sick sick sick...

...and since misery loves company, its only right for me to do a post.

Tom does a most excellent job being my company when I am miserable--yesterday even, against his better judgement, he went and got me my obligatory McDonald's meal that I only eat when I am sick. (#1 with a Coke). I think I am right when I say that when I am sick, the calories and artery hardening oil from the delicious Big Mac doesn't add to my demise the same as when I am healthy--I believe its actually helping my cold..
And, you can bet I will support Tom when he likely gets (or gets again) what I now have.

This cold is getting close to matching my "worst cold ever" memory... the cold that had me zombie walking through Amsterdam for 2 days years back-- a cold I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I pretty much haven't left the couch since Friday, I have a cough that has taken me to the crazy side (a quote from my friend Rita), and my normal love of sleep is now something I dread... even surfing the web has become a chore. Seriously, this must be more serious than any of us think...

Yes I am having a pity party and I don't care. Bleck. One good thing is that its horrible rainy and dreary so I am not missing much by being stuck inside. Poor Tom though. He's a good man.

Here is to hoping everyone is feeling better than I am and I am attaching some pics from the archive documenting sunnier, more active days that make me tired just looking at them.

This post was featured on Travel. Write. Repeat. and I wanted to showcase it here too.

Being a native of the great city of Seattle, I feel its my duty to give my readers some insight on great Seattle day. Forget the Pike Place Market and Space Needle tour and grab your fleece, your birkenstocks (socks optional), your messenger bag and enjoy your day--local style.

1. Start your day with sleeping in-- to hopefully beat the early morning rain showers (common during the Spring in Seattle) and then head to the U District (University of Washington area) for some wandering on the gorgeous campus. See the noted architecture of the buildings and the blooming quad, get in some shopping on the 'Ave (excellent thrift store The Red Light plus a coffee must stop at the Ugly Mug Cafe on 43rd (you thought I'd send you to a Starbucks, didn't you?)

2. After getting your caffeine buzz on and working up an appetite shopping, hoof it up to 45th for an unforgettable lunch at a Seattle landmark: Dick's Drive-In. (Order recommendation: Deluxe, Fry, two tarters, a ketchup and a chocolate shake). Man, I am hungry just thinking about it.

the quad on the UW Campus


3. After the U Dist, head south just a bit to experience a legendary Seattle store: Archie McPhee's. Archie's was originally located in Ballard (more on that in a second) and has recently moved to the nearby Wallingford area to bump elbows with other sweet stores like my favorite travel store Wide World Books.
At Archie's you'll find all of the '80's candy you miss (candy cigarettes, ring pops and pop rocks) as well as the necessary household items such as bacon bandages, backwards clocks, pickle soap and my personal favorite, nunzilla wind-up toys, that shoot adorable sparks from the mouth.

4. To curb the candy buzz and giddy feeling from buying things you don't need but can't resist, take a leisurely stroll to the peaceful Ballard--just down the way from Archie's. Ballard, once its own city, a few decades ago was enveloped into Seattle proper. Ballard has kept its individuality though boasting the largest Norwegian population in the US and a bustling main street with sweet mom and pop shops, a movie theatre and and the nearby Ballard Locks where you can easily become hypnotized by the methodological process of water rising and falling as boats pass from Lake Washington/Lake Union into the Puget Sound and vice versa. The fish ladder at the locks, where the world famous Washington Salmon swim their hearts out, is very calming and entertaining--and FREE.

5. After the tranquil visit to the locks and surrounding gardens, press on past the lure of fish and chips at nearby stands (way too pricey) and head to the Tractor Tavern just a few short blocks away. Let the Tractor serve you up a locally brewed beer while you scan the upcoming live band list. Not only does the Tractor host big name bands, but also up and coming acts in their intimate venue. My claim to fame, or not, with the Tractor is that some friends from work were heading there for a happy hour cocktail years back and I passed on the invite just to find out the next morning that the unheard of band playing that night was Pearl Jam under a cover name. (Dammit-- it still hurts like it was yesterday.)

6. After a few beers at the Tractor you're probably feeling nice and loose so grab a cab and head straight to the Virginia Inn-- another Seattle Landmark.
You may recognize this bar as the one from the movie Singles, where Matt Dillon's character brainstormed with his "band mates" (real life Pearl Jam members). Sit in "their" booth and order another local beer or something a bit more crazy 'cause now you are in the Belltown area of Seattle, officially the newest "hip" place to be. Sit here a while and take in the scene.

7. Hungry? Probably. Close out your evening by dining on a Seattle staple: Sushi.
The Wasabi Bistro is just a block away from the Virginia Inn and is famous for its fresh Japanese fusion menu. They have a long happy hour (until 6 every night) and live music Sunday through Thursday. Order some sake, feast on some of their sushi roll specials (so fresh you may have seen these fish at the locks earlier) and enjoy the fact that you are in Seattle-- a very friendly, recycling, green city that will always welcome you back.

