're trying to get a shot of her doing something naughty so we can win a $500 gift certificate in an online contest for the scariest or funniest pet photo. She ate one of Susan's high heels the other day, but no one caught her in the act. I sorted through all of our pet pictures and found the one on the right, which Maddie took last Sunday night.

If you have a photo of your pet causing trouble around the house, check out the contest, brought to you by Energized Seller, a site for dedicated home sellers and real estate professionals. They're looking for photos of pets who are potential home marketing challenges... the kind of photos you might find under "What Not to Do" under the 101 Home Selling and Staging Tips. If Maddie's photo of Tana is chosen, we'll win a $500 gift certificate to our choice of Lowes or Home Depot.


Mendham Township Elementary School Has A New Principal... Welcome Cara Allen

London and Maddie brought home the following Mendham Township Elementary School Principal Update in their backpack mail today, January 21, 2009:

"Dear Parents and Guardians,

In an effort to identify the very best leader for Mendham Township Elementary School, an extremely thorough process was conducted, which included interviews with administration and with a committee that was representative of the school community. Through these efforts, an outstanding educator and leader was identified whose credentials, experiences, and personality are a wonderful match for our school."

Continue reading

London's Birthday: Girl Crush Hair Extensions

Since her birthday is so close to Christmas, London doesn't really have an extensive birthday wish list... but she did ask for something I've never heard of before: Girl Crush Hair Extensions. According to the description on Amazon, this amazing 4-in-1 Studio features Magic Memory Hair Extensions that you're able to crimp, curl, bead and braid without using heat. You can change your "do" from subtle to bold in a flash, just like the celebrity hairstylists. Just clip them in and show off your style, and when you want a new look just start again. Now you can look like your favorite movie star. Hours of fun for girls and their friends.

Should I be afraid? Should I let London add a little extra something something to Roxy's hair?

Roxy's Point of View

Over the past couple of months, my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers may have noticed that I've had less time to devote to the blogosphere. Rex and I have been working a great deal harder in our investment banking practice, attending meetings all around New York City. We've enjoyed the view from many a corporate conference room, but one recent experience had me asking the receptionist, "where'd you get those cool shades?" We were all set for a meeting in a conference room that offered a spectacular view of Manhattan, but realized that we'd be staring into the sun instead of meeting the eye of the three partners we had come to see. The receptionist noticed the problem, pushed a button, and lowered the shades. I expected the impressive view to disappear, but voila! While the sun no longer blinded me, the view was left intact.


It turns out these were Eco-Solar Shades from The Shade Store. In addition to achieving a cool modern look while cutting energy costs, these unique Eco-Solar Shades absorb heat, block out ultra-violet (UV) rays, reduce glare, and insulate your windows -- all while maintaining your view. As the sun created a glare on my computer screen during an important conference call this afternoon, I thought about adding these shades to the two large windows in my home office. Lucky for me, The Shade Store just made a timely discount available exclusively to SocialSpark bloggers (that's me) and their readers (that's you). Use the code IZEA01 for 15% off and free shipping on all orders.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Music Monday Inauguration Edition and Roxy's Resolutions Support Group Update: Change by John Waite

While I didn't vote for Barack Obama, I'm doing my best to get on board with his presidency in the best interest of our country. George W. Bush just didn't get the job done. With that in mind, for this week's Music Monday, I offer you "Change" by John Waite. The link takes you to the official web site of the U.S. Presidential transition team. The Obama-Biden agenda begins with revitalizing the economy, ending the war in Iraq, providing health care for all, protecting America, and renewing American global leadership... hard to argue with any of that, and I can only hope that the stock market greets Inauguration Day with a favorable run, believing in greater things to come.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to provide a brief update on Roxy's Resolutions Blogosphere Buddies Support Group, and our progress (or lack thereof) against our 2009 New Year's Resolutions. I don't believe I can take much credit for it, since my rickety knees have prevented much of a workout for the past two weekends, but my weight is back down to 145, so I'm on track to hit my weight loss goals. I think I can honestly say that I've been a kinder, gentler Roxy over the first two weeks of January... being more patient with others and not yelling as much. If you've shared your resolutions here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, please leave a comment on this post to let us know how you're doing against your objectives. If you didn't make any New Year's resolutions, but there's something you'd like to change about yourself or the world in 2009, please leave us a comment and join our online support group.

