Monday, August 24, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

You are not going to believe it but Markus and I have another vacation starting tomorrow. Why so soon? Well, Markus has to bid for his vacation and being on the bottom of the totum pole means not many options. We would have preferred to space them out a little but I'm not complaining because a vacation is a vacation, as long as it means time off from work and time spent with the hubby.

August has flown by. I haven't even finished posting about our last trip in July that took us up north. I promise to be better at posting in September; and catch up on what we have been doing the last month. After all, this blog is supposed to be a journal of our first year of marriage...and beyond. I couldn't possibly leave my favorite month out.

Be back soon with lots of stories and photos...


Friday, August 14, 2009

Follow Friday: Story Corps

Every morning I drive to work listening to NPR and on Fridays I need to bring tissues with me. I arrive at the office and immediately need to go to the bathroom to clean my face up. The reason: Story Corps. NPR features a pod cast of a story from the project on Morning Edition, usually around 8:20 a.m. central time. I highly recommend tuning in, checking out the blog, and reading the book, Listening Is an Act of Love. The title says it all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Part 1: The Big Apple

Markus and I took a much needed vacation a few weeks ago to visit with friends and family that live up north, stopping in NYC for the weekend. But before I get to that I am going to be a drama queen and tell about the ride up. Mainly so I can look back at this post years later and remember what a wimp I am and how I eventually overcame my fear of large, tall, bridges (one can hope). I drove the first half of the trip b/c driving into Manhattan on a Friday night scares me. Actually, I think I could handle the driving part. What I can't handle is Markus' New Jersey coming out and him yelling at me from the passenger seat to cut people off, throw my drink at them, and throw up my middle finger. I do not like to be told how to drive. Most people don't, therefore we would need even more therapy than we do now with the bridge incident.

So, I'm afraid of the Bay Bridge that connects Virginia to Maryland via Route 301. I know this because I drove over it years ago with a car full of friends on my way to Avalon, NJ. I had a full blown panic attack to the point where I had to immediately pull over after crossing the bridge and let a friend drive. I would have pulled over sooner if they would have let me but stopping on the bridge is frowned upon. It scares me. My hands are sweating typing this because I have to think of that bridge. Fast forward to our trip: I am happily driving along listening to fun music and annoying Markus because I'm peppy in the car when I remember that I have to cross the bridge. I don't want to let Markus drive b/c then I loose my right to listen to anything I want, a rule we have when driving long distances because of our difference in music. Mine being good and his being, um, different than mine. And also, I want to prove to myself that I can do it this time.

I continue driving. The panic hits me when I get about 1/10 of the way across the bridge because not only are we crossing a big ass bay bridge but I have gone in the Smart Tag lane which requires you to cross with oncoming traffic. And did I mention the railing is see through and not a barricade so I can see straight down the water? So I clutch the steering wheel, look only forward (never in the rear view mirror and certainly not down) and ask Markus to talk to me. This distraction helps slightly when I am about to have a panic attack. My friend, Erin, who was in the car the first time I drove over the bridge did great in coaching me across. So, what does my loving, caring husband talk to me about? How big the bridge is! Obviously, he doesn't want to make it across ALIVE! Panic takes over and it felt like forever until we got to the other side. Once we did, I was literally shaking and the thought of crossing replayed in my head but I kept on driving because a)I did not want to listen to heavy metal Finnish music for the remainder of the trip and b)Because the thought of divorcing Markus AS SOON AS WE GOT BACK TO VIRGINIA distracted me enough that I could concentrate again. I finally calmed down around the time we crossed into Manhattan, 3 hours later. Needless to say, Markus didn't make the same mistake twice. On the way home he drove and I fell asleep. Every time I would wake, he would lovingly tell me to go back to sleep. It worked, we made it over the bridge and our marriage is stronger because of it.

Now on the fun part. Our main purpose was to see the Yankees play in their new stadium Sunday afternoon. But first, there was New York City. I love this city. If I had to pick a place to visit over and over, this would be it. Markus and I have visited a half dozen times in the 4 years we have been together and there is always something new to do. But this trip was a little different, we didn't really have anything planned except for the game so we just kind of went with the flow. We have seen the tourist sites, eaten at trendy restaurants, seen plays, etc. This time I wanted to just be in the city.

First up was subway ride to the Union Square Farmers' Market Saturday morning. But before we left I wanted to get some snaps of the city from the roof of our hotel. The views are amazing! I wish I had gotten up early enough to see the sun rise but I was on vacation so these will do for now.

Next, we headed to the farmers' market in Union Square and I had sensory overload with all of the things to photograph. People, food, flowers, dogs. You name it, it was there. I've been to this market before but never with a dslr camera capable of turning a market into a photo shoot. Markus was great. He was very patient and let me snap away. Probably because he felt guilty for almost killing us the night before. Here are some of my favorite shots, I love how vibrant the colors turned out.

Then it was off to Central Park. I have only explored the lower tip of the park so we decided to take the train to the Upper West Side and walk down to our hotel. We entered around 80th street and walked around exploring and sightseeing. It was Saturday and the park was pretty crowded but we managed to find a spot to lay near a pond. It was quite lovely to relax in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. Even though the park is crammed with people, it is one of my favorite places, especially in the warm months.

