Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Grandma's in Gotham

Mom's timing was perfect.  While her house in the mountains of California was getting covered in snow, New York City was downright balmy all week.  Of course I have mixed feelings about this, knowing full well that this doesn't bode well for our planet.  But I can't deny that wearing a t-shirt and drinking iced lattes in the middle of December feels great, if not a little eerie.


As usual, we sent her home this morning exhausted.  But I hope she'll agree that we went easy on her this trip.  She joined us for some outings and stayed home on the couch for others.  We stuck to taxis and Ubers and tried to keep walking to a minimum.

Friday night drinks at the Met's Balcony Bar while the kids were in class

She got to join us for our annual trip to see the Nutcracker and we all agreed that this was the best performance any of us had ever seen.  We showed her off to our cross-stitch class, brought her to Ella's end-of-the-season fashion show for her Fashion Design and Sewing class, and browsed a few store windows all dressed up for the holidays.

Giving teacher Liz her pillow that the kids made for her.

Lincoln Center

Grandma thought it was best that she avoid the crowds so the kids and I checked out the tree at Rockefeller Center and Santa at Macy's Herald Square without her.

Acting like he hasn't been thinking about the answer to this question for months.

And one day we just hung out at home all day, playing board games, cooking, and watching movies.  It was perfect.


She even let Kevin and I have a night on the town to meet up with a very old friend.  Scott and I were born on the exact same day and bonded over that fact when we were both teaching in Seoul, South Korea in 1996.  We were friends for just a few months and haven't seen each other in 19 years and had lost touch until Facebook came around.  Scott lives in the very center of Canada where he produces TV shows and was in the city for work.  He hasn't changed a bit and we had a great night catching up.  I love Facebook for just these kinds of things.

I'm sure mom will spend the next few days recovering before taking off on her next adventure in her RV.  She has no plans except to "head south, maybe the desert."  Now you know where I get my love of travel and sense of adventure.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December Madness

Decembers are not my best time of year.  They always leave me a little strung out.  Christmas shopping, holiday parties, stressing about money, preparing for travel, planning for school and classes for the spring, trying to keep the kids focused on schoolwork when there are a million other more fun things they'd rather be doing.  I feel like a chicken with my head cut off right about now.  I'm sure many of you people can relate.

So with that said, this post will be mostly photos because I've got 800 things to do and writing a blog post shouldn't be one of them.  This last week found us at a lecture on dark matter at the Natural History Museum (with a Neil deGrasse Tyson sighting), Kevin and I enjoyed getting to know some of our neighbors at a Champagne tasting party in our building (the hosts and our neighbors are the authors of Wine for Dummies), the kids went on a homeschool field trip to see Cirque Mechanics while I sat quietly in a movie theater all by myself, Kevin and I had a grown-up night on the town to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday, and the kids had fun at a birthday party at the New York Historical Society.  Just our average overscheduled week.

My mom arrived in NYC on Tuesday night and we plan to show her Christmastime in New York, even if it is 60 degrees and sunny out.

Owl sighting in Central Park

Stefan's 40th

Slightly bigger than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Hanukkah gift for their cross-stitch teacher

Patience, Holden, & Grandma

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Writer in Residence

She never stops surprising me.

If you know Ella personally, then you know that she is a soft-spoken, what most would consider shy kid.  She is definitely an introvert - she'd much prefer to spend an hour in her room by herself reading or playing with her dolls than an hour at a birthday party (except for the cake part).  So when she asks to take part in things like presenting at the history fair or reading her own short story on a stage in front of dozens of strangers, I just don't know what to make of her.


She and Holden have been taking creative writing classes at a great non-profit space called Writopia, where they are mentored by real published authors.  You may remember that a few months back we went to watch their friend Charles read his story at a local independent bookstore.  Ella said she'd like to read hers the next time Writopia had public readings.  When I saw that this time it wasn't going to be at a small bookstore but at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side, the same stage that major international writers have read from, I thought she might change her mind.


Not only did she not change her mind, she didn't seem nervous at all.  Not even when we walked in a few minutes late and saw no one that looked like a child.  It seems that I accidentally signed her up for the teen reading night.  But she didn't say a word.  They called her name, she marched up to the stage and read her story, proudly.

She's not the only one who was proud.