Tag Archives: new jersey

Off to Scottsdale! Oh, More Pics too…

So for the rest of the week, I’m going to be in Scottsdale, AZ for a work event.  I just looked at the temperatures for the week – a jacket will not be necessary.  This weather reminds me why I’m in no rush to live in Arizona or to ever move back to Las Vegas.

So to get these photos out while they still are fresh in my head, here are the rest of the pics from this past week back East!

May 28, 2015 – LAX when on my way to Newark

This was the beginning of my journey.  It was also the beginning of a very shitty set of flights, leading to me getting very little sleep.  I have complained before about this fact.  Anyway, for my flight from LAX, I actually had to take a shuttle bus from the American Airlines terminal over to the American Eagle satellite terminal.  This bus gives you a tarmac-level view of the airport and it’s kinda cool!

May 30, 2015 – Larry’s Actual Birthday while also Jake’s 6th Birthday Party

There was a big family event happening on Larry’s actual birthday, so we celebrated Larry’s the night before and after.  We headed over to his cousin’s amazing house where a very nice barbecue was being held, and it was a perfect chance to catch up with a lot of his family I normally don’t see all that much.  I love them all and it was a blast.

My pics (including our morning walk with Fran):

Jon’s pics:

May 31, 2015 – Seeing the Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens

There is an AMAZING exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image all about the show Mad Men.  There are costumes, props, writers’ notes, etc all in an exhibition celebrating the show.  Incredibly and most impressively, the sets for Don’s office in the SC&P building as well as the old Draper kitchen were re-assembled here.  You can walk into them up to a point and it’s amazing.  All the little details you remember are in place too, like ashtrays, record players, and family knick-knacks.  A truly fascinating exhibit for a splendid show.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in the exhibit.  Feh!  But I did get some of the museum’s exterior as well as the drive to Queens from Ft Lee and back.  A must see though if you get the chance (it’s there until September of this year!).

June 3, 2015 – Visiting Alyssa, Jon & Stacey in New Jersey

June 1 & 2 were mostly focused around work.  I went to Boston on the 1st (up AND back) and it was exhausting.  Then i went into the city for work on the 2nd, getting back that night for Fran’s birthday dinner at a great Italian restaurant, which was a lot of fun.

But on the 3rd, it was the day when Fran & Larry were going to pick Stacey up from daycare.  So while they did that, I worked from Jon & Alyssa’s house.  Once they got back to the house, we then went to dinner – again, lots of good food and drink while getting to spend some extra time with Jon & Alyssa, which we don’t get to do all that often.

June 4, 2015 – Thursday in NYC

Thursday is the new Friday, as always, when it comes to going out in NYC.  Larry and I went into the city on the bus together that day, but while I went to work, he met up with Treva and had some adventures over by the new Whitney museum, which pictures you can see included in this collection.  I met up with Larry after work and then we headed over to Gramercy Park Hotel to have a drink (or three) with our awesome pal, Amy, who we met back in 2011 on our first Med cruise.  So much fun.   Larry & I then headed to dinner at Pigalle, the scene of our first date nearly 7 years ago.  Where’d the time go????

June 5, 2015 – Morgan Library with Stuart & Treva

Friday night we met up with Treva & Stuart to close out our time back east in a proper fashion.  It’s always necessary to see these guys as they’re also the best.  The meeting point was at the Morgan Library, which was truly J.P. Morgan’s stand-alone library that he had built for himself.  It’s fascinatingly over the top.  The museum has some modern additions that make it quite a stunning space, as you’ll see in the pics.  Of course the old-school libraries are stunning in quite a majestic way too.  A Lincoln exhibit was there but it was fairly mobbed so I didn’t see all the writings there, but a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation I did see so that was cool.

After the museum we ate a fun taco place in the Murray Hill area (I think) and then grabbed dessert at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.  The options for eating in NYC are endless and it’s wonderful.

