Monday, March 31

Finally! A decent dilemma.

I'll be in NYC next week on business. The meeting I'm flying out for is in New Jersey and from 9:00 - 10:00 am. (I'd like to take a moment to comment that I never in my life thought I'd ever be flown anywhere for a one hour meeting much less across the country. The meeting is for something I've worked hard on and feel passionately about but, still, it seems silly. I will say the face time can make all the difference in the world.)

Anyway, I'll be back in the city around noon and I'm not flying home until the next morning so I'll have an honest to goodness free (half) day in Manhattan. I've been to NYC about 15 times now but I've never had a solid block of free time. I do fun things but they are always in the evenings. This time I'm having the car drop me at a museum. (Oh yeah, that's another thing. I have a car taking me to and picking me up from the meeting because cabbies don't like to make the one hour drive to New Jersey since nobody will pay them for the ride back. A town car is picking me up? Now that's ridiculous. Who do I think I am?!) My dilemma is which museum should I visit? I've never seen any of them. Here are the museums I'm considering:

The Guggenheim
The Metropolitan/The Cloisters
The Frick
The Whitney
Tenement Museum (Cool!)
The Morgan Library

I've also been meaning to roam the New York Public Library. I've walked up those famous steps and even tried to go in but it was closed. I think I got there around 10:00 am and it didn't open until 11:00 or some ridiculous hour. Annoying!

I've asked around and I'm leaning towards MOMA. I'm not necessarily a huge modern art fan but I hear great things about the place. I also learned that I can get in free, with my company ID, which is a plus. I was checking out their site earlier and was very upset to find the following notice:

Salvador Dalì's The Persistence of Memory (1931) is not currently on view at The Museum of Modern Art. The painting will be on display at the Tate Modern, London, from June 1 to September 9, 2007, as part of the exhibition Dalì and Film. What the...?! I wouldn't have missed it if they hadn't mentioned it. Now I'll be wandering around thinking where is the kooky, drippy, clock picture?

But wait.. look what the notice says next:

It will then travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (October 14, 2007–January 6, 2008) Yippee!!! I might make a trip to LACMA for that! Wait... January 6, 2008? I missed it? Curse you MOMA!!!!! It's apparently on vacation in St. Petersberg. St. Petersberg Florida, that is. Ha! That's what you get for trying to avoid me Mr. Persistence of Memory.

Of course, I habitually call that painting The Persistence of Time (not that I mention it very often) so maybe I'm not so upset after all.

Do any of you have other ideas of how to spend my big free (half) day in New York? If I'm not too overwhelmed, I may even try to catch a show that night after dinner. It seems I have a lot of home work to do. I need to see what exhibits are showing where and then see if there are any shows I really want to see. I've heard David Mamet's November is fantastic. Shows are so spendy so I'm not sure if I'll do that. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I promise to report on how it all goes.

Saturday, March 29

"I may barf."

My friend Heidi is back in town after a few weeks in Wisconsin with her family. We decided to catch a movie and dinner. We saw Run, Fat Boy, Run. It's a cute little film that is fun and worth catching when it hits cable.

After the movie we decided to grab a bite at a good place that we've been to many times before. We had a lot of catching up to do. She missed my melt down, hearing about Patti in Gypsy, mom's surgery and my eventual calming down phase (that I've yet to blog about). After dinner we were feeling zany so we each order a yummy sounding apple cobbler. I was in the midst of some story or another when I looked down and saw a centipede type bug crawl out of my cobbler. I dropped my spoon, covered my mouth with my hand and whispered "Oh my God. I may barf." Heidi froze as I turned the plate around to revel the creepy crawler casually making his way around the rim of the dish. We tried to flag somebody down but nobody was to be found. Heidi jumped up and made her way towards the kitchen. She got someones attention by shooting a fierce look and stating "My friend just found an earwig in her cobbler." A moment later our poor waitress showed up. I pointed to the bug and said "Seriously, I may barf. That's so gross." She agreed that it was indeed gross and snatched the plate off the table and ran away. A few minutes later a man in a tie showed with our check in hand. He apologised and went on and on about he just couldn't understand it. How could a bug live in such a hot dish "unless it fell from the sky"? I agreed that it was a mystery but it had in fact happened. He said that our dessert was on him. I glared at him and he said "Well, um, I'm happy to cover your meal if...". I just said "Thank you" and cut him off. The more he went on the more he seemed to be accusing me of dropping the creature in my dessert. I was annoyed. On our way out, we went to the bathroom. As I washed my hands I thought "He (the bug) had powdered sugar all over him." I walked out of the restroom, looked at Heidi and said "I know where it came from." I walked back and found the tie guy (I presume he was the Manager). I said "It was your powdered sugar." He looked confused and slightly terrified that I'd reappeared. He stammered "What?" and I said "It had powdered sugar all over it. Check your powdered sugar." A light bulb seemed to appear over his head when he said "It was an earwig!" then ran towards the kitchen. I heard a "Thank you!" tossed over his shoulder as he ran. As we walked out Heidi quipped "Nice going Miss Marple!"

