Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Good News for Parents: Baby Gear at Bed Bath 'n Beyond

Sure, Target's got some decent stuff (my favorite of which I won't tell you, so I can be sure they'll always be in stock for me), but it's nice to have another option. From what my friend who went today reports, they have way more stuff than Target. For example, they have the excellent Kiddapotamus Swaddlemes. I forget what else she said they have- she was in a rush but saw more than the usual pacifiers, bottles, diaper bags, diapers, wipes. It sounded pretty comprehensive. In any case, it HAS to be better than the HORRIBLE baby section at the Toys 'R Us in Norwalk.

Speaking of babies, mine's crying. Gotta run. Let me know what cool stuff BBB has if you get a chance to go!
Click here to read more.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Alive @ Five: How Was It?!?

If you went, please let me know what you thought of Alive @ Five! I'm dying to hear reports of how it went. Initial info:
1. Advocate article says "hundreds" of people showed up... I expected thousands. Was it crowded, or did the cover charge decrease the crowds?
2. One of my twitter friends said the event was sketchier as the night got later, with lots of guys of the butt-grabbing variety. (So typical.)
3. Stamford Notes has a few photos up.
4. On a bad note, an Advocate article reports that cops somehow managed to mangle the face of the (female) owner of the Palms in a botched arrest (for driving her car without a license and then resisting arrest). That's a shame, first obviously for the woman, and second because it suggests Stamford Police are having trouble handling crowds at the event. We'll have to see what further articles report.

It's a weird story- evidently the cop asked her to move her car from the lot behind the Palms, because they wanted to close it because people were cutting through, the the same cop asked her for her license (who takes their purse with them just to move their car? NO ONE!) and then he tried to arrest her for driving without a license. She got angry, then witnesses say the cop punched her. The accompanying photo shows an enormous swollen spot on her face.

I hope the rest of the concert was not chaotic like that!
Click here to read more.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Competing Farmers Markets on Wednesday? I Do Not Approve.

What the heck? I heard from a friend, and saw on Stamford 411, that there is a new farmer's market outdoors at the High Ridge shopping center on Wednesdays. Um, isn't that the same day the Bartlett Arboretum holds theirs? So essentially, this second farmer's market is cutting into the Bartlett's biz. Why would people drive the few miles to the Bartlett when they can just swing in, get a latte at Starbucks, browse some books at Border's, and buy some fruits and veggies, all in one stop? I am CONFUSED. Who is running this rogue farmer's market? (Addition 6/26: The city is! See this Advocate article. Even though High Ridge is way more convenient than the Bartlett, I still think the city is stealing the Bartlett's thunder!)

My friend said there were not many veggies at the Bartlett Market this week because the farmer who sold veggies there last year was banned because not enough of his food was grown in CT. But she said there were strawberries, and bread, and that the market is on the lawn at the Bartlett rather than in the parking lot. The Bartlett, a few miles north of the Merritt, is a beautiful setting. You may recall that hilarity ensued last year at the Bartlett's Farmers Market when a naughty dog ran off with a pie.

I'm wondering if this High Ridge market allows that farmer. If so, he must feel pretty happy about taking biz from the Bartlett. I could be totally wrong on this. We'll see. I'm just suspicious of this new market.

Check out some nice photos of the market on Stamford 411.

Posts about the Bartlett:
July 9, 2008-- Bartlett's Farmers' Market: Bumpy Start
And see my photos of the market, including the naughty dog, on flickr!
Click here to read more.

Alive @ Five Starts Tonight... With Food Court!

