Sunday, February 17, 2013

Broadway Bound!

I'm back.  Been a long time since I've written.  The pregnancy with my third little munchkin was quite an adventure, taking all of my thoughts and time.  Thankfully, he's a perfectly healthy, beautiful little boy.  The past year and a half since he was born has completely flown by!  All three kids are great and life is very good.

My husband and I have been getting out a lot which has been amazing.  This year for Christmas, we decided to give each other the gift of going out.  We're seeing Broadway show after show and are trying restaurants we haven't been to before and also going back to old favorites.  I'm loving it. Stephen is too but says he's really in it for the dinners. His favorite play to date is A Behanding in Spokane with Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, he's a huge fan of both of them.  His favorite musical is Jesus Christ Superstar.   We saw that last year.  Amazing!  I was kind of surprised that closed already. It's one we both would have enjoyed seeing again.

I spent time the other day listing all of the shows I've seen. I listed thirtyone Broadway and three off-Broadway productions to date.  As of January alone, we've seen Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, starring Scarlett Johansson, Evita with Ricky Martin and took the two older kids to see Annie.  Scarlett Johansson actually wasn't there the day we went.  Many people returned their tickets.  We stuck around.  It was okay. Loved Evita.  Kids liked Annie.  I couldn't get past the thick accent the girl who played Annie maintained throughout the songs.  Next up in March is Mary Poppins, Ava and I will be seeing it for the third time, but it's the first time seeing it for Stephen and four year old Luke.  Luke loves the theater so much that I almost enjoying watching his reactions to the shows more than the shows themselves.  Stephen says we're "making memories". 

In mid March Stephen and I are seeing Lucky Guy with Tom Hanks.  I love Nora Ephron and this is the last play she wrote before her death.  I have high hopes for this one, so I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint.  Saw her Love, Loss and What I Wore a couple of years ago.  It was off-Broadway.  Anne Meara was in it and Jerry Stiller was seated two rows in front of my sister and me.  That was cool.

I think we'll be making the gift of Broadway and dinners out a yearly tradition.We have many more shows scheduled for the rest of the year and lots of dinners planned, which has gotten me thinking about starting a new blog or perhaps changing the direction of this one.

Anyone have any shows or restaurants in NYC area they'd recommend?  Any shows or restaurants to avoid?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cablevision - Before and After

As you know, we've been redoing our apartment; fresh paint, new furniture and our latest purchase, new flat screens.  We had Cablevision come in to swap out our old boxes for high def ones and add two additional lines, one for each of the kids rooms.  Unfortunately for us, they sent out a field technician last Saturday who clearly had no clue of what he was doing and as a result, made a complete eye sore, mess, safety hazard of our apartment.
He had 3 cables coming from our living room window.  He should have had one and spliced the other lines behind our computer terminal.  This is how he left it; unit dangling with two cables secured down to the rug and the third left unattached.  You can see the third, unattached line running down from our window, across the living room floor to our tv set.  Who does this?  Who thinks this is acceptable?  Little kids or clumsy mommies tripping over the cables = safety hazard!  Aside from that, no one in their right mind would want their living room to look like this.

As you can see by the following pictures, none of the cables were secured down in any of the rooms.

Not even Ava's room.  He's got this cable running out in the middle of her carpet. 

Ok, so he did manage to staple these cables down in her room.

Directly into a working drawer in our built in closet!

Cablevision said they'd send someone out to look over and repair the damages but not until 5 days later.  The window they gave me for this past Thursday was 10am to 8pm.  Don't tell me they weren't screwing with us.  I sat here and waited for cable to come all day long.  Luke missed one of his little classes, then I missed Kickboxing and Ava missed her dance class after school that day. On top of that, I needed to send Ava to aftercare until I finally asked a neighbor to wait around for Cablevision while I picked her up because aftercare only runs for so many hours.  Cablevision never showed up until 8:30pm Thursday evening.

