Extra Day in NYC: Solo Travel

After an unexpected flight cancellation, I had an extra day in NYC before leaving that evening for SFO. I wanted to make the most of it, despite the pretty gloomy weather. I woke up to rain, left during a lull, and quickly realized that the best $10 I was going to spend the entire weekend was on a basic black umbrella. It was pretty flimsy but since there was only rain without wind, it held up fine.

First, I wanted a NYC bagel so I found Liberty Cafe via Google Maps. There was a line, so that’s a good sign. I ordered the #5 on advice from the guy at the door who was serving as crowd control. The customer in front of me had asked him what his favorite bagel was. The guy responded, “Why do you ask?” and then laughed uproariously. Man’s got jokes.

Mom had suggested I go to The Cloisters, but first I decided to go to the Met for another chance at going to the Van Gogh’s Cypruses exhibit. I’m so glad I did because it was so good! The virtual queue was only 15 minutes. It was in a three room exhibition gallery that was definitely congested, but not terrible. Gaps would open up here and there that allowed me to get close to the paintings and even stay for a little bit. Except for Starry Night. That painting required it’s own crowd control man. He was pretty chill, moving people along “only after their 17th selfie.” I asked him if he photo-bombed any pictures and he said, “Sometimes. But only if they’ve taken a lot.”

I really liked the exhibit. There were sketches, drawings, and paintings. There were two paintings hung Wheat Field With Cypruses and A Wheatfield, With Cypruses (keep them straight!) that hadn’t been hung together since 1901. The left painting was more edgy while the right more stylized. I preferred the left, but it was interesting to see what changes led to a more refined painting, per art critics.

The apogee of the Cyprus theme was Country Road in Provence by Night. In his own writings, Van Gogh stated that he felt he had really captured the night stars, the cyprus, and the surrounding landscape. I agree. And I spotted a selfie stick!

Before leaving, I wandered through the Dutch Masterpieces at The Met Exhibit. There were a lot of 17th century Dutch businessmen in excellent lighting, but I was most impressed that The Met had three Vermeers just casually hung as part of a larger exhibit. Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just super famous and rare! There are only 36 known Vermeers in the world!

As I walked through the museum, I accidentally came across a Fabergé exhibit with three eggs just casually on display. Amazing! There are only 57 known surviving eggs today.

I also hung out with George.

And I spent some time in a gallery full of Winslow Homer, including his last, unfinished painting.

And finally, I found Leda, the anti-bird lady. Although really, who could blame her? That myth seems particularly terrible.

On my way to the subway, I got caught in some rain. My shoes were soaked.

Then, it was up the island to The Cloisters which, once I got to them, were amazing. The train ride wasn’t bad, I just took the longest walking route possible and nothing makes an imported stone-by-stone castle seem enormous as when I’m forced to walk around the whole thing trying to find the entrance.

So, as far as I could tell, John D. Rockefeller imported a castle which was reconstructed brick-by-brick and then put in a bunch of chapels and alters from other provenance inside. This is probably not the tour guide version, but this is what I think was going on. [Ok, ok, I had to look it up. It seems its a compilation of five separate cloisters.]

And looked what I found! Only the most famous unicorn tapestry in the world! Somewhat gruesomely, it is part of a tapestry commemorating a unicorn hunt. Even this tapestry called The Unicorn Rests in the Garden is clearly an injured unicorn penned into too small an enclosure.

The central courtyard was really pretty.

It was a really great museum and I was so glad my Mom had told me about it. I had never heard of it before and it was a great place to see.

King Arthur!!

After seeing The Cloisters, I headed back downtown to see a show. Although I considered seeing something different, I decided I had to stick with the theme of the weekend and see Camelot!

Even though it was no where near as magical as seeing it with my parents and my seat was no where near as good, it was awesome to see again. The score and lyrics are so good! Also, based on the shortened run, I don’t think this is a musical that’s going to have a revival anytime soon. So, totally worth seeing twice!

