Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I Feel You, Rosemary

My daughter picked up some DVDs at the library this week, and I suggested that she get Rosemary's Baby because (a) classic, and (b) she took a film class last term; the camera angles, lighting, and such in Rosemary's Baby are a film student's dream, and I thought she would especially appreciate it now.

We watched it last night after I got home from swim class, and it was so nice to simply sit with a cup of hot cocoa (it's been chilly lately) and watch this fine film with my beloved daughter.

Frankly, I've been having a crappy couple of weeks.
  • I am slowly suffocating under an enormous pile of work that I would like to finish before I leave for California on the 13th — and I'm fairly sure that I won't be able to finish all of it, even working 24/7. It is almost unimaginable to me that I ever worried about not having enough work!!
  • There are issues with my daughter and college; I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but it's huge and I am not doing well.
  • My mom is turning 75; I'm going home to "celebrate" with her and my brothers, though she is being flighty and inconsistent about what sort of "celebration" she wants. Also, her broken arms are healing more slowly than they should; I am very worried about my weakening aging mom.
  • I also had this brilliant idea of "showering" her with birthday cards, but I need to get moving on this; her birthday is June 9,  and I still have lots friends and family to reach out to.
  • I haven't exercised (other than my Deep Water class), done PT, or put ice on my knees in weeks. No time!!!!!!!
  • So many of my friends are dealing with hard, sad, bad things right now, and I want to be there for all of them. I spent a lovely evening with Writer Jenny this week (she's fine), who told me about a mutual friend who is struggling. WJ concluded with the words, "I think she really needs her friends," and all I could think was, "I hope she finds some." !!!! It is a quality problem, for sure (like having too much well-paying work), but I simply have enough friends right now!!
This morning, Husband asked how Mimosa liked the movie, and I said she loved it, though she had this great summation: "Rosemary is like that girl who falls down when she's running away from the bad guy."
  • Me: You want to feel bad for her, but she's kind of annoying.
  • Husband: Well, she's dealt a pretty bad hand.
And then our conversation took a turn:
  • Me: She doesn't even have a job! She's got a devil baby and a dick husband! That's it! Two things!!!
  • Husband: Uh . . .
  • Me:  She doesn't even have parents to deal with! 
  • Husband: Uh . . .
  • Me: Okay, her friend dies, that's pretty sad, so, three things. But that's it! Three things! I leave her issues in the dust!!!!
  • Husband: Yes, it is clear that you have it all over Rosemary in terms of suffering.
  • Me: Thank you.

I need a vacation. Unfortunately, all I'm getting is a family-oblication (TM Sexy Em). But I'm staying for another week after my (charming, annoying) brothers leave, and I will get to see Lady Darcy and possibly J (fingers crossed, hard!!), and that will be divine.

Back to work!

xox Lady C

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hell of a Town, Part the Second

Before I return to my narrative, here's a funny thing I forgot to mention: When we got back to the hotel on Sunday night, after moving Mimosa out of her dorm, we were hot and sweaty and dusty and tired. I had promised to take her somewhere for dessert (since I didn't get to town in time to take her to dinner — thanks again, Connecticut), but at that point I really only had the bandwidth to navigate us back to the hotel and get the car parked.

(And I totally forgot that I had emptied my own suitcase already to bring to her; even though I'd brought extra bags just for this reason, I left them all in the car, also my corkscrew — and I had the feeling that once the car was parked, I would have to pay to extricate it, even if I only needed to retrieve something. So the next few days became all about a quest for free bags; I managed to pack all my stuff [1] repacking Mimosa's one suitcase, [2] using my own Betsy's Wedding Convention tote bag, and [3] filling a Duane Reade plastic bag with my dirty laundry and empty Diet Pepsi bottles. This should impress Brunie, who knows how much stuff I tend to bring for a three-hour tour.)

(Duane Reade, by the way, is NYC's Walgreens, it is everywhere, which I found very amusing, having just watched The Night Of, in which Duane Reade is an important character. But I digress.)

SO, we're at the hotel and I spy a gift shop, with cold sodas and such. "Yay!" I said to Mimosa. "We can get something to drink." I grab a Diet Pepsi for me, a Vitamin Water for her, and two Magnum ice cream bars — the promised dessert! With great joy, I hand them to the cashier, who rings up my purchase. NYC veterans will not blink at what happened next.
  • Stone-Faced Cashier: That'll be $17.96.
  • Me: WHAT? 
[a pause]
  • Me: Wait. How much . . . ?
  • Stone-Faced Cashier (begins to tap each item): This is $4.99, this is $3.99, this is $4.99, this is $3.99.
[my mouth falls open]
  • Stone-Faced Cashier: Do you want a bag?
  • Me: I guess . . . not. 
[I hadn't realized yet that yes, I wanted a bag]
  • Stone-Faced Cashier: Do you want a receipt?
  • Me: No. Well, maybe to show my husband.
When we got to our room, I ordered Mimosa to savor that ice cream bar. She assured me that every bite was worth five dollars. In fact, that became our phrase for the rest of the visit. "Is that yummy?" "Going down like five dollars, believe me."

On to Tuesday morning and our mystery destination!!!

*              *              *              *              *              *              *              *

 W H E R E ? ?

Our hotel served free breakfast from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and I generally arrived around 8:30, had several cups of coffee, and then investigated the entree of the day. On Tuesday I enjoyed a small cheese omelet, wheat toast, and some turkey sausage — quite tasty!

I then texted Brunie and said, "How fancy is the Russian Tea Room? Do we have to dress up?" She immediately reassured me: "I wore a T-shirt and capris." Hurray!!!

(The Russian Tea Room is the thing I spotted on the Hilton Rewards list — and it was only a few blocks from our hotel!!!!)

After a relaxing morning of reading and crossword puzzles, Mimosa and I headed out for lunch at the Russian Tea Room!!!!

I ate this borscht! And loved it!!!

So swanky! So delicious! We had a wonderful meal and, with our nifty discount, saved a ton of dough. Thank you, Hilton Rewards!!!

We then walked two blocks to Central Park, where I sat and texted people and Mimosa scampered about because she's young and spry. Plus, she didn't finish her Russian Tea Room dessert. For whatever reason, I didn't take a single picture — but Central Park is perfectly beautiful. Perhaps you've heard?

Next destination: An important pilgrimage.

I'd been bugging Mimosa basically since she got to NYC to go pay her respects at Stonewall, but it just never worked out. Today, we determined, was the day:

Her godmother Brunie made this hat. I can't even.

I was bummed that the Stonewall Inn wasn't open yet — definitely on my list for my next visit.

A visit to Stonewall almost demands a certain dairy-based follow-up:

Mimosa had one of these:

While I opted for this:

And it was hella good, even though I was still slightly full of chocolate hazelnut mousse cake from the Russian Tea Room. But how could I not get a Big Gay ice cream?? Though I do regret, a bit, not ordering a Salty Pimp, simply to say the name. Next time!

We subwayed back home, veterans now, and took a little walk through Broadway.

Last subway ride — I'm a pro!
Martini's most-want-to-see show.
And then it was again time to fling bra, fling shoes, put our feet up, and drink cold drinks — for just a bit, because we had still another Major Milestone ahead.

Dinner was simple: Mimosa really wanted me to try NYC pizza, so we stopped at the first joint we saw:

I liked the thin crust and it was perfectly tasty, but I'm not really sure what the big deal is. Then again, I am not really a snob about pizza — I pretty much like all decent pizza. And maybe for your best example of New York-style pizza, you don't go into the first joint you pass by . . . ? Anyway. Perfectly tasty!

And then — Broadway, baby!!!

I'd tried to get tickets to Dear Evan Hanson, which just wasn't going to happen without breaking the bank, and all the various day-of lotteries seemed too worky. So I turned to my Broadway guru Sister Hart, and she said:
If you can't get any seats for Evan Hanson, I *highly* recommend Come From Away. You'll laugh, you cry, and you'll leave the theater dancing!
The reviews were fantastic, and I was able to get reasonably priced seats (though almost in the back row) — Come From Away it was!

The more we read about this show, the more excited we got.

Of course I had to drink champagne! I told the bartender that this was my first Broadway show (which now I think is not correct — Zanny, wasn't the play we saw on Broadway?), and he said, "Well, I have very bad news for you, because it's all downhill from here — you're going to have a hard time topping this one."