People talking
And they're saying that you're leaving
So unhappy
With the way that you've been living
Oh oh oh
We always wish for money
We always wish for fame
We think we have the answers
Some things ain't ever gonna change (change)
It doesn't matter who you are
It's all the same (change)
What's in your heart will never change
Look in the mirror
And you see how you've been taken
You won't surrender
But now your heart is breakin'
Oh oh oh
We always wish for money
We always wish for fame
We think we have the answers
Some things ain't ever gonna change (change)
It doesn't matter who you are
It's all the same (change)
What's in your heart will never change
Do you remember
When you got your lucky break
You're looking back now
And it seems like a mistake
Oh oh oh
We always wish for money
We always wish for fame
We think we have the answers
Some things ain't ever gonna change (change)
It doesn't matter who you are
It's all the same (change)
What's in your heart will never change
It's only change (change)
It doesn't matter who you are
It's all the same (change)
What's in your heart will never change
It doesn't matter who you are
It's all the same (change)
What's in your heart will stay the same
It doesn't matter who you are
It's all the same (whats in your heart)
It's only
It's only
It's only change
Never (it doesn't matter)
You ain't gonna
You ain't gonna change (what's in your heart)
You ain't gonna change
Doesn't matter who you are

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.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

OMG! Birds Take Down A Plane in the Hudson River... All 155 On Board Survive, Pilot Hailed As Hero

Have you seen the news and photos and video footage of the plane that went down in the Hudson River when a flock of birds disabled both engines? It is freezing cold here today, less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit...and these people were saved out of 40 degree water by ferry boats and rescue crews. Wow.

According to the local news reports, a US Airways pilot guided his jetliner into the frigid Hudson River after a flock of birds knocked out both its engines just after takeoff this afternoon (Thursday, January 15th), and all 155 people on board were pulled to safety as the plane slowly sank. "We had a miracle on 34th Street. I believe now we have had a miracle on the Hudson," New York Governor David Paterson said. One victim suffered two broken legs, a paramedic said, but there were no other reports of serious injuries. The Airbus 320 craft crashed shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport on its way to Charlotte, North Carolina.

The pilot, identified as Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III of Danville, California, "was phenomenal," passenger Joe Hart said. "He landed it — I tell you what — the impact wasn't a whole lot more than a rear-end (collision). It threw you into the seat ahead of you. Both engines cut out and he actually floated it into the river". In a city still wounded from the September 11, 2001 aerial attack on the World Trade Center, authorities were quick to assure the public that terrorism wasn't involved.

Unless you count the birds. It's more than a little creepy to think a bird can bring down a plane. However, bird strikes -- the collision of an aircraft with an airborne bird -- tend to happen when aircraft are close to the ground, which means just before landing or after take-off, when jet engines are turning at top speeds. If the birds get too close to the engine's intake, it's like a vacuum — the birds just get sucked in. More than 200 people have been killed worldwide as a result of wildlife strikes with aircraft since 1988, according to Bird Strike Committee USA, and more than 5,000 bird strikes were reported by the U.S. Air Force in 2007. Today's incident involved a whole darn flock of geese.

Rex and I had just left our NYC office and were in the local Charles Schwab branch when we saw the news of a plane crash on the Hudson River on a large screen TV. Then we had to rush off to catch the PATH and NJ Transit train home, so I didn't get the full story of the amazing rescue until now.

