Saturday, February 28, 2009

Honey it's for's that inmate again.

Grab a drink. This is long one...My apologies.

A few weeks back I mentioned all of the attention a certain News Readin' Husband was garnering from the male portion of the viewing audience. (Now we know how Hugh Jackman feels...just kidding...we have no idea how he feels, but imagine it to be yummy in an insanely hot Aussie way.)

Wait, where am I? Oh, yes. Inmate communique.

For an entire weekend we received calls from a service called Pay Tel Communications that provides the phone services for various correctional facilities. And at all times of the day...3:30 pm on Saturday to 8:15 am on Sunday.

The phone would ring, I would pick it up and a very chipper recording would say,
"This is Pay Tel Communications and you are receiving a call from (insert self-recorded name of inmate Dave), an inmate at the Blank County Correctional Facility..."

If the message were anymore delightful, I would have brought a bundt cake to Dave and asked the Pay Tel Communications lady to join my tap dance class. (True story.)

After a few of these, I grew tired of tearing myself away from DVR'd Top Chef and stalking an antique suzani on Ebay to answer. So I tried to call Pay Tel directly to see if they could remove/block our number or maybe just let Dave down easy and say that the News Readin's are no longer accepting phone calls - only Facebook friend requests.

Incredibly, not a single human being works at Pay Tel. So I had to contact our phone service provider, who immediately deemed me insensitive to those serving time.

Me: "We keep receiving phone calls from the County Correctional Facility and I would like to block all the exchanges through Pay Tel."
Comcast: "Do you know someone at the jail?"
Me: "No and I'm not trying to get to know someone at the jail either..."
Comcast: " Well, it could just be that you have the number of an old friend and they are trying to reach them."
Me: "I sort of don't give a sh&% who they think they're calling - I don't want Pay Tel Communications to show up on my caller id again. Ever. Let's make it happen, Sport."
Comcast: "You should probably just take one call from them and let them know they have the wrong number and they'll stop calling."
Me: "Actually, Steve - I don't think they have the wrong number. But, I'll be happy to give them your extension at Comcast, so that when their 90 days are up for assault they can ring you to grab a coffee and just talk."
Comcast: "Have a nice day."
Me: "It's not looking good right now."

And, scene.

There is a limit to blocked phone numbers - 13 total. For most, blocking 13 numbers from reaching you would be sufficient - save for Bernie Madoff. However, in this case the County Correctional Facility / Pay Tel have wayyyy more than just 13 exchanges. So, even though I blocked all of the numbers I could, Dave & Pay Tel could still reach out and touch us from behind bars. (Sleeping with the lights on at night kinda-scary...)

Enter Mr. News Readin' and his close ties (and mutually programmed cell phone numbers) with The Law and specifically the 40+ administrative assistant in the Sheriff's Office, Shantall, who thinks he's hotter than Memphis in August. Let's be honest - you know she runs the damn show. He provided Dave's name and a list of the dates and times of the phone calls to our home.

With one simple phone call - I went from screening calls from Dave and my mother - to just my mother. Whew!

When I asked Mr. News Readin' who the inmate was...when this joker was getting out ...what he was in for, etc. (because it would be kind of nice to know if we are dealing with a petty thief or a rapist) - he said, "Oh, I didn't even ask."

You're a reporter and you didn't even ask any questions!!?? A little less time touching up your bronzer and a little more time getting the story - K?

Just to be on the safe side, the Sheriff's cell phone number is now programmed into my cell. Which could lead me to a cozy little cell next to Dave given my penchant for intoxicated texting and growing disdain for the renters behind us who play their music too loudly...

Stay tuned.
More at 11.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to be better than Grandma... the eyes of a child. Momentarily.

My first name is fairly common, but my mother had a late-seventies moment (as in the 1970's) and replaced an "i" with a "y" and well - the rest is history. A history riddled with tears on vacations because I couldn't get a license plate for my Strawberry Shortcake bike...or barrettes for my hair...not even a pencil with my misspelled "y" for an "i" name.

