Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Come on Irene!

Sorry for the title. I refrained from using that phrase all weekend but now, I had to let it out!  As all those of you who don't live in a hole in the ground know, the east coast was hit with a nasty hurricane this past weekend.  New York City was a projected Irene target so the city went through drastic measures to prepare.  

Our hospital was evacuated (first time ever!) on Friday because it was in a projected flood zone, and of course, I worked.  It was a war zone! I was amazed to see nurses, social workers, case managers, doctors and nursing leadership working together so well to evacuate over 200 patients in 36 hours (this doesn't even include discharges to home!)  I was proud to work at a place with such cooperation and care for its patients.  I went to the grocery store after work on Friday for some rations and thought the apocalypse was about to hit.  Fairway (on 74th and Broadway) was packed and they were sold out of essentials such as bananas and loafs of bread!  I'm surprised I got out of there without getting into a physical altercation due to stress level.  Last, the subway system shut down at noon on Saturday (although storm wasn't supposed to hit us until the evening and actually came the next AM instead.) We were stuck in Washington Heights so we hunkered down for the storm.

Scott and I stayed indoors from Saturday AM to Sunday afternoon.  Hurricane Irene largely missed Manhattan (though parts of Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, Jersey and upstate NY are suffering greatly because of it!)  We were lucky.  Scott and I got some quality indoor time to binge eat (apparently I am not good a rationing) and enjoy each others company.  Here are some pics of the weekend.

Battle station! Scrabble, Internet, ginger snaps and white grape juice.  We're set!

Me and our one flashlight.  Apparently we were set if electricity went out because our building has solar panels. We were incredibly prepared nonetheless.

I think I watched more hours of TV over the weekend than I had in years.  We were addicted and sick of Hurricane Irene news at the same time.

I lied. We went outside once on Saturday night.  Scott braved the rain but wasn't particularly impressed.

Irene brownies. Bad idea. They were mostly gone by Sunday.

Had to capture this scrabble board because I won! (I never beat Scott at anything.)  However, apparently "Ya" isn't a word so this win may be up for debate. Scott did allow the he may be to blame for his loss.

Sunday-Funday-Windday!  Hard to capture the wind on camera but it was a windy day when we finally ventured out Sunday afternoon.  The cooler air was a nice change to the freakishly humid weather we've had this summer.

We survived captivity and are still smiling. Hurray!

This is how Scott said he felt after eating so much this weekend.

Puddle and falling tree branch (twig?) behind are extent of Washington Height's damage.  We can't complain!
This was an excellent test of out ability to withstand isolating weather events in the future! Let's hope we don't have to do it again for a long time!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer Happenings, Part I

Hey all,
While I thought it'd been longer since I last posted, I guess 2.5 months is probably a bit too long of an absence from the blog.  I've got a stock pile of pics to share with you and probably 5-10 book reviews to do.  Oops.   I have been busy adjusting to life on my new floor which I am really enjoying.  Switching from a cardiology unit to a medicine/oncology unit was a great move for me.  I love the variety and I am really enjoying the people I work with.  It is just a better fit.  And no more night shifts is really helping my mood!

Anyways, here are some things that I would like to share that have taken place this summer...

Baby fever....
Julia had a baby shower in May...
Julia (8 months pregnant), Karen (4 months pregnant), Lauren (not pregnant!)

And had a baby boy on June 18th!

Samuel Beto Vaca is as sweet as can be!
Scott took part in Boomerang Theatre Company's Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park.
Here he is as the Sexton.  He did an awesome job!!

And worked with some funny funny people.
(Edward Carnevale, Scott Witebsky, Colby Chambers, Severin Anne Mason)

Mike and Natalie even came in to surprise Scott and see his show!  What sweet kids (soon to be married in October!).

Old friend....
My friend Brad moved to the city and we have enjoyed many New York treats
including Shake Shack and 16 Handles frozen yogurt. (Yummo).  Here we are at the Cloisters.

Short trip....
Scott and I took a road trip to the Lake George area in the Adirondacks for a little R&R. Here I am driving with my eyes closed! (Ok, camera happened to catch me with my eyes closed, I swear I'm not this risky.)