After all the bad news in the world these days, it is heartwarming to hear a story like this one. I'd like to take it as a sign of something good, a reason to believe in a happy ending.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Google Search Result of the Day

Just last night, I was surfing via EntreCard and came across a post on Orient Lodge about Traffic Patterns with EntreCard, Adgitize, BlogExplosion, MyBlogLog and others. Aldon had shared an anecdote about writing one post about a Smoking Jacket his wife bought him four years ago and learning later that it has consistently delivered Googlers aplenty to his site. I left the following comment last night, and Aldon was nice enough to stop by and link to my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives site:

Laughing about the smoking jacket. Every now and then I write a post about the comical reasons people come to my site. One of my faves is "lapdance haircut."

I agree with your notion of bounce rate, that people who don't click on anything found what they were looking for on the first shot. How else can I explain that someone will search Google for "Roxiticus Desperate Housewives" and spend 0 seconds/click on 0 pages on my blog? What else could they possibly be looking for with those search terms??!!

Anyway, I've been enjoying your blog for a few months and will continue to do so, no matter what the analytics may tell you...


So... tonight I happened to check my SiteMeter traffic, and what did I find? The Google search result of the day was "Penis Enlargement Doctors in Morris County, NJ." And yup... Roxiticus Desperate Housewives ranks number one in Google (because Roxy writes about the best kid stuff (including ballet classes, tennis lessons and summer camp), restaurants, shopping, handymen and home services, butchers, bakers and caterers, personal and professional services (including doctors) in Morris County, NJ... and because of an unrelated post about a fellow blogger's penis enlargement nightmare). That is just too rich! I cannot possibly explain to my two young daughters why their mommy is rolling on the floor laughing.

Oh, and if you came here looking for that doctor? Roxy's Best Of... Morris County, NJ has nothing for you, but please come back and let me know if you find what you're looking for somewhere else. Oh, and if you ARE that doctor? Please leave a comment so I can redirect my eager public... I'm sure we can work out an appropriate referral relationship. Oh, and if you are Grammy (Rex's mom)? I guess it's too late, but maybe you should have skipped over this post.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Music Monday and London and Maddie's Snowman: Winter Wonderland

When I was a kid, about London or Maddie's age, my favorite winter song from music class at school was "Winter Wonderland." Today, since we're snowed in and lovin' it in the Roxiticus Valley, I thought I'd share this great version by Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics. Our yard certainly is a winter wonderland, though we didn't get nearly as much snow as they called for in the worst of the winter advisories. The hill was still perfect for sledding, and the girls enjoyed quite a few runs on their rocket tubes.

I've also promised to post a photo of London and Maddie's snowman, so you'll find it here, but you should be forewarned that we found a coating of ice that made it impossible to roll the three balls necessary for the traditional snowman.

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town.

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain't it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

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.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowed In and Lovin' It... Call Ignacio If You Need to Be Shoveled Out

We made it out this morning for London and Maddie's first Mendham Patriots basketball clinic, but the snow has been falling since we picked them up at Mendham Township Elementary School and headed home. I'd say we have 2 to 3 inches on the ground already, and they're promising 5 to 8 more inches plus some ice tonight. While I was hoping to post a picture before London, Maddie, Rex and I settle in for a night of Scrabble in front of a roaring fire, it looks like we'll have to wait for daylight tomorrow...and we'll hope to have a snowman for you. Meanwhile, I'm making good progress rating the 5,271 unrated songs on my iPod Classic... found a few five star gems along the way, including Savage Garden!

If you're snowed in here in Morris County, NJ, but would rather not be, call Ignacio (973) 691-2699 and his team will shovel you out for a reasonable price. We've used Ignacio for the past year or so for all of our snow shoveling, lawn mowing, and landscaping. Be sure to tell him Roxy sent you!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Again. Some More. Still.)

The weather forecast for the Greater Roxiticus Valley is calling for more snow this weekend. And we still haven't gotten over the last batch of ice. As Rex and I were driving over the mountain to the Bernardsville train station this morning, the sun was shining on the ice in the trees and I felt like we were inside a snow globe or life-size ice sculpture.

Every time I looked at my iPhone today, I received another note about a potential event cancellation this weekend due to bad weather. I checked and found that we're expecting 5 to 8 inches by Saturday night. So when we returned home from NYC this evening, we headed over to Kings to lay in some provisions... we'll make Shake 'n' Bake chicken on Saturday, whether or not our 4-H Prep New Year's Party is postponed, and Rex has a recipe in mind for a huge shoulder of pork.

