Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

         "I am seeking.  I am striving.  I am in it with all my heart."  Vincent van Gogh

Sitting in my dining room in Milton watching the snow fall, it is beautiful.  Home this New Year’s weekend as Kristi is giving my Cousin’s Daughter a belated 16th Birthday gift, a weekend in the Big Apple, just the two of them!  And after a grueling 9 hour drive home Wednesday (more on that later) after Christmas in NYC for 5 days, it’s good to be here catching up a bit.

Photo: Our NYC Christmas!Last Friday, I drove down to NYC as I had gifts, food, etc for the long Holiday weekend.  Also a tough drive as it was a pelting rain all through Connecticut (which is the majority of the drive to NYC).  Still making good time as there was almost no traffic, my parking gene was in order, and I parked exactly where I wanted to so as to just walk away from the car til I was ready to come back to Boston again.  Don’t you love when that happens?!

After unpacking the car, Kris and I walked around the corner and bought a small Christmas tree for our Hx3.  We decorated our tiny space and headed out to get a bite to eat before she had to go off to work.  We found a great place less than 2 blocks away, Jaiya an Asian restaurant on 2nd Ave between 80 and 81st Streets, and had a wonderful 2 course lunch for under $10 each!  Wonderful. 

"Duplicate of a pic taken 20 years ago!
I napped off and on and then headed over to meet Kris at work at Valahalla after midnight.  We got another quick bite eat an Irish Pub where Kris often goes after work.  Then we meandered 5th Avenue.  What a treat to be alone on that beautifully decorated street at Christmas (although to do that it must be in the middle of the night!).  Did learn an interesting tidbit..the lights on the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller are not on all night..they must be on a timer just like ours used to be in Milton!
Bryant Park

Dessert @ Bocca Di Bacco
Saturday got a very late start (I definitely don’t stay up til 4am anymore, for Kris it’s a normal routine).  We again decided to share a bite to eat before she went to work.  Surprisingly we had difficulty finding a place in our neighborhood, not serving yet or too crowded.  So, we headed over to midtown on 9th  so she’d be close to work and just “found” another great place, Bocca Di Bacco between 54th and 55th Streets, an awesome brunch for under $12.  Brunch is an institution in NYC and many places offer “unlimited” cocktails, usually bloody Marys, mimosas, etc., for a set price for a couple of hours. Then I simply took a walk meandering through Bryant Park and its Holiday Market, over to Grand Central to check on my friends at Tuff Kookooshka, and again went home to simply relax.  Wonderful.
Sunday, Kris once again went off to work the day shift.  I picked up the Hx3 and waited for Katie to arrive from Boston.  We then headed out to have a long leisurely walk to meet Kris, stopping at the small neighborhood place I’ve been wanting to try (and the day before discovered they only serve coffee and pastries til 3pm, then late lunch and dinner), Eric Kayser Artisan Boulanger on 3rd Ave at 74th Street.  It is amazing, though I’ve not been to Paris yet, I feel as though it’s pretty close to a true Parisian Bistro (unfortunately they don’t have liquor yet but the French onion soup and simple salad we had was awesome!). 
From there we walked to Alvin Ailey on the West side at 9th and 55th to discover that the actual show was down the street at CitiCenter, a beautifully restored theatre on 55th  between 7th and 6th Aves.  The Dance was gorgeous.  Needing sustenance, again, walked up to the Time Warner Center and had a wonderful dinner at Landmarc.(known for its steak and great wine prices!).
Monday, Christmas Eve, we headed down to Chinatown where we indulged in amazing massages at Relax Spa (which we discovered 2 years ago for its Foot Reflexology) on Hester and Centre Street.  $50 for an hour!  Then we walked across the street to the Red Egg, for my first experience with dim sum.  Great fun! 
Photo: Viola St Christmas Reunion in NYC!!  Xoxo
Christmas Eve dinner was shared with the Family who lived next door to us when I was alone raising the Girls.  All 3 of the “Kids next door” live in NYC and are in the Arts, the “Boys” as Dancer/actor/teaching artists, the “Lady” works at Signature Theatre.  Must have been something in the water in that neighborhood!  It’s been twenty years since we all lived next door and we all connected like it was yesterday.  Who says you can’t “go home” again?!
Photo: It's like Christmas!! Christmas Day we wonderfully never got dressed. And, Mom, me, cooked a very nice Christmas Dinner, if I do say so myself in our tiny kitchen.  That evening we threw on comfort clothes and went to the opening of “Les Miserables”, the movie.  The show that started Kristi’s love affair with theatre, it’s been one of our favorites for over almost 25 years!  Quite an experience going to a movie opening in New York City; I highly recommend it!
Wednesday we slowly got ourselves in gear to head home, first having a comfort lunch at Big Daddy’s Diner, again around the corner on 2nd Avenue.  It was an epic drive home, 9 hours in blizzard like conditions at some pints, spinning out and hitting the guard rail not once, but twice, but able to drive home! (God love my 17 year old Toyota Rav 4 w over 215K miles!).  I did find out that there is some damage, to be dealt with…
(So, once again, a lesson my Mom taught me that is never to be ignored…go with your Gut in all decisions..I thought that perhaps I should stay on Route 95, since it’s the coastal road…but instead I went Route 91 to the Mass Pike, as we had checked online and it reported clear and steady…forget the internet..Go with your GUT!!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Season 2012, Continues..

