Monday, June 30, 2008


Last Saturday, 6:07 pm. Perkins restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The girls are restless as we wait for our food.

Hazel: "Ginger, do you know where you were born?"

Ed and I exchange surprised looks.

Ed: "Where was Ginger born?"

Hazel: "In the hop-sital!"

Ed: "Right, the hospital in New York. Do you know where you were born?"

Hazel: "In Dol-dorado!"

Ed: "Yeah! Do you know where in Colorado, what city you were born in?"

Hazel: "Yeah. Past the street, under the bushes and through the woods!"

We gotta get this kid back to Boulder. And we gotta stop letting her watch Dora.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Things I'll Miss #8: Bensonhurst Ward and Playgroup

When we first turned from under the D Train into the Bensonhurst chapel parking lot we knew it was something special. Leaving our ward is the saddest part of leaving New York for me. Bensonhurst is truly a ward family and we are pained as if really leaving our brothers and sisters. I've never felt so immediately and continually comfortable in a ward before and I contribute that to the undivided unity present, probably made possible by the small size and vast diversity among members. There are many converts, which also brings a refreshing approach to meetings and interesting variety to talks and testimony meetings. The ward exudes love and acceptance and I loved being part of it, and will miss that as we enter a larger and probably more "traditional" ward.My first calling was Relief Society secretary for a few months, then Primary president for a year. Then Ginger was born and I had a few months off, then was called as the Valiant teacher (8 to 11 year olds) and have been with them until this last week. So most of my time in the ward has been in the primary and I have completely loved it. Our second week in the ward the Soletas invited us to a birthday party for their then-6-year-old Shelly. Now Shelly is only a few weeks shy of nine years old, practically all grown up (far left in the picture), and she is just one of about 20 kids I have watched change and grow for three years. Here's a picture taken of my class this last Sunday. I'll miss them terribly. We've had a lot of fun and they know not to mess with me.
Just over a year ago the moms of young kids in the ward started getting together for a weekly playgroup. We met at various parks in good weather, and at each others' houses in the winter. At church it can be hard to socialize, busy rushing off to classes or controlling your kids or running to catch the bus home. Playgroup provided a needed outlet - a way for us to get to know each other, talk about adult (and yes, sometimes kid) things, and provide and receive support in this crazy life of New York motherhood. And oh yeah, the kids liked it too. Last week at playgroup my friends presented me with a shutterfly book of pictures taken at playgroup, signed by all the moms like a yearbook. It meant more to me than I can say. I don't want to leave my friends and I really don't want Hazel to leave her friends - they're a tight group. We have solicited as many to come visit us as possible and I hope they come through. But in the meantime we will sorely miss our friends.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Mighty iPod

I've been loving my Valentine's Day ipod so much that we got Ed a nano for Father's Day. Give him something to listen to on his commute - expose him to some good music that's not a movie soundtrack (he is so musically deprived it's amazing we ever hooked up), maybe some audio books. Before packing up the computer I loaded him up with some good stuff including the most recent session of General Conference, downloaded from the Church website. I saw you can subscribe to Conference as a podcast, and it occurred to me I have never looked into podcasts. So I took a gander - you know, important stuff to do before moving day - and poked around the podcast directory. There's certainly more than I can ever look through, much less listen to, so I appeal to those more experienced. What podcasts do you like and why?

Someday I may even figure out movies and audio books.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things I'll Miss #7: Music Together

We've taken 6 or 7 sessions of Music Together over our time here, first when Hazel was 6 months old and most recently ending this week. It's a lovely program - we like the music, the teachers, the philosophy and the approach. We've taken the same time slot with the same other moms and kids and the same teacher John for 3 or 4 sessions in a row now, and we will miss that Thursday beacon in our otherwise unscheduled lives.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Good Stuff - June

The house smells like cardboard.

We're mostly packed and the time has come to unplug the computer and wrap up the cords. I'm concerned about internet withdrawal symptoms but will face them bravely. The movers come tomorrow to finish packing and transport our stuff to a storage facility. Thursday and Friday night we camp at home, complete with stove-toasted marshmallows, living room picnic meals and stories by flashlight. Friday I clean the apartment and see the dentist for the molar that randomly broke during breakfast yesterday, love that. Saturday we go to Hazel's friend's birthday party then head upstate for the Younce family reunion. Next Saturday we drive to Virginia and stay at my parents' until the movers come with our stuff, sometime the first week of July. I forgot how moving raises the homeostatic anxiety level, but it's a good stress. And a good tired. I've scheduled a few posts to go up in my absence. But in the meantime, I give you this month's Good Stuff.

