Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ladies' Night Out!

                         "The best thing to hold  onto in life is each other."  Audrey Hepburn

I am blessed.  I have a wonderful group of Women in my Family who sustain, nourish, entertain, and love me. We had a wonderful, all too quick, night away to Portsmouth, New Hampshire this weekend.  I have been driving through this small city on the ocean for years, but have never stopped in.  It’s actually quite nice, and I will go back to explore again.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn right in the center of Strawberry Banke.  Arriving at different times during the afternoon, we all happily valeted our cars as we were able to walk everywhere.  Everyone walked over to, at various times,  Popovers, a very cute, great bistro where we had a light repast before our planned dinner later in the evening.  Then we all meandered the streets popping in and out of the great little shops and boutiques.

My Ladies with "Nonnie"
The Ladies
At 5:30, we descended on the Auntie’s suite for cocktail hour, or two.  It was so wonderful to sit, be, and laugh with these Ladies, three generations of them.  Finally at 7:30 we walked over to a wonderful small restaurant, Rudi’s. for an amazing dinner.  The Auntie’s don’t eat much.  My Mom says that she has almost no appetite anymore.  The lesson I learned there is that I must continue to enjoy my dining experiences now, while I still can!
Scallops @ Rudi's
Lamb @ Rudi's
Eleven Family Ladies gathered around a table eating, drinking, sharing was anything but quiet.  But, I do believe no one was bothered by us; even when I, not so proudly, l poured my full glass of red wine all over my poor Auntie.  She only drinks coke! (Although I did buy her a treat at the NH Liquor store.  During our wonderful trip to Ireland nine years ago we introduced her to Bailey’s Irish Cream, so she had enjoyed a taste during our cocktail hour). 
Walking back to the hotel arm in arm, I had been forgiven immediately, Auntie did try to kill the party by asking if we would miss them (She and the other Auntie, my Mom), when they were “gone”.  Oh, my, hard to even contemplate….We deposited the ‘Ties at the hotel, and seven of us meandered the streets looking for a nice place for a nightcap.  We found it down a quaint alley in the form of Cava’s Wine Bar.
The Aunties/Matriachs
Finally calling it a night, we went back to the hotel.  Having a lovely late night chat first with the “Ties", then with my Sister in Law, led me to a great night’s sleep.  Sunday morning found some of us at breakfast, and some going for a brisk walk.   My Ladies and I were the first to leave as Kris had a bus to get to the Big Apple to catch.  A very quick, whirlwind night, but so very worth it.  Thanks Ladies, Young, Old and In-between!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Another Winter storm..

                                "Any place that we love becomes our world."  Oscar Wilde
Scene upon waking Friday
With yet another storm approaching (so much for the easy start to our winter), I packed my bag before heading to work Wednesday thinking I may try to leave that night as the thought of another 3-4 days stuck behind a wall of snow alone was not at all enticing.  As soon as I walked into the office, my Boss asked if either I or my Co-worker wanted to take Thursday off due to the impending storm.  After conferring with her I took him up on his offer and changed my bus ticket.  Sleeping yet again the whole ride down, I arrived rested and hungry.  I walked across the street to Sojourn and had a lovely light dinner of lamb meatballs with a delicious Sauvignon blanc.  And, I spent a fun few hours chatting with neighbors.  One very friendly David, invited me to his place to watch TV.  I thanked him, but declined.
Another view from home
Slept blissfully late on Thursday and then went to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to do some more reading and writing.  After a few hours, I walked the couple of blocks home in the mild rain, stopping along the way for dinner provisions. Kris and I enjoyed chicken stir fry, and the quiet together.

Friday we woke to about an inch or two of snow, and it continued all day, but not really accumulating too much. (Thank God I escaped the two more feet at home..). We went to the East Village and had a perfect winter afternoon lunch, french onion soup, cassoulet with a lovely bottle of red wine at Lucien, yet another great French bistro on1st Ave @ 1st Street. I then went shopping and poking around Soho, finding some great treats for the Ladies @ Ina and Variazioni NYC #3 on Prince Street. I brought the loot home, and Kris had a new outfit for her Girls' Dinner with Friends followed by a party in Brooklyn.
The Lottery Guy
I headed right back to the theatre district and tried my luck in the Book of Mormon lottery again. Still unlucky in that department, I walked down to 44th Street to the Theatre to see if any tickets were available. Lucky Guy is Tom Hanks' Broadway debut in Nora Ephron's last play. Sold out for Friday night, I decided to really treat myself, and bought a ticket for Saturday. Since Sardi's was right across the street, I decided to have a glass of wine and spent a lovely time chatting with some of the workers. I then headed back to the UES and went into Sojourn for a salad, and met yet another neighbor to have a nice chat with.
Saturday morning I took my time reading, etc. In the early afternnon I met a friend at the FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) Museum where there was a great, if somewhat crazy shoe exhibit. Crazy in that most of the shoes seemed totally un-wearable, but they were works of art. Enjoying the show at the same time was Tim Gunn and a Friend so we politely said hello and chatted for a few minutes!

