15 JunSo Silly

Spend a couple hours with a nine year old and you will know just about everything there is to know about Silly Bandz – with only a couple of eye rolls for not completely understanding in a timely fashion. When I agreed to babysit my nephew Logan on Friday night his mother warned me that this might happen…

But by the end of the night I was hooked up with the “girlie ones”.

Our night out wasn’t just about Silly Bandz, we also enjoyed a a cheese pizza at Pasquales (with a couple rounds of Uno while we waited) and a visit to the bookstore to pick up a copy of The Zombie Chasers.

Logan is funny and smart, kind and polite and knows all too well his Aunt loves to spoil him. With a world of hectic schedules, nine year old’s are quite busy these days, it was nice to have some one on one time with one of my favorite guys.

06 MayBirthday Cake

Well, what do you know, I had room for cake after all. Skipping dinner may have helped, fried brie can really get you through the day. Another Cakes Next Door creation. They pass my moist cake to sweet frosting ratio. But then again it’s hard not to pass that test. And it’s so cute…

We had a fun visit with Becky, Jason, Logan and Motley. Their pug Motley can really get us laughing. Just look at him, you’ll chuckle…

Tomorrow I will have one more day/night of festivities…then cake comes off the approved list of dinner options.

06 MayBirthday Lunch

Tom had the day off from work so we made plans to have lunch together. I thought he would call me from the car to let me know he was at my office but instead he surprised me at my desk with this beautiful bouquet of flowers…

He choose the combination himself, and I would give a shout out to the florist, but he won’t tell me where they are from. And look how cute…

Tom also had these delicious nuggets of goodness with him from Cakes Next Door. Plenty to share…

We headed out to lunch and went to the newly opened Wine-N-Diner. I had fried brie, fried brie I said. Birthday lunches don’t get much better than this…

We are now headed to his sisters house for cake (and I can’t believe I am about to say this but I may already be caked out) were we will spend time with our cutie-pa-tutie nephew. He’s 9, chances are he doesn’t like being referred to as cutie-pa-tutie. But as the saying goes, it’s my birthday, I can do what I want.

Thanks Tommy for all of the surprises today. I love you!

05 MayCinco de Birthday

Cinco de Mayo is always a fun way to celebrate the last day before turning a year older, and today was no exceptions. My girlfriends took me out to dinner tonight to Cafe Capriccio to celebrate. A first for all of us (I think). It was defiantly a first for me and it did not disappoint.

The food was delicious, the staff was adorable and the drinks were plentiful. Vicki was overly generous for tonight’s meal. I plan to keep her wine glass full all summer long. And Melissa put her talents to work by making me a bracelet, a bookmark with pressed flowers and a planting pot she decorated and planted with rosemary (that I hope Tom plans to keep alive).

Thanks to mah blondz for a fun night out…

And Melissa wanted to adopt a cat.

11 AprOff Roading

Since ending last years cycling season with two flat tires, I wasn’t itching to get back on my bike this year. But with my tire problems resolved and the nice weather upon us I knew, I just knew, if I got out there for a ride I would fall in love with cycling all over again.

So I headed out today for a 20 mile group ride. I thought 20 miles, mostly flat, with a group of people getting out for their first or second time of the season would be perfect. And it was, for about 4 miles. Wow. It’s been a long winter. When we regrouped at the 8 mile mark I dreaded the 12 miles ahead of us. A nice woman on the ride shared her jelly beans with me for a little shot of sugar and off we went.

I told myself “pull together your strength, enjoy the ride and get the most out of this beautiful day.” As we rode along the suburban road I saw a little girl riding her bike and waved at her. At that same moment I lost my balance and went off the road landing head first in the gravel.

I was mostly in shock. I took a mental run through of body parts to make sure nothing was broken and then thanked my lucky stars my helmet did what it was meant to do. Since my head took the biggest blow I am convinced I would be in a hospital bed right now if I weren’t wearing a helmet, and there is a big crack to prove that.

My ego was just as bruised as the right side of my body. But the group of riders I was with were so amazingly kind. I can’t really even explain the kindness they showed, it was just so powerful at that moment. I got up, and in my state of shock, got back on my bike. But it didn’t take long to ask the person riding home with me if we could call my husband to come get me. I just wasn’t feeling well. And later realized my back tire was flat.

As we waited for Tom we got news that another rider was down. And even though she was taken away in an ambulance we heard she was okay. Another rider lost his brakes. What a bizarre day.

I know how lucky I am to not even have a broken bone. I know how lucky I am to have been with people who watched over me and stayed with me. I know how lucky I am that my husband drove to a place he’s never been to pick me up. I know how lucky I am because I was wearing a helmet.

Be safe out there everyone. And as soon as me and my bike get tuned up I’ll be back!

