Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #3

Every week I like to look back on five things that I am thankful for.  Here are this week’s Top 5.

  1.  I am thankful I got to celebrate a birthday of a good friend.  (I have yet to come up with a good blog name for her yet).  She is one of the kindest people I have ever met and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

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    Happy Birthday!
  2. On Monday one of my best friends and I took the day off and went to the Berkshires for the day.  Our first stop was the Lee Outlets where I spent more money than I care to admit and most of it was on my daughter.  We had plans to drive to Central Massachusetts to eat lunch at 1761 Old Mill Restaurant but when we punched it into Google maps, we learned it was closed.  Neither of us thought to check the website to see if it was open.  We both assumed it was open and, well, we all know what happens when you assume.  We didn’t let that ruin the day.  We had lunch at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and looked at the shops.

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    The Red Lion Inn
  3. We also went to the Norman Rockwell Museum and I am thankful that I live in an area that is so rich in culture.

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    Norman Rockwell Museum 2017
  4. I am thankful for the fact that I live in a time where my phone is a computer and I can play cartoons on demand.  What did our parents do when they needed to keep us preoccupied?  My daughter asks for my phone so she can watch “Girl and Bear” on Netflix.  “Girl and Bear” is actually called “Masha and the Bear.”  I never paid attention and I thought it was cute.  And then I watched it and I personally think the girl is a little monster.  Or a trouble maker at the very least.1950s+source+reddit_281ca6_4813703
  5. I am thankful for one of my college friends.  There was some bee/hornet/wasp thing flying around my house today.  It’s presence immediately puts me out of my comfort zone.  I have a zero tolerance policy for creepy crawly things in my house.  I posted about it on Facebook because I like to #overshare.  It was suggested I leave it alone but that wasn’t going to happen.  If you are a “leave it alone” person, the more power to you.  But I am not.  I was so scared of this bee/hornet/wasp thing and my college friend commented on my Facebook post that I should spray some hairspray from a distance.  When the hairspray dries, it immobilizes their wings.  It worked!  I saw these same bee/hornet/wasp things outside last week so I called the exterminator to set up an appointment to make sure there isn’t a nest near my house.

What are you thankful for this week?

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Warm October rain: Sunday Funday at the Dr. Seuss Museum

Last Sunday my daughter and I drove to Springfield, Massachusetts for a very special outing.  My cousin drove out from the Boston area to spend the day with us, along with her two kids (including her 3 month old daughter) and my Uncle.  It was our first time meeting her daughter, who my daughter calls “Baby Cousin”.

First we hit the Dr. Seuss Museum.  At first I thought that admission was a bit expsensive but the admission is good for all five museums and they are located all together.  You can easily hit several museums in one day.  After the Dr. Seuss Museum, we had lunch at the cafe on the premises and then we explored the Science Museum, which was kid friendly.

After the Science Museum, we tried to go to the Fine Art Museum but the kids had too much energy and after they kept trying to touch peices of art that had signs asking “do not touch”, we abandoned the mission.  I love art museums so maybe when they are older.

I am thankful to be building a closer relationship with my cousin.  Even though my family is spread out between Maine, Massachusetts and Florida, I appreciate that members on both sides of my family make an effort to be a part of my daughters life.  It is good to know that my cousin and I can meet in the middle and get the kids together.  I love knowing that my daughter will have cousins to play with.  I appreciate all the time my family makes for her.

Late summer fun: Sunflowers and ice cream

I was supposed to go to Maine the last weekend in August but I needed to take my cat to the vet. I thought something was wrong with him. He wasn’t acting like himself and I was sure something was wrong with him.  After paying my not insignificant vet bill, nothing was physically wrong him.

So now my cat is on prozac.

It’s for the best.

