Tuesday, August 28, 2007



This weekend, Jason and I ventured out to Newport beach for my cousin Ady's wedding. Getting together with my mom's side of the family is a big deal. Not that the Nicolai side isn't wonderful, but the Reeves (for the most part) live out West so we don't "hang out" nearly enough. Weddings are one of the few chances for us all to get together... Ady looked gorgeous. Jono did too put you can't quite see him in this cake shot.

The Big 9. My mother and two of her siblings have families of three girls. Her oldest brother is responsible for the only male cousin, Trevor. He's always been the older, wiser, and let's just face it, cooler cousin (his wife helps with the cooler part too). Growing up there were 9 girls, within a ten year range, making trouble. My sisters and I, the "NY" cousins, are easy to pick out because we aren't blond.

My perfect date.

Angelique, Claire and LaRisse...The oldest from each "set".

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


In 3rd grade, Michelle always wanted to try on my glasses. I loved that someone thought those pink plastic frames were cool. Sadly my eyes improved and wearing my glasses actually ruined hers. But ever since then we've been best friends.
In the years since we've done everything together. Well not literally everything...but figuratively.
And now I'm thrilled to announce...she's engaged. Michelle's fabulous boyfriend Pete is now going to be her husband. Congratulations guys. We love you both!

Life's Full of Tough Choices

I was 7 when the Little Mermaid came out. Even at that young age I felt the prophetic nature of Ursala's statement, "Life's full of tough choices, idn't it?" I'm mostly sure she was referring to Arielle's choice between staying a mermaid or becoming a human to woo prince Eric.

Like Arielle, I too have a major decision to make. Gray is one of big fall fashion colors and I deeply want (probably need) gray, suede peep-toe pumps. I'd also be happy with wedges. And may prefer closed toe...
Here are today's 2 front runners.

Found at BananaRepublic.com. In person they may be blah...but I like the wedge and peep-toe. Is it a faux pas to wear peep-toe in November?

Aldo. I haven't purchased a pair of Aldo shoes in a long time because I feel like they always hurt my feet....
This is a truer gray and I like the heel.

Friday, August 17, 2007

In The Club

5 minutes into our (slightly unnerving) adventure and Nate points out that we are not in a somewhat exclusive club. At the time, I thought it was sweet that Nate was staying so positive...but now, I realize, he was right! Not only are we in the "Stuck in an elevator club", but Nate, Margy, Oliver, Todd, Jason and I are in the "Stuck in an Elevator and Climb Out to Freedom Club". Talk about exclusive.

A few Sundays ago, we visited Nate, Ashley and Leo for some Nintendo and a tender goodbye. Nate generously offers to drive us back to 111th. Upon entering the elevator, the door closes behind me, two seconds of regular ride and bang, we're dropping. I don't know how I was the only one screaming! It's true we only dropped for 5 seconds but it was long enough to decide I was plummeting to my death.
First rational decision, use the emergency call box. No go. The woman who answered couldn't seem to hear us over a pre-recorded message the elevator was playing. And she may not have heard us but we heard her getting pretty frustrated.
Nate made the major decisions. I don't want to speak for the rest of the group, especially not the men, but I know I was shaken up and basically waiting to be rescued. Guess there's a little damsel-in-distress in me.

(Oliver looks too good to be stuck in an elevator. Todd looks very happy. Margy had a good "stuck in an elevator" face.)
Next option...call Paul, the super. I guess he lives next door because he showed up quick. We
heard him at the bottom of the shaft, and called down to him what floor we're on. A few minutes more and we hear Paul fiddling with the doors...the creak of the outer doors being pried open and then his fingers working through to pull open the inner door.

Beaming with pride and delight, Paul finally got the doors open. Then holding up a little tool (check the picture), said something like, "I'm not supposed to have this but I got it from the manufactured downtown." (If anyone remembers more exactly what he said, let me know). This angle is a bit deceiving. Paul is crouching down and we now have to climb through a three foot gap. My concern for how I was going to maneuver out with my weak upper body must have shown on my face, but before any words were exchanged from the trapped crew, Nate immediately got on all fours like a stool (what a guy!). We all stepped up and wiggled out to the safe hallway.

