Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spring Rains

"Be still, sad heart!  And cease repining; behind the cloud is the sun still shining; the fat is the common fate of all, into each life some rain must fall."   
                           Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
Russian Orthodox visiting the Memorial
It’s been a tough month, while so very grateful that No one I know personally was hurt or killed by the Marathon Madness, it’s still surreal.  Honestly, feel some guilt pangs with the frustration (unexpected vacation which my checkbook is not happy about), the news trucks which just recently left Boylston Street onto the next disaster (I have no idea how people deal with that nonsense), the memorial which is hauntingly beautiful and still growing…
So, once again, the Hx3 is healing on yet another level.  The last couple of weekends, I’ve felt less the need to be doing something New York-ish so feverishly, but just settling in, relaxing.  Of course, the spring rains have helped with that.  It’s been nice to simply read (although I’ve been ignoring Uncle John’s letters for awhile..), catch up with Kristi, quietly being together, sharing light meals..going to Sojourn for late night dessert and wine.
Greeting us @ School
I’m really enjoying my Philosophy classes.  As the teacher guides us and reminds us that it’s Practical Philosophy, not airy-fairy stuff it’s another process which is truly healing.  As I have been able to go pretty consistently on Saturday mornings, I understand why it’s recommended that you try to commit to one class.  Connections, comfort level of communication, are made.  Last week I discovered that the youngest member of our class is at NYU’s Dental School.  We had a lovely chat during break, and shared phone numbers with the plan to connect and chat some more!  Another lovely Lady and I made a connection during an exercise during class, and have a date following next week’s class! 
Spring rains smell wonderful, don’t they?  I love naps, as I think I’ve mentioned.  I’ve gifted myself with a few in recent weeks.  The smells, even in the City, the sound of the rain.. tranquil, rejuvenation at its best. 

Clemente Solo Velez
Mother’s Day Sunday, I ventured down to the Lower East Side to an Art Show, cutlog.  From its catalog:  “cutlog has built in Paris over the past five years a platform where emerging, under-represented and off the grid artists gain global visibility in the contemporary art market.  Since its inception, cutlog has been repurposing the trading floor of Paris’ historical stock exchange into an art fair.  For it’s New York debut, cutlog will occupy three floors of the Clemente-a former public school that for twenty years has been a community cultural center, Clemente Solo Velez, and is now an authentic symbol of the Lower East Side.

It was great.  The building is beautiful, neo-gothic.  The art was interesting and varied.  My favorite two "shows were, of course, by women.  They weren’t the artists.  Angelica Francis is the founding direct or of Per Partes Projects, an institutional and private art advisory services, a pop-up art gallery of sorts.  Angelica represents different artist and has shows in different venues,  and spaces.  Very interesting, a Lady who turned her passion of art into a small thriving business!

The second was Time In (  Time in was founded by Cybde Bellen-Berthezene, an opera singer, when her daughter was young.  It’s mission : Joyously engaging the arts to ensure underserved children the tools and support they deserve to flourish, thrive & hope.  A number of wonderful artists donated their work to TimeIn for the show.
After that great experience, I met with my New York Friend at Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlysle Hotel.  I was able to share one of my favorite places with a New Yorker who had never been there! 

Last Saturday night, I ventured to Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn for Lit Crawl.   (I am determined to get to know Brookyn a bit while we have the Hx3.)  From its brochure: “New York’s Lit Crawl is a madcap concept first created by San Francisco’s Litquake literary festival in 2004.   It’s a bar crawl with literature!”

