Saturday, June 2, 2012

Carol created a monster!!!!

38 - learn to crochet    Done 5/2012

I used to love my summers spent at North Shore Day Camp. I had the best times & I met some of the best people. Luckily through the magic of Facebook I have reconnected with several of those people. So to all my North Shore friends….Myra, Carol, Morris, Mike, Vicki & Carol…I love knowing you all! I love that we had the best summer stories to share! And I love that we all found each other again! You all bring back amazing memories for me!

And then of course there is the magic of Facebook.

So a few months ago I posted a Facebook status asking my friends if they knew how to knit. I wanted to get moving on this celebration mission & I figured I had to know someone who could get me started. And sure enough, I did.


Lovely Myra.

Myra the fish who taught me to swim.

Myra the crafter who taught me to make a God’s Eye.

Myra the amazing group leader who made my very first year at camp the best!

Myra who taught me to pick up trash otherwise I wasn’t going to the pool or the movies or the roller rink or Adventureland.

Myra the lady who always had the best jokes.

Myra suggests I talk to Carol. Carol was a Ruby right alongside me during my first year at camp. We were also in the Ravens together. And I remember how much I liked Carol. She had a good heart then as she does now. Carol was one of the nicest people I met at camp. She was the summer friend that I looked forward to seeing every year. And sadly, when we lost touch I didn’t realize how much I was going to miss her. Guess it’s a good thing we are back in connection……

So I friend Carol on Facebook. Luckily she remembers me. I explain my plight of needing to learn to knit & how Myra suggested I contact her. After a few messages back & forth we are stunned to find out we live merely two blocks away from each other! Talk about a small world, right? You would think with the small neighborhood we live in that we would have run into each other at some point. Especially at the local supermarket….but no, we didn’t. That is until we reconnected on Facebook. And then the stars aligned & we ran into each other one night at the supermarket. Carol caught me coming in as she was leaving. One thing led to another & we made plans to get together.

It was four weeks ago today that we started our Thursday night crochet lessons. And I have to admit, I love Thursday nights! I like knowing it’s going to be spent with Carol & her niece Amanda. And I love how fast I felt at home around them. I love that when I show up Carol is excited to see what I have made since the last lesson. And she seems happy that she is creating a crocheting monster!

It started with a simple double crochet stitch & making a scarf. Carol offered to loan me a crochet needle & some yarn. She figured that if I didn’t take to it I wouldn’t have to waste any money. Clever. Very clever. So I accepted her offer & I finished the scarf within a few days. I was amazed at how good it looked. Just a simple black scarf. Nothing fancy about it, but my niece Stephanie will call dibs on it. Carol will show me how to finish off the ends. She also whipped up a purple flower for the scarf to give it some pizzazz & she added tassels on the ends. Stephanie will love it! And yes, I did make Steph aware that Carol made the flower & tassels. It’s all good. These are after all just the beginnings of my lessons!

I will pick up my own crochet needle & some yarn during a trip to a craft fair. We stopped into a local store & I decided I couldn’t wait to get more yarn. I was eager to start a new project. More scarves! I made a brown one & a black one. I figured they both work well for me during the winter. I love scarves!

Carol & I will plan a trip to a local craft store….AC Moore. She will introduce me to the yarn section & my head will implode! All these beautiful colors just staring back at me! Decisions, decisions….how am I going to decide?

I tell Carol I want to make a blanket & she gladly picks out a great yarn choice for me. It’s a cream color, with flecks of brown, black & grey. Simple, but really pretty. And let me tell you….so soft! This is an on-going project. I will need some time to finish this. And of course I will need several skeins of yarn.

Quick tip – when buying several skeins of yarn for a project, make sure you check the dye lots numbers on them. Thank you Carol for this sound advice!

Last week’s lesson was going over making flowers. Oh the flowers! Where do I even begin??

Carol tempted me into a new venture….making flower barrettes.

It started with the flower she made for Stephanie’s scarf. And then I was interested in making more. I thought it looked pretty on the scarf. And once Carol said they make great barrettes, I thought that was a great idea. So now I’m hooked.

