warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
Was in NYC week before last. Haven't had time to write about it. 'till now. Family: One of Nom's cousins on her mother's side got married. Big family on that side, cousins in Montreal, NYC, Maryland, California, Texas, and even Paris (France, not Texas). Every 2-3 years someone gets married and they have a family reunion at the same time. I think if no one has plans to get married after 3 years, they hold a lottery and draft someone to have nuptials as an excuse to have a reunion. Maybe not, but still it is a nice touch to have reunions. I usually sit at the table with all the other white guys who married into the family; they're both quite nice. We used it as a reason to have a mini-vacation and so I could see my sister and friends. With two small ones, and the in-laws, driving wasn't practical, so flew, and rented a van once down there. Surprisingly no problems with flights, the only travel kerfuffle was the traffic getting out to Long Island (suburban to NYC, where both the wedding and the reunion were held, 1-hour-ish away). I expect bad traffic in NYC, but it was weird, practically at a stand-still up to a certain point, for no obvious reason: no construction at that point, no accidents, just crawling along, then suddenly moving.

Wednesday )

Thursday )

Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday/Monday )

Random Thoughts/Comments )
warriorsavant: (Time)
Memories triggered by helping Nom & the kids make cupcakes. (Which is to say, Nom making cupcakes with the kids "helping" and my watching fondly.) Some of these are from emails with my siblings too.

First memory was Mom using a flour sifter. It must have been a then-modern labor-saving gizmo, you pulled a trigger on the handle, and a sifter blade swung back and forth over the screen. She also had a Mix-master, precursor of the Cuisinart, which was big, heavy, klutzy, a pain to drag down and set up, and took up half the kitchen table. The odd part, is I remember these things, but don't actually remember her doing much baking (other than later from mixes). My older sibs insist she did bake a lot at one point, but my clearest memory was of her brownies, which she modified from a mix. During one of my deployments, she sent me some of them (and my sister sent "a salami for your boy in the army" from Katz's Deli).

Later she also got cakes at a local place called Garden Bakery (at the local shoppping area/strip mall on Union Tpke, if you care). What impressed me most was they way they'd wrap string around the box of cake. A dozen times one way, then a dozen more at right angles. Always wondered why they did that. I think bakeries always did that back then, less so now, but it seemed cool to me as a small boy. Also remember next to Garden Bakery was Hamburger Coach, a little restaurant where everyone sat around a giant U-shaped table that had a Lionel train track on it. Your plates of food came out on a train of flat cars The waitress stopped the train in front of you and took the plate off the train for you, then sent the train around back to the kitchen. I suppose the U-shaped table was actually a giant O-shape with the other part behind the wall into the kitchen. Totally fascinating to a small boy. I wonder what silly little things my kids will have fond memories of.

Green stamps. Certain stores (I think mostly supermarkets) gave you these stamps for xxxx dollars in purchases. They were actual stamps, like postage stamps. They were all the same size, but different colors for different values (eg green for 1 "green stamp", up to I-forget-what-color for 50). You pasted them into books which could be brought to a redemption center for merchandise. As a kid, pasting them into books was rather fun. I suppose “loyalty cards” and points-back credit cards are a similar idea updated. Occasionally claim I'm going to have loyalty cards using a little syringe-shaped punch for Botox injections, get 9 injections and the 10th is free. (Not serious about that, way too unprofessional, although some doctors do give a freebie after xxx injections, but without the cards.)

Bagels. I think NY bagels were different when we were growing up, less puffy and more flavorful than they are now. Montreal bagels are still like that, and I don’t like NY bagels as much any more. Don’t know if NY bagels really changed over the years, or if it’s my tastes that have changed, or memory playing tricks about "the old days." (And yeah, those danged neighborhood kids need to get off my lawn when I shake my cane at them… oops, those are my kids.)