Then I went to the West Village for dinner at L’Artusi, which came highly recommended by members of a particularly discerning Facebook group. Yes, I know. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement but apart from the blackberry focaccia, which was only ok, the rest of the food was so good! I had a salad, scallops, and a delicious red. I sat next to a nice-enough guy. We spoke a bit, but he also ordered three different mains. Maybe he’s a once-a-day eater cramming it all in, but he certainly didn’t look like a person who would pack that much away!

And then, that was it! It was time to head home via JFK to SFO. The flight was again delayed so I got home really, really late. Like, 2 hours before I had to go to work late. Yuck. So, not the best travel experience, but the weekend overall was amazing. And I definitely feel lucky the bad travel was on at the end so I didn’t miss the show and our awesome Friday together!

Pt Reyes Birthday Weekend

Happy birthday to me! And my great hair. Yes, I’m only two feet away from my childhood goal of growing my hair long enough that I can sit on it. One, gross. Two, not going to happen but I like it long for now. At some point, I’ll go back to the “lob” but not yet.

For my birthday, I decided I wanted to spend the weekend at Pt Reyes. I think it is one of the prettiest places in the Bay Area, but a day trip can be a bit of a slog with traffic, hikes, and slow speed limits through the park. So, my birthday gift to myself was to book a hotel in the area so SMS and I could just enjoy the area. We left Saturday morning and stayed through Monday morning.

We had such a good time! The first evening, we walked to Abbott’s Lagoon. It was more of a walk than a hike, but Abbott’s Lagoon was beautiful. It’s a birder’s paradise, which I am aspiring to be for my old lady years. We heard a flock of ground birds that sounded exactly like people laughing. I really wish I knew what they were!

Then we went to the Tap Room for dinner. It was pretty chill and we had a wonderful time. The food was delicious. I had the fish and chips Saturday night special. I recommend!

The next day, we went into the Park and hiked to Tomales Point through the Elk Preserve. It was just under 10 miles with some rolling hills. Nothing too strenuous and it was absolutely beautiful. We split a sandwich for an easy picnic and had the best time. After the hike, we looked around the old buildings of Pierce Point Ranch.

After the hike, we went to the Saltwater Oyster Depot for a snack and liked it so much that we made dinner reservations. The food was exceptional and we had a glass of wine from the buzzy winery Jolie Laide, which I’m seeing on a lot of local restaurant wine lists lately.

Also, we stayed at this hotel which was fine. It’s a cute property, but the walls were so thin. They freely admit this so I knew this fact before staying but oh man. There are thin walls and there are THIN walls. It sounded like every car passing on the road outside was in our room. Every time our next door neighbor sneezed, I wanted to duck from the sneeze cloud. Seriously, it was like there were curtain dividers instead of walls. The hotel’s website said that people came for peace and quiet. Which probably caused the flock of birds that laughs like people to really lose it.

The next day, I got my birthday girl way and went on two short walks. The wind was intense and SMS wasn’t haven’t the best time, but he rallied for meeeee! First, we walked to Pt. Reyes. Honestly, it was really windy. But so beautiful.

Then, because we were basically already there, we went to the light house. You have to walk about 1/4 mile from the parking lot to the light house. It was still really windy. I decided I wanted to go down to the lighthouse. SMS, a very good sport, decided that wasn’t his idea of a good time so he stayed at the top, sheltered from the wind. I ran down and back. I timed myself- 8 minutes! Phew!

Then, we were wind’d out. We drove back in the early afternoon to avoid rush hour, which was smart. Rush hour is definitely a thief of joy! We drove towards Stinson Beach and had lunch at Due West, which was good but not as good as Saltwater.

Look at the cool gift my Mom got for me! It makes a truly horrible, but incredibly accurate, sound. She also got me a cover-up, which I can’t wait to wear around our White Lotus apartment pool. My in-laws got me a gift certificate to a restaurant near Parnassus, which I’m excited to try. And finally, SMS got me some earrings that I had wanted so that I can always wear something in my second piercing, even when sleeping.