When they finally arrived, the new technicians could not believe their eyes.  One of the guys said he's NEVER seen anything like that before,acknowledges that it was a complete eyesore and a danger to the 5 and 2 year old little kids running around here.  The other said he was "speechless."

I truly don't believe that they believed us when we called to complain.  We've probably been documented by customer service as "Difficult Customers."  Hence the 10 hour window they didn't even abide by.  

It took the new guys an hour and a half to fix the first technicians mess.  These guys were great and totally knew what they were doing.  It's a shame we had to go through all of this to begin with though.

This is how our apartment should have looked when the first technician left last Saturday.

Note the nice and neat, securely fastened single cable line running from our living room window.

You will also notice the absence of the long white 3rd cable dangling free from the window and stretching down the middle of the living room floor over to the tv set.

  There are no more cables attached to our built in closet.

The cable in my daughter's room no longer runs down the middle of her floor.  It has been moved and run over the molding.  It blends so well you can't even see it in this picture.

Our apartment renovations have surely been an experience. It's frustrating to me that you can't count on things being done correctly the first time, but aside from that, our apartment now ROCKS so it was worth it.
Now on to our kitchen make-over.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh Please, Let ME Get That

So, my doorbell rings this afternoon and I buzz the UPS guy in.  Most of the packages that I've ordered from QVC were schedule to arrive today and I was really excited to see my purchases.  He arrives at my door with 3 boxes and notifies me that there's a 4th package downstairs.  "Can you get that?"  He asks.  "That way I don't have to come back up the stairs."  He goes on and says,  "It's just a rug."

Oh, just a rug.  Just the 5x7 wool rug I ordered?  Don't worry Mr. UPS - MAN, no need to strain yourself by walking up the stairs with ALL of my packages.  Let ME get that for YOU.  Sounds great! Just need to grab my coat and shoes.  The kids will be fine if I leave them alone.  They're 5 and 2.  They're perfectly capable of minding themselves.  You know what, next time why don't you just ring the bell and wait outside.  Or better yet, just wait inside your truck and beep.  I'll come out, hop on the truck and load the dolly myself.  Don't want to cause you any trouble.

So I say to him, "Yes, sure, my husband will get it." 

QVC - Crack for the Midnight Snacker's Soul

I love QVC.  That's it, I'm hooked.  Hooked on Mally Cosmetics, hooked on Lock & Lock's containers, hooked on Temp-tations, in fact I'm tempted, get it tempted, to buy another set that will go with my green one.  It's so pretty.

My mom bought me the Prepology 5 piece nonstick colored paring knife set as one of my Christmas gifts.  It rocks.

Just bought myself a Dyson, a beautiful handmade Royal Palace Damask rug, Liz Claiborne luxury 400 thread count sheets and gorgeous Liz Claiborne platinum poppy comforter and shams to go with. Oh, and some bedroom curtains too.  All in one week.  Stephen is going to be thrilled once he sees all of my bargains.  He usually tells me that I hoard the money.  Boy will he be happy when he finds out.  I feel like my Aunt Dolly must have, staying up 'til 3am, at the after party following our wedding reception.  Unleashed!

Easy pay? You mean to tell me that I can buy my Dyson vacuum cleaner today and you'll ship it out this week for 5 equal monthly payments of $106 and change? Who was the genius that invented that?  Love it!

It's become my go-to channel when nothing else I'm interested in is on.  I like to watch it even if I'm not interested in buying what they're selling.  Stephen came into the bedroom the other day and asked, "Why do you keep watching this?"  He seemed annoyed.  I don't understand.  Everyone's doing it. 

My mother's hooked, my sister's hooked too.  In fact, my sister was just telling me that now, instead of snacking when she wakes in the middle of the night, she just flips on QVC and buys something.  It's like crack for the midnight snacker's soul.  I actually just called her to ask if it would be ok to share that story with all of you and she said, and this is a direct quote, "It's so bad, I just bought a sweater last night and I have 5 other packages in route to my apartment this week."   It must be so nice to come home to presents though, right?  It's like Christmas everyday.

