Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Volume 6: November 06

Hello friends,

It has been made known to me that I haven't sent out a New York Happenings edition for a while....so I thought to give you some cheer before this Thanksgiving weekend, I'd write to tell you about my exciting New York life. Ok...if not cheer, entertainment?

First things first. I know each one of you has been dying to find out the answer to the burning question: HOW DO NEW YORK CHILDREN TRICK OR TREAT?!? Or I suppose some of you even wonder if there are children in New York. (Believe it or not there are a lot!!) As for trick-or-treating, now get this....the kids go from store to store to get candy! Forget houses! (There are none here anyways). You wouldn't believe the streets! Filled with miniature Minnie Mouses, super heros, princesses. I even saw a miniature elmo, and he was carrying an elmo candy bucket as well. This pleased me quite a bit. At first I thought it was deja vu but I came to my senses. The kids parents even dress up as they walk along the street with them (and I'm talking Broadway here)...lots of time matching their kids or carrying on a theme (Think seeing a small Harry Potter and a life sized Dumbledore). I was enjoying these refreshing festivities when I witnessed a travesty to our times....there were dogs dressed up for halloween....Here are my thoughts on that: Unless the dog is a teeny-tiny chiuaua without any fir and its below zero outside, dogs are not supposed to wear clothes. YOu might think its cute to dress them in plaid jackets or gap hoodies or raincoats (come on people, I don't even have my own raincoat)...but how do you think the dog feels? Ridiculous! That's how! Dogs are not meant to wear clothes. However, many people (ESPECIALLY New Yorkers) disregard this fact and dress their poor pups like children. Also, despite my dislike for dressing up dogs, I'm gonna have to shamefully admit that some of the halloween dogs were pretty darn cute. I saw a dog dressed as a bat, a dog dressed as a dog (don't ask), a weiner dog dressed as a hot dog, and my personal favorite, a little terrier dressed as a bee....however this little bee was pooping on the sidewalk like I've never seen a bee poop before.

So that was Halloween, during which I was not distributing candy to little kids (because kids don't trick-or-treat in apartment buildings or anything), I was at choir. Yes folks, you heard me right. I've joined a choir. It's called the New York Cantata singers and its the professional group of the Choral Symphony Society. My director is over 90 years of age which may explain why I got into the professional group instead of the community group....you know...hearing loss? Not really. He doesn't have hearing loss though he is legally blind due to macular degeneration, but he does well with what he can see and I'm enjoying my group. Our first concert (that I'm performing in) is on December 3rd and we're singing Bch's Christmas Oratorio (yes...the WHOLE thing...its LONG and HARD but BEAUTIFUL!!). If any of you will be in the NYC area that day, let me know because I have to sell 10 tickets and I barely know more than 10 people outside of work here. By the way, check us out on the web!http://www.choralsymphonysociety.org/ http://www.choralsymphonysociety.org/nycantata/index.html

Speaking of work, its going well (minus a little reaming out incident by my not-boss...ask if you must know). I've recruited 4 people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder for my study and one is already enrolled. We started doing our cognitive testing this week. I'm also being trained in EKGs and phlebotomy (although I've already been trained in both, boo to federal governement beaurocracy) so that I can perform these things on my research patients. I've also met a lot of very nice people! it's a much more welcoming place than my department at Mount Sinai, and I enjoy it.

To end this email off with a last bit of cheer, let me relate to you a story of a whipe out I made just this morning. Some of you may not know this but quite a few subway stops in NY are actually above ground (as in a good 20-30 feet above ground.) This morning, while walking down the stairs from one of these such stops, looking swanky as ever, the heel of my boot got caught in the cuff of my pants and I tripped forward, beginning to fall down this steep mountain of bumpy metal. Luckily, I caught myself on the railing and held on tight, but the momentum I had started kept me going until I had swung around (looking UP the stairs) and landed my knees on the edge of two different stairs...and then slid down one or two more. To be honest ladies and gents, this hurt my pride more than it hurt my now sore and bruised knees. But I'm sure I'll get over it. It had to happen at one point in time or another.

I know I'm leaving lots of things out like my fun experiences with my friend Mary who came to visit a couple weeks ago and stayed in the worst hostel in the world (and she would know!). But the time has come for me to wish you all have a tremendous holiday, and if you want to hear one of Scott's good stories, ask him about the barking man on the church steps. Happy Holidays you all.