Last Day in NYC

Today is our last full day in New York. It’s been a good trip. I saw two good plays, “Curtains” and “The Year of Magical Thinking”, went jogging in Central Park, visited the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum and saw some great tennis yesterday. The jogging was cool, though my knee started to hurt A LOT after about three miles, so I didn’t really run all that much in Central Park. Plus, it then hurt for the rest of Sunday, which wasn’t cool for all the walking around that I wanted to do. But, with downing copious amounts of ibuprofen and icing it when possible, I made it through the day.

The weather has been FANTASTIC, especially yesterday at the US Open. I think that’s payback for last year’s terrible weather. The tennis was pretty good. I saw some really bad players, but saw one terrific match as well. I think I have a new favorite player, Alize Cornet of France. According to the expert tennis people I’m with, this is her first US Open. But she did great and afterwards hung out and took pictures with the fans, not that I was one of them because I’m not taking my camera anywhere, as the battery seems to always be dying. Anyway, I kept looking for the player with the crazy fans, but didn’t find any yesterday. Today, I’m a little more optimistic because one of the guys I saw last year (Xavier Malisse) is playing and his fans were nuts.

A Year of Magical Thinking

I’ve just returned from the play “A Year of Magical Thinking” and wanted to put the ideas floating through my mind down before they left me. This will sound jumbled, but I want to get them all down.

First, at the beginning, Vanessa Redgrave (as Joan Dideon) says something like you think this won’t happen to you but it will. I thought that this had already happened to me with Dad’s death. Granted, it’s not two people, but I understand the pain of grief and sort of how it works.

Second, Vanessa Redgrave is amazing. This play was just her, on a plain stage, sitting on a chair. Different background curtains dropped throughout the play and they did some stuff with lights, but it was basically her. She told a story and kept you engrossed. Granted, I didn’t understand everything she was talking about and she jumped around a lot (Mom would have hated that), but I could follow the basic idea. And it was pretty cool.

Third, people who go to the opera seem better behaved than people who go to plays. Perhaps this is because most people who go to Broadway shows are from out of town and don’t care how they behave on vacation. Or maybe it takes more concentration to follow opera so people tend not to talk as much. (Note that people who go to the opera are not perfect and I’ve sat by folks who have talked, but it doesn’t seem to happen as much as at plays.)

Fourth, this play about death made me think about Dad a lot. I also thought about Miss Jaacks and Grandma Vodak. For some reason, these are the deaths that affected me the most. I think because Miss Jaacks and Grandma Vodak were the ones when I was youngest and Dad because he’s Dad and his was so sudden. I know, for a fact, that I am now better able to handle death because I’m older and I accept that it’s a part of life. When, it happens, there’s a grieving process, but life goes on. And it’s not so much right after it happens that it hits you, but later on, when you’d like to tell that person something and realize that you can’t.

Fifth (I’m sticking with this because it’s making me laugh), the couple sitting next to me were annoying and I’m sorry to say, but I experienced a bit of Schadenfreude. The woman kept sighing or something after just about every line in the play. I tried plugging my right ear with my finger but could still hear her. It was bugging the heck out of me. Then, the guy’s stomach rumbled, which was no big deal. Wasn’t like he was doing it on purpose or anything. But the girl had to go and pat his stomach. C’mon! Like everyone couldn’t hear her damn sighing. I wanted to slap her. But then, the two people sitting in front of them leaned forward. To those unfamiliar with theaters, this effectively blocks the view of the stage of the person sitting behind you. They were both a little bothered by it, but I wasn’t. I’m not proud to say that I enjoyed that, but I did.

Sixth, ok, there isn’t a sixth, but it just seemed cool to type. I’m getting back to my Theodore Roosevelt book.

Best $3 Spent in NYC

I’m writing from my hotel room in Times Square. Resting up before going to see the closing performance of Vanessa Redgrave in The Year of Magical Thinking. It should be a good show. Last night, we saw Curtains, which was excellent. A big, brash musical. Tonight should be a bit more subdued, which should make a nice contrast.

Today we walked from Times Square down to Grammercy, I guess, at the southern end of Manhattan. The main place we went to see was the birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt. Katie wanted to see it last year, but it was closed for renovations. This year, it was all open and for $3, one gets a tour of the house. It was fascinating! (I LOVE little tours like this, that seem to be about nothing but due to the enthusiasm of the docent turn out to be INCREDIBLY interesting.) I’ll admit that I know very little about Theodore Roosevelt’s early life and not much more about his later life. But this short tour (less than an hour) was really informative. I even went out and bought a recommended book “Mornings on Horseback” about his early life. Anyway, short summary is that I didn’t know how involved the Roosevelts were in early New York. I’m sure I’ll find out more about them as I get through the book. It’s funny, but I have read books on Eleanor Roosevelt, whom I greatly admire, but I never really thought to give any other Roosevelt in her family (not FDR’s side) a second look.

Anyway, I’m off to bundle up for the show tonight. It’s around 94 degrees out, but I have to put on long pants and a sweater because the theaters are so ridiculously cold.

Paul’s Show

My little brother is in a band and is currently putting on a show that lets a bunch of bands play short sets and some visual artists display their work as well. I went to the first night at The Empty Bottle and it was really good. I liked most of the bands more than I thought I would have. I’m going again tonight with some friends and may go on Saturday as well.

Here’s the website for it: A/V XPLO


The more I think about it, the happier I am that I did the half-marathon. I definitely want to train to do another one, but this time to do it for time. I’m pretty sure that I could do it in less than 3 hours, so I’d like to try for that.

This has me now thinking of new challenges. I haven’t challenged myself much of late. I’ve mainly been focused on working on the house, which is not a challenge at all. It’s just tedious. So, I want to think of some new challenges and see what I can accomplish next.

It’s Over

Today, I am not working. I took the day off, thinking I would need it to recover from the half-marathon that I ran yesterday. Turns out that I really don’t need it. My muscles are a little sore, but I feel fine. We did not go fast at all in the half-marathon, my time was around 3:18. In fact, I felt so good yesterday that I cleaned out my entire living and dining room, threw out my old couches and went and bought a new one.

I think I might like to try running a half-marathon again. It was long and tiring, but it was fun. And while I did complain a lot about training, I did enjoy it. I know I’m in much better shape than when I started, which is nice. And I hadn’t trained for anything in years, so that was fun to do again.

Anyway, so today I can do whatever I want. I think I might go to the Art Institute to look at the pictures and maybe sign up for an art class.