A fall trip to New York City is one of Nora’s fondest traditions that dates back to the years of fall book tours. New York would be the last stop on the tour, then BW and the family would meet her at the Palace to relax after weeks on the road. It was the breather before the holidays.
Well, a breather and a chance for Nora to finish her holiday shopping. She still does. [humbug]
Her favorite place to stay is the Champagne Suite at the Palace which is large enough for the entire family to stay comfortably.
Covid interrupted the trip in 2020 and in 2021, the suite was taken for Nora’s dates. This year? She was back, baby. Broadway and dining out remain off the table for now, so BW opted to stay home. Kayla planned to come on her fall break, then had an opportunity to travel with friends. So Nora, Jason, Kat and Griffin rode up in a new-to-them small bus. Everyone was comfortable and Griffin loved it.
I love October in New York for the weather and the sports. My husband and I drove up a day early so we could see the Mets on Saturday night (the only win in the series against the Padres) and then the Jets on Sunday afternoon. We were 2 for 2 for in-person sports so happy, despite the Mets losing the series on Sunday night. We’re native New Yorkers and just keep hold of our teams.
Nora and family arrived Saturday afternoon after creeping so slowly through tunnel traffic I had to leave for Citifield before they reached the hotel. I popped up for a quick hello before football, but didn’t spend time with them until Monday.
It was an absolutely gorgeous October 10 (aka someone’s birthday), even with the Columbus Day Parade screwing up our walk to the new flagship UGG store on Fifth. Nora, Kat and I spent a nice hour wandering, then an enforced 25 minutes watching the parade since we were held at a crosswalk until a break in the marchers.
Once allowed to cross, we headed back to the hotel for a break. Then I had a late lunch with my sister downtown and Nora decided to walk up Madison Avenue on a gift mission.
A side note: Sunday evening, Kat’s nephews and nibling came over from New Jersey with their moms. When they got to the suite, they reported meeting Dennis Quaid in the lobby. Nora replied, “You should have called me – I love Dennis Quaid!!” Please note, I only run into athletes and saw many San Diego Padres and the Cleveland Guardians — also at the Palace.
Back to Monday. We get on at the 53rd floor, then the elevator opened at the 51st and Mr. Quaid walks in, finishing up a conversation with someone who remained on his floor. He was in front of me, looking ahead at the doors — as one does on an elevator. I looked over at Nora who gave me bug-eyes. (Later, Kat said he probably caught us in the reflection of the doors ruining all my fantasies of being cool.)
Dennis Quaid half turns and asks what we’re all doing today. I told him we were riding the elevator until we ran into him. And then we all chatted a bit on the minute long ride. He’s doing a project for HBO Max with Stephen Soderbergh. (Ok, he mentioned Soderbergh and I googled the rest.)
Guess who else is in the project? Timothy Olyphant! We hoped to run into DQ again to find out where Timothy Olyphant is staying. No such luck. But a fun birthday story.
On Tuesday, Nora and Jason took Griffin to the Central Park Zoo. I walked uptown with them to enjoy the lovely morning. Griffin was taking in all the sights and sounds. Every time he heard a horn or a siren he’d yell “Watch out!” as safety always comes first.
When they returned in the afternoon, Nora and Jason reported that Griffin took a couple moments to look over the Spider Web Scramble Net, but once he watched some kids playing, he climbed up and had the best time — never once letting go of his truck.
After nearly an hour, Jason retrieved Griffin so they could take in some more sights at the zoo. That turned into a ramble in the park to find the carousel — which dad and boy enjoyed a lot.
On the walk back, they found a subway stop with Nora’s intials.
In big Griffin news, next week he turns 4 AND starts school!
In Griffin and Nana news, Nora got in an extra 5K steps every day with Griffin — either chasing, racing or playing hide and seek.
Does a Cranky Publicist do any of that? Why no, but we got into a great rhythm of him doing a run and when he’d get near me, I’d ask “Stop or Go?” He’d reply “GO!” and keep on the move. Satisfactory exchange on both sides.
Wednesday was a walk around day. I’ve taken on an intern this year — specifically The Inquisitive Intern, to contrast with a Cranky Publicist. Paige is helping me with some social media graphics as well as behind the scenes research for future updates to the websites and this blog.
We shopped for sneakers for Griffin and more Christmas gifts (bah, humbug) then had an al fresco lunch near Rockefeller Center. Nora and Paige bonded by the time the french fries were served. And you’ll see more of Paige as the year goes by.
Thursday was the only rainy day. Nora, Jason and Kat had a Nora Roberts Family Foundation meeting so I rambled around — down to the Flatiron Building and back up to St. Patrick’s. Then I met my husband for a couple beers at an Irish pub. A perfect NYC day.
Friday was a matter of tying up any loose ends for shopping — which meant a stop at Uniqlo and later Sephora. I also had to show Nora the seasonal decorations on Papillon, a restaurant on 54th street.
That last afternoon, we sat down for a Facebook Live on the JD Robb page — we shared stories about the trip, revealed the title of the September 2023 In Death and answered a few questions. I know it will fill in some of the blanks: https://fb.watch/giBC6xltbK/
A few more favorite photos from the week.
A lovely week indeed.
It feels a little odd to be busy with activities besides work and domestic tasks these days, but October opened up for it with a long-delayed trip to NYC.
We were able to schedule it around Kayla’s fall break from college, so I had my oldest and my youngest grandchild on the trip.
We limo’d up, and Griffin made it clear he was born for limo rides. We didn’t make it down the lane before the grins broke out. Such fun to see his pleasure with the height of his car seat and the window so he could see out, and his delight with the colored lights on the roof.
The half bag of chips he ate didn’t hurt either.
We had the amazing Kevin at the wheel, and a good thing. Minutes after our half-way there pit stop, he noted a radiator issue. Not only did he figure out where to stop where he could find a part, but he got it, and fixed the problem himself.
