Thursday, August 12, 2010



To a brand-spankin'-new website.

It's still a bit of a work in progress, but hope you like it. Feel free to pass along to your friends, family and bored co-workers.

Bye bye blogspot, helloooooo web.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All joy, no fun...

I recently came across a fabulous article entitled "I Love My Children. I Hate my Life."

I was dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. All those great words that describe that shock 'n awe feeling...

According to the most recent studies, having kids makes you unhappy. I'm paraphrasing of course, but when I read this, I wanted to refute it at every word. I'm deliriously happy. Except when I'm not. And staying home and being there for my children is completely fulfilling...

OK. Not really. But....How did they know??

I did prefer washing up the dinner to bathing my kids. And of course I'd rather bake something real then pretend cook fake food. Stacking blocks, fitting shapes into holes, doing the simplest of puzzles....No, no and no thank you.

Sure, I could get into playing - I'd build something kinda cool, only to watch one of my guys gleefully knock it down. I loved when my boys helped me with my mini-business in the kitchen. As long as they understood I was totally and utterly in charge and they followed by every direction. Not so fun for them, tho' raw dough is always a good incentive.

Yes, I confess: I hate the park. Ditto Sportball and other kiddie programs, watching Teletoon, and bro-on-bro (-on-bro) wrestling. We joke that it's Rated M for Mother. because this mother can't stand to look.But the park? Stresses me out. Either I'm standing still in the sun, repetitively pushing swings or, even worse, watching my 2-year old clamber up structures much taller than me - with several ill-spaced openings, perfect for falling from. That gut instinct that tells you not to walk off an edge? My son doesn't have it. Or maybe he does but finds it hilarious seeing me try to figure out which side of said climber he has the least chance of tumbling from. It's quite a dance we do. I envied my friends whose kids preferred the sandpit. They'd sit for hours and yeah, emerge filthy, dumping sand all over the floor, but my boys did that sans sand. And at least my friends got to shmooze with the other moms in the park. As one person pointed out: that's not the point. You're supposed to shmooze with your kids.


A lot of my female friends have confessed to not being very good at (ie not really enjoying)"playing". Maybe because quite often, they've got other things to do (dinner, laundry, sorting through old clothes). One friend of mine told me the best day she ever had with her kids at the park was the day she figured she'd let them eat cereal for dinner.

Maybe it's a girl thing. My Man loves to play with our boys. Maybe they have too much access to me or maybe (gulp) he's just more fun. Apparently I'm more "talk-y". Not sure how to take that.

The article mentions the "golden age" of child-rearing: when the kids are 6-12. Babies and toddlers are hard, and teenagers are worse. Our guys are 2, 5 and 7. I fear we'll never be in that golden age. When my youngest turns 6, my oldest will be 12. Little kids, little problems and all that...

Either way, we're right in thick of it. There's a lot of "drudgery". A lot of "chores". And a lot of counting to 3 (and wondering what you'll do if you reach the magic number and your kid doesn't care). And yet, when my very busy baby starts singing "Imma Be", complete with fist-pumping, I howl. And when my not-so-compliant middle guy joins me on my errands - he doesn't like to miss a thing - he slays me with love and laughter (cliches be damned) every time. And when my super-sensitive eldest and I went to NYC, just the two of us, there was nothing better. It was like a honeymoon of sorts - but with my kid.

I feel like the "unhappiness" comes less from the kids and more from the loss of freedom that parenting brings. Same thing? Perhaps. Freedom is a luxury that I for one definitely took for granted. Going out wherever, whenever is no longer an option. Thinking solely of myself is impossible. Not because I'm the perfect wife and mother, but because it's literally impossible. There's always someone who needs something, somehow, somewhere. Or I get tired. Or distracted. But appreciating it now - is that about parenting? Or just growing up?

The grass is always, always greener. But seeing so many of my own "bad thoughts" put onto paper was quite gratifying. And enlightening. Therapeutic even.

