Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In Memory of Sue

We met in Joplin...two days after an F5 tornado ripped the small Missouri town apart, killing over 160 people in the process.

Sue was a fellow Red Cross volunteer, from Sacramento. The day we met, she happened to be sitting next to me in a large van, full of fellow we made a quick run to the airport to pick up rental cars for more volunteers. We had just introduced ourselves to each other when my cell phone rang....It was my mother, who was sobbing, and giving me the devastating news that my sister had just been diagnosed with rectal cancer.

Without missing a beat, Sue immediately reached out to me...gave me a hug...and became one of my dearest, most loved friends.

We worked side-by-side for the next month, initially the only two female ERV drivers in a sea of testosterone and machoism. Our days were long, and at the end of our shift, we'd chill out, talking about our respective families. I have a tendency to let the frustrations of the job get to me - but Sue was a calming presence, always reminding me of the mission - of why we were there, serving. She didn't just know the American Red Cross mission - she LIVED it.

If I could describe Sue with a few words, they would be: Genuine. Loving. Big-hearted. And wickedly funny. She had a sly sense of humor, and she could crack me up with a clever one-liner, and it would be enough to keep me going when I wanted to throw in the towel. What you saw is what you got with Sue - there was no pretense, no phoniness, no hypocrisy. She lived. She loved. She gave.

I saw this later during our time in Joplin. The local animal rescue haven was a few miles up the road, and the shelter was inundated with lost pets...dogs, cats, birds - all separated from their family because of the storm and the devastation in town. Sue soon found this haven, and being the animal lover that she was, she would go there at the end of her 14-hour shift with the Red Cross to offer comfort and solace to the pets. She would come back to our dorm and talk endlessly about the different dogs she had fallen in love with, and I'm sure if she could have, she would have adopted Every. Single. One. of them and taken them back to Sacramento with her.

She loved. Big.

At the end of our deployment in Joplin, she tracked down a small embroidery shop, where she had a t-shirt made for me, emblazoned with an inside joke that she had cracked me up with during our time together. She dared me to wear that t-shirt on my last day of work in Joplin...and so I did, which got a huge laugh from our boss. I still have that t-shirt in my closet, and it makes me smile to this day when I see it.

After Joplin, we didn't see each other again, although we stayed in touch via telephone and Facebook. In 2011, I served in New Jersey for Hurricane Irene...she was in New York. We'd often talk at night on the phone, after our shifts, to offer up support and humor to each other. During Hurricane Isaac in 2012, I was in Mississippi...she deployed to Louisiana. I missed her again during Hurricane Sandy - she was initially in New York, while I was in New Jersey. We may have been separated by miles, but never by heart.

To sign onto Facebook last night and see that she died...suddenly...yesterday morning, in her sleep...words can't tell you how much I hurt. I am shocked. I am pissed. I am scared.

She was my age. She was only 51. Things like this don't happen. This shocks me.

Why her? She was a giver. She was an angel on earth. This angers me.

Who do I turn to when I'm frustrated again with the Red Cross? Who will remind me of our mission? This frightens me.

A fellow Red Cross volunteer wrote this touching tribute to Sue on Facebook, and I have to copy it here, as it is beautiful:

We never met face to face, but like so many other things that good souls bring, we met heart to heart. The hearts that you have touched are a gift that bears witness to goodness in the human soul. It is the way you lived your life and the gift you left for us to cherish. It is a gift that is everlasting and one that never dies.....go now free spirit and be one with the many hearts you have known who reside on the other side.....we will remember you in our own hearts, the ones you touched so tenderly here as we wait to meet again......You will be with us always........

RIP, Suzanne Larippa. I miss you already.

May 18, 1962 - July 30, 2013


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lunch in the Park? Yeah, Right....

...the one in which we are but a blip in a sea of yellow....

After our 2-hour adventure through the streets of Wall Street, it was now time for lunch...because, for whatever reason, no one does a Food Tour through Wall Street, so we hadn't eaten. I don't get it, either. I mean, come ON! EVERYTHING should be tied back to food!!! Originally, The Plan had called for us to venture to Shake Shack, but this didn't happen. First, it would have been a bit of a walk...and my feet, averaging 19,000 steps a day on my pedometer, were pretty much on strike at this point. Secondly, Shake Shack is crazy busy pretty much ANY time of the day, and we were going to hit it at NOON. On a work day. In Manhattan. Unless we were willing to wait, oh say, two hours, for lunch - it wasn't happening.

