It's Monday. Boo.

The weekend was nice.  The weather was beautiful.  I even had time to watch squirrels.  I love squirrels.

But, now it's Monday.  Yuck, I hate Monday.  Monday is stupid.

I've already had two rather weird phone calls at work this morning.  One involved crying, and the other - getting chewed out, basically, for no reason.

On a lighter note, I went to Shakespeare this weekend.  While I enjoyed the experience and being there, the play Greater Tuna was not what I was expecting.  The humor just wasn't my style (or Doug's for that matter).  This lady kept cackling in the background and I spilled my wine everywhere.  Okay, just a disclaimer, I'm not a pessimist.  Really.

But, Sunday - Sunday was a nice day!  The weather was lovely, and Doug and I decided to blow off homework for a few hours to spend some quality time together.  It was lovely.  We went shopping, relaxed for a bit, and just enjoyed our afternoon.  Then, Doug had to make a mad scramble to get his homework done.  In a student's life, time is of the essence...and, well, we didn't make the best use of our homework time.  But, oh was worth it. :)

On a side note, I think I might be a libertarian.  I have to look into that.


Well, it has been an uber-eventful weekend, as always. And I am not going to lie, I am not altogether looking forward to going to work tomorrow.

Actually, I really just want to quit working and do lots and lots of k's. But in an ideal world...

The engagement partay was last weekend, and that, too was a hectic and crazy weekend. Aido drives down from QLD, I go to my cousin Amanda's engagement party that evening, Saturday we do 5hours on the bike when its about 33 degrees out, go home, get changed, go out to have a romantic thai dinner at Beecroft, wake up, do more k's, have family lunch with Sue, Morrie, my nephews-in-law, mum and dad, get changed, go to Mosman, have crazy party, get home in wee hours of morning and play tag-team 'hug toilet bowl'. Oh well, the couple that plays together...!

Monday was hectic at work, a definate 'dark glasses at the desk' day, as I went to the bathroom around midday and was hugging my knees as the room was still spinning. Crazy stuff!

The rest of the week went quite fast, and included a crazy night time ergo that left me almost vomiting, and a lot of walking in the balmy afternoons.

This weekend, once again, was epically hectic. Finished work on friday and capped it off with after-work beer (or vodka!). V tame. Saturday was epic, 3hr30 ride with many bobbo repeats, to the beach, where I hung out with Andee and Kelsee. We walked from Harbord, to the beach, to Emporio (whoo hoo- weekend highlight!) to the other end of Manly, back to the beach, and then because I had to cycle another 1hr30 to get home, I walked back to Harbord, got my stuff, then had to ride back to Manly to give Andy his house key back. EPIC!

I was shagged and heat affected when I got home. THen Sue and I went to see Mamma Mia at the mall, and I absolutely inhaled a whole serve of massive pad thai noodles. Note to self: EAT MORE ON BIKE!

Today was awesome weather, hot again. I realised that I have a triangle bikini tan from the beach yesterday. I rode up to Beauie, feeling Av-er-age, but decided to race B grade anyway. First time, went okay I guess, I did sit up at the end, as I didn't really want to get involved in a hubbard sprint. And it hurt and there was dangerous chopping going on going into the final strait.

Anyway, rode home. Not an epic day but quality plus. Owch. Still head affected. Had some salad, felt better. Did the groceries, cleaned my bike and here I am, burnt and not looking forward to the 9-5 drag for another week. UGH.

Would you like fries with that Botox?

In my absence, here's a little post from days gone by....

It seems like every time I go to my mailbox I get a flier for a new medical spa opening at a strip mall near me! Before too long there will be as many medispas in my little corner of suburbia as there are McDonald's and Starbucks.

The competition is so fierce that there are price wars!

Botox $9 a unit!
Complimentary Microdermasweep ($250 value) for first time clients! $100 off Juvederm! Restylane Only $400 Per Syringe! (Can you tell I saved the fliers?)

If they really want my business this is what they need to do. Combine McDonald's with a medispa. Set up a drive-thru window that offers Botox, fountain Diet-Coke and Happy Meals. This way I can pull up in my minivan with my kids strapped in their seats playing Nintendo DS. I can order them each some Chicken McNuggets and fries, get myself a soda, stick my head out the window, get shot up and go on my merry way, with my children fed and my face looking refreshed and wrinkle free!

I'm telling you this idea is pure genius! (If I do say so myself.)

If there are any investors interested in opening a franchise, you know where to reach me!
In the meantime, I'll be socking away my little fliers in my file drawer, waiting for the day that Botox comes down to $2 a unit.

I think I'll stick to tennis and gerbil stories...

That last post went over like a lead balloon. Oh well, you win some you lose some.

I'll have plenty of time to get over it the next four days, when Brad and I are on our romantic "10th Wedding Anniversary Getaway!"

My Mom flew up from Florida and we're leaving her in charge while we head up to a mountain lodge in the Catskills for a little quality couples time.

I'm going to need some R & R after all the preparations I've had to do the past few days, you know the drill, stocking the fridge, showing Grandma the lay of the land, writing down phone numbers, getting out insurance information, packing... I think I'm too tired to go away. (NOT!!)

I'll throw up a few old posts to keep the blog lively while I'm away.

In the meantime, here's the latest topic for Collage.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer for New York Magazine. (Yeah, I know, enough already!)

I can't wait to see what you have to say!

What's Wrong with this Picture?

The New York Magazine Article regarding the Lehman Brothers situation has hit the newsstand. I carefully read the article and there was absolutely no mention of yours truly.
Can you believe it??

I was still clinging to the hope that this could be my big break. This is how I pictured it reading...

"We contacted Jill Y. a blogger and stay at home mom from New Jersey who is close friends with an executive affected by the recent developments at Lehman Brothers. Mrs. Y. refused to dish any dirt on her friend's unfortunate situation and we have great respect for that.

Her blog "Caffeine Court" is an wonderful collection of amusing anecdotes from a suburban housewife with a knack for finding humor in everyday situations. Her tennis stories, in particular, are full of drama and excitement.
The editors here at New York Magazine are so impressed with her writing skills that we have decided to offer her a position as a features writer in our "Lifestyles" section.
Kudos to you Mrs. Y, and welcome aboard."

No such luck.

If you're interested in checking out the REAL it is, "The Rage of the Previously Rich."

And guess what New York Magazine, I wouldn't take a job at your magazine even if you DID ask me!!!
I'm in training to be the Dara Torres of the tennis world....2012 Olympics here I come!

Collage Alert!

There's a new topic up for discussion on Collage.

What makes you happy?


Here's an article from our local paper...

Woman faces $8G in fines for gerbils

MIDDLETOWN: A township woman charged with abandoning three gerbils and a hamster in a wooded area in the township is facing up to $8,000 in fines.

