Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What have you done?

Worlds apart

I want to finish the New York city blog post series, so I can have a complete "record" of the weekend. Yesterday was so completely different than Monday. Monday I had all the time of the world. I didn't have anything on the agenda, so I could just stroll here and there. I was trying to find places to see, and time to waste. Yesterday, I went to see the Statue of liberty and Ellis Island. Then I had to rush back to the upper east side to get my luggage, and head to the airport.

I set my alarm. Then braved rush hour again.
Since I would be flying at 5.30pm, I had to make a very strict schedule. The ferry got me to the Statue at 9.45am. I would only have 45 minutes before the next ferry came to take me to Ellis Island. The security for the statue is ridiculous. Before you even get on the ferry, you have to go through airport style security. Then, in the statue, they make you stand in a little box and puff some air onto you (anyone know what that does?) Then you go through the regular metal detector. I probably spent 25 of that 45 minutes in security. When I finally came out, I practically ran up the strairs to the top of the pedestal; good exercise I guess. I shot some pictures, and ran back down. I had a little more time at Ellis Island, and enjoyed learning about the procedures immigrants had to go through. I personally don't have any family who came through there, but of course I am an immigrant myself. I just kept thinking about how different it was for those people. There was much more uncertainty for them after an aweful journey. However, their actual immigration process only lasted a day. Mine took 7 years.
Keeping up with my schedule, I hopped back on the ferry to New York. I had an extra 30 minutes. I really wanted to have lunch again at the Halal cart from Saturday, so I booked it over there. The line was long! I wasn't about to get food somewhere else, so I patiently waited the 15 minutes. Then I hopped back on the subway, and booked it to Mary's house to get my suitcase. I tried to really soak in the New York sites, as I won't be back there any time soon. All the cabs. The people who stand in the middle of the road, waiting to cross. The interesting people in the subway. The performers in subways stations. Small bakeries and bagel shops. Steep stairs. And the occcasional social traveler. Most just sit, and do their own thing. Then, once in a while, there's a person who will strike up a coversation with any and everybody. I love it.
The plane transported me back home. Back to real life. Back to my wonderful husband and kids (did I mention that Joe did a bunch of home renovations while I was out partying????!!) Back to the cows. Back to sleeping where it's quiet. It's great to be home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's a bust

Weeks ago I ordered tickets to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I even got tickets to go up into the crown. I made it all the way downtown by 9am, and then waited around to get on the ferry for 30 minutes. Only minutes after they let us on the ferry, they told us to get off again. The coast guard had shut down the harbor, due to weather. The wind and swells were crazy. I've never seen a ferry rock back and forth that much. Since they thought the weather might clear up by noon, they told us to come back then.
The rain was pooring down fiercly, and the wind was gusting, so I resorted to seeking refuge. I followed some English ladies to the Federal Reserve bank, to see if we could tour that. Nope. You have to have reservations for that. So I sat down in Trinity Church for a while. Then I read a book at the bookstore, and browsed for about an hour. Around 11am I called the National Monument, who informed me that both islands would be closed for the rest of the day. Shoot! That was the only thing I had planned for today.

Since I didn't make it to SoHo yesterday, I figured I would make my way over there. By now, my pants were wet up to my knees, and my (non water proof) cowboy boots were starting to get wet on the inside. I was determined though, not to let the rain ruin my day. When has rain ever stopped me before?
I found a little New York Pizza place, and gathered my wits. I called Annie, who gave me directions to a large Chinese supply store Pearl River. I probably spent almost 2 hours there. Even after 2 hours, my pants and boots were still soaked, so I finally cracked and headed back to Mary's house.

I'll confess that when it was raining this morning, I was kind of excited. I mean, what's more "New York City" than millions of people with black umbrellas? However, my joy only lasted until my umbrella didn't seem to do anything to keep me dry, and my socks were slushing around in my wet boots. Did I say I would choose snow over rain any day?

Of course, as soon as I got home, the sun came out. But now that I'm home, I think I'll do the unthinkable on a NY vacation, and take a nice nap.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chinatown Chinatown

Today I explored Chinatown. It has so many interesting sights and views, some that are best described with pictures
This is an herbal pharmacy, where all treatments are made with herbs. They'll do a test on your body, and then decide which herbs should be mixed into medicine.
I wanted to be adventurous and try new things, so when I saw cooked chicken feet, I just had to try them. They were gross.... surprise!
After I was done haggling with the shopkeepers, and saw all the gross food I could handle, I started walking towards SoHo. Or so I thought. I ended up at the Brooklyn bridge (the opposite direction) I was pretty tired from walking so far already, but having heard that it was a cool thing to walk the Brooklyn bridge, made me decide to push along.
Another New York landmark that I hadn't visited was the Empire State building. So I navigated the map, and went to the location. I just couldn't figure out where it was though. A store employee kindly showed me that the Empire State building was straight across the street. Of course I wouldn't recognize it! I was too close!

