Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Me, Me, Me! And You.

Congratulations, Magpie! You won the tickets! See you at the opera!

Thank you, everyone for entering. I really wish that I could sneak you all in with me.

That's right, I'm going to the Opera!

Because sometimes your bucket list just writes itself.

I'm going to see Hansel & Gretel at New York's fancy shmancy Metropolitan Opera in New York City. At Lincoln Center. Right by the gorgeous Christmas tree. Really, how can you resist?

Want to come, too?

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win two tickets to the Thursday, December 17th 8pm performance. For extra entries, please tweet this giveaway.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Good lord, the things that we do for our kids.

Recently I was contacted by the lovely people from Cirque du Soleil (no, not to join their contortionist department, smartypants) and offered tickets to Wintuk. Now, I'd been to Cirque du Soleil approximately thirteen years ago, with my husband, before we were married. "What the hell is this?" he asked as a twirling acrobat met with thunderous applause. "Why are we here?"

I was pretty sure that I never needed to go see another performance.

But my eleven year old daughter wanted to go. So badly that when she got sick with the flu the day before we were supposed to see the show last week, she cried bitter swine tears of disappointment.

Fortunately, the Cirque du Soleil rescheduled the show. Well, probably the show went on as planned, but we got tickets to the show a week later.

And it was fantastic. And not just because when we entered the theater, I noticed a Medical Room to the side with a stretcher. Nor because they served cocktails and had a coffee bar that proudly announced that they'd spike your coffee with booze. A venue that caters to the parents, is a venue that is after my own heart. And possibly liver. (I had a Sprite.)

It was fantastic because it was funny. It was fun, and smart, it was musical and it was visually stunning. I fell in love with the costumes in the first act, it was as though graffiti had come alive and been turned into outfits by Versace. The story itself, well, a boy, winter, cold, no snow, was fine, but the visual telling was masterful.

My daughter was entranced. I adored it. The finale was spectacular. I don't want to give anything away, but let me just say that the audience stood up and cheered. Seriously, a standing ovation at the circus. It was that good.

So, if you haven't seen Cirque du Soleil, go. And grab a coffee with brandy on your way in. Because all those acrobatics look really exhausting, and we need to fortify ourselves.

To get a 30% discount off a child's ticket, go here. Your child will thank you. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Went to the Big Apple Circus.

This Saturday, my family and I went to the Big Apple Circus. I take them every single year, so I was thrilled to be invited this year by the circus people. To make it even better, Kelcey of The Mama Bird Diaries was the guest ringmaster for the second act. I made the mistake of telling my kids that, so they spent the first act asking me whether every single contortionist was Kelcey. I don't know why I didn't just say "yes" and put them out of my misery.

The circus itself was fantastic. If you've never been to the Big Apple Circus, I don't mind letting you know that it's my favorite. It is a very intimate setting (sorry, no candlelight) and they don't do the lion/elephant torture act so you don't have to sit there and anticipate being stampeded. That really makes things better for me.

And they do have dogs who do totally cute things. All their dogs are rescue animals who they trained to do stuff. Like inter-species dancing:

(thank you to Coast2Coast Mom for the photo.)

My one problem with the circus is that some of the performers are such show offs. I mean, hello? Do you really need all those gravity defying stunts?

I'm a huge Grandma fan (we spoke at intermission and she has an unnaturally deep voice), but this was the first year that I got to see Bello. Who is hysterical and amazing. And has really good hair.

Of course for me, the highlight was the second act. I knew that Kelcey was going to be the ringmistress, so I soothed her beforehand and reassured her that if something UNTHINKABLE were to happen, like a HUGE PANIC ATTACK, I would be able to step in seamlessly as her understudy. Despite my soothing words and attempts to trip her, she, for a few minutes, became the star of the show.

Don't believe me?


Stage pre-Kelcey. Yawn.

