Posts Tagged ‘Sesame Street’

central park rowboats nyc

Ah, New York in the fall. It makes me want to buy school supplies. (And send bouquets of newly sharpened pencils to charming Internet friends.)

Seriously – the hubs and I hopped down to NYC in mid-October for a long weekend, and it was, as always, delightful.

We arrived Friday night and settled into our apartment – a charming retreat (found via Airbnb) in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

living room brooklyn apartment

Our hostess recommended Chavela’s, promising that the Mexican dishes there would meet even our Texan-snob standards. She was right.

chavelas brooklyn interior

Guacamole + sangria + enchiladas = mucho delicioso.

enchiladas chavelas brooklyn

On our way home, we stopped in at Forte, a brand-new cafe (they’d been open three days!) for apple cider and pumpkin cheesecake. Delicious.

katie forte pumpkin cheesecake

Saturday morning found us checking out the Brooklyn Flea – sadly under-attended due to chilly rain. But J did make a new friend.

jer pink elephant brooklyn flea

We dropped in at the Greenlight Bookstore, a favorite discovery on our last trip to Brooklyn, and popped in to see the Greene Grape’s new digs. (And to split a zucchini-cranberry-chocolate-chip muffin. Wow.)

greenlight bookstore brooklyn

We headed to the West Village later, enjoying chai and a lemon scone at Ciao for Now, then wandered the tangled streets for a while. We ended up, not surprisingly, at a bookstore – Three Lives & Co.

three lives and co bookstore nyc

Its cozy space is chock full of fascinating books. I could have browsed for hours.

We then caught the subway up to Lincoln Center, because the on-site library branch had an exhibit I had to see.

count von count sesame street nypl

Blueprints from the original Sesame Street set, sheet music for “Rubber Duckie” and “Bein’ Green”…

rubber duckie sesame street sheet music

…all kinds of cool Henson/Sesame Workshop trivia, and half a dozen of our favorite Muppets (including Super Grover, in the clouds!).


super grover sesame street nypl

We left with smiles on our faces (noting on the way out that the exhibit is “brought to you by the letters N, Y, P and L”).

jer cookie monster

After a bit of shopping and wandering in the neighborhood, we walked up to the Upper West Side for dinner at a sidewalk cafe.

piccolo cafe nyc upper west side

I’m still not sure if the maitre’d’s Italian accent was real, but the pasta and wine were delicious.

katie wine piccolo cafe nyc

After dinner, we headed up to West 83rd Street, to a place I’d walked by but never entered.

cafe lalo exterior nyc

For the uninitiated, Cafe Lalo is the setting for an important scene in You’ve Got Mail – when Kathleen Kelly arranges to meet her Internet admirer and is shocked to see her nemesis Joe Fox instead. (The railings outside are the scene of Fox’s mini-freakout before he walks in: “She had to be! She had to be!”)

Our experience wasn’t that dramatic (thank goodness), but the desserts are out of this world.

raspberry delight cafe lalo

Sated and satisfied, we headed back to Brooklyn for a cozy night in.

More New York photos and stories to come.


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I’m a longtime fan of Sesame Street, cookies and Christmas – so this montage of Cookie Monster attempting to ask Santa for cookies is just about perfect. (From Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, which my parents taped off TV about 20 years ago. We still have the creaky old VHS tape, complete with commercials, and we still watch the clips below, and Grover playing Santa, every year.)


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Because life can get altogether too serious sometimes, don’t you think? Here, a list of silly things that make me smile:

1. The Muppets. In pretty much any form – whether it’s YouTube videos, episodes of The Muppet Show or the Sesame Street Twitter feed.
2. Mutts – the comic strip following the adventures of Mooch the cat, his friend Earl the dog and their pals.
3. Sprinkles on my ice cream. (And the fact that Northeasterners call them “jimmies.”)
4. Polka dots. They’re just so happy.
5. The Aflac duck (who is also on Twitter).
6. Veggie Tales. (Clearly I’m easily entertained by kids’ shows.)
7. My husband. (Yes, he’s silly.)
8. Our friends. (Ditto.)
9. Puppies, wherever I encounter them.
10. Blog posts of utter hilarity, like this one from Joey. (Actually, this one made me hoot with laughter.)

What silly things make you smile?

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Carney’s House Party, Maud Hart Lovelace
This is a perfect summer book – who wouldn’t want to spend a summer in Deep Valley, going to parties and drives and dances with the Crowd? Carney is so appealing – honest and frank and funny and kind, and so many other beloved characters from the Betsy-Tacy books make appearances. I was quite envious of the nights spent on the sleeping porch and, as always, the beautiful dresses.

Heaven to Betsy, Maud Hart Lovelace
Finishing Carney’s story sent me scrambling back to the bookcase for the tales of Betsy’s high school years. I love Betsy’s laughter, her zest for life, her wide circle of friends, her flights of fancy. I also love that she’s such a real character – as insecure as most high school girls, though she’s funny and pretty and kind. Such a fun beginning to their years in high school.

Betsy in Spite of Herself, Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy starts to learn the meaning of “To thine own self be true” – while dealing with a cranky English teacher, a jealous boyfriend, and the usual round of Crowd parties and Sunday night lunches. I love her Christmas visit to Tib in Milwaukee, and her gradual realization that she can’t be dramatic, mysterious Betsye – she’s just plain Betsy, and everyone loves her better for it.

Betsy Was a Junior, Maud Hart Lovelace
This book makes me squirm a little, because of the obsession with sororities (and the way it takes Betsy and her friends a long time to figure out that they aren’t a good idea). But there are some great moments here – barn dances, high school pranks, the Junior-Senior Banquet, and high jinks with Tib (who is finally back in Deep Valley). The ending is bittersweet, but I do love Betsy’s quiet reflections on growing up.

