Family

A White Christmas (sort of)…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Eating, Exercise, Family, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012I opened my eyes at about 7am and the first thing I did was look out the window.  Yep, it was snowing.  There was a dusting on the ground and steady flurries, making my Christmas in New Hampshire idyllic notion complete.  A White Christmas.  I read for a while and at about 8am, my sister and brother-in-law came in to get the (really nice) keyboard they bought for my nephew, to set it up in the living room.

At about 9am, I wandered out into the living room and the Christmas tree was lit up and all the other lights were lit up as well.  Shortly after my nephew woke up and the gift opening commenced.  First off — stockings.  My first ever Christmas stocking and Santa brought me a clementine, lots of chocolate, an Honest Tea half and half (useful for my return bus trip to NYC), a box of Angry Birds gummies, and a bottle of deep purple sparkly nail polish!  YAY!

The haul was pretty impressive all around.  I got lots of chocolate (Lindor Truffles), more gummies (Haribo!), a pair of beautiful handmade earrings (by my sister), wonderful pajama pants, a mix CD (Sir Mix A Lot — so named by my nephew), and lots more little goodies.  We followed opening gifts with a traditional breakfast of bagels, lox, and cream cheese (that’s a traditional Christmas breakfast, right?) and then there was more lounging, reading, and music listening to take up the rest of the morning.

Early afternoon included another long walk with my sister and Ket, a little colder, a little more damp, but the snow had stopped during the morning and mostly just left a melting dusting behind.  I whined a little about the walk, but again was glad I’d made the effort.  Back at the house, more reading and relaxing followed by a ridiculously delicious dinner of roasted lamb with chimichurri sauce and homemade apple pie for dessert.

We’ve just finished watching an episode of Man vs. Wild and my sister and nephew are both sacked out on the couch, trying in vain to fight sleep, while my brother in law putters around the house.  I’ve rallied enough to write this short synopsis of another lovely day on my Christmas Adventure in New England.  An early night seems inevitable (with a good book awaiting me once I get into bed).

Tomorrow some more relaxing and then heading back home…

Jewish Christmas Eve…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Family, Fun Stuff, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012Today was a good day.  Woke up at about 7am and read for a couple of hours, then fell back to sleep until about 10:30am.  Had a leisurely morning and late breakfast and then my sister and I went for a four mile walk with her friend Ket.  Always good when I am motivated by company to exercise.  A brisk (sort of freezing cold) walk through suburban New Hampshire.  Not a bad way to spend my time on “vacation.”

After a shower and some reading, we headed out for dinner, to a rare thing in these parts…a decent Chinese restaurant.  After the traditional Jewish Christmas Eve meal (I had Chicken and Broccoli), we headed to the other traditional part of the evening festivities, the movies.  We saw Skyfall, which for some reason in my head I keep thinking of as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (a movie which I never saw and don’t know the plot of).  Another Bond movie that didn’t disappoint.  I won’t spoil anything, but was completely shocked by the turn of events, though not unhappy with the outcome (vague enough?)

We’re back at the house, the beautiful tree is lit up, the stockings are hung (there’s even one for me!!!!) and my nephew has just put chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake for Santa for us to munch on.  Now we’re getting ready to play a very competitive (as Blutsteins competitive is the only way we roll) game of Scrabble.

Next stop, Christmas morning…

On a day well spent…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Art, Family, Friends, Fun Stuff, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff, Theater | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012I’ve been spending an awful lot of time lately talking about how difficult it’s become to  fill up my days meaningfully while I’ve been unemployed.  Well, thank goodness for December.

Every year, the month of December becomes a headlong rush towards the new year, with too much to do and it often feels like I’m hurtling forward without the ability to slow down and enjoy it all.  But, I figured that this year, because I’m not working, I have more time in my days and therefore everything won’t feel so crazy rushed.  Only partially true.  I still am the mistress of procrastination and things get done at the last minute, so today happened…

Earlier this week, I was invited to participate in the Holiday Artist Market at 25CPW Gallery today, to be part of a table of four artists from the West Side YMCA Artworks program.  Of course, I felt like I needed to make some more earrings, to replenish my stock and so after I got home from the pottery studio last night (at about 10:30pm) I began to work.  The thing is, when I get into an ADHD hyperfocus groove, time seems to pass without my realizing it.  The next thing I know, I looked up at the clock and it was 5:30am.  By the time I got to bed it was 6am, so, I slept for a grand total of 3 1/2 hours.  Oops.