"To anyone and everyone who would rather jam to Virginia Woolf than a woofer. Who still fancies Hemingway the all-time bar-brawl champ or has, at some point, uttered the word “transcendental” in a social setting. To anyone who has ever snuck a flask into the library. This is your night."
-The Village Voice
My first event was “Prompt.  Write.  Share.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Write-in with Gotham Writer’s Workshop” at Ceol, the Irish word for music, on Smith Street.  It was the quintessential Irish Pub (so hard to come by in NYC), so I went early to have a light bite, and enjoyed their shepherd’s pie.  I ended up sitting with the President and his Wife of Gotham Writer’s Workshop.  (I have been wanting to take one of their classes for years.)
The second event I went to was “Smith Magazine’s Six-Word Memoir Slam” at the BookCourt (small indie bookstore) on COurt Street.  Storytellers (published authors: Amy Sohn, Dave Bry, Nelson George, and Cheryl Della Pietra) each told a Six-Word Memoir, followed by a back-story, in six minutes.  An audience participation followed with prizes.  The theme was Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll (or Hip Hop).  Fun!   
Pil PilSunday presented with another rainy, raw day.  What better time to enjoy a neighborhood brunch?  Kristi and I thoroughly enjoyed a long, lazy one at the Spanish Tapas restaurant, PilPil, around the corner on 78th Street!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Another perfect spring weekend

       "Go confidently in the directions of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.
                                                                                              Henry David Thoreau
Yuca Bar
 After another stressful week, it’s time for the news cameras at the Marathon Memorial to go home, I slept most of the way down to New York again.  Thank God.  Friday we woke to yet another beautiful spring day.  Went to my favorite grocery store (I hate food shopping), Agata & Valencia and picked up some odds and ends .  Then Kristi and I went down to the East Village for a lovely lunch at a cucina Latina, Yuca Bar (Ave A & 7th St).  After a wonderful nap, I went up the street to Philosophy class.  Really interesting as there are all different types, shapes, sizes, ages, and since I don’t go to a particular class (even though it is recommended, but I can’t due to my schedule), I really see the differences.
Saturday, another picture perfect spring day, I headed through Central Park to the west side to help out with Bushwick’s Salvation Army Field Day.   Sejal and Katya spend a Saturday each month with a group of youngsters from the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn.  This was their final time together before summer break.  A wonderful Lady, Miss Thorington, brought 20-25 youngsters ranging in age from 7ish to thirteen on the MTA to Central Park West to meet with the rest of us.  What a perfectly delightful way to spend a few hours on a gorgeous Saturday.  The Kiddos were delightful, respectful, polite, and fun! 
Luke's in Yorkville

As the weather was so nice, Kris and I met at Luke’s Lobster which dangerously is just a few blocks from the Hx3.  We enjoyed one of the best lobster rolls I’ve had in a long time, and reasonably priced, especially for NYC.  Luke is a brilliant young lad from Maine who opened his first shop the East Village in 2009, now has 2 more and a Food Truck, Nauti, in New York City, and 3 more shops in DC, Georgetown, and Bethesda!  (another example of “build it and they will come” like Eataly, in spite of the Great Recession).
Piano Player @ Marie's Crisis
I then touched base with my Friend, and she invited me to meet herself and some Friends down in the Village for a jazz show.  This is something definitely on my to do list, so I happily went.  I met them at Bar 55 on Christopher Street for an awesome 2 hour show headlined by Ayanna.  She plays here the first Saturday of every month.  There’s no cover, just a drink minimum, which they don’t really enforce.  I am sure, back in the day, this was the quintessential smoky jazz joint in a basement.  Thankfully, there’s no more smoke.  Since it was still early, I brought my Friend over to one of my favorite places which I hadn’t been to in quite awhile, Marie’s Crisis.  And, as always, it didn’t disappoint.   We got seats right at the piano!  On the way home, I had a hankering for something sweet so I stopped into Sojourn across the street for a nightcap and dessert.  I shared it with a couple of lovely Ladies who I had a very enjoyable chat with.  Perfect ending to a perfect day.
From The Frick's website
From The Frick's website
Sunday I lazily poked around then walked down to The Frick (God, I love being able to walk everywhere.)  That museum is awesome, and pay what you want on Sundays from 11am to 1pm.  I thoroughly enjoyed the two special exhibits, “Piero della Francesca” and “Impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec.”
I must digress again in relation to Piero della Francesca. Ten years ago when Katie graduated (OMG, where do the years go?), I met her during her backpacking trip through Europe, in Italy.  Before I left I read a recommended book which happened to be about doing the Piero della Francesco trail through Tuscany and Umbria.  Katie and I were offered the chance to spend a day doing the trail, and it was amazing!
After the Frick, I meandered home through the Park, enjoying a gelato and people watching.  Came home, relaxed, cooked dinner, and once again slept all the way back to Boston on the bus.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sharing the Hx3..

                       "Any place that we love becomes our world."  Oscar Wilde

After an intense couple of weeks, I headed down to NYC Friday mid-afternoon with a very Dear Friend, Cathy.  Kristi went to the conference “Be the Change” in Orlando, so I was able to invite a friend to the Hx3!
We arrived with no drama, and walked about ten blocks to 1742 Wine Bar on 2nd Avenue.  I had bought a Groupon (something I very rarely do), and it was so worth it.  We had a wine tasting throughout dinner, and chose the antipasto appetizer, and delicious skirt steak over a bed of spinach, and were sent home with a bottle of wine!  A true deal!
Cathy on The Highline
Saturday morning I went up the street to my Philosophy class.  Cathy happily poked around the neighborhood and people watched.  Mid afternoon we headed to Tribeca to check out the Family Street Festival that was part of the Film Festival.  I still always get lost Downtown, but it was a beautiful spring day, so the meandering was enjoyable.  When we finally found the Street Festival we realized it truly was for young families.  When Cathy’s not with her Grandkiddos, we’re beyond that.  So, we walked…
When we finally got to the Highline, we indulged in a wonderful frozen yogurt, and loved it while we walked the Highline.  We walked up to Chelsea to 23rd Street to see a free screening and talk back of the 1993 film about the beginnings of the Aids/HIV crisis, “And the Band Played On.”  It was part of the Tribeca Film Festival and it was excellent.
The Intrepid from The Press Lounge
Sunset from The Press Loinge
We then headed West again to find a rooftop bar Kris had recommended, The Press Lounge (653 11th Ave
between 47th St & 48th St).  It was a wonderful place to thoroughly enjoy the sunset over the Hudson.  Not cheap but we beat the “scene” that I’m sure it becomes late night.  We then decided to munch and “bar-hop” our way home.
Jazz @ The Campbell Aprtment
We left the Press Lounge and made our way to Grand Central (by cab as a treat for all the walking we had done), to one of my favs, The Campbell Apartment.  It did not disappoint, as there was a small Jazz Duo playing.  We had a lovely light dinner of quesadillas.  From there we walked up Park Avenue to 55th Street.
The King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York.Another of my top favs, the King Cole Bar at the St Regis Hotel (55th St between 5th and Madison Avenues) had a small table waiting for us in the corner.  We had a wonderful nightcap, and chatted with neighboring tables, all of whom we so kind and empathetic when they heard we were from Boston.  One Couple had just gotten engaged.  We knew before her Mom!  She shared some of her favorite places on the UES with me, great tips!
Sunday was another picture perfect spring day.  So we meandered over to the Park (Central, that is), and had our cup of coffee at the Kerbs Memorial Boat House and watched people as they played with the motorized sail boats you can rent.  From there we went for brunch at Orsay (Lexington Ave and between 75th St & 76th St).   Both of these recommendations were from the newly engaged Lady, and were awesome (usually I get cards from People, forgot to get hers..).

Cathy @ Bemelman's Bar
Then we finished up the tour of my fav 3 places for a cocktail in New York City, at Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlysle Hotel (Madison Ave @ 76th Street).  It was wonderfully and luxuriously quiet on this Sunday afternoon.  After, we just walked to the East River so Cathy would have seen my entire neighborhood, from West to East, from almost the southern tip of Manhattan to the to Upper East/West sides.  A wonderful weekend, so delighted to have been able to share it!

