Friday, June 29, 2007

Chicken Curry (aka - "The best dinner in the whole town"*) - Posted by Lisa

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 green onions with tops, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
rice (I made 2 cups)

Cut chicken into small pieces; place in crock pot. Add all remaining ingredients except rice. Cover and cook on high 2 1/2 to 4 hours or on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve over hot rice. Serves 4.

The recipe also calls for 1/4 cup dry sherry, but as we have no sherry in our house, dry or otherwise, I just went without. I served it with a side of peeled and sliced cucumbers, and crescent rolls.

(modified recipe from Rival Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Cuisine)

* Disclaimer - Please note that the giver of this title is only 3 years old and also thinks that instant oatmeal and chicken nuggets are gourmet fare. The adults in the household however, seemed to enjoy the meal. The jury is still out for the one-year-old.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One of the best parts of our New York trip - Posted by Chris

Perhaps one of the nicest parts of our trip to New York City was the city-wide smoking ban in restaurants and bars. I have long been a proponent of a similar law being passed in Michigan, however I didn't realize just how great it would be until we visited NYC.

No walking through a cloud of smoke to get to non-smoking or having a table so close to the smoking section that I might as well be smoking myself. Believe it or not, all of the establishments that we visited were very busy. Guess the smokers decided they could make it though dinner without a fix after all.

The sooner we get this bill passed in Michigan the better.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm sure there is one, but I can't come up with a witty title for this - Posted by Lisa

Overheard just a few moments ago, as Christopher was busy playing with his Lightning McQueen, Sally, and Mack.

Lightning: "Come with me to the big race, Sally. It's really racy there."

Day 3 - Part 2 - Posted by Lisa

Because my Day 3 post was getting longer and longer, and was also getting emotionally difficult to write, I decided to break it into 2 parts. Please go here if you haven't read any of the Day 3 post yet, or go here to start from the beginning of our trip.

After visiting the WTC site, we thought we might visit Little Italy for some pizza. So again, Chris' plan was to walk up Broadway to get us there. An online map makes it look like about 10 blocks, but I'm not so sure. ;) Maybe it was the 90-something degree heat, maybe it was the fact that we had already walked a good 2-3 miles (that's a wild guess) from our hotel to the Empire State Building (please see the previous Day 3 post), but that walked seemed much longer than 10 blocks.

Anyway, in Little Italy, we sat indoors at a little sidewalk cafe. Remember the 90 degree heat? Sitting "inside" gave us the combination of a/c inside with wide open windows. Inefficient, but really nice! We had a delicious pizza dinner, complete with strolling street musicians singing traditional Italian was like being in a movie!

Refreshed but not willing to walk much farther, we found the nearest subway station and rode back to 42nd Street. Trust me, we could not have walked that distance, or at least not at that point. I don't even know how far it is, but it probably took 5-10 minutes by train. We rested and freshened up in our room for a little bit, then headed back down to Broadway/7th Ave area to do some shopping before retiring for the night.

More pics (again, mixed in with the whole trip) here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 3 - Loooong and emotional - Posted by Lisa

In our last installment, Chris and I were about to take a tour of lower Manhattan on Sunday morning. Instead of boarding the bus anywhere nearby our hotel, however, Chris suggested we walk down Broadway (approximately 10 blocks?) to the Empire State Building to avoid the long lines for the bus in Times Square. The idea was to go to the observation deck there, then board the bus afterward. Great idea. Of course, it might have worked out better if his wife (ahem) didn't suddenly see the "Empire State Building" about a mile to the left somewhere around 42nd St, deciding "hey, why don't we just go this way?!"

Several loooong blocks, a stop at the ATM machine, a street fair, and an unplanned visit to Grand Central Station later...we suddenly lost said "Empire State Building" since the closer you get to a building in New York, the easier it gets lost behind the canyon of other tall buildings directly around you. Of course, then Chris pointed out another tall building with a spire on top and says "there it is," to which I say, "noooo, that's not it." Ummm, yes. It was. The building I had seen, and led us on a wild goose chase of, was the Chrysler Building!

So anyway, we finally make it to our destination, and take the one escalator, and two elevator rides to the 86th floor observation deck. Really cool. It definitely gave me a bit of vertigo, especially when I took this shot, but was definitely worth the trip. If you go, make sure you get your observation deck tickets before getting there though. In our case, our tickets were included with our bus tour package. It was nice to just go directly to the line for the elevator rather than getting in line for tickets first.

We then boarded the bus downtown that took us through the neighborhoods of (among others) Greenwich Village, Soho, Chinatown, Tribeca, then to the World Financial District and Battery Park, which sits at the southernmost tip of the island and looks out on the Statue of Liberty. We got off at the park, took a few pictures, and got some ice cream since it was getting quite hot. As I said yesterday, tourists cannot go up into the Statue of Liberty, so we did not bother with the boat trip over there. Bummer, since it was also closed in 1986, the last time I visited New York.

Per our tour guide's suggestion, we headed north on foot from Battery Park to the World Trade Center site. It was only a matter of a few blocks and took us through the financial district, probably one of (if not the) greatest concentrations of wealth in the world.

The absence of the two towers is noticeable even from a distance because of the impact they had on the New York skyline, but it was starting from about a block away that I personally felt the greatest sense of their loss. The nearby area is sunny now, and the midday heat was oppressive. A block away in front of St. Paul's Chapel, which still stands across the street from where the towers stood, I couldn't help but notice the backdrop of sun and sky behind the church. It's hard not to imagine the shadows those huge buildings must have cast, and how they must have towered over that church. Regardless of how one felt about the presence of those towers, the fact that they are missing now is such a ("sad" is such an inadequate word here) reminder of the unthinkable loss of precious lives that day.

