Just Another Day in Paradise

So, as you can see, I’ve returned from my trip to paradise, aka Key West.  While the Northeast was getting hit by another winter weather event, do you know what we were being hit with in Key West?  Gentle sea breezes blowing in off of the water, as we sat on our veranda, drinking tropical beverages and warming ourselves in the 79* heat, under a brilliantly sunny blue sky.

It was torture.

Snow?  What's that?

Snow? What’s that?

But I missed home.  I mean really, who needs to wake up at 9:00 am and take your key lime colored coffee mug out to your hotel room’s balcony and watch the ships as they sail by, and the busy goings on down on the street below?  Not me, that’s for sure.  I’d much prefer bitter cold temps with wind chills below zero and lots of snow to shovel.  Good exercise is what that is.  None of this lazy, lounging around for me any more!

Key west toes

And spa treatments?  Pfft, what am I, a Real Housewife?  You mean lounge around all day getting a massage and facial while drinking the most delicious (and why didn’t I think of that) strawberry infused water, while being completely pampered and spoiled by the spa staff?  No thank you, I’d prefer to just go to work and get yelled at all day.  Much more rewarding.

Key west spa

And speaking of drinking, I definitely don’t miss the Key Lime Pie Martini, served to me as we dined on a private island just off of Key West, while experiencing one of the most delicious meals I have ever tasted, sitting al fresco and gazing at the gently lapping waters on the beach just beyond the restaurant’s patio.  Nope, that’s crazy talk.  Who would miss that?  Back to just plain old water and sensible meals now that I’m home.  That’s so much better.

Key west martini

And whimsy?  Who needs whimsy?  Key West was lousy with it, I tell you.  From glowing menus, to flashing mugs filled with daiquiris, to viewing a sunset on an island where wild deer roam the beach.  It’s all just a bunch of poppycock!  Good riddance, I say.

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Not to mention all of the celebration!  A person could get a swelled head with all that attention.  Apparently, the hubs called ahead to the island, because it seemed as if everywhere we went, someone was wishing me a Happy Birthday and bringing me treats.  Sparkling Key Lime pie, mid-afternoon room service of champagne and strawberries, mid-afternoon room service of margaritas, with chips & salsa, Happy Birthday spelled out on a dessert, a special birthday menu delivered to me rolled up like a scroll . . . all way over the top and way too much celebratory nonsense for this unassuming, level-headed girl.  I mean really, it wasn’t even my birthday anymore!  For shame, Key West.  For shame.

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Oh, and don’t get me started on the gorgeous sunsets and outdoor scenery.  It’s enough to make you sick!  Much better to be surrounded by the brown and white that is presently plaguing us at home.  That way, we get to be the ones to shine in our brightly colored snowpants and fuzzy hats!  Who would even notice us in our shorts and sandals, surrounded by all that beauty in Key West?  Nobody.  Nobody would ever see us.  Or find us . . . hmmmm.

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So, like I said, it is really great to be home.  In fact, we returned just in time to experience a fresh coating of snow, and it looks like despite a brief respite that is reminiscent of the Key West weather, we will soon return to those winter-like weather conditions.  Who needs Key West?  Not this girl.  Nope.  I’m definitely not dreaming of the day when I can finally retire from my hateful job and move to a bungalow on the island, while the hubs goes out fishing every day and I lay in the sun, relaxing and writing, resting up for my job as a bartender at night in one of the “locals” bars.  Yeah, that’s absolutely ridiculous, and I’m frankly offended that you would even suggest it.  I mean, who am I . . . Hemingway?  Sheesh!

One Year Closer to Death

So, my birthday was last week.  And I survived it.

If you are new here, you might not be aware that I am cursed.  My birthdays typically suck and/or some tragedy occurs on or around it as a result of my bad birthday mojo.  This year, I was going to try to escape the angel of death by being completely and absolutely still, and hoping it would just pass right by me.  I thought I had escaped it unscathed this time.  Until the next day.

(If you’d like a rundown of past birthday suckage, and no, I was not exaggerating about the death part, go here to edumacate yourself).

Actually, this year, the birthday angel lulled me into a false sense of security.  The week preceding my birthday was going swimmingly.  My colleagues took me out to lunch, unprompted, to a very nice restaurant, and actually paid for my lunch.  This is huge, as in preceding years, they have failed to even acknowledge that I had ever been born.  Not just that, but when I arrived at work 2 days before my birthday, I found this waiting for me:

office gifts

It was from my secretary, whom I believe I have previously mentioned as being quite rad.  It contained a bottle of wine, wine glasses, nail polish and plastic utensils.  A bit of an inside joke, there, but basically for my lunches at work.  See?  Rad.

The day prior to my birthday, I actually received a card from everyone at work.  Another rare occurrence that doesn’t happen every year.  In fact, I believe this is the first year that I received it on time, and that I didn’t have to basically give to myself.  That was another fun one.

