Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stardate 62824.78 - To The Zoo

Two Sundays ago (October 19) we took a trip to the Bronx Zoo. Normally we've gone in the very off season on unseasonably warm days (like in January). This time the Zoo had many more people in it than on our previous trips, but still not too crowded.

Loren's favorite thing, and what she talked about the entire time until we got to them, was the zebras.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stardate 62804.69 - Shrek 2 and Persepolis

Watched Shrek 2 last weekend. Cheryl had watched it on a plane, so when it finally bubbled up to the top of the NetFlix list I was the only one interested. In short, I found it to be pretty well done (maybe because I had low expectations?) and enjoyable. I won't really speak much about it because I cannot imagine anyone would be watching the sequel if they hadn't already seen the original. I give it a thumbs up.

Cheryl and I watched Persepolis that same weekend. This very well done film tracks the life of a girl who is very young at the time of the revolution in Iran, up thorugh modern times. It was very interesting, and shows the perspective of people and families who were not part of the Islamic movement. We both thought it was quite good - two thumbs up. The original is in French and we watched it dubbed into English--normally not something we do but since it is a cartoon we figured watching it in French with English subtitles was unnecessary.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stardate 62800.19 - Mr. Jack-O-Lantern

We've started our preparations for Halloween, and the first activity (after buying pumpkins) was to carve one up into a Jack-O-Lantern. I'm not sure what Loren was expecting when we took the top off, but clearly the seeds and junk inside was not it. Loren had previously drawn on the pumpkin, making eyes, a nose, and a mouth so Cheryl used that general lay-out to do the carving of the face. Here is the end result:

Cheryl also purchased two costumes for Loren, a Doctor one and a Pirate one. Loren tried on the pirate costume first, and that is when the "low battery" warning on the camera started to flash so we didn't get pictures of the doctor one (but I'm sure she'll wear it again).

While dressed as a pirate Loren wanted to bury her two treasure chests (well, hide them) and then carry them to her ships. Her chests were two plastic wipes containers, and her ships were two cardboard boxes from Fresh Direct. Then as the doctor she gave me and Cheryl each multiple check-ups before Cheryl persuaded her to start on her stuffed animals.

The sad thing it, we're not even sure that our building does any trick-or-treating at Halloween.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stardate 62797.17 - Beer Chang

When we were in Thailand back in 2004, I fell in love with Beer Chang. It was available at the local 7-11s and every restaurant we ever went to. Singha may be better known and more likely to appear at your favorite Thai restaurant in The States, but Beer Chang was cheap and very tasty. When we got back, I tried to track down Beer Chang but I couldn't even find a web page for them at the time. I continued to ask for it at Thai restaurants, but no-one ever had it.

All that changed last week as we were placing an order with Fresh Direct. As I hopped over to the beer page, imagine my surprise when Beer Chang was featured on the main page! I immediately added a 6-pack to the shopping cart and it was every bit as tasty as I remembered. In fact, we're going to place another grocery order today and as I'm already out of Beer Chang I plan on picking up another 6-pack.


Stardate 62796.96 - Sailing Video

Thomas took a short video of the sail from Newport to Block Island I wrote about here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blue skies, shining on me

I think this post will finally catch us up with the last set of pictures we've taken. This past weekend we stayed home on Saturday. One of Loren's classmates (actually on-again, off-again classmate -- he aged out of her class a couple months ago) and his younger sister came over for a playdate. They live several blocks north of us so we frequently walk home together. Once the kids had all gotten their fill of Loren's toys and looking for the cats hiding under the bed, we went up on the roof to enjoy the gorgeous weather.

On Sunday, we decided to take a drive out on Long Island to Robert Moses State Park. Curt and I had been there once before, but he had a hard time remembering it because it was in the pre-digital camera days (by a month or so). We hiked on the boardwalk through the dunes to the Fire Island lighthouse. Loren walked a good bit of the way there by herself, but hitched a ride back on Curt's shoulders.

Yes, I am looking a little chunky these days. If all goes according to schedule, Loren is going to be a big sister in mid-to-late January!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend in NJ

Here are some belated pictures of my trip to NJ with Loren while Curt was sailing. We went pumpkin-picking at Dearborn Farms on Saturday, and took part in the American Heart Walk on Sunday with the team from the hospital where my mom works. Much thanks to Jen and Andy for serving as photographers for most of the weekend. On Saturday I forgot my camera, and on Sunday I was too busy supervising Loren at the Heart Walk to take many pictures of my own!

