Friday, March 27, 2009

Kevin's Funny Column in the Advocate

No time to be creative and clever here, but please check out fellow Stamford blogger Kevin McKeever's latest column in the Advocate. I find the first line very funny:
After watching clips of Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy going all pit bull on the Fox News Channel last month, my first thoughts were much like yours: Does he come in something besides this convenient, election-year travel size?
I'm sorry, a person being travel-size? I just like that.  The article goes on to talk about picking up poop as a form of economic stimulus.  I'm OK with poop.

My husband is on baby duty right now, which is why I'm not getting up to get the baby stirring in the crib 3 feet from me. Husband's got the monitor. Also, my husband got me over a hour nap, then almost 2 continual hours of sleep, before 1 am last night, so after the 3 am feeding, I got 2 more hours, totaling FIVE hours!!! That's awesome seeing that I only slept 2 and 3 hours the previous 2 nights. I am a new woman today. I have time to type with two hands. This feels so good.

Here's a pic of the baby in his crib yesterday.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baby Stamford Talk Here and Healthy

Wow- this is the first time I'm typing with 2 hands since Saturday, when Baby Stamford Talk was born! He is gorgeous and healthy. We had a great experience at Stamford Hospital, which was basically like a 5 star hotel if you ask me. The lactation lady who met with me was awesome and nice, and we went back to the hospital yesterday to meet with her just to make sure of a few final things. Then I hit Target while husband and baby waited in car. That was far too much activity in one day- plus a visit to the pediatrician later that day- and I have learned my lesson to take it easy.

There are a shocking number of people at Target at 1pm in the afternoon on a weekday, and many of them seemed to be pregnant or new moms!
I hope within the next week or two to get more than a few free minutes at a stretch. I'm keeping up on local blogs and newspapers via the best breastfeeding accessory ever, the iPhone... often at 3 am while Baby ST is eating. I love iPhone, I love you so much!
This photo courtesy the iPhone at 6am this morning.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Closing Stamford DMW Would Ruin My Life

I'm not sure what it is about me, but I feel like I go to the Stamford DMV all the time. My registration or driver's license always seem to expire. Plus, my husband tries to make me do his dirty DMV work since my job ends by 3:30. I have professed in a previous blog post my love of the Stamford DMV.
I was horrified when I read yesterday that Gov. Jodi Rell wanted to close the Stamford satellite DMV office, which completes 50,000 transactions a year (compared to the larger full-service DMW in Norwalk, which completes 150,000).
Closing the Stamford DMV would be a nightmare. Rell thinks the hard-working people of Stamford have time to leave work to drive to Norwalk during the day, or fight traffic in the evening after work, to go to Norwalk to complete a series of line waits, forms, and interactions with people with stone cold faces. N-O, we don't. It's a pain enough to find time to make it to the Stamford DMV.

I read in today's Advocate that the Stamford DMV has gotten a reprieve- a mediocre reprieve, if you ask me: Rell said Thursday that instead of closing April 3 as planned, the part-time branch will remain open for limited hours until June 30.
Created in 1994 after the state closed Stamford's full-service DMV office, the branch is in the Stamford Government Center... It now is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. Rell said the DMV will operate the office two days a week after April 3, but did not specify which days. DMV spokesman William Seymour said the agency should be able to announce more details Friday.

Sigh. I really don't think two days a week is enough, but it's better than nothing.

The initial article in the Advocate points out that there are many other DMV satellite offices that serve much smaller populations; that's another reason it's absurd to close a huge DMV. Even Mayor Malloy agrees: "It makes no sense to close the office in Stamford. The volume that it will cause in Norwalk would make everyone miserable."

By the way, last time I was at the Stamford DMV last week to hand in old plates, the lady was soooooooo rude to me. Still, I wouldn't want to make her move to the Norwalk office just because of one bad interaction; I'd rather have her dismissive attitude right here in Stamford.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stamford: Good Man Watching on St. Patty's

Tiernan's was a pretty fun place to be on St. Patty's Day, although the music was absurdly loud- not just loud enough to make it hard to talk, but loud enough so that when you left, you felt deaf. I was there long enough to scout out guys for my friends to talk to and long enough to devour an entire plate of chicken fingers by myself.