But fleeting.

If you have a chance, grab NY Mag and head for the toilet. And don't forget to lock the door.

For those for whom this is impossible: check it out on-line:

Thursday, July 08, 2010


July 2010. It's hot. It's very, very hot. Too hot to handle. Like standing behind a bloody bus. There's not much on the tube, cinema is lackluster instead of blockbuster, Toy Story 3D not withstanding. (yeah, yeah... I cried too)

But I digress....This is the annual book list. The really good flicks start making their way into our air conditioned theatres tomorrow, so, without further ado, you asked for it, you got it:

The MOAM Summer Reads List

The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt
This is a big, meaty, sprawl of a book. It follows the lives of a famous writer and each of her children, their friends and families. Starting out in Victorian England, and finishing up at the end of the First World War, reading this baby was like watching the most exquisite period film and hoping it won't end. This novel is brilliantly written, and not just because I am biased towards AS Byatt. I've loved her since Possession (which you should also read) and read everything she's written. This one is totally accessible - and devastating. Not necessarily a beach read, but fantastic. Break out the tissues.

The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
I was hooked from the very start. At a BBQ in Australia a man slaps a child who isn't his. And thus it begins. After the proverbial shrimp on the barbie, the incident is seen through various eyes, intertwining stories and characters while painting a spectacular portrait of life in the Melbourne suburbs. Modern families, domestic life, identifiable characters and yet....totally sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. I couldn't put this one down - you won't either. AWESOME.

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Is there anyone out there who HASN'T read this book yet? What are you waiting for? The film? Good books almost always outclass and outlast their oft feeble adaptations (unlike the cheesy books which make for FABULOUS flicks)....Set in 1962 Mississippi, we've got a university graduate ahead of her time who tells the stories of, well, the segregated town's Help: the nannies, babysitters, and maids. Compelling, brave, awesome. It's been in softcover for months now, so no more excuses. Grab it and start. You won't be able to put this one down.

Stieg Larsson Trilogy

What? How could I do a summer reading list without these books on it? Blockbusters to be sure - but with good reason. All of Sweden can't be wrong, right? The rest of the world obviously agrees. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The Girl Who Played With Fire. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. Potboilers. Kick-ass female lead. They are NOT flawless - the late novelist would probably have a lot to answer for, putting his magnificent Lisbeth Slander through such gruelling, violent and downright deviant experiences. His details made me a little squeamish, for both the content itself and the dichotomy of the strong female lead stacked up against such gross brutality. Did he need to go that far? Is it twisted porn in some ways? Who knows? They're terrific reads and quick quick quick, ensuring you have lots of time to finish them before you see all the Swedish flicks (no. 2 out next week) or the American remakes. My fave was the second book. What's yours?

One Day - David Nicholls
Full disclosure: I haven't finished this one yet. While I was in London one of my favourite people raved about it, foisted it upon me, and promised I'd love it. I saved it for the plane, but then got all caught up in the third and final Larsson book. Meanwhile, my man scooped me, read it in a matter of days while I read magazines, waiting. He loved it too. And suddenly - this book is everywhere. Or at least seems to be (Helloooooo EW). It's about two people who meet on the night of their college graduation. We follow their lives, chapter after chapter, each one depicting the same day, but one year later. I couldn't wait. I wanted to love it, live it, breathe it. And.... I didn't like it. The characters bored me. They felt cliched and earnest, annoying and indulgent (especially The Girl). AT FIRST. And then, last night, Emma and Dex (said characters) turned 30. And I turned into a fan. A huge fan. Total 360. Gripped?! I am gripped.

Gotta go. Must finish my book.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Words with Friends

I adore my iPhone. It's the best. Damn. Toy. Evah.

Sure, I've had to have it replaced (I'm on my fourth, but feeling optimistic). And it's not great when you leave town and find yourself at the whim of the data-roaming packages. And the pictures are lame, at best. But still....I'm a loyal user. A true blue iPhoner.

