Should we get pregnant? We can’t really afford it …

9 02 2012

… and all the other reasons and excuses we make to wait. Can you afford it? No – but you can. Is the world something you really want to share? No – but also yes. Are you ready? No – but if you’re even asking that question, then you’re as ready as you’re going to be.

So get in there and get pregnant. Don’t even think about it, just go blissfully into the unknown. Come on, put down the app and the spreadsheet and just live like they did in the 1800s. Hell, like they did in the 1980s, and have unprotected fun with your spouse.

Not sure you believe me? I’ll never admit I’ve watched this movie and I certainly won’t recommend it. But Conrad will. Watch. Distill beyond the incredibly stupid to the deeper message … it’s not very well hidden beneath the surface. Oh, and for all my friends named, “Curtis,” I’m sorry – I didn’t write the script.


In the year 2505, we find a civilization so dumbed-down that it doesn’t take much to be the smartest people around.

This movie is worse than dumb, but the series of events leading to to 2505 are … well … perhaps a little close to home.



Yay for pregnant friends!

9 02 2012

We are so happy to have new friends to welcome to the world of parent-hood, and we’re also happy to be amongst the group who have some advice to share.

To make things easier, I’m going to be bold and share some of our advice here on the blog, rather than in separate-and-forwarded emails.

So stay tuned for our new series: Baby 101.

Of course, we’re just recently graduated to Baby 102, having recently celebrated Avery’s 1st birthday. So we certainly don’t think what we have to say is fully-tested, and we’d love counter ideas and suggestions – either on our advice, or on what’s next to come for us!

Time flies faster than the running of the brides at Kleinfelds

25 04 2011

It’s pretty often when I think to myself, “self, you should really jot a quick blog post about that.” And ZOOM! before you know it, I’ve been pregnant, had a c-section, had a baby, had a 3-month maternity leave, and am finding myself back at the office.

… so … maybe some posts will look back in time so I can share some of the thinks I thought along this amazing journey. But let’s start fresh at least with current-day … Day 1 back at work after maternity leave. I’m actually really enjoying being back at work … it’s helped enormously by 2 things: 1. Avery is staying with dad for four weeks, I call it “daddy day care;” and 2. IBM is super flexible with work, which means that today, my first day back, I’m working from home, helping Conrad transition to his role as I transition to mine.

Here’s the message I shared with my team:

Was it worth it? StoryCorps

17 10 2009

Continuing in this vein of adventures in and around and occasionally having nothing to do with NYC, here goes … StoryCorps.

NPR’s StoryCorps oral history  project (what they say | what the other guys say)
Foley Square, NYC … and other locations fixed and mobile

ReyesReport Overall Rating: Two Reyi thumbs up (we’d add toes if the rating allowed!)


  • Book your appointment in advance with their Web site. We found this incredibly easy to do (+2) … down side was you had to book in ADVANCE – we booked over a month in advance (-1)
  • We got there on time, recording started on time, recording ended on time. +2 for accuracy and good expectations!
  • Net: +3


  • There is no charge for the interview session.
  • Two recorded copies are burned to a CD — one for you, one for the Library of Congress. That’s free too.
  • They do ask if you’d like to make a donation – they suggest $25. We happily agreed with that. Donations are 100% tax deductible.
  • +2 (who doesn’t love free. no pressure for a tax-deductible deduction for a service you think is super cool is good too.)


  • The recording equipment and sound booth were top-notch.
  • My dad felt like a celebrity on a radio show… which in a way, he was … the star of the talk show about my life and those who influenced it.
  • The free recording they send you off with was great too — mom enjoyed the listen, and I’m sure more will be subject to at least part of the 40-minute adventure.
  • +2, no doubts.


  • You know where this is going. I walked out of there thinking who else to set up time with and wishing grandpa Osmon was still alive. When you want to go back for more, right away, it’s a good thing.
  • Dad was on top of the world — having contributed a living memorium to the Library of Congress. Not to be morbid, but I think that’s way cooler than an obelisk in a graveyard. This is a moment and a breath of life that will live on — both with my family (e.g. future kids, yes moms, we do hope) and with anyone else who wants to hear stories from a real American who was drafted for Vietnam, made sweeping changes to the public school system, publicly fought the influences of religious fundamentalists on public school policy, or about the life of a deep-sea charter captain.
  • Dad was also a little nervous about what I’d ask … I didn’t give him any zingers, but I didn’t let him off the hook until the interview was over either. Yeah, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy watching him squirm just a little bit 😉 Next time I’ll ask him about his torrid affair with my mother or … maybe some of the other unmentionables we don’t discuss in our WASPy little family >:-) <wink>
  • +5 … can I do that?