Kudos to Kevin.
Griffin clearly loves hotels as much as limos as he had to race around everywhere, happy to explore. We unpack, settle in, and since we wouldn’t be eating out on this trip, hit up room service. Laura’s with us, so a happy family meal, plenty of hang out time before an early to bed on travel day.
Up bright and early for a workout, clean up and dress for our first shopping day.
Kayla hasn’t been to NYC in some time, (she’s just a little excited!) and needs business casual attire. She’s in several clubs at college—including the Honor Society—and they have dress codes. My girl has mostly sportswear and sweats—and some fancier duds, but nothing really that hits that middle ground.
Fun for Nana! And it’ll check off a certain college student’s Christmas gifts.
We approach this as shopping clusters and earmark a group for the first day. A rousing success. Not always easy as our girl has a hard time finding pants to fit her Double Zero frame. And she absolutely, no question, knows what she likes and what she doesn’t.
I respect that! Plus, I can’t fault the girl’s taste. On the other hand, it’s like dressing this tall, leggy doll—and everything looks good on her.
Later, Laura and I head to Stewart Wiseman as she needs shoes—and the 8th floor of Saks, usually a Nirvana, didn’t reach the march. She finds shoes, and I end up with two pair of boots I really needed need but seriously had to have! And I’m taking Kayla back as I’ve found the perfect black booties that’ll work with those tiny skirts.
A fun day, despite a bit of rain. Then a take-away meal that suits all.
And cake! Amazing birthday cake. And just beautiful flowers from my sweet family.
Another day, another cluster. I’m also bagging a few other gifts as we go, checking off that list! Plus it’s really, really good to be back in the energy of the city. It’s definitely not as crowded on the streets or in the stores, and it’s good to see most wearing masks. I’m also pleased a pair of my new boots prove incredibly comfortable throughout the urban hiking.
Laura, Kayla and I head up to our roof terrace with snacks and champagne. It’s a pretty day, but wow! Turns out the wind is wild up there that afternoon. We end up inside with the doors open.
There’s time to play trucks—Griffin’s newest love. And another successful take-out meal after another successful day of shopping.
[Note from Laura: Griffin’s other fun game with his parents.]
I like working out in the mornings with the city view. A big change from my usual, and after, I can head downstairs and see whoever’s up and about. My editor, Leslie, is coming by—I haven’t seen my pal for two years. It’s so good to see her again, to hang out awhile, to have to hike along on our next cluster.
Also fun to have yet another girl weigh in on fashion choices.
A long successful day, and Kat’s put out a pretty fruit and cheese platter to welcome us back. Goes well with wine!
My agent’s coming to join Leslie and the whole gang for a pizza dinner. Again, just so great to see her again, and to sit and talk with my NY connection. We’ve all been friends as well as partners for a very long time.
An Uber trip (not ready to use the subway yet) downtown the next day so Kayla can visit PacSun. It’s not only a favorite store, but she just interviewed for and got a job working there. Another cluster, with that in the lead, then back to midtown to walk awhile.
Throughout the week, we shop, sit and talk, play, and sample many cuisines. Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian. Kayla, our vegetarian, doesn’t go hungry. A quick stop at the toy store to find a little something for my boy, and we three girls enjoy an outdoor lunch—until it chills down with a stiff breeze.
Time to pack up, say goodbye, then it’s the long ride home.
Back in routine after a fun week. Making soup, harvesting more herbs. And writing, of course, which rolled, really rolled. I think the week off seriously recharged some batteries.
Have to say goodbye to my Kayla who has to head back to college.
And before we know it’s it’s Griffin’s third birthday.
Toys! Cake! A very happy little boy. He took two of the little monster trucks Kayla’s mom bought him to bed with him along with his beloved stuffed dog Howl.
He’s just as happy this morning, and has yet to put them down.
I’ll be making a pot roast later, likely harvesting the last of the basil.
Tomorrow I have to see a specialist who’ll determine if this tooth—next to the last, upper left, can be saved. Not looking forward to that, either way. My teeth continue to work against me no matter how nice I am to them!
Anyway, after that stupid busy work, it’ll be back to routine.
As we ease toward Samhain, I’m pretty thrilled so much of my garden is blooming—or as Kayla would say—vibing and thriving. I know it won’t be long until that first hard frost, so I enjoy those blooms every day.
As I close this blog, I’m listening to my son play with his son in the other room.
It’s a really lovely sound on a Sunday morning.
I haven’t had a good space of time to sit down and write a blog since we got back from New York.
Griffin’s first trip to The Big Apple turned out to be nothing but fun and adventure. As soon as we drove into the city, he started making his oooh happy, excited, interested noises.
For myself, it proved an excellent time to expand on the Christmas shopping I started overseas, and having the boy along just added tons of fun.
We had a trip to the Central Park Zoo, which brought out more happy, excited and interested noises–until exhausted from it all–he fell asleep.
For an adult evening we had an amazing time with my agent and editor and their husbands for dinner and a show. We saw Tootsie, and if you ever get the chance, don’t miss it. It’s absolutely fabulous, on ever level.
Our weather proved nearly as wonderful–one day of rain, then wonderfully clear until the day we left. No complaints!
Back home for some serious catching up, and buckling down to work.
One of the very best parts of coming home was delivering to Colt–my voracious reader–a signed copy of the new Dogman book. Happily, Dav Pilkey and I have the same agent, and she made the arrangements. As you can see, the kid was beyond thrilled. I swear every inch of him lit up–and he must’ve looked at the signed page a hundred times. I seriously can’t thank Amy and Dav enough for giving our Colt the thrill of his life.
I did have a weekend–a nice fall Saturday–to make soup and focaccia bread. So, mmmmm.
I had to devote the next weekend to organizing. All those gifts and packages from New York had to be dealt with. Fortunately for me, Kayla came up to help–and I really needed it!