Damn. Life was tough. Thankyouverymuch, Mother.

My own life experience is probably the sole reason why I am a fervent believer that gifts should be personalized. Because you just can...

Recently I've started bestowing the ever growing number of minis in my life books from Frecklebox.

What is more fun than an entire birthday book with your name spelled out on cakes every other page or a coloring book complete with fire engines and your name in big letters? The seven year-old in me says, "Nothing better.."

Preview the Birthday Book here.

Preview the Rev It Up coloring book here.

LinkPreview the My Name is Book here.

They have a good selection and even a book for new big brothers and sisters. My guess is if the book has their name in it - it will lessen the blow of a new baby. Good idea.

Which would have been nice to have when my parents told me about the best Christmas present younger brother born December 27.

Mmmm. Not quite. See I was thinking more along the lines of the Strawberry Shortcake bake shoppe shaped like a strawberry.

And to add insult to injury - his name is totally normal and afforded him all of the personalized tchotchkes imaginable.

It's a miracle that I'm not more medicated...

More at 11.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Deep Thoughts for a Monday Morning

Last week someone posed this question to me and I have been thinking about it ever since...

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Having not run a marathon, given birth to children or passed the New York State bar exam - instantly I felt like my life toils were silly, inconsequential and by no means accomplishments. The question made me cry. How foolish sounding - but I felt lackluster and pointless.

Am I being too hard on myself? Maybe. But, it has definitely made re-think my life plan.

So, I ask you dear reader and friend -

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Do you feel like it's yet to come?
Is it a collection of small things or one large event, moment, happening?

If you normally do not comment, please reconsider the usual lurk and weigh in on what may be my deepest post ever. Thank you very much.

We will return to your regularly scheduled retail fueled, News Readin' Husband coverage and general observations after this break from our local sponsors - Deep Thoughts and Red Wine.

Mrs. News Readin'

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Is there a greater classic American clothing staple than the white button down?

All together now - no, there isn't.

Mr. News Readin' grew tired of me stealing his and I grew tired of the too big proportions. And then I stumbled upon Claridge & King - the perfect white button down paired down to a woman's proportion.

Image courtesy of Claridge & King.

My shirt arrived, complete with monogram in Avery Script, on the cuff. I wear it all the time...over leggings with a cardigan and ballet flats on a plane, belted with skinny jeans and of course - to bed. It one of my best purchases ever.

Images courtesy of the News Readin' Archives.

Just in time for Valentine's Day - they've introduced a pink version.

Image courtesy of Claridge & King.

And a new monogram option with an open heart and single initial. Love it. Or put his monogram on your shirt. *Wink*

Image courtesy of Claridge & King.

Even the ticking stripe pouch they arrive in are pure perfection. sure of your measurements. They can run a little big.

I consider myself quite fortunate to be married to man who finds white cotton shirts sexy. (Shhh...he thinks I bought it for him.)


Mrs. News Readin'

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Giving Bling

In a time when the mall jewelry store trappings of Valentine's Day seem obnoxious, seek other options. (For me, every kiss begins with VCA. Most definitely not Kay.)

But, we are working with a limited budget this year. Maybe if I hadn't paid my taxes (ahem, Tom Daschle) I would be scoring a lovely Alhambra necklace...but I digress.

If you are sending your sweetheart in search for a little affordable bling, maybe suggest an option that would benefit a good cause.

The Breaking News Team loves the simplicity of Diana Warner jewelry and especially appreciates her Materialism Matters line which supports an array of non-profit organizations.

The Obligato Necklace - Obligato, Portuguese for something that one cannot live without - supports a well-digging project in Africa. Each purchase provides clean water for 10 Africans for an entire year.

The Parker Puzzle Necklace - A portion of the proceeds from each necklace goes to the Breakthrough Corporation, which works diligently to improve the lives of adults with Autism.

