Friday, July 29, 2005
Death and funerals
I just got back from a funeral. No-one I know so no condolences are necessary. This was a co-worker's mother. And yet, no matter what, they still make me sad. They didn't use to as much as they do now. It "helps" having a personal experience I suppose. I looked over at the widower and my heart just aches. He's now supposed to keep going. He's now supposed to figure out what the new him looks like. The him without his wife. And soon he'll have to do laundry and go grocery shopping and change his answering machine and his bank account. And it will all seem sharp and painful but eventually even this uncommon, unfamiliar ground will become familiar. It's just not fair that it has to.
The last few funerals I've been to also put in me in a great deal of reflection about our father's funeral. And every single time I'm happy with the funeral we had for Dad. I'm happy all 4 of us kids spoke about him. I'm happy my sister and I created his obituary and personalized the handout so much. I'm happy we chose his Auction Mart buddies as pallbearers. I'm happy we had our friend design the flower arrangement (filled with wildflowers and what some may call weeds) that was to cover the casket. I'm happy we had some dandelions by the guest book. I'm happy it was an egg basket that was out to hold the cards. I'm happy we chose to use his spades to throw the dirt in the grave ourselves. I'm happy that we stood to sing his favourite song: And Can It Be. I'm just so happy that strangers to him might have gotten to know him just a little bit as his funeral.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
July 22, 2005
July 21, 2005
- Did a little shopping at various stores (yes, Marja, one of them was a card store).
- Headed via subway to the Bronx so that my boy could see Yankee stadium. We got there around 11:30. There was a tour of the place that was to begin at noon which we were hoping to get on. Unfortunately, the noon tour was sold out and the next one was at 1. Not a lot to see around Yankee stadium or we might have stuck around. I felt bad that the ONE thing he wanted to do didn't work out but he claims he's still happy as he got to see the place.
- From there it was off to Greenwich Village for a more subdued walk. Another one of those pleasant memories: wandering the quiet streets of the Village with my camera filled with a roll of black and white film.
- In the village we also ate our best meal by far. A small Thai restaurant that believes in low prices, good food and excellent service. I'd recommend it to anyone visiting the area.
- Also bought basically my only souvenir from the trip: a skirt and blouse. Hopefully next summer I can wear both of them.
- Headed to Battery Park again but due to insane traffic at this point (we went about 10 blocks in about an hour) we decided to take the subway back to Times Square.
- And, for our evening entertainment it was seeing Kevin Pollack perform at the infamous Carolines comedy club. (Don't even get me started on how annoyed I am that they don't have an apostrophe in their name.)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
July 20, 2005
The first tour we took was the downtown tour which brought us through SOHO, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, Chinatown, the financial district all the way to the tip of Manhattan - Battery Park. From there, instead of heading back to the Times Square area where our hotel was we decided to take a second tour through Brooklyn which lasted about 2 hours. Nice to see Brooklyn. Completely different from Manhattan. One interesting stat to learn: The population of Manhattan is 1.5 million which increases to 5.5 million during the day. That is, 4 million people commute into Manhattan every day. Staggering.
Back to Battery Park for lunch and then back to Times Square. At this point we thought it best to line up at TKTS for some tickets. For those of you unfamiliar with London or NY theatre, TKTS is where the theatres send their unsold tickets from that day. There you can purchase them for half price but you take your chances on what to see. Our first two choices: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels or Glengarry Glen Ross. Thankfully, we were able to get tickets to Glengarry Glen Ross.
Lots of time before the show though so we took the uptown tour that goes right around Central Park and into Harlem. Fascinating to see but MAN did we get the weirdest tour guide ever. Not sure what he smoked before the tour but for those of us who WEREN'T high it was a bizarre and disconcerting time. His voice was dull and monotone but more than that for no apparent reason he would start randomly quoting Elton John or Beatles lyrics. And then, when traffic was bad he took to reading to us from a book he'd just bought. Very, very odd. 2 hours I can never get back.
Once back at the hotel we took some time to freshen up, wandered through Times Square a bit more, grabbed a light supper and it was off to the theatre for Glengarry Glen Ross. What can I say? It was phenomenal. Alan Alda was marvelous, Liev Shreiber was magnetic and Jeffrey Tambor was heartbreaking.
