Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Meta-Vacation

Remember when I was telling y'all about our travels at Christmastime?  Well, I'm picking up where I left off...

I'm not sure what it says about your vacation when you take a vacation from your vacation, but that's just what we did.  On the Wednesday before Christmas we left the kids with their grandma and grandpa for a little overnight getaway for M and me.

 We drove from the D.C. area up to a cute little town in New Jersey, just outside Newark.

We stayed in a neat old hotel.  It was built in 1929.

It had this crazy brickwork on the exterior:

It was very cute, all decorated for Christmas.

 Front doors


Downstairs hallway

Downstairs hallway

And what could be more romantic than a room decorated with law books?

That night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was delicious.  Not quite Driskill Grill, but what is?  Except for the dessert.  We were running out of time before we had to leave to see our play, but we decided to risk it and order dessert.  I got the chocolate lava cake thinking, "Meh. Sounds a little cliche, but it's the chocolately choice."

BOY HOWDY!!!  (Is that a dorky enough way to say it for you?)  I am SO glad I ordered it!  I was so wrong about it being a bit run of the mill.  It was the finest dessert I have EVER tasted.  Words cannot do it justice.  Just know that it was a far cry from the underdone in the middle cake or brownie injected with chocolate syrup that one might expect from the description "chocolate lava cake."  Something closer to a truffle with a hot fudge center, then all of it covered in ganache.  But better.




Oh!  Sorry.  I think I just drifted off there.  Lost in the memory of that dessert...

Anyway, with a little speeding and crazy U-turns, we found our way to the theater in the next town over.  With minutes to spare we pulled into the first parking we found and the parking attendant guy offered us valet parking even though it wasn't normally a valet lot.  We took him up on the offer!  That's how desperately close to being late we were!  (I'll end the suspense and let you know now that, don't worry, the car was still there when we came out.)

M and I had both always wanted to see Les Mis on the stage.  That was pretty much the whole point of this little trip.  It did not disappoint.  We THOROUGHLY enjoyed it.

The next morning, after sleeping in without anyone coming in and asking us for breakfast or asking to watch "Curious George" or anyone climbing into bed with us, and after a lovely full breakfast buffet at the hotel, we boarded the train to New York.

Can I just say now that I found the New York subway system VERY confusing?  It's not like I've never been to big cities.  I've ridden many public transit systems in many cities, including trains where everything was in JAPANESE, and I was BY FAR the most confused by the New York subway.  So there, I said it.  I was a NY subway dunce and I really peeved poor M.  But we found our way around in the end.

I had never been to New York city before and with only a few hours to work with, we knew there was no way we would come even close to seeing all the things we wanted to.  So we just promised ourselves we will go back again someday and picked one thing to do.  Our choice?

Some people might think the MoMA was a strange choice given the many choices we had.  But going to art museums is something M and I have always enjoyed doing together.  And I really enjoy modern art.  (And if you're thinking of telling me about how "anyone could do that" and all that crap, please, save your breath.  You won't change my mind and if you say anything to that effect it will only make me think you are a neanderthal.  I don't want to be forced to think less of you, so let's just leave it all unsaid, mmmkay?)  So anyway, it was really fun!  Plus it was something we really wanted to do that we figured we were less likely to do if we came back to New York with our kids in tow.

We were running out of time, so we forced ourselves to leave the museum and our last stop was for some pizza in Times Square:

Then we rode the train back to our car in New Jersey and drove back to M's parents' house.

As a final treat on our trip, we enjoyed driving by the Washington D.C. LDS temple all lit up at night:

(But, as you might have guessed, it's not this blurry in real life.)

We got back a good bit later than we had hoped, but it was a FABULOUS little getaway!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Farewell Blue Knife

My new swiss army knife for my key chain finally arrived! I'm so excited!

Black with snowflakes? How could I resist even if it was a tiny bit more expensive? Snowflakes are "my thing." (My middle name means snow.)

This replaces the swiss army knife I had confiscated at the airport flying out of Salt Lake.  I had that old blue knife for something like 15 years.  I got it as a teenager and had it on my key chain ever since.  It is a testament to my obnoxious anal retentiveness that I managed not to lose it in all that time.  I took over 30 plane flights in that time, always remembering to either leave it at home or put it in my checked bags.  But I finally forgot.  I remembered to put it in my checked luggage for our flight out to Utah, but I accidentally left it in my purse after using it to mend all those wedding clothes at the ceremony.  When I got to security, they pulled the pocket knife out of my purse and politely offered that I could go buy a prepaid mailer in the nearby shop so I could mail it to myself.  I declined.  I had long ago lost the tweezers and the toothpick from that thing, and the plastic face was starting to chip off.

Little blue knife, you had a good run, but it was time for me to move on. Finally an excuse to get a new one!


Friday, February 11, 2011

To Most of the Country, It's Snow Big Deal...

But to us in the Austin area, less than an inch of snow a week ago meant no school and that M couldn't get to work until 2pm!


We had my best friend from college and her little family staying with us last week.  They are moving to the area next month (WOO HOO!) so they were here looking at housing.  And of course of all the weeks they come to Texas, it's the one with absurdly low temperatures and a day of snow!  We were scrambling to cover the orange tree out back and insulate our outdoor water spigots and I think they were laughing at us a little.  I felt better when they found out that it was below freezing back home in Tucson too and people there were having similar problems.  Their little boy is the same age as Kate, and he DID NOT like the cold.  It was simultaneously SO CUTE and SO PITIFUL watching how miserable he was when we went outside to show him the snow.

Kate, however, was a trooper:

What a week!  76 degrees on the Sunday before and then it didn't get above freezing starting Tuesday night and stretching until Friday.  Then this last Sunday is was back in the 70's again.  Wednesday of this week we had freezing rain.  Texas, I love you, but you're a little bipolar sometimes...




 (For your reference:  One of these squares on the bathroom floor is 9 inches wide.)


She LOVES it.  She's the one who's been begging for it.  And as for me?  I have twinges of sadness, but I'm not minding how easy it is to take care of too much either.