Wendy Fiolek, 38, was charged with animal abandonment and failure to provide sustenance and shelter to the creatures, which had been household pets, said Victor "Buddy" Amato, chief humane law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Eatontown.

The charges, all disorderly persons offenses, are scheduled to be heard Oct. 8 in Municipal Court, according to the summonses issued on Wednesday.

The small rodents had been put in a cardboard box and left in the woods by Sleepy Hollow Road, Amato said.

"A youngster walking a dog heard them scratching, and that's how they were found," Amato said. A shipping invoice with Fiolek's address also was found inside the box.

When he first questioned her about the rodents, Fiolek said her daughter had previously owned gerbils, but they had been given to "a good home," Amato said.

She ultimately admitted leaving the animals in the box because her daughter didn't take care of them, he said.

I love that she tried to deny it at first and then cracked under the pressure of questioning!

It's better than what happened to our hamsters. The cat got one of them and the daschund got the other. Poor Hansel and Gretel. I still feel bad about it!

I'll bet that kid's in big trouble now! First she doesn't take care of her gerbils and now Mom has to pay an $8,000 fine. I think someone is grounded for life.

It's been awhile...

And so, it's been quite awhile since I have found solace in my little corner of the web.

Things have been rather exciting lately, or at least there is promise of excitement in the near future!

School has been dully hectic and quite strenuous.  I find myself ready to collapse at the end of the day, out of sheer mental exhaustion.  My constant need for perfection is really wearing me down.  I am trying - really - to chill a bit, let things come as they will, and be satisfied with what I am able to get done.  I can't be perfect.

Doug has been very busy as well with his graduate assistantship.  He has really found his niche in research, but I think it may take a bit for the initial drudgery to subside and for him to be able to really be "in his element".  He is doing well in grad school and I'm proud of the dedication that he shows to his studies.

We have the extreme fortune of being able to spend our busy time together.  I am thankful daily that we are both in similar situations in our lives and availability.  A lot of our time together isn't necessarily quality time - but at least we're together.

We recently learned that we will be spending the summer of 2009 in South Korea teaching ESL.  I'm so excited (and nervous) - I'm really looking forward to this adventure!  Doug bought me a book about South Korea and I can't wait to learn about the culture and the people.  We will be able to travel around South East Asia at the end of our trip - we'll be heading to Cambodia, Thailand, possibly Indonesia - and wherever else we have time for!

I'm so excited for the upcoming year - graduation, South Korea, growth in my relationship and growth as a person.

It's Back to School Night!!! And a good time was had by all...

The following is one of those posts that could come back and bite me in the ass. I'm going to live dangerously and post it anyway...

Yes indeed, tonight was Back to School night at my 9 year old daughter's middle school. This year I decided to play it low key, so I wore a cute hoodie with jeans. My hair was clean and brushed, and I had on a little Chapstick. I should have known better. Usually I plan out my outfit, and throw on some blush and mascara, but I'm still not completely recovered from my bout with strep, so quite frankly, I didn't FEEL like getting all dolled up to parade around the school.

Anyway, just as I figured, everyone had on their cute little "casual" ensembles. Their hair was nicely styled, and they had makeup and jewelry on.

I'm surprised no one asked me about the gym class I teach, or to take out the trash.

Luckily I can redeem myself at Back to School Night at the elementary school this Thursday. Believe you me, I am going to look SMOKIN!

As we were leaving my daughter's classroom I was chatting with one of the other moms in the class. This mom is a real tough cookie. She is the Principal's worst nightmare. Although she stays at home she has a Master's in Education so she knows it all. Anyway, she says to me "Rachel* is really impressed that Meg goes on "You Tube" she talks about it all the time. She is really impressed by that!" Okay lady, I get your point.

Now I'll admit to you. I let my daughters go on "You Tube" under my supervision. They like to watch "Fred." (If you don't know who he is, check him out, it's this kid named Lucas from Nebraska, he's hilarious.) They also like "Charlie bit my finger." (Once again, go look at it for yourself.) I let them look at goofy stuff like boxing cats or a dog rock band. I have filters on my computer, so they aren't watching porn. Every once in a while Fred says "Frickin." But I'm okay with that.

I read a statistic that by the time most children are 12 they've watched over 10,000 murders on TV. Now that shocked me! I don't let my children watch any shows with sex or violence, but a little goofy humor on "You Tube" is okay with me.

The problem is, my daughter really likes Rachel* and wants to have her over. Now I'm wondering if her Mom will let her, because "Meg goes on "You Tube." My husband is completely against "You Tube." I guess most parents are.

What is a "bad mother" to do???

Seriously, I want to know what you think. Should I cut her off from "You Tube" completely?

I'm not scared of what she sees. (Maybe I'm naive.) But I don't want her to get a bad reputation.

Back to School Night sucks.

*Not her real name

The first topic of discussion is up on Collage!

I've posted the first topic of discussion on Collage.

What is it? Surprise,'s THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!

You know I just HAD to go there.

My post is up. If any members of the new blog would like to contribute, head on over.

If you want an invite...please send me your e-mail account.

Let the political discussion begin!!

P.S. If you signed up and haven't done your intro yet, start with that, or incorporate it into your posting so everyone knows who you are!

Oh and by the way...Caffeine Court is still in business. I'm just spending some time working on our group effort, then I'm heading back to work on my solo gig. I'm kind of like Sting and Phil Collins.

The ball is now rolling!

I got all excited about my new project, so I went ahead and picked a name. The new blog is called "Collage."

I chose the name because a collage is a work of art composed of elements not normally associated with one another.

If you've already signed up, you'll get an invitation in the next day or so.

Our first project is a roll call, so we know who the players are. My sister has already pegged me as the Barbara Walters of the group. I'm not very happy about that. I wanted to be Whoopie!

Once you get your invite, cruise on over to Collage and introduce yourself.

We already have a great group!

(And it's never too late to sign up, I have room for 100 people!!)

Wanna join my team?

You all know how I love team sports, so I've decided I want to expand it to blogging.

When I mentioned that all your comments reminded me of "The View" I started thinking of how interesting it is to get lots of different perspectives on life, current events, fashion, finances, or whatever topic we feel like dishing about.

That being said, I want to do create a "Team Blog." Every few days, I'll choose a subject and people on the team can contribute their own post on the topic. You don't have to post on every subject, just the stuff that moves you.

Just like "The View, I would love to get a real cross section of contributors. So I'll need a Whoopie, a Barbara, an Elisabeth, a Gilligan, a Skipper, (oh shoot wrong show.)

Anyway, you get the gist of it.

Who's with me on this?

If you want to join Team Jill, leave a comment with your e-mail address, and a suggestion for the blog's name (if you have one.)

Once I find out who's on board we'll get this project rolling.



Mom needs her Mommy!!

I want to thank you for all your very insightful comments on my "divorce on grounds of boredom" post.

I felt like I was on "The View" only I didn't have to deal with all those annoying egomaniacs.