Unlike those with crackberries, I wouldn't call myself addicted. I don't email at meals. I don't text 'n drive. And aside from a little show 'n share with other Mac Daddies 'n moms, I pretty much have the whole etiquette/right time-right place thing down.

Or, rather, I did. And then a friend invited me to play an innocent game of Words With Friends. And I told two friends. Who told two friends. And so on. And so on. And so on.

And everything changed. Those who know, know it all too well. They understand my pain and longing for one. more. turn. And those who don't - beware. Basically, it's Scrabble. Plain and simple. Only instead of sitting across from your competitors, waiting for them to hurry up and play already, you carry on with your day and everyone just plays as and when.

Sounds harmless, right? Riiiiight. Let's just say that it can be. One of my mates is working nights. In England. So I'm awake while she's at work. What could be better? But the rest of my games are E.S.T. And they're getting more vicious by the hour. It's reached the point where I'm making mental notes about good words to use. I see triple word scores as I fall asleep. I've learned that "heeze", "vag" and "thio" count. "Zoot" does not, no matter how many times I try. "X" and "Q" are always great. Gimme an "I" and it's points galore. "J" and "K" not so much.

I have friends with whom I chat at least 4 times a day. And we talk about our games. My mother sends me messages mid-game, berating me for not playing faster. Another pal and I stayed up past midnight, desperate to finish our match. Just so we could start another one. Which of course we did, and then proceeded to stay up so we could finish that one etc.

At one point I went rogue - and started up a game with a total stranger. I don't know which was worse - the feeling that I could be playing with some kind of creep, or the fear that this potential creep would kick my ass. Either way, I got too stressed and ended it after one round. And then returned to my usual suspects.

I went away with a couple of friends and it was all we could do to not play against each other - in the same room!! Instead, we poured a couple drinks and played real scrabble. Sure, it was fun - especially when we used our iPhones to look up questionable words - but it took sooooo long.

I've tried to stop, I really have. Sometimes it feels like I'm just making words up, testing the gadget to see if it'll bust me. It always does. But once in a while, it allows me to get away with words I never knew existed!! Good times! And now my Man has come over to the dark side. He's gone and got himself an iPad. It's cool. It's slick. It's downright magnificent. He says it's for work.

I say it's for Words.

Berg. Orb. Haw. Ugh. Heh.

Game on - gotta run.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Glee vs The Volcano

It's the 20th of April. Tuesday. For the past 3 months I've been dreaming of this night. The night I'd spend on an Air Canada Airbus, flying across the Atlantic in my business class seat - nay, fully reclining bed. In a pod. With a privacy screen. Sure, I'd arrive jetlagged and spent - after all who wants to waste a business class flight SLEEPING?! I'd be staying up to enjoy every second of it.

But 'twas not to be.

Bloody Ash. Stooooopid Icelandic volcano. My story's not a bad one. I canceled my flight a day in advance and re-booked for a couple of weeks from now. I'm not stranded, in transit or missing anything or anyone. I'm just staying put. At home. Constantly checking the status of the various flights to Heathrow because I've become addicted to British Airport Authority updates and all things Eyjafjallajokul (and yeah I had to cut 'n paste that one). I'm also watching the neighbouring volcano, Katla, the one that could really f&ck us all up.

It's all so "Day After Tomorrow", no?

I tried to put on a happy face. Until I took a shower and the pipes two floors down exploded. That's right readers, it's the plumbing. Again. No running water, no flushing, five people.

A far cry from business class.

But there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon as the 5 grand dig begins. And there was happiness in the air tonight, not just sewage.

Because of Glee.

Everyone watches Glee, right?


If you're not. You should be. And you should start with tonight's Madonna Tribute episode. Yep, all Madge, all the time. The results? As Kurt says: Madge-ical.

