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Weight Loss Progress

And it just keeps coming off.  As of the time of this writing (several days before the blog entry will be published), I’m down 44 lbs.

These two pictures were taken quite some time apart, as you can tell by the length of my hair.  The blue photo was taken at the beginning of my last major attempt at weight loss, in November 2014, so about two years before surgery.  The pink photo was taken March 31, 2017.  (Yes, I should have done photos right before surgery, but I didn’t.  We’ll have to make do with these and whatever candid or yarn-project-modeling photos I can find that were taken shortly before surgery.)


Front view.  I can see the beginnings of a waist again.  That makes me happy.  I still have the shirt and cropped pants I’m wearing in the blue photos.  I’ll do my best to wear them the next time we take a set of progress photos.

In clothing news, all but one of the items that had been banished to the upstairs closet because they didn’t fit have been retrieved.  Because now they fit.  The one item that doesn’t fit is a velvet dress suitable for holiday parties and dress-up occasions.  It’s still too tight.  Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that it will fit at the time the holiday parties and dress-up occasions roll around again, but at that time, it will be too loose.  Maybe I’ll ask my husband to take me out to a fancy dinner when it fits again, just to wear it one last time.  I’ve started weeding out the clothes that are now too large and too much trouble to have altered; they’re being sorted into piles to go to Goodwill, to bariatric support group clothing swaps, and to the business-appropriate clothing drive for women in shelters.

 

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Don’t tell me to calm down

Don’t even think about it, because I will smack you upside the head so hard you’ll wish you never learned to speak.

Do you know what happened Wednesday?  After the nation learned that the Orange Narcissist will become our next President?  I’ll tell you what happened.

One of my friends posted this on Facebook:

Good lord, this is nerve-wracking.  List of reasons to be concerned:  I’m a woman, a bisexual, married to a trans person, and I have mental health issues.  Many of the people who mean the most to me in the world are POC, LGBT, or have mental illness or developmental or physical disabilities.  All of us struggle, but many of them struggle with poverty-level income and serious unmet healthcare needs.  Many more have healthcare thanks to one provision of ACA or another, which they could lose.  So very much is at stake.

She later hid the post from view and told me she’s pretty scared of everything right now.

Another friend told me his mother had been verbally accosted while shopping in a Tennessee Wal-Mart:  “We won!  Now all you fucking niggers have to go back to Africa!”

Still another friend, with a longstanding health issue, has been unemployed long-term and relies on her health plan through the Affordable Care Act to pay for lifesaving medication and the frequent doctor visits she requires. She’s so terrified the ACA will be repealed that she’s suicidal.

A fourth friend, also with a pre-existing medical condition, and who recently lost her job, is in the same predicament.

A fifth friend, Hispanic, married to an African-American, with three mixed-race children, worries how she is going to explain to her daughter what happened, and is frightened for her teenage sons’ safety.

Each of these wonderful beautiful vibrant people lives in a different part of the country.  Each of them lives in a “red” state.  Each of them is now afraid to be who they are in their own country.

Those of you who voted for the man?  This is what you have wrought.

He is a racist.
He is a xenophobe.
He is a sexist.
He is an Islamophobe.
He is a homophobe.
He is a self-confessed sexual predator.

That’s what you voted for.  That was what you wanted in a leader.

But wait.  There’s more. 

His vice-president thinks electrocution will shock gay people into being straight.

May the gods help us all.

R.I.P. XI Catch-up: Screen time

RIP 9 Peril on the Screen

How did I let two weeks go by without posting anything?  It’s amazing how quickly times runs past me these days.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve imbibed a few Perils On The Screen to quickly discuss.

longmireThe new season of Longmire came out on Netflix a couple of weeks ago.  This show was originally on some cable channel, got cancelled a couple of years ago, and Netflix picked it up to continue making new episodes.  It’s a contemporary Western that tells us the story of Walt Longmire, a widowed sheriff who, on top of investigating the murders that take place in his rural Wyoming county, deals with political maneuverings, shady businessmen, and tension with the neighboring Native American reservation.  Sheriff Longmire is played by Robert Taylor, an Australian actor with a pitch perfect American West accent; Katee Sackhoff plays one of his deputies; and Lou Diamond Phillips plays his best friend.  A host of other recurring characters and guest stars rotate through this well-acted series.  Highly recommended.

