Thursday, October 30, 2008

World Series

Not too much for me to say...not much of a baseball fan but we did take the little fella to a game back in September (dollar dog night!) and I know enough to impress the occasional guy. This is a true team...not one diva...just a hang on the edge of your seat several games (in the cold and rain and in Philly, yes it can do unprecedented things like be suspended). But it's what sports is all about.

Hours after the horn blowing and screaming and madness subsided, I, exhausted from no sleep because of the aforementioned commotion, canvased a 2 block radius of my office in and around 15th and Locust for the morning edition of the Inquirer but at 3 p.m. was happy to take home the "Extra." Thanks to for the commemorative cover photos in jpeg format. Now the city anticipates 1 million plus downtown for the parade tomorrow.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Since I learned that the Performing Arts Exchange would be in Atlanta some time ago, I was beside myself with excitement. "Atlanta!" My eyebrows raised and I smiled. I had always wanted to go to the South and I was as excited as my favorite heroine in my favorite movie - Gone with the Wind.

That is where the trouble started. See, I had a very incorrect vision of what the city looked like in my brain. It's not that I expected sandy or cobble streets and horses and buggies...but I didn't expect NYC transplanted into Georgia. Skyscrapers and skywalks and tons of traffic welcomed me. I looked around downtown for some indication of a previous life...a turn-of-the-century life. Some sense of history.

Now this was a tight packed schedule and I didn't have as much free time to explore as I had in Kansas City. I ditched a professional development workshop to visit the Margaret Mitchell Museum to learn that Atlanta has a history of all historical places and things being burned, demolished, etc. in favor of new development. How horrifying and disappointing. But the tour of the author's little apartment was really very cool and the museum housed a collection of her letters documenting her writing the novel and the aftermath. As I walked back to my hotel, I decided I would simply need to schedule a real tour of the south...I'd have to do Charleston, Savannah and visit a plantation. Atlanta, while a bustling metropolitan, was not the "south" I wanted to experience.

And unlike Kansas City which teemed with cool photo opportunities, Atlanta left me wanting more. Every day I passed this one restaurant on the corner of Peachtree Street and Harris Street and something about it's huge wrap around porch and balconies made me think it might have been a special place back in the day. I imagined "polite society" throwing a party in their ballroom and greeting their guests...who arrived via in top hats and coats and the ladies in their hoop dresses, hats and the large parlor.

Then again, it could have been a saloon, the likes of which polite society never saw nor discussed.

Yes, this scene went through my head today. Photo to come.

Live from Kansas City

There were sequins glistening in the strobe lights and a crazy blonde bustin a move to a brass band when my head screamed - It's too much! Go back to your room!

I left the indie showcase party in the nick of was starting to look like an ad for Vegas. What was really cool was the Step Afrika spotlight showcase I caught at the very amazing, very old and beautifully restored Folly Theater. Once I locate my mem card adapter I can upload the footage. That was something else. Riverdance meets the Motherland. I wish the Dirty Dozen Brass Band could have been would have made for a killer collaboration.

This was after my 2 hour walk around attempt to locate the Arts & Culture "District." Walking down Main Street, I took tons of photos of cool old buildings and was even greeted by a sign that read "Arts & Culture District." I continued on foot, scouring the neighborhood for galleries and boutiques. Hmmm. Warehouse after warehouse in an otherwise industrial wasteland. Ooh - a fun antique shop! Oh closed 30 minutes ago? On a Friday night?

Around the block, up a hill - there were NO signs of life. I walked east on 18th Street and I was instantly reminded of that Brady Bunch episode where the gang stumbles upon a ghost town and somehow winds up locked up in the local jail. Brick buildings, sand swirling up in a poof, and me. I take a left and see 2 girls up ahead. Finally I found the "strip!" Whoo hoo! I approach what seems to be a bustling street to realize it was merely...a bustling corner. Now there was the local coffee joint and some shops so SCORE for me. I was so desperate to see life and some form of funky shop that I unloaded - financially - in this 100 yard stretch. I made some new friends, talked up the performing arts to this one gal who owns a lingerie shop and also created a 1-woman show, bought my son a cool vintage baby hoodie (there is actually baby vintage out there) and a few duds for myself. Like I said...I wanted a fun souvenir. I wasn't prepared to search all over the Plains for it so when I finally laid eyes on goodies I'd go berserk, but I did. I never did see any actual galleries.

Possibly, my expectations were a little too high for this very Midwest city? It gets kudos for being clean, friendly and laid back - I do love those traits. But as my NYC exhibit hall buddy and I joked - us east coasters want to walk out of our hotel and see our coffee shop RIGHT THERE. We're so demanding.