Although it was article of faith among us growing up that mom was a great cook, in fact she mostly only did very standard fare. Only after I was with my now-ex, who was really a great cook, I understood that. Nom has developed from "can't boil water without burning it," to right decent, to heading towards gonna-be-really good. For a while I did a lot of cooking, and was decent at it. Now, Nom does almost all of it, except oddly enough, pancakes and waffles for breakfast are my domain (Nom doesn’t care for same, but Hedgefund likes them.) Made French Toast once or twice, but have lost my taste for it, and no one else in the household likes it.

Parents did a lot of entertaining when I was very little, but for most of my childhood hardly ever. My memories - or rather my impression - of them are of their not at all being sociable. Maybe it was lifetime phase-specific, or maybe they never really enjoyed it later got tired of going through the motions, or maybe society changed and middle-aged, middle-class people did less entertaining in larger groups.
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
As mentioned, recently got back from a trip to NYC. I officially went for the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) summer session. It's much smaller (low 1000's as opposed to 10000+ attendees) than the annual (winter) session. I prefer it. The winter session is too big, too chaotic, and really, they fill it out by the same or similar courses being given multiple times throughout the week. The summer session has many fewer courses, but just as many as I actually want to go to. After doing Dermatology for this long, if I get 1-2 tips out of each session, then it's a success for me. Now that I'm back, I'm doing what I always promised myself I'd do after a conference (and have rarely done), namely review the notes. In modern life, most of the lecturers post their handouts on-line. I've downloaded them, and am systematically going thru them and integrating into my learning program. (I have app called Anki, sort of digital flashcards, that I've found has really improved my learning, even at this late stage in my career.)

Had wanted to go down to NYC earlier, when [personal profile] ravensron  was visiting, but as mentioned, the MIL was ill for months (all better now, thanks), and I was neither going to go alone (I've become a total homebody, in case that wasn't obvious by now), nor were Nom & I going to wrangle 2 tiny ones down to, and around, NYC w/o backup. In the end, 6 people across 3 generations went. With all the spending on renovations and such, had enough travel miles for almost everyone (Wallstreet is a lap child, so almost no cost, and I paid for my ticket but is tax-deductible.)

We've taken to getting to the airport well-early (like 2+ hours before), and with 6 people holding 5 seats on 3 different bookings, I don't even pretend to use their silly kiosks, I go straight to the "I need help" counter regardless of their regulations. Oddly enough, the kids, fussy as they are, are fine on airplanes. They're practically seasoned travelers at this point. In fact, we were essentially free of travel-kerfuffles as such. The only real negatives was the MIL was just recovering from a cold, and Hedgefund seemed to have caught it, and the kids were a little feeling "why am I not at home," so everyone was restless and didn't sleep well. Had fun, but a fair amount of illness and tiredness, with commensurate lack of energy.

Got into the hotel (stayed at the conference hotel in midtown) too late to do anything except bed down. Each morning I got up early, went to the conference while everyone else breakfasted and relaxed and strolled around, then I joined them for lunch.

It was Restaurant Week in NYC, and we'd booked some good lunches, but didn't always follow through in the end. For good restaurants, we ate at Capital Grill and Ruth's Chris. Both are chains (steakhouses as it happens), but high end chains, and their NY outlets are especially lovely and very good food. Although the in-laws don't always have the most elevated tastes, they do appreciate when we take them some place with standard food done very well, and with lovely decore. At their age, after all they've been thru in life, I'm glad they are getting some enjoyment.

Did a few "NY things" of course. However, for the kids, the highlight was WWC bringing two kittens up to the hotel room for them to play with. HF always liked cats (since WWC introduced her to same), but she especially loved kittens, what with their being tiny. She use to be afraid of animals, especially dogs, but after enough times of my telling her, "we eat dogs, yum, yum, yum," now she usually just gives me a knowing smile when she sees a dog. It unsettles people when they hear me tell her that, but it worked, she's not scared anymore. WS has gotten a bit afraid of animals, he's so tiny yet, and also not verbally-oriented enough yet to understand about eating dogs, but I'll work on him.

