Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!!!

Homemade Cinnamon Buns, bacon, yule log on TV and a very small dog.. what more could you ask for ?

Have a very merry everyone!!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas is coming..

So you guys must think I have been wallowing in my misery for the last few weeks.. not so. I have been super busy with holiday jazz - parties, shopping etc. The weather is finally clear and beautiful today. I have been suffering with a weather related migraine since Friday night.. yuck. Well it's gone today and I can't wait to get outside and move around!

I am surprised I haven't put pictures of our tree up before this. It has been up since Mary, Larry and David came to visit! Trees never look as pretty in pictures as they do in person .. but you get the general idea I think. Our tree is super colorful and we just added a bunch of Stephen's childhood ornaments that Mary sent up - which makes it that much more special this year.

This was my craft project for the season. I made this tree skirt, by hand, out of the sleeves of a bunch of old sweaters we had lying around. Not bad for several hours with a needle and thread :)

Those are buttons from my button collection and the edging is gray felt. I was so excited with the way it turned out. I think it looks like something you might find in Anthropologie, which is what I was going for so - yay! Maybe next year I will try my hand at stockings.

Santa came a little early this year in the form of my friend Carol!! She really outdid herself this year. Little bird note cards that I had been eyeing, beautiful coasters, a penguin ornament and depression glass!!!! The candle sticks are reproductions but they are not only perfect, they are actually our first set of candle sticks! I can't wait to try them out on the table.

This beautiful little treasure is the real deal. A depression glass candy dish!! It's so amazing that it actually matches the candle sticks. Makes me want to plan a dinner party :) Thank you Carol.. they are perfect!!

I hope everyone out there is ready/getting ready for tomorrow with a light heart and happy spirit. See you tomorrow!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Horrible Bad No-Good Person...

This one of those posts that I may regret but in the spirit of being honest on this thing ...
I am in a foul mood this morning - super cranky and grumpy and just plain annoyed. How could one be annoyed on such a morning ? It's cold outside and rainy and warm indoors.. the perfect day to stay in bed late and hang out around the house. It's also Sunday and Tim is teaching today. We woke up a little late and Stephen jumped up and took his shower, dressed and ate his breakfast. I laid around in bed trying to decide if I wanted to attempt to get ready for Church in 15 minutes - completely doable if I skipped the shower. What I really wanted to do was stay indoors and watch Pride and Prejudice, or similar, with some coffee and Ollie curled up on my lap. I did not want to go out into the nasty 30 degree rain and leftover sleet to walk to the train, ride the train, then walk the 10 blocks in Manhattan to Church...in other words I am a self centered, selfish little jerk. I pouted and checked the weather on the computer, felt the window to see how cold it was.... asked Stephen a million times if he thought I was being a bad person if I stayed home - to which he consistently replied that he thought I would be missing out but he was not going to give me a hard time about it - appropriate response. Guilt was seeping out of my pores. With 10 minutes until he was to leave to catch the train, I started pulling on clothes, brushed my teeth and promptly had a meltdown. "I am cold, I am tired, it is icy and RAINING out there.. I don't WANT to go!!!" Of course no one was forcing me to go.. I could have very easily made the decision to stay in a calm and adult manner, but I chose to be a complete baby about the whole thing, leaving Stephen to head to the train with a deep sigh and (I am sure) a bad taste in his mouth. I am such a jerk. The truth is I NEED to be there, I NEED to hear Tim's teaching, I NEED the fuel and the encouragement of being amongst fellow believers, but instead I am a selfish girl who decided to have a temper tantrum because (rightfully so) no one would help me justify my staying home this morning. Now instead of just feeling guilty about staying in.. I am also feeling angry at myself for being such a horrible mean person. I can't even enjoy my "quiet morning indoors". I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed anyway...now I just feel terrible inside.

Last night, we decided to stay in, instead of going out to eat for our anniversary. It was so nasty outside and our neighbors were throwing a dinner party so we decided to attend that instead. The party was amazing. Just 10 of us including 2 little boys and the other couples were friends of theirs that we were acquainted with as well so I wasn't as shy as I normally get at these things. We sat talking and listening to everyone talk about their kids and their lives here in the Slope and community involvement (everyone belongs to the co-op), their familiarity with Brooklyn artists and writers and the galleries they are working with currently. The longer I sat there the less I had to contribute to the conversation. I know of no Brooklyn illustrators.. I didn't even know that it was much cheaper to own a house in Brooklyn than in New Jersey ($1200 a year in property taxes as opposed to $12,000 across the river). One couple talked about how when they first moved here they figured they would try it for a year and if they went broke, they would just go back home. Everything is still working out so they are still here. They own a house in Carrol Gardens (I think) with an apartment that they rent. They have one little boy and another baby on the way. I am sure they sort of got it together as they went along but ... sitting there.. I just felt like such a stinkin' loser. I am not involved in the community, I am not even really involved in my Church (other than my spotty attendance) .. I just feel like I am floating in midair with no roots and no attachment, even though I love everything about Brooklyn and the people here... I am so afraid that we will have to leave when we have a baby that I think I am afraid to get attached...I don't see any way we could stay. I can't imagine putting my baby in daycare here and trying to continue working ...I am afraid I would be bitter about it.. but since I make the most $$ right now.. and Stephen is still working on finding full time work.. it seems inevitable. The thing is... most people around here do that. It's pretty normal for both parents to work and for kids to be in daycare and pre-pre K...Why can't I/we make a choice in where to lead our lives ? I think that I want to move home to the South to be closer to family and to reduce our cost of living so that Stephen would have more of a chance to actually be able to support us... but I am afraid that once I got there I would hate it. Afraid I wouldn't fit in again - I never fit in growing up there. Afraid I won't find like minded people to be friends with...there are so many things that I dislike about the Southern mindset.. there are also many things that I love about it.. Why can't we just decide try to stay here ? .. Why can't I commit to that..? I hate myself for not having a real direction in my life and for failing to be invested in my surroundings... I am content to keep within my own small circle of acquaintances and normalcies. I hate that about myself. I feel like I don't have the energy to be really involved but I also don't feel fulfilled in my current state so... I am here so that I don't have to lead a plastic, cookie cutter existence and that is exactly what I am doing. Stephen and I have talked about this entire topic so much that I think I might explode if I have to discuss it again.. the end result being that we will "stay the course" until we feel that we should take a different path. We pray constantly that the Lord will direct our path and give us clear signs as to which direction to take... I am 29 years old for crying out loud!!!!! Why do I feel like I am still 23 drifting through life, waiting for some direction to descend on me. I don't even have a baby on the way so I can't even let the choice be made for me... how is it that so many of our friends got pregnant by chance without really having to choose to start trying and we have been married for 6 years and have never really had a serious scare..? I just feel like I am wasting my time...going to work, coming home, falling asleep only to have to wake up and go to work again... and now that I have fully worked myself into a depressed frenzy.. I am going to lie on the couch and watch P&P and soak in my guilty conscience :*(