I hit AC Moore again with some friends & I picked up a few more skeins of yarn. Seriously, don’t pass on the $1 bin. Sometimes there are awesome colors in there waiting to be used! And I picked up a hot glue gun, glue sticks, barrettes, & embellishments. Oh yes, it’s time to get down to fun & make some barrettes!

So I practiced making some flowers at home. I figured I’d surprise Carol by making tons of flowers. I want my teacher to see how much fun I am having. And oh what fun! I think I made about 20 flowers over five or six days. And I’ve been making more during my lunch hour at work. In addition, I’ve made some with Carol when we hang out. I love how much fun this is!!!

And I really have to say it, I am so relaxed when I am home sitting on the couch listening to music or watching TV & crocheting. My new cat Jack is happy to keep me company & he purrs up a storm while I am busy making something.

To date, I have made four scarves, started a blanket, & I’ve lost count on the number of flowers made, but I have put together six barrettes….with more on the way!

I’ve got plans to make a little wristlet bag for myself & I have this beautiful ombre yarn with shades of blue, green, yellow & white that I am going to use for another scarf for myself. In addition, I’m going to make more scarves for friends for the holidays. I’ve already told people to start picking out colors. And at some point, I think I might venture to make myself a sweater!

My days at North Shore Day Camp were the best. I met some amazing people. And I have amazing memories from my times there. I wouldn’t have missed those times for anything! And it’s thanks to those times & those people that I am now a Crocheting Queen! And it’s all thanks to Myra for keeping in contact with Carol, & Carol for offering to share this amazing skill with me.

I hope to someday pay them both back!

The first scarf I made, that my niece Stephanie called dibs on....Carol added the purple flower & tassels....

The scarves I made for myself....

The scarf I made for my nephew Ryan...

The blanket I am working on.....

The scarf I finished late last night....

And a few of my favorite flower barrettes....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Staten Island Ferry Ride....

90 - ride the Staten Island Ferry...done 4/29/12

For the record, I have never set foot on the Staten Island Ferry until I added it to my list of celebrations.  I added it because I love being on the water.  Even for the 30 minute ferry ride between Staten Island & Manhattan, this ride will be a wonderful celebration.

Joining me today is my best bud Raul.  He & I had gone to Staten Island for pizza.  He choose Denino's...see the previous blog for that celebration.  And then we spent time at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center.  After spending this wonderful afternoon in Staten Island, it was time to head to the ferry. 

Before getting on the ferry, we stopped at the 911 Memorial.  It's sad we need this, but I have to admit this memorial is done in a tasteful way.  Lots of respect & love went into it.  It seemed only fitting we take a moment out during our day to see it.  How can you not? 

Now it's time to go to the ferry.....but not before getting some pictures around the ferry station...

I love this shot with a view of Manhattan in the background...

On the ferry...

A view from the ferry window...

The Statue of Liberty...

Coming into the Manhattan station I was able to get this great shot of the new Freedom Tower which is the tallest building in NYC...

I love the view of the NYC buildings...

Once in Mahattan, we debated on what to do.  It's odd...I was having so much fun in Staten Island that I really didn't want to do much in NYC.  However, I did want ice cream & yes, Mister Softee was there to offer my favorite....vanilla cone with colored sprinkles...

So we walked around & ended up at the South Street Seaport.  I don't remember the last time I was there.  Lots of people.  Very crowded.  I hate the crowds.  I try to avoid it because I hate bumping into people.  But welcome to NYC!  It happens.

We ended up just walking around the Seaport really quick.  I think even Raul missing Staten Island.  So one quick pic at the with the Brooklyn Bridge behind me...

On the way back to the ferry, we stumbled upon this old school Police truck.  It was parked out in front of the Police really....there is in fact an actual Police Museum in NYC!  I might have to add that to my list of celebrations.  In the meantime, here is a shot of the truck...

Once back on the ferry going back to Staten Island, we ventured outside on the back deck.  I love the view of Manhattan in the background...

I love this shot....

The Verrazano Bridge in the distance...the only way to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island...

Arriving at the Staten Island side...

And thus ends my very first ride on Staten Island Ferry.  For the record, the ferry ride is free in either direction.  There used to be a charge, but it was done away with in 1997.

And for the record, I can't wait to go back to Staten Island!  I had a lot of fun at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & would love to go back to see it all.

