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A Lucky Gal

When I first woke up on the third day of our trip to NYC, I couldn’t believe that later that night I would see Tom Hanks in The Lucky Guy.  I felt like a Lucky Gal!  Some of my favorite movies are Big and all of the Toy Stories.  There seems to be a sort of humbleness that shines through in Mr. Hanks’ performances.  I was happy that still held true after I saw him in the show.  But the day was young, and there were a lot of things we wanted to do before being in the same room (even if it was a theatre) with Tom Hanks.

Since rain was in the forecast, we planned to visit some museums right after a leisurely breakfast.  We grabbed our umbrellas and walked to Sarabeth’s, a bakery and restaurant, across the street and up a block on Amsterdam.  We sat in a booth in the back, and I ordered the garden omelet.  Susan ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes.  We both sipped our very delicious coffees with cream until our food came.  We decided our food was delightful and would keep us full for a long while.

Little sprinkles began to fall as we walked back to our hotel.  We packed up some necessities, left the hotel and walked over to the American Museum of Natural History where the movie Night at the Museum was basedMany other people thought it was a good day to visit the museum too.  The lines seemed long, yet moved fast.  We picked up our New York City Passes, which Susan ordered ahead of time on-line.  The pass that we chose was a booklet that contained six admission tickets to various attractions and was valid for nine consecutive days.  It cost a little over $100, which we thought was well worth it.  One of the advantages of having the pass is that you don’t have to wait in line to purchase your tickets.

Journey to the Stars was at the planetarium.  The film was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, and there were many well-behaved school groups in attendance.  I learned about those little balls of light and imagined them being born.  I was glad to learn that scientists believe that the sun will last many more millions of years.  Whew!

After that we walked around and saw a lot of stuffed animals, creepy crawlers and such.

After seeing the dinosaurs and being glad that we were never alive the same time they were, we decided to go across Central Park and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Now that the raindrops were really falling, we hailed a cab that took us over to Fifth Avenue.  We walked about half a block as the drops made noises on our umbrellas, and I suddenly felt like a New Yorker!

Since we had our passes, we went right in.  Susan studied the map and tried to figure out how to navigate to her favorite paintings.  When we were admiring the Rodin statues, we came across a beautiful painting of Joan of Arc, by Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848-1884).  Susan and I admired the artwork for many, many minutes.  We were fascinated by how Joan of Arc seemed so lifelike.  It was if she could pop off the canvas.  Her eyes seemed to tell a story.  Seeing the painting reminded me of the stories I heard as a child and how I admired her bravery.  You can see a photograph of the painting if you click here.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures at the Met until we got to the stained glass artwork and the angels:

We also saw the painting of George Washington Crossing the Delaware and the Egyptian Temple.  When we came to the gift shop, we realized that there was a coupon in our New York City Pass booklet.  We tried to decide if we wanted to buy anything and realized that it was almost 5:00.  I felt a little stressed and worried if we would make it to the show on time.

I was sad to leave the museum because I enjoyed it so much.  The traffic was heavy, big raindrops still fell, and we knew that at that time of day we wouldn’t be able to catch a cab.  We looked over at the commuters filing on the bus across the street and decided to ask some questions.  The people were so friendly and told us that the bus would drop us off right by our hotel.  We were thrilled that we learned another way to travel about NYC.  We used the same $30 pass that we used on the subway.

It was nice to have the doormen greet us.  Our hotel room looked so tidy, but we didn’t have time to stay.  We headed out the doors again, but this time we walked in the other direction to the subway.  When we got to our stop, and went up the steps, the crowds were much heavier in Times Square.  We passed by many shops.  We picked up our tickets at will call, and Susan led me over to Sardi’s.  We went to the upper floor, sat at the bar and ordered watermelon cosmopolitans and crackers and cheese.  People were standing in line in front of the Broadhurst Theatre.  A gentleman at the corner of the bar said, “I can’t believe the line.  I always wait up here until just before the show starts, and then go into the theatre.”  It sounded like a great idea to me as I munched on crackers and sipped my cosmo.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be sitting at Sardi’s doing just what I was doing at that moment.  A picture of Lucille Ball smiled at me from across the room.

The man told us about his grandson who was in a play at the adjoining theatre and how his family members took turns being the actor’s biggest fan and making sure he got home safely.  We chatted for quite some time and noticed that the line was getting shorter.  We got up to leave around the same time.

I thought theater goers would dress up, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable wearing my jeans since the majority of the audience did too.  Some dressed like one would expect going to a Broadway show.  We read our playbill and waited for the show to start.  The play was written by Nora Ephron who also wrote When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, just to name a couple of things she did during her very successful career

Tom Hanks played a newspaper columnist, Mike McAlary.  McAlary’s career blossoms when he becomes the reporter who the criminals tell their stories to about the police.  It was difficult for me to watch Mr. Hanks puff on cigarettes and say the F-word because I always think of him as Woody or Josh.  It was a different role, and he played the part well.  I admire how he likes to be different characters.  The audience saw his humbleness shine through when he graciously bowed at the end.  It seemed like he truly appreciated the audience being there.

