Month: June 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Knitting project

I’m knitting a lovely shawl and about halfway done.  I took pride in dealing with a tricky part so I made a video to share.  Thought I’d post it here too for kicks.

Jackism

Ben forwarded me this explanation from Jack this morning:

“When you have a swim shirt and swim pants, together they make a swim suit.  It’s called symbiosis.  Why are you laughing?  That’s what it’s called when two things work together to make something better!”
Indeed, Jack.  Clever boy.
Pics from the park this evening.

Kids are super helpful ;-)

A summer day’s activities

Some shots from today.

Brotherly love and hygiene.
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Sam very clearly called out “giraffe giraffe!” when we got here.

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This was the boys for most of the outing.  Seriously.  Jack playing map master, looking at the pictures on it more than the actual animals, and Sam distracted by potholes, geese, and railings. 

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I can’t believe we’ve been to the zoo so many times and he’s never climbed the hippo!

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They wanted the train but it was down for repairs.  Sam is starting to wear out. 

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Not pictured: 2 hour naps, dinner, and going to the gym.  Ben really earned his Father’s Day mojo by squeezing in playtime with this before bed:

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Heritage Square

I threw ideas at Ben for what to do with our Saturday.  Zoo?  Swimming?  Playgrounds?  Each met with a meh.  Later a commercial at the gym inspired me.  Alpine slide?  His eyes lit up and he gave a firm yes.

So much fun!  Jack was scared, then brave, then scared going into it.  He enjoyed the chair lift up the mountain.  He patiently waited our turn to go down.  I asked if he wanted to go slooooow or fast! Slow, he insisted.  I told him I would start off medium and he could tell me to go slower or faster as we went.  Right off the summit he started chanting “Faster! Faster! Faster!”  We had a slow poke in front of us so halfway down the mountain I had to brake slowly to build up space, then rushed him through the curves.  “This is the best of my life!” he yelled at one point.

I love Ben’s description of Sam.  Sam is not good at waiting in any form.  The final queue while sitting in the sleds was agony for him.  Ben said after we went down, he was all wiggles waiting for their turn.  Wiggle wiggle wiggle wig– Then he froze in that position as Ben dived down, and he held the pose the whole way in shock.  He seemed really happy with the ride at the end.

You can’t take a five year old through an amusement park and not let him do a few more rides.  Even if they are grossly overpriced.  Ben vowed to take him to Lakeside again this summer and have his fill of rides there.

(sorry, I think I smudged sunscreen on my phone and it made all the pictures blurry)

Heritage square
Heritage square
Heritage square
Heritage square
Heritage square

Heritage square

Heritage square

Heritage square

When Dad dresses you

You get mismatched patterns, boots on a sunny day, syrup left in hair, and a happy boy.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Oy, it’s tough getting back to normal.  The kids transitioned well from all access grandparents to military mommy mode.  The only notable thing really was that Sam wanted to be in my arms all the time.  I don’t know if that’s because he was carried a lot while gone, or if he misses me.  I’m going to go with he misses me. 

Creekside Cubs summer camp, gym trips, home cooking (love Blue Apron!), and Sam has a fever.  Things are back to square one in the Mason house. 

NYC day 4

Our last day was a half day really.  Our flight was scheduled for 3:30.  We had no plans, just shop around in midtown and get a good last lunch before taking an Uber car back to LaGuardia.

We made a second trip to the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya.  Ben got this colorful umbrella because once again it was pouring rain.  Not the best weather for wandering leisurely on your last morning.  I bought the Japanese version of this coloring book.  I ordered it over a month ago and demand has been so high they hadn’t shipped it yet.  Of course when Ben logged in to cancel the order it was en route to Arvada.  Durr! Well, now I have two.  I also bought some colored pencils so I could dig in on the plane. 

Leaving Bryant Park, we walked to Times Square to get some gifts for the boys. 

New York City 2015

New York City 2015

New York City 2015

We had out eye on City Kitchen for lunch.  We saw it from the theater yesterday (you can see it out this window in the picture) but their gas burners were dead so we couldn’t eat there.  It’s an upscale food court with great views of the street below.  Ben had Ramen and I had a burger with crunchy fries and a blue cheese dipping sauce.  We really enjoyed our meals and were surprised how un-busy it was. 

New York City 2015

New York City 2015

Meanwhile, I got a message that our flight was already delayed two hours.  Hmmm.  We could easily fit in a trip to the Library or the Natural History Museum or another yarn shop.  But we were kind of mentally checked out and the weather was poor for wandering.  I got Mom’s veteran traveler advice to get to the airport sooner than later in case things change.

But I had one more thing to do at City Kitchen:

New York City 2015

Ho ho ha!  Meet my new obsession – Taiwanese shaved ice.  I had seen bloggers post similar treats from Hawaii and California.  It’s snow-like shaved ice topped with syrups or sweetened condensed milk, candies, and fruits.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  This stuff is divine!  We ran into the owner and chatted a little.  He said this Taiwanese style is actually a little different in that the flavor is in the ice itself.  They don’t just shave water into ice.  They make milky or fruity bases that get turned into the snow.  Ours was their basic “Sea Salt Leche” flavor.  The dish looks large enough to share, but we bought a second one after squabbling over the last bites.   We hope this is the new Pinkberry – 7 years ago on our last trip we were obsessed with eating it in NYC and waiting for it to come to Denver.  Now there’s froyo on every corner.  Please bring shaved snow to Denver!!

Before heading to the airport we went downstairs to the I (heart) NYC store.  It was a large and clean shop that had everything you could want for at a souvenir shop, including lovable yet surly Russian cashiers (I recommend it for your students, Amanda). 

A pleasant driver took us to La Guardia and that was the end of our trip.  So sad.  We both had so much fun and everything went so perfectly (except the weather).  No one even got sick!  It was a miracle!

The airport had to ruin it all, like usual.  Ultimately our flight was 6 hours delayed.  We totally could have played in New York longer!  Blergh!  We weren’t even in the fun side of the airport that had Broadway performers stranded too.  The worst part of all was at 6:45 (3.5 hours after our original flight) ANOTHER flight took off for Denver at the next gate.  The WHAT?  They didn’t say anything to us about getting on that plane, or why we couldn’t, or apologies for the ridiculous unfairness that we would wait another three hours to go to the same place when our flight was scheduled earlier than theirs.  Our pilot even apologized on the plane and said he didn’t think the ground crew were being entirely honest or fair to us.  Ouch, that’s pretty bad if the pilot says that publicly.  He gave us all free TV and like a pacified toddler I watched cable reruns and used my coloring book the whole way home. 

Airports suck.  No news there.  I hate that their putrid stink is how we had to end an otherwise lovely lovely vacation.  I loved every moment of it, I was so happy to be there spending so much time with my husband, and I’m so grateful to the Masons for keeping our kids safe and happy at home. 

New York City 2015

NYC Day 3

Sunday was packed with plans.  We managed to have another great day despite the sweltering, sticky heat of the morning and the heavy down-pouring of rain in the evening. 
We started by taking a train to Soho.  Ben deduced that New York runs on Mountain time – nothing opened until 11 or noon and then it all stays open until 2 or 4 am.  Perfect if we don’t adjust our watches from Denver time!
Luckily Chobani’s cafe opens early enough to call it breakfast (let’s ignore the doughnut I snagged from a street cart).  Amanda tipped me off to this place and I’m so glad she did.  I could eat his yogurt every morning: plain unsweetened chobani, orange, pistachios, dark chocolate, honey, and mint.  Delish!  Ben ordered a “bagel and cream cheese” using air quotes to mimic the menu.  It turned out to be a really good and crunchy simit bread crusted with sesame seeds and shaped into a ring. 
New York City 2015
I really tried not to eat a Laduree macaron.  I just wanted to gawk at the pretties.  Ben insisted.  He didn’t have to tell me twice.  I got apricot.  He got . . . I forget.  It was the two toned pink and orange one.  We agreed that they were amazing and the best macarons ever tried – but still maybe overpriced at $2.80 each. 
New York City 2015
I tried on frames at the Warby Parker store and we bought Sam a T-shirt at a Japanese(?) kids store where Jack was too big for their size 8-9 year old.  We camped out in Starbucks with tall icy herbal teas while we waited for Purl Soho to open at noon.  If I didn’t have such a great local shop in Fancy Tiger I would have spent hours there and a lot more money.  After much deliberation I settled on a subtle color choice in their lovely store-brand yarn, Line Weight.  I already started a project with it and I’m loving how this yarn knits.  (Crap! Their website has different colors and some are on sale.  I’m salivating to buy more.)
New York City 2015
At this point we hoped to take the train to an Ethiopian restaurant, but I was worried about making it to our show in time.  We opted to ride straight back to Times Square and find food there.  We ate at John’s Pizzeria next door to our theater.  It was mediocre, as most food in Times Square is.  But it was easy and filling.  Ben pointed out that the building used to be a church and I found a post about it on a blog I read call Scouting NY.  He’s a scout for film locations and talks a lot about the history and hidden corners of the city.  You can read about the pizzeria here.  Also of note, our waiter was VERY interested to hear we were from Denver.  He wanted to know if it was true, that you can just buy pot at a corner store.  Yes, we assured him.  It’s really true. 
New York City 2015
We walked all of 20 paces to our matinee next door: Something Rotten!
New York City 2015
Loved it!  Ben said he could tell he wasn’t getting all the inside theater jokes, but laughed a lot anyway.  It was a bawdy, raucous show with fast pace, lots of jokes and puns, and great performers.  We had all the original cast in our performance.  
We came out of the theater into buckets of rain.  We had a single umbrella to share so we hugged tight and ran underground.  This was the part of the trip I was worried about.  After the musical we had to make our way to Brooklyn, hopefully get dinner, and be at the concert before 8pm.  Happily it turned out not to be a problem at all.  
When we arrived at Bedford we found shelter and a cell phone signal to do a quick dinner search.  A couple blocks away was The Meatball Shop “We make balls.”  (Side note: there is more than one meatball shop in Brooklyn when you search for it online.  Because of course.  I had to check the menu to be sure I found the same one.) 
Framed by meat grinders with a window seat to watch the dripping passerby’s and the bronze horse head seller, we enjoyed a delicious and hearty meal. 
New York City 2015
New York City 2015
New York City 2015
When the rain let up we called for the check and meandered to the Music Hall for the big finale to our trip: They Might Be Giants!
Some background first.  Ben is a long time fan, at least since high school.  I knew some of their songs but didn’t really appreciate them until Ben sent me mix CDs when we were dating long distance way way back in 1999.  The music still takes me back to those early days in our relationship.  
There was a concert in Boulder our first year of marriage.  I couldn’t attend because I was still under 21.  
There was a concert when I was 23.  I had a business meeting in Miami and the boss wouldn’t let me book a flight home in time to see it.  Then there was a hurricane, so we took an earlier flight home, that was delayed of course.  Driving back from the airport at midnight I called Ben and he was at the concert with friends, about to come home too.  I was so mad I missed it by hours.  
They came to Denver in my late 20s.  I had a new baby and a crazy demanding job schedule and didn’t go.  
Last Christmas I bought Ben a fan club membership for TMBG.  It came with lots of goodies: t-shirt, first release signed albums, dial-a-song access, and two tickets to a concert of your choice with no expiration.  We looked up their tour schedule – dang it.  They skipped over Denver for Salt Lake City.  But wait!  Maybe we should see them . . . . . .. in Brooklyn!  That would be so cool to see them on their home turf, with no kids to come home too, and we could do all this other cool stuff in New York.  So really, this concert was the motivation and reason for taking the whole trip. 
Waiting in the rain.  And waiting.  And waiting.  Doors were supposed to open at 7pm.  We didn’t get in until 7:45.  Later the Johns apologized and said there was a problem with flooding that they had to clear and ensure safety.  I guess that’s a good reason 😉
New York City 2015
What a show!  I forgot to mention that Ben and I had sworn off concerts.  So much standing, so loud, terrible manners from the audiences, late hours, spilled beer and stinky pot, etc etc.  TMBG run a tight show.  They are polite and professional, starting only 15 minutes late even with the flooding.  Their fans are courteous, enthusiastic, and mostly reasonable folk.  There was no opening act to suffer through.  The venue was small, maybe 200 people or less.  I was worried that I wouldn’t hear any favorite songs.  This evening was planned as a show focusing on The Else.  It’s a fine album, but you always want to hear classics when you see a show and I worried they wouldn’t play any.  How wrong I was.  It was like they read my mind and played a personal playlist:  Don’t let’s start, Birdhouse in your soul, Particle Man, Robot Parade (!), Istanbul, She’s a jumping bean, Number three, and to cap it all off they played New York City when I was IN NEW YORK CITY!!  Fangirl in me exploded. 
New York City 2015
New York City 2015
I took these clips to share with Jack.  He’s still learning that music comes from people.  I wanted to show him the people who are “There are some giants.”
New York City 2015
New York City 2015
“We kissed on the subway in the middle of the night 
I held your hand, you held mine, it was the best night of my life”