Correction: the post I based this on was on my RSS reader but no longer on Napa's blog- whoopsie. I'll still leave this up, but Chris Preovolos of Lunch Break Chronicles tells me Napa's not doing the Alive @ Five food court. Ah well, you'll have to go to the actual resto!
Two things I gleaned from Napa and Co's blog:

1. There is now a food court (reeeeeeeally? but why? Don't they want people in the restos?) at Alive @ Five. I wonder how this is going to work out. Will lines be super long? Stamford Notes, the new Stamford blogger, will have to report, because she told me she'll be there. I don't have plans to go... yet.
Anyway, Napa is serving Chef Taibe's Grass Fed Beef Tacos and Jose's Chicken Legs at Alive @ Five. According to SDSSD's event calendar, food court will include fare from: BUtterfield 8, Carvel Ice Cream, EOS Greek Cuisine, Maui Wowi Hawaaian, napa & co., Rack ‘N’ Roll, Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza and Sundance CafĂ© & Bakery. Awesome!

2. Lower Summer St. (by Mary Ann's and the movie theatre) is CLOSED to traffic. That's new, right? I thought you used to be able to go right down Summer... maybe not, and I always got there early enough not to worry about it!

You should really be looking at the Napa and Co. blog once in a while. They have great info about their special events, and they are really doing a good job of keeping up with the blog so far.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scandalous Bat Mitzvah, Stamford Advocate Blogs

I totally see this letter writer's point. Although I found the tawdry details of the "bat mitzvah gone awry" hilarious, it would be nice to have positive community events, such as the Mill River Playground anniversary, also covered and photographed in the paper. But,
a) does he think the Advocate has dozens of photographers to send all over town? Hello, budget cuts!
b) this is why you start your own blog; so you can cover what YOU are interested in.
Oh, and
c) this is another great reason for the Advocate to have their own blogs. There is just not enough official newspaper space for everything, so it's nice that the Advocate has started a few blogs of their own.
I don't have time to figure out how many blogs they have exactly, but the main one is Stamford 411 and it's definitely worth reading. The journalists and photographers (actually, the photographers have their own blog, In Sight) have a huge window onto life in Stamford, and the more we hear from them, the better.

Scroll down on the main Stamford 411 to see other staff blogs listed on the right.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Feeling Unpopular? Have a Baby.

Are you feeling neglected and unpopular? Seriously, have a baby. It will restore your faith in FC humanity. Now, maybe I'm just a particularly cute and charming looking mother, but I- I mean, my baby- get so many loving, admiring glances while we're out. I "wear" him a lot in his sling, so maybe people think he's brand new or something. Really, the sling is so no one can get near him and breathe on him. Plus, I love to have his warm little body close.
In any case, people are ridiculously nice to us. Yesterday in Super Stop and Shop, I was wearing him in his Bjorn (far inferior in comfort to the Moby wrap, but easier to put on), and bending over to take items out of my cart. It was pretty cumbersome. A nice old lady must have thought I was going to drop Baby Q on his head, because she insisted on unloading my cart for me.
The checkout lady and the grocery bagger both smiled and cooed at me- I mean, my baby- and were really sweet, saying hi to us- I mean, him, and asking us- I mean, him- how old we were. (Almost 3 months!)
People, including me, are just suckers for babies. It's really sweet. You have to wonder why we can't be nicer to each other, if we are able to be so lovely with babies!

One of the nice things about a baby is that it forces you to slow down. A trip to the mall and grocery store takes twice as long, because at some point, you have to change a diaper or two (in the car) or feed the baby (which I also do in the car because mine has comfy seats). You just can't rush putting a baby in and out of a carseat, or unloading groceries while wearing a baby. You just have to accept that you are slow as a turtle, and that feels really good to me. It's like I'm living in the South again!

Now, the flip side of being that popular is that if you ARE in a hurry, you have to beat people off with sticks to keep them from talking to you and wanting to look at your baby and asking you how old he is and, of course, telling you to "enjoy every minute." Everyone says that to me. I'd say it's annoying, but it's actually a helpful reminder!
Click here to read more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Local Celebs for Whom I'm on the Lookout

This snippet from the Greenwich Time's gossip column made me think about what celebs I need to be keeping a better eye out for: Pound Ridge, N.Y., residents and actors Richard Gere and Carrie Lowell were seen at the Avon Theatre in Stamford on March 31.

