Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The Action of New York City

The Action of New York City (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

One of my most popular and consistently viewed blog posts is the one I did on the Top Ten Things To Do in New York City during Christmas.   If you haven’t read it, here’s the link to that one: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4694&action=edit.

New York City is the capital of the world, a tourist magnet and the home to over 8 million residents which can sometimes make our streets and sidewalks very, very busy!  People from all over the world come here;  We invite them, you know – haven’t you ever seen the I Love New York ads on TV?  So you’re welcome to visit and see and experience this amazing place we call home BUT there are few things you sometimes (often) do while you’re here and they just annoy the s___ out of us!  Summertime is also a BIG time for tourists in the City (could be why so many residents head to the Hamptons) and if you don’t want to be a persona non grata, you will find this list helpful – and we will be grateful and welcome you back with open arms.  These are definite NO-NO’s

1. No need to avoid walking on the grates in the sidewalks when you are wearing sneakers (that’s how we know who is a visitor and who is a resident).  When you walk around the grate it forces others, who may be wearing heels, to walk over them.  Don’t be afraid of the grate;  What’s the worse that could happen?  It caves in and you drop 10 feet, maybe break your arm, just think of how much you can sue the City for!

2.  PLEASE do not walk holding hands;  You’re strolling, we’re walking behind you and we have to be somewhere soon!  Also trying to pass you is like trying to get around a tractor trailer and a solid white line.

3.  PLEASE do NOT stop in the middle of the sidewalk, the top of the escalator, just outside the revolving door!  I mean really, really?

4.  Renting a Citibike?  Don’t pull an Alec Baldwin and peddle down the wrong way on a one-way street.

5. Whispering on the subway, we can hear you!  

6. It’s not funny when you tawk with a fake New York accent!

7.  Acting like  we might hurt you!  This ain’t the 70’s anymore!

8. You drive your car into town and then complain about the traffic.

9. Asking for directions and not telling us where your ultimate destination is.  How can we help if we don’t know where you’re going.

10.  Umbrellas!  Yes the sidewalks are crowded so please remember you are not the only one with walking here and that thing is a weapon when you’re not careful.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

I love to celebrate any holiday, I really do….my ideal is to always have a party or dinner significant to the holiday or event.  We’ve had Mardi Gras parties, Oscar parties, Martini parties, Super Bowl Sunday dinners with dishes from the team’s home states, Valentine cookies and cakes, Easter brunches, July 4th picnics…you name it and we’ve had it at one time or another.

Some holidays are about a lot more than the food and fun.  I understand the importance of the religious aspect of Christmas and Easter, the historical significance of July 4th and other national holidays.  So in that vein, and before we start to down those Magaritas and eat chips and salsa and dine on Mexican food tonight, I thought I would re-post a blog from a couple of years ago.  It’s the story of Cinco de Mayo.

May 5th, battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, celebration, Mexico, French forces

This is Why We Celebrate Victory

If you’ve noticed a sudden dearth of avocados, limes, Corona Extras and Jose Cuervo at your local grocery store over the past couple of days, don’t panic — no one is conspiring against you. Instead, your neighbors are simply stocking up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and all over the United States with delicious Mexican cuisine, far too much alcohol and plenty of fanfare.

But Cinco de Mayo (“the fifth of May”) is much more than an entertaining way to forget an entire day’s worth of events. The holiday owes its origins to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat invading French forces from conquering the state of Puebla. The victory remains a cause for commemoration nearly 150 years later.

Interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo isn’t celebrated in Mexico nearly as much as it is in the United States, as the country’s most widely recognized national patriotic holiday is actually the Mexican Independence Day on September 16. But Cinco de Mayo gets plenty of attention in the U.S. not just from Mexican-Americans, but also from anybody interested in seeking out new forms of cultural exposure — largely due to the efforts of liquor companies and Mexican restaurants.

Last year, MTV Tr3s sent comedian Cristela Alonzo to Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street to report on the community’s deep understanding of Cinco del Mayo. While the holiday has historic roots, Alonzo acknowledged that many participants view Cinco de Mayo as “an excuse to get drunk and party.” But as Alonzo learned, enjoying the rowdier aspects of Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to come at the expense of forgetting the holiday’s cultural significance.

“What’s important is to remember the meaning behind the holiday,” she reported of her findings. “It’s about freedom and to celebrate those who had the courage to defend it.”

So as you immerse yourself in today’s festivities, make sure to put your ice cold cerveza down for long enough to acknowledge the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday built on the foundation of freedom. ** This article is from the MTV website

And today!  