My One More Room is now holding big-ass boxes with each person’s gifts inside so I can keep track. I’m not going to think about the wrapping marathons yet.
While I was at it, I did a solid purge of my closet as I had a girl day planned for the following Tuesday. My closet got reasonably purged and organized–and my girl pals hauled off bags. Salad, champagne, pizza, cookies–and trying on new-to-you clothes and shoes?
That makes a most excellent girl day.
Back to the buckle down to work part until Friday, and (drum roll!) Griffin’s First Birthday! Since we had a signing on Saturday, we celebrated here, and I can testify our birthday boy had a fine time.
Like Colt, he just lit up when everyone sang happy birthday. He may not understand what that all means, but it was just delighted everyone sang to him.
Then came the smash cake. I hope Laura can get the video up. He was initially intrigued. Oh, it’s soft, and I can play with it a little. Interesting. Then Nana gave him a little taste–and he got the idea, big time.
After a few fists-full, his parents wisely removed the thoroughly smashed cake before Birthday Boy got sick.
I can also testify, he remains the sweetest, happiest baby in the history of babies.
Saturday, it’s gear it up for TTP’s Halloween signing. We had a pirate theme this year, and we sure pulled it off. I have a fondness for Jason costume. He wore a post-in note he’d made with the Pi symbol and a drawing of a rat. Get it? Made me laugh. We had Captain Griffin, The Scourge Of The Seven Seas, First Mate Kayla working under Captain Kat, Seaman Wilder and–naturally–The Dread Pirate Roberts to round out the family on board.
Our visiting authors got into the costume spirit, as did a number of readers. We had a wild, crowded, LONG and happy event. And a separate thrill for me to meet Meg Tilly ( adorably costumed as a cat). The award-winning actress has written a number of well-received books, and is writing a Romantic Suspense series. I have Solace Island–the first of the series–on my bedside table.
She, and all the visiting authors, did a wonderful job connecting with the readers, with each other, and graciously handling a four and a half hour signing.
Kudos as well the the readers for their enthusiasm and their patience.
And huge ones to the ever-efficient, patient and hard-working staff of TTP–as well as our stalwart signing day additions who pitch in above and beyond.
Today, with workout done, this blog up (and plenty of leftovers for dinner!) I think I’m going to shovel out around here, get my house in order. Then fall asleep in front of the TV.
Doing a lot of that now with the summer travel behind me. Lots and lots of fun had by all, and now it’s time (or almost) to dive back into routine.
We finished up the summer travel with an earlier-than-usual trip to NYC. With Kat due next month, we moved that fall tradition up. And were gifted with my kind of weather. Hot and sunny!
Hot and sunny didn’t stop me from the hunt for more Christmas presents. I did pretty well on that front. It also didn’t stop me from indulging my weakness for boots. Mmm, boots. The best thing about cold weather, imo.
BW and I hit a street fair the day we got in–and there I scored some adorable onsies for you know who. Later in the week, Jason and I hit The Gap, naturally ended up in the baby section. TBD (they haven’t settled on his name) can now celebrate his first Halloween as Chewbacca (cutest little one-piece, winter weight deal) or a cat (adorable cat hoodie with little ears!)
More fun for me to see how into the baby clothes my baby boy was.
Spent a great day shopping and hanging out with my fabulous editor and amazing agent–so we, too, were able to catch up in person. We had Waitress picked as our Broadway night, but said amazing agent was able to score Hamilton tickets.
Wow. Just wow. A stupendous show. Glorious. Oh, the voices, the music. The energy. We just loved it.
Temps dropped and rain moved in as we packed up last Sunday. We figure this is the last trip with Pregnant Kat. Next time: BABY!
Our girl is doing great, looking great as she comes down the last leg.
Back home to delighted dogs.
Really happy to get back to work last week, to dive into that routine.
Kept a close eye on Florence as she pushed her way toward the Carolinas. Scary and awful, and I’m hoping any of you who might have been in her path got to safety. Heart-breaking to see the damage she’s done.
Here, while we had rain, rain, rain last weekend and into the start of the week, it went back to warm and sunny. Warm, sunny–and very humid for yesterday’s booksigning. But that didn’t stop readers from traveling to Turn The Page, and helping make it a really fun day for everyone. My favorite visitor was a young boy who came with his mom and some friends. He wanted to know if I was His Grandmother’s Author, and was skeptical at first because I wasn’t wearing the same earrings I wore on the book jacket.
Another fave brought their aunt in Puerto Rico to the signing via FaceTime. Now that’s fun!
It’ll be back to routine for me on Monday, and I’ll have a good, solid week of work before the weekend. And . . . Kat’s baby shower next Sunday. Seriously can’t wait. We’ll have friends, family, games, (sorry, Laura!)* prizes, all those adorable baby things for Mom-To-Be to open, good food, wine–and an amazing cake. We’ll be sure to take some pictures.
After that, it’ll be time for Countdown To Baby!
* She’s not sorry. ~Laura
Kayla was eleven the first time I took her on a girl trip to NYC–and this mother of sons spent a LOT of time in the American Girl Doll store.
My own American Girl is now on the cusp of 16, and we spent considerable time in Sephora. And the new and amazing makeup cathedral on the second floor of Saks. And the eighth floor (shoe sale!!)–plus Lululemon (two locations) and various other venues where girls just wanna have fun.
And fun we certainly had.
Laura and Kat drove up separately–Laura to visit some family first, and Kat as the limo trip brings on car sickness. So Kayla and I had the big-ass limo to ourselves, chatting away a good part of the trip.
Selfie as they set out. Photo by NR
We arrive at the hotel on a pretty afternoon with Laura already in and Kat only minutes behind us.