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Six Years

Worry free hippie kids..

Six years ago in the early summer of 2001, Stephen and I were relaxing by the New River in Todd North Carolina, getting ready to head out to Montana for the summer. I had just graduated college and we had been dating long distance (NC and FL) for about a year.

Me on the eve of our engagement (right) Swimming at Fire Hole Canyon (left)

In August, two days before I had to drive Stephen to Cody for his flight back to Florida, we decided to go on a hike to Lionhead Mountain. The mountain was our backdrop at the campground where we worked and it had been taunting us all summer. We got up early (7am to beat the heat of the day) and packed our day pack, ready for a good 2-3 hour hike on the loop trail we had heard so much about. A friend of ours from the campground, Katie (who lived in upstate NY), came along too. We all piled in the Volvo and headed off for the trail head. When we got there, we realized we had forgotten the map. Not wanting to delay adventure, and figuring the trail would be clearly marked, we started up the mountain. It was beautiful. Rippling brooks and gigantic ancient trees creaking in the wind. Once as we were approaching a clearing, we heard what sounded like chewing. When we reached the edge of the woods and started into the field we saw him. A huge bull moose, munching contentedly in the meadow. The acoustics of the surrounding hills were such that we could actually hear him chewing. We moved as quietly as we could, continuing on the trail. When we were almost out of earshot, we heard a snort and turned to see a female moose and her calf joining the bull. This sounds like it was made up, but it happened. It was so unreal that we all had to remind ourselves that it was actually happening. As the day wore on, we started to get a bit tired. We stopped for lunch. Rested our feet. We seemed to be actually crossing over the mountain instead of going around it as we had planned. Had we missed the loop trail ? Impossible. It must be our imagination. Should we turn around ? Never! The weather was perfect, the scenery incomparable, we forged ahead in good spirits. Besides, we had already been walking for 4 hours, if we turned back now it would mean 4 hours back to the car. The loop had to be around here somewhere, maybe we were already headed back and just disoriented. We continued to be amazed by our surroundings. We stopped for water breaks and to rest our legs. A few hours later, all three of us were pretty exhausted. It was now about 4 o'clock and we were starting to feel concerned that we weren't back to the car yet. Hiking in Montana is not like hiking in North Carolina or West Virginia. You don't hang around in the woods at dusk or after the sun goes down. Why ? Grizzly Bears. Paranoid ? Well it just so happened that the area we were hiking in was also the "Grizzly Recovery Area" aka "Where Grizzlies from Yellowstone are dropped off when they start becoming a problem in the Park". Not such a big deal during the day, but not something to mess with in the dark. We had already been warned about the threat by our boss at the campground, earlier in the summer (he told us a lovely tale about a former employee who went missing one summer and all that they found was a small piece of his backpack). It didn't help that we found several gnawed up "animal" bones near a stream we crossed. Soon we started to panic (a little). It was actually starting to get dark and we had been hiking for hours, our feet were numb and our legs felt like Jello. Each time we came to a bend in the trail or a clearing up ahead we were sure this would be it - the parking lot. Nope. Just more trail. The sun was very low on the horizon and the shadows were lengthening. Katie and I shed a few tears as we thought of ways we could hide for the night just in case we didn't make it back before darkness decended. We were now stopping more frequently because our feet hurt so bad and were were almost out of water. Just when we thought we couldn't go on, we saw it, off in the distance, the trail head!!!!! We had made it!!!! We all hurried towards the road with sinking hearts, our car was gone. What?!?! Had someone stolen it ??!?? The parking lot looked a bit different from the one we remembered parking at in the morning. We flagged down a passing Ford Bronco on the (practically deserted) dirt road at the end of the lot. The man inside informed us that we were on the other side of the mountain from where we started, about 18 miles from the car. In shock we let the man drive away without even asking for a ride. Openly weeping now, Katie and I walked ahead of Stephen, praying for another car to pass so we could hitch a ride. This was out in the middle of nowhere folks. After 15 minutes or so, we heard another car headed in our direction. We tried to flag the driver down but he ignored us and kept driving. It was twilight now. Not long after the second car disappeared from sight, the Bronco returned. He came back to check on us thinking we might need a ride! The man was a saint. Turns out he was a fire jumper, from Virginia, out to fight the wildfires of the season. The three of us piled gratefully into his vehicle and thanked him with broken voices. We were saved, rescued by an angel from the Park Service.

