Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene has Run

This has been an eventful weekend--in a boring sort of way.

Basically, life has been suspended indefinitely as the entire Eastern Coast of the United States collectively holds its breath waiting to see what exactly Irene has in mind. It's my first hurricane. And I was curious to see how this would all go down.

Sadly (but I guess it really is for the best) there is not much to report. My little family has spent nearly the entirety of the last 48 hours indoors. We are safe and well. We have power. We have yet to break into our three and a half cases of water we stocked up on in preparation for this storm (we have started snacking on the granola bars and peanut butter filled pretzels though. Tasty.)

So how have we been passing the time? Other than eating? Well, let me me tell you; there has been a lot of watching the news, interspersed with a little Peter Pan, Finding Nemo and The Jungle Book; a fair amount of coloring; some Ring-Around-the-Rosie; a bit of baking; and a lot a lot a lot of playing with my new Nikon D3100.

Oh, did I mention I got a new camera? It's a nice one. Pete and I bought it as a consolation prize after we we missed the charter bus that was supposed to take us to his company party somewhere in upstate New York. I guess he never got the email telling us to be there at 8:45 instead of 9:30, which was the original time. Sad.

So instead of spending the entire day with a whole bunch of professional people I don't know who are still incredulous that Pete is actually married and has 1.75 children, by choice, and at his tender age, we went to Costco and bought a camera.

Luckily we had a few good hours before the storm was scheduled to hit, so we got to take some shots outside. Here are a few of the very first images taken with my brand new SLR:

This is the first shot I took just after inserting the fully charged battery. Fitting, I think, to capture a shot of the most important person in my life as my first photo. And a genuine smile too!

Out to the park; these were taken at the Conservatory Garden and a playground nearby.

I know I have loads to learn about how to use this camera, and as soon as the population of NYC is allowed out of our apartments I'll try to capture some of the local aftermath of the storm. Until then, I'm photographing every detail of Amelia's life. So stay tuned for those pics!

Oh, and I wanted to mention something I think is interesting; about three weeks ago the Bishopric of our ward gave a special lesson on hurricane preparedness. New York City hasn't been hit by a hurricane in living memory for any of the ward members, so many of them were a bit skeptical about the likelihood of ever needing to know the information. But the Area President felt inspired that the members needed to know how to prepare for the chance that a hurricane might hit. And just in time. Pretty awesome, yes?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pete's Rockin' (Literally) Birthday

According to CNN, the last time New York City felt the tremors of an earthquake was in 1944. (I can't vouch for this, I've only been here a month. But I believe it's been a long time.) That is, a long time until yesterday.

To celebrate my wonderful husband's 29th birthday, Washington D.C. honored him with a 5.9 on the Richter Scale. Unfortunately, Pete was at work on the third floor of the L'Oreal Building with earphones in at the time and didn't actually feel any of the shake up.

Pity. He always wanted an earthquake for his birthday.

I did feel the tremors, but it took me a while to realize what was going on. For a few moments I thought the contractors down on the first floor were engaging in some overly zealous work on the pipes. But then a picture fell off my kitchen wall and I noticed the blinds were swaying in the bedroom. Probably not the contractors.

I debated on rushing in to check Miss Amelia, who was well into a most refreshing nap--refreshing for both of us, but decided not to. I was busy wrapping a few little gifts for the birthday boy and getting his celebration ready, I couldn't be bothered with interruptions from earthquakes and the like.

Pete's birthday bash turned out to be enjoyable for everyone involved, even if he did miss out on the earthquake. Miss Amelia and I got dressed up in our fanciest and met him outside his office when he got off (at a normal, decent hour, none-the-less, which is unusual for him these days) and we walked down to a little Mexican Grill called Oaxaca Wa Ha Ka for dinner. It's a casual place (so we were a little overdressed, but didn't care) structured much like Cafe Rio but with distinct NYC touches (they offer filet mignon burritos instead of the regular shredded beef and pork variety).

When we arrived home after dinner Pete went on a little treasure hunt throughout our apartment to find 29 little notes I had posted listing things about him that make me smile. Actually, once I got going writing those notes, I had a hard time limiting them to 29. He's a good man. I'm a very lucky lady.

Miss Amelia wasn't overly patient while Pete read his love notes; she kept pulling on his arm and saying, "Come on, come see your birthday in my room," referring to the dessert and little pile of presents I had arranged on the dining table (which, yes, is in fact in the nursery. Our place is petite, and that's the biggest room in the apartment).

Once he had dried his eyes after reading my heart-felt birthday messages, we let Amelia lead us into the nursery/dining room where he opened a few gifts and we shared some dessert.

If you're wondering how one makes a birthday cake for a cake artist and aspiring pastry chef, I didn't. I decided instead to go the nostalgic route and made the cream cheese pie he always requested that his mother make for his birthday growing up. But instead of topping it with canned cherries or strawberries like the recipe calls for, I made a fresh lime sauce and served it with some lightly crushed raspberries.

Pretty powerful stuff; I kind of wish there wasn't half a cream cheese birthday pie lurking in my refrigerator.

Here's the birthday boy enjoying some of his presents. Just about everything he got was work related; new work shoes, shirts, a framed family photo for his desk, and a treat stash to keep him going on the job.

I apologize for the photos being so sub-par; these were taken on my iphone. (But I'm planning to get the SLR soon, so look forward to a drastic improvement in the photographic quality of my blog!)

Overall the celebration was pretty low-key, but I think he knows Amelia and I are crazy about him and I know he felt loved. Which was the point, really.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts: NYC MommyBloggers

I was pretty passionate in my last post about wanting to start writing seriously again. And I still am.

