Thursday, July 29, 2010

New York

A few weekends ago we went to New York City for what I hope becomes an annual summer trip. Last year we met the Julians there and tried to get tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, but even though we were in line at 5 am we missed it. It was closing weekend and Anne Hathaway though, so it was understandable.
This year Ben and Anna joined us for another try. Ben and I woke up to get in line at 3 am. It actually wasn't a bad way to spend the morning, sleeping in the shade and reading and having Zeb and Anna bring us drinks and treats before we got our tickets at 1.
In case you don't know what I'm talking about, Shakespeare in the Park puts on wonderful performances with a famous cast for FREE! You just have to stand in line to get the tickets. We were 250 in line, with 600 behind us, and we got the last few tickets of the day. But this year, it was Al Pacino playing Shylock in Merchant of Venice, thus the line that started the night before.
When we finally got our tickets we felt like we'd been handed gold because we'd slept so little and sat so hard for them. And they fetch a pretty penny on Craigslist. But selling them didn't even cross our minds, much.

That afternoon we found one of the food carts that I had been excited about, The Jamaican Dutchy. I had the stewed goat and it was wonderful. I knew that the food carts in NYC are world-famous, and they even have competitions for them, so I compiled a list of the top 30 ahead of time and we sought them out when we got hungry.
Then we went to the MoMA because it's free on Friday nights. I'm crazy about modern art in general, but there are a few that I go, 'Really?' I know Ben shared my sentiments, and I didn't ask him but he might have been thinking that about this piece. This looks to me like one of those retro speckled countertops. In all seriousness, though, it's quite pretty. I really had a problem with the blue square. I don't think it evokes any immaterial and boundless utopian views of the world, but maybe that's just me.
(Photo by Anna)
Then back to Central Park for the performance that night.

Staten Island Ferry

(Photo of S+Z by Ben)
Remember this scene from last year? I feel a series coming on. Also, I went back to the spot with the graffiti wings from the Val photo last year to try to reproduce it with Anna and they had torn it down and put in an Anthropologie! I've never been so disappointed to see an Anthropologie.
Highline Park.

(Photo of Mel+Sarah by Zeb)

The Meatpacking District.
All day subway passes.
The food cart I was most excited about, the one I'd heard the most about, was N.Y. Dosas. A dosa is a crepe made of a lentil and rice or cream of wheat batter and then in this case stuffed with lettuce and veggies and topped with a delectable coconut chutney. It was so good, if a little spicy for my taste. But I'm a wimp about spicy. We ate our dosas with chilled coconut water with big chunks of coconut floating around in it. Perfect.
The dosa cart parks at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.
We did lots of other things like the Met which I liked OK, and Zeb loved because of all the sculptures and ancient armor. He loves those things.
(Photo by Ben)
We ended our trip with a trek through Chinatown to Little Italy for Lombardi's pizza, supposedly the best pizza in New York, thus the world. It is credited as the first pizza place in New York at any rate. It was fantastic, it deserves its reputation.
(Pizza photo by Ben)

Speaking of New York's best, one night we all decided to stay in at the flat we were renting and we ate fancified Mac'nCheese and Brian and Mel bought a cheesecake from Two Little Red Hens Bakery, supposedly the best cheesecake in New York, thus the world. And it was amazing. I was so full but I couldn't stop eating it.
Baby hands on the subway. And cousins.

And that's the last of our fun trips for a while.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


A few weeks ago we hopped in the Shaffer minivan around 6 pm and with 3 babies and 4 adults drove all night to Michigan for Jon and Kim Pt. 2 (The strategy worked wonderfully well, the babies slept almost the whole 13 hour drive). Our family has been going to a cottage on Glen Lake for our whole lives and it has always been my favorite place in the world.
Since Jon and Kim had a tiny backyard wedding with just immediate family, our trip to Glen Lake was a chance for another party with the whole family. Aunt Mimi was in charge of this one and she went all out. The details were incredible. Our little cottage and beachfront was absolutlely transformed into this gorgeous lakeside, DIY, delicious, barefoot party.
Aunt Mimi made all the decorations, we spent the morning arranging fresh-cut wildflowers in blue-glass jars, we snacked on cherry everything (Northern Michigan is all about the cherries), we took breaks to go swimming.

Jon and Kim came straight from their honeymoon. They're still all glowy.

