Hi all. I've been a bit under the weather, but am trying to push through it. Tonight I'll be working at the dreaded restaurant, which I'm blue about. I really wanted to be out of there by the end of 2005, but weddings are expensive! Let's focus on the positive, shall we? Tom will be back from Virginia tomorrow & we'll celebrate our after Xmas, Xmas, together. Sugar cookies will be baked & decorated & hot chocolate will be brewed from my brand new hot chocolate maker (gift from my sis, LOVE IT!). Presents will be opened & kisses will be exchanged. WHOO HOO! Oh, & we'll eat a bit of lentil soup for prosperity in the coming year & cap off the night by watching our fav show DEADWOOD. What can be better than all that?
I'm wishing all of you serenity, health & happiness. Keep reaching for your dreams. And may you & your loved ones shine in 2006!!
The NYC mass transit strike ended just in time for Tom & I to leave for RI. We took that as a Xmas miracle. We arrived Friday afternoon with aching feet (from all that walking) & began setting up my grandparents house for 30 family members. Tom was very into atmosphere this year, so he bought special soft bulbs & festive lights to get rid of that high school cafeteria feel. I cooked & argued with my grandmother on Saturday. She was in a mood. I just felt like nothing I did was right. She warmed up once she saw Tom hanging icicle lights all around her basement. We all did because he just had this expression of pure joy on his face as he worked on this project. There were lots of helping hands. My Aunt Jean & cousins all made a dish & my sis, mom & mom's fiance (she just got engaged last week) also pitched in big time. One of my uncles even ran errands for me & helped calm Momma down. So, I was able to relax a bit before everyone arrived. But, it just seemed as though no one was into the holiday spirit. Some family members seemed to be there out of a sense of obligation & not true desire. Someone announced that they didn't want to be there! Others said that the night just sucked! And it did in a way, but Tom & I both had a difficult time not taking it personally. I really don't know what to say. There was lots of tension & anxiety & just grossness. It's sad because Xmas Eve used to be such a highlight for most of my family. Maybe we've just become too big to all get together. There are now 4 generations all crowded into a pretty small space. I feel a sense of loss because it seems as though some family traditions may be coming to an end. Tom & I will spend next Xmas with his family, for the 1st time in 7 years. There will not be any feast of the seven fishes for us next year.
The true meaning of Xmas has been lost along the way. It's not about the sweaters, gift certificates or other material goods. I think it's about gratitude. I'm grateful for all those that pitched in & were truly happy to help. I'm so blessed that I still have my grandparents, even if they can be pains in the arses sometimes ( can't we all?). And I feel so very fortunate for my totally non-judgmental siblings. And my mom, who finally has found happiness. And my absolutely gorgeous nephew who thinks everything is so amusing. And my very pregnant cousin & her laid-back husband who let us stay with them & didn't get angry when Tom woke them up in the middle of the night singing his "let's do shots" song. And for Tom who tried (in vein) to get me to be calm this weekend. I could go on & on. Friends who love and accept you & family that would run to your rescue should all be treasured. Because all the gifts or money in the world doesn't hold a candle to that. Peace to all.
Did you see us (NYC) on the news today? Apparently, we were all over it because our transit workers decided to strike 5 days before Xmas. They did not make their decision until 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday. This would ensure that no one could be prepared. Tom woke me early to tell of the news. I had to be in work at 11am so, I gave myself 2 hours to get there. It was not enough. We walked 15 blocks to the Long Island Railroad which is not on strike. The line to buy a ticket was 6 city blocks long or 2 &1/2 hours of standing in the freezing cold. Oh, did I mention that it was only 22 degrees this morning? I arrived at work more than one hour late, but all of my fingers & toes were intact. I bought a big, puffy, long, down coat this weekend. Thank Goodness! That, paired with thermals, ski socks & gloves & my furry lamb's wool hat from Russia protected me from the bitter cold. Heck, I was practically sweating. And a couple of cups of hot chocolate made me feel all toasty inside. Unfortunately, the hot chocolate was not from any of the places on our Best Of list, just some local deli's. But they did the trick none the less.
It wasn't all madness today. Yes, cab drivers were charging $50 to get into Manhattan (3 miles away) & horns were honking louder than usual. But, once I crossed the bridge all was well. People were so very grateful to those who stopped & drove them to work. Yes, total strangers carpooled together. Those of us who actually made it in had a great sense of accomplishment. Madison Avenue was completely closed so one could run, skip or cartwheel down the middle of that street, if they wanted to. The stores were not very busy. I walked into a Toys R Us & strolled right up to the register to purchase gift certificates. I was in & out in less than 8 minutes. BONUS!! Tomorrow we'll brave the elements again. Who knows what kind of adventure it will be. Unforgettable, I'm sure.