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas

Cha Cha Cha It’s Fiesta Time

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas
Cha Cha Cha It’s Fiesta Time!
You know what they say: Drink responsibly, Drive safely – OH WAIT, we live in New York City, we can be totally irresponsible – BUT then again there is May 6th to think about!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

Many, many years ago I was invited to a neighbor’s house to celebrate Boxing Day.  I thought this was a bit odd since I wasn’t a servant and I didn’t have any servants.  I was soon introduced to an Americanized version of Boxing Day.  The premise here was to bring a gift all wrapped up that was actually something you had previously received as a gift and either a) you didn’t want it because b) it was ugly or useless.  Oh there were really some strange and odious gifts exchanged that day.  The gift-giving was done in the manner of a Yankee Swap;  You picked a gift and you kept it or traded it.  Well, anyway that’s how that Boxing day went down.

This is how we began Boxing Day this year!  We were all tired from the late night of Christmas Eve and the long day of Christmas night so everyone slept just a little bit later on Thursday morning.  But right after breakfast without any formal plan set, it just began to unfold….The day after Christmas could only mean one thing!  We MUST CLEAN!  Perhaps it is some genetic pre-disposition or familial personality disorder, whatever it is, this is what happened.

Joel got the vacuum cleaner out and he began vacuuming  the rugs, I took out the swifter and did the kitchen floor and the hallways and the foyer.  I used about 6 swifter pads;  There has been a horde of people going inside and out, through the garage, in from the pool and all about.  The house was recently renovated and all the floors  are now a white-washed wood and the swifter did its thing over and over again.  I left piles for Joel to swoop up with the vacuum.   Meanwhile, Chiara packed up gifts and swept up pine needles.  I tackled the stairs next and was quite pleased to see the white of the treads re-appear.  Elsewhere, dishes were washed, clothes washed and folded and the dishwasher emptied.  It was a glorious morning, the house had been reclaimed and restored to its pristine beauty and we had taken on Boxing Day and given it an Italian twist.

There would be a Yankee Swap later that night after dinner.  But first we had to do some preparing for tonight’s party. Oh yes, there WOULD be a party tonight, albeit not quite so large as yesterday but this one would be here!  Only 15 adults and 6 kids.  Chiara decided to make several baking dishes of Eggplant Parmesan, we would serve the pork loin left over from Christmas Eve and make a big salad and a bowl of quinoa.

Susan and JR were coming for dinner with their 3 boys, the youngest is Hunter who is a classmate of Finley’s.  Susan brought a huge spiral cut ham and it’s a darn good thing she did since the pork loin did not cook through and we couldn’t serve it pink and cool.  This party spread itself out through the house!  We had kids (big and little) watching Elf and a couple other Christmas movies, adults out on the veranda, a couple of us in the dining room dishing on everything and everybody, Finley and a couple of the boys had a bow and arrows and were shooting at the front door and lots of wine drunk in all the rooms.

JR took the boys home, eventually both the girls went to bed and the die-hard game players gathered round in the living room to play some games.  Joel had gone out with Chiara in the afternoon to buy some new games.  Tonight we were going to play Quelf and Loaded Questions.  We are hardcore, laughing, yelling, arguing and all the time playing to win!  The wine kept flowing, there was some other mind-altering substances and as they say, “Let the games begin”!  Quelf was hysterical as we watched Joel stand and try not to bend his arms and legs, Dennis had to sit on his hands, Justin did the color for a basketball game in the voice of a parrot as well as mind-bending tasks, some which were subject to group analysis.  Overall one might observe it as familial blood-letting!

Loaded Questions is an adventure in delving into your fellow players psyche.  Since I’ve already portrayed our family as the crazy bunch they truly are, you can only imagine how this game was played!  I’d love to tell you about it but like the New York Times only all the news that’s fit to print.  And on that note I think it’s time to close the chapter on Boxing Day with the Bertis/Clarks/Presses and Pucci’s came to an end.

Except for the Yankee Swap which was wildly funny as the swapping, trading, stealing took place.  Those that participated seemed to have a grand time and I think perhaps the $50 bill was the prize of the evening!

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...