Beverly Hills

From earlier this fall.

Bah - the new show. I was dead set against watching this. I mean, really, how could I? I am a die hard fan of the original. But there I was tuning in (a little late though) and texting my friend the entire time giving her the back story on the old characters and typing "Seriously?" for nearly 2 hours. My two cents:

New cast: LAME. Our Jim & Cindy replacements - Rob Estes? Hello, Melrose Place transplant. Lori Laughlin? Only Aunt Becky forever on Full House (I will not go into her failed show from 2 seasons ago). The boys are ugly...where's the cute Luke Perry replacement??? The girls look like skinny sluts. Whatever. Stupid acting, stupid plot. Stupid. Just like all the other stupid teen shows today.

Kelly Taylor: Not surprised Jenny came back. She was on the show the entire time. I'm always a Kelly fan. The burning question of course is - WHO is the father of the little boy??

Brenda Walsh: Girl hasn't been on the show since '94 when she jetted off to London to explore the world of theater. We'd hear tall tales of her whereabouts and happenings - phone calls to Brandon, letters from Dylan after he tore out of town in '95. But the reality remains that Shannon was a bitch and had issues with everyone on the show and whether she was fired or quit, she was NOT friends with Jenny and neither were their characters at that point in time. When all the other peeps left the show they came back for weddings! Or send a video! They were special guest stars! Where was Shannon?! She never came back. WHERE did this rekindling come from? See the first adjective: LAME.

My final thoughts -- I'm convinced that the child spawned between Principal Rob Estes and the blond curly haired chick's mom (given up for adoption) will turn out to be Steve Sanders. Come on. Coincidence? I think not. Samantha Sanders was not his biological mother.

Per Erin's confession to that Annie girl, seriously? Mel, you cheated on Jackie AGAIN!? You got back together in the later episodes. Then you cheat again? No wonder Jackie is a wreck (I guess we'll see her next week).

This is where us loyal fans are left? We're stunned...confused...disappointed. But I'm not surprised...the very idea of this coming around again is silly and will never live up to our generation's was better for us leaving the world behind in 2000 when Donna and David married and we finally were sure Dylan and Kelly wound up together...


From 8/9/08
Saturday night the Bonanni crew (sans my mom and Johnny) swooped into the Wachovia Center to enjoy the timeless sounds of Neil Diamond. It's the second time I've seen him live. The first time was in October 2001, on the heels of our nation's tragedy. He had opened the concert with Coming to America and weeks (possibly even months) of grief and loss came streaming down my cheeks. The other night with the Olympics underway, I wondered WHEN are you going to sing this song, Neil? I patiently waited the entire show. His encore included this song as well as several other favorites of mine.

The entire show was fantastic...I managed to score us the most bangin seats. Not only did we have a terrific view of our star but also that hilarious guy in the front row who serenaded Neil the entire time! Tons of old tunes, a few new ones. It was humbling to look around at a packed Wachovia Center and know ALL THESE PEOPLE are here to see him (and clog the parking lot).

Here's the set list.

Holly Holy (one of my favorites!)
Beautiful Noise
Street Life
Love on the Rocks
Play Me
Cherry Cherry
Thank the Lord for the Nighttime
Home Before Dark
Don't Go There
Pretty Amazing Grace
Crunchy Granola Suite
Done Too Soon
Brooklyn Roads
I Am ... I Said
Solitary Man
Forever in Blue Jeans (Love this one too!)
Sweet Caroline
You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Song Sung Blue
I'm a Believer
Man of God
Hell Yeah


Cracklin' Rosie
Brother Love's Travelin' Salvation Show

My favorite tunes - I grew up rockin these tunes in the mid 80s - all the way up and down the NJ Turnpike when we schlepped from PA to NY! "Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies...everyone knows...everyone goes...Brother Love's shows..."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Post-Its are Yellow (and other musings)

When you take maternity leave and are gone for 2 months (or however long you might take), when you come back to work, you realize a lot has changed. I started back part time on Monday and one of the first things I noticed was that every encounter took an extra 5 minutes. People I'd completely forgotten about - the gang at Latimer Garage, the men at the front desk - all asking how we're doing, if I have photos, etc. Lots of conversations.

As I left the garage, I walked past the Starbucks with its big glass windows and turned to see my reflection and stopped. For months I saw this very high carrying pregnant belly in the glass. That day I saw myself in a cute tank and capris, sans the cute belly. There was a little pout on my face for a few more belly. I looked so different.