Then, after work, I ran to the mall to take advantage of a few free birthday treats that I was to receive before the end of the month.  Sephora was giving out a little mini pack of lipstick & mascara, I had a free coupon for a smoothie, and I had received an email for $15 off any purchase at Ann Taylor, so I hit the sale rack and walked away with 2 sweaters for a mere $20.  Once I also completed the few returns I had to make while in the mall, I came out square.  Free mall trip, woo hoo!!

bday mall treats

When I returned home that evening, I found that I had even more birthday treats waiting for me.  There was this huge box that had arrived from my good friend Andrea.  I was doubly impressed that it arrived the day before my birthday, as she is notoriously (and adorably) Post Office averse.  Case in point . . . last year’s birthday package arrived at the end of March.  So, she really got it in gear this year, and made it a day early.  I am very impressed!

bday package

Inside, I found 4 gorgeous martini glasses and some mini bottles of booze.  Hmmm, anyone else sensing a trend here?  What do you think people are trying to say about me with their gift choices?  I cannot figure it out.

After a quick review of the contents of the box, and a quick change out of my work clothes, I then jetted off to have dinner with another good friend and her daughter.  We went to my favorite local sushi place, and she too showered me with presents and bought me dinner.  It was a very good day, to say the least, and it wasn’t even my birthday yet!

On the actual day, I was playing it coy and low key, so I took the day off of work, slept in, and generally relaxed for most of the day.  Granted, there was laundry and packing to do for my upcoming trip, but that wasn’t too much of a chore, considering.  It was a lovely, stress-free day that I quite enjoyed.

Once my kids got home from school, though, the exciting festivities began.  I came downstairs to encounter the kitchen transformed into a tropical paradise.  I was informed that this birthday’s theme would be “warm weather.”  As long as I remained indoors, I could very easily go along with this fantasy.

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Then there were the gifts.  For my birthday, I asked the hubs to get 2 things for me . . . a suitcase and new leather gloves.  Since my current pair look like this:

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He came through on both, so he did a great job.  But he didn’t stop there, of course. Because he’s him, and there are always more gifts.  More . . . interesting . . . gifts.  Such as . . .

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Movies?

And then, of course, there was another gift following my own personal birthday theme . . .

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There is gonna be some drinking going on up in he-ah!

And . . .

bday napkins

Classy? Sure, let’s go with that.

Then I opened this one . . . in front of my kids.  Yeah, thanks hubs.

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Front . . .

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Back.

Well, it is the 50th Anniversary edition, so really, it’s a super special gift.  Right?  Uh huh.

The next day I had to go to work.  Which sucked, but I just didn’t have enough leave to take that day off as well since I would be leaving early and getting on a jet plane (don’t know when I’ll be back again) . . . and heading to Key West for 3 days.  Or at least . . . I thought I was.  Until I received the call from school telling me that my youngest son had a temperature and had to go home.  Since the hubs was home that day, he picked him up and took him to the doc’s real quick.  Then I got the text:  Strep.  And then I had to make a decision:  go home to take care of my son or leave for Key West in 4 hours.

At that point, the mama bear gene kicked in big time and I started freaking out.  I didn’t want to go on vacation.  I mean I really wanted to go, but I didn’t want to just leave my sick son with my brother in law while I jetted off to a tropical vacation.  That felt very wrong, somehow, and I also just wanted to go home and hug and care for my baby.  Who, at this point, I wouldn’t see until Monday if we left.  I was so torn.  And I realized . . . the birthday curse had struck again.  Damnit!

Obviously, I came to my senses, after being talked down by pretty much everyone I consulted, including my husband.  My son was on meds and seemed ok, so we decided that we would go.  So, although that damn curse had hit again, this time affecting my poor son, I wasn’t going to let it ruin everything.  The birthday curse would not win this time.  So, we were off to paradise!

What I Did on My Winter Vacation . . .

Hey guys, remember me?  The former blogger that used to hang out on here every week or so?  You know . . . the girl with cute toes, bangs, and who occasionally wrote witty blog posts?  No, not ringing a bell?  Well, let me re-introduce myself to y’all then . . . Hi, I’m Misty.  How ya doing?

Since it’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me, I figured I would give you an update on what’s been going on with me since I last checked in.  Before I get back to my normally brilliant and award-winning posts*, you’ll get this little update post.  Ok?  Ok, then.

* Neither brilliant NOR award-winning.

Val and I had a quick visit right before Xmas to exchange presents and get our toes done.

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Pretty holiday feets!

Even though, technically, we didn’t exchange since she didn’t bring my present with her, but she tells me that I will receive it when I visit her up in Jersey in a few weeks, and really, I was more excited to see her reaction to the presents I bought for her anyway.

