The Bournes & The Bournes

Sean and I had the Brooklyn Bournes over for dinner in our tiny Manhattan apartment tonight, and we all had a lovely time.

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Dinnertime for the grown-ups!

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Miles

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Eland and his mama

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Uncle Sean with Miles

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Miles, going over a letter Sean and I got from the bank, and Eland in the foreground

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So sweet!

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Hi Iggy!

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Playin’ around

The younger Bournes ate their macaroni & cheese with carrots, followed by the adult Bournes enjoying some red wine, lentils with honey-roasted carrots, kale, and latkes…while the young ones played. And then the six of us ended the evening with ice cream and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

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coriander close-up

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kale close-up

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cilantro close-up

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our California wines for the evening

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crooked dinner plate

It was such a fun time, and I saved the best photo for last:

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Eland loves his Uncle Sean! (For the record, neither of these Bourne men were injured and both ended the night with smiles on their faces!)

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Thanksgiving Day Parade

Here are some photos from Thanksgiving 2015, when Alison, Judy, Miles, Eland, and I checked a major item off our bucket lists by attending the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

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I would have loved to have taken some photos of Santa, but the jumping up and down and screaming took precedence (I mean Alison, Judy, and me….not the children).

And after all that fun we still had a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner in Brooklyn and Cameron and Alison’s place! It was certainly a Thanksgiving to remember.

Saturday Snow Day

Sean and I babysat our nephews in Brooklyn last night, and as we were leaving, the snow started to fall. When I woke up at eight this morning, I went straight to the window and saw a good few inches on the ground as snow continued to come down. I jumped on Sean, who was still sleeping, got him out of bed, and then we went downstairs to hang out with the guys who work at the Italian restaurant below our building. Carmine and Nicky are about as New York as humans can get — brilliant Italian-American accents, stories from growing up on the mean streets of the Lower East Side in the 50s and 60s, and a kind of toughness that I find endearing, but only because I’m on their good sides. We drank coffee and chatted with the monsignor of the basilica down the street, who advised us to have children as soon as possible.

When we finished our coffees and a fabulous muffin, Sean and I trekked around the neighborhood to see familiar streets, which are usually jam-packed with pedestrians, cyclists, cars, taxis, trucks…completely calm and whited out. People who passed said hello to one another; there was a general sense of fun and camaraderie. Kids were making snow angels, dogs were curiously leaping in the drifts, and extremely hardworking superintendents and city workers tirelessly shovelled the snow away from door entrances.

We decided to do a bit of shopping while some stores were still open. We grabbed some chocolate chips at our local grocery store so I could make cookies, and then we went to our home away from home, REI. My parents got us gift cards for Christmas, and I used them both up today by buying an awesome backpack for a trip Sean and I are planning in the spring. TRAVEL ANNOUNCEMENT! We’re going to Ireland! And the most exciting part is that we plan to do a day or two of true backpacking….hence my need for this sweet Deuter that we have affectionately named Sinead O’Connor. (Sean already has a backpack, which is currently nameless; we’ll work on that).

I spent most of the remainder of the day baking and cooking. Sean watched a lot of hockey. For breakfast I made us scrambled eggs on toast, in the afternoon I made these really tasty chocolate chip cookies, and then after another tromp through the snow, I made honey-roasted carrots with tahini-yogurt sauce (recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s amazing book, Plenty More) and these potato latkes. Deliciousness all around.

Now the snow has slowed. I’m blogging and dreaming of Ireland. Sean is switching between hockey games and consumer report-type YouTube videos about cars he might want to own one day. And we’re both enjoying the warmth of our “fire” (along with sound effects from an app). An overall great snow day.

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Happy on Prince Street

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Cafe Gitane (still open at this point)

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St. Patrick’s

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“Dramatic Tone” setting on my camera; view out our kitchen window

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Elizabeth Street

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lumps of bikes and cars

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Sculpture Garden in Nolita

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Mulberry Street

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Mott Street

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fire, maps, & Sinead

Christmas in British Columbia

Sean is now a Green Card holder, but before that lovely piece of plastic arrived in the mail, we were unsure of his ability to travel outside the US. Because of this concern, it took us a whole year to get back to Sean’s hometown of Vancouver.

Though it was a long wait, the excitement and comfort of being home for the holidays almost made up for the homesickness.

We got to see all of Sean’s family and our closest friends, and we were able to eat and walk in some of our favorite Vancouver-area places.

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Hiking to Jug Island with Tori & Kitty

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Rocket, representing our great friends, Angelique & Stuart!

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“We made it to the beach!”

