Monday, January 31, 2011

home again, home again

We're home. It was a rough week on the poor dogs. Pasqual might not have had a relaxed moment the entire time we were gone. But as you can see he has made himself comfortable with his head on the pillow making up for a weeks worth of stress. I love the look on Daisy's face. I'm not sure she could look more annoyed. I think at 17 1/2 years old she thinks she's earned the right to not share the pillows.

It actually was a rough week for them. Only a couple of days after we'd left Preacher slipped getting off the couch. When Brittany (my assistant) got here to let them out he was on the ground and couldn't get up. After trying for over half an hour to get him off the floor she called us. Of course I went into a panic and started thinking one, if not both, of us would have to fly home immediately. But my wonderful parents saved the day. My dad came over and hoisted Preacher off the floor. And after a couple of days of some pain meds and pampering he was pretty much back to normal. By the time we got home he was completely normal. But my poor parents need a vacation! As my mom said, "your dogs are too old and I am too old!" I think we might have used up our dog sitting favors for a good long while. New York, it looks like it's gonna be awhile before I see you again. Of course, I guess I could always leave Tom with the dogs! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

the last 36 hours

Just yesterday morning the snow that blanketed the city when we arrived was melting away, but around 8am it began to fall again. It snowed for a good three hours and left 3 or 4 inches on the ground. Tom and I set out for lunch and made a pit stop in Washington Square Park, which is just about two blocks from where we are staying. It was so lovely, everything sparkled, the trees looked like some kind of Dr. Seuss - Ansel Adams combo. I promptly fell straight back into the snow flapping my arms and legs to make the first snow angel I've made in probably 30 years!

After an afternoon tromping around the West Village we headed home...and then the snow started to fall again. and it snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed. Since Tom has never seen any significant snow fall we decided to get out in it...
...this is after about 15 minutes in the snow...
...and this is after about a half an hour in the snow. I know I look like I have been rolling around in it, but this is just what fell on me!! It was nutty! The city was dead quiet, the streets were empty, it was bizarre. This is the city that never sleeps, you can never go anywhere at anytime without seeing people in every direction. But there it was, quiet and stark white. It was stunning.

We went back out to Washington Square Park which was apparently the destination for all of the NYU students. They were having massive snow ball fights, building snow men - and did I mention that this was all at about 1:30 in the morning?!? It was pure, magical fun. I felt like I was eight years old. We ran through it, hopped into the tallest dunes, climbed on the play scape, and threw our own snowballs.

It continued to snow until around 6 or 7am. When the final count was in it had snowed twice what had been predicted. Apparently it was the 9th worst storm in NYC history!
Mayor Bloomberg declared it an official snow day and school was canceled. Tom and I headed for Central Park knowing it would be a sight to see. The kids were out in force and the majority were on Pilgram Hill sledding. It was so precious, and so, so different from a childhood in Texas.
I took this photo a little further into Central Park. As we rounded the corner to this view you could also hear someone playing a saxophone deep into the park. Did I already use the word magical? Only in New York.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

more snow? bring it on!

It snowed today for about 3 hours. It was lovely. It's supposed to snow again tomorrow night, in the words of the NY1 weather man, "we should receive 6 inches of heavy, wet snow." Yippee!! And you can see by the above photo that we hurried out to get the appropriate rations!

The Martha Experience

Yes. It's true. We got to see Martha. We were in the same room with Martha. I am not typically the star struck type at all. But seriously, it's Martha freakin' Stewart!! It was kind of surreal. We had to be at the studio at 8:30am. When we left the apartment at around 7:50 it was six, yes 6, degrees outside! But when we rounded the corner after getting off the train and I saw her name on the building I started getting giddy with excitement!!
This is my dorky-ness as we stood in line outside of the studio. Once we were inside the entire experience was so worth braving the cold!! The holding room was lovely, the wait was long but I didn't care, I was too excited. There was a funny warm up guy - if you watch the show you know who Joey is and he is more hilarious in person. They don't have a very large studio audience so we were very close to all the action.

I've got to back up a bit and explain the getting-on-the-show process. Tom applied for me and we heard back after about a week that we got the green light. When we accepted we received the "instructions". There was a pretty serious and lengthy dress code: a short list of dos: bright colors preferred, Martha likes a cheerful looking audience; and a loooong list of don'ts: don't wear black or gray, don't wear t-shirts, don't wear any patterns or prints, and more. Tom and I followed the directions to the T, I did not want to get kicked out of Martha for God's sake!

The studio was SO impressive. It was quite large, bigger than it seems on tv, unlike Letterman which was like a postage stamp in reality! She had a kitchen space, a craft space, and a gardening space, in addition to a HUGE test kitchen where several people were working like little elves throughout the show. There are about a bajillion lights and a bajillion and one people scurrying around the set the whole time. During the commercial people descend on Martha like ants on a dropped bit of sugar cookie! She gets lint rolled, lip glossed, hair placed, and powder puffed! And then they disappear only to swoop back in during the next break. It's nutty. I'm not sure how any lint happened to land on her while she sat discussing a Cleopatra biography with the author, but she gets the lint roller any way. It's crazy fascinating!!
So, here we are in our Martha approved ensemble. Tom sporting lovely lime green wool sweater and me in a peony pink cardy and hat (that I made!!!). It really was very fun. If you are a Martha fan I highly recommend visiting the crafty, culinary queen if you are ever in the city.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

