Friday, August 28, 2009


The Impetus: Allison's a lot more pleasant to be around when she's been on a walk.

The Scene: Walked along 5th to the park after work. Papa Murphy's hit-the-streets with $5 pizzas and I had no dinner plan to speak of (and this was yesterday, when I didn't know yet that poor eating choices were catching up with me). So we forked over five Washingtons, walked through Central Park until we found a quiet-ish table and listened to Noah's Brett Dennen Pandora station over cold-ish pizza.

The Highlight: Hello there, east side of the park! We don't see you often... Beautiful walk and the weather was the icing on the cake.

The Impetus: Noah's always wanted to party on a aircraft carrier.

The Scene: Free movie night on the USS Intrepid. Secretly we hoped it would be on the actual deck of the ship. No dice. But we didn't mind settling for leftover hummus and tapenade, Sour Patch watermelons and great company on the pier alongside the ship while we finally understood all those jokes in Apollo 13 we didn't understand as kids.

The Highlight: Rain delay = free stadium blankets. Now that's just good PR, Bank of America.

The Impetus: Bed bug scare. (Kevin C. has a theory about a guy who worried so much about itchy scalp disease that he got an itchy scalp. Can you get so worried about bed bugs that you actually catch them?)

The Scene: Sorting through each piece of clothing, one article at a time. Checking pockets, tags, folds, cuffs before sealing in bags, washing and running on high for 90 minutes. Scrubbing base boards and crevices with rubbing alcohol.

The Highlight: We learned we don't actually have bed bugs. Just the never-ending, always-looming, potential threat of bed bugs.

The Honeymoon's Over.

Nope, not the lovin' each other stage (ask anyone who rolls their eyes when we share earbuds and laugh together at This American Life on the commute home or any of our coworkers who hear an indavertent, "k - thanks, sweetie" when we hang up).

I'm talkin' about a little thing called the losing weight without trying stage.

When we moved to the city, we went from avid gym rats to well, subway rats. And at first - the one mile round trip to the grocery store and the hauling of milk cartons and laundry detergent up and down 8th Ave pretty much did the trick. The jeans still fit. The smaller jeans fit.

After fighting nature (farmer's build... it's in my genes) my entire life, for the first time ever I wasn't trying and the inches were dropping.

I still enjoy a great run now and then and I always take the stairs and I did raise caucasian participation at the rec center's free aerobics classes by 100%, but an actual schedule or plan to break a sweat is shoddy at best.

To top it all off, my sweet tooth has been in high gear, and without the extra pounds to guilt me out of it, I indulged. And indulged.

I knew it was too good to be true and I knew it couldn't last.

Today, it quit lasting.

That's right - shocker. A non-existent workout routine and an overly-existent love affair with Breyer's ice cream (the PEACH? Oh my gosh.) and for some reason the nylons took a little extra tug this morning.

I feel like I suddenly woke up and this don't try=lose weight situation I thought was so awesome actually sheds its hair all over the bathroom and doesn't wake up wearing make-up anymore.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The One Where Allison Rambles About Guests and Child-Rearing...

After Jesse's visit for the 4th, the front door just kept on revolving. I think this is one of my favorite aspects of this NYC experience.

July brought three more sets of visitors and one ridiculously adorable 2-year old to the Riley home.

Though I don't know we actually get to claim "hosts" to Tim and Kurt (but it was a lovely 15 minutes, sorry I never actually saw you again) and really, we just kept Kurt and Dani (I did NOT notice until just now there were two Kurts in the lineup) up until an unholy hour in our futile attempts to be social between meetings (please come back; we're more fun than this, I swear). So we managed zero photos and/or photo opps with the pairs.

But we got Danina (almost like Dani - this is getting spooky) and Brandon for an entire 4 days, and we had the camera in tow.

During their visit, Danina made a new best friend:
A man in a flag leotard front flipped over Danina and four strangers:
Brandon, infamous for causing scenes, causes a scene by trying to carry a suspicious bag into Yankee stadium; security was summoned:
The Yankees creamed the A's:
Noah found his namesake on the cathedral on 110th: We checked out one of our favorite campuses in NYC:
Noah stole a kiss at the High Line while my chin looked a little Leno-esque:
And they made us Sunday dinner, which means they can stay forever.

During Brandanina's visit, we also managed to babysit one incredibly easy-going, adorable 2-year old. And it took all four of us to do it.

Not because the kid was tough at all (in fact, we suspect there may have been a mild sedative in the apple juice, because truly, are kids normally this chill?). Quite the contrary, it's because I am still a little unsure as to how parents actually accomplish tasks. Superhumans, I think.