Got up, got dressed, ran over to the Artist Market and set up our table for a 12pm start.  Each of us took a shift (mine began at 6pm), so I ran home, ate a quick lunch, changed clothes and then met up with my friend Oona to go to the theater.  My wonderful bestie, Genevieve, bought tickets for us to go see Grace on Broadway at the matinee this afternoon (thank you, Gen!)  Unfortunately, she couldn’t make it to town this weekend, so Oona went with me.  It was truly wonderful, not just because the show was so great (it really, really was), but because after, we got to go backstage and spend some time with Ed Asner in his dressing room.  Ed and my mother have been friends since he was a young, unknown actor in New York City, and she was an assistant casting director at CBS.

He and my parents stay in touch and see each occasionally, usually when Ed is in Florida performing, but I hadn’t seen him since I was 18 years old and he was starring in the pre-Broadway run of Born Yesterday in Boston.  He got me a house seat and then took me out to dinner.  So it was truly lovely to see him 24 years later, after a wonderful performance in a great show and to have him be just as I remembered — funny and foulmouthed and effusive and feeling like family.

If that’s all the day had in store, it would have been enough, more than enough.  But the day continued on and after a quick coffee with Oona, I headed to my shift at the Artist Market and spent the evening talking to interesting people and looking at some fantastic art, and even selling a few things along the way (thanks Oona and Moe-Swe!)  It went longer than originally intended, but there was terrific live music and it felt like just the place I needed to be.

But the downside of so much good stuff in one day (and so little sleep) is that I am overtired and overstimulated, and decided to skip a friend’s holiday party in Park Slope (sorry, Liz, hopefully next year!) that I really wanted to go to, because I’m practically useless at this point.  This post is happening partially because I promised myself that I would not miss a single Holidailies this year, but also as a brain dump to help wind me down.  And it’s happening on fumes.  When it’s done, it will be lights out on the Upper West Side.  But before I end up unconscious, I just wanted to reflect on a very good day, after a strange and sometimes difficult week.

It’s good to be busy again…

Why? Because it’s a tradition…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Family, Friends, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff | Leave a comment

So far this year I haven’t talked at all about the holidays in my Holidailies posts.  Part of that is because I’ve spent the past week climbing out of a hole of pity to focus on the good things and the things I appreciate and the things I need to do for myself, which has been really important for me.  However, some of it also has to do with the fact that for the first time ever I will not be spending part of December with my parents and/or siblings in Florida.  And it makes me very, very sad.  But, it’s my reality this year and that’s really all there is to it.  Sitting with it and being a little sad, but setting it aside to focus on other things…

I’m not religious, but I do strongly identify as Jewish.  It’s not about religiosity for me, it’s just about who I am at my core.  The values I was taught, my secular and religious education, the heritage that surrounded me, my family, the history of the people who came before me, are all an integral part of who I am today and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  But, when thinking about my relationship with Judaism, there are some things that resonate particularly strongly.

My freshman year of college I took a philosophy class called “Science and Religion” with Professor Robert Cohen, who was on both the Physics and Philosophy faculty.  By way of introduction in our first class, he referred to himself as a Jew by tradition rather than belief and that made a lot of sense to me.  In a conversation a short time later, I shared that statement with my father and he agreed with it, going a little further in his own inimitable way and saying, “I don’t believe in god, but who’s more Jewish than me?”  And it’s really very true.  My father is about as Jewish as they come, but a true believer he is not.  On the other hand, I have my mother, who is on the Board of the synagogue and is the only reason my father ever steps foot into High Holy Day services each year.  My mom lights Shabbat candles every Friday night and is the keeper of the flame (pardon the pun) as far as Jewish traditions go in our family.