An act that came on right before Kelcey. This is when my son asked "which one is your friend?" and as I made a mental note to have him tested, Husbandrinka said, "she's the one of the left." The hell? I mean, they'd met Kelcey!

And in case you haven't, here she is:

Photo by Kelcey. Are you wondering how the photo can be by her if she's also in the photo? That's a circus trick.

Seriously, if you haven't made plans to go to the circus yet, don't wait. My whole family loved it.

To get discount tickets to the Big Apple Circus, go here! Or call 888-541-3750 and then use the discount code: MOMMY10. Kelcey not included.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Try Out the New Nintendo DS Games. And Have a MilkShake

Last week, I was invited to attend a launch party for two new DS games--Diner Dash and Wedding Dash.

Now, my kids have the Nintendo DS which I got them for a flight to Paris a few years ago, because I wanted to concentrate on my fear of terrorism and mechanical malfunction and not on my children's terrible behavior. The fact that Young Ladrinka asked me if he could play the DS while we were at the LOUVRE remains a beloved memory and not a Moment of Mortification, as mama suggested.

But, anyway. Although my kids love the DS, I'm sort of "eh" about it. The few times that I've tried to use Pokemon Platinum, my son was all "YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!" "BATTLE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" and it wasn't fun for me. I prefer games that I don't need to take prescription nerve tablets to enjoy.

But the people at the Diner Dash/Wedding Dash event were super nice and explained everything to me and didn't yell at me. They also let me order a real life chocolate milkshake, so I love them and everything that they're selling and you should get multiple copies of each immediately if not sooner.

First I tried out Diner Dash (unfortunately subtitled Flo on the Go). I was told that this game is about multitasking. (I think that's what I was told. I was drinking a milk shake). You are the waitress, and you have to seat people, take their orders, get them to the food service preparation station, pick up the orders, serve them, bring them their checks, clear the table and seat the next customers.

I missed the part where you spit into the customers' food and get a tip, but I assume that it's the advanced version.

I was enjoying getting my customers' orders in when suddenly I looked over and saw that my customers were sitting there with what looked like steam coming out of their years.

"Excuse me," I called to the nice person running the event, "but," and I took another slow sip of my chocolate milkshake, "something is wrong with these customers."
"That's because you're not serving them fast enough," the nice but refusing to white-lie to me person running the event said.

Great. So the customers were seething now?


Well, if they thought that this was a good way to get me to serve them faster, they were in for a big surprise.

After ten minutes, I was exhausted. There were other features that I'd like to explore, like the 9 customer types, including "Tourists" and "Lovebirds". I figure the tourists you can pretend that you can't understand anything that they're saying and then totally pad their bill and you can totally ignore the lovebirds because they're in love and nauseating and the woman is probably on a diet.

"Is this for children who are interested in pursuing a career in waitressing?" I asked. Apparently not, but let me tell you, this early practice certainly can't hurt!

Then I moved on to Wedding Dash. Which I loved.

So, in this game, you're the wedding planner. It starts out with an early Alzheimer's detection test, where it tells you "Bernie and Maggie hate seafood and garlic, like traditional weddings cakes and want to honeymoon in Europe" and then you get three choices for appetizers, wedding cakes and a honeymoon and you have to select the correct one! I was off to a great start!

But then the fun begins. Guests arrive and you have to seat them, take their gifts from them and take it to the bride and groom (obviously, a Jewish wedding), get them food, break up a few fights and get new guests to repeat the process.

I COULD NOT STOP PLAYING THIS GAME, despite some obvious design flaws.

Like in which ring of hell do guests get seated one at a time, get served food at different times and leave the wedding so that other guests may be seated?

And, why can't my character, as a wedding planner, hire some people to do all this gift to-ing and fro-ing and food service.

And why is no one passed out drunk and/or sobbing.

My favorite part of the game may have been the groom and bride, sitting at the top of the screen, making passive aggressive statements.

I'm not quite sue how to end these reviews.