Then my NYC Friend shared some of her favorite spots in Chelsea, since it’s her home base.  We had a wonderful cup of coffee and a sweet at La Maison du Macaron on W23rd Street.  We meandered around Chelsea a bit and finally decided to have a light dinner of salads before my play at Rafaella Café on 9th Ave (between 23rd and 22nd).

Lucky Guy at Broadhurst TheatreOff I went to see one of my favorite actors in his Broadway debut.  Nora Ephron was also a favorite.  Who doesn’t love her chick-flicks?!  The rest of the cast was great as well.   Joining Tom Hanks were Maura Tierney, Peter Scolari, Courtney Vance, et al.  I am sorry to say that while I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I wasn’t blown away!  From the theatre I just started walking. 
Sited while walking
Randolph's Bar & Lounge
Randolph's Bar
While reading the Boston Globe earlier in the day,  Kevin Cullen, had written about Randolph’s Bar in the Warwick Hotel near the MOMA in Midtown.  He claims it is still the picture of understated elegance and the historical haunt of Elvis and the Beatles (Paul McCartney is still seen there when he is in New York City).  So, since I found myself heading on that direction, I decided to check it out.  It is indeed very nice, and I had a couple of nice hours chatting with some locals.  (It is amazing, trust fund Ladies truly do still exist..).  Lining the halls are pictures of the rich and famous who called the Warwick home: Cary Grant, Irving Berlin; and many who stayed when in New York: Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn.  William Randolph Hearst built the Warwick for his paramour, Marion Davies!

Another pretty site
Cafe Mogador's postcard
Sunday, Kris and I met a great friend of hers in the East Village for a true NYC institution, brunch.  We had a long luxurious one at Café Mogador on St. Mark’s Place.  I had eaten a winter lunch here myself a few years ago.  It’s Moroccan in theme and very good.  Kris then went off to do some work at her favorite coffee shop downtown.  I went home to read, write, and relax.  (I am hooked on reading my Uncle’s letters to my Grandmother!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One year later...

                And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”    Sylvia Plath

                I wrote this a year ago.  This morning on what would have been my 21st anniversary, I woke to a simple text on my phone, “Love you.” from Kristi.  I decided to re-read this.  I remember when I wrote this last year I was trying to be Erma Bombeckish, not too heavy, not too light.  I like it.  What I love most is seeing how very far I’ve come in a year.  Thank you, God, Family and, Friends.

Tuesday night as I got home, there was a text on my phone from one of my Bosses, “Have you arrived home safely, did the fire affect you?”  It dawned on me that on leaving the office there had been a lot of police and firefighter activity in the Back Bay, and when leaving the city I noticed that the Bay Village neighborhood was dark.  While reading the Boston Globe the next morning, I saw that there had indeed been a huge fire in an NStar building, knocking out power to much of the Back Bay.  I was headed into work early that day to see a favorite patient as a favor.  Turned on the TV to see if I could get info and it wasn’t working.  Texted same Boss to find out if he had any info…we had no power in the office..This was not a day I wanted to be idle.  It should have been my 20th wedding anniversary.

                Back to the TV first to figure it out…determined to do these things myself now..although as a favor, my ?, what to call Him now, well, still technically my Husband, had returned and exchanged cable boxes and clickers.  In a bid to lower some bills, I had just recently dropped the land-line phone (isn’t everybody?!), and changed what I had on my cable- internet services (never watched HBO anyway, and didn’t need the superfast internet highway connection..).  Called Comcast, whereupon it was discovered that my clicker needed to be replaced..

                Okay, so what to do?  I finished the paper lazily with coffee and breakfast.  Decided I needed new “accessories” for the bathroom.  It was a dreary rainy March day, but I headed out, anything to keep busy.  Five stores (Ann & Hope in Randolph, Burlington Coat Factory as Comcast was right next store and exchanged clickers.., Marshall’s, Home Goods, and Bed Bath and Beyond in Braintree) and four hours later, I arrived home and “happily” replaced new bathroom cup, toothbrush holder, shower curtain hooks.  The new, clean, stain-less steel shower curtain rod brought me to my knees, or rather the fetal position on my bed.  I could not budge it to extend it.  Fought with it for awhile, and walked away, content with the other new things to brighten up my bathroom and day.

                Next thing to do on a yucky, nightmare day?  Watch trash tv, hopefully mindless, not romantic, movies.  Sat down with my new clicker…and you have to program the gd thing all over..I tried, really, I did.  You simply should not have to have an MIT degree, or be a man who loves this s…, to watch TV!  I caved, and called my Brother, sobbing…OMG, I hated doing it, and bless his soul, He came right over, and programmed it for me!

