Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day Two (and Three)

I thought for sure I'd be able to do this daily blogging. I set the bar way too high. First of all, the internet connection here at the hotel is the pits! I tried to watch a YouTube video with a friend and this minute long, ahem 56 seconds long, video took over an hour to load!

Anyway, yesterday after surviving day one of the institute we decided to head out on recommendation to Joe's Shanghai for some 'dumplings'. The dumplings actually ended up being 'hot pork buns' but there were delicious! We had a little difficulty navigating our way there and then out again but oh well, it's all in the adventure.

After dinner we strolled up to Rockefeller Center for some pictures. We happened upon Magnolia Bakery, with an amazingly short line, and popped in for a pumpkin cupcake. YUM! Also along the way we passed Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and a gorgeous setting sun on the streets of New York.

We then made our way back to the hotel for our first night of homework.

Tonight we headed to the South Street Seaport to check out the Bodies Exhibition. Wow. That really was something else. At first I thought I might not be able to handle the images, stomach wasn't feeling so hot, but after getting past the first few, I really began to enjoy this unique look into the human body.

After that, it was to Nick's Big Burger/Pizza joint right around the corner from our hotel. We each had a burger, mine on challah, and each were great! And as Kathy noticed, it was our cheapest meal yet!

On the docket for tomorrow, after class of course, is to head down to the Staten Island Ferry for a little free tour, then up to Ground Zero and Trinity Church, and finally meeting a new colleague at Lombardi's for some well deserved New York Pizza.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day One

Timeline of events:
Fly from Lansing to O'Hare, O'Hare to Newark. From Newark took the AirTran to train platform. Took train to Penn Station then took the 1 Uptown to 79th. Ahh...sounds fast, doesn't it? Try 7:30 am-2:30 pm. New York is not a fast destination-until you get here.

My fellow travelers and I checked into our hotel and headed uptown to Columbia to make sure we knew where we were going for tomorrow. We walked around Riverside Church and a bit of the Teachers College before heading back downtown. Ended up at Niko's for dinner; which was very surprising. The menu was certainly overwhelming and the odor of freshly cooked fish loomed heavily in the air (one of their specialties--even overheard the man next to us comment, "This is the place to come for this," as he gestured to their whole fish). Considering I can't stomach fish (it's too fishy, of course) I got worried. We quickly became unsure of our decision but were very pleasantly surprised. Penny got the best dish of the night--pasta with plum tomatoes, basil, ricotta, and an unidentified sauce--that was wonderful.

Kathy had a very healthy salad stocked with fresh strawberries and apples among other things. I had a yummy white pizza--goat cheese, ricotta, and mozzarella.

We headed to the West Side Market after dinner to grab a few breakfast items:
Organic yogurt (Stonyfield Farms Vanilla), organic granola, non-organic (boo hoo) green grapes, and then some snacks- naan and a goat cheese dip.

Now, comfy clothes, MacBook, and a turned down bed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bright Lights, Big City

I'm into the one-hand countdown until I head to New York City. It has to be one of my favorite places on Earth. If it were up to me, we'd live in a big city. My husband, however, would rather we live in the middle of a field, in the middle of nowhere. So I suppose where we live now is sort of a compromise.

I'm headed into the city to take a class on writing--instruction that is. This will be my second summer doing so. I spent an entire week in awe last year at how much I was learning. This year I've talked two others into coming with. That's one thing I'm perplexed about. I'm so thankful I have others there to discuss what were learning but at the same time, I'm going to miss my solo journey. Yes, I'm one of those go-to-the-movies-alone kind of gals. Let's hope I don't lose my cool when, after eight days, I still haven't had a moment to myself.

After the class is finished, my mom is flying out so we can do a mini vacation. We did the same thing last year, but have refined our visit a bit. Up until a year ago, my brother lived in Brooklyn Heights, so we ventured back over to Brooklyn for part of our visit. As lovely of a borough as it is, it was a little too removed from all the things we wanted to do. So this year we're sticking to Manhattan. We're staying at the same hotel as last year because it was just lovely. Let's hope it's even better than last year.

But what to do in our visit? We will head back to Brooklyn on Saturday for breakfast at Luluc, then on to Sahadi's for goodies, and probably a walk back across the Bridge on our way to dinner at Petite Abeille.

Now to find other great things to do. Any suggestions? We're open.

Monday, June 15, 2009


It's always amazing to me what you find when you Google your name. Tonight I came across a newspaper article retelling the events of a presentation I made last week. Who knew?

Hair Care

It's summer break and while I am supposed to have more time on my hands, lately I feel busier than ever. This past week was quite busy. My brother, his wife, and their son came into town from Atlanta--with my mom and dad. Since getting our adorable puppy, I have come to realize that I now need to clean daily. Ugh, I don't like it. So, I've been cleaning and re-cleaning, and well you get the idea. I scheduled in a hair cut for last Wednesday before the family's Friday arrival. Big mistake number one. What's that saying? Shame on you if you fool me once. Shame on me if you fool me twice. Certainly. Bad haircut number one was on Wednesday. I returned for a redo and it came out worse, if that is possible. Needless to say, my search for a GOOD stylist is back on. Why does that have to be so hard to find? It's not like I live in a little isolated village with one salon. Quite the contrary. So, I'm dealing with the super short, new bangs (which I haven't had in YEARS--and certainly didn't ask for), slightly boyish haircut.

While my hair was getting mangled our poor pup was having her spaying surgery. This has been a very trying experience for us also. She quickly got an infection and she's proven to be too cunning to take any medicine. In a nutshell she has figured out there were pills in (and therefore not eaten), peanut butter, doggie treats, blueberries, raspberries, bacon grease, mini flavored marshmallows, large marshmallows, and the list goes on. She literally pulled things apart, dropped the pill, and finished her treat. She's too smart for her own good. And while her suture removal is two days away, it seems like eternity. It will certainly be nice when we can let her run, run, run!

Saturday we took the whole family including our super cute nephew, Taro, to a free kids day at Valhalla Park in Holt. We even ran into a co-worker and her darling daughter Savannah, who were about to ride an elephant when I phoned to see if she was there. It was quite the good deal. If you brought canned goods you received extra tickets to play games, adventure into bouncy houses, or ride that cute elephant. Lunch was free to all who attended and they were doling out free popcorn, snow cones (funny story about this), and cotton candy. What a great way to give kids experiences who normally would miss out due to financial strife in their family.

The snow cones...my husband had NEVER had a snow cone before in his life. He's 35. So, needless to say, he got one Saturday. "Cold". Ah yes, honey. It was blue and so were his lips.

We went to our good friends' house on Saturday afternoon for their daughter's second birthday. It was a camping theme, complete with four tents, a pop-up camper, wading pool, and sandbox. What a fun day. The darling Hannah received two handmade dresses I found on Etsy. They were quite the hit. Dress 1. Dress 2. On her actual birthday she also got two adorable barrettes. Barrette 1. Barrette 2. Etsy is definitely a place I will continue to find gifts.

Sunday night took us back to the 'campground' where we hung out with our friends in front of the campfire and toasted marshmallows for S'mores. We had a little run-in with an opossum but it didn't stick around for too long. Thank goodness. I love animals. Actually almost all I think are cute. That is, with the exception of the opossum. Blegh.

My quest for simplification in our life continues. I'm cutting back on my non-organic food purchases and have moved from simply purchasing organic-only dairy products to organic-only fruit. So far the prices have been comparable so I'm not feeling the pinch just yet. Today organic peanut butter, jam, canned veggies, and pasta found their way into my cart--because they were on sale, with a coupon, too.

I've moved into natural cleaning products--vinegar, baking soda (which I've always used but now I'm using it more often), and lemon. A good friend of mine reminded me recently, "If you can't eat it, you shouldn't clean with it." My husband now retorts, "Smells like vinegar," every time I clean. Yes, darling...good observation.

Tomorrow I have a meeting to find out which sessions I'll be teaching this summer and Thursday I'll be starting Project WRITE. This was presented to me Monday afternoon. I'm very excited to have this new learning opportunity. Before I know it, it will be the end of June and I'll be off to New York for my week at the Teachers College for the Summer Institute. And then...Sept...no, I can't do it. I cannot speak that month yet.

Okay, that catches me up. It's the perfect Michigan sleeping weather tonight. I can't wait to snuggle in.