aftermathI watched the pilot of SyFy‘s new show, Aftermath, the other night.  Oh dear God, what a jumbled mess.  According to the show’s blurb, “When people start disappearing and disasters start to indicate the end of the world is at hand, the Copeland family – Karen, Josh, Dana, Brianna and Matt – must fight for their survival while piecing together clues on how to save what’s left of humanity.”  Mom (Karen, played by Anne Heche) is a badass ex-military pilot; Dad (Josh, played by James Tupper) is a wimpy academic; and the kids are one-dimensional.  To be generous, perhaps the idea was to plop the viewer right down in the middle of the apocalypse with the Copeland family, who themselves have little idea what’s going on, but this was done better in Cloverfield — and that movie had at least some exposition or background chatter (in the way of TV/radio snippets) that gave the viewer a vague idea of the circumstances.  I’ll give episode two a try, because it might get better.  But I don’t have much hope.

slitherLast night, spouse and I watched Slither, a worthy addition to the “Bad Movie Night” list.  It’s bad, but it’s fun bad, because it’s just so absurd AND it doesn’t take itself seriously.  A meteor crashes to Earth somewhere in North Carolina, a creepy crawly from that meteor takes over the body of a human being, and then multiplies itself in an effort to take over more humans.  Featuring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, and Michael Rooker.  And a number of gross-out scenes, so if you’re sensitive to that, beware.  (I watched a couple of them through my fingers, but mainly turned my head and closed my eyes.)

maltese-falcomFinally, the 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon graced our flat-screen a few weeks ago.  Humphrey Bogart is at his snarling sardonic best as the world-weary private dick Sam Spade; Mary Astor is luminous and beguiling as the damsel in distress; and Peter Lorre plays as sniveling a criminal character as he can muster.  Great fun to watch, but set aside any modern feminist sensitivities when you do.

RIP 11Reviewed for R.I.P XI “Peril on the Screen” Challenge.  Click the badge to find out more about this annual event.

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On writing slumps and unintentional hiatuses

Blog Entry MemeHere’s a truth:  I really like the idea of structured blog posts — Finished Object Fridays, Work In Progress Wednesdays, and so forth — but that sort of restriction just doesn’t fit easily into my schedule. Working full time puts a cramp in my blogging style, don’tcha know; after a long day dealing with trainees, colleagues, and general government bureaucracy, I’m utterly exhausted by the time I get home from the office. It’s all I can do to change out of my business attire and collapse on the sofa with the remote and a bowl of popcorn.  Feed the dogs?  Oh, sheesh, do I have to?  All right, all right, stop yapping at me.  I’ll take care of you.

So what happens? When I have something to say, I have to find the time to say it on the weekends. On a writing day, I will often compose several blog entries over the course of several hours and schedule them to appear at various times throughout the next week or so. This is especially true for book reviews.

Sometimes, though, even that much discipline is beyond me, and nothing appears for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. Such is how it’s been ever since we had Mote put to sleep at the end of July.  On top of the grief, I’ve had at least three doctors’ appointments every month since June in an effort to alleviate a chronic, non-life-threatening-but-it’s-bothering-the-hell-out-of-me problem.  (Solution — surgery will be scheduled in the near future.)  I’m finally pulling myself out of the grief and ennui and general all-around tiredness enough to think about writing regularly again. With two finished projects to show off, one work in progress, a crap-ton of book reviews to write, plus the newest Rowan and Vogue Knitting magazines to discuss, there’s certainly plenty to write about. (Yes, faithful reader, I know: returning to reviewing knit magazines was a stated goal from 2014.  *sigh*  This slump has been both long-standing AND intermittent.)

No one out there is awaiting my next blog entry with bated breath, but that’s not the point.  This blog is a creative outlet that provides an opportunity to show off pretty things I made and occasionally pontificate on life, books, and the state of the world.  (I’m thrilled that a few folks  think it’s worth their time follow these shenanigans.  Thank you.  You all rock.)

All that to say, I’ve missed this.  And I’m going to do better.  As it happens, this long holiday weekend is a good time to set fingers to keyboard and get that writing mojo flowing.

Let the revels begin.

