Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barackin the vote

Brendan can someday tell the story of how he helped elect the first Black President of the United States.

Strangely, an unfailingly sound sleeper, Brendy woke up screaming just as the race was called. Republicans: Nature? Nurture? Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A sign of the times

My personal budget has not changed at all over the last couple of months, but ever since the entire global economy came crashing down, I find I have a psychological resistance to spending money. Seems not everyone is in tune with my new psyche.

For at least the past two months, I get an email EVERY SINGLE morning from both Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus with offers that seem ridiculously out of touch with the current American mindset. Yesterday Neiman's offered me free shipping on my choice from a new line of handbags. The cheapest one was $1,750. Free shipping? Really? How about paying this month's contribution to my 401k? Maybe then I could justify dropping almost 2 grand on a trendy accessory. Bloomie's has offered insider savings for over priced resort wear. For all the resorts I'll be living the grand life in this winter with Brendan's college savings. This morning I got an email from the Chloe Boutique. Who is spreading my contact information around? I couldn't justify shopping in the Chloe Boutique when times were good. Perhaps they think I'm a consultant to the Biden/Palin campaign. (Sorry, I like to avoid discussing politics in this forum, but this one I couldn't help.)

Against this depressing backdrop, I had to laugh when I saw a makeshift sign taped to an out of order Chase ATM yesterday. I can't imagine I'm the only one withdrawing cash less freely than I did only a few short weeks ago (although there were days over the past month when a mattress seemed more secure than a bank). So although it was clear something had been lost in translation, the hastily organized sign seemed to sum up the situation perfectly: "Out of work".

Back to fashion for a moment - I know I will need to make at least one investment this season. My current winter coat has a shredded lining, a broken zipper and feathers coming out of the seams. I'm treating this purchase like a stock picker trying to time the market. I must wait long enough for the prices come down, but not so long that my size is no longer available. The key is not to panic...

Monday, September 29, 2008

This apartment ain't big enough for the three of us...

I saw Jenny McCarthy interviewed on Oprah the other day (got hooked during my brain surgery recovery and I still DVR the show). Mrs. Jim Carey was promoting her new book, "Mother Warriors." Her observation is that women have the ability to become superhuman warriors when their children require it.

Jenny highlighted the story of a woman who had suffered the loss of both arms and legs following a horrific encounter with a form of flesh eating disease. The illness was contracted during her pregnancy and required this gravely ill momma to remain hospitalized following the birth of her child. When initially faced with the news that her limbs might require amputation, she replied, "Cut them off. Let's go. I need to get home to my baby." This woman astonished her doctors with her grit and determination to recover beyond what any of them could have imagined. Today she is raising her daughter in an extraordinarily normal fashion, despite her situation. Mother warrior.

Don't get me wrong, I was impressed with this woman's story. But I felt like calling into the Oprah Show to tell my own warrior story. Flesh eating disease sounds like a walk in the park compared to what I faced last Sunday.

Terry is on a shoot in Vancouver for two and half weeks. So I am flying solo until he returns. Last weekend, I packed up the munchkin and we headed to Grandma's. We stayed on Long Island pretty late Sunday night hoping to avoid traffic (Sunday was the last game ever played at Yankee Stadium. Good times on the Cross Bronx Expressway).

We finally pulled up to the front lobby of my building at about 9:30. I had a lot of bags - including Brendan's laundry basket - and the doorman watched them for me while Brendan and I returned the car to the garage. It was about 10:00 by the time I finished all the shuttling of stuff, and a sleeping Brendan and I were finally in the apartment and almost ready for bed. I let him stay snoozing in his carseat while I brought his laundry basket upstairs, got out his pj's, etc.

Just before getting Brendy out of his little resting spot, I went in his room to open his window. I was stopped dead in my tracks by what I saw. My blood froze right on the spot. Somewhere in all the shuttling, a cockroach the size of my foot had crept into Brendy's laundry basket and it was now strolling across the carpet like he owned the place. This was not a normal cockroach. This was the rogue kind that rambles through the streets of New York at night, kicking over garbage cans. This was the kind that scuttles from deep within concrete bowels when construction unsettles their lair (our building has construction going on right near our lobby). This was the kind that some New Yorkers insist is not a cockroach, but is a "waterbug". I think this is crap. I think this is what people say to convince themselves that cockroaches can't get that big.

A quick calculation of the flight time from Vancouver left me with the realization that I was going to have to deal with this on my own. There was no way I could let this thing get away or we would have to pack up the car and go right back to Grandma's. From there I would call our realtor and send Terry our new address so he'd know where to go from the airport.

Mother warrior kicked into gear.

It took me at least half an hour, and several failed attempts, but I finally caught that damn thing under a wastepaper basket. After the first miss, this kitten-sized creature ran behind the couch. I could hear it back there. After the second miss, it flew under Brendan's crib, and that's when I got angry. There was no way I was going to let this thing roam around my sweet baby's room. No sir. By then, I was standing on a chair in the middle of the carpet, shedding tears of rage. I lay in wait until the monster whizzed under my chair. With a tribal yell I threw the basket down and trapped that f*%$er. For good measure, I grabbed a heavy book and put in on top of the basket. It remained there until the next day when my burly super took care of it with a broom.

After the capture, I immediately called Terry. He was out having an expense account dinner in some fancy restaurant and didn't pick up his phone. I left him a message. The kind of message that indicated payback would be required.

