Thursday, December 30, 2010

I've been kidnapped!

Is it possible to be kidnapped by an inanimate object?  If so, you better come save me because my iPhone is holding me hostage.  Ever since my husband and I got our iPhones, I have spent minimal time on the computer.  It's so much easier and so much more comfortable to lounge on the couch reading emails, catching up on Facebook and playing games than it is to be in our office on the old fashioned computer.  We don't have a laptop, but we hope to rectify that this year. 

Anyhoo, the iPhone is not very conducive to blogging.  I do make it to other blogs on occasion, but if I don't have my glasses near by, I may not be reading all those little words correctly.  So if I leave a comment on your blog that makes absolutely no sense, please forgive me as I may have twisted some of your words into other words, thus changing the meaning of your blog post completely!

One day soon, I hope to get back here on a regular basis.

Happy 2011!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Secret Santa has been busy.

Today I shipped out my Secret Santa Soiree gift.  Could this be coming to YOUR house?
In case you can't see it clearly, it's lotion, soap and body spray that is the new Winter Wonderland scent from Bath & Body.  It smells heavenly!  Also included is a red snowflake ornament and a gift card to Chick-Fil-A.  Yum.  If you are the receiver of this gift, I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I was not compensated for this post (but I wish I did!).

I am a hair product whore.  I don't think there is a hair product I haven't tried - curly hair, defrizzers, straightening balms, conditioners, shampoos.  My favorite product is Moroccan Hair Oil.  If you don't have it, you need it.  Do not be fooled by cheap imitations.  Do buy online for it is much cheaper and you can buy larger bottles than what you can get at the hair salon.  I have used a variety of hair barettes, head bands, pony tail holders, French twist contraptions and clips.  I have also tried a variety of blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons. 

Have you seen the InStyler?
I have seen the infommercial many times.  I always thought it looked like a magical product but I was not going to be fooled by their professional hairstylists working their magic on poor, frizzy headed girls.  I have fallen victim too many times.

Then I started seeing this item at my local Ulta.  I still was not going to be lured into this magic wand for hair.  Not for $99.  No sir. Not me.  No way in hell.

Then I got a coupon for 20% off one item.  And.I.caved.  When purchasing, I asked questions.  "What do you know about this?"  "Can I bring it back if I don't like it?"  I left with my purchase, cautiously optimistic that I had found my dream appliance.

I used it once.  Then I used it again.  And again.  People, I can tell you, I am in LOVE with this amazing piece of technology.  Don't get me wrong, for straightening, I don't think I will ever give up my Chi.  But for reducing frizz and adding bounce and waves and curls, this is the bomb.  It does what my hairstylist can do with just a blowout.  But I can't flip and twist and move my hairbrush and hairdryer like my hairstylist and I end up with something in between polished and unkept.  Not a good look.

So, to prove my point, I am going to show you before and after pictures.  Let me warn you ahead of time, the before pictures are.not.pretty.  And if it wasn't so important for me to share my happiness about this magic wand, I wouldn't sacrifice my dignity or your vision to show these pictures.  But it must be done.  You have been warned.
Towel dried hair.  You didn't really think I'd give you a full on view of my before picture, did you?

Hair blown dry.  No round brush used.  No make up.  Hence the "marked out" face. 
After the Instyler.

To be fair, I did roundbrush my hair some prior to using the InStyler.  But I have also used the InStyler without round brushing first.  The results are the same, it just takes a little longer because I have to go a little slower with the iron and sometimes have to go over my hair twice. 

So there you have it.  My uncompensated review of the InStyler.  Now, if you have hair issues, go out and get yourself one of these things.  You will not be disappointed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Don't make me choose.

A little over a year ago, I found a kitten.  He was cute, cuddly and almost immediately was given a name.  It appeared Ace would be staying.  The hitch in this plan is that my husband is allergic to cats.  We tried all kinds of homeopathic remedies.  Allergy meds and inhalers pretty much took care of the issue, but my husband has been insistent he doesn't want to be on meds "for the rest of his life."  I am not sure if he means his own life or Ace's, but every time he utters these words, I panic.  I don't think I can get rid of Ace.  And before anyone thinks, "What a selfish bitch, choosing her cat over her husband," let me tell you, I came up with a decent compromise.  My husband can get his own apartment and me and the kids and the cat will stay in our home.  The kids and I can visit MG at his cat free apartment.  Ok, ok.  I would not choose the cat over MG, but it would not be easy for me to say so long to little Ace. 
Ace as a kitten. 
Ace grown up.

And as hard as it would be for me, my kids would suffer terribly.  I tried explaining this to MG.  "Can you imagine how Sous Chef would react?  There's not a day that goes by that he doesn't hug and kiss on that cat and tell him he loves him and how happy he is he lives with us."  CJ is the same.  And so is Big E.  Not to mention me.  To be honest with you, MG loves on the cat as much as the rest of us.  He just does it with a little more distance and a quick follow up to wash his hands and face.

MG recently went to the doctor to get refills on his meds, talk about allergy shots, etc.  On that very day, CJ comes home with this "Thankful" packet he worked on at school.  These are the pages that were in there.
This says, "I am most thankful for mom because she found Ace." 
This one says, "Dear Mom, thank you for finding Ace.  I love you!" 
This one says, "I am thankful for Ace because he's cute."  I corrected the spelling for cute, which CJ spelled "ceut.

Man, that kid has good timing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You know it's bad when you think the safer option is to jump on the tracks and run!

After an exhilirating day at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (to read my other entries go HERE, HERE and HERE), we made our way to Metro Station.  With 250,000 people.  We thought maybe we would wait out the crowd, but the more we were in the crowd with nowhere to go, nowhere to eat (all restaurants were booked - mental note:  next time make reservations for the post rally so we have a place to go), we decided to hit the Metro station since we were passing one that was the Red Line, which is what we needed. 

I have been in some rather uncomfortable and crowded situations.  And as you may have read in my previous post, I have been known to lose my shit.  But that's usually anger induced.  I can't remember the last time I was in a crowd where I really thought I was going to get hysterical.  You know, crying, screaming, hair pulling (my own and others' hair), scratching, biting, cussing, salivating, sweating and any other sign and symptom that goes along with utter and complete hysteria and panic.  Now that I've typed it out, I don't think I have ever been in that situation.  Until that day.