New York, Day 6

Baby Juice GlassesFriday was our last day. Our plane left in late afternoon, and hotel checkout wasn’t required until noon, so we dilly-dallied around in the morning, taking a subway ride down to 72nd Street to (a) find an ATM for our bank and (b) find breakfast.

Breakfast was at Utopia Restaurant on Amsterdam. It was delicious.  Please notice the tiny baby juice glasses. We were served juice in these itty bitty plastic tumblers everywhere we went for breakfast. They’re just so cute!  Then we wandered up and down the street for a while in search of our bank.  Turns out the ATM wasn’t at a bank branch at all, but inside a Duane Reade store.

These stores are ubiquitous in Manhattan. I had never heard of them before we arrived, but it seemed like every time we turned around, we saw one. They were quite handy, though. I had accidentally left my reading glasses at home, so Day 1 found us inside the store across the street from our hotel buying new reading glasses and bottled water for our long walk down to Times Square.  And we were in and out of the store for in-room snacks and more bottled water throughout the week.  (That Google image above is interactive, by the way.  You can move it around to see the neighborhood surrounding our hotel.)

Dinos Pack Themselves 1In case you were wondering, we left the dinosaurs back in the hotel room for this little excursion. They did most of the packing while we were gone. Very efficient, those dinosaurs.  We finished up what was left, and called the bellman to come take our luggage downstairs.

Did I mention that our hotel didn’t have an elevator?  And we were on the fourth floor?  Yes, Virginia, that does mean that every single day, after wearing ourselves to the bone walking around playing tourist, we had to drag our tired carcasses up four flights of stairs to our room.  Four narrow flights of stairs, at that.  It also means that the bellman was allowed the privilege of carrying both suitcases, one of them massive, up and down those narrow flights of stairs.  Don’t worry, he was tipped well.

Since our flight didn’t leave until 6:00 PM, we were going to check out but leave the luggage at the hotel while we wandered around some more, and then take Uber to the airport in mid-afternoon, but the bellman told us we could catch a bus just a couple of blocks up the street that would take us directly to our terminal, and we could use our subway transit passes to pay for it.  He checked the schedule for us, and the next bus to LaGuardia left in about 30 minutes.  After a brief consult — “Do you want to see anything else?”  “No, not really, I’m kind of tired of walking around and looking at stuff.” — we decided we were really tired of Manhattan and were ready to get started on our outbound trip.  So we dragged our luggage up to 106th Street and caught the bus.

Said bus took us through Harlem, right past the Apollo and other landmarks.  I didn’t have my camera or my phone out, so we didn’t catch any photos as we drove through.  Here’s another interactive Google image, though.

We got to the airport about five hours ahead of our flight, so we wandered around, ate lunch, read, played on our phones, and killed time chitchatting while we waited for our plane to board. The flight back to Atlanta was uneventful, as was picking up our car from long-term parking and making the Back to the Jungle 2short drive home. One of the advantages of living in a major metro area like the ATL is we’re less than 20 minutes away from the airport. Still, we were exhausted when we arrived at the house and went straight to bed.

The next morning, while we picked up the critters from the kennel (that was a shock to the wallet), the dinosaurs headed back into the jungle, there to await their next trip. So long, dinos; we’ll see you again soon, I hope.

People have asked me what was the best part of this trip.  Naturally, seeing all the things in person that I had only ever seen in photographs or movies or TV ranks really high, but truly, the best part was spending an entire week doing stuff with my husband and remembering that, not only do I love him, I really truly do like him.  Here’s to many more anniversary trips, honey.  I love you bunches.

New York, Day 5

Me in HarlemThursday was our last full day in New York. Being tired of waiting in lines for things, this was the day we planned to hit some of the little spots we wanted to see. First thing after breakfast, we took the subway to the nearest store of the chain that employs my husband. He wanted to take a look at how it was laid out for comparison’s sake, and he wanted to be able to tell his employees he saw the Big Apple version. Said store happened to be in Harlem.

Said store was really no different than spouse’s store.  I bought a little sunhat because we were going to be outdoors most of the day, and the top of my head was already sunburnt and tender from our long walk on Day 1 and the Statue of Liberty tour on Day 2.  Note to self: remember to take a hat next time you plan to play tourist outdoors.

