A brief word before exiting the building

The Daily Life Text

Tomorrow, early in the morning, I leave for Taiwan. Obviously, this trip is a Shelterbox effort; I’ll be on the ground looking for suitable places to donate our boxes. It’s not going to be easy. The mountainsides have literally slid all the way down, obliterating tons of houses in the process and leaving us, potentially, no real room to make a tent city. Besides that, the roads seem to be all blocked up, so we may have a hard time getting our boxes where they need to go.
Although I’m happy I can help, I am filled with trepidation: it’s hard to see one’s homeland wiped out like this. Thankfully, we have three team members on the ground already and it’s quite likely that I will be able to spend some of my time at the end of the trip decompressing by talking about the effort to folks in Rotary clubs who will be able to help in more ways for future disasters.
I’m signing off here. Stay safe, everyone, and keep your loved ones near.

Photo is courtesy CBS News
Photo is courtesy CBS News

Irvine Hills hillbilly

The Daily Life Text

…No, not really. My little cousin Adrianna is here this week. It’s her first time in New York. I do love showing folks around this place.
Her first full day here, we went down into the city at a reasonably late hour and met Larry for lunch. His office is in one of my favorite buildings in New York, The Chrysler building. It was so nice to see it again, and have an excuse to ride the elevators, and be in all that Art Deco glory. Clearly Adrianna was less enthralled than I was–I mean, most people would be.
Larry loves his family’s family’s history. He’s taken the extra step of letting folks in on it, which is how we got to hear about his grandfather, who lost a leg in the war and spent the rest of his life as a model for war and post-war efforts. This is Larry with a blowup of one of those ads.

Larry's grandpa had a lot more hair than he does.
Larry's grandpa had a lot more hair than he does.

After a quick lunch, Adri and I wandered up to see the U.N., where it was too hot to take photos and I once again admired the architecture (are you getting the idea that this tour is more about me than my guest?) and then we walked over to Fifth Avenue and down it for a skosh before hopping into a cab to meet Anna at Penn Station.
From there we walked down to Chelsea, admiring things in shop windows and searching for frozen yogurt, and then I took them to Brooklyn Industries and we took a bus over to Chelsea Piers for a terrific boat cruise around the lower end of Manhattan, almost up the other side to the Queensboro bridge. I didn’t know this until we got there, but it’s run by the same company that did me and Jim’s goodbye party from New York in 2005 and a Girls’ Night Out event. Love, love, love them.
Here is a nice photo of Adri, me, and Anna.
When did I suddenly acquire those bizarre dimples on my cheeks? Dislike!!
When did I suddenly acquire those bizarre dimples on my cheeks? Dislike!!

Adrianna was a little seasick. Evidence is here, in this photo, and the ensuing six others, that she took of various sights from exactly this viewpoint.
I like how Lady Liberty is falling off the edge of the photo, like she was seasick too.
I like how Lady Liberty is falling off the edge of the photo, like she was seasick too.

From there we walked down the West Side Highway to get to the High Line Park, which was something I’d wanted to show Adrianna anyway, and then we walked over to meet Jim and Denise for dinner at the very nicely appointed Safran. Here’s a photo of Anna and Adri at the High Line.
My friends are ridiculously cute. You can quote me on that.
My friends are ridiculously cute. You can quote me on that.

I just loved this park. I was sorry to have missed the Renegade Cabaret, a thing started by a woman whose apartment overlooked the High Line in its abandoned glory for just about ever. When she realized that people could actually see into her apartment, right up to the laundry she was hanging on her balcony, she invited a friend over, a singer, to belt out a couple of tunes. You only get the tunes if her party lanterns are hanging out. Alas, they were not out, and we did not get our evening concert at the cabaret.
On the way back to Grand Central from the restaurant, however, we did get to see two different musical acts. This one, in an abandoned clothing retailer , was particularly charming. In fact, the fact that we were separated from the music by the glass doors made it sound very ethereal. You had to put your ear to the crack to hear it, and there were several of us, whispering so that we could get the most out of it.
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Adrianna was in town by herself yesterday with a classmate of hers, so today will be my second day with her. We’re getting a nice tour of the American Museum of Natural History for an old high-school mate of mine, who’s a librarian there, so we’re both looking forward to that. And then, after dinner with said pal, we’re off to a singer-songwriter friend‘s birthday party. Yay!