But seriously, you all had such wise words. We should write a book on marriage and commitment.

Okay, enough of that deep stuff, let's talk about me...

I was so sick on Saturday. High fever, burning sore throat, swollen glands and a horrible headache. I could barely lift my head off the pillow. It was BAD! I kept falling asleep and then waking up PARCHED. I had to use my cell phone to call my husband downstairs so he would bring me a glass of OJ. Sometimes he would actually answer my call.

It was so bad that I had to rely on him to watch the girls all day, until three o'clock when he had to take a tennis lesson and hit golf balls. There's only so much daddy time this dude can handle!

Granted, he is a hard worker, he loves to do yard work, fix things, he leaves for work at 6:30 every morning, but watching the girls is not his strong suit. We compliment each other very well, except when I'm out of commission.

I am a complete control freak when it comes to my 5 year old's safety, but I was absolutely incapable of checking on her. I had no choice but to put my faith in my 9 year old and my husband. Trust me, that means I was in REALLY bad shape.

Fast forward 24 hours, I still have a sore throat, but I feel 100% better! What a relief to get up,

shower and get out of my nasty, germ covered pjs! I think I'm going to burn them.

In the old days, being sick meant dozing on the couch while mom would feel my forehead and bring me ginger ale and soup. Those days are long over.

From now on I'm doubling up on echinacea, hand sanitizer and Vitamin C.

Being sick is far too stressful!

Let's welcome a new blogger to our little club!

A person very near and dear to my heart has just started a blog.

Go check her out and give her some positive reinforcement!

You can find her at SimplyNotSo.

Tell her that her big sis sent you!

(Oh and if she tells any stories about me, don't believe a word she says, she's a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR!)

I love you, but I'm not "in love" with you...

As much as I hate to talk about it, I'm officially middle aged (if I live to 86). This is the time in life when people typically assess where they are, what they've accomplished and whether or not they've achieved their dreams. If they aren't happy with what they see and feel the result is...A FULL BLOWN MID-LIFE CRISIS.

Perhaps this is the cause of a trend in my town. It seems to be all the rage to seek a divorce due to boredom, not feeling in love anymore, or falling in love with someone else.

I don't live in other people's homes, so I don't know the circumstances that go on behind closed doors, but this trend seems to be reaching epidemic proportions.

Where I live, the person who dumps their spouse ends up in the small house. The person who got dumped gets to keep the big house. I call my neighborhood "the divorce neighborhood" because it seems all our new neighbors end up here after their marriages break up.

One woman who moved in about a year ago is giddy with joy after leaving her husband. "I'm a passionate person, " she tells us, "and I wasn't passionate about my marriage anymore. I've decided to get rid of anything in my life that gives me a headache." Hmmm.

Maybe I'm being too judgemental, but that sounds really harsh to me! They have 3 kids!

I can totally see leaving someone if they cheat on you, or beat you. But because you're bored?

I think we all get bored. I know I get on my husband's nerves lots of times, and sometimes my tennis stories get old. (Thanks to all of you for listening to them!) My husband talks about his work alot, and I have to remind him to change the subject, but am I going to leave him because of it?

And of course there's the sex thing. They say men are predisposed to cheat. It's in their genes to try to spread their seed wherever they can. "We're all animals after all!"

Sounds like a bunch of bull to me. We're predisposed to take a dump in the woods too, but we potty train our children so we can be civilized and do it on the toilet. You can't do that with a dog. We might be animals, but we are supposedly intelligent animals that are capable of reasoning and choosing between right and wrong.

Everyone (I think) longs for the excitement of new love, the first kiss, the flirting, going on fun dates, making out on the couch...okay, I'm getting carried away here. But I would never trade my husband in to go back to all that stuff. Am I saying we never make out on the couch anymore? Pretty much, yes. But we really SHOULD, I'm sure it would be fun. Too bad the laptop seems to get in the way of that these days! (Stay tuned for my husband's upcoming post, "My wife's blog ruined my sex life!")

Sometimes marriage is easier than others. Mine definitely goes through phases. Some days things are great and we're all happy as clams. Other times it can turn on a dime, and we CANT STAND each other. But we know it's cyclical, so we just wait for the good feelings to come back. And we don't bail.

Maybe the people living in my neighborhood couldn't get past the bad days. Who knows? I'm not going to ask them, but I can't help but feel bad when I see the sad looks on the faces of the ones living in the "big house", the one they all lived in together as a family, before it got BORING.

Friend update...

I forgot to mention this earlier, but my friend who's husband thought he lost his job as of Monday was granted a reprieve!

Barclays purchased a portion of Lehman Brothers including U.S banking, fixed income, equities, trading, investment baking and research divisions, so for the time being, he (and many other people) still has a job!

Great news for my buddy, but it's still scary. The economy is such a mess right now.

I will not be taking calls from reporters regarding this latest development.

I won the lottery!!

I got picked in the "lottery" to be class mom for Catherine's kindergarten class.

If you've ever been a class mom I'm sure you know that whoever your co-class mom is can make or break the entire experience.

It's like a marriage, or business partnership. The right chemistry is crucial.

I am a lucky lady, because my co-pilot is AWESOME.

I can tell that we are going to have a very good year. She's laid back, normal and cooperative.

When Meg was in First Grade I shared my class mom duties with a "super mom. " She was a pre-school teacher who would bake and decorate homemade cookies for the class just for the fun of it. She would send in goody bags for every holiday (including Groundhog Day and President's Day) she chaired about fifty different different committees and had four children all about a year apart in age. She was also extremely upbeat and always peppy.

In a way it was great. I could pretty much sit back and let her handle everything, The only problem was, if I had a suggestion, she would get a funny look on her face. It was her way or the highway. Since I don't have a huge ego about things like my class mom image. (My tennis ego is a different story.) I just followed orders and things went very smoothly.

I glanced around the room today at and looked at some of the people that could have been my partner. Some of them were complete nightmares.

Then I looked at my partner (do I sound gay?) and felt such relief.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (Unless of course, she just LOOKS normal and secretly she's a control freak, psycho mom who likes to do foam crafts and have birthday parties in her backyard for 100 kids who all get homemade t-shirts that she spent all night making.)

But I'm not even going to go there...

How the day is going...


For tennis lovers only...

Time for another tennis vent.

Today I subbed in a group I used to play with regularly. I stopped playing with them because they don't really like to play fast paced tennis. They hate when the person at net hits an overhead and they freak if the ball comes AT them too fast. I like fast paced doubles, so I opted out of the group. Since they reached out to me today, I figured I'd jump in and enjoy and hour and a half of free tennis.

Anyway, a woman who I played singles against Monday. (She beat me 6-0, 6-1) was one of my opponents today. She's a very good player, but she likes to play little head games. I'll call her Betty.

