Monday, August 31, 2009

poor leo

We all knew it was coming, the signs were abundantly clear. Although our girl refused to acknowledge the possibility, the rest of us were prepared for the inevitable.

After a valiant effort on my part to play the part of a reptile doctor over several weeks, our old pal Leo woke up dead the other day.

rest in peace, buddy boy girl

My kids have not had much experience with death. They’ve known about a few, an elderly relative or acquaintance of mine who have passed away, people not directly influential over their day to day lives. Therefore, death was an abstract concept for them.

When my boy was in kindergarten, he had two goldfish. One shared his name and the other was called Santa. I don’t know which announcement was more disturbing to hear; that my boy’s own namesake was belly up or: “I think Santa is dead.” He was very matter of fact about it though, and after a quick yet somber ceremony around the porcelain mausoleum, we went right on with our lives.

A couple of years later my boy got stung by a bee, and he cried because the bee had died.

We’d see something dead on the road and be sickened, but also saddened at the loss of life. But still, it was abstract.

Until last January, when we had to make the wretched decision to let our old girl Porgie scamper away from her failing body and over the rainbow bridge. I joke, but it was awful. Awful for bill and I, who had chosen that puppy as soon as we’d signed the lease on the little beach house where we first cohabitated, long before marriage or babies were on the agenda. Awful for the kids, who had always had Morgan underfoot, agreeable and tolerant and relentless with her tennis ball. She was their muse, their comfort, their real mother. We talked about the circle of life and how all living things must die, she was in pain, blah blah blah. One of them sniffled out an indignant “Stupid circle of life”, which has become a family catch phrase for all things naturally disastrous. But when we lost Porgie, they learned about death in a way that had meaning for them. It was no longer abstract, it was about as concrete as a brick wall.

rest in peace, Porgie pie! We still miss you, especially when we're under attack by your demented replacement.

It's a terrible, awful thing to break the news of death to your kids, regardless of the relative significance of the life that has been lost. We want to protect our kids from loss, from grief, from pain. When I saw that the gecko was dead, I was relieved. That thing was sick, and I was trying to help it out but it was not doing well and I was beginning to get really pissed off about the fact that we were even discussing the possibility of taking it to an exotic animals veterinarian. So when I told each kid upon their waking that Leo had died, it was with the caveat that there was no more pain, no more sickness, no more worry.

My boy took it well, he digested the info and then asked if his sister knew about it yet. Just then, she came out of her room, and I told her. She immediately burst into tears and ran to the tank, newly cleaned and sanitized and now holding only one gecko, our girl boy Lizzie. She wanted to see the body, which I had placed in a box up on the shelf. The death clean up had been hard for me, not because I was overwhelmed by grief but rather because I have this thing about touching dead things. The thing is, I'd rather not.

So I took down the box to show her, and she reached right out and grabbed the dead gecko. Naturally, I shrieked. That was helpful. She cried a little harder while I recovered, encouraging her to place the body back in the box and go wash her hands and arms and hey - let's all just take a clorox bath!

I had to go to work, so left the burial arrangements in the capable hands of my husband. I'm told it was a somber affair, and that they wrote messages to Leo on the casket before burying him her outside the fence, so the dog will not dig him her up.

Stupid circle of life.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: campy

We’re camping this weekend, and it’s not your granny’s old backwoods hoedown. We’ll be sitting pretty atop an imposing bluff, with nothing but a set of simple wooden stairs between us and the warm, wonderful, crashing waves. Better still, we’ll be in an R.V., with beds and coffee makers and freezers and light bulbs. So tell me, for this weekend’s 3-way: What’s your camping status? Do you consider what we’re doing camping, or a poor man’s hotel? What’s your best camping story?