I believe Nate's calm stems from a combination of the following factors....
a. He possibly felt a little responsible that we were stuck in "his" elevator. We didn't feel this way but the elevator was more his, than ours.
b. He's in the national guard/army and is trained to handle emergencies.
c. He was stuck in an elevator before, on his mission in Russia. Talk about exclusive, he's in the club twice.
d. He's a calm, rational guy.

(Nate climbing to safety)
1. I'm mostly sure Paul told us he locked the elevator or something that made us feel safe climbing through this little gap. If something had moved...well, I'm not even getting into that.
2. It felt like an hour but we clocked in at about 20 minutes from drop to out.
3. If someone had taken guesses on how far we dropped, I would have gone with 10 feet....realistically it was probably only 2-3.
4. This is another example of life is much easier with cellular phones.
5. Although I was nervous and teary at first. This does make a good story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moral Dilemma (or not)

I'm wrestling with my conscience over what may be a "non-issue".

Last week we sent our laundry out for a quick wash and fold before our trip. While putting it away and into our suitcases, I came across a cotton dress with the whites that I have never seen before. It's modest, simple, comfortable, my size...but not technically mine.

What should I do? What are my moral obligation? I called the cleaners to ask if anyone has called in for it. "Not yet"...so do I bring back the dress to sit and wait on a potential call? Or do I adopt it and care for it as my own?

What to do? What to do?

I've got friends......but they're not in low places

Now that my wife has had some time to "cool down" after this encounter.......

...we are ready to tell you about an incredible day. I will let the pictures do most of the talking. Yes. That is Johnny Damon signing a baseball for Erica. We figured we would let Bobby Abreu sign it too. We got Shelley Duncan (my favorite Yankee) to sign as well, but I wasn't quick enough to get a pic. Although Erica did try to kiss him on the cheek (wish I had a photo of that).
Two side notes from the wifey. 1. I've always prided myself on not being a groupie...or infatuated with hunky celebs. Standing a foot away from Johnny Damon and exchanging friendly pleasantries, sent that pride out the window. He's dreamy. (Check out the arm muscles...and that's just the forearm!!) 2. Shelly Duncan is also cute and very tall. For the record, I did not try to kiss on the cheek, although I am fairly confident that I could have gotten away with smooching a rookie. All that happened was I touched his arm. When I did this, Lisa D giggles, "Aren't you getting personal? Why don't you just give him a kiss." And I say, already with my arm around him for a picture, "I know my limits." Shelley was chuckling. I probably should have taken the opportunity when I had it.

A few days ago one of Erica's friends (and when I say friend, I mean one of her best friends since childhood) invited us to join her and some of her family to Yankee Stadium with on-field passes for batting practice. An incredible experience that we will always be grateful to Michelle and her family for. But hold on.... it gets even better. I did not know that part of this day would include a visit to Mr. George Steinbrenner's office.

I have a picture to prove it.

Don't tell him, but I sat at his desk.

Erica and I couldn't pass up the chance to sit in the leather glove in the office. Notice the Yankee curtains. There was also an impressive Yankee logo in the carpet. The door in the background leads directly to his luxury suite to watch the game.

This is Lonn A. Tros, COO for the Yankees. He came in to tell us about the new Yankee Stadium that is currently under construction. Afterwards Erica asked if she could take his picture. Just as she was about to snap the shot, she asks if he would put his hands up so that we can see the rings. Guess she wanted to get a good look at those monster World Series Rings. Everyone in the room had a good laugh at the request. Thanks to Mr. Tros for modeling his rings!

