28 April 2008

Lovely Lilacs

Lilacs in Bloom
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

They've blossomed and they smell so nice. I wish I had a row of lilacs - maybe next year?

27 April 2008

Hey Now, You're a Rock Star

Passover 2008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Last Saturday we went to my sister-in-law's for a Passover Seder. After dinner, my niece had a few friends over for some Rock Band. (I think that's what it's called - we thought it was going to be Guitar Hero, but it was drums, guitar and vocals.)

Mark got a little excited when Mississippi Queen (more cowbell!) was one of the songs to be played. So while the band backed him up, he 'sang' the song. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time - tears were in my eyes. (He should stick to the drums. A singing career is not in his future.)

All in all - a fun night. I haven't enjoyed myself that much in ages.

26 April 2008

Another Sign of Spring

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I've been a fan of dogwood trees for as long as I can remember. My grandmother always wanted one and planted her fair share of them in central Michigan, but they never survived.

When we moved to New Jersey, I knew I wanted to plant some trees - dogwood being the first on the list. So our first trip to the nursery resulted in a dogwood and a Bradford Pear. The Bradford Pear has taken off quite well and has grown tremendously since we planted it. My dogwood hasn't fared so well. Each spring I'm delighted when it finally blooms.

We're still debating whether to plant more trees. Our house gets the afternoon sun and in the summer that makes our bedrooms rather warm. I'd like to put a maple tree in the front yard - eventually it'll give us some shade. RIght now there's just a couple of tall cedars - pretty, but not the shade trees I love.

25 April 2008

Feeling Stronger Every Day

Henry - April 2008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Henry seems to be on the road to recovery.

It's been a rough couple of weeks never knowing what I'll find when I awaken/come home. But he's seemed to perk up quite a bit and is a bit more active (as active as a senior dog can be).

Not sure if it was the dewormer, the home-cooked bland diet or my TLC that did it. All I know is I'm glad to have my dog happy and healthy once again. Now if we could only get Tara's cough to go away. Giving a dog Robitussin is not the easiest thing. I'd rather herd cats.

20 April 2008

Happy Adoption Day, Suki!

Suki - April 2008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

One year ago, Suki (aka Snaggletooth or la petite Cujo) officially joined our family after being a foster for about 6 weeks.

She's a delight most of the time, but even in those not so pleasurable moments, I wouldn't trade her for anything. For an 11 year old pooch, she looks pretty darn good.

19 April 2008

Asbury Park - 19th of April

Asbury Park - April 2008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Mark and I had breakfast in Ocean Grove this morning and strolled along the boardwalk afterwards. I was super energetic, so suggested we continue along into Asbury Park.

We walked the entire length of both boardwalks, I was snapping pictures along the way as Mark did his Springsteen impression. Both there and back. Whew.

Outside the Paramount Theatre, there's a plaque commemorating the Sound of Asbury Park. Today it was a memorial to Danny Federici who passed away earlier this week.

17 April 2008

A Whole New Me

Florida - December 2007
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Last night as I was running out to the grocery (or supermarket as my husband insists I call it), I dropped my keys between the driver's seat and the console. As I reached down to get them, I must have hit my nail at the right angle and with the right velocity to crack it.

My new LCN nail was hanging off my real nail at a precarious angle. I managed to "pop" it back in place, but it was obvious that a repair was necessary. I called up the salon, hoping to be able to sashay in there tomorrow after work, but was told to come over right away. Apparently sometime in the past few months, they've expanded their hours to be open until 8 PM every night. Sweet!

I made it there in no time and about 30 minutes later, I had a new nail to match the other 9 perfectly manicured nails. I also learnt that I have to oil my LCN nails at minimum of once a day, twice if possible. The tech who did my original set didn't bother to tell me last week. *sigh* So I got a bottle of nail oil to use while I was at the salon last night.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with my new nails although it's a bit difficult to hold a pen. I have traditionally kept my thumbnails short on purpose. They're not that much longer, but just enough so that I can't quite hold my pen comfortably. I think I'll have them shortened when I go in for my fill next week. I was so impressed by the tech who did my repair last night that I rebooked my fill-in with her.