Knitty CityWe headed back to the Upper West Side next, and found the yarn store.  Stop shaking your head.  Of course I had to visit a New York yarn store!  This was Knitty City on 79th Street, and it was a perfectly lovely shop, with a helpful and friendly staff.  The dinosaurs browsed while Kathi and I chatted; I wanted to buy local yarn, and she showed me several Project Bags 2options.  I walked away with two skeins of hand-dyed Chelsea Sock (Yellow, Chrysanthemum) from the local Nooch Fiber, which is 80% superwash Merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon; and one skein of a MadTosh Merino Light colorway (Urban Flagstone) dyed exclusively for this shop.  Also in my cool shopping-cum-project bag was another project bag, and three pattern books (the Interpretations series, Volumes 1-3) from two designers (Joji Locatelli and Veera Välimäki) I’d never heard of but fell madly in love with their work.

InterpretationsThese books are chock full of elegant (in all meanings, but especially the scientific sense of “gracefully concise and simple”) designs for cardigans, pullovers, and accessories, with clean lines and uncomplicated silhouettes, with careful attention paid to details like cables or lace or colorwork, and all beautiful and eminently wearable. It looks like this is an annual series, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for Volume IV, which I expect will be released sometime in 2017.

Oh, before I forget, here are the yarn-browsing dinosaurs.

Dinos Buy Yarn 2

NYPL and MeNext on our list was the New York Public Library: specifically the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch.  The dinosaurs and I had a hankering to visit the lions, Patience and Fortitude.  By this time, spouse and I were getting pretty good at figuring out which trains and subway stops we needed, so we made our way to Bryant Park and had lunch al fresco.

Have I mentioned the weather was absolutely spectacular that entire week?  It was no different Thursday.  I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the shade, eating a sandwich and fruit from one of the park vendors, watching the passersby, and enjoying the fragrance of the flowers.  The park was crowded like everywhere we’d been, but enjoyable nonetheless.  Even with the crowds, it was relaxing to sit and commune with a little bit of greenery in the midst of all that concrete and steel.

Dinos Visit the Lions 2

After we finished our meal, we wandered around the park and eventually made our way to the front of the library.  And there they were, the great stone lions.  These lions have fascinated me for ages.  I once read a fantasy/SF novel — can’t remember the name; in fact, the following tidbit is the only detail I remember of the novel — that took place in a devastated future New York, in which the lions had come to life and prowled the city, doing no harm, of course, but acting as protectors of the downtrodden and weak. So that’s how I think of them, always.

Spouse took my photo with Fortitude, on the north edge of the steps.  (Patience lives on the south edge.)  The dinos had their photo taken too.

Next stop was Tender Buttons, the button store on the Upper East Side that I told you about in this Work In Progress Wednesday post a couple of weeks ago.  Spouse is a tolerant man, but his tolerance extends only so far, and he’d already borne through an extended yarn shop visit this day; thus I didn’t spend nearly as much time in this little shop as I would have done had I been by myself.  I saw enough to know I want to go back there every time I need buttons.  Sadly, that’s not feasible.

Wall StreetOur last stop of the day (nyuk, nyuk, get it?) was Wall Street.  This was especially for spouse.  Long ago, in another life, before he took up retail management as a career, he worked for an investment firm where he guided his clients’ purchases of equities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and so forth.  He doesn’t really miss that rat race but he has some fond memories.  That being the case, he wanted to make a pilgrimage to the New York Stock Exchange.  And here he is, in his Master of the Universe pose.

Master of the Universe 3

Isn’t he the cutest?   We saw the bull, too, because it would be un-American to go to Wall Street and not pay homage to the bull.

Bull on Wall Street 2

After all these adventures, we were plumb tuckered out and went back to the hotel to crash.  Later we realized we hadn’t taken ourselves out to a fancy dinner for our anniversary, so spouse found a little Italian restaurant within easy walking distance of the hotel, and that’s where we went.  La Piccola Cucina is tiny, maybe ten tables at most; the atmosphere was calm and soothing with lovely instrumental music playing at a just-right volume over the speakers; our server was attentive but not hovering; and the food was divine.

One more day for this New York adventure.  Stay tuned.

 

 

New York, Day 4

We spent our anniversary visiting the Museum of Modern Art.

