Archive | February, 2011

Let the pictures do the talkin’

28 Feb

Remember how my fingers almost fell off when we did our scavenger hunt through Greenwich Village?  Well they didn’t (fall off that is), but I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  Guess what!?  Leanne did!

 

Starting at the end…this is the Cherry Lane Theater the longest continuously running off Broadway theater
Owl Cafe. Supposedly where the “Friends” friends lived.
McNulty’s Tea and Coffee
The Northern Dispensary, where Edgar Allen Poe got treated for a head cold
Gay Liberation Monument in Christopher Park
Music Inn
Golden Swan Garden. Eugene O’Neil used to hang here, as well as, apparently Koin. And no I don’t know what’s going on with my face.
Fat Black Pussycat
Judson Church, which was not easy to find! A center for civil rights, drug recovery, and one of the first churches to recognize the AIDS epidemic and start support groups.
It’s the big red building as the scavenger hunt told us. Actually it’s the Bobst Library at NYU.

I still have a few other pictures to share, but I didn’t want to overwhelm everybody!

Daily Post

What is your hidden talent

Hmm, I don’t know how hidden this talent is, but I am a very good whistler.  No, really I am!  I show you an example, but I don’t really think it’d do me justice ;)  I think it’s due to all those years of playing the flute…

 

Cats Quote Charlie Sheen (via Medium Large)

27 Feb

Hilarious and sad all at the same time.

Cats Quote Charlie Sheen All quotes taken verbatim from Charlie Sheen’s recent radio interview on The Alex Jones Show. Updated with more cats and quotes! Follow on Twitter @fmarciuliano … Read More

via Medium Large

Anthony Bourdain

27 Feb

Somehow in updating y’all on our trip to NYC, I never told you about Anthony Bourdain.

You know Anthony Bourdain, right?  Snarky author and traveler of the world?  I think he’s pretty damn awesome.  Well, he came to Norfolk the weekend before Valentine’s Day.

We didn’t quite know what to expect when going to this.  I mean, were we just going to sit there for two hours while he berated us for watching the Food Network?  Who knows!?  Turns out, no, he was not going to berate us, rather he was going to berate other people.  You know, which is cool with me. ;)

He started off by talking about Food Network personalities.  A particular host came up to him at a swanky party and manhandled him and basically made him feel uncomfortable for a good portion of the evening.  That person would be Sandra Lee.  He doesn’t pull any punches when talking about her.  It’s clear that he doesn’t like her.  He basically feels she is the anti-christ.  If you ever want to see a bad, bad idea for a cake; check out Sandra Lee (Kwanzaa Cake).  You won’t be sorry.

He talked about other Food Network people such as Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Morimoto, and Alton Brown; saying how much he really did like them. However, he hates he new Iron Chef and the only reason he thinks it’s doing well is because of Alton Brown.   He also talked about how much he loved/loves his time on Top Chef.  Anthony (yep, we’re on a first name basis) also said the worst Top Chef meal he ever had were Dale’s butterscotch scallops.

He then moved on to talk about his own show, No Reservations.  He had a set of rules that he feels everyone should follow while traveling and eating; including respecting food, trying everything at least once, and respecting different cultures.

Other topics he hit:

vegetarians – why would you deny yourself from eating delicious animals?

PETA – this was especially good since PETA’s headquarter is in Norfolk

The weirdness that surrounds Ina Garten’s marriage to Jeffery

Drug use

His family – why he decided to jump on the organic and “green” food movement because of his daughter.

How much her curses

When in New York the one place you should eat is Katz’s Deli and have the pastrami sandwich on rye.  *Side note we tried to get to Katz’s but we never could quite make it over that way.  Pastrami fail.

I really enjoyed listening to him speak (Although the second half of his talk was a little soap boxtastical).  It wasn’t what I was expecting and that’s a good thing.  Yeah, he threw a lot of f bombs and other explicatives that I can’t repeat here, but what else would you expect?  Mild mannered business man?

The real D.Y.B.F.

26 Feb

As much as I want to hate Bobby Flay (which is a lot), every time he proves me wrong.  Every recipe or restaurant that I’ve tried of his has been comforting, spicy, and really well made.  Thusly, damn you Bobby Flay! *shaking fist toward the sky!*

Sunday morning, before heading back to Virginia Beach, we ate at Mesa Grill for brunch.