Grown-up Good Stuff
Life in Cartoon Motion by Mika - What a fun CD, got this recommendation from Dave. It's one of his few new CD's he listens to at work, so you know it's good 'cause it made the cut. We worked together to come up with the perfect description:

Queen on the happiest day of their lives meets ABBA on Ecstasy
in a disco club with a moon bounce

I dare you not to shake it! Of course most of you will never have the ultimate Mika experience, which is listening to "Grace Kelly" at volume 11 in Dave's car with him singing along and doing the pistol dance. But you can imagine, and that's almost as good. Push PLAY on the sidebar playlist. You're doing the dance right now, aren't you?

Mentha Lip Tint and the Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale - I do love a good lip balm and this is the perfect one, been my favorite for years. Ask Katy, she got one in her Easter Basket. And the semi-annual sale is not to be missed. I love B&BW shower gel, lotion, hand soap and other goodies, but why pay full price? Just wait until June or January to get everything you need for the next 6 months, including any birthday gifts coming up.

Cape Herb Spice Blends from Chelsea Market Baskets - I discovered these at Chelsea Market in Manhattan early in our time here. Was intrigued, as any wannabe culinarian would be; tried a few. Loved them, gave some as gifts. Continue to be intrigued and want to try them all eventually. Check out the seven sins sugar grinders! What looks good to you?

Kid Good Stuff

Amazon 4-for-3 Promotion - I do believe in buying and keeping quality hardcover books for myself and my children, but I also believe in good deals. So when I've only got $20 to spend but we're dying for some new reads, I go the paperback route, and 4-for-3 is the ticket. Just got Hazel 4 new books for like $13 and while they may not last for her to read to her grandchildren, they're just what we need right now. You can search within the promotion for things you wanted to get anyway. I put books we want on our wishlists, and make a note in the comments if it can be gotten for 4-for-3. Then I can just scan the wishlists when I'm making a purchase and find the promotional items quickly.

Firefly toothbrushes - A random find at Target or somewhere but pretty cool. You push on the bottom of the handle and bright red lights flash for 60 seconds, marking how long a child should brush her teeth. Of course my kids just want to play with them but it's a good concept we can work with. And check out the Float N' Firefly toothbrushes at the bottom of the link page!

Justin Roberts - I'm glad to be parenting in an age that has a whole subcategory of Indie rock for kids. Dan Zanes, Milkshake, Laurie Berkner and many others have blown the genre wide open with rockin' music parents and kids can listen to and love together. But my personal favorite? Justin Roberts. Slightly geeky, this ex-Montessori-preschool-teacher has super clever lyrics and make-you-want-to-ska-dance-in-a-mosh-pit tunes. I admit we only have one of his CD's - Meltdown (my favorite track probably the title tune or "Cartwheels & Somersaults.") But you can bet we are on our way to picking up more, especially his Old and New Testament CD's. And we are quite likely to catch his show in DC with his "Not Ready for Naptime Players" on Sept 27.

All-of-a-Kind Family - You wouldn't believe the things I've come across lately as we sort, organize and pack up the house. At least they have mostly been pleasant discoveries. Take this book for example. I read this story about a poor immigrant family with five daughters on the Upper East Side many times as a child. My copy is from 1971 (75 cents) and when I picked it up the cover fell off. I looked it up to make sure it's still in print and what do you know? It's a 4-for-3 book. So I scanned the cover and will keep my copy but probably get a new one for the girls when they are older. It's a classic from my youth, up there with Taking Care of Terrific, The Westing Game, and The 21 Balloons.

But the girls choose their own good stuff, as we well know, and this month they are:

Moving boxes...
...and their old bouncy seats!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eye Candy

Talented Brooklyn artist friend Kristin, mom to wild man Pierson who looks like he is Ginger & Hazel's brother, wife to fellow student of linguistics Mike, and one of the coolest people I know, has an art blog and new Etsy shop. Check them out!


Tonight, 6:36 pm. At the dinner table, Hazel is absent-mindedly kicking my leg. My shoes are on.