I got to unwind with Annie and Kah Leong. We had a nice relaxing dinner. I was showing Annie Winter's blog, and her creative writing stories. Annie is an amazing illustrator, and she wanted to illustrate one of Winter's stories. It turned out great!!! Keep an eye out for weekly stories by Winter, illustrated by Annie.

Mary and Ram came back from their weekend house hunting trip, so now I have company at night!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eating, shopping, and walking

What a day! I slept soundly, until the phone rang at 9am. The traffic and other city noises don't bother me at all. I spent the whole day with Kate and Alberto. Kate is Joe's sister's husband's sister. Or, easier said: my brother-in-law's sister. They were great tour guides. Being new to New York themselves, they are still in awe with the city, like me.
We started the day off by a stroll through central park, to the boathouse. It's a fancy restaurant, but they also have a cafe, where they sell great pastries. Walking through the park, the famous sites just keep coming. One day, I still want to see the park in the spring or summer, when everything is green.

We made our way down to south of the park, where all the shopping starts. Gucci, Prada, Louis Vitton, Versacy, and all the other designer stores are really intimidating. I've never dared to actually go into one of those stores. I would stand out like a sore thumb, and probably faint if I saw their prices. I stuck to stores of my caliper, like H&M and Gap. It's weird to think that I would go clothes shopping at least once a week when I was a teenager. Now, I'm lucky to go shopping at Old Navy twice a year.

Another store I was introduced to for the first time is FAO Schwartz. It's the biggest, and most amazing toy store ever. They have life size, stuffed animals, tons of doll brands, a whole section devoted to Barbies, and any other toy imaginable.
This is THE barbie of my childhood. One time, after one of my parents' vacations, they came home with it. Now I wonder when and where they got it. Anyways... I still have the dress, and shawl to this day. Unfortunately Winter and Ginger don't put as much value in her, so I think the actual Barbie is now in a Barbie graveyard.
Dee, who couldn't come because of a serious surgery, had her birthday today. She loves FAO Schwarz, and so I thought I'd electronically dress up a barbie for her birthday. So Dee; this is you in New York city. With your glamarous pink sparkle blouse, fabulous jeans, and purse. Happy Birthday, and I think about you all the time here.
There were even Twilight Barbies, but to my disappointment they only had Bella and Edward. Maybe it was too hard to make a Jacob barbie, because he has too many muscles.

New York has quite a few beggars. At one point we walked past a man, who had his cat sitting there, with a bowl of food, and a sign asking for money. I thought it was so ridiculous, and wanted to take a picture. The guy got totally mad, and started telling me I couldn't take a picture. I reminded him he was on a public street, and I could take a picture of anything I wanted. He started yelling in my face, and waving a dollar bill, that he could stop me from taking a picture, unless I would pay him. Unbelievable!!
Can you see the cat with the green sweater behind his legs? I actually thought it was hilarious that I got into a standoff with this bum/scammer. Kate and Antonio thought I was crazy.

For lunch we stopped at a Halal Food Cart, which is (i think) Greek food. On the recommendation of, I ordered a lamb gyro and falafel ball. Man, that was gooood!! I spent pretty much the whole afternoon shopping, and then we headed to Annie's house. We then had a great dinner at an Italian place, after which we headed over to a comedy club.

The PIT has a very discreet and small entrance. The club is actually on the second floor, so the door is all you see from the street. The Pit is an improv theater, where groups perform skits. Think Saturday night live. The Harvard Sailing Team performed, and they were hilarious. It's hard to find good, clean humor, and that's exactly what they provided.

I wonder how many miles I walked today. I'm glad I brought some comfy sneakers in addition to my cowboy boots!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Alone among Millions

... was going to be the title for this post. My girls weekend to New York City turned into a solo trip, when one friend had to have surgery and the other decided not to go. Waiting to get on the plane, I couldn't help but longingly looking over to a group of girls who were obviously having their own girls weekend. I sat in an empty row, with an empty seat on either side of me.

However, I wasn't alone for long. Joe's cousin Annie came to the rescue, and was waiting at Mary's house upon arrival. I love family. Annie is the sweetest person. Having only been to NYC once before, I didn't really have any idea where I wanted to go. I love sushi, and haven't had any in a while. That reminded Annie of a place called "St Marks". It's a fun street with lots of vendors, and a great sushi place. The street vendors all sell the same things.

