Friday, December 24, 2010

Older, negative and cutesy. What's up with that?

One of my sisters sent me an e-mail titled "Flu kills 27 in Britain, spreading in Europe!" and follows with the text  "Has everyone gotten their flu shots?"   A friend sends me a cutesy e- mail that gives you all kinds of cute,  cuddly sayings and then says you will die at dawn if you don't forward it to 20 friends within minutes of receiving it.   Another "used to be sane and hip" friend sends me a power point presentation of the castles of the Rhineland, when I am in the middle of a crisis of gigantic proportions.    Also,  God save me, from the political and "support the troops" or religious "Jesus died for your sins and we deny him today" pass on at your own peril,  types.  UGH!

What is it about reaching 50 that suddenly fairly sane people all of a sudden feel the need to send this kind of stuff to their friends?  Yes I am past fifty....but I never send this kind of stuff and hate to receive it!   I want to know how YOU FEEL about what happened to you today, or how angry something on the news made you react, or how you hate getting older, but not how feebleminded you've become when the only thing you have to say is included in  sending out sudden alarmist Armageddon type e-mails or cutesy, full of emoticon, want to make me vomit stuff someone else has sent you with the promise that you will not see tomorrow if you don't pass it on.   

Does one go brain dead at 50?   

Please tell me about how great that new restaurant you went to was and how much you loved a great dish....or tell me how horrible you feel that someone you love is ill, or how your guts are bleeding because the guy you love no longer loves you, or that you are so happy to be alive....and still out there trying to live life to the fullest and still brave enough to run right through your fears and do something you've never done before no matter how difficult, because that's what being alive is all about, whether you are 25 or 50.....I want to know how you FEEL about it...not some substitute.

AND if you love me because I am a hard headed, sometimes perverse, but mostly kind, funny and willing not to let life make me old or jaded or afraid person,  then send me a note saying so...."I love you because you are a nut and I love nuts!" kind of thing.    Don't give me substitutes for your feelings or send me dire warnings about all the unfortunate things out there.    I live in the world too and i know they are there....but I choose not to dwell on them to the exclusion of LIVING!

So if you feel the same way...start telling the people that you care about that you'd prefer a two line e-mail about what pissed them off that day or made them smile, than some cutesy "forward" type that just makes them want to delete it.   Cut down on dumb e-mails.   I support the troops every time I send in a donation to the VFW or the Disabled Vets or I vote to end wars....and  I don't need anyone to teach me how to be PATRIOTIC!  Patriotism  is in our actions and how much we educate ourselves on our history and the history of the world we live in and be the best kind of citizen we can be by voting and supporting the things we believe in.  I don't need a lecture by someone who gets their news from the various talking heads on radio or TV!

Think about it.   The world, with all it's bloody problems, is a pretty damned interesting place to inhabit.   Don't let life make you old!   It's not so much about   how up to date your electronics are today...but on what you do with them and what you send over them.  Be bold!   Stay vital and alive!   Communicate!  Don't let your brain get old....and please don't forward that chain letter to your friends.  Give them a hug and tell them you love them instead next time you see them!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my forever young alter ego!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Next to Normal...

...lived up to its credentials and awards in every way possible.   I absolutely loved it!   To think I almost didn't go because I had flown in late the night before and was exhausted and mortified that I might cough during the performance.

There are two places I absolutely do not want to be if I have a cold (cough) is an airplane and the second,  the Theatre.  I don't want to be that person who coughs at the most poignant part of the performance or the one your seat mates would like to vanish to outer space on the plane, afraid of being infected by your germs.

Because of the latter (as I mentioned in my post before), I postponed by return,  paid full first class fare, and took  a window seat so that I had only one seat mate to contend with and with more personal space between us,  and so I could unobtrusively turn my face towards the window to cough into my kleenex, use the lav to blow my nose more frequently and,  thanks to the airline, which let me keep my bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer,  let him know I was conscious of not spreading my germs beyond my person so he could also enjoy his flight.

Hanson, Ripley and Asa Somers
To my credit and effort, I only coughed three times on the 6 hour flight, and once at intermission during the play, at which time I scooted out to the lobby to blow my nose and sip my water until the tickle in my throat passed.   Not only did my efforts allow me to see this wonderful musical with first rate performances by the cast, but to enjoy a convivial dinner at the much improved (due to new Chef and menu)  Kendall's Brasserie with my sister and brother in law, who both unanimously agreed the play and performances were right up there with Osage County.

I've never watched a musical where the dialogue was so precise and enunciated with such care by each and every cast member so that not one word was missed.   The excellent story about a household coping with the mental illness of the mother is so up to date and relevant and the music and set designed so perfectly to enhance the performances with the musicians housed on several levels of the multilevel set, that it all worked together flawlessly to move the players through their paces ... the whole of it  just one  wonderful and mesmerizing piece of theater that got a very "spontaneous" standing ovation for its players.  There was not one false note and the audience was right there with the story every step of the way.

