29 April 2010

Watermelon Crawl

I got this candle at Pier One -- it really smells like watermelon and is so funny.

27 April 2010

Sun Soaked Saturday in Central Park


On Bow Bridge in Central Park. Photo by Chris (or Jennie?). Cropped to remove a random girl on the right.

I took other pictures of some flowers and random letters for my ABC projects. I stupidly didn't take a single picture of our guests, although I probably shouldn't post other people on my blog anyway.

They did take a photo of us in the ocean life room at the museum that I'll have to get from them to post -- their camera is a newer version of mine with a more powerful flash. My camera just turned out a lighted Shawn in a dark background instead of showing the big blue whale.

pink flower 004
Pink flowers near my library (took this photo last week during some rain -- love the water droplets)

Bow Bridge Floral Toppers
Purple flowers on top of Bow Bridge

Hearts and Arrows Flowers at Central Park Zoo
Hearts and arrows flowers (or something) near the Central Park Zoo (Penguins of Madagascar!)

25 April 2010

Things I Don't Know

Chris and Jennie came to visit this weekend and it was super fun and super exhausting. We wore ourselves out at the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs, "dum dum" and ocean life -- oh my!) and then walking in circles (almost) in Central Park. Why don't I have a sense of direction?! We couldn't have asked for better weather though -- really idyllic. Then dinner in the Village and a Broadway musical, La Cage Aux Folles.

OMG that was so good, possibly one of my top plays we've ever seen (and thinking back we've seen a few in our time here. I've saved most of the playbills and think maybe I could frame them or at least keep a scrapbook with them after our New York days are the past). Anyway, the show is basically the movie Birdcage, back in the 90s with Nathan Lane and Robin Williams (which is possibly based on the play in the first place). I just thought it was fantastic -- the songs and especially the love story.

It's a relatively new show -- opened in early April, and I'd definitely recommend it. We were able to get tickets and were in the very last row of the top section BUT we could still see and it was great. This is in the same theater that Boeing, Boeing was in, which we saw with Shawn's parents a summer or two ago. There are quite a few more shows I'd like to see, but not sure I can part with the money for the tickets! We'll keep an eye on the NYU discount tickets though, and maybe I can squeeze in another show when my family visits and definitely when Shawn's parents' visit!

Today was less exciting, as it was raining and drab. We slept in, then went around looking for bagels, check. Then to the Strand and Broadway Panhandler. Pizza and relaxing in the apartment for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes it's good to just catch up, and they got to see "our" New York -- i.e. sitting on our butts! Also relived the entire bedbug story, which was obnoxious on our part!

But seriously, I'm realizing again just how much we DON'T know about New York. Where are the best bagels? I don't know. Where can you get the best pizza? I don't know, although we like Pizza Mercato. Where can you get the best NYC style cheesecake? I don't know. Where's a good place to have dinner? I don't know.

I guess part of it (the good place to have dinner) is not trusting our own taste: there are places we like but don't think they're necessarily "good" places to take people to, and we don't frequent restaurants that are in the top spot guides because of cost, exclusivity or what-have-you. Seems a bit ridiculous in a foodie city like New York to not be sampling new restaurants and taking advantage. I think it's just how we roll.

23 April 2010

Purple Tights at the Theater

Last night we went to an NYU Graduate School production of "Once in a Lifetime," and this is what I wore. My mom sent me the purple tights a few weeks (months?) ago, probably Valentine's Day? In any case I hadn't worn them yet. It was too chilly to go bare legged, and most of my pants are too big or just too winter-y, so the tights got a night out! I thought they were so cute with my Mary Janes that I had Shawn take a picture. My mom also gave me the necklace I'm wearing in the picture. Cold Water Creek for the win!

The play itself was a good time. It was a sit-where-you-want kind of affair and a pretty intimate set up, especially considering the large cast (maybe 20-25 students, many of whom played multiple parts). It was a Hollywood satire in three acts, and each act was almost an HOUR long. I guess getting your money's worth is the name of the game, BUT by the end the actors were tired and so were we.

