Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Karma's a Bitch

We had a big wedding in the family this weekend. It was for a relative I had never met and will probably never see again, which makes what I'm about to tell you so much better than if this was someone I actually knew well. Before my parents came over to my house, my mom had called to ask me if I had a gift for the happy couple. I told her I was going to give them an ivory Lenox picture frame someone had given me a long time back. (Don't judge! I kept it in great condition in the original packing in the "regift" section of my linen closet.) She said, "Hmmm, why don't you save that for another wedding? I've got something nicer. Don't worry about the gift, I'll bring one for you."

Guess what she brought? A crystal vase. A giant one. In a giant gift bag that looked like it had seen at least one other home before it landed in mine.

Clearly, my mom just wanted to get rid of that thing. There was nothing wrong with the picture frame I was going to give, but it definitely took up less space than that giant vase someone gave my mother. I asked my mom why she wasn't giving the vase herself and she said, "Because I know them better than you do. You can give this gift, I can't. I have to give them jewelry." Great, she was giving the bride an elegant jewelry set, and I was giving them a useless vase. Oh well, I thought, at least it'll be out of my hands soon.

Now here's the best part. In our hustle and bustle to get to the reception on time, I forgot to take the crystal vase with me to the wedding. No big loss for the bride and groom. I'm sure they won't even notice that the relative they never met didn't give them another piece of crystal to add to their collection. It's me who is the unlucky one. I can't exactly go over to the bride's house now and say, "Hey, remember me, your long lost aunt who you never met until your wedding day? Well, I forgot to give you this obviously regifted crystal vase!" That would just be even more tacky than regifting the crystal itself.... not that there's anything wrong with that!

Now, not only am I stuck with a Lenox picture frame waiting in queue for regifting, I've got a giant-ass crystal vase sitting in my house (which my mom, by the way, conveniently "forgot" to take back with her. She regifted this crap to me!). To top it off, this was the last wedding I was going to attend this summer so I'm stuck with this thing until at least November, when the winter wedding season kicks in.

I think this is cosmic payback for all those years of regifting crystal to unsuspecting newlyweds. Bad karma finally caught up with me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cool Sale on Clear Baubles at Bluefly

I was happy to discover that finally has lucite and other crystal clear jewelry in stock and on sale. Ever since I saw Vanessa Williams wear this clear chunky necklace on Ugly Betty, I wanted to get one of my own. I checked out several online stores at the time, but anything that resembled this item was way over my budget.

Luckily, thanks to post-season discounts, not anymore. With the sale going on at Bluefly, I think I'm finally going to scoop this piece up. This necklace by Viktoria Hayman seems to resemble the one Vanessa's wearing in the above screen shot, and it's only $63! I think with shipping it will probably set me back $70, but it's still a great deal for jewelry like this.

Ugly Betty photo via

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Disappointing View

I was eating pancakes with the twins last Wednesday when I accidentally became witness to the biggest bitch fight ever to be seen on live television. We all knew a fight like this was coming when Rosie was first hired to co-host The View last fall, we just didn't know when.

Man, was it a show down and it took me completely by surprise. I thought it was going to be another usual show with the ladies talking about American Idol (that's all anyone talks about these days), but it started to take a different course when Joy pulled out a long list of the top reasons why George W. Bush is the worst president in history. As Joy was trying to read her list, that damn Republican half-brained twit Elizabitch just would not shut up. She kept interrupting, wouldn't let Joy finish or speak, she looked like a time bomb waiting to go off. How dare Joy insult her favorite person in the whole wide world??? Doesn't she know Elizabeth kisses Dubya's picture every night and tucks it under her pillow before she goes to sleep? Then, all it took was for Rosie to ask, "Do you believe I think the troops are terrorists?" and Elizabeth lost it. She never answered the question but instead started talking nonsense like, "Poor little Elizabeth is not poor little Elizabeth." WTF? Joy's list was forgotten, and now Elizabeth and Rosie were fighting about Elizabeth not being the true friend she claimed to be.

I know I'm probably in the minority when I say this, but I think Rosie showed more composure, and more maturity, than Elizabeth. Elizabeth has no manners, she cuts people off when they are trying to speak, finger points and low balls with comments that have nothing to do with the argument. She doesn't let others complete their sentences, yet demands that everyone let her speak. Stupid biotch, if there was anyone who should have quit the show it should have been Elizabeth, not Rosie. So what Rosie's outspoken, I admire her for it, she challenges people to think differently, and doesn't blindly believe what is fed to her by the gov't controlled media outlets.

