Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day Scare Center

Imagine you are a busy working parent. You leave work to pick up your toddler, and when you get to the day care center, you find a giant hole in the side of the building. You see broken glass and scattered debris. A moment later, you realize that this hole was caused by 5,000 pounds of metal crashing into the space in the form of an out of control Honda minivan.

That's the frightening scene my friends witnessed today picking up their son from the Bright Horizon day care center on Long Ridge Road. Amazingly, no one was injured. Nine children had just headed outside.

Granted the day care providers may not have developed a protocol for a minivan attack, but many parents were not notified about the crash before pickup. As if that weren't enough for these poor parents, it's not clear whether the building is structurally sound enough to continue with classes tomorrow.

It happened at around 3:30 today, and there's no word so far on what exactly what sent the minivan through the wall.

(photo from Qole Pejorian,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Things that are Ridiculous

In no particular order of ridiculousness:

1. Security guards protecting us from our underwear.
2. This rain.
3. Ice skating outfits in general, and these in particular.
4. The fact that LA Fitness wants me to continuing paying for personal training despite the fact that I canceled my membership (really? how would that work exactly? are you coming to my house?).
5. The UConn Women's Team (ridiculously awesome, that is).
6. Anything remotely related to Kate Gosselin.
7. This list of newspaper corrections from the ridiculously hilarious List of the Day.
8. Rip Torn (allegedly) breaking into a bank that he thought was his home and sprawling on the floor clutching a loaded gun. Seriously though, who's to say he doesn't live there?
9. These lawsuits.
10. The fact that Hot Tub Time Machine is getting better reviews than Green Zone.

(photo from Michael Francis McCarthy,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stamford Notes Promotes Something Good

Dear Citizens -

Blogging is all fine and good. I like it. But perhaps Stamford Notes can do more. What about an event? What about something that would promote a local business and benefit a local cause? To do that, I need your help.

What would you like to attend:
- A happy hour?
- An art event?
- A class?
- A speech?

What sort of charity would you like to help:
- A food bank?
- An educational cause?
- A health-related charity?
- An anti-poverty charity?

I'll put your best ideas to a vote - and see if we can't do something good.

(photo from gruntzooki,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Urban Definition

When your friend uses an obscure cultural reference that is far cooler than you are, where do you go? One viable option is Urban Dictionary. Mostly, I look up things that would make my mother blush or my own name when someone on Facebook tells me to, but today I decided to look up our little corner.

What is Stamford? It's worth your time to read the full response, but here are a few lines that made me laugh (and/or cry):

stamford is a city where the girls tend to be preppy b*****s, but pretty hot.

A very beautiful city located 40 minutes outside of new york. . . . Stamford consists of many different areas which are all worthless.

stamford is where all the rich, pretty, smart b*****s and hott n****s are..LEGIT!

A city full of cocky dudes that work in finance and girls who think they're worth your time.

(photo from avlxyz,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tap on, Tap off, TAP Cafe

If your hours are sad, join local citizens and companies for The Palace Theatre's TAP Cafe happy hour. I've blogged about before, so maybe you are in the know - but just in case - see below! You'll have the chance to meet young Stamford professionals and test out your networking skills.

Eat, drink and be near Jerry.

Date: April 8, 2010
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Cost: $20.00 per person (includes 2 drinks & appetizers)
Call 203-325-4466 or buy tickets online at the SCA website (which seems not to be working now...but check back soon!)

(photo from vicky.seba,

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Fair Haiti

On Sunday, April 11th at 7:30, join the Stamford Symphony to support Haiti on the three month anniversary of the earthquake felt around the world. The event, a performance of Mozart’s Requiem, will take place at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist.

Suggested donation is $25, and all proceeds benefit victims of the natural disaster. Specifically, proceeds go to Hope for Haiti, a charitable group founded by Stamford resident, JoAnne Kuehner that supports educational, nutrition and health care efforts.

As you may know, “requiems” are conducted in memory of those who have passed away, making it an appropriate and touching tribute. If you or anyone you know would like to honor a family member lost in the earthquake, they may provide a 100-word commemoration of that individual for the concert program. Those remembrances will be published free of charge, and photos can be added for a $10 charge. Corporate and individual sponsorships are available for $50 and up. For details contact or 203.325.1407 x14. There is no requirement to buy tickets in advance, but donations are welcome by visiting the St. John’s website.

