If you’re in San Diego, you can easily enter Tijuana, Mexico. David joined me traveling from Los Angeles, USC. There’s a train that takes you to the border. You can then walk over without ever being stopped. Getting back into the USA is more complicated. The customs service will definitely want to see a passport. But walking is pretty easy since there’s not much place to put contraband. So you pass through with minimum waiting.
The native folks headed to Mexico all seemed to be carrying large bundles of toilet paper. Really! And once you are in Mexico, everyone seems to be bringing back prescription medication. There are big signs and many (hundreds) of pharmacies close-by to the border crossing.
We just wanted to say we were in Mexico. We wandered around and had tacos. That’s it. No need for drugs, legal or illegal. I would have brought some toilet paper if I had known it was in demand.You also have to be impressed by the traffic jam back into the USA.
This reminds me that traveling with a pregnant woman and a toddler from island to island can be a story by itself. We were in Honolulu transferring to an airplane for Kauai. I expected a twin-engine passenger jet, you know, the big one. As we pulled up to the airport they asked for our weight, which should have been the big clue. I told them mine and thought nothing more until we boarded a small twin engine airplane (12 passengers). Lisa was sweating profusely and clearly agitated. I thought that this was the pregnancy and corralling J. No, she tearfully cried as the doors closed, “I lied about my weight!” “So what it’s only a few pounds,” I said reassuringly. She wailed it was wrong by a whole lot more than …. Well, we weren’t done. The plane taxied behind a big ass regular passenger jet on the take off line. I could look out the forward window along with the pilots. They were conferring and then taxied back to the gate for some repair. I thought we would switch planes (bigger) and the weight thing would be solved. Nope. We got on board the same plane, this time without the co-pilot (what did he know and why did he leave? maybe Lisa’s weight?). Oh great! I was sitting close enough to see the gauges – including gas, the only one I could understand. We were at 1/8 in one tank and less in the other. It’s ok in a car but I thought it was a bit reckless in a plane. We took off into a rain storm, struggled to maintain heading and altitude, and landed by diving out of the clouds descending abruptly to the tarmac. The pilot waited till the luggage was off and then took off again without refueling. I’m glad I wasn’t on the return flight and out of gas. At the car rental counter I asked for directions to the hotel and was told to go out and turn right. Ha ha! The hotel was steps to the right of the airport entrance.
Here’s what not to do to your family. Kauai – the Napali coast is famous for it’s cliffs. It is really a sight to see from water or from a helicopter. Lisa’s pregnant with David on this trip. And J suffers from being car sick, as in throwing up. She’s good about it, we get a warning, “Mommy!” and in less than a second she “hurls.” Well, at least she warns you. (Please note: no big fat! pregnant belly in the picture – Politically Correct – but David [no name yet] is there.)
We’d been camped at the hotel on the beach and I got the itch to drive over to the Napali overlook which was clear for a few minutes about everyday at noon. Then it would cloud over again. Into the car, raining, twisting road, and driving a little fast to get there. J is in her car seat in the back. Lisa is riding shotgun. I pull into the foggy parking lot, no parking spots, until I see one just as I went past it. Stop short, back up, stop again and start to park. The sudden change in directions resulted in pregnant wife (with morning sickness, it’s a boy – worse) and car sick prone daughter both throwing up simultaneously. They did not get out to see the view (there wasn’t one – foggy). I drove home with the windows open and no one would talk to me.
This lasted just one trip. Lisa’s fortieth, we were in London. I took her (and kids) – surprise. David brought a stuffed pig. He talked to it and showed it around the town. After we got back I never saw him talk to the pig again. Hey? It’s cool!
It took a little longer to find this shot. But my database came through again. I have thousands upon thousands of subject labeled Bill. And unless I used turkey or Thanksgiving as a key word… or Bill’s house or Lila’s house, this was going to be a long search. I got it from Thanksgiving and J’s approximate age. The visual joke here is that the turkey and J are about the same size and the turkey weighs more. Some jokes whether good or bad linger longer than others.
This is one I will not forget… ever. It was the sunrise of July 31. We’d (Lisa) been up all night long. Remember the photos at labor and delivery. This was the view overlooking the East River at dawn from NYU, University Hospital. I’ve been up early plenty of times. And I’ve been bleary and weary because of a bad night on call. But this dawn was pretty special. Of course I didn’t know labor would go from the night before, all day, and into the early morning of August 1. And of course this was the worst time to be delivering at a teaching hospital, even if it was my hospital. All the new students, interns, and residents just came on board on July 1. So it’s kind of like clowns on parade. No offense, I was once one of them. It just that it’s different when it’s your wife and first child. When David was born the obstetrician who showed up was named Ida. Ah, I exclaimed at 4AM, “I always wanted to name my kid Ida.” This got me a withering look from this bleary eyed doctor. Who names their kid Ida? “You know Ida as in Ida Ho.” Old joke. Bad joke. Bad timing.
As long as we’re talking names, David would have been Ivan… not a chance. But I almost named him Otto. I just liked the sound and nearly pulled it off until Lisa ripped the name paper from my hand as I bent to fill in his name. Four years later David and I had a conversation in which I told him my wish to name him Otto. “Just between us… when we’re alone… you mind if I call you Otto?” Four year old David sat for a moment, pondered seriously, and said, “But Dad, my name’s David.” That was the end of that.
