Monday, January 31, 2011

storm warnings

I'm not a panic - er.

Sometimes even when I should.

This morning's weather forecast made me jump out of bed and drive to Second Helpings with a head full of plans.

Ice, ice, baby.

I ain't afraid of any stinkin' snow, but ice scares the hell out of me. And there was a lot of it headed our way.  I got a team of people together, we planned, scrambled and sent out two extra days of food to the shelters and agencies where people live. That's an extra 1610 meals that we prepared and delivered - in addition to the 2600 that we'd already delivered earlier today.

Click here to read a letter from the chairman of our board about our efforts.

These are the days that recharge my batteries. Get me juiced up.

I also needed to prepare for the possibility of power loss at home, so I prepared for the worst - I made sure my flashlights were charged, put new batteries in my head lamp.

And most importantly, I popped two days worth of popcorn.

You can't be too prepared.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

lazy sunday

There is still plenty of snow, if anyone wants any.

Today was a lazy day. No work, no deadlines.

Church, than  back to bed.

I managed to rally long enough to go hear music and visit a new brewery downtown, Flat 12 Bierworks. 

The very talented Tad Armstrong and Brian Deer were playing.

And I got a brewery tour.

It's nice to see how the other half spends Sunday.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I'm tired of the snow.

I worked at the Red Key tonight. Which I always enjoy.

And I usually like taking out the trash.


But now the dumpster is halfway across the icy parking lot.

And locked.

With a big iron bar across the lid. When unlocked the bar only moves a few inches.

There are two choices. One is to hold the lid up with your head as you swing the heavy bag five feet up to get it in the dumpster. The second is to talk a hapless customer into going with you to help. Then you get to hold the lip up with your arms as the trash and bottles are hurled just inches from your face.

I'm not bitter.


Friday, January 28, 2011

hot rollers

I joined an all-woman jug band and purchased hot rollers. Yep, that was pretty much the path from not owning a brush to buying rollers. And you know that this will lead to other purchases, like hairspray and sparkly eye stuff.

It's been fun to hang out with girly-girls who dress up and take the time to apply makeup and wear red lipstick.

Next thing you know, I'll be wearing a flower in my hair.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


While I'm a charter member of the clean plate club, my work desk does not get the same distinction.

It's a combination of things. Most of my days tend to be one long interruption.  I don't have the opportunity to file things or even stack them in to a neat pile before I get called away.

My desk also becomes a dumping spot of things that no one knows what to do with - toss it Nora's desk, she'll take care of it. I also have coworkers that are fond of printing out the e-mails that I sent them and giving them to me.

I've come to terms with the fact that I can't keep a clean desk, yet I'm very methodical with projects. It might look like hell in production, but the finished product is always stellar. 

While I don't fancy myself as an Albert Einstein, I love what he had to say about desks:
If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?
So there!

When I'm done with a project, I tend to put it on the floor so when I get up I can take it to the proper place.

Today I've gotten a ton of paperwork done.

You can tell by the floor.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


There is a big old football game coming to Indianapolis next year. And it will take an army of volunteers to run it. I'm excited to be one of the volunteers and tonight was the first meeting of the environmental committee.  Hopefully I'll get assigned to the sub-committee that work on rescuing food from the official events.

Super Bowl XLVI - Indianapolis.

Fingers crossed that the labor dispute gets resolved.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

how is it possible....

 ...that I'm qualified to speak to a senior level college class?

And maybe I'm not - but I spent an hour and a half tonight with a class focusing on nonprofits. I've learned over the course of hundreds of speeches that I do better without too many notes. I have a five minute talk about Second Helpings that I can give at the drop of a hat. It's easy to expand on all of our great programs for a more in-depth view of our agency. And it gives me a chance to throw out my best food rescue jokes. 

I was encouraged by the preparation and research the students had done and all of their great questions and the challenges to the way nonprofits are run. Before I started working for a nonprofit agency I had the thought in the back of my mind that nonprofits needed to be managed more like businesses. I've flipped that around, especially in this business climate - businesses could use the transparency of nonprofits. I am mindful that every decision I make and every dime I spend for Second Helpings needs to further our mission of feeding hungry people, training adults and rescuing food. I can't tell you how easy that makes the hard decisions.