Let me make it clear, it didn't bother me that Elizabeth had a different viewpoint and was so staunchly defending the Iraq war, (maybe a little, but not a lot) it was the fact that she wasn't fighting fair. If you see the video clip of the fight, you can see at one point, Rosie is holding back tears in her eyes and is about to cry. That's not right. If Elizabeth really is the friend she claims to be, she should have stopped and showed some restraint, but she kept right on going with the insults.

Now that Rosie's decided to leave due to the fight, I think the ratings on The View are going to plummet. The only person left on the show that I like to watch is Joy. I might still tune in to watch her, but if the show starts taking a turn towards becoming The Elizabeth Hasselbeck Show, I'm out.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The New Volvo S80 has a Psycho Killer Detector in the Keychain

I can't believe car companies are now resorting to scaring the shit out of women to sell cars, but I guess if you have a car with a lousy security system, banking on urban legends and fear is probably your best bet. It's sad, but it's true. I recently saw the Volvo S80 commercial, the one where the young, Asian, female executive is walking towards her car across a deserted parking lot, really late at night, but turns around and runs the other way when her key chain tells her someone is sitting inside her car. Yeah, that one. It's totally freaking me out.

Commercials like this prey on every single urban legend I’ve heard surrounding cars and driver safety. I’ve heard them all. There’s the one where the psycho killer waits under your car to slash your ankles as you’re trying to get in. There’s the one where he’s waiting behind it on the other side to jump you as you come near your car. And finally, there's the one played out in the commercial. That there is someone waiting in the backseat, ready to strangle you and other horrible stuff once you sit down in the driver’s seat. And you'll never even see it coming until you see his reflection in your rear view mirror holding the copper wire between his hands.

Even though I've never heard of these attacks happening to anyone I know in real life, I’ve seen enough horror flicks, including Urban Legends and all its sequels, that my mind automatically scans the car and does all the psycho killer checks as I walk towards it in a parking lot. Who says you don’t learn anything from watching scary movies, I’ve learned a lot. So far, I've done pretty well by just using common sense and using the windows to check for backseat weirdos, but the ad wizards at Volvo want me to believe otherwise. They want me to think that there is something seriously lacking in the car I currently drive if it doesn't have a heartbeat sensor. It's the latest in car technology I never knew I needed.

My question is, how bad must the alarm system and the security features of the Volvo S80 be that some psycho killer can get into the car without activating the alarm, and wait patiently in the backseat until you show up to be murdered by him? Screw heartbeat sensors, I'd rather have a car that will prevent Mr. Psycho Killer from getting into my car in the first place.

To view the commercial I'm talking about, click on this link and you will get to Volvo's promotional site for the S80. Then click on the little arrow that says "Discover the Volvo S80", and then the "PCC: Personal Car Communicator" box on the bottom to "watch the PCC commercial".

UPDATE: I've been doing a little more reading on this heartbeat sensor, and it appears that it was originally designed to help prevent moronic parents from leaving their children in the car.

Here's how the article on describes it:

The heartbeat sensor registers the vibration of a beating heart - both human and animal. The sensor is activated if, for instance, a sleeping child has been left in the child seat and the driver locks the door. A signal is transmitted to the remote control unit, which alerts the driver via a combination of audible signals and vibration pulses.

The heartbeat sensor is also activated if anyone enters the car and hides inside it. In such a case, the driver is not alerted automatically; instead, he or she must manually request this information within a distance of 300 feet from the car.

If the sensor is activated, the remote control unit transmits a quiet signal so that the driver can withdraw without being detected, so as to avoid a more threatening situation. The alternative is for the driver to press the "panic" button, which activates the car alarm to scare off the intruder.

I've heard some tragic stories on the news, where parents were "so busy" thinking about getting to the office or the shopping mall, they "forgot" they brought their children along with them, and consequently left them to die in the car in 100 degree weather. In all these tragedies, I blame the parents 100%. I mean, how moronic do you have to be to forget you brought your child with you? Is it that hard to look in the back seat of your car before you lock the door and go inside the mall? Seriously, how can you forget or not know your children are in the car with you? Do they have to make a noise for you to remember they are there?

Interestingly enough, Volvo doesn't promote this angle in the commercial for the S80.
Columnist Mark Morford, in his article The Key Chain Of Your Doom, puts a more humorous spin on this when he writes:

Strangely, Volvo chose not to advertise the alternative use of this technology, the holy-crap-I-left-the-baby-in-the-car situation. "Are you a horrible mom? Like to go out shopping and partying till dawn but you've got a kid you have to haul around like a sack of wailing, needy meat? Let your key fob save the day! Our blinking red light will tell you if your kid is still alive in the backseat where you left him four hours ago! But beware: If that blinking light stops, Britney, you're totally screwed."

