Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Give Up

I. Can't. I'm going to pull it out when I finish this post. Part of the giving up is the fact that if I felt it and wear it, because the alpaca felts up hairy, I'll look as though a green creature is perched on my noggin. Another part is that I wore my nice black beret in NY, and dang it was itchy--do I really want to spend more time creating another source of irritation? Another part is that I'm not even a third of the way through and I don't look forward to working on--it makes me sad that knitting addiction has gone into remission. And finally, it's those dang skinny needles. M and I watched a woman in Starbucks a couple of Sunday mornings back where he took me for coffee--she tucked her right needle under her arm and I thought maybe I could adopt that style. I tried it. It didn't help. So uncle. Life is too short. What shall I knit next?


Misc. stuff: Started reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Like Heather, it felt like something happened with the weather these last couple of days and suddenly it was like spring today, which is always uplifting. Work has also felt actually manageable lately, which is a relief. A couple of homes on our block have gone into foreclosure, which is a little unsettling, but overall I do think it's a good thing that real estate prices have stopped their steep ascent. I did not watch the Oscars over the weekend, but M indulged me and we spent some time on People.com last night, clicking through the Best Dressed photos--the dresses are really all that matters. On a related note, a work colleague compared me to Cate Blanchett today, which I take as a great compliment, particularly since I do love her work, even if I don't always agree with her choice of roles or Academy Award gowns. Had a writers group meeting last night and as always enjoyed it, though I'm still racked with guilt for not bringing much to share this last year or two--it's not really fair to critique the work of others without reciprocation now is it, but thank goodness Rebecca and Julia have patience. Mom's coming for a visit tomorrow and I didn't have the energy to clean the house after work tonight, though I mustered enough neurons to purchase some new shoes while waiting for my Thai takeout. Best of all, M is feeling better.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Home Again

So long, New York
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
My last night and morning in New York were quite pleasant.

After the conference ended, I made a quick beeline downtown to shop for high-end chocolate at a couple of shops in SoHo. I also managed a tour of Sephora for two shades of eyeliner. A well-timed subway ride back uptown for a long dinner with my friend Cathleen at a swanky Greek place near Grand Central. The single retsina on the menu had no discernible pine tar aftertaste much to my dismay and there was no dessert cart, but the many fish choices were brought in a lovely copper dish tableside, where the waiter point-and-stroked them to rival Vanna. My friend walked me back to the hotel…there was a moment when we paused on the way in the middle of Times Square, cabs and cars and tourists whizzing by, neon enough to rival the sun, and I remembered why living in New York felt like the closest I'd ever come to inhabiting the center of the universe, even if it was only center by association rather than who I was or what I was doing.

I stayed up late packing, but got up the next morning in time to take a quick if chilly hoof uptown through Central Park, by Wollman Rink and the iced-over Pond to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had my priorities straight and after checking my coat went right to the Museum shop and only afterwards continued on to the Temple of Dendur and then downstairs to the Costume Institute. Yes, only an hour in one of the greatest repositories of art and culture in the world, but if anyone can do it, it's me.

A bus ride back downtown, passing the fur-bearing Rockefeller Center and Tiffany's window-shopping set; glimpsing the reconstruction shrouded St. Patrick's cathedral; a glittering crosstown walk through the Diamond District to the hotel to collect my bags; a friendly, God-thanking-filled cab ride to JFK; and I was back to my bumpkin self again, ensconced in the airport bar with a black-and-tan at lunch, laptop open to ward off a few of the email messages that won't stop piling up. There were a few colleagues in the airport including one on my flight West, which meant I was able to eschew the airport shuttle bus for a much more pleasant and speedy ride home.


I wasn't able to find a way to fit it into my travelogue, but one thing that struck me about my visit this time: I appreciated the people again. I had several occasions to smile to myself, seeing couples on the street, kissing with verve and abandon, unselfconscious in their newfound passion. Watching people on the subway cars, eyes downcast as proper New Yorkers do, but crammed together and so having to actually touch the shoulders of strangers, to sway against each other as the train sped and slowed, and then to give way as people exited or boarded. Dodging the streams of people changing trains in Times Square and Grand Central, negotiating the great currents of humanity with intentions and dreams and desperation, striding towards each other both with and without purpose. To observe again in the space of mere moments every strata of class, from homeless to stratospherically wealthy, somehow living together on a very small stretch of granite between two rivers and the Atlantic, where every inch is known and claimed, and has been for generations. But it's also a place that is still discovered, over and over again, where a struggle to survive seems closer to the surface than most places, for all its civilization…for someone who professes a dislike of drama, perhaps I'm missing the front-row seat a bit after all.