On a side note, I was slightly distracted knowing that there were guys right outside the door playing Dungeons and Dragons - to further the stereotype, we were in the engineering building on campus. The Purdue (my alma mater) is the icing on the nerdiness cake.

Monday, January 24, 2011


My friend Kevin turns 30 this week and I was invited to his surprise party tonight.

I can't decide which freaks me out more - the fact that I'll be 50 this year or that I have such young friends. I always joke that I'm either terribly hip and cool or horribly immature. In my friendship with Kevin, it floats to the hip and cool side.

I wish I had it together at 30 as much as Kevin does. He's co-founder of Standard Recording Company, he serves a mean Jameson and water at Locals Only, is supportive of the music community and is a healthy relationship with a beautiful and smart-as-a-whip woman. What I find most compelling about Kevin is that he's genuinely kind.

I'm not sure that I ever shared this story with Kevin, but the first time I met him he called me "Ma'am," from the stage! I'd won a CD at the Standard Recording Party and when I went to collect he called me that dreaded word. I've let that go....almost.

I have about seven words that make me want to punch someone in the nose and that is one of them. Since I know you'll ask, the dreaded word list also includes: lady, puke, busted (in place of broken), butt* and others I can't mention in a PG13 blog. 

Anyway, back to Kevin - he makes me proud to live in this town and know that a whole 'nother generation is concerned about making our community a better place to be. The fact that they include us old folks is a bonus. 

*I think that 'ass' is a delightfully hilarious word.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

fancy brunch

Brother J.R. treated us to brunch at their club to celebrate Mom's birthday. I didn't know that I liked waffles so much. And sausage and birthday cake. Off the charts Weight Watchers points, I'm sure. 

It was delightful to have a chance sit with family members and laugh and listen to my sweet niece tell silly jokes -- she's a girl after my own heart.

Mom's birthday was much fancier last year -- you can read the re-cap here.

Nap time!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

work tamped down with more work

Waitress station, Red Key
Pipe [bottom right] is a chute where returnable beer bottles used to travel to basement.
Trash can [top right] is my nemesis.*

Today was a busy day of work followed by work. I've been spoiled the last few weeks and have only worked one job on Saturdays. I've tried to be protective of my Saturday afternoons, but was happy to work at Second Helpings today. 

We had some great volunteers come in and paint our training kitchen today. I couldn't paint my way out of a paper bag. I've lived in my house for over a dozen years and it has never once occurred to me to paint my walls.

Luckily, there were lots of people who did know what they were doing. I'm a damn good wet towel fetcher and spill wiper-upper. Everyone has a talent.

I raced home to clean the house. And by clean, I mean finally taking the wrapping paper to the basement and scooping the towels off of the bathroom floor. I didn't have time to ditch the vases of pine boughs or sweep or dust or put away the piles of Christmas gifts or cards. I'm ashamed to admit that I shoved some junk under the table - and it's not like you can't see under the table, but it made me feel better. Sort of like a play pen for piles of stuff.

I was doing the panic cleaning because NYC John was flying in at midnight and spending the night at my house before making the trek to his hometown. It's not like I haven't known it for days, I just thought the cleaning fairy might think it was a good time to show up.

No luck.

The Red Key was a little nuts, I got busy later in the evening, cooking right up until 10:00. Then the joint filled up with youngsters. The Red Key is doesn't serve pitchers or fancy shots so we don't get many people in their mid-twenties and early-thirties.

One of the youngsters wanted to fix me up with his dad. Who was there. That got awkward quick.

NYC John's timing was perfect. He walked in the door just as the dad was demanding my phone number. I'd admit that I didn't explain the big hug I gave John and handing him the key to my house to the group. I let everyone drawn their own conclusions.

Between youngsters, the late night, the lack of nap, the trash dumpster being across the icy parking lot and locked, I was good and grumpy by the time I got home.

A hot shower and catching up with an old friend was exactly what I needed to erase the furrow in my brow.

Life ain't so bad after all.

*that trash can is my nemesis because it has a swinging lid top and people love to stuff it to the gills. It's hard to get the bag out of and I typically have to wrestle it to the floor at 2:00 in the morning to empty it. It is bleached out the night before and there is usually bleach water at the bottom. I've ruined more skirts and pants and tee shirts because of that damn can than anything else in my 30 year restaurant career.
Sounds petty, but I'm allowed to hate one thing about my job, right? 