London and Maddie are hoping to start basketball with the Mendham Patriots tomorrow morning, but I'm sure they'd be just as happy to sled down the hill in our yard and try to build a snowman if we get the right kind of snow. Roxy the Weekend Warrior needs to get to work on my Fitness Not Fatness New Year's Resolution, and Rex and I have plenty of work to catch up on over the weekend, so I won't really mind if we're snowed in together.

What are your plans for the weekend if it snows, if it snows, if it snows?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Does Mendham Township Elementary School Have An Orange Thumb?

Does Mendham Township Elementary School have an Orange Thumb?

The Mendham Township Education Foundation is hard at work raising funds for a very important and exciting project at London and Maddie's school. With the generous support of Mendham Township parents and others, the education foundation is working to construct an outdoor learning center in the Mendham Township Elementary School library courtyard, converting an unused area to a rich learning center that will strongly benefit the students and help the community in a variety of ways. The concept of this project has been under discussion for over six years by a number of different groups, but in the past six months, the Mendham Township Education Foundation has made great strides towards getting it done.

In addition to the generous donations of local families, I'm hopeful that the Mendham Township Education Foundation Outdoor Learning Center Project will qualify for a 2009 Project Orange Thumb grant from Fiskars. The Fiskars Project Orange Thumb grant would be a great resource to provide some of the tools and funding needed to execute the plans for the Mendham Township Elementary School garden. Within the United States and Canada, twenty (20) winners will be selected to receive grants of up to $1,500 in Fiskars garden tools and up to $800 in gardening-related materials (i.e. green goods). According to the rules on the Project Orange Thumb web site, gardens and/or gardening projects geared toward community involvement, neighborhood beautification, sustainable agriculture and/or horticultural education are eligible. Community garden groups, as well as schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, treatment facilities are all encouraged to apply. The Mendham Township Education Foundation Outdoor Learning Center Project seems like a perfect fit for a Project Orange Thumb grant from Fiskars.


Marking Fiskars sixth successful year in 2008, Project Orange Thumb has provided over 100 community groups with over $300,000 to create and develop their own special community gardens. The application deadline for the 2009 Project Orange Thumb grant cycle is Febuary 17, 2009, and grant recipients will be notified on March 25, 2009, in plenty of time to meet our goal for completion of the Outdoor Learning Center over the summer.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bring Out the Cirque! Planning London's Birthday Party at NJPAC

Happy New Year! Did you make any New Year's Resolutions for 2009?

Our family just got the last of our New Year cards into the mail to friends, family and clients, which means it's time to turn our attention to the next big event on our calendar... London's eighth birthday. As Roxy's loyal readers know, we have been planning a very special party for London at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey. Three of London's BFFs (that's "best friends forever," for those not up on the latest girl talk) and their moms will join London, Maddie, Rex and me for the 2pm matinee performance of Nebbia by Cirque Eloize at NJPAC on Saturday, January 31st.

I designed some cool accordion-fold photo invitations at Kodak Gallery online, with photos from the Cirque Eloize web site interspersed with photos of London. The invitations look something like this:

Bring Out the Cirque... London Is Turning Eight!

Please Bring Your Mom and Join Us for

Cirque Eloize at NJPAC

2pm on Saturday, January 31st

Meet at London's House at Noon for lunch. We'll take two cars to NJPAC, and come back to the house for birthday cake after the show.

Continue reading about London's birthday party

Pavan’s Tennis Academy Brings QuickStart Team Tennis to Fox Chase Tennis Club in Chester, New Jersey

We were over at Fox Chase Tennis Club in Chester, NJ, on Saturday morning for London's make-up lesson in Pavan's Tennis Academy. Pavan handed me his brand new brochure for QuickStart Team Tennis, starting in January.