It felt like it took a little extra time, but I've readjusted to suburban life. The roses are pruned. Taxes done for the year. Dog walked, suits aired in the sun, the cat has loudly demanded and received appropriate lap time. More of the beret has been knitted, but I do not like small needle projects, I've decided. A number of movies have been watched. Cough is still hanging on peskily, but I hope to have it licked by the end of the week. And today I purchased a plane ticket for my next trip, to San Diego in early March. Hardly the center of the universe, but there's a pool at the hotel that's built to resemble a tropical lagoon…


M Health Update: It was hard to hear that he went into the ER while I was in New York and helpless to take action, but it's comforting to know that Mom and our friend Sean were here to help. He wasn't admitted then, and wasn't admitted again when we arrived in the ER at 7:00 a.m. last Saturday because of increased pain. Instead, he was sent home with a fistful of meds (ten more days of antibiotics, painkillers, and others to help with the side effects of antibiotics), which has already started to help him feel better. The big question now is when will the surgery happen. Time to remember my New Year's resolution about breathing deeply.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Second to Last Night in Manhattan

High above Midtown West, the snow is still just barely floating, swirling in the sky, muffling the lights of Times Square. Wrung out by the work and flu, this jaded former Manhattanista gave way to her crunchy California persona, melted by the oohs and ahhs of her coworker at the snowfall. "It's so soft! Feel it!" cried aforementioned colleague, stopping on the way to dinner at a dingy corner of a building, stooping for handfuls, trying to form a snowball. It was so sweet.

So I'm glad my visit is coming to a close. I'm missing my dog and my husband and my cat and my Cadillac, not necessarily in that order. I'm wondering how the rose eyebuds are pushing their little antennae out of their hardened canes, if the tulips and iris and hyacinth are still on their way up and out. I heard it was a Paradisical 70 degrees at home yesterday. Work has been intense and constant this trip, as has my concern over M's health, but I've had a great time here:

On Thursday, a fine raucous dinner (and ill-advised martini) with colleagues celebrating the end of our first show at an old Italian restaurant four blocks from where I lived for years and never tried.

Leaving the restaurant, I thought my hoarseness was from laughing, but no--I was succumbing to the bug that was afflicting other members of my office. East coast clan, forgive me for visiting you in such a state!

On Friday, I checked out of the Waldorf in the morning and returned to the stomping ground of my glory days, the hallowed halls of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Seeing it, inhaling that particular office smell again gave me such a feeling…that youthful hope that something really big might happen to me there, intertwined with that sense of intimidation I felt nearly every day I reported to the office. I've relived many of the missteps I took while working there, and often wondered how my life might've been different, if only…But it was wonderful seeing my friends who were still working there, still doing the same thing, but looking as though not a day had passed, much less a decade, looking better than they did if possible. We had takeout from one of my favorite restaurants, and it was miraculous to me that the curry soup tasted exactly the same to me as I remembered.

The lunch made me late for my art outing rendezvous with my aunt and uncle. We met up at the Cooper Hewitt, our "family" museum as my aunt says (we come from Hewitt stock). I had not done my homework, however, and the museum was between shows! We wandered down to the Guggenheim and were first a bit disappointed to see that they too were installing a new exhibit. But there were still a few ramps to enjoy, and we hung over the railing, watching the progress of the new installation which was very interesting. Artists were smacking slabs of clay onto wood and wire armatures with what looked like scrap wood, following photographs to create statues. I wondered if this process happened every time? Or was this exhibit going to be the only one, ever? We appreciated the behind the scenes look, and it was so un-museum-like--noisy and cluttered--which was refreshing (in small doses).

I checked into the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, worked some, then headed downtown to the West Village to dine at The Place with uncle, aunt, and cousins. It was the quintessential Village spot, down half a flight, fireplace, minimal lighting, close quarters. It was such a wonderful dinner and I so appreciated spending time with family I don't see often enough.