Side note,has everyone seen the How I meet Your Mother where Marshall talks about brunch??

Anyway, Mesa Grill!

Brunch really is the perfect meal.  You can have alcohol and pancakes all in one sitting.  I mean, come on!  Leanne got a Bellini and I got a Mimosa, champagne is so bubbly.  With the drinks they brought out a bread basket with the best assortment of little popovers, corn muffins, and cinnamon streusel bread. I wish I had the recipe for all three!  Leanne got the Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Apricot glazed ham and buttermilk biscuits and I got the Spicy chicken + sweet potato hash with poached eggs and a green chile hollandaise.  Both of our meals were perfection.  I swear if I didn’t have to look at or listen to and he wasn’t already married, I would snatch Bobby Flay up and make him be my personal live in chef for always.  How it pains me to enjoy his food so much!

It was an awesome trip to New York, but there is never enough time.  I want to go back!  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve gone; I always have so much fun and find something new and interesting to do.  This time was no different.  New York…I heart you!

To leave you, some of the other New York photos that didn’t get posted earlier!  Enjoy!

This covered an entire wall at MoMa.

 

From the building across the street from out hotel.
Anyone know what this building is? Serioulsy?

School News

Goosebumps and R.L. Stine books are all the rage right now in 4th grade.  There is one little girl who every time she gets a new Goosebumps or Stine book she asks me, “Were these books invented when you were a little girl?”  Yes, invented.  Every time I tell her that they were, she is so amazed.  It’s like she’s learned how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.  Oh youth.


D.Y.B.F. Part 3

25 Feb

or Damn you Bobby Flay Part 3.

Welcome to day number two in New York!  Waking up on day 2 and looking out the window we could tell it was going to be a much different day.  The weatherman already said that today was going to be colder and windy.  Well, he was quite accurate.  It was FREEZING and gusty!

You can't tell from up here, but it's freezing out there!

Even though we knew it was going to be cold and windy on this day we still decided to do a scavenger hunt around Greenwich Village.  We used the site New York the Game for our scavenger hunt.  It was really a lot of fun!  Like I said, we chose to walk around in the Village, but you can choose from SoHo, Midtown, Little Italy and Chinatown…basically any area in New York.  Our scavenger hunt started down in Washington Square Park.

This was our first clue: Look North through the arch, what famous building do you see?  The hunt wrapped us around NYU, Bleeker St., Christopher St, MacDougal…  I started off really good with taking pictures, but that quickly went south because of how cold it was!  I seriously couldn’t feel my fingers.  The way the game works is that it sends you a text message with the clues and you answer in text also.  It would have been really great if I had gloves…  Just sayin’.  Anyway, here are a few pictures.

Music History part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The paintings were on the side of a place called Club Groove, really cool. Um, so, I guess my fingers got colder earlier than I thought because I don’t have any other pictures.  Picture fail. :(

Oh well, it really was cool to explore the Village.  We got to see the place where the “Friends” friends supposedly lived, the neighborhood of Philip Seymour Hoffman (no we didn’t see him), the Bitter End, the Comedy Cellar; basically all the cool and iconic locales in Greenwich.  If you are ever looking for something to do while in New York City, I highly recommend New York the Game.  It gave you a lot of background information and history.

All that walking around made us über hungry, we thought, we couldn’t really tell because we couldn’t feel our faces, fingers, legs…you get the idea.  Food was in order, but where to eat?!  Of course, Shake Shack! This is one of the few places I can think of that people will wait outside in the freezing cold for their food and then eat their food huddled around outside heaters, trying to soak up any heat available.  Craziness.

Except that it was sunny or warm...

After consuming far too many calories in burgers in fries (I had the shroom burger this time, it was fried mushroom goodness) we got back on the subway to go to the hotel to defrost for a bit. 
Remember the shoes no one could walk in?
 

Sure, they look cute...