At one point, some Irish step dancers performed, and the crowd seemed to like it a lot. Irish dancing is very cool, especially the hard-soled kind where they stomp their feet really hard. Talk about attracting attention. It was neat to have kids in the bar because it made the place seem more wholesome. In fact, Tiernan's was pretty wholesome until at least 8:30. If things changed after that, let me know.

Black Bear was also crowded with revelers, but overall downtown Stamford was quiet. Perhaps everyone was at Tigin?

There were tons of men out last night; I guess men really like St. Patty's Day. I was hoping my baby would be born on St. Patty's Day, but I'm sort of glad he wasn't, because I don't want him to drink extra excessively on his birthdays, you know? I think he'll be along in a day or two. Maybe three.

Related Posts:
--January 18, 2008-- Stamford's Single Women: Where Are You?
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Avoid I-95 at Lunch Today... I Think

So, an Advocate article, posted last night (Mon.), says road crews will stop traffic to blast rock "today." I assume that means this day, Tuesday, so I am warning you to avoid 95 from 10am to 1pm today.

I'm also posting this to remind myself, because this is the kind of thing I'd totally forget, then be late to some appointment.

From article: Construction will stop traffic today on Interstate 95 near Exit 13, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Crews will blast rock from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., requiring two or three temporary traffic stops of about 10 minutes each in both directions and on the exit and entry ramps at Exit 13.
If weather forces a delay, blasting will occur at the same time Wednesday.
State police will use rolling roadblocks to stop traffic in both directions.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

School Employee Bought Liquor For Teenage Girls and Is Still Employed? Really?

I cannot believe that a school employee who buys alcohol (specifically, tequila shots after an Alive at Five concert) for middle school girls would NOT be fired. The Advocate article, titled "Stamford school worker charged with buying girls alcohol," starts:
A 25-year-old man who works in the technology department of the Stamford Public School System and is charged with buying alcohol for four middle school girls in July has applied for a special probationary program that would clear his record of the charges.

Um, I have some questions.
1. First of all, is the guy guilty or not? This alleged crime occurred 7 months ago; where’s the resolution? From what his lawyer says, he is guilty:
Seeger said one mistake should not mar LaRose's career. "It's an error in judgement," Seeger said. "It shouldn't cost him his future."
If he knew these were teens, yes it should. Well, I’m not trying to ruin his future; I’m saying, Stamford Public Schools are not the best place for someone who thinks it’s OK to drink with teenage girls and still receive a salary from Stamford taxpayers. There is a line you do not cross as an adult, and this man crossed it.

2. Does this person work directly with children? Does he work in a school, or is he like, stuck in a back room at town hall?
If the person works in a school building, in any way at any time, clearly, he should lose his job. When you work with kids, you don’t get to make “errors in judgment” like that. I mean, maybe you can say “damn” by accident. But you don’t accidentally arrange to meet teenage girls at a bar, which is what it sounds like this guy may have done:
The prosecutor, Assistant State's Attorney Mitchell Rubin, said LaRose was not as innocent as Seeger made him seem. He had contacted one of the girls on the social networking site Facebook days before, telling her he was a disc jockey and could get her into a bar, Rubin said. LaRose met the girls at the concert and drove them to the bar, where he bought them the drinks, according to the affidavit. Their chats on Facebook were not of a sexual nature, and the victim said the two were just friends.
(Lesson: find friends your own age.)

3. How did the man know the 4 girls? If he knew them from his job, he should clearly be fired. If the 4 girls were family friends, well, that’s still pretty bad, but it makes the man seem like a little less of a sexual predator.

4. Did he know the girls were that young? If I were to find out that this man had NO CLUE these girls were teens, and somehow thought they were 21 year old women, I’d give the guy a second chance. Right? It’s one thing if he was lied to. But if he had an inkling these were teens… forget it.