At one point in the match I attempted to hit a hard shot down the alley from the baseline. My ball went a little to the right and came straight at Betty's chest. She stuck out her racquet and deflected the ball, winning the point. She had a really pissy look on her face and she hissed, "That was RIGHT AT MY HEAD!!"

Cut me a break lady. I never try to hurt anyone, you won the point, get over it.

Fast forward to a break. My other opponent, we'll call her Veronica, let us all feel her stomach. She was just getting back to playing after a tummy tuck. We all oohed and ahhed about how hard and flat her stomach was and complimented her on how great she looks.

We then resumed play. I'm at net and my opponent hits a ball at me, HARD. (It's okay when they do it.) I stick out my racquet and the ball flies at Veronica the tummy tuck lady, ricochets off her racquet and hits her in the belly.

I could tell she was alright, and I joked "good thing your stomach is so hard!" No one laughed. My opponents just pursed their lips and shook their heads and looked at each other as if to say, "can you believe this psycho tried to bash you in your tummy tuck, ON PURPOSE."

For a few games I played very gentle tennis, so as not to offend Veronica and Betty. After I hit a few bloopers that they returned very easily, I decided I wasn't going to play the game they wanted me to play, I was going to play MY game. We ended up winning the third set 6-1.

I find it very annoying. If you're afraid of the ball, don't go to net. If you DO go to net, keep your eye on the ball, keep your feet moving, and shut your pie hole.

DON'T tell me how to hit the ball so you can return it. The object of the game is hitting the ball so your opponent CAN'T return it. Seriously, read the rule book, that's the whole point of the game. If you want to sit around and chat invite me to lunch.

Do I make myself clear?

Delusions of Grandeur...

So I received an e-mail today from a Contributing Editor at New York Magazine. It read, "I enjoy your blog and would love to speak about a piece I'm working on."

So I start thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder what he's writing about?? Perhaps a piece on suburban housewives who drink too much Diet Coke, play tennis and spend lots of time on the computer! I've hit the big time, my blog is going to be FAMOUS!!!"

I called him right back.

Guess what? He WASN'T writing a piece on hyperactive, minivan driving, Jersey moms. He was writing a piece on Lehman Brothers and wanted to pump me for information on my friend and any other people I know who are out on their ass.

He asked alot of questions about my friend..."Was her husband pretty high up in the company?" "They must have lived a pretty affluent lifestyle, huh?" "Is she panicking?" "Are they going to be able to make it through the next few months without a salary?"

I wasn't going to go there. It's not my place to speak for the people who lost their jobs. I can only speak for myself.

Bottom line, if any of you Contributing Editors out there want to write a
feature on the masterpiece known as "Caffeine Court" you know where to find me!

Summer cyclist, winter cyclist.

In winter you put on your cycling kit as fast as possible, pulling up armwarmers and kneewarmers as quickly as possible to ensure minimal coldness.

In summer, you contemplate how to make your cycling kit more airy. dressing takes about 7 seconds. After all, how long can a jersey and knicks take to get on?

In winter you spend an hour of a two hour ride warming up.

In summer you spend the entire ride with your jersey open trying to keep cool.

In winter your after-ride coffee consists of the largest, hottest possible drink so you can wrap your fingers around the mug to keep warm.

In summer your after-ride coffee tends to taste salty, from the sweat coming from your head, down your nose into the cup.

In winter, it's all about accessorising lights, warmers, kit...

In summer, noone gives a shit about accessories - just make sure there's two bottle cages on my bike!

In winter, your glasses fog up from steam coming from your mouth.

In summer your glasses get grimy from sweat.

Hold on to your pennies!

Economy wise (and in many other ways) we live in some pretty scary times.

As you've probably heard, Lehman Brothers has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

This has hit families in my town pretty hard. A friend of mine called me this morning with her voice shaking. Her husband is out of a job with no severance and no salary. So are thousands of other Lehman employees.

Now they are all competing with each other for whatever jobs are available in their areas of expertise.

Imagine, having you or your husband's source of income cut off, with virtually no safety net.

Hearing my friend's voice really hit home for me. I realized that I really do have to be super careful with our money, at least for the time being.

Granted, losing a job isn't the worst thing that can happen to a person. It happened to me when I was 25 years old. My company lost a big account and they let the newest people go. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me, but my expenses were low, and it was easy to bounce back.

When you have 4 childen, a mortgage and tuition bills to pay, the stakes are pretty high. I feel for them, and I'm not foolish enough to think that it can't happen to my family.

I'm not sure if any of you have been through this. If you have, tell me what happened, and how did you get your life back on track?

Somethin's gotta give!

Tell me, dear friends, how am I supposed to wear a headband, sunglasses AND my Bluetooth all at the same time?!

I think I need bigger ears.


I am at work. It's not very interesting. A bit tired as I missed my 9pm curfew and was out at dinner and a movie until 11pm. Sounds like a romantic date, but it was with my cousin, Lucinda, so really it was just a bit of a girls night out. Fun, though.

My Brain Training game in NDS is proving to be quite enlightening, and I am tackling sudoku puzzles with great enthusiasm.

The weekend was a bit bleh, to tell you the truth. Saturday was a glorious day, it made me want to sing, and smash a harder gear. So I did- all the way to work. I must have looked strange to other cyclists as I was punching the hills and singing at the same time. Unabashedly, squawking whatever came on my iPod, which I think was a lot of Peaches, the Bravery, Dandy Warhols, Underworld and Juggernaughts. So thouhg work was quite quiet, I was happy in my little morning pain fest, and drank copious amounts of coffee. Riding home was another matter...after having 4pm beers (we close at 5!) and then riding 30km uphill back home. Little beer-flavoured vomit chunks in my mounth. Euuuch.

Sunday was a cycling disaster. I woke up to torrential rain. Wel, it was more like the torrential rain was doing cycle-trainer efforts, as it was three minutes on, three minutes off. I was not impressed, so I had brekky and then went back to bed until 10. Of course, that's never a good idea and so I spent the rest of the day in some kind of over-slept stupor. I went to Hornsby to get coffee, read the paper and buy a dress for Aidoo and AB's engagement partay next weekend (that's me!), which is no doubt very exciting. We have about 50 people coming, but budgeted for 80, and hope that we have 80 people come, becuase there sure as hell isn't going to be that many people at the wedding (sister Bink, if you're nice you MAY get an invite).

Anyway, the rain cleared about lunch time so I scurried home and lycra'd up and headed up the highway doing Berowra climbs when the heaven's opened and I went from dry dog to drowned rat in three seconds flat. Not impressed. I crept home, very unimpressed with my meagre 2hour cycle- so much for plans of a 6 hour day!

Mother's Little Helper

Question of the day...

How many milligrams of Zoloft are you on?

I take 100 mgs once a day. My doc raised my dosage after 10 years of 50 mgs.