The goal of the QuickStart tennis format is to get kids playing as soon as possible – including friendly matches, team play and tournaments. The QuickStart Tennis format works by getting kids into the game immediately. Within the first hour of stepping onto the court, they are actually playing the game, rallying with one another, moving around and having fun. Scaling the game down to their size helps make the learning process easier and a lot more fun.

The majority of youth sports have followed this formula for years. Baseball begins with smaller bats and smaller fields, and progresses from tee ball to coach pitch to player pitch. Basketball and soccer employ similar methods, including shortened playing surfaces and appropriate sized equipment. The shorter and narrower courts used in QuickStart Tennis give kids the confidence and ability to cover the entire court. Kids have trouble controlling full-sized racquets because they are too long, too heavy and the grips are too large. Junior racquets are proportionate in length and weight and have grips that fit smaller hands, making them easier to control. The QuickStart Tennis approach uses balls that bounce at a height equal to kids' playing abilities, allowing for better and longer rallies and building up to all-court games.

Team Tennis is about turning an individual sport into a team sport. All you have to do is look around at other youth sports to see that kids love playing sports with their friends. Not only is it fun and social, it's also practical. Team practices keep kids learning, and team matches give them a place to apply the things they've learned. So while they're learning, they're also having a great time with their friends. Which means they'll keep coming back.

The cost for Pavan's QuickStart Team Tennis program is $250 for 8 weeks, with teams for 8 to 10 year olds playing on the following days/times:

  • Monday from 4 to 5pm
  • Wednesday from 5 to 6pm
  • Thursday from 4 to 5pm
  • Friday from 4 to 5pm
  • Saturday from 12 noon to 1pm

QuickStart Tennis… the new way to play tennis for kids 10 and under… Sign up now and join the team!

Pavan's Tennis Academy at Fox Chase Tennis Club, Chester, NJ. Phone: (908) 879-5231.

London and Maddie Are Action All-Stars!

Whenever we get together, Grammy (Rex's mom) is always amazed at London and Maddie's level of computer skills. The girls have grown comfortable with Microsoft programs such as Word and PowerPoint, but their real enjoyment comes from web sites that are designed just for kids, such as Webkinz, Disney's Pixie Hollow Fairies, and any opportunity they can find to play games online together. While they were out at school today, I signed them up for a new sports-oriented site called You can see their cute blonde LondonMaddie athlete avatar on the left, decked out in a red shirt and matching red sneaks. The girls get started with Mendham Patriots basketball this coming Saturday, and I thought playing online would be a free, fun, and safe way to get them excited about sports as we head into a season of March Madness.

I wasn't able to connect and play the games this afternoon, but once London and Maddie get home from school and tennis this evening, I'm sure they will set me straight on how to use the site.

Current Action All-Stars partners include Major League Baseball (, the National Basketball League ( and So the girls have fun with their choice of sports, and as parents, Rex and I can feel comfortable that London and Maddie are playing safe online, with features such as "safe chat" to restrict their messaging.

If you have kids who enjoy sports, why not sign up for a free account with Look for my girls' little blonde LondonMaddie avatar with bright red shirt and sneakers and we'll take you on in your choice of basketball or baseball. Be sure to leave a comment here with your avatar's name so we'll know where to find you.



Come They Told Me… Drummer Boys from Bonnie Brae in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Will Attend Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade in Washington, DC

Instead of jumping on the media bad news bandwagon, my blogosphere buddy Rambler has a regular "good news" post on her Lofty Matters site about the good things happening around the world each week. Starting today, I'm going to share some local good news and hope that we'll have enough good news in Morris and Somerset County, NJ, to justify a weekly column on Roxy's Best Of… and Roxiticus Desperate Housewives.