Scott wastes money...I mean spends money...on a lotto ticket.  We didn't win lotto.

One of many mini-golf places in the Lake George area that are only open one day per week. Considering we were there Sunday-Monday, this did us no good.

Our Bed and Breakfast- the Cornerstone Victorian!  This is a lovely little gem in Warrensburg, NY.  The decor was a bit too old fashioned for me but it was still a lovely place to stay, friendly hosts and amazing food!
This bed and breakfast was adorable!

Its true.

I'm not especially good at taking full-room shots, but here is a beautiful Tempur-Pedic bed.  If I remembered what number I used, I'd tell you.

Ramshackle little chapel near Lake George.

We had dinner at George's, a steak place that ended up being way more expensive than we wanted it to be...and had an affinity for taxidermy.
But a good experience none-the-less.
More summer fun to come!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Rating: 4/5 stars
Oh Stieg, how will I ever survive without you?  Just finished the last installment of the Millennium series and am sad that Stieg had to die so young and without finishing his series.  (I believe there were supposed to be a total of 10 books).  How will I survive without Lisbeth, one of my favorite characters in modern literature?  Where will I find comfort reading about cheese sandwiches and endless pots of coffee?  Who else will fight for justice in Sweden if Mikael Blomkvist is no longer?

Despite my sadness, the third book in this series was great (I personally loved #1 and #3 and am the odd ball for not liking #2 as much as mentioned in previous review, has to do with my protectiveness over Lisbeth.)  It gets to the heart a corrupt sector of a federal police organization in Sweden and we learn how and why Lisbeth was been so mistreated.  But will she get justice after having been wronged?  What will happen with her and Mikael?  Mikael and Erica? (Erica leaves Millennium for a bigger press and gains a stalker in this novel.)  What about Lisbeth's brother (the giant Niedermann who can feel no pain.)?

Great literature doesn't always provide the answers.  In fact, the best books make us develop our own conclusions, and Larsson's untimely death forces this upon us as well.  The Millennium series introduced Americans (and the world) to Swedish literature, Swedish politics and a great suspense writer.  It has made its mark in literary history, and the world lost a special author when Larsson passed at the young age of 50.  Let's hope that the American movie series lives up to the books.  Lisbeth Salander, I will miss you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Visit from the In-Laws!

Last weekend, Scott's parents, Judy and Steve, visited us from Mn!  As arts-lovers themselves, we always find ways to have fun and this time we saw two plays (both Tony nominated I should add.)

Scott, Me, Judy & Steve @ Mel's Burger Bar on W110th Street. (Great shakes!)

The first show we saw was War Horse, a huge hit of a play that started in London and involves some of the most amazing puppetry I've ever seen.  (See the Lincoln Center Theater link below.)  Another perk of seeing the show?  One of Scott's former classmates (and friend) from Temple University is in it. Austin Durant plays Chapman Carter and Manfred in the production and audience members will be stunned by his powerful voice and the fact that he's only 27 years old.  Needless to say, the show was incredible, and I would recommend it to anyone.  Excellent use of theatrical devices.

Lincoln Center Theater : Media Player

The second play we saw was much more light-hearted.  The Book of Mormon (a musical) was written by the creators of South Park (a show I don't especially like).  It was good to get away from their known characters on South Park and see how funny these writers really are!  The show does take quite the jab at Mormons, as it does at Catholics and Jews and...basically everyone.  But I think the message is good.  And the show is hilarious.  What surprised me the most is how catchy the songs are! This is definitely an album I will be buying. And good news: The show plans to tour so get your tickets soon because they WILL sell out.

The rest of the weekend was spent dining and shopping in SoHo. (Oh darn ;) ).  We visited a store that is a huge favorite of Judy's called Versani which features handcrafted, beautiful jewelry.  I was spoiled a bit and Steve, Judy and Scott all chipped in to buy me some one-of-a-kind wood embedded hoop earrings.  They are awesome.

Looking forward to spending more time with Judy and Steve when I visit Minnesota at the end of June!  It was nice to be able to share "our city" with them!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Psycho

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Scott has been bugging me to review this book online since I finished, but I've had such a crazy work schedule that I managed to develop a sinus infection and further put off my review writing.  But now that I have  a breather (....get it...breather?...nevermind), and the Nasonex/Astepro are starting to work, I shall share my thoughts on this controversial novel.

