Marathon Sunday Los Angeles, TODAY. J did it! The internet is great and wonderful. They gave me updates every 10K. And I could watch the feed on Los Angeles TV. Of course, they concentrated on the winners. And I was in contact with the family halfway across the world. I did remind them that the daylight savings time kicked in overnight. Fortunately J made it to the start on time. Right now as of this post, the news is fresh within the hour I was notified that she finished. I still have to wait to speak with her.
But it’s still quite an accomplishment. And I can honestly say that J has done something that I would never try myself. It’s nice when your kids surpass you. Need I say more?
PS – Spoke with her. She’s injury free but tired. There are hills you can’t see on TV (everything looks flat). At mile 21 everyone bonks and she did as well, almost walked. But then at the finish she said it would be embarrassing to be walking so she was running. Her time is average at 4 and 1/2 hours among all marathon (average human, male or female) runners in general (very nice!). But keep in mind that the winners were done in a little over 2 hours which is faster than I can ride my bike (just about). So that is a bit humbling to me.
How do you get them to stop running around? How do you get a moment to relax and not have to haul sand and water for a sand castle at the beach? Yes! It worked once. They never let me bury them again. Instead you can use reverse psychology and let them bury you. That worked too. But I wasn’t too fond of sand in my suit. Maybe they weren’t either?
Have I ever mentioned that David could sleep any where? He had a stubborn streak. And one of his favorite phrases as a toddler was, “No nap.” But when it was his time, he passed out and no one and nothing around him could deter him from snoozing. At the Tyler Place, he just passed out during lunch with his group. When we came to pick him up, there he was, asleep among the milling children and adults. He also slept every afternoon at about 3PM when Lisa would pick up J from school. Debbie, one of the mothers, would comment later that she had never seen David awake after nearly a year of pick-ups.
I have told you J learned to ride on LI. David learned on the same street a little while later. At that point, we were a family who could ride. So… we rode together. The kids just never liked it that much. Still in later years David did a triathlon and J took off with Lisa’s old heavy bike to LA – retro is in. But for a while we would ride as a family.
They talk about Washington DC. And some say Japan. I say Central Park in New York City. I get lots of shots, sometimes good, sometimes better, nothing quintessential yet. But I remember once when J and I walked the park together and she was just getting to know photography.
And the brilliance of the forsythia… it lasts so fleetingly, the rest of the year spent in tangled obscurity. But that was a pretty special day in my memory. It was not the only time J and I have been in the park in the spring. But it is the first time that I remember it. And yes the colors, the day, and the company were particularly wonderful.
When the kids were little, we went apple picking and ran through the cornfield in the fall. I don’t know about Lisa, it’s not something I did as a kid. But my kids will not be able to say the same. I don’t know who it was that had more fun.
That’s what Eric called it. He had a boat. We used ski-bob on the Hudson River up by Bear Mountain. We did it twice only. Here’s the memory. It was a nice day on the water. The kids had a ball. Great days come and go so quickly in a twinkle of the eye.
Great Grandmas. Lisa was fortunate to have know both her grandmothers. Actually on the left is her step-grandmother. On the other hand, I have no memory or photo of my side of the family. Except for her mother, we have three generations. J, a toddler, has seen the pictures but has no memory of her great grandmas either. I didn’t realize the significance of the moment or I’d have gotten everyone into the picture. I will mention that it was two daughters for Lisa’s sister. So we have only girls on this side of the family. Of course David broke the record and it turns out it’s boys only for both my brothers. Lisa and I got the split. David’s the only boy on Lisa’s side so her relatives call up and ask how’s “the boy?”
Poke it, see if it laughs. J was not too gentle with her brother. Newly arrived, Lisa was more worried how J would feel. It would be a while before David would care. So here’s the first meeting at home. J was at the hospital but mainly to visit mom. Ah! A squeaky toy! Somewhere else there’s a picture of J in a fullblown chokehold of her brother. They were a little older. I got the picture first before I broke up that little scene.
I have mixed feelings about photos in the labor and delivery room. It didn’t stop me from having a camera on hand. And/but I do have mixed feelings about it. As for Lisa she definitely has some opinions. In fact her friends know her opinions “in no uncertain terms.” J’s labor was 40 hours. That was two nights! After the first sleepless night, here’s what we had. It’s not romantic like the movies. It’s a mess and I will probably regret posting this picture…nothing staged… reality. Hmmm… she even took a picture of me. Later on I made the mistake of asking how she felt. Labor hurts! I remember wearing a skinny (very skinny) pink tie (I was sort of at work). In a flash she reached out and grabbed me by that tie, pulled my face in close, choking me, and said, “If you ask me that again, I’ll kill you. Get me some drugs.” So much for Lamaze classes, I got the drugs, and never got close enough for Lisa to strangle me again.A day later it was all worth it. The Kodak moment, mom all neat and pretty again.