Because what do you do if one of you plays the organ and the other has to keep stepping out of the chapel for church duties? Well, leave her on the pew with Thatchers, of course. And who picks her up from nursery when one of you has a public affairs meeting and the other has ward clerk responsibilities? The Thatchers, of course. So now I'm convinced we need a good 4:1 ratio of adults to kids to make this happen.

Of course, three minutes of clear thinking tells me - dude, just take her to the meeting. But why is that not my natural inclination? Do I have a dormant gene somewhere that inhibits rational care-for-your-young thought?

Little T. - little did you know while we were splashing in puddles at Central Park after a summertime downpour and keeping you occupied with the camera feature on the phone while we ducked for cover during said storm, I was seriously pondering how on EARTH I'm going to ever keep one of you alive.
Okay, alive is probably a gross overstatement. But future Riley kids - please accept my sincerest apologies in advance for forgetting you in nursery. And while I'm at it, I should warn you - the house probably won't always be clean.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


My older sister caught me singing in the mirror once when I was about ten.

She made fun of me, because - hello! That's hilarious.

But it did leave just the tiniest emotional scar, and now I'm reticent to spend too much time gazing at my reflection in public restrooms for fear of a repeat Ace of Base/hairbrush experience.

I'm glad, though, that I seized a quiet moment in the ladies room this morning for a closer inspection.

Because I noticed the oatmeal in my hair.

Allison+Mirror: 1. Oatmeal: 0.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jesse and the Rippers

I suppose that makes Noah and me the Rippers.
{Obligatory paragraph about how far behind I am.}

Fueled by Red Bull and beef jerky, Noah's brother Jesse braved the 8-hour midnight drive post-the-taking-of-boards to celebrate the 4th of July with us.

I appreciate this on several levels.

First, we love company. Second, it's especially sweet when the company is family. Third, I have MADE that drive and know how frustrating it can be when the last two hours are the last 20 miles. Fourth, Jesse left the beef jerky for Noah - so I can continue not buying the stuff and Noah can eat salty, dried meat like a real man.

The schedule consisted of a lot of the usual - walk through Central Park (and not just the trendy southern tip, we're talkin' the whole park), limeades at Grand Central Station, dinner from the halal food cart on 53rd, Van Gogh at the MoMA and chaotic lines at PathMark (visit, and you TOO can go grocery shopping with us).

I didn't take any pictures to prove we did anything but sit around the house on the 4th. But it was a thoroughly enjoyable day. I was so pumped that I had to start the day by purchasing flip flops (how did I make it to July without a pair?).

I like having Jesse around because he helps me feel like I'm not such a poser at hip concerts. We headed to Battery Park to see Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst perform, and thanks to Jesse crankin' the tunes while I swept the kitchen that morning, I felt like I was already in the know.

From there, we hit the Staten Island Ferry in all her orange glory for a view of Lady Liberty, ate an all-American dinner of New York pizza and walked along the Hudson to catch the fireworks.

At dinner, I let Jesse in on a goal of mine. I'd love to bump into someone I know on the street sometime. Someone who doesn't know I'm here, someone I don't know is here - but not at church, that's a gimme.

Well, leave it to the uber-socialite to cross my goal off his list within 20 minutes. We get to the fireworks and as we're contemplating our freedom by wathing impressive displays of pyrotechnics, Jesse scans the crowd and says, "Hey, Kurt!"

Just a roommate from his undergraduate years. Haven't seen each other for one law program, one med program, two wives (one each) and a combined total of five kids later.

I need a new goal.

Do You Read My Blog, Kid?

Last night, Noah volunteered for guard duty at our church house. I don't think it's necessarily reflective of just our neighborhood; other church buildings on the island have a security guard. Just a lot of precious inventory inside (i.e. the cub scouts and achievement days girls) and enough unstable folks about.

While Noah served and protected, I stole away to the primary room to "help" with achievement days. ("Help" is a loose term; Candice has these cute girls eating out of the palm of her hand. I should say, to "color" with achievement days.)

I was immediately endeared to the bunch, most of whom I'd never met before since their families are in the Spanish ward. But M. was especially chatty - particularly interested in the ring on my left hand and the man behind it.

I introduced M. to Noah as we made our way to the lobby at the end of the activity. Props to this little lady who can whirl around the lobby on a Razor scooter and still maintain impressive eye contact. As she glided, she asked Noah about his name, asked me how it is my CTR ring I received as a 12-year old still fits (not sure. thick hands in my youth?), explained how her ring is adjustable but sometimes turns her finger purple...

But the best part of the conversation came when she asked Noah, "why have you been sitting down here this whole time?"

N: I'm on guard duty.
A: Yep, doesn't he seem pretty tough? Like he could keep us really safe?
M: So... what would you do to try to scare me if I was a crazy lady trying to break into the church?