Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Artsy-Fartsy in NYC

The hubby and I have been married for almost six years now, and during that time, he's planned all of our vacations and booked every hotel.  He even planned our entire wedding.  I have to admit I've been completely spoiled, and I absolutely love it.  Never a travel worry have I.  He simply tells me where we're going and when, and I show up with my bags packed.  The Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, the Beverly Hills Montage Hotel, and the Plaza Hotel in NYC are just a sampling of the fine establishments he's chosen over the years.  Lucky me! 

To make up for my lack of vacation planning throughout the years, this past Memorial Day weekend, I assumed all responsibility for selecting a hotel in our destination city, NYC.  Since the hubby always selects the uptown, "cha-ching" hotels, where every boutique and restaurant charges an arm and two legs, I thought it would be fun to go the opposite route and stay in the "artsy" district, where vendors are often selling their wares on the sidewalks and musicians line the streets.  So, I selected the Soho Grand Hotel and the hubby, staying true to his "planner-ism," booked the hotel and made all the arrangements.

We arrived at JFK late Sunday night, met up with our driver, and gladly settled into the backseat as he navigated the car through the busy city streets.  The hubby and I chatted excitedly as we made our way out of JFK, but our excitement quickly dissipated and silence filled the car.  With every left turn, then right, the skyscrapers shrunk and the trash in the streets grew.  Buildings were covered in graffiti, and some of the people walking the streets were not walking at all, they were sleeping.  All I could think was that I totally blew it.  The hubby stared out his window in silence and I'm assuming, complete shock as well.  I didn't say a word.

When we arrived at the hotel, a young man greeted us, took our bags, and told us he would have them sent up to our room.  The hubby didn't budge.  He couldn't take his eyes off our bags.  I had to yank him by the arm and drag him through the hotel doors.  The hotel is quite modern, which appeals to me greatly, so that was a plus.  Our room, not such a plus; it was about as big as the Plaza's bathroom, but, in all, it was clean and comfortable, and it suited our needs (not our wants).

Soho turned out to be almost everything I hoped it would be:  Great shopping, fantastic restaurants, beautiful brownstone lined streets . . . and, yes, it was artsy.

 The world (and a metal garage door) is an artist's canvas.
Original piece can be viewed from Room 216 the Soho Grand. 

A nearby courtyard is home to this masterpiece.  
A 19th century watercolor by Mike Z.

The crowds of people waiting to view this Contemporary artwork 
matched those waiting to view the Picasso exhibit at the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

An art collection on display at a local eatery.
  I love the thoughtful placement of the parmesan 
cheese shaker - beautiful accent.

And . . . we did in fact stumble across a true artist.

We do plan on going back to Soho, but when we do, we'll probably try out Trump's hotel.

Life is good!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fab Grandma Making Headlines on Cococozy

Okay, "making headlines" might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but today marks the first time I've been mentioned on an interior design blog's facebook!  "Cococozy" is a fabulous, hugely popular interior design blog based out of So Cal.  She recently posted an article on her favorite lamps for under $400.  I couldn't resist sending her a photo of my favorite lamps.  Check out my (KJ's) Reader's Submission and the "thumbs up" ratings on Cococozy's facebook.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Update: A Date with Michael J. Fox at the Beverly Hills Montage Hotel

An update on our date with Michael J. Fox . . . 

Tuesday afternoon was a complete blur.  I babysat the girls until 3:10 P.M. (not that I was watching the clock), sped home (not my usual "grandma" driving), and sent the hubby out to gas up the car, while I jumped in the shower and dressed.  I was ready in a record time of 35 minutes.  I didn't want to be late, not for this event, and the thought of having to drive the 405 freeway during commute hours had me completely frazzled.

The hubby graciously put the pedal to the metal and before we knew it we were in Beverly Hills, pulling up to the valet at the beautiful Montage Hotel.  As one of the attendants helped me out of the car, the hubby and a second attendant went to the open tailgate of our vehicle.  I looked on completely confused as the hubby pulled out his overnight bag that just so happened to have our kitchen cutting board protruding from it.  "What are you doing?" I was mortified at first, and then ask, "Are we staying the night?"  Of course, the answer was yes; he didn't want me to miss American Idol.  My heart melted.

Standing just inside the hotel entry, a very polished looking young man offers a warm welcome (by name) and escorts us directly to our room.  The room was amazing, beautiful in design and very spacious.  With no time to waste, we were off to the hotel bar for a glass of wine.  I have to be honest, I needed something to calm my nerves.  I was a wreck, and anyone with Parkinson's knows that the symptoms of the disease increase during stressful moments.

Next we were off to the meeting.  Michael J. Fox gave the opening speech, and he was followed by two of the Foundation's key members and a panel of physicians with expertise in the field of Parkinson's Disease research and treatment.  Here's what I gleaned from the meeting:

  • Parkinson's Disease research is suffering due to a lack of enrollment of patients in clinical trials.  The economy has affected this area greatly as most people do not have the time nor money to commit to the programs.
  • I do not qualify for the recently funded 40 million dollar Biomarkers clinical trial.  (This news was devastating to me.)
  • There is great frustration amongst the Parkinson's community, both patients and caretakers.  In some cases, a cure is needed now.
  • PD patients are friendly.  I met a man who runs marathons, and he's been dealing with PD since '83.  (The hubby and I will meet up with him in July at the San Francisco Marathon.)
  • Young patients (43 is considered young in PD terms) like me are rare.  I met a couple of ladies in their mid 50's, one of which lives in So Cal.  We are planning a date together.

After the meeting concluded, the panelists made themselves available for one-on-one time.  The hubby took the opportunity to ask a few questions, and I love him for that.  I, on the other hand, chose to speak with a few patients and exchange personal and treatment information.  Then we were off to our room to watch Idol.

The hubby prepared cheese, fruit, and crackers and together we ate and watched Crystal and Lee's final performances.  What a romantic my hubby is! 

I went to the meeting feeling very optimistic about PD research and possibly a cure, and I left feeling a little sad after hearing about and personally witnessing the effects of the disease.  It's a horrible disease, and I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel a little fear.

I want to thank everyone for their support and I hope you'll hang in there with me even when my smile fades here and there.  To my hubby, thank you for attending the meeting with me, thank you for the hotel stay and Idol, but most of all, thank you for your dedication and love.  I'm not sure where I would be without you.