ALSO I ended up with the worst seat because of the woman who sat next to me after we had to be seated. She was very large, so encroached into my seat terribly, causing me to have to veer into Shawn's territory (he didn't mind, and he was on the aisle). The seat to her left was EMPTY so she could have pushed her excess that way instead of into me. How awful am I to want to complain about it? Pretty awful. And my fat-acceptance guilt wouldn't let me move seats, although we could have relocated to a seats more on the side. It was a LONG play, but my back feels better today so hopefully the awkward seating didn't do lasting damage.

Hey - this is post #777. Kind of a dud, but what are you gonna do?

22 April 2010

Retail Therapy: Pier One Coffee Sleeve

I scored this for $1, so 75% off its original price. I went to Pier One for candles (found ridiculously scented pineapple votives, which I'm digging) and being my mother's daughter, I checked out the clearance bin.

They had these, and they weren't marked with a clearance tag. I had gone to Pier One back in December on a mission for these very things (saw them in a magazine as a stocking stuffer idea). I balked at the $4 price then, but thought what-the-hey this time. Of course if I'd checked the receipt and realized they were only $1 I would have bought several more for future gift giving. They had other designs too, but this was my favorite.

I like to treat myself every few Sundays to a Tim Horton latte. For whatever reason this Canadian chain makes the best, sweetest latte, and it's just skim milk, foamed up, with espresso. I drink it on the bus ride down Lexington. BUT the TH by my church doesn't always have the little sleeves for the cups and my hand gets hot or I have to waste an extra cup. Problem solved with this beauty ... assuming I remember to pack it in my pocketbook.

Always something.

21 April 2010

FWD: Bounce this Around

Very clever marketing if Bounce had anything to do with this (note that the message doesn't say "fabric softener sheet" and plays on the product name):

Subject: Fwd: Bounce This Along!

The U.S. Postal service sent out a message to all letter carriers to put a sheet of Bounce in their uniform pockets to keep yellow-jackets away. Use them all the time when playing baseball and soccer. I use it when I am working outside. It really works. The insects just veer around you. All this time you've just been putting Bounce in the dryer!

1. It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them. It also repels mice.

2. Spread sheets around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.

3. It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.

4. It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.

5. Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer) screen.

6. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

7. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.

8. To freshen the air in your home - Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.

9. Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.

10. Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.

11. Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing

12. To freshen the air i n your car - Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

13. Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.

14. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.

15. Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the lose hairs.

16. Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.

17. Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.

18. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.

19. Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.

20. Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees away.

21. Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them. It will keep them smelling fresh.

 22. Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, and wipe lovebugs off easily with the wet Bounce.

Quick, bounce this along within the next 5 minutes! Nothing will happen if you don't, but your friends will be glad to hear these hints!

Update: This apparently is not 100% accurate. See http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/bounce.asp. H/T Welcome to My World. 

20 April 2010

19 April 2010

Eighth Letter

I've made it to the 8th letter of the alphabet in my ABCs of NYC project. I have random letters from the rest of the alphabet too ... just doing them methodically one-a-day, as they come.

While I had my camera out I took some pictures of myself in my new blue scarf. It's got a pretty pattern in it that's invisible in the pictures and that I didn't notice when I bought it (they come wrapped in cellophane pouches, although there are copies that are out to be touched). I love it!


This is me, post-workout, no makeup (natch) and you can also see the denim jacket I "borrowed" from my mom. I wear it every day! I've got my iPod going -- The Song Remembers When from my "sad" playlist. (I've got problems, I know.)

Laying on the bed and fanning my hair/the scarf out was inspired by those Amazon Kindle commercials -- I think they're clever and cute, although to be honest I have no desire to own one and pay $$ for books digitally. I might reconsider if you were able to check out books for it from the library, which kind of defeats the business model.

While working out I perused my iPod, looking for something I haven't listened to a million times on the elliptical (April 15 marked six months of solid, regular working out with little additional music, save The Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D.) -- I found Cam'ron's Come Home With Me -- a truly vulgar record that had one pop-ish hit "Hey Ma" on the radio during my Stillwater years, and that song was what prompted me to buy the album.

I remember buying the CD in an OKC Target on a trip home, popping it in and listening. There's a song Welcome to New York City that features Jay Z. I really liked it (I still do, once I listened to it today), but I remember thinking "oh, maybe this is a sign that I need to move to NYC," a thought that scared the stuffing out of me.

