NYC Take Two

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Over the weekend we made another quick trip to NYC. I could probably stay a week and still call it a quick trip, there’s always so much I want to do. A couple months ago a friend asked if we’d like to go with them and of course I didn’t hesitate. Our sons were in daycare together and although they parted ways after kindergarten we have kept in touch and get together with and without the boys several times a year.

There was nothing on the agenda for this trip and on the train ride down we bandied around some ideas. A show, the Met and one my bucket list items to skate at Rockefeller Center (the giant Christmas Tree that overlooks the rink was being hoisted on Saturday and the rink was closed). We made our way to our separate hotels which were a couple blocks apart and regrouped at noon to grab some lunch. It’s often hard to make decisions in a group on where to dine but pizza was agreed on and we quickly made our way to John’s Pizza in Time Square, a reliable place to grab a few slices if ever there was one. Their salads are pretty good too.

times-square-vert1Once our crew was fed and happy again, we wandered over to the half-price Broadway ticket line. There was a pretty solid wait but it gave us a chance to ponder the show offerings. This is where being with a group gets tricky. We needed to decide on our top two or three choices. School of Rock, Cats and The Play That Goes Wrong. Their son wanted to see Newsies, a show about current events and we thought a lot of it might go over their heads. The play line is in a different spot altogether so we quickly scrapped that idea.

As we worked our way up the line we settled on School of Rock and Cats but I’m pretty sure it was a compromise all around since we’d also tossed a few other shows in the mix such as Blue Man Group, The Bubble Show and even though I’ve seen it a few times, I thought Phantom of the Opera would be a good one for the kids. One show that didn’t enter into consideration was Sponge Bob. No explanation needed.

Our first choice didn’t work out and we ended up with tickets to Cats, a show we were unsure of the plot, even as we left the theater that night. The costumes, dancing and singing did not disappoint and we were satisfied we’d made a good choice.

It was pretty darn cold in the city so after we acquired our tickets we took the boys for a sugar fix at the Hershey store and it was CLOSED! The M and M store is across the way and even though I don’t even like them I managed to eat half of Liam’s $14! bag while watching Cats. This is definitely a tourist trap! On every corner, there were boisterous men collecting money for the homeless and even though I wasn’t sure if it was legit, I dropped some money in their box. It’s so hard to see the homeless sleeping on the streets near Time Square especially as winter is coming our way.

We went back to our rooms to chill before the play and I settled in with Little Fires Everywhere until I fell asleep. The husbands decided to use their downtime in a nearby Irish pub so all parties were happy. We were still full from our lunch so we opted out of dinner and headed to the show a little after 7.

As I said, the show was great even though it has never been on my list to see and since it’s closing at the end of December, the timing was perfect. On the walk back to the hotel we tried to discern the plot with little luck and just agreed the show, on its face value, was pretty spectacular.

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The last time we were in the city we stayed at the same place and my husband was intrigued by a bagel shop across the way that had a line out the door both on Saturday morning when we arrived and late Sunday when we left. He decided to get up at seven on Sunday to beat the line and find out what the fuss was about. Thirty minutes later he arrived with three bulging bagels – cream cheese for us and salmon for him. We were all impressed.

The next part of the trip mirrored our last one: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral followed by a trip to the Met. Our friends had member access to the Michaelangelo exhibit which was in preview, so we tried to get a look at some of the sketches, paintings, and sculptures the Met had amassed for the exhibit. Unfortunately, about 10,000 other people had the same idea and I was only able to see and listen to the audio tour for about 20 minutes before Liam said he was absolutely going to die of thirst unless he had something to drink. I wanted to see some European paintings so I quickly agreed to take him to the cafe if he promised he’d let me look at some paintings uninterrupted afterward.

 

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I found this selfie when I was going through my pictures 

 

Haha. Before you knew it, it was time to catch a Lyft back to our hotel for our bag and walk the few blocks to Grand Central so we’d get home at a decent hour. Last time I promised myself the next trip to the Met would be a solo one and this time I mean it! As we left behind the noise and excitement of city life (honking cars, ambulances, police cars and the general din of city life) to our quiet corner of the world I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate we are to live so close to such a treasure.

MC

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Hesitating over the publish button

Warning: this is a super long post. I’m sharing something I wrote for my writing class about a time when I was judged. I have this weird disease and I’m sick a lot. But if you were to look at me you’d think I was perfectly healthy. I reread the piece and made some edits but I’m not 100% happy with it. I almost think I should re-do it from scratch because I feel I’m leaving something out but then again I don’t think I will ever get it to what I want. These are just a few snippets of what it’s like.

“You look completely normal but you’re a freak.” I eyed the seventyish, red-faced doctor who just spoke those words to me. Who is this guy with the tufts of white hair escaping from his balding head, a white lab coat near to bursting against his portly girth and where did he leave his bedside manners? I didn’t respond other than to give him a look I’d honed over the years when people discovered my insides didn’t match my outsides. No one had called me a freak before, though. At least not to my face. I didn’t take much insult, having heard many variations of surprise like this before.

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A Dream of Gymnastics turns to Dancing

After watching the 1976 Summer Olympics, I decided I wanted to be a gymnast. The only problem was there was nowhere to take lessons in our small town in upstate New York. I was nine years old and wanted to be just like Nadia Comaneci, the top gymnast from Romania who won most of the gold medals that year. In my imagination, I pictured myself on stage being handed a bouquet of flowers as someone placed the gold medal around my neck. I calculated the year would be 1984 when this happened.