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Kitty & Tori sampling some Port Moody brews

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One of the best things I have ever tasted (note: that’s a veggie dog)

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The Bournes at Crescent Beach New Year’s Day

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Lunch with Geoffrey & Arthur

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The famous Inukshuk at English Bay

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Jenny in moody B&W

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Boats of Vancouver

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Burrard Street Bridge

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Have you ever seen a mom more happy to see her son?!

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Lovely Miles ladies

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Jenny & her papa

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The view from my mother-in-law’s window. WOW factor for sure!

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Sunny walk in White Rock

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I can’t believe this is real.

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Bourne Christmas!

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my yummy vegan Christmas dinner!

(Even with my awesome new camera that Sean bought me for Christmas, I failed to take photos of a bunch of people we got to see over the holidays! There is no proof that we had wonderful times with Judy & Brian, Nancy & Wally, Angelique & Stuart, Winnie & Jason, Cherry & Gordon, and many more. Will. Remember. Next. Time.)

I can’t help but list some of the eateries we dined in (besides, of course, the fabulous home-cooked meals we enjoyed at Sean’s mom’s apartment, his dad and stepmom’s house, his aunt and uncle’s Sunnyside cabin, and his cousin’s awesome remodelled home):

  • The Tea House in Stanley Park…for a beautiful view and either high tea or a scrumptious lunch (they also do a brunch that seems spectacular)
  • Beaucoup in the South Granville neighborhood…for croissants that rival ones I had in France!
  • East is East on Main Street…for excellent chai tea and Indian fusion cuisine
  • Edible Canada…for a nice sit-down lunch or gourmet dinner on the famous Granville Island
  • Aroma in Port Moody…for delicious Indian food in a nice setting that is close to breweries and the Burrard Inlet (read: OCEAN). We enjoyed Aroma after a fun hike with Tori & Kitty.
  • Moody Ales in Port Moody…for sampling some great local brews.
  • Portobello Ristorante in Vancouver…for solid Italian dishes preceded by incredibly tasty garlic bread.
  • Bacchus Restaurant and Lounge…for some classy late-night cocktails by the fire

We had so much fun and already miss all our BC people; we look forward to another trip this summer.

Never-Ending Entertainment

I have been absolutely spoiled rotten by the amount of entertainment that is at our fingertips here in New York City. Over the last year, I have had the privilege of experiencing:

  • The Barber of Seville at the Metropolitan Opera House
    • a  Christmas present to ourselves!

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  • Chicago 
    • a surprise from Sean for my birthday!

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  • Kinky Boots 
    • a fun girls’ night out and a gift from Uncle Dave

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  • La Traviata 
    • We actually watched this on a big outdoor screen in Lincoln Center with Sean’s dad and stepmom – super fun!
  • Mets games
    • two spur-of-the-moment summer afternoons

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  • Michael Daves
    • awesome bluegrass musician who plays at a venue super close to our apartment; I went with my Dad when he visited in October!
  • Milk Carton Kids
    • I went solo in September and had a blast; they are incredible!
  • Phantom of the Opera
    • a super special gift from Sean’s dad and stepmom

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  • Punch Brothers
    • my favorite band. ever. I’ve already seen them twice – once at the Beacon Theater and once for free in Prospect Park
  • Rangers games
    • thanks to our friend, Marc, and Uncle Dave, both Sean and I have been to more than one game at Madison Square Garden

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  • Rhiannon Giddens
    • another incredible performer I’ve seen twice – once at the Town Hall in April and once for free in Prospect Park
  • River Whyless
    • a fantastic band we’ve seen twice in three times in NYC!
  • The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
    • an awesome evening in Rockefeller Center with Alison, Judy, and my Auntie Bec!

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  • Spring Awakening
    • a gift from Nancy and Wally who visited us in September; our favorite Broadway show we’ve seen! Seriously amazing.
  • Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
    • attended with our friends Elizabeth, John, and a Lily; a hilarious and powerful act by talented improv actors who perform 30 plays in 60 minutes
  • Watkins Family Hour, Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann
    • an incredible free concert at Lincoln Center – bands collaborated to play the entirety of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited album
  • Wicked
    • another gift from Sean’s dad and stepmom – we had a blast!
  • Yankees games
    • once with Nancy and Wally and once with Cameron, Alison, and our pilot friend Michael (who had just enough time on a layover for most of a baseball game!)

I’m looking forward to another year of entertainment!

Colorado Friendships

Last Spring, before I began working full-time, I flew into Denver from La Guardia, rented a car, and had a fun little adventure around the state.