I wish we had more time to explore but we had to get back to the hotel to get ready for our night out on the town. We got semi-dressed up and headed down to the Meat Packing District to check out the roof top bar at Hotel Gansevoort, a recommendation from my friend, Susan, who is more hip than I. This hotel was thumping, literally. We thought we were going to sip champagne while watching the sun set but their was some sort of party going on with bottle service, a dj, and scantily clad women dancing on tables. Something both of us may have enjoyed if we were with friends and, oh about 5 years younger before we were old and married. So we quickly did a loop then headed back down the elevator before I felt like a total loser. But I did manage to get a peek at the infamous SoHo House roof top pool that was featured on SATC. I wanted so badly to take a picture but I didn't dare whip out my camera in front of the model-ish types being oh so cool. That would have definitely made me look like a tourist. So instead we opted for a walk around the Meat Packing District, making our way to the West Village for dinner. Something that didn't make me feel old and touristy. I even managed to snap a few pictures on the way.

There is a group of Scandinavian restaurants located in the city that we have been wanting to try since our first trip in 2005. We finally got around to trying Smorgas Chef located in the West Village and I wish we had gone sooner. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect. I can't wait to try the real thing when he takes me to the Motherland next summer.

Up next is part two of our NYC trip; Dim Sum, baseball, and Connecticut. Never thought I would say those 3 things in a sentence!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Music Monday: Weeds

I blogged a few weeks ago about how the Showtime series, Weeds, wasn't all I was hoping for in the 5th season. But it has redeemed itself. We caught up with episodes 8 & 9 last week and the Botwin family is back in full swing. One of the best things about the series (besides Mary-Louise Parker) is the music. It's quirky, fun, and fits perfectly to what is happening in each episode. I think there are 3 soundtracks that have been released but you can also download music not found on the soundtrack on iTunes.

Something I am missing this season is the Malvina Reynolds song titled "Little Boxes" that was used as the first three seasons opening credit. Malvina's recording was used for season 1 and then to switch it up in seasons 2 & 3 they had the song covered by various artists. My favorite is still Malvina's but if you like this, check out the other covers. Artists who covered the song include Elvis Costello, Regina Spektor, and Jenny Lewis! The song was written in 1962 and holds true more than ever in today's ticky tacky society. Nothing against the 'burbs, I'm just saying :o)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Puppy Love: Part Duex

Gracie came back for a visit this weekend so her family could take a trip to the Big Apple for a family wedding. We were all excited to have her company but not as much as Charlie. And by all, I mean everyone except Meeko. He is never happy to have another dog in his house.

Charlie and Gracie have been playing All. Weekend. Long! Then, they come inside and pass out. It's great! Meeko gets a break from big brother and I get a break from having to figure out ways to tire Charlie out. I have been taking him on morning runs the last week and when we get back he looks at me like, what's next? So the break in routine has been nice.

Here is a video I shot this morning of the two love birds. Meeko jumps into the frame every once in awhile and it almost looks like he is barking at Gracie to leave Charlie alone. Brotherly love perhaps, or maybe jealousy?

Tonight I put both dogs in the kitchen and when I came back to put them to bed I found this:
Gracie eventually got tired of Charlie in her crate so she came out and laid in his bed.  Charlie, meanwhile proceeded to make himself comfy.  When I t0ld him to get in his crate, he got this look on his face like "who me? I'm just going to bed like you told me."

Good thing he is cute!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Follow Friday & A Dose of Reality

I came across this article while catching up with one of my favorite blogs and thought it would be a great thing to share for my Follow Friday post. Courtney, over at In(side) the Loop, blogged about an article in The New York Times and it really struck a cord with me. If you are married, in a relationship, or think you might go down that path sometime in the future, read the article. It's refreshing after you get over the initial shock of what the author shares in the first paragraph.

I'm newly wed and my marriage is in it's infant stage. We are still learning what exactly a partnership bound by more than just love involves. We have so much to learn and everyday is something new. I love hearing from people who have been married and through it all have stuck it out, and are willing to share their love story.

Someone who has been married for a long time once told me they renewed their vows not because they wanted another party celebrating their love, but because they did not understand the complexity of marriage when they first took their vows. The words didn't hold the same weight 15 years prior as they did now. I thought about this as we stood on the beach last November in Jamaica saying our vows in front of God, our loved ones, and a minister, and tried to take in the words and their meaning. But without really knowing what lies ahead, it is hard to make that kind of promise. You start out with the best intentions when life as a twosome is new and exciting. You try to hold on to that feeling as you have children, experience loss of loved ones, careers, and health. But you never know what lies ahead. Many of us will not make it to the "til death do us part" of the vows.

Coming from a family of failed marriages, I am not naive about this. I have seen how easy it is to give up and I respect someone who stays in for the good fight. I think what this woman did took more courage than most of us have. I know we will have hard times down the road. It's inevitable. Life would not be life without the ups and downs. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to fight for my happily ever after and try my hardest to hold up to those vows we promised last November. I think I have picked a partner who shares in my views and values and is going to fight right alongside me. This might sound naive but after all, we are only 9 months in. I am supposed to be naive in these uncharted waters.

Catching up

We're back from vacation, actually we have been back since Sunday but I haven't had time to blog about it yet. M took the laptop to work this week and I haven't had time to log on at work. They are actually making me work. Hmmpph.

We had a great time, got to visit with some great people, see great things, and eat great food. I'm hoping to upload the many, many pictures I took over the weekend to our Flickr account. In the meantime, here is a photo M took on his iPhone of me snapping photos on the beach in NJ. We were lucky enough to catch the sun setting right after a storm and the sky was amazing.

Have a great weekend! Be back on Monday...