Monday, April 27, 2009

I've Moved--come see my new blog

Hi there,
Whew it's cobwebby in here. When the newness of living in NJ wore off I stopped posting. But I'd love for you to visit my new blog, which I'm doing with my daughter. Sort of a bi-generational approach to fashion. For those of you who remember my strange outfits in middle school, don't say a word.

New blog:
13 Going on 47

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Year and Then Some

I see that I've been writing one post every two months. Not good. Part of my forgetfulness is based on the realization that we are not quite "new" to New Jersey anymore. I'm thinking I need to redefine this blog! Maybe something like notsonew2nj...

Our one-year anniversary of moving to New Jersey came and went on June 16. It is now July 20 and I am writing from California. My daughter and I flew back to visit friends and family (I also have a magazine photo shoot for Old House Interiors on Monday). Elizabeth has missed California very much but realized on this trip that she has grown to like where she is. "I want to go home," she says tiredly to me these past two days.

So NJ is now home. I come here and take deep breaths of eucalyptus, savor the vistas of oak and golden suede hills of Marin and Sonoma. Then I'll take it all with me inside, and bring it out when the eastern air gets too sticky.

We will return on Tuesday.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Doing Business in Jersey

Last month I started my own business: Kotite Media Group. I never thought in a million years I'd be incorporating a business of my own, even after spending 8 years reporting on the companies of others in Entrepreneur. The bug never bit me. Now the women I worked with many years ago are venturing out on their own as well. Maybe we're just crock-pot entrepreneurs. We need to cook for a long time, but the results are well worth it.
My company is involved in many kinds of editorial projects--I really am a packager, which means I handle everything from concept, to photography, to writing, pulling a team of professionals together if necessary. Hopefully this will extend to producing entire magazine issues, books and online content that is ongoing and cohesive. Not sure that makes sense to everyone--I'll see in a few minutes when I meet with my graphic designer to see what he came up with for my logo...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Clovers and tulips and spring break....oh my

This year I did NOT want to face a couple of boiling pots on the stove filled with corned beef and cabbage. Tim's in Atlanta and the kids don't even like it very much. But I do. So the obvious solution was finding a restaurant nearby with this St. Patrick's Day staple on the menu.

Not so easy. I spent at least 30 minutes on the Internet searching the usual suspects (Ruby Tuesday, TGIFridays) with no luck. Then I googled Irish pubs and got lots of those--but the emphasis was more on a liquid dinner if you know what I mean. Not that I wasn't looking forward to a cold Irish (or American or German, I'm not a purist) beer.

Triumph came in New Hope PA--with Triumph Brewery. I had never heard of it but the menu sounded great and when I called to make sure they were serving corned beef the answer was yes--AND they have a kids menu. We piled in the car and drove across the Delaware, trying to think of Irish songs...but without Tim, the authority on The Irish Rovers, I was lost.

The restaurant was a big hit for all. Nice zen-like interior with just a whiff of tobacco smoke to make us wrinkle our noses but not gag. The server was very nice and the food was quite delicious. Elizabeth and I shared the cheese and stout fondue and then split their corned beef and cabbage plate. A bit of grainy mustard on the side, an amber ale and I was set. Caroline had a nice thin-crust cheese pizza, Georgia had a feta, olive and tomato pizza appetizer and Dana had that classic Irish dish: mac and cheese.

Trying a new restaurant can be pretty stressful with three picky kids in tow. I'm happy to report that this venture got an A+. Heck, even the bathroom was nice!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Driving in Circles

I've been putting off this post all year, hoping that I'll master the arcane art of driving in circles. I've actually mastered the art of driving in circles figuratively; I can go nowhere fast as good as anybody. But I'm of course talking about those mini versions of Parisian torture devices, the traffic circle.

New Jersey is supposedly "famous" for its traffic circles, those ingenious interchanges where stopping is merely a suggestion and yield signs reign with all the assertiveness of King Henry III. At one time there were 70 or 80 of them throughout the state; now there are only about 37 according to Wikipedia. There are two main circles in my area: the Flemington Circle on Rt. 31 and the Pennington Circle, also on Rt. 31.

My first encounter with a traffic circle was actually in Europe, probably Paris. I've had to mask that memory for mental health reasons. I was part of the problem, since I hadn't grasped one key rule: those already IN the circle had the right of way. I barreled right in and shrugged off the shrill horns as just the rudeness of the French. Guess I'm lucky to be alive.

I grew to love the wide-laned, easygoing traffic circle in Long Beach, Calif. when it was part of my commute to Torrance. It was like ego snow; you felt like a pro maneuvering through it even though it was just a bunny slope.

Here in New Jersey, these are serious traffic gauntlets. Better know your exit, dude, or you'll be showered with curses, insults and maybe other foreign objects as the smarter folks around you express themselves.

Now I know the basic rules of driving in circles. Wait until it's clear before entering the Zone. Ease in and move to the inside lane if you are not using the next exit. Ease out at your exit when all is clear. Nothing to it. Except when others aren't playing by the same rules. My biggest anxiety is not the guy behind me nibbling on my bumper. It's Racer X right next to me who any second is going to switch to the other side and try to move past. No wonder quivering fools like me stick doggedly to the outside lane. We're trying to get to where we're going without totaling the car, losing our license, or losing our minds.

New Jersey drivers are very skilled; they have to be. The skill, though, has created an unfortunate byproduct--disdain for others who don't think, react or accelerate like they do.

We need to give each other a break and a brake in those circles. After all, it's kinda social in there. I'd wave but I can't pry my fingers off the steering wheel.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Snow Days

I'm trying hard to recall the sweaty days of summer. Remember, waking up to the drone of the air conditioner? Remember, avoiding the Easy Bake attic at all costs? Remember, silently blessing the neighbors for their swimming pool and their open-door policy? I banked up all of those memories to get me through the winter and up until now they've been pretty effective. Until Tuesday, when the snow from the barn roof slid off in one slushy sheet, missing my head by a few inches.

Everyone's telling us this is a very mild winter, for which I am grateful. Still, it's cold. Californians are very familiar with snow of course; it snows a lot in the Sierras. Tahoe and Big Bear have some of the greatest skiing in the country. But the vast majority of us don't live with it; we just visit it. Big difference.

The snow didn't last very long. A nice long rainshower melted it into chains of street puddles and a quagmire in the backyard. If we're going to put up with snow at least let's get a serious storm that puts a few inches down. Give us a Snow Day, which for some reason my daughters are obsessed with. Let us walk outside with our snow clothes and our plastic saucers, so we can sled down the slopes at the cemetery across the street.

Then it can be spring.