  • Reba: I don’t know why everyone hasn’t done this. Other than planning ahead, there are no down sides. The experience was excellent. If you live in NYC, book a time slot now. You can figure out who to interview when the date gets closer. Or hell, ask someone to interview you. We all have a story to tell. If you’re not in NY, no worries, there is a mobile booth that’s making its way around the country — stalk it. Or just come to NYC and make it part of your visit!
  • Rad:If nothing else, this offers people a forum to sit down with someone you want to talk with, ask them questions you want to know the answers to, and preserve those answers for future generations. Of course, there is also the doubt or challenge to now figure out how to make what is probably thousands of hours of interviews usable for those who want to dig into the hundreds of interviews and topics discussed.
  • Score: Perfect 10 (actually, it got a 12, but we gotta stay true to the system and have some kind of ceiling.)

Was it worth it? DiFara’s

25 09 2009

A friend asked me that about our recent trip to DiFara’s Pizza. After all, it is way the heck out of the way. So I thought that might be a nice summary for some of the adventures we do.  I know, I’ve been bad at the blogging … if my company would get a wee bit better at the speech to text technology, I’d could knock this out from a wireless phone update on my commute home from the north … but I digress.

Now, in any good rating system, one needs consistent metrics. As we’re just beginning this experiment, I’m still open to the influence of outsiders — feel free to comment. Here’s what I’m going to start with: Time, Cost, Quality, Experience, Overall rating.

So let’s start this new blog experiment with DiFara’s. (If you’re lucky, there’ll be a second post this weekend on a new subject.)

DiFara’s Pizza (what they say | what the other guys say)
424 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY 11230

ReyesReport Overall Rating: Two Reyi thumbs up (that’s a 4 thumbs for those of you who have trouble counting fingers)


  • For starters, DiFara’s is not close but it is accessible by public transport, so +1 for that. But it took about an hour to get there by subway, so there goes that bonus point (-1, one hour or over).
  • Now … once you arrive, you don’t just get your pizza. You shoulder your way to a wait list. Get your name on a sheet of paper. And wait. Some people bring games. Some people have children. Most of the comments on the Interweb warn to plan at least 30 minutes of queuing. That would normally garnish a -1 … but we made a special order of pepperoni pizza, which apparently put us on a special list. The woman taking orders told us if we didn’t mind pepperoni *and* mushroom (which happens to be Conrad’s absolute favorite pizza), she could give it to us right now. The people in the line were *not* thrilled. I, however, attribute +1 for just being awesome and jovial.
  • Net: 0 — It’s not worth a regular commute, but on a splurge, time is on your side.


  • This pizza was not cheap. Tasty, but not cheap. Toppings were all extra too. -1
  • They accept only cash. -1 (Sorry, Mr D, I’m a modern girl)
  • Net: -2

Quality (warning: this is one of two of the distinguishing qualities)

To me, pizza is judged in 3 main qualities. So that’s the methodology we’ll follow here:

  • Crust: Thin and just the right kind of crisp. Delectable. Amazing. Even after a 10 minute walk to a park. +3, really great.
  • Toppings: Pepperoni is a staple. I think it has to be the most common, American pizza topping. We used that as the topping benchmark. Honestly, DiFara’s didn’t stand out here. The mushrooms were awesome, but the pepperoni was sub-par. -1  However, Mr. DiFara has a special secret touch and adds, by hand, to each pie, as they come out of the pizza oven on that crazy board thing, a special drizzle of olive oil and a fresh cut of basil. +1, Mr. DiFara, +1.
  • Taste: Put those things together, and does it all work? Yep. +2.
  • Net: +5. It’s damn yummy pizza.


This is the tourism rating. The flavour. The zest. The culture. Mr DiFara has created a cultural experience all his own. And kids, he isn’t young. It’s a trek to the depths of Brooklyn. It’s a story to tell your grandchildren. It’s a tiny hole in the wall that you’d pass by on the way to the 7-Eleven without a second glance. The interior is not special, it’s a pizza joint. We went in the summer. The pizza oven was hot. There was no A/C. And every step of the experience made us feel like happy tourists at home in our city. Yep, definitely a +2.


  • Rad: Definitely go do it. Now, my caveat, we didn’t have to sit for 1.5 hours to wait for the pizza. Would I wait that long? I don’t think so. But I had a great time, great pizza, don’t miss it before this guy dies.
  • Reba: Do it, at least once. But make a day of it and enjoy the ride — it’s an epic adventure and not a regular commute for your daily slice.
  • Score: 0 -2 +5 +2 = +5, don’t miss it!

Sunday was date day! And it was great.

30 08 2009

For my birthday, Conrad gave me two big gifts: 2 tickets to see Avenue Q, and dinner reservations at a restaurant on our “to eat at” list, Mermaid Inn.