At the office a few things remained as I left them on May 29. I spent most of the morning going through things and organizing life again. Copies of my last time sheet from May were in my Inbox and my email had 4 messages from August and the remaining 15 from May. On top of my scrap paper lay the "Baby Pool" paper with everyone's guesses on when the little man would arrive (I took it home that night for inclusion in his scrapbook). Our new messaging was reflected in a new purple PMS color on new business cards and letterhead. DVDs of the showcases from the conference I missed (in labor that day) waited on the bookshelf for me. At least once an hour I noticed something that had changed. It was a time warp.

The funniest thing was when I went to scribble some notes on a post-it and I reached for my tri-colored apple post-its and much to my surprise there were no more red ones. "My Post-its are yellow!," I stated to my co-worker. They were red when I left and now they are yellow.

It really is surreal when you leave and come back and the random crazy stuff you notice.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When You're Gone

In less than one month both Vince's father and my parents have lost someone near and dear to them...that person that they knew in high school, who was in their wedding, who although they may have had life creep up and pull them in tons of directions, they still came back around to getting together, reminiscing, having new things in common - like being grandparents.

What goes through their minds when suddenly this person passes on? This best friend who was their age? When mortality stares them down? When I realize too that nothing lasts forever. When you think about the amazing wonderful life they did have and yet wonder why they were taken so young? When there were still more experiences to have?

And like when we all left for it better to be the first to go? To have all your friends bidding you farewell? Or be the last and have to see everyone go before you? Who is there when you go?

I hold my son and I'm reminded of the cycle of life and it's very bittersweet.

"And I'll miss you when you're gone..."
- The Cranberries


I feel like I use this adverb all the time now. Finally, I got to do (fill in the blank). Prior to having Mitch I would say, "Oh, when he's napping, I'll be able to paint the dining room, paint our bedroom, order new bedroom furniture, work on the garden, work on his scrapbook, etc." The list went on. I have accomplished a few of those to-dos but mostly I enjoy sleeping when I can.

With 2 weeks to go before I go back to work part time I thought I'd pull a classic Chrissie move and sandwich a million things into a short time frame. This past week we (insert favorite adverb here) visited my Nana, went to West Chester (I know it was November when I was last there but WHERE did that Starbucks come from???? I was both shocked and relieved since it provided a sancuary for feeding a child his bottle). Anyway, we also made it into center city to visit my co-workers and show off the little fella. On a personal note, I left my house - solo - to get together with some gals over drinks (this is a pathetic subject...I have NO tolerance...none...I couldn't finish my sad) and then saw Sex and the City at the Roxy. I completed some ominous health insurance paperwork (this was a big chore that I put off for a while) and finalized the layout of my wedding album (yeah, it's been two years but at least it's coming together). Today, after nearly two months, I will finally have my nails done. I can bring the baby just about anywhere but I can't take him into a nail salon. Way too toxic!

Next week we venture to Doylestown to visit friends and maybe check out that pirate exhibition at the Franklin Institute. Oh and then there's the beach...and Lambertville. Knowing me, I'm sure I'll come up with a slew of other things for us to do (in addition to the gardening and craft projects that linger).

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My 15 Minutes of Fame

So I work for PennPAT - which is PA Performing Arts on Tour, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation - and we have a roster 153 PA based performing artists. We offer grants to both the artists on our roster and presenters in the Mid Atlantic states.

Back in January a pitch to CN8 came to fruition and they featured our organization in their Comcast Newsmakers segment. In February they interviewed my boss about our organization and highlighted Philadelphia based performing artists and in April they interviewed me, discussing the organization and roster application process. My interview airs in Pittsburgh.

You can check me out by following this link to our website.

I was 8 mo. pregnant at the time and besides my cheeks looking a little chubbier than usual, I was a total nervous wreck. I have no problem speaking in front of 1000 people but tell me I'll be on live TV and I was a studying my talking points like I was going into a final exam.

It's still weird watching myself on "TV" but it's cool and I'm always excited about free PR for the organization. And if you know a PA based performing artist interested in touring...I'm happy to talk to them about the program!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little Things

Two weeks after baby I finally got over to Joseph Anthony to get my hair cut and colored. Wow. I feel like a whole new person. It's amazing what planning goes into a little outing now: Pack diaper bag, pack car, feed Mitch, strap him into his car seat, go. Depending on where we are headed, an extra item may be necessary (a boppy bouncer, a play gym). Babies and all their gear. I'm still figuring out how to work much of this gear - the stroller, the swing, the car seat, even the bottle warmer. Thank god for instruction manuals. Thank god I can laugh when I mess it up.