The subway trip to MOMA was more involved than all the previous subway trips we had undertaken by ourselves. We had to change trains twice, I think, to get to the right stop.  And then we nearly walked right by the museum because the exterior didn’t look anything like what we expected.

Dinos and Degas

Dinos admire a Degas sketch.

First stop was the Degas exhibit, A Strange New Beauty.  Be advised that link will probably only be good through the end of the exhibit on July 24, 2016, so I’m going to steal the website copy that describes the exhibit:

Edgar Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet, yet his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless experimentation. In the mid-1870s, Degas was introduced to the monotype process—drawing in ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print. Captivated by the monotype’s potential, he immersed in the technique with enormous enthusiasm, taking the medium to radical ends. He expanded the possibilities of drawing, created surfaces with a heightened sense of tactility, and invented new means for new subjects, from dancers in motion to the radiance of electric light, from women in intimate settings to meteorological effects in nature. The monotype also sparked a host of experiments for Degas, who often used the medium as a starting point from which an image could be reworked and revised. This process of repetition and transformation, mirroring and reversal, allowed Degas to extend his approach to the study of form. The profound impact of his work with monotype can be seen in his variations in different mediums of key motifs, revealing a new kind of artwork that was less about progress or completion than endless innovation.

The exhibition includes approximately 120 rarely seen monotypes—along with some 60 related paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints—that show Degas at his most modern, capturing the spirit of urban life; depicting the body in new and daring ways; liberating mark-making from tradition; and boldly engaging the possibilities of abstraction.

I loved this exhibit’s insight into Degas’s process, working out his art in multiple forms and media before committing to paint and canvas.

Dinos View The Starry Night

Dinos admire “The Starry Night” while dino wrangler cries.

We then wandered through most of the permanent collection.  I had my eye out for The Starry Night, and when I finally saw it, hanging on a feature wall all by itself, I squealed:  “There it is, there it is!” and ran, I mean literally ran, to stand in front of it.  And I cried.  Of course, I knew I would because this has been my favorite painting for nearly 40 years; seeing it in person was an intensely emotional experience.

True confession: I got all misty again, just looking at the photo I took. Reproductions don’t do it justice. The actual painting is incredible: vibrant, glowing, pulsing with color. It’s alive. It positively sparkles.

Persistence of MemorySpouse had nearly the same reaction to his favorite painting, The Persistence of Memory.  It’s behind glass: you can just barely see spouse framing the photograph in the reflection, with the rest of the gallery behind him. “Persistence”‘s reputation looms so large, I was surprised at how tiny the actual painting is: barely larger than a standard sheet of typing paper.

MOMA Jaguar 3Spouse also fell in love with the 1961 Jaguar displayed in the sculpture gallery.

Yeah.  That’s an awfully pretty piece of machinery.  And it had its own guard making sure no one stepped over that perimeter line marked on the floor.

MOMA has so many artists whose works I admire but had only ever seen in books: Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso, Mondrian, Monet, Modigliani, Rousseau, so much more…

I could have spent all day here, because there’s so much to see, but spouse can tolerate paintings and sculpture and modern design and multi-media exhibits for only just so long.  After three or four hours, he was done.  So we made our way back to Times Square because we had noticed a couple of other exhibits at the Discovery Museum down there that spouse wanted to see and to which our GoPass granted entry.

Dinos and Tai Chi ManThe first was Body Worlds, a fascinating display of anatomy, functionality, and the sheer beauty of the human form, stripped down, literally, to its barest essence.  I don’t recommend this exhibit if you’re squeamish about body parts or nudity, but if that doesn’t bother you and you’re at all curious in how all our moving parts work together, this is absolutely a must-see.  I’m posting only one photograph in case there are some squeamish readers.  Just scroll past quickly.  Or not.

We Come From the Land of the Ice and SnowThe second exhibit we saw, at the same museum, was Vikings.  Wow. The first thing to greet you when you walk through the door is a replica of a Viking longboat.  It’s spectacular. The rest of the exhibit is equally gorgeous: tools, clothing, jewelry, weapons — most of them the actual items, with just a few replicas because the originals are so precious or rare that they can’t be risked on public display — along with some interactive displays, like handling a replica sword, and lots of dioramas (I believe they were stills from The Vikings TV show on Discovery‘s sister channel, History) and information stations discussing religion, village life, exploration, all manner of cultural and sociological background.  It’s a niche exhibit, just right for a history and archaeology nerd like me.  Highly recommended.