And I missed my trip to Maine and my 20th high school reunion. I thought about trying to swinng it but I was too tired to do 16 hours of driving in a 60 hour period

So I wound up with an unexpected free weekend.  My close friend loves Sunflowers and asked if I would be up for a drive downstate to a sunflower field. I am always ready for an adventure and I love road trips so I happily agreed.

I wish I had a selfie to share but not a single one looked good.  For real.  My daughter wouldn’t look at the camera and I had my hair in my face.

After we looked at the flowers, we went to a farm stand.  It was crowded.  My friend told me that she wasn’t expected it to be crowded because she has seen too many Hallmark movies.  In Hallmark movies there is a ton of space.  Hallmark movies have ruined her.

Though we both agreed that that won’t stop us from watching them this Christmas.

After the farm stand, we decided to drive into New Paltz and get some ice cream.   We went to Hugeunot Creamery.  The ice cream was delicious and the staff was very kind and friendly.  The kids had ice cream cones  with sprinkles. They wound up all over the floor.  Part of me felt bad but part of me figured that it’s bound to happen in an ice cream shoppe.  My friend had a creamsicle float and I had an old fashioned hot fudge sundae.

On the way back, we stopped at a Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhinebeck which is owned by Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Morgan.  The kids had lollipops (though my daughter could only handle a few licks after eating ice cream) and I had a pretzel covered in Reese’s Pieces.  My friend got chocolate covered oreos.

It was a great day.  I am so glad my friend asked us to spend the day with her and it was fun to discover places in New York where I had never been.  I can’t wait for some Fall adventures with my friends.

Do you like to go on day trips?  Where do you like to go?

Rude Canadians and the time we almost got kicked off a plane

Today’s blog post was inspired from Rachel’s post about wanting to meet a rude Canadian.

Bryon and I met a rude Canadian once.

Actually it was two rude Canadians.

We were on a cruise in February 2014.  It was the cruise we took when I was nine weeks pregnant (before Zika was a thing).  The cruise was aboard the Carnival Sunshine and we left from New Orleans and visited Montego Bay, Jamaica (never again), Grand Cayman (loved it) and Cozumel, Mexico (fun time).

That cruise could be dubbed a lot of different things:

The time I cruised when pregnant.

The cruise where I threw up Virgin Daquiri’s.  (Sorry).

The cruise where I pretty much just ate potato salad and loved it.

The cruise where Bryon got a bad sunburn and then had to pay $15 for aloe on the ship.  The label called it liquid gold and Bryon said it better be for that price.

The cruise where we hung out in the piano bar most nights.

The cruise where I met an Elvis impersonator.

The cruise where I won a geography trivia contest.

The cruise where the somelier at the steakhouse spilled Bryon’s Chateau Neuf de Pape while she was trying to transfer it from the bottle into the decanter.  I can still feel Bryon’s blood pressure rising over this.

The cruise where Bryon pissed off a Southern lady at the pizza stand.

But this story is about how we met rude Canadians.

On that cruise we made friends with another married couple from Florida.  The dining room was tight (as most dining rooms on cruise ships are) and our tables were next to each other.  We started chatting and remained friendly during the rest of the cruise.  In fact, we still remain Facebook friends.  Maybe I will cruise with them again.  If I can ever bring myself to go on another cruise.  That was Bryon and my thing.

Anyway, we invited this couple to be part of our team in a trivia contest.  This trivia contest was different than most. Instead of just writing your answers on a sheet, each team took a chance to answer a question.  If you got it right, you got the points.  If you got it wrong, the moderator went around the room asking everyone else until someone got it right or until she got back to the original contestant.  

Well this couple came in and joined the fun.  They were there own team and they called themselves  “The Canucks.”  To be honest, I can’t even remember the name of our own team.  

“The Canucks” were before us in the rotation of questions.  So whenever a team got an answer wrong, we would quietly discuss our answer as a team.  Somehow “The Canucks” heard us because they kept stealing our answers.  