I have a Jewish education that goes from kindergarten (I went to a Jewish day school before I went to public school), through Bat Mitzvah, through Confirmation, through Post-Confirmation (high school graduation).  I have a minor in Judaic Studies, two years of college level Yiddish and did my senior thesis on Yiddish Film.  I think it’s fair to say, it’s in my bones, in my heart and in my soul.  I’m Jewish.  But belief in a deity?  Not so much.  And even if there is a god of some sort or stripe (or many), all of the divisiveness and hatred that’s been created in the name of religion is so not what god (or God or whoever) had in mind.  But, I digress…

I come to this post because as I was lighting the Chanukah candles tonight and said the blessing, as I watch them flicker even as I type this, my heart is full and I have a great sense of peace.  Because it’s not really the reasons why as Jews we light candles and say a prayer (one day’s worth of oil lasting eight days…a miracle!), that is the significant thing for me.  It’s what it evokes.  I use a menorah given to me by my mother.  I use candles, cobbled together from the many Chanukah care packages she’s sent to me over the years.  And I light the candles and it reminds me of every time I’ve ever done it before, most often with my family.  The words in my mouth as I say the prayer feel just right.  The smell of the burning wax, the glow of the candles as they burn down to nothing.  It feels exactly right deep down and essential to who I am.

So, this Chanukah I’ll light the candles each night and I’ll say the prayer that I’ve said so many times before and I’ll watch the candles burn and I’ll think of my family and of my friends and of millions of people around the world doing the same thing and I know that my Judaism is part of something far bigger than me, but also only mine.

Why do I light candles for eight nights?  Because it’s my tradition.

One week into another…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Eating, Family, Friends, Shopping, Theater, Travel, TV/Movies | Leave a comment

Gen came into town last Friday night and on Saturday we hopped in the Zipcar and headed for New Haven.  After a couple of wrong turns and a little bit of driving in circles, we managed to meet Anita at Atticus Bookstore Cafe for lunch.  The food was delicious and the company was great.  After lunch, we finally got to see Richard II at Yale Rep.  It was a really wonderful production and Gen’s friend Jeffrey was phenomenal.  We then headed back to the city to go to the opera.  This is why we got the Zipcar in the first place, figuring that taking the train would be a gamble.  Of course, neither of us gave a thought to the fact that we were heading back into the city on Saturday night.  Which meant that we got stuck in heinous traffic and didn’t actually make it back in time for the opera.

We were both kind of bummed, because we really wanted to see it, but we made the most of the evening.  We ended up having a decadent dinner at Rosa Mexicano, where the guacamole (made to order at your table) is so addictive there might as well be crack cocaine in it.  The question we asked each other for the rest of the evening was, “How was the opera?”  And the answer?  “The guacamole was delicious!”  Since we couldn’t see Margaret Garner, that meal wasn’t a bad consolation prize.  After dinner, we went back to my apartment and watched a couple episodes of Flight of the Conchords and even that hilarity could not stave off the food induced narcolepsy that suddenly had overcome both of us.  I left Gen to her coma on the futon and dragged myself off to bed.  I think I was asleep before 11pm.  Crazy…

On Sunday, we met the boys for brunch at V*YNL.  Ah, my favorite brunch place ever, with my favorite people.  The best kind of way to spend a weekend day.  Afterwards, Gen and I took a little detour to the Drama Book Shop, where Gen had to buy “a couple” of things.  Which translates into a big honking pile of books.  It was amusing.  Mostly because I didn’t actually spend any money, which is quite unusual for me.  Once Gen left for home, I had the grandiose idea that I would get a ton of things done…cleaning, organizing.  Okay, so I’m delusional.  Instead I took a nap.  And then a new week began.

 Amazingly, it began with a lot less anxiety than I expected.  I actually had most of the details of the upcoming weeks under control.  And I’m not sure why that surprises me so much except for the fact that working for my boss for the past year and being told how useless I am and that I never have my job under control, somehow I started to believe it.  Thing is, I just work for someone who can only feel better about herself by making other people feel worse and in the end it has nothing to do with me.  That was quite the revelation. 