All the nesting we hear about (and experience) during our 9 months of planning must be practice for this sort of preplanning. I'm glad that by nature I'm a bit of a planner. I used to take a stop off at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on my way to/from somewhere for granted and for the time being it's the highlight of my day. I am a lightweight so I look pretty comical lugging him around in his car seat, in and out of the coffee shop, the post office, wherever. Now drive through is my new friend. And if I can get there while there is still day light, even better. The other day I took Mitchell out back and he slept in the shade while I hacked away at an overgrown bush and some weeds. I was thrilled to be outside doing something.

The little things that make my day now :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

On the day that you were born

As surprised as I was to learn I was pregnant, I was just as surprised the day baby Mitchell decided he wanted to be born. I definitely expected labor to play out differently - to be that sort of dramatic "rush to the hospital" we see in movies. No. No early contractions or intense pain or anything like that. I woke up last Friday just feeling like something wasn't right. I called the OB and Vince and I went in around 10 a.m. and sure enough my water had ruptured. After an internal exam - and having dilated another centimeter in one day - Dr. D (the cute doc) said the water completely broke just then and congrats! We were going to be parents today!

WHAT? I was shocked and excited. We stopped home and finished packing my bag and getting some last minute things together. I gobbled a bowl of Special K (who knew when I'd eat again) and straightened up some things. We even started a load of laundry so the little guy would have a coming home outfit. For all our planning (or maybe my planning), I sure didn't think he'd be a May baby. I was all set to go into work for a little bit, then get my nails and toes done and the next day planned on a hair cut! I thought I had a few days still to run around and do some last minute things.

So off we went...but not before we took a few pictures of me on my last day of being pregnant. Coincidently our lilies that we'd been waiting to see bloom opened up that morning. As Vince put it - something else wanted to be born today!

Without getting too in depth, we checked in, I realized this was the last time I'd see my clothing for at least 24 hours (maybe more) and got comfy on my labor/delivery bed. Things hadn't progressed much by 3 p.m. so I was induced with some petocin and then my anesthesiolist gave me an epidural. That drug rocks. I felt a few contractions right as that was being administered but then it was over. I didn't feel a another thing until the next morning. Once the petocin kicked in things moved along and I was 6 cm dilated and then 10 cm by 7 p.m. All the while I sat happy as a clam, reading some trash magazines about Brad and Angelina and surfing the web. I was ready to push at that point and did so for about 45 minutes. The next thing I remember were the OB coming in, nurses and interns donning gowns and being told it was time. I pushed maybe twice more - I don't know - and little Mitchell came into the world at 8:19 p.m.

A marvelous crying baby was placed into my arms and Vince and I just stared at this wonder and our eyes just filled with tears. He's really here. Our little son.

Later he'd get weighed and measured and have his bath and the little guy came to me all bundled up with this adorable handknitted cap on his tiny head. His stats are 6 lbs. 14 oz. and 19.25 in. He also has deep blue eyes and a gorgeous complexion. He's so alert and in the middle of the night I just stared at him, and him at me. We finally meet, mommy and son, after months of carrying him. Already I see him doing little things that I saw him do in the ultrasound. His tiny hands and arms cross when he sleeps on my chest, his head rests on top of them...when he eats or sleeps, his hands go up to his face and it's like he cradles his face.

The 9 month journey is over. It's so strange. It went so fast. For being a surprise and for the time it took me to wrap my head around it mentally and emotionally, I had such a wonderful blessed pregnancy. I would notice little changes on Fridays and Saturdays - like when I suddenly had to pee more...when my back started to hurt...when my feet swelled...when I needed to sleep on my side and do so with 20 pillows supporting me...and most of these ailments happened in the last month. Being pregnant made me more self aware, more introspective and willing to do more relaxing things for myself. There's an element of sadness to the experience being over. Of course there's the possibility of another baby someday...but nothing compares to your first.

Now baby Mitch is 1 week old tonight at 8:19 p.m. and he sleeps peacefully upstairs in his crib (for today at least) and I stare at him and want him to stay this tiny forever. But then he wouldn't get to go fishing with his daddy or to parks with his mommy. At night when it's just us, I watch his expressions and mesmerized when he's so alert and stares at me...and cannot get over that we created this being and in only 9 months all those cells and organs and everything come together to create a new life. I'm overwhelmed with love for him and cry at times because it's also scary. Will we be good enough for him? Will he be safe and secure? And I fall apart for 10 minutes and then ask God to watch over him and protect him.

And I totally understand how moms are in love with their children and get so attached.