(photo from DVIDSHUB,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Local Hot Shots

I got an email from a fellow citizen a little while ago telling me about his new photo blog of our corner of the world. Lazily, I really hadn't focused on his new endeavor until just a half second ago, but what I found was impressive.

The blog, called We Can't Stop, memorializes Stamford as we know it. Photos are stark, startling and everything in between. There's a solitary cow surrounded by snow. There are men knee deep in nature. Some pictures are artful, some are otherwise - but all are interesting. Authors describe the impetus behind the project - and their interest in their neighbors - as follows:

Our goal at We Can’t Stop is to keep creating. Every contributing member is in some way involved in the world of visual arts. We also eat, sleep, and work in Stamford, and it is with those shared activities in mind that we came together to continue to inspire and inform readers of what we have found in Stamford. If you, your art, your business, your dog—if anything—is posted on this site, way to go! That just means we found something about you inspiring. If you would like to share something with us, anything, just let us know:

(photo from Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Green Construction Introduction

I have a sneaking suspicion that I missed the “fire” installment, but Audubon Greenwich is doing a multi-part series on green building. Planning to make some changes to your home? Check out these Tuesday evening events to do it responsibly. Price of admission is $10 for adults; free for kids. Email to RSVP.

Tuesday, March 23, 7-9pm
AIR: Safe Caulks, Paints, Fabrics and Cabinetry
Learn how to avoid unsafe products and use safer alternatives in your remodel or new construction. The discussion will include a presentation on air quality during construction and green products.

Tuesday, April 20, 7-9pm
WATER: Ways to Reduce Use and Harvest Water
I’m sure you’re recycling, but are you reducing and reusing? This presentation will help you check off those items too by teaching you about efficient garden irrigation, rain barrels, storage and practical rain harvesting.

Tuesday, May 18, 7-9pm
EARTH: All about ‘Green Roofs’
Experts will be on hand to tell you about the advantages of live plant roofing and examples of success stories in the area.

(photo from 416style,

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Best Thing I Ever Heard

I love our little home.

I say that, in large part, because we took a sledgehammer to the baby vomit colored cabinets and the scratch and dent appliances. We got new everything, from floor to ceiling. Although it cost approximately four bajillion dollars, it made me pants wettingly happy.

If you, dear citizen, wake up to a kitchen that puts you to sleep - read on!

A lovely lady who works for a production company called RIVR Media contacted me today to say that she is casting for a new TV show in our area. She needs just the right folks - they should love to cook, feel passionate about food and (most exciting of all) want a free kitchen makeover!

If this describes you or someone you would like to nominate, write to Be sure to include the following information:

1. Your name, address, phone number, occupation, age and relationship to nominee
2. Your nominee's name, address, occupation and age
3. Photo of you (2 pictures max)
4. Photo of nominee (2 pictures max)
5. Photos of the nominee's kitchen (3 pictures max)
6. Tell us why you are nominating this person (love of cooking, favorite food to cook, favorite restaurants, favorite chefs and what she/he doesn't like about their current kitchen). The more personality/detail the better!

You have to include all that good stuff if you would like to be considered. And one more thing - put the name of your city in the subject line and where you saw this posting (Stamford Notes, of course).

Good luck!

(photo from sndrspk,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Songs for Soldiers

Take well dressed guys popping out of suitcases, the joke about putting "in bed" at the end of every sentence and some pretty impressive pipes together and you have the 1980s hit "Talk it Over" by Grayson Hugh.

Grayson Hugh, a native Connecticut son, took his album "Road to Freedom" to the top ten of Billboard Magazine in 1992. After that, he took a bit of a hiatus - but he's back. He has a new album out this month and he's coming to Stamford to let you know about it and to do some good for veterans.

On April 9th at 7pm, Grayson Hugh will be performing at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Stamford. Tickets are $30 and proceeds will benefit No Vet Left Behind! - a group that provides transitional housing to homeless veterans. Come to the event where you can purchase his new album and meet the man himself. Opening act is a local talent called Superband. Tickets MUST be purchased in advance by emailing Joe at

Monday, March 15, 2010

From Lights Out to Lights On

The CL&P Outage Report show that things are getting better. The estimated customers interrupted today is listed as 11,590, making up 21.57%. Yesterday, the numbers were in the low 30% range.