The next morning I sent Terry an update: "When I awoke, the basket and book had been tossed aside. Our kitchen cupboards were bare as was the liquor cabinet. The roach was sitting on the couch watching Good Morning America wearing my bathrobe. Get your ass home."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Meet the Mets

Brendan and Uncle Paul

Brendan attended his first Major League Baseball game on Saturday and watched the Mets lose to the Braves at Shea Stadium. He had absolutely no idea where he was, but it was an important milestone nonetheless.

Non-New Yorkers may not know that it's the last season in the current stadium for both our home town teams. The passing of Yankee Stadium is much more notable, I must say. It's an historic and iconic stadium. Shea on the other hand, looks like it was plunked down by the same pre-fab company that must have designed every other stadium built across the nation in the 60s. Worse than strip malls...

Be that as it may, Terence has now been able to take his son to the same place his own father took him to watch their beloved Mets do their thing. No doubt Grandpa Voltz was enjoying a Schlitz and smiling down.

By the way, although I'm not ignorant in all sports (most of you realize I know a thing or two about football and golf), I think Brendan followed the game as well as I could have. The last time I was at Shea, I was intently watching the field through binoculars when the crowd errupted. I had to ask Terry what happened. He seemed puzzled, "Aren't you watching?" I let him know I had been using the binoculars to follow some napkins that were blowing through the outfield as I tried to figure out how fast they were moving. All the while, I conjured fuzzy memories of high school physics. I remember thinking, "Isn't there some phenomenon that distorts perception of velocity from a distance? What's it called? What's it called? Doppler effect? No, that's sound. What's it called.... Why are people cheering?"

Because Terry will undoubtedly post this in the comments if I don't say it myself, I will also preemptively admit that I kept referring to the catcher as the shortstop. In my defense, there was some logic to the mixup. The catcher stands in front of the backstop. Backstop. Shortstop. Whatever. As long as there is cold beer and mustard for the dogs, I'm happy with just the napkins in the outfield.

(Sorry, H. I know this is a particularly painful post for you to read. On many levels.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dad, dad, he's our man...

I'm leaving my family. But just for the weekend.

The girls and I will be in Bethesda drinking too much wine, gossiping about high school classmates and giggling like we're back in junior high. Terence will be home having a boys weekend with Brendan.

I'm not sure if it's solely the impending daddy time that made this PSA tickle my funny bone, but I have a feeling anyone, parent or no would find this funny. The casting is absolutely perfect.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a difference a week makes

Last week, on vacation in Cannes, France

This week, back at work after four and a half months:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Barefoot and forgotten

I spent three and a half months terrified that I would not find the perfect nanny. I will now spend the rest of my life terrified that I have found the perfect nanny.

What if Brendan stops flashing me his special smile that right now seems reserved for only momma? At two months old he seemed to think the ceiling fan in my bedroom was his mommy. What if we go backwards? What if the pecking order becomes:

1. awesome nanny
2. intriguing ceiling fan
3. that crazy woman that keeps coming around here and crying
I can already see that Susan (awesome nanny) runs a tighter ship than I. The first example (of many to come, I'm sure) is the brand new shoe policy she has instituted at Chez Voltz. No shoes. When he came to install new locks on our door yesterday, our burly Super was informed in a stern (yet loving) voice that the next time he came he would have to remove his work boots. The next time. As in, "When this neglectful mother goes back to work and I can begin raising this child in the proper way."

So we're now one of those households. A "please remove your shoes" household. In the past I've pretended to understand, but have secretly resented arriving at a dinner party dressed in a carefully selected ensemble only to be asked to remove my shoes. All of a sudden, the pants don't hang properly because the hem is dragging. Or even worse, I have to roll up the cuff and stand around sipping wine looking like a fourth grader in hand me downs. And let's face it. I spend too much money on my shoes to have them spend the evening in a pile by the door. And now we're one of those households. So if you come for dinner, wear nice socks.

Ok, ok. Since you asked, more pictures:

Supporting dad's team in the West Village

Fingers are amusing

Just a droolin' fool

Ok, I guess I can take my shoes off for this guy...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is it just me, or is this hilarious?

I've already commented on how tedious my life has become*, so I may be more susceptible to juvenile humor these days. Also, the particular gag at about 4 1/2 minutes into this video hits close to home right now, so that could be affecting my judgment. Still, I suspect this is genuinely funny. Hope you agree.

* Tedious, but wonderful in ways that only I find interesting. Not bloggable that my kid smiles as he's drifting off to sleep, and it almost makes me cry. Who cares other than my husband and I?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shameless Promotion

We're busy, busy, busy preparing for this year's Bud Traynor Classic. Brendan had his first (of many, no doubt) trips to the starter's window at Bethpage as we settled up our tab to reserve the Red Course for the 21st. Come and play! It'll be fun, it's for a good cause, and best of all: you'll get to meet my little genius.

We're teeing off a week from Monday, and it's not too late to sign up. Here's a copy of an email blast I sent with more info:

Dear friends and colleagues:

It is my great pleasure to invite you to take part in the
Sixth Annual Bud Traynor Classic Golf Tournament and Luncheon, to be held at Long Island's Bethpage State Park.

This year's Tournament takes place on Monday, July 21, 2008.

Sincere thanks to those who have already registered - we're looking forward to seeing you! And to those who've made donations - thank you for helping to further our cause.