June 6, 2015 – Going Home

Well, it was finally time to head home.  Honestly, I was more than ready for our own bed again!  I got back to LA first as we had booked our flights separately.  I ended up getting through a majority of a book that Nicki highly recommended, Ready Player One.  It’s realllly good and of course because it deals heavily in 1980’s pop culture and videogames, I’m totally invested.  It’s also a very fun story in and of itself, but the sheen of the 80s on it definitely makes it more interesting.

And the pictures are now caught up!  I’ll need to get some thoughts together on the movies I’ve seen over the past few weeks that I’ve neglected to write about, Pitch Perfect 2 and San Andreas.  Maybe tomorrow from Arizona!

Engaged! (the whole story)

We have a LOT to cover, don’t we?  When I last posted, well, if you didn’t see it on Facebook, then that update may have been a bit of a shock!  Yes, yes, I asked Mr. Larry to marry me, and happily, he gave the right answer.  🙂

So how did this all come about?  Briefly, it was just about time that we did this.  Because it was also coming up on Larry’s 40th, and we were going to be back in the New York area for it, why not make this a really great memorable time?  During the week leading up to our departure (we left Thursday of last week, Larry in the morning, me on the red eye that night) to Newark, I made an appointment at a local jeweler and found the right ring to give.  He had gone for a run to the bike path that afternoon and had no idea I had been late in getting back due to the side trip.  Of course getting the ring is just one thing, figuring out how to do a proposal is another matter entirely.

I’m not a madcap strategist nor an uber-romantic, so some kind of flash mob, Jumb-o-tron, or massive path of flowers was in the cards.  But I did know that I wanted the skyline of New York involved, so I moved forward on that.  We were having dinner on Friday night at the River Palm for Larry’s birthday, along with Fran & Joel and Alyssa & Jon.  I wanted everyone to come along though, and while I figured I could somehow convince Fran & Joel to go along with my fake story, I wasn’t sure Alyssa & Jon would.  So I told Alyssa what I was up to in order to make sure she’d come along while also sanity-checking if it would work in the first place.  She gave her thumbs up and so once I was in Newark after a horribly exhausting red-eye flight, I started dropping small hints about wanting to go back to the area where I used to live in West New York as it had the BEST view of Manhattan.  It really does.

After a wonderful dinner, the time came to see if my motive of wanting to see the city on a beautiful night from the West New York vantage point would work.  And happily enough, everyone was in!  It actually was a very very nice day unlike what ended up following the rest of the week.  So off we went to my old apartment area on Riverwalk Place and when we got to the shore, there was a nice clear area of the path in front of us.  I had Jon take a picture of me and Larry (which you can see leading off the pics below) and after that first pic, I got one my knee and asked Larry if he’d marry me.  I think I said some other things, but I honestly can’t remember the details.  The important thing was he did say yes.   🙂

A Cuban restaurant/club has opened in the area since I moved and it ended up being where we sat down for a celebratory bottle of champagne.  It was a great night and went pretty much according to plan.  Here are plenty of pictures:

First starting with the dinner at the River Palm, where we celebrated both Larry’s 40th and Fran’s 65th birthdays:

May 29, 2015 – River Palm


Engagement! (Jon’s Pics)

New York Views (taken by me and Jon)


2010/11 – Moving to California

After having moved to New York/New Jersey for my career at NBC following my time in the US Air Force, I was able to get the opportunity to then move to Los Angeles while still working for NBC.  Even better, Larry was up for moving with me!  We ended up driving across the country via a southerly route as it WAS the middle of the winter and driving I-70 or I-80 at that time sounded pretty horrible.

Of course I took a ton of pictures during this voyage in Larry’s newly-acquired used Toyota Prius, as while it’s always fun to explore new parts of the country, we also managed to visit each of our dads on the way out.  All things considered, it was a pretty great roadtrip, and better yet, we didn’t kill each other!

