Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crazed Lady Catchup

If it wasn't for two sets of calendar entries, social media time lines, photos, and receipts, I really wouldn't be able to remember everything that happened this past month. It was a blur, and everything was blown hither, thither, and yon due to the winds of Sandy and change.

It was so lovely to spend some time at the Connecticut house with Dad, even if the trip was curtailed due to the storm. In addition to running to see people, stockpile supplies, and take photos of the house, I did manage to squeeze in a major haircut. This was the first chop since March, thanks to the trusted sheers of Pat, who had been doing my hair since I was about 10. We both agreed it was best not to actually think about how many years that was.
This shot was for Mom. It's already a month old -- and still presenting new and exciting challenges. At 1 cut every 5-6 months, I may be ready for another one by ... spring.

Then there was the hurricane and Halloween.

Since I had so much time at home in the studio, I had time to go through all the accumulated the Auntie Nettie's Attic merchandise to see what could be put together for those who were impacted by the storm. I knew there had to be some cosmic reason why I had been making and stockpiling scarves, hats, and warm blankets for a year or two. On Election Day, when lots of four-letter words were being bandied about, I trekked down from the office to the site of the Lion Brand Studio to make a large drop-off of about 10 scarves and two dozen hats. I like these four-letter words much better.
These were just some of the donations already in for Hats for the Homeless, though I believe that some of the contributions were also being earmarked for Sandy Relief.
To make matters even more ridiculous - a day after the Election, when much of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut were still dealing with no power, other utilities, or roofs over their heads --  there was a freaking nor'easter!










Commuting home the evening of the storm, I got my seasonal re-baptism by Mother Nature's grumpy brother Jack Frost, in the form of a head to toe brown slush wave kicked up by the spinning tires of traffic. Welcome to Winter -- On NOVEMBER 7th. THAT IS TOO EARLY!

Luckily it melted in a day or two - but frankly, I was more concerned about the impending arrival of the Stork out West. I had hoped he hadn't been blown off-course. And he wasn't. YAY!!!! Babies. Cute tiny babies.

One of the other ways that I felt that I could contribute to Sandy Relief was to make sure I donated blood. The blood drive I was originally scheduled to attend in Grand Central got cancelled in the immediate aftermath. Fortunately, some other Lincoln Center constituents made sure that a drive made it to campus. On Tuesday the 13th, I trekked over to the David Rubin Atrium and was first in line.

Even though Caramoor got some of my blood, sweat, and tears, and my proverbial youth, the Big J has been taking bits of my sanity, and commuting costs and arm and a leg, I was pleased to do my part.

I don't know why there were still empty cots. After the donation, I inhaled pop-chips and cranberry juice at the free snack bar, but I'm still craving a rib-eye. I also discovered there is a difference between commuting back to your desk from a blood drive one floor down from your office versus one three New York blocks away. I seriously had to sit down for a while. I sat down for a long time that day. I ended up working super late (past 9 p.m.) because I got a call from a neighbor that the building didn't have water due to a meter replacement. (Utility issue no. 1)

(Now that I'm finally writing this all up, I'm beginning to pinpoint why I spent much of my sick-day extended Thanksgiving break being grateful for days off, DayQuil, the comfort of comforters, and technology that let me change channels and also read my newspapers and keep up with people while snuggling in bed.)

In addition to being a donor of the product of my own hands and um, fluids, I am also a grateful supporter of my local PBS station. As a non-profit professional, I know that getting the swag from those various fund-raising drives costs the non-profit money AND cuts into the tax-deductible portion of my contribution - so I always decline those perks of membership. Sometimes however, free ticket offers come through your e-mail in-box and you have to jump on them.

WNET Channel 13 is celebrating their 50th Anniversary and Great Performances is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, and they combined both events with a taping of a Gala performance concert at Lincoln Center for future broadcast on many PBS channels. I joined a list to see if I could get a ticket, and ended up finding a pair in the mail box on the day of the event.
This was a wonderful 90 minutes of flashbacks of 40 years of Great Performances, with songs by PBS favorites, including Itzak Perlman, Audra McDonald, and appearances by Dame Julie Andrews and David Hyde Pierce. The final performer, Michael Buble, pulled an unexpected "stunt" for the final piece which will probably NOT make the final edit as there was NO way that the production team would have been able to track down and get waivers from the 50-75 people that swarmed the stage to participate in the songfest. (See above  - I did NOT swarm the stage.) Only in New York folks. Only in New York. (quote thanks to Cindy Adams)

Now, due to my "connections" (Remember the OMH STING! incident?) I got to go backstage after the performance, where I saw Julie Andrews down the hall, and once again had to dodge Mr. Perlman's scooter aiming for my, and everyone else's, toes. I also got to see the greenroom (r), the production rooms, and some of the warrens under the Lincoln Center complex that some people never get to see.