I had visited Colorado a few times in the past to visit my best friend, Liz. Liz and I met in preschool in California, and during our kindergarten year her family moved to a suburb of Denver. But that didn’t stop us from being friends; we were pen-pals who saw each other once a year (twice when lucky!) until we lived in the same metropolitan area once again when we were 22. Then we had four glorious years together in the Bay Area before I moved to Bangkok. Now I’m in New York and she’s back in Colorado, where she bought a house with her husband and lives there with him and their adorable 14-month-old son, Davis. They’re just a few miles from Liz’s mom and dad, who are great people I consider my second set of parents! It was wonderful to see Liz and her family (I even got to see her sister who lives in Chicago but happened to be in Colorado when I was there).

Colorado has become a convenient hub for me to visit lots of friends! My friends Jill and Casey, whom I met while teaching in Bangkok, both call Colorado home. I planned my trip in April because I knew they’d both be home visiting their families during the Songkran Thai holiday (April is also Thai kids’ “summer” break; it’s the hottest time of year and marks the beginning of a new Thai Buddhist year).

Casey’s family lives in Fort Collins, which is a college town about 90 minutes north of Denver. Casey and I had a great time catching up, hanging out with her family, going on walks, doing yoga, eating delicious food, and reminiscing about our travels through Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Her boyfriend, Micheal, also a teacher in Thailand, came to Fort Collins while I was there, and it was great to catch up with him too. They are an awesome couple, and I can’t wait to see them here in NYC in a few months!

Casey and I also drove down to a suburb of Denver to visit our other teacher friend, Jill! We went out to dinner, discussed the huge American portion sizes, and then had a fun slumber party at Jill’s house. It was surreal to be hanging out with these girls in America. The three of us had never been together outside of Southeast Asia before! And while Casey came to my wedding, she and I had never seen each other in the U.S. before our time together in Colorado (I got married in Canada)! I love my international friendships.

In between staying with Casey and staying with Jill, I drove to Boulder to see my friend Tamar. Tamar and I met while volunteering at a yoga studio in San Jose, and I’m so happy that we’ve stayed in touch over the years! We love to talk about books and travel and share vegetarian recipes. Tamar and her boyfriend live in a nice neighborhood not far from downtown Boulder, which is one of my very favorite places. It was so nice to have a great meal with them and spend time in such a lovely city.

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My only regret is that I actually didn’t see all of my Colorado friends. There a few more that I hope to see on my next trip!

Sean has never been to Colorado, something we plan to remedy this coming spring. It’s an awesome state with so much hiking, great food, cute towns…not to mention some of my favorite people in the world!

A few notes:

  1. I clearly need my #2 resolution listed here. Sincere apologies for the lack of photos of some of these said favorite people!
  2. Liz, Josh, Davis, and I had some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had at the Denver Biscuit Company. Highly recommended slathered in their vegetarian mushroom gravy and with fried eggs on top!

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3. On my way from Aurora to Fort Collins, I stopped at Crema for a latte, and it was delicious.

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Turning 30 in NYC

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This week marks the close of both my third decade of life and my first year living in Manhattan!

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As I look ahead at my life as a 30-year-old person, a few goals/resolutions have come to mind:

  1. Write. I miss blogging. It’s such a great way to document life events and to share my experiences with friends and family whom I don’t have the fortune of living near. And I’ve got a lot to tell you all about — family and friends visiting us here in NYC; visiting people in California, Colorado, and Vancouver; sight-seeing in New York, Philadelphia, the Hudson River Valley, Asheville NC, Washington DC, and Mystic CT…and more!
  2. Photograph. Sean bought me a camera for Christmas so that I can take better photos and also learn a new skill. I know very little about photography, but this year I’d like to learn more.
  3. Run, Stretch, Strengthen, Meditate. New York has made me a serious walker, but I have lost sight of my identity as a runner and yogini. I have no regrets about taking a break from two activities that have always been part of my routine, but I’m ready to get back into the groove. Alison and I are planning to run a half-marathon in the spring, and strategically placing my yoga mat in the middle of my tiny living room has been encouraging me to practice more yoga (i.e., I trip on the mat, fall down, and figure I may as well do a chaturanga…you’ve got to start somewhere!).
  4. Cook. There is something about Manhattan that has made me less of a home cook. Could it be the long work hours? Could it be the lack of AC (at least in the summer)? Could it be the extreme availability of every food known to mankind within a five-block radius? Yes, yes, and yes. But Sean and I both miss the fun, creativity, and cash-saving that goes along with cooking at home. We’re making it a priority to cook at home more frequently, but of course we still have a checklist of New York restaurants to try! (It’s all about balance.)
  5. See. Sean and I won’t be on the East Coast forever, so we’re trying to see as much of it as we can while we’re here. Our next official escape from the city will be Montauk next month; we are looking forward to borrowing Alison and Cameron’s awesome car and driving to the very far East End of Long Island.

I just wanted to formally announce to the blogosphere that I’m back! Stay tuned!

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