Dixie Classic Fair - Fall 2000

Waterfall in Yellowstone (see Stephen on the far right)

The next day, while recovering from our hiking adventure, Stephen asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride in the Park (Yellowstone). I was so sore I could hardly walk, and told him as much. Thanks, but no thanks. How about we drive out to our favorite stream and sit on the boulders, it is, after all, my last day here, he reminded me. That sounded more my speed, so again we piled in the ol' Volvo and headed out. We got about a mile out of town when the car suddenly died. Just.. died. Stephen pulled over to the side of the road, practically hyperventilating. Relax, I urged him. It's an old car, I am sure it's something minor. We will just have to hitch back into town and get a tow. "This can't be happening! This can't be happening!!!" was his only response. I found it very curious that my laid back, chilled out boyfriend was freaking out over a broken down car - that was normally my role. Anyway, a van came by seconds later and offered to give us a ride into town. Montana folks are super helpful like that. Once in town we hired a tow truck and set about getting the car looked at by a mechanic. It was soon obvious it wasn't just a small problem - the engine had actually blown up. Funny, we didn't hear any explosion. Stephen suggested that we leave the car there for the night and I and my Dad (in NC) could figure out what to do about it tomorrow, when I got back from my airport run to Cody (4 hours one way). The same van stopped by at the mechanic's to see how we were getting along (see what I mean??) and gave us a ride back to the campground, where I assumed we would just hang out for the rest of the day. Not so. Stephen borrowed a car from one of our friend co-workers and off we went for another drive. This time headed for the Idaho border, only 7 short miles away. Just over the border, was a beautiful lake surrounded on all sides by towering mountains. Stephen pulled off of the road. He suggested we get out for a better view. As we stood by that fence, in the setting sun, Stephen asked me to be his wife. My engagement ring was (is) has a yellow Montana Sapphire that he bought from a miner/cook/cowboy that we worked with. A silversmith in town made it into a ring. Obviously, I said yes. We headed off for dinner, he had made a reservation at the Old Faithful Inn in the Park. I hardly remember what we ate, I was so excited about spending the rest of my life with my best friend. The next day I tearfully watched him leave for Florida. I spent the following few weeks working on getting the car fixed so I could get home (my sweet Dad had an engine shipped out from NC, and a mechanic in Bozeman - the only mechanic within 300 miles who worked on Volvos - changed out the motors). My parents came to see me at the end of the summer, and we spent several days touring around the area in a rental car while we waited for word that the Volvo was fixed and ready to be picked up. Finally, my dad had to head back to work and my mom and I stayed to wait for the car. Once it was ready, we drove back together, arriving home on my birthday, September 10th. Our trip home is another incredible story that will have to wait for another time. Three months later, on December 15th, 2001 Stephen and I were married. He was still in undergraduate school, I had no job and no money. All we had was a lease on an apartment (with a co-signer) in Sarasota and a car with a brand new engine. Here we are, six years later, it's hard to believe just how far we have come. The Lord has blessed us mightily. We have been through hard times and struggles, but we are still together and as cheesy as it sounds, the struggles have only made our marriage stronger. I don't really know how to describe just how much this relationship means to me, without sounding horribly mushy. I am so proud of where we have been, where we are, and where we are headed. I couldn't have done any of it without that curly headed kid that I had such a wicked crush on at camp.

Super Cheesy Freshman Year Art Student Photograph of Two Friends Madly in Love at Sunset in Winston-Salem - Fall 2000

I love you best friend...

Belated Family Visit..

Mary Larry and David were here visiting last weekend. For some reason I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have and consequently.. this is the best one of the lot (aside from those of us decorating the tree.. with me in my PJs..) I always find myself wishing I had taken more pictures after these family visits are over. At any rate, this picture captures the visit pretty well. We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone. Most of us were either sick or getting over a cold so we spent plenty of time indoors resting and relaxing as well as outside walking the streets of Park Slope. Thank you guys for coming to see us...such a blessing to have 2 sets of incredible parents. Love you guys.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow Day

A Winter Surprise
Solveig Paulson Russell

Last night while I was sleeping
The snow came softly down
And slipped on all the shrubbery
A shining snowflake gown.

I guess that every little bush
Felt startled with surprise,
To find itself a cotton plant
On opening up its eyes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The News from Lake Wobegon

I was feeling under the weather yesterday so I took the day off to stay indoors and rest. Stephen and I had tickets to see A Prairie Home Companion live at Town Hall last night. Garrison Keillor and his old time radio show are the zenith of nostalgia for me. I remember riding in the back of my parent's station wagon looking up at the stars on the way home from Elkin from visiting my grandmother, Nanny. The soundtracks to the Eldridge family car trips were usually something blue grass or whatever was on NPR, but on Sunday evening, no matter what was playing, we tuned in to Garrison's show. His stories and the news from Lake Wobegon became interwoven with my childhood memories to the same degree of permanence that Mister Rogers and Andy Griffith had. I always wondered why we didn't buy Powdermilk Biscuits (in the red and white box). Once, before I could read, I remember asking my mom if, what turned out to be a local State Farm agency, was the Powdermilk Biscuit store - the sign had red and white ovals that looked like biscuits to me. To this day when I think of my Dad, I think of conglomeration of Mister Rogers, Andy Griffith, and Garrison Keillor. It's funny how you draw from your environment as a child to create and understanding of another person. Of course I have other memories and impressions of the man himself, but somehow these 3 fictional characters wove their way into the fabric of my memory of my father. Sitting in the theater last night watching the performers put on their show, hearing Keillor's familiar nose whistle as he recounted stories and anecdotes from Minnesota, I felt so at home that I didn't even feel much of a thrill seeing him wandering on and off the stage in his red suede shoes and bright red socks. I just felt like I was back in that station wagon zipping through the mountains watching John sleep on his side of the back seat. Hands thrust in his pockets he bantered with the sound effects man during a bit about what a tourist could do to start to look like a true New Yorker and fit in with their surroundings. He had a wonderful jazz singer and guitar and accordion duet from Texas that blew the audience away. When the show was over, we wandered back outside and strolled to the subway in the icy air. Completely content, I was ready to crawl right in bed.

