Some thoughts about a birthday…

So here we are. It’s September 1. And my birthday is in 19 days.

I can’t believe it. Of course, I also can’t believe that one year ago, we were in the midst of embarking on our epic trip to Italy.

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sigh…..

Life changing, in so many ways. Today, I was reading a few of my blog posts from last September, and it’s mind boggling to me, really, how much has transpired in just one year. From conversations with my parents two weeks before the trip, the actual trip itself, to meeting J two weeks after the trip, and moving to Austin, Texas, six months after that.

whoa.

In retrospect, at the time, everything just seemed to happen in a natural progression. As it should have. And aside from missing my parents living 4 miles away, and being able to see them whenever I wanted to (read: every day),  I can honestly say I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

However, let’s not overlook one very important fact here:

Alexander is now taller than Sabrina and I.

Proof to follow…..

The best laid plans….

A. Don’t always work out the way we want them to.

B. See “A”.

I had the best of intentions. I really did. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to pull off my spur-of-the-moment plan. It doesn’t matter what it was, what matters is that I tried.

Do I get credit for trying? I hope so…..

Seriously though, sometimes you have to wonder why things happen the way the do. I mean, you plan a trip and something goes awry. Is it divine intervention? Or is it because it just wasn’t meant to be?

Alas, I know certain people are disappointed that I couldn’t be where they wanted me to be. And that really bothers me, because I would never try and hurt them. Ever. But I’ve learned that sometimes plans fall apart so better ones can come together.

And that’s what I’m planning on. A better plan.

Scenes from New York City, Part 2

The great J & M NYC adventure isn’t over just yet.

Well, the New York City portion is rapidly coming to a close (considering we are at Newark Airport), but lo and behold, our adventure is continuing. Now, I can’t/won’t reveal all the details yet, but sometimes, the best plans come from a spur-of-the-moment idea which turns into a plan.

Am I making sense? Maybe I should wait until my second coffee kicks in…

Anyhoo, I decided that instead of simply telling you what we’re are doing, I think it will be more fun to play a little game called, “guess my location”.

I’ll post the first picture tonight….. stay tuned.….

Scenes from New York City

It all started with a phone call from my beloved J… “Honey, I have to go to New York for a meeting, would you like to come out and spend a few days in the city with me?”

I do believe it took me exactly .2 nanoseconds to answer yes. 

J has been traveling extensively over the past 5 weeks. I calculated that over a 45 day period, he was home for exactly 5 days, 4 of them concurrent. The 5th day shouldn’t even count as a day, because he was in the house for less that 12 hours.

And then back on the road. Well, an airplane, really…

Anyway, I jumped onto a flight out of Austin early Wednesday morning, and landed at Newark a few hours later. Getting into a cab felt strangely familiar… like I’d done in several (dozen) times before. Gee…..probably because I have…. about 15 years ago, to be exact, when I lived in this great city my father not-so-affectionately refers to as a toilet bowl.

Yeah, he really loves the city. ** insert eye roll **

As the driver cruised through the Holland Tunnel, my mind starting running through all the great places to go, things to see, and most importantly, where to eat.

Hey, I have my priorities in order.

First order of business though, was to call my mom and let her know that I had arrived safely. After assuring her that I was fine, her next statement made me laugh out loud …she said, “You might go back to Austin a changed woman – you may decide that Green Acres (that’s her name for our new ranch) isn’t the place to be.”

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Well Mom, I can tell you one thing, you can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl…. I may be moving to a 10 acre ranch, but my sophisticated style of dress, platform pumps and trusty Transformer (that’s the name I gave my little car) will do juuuuuust fine out there.

Even though the aforementioned items do tend to make me stand out a little bit amongst the locals. Somehow, they know I’m not from around there. Can’t imagine why…..

I checked into the hotel and settled in while waiting for J to finish up his meeting. When I opened the shade in the room, I was momentarily taken aback by the view..

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If you look closely, in the far right corner, you can see the Chrysler Building. When I lived here many moons ago, I could see that same building from my apartment. I loved to see it all lit up at night, and since Alexander (who was born in the city) never slept, I spent numerous evenings comforting him and standing by the window, looking at the city lights.

sigh

Thursday morning, J left early for another meeting, and after I indulged in an overpriced soda in the hotel ($5 for a diet coke – really?!),  I set off to explore Soho and the surrounding areas. I’m still not exactly sure what areas I was in, but I covered a lot of territory – I passed City Hall, Washington Square, Wall Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, and a nifty section of town where all the shops sell kitchen/restaurant equipment. I had to exercise a lot of self control there, since our house isn’t even built yet, so the last thing I should be doing is buying anything for it.

The car park lots always make me laugh:

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Armed with a double latte, I kept walking. And walking.

Of course, a trip to the Harley Davidson store was mandatory:

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And all of a sudden, my phone buzzed with a text from J:

“Where are you? It’s 5:00!”

I stopped, looked around, and laughed, because I had no idea where I was! Oh, and to make it even better, my phone battery was now at 11%. I grabbed a pretzel (all that walking required sustenance of some sort, don’t you agree?), and put the hotel address into my map app – it said I was 1.7 miles away – a cake walk for me. By now, the city was alive with everyone leaving work, so taking a cab back was out of the question. I hustled my Converse into high gear and made it back in 30 minutes.

