Thanksgivings Past

Another holiday season is here, and I don’t feel ready. This is supposed to be a special time of year, my favorite time of year. It always was growing up. Now I have my own family and new traditions to create and uphold. Since coming to New York we have been the invitees to numerous Thanksgiving dinners, and the tradition will continue tomorrow as well. I look back at Thanksgivings past and fondly remember the year in college when I won a t-shirt for being voted the best dancer at the Thanksgiving Dinner party. Or the Thanksgiving I met my in-laws for the first time. Or the year we attended the Macy’s Day Parade on the Upper West Side. Or the Thanksgiving many years ago that I spent with extended family playing basketball and eating at a local church. I can’t believe this day is here again. I hope the traffic Wednesday night isn’t too bad as we head down to DC. I hope my wife and I don’t get in any arguments. I hope I can recognize all I have to be thankful for and that I can continue to do so in the year to come. I hope……..

Thank you.

Old Milwaukee

I visited Milwaukee for the first time this past Wednesday for work. I met with some very nice people and was impressed with the company in which I was introduced. As for the city itself, I was underwhelmed. Some of the area around Lake Michigan was nice, but overall, the city’s glory days are long gone. It was an old, industrial city, although I would rather be in Milwaukee than Detroit. In the end, I am glad that I am in New York, even if New York has its own problems and issues.

Las Vegas and Back

I was in Las Vegas last week for the first time since 2003. The infamous strip has changed since then, but was still, in so many ways, the Las Vegas I remembered. If there was one change that stood out, it was that the raunchiness and open debauchery was more prevalent than what I previously remembered. But it wouldn’t be Las Vegas, nor would it be as swarming, if that was not present. It’s part of the overall experience. I went there for a conference and did not have a lot of free time, but I did manage to get out and see a show and enjoy what time I had. The cost of living in Las Vegas is attractive, but the actual thought of living there is something that I have yet to get comfortable with, although I am told that it’s quite a family-friendly and convenient place to live once you leave the strip.

One of the things I will remember from this trip, ironically, was the flight back to New York. Not only did the staff of Virgin America take care of me onboard their flight, but while descending into JFK I was able to view the City in all of its nighttime glory. For the first time that I can remember I flew directly over Manhattan into JFK. My window seat several thousand feet in the air provided an extraordinary view. From locating the general area of my residence, to the dark rectangle of Central Park to the flashes of cameras on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building, the island and its surroundings were a sight to see, however brief it lasted. For the first time visitor to the City, such a view may have been deceiving, for what looks like one sparkling, manageable island can be daunting while down on street level. For me, though, it’s a welcome sight because it means I’m home.

Quote of the Day

“You can’t kill love. You can’t even kill it with hate. You can kill in-love, and loving, and even loveliness. You can kill them all, or numb them into a dense, leaden regret, but you can’t kill love itself. Love is the passionate search for a truth other than your own; and once you feel it, honestly and completely, love is forever. Every act of love, every moment of the heart reaching out, is a part of the universal good: it’s a part of God, or what we call God, and it can never die.”

~Shantaram, page 740

Homeward Bound Again

The below post is something I wrote over two years ago. I hate to repost old thoughts, but some things are worth repeating.

There is usually only one good thing about working late: the car ride home. Most days I leave the office around 7:00 pm and take the subway up to GCT to catch the commuter train home. On a good day, it’s a one-hour trip from the time I leave my office to when I walk into my apartment door. But one of the few perks about working at a law firm in Manhattan is the car service provided if you have to stay in the office past 9:00 pm. I guess the rationale behind providing a Lincoln Towncar to shuttle around its lawyers to the suburbs is that it’s a safer, faster way to get them home. But of course, it’s the client that ends up paying for it.

The few times I have had to take a car home recently have been because I was at work until 11:00 pm or beyond, a time when the traffic on this over-congested island has finally subsided. Given where I live, the quickest route home from lower Manhattan is to take the FDR Highway along the East River until it reaches the TriBorough Bridge, connecting us to the Bronx. Once I give the foreign driver my address, his computer leads us home, leaving me with time to relax in the backseat of the luxury car. Although I don’t mind my commute, the train I take daily is not always the most relaxing means of transportation. As such, it’s nice to be able to put on some Brian Culbertson or other Smooth Jazz and watch the lights of the City fly by on my left and the views of Brooklyn and Queens on my right. In the hustle and bustle of my everyday commute, I don’t often have an opportunity to appreciate the size and beauty of the great City of New York. In many ways it is an engineering masterpiece, at least when looked at as a whole. To think that the colony of New Amsterdam has become what it is today in 400 years is impressive. It’s toughness and refiner’s fire drew me here.

Yet, there are times during the MTA delays that I wonder why I am in fact here. And it is in the car ride home, along the East River, that I remember. I have lived in other locations, and New York too, one day, will be a memory to me. But with the light dancing across the river from the outer Boroughs to meet me in Manhattan, I know why at this point in life I am here. I am home.

Year Thirty / Year Three

I am amazed at the power and speed in which you can reach out to people these days. This past week was my wife’s thirtieth birthday, and for several reasons, I hadn’t yet gotten her a gift. I had something in mind for her, but hadn’t had the time to pick it up.  On the day before my wife’s birthday I quickly posted a Facebook status update to the effect of, “Help, I need last-minute gift ideas for my wife’s birthday.” Within minutes the responses came rolling in. A trip to the spa was the most popular gift idea, although I knew that was not the gift to get for my wife. Time to herself was also a hit amongst the responses, but I also knew that was not the best idea. One friend even suggested a slip and slide (not sure what was meant by that). In the end, I did what I knew all along I was going to do. I left work early, went to a few stores in midtown and picked out some clothes at stores I knew she liked. I also picked up dinner and dessert before jumping on the train to head home. Despite all of her talk of not wanting a gift because of our recent vacation to California, I knew I couldn’t come home empty handed. Whether it was what she had in mind or not, I don’t know, but in the end she seemed satisfied and we spent an enjoyable evening together for her thirtieth birthday. Perhaps I should have put some more thought into her gift – should have planned months in advance and really pulled off something special. To those who believe that should’ve been my game plan, I can only say I’m sorry. I am fortunate enough to have an understanding and low-maintenance wife who was happy to spend her birthday at home with just me.

On a more personal note, this week marks three years since I began this blog. I am proud to say that, unlike 75% or so of personal blogs that stay dormant for months, I have continued to write an average of one post a week for three years. Readership is still small and I have made no effort to monetize the site through Google Ad Sense or any other means, but I have had my share of memorable posts over the past three years, some of which I may repost in the coming year. I just like to write and hope to continue this for the next several years. Let me know if you ever have any topic ideas, as that is the most difficult thing, I believe, about maintaining a blog – what do you write about day in and day out? I will resume coming up with ideas, but any thoughts are appreciated.