I begged my mother to find somewhere I could take lessons and after asking around she found a place that taught acrobatics which wasn’t the same thing but at least it was something. My instructor was the only dance teacher in our small town. She taught tap, jazz, ballet, modern dance as well as acrobatics and was happy to add me to a group of girls my age to teach us moves and a routine we would display for our parents and friends at an end of the year recital.

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No Guests for Dinner

 

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I’m currently on an airplane on my way to Chicago without internet access and decided to use auto fill on my phone to create a prompt for today’s blog post. So without further ado, and from 35,000 feet, here is the sentence I’m starting with:

I hope that you can bring your family to the house and have dinner.

When I was in my twenties, I often imagined my future life where I would meet the man of my dreams, get married, have kids and live in a neighborhood like the one I grew up in. The neighbors would be like family and dinner parties would be a weekly thing. Sometime around my early thirties, the only part of my dream that was left was to meet a halfway decent guy and get married. I also started to think it would be OK to remain single so I got myself a cat which seemed to be a panacea to all the single ladies.

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Eggs over pasta

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Several years ago (nearly 14 to be exact), my husband and I made our first trip to Italy together. A few months earlier, we had been in Paris on our honeymoon, and when we ran into a priest at the Louve who had been in school with my younger sister, we decided to take him up on his offer to show us around the Vatican where he was finishing up his studies.

It was a marvelous trip. We stayed in an apartment near the Vatican and worked our way around the city by foot, bus and train. The food was pretty spectacular but I was unaccustomed to the various courses and until we dined out with Father Brian, we stuck to our American style of eating of just one course per meal.

Father Brian was surprised and explained that the norm was to order several courses. The restaurant we chose that night was in Campo de Fiori, a wonderful square in the heart of Rome, that was called La Carbonara. The first course that night was pasta and I decided to go with carbonara, the dish the restaurant was named for. It was love at first bite!

When I returned home, I made it my mission to track down a recipe that would approximate the dish and it’s still a staple in our household all these years later. It is quick, easy and calls for just a few ingredients: pasta, eggs, grated parmesan, diced pancetta, chicken broth and red pepper flakes. There are never any leftovers.

Halloween regret

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I wore my pajamas to work yesterday. Easiest costume ever. The coziness of flannel, the soft fur lining of slippers pressed against my sockless feet, the pure comfort of it. Who doesn’t dream of wearing pajamas to work? I sprayed my hair into a rat’s nest (it really didn’t need much help), threw a roller in the back of my hair and was at work in record time. And then I realized I had a meeting with several managers and a couple VP’s and I instantly regretted my decision.

I was one of the first to arrive at the meeting first thing that morning and one of the VP’s looked at me through squinted, questioning eyes and I said, yes, I’m wearing my pajamas. In a teasing, scolding tone, she said she’d be sending her managers home if they came to work dressed like that. My boss came in shortly after and sat nearby, glanced my way and then inched closer to whisper I’d left a roller in my hair. I said, I know, I’m wearing my pajamas and got another quizzical look. It’s Halloween, I explained. Ah, enlightenment dawned and there were smiles and jokes about how I’d pulled one over on them.

I should probably explain pajamas are the opposite of my working MO. I tend to take great care with my appearance when I’m leaving the house, even to run to the grocery store. On days when I work from home, I shower, dress, put on make-up and jewelry as though I’m going into the office. It just makes me feel better and I think I do better work when I’m “suited up”. So this Halloween “costume”, while at first so enticing, had me wanting to run home by noon to shower, fix my hair and put on real clothes.

The end of the day couldn’t come fast enough. I would have enough time to shower and change before picking my son up from school so we could go to his friend’s neighborhood for trick or treating.  When I got to school, he was dressed in his costume with his friends and they talked me into letting him go with them so I told the mom I’d meet them at the appointed house at 6:00 where there was a pre-trick or treating party. A pre-trick or treating party?!

I arrived well before everyone else and sat in my car because a) I didn’t have a kid and b) I didn’t know the hosts of the party. Minutes passed and I worried I had the wrong house and texted to make sure I was in the right spot. They assured me they were on their way and soon pulled in and the kids jumped out of the car ready to go. I had tried to talk Liam out of the costume he chose. I knew he’d be picked on but he wouldn’t be deterred.

I think it turned out to be a disappointing night for him. As I suspected, he was picked on for the costume and said someone had actually hit him. He quickly discarded the mask and the boys ran through the neighborhood like their life depended on it, picking up treats along the way. As the night wound down and he had one more confrontation with a girl who wanted to spray his $100 jacket with shaving cream before I intervened, he said he’d learned his lesson about his costume choice which will remain a mystery here.

We had a quiet ride home as we both mulled over our poor choice of costumes this Halloween.

 

Can you hear me now?

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There was an interesting Miss Manners column over the weekend which caused me to reflect on my own experience in social situations as a person who cannot hear in noisy environments. The advice seeker had a couple of friends who preferred silence when they go out to dine and she was frustrated and perplexed about the situation, turning to Miss Manners for counsel. I know this scenario all too well and found myself in a similar position over the weekend at a trampoline park birthday party. If you’ve been to one of these, you know what I’m talking about.

I cannot hear. Let me just put that out there. That’s not completely true because I’ve gone to lengths to improve my hearing over the last several years. About 11 years ago, when I returned to work from maternity leave, I found myself with a new boss, a boss who was a soft talker. I thought maybe the last twelve months I’d spent at home with my child had left my hearing for the worse, with the crying, screaming and tantrums that had been occurring. I gave it a few weeks but finally decided to address it with an ENT. I was 40 years old and if I needed hearing aids, so be it.

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