I've started a list of local celebs:
Regis Philbin
Gene Wilder
Stephanie Seymour
Tom Bergeron of Dancing With the Stars

Who else should I be looking out for in the Greenwich/Stamford area... besides the visiting celebs who always go to Napa and Co? Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jazz Outdoors at Stamford Mall: I'll Take It!

I'm glad to see Stamford Town Center making the most of their outdoor space. Here's info on the jazz, which runs from June 17 to Aug. 12. Too bad the outdoor dining looks out on a traffic circle (for valet) and Tresser Blvd., but it will still be good people watching and good music. The food... well, I can't say any of the mall places (PF Cheng's, Mitchell's Fish Market, Capital Grille) are my favorites, but I've been known to eat at them! Looks like the mall will be a good place for Wednesday happy hour, and the press release actually mentions that the Fairfield County Happy Hour Club will attend the inaugural jazz event next Wednesday. I like those people, so maybe I'll try to go.
About those much maligned mall restos:

Mitchell's Fish Market was our first outing with baby because booths are perfect for breastfeeding AND stashing the baby's carseat if he happens to fall asleep. We wanted a slightly fancier booth place because it was our two year wedding anniversary.

Capital Grille- ate there once and will not go back if I have the option to do Morton's instead. The meat was OK, but house salad SUCKED (sorry to use that word, but I feel very strongly about salads) compared to Morton's chopped salad. Morton's is just cool, and Capital Grille is just OK.

PF Chang's- We sometimes go here if we go to Barnes and Noble. I really like their crab wontons with a glass of white wine! However, for your Asian food of choice, you should do Thai Chi, formerly Plateau- better quality food, and they deliver!
Click here to read more.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oaklawn Sidewalks; And, You Should Fear Me

Stamford resident Cynthia Reeder has written up a great document about why Oaklawn Ave- a horrifyingly busy cut-through between Newfield Ave and High Ridge- needs sidewalks. Please take a look at the petition if you ever drive on Oaklawn. Then, if you want to sign the petition, email Cynthia at ckreeder@mindspring.com or call her at 602-9997. You can also swing by Beldotti's Bakery or Grunberger's Jewelry; they both have a copy, and Liz Sue Bagels might as well. The petition asks for concrete rather than crappy asphalt, and it states, “A multi-phase plan, cost analysis, and timeline are needed to prioritize the most dangerous sections and to ensure that the project is completed and funded.”

I have to say, even with sidewalks, I’d be a little scared to walk on Oaklawn. I’d be afraid a car would take a curve too fast and run off the road and onto the sidewalk. I don’t think these are just crazy-new-mom fears, either. I myself have been known to exceed the speed limit on Oaklawn, say, when a certain someone is screaming his head off in the backseat. And other drivers, often in SUVs, often take curves too fast and veer into my lane.

Another Newfield area road that could use sidewalks, badly, is Turner Rd. People go so fast on that road, I want to kill them all. Now, that IS new-mom-violence talking. (Other moms, my new increased violent urges are normal, right, a protective thing?) I could walk to the grocery store if that road had sidewalks. I suppose I could also walk down to Oaklawn if it gets sidewalks, but I repeat my fears about people driving so poorly that they’d kill me- actually, they can kill me, it’s really my baby I’m worried about. I’d rather him not be motherless, but I’d sacrifice myself- and all of you, too- for him, in an instant.

Other moms, it’s normal to lie awake at night and imagine who you’d kill if it meant your baby could survive? Right? I’ve determined that I could kill most adults, but not children. So, if a crazy killer or hostage taker made me choose, I would shoot YOU, but not your CHILDREN. Probably.

OK actually, I’d kill pretty much anyone.
Click here to read more.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Margot's Closed- Yikes

Wow. Napa and Co. reports that Margot's Cafe and Wine Bar has closed. That really is too bad, as it was a cute place with good food and drink. There was usually a decent crowd when I drove by. Napa and Co's post about it is worth a read, as it endorses local restos over the chains. Go and leave a comment!

