Monday, March 31, 2008

Apparantly, The Tweezie Isn't Painless...Or Sturdy

I have written about my mother-in-law's facial hair before.

When she came over the house about a month ago, she had Peter put in the batteries for her new purchase, The Tweezie!

Peter and I both looked at this little plastic piece-of-crappy thing and told her not to use it because it can't possibly work. She was insistent that the commercials showed happily facial-hair-free women who were extremely happy with the results...and said that it was completely painless.

So Peter put the batteries in and we watched her march into the bathroom full of confidence. As we listened to the buzzing noises coming out of the closed bathroom door, we couldn't stop laughing.

Then, when my mother-in-law came out of the bathroom, she looked a bit stunned, and I said, "Did it hurt?"

She looked at me, incredulous, as forlorn as Jack must have been the night before the beanstalks started to grow, and said, "YES!!"

She was very upset that the infomercial ladies lied, but then last week, we went to her house and she had the Tweezie in her room. She pointed at it and said that it stopped working. When I asked why she didn't throw it out, Peter rolled his eyes and said:

"What makes you think that she'll throw that out? She has kept three television sets in this house that haven't worked since before I was born!"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The War Against Dog Hair

Last night I had a conversation with another dog owner about a topic that comes up a lot when you own a Siberian Husky. DOG HAIR!!!!!

He told me about the Dyson vacuum cleaner, which he said is a "must have" if you own a dog that sheds like his sole job in life is to cover every square inch of your home with fur.

I told him that I've been using a Swiffer vacuum stick because it's light and easy to grab and go.

This guy looked at me as if I had said, "Well, I still churn MY butter."

He sat up and, very seriously, said, "This is not a battle, but WAR. And in the WAR against dog hair, you need all the resources that can handle the fight."

'Nuf said.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Wonder Who Da Bear Is?

When we got to Peter's mother's house last Sunday, we parked our car a few feet away from this really large red Cadillac from the 80s. I got out of the car and read the car's license plate out loud.

"Hmmmm. Da Bear. Who's Da Bear?"

Peter says, "Shut up! Don't say anything. Don't look at it."

Peter's old neighborhood is in the area of the Bronx called "the 'hood." This basically means that if you look someone in the eye in this area of the Bronx, he may or may not decide to come up to you and punch you in the mouth. It all depends on his mood, or if his dog won that fight the night before.

But I say, if you get a license plate that has "Da Bear" on it, you're just asking for it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

No More Easter Dinners

Peter and I went over to his mom's house yesterday and today we have arrived at the conclusion that we are no longer subjecting ourselves to family events. Not because it went terribly, or that anyone made a scene or said anything to us -- everyone was very civil. There's just no point in spending any time with people who are just going through the motions.

I had a really difficult time even looking Peter's sister in the face. Every time I found myself near her, I walked to the other side of the room. I just don't have that gift of being able to act all phony with a smile on my face. The awfulness was just exuding out of her like noxious alien puss.

When her kids came into the room, her daughter kept screaming, "I Don't REMEMBER Any Of You PEOPLE!" over and over again. I was all -- I wish I could say the SAME thing.

I thought about all the times my aunts and uncles would take me to the movies and pizza and how I really got to know them and I'm sad that Peter's not going to have that kind of relationship with his little niece and nephew. Hopefully, one day, when they're older, we can try to forge our own relationship with them. But having to deal with his sister is just not a good thing.

Peter's nephew brought his datebook and during the entire visit, he was copying his "year-at-a-glance" into his "week-at-a-glance." That's an activity I don't usually save for Easter dinner.

The one jab I did get in was, while we were seated, Peter's mom brought out spinach lasagna, and Peter's sister complained because she didn't like it. And then when Peter's mom brought out the steamed artichokes, she complained again. She said, "Maaaaaaaa! Why didn't you bread them?"

Peter's mom got all upset and said, "Next time! I'll do it next time."

I said, "Well, she served that on THANKSGIVING."