I mentioned after finishing Pillars of the Earth that I needed a lighter read, mainly physically, so I picked up American Psycho- paper back, 399 pages.  Yes, I had seen parts of the disturbing movie. Yes, I knew the book was about a deluded rich-boy serial killer, but even that didn't prepare me for what this book had in store.

The book, in a word, is genius (no, this does not mean I sympathize with serial killers or any other killer for that matter).  But Patrick Bateman's narration is incredible, whether it's describing a designer outfit (never forgetting even the slightest name-brand detail) or a dinner (which ALWAYS includes an appetitzer and an entree, no questions), you are sucked into his warped world of stature and luxury.  It takes a while for details of the killings to start to take place.  You, the reader, are being wined and dined, learning men's dress etiquette, and even reading a full chapter on Patrick's adoration of U2.  Interesting enough, you learn very little detail of Patrick's job on Wall Street except for the fact that he makes boat loads for doing close to nothing.

Patrick glazes over his nasty little habit (about which he does not appear to feel the least bit remorseful) until maybe halfway through the book when you finally see what a monster Patrick really is.  There are gruesome details that the average human could not even imagine until Bret Easton Ellis puts them on the page.  (Kind of makes you wonder where he came up with all of these ideas.)  There are more and more stomach churning scenes (prostitutes, dates, coworkers, etc are killed) and about 3/4 of the way through the book I started thinking enough!  Too much!  This is just blatant, over-the-top, in-your-face violence towards innocent(?) individuals, and I've read it once and I get it.  He's psycho.  But you keep reading, and you're glad you do because you further watch Patrick unravel until you're unsure the line between reality and imagination, real life and fantasy.

Patrick is one of the most amazing narrators in the history of American fiction.  Part of you likes him, even though he is so obviously a huge asshole to others.  You can almost see the faintest shimmer of goodness in him, especially in regards to his relationship with his secretary, Jean.  And then you're reminded that he tortures small animals for fun, eats human body parts (after having sex with them), and has a more grotesque imagination than I ever believed possible.

This book is not for the faint of heart.  But to search the depths of such a mentally deranged narrator's mind and to be entertained, even to laugh out loud at many passages, leaves you feeling guilty and intrigued at the same mind.  Plus, I can never turn down a book about luxury New York life in the '80s.  Steer clear of the Bolivian Marching Powder, but if you have the guts, pick up this book.  It will blow you away (if you make it through...).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 4th, 1973

On May 4th, 1973, my parents tied the knot and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish them a Happy Anniversary!!  By the way, 38 years?? You guys are old! (wink wink.)  Love you!

Alex & Karen 


Warning: Long Rambling Post

Many of you will notice that there is not a blog count on the top of this post, nor was there one on my latest book review. That's right friends. No more counting. No more racking my brain to post something everyday when my life just isn't quite that interesting. This is all part of the Lauren Needs to Put Less Pressure on Herself movement. That being said, a good thing that the 365 Blog Challenge did do is jumpstart my blogging again, which is good enough for me!

I also have other news, this news in the job front. Many of you know that I will be switching as of June 6th to an Oncology/Geriatric unit on the day shift (THANK GOD). But I thought I'd share some reasoning behind it. When Scott and I returned from our cruise, I was so relaxed and in such a good place. Going back to work, particularly three-in-row on a very heavy unit (meaning our unit at this time had very sick patients) was a nightmare. I hated being there at night. I felt like a couple patients (re:leeches?) were sucking out my soul. I knew I needed a change.

I started thinking about where I saw myself in nursing in the future, what type of environment would make me happy. I knew early on that I couldn't be a bedside nurse my entire life, but I'm not ready to go back for my masters because I don't know that I want to be an NP or CNS either. I obviously have interests other than nursing that I'd like to pursue, that seem to balance me. At the same time, I haven't given up completely on getting something out of nursing and having it sustain me for many years.

