Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Disappointment, A Show, Some Work, A Birthday, and Lots of Rain

Well, this past weekend wasn't quite the beautiful, fun-filled weekend that last weekend was. But, we made the most of it. The weather was lousy - rainy all weekend, alternating between just wet misty stuff and full-blown rain. Gross.

We started the weekend off on Saturday by going to the ESPN Zone in Times Square to watch the Gator game. The food was good, and that's all I have to say about that. Very disappointing. (I'm trying to stay positive: we've won a National Championship with one loss before, and LSU did it last year with two losses. So, the hope lives on. But for now, I'm angry.)

After the bummer of a game, we debated what to do with the rest of our evening. As we walked home through Times Square, Eric had the idea to stop by the TKTS booth, which is where you can get 1/2 price tickets for Broadway shows for that day. We stopped by and saw they had "Avenue Q" tickets for 35% off, which we are very eager to see. But, by the time we got to the front of the line, "Avenue Q" was sold out. So, we bought tickets to "Hairspray" instead.

"Hairspray" was great! I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. George Wendt (aka Norm from "Cheers") played the mother, and he was hilarious. It really brightened up our otherwise gloomy day.

Eric and me outside the theater

On Sunday Eric had to go into work!!! It's only his second weekend, and he's already spending some of it at the office. He had something that needed to be finished up by Monday morning, so he got up and went into the office for a while. When he got home, we did some grocery shopping for the week and then celebrated Achilles' 5th Birthday!

We don't REALLY know when his birthday is, of course. But we know he was about a year old when we got him, so we use the anniversary of his adoption as his birthday. So, this year marked his 5th birthday, and the 4th anniversary of his adoption. I can't believe we've had him for four years already! He's really become a part of our family.

We had planned to celebrate with another trip to Central Park, but the rain and Eric's work schedule ruled that out. So, we celebrated by putting treats into his bin o' kibble and letting him have at it. We tried to just sit him in there so he could go to town, but he wasn't interested in that. Instead he kept jumping and reaching to fish out the treats. After all this, he did a few jumps for a delicious new cheese-and-bacon-flavored bone. Really, he had to work pretty hard for his birthday presents, I guess! But he didn't seem to mind so much.

He's not convinced this is a good idea.

Wow! Look at THAT move!

Jump, Achilles!

Happy Birthday, Pups!

In other news, we finally got a desk so I'm spending today trying to finish getting the desk and desk area put together. Then we can finally finish hanging pictures and the apartment will be done! Hooray! This morning we also went to get our NY State drivers licenses and to register to vote. It was a crazy long process (but when ISN'T anything at the DMV a crazy long process?), and we didn't even get to leave with licenses! They mail them to us in 2-3 weeks, apparently. So for now we have temporary paper licenses. Interesting. But, we're on our way to being official New Yorkers!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope you're having a nice day, despite all you have to do. I hope you take some time to relax and enjoy yourself tonight! Drink some wine, eat some chocolate! Love you!

My mom and Achilles in August - the birthday people of the week! Achilles' 5th bday/4th adoption anniversary was this past Sunday.

In other celebratory news, CONGRATULATIONS to my cousin Jacob who was recently married in Budapest, Hungary! Welcome to the family, Zita!

Stay tuned for weekend pictures, including Achilles' birthday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Yesterday I met Eric at his office after work, and we walked over to Central Park to see the latest David Blaine spectacle! If you are not familiar with David Blaine, he is a street magician, who is well-known for some of his highly-publicized stunts such as freezing himself in a block of ice in Times Square for 60+ hours, standing on a 90ft pillar over Bryant Park for 35 hours, and his "Drowned Alive" stunt, in which he submerged himself in a big ball of water in Lincoln Center for 7 days and 7 nights. 

I've seen David Blaine on TV before, both doing his street magic and doing these stunts, but never really realized that he was almost always in NYC. Well, now he's doing his latest stunt in Central Park! So, Eric and I went to check it out.

The latest stunt is called "Dive of Death" and involves him hanging upside down for 60 hours, and will end tonight with a 44ft fall to the ground. He is able to lower himself to interact with fans as he hangs.

The whole set-up at Wollman Rink in Central Park

There he is! He was posing for pictures with fans and signing autographs while he hung upside down.

Doesn't look fun to me, personally.