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new President to see, pa rum pum pum pum
To march in the parade, pa rum pum pum pum
Traveling to DC, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Barack Obama, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no uniform
That's fit to wear on TV,
pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Committee gave the nod, pa rum pum pum pum
The media helped out, pa rum pum pum pum
We'll play our drums for him, pa rum pum pum pum
We'll play our best for him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

They're going to smile at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

According to a recent front page article in The Bernardsville News, "a wave of media coverage and generosity has greeted efforts to equip the Bonnie Brae Knights drum corps for its march in President-elect Barack Obama's historic inauguration parade" on Tuesday, January 20th. When the Presidential Inaugural Committee selected the school's drum corps from among 1,382 applicants as one of only 49 groups that would march in the parade, the Bonnie Brae Knights suddenly found that its band needed uniforms, drums, equipment and funds for transportation to Washington, DC. Since the school's boys are from broken homes and typically play on old, taped up drum sets, their plight struck a chord with the media. Television news crews descended upon Bonnie Brae's campus on Valley Road in Basking Ridge, with network broadcasts featuring the band of T-shirt-clad boys banging away on their drums. William Powers, the school's executive director, said: "We are the center of a media firestorm – a good firestorm. This is kind of a feel-good, underdog story….People are responding. The support from the community has been from top to bottom." Verizon Communications, Chubb Insurance and Novartis Pharmaceuticals offered help, while countless individuals have donated $5, $10 and up. Supporters have included Bob Morrison of the Music for all Foundation, which is providing Pearl drums and uniforms; John Farbman of Drill Masters, which is providing shoes; and the Jonathan Krist Foundation of New Hope, Pennsylvania, which donated $2,000 toward bus transportation. Max Weinberg, drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and the bandleader of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, also called the school and offered to help with drums. Thanks to the generosity of these supporters, the Bonnie Brae Knights have now raised all they need to get to Washington DC and back.

Bonnie Brae has been around since 1916 and is one of New Jersey's largest residential treatment centers for abused, neglected and abandoned boys. It currently has 98 boys ranging in age from 8 to 18. The drum group was formed only four years ago and has no band director. The Bonnie Brae Knights seemed an unlikely choice to march in the prestigious inaugural parade. While only eight boys were in the drum corps when the choice was announced, four openings were quickly filled, and the band has since grown to 20 or 25 members. Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., wrote a letter on the Knights' behalf to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, which works with the Presidential Inaugural Committee to select participating groups. "The Bonnie Brae Knights drum corps is one of the most talented groups in New Jersey," Senator Lautenberg said in a statement. "Their story, their talent and their commitment to excellence landed them a tremendous honor – performing in President-elect Barack Obama's Inauguration Parade. I look forward to cheering them on and am honored that they will help represent New Jersey at this historic event." The inaugural parade on January 20, 2009 will be a proud moment for the Bonnie Brae Knights – and for all of us cheering them on from New Jersey.

Go Knights!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Beware the Icy Roads... Safe Travels If You're Out in This New Jersey Weather

We've just received our phone call and e-mail alerts from the Mendham Township Superintendent of Schools Kristopher Harrison that London and Maddie don't have to go to bed just yet... they can sleep in tomorrow morning because there's a two hour delayed opening at school tomorrow due to the icy weather here in the Roxiticus Valley, New Jersey. I'm not surprised about the delayed opening. When Rex and I arrived home on the train from New York City tonight, our new red jewel GMC Acadia that we park at the Bernardsville train station was covered in a sheet of ice and Rex had to scrape off the windshield before we could proceed.

Well, I wish I was in Branson, hooray, hooray.... Seriously, they say there is no better place to relax and unwind than in Branson, Missouri. If the roads are clear in the morning, Rex will be having breakfast at CocoLuxe in Peapack, NJ, with a good friend who travels out to the Midwest from time to time to visit family, and raves about the sights and sounds of Branson. Nestled in the Missouri Ozark Mountains and situated right in the heart of the entertainment capital of the Midwest, you'll find two hotels that celebrate winter instead of hiding from it. I love the nightlife, I got to boogie, in the disco 'round, oh yeah... the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing (celebrating its second anniversary) and Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel offer their guests convenient access to nightlife, boutiques, restaurants, a river walk and other attractions. The Branson town square features an impressive water fountain with a light and fire display choreographed to music.