Mitchell Salvatore
Born Friday May 30, 2008
8:19 p.m.
6 lbs. 14 oz.
19.25 in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

9 months

It's the middle of May and balls cold'd think it was the last week of October with this icky raw rain and 50 degree weather. I might be happy anticipating Halloween and all things fall but it's May and it should be sunny and warm.

I kicked my own ass this evening. With 4 weeks to go before little man graces us with his presence I told myself to crack open the acrylic paints and finish up that pirate mural I started back in late January. Had I known (and actually believed) that the second trimester was the best time I might not have procrastinated. Instead I thought, "I have PLENTY of time!" and continued to put off the task of completing it. Plenty of time has come and gone. Now his room looks like a baby's room with a crib, a mobile, Storypeople prints, tons of clothes and blankets and toys, even diapers and a bin dedicated to baby's bathing.

In between icing my poor swollen feet (which JUST decided to blow up), keeping them elevated, treating myself to prenatal massages to ease the upper back aches, surrounding myself with a million pillows at night for comfort, I persevere on his room. I've had a blessed pregnancy and aside from minor ailments I'm fabulous. Of course I'd rather be uploading my iPod with tunes and leafing through a magazine right now but I have some brown pirate ship paint that might dry out if I don't get back to it.

I had a break...had my first random late night ice cream I'm refueled. Time to go.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Maybe it's this time of year...maybe it's that we're both nesting (at least I can admit this though). New things are abounding left and right.

We rearranged the living room to create space. We also added a new rug and reframed this old Erlich print from the 70s (look can see the old buggy in the back). We took it to our favorite spot - The Framing Company in Newtown Square. There you can assemble it all yourself. The frame was my choice. I'm usually quite decisive about mats and frames but this one took me a tad longer, probably because it's from the 70s and we wanted to preserve that feel but also because the lithograph element of it tripped up up with colors. Finally I looked at it like a photo and realized a simple neutral mat was best (not the crazy yellow I originally thought could work - scary!) any rate, Vince joined the frame, the gal there cut the mat, and my favorite part? Staple, staple, adhere ATG to the back and drop on brown paper. Fold down sides, trim and add the wire. Seriously, this was always my most favorite part of the framing process.

Of course this print is BANGIN' in our living room now. Good for us.

Last week I snagged Easter flowers for the grandparents and couldn't help but pick a few out for myself. These combined with the ever growing indoor plant collection have our downstairs looking like a mini arboretum. I'm not sure how they've survived considering I never had a green thumb before last spring.

Speaking of a green thumb, I've lusted over the wellies for some time now. However I couldn't bring myself to purchase a pair of boring old green or black wellies. The Gap had these online and I jumped on them. They are just dying to get outside once the weather warms up and mulch with me. Of course I do still need a pair of crocs. Like the wellies, no boring color will do. Purple, pink or green for me.

Finally, a pretty, clean dog on some new carpeting. This extends up the stairs and into the hallway. It's called Robin's Egg Blue. I'm a big dork about color names and labels like "Blue" or "Cream" just don't suffice for me. When we moved into our house, Vince, his pal Mike and our realtor, my cousin Kim, all came up with the name Mocha Latte for the carpet in the master bedroom to fool me. Because of course I said, "No Beige!"

If you're an artist you understand.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vintage Bags

I love vintage handbags. Heart them. Anytime I visit a vintage store, besides perusing the racks of dresses (and coats when the weather permits), I gravitate toward the bags. Up until now my only rules have been that I like it and it's it in decent condition. I'm not a designer girl by any means but lately I've been thinking I want to invest in an authentic vintage Gucci or Burberry bag. This is a challenge since the knock offs abound on the market and moreover, most eBay sellers aren't savvy enough to spot real from fake. I found an adorable tote on the auction site last week but the pattern wasn't usual for Burberry. Normally I'd be all over something off the beaten path except in this case, it sent red flags up the pole. Sadly, the seller couldn't provide me with any sort of serial number to certify that it is indeed a true Burberry. It was only $40 and I considered buying it because the shape and style were so me, but then I thought I'd rather put that $40 into the real deal. Furthermore, if and when I decide to flaunt a label like that, it sure better be the real thing.

So I moved on and found a great Gucci bag. It's doctor bag style. This one has a serial number but alas, the ever annoying reserve. Alternatively, I could buy it now for $200 which is probably a good deal but then I think about all those other truly unique bags I might buy with that $200. Hmmm.

I remembered this adorable wicker handbag my grandfather bought my mom in the late 60s. He purchased it in Miami. I saw a few similar bags on eBay (and some other vintage bag websites) and started a list of 1950s and 1960s handbag designers. In less than a week I've scoured tons of sites in my research and found this approach to be my calling. I love that these bags (and their designers) so fabulous for their day. I love that older generations can speak to how beautifully handcrafted and desired the bags were then. That the names float under the radar but they are held in such regard and collectible.

