New York

I spent my birthday in the American Museum of Natural History in New York with my three-year-old niece Téa, her mother (my sister), her father, and of course Tammy. Taking a child through a museum, getting excited about monkey skeletons (sneaking off occasionally to follow the obscure evolution of the inner ear), and digging for dinosaur bones was a lot of fun.

That night, Tammy took me to dinner at 'Inoteca, in the Lower East Side. Damn fine cuisine. Who knew tea sandwiches could be gourmet? They had two wine menus, too. The other one was for simpletons like me--still unreadable, but tasty!

I took a stroll through Brooklyn with Robert, Dan, and little Benjamin. Cute kid, that one.

If you're in New York during the summer and want to see Shakespeare in the park, but don't want to want to wait in line for four hours to then later sit for another three just to watch Hamlet slowly rack up the body count, check out New York Classical Theatre instead. This is the best idea, ever. The park's lakes hills, trees, and even park-goers are part of the scene (and sometimes the action). When, in Cymbeline, Postumus goes to Rome, the audience got off their duffs and followed him there. Every scene required audience participation. Belarius, Guiderius, and Arvigarus's cave was a copse of trees on the other side of the lake. Even the battle of Rome vs. Britain took place between aisles of people. Plus, it's cool to watch the audience get bigger from scene to scene. Though it wasn't part of the plan, the eight year olds in the audience had their own mock stick fight going on right in front of me. It was either really, really annoying or the highest form of flattery, depending on whether they were blocking my view.

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From there, it was off to the Jersey shore for a little ocean swimming (hot, by Pacific standards) and to remember and memorialize our dearly departed aunt. She would have loved the warm sand, the family coming together, and the long strolls along the boardwalk. Resquiescat in pacem.

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