"Momma, do your feet hurt?"


"Why? Why do your feet not hurt?"

Stumped. Not sure where to go with this. Thinking, but nothing is coming.

"Momma, you better take your shoes off."


"So your feet will hurt."

I obey. There is no arguing with three-year-old logic.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Things I Won't Miss #4: Pigeon Poop and Dog Doody

OK, pigeons and dogs are in other places. But I don't plan to be quite as plagued by their excrement as I am here. I'm sorry, you don't have to read it, but I have to say it. I'll keep this brief.

There are few yards in my neighborhood, or NYC at large, so people take their dogs out on sidewalks and parks to do their business. Most clean it up but some don't, and it adds up. As soon as Hazel started walking I had to go on high poop alert and even then we'd come home at least once a week with one or both of us requiring some shoe cleaning. Once I just threw Hazel's shoes away because I couldn't get rid of the smell. I can't tell you how mad it makes me, especially when it's smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk by my car and I take one step back from strapping my kid in the car seat and land in something squishy, and now I have to deal with that when all I wanted to do was go on my monthly escape to Target. Or when I come home from the grocery store to find it all over my pants, my shoes and my car - I must have stepped in it at some point and not realized until too late. Spring is the worst, when all the doody from the last year that had been frozen all winter starts to thaw on the sidewalks and once again I find myself playing Frogger with the stroller.

I've only been pooped on by pigeons twice, which is not too bad for three years. I've heard some good pigeon poop stories, but I'll spare you. Both times for me were standing around under trees at the park. Once was on my shoulder; I was so grossed out I threw the shirt away. The other time I only got some splatter; the majority landed on the stroller sunshade and my bagel that was on it. It's just disgusting and annoying.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Things I'll Miss #6: Jacques Torres

JT deserves his own post. It's the good stuff. It's my fix and addiction. I totally love this chocolate. And the specialty items, from hot chocolate to dark chocolate covered pumpkin brittle to chocolate corn flakes, light my fire as well. He does ship but the cost is exuberant due to the delicate nature of the chocolate. So I've got a few bars to last me awhile, but this is one errand I'll be sending Ed on whenever he's back in New York on business. Ah, Jacques, you've ruined me for (most) other chocolate.

DM Takes on Moving: This is it!

Countdown to movers: 4 days

Countdown to leaving NY: 6 days

Done or Doing:
  • Lots of packing
  • Netflix membership on hold
  • Mail on hold and forwarded
  • Medical records requested
  • Living room mostly packed up
  • Ed's clothes, kids books packed
  • Storage unit cleaned out
  • Air mattresses borrowed for "camping nights"
  • Salvation Army pick-up scheduled for Tuesday
  • Childcare arranged for Thursday (movers come) and Friday (cleaning)
  • Utilities cancelled
  • Air conditioners and microwave promised to friends

Need to Do:
  • Final laundry
  • Pack for trip, then pack the rest of the clothes in boxes
  • Clean out dresser for S.A. pick-up
  • Get new camera batteries
  • Get marshmallows as promised to Hazel for "camping nights"
  • Send a package sitting by the door
  • Get a few final gifts to friends
  • Get air conditioners and microwave to promised friends
  • Set up utilities at new house
  • Change address with magazines
  • Return cable box and modem to Time Warner service center
  • Hit a few favorite shops one more time?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

BBQ Peanut Butter Chicken

I have about 5 regular dishes in my typical dinner meal planning rotation. In between we do no-brainers like spaghetti or waffles and once in awhile I try a new recipe, but it's rarely good enough to make again.

One of my ongoing projects this year is to make a Younce Family Cookbook using Booksmart,'s book-making software. All family members are submitting only their very best, tried-and-true favorite recipes, and I'm copy-editing them into the most awesome cookbook ever, complete with photos of the dishes or family members making or eating them. Maren recently mailed me a hefty folder of double-sided copies from her copious cookbooks and binders, probably over 50 recipes. I called to make sure these are truly all her very favorites, not every recipe she's ever tried. Indeed, she assured me, all favorites. I knew she was a creative and experienced cook but I was doubly impressed, and inspired to break out and try more new things. Unfortunately it's bad bad timing with the move next week and trying to eat up kitchen contents and pack up non-crucial pans and appliances. We're down to some strange meals these days.