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It was a great day – I felt so energized by the vibrancy of the city – and realized that it’s a great place to visit, but I don’t think I could ever live here again. We are just about to take off for another adventurous day, I definitely would like to head to midtown and visit my old stomping grounds, complete with the asphalt playgrounds that Sabrina used to play on. (Dad, you know exactly what I’m talking about!) 

Oh, and check out this neat-o case J bought for my computer:

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Now I just have to think about upgrading my phone, since apparently it doesn’t want to hold a charge anymore….

Sabrina’s first solo flight

She made it. She really made it!

By a very small margin, mind you….. very small.

I’ll tell you, it was close – there were a few moments when I thought, “This isn’t going to happen”. Which I seriously would have been fine with. There are some things in life you just.can’t.force. Or is it that there are some people you just can’t force?

I think it’s both.

No matter, she made it onto that airplane by herself, and survived the 2.25 hour flight from Austin to Las Vegas.

Alone.

Truth be told, Southwest Airlines was a joy to deal with. They gave me a Non Passenger Escort card, so I could go through security and wait at the gate with her until she boarded the plane. I mean, I know she’s not 5, but considering it was her first time flying alone and in an unfamiliar airport, they were very considerate and kind.

At no additional charge, thankfully…..

We tried taking a few selfies while waiting to board, but let’s be honest here – neither one of us looked our best at 4:45 this morning.

Especially me.

Oh, and she informed me that upon her return next week, I  might want to consider waiting awhile to pick her up, since she will most likely be partaking in the barbecue joints located into the airport.

Great……

Thoughts, Randomness, and where I have been…

Wow…. time sure does fly when you’re having fun.

Or something like that…

Where have I been for the last few weeks, anyway? It seems like a whole lotta spots around town, actually, and thanks to my nifty iPhone, I was able to capture many of the places and spaces I’ve been. And, conveniently, the phone camera has all the photos date stamped so I can keep them in chronological order.

Which, as a Virgo, is paramount to my health and well being.

* ahem *

Enough chit chat, let’s get this started, shall we?

First up, J’s birthday cake: 

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I had a lot of trouble with this cake – not the actual cake itself (alternating layers of yellow cake (I used Carole Walters’ recipe), chocolate cake, pastry cream, and raspberry jam), but with the fondant. The problem was the humidity here in Austin. I am definitely not used to it, and struggled to get a smooth finish before the fondant started weeping. Maybe it was the brand I used, I tried a new one from a famous cake chef who shall remain nameless due to the fact that his fondant is extremely expensive and in my opinion, it’s just not worth the extra money. I even had to cut the decorations short because I was getting so frustrated with it. However, after all was said and done, the cake was a huge hit, J loved it, and it was very well received by his colleagues and friends.

Our new ATV:

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This monstrosity was a complete and total surprise. A bargain that we (read: J) simply couldn’t pass up. Truth be told, I will admit it was practically a steal. Never been ridden, brand spankin’ new, and our wonderful friend James trailered it over to our house and promptly had Sabrina riding it up and down the street.

Our neighbors were NOT amused.

I’m sure they’re counting the days until we leave….

Daisy: 

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My poor Daisy …. after her most recent vet visit, I was informed that she is now suffering from cataracts (not Cadillacs) – which explains so much of her behavior lately. She has practically hot-glued herself to me, and just the other day I found her staring at the wall, not sure which way to go. She’s only 9 years old, but clearly not aging well.

sigh

Heartbreaking, I know…

Kiss/Def Leppard tickets!
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Oh…my….goodness! Sabrina had been dying to attend this concert, she loves the genre of music (to which I have to remind myself that this kid was born in the late 90’s, not the early 80’s!!) but was unable to find any of her friends to accompany her. J overhead our conversation, and the next thing she knew, he presented her with tickets for the three of us to attend the concert the very next night.

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It was, in a word, unbelievable. Both bands sounded so incredible, it was truly a mind-blowing experience. I did the smart thing and hired a car service to take us there and back, worth every penny and then some. After the concert was over, we walked right out, jumped into our waiting car, and split before the exiting traffic hit.

Southwestern University Tour:

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Ok so when did this happen? When did my child need to start looking at colleges?! I mean, I know she’s going to be a senior in just a few weeks, but college?

Let’s put it this way…. I may not be ready, but she definitely is. Ready for higher education, that is. Dorm life? Not so much. After seeing the size of the rooms (and shortage of bathrooms), she has decided that she will most likely live at home.

Which is fine with me :)

And just because I can, one more shot of Daisy:

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And to answer the inevitable next question, I have been cooking and baking a lot…. those posts are coming soon!

 

Happy July 4th!

It’s the Fourth of July… which means today we celebrate the fact that we are legally allowed to blow things up.

Oh, and American Independence Day, too.

However, much to my chagrin, fireworks (or explosives of any kind) are banned in the development we are currently residing in.

Dang it.

Armed with that knowledge, Sabrina and I are off on a mission this morning to find explosive materials fireworks, and set them off on the ranch. Right now, it’s still a very large piece of dirt, so there is no danger of setting fire to anyone or anything.

We hope…..

Anyway, Sabrina is especially excited about today, it’s one of her favorite holidays and she really goes all out – in fact, her ensemble consists of flag Converse hi-tops, a sequined flag tank top and flag aviator sunglasses.

It’s intense…. just like her sometimes……

Happy July 4th!