It's only about an hour's drive to Bear Mountain. We stopped at the Visitor's Center and Bookstore on the Palisades Parkway where I bought a book of information on the NY, NJ, CT and PA section of the Appalachian Trail. I know Z-girl was eyeing that cute stuffed deer...
We got to the Bear Mountain park around 9:30 am, and saved the $7 parking fee because we finally purchased the Empire Pass. It wasn't very crowded- a big crowd of Chinese people, a few serious looking hikers and a few groups of day-trippers. The parking attendant recommended we go south because that's the way up the mountain- north followed more of the highway, and would've led us to Bear Mountain bridge. After a trip to the bathroom we followed the road on the left side of the BM Inn, which is a beautiful old inn, to the trail.
I start my new/old job with Cushman & Wakefield. Doing what I was doing and where I was doing it when UBS fired me. My boss called me the other day (after I was home for two weeks- whatever!) and asked me if I was going to be coming back bitter. Why would I be bitter? I recieved 33 weeks severence, four weeks paid vacation, got three weeks off and still got a job after all that. Not bitter- bittersweet. I'm going to miss putting Zombiegirl on the bus in the morning, being there for her when she gets home and doing homework with her in the afternoons. But I have to bring home the bacon.
Mmmmm. Bacon. Only had it once while I was home.
I wanted to blog alot while I was off, but I was too damn busy. Here's a recap and some updates:
- Killer the Fish seems to have made a complete recovery. He's no longer swimming upside down, or hanging out on the bottom of the bowl. It was like he had a mini stroke for awhile. He's active now, swimming around like normal. Thank God. We almost flushed him twice.
- My hallway upstairs, which is the size of a room since we raised the ceiling after it collapsed on the kids and Lola, is almost finished. I can taste it. Pictures will go up on the blog next week. It makes me happy to go up there.
- Zombiegirl's room is being painted. It's a most awesome blue. I should be finished with it next week also.
- My man Parker's Dad and Zombiegirl's soccer coach, Jason, hurt his leg showing the girls a follow-through at soccer practice yesterday. And ended up in the ER. This put a damper on our night-the girls were supposed to go out drinking. Oh well, as long as he's not seriously hurt. He seems to get hurt alot. He screwed up his hand last Memorial Day weekend at our house in Riverhead cheating at tug-of-war! Get well soon, Jason!
- I've planted my vegetables, herbs and flowers I got at Z-girl's school and the St. Andrew's Youth Group plant sale. I'm now growing Mint, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Lemon Thyme, Eggplant, Peppers, Peas and Tomatoes. We've planted Chamomille and Cilantro from seed and they're just starting to come up! If you know where I live, you'll know I have very little sun on our property. I was out there every hour on the hour evaluating my sun situation. We get about 5-6 hours of full spring sun in the morning, and dappled sun after that. Hopefully that will be enough for our little plants to grow. I'm planting more herbs from seed today.
- I'm the new webmaster for St. Andrew's church! I'm learning as I'm going. Rob got me a copy of Microsoft's Sharepoint (ha!) Designer and I've successfully copied from the already established webiste onto Designer by .ftp. I'm fiddling around with some layouts and changes- all advice is welcome! I'll link when we're up and running. Go me!
- Mother's Day was hard. I suffered two losses recently which made celebrating this holiday tough. Thankfully, my wonderful sister-in-law Paula had us over to her house to celebrate my niece Lily's 2nd birthday. My other SIL Laura, my MIL Johanna and Paula's MIL Gerry all celebrated being mothers/grandmothers/godmothers/aunts. My other niece Samantha and nephew Raymond made me forget my woes for a little while. (I really have to blog about these kids- they are adorable!) So a really nice party and really great gifts from my family made this Mother's Day bearable. Thanks guys!
- I got my bike fixed. And got one of those holders added to the back. MR then put saddlebags on the back for me to tote stuff back and forth- to the library, Stop N Shop or church. I'm going to try to either walk or ride whenever going anywhere in the neighborhood.
I enjoyed being a SAHM for awhile, but it's back to the real world. The daily grind. The treadmill. I've downloaded a lot of songs onto my iPod so that the commute will be bearable. Now if I can figure out something to make WORK bearable.
As sent by Palmer:
"It's time for Palmer Vineyards Annual Yard Sale. This year, our sale will be one day only. We have very limited quantities to put on sale this year. We will open at 9am for our special customers, so come early for the best selection. Here is a sample of some of the items we will have this year:*
04 41/72 Merlot 50% off $6.49 per bottle
High Yield Chardonnay 50% off $3.99 per bottle
06 Sparkling Brut 20% off $17.56 per bottle
07 Sauvignon Blanc 30% off $11.89 per bottle
As always we will have a few surprises too! (They usually have live music...)
Mark the date and don't forget to come early for the best selection.
*All sale items are while supplies last. All sales are on a first come first serve basis. No advance orders will be accepted. All sales are final.
Parker is three, and is a totally awesome little dude. I say that because right now he's rockin' the house with his rendition of "We Will Rock You." He's the youngest of the three kids in that family and was born with a cleft palate. After all this kid has been through (surgeries, tubes) he hasn't lost his spirit and is in no way spoiled or hindered in any way. When he walked in to our house he had an ear to ear grin on- coming to visit us was a treat for him!
