Saturday, July 31, 2010

Roxiticus Memoir: Saturday, July 31, 2010


Just gave Peanut Butter a little haircut around her eyes and nose, and the girls helped me to apply her monthly flea and tick protection. Poor Peanut Butter found out from the vet last week that she has lyme disease... not nearly as serious for dogs as it is for humans, but we have to hide an antibiotic in her breakfast and dinner every day for a month.

Now I'm on the porch, enjoying a cool breeze, thinking about a second cup of coffee and heading up to the beach.

I'm still feeling a bit down, though at the beach it is easier to forget. I drank too much last night, though, and paid for it with strange dreams and a bit of a hangover.

I'll probably finish up Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter" today... I haven't found it very gripping or compelling.

Maybe 2pm

I finished my Peter Straub novel and remain unimpressed. I do feel like a trip to Barnes & Noble to stock up, but will probably change my mind once I am comfotably ensconced on our porch with my 4 o'clock (or 6 o'clock) beer.

So instead of criticizing Peter Straub's most recent effort, I turn to my own writing and wrestle with what type of writing I should focus on, and how best to focus my efforts and be more consistent.

Back in early July, with three months to go until my 44th birthday and fifteen months until I turn 45, I started to set some goals for myself that included fitness, organization, and writing, but the overwhelming feeling has taken over on many days and nights and prevented me from doing much more than staying on top of the bills, pushing paper around, and watching several episodes of Glee in bed with London and Maddie every night when Rex has been away in Washington DC working on an important transaction.

So I'll start with a way of writing that is most familiar and comfortable to me. I pick a quote or two from something I'm reading -- in this case, Solitude: A Return to the Self by Anthony Storr -- and launch in with my own stream-of-consciousness thoughts.

"Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius; and the uniformity of a work denotes the hand of a single artist." -- Edward Gibbon

No argument there. Particularly in the days I spent avoiding group projects in college and business school, I've always been a solitary creature who'd rather write a 100-page paper on my own than try to pull together 20 pages each from five members of an alleged team. At the same time, high school and college presented the opportunity to discuss "deep thoughts" -- philosophy, politics, psychology, sociology/culture -- that so rarely occur in my life today. When Rex and I get together with other couples, we tend to talk about kids and school and their activities... I'd feel a little out of place to bring up the question of whether we exist.

"Many of the world's greatest thinkers have not reared families or formed close personal ties." -- Anthony Storr

What I do know is that I'd never trade my life with Rex and London and Maddie and our friends for my lonely single life of solitude and creativity. I occasionally think there will be plenty of time for that life when the girls have gone away to college.

Instead, right now I focus on the joy of a perfect day at the beach, the feeling of a brand new bicycle, the bond between a girl and her dog.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today would have been my mom's 85th birthday.

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, my mom passed away on June 16th. It has been a tough couple of months (in fact, Rex found me crumbled in a state of despair this morning), but our family continues to celebrate her life instead of mourning her death. In years past, we'd celebrate Grandmom's birthday by picking up lobsters for all five of us. Rex would cook them at Grandmom's house while London and Maddie entertained her with the songs they were learning at Annie's Playhouse Summer Stars camp.

Those who knew my mom knew how much she appreciated a bargain...watching for sales, clipping coupons. I noticed that lobsters are on sale at Shop Rite this week, $5.99/pound. So in honor of my mom's 85th birthday, we'll pick them up on our way to Bay Head and celebrate with lobsters and corn on the porch at our beach house tonight.

Happy Birthday, Mom... we miss you but know you're watching over us.

Somerville, New Jersey: Main Street USA

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

I was born in a small town (Plainfield, New Jersey), I grew up in a small town (Branchburg, New Jersey), went to high school in a small town (Somerville, New Jersey), just a small town girl, that's me.

I guess every small town in America has seen their Main Street shops suffer from the effects of urban sprawl. Our favorite quaint little mom and pop shops (Gorny's Music Shop), restaurants (Alfonso's and Central Pizzeria), supermarkets (Pathmark) and downtown department stores (Woolworths!) used to anchor the business districts of downtown areas like my hometown of Somerville, NJ. Just before the economy completely tanked, the powers that govern Somerville used eminent domain to shut down the small shopping center where I hung out with my high school friends before there was a local mall (Bridgewater Commons). A local developer had convinced the community that the best use of the land would be upscale condos. Hey, I went to Somerville High School and didn't become upscale until long after I graduated from college and business school. Meanwhile, my 80-year-old mother and all of her friends had to find a new supermarket, traveling much farther to shop. The sad ending to the story, of course, is that there's a huge hole in the ground in Somerville, New Jersey, with chain link fences covered in signs announcing that the upscale community is coming soon. Um, right. So much for Made in America.

Thankfully, Alfonso's found a new location right on Main Street at the edge of the giant fenced-in pit, so Rex and I can still take our daughters out to enjoy a family dinner in Somerville, NJ, before their 4-H Prep meetings every couple of weeks. Other local businesses have sprouted up on Main Street in Somerville, bringing back a sense of community to a town that's been ripped up by "eminent domain."

Ramblers Way Farm is another local American business, headquartered in downtown Kennebunk, Maine, in a fully refurbished building that was originally build in 1792, is working hard to change the way American business is done. The same family founded Tom's of Maine in 1970 as one of the first makers of natural personal care products. After nearly 40 years of experience in building Tom's into a leading eco-friendly company, they have learned a lot about how a business can be a positive force for its consumers, workers, communities, and the planet.

On those principles, they started Ramblers Way with a desire to re-imagine wool as a supefine, next-to-skin fabric, to warm and comfort people of all ages and walks of life and to build a company and products upon their long-held values and beliefs. The Company sources, grows, and produces fine woolen apparel using 100% domestic resources, while maintaining high standards of ecological responsibility, community involvement, and customer satisfaction. Ramblers Way pays homage to Main Street America's rich history as a textile producer, while breathing new life into the domestic wool industry, through collaboration with farmers and producers around the United States. Ramblers Way Farm brought manufacturing facilities into distressed small towns, helping to revitalize the communities.

Let's hope Somerville, New Jersey, is able to turn Main Street into a viable business district once more.

Visit my sponsor: Made in America

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blast from the Past, 15 Years Back, Part III

The other night, I was flipping through an old (15 years old) journal, and posted pieces of an entry from July 20, 1995. Since I was a great deal more prolific when I was (lonely and) single, without a family to distract me, one 1995 journal entry equals three 2010 blog posts. Here's the gripping conclusion:

I like to underline things I read in books. From 'The Fatigue Artist:' "the Tai Chi teacher says the universe is a great system of vibrations we dras to us by our feelings: fear draws fear, love draws love." Sounds a little like Napoleon Hill. Think and grow rich. I always like new or consistent interpretations of how thing work... just as Nietzsche convinces me there is no god, I say a silent prayer for my plane to stay in the air. In the morning, as I walk to work, Penn Station up Seventh Avenue to 34th, east past Macy's, always past the Empire State Building, then I zigzag around to Park and 51st depending upon red lights, I use this time to think positive thoughts and get the positive energy to start the day right. Sometimes the vibe doesn't last very long... it's hard to work in an office on a sunny summer day. At The Firm I could lose track of the time of the day, day of the week, the seasons... but in the morning, I weave my fantasies about my career. On the way home, I dream about finding a husband to go home to.

"Because of what he showed me, he is mine forever. I can forgive him almost anything."

I can say that about a lot of men, most significantly Johnny Moneybags. Johnny helped me to believe in myself when I needed to most. The night he propositioned my boss' wife pales in comparison.

Also the Spud Stud. The Simple Life. He did a lot of things that hurt me, but he didn't mean to.

