Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The T-Rex in Times Square

Given Seamus's recent obsession with dinosaurs, T and I decided to take him to Toys R' Us in Times Square yesterday to see the giant T-Rex. Also, he received some Christmas money, and what better place to spend it than in one of the best toy stores in the world. What didn't even cross our minds was the fact that New Year's Eve was coming up and Times Square would be FULL of tourists. It's always full of tourists, but yesterday was a billion times worse. I actually yelled at a lady who nearly plowed into our family with her Mercedes at a cross-walk. Every time we visit mid-town, I always regret it. T and I both hate crowds of people, and I'm used to the calm, quiet part of town I work in. I forget sometimes that a good portion of New York is nothing but tourists. Thomas has this theory that it's not native New Yorkers who give the city its rude rep, but the tourists...and when people visit they can't tell the difference.

If Times Square is the Eighth Circle of Dante's Inferno, then Toys R' Us is the Ninth Circle. It was so crowded with people inside, we couldn't use the elevator for our stroller and had to lug it up and down the escalator. There was simply no breathing space.

We showed Seamus the T-Rex, bought a couple of toys and quickly got out of there and headed to a much quieter, less-populated downtown. Seamus was terrified of the T-Rex. He kept saying no, no and then he'd turn his head and pretend it wasn't there. But all the way home and all this morning the only thing he's been able to talk about is the giant Papa T-Rex that roars and has eyes and teeth. He loves looking at the pictures we took of it.

Toys R' Us also has a Ferris wheel inside and an Empire State Building made entirely out of Legos. It's really very cool, but I recommend staying away around the holidays.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


About two weeks or so ago, I was walking down 13th Street heading toward the Fogelman Library on 5th Avenue to get some writing done on my lunch hour when I was stopped in front of a fancy salon and asked to be a hair model. The lady who stopped me needed someone for that night for a workshop with some other salon employees. Since I had to pick up Mr. S from daycare that night, this was not an option. So I politely declined, but the lady took my name and we exchanged numbers and she asked me to call her in the coming days to set up another workshop. The next week I was a hair model for Cristiano Cora Salons, and the lady who stopped me in the street spent three hours cutting my hair to perfection. As she cut my hair she explained that all the hairdressers at this particular salon are graduates of Vidal Sassoon, the Harvard of hair schools. Let me just say this salon looked like the MOMA inside. Everything was white and modern, clean and gorgeous.

The thing about being a hair model is that you have no say over what the hairdresser does to your hair. I liked the surprise of this and told her to have her way with me. She came up with a bold, mod cut with assymetrical bangs that start in the part of my hair and taper down to the corner of my eye. She used only one pair of scissors and a comb and a tiny amount of hair putty. No razor, no round brushes, no hairspray, no fancy texturizing sheers.

Technically this is the best haircut I've ever had, though I'm not sure it's me. I did, however, have tons of fun being waited on and pampered at a beautiful salon with great views of the city.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Liberty Science Center

Today is my parents' last day in Bayonne; tomorrow they will drive 12 hours back to Tennessee. No one felt like venturing into the city we rode the Light Rail to Liberty State Park, just a few stops up from Bayonne, and visited the spectacular Liberty Science Center.

Seamus had lots of fun filling containers with rice, painting with water, and looking at all the animals. But when Miffy the Rabbit came by, he wanted no part of it.

Here's who all we met:

We also saw spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.

Here's the part of town I work in:

We decided to leave once Seamus got sleepy and after he'd removed his right shoe for the hundreth time.

Now we're back home, lounging by the Christmas tree with bellies full of chocolate and wondering what to eat for dinner.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Lemonade

We were given some lemons this holiday season and ultimately gave up on trains, planes and rental car companies and made our own Christmas lemonade.

As of 12 minutes ago, the Gwyn family should have been in Tennessee, but due to a miscommunication with the car rental company we chose online we are stuck in New Jersey. I should have known the fates were conspiring to keep us here when Seamus woke up at 4:30 this morning with a fever of 102.3. Once the Tylenol kicked in and he was feeling better we took a taxi to the Newark airport to pick up our rental car. We were two hours late picking it up, and as we were standing in line I noticed a sign at the counter alerting customers to a new policy effective a few months ago...something to the effect of unlimited mileage being only for certain states (none of them Tennessee). After speaking with an employee I was informed that their rental cars are not to be taken any further South than Maryland. So, we spent the rest of the day with a sick baby in the Newark airport hopping from rental car company to rental car company trying to find someone who wasn't completely sold out. No luck. We took a taxi back home and after SEVERAL hours on the phone with different rental car companies, none of which had cars anywhere near the New York metro area, and after searching for trains that allowed pets and checking airfares, we gave up. And Thomas walked down the street to our local garden shop and bought a tree and some lights. We've decided to make the best of it, possibly going to the Met to watch the Christmas tree lighting (if Seamus starts feeling better...he still has a fever). Lucky for us, I have amazing parents who will be driving up here Christmas day to stay for a few days. It'll be SO nice to spend the holidays with them. Wish we could see everyone else too. We'll miss you Mamaw, Mark, Sandy, Donny, Freddie, Rhonda, Allen, Brent, Devin, JCPL, Kitty Bobby Sydney, Ferenbachs, Hideaway. Hope to see you all sometime.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Days!

Friday and Saturday we got our first taste of snow and city living. I was at work when the snow storm began and although I wore rubber shoes, they weren't galoshes and my feet got soaked on the short walk from my office to the train station and then soaked again on the long walk from the light rail station to our apartment in Bayonne. I was in so much pain and thought I might actually have frost bite by the time I reached my door. You really need lots of gear for the winters up here: base layers, long, thick coats, galoshes, cotton or wool tights, hats, gloves, etc.

When I got home, our little town was a wonderland.

Since we're all getting over bronchitis and sinus infections, and it was 20 degrees yesterday, we were forced to stay in doors this weekend. But we made our own kind of fun. Now that T has a two week break from school we can wreck the house as a family again.

A budding sculptor?

Or Paleontologist?

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