July 19, 2005
- Started out with a bad bagel for breakfast. It's New York City, shouldn't the bagels be good? Wacky.
- At 9:30 we stood in line for Letterman tickets. Thankfully the line-up wasn't too bad. As much as I wanted to see Letterman live I really didn't want to waste an entire day standing in line. Bit of a process involved though. First you line-up for awhile and then you get to go inside the lobby at which point they talk to you explaining the process and you have to fill out a form. They're very particular with i.d.s and if you sign up for a specific guest you HAVE to bring that guest or come alone. No substitutes. After the form is filled out you have to line up again and eventually go through a short interview. I'm still not 100% sure what the point of the interview is but thankfully none of these steps took too long.
- From there it was off to the Met so that I could spend some glorious time looking at artwork. Of course, the walk there was 30+ blocks so it it wasn't like it was an immediate jump. And, on the way there we got the call that we got tickets to see Letterman. Woohoo! Two happier people you wouldn't have seen on 5th Avenue at that moment. We were giddy. Seeing Letterman live would have probably been on a List of Things To Do Before I Die had I made up such a list. I've been a fan basically since I've had television (introduced to him by my bbb).
- Following The Met we had a leisurely walk through Central Park.
- Off to F.A.O. Schwarz and Crate and Barrel and then back to the hotel to freshen up.
- Next step for Letterman: Stand in line again; get your tickets; learn how to shout, laugh and clap and leave. Come back for show in 45 minutes. Like I said earlier, a bit of pomp and circumstance but I'd go through it again anytime. The show was surreal. I could hardly believe I was sitting there, 9 rows away from Letterman's desk. The set, the man, the band that I'd been watching for years suddenly right before my eyes. Very cool experience. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.
- Off for supper to Stage Deli. Not the cheapest meal ever and certainly more protein than we actually need in one meal but still definitely tasty.
- And then it was time for some more walking. You know, 'cause 4+ hours was hardly enough. Oh yeah, and might I add that it was excruciatingly hot and humid in NYC that day. To quote Letterman: "It was so hot in NYC today that my cab driver told me that if he were ever to use deodorant today would be the day."
- First stop: Grand Central Station which probably would have been a lot neater had it not been covered in scaffolding.
- Then, although our feet were nearly ready to fall off and our sweat glands were screaming for a break, I'm not someone who rests much on trips: Off to Central Park for a romantic carriage ride.
- The carriage ride ended just as the fireworks above Central Park began. Another one of those moments in time that you can't necessarily plan for but catch you by surprise in their beauty. Wandering "home", hand in hand, with fireworks exploding above our heads and our baby dancing inside me.
July 18, 2005
- Up bright and early and off to the airport for 7:15.
- Flight at 8:40.
- To Montreal by 12:15.
- Discovered that there was a 1:30 flight that we could have easily made but by the time we discovered it it was too late.
- Flight was to be at 3:00; delayed until 3:55.
- Finally on by 4:30 at which point we'd been in the airport for 4 hours. Sigh.
- Told flight was canceled due to bad weather. Get off the plane.
- Another sigh.
- Informed that all flights to LaGuardia for July 18 have been canceled. This is the point in the day when it's not good to be pregnant (hormones) AND a lover of traveling. This is the point in the day when the emotions shift from severe anger to a deep sadness at breakneck speed. What are we going to do now? There is no WAY that we are going to get on another flight. We will have to stay in a hotel in Montreal. So, that means we'll be paying for a hotel in Montreal AND NYC. As a tightwad this only adds to my frustration. And, with all of these canceled flights there will be a lot of people trying to get on flights the next day so a very good chance we won't get on one July 19 either. We may as well just head back home. If we were going for weeks it would be one thing but with us only going for a few days a day in Montreal puts a damper on everything. Having an emotional breakdown in an airport surrounded by strangers is not necessarily my idea of a good time but really, what's left to do at this point?
- Thankfully, (and I'm sure I'll say this often in my life) my husband is a positive thinker. It always comes down to his glass being half full while mine is staggeringly close to empty. He decides that we may as well try getting on another flight to NYC. No harm in trying. And believe me, he had to feel that pretty strongly because I am standing beside him constantly being a Negative Nancy. I just don't want to go through it all again. I don't feel like checking our bags, going through customs, being searched, sitting at a gate for hours only to be told that we have to go pick up our bags again. But, alas, we tried. And guess what?! We got on standby for the 5:30 flight which, due to being delayed, was leaving at 7! And more amazingly, we got on! I'm still in shock. WHY that lady told everyone that all flights were canceled is beyond me. But, I suppose I shouldn't be too upset with her as I think it's because of her we actually got on this flight - everyone else headed home or to a hotel or made other arrangements.
