Thursday, July 23, 2009

Party Favor

My daughter Leah went to a birthday party last week. It was a swim party at the Y. They rented out the pool for the night and had about 15 girls, as well as friends of the older sister which included Steph. It was a pretty cool evening and had rained most of the day so I wondered if they would cancel the party and have it on the rain date but it cleared so the party went on.

Leah and Steph both had a wonderful time. I haven't taken them swimming all summer so far. Work and bad weather have held us back. I hope that we can go soon, my lack of a tan is really distressing.

When Leah came home from the party she opened the party favor bag. It had a Louis Vuitton handbag in it. Yes, you read correctly... a LOUIS VUITTON! My first thought was that it had to be a knock-off, but by every indication it is real. And they gave them to 15 little girls. The purse is really cute with smiling flowers on it. It is the perfect size for a little girl. In other words, way too small for me. Leah has never used or needed a purse at this time but once Laurel and I raved about it she was pretty happy with it and would not let Laurel borrow it.

I checked on Ebay to see if I could find the purse and I did. Someone is selling a used one for $300 and has 1 bid so far but it has not reached their minimum. I am seriously considering recommending that Leah sell it. She has been asking for a new DS because her top screen is broken and she wants the new Harry Potter computer game. With $300 she could buy both and have money left over.

Party favors have become really crazy lately. Does anyone agree with me?

By the way, if you are interested you can follow me on Twitter. I have 4 followers so far and I only know one of them. Weird, huh?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Back In

The tennis season is upon me. I have played one USTA match so far and lost at line 1 singles. (6-3, 7-5) I didn't feel to bad about it because the girl I played was better than me and at least I was able to keep it close. I play another match this Saturday, again singles (rats!) I am a much better doubles player but I am a team player and said I would play wherever they need me. Wish me luck.

My PTL team has played 2 matches so far and I played one of them. My wonderful partner and I won 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. After the first set I thought we would run away with the match but our opponents were too strong for that. I lost to one of the ladies in a match last year, so I knew how good she was. We were so happy to get the "W", which put our team in the lead for the win.

Mt Lebanon Team Tennis is almost over. My team made the play-offs by the skin of our teeth. We play on Monday and then if we win we play on Thursday. My partner prefers the same side of the court as me and graciously let me play where I like. We won 3 times and lost twice, so I feel like we did pretty well.

Life is pretty crazy right now with end-of-the-school-year activities, my 2 jobs and tennis. I just have been taking it one day at a time and trying to not let too many things fall through the cracks. Why do there always seem to be cracks?

Friday, May 29, 2009

New York City

My husband and I went to NYC for a long week-end. New York is such a wonderful city to visit. We both have been there a number of times but not for quite a few years. Mark had 2 free tickets that he received from being "bumped" from a flight that had to be used by June. He also had enough hotel points to get us 3 free nights. But even with all that it wasn't an inexpensive trip. Here is the break down of what we did.

We arrived on Thursday night about 2 hours later than planned because of some mysterious problem with our plane. We took the Air train and then the subway to our hotel which was near Little Italy and China Town. The person at the registration desk recommended an Italian restaurant to us which was about 2 blocks away. Mulberry Street (I think they should change the name to something more Italian sounding) is the hub of Little Italy and has restaurants on both sides of the street for about 3-4 blocks. I am sure that every one of them is great. We ate at Positano's (or something like that) and it was fantastic. Homemade pasta makes such a difference. They gave us free Tirimisu, yum.

On Friday we went to the Forbes Galleries. It was recommended on the "best things to do in NYC for free" sight. It was definitely worth the price (hee, hee) or even more. It had wonderful exhibits of toy boats, toy soldiers, and monopoly games as well as some seemingly random exhibits like fancy watches and some art. I would highly recommend it, an added bonus is that it had a really nice bathroom and those are sometimes hard to find. We then went to "Books of Wonder" which is something I always make sure I do on every trip I make to NYC. BoW is a fantastic children's book store and always has some "signed by the author" books as well as antique books. They specialize in Wizard of Oz series books which is how I discovered them in the first place. I bought 5 books and poor Mark carried them for the rest of the day with out complaint. Thank-you Mark!

Friday night we went to a restaurant called "Hell's Kitchen" because it is near the Hell's Kitchen area of New York and had nothing to do with the TV show or Gordan Ramsey. It serves really fantastic Mexican food. And they rose to the occasion because we were in a bit of a rush because of going to see a Broadway musical. Our food came out very speedily and we had plenty of time to enjoy it. The musical that we saw was "Rock of Ages", that is all 80's songs and stars Constantine from American Idol. It was a fun show and of course we knew all the songs. They gave us fake lighters that we could wave around like a concert. The band and the singers were all great and the show had a lot of comedic moments.