I’ve done my share of “real” camping. But you know what? I’m d.o.n.e. with that shit. The last time I slept on the ground was when we took a little family camping trip 2 Thanksgivings ago. We went to a great local mountainside lake and had a perfect spot next to the babbling brook. We brought a huge tent, 2 air mattresses, a battery operated pump, and whatever comforts of home we could fit into the SUV. It was glorious, we had the best days ever. But the nights? The pump didn’t work, so we found an air thing meant for tires and blew up our air mattress. We figured the kids could go without, they’re lightweights, and accustomed to misery. About 3 hours into REM sleep, my ass hit the dirt. And that dirt was cold and hard. The kids were no better off, it was utterly miserable. I made a promise to myself that night, a promise that I have thus kept and shall always keep. The promise is as follows: I will not sleep on the ground. Amen.

Of course it's camping! I spent most of the nights between 2000 and 2008 sleeping in my Westy -- except when I was at your house, tiger-tweetie, and assorted other sisters' and friends' -- NOT sleeping on the ground, and I was most definitely, most assuredly camping. And it doesn't even have to do with 2 people sleeping on a bed bigger-than-a-twin-but-smaller-than-a-double, with a 1½" mattress. What matters is you're out there, out and about, in the wild world.

We've spent months in the Florida Keys, with electricity, and therefore with an outdoor fridge, electric wok, electric coffee maker, boom box, computer (but no internet), lights, fans, and sparkly string lights on our outdoor canopy. But that was still camping. And we still had to vacate our site at 5 every afternoon -- we biked to the breezy beach with drinks and let the mosquitoes and no-see-ums (which, by the way, we could see) have the place to themselves every dusk. It was, afterall, their hour.

We've also spent lots of time combat camping -- in the Sonoran and Anza-Borrego deserts, among other places -- with nothing but some food and some water and some melting ice in a cooler which we hoped would keep the milk tepid enough for morning coffee (with water boiled on our Westy propane stove). And that, of course, is camping, too.

Actually, with the Westy, you're always almost-camping.

I have 8 million favorite camping stories, but one of our best camping experiences was our winter in Mexico's Baja Peninsula. In Mulege, one of our favorite towns, camping on the public beach is legal, and free. Can you imagine? We parked the Westy and spent the next few weeks walking or biking to town, swimming and clamming in the water, washing our dishes in the (salt) water, and making friends with the couple of other campers on the beach. It was easy, cheap, safe, fun and warm. And, you can get killer beef tacos in Mulege.

Okay, this isn't Mulege; it's Ligui. But you get the idea.

I'm not much of a camper. I've done very little tent camping; the last time was in the Borrego dessert, on a night that there just happened to be thunder, lightning, and, yes, rain. Like Jacquie, we'd brought along our air mattress, but once that thunder started our dog was so freaked out that he lay shivering on it with us, scared shitless and desperate for human comfort. It was one of those nights when you just wait for morning to appear with its sunny smile, so that you can forget the night's misery. Luckily, the more prepared campers (none of whom were in tents, I might add) we were with started making bloody mary's early that morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Supply and demand

So the saga continues....

Unfortunately, for anyone reading today's post, I'm little more than a milkmaid these days, every hour seemingly spent either breast feeding or pumping; this almost constant latch and attach leaves me little time for other life pursuits. So, that's what you get to hear (more) about, the trials and tribulations of trying to get a (late-term) preemie to fatten up.

But is it the chicken or is it the egg? Is it that I don't produce enough milk? Or that the baby girl is not yet able to really suck it all down? Well, to try to find out, for the third time I dutifully went to the doctor's office (this time to the Premature Infant Nutrition Clinic) and had baby girl weighed before she fed, and then immediately after. The weight change tells you how much volume she consumed during the feeding. The last two times we've jumped through this hoop she's gotten 40 mL, about an ounce and a third. When I asked how much term babies typically consume at each feeding they answered between an ounce and two ounces. I ask you, is that not the same as what baby girl is getting??

It is, clearly, but the fact remains that she is not gaining weight so we've now been instructed to attack the issue on both the chicken and egg fronts. I am to take the herb fenugreek, to stimulate milk production, and I'm to pump after EACH feeding, also to help with milk production. (But is there not, perhaps, enough milk NOW?)

Baby girl is now to drink a bottle of formula (the issue of nipple confusion seeming to have evaporated since our last office visit) after every feeding. As much as she will drink.