Beginning with You Necklace - Proceeds from the sale of this necklace support the Beginning with You Organization, that provides for vulnerable children internationally.

I'm also a big fan of her initial charms (which I wear almost daily) and bracelets, which make my wrists look magically minuscule.

Even if you don't go with one of the Materialism Matters necklaces, you can feel good about buying jewelry from someone who has such a big heart.

Your Jewelry Cupid,

Mrs. News Readin'

And for those who check daily anticipating the Presidential China post - it's in the works. Promise.

More at 11.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a date.

Our Wedding Belle has selected October 17, 2009 as her wedding day and we are so excited.

She'll be married in the church both she and the News Readin' Husband were baptized. It's a beautiful little Episcopal church which dates back to the 1880's. You can read a little more history here.

One major hurdle right now...her husband-to-be wants 20 friends to be by his side at the main event. Ten groomsmen and ten ushers. The church is not that large and having ten up at the altar will look very crowded. Like - "Which one is the groom?" crowded. Yikes!

I always thought it was based on guest count - 1 bridesmaid/groomsman per 35-50 guests. Ushers to be added accordingly based on any number over 300 attending the ceremony.

Have any of you recently married lovelies faced the same challenge?

Of course the News Readin' husband and I are much more concerned about helping them choose a signature drink.

Wedding cake martini, anyone?

More at 11.

Monday, February 9, 2009

And they're off!

Horse racing, in my most humble opinion, is one of the most exciting sports to watch. The incredible strength and speed of the horses leaves me in awe. Equally awe-inspiring are the almost miniature people who ride these massive animals at break neck speeds.

We went to college with a guy who is supposedly now a jockey. Could have fooled me. Back in the day I was pretty sure he would be the 40 year old loser selling PB& J sandwiches out of the back of his Subaru Outback at a Widespread show and teaching Hooping classes at the New Age gym.

The Animal Planet has a new reality show, Jockeys: Win or Die Trying that follows seven jockeys - including two women - through the rigors of the racing world at Santa Anita.

After watching the first episode, I now am certain that our college acquaintance is most definitely that aforementioned 40 year old and in no way racing horses. Talk about extreme sports!

Just a few interesting tidbits...
  • There are no height restrictions on jockeys, only weight
  • Jockeys usually weigh between 108 and 118 pounds
  • Jockeys have the highest insurance premium in professional sports due to the high likelihood of injury
  • The sport is so dangerous an ambulance follows the jockeys around the track during a race
  • More than two jockeys a year are killed while engaged in the sport in North America
  • Most jockeys only make between $30,000 - 40,000 annually (dang.)
Jockey Frankie Dettori leaps off Raven's Pass in the winner's circle as he celebrates winning the Breeders' Cup Classic horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008.

If you are looking for a break from the mind-numbing reality tv options - you may enjoy this. And think about how knowledgeable you'll come off at that Derby Party...not just a pretty face and a big hat, boys.

Jockeys airs on Animal Planet Fridays at 9:00 pm.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Big Easy Inspired Hostess Loot

We are headed to a casual alumni gathering tomorrow night.

I don't know the hostess all that well, except for she is Catholic, grew up outside of New Orleans and is a tried and true Lilly-ist. My kinda girl. Knows how to party, manage guilt and does it in a hot pink dress emblazoned with lemons and lobsters.

She flat refuses to allow any of us to bring anything besides beverages. Smart move considering this group tends to find their way to a bottom of a high ball glass quickly and often.

So, I'm doing what any good guest would do - bring along a nice bottle of wine and these goodies for a nice girl from New Orleans:

In the Land of Cocktails, from the proprietor's of the Commander's Palace, a NOLA institution.
Anyone who enjoys a mixed drink and appreciates the usage of chipped ice - needs this book.

If you are serving a Big Easy beverage, your napkins need to be just as bold:

Pontchartrain Beach Fabric image courtesy of Hazelnut New Orleans.