English: Gift ideas for men – wrapping paper example. Please source http://www.giftideasformen.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read Full Post »

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me clear up something from Christmas Eve.  I thought Laura and Jim and their two girls were coming to dinner, however, I was wrong.  Last night’s open house also included Laura’s sister Sarah and Jeff, Laura’s friend Sarah and Jim’s parents, Jim and Jenny.  And then, as the evening wore on, a couple came bearing champagne and children but they stayed just long enough to say hello and good-bye. Then two more couples came and about that time, Peter and I had finished washing all the platters and were working through the glasses and so we beat a retreat upstairs where the silence was blessed.

I‘m mentioning the number of people because I assumed that on Christmas Day we would be with Laura and Jim and their family, as we knew it.   Turns out we were going to a huge house and a lot of family and friends.   Supposed to be there at 3:15 and transporting everyone actually required 2 cars and 4 trips.  It does sound bizarre doesn’t it?  You know what the real problem is? CAR SEATS!  If you’re a follower of this blog, then you know about my misadventures in October with the black tractor-trailer they call their car.  The thing is enormous but in actuality only the driver and two adults can ride in the car!  3 kids = 3 car seats.

 Laura and Jim’s house should only be described in superlatives!  First we passed the Guest House and the gardener who was vacuuming up leaves. (I thought seeing the gardener on Christmas Day was unusual).  It was stunning with a wide-open floor plan and a chef’s dream kitchen.  Later I learned that the gardener comes every day and not only cleans up the yard, he also restocks the bar refrigerator and anything else that needs attention.

I met Steve and Amy who are the Captain and crew for Jim’s 106 ‘ boat.  Steve was saying how the boat would leave shortly for the Caribbean where it would remain for the winter months and the family would fly down for some long weekends.  At one point I thought he said something about the boat being out of water for several months and so I asked him who else did he captain for and his response was “No one, Amy and I only work for Jim”.  Welllllll ok then.

 I spotted two men dressed in black and sure enough they were servers and very efficient too.  Some day I’m going to throw a party where someone else serves the food and cleans up. My Trifle was a big hit but I think the pumpkin chocolate tiramisu needed more sugar.

 I walked to the edge of the property backing up to the Intercostal Water Way where yet another of Jim’s boats was stored out of the water.  Across the canal was an extremely wide stretch of property; If this was New York, you would only wonder when will they build a high rise?  This being Florida, chances are they won’t build a hi-rise apartment building but they could build a few houses.  Jim bought the property and has guaranteed his privacy and his view!

 It was getting dark and all of a sudden a parade of naked little girls streamed into the pool  (which is kind of an infinity pool).  They had a blast – who wouldn’t running naked in and out of a pool, shrieking and splashing.   Watching them enjoy themselves is proof you can take pleasure in another person’s fun.

Time to head home.  Try to visualize Ed carrying Fletcher in cradle seat, Chiara, Finley and Frankie in second seat with Juanita driving, Linda seating on the console and me in the passenger seat (which I ‘m supposed to share with Linda).  Our very own clown car la famiglia style!  Getting everybody in was a feat in itself but backing out of a narrow curving driveway that had trees and rock islands proved to be an exercise in misdirection and miscommunication!  Dennis was directing from the front, Joel was in the back guiding us past the rocks and when I looked out the window and saw we were headed towards the rocks, I screamed!  Poor Juanita, everyone was shouting directives…. Dennis, the I’ll take charge guy told Juanita to get out and he would back out.  Mind you the car does have the back up map displayed as well as a beeping system that warns you as you are backing up into an object.

 If you thought that was the end of the evening, you don’t know the Berti’s.  Led by my daughter Chiara, fueled by my nephew Justin and instructed by my son, Joel, we all settled into the living room to play a game.  Well, not everyone-the little girls were put to bed, some of the adults opted for TV and the rest of us (the competitors) delved into Cards Against Humanity.  A modern day board game that involves picking an answer to some really sick questions, which meant the answers were sometimes quite disgusting.  The game is self-described as:   Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends. HO, HO HO, I remember when after Christmas dinner we would all sit down and play Monopoly.  I know what you’re thinking…how dull, times have changed.  HA HA HA, you never played Monopoly with the Berti’s!!

