Monday, June 28, 2010

Imagine . . . Strawberry Fields, The Met(s) and Carnegie Deli

There aren't really any strawberries in Strawberry Fields. Just this mosaic tribute to John Lennon. But, none-the-less it's a beautiful area in Central Park. The highlight of this particular excursion to Central Park however, was not seeing all the teary eyed hippies in tie dye holding vigils for the Beatles, it was seeing the Central Park Skate Dancers. There were skaters of all ages breaking it down to disco music. It took me back to my junior year of high school; the class above my year had an alarming fixation on disco skating.

I love this guy:

Anyway, Amelia was enthralled and we stood and watched the skate dancers for a long time.

We eventually wandered our way over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and soaked up some culture there for a couple hours. We are great fans of classic sculpture.

Amelia was especially delighted to see the "kitty." Luckily kitties like this live deep down in the subway and we haven't seen any above ground as of yet.

The Egyptian Art wing of the museum is also pretty impressive. Here's Pete with one of his new demigod pals.

We also tried to visit the new Picasso exhibit at the museum but it was on the rather crowded side of life and the babe was really restless and making a great deal of charming toddler noises and we were getting devil glares from so many middle aged tourists in visors and tube socks that we left. I don't much fancy Picasso anyway.

After leaving the Museum we headed to Carnegie Deli for dinner. The menu is very amusing; not a single sandwich under $18. Of course you realize what an incredible deal you are getting when your sandwich appears and it is roughly large enough to feed a family of five. Here's my chicken salad BLT:

And on Wednesday we went to a Mets game. Every time I mention this people get all agitated and ask me if I'm a Mets fan while looking as if they are preparing to beat me senseless. I'm not really a big Mets fan. Or even a little one really; in fact I'd never seen them play before. But Pete got tickets through L'Oreal and we thought it would be a good laugh so we went. We actually wanted to go to both a Mets game and a Yankees game while we're here to fully experience New York life.

The game wasn't overly exciting; the Mets beat the Tigers 5 to 0. But the new Mets stadium is pretty impressive. And Pete almost caught a T-shirt shot into the crowd but let the kid in front of us catch it instead. Chivalrous.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Subways, Central Park and Pastries

The time has come once again to update the hiegh ho bloggio. And I must say, what an adventurous life we do lead! Why, the subway itself provides material for hours of amusing entertainment.

And sometimes terror.

So far, my favorite episodes in the Subway Diaries include the appearance of a three part Mariachi Band (including an accordion) in full authentic costume. They boarded the train and regaled us all with a quick chorus of La Bamba before passing a hat and dashing out at the next stop. Sadly, I did not have any change to drop in the oversized stetson when it came my way.

I also particularly enjoyed a hellfire and damnation sermon given with great vigor by an elderly gentleman the other day. As one who has some experience sharing the Good Word with people who just wish you would go away, I felt he did a fairly decent job. Until he started waffling on confessing all his sins as an illustration of how good and forgiving God is. He needs a good skills training.

We've had some good times riding around on more ferries. Amelia seems to be getting her sea legs sans problems. I may have to start calling her Ishmael. (Moby Dick reference for those of you who can't be bothered reading the classics. And really, in this case you're not missing much.)

Here are some pics to say the thousand words I don't want to write:

"There are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese."

Amelia inspecting the safety equipment aboard our noble vessel; Senator John J. Marchi.

Making friends with the natives.

Central Park also deserves a bit of a shout out, as Pete and I were discussing recently that there probably wouldn't be enough oxygen in this city without it. And it's a pretty good place for pygmies like Amelia to run about making the most of their childhoods.

And finally, we visited the infamous Magnolia Bakery. Infamous that is among bakery loving types and Food Network junkies like my husband and myself. If you are ever in New York and you fancy a quick bite of something sweet, this is not the place to go. I think we waited in line for 15 minutes and that was before the line got really long. It was as if I was at Disney Land or something.

But the mini keylime cheesecake I got was really quite tasty. Credit where it is due. I bet Pete could replicate it though. No prob.

Speaking of Pete the Mighty Baker; for Father's Day Amelia and I got him this:

Actually he ordered it for himself and called it his Father's Day present. It's the textbook used at the most prestigious pastry school in New York. He wanted a textbook for Father's Day--weird.

I'm beginning to think we are in New York for an entirely different reason than landing a fabulous job in marketing with an international cosmetics empire. Sneaky Pete.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Le Weekend

(Its Fronch because not many people seem to speak English here and I don't know Spanish, Polish or Lithuanian.)