Cocktail napkins in Pontchartrain Beach fabric from the fabulous Hazelnut New Orleans.
Combines it all...bright, Lilly-esqe fabric (exclusive to Hazelnut, BTW) with crowns, crayfish and even Mardi Gras beads. (Why am I not keeping these for myself?)

Here's a close-up of the fabric.

Pontchartrain Beach Fabric image courtesy of Hazelnut New Orleans. Designed by Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi.

They have it pictured on their website on this adorable cushioned bench. Do you not love it?!
The tote bag isn't bad either...

Enjoy the weekend! Big plans, no plans - do tell.

Mrs. News Readin'

Thursday, February 5, 2009

DIY Segment: How to Bankroll Your Plumber's Boat

When our master bath toilet started being temperamental four months ago, I begged the News Readin' Husband "to deal."

He snaked it about 26 times over the following weeks. When snaking stopped working, he marched up to our local hardware store to purchase a bottle of "It'll Take a Car Door off Its Hinges and Should be Handled in a Haz-mat Suit."

We had a big ceremony over the toilet as he poured out the whole bottle. I was suspect to this, confident that not only were we burning a whole through our pipes, but were not going to fix the problem. But I was reassured with, "The guy at the hardware store said it should do the trick."

The Inside Voice whispered, "If the guy at the hardware store is so well-versed on plumbing, why isn't he out there charging $100 an hour?" I silently agreed.

Shocker. Guess what didn't work? The only person surprised in all this is the News Readin' Husband. Even Putter knew better, who bolted from the scene to her Happy Place on the J. Adler.

"I can't believe that guy at the hardware store sold me me that stuff..."
Yep. Me neither.

Hours before my family descended on City K to celebrate Thanksgiving, he finally contacted a plumber we had used to repair a leak a few months back. (That time he couldn't come right away because he was out on his brand new pontoon boat. Hmmm.) The over-the-phone prognosis was that we needed a new toilet. So, the News Readin' Husband told him to go ahead and buy one and bring it over.

WHAT?! I'm sorry, but have you lost your damn mind? A new toilet installation? How does he know what kind of toilet we need? (Assuming there are differences....) All for the price of $1,250. Sorry, Doctor - I'm going to need a second opinion.

He eventually called another plumber, who came out to actually see our temperamental toilet. Imagine that? And the prognosis: there was a pen or toothbrush lodged in the pipe and his snake was big enough to get to it...(insert 9th grade giggling.) No new toilet necessary and left with my favorite parting words of any repairman, "I'll send a bill in a few weeks, just in case it acts up again and I have to pay you another visit." If he had been peddling life insurance, I would have bought some for me, the dog and the cat right then and there.

Of course the next chapter became - Who Put the Toothbrush Down the Toilet? dun-dun-dun.
Since everyone in this house is over the age of seven, it was pretty difficult to nail down the culprit. Mr. NR swears its me.

Yes, dropped the ol' Sonic Care in the bowl and said, "Ahh - screw it. (flush)." Not quite.

The moral of this story is being a good News Reader does not necessarily mean you are a Handy Husband. And, we are not allowed to go to the hardware store by ourselves or talk to the plumber with the big pontoon boat ever again.

More at 11.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby Gifts: Bottoms Up

Between the inmate phone calls, being tagged 10 times to tell all my so-called friends on Facebook 25 things about me (I'm waiting to receive 25 tags before I respond), sorting Mr. News Readin's fan mail, deciding whether to do full monogram or single initial on my Snuggie, deal with dynamic of Kara the New Judge on American Idol and work - it's been a struggle to set the auto button on the coffeemaker at night - let alone think of creative baby gifts for all new arrivals of the mini-kind to the News Readin' circle of friends.

Love some babies! Especially those that will not depend on me for braces, bail, or college tuition. (Suleman octuplets excluded, of course. We are all on the hook for their bills.)