Peter's brother-in-law caught that, laughed loudly and said, "I guess we're going to have to start coming on THANKSGIVING...If we want the breaded artichokes."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Respite Until Sunday

Today I woke up this morning at 6am. Most of the time when I wake up, my eyes feel as if there are forces holding them down and I cannot for the life of me open my eyes without summoning up every fiber of muscle in my body. For some reason, this morning, I woke up and my eyes were like, "Hey! What's Happenin'?"

I guess my body was all, "Peter's mom is leaving in ONE HOUR!! It's CELEBRATE good times C'Mon!!"

And it's a good thing I got up, too, because Peter did not set his alarm clock, even though I asked him last night. Three times. But hey, who's counting?

The reason he had to get up super-early this morning is because he has to go with his mother to get her fingerprints taken for renewing her green card. This is the second round because her last set of fingerprints didn't "take." I guess because she's 83 years old and all her finger swirls have been ground down into nothingness, or she has NO FINGERPRINTS because when you're born Evil, it's a good thing not to have.

I'm just kidding, she's not Evil, she's just evil, Evil's second cousin twice removed.

Two days ago, Peter took his mother down to Brooklyn to get some more paperwork done for her green card. Why all the hoop-jumping and fingerprinting nonsense, you might ask? Because she let her green card expire...six years ago. And the reason she even found out? The answer is she wanted to transfer her money from one bank account to another and the bank asked to see something called a picture identification card. When she pulled her green card out, they looked at it and informed her that this card hasn't been valid since before Britney met Kevin.

The first night she stayed over, Peter and I huddled in our room talking about her - which by the way, is something we always do when guests come over - and he told me that when he went to the immigration office with his mother, he pointed out all the people who were sitting around waiting.

"You see all these people here?" He asked.

"Yes. There's a lot of people here."

"You know why they're here? Because they NEED to be here! YOU don't NEED to be here! YOU DID all this ALREADY, sixty years ago!"

Her attitude during this whole process is that the green card people should have sent her a notice telling her that the card was going to expire, and I was like, yeah, right. Because you can't be held accountable for something that you can just take out of your wallet and take a gander at once a decade or so.

Anyway, they left this morning to make their 8am fingerprinting appointment, so I made eggs and waffles with strawberries, and even though she ate breakfast yesterday with Peter, this morning she said she wasn't hungry.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Happens When People Are Not Invited

So now that Peter's mother has decided not to invite anyone for Easter, it seems that EVERYONE wants to come. She said it was strange, because for the past few weeks, she specifically did not mention Easter whenever she talked on the telephone with her kids because of all the song-and-dance complaints and excuses she gets every year. And she noticed that her kids went out of their way to not mention Easter either.

But I guess when Tina decided to come (and now we're roped into it), yesterday, Peter's brother Gino's family decided they need to be there too. I don't get it. So I guess when people want you to come and invite you, the answer is no. But when people don't invite you and plan other things, you decide you need to come. Urgh. And then Peter's other sister, the one who doesn't speak to anyone else anymore, invited his mom down to her house for Easter. Huh?

The mother-in-law visit has been going fine. I've been spending all my time locked up in my room. Peter yelled at her yesterday because she wouldn't try my zucchini casserole (She doesn't like to try anything I make), but then she tried it and said she liked it (which made me laugh). Last time I made something, she put it in her mouth and then spit it right out into a napkin. This is progress, people.

You know, next time I will encourage her to invite everyone over for Thanksgiving, just so they will say no like they always do.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Peter's mother is coming to visit for two days. Gah! Wish me luck, Internet.

He just went to pick her up and since he was running a little late, she was already on her porch with all her stuff.

He called me just now to warn me.

In case you don't know, when a mother-in-law is standing on her porch with all her stuff, it means that she is LIVID that she was not picked up ON TIME, and this is her passive-aggressive way to let you know that she is NOT going to behave herself.

Wobble Cafe

We finally found a great place in Westchester to have breakfast!!

Wobble Cafe, which was featured in the InTown food issue, is located in Ossining, and the reason we hadn't been there before is that, for some reason, Peter didn't want to go to Ossining to try a new restaurant. I guess it's because you don't want to drive twenty minutes out of the way to go and try a new restaurant that will probably suck.