Made it to NY! Photo by LMRTime to unpack, hang a bit, then take a nice walk around to stretch out the legs, do some quick shopping, form our plan of attack for the next day. A trip over to B&N for cards and jigsaw puzzles. Plenty of time left for hanging out on the roof terrace, a spin in the hot tub. And at Kayla’s request–and no argument after a travel day–room service. Some work on a 1000 piece puzzle–one that looked simpler from the cover than in reality.
But Kat has a genius eye for shapes and tiny variations in color. Much progress before we turn in for the night.
In the morning, Kayla and Laura head to the gym, and I do my workout in the suite. Time for breakfast, pulling it together. Kayla and I walk over to a Lens Crafters–my girl recently got glasses, and as she also has her learner’s permit (!), I decree she needs prescription sunglasses as an early birthday present. We discover we’ll need the doctor’s prescription, which we’ll get faxed, so back we walk to meet Laura and Kat at one of Kayla’s nirvanas–Sephora.
I appreciate her love of makeup, and more her excellent–and age-appropriate hand–with it. I’ve a good hand with makeup myself, but I learn things from the girl. Onto Free People then Anthropology. Good hauls, and pregnant Kat finds some fun stuff, too. Nobody walks out empty handed as we take a nice lunch break.
Yes, we’ll have champagne–or Laura and I will.
Lunch on Wednesday. Photo by NRTime for a little lie-me-down for mama-to-be, and the rest of us hit more shops. Since Kayla’s a runner and I work out daily, Lululemon works just fine for us. Kayla’s issue is a mile of leg on a size 0, maybe a 2. But she does pretty well. I do, I believe, some better.
We walked miles, literally, before calling it for the day.
More puzzle time, more hang out time. Laura has a dinner out with her daughter Clare and some of Clare’s friends. The rest of us, again, opt happily for room service. And I’m drawn into a new card game for me. Nertz. I win–which Kayla insists is beginner’s luck.
Maybe, but hey. I win!
Kayla has given Laura a curfew <g>, and fortunately Laura makes it back with a couple minutes to spare.
In the morning, Kayla has her first Shaun T experience with me–and does quite well. Then she and Laura need to get ready for the day while I do the rest of my workout. They head to one of Kayla’s goals, the top of the Empire State Building. * I’m grateful Laura took this on as I have no need to subject myself to that height again, and Kat isn’t up for it either. But Kat is up for fancy braiding Kayla’s hair on their return, a skill I don’t possess as a mother of sons.
More shopping for the rest of us. Kayla knows how to shop, knows what she likes, what suits her. The shoe floor of Saks suits her, and me for her as SALE. I’m an indulgent Nana, no doubt, but a 16-year-old only gets Pradas at 50% off. And she does, and they’re adorable. As she’s most always in running shoes, I enjoy seeing her try on stacked heels, pretty flats. And I find the red shoes I was after.
I’ll add the girl hauls all the bags without complaint. She is designated Sherpa. I also notice how her confidence in the city grows every day. At first she sticks to me or Laura or Kat basically hip-to-hip. But as time goes on, and I explain every day the grid that’s midtown, she eases up, remembers which direction to go.
I also notice, proudly, how polite and engaging she is with hotel staff, with store clerks, waitstaff. Never fails to thank them, to make eye contact, to smile. To make a little conversation.
It’s room service again, and that’s fine. We’ve walked our feet off. And as the puzzle’s complete, Kat decides we need another, and takes herself off to get one–and finds more happy mama clothes on the way.
I love the way pregnant Kat looks, how she dresses that gorgeous bump!
Time to eat–do a little puzzle, and Kayla wants to play Hearts. Kat is a novice, so we walk her through it. I win, again. Ha ha. Then we drag ourselves off to bed.
Kayla opts to sleep in on Friday while Laura and I do our workouts. Then, after breakfast (the size 0 can eat!) Kayla and I head over to pick out sunglasses. I approve her pick, and really didn’t intend to get another pair for myself. But fun and cute, and since I pop on sunglasses every time I step outside, justified.
She’s made an appointment for a facial at Saks, so we head over there to meet up with Laura. Lots of scent on the second floor, and since it doesn’t hit pregnant Kat well she takes a day of rest.
Did you know Lancome does customized foundation? Neither did I. I’d decided it was time to switch up my makeup and skincare–it gets tired after a few years. So the Lancome ladies hit me at a good time. Laura, the makeup queen, gets her own custom foundation. It’s so cool to watch the science of it and the little machine that mixes it.
Kayla loves the facial, gets her makeup done. We now, between the two of us, own enough new makeup for a dance troupe.
The girl wants a wallet, and I promised Colt an Ugg blanket like his siblings have. So it’s uptown for the two of us where Kayla–who admired my Ugg sneakers (they weigh nothing and are super comfortable) finds then in light pink. I find some great sandals, also really comfortable, she gets some short boots, some slippers. No wallet, but there’s a Coach right there.
Sale!!! 1/2 price sale! She finds a pretty and practical wallet, a couple of the little cross-body purses (all she’ll use) and I end up buying a pink purse. I don’t have a pink purse, so now I do.
Haul it all back.
Clare’s going with us to the theater, staying the night with us. We’ve decided on an early dinner–pizza delivery–as we have an eight o’clock curtain for Mean Girls. Really good pizza, and after Kayla gives Kat some makeup advice as Kat plays with some of her new girl toys. Kat pays her back with another adorable braid.
We leave in plenty of time to walk across town to the theater and settle into our seats.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen many shows on Broadway, and happy enough to have taken my girl to several. Mean Girls ranks really, really high. It’s such fun, it’s so bright, so pretty. The voices are amazing, the choreography just freaking fabulous.
Tiny Fey is a genius, a comedy-writing genius. She’s translated her terrific screenplay (just love the movie) into an equally terrific book for the stage.
We’re all completely happy during and after. Just a great show if you have the opportunity to see it.
After, Kat heads back, and Laura, Clare and I fulfill our promise to face Times Square on a Friday night so Kayla can hit her very favorite store in the universe of stores: American Eagle.