Wait- now he's singing "Eye of the Tiger"- complete with "nih.... nih nih nih.... nih nih naaaaaa"
OMG, what a little ham! MR is really loving having a little boy around. He took out all the toys in his backpack and went through them with the kid. They tried to color a picture for M for Mother's Day. They rode motorcycles on the couch. And waved to me when they passed by. My heart melts watching this kid. He's a little sponge that repeats everything you say, then brings it up later in the right context. He's a riot! And adorable.
And we have the TV on in the background, not that Parker's watching it. He's too busy exploring Zombiegirl's room and following MR around. So while I'm cleaning, I'm watching Dora the Explorer. I know it's a kid's show, and I know repetition is good for kids, but come on! This show really hits a nerve. I don't know what it is exactly- the talking Map, the talking Backpack or Swiper, the kleptomaniacal fox. Or Dora herself. I can just picture kids sitting on the floor watching this show with zombie eyes drooling on themselves. It's truly idiotic.
But then again, I watched HR Pufnstuf as a kid. Today that would give kids nightmares.
I was ready to give up HBO after the Big Love season ended, and switch over to Showtime, where I can catch up with Dexter, The Tudors and Weeds. Then I watched this original HBO show- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Yeah, it's a mouthful. And I was skeptical about watching. I didn't know what to expect since a) it takes place in Botswana, b) I knew nothing about the cast and c) I don't like detective shows.
I should have known better. I know nothing about Botswana, but once I heard the music, I was hooked. I love Paul Simon's Graceland with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. African music stirs something in me. Then, when I heard Jill Scott (who plays Precious Ramotswe) sing at her father's funeral, I decided to continue watching as well as download her songs onto my iPod.
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is based on the books by Alexander McCall Smith. Mma Precious Ramotswe opens the country's first and only female-owned Detective Agency in Gaboron after her beloved father dies and leaves her many head of cattle. He taught her as a youngster to be observant and patient, and to follow her dreams- all the things that make up a good detective. She opens her agency in what is the US equivalent of a strip mall and with the help of her new secretary Grace Makutsi (played by Anika Noni Rose) and her gay hairdresser neighbor BK (played by Desmond Dube) and the clients start slowly coming in.
So what makes this show worth watching?
- Jill Scott. She is beautiful to watch. She is so expressive, but in the slow, easy way of Africa. She is a "classical shaped" woman which is appreciated in her country. Her character often pokes fun of her own largeness, but she exudes a sexiness and self confidence that is refreshing in this MTV anorexic world. Her relationship with JLB Matekoni (played by Lucian Msamati) is totally sweet.
- The scenery. It's filmed entirely in Botswana showcasing the middle class and their struggles to grow and prosper. They use locals as extras and existing locales as sets. The colors and people are vibrant, interesting and beautiful. And the wildlife (chickens, goats, giraffes) live comfortably on their doorsteps.
- The politeness of the people. I love how they greet each other with "Dumela, Mma" for a woman or "Dumela, Rra" for a man. Instead of saying "miss" or "sir" it's "mma" or "rra." When greeting someone, one waits for a detailed response to the question "how are you?" In NY, when you ask how someone is, do you really care? They do. They're genuine. They'll also offer you a cup of tea or a cold drink on a hot day. Supposedly, they are a very friendly people.
- The cases. CSI this isn't. There are no bodies and very little violence. Cheating husbands, dating daughters, stolen cars and a bad dentist are more the speed of the clientele at this agency. But they assign them Nancy Drew-type names and manage to solve them all.
- The humor. Subtle and easy humor. Self-depreciating and honest humor.
- The accents. Okay, I admit the first time I watched this I had to rewind a few times to get what they were saying. But after awhile, I was able to get into the patter and rhythm of the African dialect.
- The cast.
I just finished watching the sixth episode, which happens to be the season finale. Already? Six episodes? They're all On Demand, along with the author's "journals"- a behind the scenes look at his inspiration and the execution of this little gem of a show.
So watch, eh Mma?
So today, we have another death, and she comes down upset. MR goes upstairs and this time brings the whole bowl down. Nope, still breathing. The little bug-eyed redhead looks extremely tired, though. He's resting on the rocks on the bottom. But he's still holding on. We prepare Z-girl for the inevitable- he will die soon.
She comes in to me and asks me if she can get a newt. Now we've had hermit crabs, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, cats and dogs, but never reptiles. The older girls were too girly for the scaliness of lizards or turtles. They liked the furry. But Z-girl is all about dinosaurs, and reptiles are little pocket sized dinosaurs. Newts are lizards without the scales.
I personally like newts and salamanders. When I was a kid, we went camping in Florida, and I caught a newt and brought it all the way home in an orange juice concentrate can. When we got home, we put it in a tank, and put it in the kitchen. This being December, however, my dad turned on the heat when we got home. We didn't realize that mom put the tank on the radiator, and we created a little hot tub for the poor guy. The next day my little newt was soup meat.
So I tell Z-girl to ask Daddy, since I wouldn't mind having a little newt. She goes into the kitchen and I hear the following conversation: