Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vacation - is it really worth it?

I am a firm believer intact everyone needs to get away and take a break from their daily routine. When you have children Summer offers that on its own in that school is out, camps generally start later, dress is more relaxed and there are so many less scheduled events and classes.  Vacation is the perfect opportunity to take that onestep further and really relax. Last year we went on a cruise- wondrous from the start because there  were no phones and internet so you really HAD to take it down a notch or 10. Even better I found the best use of $100 in my life. For $100 you can have as much use as you want in the indoor pool, jacuzzi and quiet room
 The quiet room looks off the back of the boat and is a true sanctuary (too bad it wasn't outdoors). It was an exclusive oasis where there were no kids or beer parties just quiet and comfort.  I cannot ever remember feeliOremore relaxed in my life. This extended for about 4 weeks after the vacation.
Getting ready (not the packing and stuff- but getting ready made it almost not worth going. There is sooooo much pressure to tie up all loose ends (which never actually happens) and so much guilt that goes with it that you almost feel like you do not want to go.
As we get ready for this years vacation to the laurentian Mountains in Canada, other than the packing- trying to get all caught up, answer all the emails, put everything to bed that I can, I found my heart racing all day and wondering if it is worth it. No matter that everyone knows we will be away I am certain to come back to over 1000 emails (which even just deleting the junk takes time). I really hope it will be worth it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Girls Overnight

A couple of months ago the daughter of our closest friend suggested to my daughter that they go to Massachusetts to see a Maroon 5 and Train concert. This would of course mean that my friend and I would be driving the girls 2 1/2 hrs., staying overnight and seeing the concert. This was not my ideal way of spending the Weekend. Finally the weekend was here - we had reservations at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, Ma which was just 3 miles from the outdoor concert venue - the Comcast center. On way up we lucked out by finding a craft fair that enveloped much ofvthe town of mystic Ct. We saw several really great craftspeople including Dinnerwear Jewelry who made beautiful jewelry from plate Patterns and Michelle ABC who made signs with letters made of photographs in the shape of the letter. ( great gift with either a word or a name)  After some clam fritters and clam chowder we were back on the road so we could be early to the concert. We checked in to the hotel and we had a large clean room

 overlooking the interior lobby  was very nice and we were told that we could take a shuttle for $10 per person each way and it would guarantee to get us back to the hotel. ( we were puzzled by that comment -was there a possibility that it wouldn't,) and felt maybe it would be better to drive the 3 miles.
On the way up I questioned what songs each of these groups did and was having a hard time remembering which band played Which songs. It reminded me of other bands that I have confused. Many years ago my husband and I went to jones beach to see steely dan- in my head I was thinking it was dire straits and was so upset when my husband said no they were not playing Telegraph road or Romeo and Juliet.

Upon arriving we instantly lost the girls and decided to sit at a picnic table and eat dinner. The center was filled with vendors selling food, a lot of beer ( all different kinds), vendors selling services like Eco friendly items, the NY times, and "help save buzzards bay".  After we ate, the substitute* opening act was over and we went to our seats. * It was a substitute because the original opening act - Gavin DeGraw was  unable to attend as he had been beaten up and seriously injured the week before.

Concerts have really changed over the years- they are now more of a mixed media presentation than ever before. There were always cool lights and even video monitors in very large arenas so that you knew there was a performer on the stage. While Maroon 5 and Adam Levine used the screen in that manner (showing closeups of the band) but Patrick Monahan and Train used it to highlight their name in one song started out with a video that distracted the audience from seeing that he was coming up into the audience and yet another time during "save me San Francisco" they had scenes of San Francisco on the screen.  I was not sure what to exact but really enjoyed the concert! After the concert we got to thinking the shuttle was not such a  bad idea as it took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot and even though we were 1 exit away- it took another 1/2 hour due to an accident (Guess the shuttle would have had to deal with that too)

On Sunday we stopped at the  Wrentham outlet mall where we shopped and dodged rain drops. I was very  successful at the Merrill Store where I got winter clogs, summer water/sneakers and cute sandals. All set for vacation.

We drove towards home in the rain with a lot of traffic and stopped t  really cute independent bookstore in Madison, CT called R.J. Julia  ending with a phenomenal seafood dinner at . Lenny and Joes Fish Tale in Westbrook, Ct. We had a great weekend and are waiting for the girls to pick their next concert.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday Night- Date Night- Kind of

They say "working for the weekend" because everyone can't wait to finish Friday and get the weekend off, relax, kick back and unwind. While I love what we do on Friday Nights (regularly have dinner with a very close friend and our families) I have found a new love for Thursday Nights. (I even find myself careful when scheduling evening plans to try and avoid doing things on other nights so I can keep my Thursday's open. Since Beth took over at Westport Yarns she has worked to really bolster the knitting community. This is exemplified by our Thursday night Sit & Knits. They are so crowded (yet we always make room for everyone) and filled with great conversations, different age groups,
delicious foods that are shared
Amazing handmade granola bars
 and just a great time. Last night in the absence of his good friend my son learned to knit and made 2 scarves ( a store sample and 1 for himself. He truly did it in just a couple of minutes - just off the mark of the package which says solo 1 minuto.