Then something happened. Scott got an abnormal lab result back from the immunologist for which we were sent to a hematologist/oncologist for a follow-up. We feared that if this result was accurate, Scott may have a form of leukemia and that thought scared the hell out of me. Here we are, newly married, very happy together, and to have my life partner taken away so early would be my worst nightmare. We visited the cancer center affiliated with my hospital, the labs were repeated and it turned out the first lab was just a fluke due to an impending infection and Scott got a clean bill of health. We were so relieved, and I started thinking, maybe this all just happened to lead me into oncology. I remember visiting my dad's outpatient chemo center a few years back and thinking at the time it may be a little mundane, but now I think outpatient chemo is a goal for me. It is challenging, you're dealing with dangerous chemicals that could result in a variety of reactions and treating patients with a variety of cancer types. I also think that while I'm not thick skinned, I do have an inner strength that may be perfectly suited to deal with the realities of cancer and to help people cope with their disease.

I'm not kidding myself. There is a possibility that oncology won't be the right fit. That's part of the reason I am on the oncology overflow/geriatric unit. The nurse recruiter and I decided if it's too emotionally intense, at least I won't be stuck on a unit where that's all there is all day every day. So he sent me to meet with the nurse manager of this onc/geri unit, and turns out she was excited to meet me because we both went to Columbia for our nursing degrees.

Did I mention that after meeting with the nurse recruiter, I got pooped on by a bird? I am taking it as some sort of sign. A days position just happened to be available on the unit so my prayers were answered! Another great part? I'll be working with my friend Jill and another Columbia grad, Stefanie on my shift. Things are looking up. Just 15 night shifts left to go (including 5 in the next 6 days, shoot me). Here's to the home stretch!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pillars of the Earth

Rating: 4/5 stars
By now, most of you know how I feel if it takes me more than two weeks to finish a book.  It's upsetting to me.  Scott and I have such an abundance of books to read (blame it mostly on Goodreads Swap) that I feel guilty spending so much time on one.  That being said, Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth is worth reading!  (It is in fact on my mom's top 10 which is saying something.)  While it's not a quick read, nor is it a difficult read.  What might make people put the book down is the extensive amount of details, especially architectural details as the book centers around the building of a cathedral in the medieval England.

This almost 1000 page book (which took me 2 weeks and 5 days to read) spans the years 1123-1174 and revolves, as mentioned, around the building of a cathedral at Kingsbridge Priory, home of the Kingsbridge brotherhood of monks.  In the beginning of the novel, the priory is in decay, being lead by declining and disorganized prior.  Shortly, the prior is taken over by young Prior Phillip, though not without cost.  When the failing priory's cathedral burns to the ground in an "accident", Phillip thinks all is lost.  But Tom the builder and his family save the day as Tom fulfills his dream of designing and working on a grand cathedral with his son, Alfred, and step-son, Jack.  Other characters play significant rolls as well.  What epic novel is complete without a conniving villain or two? In this case, Bishop Waleran and William Hamleigh who are powerful men of England and try everything to prevent the building of the castle and in William's case, the happiness of his former wife-to-be, Aliena (daughter of the captured Earl of Shiring).  English politics weave into the mix to make for a great historical novel and a good read.

Long story short, read this book if you are interested in the following:
1) Architecture (especially medieval)
2) Medieval History
3) Corrupt priests (as well as goodly ones).
4) Medieval love stories
Or, if you have a lot of patience and enjoy detail.

Now I have moved on to something least physically.  I'm pretty sure I broke my back from carrying this book around for almost 3 weeks!  Thanks to Aunt Elaine for the great recommendation and for lending the book.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

#97 Spring has...sprung?

365 Blog Challenge: Post #97

I'd just like to verify that that is not sunshine in this is simply glare.
I don't know what the rest of the country is like, but let me be the first, or the 8,000,000th to complain about this spring in NY.  I can count the number of sunny days on one hand.  Scott and I have broken at least 3 umbrellas.  It is cold and wet and rainy and certainly uninspiring, and you'd think after the crap winter we had in NYC, Mother Nature would give us a break.  But we must have done something to piss her off.  Maybe it's all that pollution in the Hudson?  Anyways, the trees are budding, the flowers are abloom, and the rain keeps falling.  I am aware that Minnesota got snow last week, but consistent cold and rain for all of March and April?  How about a break?  Looking forward to breaking out some flip know...when we top our current temp of 55 degrees.  Stay warm!

