Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Another Book Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

WakeBreatheMove by Christina M. Rau


by Christina M. Rau

Giveaway ends November 02, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why I Had The Best Birthday Weekend Ever

Hyperbole is the best thing ever!  So was my birthday!  Thanks so much to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and celebrated in person and in spirit.  Lots of fun.  Some free stuff, too.

Eddie planned my birthday celebration, which was the major part of my gift from him.  Then it was kind of a surprise and kind of not.  He gets excited about planning things, so not long after planning, he came into the living room one night and was like, Wanna know what we're doing for your birthday?  Then another night: wanna know who's coming so far?

From past discussion, he gleaned together an interesting night: dinner at the Ninja restaurant and then Escape the Room.  This?  Sounded like a great night.  And it was.  It totally was.

The Ninja Restaurant
You go inside and go into an elevator and then ninjas get all ninja-y on you.  You get poked with swords.  You get terrified to go to the bathroom.  You get magic.  You get told to break a board with your head.  I did not break a board with my head.  I did, however, get a free ninja headband.  We saw ninja turn throwing stars into chocolate mousse cake.  We saw things bubble and foam.  We saw things set on fire.  And the whole time, ninjas jumped into the room yelling at us and we jumped every single time, even when we saw it coming.

Escape The Room
These escape games are all the rage, but I think Escape The Room NYC is the original.  We did one before and lost.  I was pretty sure we had better chances with a bigger group.  We chose to do the theatre-themed room with eleven people.  I was completely lost the whole time.  There were codes and numbers and letters to figure out.  There were keys and locks and doors.  There were those of us who were catching on quickly and then there were those of us who were moving around the room seemingly with purpose but really having no clue as to what to do other than repeat the same number we figured out in the first five minutes in the hopes that it would be useful.  Perhaps I was in the latter group.  We did not escape the room, but the key master clue keeper person told us that we came so close.  When she revealed the actual solution, it did not seem as if we were that close at all.
Also, I almost got locked in the bathroom, which was a very long room with a full-length mirror behind the toilet, and I found it so odd that I took a picture of it.  Then I pulled and pulled on the lock until it finally moved over and let me out.  Success!  I escaped the bathroom!
Sidenote: Twice, I've gotten stuck in a stall in the Penn Station bathroom.  S and AK had to come get me.  The first time, I had no service on my cell at first so I dilly dallied until I did and they came and found me.  The second time, they were less impressed with my cell-phone stealth and were like, Where are you this time??  It hasn't happened again.

Free Stuff!!!!!
On my actual birthday, Eddie woke me up super early because he was excited to give me gifts.  These were gifts I didn't think I was getting because I told him that planning my birthday was gift enough.  But he likes to give gifts.  Early in the morning.  They were so great!  We have a plan to go to a museum next week.  The guy listens!
Then, after stopping by my parents' house for birthday wishes, we headed to the mall.  I hate shopping, BUT I had lots of free coupons.  I got something free from Sephora.  Then I got a free drink from Cinnabon.  Then we went to Macy's and used a gift certificate and some discounts for Eddie because he needed stuff and he didn't want to go on my birthday but I was like, I don't want to come back to the mall so part of my gift is that we can get shit done today, and he was like, I love your birthday.
The mall is actually really pretty.
We stopped at the food court for lunch. I had a free salad and free water (I'd had an issue with a salad place there cross-contaminating the ingredients in the food, so they'd sent me a coupon for a free salad).  We used gift cards on Eddie's meal, so that was also free.  In between, I'd stopped off for samples at Teavana and David's Tea.  Teavana now has someone standing near the sample station, which is a huge bummer because then I've gotta listen to the spiel about buying something.  Ha.  Buying.  What is this thing called buying?
You know, a healthy lunch.
Model. Clearly.
Rebel. Clearly.

I was down for the count for a few hours because I never really drink caffeinated sugary drinks, and the large mocha thingie I'd gotten from Cinnabon sent me for a loop and a half.

I rallied by dinnertime, though.  We took my parents to IHOP where I got a free meal.  AND they got a senior discount.  How much do I love my birthday?

A Few Days Later
DSW had sent me a $5 coupon for my birthday, and then sent me a $20 coupon because I hadn't shopped there in a while.  Little did they know, I'd planned to buy new boots and sandals anyway.  So, I bought one pair of sandals and one pair of riding boots for the grand total of $21 after coupons and gift cards.  Then I got an email offer the next day to receive a free bag with purchase, so of course I emailed them to see if I could snag the offer since I'd just made a purchase.  Fingers crossed.

I also had a yearning for pretzels the other night, so off to the mall we went in search of a PretzelMaker.  Eddie spotted it first, so we went over.  I showed them the coupon and was like, I'd like to use this.  The woman, who'd been leaning her butt against one of the counters--not near the food but still, a little gross--looked at the certificate, looked at me, looked at the certificate, and then looked at me again and said, No, I don't think so.  Eddie was about to say something, but I was like, Yes, it has your address right on it.  She looked at it again and then reluctantly asked me what kind of pretzel bites I wanted. Plain, please!   Then she asked what kind of drink I wanted.  Coke, please!  We paid for the Coke with a gift card, so free! (the deal is that you buy a drink and get pretzels for free, so it's not really free, but it kind of is).  The entire transaction took about ten minutes when it could have taken maybe three.  Eddie said something really witty about running in reverse gear and it's totally not witty how I'm retelling it right now.  Dammit.  Anyway, the pretzels were good.  Because they were free.
Over the weekend, I also stopped by a Baskin Robbins and got a free small frozen yogurt.  Usually Eddie gets a soft serve ice cream--my birthday treat to him--but he didn't want it.  He'd eaten an Applebee's lava cake earlier in the day, and I'd skipped any kind of dessert, so this one was for me.

