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The Great Escape – down the block.

This summer was wonderful….and LONG.

In the great tradition of “the more you pay the less you go” my kids’ private school had a full three month break over the summer.  Three months of no school.  Yikes.

So now, I’m the one who needs a vacation, with the husband and without the kids. This poses a problem.  Between camp, renovating, and the economy, we are not exactly swimming in petty cash for a weekend escape.  True, we could go back out to the country without the kids, but that would mean making my own bed, straightening up after myself, and dealing with closing up the house again.  Plus, there would be the inevitable leaky roof issue, or raccoons in the attic problem, or even acknowledgment that it isn’t our house, but my parents’ house, with all of its attendant Freudian bagage.

What to d0?

How about a night in a hotel in NY?  No travel costs, lots of deals if we stay on a weekend night, and proximity should there be an emergency at home.  Plus, I’ve always wondered what tourists do when they’re here.  What do they go see? (aside from the M&M store – something I will never, ever, understand.  Don’t they have M&M’s in Missouri?) Where do they stay?  How does it feel to see NY for the first time?

Enter, a new(ish) website that offers unbiased (read: not sponsored by the hotels themselves) travel website staffed by actual reporters instead of regular people writing about their personal experience.   Unlike TripAdvisor (not to say anything bad about them.  I happen to like that site, too.) they only use real, undoctored photos — not the ones from the publicity packet. so you really see the size of the beach, the cleanliness of the pool, the crowds on the lounge chairs.  Honestly,- do people really buy those PR photos?  The ones that show perfectly coiffed, hard-bodied guests COMPLETELY ALONE ON THE BEACH during the holiday rush at a Caribbean resort??  Yeah, right.)

At the moment, Oyster is a bit limited in it’s scope:  a few islands in the Caribbean, and lucky for me: New York City.

Oyster has some pretty fun  but useless categories like  “celebrity sighting hotels,”  “famous affair hotels” that probably make for better reading than research – unless you’re a stalker or a cheater, that is.  But I opted for the eminently practical “Best Value Hotels” category. Two of their picks On the Ave and The Beacon were out.  I might be into the no-travel get away, but less than 20 blocks isn’t a getaway, it’s home, only more expensive.

The other budget hotels were likewise G.U. (Geographically undesirable.)  as for me, a getaway does not include hoardes of tourists at Times Square,or hoards of businessmen in Midtown.

Still I soldiered on.  Kid Friendly Hotels was a category I was happy to find…so I could avoid those places at all costs.  But Most Romantic Hotels seemed promising. Again, though, no neighborhoods I wanted to explore were represented.  And that’s where I get to problem number one.

I’d like for my husband and I to stay in a cool neighborhood — say near the High Line, or in the East Village. I’d like our hotel to be within walking distance of new, cool, restaurants, and a downtown vibe.  But doing so would only highlight how incredibly OLD we have become.  The last time hubby and I went downtown to dinner were not years older than everyone else —- but DECADES.  You know you’re old when you look at the other patrons and think “I could be his mother.”  or worse yet “get a blanket to cover that girl!  She looks practically naked!” I think Oyster should add a “Best Hotels that are cool but won’t make you feel like you’re 100 years old.” category.

And that brings me to problem number two.  If I really want to get away — I have to be able to get away from myself.  I need to be more positive about my looks, my age, my hipness quotient.  So maybe I should just stay home — because there’s no way that’s gonna happen.

Still, a girl can dream, can’t she?  I can click around Oyster and imagine myself luxuriating in a gorgeous hotel while some studly masseur takes care of the kinks in my neck. Because on the web, the world is my oyster…and I am its pearl.

This is a Traveling Mom sponsored post.


September 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Summer Vacation or Mom’s Busy Season

You know all those things you thought you were gonna get done while the kids were at camp?

Well — I’m not laughing at you — I’m laughing with you. Read all about What I didn’t Do On My Summer Vacation on NYC Moms blog, by clicking here.

July 29, 2009 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

Bye Bye Blankie

When my kids were babies, I prided myself on never using a pacifier. I wasn’t one of those moms whose kids walked around with a tooth-deforming hunk-o-rubber in their mouths. No, my children would be soothed by a washable, all natural cotton security blanket. By the time they were four, my kids were still hanging on to their “blankies.” I asked their pediatrician when I needed to take it away: “When they’re 40.” he said.

Read the rest of my latest post on NYC Moms Blog by clicking here:

July 7, 2009 at 11:05 am 1 comment

NYC Moms Blog Post: My Daughter Thinks She’s Fat and It’s all my Fault

Swimsuit season is upon us.  And with it the onslaught of diet ads on tv, magazines with pics of celebs caught having actual cellulite, and me, bemoaning my post-partum, post-forty, past passing for anything but middle-aged body.

