Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Thankful

Monday, December 19th, 2011

So, damn. That last post was a real downer. Sorry about that. I am pretty good at the ostrich thing, though. I do lots of fun stuff, and I am lucky to have a healthy family, and I still have both parents, and my husband is the best one in the whole wide world ever (for me.) So, here are some things I’m thankful for . . . Think of it as one whole post about shit I’m thankful for, rather than an annoying “I’m Thankful” facebook post every damn day of November. See how good I am to you? So thoughtful . . . .

My friends Shannon and Matt had a baby and we finally visited him.

Tills and DannyBoy

Tills and DannyBoy


We have beer on Main Street now.

We have beer on Main Street now.


I got to spend an afternoon with my sister and our kids. Sadly, that almost never happens anymore.

I got to spend an afternoon with my sister and our kids. Sadly, that almost never happens anymore.

Tills broke her arm, but I still got to go to NYC with Todd.

Tills broke her arm, but I still got to go to NYC with Todd.

I had breakfast that i bought at Union Square Greenmarket. I ate it on a bench and watched schoolchildren.

I had breakfast that i bought at Union Square Greenmarket. I ate it on a bench and watched schoolchildren.

I drank coffee and rode the Staten Island Ferry just for the view. I didn't care that it was cloudy and was repaid with some sunny patches.

I drank coffee and rode the Staten Island Ferry just for the view. I didn't care that it was cloudy and was repaid with some sunny patches.

I ate a pear in Trinity Church Cemetery, where my 5G grandfather was buried in 1786. Or at least records say he is. His grave is lost to time now. I thought about that while I ate my pear.

I ate a pear in Trinity Church Cemetery, where my 5G grandfather was buried in 1786. Or at least records say he is. His grave is lost to time now. I thought about that while I ate my pear.

Todd and I had dinner with my friend Harris and his girlfriend Anne. I am still always surprised that Harris wears button-downs to work. In my mind, he is always wearing a navy blue hoodie.

Todd and I had dinner with my friend Harris and his girlfriend Anne. I am still always surprised that Harris wears button-downs to work. In my mind, he is always wearing a navy blue hoodie.

And then we all went to a bar and played shuffleboard.

And then we all went to a bar and played shuffleboard.

We also stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Tres fancy.

We stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Tres fancy.

Posting these so that Harris can see what the rooms were like (he was curious):

The room had FOUR windows. And a beautiful rug. And original hardwoods.

The room had three, count'em three, windows. And a beautiful rug. And original hardwoods.

And here's the bed. Nice linens, velvety headboard, good lighting.

And here's the bed. Nice linens, velvety headboard, good lighting.

Pretty sure the bathroom was bigger than most NYC apartments. However, for the cost, i think they could have worked in a tub. (My only problem with the room.)

Pretty sure the bathroom was bigger than most NYC apartments. However, for the cost, i think they could have worked in a tub. (My only problem with the room.)

Even the closet was fancy.

Even the closet was fancy.

And here is a view of the sitting area from the front door. We had a SETTEE, y'all!

And here is a view of the sitting area from the front door. We had a SETTEE, y'all!

The rooms also come with access to the park. It is a private park that you have to have a key to get into. That’s pretty cool. And snobby and elitist. . . but cool.

So, the next day it was cold and pouring down rain. I made plans to meet Anne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was so god-awful crowded, and wet and damp, but we had a lovely afternoon. I forgot to each lunch I was enjoying myself so much. We mostly wandered, took in the current exhibitions. (Romare Bearden was one Anne really wanted to see and I thought it was great, and was also surprised I had not heard of him in my Harlem Renaissance class in college).

Anne and I both checked out my favorite part – Arms and Armor. I think when she suggested it to me, she must have realized how much I would love it. She probably didn’t realize that I would take so long that she would get hungry and have to leave me there. (Sorry, Anne!) I could have spent all day there looking at the amazing things people have killed other people with over the years! They even had a helm that was (probably erroneously) said to have been worn by Joan of Arc – I have had a preoccupation with Joan since i first read about her as a child. (I also have a weird interest in Marie Curie, Belle Star, Annie Oakley, and Bonnie Parker, among others. I know. I am a freak.)

Joan of Arc Helm

Joan of Arc Helm

There was an interesting Stieglitz exhibition, about him and his artists (O’Keefe, Matisse, etc.) While I enjoyed it, i was way more interested in this tiny little exhibit of his early art photography collection. I could have looked at it all day.