Even if I only get there in my mind, I'm making up a list of things to do in Branson, Missouri:

  1. The Third Annual Ice Carving. Last time it snowed here, I posted a snow woman that may inspire London and Maddie to create their own competitive ice sculptures in our front yard. In Branson, local ice sculptors take winter seriously and go all out with their designs.
  2. The 2009 Polar Plunge. Well, I wouldn't DO it, but I would watch!
  3. Relaxing in affordable luxury with the Winter Escape Package available at either the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing or the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel.

Won't you join me? Next time, I wanna go surfing in my imagination...


Give Back My Bandwidth! Do Your Kids Play Online Video Games?

So tonight my dear daughters, London and Maddie, are competing with me for our Comcastic bandwidth, and naturally they are winning and my blogging has slowed to a crawl. The girls are trying out all sorts of online video games. They bought two new Webkinz with their allowance this past Friday, after we went to the dentist. Don't ask me why, but ever since I bought Maddie one or two new Webkinz for going to see Dr. Dave Matthews (Crash Into Me), our Far Hills dentist, without complaining or causing trouble in the waiting room, she has somehow associated pediatric dentistry with online video games and their associated real world toys. London, who is almost eight years old, and Maddie, who will soon be seven years old, have learned a lot about computers from their Technology teacher, Mr. Gallo. Today Maddie came home from school bragging about her exploits in Microsoft Word. Mr. Gallo is in his twenties, and he is definitely the cool teacher, the subject of the first and second grade schoolgirl crush. He's cool because he introduces them to all the best kids' web sites, like Zwinky Winkies? MagNext? Tonight, I think London and Maddie are on Pixie Hollow, creating their own fairies.

Meanwhile, I've signed up them up for a free account with MagNext where our whole family will be free to play indefinitely, and I'm in the process of doing the mom-tests-it-out-first thing. I'm embarrased to say that this shopaholic can't seem to get past the virtual store, where I could purchase a special paint job, action skills, and super cool gear, if only I could score high enough to collect Magz, the online currency. While I've read on other blogs about moms who are the Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution champions in their households, my two little tweens kick my bouteaux (that's French for buttocks) in all video games, from Mario Brothers to the latest craze. MagNext Virtual, an online tie-in to those magnet toys we've bought from Toys with Love for countless kiddie birthday parties, is an out-of-this-world community ball, a high tech place in space built for riding and racing, bumping and battling, safe and secure online chatting and showing off. The girls can crank their hot rods to a roaring speed, spin a star-scraping rollercoaster out of control, challenge other gladiators to hot rounds of speed and agility, and connect with their friends to play with a ton of other kids who think they're as magnetic as London and Maddie's basement girl band, the Butter Bites.

So... do your kids play online video games? What are your favorites? Are you the Queen of the video game, or do your kids put you to shame?


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Music Monday for the New Year 2009: Let's Get It Started

This week's Music Monday pick here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives is "Let's Get It Started" by the Black Eyed Peas. I chose this video for a couple of reasons. First, one of my New Year's Resolutions is Fitness Not Fatness in 2009, and I've been pretty good about working out so far. I like the elliptical trainer in our basement gym, and I find the most energizing workout mixes include hip hop like Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" and "Let's Get It Started." The second reason I like this video is it is some guy in his basement playing the drums along with the Black Eyed Peas, and Santa brought London and Maddie a bright red set of drums for Christmas. Aunt Veg and Uncle Quiet sent the girls a book, CD and video to help them learn to play, and I'm hoping they'll get good enough to be able to play along with their fave tunes, as well as pounding out the rhythm of the Butter Bites' original songs.

Oh, and do stop by Roxy's blog about What Women Want for a taste of Tina Turner, dedicated to the love of my life... Rex.

Let's Get It Started, in here...

And the base keep runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and
runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and...

In this context, there's no disrespect, so, when I bust my rhyme, you break your necks.
We got five minutes for us to disconnect, from all intellect collect the rhythm effect.
Obstacles are inefficient, follow your intuition, free your inner soul and break away from tradition.
Coz when we beat out, girl it's pullin without. You wouldn't believe how we wow shit out.
Burn it till it's burned out. Turn it till it's turned out. Act up from north, west, east, south.