As can be expected, we were exhausted by the end of the day and didn’t manage to go out for our fancy anniversary dinner that evening.  But we and the dinosaurs tried out several eating spots throughout the day.  Just a couple more pictures and we’ll call this one done.

There’s one more full day to tell you about.  Stay tuned.

New York, Day 3

Today the dinosaurs wanted to go to the Natural History Museum.  Luckily, we were in agreement with this agenda.

Metro Ticket 1

The object of all this intrigue.

But first, the rest of the subway story…

After breakfast, we headed down into the 103rd & Broadway station to catch the train.  As we went through the turnstile, we noticed our “friend” from yesterday doing the same fast-talking hustle-’em-through-the turnstile act with another couple.  Spouse told the couple as we walked by, “It’s a scam.  Walk away.”

“What?” they said, because they didn’t hear him over TicketScammerGuy’s patter.  Spouse repeated himself, louder.  “Oh! Thanks!”  They glare at TicketScammerGuy and walk away. TicketScammerGuy calls after us and threatens to shove his fist into spouse’s face.  We ignore him and start down the stairs to the train platform; then suddenly spouse turns around and walks straight to the station agent’s booth.  She’s facing the other way — her window opens into the “lobby” area, before patrons go through the turnstile.  He taps on the window until he gets her attention, and points out TicketScammerGuy , who by this time had taken up his position next to the MetroPass vending machine to await his next victim.

Dinos in TR Park (2)“He’s running a scam.”  Station agent looks puzzled.  Spouse describes him:  “That guy over there in the striped shirt and ball cap; he’s running a scam.” She looks over her shoulder in the direction spouse is pointing and enlightenment dawns.  I think she’s familiar with him.

“Thank you,” she says, and she set her jaw with a determined expression.  “We’ll take care of this.”

We never saw TicketScammerGuy again.

*cue ominous music*

Now, in reality we expect TicketScammerGuy took his show down the road to another subway stop, but it’s tempting to indulge in those New York City transit system stereotypes (read: Teamsters/union thugs/organized crime) (yes, I’ve seen too damn many film noir flicks) and think he was “taken care of” in a more, um, permanent fashion. Regardless of the true circumstances of his sudden absence, he no longer disturbed the patrons of the 103rd and Broadway station.

Hunting for Relatives Address 2Our subway stop for the American Museum of Natural History was at 79th Street, and then we walked a few blocks east, toward Central Park. (Sadly, this is the closest we got to spending time in Central Park during the whole week.)  The museum is nestled at the edge of Central Park, and we went through Theodore Roosevelt Park to get to the entrance.

I’ve mentioned the weather was perfect this whole week, yes?  Oh my gosh.  Mid-70s, mostly, with a hint of a breeze, and blue blue skies every day.  Just amazingly beautiful.

Once in the museum, we wandered around the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians for a while — indigenous textiles fascinate me; the woven capes and clothing were incredible; I only wish I could have touched them — then made our way to the café for a snack and a chance to take a thorough look at the map of the museum.

The dinos, of course, were looking for their relatives’ house.  According to the map, their relatives lived on the fourth floor; we decided to start there and work our way down.

Pictures galore follow.

Found Em 2

May we come in?

Not Much Room for Brains

So, cousin, not much room for brains, huh?

Natural History 5

This guy.  Not a good guy.

Natural History 4

I enter the picture unexpectedly.

Might Be Mom

Mom, is that you?

Natural History 3

Did you know these skeletons are usually plaster casts of the actual bones?  Because the fossilized bones themselves would be much too heavy to articulate and display.

Natural History 2

These creatures amaze me.

Family Tree

Found the family tree.

Natural History 13

More amazement.

Might Be Dad

Dad?

We also went into the special “Dinosaurs Among Us” exhibit, which tells the story of the latest innovation in evolutionary thinking: how dinosaurs became birds. It’s fascinating.  Look at these three photos together.

A quick stop for refreshment:

Dinos Stop for Refreshment

And then we headed downstairs and cruised the other floors.  True confession:  I bypassed several of the halls on each floor because my ankles were starting to hurt.  By the time we got back to the first floor, I was dog tired and my ankles were in agony, so I crashed out on the floor next to an outlet in one of the halls to charge my phone while spouse cruised the North American Mammals exhibit.  A passing security guard just grinned at me as I huddled up in the corner on the floor with my charger.

