Look who was here! I haven't seen Cathy in ages and I've missed her very much. The best news is that her new job at Wake Forest (as of January) has her traveling a lot to New York so next time she's here I'm hoping to meet up with her in the city. That means we get to see each other again soon.
Cathy reading to James
We had a pretty low key visit this time. We walked around town, got some baked goods, took afternoon naps, caught up on personal gossip, and had yummy Thai takeout. I'm already looking forward to her next visit!
Last Sunday, Kevin and I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival. Our first stop is was the Black Balloon Publishing booth, which is Kevin's publisher for his short story collection! For those of you that we haven't told yet, his short story collection is coming out on May 15, 2014. I will be updating you guys with more information as it becomes available.
So many people at the Brooklyn Book Festival this year!
Black Balloon Publishing Booth was hopping!
We talked with the Managing Director, Publicists, and another author Paul Kwiatkowski. Afterwards, we walked around checking out all the different booths for publishers and organizations. Kevin spotted a bunch of authors I don't know walking around.
Random House- Penguin ("Random Penguin") had a food truck filled with books
Nick and Emily met up with us, and after a little more walking around we went to a bar to grab some drinks and snacks before a reading that we were checking out. Jon, Becky, and Ben stopped by to say hello as well, but they couldn't stay.
Kevin and me
Emily and Nick
Then we waited on a long long line to attend "The Fantastic and The Strange" reading by Karen Russell and A.M. Homes. I didn't previously know anything about A.M. Homes, but she's funny and kind of badass. Now I want to read all her books.
"The Fantastic and The Strange": (l-r) faciliatator, Karen Russell, and A.M. Homes
We took another trip to Old Westbury Gardens since last time we went nothing was in bloom yet. We though the grandmothers would enjoy the garden too, so we had a fun double-grandma playdate. We are so lucky to have two such wonderful parents. Okay, here are all the photos!
Grandma Kathy, James, Kevin, me, Nana Ana in front of the mansion
For Rachel's birthday we went to Pio Pio in Hell's Kitchen, a Peruvian place with a dish called the matador that we love. They bring you an entire chicken (or two?) salad, tostones, rice and beans, and this fries and sausage dish I don't really understand. We also order maduros and this potato cheese thing. And of course, sangria.
Rachel and Christina
Yummy! (I don't usualy take pictures of food- but this is ridiculous.)
The last time Rachel, Christina, and I went to Pio Pio was at the Upper West Side location in January of 2010. We still remember that night because when Rachel passed on the sangria, we instantly knew she was pregnant (with Eleanor)! Unfortunately, back then I didn't photograph and blog every single thing I did (lame). However, I also got lost that evening, leading Kevin to write this post about him being responsible for my whereabouts. (Also here's pregnant Rachel at my birthday two months later.)
Me and Jaime at Pio Pio
Afterwards we went to sing karaoke in private booth at Karaoke Duet 35. I've never been in a private karaoke booth before. It's a lot more fun because you don't have to embarrass yourself in front of strangers, wait for your turn to sing, and you can be as loud as you want. We had a really fun night out.
August 14th, my mother had some pain and thought she might have kidney stones, so she went straight to the hospital. They diagnosed her with a kidney infection and gave her some antibiotics but also gave her a scan and sent her for another more detailed scan. About a week later, her doctor told her she had a mass in her kidney and she needed to make an appointment with a urologist to determine what it was. She had the appointment on September 5, and the urologist confirmed that she has renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) and that her kidney needs to be removed. So far we have no indication that it has spread, but the tumor will be sent to a lab for further analysis.
Obviously we're very disappointed about this news. It's particularly disconcerting that it's the same cancer as the one my dad had. In many ways it feels like we took a time machine back to 2010, which is the last year I'd ever want to visit. Still, I know she's really lucky that she felt some pain and went to the hospital right away, because kidney cancer usually presents with no symptoms until it spreads. We're also really hopeful that her surgery will go well, and she'll have minimal problems going forward.
Me and Mom at Ash's Barn Party in August
Her surgery isn't scheduled until October 9, and she's feeling okay right now, except she's a little tried. Mom has been trying to stay positive, enjoy her free time with good friends, and she's even adopted a healthier cancer-fighting diet in the meanwhile. She's had numerous family and friends offering to help her through the surgery and after. And my friends have been really amazing too, offering to help in every way possible. (Hint: Food for after the surgery. ;) Love you guys.)
Labor Day weekend, Brady visited. We initially had some cookout plans we couldn't see through because I had to get work done, but I was able to hang out Saturday night a bit. We spent most of that time debating the subtleties of a potential Syrian attack. Seriously. Sunday the boys went to Brooklyn to visit Jon and Ben who were alone for the weekend without Becky. James even got to play skeeball for that first time! Reports are that he was pretty bad at it but also extremely proud of himself.
James turned Brady into his book-reading slave for the weekend
Two weeks ago, we attended Ash's annual Barn Party. Ash's Barn Party theme this year was "Everything Summer," so the evenings festivities began with a game to guess some summer cocktails. I didn't play this year, but put Kevin in as our Clou representative, and Janice volunteered Darren. Our husbands did not represent us well, and givien the somewhat girly nature of the beverages, Janice and I would have done better ourselves. I drowned the shame of loss in the pina colada leftovers. Yum!
Ash serving the summer cocktails
Darren being a good sport
Kevin taking one for the team
It's pretty fun photographing people who are blind-folded because you can get right in their face and wait for them to do something picture worthy. Ash's sister, pictured below trying to relearn how to use a pen, and Ash's cousin both won some prizes for their efforts at identifying drinks.
Aren't they cute? Ash's sister Aneira on the right.
As usual, Ash had tons of delicious food, and she even set up a little entertainment for kids, a little pool with inflatable toys. James hung out there for most of the party.
James training the seal to balance a ball
Me, James, and my mom having dinner at the party
Group! Fudgie, Darren, Janice, Ash, Aneira, me, Kate, James, Kevin