Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Almost Midnight Sun

After the whirlwind weekend in New York, I spent the week in Scandinavian conference rooms. Fortunately, the sun is out so late that there's still light for evening walks. Here, you can see the clock tower reads 10:15 (pm!) at the shore of the fjord.

Homeward bound tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One Park

Over the weekend, I also managed to squeeze in an hour to walk the length of High Line Park.

The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan's largest industrial district.

As interstate trucking became popular, rail traffic dropped, and the last train rain on the High Line in 1980. After great efforts by Friends of the High Line, a community group, it has been turned into a long, skinny public park that runs right through the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea.

This sounded so cool that I had to go see it. The taxi had a little trouble getting me there (I realized why when I saw that Section Two of the park only opened two weeks ago), but we found it.

It’s really attractive. You walk up the stairs in the middle of a perfectly normal city block, and then you see this greenery.

You could reach over the edge of the park and almost touch the buildings on either side in places. In the days of the High Line as an operating railroad, this allowed freight to be offloaded directly into warehouses and factories on upper floors.

They kept the rails in some places for history and decoration.

There’s also seating, a water feature, various pieces of art.

Here’s the original railroad, overgrown with natural plants and weeds. It’s scheduled to be turned into the final Section Three of the park in upcoming years. And having reached the end of the park, I hopped into a cab and headed back to the hotel to grab my things and fly out of town.

Three shows, two exhibits, one park, and a trip to the Apple Store – that was my 45 hours in Manhattan!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Three Shows

Just after wishing I could make it to NY, I was lucky enough to catch my most hoped-for shows:

The Book of Mormon: Brilliant, naughty, equally full of melodic catchy songs and “I can’t believe they said that” moments from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q. I can't believe I managed to snag a discounted ticket moments before the show. Still expensive, but not astronomically so.

How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying: Dan Radcliffe is a mighty hard worker, full of charm, and a pretty good singer.

Anything Goes: Sutton Foster is the most amazing singer and dancer I’ve ever seen live. Most stars leave the stage during a big production number and return at the end to sing the final note. She danced every step, right there in the center . . . and hit all the big notes at the end.

I think I have my Broadway fix for a little while!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two Exhibits

I had about a day and a half in New York (thanks to SwingDaddy for holding down the fort at home!) on the way to Scandinavia and I made the most of every moment.

First up, the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wow, truly an artist. They didn’t allow photos, but in a way, that made me enjoy the moments more – I focused on each item, instead of how to capture it, and bought a copy of the exhibition book to haul home.

If you don’t know Alexander McQueen, you might be familiar with his “armadillo shoes” as worn in Lady Gaga’s music video for Bad Romance. His lead assistant designer (and head of the business, now that he is deceased), Sarah Burton, said something like this on the audio tour recording, “The armadillo shoe is actually a shoe within a shoe. It’s meant to look like a ballerina in toe shoes, but isn’t as extreme as it looks. They’re quite easy to walk in. Ok, well, they’re not terrible to walk in.”

You might know Sarah Burton as the designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding gown from her April wedding to Prince William. Another constant McQueen collaborator was Philip Treacy, who created 36 hats for the royal wedding, including Princess Beatrice’s interesting topper.



The second exhibit I saw was the Van Cleef and Arpel jewelry retrospective at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, NYC Smithsonian. Princess Grace’s tiara, Evita’s diamond necklace, favorites from Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy - fun, glittery stuff!

The exhibit had a clever iPad app that you could browse through too.

Now I want to get all dressed up.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Midnight in the City that Never Sleeps

Or more accurately, midnight at the 24 Hour Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in the City that Never Sleeps, a.k.a. New York City, where I spent the weekend.

I saw photos of a glorious glass cube online, but it was all boarded up when I got there. The actual store is deep underground, and a team of security guards pointed the way as we descended flights and flights of industrial staircases, since whatever usual glamorous entryway through the glass cube was under construction.