O dreaded winter has arrived once again. The sun was shining today but, don't let that fool you because it was only 21 degrees. I do have a confession to make - I don't like winter! Yes, I'm definitely on the wrong coast. There was a time when I prayed for the cold months to arrive. I couldn't wait to go skiing, ice skating & dress up in cozy, fluffy sweaters. Now I dream about sitting in a hammock in Costa Rica sipping a Pina Colada. Yes, I've become quite a baby during the cold weather months. I wear layer upon layer of clothing, a hat, gloves, you name it, but still I freeze. I bitch & moan every time I get caught in a wind tunnel (which is daily). There is one bright spot in this freezing frenzy. Yes, you guessed it - HOT CHOCOLATE! It has become my reward for dredging through the icy NYC streets. Every cup consoles me. I'm averaging about 5 cups a week. All of this consumption is not doing anything positive for my thighs but, it's doing wonders for my soul.
I still have not found a hot chocolate that is quite as delicious as Paris' Angelina's. They truly spoiled me, but the hunt is on. Mariebelle in SOHO is so very close. This weekend we got a cup from the West Village's trendy Chocolate Bar. It was pretty good but, their truffles are far better. Tom & I decided to look through well respected local mags & papers & compiled a Best Of list. So far we have 7 businesses to try. Mariebelle is on that list again because we just have to be absolutely certain that their hot chocolate is up to par. Our goal is to test one every week or so & document our experience. I'll of course, share it with all of you. I'm not sure if an actual winner will be chosen. It's more about finding something that we love to help us beat the winter blues. I can't wait to drink & be merry!
That's what the world is saying to me lately. I'm constantly on the go, frazzled and swimming upstream, or so it seems. Someone stop this damn treadmill - I wanna get off! I'm a bit behind on things & I can't control that since there's just not enough hours in the day for me to catch up. Well, I'm at least going to catch up with all of you. So here's what I've been up to my in life & goings on in no particular order.
-Tom & I celebrated our 7th anniversary.
-My beautiful blue-eyed nephew turned one. Remember when he was a preemie & we were all praying for him? Well, he's caught up big time!
-I joined NAPO, otherwise known as the National Association of Professional Organizers. It's a growing industry & it's part of "lifestyle designer" & cleaning out closets & drawers makes me so very happy.
-Momma's latest phrase is - when I go to the other side. Here's an example of how it was recently used. "Dawn, let's go look through my jewelry boxes so you can put aside what you want for yourself when I go to the other side." She chuckles every time she uses this phrase.
-Tom celebrated his B-Day.
-My mom, sis & aunt threw me a beautiful bridal shower. It was a white Xmas theme with lots of angels & snowy Santas. Hor'dourves, mini pastries, wine & a very sweet, but strong punch was served. The favors were hand painted boxes filled with a lovely array of teas.
-My dear friend Mary Lou gave me the loveliest & most personal gift. She hand painted an antique chest & decoupaged a label from an old cigar box on the top of it. She filled the chest with presents that were labeled A-K. On each gift was a card that said something like - for when you like him; for when you really like him; not at all; for who you were; for where you are going; for the fish lover in you; when only chocolate will do; for your softer side; for running to the rescue you; for vintage you. In the boxes were pretty pajamas, sexy black lingerie, flannel pj's, a photo album, the book 1000 Places To See Before You Die, Swedish fish(fav candy), a bag of mini Milky Ways, a bag with sweet smelling lotions, a hand blown glass angel ornament, a stunning vintage orchid pin, & 2 pictures of orchids (fav flower) ready to be framed. Now my entire family wants to invite her to all of our parties!
-We got a car. Tom's close friend sold us (for practically nothing) his mom's 10 year old Cutlass Ciera. The car is in mint condition & only has 43,000 miles on it. This grandma car is the perfect vehicle for NYC. We can keep it parked on the street because no one will steal it, but it's really a gem.
-I took my grandma car to RI & got an oil change & tune-up & on the way back to NYC it died. The place that serviced my car forgot to put the oil filter back on so, I lost all the oil & it killed my engine.
-We now have a lawyer to help us deal with the shop that killed my car. They found another engine with 65,000 miles & are in the process of rebuilding it.
-I'm very superstitious & took the entire car incident as a sign that I'm not suppose to own a vehicle while living in NYC. Tom thinks I'm plain crazy.
-Poppa & I cooked his famous aioli recipe together. It turned out very good. This means that there are only 4 recipes left to test for the cookbook. 2 are baking, one is a Xmas Eve dish & the other is the easiest recipe on earth. WHOO HOO!
AND ON THE WEDDING FRONT:
-We ordered the wedding invitations.
-The florist put together the centerpieces for my approval & I absolutely love them. The red ostrich feathers really do make a statement.
- No wedding cupcakes will be made. We decided on a dessert buffet instead. And I realized that I don't really want to be working like crazy on the cupcakes the day before I'm getting married.
-My wedding shoes are bought.
-I met with the place having our reception & picked out all of the food. I'm most excited about the pasta station & the dessert buffet.
-I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my hair. And I can't decide if I want to wear a veil. It kind of makes me feel like I'm making my 1st communion. But, then I see pics from some celebrity wedding (Demi & Ashton) & I change my mind.
-Instead of having a guestbook we are having small cards with WISHES stamped on the outside. We're hoping this will encourage our guests to write something a bit more personal.
-The night before the big day we are throwing a bowling/pizza party instead of a rehearsal dinner. It will be laid back & casual & a bit of healthy competition is a good way for everyone to get to know each other.
-And here's a pic of our Save The Date magnets. We made them ourselves.