We went to Juniors Restaurant after being in the same room with Tom Hanks.  I had a ham sandwich which looked like it could feed my entire family.  I didn’t think I was very hungry, but I ate it all!  We talked about what a great job the cast did, and how much we enjoyed the performance.

Junior's Restaurant

When we walked through Times Square on the way to the subway, it was 10 times more crowded than the most crowded Minnesota State Fair that I ever attended.  I couldn’t believe that it was around 11:00 at night because the lights were brighter than a lot of Minnesota days!  I could have worn my sunglasses and been fine.  The subways were less crowded than the streets, and I felt comforted by the music of the man playing the steel drum.  He did an awesome job every time I saw him that week!

We made it back to our hotel, and planned the next day.  Even though I felt like a very lucky gal to have seen The Lucky Guy, little did I know that it would not turn out to be my favorite show of the trip.

To be continued…

April is for Showers

Tonight the rain is tapping on the windows, but the weatherman predicts that it will soon turn to snow. All of this strange weather doesn’t bother Lila at all. On Saturday, she greeted the snow by rubbing both sides of her face in the white stuff, and then she got down and rolled over on her back and wiggled around in an unusual dance. It looked as if she was embracing the snow.

When she chased the tennis ball, some of the piles of snow at the park looked to be solid, but underneath were hidden puddles. Though her sturdy paws fell through, it didn’t scare Lila one bit. She just crunched through them and ran into other puddles as big as ponds. Even though the rain has melted some of the snow, the new snow will make it even harder for spring to appear.

I wonder if Lila misses the smells of spring like I do. Maybe Lila noticed little shoots of green grass that are trying to poke through the ground. Maybe she can smell the nests of rabbits if she tried. I miss the sight of daffodils that should be blooming and swaying in the wind and the shock of purple crocuses that we only see for a short time before rabbits eat them gone. The clouds keep greeting us day after day still sputtering snowflakes our way.

If only I could think like a dog when I see whatever the day has to offer and embrace it all no matter what. With each new day a dog still plays.

It makes me wonder if Mother Nature forgot that April is for showers of rain, not of snow.

Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while. ~Kin Hubbard

How I Survived the Water Main Break of 2013!


I’m glad this wasn’t me!
“Worker Tim Green carried an unidentified pedestrian
across a virtual river of water along Hennepin Av.
on 1/4/13,” picture courtesy of StarTribune.

“We have lost water pressure in the building,” a monotone voice reported over the loud-speaker. “Do not use any water at this time. We are trying to figure out what the problem is. As soon as we figure it out, we will let you know.” It was around 2:45 p.m. I sat at my desk at work, my hands hovering over my keyboard. “How can we just lose water pressure like that?” I thought. It was not funny the way my mind started to draw a conclusion that surely there was some sort of Joker in the building who was going to start it and all of us on fire. I prayed, “Make it quick, if it’s my turn to go. You know I’m a wimp.”

Yet, everyone else around me seemed calm. I continued on with whatever I was doing and pretended to be a calm person too. I tried not to worry about there being a fire.  When Mr. Monotone Voice told us not to use the water, I knew that meant not to use the bathroom too. Luckily I was okay in that area, but I don’t think others were.

Reports started to come through via co-workers and emails that a water main broke on a street that was a few blocks away. Some people decided that it was time to go home because it was unsanitary. Others worried that it would take longer than normal to get home with everyone leaving downtown at the same time. Did I mention that I thought it was unsafe being in the building in case there was a fire?

A few minutes before 4:00, we received an email telling us to leave the building because it was not safe in case there was a fire. I think I heard that somewhere before. I quickly gathered my things and shut down my computer in record speed.

When I got to the street level, many people with concerned faces were leaving office buildings too. The noise from the helicopters flying overhead and the blaring sirens echoing off the buildings made me feel even more eerie. I just wanted to get home.

As I waited for my bus, more and more people crowded around. There was no water by us, but it did delay the buses. My bus was a little late, and when I got on, I found a spot. A man sat next to me in one of the three seater benches that go sideways. I was at the end spot and my neighbor who was in the middle sniffled all the way home. I don’t think he was crying. I think he had a cold. I felt so squished that I couldn’t even get my phone out of my purse.

When I got home, I watched the news on TV and listened to all the reports. It appears that a contractor was working by the water main, and it broke. The nearby streets were instantly flooded. Any cars parked in underground parking garages were ruined. Twelve million gallons of water floated up and away that day.