We were now at Zuccotti Park (which was formerly known as Liberty Plaza Park), which sits right in the heart of the financial district. It's a good-sized park, with lots of benches and such to sit upon...however, every bench, every "such", is taken. Apparently, there is a lot of construction going on in the financial district right now - what with the World Trade Center site, as well as other new buildings, go figure, and this means there are hundreds - if not thousands, of construction workers. And apparently, Every. Single. FREAKING Construction Worker. goes to lunch AT THE SAME TIME.

Which is noon. Which is now. Which is crazy.

Who knew?

So...bad planning on my part. Don't plan to go to lunch at noon - on a work day - when every other human being in a 5-mile radius in Manhattan is going to lunch. Gah.

Every restaurant/food truck/cart/diner etc in a 5-mile radius is packed. Every available space in the park is packed. The ground - packed. The benches - packed.

You get the idea.

The park is SWIMMING in humanity, all donned in bright neon-yellow construction vests, and we are but three small peons fighting for space. This, again, is something that takes some getting used to...because back home, when you go to a "park" - you get wide-open spaces, where you can throw a frisbee or walk a dog. Here, you wouldn't even be able to walk a flea.

Surrounding Zuccotti Park are all kinds of places to grab a bite to eat...besides numerous food carts, there are also some little pizza & sandwich shops - as well as a Burger King. However, these every one of these joints have long lines of yellow-clad men, who look to be hungry, and in a hurry to get their food and then get back to work.

After perusing the chaotic scene, we finally opted to head for a little cafe, Koyzina Kafe, located directly across from the park. Lots of family-friendly options here - including made-to-order pasta, and made-to-order salads. There's also sandwiches, quiche, and baked goods. There's some limited indoor seating, which was helpful, since the park was pretty crowded at this time. Also note - there are restrooms. Whenever you can find a public restroom in Manhattan, you need to take advantage of it. Yes. That is so important, I've bolded it. Write that down.

We had a pretty generic lunch - salads and sandwiches - which were fresh and flavorful. For dessert, I had to try some cannoli:


After our lunch, we had a little bit of time before our next stop, so we spent some time enjoying beautiful Zuccotti Park. At 1:00 pm, the construction workers had left - in droves - to head back to work, and the park took on a more serene, quiet feel....

Soon, it was time to head down the street to our next stop - the 9/11 Tribute Center....


Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Wall Street Experience

...the one in which we occupy Wall Street....

I love most things. I love music... movies... sports... books... pop culture... fashion... traveling... animals... and food. In fact, if you made a list of just about every single thing on the planet, I could pretty much affirm that I would like just about 99% of stuff on that list.


What I do NOT like is talk of money. Especially stocks and investments and portfolios.


Unfortunately, talk of money and stocks and investments and portfolios is pretty much one of Hubby's favorite things in the world - so the old adage of "opposites attract" is pretty much true in our case. Hubby will start to talk of what the Stock Market did during the day, and my eyes will glaze over and my brain fills with this mysterious gel that pretty much renders me a zombie.

I don't do it on purpose, I swear. I really try to pay attention...but it just...doesn't...happen.

However, being the good, supportive wife that I am (don't laugh) and knowing how much Hubby LOVES the Stock Market - I researched tours of the financial district in Manhattan...more so for Hubby's sake than anyone else's.

I soon found a company called the Wall Street Experience, that offers several tours. I chose the 2-hour "Financial Crisis Tour" - that offers not only a bit of history of Wall Street and the stock exchange itself, but some history of the recent financial collapse. I figured I could tough it out for two hours...especially since Hubby toughed it out at Tiffany's, for my sake. It's the least I could do.

So, after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel (FREE!), we were back on the subway - along with 3,275,529 other New Yorkers - heading south to the financial district. We arrived a bit early, but soon found our meeting place, 15 Broad Street, as well as our guide for the day, James. Soon, we were joined by another family, who had three kids....Whew. I was worried that Daughter would be the ONLY Klingon participating in this tour, so I was actually relieved to see three more Klingons. I figured if my eyes glazed over and my brain turned to Zombie Brain during the tour, I wouldn't be alone.

Promptly at 10:00 am, James began the tour. We started right at the corner of Wall Street at Federal Hall, considered the "birthplace" of American government. It was here that George Washington took the oath of office as our first President...and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. This is part of our National Parks System, and is FREE to the public.

