Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Great Parenthood Fallacy Revealed

Perhaps I was a bit hasty in claiming to have realized the greatest fallacy of parenthood. All submissions ring painfully true, and could be - and may be - discussed in further depth. I think that all of us, no matter how much we babysat, helped raise younger siblings, carefully observed peers as parents, or otherwise considered ourselves prepared for the realities of parenthood, have experienced the shock of having our assumptions shattered, one by one. Assumptions that we were so sure were true that we didn't even know they were assumptions; they went without saying. But now we are saying them, and we call them fallacies.So without further ado, which is the greatest of them all?

That the parents are in charge

Responsible, yes. In control of many things, I'll give you. But in charge? Sadly, we are not.

This came up in conversation with my sister Maren when I was venting about the sudden chaos that has taken over what was formerly regular naptimes for both girls. Suddenly Hazel's not napping one day, crashing on the floor mid-morning the next, totally throwing off the nap zen she'd achieved over a year ago. And don't get me started on Ginger's "schedule." I was explaining each example, complaining about the illogical injustice of it - "What's going on here?" And this clever mom of three gave the only explanation that can be given: "You're not in charge." (Choirs, spotlight.) "As much as you want to be, you're not in charge."

By "in charge" I guess I mean controlling all parties - in this case, making the kids do exactly what I want when I want. I can suggest, bribe, persuade, threaten, tempt, request, beg and manipulate but in the end there are few things I can force them to do. I suppose this goes for all ages. I've got a little more control but less leverage with these little ones, and I assume (there I go again!) that those scales will tip the other way as they get older.

Of course my Mom has been telling me this for years, at least since my first "HELP!" phone call after Hazel was born. Each time it would half sink in, but then I would counter that when I was little I sure thought my parents were in charge.

"Right," she would answer.

Ah. So it was all an elaborate hoax, and I fell for it. I would feel like a schmuck except for two things:
1. Feeling like my parents were in charge provided me with a feeling of safety and security while growing up, and allowed me, as I got older, to develop independence over time, and
2. Now that I'm a parent, this bodes in my favor. Even when things are totally out of my control, if I can keep the kids believing I'm in charge, we may have a measure of familial harmony.

Kids are who they are, and meant to be free agents. Not to say we as parents can let it all go to pot; we certainly have to give it the ol' college try and teach them how to be responsibly independent, among other things. But with the very little ones who are constantly, and so quickly, developing and maturing, I at least need to stop wasting time wondering, "Why?" and start asking, "How can we make the most of this?" or at least, "How can we get through this?"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gone Fishin'

In July Eddie went on a great male bonding fishing expedition in Saskatchewan, Canada, with his dad, three brothers, and some other guys. Since both Jenny and Shanda, the other Hickmans-by-marriage, gave it a blurb on their blogs, figured I could do the same.
Here's how it worked: everybody drove, flew or a combination to meet up in Regina, Sask., then all drove up together to La Ronge (halfway up, in the middle, by the lakes) and flew out of a little town called Missinipe in a puddle jumper, courtesy of Reindeer River Camp. They landed on a lake and pseudo-camped for a week, fishing all day every day. For those who care (anyone?) the fish there are Walleye and Northern Pike, and it's reel fishing from a boat (not fly fishing.)Heck of a vacation. They did catch a ton of fish, but with the long hours and all the cleaning/gutting and other camp work, not to mention sunburn despite precautions, it was exhausting in a satisfying way. Ed was out of blackberry range, which was a great blessing for him, and his mind was completely off work the whole time, so we couldn't ask for much more. Well, except to be together, but you can't have everything.

Outlander Outstanding!

I have been sucked completely and headlong into a new book series: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I stumbled across the first one - Outlander - on Amazon through a series of "if you like ___ then you might like ____" links, and was impressed with the 4.5 stars averaged over 1,200 readers, not to mention what the rave reviews actually said. I got it from the library and then got busy and almost returned it without reading, then changed my mind and renewed it. Nice choice.

Holy cannoli, talk about a gripping story!!! We are talking time travel/adventure/romance all set in Scotland's highlands and spun by a natural storyteller. I'm sorry, I am not an experienced book reviewer so nothing I say can do it justice, but wow!