Growing up all I wanted to do was play professional baseball. I didn't exactly make it that far, but this day was about as close as you can get.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Years ago I saw "The Story of Us" with Michelle Pheiffer and Bruce Willis...and loved it. One of my very favorite movies, at least in that era. The opening scene is the family of four is sitting around the table, eating dinner and doing "high and low". Each member of the family, in turn, tells a high and a low of their day. I'm going to do a little mid-day high low.

1. I met Jason for a quick lunch. I had diet coke and mcnuggets. Even with all the delish eateries in NYC, sometimes nothing beats McD's nuggets.
2. We're going to the Yankee game tonight with my best friend since 4th grade and her fun family. The best part is we have on-field tickets to watch batting practice. On a scale of 1-10, this is a 7.5 to an average baseball fan like me. There's a point deduction for being three hours early and then watching the entire game...6 hours of baseball is slightly daunting. Jason is probably at a 9.25 . It's fun to see him so excited.

1. Having to unpack from our trip. Fortunately we washed everything in Utah but still, putting it all away is daunting.
2. I got another parking ticket. This brings my summer total up to four. I plead my way out of one, payed the next, and am confident the bike ticket will be dismissed, if there is still any justice in this city. This one was really a slap in the face. I met Tarika at Bank St. to plan for the upcoming school year and left the car around the corner in a no parking from 11-12:30 zone. At 10:55 I left our meeting and as I rounded the corner the traffic cop was getting back in her car. My cell phone displayed 11:01 and the electronically printed ticket had exactly 11:00 on it...which means, girlfriend was entering the ticket information before 11:00. Really, can I live?

Must See

If there is one particulare genre of movie that I enjoy more than all the rest it would have to be war movies. Not entirely sure why that is, but I went to see Rescue Dawn last week. Simply put, I highly recommend that this movie immediately be moved to the top of your "must see" list. Many times the tag line "based on a true story" can be a warning for an overly dramatized rendition of a story that is no longer indicitive of the event being portrayed. Not the case here.
Plot Line from IMDb: This film tells the real-life story of U.S. fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, a German-American shot down and captured in Laos during the Vietnam War. Dengler organized a death-defying escape for a small band of POWs, including Duane Martin

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yankee Candles

By nature, Harlem isn't the best smelling place. And despite frequent dumpster trips, if our trash is in our hot apartment just a couple hours too long, a suspicious smell develops. Candles are our best defense. I strongly prefer Yankee Candles because I am comfortable with the smell strength and am excited by the different fragrances and how they're always arranged chromatically. Our favorite summer scent is Vanilla-Lime.

Since I'm talking about candles I'll tell one of my favorite Harlem-life stories. Six months ago at a winter clear-out sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond I snagged a practically free Molasses scented candle. It was a not-so-subtle fragrance but it smelled so good, we lit it anyway and enjoyed our entire apartment smelling like syrup. One day after school our UPS man, James, came up with a package. James is mid-30s, big and tall, and extremely friendly. I open the door and while I'm signing for the package he leans through the door a little, looks at me with a knowing look, and says, "What? You eating waffles." A smile crossed my face, "Nope just our candle".

The best part is the embedded meaning in James' simple "what". The context, the tone...I believe a full pragmatic analysis would translate "what" to "I figured out what you're up to".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

sugar coated

apparently my blog is making people sick. in the past week, two complaints have rolled in. the first was in an email from raph (congratulations on the blog mention), he wants a little more "reality" and not all this "puppies and kittens" stuff. sorry to admit, i semi-ignored the request...laughing it off as "typical raph".

then tonight during my bi-monthly phone call with my older sister, i'm told my blog is too sugar coated. i believe, if my ears are clean, that i'm giving angelique a toothache. i quip back, "yeah but it's funny right." to which she half-heartily agrees and goes on to explain that it seems that i try to come off as nice and that i don't need to gush so much about jason, as if i'm writing to my mother-in-law. as she explains this in a kind, half-joking way (and if you know angelique, you know the exact manner i'm referring to), i'm wondering "does this mean my sister doesn't think i'm sincerely nice."