Friday, January 21, 2011

tgif, sort of

unexplained water on the woman's room floor

I think the winter doldrums have arrived. It's cold. It's gloomy. It's late January. I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. Bleck. 

That said, work is going really well -- all three of the jobs. I'm especially re-energized at the main gig.

But I really enjoyed mopping today. First of all the problem was not as dramatic as advertised; Nora, the bathroom is flooding and covered with six inches of water! That got me up from the lunch table in a hurry. 

No flooding, I couldn't find the source of water, it was just one of those one-time mysterious crop circle-like dealies . The water was clear, instead of, well, you know. All and all, not bad. I've dealt with way worse.

And I enjoyed the process of mopping. I could see results — less water on the floor, more water in the bucket. 

Mop, wring the mop, mop, wring the mop, mop. 
Way more satisfying than that spreadsheet I'm working on.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

morning radio

My fancy new radio. And yes, those are Scrabble pajamas. What of it? 

I struggle with routines. I worry that I will get too set in my almost-fifty years old ways. Then I worry that I don't have enough structure in my life. Clearly, I worry about worrying.

I have the structure of work and deadlines and putting gas in the car and paying bills and putting trash on the curb on the right day. But that's about it. Once I hit the door of my house there is not much I have to do. I can let the laundry pile up, have an empty refrigerator, let the water glasses collect next to my bed and watch episodes of Californication until 1:00 am.

Conversely, I can put my nose to the grindstone and write for hours or get involved in a book or binge clean and not worry about feeding anyone but the cat.

I do have a bit of a morning routine, besides brushing my teeth and taking my vitamins.

I listen to the radio.

As I putter around the house and get ready I carry it with me from shower to kitchen to getting dressed. I have two dear friends who are part of this morning show -- one as on-air talent and the other is the producer. Another friend books the guests and keeps the machine going. I love listening to the show, I feel like I'm getting to spend time with Kristi - and will occasionally talk back to the radio. Yes, I know she can't hear me.

The show is full of innuendo and sophomoric jokes and skits that make you groan or laugh so loud that you snort and scare the cat. I love every second of it. Sometimes I'll shoot Kristi a quick e-mail about something they are discussing. And sometimes she'll quote me on air, "my friend says blah blah," and I'll get so excited that I don't care that they guys invariably make fun of me.

Listening to the radio in the morning also reminds me of mornings at Grandma Leona's house. The radio was always on in the farm kitchen. The local station would report the weather, commodity prices and obituaries. I hung on every word, even though I was young and none of the information pertained to me. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever.

I didn't have a portable radio, well, ever, now that I think back. I missed the whole Walkman phase and never had a transistor radio.

When I really became friends with Kristi I bought a plastic shower radio. It had a giant plastic hook and I would carry around  as I got ready, exchanging it for my keys as I walked out the door. Monday, as I was juggling bags of Tater Tots and coats to take to the farm I dropped it. And it flew into several non-duct tape-able pieces.

I can't believe how much I missed it Tuesday morning.

Do you know how hard it is to find a radio that is just a radio? It took me four stores to find one - I think I scared the kid behind the counter at Walgreens by my giggling at the cheapo radio. Now I have two things with an antenna, the radio and my television. It's like 1964 at my house.

All was right in my world this morning. I had another radio.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

instinct stink

"Style is primarily a matter of instinct." - Bill Blass, 1922-2002, designer.

Ironically that was the quote of the day on my page-a-day fashion calendar.

I usually feel pretty good about my outfits, even though most of you might consider my clothes a little quirky.

I wear a lot of black and vintage [fancy word for thrift store] boots and do things like layer necklaces and rings.

I have some clothes in my wardrobe that I don't often wear or especially like. I feel bad that I don't wear them so occasionally I'll try again.

Today was one of those days. Black corduroy, long jumper paired with over-the-knee socks and my patient leather Dansko shoes. I felt silly and awkward all day. And I had to keep hiking up those damn socks.

Add a vintage coat and my brief case and the ensemble had crazy written all over it.

Back to the clothes I know and love.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

tuckered out

Getting home at 1:30 in the morning from the MLK party, followed by an 8:00 finance meeting, followed by a long work day catching up from being off the day before led to this.