But last Sunday, we were up at 9am. By the way, 9am is extremely early for me. When the Twin Towers were attacked, my friend Andrew was frantic to reach me, just in case I had randomly decided to go somewhere in the city I hardly ever go to, and his roommate said, "Andrew, this happened at 8:45 AM. She's safe."

Peter wanted to go to a brunch place and suggested going to Crabtree Kittle House, which is great if you want to spend $70 on an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch. But I never feel like we're getting our money's worth since all he eats is vegetarian stuff (the cheap stuff) and I hardly eat any breakfast. But wouldn't you know it, Crabtree opens its doors at 12pm.

I looked up several other brunch places and they all opened at either 12pm or 12:30pm.

"That's not BRUNCH!" Peter said. "That's LUNCH!"

I looked it up, and in most places, brunch is served as early as 9am, and mostly around 10am. But in WESTCHESTER? 12pm.

So I dug up the food issue I knew that I had kept and the Wobble Cafe was open for breakfast, so off we went. And after we ate, Peter said, "Why have we never come here before?" And I reminded him that he was anti-Ossining.

Then he asked, "Why would I ever say that I don't like Ossining?"

I don't know. Why does he ever say random things he doesn't believe in?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Easter Dinner

We thought that we had a free pass for Easter dinner because Peter's mother said that she wasn't inviting anyone over this year. At the age of 83, she has decided to stop inviting people to Easter because of the annoying fact that for the two or three weeks leading up to it, the telephone conversations she has with her son and daughter detail every single niggly complaint they have about making that long journey from Albany and Long Island. And now she's tired of it.

So of course, we were all, "Good for you!"

Peter suggested that we spend Easter over at our place, because we're free! And we'll hang out!

And THEN Peter's sister Tina called her mother and told her that they, in fact, will be going over for Easter Sunday.

Now we're stuck. How bad will it look to make an excuse now?

It's kind of a bad situation since it's difficult to deal with a complete sociopath/narcissist woman who can't understand why I may be dealing with feelings of anger and resentment from the terrible way she has treated me in the past, which range from actually telling me that I am not part of the family and screaming at me at several family events (and not coming to my bridal shower and refusing to bring Peter's parents to our wedding one hour early)

Side note: At our wedding, after Peter introduced Tina to the twenty or so people who flew in from Taiwan and Japan to attend the wedding, she said to him, "Wow. They came all that way to be here? Her family must think we're all complete assholes." Her family? Try HER!! HER thinks you are an ASSHOLE! At least she is slightly slightly aware of her assholiness.

Sooooo. Regardless, I've been trying to come to terms with the fact that I should try to have a better outlook and be a nicer person. So I had this very long conversation with Peter about how we should be the better people and go to Easter Sunday. We should go and be civil -- that doesn't mean that we need to extend ourselves or be completely phony-nice, which is just as bad. But we can go to dinner because it would make Peter's mom happy. And I'll try to stay as far away from Tina. And if she tries to kiss me hello, I should just let her instead of shirking away like I did last time, as if her lips were the poisoned lips of Satan...Even though they are.

So we agreed that we're going to try to act like better people and not bitch and complain about things all the time. Because other people are not going to change, we can only change the way we behave. And then Peter asked:

"But what about Westchester? Does this mean that we can't complain about Westchester?"

I thought about it for a minute and said, "Well, as long as Westchester is rife with things to complain's fair game."

So the verdict is: Don't complain about people. Complain about Westchester. This will make us happier people.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Can Sympathize

Peter and I were watching the news reports and there's a report that a woman sat on her boyfriend's toilet for two years.

They interviewed the boyfriend and he basically said that she was so afraid of dealing with her family members, that she decided it would be best to just hide in the bathroom.

Peter's reaction?

"I can sympathize."

The police want to file charges against her boyfriend, which I don't think is right. He said that she had been living in her bathroom for the past two years, but had been showering and changing her clothes every day until last January. He said he had been trying to get her to come out, but she kept saying she would come out "tomorrow."

I lived with my crazy aunt for years, and there's really nothing you can really do about someone who does not want to live in reality. She wanted to lock herself up in her room and since she came out to make meals and she did shower and run errands once in a while, my parents just let her live her life the way she wanted.