Not taking Zoloft? Okay, so WHAT do you take? Is it Paxil, Wellbutrin, Prozac?

Nothing you say? Quit pulling my leg. We're all on SOMETHING!!!

Yeah, yeah, I know, you're high on life. Lucky you.

Here's me, making out with my dog!

You Are 48% Gross

You're more than a little gross, but probably no more gross than the average person.

Maybe it's time to drop some of those disgusting habits that could eventually embarrass you!

Meiguo Hao 0801 "Mansa Yuan Ye Xiang" of Puerhshop

2008 Meiguo Hao 0801 "Mansa Yuan Ye Xiang" liquor

Puerhshop has posted notice over the past few months regarding its special order cakes, which they sell under the label "Meiguo (American) Hao". As far as I know, these cakes are perhaps the first commercial offering of a custom blended pu'er cake ordered by an American tea retailer under its own label.

2008 Meiguo Hao 0801 "Mansa Yuan Ye Xiang" dry leaf 1It's very tippy, as you can see. even the interior of the cake shows lots of silver buds. Silver tips can make a pu'er very astringent, even after aging. In my experience, most become bitter and bland with time. Some however, seem to age well. The Guang Yun Gong and the buds-enhanced cakes of the 1970s don't seem adversely affected by the high amount of tips in their recipes, though these appear mostly on the face of those two cakes. The tips in the Meiguo Hao make it rather astringent now, and give it a sort of silver pu'er taste that the other larger leaves can't compete with--yet.

The liquor even has a light color. There was some concern on teachat regarding the clarity of the liquor, but mine brewed clear.

2008 Meiguo Hao 0801 "Mansa Yuan Ye Xiang" dry leaf 2

On the whole, this mansa cake is sweet and easy to drink, with no smokiness. It's a bit salty (weird) and a bit herbal. Despite its thin flavor, it left a nice aftertaste on the root of my tongue that hasn't gone away and has a stronger warming effect than most young sheng. I still feel a bit woozy from it. I have little experience with Mansa leaf, so I can't elaborate on the characteristics of this region's tea and if this tea fits the description.

2008 Meiguo Hao 0801 "Mansa Yuan Ye Xiang" spent leaf

Like most sheng pu'er, the tea wouldn't end. I'm going to brew again soon with more leaf; I think the bland character might stem from fewer large leaves inhabiting space where normally broken or smaller leaf would fill to the same volume.

2008 Meiguo Hao 0801 "Mansa Yuan Ye Xiang" setup 1

Summer is coming!

I am terribly terribly excited because today, for the first time in about 5 months, I have ventured out for a cycle SANS arm warmers!

The sun was shining, the birds were tweetling, Peaches was blaring obscenities in my ears and all was good. Had a bit of a smash fest, and it made me feel awesome! Its so good when you're both happy and able to smash it so hard you feel like vomiting...Well, it's good to be able to do that occasionally. Though now I have found out that there's a race on at West Head tomorrow, I am thinking that maybe I shouldn't have taken smashfest liberties today.

Oh well...anyway I am muchos muchos excited as tonight I have the house to myself.I may end up drinking copious amounts of vodka in front of the TV. Oh dear.

A new cup...

Brown under straw brushed cup Brown under straw brushed cup interior

The white speckling is cool, but unintentional. The studio really needs to start mixing their glazes better...

One thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on...

There's less than 2 months until the Presidential Elections and the whole country is buzzing!

As I've mentioned, this is not a political blog, but I just HAD to talk about this. I've already covered the color of Sarah Palin's lipstick at the RNC. I still don't know what brand and shade she had on, but when I find out, I'M GETTING IT!

The next political fashion I'm going to talk about is a little more pricey than a $20 tube of lipstick.

Today I'm going to talk about a watch. And not just any run of the mill watch.

I'm talking about the Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about here it is on Cindy McCain at the RNC:

Here's a little closer look at the watch as worn by Hillary Clinton:

The other day at cheerleading practice one of the moms was wearing a watch that looked ALOT like the Chanel J12. I had never met her before, but I simply HAD to take a close up view at her sweet little time piece. I hoped it was a knockoff so I could find out where she got it and score one for myself.

I approached the woman and introduced myself. As soon as I made a little small talk I pounced..."I love your watch, it's beautiful."

"Oh, thanks," she replied "my husband got it for me for my birthday."

She held her wrist out so I could take a gander and I knew with one glance, that this watch was no knockoff. It was the real, gorgeous, amazing, $4,500 McCoy!

I guess some people haven't been affected by our nation's economic slump!!!!

Anyway, if any of you budget fashionistas happen to know where I can find a nice looking replica of this fabulous work of art, let me know.

Or, if you happen to have an extra $4,500 burning a hole in your pocket and you want to make a nice lady from Jersey VERY happy, you know where to reach me.

Have a great weekend.

How low can you go?

It's been a busy week, and Meg has her birthday party later this afternoon, so I've decided to pull a post from my archives and give you a little re-run.

This post is from last October. I still can't even look at a Black-Eyed Susan. Too many horrible memories....

I worked the Book Fair at my daughter's school today and ran into my friend Katie-which reminded me of one of the low points in my adult life. I'll tell you about it, and then you'd better share your embarrassing stories, because as we all know, misery love company.

When We Here goes. Every year Katie and her husband Jim have a Preakness party at their house. We all wear really preppy clothes, drink Black Eyed Susans and watch the race. Well, Preakness 2006 was quite a night. There were tons of people I know at the party, some who I hadn't seen in ages. I was chatting away and it seems every time my glass got a little empty someone would fill it up for me.
Anyway, I'm sucking down the Black Eyed Susans and chatting with my friend Suzanne's husband, when I noticed he was looking at me funny. I suddenly realized I was DRUNK...REALLY DRUNK! (The following is all a hazy recollection- this is what I recall.)
I realized I needed to lie down, so I managed to get upstairs and crash in my friend's daughter's room. I woke up feeling sick when suddenly-BLEH!!! I puked all over her white metalasse comforter.
Shit!!!! I got up to go to the bathroom and felt too sick to stand-so I crawled onto Katie and Jim's bed and closed my eyes. Here we go again! It all happened so fast. BAM! I was violently ill all over Katie's bed!
The horror of the situation hits me at full force-and I pulled the comforter off her bed and attempted to find her laundry room. As I'm doing this I hear crying. My friends' kids and their babysitter have discovered my little gift on her daughter's bed.
At that point I had to get the hell out of there. I threw Katie's bedding in the bathtub, ran outside and hid behind a tree. Word got out that some lady got sick upstairs and my friends (suspecting it was me) came looking for me.
They found me behind the tree and I instructed them to get my husband-pronto. The ride home was sheer hell. I knew I had to get sick again-but Brad wouldn't pull over. When we reached my street I fell out of the car, staggered over to my bitch neighbor's yard, fell over and couldn't get up. There I was in a pink Lilly sweater, navy and pink Lilly pants with embroidered crabs all over them and Jack Rogers sandals, sprawled out on my neighbors grass. She saw the commotion and came outside. The look on her face was priceless-she was LOVING it!

