Monday, June 27, 2011

Grandma's 80. Seriously

On Sunday, my Grandma turned 80 years old. And really, I think she could pass for 60! My Grandma is really one of the most amazing people I know. She retired from her job, but still works in the schools and at an after-care program. She still shovels the snow outside her house. She takes care of her older aunts. She grew up in the Depression and I think she has finally gotten out of the habit of storing little bits of string or other things you wouldn't throw out back then. She raised six kids and now she like to play with her great-grandchildren and even great-granddogs. She's done a lot of traveling and has been to almost every state in the U.S. She fought breast cancer and won more than 15 years ago. She's a great baker. She writes letters to the editor or to her representatives when she's thinks there's a problem that needs taking care of. She's a volunteer. She has a long list of people to whom she sends birthday cards. She goes to the hairdresser just about every Saturday and to church every Sunday. And my cousins and I were remarking how she's getting kind of snarky and telling us some surprising stories now that she's getting older. I could go on and on.

For her birthday, we had a big party at my uncle's girlfriend's house. She's got a great big yard and a pool, which kept the kids busy. Grandma knew we were having a party, but didn't know who was coming - her son who lives in Massachusetts, along with two of his grandkids, some old family friends and almost all of her nieces and nephews, in addition to the rest of her children and most of the grandchildren and great-kiddos.

I didn't know what to get Grandma, so I made her a page based on an idea I found on Pinterest and she really loved it. It was being passed around the party before she could even get a good look at it!

Here are some pics...

Grandma opening her gift.

See what I mean ... she doesn't look 80!

Time for blowing out candles.

Here's Grandma with the grandkids who were still there when we were taking photos.

Getting a photo with the youngest generation was a bit more challenging.

And Grandma dared Diane, a good family friend, to jump in the pool - and she did!

Derek woke up from his nap as soon as he heard Happy Birthday and started clapping.

I really am so lucky to have my Grandma in my life and I'm so glad she had a great day. I know because she's also the kind of person who sends thanks you notes and emails and makes thank you calls the next day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

I have really been neglecting my blog, but I’m hoping to change that. I want to document some of my recent adventures, especially in case I get scrapping again. These last few weeks have been pretty busy, but really awesomely fun. I had a week off for my birthday. I’ve started a little veggie garden in my yard. We’ve been grilling a lot. I’ve been hanging out with the kiddos, reading a ton, obsessing over Game of Thrones (the show and the books), watching summer movies and spending a lot of time in New York City. I’ve also taken a ton of photos. So here it goes. Here’s how I spent my birthday week.

Even though I still had work the next day, I declared Thursday the start of my vacation. We threw a bachelorette party for my friend Laila at karaoke ! We had crowns for the girls and sang lot so fun chick songs.

Me & the bride-to-be. Like our tiaras?

See work reference above.

We spent the afternoon at my brother’s having a little bbq. Then it was off to the Rover for my friend Adolfo’s karaoke birthday party. I made my awesome chocolate cake, which was a big hit.

Birthday boy and world champion

I hung out with Randi in the afternoon. We had lunch at Chee Burger Chee Burger. The burgers are ok, but we really like the shakes and the dipping sauces that came with the fries and onion rings. Then we laughed our asses off at Hangover 2.

I went to the city at night to a little going away party for my friend Karran at the Pony Bar. Karran is one of the reasons our karaoke nights are so much fun and it’s just not going to be the same without him. The city was filled with sailors for Fleet Week – I really laughed at the sailors outside the peep shows. Pony Bar has really good craft beers – I especially liked the Dogfish Head Black & Blue, which had a nice blueberry flavor. We had falafel and gyros around 3 a.m. and sang on the bus on the way home. The other passengers thought we were nuts, but we had so much fun.

Mmm, black and blue beer!

Here I am with the boys - Karran, John and Adolfo - my karaoke buddies.

I don’t remember what I did Monday. I probably slept late! I know mom and I took Penny over to Bergenline to watch WNY’s very sad Memorial Day parade. My town has skimpy parades and horrible turnout for Memorial Day and Flag Day, but huge parades for cultural days. I boycott those!

This was probably the hottest day ever and I spent it walking all over New York City. I took the ferry into the city and had a lovely lunch at ‘Wichcraft (owned by Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio) in Bryant Park.

Outside the Met

Then I went to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met and almost passed out! It was probably a combination of the weather, the crowd (it was packed!) and the creepy music and sets. The exhibit was pretty cool – the costumes were exhibited in different settings that reminded me of a haunted house, a pirate ship and a Tim Burton music box. I usually love the Met so much, but I didn’t stay long because almost passing out really freaked me out.

The rooftop exhibit was lame!

After leaving the museum, I decided to walk around Central Park and I surprisingly felt better even though it was so nasty outside. I found some the Alice in Wonderland statue, which I have always wanted to see!

Hello Alice!

And here's Hans Christian Anderson and the Ugly Duckling.

Once I got back to Jersey, I spent the rest of the day relaxing and busting my gut while reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

Well, I turned 35 but don’t feel any older. Mom and I did some shopping at Target and Home Depot and got more stuff for the yard. And I got myself a few presents. Then Randi, Brian and I went to Eataly in the city and had some amazing food.

I planted the cucumbers, peppers and eggplant that I had bought the day before. I’ve never been into gardening before, but my plants are looking good!

My first tomatoes!

I had a nice lunch with mom and Grandma at Sorrentino’s and then got a mani-pedi.

If you were thinking my actual birthday was uneventful, that’s because I was saving it up my karaoke party! It was really so much fun and lots of friends came out. I must have sang about 10 songs!

I got the whole birthday sign to myself!