Yeah, Volvo S80, The Car for Negligent Parents is not exactly a slogan that will sell vehicles. But fear.... fear works well.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It Happened One Night at the MET

Some of the women at the latest MET Costume Institute Gala in NYC looked really elegant. Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, and Christy Turlington were among the best dressed ladies there.

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Unfortunately, some celebrities confused the fashion gala with a Halloween party. Behold the best of the Festival of Fright.

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Trick or Treat! Mary-Kate Olsen is my favorite serial goth dresser. The girl just can't seem to get enough of dressing up like Morticia Addams, and once again, she did not fail to disappoint us. It looks like she killed Cousin It, dyed him black, and turned him into a scary dress. Yikes!

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Want a dress like Parker Posey's? Here's how you can steal the look. Take a very insanely expensive haute couture dress and throw it into a tank full of piranhas. Remove with a wire hanger (careful, you don't want your fingers eaten!) and let drip dry. Then wear it to the red carpet and call

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Ditto for Shalom Harlow. Except instead of feeding the dress to piranhas, run it through a paper shredder. Then take it outside and run over it with your car a couple times to give it that "vintage" look. Finally, attach a nice big fugly bow at the neckline for a splash of color. Tres Chic!

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This is what I call, "nice try but no, sari". If this dress was floor length, and if Jennifer Connelly had worn a little more makeup to balance out the color of her dress with her skin tone, this would have looked much nicer.

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And the Award for the Most Hideous Dress of the Night goes to....Karolina Korkova. I think there's a pretty dress hiding underneath there somewhere, but that ugly shawl and roadkill she's wearing around her neck is preventing me from looking at anything else. I'm seriously scared of that stole. It looks like it was alive just five minutes ago.


Monday, May 07, 2007

How to Safely Remove a Child Stuck in the Staircase Railing

When I was about 12 years old, my mom told me that if I ever see a baby get his head stuck between the spindles of the staircase railing, I should NEVER pull the baby back out by his legs. Instead, I should push the rest of the baby's body forward through the spindles to get him out. I can still remember her exact words:

"Always remember," she said, "the head is the largest part of a child's body. If the head can get through the opening, the rest of his body can too. You should never pull the baby back out by pulling his head back through the slat. You could break their neck or cause serious damage to the baby's brain and skull."

I think she must have seen this happen to a child once because she used to repeat this story at every opportunity she got until I told her, "Okay, I got it." At the time, my brother had just been born and I think she was telling me this as a preventative measure. So that in case I found my brother with his head stuck between the staircase railing, I would know what to do to get him out safely. Luckily, my brother never pulled such a stunt, and as I grew up, I filed this information away in my mind as "Good to Know Info I Will Need to Use......Never".

However, after what happened today, this information is now pushed up front to one of my "Top Things To Know About Kids."

While I was getting ready to pick up my son from preschool, the twins were playing out in the hallway. All of a sudden, I hear Zee say, "I'm stuck." I didn't rush to her immediately because I thought she was playing a game with her sister. Then she started to cry and kept saying, "I'm stuck! I'm stuck!". I walked out into the hallway and saw...

Her head was wedged between the staircase railing!!!!!!

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After freaking out momentarily and yelling, "OMG! Why did you do this?!", I calmed myself down and thought quickly how to get her out. It was then, as if in a flashback, my mother's words came back to me. I remember at the time, she had even demonstrated to me with a doll how to get a child out from this kind of situation. She pulled the doll sideways from the front of the railing.

I'm glad she gave me the visual because it really helped me figure out how to get Zee out of the railing today. I got in front of her and turned her body to her side so her shoulders and arms were almost parallel to the floor, and then gently pulled her out. It took less than one minute! I couldn't believe her entire body slid right through that narrow space! And with such ease. Mom was right. If the head can fit through the opening, the entire body can too. (It kind of reminds of how a baby is born. As long as the head gets through first, the rest of the body slides right out. Conversely, if a baby is breech, natural labor is near impossible and you need a C-section to get the baby out. All of my babies were breech and I had to have a C-section every time. My kids couldn't give me a break even during labor. )

Now that I got her out and she's perfectly fine, I'm a little worried about our other stair railing, the one that overlooks the family room and has a 10 ft. drop.

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If she had gotten stuck in there, I swear I would have ripped the spindles to get her out. There would have been no other way to get her out of the railing if her head was facing that huge drop below. Well actually, now that I think of it, a better option would be to call 911 and have the fire department come over and get her out. They've got the ladders and the training to do this more safely than I would, and I probably could prevent ripping out a spindle and leaving a gaping hole in my railing.

