i’m a little groggy right now because i just woke up from a nap after having a lovely thanksgiving meal at a little italian restaurants a couple of blocks from the hotel. kevin had turkey etc, and i had penne pasta with vodka sauce and chunks of salmon. delicious. cheesecake for dessert. mmmm.

this morning we went to the parade. i woke up at seven to the sound of rain, and outside it was dark and rainy and awful, so i went back to bed for a while. by 7:30 it was slightly less rainy, so at about 8:30 we headed out. at this point the rain had pretty much stopped, but it wasn’t quite 40 degrees outside. we’re staying on 8th Ave here in NYC, between 48th and 49th streets, only a block from the parade route along broadway, but since we had a half hour we figured we’d walk up closer to where the parade started.

we got as far as 65th street and found places in the crowd, which was pretty crowded but probably not as much if it’d been sunny and a little warmer. the parade finally started to go by at 9:10 and it was great and the balloons are so huge. on the news all morning the newscasters were getting in a lather about whether or not the balloons would go, because if it was too windy and if there were too many gusts, they couldn’t. it’s funny how local newscasters are pretty much the same, if they’re in springfield or in LA or NYC, they all get ALL WORKED UP about things and the big city ones don’t seem much more sophisticated than the ones in smaller places. not like on the big major news shows where they’re paid to rein in their overjealousness and act more professional.

anyway, the rain stopped until about 9:30 and then it started raining harder…and harder…and we had umbrellas and finally put them up and lots of other people had theirs up and the woman in front of me who was really invading my personal space anyway kept almost putting my eye out with her umbrella plus the rain dripped off it onto me.

it was impossible to see the big balloons coming down the street once the umbrellas were up, and suddenly there was snoopy looming above us. because of the threatened wind, the balloons were on a very short tether and some of them were literally touching the ground in places. maybe because of the weather, the parade kept slowing down and sometimes stopping and there were large gaps between things. not as bad as the illinois state fair parade, which has had gaps of at least a block and at least an hour in length, but still, gaps.

it was neat to see the giant balloons so close up, and to watch them glide by so slowly.

yesterday we went to the museum of natural history, and kevin liked it the best of anything we’ve seen here, and they were blowing the balloons up on the streets on either side of the museum and we watched that happening for a little bit and that, too, was quite a sight. we did that before going into the museum, and by the time we left, the crowds were ridiculously huge. as we shuffled along with the multitudinous multitudes, there were suddenly a lot of cops and security guys, and then mayor bloomberg passed right by us. our first celebrity sighting.

today in the parade we saw julie andrews and i think we saw gloria estephan although i don’t think i actually saw her but if i did, i definitely got it on videotape. if my video camera isn’t ruined, that is, by the rain that kept raining down on it. we also saw hall & oates, and i definitely got a close shot of them but they didn’t loook anything like the hall & oates i remember although of course since they were popular about…30 years ago? they’re nothing but plastic surgery enhanced representations of themselves.

we saw the radio city rockettes christmas spectatular the night b4 last, and it was dazzling and also a little weird. it lasted an hour and a half, and the first hour and fifteen minutes was full of rockettes in scanty costumes, dancing and kicking and there were some ice skaters and lots of santa claus and a cute number with a stage full of santa clauses and they did a lot with costumes and sets and mirrors and there was even a part where we put on 3D glasses.

and then, mrs. claus and the elves who were played by dwarves and that was a little bit odd, said goodbye to santa and then they sang “wahoo doree” (i know it’s spelled wrong) from how the grinch stole xmas, and then an announcer started talking about the importance and meaning of xmas, and then the last 15 minutes was a reenactment of the bible story. joseph and mary and a bunch of other people marched back and forth across the stage, and mary rode a real horse, and somebody led a couple of donkeys and there were sheep, and then camels…CAMELS??!! we had gotten to the show too late to look at the program so i tried to figure out if these were live camels, which seemed crazy, and i decided they were people in costumes but then the camels were just standing there and they started CHEWING and i decided that they were real.

camels and sheep and donkeys and horses, and this big serious thing with lots of singing of stuff like “hark the herald angels sing” and kevin commented later that the set of the nativity was really good, but i didn’t pay that much attention because i couldn’t stop focusing on all the animals onstage.

it was just odd, after santa and rockettes and dwarves and HOLIDAY FUN, to have the somber and serious ending to the show. i have a very vague memory of reading about this somewhere sometime ago.

we sat very near the back, and i’d like to go again someday and sit a little closer. in order to observe the animals closer. i mean, what if one of them pooped onstage, for example? but maybe they wore diapers? we were too far back to see.

last night we saw “spamalot” and it was very funny and we got tickets in the 6th row because we just walked into the theater the day before and they had these two great seats available for some reason.