And best of all, I found some new (to me) artists to adore: Like Francis Bacon; Like a painting entitled, “End of the Hunt” by Dale Nichols (Anne, that is the one that you loved!);

The photo doesn't do it justice. The light is so amazing in it in person.

The photo doesn't do it justice. The light is so amazing in it in person.

Or these two huge pieces by Stephen Hannock. You totally can’t see it online, but he put all this writing and mixed media collage stuff in these two works. I almost wanted to cry it was so cool. Oooh, actually, if you go to this link then click on the photo, then zoom in, you can see the writing. Awesome.

Like this one by Paul Cadmus.

His Seven Deadly Sins were awesome! This is Lust.

His Seven Deadly Sins were awesome! This is Lust.

Looks like a really cool graphic novel, right? He made it in 1945. Mind-blowing.

When i left the museum, I was starving, and it was raining cats and dogs, and todd wanted me to meet him for a beer at some place near his conference in Times Square, and i was all like, “Ugh, Times Square.” But the bar was actually pretty awesome, with cheap beer, and seemingly no tourists other than myself. It was warm and the barmaid was kind of bitchy, which I can respect, and I sat next to a guy who makes full-length concert DVDs for a ton of bands, some of whom i thought were crappy. But he also worked with Chrissy Hinde, and so I was all interested in hearing about that, because I heart The Pretenders.

Then we left and had to make it back to the hotel to change for drinks with work people, and it was raining and i felt kind of sorry for all the working sad sack new yorkers just trying to get home, but there is something very romantic about a rainy evening with my husband, and taking cover in Grand Central Station to get away from the rain, and just watching the people.

Blurry, rainy evening at Grand Central Station.

Blurry, rainy evening at Grand Central Station.

And then i put on my nice stuff, and we went to The Standard Hotel for drinks, and damn, they have a really nice view from their rooftop bar, which, i kid you not, is called The Boom Boom Room. Sometimes I think New York comes up with stupid shit like that just to make me laugh at them. The bathrooms in the bar were rooms with no lights and no window coverings, where you could look out over the skyline while you are taking a shit. Ridiculous, but fun. I was luckily warned first, or I would have thought I was trippin’ in some crazy house of mirrors.

I had my jeans down around my ankles and I was peeing while I took this.

I had my jeans down around my ankles and I was peeing while I took this.


After that? Yummy burgers and home to bed because we were both wet, cold, and exhausted.

A lovely trip. I’ll end here for now, as I have gone on and on, and will never click publish at this rate. It shall be a two parter.

Goat Man Takes New York

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Spent the weekend in NYC with Camille. For those of you who know me, you know about me being the Goatman. See the link for info on the real Goat Man. I never actually saw the Goat Man myself, but my Grandma Palmer always told Pop, when he came in the kitchen door with muddy shoes, or filthy from working in the yard, “Hoooooooooo-Weeeeeeee! You look like the Goat Man!” My family has always referred to someone dressed like crap or dirty or smelly as the Goat Man. (Possibly from dumpster diving with their Grandfather? Not that I would know anything about that.) Pop is the Goatman. I am Goatman Junior.

It is funny how families have inside jokes that become part of their own language, and I often forget that not everyone knows what it is to be The Goat Man. Just like only a select few know what is to have a hair “shark” or “whermp,” “accordion stomach,” or for a dog to have “salmon.” Wet paper is anathema to us. As are Band-Aids stuck to the side of a pool. Suffice it to say that we as a family are all quirkily insane (insanely quirky?) But I digress – Camille and I decided that we would call this trip Goat Man Takes New York.

While I tend to avoid the mob scene at all costs, it was pretty fun to just give in to all the touristy Christmas stuff happening up there, and I have to admit it gave me a little of the Christmas spirit. I had never been to NY during Christmas before, and they do not mess around. They even decorate the scaffolding on buildings under construction. I wonder how anyone with kids manages to keep the Santa secret, because at any given time, you can be walking the city sidewalks in a throng of Santas. The usual street musicians play Christmas carols (my favorite was the steel drum version), and I have never seen so many tourists wearing Christmas sweaters, Santa Claus hats, and bells around their necks in my life. I did wonder how more of them didn’t get splatted by taxis, because I don’t think one single person within a mile radius of Rockefeller Center was doing anything but looking up. The whole scene is fun, and pretty contagious. That being said, I was completely annoyed by the mass material consumption. I am not a shopping lover by nature, and it baffled me how throngs of people wanted to do nothing but buy!buy!buy! when they could be enjoying all the city has to offer. By Sunday morning, I was ready to shove into oncoming traffic the next threesome of midwesterners who pulled up short in front of me right in the middle sidewalk (wearing Christmas vests and Uggs, no less).

