Thursday, January 21, 2010

Keeping Pace with the Paces

The best part of this city is sharing it with family and friends. I did the math, and if I'm right - we had more than 60 individuals stay at our place in 2009. Obviously, a lot of people came in groups or couples, and there are two repeats (holla! Ash and Ali!). But that's the grand sum of folks who actually slept at our place - not even the fun dinners, lunches, quick hellos (usually over something sweet, because that's how I roll...) we've been able to make work with friends visiting from out of town.

It's crazy to me how different each friend or family member's trip has been. Ultimately, you do end up seeing the same things - but each memory is really specific to the people.

That's what made the visit from the Pace gals such a treat - we've had three infants convince their parents to visit this year (thanks Elsie, Van and Rowan!) - but Miss Abbey and the little Haydster were the first kids to crash at the Riley digs. And seeing this city through their eyes... and at a slightly slower pace, but impressive for those little legs nonetheless... was so much fun.
Hayden was totally digging the Museum of Natural History. In each room, she'd run up to the displays, climb over the bar meant to keep kids' noses off the glass, dutifully press her nose against the glass and then kneel down with her hands in the air. Praise on, little naturephile :). We didn't get a picture of the scene, but I do love this one Ashley captured of Uncle Nobie (as he came to be known over the week) and Hayden at the museum. Hayden also loved her a little Shake Shack. But really, who doesn't approve of greasy, fried potatoes and double-fudge mint truffle shakes?
Abbey's highlights seemed to be anywhere with a little space. If you read my sister's blog (or if you ARE my sister), forgive me for swiping the photos and the observation right from the page. But that Abbey was shakin' her groove thang every time space permitted and it was adorable. I can understand the desire, though - she was probably feeling a little "what the?" from the dramatic drop in square footage from suburban home to city studio combined with "no Abs, you really can't run around..." on every subway and bus.
Abbey also seemed to take to corporate life like a fish to water, familiarizing herself with the corner office and providing at least as much input as I usually do on a client call. And I can't forget perspective from my other favorite girl - the mom extraordinaire and all-around amazing woman whose genes...ahem... I happen to share in common (although - how did she get so many looks fab with two kids genes?).

I hope it's fair to say Ashley's highlights consisted of the modern miracle that is Junior's Devil's Food Cheesecake...
...and our flea market finds in Chelsea. We haggled with the best of them and Ashley came away with a vintage radio and the ultimate respect of the man who sold it to her who thought she was uber-hip for decorating her girls' room with flea market finds.
Thanks to Ashley's sweet generosity, I came away with a few treasures of my own. I didn't think to snap a picture of the hat or giant sun dial I proudly/sheepishly carried back into the house after swearing to Noah upon our departure, "I didn't really need anything..."
Ashley and I have more than a handful of memories together. In fact, we have a lot of memories we often confuse for our own when it turns out it's the other's. That'll happen when you're 18 months apart, both start with the letter "A" and have almost identical hobbies/interests/pursuits for 16.5 years.
And though the matching jumpers and waistband days are more distant and our hobbies/interests/pursuits have taken their own paths, the memories are all the sweeter.
Thanks for visiting, Ash!
I readily admit - I cried when they left. Ashley's fault. She left a note.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy New Year - with the Haydster and Abbeylicious

I'm not a terribly impulsive person. Sure, I've walked out of the house with no intention of purchasing galoshes before my return and returned with galoshes nonetheless. But I let most decisions marinade a bit before I pull the trigger.

But compare me to my CPA (and all the wonderful, but typical personality and behaviors that implies...) sis and I seem like I belong at the end of the scale with our great aunt who got married in Reno after a few drinks and a heart-t0-heart about belief in a higher power. (For the record, I am not knocking this story. One of my all time faves. Wish I'd know this particular family member better, for sure.)

So now you get the picture - Ashley and Allison, not the most impulsive gals on the street. Which is why we both surprised ourselves when - faced with the unexpected flexibility of a few extra days off work - ideas were thrown out, plane tickets purchased and a half-baked plan, in which we wake up her babies at midnight to ring in the new decade in Times Square, was born.

Ashley and her sweet kiddos got into town Thursday evening and we partied (and when I say partied, I mean roasted red pepper and feta hummus and gummy bears kind of partied...) at our office in midtown for the evening. Our office is just a block off Times Square (albeit a quiet block off Times Square. They're not kidding when they shut that block down.), so it worked out well to be near the action without being in the lose-a-hand-or-nose-to-exposure and wear-a-diaper-'cause-y'ain't-leavin' action.

It was also nice to be a landing spot for these rockstars who did brave a few hours in the thick of the action. (But I feel, for their sakes, the need to disclose that they used the restroom before they left the office and didn't use it again until they returned.)
The girls were pleasantly wired from their first night in the big city, or perhaps because I can't say no to one particularly adorable towhead who politely signs for more gummy bears.