and tonight we’re seeing “avenue Q.” we have two and a half hours till it starts, and K. is watching football and there’s a computer room here in the hotel and i’m all alone here, surprisingly enough. a german couple came in for a while, but they’re gone now. you can print things if you want to, and there’s some e-mail here from somebody to some priests and of course i read it because it’s just sitting here, and here’s one line from it:

“just to clarity, the compulsory use of the revised Common Lectionary, unless the Ecclesiastical Authority grants an extension for the use of the BCP lectionary for up to three years, begins on Advent Sunday 2007, not 2006.”

it goes on like this for a while and it seems that it shouldn’t just be lying around for anybody to look at because surely it’s very top-secret religious stuff, if anybody could understand it. there’s also a fax from some religious person in bogota but i can’t read that at all because it’s in spanish.

on monday night i had two and a half beers. if you know me well, you’d know how significant this is because as a rule I HATE BEER. A LOT. but we were at an irish pub and it was some delicious apple lager and it tasted mostly like apple cider.

monday night we saw Les Paul, who is a famous jazz guitarist, in case you didn’t know. he is NINETY ONE years old, and he didn’t play that long but then again he’s NINETY ONE years old. his rhythm guitarist was 69, and seemed sprightly. actually, les seemed quite sprightly himself. at the beginning he talked about thanksgiving, and said “turkey, we’re all going to have turkey, but what if the pilgrims had bobcat, instead…then we’d all be having pussy for thanksgiving.”

the woman playing the bass in his band was young and pretty and blonde and english, and she said she’d written him a song on the plane from ft. lauderdale that day. i kept wondering what kind of interesting life she must lead. it was a nice song, and she was being quite flirtatious with les and he loved that a lot.

i keep seeing lots of dogs on leashes here in nyc, and i’ve decided i don’t like that at all. i guess they’re probably doing OK, but i think it would be bad to be a dog here – do they ever, ever, get a chance to run around? it’d be ok for the little dogs, but some of the ones i saw were pretty big. we walked down to a pier yesterday to look at the aircraft carrier the Intrepid, which got stuck in the mud when they were trying to move it to be repaired, and there was a little dog run there (on pavement, not grass) and a guy was talking on his cell phone, throwing a ball for his little dog so at least the dog got to run free for a while.

having a dog makes me more compassionate about dogs in general.

not having children, however, i think makes me less tolerant of them. at least the THOUSANDS of them that were at the natural history museum yesterday. they’re just so LOUD. and in the women’s bathroom it suddenly occured to me that all that mothers seem to do is spend their time bossing their children around. i heard a woman say to her child, “do you have to go?” i never did hear the child responding, but the mother kept on and on. “are you sure? it’s an hour ride. are you SURE? we’ll be on the subway and on a bus and you can’t go for an hour. are you SURE?” on and on and on like that. if i had been the child i’d have said PLEASE QUIT BADGERING ME.

if i’d had been the child, i’d have had to go.

we went to a FABULOUS burger joint, tucked inside the le parker meridian hotel. on the wall were bumper stickers and writing, and one of the bumper stickers said “forget world peace…visualize using your turn signal.” and another said “i didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables.”

they had perfect burgers. i found the place in one of my many searches online for great places to go in NYC. this one was on a list of top 10 places to eat for under $10. i thought i’d found quite a little secret place.

but today as we ate our lovely thanksgiving meal, i listened to a family from north carolina strike up a conversation with a couple of guys from ireland. the mother started telling the men where they should go, and she told them about…the hole in the wall burger joint. she’d looked it up online, as she’d done with the very restaurant we were all sitting in. except she’d been even more thorough than me – she looked up restaurants and then she looked up a restaurant reader review site and she’d tossed out all the places that got any negative reviews at all. on one hand i realized that there was nothing unique about my finding the burger place or the thanksgiving meal, and on the other hand, it was nice to know that there are people out there who are spending even more time than me, obsessively looking things up.

i don’t think i knew about anything at all before the internet.

not that i know that much right now.

one more thing on the wall at the burger joint (and that was its name, i think, by the way) – there was an article from a GQ magazine, july ’05, the “20 hamburgers you must eat before you die.” so now i want to look up that article and find the other 19 places.

not right now, though. football watching? hmm, i don’t think so. i can’t take a walk outside right now because i’m wearing kevin’s comfy shoes that look and feel like slippers, and no coat.

i hope you’re having a good thanksgiving, and i appreciate you reading all the way to the end because this is extra-long because right now i suddenly have all this time and many things to write about.

they said it was 60 and sunny in springfield, but i’m still glad i’m here instead.

ok ok ok already,

thanksgiving grace.