Tag: jen

Happy Birthday, Jen!


That’s right, today is he11o_sunshine‘s birthday. I won’t say how old she is, but I was seven years old when she was born, and I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. First, we were woken up early in the morning and taken to a neighbor’s house so that my parents could go to the hospital. Later that morning, I remember literally drowning my pancakes in maple syrup, so that the pancakes were “under water” as it were. At some point, Dad called to tell us we had a baby sister. I was the only one who was not surprised, as I had been predicting a girl when everyone else was predicting a boy. In any case, Jen had arrived.

The first time I saw her (which might have been the same day, or perhaps a few days later), I threw up. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I got home from the hospital and proceeded to get sick. I’m told that there is no necessary connection between seeing my baby sister for the first time and getting sick and I suppose I have no choice but to concur.

Interestingly, Jen is now the same age that I was when I got my pilot’s license.

Of course, she is far more sophisticated than I was at that age, or than I am now for that matter. After all, she lives in New York City and it takes a level of sophistication that I can only envy from afar to live in New York City. She has, for instance, shoes for every occasion, and I mean literally every occasion. There are a variety of work shoes, a variety of home shoes, shoes for cooking in, shoes for going to the bathroom, “comfy” shoes, “uncomfy” shoes. I’m not kidding.

Well, Happy Birthday, Jen! You may be getting older and more sophisticated, but on occasion, you still make questionable decisions on just what shoes to wear.



Evening roundup

I just finished watching the first inning of the Mets/Cardinals game, which is the first official baseball game of the 2007 baseball season. My TiVo is set to record the opening day Yankees game tomorrow so I can skim through it when I get home from work.

I celebrated some good news this evening by having four (4) Reeses Peanut Butter CupsTM. strausmouse and I used to eat Reeses and a Coke (or Pepsi) during lunch in high school. It really is a great combination, but I had to forgo the Coke (or Pepsi) tonight because I was out of the caffeine-free stuff. I had grape soda instead.

Locus has finally posted it’s annual April Fools Day articles which are amusing as always.

I got my hair cut this evening. I was the last person they took and I felt like they were rushing, but it still came out alright in the end so no big deal. I spoke briefly on the phone with jen_ashlock who for reasons of National Security has changed her name tohe11o_sunshine. I also spoke on the phone with strausmouse.

I was lazy again this afternoon, dozing for a few hours on the couch. I don’t know why.

I’m off to bed now. I’m 365 pages through I. Asimov and plan to get a little more reading done before lights out. Nice spring weather the next couple days, windy, but highs in the upper 70s. And I have to work…

I have the coolest friends

More birthday wishes today. I got a call from Tawnya this morning. At work they put up happy birthday signs all around my office (although I’m not exactly sure how they found out it was my birthday). One of my meetings started today with one of my co-workers in Dallas wishing me a happy birthday.

I got this electronic card from Princess Cruises!

There was a phone message from AJ wishing me a happy birthday and a instant message from his wife, Denisse also wishing me a happy birthday. Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday, Denisse!. (We are “birthday twins.)

jen_ashlock called me at work to wish me a happy birthday. She had gotten back to New York on the red-eye last night and was sounding about as groggy as I was feeling at the time. And kruppenheimer (see, Lisa, I did that linky thing) sent me a gift certificate from Powell’s Books, which happens to be my favorite used bookstore in the world!

Can I just say that I have the coolest friends!

Thank you to everyone who sent along birthday wishes today. It made for a great day!

Sunday in New York

I was up at about 8:30 AM and feeling pretty good. I slept well in the hotel room and the skies were bright and clear. I pulled open the shades and Jen and Jason were awake shortly thereafter. We met AJ and Denisse at the hotel restaurant, Olives, for breakfast and the breakfast was quite good. The only mishap–and the only mishap of the entire weekend–was that Denisse lost her cellphone at breakfast. More than likely she left it under a napkin that was cleared away.