We get through all the signs and escalators and stairs in the Metro station and this is what we see when we get to our platform (that's us, in red):
This is where we had to catch the Red Line.  To get an idea of how many people were there, each black dot represents 10,000 people.  Ok, maybe not, but you get the picture.  Notice on the other side of the tracks, there is almost no one and those who are there are happy.

At this point, we just got in line at the end of the crowd.  As people come in behind us, we get pushed more and more into the crowd.  In the meantime, trains are coming in and people are trying to get off, so people are pushing from both directions.
There we are, in that crowd.  People are screaming and yelling and pushing and cussing.  One woman dropped her child and was SCREAMING "Child down!  Child down!" trying to reach him to pick him up out of the mob, which she managed successfully to do.  There was a blind man with a sighted man trying to make their way through.  The sighted man finally just got pissed and pushed everyone out of his way and he and the blind man made it onto a train.

As the crowd pushes and shoves, we end up right next to the edge of the track.  Two of us are together and I was not 100% sure where our other two friends were.  At this point, I am about to LOSE.MY.MIND.
So now C is panicking that someone is going to give a good shove and we are all going to end up on the tracks.  She's from NYC and while growing up I'm sure heard many stories of people ending up on the tracks.  We know what that means.  I am now in full blown hysteria and I am pretty sure I look something like this.
In the process of "I'm going to go into total hysteria mode," I start thinking not so clearly.  I am actually thinking jumping ONTO the tracks and crossing over to the smiling people might be the better option.  I am starting to understand how desperate people can take desperate measures.  I was actually standing there looking at the tracks trying to figure out where NOT to step in order to prevent electrocution.
C notices what looks like an exit sign at the opposite end of the platform from where we came in.  And there appear to be some stairs.  She is suggesting we try to make our way down there and just leave.  I followed up her suggestion with "I am out of here.  I'm going that way.  I can't stay here."  In my head, all I was thinking was "if I lose the gals, I can always buy a plane ticket home."  And I would have because I could not stand there another minute waiting to be shoved onto the Metro train tracks.  So C and I took off through the crowd.  And thankfully L and E saw what was going on and joined us.
So here was our question when it was all over.  See all those people huddled together?  The little black dots?  Well, why didn't the people on the end who could see all that empty space down where we moved to not go down there to start with?  Why did they stay put on the edge of a crowd when there was so much empty space at the beginning of the train track, the front of the train?  We were caught in the crowd and couldn't see that until we broke free. 

Finally, after we go to the open platform area and could breathe, a Metro employee stood on the other side of the tracks, where the happy people are, and yelled over to the crowd to "MOVE DOWN!"  We have no clue why the people on the end didn't have enough common sense to do that from the beginning.  They saw several trains come in and out of the station to see that the beginning of the train was WAY DOWN THERE.

Anyway, we got on the next train and made it safely back to our car.  My hair is no longer standing on end and my smile is back.  I don't ever want to experience that again!

Monday, November 15, 2010

You may be dressed like an ape, but you're acting like a neanderthal.

All in all, I do fairly well in crowds.  Fairly well.  But when being with that crowd goes on for hours and hours, I can feel myself getting to a breaking point.  Often, I just take a few deep breaths and regain control of myself before I snap.  Often, however, isn't 100%, and there are times when I ... snap.

At the Rally to Restore Sanity, last I heard there were about 250,000 people.  That's a lot of people.  A big crowd, if you will.  It was a pretty tame crowd, too.  There were lots of people milling about, criss-crossing through the seating areas to get to the port-o-lets (yuck) and food areas and then back to their seats.  There were lots of "excuse me, just passing through" type comments and "sorry, I'm trying not to step on your blanket" type comments.  I can handle it, as long as everyone is playing well together. 

It's when the occasional idiot comes along that I find I cannot regain control of myself and I ... snap.

We got to the rally at 7:30 in.the.morning.  I am not a morning person.  We were up at about 5:00 in.the.morning.  We had left our little neck of the woods the day before at 6:30 in.the.morning.  I was up that day, too, at 5:00 in.the.morning.  Let me reiterate, I am not a morning person.  I don't like not having enough sleep and I certainly don't like getting up before the sun has made an appearance.

So at 7:30 in.the.morning on the day of the rally, we plopped down our blanket and settled in for the day.  All was well and we chatted some with those around us.  A friendly group, I might add.

At about 1:00, several hours after we had gotten comfortable, we were watching the live show and along come two twenty somethings, cutting through the area.  We assume they are on their way to somewhere else, say, maybe THEIR SEATS.  Well, instead of moving on, they stop on the few blades of grass that were not covered with blankets and or people.  Those blades of grass were directly in front of E, who was with us.  She couldn't see a damn thing but the back of the twenty somethings - one dressed in the full head mask of an ape and his friend, who is dressed as a clown and has on a rainbow clown wig.  E is looking my way like "what do I do now?"  She finally leaned forward and said, "Excuse me, I have been here since 7:30 in.the.morning and now you have come along and stopped right in front of me and I can't see.  Do you mind moving over?"  Well, the idiots moved over, a whole 1/2 inch.  She then looked at me with the "now what?" look.  I could feel myself losing control.  I knew it was happening and there was nothing that was going to stop it.  I not so quietly said, "Tell the asshole to get out of your way."  He then looked at me with his ape face.  All I could see were his eyes and I am pretty sure he rolled them.  It was at that moment, that very moment, that I felt a little jolt throughout my body.  Neurons were firing and energy was buzzing through every cell of my being.  And then I ... snapped.

"Yes, asshole, I AM TALKING TO YOU!"  He acted all confused and innocent, he had a right to stand there, blah, blah, blah.  I explained to him, if yelling and using lots of hand gestures is considered explaining, that we had been there since 7:30 in.the.morning and who did he think he was to just creep in on our space?  He then explained to me that "we have been here since 7:30, too."  That didn't sit well with me.  My response, "Well then, wherever you were at 7:30 this morning, go back there because that is where your seats are.  You weren't HERE at 7:30 this morning, so just keep moving."  Clown face told me to chill out, which never goes over well when one is already out of control.  I really don't remember all that was said after that.  I do know my final words were, "Keep moving and go bother someone else."  They stood their long enough to give off the vibe that they would leave when they were damn good and ready.  They lasted just a couple of minutes before they moved on.