All of this news did not sit well with me. At all. I, of course, burst into tears, like usual. I neither want to feed my baby formula, or pump, or be made to feel that I am inadequate at producing what my baby needs. Thank you, but no.

The doctor then goes on to mention that age could be a factor, but is not normally in women who have previously breast fed infants (which I have, twice), and she THEN goes on to mention a prescription drug that helps stimulate milk production, but that there may be depressive side effects.

Wtf, lady? I'm three weeks postpartum and dissolving into a puddle in your office, do you really think it's a good idea for this old woman to take that drug? I do not.

So that's were we are -- me popping herbal pills three times a day, pumping whenever I mange to force myself to, and the girl sucking down the formula each feed like it's baby crack.

Will I lose her to the bottle? I hope not. Will I be able to produce more milk? I hope so. But if not, the only side effect that I've experienced from the fenugreek is that my sweat is beginning to smell like maple syrup.

Who doesn't love pancakes?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Things . . .

The other day Sharon came by to visit our illustrious little dead-end street. Our next-door neighbor Ron had met her at a party, and she had, they came to discover, grown up in the downstairs apartment of his very house.
Ron invited her over.

And Sharon brought photos. From the mid 1950s.
Allan, her soon-to-be-husband, used to come a-courting to her parents' place, and when he did, he'd drive his car over and park right in front of our house.

It's really cool to check out the contrast between then and now.

Our house still looks strikingly the same. And Billy and I, clearly, look strikingly like Sharon and Allan. Our rigs, however, are very different. That car looks nothing like the Westy.
Sharon told us all kinds of stories about the old days. About the Andersons, the couple who lived in our house, she reported, “He was a drunk and she was crazy.” “Perfect!” I replied. “Some things never change.”
Allan's photo sometimes got taken in front of Cara and Vere's, our two-doors-down neighbors.

That house on the far left.

Oh, how the man loved his car.
The best photo, though, was the one of Sharon and her best friend Elizabeth in front of Sharon's house. Which is now Ron's house. The middle house.

And just like that, 50 years later, Elizabeth and Sharon were right back in front of it, right back where they belong. They were best friends then, and Elizabeth spent lots of time here in the 'hood. By all accounts, they were mischievous.

By all accounts, they still are. Some things never change.
Sharon said they used to hang out on the front porch, and watch for action on the dead-end street, and check out every person who drove or walked down.
Some things never change.

We're going to take a photo of Keri and Andrea in front of their place – the downstairs apartment, where Sharon lived – 50 years from now. Me, I'll still be sitting on their porch.
Some things never change.
Sharon's husband Allan died young: he was 49. But he cut quite a figure in those old photos. He looked so handsome and so full of promise and so young.
And, he was a snappy dresser. Wait a minute, is that a white suit? Or, wait, a yellow suit? Hmmm. Where have I seen a suit like that before???
Some things never change.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

wednesday mish mash plus summer in a bucket

Ah, Wednesday. Half way to another blessed summer weekend. I usually reserve my bullshit peculiar posts for Friday and call it hodge podge. Something about making it through the week entitles me to string together a bunch of random photos and anecdotes that are individually unworthy of their own post. I had one of those all set to go last Friday, but then the incident led to a stream of communication via e-mail that I simply could not resist sharing with you peeps.
I could do better for you today, I know this. But I just got home from the "nighttime zoo" with my daughter, and in retrospect I can't imagine why any person in her right mind would bring a wee 'fraidy sissy girl to hike through desolate jungle pathways filled with the piped-in sounds of lustful, murderous screech monkeys in the dark. My point here is that I'm tired and I'm grouchy, and my backspace key is broken (do. not. ask.) and you can't possibly imagine how many typing errors I am making. And I can't make these paragraphs un-centered. And so you get my unused last Friday hodgepodge plus even more hodgepodge from the weekend itself, all wrapped up into a pretty little package we'll call Wednesday Mish Mash. You're welcome.
First of all, it turns out that this rinkydink rock wall in the Poconos

was good practice for this

I sure hope the person on the other end of that rope knows what she's doing

ruh roh


This past weekend, I went out for drinks with mah botches

and Uncle John and Aunt Charlotte came down for a visit, and they took us to the racetrack!

