Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day after Christmas

I've had a whirlwind of cookie baking, gift wrapping, Polar Express rehearsals and shows (Annabelle's ballet), visiting and hosting, eating and eating and eating, and lots of love and friends and family. As usually happens on Christmas, we went to bed by eight last night, full and happy  and ready to watch a movie with a wee dram of single malt. Last night's was PITCH PERFECT, a pitch perfect choice for tired middle aged elves. Annabelle was too busy reading HOW THINGS WORK to watch, and Sam had gone off to see DJANGO UNCHAINED. Elf Husband went to sleep straight away, and I stayed up until midnight reading. Then a dream-less sleep until this morning.

Today devoted to packing for our amazing trip to Norway (leaving tomorrow night). That means laundry and packing for two weeks, most of that on a ship to the Arctic Circle and beyond. Lots of books and games and a jigsaw puzzle, the travel coffee pot and two pounds of Pete's, peanut butter and Nutella for when smoked fish grows dull, long underwear and fleece everything. Two days in Bergen on the front end, two days in Oslo on the back end. I've been to Sweden and Denmark, both long ago, so I'm looking forward to adding this Scandinavian country to my travel experiences. I remember learning the word fjord in third grade and vowing to see one some day. Will see plenty next week! Also excited to visit the world's biggest gingerbread village in Bergen, and Munch and Ibsen museums in Oslo. Hopefully New Year's Eve will bring us a bright show of the Northern Lights as well as dog sledding!

Thank you all for the enormous response to last week's Washington Post essay. Below is a link to yesterday's New York Times editorial:

Happy 2013!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

what is on my mind

Please take the time to read my Opinion piece in today's Washington Post:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gray skies

From my bed--yes, I'm still in bed at almost 2:30 in the afternoon--all I can see are gray skies and drizzle. Fitting for the tragedy on Friday, as if the world is weeping. As it should.

It has been very hard to post Facebook updates or write anything here when my heart is so heavy. Thinking of those parents and the difficult grief journey ahead of them just breaks my heart.

Although I needed to finish reading many many student papers and handing in grades (all done online these days, in a never ending cycle of expired passwords and waiting on hold for IT help), and I like to read in bed, I admit I am finding it hard today to get up and get moving. My heart is just too heavy.

But I spoke to my mom a little while ago, and we had a good cry together. Then she told me to get up and go take a walk. She's right. It will make me feel better.

I am wishing us all peace and strength.

Monday, December 10, 2012

If it's Monday and raining, this must be New York City

Seriously. If I was the kind of person who knew how to track down statistics for things like this, I feel confident I could prove that it rains almost every Monday in New York City! But at least it's a lovely warm rain with lots of swirling fog.

First off, I'm a nervous wreck. Lots going on that I can't share, but I'm all jittery and weepy and on edge. Needless to say, I am doing a lot of knitting.

On the good news front, I'm happy to report that I'll have an Op-Ed in the New York Times on Christmas Day. I'll post the link, but please look for it there after you open your presents!

Also on the good news front: this semester is finally winding down. I've never had such a truncated, interrupted semester and it's difficult! But this is the last batch of double classes. Next week I finish with one normal class, and then done! To celebrate, I have my eye on the pop up Zona store in Tribeca. This is where I bought furniture, pottery, candleholders, Christmas presents--all sorts of beautiful things--back in the 80s and 90s in the Soho store. Then one day I went there and it was gone! After something like a dozen years, they are back with this pop up store. That will be my reward for this hard semester. And also going to see the musical of GIANT at the Public Theater! If I feel really decadent, I'm going to see a second play on Sunday...Thinking TRIBES.

I must also report what a wonderful birthday weekend I had. Spent Saturday with friends watching movies and eating Italian food, then on Sunday--the day--hmmm...kind of did the same thing! But ended by seeing Natalie McMasters in concert, a Cape Breton fiddler who fiddled and clogged for three hours! Just felt all warm and fuzzy as I drifted off to sleep last night.

Off now to Magnolia Bakery to buy cupcakes for class.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Waking up to the sound of delivery trucks

I did not sleep without a light on until I was twenty five years old unless someone else was in the room with me. That's how much of a scaredy cat I was. Afraid of ghosts, bad guys, the dark, my own imagination...In hotels on layovers when I was a flight attendant, I slept with not only lights on but also the television turned up full volume. (No wonder I had trouble sleeping!) Then I moved to NYC. I got into my bed--really a door on risers with a piece o foam over it. The lights and sounds from Sullivan Street filled my room just enough to comfort rather than frighten me.I closed my eyes, and New York City lulled me to sleep. Some people find it funny that a place that many find frightening or dangerous makes me feel safe. But I love knowing that right out my window there is an entire world, awake and alive beside me. So this morning when I woke up to the sound of delivery trucks at D'Agostino's across the street, I smiled.

It is warm enough here this week for me to have the windows open, and even as I write this I hear passers by, out early, talking as they move past my window. A car radio played too loud. Car horns in the distance. Mild traffic. The world right there, singing to me.

Yesterday I walked and walked and walked in the beautiful spring like weather. I met a friend for lunch midtown, and then decided to walk up Fifth Avenue, forgetting it was Christmas time. What a delight to stand in front of the windows at Saks and gaze at their Christmas display. I had to go over to Rockefeller Center then to see the tree, and the beautiful angels that line the path to it. I stopped in St. Patrick's Cathedral before heading back home. And then in my neighborhood, street corners filled with Christmas trees for sale greeted me as I emerged from the subway. I know how people grumble about the commercialization of Christmas. I too don't think we should leave our Thanksgiving tables to go and shop at Target. But surely Christmas, like everything in life, is what we make of it. I love the ritual, the smell of Christmas trees, the world lit with tiny white lights, the baby dressed in a Santa onesie, Annabelle still young enough to believe in Santa (and wanting to sew him an apron), our own ornaments, my study filled with gifts I bought with thought and love...Yes, I am a sucker for all of it.

Still catching up on make up classes due to the hurricane. So my hours are spent reading student stories and in class time. So many of my own stories that I want to get back to, but it won't happen for another week or two.

Remember when I was going to knit a blanket for each kid? Well, I have almost finished the first one. Typical knitting problem. Big ideas, too little time to accomplish them. But if I can finish Sam's this week, I might get a third of Annabelle's done before Christmas. She knows about the project, so I can probably get away with wrapping what I have for her.

I'm also getting very excited about the three trips I have on the horizon. (I actually have more than three, but I'm focused on the first bunch!) We leave on December 27 for Norway, and a trip by boat up to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights. Just a few weeks after we return, Lorne and I are going for a long weekend to Cartagena, Colombia. And then in June Cousin Gina is joining Annabelle and me in Alaska. All three new places to me, so I am full of excitement and dreaming about them.

My January workshop is nice and full. That will be a lovely weekend, I know.

Now, off to meet with a student, then lunch with an old friend, and some Christmas shopping as I make my way back from lunch to here.

Happy knitting to all you knitters! I hope you are making more progress than I am!