Norman and Shandon, brace yourselves, this happened at a certain blue cheese burger place you adore. Sorry to lay gross news on you but it's true. At least there's no powdered sugar in that burger you love. I can't say "I'll never go there again" but it will be a while before I get the image of that flour beetle thing (or whatever the hell it was) crawling out of my dessert. A dessert I had no business ordering in the first place, by the way. That image is one way to stay on a diet.

Wednesday, March 26

Yet another obsession

Recently, at work, many of us were asked to check out a growing web site for kids called Club Penguin. It was my job to go online and immerse myself in this kids website for a while. That was about a month ago. We have all become Club Penguin fanatics. Some became more "immersed" than others and many spouses have become equally obsessed. If you have kids you probably know about this site, if not, I recommend you give it a try. It's such fun! Of course, it's fun for me because I have friends who are WAY into it.

If you're not familiar with it, allow me to explain. You go online and create a penguin for yourself. The obvious names are taken so you have to be creative. Next, you cruise around and get to know the place. Eventually you become so obsessed that you'll want a paid membership to enjoy some extras... trust me. Either way, you play games to earn coins and you can go shopping for clothes, accessories, a new igloo, furniture for your igloo and so on. You can also buy a pet called a puffle. Your puffle lives in your igloo and needs to be regularly fed and loved.

It never gets boring because the site is constantly changing. There is a newspaper that drops hints on where to find free things for your penguin or how to solve an ongoing mystery. There are catalogs of stuff to earn and buy and then they retire some of them so they become extra-special. Holidays are a lot of fun too. I got my free leprechauns hat over St. Patrick's day weekend and some Easter eggs over Easter weekend. I can't wait to see what they do for April Fool's day!

There are also lots of legends on the site. For instance, you never know if anyone has ever actually managed to "tip the iceberg" floating out at sea, or turned into a ninja or found a golden puffle. They all seems to be stories started by the kids. Some legends are hinted in the online newspaper and seriously discussed among the penguins. You can meet friends and have penguin parties in your igloo to talk about it all. I know because I've met friends for "parties" on our lunch hour. It's all a ridiculous blast. You should see the tricked out igloos I've seen that have been created by 38 year olds.

You can talk to other kids here too. But before you freak out about child predators... don't. (Of course, I DID freak out when my 5-year-old niece first introduced me to this site. She sat on my lap as I watched over her shoulder while she talked to and played with other penguins. After about an hour I started to feel comfortable with the idea. I've been letting her and her brother play on Club Penguin on their own ever since.) Turns out the site has award winning safety standards and has moderators everywhere. If a penguin asks for or gives ANY personal information other penguins report them immediately. I know this works because I saw my nephew report a penguin who seemed to be giving their full name to another. You are asked to report mean penguins or anyone who is seen using bad language. Once reported, those penguins are removed from the site but, best of all, they are first shunned by the other penguins. It's the best application of peer pressure I've ever seen. The site promotes, team work, friendship, wacky humor and being kind to others. Bullying is so NOT ok. I love it! All that and it's fun too. I can not tell you how much I would have loved this as a kid. I know I sound like an ad for the place but I genuinely love it.

Today, I was on a particularly painful phone call with somebody pitching me an idea. It seemed that he might die if he ever stopped talking so I fired up and began "Puffle Herding". It's a game that has a nice coin payoff. They man spoke for so long that I earned 6000 coins! That was enough for the super-cute, pink, candy, bi-level igloo I'd been eyeing. I was also able to afford the blinking disco floor I'd been pining for. You heard me, baby!

Hello my name is Lucy and I'm a Club Penguin addict.

Tonight, I called my nephew so we could sign on the same server at the same time so I could add him to my Buddy List. We had a good snow ball fight then he showed me some fun secret places in the Club Penguin world. He tried to help me on one of my Secret Agent Missions but at the last minute I failed him.

Nephew: Ok. NOW, get your night vision goggles.
Lucy: Umm, I haven't bought night vision goggles yet.
Nephew: WHAT?!
Lucy: Sorry!
Nephew: They cost 1000 coins. You better go herd some Pu-ffles!

I laughed so hard at being berated by an eight-year-old that he kept repeating "herd some puffles... herd some puffles... herd some puffles." I'm sure it's one of those "you had to be there" stories but man was I laughing.

Needless to say I've got to go herd some puffles and earn those goggles. Catch you later!

Saturday, March 22

What the hell happened to Charlie Rose?!

Last night I caught a good episode of Charlie Rose. David McCullough was the evening's guest so, of course, I was sold. I settled in for a nice relaxing geekfest all about American history when what do my eyes see? Poor Charlie Rose looked to have been in some sort of terrible bar fight. (Cool!) Or maybe Charlie and David had some sort of a pre-show scuffle? Who knew?

This morning I had to know so I Googled "What happened to Charlie Rose's Face?" and was led to this site. Turns out Charlie suffered a tremendous face plant on the streets of NYC while trying to save his brand new MacBook. Now there's a man after my heart! Although I'm ashamed to admit that I sort of prefer the idea of a Charlie Rose vs. David McCullough smackdown.