There was much iphone and ipad conversation as always as we all learn about new apps and games

 It is enjoyed so much that when 8PM comes and the doors are closed several of us will move to Barnes and Noble and continue our conversation there.  Last night while everyone was discussing favorite recipes we decided that we would make a "Knitting Knomads" (that is the name of our Thursday Night Group) cookbook compiled with everyones favorites. We would like to open this up to the entire Westport Yarns family. Maybe we should also include people's favorite patterns that the have knit or designed. 

The remarkable group of women in the Knitting Knomads (and the larger Westport Yarns community share a wide wealth of talents including decoupage, cooking and baking, quilting, rug hooking , mosaic and so much more. Several women have even made Nantucket Baskets. I hope that some  of these very talented women will share some of their abilities with the group so we can continue to expand our horizons.  We are all grateful to Beth for allowing us to connect in so many ways and truly make a warm and caring community from a simple storefront.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sarah's Cry

 Most of the time I love where I live in Westport, Ct,  except sometimes when a new artsy movie comes out and takes weeks if not months to play in the area. This has happened to me twice recently. In early December a friend in Santa Monica, Ca recommended "The King's Speech". Each week i would look to see where it was playing nearby and was continually disappointed when the closest showing was in NYC.
I was so excited when in late december or early January i saw that finally Garden Cinema in Norwalk was showing it. It was a very snowy day as I set out, I decided to call the theatre and I was not too surprised to learn they were closed due to snow. I was so excited when I finally saw it (and not disappointed after the long wait.
This is how I felt after reading about a special showing of Sarah's Key in NYC on July 12. Te review of the evening sounded great and I could not wait to see the movie. I own the book in several versions, kindle, paperback, maybe even from (which is where much of my reading is done) Each week I would go online only to find that closest place was The Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY.

Europa Europa

Finally this weekend it was playing here. I generally am intrigued by WWII movies involving children. This may be because my own father
was separated from his parents during the war and while he survived his entire family perished.
Life is Beautiful
Au Revior Les Enfants

Empire of the Sun and while not about WWII
it does involve a  child nd is one of my all time favorites

Nothing prepared me for the amount of crying that I would do as I watched this movie.  Within the first few minutes I was tearing up and this happened many times with different degrees of tearing to real crying.  So much of it made you put yourself in the parents' shoes and the heart wrenching decisions that were made. For me it was reminiscent of the Choice scene in Sophie's Choice. You understand on some level why decisions are made but I could not imagine how one can be put in the position of making them. 

As the generations of holocaust survivors die and in new generations we find more and more people don't believe it ever happened movies like Sarah's Key become even more important.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You never can tell......

I am a big fan of GrouponLiving Social, and the more local coupon site Couposh. They offer great deals  on so many places I already frequent or would like to try. Someone recommended trying a recent groupon offer for Tuscany Ristorante in Bridgeport. We very rarely eat in Bridgeport (actually with young children we rarely eat anywhere other than friendlys or the diner) but we decided to use our groupon last night and venture into Bridgeport.

We drove through some of the not so nice areas in Bridgeport and wondered just what we were getting ourselves into... Upon arriving the restaurant looked very nice  and as we entered it was charming.    

 We had a 5:45 reservation (as we had a commitment later on) and there was only one table with diners (not a good omen but it WAS early).  We  were seated and our waitress came over immediately to take drink orders and show specials. They have a platter showing the appetizer specials followed by this beautiful pasta platter  with explanations of how the pasta is prepared. There were so many wonderful choices it was
hard to make a decision. After being served bread with roasted garlic in the olive oil our food arrived. One was better than the next- just phenomenal. The portions were large so we had some to take home too. I am thinking if not for groupon we would have never found this little gem.


I have spent the better part of the last month at the apple store in Stamford. I am trying to go from pcchick to macchick - not an easy transition for someone my age.  Being probably the #1 apple fan in southern Connecticut if not the world.

I have learned sooooo much from all the cool geniuses  (here are some of them).

My favorite activity is "stump the genius". You have never seen any group of people work harder than the "geniuses" when they are given something that they do not know the obvious answer to. And they always come up with a resolution.

The interesting thing is that my other passion- knitting is also related to Apple... frequently at open knitting night at Westport Yarns much of the conversations is tech related whether it is putting new knitting apps on our respective iPhones and/or iPads, or getting each other set up to play words with friends or hanging with friends.
Words with friends

or hanging with friends
 I was very surprised during an open kntting night recently how many people could name Stamford apple store geniuses by name and had worked with them previously.  Almost everyone that comes to either open knitting night or breakfast club either has an ipad, iphone or desperately wants one. Just about everyone in the group is either playing words with friends or hanging with friends.  There is nothing better than a group of women (no offense men) getting together and haring information on any subject.

Now I better get ready to go and pick up my new imac from the apple store- see you soon.