Anyway, I managed to get inside, past the babysitter and kids and up to my bathroom, where I spent the remainder of the evening with my head in the toilet and sleeping on the floor.

The next day, when I finally rose from the dead my bitch neighbor who never talks to me practically ran over to me. "What happened last night?" I was too poisoned to even attempt a bullshit explanation. My reply, "I was drunk as shit-couldn't you tell?" I made her year.

I dragged my hungover butt to the computer to look up the ingredients of a Black Eyed Susan. This is what I found:

Traditional drink of the Preakness. This is how it is served at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico and also to the fans at the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Stakes. Be careful as it is deceptively strong!


  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 1 part Mount Gay rum
  • 1 part Vodka
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Orange Juice


Fill a highball glass with shaved ice, add the liquors first, then top off with equal parts of orange and pineapple juice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.


Anyway- I had to call my friend and apologize. She was remarkably forgiving. She too had had way too much to drink at her party. Despite my behavior the night before, I was raised to have good manners and Emily Post clearly states in her book that if your puke on someone's bed, you are socially obligated to replace the soiled linens.

I hit Pottery Barn the next day and $400 later I delivered the replacement comforters to my friends' house. Her husband answered the door and gave me a big hug. I give the guy credit. He was glad he had a wild party and that everyone had "fun".

As it turns out I wasn't the only story of the night. I was so drunk I missed it, but apparently not too far from the tree I was hiding behind a girl I know and one of her friends (of the female variety) were completely making out!!! Whoa. WILD IN SUBURBIA!

Preakness 2007 was a whole different story. I drank Diet Coke and then Brad and I left early to go to a play.

As you may or may not know-I don't party much these days. I'm usually the designated driver-this night, however, was like a flashback to a frat party circa. 1985 ONLY WILDER!

If you've read this far-I tag you!!

I've revealed one of my worst moments. Can you top me?

"My dad was the town drunk. Most of the time that's not so bad; but New York City? "

Henry Youngman

Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

Do you lock your doors every night? I do.

Before I go to bed, I walk around the house securing every window and door.

My husband doesn't do it. He goes to bed without so much as a thought to checking the doors. He drives into a very tough neighborhood in Newark every day with his car doors unlocked. I always remind him, "Remember to lock your doors, PLEASE!!" It doesn't mean he doesn't care about safety. He just doesn't worry about those things. I wish I could be as trusting as he is.

I lock the doors because I'm afraid. I fear a carjacking, or a home invasion. I worry about the safety of my children and I want to protect my family at all costs. Do I need to be so careful? I don't know, but I'm not taking any chances.

Today marks the 7 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

Yesterday, I went to my county's 9/11 Memorial. 147 people from Monmouth County died that day. I'm sure they locked their doors at night. Those they loved would have done anything to keep them from harm. But there was nothing they could do to protect them that sunny September morning. I still tremble when I remember the horror of that day.

When I go to bed I will pray for the families that couldn't save their loved ones, and I will hope that someday I can share my husband's feeling of well being.
Unfortunately there are some times when all the locks in the world won't do a damn thing. All we can do is have faith that somehow, everything will be okay.
"Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never all.

-Emily Dickinson

An amazing show of support...

I don't know if you've heard about this, but I just read this article in People Magazine:

"Fans of Mesa, Arizona blogger Stephanie Nielson, 27-who writes the NieNie Dialogues about her life at home as a wife and mom-have raised over $100,000 online to help the ailing mother of four who sustained burns over 80 percent of her body following an Aug. 16 plane crash in Arizona. As of Sept. 5, Nielson and her husband Christian, 29 who also emerged from the crash with severe burns, are in critical condition in a Phonix hospital burn unit."

Wow. The generosity and caring of her fellow bloggers is staggering. Please pray for Stephanie and Christian.

If you would like to make a donation, click on the link for the Nie Nie Dialogues.

Tennis Tuesday: "A Tennis Tale"

Once upon a time, in a land called Jersey, there lived a queen*. She was a good queen* and ruled her kingdom** with kindness and caring. She valued friendship above all else. Her soldiers*** were usually victorious in their battles****, but when they suffered defeat she accepted it with an encouraging smile.

The good queen moved from the land of Jersey and an evil queen pushed her way onto the throne.

This queen was very different than the other queen. She surrounded herself with an inner circle of worshippers. Those who fed her ego were generously rewarded.

The evil queen favored aggressive, hard hitting soldiers. It mattered not that their balls landed in the net or three feet out of the court. What mattered is that they were BRUTES! Finesse, skill and strategy were not appreciated. Losing in battle was a crime punishable by banishment from the kingdom.

In her first season as queen, many loyal subjects were exiled from the kingdom. It mattered not that they had been close with the evil queen before she took power. They "sucked" and therefore could not remain in her good graces.

The queen was out for blood in every battle (match). She had many enemies and had very good reasons for hating each and every one of them.

Grievances were filed against the queen by rival armies. She was charged with poor sportsmanship, use of profanity and coaching. This fueled the queen's rage! Her inner circle placated her by assuring her she was fabulous. They told her that those who opposed her yelling and cursing didn't appreciate her competitive nature. They went on to tell the queen that anyone who didn't like her was just jealous because she is such a champion.

Although it appeared to the queen that all was well, secretly the kingdom was not a happy place. Many of the remaining subjects felt uncomfortable with the new regime. Some thought it was unbecoming of a lady to walk into battle vowing to "kick some ass." They were taught by their parents not to laugh in the face of their opponents after defeating them.
The voiced their displeasure in whispers, for fear that the queen would hear them, and withhold favors (match time) from them.
Finally, one subject, (who shall remain nameless) with an undefeated singles record, but who wasn't in the "FIGHT CLUB" voiced her displeasure with the queen.

"BLASPHEMY!", the evil queen's chief advisor***** screamed! "How dare she question the rule of the queen! She doesn't realize how hard it is to be queen!!!"

At that moment, the subject decided to opt out of the last match. She was tired of faking it, and did not attend the queen's banquet celebrating another victorious season.

That rebellious subject who dared speak what the others only whispered, has been effectively ejected from the kingdom, never to return.
She received many phone calls from fellow subjects who agreed with her choices, but were afraid to make the same choices for themselves.
Now she stands alone...searching for a new kingdom, and hoping that she has set a good example for the downtrodden soldiers, still wrapped in the grip of the evil queen.

Next time...the rebellious subject attempts to rise from the ashes...
Stay tuned...


* USTA team captain

** USTA tennis team

*** Individual team members

**** Tennis matches

***** Lackey
(It's stories like this that make me wish I were anonymous-if the evil queen catches wind of this one, she might have my head!!!)