Though I am, if I am completely, intellectually honest, neither truly fat, or particularly unattractive, I have made a life (and something of a writing career) of comically dissecting my physical flaws.  I’m the self-appointed Queen of Bad Body Image, chronicling on line and in print my twenty year quest to lose the same ten pounds.  I’ve joked about the fact that my belly button seems to be frowning, that the only men who find me attractive are septuagenarians, that I’ve chosen to paint my daughter’s room the same lavender color as my newly acquired varicose veins.

Ha Ha.  Nudge nudge.  Wink Wink. Very funny.  Until this morning, when my daughter refused to eat breakfast because, she told me through her tears, the boys in her class had told her she was fat.

Want to read the rest of this post?  Click here to go to NYC Moms Blog. (and while you’re there, leave a comment, wouldja?)

June 4, 2009 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

The Third Grade Overnight

traveling-mom-logoI don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t spend the night far away from home until I was eleven and went to sleepaway camp.But these days, lots of kids as young as 7 are going away to camp. Seems odd, doesn’t it, when everyone accuses our generation of parents of being overbaring and overprotective? Just a thought.

ANYWAY – my nine year old twins are going on the third grade overnight this coming week. One night only, in a campsite, in Upstate NY.

Click HERE to read the rest of this post on Traveling

April 18, 2009 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Why I spat: My 23andMe Spitting Experience

Well, the launch is finally here, and now I can divulge my 23andMe secret:  I am a founding member of the 23andMe pregnancy blogging community.  And no, I am not making another, related to the pregnancy part of that announcement.  Those days are gone.  That ship has sailed.  This uterus is CLOSED for operation.  I have been pregnant — so I qualified for the job. (Yes, it’s a job: full disclosure, here.)

What will I be doing?  Posting at least once a week.  Getting involved in the forums.  Participating in surveys. Basically being a part of an incredibly cool, potentially medically influential company that really, truly, wants to make a difference in women’s health – and in health care in general. (No pressure, but if you’re pregnant, you can contribute to some pretty cool research related to women’s gestational health by participating too. Click here.)

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get your genome tested (and full disclosure: as an employee, I had it done for free.)  read my post, below.  And check out this video, to see what it’s like to Spit!

And now – the post:


Genotyping. The whole thing has a kind of futuristic feeling. Like I should be wearing a silver jumpsuit and sitting in a white laminate Pod, eating simulated food, while a computer calculates the precise moment at which my offspring will appear and completely disrupt my life.

But genotyping isn’t science fiction. It’s here.

Part of me feels a little “don’t ask/don’t tell.” What if I find out something terrible? Like I have a tremendous chance of developing a particularly awful disease, or that I’m genetically related to that horrible mother at my kids’ school who’s always telling everyone what a “genius” her kid is, or that, in all likelihood, I will never, ever, be truly thin. I’m not sure I want to know.

Take, for instance, the possibility that my genes indicate that I will never be thin. Will I use it as an excuse to scarf down a pint of ice-cream with a chocolate-chip cookie chaser? Or if I am genetically related to that mother – will I feel obligated to ask her to join me for Thanksgiving dinner, thus increasing exponentially the possibility of my suffering a sever bout of indigestion? Or, in a completely unfunny scenario, what if I find out I have the breast cancer gene? Will I live in fear for the rest of my life? Will I opt to take preventative action? Who knows?

But I’ve never been one to shy away from the truth, to eschew knowledge and go through life in blissful ignorance. So I do want to know as much about myself as I can. But more than that, I want to know about how I came to be who I am.

My mother’s family consisted of her, her brother, and her parents. Every other person in her extended family was killed in World War II. My grandparents never wanted to discuss their painful past, which left me with little to no information about where that side of my family came from. Maybe genotyping could offer some sort of snap-shot of them that I don’t have, and maybe my genetic picture will help fill in the blanks in my family’s medical history.

My own family consists of me, my husband, and our two children. Like most mothers, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids. (At their request, I even put on a cat costume this Halloween. And trust me, a forty-three year old mother in a tight cat-suit with ears does not make anyone meow.) Maybe learning about my own genetic make-up will give me the information I need to keep my children healthy, help them grow.

I might find out things I don’t want to know. But the thought that I might find out something horrible is outweighed by the possibility that I might find out something useful. Or even that I may help someone else by contributing to research that could lead to breakthroughs in any number of medical fields. I could inform myself, know what I need to do to help me and my family live long productive life. Plus, I could and find out if it’s true what my Great Uncle Nat always said: I’m related to Harry Connick Jr. Cousin Harry!!! I love you!

If I find out, however, that I will never, ever, be truly thin. I may have to ask for a refund.

March 31, 2009 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Why I Love Skype!

I am LOVING Skype.  Read why, here. On my latest NYC Moms Blog post.

March 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

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