They were so much fun to be around and sleep didn't even seem like a consideration until they crashed promptly at 11:15pm. JUST enough time for us to wake them back up at 20 minutes 'til and run to 59th Street for the countdown. I know, I KNOW - Child Protective Services will read this and say I'm unfit to raise another human being. I say we're making memories.We met up with the crowd in Central Park and pressed on as far as we could - a distant view of Times Square down 7th, a giant countdown monitor so we'd know exactly when it was go-time and fireworks behind us in the park. That'll do. Not bad for fairly minimal effort.
I was tempted not to fix the red eye in these photos. It really added to Hayden's glossy stare.
If you think these photos are the best thing ever, you should see the video of Miss Abbey right at midnight. It is just classic enough it might inspire me to learn how to upload a video on this blog. In our defense (no really - you have one, Allison?), she growls because she hates fireworks, not because her crazy aunt woke her up at midnight to go stand in a crowd of one million people.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Few More

I tried to add these to the last post. Blogger was so over it.

I breezed by Central Park in the recap just because I didn't have any images to add to the story. But I got these from Daddy-o yesterday and they made me smile.
I love this picture of my Dad with his baby girl. What a handsome guy. Now you see why I'm such a handsome woman... :).
This is all we did for all five days. That's why there are so many jumping pictures. Hard to get one of Megs and me holding still.
And a quick revisit to that first frigid day in Times Square. Doesn't my mom look so cold?! She could catch a chill in Arizona in August, so you know she's dying here. Bless her heart. We hit H&M the first day and properly outfitted those necks and heads.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It (Was) Christmastime in the City

You know it's been a great holiday season when January hits you like a a ton of bricks. Hello, January 7 (you're not confused, I wrote this yesterday) - you're the masonry I was expecting.

2009 was the year of epic moves amongst the Furniss kids. Every kid in a new state in the last calendar year. So when my parents thought it might be just the two of them and Megan in Utah or the two of them in Megan in New York for Christmas, we were giddy when the latter worked out. (And then we found out Koryn and her clan would be Utahns again before the holiday season, but too late - I called dibs.)

The trio rolled into town early Wednesday morning and we hit the town. But the town was bitter cold, so we checked Dad's first indoor to-do off the list with an early lunch at a gen-you-ine NYC deli. (Where the Honeybee was delish; too bad the boys didn't dare order such a girly sounding sandwich. Mom, Megan and I were pleased.)

From there, Mom and Dad treated us to a matinee of West Side Story. It was a great performance - one of my favorites thus far. Though I fear there may have been a few holes in the plot for Dad and Megs. We opted for the matinee thinking the red eye flyers wouldn't last through an evening show - but when I glanced down the aisle just before intermission, I saw a few drooping lids. Who falls asleep during a rumble? Thanks for the tickets, Dad - and sorry you fell asleep.Christmas Eve was Ellis Island, Lady Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge (that's a good family who will take a jumping picture on the Brooklyn Bridge with you),
and what will make me look like the ultimate hostess, I'm sure...
Christmas Eve dinner in Chinatown. (You know I can't help it... "Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra, Ra Ra Ra Ra.")

We attempted to make it to Christmas Eve services at Trinity Church that evening, but as we called the elevator all we heard were alarms and ringing. The faint scent of smoke further alerted us to a possible problem and by the time firemen pass us in the stairwell, we had a hunch someone on the 20th floor was not having a great Christmas Eve. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the fire was actually out before the fire department arrived, but we were able to put to rest my Dad's suspicion that we are not actually 25 floors above ground. And it's true, folks, it's true. The numbers in the stairwell jumped from 19 to 13, so apparently there are no floors 14-18. Who knew? Dad knew. He's a numbers guy.

That little anecdote has us way off track. Didn't make it to the church on time. Did get these photos.
Meg's a little too cool for school in this picture. Or too cool for church, rather.

Christmas morning was... lazy. Which means it was lovely. But somewhat reminiscent of childhood years when I was the one pestering the 'rents to wake up and open presents. I was worried if they didn't know what their gift was before 9:45am we wouldn't make it in time...
to the traditional* Christmas Day Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. And glad our pal Ibrahim could join!

We dashed from the Garden to the only quiet place we could lay claim on in midtown. The hallway of our offices. Yep - hallway. We did remember the key to the building. We did not remember the keys to the actual office. So we enjoyed our first official missionary call with Elder Furniss from the hallway of the 10th floor in a building on the Avenue of the Americas. It was quite a scene, bro. Sorry I didn't think to snap a picture. But you won't read this blog for two more years anyway, and by then it may have lost its appeal.

Christmas night was dinner in Little Italy, a little scarf and hat perusing in Chinatown and a rainstorm that proved Allison has a tough time remembering the reason for the season when her head is wet. What can I say? Wind and rain make me irritable. No Seattle in our future...

Saturday poured. And because Mom, Dad and Megs witnessed the evening before how onery rain can make me, they wisely made haste to the Met and spent the day absorbing all the loveliness that entails.

A beautiful Sunday afternoon in Central Park, a butternut squash lasagna that would make you renounce your love to the marinara and ricotta stuff and run away with a butternut squash and nutmeg, and not wanting to fall asleep on Sunday night because I knew Monday meant a teary goodbye.
It's nice to love being with your family. And it's really nice of them to come 2,000 miles to eat General Tso's Chicken with you on Christmas Eve. Thanks for visiting. Hope the chicken was worth it.
*not an actual Furniss family tradition.