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Dr. Hooves!

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Zombie mug!

Since they both received the Val lick of approval, I’m pretty sure I nailed it.  Huzzah!

Once Val was taken care of, I had to move on to the main event . . . the big C!  And this time, I mean it in a good (albeit stressful and completely insane) way . . . Christmas.  So, to get prepared, I needed to wrap.  So, I locked myself in my bedroom, pulled out all the gifts for the kids and family (and husband), and thus commenced a 2 day wrapping extravaganza!

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Although, towards the evening of the first day, I started getting somewhat parched.  Wrapping can really make a girl thirsty!  So, before I settled in for another few hours of back-breaking work (seriously, you sit on the floor hunched over wrapping paper for like 8 hours and not feel like you have a broken back when you finally try to stand up!), I decided that I needed some reinforcements.  Since I was quickly running out of time to whip up a few cocktails I had been meaning to try in preparation for my Xmas eve gathering of family at my house, I figured there was no better time than the present.  So, I whipped them up, got a tray, and carted those suckers upstairs to finish Day 1 of wrapping, while watching a little Elf and getting a nice buzz on.  And let me tell you . . . those gifts looked so good!!

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We had our annual holiday party at work where there was a White Elephant exchange, which should more aptly be called the liquor exchange, since that’s pretty much what everyone brings.  Not that anyone’s complaining!  This was my score:

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The wine is actually from my secretary and the champagne is leftover from a champagne punch made for the party.  Yep, good haul.  Oh, and I also met a little mini-me, in the form of one of my colleague’s kids!

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Twins!

And of course, ’tis the season to listen to festive holiday CDs in your car, made for you specifically by your good friend, Andrea.

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The evening before The Big Day, my kids were keeping close tabs on where that Jolly Old Fat Man was in the world, so they would know when they needed to be fast asleep.

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Training for future careers with the NSA.

Once Christmas morning arrived, as always, it was a normal crazy present-fest in the Laws household.  The kids tore through wrapping paper like it was their jobs, and the hubs and I sat drinking our coffee and putting batteries into the numerous items that required them, with our anxious and impatient children hovering over our heads, ready to snatch the coveted object the moment the cover was snapped back into place.  Good times, good times.

And lest you think the hubs and I didn’t participate in the gift exchange festivities, well . . . I see we haven’t met yet.  Suffice to say that the hubs and I excel at gift giving.  Need proof?  Please refer back to this little item, wherein I gave him a CAR for our anniversary!  Yeah, that’s how we roll.  (On another note, you would think buying my husband a huge gift like that a mere 2 months ago would give me a pass for having to come up with a special Xmas gift for him this year . . . you would think.  Sigh).  Anyway, this was the pile of presents waiting for me from him on Xmas morning . . .

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I was a VERY good girl!

And yes, if you are observant, you will note the 1D wrapping paper.  Last year it was Justin Bieber.  So, at least he’s keeping up with the tween heart-throb trend of the moment.  But the very first gift I opened from him wasn’t very humorous.  It hit a bit too close to home, despite my husband’s claims that the name on the tag is of a very trendy and reputable store in London and that it’s not a joke.  Sure.

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Ouch.

Although, after that unfortunately named gift, there were may more gifts to open and there was much silliness to be found . . .

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Because of my well-known love of fishing, naturally.

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Mmmmm, Bacon!

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Either the hubs realizes my love of both of these mens’ characters on their hit shows, or maybe he thinks I’m a gay man? Meh, probably the first one.

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Well, he got this right at least!

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Um, no. I am SO not a leather skirt kind of girl.

Oh, and you’re probably wondering what was in that big box, right?  (What’s in the box?  What’s in the box?!?!?!).  Well, that gift was not a joke.  Ahhh, the hubs knows me so well!

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Wine party at my house, you guys!!  You bring the wine, and I’ll chill it for you.  Bam!  Just like that.

The rest of the day went by very quickly, and involved more gifts, lots of food and drinks, and too many family members to count!  By the end of the day, as always, the hubs and I were beat and the kids were buzzing like they were on a 3 day sugar high.  Once we finally herded them up to bed, we crashed on the couch and didn’t even come close to getting through our yearly traditional viewing of White Christmas.  I think the hubs was out by Snow (possibly even Sisters), and I only made it until Choreography before I had to shut it off and call it a Xmas.

A couple days later, we took the kids on a quick trip up to New York City for their first time ever.  But, despite only being two days, it felt like a millennium, and we experienced a ton of stuff, so I think I’ll save that for a separate post.  Don’t wanna overdo it on my first trip back into the blogosphere after so long.  I wouldn’t want to pull a hammy!

So, how was your holiday break?  Do anything fun and exciting?  Share with the class . . .

Holiday Winner!!