Unexpected vacation, finally back to work

                                         "Resiliency is not a sprint.  It is a marathon."
                                      Juliette Kayem in The Boston Globe April 18, 2013
On Tico's window on Berkley Street
Well, it’s been almost two weeks since the bombings at the Marathon.  One of the texts the Boyz (my Bosses) sent while Boylston Street was shut down had the City of Boston site that was set up for those affected by this Horror.  Funny, I’m safe, my loved ones are safe, but I guess, I have been affected by this, as I was unable to work. So, I signed up for the email updates from the City.  I must say, I’m impressed.
Memorial on the corner of Berkely and Boylston
Last Monday was a sunny, if chilly day, a week since another day changed us forever.  One of the emails I received from the City, and something I read in the Boston Globe made me realize that perhaps I should investigate what my lost wages may really mean.  Unbelievably, we still couldn’t work, I had the time, so I called the number given in an email.  It turned out to be the unemployment office.  My heart sank, then I was filled with hurt pride, dread, and yes, anger.
(I must digress back thirty four years.  I was a 21 year old newly-wed.  My not so Officer and Gentleman had just started pilot training.  So we had left beautiful Colorado for Texas, directly on the Mexican border.  When we got the orders for Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, Texas, I researched and discovered there were three dentists in town.  I called one and asked if there was a need for a Dental Hygienist in town.  The Dentist, said, yes, please, we could all use you.  I flew to Houston to take the Texas Boards, and the one person I knew in that city agreed to be my Board Patient. (God Bless her.)  I passed the boards, got my license, got to Del Rio, and went to tell the Dentists I had arrived!  A hometown Girl had just graduated from Hygiene School and moved home.  She had all the hygiene jobs.  Another Officer’s Wife told me to file for unemployment.  She had.  It was easy!  So, off I went.  OMG, nightmare.  And, I was denied because I had quit my job in Colorado.  The fact that it I quit due to a transfer for my Husband’s job with the US Air Force didn’t matter.   I promised myself to never go through that again.  When Polaroid went bankrupt over 10 years ago, and my then Husband was able to “collect”, the process seemed to have gotten so much easier and humane.  But, I still was grateful I didn’t have to personally deal with it….)
It took me three hours! with wait time, disconnected call, and more wait time to actually speak with a human and get some answers.  The first basic fact was: I had to see what my Boss was going to do as far as pay was concerned.  So, I thought, no problem, we will have time to discuss it soon, when we get back to work.  I decided to go into the city.  I wanted to be there at 2:50 pm and experience my moment of silence in my work neighborhood.
My parking gene was working and I found a visitor’s spot on Clarendon Street.  I then walked the route to work that I do most work days through the South End, up East Berkley to Boylston Street.  Of course I was stopped from walking down Boylston by the barricade. But, I came upon the Memorial (which was ultimately moved to Copley Square Park.  I look onto the park from my office every work day.) and met the man in charge of it, Kevin.  It was beautiful, quiet, and respectful, with many people, including newscasters, milling about.  Some of the Comfort Puppies were there with their Masters, beautiful.
I then decided to walk the back streets to Copley Square.  Parked outside the Copley Plaza Hotel was a “portable City Hall” (looks like a food truck) with People milling about ready and eager to help.  So, I took advantage of the fact that it was not crowded, asked some questions, and was given a packet of information.  Again impressed.
At The Oak Bar

Catie Copley
I went into the Hotel and was greeted by Catie Copley (the resident black Lab who has a throne in the lobby, and is often taken for walks by guests).  Alas, the poor old Girl’s back was bothersome so only her trainer was walking her, as I offered to.  So, I went into the Oak Bar, a Boston beauty, and it was pretty quiet.  I decided to help the economy and have a very expensive burger.  What is better comfort food than that?  There I shared in the moment of silence with the young People working at the Oak Bar.  I chatted with a few of them.  Two lovely young Ladies epitomized the essence of Boston; they both came from the Midwest for our schools.  Brianna came for MIT, and has started a Non-Profit.  Maren is a singer-actor who came for grad school @ Berkley.  (Now, you know I love her!)
Kevin, Keeper of the Memorial
Memorial (from my office)
Finally, Wednesday, ten days after the Marathon Madness, we were able to go back to work.  The Memorial is directly across the street from our office in the Park.  Kevin is still there, every day unless it’s raining, coming up from Brockton to keep order and beauty to the ever growing memorial.  It took me a few days before I could actually go over and walk around.  The letters, and posters from Children all over the country, world actually, get to me the most….
"Sophacles taught us 'that every choice has its consequences, that character is destiny, that the exercise of power must always be measured by the health of the whole community.  He also taught us that tragedy, when faced directly and bravely, leaves humans not diminished, but enobled'".  James Carroll's column. "Moral order gained, then lost" in the Boston Globe April 22, 2013.