Tuesday, May 23, 2017

different kinds of friends

My friends are all kind, compassionate, and smart. But there are more differences than similarities among them.

Some are married. Some are single.

Some have children, some don't. And several are, like me, single mothers.

Some I can call and they will be there, regardless of time or problem. And they will always give me wise, honest, advice.

Some live here, while many live outside New York

Some are creative and astound me with their abilities to see the world through unusual eyes.

Some write in a way that puts me to shame. I rely on them to catch and correct any grammatical errors in my blog.

Most I've known for many many years, but several have entered my life more recently.

Some astound me with their ability to fix and build things — a talent I am envious of. One friend (a female no less) just built out her closets.

Some I speak to more than see, regardless of geography.

Most love theater and film.

But one has not been in a commercial movie theater for as long as I've known her, and another loathes theater but will go if the play has been thoroughly vetted and doesn't last more than two hours max. (Hamilton was the exception).

One is a compulsive shopper and always finds the very best bargains. A few never ever shop. 

All are self-deprecating.

Most wear some makeup. A couple wear none. And one friend only owns one lipstick.

Most of my friends read novels, but one admits to not having the attention span.

Some are athletic; some workout; and a few are in amazing shape. Two swim up to five times a week.

One just recently retired as CFO of a large company and enrolled in a course on welding. 

Most are liberal-minded democrats, but not all.

And a few are always up for doing anything, as long as they are available.

Robin is one of these friends.

At noon Susan tells me that unfortunately she can't come with me tonight to see The End of Longing; we've had tickets for awhile. But she's found a substitute: our mutual friend Jill.

A couple of hours later Jill finds out that she can no longer go.

I call Robin. She checks her calendar; finds herself free; and agrees to come. We meet three hours later.

And the play? Just okay; engaging enough if you want to see Matthew Perry play act drunk for 105 minutes with no break. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

not as planned

I get to bed late and can't stay asleep. No discernible reason. Just one of those nights.

The alarm wakes me and I'm exhausted.

Work is busy. 

I plan to leave exactly at six. Skip lunch but grab a quick bite before. Then see Ricky Gervais at the 92nd Street Y with Robin. 

I'm also looking pale and my hair (despite washing it this morning) looks awful.  I'll go to some makeup counter before leaving work and get some color put on my face. I need something. Too bad there isn't a blow bar here.

But then...

Around 5:30 I begin helping someone. She's lovely but nothing goes smoothly. The item she wants to purchase is missing a price tag. I need to find someone to make a tag. The tag gets printed on another floor. All this takes time.

Then there's an issue with a coupon. More time to sort that out.

Now I'm really running late. Not even sure I can make it. Plus, I definitely won't have time to get a mini-makeover. Or eat dinner.  And my feet!  I clock 9.3 miles today.

Around 6:30 I finally leave work. 

I take the subway to 96th street and actually am at the Y a little after 7. 

We take our seats. I thought the interview was scheduled for an hour, but it's actually 90 minutes. Ugh!

Myy aching feet, growling stomach, and half-closed eyes make it difficult to concentrate. What can I get to eat after? Should I even bother eating, as it'll be close to 9:30 by the time I get home? When can I take off my shoes? My toes actually hurt. My toes!  Is it time to get Keratin done to my hair again? It's been since October and my hair looks like it died. Should I take a Via home even though I live less than a mile away? 

Ricky is funny and genuine. The interviewer is also good — Tim Goodman, TV Critic for The Hollywood Reporter. Too bad I couldn't have stayed more focused.

And the two slices of greasy pizza that I end up eating afterwards make me feel more guilty than satisfied.

Friday, May 19, 2017

solo date

I've never minded going out by myself. Sometimes it's just easier.

I read about a new play.

The reviews are universally excellent. And then there are two added benefits: the play is a one-act, 80 minutes long; and on the eastside, not far from work and not far from home.

I find a cheap ticket on TDF ($12), but there's only one available. I buy it anyway.

After a long, but decent day, I take myself to dinner at the Food Hall in the Plaza Hotel. There are an overwhelming number of options.  I choose Luke's Lobster, and treat myself to their signature trio of half sandwiches: crab, shrimp and lobster.

Dinner is okay; the lobster rolls on the Cape are so much better. These lack something; I think its taste.

I get to the theater, a short walk from the Plaza. My seat is excellent. Second row. The small theater is packed.

I never find it awkward going to theater (or even dinner) alone. The play is outstanding. This powerful piece of drama is far more satisfying than my dinner. See it if you can.

surprised at work

On Monday, I get a message from someone I've never met.

Carol, who follows my blog, messages me on Facebook: 

Hi Lyn - I have a friend who recently moved to NYC...thought I would send her your way for some shopping. Which Saks are you at? Fridays and Saturdays? Generally what time?

I respond that I'll bet working this Friday, and she answers:

I'll make sure she talks to no one and no eye contact until she gets to your part of the store!!!

So today, I'm working, and one of my colleagues comes up and says, "Someone is here to see you." 

And there is Carol with two friends! I recognize her immediately from her Facebook page. She deliberately hadn't mentioned that not only would her friend be visiting, but that she would be too.

So a little bit of background.

M had a friend named Michelle (I met Michelle once, nine years ago). Michelle had an assistant named Carol. When M and I wrote a blog called Two Friends And A Diet from 2009 to 2012, Carol followed us. Then, when I began writing my own blog, Carol followed me. So for quite some time, we've been virtual friends.

But now here she is, in person. I am utterly surprised, and monumentally touched, that Carol would take time our of a planned trip to New York (she is from San Diego) to see me.

Carol knows the details of my everyday life, and I know so little about her. Though the little I do know is impressive — she's compassionate, kind, fun, and charming.  Carol asks one of her friends to take a picture of us, and she does.