Loren's first pony ride!

On the hayride

Andy and Jen

With Grandma

Loren in her team shirt for the Heart Walk (no kid's sizes available!)

On the boardwalk in Point Pleasant

Decorating pumpkins while waiting for the start

And her first moon bounce

Stardate 62786.48 - Block Island, Picture of Me

Here are some pictures that Terry took and recently posted. I selected ones of me, naturally!

At the helm.

On the scooter.

Wondering if the rain will start.

Driving the dingy!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Stardate 62782.21 - Block Island, Days 3 and 4

First, I should point out that most of these photos are Jay's, because on Saturday the rechargeable batteries in my camera died unexpectedly (I had just charged them before I left on Thursday), so thanks, Jay!

On Saturday conditions were perfect for a sail, so Thomas stayed ashore and I took the boat out with the fearless crew for my first solo skippering adventure. (We called Thomas when we were even with the town and he took the above photo of us as we sailed by.)

We departed at 1030 and made it back to The Great Salt Pond around 1530, having completed a circumnavigation of Block Island. Winds started out around 10 knots with 1 foot seas. As we were sailing around the southern part of the island it was so level we brought out food and ate lunch in the cockpit. In the photo below Ed is on the helm as the skipper (me!) keeps a close watch.

Here is a photo I took of the chart-plotter below in the cabin with our position clearly indicated.

These excellent wind and wave conditions did not remain for long, however, and as we cleared the northern tip of the island (staying well outside the green buoy as to avoid the reef), winds increased to 25-30 knots and we had a bit of a pounding as we close hauled back down to the entrance to the anchorage. After clearing the northern-most buoy we once again turned the engine on (just like on Thursday) to speed up our return.

That evening, before we left for dinner, Terry was sitting on the stern seat and the light was so perfect we all posed for photos there before getting into the dinghy for the ride to shore. Here is your intrepid skipper, resplendent in green!

Here is Terry and the photo that inspired many copies!

Jay takes his turn (I think this is his Facebook profile picture now!).

And finally, Ed strikes a pose. I'm not sure why Thomas didn't pose, but maybe he hadn't gotten back in the dinghy yet from his day spent on the shore.

At the Inn where we ate our final dinner of the trip there were bagpipes - the Scottish heritage in me loved it!

And we had a fantastic 2-lobster dinner, which was the perfect topper to a most excellent weekend!

Sunday there is not much to tell - we got up and ate breakfast in the rain. Once it stopped we started our return trip to Newport, but the winds were below 5 knots so we motored the entire way back. The rain picked up a couple of hours outside Newport and while the crew tried to tough it out for a while, only Thomas and I had suitable gear for standing in the cockpit in the rain (and my gear is really summer gear and so I was a bit cold by the end of the trip). Luckily, it stopped raining as we were off-loading the boat so that wasn't too bad.

Terry left to go to his parents' beach house for the week, Jay left for Boston, and so Ed, Thomas, and I ate lunch in Newport before driving back to the city. Thomas dropped Ed and me off at a car service in Queens near his home and Ed and I shared a car back into Manhattan. I think I got home by 8:30 PM.

Alas, no more sailing until maybe the spring!

And here are some more pictures of me from Terry's collection.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stardate 62777.18 - Block Island, Day Two

On Friday we got up and checked the weather and the winds and sea were still pretty high so we decided to spend the day on Block Island. After a leisurely breakfast we walked into town.

We found a moped rental place and rented 4 mopeds to drive around the island. I'd never ridden one before, but they were pretty easy. They usually did about 35 miles per hour although I had mine up to 40 once going down hill. Jay and Terry pose below as we were forming up our gang, "Heaven's Angels".

Most of the morning looked great, but by afternoon it really looked like rain. Luckily, apart from a very short and mild sprinkle it didn't rain.

We found a person to take a group picture. Below left-to-right are Jay, Ed, Terry, and me.

Once back in town we turned in the mopeds and caught back up with Thomas (who wasn't feeling well and elected to remain in town) for ice cream.

Here is the downtown view.

And we had a nice sunset that evening.

Days Three and Four