The Tournament is named in honor of my late father, and is dedicated to his lifelong passion for the game. The mission of our modest not-for-profit organization, The Bud Traynor Memorial Fund, Inc., is to raise funds for cancer research, education and treatment. All proceeds of the Tournament will go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Our past tournaments have been a resounding success, drawing an enthusiastic crowd of golfers and luncheon attendees to Bethpage Park for a fun day of golf and a great party. We're hoping this year's Tournament - our Sixth - will be our best event yet.

We've reserved the beautiful, challenging Bethpage Red Course. There will be various on-course contests to make the game more interesting ( Longest Drive , Closest To The Pin). We've picked out a delicious menu for lunch at Bethpage Park 's Carlyle on the Green, overlooking the first tee of the famous Black Course (home of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens). Trophies will be awarded to the winners.

Finally, we'll have plenty of valuable raffle prizes and silent auction items up for bid, such as premium golf equipment and a week long stay at a luxury condo at the Tidewater Plantation in North Myrtle Beach , SC - including a free foursome at Tidewater's championship course!

The cost of the Tournament is $225.00, which includes breakfast (with omelet station, always a big hit), greens fee, golf cart, on-course refreshments and luncheon reception with open bar; for non-golfers, the luncheon/open bar is available for $75.00.

The Bud Traynor Memorial Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so your Tournament/luncheon fees are tax deductible.

To learn more about our organization and its namesake, to register/pay for the tournament, or to make a donation, visit our website at


Help us spread the word - kindly pass this along to anyone you feel might be interested in taking part or making a donation!

Thank you for your consideration - I hope to see everyone on
July 21!

Best regards,

Joan Voltz

PS: Check out this link for a peek at last year's event:

Fifth Annual Bud Traynor Classic

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ready for his closeup...

I'm sure we've all been frustrated by government bureaucracy at some point. How can we be (arguably) the most powerful nation on earth, yet have our entire presidential election process yield a questionable result because of sloppy hole punching and antiquated voting machines? Why is filing tax returns so difficult that most people have to hire a professional to have confidence that a mistake hasn't been made? Making sickly and elderly folks navigate medicare? Don't get me started.

So here's one that cracks me up. Why are photos required for infant passports? Brendan will no longer look like his photo even by the time the booklet arrives in the mail. I'm all for airport security, but this passport will be valid for five years. He'll still be sporting this document through kindergarten. Am I the only one who thinks this is silly?

Going postal

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Am I so impressionable?

Did you know that advertising is one of the most reviled professions in the world? Right behind lawyers? Are you pretending to be surprised? It's ok. I don't take it personally. We are, after all, the people trying to convince your children that they need sugar cereal. And the little snipets of film that show you the softer side of Philip Morris? Yep. That's us.

I am here to tell you, however, that we do not use subliminal messaging to brain wash you. I'm always asked if we do. Perhaps people are ashamed to admit they are indeed persuaded by the shamefully blatant pleas we bombard you with. They wish to believe there is a greater force at work. One against which they are powerless. Sorry, dude. You plunked down 60 Gs for that Hummer because the ad said it might make you appear more powerful. By the way, feeling powerful at $4+ a gallon?*

Anyway, I've never believed in the effectiveness of subliminal messaging or brainwashing, until I pondered the potential connectedness of recent events through the rear view mirror.

Event One:
As you all know, we embarked on a kitchen renovation toward the end of the third trimester of my pregnancy. It turned our apartment upside down and left us largely confined to our bedroom. We watched a lot of Law & Order SVU marathons.

Event Two:
I don't believe in revealing names under consideration for unborn children. It invites unwanted opinions on an entirely subjective topic. The only votes that count are the mom and dad's (well, let's face it - really only mom's counts). Once you announce the name, no one is going to tell you they don't like it. But now I can tell you, after reading through the entire "100,000 Baby Names" book and months of consideration with a painstaking process involving post it notes, we narrowed girl names down to Alexandra and Olivia. (In case there is another Baby Voltz someday, no negative comments please).

Subliminal Connection?
Only later did I realize the names of the two lead females on SVU...

Detective Olivia Benson

Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot

Also note, I did buy the stick up bulb.

* By the way, I don't mean to sound entirely cynical about advertising. I think it also does plenty of public good. Like the Dove work I've written about which challenged beauty norms. Or like the Mac work which opened up people's options. Or like the mini work, which made small cars cool. Or like the Target work that made affordable fashionable. I could go on...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fighting the tedium of victory

Tiger won another major. It's almost as though they don't need to play these things anymore. Just give the trophy to Mr. Woods.

Except that this one was interesting.

The 108th US Open should have ended yesterday, but Tiger and Rocco Mediate shared a score at the end of the day. So they met this morning for another go around the field. Lo and behold, another 18 holes later: still tied. Mediate finally yielded after the first sudden death hole, and Tiger was hoisting that gleaming cup just a few minutes later. I admit, I was rooting for the other guy. I had several reasons:

  1. Rooting against Tiger is a family tradition
  2. I really wanted the US Open to be won by a guy named Rocco
  3. Had he won, Mediate would have been the oldest guy to ever win the US Open (have to root for the geezer since my husband and I just had our first child at nearly 47 and 37, respectively)
  4. Had Mediate won he also would have been the first guy to beat Tiger when Woods came into the Final in the lead

Having said all that, Tiger was greeted by his almost one year old daughter, Sam, before accepting the trophy, and that little girl is absolutely gorgeous. She was dressed in finals red, just like her dad.