Even little Ava girl is getting in on the QVC action.  This Summer, while watching QVC's Santa's Toy Shop segment, Ava spied a doll baby she couldn't do without.  I told her to put it on her list for Santa.  That always satisfies her.  All of a sudden I hear, "Mommy, mommy, call Santa quick!  There are only 1200 baby dolls left!"  Naturally, I immediately ran upstairs and called "Santa" to place my order.  "He" said that rest-assured, the new baby doll would arrive at Grandma's in 5-7 days.  Thanks Santa!

Any other QVC addicts out there?  What are your favorite brands?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Apartment Makeover

I'm really looking forward to getting our apartment done.  It's almost all painted with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom which will be completed this week.  Our new couches are gorgeous.  I'm really glad that we went for them.  The length of time it's been taking to get everything done is frustrating though.  The delivery guys broke the bunk beds we ordered and left without me knowing. They actually broke the support rack for the wood planks that support my daughter's mattress and left without saying one word about it. They actually had to hide the wood that split in one of their bags to haul it out of here so I wouldn't know.

Raymour and Flanigan is replacing the whole thing as well as throwing in a free Bunkie Board for our troubles, so that's cool, however I'm sickened by the fact that two grown men would break part of the support of a child's bed and have the ability to walk away and stash the evidence without saying a word.  I also can't stand the fact that our one week old bunk beds are going to have to be hauled away and replaced, after the rooms the delivery men will be hauling them in and out of, have been freshly painted.  It's ridiculous.

Same kind of nonsense with Cablevision.  The technician came out yesterday to run lines for 4 high definition boxes/flat screens and screwed everything up to the point that his supervisor will be coming this week to observe exactly what's been done.  Nothing that can't be fixed, but again senseless.

Is everyone out there incompetent?  Why does everything need to be done twice?  It's frustrating.

Once we get through this week and are able to get things back in order in the living room and bedrooms, I'm going to feel a lot better.  We can then focus on all of the fun stuff and finishing touches like artwork and lamps.  I'm looking forward to that.  All that's left will be the kitchen furniture and hopefully we'll decide on what we want by Winter's end. 

When we first got the apartment the place was a complete wreck.  So much had to be done to make it clean and safe to move our then 1 1/2 year old Ava in.  Coats and Coats of paint, the ripping up of the old floors and replacing them with new.  All of this stuff needed to be done within a 4 week period, enough time to make the place safe and clean, not enough time to personalize anything.  Now, we're finally making the apartment ours and that feels really good and I absolutely love all of the choices we've made so far, from furniture to paint.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The 2010 Gingerbread Competition

Last year my family decided to start an annual Christmas themed decorating competition.  See my cleverly worded blog post entitled, Competition, to view the magnificent Rice Krispies Treats Christmas houses we decorated last year.

This year's challenge was to see who could come up with the most creative Gingerbread boy and girl.

We had a huge assortment of candy to work with; colored Twizzlers, sprinkles, raisins, marshmallows and M&M's to name a few.

After two hours and 15 minutes of decorating.  I kid you not.  Here are our creations:


My brother, Uncle Johnny's


Instead of staying up North for the Holidays, my Gingerbread couple decided to get away from it all and headed down to Miami.  Unfortunately, my Gingerbread-boy was mistakenly identified by some as Baby New Year.  
Perhaps I should have honed my bathing suit making skills before deciding on my theme.


My Sister, Aunt Joannie's

Joanne decided to make her Gingerbread people in the likeness of our mom and dad.  There they both are in their glasses, mom in her housecoat, and dad, "the shop-a-holic", with trusty Macy's bag in hand!  

Joanne once again, was the clear-cut winner.  Well, aside from Ava that is ;)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This Christmas

My uncle's memorial service was yesterday.  He's gone and everything has changed.  It's hard to accept so I keep focused on other things.  The Holidays and other personal events have kept my mind occupied.  When all is quiet though the sadness creeps it's way back in.  My throat is sore from the lump in it. 