Sometimes the scariest things end up being the best, especially when the coincide with things you always knew you wanted, like my marriage to this man.

Auntie M Loves Uncle Shawn!

18 April 2010

Peering Into Other People's Lives

What Falls Away: A Memoir What Falls Away: A Memoir by Mia Farrow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Finished today, and while I knew the Woody/Soon-Yi story, I'm filled with disgust anew, as I was just a teenager when that was all going down ... and a teenager in the middle of the country at that, but even I heard about it and was appalled. Her early life was less known to me -- her parents and marriage to Frank Sinatra. I absorbed this book in about a day and am left wondering what's happened since 1997.



My First Five Husbands...and the Ones Who Got Away My First Five Husbands...and the Ones Who Got Away by Rue McClanahan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I dig reading about other people's lives, and I loved the story of a Golden Girl. Liked that she grew up in Oklahoma, that Manhattan feels like home and how mobile she has been throughout her life.

Festive

The first street fairs of the season were this weekend -- two right in our neck of the woods, two days in a row. Oh the joy of eating a Gyro (and for Shawn a $6 Thai food combo and $2 Thai iced tea). The joy of wandering the cramped stalls -- fingering glass pendants ($2 + $1 for a cord) and dodging the aggressive massagers -- browsing the T-shirts with funny (and not-so-funny) sayings.

My true weakness is the pashmina stands -- $5 per scarf OR 3 for $10. Although I have several -- black and two shades of purple -- I've been longing for a bright blue and bright pink to liven things up. It isn't like I'll have many cold days this winter, but they're nice even in moderate weather or for indoor air conditioning. You can guess what I purchased today at the street fair!

The fair was also rife with letters -- I could probably get a complete set just from photos of that. As it was I only took a few, although it's the LOOKING and actually paying attention to how much language is printed in-my-face that excites me the most. (Clearly it doesn't take much.)

The street fairs are high on my list of things-I'll-miss about NYC.

14 April 2010

Laughing all the Way

I used this for the "C" in my ABCs collection (I'll post as an album or something here when I get a full A-Z set). I'm not sure what the CG stands for here, but I do know who it made me think of! This fence (?) around a tree is on LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and West Third.

Also realizing that graffiti is going to be an excellent source of lettering for this project. It seems somewhat rare to find individual letters, although I'm sure I can Photoshop or crop creatively.

Had an impromptu dance party when an exceptional song came on the radio. But then I realized one person can't make a party. I kept dancing anyway. Bring 'em out, indeed. And THEN "Like a Virgin" comes on ... oh dear.

And webcamming tonight!

12 April 2010

Read: Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recommended by my friend Koki, in part because they are set in Louisiana, where Shawn and I are moving in ~3 months (yikes!). Koki said I should get as many of these lined up as possible because once you start you won't want to stop.

I didn't have QUITE the same reaction (i.e. I can wait until book #2 in the series is ready for me at the library), but did really enjoy the quick read.

This was written in 2001, and I am not sure how that fits in the timeline of the Twilight books, which I haven't read. I did watch the first Twilight movie on Showtime. I've never seen True Blood, the HBO series based on these Sookie Stackhouse novels.

Bottom line: liked the book a lot, will likely request and read the others. It's also one of those books that clearly was written by an amateur/isn't polished. I expect future books in the series to be edited a little more ... or something. ALSO it's one of those books that made me think "I can do this."

BUT we were in the Union Square Barnes and Noble this weekend after seeing Date Night (a movie I can't recommend enough -- LOVED it and its sweet happy marriage message).

Anyway, at the bookstore (which we'd never been to before ... guess we get stuck in a Strand rut, but we went mainly to find the latest Crochet Today magazine -- mission accomplished), I was overwhelmed by all the books -- and the idea that so many people DO write and are published. I guess just gave me pause about whether I CAN write something ... anything.