Cheesy, yes. Absolutely, unapologetically and resoundingly so. And that's what makes Glee work. Musicals + one hour TV does not a perfect partner make. And to be honest, I was getting nervous about Glee. It started with a bang, totally remaking - and rejuvenating - network television. And Journey. "Don't Stop Believin'?" Never liked it the first time round, but love it all Glee'd up.

As the shows went on, they had their highs (Kurt's "Single Ladies") and lows (most of Emma's numbers). But I was getting nervous. It felt like the writers were pulling out the wrecking ball....and focusing on the adults. Sure "Acafellas" is a funny name for a group, but I'm not so big into Will Schuester. His fake-pregnant, soon-to-be-ex-wife? Yes yes yes. His romance with the bush baby Emma? Only as the B-story. Keep it with the kids.

But I needed Glee tonight. Early Glee. I needed to know that, stuck at home with backed up toilets, I could count on television to take me away....

And tonight, thanks to Sue Sylvester, it did. Fact is, Jane Lynch could stand stock still and have everybody howling. She's a master of comic timing and delivery but lately even she, well, her rivalry with Will, was starting to grate .... Until tonight.

Tonight was Sue's night. Her obsession/tribute to Madonna could've been a trainwreck. But it was glorious. She was glorious. Made me (almost) forget about the men I was paying to dig up my front yard tomorrow morning. Even my pvr cutting out (AGAIN) with 5 minutes to go couldn't put a damper on Glee tonight.

Perhaps it's becasue I was at the end of my rope. Or, more likely, because it was coming off yet another dreary American Idol. "Songs of Inspiration"?! Puh-lease. Songs to sleep by. Or cringe. Call me a cynical bitch but I thought Mamasox's breakdown was as contrived as....well, the show itself. I didn't see any tears. I think she was working it. And it worked. Maybe I'm just over it. Between the youngster and the grinner and the all-round earnestness there's just not much more left to say other than: it blows. You can read all about it on all the other blogs/mags/sites. Bye bye Simon. Tick tock Idol. Hello Glee!

Just when I feared it had prematurely run its course, Glee sucked me back in. Welcome back! My name is MOAM. And, yeah, I'm grounded by Icelandic ash. And practically living in a campground without the luxury of an outhouse. But I'll say it loud: I'm a Gleek and I'm proud.

For now. The winds could change.....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Word of mouth is huge in the restaurant world. Well in all worlds, but especially for foodies. Buzz+hype+critical mass = big business for chowhounds.

We've all heard about places that are spectacular. We stalk the site, try to book, and somehow make our way. Some live up to the hype, and some do not. What I've noticed recently, however, is that there's much ado about a whole lot o' nuthin'. Nuthin' appealing, that is.

I blame the Locavore revolution. If I lived in California or in the Mediterranean I could get excited. Even some far-off tropical island would work for me. In these places I'd probably be so used to eating locally grown food that I wouldn't have to label it. But I live in Canada. Practically-but-not-quite Midwestern Canada. Even tho' we lean to the East, we're smack dab in the middle. The only coast is Lake. And it's a long cold winter. Eating locally grown food at the beginning of April is a challenge. Big time. Especially when said locally grown food seems to be too meat-y (only root veggies here!), adventurous (tongue, brains, innards) and silly (granola foam?!)...


Another challenge is trying to get a table on a busy Saturday night. On Ossington, Toronto's latest It street. We were four hungry souls, out of the prowl, looking for dinner. We were wingin' it old sckool....No bookings, no rezzies, no clue...

We split off and tried the olde walk-in approach. Without much luck....

Until we hit Union. Like it's neighbours, it too was filled to the gills but they agreed to let us loiter at the bar until the small window table/bench/bar was free. I'd read about it the place. I'd studied the very small menu. Union prides itself on having sowed, hoed, and growed their food. It's on the website ( It wasn't for me. And we were. Blood sugar lowered, getting desperate, and cranky, it was Go Union or Go Home.

So we Unionized.

And it was, in a word, awesome.

