Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Let's cut straight to the chase.
Is there anybody out there who
doesn't dread the forcedly fake
celebratory glee of New Years
Eve? Let me ask another way -
have any of you ever enjoyed
ANY New Years Eve event?
Fools or drunks aside, anybody
who's truly honest must admit
that they never, I repeat never
have fun as the clock strikes
twelve. Few if any truly relish
ringing in a new year en masse.
Could this be driven by my aversion to champagne? While quite a few adore a bit of the bubbly, I can't stand the stuff. Many seem to think a bottle of bubbly is the perfect gift. In my opinion it is much better to give champagne than to receive it.
Let alone... drink it.
When I first came out, I journeyed from
Chicago to Manhattan with a boyfriend.
For New Years Eve, he kindly booked
a table at Twenty One. After dining on
a lovely repast, dancing began. For an
hour we sat on the sidelines watching
our doughy straight counterparts do the
box step. Then... my escort decided to
step out of the box. He stood up, took
my hand, and led me onto the crowded
dance floor. Our fellow dancers moved
to the edge as they watched us cut a rug.
I could have danced all night!
For many holidays Frank and
I celebrated our Christmas on
New Year's Eve. After visiting
our respective families, this was
our time to ring each other's bell.
Rather than forced fun, it was a
time of togetherness, sharing,
and celebrating our partnership.
What better way to start a year?
I've spent several New Years
Eves in bed... sick! My theory
is that after the mania of the
holidays, our immunity to all
of the worlds ills is weakened.
Hence several bouts of the flu
as the great ball descended.
What better excuse for missing
a New Years Eve bash? Plus
you may lose a few pounds!
For several years Frank and I have celebrated the evening with his Mother and Father and other family members. We dine out and return home early to avoid any revelers. This year we plan to do the same. After all, what better way is there to ring in 2014 than with a 90 and 95
year old pair of party animals?
Monday, December 30, 2013
Can you dig it?
While last year it was fairly mild
in Montana for the holidays, this
year we've had some pretty low
temperatures and lots of snow.
While many grumble about how
to deal with the white stuff, I like
it. During these short days, the
bright light reflecting off the snow
brightens things up. Without it,
we'd be in the house, in the dark.
You're getting warmer
I know many of you fantasize
about escaping to some tropical
locale. In Lewistown many of
our snow birds escape to sunny
Arizona for the winter. I on the
other hand prefer to revel in all
of the beauty winter brings. Our
skies in Montana are crystal blue
with strong sunshine shining on
the mountains that surround us.
It always makes me laugh that
many of my friends who live
in warmer climates "escape" far
north to the slopes to ski. Why
am I surprised given it seems
that we all crave what we don't
have? If one never experiences
the shifts each season brings,
how can one ever appreciate the
varied beauty each one offers?
Yin and yang
Why can't we just be happy
with what is naturally ours to
enjoy? That doesn't mean an
occasional escape is wrong.
A pop of sun and fun during
the late winter months can be
divine. The dichotomy of hot
versus cold can be thrilling!
When I was young my father
always froze a couple of snow
balls. One never knew when
suddenly Dad would pull one
out in the dead heat of summer!
Not everything about winter is pleasant. Shoveling snow or a spill on the ice can literally kill you. In Montana we often have dramatic shifts in winter weather. Warm sun and wind can melt the snow during the day, only to transform into black ice at night. There's only one way to handle that slippery slope...
Tread lightly and carry sand or salt!
Sitting at home and looking out
at the pure white snow is lovely.
However traveling in a blizzard
is not. During winter getting to
and from Lewistown is tough.
One must have patience as you
may spend a night in Denver
due to weather. Once I'm home
I know it was time well spent!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Hand it over
I'm glad the holidays are finally over.
All I've done is give, give, give! Well, actually all I've been doing is tip, tip, tip! Living in a Manhattan hi-rise is like residing in an ant hill or bee hive. Let me clarify, a very expensive bee hive. You see, one has to tip all of the worker bees during the holidays. By the time you drop a $100 here and $50 there... you can quickly become a very poor Santa.
Hello and goodbye
It's not like I don't appreciate what these
kind and friendly folk do for us daily.
Doormen (or Concierges) have one of
the most important roles. Often they're
the first to greet you in the morning and
the last to say good night before you hit
the hay. Their key role is as buffer to the
outside world. Protecting you from any
and all things strange or unwanted. In
reality, an apartment building wouldn't
feel like home without them. They're
the glue that keeps it together. In truth
a delicate buffer between us and them.
The Superintendent is the kingpin.
He keeps the machine humming and
makes sure you never have to worry
about anything breaking. His army of
handymen fix anything and everything.
If you have a bulb out, they're there in
an instant to turn you on. If you need
to hang a picture, they're lined up and
ready to help. Of course there is a give
and take to all relationships. You give,
and they take. All you have to do is
slip them some extra cash as you utter
thank you. Nothing comes for free.