I can't tell you how delightful that hot bath was.

Mostly because I slept through it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

top ten day of the year

Before the sled ride actually started. 

Our dad has a big Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Fish Fry at the farm. You can read about the party in 2008 here and 2009's party here. We all know about my lack of blogging in 2010, so there is no post, but it was fun, trust me. 

One of the things I like is the predictability of the day.  Ann and I meet at the farm and roll out dough balls in the kitchen while Dad cuts fish. We all know what to do and where everything goes. We laugh at the same things and tell old stories. And Ann and I invariably have forgotten a Christmas gift that we've purchased throughout the year, so there is some unwrapping.

It was cold as could be this year - which I don't mind. My little food safety heart loves nature's freezer. And you just have to drink the beer quicker so it doesn't get too cold and explode. Common sense, really.

This year there was just the right amount of snow for a sleigh ride. We pulled Dad's refurbished 1840s sleigh the old fashioned way. With a John Deere B tractor.

For one trip I waved for my brother to stop so I could jump on to the sled behind the sleigh.

I learned a few things on the sled ride:
J.R. won't stop the tractor to let me on, but he will pull over for a dropped iPhone.  
Brothers never outgrow the urge to get their sister to 'eat snow.' He was doing his best to dump me, much to the kids on the sleigh's delight.
I'm a heck of a lot tougher than I was in my younger days. In fact I'm not sure that little girl Nora would have been brave enough to even jump on the sled.

The most important lesson? Sledding in a dress is not the best idea.

This year was another great mix of family, friends, priests, neighbors and fried food. I think I ate my weight in Tater Tots.

My guess is that there were over 100 people that popped in over the course of the day. I know that I was in a hot Euchre game at midnight. And I was by far the youngest one at the table.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

house concert - chad mills

View from the best seat in the house - Chad Mills concert

Have you ever been to a house concert? It's just that - a concert in someone's house. I love them - everyone is there to listen - no bar chatter or blenders whirling drinks or freakishly tall people standing in front of the stage. And the musicians have time to tell stories and talk about their songs. I took Mom to see one of my favorite musicians, Chad Mills, play the Redbud House Concert Series tonight.

I'm a big fan of Chad's - not only do I think that he's a great songwriter and I've enjoyed seeing him grow and stretch his wings in the last five years, but Chad is an outstanding member of our music community. He plays early morning farmer's markets*, charity events and is generous with his time. But most importantly, he's committed to his beautiful wife and cute-as-a-button daughters. He seems to manage the balance of home, work and family.

Click here to hear "Meant To Be." 

I've heard musicians say that they feel naked playing a house concert. There is no microphone or equipment or smoky haze to hide behind. As an audience member, I felt stripped down also - no notepad or camera or speaker to shield me from the music. And that is what makes house concerts so great, you really have a chance to connect with the words and music.

I encourage you to attend or host a concert. It's as easy as pie (ummm, pie). I wrote a cover article for NUVO about house concerts - you can read it here. If you're interested in hosting a house concert read my how-to guide here

I'm mad at myself that I didn't think to shoot a video of one of Chad's other songs, but I didn't think of it until his final song of the night. .I'll leave you with the video I took of his last song, the title track  and bar band anthem from his latest CD, Make the Door. You'll have to excuse my late start and my giggling at hearing his mom shout, "DRINK LIKE FISH!"

See you tomorrow!

 * I asked Chad to fill in at the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market for last minute cancellation. Not only was the weather cold and rainy, but the Broad Ripple High School marching band was practicing just a few yards away. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

saturday night

view from the stage

I don't often go out after my Red Key shift any more. For one thing it's usually after 3:00 by the time we're done cleaning up and restocking. And I'm older and creakier.

My typical after work routine is to shower and start a load of laundry (you can still smoke in bars in Indianapolis). If I'm feeling spunky I might play a round or two of facebook Scrabble.

My co-worker Robin and I venture out every six months or so --  this was one of those nights. The Pawn Shop Pub was celebrating their fourth anniversary. Robin used to work there and the owners are friends of the Red Key.

We made it just in time for 'last call,' and met up with friends from yet another neighboring bar. We had great laughs and talked about music, Sanibel and being in 'the business.'