Being forced to order something you wouldn't normally go for was a locavoric eye opener! Nervously, we perused the menu. Pasta special was ravioli with cheese, beurre blanc and....rabbit. Next, the fish special: grilled Spotted Lake Trout, or Splake. Geddit? Splake = SPotted LAKE trout. May as well have called it Splat. Pass. Luckily, there were no face parts on this menu (one of our group got suckered into veal cheeks the week before. We were over facial food before we sat down).

We looked for stuff we could share while standing. Started with a plate of Elk Sliders. Insanely good. Tempted-to-order-another-round (not to share) kind of good. Then we tucked into a tiny cheese plate. Laughably small. And yet....packed quite a punch. We could've used more than a sliver of bread each but we got past it.

And then we sat down at the bar. Somewhat uncomfortable with a persnickity waitress/bartender, the odds continued to be stacked again this place. But the Union salad, with it's fat slabs of bacon, creamy goat's cheese and mini rosti was a winner, ditto the sticky ribs. Polenta - yeah, two of us actually ordered polenta! I know - crazy!!) was crispy and cheesy with a side of braised greens that went down a treat. Didn't leave a drop! Apparently the real winner was the Plat du Jour: the Union Steak Frites that our pal swore was the best he'd had. Ev-ah. The piece de resistance? The massive side of smashed potatoes that came with the mains. A total surprise, they were laced with some kind of sour cream 'n chive-ish concoction and set alongside a slew of fries. With mayo. Yep, the steak frites came with frites AND a side of fries! Who knew? It definitely made up for the puny cheese platter.

We finished off with a communal molten chocolate cake. There was some debate over dessert. My man wanted the apple parfait but claimed he was full, and I secretly hoped the bread pudding would be ordered by someone...ok me...but the chocolate cake won out. Like the rest of the meal, it was damn fine.

And it wasn't even that pricey! Which just goes to show you...erm.... you can't judge a restaurant by its menu. Sheesh....who knew? Proud Canadian hockey fan, and now, food patriot? Viva la Revolucion!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, our street was a-blazin'. Literally. Another mom had just arrived to pick up her son. She pulled up in front of our house- OK, in front of the hydrant, in front of our house - and started getting her son ready to leave.
Suddenly, we heard sirens. They seemed to be getting closer. And then closer still. We joked that she'd better move her car....Ha ha, hydrant humour....

No joke.

Next thing we knew, there were 5 firetrucks, an ambulance and a handful of cop cars. Our friend was gone like the wind. I, along with the rest of the street, ran outside to check it all out. Massive black smoke clouds billowed out of the house two doors west. Its elderly occupants were outside, watching it burn. A firefighter staggered out of the house, was ushered to a chair and stripped of his equipment. He left in an ambulance son after.

This 'hood hasn't seen so much excitement since, well, ever. The crowds gathered. My phone was ringing - concerned friends and neighbours wanted to make sure it wasn't our house (not that I could've answered if it was - but sentiments were very much appreciated nonetheless).

The entire street was closed off in both directions, so a friend had to ferry my oldest son home, and I had to walk him back from the corner of the road. As we walked passed the house, he asked me what was happening. Having no clue, I stopped to ask a trio of police officers for the scoop.

Let me be clear: the firefighting element of the scene seemed to be over, or at least well under control. There were no flames, no smoke. A lot of official-looking folks from police, fire, and EMS were chatting. As were the neighbours. In other words, we were not interfering.

So we approach the coppers and ask one of them, a lady in gender only as it turned out, what was happening. She looked at me and my 6 year old son and deadpanned "A plane flew into the house".

I looked at her. She stared back. I replied, calmly, "well, we know that's not true, is it?" The other officer told us they were waiting for the smoke to clear and an inspection would follow. Blah blah blah - officialspeak for "no clue".

As we walked home my son turned to me, fear in his eyes, and asked "did a plane REALLY fly into that house, Mommy?" And thus it began. I had to explain that the policewoman was, well, what WAS she doing? Making a joke? Scaring a child? Being a bitch?

