Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 4 Food Film Festival

   "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."  Maya Angelou

Tuesday morning I treated myself to a much needed massage.  Since July the packing up, selling, tossing out, moving, followed by a weekend on my feet volunteering, I decided I owed it to myself, And it was spa week, good deals.  I found my new favorite massage therapist right around the corner, at Serenity Spa on 3rd Avenue.  Perfect
Grafitti in DUMBO
Brandon Stanton
Outside Powerhouse Arena
Tuesday evening I headed to DUMBO (Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) for a talk and book signing at a very cool bookstore, The Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn.  Brandon Stanton was there for the release of his first book, “Humans of New York.”  An impressive, and cute guy!  From Facebook:  Hey there. I’m Brandon. I get really passionate about things. At some time in my life, I’ve been obsessed or borderline-obsessed with saltwater aquariums, the baritone euphonium, reading, piano, filming, financial markets, New York City, and photography. I studied History at the University of Georgia. During my senior year of college, I took out $3,000 in student loans and bet it on Barack Obama to win the presidency. A friend heard about this bet and got me a job trading bonds on the Chicago Board of Trade. I traded for three years. It went really well for awhile. But then it went really bad. Whoops. After I lost my trading job, I decided to move to New York City and take portraits of strangers on the street. Mom wasn’t too happy about that decision, but so far it’s gone pretty well. I’ve taken nearly 5,000 portraits and written 50 stories. And I’ve met some amazing people along the way.
Thanks for visiting Humans of New York.
Feel free to drop me a line at
Wednesday I began my second foray into the festival world with the Food Film Festival (   Oh, what a time I had!  The People were amazing, including many whom I had worked with the weekend before.  I went in early and came home late and loved every minute of it.  From its website:  Born in Brooklyn in 2007, The Food Film Festival sprang from the imagination of Festival Director and Travel Channel host George Motz, the documentary filmmaker behind the award-winning Hamburger America film and book, along with co-creator Harry Hawk. Through documentaries, features and short films, the Festival showcases the best, and the most memorable, of the world’s favorite foods. Along with a heaping helping of mouth-watering films, Motz, Hawk and company serve up the food that guests are watching on the screen for a multi-sensory, full-bodied experience.
The Food Film Festival is a competitive film festival that presents awards in multiple categories including: Best Feature, Best Short, Best Super-Short, Best Food Porn, Food Filmmaker of the Year and the Audience Choice Award. The Official Selections of The Food Film Festival are reviewed by a judging panel comprised of esteemed members of the food and film communities.
The Food Film Festival, now in New York City, Chicago and Charleston, South Carolina, benefits important local non-profit organizations, such as the Food Bank For New York City, The Good Food Project and GrowFood Carolina. The Festival works hard to promote these operations and the excellent work they do.
Stay informed about the Festival! Click HERE to receive updates
Plaza Athenee Hotel New York
Plaza Athenee
Central Park Zoo
Autumn in Central Park
Friday morning I met one of my favorite Patients at the Plaza Athenee for breakfast, thank you very much!  FP is in the wine world representing many Vineyards from Spain.  Over th years he has spoiled me with some of this wine.  Flattery and gifts did not get you any easier appointment with me, but I did show a lot of gratitude in hugs!  FP and his Co-worker gave me some great advice and hints on the new world I hope to join.  Since I was so close I then enjoyed a wonderful walk through the Park (Central,that is).  This Autumn has been beautiful, hasn’t it?!                                                         
Crowd control for the FFF was not an issue as it was a much smaller affair.  Most Everyone was great.  Although Friday was a weird day for me.  I was a bit off, and it was a “wine night”.  Wine people can truly be snobs.  (I love wine.)  At one point I walked by the entrance where a lovely English Lady volunteer was handing out wine glasses.  A man was questioning her on the wines begin served that night.  She had no idea.  At which point he began to berate her a bit.  I went into the conversation, uninvited, and explained to man that there were six days and numerous events to the Festival.  It would be almost impossible for Volunteers to learn everything on the fly.  At which point he announced he ran lovely beer events where he trained his staff.  I continued to “kill him with kindness” (when I wanted to punch him), and we ended up being grand friends..not.  But, he was happy and pontificated with whoever would listen.  Lovely English Lady and I became Festie buddies for the rest of the weekend.
 Much like my love-hate relationship with walkie-talkies at the Wine Food Festival, I developed such a relationship with blackboards at the Food Film Festival.  I became the resident sign maker on huge blackboards for the weekend, listing each day's sponsors and their menus.  Who knew?  They liked my Catholic school writing, all but the beer sponsor..too girly, I guess.  I discovered a step ladder hidden in a closet and claimed it, carrying it around on my shoulder, feeling cool.  I was given a gift on Friday a marker like chalk that was so much easier to wrote with..but wouldn’t erase.  Another Volunteer told me alcohol.  We were a food Film Festival with no “alcohol” available.  Saturday morning I bought some rubbing alcohol; went down to the theatre and cleaned all the blackboards; and left happy.  By the last day, I was given a great tip by the Founder of the Festival, dip the chalk in just a bit of water.  The writing will start out light but dry into a nice, crisp font.  I wanted to kiss him, but he didn’t seem the type to take to that sort of thing from a stranger.  (Although by the end of the weekend there much much hugging.  You know I love that!)
I do believe I may be figuring out what I want to do when I grow up.  And, not just jokingly, I think Event planning, working as a freelancer, may be in my future.  I am learning so much from the People I have worked with, and for, so far.  I’m discovering what networking means at its truest sense.  I like it.  I would be great in this world.   And, I guess that perhaps I made a positive impression for myself, as I have been invited to the Chicago Food Film Festival in November, as a volunteer.  I think I’ll go!  Continue with the learning process, and visit a city that has long been on my bucket list.  Oh, and some of the People I worked with are already talking about a reunion get-together.  (The Festival just ended two days ago..I guess we really hit it off.)