But anyway, back to the title. I was just putting the Smucker's peanut butter away tonight (yes, Hazel had PBJ for all three meals today) and noticed this irresistibly intriguing recipe on the lid. I had to share it. I'm not in a position to try it for at least several weeks but I'm begging you - someone please try this recipe and write in, tell us how it went. I'm dying to know.

BBQ Peanut Butter Chicken

1 cup peanut butter (it says Smucker's but I bet it will be the same with any)
1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp ginger, finely chopped

2 1/2 lbs chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips

1. Prepare marinade 2 hours before ready to grill.
2. Mix the ingredients except for the chicken in a blender until combined. If too thick, add up to a cup of water to thin.

3. Marinate the chicken for approximately 2 hours.

4. Lightly oil the medium-hot BBQ grill.

5. Place chicken on the grill for 6-8 minutes.

I bet this would do just as well baking chicken pieces in the oven. I don't know, it's just a marinade. But I'm having a hard time imagining how it tastes so someone try it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mi Propio Spray King

Next week after the movers are done we're taking off to a family reunion way upstate in the Adirondacks, at a cute campy cottage "resort" place. It looks fun but a little rustic and you can imagine my disappointment when I learned there's no air conditioning. So I sent my mom on a (successful) mission to hunt down some battery operated misting spray bottle fans. Which reminded me of two funny stories.

Mi Propio Viento

Summer, 1996. I'm in an intensive Spanish program at BYU right before my mission, which included living in the Spanish house with a cursedly fast-talking Dominican, having classes all day, watching Spanish soap operas and ending with a 2-week trip to Mexico in enormous 14-seat vans. I thought it was hot in Utah that summer. Until we got to Mexico. It was hot in the vans. It was hot on the beach. It was hot in the hotels. It was hot in the restaurants. It was hot in the homes of Mexican church members with whom we stayed. My buddy roommate was Melanie Maddox (now Henrich) and she was hilarious, the stories we could tell! And our Spanish got pretty darn good that summer. Somehow one of us had a tiny battery-operated fan that came in a package labeled "Personal Fan", which we translated into "Propio Viento", having left our Spanish-English dictionary and Dominican roommate back home. We were so hot that whole trip we had that propio viento with us wherever we went, constantly desperate for a turn, and demanding of the other, "DA ME MI PROPIO VIENTO!" It became a standing joke, synonomous with "I'm hotter than hell!"

King Me

Summer, 1995. Cummings family reunion at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. At the end of the week Dave and I take off in his at least 10-year-old no-guts Dodge Colt to drive to Utah for school. Power nothing, no air conditioning. It's hot. For four or maybe five days across the country in the summer heat, including creeping up hills and mountains in the far right lane with the hazards on as the Colt decelerates 40mph, 30, 25, 20, etc., barely making it over the ridge. Our only entertainment an unreliable tape deck and each other. And an enormous spray bottle Mom gave us that said SPRAY KING on the label. The passenger was in charge of spraying down the driver as needed, and then sometimes blowing on them for added cooling effect because the Colt was moving too slowly to create wind through the open windows.

As needed all the driver had to say was:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things I'll Miss #5: Favorite Shops

I've come to have a few favorite specialty shops here, and just like I didn't know how I would live without Mountain Man chocolate-covered pretzels and Good Times frozen custard when we left Colorado, I will sorely miss these few treasures I've found in New York.

1. A&D Turkish Market on 5th at 80th St (Brooklyn)- I came here the first time with my friend Nayat, who is French-Algerian and loves the lamb sausage they make at the butcher counter in the back.I pass on the sausage but all these bulk barrels of nuts, grains and spices enticed me - bought lentils, bulgur, cherry juice, smoked almonds, sesame candy, fava beans and more over the years. But the main reason I go back? Those smoked almonds, I cannot get enough of them.

2. Mideast Bakery on 3rd and 78th St (Brooklyn) - Cosmic pita. The store front is about 1/3 the size of the huge bakery in the back where they make their own pita and other middle eastern breads and sweets, and whole wheat on Wednesdays. Once they closed for two weeks because their daughter was getting married. I was there their first day back and people were lining up outside before they opened, suffering from withdrawals. We usually stop by on our way home from storytime at the library because otherwise it's out of the way. But we have been known to make a special trip. The pita is amazing plain, with brie cheese, butter & jelly, chicken salad, hummus, or anything.

