Monday, December 31, 2007


Watching the ball drop in Times Square is another one of the New York things I've always wanted to experience. My dream was to wear the year glasses, see the lights and all the people, feel the confetti fall in my hair...and know that all the world was watching! Months ago Jackie and Ansley made plans to come visit for New Year's Eve, and I informed both of them I fully intended for us to be standing in Times Square to ring in the new year, and they both excitedly agreed.

As the weeks passed, Ansley was the first to waver, "Rebecca, we're going to die! It's going to be so cold!" To which I replied, "No, no, no! We can do it! It's once in a lifetime - we have to do it!"

But as mid-December approached, I was the next to waver as I was constantly met with less than approving remarks from New York friends when they heard of my plans. I either got a roll of the eyes and a "you've got to be kidding" or a look of shock and disgust and a "you must be crazy!" I became familiar with people saying, "better rope yourselves together", "wear some diapers" and my personal favorite, "I don't like to be in places where I can be stabbed to death yet not fall down."

Jackie was the only one sticking to her guns...with two pairs of ski pants, hand and body warmers, and about fifty layers ready to keep warm!

A week or so before New Year's, I was ready to make other plans to go to a party, but thankfully while I was home for Christmas, I got some Southern sense knocked into me. Everyone in Alabama thought Times Square sounded like the MOST fun, and of course I should plan to be there to experience it.

Jackie, Rebecca and Ansley all poofed warm and ready for Times Square! Here we are on my balcony with the lights of Chrysler Building and Empire State Building in the distance.

We made our way down 7th Avenue toward Times Square, but we didn't get very far due to our late arrival...big plans to get out there by 4 PM - 6 PM at the latest - turned into 8 PM. After several cattle calls through police barriers (one time we did think we were going to be crushed by the stampede!) we finally worked our way to 7th Avenue and 51st Street. It was by no means Times Square, but at least we could see the ball...or at least what we thought was the ball!

Okay, get out a magnifying glass! The ball is the slightly pink little speck above the vertical row of signs. Seriously!

The view of the ball zoomed in a, it's not the glowing yellow (that's a street light!) It's the pinkish dot above the orange bar.

Hard to tell in the picture, but we would soon be let through the barrier in front of us to enter yet another barrier across the street to move further down 7th Avenue. Literally, corraled like cattle.

When I realized there was no way we were going to be anywhere near the confetti that blasts from the buildings around Times Square, we made our own confetti to help my dream come true!

All in all, it was a wonderful experience I would recommend to anyone. If you're planning to conquer Times Square in the future, let me offer the following tips:

10. Take advantage of a mild day and get out there early so you can actually be IN Times Square.
9. Be smart and don't drink many fluids after 2 PM on New Year's Eve.
8. Get to know the people standing around you - we met people from Amsterdam, Germany, Russia, Norway...all here to be in Times Square for New Year's!
7. Do NOT bring chairs...what's the big guy gonna do with a little pink folding chair?!

6. Bring snacks for your group - and enough to share with the new friends next to you who will be complaining of hunger, too.
5. Come with the right frame of mind to be pushed, squeezed and roped in for hours on end.
4. Think of some fun games to pass the time - rock, paper, scissors only works for a very short time.

3. Wear all the funny hats, glasses, and glow sticks you can get your hands on.
2. Turn around after the ball drops and look up 7th Avenue toward Central Park for beautiful fireworks!
1. Don't get too caught up watching the countdown screen just below the ball. I did not miss one number during the 60-second countdown...but I didn't see even one second of the ball in motion!! Oh well, there's always next year!

Ansley and I after the ball had dropped, and Jackie diligent on documenting everything!

"2008" in lights above the Toshiba sign.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wallet 101

Happier times...Jackie, Ansley, Rebecca and Cameron still at Mercury Bar.
I don't know if it's me, if it's New York City, or if it's being my best friend, but something has us jinxed! We had not been in New York for three hours when lo and behold - Jackie's wallet was G-O-N-E gone! Somewhere between Mercury Bar, the cab ride to Gatsby's and ordering chicken wings, Jackie and I found ourselves searching puddles, sidewalks, drainage grates and garbage cans in late-night drizzling rain! Even more troubling than the current lost wallet was the fact that this was nothing new. The second time Ansley visited me this summer, she lost a few hundred dollars - what she now likes to call her "donation to the world." On that same trip, a suitcase she brought full of more of my stuff from home was "misplaced" by the airport for several days.
But poor Jackie may have the worst luck with high school her car was stolen from the street in front of my house - our quiet, safe street with my parents awake inside the house! I'll never forget us returning home late at night and the slow realization we both came to that her car was nowhere to be found!
When we came to the realization that her wallet was nowhere to be found on the New York City streets, we slowly walked back to join our group and share the bad news. Jackie - being the always smart and prepared one - was already on the phone cancelling her card and phoning her dad to get her passport in the mail to her ASAP. Actually, Jackie's dad may be the un-luckiest of us all...just as he made a late-night drive to my house after Jackie's car was stolen all those years ago, he made a late-night drive to Jackie's house to retrieve her passport and rush to FedEx by 3 AM!
After I snapped a few crying pictures (pictures I promised would never see the light of day :) ), I couldn't help but see the humor in the situation, and Ansley decided a "Wallet 101" might be a worthwhile posting on here for friends who plan to visit me in the future. However, besides the obvious precautions such as don't carry a lot of cash, only have one credit card, have copies of your wallet contents, and have a back up plan for your back up plan like Jackie...all I can say is, "You've been warned!"

Sad Excitement

After nine wonderful days of being at home, I was a little sad to be leaving. I hate thinking that in a few hours I'll be flying away and won't see my family again for a few months. It makes me want to slow all the minutes down and really soak it all in - having my mom dote on me, listening to my dad give me instructions, sleeping in my very own big bedroom, hopping in my car to go meet's funny how easily I smooth back into life in Birmingham.
As my parents drove me to the airport, I tried not to think of all the things I would miss, but instead to think of all the things I was looking forward Jackie and Ansley visiting, the Alabama football party later that night at Mercury Bar, and New Years Eve. As if on cue, as we neared the airport, I received a sweet text message from Cameron that said something to the effect of "I miss you! Hurry back! " I realized I missed her too! I missed New York and the streets and buildings and people and excitement and cold. I even missed the subway!

With my MBB Julie at the airport - I AM LUVNU!

What better time for a family photograph?!

As I settled into my seat on the plane, I looked out the window to spot my family sitting in the airport waiting to watch my plane take off, as they always do. Although I was so excited to be getting back to New York, I couldn't help but let a few tears fall. No matter what thrills and fun are waiting for me there, it swells my heart to know what great love I have waiting for me at home.

~~ Need a break for a few tears ~~

Thankfully, I had a welcome committee waiting for me at baggage claim in New York:

My best friends Ansley and Jackie...
with a little sign that got a lot of attention:

Silly girls! But what a fun welcome back to New York!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Unique, beautiful, glorious, delightful, refreshing...seeing the faces of my dear friends while I was at home was as wonderful as watching snowflakes fall from the sky. I'm wishing I'd made pictures at each lunch, coffee chat and dinner to make this "snowflake" montage complete, but if you don't see your face here, know that I loved the time we spent together!

There are lots better pictures to choose from, but this one makes me laugh! Love you, Tol.

Nicole and Jessica - New York girls at heart.

Amy, Melissa, Leanna and Vivi - Auntie Rebecca loves you all! :)

Crystal being too sweet for her own good - Roll Tide!

Beautiful girls...inside and out!

Precious Amy - always a faithful friend.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home for the Holidays

I envisioned coming home for the holidays would look and feel much like the old Folger's commercial I've always loved. (Watch it here - - thanks for finding it, Tol!) Coming home actually was kind of like the commercial (except I didn't surprise the fam, I didn't make any coffee, and I didn't get greeted by everyone in their bathrobes), BUT Mama had the house beautifully decorated for Christmas - not a room or detail left untouched (even had a tree in my bedroom!) and Daddy had the yard looking great in lights. I just walked around for a while, oohing and aahing at everything.

This Christmas was a little out of the ordinary holiday schedule for my family as we celebrated on several different days with several different groups, but it was nice to be in so many different homes for the holiday.

Julie, Rebecca and Elizabeth at Elizabeth and Chris's house. Such pretty decorations!

Meeting my cousins' babies born this summer - Callie and Anslea - so sweet! At Mummert Family Christmas in Cullman.

Christmas with Chris and Elizabeth - I love the looks of joy!

Admit it - this was your favorite gift this year!! The Krystal Lovers!

Julie and me letting Chris and Libby be the stars.

Loving the book Elizabeth put together of pictures and well wishes from my going away party in May.

Christmas Eve in Tennessee...Santa visits the young and old - my sweet 103 year old Grandma Maudie.

Julie and me on Christmas morning - we missed you Elizabeth!

In position to open least we weren't crowded this year! Just kidding, Tol!

Mama about to open the big gift from Santa! :)

Daddy and Jack wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

"Love ya, yeah, yeah, yeah!"

I had never traveled via public transportation around any major holiday, except for my recent train ride to Connecticut on Thanksgiving Day - when I waited in the ticket line for 45 minutes, and the activity of Grand Central Station lived up to the chaos its name implies. But, other than family car rides up Interstate 65 to Decatur or Tennessee, or the short hop on Interstate 59 from Tuscaloosa to Hoover, my travels home for holidays had never really been what I would classify as a "travel", just a mere shifting around in the state of Alabama.

This year though, as the Christmas holidays approached, I excitedly swapped travel dates with other New York friends also counting the days until they were at home. Some only got short four or five day vacations before heading back to the city for work. I was one of the lucky ones - "Yep, nine whole days at home!" I'd proudly announce, and then bask in the glow of thoughts of warm Alabama and my parents house festive with Mama's many Christmas decorations.