The rebuttals came fast and quick - in my mind. I was tempted to go outside and tell her off. Report her to her superiors. Revoke her badge! Who tells a little kid something so stupid? And what if we were somehow affected personally by 9/11? The what-ifs were endless. As were my come-backs. If only I had the guts to use them. In time.

Needless to say, vigilante justice was not to be had. Or even contemplated. I didn't feel like messing with the police force. Even if our taxes do pay her salary. Luckily, my son slept like a baby....Erm, better actually, as my baby was up all night looking for the firetrucks to come back.

Still, it was a real blow. I took it personally. "Our cops are tops"? Hardly. At least not this one - she was the bottom of the barrel.

The firemen, on the other hand, were another story altogether. Brave, tall and handsome -even the ones that weren't, were! Toronto's finest indeed...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Looking good Luuuuuu

Nature vs Nurture. A puzzling conundrum for people everywhere. Is it our genetics or our environment that shape us? Or is it a combo?

As I sit and watch the Olympics, I can't help but ponder: are sports fans born? Or are they made? Because I find myself obsessed with Olympic Hockey and I can't take it anymore!!!

My hockey fandom was hardly a given, despite the fact that I was born and raised here in Canada. Sure I hung around the rink as a kid. But only because I had no choice. My brother played hockey and I had to go along for the ride. But skating was never my thing. It still isn't. Ditto for winter. And while I pretended to collect hockey cards, it was probably just to bother my brother, show him who was the boss - with the best cards.

I did go to the Saturday night games now and then. My grandfather and I, always leaving 5 minutes before the game ended, regardless of the score. That's just the way it was. And I loved going. Not because I had to get dressed up (I did). And not because my grandfather and I shared meaningful moments (he didn't speak). I liked those nights because of the pre-game dinner. Always a restaurant, sometimes a lobster.

So why is Team Canada making me want to hurl???

I hate sports. H.A.T.E. I'm the girl who brings a book to sporting events. Sure I watched a lot of hockey - mostly with various hockey-playing boyfriends. I'd grab my hot chocolate and feign interest, trying not to stare at the clock. I don't get basketball - and apparently never will as my Man has banned me from going to games. What? I was bored... And football? Well, that's an American thing. Almost a foreign language -that I have no desire to learn. That said, I did watch the Super Bowl for the first - and last? - time this year. Tennis anyone? Pas moi. Soccer? When I lived in London I found myself in a restaurant, alone, during the world cup. I was getting take out and could feel the pavement shaking when England scored. I thought it was some strange tremor. Hadn't a clue.

But back to hockey. A few years ago I went to a game as a lark. Something to do on a Saturday night. By game's end I'd bought a shirt and knew a handful of players. By the end of the season I knew every Leaf player. And number. I was in in in.

And then the league went on strike and I thought it was a passing fancy. A one-nighter stretched across a season. Nothing more.

I was wrong. I couldn't shake it. Despite watching my home team lose time and time again, I held out hope. I didn't just watch the games, I read the sports pages. I even watched the draft picks. And of course, the losses. Over and over again, the bloody losses.

And then......the Olympic circus came to town. Not my town, but to my television. And I got sucked in. Big time. And it was a revelation to be backing a winner. In their first game, my beloved Team Canada didn't just win in, they killed it! Showed the poor Norwegians no mercy. And I loved it. What a high! What a thrill! And then....they played the Americans. And what a nightmare it was. It was during this nail-biting and ultimately gut-wrenching game that I wondered what I'd become. And how I could shake it.

I gasped. I groaned. I squirmed in my seat. None of it in a good way. My Man couldn't take it. I was so tense I was stressing him out. I tried telling myself it was just a game. A hockey game. A bunch of mulleted, gap toothed boys skating around chasing a rubber disc with sticks. But it didn't work. And when they did lose, I took it personally. Maybe I jinxed them by poo-pooing the importance of it all? Had I, like the team itself, taken it for granted that they'd win? You'd think I'd be used to backing the losers. But I fell for this team. And all the bloody marketing that went with it.