Friday, April 22, 2011

#96 How to Succeed....

365 Blog Challenge: Post #96

As much as I dislike the dated musical, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", how cute is Daniel Radcliff??  Love him.  Maybe he'll even do an enjoyable musical someday.  And I especially like his American accent.  Good work D. Rad!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#95 Waffles

365 Blog Challenge: Post #95

Shortly before we left for my cruise, my husband took part in a short film and his work is finally up online! I just remember him coming home smelling like syrup afterwards....Great work hunny! Love you!  And doesn't he look great on film??

WAFFLES from Kate Tarker on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#94 Getting back on track...

365 Blog Challenge: Post #94

So I haven't been a very dedicated blogger the past couple weeks.  Partially of it was exhaustion/illness due to exhaustion, and partially, I wanted to see what it would be like not to put so much pressure on myself to do things outside of work.  In life and work, I am a self motivator, but I am also a self-criticizer.  I should stop that, I know, but there's really only so much I can change so I have to find ways to deal with it, or get around it.  I find myself wondering how I would tolerate stress at work if I didn't put so much pressure on myself.  But, that's like denying me my natural instincts so, I continue on.  I thought maybe going easier on myself outside of work would help.  But then I am just missing doing the things I enjoy!

Anyways, the lack of blogging was a nice little break but I want to make my goal and now I am a good 15 posts behind!  So I'm getting back on it.

Also getting close to getting back on track for working out.  I finally was allowed to do the elliptical yesterday at physical therapy (yes, I'm still doing that.)  I'm a little sore today, but then again, was a little sore before I started yesterday.  But definitely building strength in my hips and legs which they tell me is important.  Wearing my orthotics is helpful too. (Oh yeah...those...).

Here's to getting back on track!

Monday, April 18, 2011

#93 Leeches

365 Blog Challenge: Post #93

As previously mentioned, coming back from the cruise, work hit me like a sack of bricks.  I must have built up my stress tolerance over the months, and being so relaxed from the cruise made me vulnerable to the stressful realities of nursing.  Either that, or our floor has been especially annoying lately.

I don't like to complain about patients (though doing so usually makes me feel better).  They are sick people, and they need our care.  It's probably the overwhelming aspects of the job that make it harder to put up with people's "idiosyncrasies".  I just find it very difficult to want to care for someone who acts more needy than they really are, which some people do while in the hospital. I understand it's scary and miserable to be sick, it's uncomfortable to be away from home.  However, in addition to the medical and physiological things we nurses need to keep in mind, it's a constant psych game.  Perhaps people regress a bit in the hospital, or maybe they feel neglected when their families aren't there very often.  But sometimes I feel like certain (definitely not all) patients are emotional leeches.  They drain everything out of you due to their psychological neediness.

Being a people-pleaser in these cases is difficult.  And not all the nurses on my floor put up with it.  But I am not one to get nasty with patients, and while I try to set limits, I sometimes get pulled under.  Leeches make you appreciate the patients who are self-sufficient, or who, for medical reasons, actually do need your help as much as they insist.

So please, the next time you or a loved one is in the hospital, take the time to be kind to the nurse, especially if she is being patient and compassionate to your loved one (as he/she should be doing!)  We need your appreciation just as much as you or your loved one needs our care.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

#92 Swamplandia!

Rating: 3/5 stars
365 Blog Challenge: Post #92

Perhaps something is wrong with my taste in books.  Swamplandia, by Karen Russell, is her debut novel, and has gotten tons of critical praise.  It was a Booklist starred review, it was longlisted for the Orange Prize (literary award), it got praise from Stephen King, Oprah and Carl Hiaasen.  But I didn't like it.

Here's the thing: It's obvious that Karen Russell is an excellent writer.  Her prose are suburb, her descriptions make you feel as if you're experiencing the thing for yourself.  But the subject matter?  While I really wanted to like this book, I just found it too absurd. ("Too quirky for its own good" is the description I found in a reader review that just about sums it up.)