Apart from the power, Stamford saw some other terrible losses. Chris Preovolos' pictures of the Maiolo family home show what happens when a tree and a roof meet up with 60 mile an hour winds.

The Advocate also reports that Governor Rell has declared a state of emergency. There are crews from all over working on the electrical problems from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Ohio and parts of Canada.

The City of Stamford has updated its online emergency notification, and it now reads as follows:


Due to the vast expanse of storm damage, the City of Stamford has experienced a significant number of fallen trees, downed utility poles and power lines resulting in power outages throughout Stamford. Many roads may be impassable and are therefore closed. Governor Rell has declared a State of Emergency for our area. Our situation is serious; if at all possible, please stay off the roads and stay indoors. Stay clear of any wires on the ground or entangled in trees; all wires should be considered live and extremely dangerous.

The City’s Operations crews have been working steadily since the storm hit to clear fallen trees not involving power lines. However, fallen trees that are entangled in or lying on power lines cannot be removed by City work crews until the power company disconnects power and makes repairs.

Several thousand residents may still be without power. The City has called in utility workers from across the country and Canada to help restore the power as expeditiously as possible. We hope to see power restored by Tuesday evening.

Please use caution when lighting candles and be sure to completely extinguish all candles before going to bed; try to use flashlights and battery powered lanterns instead.

Stamford Fire Department, Police Department and Health Department staff have been working collaboratively around the clock to assist residents in need. All firehouses in Stamford are open for emergency public assistance. The American Red Cross has established a shelter to St. Aloysius Church, 40 Maple Street in New Canaan, CT in the Stapleton Hall at the Church; this is a regional shelter.

Michael A. Pavia, Mayor

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Power Hours

We were blissfully unaware of the power outage across Stamford today until my husband tried to use his gym in Old Greenwich to find place dark and vacant. Yes we had to reset a digital alarm clock, but for the better part of the morning, we were very busy burning up the voltage at home totally unaware that many citizens were not so lucky.

I've heard that some folks have the juice back up and running, but seemingly not everyone. The Stamford Advocate reports that (as of 1pm or so) thousands were still waiting for the lights to come back on. The pictures accompanying the story are pretty grim.

I suppose if you're reading this, you've found some way to get online, but is your power still out at home? The CL&P website has an Outage Map and an Outage Report that shed some light (pun a little bit intended) on what's really going on. The notice on the Stamford City website night be helpful too - it reads as follows:

The City of Stamford is experiencing power outages. There are trees, poles and power lines down throughout Stamford and thousands of customers are without power. Many roads, major and minor are blocked and shut down. The situation is serious, please keep off the roads and stay indoors if possible. Stay clear of any wires on the ground. Please be careful when lighting candles, try to use flashlights and battery powered lanterns instead. Connecticut Light and Power customers are without power. Line crews are working to get power back to homes. Unfortunately, many customers could be without power for several days. All firehouses are open for public assistance and aid. Stamford High School is opened as a shelter for anyone in need. Anyone in Stamford needing transportation may call (203)977-5864.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Money Money Money Money (Moooon-nnnay!)

I've bruised my back patting it for finishing up our taxes early this year, and as I've reflected on our finances I've been poking around ye old interweb. Although it's not Stamford-specific, I thought this might be some good information for my favorite citizens.

Want to know where your fed tax refund is? Visit this IRS site to track it. You'll need your Social Security Number (which they encrypt), your filing status and the exact amount of your refund.

Want to get your free credit report that's actually really truly free? The one that you are entitled to by law? Go here.

Want to read an interesting blog on personal finance? There are lots to explore.

- I like 20 Something Finance (which technically doesn't include me anymore, but they haven't blocked my access yet). I like the entries on retirement savings and a piece called "How to Waste Money in 9 Easy Steps."

- I also like Nerd Wallet, and not just because of its ridiculous excellent name. It's focused on credit cards, including good stuff on monitoring your credit and fees cards charge when you travel internationally (which is not all that easy to figure out - at least if you're me).

