BlogExplosion

Friday, April 30, 2010

Royalty

Today's pet peeve: people who need to be treated like royalty.

In my investment banking work, all of my clients tend to be multi-millionaires. I enjoy working with clients who are down to earth despite the companies they have built and fortunes they have amassed. It frequently plays out that the greater the fortune/enterprise (billionnaire instead of millionnaire), the humbler the entrepreneur. And then there are those who carry themselves like the royalty they imagine they are, and come off like cheesy plastic kings. This pet peeve extends to those who are sooooo important that they can't possibly fit a meeting into their busy schedules and have their big-haired assistants cancel and make up an excuse at the last minute.

Years ago, when London was two, she used to sing, "[Client Name] is in the counting house, counting out his money..." and I'm afraid I've continued to teach my daughters to disrespect people who flaunt their wealth. But I do love these pictures of the King...

Not In My Back Yard

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Deer Off. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's really starting to feel like Spring (even a glimpse of summer) in the Roxiticus Valley... today the temperatures are supposed to hit 80 degrees, tomorrow promises 90 degrees from London and Maddie's softball games. We're taking Grammy (Rex's mom) to see the girls play softball, and then out to an early Mother's Day celebration dinner at the Grand Cafe in Morristown, New Jersey. Ignacio's team mowed the lawn for the first time this week and the scent of honeysuckle is already in the air.

Of course, these are all signs that it is time for Rex to get started on our garden, which includes the hilarious preparations we take to keep the groundhogs and deer away from our trees, shrubbery, and tomato plants. We've used a combination of fencing, netting, and a device called the Scarecrow that hooks up to our garden hose and uses a motion sensor to try to scare off the deer and other critters by hosing them down as they peek into Rex's garden. Despite these attempts at prevention, every year the deer seem to steal the best heirloom tomatoes and cause a great deal of damage to our garden and trees.

This year, as London and Maddie are getting ready to bring home a new cockapoo puppy in July, we have the added worry about the risk of ticks and Lyme Disease that deer can bring, so we've been looking into deer repellent. Rex found the Havahart® Deer Off II Battery-Powered Sprayer with a patented Dual Deterrent System™ formula that provides both scent and taste barriers to repel deer, rabbits, and squirrels.... with apologies to our very own Roxiticus Roxy who comes out looking for her shadow every February and comes out looking for the best of Rex's heirloom tomatoes in August, I sure hope it works on groundhogs, too. The formula's putrescent eggs solids and garlic (no vampires or deer at twilight in Rex's garden!), combined with the red hot chili pepper taste of capsaicin, should dissuade the deer, rabbits, and squirrels from eating our plants. Even if the critters get past the odor, they should be repelled by the taste.

With a lot of lawn and garden to cover, we're expecting the Deer Off® II Battery-Powered motorized sprayer to really come in handy. It's designed for large lawns and can treat up to 100 ornamental shrubs four feet tall or approximately 1000 square feet of plantings quickly, before the deer can get to them. When applied as directed, this animal repellent lasts up to 90 days, so we'll get started in May and remember to re-apply in early August when the heirloom tomatoes start to ripen... we'll let you know how it goes.

Visit my sponsor: Not in my garden!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Music Monday: Needy Dog Song

Our family had a terrific Saturday of softball games. Maddie started our day at 9am with her instructional league game (Mets vs. Phillies). London was the starting pitcher for the first time ever, she had one RBI, and her team tied, 6-6. On Saturday night, Rex and I rocked with our friends and the Meathooks at the Mendham Little League fundraiser while the girls stayed home with their favorite babysitter.

Then Sunday turned rainy and we headed to Grandmom's house to visit and to Petco to start to prepare for our as-yet-unborn cockapoo puppy, who London and Maddie hope to bring home from the breeder in early July. The girls picked out a pet carrier for our car trip home from the breeder and our frequent trips to the beach in Bay Head, NJ. They're taking their clean-up responsibilities seriously with a purse-styled carrier for "business bags," and selected a few special toys to get started. We've been reading books, watching videos, and doing local research on veterinarians, dog walkers/sitters, and in-home training services for the whole family. I even laughed out loud when I found out that the most recent Dog Whisperer episode is called "Desperate Housedogs."