Yes. You read that right. FREE. Write that down - as the words "FREE" and "New York City" don't often go together.

The outside of Federal Hall...with a statue of George Washington overlooking Wall Street....

Federal Hall is actually pretty interesting. We only stayed for a brief moment, but I would have LOVED to explore this treasure in more depth. If I were to go back to NYC, this would be on my must-do list - because it was fascinating.

The stone that George Washington stood on while being inaugurated...cracked and, huh?!

RIGHT across the street from Federal Hall is the New York Stock Exchange building. Hubby would have given his right arm to go inside this building, but that wasn't happenin'. After the events of September 11, 2001, security is TIGHT here. Ain't no one getting in this building unless you are badged, branded, and probably blood-typed, as well. So...James talked about it, as well as it's history, while we stood outside the front of the building:

Although I really wasn't getting much out of James' narrative (although, he WAS good, and he knew his stuff - it was just my Zombie Brain), I REALLY was enjoying the architecture of the buildings in the district:

I mean, I'm from Kansas City...where everything is pretty...flat. And we just don't have these freaking AMAZING tall buildings like this! I was getting a crick in my neck from trying to take them all in.

I DID pay attention long enough to learn this next little bit of trivia...ever heard of the phrase, "cornering the market"? It's used in that fascinating, exciting, titillating talk about stocks and such - and means to get enough control of a particular stock to allow the price to be manipulated. Well...I learned how the phrase came about....Yup. I promise to make this short and that YOU don't get Zombie Brain.

To understand this, though, I'm going to show a picture of the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, which is where the Stock Exchange building is located - as well as the original offices of gazillionaire, J.P. Morgan:

JP's offices are to the left...the Stock Exchange is to the right....

There was a "panic" on Wall Street in 1907, after two men tried to get control of the copper market. Panic ensued - banks closed their doors, and New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy. J.P. Morgan stepped in to save the day, by bailing out the banks and the market. Because of the location of his offices - the phrase "corner the market" was coined. Voila.

Speaking of J.P. Morgan's former offices, the building was closed to the public, as it was being used as a movie set. There were signs everywhere, indicating where the film crew & such were to report - for costumes, catering, etc.

We were curious - what movie would be filming in the heart of Wall Street? Perhaps another sequel to the Wall Street movies? Some big extravaganza about high financiers in the financial district?

Any guesses yourself??


You'll never guess. So I'll tell you. It's a live-action sequel to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", and will be released in 2014.

Yup. Turtles on Wall Street. Who'd have guessed it?!

We visited the Deutsche Bank, located at 60 Wall Street, which is the current headquarters for JP Morgan Chase. The lobby of this building is open to the public...and is definitely worthy of a visit. It's decorated in a weird, Liberace-Vegas style, with palm trees:

Which is pretty bizarre, considering this is the headquarters of a major financial institution. It's open to the public not because of the kitschy decor, but because there's a subway station in the lobby. Yeah - I guess the developers got carried away with the size of the building, and they ended up building over a public subway station entrance. So now - they have to keep the lobby open to the public during the week.

We then walked down Wall Street, while James gave us more history and trivia and stories...and I don't remember any of it. Zombie Brain. It's inevitable when someone starts talking about money. However, I DO know that, once again, I was blown away by the buildings...they were SO FREAKING TALL!!!!!!

EEP! I LOVE this!!!!

The Trump Building - at 70-stories tall - was built in 1928, with the goal of being the tallest building in the world. It DID hold that title - for exactly ONE month - until the Chrysler Building surpassed it by erecting a 125-foot spire on top:

This is located at 40 Wall Street....

Outside the Trump Building...I had to crane my head WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back to see the top. Squee!

There was only one thing that could get more attention at that moment than the super-duper-mega-tall buildings, and that was a food truck. But not just ANY food truck. No - this was the Mona Lisa of food trucks:

Wafels & Dinges!!! NOM!!!!!

If I'd had ANY CLUE as to where we were at the moment I spotted this truck, I would have marked it down - so we could go back and visit this little delight for lunch. was not meant to be. THIS was as close to a Wafels & Dinges truck as we got the ENTIRE TEN DAYS IN NYC! GAH! That is just not right. Don't make this mistake, folks. You should run - not walk - to a Wafels & Dinges truck if you EVER, EVER, EVER get an opportunity - Wall Street Tour be damned.