So, here I am, heading into another Friday.  I have to get all the final details under control tomorrow, since it’s my last day in the office for more than a week.  I leave on Monday for a week in Texas (Yippeeta!) and I have a gazillion things to get done in the office and at home before I go.  And as much as the anxiety of everything I need to get done and everything I have to do once I’m in Texas is looming, I guess I’m getting back to myself, because, different than six months ago, now I’m not letting the insidious external voices cloud what I know is true.  I’m competent and this is an event just like any other event that I’ve done.  Which means I can totally handle it.  So, I might actually enjoy this trip to Texas.  Even though I wish I were traveling to somewhere else.  Because Texas?  Hot and full of Republicans.  And me?  I don’t generally enjoy either.  Oh well, I’m sure it will be just fine.  Because a luxury hotel and room service and a week without having to get up to feed the cat isn’t such a bad thing…

Courageous?

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Family, Friends, Theater, Work | Leave a comment

So, I had my meeting with HR today.  And although I’m still not sure where it’s all going to lead, I feel it was the right thing to do.  I was able to talk about all the stuff that’s been going on over the last year and now it’s on the record.  I know that what it might lead to is me leaving, but I couldn’t let it go on anymore.  I’ve been gas-lighted and made to feel like crap for far too long and I know I’m not the first one to feel this way.  So, whether or not it gets resolved while I’m still there, it will hopefully be harder for her to get away with it anymore, with me or anyone else.  My colleague who convinced me to make an official complaint called me courageous today.  I’m not sure if that’s really how I’m feeling.  I’m just sick of feeling powerless and scared and it’s unacceptable for anyone to be treated like this and I’m not going to let it happen anymore without notice that it’s NOT okay.

In other news, I’m so happy it’s Friday.  I’m up way too late, my plan to get in early in the morning is shot to hell, but only one more day in the work week before I can relax. YAY!  Gen is coming up by Acela in the evening and Saturday morning we are off to New Haven by Zipcar!  We’re seeing Richard II at Yale Rep, then driving back to the city in time to go to City Opera in the evening for Margaret Garner.  Quite a busy, culture-filled day.  And I’m so glad I have a friend who has the same theater-geeky excitement I do about the prospect of a two-show day!  And just another example of why I live here.  There’s so much to see that I could go to see two shows every Saturday year-round and never run out of things to see.

 Okay, enough of the geek gush.  I’m overtired and I should get some sleep before my alarm wakes me for work…

Fall Friday…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Eating, Family, Friends, Shopping, Travel, TV/Movies | Leave a comment

One of my favorite things over the summer has been Summer Fridays, where our office hours have been 9am-1pm.  I went away a lot this summer, but on weekends in town I usually went to the movies on Friday afternoons.  Something about watching Ocean’s Thirteen in the middle of the day on a weekday feels decadent.  So of course Summer Fridays only last through Labor Day weekend.  Today is the first Fall Friday.  Which means I have to be here ALL DAY LONG.  Now, frankly, I have so much work to do, that it’s not really an issue, but I don’t really WANT to be here. 

Speaking of Labor Day, it was a wonderful weekend.  Anita and I drove up to my sister’s house in New Hampshire and we brought along her dog, Rose, who got along famously with Ziggy.  It was really fun to have two hyper black labs under foot the whole weekend.  They were quite entertaining.  On Saturday we went to Portsmouth, eating and shopping and strolling.  The weather was beautiful.  At first Duncan didn’t want to go with us because he said that all we would do is walk around going into candle shops.  This made all of us crack up, because apparently candle shops are the height of nerdiness in the world of twelve year old boys.  I’ll note that we did not drag him into any candle shops, but did spend quite a lot of time in Macro Polo, which is a dream shop for any non-nerdy pre-teen boy (as well as his geeky aunt). 

On Sunday we made a pilgramage to Mecca Target, so I could get my fill of suburban shopping.  We watched Red Eye on Sunday night, which was a far better movie than I thought it would be.  And Cillian Murphy has some of the creepiest eyes I’ve ever seen in my life.  The rest of the time was spent laughing, bird watching, playing with the dogs, and eating well and a lot.  It was the perfect way to spend the last weekend of summer.  And now, back to the grind…