I thought my baby-proofing days were over, but clearly, this was a wake-up call for me to get some protection on my staircase. Not to protect them from falling down the stairs (they're already expert on going up and down), but to prevent them from falling through the railing. According to Colorado Childproofers, nets are not safe enough, I have to get rigid plastic sheeting installed to make sure this doesn't happen again. Even though I doubt the other children will try it, or that Zee will try it again, I never know what these kids are thinking. Knowing them, they might give a repeat performance just to impress their friends. Especially now that they know Mom knows how to get them out of the predicament. (I gave my son a lesson on how to remove a baby stuck in a stair rail with his Curious George doll. At age five, he's the oldest, and I think he probably knows by now that sticking your head through a railing is not safe. He and I took pictures, see below).

So, just in case you find yourself in a situation like I faced today, here is a step-by-step visual guide on How to Safely Remove a Child Who Has Gotten Their Head Stuck Between the Staircase Railing. This is how I safely removed Zee today, and I hope it can help someone else.

(Note: Curious George will be filling in for the RE-ENACTMENT.)

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First of all, if you ever see a child in this situation, the first thing you need to do is relax and remain calm. Yes, you're probably angry that your child got themselves in this predicament in the first place, but trust me, yelling will accomplish nothing. I'm saying this because regretfully, that's what I started doing when I found Zee in this situation and I feel terrible about it. All she wanted was for me to get her out of the staircase, and instead, the first thing I did was start yelling at her for doing something so dangerous, and didn't she know we had to leave in five minutes to pick her brother up from school?!?!? It was completely uncalled for and I feel terrible about it. Please don't make the same mistake I did. Keep your cool.

Next, tell your child everything will be okay. She's more petrified than you. Then, turn her shoulders and her body to the side so that her body makes about a 45 degree angle with the floor, or almost horizontally parallel with the floor. Shoulder and arms should be positioned to slide out between the spindles.

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Place your hands around her neck and butt and gently start pulling her out, sideways through the bars.

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Remember to use both hands. Most of these pictures show me pulling George out with one hand because the other hand is taking the photo. My son was supposed to do all the photography for this demo, but he was impatient and made the pictures blurry. But this one turned out decent. The main thing to remember is to protect the neck and the lower back (and bum) at all times.

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Voila! The child is free and happy to be out. Give her a big hug and tell her never to do this again. Nicely.

I alway thought my mom was a crazy loon for always repeating advice like this to me, but I now realize she was just trying to teach me a life lesson. After what I experienced today, I'm really glad she did.

Is your staircase railing safe for your toddler? Here's how you can check.

Measure the space between your staircase railing spindles (a.k.a. balusters). The space should not be more than 4 inches. Anything less than 4 inches is safe, anything more than this measurement is dangerous and requires baby proofing. I measured between the spindles on my railing and it's 4 3/4 inches, which explains how she got her head through it and got stuck.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Weekend at the Movies

My son turned five this weekend, and to celebrate his birthday, we took him to see Spiderman 3. It's been nearly five years since I watched a movie in a theater, I was resigned to watching films on DVD since I had kids. But now that all of them are potty trained, it's becoming easier to go out in public and do the things I used to do.

I'm usually a fan of chick flicks like The Notebook, I didn't think I would like Spiderman 3. I saw the first two at home, and I couldn't understand why these films were such a huge hit. He's Spiderman flying around the city shooting webs, big deal. But yesterday, I figured it out. To fully enjoy a Spiderman film, you have to see it on the big screen. It's a whole different experience in there. You don't have to pause the film to go change a diaper or put clothes in the dryer, you actually see the entire film in one sitting! (Something I haven't done in a looong time.) The girls did need a bathroom break mid-film but it was okay, the husband filled me in on what I missed.

I'm not going to do a full review of the film, but I must say this film is great for lovers of both chick flicks and action films. The MJ-Peter-Harry love triangle is blended superbly with the action scenes, and the special effects were awesome. I don't think I've had this much fun watching a film since.... I can't remember when. We had attempted to see Curious George in the theater a few years ago when the girls were younger, but had to leave 45 minutes later when they started screaming and running up and down the steps on the side. This time, even they were captivated and sat still during the movie, and it wasn't scary at all. Well, a little bit, but not enough to give them nightmares. I especially liked the scenes where Spidey is flying from building to building, and James Franco who plays Harry is just the cutest thing. He's a real scene stealer.

I don't think we'll be able to do this every weekend, I still think the majority of my movie watching is going to remain on DVD, but it's good to know that we're able to take the kids to the movie theater now without having meltdowns. In fact, we had such a good experience, we're planning to go see Shrek 3 when it comes out. This time, however, we're going to make sure we buy two giant tubs of popcorn instead of one. The kids scarfed down the entire box between them, my husband and I barely got to eat the crumbs at the bottom.