3. East Village Cheese on 3rd and E 10th St (Manhattan) - Admittedly I've only gone a few times because it's not in my neighborhood but I make a point to stop in whenever I'm close to it - amazing selection and astounding prices. A wheel of brie for $1.99! I try something new everytime - my favorite was walnut gouda, eaten with the cosmic pita mentioned above.

4. H&D Bagels on 3rd at 88th St (Brooklyn) - Early on I joined a neighborhood parents' yahoo group and asked where the best bagels can be got. The majority pointed me to H&D, which, like most of the best kept secrets in a big city, is nothing special from the outside. Or inside for that matter. A typical bagel deli, but the bagels are fabulous - my preference is an Everything with cream cheese and a half dozen mini plains for the kids.

5. Little Cupcake on 3rd at 91st St (Brooklyn) - I've mentioned this shop a few times and it really is something fun and special...and happens to be on our post-music-class route. We walk one block to the grocery store for a few essentials, cross the street and get a cupcake or lemonade, then walk home and eat the cupcake after lunch, split three ways, or only two if Ginger is asleep and she'll never know what she missed.

6. Intimacy on Madison Ave (Manhattan) - The best of the best in professional bra fitting. After 4 years of pregnancy, nursing, another pregnancy and more nursing, nothing fits like it used to, and bras are at the top of the list. What a treat to get personally and professionally fitted, no tape measures involved. Bummer there' s not one in DC. Maybe I'll be back.

7. Cavale Tonuzi on 3rd at 83rd St (Brooklyn) - I got my hair cut here a few times and was underwhelmed and overcharged but on staff they have a woman named Lucky who is a full-time eyebrow threader. God bless Therese (Sister Anderson), who on my mission taught me how to pluck my overgrown eyebrows. Then I waxed for awhile, but now I know threading is the only way to go. Lucky is a whiz with her twisted strands of floss, and I always leave feeling like a movie star. Northern Virginia has a large Asian population so I have high hopes of finding a place with someone equally skilled.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hardships of Three

Hazel's growing up, and we have been caught off-guard. Child psychology doesn't come as naturally to me as some people but I've been watching and thinking and trying to make sense of new behaviors. She's adopted one of the moving boxes as her own, and walks around the house with it saying she's the mail carrier with a package, or she's the mommy and I'm the baby (and I have to call her Mommy). Experimenting with adult roles? Dealing with the move? Wanting to interact with me on a new level? Then the next minute she's sitting in the baby bouncy seat we have out for packing, and telling me she's a baby again, and Ginger's the big sister. More role experimentation? Vying for attention?

But the main thing that's been tough lately has been sudden and intense resistance and defiance at every turn. We're having spaghetti for dinner? "I want eggs!" I chose the red striped dress for church? "I want my beautiful white dress!" Ginger is sitting in her high chair for a snack - LIKE SHE ALWAYS DOES? "No! Ginger sits in my seat and I sit in your seat!" This is usually followed by much whining, slouching and forced or sometimes real crying. Our responses to this have been far from consistent - I guess we're testing the limits, too. Kindness and patience sometimes, firm discipline others.

Of course my parenting books are packed - one of the few things that have actually been put in a box around here and taped up - but anyway those are mostly for 2 and under. A long time ago I signed up for pregnancy updates from and have since gotten monthly or occasional updates on Hazel's development by age. It's usually pretty relevant and interesting, and today I got one that included this article on defiance. Nothing too revelatory but some good direction and ideas.

When they're little they change so fast, every few weeks, and while it makes you crazy you come to expect it. Then as they get older some of the changes are farther apart - months or years. You get comfortable and forget they could change any minute. And especially with Hazel as the oldest, we never know what to expect when. So we're back on our toes, scrambling to keep up. Trying to understand and support. Crossing our fingers, loving with all our might.