The misguided search for morning coffee

The Daily Life Text

It’s already 1:38. I’ve gotten very little done today except for a few critical, money-oriented errands. Sadly, none of that’s translated into actually making money. Hmm.
This week is going to be very busy: We have a visitor from California. It’s her first time in New York, so there’s a lot to do. Already the itinerary is completely insane. I think we’re booked solid, except for Thursday, which is her day in the city with her friend Jay. Sigh. And, although I’ve yet to book Sunday, I really don’t much feel like going down into the city on a weekend day, when there will be even more tourists than there usually on a summer day. Blech. Still. We’ll see what she wants to do.
At any rate, it occurred to me that I’ve not recounted any of the awesome stuff that’s happened in the past few weeks. We’ve had a few really awesome weekends, and, actually, a few firsts even for a seasoned New Yorker like me! Then again, part of the joy of living in New York was discovering new and different things every single day.
The weekend after we got back from Ironman, our friend Dave came to visit us. Although Chicago isn’t far from Indianapolis, where Dave lives, I had a notoriously had time getting down to see him. I’m really happy that Dave could extend his business trip to spend time with us over the weekend, although I’m sure we weren’t exactly the best company, being somewhat still jet-lagged from IM and more than a little confused.
We spent our first evening with Dave downtown with Peter and Alan. We ate at Arriba Arriba, which I have yet to review on Yelp because I can’t actually remember eating there: I had one margarita and it about knocked my sorry, weak ass to the ground. So here is a photo that I don’t remember taking of Alan and Peter
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and one of Jim and Dave
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I’d show you the one of me and Alan, but you can *see my bra* through my dress in it, so I think I will both never wear that dress with a light-colored bra again and also possibly chuck both the photo and the dress. So annoyed, and embarrassed.
Anyway. The next day Jim drove Dave and I to a place called Croton Gorge Park. It’s something like 10 miles from our house and took us something like two hours to get to, but that mostly has to do with faulty directions in Jim’s head. It was pretty frackin’ awesome. Here is the photographic evidence of the awesomeness:

I think that is me sitting in the bottom left corner.
I think that is me sitting in the bottom left corner.

The next week sort of flew by. There was some writing, some editing, a lot of panicking over life plans and other things. The following weekend we drove down to Long Beach Island to an old friend, Rich, and his wife Katie and their terrific dogs Lola and Piper. I’m pretty sure none of these photos turned out right, but here’s a couple.
Left to right: Lola, Rich, Piper
Left to right: Lola, Rich, Piper

Jim looks completely dazed but I really like the colors in this photo
Jim looks completely dazed but I really like the colors in this photo

We had fun catching up. It was just like being with family: you’ve sort of known each other long enough that all the damage has been done already. It was nice, really really nice.
I drove to New Jersey the following day to see an old friend. I have no photos of that because I spent most of the time stuck in traffic, but I got to spend the night, and spend a lot of time with my girl Anna. All good.
Last Thursday Peter had the brilliant idea of going to see a movie in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It was loads of fun. Both Kara and I got there in time to stake out a nice spot, and although it got crowded, our spot was large enough to fit me, Peter, Karen, and Kara. It was perfick, although I’d forgotten, as Peter pointed out, how old and leather-like Cary Grant looks in the movie we saw, To Catch a Thief. It’s not my favorite Hitchcock, but both the company and the scenery were spot-on, even if Mr. Grant looks like a turtle (props to Peter again). Here, you witness for yourself.
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And then and then…I can’t remember what all else. Oh, right. On Friday I met Aileen in the city and we had a lovely lovely picnic lunch in the park after a failed visit to the Guggenheim museum. And then there was meandering around on Madison Avenue while I wondered how I was going to fit all of the crap I have to fit into Adriana’s repertoire of New York experiences, and also whether or not I’d find a pair of shoes that wouldn’t hurt me (I did, and thank goodness, too, as the ones I was wearing were literally wearing a hole in my toe), and then we went to a wine bar, where I had this experience, which pissed me off mightily.
But that’s OK, because I was with Aileen, and I had a nice dinner with Michelle at the lovely Kellari, and then I went to the birthday party of an acquaintance, and I saw this:
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Yes. The Naked Cowboy showed up. He who is running for mayor. That’s right. Perfectly nice guy. Wish he wasn’t so raunchy all the time, though. Every photo I watched him taking was of him grabbing someone else’s rear, or of the someone else posing as grabbing his rear…Sigh. Seeing as how the guy’s platform is transparency (or, in his lingo, “Nakedness”), there’s not much more to be said.
I met his campaign manager. Both he and the cowboy are perfectly nice peeps, and I am curious to see what he has to say.
Lara moved to the country, by the way, to a lovely home with its own name and everything. She is incommunicado for awhile, and I am dying to find out how she’s doing. Sigh. It’s funny how acutely you can feel the absence of people you only usually see online.
I’m sure there will be some epic forthcoming rumination on this. But for now, off to finish the book I’m reading and maybe write a book review and [oh, God, please] some work on the novel. Argh!