Quick summary: While on her post WWII second honeymoon in the British Isles, strong-willed Claire touches a boulder that hurls her two centuries back in time to the formidable Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn't all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before. Torn between fidelity and desire, she struggles to understand the pure intent of her heart. But don't let the number of pages and the Scottish dialect scare you. It's one of the fastest reads you'll have in your library.

Here's another nice and more detailed plot synopsis.
I am a slow reader, and I did speed through it; I was totally hooked. I got the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, as soon as I could, and just finished it today. I was going to post a 5-disco-ball review after finishing Outlander, but hesitated because of one point. Being a romance, a fair amount of the first book is spent on love scenes that would have made me blush and cringe before I was married. But now that I am, and the love is between a husband and wife, it all added to the intensity of the story for me. Love the Scottish accents, love the characters (especially Jamie, what a gem of fiction), love the setting (I can just smell the misty pines and see the craggy hills), and love the adventure!

I just ordered Voyager and cannot wait to start it, right where Dragonfly left off. If you're looking for a new book or series, and don't mind the paradoxes that time travel can imply, I humbly here submit my recommendation.
This book (and series, so far) receives:
(5 out of 5 disco balls)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Great Parenthood Fallacy

After hundreds of therapy phone sessions with my mom, a more recent mind-expanding conversation with Maren, and a series of confusing-then-enlightening parenting experiences, I have realized, to my astonishment, the greatest fallacy of parenthood. While I spend some more time pondering it in order for a proper essay, you get to guess what it is (no cheating, Maren.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I was just rummaging through the cupboard for a late afternoon snack, and pleased to find it well-stocked thanks to my recent shopping trip(s). Looking at my options, I thought to myself, "This is a nearly perfect snack cupboard - lucky me!" It contained*:
  • Trader Joe's Joe-Joe cookies
  • Wheat Thins
  • Super salty mini pretzels
  • Archer Farms (Target) Cherry Pistachio Dark Chocolate granola bars
  • Smoked almonds from the local Turkish store
  • Ovaltine (rich chocolate) for making chocolate milk
  • Trader Joe's triple ginger snaps
  • Individual applesauce cups
  • Tang
  • Popcorn kernels (for use with air popper)
  • Enormous Jacques Torres dark chocolate bar
  • (and it needs some tortilla chips for use with good salsa, and honey roasted peanuts)
Looking at the contents objectively, I realize it's probably only perfect to me - most likely this combination is not anyone else's ideal. So here's my question to you:

What's in your perfect snack cupboard?

*Yes, I eat fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks sometimes, too - but this is only about the cupboard.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It Could Be Worse

Yikey-shnikeys, I just read this hilarious ebay listing: Lot of Pokemon Cards That My Kids Tried to Sneak By Me. If you've got 5 minutes, read it, laugh, and feel better about your life, your kids, and your last grocery trip.

Then get this lady to write your next ebay listing so you can make lots of money.

Disco's Day in the City

Last Saturday was the first in many, many months that Ed did not have to go in to work. So I got a LONG-awaited, WELL-deserved, MUCH-anticipated, UNprecedented day in the city by myself!

I showered and dressed in record time, gulped some breakfast and caught the 9:oo express bus that picks up right outside our building, the same bus Ed takes to work during the week. My bag was packed with my current novel, wallet, water bottle, granola bar, primary lesson printout and my trusty NYC Fodor's guide.

I took the bus as far up as it went, and got out on 57th and Lexington in front of Chanel, Christian Dior and Montblanc. This is my attempt at name-dropping. I felt so metro chic just walking by them. I walked a few blocks to the 4 subway train and took it up a few stops to 77th Street, then walked about 7 blocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met.) I bet most of you reading this have been there, if you've ever visited NYC. I may not see many museums while I live here, but this was #1 on my list. I spent about 1.5 hrs there, and saw the modern art, European sculpture court, musical instrument exhibit (my favorite were the polynesian courting instruments) and arms/armor (only because I got lost looking for the Asian art section.) My museum style is keep-it-moving or else I get too tired, but I did enjoy taking things at my own pace and soaking up the beauty of creativity in the whispery halls of that massive institution. I finished off my visit at the gift shop, and bought the girls a puzzle of Van Gogh's sunflower painting, a board book of impressionists, and a stack of postcards.

