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A Really Good Show

“Good morning.  How are you?” a lady asked as we entered the elevator.

“We’re tired,” said Susan with a laugh.

“That’s good.  That’s how it’s supposed to be when you come to New York!” she said in a chipper voice.

“Yes, we’ve been keeping really busy,” said Susan as I tried to stifle a yawn!

The doorman also greeted us with a friendly “good morning” as we left the hotel.  We walked the short distance to Sarabeth’s.  Some customers were sitting outside, but since the temperatures kept climbing each day, we decided to eat inside.  The host escorted us to the same table where we sat a couple of days before.  I ordered the French toast and patiently sipped warm coffee.  When the food arrived, I generously poured maple syrup over the large stack.  I thought the extra sugar would do me some good since my stomach was feeling pretty empty after the Miserable Outburst.

Susan and I talked about how sad we would be if one of us got sick enough where we wouldn’t be able to go to the shows.  We bought our tickets long before we got to NYC.  I had thought about how sad that would be even before we left on the trip.  That thought helped us decide that our fifth day was going to be a more relaxing one.

After breakfast, we waited for a bus on the corner of 79th Street and Amsterdam.  If it would have been any other day, we probably would have walked the short distance to Riverside Park.  When we got on the bus and noticed that we were the only customers, we told the bus driver that we were visiting from Minnesota.  He jokingly asked, “Do any people live there?”

The Lucerne (Side View)
View of The Lucerne (on the Right)
from the Bus Stop

“More people live in Minnesota than South Dakota,” I said.  He wondered how come we didn’t just walk because it was only a few blocks, but we ignored his question.  We really just liked the idea of using our bus passes!  When we got off, we walked down to The West 79th Street Boat Basin Café, which looked like a fun place to eat overlooking the Hudson River.  As we walked along, we enjoyed the quiet park and being shaded by large trees.  A lady walked towards us with a little dog, and both Susan and I said, “Aww.”  Seeing the dog made us realize how much we missed each of ours.  After the dog met us and figured out we were all right, he laid down flat and panted.

Since the dog needed a rest, the lady told us about how in the day she is a nanny to a little boy and the dog, but at night she is an actress.  She just auditioned for a show.  We wished her good luck and continued on after the lady tried to get the dog to move.  People zoomed by on bikes, and we passed others walking along the path.  When we came to the 91st Street Garden, we named off some of the flowers.  The foxgloves looked beautiful.  We could hear many little children at the nearby playground.

Riverside ParkMe at the 91st Street Garden

We walked down a beautiful path:

Riverside Park

We saw the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument:

Soldiers' and Sailor's Monument, Riverside Drive

The buildings were quite pretty:

Upper West Side, Manhattan

The warm day had us visiting Café Lalo again.  I ordered a delicious smoothie.  Susan told me about the scene in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” where Meg Ryan is patiently reading her book while waiting for her email buddy to join her at Café Lalo.  That movie ended when Tom Hanks met Meg Ryan at the 91st Street Garden!

We walked some more, visited a few shops and admired the neighborhood.

When we got back to the hotel, we took our time getting ready for “The Jersey Boys.”  Before we knew it, it was time to go on the subway.  We decided to go to Victor’s Café, a very extravagant looking Cuban restaurant.  We sat in the small bar area and ordered Papa Rellenas (stuffed potatoes and meat puffs) from the Tapas Menu.  The appetizers were so delicious; we decided to order another round.  We were glad that we were both feeling just fine.

As I read the playbill in the August Wilson Theater, I was surprised that I knew all of the songs.  I didn’t realize that Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons had such a long list.  The order of the songs conveniently told the story of their lives together.  The play was quite funny until it got to the part where Frankie Valli’s wife decided that she wanted a divorce because Frankie wasn’t home very much.  When Tony Winner John Lloyd Young sang “My Eyes Adored You,”  I tried to hold back the tears.  I realized I would never think of that song the same way again.

At times the show had me stomping my feet to the music, laughing, and a moment later trying to hold back the tears.  When we left the theatre, I felt like I was leaving some good friends behind.  That’s when I knew I saw A Really Good Show.

We looked forward to going to see the Statue of Liberty the next day.

To be continued…

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Why Did I Wait So Long?

It seemed like a nice day for a walk around the lake. Katie and I got into the van where Lila was patiently waiting. There was just a little hint of thunder way off in the distance, but we ignored it and went on our way.

Just as we were about to park, a couple little raindrops speckled the windshield. This was our first walk around Lake Harriet since all the snow had melted away, and we really didn’t want to turn around especially since we all had been suffering from a very bad case of cabin fever.

“Let’s just walk a couple blocks and see how it goes,” Katie said. She pointed to Lila as if to say that we didn’t want to upset her because it seemed as if Lila had been trying to control her little squeaks of excitement on the ride over. We really didn’t want to disappoint our dog by getting back in the van and heading home right away, did we?

As we walked, the sweet lilac blossoms and flowers from blooming trees mingled together to help us forget the long cold winter that seemed like a bad dream to us now. We slowly climbed down the steep and narrow stairs. Lila listened to me as I told her to go slow, and we made it safely to the walking path. I thought it would be better to go in a different direction than usual because as I looked at the clouds, I hoped the rain would pass over the east side of the lake and miss us.

When we passed by the Elf’s house, we could see that his door, that is located in the nook of a tree, was closed. Under the crack of the door, we could see that many brightly colored dandelions had been left by some visitors.  A couple little drops of rain started to fall on us and on the path before us. We hoped that the Elf’s house would stay dry.  Many walkers passed by and no one seemed to mind the little rumblings of thunder. Not even the little boy who was on his bike and cheerfully asked his Dad, “Is it raining?”

“Yes,” said the Dad in a chipper voice.

Since it was warm and humid, the cool raindrops felt good. I was glad that no one could tell that underneath it all, I really was sweating! The clouds rumbled back and forth to each other as if they were having a conversation. Their lightening didn’t seem to brighten up the sky, so we just walked along more than just a few blocks. Lila kept us on pace and still seemed to be as excited to be outside as we were. As we rounded a corner, the rain started to fall down in sheets and we couldn’t see across the lake any more. Sometimes the trees sheltered us with their new bright leaves.

When we came to the area close to the band shell, many people sat in the sheltered area out of the rain. We decided to keep on going. A girl continued rollerblading while she held onto her Mom. Even though the wheels kept slipping along the path, the girl didn’t give up and neither did her mother. They just kept on going.

Lila got off track for a bit to sniff at something as Katie and I patiently waited. When we saw that Lila had found a stinky dead mouse, I told her she had a good sniffer, and that we had to keep on going.

For a short time, the sky was bright and we thought that maybe it was going to get clear. We walked along, and no drops of rain hit us to get us any wetter. As we got closer to the van, a bright light flashed and soon we heard the thunder. The lightening was showing itself now, and was no longer having a conversation just between the clouds. The rain came down again, but now it was a little bit harder.

We made it to the van safe and sound. Even though our clothes got soaked through, we realized that it was a nice day to walk around the lake after all. I also realized that I hadn’t walked in the rain like this since I was a little kid. Why did I wait so long?

Some people feel the rain — others just get wet. ~Roger Miller

April is for Showers

Tonight the rain is tapping on the windows, but the weatherman predicts that it will soon turn to snow. All of this strange weather doesn’t bother Lila at all. On Saturday, she greeted the snow by rubbing both sides of her face in the white stuff, and then she got down and rolled over on her back and wiggled around in an unusual dance. It looked as if she was embracing the snow.

When she chased the tennis ball, some of the piles of snow at the park looked to be solid, but underneath were hidden puddles. Though her sturdy paws fell through, it didn’t scare Lila one bit. She just crunched through them and ran into other puddles as big as ponds. Even though the rain has melted some of the snow, the new snow will make it even harder for spring to appear.

I wonder if Lila misses the smells of spring like I do. Maybe Lila noticed little shoots of green grass that are trying to poke through the ground. Maybe she can smell the nests of rabbits if she tried. I miss the sight of daffodils that should be blooming and swaying in the wind and the shock of purple crocuses that we only see for a short time before rabbits eat them gone. The clouds keep greeting us day after day still sputtering snowflakes our way.

If only I could think like a dog when I see whatever the day has to offer and embrace it all no matter what. With each new day a dog still plays.

It makes me wonder if Mother Nature forgot that April is for showers of rain, not of snow.

Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while. ~Kin Hubbard

Snow Brightens Up the Gloom!

This morning when I let Lila outside, we were greeted by the freshly fallen snow that covered the dull and brown grass. Lila happily licked the ground getting a mouthful of the wet, cold stuff. Her big strides around the tree sadly made her leash wrap up to limit her “freedom.” I found my boots and went outside to get her. Lila dashed inside and watched me as I unraveled the leash. My footsteps and her paw prints marked up the once untouched blanket of snow.

Inside, Lila looked up at us as if to wonder why we were busy huddling over papers: Dad with the newspaper, Laura with photos and me with a cookbook searching for a mint cookie recipe that can be made quickly. Lila looked as if she couldn’t understand us. Why didn’t we want to go outside and play in the snow?

So I pulled on all the things I needed to keep me warm and cozy. When I opened the door to the garage, Lila bolted towards the van, the only vehicle around right now where Lila is allowed to enter. After I opened the large door to the garage, we were on our way. As I backed up, the tires crunched down the snow in the driveway. I was thankful that the streets had already been plowed.

As we got closer to the dog park, Lila started her usual whining and bouncing about. Sometimes her ears twitched to the sounds of the Christmas music coming from the dashboard. After we arrived, we noticed many other canine and human friends. People were hunched over with parka hoods trying to keep the flying snow out of their eyes. The snow was piling up on their shoulders and hoods making them look like walking snowmen.

20121209_102007The Outskirts of the Dog Park

The friendly dogs waited by the gate ready to greet Lila. Lila barked and jumped so high that she could almost go over the fence. When I got the gate open, Lila greeted a couple of dogs and anxiously looked at me because she wanted me to chuck the Chuck-It.  She whined at me again, but so did Rex. Rex, a smaller black dog, that looked to be part pit bull, was ready for me to chuck the tennis ball too.

“Ok, ready?” I asked. Now four anxious eyes looked up at me. I knew Lila could outrun Rex. I chucked the ball, and they ran. Lila was in the lead and got the ball. Oops, Lila dropped the ball. Rex got it. Lila came back to me, still all smiles, but without a ball.

“Oops,” I said, as I saw Rex run off, lay down with the ball in between his front paws licking away at whatever disgusting things might be stuck to it. Rex stood up, shook his head back and forth, just the way Lila does, and as if to say, “I got it!” Rex with the ball made Rex happy.

20121209_102156Lila Running and Searching

“Go find another ball, Lila.” Lila ran to the usual spots, but today it was more difficult for her with all the fresh snow masking what she can usually sniff out right way. I followed her, and could not see one either. We circled around the park a couple more times enjoying the wintry wonderland still without a ball in sight and Rex still clinging onto the one I threw.

20121209_102109Everything Smells Like Snow Today!

“I’m going to go get a ball from the van,” I told Lila. She sat down close to the gate and waited patiently, her eyes following me the entire time. I found one, grabbed it with the Chuck-It, and Lila bounced about again, as if she were a ball. Just as I was about to chuck it, Rex greeted us again, our first ball lost or forgotten. I thought about how pit bulls can get a bad rap, but Rex was a fine dog that just wanted to play.

I threw the ball, and Lila ran off fast, got it and held it tight this time. Rex went away to mind his own business. As I walked around the park again, Lila ran back and forth swinging her head from side to side, happy to have the tennis ball. The next time I looked, the ball was gone, but she did not complain. She ran in the snow following the other dogs around. One time I lost sight of her, and she came back to me from behind having run around the entire park by herself and all out of breath.

20121209_102127Lila Running to Show Off the Tennis Ball

All the dogs seemed to be happier with the welcomed change of scenery. Last year, we didn’t get enough snow to run around and lose things in. This winter is turning out to be different, so far. The snow brightened up the gloom and made for some happy dogs and humans who had fun just playing in the snow.

Waiting a Long Time Already!

“Mom,” she said, with her breath sucking in as if she were in shock. “You’re not really going to wear that are you?” Katie looked seriously concerned. Those words still echo in my head even though it was at least 10 years ago when I felt scolded for wearing a raincoat that had gone out of style years before then. All the other moms at Katie’s school were wearing the fashionably fit, shorter-length raincoats that showed off their trim figures. My raincoat is just the opposite of that.

The other day, I pulled it on one sleeve at a time, and I welcomed the puffiness of it all. My black raincoat goes down way passed my knees, doesn’t have a belt and makes a swishy sound when I walk. The zipper that attaches the liner can still be pulled along without a hitch, and I have never needed to replace one button.

I often listen to and appreciate my daughters’ advice on current fashion trends, but there’s something about this raincoat that cannot be replaced. I’ve gone looking for other raincoats off and on for years. Those newer raincoats look sharp and neat, but they make me wonder. Yes, they look grand on the ladies, but the length bothers me. I thought raincoats are meant to be worn in the rain. Rain does not always fall perfectly straight down from the sky. Sometimes wind accompanies rain. Wind makes rain go sideways. This causes pants to get wet. When I wear my old black raincoat, my pants legs do not get wet! Plus, I can count the number of times during the year on either one or two hands of when I need to wear my raincoat in Minnesota. If it rains when it’s warm, I have an umbrella, and when it’s warm, I don’t mind getting wet!

“I bet that raincoat really keeps you dry,” said one of the moms when I walked through the hallway of Katie’s school that day many years ago. I smiled and said, “Yes, it does.”

Now I can’t help but wonder when my old raincoat is going to come back in style. I’ve been waiting a long time already!

Do you have an old piece of clothing that you can’t seem to get rid of?

People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile. ~Lee Mildon

The Scenery Changes

Paths

Yesterday morning the temperature was 35 degrees, and the inside of our house felt so warm and cozy.  Lila didn’t care how cozy things felt; she wanted to go for a walk.

Grapevines

Lila and I have gotten into the routine of walking every Saturday morning, and I wasn’t going to let a little cold temperature get in our way.  Neither was she!

Creek

It was the first morning this fall that I had to get the box down and out of the closet to search for hat, scarf and mittens.  After I was all bundled up, I opened the door to meet the cool day, and we ventured out on our three-mile walk.  Lila seemed more chipper than usual and very anxious to get going.  While I smelled the crisp air and dry fall leaves, Lila’s nose pointed up to get a whiff too.

Tunnel

As Lila went sniffing away at a pile of leaves and I dreamily looked away at the babbling creek, I really didn’t think much of her sniffing until we walked a couple steps further, and a little, gray mouse looked up at us as if it was in some sort of shock.  Did Lila just find that mouse in that pile of leaves, I wondered.  It looked as if its fur had been tousled about.  It stared at us for a few seconds and sauntered off to hide in another pile of leaves.  I held tight to Lila and pulled her along.  “Little creatures should be allowed to live in the woods,” I told her.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The sudden colder temperatures slowed down the other little animals too.  Chipmunks chirped at us as we walked by.  They seemed mad that the weather had turned so cold, or maybe they heard through the animal grapeview about the mouse attack.

Lila Looking at Leaves

It’s no wonder that we have gotten used to this routine. We feel so lucky to travel along this path every week. Even though we go on the same path, the scenery changes all the time.

To the Rescue

Cars passed by tossing slush piles in our direction. The bus shelter reminded me of a vertical can of sardines. I decided not to join the crowd, and I looked up above just to make sure that no icy power lines were waiting to snap in my face. I was happy to see that not one power line was even close to us.

“There’s a bus stuck trying to get up the hill,” a bicyclist said as he pedaled towards us and pointed down the street that was out of view. His yellow outfit must have been keeping him dry, and little lights blinked from his bike and helmet even though the white snow made everything clear.

One of the sardines squeezed out and walked down to the stuck bus. I thought that maybe someone smarter than me would suggest that we all go sit on the bus, and with that extra weight maybe it would get unstuck because that hill is not very steep. But, nobody said anything.

“The bus says, ‘Out of Service,’” he announced to us, so we gave up hoping for a ride from there, and sorry to say, the sardine lost his spot.

More time passed, and I wondered if anyone was going to make a bold move and offer to give some of us a ride downtown in their car, but it looked as if no one wanted to drive that day. I am sure they wanted to avoid any type of fender bender.

After a longer wait, a bus came from the other direction, made a U-turn and pulled up in front of the bus shelter. To us he looked like a knight in shining armor. Shoulders stopped slouching as we puffed up to hear what he had to say.

“Can we have a ride?” someone asked.

“No, I can’t right now. I have to run some errands for my wife,” the bus driver announced. Many chuckles were heard as people piled out of the bus shelter.

“There are two 875s stuck on that hill over there,” the bus driver pointed. They were probably stuck because they didn’t have enough people on them, I thought.

“Where are you going?” someone asked.

“Downtown,” he said. The bus driver must not have known that he did not have the right sign displaying his destination. All the buses that usually stop there are going downtown. His joke did not get a laugh.

“Are you a 461 or 875?” someone else asked.

“Oh, I am a 461,” and he changed the sign. We were glad because we have to know which way we are going. We all hopped aboard. As we traveled along, one of the passengers asked the bus driver if he could change the bus into a 875 (because that bus gets downtown a lot faster).

“Ya,” he said, “and let’s stop at Perkins on the way!” We headed through town taking the slow and long route. The bus driver greeted each passenger with a cheery hello trying to improve their moods. They looked as if they had been waiting a very long time with their wet and stringy hair and winter coats soaked and dripping.

As one lady got off the bus well before we reached downtown, she fell on her rear after her foot touched the ground. Even though some of us said “ouch,” she went on her way as if nothing happened. As more passengers got on the bus and the fog on the windows grew even thicker, I started to wonder if other people were wondering why we live here.

The bus started picking up speed once we got on the freeway. I decided I was happy to be here because where else can you find an adventure like this? Not only did I see a person riding a bike in a snow shower, I never saw so many people in one bus shelter, and it’s the first time I saw a bus make a U-turn. Plus it’s a place where a person who is working his regular job suddenly becomes a knight in shining armor.

I thanked our knight very much for coming to our rescue as I got off the bus, and I was glad that I was only a half hour late for work.