14 MarUnderwood & Wonderland

I was going to name this post “Carrie and Alice” but my girlfriend’s name is Carrie and her mother-in-law’s name is Alice and she may have freaked for one second if she thought this post was about them. Both lovely people, but that would have been weird.

Friday night I had plans to FINALLY watch the Oscars when I was offered Carrie Underwood tickets. And it just so happens that my husband absolutely loves Ms. Underwood so I canceled my Oscar plans and went to the concert. Nevermind the countless movies I slept through just to watch the Oscars.

The concert was fun – she really is a cutie. I recognized some songs and knew one well enough to sing along. Before the show Tom looked over at me and asked, “what do you think she will open with?” Um, I don’t know? A song I never heard before.

Saturday I saw Alice in Wonderland. The Red Queen stole the show. I particularly loved how she thought Alice’s name was Um. But that’s it with me and 3D. People were flinching as things came towards them and saw stuff come from the side of the theater. Nothing jumped at me. The picture was crisp, but it was hard work on my eyes just to get that effect.

We bought some new bedding this weekend, I think Tom has been allergic to previous comforters and quilts and blankets and such. So far this set has been working out nicely and I really only mention it so I can post this picture of my dog taking a little snooze. Maybe that is what Tom is allergic to, but we won’t go there.

28 FebThat’s a Yawn!

I mean wrap! That’s a wrap! Today I watched the last movie on my Oscar list, and when I woke up, I realized that I took a little nap during most of them:

A Serious Man
Avatar (twice)
District 9
Inglourious Basterds
The Last Station
The Lovely Bones and,

Oops, clearly not an exciting award year for me, however, here are my votes and runners up in order:

Leading Actor
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
(Toby McGuire should have been nominated for “Brothers”)

Supporting Actor
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Matt Damon in “Invictus” (Should have been nominated for “The Informant”)
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”

Leading Actress
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”

Supporting Actress
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”

Animated Short
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”
“A Matter of Loaf and Death”
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”
“French Roast”

Live Action Short (These were all very good)
“Miracle Fish”
“The New Tenants”
“The Door”
“Instead of Abracadabra”

Best Picture
This is a difficult category and I am not completely satisfied with my order. Overall I felt individual performances were better than any movie as a whole this year. Honestly, none of these stand out as best picture to me and yet I have no other suggestions.
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“The Blind Side”
“A Serious Man”
“Up in the Air”
“District 9”

After numerous shoving matches with Vicki for the isle seat (which she won almost every time), a movie card fully punched, LOTS of popcorn, and great friends, next Sunday I will finally see how my votes compare to the Academies. Even though I have a feeling we don’t see eye to eye on a lot of these.

I would also like to give a shout to the Spectrum 8 Theatres for showing every single nominated movie and the shorts (which were pretty close to the best part of this season). I would also like to mention New World Bistro Bar, they are two doors down from the theater and we would go there for a drink in-between double features. We even stopped in on Valentine’s Day before going to see Valentine’s Day and I got the Red Velvet Cupcake and OMG that cupcake was the best part of the movie – even though it cost as much as a ticket!

11 FebTwenty Seats

Tonight when I got home from work I suggested to Tom that we go out for our Valentine’s Day dinner. Get ahead of the weekend rush. So after walking and feeding our dogs (and a couple of wet kisses for good measure) we headed out to Katrinella’s Bistro. It’s a small, small, small place at the bottom of Madison Ave. that if you aren’t careful you will miss. I first learned about Katrinella’s from a review in the Times Union that had me sold before my first bite. Tom and I tried to go before but with only twenty seats in the place they were booked solid for the night.

The decor is so unimpressive as you walk in the side door that I had to remind myself of the glowing review. But once we entered the dining room it was very comfortable, especially for such a small space.

The bread they serve with the meal is so, so, so good I asked where it was from, and as suspected, it’s homemade. They bake a few loafs every couple of hours which made me want to come back every couple of hours. And that delicious, homemade, doughy bread came with a soup bowl full of olive oil and vinegar and garlicky goodness…a soup bowl.

They have a a three-course, $20 prixe-fixe menu that I ordered my Chicken Sorrento from. I just had to try their red sauce. Tom ordered Chicken Orange which didn’t sound good to me at all. Chicken and vodka orange sauce…ew.

When the entrees arrived I was loving my meal. The red sauce did not disappoint. I didn’t want Tom to miss out so we exchanged bites from each others plates. And that’s when I absolutely insisted that we trade dishes because his entree was positively delicious and I just couldn’t imagine not having it all to myself. So being a good Valentine, Tom swapped entrees with me. But I wouldn’t feel too bad for him as he finished every last bite of my meal and has a doggie bag with leftover Chicken Orange.

I have finally found inexpensive, homemade, delicious Italian food in larger than life portions here in Albany. Obviously, I highly recommend this place for everyone’s Valentine’s Day dinner. So, what are you waiting for? Make your reservations!!

I love you Tommy. Happy Valentine’s Day!