You know you’re not a native New Yorker when….

1) The highlight of your day is when you finally see subway rats.
2) You squeal and start saying how cute they are and everyone else looks at you like you’re some bizarre freak.
3) You get really sad when you see the raticide sign hanging above the train tracks.

Seriously, I had been waiting a month to see these babies! I was starting to think they didn’t exist.


Husband Abandons Wife in Israel–Okay, Not Really.

Roughly 13 months ago, I was about to have a heart attack. My husband, Greg, works from home for Red Hat while the team he works with on a daily basis is located in Israel. One day, his boss just randomly asked him if he’d like to visit Israel to work on-site for a while and to meet his co-workers. Greg thought that’d be awesome, so he asked when this trip would take place. His boss said he’d like him to come in two weeks and stay for about three weeks. TWO WEEKS people. I think now is an appropriate time to mention that Greg lacked a passport, luggage, and pretty much everything required for a trip of this nature. More importantly, my passport was expired, and I certainly was not going to let him have this once-in-a-lifetime experience without me. After running around like crazy people (and did I mention ordering an insane amount of items from Zappos and Amazon?), Greg flew off to Israel. I joined him there a week later since one of our kitties, Caesar Brutus, unexpectedly went into heart failure. Thankfully, Caesar stabilized and my mom stayed with him at our house, enabling me to go on the trip. After my 22 hour solo flight, I finally arrived in Tel-Aviv. There’s nothing quite like arriving in a foreign country and not knowing how you are going to get to your hotel, the Dan Accadia. My husband was supposed to email me to let me know if he was meeting me at the airport. That seemed like a great plan until I couldn’t connect to the airport’s Wi-Fi to check my email. I finally got the Wi-Fi to work, but of course, I had just changed my email password and couldn’t log in to my account. I was getting quite frustrated at this point. Thankfully, I knew my husband’s email account information and realized I could check his ‘sent’ folder. Much to my surprise, Greg said that he would meet me at the hotel since he had to work late. This promptly destroyed my vision of my husband waiting to greet me, possibly holding a sign with my name on it like they do in the movies. This was the longest we’d ever been separated so I had envisioned a grand reunion. Instead, I got a short email with the hotel address and a request to buy a SIM card from the airport. How romantic. After hailing my first taxi ever, I made it to the hotel in Herzliya Pitauch. Did I mention that Red Hat put my husband up in this gorgeous hotel along the Mediterranean Sea? No? Well, now you really understand why I was determined to go to Israel with him!


View from our hotel room at the Dan Accadia

Anyways, once I got to the hotel, I thought for sure my husband would redeem himself and be waiting in the lobby with his arms wide open, ready to help me with my three pieces of luggage. Nope. Didn’t happen. I huffed and puffed my way up to the second floor and down a really long hallway, banging my legs up with the luggage. I finally found our room, and Greg opened the door to find a bedraggled, irate wifey. Once he took me out for a good dinner and a walk along the beautiful seashore, all was forgiven. The next day (a year ago today actually), I was walking around Jerusalem—a place I never imagined I’d get a chance to visit. I can’t explain how surreal it is to see the places you’ve heard about your entire life and realize that they really do exist beyond the pages of the Bible. I never thought in a million years that I would actually stand in the Garden of Gethsemane or touch the rock where they laid Jesus’s body down after he was crucified. I just wish my grandparents were still alive to share with them my experience in the Holy Land because it was their dream to visit Israel.

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane outside of Jerusalem, Israel. Some olive trees in the Garden dated up to 1,000 years old.

Well, that’s probably enough about Israel for right now. I will share some more photos of it another time if you guys would like. Right now though, I’m making myself morose looking at all of the pictures I took, wishing that I could hop onto a plane and go back over there right now. If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it!

There are more than skyscrapers and people in NYC.

I’m going to share a little secret with you. Even though I was super excited to spread my wings and fly to New York City last week (you know I don’t mean this literally), I was a little bit worried that a corner of my soul was going to shrivel up and die inside. I’m happy to report that trees, flowers, and squirrels do exist in New York City–and in a rather surprising amount. I’ve been getting my “green fix” by visiting several parks since my arrival. I spotted these little beauties in City Hall Park.

Where are my horticulturalist friends when I need them? I think these are alliums, members of the onion family!

I told my husband before I left South Carolina to send me pictures of my new daylilies as they flowered. I had a friend from Pennsylvania send the bulbs to me last year so for several months I’ve been looking forward to seeing what the plants look like as they bloom for the first time. Go figure, almost all of the buds taunted me for weeks and decided to start blooming after I left for NYU’s summer publishing course. I was happy that I got to see (and photograph!!) the blooms below before I left. I am anxiously awaiting for the husband to send me pictures of additional flowers as they open up.

Senior Joan Daylily

Senior Joan Daylily

Peach and burgundy daylily

I can’t remember what this one is, but if you’re really interested, I can find out.

I shot all of the featured photos with my new LG G2 instead of my SLR. Camera phones have gotten pretty darn amazing the last few years. Well, now that I’ve told you about my “green fix” secret, perhaps you can share one of your secrets with me. 😉