"You must not lose faith in humanity.  Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."  Mohandas K. Ghandi

                Christmas time.  Oh boy, all the carols and songs playing 24/7 everywhere tell us it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.”  Perhaps.  For some.  But when life is in turmoil, it can be a very tough time of the year.  And, having promised myself I really don’t want, or need, to get political publicly, I am finding myself more and more frustrated by our great county’s 2nd amendment.  The right to bear arms, as our Forefathers voted, I don’t think meant for mentally challenged or disturbed individuals to have access to semi-automatic weapons to kill innocent Angels and their Caretakers.  For so very many lives in Connecticut shattered, I don’t know if Christmas time will ever be “the most wonderful time of the year” again.
Draught list.
            On that note, I arrived late in Manhattan after a very long week.  Needing to see one of my own “Angels,” I went up to Valhala (54th & 9th) to see, and hug, Kristi.  I had a quick bit to eat there, and headed home to the Hx3.

Santacon 2012  .  SantaCon 2012 is hitting the streets of New York on Saturday for its annual pub-crawl. The holiday ritual, where thousands of revelers dressed in Santa costumes tour the cityÕs bars .   New York Manhattan Pier  84  West Side Hwy.Saturday, December 15 2012 .( Marcus Santos for the New York  Daily  News)
by Marcu Santos for The New York Daily News
            Saturday I worked again at the Grand Central Holiday Market.  I never get tired of that beautiful building.  All day we were entertained not just by the beautiful musicians, by the hundreds, probably thousands of Santas, Elves, and various other incarnations of the North Pole who roamed Manhattan.  Santa con.  What started a few years ago by a roaming few doing a pub crawl, has turned into thousands of young Adults on a drinking spree throughout the city.  Cute, and fun at first sighting, not so much a few hours into the day.  (Not sure how all the visiting Kiddos felt about seeing so many Santas. Etc, not acting very good, but quite naughty..).  Kristi has a class on 9th Avenue that has a great view and she said it was kind of awesome looking out onto a sea of “Where’s Waldo” Santas..(didn’t take a picture, unfortunately).