From there I walked up 5th Avenue to the 86th Street subway station and took the 4 train down to 59th Street. I walked a few blocks to 60th Street and 2nd Avenue, to have lunch at Serendipity (yes, that one.) I was almost deterred when I saw the line stretching down the block; maybe I would just find somewhere else to eat. Then I reasoned with myself: this is where I had wanted to eat, and this may be my only chance; it's not like I can just come back another day. So I got in line, soon to realize the benefits of being a party of one. I was seated within 20 minutes. Serendipity crams a lot of pastel vintage ice cream shop decor into a super small space. I sat at a tiny table at the top of a narrow, twisted staircase, and every waiter coming up the stairs almost dropped his huge trays of food. I ordered "Catcher in the Rye" and their famous frozen hot chocolate. Yes, it was delicious but it was so frozen I got a brain freeze every other sip, and became too annoyed to finish it. But it was still delicious. My waiter saw me flipping through my NYC guide and asked where I'm from. "Brooklyn."

During lunch I called to check on Ed and the girls. Everyone was still alive, though Ed had gotten some work-related emails and had to log in from home to do some things. But things were fine and he told me to stay out as long as I wanted.

After lunch I took the 6 train down to SoHo for a little shopping. I hit Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing store that's just becoming big here, and got the girls some cute fall items, and gifts for other babies coming up. Then popped into Dean & DeLuca to drool over their cheese and pastry counters and buy some cookies to take home. Also stepped into Steve Madden and the Scholastic Store, and wandered among the street vendors.

Finally, it was time to head back home. Ed had told me to stay out late, and I would have loved to go see a movie (Becoming Jane, anyone?) But then there's reality. I am a nursing mother and I had not brought a pump. Seven hours away from my baby, and I was becoming quite uncomfortable. The subway ride home was about an hour, and I loved every minute of sitting there, reading my book and being off my feet.

Ed had a great day with the girls and were at the park when I came home. I can't wait to plan my next day in the city, and hope it comes sooner than I had to wait for this one.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kiddie Quote

Language is cool, and watching someone learn it is even cooler, not to mention cute. This evening before bedtime I was lounging on the bed watching Hazel and Ed wrestle. He got her pinned down and she tried to get away.

Hazel: Help, I'm stuck! Momma, I'm stuck!
Me: You're stuck?
Hazel: Yeah.
Me: Well don't tell me. You'll have to tell Daddy about it.
Hazel: Daddy, about it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Baby Shebang Part II: Honorable Mention

Republish: Now updated with Bright and Beyond card decks (Gear section.)

Items receiving Honorable Mention are things that:
1. I have or have used.
May not be perfect or absolutely necessary, but
3. Make things a lot easier and/or more fun.

Feel free to use this as a baby shower gift idea list - I do.

Mesh Feeder - Put in peeled fruit (peach, watermelon, plum, etc.) or vegetables (cooked sweet potato, zucchini, etc.) and voila - feeding fun for the beginning eater. No choking hazard, just fresh food and a big mess. Munchkin has a better design than Sassy - easier to open and close.

Food Mill - Great for quickly turning regular food into baby food - just dish up what the family's having and mill it to baby consistency.

Snack Trap - Clever little snack cup with a slitted lid that lets little hands in and somewhat keeps goldfish from spilling out. Not totally spill-proof, but better than an open container.

Robeez & other soft shoes - For 0-6 months, I recommend Zutano booties (or similar) because nothing else stays on their feet! For 6-12 months, Robeez (or similar) are best. This is the sitting / crawling / standing / walking age, so a soft soled shoe that allows the foot to grip and feel and grow but still be warm and protected (and stylish of course) is best. Isabooties and Bobux (who claim to be "the original") are some other brands, and Target runs a nice knock-off line at half the price (though their sizes run very large.) I get most of mine on ebay.

Trumpette socks & tights - Nothing special about the socks themselves - it's just that the design, with the mary jane or ballet flat shoe look, is precious. Toddler size is best - infant size just slip off little feet. Love the tights - perfect for pre-walkers in the winter. They also have high-top looking socks for boys. And yes, I broke down and got Hazel the rain boots too!