Mickey, my Vancouver Sex Slave. The Edge. He showed me how to give in to pleasures that wouldn't last, possibly because he believes that nothing lasts.

Even Curtis the Scuba Dude showed me things that I am grateful for...that I could forget Johnny Moneybags, at least for the moment. That I shouldn't take everything so seriously.

I guess that ties in to Mickey's theory that people who are not as driven and ambitious and intense as we are appear more youthful. But would I call it youthful (desirable) or immature (undesirable)?

On SUnday, thanks to Mickey's inspiration and Ellyn's reminders, I am taking a sailing lesson with Melissa in Atlantic Highlands. I look forward to the adventure, to discovering a new activity that I enjoy for itself, and to the opportunity to meet new people.

"I have no design; I make opportunity my design...I have no friends; I make my mind my friend."

I used to be that kind of a loner, but now I do need friends, I do need love. Someone to confirm that our existence means something. That the path I choose makes a difference (the road not taken would have led to a different, not necessarily better or worse, result, and the sum of these choices matters!)

"This was a juncture when life begged to be lived as art. That way, it could be tolerated." Almost midnight. Time for bed. I will continue tomorrow, in my beautiful new notebook. I have a lot to say.

Maddie's Tacos

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

It is, of course, a well-known fact that my kids are picky eaters. Lobsters, yes. Broccoli, no. Chicken fingers, yes. Grilled chicken, no. Tacos with ground beef, spices, lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa -- NO. Mission Flour Tortillas with shredded cheese and absolutely nothing else -- YES!!

So when I heard that Mission Foods is kicking off the summer with the Mission Menus Challenge, I thought my daughter, Maddie, might be interested in submitting her recipe for Maddie's Tacos. The contest started on June 28, 2010, when Chef Sara Moulton began to encourage consumers to submit their budget-friendly recipes to Mission for the chance to compete in a cook-off in Los Angeles and win a $10,000 dream kitchen makeover. The grand prize winner gets round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for two to the Mission Menus Challenge Cook-off on September 10, 2010 at the Hard Rock Café in Los Angeles.

All recipes must:
• Include Mission Flour Tortillas
• Be original
• Feed a family of five for $10 or less

Maddie and the rest of you have the chance to submit your recipe online until Monday, August 9th. Even if Maddie doesn't win the grand prize, there's a bunch of weekly prizes.

Kid-friendly and convenient, Mission Flour Tortillas contain 0 grams trans fat per serving and are cholesterol free. They are available in small (6"), medium (8") and large (10”) sizes in major grocery stores nationwide. I just picked up two packages of the large ones and five bags of shredded cheese (big sale, big appetite) at Shop Rite in Bernardsville, NJ, so that Maddie can try out her recipes on our family.

Mission Foods is proud to support Share Our Strength, the leading national organization committed to ending childhood hunger in America. You can help by visiting Mission Menus Challenge and learning more about Mission Foods commitment to Share Our Strength in supporting this life-changing cause.

Visit my sponsor: Mission Menus Challenge

Monday, July 26, 2010

Music Monday Glee Cast Singing Don't Stop Believing

London and Maddie are in the midst of their fourth summer at Annie's Playhouse Summer Stars camp, and this year, the theme for the Big Show is Glee. I guess I'm turning into an old sap, but whenever I get to camp early and catch the girls practicing, tears of pride well up in my eyes. In honor of my Broadway babies, here's my first Music Monday post in a long time: "Don't Stop Believing" by the Glee Cast.

Just a small town girl
Livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere

A singer in a smokey room
A smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching
In the night
Streetlights, people
Livin' just to find emotion
Hidin', somewhere in the night

Workin' hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin' anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching
In the night
Streetlights, people
Livin' just to find emotion
Hidin', somewhere in the night

[Instrumental Interlude]

Don't stop believin'
Hold on to the feelin'
Streetlights, people
Don't stop believin'
Hold on
Streetlights, people

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!