When I posted this last week, I told everyone it would be a quick turn around.  So here we are, turning it around.

Turn the beat around . . . love to hear percussion . . .

Try to get that out of your head today!  Yeah, sorry about that.

mugs

Ok, so turning it around (the giveaway, not the beat!), let’s get this party started!

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And without further ado . . . the winner of the last giveaway of 2013 on Misty’s Laws is:

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LILY!!!

Well, Lily, my friend . . . it seems your week just keeps getting better!!  Starting with a minor fender bender, then an engagement, and finally, the most exciting thing to happen to you in your entire life . . . winning these two mugs!!!  Woo-hoo!

So, send me your info at mistyslaws at gmail dot com and I’ll get these in the mail to you as quickly as possible.

And, since this will possibly be my last post of the year, I just want to wish every single one of you a very festive and happy holiday, filled with fun, family and fruity cocktails!!  Feliz Navidad, my peeps.  Happy Everything!!

Holiday Quickie

Ok, I told y’all that I was going to do another giveaway before the holidays, and with commenting time, picking time and shipping time, in order to get the prize to the winner prior to the big day, I realize that I have to do this thing NOW.

So, that’s what this is.  I ordered a mug for someone for Christmas (if you receive it in the mail, act surprised and like you didn’t already see the same one on the site!) and was mistakenly sent multiple.  Thus, I am going to Santa them straight to you.  Holly Jolly, Fa La La.  Just call me your favorite Ho Ho Ho.

mugs

So, that is two mugs, each of varying size (one is a taller mug with “I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie” on it, and one is regular sized with “Fra-GEE-lay!” on it) for you to win!

In order to enter, just comment below and tell me your favorite holiday beverage that you like to drink this time of year.  Be it egg nog, hot cocoa or a festive cocktail, just share it below and you will be entered.  I’ll give everyone a couple of days, but then I’m having my kids pick a name this weekend, so if you want in, comment quick!

That’s it!  Told you it was a quickie.  Wait, what did you think I meant?  Pervert!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

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In case you are wondering, the loser in this situation, at least based on recent occurences and evidentiary support, is me.  We’ll get to the winner in a moment.  But, as to that whole losing thing, it seems that my good buddy and pal, LIFE, has decided to be a cold, hard, manipulative bitch lately.  Maybe it’s that time of the month, huh Lifey ole friend?  And lest you think I might be over-exaggerating my present loser status (But Misty!  You just had a super rad weekend with Val!  Full of fun and shenanigans.  Surely, it can’t be all that bad, right?), let me present to you Exhibits A through D.

Exhibit A:

Last Friday I was hit with a massive chest cold which knocked me on my ass and out of work.  But, since my job sucks (still), I couldn’t just lay in bed in misery on that cold and rainy day.  Oh no, I need a note from a doctor to take a sick day.  Yes, that is correct.  My employer treats us like toddlers that cannot determine when we are able to make it into work and when one of our sick days needs to be taken.  So, despite the fact that my throat hurt like hell and anytime I spoke to someone, I sounded like an 80-year-old asthmatic with a pack-a-day habit (mmmm, sexy), I hauled my ass into the shower and out to the clinic to wait 2 hours just for a note.  That’s it.  No meds.  Nothing.  Just needed a note, thank you very much. 

Exhibit B:

So, remember that whole broken washer saga thing?  And remember how I commented to everyone that it was fixed and I had a functional washer once again?  Yeah, so scratch that.  The working washer only worked for a couple of weeks before it broke again.  And this time, we were told that we needed TWELVE parts to fix it.  So, we had to order the parts, wait for them to be delivered and then schedule another appointment for all of those many parts to be installed.  In the meantime, I’ve had to trek downstairs to my Father in Law’s place to use his washer, which is a huge annoyance.  And although I am very happy that at least I don’t have to go to a laundromat, I want my damn washer to work again!  Especially, when you go downstairs and put in your delicates, leaving another load of delicates in a basket pending washing, and you get busy with trying to decorate the tree and forget to go down again for 2 hours, and your Father in Law, who is just trying to be helpful, puts your wash in the dryer and washes your undies on hot with Tide.  Oy.  I love him for trying, but oy.  I really need my washer back.

Exhibit C:

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That.  Yep, that would be a mouse, peeking out from the dishwasher in my kitchen.  Now I know where all those little black pellets I found in my pantry have been coming from.

Exhibit D:

Tree

The Fucking Tree.  That Goddamn Fucking Christmas Tree!!  This might be a familiar tale, if you have been reading this blog for a while, because it seems that I go through this same Groundhog Day extravaganza every single year.  You see, I’m married to an elf.  He is the most holly jolly of all Christmas elves, while I tend to skew more towards a Grinch-like countenance.  However, over the years, he has definitely pulled me over to the dark candy cane side of holiday spirit.  Which is all well and good, until it comes to the tree.  I am the one who has to decorate the thing.  Meaning lights, bows, ornaments.  The kids help with the ornaments, but up until that point, it’s all me.  Oh, did I mention I’m allergic to pine?  Yeah, that’s another little added bonus to the decorating hell I seem to find myself in every year. 