To completely round out my crazy New Yorker/Lincoln Center week, the very next night I attended a Juilliard Orchestra concert at Alice Tully Hall. The first half was composed of lovely Barber and Britten pieces, but I was really there for the second half, Beethoven's famous Symphony No. 5.

Here's the view at intermission, when this impatient New Yorker was wondering where the heck the musicians were. Come on, come on. Flash the lights. Da da da dum needs to come.
Intermission was kicked off by me eavesdropping on my future self - a cultured Upper West Side woman of a "mature" age very gently, yet firmly putting some of the uncultured 20-somethings in their place by saying: "I found your texting during the concert very distracting." I had to agree, though my seatmates were all perfectly lovely and had proper concert etiquette. Bonus -- no one applauded between movements. SCORE!

The Beethoven? The Beethoven was sublime. There is something about that piece played live, with young, energetic musicians that almost have to be throttled back. There were a few moments in the final movement where I literally was moved to tears. (Pay no attention to the crying woman .. Oh wait, it's New York. No one cares.)

One of the most lovely moments was during one of the many conductor-call-backs at the end of the work. A very young African-American string player and his mother had secured front row seats and he was pretty engaged through most of the concert. During the applause for the Beethoven, he was up there in the front row giving the BIGGEST sitting O that you've ever seen. On one of his exits back to the wings, the Maestro basically gave this kid his own standing O from the stage, which was absolutely magical. What a wonderful way to keep a young underrepresented musician's imagination engaged and provide a link from the past to the future.

Other notes from the month:

Between running around, inclement weather, and blood drives, I had been trying to fight the various bugs going around. However, when my boss came down with something, I knew it was only a matter of time. I can always tell -- when I lose my motivation and concentration and can only manage to do arts and crafts aimlessly in front of the television -- that's usually a clue. On the plus side, my holiday decor is done and snowflakes were sent out to the nephew and missionary living in desert climes. On the negative side, I tried to do a few days of work, but the gritting of the teeth and muscle tension from one particularly painful tutoring session was the tipping point to the holiday cold/flu.

The juggling of job responsibilities is supposedly coming to an end - eventually. I was home in my p.j.s due to Sandy when the e-mail went out announcing my new singular title. My official title and salary went into effect mid-month, but since my replacement hasn't been hired or trained yet, the juggling goes on. I suspect by January at this rate. WHOOO-HOOO?

The Thanksgiving break has been quiet, thankfully, with most of the time spent hunkered in bed, or beginning the Holiday Checklist of projects aka the Holiday cards. I used to mock my mother for the size of her list, but I totally get it now. I have gone through about 3 books of stamps, and I'm afraid I forgot someone.

I say quiet -- but it's been tempered with potential for explosive excitement. (Utility issue no. 2) I had to run out briefly on Black Friday. As I came and went from the lobby I could have sworn I smelled natural gas. I propped open some doors and it seemed to clear out. I also tried to get ahold of the super, but with it being the break people are gone or out shopping and he was MIA. The hours went on and I forgot. Until my neighbors got home and I could hear them talking in the hall. Turns out, that many hours later, they still smelled gas. They also repropped the doors open and still couldn't get ahold of the super.. Other neighbors came and went and said they actually smelled the gas the night before. FINALLY someone called the Fire Department, thus answering the question:

How many hours does it take how many tenants in a 7-story low rise to realize that they're all smelling gas fumes and contact the super or emergency services? TOO MANY!

Two engines pulled up, out came many yummy firemen of all ages and types, with lots of monitoring equipment to assess the situation. Problem was, we had propped open the doors and the fumes dispersed, and since the super didn't show up until an hour after they left, they couldn't get into the empty apartments on the lobby level or the office under renovation where we all though the gas was coming from. They weren't concerned enough to evacuate us and no one has really smelled it since the next morning.

However, I can now say that I've had more men in this apartment than I've ever anticipated. (Yay Me!)

I now know what a hot flash feels like. (Not Fun!)

I realized that all the friends I thought I could call in an emergency were out of town or also sick. (NOT GOOD!)

And BOY am I glad I showered, made up, properly underclothed, and cleaned up the apartment before the men were in here. (Oh boy I am glad !... And that all the 'unmentionables' weren't visible.)

Of course, looking around at the Holiday card workshop, the Toys for Tots bag, the quilt rack full of afghans, the shelves full of yarn/stuffed animals, the dress form, and the foam head, the unfinished/unassembled stuffed birds and blankets, not to mention the care packages for missionaries ... I don't think I need to worry about 'unmentionables' - I have other men-repellent issues.

Hell. I'm Auntie Nettie and I'm a Crazy Crafting Lady.

It's been a month -- and then some!

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