NYC Day 2

Saturday we played it lazy in the morning, relishing our quiet room and cozy bed.  At 10:30 we hit the subway tracks to the Met Museum.  Of course it was spectacular.  We could have spent the whole day there I’m sure.  We did the Greek sculptures, Medieval Art and the Amory, then up to the European artists: Impressionists, Dutch art in the far corner, El Greco’s work, finishing with the frilly French of the 1700s. 

Armory – always cool. 

New York City 2015

Got a close look of this hammered plate of “Wife Beating Husband.”  I figured out why she is beating him.

New York City 2015

He’s got her niddy-noddy!  Don’t mess with a girl’s yarn!

Getting a little cranky, diagnosed hunger and dehydration.  The atrium is a very pretty place to eat, even if the sandwich had too much mustard (and Ben drank my drink!  It clearly has my name on it! 😉

New York City 2015

We made sure to stop on the rooftop garden to take in the skyline (where the previous blog post of us was taken).

New York City 2015

Eventually you have to step out of the Met.  Even though we’d barely glanced through half the departments, our level of enjoyment versus level of tiredness ratio was dropping. 

New York City 2015

On the way back to the subway we popped in Lady M Confections for delicious things.  We picked out their Signature Mille Crepes cake

New York City 2015

and an eclair because eclairs are my FAVORITE thing ALWAYS.

New York City 2015

Marching onward to the subway, we found Butterfield Market on Lexington.  Despite the above mentioned pastries knocking my knees in a bag at my side, I couldn’t resist the delectables in the window.  We stared slack-jawed at the shelves and displays and settled on fresh juice.  Holy Nectar of the Gods.  Maybe it was the heat and the fatigue, but my Basil Lemonade and Ben’s Blackberry juice tasted like heaven in a plastic cup.  As we rode the train back with sweaty bodies pressed against us I took little sips of pure bliss. 

New York City 2015
New York City 2015

Showers and rest, then fancy duds for the evening’s entertainment. 

New York City 2015

The night before I booked a table at Boulud Sud near Lincoln Center.  They offered a Pre-Theater Prix Fixe that looked good to both of us.

Fried Artichokes, Pea and Morel Gnocchi for Ben, Mediterraean Mezze plate for me. 

New York City 2015

Tuna for Ben, Chicken Tangine for me

New York City 2015

Ben’s (AMAZING) vermicelli milk pudding and my chocolate torte. 

New York City 2015

Stuffed and satisfied (thank you mom!) we took photos in front of the Met Opera house while we waited for the doors to open. 

New York City 2015

New York City 2015

 
https://player.vimeo.com/video/124967056
abt sleeping beauty 2015 v2 from AD Lubow on Vimeo.

This was the event I was most excited to see.  We had tickets in the center of 12th row of the orchestra section to see Sleeping Beauty by the ABT, the country’s most prestigious ballet company. 

New York City 2015

New York City 2015

It was everything I hoped for.  Outstanding dance performances, stunning costumes, hair whiffing conductor, Enormous sets, all placed on a classic ballet.

(Pictures Below found online.)

The fairies were gorgeous and fun and precise. 

The finale had many characters revived from the original productions.  Our Diamond fairy was spectacular.  Bluebird (Misty Copeland) and her cavalier were also exceptional.

The queen rocked a crown, wig, and dress that would fit right in at Beach Blanket Babylon. 

Ben and I thought this color choice for the Garland dance was stunning.  My next knitting project might be inspired by this mustard and turquoise combination. 

It was perfect.  Ben said he heard me making involuntary grunts of approval and awe throughout.  How lucky am I to have a husband who enjoys ballet with me? 

Another happy day to reflect on when we collapsed in bed. 

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