At 11:30pm, it was about as busy as an Apple store usually is. And boy was I happy that they were open, because somebody was using her lovely new luggage with a different compartment arrangement and thought that she’d left her iPhone recharger cable at home. Well, now I have two.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Middle Earth

SwingDaddy and I really enjoyed the new BBC series, “Sherlock,” featuring Homes and Dr. Watson in 21st century London. The casting is perfect, the dialogue is witty, and the plots are mostly good. There are only three episodes so far, and they’re figuring out when to shoot the next one, because Martin Freeman, the actor portraying Dr. Watson, is busy being Bilbo Baggins in the New Zealand shoot of the Hobbit.

And guess what? Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor playing Sherlock Holmes, has been cast as the voice of Smaug! Maybe they can get an episode done during some Hobbit downtime.

In unrelated showbiz news, if you were wondering how they wrote Neil Patrick Harris’s Tony Awards wrap-up rap, check out this link!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Giant Lego Head

Check this out, it's a Lego storage unit in the shape of a giant mini-fig head! Apparently, there's a sort of filtering device inside that sorts the piece sizes.

SwingDaddy has talked about being a Lego mini-fig for Halloween before - this would be perfect. If you cut a hole in the base, it would totally fit over an adult's head. Of course, being able to see would be a problem. . .

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh Yeah, Their Feet Grow

I bought Q-ster a new swimsuit, found Buster’s swimsuit and rash shirt, pulled out the towels, printed out the registration receipt for swimming classes and handed them to SwingDaddy.

Then I headed to work yesterday, getting ready for an intense final day of prep for a big presentation. At about four o’clock, I realized . . . they have NO SHOES. My children have no shoes to wear to the pool. The only shoes that fit are one pair of sneakers each, because last summer’s water shoes are tiny now.

I called home, but SwingDaddy already had cleverly improvised, finding some too-large flip flops for Q-ster and some too-small sandals that Buster could mince along in.

I picked up some water shoes on the drive home.

Worked all night. Got up early and presented my cross-Atlanic project commit with a great team, and it went through. Woo-hoo! It feels like I’m coming up for air.

And today, I left the office early and went to swim class too. Ahhh.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Child Labor

I've found an advantage to those new-fangled four-wheeled "spinner" suitcases: A small child can push them along!

The boys are gonna be useful on our summer travels this year. ;)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Boys, Dads, Granddads

Happy Father's Day! A special shout-out to the fathers in our lives!

Here's the card that Q-ster made for SwingDaddy. It says, "Happy Father's Day! I love you!" I had only given him instructions to make a card, so I expected a more perfunctory creation, but he went ahead and added rainbows and Star Wars characters. Isn't that the perfect Father's Day combination?

After he ran way upstairs, I was kicking myself that I hadn't reminded him to leave space for his brother to sign . . . but he'd already written in Buster's name himself. Good boy. Living up to the generous example that his dad shows him every day. Happy Father's Day, SwingDaddy! I love you too!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

European Men, American Men

I'm about to hit the road again, and it made me think back to a few observations from my last Scandinavian trip.

Men use umbrellas there. I think a lot of American men think it's wimpy to use umbrellas, so they just get soaked instead.

I saw lots of men with rubber overshoes. I think it's adorable! Again, not something you see in the US.


At the airport, I saw several men using the little luggage trolleys to push their briefcases along. So practical! Something that I would certainly do, but again, I think that (in a broadly, overgeneralizing way), ya wouldn't see a dude use a cart unless he had a family's worth of baggage with him.

Some of these differences can be attributed to me living in a climate where there isn't a lot of rain or mud, of course. There are certainly pros and cons to any kind of behavior, and it's refreshing to see a different perspective.

~
On an unrelated note, I finally got around to booking an appointment with my fearsomely hip hair stylist and set him loose. I now have fearsomely hip hair. It looks fantastic, although I can't actually see, because it brushes artfully across my eyes. I suppose sight is a small sacrifice for looking so trendy.

Seriously, I'm sure it'll be both hip and practical after I wash out the product.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Perspective

Another manila folder went around the office this week, with a pretty card to sign and an envelope collecting money for a bridal shower. We've had a nice collection of things to celebrate lately - a wedding and multiple babies. Two years ago, those folder were circulating the office, collecting funds and kind words for a lot of cancer care packages.