Campbell Apartment decorated for Christmas
            Finally, Lisa and I were able to have a nice drink at one of my favorite places, The Campbell Apartment, in Grand Central Station.  So during her adventure helping Anastassia with Tuff Kookooshka, I have been able to share my three favorite places for a cocktail with her!
Rum and Blackbird Tasting Tours        We then went down to the Lower East Side, to meet her Niece and Husband for dinner at a new restaurant on Orchard Street, Todd’s Mill.  It was excellent.  We shared a number of small plates and wonderful wine.  Delighted to meet both Eric, a voice coach and pianist; and Maura, a true foodie entrepreneur who has a walking food tour company, Rum and Blackbird.(
            Sunday I met my Landlady, Diane, her partner Chris, and good New York Friend Judy for an early lunch at a small neighborhood Chinese restaurant, Sunny’s on 3rd Avenue between 80th and 81st.  Really good, and cheap!  And, I came away with the potential of a new friend who is willing and able to introduce me to the Jazz scene of New York, her passion.  One thing I have not explored yet, and have been wanting to!
Hacc Holiday Concert 2004            Rounding out the weekend before I headed home, I got to a Christmas Choral Concert in Chelsea.  I met Muriel at the Signature Theatre when I went to see Eve Ensler’s “Emotional Creatures.”  She is a member of a chorus, the New York City Community Chorus at Holy Apostles. (  Perfect way to end my weekend in Manhattan at Christmas time!

(Check out my website:  There is a Holiday Gift you are welcome to download on the site!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

First Two Weeks of the Chrstmas Season

        "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."  Charles Dickens

                 The year of firsts...I knew the Holidays were going to be tough but didn’t appreciate how much they’d potentially set me back.  Still fighting the good one, though, and marching forward!  I purposely made myself very busy, and it backfired a bit, but one of the empowering things of this experience is learning, and accepting my limits, and knowing when to bow out, gracefully, of commitments. 
The Ladies @ Tuff Kookooshka's Stall
The last two weekends, I have been able to soak up a bit of the beauty of New York City at Christmas time.  I’m actually immersed in it by working for Anastassia at her Tuff Kookooshka booth at Grand Central’s Holiday Market.  It has also reassured me that retail is not for me anymore.  I did overdue it a bit, worked too much, but learning my limits.  After the Market closed on Saturday night, Anastassia and I treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at one of my favorites, L’Ecole @ the French Culinary Institute on Broadway in Soho..

                This past weekend was begun again at Grand Central, but at the Apple Store learning a bit about my new phone.  Doing some crazy things this year, this week’s episode was trying to launder my phone.  Scary feeling. not being able to call people, as I cancelled the landline earlier in the year.  Still on the fence as to whether I’ll keep the IPhone 5 I rashly? bought in the crisis.  As it was luchtime I went to the Grand Central Food Court, tons of choices, and enjoyed a delicious salad at Cafe Peppe Rossi.
Christmas Tree with Neapolitan Crèche                I then finally treated myself to the Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I actually joined for the year as they have a special membership for People who live more than 300 miles away.  (even if it is five blocks from the Hx3!).  I thoroughly enjoyed the Matisse and Andy Warhol exhibits.  And, of course, the magnificent Christmas Tree.  That was enough for one day, the Met is best enjoyed in small doses, I believe.

                On my way to work Saturday  I went first to Bloomies (Bloomingdales) to see their window display, this year it’s based on Cirque du Soleil.  I had to give to the Salvation Army as one of their Soldiers was quite a treat with his routine!   I then made my way along Fifth Avenue.  If that doesn’t put you in the mood for Christmas nothing will.   Gorgeous.  Will do it again at night when the lights will be magical. 

                It is interesting being at Grand Central as you meet people from all over the world, and, get to appreciate how cultures are truly different from each other!   I also got to meet a Lady who lives on my street in Milton!

Photo: First Fire of the Season!             After work, Anastassia and I went back to She and Lisa’s awesome home for two months in Soho, where we had a lovely home cooked meal with lots of wonderful chat.  Thanks, Ladies!  Sunday was another grey day.  So, Kristi and I treated ourselves to a lazy one, ordering in food, having our first fire, catching up on some tv, and simply being.!