Wednesday, June 27, 2012

concrete jungles where dreams are made of

the mama bear was in new york for business last week, so i was in new york hanging out with the mama bear over the weekend.

i love it when my mom comes to new york because a) it means we get to stay in a fancy hotel, which i never get to do in new york and b) it means we get to kick around the city together, which is one of the best ways to see new york. in my opinion at least.

we lived it up this time, same as every time, with the following itinerary:

1. lots of really delicious food, including but not limited to: an amazing french restaurant, artisanal, near our fancy hotel that had the most amazing cheese i have ever tasted; brunch in greenwich village at a little cafe that could have (and should have) been in a nora ephron movie; mexican food with carl and ck and the darling baby girl; and a cupcake from magnolia to wash it all down.

2. wandering around the village, including but not limited to a street market and washington square park.

3. a tour of radio city music hall with a surprise chance to meet a rockette! in case you were interested to know, they did a massive renovation of radio city music hall in 1999 to restore it to its original glory. the building cost $8 million to build in 1932, and cost more than $70 million to restore. it was $70 million well-spent, in our opinion. we were so enchanted with the building, in fact, that we bought tickets to see the cirque du soleil performance that was playing there.

4. a trip to the top of the empire state building, which neither of us had done in ages. there was a lot of waiting in line involved, but it was worth it for the view from the 86th floor.

i can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something about waking up in new york that is sort of magical and different from anything else. for a long time i assumed that some day i would end up living there some day. i don't actually think that's the case anymore, and i feel good about that, but i am still always a little sad when a trip to new york comes to an end. especially when it is a trip with the mama bear. but such is the way with all good things.

until next time, nyc.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

hot crustacean band

i'm sorry i didn't tell you this sooner, but friday was national lobster day. so we celebrated the only way that seemed appropriate.

don't feel bad if you missed out, though. the people at legal sea foods didn't know it was national lobster day either. but boy did we set them straight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

for dads, present and future

for father's day on sunday AWD got a bag of m&ms at church (which i ate) and then i let him do all the dishes after dinner.

my mom said i seemed to have missed the point.

AWD said it was OK because he isn't a dad yet. but when he is i better step up my game.

(just kidding. he would never say something like that. even though it's true.)

but, my lack of celebratory recognition aside, i did want to say this. every day that i wake up and remember that i am married to AWD i feel happy and lucky and so incredibly grateful. being married to him and learning how to live as partners together has been so much fun and so rewarding and it feels like the time so far has gone by in the half-blink of an eye.

i will admit that lately, for the first time in my life, i've found myself feeling really envious of people who got married in their early 20s because they had all that time to spend just the two of them (if they wanted to) before the realities of the biological clock came knocking and i have to say that ten years of just me and AWD sounds like a dream.

but, i will also admit that the thought of AWD cuddling a little baby that belongs to me and to him, and the thought of him teaching our kids how to ride bikes, and the thought of him helping them with their homework, and the thought of him reading them bedtime stories and saying family prayers and getting up in the middle of the night to send monsters and nightmares away makes me pretty melty and excited.

i hope that our kids, whenever and however they come, have his kindness and patience, his calmness and confident decision-making, his smile and his belly laugh, his knack for putting things together and people at ease, his willingness to try just about anything, his desire to serve and show love, his dedication to the church and the lord, his silly sense of humor, and his calves.

i have no doubt that our kids will feel just as lucky as i do to have him around.

despite my sub-par efforts on the home front, i did manage to get a gift (on-time) to my own dad, who i love very dearly. my dad taught me how to be brave and try hard and i still get all giddy inside when he tells me he is proud of me. making him proud makes me happy. my dad has always been my ally and my advocate and my friend, and i don't think you could ask for better things from a dad. he always has time for me and my questions and my problems, and he also always has time to rejoice in my triumphs, however big or small they may be. from him i have learned a lot about how to show people they matter, and that is something i am glad to know.

in short, my life is richly blessed in the dad and husband/future-dad category (not to mention the m&ms bonus) and i just figured i'd better say it out loud. i sure love you both.

Friday, June 15, 2012

good things come in threes

here are three new things i have been doing lately.

1. taking piano lessons. my cousin emily is teaching me, and it is a blast. except when it is totally frustrating. (for me.) emily had only ever taught kids before and she was a little worried that i (being an adult) might be too advanced, but i quickly disabused her of that notion. i am making (painfully) slow (alleged) progress.

2. taking tennis lessons. sort of. AWD is teaching me. and it is actually a lot more fun than i thought it would be. because i was assuming i would not be able to a) hit the ball or b) get it over the net even if i did manage to hit it. but it turns out i can do both those things with some degree of consistency. plus i have a pink racket. i was a little mortified when we showed up for our first lesson/match and there were a bunch of people from church at the same park playing kickball, but we went to the court that was farthest (furthest? dad, can you help me here?) away and no one seemed to notice.

3. doing the insanity workout. it's a little nuts. AWD calls them my "going mad DVDs." i can actually only make it through half of every workout at one time because, well, they're in-sane. but, even making it through half the DVD feels like a major accomplishment. and i like major accomplishments. people swear by the results of this workout, and i am interested to see what sort of difference it makes for me and my fitness and my rear end. so far all i have to show for it are really sore muscles.

what have you been up to lately?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

lost and found

yesterday was the perfect day for a bike ride. so, that's exactly what we decided to do.

and, on our third attempt, we found the way to the iwo jima memorial!

this was actually AWD's originally intended destination for the bike ride on which we got engaged so, for good measure, he asked me to marry him when we stopped in front of the memorial.

i said yes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

story time

do you have a lovely weekend ahead of you? i hope so. this is our first full weekend home in what seems like eternity, so we are taking it pretty easy and just getting some business taken care of. business that hopefully involves buying a grill because summer is here big time and we want to live it up! there is also a food truck festival on the agenda for tonight, and hopefully some bike rides in our near future as well.

but, before all that, i wanted to share this, it being a list of story-telling rules from pixar. pretty cool, right? i can totally see how they come up with so many good stories at pixar using these tricks. and, i thought there were some pretty good tips in there for courageously building the stories of our own lives as well. a few favorites:

#1: you admire a character more for trying than for their successes

#12: discount the first thing that comes to your mind. and the second, and the third and the fourth and the fifth. get the obvious out of the way. surprise yourself.

#13: give your characters opinions. passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it's poison to the audience.

#17: no work is ever wasted. if it's not working, let go and move on. it'll come back around to being useful later.

all i have to say to all of that is: amen.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

alive and well

remember how i told you i planted flowers on a saturday and they were dead by thursday?

well, good news! they revived.

they're looking pretty good, if i do so say myself (and i do), and the hydrangea bush in the back is looking rather stunning as well.

maybe i have a (light) green thumb after all.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

i made a pie.

our friends e&e had us over for a back deck barbecue the other night, and i decided to make this pie from caroline's bake shop.

except mine didn't come out looking like this:

it came out like a big soupy chocolatey mess. probably because instead of making it the day before, like i knew i should, i made it the day of, which meant there was nowhere close to enough cooling and setting time. and i think i filled too much of the shell with meringue, so everything overflowed.

but, no one complained about it's less-than-solid state and it got pretty well gobbled up, as evidenced by this:

though the well-set leftovers definitely tasted a little better.

so, in short, it's a delicious recipe and if you are the kind of person who plans ahead and has a good sense of proportions, you should try it.

you're welcome.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the one where we saw what there was to see, some of which was under renovation and some of which was on fire

if there was something to see in austin, i am pretty sure we saw it.

though we did run into a few snags.

the johnson presidential library, for example, was under "extensive renovation." but, the replica of the oval office was still open. not to mention that the library itself is free. so, that was good enough for us.

and the lady bird johnson wildflower center was on fire! sort of. when we pulled up there was a sign blocking the entrance that said the center was closed for a "private event." but really it was closed because there had been a prairie fire an hour or so earlier. luckily, a nice man on a golf cart named damon told us we could go inside, as long as we stayed on the paved path. the flowers were lovely.

we also shopped along south congress.

toured the state capitol and marveled and it's many, many lone stars.

saw a guttenberg bible (so. cool.) and an exhibit of cowboy art at the university of texas austin.

ate a piece of chocolate at the first ever whole foods.

soaked (and shivered) in barton springs.

and climbed mount bonnell, the highest point in austin, which clocks in at a whopping 775 feet. when you "climb mount bonnell," you actually climb a staircase. but, the view is lovely nonetheless. and the plaque at the base of the "mount" mentions mormoms. win!

thanks texas (and madelyn and cody!) for a grand ol' time. see y'all soon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

shoulder to shoulder into the fray

ninety-three years ago, the united states senate passed the 19th amendment with 56 ayes and 25 nays and gave women the right to vote.

i love remembering today.

usually i celebrate by watching "iron jawed angels" but i sort of dropped the ball this year, so mrs. banks will have to do.

 thank you, sister suffragettes, one and all.