Alice & Friends having Tea!
I am learning my limits in my old age, so I did take most of Saturday off from the Festival.  I slept in, skipping Philosophy Class, which kind of bummed me out, and also made me feel like a bit of a renegade.  God, I’ve been a good girl for so long, I love when I break the rules, even if they’re my own!  I met some Ladies for tea at Alice’s Teacup in the afternoon. I have a network growing already.  Both of these Ladies have mentioned how hard it is to make Friends here.  I am blessed.  I’m finding it easy.  I met one at a library class last spring, and we’ve done a few fun outings together.  And, the other is my Philosophy class Friend.  Both hit it off beautifully.  Alice’s Tea Cup is yet another example of a brilliant idea and it thrives.  On weekend afternoon there can be a two hour wait!  There are three shops scattered around Manhattan, and I luckily live close to the one on 81st Street between 2nd and 3rd..                                                 
 Saturday evening I scooted across to, yes, Sojourn, for a bowl of their awesome butternut squash soup and to watch the Red Sox game (great game but a loss in a weird play that had all the Guys, and me, yelling!).  I don’t have live TV at the Hx3.  Kristi got a Roku box last year.  Time Warner blew off an appointment I had set up last week, so I’ll just keep the Roku box with Netflix and Hulu.  It’s cheaper than cable.                                                         

From my Nephew in California to my Mom!

So, the last couple of days, I have literally laid low, after another massage.  Last night I went across the street to where they know my name, Sojourn, to watch “the Game.” Kristi joined me.  We left and went to a proper sports bar on 2nd Avenue, Johnny Foxes, and watched our beloved Red Sox win another World Series.  We ended the evening at Sojourn with a glass of bubbly to celebrate.  (I always think of my Dad on these nights.  God love Him. He never got to see the Sox win a World Series.)
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz jumped up into a pile of teammates.
From The Boston Globe

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 3 The New York City Wine and Food Festival