2021 Wrap Up: May

End of Year Wrap-Up, incoming! I wasn’t the best at keeping up-to-date on the blog this year. Understatement! I am going to blame COVID-fatigue. I couldn’t plan or enjoy a significant amount of “real” travel. Also, I am looking forward to when SMS and I don’t have to travel for our commuter marriage, which will be ending June 2022. Don’t worry! Only the commuter part is ending! More details in the September photo dump, coming soon!

Proud bird, top of the totem pole!
Getting the window mechanisms fixed on the Model 3. The service guy came to the house. Please note, he took off the door. Not me.
One of my new faves in Little Italy

Our favorite kid, looking sharp! He and SMS are BFFs. SMS also looks pretty good for having moved the day prior!
From the same party- Jyotsna’s 40th! It was so much fun. She has so many nice friends and neighbors. Afterward, I learned about the amazing power of a suede cleaning brush for muddy shoes! We’re all older and wiser!
Oysters at Teleferic Barcelona. Cool presentation for this dish but overall, the restaurant was a bit of a miss for us. Mainly because at the prices charged in Palo Alto, the restaurant has a high bar to clear to be worth going back. In this case, the croquetas were frozen in the middle and the service was so-so with a messed up order. Win some, lose some.

Bird Update: Shit Where You Eat

Pardon the crudeness, but the birds have reached a new low.  Their terratorial-ness/laziness and desire to be as close as possible to their food has resulted in the following perching posture:





THAT’S RIGHT!  Their little rear ends are perched right over their food dish and, yes curious reader, they DO poop in their food dish!  What are they thinking?  I do not know. All I know this is another respect in which they do NOT resemble me and my siblings for whom they are named after.  FYI.

Bird Update: This is why we can’t have nice things

Keeping an eye on the neighbors…

I have always wanted to be crafty.  That is, crafty as in Martha Stewart, not crafty as in nefarious plotter.  I have had many craft fails although the number has fallen in recent years as I have realized, I am usually epitomize Pinterest Fail.  My last Pinterest Fail was just before my wedding.  Inspired by many twee DIY wedding posts, I decided to have styrofoam purple globes that would hold an assortment of sushi-shaped lollipops since at the time, SMS and I were about to move to Japan.  Well, armed with a can of purple spray paint, I optimistically battled my inner proclivity for failed crafts and sprayed away.  I lost the battle.  Looking at the sad, porous, unevenly colored purple globe, I decided that the sushi lollipops would look just fine spread out on a table.  And that was that.

Until recently!  I had some paper globes from Flying Tiger obtained on the Scandanavian Summer trip.  I glued them to an Ikea lampshade I had and it looked great.  But, as you may have guessed from the title, the birds have attacked.

Before getting into the story, quick update!  All the birds are great.  I even got to pet Harry Potter bird the other day, which was awesome although I was worried I would get nipped the entire time.  Whenever I go on a trip, I always put out enough food and when I get back, I always look at the bottom of the cage to make sure there are not one (or more) set of little bird feet pointed to the sky.  So far, so good.

The birds are allowed out of their cage and until recently, hung out on the top of the cage.  Now they have found the lampshade and have wreaked havoc.  Parakeets really like to chew paper.  Pro-parakeet blogs say it is because parakeets are smart and need to occupy their time.  Well, I have four little dum-dums here, but they still like to chew paper.  So, now, photographic evidence of their destruction…

Innocent faces

I don’t know what you’re talking about!

Nothing to see here!

Caught in the act!

In addition to eating the globes, they also poop on them.  This is not a surprise because they already perch over the food and water dishes and poop in those.  This is basically my main premise for thinking that these parakeets are not the smartest.


So, that’s it for the (bird) siblings update.  Next time, adventures in the bird bath!