in my defense i post from the heart so if my blog is cheesy, i must be cheesy. i am the girl that made a three pages list of "Things to be Happy About" during college and frequently read it. perhaps i have a candy coated disposition. if that seems to be the case, i must confess i'm mostly warhead, a little sugar on the outside and a tart inside.

ask yourself this, is stepping on a rat sweet? i think not. what am i to post? the conversation arose when i put her on hold to help jason locate something (for the second time in two minutes) and then complained that he is allergic to looking. this is true. we have a 400 square foot apartment that we've lived in for over a year and jason still doesn't know where we keep things. this frustrates me to no end but is mostly funny. the same way, several times a week jason holds up an item from the drying rack and asks, "erica, did you wash this _____?" which really means "this one is still dirty...could you be more attentive when doing the dishes." both frustrating and funny, which would probably translate into a mostly funny post.

this much i know is true, the post i was saving to write next week about how much i love my sisters, isn't going to air. i mean what could be more rainbows and puppies than singing the praises of your lovely sisters. i wish i were joking...i already had the pictures selected.

pesonal bests

Jason and I had a very busy week and weekend. Amidst the business, some recorders were set.
Our family, the Gardner side, came to visit...and Farmington based friends came with them. It was fun providing directions, showing around (although we didn't do too much), and oh course eating with everyone. They got in late Wednesday night and left Sunday.

The two records set while they were here were
1. People in our apartment: 15
There weren't really enough places for everyone to sit but they got to experience how we live. The tiny space certainly isn't ideal but I enjoy knowing we'll never live somewhere this small again. It's only up from here.

2. Broadway shows seen in one week: 3
Jason and I went to see Spring Awakening with friends from A Dalton Summer. This year the new and (understandably) controversial musical won 8 Tony's, including best musical. Spring Awakening is the story of young teenagers in Germany late 1800s, focusing on morality, sexuality, and angst. We liked the edgy rock music and the acting was unbelievable.
Thursday we saw Jersey Boys, which I can say is my favorite show of all time. It's the behind the scenes story of Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons..."ask four guys, get four different answers." The audience was giving standing Os in the middle of the show! (There's sample music that plays on the website). If you can tolerate the "authentic, profane Jersey vocabulary" (read:f-bombs) get tickets now.
And then Friday, while Jason was at his second Yankee game in two days, I saw Mary Poppins. All the hype about the sets is accurate. I kept thinking "how did they do that?", "where did he come from?", and "how did they her up there?". The dance #s were incredible and the large cast which 'em even more fun.

Monday, August 06, 2007

handbag happenings

picture it... 5:00 monday afternoon, and i'm sitting waiting to see if my doctor did in fact fax my referral to get physical therapy underway. i'm ready to bend my elbow again. an adorable young mom pushes a stroller in and begins talking to the receptionist. she's wearing a green and black summer dress, perfect bronze sandals, and has her dark hair is a loose braid. one of those perfect "i just threw this on" looks. i hear that she's british, which made her even more adorable.

she sits down a seat away from me and after several minute, with a cute english accent, asks, "is that this season?" i quickly glance around thinking, "what is she talking about?" and my eyes linger on my bag. ahhhhh.

it is imperative that i mention when she came strolling in i immediately noticed the bag draped over her stroller, a goyard. what seems to be this season's it bag. the basic style, a no lining/no pocket tote starts (i believe) around $800. they all have a similar "y" pattern on them and some nice colors. there is just something so opulent about paying that much for a flimsy tote.

what do i say? this friendly fashionista thinks my favorite bag is a real dolce and gabbana. i must admit i feel a quick flash of pride before deciding to tell the truth. "actually" i say, "i got this in china town at the beginning of summer, but usually chinatown does have the designers recent styles." she went on to say how fabulously real it looked...and after a few more pleasantries, she whisked off with her physical therapist, leaving me beaming at my bag.

an ironic side note...at dinner last night, jason broke one of the handles of this bag. i may be heading back to china town before the summer is out.