                            "You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream."  C.S. Lewis

My first B&B
Current B&B
When I lived in England, another life time ago, I often joked that I felt like a B&B owner with the visitors that came to visit.  I loved it.  This past week I felt the same with my DF’s visit and then my Ladies.  Loved it all over againCurrent
After recouping I went to Philosophy Class on Thursday evening, and really missed my familiar faces!  Also missed my Friday morning routine , but it was for a good cause.  I volunteered at the New York City Wine & Food Festival Friday through Sunday.  The experience could be a book unto itself.  It was awesome.
We’ve all  heard about the dream about escaping life, joining the circus, and becoming a “carnie”?  Well, I think I may join the Festival, and become a “Festie”.  (We never truly lose our roots, I am from Milton after all.  I had an Estate Sale, not a Yard sale, remember?!).  There are so many worlds out there.  And, I’m finding there’s a Festival World.  When I volunteered at Rooftop Films this summer, I met wonderful People who follow Film Festivals and freelance at them.  I discovered the same thing this weekend.  And, I’m liking all of these People that I’m meeting.  The fact that most are much younger, like my ladies, may have a lot to do with it.  Or, perhaps, I like the fact that they have found their passion at an early age, and are living it?”
I discovered the NYCWFF last year, and was scheduled to volunteer but had to back out.  This year, since I knew I’d be living here!, I made sure to apply early.  The beneficiaries of this event are the NYC Food Bank and Share Our Strength.  It so happens a good Friend’s Niece is the Director of NYC’s Share Our Strength.  I had the pleasure of sharing dinner with her last winter, so I reached out to her.  Through her recommendation, a phone interview, and luck,  scored an Event Lead position, a manager of sorts.  My first assignment was in the hospitality suite at the Hudson Hotel.  I was thrilled.  Then I connected with the manager of the suite who kindly said she didn’t need me.  A bit of shuffling ensued, and I was given a position at the Grand Tasting at Pier 94 on the Hudson River.  Sweet.  I had visions of celebrity sightings, great food, perhaps wine at the end of the shift..
On the roof where some events were held
 Arriving Friday morning excited and ready to work I was met with the “wait”.  One of the interesting, frustrating, patience-learning things I’ve discovered in the last few years with almost all of the volunteering I’ve done is the wait.   Then, you may work non-stop.  And, the change of plans and directions, constantly.   Myself and another young took an assignment to manage a team.  Then, just as we were getting our “groove” down another awesome Lady (AAL), not even sure what her title is, came along as I was running around and asked if I’d go outside to Registration.  ?  I was gonna have to leave the scene?..  OMG, I loved what I did for the rest of the weekend.   
Also on the Roof
              I found B in charge of registration for this whole event who immediately told me I’d be his for the whole event..(But,  I wanted to be part of the in-crowd inside the main event).  Again, now I respect and admire he and my other two “Bosses” immensely and am delighted I got to know them a bit over the weekend, no time to really delve into life, but enough to get great snippets. 

As I said, I could write a book just on three days…so, I will bullet some thoughts:
·         I love People/I hate People:  It is not cheap to attend the NYCWFF.  It is a great cause as 100% of the proceeds go to the NYC Food Bank and Share Our Strength.

Registration is like the cattle call feeling of the Disney lines..snaking barricades..People don’t read, don’t listen and then get ”annoyed” because they are very busy and important.

I love the People I worked took a day and a half before we “Leaders” got our groove on well..The Boss I who I worked closest with, A, had me pegged perfectly by that time ( if I were younger, and interested in a relationship..).  B and J are amazing.  The support Volunteers were wonderful, and when one of the younger ones called me Mama Kathy Sunday afternoon, my heart sang.

·         Most of the Guests were friendly , fun, and excited.  Sylvester Stallone came right by me.   I didn’t even see him, and then realized that I didn’t care.  Same with Joe Namath.  I did get to sneak away for a bit, actually, A ordered me to, and I started to walk around the food hall..too crazy and crowded..I went over to listen to Rachel Ray for a bit instead.