Needless to say, we were pissed.  So on the next rounds, we got even quieter and Bryon would semi-loudly say “I think it’s *wrong answer*.  Yeah, I definitely think it is *wrong answer*”.  

“The Canucks” bought our fake answer and -surprise- they got it wrong.  Then it was our turn and we gave our correct answer and they glared at us.  

Now on the Carnival Sunshine as well as a lot of other Carnival ships, there was a cocktail bar called Alchemy.  The bartender on this cruise had actually been our bartender the previous year on the Carnival Glory.  We had become friends (still Facebook friends with her as well) and right before our trip on the Carnival Sunshine, she announced on Facebook that she was going to be on that ship.  So we were so excited to be reunited.  Most nights we would go have a beverage before dinner (non-alcoholic for me) and then we would return after the evening entertainment.  Well we are at the bar and the rude Canadian couple was there.  And they glared at us because we were friendly with the bartender.

They continued to glare at us whenever they saw us.  To be honest, Bryon and I thought it was kind of funny.  Though we were surprised because we had never met rude Canadians before and we usually went to Canada several times a year.

The story concludes with our the first leg of our flight home.  Our flight went from New Orleans to Chicago then to Albany.  We were using airlines miles (I have an airline credit card) and they did not have any coach seats available so we decided to use more miles and fly first class.  I am not going to lie, I loved it.  

We were sitting in the second row and we see the rude Canadians board the airplane.  Bryon, who already had a drink in his hand waves hello to them.  And, you guessed it, they glare at us.  

Oh, about the almost getting kicked off part-

We were started to taxi and the pilot announces that we were going to return to the gate for a security concern.  I look at Bryon.  He points to the seat in front of us and mouths to me that he thinks it’s them.  In the first row was a couple who had been extremely rude to the flight attendant.  

The gate manager comes up to our row and tells us we need to exit the airplane immediately. I just sat there in shock.  

The flight attendant comes up behind the gate manager and says “Row 1!  I said Row 1!”  

The gate man apologizes and then has the couple in the row 1 exit the plane.

I said to Bryon that the rude Canadians probably thought it was us getting kicked off the plane.

Bryon said that they will never know because they we way back in coach.

And then we laughed.  Like we were people who always flew first class.

My one fun night in New York City

 

Bryon spent the last two and a half weeks of his life in New York City.  I had him moved from our regional medical center because he needed better care.  It was two of the most optimistic and the most scariest weeks of my life.   I was optimistic because he had a world class medical team caring for him.  I was scared because he was still very sick and I knew that even if he survived, the road to recovery was going to be complicated.

I don’t usually think about my time in New York.  I mean, it ended with Bryon dying.  

Yesterday I was reading about how one of my blogging friends spent her birthday in NYC.  She spent part of her day in Washington Heights, which was the part of NYC where Bryon’s hospital was located.  

It dawned on me that I can’t ignore New York City forever.  Someday I will  have to return.  I may want to take my daughter to see the Rockettes or take her to the Natural History Museum.  Or the Bronx Zoo.  Or maybe I would go with my Spanish teacher friend to find an Argentinian restaurant.  Or to see The Bangles with Kimmy Gibbler and my Latin Teacher friend the next time they go on tour.  It would be ridiculous to avoid a whole city for the rest of my life because of what happened.  I will probably just avoid Washington Heights.

So I was reading my blogging friends birthday post and then I was on Facebook.  I checked “On This Day” and sure enough, it was a post about the one fun thing I did during those two and a half weeks.

My daughter’s Godmother came down with her (now) fiance and got hotel rooms in the Times Square area.  She was telling me all about the city as we drove downtown.  I am a small town girl from Maine after all.  We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  It was my one fun night in New York City.

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Margarita
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Tacos
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Seinfeld restaurant
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View from the hotel room

Though there were other good things about being in the city.