Anyway. Moving on.

The streets in the financial district are narrow enough - without all these dozens of trailers that were parked here. These were being used for the EPIC BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to be released in 2014 (see - I'm doing a preview there...promoting the movie. I should get paid for this.)

I looked for Whoopie Goldberg or Megan Fox - two of the stars - but to no avail. They were NOT our celebrity encounter.

Check out this next little delight:

It's not enough that the design of this building is like, totally beautiful and also has the distinction of being the old Cocoa Exchange building. Yes. Cocoa. Which is essential for chocolate.


It's now condos. I would SO want a condo here.

We then began strolling past Broadway, where we passed the famous Charging Bull statue located in Bowling Green park:

The artist took TWO years to sculpt this thing...and when it was finished, it weighed an impressive 3 1/2 tons. Deciding that the bull needed to be on Wall Street, the artist loaded it up on his truck one night, and with some friends, clandestinely dropped it right in front of the Stock Exchange Building on a cold December night in 1989. No one knew who had done it, and it was quite the mystery. The Stock Exchange, having SO sense of humor - or adventure - removed the statue the very next day. However, Mayor Ed Koch, as well as the NYC Parks Commissioner, recognized a good thing when they saw it - and they had the statue permanently installed at Bowling Green.

Don't even attempt to get a picture of it without hundreds of tourists surrounding it. I have figured out that there is an EXTREMELY powerful magnet in the sculpture that attracts barbarians tourists. It's the only explanation for it.

So...continuing down Broadway...I learned that this is where all of the famous Ticker Tape Parades happen! SQUEE!!! To date, 204 parades have been held, and a granite strip commemorates each one...walking down the sidewalk, it was fun to read them:

The architecture here was fact, this little stretch of Broadway is called "Canyon of Heroes" - and it was plain to see why:

It's like a concrete Grand Canyon...with a river of people at it's base....!!!

All too soon, our tour was over. James made sure that everyone knew where there next stop was, providing directions to us so we wouldn't be lost on Wall Street forever. The tour was good...even for someone like me, who has no interest whatsoever in financial matters. Kudos to Daughter, who even gleamed some interesting information from this. I felt two hours was the perfect length to explore the history of the area, as well as see some interesting sites - so yes, I would definitely recommend The Wall Street Experience.

After a brief lunch, we had plans to head over to the 9/11 stay tuned....



The Plan: Wednesday, June 26th

If you're following along on our NYC adventures, well...I'm amazed. Really. Kudos to you for your patience and stamina as we slog through this...I promise, though, there are more AMAZING photos and AMAZING well as our one celebrity encounter.

Okay. Perhaps "AMAZING" is a stretch, but it's an attention grabber, and I needed something to grab your attention in the first sentence. An old writing trick, if you will. Six months from now, when we finally get to the end of this trip report, my dear readers will have NO MEMORY anymore that I promised you "AMAZING." Hee.

Anyway, we're up to Wednesday, June 26th. We have good news and good news today.

The good news is that we're going to explore the lower tip of Manhattan - known as the Financial District, or Wall Street. We'll also visit the 9/11 area, which is in that same area.

A view of the financial district....

Yup - heading south - to the Financial District at the lower tip....

The OTHER good news is that a cold front - so to speak - has moved in, and the temperatures and humidity have dropped to a more comfortable level. Not that we need cooler temperatures, because, as we'll find out, the Financial District is pretty much nothing but GIANT, TALL skyscrapers that shade everything in sight.

Anyway - here is THE PLAN:

10:00 AM 2-hour Walking Tour with the "Wall Street Experience"

12:00 PM Lunch - perhaps at Shake Shack?

2:00 PM 9/11 Memorial Tour/Museum visit

6:00 PM Dinner at Fig & Olive Restaurant

8:00 PM Broadway show - "Mamma Mia"

Let's see how we did on our plan...not TOO ambitious, right??!!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

An Evening in Times Square

...the one in which our mugs are famous...for all of two seconds....

After leaving the theater, where we've all been swept away by the magic of the musical "Once", we've come to the realization that we are hungry.

Actually, make that STARVING.

We hadn't had dinner, as we were still under the effects of our Harlem Soul food adventure at the time and had skipped supper. But - it's now going on 10:00 pm, and our tummies have realized that they are in some serious need of food.