Well, Leanne decided that wasn’t going to happen two nights in a row.  I don’t blame her!  We headed to a Easy Spirit store, but saw that there was an Aerosole store right on the way.  As fate would have it, they had a pair of shoes!  According to the sales lady Dr. Oz had recently recommended the shoes Leanne bought.  Assured that Dr. Oz can do no wrong we set on our way, but not befoe stopping at Duane Reade to buy panty hose.  Oh yeah, we bought panty hose.  Did I mention it was freaking freezing?!

Why did Leanne need a new pair of fancy shoes for the night?  Well, I’ll tell you!  First we had dinner reservations at Aureole.  Secondly, we were going to see American Idiot on Broadway!!! 

American Idiot at the St. James theater

First, Aureole!  This is a Charlie Palmer restaurant.  He also owns places like Astra, briscola, Metrazur, Fin Fish…  We sat in the dining area and had the three course tasting menu.  We both started with the Hamachi.  This was soooo good and fresh.  I could have had two or three servings!  Next, I had the turbot and Leanne had the spiced duck breast.  Lastly, for dessert, I had the chocolate Torte.  Just imagine the perfect not quite done brownie but oh so much better!  Leanne had the chocolate pudding.  I know it was good because it was gone before I looked up!  They also gave us churros and chocolate dipping sauce.  Then after all that they brought out a tray of cookies, candies, and other goodies.  Basically I had like three desserts.  It was awesome! 

 I also discovered a new drink.  The cherry sidecar.  It was just like a regular Sidecar (I’m assuming), but with cherry liqueur.  If we had more time, I would have had four! (In a cocktail shaker place 1 oz brandy, 1 oz Cointreau and 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice +cherry liqueur)

All warm and fuzzy, we literally ran to the St. James Theater two streets over.  As we were running through Times Square, Leanne heard a passerby exclaim, “Oh, poor cold ladies!”  Yes, yes we were!  In only hose, high heels, thin short dress, and a not so warm winter coat; we were cold!

We got to the St. James Theater in just enough time to go to the bathroom and find our seats.  Our seats, by the way, were awesome.  We sat in the center balcony almost right above the orchestra.   This was also super awesome because Billie Joe Armstrong was going to be in our performance!

Hello sir!

If you don’t know, American Idiot is Green Day’s “American Idiot” album come to life.  It’s kind of in the tone of Tommy, where there isn’t much dialogue at all.  Everything is sung.  The characters in the musical follow the album verbatim.  Billie Joe’s character is a douche, can I say douche in the blog world?  He’s a drug pusher to the extreme!  I really enjoyed the musical and  really enjoyed Billie Joe being in the musical.  The musical itself, wasn’t my favorite, but I still loved the music.  Let’s be frank, I pretty much love any and all musicals.  I was a happy girl.

Oh!  I didn’t say! Going to NYC for the musical was Leanne’s birthday present.  What can I say, I’m an awesome best friend ;)

Tomorrow – the final chapter of D.Y.B.F!

Daily Post

What keeps you up at night?

Hmmm, what doesn’t?  No, things that keep me up at night are things about school, lesson plans, students…my Master’s and whether or not I am ever going to finish it!  Boring things all related in some way or another to school.

wd -50

23 Feb

Where were we?  Oh yeah, wd – 50.

On Friday night Leanne scored reservations for us at wd – 50.  We were both super excited, since we had seen Wylie Dufresne on Top Chef and other food related shows.  He specializes in molecular gastronomy; which means he can make what looks like udon noodles taste like oysters or vice versa.  It’s really amazing stuff.

Remember how I said Leanne got shoes at Macy’s?  Remember? Well she did and she tried them on at Macy’s walked around in them…  The shoes fit fine, they were a little tight, but they were okay.  Leanne thought everything was cool, this was not the case.  We got ready to go; makeup, dressed up and of course shoes.  As soon as we stepped into the hallway, Leanne stepped out of one of her shoes.  No biggie, she just slipped out.  Umm, no.  The shoes would not stay on!

Sure, they look cute...

These shoes kept slipping off, sliding off, whatever.  They were not staying on!  We were now walking around Delancey St. trying to find the restaurant and Leanne’s shoes kept falling off.  Edit – just a side note.  I tried the shoes on the next day and as soon as I took my first step; my foot came right out.  Would. Not. Stay. On!

