Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Space Sightings

One of my husband's best friends (Mikro's godfather) got a new job nearby and took an apartment locally, so we now are lucky to see him more often. Last night, after we all went out for coffee together, we stood outside my house staring up at the amazingly clear post-hurricane sky. There seemed to be many more stars visible than usual. Wonder if that's because there is less light pollution with the lingering power outages? Earlier, from the restaurant parking lot, we had seen the International Space Station arc overhead. Now, we were treated to the sight of several meteors falling. Mikro was thrilled! His first space rock sightings! We also saw Jupiter and Cassiopeia.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lingering Storm

Things have kicked up again here. High winds, lots of trees down, mudslides onto the railroad trcks. I doubt most of Westchester County is going to work tomorrow. Metro North reports heavy flooding of stations on the Hudson line. Our station parking lot was badly flooded, and the train bridge at the south end of the station was under water... NYC subways may not be back yet for the morning rush either...

It looks like bizarre version of late October. The street is littered with leaves, only they are green...

Ugh, winds are picking up even more. I hate the wind.

Our local paper,, has a live chat feature running on their homepage, with storm updates. They just confirmed that our village police are out on the Hudson (though the helicopters seem to be over the Croton), attempting to rescue someone who was out on the river in the storm in a kayak or on a raft. Really people? Way to risk not only your own life, but the emergency responders' lives as well! Why don't people just stay inside if it isn't a real emergency!? Even if the river weren't surging with record levels of rain and extremely high winds, the downed trees and other debris likely to be floating along are not something anyone shoud be out there playing around in!

Good Night (Hurricane) Irene, and Good Riddance!

We were lucky here. One very large tree limb down, but it didn't hit anything. The downspout came off the side of the house and fell on our trash cans. No damage there, either, just a trip up a ladder for Kev when the weather is calm. The neighbors' yard is at a lower grade than ours and got all the run off. It looks like a flooded rice paddy. But so far, that's the worst on our block.

Apparently there are people in the village without power, some trees and power lines down, and maybe some flooding. All the Hudson River parks are still closed. It's still pretty windy, and more rain is expected, but it's not scary anymore. Just a typical summer rain, at this point. Whew. Stay safe everyone, but at least in NY, I think the worst is over!

But my heart breaks for the mom in North Carolina whose little boy was killed by a falling tree. And for everyone else harmed by this storm. I have been hugging my little boy a lot today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coney Island!

After seeing Yellow Brick Road, we hung out with friends for a bit, then headed to Coney Island. The weather did not cooperate, and Friday night fireworks didn't happen (nor was it really a good night for being on the amusement park rides, with a thunderstorm coming), but we did have time to enjoy the New York Aquarium, the boardwalk and the beach. Not as much time as Mikro would have liked, and he was annoyed not to get to ride the Cyclone for the first time, as he had planned, but the storm blew up suddenly and it was pretty scary for the first part of our ride home on the elevated subway lines. Buckets of rain, high winds, and lots of thunder and lightning, all seen from a bird's eye view. I promised Mikro we'd go back again this summer on a better weather day... Now he's picked out another roller coaster type ride to add to his list: The Soaring Eagle.

When I was a kid, I spent almost every summer day on the beach at Coney Island. I always get a kick out of seeing it now through Mikro's eyes!




There are ladies selling mangoes on the boardwalk these days. We got a nice juicy one!

Daredevil boy's wishlist:

The Yellow Brick Road

We saw an amazing Theaterworks production called The Yellow Brick Road with homeschooling friends at the Lucille Lortel Theater. It's an adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, in which the young latina main character, Dora, struggles with wanting to be a generic American kid versus embracing her heritage, which she does after a trip through Oz. The only word for this show is enchanting! I can't say enough good things about it. If it comes to a theater near you, see it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My, How Time Flies!

Summer is fast fading into autumn, and our beach days are numbered...

Here's Mikro practicing to be a life guard. Incredibly, in just 7 short years, he'll be eligible to apply for a job as a junior lifeguard!

(These shots were taken shortly before closing time, when no one was in the water.)


We finally saw the Pompeii: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius exhibit at the Discovery Time Square Exposition Center. It was a very interesting exhibit, broken into a before and after arrangement. In between the two sections, there is a video presentation showing a recreation of the erruption of the volcano. The sound system lets you feel the rumble.

The frescoes are incredible. As a potter, I really enjoyed the terracotta vessels (and annoyed my family by sketching them...) The body casts are chilling, especially the toddler and the small children. They got to me in a visceral, mama bear way. There's a lot of information on daily life, including food and cooking, house layout, trade, jewelry, etc. Very worth a visit, though I'm not sure I would take a kid much younger than 7, because it's a fairly traditional museum exhibit-- not a lot of hands on, specifically kid oriented material, but if your kids have studied Pompeii, definitely see it before it closes on September 5th!

The published exhibition catalog really isn't a catalog-- it's very short and light on content, and made me wish photography had been permitted...

Scratch is fun!

Free from MIT: Scratch, a tool for introducing kids to programming. They can create animations and games. I just downloaded it and fiddled a little. Mikro is just getting started with learning to draw with a mouse, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can come up with when he gets more familiar with this.

For now, I did a little animated cast of characters for this blog, which you can have a look at by clicking on the Gadgets and Widgets tab near the top of the blog... If you click on a character, they will introduce themself...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Library Party!

The Summer Reading Game is over already, and our wonderful local library threw a party for the kids who participated. Mikro got a certificate for completing the game, and lots of prizes from the kiddie carnival games (including some books!)

The library has a pretty little Japanese garden:

And a monkey up a tree... Can you spot Mikro?

Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum and Pier 84

On Thursday, Kevin had a meeting with one of the curators at the Intrepid about an upcoming exhibit on ejection seats, Kevin's weird area of expertise. After their talk, he's going to be lending them a couple of seats and some other stuff for the exhibit. Mikro and I tagged along, and got to enjoy the museum and the park at neighboring Pier 84. One of Mikro's favorite exhibits was the LEGO model of the Intrepid.

We explored the hanger deck first, and particularly the kid friendly zone, then moved on to Combat Information Center, and finally, the flight deck. My two aviation geeks were in heaven.

Then we spent a peaceful and relaxing evening watching the sun set from Pier 84 (although first, Mikro got himself thoroughly soaked and cooled off in the water park area.) It's been a long time since we just hung out like that. Usually we are rushing off on some amazing field trip, and often we have more than one thing to do in a day. We were thinking about heading to the Times Square Discovery Exposition Center to see the Pompeii exhibit, but my back was bad, and we decided to save it for another day, and just enjoy the afternoon. I'm glad we did!