Once in back home in Brooklyn, Stephen and I were walking past the corner Mobil store when we noticed a man in a blue jacket laying on the pavement by one of the gas pumps. A woman walking her dog was staring at him and two young men filling up at the pump across the way looked in his direction with mild interest. We wondered aloud to each other if he was ok, and Stephen went right over to check on him. The man was not responsive and stared out at Stephen from blank confused eyes. He smelled very strongly of alcohol. Stephen pulled the man to his feet, continually asking if he was ok - no response. He decided to help him over closer to the store to sit on the curb. So Stephen half carried the staggering man as far as the air pump where he settled him against the air canister in a sitting position. The guy just slumped over and was still unable to speak though he seemed to be trying to say something and tears and snot were running down his face. We went inside the store to let them know that he was out there and that he looked like he was in trouble - they told us to go outside and tell the gas station attendant, it was not their concern. Confused, we went back outside to tell the gas station guy. He opened the door to his Plexiglas cube and stared out at the man. He then said that he was sure an ambulance would stop by soon, since they park there periodically during the day and that he did not "need to have to be answering questions for the Police!!" "As long as he doesn't die here it will be Ok." Excuse me..? We kept asking the guy to call 911 and restated over and over that that guy looked like he was in trouble. I have seen seriously intoxicated individuals but never someone who could not speak and had their eyes wide open like this guy did. He looked scared to me. None one seemed to care. We debated whether or not to call 911 ourselves and finally saw the guy in his box pick up the phone and call for help. Satisfied that help was on the way, we headed home. For a city that I have always found to be mostly friendly and helpful, I have to say I was sort of shocked to see these employees try so hard to ignore another human being who was obviously in serious distress.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two stories about why my day ended in tears..

WARNING: If you have a penis, or are uncomfortable with gynecological items, you may want to skip the first story and scroll down to story number two.

STORY #1 - "Don't be a snob!"

This morning (after taking a bath in the sink with microwaved water - they turned off our gas so they can install the new boiler) I went for my annual gynecological exam. I loved my doctor in New Jersey but now that I live in Brooklyn and no longer have a car, I thought I had better find a doctor in the city. Finding a female doctor that is covered by our insurance, in close proximity to my job turned out be a challenge. I tried getting referrals from other women I know but none were covered by my crappy sub-par insurance. I have been searching for a gynecologist in the city for weeks now and after hours of calls made and extended periods of being put on hold by various answering services, I finally found someone!!! I called last week and was able to make an appointment for today - excellent. The office was in an older building - big deal, so is my neuro's office and he is fantastic. Up the elevator I went. The actual office was a disaster. It was old and dirty looking, the curtains were so old what once had been white lace had turned a bright yellow. There were ugly drapes.. yes .. drapes shielding the exam rooms from view. " So what? " I thought " Don't be a snob. Maybe the doctor is just very thrifty!" Finally it was my turn. The nurse was super nice and pleasant as she led me into the exam room. "OMG.... Don't be a snob! Don't be a snob! Don't be a snob!" There was Duck tape on the exam table holding the decayed cover together. She was so nice that I focused on her pleasantries and tried to imagine just how amazing this thrifty doctor was going to be. Then the nurse left the room and I was alone. I looked around. Dirty brown carpet. A random Coke can on some odd looking desk thing. Dust encased plastic flowers on top of some sort of glass book case...no sink in the room. Hmm. Wonder how she washes her hands. Don't be a snob, Sarah!!!! Get over yourself. She is probably just older and doesn't see the need for a fancy schmancy office like you are used too. Medical supplies were haphazardly thrown here and there. Still.. what do I know about codes and what a doctor's office has to look like ? My eyes wondered to my left, to the large metal trash can next to the exam table. Looks clean enough. Then I saw it. I small pea green bucket on the floor between the table on which I sat, and the trash can. It looked old, and wet at the bottom. I figured maybe the patient before me was pregnant and perhaps it was there just in case she got sick - maybe she did get sick in it and they had just rinsed and sterilized it and it just hadn't dried yet. Yeah, that must be it. Tap. Tap. Here comes my fabulous doctor ready to reveal her fantastic gynecological knowledge to me. You can all see where this is headed but you can't imagine my horror when a rough looking woman in a stained white lab coat came into the room and stood without introducing herself. "Alright! Let's get to it!" She gave me the fastest breast exam I have ever had... then announced that it was time to put my heels in the stirrups. My this time I had figured out that I was not being a snob.. This place and this doctor were a complete horror show and I should have made up an excuse and run out of there that very second!!!! I think I was in shock because instead of running for my life, I obediently put my heels up. I could hear her rummaging around in the drawer of the table for the speculum. I took a deep breath and tried to relax but before I could exhale I felt that icy metal being jabbed home. No KY in sight. Uncomfortable is a very mild way to describe my feelings at that moment. Seconds later she had her sample and I heard the instrument hit the floor. That's right, she physically threw it after she was finished. I laid there in disbelief, wondering if I had wandered onto the set of some sort of made for television movie where the heroin is a teenage mom trying to make it in the back alleys of NYC. Nope. This was all sickeningly real. I struggled to sit up as the "doctor" rambled on and on about how she had always wanted to live in Alaska and grow flowers and stay indoors. Finally she left me to get dressed and that is when I noticed that she had not thrown the speculum onto the floor but instead had tossed it into that lovely green bucket next the trash can. Fighting nausea, I pulled on my clothes and paid my bill as cheerfully as possible. It was all so surreal that I couldn't even cry about it I just walked to work recounting the incident to Stephen over the phone repeating "Oh my god.. oh.. my.. god.. " over and over. The final blow came when I got to work and there was a message on my voicemail from the lovely doctor's office on Columbus Circle that I have been trying to get in touch with for weeks and weeks.......I made an appointment for a consultation in January.

STORY #2 - "911, what is your emergency?"

