Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baby Shower at Lady Mendl's Tea Salon

On July 19, our friends in the area surprised us in NYC with a baby shower for Max. It was exactly one month after some friends in OKC threw an impromptu one while I was in the state. I'm blessed to know such good people.

I wondered why my mom and Garrett thought it was a good idea to go into the city on the hottest day of the year so far when they'd been being so nurturing and protective otherwise. I think it was at least 95 degrees--and even though that's merely warm in Oklahoma, in New York that temperature is hot. Anyway, we tromped through Chinatown and then Garrett wanted to go to Union Square. Since he likes hanging out in parks, I didn't think anything of it. Besides, a Babies R Us across the street shone like a beacon because I knew they were bathroom friendly to moms-to-be. And, more importantly, the store had air conditioning.

Afterward, Garrett encouraged us to walk a certain direction and I saw my friends Stephanie and Alison chatting it up on the sidewalk. I momentarily thought, "Wow. Small world." Then I saw Colleen, Josh, Paul and baby Ellery with gift bags in tow. They yelled, "Surprise! It's your baby shower!"We then strolled to The Inn at Irving Place, which is an inn that also houses Lady Mendl's Tea Salon. Yes, Lady Mendl's! None of them knew it, but this place was bookmarked on my computer long before we even moved here. I've wanted to go but figured it wasn't going to happen. Luckily, my friends know I'm a sucker for a tea party, and Stephanie had discovered it in her research.

I was delighted! The flowers were gorgeous. The tea was delish. We sat down for a five course high tea and even the boys enjoyed themselves. I thoroughly reveled in my food, knowing that I wasn't eating anything that would hurt the baby thanks to Alison. My husband claims she should be a pregnancy consultant because she knows so many details. For example, did you know that mousse is made with raw eggs? Sad, but true.

Here's a pic of the final course that most of them (not I) were too full to touch after consuming all of the other goodies.

It was a perfect afternoon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The Bridge to Terabithia (2007) Rated PG for thematic elements including bullying, some peril and mild language.
4 of 5 stars.
Excellent story that inspires imagination and friendship. It's based on a true story. I heard the author Katherine Patterson speak at SCBWI last year in NYC. She's a phenomenal storyteller. The book on which the movie is based has been on the Top 100 Most Banned Book you know it's worth reading to figure out why!

No Reservations Rated PG for some sensuality and language.
3 of 5 stars.
Definitely a "chick flick." Interesting to see Catherine Zeta Jones not playing an overtly sexy character. Abigail Bresslin was cute as ever and showed some acting chops. Speaking of chops, all the food made me hungry.The was a little long.I'm glad there's not a sequel, and I was glad when it was over.

Happy Feet Rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
4 of 5 stars.
At times, alarmingly similar to that OTHER penguin movie. Still, it managed to pull me out of my sadness the memories of that OTHER movie invoked with various themes, great music, and adorable penguins. It reminded me of The Odyssey how they traveled to far off lands and encountered sea monsters. Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Brittany Murphey, Elijah Wood, and even the late Steve Irwin lend their voices to this animated hit.

Charlie Wilson's War Rated R for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use.
Note: This movie is definitely for older, mature viewers. If I'd watched this with my parents, there were more than a couple of scenes where they would have told me to leave the room and brush my teeth.
4 1/2 of 5 stars.
Witty dialogue with Hoffman, Hanks, and Roberts makes it entertaining. The movie makes me fearful, though, when I think how we used others to fight our war against an enemy who had no business being in another country. Did one of our enemies learn that history lesson better than we did?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Journal Music

Most days, I wake up with a song in my head. It's like an internal alarm clock that's set to the radio. It influences my mood for the whole day. Sometimes, I'm surprised to realize I even know the songs because they're either really new or really old. As the day moves on, other songs enter my head, but my "theme" song usually continues off and on until the next morning.

I've considered starting each blog with an update of the current tune playing on the iPod that is my brain. Unfortunately, I don't always know the name of the song.

I guess I need one of those new iPhones. My husband comes home from work every day and enthusiastically tells me some new feature it possesses. Apparently, I can sing to it or place it up to the radio, and it will tell me the name of the song. Cool. The feature that secretly interests me the most is the one that enables me to conduct battle with the light saber that is my phone, but that's another blog.