I Love Secrets!

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

While it can't compete with last month on stress and anguish, last week went really really badly for me, and everything broke:

  1. Our shower...dripping dripping dripping all night long like Chinese water torture.
  2. Our dishwasher. I used to think of myself as an investment banker. Now I'm just a housewife, scrubbing pots and pans all afternoon.
  3. Rex's Blackberry. Actually had a nice, positive experience getting a new one at AT&T Wireless in the Bridgewater Commons shopping mall.
  4. Our most important deal for our favorite client. Rex and I spent today trying to get it back on track. Fingers and toes crossed. Makes walking in flip flops on the beach a real challenge.

Every now and then, when I don't really have the time to spare but I feel like cheering myself up, I end up looking up old friends on Facebook. Last week was one of those times, and I reconnected with a girl I knew from my neighborhood when we were both in first grade. We kind of drifted apart, and even though we went to high school together, we hadn't kept in touch until I saw her on Facebook on another friend's list of friends from Somerville High School.

Anyway, it turns out we share a love of secrets, and my old friend Dottie pointed me towards the secret menu tab on the ampm Facebook page, with New Yums coming out every Monday starting today (July 26th), and running August 2nd, 9th, 16th and 30th. And next Monday, August 2nd, real people just like you and me can create our own ampm secret menu concoctions and post them right on Facebook. Check out the New Yums and leave a comment on this post with their favorite items and why you like them.

Visit my sponsor: ampm Secret Menu Items

Blast from the Past, 15 Years Back, Part II

Earlier this evening I was looking through one of my old journals, and happened upon an entry from almost exactly 15 years ago -- July 20, 1995 -- when I was a much different person... single and searching, having just purchased my first home in Somerset, New Jersey, and done some renovations including a deck and a hot tub.


So tonight I am out on my deck, hot tub burbling in the background, a single candle burning on my table while I write. Drank an Anchor Steam beer in memory of another time, another love, the Spud Stud. Wonder how he's doing, moved to Fresno now. We've tried to keep in touch, but he doesn't have much use for the telephone.

If I could have anything, what would it be? Love. A soulmate. But wuold i be willing to give up what I have? My career? My home? My intelligence? Not that one is always required to give up one thing to have another, but determining what I'd do for love is one way to place a value on it.

Everything else I have or truly seems within my reach.

When I wonder where people find love, I can only seem to come up with where I won't find it. Not at a bar. Not in a personal ad. Not through my current set of friends, but perhaps through the people I work with. Maybe at the beach. But that TV writer I met on the beach in Pt. Pleasant Beach last Saturday never called.

The bugs are making a lot of noise flying into the floodlights on my deck. At least they seem to be leaving me alone for the most part.

Of course, so do my friends. It often occurs to me that if I stop calling most of my friends, it is entirely possible that I would never hear from them again.

Ellyn, for example. Not that I want to talk to her now that I know how freely she talks behind my back. But I hold onto these high school friendships that I have outgrown... because sometimes they feel like the only ones I have. The ones I must turn to when I need someone to go out with on a weekend, or talk to in any depth about girl stuff. For the most part, they're willing to let me drone on with my mini-dramas. One time Melissa said, correctly I think, that I need to turn every situation into a drama.

Amazing what a new notebook can do for the writer in me. Four pages have been covered in words. "Is there a wordsmith in the house?" That line goes back to my days of wondering about the Slaughtered Lamb, caring about him and drawing intricate parallels between our lives and careers (Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, anyone?) Now he doesn't even bother to return my calls. That would hurt if I let it.

Buying Generic?

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

Do you buy generic products? Sometimes our family is extremely brand loyal, sometimes we'll buy whatever is on sale and/or with a (double) coupon, and occasionally we'll find that the generic or store brand is as good or better than the highly advertised and more expensive brand name.

Since my mom passed away last month, I find myself thinking about her in odd (well, not so odd if you knew her) situations... my mom always found a way to save money, and yesterday I stumbled across an article that was just the type of thing she would have clipped for me: 10 Products to Always Buy Generic. At the top of the list I found over-the-counter medications. While my doctors often recommend the generic prescription medication, I honestly hadn't given much thought to replacing Benadryl or Aleve with the store brand, but I guess the basic ingredients are the same and are produced by the brand name OTC drug companies anyway. Same goes for store brand formula. In the U.S., as stipulated by the Infant Formula Act, all infant formulas, whether brand name or generic, are subject to the same regulations which govern manufacturing and ingredients. So the store brand infant formulas sold at major retailers provide the same level of nutrition at a value price and must meet the same exacting FDA nutritional requirements, quality and safety standards as all the major brands.

I don't agree with #2 (cereal) on the list, though... when Roxy gets a hankering for Frosted Flakes, I need my Tony the Tiger telling me they're grrrrrreat and no generic store brand will do.

Visit my sponsor: 10 Products to Always Buy Generic

Blast from the Past, 15 Years Back

I happened upon an old journal entry from July 20, 1995, 9:15pm and thought I would share it with all of you:

Sucked in by another clever marketing scheme, I have a new notebook. Not that the old one was full, but, like Nietzsche, I feel compelled to start and stop, not necessarily chronologically, but wherever the mood strikes me. Today I bought three tiny notebooks, probably manufactured by the same people who brought me this one. I bought them... because they were small, with tiny pictures on them... a coffee cup, a butt-naked cupid, and the moon hugging/engulfing the sun. I'd burn incense tonight if I remembered where I keep it.

Finished 'The Fatigue Artist' by Lynne Sharon Schwartz tonight. Knowing it would run out soon, I bought another new hardcover, 'The Romantic Movement' by Alain de Botton, along with my bounty of notebooks, at the Barnes & Noble on 53rd and Third. I love bookstores, have high hopes of meeting my future husband in a bookstore. Hey... you never know. But today, no husband.

Speaking of husbands...
  1. Larry is having lunch with Bachelor #1 next Wednesday. Bachelor #1... tall, blonde, 37ish, VP/Development at Client K. Probably gay. I had my hopes up when he agreed to September 9th as our wedding day, but I haven't heard from him since.
  2. Bob has stepped into the husband search, possibly to offer up Bachelor #2, net worth $15-$25 million, a partner with financial player Client C.
  3. (dare I say it under "speaking of husbands?") I spoke with Johnny Moneybags yesterday. He's free again, must have recently kicked Stewardess out of his townhouse (or moved out just to get away from her?) We're both going to the NAB Radio Show in New Orleans. I still miss the days when we could talk forever about anything. I guess every woman has someone like Johnny Moneybags... in her life, in her past, in her heart. Certainly Erica Jong. In 'Fatigue Artist,' Laura had Q. Ayn Rand would write about men like Francisco & John Galt & Howard Roark... but were her words inspired by a muse she could not tame?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hey All You Single Ladies

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

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, it has been a long time since Roxy's been on the dating scene. In fact, Rex and I have been together fifteen years and will celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary this year in September. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about nine-year-old London and eight-year-old Maddie dating just yet... my daughters' first dates will probably change my Wii Fit Age to at least eighty-two.

For now, though, I've been reconnecting with a bunch of friends from high school, and several of them are recently divorced and trying to find someone new. We're all at the age when it would feel silly, particularly given the ages of our children, to try to meet someone in a bar, and you can't count on finding Mister Right through mutual friends either. So for all you single ladies out there, including my recently divorced high school buddies, why not check out (you've gotta love the name) and, two new adult dating services just recently launched. Both of the newly launched web sites offer silver and gold levels of paid membership upgrades, plus cool features that set them apart...including some newly single celebrities who are looking for love. It sure beats going out on a series of bad blind dates!