ABCs of NYC -- A

Got this idea from reading DearBaby and the idea of a collage for a baby name using images from around your home.
I’m not pregnant, as much as I’d like to be, and I don’t have baby names picked out. Since we’re leaving NYC I thought I would start collecting letters for a future baby name collage.
My goal is to get a couple complete sets of the alphabet from images of letters around the city. It’s surprising just how much text surrounds us — in the form of advertisements, building plaques, road signs, subway cars, etc.
Here’s my first “A” — from the Astor Place subway, which I take to get to church uptown.
Got this idea from reading DearBaby and the idea of a collage for a baby name using images from around your home.

I’m not pregnant, as much as I might like to be, and I don’t have baby names picked out. Since we’re leaving NYC I thought I would start collecting letters for a future baby name collage.

My goal is to get a couple complete sets of the alphabet from images of letters around the city. It’s surprising just how much text surrounds us — in the form of advertisements, building plaques, road signs, subway cars, etc.

Here’s my first “A” — from the Astor Place subway, which I take to get to church uptown.

More to follow and I'll try to keep it in alphabetical order. I took a LOT more pictures on Sunday -- walked about 30 blocks after donating platelets on the East Side. I'll repeat this project in Baton Rouge ... and maybe even see if I can get a set of letters in Indiahoma?!

08 April 2010

Ketchup and Pickles, Please

I sometimes randomly sign up for things online, if there's a promise of something free -- a sample or in this case free pins in the shape of a ketchup bottle and pickle (I imagine it's dill). This offer was probably six months ago, because I certainly don't recall signing up for it recently, although when the packet arrived today in the mail I knew it had been requested. I don't really have a use for the pins or anywhere to wear them, but they're so funny. I'm going to pin them on my bulletin board. If you'd like your own I think you can request them here. Also, here's some trivia:
What was the origin of the Heinz pickle pin?
Henry Heinz attracted traffic to his 1893 Chicago World's Fair booth by offering a free gift— a small green pickle charm, which later became a pin. The pickle pin is one of the most famous merchandising giveaways in history and has become a popular collectible.

I also got an Amazon pre-order in the mail today -- Trisha Yearwood's second cookbook. Homewrecker or not (I maintain NOT), her cookbooks are awesome, although many of the recipes aren't "legal" it doesn't hurt to pore over the pictures. And maybe this cookbook is different than her last and has less carb-filled foods. I haven't read through it yet.

Yesterday was Gran's birthday. Wahoo! We had a nice talk, and it sounded like she had a great day with a mini party during Women's Circle at church when they gave her flowers and each brought her a card. Someone else gave her a Happy Birthday balloon.

Gran gave me advice on the too-small "easy shells in soft fern" blanket a few posts back -- just add more border. So I pondered that, looked at my pattern books and realized it was very do-able. So I've started on that and it's looking good. I should be able to add 4-6 inches in border and it will be a lovely, giftable blankie. Good thing too -- the yarn is so soft it would be a shame to waste on a doll baby (hey Diannia!).

And yes, that is a lunch bag hanging on the wall in the background. We make use of ALL the available storage space in this joint. I actually have some light things stored inside the lunch bag!

06 April 2010

Frothy Read: Eleven on Top

Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum, #11) Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After picking it up on the shared bookshelf in the laundry room, I read this book mostly on the elliptical machine. It's not tough stuff or high literature but it kept me smiling. And the audio versions of volumes 1-5 or so were part of the soundtrack of my drive east in 2004. They're just so mood lifting and F-U-N. Recommend.

Rattling Around

I helped a coworker find a lost document by locating the hidden Outlook temporary folder. She had worked on this thing for hours, always saving, but she hadn't done SAVE AS when she started working on the attachment. I felt like a rock star when I finally figured it out ... of course I took it upon myself to trouble shoot. Some habits die hard. Other technical things aren't going as smoothly, but in the next day or two they should resolve themselves. (Knock on wood.) Today I posted the job announcement to find my replacement. That was not easy. And due to the technical difficulties it's still not complete. UGH.

Shawn woke me up this morning pre-7 a.m. to tell me he was going to the gym ... in case I woke up I wouldn't freak out. Yeah, I would not have woken up. He woke me up BEFORE he was ready to go ... and proceeded to eat his cereal while I laid there trying to drift off. I eventually did and slept so soundly I didn't hear him come home, shower and leave again.

He found out when the gym opens -- 7:30 a.m., which actually seems late. I guess NYU kids like to sleep in as much as I do!

