Monday, February 27, 2012

extra day 2012 - a day for you to do something you have been meaning to do

2012 is a leap year. That means we get a whole extra 24 hours. Don't squander it by pretending it's like any other day. Plan to do something that you have been postponing due to "not enough time." Finish a project, phone a long-lost friend or relative, investigate something you've been meaning to investigate, take an alternate route, sign up, commit, cancel, change - it's up to you, and the possibilities are limitless, for 24 hours only (not really, but it's a good day to begin). 

If you think you've heard about this already from me, it may be because I tried this once before. I think it was Leap Year 2004. I think it was before I started blogging and I just sent emails to everyone I know. I know it was before facebook, or at least before I knew about facebook. Anyway, hardly anyone responded but I remember I celebrated Extra Day 2004 on my own. I called a friend who I hadn't called in a couple of years. It was nice to talk to her. I'd been meaning to call for ages.

This year, I am planning to take some time on Extra Day 2012 to express my appreciation and gratitude to a few people in my life. I always say thank you, but often I think I should do more: make a phone call or send a note, then I don't get around to it. I'm going to do a bit of catching up with the extra time that this day will give me.

And guess what? there's facebook now! So I created an event and invited a hundred friends who each invited some more friends. So it looks like quite a few people might join me in celebrating the day this year.

Please pass this invitation along to anyone you know who might also be procrastinating. And if you're on facebook you can join the event, and invite your friends to join. But even if you don't, I hope you celebrate the day by doing something that you have been meaning to do.

question: what have you been meaning to do?

mompoet - inviting you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

waiting for book of mormon

February 14, 2012
Eugene O'Neill Theater, New York City

I figured we'd be good if we got here at 2pm, but it's our last day in New York - no second chances - so we show up early. We slept until 8, ate breakfast at the hotel, and walked to the post office a few blocks away to mail a gift to my little cousin in Princeton whose birthday party was canceled when she got strep throat. After that, we caught the subway to 50th Street and walked a block to the theater on 49th. I told Andy he could come join me later, but he came along from the start. It's Valentine's day after all.

Why am I here so early? Quite simply, I want Andy and Alex to see the show. I saw it in August with Fiona. Now, we're visiting her, and want to see it together as a family. later on, others will join the lineup. People line up every day for tickets. Alex will check in with us once he has finished breakfast. Fiona will come after she finishes class at the university.

There are three ways to get tickets:
1) buy them 6 months in advance at full price (the show is sold out until mid-May)
2) enter the ticket lottery 2 hours before the show - about 20 winners get $32 tickets for the front row of the theater
3) buy standing room tickets 1 hour before the show - about 20 more tickets are sold for $27 each, for spots at the back of the orchestra seating section
We didn't buy tickets 6 months in advance. We didn't plan this trip even 6 weeks in advance. We're unlikely to win the lottery. Being first in line today, we are certain to be able to buy standing room tickets.

Here I am, hanging out in front of the theater. I brought the Sunday New York Times to sit on. I brought today's New York Times to read.

A man from Australia stops by and asks what we know about getting tickets. He decides he might come back at 5pm for the lottery. Inside the theater lobby, we see cleaning staff dusting, wiping and vacuuming.

Andy holds the spot while I go for coffee and stretch my legs. Colony music store is at the corner of 49th and 7th Avenue. It's the best place for Broadway cast recordings, musical theater scores and memorabilia. I'm hoping to find a CD of Closer Than Ever, the musical that Fiona appeared in at the university, to bring home to my parents as a gift. Colony has the CD (of course!) but it's $45.99 because there are 23 songs, so it's a 2 disc set. I decide I will buy them a download instead.

I pick up a large coffee for Andy and a hot chocolate for me at Dunkin Donuts in the 50th Street subway station. Back at the theater, the hot drinks warm us. It's not as cold out as it was yesterday, but after an hour, it's definitely chilly. We brought warm clothing so we'll be okay.

Alex is here. We agree to be here all together at 4:30, when the lottery is scheduled to open. For now we'll take turns holding this place at the front of the line. A young man arrives to take spot #2. I talk to him, and find out that he is an actor, playing Tom Sawyer in a dinner theater production of Big River in a nearby city. Alex decides to take the Radio City Music Hall tour, and heads off.