If you harbor fantasies of winning a tournament yourself, reserve a spot in The Bud Traynor Classic. It's being played on July 21st at Bethpage - home of the 2002 and 2009 US Open. Click here for a peak at last year's event.

Brendan watching his first Major (he slept through The Masters)

Friday, June 13, 2008

If it's Sunday...

...it's Meet the Press.

I have been watching Meet the Press every Sunday for about 15 years. I loved almost nothing better than sipping a cup of coffee while watching Tim Russert methodically chip away at whomever he had on the hot seat that week. He was always unbelievably prepared and would never let his guests off the hook. Yet civility was always preserved. In a world of 24/7 cable news, Russert's style utterly lacked sensation in a way that made the truth more clear.

Aside from his masterful ability as an interviewer, he always came across as a genuinely good guy. Someone who loved his family fiercely and remained true to his humble beginnings despite the awesome power he had earned. It sounds strange, but I feel like I knew him (not to mention Big Russ and Luke). So I was so stunned today when I heard of his death at the age of 58. I immediately turned on MSNBC and literally wept as I listened to coverage of today's sad events.

Sunday mornings are feeling less engaging already. How can we possibly hold this election without him...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I would keep that in mind if I didn't think you were crazy...

I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote. I have serious writer's block. I never did manage to write up those last few Bachelor episodes. It's so after the fact at this point that it hardly seems relevant (not that it was ever relevant, but that wasn't the point, was it?).

Don't worry - motherhood hasn't cured me of my love for vapid, trashy TV. In fact, I have been watching The Bachelorette, although, its utter lack of catty psycho drama makes it a much more boring version of this genre. For example, a would-be husband recently told DeAnna that he wanted her to know he was "very engaged in this process." This as opposed to that crazy pyscho Kelly who revealed her feelings for Matt The Bach by flashing him Mardi Gras style. I ask you, which is more entertaining?

Anyway, I think I can attribute my lack of writing inspiration to living the tedious life of a new mother. I don't think posting the fact that my kid pooped two more times today than he did yesterday would be interesting to anyone. Not even to me. But I've got nothing else goin' on. Hence, the writer's block.

The only remotely noteworthy interaction I've had occurred recently in, where else, a Starbucks. I was confronted with the reminder that New Yorkers will butt into anyone's business. I usually appreciate the bluntness and interpret it as a form of affection - just imparting friendly advice. This time, I was less than receptive.

Random woman in Starbucks upon peering into Brendan's stroller: "When was he born?"

Feeling like a proud momma: "Six weeks ago."

With an air of certainty: "Oh. He was premature."

Not appreciating the woman's know-it-all tone: "No, he wasn't."

Condescendingly: "Well, he's very tiny..." [no, actually, he's completely within normal parameters according to my pediatrician's ridiculously detailed growth charts.] I see a raised eyebrow cast my way and I know this conversation is about to take an even more unwelcome turn. "...Are you breastfeeding?"

How did this conversation devolve so quickly? Is this even remotely her business? Grande iced latte now in hand, I quickly start to wheel toward the door. As I retreat, I smile and cheerily reply, "Yes I am. Have a good day!"

Not willing to let me off the hook, the random woman actually attempted to summon me back: "Come here. I want to tell you something."

Is she kidding? I cut this off at the pass and bolted: "No, thanks. I'm good. Enjoy the afternoon."

Can't a girl just get a latte in peace?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Dairy Queen

First, I'm sorry I haven't posted on The Bach. I have a mental block against it - I have something like four episodes to watch, and it seems like it requires an overwhelming amount of time. I've been trying to avoid any news about the final outcome - but I'm fairly certain I know the deal. I promise to have my thoughts posted soon.

In the meantime, I have some thoughts on another topic. I'm confident this is too much information to be sharing in a public forum, but that has not stopped me before, so here I go again...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my sole past times these days is feeding the ravenous little child now living in my home. He eats constantly. Naturally, I'm trying to fulfill the essential requirement for my emancipation: a freezer full of breast milk. Enter my new best friend/worst enemy: the Medela Pump In Style.

Immediately after my first interaction with this awe inspiring contraption, I had two thoughts:
1. There is absolutely nothing stylish about any part of this "In Style" experience.
2. This machine was most definitely invented by a man.

After milking myself a few more times, I was compelled to explore the roots of this C-R-A-Z-Y device. It didn't take long to find the information I was looking for, and my suspicions were confirmed. I kid you not, the breast pump was invented by Edward Lasker: a man who lived to be 95 years old yet was only married once for a few months before his wife died of a "surgeon's error." He never had kids. He made his living as a mechanical and electrical engineer. Perfect. I'm quite sure if I spent more time I would discover that he had an unusually close relationship with his overbearing mother and later in life was known to display misogynistic tendencies whenever he was not locked in his dungeon-like basement.

If you saw this machine, you would believe as I do, that no innovations have been realized since Lasker's original 1927 model.

Edward Lasker (does he seem like he knows anything about breasts?)

Updated picture of me

Monday, May 5, 2008

My life as the mother of a genius...

Sorry I haven't been blogging. I'm still here. I've been having trouble thinking of anything to write that doesn't have to do with Brendan. I don't wish to be one of those women that has a baby and suddenly can't think of any other topic of conversation. But he's only 3 weeks old, so my life has been pretty consumed with keeping him 1. contently fed and 2. not sitting in poop (note: these goals are diametrically opposed). I don't have a lot of other input these days.