You can tell that this horse is winning by the way it spits in the face of whichever other horse I had bet upon.

Those horses are all miserable bastards.

But later, there was this:

I'll give you a fabulous prize if you can name that tune


in conclusion, please do this:

so you can make Summer in a Bucket

It's really too good to be true. Am I dreaming?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


My eldest daughter just finished up 39 weeks of visual therapy. It almost broke me, but she successfully finished the program, and has made significant improvements in things like visual convergence and saccades. Will it translate into improved reading skills and better grades? Judging from her reading aloud today, I'm skeptical, but there's no way the overall experience and hard work has hurt her.

Her doctor is an extremely animated individual who really connects with the kids, and visual therapy is clearly her passion. The therapists are kind and committed, and the office environment is hip and inviting. In fact, my other daughter doesn't even mind being dragged there to wait out her sister's sessions.

She and my husband seem to find lots of fun things to do:


Monday, August 24, 2009


The sea was rough that day, my friends.

Hurricane Schleckah Bill threatened to come through these parts this past weekend. He never really did materialize, but he did make things festive.

He created havoc with the Atlantic Ocean waves in Rhode Island.

Waves are hard to photograph. They are. But anyone can tell these are bad-ass bad-boys.

The lifeguards at Watch Hill wouldn't let anyone go in the water.

We were on the beach by 10:30 Saturday morning, and Mother Nature and her boy toy Hurricane Billy-Boy put on a spectacular show.
There were, as one lifeguard said to us, "ten footahs".

Wading on the shore you could feel the wicked undertow and see the rip tide.
Thanks for stopping by, Bill. Have fun in Newfoundland!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: Bug Out

Mistah Schleckah took this photo today:

Spiders are spinning their webs like mad around here lately. It must be a late-summer thing. I love the spider web. And I think I even love spiders. I certainly love Charlotte.

There are many classes of bugs, however, that I do NOT love. Which, naturally, leads me to the question: Bugs. How do you feel about them? Tell us. Or tell us a Bug Story, if you've got one.


Our neighbor Frank, across the street, a burly Italian guy who drives a Cadillac even though I don't think he's even 30 yet, is deathly afraid of spiders. Which cracks me up. I mean, he's just so much bigger than the poor little web-spinners.

We've had our share of creepy crawlers in our years in the Westy. And I'm usually okay with them. Snakes, though, I cannot stand. They scare me. In a deep, primitive way. And we did actually see a rattlesnake once, in the wild. We were on our bikes, in southeastern Arizona, and heard that distinctive rattle. That will send a shiver through your bones. We watched him for a while from the safety of our wheels, then he slithered (blech) away. I like to think I was brave enough not to dream about him that night......

I do however, love the song "I don't like spiders and snakes." Although, frankly, when I was a kid I remember it being a much cooler song than it is with that geek singing it.....


Um, Ellie? Just for the record... snakes are not technically bugs.

I have mixed feelings about bugs. I really want to be the kind of human who lets the circle of life continue unmolested, but my tendency when I see a bug before me is definitely to squash it. I'm sorry, Mother Nature.

My girl is quite dramatically afraid of bugs. She used to be terrified that a "long legger" was going to crawl up from the bathtub drain (damn those stupid berenstein bears, because that's exactly what happened during sister's tub when mama bear went on strike from cleaning). When she sees a bug, she screams in a way that leaves no doubt in one's mind that the murderer has begun separating her from her limbs.