I had a family to stay with.  They didn’t even know me but they knew Bryon.  They welcomed me into their home and they were so kind to me.  They stay ended up being short but had Bryon survived, he might have been in the city for months.  They never once gave me a time limit.  I know they were rooting for the slow recovery.  It would worth a trip to NYC to see them and have them meet my daughter.

Bryon’s friends in NYC got to see him.  That was great.

The team was much more optimistic and Bryon’s spirits were the best they had been through the whole ordeal.  In Albany, Bryon was too depressed to facetime with our daughter, but in NYC, he was happy facetiming her.

Bryon still had his sense of humor.  It took me a week to figure out that I could take the express train to get to the hospital faster.  He shook his head and rolled his eyes at me.

But right now, NYC remains the city where Bryon died.  Maybe someday I will return but it probably won’t be anytime soon.

Chicago 2017: Navy Pier

During my weekend in Chicago I really wanted to go take my daughter on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

I first rode on the Ferris Wheel in 2004.  It was the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I had attended a wedding in Wisconsin and it was ten days after my Grandma Sullivan died.  I had found out while I was working.  It was a Friday and my father and I had been planning to leave that day to try to get to Massachusetts before she passed but we were too late.

I can still remember what I did in those ten days:

Friday- Grandma died.
Saturday- Went to Massachusetts (5 hours away from my home in Maine).
Sunday- Grandma’s wake.
Monday- Grandma’s funeral.
Tuesday- Went back to Maine.
Wednesday- Helped my mother prepare for Thanksgiving
Thursday- Thanksgiving
Friday- Flew from Bangor, ME to Madison, WI (via Cincinnati) to attend the wedding of a friend that I had attended university with while I was in England.  My cousin (from the other side of the family) was crazy enough to fly up from Florida to attend as my guest.
Saturday- Wedding just outside of Madison, WI
Sunday-  Went to Milwaukee with my cousin.  We went to the Milwaukee Public Museum, had lunch at Usingers, and toured the Colonel Pabst Mansion.

I couldn’t resist posting this Wayne’s World clip.

On Monday my cousin was crazy enough to take a bus to Chicago with me.  She was crazy enough walk around Chicago with me for 12 hours in the cold, November rain.  We had pizza at Gino’s, walked by Wrigley field, went to the top of Sears tower and rode the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier.

I have no pictures of myself on the Ferris Wheel but here is one of me on the El.

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Chicago 2004

And because I talking about the cold November rain got this song stuck in my head…here you go-

I returned to Maine that Tuesday.

There were lots of things that I did not know at that time.  I had just gotten involved in politics but I had not even heard of the Young Republicans.  18 months after that trip to Chicago, I would attend the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  On that trip, I would attend a party at the Romanian Embassy and on the shuttle bus ride there, I would sit behind a girl from Chicago who would become on of my best friends. (You met her here)

In the fall of 2007, I was living in Southern Indiana with another friend from the Young Republicans.  I was on a three months contract for work.  My roommate and I drove up to Chicago to see my best friend and another good friend in Chicago.  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and then went to Navy Pier.  And we rode the Ferris Wheel.

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Chicago 2007
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Chicago 2007
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Chicago 2007

In 2007 we were single girls travelling around the country, attending political meetings and partying with future leaders and elected officials (some of them surprised us).

In 2012, we both got married.  I got married in September in Albany and she got married in December in Mexico.  Her location was a bit more exotic than mine but it didn’t matter.  We were both there for each other on our big days.

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Albany, 2012
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Mexico, 2012

We both had our daughters in 2014.  Her daughter came in April and mine came in September.  They are exactly 5 months apart.

And she was there for me when Bryon died.  She made the trip to Albany (along with the other lovely lady in her wedding photo).  They actually already had the plans to be in NYC the weekend that ended up being the weekend of Bryon’s funeral.  His birthday was the day after his funeral and she made arrangements to meet my father halfway between NYC and Albany to bring our daughter to see him for his birthday.   I told Bryon that he would see our daughter, as long as the doctors said it was okay.  He was excited.