Pete and I have made the goal to use each weekend we are here to maximum potential exploring and experiencing New York--we don't want to go home and say "Oh, we should have done that but we just never got to it."

So, we spent our first weekend in New York visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

I've visited Lady Liberty in Paris (and in Las Vegas) but somehow its different in New York. It's more meaningful to look at her face and think about the millions of people whose dreams of finally seeing her standing in the bay were the only thing that kept them from loosing their minds entirely as they sailed for months on filthy, lice infested ships from the only land and family they had ever known.

She is beautiful. I've never realized how beautiful she really is.

As Pete, Amelia and I were waiting in line to board the ferry to the island we were absorbed by a tour group of people from India. I think they may have taken more photos of Amelia throughout the day than they did of the statue. Among the tour group was a man who is a practicing ophthalmologist back in India, and he actually gave Amelia a thirty second eye exam on the spot. He then patted Pete's shoulder and told him she would be alright. That was good to hear.

We were unable to get tickets to go inside the statue as they were sold out, but I wasn't overly upset about that because strollers aren't allowed in the statue and there are over 300 stairs inside. A recipe for nothing good.

Luckily, Pete and I planned this trip with some friends who are also here interning this summer, so we actually got a couple family pics.

This last one I took myself. I had to, it's tradition.

I took photos of Pete and me kissing in front of every tourist attraction we visited in Ireland and England--although I felt a bit silly doing that in front of Buckingham Palace. What would Her Majesty think if she saw such displays of propinquity outside her front door??

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back to the Book

It's a rainy day in New York City, so I decided to write a novel. Literally.

Actually, those of you who know me know I've been working on a novel for a long time, or more accurately, I worked on a novel a long time ago. It has been in storage hibernating (hopefully not fermenting) for a little over a year.

But now that I'm no longer a working momma I've determined to pick it back up. I made a new revision of the first chapter this morning, an excerpt of which I'll include below.

Feel free to read it, comment, and give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, but if you're just going to comment to tell me I'm a terrible writer and will never make it as a young adult author, you're welcome to keep your comments to yourself.

Here it is, the beginning of my book:

Angela sat on a bench facing the school counselor’s office and stared at the door. School was out for the day, and there were only a couple of students left roaming the halls. If she waited too much longer a custodian or someone would walk by and tell her to go home. Angela didn’t know how long the counselor stayed after school, but she hadn’t seen the woman with the brassy bouffant leave yet, and she had been sitting here for about a half an hour.

I should just go home. Ms. Jenkins probably has super important things to do—like practice her defense for when someone figures out she has her own personal hole in the ozone layer. Angela almost smiled as a mental image of the Green Police storming the school to take down Ms. Jenkins and her eco-aggressive hair played out in her mind.

But she still couldn’t make herself get up walk away. This was too . . . big.

Actually, Ms. Jenkins would probably love this. I bet this is the most action she’s seen in this high school in years; something juicier than an eating disorder or another cheerleader getting pregnant. She’d be in heaven if she knew. Bet she’d call a press conference or try to get on Oprah or something to talk about how she singlehandedly saved a poor, misused girl from a life of degradation and crime, and exposed an evil conspiracy to corrupt today’s youth. She might write a book with one of those glamour shots of herself on the back. Of course, she’d have to be looking really concerned about the underprivileged, troubled teens she rescues in the glamour shot.

But as much as Angela would love to hand Ms. Jenkins her big break to fame and stardom, this was bigger than Ms. Jenkins’ aspirations. Or her hair. This was about Mindy.

Mindy was Angela’s best friend. Actually, Mindy was her only friend, and if Angela walked into the counselor’s office and told what she knew, Mindy would never forgive her and maybe even get taken away. Then Angela would be alone again.

Mindy had moved to Angela’s school at the beginning of freshman year. She was shy like Angela, or at least quiet, and she was really big too. They became friends when they had gym class together and were always the last ones to finish running the mile, although Mindy always blamed it on her asthma.

Mindy was Angela’s salvation. When they were alone she made Angela laugh so hard that the muscles in her stomach and throat would ache, and even better than that, now Angela had someone to eat lunch with at school instead of hiding in the girls’ bathroom like she had done for most of middle school.

Angela closed her eyes. This really is none of my business. Mindy’s a big girl, she can do what she wants. The only reason she even told me is because she trusts me. Just forget about it and go home.