Journal: Make a list of all the bands you can think of. Make another list of all the song titles you can think of. Write a scene using only the band names, song titles or a combination of both. Avoid using words that don't belong in the set--except article adjectives (a, an,the) and coordinating conjunctions (but, or, yet, for, and, nor, so). Have fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The 39 Steps

I took my mother to see The 39 Steps for her birthday last week. I knew it would be good, but I hadn't expected it to be so funny. Four actors played all the roles. In one scene, two men portrayed five different characters by swapping hats with each new persona--one of the guys held a hat in each hand and one on his head! Not only did the show use slapstick humor and physical comedy to get laughs, but it also called on clever allusions to Alfred Hitchcock's movies. It was thoroughly entertaining.

If you're coming to NYC with someone who is less than a theater buff and more of a Family Guy or Simpson's fan, consider this show. Even if the Alfred Hitchcock's references are missed, the other laughs will make up for it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Journal: blogs that should be

Books in Transit

Perhaps this blog already exists, but I don't know about it. I love the public transportation system here in the northeast. I know some people enjoy driving, but I never have. To me, it's extremely stressful. However, if I'm on a train or a bus, someone else takes care of the details while I can relax with an iPod or a book. Garrett usually chooses the music, and I usually choose the reading material.

Lots of people choose reading material. I enjoy peeking down the subway or the train aisles to catch a glimpse of the titles people are reading. It's enlightening to see how many different kinds of people enjoy the same books.

Perhaps if I had a blog called Books in Transit, I'd simply list the books I see each week.

Or maybe I could randomly interview people about their favorite books.

Or maybe I could review the books they're reading.

Nevertheless, I think it would be a site I'd click on before going to the library or bookstore.

Journal: What book would you read on the train and why?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Journal: an imaginary friend

My cousin has a beautiful family. I'm thrilled Max will have such a loving extended family. Not only is his wife amazing, but he also has four of the most well behaved and charming kiddos on the planet. Anyone who's around me for very long has heard me talk/brag about them.

As you can tell, I'm not partial or anything.

The kids all have creative names. I actually borrowed Blaezi's name and used it for my fairy protagonist in Glamour.

The imagination doesn't stop there.

Here's part of an email from their mama.

The afternoon after we had lunch, Boe Maggie had a huge story for all of us.
We were outside and she had been running. She grabbed her belly and said, "Oh, I can't run!"
When we asked why and what was wrong she replied, "Maximus is running in my belly."
We (the kids and I) all played along.

Later that evening I woke Mika from his nap as I was leaving for work. I told him his daughter
thought she was expecting. I honestly didn't think he would play along.
However, when I was walking out, I looked back and Mika was having to "rock Maximus"!!!
Boe Maggie already had a "friend" named Julie. Now we have Maximus and Julie. They play and
eat with us quite often. When asked where they are she will either say, or point to, a place.
Sometimes when asked if we can hold Maximus she will raise her shirt and get him out of
her belly button.
I figured if a child almost two years old can be so creative, you can, too. She's the journal inspiration for this week.

Journal: Write about an imaginary friend.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I've watched quite a few films lately. Some I'd seen before, others were old but I hadn't seen, and other are brand new. Here's my take.

Wall-E Rated G
4 of 5 stars.
When did kids' movies get so darned depressing? It's like they rip your heart out, stomp on it, then give it back to you with a parting gift intended to make it all better. Aside from some of the sad parts, I liked the movie. Pixar knows how to tell a good tale. This little robot flick had a MAJOR environmental theme as well as some commentary on how our society is obsessed with technology with disregard to our health and relationships. Thank goodness it wasn't as depressing as that horrible penguin documentary. I still can't believe people think that's appropriate viewing for children.

3:10 to Yuma (the remake) Rated R for violence and some language
5 of 5 stars.
Yes, that's right. It's a western, and I gave it five stars. Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are amazing. Their characters are complex and well developed. The entire cast is. I didn't know what to expect with this movie and put off watching it. I recommend you don't waste another day.

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language.
5 of 5 stars.
Ryan Phillipe does an amazing job of a newbie with the FBI. The scene with his father is poignant. The movie makes one realize that our nation truly is the product of human heroes and is a living thing--which is frightening when one realizes how easy it could be to weaken it.

Get Smart
Rated PG-13 for some rude humor, action violence and language.
2 1/2 of 5 stars.
I may have liked it better if I'd not seen Breach the night before. Similar topic treated lightly. Steve Carrell, as usual, was funny. The Rock always improves things visually. However, although Anne Hathaway was the most beautiful I'd ever seen her, I just can't buy her as a humorist. (Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries rock, but I thought she was too serious to play Mia. The Devil Wears Prada was more her style, but she lacked the willingness to push the envelope for that role as well.) Instead, Zoe Deschanel would have been a better choice for this movie.