We wondered how it all could possibly get repaired overnight. It did get fixed, and it was business as usual the next day. While some hoped for a day off, I guess I’m just happy we didn’t all float away. It’s a good thing I kept calm and didn’t jump to any wild conclusions!  I’m glad we survived the Water Main Break of 2013.

Snow Brightens Up the Gloom!

This morning when I let Lila outside, we were greeted by the freshly fallen snow that covered the dull and brown grass. Lila happily licked the ground getting a mouthful of the wet, cold stuff. Her big strides around the tree sadly made her leash wrap up to limit her “freedom.” I found my boots and went outside to get her. Lila dashed inside and watched me as I unraveled the leash. My footsteps and her paw prints marked up the once untouched blanket of snow.

Inside, Lila looked up at us as if to wonder why we were busy huddling over papers: Dad with the newspaper, Laura with photos and me with a cookbook searching for a mint cookie recipe that can be made quickly. Lila looked as if she couldn’t understand us. Why didn’t we want to go outside and play in the snow?

So I pulled on all the things I needed to keep me warm and cozy. When I opened the door to the garage, Lila bolted towards the van, the only vehicle around right now where Lila is allowed to enter. After I opened the large door to the garage, we were on our way. As I backed up, the tires crunched down the snow in the driveway. I was thankful that the streets had already been plowed.

As we got closer to the dog park, Lila started her usual whining and bouncing about. Sometimes her ears twitched to the sounds of the Christmas music coming from the dashboard. After we arrived, we noticed many other canine and human friends. People were hunched over with parka hoods trying to keep the flying snow out of their eyes. The snow was piling up on their shoulders and hoods making them look like walking snowmen.

20121209_102007The Outskirts of the Dog Park

The friendly dogs waited by the gate ready to greet Lila. Lila barked and jumped so high that she could almost go over the fence. When I got the gate open, Lila greeted a couple of dogs and anxiously looked at me because she wanted me to chuck the Chuck-It.  She whined at me again, but so did Rex. Rex, a smaller black dog, that looked to be part pit bull, was ready for me to chuck the tennis ball too.

“Ok, ready?” I asked. Now four anxious eyes looked up at me. I knew Lila could outrun Rex. I chucked the ball, and they ran. Lila was in the lead and got the ball. Oops, Lila dropped the ball. Rex got it. Lila came back to me, still all smiles, but without a ball.

“Oops,” I said, as I saw Rex run off, lay down with the ball in between his front paws licking away at whatever disgusting things might be stuck to it. Rex stood up, shook his head back and forth, just the way Lila does, and as if to say, “I got it!” Rex with the ball made Rex happy.

20121209_102156Lila Running and Searching

“Go find another ball, Lila.” Lila ran to the usual spots, but today it was more difficult for her with all the fresh snow masking what she can usually sniff out right way. I followed her, and could not see one either. We circled around the park a couple more times enjoying the wintry wonderland still without a ball in sight and Rex still clinging onto the one I threw.

20121209_102109Everything Smells Like Snow Today!

“I’m going to go get a ball from the van,” I told Lila. She sat down close to the gate and waited patiently, her eyes following me the entire time. I found one, grabbed it with the Chuck-It, and Lila bounced about again, as if she were a ball. Just as I was about to chuck it, Rex greeted us again, our first ball lost or forgotten. I thought about how pit bulls can get a bad rap, but Rex was a fine dog that just wanted to play.

I threw the ball, and Lila ran off fast, got it and held it tight this time. Rex went away to mind his own business. As I walked around the park again, Lila ran back and forth swinging her head from side to side, happy to have the tennis ball. The next time I looked, the ball was gone, but she did not complain. She ran in the snow following the other dogs around. One time I lost sight of her, and she came back to me from behind having run around the entire park by herself and all out of breath.

20121209_102127Lila Running to Show Off the Tennis Ball

All the dogs seemed to be happier with the welcomed change of scenery. Last year, we didn’t get enough snow to run around and lose things in. This winter is turning out to be different, so far. The snow brightened up the gloom and made for some happy dogs and humans who had fun just playing in the snow.

I Already Got My Deer

deer season open deerseasonopen.jpg photo
Photo Courtesy of Photo Bucket

Last night my husband and I saw a deer cross right in front of our path on our way home from dinner. I slowed down and traveled slow, thinking that another one would follow. Luckily, no more deer came dashing out and we made it home safely.

I try to stay off the rural highways during deer hunting season which is now taking place in Minnesota. The gunshots scare the deer and it seems like more deer get killed and end up dead on the highways from being spooked than from being hunted down. I already got my deer, and I don’t want to get another one.

