Monday, April 20, 2015

Big big birthdays

Wow, it's been way too long since I've updated this blog. I know this because even Liz, who probably reads infrequently, commented to me recently that I've been deliquent. So here goes my update.

Nothing much happening on the job front, but that's not distressing to me - yet. I'm having way too much fun with my friends and doing odds and ends projects. I'm reading through the 11-volume Horatio Hornblower series of novels by C.S. Forester and watching the movies at TSMC. I strung up a new series of lights in the apartment since my fairy lights were starting to wear out. So I found some globe lights and strung them criss cross my ceiling to give an evenly warm glow to the front of the theater.

Starting back on April Fool's Day, I went to my usual Wednesday writing meetup and then followed up by going to Our Bar, a Shotz-like event held at the Failte Irish Whiskey Bar, featuring scenes that take place in a bar, performed in the bar. I found my friend Erin there and we had a nice talk walking back to the subway. I find it interesting that, as much as I disavow my old life, I somehow tend to connect with fellow Texans living in New York.

On Friday I went to Staten Island to join Puck's family for Passover seder, which was the first I've attended to include the next generation tykes Kyra and Maya. I actually didn't stay over since I had a morning appointment at SCK Salon to get my hair done for Liz's 30th birthday party. I did my usual blue and purple, which I feel is subtle enough for job interviews, at least until it fades into pastel shades. After I got out of the salon, Puck and I met up with their family and friends at the High Line before I had to get home to get ready for dinner.

And what a dinner it was! Liz's family, her parents, sister and some of her friends came up from Houston and arranged a whole pig feast at The Cannibal (a restaurant that Piper recommended to me that I passed on to Liz). The birthday girl looked resplendent in a Milly dress that her cousin Caitie helped her pick out in her professional function as a personal shopper at Saks Fifth Avenue. I wore a coral Calvin Klein dress I bought just for the occasion.

Despite having a score of hungry mouths, we weren't able to make much headway on eating the whole pig and all the side dishes. I even managed to split open the head so we could try the brain (it tasted like pork flavored cheese) but Liz and her family took home more than a half-dozen boxes of pork and all the guests took home Easter baskets filled with treats. After dinner we went down the block to Whiskey Rebel Bar, where Puck caught up with us for a few birthday drinks before the party broke up for the night.

The next morning on Easter Sunday many of the partygoers reconvened at P.J. Clarke's in Lincoln Square for Easter brunch before attending an afternoon performance of The King and I, starring Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe in his musical stage debut.

Monday night was Connect the Shotz, and Katie B, Lillian, Kacey and Becker joined me and Puck for the show. Unfortunately, Kristina had some sad family news and couldn't make it. We met up at Zen Sushi for dinner before the 8:30 pm show. This month's Shotz was the first time that each playwright wrote the first half of one play and the second half of another. The condition was that two or more characters had to perform an activity that is impossible for one character alone, and the line was "We're in this together."

Tuesday Puck and I met up with their sisters and friends at The Cloisters and then came back to watch "Captain Horatio Hornblower" with Natalia. Kristina and I had dinner at Pig & Khao on Saturday (because obviously I hadn't had enough pork yet!) and talked more about our plans for the Chicago trip. We hopped over to The Whiskey Ward to try their top-shelf cocktails (Woodford Reserve sidecars) and then went up to ride the Roosevelt Island tram (one of Kristina's goals before leaving the city) and walked a bit on the island before come back and visiting another bar called The Jeffrey, where a guy she dated for a time works as the bartender.

The following Tuesday I had a friend-date with Katie M and for once I went up to her place on 96th Street. We chatted for a while on the couch then got some Thai food and took it to over to Carl Shurz Park. We walked along the East River behind Gracie Mansion and then took a bus over to the Guggenheim Museum. We didn't feel like seeing their collection so we just looked at the gift store and then went down to the Met for a quick bathroom stop and a tour of my favorite spots in the American Wing. In the evening we came back to TSMC and watched episodes of Daredevil on Netflix until nearly 1 am before she went home.

Thursday night I met up with Liz at the PIT to see Josh perform in a show called Enchantment Park: in 3D and 4D that included skits about a very unusual amusement park and the sometimes-hilarious visitors. Friday I met up with Katie M and her mom, who is visiting from Buffalo for her birthday (the second friend-Mom I've gotten to meet this month) at the Neue Galerie of German and Austrian Art to see Gustav Klimt's "The Woman in Gold." Then we went to Warby Parker to help Katie decide on some new eyeglasses and had a quick bite at Le Pain Quotidian before I had to leave for my long-awaited date to see Furious 7.

This latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise has been on my radar since Puck, Katie B, Lillian and I talked about it way back in January at Katie's 25th birthday. In the intervening months, Lillian and I (who are fans of the movies) have shown our respective partners (who were not) the lead-up movies so we would all be up to speed for the newest one. While the movie itself was entertaining enough, I thought the best part was the tribute to the late Paul Walker at the end. I actually like Parts 5 and 6 better as movies in and of themselves.

Saturday I spent the whole day with Katie M and her mom, starting on the rush ticket line for Finding Neverland on Broadway (unsuccessful) then getting them two tickets to see the matinee showing of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. We took a break at TSMC and then went for lunch at The Olive Garden, which is their traditional thing to do on show day. While they saw their show, I went home for a nap, and then went to meet up with them in the rush ticket line at Gigi, where we got tickets for the evening show. We went back to TSMC to watch "The A-Team" then went out to see Gigi, and then met up with Puck at Totto Ramen for a late supper. Talk about a full day! I certainly have to admire the stamina of Katie's 64-year-old mom.

Today was Kacey's birthday in Prospect Park, so I made my somewhat famous eggplant dip and packed my yoga mat and waterproof picnic blanket for the trek out to Brooklyn. The day was quite windy and cool - too cool for yoga. I found Kacey, Becker, Chelsea, Kristina, Rijard and Emily Dawn huddled together on the great meadow, and to combat the cold we actually used my insulated picnic blanket as a makeshift shelter.

After a while the cold became unendurable so we packed up in search of a coffee shop. Astonishingly, we ran into Amanda at random in the park and she joined us, along with Keith, Lourdes and Nick who came as we were leaving. Some of us went to a coffee shop called Sit and Wonder and then we met up at Nick's apartment where we played with percussion instruments, ate some more, talked and toasted Kacey's birthday and Kristina's impending move this week. All in all, it was a thoroughly and unexpectedly glorious day.