Our whole family is on board, and London and Maddie show the early signs of being calm, assertive pack leaders who project gentle, positive energy and are working hard to learn what to do and what not to do (we watched "Marley and Me" for some bad role modeling). Since we can't seem to get our minds off puppies, this week's Music Monday post is the Needy Dog Song... Enjoy!










Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.




PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Cheerio…

Where Was I Going, and Where Are My Shoes?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NAVTEQ. All opinions are 100% mine.

A long, long, time ago, at my first job out of college and well before I could blame old age for my addled confusion, I used to wander down the hall, muttering, "Where was I going, and where are my shoes?" These days, there's technology to solve that problem... electronic calendars, to do lists, and navigation systems. My family got used to having a nav system during the two or three years we leased a Jeep.... we named her Firehead. Our Acadia didn't come with a navigation system installed, so I bought one for Rex for his birthday... we named her Jolie. However, even the shiniest new gizmo won't get Roxy where she's going if my maps are out of date. Naturally, if I can forget to update things like my car registration or driver's license (it expires in October this year and I have to visit the evil DMV lady to get a new picture taken), you can only guess how out of date my maps are and how challenging it may be to navigate my life. My nav system is so out of date that Jolie keeps shouting out that we should turn onto Brady Drive, a road that hasn't existed since Diamond Jim Brady lived in Peapack (he died in 1917).

During NAVTEQ’s Map Update Month, the friendly people over at NAVTEQ, the company whose technology and maps power most GPS and in-car navigation systems, are trying to raise awareness of the importance of updating your system's maps, and the availability of updates for all GPS and in-car navigation systems powered by NAVTEQ. According to a recent NAVTEQ Navigation Benefits Study, updating your system's maps will maintain the optimum performance of your system and could help you save time (they say a traffic-enabled GPS device can save you 4 days of driving time!), save on fuel and reduce your CO2 emissions, and find the best roadside options... all of these benefits can help you save up to $200 a year just by using an up-to-date navigation device.

Whether it's a softball field we've never played on before right here in the Roxiticus Valley, the most scenic route for our family's summer trip to Washington, DC, or a client's closing dinner in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, we rely on our GPS to take us there. I'm going to visit http://socialspark.com/metrics/click/post?slot_id=254922&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mapupdatemonth.com to update my maps in the month of May. We'll be driving with confidence in no time... and there are at least three pairs of shoes in the back of the Acadia.

Visit my sponsor: May is Map Update Month for many GPS Systems

Friday, April 23, 2010

Roxy's Gone to the Dogs

Post in progress...more cute puppy pictures on the way.

My UPS guy is always the first to know... when it's London or Maddie's birthday, when we're getting ready for a Roxiticus Sunset Party, or when Roxy's got a new obsession. This week, the packages started coming in from Amazon: "How to Raise the Perfect Dog" by the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. I also ordered his six DVD Boxed Setas "a present for Maddie." But who am I trying to kid? I can't stay focused on work and I become easily distracted by making plans for puppy.

Something even cooler than getting all my puppy books and videos quickly from Amazon Prime (free trial membership)... I've found a kinder, gentler local dog whisperer right here in Mendham, New Jersey: Justine Schuurmans from TheFamilyDog.net. She's a fellow Mendham Township Elementary School mother who contacted me about a fab new company that my local readers need to know about. More details later on their better, safer, positive -- consequences and kindness -- training techniques.

The Family Dog is a local Morris and Somerset County service just like Super Nanny or Nanny 911, only for dogs! What I've learned from my Dog Whisperer books and videos so far is that while it's great to take your new puppy to obedience school, it's the people who really need the training, and most families need help where it counts - at home. That’s where The Family Dog comes in.... two fun-loving, long-time professional dog trainers who are juggling a full schedule, with four dogs and four children under six between them. They both teach classes at St. Huberts, but realize that families need a different kind of help.