My Grandmother, whose name was Filomena, and Grandfather or Pop Pop, named Joseph, had two children.  My mom and my Uncle Francis.  My uncle couldn't say Antoinette growing up so he just called her Sister.  It stuck and now my aunt and all four cousins call her sister too.  Luke calls Ava sister.  I like that.

My mom and Uncle Fran grew up in New York City until the ages of nine and six when my Pop Pop moved the family to Long Island. Their entire family lived in New York City, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and I learned yesterday that the fact that my Grandfather moved my Grandma and the kids all the way to Plainview, really pissed my Grandma's mother off. 

My Pop Pop was a kind-hearted gentleman and he made sure that he picked my Grandma's mother up every Friday night and returned her back home to the city every Sunday so she could come out to Long Island each weekend to spend time with her daughter and grandchildren.  My great-grandma refused to talk to him during those long car rides.  Not a word in either direction.  I learned that this went on for a long, long time but it never stopped my Grandfather from picking her up.  That was just the kind of guy he was.

My uncle was not the kind of guy who would stand for that but his heart was big all the same.  He'd do anything for his family and his friends. He was loved.  He was very successful and highly respected within his industry and many of his colleagues spoke at his service yesterday.   My uncle was a real jokester so it was really fun to hear about his escapades.  I remember one Christmas when I was a little girl, Uncle Fran picked out an archery set for my cousin Francis and then hand-painted a t-shirt with a bulls eye on it for my cousin Sal.  His friends shared many similar stories yesterday, and I enjoyed hearing them all.

I had never been to a memorial service before.  Been to plenty of wakes and funerals but never seen it done this way before and it was a true celebration of him and his life.  He was loved very much by so many and it was nice to hear the stories his friends and my cousins and his grandchildren shared about him.

Christmas is in a couple days and my aunt and cousins and their families will all be at my parents house to celebrate and it's all because of him.  Christmas is a big deal in our family and being Italian, Christmas Eve is just huge.  We go all out with all of the pasta and the fish sauces.  It's so much fun.  I love our traditions.  It was very important to him that the family be together at Christmas time and right before he even found out he was sick, he bought plane tickets for my cousins and their families to fly to the East coast so we could all be together at my parents house this year.  I'm grateful to him to be able to spend this Christmas with my aunt and my cousins and their families because I love them all so much.   The greatest gift we'll get this year are the memories we'll make as a family, all because of him.  Thank you Uncle Francis. Nothing will ever be the same without him though and the thought of never seeing him again, makes me incredibly sad.

There are so many thoughts swirling in my head.  So much I wanted to write.  We just went to this yearly celebration at Ava's school called Kuumba Day. Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah), is the 6th principle of Kwanzaa; Creativity, To do as much as we can to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it. A couple of the Kindergarten moms are very talented musicians and they came up with the idea of adding a drum circle to the festivities.  My friend was excited to find out how well their concept for the drum circle was received and to learn the school was going to incorporate it on a yearly basis.  I thought in that moment how very cool it was that my friends idea, therefore a part of them, would remain a part of the school forever. Children attending the school, far beyond their children's years in the school, will be positively impacted and inspired by something they created.  The children will not know who was responsible for creating the drum circle, but the positive effects and the joy their creation brings, will be felt all the same.

My Uncle lives on in the recipes and techniques which inspired an industry.  He lives on in the thoughts of all of all who loved him, he lives on in our hearts. He lives on in the stories and the memories we all will share and pass on from generation to generation.

We live on in our communities. Everyone might not know our names, and we may not be easily identified in our contributions, but the fact remains that we live on in all that we touch.  In all that we share. In all that we do.  It is in the seemingly small that the greatest contributions and impacts are made. It's in the sharing of our ideas and in the support we give our community members that make a difference. It's in all that we've done to lend a helping hand, to positively impact others that make us special. 

Everyday we have the potential to touch and enhance lives we may not even be aware we are impacting.  Let's use our powers for good.