If I were a Stamford parent, and I knew a school was knowingly employing someone who knowingly bought tequila shots for kids, I’d be horrified. What school system would allow that? Clearly, we’re missing key info about this case. Stamford Schools owes us an explanation of why this person might remain employed.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The New Rye Grill and Bar: All the Single Ladies

I quote Beyonce because when we swung by the remodeled Rye Grill and Bar last night, it looked like a frat party. Well, the bar area did; the grill part was full of the usual crowd of groups and couples of all ages. There was a mob of people at the bar, and I glimpsed some nice-looking men in-- of course-- blue button downs and ladies who were dressed to the nines. If there is a bar more geared toward the youngish single commuter, I'd like you to tell me what it is... so I can send all my single friends there.

We didn't stay long at RGB because at 645 there was a 45 minute wait for dinner. I almost cried. I was really looking forward to eating at the remodeled resto after its having been closed for quite a few months. The new building is at least twice the size; it's got two floors and a gigantic veranda/porch with columns, which only adds to the frat house-like feel. I assume the resto still has its same excellent food, which ranges from pub options to fancy entrees.

Instead, we had pretty good Chinese food at Water Moon, which is down the street. I was OK with that. That resto got totally full by 8 pm. Those Rye-ers like to eat out on Fridays.
Finally, we came back to Stamford and ate Cold Stone Creamery while having a heated argument over a semantic issue that is way too absurd to even say out loud. I love going insane over word choice, and my husband is pretty good at indulging me. It's one of the many, many reasons he's a great husband and fun person to hang out with.

Photo above courtesy of, which looks like a pretty good gossipy local blog.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fairfield County Weekly Sloppily Busts on a Topic Near and Dear to My Heart

Voice amplication systems have nothing to do with why “Public School Still Sucks”- that’s the title of a not-so-cleverly constructed article in the Fairfield Weekly. The article opens by portraying the horrifying scenario of a Stamford teacher- gasp!- using technology to make it easier for students to hear her:
Newfield Elementary teacher Shelly Romano walks around with something that looks like an electric razor dangling from her neck. It's part of a RedCat amplification system, which booms her voice across her classroom via wireless infrared technology. It's not just for kids with hearing disabilities, principal Miriam Arango told the Stamford Times; it makes all students filter out every sound but Romano's voice. Arango said "the students don't even realize that they are paying more attention."

Um, I had to start using a system like this last year when the daily overuse of my voice almost ended my ten-year teaching career. I know a thing or two about the subject of voice amplification; it saved me after 3 devastating years in which I could not teach effectively, could not go out to restaurants with friends, and could not even read a book to my nephews without severe voice pain.

The article- by the FCW Editorial staff- then goes on to its main argument, which is totally unrelated to voice amp systems:
We bring up this extreme scene from a local school — the Bionic Schoolmarm with the voice in stereo — to show the kind of insanity State Rep. Jason Bartlett (D-Bethel, Redding, Danbury) wants to expose our children to for an extra two years. Bartlett has proposed a bill to increase the age at which Connecticut students can pull themselves out of compulsory education, with a parent's permission, from 16 to 18.

Clearly, if that scene seems “extreme” to the writer, he did not do much research on voice amplification in the classroom. (I recommend this Washington Post article on the subject, which describes how hundreds of DC area classrooms now use VA because of the benefits to students and teachers.) VA systems are not a form of “insanity” that brainwashes kids with a robot voice; it’s about the teacher’s voice being clear as a bell over the constant noise of 25 active little bodies in a large room. I’m sure most parents would rather their child be talked to in a calm voice through a high quality speaker system rather than shouted at by a strained voice that can barely croak at the end of the day.

The FCW author’s hook about the teacher’s mic system makes no sense in the context of his actual topic. If his point is that public school “sucks,” he’s going to need to give a better example of why. It’s not because a teacher is using a microphone to save her voice and communicate more clearly and easily with her students. (I’ll pipe up with a Stamford Talk “DUH” here.)