However, word on the street is that many people aren't so impressed with this stunt, because he takes frequent breaks to stretch, and gets down from his hanging spot once an hour for medical checks and to use the bathroom. 

We didn't see him get down and walk around while we were there, but he did take his legs out of his harness to stretch and pulled his head up a little bit.

However, by staying upside down for so long, he could risk blindness and internal organ damage. So, do you think taking these breaks makes the stunt less impressive? Personally, I prefer to watch David Blaine doing his street magic, rather than these endurance stunts. Below are a couple videos of his magic!

Just another crazy thing we've seen in NYC so far!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Walk in the Park (and other fun weekend things)

Eric's first weekend as a working stiff was great! He was able to leave work a little early on Friday, and we started our weekend off with a movie rental and carry-out Italian food from a nearby place.

Saturday was, of course, Gator game time! We met up with Eric's friend Jose (the friend who helped us with moving our stuff in to NYC; he works at Eric's firm) and Jose's girlfriend Karen, plus a few of their friends, down in the Village to watch the game. We had planned to join the NYC Gator Alumni Group, "Gotham Gators," at one of their bars designated for viewing parties, but the place was packed by the time we arrived 45 minutes before the game, so we went to a different bar called "Bounce." It was really nice actually, we got an outdoor table so we could enjoy the beautiful (albeit slightly chilly) afternoon. Plus they have these giant 100 oz. beer things you can order, so our group went through a couple of those! The game, of course, was a lot of fun, because it's always nice to see the Gators beat a big rival...in this case, Tennessee. 

That's 100 ounces of Sam Adams in that pillar!

Eric watching the game

After the game, we stopped off at a little "Pomme Frite" stand for some Belgian french fries. They serve them with all sorts of dipping sauces, and they were SO GOOD. Really, really good. I tried the roasted garlic mayo dipping sauce, and it was great. Apparently this little hole-in-the-wall place is pretty well known, as it had a consistently long line out front of people waiting to get their fries!

The line for fries!

Sunday was another awesome day. The weather was gorgeous: 79 degrees and perfectly sunny. So, we decided to treat the dog to an afternoon on the town. We headed out towards Central Park, and along the way we wandered along 8th Avenue. On the weekends, they close off 8th Ave. to traffic and set up a sort of street fair, with all sorts of things for sale (jewelry, paintings, crafts, I Heart NY tshirts, etc.), and lots to eat, like candy apples, cups of watermelon, burritos, corn on the cob, etc. We picked up a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade for $1 and walked through the fair, checking things out, before making our way over to Central Park.

8th Avenue on a Sunday afternoon

Achilles and me, enjoying some lemonade on the street

Walking through Central Park was great. It was, of course, packed with people enjoying their Sunday afternoon outdoors. We walked all around the lower half of the park with Achilles, and spent some time sitting in a shady spot under a tree. He absolutely loved it, I must say. He was just as happy as could be. New York really does suit him.

Achilles (and me) running through Central Park

In Sheep Meadow

Eric and Achilles resting under a tree (note the dog's patented "crazy, happy, open-face" look)

After the Park we came back home and hung some pictures (we're almost done, and then I'll have pics of the apartment to share, I promise!), then we tried out the Times Square Church. After church we stopped for dinner at a little Mexican place, where we had awesome (and really spicy) chicken fajitas. 

Now, Eric's second week of work is underway, and I'm starting to take steps to make myself useful again. Step One: update my resume. If only the weekends could last a little longer...

Friday, September 19, 2008


I have to share this video that Eric showed me tonight. It is just too funny. Especially if you have ever owned a beagle.

My family had a beagle when I was a little girl. His name was Luke and he passed away right before we moved to Florida in 1994. He was an awesome dog. And oh, so smart. Way too smart for his own good. Oh, the stories my parents used to tell of Lukey as a puppy! He (like Achilles) suffered from separation anxiety and he was pretty hard to contain when left home alone. I've heard tales of him chewing his way through walls to escape, or crushing doorknobs with his teeth so that he could turn them with his paws to open the door. I mean, just outrageous stuff. By the time I was old enough to remember, he had calmed down a little bit, but I do remember his love of chocolate...and his knowledge of where we kept the dessert. When we left, he would just open the cabinet and help himself (in retrospect, I'm not entirely sure why we never moved the dessert out of his reach, but whatever). We'd come home to empty packages of cookies, and whole boxes of HoHo's or Hostess cupcakes GONE, wrappers and all. He was a crazy dog.