Everybody, everybody, let's get into it.
Get stupid.
Get it started, get it started, get it started.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here. Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here. Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.

Lose control, of body and soul.
Don't move too fast, people, just take it slow.
Don't get ahead, just jump into it.
Ya'll here a body, two pieces to it.
Get stutted, get stupid.
You'll want me body people will walk you through it.
Step by step, like you're into new kid.
Inch by inch with the new solution.
Trench men hits, with no delusion.
The feeling's irresistible and that's how we movin'.

Everybody, everybody, let's get into it.
Get stupid.
Get it started, get it started, get it started.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here. Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here. Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.

Runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin runnin' and...

C'mon y'all, lets get woohoo!
Lets get woohoo! (in here)
Lets get woohoo!
Lets get woohoo! (in here)
Lets get woohoo!
Lets get woohoo! (in here) Ow, ow, ow!
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya...

Let's get ill, that's the deal.
At the gate, we'll bring the bud top drill. (Just)
Lose your mind this is the time,
Ya'll test this drill, Just and bang your spine. (Just)
Bob your head like epilepsy, up inside your club or in your Bentley.
Get messy, loud and sick.
Ya'll mount past slow mo in another head trip. (So)
Come then now do not correct it, let's get pregnant let's get hectic.

Everybody, everybody, let's get into it.
Get stupid. (Come on)
Get it started (come one) , get it started (yeah), get it started.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here. Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here.
Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started in here. Let's get it started (ha), let's get it started
(woah, woah, woah) in here.

Lets get woohoo!
Lets get woohoo! (in here)
Lets get woohoo!
Lets get woohoo! (in here)
Lets get woohoo!
Lets get woohoo! (in here) Ow, ow, ow!
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya...

Runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin', and runnin' runnin'

What are your favorite workout tunes? Leave me a comment here and maybe I can pull together a complete 40 minute workout mix for the New Year 2009 to share with all of our loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers.

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.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Lookin' Back... Maddie at Yankee Stadium in 2002

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Roxy's Recipes: Grandmom's Italian Meat Sauce (for Pasta)

Although Rex does almost all of the cooking in our family, and my older sisters like to joke that I'm helpless in the kitchen, the truth is that I just don't enjoy cooking on a regular basis. I do have a few favorite recipes that I make from time to time. One of them is passed along by my mom, who makes the best Italian meat sauce for pasta, but I've made enough adjustments to her recipe over the years to call it my own. I should add that my hairdresser and good friend Madeline confused me for years by referring to Italian meat sauce for pasta as "gravy."

After a perfect New Year's Eve at home, including four live Maine lobsters and two bottles of bubbly, Rex and I decided to spend New Year's Day together in the kitchen. He made two of my favorites for dinner tonight: Rosemary Meat Loaf and Macaroni and Cheese. I'll be posting those recipes over the next day or so. With a little help from Rex and Maddie, I made a big pot of...

Grandmom's Italian Meat Sauce for Pasta (Continue reading)

New Year's Traditions: Resolutions, Rose Parade, and College Football Bowl Games

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 2009, filled with health, happiness, peace and joy...

London and Maddie, Rex and I are starting our day with a chocolate chip pancake breakfast, to be followed by the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on TV... my sister, Aunt Veg, and her husband, Uncle Quiet, live in Pasadena and have attended the parade in past years... the girls and I will have to watch for them on TV just in case. The photo on the left is just a reminder that Disney Princesses don't come out in the rain... it's a beautiful Disney float from 2006, and you can see Mickey Mouse, but Cinderella and friends must be staying dry inside their castles.

After the parade, we'll have the college football bowl games on the big screen in the background as Rex cooks (watch for his famous Macaroni & Cheese and Rosemary Meat Loaf recipes later today in Rex's Recipes)... the girls and I are also planning to make a huge pot of meat sauce to have on hand for pasta dinners.

What are your plans and traditions for New Year's Day?