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A weekend in NYC, part 2

Although we spent most of our NYC weekend outside, we did partake of one iconic NYC activity that took place indoors.


nycticket.jpgIt started with this (thanks to our NYC friend, whose professional connections enabled her to get free tickets for both our families)…


nycplaybill.jpg…and included this. The show was technically amazing (stunning sets! Bert walking on the ceiling! Mary Poppins flying through the air!), though clearly crafted for people who already knew the movie.*


nycseats.jpgFree tickets to a great show is pretty amazing…but wait, it gets better! Jan actually knew someone in the cast, a friend from high school with whom he’d reconnected (via Facebook, natch) a year or two ago. She’d mentioned a while back that he should tell her if we were ever going to see a show, because she could show us around afterward. So we took her up on her offer! And here’s the view from THE STAGE of the New Amsterdam theater.


nycset.jpgAnd that stunning set I mentioned? Here’s a glimpse of part of it, along with the wings. The theater doesn’t actually have a lot of backstage space, because NYC real estate is so pricey. Horizontal real estate, that is–there’s plenty of room if you go up. So some of the set pieces were actually in the air, four stories up. Thank goodness for strong ropes!


*I’ve seen the movie a gazillion times, and I had a bit of trouble following this show’s narrative; I doubt if someone unfamiliar with Mary Poppins could understand the show at all. Still, it was fun to see, and I’d recommend it nonetheless. I like many of the ways in which this show deviated from the movie–e.g., by making Mary Poppins a bit crankier and less “sweeter” (a depiction more in keeping with the character in the books), and by having the kids start out as true brats (thus giving them a story arc rather than having them be mere observers to events).


Sign of the apocalypse

The Four Horsemen are riding…and they’re wearing Snuggies.snuggie.jpg


The only true Pi Day of our lives

Mark your calendar now!

3/14/15 at 9:26:53.589



Happy International Day of Peace.


Spring’s tribute to Rocky

p5198351rhodies1ftf.jpgI see you shiver with antici…



Wishing my camera had smell-o-vision




In the blink of an eye

I took these just over two weeks ago. Already, the tulips are long gone, and the lilacs are nearly all spent as well. The pale-green new leaves have grown into full canopies on most trees in the area.



p5027764cake.jpgI’ve mentioned before that my husband is a cake-baker extraordinaire. Sylvia always gets amazing birthday cakes, and this year was no exception. She requested “a fairy cake,” and Jan delivered. The outside was covered in green buttercream with piped-icing lilies of the valley (which were just starting to bloom in our yard during her party) on the sides and various fairy-garden-inspired ornaments on top.

Jan prides himself on making sure that everything on his cakes is edible (with the exception of wooden support posts inside tiered cakes), which is why he uses fondant (blech) only if the cake recipient/client really wants it. He thought about making the top decorations out of marzipan, but didn’t have the time or materials on hand. So he used gum paste, which is technically edible but tastes pretty awful. We explained this to Sylvia, but this was clearly a case of “in one ear and out the other”: as soon as a hedgehog-bedecked slice of cake was placed before her, she popped the little gum-paste critter right into her mouth.

p5027778hegehogbite.jpgHere she is, right before her face melted into an “oh, I don’t want to eat this and I wish I hadn’t put it in my mouth” expression. I told her she didn’t have to, so she very unceremoniously spit out a very chewed-up gum-paste hedgehog onto her plate, then happily dove right into the rainbow-colored cake!


Blueberry Girl

Here is Neil Gaiman’s reading of his latest book, Blueberry Girl, a charming benediction for girls in which he wishes them all sorts of happinesses and wisdom. He wrote it for Tori Amos’s daughter (his god-daughter), and I’m delighted that he and illustrator Charles Vess teamed up to make this lovely poem available to everyone.



Stash enhancement

Yes, I have recently acquired more yarn. But I didn’t buy it! (I am continuing last year’s practice of knitting only from my stash and purchasing new yarn only on very rare occasions.) I won it in a contest held last month on It’s a Shantastic Life! (Shannah is a hoot. Stop by her blog sometime and you’ll see what I mean.)

p1285927contest.jpgThe prize package arrived the other day. It contained the sock yarn I was expecting (in very bright colors—this is quite a change from my usual brown/grey/green tones) as well as a little make-a-cat-out-of-pompoms kit and one of the coolest coffee mugs I’ve ever seen. Can you see the texture on the outside of this thing? That’s right: knit stitches and purl stitches—and cables, even. I am totally going to enjoy some good coffee in this when I cast on these spring-colored socks. Thanks, Shannah!

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