For the record we had argued about names. But when J popped out at 2AM it was obvious instantly what her name should be. At the other end of things, Lisa naturally asked immediately what sex? I replied, “Girl. Normal, ten fingers, ten toes… eight on one foot, two on the other.” It took a moment to sink in before Lisa said, “What!?”
I had been a physician just long enough to have only really been taking care of birth deformities. You don’t see too many well babies in my specialty. I’m not a pediatrician. My specialty was in caring for the problem children. I had to keep reminding myself that the majority of babies are all born normal. Yup, it’s a curse of the profession that afflicted both Lisa and myself. My buddies and I were all having kids at about the same time. This was something we would confide about and sheepishly admit as we held each others newborn kid and quickly ran a hand up and down the spine and felt the newborn fontanelle for hydrocephalus.
This was my first experience with photographing hot air balloons up close. The memory it invokes has nothing to do with the picture. The backstory is that it was Long Island. Lisa had seen a notice for the show at Bookhaven Airport. She also happened to have the worst case of poison ivy, ever! She’d gotten it a few days before. The blisters and the itch were fierce. If you’ve ever had poison ivy, you’re probably cringing right now. We went to the show and the kids and I had our experience. I got my photos. We stayed till the evening to see the balloons launch. They don’t launch during daylight because of the winds. The picture that got away (missed) was the one at the end where Lisa frantically was dipping her blistered arms into the ice barrels (soda) to ease the discomfort. Yeah, I was not high on the empathy scale. Some things you learn much later in life. Sorry, honey.
While it’s still winter where I came from, I’d like to post some ski pictures. Old ones… The kids liked it. At least they went along without any grumbling. After a while Lisa kind of dropped out. She was too timid to really enjoy the hair-raising wind in your face skiing that the kids and I did. Ok, she was a lot happier and it was a break for her if we went off for a while.
Jumping is something that is a challenge. You catch air and it’s a different skill. Just don’t panic and it’s easy. I realize this isn’t much of a jump and not much air. The kids didn’t know it and they didn’t care. Fun is fun.
Yes, it is possible to be asleep on your feet. Actually there was a time when I was an assistant surgeon (residency) and it would happen regularly. Up all night long, then leaning in able to see the operating field with only one eye open (and the other closed) as the surgeon worked. Before you knew it I would be bumping his headlight as I dozed. When I finished my training he said to my wife/significant other then, “Great guy, I just don’t know how he ever managed to learn any surgery.” (I just didn’t sleep when it wasn’t boring.)Well, I told you that J had been through multiple time zones from LA to NY to Jeddah. David and I had no mercy. So it was no surprise to have her sleeping during our self-portrait. Not just eyes blinking, no no no, it was a full blown drowse. She’s a good sport about it and we even went to dinner afterward. We just didn’t keep her up later.
Yup! It’s a big giant mosaic octopus off the beaten path in the middle of a traffic circle behind the Corniche (beach road) that you would have to actively seek out. And what do you do after dinner in Ajii…. I guess we were in a pretty good mood after a satisfying meal. The only thing was risking life and limb to cross the circle and get to said octopus. And then J wouldn’t standby for any fooling around in plain view of all the passing cars. David had fewer qualms so he shot his dad embarrassing his kids.
When the kids were here they were very considerate and accommodating. We ate Middle Eastern food mostly. David never cared for it much in NY but he was in country and determined to sample local fare. We ate in Yildizar a restaurant rated all over the internet as one of the best in Jeddah. I can’t say that it was particularly special, but separate searches by all the family came up with the same name. Maybe they stacked search engine? On the last night together both kids determined we would try Ajii an oriental fusion restaurant that we had found. The food was surprisingly good. Funny for me was that it wasn’t the food that was important as much as the company. Now that the kids have returned home, the food is more attractive looking back at the pictures. We arrived just before evening prayer time. It was strange to be in a good restaurant as the only patrons from start to finish of the meal. No matter, it was the ultimate in private dining. Pick a table, any table at all….
It’s an Asian fusion restaurant. We ate there and it was empty except for us. Like anywhere else it’s a mystery how some places are popular and others are empty. It was a very good menu and food was very good. J got into the car to drive. Nope, we (she) didn’t break the law. There were still some time zone issues. It’s hard to eat dinner when your body thinks it’s 2AM. And afterward you can walk over and have an experience with a mosaic octopus sculpture in the traffic circle.J wasn’t here long enough to recover from jet lag. She’d left LA, flown to NYC, and arrived in Jeddah pretty much discombobulated. (I always wanted to use that word in a sentence!)
What do you expect from a restaurant named Ketchup. It’s an American grill staffed by Filipinos serving burgers. Nope, we didn’t try it. And just down the other side is a Johnny Rocket’s, don’t ask. And nearby is a Bentley and Lamborghini dealership. We chose Maesti an Egyptian menu. All the food styles tend to run together. I think you can get falafel across all cultures here. Good? Yes.