The day I got my deer, my weapon was our car. My daughter and I were coming home from the school carnival. I was driving the speed limit of 40 mph down the dark familiar road to our home during the month of April, 1999. A deer dashed in front of our path. I knew that if there was one deer, there would be another. I looked in my rearview mirror, and the car behind us was very close. I knew if I slammed on the brakes or even slowed down a bit, we would get rear ended. Then, sure enough, the other deer that I had been expecting came running out in front of us, and I smacked into it, and she went flying over to the right side of the road.  We kept on going about a half mile when we got to a stop light.  The car that had been following us, pulled up in the right lane while we waited for the light to change.  I heard the passengers talking very excitedly, and they were looking at the front of our car. I thought, “If you wouldn’t have been riding my bumper, I could have slowed down and that deer would still be alive.”

I continued driving home, and when Laura and I got out of the car, we looked at the front end of our Buick Century. The only thing that was dented was the license plate.  I never had good aim, and thought we were really lucky.  I thanked the angels for watching out for us.

My daughter and I were pretty shook up. My husband called the police to let them know there was a dead deer on the side of the road. That night I didn’t sleep very well, and the next morning I drove by the spot, and my deer was still lying there. It looked like some critters had found her too.

One of our friends, a real deer hunter, mentioned that we should have called him right after it happened, and the deer would not have gone to waste. I didn’t even think about doing that at the time.  At least some little critters got fed.

There are a lot of deer and other wild animals running around our neighborhood even though we live in an urban area. I hope and pray I never run into a wild animal again. It’s no wonder deer like to live so close to people. Chances are it’s safer here for them, especially during deer hunting season. That is, if they don’t get hit by a car.

Waiting a Long Time Already!

“Mom,” she said, with her breath sucking in as if she were in shock. “You’re not really going to wear that are you?” Katie looked seriously concerned. Those words still echo in my head even though it was at least 10 years ago when I felt scolded for wearing a raincoat that had gone out of style years before then. All the other moms at Katie’s school were wearing the fashionably fit, shorter-length raincoats that showed off their trim figures. My raincoat is just the opposite of that.

The other day, I pulled it on one sleeve at a time, and I welcomed the puffiness of it all. My black raincoat goes down way passed my knees, doesn’t have a belt and makes a swishy sound when I walk. The zipper that attaches the liner can still be pulled along without a hitch, and I have never needed to replace one button.

I often listen to and appreciate my daughters’ advice on current fashion trends, but there’s something about this raincoat that cannot be replaced. I’ve gone looking for other raincoats off and on for years. Those newer raincoats look sharp and neat, but they make me wonder. Yes, they look grand on the ladies, but the length bothers me. I thought raincoats are meant to be worn in the rain. Rain does not always fall perfectly straight down from the sky. Sometimes wind accompanies rain. Wind makes rain go sideways. This causes pants to get wet. When I wear my old black raincoat, my pants legs do not get wet! Plus, I can count the number of times during the year on either one or two hands of when I need to wear my raincoat in Minnesota. If it rains when it’s warm, I have an umbrella, and when it’s warm, I don’t mind getting wet!

“I bet that raincoat really keeps you dry,” said one of the moms when I walked through the hallway of Katie’s school that day many years ago. I smiled and said, “Yes, it does.”

Now I can’t help but wonder when my old raincoat is going to come back in style. I’ve been waiting a long time already!

Do you have an old piece of clothing that you can’t seem to get rid of?

People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile. ~Lee Mildon

The Scenery Changes

Paths

Yesterday morning the temperature was 35 degrees, and the inside of our house felt so warm and cozy.  Lila didn’t care how cozy things felt; she wanted to go for a walk.

Grapevines

Lila and I have gotten into the routine of walking every Saturday morning, and I wasn’t going to let a little cold temperature get in our way.  Neither was she!

Creek

It was the first morning this fall that I had to get the box down and out of the closet to search for hat, scarf and mittens.  After I was all bundled up, I opened the door to meet the cool day, and we ventured out on our three-mile walk.  Lila seemed more chipper than usual and very anxious to get going.  While I smelled the crisp air and dry fall leaves, Lila’s nose pointed up to get a whiff too.

Tunnel

As Lila went sniffing away at a pile of leaves and I dreamily looked away at the babbling creek, I really didn’t think much of her sniffing until we walked a couple steps further, and a little, gray mouse looked up at us as if it was in some sort of shock.  Did Lila just find that mouse in that pile of leaves, I wondered.  It looked as if its fur had been tousled about.  It stared at us for a few seconds and sauntered off to hide in another pile of leaves.  I held tight to Lila and pulled her along.  “Little creatures should be allowed to live in the woods,” I told her.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The sudden colder temperatures slowed down the other little animals too.  Chipmunks chirped at us as we walked by.  They seemed mad that the weather had turned so cold, or maybe they heard through the animal grapeview about the mouse attack.

Lila Looking at Leaves

It’s no wonder that we have gotten used to this routine. We feel so lucky to travel along this path every week. Even though we go on the same path, the scenery changes all the time.