If I played DS games, I'd definitely play the Wedding Dash one.

If Nintendo would like my 8 year old son to play it, I'd recommend the "waitress goes postal" feature where she takes everyone out. And I don't mean for dinner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big Apple Circus Tickets Giveaway!

If you're in NYC and you don't go to the Big Apple Circus, you may as well move out of the city, as far as I'm concerned. Beacuse the Big Apple Circus is amazing. And super fun. And it's right by Lincoln Center, so you can pretend that you're all cultured and are going to the Opera or something and then sneak into the tent and have popcorn instead. Win-win.

So, the nice circus people are sending me and my family to the circus. I can't wait! I went last year and had a blast!

And if you're in the NYC area, the nice circus people want to send you to the circus too! (But not with me. Don't even think about it. I'm not included. Unless I get recruited or something and become part of the act!) All you have to do is leave me comment on this post, something along the lines of how you'd like to win and how this would be a dream come true and if Obama can have the Nobel Peace Prize, why can't you have this one thing, it's not like you ask for a lot.

I'll pick a winner and they will get a voucher for 4 free tickets--and get to choose among the dates that they want. (The circus is October 22-January 18th). The seats are mezzanine, which is super close.

Good luck!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Battle of the Bug!

Let me get the disclosures out of the way up front. I was compensated for participating in this event. And in related news, I am going to the South of France for the rest of the year.

On Friday, my son and I participated in Kleenex's Battle of the Bug event at the Bronx Zoo. Kleenex now makes ant-viral tissue that fights 99.9% of germs. Needless to say, I am very worried about the .1% that remains alive and is now angry about its dead germ friends.

There were cool games set up for the kids, although I tried every single one myself. Because I'm bigger than they are, and what are they going to do, push me out of the way?

Then there was a presentation by Jean Grabeel, an Executive Committee member of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) with nearly 30 years of experience in the healthcare field. She has been working with the Kleenex educational campaign and is also The High School Musical's Ryan's mother. I tried to act superblase when I heard that, so I don't think she suspected that I am a shrieking fan. Or insane.

During the presentation Jean explained the importance of teaching kids to wash their hands thoroughly (in between fingers too, which I SWEAR I NEVER THOUGHT OF and my son confirmed I never told him to do), using hand sanitizer and sneezing into the sleeve, she also traumatized me by saying that each sneeze has 100,000 droplets that shoot out at 200 miles per hour, and travel up to three feet. I am doing everything that I can to unlearn this fact because that is totally disgusting. Maybe instead of saying "God Bless You", we should say, "Please Go Into Seclusion Until You Stop Sneezing. Good Bye!" I'm pretty sure that it will catch on.

After the presentation, Jean had a Q&A. Now when I was in school, my modus operandi was to ask a really great question first, get complimented on it, zone out while it was being answered, nod maniacally-thoughtfully and then spend the rest of class peeling paint from the underside of the desk (grade school), penning a manifesto (college) or doing crossword puzzles (grad school).

I followed a similar protocol on Friday and asked an award-winning question first. "How many times a day do you recommend that kids wash their hands?" Jean praised me for my "good question" and obviously wished that I was a few decades younger so that I could be her daughter-in-law. She said that ideally, kids would wash their hands every hour (although I'm sure that the night washings could occur every few hours), but at the very least before and after meals, after going to the bathroom, when coming indoors, after a science/art project. I looked at my son meaningfully, and could see that he was taking in every word.

The best advice, according to Jean, is to be up to date with immunizations, have a healthy diet, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. In terms of teaching younger kids to use tissues to blow their noses in, she suggested a game! Pretend to sneeze! Who can sneeze loudest!

It was a really fun event and I got to meet lots of cool moms. They even didn't make fun of me when a pigeon pooped on me three times. Which, incidentally, was my son's favorite part of the day. And possibly of his life.

Thank you, everyone, especially Emily, for making it such a great day!

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