It seemed like a great idea at the time (the time being 3:00) to go check out the ring toss game at a friend's venue. I impressed the crowd by getting the ring to hook on my third toss.

That grand achievement sparked some buried bit of responsibility in my brain and I remembered that my column was due in just a few hours. I grabbed my laptop from the car, took advantage of the Wifi and sat on stage and wrote while the others continued the fun.

It's amazing how I got more written in that half an hour than I did the whole day. There is something to be said about the lack of distractions...

Friday, January 14, 2011

flummoxed fridays

Casual Fridays confuse me.

Partly because my everyday work dress is not formal. My days are pretty unpredictable. Just this week I've done everything from shoveling snow to conducting job interviews....wait, that was all just yesterday!

Luckily, most Fridays we have guests or graduation or something that requires me to not "dress down."

Today is one of the days that I could have dressed more casually. And that confuses the Hell out of me. I usually even wear a skirt to waitress/cook in most Saturday nights.

My casual dress for today? Boots, scarf and black dress. Suspiciously close to what I wore yesterday - boots, scarf and black dress. Except that it took me three time as long to get dressed. I left a heap of jeans and sweaters and shoes on the floor.

Maybe I should add wearing jeans to my goals for 2011 list.

[meet the artist behind the Farm to Fair project: Douglas David]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

band practice

My typewriter case is starting to look more rock and roll.

Yay! We had band practice tonight, for real.

I sure do love hanging out with the Alice Chalmers woman (and their kiddos)!

It was another whirlwind Thursday. I worked late, followed by committee meeting for the neighborhood board and blowing in to rehearsal an hour after everyone else.

I kept time on the typewriter....and even Barley joined in:

The sweetest part of the night was watching Jude explain parts of her 1850s claw hammer banjo to the girl twin. Now the girl knows more than me about banjos.

Band practice nights are good for the soul.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

farm to fair

 Nora and Doug

 With all of the snow and freezing weather it is hard to imagine that it will ever be warm again, let alone August-hot.

I'm really looking forward to this summer because I get to work on a dream project. I get to write about Indiana agriculture and the Indiana State Fair for an exhibit that will run all seventeen days of the Fair!

I will be blogging about it here: Farm to Fair.

The wonderful artist, Douglas David and I were kicking around the Indiana State Fair last summer and I was struck by the different things we appreciated about the Fair.  As an artist, Doug was drawn to the color and pageantry. As a writer and farm girl, I was interested in the people and the history.

I am very proud of my agricultural roots, but realize that we are almost 100 years past the time that most Hoosiers lived on farms. I don't want us to be so far removed from our food supply that we cannot connect the dots from a soybean to a corn dog.

The goal of the exhibit is to draw that line with paintings and words.

We were able to apply for a grant (more about that in a future post) and with the generous help of some State Fair folks we got the green light last month.

The whole thing still feels surreal to me: I get to write about the Indiana State Fair and food and farms? And get paid?

It's going to be a good year.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

snow fun

It's been a good day, in spite of all of the shoveling. 

I promised myself that I would make a snow angel before the day was done. 

It's good to have goals! 

Monday, January 10, 2011


I've been bowling in the Chatterbox league for a couple of years now. No one is more surprised than me.

Like most things, the idea to bowl started with a beer and conversation with new friends. It seemed like a really good idea at the time. And so far it has been. I've meet some great people and turned acquaintances in to friends.

I'm subbing again this round, which fits better in to my crazy schedule. I don't feel so guilty about the times that I can't be there.

This morning, in preparation for the new season  I retrieved my bowling bag from where it had been shoved between the sofa and the bookcase for the last month. I unzipped the bag to discover a big wad of white socks. I took the time to toss the socks in the washer and grab a fresh pair. Which I left in the kitchen. I blame the cat.

I giggled as I purchased yet another $8.00 bag of  socks this evening...I was wearing a beautiful $4.00 thrift store coat, but I wouldn't dream buying of second-hand socks.

I was thrilled to find that I'd won a trophy last round. I had to miss the bowling banquet last month, so I missed the official presentation.

The team I subbed for was brand new and they thought they were bowling with a bad-ass competitor - after all I traveled with a trophy.

It took just one roll to shatter that notion.