We did have a big outing on Wednesday. Second visit to the pediatrician. I was thrilled to learn I am the mother of an extremely advanced child. Terry called, and I relayed the news:

"Our son is a genius. He has already reached several one month milestones."
"You mean in terms of amount of sh*%t?"
"No, like he will meet a gaze and hold it."
"Meeting gays is a milestone?"

This kid is a riot and he keeps us laughing all day long. But parenting a newborn hasn't been without sacrifice. Last week we ventured to the Upper West Side to run a few errands. Skirting up against a feeding time, Terry stayed with Brendan in our double parked car as I ran into the Sephora on Broadway and 76th Street. Knowing I was playing a dangerous game of chicken, I wasted no time in asking the first sales person I saw, "Where is your Chanel counter?" "We don't have one here, but there is one in the Sephora two blocks down." Sensing that Brendan was probably famished and screaming bloody murder by then, I knew there was no time to travel even that insignificant distance. As I grabbed a Dior liner and mascara, I longed for a slightly more predictable schedule. I know moms are required to give up a lot. But a life without Chanel? I mean, I love my kid, but come on...

Speaking of sacrifices, I've had no time to write about The Bachelor. I promise to catch up soon and get my priorities back in the right place.

Ok, ok! Since you twisted my arm, I'll include a couple of pictures in the meantime:

Air guitar

Post first bath (he has no idea how ridiculous he looks)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Guest Post: A Papa Terry Update

Dear FOJ (Friends/Fans of Joan):

Just a quick update to tell you that Joan has not abandoned her bully, often ridiculous pulpit. She's just a little busy right now with our new little roommate, whom she has affectionately nicknamed "Ravenous Razormouth". I've never been so glad to be male....

We brought Brendan home last Thursday after 4 days in the hospital. He was a city kid from the start; his first experience of the outside world was the noisy riot of traffic-choked 165th and Broadway, and he slept peacefully throughout!

Like all newborns (so I'm told, anyway - what do I know?), Brendan is little bundle of pure id - all needs and appetite - and every day brings entirely new experiences for both him and his parents.

Anyway, here's a couple of our favorite new pictures. Joan and I have promised ourselves and everyone we know that we would not get all obsessive and unrealistic about our kid, but it's difficult to avoid when your baby is the best-looking, smartest child ever born.

Last, thanks to all for the flood of congratulations and love that have accompanied Brendan's birth. Everybody loves a new baby, and it is one of the greatest pleasures of our lives thus far to be recipients of such an outpouring of joy.


PS: Bachelor fans - stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Guest Post from Terry - Arrival of The Latest Voltz!

Hello family and friends:

Very exciting news - Joan and I have welcomed a new addition to our family!

For those who have not heard (and you are many, because I switched from making phone calls to changing diapers at about noon yesterday), Joan gave birth to a healthy baby boy of 7 lbs., 2 oz. on Monday, April 14, 2008 at 9:03 AM at New York Presbyterian's Morgan Stanley Childrens Hospital in Manhattan. Mother and baby are doing well.

We have named our son Brendan Francis Voltz.

Brendan was chosen as a nod to the Irish heritage that Joan and I share, but mostly because it is the name of my brother-in-law, Brendan Traynor, as fine an uncle as any child could hope to have (we're pretty sure he's already bought the kid his first set of golf clubs). Francis was my Dad's name, as well as the middle name of Joan's late father Bud, and we're certain the two of them must be clinking glasses somewhere over this one (a cold Schlitz for Frank and a Beefeater on the rocks for Bud).

Here are a couple of pictures of little Brendan on his first day. Two things are certain; the kid's got HAIR, and he is unmistakably a Voltz. (Joan's quote of the day: "Oh, my God, I've given birth to a miniature version of your father!").

Thanks to all for your support and friendship, and we hope to see you all soon. And apologies in advance to anyone we might have missed

Terry, Joan, and Brendan Voltz

PS: Voltz/Velsor/Winslow cousins - please forward this link to your siblings and parents!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

They're real, and they're spectacular

This has been a busy week. Full of unexpected doctor's appointments and unpacking kitchen stuff. They finished the renovation on Tuesday morning (three days early) and sent a cleaning crew in on Tuesday afternoon. By the time I got home on Tuesday night, this place had been cleaned within an inch of its life. They cleaned the entire first floor of my apartment - including the bathroom. I was blown away. For anyone doing a kitchen or bathroom reno in the New York Metro area - I highly recommend MyHome Renovation. (Contact me if you reach out - I'll give you details on our designer and project manager, etc.) By the way - I'll get pictures up soon. Our designer is going to take some in a week or two - so I'll post his.

Now that all that drama is done (I realize this is a hilarious statement to make given the fact that I am giving birth tomorrow morning), it's time to get down to business and get out my thoughts on last week's Bach.

During the opener, Chris informs us that there will be a group date, a special one-on-one date and a two-on-one date. Just that fact that this show has an official event called the "two-on-one date" is enough to hold Terence's attention.

The group date will feature tennis and tea. Robin informs us that it's traditional at "WimbelTon" to have high tea, so this is something that's very important to Matt. 10 seconds later, Matt tells us they're going to have afternoon tea as he throws his head back and says this just cracks him up.