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

God, I hope not!  It is still really dark outside and I hear the pitter patter of little feet approaching my room.  You know even without opening your eyes that there is someone in your presence;  Sure enough, Francesca is looking at me!  I say, “What are you doing up? Is the owl green?” She just looks at me…There is an owl light in the girl’s bedroom and all night the light is yellow but it’s set for 7am and the rule is you don’t get up until the owl is green!  (of course you can get up but you have to stay in your room till 7am) So I suggest that it’s quite possible that since it’s still dark,  Santa might be still putting presents downstairs under the tree.  Still no response just an adorable smile which is hard to see because it IS still dark.  I look at my phone and it’s 6:30. “Frankie, c’mon I’ll take you back to your room and then in a little while we can go downstairs”

I figured we had maybe another 15 minutes to rest before Christmas mayhem began.  I had been hoping to give the girls some of their presents on Christmas Eve so they wouldn’t be lost in the mound of treasures  left by Santa, but that didn’t work out.  Finley can read and we thought it would nice if she distributed gifts.  That lasted about 2 minutes and then the mad cap ripping began with me periodically shouting, “Check the name on the box first”.  That was followed with “How come she gets two books?  How come she has gel pens and I don’t ?”

Ruthie Wearing Her New Silk Pajamas

Ruthie Wearing Her New Silk Pajamas

Eventually all the Hello Kitty paraphernalia  was uncovered, the American Girl dolls now had a bed of their own along with new clothes.  Best of all Frankie and Rebecca had matching pj’s and Finley and Ruthie had matching dresses with leggings.  There were books, and more princess dresses  (Really! How many Disney princesses are there?) bean bag chairs with each girl’s name and a teepee.  Well if your tent is shaped like a teepee but it is made from pale pink striped cotton duck, is it still a teepee?  I gave Frankie a book which I thought she would enjoy and she took one look at it and said, ” I don’t like this book”.  I asked her why and her answer was, “I only like Princess books”. Francesca always speaks her mind;  Earlier, the girls emptied their stockings and discovered candy cane holders filled with M&M’s.  For days, there has been MUCH discussion about healthy eating, what’s nutritious, should we cook everything in coconut oil and on and on  So Frankie wants to open her candy and eat some before we open presents.  Justin is horrified and tells her “No, no we have to breakfast first” .  Frankie states the facts as she sees them, “I LOVE CANDY”.

At about this time, in rolled the rest of the gang.  Of course our whole entourage could not fit in one house so Chiara and Tom rented a house nearby for the overflow of guests.  We’re leaving tomorrow, some are leaving on Saturday, some are staying longer and the guest room sheets have been changed every couple of days.  First to arrive for the opening of the gifts were Dennis, Brad and Tom Sr. and Lisa.  Linda and Ed were expected shortly;  They were flying in from Long Island.  

More gifts…oh no roller blades.  And who thinks that the girls should put them on right now and try them out?  Well I’ll tell you it wasn’t any of the mothers.  It was the two bachelors and Tom!  Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the kids are and who the adults are.  We got everybody back into the house and just as I thought we might have breakfast, there was open more present to be had – the girls were ushered to the garage where they came upon not a midnight clear but rather a battery-operated  car! It seats 2 and with Finley at the wheel, the girls were tooling around the yard.  Everybody thought they were so cute until Finley stepped on the speed pedal and veered toward the pool! At least 3 of the grandparents screamed.  “BREAKFAST IS SERVED”

Egg casseroles, bagels, croissants, fruit salad, and muffins and by God we are in Florida because half the people are eating outside.  The mimosas are flowing and the adults are happy.  The kids are eating whatever they want  and sitting outside in the sunshine it surely doesn’t seem like Christmas.  We are going to take it easy for awhile before we have to be at Laura’s house for Christmas dinner.

Stay tuned for Part II.

 

Read Full Post »

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.

Photo from Wikipedia

I promised to get up early on Tuesday so we could go to the grocery store (nothing like LAST minute shopping) and buy the ingredients needed to make desserts for Christmas Day.  We are ALL invited to Chiara’s friend Laura’s house for Christmas dinner!  When I say ALL I mean we are 13 plus 3 kids and heading to a household that presently has at least 6 adults and 2 kids of their own.  Whoooo eeeee!

Well, I didn’t get up that early at least not by Clark family standards but I was fortunate enough to get up after my nephew Justin did,  because  he made me a great high-protein breakfast which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Poached eggs, lentils and some salsa and it was delicious.   Tom suggested he go to Starbucks and was swiftly informed that was NOT happening.  Time, this was all about time!  We had to grocery shop, Justin needed to go to a store, and Chiara needed to go to Home Goods to buy a trifle bowl.  A couple of weeks ago, I suggested to Chiara if she told me what she was preparing for Christmas Eve dinner, perhaps I could bring a recipe or two and make something for her and I would tell her what to buy before I arrived. I never heard.  I did pack a few holiday recipes  (hey, you never know) .  A half hour after I arrived, Chiara informed me that we were responsible for desserts to bring to the Christmas dinner and luckily two of the recipes I had with me were for two lovely desserts.  BUT she didn’t have half the ingredients which was the main reason we had to shop TODAY, Christmas Eve – Just sayin’!