Happy Earth Day!

And what a great day it is here in the NE! Sunny most of the time with a few rain sprinkles here and there---light sprinkles somehow make it feel more "earthy" by keeping the grass and trees green and replenishing our water supply.

What are you doing to help the Earth today?

Tom and I are getting better at using reusable shopping bags or requesting no bag at all unless one is absolutley necessary. This small act really can make a difference.

Aside from it being Earth day, not much else has deemed itself valuable enough to write about. Well, we do both have colds (yuck) and hoping they don't linger into our month of May when we are pretty busy with travel and seeing friends. Even small Frank had an ear-ache last week. Poor boy.

Well that is all for now.
Enjoy this pic taken on one of my wanderings and be kind to the Earth and all who make it their home!
(Also including an artistic shot of the dogs: Near and Far). :)

Check out the latest travel post on Travel. Write. Repeat. : Visit the 'Burbs of New York City.

Most you, my faithful readers, already know the gems that New Jersey has to offer its own residents as well as those of neighboring states-- mainly New York. This post talks some about my favorite cities in Jersey and how they are quick and easy getaways from the busy city.

Here are a couple pictures featured in the article.

Jersey Shore boardwalk

Princeton University Campus

happy tax day!

This may be a good day for some but bad for others, so--- in the attempt to make everyone a little happier, please enjoy this post on Anegada in the BVI's on my Travel. Write. Repeat. website!!

NYC in 3D

There seem to be a lot of creative looks at NYC lately--maybe because of the upcoming summer months that leave the city (and its residents) sweltering... but happy because as most people would agree--Summer is the best time in the city.

Here is a neat little video showing a 3D view courtesy of Google Maps.

atari takes manhattan

a fun video, especially if you played video games in the 80's (and you get to see some cool NYC sights).

gorgeous night in NYC

The City Year banquet we went to last night (see most recent post) was held at Chelsea Piers in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. The excellent weather we have been having here continued through last night and we were loving the location of the Piers and the chance to mingle with friends and City Year Corp Members outside in the evening sun.

Chelsea Piers is a one stop shop for all things activity based! There is a HUGE 4 story golf driving range that looks out over the Hudson to Jersey, an ice rink, gymnastics, rock climbing full weight rooms, work out classes, soccer, basketball, sailing, kayaking, kids programs, spas, banquet areas... the list goes on. It is 30 acres of STUFF to do.

I am attaching some photos I snapped with my camera phone while at the Piers as well as before when Tom and I took a nice walk on the High Line Park above the streets of the Meatpacking District. (See this link on the High Line for an article I wrote on it a little while back).

Today the heat wave has tamed itself some and we are back to 60 degrees... but Spring is here to stay and it is soooooo nice!

View from the High Line and some new art on the chain link fence separating the finished section from the construction section of more Park.

my very handsome husband holding our beverages with Jersey City (and a teeny Statue of Liberty in the Hudson) in the distance.

View of the Empire State Building and the Sailing marina at Chelsea Piers. Look at that blue sky!

and finally... I had to add this one in. Its been so hot here and poor Frank has a little ear infection, so on the way to the vet we had some extra time so he and I stopped at the doggy boutique and bakery for some blueberry cheesecake ice-cream--for Frank. I opted out of a taste, but it did look really good.

Well, sort of. We were near him and then had the opportunity to hear him speak at a fundraising dinner for an organization that is important to him as well as Tom and me: City Year.

Tom and I headed into mid-town last night for the annual honoree dinner. Our good friends Chris and Clare were there with us as Chris is very involved in City Year here in NYC (They are all over the country). You may recall past posts mentioning our attendance at these dinners--it is something we look forward to each year. This organization's core is focused on under-privileged kids in our inner city public schools that often fall between the cracks due to the lack of personal attention they need (whether that be at home or school) to excel in their classes.

Young adults apply to be a City Year Corp Member for a 10 month stint. They are assigned to schools all over the city from elementary schools to high school. These Core members spend one on one time with specific students for extended periods and measurable results that are tracked are amazing and uplifting. So many children in our country will not graduate high school let alone even pass to the next grade. Self esteem, poor home life conditions or just not getting enough positive attention are what City Year helps with by getting to know them, supporting them in their individual challenges, building mutual respect as well as the tutoring assistance in all subjects.

From the website, City Year sums up their focus in these points:

City Year seeks to:

Help students and schools succeed
Build stronger communities
Break down social barriers
Develop young leaders
Foster active citizenship

Corp Members and their touching stories of seeing a child change and grow from the practices of City Year touched me personally. I coached basketball for 5th grade boys in an underprivileged neighborhood for 5 years while living in Seattle. It is still one of my greatest joys to recall these boys' faces when something would click within them-- and not just basketball skills or in City Year's case-- educational skills-- but to see a child realize that someone thinks he/she is important, talented and has a purpose. It is very powerful feeling.