Later, perhaps afraid her tennis ability won't be considered up to par, Shayne finds a patch of grass and shows off her athletic prowess with some gymnastics maneuvers. Matt is obviously impressed, and it does seem appealingly contradictory to her primadonna disposition.

Robin shows a laughable lack of understanding of the premise of the show as she snottily comments on Shayne's display: "I wouldn't go off and do gymnastics. That just seems like a scream for attention to me."

Matt asks Ashlee to take a walk for some one-on-one time. As I'm trying to figure out why she's wearing black knee highs and a parka with her tennis whites, we see some of her behind the scenes commentary. She tells us she was happy about getting this first one-on-one time because "I don't like sloppy seconds". Perhaps you shouldn't go on a show where you share a guy with 24 other women. I'm just saying...

All of a sudden I notice that Ashlee can't stop giggling and it makes her sound like the Road Runner. And then she starts singing again. Oh, PLEASE stop with the singing. There is only so much mortification I can take.

Over tea, Robin tries to act like she might be British. And then Shayne imitates Robin imitating a Brit. I have completely converted on Shayne. I LOVE her.

Again, Robin demonstrates she doesn't understand the construct of this program when she cries upon learning that she may have hurt the other girls by disrespecting them.

Time for Amanda's one-on-one date. Afraid that up until now she may have given an impression that she's boring, she decides she's going to vamp it up for her 1955 All American style date. After applying some extra volumizing hair spray and fuchsia lip gloss, she seeks approval from the other girls who assure her she looks like a raging slut. Not to mention whore. A vixen with the meeps.

Matt's Fonz impression? Adorable. Amanda's transformation? Matt's got chills. They're multiplyin.

Amanda is adorable and flirty on the date. She tells Matt she could tell right off that he had a geeky side. Matt finds her charming. She will go far.

We go together like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong ...

Meanwhile, as she prepares for the cooking session two-on-one date, Marshana provides a dramatic speech that shows us she is a woman on the edge. She tries to give us insight to the unfathomable amount of stress she's under as the obvious underdog. She assures us she is diggin deep. She's been trying to keep it together. But she can't quite manage it, and the next thing we know, she takes it out on an innocent whisk.

By the time Marshana and Holly leave in the limmo, Marshana has been reduced to a whiney, mopey mess of a puddle. Completely incongruous to the vibe she's giving out, she's donning a giant chef hat at a jaunty angle. Terence drops what I would normally consider to be a groaner of a pun, "That girl is one toque over the line." Maybe it's the hormones, but I thought that was hilarious.

Holly obviously agrees with Marshana's assessment that Holly is the predetermined winner, and states her strategy with all the sunshiny glibness you'd expect from a children's book author, "I'm just going to be me!"

Inexplicably given the cooking theme of the date, all of a sudden Matt and Holly are on a giant bed. Matt is trying to tell her he might be too intellectual for her. He delicately probes on the issue by using the word "boring" instead of smart and says he likes to know what's going on in the Middle East not to mention the financial markets in Brazil. Is she ok with that? In true demonstration of the very problem Matt is trying to get at, Holly says, "Oh yes. I'm boring too. Like sometimes I just like to watch movies. " Seeing she doesn't get it, he tries again by telling her he loves challenging questions. Does she have any for him? Crickets chirping. Her brow furrows and I can see the wheels turning as she tries to decide which of the brain twisters from her SAT prep book best highlights her fun-loving side. "Ok. I have one. Train A leaves Boston at 2:00...."

Despite all this, I must say, I was truly shocked when he gives the rose to Marshana. Truly. While I'm on the Marshana Mystery, can I ask a question? Perhaps I missed a crucial piece of information imparted on the first episode, but why does she keep adorning herself in Indian jewels? And was that a Sari? She is African American. And from Brooklyn. WTF!? Please comment if you can explain this...

On to pre-rose ceremony cocktails. Matt presses Ashlee on whether she believes there is more to their relationship than good looks and music. She immediately peels out a few seconds of her road runner giggle and tells him they should spend a day together to find out. I'm not sure her statement had the reassuring quality Matt was looking for.

Ashlee is not the only girl causing Matt to harbor doubts. As he starts to grill Kelly about her intentions, she quickly senses things are going bad. Her face transforms into an unmistakable may-day, may-day expression when all of a sudden, out of NOWHERE she pulls open her dress to flash her boobs and declares,"Those are very nice. I have very large breasts". I had to rewind and re-watch this scene about five times before I was able to absorb how crazy it was. Terence was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes, but this was also the moment he became a huge Kelly fan.

Confronted with the fact that this girl is a drunken mess, Matt doesn't even know what to do. Kelly sums it up best when she slurs with disgust, "Come on. Try and meet another girl like me. Whatever. You won't." I'm sure Matt is thinking, "Yes. One would have to go to a rehab clinic if you wanted to meet another girl like Kelly." Terry's comment, "Kelly is the Amy Winehouse of The Bachelor."

The rose ceremony was "somber," but Kelly's inevitable exit provides one last burst of entertainment as she states, "I would be dating me if I was a dude." She stumbles off to connect with her dealer. Ashley is devastated to not get a rose. But then, through the tears, a ray of hope in the form of song. Thank God she's gone.

Scenes from the next promise "the most shocking confrontation in Bachelor history." I can not wait. One caveat: given that I will be in the hospital for most of the coming week, I have to apologize now for my late posting of tomorrow's episode. I'll get the recap up as soon as I can.