These 60s designer lucite boxes are on my to buy list. I also thought besides toting them around town they would also make for great jewelry boxes. I can place them on a dresser and store my ever growing collection of bracelets and necklaces and whatnot.

Vacuum Sealed Bags

In an effort to consolidate and store winter duds and belongings, Vince and I picked up some of those space saver vacuum seal bags at Walmart last night. I've seen the commercials for these bags a zillion times but never imagined how truly fabulous the bags are. All our puffy bulky winter coats, sweaters and fleece garments - sealed up, compressed, and stowed away until the fall. I was so amazed at how much stuff you can fit into this bag that now I want to vac seal everything. I have tons of skirts in my closet, tons of cute pre-pregnancy clothes that I won't be able to wear until the fall anyway, not to mention the hangers full of adorable blazers in the baby's closet that need to move. I'm on a vac-seal mission. I'll store all this stuff, stack it in the attic and the best part? The bags free up storage bins for other items. Fabulous.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


We recently went bowling for Vince's 32nd birthday. About 20 of us swooped down on Chichester Lanes. Here's my doctored image of me, my brother and my sister...mocking the craziness of that joint and wondering why on earth my other brother didn't haul his lazy ass down from the Cape to share in the fun times.


Some baby related photos.

Me 6.5 months along (week 26).

From our January ultrasound - a boy!

The baby update at 4.5 months

Monday, March 17, 2008


So we found out back in the fall that I'm expecting. This was a big surprise and it took a while to wrap my head around it all. Vince wanted to blab to the world...I was not ready to do so until Thanksgiving and even then things were still sinking in...amidst a sea of well meaning friends of family that suddenly had to share their opinions with me on everything from breast feeding to alcohol to painful deliveries. I wasn't even out of my first trimester.

In January we had another ultrasound and determined that our little one is a boy. I'd been having some interesting dreams about pirates and contemplating a pirate themed room so with the "It's a Boy" news, we exchanged lots of high-fives and I started a fun wall mural.

I had a little pooch for a few weeks from December into January and I finally popped in late January/early February, around the 5 month mark. The belly has been interesting to watch. I finally graduated from the demi panel to the full panel and like many aspects of the pregnancy, things that bothered me in the beginning (maternity clothes and full panel pants), I now embrace. My subconscious is clearly perplexed over the expanding region and I sort this out nightly in my head, wondering exactly how big I'll be when I deliver. I remind myself that I am 6 months along so the awkward weight of a belly and rolling out of bed and some discomfort are normal (duh). Or it's my brain's way of diverting my thoughts away from any lingering anxiety that comes with the thought of labor. Who knows.

This past Thursday we went to Innerview Ultrasound in Malvern for a 3D and 4D ultrasound. 2D is the flat black and white scan we all know and it only shows profiles or the baby from a particular angle. 3D is the full image with the depth of field. 4D is capturing the movement.

Having been pretty chill about things up until now, I was not prepared for the intense emotional experience of the ultrasound. The experience was so amazing and I can't even believe I can see his little face - it made it all much more real and exciting and now I'm like a proud mom. I watch this video like, twice a day and I can't wait until he gets here and I can hold him. I've definitely had moments of protectiveness and attachment but this solidified all those feelings. Plus just seeing this took away a lot of the lingering fears I had about labor and delivery.

Truthfully, I think he looks like Vince in these images (even a little like my dad as a child) but he's only 2.5-3 lbs. so he has time to grow still.

Check out the video here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It may be that I'm cranky because I didn't sleep well last may be that I'm frustrated over the lack of clarity surrounding health and other insurance benefits but there are things I get now.

Why sometimes you just don't want people chit chatting and having personal conversations at work when there's work to be done.
Why conversations about pop culture and effing around on myspace and You Tube and email are distracting.
Why people should be made to listen to their music with headphones on or just play specific artists on our roster or don't listen to anything at all.

I'm normally fine. Today most of this I find annoying and I wonder how a few previous employers didn't just slap me when I should have been doing work and not being a distraction.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Winter Weather Snafu

At one point I really thought I'd be spending the night in my car in the wintry mess in that stinkin' triangle in South Philly.

The skies opened up at 5 p.m. the other night to grace us with freezing rain after a day of a few flurries and most of us relaxed and anticipating a normal commute home. Such was not the case. Mother Nature typically plays favorites and dumps piles of snow and sleet and freezing rain on parts "north and west of the city" and I gripe that those of us south and east of the city never get squat. At least not anything that's worth leaving early or having a snow day.