She simply won’t consider non-AE jeans. And they do fit her perfectly. So I’m shopping in Times Square at eleven at night–a new experience for me. AE has three, count them three, floors. We do them all, and she hauls back the bags. It’s an absolutely gorgeous night in the city, and the walk–once through the madness of Times Square–just a delight.
Kat’s still up, so we hang and talk until nearly one in the morning.
A little later start, understandably, on Saturday. I squeeze in a workout, clean up, find a few puzzle pieces. Since we’re heading downtown, and separating, Kat draws Kayla and me a little map. I’m not as familiar with the downtown streets and stores. We cab down, Kayla and I get out to hit the downtown Lululemon first, and Kat and Laura cab on to the yarn store.
We strike gold for the tiny size in the downtown store, and she stocks up on running shorts, sports bras, leggings. I cave and get some leggings and capris myself.
Using Kat’s clever map, we find Alex and Ani–another wish. The girl loves to stack little bracelets, and we find one with a K charm. Text our yarn-seeking companions to let them know we’re heading toward Lombardi’s, our lunch destination.
Pizza, fun girls, a glass of wine. Ah.
Uber back, organize a little, and Kat heads off to buy a sketch book. She’s designing the baby blanket she’s going to make out of the pretty pale blue, dark blue yarn she scored. Did you catch that? She’s designing the blanket.
Clare’s coming back for dinner, which is room service again.
We hang out, Kat sketches, we play puzzle and finish number two. Eat, talk poor Clare into learning Hearts. Kayla won this time (beat me by two points!)
Then everybody but mama-to-be, who isn’t allowed, heads up to the hot tub. Gorgeous night, fun, relaxing interlude. Time to hug Clare goodbye.
I take a look at Kat’s sketch, and OMG! She’s done a dragon with Celtic knots around it, and it’s gorgeous. At the corners she has circles and is going to pick animals that represent the grandparents. Her mom, her dad, BW and me. So clever, so unique. It’s going to be an heirloom.
Tumble into bed.
Up to pack, squeeze in a workout, shower, dress, pack more, organize and condense shopping bags. Start a Mom check on the suite. Say goodbye to Laura–drive safe! Another Mom check, bag count–remind Kayla to look under her bed, just in case. A final Mom check (I’m obsessive here).
Call for bellmen (plural!) say goodbye to Kat as she’ll be heading to the garage. Check out. Brent and his limo arrive exactly on time, so it’s load it up, and time to say goodbye to New York. The city treated us very, very well.
And it’s been wonderful, all that female energy for a few days with girls you love.
Kayla talks running on the way home. Training, meets, coaches, meets, her teammates, meets, her goals. It’s so rewarding to see her passion and her determination for something she’s so good at, something she loves.
Then I have to say goodbye to my best girl, and hope she’s as loaded with fun and happy memories as shopping bags. I know I am.
She really makes me proud.
Note from Laura
* Our Empire State Building trip was perfect. We walked 16 blocks at a face pace around 9 am. took the elevator to the 86th floor, then another elevator to the 102 floor.
After souvenirs for her mom and brothers, Kayla and I decided to set the stopwatch and see how fast it took to get back. We did agree with a pause in the stopwatch to take a photo in front of the NY Public Library.
We arrive on Tues, to summer in October weather. After unpacking, our initial group—me, BW, Jason, Laura—hit the streets and the shops. I have an agenda every October trip, and that’s to get as close as possible to finishing my Christmas shopping as I can.
Get a good start on that agenda before it’s time for drinks, and a room service night.
Up early Wednesday, get a good workout in. BW and Laura, too. We’re having an Employee Fitness Challenge through our Fit In BoonsBoro back home. Fun stuff! BW and Laura get points walking a mile together. More shopping, more checks on that Christmas list. Jason and I have our own little FitBit competition, and while he’s usually 20-30k steps ahead of me, when we travel, I catch up. And hah, am am now in the lead.
Lunch at a favorite pub, more shopping, and back home here where BW and Laura do their daily workout challenges together. Hysterical wall-sits (with alcohol) push-ups (and Laura’s wearing a dress for this one) squats, lunges. I get to watch as I did all that much earlier in the day.
Dinner’s a pleasant walk, then pizza.
Laura’s husband’s coming up, so she moves out of our space and into her own. We have a girl shopping annual tradition with my agent and editor. Kat usually joins us, but she has stuff so won’t be up until late Thursday afternoon.
So good to see my NY pals—and my editor brings the finished cover for Year One. OMG!! It’s just fabulous.
More shopping, a fun, light lunch when the guys join us. Then a little more shopping. I am hitting my agenda, and hitting it hard!
Back to the hotel as we have an early dinner—and here’s Kat!! We’re eating early because we’re going to see Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly. The Divine Miss M. Bette. I’m thrilled at the idea of seeing one of my icons on stage.
We walk to the restaurant—just gorgeous weather—have a wonderful meal, then walk to the theater. I’m not surprised the performance is sold out. It’s Bette.
As much as I anticipated this, the reality exceeded. Aside from Bette (for the moment) the costumes, the lighting, the choreography, the chemistry, the voices, the whole works is just stupendous.
Now add Bette. And stupendous doesn’t cover it. When she first walks on stage, the house explodes. She’s tiny and glorious, and obviously having the time of her life. In turn she gives us the time of ours. Then there’s David Hyde Pierce, whom I adore. I’ve seen him on stage before, and he’s just as marvelous this time around.
The Hello Dolly number brings the house to its feet. The applause goes on and on for her solos. This is what’s meant by bringing down the house.
I’ve seen a lot of wonderful, memorable, fabulous shows on Broadway. Nothing beats this.
Friday—after workout—Kat, Laura and I head out. Girl time, and more good shopping.