We were drawn in by the super cute knit hats and gloves. We both found some
Before my trip, I had done a bunch of research into restaurants, and had found "Pomme Frites". A tiny restaurant that sells Belgian Fries. We were just walking along, when all of a sudden Annie exclaimed: "There's Belgian fries!!" Belgian fries are nice and fat, and delicious with German Mayonnaise. The mayonnaise they sell in Holland and Belgium is 1000 times better than the stuff they sell here. I can't believe we just stumbled upon this place. The fries were beckoning me, so I filled my belly, even though I had just finished eating sushi, a mere 10 minutes previous.
Have I mentioned how I LOVE the subway system? It's the easiest to navigate, and gets you where you want to be (relatively) fast. Of course I've done more walking today, than in the past month, so my feet are little sore in my fab cowboy boots. Totally worth it though.

I've got grand plans for the rest of the weekend. Chinatown, Statue of Liberty, Comedy club, lunch at a boathouse. I'm also lucky enough to have friends and family nearby, who are more than willing to show me around. Kate, my brother-in-law's sister, is showing me around tomorrow. Annie and I will get together again, and I get to see Mary and Ram before I leave too.

So thanks Joe, for holding down the fort at home. I sure wish you were here with me!

And a NY visit wouldn't be complete with some blaring sirens!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Do you say "two thousand ten" or "twenty ten"? I think I'm going with Twenty ten. Just because when it was 1998, we didn't say nineteen hundred ninety eight". Anywho....

Resolutions are never really part of my new years tradition. Mostly because if I need to make a change, I like to make it when I realize it. Plus, I don't have any more success with following through when I make the goal on New Years. In fact, I'm more likely to fail if I set the goal on New Years. So my resolution this year, is to continue good habits, and improve my not-so-good habits.

One of the goals I made back in August, was to exercise 5 days a week, and loose 12 pounds. For 3 months, I did sooo good. I tracked everything I ate, and worked out 5 or even 6 times a week. I lost 10 pounds. It was easy to stick to the plan. Maybe just because it HAD become a habit. But then the holidays come. With a vengeance! It all started with Sinterklaas. Trying to master recipes for treats, and of course eating the failed ones as well. Once I got in the habit of eating all the yummy stuff, my body got back to being addicted to sugar. Up until Christmas week, I was still working out 5 days a week, but with all the festivities, that habit went in the crapper as well.

So, here I sit, after gaining back 4 pounds, very disappointed with myself. If only I had stuck to the program. I was SOOO close to my goal. The only consolation I have, is that this time around, I only have 6 pounds to loose, instead of 12. Once I get there though, I need a lesson in maintaining. It's really hard for me to eat treats in moderation. Exercising isn't too hard to master, as long as I do it right after the kids go to school. Get it out of the way. So the chocolate cake will stare me down all day, and I will NOT give in and eat it!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One among many

I think in an attempt to keep this blog interesting, I write about the interesting and abnormal days. It just occurred to me that I might want to remember what a normal day looks like, in my life right now. Most days nothing cute happens with the kids. Most days, we don't have the birth or death of an animal. Most days we don't explore exotic locations.

No, most days we groggily get up to do the must-do's. The alarm goes off, and I'm too tired to get up, so I hit snooze a few times. I didn't go to bed on time the night before, like I said I would. The house is 58 degrees, to conserve energy. My hair is a mess, my eyes swollen, I have to go to the bathroom, and my breath smells bed. Who writes movies scripts where the stars have a loving make-out session the moment they wake up?

So after I drap myself out of bed, I get the kids ready for the day. This includes making 4 bowls of oatmeal in the microwave. Some like me to stir the oatmeal for them, while others freak out if the raw sugar isn't like a blanket on the top. It happens to be Sunday, which means I have to scrounge around to find some clean/decent looking clothes. That's not a small feat for 4 people!! Then comes the hair! Bed hair is not something that will be present in heaven!

Somewhere along this time, the whining starts. Many questions fly my way. Then, when one kid asks me something that the other doesn't agree with, the arguing quickly follows. In the last minute, literally over ten questions have been flung my way.

Anyways... I didn't have time to finish this post.. but I was going to put a more positive spin on it. For now, I just don't feel like finishing it...

Friday, January 8, 2010


An arctic cold front has swept itself down into Texas. With temperatures in the teens, all the warm blooded Texans huddle in front of their fireplace. Honestly, the cold doesn't bother me much. Unless of course my pool freezes over. Or my fingers have frostbite sypmtoms after I clean out the filter of my frozen pool. Or I think about my friend Renee whose heater is out, and who can see her own foggy breath.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Real Texan

What do all Real Texan women own? A good pair of cowboy boots of course. By that definition I am now a real Texan!