If you give one of these online dating sites a try and have a story to tell, please tell Roxy all the naughty details by leaving a comment on this post.

Visit my sponsor: All the single ladies (and men)...

Turning Over Another New Leaf

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, the last two months have been very stressful for me, and I've gotten out of shape and out of the habit of a healthy diet and exercise program. This morning my Wii told me that my Wii Fit Age is 60, so I'm afraid it's time to get back on track with an exercise, diet and overall fitness program. Today it was too hot to do much of anything... Rex, London, Maddie and I went out to see Toy Story 3 in Rockaway, NJ, and picked up a few things at the mall.

Tomorrow, however, I intend to start the process of hydrating and detoxifying my body, with a renewed commitment to working out on the Wii fit (I'm surprisingly good at hula hooping!) and the elliptical trainer. If I stick to my program for three months and my Wii Fit Age gets closer to my real age, I'll treat the family to a weight machine for my birthday.

Friday, July 09, 2010

A Stern Reprimand Coming from the King

Today Rex got a call from the client I refer to as The King, saying that he was writing us a memo about everything we've done wrong over the past few months. I've been reflecting upon the relative importance/priorities of different areas in my life since my mom passed away last month, and the pending reprimand caused me to harken back to this post from late April of this year...

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...

Our Next Washington DC Trip

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

I know I haven't (yet) written a nice long post about our long Fourth of July Weekend in Washington, DC, and my Uncle Joe's memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery....but we're already thinking about our next trip to our nation's capitol. One of my friends, who has high school aged children, suggested that we wait a couple of years, since she took her kids on "the Washington DC trip" when they were 9 and 8 (London and Maddie's current ages) and now her teenagers don't remember a thing. We really enjoyed the fireworks on the mall, and visitied the Air & Space Museum and a couple of the other Smithsonian branches, but it was too hot to take it all in. Our family has entered the Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes where every day Hampton Hotels is giving away a free weekend stay at any Hampton Hotel. If we're really lucky, we could actually win an entire hotel for a weekend (100 rooms for two nights) to share with all of our friends!
Click Here


Now, if I won a free weekend stay for my family, we'd stay at the Hampton Inn Washington DC Convention Center conveniently located at 901 6th Street, NW... but if I won an entire hotel for a weekend, maybe I'd choose a Hampton Hotel near the Roxiticus Valley -- say Denville, New Jersey -- and invite 100 of my closest friends to come and party with me. Or add a little adventure to Rex's next family reunion by hosting Rex's whole family at a Hampton Hotel in North Carolina or New Mexico.

Click any of the links in this post to enter for your very own chance to win...and if any of my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers win the whole hotel for a weekend, I'm expecting an invitation!

Visit my sponsor: Win a free Weekend Stay

Congratulations Mendham Little League 12-Year-Old Girls Softball All-Stars!

You go girls! Mendham defeated Morristown National 5-1 at Veterans' field in Morristown to capture the District 1 championship.

"We lost our first game in pool play, but since then we won every game," head coach Lori Margiotta said. "I'm so proud of them. They've just improved from when the tournament started two weeks ago to now. They didn't let that first loss get them down and they kept playing."

Mendham struck early with a run in the bottom of the first. First baseman Emma Corbett reached first with a single to center field. After she stole second, she attempted to take third, forced a throwing error from Morristown National, and came around to score.

Morristown National tied the ball game at 1-1 when Alexa Grniet hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Morgan Katona from third base.

Mendham responded in the bottom of the fourth inning when Corbett reached on a walk, proceeded to swipe second and third base before being driven in by a ground out from Irene Margiotta, giving Mendham a 2-1 lead.

Mendham capitalized on a few Morristown-National miscues in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Margiotta, Mendham's starter, some insurance runs. Erin Lanahan and Jamie Shirt both reached base on back-to-back bunt singles. Lanahan scored on an error, giving Mendham a 3-1 lead.

