Monday, November 16, 2015


Hello, my name is Ann Burr and I am addicted to Pinterest. Awareness is the first step, or so they say. But honestly? I'm probably not going to be trying to quit anytime soon. Pinterest is a time suck, but it's not crystal meth or anything (and kids, crystal meth is really, really bad and don't ever try it, also you probably shouldn't be reading this blog because there's lots of swears).

The worst thing about Pinterest, in my humble opinion, is that it sometimes tells enormous lies and makes you think you can do things that are not actually possible. I know this because I have fallen for these lies several times.

But every now and then,  Pinterest is nothing less than a gift from the heavens, especially for DIY kid-type stuff. That Christmas was a smashing success and had the added bonus of saving me some money and making me feel crafty. Win/Win.

The feral children little angels are 7 and 9 now, and my house is basically an armory for Nerf guns and those fucking foam darts I spend hours picking up off the floor, which is an exercise in futility because there are always more.

So when I saw this: seemed like a perfect project, despite the fact that the child in the picture is clearly cheating by shooting from a distance of maybe 6 inches and also the way those corners of the cut-out squares have no tape makes me crazy. 

But other than that, it seemed like a great idea. The kids could shoot at something other than each other (or me), and who knows? Maybe one of them would develop amazing accuracy, and take up riflery. 

I spent a lot of time lost in daydreams of one or the other of my progeny participating in the Olympic Pentathalon (I already have them fencing and taking horseback riding lessons - add shooting and they'd be more than halfway there) and as soon as I came to, I clicked through to find this blog post which explains how to make the thing, step by step. I immediately started looking for an appropriate piece of cardboard. 

Fortunately (for the credit card companies) I shop online. Like, a lot. Which means I have an inordinate amount of cardboard in the house at all times (except for the afternoon of the day we go to the town dump and chuck it all down the recycling chute), so finding exactly what I needed was not a problem.

I'll spare you the painful details involved in the actual work - mostly because I forgot to take any pictures while I was doing it - but suffice it to say that cutting any sort of thick-ish cardboard into a decent circle is  a total bitch, even with a box cutter. Also, you have to weight those circles with pennies taped to the back because otherwise they won't hang properly from the straw-holder-thing, and figuring out how many pennies is enough weight but not too much is a really annoying process.

Once I finally had the circles cut out, two went to the boys for decorating, and because shooting is for girls too (and because pink duct tape is awesome), my Significant Other's progeny and I got the other two. 

Not bad, right? Of course, seeing it next to the original I'm annoyed that it's not nice and white, but whatever. At least MY cut-out squares have tape corners! (I may need to get a life.) By the way, my next project is painting the brass on those fireplace doors black. Checking Amazon, I see I ordered the paint for this project on October 15, 2014, so you know. Any day now.

As it turns out, it's a very, very good thing I didn't spend any more time on this Nerf target than I did, because none of the children had any interest in it at all. In fact, and this is absolutely true, I haven't SEEN the fucking thing in weeks and when I asked one of the boys where the hell it was, he looked at me like he had no idea what I was talking about, let alone its location. I mean, this house is big, but it's not THAT big - where did it go???

So in the end, I'm not really sure whether to put this project in the "win" column or not. I mean, it came out pretty well. But it was never used. Not once. And as it has apparently walked out of the house on its own, the thing may or may not be possessed. Let's call it a draw.

Are you guys craft-masters, capable of anything Pinterest throws your way? Or have you failed as miserably as I have at something that looked so great pinned to your board? Share with the group!

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Sunday, October 4, 2015


Let me start by saying that before I had two male children, I MAY have labored under the delusion that all sex-typed behavior was due to nurture rather than nature. I was sure I would have enlightened boy children who gave equal attention to trucks, toy guns, and dolls.

Nine years, twenty five Nerf guns, several hundred rounds of foam dart ammunition, and countless hours spent longing for decent hearing protection later, I have come to realize that boys and girls are indeed different in many ways that have nothing to do with societal expectations.


Boys and girls are also nowhere near as different as a parent might be led to believe when shopping for a halloween costume. Yes, there have been great strides - the news that Disney will no longer market their costumes to specific genders is welcome indeed. But it's still a fucking problem, and one that makes me crazy. OK, crazier.

(As a child in the 70s, I often longed for "boy" toys, such as an X-Wing Fighter and a TIE Fighter and the enormous Death Star, but it never even occurred to me to ask for stuff like that so I never got any which is probably contributing to how mad this all makes me, but whatever.)

