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Showing posts from October, 2017

New York 2017 - Day 5

We had a late afternoon flight back home, which gave us an extra half day in New York. We took the subway to Greenwich Village and went on a little eating tour that Sarah found online. First stop was Mamoun's Falafal, where was totally solid. We ate outside and walked around a little, discovering that the Comedy Cellar is literally right next door, and about two doors down is Cafe Wha? where I load of famous musicians (Dylan, Hendrix) hung out and/or were discovered back in the day. I think Artichoke Pizza was next on the list, but it was either rammed with tourist or not distinct enough for me to remember it in any way. We definitely did go to Bantum Bagels which was effin' delicious. (They're basically mini stuffed bagels, and you grab a mix and match pack of flavours: cinnamon bun, hot pretzel, raspberry, cookies and milk, etc). I remember being in a bad mood on the way in for some reason, and I was 100% unenthused about the idea of bagel bites, but holy cow and hot d

New York 2017 - Day 4

In the morning, we took the subway up to The Cloistersm which is a museum dedicated to medieval architecture and sculpture. The collection was largely assembled by an American sculpture who brought various discarded artifacts home from World War I. It was later purchased by the Rockefeller family, who moved the artifacts to the current location and added to the collection. It's a pretty remarkable thing to see, especially in the way they incorporate these 500 year-old doorways and columns into the structure of the museum itself. Sarah was a little put-off by some of the descriptions of the artifacts -- where the historic significance is properly described but the religious significance is lacking. I wasn't bothered as much, but as I'm considered the world's hindmost religious scholar, Sarah should probably be considered as having the more informed opinion. We took the subway halfway back and got off near the middle of Central Park. Sarah found a sandwich place called

New York 2017 - Day 3

Have I complained yet about the lack of free wifi at our hotel? Because that earned a big thumbs down. Tiny bathroom soaps, coffee-maker, HBO on demand, and free wifi: these are the standards that people expect from their hotels. I shouldn't really complain because the location was amazing and we paid on points, but $15 dollars a day for wifi - for realsies?  As a result, we started most mornings at either McDonald's or Starbucks to soak up that sweet, free wifi before starting each day (regarding the choice I'd always ask Sarah, "Where are we going: poor man's Starbucks or rich man's McDonalds?") Once properly Interneted, we took a walk to East 34th and boarded the East River Ferry for a low-cost, no frills boat tour of the Brooklyn (and a smidge of Queens). In turn, we passed under the Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Brooklyn Bridge, all impressive, and enjoyed all the more for costing us a total of about six bucks.

New York 2017 - Day 2

I don't know that this thought occurred to me on this specific day of the trip but I'll record it here regardless: of all Caucasian tourists, old British men are the easiest to identify before a single word comes out of their mouth. Every old British dude looks like a caricature of an old British dude. Not true of the women; totally true for the dudes. Brits aside, the gamut of international tourists we came across was pretty amazing. I used to feel like cruises put you in touch with people the world over, but New York tourists are crazily diverse. Sarah mined Foursquare (yup, that’s still a thing) for restaurants that were highly rated by locals, and throughout the trip food was good and affordable. For breakfast, we went to a little bakery called Amy's Bread. Nice breakfast sandwich, good coffee, then we were off to start the day. At the TKTS booth, when you've bought tickets within the last eight days, you can return, show your ticket stubs, and go in a fast pa

New York 2017 - Day 1

For Sarah’s 40 th birthday, I took her to New York City. I arranged a dream of a vacation, shouldering all of the planning and arrangements. All she had to do was show up and enjoy it! BWAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding – Sarah did all the planning because I’m a terrible husband! Okay, I’m a moderately okay husband, but I’m terrible at planning travel. Had I’d arranged things, it would have been like, “Honey, we’re going to New York City! It’s going to cost forty grand and we’ll only be there for three days. Also, we have to drive. But hey, NYC!” We left Ottawa in the late morning, connected through Pearson, and got to Laguardia in the early afternoon. (This may be news to no one, but Laguardia is a surprisingly ugly airport. I'm always amazed when major, modern American cities have run-down airports. See also: LAX.) Our hotel was The Belvedere, which had a totally excellent location in Hell's Kitchen a few blocks away from the theatre district. The hotel itself was a littl
Sarah has taken on the job of homeschooling our kids this year. It's a decision she made for a variety of reasons. Because some of our kids needed more one-on-one support than they were getting at their school. Because full-day kindergarten is an under-resourced, over-stuffed gong show. Because she was spending so much time volunteering at the school helping other people's kids when she could be more directly helping her own. And, fundamentally, because she felt called to do it. I was nervous for her. There was absolutely no question she was capable of teaching the kids. She's an omnivorous learner, she's brilliant, and she can explain pretty much anything to anyone . What I was worried about was the weight of it all. We're playing it year-to-year, so it doesn't have to be a decade-long commitment, but even locking in for just one year is a tremendous responsibility. It's a full-time job and a half. And with the mix of ages between our kids