The 20 lb Coffee Cake

Me: Maybe we should get some coffee cake to go with that breakfast casserole.
Mom: Well, Sara Lee makes a pretty good one.
Me: Sara Lee?! Screw that! Let's get the 20 lb. Coffee Cake (aka Corner Bakery's Cinnamon Creme Cake)!!!
Mom: Oooooooo! I'd almost forgotten about that one!

And so our Easter brunch is born. Mom and I had decided on a breakfast casserole a couple of weeks ago. Since Mom is out of commission, we wanted to make the brunch as stress free as possible. Entertaining is not Mom's favorite thing. Well, she likes having family over but she hates spending the whole time in the kitchen preparing a meal. Who can blame her? I happen to feel the same way. I'd much rather make something ahead of time that just needs to be popped in a hot oven.

I tried to go to the farmer's market this morning for some fruit for our brunch but my plan was foiled when I was greeted by a rather long line of cars snaking around the block to get into the parking lot. I normally hit the farmer's market at noon. I like that time because most of the crowds have cleared out and the vendors are getting eager to dump goods. They're in a much better mood to make a deal. Dad dropped by around noon but was also greeted my the super long line of cars. Guess everyone had the same idea for Easter. The difference is that Dad has excellent parking karma. He has the ability to just pull up anywhere and find great parking and today was no different. He came home with some absolutely beautiful strawberries and blueberries. Yea!
Earlier this morning I headed for Corner Bakery to pick up the 20 lb coffee cake. Mom and I call it this because it is ludicrously heavy and dense. Yum! Although I found great parking at the bakery the coffee cakes were sold out. the horror, the horror. I was told more cakes would be available later in the afternoon. They took my name and number and told me to come back at 4:00. I came back at 4:00 on the nose and got anxious when the staff didn't seem to know what I was talking about. They looked a little nervous, then I noticed an equally freaked out woman standing near by. She too had been told to come back at 4:00 for a cake. Eventually the Manager came out and told us the cakes were literally just coming out of the oven. He was therefore unable to wrap them as usual. He had them placed in boxes for us instead. He then commented "Man, my Baker really went to town for you." I didn't know what he meant. He went on to say "Well, these are supposed to weigh 4.6 lbs but this one feels closer to 6 lbs. Here... feel..." He then handed me the hot cake in the box. "Nice!" I said. He then looked me in the eye and and held his look a beat longer than normal. My first thought was 'Maybe he's special needs.' Then I thought 'My God, is he flirting with me?'. I then thought 'For Christ's sake run! The last thing you need is to fall madly in love with a man with 24 hour access to the 20 lb Coffee Cake.'

Thursday, March 20

Bionic Grandma

Mom continues to do very well. The kids (my niece and nephew) came over after school for their weekly babysitting afternoon. Dad picked them up and when they burst through the door they ran towards Mom. I thought it was so sweet that they were so excited to see her. Once they had said their hellos and were convinced that she was fine they asked to see her "leg machine". Turns out they were most excited to see THE LEGASUS (as seen above). The Legasus is the contraption Mom has to put in her leg in for 2 hours a day. It exercises her leg at regular intervals and measures the degree/angle of the bend of her knee. She is up to a 95 degree angle. Not bad for only a week after surgery. My brother claimed he was going to tell the kids that Grandma had to wear The Legasus permanently, just to mess with them, but I don't think he did. (We tend to regularly mess with kids in our family.) Anyway, the kids ran to visit The Legasus but seemed disappointed that Mom couldn't just jump into it for their entertainment. They've started calling Mom "The Bionic Grandma". It's sort of true. She's got two titanium knees after all. There are tracks from Mom's walker on the carpet throughout the house these days. I call them Gayle's Trails. The cleaning ladies came yesterday so Mom had to cut a whole new set of Gayle's Trails. When she opened the door to let them in she said I got a new knee! Want to see?" She then pulled up the leg of her sweats and showed it off. They looked on in ESL horror. Some things just don't need much translation.

We're all very happy with Mom's progress. You should see her incision. It's amazing. Her Doctor did a great job and I don't think she'll have much of a scar to boast about. She says it looks like a ham. Gross! I think it looks pretty dang good considering what went on in there just a week ago. One of these days I'll see if I can pin her down and get a picture for you. Ewwwww!

Monday, March 17

What? Am I MADE of time?!


I resisted, I really did. Unfortunately, I got myself hooked on HBO's In Treatment. I had no intention of watching that show because it's entirely too time consuming. The show airs each week night. What kind of maniac asks viewers to commit to a half hour every night? Well, I was just going to cross my arms, sit back and refuse. That was my plan, of course, until I saw an exceptionally kick-ass episode that sucked me right in. Naturally I was forced to fire up my HBO On Demand to go back and watch the first 6 weeks. It's really good and just keeps getting better. I love it!