DM Might Go Crazy Taking on Moving

Countdown to the move: 9 Days

Done or Doing
  • Canceled utilities
  • Stopped/forwarded mail
  • Made packing list for family reunion we are attending while in transit between NY and VA
  • Scheduled Salvation Army pick-up for furniture we're not taking
  • Posted things to get rid of on Craigslist or arranged to give to friends
  • Almost done downloading CD's to get rid of
  • Backed up computer
  • Packed some boxes
  • Father's Day and summer birthday shopping
  • A few farewell gifts
  • Gave up on researching preschools until we get there
  • Gave up on getting reimbursed for receipts to the ward
  • Made a massive Goodwill drop-off (8 full garbage bags and several boxes)
  • Resigned to the fact that moves are never perfect, and this one is especially far from it
  • Planned out the remaining 2 weeks of meals and shopped for them (lots of pasta and leftovers)
  • Unloaded much of the remaining cupboard contents on Lindsay
  • Got Kelly to watch the girls on moving day (THANK YOU!)
Need to Do
  • Organize! Pack some more! (especially books and toys...)
  • Get motivated
  • Clean out storage unit
  • Get pack-n-play and air mattress we are borrowing from the Taylors for the 2 nights we'll be camping out in the apartment
  • Back up computer again
  • Check the moving checklists to see how behind I am
  • Get moving insurance?
  • Sort and organize the kids' clothes for the third time, this time to put away warm clothing we won't need and shoes they have outgrown overnight in the right boxes
  • Fold 2 weeks of laundry
  • Clean off this desk that is crowding in on the keyboard
  • Finish those blog drafts waiting around!
  • Finish costumes and props for primary class presentation this Sunday
  • Write cards and wrap Father's Day presents
  • Pick up pediatrician records
  • Set up utilities at new place
  • Get someone to watch the girls on cleaning day (day after moving day)
  • Get a new swimsuit (afraid it's not going to happen...)
  • Catch up on sleep (also afraid it's not going to happen...)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Things I Won't Miss #3: Window Air Conditioners

I guess I should be thankful we have anything. Two years ago there was a major power outage in Queens in the middle of summer and hundreds of thousands of people and businesses were without electricity for 2 weeks. Even so, I'm a spoiled brat and like my central a/c in hot and humid weather. But I've put up with window units ever since we got married seven years ago and I'm done.

First, they're loud. We tried to watch a movie the other night and had to turn it all the way up to hear over the a/c. But Ginger sleeps on the other side of that wall and it woke her up. Bummer. The white noise is nice to sleep to, though, if your husband would only leave it on all night.

Second, they're inefficient. When you "install" one in a rental place you can't make it very permanent so we jimmy-rig all kinds of foam, wood, cardboard, rags and towels around them to try to make them tight, but there are always holes and leaks.

Third, they distribute poorly. Even with the right size a/c for a large room, and a big standing fan in front blowing the air around, it only feels cool nearby. Other than that it just takes the edge off but the backs of my knees are still sweaty, and I hate that.

Fourth, and this is the real reason this is on my mind today besides that our temps went up 30 degrees in the last 2 days here - it's especially frustrating when your husband, who sleeps closer to the unit, puts the a/c on a 4-hour timer before bed, thinking you won't notice and wake up at 3am drenched in sweat and gasping for air, so disoriented from sleep and heat you can't figure out why you feel like you're suffocating.

I'm looking ever so forward to central air (and double checking it before we go to bed.)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The New York Mix

When we were getting ready to move here I made a New York mix CD. I didn't listen to it for most of our time here but it's been my theme music for the last month (again, love the ipod.) There are almost as many songs about New York as there are movies set here (another cool thing about watching movies now is recognizing stuff, especially Ed's building.) The mix represents well the crazy mixed feelings this place evokes. It's such an amazing place with energy, sites, and experiences to offer, but it can also be tough. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with such bipolarity.

Unfortunately only offers a sampling of the songs for you to hear, and some of the more catchy ones are missing, but here's the list, plus a few of the more relevant lyrics:

#1 New York City - They Might Be Giants
Statue of liberty, staten island ferry, co-op city, katz’s and tiffany’s
Central park, brooklyn bridge, the empire state where dylan lived
Coney island and times square, rockefeller center
Wish I was there

'cause everyone’s your friend in new york city
And everything looks beautiful when you’re young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there’s just so much to see

But the best thing about new york city is you and me
#2 New York's Not My Home - Jim Croce
Things were spinning round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy

And I had begun to doubt all the things that were me

Been in so many places

You know I've run so many races

I know that I gotta get outta here

I'm so alone
Don't you know that I gotta get outta here
Cause New York's not my home

Though all the streets are crowded

There's something strange about it

lived there about a year and I never once felt at home

I thought I'd made the big time
You know I learned a lot of lessons awful quick and

Now I'm telling you that they were not the nice kind

And it's been so long since I have felt fine
#3 Streets of NYC - American Ambulance
Folks down in Virginia
They could never see
Why the streets of New York City

Look so good to me

Lord, they look so good to me
(What are the odds of finding those lyrics?)