The article ends with an equally unclever mic tie-in:
We have an idea for a new law: Require all kids to leave school by age 16. That would force schools to drop the cosmetic makeovers and figure out how Dutch and Finnish schools teach everything useful American schools do before students hit puberty. More importantly, it would give our youth two years to do something more productive than sit in a room and stare at some bizarre woman with a blinking gadget tied around her neck.

Dude, just leave out the last line! Stop being such a smarty pants with the whole mic thing! The article would have been so much more coherent without it.
And why is the author calling that teacher "bizarre?" Did he observe her and find her behavior odd? Or did he just read one article in the Stamford Times that mentioned her, and then use its info as if he himself had actually done some research on the use of voice amplification systems?

I left a comment on the article at the FW website. This is what I said:
I don't think voice amplification systems are why "public school still sucks."
Did you interview the "bizarre woman," or did you just read about her in the Stamford Times?
If you knew anything about voice amplification systems in the classroom, you'd have chosen a different and more relevant hook for this article.
I'm not sure why you needed to insult that teacher, and criticize technology you clearly don't understand, to make a point about the required age to stay in school
Bring on the second draft with a different hook and end.

I think the article relished in the idea of insulting a person while making their otherwise perfectly rational point about public education. To call someone else bizarre, someone he probably has not met, is just strange.

I used to really like the Fairfield Weekly, but I notice more and more often that some of the articles are unnecessarily mean-spirited. That bothers me. You shouldn't insult people unless there's a good reason, and the FCW Editorial did not have a good enough reason to insult that teacher. In this case, the unnecessary meanness shows how uninformed the writer of the article is.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drinks 'n Music This Week

A few events to share:
1. Fairfield County Happy Hour Club at Tigin this Thursday March 12, 7pm. I like the people that go to these events, and if I could drink, I'd go.

2. My friend Jeff is playing this Friday March 13 at Mackenzie's in Old Greenwich from 3:30 to 5:30. That's actually a nice little bar for happy hour; I was there a couple of weeks ago. Jeff plays with the Terryl Lee Band, but this is another group, The Sunday Morning Boys. The band members are great musicians and good people, so I bet it will be a very enjoyable show. Jeff's post about this gig mentions singing along to Irish tunes. I'm not sure if he's serious, but if you have ever sung along to Irish songs, you know how fun it is. "And it's no, nay, never (clap clap clap clap clap) no nay never, no moooooore, will I play the wild rover, no never, no more." That's my favorite.

3. On Saturday the 14th, Mystic Bowie is doing a show at O'Neill's pub in Norwalk at 8:30. I've not been to O'Neill's since they moved to their new location, but Mystic puts on a really good show.

That's all I can corral for you right now, so don't click to read more. Click here to read more.

Dogs and Snow, Photo Blogs

I am stiiiiilllll waiting for this baby, which is fine-- I trust that this baby knows when he's ready, so I'm not going to rush him-- but the constant backache is making me too grumpy to really feel like composing thoughts and opinions on anything related to Stamford. I'm mostly trying to distract myself by going to chick flicks alone at 3pm or by visiting friends.

Anyway, I loved these photos of sled dog racing from the Boston Globe's photo blog, The Big Picture. The scenery, from Alaska to Maine, is beautiful, and the dogs look like they are having a blast. The Big Picture always brings in news and images from places I'd ordinarily probably not think about. These photos took me away for a few minutes from my own little concerns- thanks another welcome distraction, Big Picture.

Don't forget to check out Stamford's local photo blog, The Advocate's In Sight, which has photos from around Stamford. Another Advocate blog, Lunch Break Chronicles, is ostensibly a food blog, but it's also really a photoblog, since the blogger/photographer, Chris Preovolos, is one of the main photographers for In Sight. LBC has food photos from Chris' travels and great tips on some local food places. (For example, this photo is from a post about goat tacos from Casa Villa in Stamford, a place I've never been.)