Oh, heavens...whatever shall we do? It's not like there isn't a plethora of restaurants in the heart of New York City at 10:00 pm to choose from....

However, Bernard B Jacobs Theater, which is where we were, just HAPPENS to be mere steps away from Junior's Restaurant....

And Junior's Restaurant just HAPPENS to serve the best cheesecake on the planet....


It didn't take much convincing for everyone to head to Junior's.

And when I say "everyone", I mean not just our family of three...I mean the other 1,000 theatergoers that have left the Bernard B Jacobs Theater, as well. Yup...we now found ourselves inadvertently part of a Hungry Barbarian Stampede - all hungry, and all with the same intent. Get to Junior's Restaurant as soon as possible. We then did what any good cattle does when caught in a stampede.

We ran.


Okay - not really. Well. Perhaps a bit. We walked really, really, really fast in order to beat the rest of the Barbarian herd to Junior's, and we managed to snag a table before the waiting line formed. This is why you see New Yorkers walking really, really fast - it's always about beating the lines that inevitably develop everywhere there. Just a tip.

Junior's Restaurant is actually OFFICIALLY called "Junior's Most Fabulous Cheesecake and Desserts." So...when you have a name like THAT, you know they've got something special. Founded in 1950, the restaurant's signature cheesecake is so good that Arabian princes have been known to fly over to the U.S. in their private planes just to pick some up.

While we were waiting for our food, we dined on the complimentary beets and pickles that is a staple of any meal at Junior's:

Soon, our meal arrived. Daughter got a standard cheeseburger, which normally I wouldn't bother taking a picture of....However, her meal came with Junior's "famous" onion rings - which are very...weird. I'm not a fan - they taste like an onion donut to me - but some people are CRAZY about these things:

Hubby got the egg salad sandwich, which looked pretty tasty:

As for me, I went with one of my favorites at any venue, the Cobb Salad:

This picture really doesn't do it justice...that salad was large enough for three people. I barely made a dent in it, as I wanted to save room for the famous cheesecake. Knowing the portion sizes of cheesecake are large, we decided to share a piece:

Devil's Food Chocolate Cheesecake...yum!!!

And such a horrible picture! Sorry about that...I think, in my excitement to delve in to this little beauty, I didn't really focus on taking a great photo. Ack. Just know that this was quickly devoured. Nom!

Junior's is never going to be known for their gourmet food. And that's okay. It's got good food, at decent prices, and it's a great spot for a meal after a Broadway show. We decided to walk for awhile through Times Square, as it was an absolutely PERFECT night. Strolling along with the other 2,529,295 tourists in Time Square that night, we meandered through Duffy Square, the "heart" of Times Square. Here, we found ourselves drawn - like a magnet - to the iconic "Red Stairs" - the glowing glass steps that act as a beacon in Duffy Square.

The Red Stairs are actually a roof - of the TKTS booth, where you can score discounted Broadway tickets by day. The 27 steps are pretty much swamped with thousands of tourists every day - some just sitting and taking in the scene below them - a panoramic picture-perfect photo opportunity of Times Square:

Something I learned: the steps are "cleared" every night around 1:00 AM by the Parks Department of NYC...they don't want the steps to become a sleeping area for the homeless....

The stairs were - as usual - packed with making our way to the top was a dodging game:

Once we got to the top, we had fun with the Hyundai Video Camera...back in December, the Hyundai corporation connected cameras to its main outdoor billboard at the top of the TKTS stairs - so that people can capture images of themselves and have them projected live on the billboard.

Billboard - at the top of the red stairs....

Look to the right...Hubby is taking our photo; I'm in red; and Daughter has her tongue sticking out.

Yes. That photo will be on our Christmas cards this year.

After having fun watching ourselves on the big screen, we made our way through the maze of people on the Red Stairs, and wandered down Times Square some more...

We eventually came across a guy doing spray-paint art...where he recreates the NYC skyline "in space". Pretty amazing stuff - he can do an entire picture in about 3.5 minutes - and charges $20 per picture. Pretty good rates. Daughter begs for one, so we spend a few minutes watching this guy as he creates Daughter a masterpiece:

Should I mention that Daughter left this masterpiece accidentally behind, at the hotel, when we came home??!!


(But - never fear...our fabulous hotel later shipped it to us...they were awesome!)

A short stroll back to the hotel, and we had completed another day. We were thankful that Daughter's illness earlier in the day had passed, leaving us to enjoy a fabulous evening. Tomorrow - another adventure planned!



