A new day…

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Holidailies 2012A lazy New Year’s Day, sort of.  Up early and then read for a while before falling back to sleep until about 11:30am.  Spoke to my sister and then up and hanging out doing a lot of nothing today with Gen.  Somewhere about 2pm I started making zucchini pancakes — my mom’s recipe — and one of my favorite holiday traditions.  They are absolutely delicious, but I forgot just how much work they are.  I had intended to shred the zucchini in the food processor, but discovered that part of the shredder attachment was missing, so hand grated zucchini it was.

We started our Downton Abbey marathon at about this time.  As it turns out, Gen had actually seen most of the first series — with me (amazingly I didn’t recall), and so we picked up with the final two episodes of the first series.  Several hours later the zucchini pancakes were demolished and we were well entrenched in Downton.  It definitely holds up on repeat viewings, but despite it’s refined air and period costumes, it bears more than a passing resemblance to many a modern soap opera.

We are now, finally, finally, at the series two Christmas Special and Gen’s patience with all things Downton is wearing a little thin.  As much as  I adore every soapy moment of it, I can see what she means.  I mean, if they would just tell each other the truth to begin with, it would save so much drama (which, obviously, is the point).  We’ve taken to yelling at the screen and mocking the characters (which, for us is par for the course).   But, I honestly can’t wait for the third series to begin on Sunday!

All in all, not a bad way to spend the first day of the new year, hanging out with my best friend, a little cooking, some entertainment and a lot of laughter.

Tomorrow, back into the thick of things…


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Holidailies 2012Have I mentioned that I’m a lightweight who doesn’t drink much?  This is why.  It’s New Year’s.  The ball just dropped, I’m half way through a large glass of champagne (actually prosecco), full up on pasta and lots of sweets.  And I’m a wee might tipsy.

I spent the evening with Gen and our friend Jim and we laughed through the evening.  We mocked Jenny McCarthy’s plastic surgery (what is with that?), Taylor Swift’s singing, laughed along with the best New Year’s Eve comedy duo the world could provide — Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper, and listened to the fireworks exploding in Central Park (though we didn’t see them — that would have meant looking out the window).

Now we are minutes into the New Year.  Jim is running lines with Gen for her role in Steel Magnolias, and I am mellowing into a nice sweet new year with hope for good things to come.  Nothing like good friends, good food, and an adult beverage to bring you positive feelings for the year to come.  Please forgive the brevity of this post.  It’s time to finish this delicious prosecco and get 2013 started.

It’s gonna be a happy new year…

Inside my head…

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Holidailies 2012Tonight’s entry will be very short, because frankly, I forgot about it until the last minute, but also because a repeat of last night’s would be a snooze and sort of depressing to boot.  So, I’ll just say this…

Trying to find strength and inspiration where I can find it and that can often be from the most surprising places.  I’ve sung the praises of Facebook before, but I’m still amazed at how my virtual community manages to lift me up when I most need it and distract me from my own worst self.  From encouraging reminders to keep the fear at bay to private messages with job postings to pictures of kittens (who doesn’t love pictures of kittens) to fierce games of Words with Friends, sometimes it’s just one small thing that gets me out of my own head.

Today was pretty rough, maybe rougher than yesterday, but it ended okay.  It ended with a phone call from a friend (thanks, Sue), laughter, and cats playing patty cake.  Hopefully tomorrow won’t require the silly video, but it’s good to know that it’s there if I need it.

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…

Shaken and Stirred…

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Holidailies 2012“When people show you who they are, believe them.”  I think I need that tattooed on my brain.

I’d say that in general I have pretty good instincts about people, but I have also been known to give some of them the benefit of the doubt far longer than I should and far longer than they deserve.

So, today, when someone who I spent several years making excuses for did something that I knew long ago he was capable of, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  But, even though as soon as he spoke to me, my gut knew what was coming next, I was still surprised when it happened.  Even after I called him on it and he completely and transparently lied to my face, I was surprised.  I was hurt.  I was angry. And I let it happen.  I didn’t do anything to protect myself.  And that made me even angrier and I turned it in on myself.  This person is no longer a significant presence in my life, he’s barely a blip on the radar anymore and yet I let him shake me up and upset the calm I’ve been cultivating.

In the aftermath, I shared the details with several people who it affected directly (actually, more directly than it affects me in the long run).  They too were outraged and not a bit surprised.   They reaffirmed my feelings and helped me diffuse them, but the episode left me shaking with rage and it took a good couple of hours to calm down and stop reeling from what had happened.  I think the lesson is finally learned.  I only hope I don’t ever have to face it in this particular way again.

Please excuse the vagaries of detail in this post.  It’s done to protect the innocent (as well as the guilty). I’ll just leave the guilty party with some advice:  When your job requires you to be Ethical, you sometimes have to act above simple self-preservation and do the right thing, even if it’s hard to do.  Maybe start with a dictionary and look up the definition of the word ethical, and then read a book or two about how to practice being ethical.  There are hundreds of them in the library down the hall from your office.




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.

Perspective and Inspiration…

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It’s always made me happy when people I know and love have successes and are recognized for the things they do well.  And it’s fantastic to have been a witness to someone’s “before” — to their humble beginnings or their gawky teenage years or their life on the precipice of something huge.  And I’ve been fortunate to have met and been friends with all kinds of amazing people who’ve had all manner of success, large and small, in their lives.  And that’s a cool  thing.