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In My Free Ten Minutes...

Where to begin? I’ve been neglecting Stamford Talk not because I’m not interested! We were away in Va. for 12 days and I didn’t have good internet access… and my baby kept me busy! He is a dear, and a lovebug, and a big supporter of Stamford Talk, but he’s not the best napper ever, so during the day I don’t get a lot of free time. That’s OK. Everything’s gonna work out just fine. I still want to explore Stamford, and am trying to figure out how to do it with baby in tow. Every day gets easier, and I feel more and more competent as a mom on the go. I call myself the Mobile Breastfeeding Unit.
Oops- Baby Q- his name is Quinton- is awake. I have lots to say- about daycare, about sidewalks, and a little funny story about Southern hospitality. Since Baby Q has decided on a 12:30 am bedtime, I might get some time to post tonight.

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thule Rack Envy/What IS a Thule Rack?

*I wrote this before I had the baby, but I still don't really know what a Thule rack/pod is.

I don't actually know what Thule racks are for- I had assumed until this year that they were for skis. Now, I see Thule cargo pods on top of people's cars- are those for skis, too? Or just for carrying extra stuff? I figured they were for skis, because I never saw them until I moved up here to the northeast.

I ask because I found myself, oddly, wishing I had a Thule pod on Thursday morning. I came to a stop sign, and there was a lady about my age driving an SUV. I waved her on, and she didn't wave back "Thank you." I felt a little left out and inferior. She had a Thule pod on top of her car, and a little black dog hanging out the window. I felt a little competitive surge. The dog looked kind of yappy and annoying, but I thought to myself, "Maybe if I had a Thule rack, that lady would have seen me as an equal." A split second later, I realized how ridiculous that thought was, and I started planning this blog post in my head.
The fact that I found myself wanting a Thule rack, but not knowing what it was, amused me but also sort of horrified me. I don't want to get yuppie accessory envy, but I think I might be starting to get it, and I blame this baby. He is the reason we got a new car (used SUV). He, along with my husband, caused me to covet the $900 Bugaboo stroller. We went so far as to pick out colors before reason took over and we realized that we do not even know how much we're going to use a stroller.

Update: we definitely did not get the Bugaboo, although if I had to go back in time, I might get the $670 Uppababy Vista stroller. It's got a bassinet like the Bugaboo, but it folds in one piece with the toddler seat in, AND you can add a 2nd seat if you have another kid.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Petition for Oaklawn Ave Sidewalks

1. Sidewalks provide pedestrian safety and calm traffic.

• More than 120 accidents occurred along Oaklawn from 2001 to 2005 between its intersections with High Ridge Road and Newfield Avenues.
• On average, nearly 10,000 vehicles travel on Oaklawn each day. More than 75% of them exceed the speed limit; 25% by more than 10 miles per hour.
• A $1 million citywide traffic calming study completed in 2008 recommends narrowing Oaklawn, installing sidewalks, and creating crosswalks at key intersections, among other things, to slow traffic and make the road safer.

2. Officials agree that sidewalks are needed, but have not made them a priority, developed a comprehensive plan, or allocated adequate funds.

• In 2004, the City’s highway supervisor proposed installing sidewalks, citing neighborhood growth and safety concerns. In 2008, a fraction of the funds needed to complete the project were earmarked for work that never began.
• This year, $170,000 is allocated toward the project. The City proposes using these funds to install asphalt sidewalks on the north side between Benstone and Sherwood, and possibly as far east as Pepper Ridge (as opposed to the concrete walkways it envisions for the High Ridge end). The inconsistent approach and lack of funding to complete the entire street is irresponsible.
• The city has failed to complete a land survey to determine the feasibility of continuing the sidewalks on the north side, either east toward Newfield or west toward High Ridge.
• The City says it is now asking for an additional $2.5 million in Federal and State funding to reconstruct the intersection of High Ridge Road and Oaklawn and to install concrete sidewalks and traffic calming measures as far east as Northwoods Road. Plans include straightening the roadway at Cantwell. However, the funding is not guaranteed, can take up to 5 years to obtain, and would require matching funds from the city (typically 20%.)
• A multi-phase plan, cost analysis, and timeline are needed to prioritize the most dangerous sections and to ensure that the project is completed and funded (irrespective of external funding requests).