But Angela knew she couldn’t forget about it. She had been not forgetting about it the whole weekend. She thought about how all this had started, at least for her, when Mindy all of a sudden had the flashy iPod she had been lusting after for weeks.

“Whoa,” Angela said turning it over in her hands, admiring the sleek lines “How did you get the money for this? Did your dad send it to you as a really late birthday present or something?”
“Um, no.” Mindy brushed her hair out of her eyes and looked away. They were sitting on the floor of her bedroom, and she seemed suddenly intrigued by something invisible in the carpet.
“Well where did you get it? Did your mom get some crazy good discount?” Angela couldn’t really picture Mindy’s mom buying anything so expensive for her. They were always tight on money.
“It was a gift, okay?” Mindy grabbed the iPod back and looked at it in her hands.
“From who?” Angela couldn’t remember Mindy ever mentioning any rich grandmas, or anyone who sent gifts before. Mindy didn’t look at Angela for a minute. She was acting kinda weird, it made Angela nervous. A thought occurred to Angela; She didn’t steal it did she?
“Ang, can you keep a secret? I mean promise not to tell anyone?” Mindy’s voice was mock-confidential and whispery, like there were suddenly plying a hilarious game of truth or dare, but she still didn’t look up at Angela. She was staring at the iPod.
“Yeeaaah,” Angela answered slowly. This was definitely weird, suddenly Angela wasn’t so sure she wanted to know where it came from.

That's all for now. I know it still needs work; I'm actually feeling kind of rusty after having not touched this story in so long. Hopefully I can get back in my groove soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Be It Ever So Ghetto . . .

We are here. (For those of you who don't know, here means Manhattan.)

It was not the easiest-breeziest process to get here; we ended up having to completely move out of our apartment which was not in our original plan, so Pete and I spent the last few days packing, cleaning and re-packing and re-cleaning everything that the babyface decided to "help" with.

And whose idea was it anyway to take a toddler on a midnight flight?? Mine I suppose. We were under the impression that because of the late hour Amelia would sleep the whole time. We were incorrect.

She was so happy roaming around the airport in her cute little pajamas before we boarded the plane. Everyone around us was smiling at her and talking to her, pretty much thinking she was the cutest kid they had ever seen--which is correct. But as soon as we were on the airplane Amelia somehow realized that it was about three and a half hours past her bedtime and proceeded to whine, fuss and finally scream for the next two hours.

She eventually did fall asleep, but neither Pete or I could get any sleep for fear of moving and waking up the poor kid.

When we finally arrived in NY she woke up and was perfectly charming, her usual self again. Pete and I on the other hand were both a bit wrecked from the sleepless flight and crashed as soon as we got to our apartment at seven in the morning.

Which brings me to our apartment. I like it. I really do. It's fully furnished, and because we've already been here to see it once before, feels familiar and comfortable.

But I can't say I'm overly enchanted with the neighborhood. The elevator appears to be about 70 years old with a broken window. The basement laundry facility looks like something out of a cliche horror film and the park across the street is nowhere near as nicely kept as Nielson's Grove. Litter and bits of halfhearted graffiti decorate the streets.

But we are here. Pete went off to his first day of work this morning (kind of like a kid on his fist day of school--he kept asking me if he looked all right and if I thought he'd be able to get there on time. I'm fairly certain he'll be about a half hour early).

I don't know what adventures the babes and I will get up to today, I was thinking we'd possibly try to find the nearest library. Or we might just get lost and wander, that could be okay too. Either way, photos to come!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

We visited my grandparents' graves for Memorial Day and Auntie Al requested that I dress the babydoll in her sailor dress to be festive. (Can one be festive for Memorial Day?)

Afterward we had a picnic on the lawn of an elementary school near the cemetery; which was rather fitting as it was same elementary school playground where Peter and I kissed for the first time and it was our wedding anniversary. So we memorialized that too.

Side note: lest anyone think we are utterly unromantic and choose to observe our anniversary by visiting graveyards, please know that we've been celebrating our anniversary in snatches here and there for the last few days, starting with dinner at the Tuscany, which was fab. Also, I purchased this gorgeous cake stand:

Because we both wanted it and it was on SALE at Old Town Imports. Check them out, I love their serve ware.

And Pete wrote me a song. But I promised him I wouldn't post the lyrics on my blog, so sorry to those of you who are curious. Just know it's very sweet and I got a bit teary when he sang it to me.

Now back to packing and cleaning.