Was hoping to get together with more friends and family, but didn't work out, except for one of my Army buddies who joined us for dinner, and then he & I had some drinks afterwards. Everyone else either couldn't make it, or just didn't respond when I emailed.

Have to see one show in NY. Ended up at an off-broadway piece called The Marvelous Wonderettes. Described to us as "campy fun." It was neither. It's basically a thin story of 4 girls who have formed a local singing group, woven around a review of 1950's and 1960's songs. The 1st act is their performing at their HS graduation, and the 2nd is their performing at the 10 year reunion. They were trying to be to 1950/60's pop music what Mama Mia was to Abba, but failed miserably.

For museums, went to NY Historical Society. They had several exhibits WWC & I wanted to see:
     The first was about WWI. They had historical reenactors in WWI uniforms in the lobby. It was a good exhibit. A bit grim (hard to be otherwise about WWI) and a bit preachy/politically correct at times, but worth seeing.
     There was a really nice exhibit of Tiffany lamps. They were from a private collection, someone who'd started collecting them when they first stopped being stylish (1920's) and amassed over 200. I love Tiffany's works, but I've seen so many of them by now that's it less striking to me.
     Eloise at the Plaza was featured. I hadn't realized that it had started as a comic cabaret act, and the book came later. Brief but enjoyable.
     The last exhibit was one WWC really wanted to see, called Saving Washington. It was supposed to be about the contributions of women to the US Revolutionary War and the early days of the Republic, but actually rather thin except for the parts about Dolly Madison. (Wife of 4th President James Madison, the first person to make "First Lady" a notable position, and the ultimate Hostess-who-advanced-and-agenda.)
     Overall, NYHS was worth the visit, but not as fullfilling as hoped for.

Last touristy thing we did was the Circle Line Cruise. It's a cruise/tour boat that circles Manhattan Island, while giving a commentary on what you are seeing. I'd always wanted to do it, but never had. WWC had done that in 4th grade, which is a good age to do it, or if you're from out-of-town. It's ideal then, before you've seen all the sites 100's of times and know them better than the tour guides. The bambini were too young to enjoy it, and not sure how the in-laws reacted. I'm glad I finally got to do it, even if not OMG-exciting.

That last sentence seems to sum up this trip from a vacation point-of-view. (Great from a medical conference POV.) We're glad we did it. Everyone had a good time (except for the sick and tired parts) and saw/did some new things. Not awe-inspiriing, but worth doing.
warriorsavant: (Time)
Just got back from a tax-deductible excuse to take a short vacation medical conference(1) in The Island at the Center of the World(2). More on the trip itself in another post; this post is about identities. Was almost going to say had some identity crisis, but more identity realizations.

New Yorker )

Soldier )

Doctor )

Family Man )

New Yorker, Soldier, Doctor, Family Man. Not a bad CV.

(Footnotes) )
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
It's been a bit since had a chance to post. Yeah, so about the picture of Wallstreet in AMNH (a.k.a. the dinosaur museum). That's in NYC, which means that we all were there the week before last. I had a medical conference (the 3rd World Conference on Cutaneous Lymphoma, if you care). Important conference for me to attend, plus good excuse to take a short trip to the Island at the Center of the World with my family.

Intro )

Conference itself )

Tomorrow: places to go, people to see, things to do.


Jul. 27th, 2016 09:04 am
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
[livejournal.com profile] ravensron warned me that kids eventually want to borrow the car and also to date. Need to quantify "eventually." Hedgefund recently went through a phase of, when I opened the car, climbing into the driver’s seat. I’d tell her “no, Papa drives,” and put her in her seat. After several rounds of that, I’d open the car, and she’d say “Papa drive” and wait to be put into her car seat. As for dating, she can do so at age 87 or after I’m dead, which ever happens second.