On the weight loss front, I continue to drop the excess poundage. For those who like visuals - the weight I've lost to date is roughly equivalent to two 5 lb bags of potatoes and 6 sticks of butter. I've lugged enough groceries home to know carrying just one bag of taters home is a chore. (Especially when you have to walk several blocks with your groceries!)

Friends and co-workers are noticing the weight loss, as are some workers at stores I regularly frequent. I haven't noticed it quite myself - but some of my clothes are feeling a bit roomier. I stopped at Sears on Monday night (it's on the way home) and purchased a few sale items from their Lands' End shop. (As much as I love Lands' End stuff - the misplaced apostrophre really bugs me, even though they explain why it's that way on their website.) I originally picked up a few shirts in XL, but put them back and got the L instead. I'm glad I did. The L shirts fit well - the XL definitely would have been too big. Mark asked me if I still had to shop at the "Forgotten Woman" (I'm not sure if that's an actual shop or a name he applies to all plus-sized shops). For the time being, my top half is back in misses' sizes, but my bottom half still needs women's sizes. I think it's gonna be a while coming for me and my hips to get back into missy sizes, but I'm working towards that goal.

We're heading to his sister's on Saturday for the Passover Seder. I was sort of dreading that since I didn't know what I was going to eat. So I called her yesterday to find out what she was making and to make sure there'd be a baked potato for me. (There will be - yea!) So I'll make the potato the bulk of my meal and nibble on the other goodies.

It's been a mixed week foodwise for me - had a work lunch on Monday which blew my point allotment out of the water, but since then I've struggled to meet my daily points goal the past two days. Today is starting to be another one of those days, but I think I'll manage to get there, even if I have to nibble on a chunk or two of cheese this evening.

I'm quite pleased with my Weight Watchers experience this time around. Although I tried it prior to getting married I didn't have much success. I'm committed this time around and Mark's been quite supportive as well. I'm halfway to my 10% goal, so if I continue losing at the same rate, I should easily make that by mid-May. I think the bridesmaid's dress I ordered for my friend's wedding is going to be a bit big on my when it finally comes in. That's okay though -- I'd rather it be too big than too small.

Since I'm starting this journey, I decided I should document it in photographs - hence this photo which was taken in December 2007. I weighed then about what I weighed when I started Weight Watchers - plus or minus a pound or two. So I figure at the beginning of each month I'll take a new photo. Just so I can compare and see what I look like as the weight comes off. As I said before, others see it, but I don't quite see it yet.

12 April 2008

Spring is Here!

Weeping Cherry
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

It's been a glorious week here in Jersey. On Thursday, when i was driving home, the time/temp sign I passed said it was 79F. Simply gorgeous - I had my windows down, the breeze messing my hair...

When I got home, I hooked the dogs on their leashes and away we went - around the block. Twice. The the four of us played a bit in the back yard. After a week of them all feeling a bit under the weather, they all seemed to have recovered and were eager to play - as much as geriatric dogs can play.

I commented earlier that our Weeping Cherry and Bradford Pear were in bloom. It's been fun to look out the window and see a bunch of white blooms on the tree. I had to go out and snap a few close up shots.

My lillies are starting to poke their way through the dirt, so I should be seeing them soon. The hosta we planted last year (and thought died) are making a renaissance as well. Hooray!

Mark cut back a few plants last year - pretty drastically. The butterfly bush in the back appears to have some new grwoth on it, but I'm a bit worried about the Japanese hydrangea that is in front.

I got some bulbs at Costco last weekend -- summer/fall bloomers, so I need to get them in the ground ASAP. The sun is shining now, but t-storms are predicted for later in the day. Perhaps I should dig out my gardening tools and go plant them now, before the rain. Or I could just wait until tomorrow. It's supposed to be sunny, but cool.

