Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mark and Mary's Big Adventure Comes to an End

Well, after 14 whirlwind weeks, the big adventure draws to a close.  The trip home went well.  (Well, at least after we got out of the Jersey City/Newark area, where it took us 45 minutes to get past the many detours due to construction and flooding from the hurricane.)  Even the trip through Chicago went smoothly.

So, we're happy to be back home.  We were gone long enough that we have to open several cupboards or drawers to find things.  The house was closed up and smelled like a new house when we got home.  It apparently got so hot here that two cans of shaving cream exploded in the medicine chest.  We picked up Clancy from Mike and Marnee's house.  Unfortunately, he urinated in the cat carrier on the way home, so the first thing we had to do when we got him to our house was to give him a bath in the laundry tub.  Poor kitty -- he hid under the bed for five hours.  But now, two days later, he seems quite at home.

We had a wonderful time with Julia, John, Nancy, Dan and Natalie.  We made the most of our time out in the big city.  What did we miss about Minnesota?  Family, friends, the slower pace, the bike trails, and living in our own home.

More adventures await us:  Dan and Natalie's wedding in Miami; Mary returns to New York City to take care of Dan and Natalie's cats for two weeks while they honeymoon in Europe; Mary's high school friends visit for a long weekend in New York.  After that?  Who knows, but we're looking forward to finding out.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanes, Earthquakes and Floods -- Oh My!

While we've been out here, Jersey City has experienced 105 degree heat, an earthquake, a hurricane, over 18 inches of rain in the month of August, and flooding.  Certainly a summer to remember.  This video was taken out of our apartment window during the hurricane.  As you can see, our apartment building is set back between two other high rise apartment buildings, which sheltered us from much of the wind.  Our usual view of Manhattan is obscured by the rain.  The Hudson River rose over 6 feet in front over building, lapping on the pedestrian walkway you can see in the foreground.  Thankfully, there was no severe problem in our area from any of the weather or geological events.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Birthday in Manhattan

To celebrate my birthday today, we went to Manhattan.  We viewed the progress of the World Trade Center site, walked through Battery Park, and went to the Skyscraper Museum.  This part of Manhattan has been ordered to evacuate in preparation for Hurricane Irene, but you never would have known it today.  Then we hopped on the subway and went up to Nolita, where we ate a late lunch at Rice.  Then we walked over to the Village and stopped to buy a slice of cake for my birthday at Amy's Bread.  I got a slice of carrot cake AND a slice of coconut cake.  Yummy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Julia Goes to School

Today we took Julia to River School, where she will be going for childcare starting in mid-September.  The school is located just a few blocks away from John and Nancy's house.  There will be 12 children in Julia's "Tiny Tigers" consortium, which starts in September.  After one year, they graduate to the next level.  During the transition session we attended, the children had "circle time" where they sit on the floor with their teachers and sing songs, clap hands, and other activities.  The other children were very welcoming to Julia, bringing her toys to play with.  She sat there quietly, playing with toys and watching all the activity.  They also have some soft climbing toys to help the children with large motor skills.  They said most days they take the children for walks (in multiplex strollers) twice a day.  I think Julia is really going to enjoy being with all the children.  The staff to child ratio in the "Tiny Tigers" section is 1 to 3.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


The Brauer family celebrated Mary's birthday at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem.  And we all got new Brauerpower t-shirts, including the newest Brauerpower, Julia.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Old Fashioned in Hip Brooklyn

Mark and I took the subway over to the Carroll Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn.  This neighborhood is filled with brownstones on tree-lined streets.  The reason we came to this neighborhood was that I had wanted to try an Old Fashioned cocktail, and Mark had done some research on the web that indicated that Prime Meats had some of the best in town.  The cocktails were indeed wonderful, using bitters made from the pear tree in the back yard.  We felt a bit out of place here, though.  I thought I didn't know what a hipster was until I came here:  hipster heaven.  Thankfully we came here at 2:30 in the afternoon, an "off time."  Not only were we old, but we made the mistake of telling our server that we had come all the way from New Jersey to try the Old Fashioned.  Barely containing his look of horror, he said disdainfully:  "Well I hope it lives up to the hype."  sigh.  On the way home, we stopped at Whole Foods in Union Square.  It was a madhouse.  We were swept through the doors by the crowd.  Even after three months, I haven't become accustomed to the crowds that are everywhere.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The 3Ms Bike Staten Island

Mike came to New York to attend Daniel's bachelor party.  On Friday afternoon, Mike, Mark and Mary put bikes on the car and drove over the Bayonne Bridge to Staten Island.  We parked at the nothern point of the island (a mile or so west of St. George) and rode to St. George.  We took the Staten Island Railway down to Tottenville (southern point of island) and then rode our bikes up the eastern shore, about 20 miles of riding.  (Click here to see our route.)  While quite a bit of the ride was on busy streets, we had some stretches of bike path along the ocean.  We rode through many different neighborhoods.  Got back to the car just as a thunderstorm was approaching, and made it all the way back to our Newport neighborhood before the downpour.  It was like driving through a car wash for about 6 blocks.  We parked in the parking garage, which is right behind our building.  But they don't have skyways here, so we hung out in the garage until the rain let up.  It was great to spend the day biking with Mike.