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This is what my arms look like after a few hours wrestling lights onto the tree.

And look, I’m not trying to be a martyr about this whole thing.  I’m not forced to do the tree, I do it willingly, even knowing what will happen to my arms.  It hurts and itches for a few hours, then is all gone by the next day, so I can deal.  Plus, the hubs just doesn’t have time to do everything, and he does all the outside lights.  So, it’s totally fair.  What isn’t fair is when you spend hours wrapping the lights all around this big majestic beast of a tree in your living room, getting it to look just perfect, and making sure every single strand is working and lighting up before plugging each one into the next . . . only to have the entire thing go dark the next day.  Then, you realize it is the bottom strand that is dead, and are happy your husband picked up an extra strand at Home Depot the previous weekend, and wrestle with the tree to remove that bottom strand and then replace it with the brand new, just out of the box one . . . only to have the whole damn tree go out again the next weekend after you’ve already put the bows on it (in case you’re wondering, I left it dark for a while before replacing that first bottom strand)!  Not believing it could possibly be the brand new strand you put on just a couple of days prior, you test out all sorts of things, before you come to terms with the fact that the new strand is indeed the culprit.  So, you pull that whole thing off, discover one extra strand in one of the Xmas boxes and put that on . . . and a half hour later, everything but that strand goes out.  You are now super pissed, out of lights, and possibly having a mini-breakdown, as you throw a tantrum, complete with whining, stomping, and threats to get a fake tree next year. 

So, in case you lost count, that would be FOUR times the lights went out on the tree, THREE restringing of the lights, ONE temper tantrum and ONE threat to get a fake tree.  All with the kids asking a million times if it’s time now to put the ornaments on.  And that’s just THIS year.  The same damn thing happened last year.  I think I may be cursed.

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So, still doubtful that I’m a big, fat loser in all of this?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  The Defense rests!!

Now, on to the winner in this scenario . . . the winner of my most recent giveaway.  Yay!!

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In case you forgot . . .

And, as always, I left the pickings to my spawn.  More specifically, my oldest and first born son, 8.

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And the winner is . . . . . .

Emmapick

EMMA5150!!!!

Congrats Emma5150.  Send me all of your info (mistyslaws at gmail dot com) and I will get this prize package out to you presently.  I might just be able to swing it so as to arrive before Xmas!!

And, for all of you big losers out there (don’t worry, you’re in good company . . . with ME), stay tuned for yet another giveaway coming next week!  How did you get so lucky as to get TWO chances to win Misty Laws awesomeness in one month?  Well, partly because of a shipping snafu that sent me extra stuff that I’m going to pass along to you, but mostly just because I’m awesome.  I will even try to post, pick and send in time to arrive before Xmas as well.  No promises, but I’ll try.

Things To Be Thankful For

Around this time of year, you will see many bloggers posting about the things they are thankful for.  Things like . . . family, friends, pumpkin pie, etc.

Well, this is not going to be one of those posts.  I’m not going to give you a list of things that I am thankful for.  I mean, I could, of course.  Obviously, there are many good things in my life, and many reasons to be thankful.  And this is the time of year people reflect and try to be appreciative of all the things that don’t suck right now.  So, this would be the obvious time to give you my thankful items.  But I won’t do that to you.  Because really, do you care about all of the stuff I’m thankful for?  No, you don’t.  You’ve got your own shit going on, your own list of things, your shopping and Thanksgiving meal to prepare.  Why would I make you read some list of stuff you don’t care about?  I wouldn’t.  Because I care, dammit.  You’re welcome.

So, instead of some list, what I’m gonna give you is this . . .

A giveaway!!

That’s right.  So, even if you don’t have anything to be thankful for right now, if you win these items, you will.  See how that works?  I’m a giver.  And for that you can be thankful.  Bam!

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There are some pretty fun things here, yes?  And if you win, and there’s something that you don’t want, well guess what is right around the corner?  That’s right . . . it’s Re-giftmakus!!!

Just in case you can’t see all of the goodies in the picture above, let me break it down for you:

– Bleeped out Knee Socks
– Blingtastic mouse
– Retro hand set for cell phone
– Beer keg koozie
– Oh Snap magnet
– Could You Be a Bigger Bitch? gum (you know you wanna give that to someone).
– Maybe You Touched Your Genitals hand sanitizer
– Work Sucks red knit cap (Office Space style)

All you have to do to be entered is comment.  Yep, no hoops to jump through here, folks.  It’s the holidays and we’re all tired already.  And we haven’t even hit Black Friday yet.