I trudged home tonight looking forward to going straight to bed. They completed the installation of the new boiler today so when I walked in the radiator by the front door was hissing and spitting. I walked upstairs to my apartment and when I opened the door I was greeted by the overwhelming smell of natural gas and a sharp hissing sound (no our radiator has never hissed in the kitchen). I panicked. I grabbed Oliver and ran downstairs to Matt and Lonna's but no one was home. Then I just went outside. I had Oli under one arm (no time for a leash) and was still clutching my mail in my other hand while I groped for my cell phone and debated whether or not I should call 911. I decided to call. What if it was actually gas and the building blew up?!? I debated whether or not to cross to the other side of the street. After giving my address and concerns to the fire department operator I called Stephen in tears. He was out to eat with his aunt Linda tonight and did he best to reassure me as I stood trembling on the sidewalk with my dog under my arm. The firetrucks arrived within moments.. 3 of them. The men lumbered out of the truck and went to work making sure the building was safe, commenting to each other on the fact that they were at this building only a week ago for an overheated boiler.. Once again.. you readers out there probably know the end of this story.. it was not natural gas that I smelled but simply the smell of a new boiler being broken in. It smelled a hell of a lot like natural gas to this girl. I could not keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks as, red faced, I thanked the fire chief and all his men for coming over. They assured me that they had checked everything and there was no natural gas or CO in the building and that I had done the right thing to call them and to please call them again if I needed to. Mortified, I locked the deadbolt behind them and climbed the stairs sobbing out loud. I came up to my apartment and cried it all out and now I feel much better.

Now, exhausted and emotionally drained from my exciting day I am going to get some ice cream and cuddle up with Stephen and Oliver.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks..

So, before I launch into the joys of our Thanksgiving feast at lunch time.. I must tell you about our fantastically exciting morning.

At about 5:30 on Thanksgiving Morning, we were all awakened by the a loud noise that sounded like thunder rolling without the loud crash at the end. Hmm.... wonder what that was...? Oh well.. guess I'll go back to sleep.... wait a minute... do you smell smoke ?! I feel like I smell smoke...Seriously Stephen!! I smell smoke!!!! No wait.. don't you smell it ? Is that a siren? Red flashing lights... There is actually a fire truck in front of our building but I don't think it's for our building (denial).. OH MY GOD MOM!!!! THEY ARE RUNNING UP TO OUR BUILDING!!!! STEPHEN GRAB THE DOG!!!! THEY ARE IN OUR BUILDING!!!!!

That's right, our building was on fire...or so we thought. Soon New York's finest were running up our stairs telling us to stay inside and open all of our windows. Moments later they told us to leave the building. Our boiler overheated, filling the building with smoke and steam and more importantly...carbon monoxide...Loads of it. The sound we heard, that thankfully woke all of us up, was the sound of bricks falling from our ancient chimney and blocking up the exhaust pipe for the boiler, causing it to overheat and sending the CO into our living spaces. Our amazing first floor neighbors, awakened by the same noise we were, smelled the smoke first and went down to the basement to investigate. Finding it full of steam and smoke they called 911. I shudder to think what might have happened if none of us had woken up...or the same thing had happened while we were all at work, with only the animals at home...horrible. We checked out the chimney later in the day and there is no mortar left in between the bricks.. they are all ready to fall. As of now we are on our second day without heat. Praise the Lord that they did not have to turn off the gas so we still have hot water and are able to cook.... It was really scary. Now we are just scared that our landlord will cut corners and not repair everything properly and the whole thing could happen again...

Anyway.. I guess you could say we had/have a lot to be thankful for..

.. and then there was the meal...Mom helped with everything and our all natural Kosher brined turkey turned out to be fantastically delicious!! We had all the usual sides, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Thank goodness it was super warm that day so we could air the place out while we were cooking..

The man of the house.

Mom and me :)

Dad and me :)

We are having a fantastic visit, can't believe it's almost over..

Monday, November 12, 2007

What is wrong with me..?

This morning I was walking through the Mobil Station parking lot at the end of my street on my way to the train when I saw a dollar bill in the middle of the pavement. It was not near any cars or people, just lying there all alone..folded in thirds. I bent down to pick it up and immediately started looking around for the owner. One of the gas station employees was walking toward the building so I popped one of my ear-buds out and hurried in his direction with the dollar. "I just found this in the parking lot." I announced, handing him the crumpled bill. I didn't even wait for a reply but turned on my heel and jammed my bud back into my ear. I was already late as it was. I did, however, linger just long enough to see/hear the Mobil employee snicker at me with a rather disgusted look on his face. Why did he laugh at me and why did he look annoyed? Maybe he thought I was a goody-two-shoes ..whatever that means. I personally have no idea what possessed me to to turn in a one dollar bill. All I know is that I suddenly felt naked and exposed there in the bright morning sun in the middle of the parking lot. I felt like everyone in the vicinity could see me and see that I was picking up some money from the ground, and in that moment I couldn't bare to be the one who took something that didn't belong to them. So I passed the buck, and walked away feeling morally clean and sparkling fresh. Crazy as it is, I think I would have thought about that dollar all day if I had pocketed it myself. None of this is to say that I think picking up abandoned money on the ground is a bad thing.. I mean within reason of course. I guess I just chose to go with my gut in a split second and not argue with myself. Well.. except until now. Now I wonder why I thought I was so high and mighty. Sort of feel like a pharisee or something. Like I wanted everyone to see my good deed of turning in one dollar to the parking lot owner's employee. But the truth is, it wasn't like that. In that moment I was sure that I could not put it in my wallet, and I still feel like I made the right decision. I must be losing my mind. It was one dollar. One..dollar. I must be losing it for sure.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Warm wind from the west..

I received a surprise package late last week from some good friends out west. Don, Nicki and Summer.. thank you so much for the vase and the wonderful letter. You were right, Summer, it looks perfect in our place! One of these days, Stephen and I hope to make it out to see you guys. Here's hoping that is sooner than later.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Stephen !!!

Today, Stephen Michael, you are 27 years old. Happy Birthday sweet boy. I wanted spare the world all of the sentimental things that I would like to say to you .. so instead here are the Top Ten reasons you are the best husband on the planet:

10. You do the laundry every week without fail - so that I don't have to

9. You make me breakfast every morning and never make me feel guilty for sleeping those few extra minutes

8. You walk Oliver every day

7. You always close the shower curtain to help me in our fight against the evil mold and mildew of Sunset Park

6. You not only wipe the rim and put the seat down.. you close the lid (read it and weep ladies)

5. You give the best foot massages in Brooklyn

4. You never judge me when I am cranky

3. You are always supportive when I am having a bad day and just need to cry it out

2. You always smell good

1. You love me more than I ever dreamed anyone could

You are my best friend and I couldn't be where I am today without you. I love you so so so much. Thank you for choosing me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Marathon Day!!!!!!!!!