I'm now almost caught up on In Treatment and what happens? My brother tells me I simply MUST watch John Adams. Again, I had no intention of getting sucked up into another show, but I was just 35 minutes in when I realized I was sold. Well, really, I was sold at "Starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney" but I resisted. Damn you HBO!!! That John Adams is good stuff, people. The opening scene of John Adams wearily riding towards his home, after what you're guessing has been one helluva night, is just so good and unlike anything I've seen before. I'm not sure why that is, except, it seems most filmmakers are so damn precious with the founding fathers. Not HBO! They seem to be doing a fair job of portraying the colonialists as a sometimes barbaric crew and our founding fathers as not quite as certain as we like to recall them. It's a refreshing POV that I'm really enjoying.

When it comes to history, I love a new perspective. When I visited the Tower of London I noticed a military museum. I wanted to see an honest to goodness red coat so I dragged my friend over to the building. We saw a red coat (cool!), so I was satisfied, but we also got a fun new take on the Revolutionary War. First of all, the British don't call it a Revolution. They call it the American War of Independence which totally takes the punch out of the whole thing. My favorite fun fact was learning that the Brits don't really give us credit for winning the war by our wits, or bravery or fighting ability. They just sort of shrug about it and claim that they weren't really into it and were drunk and lazy and who wanted those stupid colonies anyway? If nothing else, it reminded me, once again, that history may be told about a million different ways. It's all in the POV. I'm pretty much always a skeptic when learning about history. I never believe anyone entirely. Well, except Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough. (I know, I know... I don't care! I like them so pipe down. I don't wanna hear it.)

The only real bummer about all of this is adding more programming to an already packed Tivo To Do list. Another show is gearing up for a season kick off in just a couple of weeks. Yes, I've made a commitment to The Tudors. I've been tolerating The Tudors because I love those crazy royals but I'm still annoyed with the casting of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII. Every time I look at him I see a spoiled little boy dressing up as a king and it bugs the hell outta me. I saw Henry's armor and he was WAY bigger than Pee Wee Meyers. (Man that trip to The Tower really messed with my head, huh?) The rest of the group is perfectly cast, especially Katherine of Aragon. Now that casting was nicely done. Of course, some may argue that I should be equally annoyed by the casting of Paul Giamatti as John Adams but I'm not. Mr. Giamatti is a far superior actor whose ego isn't cranked to ten throughout his performance. I can accept him as Mr. Adams. Meyers as Henry? Not so much.

As you can imagine my poor Tivo is pretty much on fire these days. It's swinging from one time period to another and I'm freaking out. I haven't even had a chance to watch His Girl Friday, All About Eve or CBS This Morning yet. Where will I find the time to watch it all? Oh well, it's a nice problem to have, for a change of pace.

Saturday, March 15

So snip it, snip it good

Yesterday, while listening to NPR, I learned that March is now being marketed as the perfect time for a vasectomy. Guess why...really...guess. It's because of basketball. Men have finally figured out that they can take a couple of days off work, to recuperate from the procedure, and watch all of those basketball games that are played during their pesky work week. I have to admit that I admire the ingenuity. God knows if there were a Jane Austen Madness or an annual Dexter marathon, I'd volunteer for an incredibly simple procedure with a recuperation that depends entirely upon sitting still for a couple of days with a bag of frozen peas in my lap.

I like it. You go boys!


For those interested, Mom is doing great. In fact, she's doing better than expected. She walking around with her walker and even walked up steps today. She gets home tomorrow and we all can't wait. I'm so happy this surgery is behind her. All in all it's been a good experience. Her doctor is excellent and meticulous. One of the nurses said "If he hadn't been a surgeon, he would have been a great tailor." He made Mom's incision look amazing. The nurses have all been great too. Mom and I were talking today about how nursing seems to be the one vocation that is always in demand. Even when I got out of college, and no jobs were available, the classified were full of ads for nurses. I'm guessing it's the same these days. It got me thinking that maybe I should have given nursing a try.

Me: Maybe I should have been a nurse.
Mom: You'd have been a good nurse.
Me: I would have been a bad-ass nurse.
Mom: You would have been a bad-ass mortician.

Wednesday, March 12

I heart The Daily Show

Check out this clip from last night's Daily Show. It makes the same point of my post but with that pitch perfect wit that we all love. (... and, yes, that's Samantha's real husband).

My Mom, the Terminator

Mom had knee replacement surgery today. I didn't sleep well and was up early this morning so I wished her well and tried to get more sleep until I could see her post-op. There were, apparently, a rash of emergency patients this morning so she had to wait about 3 hours for a bed. The good news is that she got a disco room in the new wing that has a nice view and is quiet.

Dad and I were in the waiting room when they wheeled her off the elevator. I knew it was mom when I saw her hand. Isn't that weird? I'd know my parents hands anywhere. I was so happy to see her not only looking well but joking with the nurses. Her throat was a little dry and her voice a tad raspy but I thought I heard her asking where her In-n-Out burger was. As they wheeled her into her room I tried to stay out of the way while checking out the numerous tubes coming out of her. And what was with that ice chest? Did they save the old knee for fun?

