Monday, November 12, 2012


I don't get my nails done that often. Usually because at least two of them will chip within about 14 hours of leaving the salon. But my toes were looking pretty gnarly, my fingernails were too long and I'd gotten a coupon in the mail to a new nail salon right across the street for a $30 mani/pedi so I headed over today after work. When I sat down to get my nails done there was the standard back and forth about shape, length etc. The clipping, filing and cuticle cutting ensued, then when the time came to massage lotion into my hands the manicurist stopped, looked at my hands and then looked up at me and said "aww, like baby hands." I'm getting a sense of deja vu as I write this because, not only has this happened several times in my (adult) life, but I'm pretty sure it's happened often enough that I've written about it before. Really. I'd estimate that since the age of 18 I've gotten manicures from approximately 23 different people and that of those 23, six have said, literally those exact same words, "like baby hands." If you're wondering, that's 26%.
This is a picture of a real baby's hand and, looking at it, I guess maybe I can kind of see what they're talking about, but you'll have to look in person to see if you agree. I tried to take a picture of my own hand so I could post it here and say "is it really that pudgy, dimpled and small, with an apparent lack of dexterity?" But try taking a photo of your own hand with your phone that doesn't make you look like a man-handed hobbit. I dare you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Stinky Kid

I'm starting to develop a complex. First of all, for whatever reason (family history of hot feet may have something to do with it) my shoes have been stinking up my closet. I've tried a few things like putting dryer sheets and Gold Bond powder in my shoes; they helped a little but didn't totally eliminate the situation. So on a recent shopping trip, John picked up a little battery powered device that is supposed to detect odor and spray a shot a flowery scent whenever it senses a wave of bad smells. The thing is, I've noticed that over the past two weeks, the thing has sprayed several times while I've been getting clothes in the closet. The problems with this are two-fold, one, it scares the crap out of me every time because it makes a noise before the spray shoots out. More disturbing is that either it's actually motion detecting rather than odor detecting, or I'm oozing stench and setting this thing off every time I come within two feet of it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Debate for the Ages

Some people argue about politics, some about religion. Some people spend hours discussing philosophy. I, however, have spent many an hour debating which is the correct spelling and pronunciation of the sorbet-like dessert that comes a flavor called "Rainbow."

 It must be a significant argument though, since a major retail chain can't even get a consensus between the version on the aisle sign and the version on their store brand container...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mrs. G.

I finally got around to the surreal task of legally changing my name this week. I went to the Social Security Administration office at lunch one day. After a few games of wordsearch on my phone, my number got called and I went up to the window. I wasn't really sure how to state my business, so I just pushed my marriage certificate through the space between the glass and the counter. The man behind the glass asked what I was there for. "I need to change my name. I got married so I need to change my last name," I told him. "Married? What'd you go and do that for?" he asked. "He convinced me," I laughed. He paused, looked at me for the first time, then looked back down at his paperwork. "He convinced you with that ring." "That helped." Neither of us said anything more, and less than two minutes later, he handed me back my documents along with another print out, a receipt, if you will, for my new name. Nice to have, but I don't think I'll be returning it any time soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get Off My Lawn!

If you didn't already know that I was now one half of an old married couple, you will now. Last Friday, John and I sat out on our deck after work enjoying some seltzer and talking about our days. Then we heard a noise and saw that some teenagers had gotten onto the roof of the building adjacent to ours by jumping a divider between that building and the top level of the attached parking garage. The noise was them throwing rocks off of the roof onto the piazza below, which is a pretty high pedestrian traffic area. I immediately stood up at the railing and stared at them, waiting for them to notice me and John called our concierge to see if there was anything he could do. Then I sat down when they backed away from the ledge. A few minutes later, though, we heard the noise again- they were back at it. Again I took up my post at the railing. This time one of the looked over at me. "Hi!" I yelled, wanting to make sure they knew there were witnesses. One of the three ran away immediately and another yelled over to us asking if we'd seen what the other kid had done. "I saw you all do it!" John yelled from the other side of our deck. At that they all took off running down the stairs of the parking garage. As that was happening, our concierge came outside, as did a couple employees from the restaurant right below us. John and I both began yelling to them all at the same time "They were on the roof!" "They're running down the stairs!" "They might try to go out the car exit!" "They were throwing rocks, we saw them do it!" I had a healthy exhilaration coursing through my veins. This was the most excitement I'd seen all week. Unfortunately, no one caught the kids, the concierge went back to his desk, the waiters went back into the restaurant, and John and I left for Bed Bath and Beyond to buy hangers...with store credit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I've been so neglectful of the blog, and there seriously are so many posts in my head that I want to write. I've just been so busy doing, you know, this...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Proud Day for the Greco's

I realize that I have been horrible about blogging, but I think I have some valid excuses like starting a new job and planning a wedding. I have some posts swirling around in my mind, but I had to get on here to share something pretty exciting. My dad has been working on a project for some time now and and I'm really proud of what he's accomplished.

Check out the article that was just written about him and his work:

Yardley man's "Italian Journals" brings humor to travel guide genre

Friday, January 20, 2012

For the Kids

A couple months ago, I visited my friend Lex's fifth grade writing class, which was really fun. Even more fun was writing a personal narrative to read to them. Their attentive listening and enthusiastic questions and comments made me think that I should maybe share the piece here. It's a true story, recalled to the best of my memory's ability.

The Great Doughnut Caper

I’ve always been kind of fat. It’s just been part of my life since about third grade. And it was a big part of my life. I got teased in school. A neighbor called me “Ali the fat cat.” I hated shopping for clothes because it always ended with me locked in a dressing room with my mom, crying because nothing fit or looked the way it should. I always thought that if I were skinnier that boys would like me- that everyone would like me. But even though I thought being skinny might make people like me better, which I wanted, I still wanted candy and cake and ice cream more.

Anyway, since being fat was a big part of my life, trying to get not-fat had to be a part of it too. When I was in fourth grade I was on a swim team so that I could get exercise all year long. It probably would have worked, too, if I didn’t hide peanut butter cups under my pillow to eat after I went to bed. Or if I didn’t keep M&M’s and Snickers bars stashed in a safe under my bed.

So here I was, a chubby ten-year-old, swimming during the day and stuffing chocolate in my face while the rest of my family slept. Then one day, my mom asked me to get a bag of frozen green beans out of the extra freezer we kept in our garage. While I was hunting for them, I saw it. A box of mini white powdered doughnuts. The jackpot. As soon as I saw them I knew they had to be mine. I grabbed the green beans and shut the door, but in my mind I could see the box of white gold, each little doughnut its own treasure of sweetness. One of them might even have winked at me.

I started planning how to make the doughnuts mine and mine alone. I waited a few days to see if they moved or got taken out of the freezer, but it seemed like everyone had forgotten about them; everyone but me. I decided to do it on a night I had swim practice. I left the gym bag I used to carry all my swimming gear, a towel and goggles and stuff, in the car. I waited until my mom was distracted with making dinner and then told her I’d forgotten my swim bag in the car and had to go get it. I tiptoed out to the garage (even though I’d just told my mom I was going there) and got the bag out of the backseat. Then, quick like a cat, I darted over to the freezer, opened it with one hand while the other grabbed the box and shoved it in my bag, covering it with my damp towel. I gingerly shut the freezer door, zipped up the gym bag and ran all the way up to my room, my heart pounding in my ears. I stuffed the bag into the corner between my bed and the closet and went back downstairs, giddy at the thought of the sugary feast that would be waiting for me when I went to bed that night.

Later, after I’d eaten dinner (and dessert) and gotten ready for bed, I said goodnight to my parents and skipped off to my room. I shared a room with my little sister, Jackie, so I had to wait for her to fall asleep. This usually took a while, since she stayed up late talking to her imaginary friends, Maggie and Elizabeth. Once they had finally figured out all the details of Elizabeth’s upcoming birthday party she drifted off to sleep and I was in the clear.

I slid off my bed onto the floor, pulled out the bag and unzipped it. It never crossed my mind how ironic it was that I was storing secret junk food in the bag used to carry around the stuff to help me exercise. I opened the box and plucked out a doughnut, popping it into my mouth. It was still a little frozen, but that didn’t stop me from eating a few more. Satisfied, I closed the box, zipped it back into the gym bag and climbed into bed, licking powdered sugar from my fingers. The next two nights I was again sitting wedged between my bed and closet, treating myself to a few mini doughnuts while my sister slept. On the third night, though, I almost got caught. There I was, munching away, when my mom opened the door to put some laundry on the dresser. I froze in mid-chew, my hand halfway to my mouth. Luckily, she slipped in and out of the room quickly and didn’t notice that I wasn’t in my bed. I didn’t get caught, but it was too close for comfort. The doughnuts had to go.

The next morning, while I was getting ready for school, I crushed the doughnut box and hid it in my backpack. I left for school and walked long enough that I knew my mom would have gone back inside the house, away from any windows that faced the street. I then doubled back the way I came and ducked into a tiny wooded area in between the two houses across the street from us. I crouched down to the ground, licking my lips and looking around to make sure no one was there to witness my crime. I’m still not sure if, in my mind, the crime was having stolen the doughnuts, or the fact that I was wasting perfectly good ones. I took the box out of my backpack. By now there were only a handful of doughnuts left. I took one last white powdered little circle out of the box and took a bite, savoring the way the sugar melted on my tongue. Then I closed the box and buried it under a pile of leaves. I stood up, put my backpack on my shoulder, took one last look at the doughnut grave and turned and walked away toward school, feeling lighter than I had in days.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I swear I don't have a fascination with the backs of cars. But now that I'm looking out for vanity license plates, I can't help but notice the other pieces of flair people use to express themselves via the rear of their vehicle.

I was behind a Honda CR-V the other day with a bumper sticker that said:

"My Yorkie is smarter than your honor student."

I've never seen one of these before; I've seen the ones talking about how terrific a driver's dogs or "grand-dogs" are; I've noticed the stickers that let you know that a driver's kid beat up the presumed honor student of the person driving behind them. I had never seen one that combined the two, claiming that a dog was smarter than an honor student.

I have to imagine that there is a complimentary sticker out there that reads:

"My honor student has more friends than most Yorkie owners."*

*No offense meant to any Yorkie or other dog owners who may read this.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shut Up and Drive

Though you wouldn't know it from my blog posts, I've been steadily collecting and receiving pictures of vanity plates from around the tri-state area. I just haven't been getting around to posting them here.

However, I'm wondering if it is really safe for me to continue with the project after capturing the plates I got last week. It's one thing to walk past a funny plate and snap a picture, or to get one while being a passenger in a moving vehicle. It is another thing entirely to try acting as the driver, photographer and art director all at the same time.

Last week, while driving around Sussex County for work, I found myself behind a car with a license plate that read "No Yes." Of course I needed a picture so I got out my phone (while driving), set it to take a picture (while driving), caught up to the car, missed my exit and this is the photo I got:

Yeah, I can't see it either. Not really worth the 15 minute detour it caused.

Then on Friday, I was driving down 287 toward Philly and spotted another license plate that I had to have. Again I took out my phone (while driving), set it to take pictures (while driving), then set it for low light conditions (while driving) and then tried to get in a good position to get the shot. I have to believe the person driving this car figured out that I was after her because she became really hard to catch. It became a high-speed chase, with me weaving in and out of traffic, one hand on the wheel, one hand holding my phone out in front of my like a cop with a radar (thank God there weren't any of those out for real right then). I ended up getting four pictures from four different angles and this was the best one:

Completely blurry. The license plate said "SPCKLES." So not only is it frustrating that I couldn't get a good shot, but that I'll never know what it's supposed to mean. Is it Speckles? South Pickles? A misspelling of Sprinkles or Sparkles? I will never know why the owner of the plate didn't forgo the 'C' or 'K' in favor of a vowel that would have made the meaning clear.

At any rate, I've decided that the poor, blurry photographs I get when taking them myself (while driving) are not worth the danger they pose for me to get them. I will still collect pictures of funny license plates, but when I'm driving, I'm just going to drive (and sing).