It felt good, ya know.  I can't remember the last time I had words with someone.  It didn't last long and it certainly wasn't a threatening situation, but I did call him an asshole to his face, and that my friends, I can't remember doing any time in the recent past.  I must say, I was a little embarrassed to have reacted so vehemently.  But once I recovered from the embarrassment, it did feel good.  Some days I just feel like I've lost some of my spunk, but it certainly appeared at that moment.  Once that little incident was over, I was good to go for the rest of the day and didn't lose control of myself again.  Well, until a little incident in the Metro station with those 250,000 people, but that story is for another day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Did you thank a Veteran today?

Sous Chef's school today put on an awesome Veteran's Day program.  It's done by the 5th graders (all 850 of them) and the 5th grade teachers have been doing this for four years.  Big E also was a part of this program three years ago.  It has changed some over the last three years and today's program was quite a bit different.

The kids are encouraged to invite a veteran to the program.  Sous Chef invited my dad.  The kids in his homeroom who invited a veteran also wrote a poem and got to get up in front of the class with their veteran to read their poem.  Here is his poem:


The Army
Going around the land
Protecting our cities
And our freedom.

Going into enemy territory
To secure us
From being hurt
And being captured.

The Navy
The ocean is their home
Submarines and boats they drive
Ready to defend
Us Americans.

Scouting the waters
Helping to keep
The ocean a
Safer place.

The Air Force
Patrolling the sky
Making it a safer place
For everyone
And everything.

My godfather's home
In the Armed Forces
May he be well
In his duties.

They all become our veterans
Rembered for protecting
Our rights and freedoms
They will be remembered
By us all.

I had not read or heard the poem ahead of time.  My dad really liked it.  And I was pleasantly surprised to see that second to last paragraph.  My BFF, Sous Chef's godmother, is married to an officer in the Air Force and a long time friend of my husband (and me).  I was proud to see that Sous Chef didn't forget the importance of GA's work and and well wishes for his safety.
From here the veterans paraded through the school for all the grades to cheer and honor them.  The program ended in the gymnasium with patriotic songs and recognition for each of the veteran guests.  Here is a quick video of the kids preparing for the Veterans who will be parading by.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I interrupt my regularly scheduled program to tell you I was a doctor.

No, it was not any type of sexual harassment. 

For those who know me, even a little, you know I am not a big hugger.  I don't mind hugs.  The kind where you see someone or are saying goodbye and you give a quick "great to see you" kind of hug.  Lingering hugs, though, and I start to feel my skin crawl.  I also like to know the hug is coming.

I haven't shared on my blog that a little over a month ago I found a lump in my right breast.  A big ass lump.  Big enough that I wasn't even looking when I found it.  I was sitting on our couch without a bra on, which is pretty normal for me if it's after 8:00pm.  I moved to do something and the inside of my arm rubbed the lateral (outside close to my armpit area) portion of my boob and I felt the lump rub on my arm.  It was that big.  When I looked, I could see it. 

So I went through all the medical hoops.  First my GYN, who said, "Oh.  That's big," and she sent me for a mammogram, sonogram and with the cards for a couple of breast surgeons.  So off I went for testing, where the radiologist told me I had an "unidentified mass" and some abnormally enlarged lymph nodes and she was recommending a image guided biopsy. Then to the breast surgeon.  About a week and half had gone by and it seemed the lump was getting smaller.  Or I was getting used to it, I wasn't sure.  I told the breast surgeon this and she said to trust my evaluation and she agreed, based on the measurements on the scans and feeling the lump that it seemed smaller.  She felt very comfortable that the lump was caused by secondary trauma of all that was going on in my arm.  Lots of lymph nodes in that area that were most likely doing the work of draining fluids and reducing swelling in my arm.  Sounded good to me.  She did say, if I didn't have the arm issue, I would be on the table getting a biopsy ASAP.  I was to come back in four weeks and for a follow up sonogram and if there was no change, the biopsy would be done right away.

As it turns out, the lump kept getting smaller and smaller.  I went to the doctor today and was happy to report I couldn't feel it.  She did the sonogram and didn't see anything.  No lump, no scar tissue, no nothing.  It's like it was never there.

At the end of the appointment she said she was thrilled to be sending me on my way and not seeing me again.  As she walked to the door, she opened her arms and gave me a hug.  I was caught a little off guard.  I don't think I have ever been hugged by a doctor.  The closest I have ever come to a hug was less than 24 hours after brain surgery #1 when my doctor came to see me in ICU.  He asked me how I felt and I said, "Like shit."  Once he recovered from that response, he touched my arm and said, "I promise you will feel better tomorrow."  THAT was as close as I have ever come to being hugged by a doctor. 

So I left the appointment without a lump and with a hug.  It was a good day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear: A Pictorial Summary

If you stopped by here last week, you know I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity.  If you didn't stop by last week, but want to read my written summary, go HERE.  Read on for the pictorial summary.
This is us on Friday evening on the Metro.  We rode downtown DC to check things out around the Rally area and to see some of the sites.
Capitol Building
The Washington Monument
Washington Monument
Helicopter flying to and from the White House.  Was the Prez on it?  We aren't sure and I didn't get a picture with this helicopter and the decoy helicopter in the same frame.
C, E and Jo
Do I really need to tell you what this is?
Rally stage from our seats.
People around us.  If you are wondering what that woman's shirt says, it is "Evolve Already".
More people around us.
Jo and E
C and Jo.  We could NOT get any kind of phone/text/email/web service or connections due to the other 250,000 people trying to do the same thing!
E, L, Jo and C
Yay!  1 minute 24 seconds before Jon Stewart hits the stage.
Believe it or not, Jon Stewart is on this stage.
This sign really was not at all pertinent to the rally, but it still made me laugh, a lot!  And maybe a little too loudly.  If you can't read it, it says, "Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers."
The streets of DC post rally.

I still have two stories to tell.  One of me calling an ape faced (literally. he had a full ape face mask on.) 20 something an asshole to his face along with some other "discussion points" to go with it.  Also, the story of me totally losing my shit in the Metro station when it was crammed with me, my gal pals and these 250,000 people.  That will be my next, and probably final, post about the Rally.  Then it will be back to my regular boring material.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear - It was an (in)SANE amount of fun!