Anyway, that was a long story just to say that this video makes me think of Lukey - so resourceful!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Settling In

Well, we're a few days into Eric's first work week, so I thought I'd post a brief update as to how the W. family is settling in to NYC.

Eric's first week has been going well. He has already completed one assignment for a partner at the firm, and was told he did an "excellent" job (and I agree...I proofread it for him, and I thought it was a very well-written snoozefest). He has more work to do this week, in addition to the training he's been going through with the other new associates. We've also been deciding on a healthcare plan, which is very exciting (HOORAY for finally having health insurance again! I might go to the doctor just for fun). So far he hasn't had any super late nights at the office, but he has brought work home with him already. But, if he's going to be doing a lot of work at night, I'd rather have him here doing it than at the office!

Eric is able to take the bus to work if he wants...there's a bus that picks up a few blocks away and takes him right across town to his office. Or, it's about a 25 minute walk if he'd rather do that. He has started walking home at night, and he calls when he's leaving so the dog and I can start walking towards him and meet him halfway. It's a nice little evening walk for all of us.

Eric before his first day of work...doesn't he look sharp???
He's even wearing the cufflinks I got him for graduation, made from wood from an old Yankee Stadium seat.

Speaking of the dog, he is also adjusting surprisingly well. With the exception of one incident of misbehavior (pictured below), he seems to be settling in to our new apartment very well (although I don't think he's sold yet on the wood floors), and he seems to enjoy our neighborhood. There are lots of other dogs around, and there's just SO MUCH to smell on the streets of New York. He seems to enjoy his evening walks, just prancing along like he's been a New Yorker his whole life. City life suits him.

While in his crate, Achilles managed to push the bottom tray of the crate out and pull his dog bed in to tear apart (it had been left within reach of his crate, apparently).
Bad dog! Ah well, at least if he's going to ruin something, it's his own bed. At least he left our stuff alone.

And as for me, as Eric told me last night, unemployment seems to suit me! So far, anyway. I've been doing some sleeping in, late-night wine drinking, afternoon shopping on Madison Avenue, and some occasional housework. I'll tell ya what, if this is what life is like as a lawyer's wife, I could get used to it! I know, I know... sooner or later I'll need to get my life together and rejoin productive society, but for now I'm enjoying my little mini-vacation. I'm also getting more comfortable with navigating New York, and am feeling much better oriented as to where things are and how to get there. I haven't mastered the Subway yet, but I'll get the hang of it.

Me enjoying some local fare: Gray's Papaya! Mmm, hot dogs and grape drink.

So, we're all settling in quite nicely! Tomorrow night Eric's firm is hosting a Welcome cocktail party at a partner's house near our apartment, so Eric and I will be going to that. Then I'll be looking forward to this weekend and having some free time with Eric (and watching the Gators beat Tennessee!). But, so far, so good for this New York experiment!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our First NY Visitors!

Well, I must say, we didn't waste any time hosting our first visitors in New York! I got back from my business trip to D.C. on Tuesday evening last week. Wednesday morning when we got up, Eric and I buckled down and finished as much unpacking as possible (everything is unpacked except for our desk stuff, because we still need to buy a desk), then Eric's brother Ronnie and his friend Tom arrived Wednesday evening! So, it was kind of a whirlwind...we had visitors before we had even had a chance to really get settled! But, it was really nice, because it gave us a reason to get out and do some sight-seeing and really enjoy the city.

Wednesday night we all walked out to Times Square to check things out, do some shopping, and have dinner. We had some NY Pizza to start things off, and visited the M&M Store, Times Square Toys 'R Us, Yankees Store, a souvenir store or two, and had drinks and played games at ESPN Zone.

New New Yorkers!

Ronnie and Tom in Times Square

Eric having some fun in the M&M store

Thomas and friends in Toys 'R Us

Tom and Eric shooting hoops at ESPN Zone

From there we walked back home and pulled out the Wii, which led to an epic Wii baseball game between Ronnie and Tom. Tom had a no-hitter through 9 innings, it was tied 0-0 till the 12th inning, and Ronnie finally scored on an error. Amazing!

With my brother-in-law on the walk home

Wii baseball craziness (and me enjoying a nice martini)

Thursday was our big sight-seeing day, and it was also September 11. We started the day off by heading downtown to Battery Park to view the Statue of Liberty from afar. Then we went over to Wall Street and saw the Bull and the Stock Exchange.

With Ronnie and Tom, and the Statue of Liberty in the background

Brothers and a Bull

New York Stock Exchange

Then we walked from Wall Street up to Ground Zero, which was naturally pretty crowded. It doesn't look like much - just a really big construction site - but it is still sort of shocking because the whole area is surrounded by big buildings, with this gaping empty space where the World Trade Center used to be. And of course, there were flowers and flags all over the place in memory of the victims. Later that night Eric and I watched a replay of the original "as it happened" 9/11 footage, which still is so shocking and so emotional, even 7 years later.

Construction at Ground Zero

Flags and mementos in memory of lives lost

The World Trade Center cross...I was in NYC 6 months after 9/11, and actually was able to see this cross amidst the rubble at Ground Zero. Pretty incredible.

We also saw a very large group of protestors near Ground Zero, chanting over and over "9/11 was an inside job."

From the World Trade Center, we walked up through Chinatown and to Little Italy for lunch. Lunch was, of course, delicious, and then we continued on through Little Italy, which was set up with booths all along the street like a fair.

Ronnie and Eric in Little Italy

From there we made our way further north and walked past the Empire State building and the Herald Square Macy's. Then we went back to our apartment and rested up for a bit before going to a local Irish pub for happy hour, and picking up some local Chinese food for dinner. That night Ronnie and Tom went out bar hopping in the Village, but Eric and I opted to stay in and relax!

Empire State Building

Ronnie and Tom at the pub

Friday morning we all slept in for a while (Ronnie and Tom had a late night!), then we went out to lunch at Carnegie Deli, not far from our apartment. We had to wait in line outside for a table, the place was so packed! And the sandwiches were HUGE! They're so big, they serve them with extra bread because they know there's no way you can fit your mouth around the thing as it comes. They also have amazing cheesecake...it's $10 a slice, but a slice is also enormous. I got a slice of strawberry cheesecake to go, and I've been working on it for days now!

Ronnie, Tom and I in line at Carnegie Deli

How in the world am I going to eat this thing?

After lunch we went back to the apartment to prepare for the whole reason for Ronnie and Tom's visit: they had tickets to the Rays v. Yankees game! Ronnie and Tom really wanted to see a game at Yankee Stadium before they tear it down at the end of the season. Unfortunately, Game Day was also Nonstop Rain Day, so they left for the game knowing there was pretty much no chance the game would go on. But, they did end up being able to get in, buy some souvenirs, walk around the stadium, and see Monument Park, which they were really excited about. (I stayed home and ate my cheesecake through all this rainy baseball fun.)

The boys before the game: trying to be optimistic despite the bad weather.

The boys at Yankee Stadium

Monument Park

The current Yankee Stadium scoreboard, with the new Yankee Stadium behind it

The game did end up being called after a while, so the boys came back home and we spent the rest of the night hanging out at the apartment.

Saturday morning we did a little more sight-seeing: We saw Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Eric's office building, FAO Schwartz, more NYC pizza, 5th Avenue, and the lower parts of Central Park. Then we went back to the apartment for a bit before Tom headed off to the airport to catch his flight back home, and Ronnie and Eric went to the ESPN Zone to watch some Florida State football for a bit.

Ronnie at Rockefeller Center

Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral

Eric and I playing the Big Piano at FAO Schwartz

Ronnie enjoying Ray's Pizza

Eric and me in Central Park

Imagine mosaic in Strawberry Fields in Central Park

After the boys returned from ESPN Zone, we debated a bit about what to do next. The cancelled baseball game was rescheduled for that night, and it was starting to look like rain again! But, we decided to chance it and make our way out to the Bronx to see if we could see some baseball. I even went along because since Tom had to fly back, he couldn't see the rescheduled game. So, I used his ticket. The game did end up happening, and included a Rays grand slam (first grand slam I've ever seen in person)! However, the Rays ended up losing. Boo. It was fun nonetheless!

Ronnie and Eric at the game

An Indians fan and a Rays fan in Yankee Stadium!

After the game we went back to Times Square so Ronnie could pick up a couple of souvenirs (and some more pizza!) then back to the apartment. Ronnie left early Sunday morning, and that was the end of our weekend!

We had a great time! Thanks for visiting, Ronnie and Tom! So, who wants to be our next visitor(s)?