Entertaining the restless natives..God Bless them
·         Then there were the VIPs (in their minds, anyway..actually PIAs)..We had to hold the line for about 20 minutes on Saturday, the busiest day.  I had a name tag People asked lots of ?s of me (Remember, I had a walkie talkie).  Needless to say, during holdups in waiting times I wasn’t given much love or respect.  One guy finally told me he wasn’t interested in hearing any more of the same s.. from me; just get him in.  (Thank God I had shut him off by then.  One of my Wonderful Workers told me later and was impressed that I didn’t lose it..)     When we were finally able to open the gates again, a lady came and asked me if she’d get some $ back for the time she had to wait.  I smiled! and said  “All of your $ goes to the kids in this City who are hungry.  Have a great, fun, day.”  I then turned around and said something not very nice. 
Seen while walong home..always wondered where those carraiges slept
Sunday morning, the 11 years I worked in Southie came boiling forward toward a Blond B..I truly had to bite my tongue as she wouldn’t let up.  I admit I went back in for more 2 or 3 rounds.  I wanted to pull her hair and smudge her makeup, I really did.  I have never in my life been in a cat fight.  At that mornings briefing we giggled about the story of a drunk Lady pulling someone’s hair in the Ladies Room..I had not had a drop to drink,,,I am so proud of myself..I stood back..and cooled down..

Sunday afternoon is when I wanted to start slapping a very round man and his crew as they were beating up some of my “Kids”.  I didn’t .  All weekend I learned so much by watching A react well, and kill people with kindness.  I’ve been doing that for almost 40 years with my Patients, but when you start with my Young’uns, the Mama Bear comes roaring out…

·         At one point after some crisis time, some Lady came onto the walkie talkie and asked me to please learn the lingo as I was confusing the h..out of Everyone.  At Saturday morning’s briefing, we Event Leads were given a list of lingo terms to use by AAL as obviously during Friday night’s de-brief it was discussed.  I tried to study it quickly whenever I could, but once you started “live” there was not much time to study.  Well, when that call came through, if you know me at all, you can imagine what I wanted to do with my walkie-talkie.  Thank God I had no idea who the Lady was.  AAL came to my side almost immediately and gave me a crash course.  God love you!

Denise and Bobby Flay
·         Each Evening when I was done I was allowed to pop into the Foo-Foo events.  Friday night was Rachel Ray’s Burger Bash.  Saturday night Bobby Flay hosted Tequila and Tacos, and Sunday night was Le Sagra.  Honestly, by then, I was too tired, especially to fight the crowds.  I grabbed something from the shortest lines to feed my belly, and yes, I had some wine and one margartia (a no-no technically as a volunteer..but I definitely didn’t abuse it, not this time!)

My New York Bosses and me with my walkie talkie
·         One of my favorite moments was when I was giving my “speech’ to our final group of volunteers on Sunday afternoon, and as I looked around meeting the faces, smiling back at me was a very familiar one.   A, my “Boss’ from Rooftop Films, and one of my favorites from my summer with them.  I was now her “boss”!   She and I enjoyed poking around La Sagra together .
Also seen while walking home
·         My only regret is that I didn’t get to chat much with my fellow Event Leads as I was outside and they were inside.  But we caught up, giggled, and rehashed some of the craziness, again in snippets, when we did see each ,  other..  I have their emails, hopefully we can connect and have a reunion.  More new friends?!
Accepted Offer!
In my personal behind the scenes, was some very intense, emotional house selling drama and trauma.  I must, and will, accept some of the blame for that.  But, the end result is that I have accepted an offer for my little home!  As I sat listening to music with my neighbors at Sojourn last night, I was flooded by tears..I guess now I will start the mourning of that loss.  But, it’s a very bittersweet one, and enables me to enjoy my short Sabbatical with that load off my shoulders.  I am blessed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week 2

     "Life loves to be taken by the lapels and told:'I'm with you kid. Lets go.'"  Maya Angleou

It’s still surreal.  I have waited so long for a Sabbatical.  Now that I am in it, and living in New York City, I feel the reality hasn’t quite hit me.  But, I am loving it!  Wednesday of week 2 I went to Original Binding Production’s “Variation on a Cat Call”, written by a very talented Jordan Swisher. It was not a light play, actually quite disconcerting for a mother of Ladies.  Thursday I gave my day to reading and researching some more for my Uncles’ memoir.  Wonderful.