All alone with no one to talk to...too much caffeine, and my mind is racing...TIME TO BLOG!!!

I know what you're thinking, "Get a job!" My answer to that, "I do have a job! I'm a stay at home mom! Please don't insult me!!!"

Anyway, I've got some stuff on my mind.

A couple of days back I posted about private blogs.

I want to clarify, that I am not offended by not receiving an invitation into some of these blogs, I'm just really curious about the whole "by invitation only" thing.

I've talked about this before, but sometimes there are funny personal things I want to blog about. Sometimes I'm mad as hell and I want to write about it.

Unfortunately, if I let loose I might offend people I know who read my blog, and I REALLY don't feel like dealing with that.

I've already ended up in the dog house with some of my posts. (Remember my posting on anal bleach? Yowsa...that really set my family off!)

I have some pretty wacky neighbors that I would love to write about. Some complete head cases I play tennis with. The list is endless.

What scares me is the fact that one of the ways I got into blogging is my sister's husband's ex-wife's husband has a blog. (Did you follow that?)

We found out about it, and we lurked on it all the time, and TOTALLY made fun of him. (He's an adulterer, so he deserves it.) You never know who is reading your blog SECRETLY!!

Anyway, bottom line is we bloggers have to ask ourselves, is it worth it to write whatever comes to mind, and pay the price in our personal lives?

Am I motivated enough to start a new blog, where I let it all hang out? I have some really strong opinions on lots of subjects, some of which I think you would find entertaining! I stick with the current program and write only about subjects that won't get me into trouble?

One more question. Do I have the time to start a new private blog where I "let it all hang out?" (The answer to that is a definite NO...but I might just do it anyway.)

Decisions. decisions. Okay, enough of this irrelevant chatter.

I'm all alone here, and I need to find the discipline and motivation to straighten up and clean this entire house before my husband comes home from work. Otherwise you will be reading my posts about my divorce proceedings...CARRY ON!

Coming up: Tennis Tuesday, where I take a chance and tell you about some complete b-yotches at my tennis club. Of course I won't be able to tell you EVERYTHING, because if any of those girls are lurking here, I could end up in some BIG trouble!!!

Stay tuned...

All this mudslinging has damaged us...

My poll results are in and 50% of you want to be movie stars.

o% would like to be President of the United States.

What does that say about us?

I think it says we'd rather have a house in Malibu, and get paid to make out with Brad Pitt than hang out with a bunch of blowhards and live in that big old stuffy White House.

But that's just my opinion.

What do you think?

What's going on?

I've noticed a trend lately. It seems everyone is making their blog "by invitation only!"

Why? Are you getting nasty comments?
Are you writing crazy stuff you don't want your mom to read?
Or ...are you shunning me? :)

If you've gone private, let me in on the reason. And if you like me (even though I'm nosy)...

Mrs. K...This One's For You!

47 And Starting Over had a photo of her friend's wedding cake posted on her blog and I HAD to share it with you. How cool is this?
I love the Adirondack chairs and the dune fence. I wonder what they used for the sand?
Pretty darn awesome.

No Wonder The Beatles Broke Up!

So, if you've been paying attention , you know I rescheduled my daughter's 9th birthday party until Friday. Since she was such a trooper about it I let two of her friends sleep over tonight.

One thing they love to do is "Rock Band." They dress up in miniskirts, pull their hair up, put on makeup and (in theory) ROCK OUT!

The only problem is the band consists of three divas. Everyone wants to be lead singer. wear the cutest jewelry and have complete creative control.

It's rare that they ever put on a show. They spend so much time bickering, negotiating and fighting over every damn detail of the show that it never happens.

Next time they play "Rock Band" I'm going to invite 3 more girls, who can serve as agents for the ladies. Maybe, just maybe, they can negotiate some contracts for these girls so they can forget about the details and focus on the music!!

Be Careful What You Wish For!!!

I was a Target today, ALONE for the first time in over 2 months. (Yippee)
I was in the ladies room and I noticed a boy who appeared to be about 5 standing with his little sister and playing with the tampon machine.

He kept turning the knob, and pushing his sister away. "Don't touch me, I'm almost winning!" he yelled.

He looked fiercely determined to win a prize.

His mother came out of the stall and he called her over. "Mom, I need a quarter. It says it costs a quarter!" The mom looked freaked out and embarrassed and refused to give him the money.

He tried again..."Mom, c'mon...I need a quarter! I SAW SOMETHING UP THERE!!! I need a quarter to play!"

She practically dragged him out of the bathroom.

Can you imagine how disappointed he would have been if she gave him the quarter? What could she do? Let him buy the tampon and tell him it's a bottle rocket?

Raising kids requires some really tough choices.

Are you there God? It's me, Jill.

Dear Lord,

Please let the tropical storm predicted to hit coastal Jersey head out to sea.

You see, I have a birthday party scheduled for my 9 year old daughter and 20 of her closest friends at a local kids' dance club. The party starts at 5 pm, when the wind gusts should be hitting about 50 mph.

I've ordered the cake, stuffed the goody bags, my van is loaded with Hannah Montana plates and napkins, and my sweet little daughter is soooo excited. (But I guess you already know all that)

I don't ask for much. (Okay, maybe I do.) But this time, I'm pleading.

Cut me a break with this one, and I owe you one. BIG TIME!


Update: 4:46 PM EST: I figured God might have alot on his plate, so I took matters into my own hands and rescheduled the party for Friday the 12th.

Now all I have to do is break the news to my daughter and call 20 girls! Yay me!

2007 Taidong Si Cha Oolong

Teaware in use, 2007 Taidong Si Cha Oolong
Some of my pottery items in use...

I bought this oolong from Hou De Asian Art many moons ago. It didn't impress me the first few times I brewed it, and others felt similarly disappointed: at a tasting with a few members of the LA Tea Affair, nobody preferred it.

However, it appears that over the last year, the tea had the opportunity to breathe and change, and I really liked when I brewed it tonight. The roast/charcoal flavor has softened into a richness, and orchid floral notes similar to dancong have appeared. This oolong was a good companion during this long night of study.

An important political question...

What kind of lipstick was Sarah Palin wearing last night? It was such a pretty color, and it really had staying power.

I can't believe CNN and Fox News have yet to address this important issue.

The voters need to know!

5 words I hate...

I've been tagged. "Name 5 words you hate. Explain why you hate them." Here goes nothing:

1. "Should"

Nothing ticks me off more than someone telling me I "should" be doing something. According to who? Stop telling what I "should" be doing...I AM doing what I "should" be doing. YOU "should" shut the hell up!

2. "Malignant"

Not much to say, other than it scares the hell out of me. It seems so many people I know have either had cancer, or have it. Not a good word.

3. "Nigger"

Do I need to explain? A horribly offensive word.

4. "Episiotomy"

Ewww. It conjures up some gruesome images.