And so it continues. I watch the games, and then I discuss them. I read papers and teach my kids. I feel like I'm living in one of those cheesy commercials. In fact, I've gotten so into it, I've started liking those cheesy commercials!

Auf wiedersehen Deutchland. Nyet nyet Soviets. Close but no cigar Slovaks.

And now.....the Americans are coming. Coming back. And I'm trying to relax. Not get myself too worked up over the whole thing. It is after, all just a hockey game. At the very least, they'll get a silver medal which is, in itself, pretty impressive, right? RIGHT?!

If only I believed that. If only I didn't care. But I do. Please - let it all just end happily ever after already. So I can get back to my life or cheering for the losers. I didn't think it'd be so hard to back a winner.


Thursday, January 28, 2010


Jeepers creepers....where'd you get those peepers?

'Tis the question.....

When I was a little kid I had showstoppers. Crazy eyes. Big, blue and beautiful. As I grew older, they got greener. Still my best feature - or so I thought. Yet, with each blue-eyed baby I birthed I'd hear it over and over: where did they get those eyes? I'd open up big and doe-like and pretend I didn't understand the question. Because I kinda didn't. Hellooo?!? Green eyed lady, ocean lady???

How could this be??? Bodies come and go and stretch and shrink....but eyes? The windows to the soul? I owned eyes. They were my parts. The ones. IT.

Or were they?

Apparently, it was time for maaaaaaake-up. I'd never worn make-up. Looked like a tranny - or a granny. Specifically, my friend G's granny who was known for her baby blue... eyelids. That said, they kinda worked for her. For me?

I'm just not a make-up person. Products? Yes. Potions, lotions, tonics and tinctures? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But now that tans are verboten, the wrinkles are creepin' in, and my eyes have apparently turned to mud, I knew the time had come.

First stop was the eyelash lady for extensions.

Two hours and $200 later I looked like Carol Channing. Crazy, right? But they were a gift. One that kept on giving because they all fell off after 4 days. Correction: they all fell off of ONE EYE after four days. Hello Clockwork Orange!!

Luckily, I have a couple of make-up artists as pals and they, together with the lovely and talented Katie at Laura Mercier, sent me in the right direction...I soon found salvation in a handful of tubes, bottles and palettes. And if I, who hail from the Crayola School of Makeup, can apply, so my friends, can you. Here goes:

Step One: Primer. Laura Mercier Primer.

I still don't know what this is or how it works. All's I DO know is that a little shmear of this topped with a couple o'dots of Origins "Sunny Disposition" and you've got a mini face lift. Whether you thought you needed one or not. Looks awesome. Smooth, glowing skin.

Step Two: Concealer. Nars Concealer.

As I said, Crayola School of Macquillage. Which is why this concealer, in a little lipstick tube, works every time. No fuss, no muss, no f&ck ups. Whether you're over-forty or just over-tired, there's really no excuse for not using this. Even on the weekends.

Step Three: Invisible Eyeliner. Laura Mercier Again.

This stuff is the coolest. Looks like a small pot of dried up paint. Add a few drops of water, swirl with your handy eyeliner brush and apply UNDER the upper lid. Sounds weird. Looks great. This is where the magic happens, ladies and Lamberts. Once you get the hang of it, this stuff doesn't come off - ever. But in a good way.

Step Four: Mascara. Any kind, any time.

Of course you can keep on keeping on. Blush, lids, liners, and lips. But I can't. The tranny thing. Plus, after so many years of living au naturel I was loath to commit to a daily regimen. And I'd hate to go to bed as one woman and wake up as another... Trippy and kinky as that may sound, the only thing less appealing than morning breath is morning face.

Laura Mercier Primer: $40
Nars Concealer: $22
"Invisible" Eyeliner and brush: $50

Looking like a million bucks having only spent $122 plus tax: Priceless.