Friday began with breakfast at Flatiron Green Café again before Memoir Writing class at the Muhlenberg Library.  Then off to Trader Joe’s to pick up some provisions.  Home to pick up for my Dear Friend’s visit to play for the weekend.  DF’s bus was late but that didn’t stop us.  We ventured over to Brandy’s Piano Bar on 84th Street (1 & 2), and for the first time in my life I closed a NYC bar at 4am.

TUFF KOOKOOSHKASaturday morning I made myself go to Philosophy class.  I didn’t add much to the conversation, but I’m glad I went.  Then DF and I headed to Chelsea Market, enjoying a lovely cup of soup at another store of Hale and Hearty.  We explored the Artists and Fleas Market, stopping in to say hello at Tuff Kookooshka and admire their beautiful things.
 Off into the beautiful afternoon, we took part in Open House New York.  From its website: “Openhousenewyork (OHNY), a five borough wide celebration of architecture and design takes place on October 12 & 13 2013. OHNY Weekend, which is becoming a New York City tradition, engages the public in the built environment by offering free access to hundreds of sites that exemplify New York City's diverse architectural, design, engineering, and cultural heritage."   We got to explore Laura Bahn Design Associates Loft in a renovated Bank Building.  Very cool.

 While meandering down 14 Street we happened upon Art in Odd Places (aiop), “a festival of the odd, ordinary, and ingenious in the spectacle of daily life.”  We first met Lululolo: Telephone Operator Loretta, circa 1940, attempts to connect passer-by to the earliest phone number they remember and invite them to leave a message to the past that is then posted on the “Remembrance of Phone Numbers Past” blog. 

 Then we saw “Public Visit” with Merav Ezer.  Making the public private through New York City’s prime preoccupation, real estate, the artist dressed in bright yellow custom overalls, sketches an architectural blueprint of her 500 sq. ft. Brooklyn apartment, and invites passersby to come in for a “visit”.

 Finally, on that block we encountered “Take a Number” by Vicky Virgin.  Take a Number is a statistical voyage into the numbers that make NYC the diverse and dynamic metropolis that it is.
Oktoberfest @ Marie's
 We then stopped into the Gaslight Lounge on 14th and 9th Ave for a refreshing Mojito before venturing further south to the Village for a long, lovely, Groupon dinner at Zucca Trattoria.  We then went across the street to my other favorite piano bar, Marie’s Crisis, ensuring a fun evening.

 Sunday we walked along the East River and took advantage of OHNY on the UES and went to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden.  One of Manhattan’s oldest buildings, this converted carriage house was a popular 19th century country resort for New Yorkers escaping the crowded city which at that time ended at 14th Street.  Wonderful.  DF and I completed our weekend together enjoying brunch at my neighborhood staple, Sojourn.

Monday evening I went to Pier 94 on 12th and 54th Street for a meeting and training for the Food and Wine Festival this coming weekend.  Then a couple of hours at my Sojourn listening to some music.  
 Tuesday was a big day planned.  Katie came to play for her birthday.  Kris, Katie and I started our evening with crackers, cheese, and Prosecco at the Hx3.  Then down to the East Village for a wonderful dinner at Perbacco, Enoteca E Cucina, on 4th Street (A & B).  We enjoyed lovely post-dinner cocktails @ Elsa’s on 3rd ST (B & C).  Home to the ‘hood, and ended our night out at Sojourn for more music, including Happy Birthday sung to Katie (her worst nightare!) and birthday cheesecake courtesy of Alex, our friendly Bartender.  Today we vege’d and never left the Hx3, being true New Yorkers ordering in food all day..  Awesome!   