I have a Starbucks drink and a $3 coupon to CVS left along with a slice at Sbarro's and a salad from Au Bon Pain.  The first two I'll use soon, but the second two will probably expire before I get to use them.  But that's okay.  There's always next year.

Birthdays are the best days.
Celebrating with family and friends was the best part, but here's the second best part: the stuff.

Friday, September 11, 2015


Imagine there is no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lobster, Windmill, Pollock, and One Not So Big Duck

The final Sibling Daytripping Summer event: Windmill in Watermill, lobster rolls at The Lobster Roll, awesomeness at the Pollock Krasner house, and the Big Duck in Flanders.

I was up for the long drive because Southampton was my MFA home.  I drove out there once a week and spent 10 days each summer there as I earned my degree.  I love the vineyards.  I've been through corn mazes out there.  Visited the lighthouse a few times.  It's my territory for fun stuff.

On a Thursday midmorning, it took like three hours.  What the?  I understand summer traffic going out east, but this was ridiculous.  My brother was getting a kick out of my astonishment of the traffic.  We saw some cool roadside art and I noticed an art museum I'd never seen before, so that distracted me from the drive.

We finally got to our first stop in Watermill.  We were wondering how we'd find the windmill when suddenly, it appeared. 
Oh, there it is. (Anthony Rau photography)

(Anthony Rau photography)
Then back in the car!  We'd parked behind a car from Maryland on the side of the road, hoping that we wouldn't get a ticket.  Also hoping that they didn't come all the way from Maryland to see only this windmill.  It was pretty and nice, but it took maybe ten minutes to walk around it and take it in.

Back in traffic, we finally found The Lobster Roll in the middle of nowhere in Amagansett.  The parking is tight but we luckily pulled in right as someone was pulling out.  It was busy but we didn't have to wait long to get a table.  I'd been thinking I'd have to split something with my brother because the serving sizes looked huge, but on the menu they offered sliders.  Lobster Roll Sliders!!  He got a shrimp roll and I got a lobster roll slider and we basically devoured our food, saying over and over again, This is so goooooood!  We'd driven three hours to eat for maybe twenty minutes.  It was worth it.
Famous people who've eaten lobster rolls
Lookit how tiny it is!
Because you gotta make it black and white (Anthony Rau photography)
Then we found the Pollock Krasner house.  It's a museum as per the wishes of Lee Krasner upon her death.  The tour is $5 unless you have a SUNY ID.  Which means for me it was FREE!  We took the spiral bound book self-tour and followed its instructions to take in the view of the water first, the studio second, and the house third.  While we were in the studio, we had to put on these ridiculous slippers, and my brother somehow found the wrong size and was busting out of his.  While we went around reading the explanations on the walls, some guy was talking to the docent really loudly, namedropping artists and actors and telling the story of how he worked on the set of the movie Pollock.  That was a really good movie, but reading was difficult with the guy's yammering on.  Everywhere else was quiet, and the guy finally stopped talking and we were able to take in the rest of the studio in peace.  It looks very much the same as it does in the photos from the past.  Very eerie and quite exciting.
There's a photo of Pollock and his mistress sitting on these rocks the day they died.
I kinda wanted to keep these.
Name Those Artists!
Dried paint and a turkey baster
I'm an ass.

The rest of the book had the entire history of Pollock and then of Krasner and of the grounds.  I read a lot of it out loud, but then it got to be tiresome, especially after we'd seen everything.  At the back of the book was a map of how to get to the cemetery where Pollock is buried, but we didn't do that.  The house and studio were the best way to remember him.

We headed Westward, homeward, and The Big Duck was kind of on the way because really anything West of where we were was homeward and on the way, so we decided to stop to see it.  It took like an hour to go five miles.  I took my traffic frustrations out on the duck.  When it finally appeared roadside, I was like, It's not that big!
Lame duck
I was expecting a gigantic duck, and really, it's more of a medium duck.  We went inside, and I was delighted that we could actually go inside, and the woman there explained to us the history of the duck.  There used to be a duck farm there.  Also, any building shaped like what it sells is called a duck.  So this building shaped like a duck sells duck stuff, so it's a duck.  A boot-shaped building that sells boots is called a duck.  An apple-shaped building that sells apples is called a duck.  And so on.  This duck is also a national landmark.  Because we learned fun facts such as these, I was no longer disappointed in the duck. 
Duck with a door
Not much smaller than the duck but okay, it's still a big duck
Sepia duck (Anthony Rau photography)
Back into the traffic once more, and this time, it was rush hour.  However, when you're so far out, rush hour isn't really the issue.  Once we hit more civilization, we flew towards home because we were pretty much behind rush hour because no one who lives that far out should be commuting this far in.  Thinking it over, however, sitting in traffic for a few hours at a time to see everything we saw ain't all that bad.  One trip Eastward and we got to take in art, seafood, wind mills, and ducks all in one day.  Day tripping at its best.