It has been two days since the rally and I am going to have a hard time writing this post.  If you are like me, then you understand how difficult it is to come away from something so large (in size and impact), so fun, so overwhelming (in a good way) and then put it into words; to organize my thoughts, to remember what all I saw, to put my feelings into a description that someone else would understand.  The reality is, the only people who really get it are the people who were there.  I don't know if I can get all my thoughts and interactions into one post.  Maybe I can.  If not, I will do a couple of posts.  Hopefully I will be able to convey to you what this experience was like for me.

I attended the rally with three girlfriends.  We drove to DC, leaving early Friday morning.  Eight hours in the car with four slap happy women can lead to a lot of interesting conversations.  On Saturday, we got up before the sun and were at the rally, along with 1,000s already, at around 7:30AM.  We were leaving DC at about 7:30PM.  We were home at 3:30AM Sunday morning.  On top of all that, I came down with strep throat on Thursday.  Thank goodness for really strong antibiotics.

The morning of the rally, we picked up a young guy, Vincent, on the Metro who ended up hanging with us throughout the day.  Once there, we scouted our spots, with only a little bickering among the four of us.  We can do that and still like each other.  Because we are sane.  We were stage left, at the front of the viewing area right behind the VIP section and we were excited!  We could see the stage plus we could see the jumbotron!

We enjoyed the morning reading signs, people watching, chatting with those around us, watching the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert shows that led up to the announcement of the rallies and Colbert asking to join Jon Stewart and make it one rally.  There was music.  And some pot smoking, not by us and not necessarily in that order.

There were families, there were young people, there were old people (I saw one elderly woman with a cane!), and every age in between.  There were couples, there were people in groups and people alone.  As I mentioned, we met Vincent.  He decided at the last minute on Friday to drive up from Knoxville and no one could go on such short notice.  So he came alone.  Once we secured our seats, we met a woman about my mom's age who was there alone, from Texas.  She had been in DC the few days before for work and decided to stay and go to the rally.  Her employer made her promise she would not wear any clothing that would identify them. 

While the rally was mostly comedy, of course the message of sanity vs. fear was all throughout.  Imagine watching a live show, not knowing what is next.  Jon Stewart wants to ride the Peace Train and cueYusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) coming out to sing.  At this point I was trying to call my husband because CAT STEVENS is singing Peace Train and I am there to see it!!!!  However, when Stephen Colbert insists he does not have a ticket on the peace train and he has no plans to get one, but feels much safer on the Crazy Train, cue Ozzy Osbourne's entrance, I quickly hung up the phone and starting jumping up and down and screaming my lungs out like a schoolgirl!  Oh my, I can't tell you how much we were enjoying this show.  Colbert and Stewart finally both agree, however, that while one won't ride the peace train and the other won't ride the crazy train, they can willingly ride the Love Train together, cue the O'Jays entrance, and the point of the rally is made, once again.  Work together, without yelling, screaming, hating, name calling.  Listen to others who have different viewpoints to make things happen, to get things done.  Without yelling, screaming, hating, name calling.  The entertainment of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert continued along with their guests.  Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock performed together, Tony Bennett sang, John Legend entertained us early on, Jeff Tweedy (from Wilco) and Mavis Staples performed a duet.  The Roots played for about 40 minutes or so.  Sam Waterston read a poem written by Stephen Colbert.  Father Guido Sarducci gave the "benediction".  I may be forgetting someone.

The most serious moment was Jon Stewart's closing.  If you haven't seen it, go HERE.  Really, go there.  It's good.  It's about 10 minutes.  Here are some of my favorites from the speech:
The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. If we amplify everything we hear nothing.
If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here [meaning DC] or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustain us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it--impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.
Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
I will end with one more thing.  My mama (and dad) sit pretty far to the right on the political spectrum.  There are some things we agree on, but many we do not - not just politically, but socially, morally, etc.  My mama knew I was going and I told her she could watch it live.  Lo and behold, she did.  And this is what she emailed me when it was over:
We taped the show, Dad will watch it later but I watched it live. He [Jon] is great, so real! I wish we would have been there to appreciate his appreciation of our great country.
This little blog entry does not even come close to doing justice to the day.  I wish I was a much better writer to be able to give you the feel of the day, to make YOU feel like you were there.  But I'm not, so I can't.
I am sorry for that.

Come back next time for pictures, sharing of signs, the story about how I called a young man dressed as an ape an asshole, directly to his ape face and a little story about me almost going into full blown hysteria in a crowded Metro station.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I am caught.

Before you get your panties in a wad, I did not cheat on my husband.  It's worse.  I cheated on my hair stylist.  As all women know, breaking up with a hairstylist is hard to do, so it's easier to just disappear into the wild blue yonder, never to be seen again.  To move on to the newer, younger model.  That's what I did and I didn't expect to get caught. 

I had a hairstylist I liked.  She was good, she was very close to my home (this is key) and she was reasonably priced.  Then she switched salons.  To the other side of town.  This is not a huge ordeal except that the area she moved to required I drive on the busiest, most hated road in my neck of the woods to get to her neck of the woods.  I avoid this road at all costs unless it's an early weekend morning or late at night.  Since I am rarely out at either of those times, it's a given that I rarely set my car wheels on this road.  So between that and the fact that my hair cuts were "good" but not "great", I decided to search closer to home.  I found someone who met all the factors - good, close to home, reasonably priced.  I have been very happy with her and have sent her quite a bit of business.

A friend of mine still goes to my previous stylist and told me she was moving to a new location again.  A little closer to us, but now ON that most hated road.  I was not swayed. 

Now I just found out my current salon is closing and all the stylists are moving.  To the same location as my ex-stylist.  See?  See why the "fading into the wild blue yonder" is not going to work?  How can I possibly go to this new salon, with my "newer, younger model" stylist and risk seeing my ex-stylist, who I didn't officially break up with.  I just tried disappearing and it.didn'

My husband thinks this is all silly.  It's "business" and it happens all the time.  "Clients come and go, no matter what the business is.  Just say 'hi' to her and keep going."  As a massage therapist, I totally get this.  And it doesn't bother me if a client starts seeing one of my colleagues.  Really, it doesn't.  So I should be able to apply that to this situation, right?  But I will have to SEE her and feel like I need to explain myself.  I will stumble over my words, make a fool of myself and maybe even shed a tear of shame.

I am not good at this cheating thing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to get a van of teenage boys to be totally silent.