Three batters later, Margiotta stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and ripped a double to center field, plating Sammie DiMaio and Nikki Skuraton, giving Mendham a 5-1 lead.

"It was a 2-0 count and from pitching I know a lot about counts and when pitchers need to throw a strike," Irene Margiotta said. "So I just wanted to make contact with it and it just felt really great hitting it to center field." Margiotta allowed only two hits while striking out six batters over six innings of work. "She came through with a big hit," Lori Margiotta. "We needed it, I tell you,. With this team, they're such good hitters. They hit up and down the lineup. The one run was just not enough. Those couple runs relaxed them in the sixth inning. It was really important."

Mendham will now prepare for the Section 1 Tournament, which begins next week. Good luck, Mendham!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Paint the Town Pink

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

On June 1st, 2010, Glidden Paint launched a “Get Color, Give Color Giveaway” of its Ready-to-Go Paint Testers. If you are not one of Glidden's lucky winners, you can always test drive your favorite color with Glidden’s inexpensive paint testers available in any Home Depot location. Glidden’s paint testers are unique because they include a handy brush in the lid. The testers save money and time by allowing would-be decorators to try out the actual paint color before making a commitment to buy all of the paint necessary for your project. For those of you with naughty little children, Glidden's paint testers are the perfect way to quickly touch up scrapes, stains, and incidents involving mom's permanent magic markers. Glidden testers are much easier to store than big old messy, half-used cans of paint.

If you'd like to practice online before going out to the store to start your project, just visit the Glidden site to try out the Glidden Room Painter options. I've already shared a few of my styles with friends on can also use Facebook and other social media sites. Then get out to Home Depot and find ideas quickly with Glidden's Top 10 Color Palettes (assembled by color experts to express your personality) and XL paint chips (with two coordinating color options right on the back). Now that I've tried the great Glidden colors and quality paint online, I'm inspired to paint Roxy's town PINK and get out to Home Depot to get started on my next painting project using Glidden paint.

Follow me (@RoxiticusDH) on Twitter to hear more about the latest Glidden #GetColor promotions.

Visit my sponsor: Glidden

Go Mendham Little League 12-Year-Old Girls Softball All Stars!!

Mendham's 12 year old girls softball all star team is playing in the
District 1 championship against Morristown National (AGAIN) tonight (Thursday, July 8th). The game is at 6:00 PM in Morristown at Veteran's Field (Hanover Road and Jane's Way). Please come out and support the team!

Saturday, July 3rd was a day to remember for the Mendham Little League 12-Year-Old Girls Softball All Stars, when they advanced to the District 1 championship with a 3-1 victory against rival Morristown National in the opening round of the double-elimination District 1 tournament.

Nikkey Skuraton, who celebrated her 13th birthday on Saturday, had two hits and scored two runs. Her second hit was an RBI single that snapped a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning, leading to the game-winning, two-run rally. In the field, Skuraton saved the day with a diving snare of a groundball that was headed up the middle for a certain two-run single that would have tied the game. All told, Skuraton made the plays that gave Mendham the triumph over Morristown National, allowing Mendham to move on in the winner's bracket and sending the defending District 1 champs to the loser's bracket.

Skuraton's first run came in the top of the sixth inning, giving the Mendham girls a brief 1-0 lead in what was a consummate pitching duel between Mendham's Irene Margiotta and Morristown National's Morgan Katona, who matched goose eggs for most of the afternoon. With two outs, Skuraton singled, stole second and raced all the way around to score on a throwing error. With the way the two pitchers were posting zeroes, it appeared to be enough to give Mendham the victory over the same team that defeated them three times a year ago, including one epic 16-inning game. However, Morristown National was undaunted and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, sending the contest into extra innings.

