Thursday, February 22, 2018

M is in town

M lives in Boston but comes to New York a few times a year. I love when she visits.

Typically, before she comes we discuss what we're going to do. 

This involves:
  • picking a restaurant for a nice dinner —  we let Sam (M's son) pick as he knows all the hot places.
  • and, deciding which museums or exhibits we want to see. For this visit, we decide on going to the New York Public Library to see the original Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends (M's choice) and photos from the 60's and 70's (my choice). 
And then, like almost every visit, we end up NOT going to a museum or exhibit; but we do eat at a nice restaurant.

Our reservation is for 7:45 at Quality Italian. But it's a busy night, and we are seated a half hour later. 

But the staff, unlike most, is effusively apologetic. So much so, that they offer us a generous array of appetizers and a round of free drinks. 

While everything is excellent, the small, round garlic bread that comes in a little baking pot is incredible.

The food is grandly presented.  Wine is poured from an over-sized bottle.

Chicken parm comes in the form of a pizza.

And even the amazingly delicious Baci Tartufo dessert is unveiled.

And though the food is memorable, the company is more so.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


I met Janzee (the name she's given herself for this blog) when I first moved to New York 33 years ago. A friend of mine introduced us. We've gotten to know each other in that time, despite the fact that we've only seen each other, in person, exactly 33 times.

Janzee is my accountant;  the one who prepares my taxes. I trust her implicitly.  She knows the laws. She knows the changes in the laws. And she knows me.

I'll ask a question, and Janzee always has the answer. Sometimes she gives me more information than I need. When my eyes begin to glaze over, I stop her and say, "I don't really need an explanation, just tell me, can I do this or can't I?" 

And her estimates are always exactly right.

Today is my annual visit. Our meetings have gotten shorter over the years, as my income has declined. What used to be a somehwhat involved tax return, is now pretty straight-forward. 

I have to admit, as much as I like seeing Janzee, our visits together have become less fun. I used to leave her office happy about the big refund I'd be getting. Now I just hope that what I have to pay is not too bad: last year was (the cost of a low-end car); this year isn't (the cost of a Chanel wallet). 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

theater and a late dinner

I have a couple of friends who don't like to be mentioned at all in my blog, so I'll call them A and B.

I meet A to see Eve Ensler's new one woman show, In The Body of The World. In it, she connects two major events in her life: her work in helping Congolese rape victims, and her treatment for, and recovery of, uterine cancer. The connection is a stretch, but Ms. Ensler's ability to add humor to events that are clearly not funny, and her skill as a story-teller make for a fast-moving, and dare-I-say entertaining 80 minutes. 

Following the play I meet my friend B at Milos, an upscale, glass-walled Greek restaurant in midtown.

It's about 9 pm when we are seated. At a place where a Greek salad costs $33 (it's meant to be shared) it is not inexpensive. The restaurant is packed. The noise level high. And everyone and everything looks great. 

The fresh fish lies around on ice waiting to be cooked.

The fruit relaxes in a basket waiting to be cut.

And the goats (I'm sure they're in a pen out back somewhere) are waiting to be milked so the chef can make some fresh Greek yogurt.

I wish we were more hungry. 

B and I split two appetizers: fried calamari and an incredible signature dish of fried zucchini and eggplant with some kind of cheese hidden in the middle. 

We skip the main course and split an order of fruit and yogurt for dessert.

I want to take a picture with my friend but she vetoes that. And in fact, discourages me from any photos, "You don't want to look like a tourist here."

She's probably right. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

finally out!

A week feels like a long time to walk around with —what feels like — a gigantic and conspicuous band-aid on my face.

Yet strangely, this weekend not customer asks about it. I'm sure they are being polite. That, and no one but me really cares what I look like.

Today I go back see Dr. David Becker. Aside from having an impeccable and renowned practice, this office is run smoothly. I am hanging up my coat when my name is called. It's nice when doctors show respect for their patients by not over-booking and making them wait forever.

The doctor sees me. Everything looks fine. The cancer is in the lab, not in my face. The redness will go away. The swelling will come down. "See me in six weeks and we'll see what things look like then."

Rosa takes the stitches out. Aside from some redness, I think it looks pretty good.