I used to think that we really should have had her committed, but my dad was completely in denial that there was anything wrong with his baby sister. Of course, anyone coming in brand-new to our situation thought it was Cr-AA-ZY.

Including one of our nannies who quit after only a few weeks because she freaked out over the occasional laughter coming from my aunt's room. We tried to explain that this was just my aunt laughing at her television sitcoms, but that nanny was so not buying it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here Comes the Bulge

Conversation between me and my sister this past weekend.

Me: What are you watching?

Judy: Bulging Brides.

Me: WHAT did you say?

I sat down and watched as three people demean this poor girl and make her purchase a wedding dress that is two sizes too small for her. One thing I know about wedding gowns is that you can get one that covers up pretty much EVERYTHING.

This is a reality show that should be outlawed. Some day, when civilization dies, the aliens who come to this planet will unearth a tape of this show and say, "Yeah, I guess this is what killed mankind...stupidity and materialism."

I thought the title was demeaning enough, but check out names for their episodes:

Bursting At the Seams and Just Harried.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

AmeriCone Dream...Now Available in the Mt. Kisco A&P

A few days ago, while at the local A&P, I decided to buy some ice cream. I almost dropped everything in my basket when I saw that there were CARTONS of AmeriCone Dream ice cream in the freezer aisle.

It is my most favoritest ice cream flavor because it is vanilla with caramel swirls and crunch chocolate-covered waffle cone pieces. I agree with Stephen Colbert that it is: "The sweet taste of liberty in your mouth."

I have never seen this ice cream in a supermarket freezer. I know it's not a big deal because there is a Ben & Jerry's store just two miles down the road from the supermarket, but isn't it great when you don't have to make that extra special trip? You can pick up your cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes, AND the best ice cream in the world all in one location.

Proceeds from this ice cream goes to help disadvantaged kids, so I'm glad that someone else is also going to benefit from my eating.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Previously On Passions...

A few days ago, as I was perusing my mother-in-law's TV Guide during our weekly visit, I came across this soap opera update:

Tabitha and Kay were forced to use magic to combat Demon Elf. Vincent's wig fell off while making love with his daddy--now that he's exposed he has to kill both parents.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Linguine With Peanut Sauce

I made this dish today for Peter and my sister Judy, who visited us this weekend.

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 vegetable broth
2 teaspoons agave nectar (you can use honey)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chopped scallions
1 box of linguine

First boil water in a pot and put in the linguine. Then heat up the garlic in the olive oil in a separate saute pan until fragrant and softened, then add all the other ingredients and whisk. Then incorporate the linguine - add some of the pasta water in the sauce if it is too thick. Serve! Garnish with scallions.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Water Main Break Courtesy of The Mt. Kisco Library...Again

This morning, while I was brushing copious amounts of dog hair from the Husky, Peter calls me into the hallway and says, "Why is our washing machine hissing at me?"

Worried, I told him to turn it on and see if it stops. He quickly touches some knobs and takes his hands away without turning the machine on.

I asked him, "Do you even know HOW to turn on the washing machine?"

"No," he said. "I guess I don't."

"So all those times you offered to do laundry, you didn't even know how to turn on the machine?"

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Family Conundrum

When I first started to date Peter, I understood that he had a very tenuous relationship with all the members of his family. Some of this has to do with the fact that he is the youngest child. After all, he was twenty-five years younger than his eldest sibling, and seven years younger than his next youngest sibling. Four of his nephews and nieces are older than I am. So by the time he was aware, a lot of family drama had already happened.

This happens in a much smaller scale in my house, and since I'm the eldest, I feel that I've been there since the very beginning. After all, my parents had me about a year after they were married, so I've been a member of the family almost from the very start. My sister Jenny doesn't feel this way, sometimes she feels like someone stumbling into the middle of a party.