Heather and me singing Total Eclipse.

With two of my best friends Amanda and Shannon - we're thinking of forming a Wilson Phillips Ccover band.

Lisa made me brownies. I look hilarious.

And even after my party, I got up early the next day and went to the city to get my hair cut. I’ll never get it to look as good as Stacy does!

Later that night, I met up with Randi and Brian at the Greek Festival in Tenafly, where we ran into some other friends and had some good Greek food and yummy pastries.

I think the rest of the weekend was uneventful. I made some cake balls that looked horrible, did some reading, made some salsa with fresh cilantro from my yard. Then it was one last hurrah at open mic night, where a really amazing guitarist from Canada stopped by and wowed us all.

They look gross, but tasted good!

So that's my big week off. I'll leave you with some of my birthday gifts - some books from Randi and a few I got myself. ...

And a sunflower pot from my friend Leticia. It's one of my favorite gifts ever.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sometimes I scrap

I have been wondering what happened to all that time I used to spend scrapping? Who knows? I have so many crafty ideas, but don't seem to get around to them! I did do some scrapping for my creative teams recently.

I can't believe how grown up T is getting! She was playing on her own at her sister's soccer game when I took these pics. I used Amy Wolff's Recovery kit from Lily Pad.

K is such a crazy kid. She has more energy than the Energizer Bunny. She can play t-ball and soccer in one day and still have energy to dance around like a crazy maniac! I used Kim Jensen and Kate Hadfield's Audaciously Awesome kit from Scrapdish & Lily Pad.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On the telly

I’ve been crazy about British stuff forever. The music, the books, the actors, the history, the accents. I even followed West Ham football for awhile when I had a British roomie. Sigh! I seriously want to go to the UK!

My new British obsession came about when we switched from Cablevision to Fios and BBC America became part of my lineup. There were a few British shows I already loved, but now I’m really hooked. Here are some of my past and present faves.

Couplings: (Netflix) It’s like a British version of friends, but a bit spicier since they can get away with a lot more on the BBC. So very funny and I developed a huge crush on Jack Davenport, who you may know from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

The Office: (Netflix) One of my favorite things about the original Office was its limited run. It doesn’t have the same heart that the U.S. version has, but the cringe-worthy moments are excruciatingly awesome and Ricky Gervais is a maniac. The British version of Jim, who is called Tim, is played by Martin Freeman, who will be Bilbo in the Hobbit!

Extras: (HBO) Another hilarious Gervais series. I love all the celebrity cameos, like Daniel Radcliffe hitting on Ashley Jensen. And the show within a show is just a great spoof on the sorry state of sitcoms. “Are you havin’ a laugh?”

An Idiot Abroad: (Science) This show had me laughing so much it hurts. Ricky Gervais and his partner in crime Stephen Merchant send Karl Pilkington around the world to see the Seven Wonders. They describe Karl as a real-life Homer Simpson. The guy is dumb, but at times brilliant. And as someone who hates to travel, I can relate to some of his frustration as Ricky and Stephen screw around with his plans. They put him up in the worst hotels, make him eat horrible foods and finds endless ways to humiliate him. And the things that come out of Karl’s mouth are unbelievable. “It’s the alright wall of China.”

Doctor Who: (BBC America) This has become one of my favorite shows ever! I’m so obsessed that I got a TARDIS cell phone case. I decided to check it out after seeing a Craig Ferguson episode dedicated to the Doctor. It’s kind of hard to explain the show, but it’s been on in various forms for about 40 years and it got a reboot a few years ago.

The doctor is a time lord who travels in time and space, usually with a human companion, in a space ship that looks like a British police box. The tenth doctor, played by David Tennant, is my favorite, but the current doctor, Matt Smith, is also fun and quirky. There are crazy planets and aliens as well as lots of historical figures that they meet along the way as they save the world and the universe over and over again. I love the cameos by British stars – Michael Gambon in the last Christmas episode and Carrey Mulligan in epsidode Don’t Blink. Some of the aliens and enemies are the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. The mid-season finale was last night and it was just amazing. I think this is turning out to be my favorite season.

Torchwood: (Netflix/BBCA/Starz) I just love Jack Harkness. He can never die and he’s not too hard to look at either. Torchwood is a spin off of Doctor Who (rearranged letters!). Capt. Jack spent some time travelling with the Doctors before he got his own show. He heads up an agency that deals with all the aliens trolling around Wales. The newest season is going to be on Starz this summer.

Merlin: (SyFy) This show feels like it should be on the CW. It’s a silly update of the Camelot stories, in which Merlin, Arthur and Gwen are teenagers. I like it a lot better than the Camelot show on Starz.

Being Human: (BBCA) I’ve only seen the latest season of this show, but I’ve seen the first season of the American remake on SyFy, which I also enjoy. A vampire, a wolf and a ghost live together under one roof. The premise sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s drama and the characters all help each other deal with their conditions and trying to get by in the human world. The BBC version’s Aiden Turner is going to be in the Hobbit.

AbFab: I watched lots of AbFab with my roommate David in college. Boozy broads and lots of hilarity.

The Tudors: (Showtime/BBCA) Jonathan Rhys Meyers made a pretty hot Henry VIII. I loved the richness of the series – the costumes, the sets and all the details. And of course all the fighting, treachery and marriages. One of my favorite stars of the show, Henry Cavill (that's him up there), is going to be the next Superman.

I have even more British series on my to-see list: Sherlock, Gavin & Stacy, Life on Mars, Spaced. But for now, I have a new reason to love BBCA. They just started showing Battlestar Galactica from the beginning. Because I need another show to obsess over.