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week 1

                                                "I am grateful for what I am and what I have.
                                                             My thanksgiving is perpetual.
                                           It is surprising how contented once can be with nothing
                                                             definite- only a sense of existence."
                                                                                                  Henry David Thoreau

I have been a New Yorker for a week.  I don’t believe it has sunk in, especially since I am living in the same apartment that Kristi and I shared, the Hx3.  But I love it.  I am surrounded by my special things from my suburban home mixed with a couple of pictures I bought just for here.  It is going to be wonderful.
It only took me 2 days to make this space mine.  On Thursday I celebrated by going to one of my favorite places, the Conservatory Water (Model Boat Pond) in Central Park, and treated myself to a wonderful grilled chicken salad.  I read for awhile enjoying the serenade of a violinist.  Later in the afternoon I walked to the 67th Street Library for my monthly Women’s Writing Group.  As we did last month, a few of us had a light supper at Le Pain Quotidien.  Wonderful day.

Columbus Circle
Friday I began down in Chelsea, breakfast at the Green Café in Flatiron, then to Muhlenberg Library for my Memoir Class.  Found a note on the door that it was cancelled for the day.  Not to worry, I spent a couple of hours writing.  I then met my NYC Friend and we had coffee at our regular La Maison du Macaron..  Did some shopping at the neighborhood Trader Joe’s and took my bounty home.  I actually made dinner, which will last me a week..getting used to cooking in a tiny kitchen, and must learn to prepare smaller quantities!  Dropped some mail in to Kristi at Valhalla, but didn’t stay as it was a zoo.  So, I walked..up to Columbus Circle, explored Jazz at Lincoln Center (definitely want to go back), and then happily went home.
My Kind Cabbie
Saturday began with my Philosophy Class.  Love it.  Had a light lunch with a couple of my Ladies at Hale and Hearty on Lexington.  This is a chain of cafes around the city with excellent soups, salads, and sandwiches.  I came home and gathered up my newest pile of purged items, and dragged them downstairs.  The very first Cabbie that stopped graciously helped e get this load the to the Goodwill a few blocks away Saturday evening I treated myself to dinner at Sojourn.  I wanted to watch the Red Sox game (don’t have live TV in the Hx3 yet).  I had to share the tv with Julio, however, who wanted to watch his beloved Mexican soccer team.  I thoroughly enjoyed the striped bass sushimi, and pan roasted diver scallops (with a butternut puree, hen of the woods mushrooms, speck, and mache).  Enjoyed with a wonderful French Chablis.  Delicious.
Sunday was a warm drizzly day, but I made my way over to the Gracie Square Art Show and poked around.  It was just a few blocks away at the Charles Shurz Park.   I managed to come away with a lovely photograph of the bridges taken years ago from the World Trade Center.  Final piece for the Hx3.  I then made my way down to Chelsea to meet my NYC Friend , and Friends, to see a presentation by the Hudson Guild Theatre Company,  New York Ladies a celebration of women who write with wit.”  A wonderful afternoon.
Monday I walked and walked, along the East River then home along 2nd Avenue.  Went down to my fav TJ Maxx and Bed Bath and Beyond in search of a frame for my new artwork.  Found one, came back to the Hx3 and now I am completely at home.  In the evening I headed over to Park Slope in Brooklyn for an evening with the Moth at The Bell House on 7th Street.  From its website: The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both

the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story – and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it.

Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide.

Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.

Moth stories dissolve socio-economic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges

I was not alone.  It was mobbed, and very interesting.  On the way home I popped into Sojourn for my Monday night dose of live music.
Tuesday was the first week anniversary of my move-in.  It was a beautiful day.  So, I did what I seem to do best right now..walk.  I walked over to Central Park.  The leaves are starting to change.  It is so lovely.  I spent a few hours reading in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, south of the Wollman Rink between 60-62 Streets.  It is not normally open as it is still being conserved.  I then meandered down The Mall, through the Bethesda Terrace, ending at the Boathouse where I treated myself to a wonderful glass of wine, and continued reading (my dear Uncle’s unpublished book, so very poignant).  Later that evening I once again crossed the street to Sojourn for more live music (and catch some of the Sox game) and had a wonderful time making the acquaintance, perhaps new friendship, of an interesting English Lady who comes to NYC often on business!?