So this makes my 23rd celebration done.  17 remain.
I will turn 41 before this mission is completed & that's fine.  I'm still enjoying these celebrations.

Who knew 40 was going to be a great adventure?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pizza....Staten Island...Denino's

111 - go for pizza in all 5 boros; Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx & Staten Island

Staten Island - done 4/29/12
I still love pizza!  Nothing has changed since my trip to Grimaldi's.  And nothing will ever change my love for pizza.

And I love this mission of going for pizza in all five boroughs.  I have always thought Queens was home to the best pizza around...hmm...I might have to rethink that opinion.

So today I am headed to Staten Island with Raul for pizza.  And he has chosen Denino's.  He has chosen wisely!
For starters, Denino's is a famous place.  Much like Grimaldi's they sell the pizza by the pie.  No slices are available for sale!  So when you come here & you will want to, bring friends or show up very hungry!
We arrive early & park in the lot.  Since they open at noon on Sunday's, we have some time to walk around.  And since this is my first venture to Staten Island, I'm up for looking around. 
Across the street from Denino's is a Ralph's Ices.  Our waitress will inform us later that this is the original Ralph's.   
We also find a few little stores....none open this gorgeous Sunday.  There was an antique store that showed teacups in the window.....luckily they were closed.  I don't need another teacup!  And the handbag store is apparently by appointment only on Sundays.  Good to know for next time & yes, there will be another visit to Denino's.....there has to be!

Once inside Denino's there is a warmth that greets you.  The place is simple, but yet inviting.  And places like that are often the best places to eat! 
We are seated in a booth & take some time to review the menu.  With me today is my best friend Raul.  Since he is a vegetarian, there shall be no meat on the pizza.  Fine.  No worries.  There are plenty of meatless options.
We agree to the Denino's Margarita pie which is fresh mozzerella, basil, marinara sauce, & sprinkled with grated cheese.  It sounds delish, right?  Well, I'm sure it is....but we didn't get it.
Our waitress, Michelle, realized that we have not been here before.  She gladly offers us some advice on the food.  And she suggests that for first time visitors to Denino's, we have to go with the cheese pie.  How could we argue with her?  She was really cool!
So cheese pie it is!
While waiting for our food, we have time to check out the other people now filling up the seats.  And let me tell you, this place is definitely going to be good.  With all the people filing in, this place has to be good.
Our pie arrives...

Why is in fact delicious!

That first slice....

Mmmm....can you taste it?  I can & it's wonderful!  A little slice of heaven!  I wish I had more right now!!!

So warm & delicious & perfect!  A Denino's Cheese Pe is perfect for your first trip to Staten Island.  It's a pie that is meant to be shared with a great friend.  And Raul, I'm glad I got to share this pie with you!

So with two boroughs now done, three remain before this mission can be closed out.

Anyone know a great place for pizza in Manhattan?  How about da Bronx? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cherry Blossoms

#191 see the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden....done 4/18/12

Raul, thank you for sharing this day with me.  I couldn't have done this with anyone else.

Oh sweet Cherry Blossoms! Regarded the world over as elegant & dainty & lovely, today they will offer out plenty of reasons to own a camera & to live in NY.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to numerous plants, trees & flowers & they offer a colorful palette that even Crayola would be envious of owning. From the lush greens to the vibrant reds & every color in between, Mother Nature has given me the perfect excuse to play hooky from work & be here in Brooklyn today.

The Cherry Blossoms bloom in late March or early April & last till the end of April or early May….if you’re lucky. And if you’re lucky enough to get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, you will find yourself at peace. You will find yourself marveling at these gorgeous shades of pink. And you will find others there with the same intention as your own…to take tons of amazing photos of the Cherry Blossoms. As for me…yes, I will gladly share my amazing photos. Not only here in this blog, but on Facebook & in my photo albums.

Thank you Raul for sharing this day with me. I don’t know who else would have taken as many pictures as me this day. By the end of this day, I will have shot over 500 photos! I’m going to keep Shutterfly pretty busy!

It starts with getting up early. You want to get there as soon as the garden opens. You want to beat the crowd. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is rather famous for their Cherry Blossoms & even though it’s a Wednesday, there is sure to be a crowd.