Alice Ripley and the wonderful Curt Hansen
On a very inconvenient, rainy Los Angeles day, I truly thought that the attendance would be sparse, with people not willing to tackle the freeways.   Not so!   This excellent piece of theater played to a packed house and this was absolutely theatre at its very best.

I'm so glad I pulled myself together and went!  If you can scrape together a few nickels to see this, do so.  You won't be sorry!


Alice Ripley        Diana
Asa Somers         Dan
Curt Hanson        Gabe
Emma Hunton     Natalie
Preston Sadleir     Henry
Jaramy Kushnier  Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine

Directed by Michael Greif
Music by Tom Kitt
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frigid In Manhattan

Bryant Park's Blue Tree
Well I'm still in New York City and getting a taste of some real eastern hospitality, via the frigid winter weather.  While I am feeling much better and venturing out despite the occasional snow flurry,  I am still struggling to master the art of layering for warmth while hoping to look somewhat fashionable and hip (as in cool verses hippopotamus).  

Despite the cold weather and muscle spasm a few days ago, not to mention a few sniffles,  as always, I'm enjoying Manhattan.  Due to said sniffles I've extended my stay until Saturday, which means I had to fork out a little extra cash (always a bad thing this time of year)  for a first class seat, which was all that was  available  on Virgin America.    I usually fly business class (or in the case of V/A,  Main Cabin Select),  however it will not hurt my feelings to be able to sleep most of the way home in the roomier, reclining seats.

As I sit here,  I am recapping some of the highlights of my stay.   Besides some shopping for some things for her apartment, to me the best gift one person gives to another is the gift of memorable times together.   It is something my daughter and I always strive for and the best present we give each other .

From our swing at Bryant Park
A few places we spent time together was at Bryant Park,  bundled up and watching the skaters for a while then grabbing a swing under the heaters and enjoying an Orange Liqueur spiked Hot Chocolate with some hot Parmesan Popcorn.   Personally I think this is where I got the sniffles as it was bloody cold, but we enjoyed it none the less, especially since it was more orange liqueur than  hot chocolate and it went down very well.

We also made the trek to Saks and Bergdorf  to see the windows and do some shopping.   Upon leaving Bergdorfs we found it was windy and starting to snow so we retired to The Plaza Hotel for some hot Lobster/Mushroom Bisque and watched people scurrying for cover from our window seat.   

Gramercy Tavern Dressed for Christmas
Gramercy Tavern
Another  highlight was dining  at Gramercy Tavern.   The restaurant was cozy and warm and all dressed up for Christmas.  I especially loved dining in the tavern side and seeing the Christmas tree and the profusion of beautiful  pomanders hanging from the ceiling, as well as the bright red amaryllis and red rose laden sideboard beautifully put together by a very artistic soul.  The friendly staff and the great service was equal to the robust and tasty fish stew,  and all of it contributing to warming up the body as well as the spirit and giving one a great taste of the season.  I recommend it highly for its festive ambiance and tasty menu.  The desserts are especially yummy.

Tuesday night we had dinner in the West Village after making the rounds of West Elm, Crate and Barrel and Home Depot in Chelsea for some cellular blinds and area rugs (sheepskin) for D's apt.  

Last night we decided to try  the trendy (for Sushi lovers) Omen in Soho.  Small world that it is, we ran into one of D's ex boyfriends dining with one of his agents.  He looks great and the guy rattles off a list of all the great places he's been and traveling to in the next few days.    I couldn't figure out how the guy could fit so many exciting sounding things into the few minutes he spent conversing with us.   After he left to go back to his table it took some doing to cheer her up, especially when he is going to Costa Rica where she was supposed to go for New Years but the plan fell through.  She wants to know why some men just get better looking while women just get older?   This said by the person who was carded at two restaurants this week.    It's a good thing we ran into another friend of hers waiting  outside another restaurant,  a very cheeky fellow who was happy to see us and remarked how stylish we both looked.  I thanked God for gay men who notice such things!

As for Omen, the food was good, but perhaps a little overrated for the prices they charge.    I liked the simple, Zen atmosphere which befits Japanese Restaurants though and next time will order a la cart rather than trying one of the chef prepared tasting menu.

Tonight I very reluctantly passed on  a documentary at NYU about Uganda and some people doing some good works there to help some of  Joseph Kony's  young victims through teaching them breakdancing.   I still have the sniffles and am trying to baby myself so I can enjoy my last day tomorrow.

I hear they are expecting rain in L.A. this weekend and I have tickets to see Next to Normal on Sunday,  so I will say  adieu to the city until April and head for home and put up my Christmas tree before D flies out on the 21st.  I have several packages waiting for me and tons of mail to sort through and I am not looking forward to that.  It is strange facing the holidays without my Mom this year, but life goes on and D will be home and we will try to make it a merry one with my siblings and their families. 