She adds some near-invisible steri-strips, and I'm out the door. In and out in 15 minutes. Feeling almost normal again.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

an unanswered question

Am I too protective or not protective enough?

This is when being a single parent is so difficult. I don't have the confidence to know when to hold on and when to let go.

I have no husband to tell me,"Leave him alone. He's 25. Old enough to make his own decisions."

Or, "Let him fail this once. He needs to learn that you are not always going to be there to help make things right."

Or, "You've a right to be upset. You need to set more boundaries."

Or, "Let me handle this."

My son lives in Philadelphia. He has a good job in real estate and seems to enjoy his life outside NY.  But if I'm honest with myself, I really know little of his life.

I don't know his friends.

I've never seen his apartment; I work weekends and he works weekdays.

I've never met any of his colleagues from work.

And I don't know Philadelphia.

So while I can imagine his life there, I don't really know his life there. 

It's not like when my son lived at home. Then, I knew all his friends, and was even friendly with many of his friends' mothers. I knew his school. His teachers. And mostly what he did when he wasn't studying.

Now I have no idea. But in some ways, I worry less.

I don't know when he goes out, so I needn't worry when he's not home by a certain hour.  But when he visits, I do. 

Maybe I watch too much Dateline and Investigation Discovery. Alexander has no curfew. I just expect he'll text me if he's going to be very late. — a courtesy he keeps forgetting. 

Alexander comes home Friday tonight and goes straight to his friend's Sam house. 

I go to sleep around midnight and awake around three to an empty house. I text Alexander at 2:59, and two more times within the hour.

He doesn't respond. 

And there's nothing I can do except worry, and imagine a million different scenarios with none of them ending well. Alexander is 25; he doesn't understand a mother's worry.

My son finally arrives safely home around five. He's fine; I'm not.

And I still don't know the answer to my question:  Am I too protective or not protective enough?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

what is it about this city and rain?

I meet Susan in the west village to see Relevance, a new play at MCC Theater.

A big guy sits down next to me reeking of smoke. He then unabashedly takes over my armrest. I want to move but there's no place to go.

The play stars a great cast and tells a smart story. But I think it's a bit too preachy — too many words and not enough action.

The one-act play ends at 9;45 and I'm anxious to get home. But it's raining, and that always makes things so difficult transportation-wise.

I try to get a VIA.  It'll be $9.95 (most rides are $5-$7). That I can live with, but the wait is 19 minutes. Way too long.

(WARNING: If you don't live in NYC, you might not appreciate the frustration that follows). 

So I walk to the nearest subway, trying to shield my wound from getting wet. 

I get to the subway at West 4th Street. It's 9:54 and the trains stopped running at 9:45.  Yup. Something to do with construction.  

So my choices are to either take the subway four blocks south and change to an uptown train, or, walk 10 blocks north to go to another subway stop. I feel like I'm in that 1985 movie, After Hours, where a guy gets stuck in Soho and can't make it home.

I try VIA again. The wait is now 20 minutes and the price has gone up a $1. I walk to 14th Street.

I take the # 2 Express to 42nd Street and then plan to transfer to the #1. But an announcement says something about the #1 being delayed due to construction. Really? On a Thursday night. Who makes these stupid decisions?

So I switch to the shuttle. Get to the east side and walk to the platform for the #6 train. I wait there for 30 minutes, listening to more announcements about more trains being delayed. It's hot. It's crowded. It's after 11. And there is no train in sight. 

I leave the subway station and flag a cab. It's been so long, I honestly can't remember the last time I was in one.

And with good reason. It costs $15 to go about 2 miles. 

I get home at 11:18. 

I should have waited for the VIA.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

morning after

Today is supposed to be worse than yesterday.

It isn't.

Yesterday I needed Tylenol; today I need nothing.

Was expecting to wake up to a black eye.

Even considered canceling my plans to see Cardinal tonight with Zelia and Susan — a play that got mediocre reviews.

But I awake to zero pain.. and just a little discoloring under the eye.

And while I'm a bit freaked over 7 stitches on my face, I see Shaun White being interviewed on The Today Show. This past October he fell and had 62 stitches on his face;  his face looks flawless today. But then, I'm not 31-year old Shaun White superstar.

And lest I forget the big picture, the cancer is gone. And for that I am immensely grateful.