- In keeping with the quality blog name category, I don't want to exclude Budgets are Sexy, with a tag line reading "'A personal finance blog that won't put you to sleep.' - Benjamin Franklin" and blog posts called stuff like "New Tax Law Changes for 2010 Boyee!"

Continuing the circle of usefulness, each of these has links to more that may be worthy of your attention.

(photo from Robert S. Donovan,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Easter Rabbit's Habit

It's hunting without the guns and ammo - what's not to like? Come hunt for the easiest wild game out there - eggs. Join up at Heckscher Farm at Stamford Museum and Nature Center for the 6th annual Egg Hunt on April 3 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Kids six and under can bring their own Easter (or various non-denominational) baskets and hunt for thousands of eggs hidden around the farm. The bunny will be replacing them as your kids swipe them, so there's plenty to go around. Turn them in at the end of the hunt for a goody bag of treats.

Watch adorable kids on the hunt for pastel bounty for free with the cost of admission. If you want to take part, it's $8 for adults, $6 for students, $6 for seniors, $4 for children and free for kids 3 and under.

Hang out afterward to check out nature's bounty and Gerberich’s Gadgetry.

(photo from Carly & Art,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Give Haiti a Leg Up

Allen-Edmonds, a fancy schmancy shoe store with a location the Stamford Mall, is helping you do a good deed in exchange for a discount. They are partnering with Soles4Souls, a non-profit that provides shoes for folks in need.

If you bring in a pair of gently used shoes to the Stamford Allen-Edmonds, two things will happen:

(1) Soles4Souls will pass those shoes along to the people who need them in Haiti.

(2) You will receive $35 off a new pair of Allen-Edmonds' shoes.

One discount per purchase of pair of shoes, but donate as many as you like!

(photo from Lachlan Hardy,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lonely Hearts Pub, Take 2

Looks like Bradford's is making a regular event of the computer-enhanced singles night. As was true exactly a month ago, on March 10th at 7pm (aka, TOMORROW), you can go to Bradford's and take advantage of the latest in matchmaking technology for free!

It works like this:
- Come in the door.
- Have your information entered into a computer.
- You will be matched up with someone suitable (or hopefully suitable) for you in the room.
- You will have a little 5 minute date with your (arguably) perfect pair.
- You choose whether you want to pursue it.

(photo from ginnerobot,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cheese Dogs

Ok, so Streets of Stamford beat me to it, but it's sufficiently nifty to justify a double shout out.

PAWS of Norwalk is hosting a fundraiser at the Melting Pot in Darien. If you're a regular reader, you'll have read about PAWS quite a few times before - they are devoted care and homes for cats and dogs.

Given the Advocate article from Angela Carella on the wild cats in Stamford, supporting PAWS now is more appropriate than ever.

So join them on Thursday, March 25 from 5-10pm for some good deeds served with melted cheese.

Ten dollars of your prix fixe menu, including an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert, will be donated to PAWS. The menu, for a set price of $45/person, is available for your viewing and pre-ordering pleasure here. I don't want to ruin the surprise, but the menu includes the words "Flaming Turtle."

Make reservations by calling (203) 656-4774 or by visiting the Melting Pot website.

(photo from Jeff Kubina,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things that are Horrible

Not necessarily in order of horribleness:

1. Matt Damon's mustache in "The Informant"
2. Killer robots
3. The ABC/Cablevision dispute that is messing with the Oscars and which will get exponentially more horrible if it messes with Lost
4. Next weekend is rain, rain, rain
5. The fact that I missed out on the Avon Theatre's showing of the Oscar nominated animated shorts
6. This story
7. Earthquakes
8. Mayor Pavia is against the sale of alcohol on Sundays
9. The relative lack of pictures in my blog recently (sorry)
10. This video (horrible, and yet awesome)

(photo from Fuyoh!,


We went with two of our favorite people last night to Barcelona to catch up and take advantage of Restaurant Week. The evening got off to a rocky start. Although we had reservations for 7pm, we were not seated until after 7:30. It might have been later if I hadn't asked about the owner by name (which, admittedly, is a dick move, but whatever). We were pinned up against the wine rack for over half an hour, but were offered a free drink for the trouble.

