Saturday, August 30, 2008


This week, I had the opportunity to test-drive a pied-a-terre in midtown Manhattan. The experience convinced me that it would be easier simply to move into Manhattan (which I'm curiously reluctant to do) rather than shuttling everything back and forth as needed.

However, it was convenient for a morning meeting at the City Bar (my last as secretary, hooray!) and for catching Metro-North for a full day near White Plains. It was also easy to go up to Ft. Tryon Park to catch Gorilla Rep's "Hamlet" - somewhat different cast than before, but the same strong, healthy, All-American Ophelia (she's a good actress but just not delicate enough to descend convincingly into madness). On Thursday, I skated to and from work, which was great!!! I didn't really take full advantage of midtown, I suppose, since Wicked was sold out the night I wanted to see it, but I took the opportunity to relax and contemplate a few psalms.

The darker side of the experience: if I actually lived in midtown, I would easily spend 10+ hours a day at the Apple store.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sundae, Fudgy Sundae (Week in Review)

Monday, I caught Superman in Bryant Park with FOCUS folks. We went through a few bottles of wine (hic!). Didn't take any pictures that evening, but I like this M&M wine bottle from the Times Square M&M store:

Tuesday, I stayed home and typed up some minutes. Very exciting.

Wednesday, I watched The Blues Brothers with HFG folks on the Hudson River. That was so much fun - we wrapped ourselves up in the blankets we had brought to sit on and enjoyed some free popcorn along with the fabulous soundtrack and madcap adventure. Finally, I understand where Jim got his favorite quote ("How much for the little girl?").

Thursday, we had a Grand Canyon Adventure Squad reunion. People came in from Connecticut and California for the occasion. Also from NYC. Larisa, David and Andrew ran through the fountains at Pier 84, and dried themselves afterward under hand dryers:

Friday, I met up with my friend Becky in Chinatown at a place called Quickly Shabu Shabu. I haven't seen her in ages, so it was great to catch up a bit. Then she and Dusty went off to catch the ferry, and I headed uptown to Patricia's combination BBQ & baby shower. One of the BBQ attendees came up to me at one point and asked if she could go inside into the baby shower area (where her food was) - I told her it was fine, we were desegregating the party. Unfortunately, Sharon was worn out at the end of it by all the gift-opening and attention:

Saturday, I had brunch with Seth and Utsuki. Seth had an idea for giving me a temporary pied-a-terre in Manhattan (just for next week, at a place where one of his clients canceled his stay), which is pretty cool. After that, I sprinted off to a baby shower for Rebecca at FAPC:

Here she is with her best friend from college, Kizzy - they make a photogenic duo:

Saturday night, we celebrated Ryan's and Stella's birthday at Wolfgang steak house in Tribeca. The eight of us shared 2 desserts afterward. I think only Ryan and I really ate the creme brulee... but everyone lavished attention on the hot fudge sundae, which seemed to provide us with far more merriment than can rationally be explained.

Here, Stella is sizing up the sundae:

The sundae must be properly documented:

Jenn flirts with the sundae:

Suneel is ready to pounce:

Sal is delighted when it's his turn again:

Afterward, six of us walked down to a bar by the World Financial Center, near the winter garden:

* * *
And now, for something completely different, here's a random picture from a few weeks ago - an M&M statue of liberty:

I feel so patriotic!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stokes State Forest

It was good to go camping with the Redeemer gang in the wilds of New Jersey, although we were not the only large group there. No, we had the good fortune to snag a spot next to a group that had a club-sized sound system pounding out dirge-like Latin music first thing in the morning. And near another group (possibly boy scouts) that apparently used their car alarms as an alarm clock - afterward, they strummed a guitar and sang for a while.

Standing: Matt, Karen, Kat, Miguel, Gina, Omar, Austin, Seung-Jin, Jonathan
Kneeling: Sai-Kit, Gina, Grace, Fiona, Andrew, Patricia
Sitting: Lee

On Saturday, Grace and I - as Grand Canyon rafting veterans - took to the water along with Sai-Kit, Austin, and both Ginas. But this time we tried kayaking. It was very relaxing "whitewater" (maybe level I+ in places), and we were served margaritas en route by a kindly stranger. We also floated by some cliffs prominently marked "NO TRESPASSING", from which about 10 intrepid souls were jumping (or, in some cases, thinking about jumping) while their friends kept the rented rafts moored on the rocks. A lazy, sunny afternoon, with just enough splashing and swimming to keep cool.

In the evening, our neighbors were blasting much cooler music, including one song that I would love to get a copy of but cannot possibly describe and thus will most likely never hear again.*

People stayed up after dark around the bonfire - Sai piled on an unbelievable amount of wood which I suppose would have come in handy if we'd been expecting a rescue by air. Despite a certain amount of trepidation voiced among certain members of the group, none of us were eaten by bears and I'm pretty sure that hardly anyone disappeared during the moonlight hike.

This evening, I made it to the 5 o'clock service at Redeemer. The message seemed directly intended for me (it was a letter from JC via John to the church in Laodicea), so I was glad I went. According to Tim Keller, Laodicea was a place that attracted ambitious, successful people (thus a lot like NYC and ancient Corinth). In fact, Laodicea was a top medical center, particularly renowned for its eye salves, as well as a bustling textile center known for the glossy black wool of its sheep; and the city and its citizens were so rich that they declined assistance from Rome to rebuild after an earthquake. (This last part is somewhat unlike NYC, which was perfectly happy to accept federal funds after 9/11.) The letter sharply rebuked the Laodiceans as "poor, blind and naked" - the absolute inverse of their material state - for their spiritual tepidness and unconscious arrogance.

FN* Alas, the only words I could distinguish from the jumble of Spanish were "Ave!" and "Alleluia!" but I'm pretty sure that was neither the chorus nor the name of the song.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brookyn Botanic Garden (July 5)

Didn't take any pictures on the hike yesterday in Black Rock Forest (though we saw another snake - this time black with longitudinal yellow stripes). So I figured I'd play catch-up with some photos from the Independence Day weekend instead.

My parents were in town, and decided to stop in at the BBG. My little nieces are both called "sweet pea" so I thought it would be appropriate to take a picture of one:

My favorite spot in the BBG is the Japanese hill-and-pond garden (though I still miss the crane statues):

There were turtles at the base of the waterfalls:

I want to say this was an Austrian pine - or at least it was a tree whose name (but not its shape) reminded me of the Australian pines that topple so easily in Florida storms:

The lily pond was bedecked with flowers:

A few raindrops caught in the large leaves of the "angel wing" lotus (aka sacred lotus):

A new lotus bud, with ordinary water lilies in the background for scale:

These variegated blossoms were bright and cheerful...

...and thrived among the daisies:

A closeup of delicate petals:

We were not close enough to smell the "lemon scent" water lilies:

I loved the way the colors melted into each other:

The bees absolutely loved these orange flowers (bluets?):

We ended our tour at the bonsai greenhouse. I particularly liked this specimen:

Some of the bonsai trees were over 100 years old. Others were quite young. It's an interesting hobby; it probably doesn't take a lot of time on any given day, and yet must require continued attention over many years to develop a particular shape.