We had theater tickets that evening.  After taking a brief nap at the hotel, we changed into our theatre duds and hit the town once more.

Book of Mormon

Oh. My. Gosh.  The Book of Mormon might be the funniest thing I’ve seen in my life.  Definitely not family friendly, but side-splittingly hilarious.  The Eugene O’Neill Theatre is gorgeous;

Eugene O'Neill Theatre 3

the set was amazing;

Eugene O'Neill Theatre 4

and our seats were perfect. (Yes, we splurged.  Yes, it was worth it.)

And yes, there’s still more to come.

New York, Day 2

Dinos Have CoffeeOur week in New York, continued….

We woke up fairly early — not surprising, considering we had crashed at 6:30 the previous evening — and got ready to head out on the town.  The Statue of Liberty was our destination and purpose on this day.  But our first adventure was discovering I did not pack a hairbrush with which to blow-dry my hair.  You’ll see the results of finger-combed blow-drying in the photos.  We walked a couple of blocks and found a different diner for breakfast.  This one was equally good, and we alternated between the two the rest of the week.  (Yesterday’s breakfast was at The Metro; today’s was at The Broadway.  Spouse recommends the corned beef hash at either.)

Dinos on the Subway 3Then it was time to tackle the subway.  And here’s where we confess we got hustled.  *hangs head in shame*  Spouse and I were standing in front of the ticket dispenser, reading the instructions and discussing whether we wanted to buy a multi-day pass rather than trips when some fast-talking guy jumps up and starts pushing buttons and the next thing we knew we were through the turnstile holding tickets in our hands and handing him $60 cash.  I mean it was literally nearly that fast.  (Yes, we should have known better, but just hold on, there’s more to this story.)

Despite our misgivings, we and the dinosaurs took the train to Battery Park, where we picked up our GoNewYorkCard tickets for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  While we were standing in line, I took a few photos of the skyline surrounding us.

It was a beautiful day.

Next we stood in line for the ferry.  Our dinosaurs are very good at standing in line.  And they were well-behaved while riding the ferry, as well.

The ride out was splendid.  We rode on top of the ferry so we could see everything.  We looked back toward the city:

On the Ferry

We looked ahead toward the Lady:

Approaching the Lady 1

The dinosaurs were especially excited to see her:

Dinos Looking for the Lady 3

After disembarking, we wandered all over Liberty Island.  Tickets to get into the pedestal or climb up to the lamp were sold out, so we stayed outside and took lots of photos.  Here are a few:

Me and The Lady 2

Remember what I said earlier about finger-combing and blow-drying?  Yeah.  This was taken while we were still on the ferry, so we’ve got windblown as well.  Not a good look.  Let’s look at something more beautiful instead.

The Lady 2

She’s gorgeous. And she moved me to tears.

Spouse and the Lady

Spouse and the Lady

Dinos View the Lady 1

Dinos and the Lady

Me and the Lady

Me and the Lady

The view toward the city was spectacular, too.

The City and Me 1

Even the dinosaurs loved it.

Dinos View the City 3

Somewhere, Ray Harryhausen is smiling.

Dinos Grab a SliceAfter a couple of hours on Liberty Island, we were whipped, sunburnt, and hungry, so we caught the ferry back. Neither spouse nor I were particularly interested in Ellis Island, so we skipped that part of the tour.  (I mentioned whipped, sunburnt, and hungry, right?)  At the Battery Park subway station, we tried to use our tickets again; and  we confirmed our suspicions that we had been taken earlier.  So we bought the multi-day passes we had originally intended to buy and caught the train back to Times Square where we grabbed a slice.

After taking the edge off our appetite, we went back to the hotel once more to get some rest before dinner; we had made arrangements for one of my internet friends who lives in New York to join us.  I was a little nervous about this because, although this woman and I had been internet buddies since 2002, and had even talked on the phone once or twice over the years, we had never met in person.  Ever.  I know that’s not unusual in the internet age, but it still feels strange to say that some of my best friends are people I’ve never actually met.