#4 Leaving New York - R.E.M.
It's easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York, never easy
I saw the light fading out
#5 An Englishman in New York - Sting

#6 New York State of Mind - Billy Joel

#7 New York Groove - Kiss & Ace Frehley
Many years since I was here, on the street I was passin’ my time away
To the left and to the right, buildings towering to the sky

It’s outta sight in the dead of night

Here I am, and in this city, with a fistful of dollars
And baby, you’d better believe

I’m back, back in the new york groove

I’m back, back in the new york groove
I’m back, back in the new york groove

Back in the new york groove, in the new york groove
#8 A Heart in New York - Art Garfunkel

#9 New York City Rhythm - Barry Manilow
The poundin' beat of the city's streets
That keep my dreams alive
I'm lost, I'm found
I'm up, I'm down
But somehow I survive
It's got to be the New York City Rhythm in my life
It's got to be the New York City Rhtym in my life
#10 New York, New York - Ryan Adams
Hell, I still love you New York
#11 Fairytale of New York - The Pogues

#12 New York Boy - Neil Diamond

#13 New York - U2
In New York summers get hot, well into the hundreds
You can't walk around the block without a change of clothing

Hot as a hairdryer in your face
Hot as a handbag and a can of mace
In New York, I just got a place in New York

New York, New York
Irish, Italians, Jews and Hispanics
Religious nuts, political fanatics in the stew,

Living happily not like me and you

That's where I lost you... New York
#14 I Love NYC - Andrew W.K.
I love New York City
Oh yeah, New York City

love New York City

Oh yeah, New York City
#15 New York City - Norah Jones
I rode the train for hours on end
And watched the people pass me by

It could be that it has no end

Just an action junkie's lullaby

New York City

Such a beautiful disease

New York City

Such a beautiful,
Such a beautiful disease
#16 New York Girls - Gaelic Storm

#17 New York, New York - Tony Bennett & Frank Sinatra

If I can make it there,
I’ll make it anywhere!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Things I Won't Miss #2: Ed's Job!

As with the parking, I've said it before, but it needs to be said again: I will not miss Ed's job. I know Ed will in some ways of course - he's made some good connections, gotten excellent training, enjoyed the buzz of working in a hotshot Manhattan investment bank. And it has given us the career and financial boost we came here for. But even he is getting giddy about kissing the cubicle, and rat race, buh-bye. It's a little thrilling to check the work calendar and realize anything more than 3 weeks out is not his problem.

I would guess that his average workday over the last three years has been about 9 to midnight (plus commute), and about 5-8 hours on the weekend. That means severe sleep deprivation and total life imbalance on both our parts, me managing one and then two kids all day from breakfast to bedtime, and overnight now that we think of it. Place that in New York with its own special little hassles and it's been tough. Ed's job is the first reason we're leaving.

We expect his new job to be better. Even if he works the exact same hours I will at least be near friends and family for some support, and have somewhere to park my car when I come home. But we expect those late nights to become more the exception than the rule, plus a shorter commute.

In our early years of marriage we used to go on evening walks along the Boulder Creek path and talk about our future - where to live, what to do, children and parenting. Ed was studying business and we would talk about the various career choices he would have upon graduation. Consulting sounded brutal, traveling 4 or 5 days a week. Investment banking didn't sound much better, with unbelievably long work weeks. Plus I didn't want to live in New York, a likely location. So of course that's what we did. When Ed was interviewing for jobs our friend Bryan Waite told us of his buddy who had come to NY in investment banking. He said the first few years were tough, then he started really raking in the money, bought a big house in Jersey, put the kids in private school, and found himself miserable but stuck in the life he had created. It was a great cautionary tale that we have kept in mind over the years, and I'm relieved to be getting out.

New Digs

I didn't post much on our new place before because I didn't take my camera so no pictures. But my parents did a walk-through with the realtor yesterday and took some shots.