Here's to getting back into the Monday routine of hunting socks, laughing. high-fiving and blowing the day's Weight Watcher points on a slice of pizza and a beer.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

bye colts, see you next year....

I like sports but don't care so much for the fashions. Team jerseys don't look good on anyone but the actual players. 

I do have a nice selection of foam fingers, they work with any outfit.
I've also learned that I get a lot of crap from the customers if I'm not wearing at least wearing the team colors when I waitress during a big game. 

Since the Colts were playing in a must-win game I dressed as Peyton Manning.

Quarter on my back, quarterback, get it? 
No one else did, either. 

I tried.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


A boyfriend once commented that I build a nest wherever I land. No argument from me. I've spend the day lounging and writing and napping and I've collected the cat, a popcorn bowl and a book in my wake.

I've made a conscious effort to keep Saturday afternoons to myself.

It is good for everyone - most of all the Red Key customers - if I can get a nap in before my shift. Saturdays are long nights - if I'm lucky I'll be showered and tucked into bed by 4:00 am.

I'm also practicing not being so accessible, just because the phone rings doesn't mean I need to answer it.

Or if someone is pounding on my door I don't need to jump up. Not if I'm still in my jammies and haven't brushed my hair. Hopefully I didn't miss Mr. Right or a sweepstakes notification.

Most likely it was the dude who mows my lawn looking for a 'loan.'

Friday, January 07, 2011

the best laid plans....

typewriter, 49th and Broadway

I'd been looking forward to Thursday - I'd spent three nights in a row at home (gasp!) and had a full evening planned - in fact I was joking earlier that  'Thursdays were the new Saturdays. Everything seems to fall on Thursday...

6:30 - band practice
8:30 - Danny Flanigan and John Byrne playing at the Corner Wine Bar
10:00 - Hotfox playing at the Melody Inn.

And since I'd planned no wiggle room things started to fall apart before they even started.

I didn't leave work until 6:15 and the roads were slick and I've driven like an old lady since I was 12 so I didn't get home until almost 7:00. I tossed some food toward the cat, grabbed my typewriter and some pastries and ran out the door, forgoing changing into something cute.

I drove to practice and juggled the typewriter, baked goods, my camera and a diet Pepsi as I walked toward the house - as Dad would say, this was a classic lazy man's load. I was thinking that I should set something down and come back.

I kept walking.

And the inevitable happened.

The case popped open and the typewriter bounced off of my foot and into the intersection.

I scooped everything back up - thank goodness the pastries survived - and burst through Cara's front door - arms loaded, red faced and full of apologies. 

Which shocked the heck out of Cara, since it was not band practice night.

I left the baked goods as a peace offering and went to Plan B - joining up with the Girls Night Out dinner that I thought I couldn't attend. I missed the dinner part, but it was good to join the conversation and laugh and talk about boys and the future.

The party moved to the bar to finish our drinks. I like most music and even if I don't, I appreciate that folks have enough guts to get up and play. I do have a few musical prejudices - I take an immediate dislike to any guitar player wearing a tie-dye shirt. And the duo was was playing to a prerecorded sound track, which is just weird and wrong. I had a headache and furrowed brow by the time I got out of there.

And I was late for seeing Danny and John. I got there just as they were done. Boo.

Since I was 0 - 2 for my plans, I sent a text to a member of the next band before I drove to the venue. Sure enough, they'd canceled their set. I had a slight freak-out when I realized that I was texting with a 19 year-old college freshman. The fact that I'm older than his mom didn't help.

I ended the evening by wandering through yet another grocery store looking for cranberries. I forgot to do my annual stock up. No luck on finding those either.

Boy is my timing off...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

wrap up the wrappings

It's probably time to get the wrapping paper off of the dining room floor. I've gotten more organized.  Really. Note the plastic tub with lid that the paper is stored in. And it's holiday stuff only -  there is a separate tub for other wrapping - as I learned from Kim, "like things with like things!"

But it's still in the middle of the dining room floor, with a straight shot to the front door. Even though all guests were told: don't mind that pile, just pretend like the dining room doesn't exist or LOOK! A BABY WOLF! ! - they still looked. How could you not? Even the prettily wrapped gifts had no where to go besides the floor.