I flew home on Friday, 12/21 - a day deemed the busiest travel day of the year. I was fully braced for hassle after hassle - from hailing an available cab out of the city to gridlock on the streets and the airport security line. But everything was smooth sailing - I even left the apartment Friday morning on time (there's a first time for everything!)

At the airport, one young boy stood out in the midst of all the pets, families and luggage. He skipped, marched and sang his way in circles all over the waiting area, fully unaware that a parade of bands, floats and clowns was not following behind him, only his weary father scrambling to keep up. Finally, the father said, "Want to listen to the Beatles?" The little boy's legs immediately folded under him, and he plopped in front of a laptop computer. I laughed to myself knowing the father was surely relieved, and then I wondered if the boy would be listening to THE Beatles or if there was some new cartoon called the "Beetles," like the "Wiggles." I didn't really care what it was that calmed the little boy, I was just glad to stretch my legs out without fear of being trampled.

A while later, settled into my seat in the plane, I heard a little voice shout into the completely quiet cabin, "Love ya, yeah, yeah, yeah! Love ya, yeah, yeah, yeah!"

The words from that little voice answered my question, and they certainly brightened the faces of many tired travelers!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Wonderland

I had never been in New York during Christmastime, so I anxiously awaited the arrival of the season this year.

Decorations started popping up on and in stores, office buildings and apartment lobbies all over the city by mid-November. It seemed like everyday for the last month I saw new lights strung up here or a new Christmas tree there. Beautiful displays in building lobbies, Christmas music piped from stores onto the streets, and white lights wrapped thick in trees along the sidewalks became the normal scenery as I walked to work. By the time the week of Christmas rolled around, every nook had a wreath and every cranny had a red bow, and lights were strung on anything that would stand still long enough!

The first decorations I saw! The lights at Bloomingdale's on Nov. 13th - a full week before its windows were unvieled.

75th Anniversary of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes!

Lights in the trees around Rockefeller Center.

Cleverly cute window box presents on 5th Avenue.

The green and gold so beautiful in snow - the St. Regis Hotel on 55th and 5th Avenue.

Decorations in front of an office building on 6th Avenue.

The Time and Life Building on 6th Avenue.

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree...featuring my big red hat - haha!

I love the lights and flags around the rink.


St. Patrick's Cathedral had beautiful wreaths on the doors, although you can't see them in this picture!

Tiffany & Co. on the right...thick garland and lights around the windows and entrance.

The star in the intersection of 57th Street and 5th Avenue - fabulous!

The Christmas tree in the center of "Le Cirque" on 59th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

That's Bob Saget!

I could spot ole Danny Tanner anywhere! Here we are in Times Square where he was nice enough to wait a few minutes while I changed the batteries in my camera!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Miracle on 34th Street

I had done some serious shopping around the city for several days in an attempt to find the perfect outfit for two Christmas parties requiring "festive" attire. I looked at the fabulous little boutiques in Soho - but there was no way I'd spend so much money on one outfit (although I've definitely been known to drop some cash in the past) - and hoped I would find something at H&M or one of the other trendy but cheap places. I shopped the many stores on 5th Avenue around my office during lunch, bringing my purchases back to show Lauren. Nothing seemed to be the right choice, and suddenly the first party was just two days away, and I still had nothing to wear!

In a last-ditch effort, I told Lauren I planned to run over to Macy's after work - maybe, just maybe I would find something to the midst of the plethora of tourists and clothes that just make Macy's a destination I prefer to avoid, especially this time of year. I gathered about 15 dresses - not loving any of them - and headed to the dressing room. A dress on the wall outside the dressing room caught my eye, and I stepped back out to get it. As I tried on dress after dress to no avail, my last grab continued to hang, waiting for its time to shine. Finally, as I pulled it on, I realized it was just perfect - sleeveless but not strappy, shiny but not gawdy, short but not too short, loose but still fun! With my new dress in hand, I headed to the shoe department where I was treated like a queen in the midst of the chaos. My salesguy selected the cutest silver snakeskin pumps that just totally made the outfit. Seldom have I left a store so happy and confident with my purchases; I couldn't help but swing my bags and smile at what better New York Christmas shopping experience could I ask for than finding the perfect dress and shoes at Macy's, then skipping on up Broadway to enjoy "A Chorus Line" with a friend!

One of Macy's famous windows...depicting Santa flying over North America and Europe...

Then the scene rotates over and shows Santa flying "on the other side of the world" in Japan and China.

Another window - Santa and Mrs. Claus with the elves in the North Pole.

I love this one!! Santa flying over Manhattan - Macy's, Rockefeller Ice Rink, Times Square, Broadway and the Statue of Liberty.

The main area of the first floor - poinsettia arches and Christmas trees - so beautiful!

And more poinsettia swags on each side of the main area.

The Christmas tree of lights at Macy's on Broadway and 34th Street. I can see the tree from the end of my office street on 22nd Street and Broadway.