Go East, They Said

JILL WITH LADY LIBERTY. THIS IS AS CLOSE AS WE GOT BECAUSE WE THOUGHT RIDING THE FERRY WOULD MAKE US SICK. THE BIRD ADDS A NICE TOUCH, I THINK.
JILL WITH LADY LIBERTY. THIS IS AS CLOSE AS WE GOT BECAUSE WE THOUGHT RIDING THE FERRY WOULD MAKE US SICK. THE BIRD ADDS A NICE TOUCH, I THINK.

I was in New York City last week with daughter Jill, where I made a profound discovery. I have lived my entire life in the wrong place. It never felt quite right living here among the tall blondes, and now I know why. My people hie to the East, in the land of small brunettes who know better than to expect anything from people and wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without makeup.

The last trip I took was three years ago with daughter Jessica, when we went to the other coast, where people are mellow and we sat around a lot drinking wine. That was a nice, relaxing trip. This was a nice trip too, but not relaxing. You have to move fast if you want to see everything in New York. I distinctly remember spending three minutes in Grand Central Station, immersing ourselves in the ambience, before briskly moving on to see that big tree at Rockefeller Center. Check and check.

JILL AT ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL. I LIT TWO CANDLES FOR MY MOM AND DAD FOR A DONATION OF $4. ONE OF THE CHEAPER THINGS YOU CAN DO IN NEW YORK.
JILL AT ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL. I LIT TWO CANDLES FOR MY MOM AND DAD FOR A DONATION OF $4. ONE OF THE CHEAPER THINGS YOU CAN DO IN NEW YORK.

You might want to check your credit card limit if you’re planning a trip to New York. The restaurants, the shows, the shopping. By the end of the week, I had given up any shred of restraint and was whipping out my Visa card like I was Sarah Jessica Parker.

We bought subway passes, thinking to save a few bucks on cabs, but we got disgusted after a few days and gave up. It isn’t that the people are weird or the subways dangerous; it’s that you can’t figure out where the hell you are when you get off and have to walk a block in the wrong direction before you figure it out. I don’t think the New Yorkians really want strangers on their subways, as they have opted for obscure neighborhood names on the platform signs in lieu of universally recognized directionals (N, S, E, W).

So we took a lot of taxis, and got to know a lot of cab drivers. Some mute, some chatty, all maniacs. There are traffic lanes, but driving in them is completely optional. The cops don’t care. Who are they going to stop? Everyone?

Let us hurry up as fast as we can, ladies, driving within inches of the cars on either side of us and then slamming on the brakes, because there is no way we’re going to make it around that sanitation truck and through the yellow light without taking out the guy riding his skateboard BETWEEN THE MOVING CARS. But you can try, can’t you.

IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME, SO THERE ARE A LOT OF CHARACTERS WALKING AROUND. YOU CAN TAKE THEIR PICTURE IF YOU TIP THEM.
IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME, SO THERE ARE A LOT OF CHARACTERS WALKING AROUND. YOU CAN TAKE THEIR PICTURE IF YOU TIP THEM.

We saw three Broadway shows in New York, which you can do for roughly the cost of a small pony. Just my opinion, of course, but the best of the three was Newsies, the most overrated was The Book of Mormon and the most disappointing was Chicago, only because someone thought casting Billy Ray Cyrus as Billy Flynn for a holiday run was a good idea.

But that’s okay. The older I get the more I think I’d better start wasting my money on some fun stuff. Does anyone really want to go to their grave thinking, “Thank God. I was able to leave every penny I had to the kids.”

CENTRAL PARK, NOVEMBER 2012
CENTRAL PARK, NOVEMBER 2012

•••••••••••
Subscribe to this blog under Email Subscription in the right column.

Grandma Judy Calls the Roll

Maria
I went to Maria’s softball game this week. This is her first year playing fastpitch, and I’m thinking she may want to work on her self-confidence in the batter’s box. She appears as likely to wait for the walk as to swing at any given pitch. Not a bad strategy actually, and one I can relate to, but connecting bat and ball seems sort of core to the game. On the other hand, the girl can run once she gets on base.

Christian
Christian, who turned eight this week, is feeling miffed that his march to adulthood hasn’t equated to something more than bigger sneakers. As he told his mother, doggone it, he is old enough for the 12-inch sub at Subway now.

Grace
Grace was at Maria’s softball game, although she wasn’t exactly in thrall of the action on the field and as a result spent a good part of the time capturing the local color with my camera. Which is how I end up with photos like this of some random bald guy…

and the now ubiquitous, but always riveting shot of Gracie’s feet…

Cosette
Cosette spent the week fixating on her birthday, still three months away but why wait till the last minute. It was the subject of numerous phone calls, with instructions on finding Thomas the Tank Engine toys (Aisle 2 at Target), the theme for her cake (Thomas the Tank Engine), and where to park when I get to the party (not in the street but in the driveway next to the neighbors’ flowers, Daddy will show me where).

Bret Jr.
Toddler Bret remains as exuberant as ever. Recently he conked me in the head with a cookie. (I know it shouldn’t hurt, but it did.) We were at a birthday party where they passed out big hard cookies in plastic bags, an open invitation to reckless cookie swinging and I should know better than to bend down to talk to a toddler in those circumstances. It wasn’t as painful as the time Toddler Christian broke my nose, or even the time Toddler Maria clobbered me with a hair brush, but it smarted. So don’t go giving toddlers potentially harmful cookies in plastic bags. Just don’t.

A small bird has built a small nest in the ivy growing up a pillar outside my front door, and now I can’t get up on a ladder to pull the wayward ivy off the house without risking being pecked in the eye. And so it goes.

•••••••••••
Subscribe to this blog under Email Subscription in the right column.