I was listening to some tunes today on my iPod and one of my all time favorites came on.  It's Metro by Berlin.  This song was popular in the 80's, so depending on your age, you may not be familiar with it.  I highly suggest you check it out.

Anyway, it came on a while back.  I didn't realize I had downloaded the live version.  I had my 13 yr. old and a couple of his friends in the van with me when it came on.  I had turned it up and was jammin' away and they were busy chatting amongst themselves.  Towards the end of the song, the lead singer screams into the microphone, "You know what the greatest thing about being a woman is?  The older we get, the better sex is!"  There was already a lull in the teenage boy conversation, and this comment made that lull turn into an eternal silence.  I had to turn to look out the window to keep from giggling.  They were all just sitting there staring straight ahead pretending like they hadn't heard anything.  They had uncomfortable looks in their eyes and were wriggling in there seats.  I think they were each trying to plan there escape from my van.

When it became clear that none of these boys intended on saying another word, I started talking.  They were very relieved.  Now I guess I should delete that version of the song from my iPod.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do they have hormone therapy for this?

I have lots and lots of friends with girls.  I hear moms say all the time about how difficult the teen years are for girls - the moodiness, the crying, the yelling, the hair pulling.  I remember how difficult those days were.

I have all boys.  I thought I would miss out on the above drama.

I was wrong.  Well, except for the hair pulling (unless of course you include the occasional tug one makes on another's hair during a wrestling match).

My 13 year old is unpredictable.  Sweet, talkative, willing to help one minute.  The next minute?  Run for cover.

The other day we were having a nice chat about school, a project he was working on, upcoming fun stuff.  I asked him to do something.  Something simple.  Like put away the milk or throw away a napkin.  His head spun around like Linda Blair and I am pretty sure he started to salivate.  Then came the barrage of words, "What?  You are SO mean!  No one else's mom asks them to do stuff like that.  Why do you read my Facebook stuff?  You are stalking my friends!  No one else's mom does that.  Why can't I have a laptop?  Everyone else has one.  I can't believe you expect me to pay for half of a laptop if I want one.  How dare you.  If you loved me you would go buy one right this instant."  These are not exact quotes during this specific conversation, but they have pretty much all been said at some inapporpriate point in time.

I seriously think I am going to look into bio-identical hormone therapy for moody teen boys.  In the meantime, if you all hear of anything that doesn't include boot camp, please let me know!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Who's in need of a good night of sleep?

Fadra, at all.things.fadra, is giving away a Tempur Cloud Tempurpedic Supreme Mattress.  For anyone who does not know Fadra, let me tell you, she is the luckiest person I have ever met.  I think I should have rubbed up against me at BlogHer to see if some of that luck would rub off on me.  Yes, it would have looked weird, but who really cares?  Thousands of bloggers registered at BlogHer to win this awesome mattress.  Did I win?  No.  I think you can guess who did.  Fadra.  I won't even go into the list of things she has won in the short time since we first met on that August morning at BlogHer.

Anyway, as you can see from this entry and from my video below -

So here is the video I am entering in hopes of winning this awesome prize!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where everybody knows your name...

Maybe not everybody knows my name, but one guy does.  There is a restaurant I go to on a regular basis.  I tend to prefer mom and pop type places, but this one is a chain.  Abuelo's.  Yum.  My family is not big on Mexican food, but I love it.  So I pop in here at least once a moth for lunch.  By myself.  With a book.  It never fails I get the same waiter or I at least sit near his section and he stops to say hello.  I get the same thing every time and he knows it.  I don't even really have to order, he just comes up and verifies that I want what I want. 

It feels kind of freaky.  Like I have some kind of OCD tendencies with Abuelo's.  Same food.  Same drink.  Always a book.  Always alone.  Always clean my plate.  Pay the same amount every time.  I often wonder if the staff sees me coming and they say to one another, "Here comes that weird woman.  You know, the crazy one,"?  I wonder what he would do if I came in with a friend, because I think he thinks I have no friends.  Or if I ordered something different.  Or if I didn't have a book.  Maybe he's a little OCD, too, and it would set him off in some kind of panic attack, crying in the corner while sucking his thumb. 

I think it's better if I just stick to my routine.  We'll all feel better.

(I will be absent for a few days due to THIS.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

And so it continues...

Though the Great BlogHer Wipeout of 2010 happened two months ago, the story continues.  I have been having physical therapy twice a week.  Have you ever been to physical therapy?  It hurts.  And I am jealous of all those people with feet disorders, like plantar fasciitis, who get to go there and do some stretching and then get a 15 minute foot massage.  I start drooling when I see those people getting a foot rubdown and I want to push them off the table and stick my foot in the hands of the PT.  Anyway, I made huge improvements the first few weeks and then seemed to come to a standstill.  Plus my arm was hurting and aching on a regular basis.  I let my PTs know, but we thought it was just sore from, well, from being broken and dislocated.  However, I then started noticing how much it hurt down in the joint.  I was not improving in my flexion and extension.  I saw the surgeon again.  An x-ray confirmed that the bone fragments that broke off of the humerus bone, the ones we were hoping would be secured and stuck in scar tissue, had floated down into the joint and the cartilage.  Ouch!  The result of all this - surgery.  So that will be this week and then I am back to physical therapy.  I wonder if while my arm is in a cast if I can swing into the PTs office for a foot massage?

One of these days, I hope to return to work.  I am sure by now all of my massge therapy clients have moved on to other therapists!  Thankfully, my employer is very flexible.  When I do return, it will be at my own pace and at my own desired schedule.

Friday, October 1, 2010

You say it's your birthday? Well, it's my birthday, too!

Though I have no problem tooting my own birthday horn, that is not what I am going to write about today.  Well, not directly anyway.

I grew up with a boy.  I have known him since kindergarten.  We graduated HS together.  He was the first boy to give me a kiss.  In kindergarten.  We have always been friends.  We don't have a lot in common any more, but I do love it when I run into him when we happen to be in our hometown at the same time, usually for some kind of reunion.

I have a good friend that I met in HS.  We graduated together and went on to college together.  We live hours apart now, but still talk several times a year, Facebook together, and see each other a couple of times every year or two.

We all three share the same birthday.  Today.  Two of us are 43, and Leslie Ann is 42 (bitch!).  I can guarantee you, all three of us are thinking about each other today.  It was always fun sharing our birthdays together at school.  Once we were in college and we would all three be home for a holiday, we'd always talk about what we did that year to celebrate.  Every year, on this day, while I wallow in my own party, I wonder what they are doing.  This year, thanks to FB, I will probably know, at least a little!

Though neither of them read here, I hope my birthday buddies are having a great day!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I sleep around.

Last night, I slept with the manatees.  And 24 fifth graders.  I'm slutty like that.

Sous Chef's overnight field trip to the Cincy zoo took place last night and I was one of about six chaperones.  The class all slept in the manatee house in front of the monstrous pool that the two manatees live in.  I have had this experience one other time.  I took my nephew, now a sophomore in college, when he was a little guy.  It was 11 years ago.  I was five months pregnant with Sous Chef.  I remember that being one of the most peaceful sleeps I had had.  Waking up in the middle of the night, watching the manatees sleep, fart and go to the surface for air.  I think adding 11 years to this aging body has done something, because this time it was different.

We got to the zoo about 7:00 PM and did some behind the scenes stuff before bed.  First, we had to ride a school bus.  These are my tips/warnings/heads up on how to handle an evening like this:
  1. Earplugs.  Not for the sleeping but for the bus ride.  Kids these days do not sing "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."  They are not permitted to say "beer."  But don't be fooled, because kids today are creative, and instead they sing "100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall."  Loudly.
  2. Meal worms.  If you find yourself in the forest with nothing to eat, meal worms are a great food source.  It's basically like taking a vitamin.  The most important thing to remember is that you must kill the meal worm before swallowing.  BUT you cannot kill it buy squeezing it or mushing it before putting it in your mouth, because as our tour guide said, "It's like a gusher and it will ooze everywhere.  There will be nothing left to eat."  So, you must bite the meal worm with your teeth before swallowing.  Our tour guide knows this because the first time she ate one, she swallowed it whole and alive.  About an hour later it crawled back up her throat and into her mouth.  I had to leave the room at that point and could not watch her eat the meal worm.  The kids, however, were mesmerized.  She offered us adults a meal worm snack.  None of us took her up on her offer.  Of course, I was in the other room gagging and heaving, so I think it was obvious I was not interested in a late night snack.
  3. Sleep masks.  I chose to sleep on the boys side of the room.  My son is in a high achievers math class.  I think we can all admit that it appears boys are better than girls at math and this class is proof of that.  His class is 3/4 boys and the boys side of the room was at high capacity.  I chose a comfy spot with a good view.  They told us all the lights would be out, so not to worry about being under a light.  What they didn't warn me about was that the exit sign would stay brightly lit.  Not just brightly lit, but lit bright red.  I slept most of the night facing away from the sign, but that side of my body kept getting sore and numb.  Whenever I would roll over, I had to pull my sleeping bag over my head.  I was really wishing I had a sleep mask. I don't even own one, but next time, I will purchase one.  I think they should sell them at the zoo.
  4. Farting.  I was on the boys side of the room.  Enough said.
  5. Gross factor.  See #3.  I had a group of boys.  We buddied up with two other groups for our night time, in the total dark tour.  Of the entire group, there were two girls, besides us moms.  The grosser the topic, food source or smell, the funnier they thought it was.  The girls?  They hung in there pretty well.  The moms?  See the gagging and heaving comment in #2.
A sleeping bag sea of boys!
All in all, it was a blast.  When my older son went on this trip, they did a different zoo tour and slept in a different building.  Also, MG went as the chaperone.  We have one more zoo trip in our future for CJ.  Maybe we can both chaperone that one!

Here is a funny video.  It's only about 30 seconds and unfortunately is not as clear as I would like.  The lighting was pretty low.  However, this little guy in the video is so stinkin' cute I could have brought him home with us!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sometimes, too many times, there are just no answers.

Our community has suffered a tragic loss.  The loss of a Freshman boy at the high school.  By suicide.  A family has suffered an unimaginable, there are no words to explain it kind of loss.  By suicide.

Word came on Sunday afternoon about this boy's suicide earlier that morning.  I don't personally know this family and I don't know all of the details, but my community is small and we hear things.  Apparently he was depressed and on meds.

Big E did not personally know this boy.  But they did share a class together last year and Big E immediately knew who it was when he heard about it.

The school had a moment of silence yesterday.  They sent a parent email letting us know a death had occurred and how they were handling it with the students and how we might be able to help at home.

Well, let me tell you people, I am not equipped for this. 

First of all, I have been on the verge of tears for this boy's family.  And his friends.  And for him, that he felt so desperate that this was his answer.  My family is peppered with mental health issues and suicide. Each one affected me differently, which is expected based on my ages at the times of the events and my relationships with the victims. But I know how confusing and hard each of those tragedies were for me. And none of them WERE.MY.CHILD.   I.just.can't.imagine. 

Secondly, Big E and even Sous Chef, who hears us talking, have had questions about depression and why and how it happens.  I am not a doctor.  I don't even play one on TV.  So I answer the best I can with what I know.  I beg them not to ever do anything like this.  To themselves.  To me.  To our family.

I repeat.  I am not equipped for this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Simmer down!

I was watching The View today.  I don't get to see it every day, but I do like to catch the hot topics when I can.  Some days it cracks me up and other days it gives me something to think about.  Today was one of those days.

As usual, Joy and Elisabeth were fighting about politics - liberal vs. conservative, one defending the current government, the other criticizing.  Neither giving in.  In fact, it turned into a yelling fest between the two of them.  Finally, Barbara jumps in asking them both to calm down.  Then she started talking and I just wanted to hug the woman.

She talked about how out of control we are.  How this whole left vs. right is blocking the way of getting to common ground.  How angry both sides are and instead of talking and trying to find resolution, it's easier to yell, name call, point fingers, blame and get pissed off at each other.  She pointed out this was happening right in front of her, between FRIENDS, so imagine what it's like amongst those who don't consider themselves friends.  She talked about how it's time to take a breath and focus on what needs to be done and not on which side "wins" or "loses".
I don't always agree with Barbara Walters, but dammit, I think this time she has the right idea.  Why are people so mad?  What happened to the government, the community, our citizens working together to find common ground instead of always having a winner and a loser?  When did this "all or nothing" mentality take over common sense and the "do the right thing" attitude?  Where are the level headed people who can think things through for the better of our government and society and not focus on their own personal benefit (ie: campaign $$!)?

I'm already tired of the ads with one candidate telling me about all the things the other candidate did wrong.  All that says to me is that the accusing candidate must not have done anything productive or he/she would be shouting that accomplishment from the rooftops!  They ALL do it.  I don't care what the opponent did wrong.  I want to know what YOU did right.  What you WILL DO if elected.  Let the cable and local news people, the watchdogs, etc. shout out the flaws of the other candidate(s).  And really, most of what they say about one another is so skewed and taken out of context that you can't really believe it anyway.

Come on people!  Why can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jumpstart your child's brain and have fun while doing it!

Read on, there is a giveaway at the end!

I recently was given the opportunity to review the Jumpstart 3D Virtual World website.  If you are not familiar with Jumpstart, I will quote their website: 
JumpStart is an award-winning adventure-based 3D virtual world that is super-personalized, wildly imaginative and really fun, but don't let that fool you - it also teaches math, reading, and critical thinking skills so kids get a real jump start in life.
For me, Jumpstart brings back memories of the CDs for our computer - Jumpstart Preschool, 1st Grade and so on.  We had many of the CDs for our kids to play on.  But that was years ago and times have changed.  Now there is a website where the kids can go and play some fun, educational games.

I had my 6 yr. old and my 10 yr. old play a couple of the games.  My youngest's review is "I like having to answer those math questions before moving on."  That's about all one can get from a 6 yr. old, I guess.

My 10 yr. old was not as easy.  He fussed and groaned and threw a fit.  "Jumpstart is for little kids," he says.  I say, "But this website has games for older kids.  Come on, just try it for 10 minutes!"  I couldn't get him to do it.  Then, I think because it was close to bedtime and he didn't want to go to bed, he said, "Ok, ten minutes." 

He went into Futureland.  He thought the games were fun, but didn't like how areas/zones were either fun or educational games.  He would have liked a mixture of each type of game in all the areas.  I puttered around some in Futureland and liked how the questions for things like Geography, US Trivia, Math, Science, etc. were played in a way similar to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  I was hooked and since he was playing in the area for 10 yr. olds, I could actually answer the questions!  I am, apparently, as smart as a fifth grader, but maybe no smarter.

He stepped away after his 10 minutes and I decided to look around.  I went to an area where I could grow a Mythie, a dragon looking thing.  Of course, there were things you had to do first before you could get your egg to go to the hatchery.  I must have been sighing and whining because I am bad at video games in general.  He clearly heard me and came to the rescue.  Next thing I know, he says, "Move over" and he is running the show.  We found our 15 hearts, got our egg and got it to the hatchery.  The game then said, "Come back tomorrow to see your hatched egg."  We logged off and as he was leaving the room he said, "Do I need a password to get into that website?"  I asked him if that meant he was coming back to play and he grinned and sheepishly said, "Yes."

So both kids give the games a thumbs up.

These are just two of the gzillion areas to play and learn in.  Ok, maybe not a gzillion, but you get the idea.  There is a lot to do here for kids, and apparently parents (or at least parents like me!), too.  If you play video games like I do, though, you'll need your child to help you.

Now for the good stuff!  I am giving away a three month membership to the Jumpstart website.  A membership includes the online world and 4 downloadable games.  You can have up to 6 kids on one account!  The site has games and activities for 3 yr. olds up to 10 yr. olds, so there is something for almost everyone.

Just leave me a comment.  That's all you have to do to enter.  No crazy other stuff, BUT if you wanted to tweet about this giveaway or mention it on your own blog, that would be awesome!  Any comments that are submitted to me by midnight on Friday, Sept. 17 will be put into a random counter and one will be selected.  Only one entry per person, please.

Disclosure: I was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My plan is working beautifully.

I have a life before kids - it involved frequent travels, extended trips, lots of dining out, going to parties, lots of shopping - well, most of you probably know what I am talking about.  It also involved a career.  A career I really enjoyed for a company that I adored.  Being that I came into the company when it was very young and I had a great relationship with the President and also the CEO, I was kind of spoiled there.  I knew it and I was ok with that.  Really, who wouldn't be?

Once I had my first child (who is now 13 yrs. old), things started to change.  The travels slowed down, we didn't eat out as much, the parties became less important.  I don't think I shopped less, though.  My career suddenly wasn't as important.  In fact, I gave up my full time career for a part-time position at the company.  Then I decided that wasn't good enough either.  I needed full control of my schedule.  I needed to work when I wanted and could and be home when I needed to be home.  So I quit.  I walked away from a career and a company that offered many rewards.  My husband thankfully has a job that allowed us to do this financially and I took full advantage of that with 100% of his support.

I knew in order to have that dream job, that job where I had full control of my schedule, I would have to choose another career.  So I went to massage therapy school and became a licensed massage therapist.  I worked on and off from the time I was licensed (2000) until recently (2008).  Mostly it was off.  Having babies, having surgeries, moving out of state for three years, taking care of kids put a dent in my "on" working years.  Well, you get the picture.

In 2008, an opportunity arose and I hopped on it.  I've been a "working" mom ever since.  I use the term "working" loosely.  I started working only 3 hours a week.  Yes, 3 hours.  After all, this is the career I chose to let me work what I could and my plan was working beautifully!  When CJ went off to kindergarten in 2009, I bumped up to a whopping 6 hours.  My mom friends who work FT outside the home jobs make fun of me (and that's ok!), but my plan was still working out just as I wanted.  CJ started 1st grade this year and my plan was to double my hours again, to 12 hours!  Twelve whole hours!  I was thrilled.  Then the Great BlogHer Wipeout of 2010 happened. 

I've never been the wife who felt "guilty" about not making money.  I always felt my job at home was so very important that no amount of money into our family budget would be worth me going back to work.  "His" money is OUR money and we have lived happily like that for many years.

Thanks to the above mentioned wipeout, things have taken an unexpected turn and I am now home sans kids.  It's a totally different feel than being home with kids!  I feel like I should be working.  I don't make a lot of money as a massage therapist compared to my previous career.  But my few hours of work provides us with some extra spending money or unexpected bills money.  But here I sit.  My days consist of physical therapy and trying to keep busy.  Busy with what?  Some days it's productive stuff, like volunteering at school or grocery shopping or straightening the house.  I even steam cleaned the carpet using my good arm to push and pull the steam cleaner.  Other days, it's reading and napping once I get everyone off to school.

