Thursday, April 26, 2007

The New York I didn't imagine existed

Unlike what might be your first assumption based on my title, I do know and did know New York is not all like New York city. I just didn't expect a little town or a couple of little towns including the land (or part of the land) of the Mohawk nation from where the hairstyle name arises. It blows my mind!!

1. It took me a whole 8 hours to get to it (granted I did not take a non-stop flight).
2. Cell phone reception in the area is almost 0. I had no signal even while roaming.
3. We carpooled to a restaurant in the nearby town of Massena because we were worried parking wouldn't be enough.

The place was actually delightful. I worked with some very smart people. Everyone was extremely friendly and extremely knowledgable and proudof their work. We even had some absolutely delicious Italian food.

But the wooden houses, some in really bad shape, the countles farmlands (whether they were or not used for farming), the amazingly high ratio of Casino's to restaurants totally threw me off. I don't think I would come back as a tourist, but I am glad I got to see this place!

Here is a picture courtesy of google, albeit an off-season one:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Our Christmas Tree--- This is NOT an April Fool's Joke

I am writing about this today because I think this would be a funny April Fool's joke if it wasn't real, but unfortunately the following story is true:

We cut our own Christmas Tree with my family when they cam in town on December 16th, but went on vacation from December 29th to January 8th. Now, I am new to Christmas in the states and Jamil is new to the concept of a real Christmas tree. That is to say that without any notices, memories or being able to see what our neighbors did, we have taken the ornaments down from the tree, but not the tree itself.

This sounds silly, but we have had our fair share of encounters with our HOA (Home Owners Association) over strange things on our lawn (like weeds and brown grass and not enough mulch). The last we wanted was a letter from the HOA about how we have a tree siting on our curb, or how the garbage guys cannot pickup organic stuff or how the lawn trash people do not pick up Christmas tree about some date X.

What does it all add up to?

Well, Jamil who was in charge of disposing of the tree over the first weekend we were back from Christmas vacation but during which I would be out of town, points out today that he thinks the tree is finally dead. Now, I am no scientist but having figured the tree was probably dead close to the time it was cut down, I asked how he knew. His response: "It is not driking the water anymore". That's right folks, he has never watered the lawn, or my poor and now dead banana plant, but he has been watering the Christmas tree up until late March when he has determined the tree is dead. In January he excused it as the Three Kings tree, in February it was a love tree with some fetility explanations that almost made me chop down the tree immediately, in March it was green like St. Patty's day, but I don't think using the verse about Jesus having been nailed to a tree will do here.

I will try to take a picture to prove this is not an April Fool's joke, but does anyone know how to get rid of a Christmas tree in April without offending the HOA? We already have enough weeds to also explain a Christmas tree on the curb which is too organic for trash pickup and too big for either the little recycling bin or the little Home Depot brown bags? Or is there anyone out there that wants some free fertilzer? How about a discounted Christmas tree you can use next Christmas?

I wonder if it would make it until next Christmas so we can throw it out with everyone else's trees?