As always, my spawn will do the honors and pick a big wiener in a week or so.  Whenever I get around to it.  Because I’m busy, that’s why.  Don’t rush me!

In the meantime, I hope all of you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and celebrate it as was intended by our forefathers . . . with a big full belly in front of the tube watching a football game with some booze in your hand.  Ahhhh, now that’s what I’m thankful for!

And do not fear . . . the epic tale of Val’s most recent visit is in the works and pending for next week.  It will be a two-parter.  Yes, it was that epic.  As if you had any doubt.

Happy Turkey Day!!

(And if you’re so inclined, feel free to tell me what you’re thankful for in the comments.  Only if you want to, though.  No pressure).

The Big Apple Bites Back

As I mentioned last week, the hubs and I took a little trip to New York City this past weekend for our anniversary.  The original plan was to just go up Saturday afternoon and return Sunday morning, but he figured out a way to cut his trip to Brazil short, thus enabling us to get up there Friday night.  This allowed us to do a few extra things, such as have sushi that night at a really great place I had eaten at 2 years prior, sleep in on Saturday, and have all day to explore the city.  All good things.

Once we dragged our tired asses out of bed Saturday morning (the first number on the clock may have been a double digit), the hubs ran across the street to one of about 4 Starbucks on that block, and returned with a much needed latte . . . and a few other things:

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He may have felt a little bad about not really getting me a present (I told him no gifts), since I got him a car and all, so he picked up some chocolates, a tiny cab and a card to go with the latte.  I assured him that we were fine since he was basically giving me NYC for my anniversary, and that was enough, but he’s a gifter.  He can’t help it.

The day was off to an auspicious start as we headed out from the hotel towards 30 Rock to go to the Top of the Rock.  I had never really done the touristy thing in NYC, since the one and only time I was there, 2 years ago at BlogHer, my time was filled with conferencing and some brief walking around (I did get to experience Times Square, which was enough for a lifetime!).  So, this time, I wanted to do as many touristy things as time allowed.  First stop was the closest super tall building we could find, so I could get a view of the whole city.

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See?  Proof that I was there!  You even get to see the view from up top!  What?  Ok, fine . . . here’s the real thing:

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View of Empire State building and Lower Manhattan

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View of Central Park and Upper Manhattan

And speaking of Central Park . . . that was to be our next destination.  That was the one place that I regret not having the chance to visit the last time I was in NYC, because it was a mere 3 blocks away.  I just never had the time or opportunity.  So, we descended from the 60-something stories of 30 Rock, and landed in the bowels of the building, only to come out on top of the ice skating rink!  It wasn’t quite open yet, but they were preparing it, so it was close.  But I was happy to at least get to see it, even if I didn’t get to skate.  It will happen, damnit!  Someday . . .

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How much did I want to leap onto that Zamboni and ride around the rink? Yeah, that would be A LOT.

On our way to Central Park, we stopped at a Jamba Juice and picked up some smoothies and sandwiches, so we could cop a squat in Central Park and eat a late lunch.  Our dinner reservations weren’t until 11:00 that night (after the show), so we figured we’d eat something and hoped it would do us until dinner (it didn’t).  We opted not to take a horse drawn carriage ride, and instead just hoofed it into the park ourselves, where we parked our derrieres on a grassy knoll and ate our little lunch.  It was pretty bizarre being surrounded by trees and grass and huge rocks and streams, then looking up behind us and seeing massive buildings towering over our heads.  Surreal.  As we walked further in to the Park (which is massive by the way), we began to see some very Central Parky type things.  Basically, if you’ve seen a TV show or movie shot in NYC, you’ve probably seen these things at some point.  This is a very famous walk:

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And this next picture just screams Central Park to me.  As in, this is exactly what I envision when someone says “Central Park,” even though I have never previously been:

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At this point, we realized that we needed to start heading back to the hotel so we would have enough time to get ready for the show.  We only made it about a quarter of the way into the Park , so I definitely want to return and get to experience the rest at some point.  Did I mention that it’s huge?  Yeah.

When we got back to our hotel room, this was waiting for us:

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Very beautiful, and from my husband.  Gorgeous roses, a bottle of really good champagne (we’ll get to that), and my favorite . . . chocolate covered strawberries.

Now, I’m not usually a big champagne drinker, but I figured I’d open it and we could have a glass while getting ready for the show.  But let’s go back and review, shall we?  Because this is where it starts to get interesting . . .

– A latte for breakfast
– Smallish sandwich and smoothie for lunch
– Lots and lots of walking around the streets of New York City

Add all of those together, and you will get two pretty hungry people with empty stomachs.  Even though we had not planned it, we decided to order some room service, since we didn’t think we’d make it until 11:00 without some food.  Well, that was a debacle, as they forgot one of the two things we ordered, so we ended up having to split an ahi tuna wrap.  Which was fine, because that, along with a few strawberries, basically tided us over.  Oh yeah, and we also drank the entire bottle of champagne.  It was just really really good, so I kept pouring more glasses.  We split the bottle, but honestly I probably had 4 glasses to his 3.