We talk briefly (it's a busy day or I'd have loved to talk longer). 

Before leaving Carol says, "Oh, I brought you a little gift." And she hands me a wrapped present. I open it and there's a San Diego magnet (that will live on my refrigerator) and a  beautifully scented blood orange and bergamot candle. 

I am so glad our relationship has skipped outside the boundaries of virtual.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


I get a mammogram and sonogram every year.

I start to get nervous a few days before, when I look at my calendar and see my scheduled appointment. 

I go to Rosetta Radiology on the Upper East Side. It is located near me; the staff is professional, friendly, and I assume competent; and I am never kept waiting. But I am also superstitious (not of the over-the-top kind). And I also wouldn't leave because for years, I have always gotten the outcome I want: "Everything is fine."

And today is no exception.

I leave feeling safe. Happy. And of course, relieved.

Then I think of my friends who have not been as lucky. Who didn't get the all-clear on a routine visit. And how their lives changed in a nanosecond.

All of them are fine. But not before going through months of uncomfortable medical procedures and intense emotional trauma. 

I know it's more than a little sappy to be grateful for the good, and happy for the mundane. Life is precious, and we are all vulnerable. Some days are slow, others boring. I often wish for more adventure. 

But today, nothing happening and no new news is the best news of all.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

the best job

I've had many jobs.

First I was a counselor for little kids at Camp Maplewood. I was only ten years older than the four-year olds I was charged with supervising. 

I was a lifeguard at a local pool where I spent the summer of '67 listening to the Red Sox earn their way to the pennant, but then lose to St. Louis in the World Series.

I taught swimming one summer at a camp, and swam a mile every day I worked.

Then there was my filing job at my friend Gary's father's company. 

I worked at Continental Bank in Chicago, once thinking my goal in life was to be a loan officer.

I hired non-exempt employees as an HR recruiter for Blue Cross Blue Shield. The dress code there allowed claim adjusters to walk the floors in fluffy slippers.

My job as an Assistant Brand Manager at Gillette after business school was my first real job, and I loved it. There I met M, V, and Gail, all of whom are still big, important parts of my life. 

But I wanted to live in NYC so I moved for a job at Lever Brothers. That, too, put me in a creative, smart environment, where everyone was my age.  It was there I met my still very close friend Leslie.

Next was a conscious move to the media industry. I got my first big corner office at SImon & Schuster. Unfortunately though, I had nothing to do for the two years I was there. But I got a free gym membership and got in shape.

Then came CBS. There I became lifelong friends with J and recently reconnected with my boss who shares my name (and same spelling).

Next, I was VP of Marketing at CNBC, a job I loved and lost right after giving birth to Alexander.

I later worked on four soap operas for P&G Productions.

And then came Discovery, where I was head of Ad Sales Marketing. I had the best staff in the business; too bad the head of Ad Sales at the time and I were toxic together.

Sr. VP Packaging (one of those fancy titles that lacked substance) at a big media company came next. Great people, gorgeous corner office, but not enough responsibility.

And now I sell clothes at Saks. I've written enough about that.

But my best job of all has been, and always will be, being a mother to Alexander. 

24 years ago when I was pregnant, people told me how brave I was. Having a child by myself was not as common then. But I never thought of myself as brave, just lucky.   And I have never ever wavered from that view.

My son has given me more joy than I ever thought possible. He has kept me up nights with worry, too. But he's made me smile more, and appreciate the good in life, in ways no one else has.

He came home yesterday and just left. This morning he bought us both breakfast, and read me a card he wrote. As with all his cards, it made me laugh. But the sentiment made me proud. Proud that I have a child who is growing up to be a responsible and thoughtful adult. Proud that I have a child who can be affectionate and kind. Proud that we have a close relationship.

Being a mom can be a tough jobThere is no pay;  the hours are long; and the responsibilities are immeasurable. There are times we'd like to quit and times we're under-valued. But there is absolutely nothing that is better! 


Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

rainy day shower

Jessica and Dan are getting married in September, and today is Jessica's shower.

Despite bad weather, my Via arrives two minutes from my requesting it. And, I am the only rider. Rainy day. No wait. $6.48 to go 50 blocks. How can you not love Via?

River Park, the venue for the shower, is situated along the East River. It's the perfect place to celebrate an upcoming bride.

I see my sister soon after arriving,. As usual, she looks stunning. (I look like I've been shut up in a room without sunlight for years).

The room is filled with flowers, wait people, and women in colorful spring dresses. My fear of having nothing to say is quickly dispelled, as everyone is friendly, talkative, and welcoming.

I soon see Jessica, who looks radiant.

The appetizers are all excellent, as is the food. But it's the heartfelt speeches that will be remembered. Jessica's mom (Jill) and her mother-in-law-to-be (Nina) both tell stories of the newly-engaged couple. It's clear that the marriage is not just about Dan and Jessica, but the blending of two families.

When Rita — Jessica's 93-year old vibrant grandmother —stands up and gives her speech, everyone mists up. Jessica is the only girl among 5 grandchildren.  And her relationship with Rita has always been an exceptional one.

Over lunch, I sit at a table with Jill and her college roommates, Rita, Valerie and Allyn. Allyn is Jessica's aunt — we've probably met, but it was so long ago we've both forgotten. We start talking and she says to me, "Oh, aren't you the one with the web site?" I assume she's talking about this blog. Surprisingly, her son found it (I have no idea how) and reads it. So while I know little about Allyn (aside from the fact that she's lovely and has an unusually great first name), she knows a lot about me.

Even the wet weather can't dampen the positive spirit of this happy day.

view from River Park