There may or may not have been a “catching” incident whilst trying to find wd – 50.  After much walking around, having to turn around and go the other way, and cursing; we found wd – 50.

We got there right at 7:00, right when our reservation was, and got seated right away.  From our table we could see into the kitchen and guess who was there?  Wylie himself!

Kind of like this, actually...

It was pretty cool and maybe I was a little starstruck.  I mean you know your food is going to be good when the chef who came up with the concept of the restaurant is actually there, right?

We split a bottle of wine and decided on the tasting menu.  The tasting menu was a pretty hefty price.  Ready for this?  Okay, $140 per person.  Whoo, deep breath.  Lemme tell ya…it was worth every penny.  So, the tasting menu…  It’s a nine item tasting menu, plus dessert items.  When we got the first plate, we were thinking we made a bad decision since the portion was so small, but by the end of the night we were stuffed!

I know, it’s tiny.  You can check out wd-50’s website to see a tasting menu similar to what we ate.   If it’s too small here is what is says…

  • Tai snapper, ginkgo nut, honey, red miso – good little amuse bouche, it amused my bouche.  Ha!
  • Everything bagel, smoked salmon threads, crispy cream cheese – very interesting.  The everything bagel was actually ice cream made from everything bagel and guess what!?  It tasted like everything bagel!
  • Foie gras, passionfruit, chinese celery – this was my favorite thing, maybe ever.  It was so creamy, tart, and just plain delicious!  I felt like I was cutting into velvety goodness, filled with tangy and fresh passionfruit.  It was really good!
  • Scrambled egg ravioli, charred avocado, kindai kampachi – the “egg slut” dish, as Leanne called it.
  • King oyster ‘udon’, sweetbreads, banana-molassas, pickled ginger – this was surprisingly yummy.  I didn’t think I would like sweetbreads, because well they’re glands and pancreas?  Maybe?  I don’t know, regardless they were smooth scrumptious.
  • Scallops, bone marrow, parsnip, black sesame – surprised that I liked bone marrow.  I’ve heard over and over again on Top Chef and other shows how amazing it is…It is (amazing that is).
  • Beef and béarnaise – again not what you would expect.  They were like béarnaise pillows in a beef au jus.
  • Squab breast, cheese pumpkin, corn bread, pickled cranberries – this was like Thanksgiving on a plate.  Really.  A good feel good little plate of food.  The squab was perfection, the cheese pumpkin was like a pumpkin puree (kind of).
  • Buttermilk ice cream, kumquat, orange blossom, cumin – Again yum.  The kumquat was candied and it cut through the rich ice cream.
  • Grapefruit curd, campari, hibiscus, sorrel
  • Soft chocolate, beets, long pepper, ricotta ice cream – this was my favorite dessert.  The soft chocolate was a mousse in a squiggle design.  The beets were a sauce that was splashed across the plate.  The long pepper was in a kind of crumbly bit form and caught you off guard with the spice.  The ricotta ice cream, de.lish.us!
  • Cocoa packets, Rice Krispy treats – This may have been the most confusing part of the meal.  Maybe not, the bathroom was pretty confusing, anyway.  Cocoa packets?  Literally looked like plastic, rectangular, brown packets.  When you put it in your mouth and bit down, it was all chocolate, wild!

The bathroom?  Confusing!  Leanne told me it was confusing when she went (she had to have someone tell her where the door was).  She told me you have to push where you can see the door outline. So when I had to go to the bathroom I thought,” Psh, I thought, I got this!”  Wrong friendo!

I got to the bathroom, it’s unisex, no biggie.  I get to the doors, I can’t tell where the outline is!  Panic sets in!  I was just standing there with my arm kind of extended trying to figure it all out.  Luckily a guy came in at the same time and said, “I think you just push the wood.”  So I did, and the night was saved.  Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but when have I ever shied away from drama?

Even though wd-50 had a confusing bathroom situation; they well made up for it in their food.  As soon as I become a millionaire, I am going to move to New York and have Wylie Dufresne be my personal chef.  That sounds plausible, right?  Seriously, it was one of the best food experiences I have ever had.  Nothing was exactly as it seemed, but yet, it all tasted amazing!

Daily Post

If you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be?