Andy finishes his coffee, then leaves to explore for a while. I settle in with the newspaper and my iPod. If I lived in New York, I would spend way to much time reading the newspaper. It's really not uncomfortable here on the sidewalk. and people here are friendly. Passers-by ask what we're waiting for. Young lovers and delivery men carry valentine bouquets up and down the sidewalk. Couples pass by, holding roses and balloons, holding hands. We watch a string of limousines pull up, wait, and drive away. No celebrities on board, just bored drivers, waiting to get called to go pick someone up somewhere nearby, we think. Inside the lobby, the cleaners are finished.

A couple of people arrive and enter the theater lobby door, re-locking the door after they enter. Andy returns.

#3 spot is taken by another young man. We chat with him and find out that he is a singer.

Spots #4 and #5 are taken. Andy has gone in search of a bathroom. It's now just over 4 hours until ticket time, 3 hours to the lottery draw.

Andy returns. I go out to find lunch. I find a Europa Cafe on Avenue of the Americas. Before ordering, I get a key to the bathroom and YIKES! walk in on a woman using the bathroom! How embarrassing. She comes out a few minutes later and says not to worry. It seems that the lock doesn't work properly and they are giving out 2 keys for one bathroom. I use the bathroom very quickly, hoping for no visitors!

Lunch is a delicious tossed salad. I've enjoyed a few of these at various cafes during our stay. You choose a bowl with whatever kind of greens you want, then the chef puts them into a big tossing bowl and portions in "add-ins" as you specify. Some are $1.50, some $1 and some 50 cents. Then you choose your dressing. The chef tosses it all together and puts it back into the original greens bowl, with a lid. This time I choose mixed greens, beets, broccoli, carrots, sunflower seeds, spicy tuna and sesame ginger dressing. It is very good, and cost about $8 for a meal-size salad. I bring the salad back to eat in the lineup so Andy can go get some lunch. He leaves for a few minutes and returns with a MacDonald's burger and fries. I think my lunch is yummier!

Alex returns. He reports that he has taken the Radio City Musical Hall tour, and he got his picture taken with a Rockette. He says that the theater was awesome and the tour very good. There are about 8 people in the lineup now. The atmosphere is relaxed. We should all get standing room tickets. Maybe some of us will be lucky enough to win tickets in the lottery.

Between 3 and 4:30, the lineup grows, and a crowd begins to form in front of the theater. Lots of people just want to get in the draw. By now there are enough people in the standing room lineup that it wouldn't be worthwhile to join it. Someone from farther down that line goes through the line asking each of us, "How many tickets are you going to buy?" Each person may buy 2 tickets maximum. That's why all 3 of us have to be here. We need 5 tickets in all, because Fiona is bringing a friend with her from university.

Here's the lineup at about 3pm.

Here are all of the people, getting tickets for the lottery.
Here's a draw ticket. A nice many hands them out to everyone in the standing room lineup, so they won't have to leave their spots. It's okay really, we have been looking out for one another, watching spots for other liners-up when they needed a bathroom or food break.

We put our names in the draw. Thirty minutes later, we don't win. I think there are about 200 people here by draw time. They draw ticket pairs, so about a dozen names are called. By now it's 5:15, and we know soon we'll have our standing room tickets and we can leave for an hour before the show begins.

We're ready when the window slides open. The man sells us 5 tickets for $27 each. I'm too excited to remember to take a picture, so this one is taken later. This is what a standing room ticket looks like:

The playbill we get when we're inside the theater an hour later.

The show was great! Andy and Alex laughed their heads off, and said it was the best thing they've seen, one of the highlights of the trip, worth the sidewalk vigil. I think the sidewalk vigil is a worthy part of the experience.

question: did you ever line up for something?

mompoet - loving New York

Monday, February 13, 2012

New York and New Jersey

Andy, Alex and I are spending a week in New York City. We came out to see Fiona perform in a musical at the university. The show is called Closer than Ever. It is beautiful, and Fiona is excellent, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom. Fiona took us on a tour of the campus, and we had supper at one of the dining halls. She also visited us in the city. We went to the American Museum of Natural History together, then out to our favourite Yum Yum Too restaurant for lunch. On Sunday, we met up with my Aunt Barbara, and together went back up to the university to see the show one more time.