3. Oaklawn’s sidewalks should be built to last, provide a safety (or “amenity”) border between the sidewalk and the street, and be consistent in quality to those in the downtown area.

• Asphalt is a less expensive short-term solution, whereas concrete:
– Will outlast asphalt many times over;
– Provide additional safety and energy efficiency: It is more visible at night, illuminates up to 37.5% better than asphalt (requiring less lighting), and helps to minimize the urban heat island effect;
– Is more attractive and neighborhood-enhancing
• The City regularly funds concrete sidewalks for the downtown and other important streets citywide. Belltown Road and 5th Street are recent examples. Oaklawn, one of the city’s principle east-west arteries, merits the same construction.

4. Sidewalks are an important component of larger transit-oriented plans (for the City and Bull’s Head) and benefit the downtown as well as the immediate neighborhood.

Support the sidewalk campaign. Sign the neighborhood petition.
Call or write your representatives, the Mayor, and the Operations Dept.

You also can support the effort by calling or writing …

Mayor Dannel Malloy: dmalloy@ci.stamford.ct.us (copy to areich@ci.stamford.ct.us), 977-4150

Ben Barnes, Director of Operations for the City of Stamford: bbarnes@ci.stamford.ct.us; 977-4141

And your representatives:
District 11: Jim Diamond jdiamond@ci.stamford.ct.us Home: 316-8804, Work: 739-0400
John Zelinsky jzelinsky@ci.stamford.ct.us Home: 348-3870 (prefers calls)
District 14; Gabe DeLuca rdeluca@ci.stamford.ct.us Home: 324-9194
Carl Franzetti cfranzetti@ci.stamford.ct.us Home: 322-9280

… And by attending the next public meeting in July.
Details will be posted throughout the neighborhood.
Click here to read more.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Good Band at SoNo Loft Thursday

My friend Damon Grant is a wonderful percussionist. I think I met him at Green's, which used to be one of the better places in Stamford to hear live original music. It's now Casey's Tavern. Anyway, Damon's bad, Sinister Envy, is playing at SoNo's Loft on Thursday, June 4. The musicians in the band are no small potatoes:
Sinister Envy is an 8-piece band featuring members of the Bomb Squad, John Mayer's band and the Damon Grant Project. As individuals, besides actively writing and recording, the members have toured the world as sidemen with nationally recognized artists... Collectively, the members of this band have won an American Music Award, a Tony award, an Emmy award, performed at the Olympic Games, performed for three different United States Presidents... (from band's web site) What I'm saying is, they're not a crappy cover band, and they'd be worth the $5 cover charge to hear at the Loft. Sinister Envy plays from around 10pm-close. Go and have a drink or two or three for me!
Description of band's music style:
Chrissi Poland, with her soulful 4-octave vocal range, is the first to draw you into Sinister Envy’s unique style, which has been described as equal parts funk and rock. Add in a dynamic band featuring trumpet player Brad Mason, fresh off John Mayer’s latest tours, sax and background vocals by Mike Raskin, Ryan Parrino’s raw and adventurous guitar styling, Darby Wolf with his blend of new and vintage keys, and Dan Grennes on bass and background vocals, and put it all together with Glenn Robertson driving the bus on drums and Damon Grant adding the flavor with percussion, Sinister Envy offers an upbeat and intoxicating experience that will keep you dancing all night.

And here's Damon. He's a good lookin' dude and a nice guy.
Click here to read more.