But since our move I can't find the right flash drive to recommence devout work on my novel and my belly is too big for me to be bending over boxes searching for it, so instead I'm going to write about that class of women who are becoming almost as mocked and famous as talentless hotel empire heiresses; NYC MommyBloggers.

I have just spent a rainy afternoon (properly utilizing nap time, of course) reading the musings and perusing the photos of these women and I have learned a few things about being a mom in NYC.

1. You have to have a professional grade camera and take artsy pictures of your kids that are never balanced and are full of sun flares to be a "real NY Momma."

2. It is not only advisable but entirely necessary to have some extravagant form of entertainment planned for your child (age is not factor) every single day. Zoos, museums, concerts, puppet shows, circuses, and whale watching voyages are all good ideas. Playdates must have themes, include costumes, and feature an extensive snack buffet (preferably purchased at Trader Joe's).

3. Your child cannot leave the house without wearing one of those floppy fisherman hats.

4. Stroller=status symbol. You can definitely pick out the professional mommys by checking out the strollers they they stand guard over at the playground.

5. All of life's business, no matter how personal, can be conducted on an iPhone on a park bench. The loss of one's iphone is a catastrophe comparable to losing one's left hand.

6. The absence of a cutesy little nickname for your husband is the mark of a true amateur mommyblogger. (Examples: Holbs, Hussy, DH, etc.)

7. If you're any good at mommyblogging, you will be writing for at least three online magazines, have a long list of sponsors, and land free photo shoots with trendy photographers every few months to document your exciting, modern life balancing shopping trips, trying out restaurants and handcrafting wall coverings for each new season.

These are a few of my first observations about the online representation of the world and culture I am entering. I laugh, but I love it. I can't wait to help plan my first playdate and I'm diving into consumer reviews on DSLR cameras (my little point and shoot got misplaced/stolen at the French restaurant, remember?)

I already have the iphone. (Just not very many people to call yet.)

So I'm living large in NYC. Make that very large. And mommybloggers, though you are ridiculed for being frivolous and at times insanely over the top, I think we'll get along just fine. I have a lot to learn from you. Even if I don't live on the UWS.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Prodigal Bombshell

I really want to start writing again.

I mean writing seriously. But I'm afraid to make that commitment. Writing is just so . . . so . . . demanding. I took what I then hoped would be a "brief professional sabbatical" from my daily writing routine about, oh, seven months ago, primarily because I was newly pregnant, constantly queasy and all I wanted to do in any precious spare moments was curl up and sleep.

Did I mention that was seven months ago? I guess it just got easy not to write. Because remember? Writing is demanding.

I'm not sick anymore; just continually eating. Kind of like Brad Pitt in the Ocean's movies:

Okay, nothing like that really. But having one hand and a mouth occupied with a granola bar or trail mix at all times of the day does make it difficult to write. Not to mention frequent trips to the kitchen and/or bathroom to refill my stores, or empty them. Enough said.

But I live in New York City now. People here are creative. They sculpt things or paint things or photograph things or cook things or produce things. People sing, they act, they dance; sometimes all at once in a moving subway car. Some people spray paint things on walls and fire hydrants.

I find all this energizing. Alicia Keys was right; this city will inspire you. Being surrounded by the artistic expressions of some of the most creative minds in America makes me want to write again.

But. Writing is demanding. And I'm going to have a baby in ten weeks.

(By the way, I still don't have a doctor for that whole process--I've called six different clinics attempting to schedule an appointment and have been turned down flat by five of them; "I'm sorry ma'am, you're just too far along." The last clinic I called will supposedly call me back sometime today to let me know if one of their doctors is willing to take me on; "I guess you really do need a doctor, and fast." Indeed.)

So perhaps now is not the most ideal timing in the world to throw myself back into a dedicated writing routine? Perhaps I should be spending my energies finding a crib, practicing breathing exercises, sorting out insurance and maybe even finding a qualified individual to deliver my child?

But I want to start writing again. And now is almost certainly a better time than after the baby is born. So I believe I'll take advantage of the inclination to write while I have the energy to do so. Wish me luck; I'm going in!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Bombshell has Landed

So, I live in New York City now. Very near Central Park in fact. I am not, however, a true New Yorker just yet as I have not started jogging in Central Park without a shirt on. Or at all.

I'd love to post photos of what I like to call our "dainty" (read: tiny) apartment, but I can't. Sadly, I lost my camera somewhere between 5th and 3rd Ave after having dinner at a charming little French restaurant called Matisse. I had a roasted duck breast and mashed potatoes with a salad, and blueberry almond frangipane smothered in creme anglaise for dessert. The food was great, in case you were wondering.

But it means that I have no photos to post. Nothing for the past month in fact, which is one reason I have neglected to post anything for your reading enjoyment.

There are two bright spots of this sad, sad tale, and they are these; one: I now have a very legitimate excuse to save up for the Digital SLR that I have been fantasizing about for the past year, and two: my sister Sharon took quite a lot of photos of the week we spent visiting her family in Boston before moving on to NYC.

So, it looks as though I may have a few wee pics to post after all.

Amelia's been excited to see "Baby Caroline" for weeks but I don't think poor Lulu shared her enthusiasm for seeing her relations.

My girl loves the sand more than just about anything.

Here's me looking very un-bombshell. More like Mom-shell.
But that's the truth of it these days. Sigh.

The carousel at Boston Commons. You'd never know from these pics,
but the kid was having the time of her life.

Boston has a fabulous Children's Museum with more things for a busy kid to do and see than there is time in one afternoon. And I was pretty entertained too.

Nice night along Boston Harbor.

So, thanks Auntie Shrew for the photos. And for hosting my family for a few days. We had a ball in Boston and can't wait to host a party here in NYC. But please remember to bring your camera.