Once we get to the garden, we ignore everything else. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true…we did stop to see a few things before getting to the Cherry Blossoms. But we will spend most of the time here among these shades of pink. There will be more photos of other areas of the garden, but the Cherry Blossoms are clearly the reason we have come here today.

To me, Cherry Blossoms have no scent. If they do, it’s truly faint. I don’t smell a thing. But they offer gorgeous shades of pink & these flowers that look almost like carnations. And when they are bundled together the way they are, they look beautiful. They cry out to be seen & to be adored. And I am clearly not the only person here today looking & adoring them.

I have a Cherry Blossom tree right outside my apt on the corner. It’s only one tree & it demands attention. So here at the BBG the families of these trees clearly demand your attention & clearly, they get it.

As I walked under the trees, I just aimed my camera & clicked & kept clicking. I wanted to hold onto this memory of this beauty forever. I know I can see them again next year….but that’s so far away. And what if the Mayans are right & the world ends this year? Oh no…I cannot lose this beauty. So shutterbug that I am, I kept clicking away & taking in every possible shot that I could.

The lighting was perfect under the trees. There were openings were light could peek through the branches & other areas where the branches banded together to block out the light & offer you shade.

One thing to know about Cherry Blossoms, they are very fragile. One gust of wind can clear a tree. And after a harsh rain, the tree will be naked. And while you think their beauty is gone, it’s merely resting for a new show next year.

Luckily, we are here on the most perfect day. These trees are in full bloom & they offer you their complete beauty. Today you will be thankful you own a camera & that you can be here. I know I was. I was thankful for the great weather, not too sunny, not too cool….just right. And I am so thankful to the amazing people at Canon for the camera I own.

Perfect weather.

Perfect camera.

Perfect person to share this day with.

Perfect amount of people here in the garden.

Oh yes. Perfect on all counts.

I love color. And I love when color comes alive in something. In this case the trees. They are truly amazing & offer out these beautiful tones of pinks. From the light to the bright to the dark, there are plenty of gorgeous hues & Mother Nature has truly outdone herself today.

As I turned 40 I realized a lot about myself. Nothing I hadn’t seen before, but stuff I sorta overlooked or ignored. Stuff I didn’t make time for, like having all this fun. Or stuff I hadn’t thought about doing, like the tea party. And now that I’m doing all these things, I’m enjoying my life a lot more. I’m having fun getting out there & getting asked questions about this whole mission. I’m still rather amazed that it’s being discussed. I enjoy that people are starting their own missions of doing celebrations for their birthdays & I hope to be invited along on some of their missions.

I’m glad it took me till my 40th birthday to want to do this. I think it means more to me now than it would have at 20 or even 30. And I don’t mind telling people I’m 40. It’s wonderful! If I could change any of it, I wouldn’t. I’m happy where I am in life. Regardless of what others think my life should be. It’s my life, not yours. If you aren’t happy in your own life, how can you offer me happiness in mine?

This makes mission # 22 done.  18 more to go & I’m not worried about turning 41 soon. I might even add an extra mission just to celebrate the next birthday. Maybe I’ll even add 41 more missions & keep going till I hit 50 years old! Who knows? 

After all, I’m a woman & we change our minds constantly!!

Here are a few of the amazing photos from this gorgeous day.....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Who knew coloring Easter eggs could be so much fun?

# 188 - color Easter eggs
Done 4/4/12

For the record, I have never colored Easter eggs before....till now.

Sometimes it's good to be a kid again.  To do things from your childhood over or for the first time.  You allow yourself to laugh & be less guarded.  And if you're around the right people, you'll find they will share in that great moment.  They might even encourage you!

As I said, this was my first eggsperience coloring Easter eggs!  Sorry for the pun...Stephanie & I were doing them all night.

What prompted me to add this to my 40 celebrations?
I just thought it would be something fun to do.  And boy was I right!

So where do I start?  Having never colored eggs before, I'm clearly going to need directions from some eggsperts.  (yup...the puns just keep on coming!)

For direction, I turn to three wonderful friends at work...Anthony, Tara & Rob.  They all agree I need to buy the Paas color kits.  I'm directed to use vinegar to get the best colors possible.  And to use two tablets for more color.  Plus I can use crayons to make designs on the eggs before dipping them into the dye.  Got it.