Maddie and London are so psyched... Justine is going to come to our house for a private session before our puppy arrives to give all of us the info and training we need to set off on the right foot. She's even going to bring one of her own dogs to coach us and let the girls practice on, so they will be experts when their cockapoo puppy, Peanut Butter, arrives. So much is in the preparation!

Anyway, I'm going to be writing lots more as we get ready for our new puppy, but I'm feeling good about our plans... Peanut Butter's mom is due in the first week of May, and we're planning to bring our eight-week-old puppy home from the breeder in early July. Maddie is going to help me update our web sites with stories and information as we get ready.

The Family Dog, serving Morris and Somerset Counties with DogNanny 911 services from Mendham, NJ.

Phone: (973) 910-0364. Be sure to let them know that Roxy sent you!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hooray! Mendham Township School Budget Passed

MENDHAM TOWNSHIP SCHOOL BUDGET
√ Yes 700
No 662

THREE 3-YEAR TERMS
√ George Davie* 718
√ Carter Abel* 705
√ Paul DiMaio* 738

PROPOSED TAX LEVY CHANGE
3.48 percent, or $467,075; $86 average increase for West Morris Regional; $54 average decrease for the Mendham Township school district

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Mendham Township taxpayers.

Even if you voted against the school budget, please know that London and Maddie and all of the other Mendham Township students are grateful every day for the difference your tax dollars make in their lives and futures.

Not So Good News for West Morris Mendham High School

WEST MORRIS REGIONAL SCHOOL BUDGET
Yes 4,978
√ No 5,058

ONE 3-YEAR CHESTER BOR./TWP. TERM
√ James Johnston* 1,146

ONE 3-YEAR MENDHAM BOR. TERM
√ Jacqueline Schram* 725

ONE 3-YEAR WASHINGTON TWP. TERM
√ Michael Pirrello* 2,338

PROPOSED TAX LEVY INCREASE
3.34 percent; $68 for a home assessed at $463,700 in Chester Borough; $105 for a home assessed at $674,500 in Chester Township; $81 for a home assessed at $707,000 in Mendham Borough; $86 for a home assessed at $913,000 in Mendham Township; $81 for a home assessed at $438,600 in Washington Township

PROPOSED STAFF CUTS
32 employees

Monday, April 19, 2010

Music Monday: I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

I continue to be embarrassed by how hooked our family is on American Idol, but in honor of Idol Gives Back and the Inspirational Songs theme this week, I'd like to share the song by Lee Ann Womack that's been running through my head. I would have liked Katie Stevens to get a shot at singing this one, but we'll have to leave it for London and Maddie when they make it into the final rounds of American Idol 2018 and, in the meantime, I hope they dance...



I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Reconsider
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
Dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)

(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)



Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.


PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

You Gotta See This Contest Winners

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Incendia Health. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've always been thankful for my good health and 20/20 vision, but as I get older, I worry that it won't be long before I will need glasses or corrective surgery, which has always made me a bit nervous. However, after seeing the winning entries in the "You Gotta See This" iLASIK Video Contest, I understand the impact improved vision has had on so many people's lives that makes it worthwhile to get over any fear of surgery.

Abbott Medical Optics Inc. (AMO), a global leader in laser vision correction, just announced the winners of cash and prizes in several categories of the “You Gotta See This” Video Contest. Here are the winners, by category:

  • Alex collected the $5,000 Grand Prize with the all around best entry, “You Gotta See This Music Video”
  • In Category 1, My Contacts Are Getting In The Way Of My Good Time, Robbo took home the First Prize ($2,500 value HDTV package) with “You Gotta Be Kidding Me! A True Story and Second Prize ($199.99 value Flip UltraHD camcorder) went to “Contacts Stink” by windysail
  • Category 2, My Favorite Sport Or Activity Would Be So Much Cooler With Better Vision, prize winners were jhbmw007 for First Prize with “iLASIK Would Make Surfing More Enjoyable” and Snowman won Second Prize with “Foggy Riding”
  • You Should See Life After The iLASIK® Procedure was Category 3, and the winners were Danny V, who took First Prize with “Orbs Of Perfection” and ahowalton who won Second Prize for “Army LASIK”

Congratulations to all the winners. You can view their videos and all the other entries and also register to receive valuable eye care products at the iLASIK Video Contest web site. It's a great way to see how overcoming the fear of eye surgery can change your life through dramatically improved vision.