The book begins with the main character, Ava, describing her life in Swamplandia!, the "number one gator-themed park and cafe in the area" (the area being the gulf side of southwest Florida.)  It sounded to me quite funny.  And at times it was, mostly it was just odd.  Ava's mother, Hilola Bigtree, who is the star performer at Swamplandia! has died of ovarian cancer at the young age of 36.  Ava, 13, (though it took me reading a review just now to figure that out) and her sister, Osceolla, 16, and brother Kiwi, 17, are left alone on the island with their father "Chief Bigtree", the family's eccentric patriarch who is determined to keep the theme park going despite declining numbers of patrons.

Finally one day, the ferry which carries patrons over from the mainland doesn't show up, and Ava learns that this is because there were no passengers.  Swamplandia! is becoming obsolete.  From here the story breaks into that of Ava, who at 13 seems a little too clueless to be believable (though she did grow up on an island away from other kids her own age), and her secret plans to save Swamplandia, and that of Kiwi, as he escapes Swamplandia! for life on the mainland working a minimum wage job at World of Terror (a competing theme park) trying to earn money to get the family out of debt.  In the mean time, Chief Bigtree leaves Ava and Osceola alone on the island to attend to some "business matters" on the mainland, more or less abandoning the two teenagers.  Osceola, a silly, yet caring girl, has found interest in communicating with ghosts and claims she has become engaged to a former dredge man who just happens to be dead.  When Osceola disappears, Ava thinks she is the only one who can save her from the Underworld, where she plans to flea with her dead dredge man, and dreary adventure ensues.

My problem with this book is that I felt very disconnected from the characters.  Maybe they were too out of touch with their own feelings for them to express them meaningfully, but I just found a lot of the characters odd, and wanted to know more.  Also, as mentioned before, Ava is almost unbelievably naive which I may believe of a character 3 or 4 years younger than her, but at 13, her naivety is questionable.

The one thing I will say for this book is that the writing of Ava's adventure in the last 50-or-so pages is excellent.  Without giving too much away, she begins to get disoriented from lack of hydration along with other factors, and you can sense that in Russell's writing.  I felt the path twisting and turning under my feet as if I was with Ava while she walked.  I felt starts and stops of consciousness and remembering as Ava fades in and out of reality.

Russell is obviously a very talented writer.  She was listed as one of the New York Times 20 under 40 (she is only 29).  But I found her subject matter a little too absurd, and her characters a little too impersonal at times.  I do understand the concept of showing and not telling, which I think Russell does well. But maybe too well. Something it just felt too disconnected for me.  I may or may not give Russell another try in the future.

Monday, April 11, 2011

#91 Zoe and Heather visit NY!

365 Blog Challenge: Post #91

As mentioned a few days ago, we were lucky enough to have my sister-in-law, Heather, and our niece Zoe visit us in NY last week!  They were here for 3 days, and they were packed full of dolls, junk food, toys, and plays! A 5-year-old's dream! (And very fun for the rest of us as well!)

We all took a 20 minute carriage ride through Central Park. We tried to ignore the taunts of the protesters who think the horses are being mistreated.  How could they taunt this cute 5-year-old??

Zoe and Mama Heather, about the time that Zoe said this was the best day ever.

We really ran Zoe ragged on the first day.  She conked out sound asleep on the subway on the way to get dinner in Soho.  However, for those of you who watched her video posted a few days ago, you can attest to the fact that she got her groove back after this cat nap.

Breakfast at Alice's Teacup!  I have been wanting to take a little girl there ever since going there my first time for a friend's birthday, and Zoe is the perfect age to appreciate the Alice and Wonderland themed restaurant.  She had her first tea party and tried tea for the first time and liked it!

Unkie Scott got Mango tea.

Aunty Lauren got this cup of coffee that was almost the size of her head (but delicious! Very impressed with their coffee!)

The nice gentleman at the front register let Zoe wear some fairy wings while we finished breakfast.  She was  so caught up in all the excitement that she didn't even seen Cynthia Nixon walk in as we were leaving (though she wouldn't have known her if she did. But Unkie Scott and Aunty Lauren knew!)