Wouldn't it be great to have a dedicated wrapping area in the house? On second thought, maybe I should wish for more counter space or another closet. Or a room that I could shut the door to other than my bedroom.

Or maybe I could get a well-timed baby wolf to run thought the house...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


My feet: ice skating at Rockefeller Center, December 9, 2010

I got to spend a whole day in New York City last month!

Beth took this great photograph

The short story is that we have a family friend who is a pilot and had use of his company plane for the day. Dad gathered a group that included a priest, his sister and niece and my sister, Beth and my friend, Novella.

Beth got to ride in the co-pilots seat on the way there. 

Here is the only took us a little over two hours to get there.

Flying on a private plane rocks - no security check or scanning. I could have taken gallons of liquids if I liked...I didn't, there is not a potty aboard. We did have homemade cookies and other goodies.

 Russ helping Dad exit the plane.

We landed at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and took a shuttle van to Rockefeller Center. Beth, Novella and I opted to walk and window shop (and shop shop) while the others had lunch. 

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Like good little children of God, we wound up at Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. As Beth pointed out, they were saying Mass on a continuous loop - one ended and another started.  Like a not-so good child of God I took advantage of the electrical outlet by the font of Holy Water to charge my iPhone.

We browsed museum shops and actually visited one. The American Folk Art Museum was lovely. We saw quilts and an exhibition of work by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. Eugene was a quirky guy - Outsider Artist is probably the proper art term. The collection highlighted his poetry, pinup style photographs of his wife, ceramics and miniatures build of guided turkey bones. I'm sorry that I didn't take more photographs but I was too busy clutching the walls trying to not freak-out by the layout of the museum - my fear of heights was kicking in big time. 

The museum had a wonderful cafe - it was fun to have a fancy lunch - chicken salad and diet Pepsi in a wine glass in the beautiful space without worrying about rushing back to work or anything. The exhibitions were great, but it was worth the price of admission for a warm restroom and the coat check.

We bundled back out into the cold and headed back to Rockefeller Center. Ice skating was at the tops of my list for the day.

Nora and Novella on the ice

I'm proud to report that we skated for half an hour and did not fall once. Click on the video at the top of his post for some exciting skating action.

We followed the skating with cocktails in a swanky bar and dinner at a lovely Italian bistro and window shopping.

Through the wonders of facebook, I knew that there was a fundraiser for soup kitchen/homeless services at NYC John's church on the Lower East Side that evening. I sent him a text that morning saying that we were in town and planning on attending the event. I asked if I could help with any errands and was delighted that he had a project for us.

We met him in the lobby of the NBC Studios, where he had just finished his work with Jimmy Fallon. That was the day Paul McCartney was on the show. I got to shake the hand of the hand that shook Sir Paul's hand. Click here for a clip of Paul from that day.

John loaded us down with raffle prizes for the fundraiser and shepherded us on to the subway.  He kindly bought our tickets and led the way through the tunnels.

John getting us through the turnstile.

Dad reaction to entering the subway for the first time: This is where it all ends! I'm sure a few commuters thought the same about us when we burst into the subway car with hats with flaps and boots and armloads of raffle prizes.

The fundraiser was in a bar not far from the church. Dad was making friends and I was meeting folks - the minister of the church is from Indiana as was another guy that I met. I was grabbing a card from my bag in the coat check when I noticed that Dad had his coat on and was heading out the door. I grabbed him and asked where he was headed...."taking a taxi to Times Square."

Whoa! Hold up papa!

I plucked the drinks from Beth and Novella's hands, bid a quick good-bye to John and we piled out the door. 

It was fun to kick around Times Square pop in to shops and walk under the bright lights.

We had a slight panic when we got separated for a bit back at the meeting place, but Dad was finally able to convince someone to use their cell phone to call us. 

Now who wouldn't let that charming man use their phone?

Since we weren't on a commercial flight, it didn't matter what time we left - it was after midnight by the time we were "wheels up."

I sat in the co-pilots seat on the way home. I tried my darnedest to stay awake, but I just couldn't do it. In fact I got a good elbow to the ribs at one point. My guess is that I was either snoring in to the pilots headphones or ready to fall into the steering mechanism.

All and all it was an amazing day. If I've need a boost in the last few weeks, I just play the video of my feet ice skating - guaranteed to make me giggle!