I barely consider Montreal big enough to be a considered a city worthy of the name. Well, to be honest, I really only consider NYC, London, Paris, and maybe Tokyo as real cities. Well, to be really, really honest, only NYC. WWC will be delighted to know that Hedgefund has taken up saying “wanna go (New) York.” I think she was looking at pictures of our last trip there or something. I’ve told her she can go in October, which timeframe is meaningless to her. (She sorta gets that when we say “later” or “tomorrow,” it has some promised meaning and not just telling her “no.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.) Just before she was looking through the pictures on my phone, including some of trips to NYC when she met her Grandfather. Not sure if she really understood who the old guy in the pix was, but I got a little misty-eyed. I’m glad she got to meet him, even if neither of them ever remembered.


Aug. 23rd, 2015 08:40 pm
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
The alphabet soup means that I was at the American Academy of Dermatology (Summer Meeting) in NYC.  In a change up, will do this by category instead of day-by-day. Also seem to have written a lot, so will post a bit at a time,

Family (of origin and of creation) )

The conference itself (& my development) )
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
As a native New Yorker, there's forever a little bit of Damon Runyon character in my soul.

Read more... )When I'm done with Runyon's short stories, to go along with New York-isms, I just found one of Pete Hamill's novels. A different NYC voice, but in many ways one of his spiritual successors: the newspaperman/writer, chronicler of NY's demi-monde, poetically describing the dunghill-growing flowers, knowing their seedy nature but half in love with them anyhow.
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
Subways: Being a native New Yorker I regard the NYC Subway system as the ultimate in transportation ever. Not really, but I do think it is Significant and Special and To Be Emulated, as well as being the biggest and grandest mass transit system on the planet.* Montreal's system is toy-like in comparison: smaller, only 4 lines (really 3-and-a-spur), etc, etc, and cleaner and quieter. Yeah, really, quieter. We use rubber tires. It's really nice when I train comes into - or through - a station, it doesn't screech at 90 or 110 decibels. Really need to start using that, well, on every other Subway around the world, but especially NYC.

Books: When we were in NYC, [livejournal.com profile] ravensron gave me a book he'd found that he thought I'd like. A "military-medical-science fiction-thriller" called Eucarion by Curt Samlaska. My initial thought about the author was "interesting name." Starting reading the blurb. Oh, he was an Army doctor. Oh, he was a Dermatologist in the Army. Holy cow, I know the guy. Book isn’t bad, isn’t great. Clearly a first novel, but I’m having fun. He slips in the names, or modified names of some real people, some of whom I know.

*Yeah, yeah, smarty pants, I checked Wikipedia also. Shanghai is longer, a few of the Asian systems have more ridership, NYC has the most stations. Plus there are 2 other light rail systems in NYC that are under different agencies that should be added to the total. (Staten Island and Port Authority Trans-Hudson). So there, nyah.
warriorsavant: (Sword & Microscope 1)
I recently picked up a book on the life and times of Damon Runyon. As a native New Yorker, he is part of my soul. I haven’t started it yet, but had the whimsical notion of Anthony Burgess channeling Damon Runyon for parts of Clockwork Orange. Yes, I understand the differences*, but just imagine the opening scene of Clockwork Orange being done in an old New York accent:

     What is it going to be then, eh? There is four of us:
     me, and my 3 pals: No Nose Pete, Gorgeous George,
     the Dim the Horse, and we are sitting in the Kolovo Maloko
     Bar on Broadway, on the night this story begins, what I am
     telling you about, oh my brothers and only true friends.

* Remember that Runyon's gangsters might have seemed cute and cuddly the way he wrote them, but were actually just as brutal as Alex & his droogs.
  I'm also thinking that Runyon's writings were the source of the stock character of the wisecracking, pseudo-literate thugs like in Quentin Tarantino's films.
warriorsavant: (Staten Island Ferry)
Between everything else, haven't had time to get down to see the family for a while, so picked the least inconvenient weekend, and are down here. (As an aside, at this point in my life, I almost resent when I have to do things on weekends. Hey, I'm busy, I'm tired, weekends should be reserved for important things like hanging out with my family and posting to LJ.)

Thursday & Friday )

Saturday )


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