Here's a synopsis:
Based on an inspiring true story. September 11, 2001 was an ordinary day in isolated Gander, Newfoundland—until it wasn’t. Thirty-eight planes were diverted to its doorstep on that fateful day, making this small town unexpected hosts to an international community. The camaraderie that followed reminds us all of the power that comes from opening up your heart and your home.

It is a magnificent play, and we loved it beyond words. One of the actors is nominated for a Tony, and she was divine! We are rooting hard for her.

We walked home, feeling as satisfied as two humans could be.
Though by this point, I have to admit, I also had the feeling of being done — Russian Tea Room, NYC library, Stonewall, Broadway show; I'd seen and done what I wanted, and now I was tired of jostling through crowds all the time and smelling city smells. Plus, it was getting warmer, our beautiful breezy days were turning sultry and muggy. Time to go home.

Mimosa is sad to leave her beloved city.
I put my faith in MapQuest!!!
We drove swiftly home, only getting bogged down in Connecticut twice, and rewarded our perseverance with another stop at Rein's:

Mimosa drew me as a pickle.
And now we're home, jaded veterans of the big scary city. Seriously, though, it was such a great trip; it is still not "my" city, but NYC is completely demystified for me now. I can find my way around, I have mastered the subway, I plan to go see my daughter a million times next year. All is well.

And what a joy it was to do all this with no knee pain!!!! God bless my darling surgeon.


Lady C, still and forever a BADASS

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Turns Out, It's a Hell of a Town

I believe I have been to New York City five times, though the first two hardly count — I went on a bus to the American Girl Doll Store (which seems so funny to me now, but back then it was Mecca and my girl was a True Believer), and I'm not sure I ever even went outside. Then, of course, I had my Wicked Glammy Movie Star Weekend with my dearest pal Zanzibar in 2013, and that was a visit that shall never be surpassed.

I returned to Gotham last August, and that was easily THE WORST experience.
  • It was hot. 
  • We were staying in Brooklyn, not near anything I wanted to be near.
  • My knees hurt, my feet were swollen, and I could barely walk. 
  • And at the end of the trip, we left my firstborn angel, my darling daughter, the fruit of my loins, in the big scary city all by herself. Well, all by herself amid 8.491 million big scary strangers, two of whom were her snotty pig roommates who did not impress me one iota at first meeting.
Yeah, that was not a fun trip.

But I have now completed Journey Number Five, and while neither Zanny nor J. Tilly made an appearance, it was nonetheless a blinding success from start to finish. And at the end, I got to bring home my girl! There is little that can top that.

I drove my own car — no Siri, no GPS, just some printed MapQuest directions and my own aging wits. And as always, I marvel over how the entire state of Connecticut comes to a halt on its highways. What the hell, Connecticut? How do you stand yourself???

I consoled myself with a lovely Mother's Day lunch at Rein's Deli, a place I've loved longer than my own husband. I had a Pickled Bloody Mary (just one though, remember my aging wits), and it went down gooooooood.

And then I drove into the city! And LAUGHED! Ohmygod, New Yorkers are terrible drivers!! (Who knew?) And if they just obeyed the traffic lights, there wouldn't be all this gridlock. But they didn't, and there was.

I missed one green light because I was being New England-proper (or California-mellow), but I didn't make that mistake twice; the second the light changed I charged into the intersection, all four inches of it that were available to me, and waited waited waited endlessly for a taupe-colored limo to make its way through.

Right then a police officer on horseback arrived, which made me laugh some more. Oh, yeah, horse guy, you're just what we needed here!

Finally the stupid limo had moved enough for me to get by, but then a guy tried to turn left in front of me. I slammed on my horn and yelled "NOOOOOOOO!" He threw up his hands in disgust and said something, but I didn't care, I sailed through the intersection yelling, "YOU CAN ALL BLOW ME!"

Readers, this is not a sentence I say often. Or ever, really. But when in New York, you gotta channel your inner New Yorkian. Or longshoreman. Whatever. I was a BADASS.