We cousins are very close, we all like each other so much and we keep in touch and hang out as much as we can. Almost everyone was at the lake this year, it was wonderful.
Glen Lake trips are chock full of traditions and things we always do, but one of the more recent traditions is putting the boy cousins through a 'gauntlet' before in order to deserve their bride. This year's gauntlet was pretty light-hearted, and this particular task involved Jon rowing to a few different rafts to find a candy ring for Kim.
The Nike Club is an ancient secret society founded with the purpose of one knows what. But it's a big deal and is resurrected every year at the Lake in one form or another.
Obviously I didn't take these last pics, but they are of the day after the reception before we hopped back in the minivan to come home. I miss that place when we're not there. I wouldn't mind living in Northern Michigan. Not at all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A few weeks ago the boy and I took what I'm referring to as our second honeymoon. Just us and no internet and no cell phone coverage in a cabin in the Ohio hills. We've never had even an overnight trip, just the two of us since we've been married. It was absolutely perfect.
The house frame was ancient, but totally re-done in a kind of rustic modern style. Elegant butcher block counters combined with a huge massaging showerhead with an original stone fireplace and quirky little details. Sometimes I get scared of the overly-floral bed and breakfasts out there, it's really hard to find a modern tasteful one, and this one was perfect, we couldn't have asked for more.

Matches for the grill kept in there.

There were so many porches and little outdoor spaces, I spent every minute I could reading or eating or drinking outside, just soaking up the green and clearing my mind.

We drank that champagne on a perfect rainy afternoon. I have a problem with saving things forever, and I was determined to go ahead and drink this, in an effort to enjoy life minute by minute, before it turned to vinegar. I'm not going to say it blew my mind, but maybe it should have. Having never had anything so fancy my tongue had no idea how to process it, I think. It was really really good. It was miles above anything I've ever tasted before, but it wasn't pure nirvana. In the end it was a nice champagne for sipping on a tree-top level porch with my love. I wrote down a lot of thoughts about what it takes to drink a bottle of champagne like that, kind of Gourmet Rhapsody style, but I will save that for another time.

During the daily thunderstorms we would grab a glass of something nice and go out onto the porches and talk. I learned some new things about my boy, stories, thoughts and opinions that I had never heard before. Sometimes I forget that we don't know every single thing about each other. We only entered each other's worlds a few (ten!) years ago and there are whole lives full of experiences from pre-us. It's so crazy and fun to learn something new about him and it keeps happening, all the time.

I would kind of like to live in Ohio now.

It's always been our goal to eventually live on some kind of land, and this just reaffirmed how good that would be for our souls.

The only bad thing about the location was the lack of good food (for any trip to be worth its beans it must have great food in my book). We did our best with Wal-Mart's finest, and I hope I'm not offending anyone when I say that their top of the line steak and crab legs were pretty terrible. The best meal we had was a little pasta made with produce and herbs that I'd brought from home. If we did actually live in rural Ohio I guess we'd just have to grow our own steak and crab legs.

I hated to leave, hated it. But gosh darn that real life calls and we dove right back in.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's The Little Things

I never cease to be amazed at how much I can gripe about things that go wrong without equally stopping to be thankful for the things that go right. Those good little things just pass me by with nary a notice, but the minute something mildly wrong happens you won't hear the end of it. But when I sit down and look at it the good really does outweight the bad if I'll only take note of it.
Just this week:
1. Bad - my camera's focus system broke at the beginning of a wedding (panic). Good -Canon fixed the poor thing in just 5 days and for free! Yay for good customer service!
2. All Good - Free asian pear ginger kombucha. My coworker bought it, took one sip, and declared she couldn't stand it. I gladly took it off her hands.
3. Bad - three years ago when we got married we bought the cheapest mattress Ikea carried and our backs have been ruing the purchase ever since. Good - the mattress in the cheap rented NYC flat we stayed in this last weekend was even worse, making us actually look forward to getting back to our own comparatively cushy bed.
4. All Good - I am lucky enough to have a friend and a sibling who work at our local concert venue so courtesy of them today I get to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros over lunch and also The Cowboy Junkies tonight. I'm giddy about both.

5. Bad - the air conditioner in our house in Boise broke. Good - the new tenant is an HVAC guy and he can fix it cheap!
6. All good - our homeowners insurance premium is actually going down. That like never happens.
7. All good - squash blossoms in the CSA. Those are fun.

Things That Have Made Me Cry Lately

Things that have made me cry lately:

Act Three of this episode.

This story (via Kelly).

Home birth photos (NSFW).

A few of the things Bonnie said when I interviewed her for the Annapolis Sound.

This movie.

Good news in the family.

My cousin's wedding.