Myself Belts are great for toddlers and young kids. Some pants just require a belt to stay up, and this belt stays in place but with the velcro closure is fast and easy to do or undo, whether it's to change a diaper of a squirmy kid or for potty training, when every second counts, or for older kids who want to dress themselves.

Johnson's Buddies - When Hazel started to have enough hair to get tangly, I started to think it's time for conditioner or something. Then I found this nice product line - made for kids but pleasantly scented (no "Whoppin' Watermelon" or "Strawberry Tsunami") and really does the job. We use the 2-in-1 Shampoo and the detangler spray.

Shampoo Rinse Cup - Someone out there's thinking! I don't know the back story but this must have been invented by a mom. I hope she's now a millionaire. Hazel still doesn't trust it, but it would work if she would sit still! Works great on Ginger. You can rinse out the shampoo without getting water on their face - of all the things I wish they'd had when I was little, this is a top one.

Exersaucer - I hesitate to recommend this product for the same reason I hesitated to buy it: what an eyesore. This is the exact kind of LPO (= large plastic object) I swore to never fill our home with. But it has earned its massive keep in the useful, safe, helpful entertainment it has provided both girls. Our pediatrician recommended it for Hazel when she was 4 months old (pictured), to strengthen back and leg muscles, and she loved it for about 5 months until she could crawl. Ginger is in the middle of the loving-it stage. I don't cringe every time I look at it anymore because it really has proved itself, but I also try to lend it out as often as possible so it's not in our place when we don't have a kid in it.

Triangular Jumbo Crayons - Easy to grip, don't roll away, extra strong, smooth color, no wrappers, solid storage case. Easily the best crayons I've ever seen! Make a great gift with Young At Art (see book section.)

Bright and Beyond Activity Cards by Paltoys - I found these sets at my favorite teacher store in Colorado and bought Age 1 to see what they were like. Rave, rave, rave. Each deck has 52 cards with a picture, activity description, and explanation of skills the activity develops. But every activity is simple, minimal mess & clean up, and quick to set up and do. Some may even say they're so simple they're "obvious" and why pay $10 for them? I'll tell you why. Because while I might come up with some of these ideas sitting in a quiet place brainstorming, it's quite another story when you're fatigued, overwhelmed, and facing a baby whose face says, "What are we doing now, Mom?" but your mind is blank. Just pull out a deck, flip through to find some kind of quick idea, and you're off. For example, squirting ketchup and mustard in a ziploc bag, sealing it, and letting him play with it in his high chair. Or putting a stuffed animal on a towel or baby blanket and, holding the corners, tossing him into the air amidst toddler giggles. We now own the baby, age 1 and age 2 decks. There is also preschool, reading, writing and math. An added plus is to keep these in my bag of tricks as a speech-language pathologist - all of these age-appropriate activities can be used or adapted to incorporate and develop speech and language skills. (*Amazon sells these with a 4-for-3 promotion, so you can stock up or buy extras for gifts.)

Patemm Pads - A mom-invented circular changing pad with pockets for wipes and diapers that comes in cool patterns (we have "the emma", large with pockets.) You don't absolutely have to have this changing pad, but the circular shape is helpful with squirmers, and we also use it as a play pad for Ginger at the park, now that she is sitting but not crawling.

White noise CD - I am a believer in the positive effects of white noise, not just for blocking out annoying and distracting sounds (like our fighting neighbors in Colorado, or the helicopters here), but also for relaxation and improved sleep. We have Restful Rain and Baby's First White Noise - love them both. It seems funny, but also smart, that they have a white noise cd for most of the machine noises babies like to fall asleep to: vacuum, dishwasher, washer, dryer, hair dryer, fan, car ride, air conditioner, shower, etc. One of these cd's with a Miracle Blanket makes a nice gift - one that will definitely get used.

Portable DVD Player - I am a terrible mother because my children watch a lot of videos and TV, blah, blah, blah. But since it is so, our portable dvd player comes in rather handy on long car rides and (hopefully) on our upcoming plane trip to Utah.

Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More, Argue Less, and Communicate Better as Your Family Grows - The title pretty much says it. What a great book for making you feel like you're part of a universal experience, rather than the worst parent (and spouse) to ever live. I think no one tells expectant parents what an impact children will have on their marriage - it can be a rather personal topic - or else if they tell them, they may not believe it. It can lead to a lot of confusion and blame once the babies come, like "What the *$%@ has happened?" I love this book for its candid, humorous, gender-balanced portrayal of the reality of family life, and the ideas it offers for improving it, before and after you have children. Every time I read a blurb I laugh out loud and loosen up - that alone has made it worth buying.

Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime - When we were expecting Hazel we went to a Conference on the Family (or something) in Denver, a cooperative production between local Catholic and Mormon leaders, and Dr. Guarendi was the keynote speaker. His philosophy and methods of discipline strongly appealed to my own parenting philosophy, which could be described as loving but practical, and this is an important book in our parenting library.

Young at Art: Teaching Toddlers Self-Expression, Problem-Solving Skills, and an Appreciation for Art - Again, the title says it. I had this from the library for about 2 months and really enjoyed the philosophy and the ideas I got. We have an entire gallery of drawings and paintings hanging in our kitchen thanks to this book's inspiration. I wish we had room for an easel so Hazel could create art whenever she wanted, but every few days she asks to paint or draw, and I try to accommodate her if possible.

OK kids, there's my second list - what do you think?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend Recipes

This weekend I made two new dishes that turned out great, so I thought I'd share Pineapple Rice and Two Bean Salad with you.

Pineapple Rice
I made this for dinner Saturday night, using my Zoji-rific new rice cooker (thanks, Eddie) for the rice. The flavors are a fabulous combination, especially those zesty scallions in there, and it's great for a hot summer night because the only thing requiring cooking is the rice - every thing else goes in raw or room temperature. Leftovers are also delicious for lunch.

I got the recipe from Fresh Direct, so since it's already online, just click on the title and you're there - why retype it? But if you like the ingredients you'll love the combination. Hazel ate it, too, so that's always a plus.

Two Bean Salad
This comes from Cooks Country (Aug/Sept 2007) as a runner-up in their Summer Picnic Salads Recipe Contest (Diane Walsh, Waltham, MA.) It really needs a better name, though. I'm taking submissions. I made it for a potluck "linger longer" lunch at church - wish I'd made a double batch and kept some home. Hazel liked the beans - another surprise - both kinds!

4 slices bacon, chopped
4 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (abt 1 cup)
2 (16-oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. For the salad: Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, abt 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to large bowl. Pour off all but 2 T bacon fat from skillet and cook green beans in fat until bright green and just tender, about 5 min. Add cooked green beans, white beans, onion, parsley, and mint to bowl with bacon.
2. For the dressing: Combine lemon juice and mustard in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (4-6 servings; can be refrigerated up to 2 days.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Baby Shebang: A-List Additions

Before I post my next baby gear list, I have two additions to my A-List:

Oxiclean or Zout Stain Remover Sprays - If you don't know how much these are needed, you don't have a baby. You'll find out when you do. There is no getting around the diaper explosions, and that yellow stuff is a *%$@ to get out. Especially if, like me, you can't just throw it in the washer right away. Oxiclean and Zout work miracles with these and all stains. (I found out the hard way that bananas, if you can believe it, are some of the hardest stains to get out.)

My Radio Shack Timer - I know a digital timer is not the first thing to come to mind for baby gear, but I find it indispensable. When I was working as a school Speech Pathologist I used it for timing drills, turn-taking, games, session times, etc. Now that I'm a stay-home mom my brain cannot hold important things like when the cake or laundry will be done; enter timer. With the laundry room in the basement, sometimes people are waiting so I really need to move it right when it's done. I also use the timer for 5-more-minutes warnings, alternate side parking (time to move the car), and now that we are doing some sleep training with Ginger it helps me keep track of how long she sleeps each nap. I know you would think any timer could do these things, but I've had others and this one is the best. The sound is just the right volume, the display is clear, it can stick with a magnet, stand on a surface, clip to a belt/collar, or go in my pocket.

OK, that's it for additions. Now I'll work on Part II.