There has apparently been much Internet buzz lately about a police officer Halloween costume, or rather two police officer Halloween costumes. One for a boy, which I imagine looks like a police officer costume, and one for a girl, which apparently looks like something one might see on the stripper who shows up at a bachelor party. 

I'll be honest, I haven't seen either one. I haven't even looked. I'm very busy browsing Craig's List for things I don't need and planning DIY projects for the house and wondering why the laundry is NEVER EVER DONE and frankly I don't have to look to be fairly certain that the little girl costume is beyond inappropriate and why make myself sad?

My point (yes, there is one) is that it's not just the blatant sexualization of little girls by big companies that mass produce Halloween costumes. I saw this on Pinterest the other day, and my heart broke a little:

She wants to be BATMAN! This is not a Batman costume. Even the small child who is going to have to wear it knows enough to say OUT LOUD that it looks too much like a princess - "lol"! 

I get it. I have two boys and I long (LONG) for a daughter to dress in tutus and bows, and I buy such items with reckless abandon for my Goddaughter (who, alas, by age three already had her own boho chic look going on and isn't much interested in my gifts).

But don't force your daughter to be a princess when she wants to be a superhero.

And lest you think there are no tutu-free options for girls who want to be Batman for Halloween, behold:

The same Pinterest search I had to do to re-find the original sad-making tutu pin turned up this awesomeness (OK, the gogo boots are a bit much but jeez, stop bitching about EVERYTHING):

This Batman won't get any fancy gadgets caught up in layers of tulle while battling bad guys and keeping Gotham safe.

So there are options. Ones that don't involve "princess-izing" whatever it is that your little girl actually wants to be for Halloween. I beg mothers and fathers out there to consider these options.

In closing, I want to give a shout out to my ex-mother-in-law. When Ted was seven, he wanted to be his favorite superhero for Halloween. His favorite superhero was Wonder Woman. And God bless his mother, she got him an awesome Wonder Woman costume that he wore with pride, along side his tiny four-year-old sister who that year opted to be King Kong. There exists a picture from that night which is truly priceless.

And if this shit is still going on now, I can't imagine it was a no-brainer for a suburban mom in the 70s to let her firstborn son wear a "girl" costume, and to do it without making him feel ashamed or awkward or anything but psyched about Halloween (really, the picture is worth a thousand words). 

So mad props to Ted's mom, and here's hoping there are more and more moms like her out there willing to let their kids be whatever the hell they want for Halloween (unless it's that stripper police officer costume because just no).

In case you are wondering - and I KNOW you are - Andrew and William will once again be going as Clone Troopers. Blasters and all. I tried to get them to be 80s rappers, with track suits, Kangol caps, and a huge stereo I was going to make out of cardboard, and they seriously considered it for a while but the Force is strong in those two and I lost out to Commander Cody and and an ARF Trooper. 

Such is life.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I was born and raised in Manhattan. As far as I'm concerned, Westchester, NY is the country, and where I live now is a fucking episode of Nature on PBS. My feelings about any interaction with the wilderness that surrounds my home is pretty much summed up with this:

And even here I just have to point out that the chair doesn't look super comfortable in that drawing, and isn't somewhere I can imagine wanting to sit for very long - even with a drink in hand.

However. I am not actually immune to ALL of nature's charms, and when my Significant Other and I happened upon the Nepaug Dam (totally by accident), which has some hiking trail thing where you can park your car, get out, and walk along a road/path, over the dam itself, and then turn around and walk back again. And we actually did it. It was BEAUTIFUL. Like, awe-inspiringly beautiful.

And I walked like AT LEAST two miles without complaining at all (a minor miracle), and it was an all-around great experience. So we thought we'd go back with the boys, which, I'm not going to lie, involved some convincing on our part and a lot of whining on theirs. 

Even once we got there and forced them out of the car, both kids were dragging their feet and asking things like "How long is this going to take?" and "Can someone carry me now?" which was irritating in the extreme but thankfully ended once they saw the water.

William Admiring The View
Andrew Admiring the View, But Casual-Like So As Not To Seem Overly Impressed
Posing For Mama Under Extreme Duress
Andrew also rediscovered his interest in photography, and was allowed to borrow the good camera to use with the understanding that if he damaged it in any way he would be sent to his room for the remainder of the summer - without his iPad.