Betsy and Joe, Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy has a brilliant senior year – though it has its share of trials and romantic trouble. But she settles down to work, at writing, at the piano and at school, and still enjoys the usual excitements of parties, dances and fun with the Crowd. I love the way her relationship with Joe develops here – slowly but steadily, with some grand moments – and the book finishes with a flourish amid the glories of Commencement.

Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way, Molly Birnbaum
Birnbaum was on her way to becoming a chef when she was injured in a car accident and lost her sense of smell – and thus most of her sense of taste. This is a beautifully written memoir of loss and recovery, packed with fascinating information about smell. Birnbaum’s writing is clear and evocative (and I love that every chapter is named after a pair of scents). Lovely, and so hopeful (she can smell almost everything again).

Betsy and the Great World, Maud Hart Lovelace
I love Betsy’s adventures in Europe – though this time I was more anxious than usual for her to get back to Joe. But she meets so many fascinating people, and spends time wandering and soaking it in and writing – just as I did during my year in Oxford. She visits places I’ve been (London and Paris) and spends time in places I’ve yet to see (Munich, Oberammergau, Venice). And this time, I noticed and delighted in her brief pre-trip stop in Boston.

Betsy’s Wedding, Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy’s back in Minneapolis – and newlywed life offers just as many (though different) adventures as traveling in Europe. I love all the sweet stories of home, and the dedication she and Joe show to their writing, and all the familiar characters who people Betsy’s life again. I found myself wanting to linger here after I’d read the final scene.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, Nina Sankovitch
I love books about reading, but this one had a poignant twist: the author decided to spend a year reading (and reviewing) a book a day, to help her find some peace after her sister’s death. She weaves in the story of her family’s history, as well as thoughtful, wise meditations on family, grief, love and why we read. (Bonus: a long list of great books to check out.)

Sesame Street: 40 Years – A Celebration of Life on the Street, Louise Gikow
I grew up watching Big Bird, Grover, Cookie Monster and the gang – so I loved this coffee-table book, packed with information about the history of Sesame Street, and full of great photos. I learned so much about the people behind Sesame, the educational aims of the program, its worldwide reach – so much I didn’t know. (And, of course, I spent some time with all my favorite monsters.) Fabulous.

Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I first read this a few years ago, and picked it back up after seeing it mentioned on Lindsey’s blog. Written in the fifties, its meditations on silence, solitude, relationships and family life are still strikingly relevant today. (I’m sure this will be even truer for me after I have kids.) So thoughtful and wise and lovely.

A Caribbean Mystery, Agatha Christie
Miss Marple travels to the West Indies – and, of course, ends up catching a killer while she’s there. I’m continually amazed at Christie’s gift for confounding readers until the very end, when it all comes clear. And I love how the characters in every book are astonished by Miss Marple’s sleuthing skills. Nicely done.

What Happened on Fox Street, Tricia Springstubb
Mo Wren loves living on Fox Street – it may be a little scruffy, but it’s her home. And she’s not at all thrilled when a big development company threatens to destroy the street and force the tenants to move out. A simple story with enjoyable characters, and some beautifully written passages. I’m planning to read the sequel, out next month.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, Ally Carter
I read about this young adult series on Rachelle’s blog, and was curious to try them out. A top-secret boarding school that trains teenage girls to be spies? Such a fun concept – and the writing is pretty good. I enjoyed following the adventures of Cammie (the Chameleon) and her spy-girl pals. I’ll be reading the rest of the series when I need something light and fun.

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‘Tis the season for apple cider, cups of cocoa, twinkle lights, and – yes – the Christmas movies I pull out every year. Here, in no particular order except for #1, are my very favorite Christmas films:

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas. I get chills when Linus walks onstage, and I’m sniffling by the end of his little speech every.single.time. And oh, how I love Snoopy – the ice-skating scene and the dance scenes crack me up – and the end where they all sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and well, just the whole thing.

2. White Christmas.  I wrote last year about how much I LOVE this movie, though it’s a recent discovery for me. Love, love, love it – the music, the colors, the lights, the dancing, and the love and respect shown the General by his whole division of soldiers. And Danny Kaye’s jokes. And, well, just everything about it.

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol. I’ve always loved the Muppets, and Kermit is my favorite – so what’s not to love about this one? Rizzo and Gonzo crack me up with their narration; the songs are so clever; Kermit makes such a fabulous Bob Cratchit; and Michael Caine is brilliant. And when Scrooge donates an untold amount of money and Beaker gives him his red scarf, I always get teary-eyed.

4. The Holiday. Oh, how I love this little film – it makes me cry and laugh and feel all starry-eyed inside.

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original one, dang it). Such fun, colorful animation and a truly heartwarming story – and I love Max, the little dog/reindeer, so much.

6. Miracle on 34th Street – the original, with Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara. Such a classic, and I love watching the cynicism melt away as everyone comes to believe that there just might be a Santa Claus.

7. Rudolph, the Claymation version – with Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius. So fun. (“Fog as thick as peanut butter!” “You mean pea soup!” “You eat what you like and I’ll eat what I like!”)

8. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, mostly for the nostalgic value. We still have the old taped-off-TV VHS – now, most years, we just fast-forward to the scenes of Cookie Monster trying to write to Santa, but eating the pencil, the typewriter and the telephone, and Grover pretending to be Santa and trying to figure out how to get down the chimney. Hilarious and heartwarming, in true Muppet fashion.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

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