                Truly, I don’t remember much more of that day, thank you God….I got through it;  the first in the “year of firsts” in the death of anything, always brutal.  As far as the shower curtain rod, I left it for a couple of days.  Tried again on Friday, was headed back to the store to return it, and tried one last thing…I caved again to a man..asked my neighbor to try.  Thankfully, he really fought hard, but did manage to get it open.  Saved me a trip to the store at least…

OMG, it’s the little things in life that make your day, or break you…


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Film Festival

"Life's like a movie, write your own ending.  Keep believing, keep pretending." Jim Henson

Bocca East
Bocca East
My poor body screaming after a five day work week (thirty six! years of Hygiene are really taking its toll..), I again, most thankfully, slept most of the way to New York City.  Arriving to our Hx3 around 9pm, I dropped of my bag and meandered the neighborhood looking for a bight to eat.  Sojourn was mobbed, as was JG Mellon (haven’t eaten there yet, always mobbed, purportedly have one of the best burgers in NYC.  I’ll keep trying.)  I finally made my way back to Bocca East (2nd & 78th).  I now only will go where there is a seat at the bar as I’m always certain to have at least a small chat with someone.  I enjoyed an awesome Anitpasti Freddi: Tagliata di Tonno (Seared Yellow Fin tuna, braised fennel & Balsamic reduction, followed by with an amazing blueberry cheesecake, enjoyed with a lovely Montepulciano di Abbruzzi wine.)  I had a lovely short chat with a couple, “He” has Dryads Green Gallery (Masterpiece American Paintings), and “She” recently retired to join her Husband in NYC.  They raised two “kids” in Northampton, Massachusetts.  “She” was a clinical psychologist and taught at Worcester State.
First Time Fest
Bar Veloce
Saturday morning I had my tea and was catching up on emails and I checked out the seat filling group I joined, Play by Play.  I noticed First Time Fest happening this weekend.  After researching it a bit, I decided to go to a film on both Saturday and Sunday.  This was exactly the type of thing I came to New York for!  I headed down to the East Village a few hours early to get a bit to eat.  Walking by Momofuku, I thought, “Delicious”, unfortunately, it was closed until dinner.  Kept walking down 2nd and came upon a cool looking place, Bar Veloce, on 2nd and 11th.  An interesting wine caught my eye, Vino Arancione (orange wine), so I had a glass.  Enjoying it with a wonderful bruschetta prosciutto di Parma (fig tartare, rosemary, and pine nuts), and Piatto mozzarella di buffalo, basil, and tomato.  (Their napkins were dental bibs!)
 From the First Time Fest Website:
Two actresses are unknowingly cast in the same role; and that is just the starting point for one of the most enchanting and witty romantic New York roundelays in recent memory. Talented debut writer/director Max Weissberg follows furtive attempts at friendship, love, and sex among eight people including Julia, an actress who lands the role of Anya - daughter of a Russian arms dealer - and an unconventional director who thinks she must truly become Anya. This graceful, multilayered film knowingly examines the nature of performance in our "real" lives.

Filmmaker Bio: A directing fellow at the prestigious American Film Institute, Max Weissberg honed his craft at Lenfilm Studios in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he assisted on several productions. Upon his return to the United States, he co-produced the documentary Hotel Gramercy Park, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.

At the Q&A following the film, Max Weissberg explained this was a love letter of sorts to actors and NYC in the summer.  Great afternoon and evening!
Sunday I did some more reading and writing.  I am now hooked on the letters from my Uncle to my Grandmother.  It’s a true love story, and I’m learning a lot about my family and real faith.  I then headed out to my Sunday film.

From the First Time Fest Website:
For his impressive directorial debut, Philip Seymour Hoffman chose an intimate ensemble piece, Jack Goes Boating, a four-character romantic drama about the tentative, budding relationship between a shy limousine driver and an equally shy woman whose co-worker is in a troubled marriage with Jack's close friend. The film was based on a stage production by the Labyrinth Theater Company with essentially the same cast; Amy Ryan was added for the film. This is an actor's film in the best sense. Hoffman's sure-handed, intimate direction closely follows the emotional undercurrents of the story. And his lived-in, convincing portrayal of Jack happens to be one of his finest screen performances.

Filmmaker bio: Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of the greatest screen actors working today. He won an Academy Award for Capote and has been nominated three times for Supporting Actor, for The Master, Charlie Wilson’s War and Doubt. He is also an accomplished stage actor, with Tony nominations for True West, Death of a Salesman, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Q&A with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan following the screening.
Jack Goes Boating

Great fun!  Both actors were wonderful.  I had time and was in the neighborhood, so I decided I owed it to myself to go to one of my favorites, Union Square Café.  I thoroughly enjoyed their lasagna with nice glass of red and a luscious White Chocolate & Lemon Mousse (Blood Orange, Yuzu Syrup, Grapefruit Sorbet).  My bar-mate followed my lead as well.  Interestingly, “She” was a Psychologist (theme for the weekend?) who lived primarily in Southern California, had an apartment in the City and comes often to see her Daughter and Twins, and thinking of selling her farm in New Hampshire. ?!  But, you know what, she has to stay in California to be near her youngest son who is bi-polar and struggles with substance abuse issues as a result.  Everyone has their “stuff”, or crosses to bear. 
Slept almost like a baby all the way home.