Well, after two intense dramas, Avenue Q was Broadway redemption. I can’t remember the last time wet laughed so hard, for so long.  It definitely wasn’t the all-girls comedy show we saw, that’s for sure. No, this cast of 6 was phenomenal. If you don’t know, Avenue Q stars puppets. It’s a Sesame Street for adults, if you will. There’s a gay puppet, a slutty puppet, a porn-loving puppet – and that’s just the beginning. You can see more of the puppeteers than I expected, and they themselves acted as complementary roles to their puppet characters.  The voices were amazing — the singing voices, and also the ability to seemingly split their personality and perform the voice of another character under someone else’s control. It was slanderous and rowdy and fun and escapist. If you haven’t seen it yet — do. It closes on September 13!!

We had late dinner reservations, which meant we didn’t have to rush. So we got to hop on the bus (which I love) and headed up to our old neighborhood. Much to our delight, today was Amsterdam Avenue’s street festival. Yay! The street is closed to traffic, vendors park their booths were normally there are cars and delivery trucks. Smells of roasting corn mingle with Thai noodle dishes and watermelon snacks. Hawkers sell hats, jewelry, t-shirts, kids clothing, rugs, sheets, socks … truly a little bit of everything, and always a surprise. Last year I found the greatest pair of Indian-style handmade shoes. Sadly, I’ve never found him again, but I keep hoping we do!  Somehow Conrad managed to find a weird locking bit of some kind or other that he HAD to have (naturally, he just needed it this week — what are the odds it was right there on the table in front of his eyes… ).

Naturally, after strolling around in the sunshine, we were quite thirsty. And it being only 5 or so, a little too hungry to wait until 7pm dinner reservations. Hark, did someone say mussels and a great beer at a newly opened B Cafe West? Red curry and coconut milk meld together to make Mussels Malay Laksa. It sounds good, and it’s better than it sounds. Plus the great Belgian beers were served each in their own brewer’s glass, which I love. So yeah, we’d go there again. Only one problem. Our lazy appetizer snack was pretty filling.

We walked around a bit to work our appetite back into a frenzy (or at least fool ourselves into thinking it was). Mermaid Inn is a fish shack gone fancy. We started by sharing a crab  gazpacho that was light and lovely.  For dinner, we shared a Sunday pasta special — a version of their normal “pasta with salad on top.” It was a tossed with little necks, mussels, calamari (including the tentacle ends) and perfectly cooked baby scallops and is topped with just the right amount of peppery arugula. Thankfully, Mermaid Inn doesn’t have a dessert menu — but to make up for it, they give each patron a little cup of chocolate pudding to end on a sweet note.

What a great birthday! And as every Leo knows, any excuse to drag it out beyond the actual day just makes the celebration that much sweeter.

Our new roommate squeaks

27 08 2009

Yes.  We have mice. Sadly, like bedbugs and roaches, this is not a problem reserved only for those in rent-controlled apartments. (Though really, you get such a great deal, I think taking the vermin on for the rest of us would be quite considerate.)

We knew they were here when they left their tell-tale little calling cards. Poops. Gross. I was out for blood. And I got it. Conrad killed three. And we saw no more poops. Gone? You know the answer. Of course not.

No, these guys went to rally the troops. To bury their dead and allow the proper time for mourning, and then to double their force and come out tales waving high, little mouse toes scampering lightly. They took this new mission on with a certain gusto I hadn’t expected. In fact, this latest crew they’ve sent in is bordering on rude. Guerilla warfare. They will walk out and say hi. Scurry along the wall only to pop down where you’re quite sure there is no opening. And traps? Oh, we can lure them in. I’m a fisherman’s daughter – and I can bait with the best of ’em.  But much to my chagrin, there little 0.5″ brains are smarter than me …


Note: Merl is standing ON the trap

And so I give you Merl. Merl is small. I mean tiny. Merl is the bomb squad. They send Merl in first. He scampers over to the trap and inspects the food. Then he gives the all clear. It goes like this, “Hey! Food! Organic peanut butter dipped in a lovely imported parmigiano reggiano!” (Note: NYC mice are fickle. They like mom’s homemade cookies and imported cheese – the other stuff, gets a turned nose and an extra poop to emphasize their dislike.)

And then out comes Murray. Murray is fierce. He is the brains of the operation. Murray inspects the trap for function. He finds the best way to extract the food from the locking mechanism and export it to who knows where. Murray has the soft, quick hands of a power-thief.

How do I know about Merl and Murray? I observed all this from my home office, looking out into the kitchen, where I watched the showdown between man and beast. And we lost.

Well Merl, well Murray, you may have won this battle. But we will win the war. This I can promise you. Tomorrow we are bringing in our big guns. The exterminator arrives with WoMD and he’s not afraid to use them.  And if you win that battle too, I have another trick up my sleeves. Much to Conrad’s chagrin, it’s a one-word answer that starts with “C” and ends with “AT”. … But we’ll only bring out that dirty word if all else fails. It’s that or move.

Bring it on.