Tom, Brad and I hop into Tom’s Audi and immediately make a blood pact of omertà and head to the nearest Starbucks.  First things first.  Needless to say it was packed and we probably lost at least 15 minutes  that we were going  to have to  make up at the grocery store.  Fueled with appropriate amounts of caffeine, we headed to Publix.  Brad decided he was going to wheel the cart, I had the grocery list and we never really knew what part of the store Tom was in until perchance we met him in an aisle.

The problem lay with the Lady Fingers.  I hunted through the store asking clerks where might they be.  The bakery area was all out but why didn’t I check Aisle 11 and sure enough there was something  passing itself off as  lady fingers when really all they looked like were small tube-like sugared cookies.  I had to make do with these, we were running out of time.  And because we were sort of rushing, I realized as I was checking out that I hadn’t brought in the canvas shopping bags – going green and all that jazz.  So we just  put the groceries in the cart, a few plastic bags had already been filled and I would repack the cloth bags in the parking lot.  In the 85 degree heat, that didn’t make a lot of sense and  was quite a sight.

Next stop, Walmart, we still need to buy ice and a cooler and just maybe Walmart might have the right Lady Fingers.  Naturally they did not.  I wasn’t surprised because when we were in Publix and I asked 3 different employees about where might I find the marscapone cheese, they looked at me like “What?”  That and the fact that the store didn’t  carry Ziti, did not carry DeCeco brand pasta, very little Barilla and a lot of Muellers, I knew I was in Florida!

We got the cooler and the ice that Chiara had ordered and somehow on the conveyer belt 3 yoga mats and a soccer ball  – uh huh, Tom!

Back at the house as I’m unloading groceries in a fury and trying to rearrange the refrigerator for the third time to make room (consolidate, consolidate), Dennis is chopping lemons and limes, Juanita is working on something and Belle is making quinoa.

I have Chocolate Pumpkin Tiramisu and a Cranberry Trifle to whip up.  I start with the tiramisu and discover there ‘s  no Confectioner’s sugar in the house!  Now I have to send someone out to the grocery store again and maybe they’ll even find the correct lady fingers.  In the meantime in case they don’t, I assign Peter to figuring out how to slice these  cracker-like cookies in half lengthwise.  I try one knife, Dennis suggests another knife because they are crumbling as they are being cut.  Peter to the rescue!  He goes into the garage and comes back with a hacksaw.  We all looked at him aghast!  However, the saw precisely cut the cookies and they laid in wait to see if the others would show up.

Meantime two bags of cranberries were bubbling on the stove and hopefully popping open.  Teamwork prevailed and Peter took out the big Sunbeam mix master because there wasn’t a working hand mixer in the house and he whipped the marscapone and heavy cream.  I thought I could put the trifle together forgetting that the cranberry filling actually had to be cool, so that get’s shoved into the refrigerator. So now everything has come to a screeching HALT!  No sugar, no tiamisu, no trifle really underway.  And I still had the baked ziti to make.

By the time Laura, Jim, Addie and Collins arrive, we have put together apps, dessert, tableware, pork loin, cooked the brussels sprouts and chopped the lettuce.  They brought so much food: sausage and peppers, Meatballs in gravy, and a lasagna and some Italian desserts.  I baked the ziti and put it in the refrigerator lol.

People came, people left, beer pong was played, the music never stopped, glass piled up and it was time to do some clean up. Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you that the dishwasher was not working!  This afternoon it was in cycle and Tom opened the door and that was that. It wouldn’t drain, it wouldn’t reset, it wouldn’t make a sound.  All the Dads tried to fix it, Tom called the 800 number to see if we could get service – uh  really now, it’s Christmas Eve!  So all the dishes were taken out and washed by hand and tonight even though we ate on disposable plates, there were platters and bowls and pots to wash well into the evening.  

JUST before we were about to pack the little ones off to bed, Finley is stricken  with the thought that OMG we didn’t make the cookies to leave out for Santa! That did it, NOBODY was going to bed till we baked cookies.  Laura’s mother-in-law stepped in and supervised the slice and bake process and soon we had a batch of peanut butter cookies topped with M&M’s.  OK now, it’s time for all good little girls to go to bed with admonitions that nobody is to get up and go downstairs till we all get up.  

