Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Early birthday present ... Maybe I have found what I'm looking for

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsIt's far from September, but I've already purchased my birthday present - tickets to see U2 at Giants Stadium on Sept. 25, one week exactly after the nearly-big 49. Been following this amazing band for 25 years but never seen them live. Felt like I had after seeing their concert movie last summer, but live is something else. Should be an adventure.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Friday, April 17, 2009

Baby Girl Anderson born yesterday!


Still no name for Mary's newest little relative. Her niece, Debbie, and Debbie's husband Wyatt are the proud parents of a baby girl.
Congratulations to Debbie and Wyatt. And to Mary's sister Carolyn and brother-in-law Ted: grandparents, finally! :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Waiting for Godot


We saw "Waiting for Godot" last night on Broadway. It hasn't officially opened yet (still in previews), so the tix were quite reasonable.

It stars (from left in photo) John Glover, Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane, and John Goodman--all well-known actors outside of their stage careers.

Bill Irwin (Vladimir) and Nathan Lane (Estragon) were excellent at counterbalancing one another in the lead roles. John Goodman was larger than life, as you might expect, but excellent as Pozzo. John Glover was decidedly scary as Lucky. (Our only concern was that Goodman has grown so ... huge. He is a serious candidate for a heart attack or stroke!)

This play really takes on additional meaning in the current times. Although it has always been open to various interpretations, Beckett once said decisively that Godot does not stand for God (especially because he wrote it first in French, and Godot has no relation to the French word for God, which is dieu).

However, the religious idea of redemption is clearly present, as is human beings' constant search to make meaning out of, perhaps, meaninglessness. We all want believe our presence here on this planet is significant.

At the very least, we want someone to know we were here.

P.S. The theater where we saw the show is called Studio 54, the site of the infamous nightclub.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Another life is about to begin

As we write this, Mary's niece Debbie is one day past her due date. Baby Girl Anderson will be born sometime soon. Something to celebrate, even within our grief for the loss of Mary's dad.

So, we wait ... and are so looking forward to meeting this new little person!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Henry Gustav Herman Schiller, 1918-2009


Mary's father died this morning. He was sitting in a chair in his hospital room, and he simply went to sleep for the last time.

He was 90 years old, and had been in very good health until this past Christmas. He had been hospitalized since late February with a couple of major problems that were competing with one another: blood clots in his legs, and a bleeding ulcer. We think his body, and his literal and figurative heart, were finally too tired to go on.


He and his wife, Maryann, had moved from San Luis Obispo, Calif., to Florida in September. Mary's brother Tom had visited in Jan. Carolyn (Mary's sister) and Mary saw him in March, which was when this photo was taken.

Rest in peace Dad/Grandpa/Great-Grandpa/Hank. We love you and miss you so much already.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

French frustration


(This is Mary.) I am at that point in studying a foreign language where the progress feels sooooo slooooow. My current teacher, Mme. Sorg, is very good. She is from Paris, and she has been a stickler for solid pronunciation and doesn't hesitate to correct us when we make a mistake. All good.

But there comes a point when you are learning the fine details, and trying to acquire more idioms, when it just feels like you have hit a wall and are slowly trying to climb it without the right tools. I climb up, then slide back down again.

I am trying not to let this frustration dissuade me from continuing. I am determined to get my French to a good level over the next year. And if I am honest about it, I really can see an improvement since I first started studying it again last fall. Talking with Rachel helps, and I may enlist the help of my friend Pierre more formally.

Meanwhile, I continue to watch one or two French movies a week, listen to French TV, read as much French as possible and hope that one day, I will approximate an American speaking decent French!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Night out

We rarely go out to fancy dinners in NYC--for two reasons, really. Neither of us is a real "foodie." I mean, we recognize good food from bad, of course, but our palates are not extremely sophisticated. (How many Americans' are?) And second, it is very expensive to eat at anyplace more than a diner, basically!

But last night we made an exception and accepted an invitation by Mary's colleague and friend, Pierre, to go to dinner with him and a few other people: a friend of his from California, Christine; his cousin Vincent, in town on a business trip; and two of Vincent's friends (whom Pierre had not met): Paul and Stephanie.

It turned out to be a very nice evening. We really enjoyed meeting some new people, and you couldn't have asked for a nicer group to hang out with for a few hours. Vincent and Paul both work in finance; Stephanie (Paul's fiancee) works in a relatively new field, which is marketing for law firms.

We ate at Craftbar, near Union Square, which is owned by the bald judge on Top Chef (Tom something-or-other). The food was good, but pricey--it is New York, after all. The wine was a bit more notable than the food, in Mary's opinion. Afterwards we went to the West Village to a very nice bar called Ditch Plains (the name seems to refer to a surfing spot off Long Island). Mary actually flew solo for this part of the evening; Jeff had gone home already to rest up for a long bike ride Sunday.

Anyway, the previous night, Pierre and Christine had spent some time in the bar sitting right next to Kiefer Sutherland. Alas, no celebrities appeared while we were there Saturday night. But we did enjoy some crackling conversation.

Mary would like to take a moment here to dispel a myth, one which--if all the transit cuts go through--may prove to be true soon! But for right now, it is a myth that it is completely unsafe to ride the subway late at night, at least to where we live (yes, even to the Bronx!). At 2:30 am, the subway was filled with people. When Mary got off the subway, as usual there were police cars nearby because the stop at 242nd is right near the train yard.

We do wonder, with all the budget cuts to the MTA and the police force, how the city will change in the next couple of years. What always amazes us, too, is how little Bush was willing to do for New York City after 9/11. The whole way the money for increased security was doled out ... remember that? And with the recession and all the ensuing problems, it seems like this city is in for a drastic change.