Checking out The Vessel at Hudson Yards

Yes, readers, we are trying to get you caught up to the current time, but it’s moving a bit slowly. Here is a quick summary of March 2019, so we can move on soon to more recent, and more eventful, months.

March was a waiting month — waiting for winter to go away, waiting for a certificate of occupancy so we can close on our condo, waiting for some big travel plans in April, waiting for spring weather to bring a raft of visitors to New York. But during all that waiting we had a few fun visitors, made our first trip outside of New York, and did plenty of exciting exploration of this great new city we call home.

But we’ll mostly just let the pictures tell the story…

In March the massive new development known as Hudson Yards opened for the first time. We booked early so that we could climb the centerpiece sculpture know as “The Vessel” on one of the very first days.

Underneath The Vessel is a weird mirror-type-thingy that makes you turn blue for a great photo with the towers of Hudson Yards

Here is a lovely view across the Hudson River toward Jersey City on a chilly but sunny day

Early March brought some our first ever houseguests — Jim’s sister Rebecca, along with her son Jackson and his girlfriend Sydney.

Rebecca and I soaking in culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

What happens halfway through March? St. Patrick’s Day! So I whipped up a nice cozy batch of corned beef and cabbage. We’ve been enjoying the rediscovery of all the things we used to make before we took a 6-year sabbatical from cooking.

We had a wonderful opportunity to meet up with my niece Leigh and her friend Abby during their intense group weekend of culture here in New York. We caught up with them at the Whitney Museum for the incredible Andy Warhol exhibit there.

Leigh is a delight to be with!

One of the first nice spring days brought people out to the parks in droves. Here is a little park just caddy-corner from our apartment. Now we are just dying to see those leaves pop out!

My first genuinely unexpected run-in in New York: I stopped in a grocery store in Brooklyn to get an iced tea, and there is Mike Conlow, a comrade-in-arms from the DNC and the Obama campaigns!

My brother John made a surprise appearance in New York. Only after he arrived for work meetings did he learn that we were actually living here. So we squeezed out an evening at the last minute and had a blast.

In late March we made a first trip outside New York since moving here. We spent a nice weekend visiting my family in Michigan. Here we are, bundled up for a chilly walk on the streets of rural LaSalle, a place where NOBODY walks.

With my mom in the house where I grew up on a farm in LaSalle, Michigan

My parents receive irregular visits from a cat named Mabel. She (though technically a he) was kind enough to make an appearance during our visit. Mabel always gets food on demand on the back porch but will never let you get closer than a couple feet away.

I’d really like to have a nice map of our travels, but this has proved more challenging than I’d like. Maybe I’m missing something obvious?

I did find a little map creation program called GoProTravelling that allows me to list the places we’ve been and the dates and transportation types. It then makes a map that I can embed. So I’ve stuck it on a ‘Map’ page in the navigation bar above.

I can’t say I’m super thrilled with the output. It can be quite slow to load. And I don’t have much control over any of the imagery.

It does, however, offer a mildly entertaining little animation. This shows our journey with a little airplane when we’ve flown and a little car for everything else. It can also display some other animations for walking and bicycling. It’s a bit disappointing that I’m stuck with the car for our long train trips, but what the heck.

If anyone has tips to offer on better, but not overly burdensome, ways to construct a decent travel map, please pass them on!

A few weeks before we started this, Mark & I were in Paris. We’d planned it before we started planning this, and just decided we’d do it anyway just because … it’s Paris.

My murse, with the iPad mini

My murse, with the iPad mini

We go into a moderately priced clothing store we’ve been to before and Mark finds a purse. A man purse. My immediate reaction was to joke about it, but then I took a look. Maybe that would be a good substitute for carrying around a full knapsack, I thought. It seemed too good to be true – just the right size to carry both my iPad Mini and my Kindle. Plus room for some extra stuff. On a whim, I bought it. The worst that could happen is that I’d be out $25 or something.

Oh my god, it’s transformed my life. It’s perfect. I carry my iPad and Kindle everywhere. Plus there’s room for extra stuff – sunglasses if I think I’ll need them, chapstick just in case, dental floss, a small container of Purell. Even a small zippered compartment for my iPhone and small camera. How could I have lived all these years without a purse? Why didn’t the women tell us about this thing before?

Mark's Mao Murse

Mark’s Mao Murse

Well, it turns out the Chinese were way ahead of us; all sorts of guys there were carrying man purses (or murses, if you prefer). And sure enough, walking down the streets of Beijing Mark saw his ideal murse. When the cute little sales girl said in her cute little Chinese accent “Chai’man Mao – it’s cuute!”, he was sold.

So there you are. We now walk the streets of strange cities with two purses.  Guys, suck it up and get yourself a purse. You’ll thank me for years to come.


A Cube, with all my sweaters and long-sleeved shirts

One more tip if you’re traveling. Buy the cubes. We discovered these Eagle Creek packing cubes – thin, lightweight nylon bags – before we left Boston and bought a couple. They come in full, half, and quarter sizes so you can store t-shirts in one, pants in another, socks or underwear in yet another. When we discovered just how easy they made packing and unpacking, we did some online research to figure out how to buy more of them in Beijing. So we took the subway out to a mall – us, a mall – and cleaned them out; bought every full-sized cube they had.

Be forewarned: if you’re coming to visit us somewhere, we’ll probably ask you to bring cubes!