How appropriate!  After the weekend that we had, I think it would be hard to choose what I would want to eat, but no.  I would want to eat wd-50’s foie gras, passionfruit, and chinese celery.  It was sooooo good.  I could have kept eating it and eating it.

 

Yum!

Damn you Bobby Flay! Part 2

22 Feb

…or how we ate our way across Manhattan and survived the bitter, cold wind.

I guess I should explain the title of the post a bit.  I don’t actually want to damn Bobby Flay, really.  I think he is arrogant, cocky, and an awesome chef.  It’s because of the first two descriptors that he gets on my nerves.  He’s so damn sure of himself, but you know what?  He makes amazing food, but that is for a later post.

Day 2 in New York – We started off with breakfast at Crumbs Bake Shop.  Scrumptious is all I have to say!  I got part of an apple ring with hazelnut iced coffee and Leanne got a cappuccino and a mixed berry muffin.  The good thing about Crumbs is that is like a block away from Macy’s which is where we were planning on shopping that afternoon.

The reason for shopping at Macy’s, like we need a reason, is that I didn’t have a dress to wear to American Idiot on Saturday and Leanne didn’t have shoes.  Well shucks, guess we’ll just go shopping.  ;)

 

I found a really cool dress that fits well!  Yay!  And Leanne found some cool platform black pumps, or so we thought…  Hooray for successful shopping trips!

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to drop off our packages and search for lunch.  We decided to get pizza, like we thought we were going to get on Thursday until we found Shake Shack.  Not that I’m complaining.  Lunch was at John’s Pizzeria on 44th St.  I love this place.  My aunt introduced it to me on my first visit to New York way back in 2000.  Woah, that was a long time ago…

Hello Adam Pascal! Oh wait, what were we talking about?

Anyway, my aunt introduced me to John’s pizza and I’ve never looked back!  Leanne and I got a small pizza with pepperoni and sausage on half, so yummy.  The crust was perfectly crispy and the cheese was gooey and fresh, again, so delicious!   After stuffing ourselves we headed over to MoMa.  I love MoMa; I  think it’s a great museum and it’s always different.  Every Friday night you can get in for free; it’s a pretty amazing deal.  We, however, couldn’t wait until night because we had dinner reservations at wd50 (exciting!).  Back to the point!  MoMa!  We perused the floors of MoMa, stopping at most of them, except for architecture…love looking at it on buildings, can’t stand looking at it in sketch form, sorry.

Here are some of our favorites from MoMa

 

Christina's World - Wyeth

 

Andy Warhol's cows + Leanne = A very happy Leanne

 

Jasper Johns' Flag. You can see all the different layers he uses in his paintings!

Andy Warhol's - Elvis

Me too! This was a piece done by Yoko Ono (ugh!) called the wish tree. They took all the wishes off and put them in this box. I was so happy to see this wish on top!

So, this actually wasn't in MoMa, but I could see it through the big window. I thought it was cool. See, love looking at buildings, but not sketch's of architecture...

 

I loved our trip to MoMa, there is always so much to see on every trip.  On the top floor was an exhibition of films that Andy Warhol made during his heyday.  It was so quiet and calm, in an odd way, on that floor.  The first room was a selection of silent films that Warhol did with Edie Sedgewick, Dennis Hopper, Ginsburg, Sontag, Nico (this sounds like a RENT song), amount many others.  He basically just set up a camera on their faces and taped them until the tape ran out.  The second room was playing the Warhol film Empire:

What was cool about this was that you could just sit, in the dark, and watch the entire film (It’s only like six minutes long), but you could also tweet about it.  How Social Network is that!?  There was a roped off row of three “tweeters” just sitting during the film and tweeting about it.  Pretty cool.  Obviously there were no cameras or video allowed on this floor.  I thought it was really cool and something that I have never seen before.

Okay, enough gushing about New York for this post.  Tomorrow, we move on to wd50 and all the adventures that ensued with that!

Daily Post

When you’re feeling down, what music cheers you up?

As I know I’ve said before, I love music!  All kinds, genres, moods, whatever.  The music that I play to cheer me up can range from moody and mellow like Over the Rhine to poppy (I just wrote poopy, who’s been in elementary school too long) and amped up like Lady GaGa, Adele (not really poppy or amped, but whatev), the Beatles, or Broadway musicals.