I've not been able to find snapdragons the past few years. I used to get them at Frank's but since they went out of business, I've not had any luck finding them. I tried to grow them from seed last year - that was a bust. So I'm hoping that I'll be able to find them this year -- they're one of my favorite flowers and the year I had them in our beds, they looked simply wonderful.

I'm still sort debating whether or not to go back to Costco and get some more bulbs -- there were a few flowers that I think I'd like, but passed on last week. Come fall - I will be planting more bulbs -- I can't believe I haven't yet because the spring flowers (crocus, daffodil, tulips) are my favorites. Still debating weather I want to bother with peonies - another favorite, but one which I didn't have too much luck with previously.

11 April 2008

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Sleeping Dogs
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Sometimes they really are quiet. I loved sneaking up on them to get this shot.

09 April 2008

Make a Joyful Noise

About a month or so ago, Mark asked me if I would be interested in joining one of the many pipe and drum corps that abound around the Irish Riviera. I said, "Yes." -- not really thinking that he'd pursue it as he's not the most musically inclined person I know.

A few weeks ago, a package showed up at our door - inside were two sets of drumsticks and two drum pads. Yep, he decided to go through with it after all. So last night we went out to Manasquan for drum lessons and to meet the others in the band.

We arrived early, before any of the other drummers, so I got to meet a few pipers - including one instructor who (like me!) played clarinet previously. I asked how difficult the pipes were - only nine notes. Easy-peasy after the bajillion or so on a clarinet. I listened to a couple of the (pipe) students practice and read the music over their shoulder. ('Amazing Grace' - one of the most annoying songs. Ever.)

The drum master/instructor showed up and Mark and I started our lessons. I was really hesitant about this from the get-go as percussion has never been my forte; unless you count the triangle. (Ed Grimley - you're my percussion hero!) I struggled with the grip on the drumsticks and after about 20 minutes of frustration, I packed them up and watched Mark play. Didn't think drums were going to be my thing and I was right. (Like holding knitting needles, the grip on the drumsticks was not a natural thing for me so I cut my losses early.)

If I'm going to do this pipe and drum thing, I'll play a melodic instrument -- and read music that I can understand. (I did look to make sure the pipe music was written in treble clef -- part of the reason I suck at piano is that I have great difficulty reading bass clef music. Hence why I sucked at cello.) So I'm off to order me a chanter today so that it'll arrive before next week's session. And if it doesn't I'll go and listen again and support Mark's drumming efforts.

While he might not be the best drummer (yet), it's much more tolerable than his efforts at playing the tin whistle.

06 April 2008

A Day at the Beach

Belmar - April 2008
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Spring is here - at last! We had a beautiful sunny day in the low 60s yesterday, so we piled the dogs in the car and headed out to Belmar. We've only got the rest of the month to take the dogs on the beach before they're banned until October, so we'll take every chance we get.

Henry and Suki are beach veterans, but this was Tara's first time. She enjoyed it, especially meeting other dogs along the way. We saw them all - from yellow and chocolate Labs, to Beagles, to chihuahuas, to Yorkies (in pajamas!), and our share of mutts. A good time was had by all - the two legged folks included.

I'm really enjoying my time with the dogs - walking them around the block or down the beach. It's paying off on my weight loss -- 7.6 lbs since I started Weight Watchers mid-March. I don't complain too much about walking them these days - except in a downpour. At that point, it's no fun.

In Bloom

In Bloom
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Earlier this week I commented on my Twitter feed that our weeping cherry tree was in bloom. After walking the dogs this morning, I went out and snapped some pics of it (and our Bradford Pear that is in bloom also) in the rain.

As I was walking back into the house, I noticed that a bird chose the cherry tree as a perch. I snapped this shot and tried to sneak a little closer to be a better shot. But, he flew away.

05 April 2008

It's a Girl!

Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Meet Tara - the latest addition to our menagerie.

She's a healthy, senior (estimated 12-14 years) miniature American Eskimo. Only a few days in our house and already she's become my shadow.

What do the other dogs (and cats) think of her? The dogs like her well enough and at 15 pounds, only Lily is smaller than her.