Monthly Archives: May 2013

New York City!

I don’t know what it is about New York City.  It’s so much part of the fabric of being an American, whether you’ve ever been there or not.  It’s just part of our shared experience.  When the opportunity came up to go, I jumped at it.  You may remember my last trip, which was a blast, but pretty much limited to Times Square and a Broadway show.

This time, our local college club put on a fundraiser bus trip to New York.  It’s about a 3 hour trip down there, leaving here at 7am and leaving there at 7pm for the return trip.  Nate and I thought we could take Jake and spend the day wandering around Central Park and going to the Natural History museum.  It ended up being a good thing that we left Lydia and Aaron with Grandma, because we must have walked 10 miles over the course of the day.  All three of us awoke with very sore legs and feet the next morning!

So we got off the bus outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wandered across Central Park towards the Natural History Museum.  It turned out to be a rainy, gloomy kind of day, but we didn’t mind.  Central Park is really an amazing place.  Whoever thought of putting an oasis of green in the middle of the hustle and bustle and concrete and cabs was a genius.  There must have been times when there was pressure to give up some of that valuable real estate for more buildings, but thankfully someone had a strong enough backbone to say no.  It was just such a strange feeling to be there.  It was like I had been there before.  How many movies and TV shows have scenes in Central Park?  A lot!  We didn’t take a huge amount of pictures because a) I didn’t bring the nice camera since I didn’t want to lug it around all day, and b) it was raining.  But we did take a few.  Here is one in Central Park that everyone should recognize.

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We found our way over to the Natural History museum, and spent 6 hours wandering around.

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Isn’t that Robin Williams up there? I’ve seen that movie, too!

We got the “super saver package”, which included tickets to all the special exhibits. They do it really smart there – your tickets to the special exhibits are all for a specific time.  So when you’re up at the podium purchasing, it’s kind of like going to a travel agent.  She’s got the map, and is circling destinations and suggesting where to eat lunch between exhibit times.  The plus side to this is that you are guaranteed a space in every exhibit with very little time spent waiting in line.  The downside is that you’ve really got to keep an eye on your watch and be able to read a museum map.  Anyway, we saw the Butterfly exhibit, the Planetarium show, the IMAX movie, and the whale exhibit.  And we also saw about 70% of everything else.  That’s how big it is.  You can be there for 6 hours and not see everything.

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After the museum, we walked north up Central Park in the rain.  Since it was pouring, we were basically alone in the middle of the island of Manhattan.  Just us and our umbrellas.  We ended up (soaked!) at Columbus Circle, another place with the eerie feeling of “I’ve Been Here Before Yet I’ve Never Actually Been Here.”

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We walked toward the bus meeting place, looking for a somewhere to eat along the way.  We were looking for a little Teriyaki place I had scouted online, but when we got there, it had morphed into super-expensive Japanese fusion cuisine.  So we hopped across the street and went to a pub.  It was so nice to get off our feet for an hour and talk about all the amazing things we’d seen at the museum.

We ended up with a little extra time before we had to meet the bus.  So why not walk some more?  We walked/trotted to Times Square so Jake could see the spectacle.  Then we turned around and headed for 6th Avenue to meet the bus.  We, and it, were right on time.

 

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It appears that the local college club does this trip twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall.  I think we’d definitely be up for doing it again.  The question will be when will Lydia and Aaron be up for the challenge?  We were talking at dinner about how different things would have been if they were there.  By the time you’re 11, you can walk that far without melting down, and you can stay interested and focused and generally have a nice time under challenging circumstances.  At 8, I don’t think you’re quite there yet.  We’ll see.  They had a great day with Grandma, so they didn’t feel too bad about being left behind.

Onward and upward!  Upcoming posts: baseball season has begun, a fabulous Quabbin biking trip last weekend, and… wait for it… the garden is going in!  Stay tuned!

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Aaron Can Read

Now that Aaron can read, Lydia’s life has gotten a little more complicated.  She is fond of writing notes to people, and having Aaron not be able to read her notes worked to her advantage – she could write anything she wanted and it didn’t matter.

But a few weeks ago, I found this note torn up in pieces outside Aaron’s door:

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Apparently, Aaron read it, and got really mad at her.  To her credit, she felt bad about it, so she wrote him another note:

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The Rest of our Boston Getaway

So before our trip was marred my crazy bombers, we had a wonderful time in Boston.  I have not spent much time in Boston, not having grown up around here, so it was nice to have a little time to be a tourist and see the sights.

We spent some time on the Boston Common and walking around that area.  Here are my Mom and Dad chillaxing on a park bench.

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The weather was beautiful – a little chilly, but sunny.  The trees were just starting the bloom.  We rode the Swan boats, and saw the little island that the ducks climb onto.  Lydia recognized it from one of her favorite books, Make Way for Ducklings.

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The next day we went to the Science Museum.  We were there for quite awhile.  The two pictures below were the highlights of the experience – the lightning show, and the hurricane tunnel.  

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It was so exciting for the kids to be in a real city.  They loved to see the hustle and the bustle of people, and riding the T, and eating in restaurants.  Of course, after the bombings, we were very happy to come home to our idyllic, calm, quiet New England town.  We’ll be back to Boston sooner rather than later.  There’s already talk about walking the Freedom Trail sometime this summer.  



 

 

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The Boston Marathon

I keep meaning to blog, and then I try, and then I can’t think of what to say, so I give up.  So I’m just going to push through and make it happen, because I’ve got to get through this post before I can move on to other things.  We were in Boston to watch my tremendous brother, Sam, run the marathon.  And here’s where I get stuck.

Pushing through.

Here he is:

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I know it seems like it’s mostly a picture of cups.

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That’s Sam!

We were watching in Newton, right around mile 19, just before Heartbreak Hill.  We knew he was coming because all of the bibs have electronic sensors and we got text messages whenever he passed certain points.  We were looking and looking and looking and then suddenly there he was and I was SO EXCITED that that’s the only picture I could take.  And then he was gone in an instant.

So we packed everyone up and headed back to the car.  My dad and I were trying to get dropped off at a T station so that we could go downtown and meet him at the finish.  We’re looking at the map, and trying to figure out where we are, and then my dad says, “I’ve got some bad news.  All of the T stations near here are on the other side of Commonwealth Ave.  We can’t get to a T station from here.”  “Oh.”  So we went to Plan B.  We drove back to the hotel in Cambridge, left everyone there, and got on the T to go downtown.

Sam finished the race at 1:15, just as were pulling into Park Street Station.  That gave him a very respectable 3:12 race time.  It took us awhile to find him – he was waiting for us near the finish wrapped up in a foil blanket with a wool hat on, wincing with every step.  We hobbled back to the Park Street station and climbed aboard a train heading to Cambridge at 2:45, which I know because that was when I texted Nate that we had found Sam and were boarding the T.

Four minutes later, the first bomb went off.  We had no idea.  The T kept running, and we got off in Cambridge and headed back to the hotel.  Everything seemed completely normal.  We all put our bathing suits on (except Sam who had a date with a cheeseburger and a shower), and went to the pool.  It was when I got out of the pool and was drying off that I saw that I had 25 text messages, and I realized that something must have happened.  At just that moment, my Dad appeared and told me I should check my phone and let people know we were OK.

We spent the next couple of hours answering text messages and Facebook posts, watching the news, and taking Sam to the airport.  He was delayed, but not canceled and made it home safe and sound.

I’m not sure what else to say about it.  The whole experience affected me more than I thought it would.  After all, we weren’t there.  We didn’t see or hear anything frightening.  Our lives were in no way in danger.  But, back at work later in the week when the manhunt was on and everyone was glued to the television, there was a period of time when it was thought the bombers had escaped the Boston area, and had made their way possibly to Connecticut.  When I heard that I had a ridiculous impulse to leave work and go get my kids.  If the bombers could get to Connecticut, they could get to us, and I did not feel safe.  Of course, I breathed my way through it and kept a level head.

So time has marched on, and now that that is out, I can hopefully get back to blogging.  Big congratulations to my little brother, Sam.  We are all so proud of him, and it really sucks that two troubled people hijacked his moment and made it into something terrible.  We love you, Sam!

 

 

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Rhodies

Who has the prettiest house on the block for two weeks in May?

Why, I think that would be us.

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