*Image from HERE

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: "Once"

...the one in which we are blown away....

Gah - SUCH a hot day in NYC. It's one of those days that are just miserable...especially when you take the heat and humidity, and add in the dirt and pollution from the city. Daughter was pretty much passed out in the subway, and thankfully, we only had a short distance between the subway station and our hotel. You might ask, "But...Drama Queen...if Daughter was sick, why didn't you spring for a taxi to take you from Harlem to your hotel in Manhattan?"

Good question. And here's why: because cabs are scarce in Harlem. In fact, the majority of the cabs in the other neighborhoods of Manhattan very seldom - if ever - visit Harlem. We would have been waiting a long, long time if we'd attempted to hail a cab in Harlem to take us back to midtown Manhattan. So - we went back the way we came - via subway. With a sick child. Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Once we got her back to the hotel, she was immediately put to bed for awhile...with cool towels, Pepto Bismol, cold drinking water, and her favorite tunes in her iPod. Within minutes, she was sound asleep. It was actually rather we all took the time to lie down and just chill - literally.

The Plan had us going to Junior's Restaurant for dinner around 5:30 pm, before our Broadway show at 7:00 pm. We decided to punt this, for two reasons:

1. We were all still stuffed from our soul food adventure in Harlem....

2. Junior's is famous for their cheesecake - which was the whole reason we were going...but with an upset stomach, the LAST thing Daughter needed was cheesecake.

So...the plan changed, and we were good with that. After a nap, we woke up around 6:00 pm, and we were all feeling pretty good. Refreshed. Recharged. Ready to go. Daughter said she felt 100x better than she had earlier, so with her assurances that she was fine, we headed over to the theater neighborhood of Manhattan:

The theater neighborhood is located in Times well as some of the Midtown West neighborhood....

Our destination was the historic Bernard B Jacobs Theater, located at 242 West 45th Street. This was a very short subway ride away, and within minutes, we were outside the doors, waiting to see the 2012 Tony Award-winning show for Best Musical, "Once."

The theater was built in the 1920's, and has hosted some amazing talent, including Mae West, Gypsy Rose Lee, Laurence Olivier, Bette Davis, and Morgan Freeman. Julia Roberts made her Broadway debut here in 2006 in "Three Days of Rain." Being an older theater, it's on the smaller side - which is perfect for the intimate show that we're going to see.

As I said before, "Once" won the Best Musical Tony award in 2012. It actually won a total of EIGHT Tony Awards that year, and then went to win a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

I had been fortunate enough to see "Once" when I was previously in New York, back in February. It had blown me away. It was all I could talk about - but being that no one else, outside of the immediate Broadway circle, has HEARD of this show - my talking fell on deaf ears. I HAD to get Hubby and Daughter to see this show...but would they like it? Or would they think it was a dud?

The doors opened at 6:30 pm, and we strolled into the theater and made our way up to our seats. Because I had bought our tickets far in advance, I had been able to snag some pretty good seats - they were located in the first row of the balcony. In dead center. We had an unobstructed view of the stage below us, and could take everything in.

Pre-show, you're allowed to venture up on the stage and purchase a drink from the "bar" that is set up and where the opening scene takes place. We were content with watching the guests venture up, and soon, the musicians came out to begin playing some upbeat Irish music on stage.

The lights soon dimmed...the guests were ushered offstage...the musicians kept playing...and the show began.

What can I say about "Once"? It's a love has has some's intimate...and it has some of THE most amazing music and songs I've heard in a long time. It's NOT your typical "big Broadway production" with chorus girls, big bands, and big dance numbers. It's intimate. It's personal. It's heartbreaking.

When the show was over, I looked over at Daughter, who was wiping tears from her face....

I looked at Hubby to get his reaction.

"Well...what did you think?" I asked, a bit hesitantly. I knew that I had loved it...but Hubby...?

"That...was amazing. Probably the best show I've ever seen," he said. He was pretty much stunned.

EEP! He loved it!!!!

We ALL loved it. My fears were for naught, as they fell under the spell of "Once" as I had.

We left the theater, where we briefly stopped on Shubert Alley so that Daughter could do her best "Once" impression (she's playing an air guitar, if you can't figure it out!) before we moved on....

So...thumbs up for this show. Run - don't walk - and be sure to see this when you get an opportunity.

Take a Kleenex.