Mural in Penn Station (2)At the appointed hour, Annie arrived.  The restaurant near the hotel where we had thought to have dinner was unexpectedly closed, so we followed her lead on the subway and went on a little adventure.  We took a walk through Columbus Circle, wandered through Penn Station (where I shot this gorgeous Art Deco mural), caught this train and that train, and wound up in Korea Town somewhere around 37th Street.

Dinos Try OctopusI tried bibimbap for the first time. The dinos tried octopus. I think they liked the octopus better than I liked the bibimbap, but one must try new things or one’s horizons remain forever narrow.

Angela and Annie 2And, yes, spouse was kind enough to take a photo of Annie and me.

Isn’t she beautiful?  I love her.

After dinner, Annie got us headed back to the right train, and we called it a night.

Whew.  We, and the dinosaurs, were exhausted.  Once back at the hotel, we turned in and were quickly asleep.  Tomorrow would be another busy day!

Dinos Hit the Hay

Sweet dreams, little dinos.

Oh, by the way, we’re not done with the subway ticket story yet.  Stay tuned.

 

New York, Day 1

Dinos 5Spouse and I took the dinosaurs and went to New York for our anniversary.

“Wait,” you say, “took the dinosaurs?”

Yep.  Because dinosaurs need vacation too.

Okay, this all came about because I ran across a Facebook photo of two plastic dinosaurs looking out the window of an airplane, captioned: “Vacation is more fun with dinosaurs.”  Yes, thought I, vacation is more fun with dinosaurs.  So I called them out of the jungle that is our yard (you can see them here, climbing the steps into the house), threw them into my carry-on bag, and away we went.

They were such good dinosaurs, too.  They patiently waited in line for the security check-in.  They sat quietly in their seat for the plane ride.  They helped us get our luggage off the carousel once we arrived at La Guardia.  They suffered quietly in my handbag during the madcap taxi ride from the airport to the hotel.  (Everything they tell you about New York cab drivers is the absolute truth.)

Dinos 11Once we got to the hotel, the dinos inspected the lobby for us.  We arrived well ahead of check in time due to our 6 AM flight out of Atlanta, so the hotel kindly agreed to store our luggage for us until later in the day, and we set out to find some food.

About three blocks down the street from the hotel, we found a little diner and had ourselves a late breakfast.  Over our meal, we discussed what to do with the rest of the day.  We were booked on a bus tour at 4:00 that afternoon, and had nearly six hours to kill.  Out came the little map of Manhattan the hotel thoughtfully provided us.  The place where we needed to board the bus tour was at 43rd and Broadway.  We were currently at 103rd and Broadway.  “Hey,” we thought.  “We have so much time to kill; let’s just walk down there and see the city along the way!”

Native New Yorker

The native New Yorker, back in New York.

Famous. Last. Words.

Thirty blocks later, I was tired.  By the time we reached Times Square, I was dead tired.  After wandering around Times Square and the theatre district for several hours, I was ready to kill something. But I persevered, and more than once just insisted that I needed to sit down to rest, so we made it through until it was time for our tour.

The Tour was fun.  It led by a personable tour guide who told horrible cheesy jokes, and bantered back and forth with the bus.  Yes. The bus. It was a “talking bus”, meaning it had a couple of dozen canned responses that an operator pulled up in response to things the tour guide said. Hokey as it could possibly be, but enjoyable.  We toured mainly in lower Manhattan and had various sights pointed out to us, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Columbus Circle (which we had already walked through), and lots more.  It helped us figure out where things were that we wanted to see AND got us off our feet for a couple of hours.

Me and Daniel

Be still, my heart.

After the bus tour, we wandered around Times Square a little more, found some food, and ran into Daniel Craig outside the Wax Museum.  I had my picture taken with him.  I even held his hand.  (I can die happy now.)

By then, though, I was utterly worn out, and spouse said, “Why don’t we take the subway back?”

“Honey, I am way too exhausted to even think about learning to navigate the subway today.”

So we acted like we were guests of one of the hotels near Times Square and had a bellman hail us a cab.  Back we went to the Upper West Side and our real hotel, where we collected our luggage, checked in, and collapsed on the bed in our room at 6:30 PM and didn’t move until the next morning.  We didn’t even eat dinner.

 (More New York adventures and pictures to come.  Stay tuned!)