Today was marathon day. I woke up at 5 am this morning unable to go back to sleep, worried that I might not see my friends as they ran past... what can I say ...? I was excited. Mike and Gina signed me up to receive updates on their progress in my blackberry so with that, the careful chart that Gina put together, indicating where she expected to be and when, and our bright red team t-shirts, we were ready. I wanted to make sure we made it out there before the runners go to our block and sure enough, this is what it was like at 10:30 this morning. Neighbors slowing lining up, a band playing in the Mobil Station parking lot. I was still so excited I couldn't even go with Stephen to get coffee, thinking I might miss something (even though neither Mike or Gina were to arrive any time soon).

Then, off in the distance.. a lone pack of runners...

.. and so it began.

..police escort...

..and another tight pack of runners..

.. they started to trickle by..

.. the trickle got larger..

..and larger. There were 40 thousand runners today.. 40 thousand. We stood and cheered and clapped, calling out runners names for encouragement - most have their names on the fronts of their shirts for this very reason. Pretty soon Gina called (yes, she had her cell phone with her) to say she was at 53rd, about 20 blocks away. The excitement was building.

In no time at all there she was! She is the one in the middle of the picture in the orange shirt and purple shorts (not the woman with her arms raised.. she thought we were cheering for her). We cheered an got/gave high fives. We were supposed to leave right then to head to Manhattan to meet the rest of the members of the posse, but we hadn't seen Mike yet and I was afraid we had missed him. We stayed a few more minutes just in case he had started later than Gina did. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later there he was! I was looking the other way and he came up so fast I didn't get a picture but high fives were enjoyed by all! Off to Manhattan we went!

This is still Brooklyn.. look at the people!!!!!!!!! We had been standing there for over an hour and they were still coming as far as you could see.

High fives are sort of a Brooklyn thing, as I understand it.

The posse on our way to 1st Avenue. We almost got crushed trying to get there - so many people I literally had trouble breathing at one point, my chest was actually compressed from the pressure of the crowd.

Here are the runners on 1st Avenue. We got there and pushed around trying to get close to the street so Mike and Gina would be able to see us and moments after we chose a spot, Mike came jogging past! We all screamed his name at the top of our lungs but he was in a zone or had his iPod on or something so he didn't hear us :) But we were there cheering anyway! Right between the 16th and 17th mile.

Gina saw us though! There she is in her purple shorts again! Both she and Mike looked so good, keeping a nice steady pace and looking like they were out for a leisurely jog. Awesome!
The posse got so excited that we all decided to head up the Bronx to try to see them again. We jumped on the subway and headed towards 138th Street. On the way we worried that we might not get there in time so we got out in Harlem at 125th Street and sprinted to 1st Avenue to cheer our runners.

At this point the runners are at 20 miles and it is getting very difficult. They all need as much support as they can get. We knew Mike was too fast for us and that we had probably already missed him at his lightening pace, but we thought that we still might be able to catch Gina since her pace was slightly behind his. We were there for what felt like 3o minutes or more before my blackberry got the latest alert letting us know she had already passed us! We had missed her by minutes! Oh well. I cheered myself hoarse for total strangers and was excited to do it, so no harm done. Just sorry we didn't get to see our guys before this particularly brutal leg of the race. The Bronx does not have many spectators and there is apparently a really difficult hill there. We were with you guys in spirit!!!

Here they are, entering the bridge that will take them to the Bronx and eventually back to Manhattan and the finish line in the park. I am happy to report (according to my blackberry) that both Gina and Mike finished the race in fantastic time.

What a great afternoon, racing around the boroughs cheering for friends. Seeing the happy faces of perfect strangers when you called out their name - "Good job Kelly!! Way to stick with it Dave!!" - made my weekend. Nice work everyone.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I tried to load pictures just now but after the 3rd attempt I gave up. Blogger must be having issues this morning. Or maybe it's my worn out iMac. Either way, I will try to put them on later today.

Today is cold and windy outside, the perfect day to spend inside the Met or the Natural History Museum. We are doing some housework this morning and then we may head to one of those places. Oliver is a warm ball in my lap. This is his morning nap time and he tries to soak in as much lap time as he can when one of us is sitting down.

I bought a new address book this week. It is really neat. Each letter is a different typeset from the past 200 years and it has the entire alphabet (in that particular historical font) engraved on the divider page for each letter. We have had our current address book for the past 5 (almost 6) years. Bought it at Target with wedding present credit. It is looking pretty ratty.
As I brought my purchase to the cashier in Kate's Paperie, she remarked at how cool the address book was. "I don't even own an address book so I couldn't even justify buying it!" I was a bit taken aback by her comment and stammered something about being my being old fashioned. As I left it hit me. That must be why they had such a poor selection of address books. Does no one use an address book anymore? Do people really keep all their contact information on a computer or cell phone? Surely not. When I got back to work I asked some co-workers if they had an address book and they all said no. ?!?!?!?!? Seriously?? I guess I really am old fashioned. I love having all the addresses of my friends and family in a comforting little spiral bound book. When I see it on the shelf it makes me want to write a letter. A real letter not an email. Maybe my thing for address books is linked to my love of letter writing. Maybe it is evidence of my distrust for new technology. What do people do when their computer crashes and they lose all their contacts ? Start fresh? No thank you! Am I the only one who keeps their loved one's info in hard copy? Have address books gone the way of telephone dialers and become something for the eccentric and eclectic ? If so, that makes me sad. In this age when some prefer to send a text message than speak directly to someone, I think the address book may be an example of the last vestige of person to person communication. Surely someone else still keeps theirs ? Is it just New York...?