Visit my sponsor:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Roxy's Reader's Digest Thought for the Day

My family makes fun of me for having Reader's Digest syndrome.... I can't seem to stop myself from doling out little bits of advice and anecdotes from the Reader's Digest each month. I've read the magazine since I was London and Maddie's age, and my mom continues to send me a gift subscription for my birthday every year. This morning, I was struck by a quote from a Reader's Digest interview with Michael J. Fox, and felt compelled to share it with all of you.

Reader's Digest: Share some advice on parenting that begins with "Always..."
Michael J. Fox: Always be available to your kids. Because if you say, "Give me five minutes, give me ten minutes," it'll be 15, it'll be 20. And then when you get there, the shine will have worn off whatever it is they wanted to share with you.

I was struck by the truth of those words... I'm totally guilty of the "give me five minutes" and from now on I am going to make a greater effort to be there in the moment for London and Maddie.

Monday, April 12, 2010

London and Maddie's Little League Music Monday: Put Me In, Coach (Centerfield)

As I posted here on Saturday, it was Opening Day for London and Maddie's Little League Softball season, and our family had the perfect sunny weekend on the softball field. After two great games, both girls were back on the field with their friends to learn the windmill in a special pitching clinic. Maddie's positive "put me in, coach, I'm ready!!" attitude had me singing John Fogarty's "Centerfield" so I've decided to share it with you as this week's Music Monday post. Enjoy!




Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.

Chorus:
Oh, put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, coach - I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be centerfield.

Well, I spent some time in the mudville nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
You know I took some lumps when the mighty Casey struck out.
So say hey Willie, tell Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio;
Don’t say "it ain’t so", you know the time is now.

Chorus

Yeah! I got it, I got it!

Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes;
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride.
Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all - a moment in the sun;
(pop) it’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye!

Chorus
Chorus
Yeah!



Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

London and Maddie's Opening Day

We're in between Maddie's 9am softball game (our neighbor, Governor Christie, was out to see his daughter play and Mrs. Governor catch for the opposing team) and London's 2pm softball game and enjoying the sun here at home in the Roxiticus Valley. Makes me want to sing...

Take me out to the ballgame
Take me out with the crowds
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
Cuz it's root, root, root for the Yankees (Maddie is actually on the Mets)
If they don't win it's a shame
For it's one two three strikes you're out
At the old ballgame


I'm sure my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers are getting tired of this same photo of baby Maddie, but I forgot my good camera this morning and have to figure out how to get my photos off my Blackberry and onto my hard drive... will try to post later after London's big game.

It turns out that in Maddie's instructional league (first and second grade girls) games, they play two or three "innings," in which everyone gets up to bat and swings until they hit one.

Rex and I have been ecstatic at how quickly our little pink ballerinas have donned batting gloves, helmets and uniforms and transformed into tough tomboys who only throw like a girl if that girl is their mama. Maddie, who is frequently reluctant to try new things, has taken on a terrific "put me in, coach, I'm ready to play" attitude.... and that gives me an idea for my next Music Monday post.

Post-game report: If you were counting runs (and they were), London's team lost their first game, but if you were counting how much fun they were having, it was a tie. I'm pleased with her coach's blend of taking the game seriously but making sure each game is both a good time and a learning experience.

Time for my 4 o'clock beer out on the deck until the girls' softball pitching clinic at 5:30pm... enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

London and Maddie Squeak Along with Alvin and the Chipmunks in the Squeakquel

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Alvin and the Chipmunks. All opinions are 100% mine.

Okay, I'm old. I've officially reached the age when my kids are in the movie going demographic, and I haven't seen a grown-up movie in the theater in more than nine years. We take London and Maddie to the movies every now and then, most recently to see Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear in The Last Song, followed by burgers and shakes at Fuddruckers. We also watch some family movies and TV shows on DVD, including a flashback to my childhood with the 60-DVD ten year Little House on the Prairie set.