Back to my racing dogs: here's a little more about The Big Picture, from its "About" page:
...entries are posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday by Alan Taylor. Inspired by publications like Life Magazine (of old), National Geographic, and online experiences like's Picture Stories galleries and Brian Storm's MediaStorm, The Big Picture is intended to highlight high-quality, amazing imagery - with a focus on current events, lesser-known stories and, well, just about anything that comes across the wire that looks really interesting.
...The majority of the images come from companies like the AP, Reuters and Getty Images, who license them to the Boston Globe for our use. Other photos come from public domain sources like NASA, and others from private photographers who share them with the Big Picture for one-time use.

The same guy who runs The Big Picture has a second blog, Big Picture Notes, where he posts things that didn't fit into the main blog. Coooooooooool, I like to ogle the work of talented people!
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Sending Back Food: B!tchy or Acceptable?

I'm eating spicy food this weeks in hopes it will encourage my baby to get the idea to leave my uterus- his due date was Wed. I got amazing spicy green curry from Little Thai Kitchen in Darien on Wed., so I dragged my husband and 2 friends back there last night. I wanted to try their other spicy dishes, so I ordered the Basil Beef, labeled spicy.
Waitress: "Is spicy OK?"
Me: "Oh YES, spicy is OK. I want it spicy."
Waitress: "You want it extra spicy?"
Me: "Sure, just a little extra." I was assuming it would be as spicy as the curry- it didn't make me sweat, but it made my mouth burn pleasantly.
When my basil beef arrived, not only was there not much basil flavor, it wasn't spicy at all. "I think I want to send it back," I said. "There is just no reason for me to eat this. I'm not paying 15 bucks for pointless food."

We motioned the waitress over. "This isn't spicy at all," I started.
"Oh, OK, I'll fix it."
"Actually, can I just order a new dish? I really need spicy food because I'm trying to induce my own labor." (I feel people at tables near me turn to look at me- it's a tiny resto.) "Can I just get the spicy green curry? I got that yesterday and it was great."
"Sure," she said, not seeming too irritated with me.

"You know," my husband said to me after the waitress walked off, "you really don't need to tell everyone-"
Me, snarling, lunging slightly across table: "I'll do whatever I want."

It was OK that I sent that food back, right? It was wrong on two levels: not spicy, and not very basil-y. I love basil, so had it been basil-y, it might have been worth sacrificing the spice level.
It was nice of her to offer to fix the dish, but you can't just throw in some peppers, and if they were going to cook a whole new dish, they might as well make me the one I knew I should have gone with in the first place. My two friends got curries (Massaman and Red) and they looked and tasted amazing, so I'm thinking you simply can't go wrong with curry from Little Thai Kitchen. My spicy green curry, when it came out ten minutes later, was a smidge spicier than Wed. It made me sweat a little, and it was delicious.

Does anyone else have any gossipy "sending food back" stories from local restos? I'd love to hear that I'm not the only one who believes that if you pay for food, it should be the quality you expect.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mayor's Son Arrested (Again)...

Geez. Two quick things about the mayor's son being arrested for allegedly robbing a house during a drug deal, because I really don't think the problems of a 21 year old are my business.
1. I think it's funny that the Advocate published an article simply titled "Benjamin Malloy's rap sheet." That's abrupt, and I'm sure it's meant to be a side bar in the hard copy of the paper, but it sounds overly tough, and that amuses me.
2. I feel bad for this kid's parents. Even though his parent is the mayor and running for governor, his parents are parents, and he's a kid, and addiction and/or bad choices by a child must be a devastating place to find yourself as a parent.
I'm sure most of us know someone in a similar position and therefore know it's a complicated situation that we have no right to judge. I don't know the mayor or his son, so I'm going with the "addiction sucks" angle and leaving it at that.

The Malloy family released a statement: "We have worked very hard as parents to support our son and get him the help he needs to combat his emotional illness. We remain deeply concerned about his well-being, and will continue to support him throughout his treatment and beyond. We are cooperating fully with police and ask the public to respect our privacy as the police do their job."

And, I'm going to try to do that from now on. Sorry, but I did want to mention it on the blog as it is splashed all over the headlines today.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Urgent: Need Best Eggplant Parm!