Personalized Diapers from Diapergrams are my standard baby gift, making life very easy.
They have great options for personalization and are great to work with if you wanted to create a team specific basket or even camo, for the family's newest Ducks Unlimited member.

They are also running a promotion with her personalized diaper apprentices (take that, Donald.) Mention "Diapergrams Sent You" and receive an extra dozen diapers: (this site will begin taking orders on Friday, Feb. 6th)

Mr. News Readin' has on more than one occasion tried to get me to order a bushel with "Bad Ass Baby" printed on the back for his Fratty Friends' spawn. Ummm, no.

Shhh...should my resilience to the MM give way under the influence of several bottles of Rioja- if ya' know what I mean - it's how I'll tell him the big news.

Stay tuned. Up next: Big Brother and Sister gifts that will crown you Favorite Adult besides Grandma.

Mid Week Humor

I want to adopt the E Trade Baby. But, only if he really talks.

This is one of the funniest commercials on television. Don't you think?

Happy Wednesday!

Mrs. NR

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Orange you glad...

When I was a little girl, I loved looking through the Spiegel catalog. So many pages, so many outfits (that my mother would never wear) is probably the sole reason for my deep-rooted catalog addiction.

Not sure what happened to Spiegel in the last three decades, but looks like they are making a run at a fashionable turnaround. Good news for us, gang!

I'm not usually a big orange fan, but these are the pieces that really caught my eye.

Double-Knit Coat Belted, with roll collar in pumpkin spice. Yum. And only $99!

Here's the belt they have paired with it:

Metal Hinge Belt. (Scroll down to find it on the link.)

Silk linen duster with 3/4 sleeves. Comes in great colors like graphite and pinkberry.

It's pictured with this Silk Bow Pin.

Also in a variety colors...perfect way to change up the coat quickly and easily.

Throw in a little purple, just for fun:
Pleated Suede Bag. For $59.00, it's a steal.

Don't get me wrong...there are plenty of standard Spiegel moments of over-embellished, bad floral moments. But, at least there is promise and at a reasonable price point.

Happy shopping,

Mrs. NR

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Parent of the Year Competition Heats Up

Watch out, Campbells!

There is a new grossly irresponsible adult in the running for Parent(s) of the Year.

Can we get a round of applause for the thoroughly audacious, mentally disturbed, new mom to eight preemies and six (7) year-old children - Nadya Suleman formerly Guiterrez?!

As a taxpayer, I would like to personally thank Nadya for including me in the medical miracle that are her octuplets. First for the two months she has spent on bed rest at Bellflower Medical Center and second for the $200,000 birth of her babies affectionately called, A through H.

Ms. Suleman,
It takes a special person to pursue IVF based on the following:
  • being unemployed
  • living with their mother (who recently declared bankruptcy)
  • has SIX other children
The ASPCA wouldn't let you adopt a kitten, and yet someone thought helping you out with eight embryos was a great idea.

Being a burden to society as an adult is one thing , but forcing 14 children to be a part of your repugnant freak show is sickening and deplorable.

I am pleased to hear that you have taken the typical route for all spotlight hungry low lives - by hiring an agent and planning to support yourself by pimping your babies and your sad, pathetic story to news outlets and talk shows - oh and pursue a career as a tv childcare expert.

Absolutely! Who wouldn't take your word as gospel on parenting??!!

Nadya, dear - the sooner your story fades from our eyes and ears, we the public (who are bankrolling your little tribe), will be better off. Your children on the other hand will suffer significantly. They will never know a normal life and will one day know the truth behind their birth. What to do then, tv childcare expert? Surely you can get a group discount for 14 children in therapy.

In your acceptance speech be sure to thank the immoral and soon-to-be without a license fertility doctor who impregnated you and the 46-strong medical team at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center, especially these three below.