Another speaker during the evening was the Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg. He is a great advocate of the school systems as well as City Year and it was a treat to hear him speak about his interest and involvement in this great organization.

City Year's link is here. If you have a moment, please take a look at what they do and do so well.

heat wave

its been an all out summer feeling here in the nyc area! Temps are breaking records that were set back in the '20's. For 4 days straight the temps have been 80 or above and yesterday got to 92! An average temp for June 1 (months away) is 75 degrees-- so this is clearly not the norm. However--we are loving the warmth. The tops been down every day on my car, the dogs are happy to be out of snow and rain and the sun just makes everything seem a little better!!

Here is a pic taken by one of my fellow twitterers, Meghan Lisson.
Central Park yesterday. Enjoy! Click on the photo to enlarge.

Central Park is doing its best to imitate a Monet...making it... on Twitpic

Jost van Dyke

The title of this post may sound familiar, but it is not an actor--its an island in the BVI chain. It was our last stop (clearly I am doing some BVI posts out of order) and our favorite.

We anchored the boat in the clearest water I honestly have ever seen--and the warmest! The very distinct blue and green colored water that look as though they can't coexist in the same Sea without blending together at times did blend into a dreamy shade of aqua so needless to say, looking out at the water never got old.
Immediately after anchoring Tom and I jumped in and just swam around. Looking through the water, the white sand at the bottom (about 10' below) was very visible and we could see clearly the manta rays and parrot fish swim inches from our dangling feet.

our boat anchored at Jost van Dyke

tom in the very clear water and Tom and Di doing some snorkeling

Here are a couple views of the beach from our boat.

Amazing isn't it? It is one long white sand beach that looks pretty desolate, but actually has 6 beach bars including the two we hung out at most, the Soggy Dollar (where the fabulous drink Pain Killer was invented) and the Stress Free Bar. You can either swim to the beach or take a dinghy in and we did both multiple, multiple times!

pics of the Soggy Dollar sign and a view from the Stress Free Bar

Aside from snorkeling, laying out and having fun... we didn't do anything else on this wonderful, gorgeous island. The boat accommodated us all quite nicely when we needed to get out of the sun. We had a lot of fun dancing and laughing on the deck. Such a relaxing time with great friends. It was hard to leave.

Here are some pictures of some fun we all had on the boat.

More great adventures from our trip to the British Virgin Islands are to come, but check out this post (and others) on my website.

Get "off the beaten path" in nyc
(click here)

treasures in the bvi's

My most sincere apologies for not posting in a few days. As always, coming back to work after vacation is very time consuming and since its been 75 degrees the last few days (and on track to continue for many more days...) it's been hard to find time to sit down and post on what was one of the best vacations Tom and I have ever had. I have to admit, with all of the pics I took and the info I gathered on the various islands we visited in the BVI's, I am somewhat overwhelmed when thinking about where to start.

As Lisa told me, "just start at the beginning Di" so---I will start at the beginning.

After we all met in Tortola (the most populated, modernized island in the BVI's) and picked up the boat-- the guys got it ready for take-off and the gals headed to town for provisions.

pic: Captain John and Todd at the helm

We didn't plan on getting much in terms of food provisions, just lunch fixings and snacks (and beverages of course), but the grocery store in Tortola was actually quite stocked-- much different than the usual Caribbean grocery stores which are not much bigger than our US 7-11's. The US dollar was king and the grocery store shelves were stocked with essentials and indulgences including the Grey Poupon John had to have. The refrigeration section was suspect so although we didn't procure any meat we outfitted ourselves nicely and for less money than we expected. Shopping at the store was such a nice feeling. I was happy to find that even though the BVI's are somewhat established, we were still in the Caribbean I knew and loved. Seeing the friendly locals (West Indians) dread-locked and accommodating made us feel welcome (and made me want to grow dreads. I am serious).

Our boat was moored in Tortola and our first stop after taking off from there was Virgin Gorda. After the Pirate Caves which I spoke of in a previous post (pic below), we decided to stop by Willie T's--the famous (infamous?) permanently moored ship in the shallowish clear waters.

pics: the Pirate Caves

Wille T's is famous for its "clothing optional" dress code and topless diving off of the top deck for a free "Willie" t-shirt. While the diving topless didn't interest us that night we did have a great time anyway and it was a great welcome to vacation!!

pics: most of the gang at willie t's and tom and todd having fun!

After Willie T's we headed back to the boat (via our private 4 person dinghys ([that the guys insisted on racing]) for a few nightcaps and a very restful night sleep on the calm Caribbean Sea... ahhhhhhh. Vacation. Day 1 anyway...

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