I’ve never thought of myself as wanting greatness in the macro way, in the “everyone knows who you are” way or the “I can’t walk down the street without being trampled by autograph seekers” way (well, maybe when I was a kid and determined to win a Tony Award by the time I was 12) or in the “I’ve found the cure for cancer” way.  I’ve mostly been happy with the things I’ve done in my life.  Especially those things about which I’ve been truly passionate and cared deeply.  I’ve had my successes and had once in a lifetime experiences that I wouldn’t trade for even five minutes of fame or fortune.  That said, when you’ve been at a down point for a while (as this prolonged unemployment has been), it’s hard not to compare where you are in your life with where your friends and peers are in theirs.

So, on my way in tonight, I reached in the mail box and out came my alumni magazine with the trendsetting mug of my college friend, Jay Adelson, on the cover, with the words “The Next BIG Thing” writ large.  And for a moment I had a small pang of “I don’t even have a job and here Jay is as the shining example of success for our college.” And then I shut up that voice and started to laugh.

I laughed because it’s an impish picture of Jay that captures him perfectly, and because I’d already seen it in the email that the alumni office sent out last week, but didn’t expect to see staring up at me on a Thursday evening on my way in from running errands.  I laughed because I remember what we were like in college, how goofy, and geeky and mostly unsure of everything.  And I still think of us that way (myself mostly).  Sure, we’re 20+ years older and had to deal with 20 years of life’s ups and downs.  And Jay’s a husband and a dad, and he’s sort of changed the world in some pretty significant ways, and Time Magazine thinks he’s influential and when I mentioned that we went to college together last year, one of my former colleagues reacted as though I knew The Beatles (even though she’s way too young to really KNOW the Beatles).

But, in the few and far between moments when I’m lucky enough to talk to Jay or share a meal with him, he’s still the same wonderful guy he’s always been.  He’s smart and funny and kind and passionate and gives a shit about stuff.  Lots of stuff.  And so I watched the commencement address Jay gave at our alma mater this past May, where his words no doubt inspired a class of scared 21-22 year olds to do the things that they were passionate about.  And watching it I was reminded that passion is truly the most important ingredient for finding meaning.  And that although I’ve been struggling to find a job, the best version of me knows that as long as I’m pursuing the stuff I truly give a shit about, it’s all going to be fine.  And my gut instinct about the stuff I’m pursuing right now is the right way to go.

So, thanks Jay.  For being you.  And for reminding me that being me is the only thing I really need to do well to get to where I want to go.  And that I can’t get there unless I continue to put one foot in front of the other…

Movement creates movement…

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So, my dear friend Anita came up from rural Virginia a few weeks back and spent the weekend with me.  She was my housemate when I was 22 years old, her son was 7, and she was in her 30s, and she quickly became a den mother of sorts to a merry band of misfits I called my friends, who traipsed through our house at all hours of the day or night.  She’s seen me at my best and at my worst (definitely at my worst), nursed me through illness and heartbreak, scared off bad boyfriends, or at least tried, attempted to set me up with her idea of the perfect guy (and utterly failed), fiercely protected me when I needed protecting, and helped me grow up to be the person I am today, in the best possible way.  I love her for it.  She’s family.

Anita is a prenatal ultrasound technician, a doula, a birth coach.  She creates gorgeous, wonderful soaps with amazing essential oils that nurture the skin and soothe the soul.  She’s also into all kinds of holistic healing and new age stuff that makes me roll my eyes (I can be judgmental). She is definitely not a city person, and when she comes to visit New York, she moves like she’s strolling down a country lane, to hilarious effect.  She does love Gray’s Papaya, though, and can eat an extraordinary amount of hot dogs for such a small person.  The two of us couldn’t be more different if we tried (except for that hot dog thing).

As much as I am a dreamer, I’m not a new agey, woo woo kind of girl.  I’m disinclined to listen to any and all of it and immediately discount anything that sounds just this side of groovy.  I’ve also been known to mock on occasion.  Well, often. I’m big on mocking — though mostly gently to those friends, like Anita, who believe in such things.  That said, sometimes it’s worth listening.

While Anita was here she said something to me about “movement creating movement,” explaining it in her own inimitable Anita way, and I quickly discounted it.  But in the last week or so, and particularly the last few days, things feel like they are starting to happen.  And not in a woo woo kind of way, but in a “do shit and more shit will happen” kind of way.  I’m starting (slowly but surely), to exercise again, and I feel better.  I’m writing for Holidailies and my head feels clearer.  The job search is picking up and today’s interview went well.  Other bits and bites in the job search saga have started to materialize, and I’m slogging through and doing more.

I don’t know, maybe “do shit and more shit will happen” is precisely what Anita meant, but when she explained it to me, it felt all mystical and ethereal, and I thought “yeah, yeah, yeah…now all I need is my magic wand.”  I’m willing to admit that this is likely a flaw in my character more than anything else.

So, today’s lesson is: Listen to the people who love you.  They know what you need to hear, even if you aren’t currently paying attention…



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…


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…