Thankfully, the bug population in So California is less prolific than I remember from my own childhood. (remember the year of the gypsy moths? a bona fide biblical plague) During our recent visit to Connecticut, though, both of my kids became enamored of the fireflies that lit the night. They were enthralled by the way the critters would sit on their finger and hang out. They were certain that the bugs must have really liked them. I'm proud to report that not a single firefly was squashed. That I know of.
Hmm, bugs.... In general they do not bother me. Spiders especially do not bother me, and like Jacquie's kids, I am enamored of/with(?) fireflies. I mean, they light up, how cool is that?
I guess spinning a web is equally as cool, as is turning from a leggy, worm-like being into a beautiful winged butterfly. When I give it a moment of thought, I guess there ARE some pretty cool insects out there.
However, I cannot adhere to the tenant of ahimsa when it comes to mosquitoes. I find I just cannot turn the other cheek. They're blood suckers for pete's sake. If you don't put a pesky mosquito in its place, it will literally feast on you all night long. Sorry, Ghandi.

Friday, August 21, 2009

into the drink

Subject: OH MY GOD…………

Mom, 7:53pm EST:

So dad and I drove to the marina at 2:30 and met up with M & C for a boat ride. We had a leisurely ride, Dad and C. on the bridge and M. and I on the aft deck yakking. We anchored around 4 and had a lovely cocktail hour and hors on a lovely afternoon. After an hour or so we started back, all 4 of us up on the bridge, (key). As we entered the harbor we heard a deafening bang, and looked back and the aft deck had exploded and was on fire!!! There were a few boats around, I’m yelling “Mayday!”, and they all started toward us. Dad was calling 911, but the peeps around us were screaming: "get off the boat! get off the boat!", so we all jumped in the water.....can you believe this? One boat came close and threw a life safer which I grabbed and a guy jumped in and helped M. and C., who’s 84, and threw a life vest to dad. It was a really hot day, so we weren't cold at all, just scared. A police boat zoomed up and C. and I got on that - dad and M. had gotten on the passerby boat. It was a scene - black smoke and major fire on the poor 28 foot Bertram - fire boats, police boats, lookers-on, it was a scene. We were wrapped in blankets, as I said it was warm, so we were just wet. The fire boats poured water on the boat, but she's a goner, dad said she's now a canoe. Dad had his wallet and keys in his pockets and his sandals and glasses on and lost none of them. My purse was below, darn it, so I lost so many things - license, credit cards, cell phone, some cash, glasses, sunglasses, calendar (sob)., but hey none of us were hurt. They brought us back to Cove where an ambulance was awaiting us - we assured them we were all fine, didn't need to be checked, so we said our good-byes to M. and C. and came home. What an adventure - the scariest thing in my life - I thought that boat was going to blow up - thank God it didn't . And that was our lovely day. whew. love mom and dad

Ann, 8:03 pm EST:

holy mother of mercy, I cannot believe what i just read. Glad y'all are fine. What craziness. Kind of a drag about your purse though, and having to deal with the credit cards, but holy shit glad you guys are okay

Jane, 8:31pm EST:

oh my gosh, mom, i'm SO glad you're ok

Ellie, 8:31pm EST:

Oh. My. God. MOM! I cannot BELIEVE this! I don't know what to address first. Your calendar? I would die. I would. Dad and M. getting on the boat? Leaving you and C. in the drink? The explosion? You all jumping in the water??!!

May I reiterate? Oh. My. God.

Because you all didn't DIE this is a great story (except for your stuff). But Holy Haysus!

Um. Did you get photos? Because we're always in the market for a guest blogger.......

Jane, 8:35pm EST:

oh my god, mom. I just read this to Doug and feel so emotional and freaked out. The stuff you lost is a hassle but so replaceable. It could have been so so so so so bad tonight. Thank God you're ok.

Ellie, 8:30pm EST:

I keep rereading it too. I just yelled up to Bill, again, "can you believe they all jumped in the water??"

This is one crazy-ass story. I love all the boaters knowing your goose COULD have been cooked.

I am SO glad it wasn't. I mean, obviously.

All I can do is be happy and grateful. Because your goose is still raw.

Jacquie, 11:23pm EST:

MOM! WHat the holy hell?!?! HOly fucking shit! Are you sure you’re okay? Whose piece of shit boat was it?