We headed up to Jen and Jason’s place and then to the park via 2nd Avenue. We stopped at Coldstone for shakes, but I was the only one who managed to get a shake because they ran out of milk. Several blocks later, however, we came to a Maggie Moos and everyone else got shakes there. We cut over to the park on 72nd and ended up by the Boathouse and then Bethesda statue. We were there for a while, and then wandered past the elms, heading for the south end of the park and then back toward the subway, where we finally split up, AJ and Denisse to head back to the hotel and then to the bus for the ride home, and Jen, Jason and I back to their place.

Back and Jen and Jason’s I was feeling pretty sick and so I took some medicine and rested for about an hour and a half before heading off to the airport. I checked in and was at the gate about an hour before the flight, and boarded quickly once called. The flight departed a little late, but got into Dulles just after 9 PM. I was feeling terrible at this point. I retrieved my luggage, bought some Advil to take, and headed home. Once home, I sent a message to work saying that I was taking a sick day. Then I took some NyQuil and headed off to bed.

It was a fun weekend and I’m glad I made it through most of it feeling pretty well.

Rainbow Room Dinner 2007

Rainbow Room 2007
Originally uploaded by jamietr.

The eight of us (AJ, Denisse, Jen, Jason, Kevin, Vicky, Norm, and myself) all met the W at Union Square around 6:30 PM and after checking into our rooms, decided to head straight to the restaurant because the bar at the hotel was packed. So we packed into two taxis and off we went. We arrived outside Rockefeller Center at about the same time, took some photos and then headed to the elevator and up 65 floors to the restaurant itself. We had reservations for 8 PM, but since we wanted a window table, we agreed to wait a little longer. We headed for the bar and had drinks. I can’t remember what everyone had, but I had the Planter’s Punch, which I first discovered when I was at the Rainbow Room a year ago, and which I had not had since then. It was excellent!

We were seated about 40 minutes later and we did have a spectacular view of the city. We also had about the best service I have ever had at any restaurant I’ve ever visited. Our table captain was outstanding (and I was sure to give him a very good tip). Norm ordered a few bottles of wine for the table. Meanwhile, we sat around chatting and enjoying the view. The restaurant was crowded but it seemed like we were getting the full attention of our waiters and table captain. We ordered appetizers and then main courses. I had the grilled sirloin, which must have been in the neighborhood of 16 ounces and was excellent! When the meal was over, our table captain brought me a slice of chocolate cake and ice cream with a candle, and everyone else ordered dessert. All told, it was a terrific dinner, the more so because so many of my good friends were able to be there.

We must have left the restaurant at around 11:30 PM. The Rainbow Room proper was hosting a Bar Mitzvah and for those people attending, they were giving away half-dozen boxes of Crispy Creme donuts. It was either Jason or Norm (I can’t remember) who walked up to the donut station and took a box of the donuts, as if they had attended the event. That was pretty funny too.

When we got outside, it was raining pretty hard out, and of course, we couldn’t find a taxi. We tried for a while, but no luck. Finally, we found one and put the girls (and Norm) into it and they headed back to the hotel. The rest of us (me, Kevin, AJ, and Jason) made for the nearest subway and took the subway back to the hotel. We shared a drink at the hotel before calling it a night. It was a terrific evening, and it went by far too fast. I look forward to doing it again next year.

(I took a few pictures, which you can access on Flickr by clicking the image above.)

Ground-stoppage, redux

Our plane pulled away from the gate on time last night at Dulles. The pilot said wheels-up to wheel-down time to La Guardia was 39 minutes. We taxied toward the runway and as soon as I heard the engines spin down, I knew what was going on: another ground-stoppage in La Guardia. This happened the last time I took this flight too.

For those not familiar with the terminology, a “ground stoppage” is when air traffic control halts traffic into an airport that hasn’t already taken off from their departure points. This usually occurs when the skies are so busy that it becomes difficult for ATC to handle all of the traffic. Last time, we were held on the ground for 15 minutes. This time, we sat there for an hour. It was after 8 PM when I finally arrived at La Guardia. Fortunately, it did not take long to get my luggage, nor did it take long to get a taxi and I was at Jen and Jason’s just after 8:30 PM.

We headed over to Jackson Hole for dinner and then back to Jen and Jason’s place to hang out for a while. Jen and Jason gave me my birthday presents, which were awesome! They got me five books, all of which were copyrighted in 1972, the year I was born. There were 2 Isaac Asimov books, a collection of stories by Frederik Pohl, a 1973 yearbook (covering 1972), and the March 1972 issue of F&SF. I was really overwhelmed!

Jason ended up putting Jackass on TV. I’d never seen the show before and found it to be so utterly stupid that it wasn’t even funny. But Jen and Jason seemed to like it. I took some medicine last night and was pretty tired and we made it an early night. Lights out around 11 PM.

What to do while stuck in NYC for an extra day

First, jkashlock and I had a big breakfast. Remember that I didn’t eat before my workout this morning, so I was pretty hungry when it was all over. We went to a little diner on the corner of 85th and 3rd and had eggs and bacon and hash browns and toast. Then we decided to do some book shopping. We went down to Strand Books. I’ve been to Strand many times and I’ve never been impressed with their science fiction selection, but with a dearth of used book shops remaining, it ranks as the only remaining large used bookstore that I know of in the city. I picked up two books while there: Son of Man by Robert Silverberg, and Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Next we walked to the other side of Union Square and headed briefly into a sporting goods store so that Jason could buy an $18 rubber band.

Then we went into Barnes and Noble. I didn’t buy any books there, but Jason did. All told, Jason got five books, compared to my two.

We headed into the subway and up toward Times Square for our next engagement: lunch with jen_ashlock (who was, apparently, one of the few people in the city who had to work today). We had a lunch at a hidden pizza place on 38th or 39th, and the pizza was quite good.

By the time lunch was over, we felt is was wise to head back home and catch up on some of our reading. But as we passed the apartment, I remembered my Cold Stone gift card, and we made a detour to Cold Stone so that I could get myself a large chocolate shake. Shake in hand, we climbed the five flights of stairs back to Jen and Jason’s apartment where I promptly fell asleep until just a few minutes ago.

And so there you have it, all the excitement one can dream of packing into an extra day while stuck in New York City!

P.S.: frustrated with the seat I was assigned for my 7:30 flight back home, I realized that the plane was a 757 and decided to upgrade my seat. The upgrade went through no problem, so while I might be getting home late, I am nevertheless flying first class.

In the city with friends

I didn’t go the gym on Saturday, but it wouldn’t have worked out, given the time constraints that I had. Instead, I went out to get some wrapping paper for Norm and Vicky’s gifts and then jen_ashlock was kind enough to help wrap the gifts, as I am a terrible wrapper. Now that Norm and Vicky have their gifts, I can tell you all that one of them was a set of note cards with their names on them, and matching envelopes with their new address. The cards were designed and created by Jen and Jenn and their company, Buttercream Cards and I thought they came out really well.

At noon on Saturday, I headed over to DTUT, which is just around the corner from where Jen and Jason live. That’s where Norm and Vicky’s “Jack and Jill” wedding shower took place. strausmouse and Ryane were already there, as were Norm and Vicky and many of their friends. We had the back room to ourselves and the whole event was really well done. I met Vicky’s mother for the first time. There were some games that were played, food and drinks that were served, and Norm and Vicky opened their gifts. Vicky deputized me as official photographer, apparently unaware of my total lack of talent when it comes to the taking of photos.

When the event wrapped up, we headed downtown. Ryane had a maternity massage treatment that Eric gave her for her birthday, so we dropped her off at the massage place, and then we parked the car and headed to Mickey Mantle’s, where we met Jen and Jason. We spent a few hours at Mickey Mantle’s (where Eric made fun of the guacamole) and where we had a few drinks. Then we went for a walk in the park while we waited for Ryane to finish up. Eric had to browbeat his way into a hotel bathroom, but other than that, it was a fun walk. The weather has been unusually warm, although it has also been overcast.

We picked up Ryane and then drove up to Norm and Vicky’s in Nanuet. We went to Martio’s for dinner. Afterward, we spent the evening playing games. I got my butt kicked in Apples to Apples (where the Albany contingent dominated), but I got my revenge when we played Phase 10. I won by 4 whole phases and more than 100 points less than the second place person. Shortly after that game, we all retired for the evening.

I was up at about 8 AM this morning, Sunday, my “free” day. Norm made us all breakfast: scrambled eggs and bacon. This seemed to mystify Eric because Norm hates eggs and claims to never have tried them in his life, and Eric couldn’t understand how Norm could know the eggs were any good while he was cooking them. But the eggs turned out just fine and I wolfed them down.

Later in the morning, we headed up to Stony Point to walk through Norm and Vicky’s new house, which is getting ever closer to completion. Then we had to go to White Castle so that Eric could get his fix of mini burgers for the next several months. After lunch, Eric and Ryane headed back home, but not before we all got a chance to see Ryane’s new car. Meanwhile, Norm, Vicky and I headed back to their place and they proceeded to bombard me with questions from some trivia game. I actually did pretty well.

Sadly, I left Norm and Vicky’s place at about 3:30 and caught the 3:45 bus back to the city. It was actually an interesting trip because it took backroads through New Jersey. I fell asleep at one point, however, and when I woke up, we were at Port Authority and everyone was already getting off the bus.

I’m now back at Jen and Jason’s. As a thank you for their hospitality in letting me stay at their place this weekend (and three weeks ago), I am taking them to Ruth’s Chris for dinner this evening. We have an 8 PM appointment. Which means I need to get changed as we will have to leave in a little while. More later…

New York Minute

I got into New York around 7 PM last night. I would have gotten here a little earlier, but there was a ground-stoppage going into La Guardia so my plane sat on the taxiway at Dulles for 15 minutes until the stoppage cleared. I got to Jen and Jason’s around 7:30 and shortly afterward, we headed up 2nd Avenue for dinner at Taco Taco. The guacamole was terrific! I ordered the carne asada tacos and they were good too. I mostly ate just the meat, since I am not supposed to be having carbs for my last meal of the day. Jen, Jason and I shared a pitcher of passion fruit margaritas.

Afterward, we stopped by Jen’s friend’s house, Jenn. Then we headed over to Mustang where we were all very conservative in our drinking, as compared to recent occasions. We left the bar at 11:30 and headed back to Jen and Jason’s apartment and it was lights out shortly there after.

I was up at about 8 AM. Jen and Jason are still in bed. I am supposed to go to the gym this morning to do lower body, but it may not happen today. I need to eat an hour before I go to the gym. That means if I ate right this second, I could got to the gym at about 9:45. My workout takes about an hour and 15 minutes, meaning I’d be done at 11 AM. Norm and Vicky’s shower starts at noon. That doesn’t give me much time to shower, wrap their gifts, mail my manuscript and head over to the place where their shower is happening. So from a practical standpoint, I will probably have to skip the workout today, which bugs me a little, because I am doing so good. On the other hand, you really can’t argue with practicality.

Rendezvous at Penn Station

It might sound like the title of an Agatha Christie novel, or even some science fiction thriller from the 1950s. But this is, in fact, a true story, though no less dramatic and suspenseful than its fictional counterparts.

You see, I can add to the list of science fiction writers I have met. Yesterday, at about noon, Jen, Jason and I were at Penn Station to meet Michael Burstein and his wife, Nomi (a.k.a. gnomi). They were coming into town on a train from Boston and Michael and I had arranged to meet some weeks beforehand. Readers of my blog will know Michael by his LJ username: mabfan, a frequent poster-of-comments to my blog. We talked about baseball, and science fiction, and of course, writing and I had a great time and I’m very happy that we finally got a chance to meet in person. Michael and Nomi took some pictures which will be appearing on his blog, and when they do, I’ll post a link to them.

As a wannabe science fiction writer, I look up to anyone who has already made it, and Michael has certainly “made it”. There is objective evidence for this not only in the quality of his stories, but in the list of awards he has won or been nominated for. And yet, he is a very down-to-earth guy and I felt more like we were peers than with any other science fiction writer I have met. We only had a short time to meet before they had to leave, but I am really glad we got to do it, and my one regret is that I forgot to bring along my September 2005 copy of ANALOG (with Michael’s novella, “Sanctuary”) for him to autograph. (Incidentally, “Sanctuary” is another one of Michael’s stories up for an award this year.)

Michael encouraged me to attend a science fiction convention. I’ve never gone to one before, but if the people who attend conventions are as nice as Michael and Nomi, then I think it would be fun to try one out in the near future. Michael also commented that it was pretty rare for an s.f. writer to work out to the degree that I do. He suggested I writing a story that involves a workout of some kind. At LaGuardia last night, waiting to board my flight, I came up with a really good idea for a story where I can incorporate workouts in an interesting and science-fictional way. It involves mountain-climbing, however, something I know nothing about. Fortunately, brainwaster recommended a book to me a while back, Into Thin Air which I might read as research for this story sometime early next year.

So thanks, mabfan, for suggesting that we meet. It was a lot of fun. And thanks for the continued encouragement with my writing and for knocking loose a few ideas here and there.

More cool gifts

On Saturday morning, Jen and Jason brought out a stack of presents for me to open. Jen made me my own letterhead. It’s on gray granite paper and it has the coolest logo on the top center of the page:

(It’s a little fuzzy looking because I took the picture with my camera phone.) The desk in the picture is the desk that I have in my office at home. And I love the typewriter. Along with the letterhead came some matching envelopes, and a stamp with the logo on it as well!

In addition, Jen and Jason got me a book, and a gift certificate to Cold Stone Creamery. It was incredibly generous of them, and I can’t wait to use my new letterhead to compose some thank you notes.

And then there is the mystery gift. When I got home from New York yesterday evening, I went through my mail. There was a small package which, when opened, revealed the Grease soundtrack CD. But there was no indication whatsoever on who it was from. At this point, it is a mystery gift, very much appreciated, but one for which I cannot send a thank you note because I don’t know who sent it. So if someone out there reads this blog and sent the CD to me, please identify yourself so I can thank you. Or, if you wish to remain anonymous, then let me just say thank you very much for being so thoughtful.

Saturday afternoon

We did a lot of walking Saturday afternoon. We started by walking down to 59th and 5th in order to have a late lunch at Mickey Mantle’s. After that, we had an errand to run. Jen had to drop off some keys at her bosses apartment, so we made our way toward West End. On our way, we came across a Barnes and Noble and could not resist going in. It was incredibly crowded inside, with long lines (but the lines moved quickly) and after a bit of browsing, I picked up Jack McDevitt’s Chindi. I’ve never read anything by Jack McDevitt before, but the premise of this book looked so interesting, I decided to start it right away. Once we left the bookstore, we ran our errand and then caught a taxi back to Jen and Jason’s.

A few hours later, we headed back out. I had to stop at the Gap to get some nicer clothes (I didn’t bring any with me) because we were going to a pretty nice place for dinner. That place was August in the West Village. It was a nice place and the food was pretty good. But it was not quite what we expected. I ordered the beef stroganoff and it turned out to be beef stripes with a side of potatoes with a cream sauce. Very good, but not what I had in mind. Jason had marlin and Jen had a pasta which had some fish in it that she hadn’t expected. The milk chocolate gelato for dessert was very good.

After dinner, we took a cab back to 86th and 3rd in order to see if we could catch a showing of Rocky Balboa. We got there at the perfect time, picked up our tickets, got our seats and did not have to wait long for the show to start. And a good show it was. In my opinion it was better than all of the Rocky movies except for the first two. I really, really enjoyed it and think it was a worthy conclusion to the series.

During the previews to the movie, there was a preview for a drama adventure film about a woman who turns into a werewolf. At the very end of the preview, the title of the film was announced: Blood and Chocolate, and I kid you not when I say that the entire theater burst into laughter. The movie was not a comedy, but the title was so completely ridiculous that no one could take it seriously. It was the worst titled movie I’d come across since Snakes on a Plane.

The evening ended in a good mood after seeing Rocky Balboa.