Sunday night's task was to move Mimosa out of the dorm room she's been sharing with yet another Human Pig — dear lord, you cannot believe the filth and crap piles my daughter has been living with. There I was, attempting to eradicate a semester's worth of gunk with Clorox wipes and elbow grease. But we did it, and we got her packed, while the Human Pig slumbered on the lower bunk next to us. What a weirdo. But it's over now.
Not an actual picture of their room — but close.
I did meet Mimosa's RA, who my daughter always describes by shrieking, "She's SO LITTLE!" See for yourself. She's an adorable girl and was very good to my daughter.

So little!!!!!!
I had no trouble finding my way around the Village; as many pointed out before I left, New York is actually way easier to navigate than Boston, as it's built on a grid. I never got lost, I never got scared. Woo-hoo! We made our way to the Hampton Inn, paid to park the car in the adjoining garage (I ultimately paid less than $200 to park my car in Times Square for four days, which seems like an amazing deal to me), and didn't see it again until we left on Wednesday.

(One of my friends, when hearing my plan, asked if the car would be safe in the garage. How the hell do I know? Where would be a safe place to park a car packed full of my daughter's college life? It reminded me of one of my mother-in-law's best sayings: "Don't park the car where it will get stolen!" She had many such gems, God rest her soul.)

On Monday, Mimosa was itching to show me around her 'hood, so back to Greenwich Village we trooped, only this time via subway — and it was so funny; we had only to glance at the subway map with the slightest of frowns marring our lovely brows, when a man materialized to ask if we needed help and offer guidance.

Subway babes!
 This happened over and over. The ethnicity and age of the man varied, but it was always a man.
  • Me: Why do you think all these men keep offering to help us?
  • Mimosa: Because we're redheads with great racks.

The Village is gorgeous. We hung out in Washington Square Park, so pretty . . .


 . . . and then had lunch at Mimosa's favorite place, Umami Burger.

  • Cute Host Guy: Have you been here before?
  • Me: Me, never; my daughter, a hundred times.
  • Cute Host Guy: OK, so shall I tell you the story?
  • Me: Yes!
  • Cute Host Guy: Umami Burger originated in California . . .
  • Me: As did I!!!
It was YUMMY. They bring four sauces — including the famous Umami catsup, which was amazing — and I deeply dislike catsup. But this was like a cross between catsup and barbecue sauce (which I also dislike), sort of sweet and savory and smoky all at once, and I really liked it. The other sauces were garlic aioli, a mildly spicy Ranch dressing, and a hot sauce, served on little Chinese soup spoons. So cunning! So tasty! We also had caramelized Brussels sprouts and a pickle plate. Crazy good!!!


Thus fortified, we set out on the subway again. Other than a Broadway show, there was one thing that I simply had to experience in Metropolis.

The mothership!!

New York City Public Library! The lions are named Patience and Fortitude, and I believe we're both feeling up Patience. Then we went inside . . .

Honestly, I was a little disappointed. Many of the rooms are kinda stinky (it's wicked old), and it was ridiculously hard to find books!! But we loved the Children's Room.

The original Winnie the Pooh collection. Weep! Weep!

It was a marvelous day, but we were really happy to collapse in our air-conditioned hotel room, feet up, bras off, icy drinks in hand.

Our room was lovely and roomy, which I'm only mentioning because Brunie had warned me that it would be shoebox size. But it was as big as any other hotel room I've ever stayed in. We were on the second floor, the free breakfast was tasty and ample, and there was free-flowing ice just a few floors away. I was happy as a kitten.


Mimosa was ready to send out for pizza and call it a night, but I had this itchy feeling of I'm in New York, I should DO something, though honestly I was fairly knackered as well. We compromised by "doing something" incredibly easy, though it did mean walking nine blocks.


Popcorn and Peanut M&MS for dinner. So fun!!!

When we got home, a nice hotel lady called us over and asked if we were Hilton Reward members. Much to my surprise, I am! (Maybe I signed up during one of my Film Festival weekends?) She then offered us a "little taste" of an upgrade — for the next few days of our stay, we could experience the Cadillac of Hilton Rewards, and she gave me a list of restaurants and other venues that would give us a 15–20% discount.

I pored over the list . . . and saw something that I really really really wanted to experience.

But now I'm tired and must go to bed. Stay tuned for Part 2!!!!

Lady C, Badass!!!