Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas parties

It's been a very fun and eventful 72 hours with Polina, as we cavorted between two states and three New York boroughs doing Christmas-y stuff, and I'm grateful for her company over the holiday and taking care of my needs that way.

I've been super-busy at work right up until Christmas as part of a team putting together a proposal for a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. Both Monday and Tuesday this week I was working until 10:30 p.m., but on Wednesday afternoon we submitted it, well before the 11:59 p.m. deadline that day, so I got to go home a little early. I even had time to go out to lunch with my female co-workers to say bon voyage to one of our departing colleagues.

On Thursday, Christmas Eve, I drove out to Staten Island to pick up Polina and go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the first time we've been there together. I took her around to see my favorite rooms and works of art (although my favorites from Claude Monet, JMW Turner and John Singer Sargent were missing from their usual places). We had a late lunch in the Trustees Dining Room, a members-only privilege that I've been wanting to partake of since I joined the Met three-and-a-half years ago.

Chocolate lava cake with ice cream

After a meal of chestnut soup, steak, scallops and a chocolate lava cake that was almost too pretty to eat, we sat for a while and had a relationship check-in. It seems she has been feeling a little overwhelmed with the primary nature of our relationship lately, so we're going to try and slowly de-emphasize the importance of it in our lives - or at least in hers. So we're going to try and reverse our movement the same way we got here - making small moves, taking one day at a time, and just trying to be gentle and good to each other.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the museum and looking at art, then went to a nearby bistro/diner to eat an early supper of Eggs Florentine (poached eggs over steamed spinach and English muffins, covered with Hollandaise sauce, which is made from egg yolk, lemon and butter cooked in a double boiler and wisked smooth) and French toast. Then we took a cab down to Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas tree above the ice rink, which she had never been to see before.

Rockefeller Center tree

We stayed to watch the musical light show on the side of Saks Fifth Avenue, done to the tune of "Carol of the Bells" (which she can sing in Ukrainian) and then went into St. Patrick's Cathedral to listen to the last of the Christmas Mass singing. Then we took a cab back to the Met and drove home to Staten Island.

Christmas morning we left in the morning and went to my apartment, where we changed clothes and I showered and made us a breakfast of omlettes and turkey bacon before going to see Sherlock Holmes. We arrived right before one show started, and it was sold out, so we waited in line for the next show. I read my book and she edited a friend's novel for about 45 minutes before they let us in. Awesome movie for the both of us - she enjoyed the homoerotic Holmes/Watson dynamic, and I appreciated the little nods to the original source material from the Arthur Conan Doyle canon.

After the movie we drove to Queens for my friend Bonnie's family Christmas party. Bonnie, for those of you who don't know, is a relatively new member of my women's poly group, and the first poly Asian female I've met that I can remember. We attended a PolyNYC meeting way back, but I didn't remember her until she reminded me. We arrived a bit late, but Bonnie saved us some food, and even prepared a plate without pork/ham for Polina, knowing that she's Jewish, which was much appreciated. She also made some delicious cookies, which we ate along with a traditional Chinese chestnut cake, cupcakes from Crumbs Bakery and her aunt's excellent New York style cheesecake. For me, this was a bit of a nostalgic experience of being in a holiday party with a bunch of loud Asians, although my experience has been with an even louder group than Bonnie's family. It's not something I particularly miss, but it was interesting feeling that kind of energy again after several years of not being a part of it.

Bonnie and her dad

Polina and me, dressing festively

We left around 9 p.m. and drove back through Manhattan to New Jersey to go to friends Ryan and Beth's ("Polys in the wild" - August 11, 2009) Christmas party, where we ate yet another plate of food and had some egg nog with spiced rum as well. We watched Independence Day with the crowd of about 16-18 friends, then played a card game called Apples to Apples for a few hours until people started departing. We were among the last to leave about 2:30 a.m., going back to my place to sleep.

We lingered in bed until after noon on a very rainy Saturday, but finally got up and had breakfast and planned our day. We wanted to shop for ski wear, and Polina left her phone at Ryan's place, so we went to a nearby Ski Barn first, but the prices were way more than we wanted to pay. We stopped at a Staples to get a replacement iPod cord and other computer things Polina needed, then another quick stop at home because she forgot to take her coat out of my coat closet, and I gave her one of my spare flash drives for her keychain so she wouldn't have to buy one at Staples.

We stopped by Ryan and Beth's place and hung out with them for a while before heading back to Staten Island and having dinner. Polina showed me the student film she helped to edit, and we showed her mom and grandmother the movie trailer for Sherlock Holmes. I was intending to go home that night, but it got to be rather late and the weather was absolutely lousy, so I stayed and we watched Eddie Izzard's stand-up comedy movie Dress to Kill before going to sleep. It's the first time Polina and I have spent three consecutive nights together, which is ironic in view of our new direction.

I left Staten Island this morning after breakfast and went to Sports Authority, where I did manage to find a ski jacket and pants, goggles and socks, so I'm pretty well set to go skiing, whenever the opportunity presents itself. I just wish I was in better physical shape, because I know I'll be gassed quickly on the first day. But it would still be fun to go and play in the snow.