Morristown catcher Lauren Champi -- who stopped two runs from scoring with sensational blocks of the plate, nailing two Mendham runners trying to score in the process -- led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and moved to second on a grounder. She got to third on a wild pitch and scored on Meg Donlin's sacrifice fly, tying the game at 1-1 and extending the game for a few more innings.

Mendham hurler Margiotta, a lanky right-hander was superb all day, limiting the defending district champs to just three singles over the eight innings, walking two and striking out 13. "I watch a lot of Major League games and I want to model myself after some of the (players) who remain calm under pressure," Margiotta said. She mentioned Yankee closer Mariano Rivera as a role model, as well as Team USA softball standout Monica Abbott.

The Mendham All-Stars mounted the game-winning rally in the eighth, again doing so with two outs. Sammie DiMaio, the smallest player on the field, laid down a perfect bunt for a hit and then quickly stole second. Up stepped the birthday girl. "I was thinking that I couldn't strike out there," Skuraton said. "I was trying to drive the ball. I put my bat on the ball and it just went." It sure did, sailing to right-center field, scoring DiMaio with the go-ahead run. Skuraton then scored on Emma Corbett's RBI single and Mendham had a 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Morristown National made one last attempt of a comeback, getting the tying run to second base with two outs. But Donlin's drive up the middle was snared by a Skuraton dive, who got up, made the throw to first in time and ended the contest. "It was a big-league play," head coach Lori Margiotta said. "She saved the game."

"Nikkey's a great player and I knew she was going to handle it," Irene Margiotta said. "We've been playing together and we've always been close. I knew that she was going to make that play. It's always a challenge with Morristown. By showing we could pull this off showed great determination."

I'm new to Little League and don't have the best understanding of how these things work, but apparently Morristown National would have to beat Mendham twice, while Mendham only needs to beat Morristown once more (tonight) to advance to the state tournament.

Go Mendham All-Stars!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Good Old Days??

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

In September, Rex and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. That's twelve years of not having to date... the old fashioned way that we did things before there was such a thing as virtual dating. I remember going out on blind dates, feeling like I was doing it just to entertain my girlfriends. The one thing all of them (until Rex) had in common was that the boys found ways to avoid feeding me. Endless drinks, yes... but no more than a basket of chips or a cup of peanuts at the bar. Now, all of this can be prevented... there's a new social dating site called Smingle that offers cool interactive elements, cutting edge features and communication tools. invests in the member experience and therefore offers a variety of creative and refreshing ways to date...

I checked it out as a favor to all of my single readers, and found that without leaving the comfort of your own home (and your own refrigerator and microwave oven), you can:

  • Play “get to know me” games like Love Match to see if you match
  • Create a fun 3D avatar that looks just like can customize by changing your clothes, your hair, etc... and no one would ever lie about their looks online
  • Even better, your lifelike 3D avatar can do the flirting for you and respond naturally to typed text (if you're single, you’ve just got to try this and let me know how it works)

I can see why virtual dating can be addictive, it seems like an intuitive way to chat and get to know each other better before you rush off to meet, saving everyone time and money and avoiding some of the disappointment.

According to THS Investigates, virtual dating helps curb the dangers of online dating by allowing people to get to know each other better before meeting in person. Virtual dating technology is extremely women-friendly, especially when compared with webcams and other technologies that may pose a danger. Or when compared to REAL DATING, which surely poses a danger!

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day -- 4th of July in Washington, DC

Happy Independence Day!

An apology to all of my readers who have come here seeking locations and times for local fireworks displays in and around the Roxiticus Valley (Somerset and Morris Counties, NJ). While I've kept track of the parades and fireworks in years past, this year we headed to the beach right after my mom's memorial service and then down to Washington, DC for the fireworks. As you can see from the photo on the left, we had a spectacular view of the fireworks on the mall from our room on the 10th floor of the JW Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

We're in DC until Tuesday for a memorial service in honor of my Uncle Joe, a World War II veteran who passed away back in January at the age of 90.