A Photograph That Has A .0001% Chance Of Being In Focus
The Nepaug Dam
Once the dam itself came into view, all whining ceased and small footsteps rapidly increased with the goal of looking over the edge. Here's where I have to come clean and tell you upfront that there will be no pictures of the view over the far edge of the dam that has a very steep, very long drop. I suffer from extreme vertigo and was almost barfing on myself watching the others look over the side.

However, the views over the other side were just lovely:

Andrew, who obviously did not inherit my extreme vertigo, took lots of shots over the other side:

Who Is This Child And How Are We Related???
Once we crossed the dam, there was some sitting on a rock wall to rest up from all the physical exertion that's involved in a leisurely, not-very-long walk over paved roads:

Which, to be fair, was followed by lots (and lots and lots) of tramping around in the forest (a story for another time) which we found out later was maybe probably totally trespassing but I swear we didn't know at the time:

The six-year-old got a bit worn out on the walk back to the car and had to be carried by yours truly for most of the way. What? Could you resist this face? Well, I could not. 

Mama, Can You Carry Me Please?
In the end, I have to admit this outdoor adventure was GREAT. I had fun, spent real quality time with the kids, and got to experience awe which is apparently spiritually invigorating AND good for physical and mental health. And who can't use more of that shit? 

We shall see if my newfound enthusiasm for the outdoors is a passing fancy or the beginning of a new-and-improved me, but I personally have high hopes. Yes, it was one hike walk, but as I always say:

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Thursday, May 7, 2015


When I moved out of the city into the first house I had ever lived in, I looked at literally one house in one town. I walked in the door and knew that it was MY house - I made an offer immediately. As difficult as the divorce was, it was almost as hard to leave the house. I fucking loved it, and I never in a million years thought I'd be able to find another house I loved anywhere near as much.

I was wrong.

When I bought the house in which I now live, once again I looked at one house, in one town, and immediately made an offer (I am nothing if not decisive). I didn't even have to walk in the door - as soon as I saw the listing I knew it was the one.

Once I moved in I had very little time to furnish it, to make it the home that I wanted - needed - it to be for my children. I managed pretty well (I hope), and here is the first Before and After reveal :)

This is what the living room looked like when I saw the house:

Here's what it looked like once the previous owners had moved out:

Personally, I was beyond excited to live in a house that also has a family room so I could keep a TV out of the living room (televisions in living rooms have their points, but I hate them almost as much as I hate TVs in the bedroom).

And after trying unsuccessfully to convince several clients to paint one room or another in their home Palladian Blue from Benjamin Moore, it finally dawned on me that I could paint a room in my OWN house this amazing color:

I chose the living room. And I love it just as much as I knew I would. It's a pale blue-green that changes with the light. So beautiful.

Enough with the before, here's what it looks like now:

The couch, chair, and ottoman are from West Elm, and I have admired them for quite a while - I was slightly nervous about going with such a strong color but I'm SO glad I did as it keeps the room from being too neutral.

The elephant used as side tables were bought by my parents and it means a lot to have things that I remember from growing up in my home now.

The rug is another item I had been lusting after forever and after much Internet research I was able to find it for much less than I expected - yay!

The rocking chair is an antique, from the grandmother of my significant other, and I love love love it. Aside from the family sentimental value, I grew up with a rocking chair in our living room and having one here makes the room feel complete. It doesn't hurt that I love the dark wood, pale caning, and beautiful lines of the chair :)

The mirror over the couch was a Craig's List find (when you have five minutes and about five dollars to furnish an entire house, CL quickly becomes your BFF) and I was lucky to get it.

Those two beige chairs are from Joss and Main and were ridiculously cheap. I think I paid less than $300 for the pair. The table between them is from Craig's List and let me tell you THAT purchase was quite the experience and included an offer from the seller to be his girlfriend (I politely declined). The bookcases are two of the (very) few things I took from the old house - they were in my home office and fit here perfectly.

The wooden chest is also from Craig's List - it's in perfect condition, has wheels, and is perfect for storage. The chairs are antiques from One Kings Lane, and were not cheap. At all. But I loved them with a passion that would not die so I bought them anyway and I'm not sorry - they have ELEPHANTS!!! (Yes, I may have a small elephant obsession.)

The framed letters on the wall are also brought from the old house - they written by Woodrow Wilson (before he was president) to my grandfather and given to me by my father before he died. I don't have much from my grandparents on either side, so these letters mean a lot.

Here is a gratuitous close-up of the china Staffordshire dogs on the mantel, the dogs that everyone loves to hate. Everyone. It's like unanimous. Whatevs, haters! Their names are Hampshire and Windsor and if it seems like they are looking down on you, they are. Oh, they are!