There Will Be Blood
Rated R for some violence
2 of 5 stars.
Daniel Day Lewis earned his Academy Award. He was gritty and raw and believable. The movie must have received its other nominations on his merit alone. The film lacked continuity. The characters often lacked motivation for their actions, giving no clues to the audience. Enormous time gaps weren't smooth. One day the child is a full grown man, the oilman has weathered hair, but the preacher still has a baby face. What's up with that? The only reason to watch this film is to marvel at the talent of Daniel Day Lewis. As a teenager, I repeatedly watched Last of the Mohicans to marvel at Daniel Day Lewis, but at least that movie was good.

Volver Rated R for some sexual content and language
4 of 5 stars.
The movie was funny, quirky, touching, and unpredictable. It managed to touch on many aspects of the human emotional spectrum--from the gruesome to the sweet. My husband doesn't like "reading his movies," but even he enjoyed this one. Note: It does contain some disturbing sexual suggestions, so I definitely recommend parental viewing. However, it could open up a dialogue with older children.

The Game Plan Rated PG for some mild thematic content
31/2 of 5 stars.
It was cute. Maddison Pettis, who played the daughter, was cute. Tubbs, who played Spike the Bulldog, was cute. Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, was cute--okay, that's putting it mildly. The Game Plan had the heartwarming moments you'd expect in a Disney movie as well as the predictability. A few unexpected elements saved the movie, though. It's a good family flick and can appeal to miniature football heroes and ballerinas as well as their full-grown counterparts.

After looking over all of these I realize that I've seen a lot of testosterone filled cinema lately. Maybe the little boy I'm carrying is influencing my taste in entertainment.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Journal: Happy 4th of July!

Being on the east coast brings us in contact with a lot of people of different nationalities. Just this morning, my husband told me about a meeting where he looked around and realized he was the only one born in the United States. His peers are from India, China, Mauritius, Cuba, Belgium, England, Russia, Israel, and more. Many of the people came to America for different reasons, but they all mostly wanted a different, better life.

The American Dream.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness....

Recently, I received a fortune cookie that made me think. It said, "Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness."

Journal: Write a scene using this fortune as your guide.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Superheroes at The Met

I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There's so much to see and something for everyone. If you like paintings, they got 'em. If you like photographs, they got 'em. If you like nude marble sculptures, they got 'em. If you like ancient armor for horses, they got 'em.

What's that? You like superheroes? And you like fashion?

They got 'em...through September 1.

A special exhibit links superheroes with runway fashion. It's so cool! Not only do you get to see actual costumes from Superman, Batman (the one not yet released!), Spiderman, X-Men and more, but you also get to see the fashion inspired by them. The show is divided into categories, so when you're examining the actual Spiderman costumes, you also get to see clothes from the lines of major fashion designers inspired by that superhero.

If you're in NYC, check out this exhibit. Like at all museums, though, be sure to read the information instead of just looking at the stuff and walking by. It makes your time much more interesting. I learned a lot about comic books. Plus, I learned that these superheroes of ours are metaphors for what's going on in the real world.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blogs that should be

I often wish certain blogs existed. One that comes to mind most frequently is Public Restrooms in NYC. I know, I know. It doesn't seem like a big deal. And I certainly shouldn't be blogging about it, right? Finding facilities isn't really something one worries about until it's an absolute necessity. Then it's astonishing how difficult it can really be.

Since bathrooms are a natural human need, I'm not the first to long for this information. My brother told me Seinfeld had an episode discussing the lack of public facilities in New York which made me think someone else may have already created this blog. Well, guess what? A specific blog may not be out there, but some nice people have written articles that have the information.

New York City Travel Information This page contains useful information about transportation and tipping as well. Bathroom listings are specific and general that aren't exactly accurate. For example, it mentions hotel lobbies as if they're all accommodating, which simply isn't true. Sure, a few in Times Square get a lot of action due to location and proximity to TKTS; however, I've tried to enter a few around the city that require a room key in order to enter the lobby bathroom!

New York Restrooms
These bathrooms are actually mapped!

Clean Bathrooms
This site is probably my favorite because it gives the location and a brief description of each. Once again, though, not all of the information here is totally accurate. This site indicates that Starbucks is a good location. Well.... I've been to two Starbucks in NYC that did not have public restrooms. Some do, though, so they're worth a try.