School News

We had an assembly today on Black History Month.  It was a great presentation and the lady presenting had a lot of good information with pictures, movie and sound clips.  Towards the end of the presentation she asked the group who the famous African-American judge was in the picture (Thurgood Marshall if you’re wondering).  Not skipping a beat, someone in the crowd yelled out, “Judge Joe Brown!”  There was an audible groan from the back of the room where all the teachers were sitting…

Damn you Bobby Flay!

21 Feb

…or how we ate our way across Manhattan and survived the bitter, cold wind.

Leanne and I are back from NYC and a great mini vacation.

Day 1- which was really night 1.  We got into NYC around 8:30 without a hitch.  And I mean that there were no hitches getting to NYC, getting the cab was another story.  Now, there wasn’t a problem getting a cab either.  Go to taxi cab line, tell attendant where you are going, get in taxi.  The scary part came with the actual taxi.  I’ve had some scary taxi cab rides in my travels to New York, several stories pop into mind…  This was different.  We got into the taxi, the guy spoke English and understood where we were going, A+!   Then he pulled away from the curb.  Holy sweet mother!  I swear he crossed all four lanes of traffic cutting off half of the population at La Guardia.  This is the way the rest of the cab ride went.  Speeding, cutting off traffic…good stuff.  It’s not that he was just going fast, no, no; I thought we were going to lift off, again!

Then we entered the Midtown Tunnel, again going super fast.  Mind you it’s a tunnel, there’s not a whole lot of room.  I seriously thought we were going to reenact the scene from Men In Black when Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are in the tunnel.  You know…

I was seriously holding on for dear life.  I’m surprised that I didn’t have gouge marks in my carry on bag.  However, that was the fastest I have every made it into the city.  Seriously.

We got to the hotel, all in one piece!  Leanne and I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn on West 35th street.  When I booked the hotel on Travelocity the only available option for a room was a King sized bed.  This is all fine and dandy, but not really what Leanne and I wanted.  At the front desk, the clerk told me they had oversold on King sized beds for that evening and to compensate us she was going to put us in a double bed room with…wait for it…a city view.  Twist my arm, why don’t ya.

Hello New York City!

Not too shabby, I was super pumped.  Plus, we got the upgrade with no charge!  Next on the list was food.  It was now closer to 9 and we were hungry with a capital H!  We braved the crowds and headed into Times Square, I had a pizza place in mind, but once we turned onto 8th Avenue.  I saw it.  It was like a golden beacon standing out from the crowd.  It was…Shake Shack!

 

YUMMY!

 

So excited to see this!  Even at 9:30ish at night, there was a line out the door and the place was packed inside.  I already knew what I wanted even before stepping inside, but we took menu’s anyway, it was Leanne’s first time.  We both got cheeseburgers with fries.  The only bad part was that the food had to make the journey home 9 blocks, bummer.  But, it did and it was delicious!  Leanne agreed that it was better than the In and Out burger she had in California.  Ha!  Take that Cali!

With Shake Shack in our bellies, we turned in for the night, ready  to start they day well rested the next day.

Stayed tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!

School News

I got my second batch of Girl Scout cookies today, since I wasn’t at school Thursday or Friday.  I got two boxes, it cost $7 for my two boxes.  The little girl told me that she needed the money and I told her I would get it to her either by the end of the day or tomorrow.  She said, “Ok” and let it go.  Cool beans, on with teaching.  Then, half way through my time in that particular classroom, she comes up to me again and says, “Miss G. can I have my seven dollars now?”  “Um, no, I don’t have it, I haven’t left the classroom…”

Man kids just dig into something and don’t let go!

Valentine’s Day

16 Feb

Valentine’s Day  is just like any other day; except that it’s not.  Hallmark and “the man” like to stuff chocolates, gooshy sayings, and all that other crap down your throat.   Valentine’s Day is the one day that everyone expects this, it’s okay.  Flaunt your love!  Express your passion for your mate.  Don’t mind me glaring at you from the corner and giving you dirty looks.

