Just a fine and fancy ramble.

When Mike and I decided to go to New York for our vacation-slash-anniversary, we made lists of the things we wanted to do. I have been to New York more than Mike has, so I had done some of the things that he wanted to do. And, as expected, many of the things on my lists came from books. But we managed to come up with some ideas, and Mike made a great spreadsheet for us. And then he had to take his computer in to be fixed. And we didn’t have a copy of the spreadsheet. So we had to recreate it from memory. We forgot a few things. But we did our best.

Our first night in New York, Mike and I took the subway out to Brooklyn to attend the free New York Philharmonic concert at Prospect Park. The people at our hotel acted as if we were going to the moon. Brooklyn, did you say? I am not exactly sure how you would get there from here. So we figured it out on our own, thankyouverymuch. We had dinner at Dizzy’s, which was the first place we found to eat. Since we weren’t coming from our house, we didn’t have a blanket. Note to self: At outdoor concerts, offer to share your blanket with poor souls who forgot theirs. We still had a lovely time: the music was beautiful, and it was our anniversary eve and the city obliged with fireworks for us at the end of the concert. It did feel a bit like everyone knew each other and we had happened upon a giant get-together we hadn’t actually been invited to, but it managed to have Mike scheming ways for us to move to Brooklyn. He clearly forgot that we just bought a house. That still needs some work. Either that or he was trying to push me over the edge. We were able to vote for our choice for the encore by texting, so Mike explained texting to the wonderful Brooklyn grandmothers sitting behind us. The best part of the whole thing is that one of the Brooklyn grandmothers behind us got “discovered” that night. Someone from some kind of modeling agency said they wanted her for an ad. They told us they were legit as if it was going to make some kind of difference to her, so apparently they thought we were related. We gave our permission and then blatantly eavesdropped on the conversation. It was hilarious to hear the ladies talk about it after the modeling agency person had left: the newly discovered grandma promised not to forget her friends after she became famous. She said she’d text them.

On our actual anniversary, we hiked up to Central Park so that I could finally see the zoo (Kari’s list). On the way, we passed the library (Kari’s list) so that I could visit the lions, walked through the set-up for the All-Star parade, and saw the Plaza.

Also, we got a little lost in the park, but finally, we got to see the penguins. The penguins, you guys! I am not sure I have ever actually seen penguins before. They were adorable with their rock-hopping and their swimming. Mike took about one billion photos of them, which you can see on our Flickr page. We also saw some polar bears, the Delacorte clock (Kari’s list), and then headed back to the hotel so that Mike could have a nap before going to dinner. Dinner was at Sangria 46, a tapas restaurant (yes, yes, go ahead and make your jokes about how we went to a topless restaurant for our anniversary). We had early reservations before the show, so we had the restaurant all to ourselves. We ate at weird times all week long. But it was nice to pretend that Mike had reserved the entire restaurant for us for our anniversary. Like Benny and Jack in Circle of Friends.

We had bacon wrapped shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, lamb, and vegetables. I insisted on some vegetables. Oh, and sangria. Of course. It was all really great. It was also very close to a restaurant my aunt used to take me, Joe Allen. We did not make it back to Joe Allen to see if the burgers were as good as I remembered.

We saw Spring Awakening (Mike’s list: Broadway show; Kari’s list: Spring Awakening), which I had heard a lot about, and I enjoyed it, though it felt a little overwrought, like some young adult novels feel. One thing I had heard was that it was good for people who work with teenagers, and I would agree with that, because it captured that feeling of being a teenager, of having the world in front of you and being very confused about it all, and of running up against authority. It’s good to be reminded of what teens are going through. I think my expectations were a little bit too high at the time, but now I look back and think, “That was pretty awesome.” I would like to get the soundtrack at some point.

Wednesday we only had one thing on our agenda: LETTERMAN. (This is not actually true, because first we went to Ground Zero – Mike’s list – so we could see what things look like down there, and then we began our love affair with Pret a Manger. But it sounds good to be that passionate, right? LETTERMAN! WOOO! The thing is, usually we are too old and tired to stay up that late anymore. Our Letterman fandom is actually more in the past.) The week before we left, we got the call that we had scored the tickets.

This was something that Mike had always wanted to do (and thus, Mike’s list), and it was really fun to see all the energy that Dave had during commercial breaks. I will have to say that it wasn’t Dave’s best show ever (the next night seemed a little bit more loose), but it was still very cool to actually be there. Dave! Paul! Biiiiiiiiiff! (And Mike was happy to catch a glimpse of Stephanie.) We were in the balcony on the side and thus never actually on camera. I just checked the TiVoed episode to see. You will just have to believe that we were there without any actual evidence. Sorry.

Between the time we had to show up to pick up our tickets and the time that we actually had to be there for the taping, we went to Lindy’s so that Mike could have some cheesecake (Mike’s list: He’s a big Guys and Dolls fan, and he wanted some Mindy’s/Lindy’s). That night, we ate at the restaurant across the street from our hotel, The Crooked Knife. Mike had shepherd’s pie for the first time, so I suppose you could say that was from his list. His life list. There was a man at the next table who was obviously a regular there, and he told us that he works for the Miss America pageant (or maybe a different one, but it was one of the big ones) and asked me how I keep my hair so healthy looking. He said he wished all of his girls had hair like mine. If he was pulling my leg, I just don’t care. Between him and the Brooklyn grandmothers (who called me “gorgeous”), New York was good for my self esteem. But, anyway. The Crooked Knife. We liked the food here, and we really liked the walk home. Why couldn’t everything be across the street?

Next up: dinosaurs, cathedrals, puppets, and The Beatles!

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