Anthony will take me to Target during a lunch hour to pick up the Paas kits.

Here's where the fun starts....

Holy cow!  How do little kids not implode with all the choices in the kits??  OMG!  I thought my head was going to explode from all the choices that were before me.  I kept grabbing every kit & debating on whether it would be a big hit or not.

I wanted them all!!!

I ended up getting the traditional kit....

And I bought the Sparkling Glitter kit....while cute in theory, it wasn't the best.  There wasn't enough glitter or sequins in one kit.  Luckily I had bought two, but it still wasn't enough!

The Mini Monsters kit was the big hit of the night!  It came with funky hair & cute stickers to make faces.  Definitely buying this again next year!

And my favorite kit...The Hippie Chick!  Very groovy!!  Fun stickers & wrappers to make your eggs eggstra special!

Overall, I figured these kits would allow for the most creativity & require the least amount of egg dying eggsperience.  Once again, I was right.

So now I'm eggcited!  I'm looking forward to coloring Easter eggs.  I'm thinking this is going to possibly lead to a new tradition.

Of course I already knew the right people to invite over.  How could I not?  I must have the little peeps that I love come over & share in the fun.  Besides they are the ones that let me enjoy myself the most!

So thank you Brian, Trisha, Nicole, Stephanie, Ryan, Awilda & Gaby for coming over.  Thank you for sharing this great eggsperience with me!  And thank you for all the laughs!  I love that we made a mess & laughed & shared & were just able to be ourselves!

Before you can color eggs, clearly you need hard boiled eggs.  Lots & lots of hard boiled eggs.  Trisha will suggest the kids will probably only want to do 4 each, but I know better.  So I grab several dozen eggs at my local supermarket & start the process of getting these eggs cooked. 

The process takes me a few hours.  Not bad.  I developed a system of boiling two pots at once, then letting them cool, then putting them in cool water, then moving on to the next two pots & repeating the process over & over. 

During the process four eggs out of over 60 cracked.  Two were dropped as I am a spazz, one cracked when it moved uneggspectedly in the bowl during the cooling process & the fourth tried to roll out of the bowl before going into the cooling bath.  I caught it between the bowl & my counter thus causing the crack.  I accept responsibility for it.  It was tastey!

And now the eggs can sit in the fridge & cool before we will color them.

I can't wait!
I'm eggcited!
I've spent the week telling everyone about this celebration & how I'm looking forward to doing it.  I'm looking forward to spending time with my nieces & nephews & my friends!  And I'm looking forward to doing something new.

So we start with the eggs....

And of course we have the colors......

And the fun begins!!

For the record, we tried using Crayola crayons to make designs on the eggs before dipping them in the dyes.  Nothing worked.  Not sure if maybe we didn't press hard enough with the crayons or if we didn't leave the eggs in the dye long enough.  It's all good.  We still had fun!

We did use the wax crayon that came in the kit.  It worked for me!
And this was my very first Easter egg!!  I went simple.  I didn't want to go too over the top for my first egg.  I wanted to get a feel for how to do it before I got too crazy.

Out of the 60+ eggs made, I only colored 4!!

The pink one got covered in glitter....

The purple one received a funny face....

The yellow one went Hippie Chick!

The egg my niece Stephanie made for me....

The egg my nephew Gaby made for me...

The Hippie Chick egg from Awilda...

There were a lot of eggs colored tonight....

Messes are always welcome at my means we all had fun!

I got to wear my bunny ears....

So did my niece Stephanie...

And while I am thankful for all the love that surrounds me every day...I love this picture from the nieces Stephanie & Nicole, my nephews Gaby & Ryan.  The four little peeps that always fill my heart with joy!

After everyone left, there were plenty of eggs left for me.  And yes, everyone joked about making egg salad...but I'm eating mine hard boiled for breakfast!

So this now makes 21 celebrations done.  19 more remain.
I'm still enjoying these celebrations.  I'm feeling like this was the right time to do this blog mission.  I feel like these celebrations are making me appreciate my life more.  They are forcing me to enjoy myself.  They are allowing me to let loose & share my shenanigans with others.  Plus I'm learning to go with the flow. 

So stick around....there is more fun to be shared.....