But he died a week before his birthday.

And now I am here.  A widow.  Travelling as much as a I can this year to make up for the fact that I spent most of 2016 in an ICU room watching Bryon slowly die.  And because I promised him as he was dying that I would still take our daughter on adventures.

So that brings me to Chicago in 2017.  With my best friend and our young daughters.  And I wanted to go to Navy Pier to ride the Ferris Wheel…again.

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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017
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Chicago 2017

Both of the little ones enjoyed the ride.  I can’t remember if it was my friends daughters first time or not.  I think it’s safe to say that when my daughter and I return, that we will go on the Ferris Wheel again.  Maybe next time, she will be tall enough for some of the other rides.

 

Boston, 2015: Swan Boats and a rowing machine

July 18, 2015

It was a Saturday morning.  The baby woke up and usually I would be the one to get our daughter.  But this morning, Bryon told me he would get her.  I laid in bed thinking it was nice.  A lazy morning in bed is a rarity.

It didn’t last long.

5 minutes later Bryon came into our bedroom and asked that question-

“Hey, do we have anything planned today?”

I knew exactly where he was going with this.  He had spent the last 24 hours looking for a used rowing machine on craigslist because he wanted a fancy one without paying the price for one new.

I respond with an un-phased “where did you find a rowing machine?”

“I found one in Arlington.”

This peaks my interest.  Being a native of the Boston area, I knew he meant Arlington, Massachusetts.  And I am always up for an adventure and I love Boston.

“So if we go to Arlington, is there any chance we can go to Boston?  I want to take our daughter on the Swan Boats.”

The Swan Boats are a Boston institution after all.

Bryon assured me that since he couldn’t pick up the rowing machine from the seller until 5 pm that there would be plenty of time to go on the Swan Boats.

So off to Boston we went.  We stopped for breakfast at Chick-Fil-A in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

We arrived in Boston and we parked at Alewife and took the Red Line to Downtown Crossing.

I love my daughters impression of her first subway ride.

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A perfect summer day in Boston.  Bryon and I decided that we wanted our daughter to know both Boston and New York City when she got a little older.  I wanted to do a trip to Boston in the summer and I wanted to take her to a Red Sox game in Fenway Park.  Bryon said he wanted to bring our daughter to New York City at Christmastime.

This ended up being our only trip to Boston together.

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That face.

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Bryon always loved wearing a Pawtucket hat instead of a Boston hat.  He loved that only true baseball fans and true Red Sox fans knew that the “P” stood for Pawtucket.

(For all you non-baseball fans, Pawtucket is the minor league baseball team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox.  They are located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.)

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We went to get the rowing machine at around 5.  The machine was a bigger model than advertised and we struggled to fit it into our Suburu Forrester.  Luckily we were able to take it apart and get all the pieces in.  Bryon was thrilled because he would have been willing to pay more for this model.

Just in case anyone is wondering, it isn’t the model that Frank Underwood uses on House of Cards.  Bryon told me once that it is model lower than that.

Bryon and I joked that the guy we bought the rowing machine from was the Boston version of his brother because the houses look the same as the ones in his brothers neighborhood.  Also, the guy we were purchasing the rowing machine from had two sons the same ages as Bryon’s nephews and one even had the same name.

The only difference was that Bryon’s brother does not have much hair and the guy we bought the rowing machine from had a ponytail.  Bryon was really good at reading people and he said that the guy still had the ponytail to show the world that he was still a non-conformist even if he sold out to corporate America.  Bryon always made me laugh.

The rest of these photos (courtesy of Facebooks “On This Day” feature) were taken back at home.  Most days I am content with my daughter being my only child.  Even if I were to fall in love again, I will be 39 this summer.  I am not sure I want to go through the sleepless nights again.  And the pumping.

But then I look at these photos of my daughter and then I feel a twinge of sadness that she will be my only child.

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