Personally I couldn’t wait to snuggle in bed and have sugar plums dance in my head.

Merry Christmas to all to all a good night!

Read Full Post »

Wi-Fi Signal logo

Wi-Fi Signal logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SUNDAY

Well, I’m off on another adventure to Florida!  Usually the “fun” begins when I’m there and I amuse my readers to no end with accounts of the daily craziness.  NOT SO this time!  Let the games begin! 

Today is Sunday and after racing around to finish up packing, getting a pedicure, trying on 3 different things that did NOT fit and not being able to locate one of the cats (we finally did) we finally left our apartment.   Since we were leaving late (apparently my fault) (NOT), tempers were already running high.  Add the 71 degree weather in the no-longer-air-conditioned apartment AND picture this – I have my rolling suitcase with a heavy tote bag on top of it, carrying my computer over my shoulder and one large canvas bag of Christmas presents; I’m wearing flip-flops because I don’t want to squish my new pedicure and all black because that’s what fit that would be ok to sleep in.  Peter is carrying a suitcase that must weigh 25lb on his shoulder that pulls his sport jacket down and he’s carrying another canvas bag with Christmas presents and a bag that has some last minute snack food I scavenged from the refrigerator and cupboards.  Actually the snacks are leftovers from Wednesday night’s gathering!

Hailing a cab turned out to be fairly easy but of course we got a driver who was indecisive about the fastest way to Penn Station.  First he started west on 86th St and then thought the FDR drive would be better so he U-turned.  The Drive was ok but when he exited at 34th St and headed west on 35th St, we virtually crawled across town.  I was already overheated, cranky and watching the meter climb was making me crazy.  $22 later we arrive at Penn Station a.k.a. Penn’s People Zoo.  It was MOBBED and it was hot.  

We were supposed to leave by 1:30pm but by the time we walked out the door it was almost 2pm.  Our intention was to get to the station an hour early so we could check to see if there were any cancellations for a roomette.  There were none, the train is sold out!  Oh, didn’t I mention that by the time we booked the trip they were no more roomettes left? And why did we book so late?  Look to my right…. therefore we are in for a 26 hour train ride in Coach seats, no beds.  I knew right away it was Christmas since there “was no room at the inn”. 

Getting onto the train was like being part of a herd of cattle.  There’s a cop at the top of the stairs next to the ticket agent and he’s shouting “Keep the families together, keep the families together” which means there are straggling kids with wheeling suitcases trying to push through the 5 lines of passengers trying to reach the top of the escalator!  

I boarded the train and turned right like the conductor said only to come to an immediate HALT.  There was a family of four trying to get out of the car against the tide of us trying to get in the car.  This necessitated a strange dance backwards of several people and their luggage with no place for them to back up.  Finally they got off and I lunged forward hoping to find two vacant seats together, lol lol.  Of course there were no seats.  I was ahead of Peter so I dropped one bag down on one seat and across the aisle and one row forward, I dropped another bag.  Then I tried to negotiate with the woman in the second pair of seats.  “ Excuse me ma’am would you mind switching your window seat here for the one over there so I could sit with my husband”?  She looks at me as if I asked her to move to rest room.  I try again and she leans over to look at the seat I’m pointing at and says, “No, I think I’d d rather be here”.   At this point Peter comes up the aisle and sees that I’m not standing in a pair of seats and I’m already putting the bags of Christmas presents up on the rack.  He loudly says, “What, aren’t there 2 seats together?” And then adds, “Well can’t you ask someone if they will move?”  I tell him I did but no one wants to.  I guess that did it because the lady announced she would move.  I said, “Bless you, thank you, you are so kind and you have no idea how he’s been, I’m never traveling with him on a train again! 

Once underway, the train cooled down a bit and we settled in.  As soon as one of the conductors came by, I inquired about Wi-Fi and was informed there was no Wi-Fi on the train and here I thought I would be writing my blog, playing scrabble online, cruising through ebay and checking in on Facebook, Not Happening! 

Shortly thereafter, a man came through asking is anyone wanted to make reservations for the Dining Car.  We looked at each other and thought a change of scenery would do us good later on so I told Peter to make it for 8:00pm. Well that wasn’t happening either because the only reservation he had was for 5:00pm and it was already 4:30pm!  And I wanted to buy a large sub for us to split on the train since everyone told us how expensive the food was and Peter said not to AND I listened to him, so really who’s the schmuck? 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »