Postcard from New York

Like most postcards I have sent, this one almost beats me back home.  I’ve spent the last week playing Nanny to my grandchildren, traipsing through the heat and humidity to the Met, Radio City Music Hall, NYPL, and some hours just hanging out at the homeplace.  I skipped the Saturday feis, but sweated through yesterday’s in Tappan to watch Emma collect 5 more trophies, and now I’m starting to pack it up for tomorrow’s return trip.

Here’s some highlights….wishing you were here… or had been…

Sisters, Sisters…at the Met,  walking like an Egyptian

It’s all fun and games until the hug turns into a headlock…

We have seen the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular every year since Emma was born, so it was a thrill to be able to add a mid-year visit with last year’s Spring and this year’s Summer Spectacular.  Love those high kicks…


Bill’s Burgers is our regular after-show-stop…


That’s all I’ve got for now, kids, but we’re flying home tomorrow and the grand-daughter count will multiply x2 as we start a month of Sonnystone Camp and Festivities…

Peace and Love…

Spring Break redux

I know ya’ll have been anxious to hear from me, wondering just how much fun I had in the Big Apple last week.

My facebook “friends” have already been informed, via a new-blog post from my daughter, that we are experiencing some turbulence in our lives.

Here’s the Real News:  about a month ago, my son-in-law went to a clinic to check on a painful foot.  He’s had recurring gout for years, but this was different.  The guy there took an x-ray and did see some old fractures of his metatarsals, but was side-tracked by Eric’s sky-high blood pressure.  This started everyone off on a mission to get his blood pressure under control, starting in the Mt. Sinai ER, where they also ordered an MRI of his foot.  Blood pressure took the forefront, but the MRI was done about a week later.  They called and told him to see an oncologist immediately.

Oncologist?  The MRI looked like a kind of cancer called synovial sarcoma, which we have found out now it was Not.  The biopsy was expedited by a nurse-friend of theirs, and we found on on the Friday before I left on vacay that it is a rare childhood cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma, which occurs even more rarely in adults.

It was a good opportunity for me to shuffle the kids back and forth while Melissa and Eric made the doctor rounds.  They saw a surgeon, then their chemo-dude, who said the treatment consists of 17 3-week-cycles of some powerful drugs.  After 3-4 cycles, they’ll do some surgery to remove any metatarsals that look like they are manufacturing the cancer cells.  Then they’ll resume the chemo until he is cured.  He is being treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, surely the best place for that diagnosis.

Just yesterday, they finished up looking for any metastasis (spread) of the disease, and reported that it is localized..Yay!  Today he starts chemo.  (his blood pressure is responding to the meds)

We were all just a little bit in shock during my stay.  The weather sucked, and we just kept shaking our heads, muttering, “how can this be?”, as we put one foot in front of the other.

Bright spot:  The Rockettes Spring Spactacular at Radio City Music Hall.  It is a love-letter to New York, and I’m sure my daughter needed the encouragement.  We danced in our seats, even sang along, and really liked it better than the Christmas Show!



Emma and I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a regular on my trips.

I’m on-call to return to help at any moment, for any amount of time.  In the meantime, Eric & Melissa, Emma & Eliza are always, constantly being lifted up for comfort and strength.  He is a champ, I know he’ll do well.


Christmas with the Jrs.

We packed Michael, Jess, and Olivia into the Caravan around 7:30am Saturday morning.  By 10:30, we were standing in line at the Delta Riverboat landing in Opryland Hotel.   The hotel is a giant conglomeration of atriums, with gardens, fountains, and riverways that ooh! and aah! the most jaded visitor.  Restaurants and shops dot the walkways that meander through the building and every stop is a drag on your wallet, so beware!  Opting out of the $16 hamburgers, we ate at Stax and filled our little guts full.  After a side-trip to meet Santa and the Mrs., we wandered awhile before walking the couple of blocks to The Opry House for the Rockettes…

I’ve never been to The Opry House before and I was mightily impressed.  The effort to keep the ambiance of the original Ryman is appreciated with the pews and the wonderful lights above the top mezzanine.  The outside porticos look like a great place to party.

Comparisons between the venue and Radio City Music Hall are inevitable, but seriously unfair.  The Music Hall is a huge, unique place with a monster stage that moves into three sections, an orchestra pit the size of my house, and art deco interiors that make you feel like you’ve stepped into the jazz age.

The NYC rockettes number 36, and the Nashville company has 18 on-stage, which illustrates how much smaller the stage area is.  There is no orchestra pit, and the decor is decidedly, plainly, country.  Since there’s no orchestra, the music is what I call karaoke’d into the sound system, and the lip-syncing is a bit obvious.  The voice of Santa is Exactly the same as the Voice in New York, I swear.  I don’t think he was lip-syncing, though, so how did that happen?    The program is actually longer, with a 15-minute intermission, and a much longer Christmas section to please the Bible Belters.  The first half is the same as NYC, in different order, including the same 3D trip into NYC.  The trip to the North Pole is the same, but they added a veryvery boring dance sequence about snow…zZzzZ…before going into the Nativity scene.  They preached some, and when they played the Hallelujah Chorus, nobody stood (except me and a half-dozen others).   Our seats were Great, first row of balcony, and Olivia was mesmerized by the up-front view of the dancing.

The Opry House strictly forbade photography…go figure…

I’ll deliver presents to my sister tomorrow at our annual Christmas luncheon, always good chance for some photo-ops, so I’ll check back in to keep you apprised of the ongoing celebrations.

I hope you’re having a ton of fun, too!

Surprise Week-end in NYC

Our daughter, Melissa, turns 40 on December 20.  Her husband, Eric, and I started planning a surprise party for her several months ago.  He did all the work, really, but I had to keep the secret…   It was a complete success, I’m here to tell ya, and her first remark to me after everybody yelled “surprise” was:  You usually can’t keep a secret.

But I did!!!   Let me show you…



Melissa has always made the very nicest friends, and her NYC family is the best.  The treat of the evening was the presence of two of our Evansville peeps, the Carnahan Sisters, who flew in for the occasion. It was a great party…

It was a quick trip, but we packed it full.  Any time I’m with the grandkids, there is always Love.  Just hanging out with Emma and Eliza fills my heart.



But, hey, it’s New York City…   It’s been a tradition to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular since Emma was a sprout, and the City is such a nice backdrop for Festive Pictures…

As if all of that weren’t enough, we had breakfast with Santa after Sunday Mass.

The breakfast was given by the school that the girls attend and they had lots of baskets to raffle.  Casey got lucky and won one that will supply the kids with books for a while—the cherry on the sundae.

We flew back home without incident, collapsed and returned to work today.  I meant to post this much, much earlier, but back to work involved actual work and I had to have my nap….

We’re going to Nashville, TN this week-end to see the Rockettes with our Eville grand-daughter.  Till then…