I love NYC.   If all goes well perhaps next year I may just start shopping around for a small place of my own here so I can spend some extended time during certain parts of the year.  Maybe the timing will be right.  We'll see.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New York City and Murphy's Law

Well,  here I am in fabulous NYC on a Saturday night and sitting home working on my computer.  Home is my daughter's apartment, a cute two bedroom located in LES  (Lower East Side) a block from Houston.

What am I doing home on Saturday night when I am only here for 10 short days?  I am resting  after having pulled a muscle in my upper back that had me clenching my teeth to keep from screaming because when I moved a certain way, raised my arm or took a deep breath, it felt like I was being stabbed between the right shoulder blade and my spine.   Went uptown and had it looked at at Beth Israel and the doctor confirmed severe muscle spasm, probably aggravated by the cold and sent me Relafen and Flexeril.    He said I should be feeling better in a few days and told me to go home and rest.

Well, I immediately took the Flexeril (a muscle relaxant) washed down with a Starbucks latte and D and I headed over to MOMA for a couple of hours.  I was still  very stiff and in excruciating pain and should have gone home and to bed, but of course, I didn't.    After two hours, we tried to hail a cab to take us to Jules Bistro to meet some friends and it was entirely the wrong hour for hailing a cab.  It was so cold I couldn't relax, which makes the spasm worse.  We tried for 20 minutes.  We had already taken a limo to the doctor and not even they were available, so we trudged to the subway in the bitter cold.   By the time we got to Jules we were half an hour late and I was still in serious pain, but feeling a little more relaxed from the warmth, the jazz playing and especially after my first glass of a wonderful Pommard.

The doctor said I could have one as long as I wasn't driving and didn't take the pain killer too, but I had more than one and I was fine as long as I didn't move.

This was our first time at Jules and the food was good as was the company, an Israeli friend of D's whom I'd met on a previous trip and another friend who is British travel  journalist who travels and works all over the world but is back at school at Columbia getting a Masters in writing non fiction.

Some great conversation, rich comfort food, two bottles of wine and four bottles of sparkling water later, we were ready to hit the road.  It was after midnight and, as is our custom, D and I decided to stretch our legs and walk  back to the apt, as we had done the two nights before from Raoul's   It was still bitter cold and, of course, that didn't do my back any good.

We were supposed to see The Rockettes the day before, but I was hurting too much and had to cancel.

I can't figure out whether I pulled the muscle hauling around the new MacAir Notebook (yes I finally crossed the river to the promise land of Steve Jobs)  and super drive I'd bought  or stretching to pull off my clothes while trying on a sexy, black Flashdance forming string body suit from Wolford.  I loved the thing and it it works wonders under the  knit cashmere dress I wore to the art opening in Soho the night before.    I bought D one of her holiday presents there, a limited edition signed print of Andy Warhol and Basquiat.

Either way, here I am, under the influence of Flexeril and Relafen,  and content  babying myself while D went to a couple of Christmas parties.   Unlike L.A.  it is so wonderful to be able to have serious  food delivered to your door and  had  a lovely  meal from the French restaurant a few door down consisting of medallions of pork with a wonderful sauce, mashed potatoes, and sauteed leek with mustard sauce accompanied by a small french baguette and butter.

Raoul's Bistrot
Speaking of Raoul's, there was an actor sitting in the booth behind us that night and since I would not look around,     D and I played a guessing game with her giving me clues.  The funny thing is that one of the clues could have meant two different actors who were in the same movie and coincidently both had long time relationships with the leading lady of a very quirky cable TV series.     I finally guessed it after a while and D learned some more useless trivia on Hollywood hookups.   It was fun and the food at Raouls never disappoints.  Their pepper steak cannot be beat.  We had squash ravioli as our pasta course, and a wonderful salad.  I love that place.

Well, it was warmer today and hopefully tomorrow it will be warmer still.  I am looking forward to checking out the shop windows and to looking for a coat.  I've realized that even though it's nice to have a decent wardrobe, a few fashionable coats are the order of the day because sometimes that's all you see of a person when the weather is cold. I bought my warm long black wool Calvin Klein coat and my trusty yellow cashmere scarf, so I looked okay...but a warmer, more lightweight coat would be best.

Luckily  and as a consolation prize, I   managed to find a great pair of lace up black boots I'd seen in the store for 350 on sale for $200 plus free shipping and they will be waiting for me, along with all the bills when I get home.

D just walked in and I realize it's 3:30 a.m.  I'm still on L.A. time and better hit the bed so I can get drag myself out of bed early tomorrow.  Adventure and lots of good food await me in this fabulous place.  I am not sure why, but D marvels that wherever I go, I make friends with the owner/chefs and dessert is always offered on the house.  It's lovely really.    Now if I can stop this muscle spasm nonsense, I will be fine.

I'm in a "New York frame of mind" and know exactly what Billy Joel was talking about.  Hopefully I will have a few more interesting things to to recount that have nothing to do with pain and that Murphy's Law has exhausted itself in my case so it can stop  intruding on the best laid plans of mice and men...or in my case, woman.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate