Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Long live Albania!



Our son-in-law, Matt Mullins, served his LDS mission in Albania. This is a country you don't hear much about, however, Paul and I joined in an Albanian celebration the day after Thanksgiving. We were actually visiting Little Italy in the Bronx when we saw a gathering of people, draped in red and black flags singing and cheering. We walked down the street to see what was going on and found ourselves surrounded by Albanians celebrating their liberation day. We cheered along with them, hummed along as they say their national anthem and shouted after the poem of the flag was read. Children were dressed in the national dress and performed an Albanian dance. Paul and I proceeded to do our shopping for an authentic Italian dinner we were hosting the next day, but the Albanian festival continued with young men driving their cars around the blocks with loud speakers attached playing Albanian music while they honked and waved and demonstrated their true Albanian spirit. Albanian Pride is alive and well in the Bronx.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time flies.....!




Thanksgiving seems like it was yesterday and here we are already counting down to Christmas. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving week with a visit from our dear friends, Larry and LaDawn Gibbons. Along with some friendly competition in the evening playing board games, we watched football, ate, laughed, ate, watched the Macy's day parade, ate, and laughed some more. We had about 12 friends for Thanksgiving dinner and then hosted our annual Thanksgiving Day Bingo game for about 30 people. There were hundreds of fabulous prizes won and several pieces of pie eaten. It was a great New York Thanksgiving.
And now we are in full swing getting ready for Christmas. Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And here's what's happening in our neck of the woods!



Big doings in our neighborhood this weekend. The new Apple Store opens on 67th & Broadway tomorrow at 10:00 and when I walked by tonight at 4:30 and a guy was already sitting by the front door, wrapped in a blanket so he could be the first one in tomorrow. I stopped to chat with him and as you can imagine, he was somewhat geeky so our conversation was very short. "You mean you are going to stay here all night to be the first one in? Nods head. "Why would you do that?" Shrugs shoulders. Okay, that about wraps it up. Then while I was doing my grocery shopping at Whole Foods in the Time Warner Shops, they lit up the Christmas Stars that are synchronized to light up as Christmas music plays.
It is pretty amazing to be able to walk to so many shops and stores. You just have to remember to only buy what you can carry home or hope the store has those two favorite words plastered on the walls of the store---WE DELIVER!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Signs of the Times



In preparation for winter squirrels gather nuts, bears put on weight, rats start to grow fur, and cardboard boxes become a hot commodity for the homeless who use them for shelter. In New York we turn our playgrounds into ice skating rinks and put winter doors on our restaurants. While I am not ready for winter, I am getting ready for winter. I'm gathering more nuts, putting on weight, growing fur, etc.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Playbor" Day Weekend





Friday evening found us kicking off the Labor Day Weekend canoeing in Central Park. Then we had an early start for the tennis matches at the US Open. We were able to see Federer vs Hewitt, Oudin vs Sharipova and Roddick vs Isner. Sunday was a big day at church and then my sister Marilyn arrived from Utah for a visit. We had a nice dinner and then walked over to the Lincoln Center for the outdoor televised opera. Monday found us taking a four mile walk through Central Park, a subway ride down to Union Square and a loooong walk over to the Highline Park. After putting in nine miles of walking that day we decided a quiet evening at home wouldn't be all that bad. All in all, it was a fabulous Playbor Day weekend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saturday is a special day


Saturday is the day you will find Paul and me in Central Park. We get up early and run (I walk) in the park and then come home and shower clean up for the day. Once the newspapers have arrived, we pack up our bag with newspapers and books and head back to the park to read. At least that is our intent. Mostly we watch the other people in the park. It is quite amusing to see parents walking briskly through the park while reading from their travel book and then to see the children about ten paces behind looking like they would rather be back at the hotel playing video games. Musicians are out trying to earn a few dollars playing for the tourists, squirrels are posing for photos, and Paul and I observe all of this while pretending to be totally absorbed in our books. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On the Hudson River Line

We were invited to join the 50th birthday celebration of a friend and boarded a yacht and cruised up and down the Hudson River for a few hours. It was a picture perfect night as you will be able to tell from the photos. Paul and I were so excited when the boat cruised right up to our neighborhood because we had never seen our apartment building from that angle before. It is the glass building behind the first group of tall buildings----kind of in the middle of the photo.
The highlight of the evening was cruising very close to Lady Liberty just as the sun was setting. She looked as beautiful and majestic as ever. FYI: they have now re-opened the Statue of Liberty to the public so you can climb up to the top again. It's been closed for about six years.

video

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mid-summer night swing!

Imagine this. Paul and me. Okay that was easy. Paul and me and the Lincoln Center. A little more difficult, but still imaginable. Here goes, Paul, me, the Lincoln Center, Paul and me dancing!!! That's right. It was Rockabilly night at the Lincoln Center and we were able to break out the Texas Swing. I won't say we were the best dancers on the floor, but the night was hot and humid, so we were the best dancers who had totally sweat out their shirts. It was a fun New York crowd. Some people looked like they had stepped out of the 50's, others had dressed up like they were from the 40's and then there were those who had on black shoes, black socks and shorts. However, no matter how they were dressed many of these people could flat out dance and it was fun to be among them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Manhattanhenge


Sunday was one of only two occasions this year when the Sun sets in exact alignment with the Manhattan grid, fully illuminating every single cross-street for the last fifteen minutes of daylight. Paul and I walked down to 56th Street and stood with a few other observers and watched as the shadows moved across the buildings and at exactly 8:25 the sun was exactly in line with the street. While a very simple thing, it was one of those things that only happens in New York.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Top of the Met!


My new son-in-law Eric keeps me posted on many of the unique and interesting things happening in the city. Today I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the new installation on the garden roof (thanks for the heads up, Eric) of the Met, but I also got to see Michelangelo's first painting completed when he was about 13 or 14. The newly renovated American Wing is fabulous. And I have to admit, that rather than spend the $2.00 on the crosstown bus I walked home through the park and spent my bus fare on a hot dog-----I'm sorry, but they are so good!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Across the street from our chapel is a small park right in the middle of a large intersection. We crossed the street to walk home from church and saw a group of people sitting in a circle in the park square. At first it didn't register what they were doing and then we heard this wonderful ukulele music. About 20 people had gathered to play and sing together. We listened for about 30 minutes and were tempted many times to join in as they were singing "My Girl", "Route 66", "Houndog" and other oldies. There were older people playing and younger people playing, serious ukulele players and struggling ukulele players, all having a great time. It was enchanting.

Get me to the church on time!


June 12 Meredith married Eric Boam in the Manhattan LDS temple. They wanted to have a small, family wedding and that is what they got! Eric and his family spent the week before the wedding taking in the sights of New York. We loved getting to know them better and are so grateful to be sharing Meredith with them. We welcome Eric into our family with open arms.
It had rained all morning on Friday, but just as we were ready to go to Central Park for photos, the rain stopped and we were able to be outside without too much hassle. A dinner and a dance at Tavern on the Green finished off the day and we sent the happy couple off on their honeymoon.
Paul and I didn't expect to have the wedding bell blues, but they really set in once all the kids and grand kids had left. We know they need to go and build their own lives, but sometimes it seems kind of crazy that we aren't doing that all in the same place. We count ourselves lucky to have had so much family time in Austin and look forward to making that happen again somewhere, someday.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Opening Day


Another first in NYC was attending the opening game at Citifield and watching the Mets come awfully close to beating the Padres. The new park is beautiful and we hope to attend a few more games this season. We can catch the subway and take it all the way to the park so getting to and from is really very easy. A special treat on the night of the game was the appearance of Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel. She had come to celebrate the opening of the field and the beautiful entrance/rotunda named in honor of her husband. She is certainly a gracious woman. In the photo you will see Sheri Garber, a friend of ours, me, Rachel and Paul. Sheri's husband was on an errand and missed the photo op, but he returned with hamburgers and shakes from the Shake Shack which is one of the vendors at the new stadium. He was also one of the heroes of the night.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A year in the life


It's been exactly a year since I arrived in New York City. You probably didn't know that there are hundreds of songs written about this great city i.e, Broadway Baby, Downtown (yes, Petula Clark's song), Down and Out in New York City, Easter Parade, New York State of Mind, Only in New York, Silver Bells, Stay'in Alive, just to mention a few. There are other great cities, we've lived in many of them, but there is something about New York that inspires this sort of creative homage. While we haven't yet written our own song, we have loved our first year in the city. When we moved here we committed to doing at least one thing each month that you can only do in New York. For example, this month we will see West Side Story and two nights later we'll attend the opening game of the Mets. Here is just a quick list of some of the things that I love about the city. Perhaps I'll put it to music one of these days.

Central Park--in every season
Watching the George Washington Bridge light up at night
Nodding to our neighborhood Jewish families on Saturday as they walk to their synagogues and knowing that they probably understand our devotion as we pass them on our way to church on Sunday mornings
Knowing how to get around on the subway
Filling up the gas tank in the car about every three months
Having family and friends visit often
Discovering small and interesting shops in our neighborhood
Being asked for directions (like I"m a native)
Picnics on the Hudson River
Meeting Paul almost every night after work and walking home together
Sharing this year with Paul
And there you have it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Emergency Essentials


How many times have you heard the cry, "Mom, we're out of toilet paper!" or "Honey, where are the peanut M&M's?" And then you drag yourself out to the car and fight the traffic to the grocery store. This problem was recently solved for me when the retail space of our apartment building was converted into a CVS. That's right folks, we are living above the CVS and we are taking full advantage. Now whenever someone needs something I can reply, "Run down to the basement and pick it up" This solves all of our food storage problems----we have plenty of snacks and drinks to last a year----in the basement. How great is that?!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bag Lady


My kids are making sure that I have all the cutest bags so I can be "green" doing all of my grocery shopping in the city. These are just a few of the ones in my collection and they do come in handy. Somedays you are out on the streets for a long time and you have to be able to carry around lots of stuff i.e. dry cleaning, groceries, books, newspapers, extra shoes, camera, city map, umbrella, etc.