Terence promises to post pictures of Baby Voltz before then. See you all soon...

Monday, April 7, 2008

5 Things

Something thrilling happened last week that made me feel like a real blogger. I was tagged by another favorite blogger over at relaxed alert for a five things meme. This is not something I had ever heard of before, but I now feel legitimized somehow thanks to b. Be sure to check out her blog.

First, the rules:
1. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
2. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment letting them know they've been tagged and to ask them to play along and to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago - 1998
1. Working with a great bunch of folks on the Compaq business and flying back and forth to Houston twice a week. I have still not used all those frequent flyer miles, but I am still friends with many of those colleagues.
2. Looking forward to what would turn out to be my last summer share in Sag Harbor - one of my favorite Hamptons towns. The next year we would have to switch houses (to Bridgehampton) because our regular summer headquarters would get sold to Spalding Gray.
3. Enjoying my first year in my own roommate free apartment. Loved all my roommates, by the way, but felt very grownup to have my own one-bedroom on the Upper West Side.
4. Finally starting to admit that Terry was more than "this guy that I've been dating"
5. Working too much, but enjoying life.

Five things on my to-do list today
1. Clarify who's covering my accounts while I'm on maternity leave
2. Watch The Bachelor
3. Write thank you notes
4. Confirm that my cleaning lady can resume the regular schedule on Friday now that my renovation is nearly done!!!!!! (pix up soon)
5. Start putting my apartment back in order

Snacks I enjoy
1. Cheddar cheese
2. Gruyere cheese
3. Brie cheese
4. Fresh mozzarella cheese
5. Smoked gouda cheese

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
1. Live in a classic six on Central Park West or a loft in Tribeca. Either way - I would have ample terrace space with an outdoor grill and a kick a#$ walk in closet.
2. Have a house in Montauk or Amagansset with a heli pad. Can't take the traffic on route 27.
3. Travel extensively
4. Hire a driver and a personal assistant
5. Dedicate more time to my family's charity (The Bud Traynor Memorial Fund)

Five of my bad habits
1. I am usually very efficient, but sometimes I can be a terrible procrastinator (as I've written before, I still haven't ordered wedding pictures. I've been married for almost 9 years)
2. I am extremely OCD about keeping the apartment neat. I drive my husband crazy and I'm not so sure I'll be able to survive parenthood without therapy.
3. I don't cook
4. I am terrible at returning phone calls. Hate talking on the phone.
5. I watch the crappiest tv ever made (I've got this one in common with b)

Five places I have lived
1. Port Washington, NY
2. Bethlehem, PA
3. Upper East Side, NYC (East End Ave)
4. Upper West Side, NYC (W 95th St and W 75th St)
5. Washington Heights, NYC

Five jobs I've had
1. Bakery counter girl (people used to come in with their own platters and buy things they were going to pass off as home made)
2. Hostess in a Middleeastern restaurant
3. Gymnastics coach
4. Sales girl at Victoria's Secret (most fun job ever. I could tell you stories for an hour straight.)
5. Various jobs in Advertising for the past 15 years

I tag Andrea, John and Carmen [Carmen - this will force you to write a post ;)]

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why can't we all just get along...

The Bachelor was exactly what I needed at the end of yesterday. I spent most of the day in the hospital hooked up to fetal monitors. Nothing is wrong - they were trying to get my (apparently breech) kid to flip around. Nothin' doin. So I came home just as I went in, with an upside down kid in my belly. Terry and I have taken to singing hits from the 80s to my navel in the vain hope that we may coax this child into challenging gravity. "Turn Around Bright Eyes" and "You Spin Me Right Round" have never held such meaning. With the now almost unavoidable prospect of another surgery in front of me sometime in the next two weeks, I needed some mindless entertainment.

Just as I was contemplating whether there could be anything more mindless than Shayne, there she was on my TV screen in yet another crazy get-up. She and her Agent undoubtedly felt a feathered fedora paired with a soccer team style jacket telegraphed her perfection for some role or genre - but I can not figure out what that might be. Terry thought maybe the next Josie and the Pussycats sequel.

(Aside: I've gotten Terry into the Bach. He tries to act like it's my thing - but I think even he would admit he thinks it's hilarious too. It doesn't hurt that the girls are much trashier this season. I don't think ABC will need to throw NFL appearances into the mix to hold the guys' attention...)

So Holly gets a one on one date. ABC stages a red carpet event, and while I fully expect Holly to find the charade thrilling and romantic, I can't believe snarky Matt keeps a straight face throughout the whole thing. He somehow manages to not be sarcastic while being "interviewed" by the "entertainment reporters" and they pose for a pathetic showing of "paps" - who were actually unemployed actors hired off of Craig's list and paid 20 bucks each to hang around and take pictures of these people as though they were famous. I was so wishing Shayne had gotten this one-one-one date. There is no way she could have gone along with this.

Matt tries to be serious while Holly looks on with Stars in her eyes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, everyone is having a girls night in when the next date box arrives. Marshana goes outside to pick it up and my early suspicions of her as psycho are confirmed. Her loungin' with the girls attire includes four inch heels, a dress so short there is no way she can do anything but stand with her knees pinned together and some kind of Indian Princess headdress thing. I believe the word is bejeweled.

