Thursday, May 21, 2015

Planning an Almost-Staycation in Upstate New York

May 21, 2015
New York, NY

Scott's been working really hard.  And his boss has been bugging him about when he's going to take some of that PTO he's been racking up since before we even moved here and get it off the books already (finance people!).  Well, Scott checked his calendar and we determined that the four days following Memorial Day (plus weekends) would be a good time for some R&R. 

First we talked about possibly going to Italy again after all these years - this time to Rome and Sicily - taking advantage of the shorter and therefore less painful transatlantic flight from NYC versus from the west coast. (The travel time between NYC and London and NYC and San Francisco is nearly identical).  Nah, still too many hours on an airplane to anyplace other than London or Iceland, we decided.  And besides,  after our first three months calling NYC home, we desired something less urban than London (and warmer than Iceland).  Then we talked about a roadtrip to North Carolina's Outer Banks.  I did a little research.  Hmmm, we were still not feeling inspired.  Washington DC to visit our friends Janet and Mark?  No, we really could use some solid couple-time.

Finally, we struck on the idea of making a week-long trip out of what might possibly amount to a year's worth of day trips from NYC.  There's so much to see and so close by.  But getting a car for the day or weekend for repeated weekend/day trips sounds like such a hassle.  And, if I may be completely honest, I am totally freaked by the thought of trying to visit all those lovely places so close to NYC on pleasant summer weekends...just like every. body. else.  Oh, the crowds!!!

Perfect! So, in a couple of days, on Saturday morning, we'll take the Airporter Express bus to LaGuardia Airport where we'll pick up our well-priced rental car (our new favorite travel-sport).  From there, we'll drive out Long Island, spending one night in the center of Long Island and enjoying the idyllic scenery and maybe a winery or two in the North Fork along the way.  From there we'll travel north to the Hudson Valley to see what we can see and then on to check out the Catskills from there.  Our final two nights (Friday and Saturday following Memorial Day) remain unscheduled so we can check out what we missed on the front end...or more likely, if I know us, go even further afield.

Being the end of May as it is, the weather forecast for the week is pretty crappy, with lots of possible rain showers and thunderstorms, so packing has been a challenge.  But I am still getting pretty excited to hit the road and spend some quality time exploring our new home state and even relaxing a little with my favorite travel companion!

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Quick Trip to the Midwest for Some Niece and Nephew Bonding Time

April 29, 2015
Lake Orion, MI

Scott had a work conference in Scottsdale at the end of April so I decided to use the opportunity to go to Michigan to visit my sister, Jen, and her kids in Lake Orion.  Now that we are just a short plane trip away, it is so easy to hop on a (relatively) inexpensive Spirit Airlines flight to Detroit.  Although I have not been a fan of the discount carrier in the past, my flight was surprisingly pleasant for the brief hour-and-forty-five minute flight.  I might have to do this again soon...

Family Selfie!

Before going to Jen's my mom prepared a really nice lunch and thoughtfully invited my in-laws, Jerry and Denise over to dine with us so we could all catch up.  During my short visit with Jen, Christopher and Kate, we didn't do anything out of the ordinary other than touring my sister and her husband, Ivan's new house that they will be moving into in May.  But I really enjoyed experiencing their day-to-day routine and being able to help out a little while Ivan was away on a business trip to Italy.  It was a really good way to get to know the kids better, and inexplicably, I seemed to have a vaguely positive effect on their behavior.  Go figure!  And as a bonus, Jen and I even got more relaxed catching up time than we have had in years!

Visiting Jen & Ivan's beautiful new house in Clarkston
Even though they haven't yet closed on the house, Jen's realtor kindly met us there and let us in 
The spacious kitchen with two sinks plus a wet bar gave me some pretty serious entertaining envy!
The fabulous double-sided fireplace also opens into the media room on the other side

An impromptu visit to the library during a prospective-buyer showing at Jen's house

Silliness at Kroger (how could I resist??)

Kroger Cutie!

Bribery trip to Toys R Us before tutoring ;-)

Ladies' lunch at Applebees during Christopher's tutoring session

Kate enjoyed playing with her new Legos at Applebees

 Christopher shows some aptitude for judo and really enjoys it

 Christopher and his sensei at judo class

More Lego time (Mommy did a great job following the instructions!)

 Typical snapshot moment of my trip. Yes, we spent a lot of time in the car!

Farewell photo before a solo lunch with my mom at one of  my old favorites, the Moose Preserve, before heading to the airport

Mother-daughters selfie!