day one and a half

We just wrapped up our first full day back in the city and I am pooped. I am headed to bed but thought I'd share a couple of photos of the goings on... This first photo is the view from the apartment we are staying in - Thank You Julie! It's pretty fantastic, yeh? We are dog sitting for a former foster dog, which is utterly cool and I'll post more on that soon.
Here's Finnegan, said dog that we are sitting for. He is beyond precious and is making this trip even more fun. And he is a trooper for sweaters and peeing in the snow!
Chilequilies for brunch at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill. Ummm, Yum! And they came with a side of grits that were the best grits I've ever had. It was crazy good.
Okay, this was so cool - we were walking through the Union Square Green Market, which is mostly food and is always one of my very favorite things to do in the city. It's always one of our first stops and we go back several times each trip - but this was the fist time I have seen this vendor. I wish I could remember the name and I'd give them a little plug here...but it's a sheep farm and they sell everything from the meat to the wool to hats made from the wool. It was really cool. Needless to say I bought some yarn!
And last, Tom with all the snow in Union Square Park, my favorite park in the city. There is about four inches or so of snow on the ground. It fell the night before we arrived so it's still here and still beautiful. Everything just glistens. It even looks pretty on the trash bags on the curb...although on our walk tonight Finnegan turned some of it yellow. Oops!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Will this be warm enough?

We're off to Manhattan in just a couple of days. I know, it seems like we were just there. I wonder if we'll ever travel any place else my dreams we'll have an apartment there one day... So! Who can tell me how in the hell to stay warm when it's 10 degrees outside? I'm thinking my Chia hat will be in order. Layers, layers, layers. Any advice?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preacher Man update

He's 12. He's slow. He barks a lot. That's my big update! :) No really, I just don't have a lot of new info but I know people want to know how the big guy is doing. He's funny - for 10 years we barely heard a peep out of him and now it's like he has found his voice. I think we have finally figured out that it usually means he wants food. Which is fine by me - my thinking is if he is eating he must feel okay. Right? But it's hilarious because being deaf he kinda has a deaf sounding bark, it's more of a honk than a there I am, sound asleep in bed, 7am, and it sounds like there is a goose in my living room.
Tom took him to the vet a couple of weeks ago for a check up and it was pretty much status quo. He has a very weak back end, sometimes has a hard time getting up and down, so the vet suggested short walks to keep up that muscle memory. So I took him out front with me just to check the mail. I thought, I don't need a leash, what's he gonna do, run off? Well, that little stinker went out the front door like his heels were on fire! And when I got my hands on his collar he steered me off around the corner like we were going for a big ole walk. Well, at midnight and 32 degrees and misting I was not quite prepared.
A few days ago when he was having kind of an off day I decided to google "longest living Great Dane". Turns out it's 16 years. The website said that eight years is average but that once in a blue moon they may live to be 12. You know that I know we are lucky, but that really struck me. 12 years old, nearly 19 months past a cancer diagnosis - it's crazy. so I will thank you all again for all of the good thoughts that you send his way all the time. I know, I really, really know that it helps. He is one lucky, lucky boy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's down right cold here! Well, for Texas anyway. I think it's supposed to get down to 20 degrees tonight. Now if you are reading this up in Fargo and screaming "You have no idea what cold is!" at me, you're right. To me this is cold and I love it!! Building a fire, making soup, and seeing the dogs curl up in front of the fire - it's heaven. Pasqual is hilarious about a fire - nearly every time we build one he is in front of it either staring into it in some sort of trance or turned around warming his butt. When we took this picture he had completely sacked out. Oh to be a dog and be that relaxed, that's the life!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

dinner time at the gibson's

I know I'm biased, but seriously, my dogs are cute. There are 11 of the 14 dogs in this photo...two fosters and nine of mine. Only Seven, Preacher, and Ozo are missing from the crowd. This picture makes them seem so calm when in reality dinner is a frenzy of barking, jumping up-and-down, and them making all around fools of themselves as if we haven't fed them in a good week.

I sure would love to get a photo of my whole crew where they are all facing forward. Is that the impossible dream?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

the fluff before the marshmallow

I don't know if you all remember or if you were reading my blog this time last year, but I had this really long post about the marathon baking day that we have every year. I posted tons of photos, we baked for like 12 hours, so there was lots to photo. It's one of my favorite things each year. Well this year I was insanely busy AND had hurt my back. So the show went on without me. I was so sad. So, I am determined not to let the same thing happen next year. So determined in fact that I have already formed a plan of attack to make the holiday hustle go more smoothly. We'll see...

But in the mean time I made marshmallows. It was one of my favorite things from the 2009 baking day so this past weekend I made them myself. Most years I make a bundle of goodies for Tom to take to his coworkers - this year, the year of I-missed-everything-Christmas-and-I-am-still-stewing-about-it year, I didn't get anything made. So I decided they would get a "Here's to a sweet New Year" treat of homemade marshmallows. And I have to say, they were some pretty tasty marshmallows! I keep a little jar of sugar that has a vanilla bean in it and I used that sugar for about a quarter of the sugar in addition to the vanilla extract - yummy!!!! And plus it had the great little black speck of vanilla seeds that come from inside the sticky bean. So. Good. I love the finished product, but I am pretty sure I could eat the whole bowl before it ever sets up. Thank goodness for licking the beaters.