Zoe stops to smell the flowers.

Love watching Scott take care of Zoe. What a good uncle!

Heather and Zoe at MOMA.  Zoe lost interest in this museum very quickly. 

My favorite picture at MOMA, and it's of words.  Is this a surprise?  

Zoe and her Mama on the ferris wheel at Toys R' Us in Time Square.  Zoe confided that riding a ferris wheel was one of her dreams and didn't throw a hissy fit about not getting the Barbie car like some other girls we saw.

In the midst of all the lights and dazzle of Time Square, Zoe paused, put her hands on her knees and screamed.  She'd found Starbucks.  And here is Mister Starbucks who offered to take a picture with her after she got her Madelines (cookies).  Grandma Judy, you've created a Madeline Monster!

Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention while deleting some old cruise photos on my camera and accidentally deleted some FAO Schwartz and American Girl Store photos. :(  Also, while we loved the play, didn't take many pictures there.  We sure had fun! Aunty Lauren had so much fun that she developed a cold, but it was worth it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

#90 Firefly Lane

Rating: 4/5 Stars
365 Blog Challenge: Post #90

During our cruise, I read a book that my mother-in-law recommended to me, Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah.  Since the recommendation was made to me, I have seen Hannah's books and name popping up everywhere.  I don't know how long she has been popular, but I must say that this book was a PERFECT vacation read, and I really enjoyed it.

Firefly Lane is the street where Kate Mularky grows up, and where she meets her best friend, Tully Hart.  The story follows these two women through their teen years to adulthood, highlighting careers, men, and priorities.  While Kate dedicates her life to her children and family, Tully throws herself into her career as a broadcast journalist.  Both are successful in their own plights, though both question their decisions throughout the book.  I had to keep myself from crying as I finished this novel in the Fort Lauderdale airport.

I would compare Kristin Hannah's writing to that of Jodi Picoult, though perhaps this book addresses less of a universal social issue, and more personal issues which we each must solve for ourselves.  It is mostly a light read though there are emotional parts of the book. The writing is strong though not amazing, but the story is endearing as are the characters and the message.  A great break from heavy books, and quite the page-turner.  Thanks Judy for recommending!

#89 Miscellaneous Cruise pics

365 Blog Challenge: Post #89

Sadly, this is my last cruise-dedicated blog, but I am way behind in my blogging and must move on.  I had a dream today (I have been sick in bed with a bad cold) that Scott and I went on another cruise and he brought another woman, in addition to me.  That one wasn't so good, but the cruise is showing up in my dreams over and over again.  I think I had a harsh dose of reality when I got back to work, and I would give just about anything to be on the high seas again.  Here are some of my favorite cruise pics not featured in previous posts.

The night we went to the Royal Caribbean Singer and Dancers' show, we had the drink special of the day, Midori Lemonade. Yummo.  Too bad it didn't make the show much better.

Sheila and Caroline, our dinner mates. They were from England, just outside of London, and they were wonderful company.  Miss these ladies!

I'm secretly only including this picture because it's my favorite outfit I wore on the nautical dress from JCPenny.  My arm is covering the cute navy belt that goes with it.

Our room was cleaned up twice a day and in the evening, the cleaning staff often left us towel animals.  This one is a cute little towel puppy.

Scott accidentally decapitated the towel puppy.  He felt terrible.

Towel Sloth! This was our favorite. We kept it up for days. Our little towel Pachito!

We may or may not have had too much to drink this night...this is Scott's first drink...after drinking 3/4 a bottle of wine because I didn't like it. Whoops.

Artsy pool shot #1- This is actually the ceiling in the indoor pool at night.  It was pretty surreal watching yourself float. 
Scott got a little more daring with his poses.

OMG I miss this seat.  And that pina colada.

Last night at dinner with our assistant waiter, Suzette and our waiter, Dennis.  They were wonderful! However, they are to blame for the 5 pound weight gain.

I have decided I could travel the world by cruise ship for the rest of my life...if it weren't for having land-loving friends and family.  We're wishing and praying for a big tax return to put money towards another cruise....or we could be smart and save for the house that we'd like to own one day...priorities....