Shayne is now demonstrating the "I can be a sweet, thoughtful girl wearing a floral print with my loose, softly windswept romantic hair. Perhaps the love interest of a character played by Owen Wilson or Keanu Reaves" look.

Time for some drama, so ABC arranges a ding-dong-ditch drop off from Mann's Theater. It's a celebrity style cement plaque from the red carpet date. It says Matt hearts Holly - which is so seventh grade and the girls oblige by flipping out junior high style.

How do I know Matt thought the Hollywood style date was as ridiculous as I did? He describes the highlight as being in a hot tub with a hot girl. I just love our randy-dandy.

On to the rugby date - which had absolutely nothing to do with rugby from what I could tell. It was more like a "Girls Gone Wild" video, British edition. Matt watches the girls literally wrestling in the mud and calls a spade a spade when he says, "People would pay money for this." (In fact, our Gov did, but I digress).

Back home, Shayne confides in Holly that she's freaking out about her upcoming one-on-one date and to alleviate the stress, she thinks she needs to tan. Little Holly "I'm all goodness and light with my children's book writing career" reveals that she brought a spray tanner. I don't mean the bottle you buy at the Clarins counter. I mean a power operated salon style airbrush tanner with backup generator. How did she get that on the plane? Continuing the "Girls Gone Wild" video theme, Shayne strips down and lets Holly spray her down. This is a remarkable leap of faith. Shayne, you are competing with this girl. It wouldn't take but a slight of the hand and you are an unflattering shade of orange. (Of course, she and her Agent could turn that into an opportunity, I'm sure)

Meanwhile, back on the rugby field, Marshana (who is looking more and more mannish to me, I'm sorry) is the winner of the "dramatic injury of the season" spot. Girls before her have pulled this off with much more panache, and she really comes away with nothing more than a fat lip. (Bevin got a watch and a spot in the final two out of that sprained ankle. I'm just saying.)

Matt and Kelly go into the locker room to see the trainer. Massages all around. Kelly hops up on Matt and takes over. God bless the ABC editors, they cue the porn music for this little interlude. Well played, Kelly. There's no way our horn-dog is sending you home after that maneuver.

Awkward moment of the night was at the post massage party while Amanda was trying to have some quality alone time with Matt. They talk about what kind of music they like. Good God. As though this self-conscious attempt at small talk wasn't awkward enough, Noelle and Christine mope over and just sit there. Everyone acts like they're at high noon tea. "How are you?" "We're fine, thank you. How are you?" "Very well, thank you."

Robin gets the rose, and the reactions shine a light on how banged up some of these girls are. Chelsea graciously points out, "I don't think Robin deserved the rose at all! I also wish that I got it and think that I should have gotten it because I deserved it!" All said with a threatening you're-going-down-style finger pointing that suggested she'll get the guys who unload the trucks at the Dairy Queen she works at to mess Robin up.

Kelly is even more banged up than Chelsea. She slurs out the comment of the evening: "Robin? I don't think that I would ever, in a million years - if I was a dude - want to date her. Never! Robin should go home and I should be here until the end, and I will. I think I should be number ONE!"

Terence: "This woman should be playing a heroin addict on a Law & Order episode."

On to the one-on-one Shayne date. First of all, it should be noted that Holly did an exceptional job with the tanner. And I loved watching Shayne stumble down the stone path in those ridiculous boots. But I'll admit, she's starting to grow on me. And then she drops the bomb. Her dad is Lorenzo Lamas. Holy cow. I did NOT see that coming. This explains everything. She tells Matt that her dad is well-known in America. Except that he's not. Unless it's 1983.

Matt explains he's concerned because she's only 22 and an actress. This may be true, but Shayne actually goes up in my book when she admits with no holds barred that she's high-maintenance. Gotta respect that she knows it and doesn't apologize. Matt recognizes it for what it is too and is hilarious when he says, "Sometimes I think this girl is a sandwich short of a picnic, and sometimes I think she's the greatest thing since sliced bread."

Back at the house, the Robin violent mania-thon meep fest was hilarious. I can't describe that one for you non-viewers, you just had to see it.

All of a sudden it's time for the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party and there is some chick named Kristine talking about the mood in the house. Who is this girl? I swear I have never seen her before. That is how I know she is going home tonight.

Chelsea's cleavage prompts Matt to tell her she rocks. The Dairy Queen Diva is going nowhere.

Speed talker Robin throws down some more violence. She points out that it's a race. She's going to do what it takes to win. It can't be a tie between two girls. Marriage doesn't work that way (although something tells me Matt would be up for that).

The rose ceremony begins.

Matt gives Amanda the first rose so he doesn't have to listen to her meeps.

The camera pans to Kristine and she has an "Oh crap, I'm going home" look on her face. Yes, honey. You're going home. Sorry. Take Amy and Erin with you.

Terry was psyched that Amy the nanny didn't get a rose because that means she's got free time now. He's already contacted her regarding the Baby Voltz job. No references required.

And finally, she's been wearing me down and wearing me down, and it became official once I saw that shoe collection after the credits. I love Shayne. We don't have the same style, but I love the fashionista in her. Did you see her in "scenes from the next" in those ridiculously huge sunglasses while everyone else is trying to look natural and outdoorsy? Love it. Matt is not serious about her, but she's good fun, and I hope he'll keep her around. At least until the hometown date so we can see him meet daddy. Lorenzo Lamas on The Bachelor? Pure entertainment...