Let's just say that Peter's family do not get along with each other. I think a large part of that has to do with the fact that there wasn't a lot of nurturing going on in that household. There's a lot of resentment that the eldest two children have towards the younger two stemming from the fact that Peter's parents were better parents to the younger ones. My parents are a thousand times better parents to my sisters than they were to me. When I think back on my childhood, it wasn't a very happy one. My father had a lot of pent-up rage and frustration and took them out on me and my mother stood by and watched it happen. I still remember the terror of hearing the garage door opening, knowing that my father had come home from work. Even today, I cannot hear that sound without feeling apprehension and fear.

I'm glad that my parents learned and grew as parents and it was very healing to me to see the relationships they have built with their two younger children. And in a way, I will always feel that they are part of one family, and I am part of another, one that doesn't exist anymore.

These feelings of family are coming up because Peter's nephew is getting married and Peter is not sure if he wants to attend. Peter's eldest sister did not attend our wedding and not one person from her family attended Peter's father's funeral. No one came to my bridal shower, not even his mother. These are people who have never been happy for Peter when he had joyous moments in his life, and people who seem to revel in times when he's had hardships. Knowing that these people really don't care for him, he doesn't see the point in attending this wedding. The only reason to go would be to continue this relationship, and he's not sure he ever wants to see these people again.

My personal opinion is that the easiest thing to do is to attend the wedding since his nephew did come to our wedding. Is this issue between Peter and his nephew? Or between Peter and his sister? Peter thinks that his sister doesn't deserve to have her whole family attend her son's wedding after her unpardonable behavior these last few years. No matter what terrible things she thinks he did, there isn't any reason for her actions.

But on the other hand, if he has no intention of ever having any sort of relationship with these people, what would be the point? Does it really matter how he appears to people he wants to avoid in the future? At what point do you give up on your family members?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Christmas Puppies Everywhere!

I think a lot of people got puppies for Christmas this year, because I've seen a lot of puppies running around Westchester the last few weeks. It makes me nostalgic for the time when Scout and Rocky were puppies. It's funny when I look back, that I just remember the good times and how cute they were the first time they took those first tentative steps down a flight of stairs.

Scout was a Cr-A-Zy puppy. She used to do this thing, we called it her swimming run. Her paws would fly out on either side so fast that it looked like she was swimming. And she would run back and forth throughout the length of my very long hallway over and over and over and over without tiring.

Scout was a terror to housebreak. I mean, she just could not hold it in. Rocky was house trained in like two seconds. I think someone up there took pity on us having to go through the stage of Scout's explosive diarrhea.

One time when Scout was only a few months old, in the middle of the night I woke up to the most hideous smell in all the world. And when I looked over at Scout, she had that sad, pitiful look on her face. A face that just makes you want to pull your heart out of your chest. And I looked over at the poop which...had two of my socks on it.

After Scout pooped, she must have looked at her pile of poop and thought to herself, "Oh no! How can I hide this?"

She looked around and found socks that I had left on the floor and took one and put it on top of the poop. She stepped back and thought, "Hmmm. I don't think that's enough coverage."

She then took another sock and placed that one on top of her poop. Y'know, because THAT hides the damage much more.

That noggin of hers is constantly working.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Rocky Has a Drinking Problem

Because it has been so fuh-reezing freakin' cold, we have been trying to "push it" every other day and taking the dogs out 5 times every two days. To do this, we've been limiting the dog water intake by not leaving water out all the time.

Unfortunately, Rocky has always liked to drink tremendous amounts of water. As a puppy, the first time we took him to a dog park, all he did was sit by the water fountain and lap up water. We looked like idiots trying to shoo him away from the water every five seconds.

We were trying to get him to run around and play with other dogs, and he was all like, "Why play with other dogs? There's an endless supply of water here! An Endless Supply!!!!"

A girl at the park looked at him and said:

"Good God, that dog has a drinking problem!"

This happened right before we got into the car and drove from Chicago to New York and he continuously peed in the car all the way to Ohio. Luckily, the pee was so watered down it didn't stain or leave any bad odors. But it was a nerve-wracking ride nonetheless.

I think we've created a monster here, because now, whenever we put water out for the dogs after their meal, Rocky drinks his bowl and Scout's bowl, and then nudges us with his wet nose to take him out three hours later. So this whole trying to take the dogs five times every two days is really not working. I guess we're being punished for being lazy and now I broke my dog.