And then there was the Palm Garden on the Corniche. We wandered by and were drawn in by the lights. Ah! A really big men’s section. David made it a point to remember this place so we could drag his sister in for a good time. And later on we did.
David found this listed on his internet search of places to visit. So off we went and drove north to visit an ancient fishing village. It turns out to be a modern marina and there’s nothing quaint. In fact this is the same marina where I get the dive boat (see way below) and we leave for our ‘boat trips.’ I never associated the name David found with the marina location.
There is a habit, Farid told me, in which it is customary to build the wall before you build the house. And there is some effort underway to be energy conscious, hence the light posts with solar panels. Just when I think I see something I can agree with, I realize that these lights are in the middle of nowhere with nothing significant to light up.
We did look and look for that fishing village. It could have been a good photo op. It was my first realization that everything you see on the internet is not true. Maps are not well marked and what you find may not match expectation. We had that happen a lot in the next few days we wandered in the car. Dhahban was an adventure in non adventure hunting.
I have a bunch of non sequiturs. Actually I uploaded some shots from the Balud and they appear to be orphans at the moment. There always seem to be a few men bundling sticks cut precisely the same length. The bundles sell and I must remember to ask why they sell?Digital is a lot smarter than me. I shoot and the camera makes me look good. Mixed lighting and high contrast scene… no problem. It’s dates.This is as close as we came to actually buying anything. It was an old jewelry store, which is to say that the jewelry looked old. Nope, made in Pakistan, recently. Neither J nor David bought. Dave could have used something for his girlfriend….Shadows are a great subject. We’ve done some strange shapes. But the kids would have none of it as we walked at night. Patterns, I like patterns and especially when you have willing/unwilling subjects at hand.
I told you and you have seen the jump series. We started guinea pig faces in Peru. They eat guinea pig. It’s poplar and served in the street festivals. I’ll post a picture someday. Meanwhile every once in a while we continue the tradition. At times it’s downright strange.This image was one of several. One image shows J leaning against my shoulder with her eyes closed. Ordinarily it would be a mistake image. But with her jet lag, she actually dozed as we took the image. I was tempted to prop her eyes open determined to get a shot or else.
David had me pursue the road to an interesting sculpture and we found Amara. It has an upstairs terrace for families only. There is a view of the ocean, which you can see at night. (Remember they don’t light the ocean?) We did a set of faces on the elevator. And when we brought J, she wouldn’t do it. I suspect that she has always know that we are strange. And I believe it is the responsibility of every father to embarrass their children.
Online the name is spelled Al Wahbah. At the site it’s spelled Al Waba. I surmise it’s phonetic differences. But no matter how you pronounce it there’s not much chance you’ll get good directions. We kept missing turns and ending up on the wrong roads. There were roads that were not on the map. Google earth can’t save you. There were cell towers in the middle of nowhere. And we had a wireless modem. It couldn’t save us. But we persevered throughout a day of solid rain. It was only dry for the two hours we spent at the crater. We debated about telling J. She had left for home a day earlier. Sorry. Wish you were/had been here.
If your timing is right it looks like you’re jumping in the crater itself. Well, that’s what David says.
It has rained twice in a year and a half since I’ve been here. It rained twice in ten days that David was here. On his last day going to/from the crater, it rained/poured all day. So the storm clouds we saw over the crater are probably not a common sight.
There aren’t too many attractions in Jeddah. One, is the King Fahd fountain. The challenge, get a picture at night with the fountain and the kids. The real challenge is to get the kids together. Sometimes I’m surprised. The fill flash and the fountain balance one another. So you get everything you hoped for as long as you don’t set the bar too high.Then there’s the added trick… all three of us and the fountain … without Photoshop.
They speak of impressive sandstorms. I haven’t seen one. It’s all desert and it’s dry out in the country. We did happen to find a sand dune. It was not much of a dune. We did have a great time on it. One of the silly things we do is to jump. Get it?
Somewhere in a movie I once watched a narrator said that special moments in life come and go before you realize it and only in retrospect do you appreciate how special that time was. As I look at the images and remember the moment, this was one in my life. I guess it doesn’t get better when you see your kids jumping, rolling, and playing with innocent abandon. All the other worries of the world are suspended for that moment. Speaking with them while they were here I realize as adults how rare we have these unguarded moments.
I mean we drove until my calculated ‘drop dead’ time. J was leaving and we had to return in time for her to be at the airport. No crater!! The roads have no signs, signs in Arabic, and no one seems to have heard of Al Wahbah. No amount of stopping for directions helped.
Directions, me, never. But the kids have no qualm about asking. My motto, “As long as you never put the car in reverse, you are never lost.” Well, you make do with what is at hand…. We found a sand dune!? (one not too large one)
There was another side benefit; we had a camel experience. The last time J was here we saw a camel from a distance but never up close. This time we were face to face, nose to nose. Yeah! It was an alternative happy ending. And did I say that we more or less drove right up to the camels.