Saturday we had a bit of a disappointment because we wanted to tour the NYC public library but because of Memorial Day week-end they were closed. There were a lot of people waiting for the library to open at 11:00 AM as usual. About 11:15 someone called the library and found out about the closure. We ended up wandering around and saw some of a "Turkey Parade." No, not turkey the bird but a parade fully devoted to the country Turkey. Almost everyone was wearing red and white, they had floats and bands, it was really something to behold. In the afternoon we went to see the twin towers area. We visited some churches. One had a pew that was used by President Washington when NYC was the capitol. We also went to Century 21 department store. C-21 is a designer discount store. (think Filene's Basement only bigger) They had many designers that I had not heard of and the prices seemed pretty good, but most things were still more than what I wanted to pay. It was absolutely packed. I wanted to try a few things on but when I saw the wait for the dressing rooms I changed my mind and tried them on over what I was wearing in the aisle. I bought 2 shirts and Mark bought some socks and a belt. I wasn't particularly impressed but maybe we just went on the wrong day.

Saturday night we ate at a seafood place, then had a couple of beers at a brew pub and spoke to a nice couple from Manhattan. They were interested in what it was like to live in a small city. A whole lot cheaper we told them. And we have the Steelers and Penguins, we gave all the highlights of Pittsburgh. I think the traveling bureau or the Chamber of Commerce should hire us.

Sunday we traveled home, this time uneventfully.

A few random notes about NYC: It is huge, expect to do a lot of walking and definitely use the subway. Don't believe everything you read. We ate at a diner that claimed to have the best tuna salad, it was okay not great. The service is generally not very good. With the exception of Hell's Kitchen, we received pretty poor service. I was kind of surprised by that. We did not complain but just went with the flow after all we were on vacation. Don't forget that there is tax on clothing there. Don't even look at the fake designer purses in China town. We were accousted every morning and night by the subway station by people trying to get us to look at their wares. They yell hay-ba, hay-ba, hay-ba at you and it took me a moment to figure out they were saying hand-bag. It was Fleet Week, so there were Ship men (and women) and Cadets everywhere we went. It was nice to see them.

All in all it was a really fun trip and I can't wait to go back again. Although next time not on Memorial Day week-end.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Hunger Games

As many of you know I was enthralled with the Twilight books, rereading them many times. I finally broke it off by reading "Pride and Prejudice." I then read nothing for about a week when I received a call from the library that a book I had requested came in. I hadn't even remembered what I requested, it had been such a long time ago. When I picked the book up it was "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.

I vaguely remember asking for it. I have read several book by Ms. Collins and I really like her style of writing. I loved this book. The basic premise is that the United States is no more and instead there is the Capital, which is in the Rockies somewhere and then 12 Districts. The districts lost a war against the capital and now are forced into sending tributes (one boy and one girl, aged between 12 and 18) to the Hunger Games. The tributes are competing to be the last one alive and all of the districts are required to watch them. The main character is a 16 year old girl named Katniss who competes in the games after taking the place of her 12 year old sister whose name was drawn. The boy from her district is Peeta, who had once shown Katniss kindness when she was in great need.

I won't go into any more details because I want all of you to read the book and tell me what you think of it. The only thing I'll say is that at the end it said "the end of book one." It did not say how many books will be in the series but I am totally hooked. I found out that the next book comes out in September.

So, happy reading.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Grocery shopping is a task that I don't usually mind except when it is really cold or raining and then I would rather avoid the long walk to and fro the store. I sometimes use a list which is really helpful, but other times I think I will remember what we need without the list and end up forgetting something or getting back home and realize I should have gotten something I didn't know we needed. I have been shopping less frequently since Mark has been traveling a lot. I wait until we are out of so many things it is crucial to go . Like this past week when we were so painfully low on chocolate that I resorted to grabbing a hand full of chocolate chips. I mentioned this to a few friends and found that I am not the only person to do this.

So, I went to Giant Eagle (sans list) and bought a heart shaped box of chocolates , 2 bags of peanut M&M's and 1 bag of Hershey Kisses. It was after Valentines Day so they were all marked down which was my rationalization. I also bought some other foods that are too boring to mention.

I then decided to go to Aldi's which is a discount grocery store that has a limited selection but has really good prices on some of the basics. ie; brownie mix, salsa, cereal, graham crackers etc. I hadn't been to Aldi's in months, but I needed some things that I like there and since I had a free afternoon I ventured out even though it was really cold. I was in the last aisle when I realized that I missed something that I normally get, I left my cart and went back to search for said item. I never did find it and when I went back my cart was not where I thought I had left it. I looked around and there were a few carts without owners sitting there, but they weren't mine. I was so frustrated, I didn't want to start again so I walked up the aisle looking at other people carts to see if I could find the person who had taken mine. I found him, the cart thief, I timidly approached him and said," You have my cart." He was so very embarrassed, apologized profusely, claiming that this was one of those "most embarrassing moments". I told him it could have been so much worse and he agreed. I was just happy to have my things back. Has this happened to anyone else?