- Finally made it to NYC and out of an airport/airplanes by 9 pm. Not that unusual for a long trip but keep in mind that this is technically about a 3.5 hour trip and we'd been in either airports or airplanes for nearly 14 hours. Blech!
- Headed to our hotel, checked in, wandered Times Square, ate some supper and back to the hotel for some rest.
Friday, July 15, 2005
A little Friday frivolity
Found a list of silly quotes online and picked out a few of my favourites. Hope one or two make you smile on this pleasant Friday. (And hopefully you won't have as hard a time as I do ignoring the split infinitive on number 14.)
- My inferiority complex is not as good as yours.
- A day without sunshine is like night.
- If you can't be kind at least have the decency to be vague.
- The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
- Money is the root of all wealth.
- Did you hear about the self help group for compulsive talkers? It's called On & On Anon.
- Aviation Rule #1: Number of takeoffs must equal number of landings.
- People who claim they don't let little things bother them have never slept in a room with a single mosquito.
- If genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration, I wind up sharing elevators with a lot of bright people.
- I hate animal testing. They get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
- Tell a man that the universe is made of 400 billion stars, and he'll believe you. Tell him that a bench has wet paint on it and he has to touch it.
- Give a man fire and he'll be warm for an hour. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for a lifetime.
- I used to be clueless about math, but I turned that around 360 degrees.
- One ought to whimsically delete files every once in a while, just to show the computer who's boss.
- Today is the last day of your life so far.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Wherein I try to be a "glass half full" gal
And in the last hour 2 distinct/separate things have happened where I have switched over to sad. Droopy shoulders kind of sad. Sneak off to the bathroom for a quick cry kind of sad.
With this dramatic swing in emotions surely a happy mood is just around the corner, no?
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Moments in Time
Lovely, thanks for asking. Lots and lots of driving and there were moments when my back wished we'd stop but for the most part even the driving was enjoyable.
Once we got home my boy asked me what my favorite thing from the trip was. I don't find it easy to just pick one item but there was one moment in time that stands out a bit above the others: A simple moment, a quiet one. We'd been driving (with my brother, s-i-l and their kids) for the morning and most of the early afternoon. Marvelous, breath-taking views of the mountains and waterfalls and blue skies. Time to stop for lunch. Found a roadside park and pulled over. And there we ate our lunch. There amongst the evergreens, the warm sun, the soft grass and the kind breeze. Ham sandwiches, apples and cookies for dessert. Doesn't get any better than that - surrounded by beautiful creation and people I love. What more could you want?
We did something new on this trip. We took out the back 2 seats of the van, filled up our air mattress and slept back there. Hard to believe but the sleeps were actually very pleasant. I think we'll do it again sometime before Peanut comes along.
Got to meet an old friend while in Calgary. We hadn't seen each other in over 9 years but within moments of connecting I realized why it was we were friends. A reminder of an honest relationship that gave me joy once and hopefully will continue to stay even through years and distance.
This wasn't a wedding I was looking forward to in particular. It was taking me away from something I loved so there wasn't the same joy. But then I got there, got the camera in my hands and everything else slid away. Gosh do I enjoy taking wedding photographs. I feel as though I'm the luckiest person alive as I do it. I get to flit about and dream and be creative - all at someone else's expense. I know my boy wishes I would put on my capitalist hat (as if I own one) for a moment and actually charge people more than just my expenses but I just haven't been very successful at that yet. But there are moments when I just wish I could do this for a living. Or at least part-time. Sadly, this was the last wedding I have booked. Anyone know of any others I can barge in on?
Ahh, Folk Fest. One of the highlights of my year. Last year we had to cut our honeymoon short due to Folk Fest and THAT should give you a bit of an idea of how I feel about it. Unfortunately, I'm feeling too tired to wax whimsically about it at the moment.
Main reason I even wrote this rather dull post in the first place is that in 6 short days we're heading off to NYC so I thought I should quickly blog about life now before I leave and only want to blog about life then.