President Faust Will Be Missed

In case you haven't heard, President Faust of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints passed away this morning. His was always one of my favorite talks at General Conference, and any other chance I got to learn from him. I always felt I could relate to his stories, and appreciated the humility and humor with which he told them. He seemed to understand how human we all are, and yet how important and divine as well. I never met him in person but look forward to it eventually. I will miss him.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Daily Disaster

Just in case you thought I was kidding about the never a dull moment thing, here's an article on the storm that hit early this morning, and here's a quote from it:

"A heavy storm with tornado-like winds ripped the roofs off several houses in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, damaging several houses and downing a number of trees."
Makes you want to move here, right? I'll switch with you!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Never (ever) a Dull Moment

This morning was drizzly so instead of the park I decided to load the girls in the car and make the trek to Target, a 20 minute drive on a good day (1 hr plus on a bad one). The trip was great, we got everything on our list (and oh so much more.) It was also a chance to try out the new backpack carrier we got for Ginger - she loves it in there where she can supervise, pull my hair, and fall asleep, all of which she did.

As we came home I rounded the bend to find my whole block blocked off by about ten fire trucks and ambulances, a fire ladder up to the roof of my building, reporters and groups of people all around.
I parked across the street, loaded a sleeping Hazel into the stroller and Ginger in the backpack, and came over to a group of people I recognized as co-tenants, to find out what the deal was, small pit forming on the extremely unlikely chance my apartment was the source (or victim, as it may be.)

Turns out the old man from the 5th floor who sits in his lawn chair on the street corner every day, smoking a big ol' stogie, decided to do the same inside because of the rain. Rumor has it he fell asleep smoking, and that was that. Luckily people smelled smoke, called 911 and evacuated, and the fire damage was mostly contained to his apartment. Consequent smoke and water damage, however, will affect several others.

We weren't allowed back inside yet, so I stood around with my neighbors waiting for news and glad Hazel was sleeping and the drizzle had let up. After 20 minutes or so we could go in, but not the 5th or 6th floors as they were still clearing out smoke. A man from my floor, Frank, came over to tell me I was going to need locksmith services. They had gone around knocking on doors to get people out. When no one answered at mine, they busted in with a sledgehammer to make sure no one was home. I thanked him profusely for being so thorough - I have no problem dealing with a broken lock and door, considering the alternatives.

I went in and hung out at a friend's apartment for another 20-3o minutes until I could go up to the 6th floor. Hazel finally woke up, having missed all the lights, ladders, firemen and excitement, but surprised to be in an apartment she'd never seen before. When we came up to our floor, there was glass everywhere because they had broken the hall windows to let smoke out. Frank was up there, and helped me carry the girls and then the stroller over the glass and into our place. The door was definitely bent out of shape, and there was a thin haze and smell of smoke, but we opened all the windows and started to air things out.

The building insurance appraiser came by a little while ago to take pictures of the door - she said they'll get me some kind of temporary lock (update: ghetto padlock) and then have the door and maybe frame replaced.

I saw a reporter and photographer at the scene so if there's a news article anywhere about it later I'll post a link. I don't know what I'll do for blog material when I leave New York. I may have to close it out! I don't make this stuff up, there's always plenty that just happens.

A Night on the Town

After six years of marriage and two years in New York, Ed and I finally made our way to a Broadway show (for our anniversary.) We convinced someone to watch the girls, gussied up in our duds, and hit the town like real city dwellers.
We saw Curtains, starring David Hyde Pierce. It's a super cute and clever musical comedy whodunit, set in 1950's Boston among the cast and crew of a western stage show. Totally tasteful, original, flawlessly performed and lots of fun. Completely money's-worth entertainment. It would have taken a lot less to impress me and so I felt extra lucky to see such a great show.

After the show we got some ice cream and walked around Times Square before taking a cab home. I figured it may be the only time I see Times Square at night. But it didn't even seem like night. It was about 11pm and it was hot, crowded and hyper-lit. People, lights, and ads everywhere. Stores and restaurants open and busy. I took a moment to be appalled at how many little kids were out at that hour, then moved back out of mom mode to regular-person-on-a-date mode. As we walked down side streets we passed crowds waiting at theater back doors, hoping for a picture or autograph from the stars of Mary Poppins, Rent, and Wicked. As we walked and gawked we enjoyed thinking back to our wedding (some of you were there), and how we never expected to be here in Times Square six years later. It was an awesome break from reality for both of us.
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