And here? Here we have the bar cart for which I have longed and longed. The upside to getting divorced is that you can get the bar cart that you have wanted for ages. It's a little thing, I'll give you that, but sometimes it's the little things that get you through :)

Let me know what you think! Unless you like the Before pictures better, in which case keep your opinion to yourself #justkidding #giveittomestraight.


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Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Oh, calm down. I'm not getting married. The wedding bells are for my dear cousin and his awesome fiancĂ© and I am thrilled for them both, but let's turn our attention back where it belongs. Me. You have proven helpful in the past (I ended up wearing the second dress, FYI) and I'm hoping for similar results.

As this will be my first post-divorce family affair, I'm looking forward to warm and loving support from my extended family (well, warm and loving WASP-style, so plenty of pats on the shoulder and sympathetic head tilts to express all the feelings). I'm also prepared for lots of "How are you doing?" and basically it would be nice if I could look like I'm doing really, really well.

Incidentally, I'm actually doing pretty well, but that's almost beside the point. What matters is how I look - and I mean that in a totally non-superficial way. Seriously. All I want is to look pretty and not have my clothes make me uncomfortable, which can be a challenge with party-type dresses. There will be enough potentially uncomfortable-making things at the wedding; I refuse to have my dress be one of them.

Help, loyal readers. I have narrowed it down to three choices (they are all from grey and they are all from J. Crew, deal with it):

I ordered all three and they all fit and my date (yes, I have a date, were you worried I was going to end up a single crazy cat lady?) is proving less than helpful in narrowing it down to a winner so help me.

This is the most, well, demure dress of the bunch, and may also be the most comfortable since it's also the only one that's not strapless so I don't have to worry about pulling the top up all night. Plus, it has pockets. Pockets! I like the neckline, but is the dress too prudish looking? Is that even a thing? The color is very cool in person, btw. I like this dress.

You may be thinking that the top looks a little 80s-soap-opera-ish, and you're not wrong. But it's less so in person if that makes any sense. However, while the v in the neckline looks fine on the 90 lb model, it makes this dress a bit sexy times for someone who wears a 32D brassiere. And I do not want to look sexy times. Also, the color is a little weird. I may hate this dress. Also, full disclosure, I haven't tried it on yet.

Option 3: This is sort of in between, not slutty but not 8th-grade-prom either. However. Does it look like a mother-of-the-bride dress? Because while I do not want to look sexy times, I do not (DO NOT) want to look like the mother of the bride. No offense to the actual mother of the actual bride, whom I have never met but who, I am sure, is a lovely person and very attractive, it's just not the look I'm going for at this particular event (I'm not sure it's a look anyone is ever going for, including the mother of the bride, but I could be wrong). 

Anyway, right now Option 3 is the front runner, but I clearly need guidance. Weigh in with a comment and tell me what to wear!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015


This blog's first post was a cartoon and since it's been a while and I'm sort of starting over, it seems fitting to do it with another cartoon post:

I am that dog (the talking one). I, too, had my own blog for a while. I, too, decided to go back to pointless barking for while. Granted, I had some good excuses - my marriage was falling apart, my day-job workplace became increasingly problematic, rah rah rah...

But the divorce is final (for realz, yo - signed, stamped, filed, and back from the court). There's still plenty to fight over (don't get me started), I struggle every day with the emotional fall-out (I cry a lot), but our restructured family is slowly stabilizing into a "new normal."

On the day-job front, I'm finally making some important changes, getting myself back on track both professionally and creatively. It's scary, but I know in my heart it's the right thing to do.

The most important part - really the only reason for - these developments is so that I can concentrate on what's most important: my kids, my relationship, my home, and my career. It has become clear that I need to reorganize my life to make sure these top priorities are where I am expending my time, focus, and emotional energy.

Soooooooo in that vein, my next post: how I managed to find my dream house AGAIN, and then immediately started to turn it from a house into a home (which I had to do in about five minutes before the boys came up for the first time).

As a teaser, here are some "Before" photos of our new abode:

I know - it is grey? Is it white? Is it white and just dirty? We've lived here 6 months and have no idea...

Here's the back:

Tomorrow - the inside. And I can really only show the living room because everything else is still "in progress" (YES I KNOW IT'S BEEN SIX MONTHS, SHUT UP) and there are not, as of yet, many "After" pictures. I mean, the living room is far from fabulous, but it's not a total embarrassment. Tune in and see for yourself!

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