Moving on, tomorrow is the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last year I think I slept through it or had a migraine or something. This year Stephen and I are cheering on two of my work friends, Gina and Mike (MKD under my links on the right). They have both been training hard and are tapered and ready to run the heck out of this thing!!! The race runs right down 4th Avenue at the end of our block. We even have team t-shirts (from Gina) and we will be cheering for them here in Brooklyn before racing to Manhattan to meet some other cheering section members and cheer at 61st and 1st. It makes watching the race so much more exciting when you are cheering with a purpose. I will be sure to take lots of pictures.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

For Angie with love from Ollie

Presenting Oliver... as Oliver Twist the orphan puppy.

"Please sir.. may I have some more..?"

Happy Halloween everybody!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Candy Apple

We bought a new computer this past weekend. Well, almost new, new to us at least. Our first iMac is on the verge of death and we have started to take precautions, like keeping everything vital on our external hard drive. The iMac is our first Mac and it has been a loyal friend and companion for 4 years and counting. I have been wanting a laptop for the last year or so because I would love to be able to write somewhere other than this desk (preferably at the Red Horse Cafe or propped up in bed with the pup). So I started scanning craigslist for a G3 iBook, since these are old enough to be super cheap ($200-$375) and are a great small size and still have enough updated software to be useful to me since all I wanted it for was writing. I found a couple of good prospects but with the release of Apple's new Leopard operating system looming, I worried that the G3 might not be as easily upgraded and might run much slower if I chose to install said upgrade.. this post is getting boring.

Cut to the point.

I decided to see if I could find the next generation (G4) for a reasonable price and after one search - VOILA! Not only did I find a G4 for a super duper price, but it came with all the software and a brand new battery ! I got a really good gut feeling so the seller and I agreed on a meeting point and Stephen and I met him (super nice guy.. very good trustworthy vibes) at a Starbuck's near West 4th and made the trade. He gave us a bill of sale and as it turned out the computer looked like it was right out of the box! PERFECT condition. I could go on and on but I am starting to feel like it might not be a good idea to tell the world at large what an incredible piece of technology I have in my home.....feeling a little momentary vulnerability. Suffice it to say it was a super blessing and the boy who didn't want to fix his images for submission to galleries has been on the thing non-stop since we got it, Photoshopping his way to beautiful slides!!! I am a happy.. HAPPY artists wife !!!

In case you are worried, like I was, about the software not being reinstalled for our personal use etc.. thus eliminating the worry of possible spyware being on it.. he reinstalled everything himself.. and every program we have opened on the computer has done that thing they do when they are fresh and you have to go through the steps of setting them up. Yay !

New York Moment of the Day:

Another subway wonder. I rode home tonight in the 3-seater seat on the D (you guys know what I am talking about right?? the 3-seater vs. the 2-seater next to the window?). I was in the far right seat against the metal arm rest/cage bar/divider. A tall slender gentleman in black rimmed glasses was in the far left. Along comes a very ..robust... bald man in his fluffy winter coat. He takes a look at that middle seat, turns and aims his tush, holds his breath and lowers himself onto that 10 inch yellow square exhaling as he landed. My co-sitter, on the far left, was nearly squirted off the seat like a watermelon seed while I was smashed against the metal bar. The train was packed so I weighed my options. I could read Diary of a Mad Housewife standing clinging to one of any number of greasy poles or I could hug the bar, try not to breathe too deeply, and crank up my iPod to the distraction level. I chose the latter. Each time we came to a stop this man allowed his full bulk to crush me against the bar. He did more than the slight lean, he did not attempt to maintain his balance once and instead chose to read his book with the elbows out to his sides and smash me into jelly each time the driver put the break on. It's bad enough to be touched by a stranger, but to be pummeled by one?! I glanced in disgust, I glared in annoyance, I think I winced a few times in his direction. Nothing seemed to get through. I suppose I should have asked him to cut it out, but I am a passive aggressive wimp in these types of circumstances. So instead, I am leaving him a note:

Dear Middle Seat Guy,

I am a small girl and easily bruised. I respectfully request
that you keep your bulk upright, your elbows on your side
and immediately cease and desist crushing me.
Should you choose to ignore my humble plea, I will be forced
to increase the volume on my iPod to such a level as to make
the Journey hits I am listening to audible at a 10 foot radius.
That.. and I will stab you in the thigh with my shiv.

Best Regards,

Brunette To Your Right

Monday, October 29, 2007

On my way home tonight...

..I went the underground super secret spy tunnel route to the N train under 1251 Avenue of the Americas. When I emerged, it was twilight and Times Square was just starting to glow. For some reason, when it gets cold like it was today, Times Square just starts to feel kind of magical in a way that makes me wish I had a balcony nearby that I could sit and view it from. But I don't, so off to Trader Joe's I went to collect milk and eggs and ingredients for the vegetable soup that we are having tomorrow night. The line was wrapped around the entire interior of that crowded space. Sometimes I liken grocery shopping around here to a meditative yoga practice. One must take a deep breath, clear one's mind of things that are waiting to be done outside of this present environment. Wait patiently for your turn to enter the frozen foods aisle. Wish kindness to all God's creatures who show up to do their day's shopping. The kindly elderly lady who insists on pushing one of those little red carts up and down each lane to support her loaf of bread and bottle of cranberry juice while she wonders at the marvels of frozen tamales and salmon steaks. The NYU student there showing their parents just how well they are able to eat on that $25 a week they have for sustenance. The political analyst that needed a few extra Luna bars and cups of yogurt to get her through the week, chatting animatedly on her cell about the merits of the current democratic front runners (she feels Obama is too standoffish). There are the married couples that tag-team the list, one holds their place in the interminable line while the other gathers the necessary items, bringing them back to home base. Stephen and I take this approach when we go together. Tonight it was just me and I squirmed my way around the store gathering alone, careful not to exceed 12 items as that line was only wrapped around to the bread section and the other stretched beyond the produce. I stood in my spot and thought about my day. I investigated the new product shelves as the line crept towards the registers. I felt entirely at peace, smiling in a daze at the woman who charged over my toe with her cart. I think I was even humming Saint Saens Danse Macabre, my favorite classical piece at this time of year. Maybe that sounds a little spooky but if I was not embarrassed to take a picture in there on days like this.. you would see and understand that you practically have to put yourself in a trance to get in and out of there with your sanity intact. I have mastered this skill and now look on my visits to TJ's as the ultimate exercise in patience, particularly after a long day at work.