It just feels weird.  I will be happy when I can return to work outside of the home!  As long as it's on my schedule, of course.  Thankfully, my employer is OK with that!!!  My plan is working beautifully.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On this day...

September 10.  For many people it's just a day.  Our history tells us it's the day before 9/11.  For me, it is a day with much significance.  Today is the day I quietly celebrate the "anniversary" of my first brain surgery.  September 10, 2001 was a day that I will never forget.  It's been nine years on this anniversary.  Nine years.  It's been a good nine years.  There was a little blip, six years ago, when I had brain surgery #2.  But in the big picture, it's been nine good, healthy, symptom free years.  Both recoveries were a little rough, but once I got on the healing path, it wasn't nearly as rough as it was prior to my first surgery.

I am eternally grateful to my surgeons and medical team that got me where I am today.  I had tons of support from family and friends.  I had two little boys at the time of surgery #1 and I am thankful they don't really remember it.  I learned a lot about myself.  I ditched some of my weaknesses and learned a lot about my strength.

September 10.  It is a day I will never forget.

(For anyone who is new here, I was diagnosed in the early 80's, while in HS, with a type of cyst at the base of my brain.  In the early 1990's, with the improvement of technology and the invention of MRIs, I was rediagnosed with a Chiari Malformation.  I managed for 18 years, living with symptoms, discomfort, pain and eventually black outs resulting in the need for surgery.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010


So y'all know I went to BlogHer and experienced more than I cared to of the emergency medical system in NYC during that weekend.  If not, go HERE.  What you may not know is that I spent a total of ten days in NYC, five of them with my husband and prior to heading to NYC, we were in Philadelphia for a day.

We started in Philly, where I flew to hook up with MG.  He was there for work. 
We had a nice dinner and putttered around South St.  We ate dinner at the Latest Dish.  It was delicious and I fell in love with this drink, the raspberry zinger, not the key lime cocktail (though it looks good) or the dirty ho.
I loved the raspberry zinger.  I had two.  Unfortunately, I did not get the dirty ho included in this photo, because I know many of you will be interested how to make that drink.  Maybe you Philly readers can get to the Latest Dish for me and let me know.
We then headed to NYC via train.  Before we left Philly, we got a call and found out we would be going here.  We were THRILLED and had a blast.  We ended up in the fourth row, center.  Awesome!  Mark Wahlberg was the main guest.  We also saw Will Ferrell leaving the studios that day.
Once again, I rotated the picture and saved it.  Why does it turn it back when I add it to my blog?
We stayed at a hotel in the UN Plaza in Midtown East.  It was a nice quiet area compared to other parts of the city.
This was the view from our room on the 36th floor.
After dropping off our luggage and getting checked in, we headed here:
Jo in Times Square
MG very quickly became claustrophobic.  Times Square was probably our least favorite place and we stayed clear of it the rest of the trip.
This was our subway stop every day.
It was good we were at a well known stop.  It made it easy for me to remember once I was on my own.
We went to Central Park three times I think.
We took the Circle Line Cruise from Midtown West, to Lower Manhattan to Midtown East.  We saw parts of Brooklyn/Long Island and Staten Island.  We saw all the sites along the way, including the Statue of Liberty.  Besides the American flag, I don't think there is any symbol that says "America" like this statue does.

This is MG and I on the Circle Line Cruise.  This was our one and only official "We are tourists" photo. 
We happened upon a little festival where MG got a yummy snack and we bought cheapie t-shirts for the kids.  Unfortunately, by the time we were there, the festival was shutting down.
We went to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Building) and watched the city go dark.
The red, white and blue lights are the top of the Empire State Building.
We had dinner at Fanelli's in SOHO with a family friend who is co-oping in NYC.  I had dinner with her again after MG left.  She's such a sweetie!

This is what we looked like a little over a week later when she visited for her birthday.  Stop laughing.  You would also look like this if you broke your dominant arm and elbow and couldn't fix your hair or apply mascara or wear a shirt with sleeves!
We had a yummy breakfast at Bubby's Pie Co. in Tribeca.  We ate in Little Italy and Chinatown.  Thanks to the King of NY Hacks, we went to this awesome litttle place in Chinatown called Wo-Hop (the downstairs location).  We would have never found this place without his suggestion.  In fact, we had an exact address and we STILL had trouble finding this place!  It is exactly the kind of place we love - small, locally owned, filled with locals and cool tourists, the police were coming in for carry out.  We shared a table with a very young European couple.  The food was awesome and our only regret was that we didn't have a fridge and microwave in our hotel room so we could take our leftovers back for a late night snack.

We went to many of the museums, like MoMA, The Museum of Natural History and Hyde Planetarium and the Guggenheim.  No trip to NYC would be complete without seeing this Frank Lloyd Wright design!

Of course, we visited the World Trade Center site.  A somber and reflective moment of our trip.
The Soup Man (aka The Soup Nazi) re-opened his Seinfeld location just before our visit.  We could not resist going to get some soup from here.  The lobster bisque was delicious, even on a scorching hot day.
And yet, another picture that won't stay rotated the correct way.
We went to the top of the Empire State Building.
 From there we headed to the Flat Iron Building. 

If you are a music lover, it's a must to go here.  Well, it was for me anyway.  The Dakota House, the site of John Lennon's assassination.

 And then a quick trip through Strawberry Fields in Central Park.
After MG left, I spent the day in Greenwich Village.  I enjoyed some quiet time reading in Washington Square Park and watching the street performers.  I walked around and I got the most awesome pedicure.  Honestly, I have never had ANYONE massage my feet and calves the way this woman did.  I was in heaven!
Cool that Greenwich Village named a street after my husband!  Coincidentally, when I was in college, I had a boyfriend who lived on this street.  I tried to find his apartment, but that was 20 years ago and, well, my memory just is not that good.
 No laughing when I tell you I attended mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  It's true.  And yes, the church is still standing.  No lightning strikes, no earthquakes, no crumbling of the walls.
I probably don't need to explain at this point that something is screwy with importing rotated pictures.
That brings you to the end of my/our trip.  It was fun, it went fast and we had a blast.  I then moved to my new hotel for BlogHer, met my roommate, hung with her and attended the BlogHer events, and well, we all know what happened there.