5. "Odor"

Whether or not it's a pleasant "odor" or a foul "odor" the word itself grosses me out. It makes me think of farting.

Okay peeps, if you want to do this one, let me know. I enjoyed myself immensely thinking of these. It doesn't take much to entertain this soccer mom.

Yee Ha!!!

I wish someone would put my head on that bod!

It really is a great look, rugged and sexy at the same time.

The glasses and the bun add just a touch of professionalism to an otherwise playful ensemble and the gun adds a really nice touch. I'm not sure if you read Vogue, but rifles are indeed all the rage this season. If you want to be a fashion icon YOU HAVE TO TAKE RISKS!

Just a suggestion to the genius who created this work of art.

Why not Photoshop Todd Palin's head on the dude smoking in the background? Maybe throw a moose or two in the bushes...

That would elevate this photo to PERFECTION!'s all in the details!

Footnote: About two minutes after I posted this I received a phone call from a friend who asked if I saw the photo of Sarah Palin in a bikini holding a gun. SHE THOUGHT IT WAS REAL!!! Someone got an A + in Photoshop 101. Someone else flunked their I.Q. test.

I'm not pointing any fingers...just making an observation.

At work.

I am at work, and I have abuggered arm. The type that is a result of smacking oneself into a rock at high speeds (pedal pedal...crack!). OK, it's not broken, but it's not fixed either.

Aidoo and I ventured to the 2008 World Cup at Stromo last weekend, which was pretty cool. I wish I had raced a bit, in the end. I could have totally (maybe) finished on the same lap!. nah, it was a totally gruelling course, very gnarly indeed. And I require cycle practice - problematic considering said state of arm.

But aside from that, there's so much going on. Rode with Dawn Patrol this morning, which was okay. Aidos rang me and was like 'yeah...bobbo was slow today' and I am like, 'fuck, I am glad it wasn't any faster!'. Damn, I thought I was going okay (one arm flailing in the wind).

Other than that, Irina Kantelieva has inspired me to eat less bread, damn squirrely looking Euro's.

Organising an engagement party, which is a piaful painful process that makes me wish parents didn't exist. Argh.

Tennis Tuesday (I WISH!)

No tennis for me today. I couldn't even watch the US Open. WHY?

Because tomorrow is the first day of school!!!

We were busy, busy, BUSY!!! School shopping, packing up school supplies, painting nails, laying out clothes, charging the camera and getting everyone to bed early.


Tomorrow, from 9 am until 1 pm (half day)....for the first time in MONTHS, I will have some "alone time." I'll miss my girls, but it's time.

When summer started we were all so excited, and we've had a great time, but now, we're ready for the next season. The girls need the stimulation and structure they get at school. I need to be able to run to the bank, the dry cleaners, and the supermarket without hearing the constant ongoing chorus from the back seat of the minivan, "Turn on Miley Cyrus!" "She hit me!" "I'm thirsty!!" "I'm BORED!!!"

The really exciting part? I get to start playing tennis again!!! Yipee!!

Stimulation and structure for the kids, tennis and alone time for mom...

It's a win-win situation!

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo...

Jadecicada on the Puerh Livejournal kindly sent me a sample of a "mystery" Xiaguan factory tuo cha. She wanted some users' thoughts on the tea, its age, etc. So, here are my thoughts, with many thanks to the cicada, whose six little legs did a great job posting the sample.

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo, dry leaves

The tuo underwent some wet storage before making its way to California, where it was supposedly sourced. Visually, the thin strands of white fluff on the leaves detail the wet storage:

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo, dry leaf closeup

Despite its appearance on the leaf, the mold left no trace in the flavor of the tea and only a residue in the aroma. Sweet, smooth, woody, and with a long aftertaste in both early and late infusions, I was impressed. Wet enough to have aged the tea significantly, but dry enough to maintain a complex flavor profile and the floral elements of younger Xiaguan teas, the storage seemed on target: the tea was balanced. Better yet, it was easy to brew and a charm to drink.

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo - brewed leaves

I shared it with two others, and all of us began to sweat. One had never had aged sheng pu'er before, and drank his portion even faster than the two of us who knew what it was, and we hadn't told him a thing. His novice enthusiasm for the tea was a good sign of its quality.

All in all, you can't buy a better aged pu'er for $8 anywhere. A great find, and I hope the retailer stocks more, cuz I'd like to have the Cicada ship me a whole tuo...

My guesses: Early to mid-1990s sheng tuo, mildly wet stored.

"Almost" Perfect

A friend of mine (who has breast implants) e-mailed me an article about a high school senior who died recently while undergoing breast augmentation surgery. Here are some excerpts from the article.

"Her friends said she was "perfect," so when she died Saturday of complications from breast augmentation surgery, none of them could understand how the girl whose success in life "was a sure thing" could perish in such a strange and devastating fashion."

"She had a charmed life: captain of the varsity cheerleading squad , a nearly perfect grade-point average, good looks and a ticket to the University of -----, where she would start her journey toward becoming a medical doctor."

"She was a great athlete. And she had all of these other things going for her, too. She did everything well."

"---- had brains to match her beauty, friends said, earning a GPA above 4.0, acing advanced placement courses and earning an acceptance letter from the University of -----."

And now she's gone...because she was "almost perfect" according to our standards of beauty, but not quite. So at the age of 18 she went into an outpatient facility, was put under general anesthesia, and never woke up. What a senseless tragedy. The worst part is, she was already perfect. She was a smart, healthy 18 year old girl, and now she's gone, forever.

So heartbreaking.

Hug your daughters (and while you're at it, give yourself a hug.) And remember, you are perfect, just the way you are!

The Plot Thickens...

Palin confirms daughter's pregnancy

The Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has announced that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, in an announcement intended to knock down rumors by liberal bloggers that Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her child.

Bristol Palin, one of Palin's five children with her husband, Todd, is about five months pregnant and is going to keep the child and marry the father, the Palins said in a statement released by the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said.

"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us," the Palins' statement said.

"Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support," the Palins said.

The Palins asked the news media to respect the young couple's privacy.

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media, respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates," the statement concluded.

Senior McCain campaign officials said McCain knew of the daughter's pregnancy when he selected Palin last week as his vice presidential running mate, deciding that it did not disqualify the 44-year-old governor in any way.

In the short period since she was announced last Friday, Palin has helped to energize the Republican Party's conservative base, giving the McCain camp fresh energy going into the campaign for the November 4th election against Democrat Barack Obama.

McCain officials said the news of the daughter's pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called "mud-slinging and lies" circulating on liberal blog sites.

According to these rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin's child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.

A senior McCain campaign official said the McCain camp was appalled that these rumors had not only been spread around liberal blog sites and partisan Democrats, but also were the subject of heightened interest from mainstream news media.

"The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama's name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their 'campaign of change,'" a senior aide said.

Reality is indeed stranger than fiction!