Feeling grateful today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Seriously Non Sequitur

Cute plush sushi, courtesy of ThinkGeek!

And there's really no transition possible from anthropomorphic food to movie stars, but there's a lovely interview of Emma Watson at Vogue. Hermione, all grown up.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

All Singing, All Dancing

Did any of you catch the Tony Awards? My excuse was that I needed to fold the laundry anyway, so I stepped away from the computer and watched all the musical numbers from the evening.

Highlights:

I adore Neil Patrick Harris – from his opening number (“Broadway . . . not just for gays anymore!”) to his awesome duet with Hugh Jackman (“Anything you can do, I can do better”) to the rap summary of the evening’s events that I read about but haven’t heard because the DVR stopped recording and no one’s posted it on YouTube yet.

Daniel Radcliffe, in his post Harry Potter life, turns out to be an entertaining singer and dancer.

The best actor winner, Nobert Leo Butz, performed a phenomenal number as the FBI agent in Catch Me if You Can (Starting at the 1 minute mark. I think he has the Tom Hanks part in the movie co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio.) He sang and danced the role of an uncool older man among sizzling jazz chorus dancers, and every movement put his character on display beautifully.

The best actress winner, Sutton Foster, was a knockout in Anything Goes, as expected. She first came to fame in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and I was thisclose to seeing her on Broadway in The Drowsy Chaperone, but she was unfortunately on her honeymoon. And after missing my show, she divorced the dude anyway (allegedly for cheating with Laura Bundy Bell (from Hairspray), according to Wikipedia. The plot thickens!) Humph.

The Book of Mormon, written by the South Park guys and the creator of Avenue Q (doesn’t that totally sound like trouble?) won best book of a musical, best original score, best orchestration, best featured actress, best scenic design, best lighting design, best sound design, best director, and best musical. Whew! They did not win best costuming – that went to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

I really need to get out to New York soon and see these great shows. Preferably in July, before the Alexander McQueen exhibit at MoMA closes!

Updated: The closing rap.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Slimy

The boys called me over to see a banana slug they found on our friends’ garden wall last weekend. Look!

Buster pointed at it.

And got a little too close. Slimy! The next step was a demand to wash his hands. Ah, nature.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mathematical Cephalopods

I’ve never heard of SnorgTees before, but they’ve got some highly amusing items. I love this octo-pi shirt!

And the Alderaan Five Day Weather Forecast

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Last Day of Kindergarten

An entire year of school, completed with flying colors! The whole kindergarten made a field trip to Build-a-Bear last week to celebrate.

So proud of how the little dude made friends, learned to navigate school, and started reading voraciously. Hooray!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Tech and Kisses

The micro dude is on this kick where he tells me he loves me all the time. And boy, am I loving that! We spent early Saturday morning snuggled together, with him periodically saying, “I love you!” and “I kiss you!” interspersed with very carefully placed damp kisses on my cheek.

Precious, precious moments, to be stored in my memory and savored on other days when the boys decide they are going to whack everything in sight with sharp sticks. And yet other times when Buster decides that my iPad content is deficient in comparison with SwingDaddy’s. “Tomorrow, we’re going to visit Auntie and then go to the piano recitial,” I tell him. He responds hopefully, “And tomorrow you get more games for iPad?”

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Whole World In His Hands

We went to visit some friends today and Buster went crazy over their giant inflatable globe. Just his size! It had been purchased as a classroom aid, but the professor-dad discovered that it was too large to carry around without making a scene. He kindly sent us home with it.

Buster can identify locations for our home, Mt. Etna, Mt. Fuji, Mauna Loa, and Ayers Rock – places that SwingDaddy shows him on Google Earth. He’s loving rotating the globe around, and actually, I am too. The oceans are much bigger than I realize when looking at the whole planet in proportion. No wonder those trans-Atlantic flights take so long!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

On Air




Our brilliant photographer friend just passed along these images from a gig we did back in February, just at a moment when I really needed to remember some real-life glamour. Thanks, JC!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hopelessly Techie

Modern day piano practice.

Busy child multi-tasks during annual physical.