The boots that called my name, are the Vintage Corral Multi color Butterfly inlay boots. They are so purretty! The only thing is, being a first time cowboy boot owner, I am not 100% confident in my boot fitting skills. At the store, I was wearing slightly thicker socks, and the size 8 fit perfectly. But when I changed my socks, I started doubting my decision. My online research has confirmed that the heel should slip. But no more than 1/2". How am I supposed to know how much a 1/2" slip is, on the inside of my boot? Also, some sites said the boots should fit snug, because they'll stretch. Others said to buy them a 1/2 size bigger, because they wouldn't stretch. Hmm.

So now the dilemma is whether I should make the 30 minute drive (each way), so I can try on the size 7.5, and maybe not even exchange the boots. But then again, these are a big purchase, which I'll wear for many years to come. I guess I should bite the bullet, get off the couch, and make the hour trek again, just to be sure.....

ETA: I did get off the couch, and made the hour trek. I'm so glad I did. The 7.5 fits snug, and comfortable. Now they can stretch a bit, and mold perfectly to my feet.


I'm sure God made mice with as much love, as he did dogs or cats. However, they're not loved like dogs or cats. Why not? Well, I would say some of it has to do with the disease factor. Who wants little critters to eat the food, they will eat later? But that can't be the whole reason. Why would mice make grown up women scream? Will they come after us? No. Will they bite us, and turn us rabbid? No. Maybe it's just the surprise factor. The only time you'll actually SEE as mouse, is when it's scared, an running for cover. Personally mice don't scare me. But I still don't like them. That disease thing... Plus, I don't like them making nests in my furniture, chewing on my food, or making dozens of babies under my bed.

Once in a while a mice gets lost, and ends up in our house. Or did they purposely make the pilgrimage? Don't they know they might become martyrs? Our execution of choice, is a type of guillotine, also known as a Victor mouse trap. The design is simple. The mouse is enticed with some yummy smelling substance, like peanut butter. He comes to check out this delectable treat his "owners" have set out for him. And BAM, lights out. At least it's a quick and humane execution. Even so, I didn't know how to set the trap, and had to resort to the all-knowing youtube for guidance. 6 seconds later I was a pro. The enticing has begun. Two peanut butter laden traps stand proudly by the entrance of his home. and hopefully by tomorrow I'll have the gross duty of removing a dismembered mouse from one them.

Okay... so after trying to find a video that shows a mouse actually getting killed by one of these, I'm officially out of LaLa land. Turns out, lights are not out as soon as the trap hits. The mouse just gets stuck, suffers for a few hours, and then dies. It's ALMOST enough to make me take down the traps.
Death by cat is definitely more humane! Get me back to LaLa land!!

Watch with care... murder in progress

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I feel like I was picked up by a tornado 10 days ago, and just got spit out, and hit the ground. There was no down time. We wizzed by Christmas, Family dinners, New Years, and a baptism. But now there is peace. Time to reflect on the blessings of friends and family. Our home saw 44 visitors in the past three days. Some came multiple times.

The continuous party at our house started with New Years Eve. In the past, we've always put the kids to bed early, to have time for an adult party. We would have an elaborate raclette meal. However, since the kids are getting older, and more kids were coming over, we let them stay up later. I still wanted to have an extraordinary/fancy dinner, so we opted for Cheese fondue. 8 lbs, and 2 bottles of wine later our bellies were full of scrumptiousness. I have to admit, it couldn't compare to the relaxing adult dinner party.

We barely allowed enough time for the cheese to settle, before the furniture was moved back, and the dance party started. Some awesome 80s music will liven up any party! Breakdancing, the worm, and plain crazy dancing set the stage. Besides the "normal" dancing, we also busted out the Wii Dance Dance revolution. Even though only 1 person can be on the dance mat at a time, that didn't stop everybody else to practice their moves on the sidelines.

The bonfire was a complete flop. The snow had created horrible mud, plus the wood was soaked. The branches we also not packed enough, so the only thing that really burned were gallons upon gallons of gasoline. Everyone came back inside, with just 30 seconds to spare before midnight. As soonas toasts were done, the wii came back on, and we danced and played the night away.

After dragging ourselves out of bed the next morning, we were a bit dismayed at the state of our house. We had partied hard! Mud everywhere! But we couldn't rest, because party part 2 was coming in just a few short hours. William Allred brought another bundle of teenage boys. 40 cans of chili, mountains of cheese, corn chips, and hot chocolate were divoured. Our back door was opened and closed about 500 times (no kidding). Blood was shed, and romances born. Somewhere in this madness our remote control went missing. The wii provided yet another group of people with laughter, frustration, and embarrasment. What a great way to ring in the new year!

Share buttons