Laura’s guy is off with some of his NY pals, BW’s having lunch with a couple of his, and Jason’s doing the same. Laura peels off so Kat and I walk downtown to meet our men for the new Blade Runner movie in IMAX.
Cool! Intense! Fun!
The long walk back, and room service. Laura and her guy have dinner and a show on their schedule.
Kat has to leave early Saturday morning so I say bye to my girl, get in my workout (still in the FitBit lead!). Jason has an errand, Laura and her guy have brunch with their daughter (Clare works in NY). BW’s arranged a photo shoot with a model in our triplex.
I have some specific type items on my agenda—and need to pick up the new glasses I got after my eye exam here on Wednesday. I promise to check my phone often so I can hook up with Jason and Laura.
On the street I see a gorgeous young woman wearing a man’s white dress shirt—mid-thigh—over-the-knee gray suede stiletto boots, a beret and big sunglasses. She looks amazing.
Jason’s errand’s done quick, so we text back and forth until we meet on the street. And he becomes my Sherpa. Head to hotel to dump bags, text Laura. Her guy’s meeting some of his old classmates, so she and Clare will hang with us while Jason and I have lunch.
Back to our favorite pub.
Clare heads off, and we head to The Gap—Laura and I both have specific wants here, and pretty much satisfy them. Then there’s the UGG store. I wasn’t looking for myself there—Kayla likes the classic tall UGGS—but found a pair of boots I couldn’t live without.
Oh, and sneakers in a deep orchid color—so light, so comfortable!
When we get back, BW’s about finished with his shoot, so we rest our busy feet and have a drink. We’re walking over to 9th for Italian for dinner. (Laura’s dh is having a fine time with his classmates.)
Long walk, but this weather! Good wine, great food, fun companions, and good service.
We meet up with Laura’s Mark after dinner, hang out in our suite awhile. I want to watch SNL, but conk.
Up early today, solid, cross-training workout. Then rest of our group is off to the Jets game (Laura and Mark are major Jets fans.) I bid them goodbye, clean myself up, and decide to walk uptown to Bloomie’s to hit that agenda again.
Do just fine, walk back, hit another shop. The housekeeper’s still dealing with our space when I get back. I see her once or twice a year, so we chat a little.
I show her a picture of Kayla on FB—who had her FIRST DATE last night. Homecoming. Oh, so beautiful, my girl. And she’s going with Handsome Henry. The housekeeper and I talk about how she’s just so grown up.
It’s lovely to come back to this same place year after year, because it adds such comfort to know the people who work here. I tell her I’ll see her in June when Kayla has her NY trip (just weeks before her SIXTEENTH!!!! Birthday).
Now on this Sunday in NY, I’ll finish this blog, which Laura will post after they get back. I hope the Jets are kicking it (not a football girl myself). I’m going to pour a drink, get my book and kick back instead of kicking it, for a bit.
We plan to head downtown tomorrow—have pizza, shop. Then we’ll see what we do for our last night in the city.
I love New York, I really do. The things you see, hear, the way it feels and moves. It’s so opposite where I make my home. So it’s nice to spend some time here, knowing my dogs, my quiet, my routine waits for me.
Notes from Laura: very sad to report that the Jets lost, but my photo of me and my husband was on the huge scoreboard, so that was fun.
We saw War Paint with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole which was marvelous starting with this curtain in front of the stage. We’ll stay an extra day and see Donna Murphy play Dolly on Tuesday night.
Oh and I have some #randomkatness for you:
Last week we took Logan on a New York City adventure. In a newish tradition I take Kayla or Logan, on alternate years, on a short trip, giving them some fun and focused time. Kayla invariably picks NY, and happily (no plane ride!) Logan wanted NYC this year.
When I take Kayla, it’s a girl trip, but Logan wanted everybody. So we had me and BW, Jason and Kat and Laura as his adventure team. Before we left, Logan had seen a review on https://factschronicle.com/ so he said he was ready to shave.
His priority? Niketown and basketball shoes. Easy to fulfill that particular dream right after arrival and unpacking. It’s a good walk from our hotel, and really good to stretch the legs after the long drive. Logan has very specific taste in bb shoes, knew just the brands he wanted to look for. And since he wouldn’t, like his sister, dive into makeup and clothes, I granted two pair.
Happy boy! I can’t remember the players whose shoes he settled on–Laura probably will–but the guy helping him out was impressed. Apparently he covered his bases and got a pair from a player on each team in the playoffs. [Note from Laura: Logan went with a white pair of Kyrie Irving shoes and a blue pair of Kevin Durants. He alternated them as day and night shoes.]
The guys headed back to the hotel with shoes, and the girls peeled off for . . . makeup and clothes shopping. Kayla has learned at our feet, after all.
Back at the hotel, Laura’s daughter joins us for a big, happy room service dinner. And Logan has people who actually follow basketball (Laura and Jason) to watch the game with. Break that up with some hot tubbing on the roof at halftime, and it’s a good arrival day in the city.
Like Kayla, Logan has a cot in the second-floor parlor. He’s told me it won’t bother him for me to workout there in the morning. So I do, quietly–and it doesn’t.
We also brought the heat. Laura, born on the Ice Planet Hoth, is not pleased. Jason wonders if she’ll melt or just burst into flames. Me? I like the heat. We get plenty of it as we head down to the High Line in the morning. And there, I see an American Smoke Tree (ID’d by Laura, the High Line interactive map and Google) in full bloom. It’s just magical, and I hope to have one for my own.
Lunch, then back to the hotel. Logan gets his own Metro Card for the subway.
The boy likes cards, and Kat’s come prepared. Some of the games have very odd rules that can, apparently, change during play. This is no problem for Logan. We cap that off with a round of Reverse Charades–a new game for the boy, and one he’s enthusiastic about.
[Note from Laura: the hotel sent up an extra special chocolate chip cookie cake as a belated birthday surprise on Saturday evening.]