She told me.

Just as everyone and their grandmother left the office Tuesday evening, the freezing rain hit and with plummeting temps, froze parts of the roads, mainly the bridges. We scurried to our cars and hoped against hope we'd make it home soon and safe. Within a 30 min. window all of Philly and it's surrounding 'burbs came to a screeching halt. Accidents on 95 at Broad Street, slow going over the bridges translated into detours, bottlenecked intersections and people going no where fast.

I thought Broad St. would be the safest play since it's well traveled and would likely not be too slippery. After stopping for gas, I approached the 95 interchange only to see a stream of tail lights before my eyes and parked cars. OK, I thought. Take a right on Pattison and follow the cut off to 291 and pick up 95 that way. I went all of maybe a quarter mile to be in my own sea of parked cars. No one moved for 15 minutes. People were taking rights onto 20th Street - they seem to know what they're doing?! I'll follow least I'll be moving. I drove north on 20th Street and took a left onto Penrose figuring all the detoured Broad Street traffic was slowing up Pattison but this route would cut out that mess. Again, I went maybe three quarters of a mile and stared at the side of a Sunoco Station for about 20 minutes. I could see the Platt Bridge ahead of me and bright red tail lights far off into the horizon. I imagined Pattison traffic, Penrose traffic and 28th Street traffic all trying to converge into 2 slippery lanes to go over this bridge. Bad news.

By now it was approaching 7 p.m. and I'd been in the car for over an hour. I'M NEVER LEAVING!?! STUCK IN THE TRIANGLE IN SOUTH PHILLY!?! I know I allowed myself this drama for about 30 seconds. Then I collected myself...ate my little English Muffin to tide me over and told myself to head north. Someway, somehow there is a way out of this damn triangle and a way out of the city. I knew every major artery taking one over a bridge and out of the city was clogged. I could head north and perhaps park close to a train station, leave the car overnight and train it home? Maybe. Or I make for the ghetto. If I leave via West Philly I can putz down Baltimore Pike the entire way.

So I persevered and made my way north. Oregon Avenue was a parking lot as were Washington Avenue and Grays Ferry. I forged ahead. I made it to Walnut Street around 7:15. It took some time to get past Penn but eventually I made it to 40th Street - safe (sort of). I was past the ugliness of bumper to bumper traffic but I had the sketchiness of WAY West Philly looming before me. If I can make it to 50th Street, I'll be fine I reassured myself. When 50th Street greeted me, I took a left and inched my way down a hill to Baltimore Avenue and gleefully made my right and headed west. Past a Caribbean food joint, past some boarded up homes, past Cobbs Creek until finally the Welcome To Yeadon Delaware County sign waved hello in the rain and I rejoiced.

I'd never been more happy to see this area of Upper Darby, to see the Golden Mile in Springfield and know I was only 20 minutes or so from home. I pulled into my driveway around 8:15 - my 3 hour trek home over - safe, relieved and famished. Not since the snowy days of winter 2001 do I recall such an ordeal getting home in inclement weather. I'm sure I've had some moments scattered here and there throughout the years, but this one goes on the shelf - with my other 3 hour hellish trip home on 76 that January day 7 years ago.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Bogged down with a 15 lb. bag of plaster from Pearl, a shopping bag from Benjamin Lovell, and the uncomfortable need to pee, I skimmed the South St. shops for hope of a finer and friendlier establishment than a local pizza joint to take a load off. No such luck. To make matters worse, South St. on a Saturday afternoon, I should have remembered is bad news: insanely crowded with hipsters. I'll walk back to my car, I thought. Maybe I'll see something on south 4th St.

Past fabric shop after fabric shop (the need to pee kept me from wandering in and browsing paisley and brocade prints), I finally spotted that new little coffee shop I saw earlier. It looks inviting and I can always snag a coffee for the ride home.

I walked inside, out of the cold, and felt immediately relaxed. Only a few folks sat sipping their beverages at tables. The Smiths were playing in the background - hello? That's surely a sign of a good place - the exposed brick touted local art and best of all? Even the oil polished hardwood floors were spotless. I struggled between ordering a smoothie or a frappe and then decided on the latter since it had been a good many years since I had a frappe. I excused myself to the ladies room which like the rest of the place was spacious and clean. Wow. I went back to the counter, paid for my drink, while chuckling to myself about the low key pirate theme all around (again, a sign?), struck up conversation with a local resident about the fabulous sale at Ben Lovell and sat my tired ass down in a plush 19th century inspired chair.

What's the name of this oasis? It's called Red Hook Coffee & Tea. It's at the corner of 4th and Catherine Streets in Queen Village. Here's a run down of what makes this place kick even more ass:

A fun name and cool use of appropriate props to convey a pirate theme.
Independently owned.
Sell fair-trade organic coffee and espresso.
Use local ingredients and support local bakers and local economy.
Showcase local art talent and have 4th on 4th Street - monthly art openings the fourth Friday of the month.
Terrific affordable selection of food and drinks.
Friendly staff - and customers.
It's off South Street and seems to cater more toward the residents with an occasional weary South St. straggler like myself stumbling in once in a while.
Low key, not super crowded (at least not 30 min. before they closed), one is also likely to find parking in a 2-3 block vicinity - good for a Delco resident like me.
As I mentioned - clean, including a spacious clean bathroom.
Are dog friendly (I saw two cute doggies there during my 15 min. stay).
And I love this - you can rent the space after 6 p.m. for a small fee. I'm telling you, this space is super cute and cool. I would so have a party there.

Can you tell I'm a marketing gal?! Of course I'd have a ball doing marketing work for this establishment.
Red Hook Coffee - my newest discovery and new favorite coffee joint.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Musical Journey

Before I write a thoughtful post on my arts blog and give compelling reviews and You Tube clips of some showcases I've seen in the past several days, I decided to come here first and unload the emotion.

I can get caught up in a moment like anyone, particularly a musical one. Examples include when I saw Richard Ashcroft perform at the TLA in 2001...when I saw him again with Coldplay in 2006...when I saw Amos Lee at the Tin Angel...when I saw Crowded House at the Mann Center this past August.

But last night I sat in the room and watched several performances that were truly emotional and adventurous experiences. The Hot Club took us to 1930s France and back with their gypsy jazz music and sensational French singer. The Hot 8 Brass Band had the house clapping and rocking until 11:30 p.m. with their Second Line sound and musical journey to Marti Gras in NOLA. Danu - hands down the most intense performance of the evening - hails from Ireland and put us in a trance with their celtic fiddling. All I could think was - Imagine seeing them in a pub...with a Guinness. I felt like I was there. I wanted to bottle the energy.

One the one hand, little waves of nostalgia washed over me several times because I used to work for this agency and I desperately wanted to get up and talk to presenters and convey the level of excitement I felt. I also happened to look around and take in the incredible number of people in the room and the overall energy and couldn't place my finger on how I felt until much later in the evening. Then I remembered. I was part of something bigger. I experienced that there before, in 2004, when I played a big part in producing the showcase and for the first time in my young career felt extremely proud of where I worked, the people I worked for/with, the incredible talented artists I represented and the work I had done. Wrap all that up and it's an intense moment.

The intensity and energy swirled around inside me the other night. I was proud too - that I had come full circle to be there again. Amidst the little waves of nostalgia there was also confidence that someday I might pull off something this magnificent. The key to a successful showcase - and perhaps one's successful business - is the ability to build excitement and create connections and emotional experiences for people.

Here is video of Danu. Just know this does not capture the intensity I described above. Imagine this times 100. I hope you are as entranced as me.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Storm in Heaven

I heard an old tune today on the drive home and I sang along to the chorus and heard the words echo in my psyche. I used to sing these words in 1998 when I couldn't bare to talk to friends or even family about my parents separating...I didn't want anyone to see me in this fragile vulnerable state...they couldn't possibly understand. How could anyone else comprehend it when I couldn't? When one big thing was obviously the result of years of lots of little things - things that didn't even involve me - breaking apart?

The storm in heaven swirled tonight, 10 years ago. I almost fainted when they told me the news. I had to go work and afterwards I didn't care to go home. I wandered around the town of West Chester until midnight. It was a ghost town then and I fit in perfectly that night. When I arrived home, mom was sleeping, dad was still upset and John was in his room sobbing. I turned to go into my room and avoid everything but he was only 14 and something told me I had to put my own grief aside and comfort him. We'd all been close siblings but the next five years would bring us closer.

The storm would rage on most of that year until it finally died down to a drizzle...and drizzle it did on our lives for another four years. Somehow they persevered...somehow we persevered. Somehow we all learned from the stormy weather and came out on the other sunny side better people.

Ten years is a long time. A lot can change in ten years.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


The flowers Vince gave me for my birthday have persevered 2 weeks. Amazing, right? I sustain them with water and trimming the bottoms off the stems. I pull out dead ones and rearrange. The other day a few carnations and lilies remained so I transferred them to these adorable juice bottles I salvaged. So pretty.