I found it. I just didn’t know if I had scanned this slide. You would think that I would have kept this somewhere prominently. Nope! J is now teaching in LA and the other day ‘Grandmother’ came to pick up one of the kids. Goldie Hawn! J was tongue tied.
As I said they were making “9 and ½ Weeks” when J was born. Shortly afterward we got a photo op with Kim Bassinger. I had an even closer experience the night after J was born. I had just gotten off the elevator when someone popped out and dragged me into the neighboring apartment. “Here, check her knee!” Kim was on the sofa clad in a white slip and fishnet stockings. She had feigned injury to stop filming during a scene. And here I was practicing outside my specialty examining a very shapely leg… oops knee. Déjà vu… “Seven Year Itch?” “Nothing wrong… get an orthopedic surgeon here first thing in the morning!” And I was ushered out. Ah, the things that happen when you’re in a certain place at a certain time. Well, my daughter had her star moment very early on. (Kim and I don’t stay in touch.)
I’ve mentioned the Tyler Place. It was idyllic. At least my pictures say so. I hope that the memory my kids have is similar to the photos. As J told me when she was old enough for me to query. “I have seen the photos and the videos. So I know I was there. I just don’t know if it is my memory or whether it is the media show I remember. Sometimes I think that Photoshop and some generic background pasting would have cost me less. But a kid with a stick… priceless.
Since early memories are sketchy until around four years of age, maybe I should have kept them hidden away. Ah, but they did learn to ski before that. So even if you don’t remember how you learned, isn’t it wonderful to feel like you’ve been doing it all your life?
To this I say to my kids, “Thank goodness you mother never had you in ballet class.” I was, and also in tap dancing. It didn’t last long. And the tennis lessons lasted for a few weeks one summer. But for Manny my Sports Illustrated mentor, here’s where I got my start. The key in tennis photography as Manny taught me is to get the ball, the racquet, and the players expression in the same frame especially as the ball is on the racquet. It was a few lessons later (about 20 years) that I got my call to the US Open Tennis Championship. Ready? You bet!
Like Walter Mitty, I had two magical experiences as a Sports Illustrated photographer (credentialed!) shooting the semis and the finals. Wow! And thanks Manny!
What do grown-ups do at night after the kids are sent to bed? It’s a family resort, the Tyler Place in Vermont. Lisa and Kevin (Susan’s husband) are playing a game called ‘spit.’ I’ve never played it. We also played spoons, a game that Kathy taught us. It was competitive, very, and there were a lot of laughs because in the end everyone is a winner. We had to play in a room far away from the kids. It’s kind of like the secret life of grown-ups acting like kids. And now all of our kids are grown-ups with kids of their own, which makes this a young picture of a bunch of old grandparents.
We didn’t go to the Bronx Zoo too often. But once upon a time we went and the kids took a camel ride. If you think about it (as I am right now), it’s kind of silly. Collectively, J, David and myself don’t remember this at all (I bet – see above). Otherwise somebody should have spoken up when they were here in December. I got the picture; they don’t remember. Who’s old now?
Well, the unofficial official time is in… J did very well in her age group, among females, and overall (better than 75%) among all racers. The top woman in her age group was one of the top finishers in 2hrs 25min. The next woman after that was 2hr 43 and then 3 hrs. Except for the first two women everyone was in the range of 3 hrs and up. Competitive? Well J finished better than 80% of the other women in her age group. Lisa sent video. She needs work as a videographer. J was on screen about a second and a half.
The finish line video is out also. Amazing!! In this day and age everything is recorded and you can get access on the internet. They had a two camera angle setup and you can look up your video based on finish time. It’s Los Angeles – Hollywood – but this ain’t a Hollywood work of art. I know my daughter and couldn’t pick her out till I looked at the video about 4 times. But since I’m accessing this information from halfway across the world, hey, not too shabby!
The next thing are the race pictures but no doubt screen saving an image or two will trigger all sorts of copyright problems.
Am I still competitive? Well the other day in the pool, the training coach goaded us into a short sprint. I got touched out by a colleague 20 years younger and was pissed.
When I was a senior resident, my chief, Dr Ransohoff, arrived at the hospital late one weekend night. He had traveled back from the Hamptons having injured his quad muscle in a footrace in a parking lot outside a restaurant. I didn’t know from quad injuries and it was a strange feeling to be examining my boss’s quad as he dropped his pants in front of me so I could check him. All the while his disapproving wife was in the background making the sounds of, “I told you so.” Come to think of it, I’m about that age now. But don’t worry, I’ll not be dropping my pants for an exam anytime soon.
Me running? I never did like distance running though the coaches all told me that my build was not for sprinting (which I preferred).
J, it seems has found her niche. She did middle distance in high school but was not a fan of distance running either.
David was not a competitive athlete but has completed the NYC triathlon which is no minor feat. I was surprised at his skills in swim, bike, and run.
No couch potatoes, these kids of mine. Did I mention I’m proud of them both?
I’m still spinning the slide archive for old slide memories. I’m old enough to vaguely remember this day at the beach. But I definitely don’t remember the slide. So I admit to being old now. Cousin Jane is there with David and J. Too many slides (archive) and not enough memory (me).
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.