Step on it
While I appreciate all of those ready
and willing to serve me, I'm frankly
a little sick of doling out my hard
earned cash. No matter what service
is rendered by whom, one must add
at least 25% in order to not insult. In
our taxis one can now pay via credit.
There are three convenient buttons
for adding a tip of 15, 20, or 30%!
Saying thanks couldn't be easier!
I'll have another
I do think it's important to reward
great performance. When you give
you get and I like being pampered.
Where ever I dine, I make sure that
those who serve me get their piece
of the pie. If they're happy then I'm
happy and nothing makes me more
satisfied than a Manhattan arriving
BEFORE I've ordered one. Service
is all about having a great memory
and I make sure they never forget
me. So take a tip from the roue...
MORE BEGETS MORE!
Friday, December 27, 2013
My friend "CA" has a charming pre-
war apartment on the upper east side.
Everything was classic with a bevy
of perfect bells and whistles. Her
"sunken" living room is lacquered
in a most glorious shade of quince.
However while beyond stunning,
it was ultimately repainted taupe.
Per it's owner "try living with that
color every night when you came
home from work." Proof that one
can have too much of a good thing.
Red is certainly an over the top
hue. It's intensity seems to either
engage or enrage. Statistics show
that red automobiles are apt to
be in more accidents. Driven by
findings that show those who
purchase red vehicles are more
inclined to be extroverts. Who
knew red defined risk takers?
Apparently, RED MEANS GO!
The other night I attended a gala
at the Plaza with my friend "A".
As we climbed the marble stairs,
a elegant lady ahead wore a pair
of candy apple red pumps. She
paired them with a simple black
sheath for a striking combination.
Another lass unfortunately wore
scarlet head to toe appearing as
if ready to become Satan's bride.
Since Hester Prynne, red has long
been a sign of ill repute. In Ethel's
day red was considered appropriate
for ladies considered inappropriate.
Who doesn't remember the scene
from the 1939 classic flick Jezebel?
Miss Julie (Bette Davis) wears ruby
red rather than virginal white to a
debutante ball and loses her man.
Red was not Bette's lucky color as
it only got worse when she caught
scarlet fever and lost her beauty in
While at times red might be deemed
ill advised, once a year it's de rigeur.
All things rouge are essential during
the holidays. In the midst of a dreary
winter season, a scarlet pop surely
brightens the soul. Would we care
a naught about old Saint Nick if he
ran about town in black serge rather
than red velvet? I am able to tolerate
a bit of ruby for the few weeks of
the holiday season. However in a
day or two... everything red will be
boxed till next year. HO-HO-NO!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The morning after
From Thanksgiving till yesterday,
the crescendo of momentum drove
us to the culmination of Christmas.
At times it seemed as if we were all
poised at the edge of the precipice.
However in reality it was over in
a nano second of gifts, food, and
eggnog. Today we awake like the
survivors of a nuclear holocaust -
wandering amongst the wreckage.
And in a moment, everything that
was once shiny and bright seems
as tarnished Brittany Spears.
How is it that neatly folded and
tied gift wrap can suddenly be
transformed into a pile of trash.
What was once pretty is now a
bothersome eyesore. Some burn
it in the hearth but cleaning out
the ashes is worse than hauling
it out to the curb. No matter how
you do end it, WRAP IT UP!
To err is to human
Mistakes happen and sadly
that often occurs under the
tree. Frank is a patient man
and has learned to strictly
follow my "suggestions".
He is truly a gifted gifter
and always makes sure
I'm not disappointed. At
times I've made mistakes
and being a gentleman,
dear Frank has gently led
me to the returns counter.
If he's happy... I'm happy.
The party's over
As you know I adore setting a
lovely table. However I abhor
putting it all away. Don't get me
wrong - there is nothing quite as
lovely as sharing fare with those
you care about. I am fortunate in
that several help after the fact.
Especially with my trinkets that
require hand washing. There is
no greater gift than doing dishes.
Repeat after me...
One tradition in Frank's family
is that we reconvene the night
after for a leftover feast. Even
if we've just spent the prior
evening together, this casual,
stress free recap is often more
fun than the main event. It's a
free for all where everybody
nibbles on whatever is left and
then we play cards. Nothing
could be better and this soiree
is truly my holiday favorite.
Double your pleasure!
Same time, next year
In the lazy days that follow we
return to normality. Slowly all
presents find new homes. And
before we know it our house
guests will depart and it's time
to take down the tree. That's
my job as it's only right that I
should pack it up given Frank
put it up. I actually packing
and storing our memories.
Further proof that even during
the busiest of times, partnership
makes everything easier.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
The most wonderful thing about Christmas are the memories.
I recently came across photographs taken of a family trees in Washington D.C.
The Dickey family took one almost every year from 1912 through 1923.
This Christmas Day,
let's take a holiday stroll down memory lane...
And other family trees...