wednesday morning in the garden

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I love the garden after it storms. We had some really strong afternoon storms roll through on Tuesday, and when we woke up on Wednesday, the morning was still heavy and damp. We were better prepared for the weather this week, after getting caught in the surprise shower last time.

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We didn’t need the umbrellas after all. With the rains came slightly cooler temperatures – a bit of a relief after the unseasonable heat we’ve been having. I found a bag of fish food when I was cleaning out a drawer over the weekend, and she tucked it into the pocket of her raincoat before we left. A trip to the far corner of the garden where the fish live is a rare treat on a Wednesday – we don’t often have that kind of time, but we were focused and determined on this day.

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We only saw one fish – bright orange and slow moving below the surface. It didn’t even try to eat the food. The ducks were happy though. They followed us from the head of the pond, near the waterfall, and tracked us as we made our way around the perimeter – the bow bridge, the zig-zag bridge, the fish food bridge, at least that’s how we name them.

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She decided to save half of the food for another trip. Her legs were suddenly tired as we headed back to the entrance. They have a knack for doing that when a schedule is once again imposed. Maybe the sudden rainstorms work in my favor? I take her hand to hurry her along. Sometimes she resists, but this day she did not.

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Her hand is warm in mine, and little still.

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admiring: lacanche ranges

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All photos in this post are by Beth Kirby, as featured in this article on Remodelista, and then spotted again in last month’s Bon Appetit magazine. Drool.

I realize that I’m jumping the gun here a bit on the sequencing of posts about the addition project, and I’m excited to share how things are going on it. But I sat down and made a list of all the things I’m behind on (and that I owe other people), and those posts are fairly far down the list. The first item on that list was “panic”, the second was “sweat”, and the third was “feel incredibly guilty”. Luckily the fourth was “take a deep breath, and let the first three go”. So I’ve done that, and I’ve been chiseling through the list in any spare moment I can snag.

In the meantime, I can still talk in five minute bits and spurts about what I’m daydreaming about these days. Here’s one of them.

Ranges.

Specifically, this range.

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I realize that it’s common to think kitchen renovation = appliance planning and shopping, but this overall project, while relatively small in footprint, is a complicated little nut to crack. There a thousand steps that have to happen before an oven is ever installed.

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But… there are also lots of things that help keep my energy levels (and focus) up and steady on this project. And part of it is completing some of these little steps along the way – like emailing the structural engineer with a question, or touching base with the contractor on an exterior product.

Or standing at my counter, prepping dinner, imagining the space transformed. We’ve done this a dozen times before, we’ve taken a thousand steps already to this point. I’ve fine-tuned my future vision skills. I can picture the space like it’s already done. There may or may not be a fancy French range in the final go, but it’s coming together in a way that makes me excited.

Fifth on the endless to-do list? “Allow yourself some time to get lost in your own thoughts.” My favorite thing to do.

(story)time: nyc books and sights, day five

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So, day four in New York might not have been the easiest of days, but there were a lot of fun moments throughout it. I might have focused a little too much on some of the smaller frustrations, but I can’t overstate how much I enjoyed walking around in so many different neighborhoods – both in Brooklyn and in Manhattan. So Peter Sis’ Madlenka is the perfect way to round out this literary and visual tour of our trip.

Madlenka, Madlenka, Madlenka… I love this book so much. In fact, we read it again tonight. Madlenka lives on a planet, in a city, in a neighborhood, on a block, in a building… and her tooth is loose! She heads out for a trip around her block – around the whole world! – to spread this big news. She really does adventure around the world, greeting her neighbors from places around the globe. Peter Sis’ drawings are so detailed, so intricate, so gorgeously rendered in ink and tiny spots of color. We just checked on F a few minutes ago, and she was fast asleep with this book propped open across her chest. It’s hard to stop studying the book once you’ve opened it.

This is what I love about New York. Forget the crowds, or at least try to steer slightly clear of them, and get lost in the various neighborhoods. If we did one thing well as a family this trip – we branched out to lots and lots of them, and hung out and spent some time in them.

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Day five was another beautiful day, a little cooler than the previous days, but it started out sunny and bright. We headed over to downtown Brooklyn, and had breakfast at Pure Bistro on 5th Avenue. There are lots of great shops around this area – we spent a lot of time here a few years ago when we visited – so it was kind of hard to leave, but we had some fun things in store for the day. We headed up to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the morning.2016-03-26_1459014092This spot was high on M’s list, but the rest of us for up for going. I was really surprised by how cool it was – particularly exploring in the submarine. Again, we had no wait to get into the place since we had purchased our tickets in route. We waited for a few moments to actually enter the submarine, but it was worth it because it felt like we had the place to ourselves.

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No square inch was left untouched – you can be as nosy as you want, checking out how they squeezed so many men and functions into such a tight space.

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Also cool to see the Enterprise in person, although F was ready to chill out on the floor with me for a bit by this point.

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Back out in daylight, we waited at the bus stop for awhile before the bus arrived. We were really good at just missing things! The buses aren’t as frequent as the trains, but man, oh, man are they clean. Plus you can see things while you are on them! Like sunshine and fresh air!

We rode the bus for a few stops, and then got out near Chelsea Market. Mid-afternoon on a Saturday is just a tad bit busy at the market, but the crowds sort of ebbed and flowed. We were all hungry, but were planning to have a big Saturday night dinner, so we split up and picked up a few things to eat. I stood in line for artisanal donuts because that seemed like a reasonable lunch. Rosemary Road donuts, anyone??

We shopped a little bit – I picked up a few souvenirs for myself, including this market bag,

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which I’m telling myself is not nearly as dorky as buying a souvenir t-shirt! And then we hung out at Posman Books for awhile. Great bookstore, and I stacked up quite the pile there. F really dug the quiet spots for reading. She’s got a knack for finding them.

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Next up – exploring the High Line. I’ve featured The Curious Garden in (story)time before, but it’s the perfect book to wrap up this trip. Inspired by the early inspiration for this elevated urban park constructed on an abandoned train track, The Curious Garden celebrates the way nature can exist in the most unlikely places.

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There wasn’t a whole lot in bloom yet, but the weather was still decent (although breezier and definitely cooler), so the park was full but not overcrowded. As the sun went down, the temperatures started to fall, and we started walking to dinner nearby at Co. Pizza.

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We pretended like it was an early birthday dinner, and feasted like it was one. 2016-03-27_1459052724I tried not to photograph every single thing I ate in NY, but this dinner was phenomenal. (We got the recommendation from DALS – I mean, look at the panel, people.) M and I couldn’t decide, so we compromised on two different pies and shared them (the best was the Popeye, just as described in the dining guide). The girls devoured the Pea and Prosciutto – go figure – and everything, from salad to drinks to dessert, was delicious. (Um, there were donuts in my dessert as well. And some ridiculously delicious ice cream thing that you dive bombed into an espresso drink. Crazy good.) It was the most expensive meal of the week, but the prices weren’t really that high. We just ate a lot, and there were six of us – although my in-laws eat half of what we eat!

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And there you have it – the next day, day six, was a mellow Easter morning. The owners of the house we rented bought us Easter baskets to put out for the girls, and we tucked in gifts we had hidden in our suitcases.

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We ate Easter brunch at an old school Brooklyn diner in Bay Ridge, walked off the hashbrowns for awhile in the neighborhood, and then headed off to LaGuardia for the trip home.

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Hopefully you enjoyed the mini-tour of our trip and our big-city bookshelf. I’m happy to share any more details if you are planning a trip to the Big Apple in the near future – just drop me a line.

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Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!