Wide Open Spaces

Upstate NY

We went to visit some friends who are like family and started the trip at this beautiful 5 acre property. The home is stunning – beautiful inside and out like the owners. But the back yard…with a full garden and apple orchard is what I love! If it wouldn’t have been the height of rudeness I would have sat on a wooden bench they have, in the shade, the whole time. Don’t you love guests who care more about your vegetation than you? Tell me you can’t smell the green fresh air in these pictures? Btw – those raspberries were delicious. One fell on the ground as I was looking at it. Just popped right off the plant. It was spooky. Weirdo raspberries. It’s a thing.

   
    
    
    
 

London Calling

Every year we take the kids on vacation the week of my husband Joe’s birthday. We pack our bags in the middle of a warm and muggy July and usually head somewhere even warmer and muggier. We’ve hit every all inclusive you can think of – Mexico, Jamaica, The Dominican. We go, Joe gets his Irish tan on – the kids have the run of the place – and I sit under an umbrella with my burka on – it’s great. 

We decided to do something different this year. The kids will turn 17 and 12 this fall. Gulp. 17 and 12. 17 and 12…sorry. Where was I? 

Anyway we took them on our very own Griswold adventure! It was fantastic. Usually I’m very loosy goosy about planning in my civilian life. At work things are planned out to the minute, so winging it is the order of the day with my family. But not on this trip. We had 2 travel days and 5 short vacation days to fit it all in. It was the Amazing Race of vacations – except no Phil at the markers.

Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, The Tate Modern Museum and Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards was day one. I think I let them stop to breath a couple of times. We opted not to do a big red tour bus because my husband and I like to ride the local subways in Europe. So we grabbed a few Oyster cards for the Tube and pretended like we knew what we were doing. And for the most part we did – there was the usual  going east when we should have gone west goof up but that was to be expected. I can’t people watch and navigate at the same time now can I? 

The next day was a bit lighter, we ventured out of the city to see the Harry Potter tour at Warner Brother Studios. It was AMAZING. The actual sets, costumes and props used in the films. We geeked out big time (except for my hubby who has only watched about 15 minutes of each movie and then napped through the rest. This is also how he watched the Lord of the Rings series). After that we hit Camden Market, Abbey Road (of course) and the London Bridge. 

In the following days we squeezed in Picadilly Circus, Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle, dinner at the oldest pub on the river Thames (which we now know to pronounce without the H), lunch at the first Hard Rock Cafe ever opened and a couple of good Indian curries. 

I’d give myself a solid B in planning – I would have given myself an A but there were some pretty nice flubs. I didn’t put together that our flight landed at 6am and the flat that we stayed in (we used Air BnB) wouldn’t be ready until 2. So when we showed up we were a bit, actually a lot, unexpected. The owner was gracious and sent over the cleaners to prep early. We waited outside while he cleaned one of the bedrooms and then all four of us, exhausted from the flight, fell asleep on one bed while he cleaned the rest of the place. 

We got up a few hours later, got dressed to hit the town and I immediately locked us out by grabbing the wrong set of keys. I blame jet lag. And Obama.

Then there was the visit to the Tate Modern, which was right next to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater – which I was dying to see. But we turned right instead of left and missed it completely. As the Brits say…bullocks. Or as Homer Simpson says, “doh!”.

But it was all fun. Even the flubs. The kids were troopers – even when we walked for 7 hours straight (and forgot to feed them lunch now and then). My husband earns a prize for the rainy day (the only rain we had all week) in Bath and hearing me talk about how Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth was filmed in the town (omg it’s the Red Lion Inn!). The English country side isn’t exactly what the kids wanted to stare at for a day – but they did it for me. I had to get my Jane Austen on. 

The other big difference between our vacations in the past and this year was the weather. We went from a 90 degree heatwave at home to a crisp 75 degrees or less a day (one of the days only got to 65). One of the guards in front of Parliament told us that London has four seasons a day. It can be warm, cold, wet and sunny at any given time. Except my son – who loves a good heatwave- we all loved LOVED the weather. I was perfectly fine wearing flip flops and a warm sweater every day. 

What wasn’t different about this trip was what my husband calls,”the unit”. The four of us. We know we have a small window left when we can still force our kiddies to spend this much time with us – and we’re milking it for all it’s worth. Cheers everyone.

(I took one billion photos – here’s just a few)

 Knock knock! I know you don’t expect us for another 6 hours but here we are!  
  
    
    
   

The London Eye

  

  

    
 All you Potter fans will understand just how freaking cool this was!   
    
    
 Abbey Road was smaller then expected and really really busy.    

    Kera having a proper tea. 
    Bath – wet and certainly not wild, but beautiful. On a side note we saw the “castle” that Nicolas Cage bought and then sold off because he owed so many taxes in England. Thought you’d like to know.


Me and my baby – and some rocks from 3,000 years B.C.   
  

He/We

Today is my husband’s birthday.

 I met him when he was 21. We got married when he was 26. We had our first baby when he was 28. We bought our first house when he was 31. We had our second baby when he was 33. We bought our second house when he was 36. We celebrated at Ocktoberfest in Munich when he was 40. We happily leaped into his new career as an entrepreneur when he was 44. 

This year he will see his first born graduate high school, his second born start middle school, his business hit the one year mark and our marriage hit the 20 year mark. 

All those numbers add up to my happy life.

Love you Joe. You haven’t changed a bit and yet you’re even better. How’d you do that?

   
  
 

Summer status

We’ve been on a roll. Or in a car. Or on a boat. It’s mid-July, summer vacations (for our kids) are in full swing. We’ve already hit bad traffic, gotten lost, forgotten things at home and gotten into fights in the car. We’ve had buckets of ice cream, been to margaritaville a few times, and had enough watermelon to feed a small melon-less country. In between summer fun my husband has been expanding his business and I have been working some late nights – but somehow it doesn’t matter in the summer! It’s not pitch black at 6. There’s no teacher’s note about something I’ve forgotten to send into school. People tend to be a little more relaxed and happy. It’s enjoyable.

My daughter has been moonlighting with my husband at his cleaning company – helping out and making a little extra money. I told her it’s great that she’s working with her dad because she needs to learn about the empire she’ll probably inherit one day. She didn’t laugh. I laughed. I think I’m hysterical.

In other news, as my son commented that we have been in a “boaty” mood. We spent 4th of July with my husband’s cousin Bobby who just bought the most beautiful boat. For weeks prior to our trip to see him I told people I was going to DC for the 4th. Because I really thought I was. Someone (my husband obvi) had told me DC. I’m sure of it. He’s sure I’m making that up. He said I never actually asked where we were going. I just assumed. That’s crazy. Why would I do that? Anyway we were nowhere near DC – we were in Soloman’s Island, Maryland. We passed DC and then kept driving another hour. It didn’t matter what land mass we were on because we spent the majority of the weekend on the water and it was beautiful. But in the future, I’ll confirm DC before I say DC.

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be invited by one of our good friends, April and Pat, to Pat’s childhood home in CT. This time I knew where I was going. It just so happened that they also just got a new boat. Thus our “boaty” mood. We always have loads of fun with them and this time was no exception – one of my favorite moments was hearing about a racist dog in their family. At first I thought they were kidding – after a few examples we decided I should probably never meet that dog – just in case. I also got to spend some quality time with one of their good friends (let’s call her D in case she wants to deny knowing me later) who reads my blog often. I’m not gonna lie. I loved that D remembered long-ago details of my life that I have already forgotten. I know other people would feel moments of panic and loss of personal privacy – I felt like Madonna. Thank you D for making my day so I can pretend people are actually reading and remembering my crazy blog. April is also a blogger so she totally gets it. Check out her blog (http://planetoftheapeblog.com/) to read more about racist and non-racist dogs.

How’s your summer? Are you having fun? Why don’t you ever talk back? Sigh. It’s ok. I love you anyway.

Here’s hoping you are having a “boaty” “beachy” “barbecue-y” good time. Here’s some random pics from my last few weeks. A sparkler…because why not? A picture of my girl working hard for her money. My hydrangeas because I’ve missed them so. And my boy…because why not?


  
  

I’m like a pillow

Atleast that’s what my son told me last week. His exact words were,” Mom, I love leaning on you. You have no bones. You’re like a pillow.”
My daughter and husband busted out laughing. I cried I think.
But he’s right. I am soft. And not just in the thighs.
I’m a scaredy cat. A wimp. A chicken. Basically I’m yella.
Forget coasters and fast rides, I don’t even like fast escalators.
This weekend we are heading to see family and we got an email saying there will be mopeds for us to use. As if. Mopeds. I’ll have to come up with a decent excuse to steer clear.
Sometimes when I’m on my way to work on the subway, I try and not hold on to something. To just balance. Inevitably I fold and grab the bars. And if there’s a seat. I sit. I’ll always sit.
I didn’t get the adventure gene. The thrill gene. I didn’t even get the kinda exciting gene. I’m not going to go speeding down a snowy mountain or diving in deep blue waters. Nope. I’ll be the one waiting for you when you’re done. Probably with a snack. Because you know what, I like to be cozy. And safe. And out of harms way. Anything wrong with that? Ok, as you were!

I had onions for lunch

Now you know. I didn’t have JUST onions but I thought it was important to tell you that they were a big part of that particular meal.

If I was alone in the world I would have onions for lunch every day. And for dinner. I could even squeeze them into breakfast. Actually I could more than squeeze them in. Have you ever had a plain bagel with scallion cream cheese, tomato and red onion? Or an omelette that’s so full of onions and peppers that you can’t really see the egg?

I’m in the office today and the rest of my team is either off or working from home. In fact the entire floor is pretty vacant so I thought I was safe. I’ve been trying to have salads at least once a day and nothing makes a salad better than…yep.

Alone in the office. No in-person meetings. The next human I’ll see today will be at 6:30pm. Hours after consumption. I had no choice. The stars were aligned.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. An insane work schedule mixed with the usual family obligations mixed with unexpected health scares (my mom – who is recovering like a champ). Can you blame me for letting off some steam? Going a little crazy? Letting my hair down? Sure I could have turned to alcohol and drugs – I still may – but for now, this will do.

Anyway – I gotta go brush my teeth and eat a pack of mints.

2015 day 19

What’s up buttercups? Whatcha been up to for the last two weeks? You’ve taken down the tree? The lights? The cheer? We are holiday gear and cheer free. And loving it. Bring on the dark, cold days of winter! I’m nuts right? Here’s a recap of what’s been on my mind and in my world (I know, again with the recap – but this is what I can manage right now. It’ll get better)

  • Work has been crazy super busy, but in a fun way. Can you relate? The great thing about events is that you get to see everything you planned come to life. The scary thing about events is that you get to see everything you planned come to life. For good, bad or OMG. Work that my team has been doing for, in some cases, over a year – will come to life. Wish us luck! I’ll post photos along the way.
  • On New Year’s Eve we kept it really low-key. We invited one of our favorite families over to ring in the new year. They brought all kinds of goodies – but the goodiest of the goodies was a box of Magnum ice cream bars. Why hasn’t anyone ever told me about this? Why isn’t this the only thing people talk about? Anyone else addicted?
  • My husband and I are well on our way to seeing all the Oscar movies. Current fave is Whiplash with American Sniper close behind. Although Imitation Game is amazing. And Boyhood. Boyhood was really really good too. And I can’t forget Birdman. Or Grand BudaPHESHT Hotel. Up next for us is Selma and Theory of Everything. And then maybe I’ll pick up a book or talk to my kids.
  • My girl made the cut for her school’s production of Les Miserable – she’s proudly in the pit playing keyboards. I can’t tell you how excited I am. She doesn’t know this but I’ll be helping her practice. I’ll play the part of Cosette, Fantine, Javert and Jean Valjean. I can do it! What – it’s not about me? Sure it is.
  • Had dinner in Philly with our New York friends and laughed so much I made an ugly face – ever do that? He sent me a cute photo of himself which I’m sharing below (also sharing my ugly laugh face which my husband captured).
  • My kids continue their love affair with our cat Lexi. Once in a while I ask both of them to send me photos they’ve been taking – I find that 99% of them are Lexie shots. I shared one below so you can see the love, attention and detail that goes into their photo shoots.
  • The other 1% are silly selfies taken by my son (wonder where he gets that habit from).
  • I also included a small pic of my man giving me some love. Just cause.
    I have been dying to tell you all that. In my heart I’ve been writing the blog every day. In reality I’ve punked out. But as I say to my kids when I forget to pick them up from somewhere, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. It just means that I got caught up in some TV. xoxo

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