Tuesday, November 13, 2007

View from the Elevator

I posted a few photos from my NY trip in my WS post below but I thought I'd go into more detail in this post about my spectacular 50th birthday weekend. I didn't know where we were going to stay during my birthday weekend in Manhattan. For that matter there was very little I knew in advance about the weekend. I was delighted by the Washington Square Hotel in Greenwich Village which is across from Washington Square Park, and is where we stayed. After we checked in and stepped on the elevator, I joked that if I didn't end up taking photographs in the city I could always take photographs as I rode up and down the elevator. As it turned out, I did take photographs of something besides the elevator but the photograph above is the interior of the elevator and the photograph below is the floor sign once we stepped off the elevator at our floor.
After we were settled in and unpacked we walked to Alta in the West Village not far from our hotel where I had my first experience with tapas (small plates passed around so everyone gets a bite of everything). It was delicious and I liked being able to sample so many different dishes. The main thing was having my daughter, Bill, both of my sisters, and David together. The only one of my siblings who wasn't there was my brother who lives on the west coast but we talked on the phone during the stalling tactics while we waited for my daughter to get there, although I didn't know she was coming or that stalling was taking place. Also, although my brother in law wasn't there, he was also there in spirit and I thought of him while tasting delicious wines because he is so often the one who seems to handle the wine list at recent extended family gatherings.
Even the weather cooperated with our family gathering. It was raining the first night which didn't bother me at all. The drought we've had at home makes any rain soothing for me. However, it was nice that we were able to walk around Saturday without dealing with a downpour. Saturday started off overcast but then the sun came out so it was perfect. The photograph above is of Washington Square Park and you can see the hint of autumn colors. Actually quite a few places we went had the reds and golds of autumn but I kind of like the way this photograph gives a hint of color surrounded by green.
One of the good things about my trip was that I felt totally relaxed and the travel part was very easy for me. I was a little nervous about flying because I haven't flown since I've had lymphedema so I wasn't sure how that would be. It was fine and I didn't have any problems at all. It's a very short flight from RDU (my home airport) to LaGuardia where we flew in to and also Newark back home which was the return route. I always find it pretty easy to take a trip with Bill because I'm used to being able to rely on him. Amazing to think that we met each other almost 30 years ago, were married 14 years, divorced 13 years, and our friendship has been resumed in such good ways. I'm very lucky. Saturday morning after walking around Washington Square Park we went to the American Museum of Natural History which I haven't been to in a long time and enjoyed.One of the reasons I wanted to go to that particular museum, if it was easy and didn't interfere with other plans, was I had read about a special exhibit called Dragons, Unicorns, and other mythical creatures. My father used to make up children's stories about unicorns which not only entertained his four children but I even had friends who wanted to spend the night again after hearing his unicorn stories so they could hear more. I had gotten confused because the blurb in the New Yorker ran the mythical creatures and the butterfly exhibit together so I thought it was one special exhibit as opposed to two. As it turned out the first showing of both of those exhibits had sold too many tickets already so we ended up touring the main part of the museum which was fine. My sister who lives in NYC has an apartment across central park from the History Museum so it was an easy place to meet and have an enjoyable visit and tour, even if the special exhibits were sold out. I was glad we went.I always enjoy children's art and they have it displayed in the hallway which leads to the restrooms which is the perfect place for me to see it. We had a couple of hours to spend in the museum and I enjoyed the exhibits we had time for. In a way it was just as well that the mythical creatures were booked because I wouldn't have wanted to waste a lot of time in the lines into that exhibit and felt a time constraint. As it was, we were not hurried and when it was time to leave we did.
We had brunch in the garden room at LeMadeleine's at noon prior to the matinee performance of Spamalot that we thought we were going to. It was perfect. I loved being in the indoor garden seating and the food was delicious. The brunch was partly my brother's contribution to the festivities so although he wasn't able to make it from San Francisco, he was part of my birthday weekend fun. After lunch we separated with my daughter and her Dad heading off to Battery Park, while my sisters and I headed off to a Broadway show straight into the picket lines. Although that show didn't go on, we ended up seeing a movie which I thoroughly enjoyed. There was something to me about three sisters seeing a movie, The Darjeeling Limited, about three brothers which was very suitable.The last two photographs (above and below) are not from NYC but were taken by me in the car while Bill drove us back from the airport once we were home. Theresa , one of my blogging friends, who was also in NYC this weekend joked about how she'd be looking for the lady taking pictures out of the cab to recognize me. I didn't take any pictures out of the cabs but I did take these sunset pictures once I was home leaving the airport. Back to NYC, after the movie, my sisters and I went to the hotel to rest a few minutes and meet back up with my daughter and Bill. We had my birthday supper, complete with a scrumptious cake which my daughter arranged for, at the North Square Restaurant.

One of the logistical advantages to the restaurant was that it was down the stairs from the lobby of the hotel. However, logistics aside, I would eat there again if I was looking for somewhere nice to eat in the Village even if I wasn't staying in the hotel. It was a very happy weekend for me, firstly because I had my family there. However, it was also great for me to see that I can take a trip, not have any big issues with traveling and enjoy myself. For the past few years, I have mostly limited myself to road trips to the mountains and the beach both of which are fun for me. It's good though to realize that I can still hop on a plane and into a cab or down into a subway and forget that I have some of the physical issues that I've let dominate much of my life since 2005 and the aftermath of melanoma.


Anonymous said...

Carver, Thank you for the kind words and the encouragement that you send to so many people, while you are suffering with your own illness. I'm glad you had a great weekend. I've only been to NYC once, about 5 years ago, and hope to someday go back and spend more than one day. Happy 50th!

Elaine, aunt of Tammy (Bryce)

SabineM said...

I am soo glad that YOU went on a trip! So glad that all went well. I hope that will put you at ease so that you can travel some more!

The Museum is that the one from NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM?

Love all the photos! Especially the one of the park and the very last one!

Carver said...

Dear Elaine,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful note. I am deeply sorry for what Tammy, Bryce and the whole family went through. I had hoped that Bryce would get more time with Tammy and their beautiful baby, without having to be in so much pain. Tammy and Bryce were such a brave couple and I know Tammy continues to get strength from her caring family now that Bryce's battle is over. You are so kind to visit my blog and leave such a nice note. I hope you do get to go back and spend time in NYC again.

Take care, Carver

Thanks Sabine,

That is the museum from Night at the Museum. They even had a banner up about some exhibit relating to the movie. We didn't go to that area because I didn't notice it until we were leaving but it's probably memorabilia from the movie or something like that. I do think having the trip go so well will help me feel more at ease about traveling more now that I have my first flight out of the way. Also, I did fine walking up and down stairs to catch subways. We only took a cab once but after that we took the subway and everyone kept asking if I was ok about the stairs and I was as long as I could take is slower than I used to. It definitely helped build my confidence.

Take care, Carver

Theresa said...

I am glad you were able to kick back and enjoy your trip. NYC is always a fun place to visit. Great elevator pictures I love buildings that take that little extra to make them unique. Although I never been there myself they say the Chrystler (sp?) building has the nicest elevators in NY-
Have to say I am a bit disappointed not running into you- and although not a cab picture, great sunset car photo.

Carver said...

Hi Theresa,

I was disappointed not to run into you too. Stranger things have happened in terms of small world happenings and that would have been so cool. I haven't been in the Chrysler Building since the early 1980s but I vaguely remember what it was like inside. Take care, Carver

King (Kathie) said...


What a fun filled weekend! I'm very happy that you navigated around the city (and flights) so well. Your siblings live in the best places! I just realized that we both come from a family with 3 girls and one boy. :)

Anyway, love the pics. I'm also a big fan of NYC!

Stay Strong

Carver said...

Thanks Kathie and that's interesting that we both are from a family with 3 girls and 1 boy. Take care, Carver

jmb said...

I can't believe the theatre was behind picket lines! But it sounds like you had fun anyway.

New York is a great city and I love all the museums there, especially the Natural History Museum.

Once we went to a spider exhibit there which was incredible. They even had huge live spiders in cases, non poisonous but hugely scary looking.
Great photos as usual Carver. You definitely have the eye!

Voyager said...

Happy fiftieth! I just went through it myself in mid September. And today I had another regular echocardiogram to check that the ticker is still performing properly two years after open heart surgery for a valve repair. Like you, I have learned never to take a healthy day, or a joyful holiday for granted. Here's to the next 50!!

Carver said...

Thanks JMB, I bet the spider exhibit was wild. I actually find spiders quite interesting if I know where they are and can avoid direct contact. I would have enjoyed that exhibit. As ever, Carver

Hi Voyager, I hope that your check up went well. That must have been incredibly frightening to have gone through a valve replacement. My Dad went through a lot of different heart issues and he beat the odds for a very long time. Here's to the next 50 years for you too! As ever, Carver

MaR said...

So glad to hear about your delightful trip and see your great shots!!
I didn't know much about your health history, so I just did a bit of reading.
Happy 50th again, and many fun, enjoyable trips!

Carver said...

Thanks Mar. It's kind of nice for me to realize how much of a backseat my health history has gradually begun to take in this blog. At first it was a part of each and every post and it's kind of nice to realize it's not like that any more. Thanks for the good wishes, Carver

Anonymous said...

I just found your quote at the bottome: To avoid spilling someone else's guts my blog is mostly about me... clever clever you!

Carver said...

Thanks Ascender, It's funny because sometimes I feel like my blog is too self absorbed but I'm not comfortable talking about other people much because I'm never sure if I'll say the wrong thing or inadvertently include something they wouldn't want me to divulge.