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Sooooo good.

Once we were all clean and dressed purdy, we decided to take a cab to the theater.  Now, we definitely could have walked, as it was really only about 6 blocks away (big NYC blocks, but still), but I was wearing some super high heels and didn’t want to take the chance of killing myself trying to hurry in those things, or killing my feet by walking too much.  So, cab it was.  Although, we ended up having to walk about 3 blocks anyway, because the cab driver had no idea where he was going, so at one point we just got out and walked it.  We made it with just enough time to get to the bar, get a “double” glass of wine in a sippy cup, and settle into our 12 inch wide seats for the show (seriously, I got real cozy with the stranger to my left.  In some cultures, we are now betrothed).

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Well, the wine was delicious (and gone by the intermission) and the show was hysterical.  I would highly recommend it, unless you are easily offended, especially by any religious satire, because holy hell, they really go far out there with it.  I loved it.  The hubs . . . not so much.

Once the show was over, we really needed to book it to the restaurant.  In fact, we were so worried about making it on time, and trying to find a cab to get us there, we had to turn down the very generous offer of a backstage tour after the show from a friend’s husband who works sound for the show.  I was so sad, but the hubs was really nervous, so I deferred to his OCDness and we just left right after the end of the show.  We did, in fact, have some trouble finding a cab, so we started walking a bit, hoping we could get one once away from the theater and everyone else who was trying to get one.  However, once we started walking, we realized that we were not that far away, and that we had enough time . . . so we foregoed the cab and just kept walking, which was not the original plan.

So, of course . . . I twisted my ankle and fell onto the sidewalk.  Because, of course.  But, I soldiered on, and we eventually made it to the restaurant.  Where I ran to the bathroom to check the carnage, and saw this:

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So sexy.  And yes, the stockings came right off and were placed into the trash right there at the restaurant.  Because I’m classy like that.

When I returned to our table in the restaurant, the hubs had ordered us a celebratory glass of champagne.  Which was not quite as delicious as the one in the hotel, but was still quite tasty.  Especially after all that walking (and falling).  Then, we ordered a 3 course prix fixe with a wine pairing for each course.  The dishes were delicious and the wines matched perfectly.  However, by the time I got to my third course, I began to realize something . . . I was drunk.  Seriously, it just sort of hit me like . . .  whoa!  Looking back, it was not that surprising, as I had consumed about 3 bottles of wine so far that night, with very little to eat at that point.  The hubs was quite surprised, though, saying “but you train for this!”  But I had to remind him that one glass of wine 3-4 nights a week does not constitute “training” for that level of drinking.  It’s like someone merely training for double A college sports and then told they will be going to the Olympics!  As you might imagine, we cabbed it back to the restaurant and I fell asleep soon after.

But that is not the end of the story!  Oh no . . . because when I woke up the next morning, I discovered this on my upper left arm:

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A HUGE complete and total mystery bruise!  I have no idea where it came from, the hubs had no clue, and I never blacked out or anything the night before, nor do I remember even bumping into anything at all.  When I fell, it was straight to my knee (as you can see above), and I didn’t hit my arm in the slightest.  I have no idea what this is or where it came from!  It is truly bizarre.

So, all in all I would say it was a pleasant trip to NYC.  Despite the falling and the drunkenness and the mystery bruising (!), it was otherwise a fun and enjoyable trip.  I can’t wait to return to do the dozens of other touristy things there are to do there!  What a great city.  I just hope next time, I leave with less blood loss.

If I Can Make It There . . .

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Saturday is the hubs and my 11th Anniversary.  That means it’s been 11 long blissful years of legally bound matrimony.  It also means that we have yet to murder each other in our sleep.  Now that’s a reason to celebrate!  Woo-hoo.

We’ve actually been together for 17 years in total.  And in the beginning of our relationship (pre-kids) we used to do all sorts of fun stuff.  Like go to movies, dinners, plays and travel all over the place.  However, in all of the time I have been with him, and despite my many hints, requests and pleas, we have never been to New York City together.  I always imagined a trip up there around the holidays, where we could ice skate at Rockefeller Center in front of a huge, gorgeous Xmas tree, see a Broadway play, have a fabulous dinner, and just generally tour and enjoy the city.  Except for 3 days at BlogHer last year, I had never been.

But all that will change after this weekend!  We are going up just for the day to see a play and have dinner, then we will return Sunday morning.  I’m really looking forward to it, as you might imagine.  Because, except for that pesky ice skating thing (still a bit too warm), we will pretty much be doing all the things I imagined us doing.  I’m even hoping for enough time for a quick trip to the top of the Empire State Building.  But, we’ll have to see when our train arrives.

It makes sense, actually, as 11 years is the steel anniversary.  So, the train will be made of steel, the cab in which we will ride to our hotel will be made of steel, all of those very tall buildings in the city are made of steel.  See, it’s perfect!

So, as you can see, this isn’t a real post.  It’s more of a “hey, I have nothing to write about, but I should have something next week because I plan to do some fun and interesting things this weekend” type of post.  You know, one of those.  See y’all next week!

shenanigans

Play Fair

On Labor Day, we took the kids to the Maryland State Fair.  It is fair season again, so this was actually the second fair that we attended this year.  The first was our local county fair, and of no real consequence.  Our third and final of the fair trifecta will be in two weeks.  That is our favorite, so stay tuned for a report on that one.

But, this past holiday we visited the middle child in our fair going family, the state fair.  We started the day early, attempting to beat some of the sweltering and oppressive heat that we had been enjoying for quite some time now.  Sadly, we were not early enough, because the blanket of oven-like temps attacked us within minutes of our entrance into the fairgrounds.  However, we rallied and put the kids on some rides, while we tried desperately to stand in any type of shade available, to avoid spontaneous combustion.  After a few spinning, bouncing, twisting, and flying contraptions entertained my kids, we decided to momentarily escape from the heat.  So we visited the cow palace.

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Tipping prevention technique.

This extremely large building was not air conditioned, but this shelter from the sun dropped the temp a good ten degrees.  What we traded in heat, however, we made up for in aroma, as this was where they housed all things bovine.  We happened upon an area where a cow was being held in a pen, and there were bleachers set up all around.  Curious as to what we would be watching, we grabbed a seat and tried to see what there was to see.

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Ready to pop.

We soon realized that we were on the verge of experiencing the miracle of life . . . live and in high def.  Not sure that our young boys were quite ready to see that (and not sure that we really wanted to experience it, either), we moved along, and instead opted to participate in a different activity involving a cow . . . milking.

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Once we had our fill of milk cow related activities, we reluctantly went back into the sweltering blast furnace outside of the building.  Yeah, that was fun.  However, as we exited the building, I passed a mecca of wonderment and invention . . . the fried foods booth.

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If you’ve been around a while, you know that it is my goal in life to try a different fried concoction at every fair that I attend.  There have been oreos, twinkies, strawberries, pickles, cheesecake, kool aid and reese’s.  All of it battered and deep fried.  Most topped with powdered sugar.  (Not the pickles, because that would be very very wrong).  So, I perused the numerous offerings of this fried food heaven to see what this year’s lucky item would be.  And although there were many many MANY items to choose from, none of them really screamed out me, me, me, pick me!!  I thought about the fried Pop Tart (in honor of my friend Thoughtsy), but they had a sample of it sitting in the window and it was basically just an entire Pop Tart covered in batter.  It did not look appealing.  I wasn’t up for an entire candy bar (did I mention it was scorching hot?  Yeah, so that meant that I pretty much had no appetite), and the fried grilled cheese or peanut butter & jelly looked pretty gross.  I might have been up for whatever a buckeye was (it helpfully said it was chocolate covered peanut butter), but apparently they were very popular because they were all sold out.  What to do, what to do . . . it was a conundrum.

So, what did I do?  Actually, I walked away.  I know!  I’m not sure what was wrong with me either.  I’m gonna blame it on my brain being boiled by the 128* sun.  Obviously, what I needed was a lemonade to cool me down!  So, I went over to a nearby stand selling freshly made, ice cold lemonade, and as I was standing in line . . . the heavens opened, the angels sang, and I saw this sign:

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This!  This is what I had been waiting for.  It was the perfect treat, as Berger’s cookies are unbelievably delicious, and also the perfect amount, because I only needed to eat one to experience it, and could share the rest.  That way, I didn’t need to feel like a total glutton by devouring the entire thing all by myself!  (Although, I will admit that I totally could have hoovered all three of those bad boys . . . they were smack your momma on the ass GOOD).

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And speaking of Baltimore’s Own, the boy who served us these treats noticed my son’s Ravens hat, and mentioned dejectedly that the next stop for their little rolling cart of fried deliciousness was in Pittsburgh for the Steelers.  I told him that he better not take our Berger’s cookies up there to our rivals!  He said he thinks that they are only offering them locally, so at least there’s that.  He also said that he’s gonna represent Maryland pride by wearing all of his Ravens gear while he’s up there.  Good boy.  Go Ravens!

Next up is the last fair of the season, where I am sure to find something new and creative to wrap up this fried fair food festivus maximus.  Let’s just hope it’s not surface of the sun hot when we go there.  To be continued . . .

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