I can hear the fog horns from the tug boats and barges blowing out on the water. I am reminded every time I hear that sound, that we live on an island. Surrounded by water on all sides. I sometimes forget just how close we are to that water. I almost always mistake the first tug boat blast of the evening for my cell phone, vibrating somewhere in the house.

Good-night all.

Quote of the week:

"Never follow a hippie to a second location."
Jack Donagey - 30 Rock

Song/Video of the week (possibly the year, thanks Skiles.. I have a new obsession)
"Business Time" - Flight of the Concords
(see link at top right of the screen... you know you want to click it..Each version is a masterpiece but I recommend the 2nd box down for beginners)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I set out to write a more serious post today but as you can see from my two previous attempts this evening, I am having difficulty concentrating. This will be my 3rd and final attempt to say what is really on my mind.

I got a call last night from my brother, John. I was already asleep so he left a voicemail, which I retrieved this morning, letting me know that he would be in the city today on business and would I have time to get together before he had to head back to Florida with the rest of his management team. I called him back to let him know that I would make myself available and that he could call me when he was ready and I would meet him wherever he was.. as long as it wasn't too far from Rock Center, I do abide by the 1 hour lunch rule at my office. I left another voicemail a little before lunch time, reiterating my interest in getting together. I carried my cell phone with me to the copy room, the kitchen, the conference room to listen to the caterer give his pitch for the tasting we had scheduled today. I trudged back to my office afterward feeling like he might not be able to meet up anyway, maybe he wasn't able to get a free moment. It was already after 2:30 so I threw myself back into the expense reimbursements I had been generating for the fall call-back students. My phone buzzed, startling me as it always does (I should really change that setting). It was him. He and his work friends were headed to Bar Americain on 52nd between 6th and 7th, very near my office, and would I like to meet them there. I dropped everything. I was in the middle of sending a reimbursement request to another law firm and I had to force myself to finish putting it in the envelope before grabbing my tote bag and bolting out of the office. I wore my heels instead of changing into my walking shoes, since it was so close by. I called Stephen to announce that I was on my way to meet John and that I might need to work a little late tonight to make up for the extra time that I might end up spending with him, constituting an extended lunch break. Stephen was amenable as always and asked that I give his greeting to John. I hurried along the sidewalk, finally reaching the flimsy brass revolving door and pushed my way into the empty restaurant. I tried to explain to the hostess that I was there to meet a party that was already seated and that they may not have had a reservation, all the while glancing around for any sign of my little brother. I saw his group in the corner, his back was to me. He turned and rose from his seat, calmly walking over to give me a hug around the shoulders. I wanted to grab him in a bear hug and drag him out of that midtown hell-hole to a bench in the park where we could sit and visit, just the two of us. Resisting this urge, I followed him back to his table and proceeded to make small talk with his colleagues until they began to talk amongst themselves and we were able to visit a little, one on one. He gave me the latest update on Mariel and Zin and explained the event that he and his team were here in New York for. I sipped my Coke while he discussed his options for using up his remaining vacation days before the end of the year. He can't take off in November or December so he has the few remaining days in October to use up the 5 days he has left. He sat there talking to me.. talking to his work buddies... In his navy suit and pale blue tie. My brother, here in New York for the day. My brother in midtown eating lunch. John meeting me for lunch in New York. It was so surreal. I never see my brother and to spend unexpected time together was hard to grasp. Before I knew it we were saying goodbye outside on the sidewalk and I was teetering my way back to the office. Back to my everyday. Back to those people that I spend more hours with than my family. Back to tiptoeing around bad moods and feigning polite interest in the wellbeing of those returning from extended medical leave. These are the sort of days that make me feel caged. Caged in my tiny windowless office (yes, I have an office now.. but no window). Caged in my highrise in midtown Manhattan. Caged in New York. Caged in the subway, I actually had an attack of claustrophobia on the way home tonight. I feel trapped on days like this. I don't really know why. Normal people meet their siblings from out of town for lunch and then head back to work when their hour is up. That is a normal thing to do. Somehow that sort of departure from my everyday rattles me out of my dazed existence and reminds me that I am not at home. I am painfully aware that I am not a New Yorker and reminded of the fact that I can't just drop in on my family whenever I feel like it... thankful that John had the opportunity to drop in on me.

The Eye Of The Tiger

Malani and Michael got married on Saturday!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!! WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!
After a very short and super sweet ceremony the happy couple entered the reception from a second level balcony in the ball room to the tune of Eye of the Tiger slapping each other high fives and doing a spectacular Rocky III impersonation (sans Adrienne .. of course).

Early in the evening everyone was clean (pronounced sober), wrinkle free and pleasant. See how happy Carol and Kane are ?! So sweet!! Sadly, our pictures didn't turn out so well so I can't show you how snazzy Stephen and looked in our formal attire but believe me when I say we were smokin'! We had such a fantastic time from start to finish. The reception was a whirlwind of dancing with a few forks full of the delectable fare thrown in for energy sake.. I have never been to a wedding where they started dancing before the first course even came out! It was all fun and games....... and then someone at our table threw up... UNDER the table.. and suddenly the food was not nearly as appetizing and everyone hit the dance floor and didn't look back!

...and that is how we found ourselves here.. at the end of the evening. The blushing bride having taken refuge on the floor to rest her tired feet.... Carol's shoe carefully placed in her cleavage for safe keeping.. Stephen offering her an avocado from one of the centerpieces .. fresh guacamole anyone ?

Marji...? How about you.. fresh guac sounds good about now, right ?

Atta girl.