On Friday, we checked into the Intercontinental, then headed over for the Empire State Building. The view is great, and the I am glad I did it, but I will probably never subject myself to it again. I felt just a little too much like cattle. Here is my video from the line. (What can I say? I got bored. I had to mock with mooing. It had to be done.)

Camille and I kept a running list of the New York jobs that seemed to suck the most. I personally detest any job where a person is forced to hawk their wares, or anything that involves a song and dance. With that in mind, the guy in the above video has a crappy job. The guys who dance on the piano at FAO Schwartz have a crappy job. But the crappiest job EVER has to be the poor bastards who get to MC the Barbie Catwalk at FAO Schwartz. My absolute worst nightmare. On the other hand, employees get to hang out in the Leaky Cauldron and around a life-size Iorek, so it is not all bad.

Friday night, we had burgers at some Irish(ish) pub and then had beers with Harris and Anne. They live in Brooklyn and get big props for coming in to meet us despite Anne being a little under the weather and Harris leaving the next day for Tokyo. (For those who know Reese, he’s started blogging again – ShiftyEye, we hardly knew ye! – and is documenting his time in Tokyo. Anne is also supposed to be contributing to their blog, but she has yet to appear. Hopefully, she will rectify this soon.)

After they left, we walked around to look at Christmas decorations and enjoy our buzz, strolling along, taking in the Santas galore, and seeing the Rockefeller tree at night. Walked all over to find a place to get another beer, then had one more at the hotel. Got to bed at a reasonable one-ish.

Woke up the next day with a bit of a sinus headache, but headed out to find a bagel and coffee. I love the food choices in the city. I guess I could have called my trip Goat Man Eats New York. Although i am surprised how little I ate while i was there. There is so much to do I just kind of forget to eat.

Saturday was fun. Lots of walking around, and we saw Grease at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. I am not a big fan of musicals, but if there was one I would want to see, this was it. It was good, but not great, although I was really impressed at how much work must go into each production, and i thought the sets and props were way cool. Camille had been planning and looking forward to it for months, so her excitement was contagious. Afterwards, we went to Rockefeller Center for the NBC Studio tour (more feeling like a cow in a cattle chute) and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the tour. Seeing the studios themselves (for Conan and SNL) was pretty eye-opening about how much they trick the audience into thinking they are seeing things that they aren’t. No, there were no famous people there. I was v. impressed with my knowledge of production, though, when the snooty Canadian hipsters didn’t know what Silver Cup was, and I did. Take that, Canadians! My man’s in the biz!

After that we cooled our heels in the room, then changed and headed out to meet my friend Jonathon in . . . the E. Village, i think? (I don’t really know my way around NY that well.) Camille and I decided to do the subway, since we hadn’t used it yet for the trip. Glad we did, as the walk was awesome after getting off and we saw more on foot and subway than we would have in a cab. (Plus, I just love the subway. There is such a sense of accomplishment for me in finding my way around a different city.) We started at Grand Central (which was right by our hotel) and made sure to check out the weird echo in the basement of the station next to the oyster bar. Harris, I’ll be honest – I thought you were fucking with us about that. It was v. cool.

Went to meet Jonathon and his roommate Chris, at Euzkadi. Very cool place, laid back, with great servers. It had perfect lighting. Camille had a salad and it was tasty. I had beer. There is nothing better than drinking beer in a nice warm bar while the snow is coming down. We stayed there for a while, then went back to J. and C.’s apartment (very nice and huge!) for more beer. It was a perfect end to a v. long day – My feet were thanking me for sitting on a couch, drinking beer, and talking music. Oh, yeah, and Chris’ dog, Norman Bates, was cute as all get-out. I mean, I say that about all dogs, but this one was beautiful.

We caught a cab back to the hotel a little after one. It took a while to catch the cab, and we were being pelted with sleet, but it really doesn’t hurt that much if you drink enough beforehand.

Drank the perfect amount on Saturday, because Camille and I both felt great on Sunday. We headed out into the bitter, windy cold and rain. It had been coming down all night, and the sidewalks were icy and there were huge, ice cold puddles at every crosswalk. Of course, I stepped right in the first one i got to, and couldn’t feel my toes for the rest of the day, but our flight was at 3 pm and decided against buying a new pair of shoes for one morning of walking around. We walked the stores on 5th Avenue and Madison Ave. We stopped in St. Patrick’s during the 11 a.m. service, which was really beautiful. We made fun of people. We decided to go all out and hit the FAO Schwartz, which was crowded but funny.

Worried about the weather, we got back to the hotel in time to check out and make sure our flight was still on schedule. It was, so we grabbed and cab and headed to Laguardia. I was much less nervous about the flight home, which is v. unusual for me, as I am usually a complete nutcase about it. This is partially because I figured out on the flight up that all i really need is a Xanax and TRIVIA IN THE BACK OF EACH SEAT OF THE PLANE. Mother of God, why did they not think of this before? Best invention since pay-at-the-pump! You’re pitted against other people on the plane, so that you can say, “You’re going down, 27C!” when they are beating you. (Except you probably should only say it in your head, or Homeland Security might meet you with handcuffs at the arrival gate.)

I was despondent upon realizing we were bereft of trivia on the flight home. Things took a distinct turn for the worse when the Captain came on the loudspeaker to tell us, “We have had reports of some turbulence upon takeoff here from Laguardia. Much of this has been severe turbulence. Now, let’s put this into perspective: Severe turbulence is not going to damage the aircraft, but it will be very uncomfortable, and will require that you remain in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.” He then proceeded to attempt to convince the passengers of his prowess as a pilot by telling us about his background in the Air Force. Um, okay, so are you comparing this flight to a battle situation? Awesome. Just awesome. Thank God for prescription sedatives. Turns out it wasn’t half as bad as had been reported earlier. Which is good, because I don’t have great bladder control since having children.

We arrived back in Atlanta and I made it home and I was really glad to see the Rugrats, which is the best indicator of a relaxing weekend trip.

I miss New York, though. Great city. Wish I had more time. Didn’t get to hit one museum. I am sure Todd is shaking his head at the thought of having to go with me in the future. Not because he dislikes art, but because he dislikes how long it takes me to meander through museums. I guess I’m already planning my next trip. I think I’ll call it The Goat Man Returns.

More pics in my NYC set on Flickr.

Winning the Lottery

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

You probably would not know it, even if you know me pretty well, but sometimes I get depressed. It’s never enough to make me unable to function (well, there was that one time after I had the baby, but that was just the hormones), but I just get down. Blah. Uninterested. Bluesy. I don’t really want to leave the house. I don’t really want to clean the house I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to do anything at all. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and it would be raining, and there was nothing to do, and I kept on driving my mom crazy, but whatever she suggested sounded like absolutely no fun to me, and the feeling was just pure frustration.

When I get this way, i think I hide it pretty well from everyone but my sister and my husband. God knows, Todd has certainly been seeing the ill effects of my recent melancholy in the sorry housekeeping I have been doing. But for the most part, I really try to overcome my down days, to find things to do to pull me out of the depression, or at least keep me busy until it passes. Which I guess means that I am not truly depressed at all, because I can still function, can still see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Well, it just seems like lately i have have been bored, depressed, whatever. Maybe it’s the holidays, maybe it’s watching both mine and Todd’s parents deal with their own aging parents, when they should be enjoying their retirements and their golden years. Maybe it is feeling helpless at not being able to make all of the people I love just have it easier, or just get a damn break once in a while.

I am still feeling a little down, but you know what helps? When one of your oldest and dearest friends calls and asks if you can drop everything and help her out by going to New York with her for the weekend. All expenses paid. Because her husband was supposed to go with her and something came up with work and now she will have to go by herself.

Um, okay. I guess so. What? Hells to the yeah, I’ll go! What depression? What boredom?

Who won the lottery?

I did. When I was born to the most awesomest, givingest Mama ever. When I started playing rec-league b-ball with Mealby “Take a Look at My Choices” Barron, and when I met the most understanding, laid-back, fun-loving, hysterical – and yet responsible – man EVER and made my smartest life move yet – Marrying his ass.

My Dad and sister and kids and cutest dog in the world? They are icing on my life cake.