I need your recs ASAP on where the best eggplant parm in Stamford is. Low-end or high-end suggestions are both appreciated. I am on a campaign to get my labor started and a girl at my doc's office rec'd that. I'm also getting spicy green curry from Little Thai Kitchen as we speak. Baby is due today and I definitely want to go into labor on my own rather than being induced.

Update: Holy cow that green curry was GOOD. Not too TOO spicy; just right, and could have been a tidge spicier. I was only sweating a little. This baby is far too comfortable in my stomach and needs to be encouraged to move to a different locale.
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Curses Upon Stamford Parking Violations

I'd like to offer my sincerest curses to Stamford Parking Violations. At the end of October I got a ticket (see photo) because I stayed too long at lunch at Eos, the yummy Greek place on Summer St. I just came across a FIFTY FIVE DOLLAR ticket for that- the original $15 plus FORTY BUCKS because it's over a month and a half late. I only get a month and a half to pay a measly parking ticket? Isn't that a little Draconian? It feels very unconstitutional, frankly.

Right after I got this ticket, I was struck down with a whooping cough-like illness that lasted close to 6 weeks. I wasn't thinking about this stupid ticket! I was thinking about the muscles I was pulling in my side and chest from coughing so hard! Curses upon you, Stamford Parking Violations!

If you are a person who is organized enough to pay your stupid parking tickets on time, good for you. I'm not like that, but I don't think I should have to pay more money to Stamford because I'm a little spacey. I think people should get mailed at least one warning before they get fined forty bucks for forgetting about a stupid, irritating ticket.

In general, I'm irritated to live in a place where I have to drive everywhere, and yet parking for some of the best places is pretty inconvenient. Parking meters are TOTALLY OLD FASHIONED, and this town needs to GET RID OF THEM. I hate paying for parking, but at least make the meters ones I can pay more than 2 hours for! Just give me a 3 hour limit, like the ones in the garages offer!

I mean for God's sake, I'm patronizing cool restos and shops and being penalized for it. I might as well speed, and drive recklessly, because I'm a lot less likely to get caught for that, and I'd probably get fined less, too.

Rrrrr! So should I pay this stupid ticket, or is there some clause that says "Just ignore the extra fee and pay $15 and the city will not notice"?
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Economy At Morton's: Not Hurting!

From the looks of Morton's last night, you would not know anyone in Stamford is having financial troubles! The place was packed and people were chipper. My in-laws took us there to celebrate my bday, which was last Wednesday. There were at least two other birthdays being celebrated at Morton's. The steak was good, although my husband had to send his filet mignon back- it was oddly chopped up and fibrous-looking, and the middle was totally raw. El grosso.
I chose Morton's for my birthday dinner because I've been craving their tasty chopped salad ever since I had a TOTALLY MEDIOCRE salad at Capital Grille. The chopped salad, I tell you, did not disappoint: lettuce, hearts of palm, avodcado, tomato, and drum roll: bacon, blue cheese, and mustard vinaigrette. Best thing about the salad: it's chopped into small pieces, so you can quickly shovel it into your face.

I purposefully sat so I could observe a table of four: a mom, a dad, and their 2 children who were dressed like a Brooks Brothers catalog. The boy, maybe age 9, was in a blue sport coat with gold buttons, khakis, and a button down. The girl, 7 ish, was in a headband. I've never seen children at Morton's, and I was curious what they'd eat and how they'd act. Well, they behaved like angels. The girl got shrimp cocktail for her appetizer, and the boy got a Caesar salad. The girl got some kind of steak for her meal, and the boy got a side of mac and cheese, which he didn't eat much of, leading me to wonder if the noodles were too dry. They looked dry. Both kids got dessert, and overall, this family looked really sweet.

Overall, I had a great birthday week. Although I slept poorly, got run down, and caught a cold, I had friends over twice, got the BOB jogging stroller I wanted (I traded the Bugaboo stroller obsession for a BOB obsession- cost less than half of the Bugaboo), and got lots of birthday attention from friends and coworkers. Oh, and I sort of freaked out on a lactation consultant at Stamford Hospital; that felt good.

Baby Stamford Talk is due Wednesday, but I have a feeling he'll be along a few days after that.
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