One of the nurses told Mom she looked "so beautiful and right after surgery!". It's true, I have a pretty Mom and you'd never know her age. She is a Texas beauty who takes her hair and makeup very seriously. The most upsetting aspect of the surgery was the disturbing news that she wouldn't be allowed to wear makeup into surgery. *gasp!* Well, she managed to sneak some mascara and lipstick on and it was still there when we saw her hours later. Another nurse even said "I can't believe you still have lipstick on!" Well if anyone can get away with it, its Mom. After the nurses got her situated and left, I asked if she wanted us to leave ice chips or magazines on the bed table for her. She just asked "Are those shelves on my bed table?" Yes. "Then I want my hair and makeup stuff on the shelves, please." I dug through her overnight bag for the smaller bags that held her curlers, brushes, makeup and magnifying mirror as Dad fed her ice chips. Once I showed her where everything was she was happy.

Her knee is currently strapped to this big contraption that has it moving/bending constantly. It's crazy! Her knee is already moving. She is expected to stand on it tonight and walk on it tomorrow. *shudder* Thank God for morphine. She was not in pain when we saw her but she was very concerned about keeping the morphine clicker in her hand. I was worried she might fall asleep and drop it, so the nurse wrapped it around the bed's arm rest so she could get her hands on it easily. A couple of times Mom looked at me, winked and clicked her morphine drip. Even post-op she makes me laugh. I later learned that the ice chest held, well, ice. It was attached to another crazy contraption that worked as an ice pack on her new knee to control swelling. The other crazy IV stand was circulating her own blood back into her body. I guess they drained a bunch of blood from her, for the surgery, then returned it in recovery. It's all so much better than her last knee replacement.

The doctor told my Dad that her knee had been in very bad shape but the new one slipped right in with no complications. He was very pleased with the surgery. The whole thing took less than 2 hours and we saw that he had 2 more surgeries lined up right after Mom. I can't imagine that being my day. Get up at 6:00am to do 3-4 joint replacements, maybe do some rounds, then go home for dinner. Man, how does that work? Shandon probably knows about it from her Dad. Orthopedic specialists amaze me.

My cell phone has been ringing off the hook all day from well wishers. It's been nice. Right after Mom was out of surgery, Dad called me (I was still drying my hair, that's how off-guard I was). He then called my brother and I called the people on Mom's list of people who had asked for updates. I got to speak with her cousin who is really more like her brother. He is as funny as Mom and it was great to speak with him. I told him Mom had screamed the other night when she looked up pictures of what her surgery would look like. I heard her scream and called down the hall with "You better not be online looking at knee pictures!!" I couldn't look at them. Her cousin had surgery to muscles in his face and admitted the curiosity got to him right before his surgery and he also looked up pictures. I believe his surgery was experimental and done in a teaching hospital. He told me he agreed to have it recorded, since it might be helpful for interns, but that he now lived in constant fear that one day he'd be channel flipping and find video of his face turned inside out on some science show. He said he'd seen a knee replacement surgery on tv once and that they "just fold that leg back on top of you." Ewwww! I said "Should I check Mom's shins for lipstick marks?" We cracked ourselves up. He then clarified that when the old knee has been removed, they actually flop the leg AT THE KNEE up and rest it on your thigh. Ok, seriously... that's disgusting. He said it was so they could get a "straight shot" with the drill. *Oh God, I may barf* I was just glad I hadn't heard that before her surgery. SO GROSS!!!

Anyway, if you're still reading this, and not hurling into a waste basket, that's the story of Mom's knee replacement so far. I'll be seeing her again tonight but I have a feeling she'll be sleeping. The nurses told her tomorrow was a big day and recommended resting up. I asked if they made the hip and knee replacement patients race down the hall and if we could bet on them. There's just nothing like making a nurse laugh. I don't think they get to chuckle very often. One of the coordinators remembered Mom but we're not sure from when. Mom's had a couple of minor surgeries in the past decade but I guess she made an impression. She always does.

Thanks to my buddies for sending positive vibes our way. I'll be sure to keep you all up to date on Mom's progress. Oh, and for those with weak stomachs, I don't think future posts will be as disturbing as this one. However, for those curious, here is a fun virtual knee replacement site. I haven't the nerve to go through it, but if you're interested... well, let me know how it goes.

Monday, March 10

How many times have we seen THAT look before?

So, yet another politician has been caught cheating on his wife. Naturally the poor woman is expected to "stand by her man" when you know she wants to tell him off (and probably has). Can somebody please tell my why the wife (and lets be clear... it's always the wife) has to stand next to her husband during these oh so apologetic press conferences? I understand that it somehow makes the cheating man look more sympathetic if his wife appears to have forgiven him (even though it's mere hours after the big reveal). Just once, once, I'd like to see the wife stand up there and bitch slap her husband in front of the world. Or, better yet, walk out, hand in hand with the asshole, then stop short of the podium and wave him up as if to say "There you go hot shot. You got us into this mess, go get us out." Just once I'd like to see that happen. That would be beautiful. Instead, the politician's handlers drug the wife up and guilt her into wearily standing next to her husband with that familiar, miserable expression on her face. It's all so ridiculous. I tell ya, one day some politician is going to cheat on the wrong woman and she's going to decide to be uncooperative and publicly flip out on the turd. I can't wait!

Friday, March 7

In a nut shell


I got home and switched my laptop and Tivo to another available wireless network. It's much slower than mine was but it will have to do until I figure something else out. What a relief!

***We now return to our regular blog***

New York was great (as always) but it was an incredibly hectic week. I'm so happy to be home. I usually manage to get more sleep in NYC but, this time, I was up past midnight each night and only found blogging time once. I had to get up at 5:30 am this morning to grab a quick breakfast and meet a friend for a 7:00 cab to get to the airport. I usually take a later flight but it dumps me in the middle of LA's Friday afternoon traffic. Also, the later flight is always packed. I finally realized that if I could drag my booty out of bed early, I could catch an earlier fight that is never full and therefore has many empty middle seats. When you're flying coach, it's really all about acquiring a an aisle seat with nobody seated next to you. I got lucky both coming and going this week and didn't have a middle seat passenger to deal with. Yea!! Ya know, it's the little things that really make me happy.

The low point of my week was yelling at the CFO of a company I work with. I caught him lying to me and I sort of lost it. I rarely freak out on people, but about every 4-5 years I find myself yelling at somebody. Because it's a rarity it's usually pretty effective. This freak-out happened on my cell phone in the mezzanine lounge of our hotel. We had just wrapped up our last meeting of the week and were sitting in the lounge having a round of well deserved drinks. I excused myself to check in on this CFO. I sat nearby but out of ear shot. I was pretty firm right away but things escalated rapidly and I started raising my voice. The whole issue is that I'd given this guy a deadline and he ignored it because he got an extension two years ago and, I suspect, he assumed he could just get another extension. I started shouting for a variety of reasons and that's when I scared my happy-go-lucky co-workers. I couldn't see them but I later heard they were all craning their necks in my direction to hear what the fuss was all about. None of them had ever heard me angry and all were surprised. At one point this CFO had the nerve to say "Hey, I'm supposed to be on the five o'clock train but...". That's when I stood up and shouted "Yeah and I'm supposed to be relaxing, with a drink, getting ready for a night of theater, so don't talk to me about your 5:00 train!!!" The lounge was loud, so it was difficult to hear, but it probably worked to my advantage. I just kept talking/yelling because I couldn't hear much of what they were saying on speakerphone. Ordinarily I'd feel bad about a freak-out, but I was in the right and this guy had deliberately mislead me and had been giving me the brush-off for several weeks. I don't think he'll be ignoring me anymore. This morning I got a message from the CFO's sales guy, a good guy who I normally get along with. He had been in on the angry call and left a message this morning saying "I'm just calling to see if you've calmed down." It pissed me off all over again. I really don't think he would have dared left that message for a 41 year-old man but he felt fine about leaving it for my 41-year-old ass. I thought it was a sexist, condescending thing to say and I was in no mood for it. Unfortunately, if you're a woman with a spine you're a a bitch and a pain in the ass. Men are allowed to have fits all day long and nobody bats an eye. I freak out once in a four year work relationship, because somebody lied to me, and I'm an hysterical female who needs to "calm down". Whatever. This female manages that man's rather lucrative contract so you'd think he'd be more respectful.

On the other hand, the highlight of the week was seeing Gypsy. OMG!!! Patti Lupone tore the doors off the place. (Here's a little taste. Believe it or not, she was even better last night. Also, she now does this hilarious cocky strut thing, in character, after this number, and the gays are practically flying through the air going ape-shit. Such fun!!!) I can't wait to get my hands on the cast recording. I've no idea when it's due to release but I am so there when it does. The staging was amazing and there were some effects that I still can't quite get my head around. At one point Baby June and her boys are dancing in profile in a line. A strobe light starts flickering (and all I can think is I hope nobody has a seizure) and about 30 seconds later you realize June and the boys are growing before your eyes. I don't mean the young actress stepped away and the older actress stepped in, it was a gradual growth of June and the boys and I have no idea how they pulled it off. I'm thinking it was some sort of trick with perspective but it was impressive. It took my brain a moment to even see the gradual growth. The whole audience gasped as they started to realize what was happening. It was so cool! And when Patti sang "Mama's Turn" I thought the place would explode. She paced herself so well throughout the show and I realized just what a damn demanding role it really is. The woman is an athlete I tell ya. I don't know how somebody can tear their guts out 8 times a week but she's doing it. The actress playing Gypsy was also great. As the role requires, she goes from wall flower/side kick to an amazingly confidant woman and really pulled it off. I loved her. The orchestra was one of the best I've heard. They were set in the background behind a couple of scrims. The musicians would showed up from time to time in the background. They were great. We even got good scoop on the show's dirt from a waiter at the restaurant before the show. The restaurants around Broadway always ask if you're going to a show so they can get you out the door in time. We told the waiter what we were seeing and he lit up. He told us a friend of his had seen it the night before and loved it. Even the NY Times raved! He said that Patti was supposed to have starred in the revival a few years ago but the writer (Laurents, not Sondheim) was furious with her for walking out on one of his projects. She was starring in one of his new shows but it was terrible, and not being improved, so Patti left. The writer swore he'd never work with her again and cast Bernadette Peters in the role of Mama, a role Patti had been promised. This is when the waiter leaned in and said "God love her, but Bernadette just couldn't carry that role." He went on to say that the writer was pretty much on his deathbed when his partner said "come on, let Patti play Mama, she was born to play that role". The writer finally agreed to this, shortly before his death, and that's how this revival got it's start. Now, I have no idea if any of this is true, but I love it! Nobody can throw down a great backstage fight like Broadway.

OH! And one of my favorite little moments happened last night when I stepped on to the hotel elevator after the show. A very cute guy was standing in the elevator when the doors opened. I stepped on and, because he was closer to the buttons, he asked what floor I was on. I nonchalantly said "Oh, penthouse please." He nodded and whispered "All-riiiiiiiiiiiight." I loved it. It was by far best thing about being on that floor.

SO there is my trip. I wish I'd had more time to blog because it's so much more fun. I did manage to snap this quick pic for y'all after the show. Here is Times Square around 11:00 pm last night:

Here is one half of my super-cute terrace:

And here is a shot of my cute room:

(Sorry it's sideways. It's not letting me save the rotation but you can still see how cute it is.)

Oh, and can somebody please tell me why I'm always in New York when stuff blows up? Remember the last time? It's starting to make me look very suspicious.

Wednesday, March 5

I'll take Manhattan

I've been wanting to post these past few days but I've been ridiculously busy. I'm in Manhattan for work and my schedule was assigned to me. We travel in a pack and descend upon poor unsuspecting partners for several hours at a time. Each day I'm in meetings from about 9:00 am to 4:30 - 5:00, then we get together for work dinners... that's when the nights get long. Last night was my only chance to catch up on work so I chose to stay in to work online. I got in around 6:30 pm and worked online until 11:30pm. I was nodding off at my computer when I finally decided to call it quits. This morning I had to get up at 6:30 am and got back to my room at 8:30 pm. I'm very tired. Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I like business travel. I have a very social job that requires a lot of meetings on both a business and creative level. It can even be fun.

Tonight I ate at Koi. I've been to the LA Koi, and liked it, but it's a hot spot for young Hollywood and the paparazzi so it's annoying. The NY Koi was just as tasty but completely sans "scene". Thank God! As usual, when eating sushi, others order for me. A yummy assortment of food arrives and I dig in without knowing the name of anything much less what it is. Tonight's dinner was no different but just as yummy. We decided the chef at Koi must sprinkle a little crack over the dishes. They're all amazing. If you ever have the chance to dine at Koi, I highly recommend the Baked Crab Roll. Deee-lightful. Not so delightful was the cab driver who dropped us off. We knew Koi was next to Bryant Park, and the cabbie agreed, but he may have thought we said "toy" not "Koi" because he dropped us on the far corner of Bryant Park very close to something that resembled a sex shop. Hmm.

As for my accommodations, I'm in a small boutique hotel this time. One of our VPs used to be based in LA but spent two weeks a month in NY. We are all staying in the hotel that used to be her home away from home. When I checked in, there where about 10 co-workers mingling behind me just getting back from dinner. I leaned over the front desk and whispered "Can I get a quiet room away from all of these maniacs?" while sticking my thumb over my shoulder. The woman at the desk brightly said "Oh, you're on the penthouse level." Wha?! Me?! Now, before anyone gets too excited, I like my room but it's not a penthouse. I assume there is a penthouse on this floor but I'm not in it. My room is small but an average size for NYC. I do, however, have an adorable terrace. Now that's something I've never had in New York. I love it! Too bad it's 40 degrees outside whenever I'm at "home". The service here has been amazing. I'm not sure if it's because they think I'm a big shot or if that's how they treat everyone. As I come and go the doorman says "Have a good day Ms. Lucy's last name" when I come back, it's "Welcome back Ms. Lucy's last name". It's awesome! I've made friends with Gio, the IT guy, and Rebecca, the nice lady at the front desk.

When I first heard I'd be staying here, I was slightly annoyed to learn that they didn't offer room service for breakfast (something I'd NEVER pay for on my own, by the way). I have certain habits when I travel, some are specific to Manhattan. In New York, I LOVE to order breakfast in my room and read the NY Times with the Today Show on. I like to end the day in bed reading The Daily News. It's just so dreamy.

The initial sadness about "No Room Service" in the mornings quickly vanished. We've all been meeting downstairs in the lounge for breakfast and it's been a nice way to start each day. The room rate is good here, by Manhattan standards, so I think I'll be back. Best of all, is the location. This cute little hotel is within 4 blocks of all of our meetings. I love that! It's also very close to Macy's Harald Square. Of course, that can also be trouble. Umm, have I mentioned that I have a problem with that particular Macy's? It's the one place I tend to drop way more money than I should. Today, I ran in and bought a necklace and earrings to go with the outfit I had on. This is something I would NEVER do at home but somehow being in NY it makes perfect sense to accessorize on your way to a meeting. Whatever. I also tend to lust after shoes and bags when I'm in New York. I saw a fantastic bag today, and it still haunts me, but it was $400 and I couldn't justify buying it. I loved that bag and that kind of love doesn't happen for me very often but I can live without it... for now.

Of course, it's not all fun and games. There is work to be done but that's too boring to mention here. There are the occasional New York freaks you hear about. On my last trip, I was standing on a corner trying to hail a cab when a co-worker grabbed my crooked elbow and yanked me towards her. She quickly shook her head and nodded towards the man next to me and whispered "He's touching himself. Step away!" Ewwww! My stepping away from him didn't seem to slow him down one bit. He walked across 5th Avenue and kept right on with the business at hand (pun intended). Gross! Most people are very nice and even helpful. Sadly I can't be one of them. Last night a nice Parisian woman asked how to get to Broadway and I couldn't help her. I could only mumble something about it slicing through the island and that no matter what you'd run into it eventually.

***Just in***
My beloved Apple Airport (my wireless router) is down. It had to be disconnected which means no more wireless access for me and my laptop and *gasp* my Tivo. What will I do?!?!?!? Damn! I hate technical difficulties. Blog posts may be a rarity for a while folks. Wish me luck.

Saturday, March 1

Spoiler Alert (apparently)

I saw the long awaited The Other Boleyn Girl this afternoon and I wish I hadn't.

I read, and really enjoyed, the book. I knew it took great liberties with the facts but it was a good time so I was willing to overlook the flaws. The movie takes even more liberties than the book and I'm not to willing to overlook it. To begin with, the script is atrocious. I understand the urge to explain history to the unwashed masses in plain/obvious language but, for God's sake, it's not THAT complicated. It was English History 101 at it's soap opera worst. It was so far from accurate it was barely recognizable. I just sat shaking my head thinking "These people think this is what happened". The film makers did manage to get the sets and costumes (mostly) right. At least they had the balls to dress everyone in period costume. It's a terribly unflattering style that most Directors are too chicken to stick to. The corsets are chest crushers and, I don't care how cute you think you are, nobody looks good in the dreaded gable hood of the time. Nevertheless, they chose to go for it and I thank them for that at least. I don't think there were quite that many foiled prints in Henry's time but the man did have a damn fine tailor and it's reflected in the film.

As if the script and terribly jumbled timeline weren't annoying enough there was the audience to contend with. Is it too much to ask that an audience watching a film called The Other Boleyn Girl might see a beheading and the birth of a fairly famous red headed Queen coming? Apparently it is because, I swear, there were gasps when the crowd realized Anne really was going to lose her head. (Oh, I'm sorry, am I giving too much away? Then get off my blog!!) They really seemed to think Anne would miraculously be spared at the last minute. I guess they had never heard of Henry VIII. Even more bizarre were the gasps and mutterings when, at the end of the film, a cute little red headed girl skipping through a field was reveled to be *gasp* the future Queen of England. Mercy! In perhaps the most ludicrous scene, Mary Boleyn barges into the castle, grabs baby Elizabeth and storms out of the castle. Yeah, I'm sure it was a snap to just walk into The Tower of London, right after the King has had your sister beheaded, and walk off with an heir to the throne. (I'm suddenly not feeling so sorry for those damn writers.) Oh, and some jackass in the audience applauded when Katherine of Aragon made a big uppity speech to the King in court. Yeah, 'cause that happened all the time. I think the clapper thought she was acting as some sort of feminist but I'm taking it upon myself to kick her out of the club for being so stupid. Let's be clear people, nobody lipped off to Henry. Woman are telling off men at every turn in this film and we know that that simply wasn't an option in that time... especially to the King of England.

Mom thinks I'm being a snob. I just can't imagine how you get through this life without knowing that a woman named Anne Boleyn gave birth to Queen Elizabeth and was later beheaded. I was under the impression that it was a fairly well documented part of English history.

I don't know why I'm always so surprised to learn how ignorant the average American is. I should know better by now. The primary reason I go to Laemmle theaters is because the demographic is so much more educated and civilized. I saw TOBG with the masses and that's just never good for me. I always walk out of mass theaters despising humanity. Ok, that's all very snobby, but you know it's true. I still cringe when I think of the time I saw The Pianist. One scene was particularly grisly but anyone with half a brain could see the horror coming from about a mile away. The Nazis were being really mean to some Jews (this too was apparently news to the audience) and when the inevitable horror played out, the woman behind me gasped. As if she expected the Nazis to suddenly have a heart and take the old man in the wheel chair out for a stroll in the park. It made the scene that much worse that not only those terrible things happened but that so many of us have already forgotten about them.

I guess I'll only allow myself to see foreign and independent films from now on. I usually wait until a mass film has been out for about a month before I bother seeing it. The hope is that in this way the crowds have thinned out. I'll have to stick to DVDs and cable for those films from now on. I guess I was too eager this time around. I had such high hopes for this movie. I should have known.