I told Leanne I was going to watch American Psycho and eat cupcakes on Valentine’s Day.  Which I did… Because how much more of a love story do you want?

He loves himself, right?

I really don’t want to be “that” person who is the sarcastic wench on Valentine’s Day.  Really, I don’t.  So I won’t.  Instead I’ll talk about someone I do love.  My Grandma.  I know, I know.  This is different.  I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here that in May I am going to be doing the Flying Pig Half Marathon.

The reason that I started “racing” in the FPHM is because of my grandma.  She passed away unexpectedly in 2002.  Leanne and I had just had a visit up to Michigan that week and stayed at my grandma’s house, it was only a couple days later that she passed.  I came home from work got sucker punched and ran into a brick wall all at the same time by the news.

In 2004, my mom decided that she wanted to train with the American Stroke Association of Cincinnati in honor of my grandma for the Flying Pig.  She asked if I wanted to join, I of course couldn’t let her have all the fun so I joined her.  I was in my last year of college and couldn’t really do any of the training with her, but I still did my own “training.”  I know now how woefully unprepared I was for my first half marathon.  I can’t remember what I really did.  I know I did a lot of walking around my neighborhood in Bexley, but it was never for very long.  I do remember my mom telling me that she was walking for like 9 miles at a time and feeling a little guilty that I was not.  Undettered, I was still gung ho about doing it.

May rolled around a lot quicker than expected.  That was okay, I was still ready to do it!  During my mom’s training she had hurt her ankle and had taken a couple of weeks before the race off.  On Sunday morning we were all ready to go.  And by all ready I mean, cold, wet and nervous.  At least I was.  Sunday was a miserable day, it turns out.  It was cold, very windy and raining.  We donned our black plastic trash bags and made our way to the start line.

The Flying Pig always starts at Paul Brown stadium, which is pretty cool. Everybody gets all jammed onto the street, trying not to step in puddles.  They were playing music, but we couldn’t hear it all that well.  Then the gun went off!  And 10 minutes later, we went over the start line!   My mom’s ankle was still hurting so we said we would take it slow and not be crazy.

The Pig has followed the same basic route it’s whole existence.  It starts off at Paul Brown,

past Great American,

over the Ohio River, into Kentucky, over the Licking River, back over the Ohio River (that’s three rivers, just in case you’re counting), back into Ohio, through downtown,

past the Aronoff Center,

up through Mt. Adams, Obrynville, turning into Over the Rhine, past the police headquarters, come out at Sawyer’s Point,and you are in the final stretch!

Once you make it to Great American again you are finished and all the riches in the world await you.  And by riches I mean people with water and crinkly blankets, and bagels and banana’s, and cookies, oh and oranges!

The first year we did The Pig, we did not get to follow this route.  In 2004 it was the first time the race people were doing a half, I think, and my mom was actually doing a relay with another American Stroke person.  We followed the beginning portion of the race; but once we got to Obrynville we turned and kept going through Hyde Park until the midway point.  This all sounds fine and dandy, but remember…it was cold, rainy and windy.  Plus we were wearing black plastic trash bags.  And as my mom later found out she had chipped her ankle bone and that was why her ankle hurt.

All throughout the race, my mom kept telling me her ankle hurt and that she thought she should stop.  And I was like, “Oh stop complaining mom!”  Just kidding!  Really!

I kept telling her, “You can do it!  We’ll stop once we get in Kentucky.” Or, “You can do it!  We’ll stop once we get back into Ohio.”  You know, trying to be the motivating daughter that I am, but also knowing that we were going to keep walking until we finished.  We also discussed that mom was doing it for grandma and that she could definitely do it for her.  Longer story short, we finished!  Soaked, cold, wet, chipped off ankle and all; we finished.

I am so glad that my mom started this great tradition.  Since 2004, we have walked in every Flying Pig Half Marathon and we are signed up to walk again this year.  Every year I think of my grandma during training and the race.

It makes me happy to think of my grandma and how tickled she would be to know about all the half marathons.  She might even be right there with us!

HVD Part 2!

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

And to me!

And Happy Valentine’s Day to Leanne!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She got very pretty roses from Phil. It was a happy surprise.  Ya done good Phil, ya done good. ;)

andrew + sarah

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