On Thursday, we had a visit with our friend Al Riggi. We first met Al through Big Apple Greeters, and we have stayed in touch. Together with Al, we walked for miles and miles around the city. We saw Central Park, 5th Avenue, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, the New York City Library, Little Italy, Chinatown, the Brooklyn Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral near the 911 Memorial site. Al is our first and best New York friend. We are blessed to know him.

We have been getting to know the subway system and walking around the streets of the city. Our hotel is in the Upper West Side. It's kind of like Kitsilano but with much older buildings. We're very close to Central Park, which is gorgeous.

We hope to get out to see a couple of Broadway shows before we return home. There's so much to do here, you could visit 100 times and still not see everything.

We are grateful for the opportunity to see Fiona at her university, among her good friends. She is truly happy here, and will learn and grow during her 4 years of studies.

question: do you <3 NYC?

mompoet - we do!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

it's not new, it's blue, and it begins and ends with "c"

A couple of days after Christmas my trusty, beloved, old 1995 Honda Civic was stolen from the parking lot at the movie theatre where our son works. We reported the theft to the police, who said most stolen cars are discovered abandoned within a week of their loss. Our car has not turned up. Maybe it's just so ordinary looking that wherever it has been parked, nobody has noticed that it's been sitting for a month, untouched. Maybe something more dramatic has happened to it. Perhaps it's at the bottom of a lake (I hope not, that would not be good for the lake or the things that live in it). Maybe it was lit on fire or pushed off a cliff (I hope not, it's a good little car). Maybe somebody drove it to Ontario or Newfoundland. At this point, all I can hope is that nobody was harmed in it, and that it's not harming anyone or anything.

I have decided that the car was stolen for a reason. I think that small bad things happen to put us out of the way of worse bad things. Perhaps Fiona was meant to be driven around by Andy, Alex and me while she was home at Christmas. ICBC gave me a rental car, you see, but Fiona wasn't allowed to drive it because she's not yet 19 years old. It wasn't a lot of trouble for us to drive her around. We got more time with her, taking her to work and friends' places. We'll never know for sure if my hunch is right, but that's okay.

So Andy and I went car shopping, and Alex helped. Mom and Dad helped too, and now I have a new-to-me Honda Civic. My must-have list was: 4 doors, automatic transmission, electronic mirror adjustment (Alex and I move the mirrors whenever we get into the car), air conditioning (the only thing not perfect about my old Honda) and no smokey smell inside. I got everything on my list and more. So now I have a 2008 Civic, with about a gazillion airbags, and fancy wheels and a sunroof, and brand new tires and keyless entry and an immobilizer (so nobody will steal it from anywhere), and a plug-in for my iPod. I never dreamed I would have a car as lovely as this. Best of all, it's BLUE (just like my old one). Everything inside the engine and the interior of the car is updated by a couple of generations, but it feels like my old car in some reassuring ways: the lights and wipers are pretty much in the same place as in my old car. The new engine sounds something like my old one, well, not exactly, but I think it shifts gears at about the same revs. Even the windows sound the same, opening and closing although the switches feel different.

Alex and Andy have driven it and say it's a NICE CAR. I am grateful for all of the help that I have received in shopping and purchasing. I got good advice from my friends about insurance, autobody condition, and mechanical condition. Mom and Dad helped for sure - Thank you! and Andy and Alex both said, "It's going to be your car. Whatever you want, you go get it." I think it's the first time I've actually bought a car and been the one to make the decision. I think I made a good one.

So look out for me tooting along in my new little blue car. If you need a ride anywhere, just let me know.

question: what's on your must-have list?

mompoet - traveling with gratitude

Saturday, February 04, 2012


You might say this short video is about furniture. I think it's about love.

question: who helps you build your ikea stuff?

mompoet - that's family