MB, 7:00am EST:

I'm sitting here gaping. I cannot believe what I just read. Oh. My. God. I'm SO relieved you two are OK. And I'm SO sad you lost your purse, Mom. Better it was down below than that any of you were sitting on the aft deck. Jeekers cats.

Ellie, 8:33am EST:

I woke up thinking about you guys, Mom. Do you feel like you’re in shock? Did you dream about jumping off boats? I think I did.

I am SO GLAD you are all okay. What a tale to tell!

Mom, 7:44am EST:

Morning all, Thank God we're fine. We were both a little shaken, exhausted, last night but a good night's sleep cures all. El, they didn't leave C. and me in the water - the police boat pulled up as they were helping dad onto the rescue boat and we were next in line, so got on the fancy boat with red and blue lights shining. And cute cops, who were great.. C. was very emotional about losing his boat - he loved it and had lots of memories on it. It was old but not exactly a piece of shit Jacquie, lol. I called KG from the dock - we could see their house - they had been watching with binoculars and were shocked to hear it was us. They invited us over but we had to get home...She called this morning and said channel 12 and the paper both had a small article about "3 people rescued" - what the?? I didn't dream about it but can still hear the explosion and me turning around like in slo mo to see flames below us. You're so right Jane; it could have been such an awful disaster, thank you God. Okay I have to go to a meeting at w o r k at 10, but that's all I have planned today. Have lovely days my loves. I love you mom

Jane, 7:47am, EST:

Yikes, mom, it's just unreal. I'm so glad you're ok - if you guys had been below....... thank God.

MB, 10:17am, EST:

I know. I cannot believe it. Thank God all four of you were on the bridge. I keep re-reading in disbelief. You have a good story for your colleagues at your 10:00 meeting, Mom!

Mark via MB,10:51am, EST:

Wow, what a crazy day.....they are so lucky. I know what a Bertram 28 is...good classic boat. I wonder if they are going to raise the boat? Too bad they don't know a diver who could retrieve the purse...unless it blew up! I guess that is why they make diesel engines....diesel fuel is less flammable...

Mom, 10:54am, EST:

I'm at work; the meeting lasted a little longer, so I'm straightening up a bit here while dad is at home making a zillion phone calls to replace my losses. Even my hair brush is gone, lol. KG called home as did C. The boat was pulled to the dock and JG went over to see it as did M. and C. There is nothing left of it but a shell. My fabric purse probably went up in flames in the first minute... Dramatic stuff, I have to go to the DMV, ugh. But hey, I’m alive and well..... love you mom

MB 12:30pm EST:

Unbelievable, Mom. I still can't get over the visual image of you & Dad & M & C jumping in the Sound.

Jacquie, 5:29pm EST

Hi loves, I can't stop thinking about you peeps hopping into the drink. What a terrifying line between being an awesome story and a total catastrophe! It's impossible to think about what could have been, where we'd all be today.

God, that was a close one! You crazy kids are giving me grey hairs.

When's Julie coming home? She's going to shit herself.

MB, 5:35pm EST

I KNOW, Jacq. There's Mom yelling "Mayday," and Dad calling 911, and everyone telling them to get off the boat, and into The Drink they jumped. Un-f*cking-believable.

photo credit

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A tale of two titties

They hurt. This is to be expected. I know the drill, have done it before.

But just when I'm getting used to it, when the pain is bearable again, the baby doctors decide that the baby is just not putting on enough weight, so I'm to up her feeding schedule from every three hours to every two hours. If you do the math, that's now 12 feedings instead of 8. Ouch.

Here is the best part..... in addition, they'd like me to pump, to supplement her every-two-hour feeding schedule. Wtf? How much milk can one person possibly produce? And how much can two breasts take? Anyone who's ever pumped using a double electric breast pump knows how viciously evil they are. They make the baby's nipple torture look like child's play.

This proposed supplementation involves a little syringe and tiny tubing, which goes into baby's mouth alongside the nipple. Once in, you gently push down on the syringe so that she gets the extra nutrition -- all the while you're still holding her and breast feeding and making sure the tubing isn't slipping out.. As far as I can tell it's a two person job.

It's a good thing my husband likes breasts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shea Who?

Sunday was the annual Tavern Bus Trip to The Baseball. Oh, and what a lovely time it was.

I went alone last year, when I got a free ticket from our friend Paul. I had so much fun, though, that this year, Mistah and I decided to throw caution to the wind and actually buy tickets to the great deal and fab time that is the Tavern Trip. It was a good move..
Things started off civilized enough. Coffee and newspapers and books.

But then Johnny Slips started working the aisle, amassing inning-pool-participants . . .

. . . and the coolers immediately cracked open. 10:17. Or so they tell me. I had no watch and no phone. But that is a story for another day.

We had a delightful ride down the interstate . . .

. . . and there it was. New York City. Just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers. And everything.

And Citi Field. In all its clean and fresh glory.

Heading in, I was accompanied by just the loveliest group of thugs.

I pointed out some of my old favorites on the banners heading in. Tom Terrific and Cleon Jones. Straw and Doc and HoJo and Nails and Mex and Gary Carter and Mookie and Jesse Orosco. Mikey P. and John Franco and David Wright.

Sigh.... We headed on in.

And there it was. One of the most beautiful fields in the history of creation. I've been to some of the new, good ones: Camden Yards and Jacobs Field and Coors Field and PetCo Park. I've been to some of the old, good ones, too: Wrigley and Tiger Stadium and Fenway and the old Yankee Stadium.
Citi Field? It is nice. It is gorgeous. It's perfect.

It was Jewish Heritage Day. It was Jewish Heritage Day on last year's Tavern bus trip, too, happily. Yitz Litvintchouk absolutely nailed the National Anthem.
I thought this might be Hebrew for “NY” but apparently it’s Hebrew for “Mets.” Even better.

Peter and Martha work themselves right down to the bone every year, taking care of all the logistics of the bus trip . . .

. . and look where that gets us. . . . Play Ball!

Mariela was our best friend. We gave her lots of business . . .

. . . all day long.

We took a walk around the fabulous field-level concourse. You can see the game being played wherever you are.
I'm not sure why I brought an empty backpack in, but it was immediately filled with 8 assorted friends' Citi Field tin-bucket giveaways. I don't think I ever even noticed carrying it.

Fans are welcome to stop and hang out and stand all around the concourse level. No one yells at you. It's shocking.
We bumped into a couple of bozos and continued our circumnavigation of the stadium by way of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.
Jackie Robinson never played with the Mets, of course not, but he was New York's own son, baseball-wise, and the Rotunda is:

inspired by the classic design of Ebbets Field - in honor of Jackie Robinson, the legendary pioneer and great American who broke baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. [It] aims to recognize and perpetuate ... Robinson's legacy and the "nine values" he embodied as articulated by his daughter and Jackie Robinson Foundation Vice Chair, Sharon Robinson: courage, integrity, determination, persistence, citizenship, justice, commitment, teamwork, and excellence. [credit]
It's stunning.
The Mets are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their first World Series victory, in 1969. We're all celebrating.

We made friends with an usher who loved us and sent us right to better seats.

I'd like to say these guys were singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, but I think they were singing God Bless America.

The Mets were wearing old-timey New York Giants uniforms that day, which was confusing, since they were playing the Giants. They were pretty cool, though. There's ol' Pelfrey doing his Walk of Shame to the dugout.

Shea Citi Field is still a great place to count planes overhead. The final count may or may not have been 80; I'm not sure the airplane counters were actually all that diligent in their task . . ..

And the good guys (um, not these guys) won! 3-2, in the bottom of the ninth, on a play at the plate. Let's Go Mets!
Oh look! Mistah was there!

And so was Tom, our bus driver. Second year in a row. Stole my beer again, the bastid. (Kidding, Mom.)
And then, suddenly, we were heading home. Owen was one of 3 inning-pool winners, the bastid.
Me? On the bus ride home I had to sit right in the middle of the aisle, on the cooler, so that I didn't miss a thing.
I don't like to miss anything.