It's hotter'n a mug in here, and I'm getting perilously close to plugging in the AC and turning on its fan. Right now I've just got my mini fan set on top of the AC -- probably not the best solution but air flow is air flow. I guess I'm just being cheap and thinking the mini fan uses less power than the AC fan.

Shawn's birthday gift finally arrived -- a picnic blanket that folds into its own carrying case. Should be handy for sitting on the dirt-they-call-a-lawn in WSP ... or even partaking in a little Sheep's Meadow action. Oh, New York. Will also be good for the beach -- yahoo!

Shawn didn't like his other gift -- a leather keychain with an "S" embossed on it. Don't know what I was thinking. I should have had them put a "W" on it ... then I could use it instead! But someone with an "S" name will get a gift when she comes to visit in early June!

05 April 2010

Static But Moving

Two days in a row - Friday and Saturday - I walked all the way to the gym before realizing I didn't have my wallet (and therefore the ID needed to get into the gym) with me. Both were a direct result of having had my wallet in an actual purse the nights before -- going to "God of Carnage" on Thursday and the movie "Greenberg" on Friday.

Both times I turned my happy butt around, got the wallet, waved to the doormen (who really couldn't care less) and walked back to the gym for a standard workout. Not exactly a far piece to get to the gym, but still a bit of extra walking.

Hopefully that compensates me from no Easter exercise*. The gym was closed (seems random and NYU is about as secular a place as it gets), but I didn't even do any NYC style walking although the weather was perfecto for it.

Instead Shawn and I trekked uptown for church (is it wrong that I prefer worship when things aren't SO crowded?), rode a bus down Lex to Astor Place (luckily we didn't try a 5th Ave bus, since it would have detoured around the Easter Bonnet Parade!), had brunch and then lounged on the dirt-they-call-a-lawn in Washington Square Park. Seriously it stinks! And the renovations probably won't be complete before we move, so we'll have put up with all this construction for naught.

Despite the dirt, we had a pretty good lounge. Overhearing random conversations of hipster doofuses is a nice pastime, and I managed to read the Sunday Times and write most of a letter to Gran. Double score.

Now to finish that letter, prepare some dinner (FreshDirect delivery today ... possibly the thing I'll miss most about NYC? Definitely in the top 5) and get pumped for Butler v. Duke. We'll see how it rolls.

*Although we didn't work out on Easter Sunday we also did not partake in any Easter candy or treats. I asked Shawn if he was sad that I didn't make him an Easter basket with his faves (Reese's pieces) or my fave (Cadbury Creme Eggs). He said no -- the right answer.

Unexamined

Put my Chucks on for the first time this spring. Ah, bliss.

If I don't write something down will I remember it? Not to-do's or phone numbers, but experiences. Memories. My life.

I've been writing about it for more than 20 years -- the first being a diary with a lock and pink pages. It may have been Hello Kitty and pretty sure Auntie Sue gave it to me.

I've been "blogging" or "online diary-ing" about it for more than 10 years. A decade or more of (somewhat public) navel gazing.

To what end? To remember it? To stretch my writing muscles? To feed my narcissism? Just because?

I don't know what I'd do otherwise. So this continues.

02 April 2010

A Peek Down Lucy Liu's Dress

Last night Shawn and I went to the theater -- a Broadway show. "God of Carnage" with Dylan Baker, Janet McTeer, Jeff Daniels and Lucy Liu. The show was crazy, but we enjoyed it.

We sat in the second row -- the only way to go. It was the same theater where I saw The Country Girl with my mom and sister a couple years ago.

Because we were so close we could see everything -- from the spit coming out of the actors' mouths ... to RIGHT DOWN Lucy Liu's top! She's very pretty. VERY pretty.

The show itself was pretty pretentious and a little preachy, but overall we liked it. And love the idea that we can do things like this so easily. Being in Times Square is still a little magical -- the lights, the crowds, the tourists. Not something to do every day but I like knowing that it's just a few stops away on the train.

There are lots of things I love about -- and will miss about -- New York. I plan to chronicle them here in the time we have remaining here. We're having gorgeous weather this weekend AND the final NCAA games are tomorrow.

Good Friday to you.