This Christmastime, London and Maddie came back from "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" on the big screen and told Rex and me that we really missed out. Of course, Rex and I weren't about to head out to see The Squeakquel without the girls, so we were excited to learn that we can buy it now on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download. We're in for the Double DVD pack that includes a "Squeak Along" Bonus Disc featuring more music, mayhem and all-new singalongs. Twice the fun, for the price of one... or, as I frequently tell the girls, two is the perfect number.


I've loved those little chipmunks since I was a kid, singing along with the Christmas song, "Me, I want a hula hoop" and I'm happy to continue the Alvin and the Chipmunks tradition with The Squeakquel Double DVD pack for London and Maddie.

Check out the Fox Family Flicks web site for More Munk Mayhem!

Visit my sponsor: Alvin and the Chipmunks:

Monday, April 05, 2010

Music Monday: The Entertainer by Billy Joel

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers may know, when Roxy was growing up (and well into my thirties), all I dreamed about was becoming a disc jockey and owning radio stations. In the past ten or fifteen years, I've taken a different path, but still try to find ways of being "the entertainer." I'm working on a long personal story to go along with this week's Music Monday post, and hope to have it up before the end of the day on Monday here in the Roxiticus Valley. (Road to hell, best laid plans, etc: things didn't go as planned) In the meantime, please enjoy the video from a much much younger Billy Joel, and stop back in a day or so to see if I've had the chance to be a better entertainer after London and Maddie are done with our Easter egg hunt and Easter Sunday dinner with Grammy.



I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand:
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.
Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts.
But I know the game,
You will forget my name,
And I won't be here
In another year,
If I don't stay on the charts.

I am the entertainer,
And I've had to pay my price.
The things I did not know at first,
I learned by doin' twice.
Ah, but still they come to haunt me,
Still they want their say.
So I've learned to dance
With a hand in my pants,
And they rub my neck,
And I write 'em a check,
And they go their merry way.

I am the entertainer,
Been all around the world.
I've played all kinds of palaces,
And laid all kinds of girls.
I can't remember faces,
I don't remember names.
Ah, but what the hell,
You know it's just as well.
'Cause after a while
And a thousand miles,
It all becomes the same.

I am the entertainer,
I bring to you my songs.
I'd like to spend a day or two.
I can't stay that long.
No, I've got to meet expenses.
I got to stay in line.
Gotta get those fees
To the agencies.
And I'd love to stay,
But there's bills to pay,
So I just don't have the time.

I am the entertainer,
I come to do my show.
You've heard my latest record,
It's been on the radio.
Ah, it took me years to write it,
They were the best years of my life.
It was a beautiful song.
But it ran too long.
If you're gonna have a hit,
You gotta make it fit--
So they cut it down to 3:05.

I am the entertainer,
The idol of my age.
I make all kinds of money,
When I go on the stage.
Ah, you've seen me in the papers,
I've been in the magazines.
But if I go cold,
I won't get sold.
I'll get put in the back
In the discount rack,
Like another can of beans.

I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand:
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.
Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts.
But I know the game,
You will forget my name,
And I won't be here
In another year,
If I don't stay on the charts.



Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.


PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Uncle Joe Lives On In Our Memories

My Uncle Joe passed away back in January, but continues to live on in our memories in a number of different ways. Just before he died, Uncle Joe gave Maddie a blue devil plush toy, and every time I see her sleeping curled up with it I smile and remember him. I have also committed to investing his inheritance in a family pet... London and Maddie will grow up knowing that Uncle Joe made it possible for them to have the cockapoo puppy we hope to bring home at the end of June.

My sister has made arrangements for a true veteran's burial at Arlington National Cemetery, so we've decided to make our first family trip to Washington, DC in July. We'll spend a couple of days with London and Maddie discovering the nation's capitol...the monuments, the museums, a little bit of history. Then we'll say goodbye to Uncle Joe one last time at Arlington National Cemetery and pay loving tribute to a great man with a ceremony with full military honors, complete with a bugler and gun salute he deserves.