Legs of the Journey

December 28, 2010 – Moving Day

I’m a wreck during a move.  Even if it’s all paid for and such, I get so stressed out about the entire process, whether it’s the packing of the boxes, the moving of the boxes, where the movers have to park the truck, how they have to move the stuff there, who’s watching the stuff, thinking about how much stuff I have and feeling guilty, UGH – so much stress.  And that’s just the first half of things!  (you know what though?  my stress is seriously lower after this first half; the receipt of goods and unpacking is so much easier in my mind)  During this move, it was going to be a 2-day move, with the first day being the packing of boxes and the second one the loading of boxes into the truck.  Mother Nature, being the bitch that she is, decided otherwise though and dumped a giant amount of snow into NYC on that first day. Because of that, traffic was halted and the moving truck couldn’t get in, so we lost a day.  That next day was a LONG day then as they got there first thing and were packing and schlepping into the truck all day, and then we had to get Larry’s stuff at his storage unit.  SOOOO LONG OF  A DAY.  Even writing about it in July 2014 gives me anxiety.

December 29, 2010 – Ft Lee, NJ to Frederick, MD


We spent that evening over in Fort Lee with Larry’s mom as we no longer had a place to live in or stay within the city.  It was also nice to have a comfortable place to start our journey from.  After saying goodbye to Fran and Joel, our immediate next stop was down in Hoboken, where we had a chance to have breakfast with Larry’s sister Alyssa.  After that though, it was time to head out, taking I-95 out of the state.  Before we could, we hit a HORRENDOUS traffic jam right after the last NJ toll booth in which 25 toll lanes try to merge into 2 lanes, but that day, one of those lanes had an accident in it.  It was awful.  We persevered and eventually got through Delaware and then into Maryland, where our destination was to where Larry’s father lived, in Frederick, MD.  This was my first real chance to interact with him and it was a good time, especially as we also got to play with his father’s many dogs.  I remember having to take some allergy medicine to survive though.

December 30, 2010 – Frederick, MD to Columbia, SC

2014-07-01_1437This was one of our big drives of the journey.  It’s also one of the most boring stretches of highway there is, as it’s a lot of beautiful green and lush countryside, but damn, there’s absolutely nothing out there.  After we said our goodbyes to Larry’s dad, we headed back towards 95, skirting Washington, DC, and then doing the long slog through Virginia and North Carolina.  Even when we got to South Carolina, there was still a long ways to go along the highway from I-95 to Columbia, and by this time, it was dark.  I remember when we got into Columbia, the city felt deserted.  There was almost no one out, but I’m sure that it was due to the fact that it was cold as hell outside and a rainstorm was coming this way.   We really did feel that we were racing against the weather at this point.

December 31, 2010 (New Year’s Eve!) – Columbia, SC to Biloxi, MS

2014-07-01_1456And now our wonderful trek through the American South.  At least it was along pretty decent corridors, as Atlanta is pretty decent as is Montgomery.  I’ve got two longish periods of time from the AF spent in Montgomery, but it was so strange to notice how different it felt than the last time I was there.  It’s been REALLY developed since 2004, which was my last real period of substantial time there for SOS.  The drive from Montgomery to Biloxi though turned into kind of a nightmare, as the promised rainstorms found us something fierce.  There were hellacious periods of rain when you couldn’t even see through the windshield it was that thick with water.  Kinda stressful.  We did manage to make it to Mobile and pull off the road for a little bit, just to de-stress and get gas.  At that point, the rain actually stopped – thankfully as that was when it was pretty dark.

