Friday, August 30, 2013


Skip's latest impulse buy might not be a financial investment (he tells me guns appreciate), but he's certain this will create a hunting buddy. While he hasn't fully given up on me, it's clear that my lack of enthusiasm pales in comparison to Pippa.
Want to watch a movie? Of the red stag roar, please. We chase butterflies, call doves, stalk deer on our trails, talk to dogs, trumpet like elephants, and chortle with the horses. Her first word as I lift her from her crib is "outside" followed by a reluctant and prompted "please."

She naturally loves nature. Duck calls make her long as she's holding them. If someone takes away her duck call she goes full on combat mode to get it back. And now Dad has armed her with her own bow and arrow set. I think there's a knife as well, but I might confiscate that.

In a strange way Skip is preparing for my care when he is gone. Pippa will be the huntress, stocking the freezer with organic, exotic meats.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New York Living Part 2: The Nannies

As a TV Star I needed an entourage. Or at least a nanny. My mom generously offered to watch her favorite Pippa and flew to New York City. Not wanting to be left behind Pa accompanied Grandma as the appointed bodyguard. With Skip as my coach I successfully completed my entourage.

Grandma and Pa felt the pulse of the city that first night. Grandma poached some balloons from a leftover party and while the baby slept with her parents, the grandparents hit the streets. They wandered here, there, and everywhere unaware of the late hour. I'm just happy they returned before the sun came up...which was when Skip and I had to be alert.

Pippa, Pa and Grandma hit Central Park and a big nap while we filmed. I'm sure Pippa practiced her animal noises, and I actually think she added to her collection. Up state the nannies took Pippa to see the Vanderbilt mansion. Pa seemed to enjoy it. Grandma had a slightly bitter taste because a kid-hating employee kept wagging a finger at Pippa and discouraging anyone from reproducing. While I agree a one-year-old can do damage to a house that would put tornadoes out of a job, Pippa generally doesn't break much. More of an abstract approach to interior design. By this point my TV career ended and I was able to join the tourists.

We doubled back to the City with at least one spot we all wanted to hit. First up the public library. The most amazing children's book exhibit in history, The ABC's Of It, was occurring at the exact time I, an enthusiast, landed on Manhatten. Fate. I tried to impress the importance of such an event to my offspring. She preferred to run away from me at any chance and attempt to climb the wiggly, furry, ten-foot, walk-through cutout of the Wild Things monster. I managed to snap a photo of Grandma helping her pose in the Great Green Room and one in the Secret Garden. There was also a car (maybe from The Places You'll Go?) which she adored, as long as mom sat in the driver's seat. We follow rules.

Pa wanted to see the Empire State Building and found out he could add a water tour to the Statue of Liberty. Done. I breeze over this part because it involved lots of waiting in line...with a flippy-floppy Bean. Pip and I were excluded from some of the Empire adventures because of that whole shaken baby stigma, but Pa and Grandma got to see a stimulated tour. Once we got to the top a microburst...burst. I stayed inside with our valuables and sent the nannies into the rain with the baby. I think she liked it!

Pippa may also end up in Asian text books. The Asian tourists loved her. Really loved her. Cooed, and played with her while we all sweated in line together. Then they'd hold up their cameras and ask, "Take picture please?" Who was I to refuse? My baby's an international sensation! Okay it was just a couple of sweet girls that asked. One of whom fanned Pippa (and thereby me) with a hand fan to help keep us cool. A fair trade for a photo.

I was also excited to eat at Serendipity 3 and sip on a frozen hot chocolate. So I dragged everyone up tens of blocks. And then I saw the closet of a shop, and a sign forbidding strollers. Look at the pictures folks. We were rockin' the orange City Mini all the time. Add in a two hour wait and I was dismayed. Grandma thought I could make a reservation for Skip and I which would have been fantastic had two things not occurred. One, I had no idea when Skip would join us and sipping frozen hot chocolate at midnight sounded tiring. Two, I read a negative review that gave voice to the kid unfriendly atmosphere and ridiculed the drink as being a lame milkshake. Dreams shattered with the reading of that review.

Luckily Skip made it to the hotel earlier than hoped and we were able to take couples shifts eating at The View. What is that you ask? It's the revolving rooftop restaurant at our hotel. Overlooking Times Square. And I may have eaten mostly dessert from the dessert bar.

The next morning was our last in New York. We decided to venture to a new corner of Central Park before driving to the airport. The airport where flights were cancelled and delayed, but not where the plane crashed. That would have been the other NYC airport. We were sad to leave Grandma and Pa, so we didn't. We delayed our flight again and again and eventually Grandma and Pa boarded their flight. We all had late night drives that solidified the bitterness of work vacation's end.

I never learned what Grandma's NYC "to do" was, she happily tried to accommodate Pa and I. It leads me to believe she just wanted to see her grandbaby. Grandma you are welcome to move in!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New York Living Part 1: Filming

It's been a couple weeks since our New York debut and yet I'm still not sure how to explain the rush of that experience. How often do you stand on Madison Ave with a film crew pointing their cameras at you? One day in 30 years people.

Skip, Pippa and I flew to New York to join my mom and dad at the airport. Then began the city hazing ritual of overcrowded roads, long lines, too much waiting for anyone, and a record heat wave. The humidity of the east coast makes me sweat retrospectively, so you can imagine how awful it was in real time. Also, had it been possible to take hourly showers I would have. It was not.

The first day we spent filming in the Beretta Gallery, this amazing boutique store filled with incredible home decor, safari inspired clothing, hunting gear, and a gun gallery. If you can find the time to carefully look past the jaw-dropping animal heads mounted on the walls, you also see photos of Beretta people on adventure and in the details you notice the inspiration for the engraved silver napkin rings, carved and horned walking canes, and wild scarf prints. These items tempted me to outfit myself and sneak through the Central Park Zoo on a "hunt." However, television comes first in that line of work, so instead I threaded a mic down my shirt and worked on my smile.

Skip has been waiting years for me to understand that TV is not glamourous. It's hard work. And if he thinks it's hard to try on hundreds of dollars worth of luxury clothing, then I will step in and take over his job. It's the spousely thing to do. (In full disclosure, the days are long and tiring). After a full day of taping we drove to Dover Furnace, a Beretta Trident Lodge north of the city.

There I met Haley Dunn, Olympian and shooting instructor extraordinaire. I love her and would love for her to live on my shoulder like Jiminey Cricket, telling me when to pull the trigger. Not kidding, she says "see the ridges" and boom! pieces of clay appear in your peripheral vision. And then my television career ended. Skip had to stay upstate to film another episode, but Pa, Grandma, Pippa and I headed towards the city for some sight-seeing.

Wait... I forgot to mention that Pa also shot with Haley. The morning before we left Pa had a chance to shoot on the course and Haley was kind enough to offer to give him some pointers. Pa couldn't miss! I think he found a retirement hobby!