My three requirements for a new place, besides being in our budget, were:
1) must keep Ed's commute as short as possible
2) must have parking
3) must have central a/c

Secondary preferences were:
1) three bedrooms
2) nice and/or big kitchen
3) laundry machines

Eric The Realtor said we were the perfect clients because anything we saw was bigger and better than what we were coming from, even places he thought were dumps, and we were not too picky. We looked at a variety of condos, townhouses and single family homes throughout Fairfax, Vienna, Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria - 15 places in two days. We are renting for at least a year to make sure we want to stay in the area and/or at Ed's job before looking into buying. Plus we didn't want to be rushed on our first home purchase, and the market sucks right now.

So here's a slideshow and description of our new place that I'm SO excited about. First and most importantly, Ed's commute will be about 20 minutes if the bus schedules aren't lying. Amazing, I could cry. We're in a 1800 sqft single family house in a cute and quiet neighborhood, next door to a public park and playground. We're renting from a family who lived in the house themselves until now, and they've already been great resources on doctors and other neighborhood info. There are two levels: living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry, 1/2 bath on the first level, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on the second. It's pretty straightforward. There's a cute back patio and then a great back yard with tall mature oak trees to keep us shady in the summer and busy with leaves in the fall. The master bedroom has a million closets and a built-in bed and armoire so we can go one more year of our marriage without buying bedroom furniture. The house definitely has an unusual layout but it's totally perfect for us right now - I like the quirkiness - and I'm constantly thinking about where things will go. Who's coming to visit first?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

More on Mom Cards

In response to the last post my friend Therese emailed asking me to blog about mommy cards. Happy to do so but it forces me to admit I just recently even found out about them. Totally stole the idea from Mia's blog and have never tried them myself. But after reading her posts (and she also emailed me that people receive them well) I did a quickie web search to see what's out there and was overwhelmed with the awesomeness available. We all know I'm a sucker for a cool design. Of course doing the home print like Mia's husband Forrest did for her is the most sensible and economical way to go, but if you're going to hand out something that represents yourself, might as well make it representative of yourself.

According to Mia, you can leave them for babysitters, put in doctor & school files, exchange with other moms, hand out to church people, leave at birthday parties or anywhere you drop your kid off, give to teachers or other professionals like real estate agents. Actually quite handy. Therese is in London; she said she's thought of getting cards but has not seen other moms do it. Neither have I but I bet they do here. If another mom gave me one I'd think she really had her act together - exactly what I thought of Mia when I read her post. I have to wait until we get a new phone number but I think I'm getting some. Of the designs I've seen, here are the three sites I like best so far:

Touch of Whimsy
Little Piggle Wiggle
Mommy Cards (I've narrowed down to Swirls for Sarah or one of the Branches)

Post here if you find other designs to make my decision harder.

Monday, June 02, 2008

DM Takes on Moving: Yikes, 3 weeks!

Done or Doing:
  • Woohoo, found a place to live! (Love it.)
  • Booked movers
  • Got packing/moving materials
  • Have new tenant for NY apartment (80% sure)
  • Trying to stick to our new healthy eating lifestyle, though the stress does not help
  • Purged lots and lots of clothes, books, cd's, furniture
  • Sorted through storage closets
  • Backed up computer
  • Got tote bags and t-shirts for Younce family reunion in 3 weeks (my assignment)
Need to Do:
  • Uh, pack
  • Organize and pack some more
  • Look into preschool for Hazel
  • Schedule massive Salvation Army pick-up
  • Wash the last week's worth of dishes
  • Figure out and schedule cable/internet/utilities hook-up at new house
  • Cancel cable/internet/utilities at current place
  • Change address with bank, companies and subscriptions
  • Keep up with blog so people don't lose interest
  • Finish Things I'll Miss and Things I Won't Miss blog post drafts
  • Of course order my new return address stamp and possibly mommy cards if I can take them seriously enough (tell me which one on the page you like)
  • Put together a class sharing time presentation with my church primary class
  • Get Father's Day gifts (can't forget that in the midst of moving madness!)
  • Continue to care for and nurture my neglected children
Dang, I was hoping my first list would be longer than the second.

All I Want to Do:
  • Sleep
  • Read my book
  • Play on the computer
  • Paint my toenails
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