Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let the Sunshine In

With our annual trek to Jackson comes our annual summer hair cuts. I had 5 inches cut off mine, which is exactly half as much as Nix. For the second time, she decided to donate her hair to Lock of Love.
Before: so serious

After: about 3 pounds lighter

It is amazing how a hair cut can completely change the way someone looks. She now looks like she is about to be a teenager. Her neck looks longer, and her eyes bigger. I'm pretty proud of her for growing it out for charity. It is the type of thing that people talk about doing, but never actually do. Now that I have a head start on her, maybe I'll grow mine out with her again for next time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My New Embarrassment

I jokingly said about a month ago that I might have a new most embarrassing story depending on how bad I was hurt. Today I had to recount this story to a medical professional, so I might as well fess up to all of you.
Our town has a new park. Just walking around this massive place I started questioning our tax rates, meaning it had to have set the county back a good bit. The kids wanted to try out the fantastic playground equipment, and never being one to let the kids have all the fun, I joined in. Everything was going great. I went down a slide, I climbed the rock wall, and then I decided not to push my luck and spent the rest of the time in the swings. I love to swing. I always have. One of my favorite things is to get as high as possible and them jump out, soaring gracefully across the playground to stick a 10.0 landing. That is not what happened. This time, as I flew through the air I remembered three things. 1. I am now well into my 30's 2. I have on flip flops 3. wood chips are a lot more slippery than dirt. There was a little scrape on one knee, bruised hands, but no tears. My foot didn't even really hurt much until 2 days later. By that time I was packing up for the New York trip and nothing was stopping that. I walked around New York for four days. By the end of each day my foot felt like someone was using a nail gun to shoot nails into my foot with every step. This was probably not the smartest thing to do. I was certainly abusing my foot, but I told myself that I'd rest it when I got home.
When I did get home I had a post trip cold which gave me no choice but to rest. Combine that with JD's random case of scarlet fever, and I had two weeks of hardly setting foot out of the house. Unfortunately, when I did get up to speed and started walking, the pain came back. I broke down today and saw the doctor.
When the doctor entered the room he asked, "What did you do?" I replied, "Something stupid." Apparently it was a running theme with women today because he had already treated 2 sprained ankles and a broken tail bone. This made me feel a little better. My x-ray didn't show any major breaks, but because of the time and other symptoms, he thinks I have a stress fracture. He has given me 10 days to try anti-inflammatory drugs, but after that, if I still hurt, I get a bone scan with a boot, or a trip to a foot doctor depending on the results.
If I get a boot, this will officially beat the time I accidentally tried to carjack a stranger at Walmart. Also, I need to ready a story for the people who will ask me what I did to my foot. I'm leaning towards "ninja training camp" or maybe something circus related.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I *heart* New York

As you probably already know, Rocky and I just spent 4 fun filled days in New York. Several friends have asked me to remember tips as they are hoping to take trips of their own in the next year. Since time tends to erode memory and a bummer of a summer cold has me at half speed, I thought I'd write it all out now.

Tip 1: If at all possible, aim to spend a couple of weekdays there. It is a lot less crowded, you waste less time in lines, and some things will cost less.

Tip 2: Be ready walk a lot, especially if it is your first time in the city. The buildings are so beautiful and iconic that you end up walking around trying to see everything. Good walking (or running) shoes are a must. The second pair of shoes I brought were good flip flops. These turned out to be smart because after two days of walking, my toes needed to breath.

Tip 3: If you will be there more than a couple of days, plan on buying a 7 day subway pass. You get unlimited rides, and will save you money even if you are only there 3 or 4 days. At the end of your trip you can pass it off to other tourists who will be grateful for the days remaining on the card.

Tip 4: There are a couple of apps that will really help you out. First, the subway map. It will help you spot the nearest stop when you need a break from walking. Second, Central Park has a map app. It is $2, but it goes to the park's fund to keep it looking pretty. We spent the better part of one day in the park. It may have been our favorite part of the trip

Tip 5: I highly recommend going to the Top of the Rock during the day (Rockefeller Center tower). The view is amazing and the line isn't nearly as bad as The Empire State Building. I recommend doing Empire at night. Again, the lines are shorter then, and it is breathtaking to see the city at night. They do have a sunrise/sunset discount package, which could be really cool.

Tip 6: If you have your heart set on going inside the Statue of Liberty then you need to get your tickets way ahead of time. However, for a mere $13 a head, the boat will take you to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The only thing it doesn't do is get you time inside the statue. We were satisfied with just walking around the island.

Tip 7: Never take a street vendors first price, or the second. The third price is usually as far as they will go. Be ready to walk away, and remember there is another guy with the exact same product two blocks over who is willing to deal if the guy you are talking to isn't. That is how I got my lovely new orange bag. If you want the good knock offs with labels then you have to go to Chinatown and enter a back room with someone who gives you "the nod" on the street. I'm not that adventurous.

Tip 8: The weather the first week of June was perfect. It stayed between 65 and 75 each day. I started out wearing jeans, but after walking in them for two days they started to rub a spot on my leg. I had brought a jersey cotton dress and it turned out to be the best thing I wore the whole trip. Make sure the skirt is long though because the wind does kick up a good bit and you don't want to spend all day trying to keep your skirt down.

Tip 9: We enjoyed these 3 restaurants. 1.Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway. It is exactly what you think of when you say, "New York diner". It is crowded and loud, but the perk is that all of the wait staff are aspiring Broadway performers who sing while they serve and are really, REALLY good. 2. Frankie & Johnnie's on 45th. One of the best steaks I've ever had. Easily in the top 5. It is in an old speakeasy. make reservations. 3. If you are there Sunday morning, try Resto on east 29th for brunch. It is extremely rich and would do Paula Dean proud when it comes to fat and butter content.  Also, always take restaurant recommendations from Ryan and Molly Roy. They know what they are talking about. (Thanks again guys!)

Tip 10: We used Priceline for the hotel and ended up at Park South, which is a small boutique hotel instead of a big, heart of the city, hotel. We loved it. It wasn't crowded, the desk staff had time for us, and were very helpful. The place had a lot of character. The rooms were very up to date and very small, but small is something you should expect no matter where you stay. The hotels will check your bags if you you get into town before check in time, and on the day you leave. On the day we left, we officially checked out at 11. The doorman checked our bags for us and arranged a car to pick us up for the airport at 5.

Tip 11: The big cathedral like Catholic churches are open for you to walk around. They'll have a mass schedule out front to keep you from walking into something you didn't intend to, so check it before walking on it.  Make sure and stand where you can take in a full 360 view. it will make your jaw drop.

You may notice the one hole in my advise. We did not go see a show. Considering my love of musicals, this might seem weird. We talked it out before we went and decided against it on our first real trip to New York. First of all, they are not cheap. Then, there is the issue of packing. Going to a Broadway show raises my packing to a whole new level. Last, was the time involved. A show is going to take 3 hours plus the time it takes to get ready and make it to the theater. When all is said and done, you've shot 5 hours of your trip to see one thing. It is something we will defiantly do if we go back, but I don't feel cheated by skipping it the first time around.
I hope you've enjoyed my tour of New York and that some of the tips are helpful to you on your trip.