The next day is for Wonder Woman. I can’t say enough about Wonder Woman, and will say little as some reading this may not have seen it. I’ll say this: Go See It! It’s wonderful, hit every note for me. And from the conversation after the movie, hit every note for our entire group.
We walked to the movies–long walk uptown. We wanted to avoid the crush of the Puerto Rican Day parade, and managed that well, then cut through Central Park, got to the theater in plenty of time.
Shorter walk back as the parade’s done, and Logan and I discuss the movie. I want to see it again, and will own it when the DVD’s released. Though more of a Marvel than DC fan (as is the boy) we’re both looking forward to the Justice League, for Wonder Woman particularly.
Laura can talk basketball. I can talk superheros.
Back at the hotel, Laura and I do a Facebook Live chat. Easy, breezy, with cameos from some of the group.
Time for more cards, another round of Reverse Charades. I see these being popular activities during family spa week next month.
The next day is downtown again, and The Flatiron. BW and Logan subway; the rest of us walk. It’s a hot, sunny, gorgeous day. It’s fun to take Logan to my favorite building in NY, and my publisher. It’s great to see my editor and lots of the St. Martin’s Press team–and my agent comes by, too, before she has to head off to a lunch appointment. What I really like to do in NY, is going through the city on those new scooter kopen. It´s a new french model that runs on electricity and goes really fast, so it gets even more exciting on an open road with no cars.
Best for Logan–and always a highlight for me–a trip up to the roof. It’s amazing up there, the views, the feel, the gorgeous architecture. I skip the trip down and down to the boiler room (it’s wonderfully spooky) to hang with my editor awhile.
Then it’s off to lunch and the fabulous Lombardi’s pizza.
Logan and I ride back, drop my editor back off at work. This 13-year-old boy considers the trip to the roof of The Flatiron his favorite moment so far. Thanks SMP!
I teach him to play Hearts–Jason, Kat, Logan and me. He latches on quick. Pretty sure the bb finals ran that night. Or maybe it was the night before. Whenever they did, he watched them.
Our last full day, at his request, was The Empire State Building. I haven’t been there since my boys were younger than Logan. Getting the group moving took some time, so Laura, Kat and I headed out for a little more shopping. Then it’s the walk down. I point out the NY Public Library. He doesn’t seem all that impressed. LOL.
He says at one point: I can’t even see it (The Empire State).
I say: Look up.
We’re standing on the corner directly across the street.
Our clever Kat’s arranged for fast pass tickets, or whatever they’re called. So, so worth it. We’re whisked along, and into the elevator where I try not to obsess about the numbers going up and up and up. I’m not big on heights.
I’m okay with The Observation Deck as long as I look out and not down, and God knows there’s plenty of air. We circle so we get all the views, and point out buildings. And there’s the roof of The Flatiron where we stood the day before. It’s pretty far down, and that seemed way high enough. But here we are.
Then up we go again–over 100 floors up. Why does anyone need to be over 100 floors up? I can feel the building sway. Why does anyone want to be 100 floors up and swaying? I’m thrilled when he’s had enough and wants to hit the gift shop. But my system swayed for much longer.
I like that he’s taking his time, being thoughtful over the little gifts he wants to bring back to his family. I approve his choices–well done–and thank God when we ride down to street level.
The sidewalk sways for a while, but eventually steadies.
We have time for a breather after the walk back to the hotel, time to cool off then head out again for the long subway ride to Queen’s and the Mets vs Cubs at Citifield.
I’ve ridden subways countless times, and have never been so packed in. Logan’s nearly as tall as I am now, but I’m pretty much literally around him, with him in front of me, and me holding onto the pole.
If I had to commute this way to work, I’d be unemployed.
It’s a beautiful ball field. There’s nothing quite like a baseball field–that green and brown and white. We’re right behind the first base dugout.
For me, it’s a beautiful, balmy night for baseball, but I wasn’t born on the Ice Planet Hoth. It isn’t such a good night for the Mets. The pitcher gets dinged with a home run in the first inning. He loads the bases (at least one with a base on balls) then walks a run in. Still, I want to see the game, and there’s this guy in the row in front of us who keeps standing up, obviously looking for someone.
It’s a lot worse when his friends arrive. One, a woman, never, never, never stopped talking. Not in a muted conversational voice, but in a loud, thick Queen’s accent. I know all about her recent vacation–ALL about it, including meals. Every day. I know her name’s Pam because the guy who kept standing up keeps talking to her, asking questions. I think one of the guys she came with is her husband, but this other guy has stars in his eyes.
I know about her work week. I know where she parked the car and why.
I wonder why this group didn’t go to a bar to catch up instead of talking through a ball game they obviously have no interest in.
By the fourth inning it’s clear the Mets aren’t likely to come back from this. It’s a rout. By the sixth, Pam has given me a headache. Doesn’t it start to hurt the throat to talk nonstop for a freaking hour? I see Logan’s not so happy–we’ve exchanged glances and rolled eyes over Pam. He tells me he has a headache. I get it.
I give him a Motrin, take a couple myself, and we decide we’ve had enough. I think the score was 11-1 Cubs at that point anyway. We head out, sit in the relative quiet, wait for Laura. It’s tough for her–a Mets fan–to sit through the sad, sad game. The others are going to tough it out, but at Logan’s request, the three of us Uber back to the hotel.
Logan settles down with the season final of The Flash on his phone. I have a very large drink.
When the others get back, they report a final of 14-3.
Say goodbye to Laura in the morning, who’s heading off to visit a pal on the way home. Pack up, organize. Check the space a half a dozen times. And we’re on our way home.
I asked Logan for his favorite thing on the trip. The roof of The Flatiron remains his number one, closely followed by Wonder Woman.
When we get home, Kayla comes up, and before I’m unpacked, he’s got her playing one of Kat’s card games. I’d say cards ranked high as well.
My best? Experiencing the city through a 13-year-old boy’s point of view. We had some serious fun–despite the chatty Pam–from start to finish.
It’s been a fast, colorful month so far–and it’s nearly over!
Every October, we spend a week in New York, and this year the city gifted us with perfect weather start to finish. In tune with the fast pace, we tend to cram a lot into that week. Shopping hits top of my list. And yes, I’m now all but finished my holiday shopping.
Country mouse goes city mouse to spend urban time with friends and family–heading up with BW and Jason, meeting up with Laura, rounding it out when our pal Sarah arrives to spend a couple days and our adventurous Kat flies in from a hiking trip with some of her adventurous family in Hawaii.
The gorgeous weather also provided a pretty amazing backdrop for the party with my new publisher. The rooftop and its amazing views ticked the box of most popular spot for the evening. Fun food, lots of wine, engaging company and a sunset worthy of Spielburg added up to a really lovely evening.
A day with the girls–including my editor and agent–(shoes! boots!) rounded out with a happy early dinner and the energetic, marvelous, ridiculously entertaining School Of Rock on Broadway.
Lots of urban hiking, uptown, downtown, midtown, scoring those holiday gifts (plus shoes! boots!), spending time with some of my favorite people. Yeah, a most excellent week.
Back home to the current chaos of a first draft which meant ignoring the chaos of my house. Boxes and bags, deliveries of more. Middle school math–and thank God Logan understands it as I don’t and never will.
The end of the marking period means a day off school. Kayla scared the life out of me by poking into the gym while my entire focus centered on sweating through cardio. I don’t see my girl as much as she’s running Cross-Country, so this is a treat. Once I finish the sweating.
She promises to come back Sunday to help me clear out the chaos.
Because Saturday is a most special day. My long-time friend’s wedding.
It’s a blustery day full of fall color. Inside the venue the warmth, the love, the happy glow just as much as the bride. She’s beautiful, and the handsome groom nearly as radiant. Those attending reflect the happy. The bride’s niece tells me while she did the bride’s hair and makeup that morning, the groom wandered around the house singing–and peeked in from time to time to tell his lady how beautiful she is.
The big day feels like the couple it celebrates–the warm and loving and the sweet. We have time to mingle and bask before heading out to a patio for the ceremony. The prettiest of pretty flower girls, a lovely, simple arbor where the obviously (really obviously!) adoring groom waits, the lovely happy bride walks to him.
A sweet, simple, heartfelt ceremony where the bride drips happy tears. And the groom brushes them from her cheeks with his fingers. More aww. The groom slips the ring (given to her mother by her late father) on the bride’s finger. And the kiss.
Some people are meant to find each other as just the right times in their lives.
That’s the feeling that carries through the day of as simply perfect a wedding I’ve been privileged to attend.
The best of best wishes to Elaine and Enrique.
That leaves me Sunday–and this time Kayla scares the life out of me as she slips in after my workout and the start of chaos clearing. She needs a snack! The kid’s running those calories off with training and meets. While she eats, I harvest the rest of my basil. Bumper crop!
Then she helps me haul, hang, organize. And for the first time in a week, the house looks like a house instead of a storage bin stocked by a crazy woman.
Since fall’s definitely arrived it’s a good day to make soup, and I love my favorite teenager wants to just hang out with Nana. Soup needs bread in my world. No time for anything but a quick one, so I get a can of beer and whip up some beer bread.
It’s still warm when Kayla, hungry again, has a slice with a bowl of soup. She approves both.
Now there are four tubs of books to sign–it’s nice to have her company while I get that done.
Nobody gives better hugs than my girl, and I’m treated to one before she heads out the door.
Now I’m late getting started on my Monday. It’s rare for a book to keep me up at night, but this one’s done that a few times. So a late start while I try to finish this damn first draft so I can see what the hell’s in this story.
I can’t cross my fingers or I can’t type, but I might just light a candle for a solid, productive work day. And hey, leftover soup means no cooking tonight!
It’s been a busy few weeks with birthdays, painting sessions and time in New York. Nora will get back to her regular weekend blog posts next weekend but I thought I’d share some visuals and some cool info for everyone. I think I’ll take it in chronological order.
Sunday, October 9
A group of us met at Inn BoonsBoro for their fourth Brushes & Bubbly session. Nora, Kayla, her mom Stacie, Mary Kay McComas and her sister, our friend Sarah and I joined nine other people in the dining room of the Inn to paint a mermaid, in honor of The Guardians Trilogy. Local artist Ronald Layman patiently led us through the layers needed to create depth and shadow and texture. We all had a great time.
Monday, October 10 (Birthday!)
In honor of the birthday girl, St. Martin’s Press revealed the cover of the 2017 hardcover, Come Sundown:
Tuesday, October 11/Wednesday, October 12
The beginning of the annual fall trip. Nora, BW and Jason rode up to NYC and I met them at the hotel. I took this photo because I love those spires.
Thursday, October 13
After some very satisfying shopping and lunch — Kat (who joined us on Wednesday after flying in from a hiking trip with her cousins) scooped up these beauties —
we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the party St. Martin’s Press hosted to welcome Nora to the fold. Rain sprinkled in the afternoon, but the sun came out just as the party started. We all toasted Nora under the light of the setting sun on the rooftop patio.
Friday, October 15
Litographs went live with a Naked in Death infinity scarf in addition to t-shirts, totes, and posters! These super soft infinity scarves are available in your choice of 12 colors and 4 fonts. Shop today and Save $5 on your scarf with code NAKSCARF (valid through tomorrow, 10/18) https://litographs.type
And to celebrate, we’re giving away one autographed scarf. Enter here to win 1 scarf signed by JD herself→ https://litographs.typeform.
The weekend was all about holiday shopping for Nora and spending time with my daughter for me. I headed back to Maryland early because I’m heading back to NJ next weekend. I’m sure Nora will fill us all in with what happened next when she gets back to her desk.