Dr. Mandhir Gupta, the neonatologist who helped with the delivery and his colleague, Dr. Karen E. Maples, chief of service for obstetrics and gynecology, along with Harold Henry were all smiles discussing your "strength" and all of the dirty diapers in your future. Awww, gee.

You surely couldn't be the mother of 14 you are today without the gang at Bellflower and their media relations person, who probably sobbed with joy over the good fortune in landing your side show.

And let me thank you Ms. Suleman, for providing another shining example that even me and Mr. News Readin' could be better parents than you.

Most sincerely,

Mrs. News Readin'

Breaking News from Gobbler's Nob

Dammit, Phil.

Being hoisted up in the air by the gentleman pictured above, is probably not how you saw your Monday beginning. I'd be irritated too - and equally not camera ready. Did they even let you take a brush to your tail? Ughh. State Tourism flacks are the worst.

With 13,000 people in the crowd, I'm sure you were slightly embarrassed. Hate that for you.

But, six more weeks of winter. Is that really necessary?

Seems like we might all be paying the price for some sour grapes of the NFL variety... Maybe you hail from a long line of die hard Eagles fans, and just hate to see the Steelers win the Big Game. Or you just want to get in a couple of more runs at Camelback. Maybe you slept in your contacts last night, making your shadow unmistakable. (Never a good idea, my man.)

Whatever your reasons - Candelemas will continue. Leave it to the Germans and their superstitions to put a damper on the approaching nice weather. (Not everybody wants to don their lederhosen and 100% wool Miesbacher jackets until April. K?) Just in case your middle school American history escapes you presently...Pennsylvania's earliest settlers were Germans.

A Miesbacher jacket

Hey Phil - here's a thought. Leave a "thanks for the good times" note in your stump and buy a one-way ticket to Vancouver. You can still enjoy life in a fur coat and the Winter Olympics are fast approaching. Surely they have some work for a seasoned groundhog, as yourself.

Sincerely yours in a very chilly way,

Mrs. News Readin'

P.S. If you are looking to do a tell-all interview for television, do call.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fan Mail. Male Fans.

Let me open by saying, I do not consider the News Readin' husband a celebrity. Others, who obviously do not know the man I am married to beyond his daily television moments - do.

How sad for them.

Mr. News Readin's fan base tends to be 65+, doesn't drive after dark and watches Wheel of Fortune nightly. In other words - old ladies. But in a surprising departure - throughout his news reading career, gay men, have also expressed interest in our favorite anchorman. You recall this joker from PA.

Prior to me being the Mrs., he was residing in far western Nebraska, reading news nightly for approximately 200 viewers and a couple of folks in Wyoming. (That number is a slight may have been 185.) Not being the savviest of souls, he decided to keep his home telephone number published for public consumption. Super smart.

It started with a few hang ups on the answering machine, calls in the middle of the night and then the letters started coming to the station.

"Mark" found Mr. News Readin' to be friendly and attractive - on air. Mark suggested a very discreet, friendly meeting "just to talk" in a parking lot. Mmm...yes. Nothing says discretion and friendly like meeting a stranger in a public parking lot, Mark. Save the ambiance and intimacy of an interstate rest stop men's room for your second date...errr, meeting.

Mr. News Readin' although mildly flattered by the invitation, declined via email and thanked Mark for being a viewer. He went on to tell him that he looked forward to starting his married life in western Nebraska in just a few short months. (In my experience - no time in western Nebraska is short...)

Mr. NR was slightly freaked out, but learned a valuable lesson and our phone number will forever be unlisted.

Which is why I am totally freaked out that all last weekend I fielded phone calls from the county correctional facility from a man named, Dave.

I've said it once - and I'll say it again...sometimes it's tough being married to a man who would look better in my Old Navy lounge pants, knows what concealer is...and garners more interest from inmates than I would. Damn.

Stay tuned for Part II of our Fan Mail from Male Fans - live from the City K correctional facility and a one-on-one interview with the county sheriff's department.