Things got better. We were seated in the enclosed dining area with the interesting bare bulb, tree log light fixture/sculpture - which I adore. The waiter was helpful and patient as we sorted through the menu. The Restaurant Week special is not, as the men of the table argued, salad + dessert + 4 tapas; it's actually, as one of the learned ladies knew, four things - period. Perfectly fine, but at $30 for the set, it's only worth doing if each item you want costs $7.50 or more. The table planned on a few $4 selections, so we opted out of the special menu.

We ordered 3 tapas apiece, which was plenty. With the exception of sardines (intrinsically offensive to some), every dish was well received at our table. Standouts included the:

-Goat cheese & mushrooms with balsamic & sherry reduction (two orders; no leftovers). The mild creamy goat cheese was a pleasant contrast to the biting balsamic.

-Duck confit. That dish was a crowd pleaser before it hit the table, with a rich, drool-inducing fragrance and a charming little iron serving piece.

-Warm octopus. I'm not big on octopus, having eaten it primarily in little fried ringlets at places with no imagination, but this was quite good. Intermixed with vegetables and a pleasant, spicy sauce, the meat was more tender and less chewy than I'd assumed.

-Crepes with dulce de leche - We were stuffed by meal's end, but made room for some sugar. My husband got the crepes with dulce de leche. Maybe because I'm nostalgic for our South American vacation, I was smitten with the filling and fought off the urge to lick the plate (successfully, thank you very much).

By way of constructive criticism, a smaller cut on the fruit in the chorizo with sweet & sour figs would make the dish more appealing. In the dim lighting, it's hard to distinguish between components, and the large fig pieces overwhelm the sausage. The beef empanadas did not live up to their billing as "spiced." The avocado purée added interest and provided contrasting texture, but the flavor could be better developed.

Altogether, it was delightful and delicious, but there was one other head scratcher towards the conclusion. My husband ordered a café con leche, and when it came in glass tumbler, it was too hot to touch. Everyone at the table agreed - there's no way to pick it up without a visit to the burn ward. When we asked for a substitute mug, the waiter explained "that's how they do it in Spain." Really? They all wear oven mitts to drink coffee in Spain? Could have done without the psudo-cultural snobbery. Correct answer is, "no problem."

See, how they do it in "America" is - they write about it in a blog.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Farewell to Il Falco

A tiny ad in today's Advocate reads "Il Falco Ristorante. Thank you for your generous patronage over the past 24 years. We have enjoyed being one of the top Italian restaurants in Fairfield County, thanks to you! We will be closing after March 6th, 2010."

It is always sad to see an long standing institution close, and I am no fan of newly emptied spaces. I wonder though if Il Falco spoke to a bygone era in Stamford. I'd been there for work events, and the space seemed dated. The food was oily and inelegant, and it never crossed my mind to come back off the clock. The people were friendly, and hey, the drinks were free - but the whole place was of an era that didn't include me. I hope they reinvent themselves with some light, bright and modern touches in both the atmosphere and the cuisine. If they do, I'll let you know.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Valentine's Day has been moved to March

The Stamford Marriott is hosting the Month of Love Giveaway Event, on Monday, March 8 from 7-9pm.

As their promotional materials say:

Join us as we give away the most romantic Memorable Moment of a lifetime to one lucky person! One lucky winner will be chosen from 10 finalists to win a FREE WEDDING RECEPTION event for 100 people – and dozens of other sweepstakes prizes will be given away… but you must be present to win!

Enjoy complimentary food and beverages during the special giveaway event and experience all that our hotel has to offer!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Networking

Celebrate St. Patty's Day by making a new friend, Irish or otherwise. The Stamford Center for the Arts will be hosting what it calls TAP Café on Thursday, March 11 starting at 5:30pm at The Palace Theatre.

This monthly event serves as a networking happy hour for young professionals, local folks and businesses looking to get their name out there. The evening features Irish music and food from SBC, Black Bear Saloon and Libby Cooke Catering.

Event tickets will run you twenty dollars, which covers two drinks and appetizers. Tickets can be purchased and additional info found at the SCA website or by calling 203-325-4466.