On Saturday I worked in the morning then met my cousin for lunch (late again! That's so not like me, really) down in the South Street Seaport area. We picked up half-price tickets for Spring Awakening, which I didn't know anything about, but I liked the prospect of surprise. We parted ways til dinner, and by then I was feeling too crappy to take pictures or relish much the Wall Street ambiance, but there it is.

But a rest and more work that afternoon put me in the mood to get out that evening. We dined on Japanese food in a lovely if overheated restaurant, then took our seats for the show. An incredible lack of legroom did not mar my enjoyment of the show. All those Tony awards didn't skew my expectations. Good staging, excellent music and singers, not so good book, my cousin and I agreed. I bought the soundtrack as a souvenir, I hope that lives up to my remembrance.

On Sunday I took a chance that Mariebelle in SoHo would be open by 11:00 a.m. How silly of me. The weather had cooled and I wandered nearly alone on the streets, cut by the wind, wondering how the price of street-bought pashmina shawls could have fallen since I'd been there, but I didn't complain as I tendered my sawbuck for three. A disappointing trip to Gourmet Garage, lunch at my cousins' place which was a nice way to say goodbye--it was as if I still lived here and just coming up for a visit…Then back to work. We started setting up our second show Sunday night, though my role was fairly limited, thank goodness. I had a new person starting (what a way to start a job!), so we had spicy Thai food for dinner and talked about the job for a few hours.

Yesterday and today was all about work. I've been feeling slowly better, but mornings have been foggy and it's been hard getting to the end of each day. The conference has been well received, which is a relief. One more day, and it hopefully will be an uneventful one.

Well, my second to last night is almost my last full day. Looking forward to a dinner with a friend tomorrow night, a last walkabout, then home.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

NY Photo Blog

Not much time for blogging, it's time for sleeping before the next event begins tomorrow and I still haven't made my daily call to M. Good food, family, snow, sights seen, entertainment of the theatrical variety. It's been a good trip so far.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New York, I'm Here

View from the Waldord, nighttime
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Not to reduce my trip to check lists, but I have already had dosa, run into a NY friend on the street my first night, had pasta with aunt, uncle, and cousins, had the perfect subway ride (step onto the platform as the train is pulling to a stop--*both* ways), and a couple of long walks. I'm really happy to be here right now. More later...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Invalid Update

M's in the hospital for another day if all goes well, but Mom's coming down to bring him home, care for the furry creatures, and take me to the airport shuttle. So plans are all going along as scheduled and I should be in NY tomorrow barring weather or other dewingments. The only monkey wrench would be if his surgery gets scheduled before the 14th, in which case I'll be comin' home early. Thanks for all your good thoughts, happy birthday Kam, happy belated birthday Chiara, and go Pats!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

An Unexpected Saturday Activity

The day started a little earlier than planned, thanks to Veronica's persistent, loud, and downright crotchety desire for her tuna breakfast. I paid some bills, started laundry, washed out a few sweaters in anticipation of the New York voyage on Monday, answered a little work email, talked to my mom and another friend planning a potluck tonight…and then M laid it on me: he's feeling diverticulitisy again. Not in an urgent way, but it's worrisome enough that he called the consulting surgeon who recommended that he go to the emergency room since he never found a regular doc. So here we are. The hospital is currently short on beds, so it's a long wait ahead. I joked we should have put off the visit til tomorrow afternoon so we could watch the Superbowl rather than Nickelodeon on the waiting room TV, but we thought better of it. So we'll see what happens. Hoping it will be treated effectively with oral antibiotics. Not sure if/how it will alter my trip on Monday, but I don't relish the idea of being so far away for so long when M's not feeling well. I'll keep you posted, Faithful Readers.

In other news, it was a long dang, dank, dark week, fraught with precipitation and 10-12 hour work days. But I made it to the gym four mornings this week, which is a goal I've been after for a while--of course, knowing that I won't be back in town to repeat that for almost three weeks might've helped my motivation. And I'm just about ready for the conference next week, thank goodness. Hoping weather doesn't mess with my flight plans, among other derailments. (What's the right way to phrase an air derailment? Declouded? Deskyed? Derunwayed?)

UPDATE: M was admitted to the hospital tonight. He's not in a lot of pain, but since the infection has recurred, it looks like surgery might be in the cards for him soon. East Coasters, my visit may be disrupted, unfortunately. Will post more when I can. So it looks like my Superbowl party will be in the hospital, woo! Jello all around.