It was also New Year’s Eve, and it was a good thing that we had booked ahead.  I remember I had tried to get a room at one of the casinos there, but that was a no-go.  Ended up getting a room at the Hampton Inn, but I’m pretty sure it’s on the site of the old Ramada Limited I had stayed in for my first month of BCOT back in 1999.  Of course that particular structure didn’t survive Katrina, so this is a new hotel.  After relaxing a bit, we “celebrated” our NYE by going to the Beau Rivage for some dinner.  I marveled a bit more at how much different Biloxi looked too – so many of the casinos I knew were gone due to Katrina.  Beau Rivage looked familiar but it definitely had received a lot of work to reopen.  We then wandered over to the Hard Rock Casino to see if there’d be anything to do, but it ended up just being every redneck out with his woman enjoying the night.  So safe to say, it wasn’t our cup of tea.  We made it back to the hotel around 11:30 or so, figured it was NYE on the East Coast, and called it a night.  It had been a long day.

January 1, 2011 (Happy New Year!) – Biloxi, MS to Castroville, TX

Biloxi_SanAntonioAh, 2011 – I remember thee well.  I think it was nice that we went to sleep before NYE hit the Central Time Zone as it had been exhausting, and what was even more fun was that when we departed Biloxi, it was raining and foggy.  Yay!  This was probably the longest segment of the journey (I think I keep saying that?) as not only were we leaving Mississippi, we were crossing all of Louisiana and half of the great state of Texas.  A LOT of ground to cover.  I think after BCOT when returning to San Antonio, I stopped in Lake Charles because I had no ambition to cross that much distance on my own.  It does help to have shifts to make it.

The drive ended up being fairly easy though, as once we got out of Mississippi, the weather cleared up.  Stopped for gas at a Louisiana rest stop that was all sorts of crazy, having a casino attached to it as well as a knife shop.  Why’d you ever want to leave?  At the end of the day’s journey was my dad and Pat – and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Were they going to have us stay in an inflatable dinghy out in the rain?  A tent?  But no, they actually got us a really nice hotel room which was much appreciated.  It was also so nice to see them again after not having seen them since leaving Colorado.  Haven’t seen them since though, so wow to that, I guess.

January 2, 2011 – Castroville, TX to Van Horn, TX

Castroville_VanHornHere’s where I thought it would be fun to have an adventure.  🙂  First, we had a very nice breakfast with Dad and Pat and the pups – a typical Texican breakfast and it was delicious.  Had to say goodbye though and head out on the road, which is where I was thinking, let’s not be boring and take the I-10….let’s take 90!  That way we’ll get to see the distant vistas and eerie emptiness of a state that you find in the beginning of a horrific Stephen King novel.  My dad warned that it probably wasn’t the best idea, but I was undeterred.  It would be fun.  And you know what, even though I’m writing this as if it all went to shit, nothing terrible happened.  In fact, it was a pretty awesome way to go and see parts of the state that you definitely wouldn’t from I-10.

It was just the idea of what might happen to you if your car broke down while out there.  Because THAT was frightening.  So we took Route 90 west from Castroville, putting you right on the fairly decently-traveled route between San Antonio and Del Rio, which is where Laughlin AFB is.  That wasn’t a big deal and fairly innocuous.  It was when you kept going on 90 though when things got a little creepy.  At one point, we passed a completely empty and deserted ghost-town.  At that same point, I looked at the cell phone signal and saw that there was absolutely no signal available.  Holy shit.  When we stopped at a “rest stop” just to pee off the side of the road, I asked Larry to leave the car running.  There was no way in hell I wanted to take that chance.  After a certain point of desolation, it was like, let’s not press our luck much more – so we headed back from 90 to I-10 at the next possible point, which took us to Fort Stockton.  It also took us to a delicious and beautiful McDonald’s right off the highway!  Best food ever at that point.

After getting back on I-10, it was time to finish our leg and head to Van Horn, TX, a city I had also stopped in long ago on my way to BCOT in 1999.  It looked fairly the same, but this time, I didn’t just grab fast food like back then.  After we checked in to our comfortable Holiday Inn Express room, we went to a pretty cool restaurant, the Hotel El Capitan, with a great art deco theme.  Decent food too, and surprisingly expensive if I remember correctly.  Surprising because it’s freakin’ Van Horn!  Regardless, it was nice to just make it nearly out of Texas without a terrible story.