Visiting the site itself (which is hard to see much of because of the fencing that is draped in most areas with fabric or fine mesh) was not quite as emotional for me as I had thought it would be, but moved me almost to tears nonetheless. I did in fact, wipe away tears as we walked away, but more than that I just felt quiet, reflective, and reverent. To me, that felt appropriate at the time. We took other pictures, but I personally made sure to take a picture of the name of the one person I (kind of) knew personally in those towers. Her name was Marni Pont O'Doherty, and I only "knew" her online, through her posts to a Rick Springfield fan bulletin board that I frequented. We never met personally, but she was clever, creative, and so funny in her posts. Her last post to the board was minutes before the first plane hit the north tower. She worked in the south tower, the second to be hit, first to fall. She had contacted family after the first plane hit to say that they were told to stay put, the tower was secure. She was never heard from again.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Second Day, Second Row!! - Posted by Lisa

Yesterday (Saturday) was spent partly waiting for, and on, one of those "hop on/hop off" double-decker tour buses. The wait to get on the bus in the first place seemed to take forever, but actually took about 30 minutes. So once we got on...we didn't get off until close to the end of the circuit. Hey, we didn't want to lose our seats on the top off the bus! :)

The tour yesterday took us uptown, which included the neighborhoods on the upper west side, Harlem, the museum district, and generally around Central Park. It was a pleasant ride on which we got plenty of sunshine, and got to see a slightly less congested part of the city. It the was the type of area that we could see ourselves living there if we had met sometime in our twenties and had time to see the world before having kids. Very cool.

We decided to get off the bus at Central Park (after having gone entirely around it on the bus). We got some lunch from a street vendor (though he didn't sell hot dogs). Chris had a burger, and I had a Mexican dish of some sort...can't remember what it was called right now! Sort of like a meat pastie, but spicier and with chicken. We then took a carriage ride through the park (or through one corner of it anyway), and walked on our own. While there, we caught an inning or so of a league softball game and almost got beaned with a popped up foul ball! :)

After that, we walked the 15-20 blocks back to our hotel to get ready for dinner and the show (Les Miserables). The restaurant we went to was a bit more expensive than we expected, but we considered it our splurge on ourselves (as if the trip wasn't enough). Chris had steak, and I had North Atlantic Lobster. Delicious meal! We then headed over to the theater for a Broadway production of Les Miz! I was so excited for this, as I have seen it several times at the Fisher Theater in Detroit, and it has ALWAYS brought me to tears. This time was no different.

There was a little snafu with our tickets, which Chris had ordered through an online service that I will not yet name (we'll see first if they refund our money). There were NO tickets held in our name! The man at the ticket booth said that he could sell us two more tickets (which I originally did not want to do), but we bought them anyway. SECOND ROW CENTER!! Let's just say that we were nearly spit on many times by Jean Valjean. Hehe. Unbelievable. Amazing. I felt many times that the actors were looking and singing right to me, and Chris says he felt the same. I have never cried sooner in this show than I did last night.

I will say though, that while it was the most amazing overall experience I have had while seeing that show, the touring companies that come to Detroit put on a show of equivalent quality, emotion, and even set design as on Broadway. I was very pleasantly surprised to find this out. Mom, Dad, and Karen...I'm sure you'll be happy to know this too. :)

After the show, I had a monster headache, so we came back to the room, took Tylenol, and crashed. We are now about to go out for our second day of tours...this time downtown, to the Statue of Liberty (or rather, near can't go up right now), the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center site, among others. Looking forward to all of it!

"Talk" to you all again soon! Home tomorrow! We miss everyone, but especially our boys. Big hugs. By the way, more pics lumped in with the ones from yesterday's post.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

NYC - Day 1 - Posted by Lisa

Chris and I are in New York City right now to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary, while the boys are busy making memories at home with Grandma, Grandpa, and cousin Sarah. :)

Yesterday morning we made it to Detroit Metro airport in seemingly record time with plenty of time to spare waiting for the plane. The plane, however, was a tad delayed. It arrived to our gate in time for boarding (just in time). But with 1/2 hour delays into LaGuardia, our plane had to sit on the tarmack in Detroit for close to an hour just waiting to take off. Frustrating, but nothing like some of the horror stories we've heard of.

The flight itself was blessedly uneventful though, and we arrived in NY around 2:00, and the shuttle dropped us off at our hotel around 3:40. It seems like we've chosen a good hotel with helpful concierge service, and great location. You can look out our window to see a glimpse into the Times Square area (or close to it, anyway). Once arriving at our room, the long day caught up with us, and we napped until dinnertime!

Around 6:00, we freshened up and left our room. The concierge recommended a few favorite restaurants, and we chose Pongrsi (sp?) Thai from the list. YUMMY! We then walked around the Times Square area, browsed in the M&M's World store, a souvenir shop or two, and snapped pictures like the tourists we are. Before returning for the night to our room, we shared a decadent chocolate and ice cream dessert at Applebee's.

We took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in this morning, and did just that! Ah! We'll be leaving the room right after I post this to get breakfast and go on our bus tour.

Click here for pictures from our trip so far, and click here for some recent pictures of some cute boys!