Tag Archives: friends

No sleep till Brooklyn*

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My picture does NOT do the work justice. Apologies!

On Friday, despite Mother Nature’s attempt to disrupt my plans, I ventured down to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to attend my uber talented neighbor, Ken Ragsdale’s art show opening at the Front Room Gallery. As someone who doesn’t often attend gallery openings (read: hardly ever), I was a bit out of my element, and, as a person who doesn’t stray from Manhattan usually, I was definitely outside of my borough of reference. After consulting my Facebook friends regarding attire and Google maps for directions, we hit the road in the late afternoon. Next stop: The Hundred-Acre Wood!

View from the Roebling Tea Room on the first evening of spring.

View from the Roebling Tea Room on the first evening of spring.

The drive was uneventful, other than my imagination working overtime creating vivid scenarios about how the piece of Ken’s which ended up in the back of my wagon could be damaged during the trip to Brooklyn. Rear-end collision, encounter with a remarkable pothole resulting in the shattering of glass…

imageSafely parked around the corner from the gallery, wearing the suggested attire of skinny jeans, ankle boots and a cool hat, we met up with some of the Albany contingent and enjoyed a lite bite and a round of drinks at the Roebling Tea Room. My cocktail, an excellent old-fashioned with a clean, citrus element was wonderful, the small plates equally perfect.

The show was an absolute triumph. The work vividly expressed a time in the artist’s life and is truly stunning.  The presence of so many familiar faces must have made the opening a dreamy blend of memories and modern day moments.  So friggin cool.  Can’t get to Brooklyn?  Check out the group show opening Friday, 3/27/15 at the Albany International Whatever Airport right in the 518.

*This post has nothing to do with sleeping in Brooklyn or the Beastie Boys. Nothing.  I just love the sentiment.  Here – watch the video anyway.

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Filed under Albany, art, DelSo, drinking, Events, friends, Local, NYC, Recommendations, road trips, Spring

Restaurant families

imageAfter more than three decades in the restaurant business, I know a few things. Some of the knowledge I’ve gained is related to food – how to make a buerre blanc or hollandaise and what to do with an excess of vegetables (frittata, risotto or soup).

I’ve learned about wine and spirits and the significance of all the minutia that is involved with creating an atmosphere that welcomes guests and makes them want to return. All of this is important to being successful in the hospitality industry but it pales in comparison to what I’ve come to know about people.

As a server my focus, naturally, is on my guests. I sincerely want those that I take care of to be happy and I have been so fortunate to be able to wait on some of the same people since my long ago undergraduate days. They’ve witnessed my life and the connection we share crosses our respective sides of the table to a place somewhere in the middle. Many of them know which nights I work and I do my best to recall who likes to sit where and which glass of wine they enjoyed last time they were in. We’re familiar with one another.

Over the years, though, there have been situations which have proven that the most valuable thing I have learned about the restaurant business is that the people I have worked with are my family. We’ve shared annoyances, laughter and the stress of a life that is utterly unpredictable every single shift. At the end of the night, while counting money and emptying trash bins, we have connected over a glass of wine (or two) and then hugged good night before heading to our cars to return to our other families.

It’s been a really tough couple of months for my family. The losses right now are so utterly outweighing triumphs and joys that my heart is echoing with absence. As we come together again to support one another, to embrace each other in love and sorrow during a time which feels impossibly tragic, the ability of our industry to create connections between people eclipses in importance any other aspect of the job.

Each shift on the floor comes with the guarantee of there being something new to witness or with which to contend. At this time of sadness, it is vital that we also remember with that same certainty that we are a family.  Always.

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Filed under Albany, family, friends, Observations, relationships, Restaurants

Counting (on) friends

If you peek at my Facebook account you’ll see that I have more than 700 virtual friends. Pretty impressive, right? Thanks to the wonders of social media, I am absolutely swimming in friendship!  Look a little closer, though, and you’ll discover that many of my friends are people I don’t really ever see, except for online.  Whether it’s due to distance or time, we simply don’t really have occasion to be together in real life.  Does this mean we aren’t really friends?  How do you define a true friend?

Over the years, I’ve learned that the number of friends I have isn’t really that important.  No, that’s not really how I measure friendship.  You see, it’s not about the counting of, instead, it is very much about the counting on.  True friends are the ones on which we can rely upon to do as they say and follow through on their promises, regardless of how infrequently we actually see one another in person.  Those are the people who add immensely to our lives.  Each day brings a new opportunity to be that kind of friend.  Count on it.

 

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Like a virgin

imageI switched handbags this week. I’d been using a beautiful green one since early fall and it was time for a change. I peeked inside a couple of cloth bags until I came across a red bag that I hadn’t used for a while. It suited my mood and I lifted it off the shelf.

I began placing my items in the bag, filling the various pockets and compartments. In one of the inside pockets, I came across a concert ticket stub from 2008, Neil Young at the Garden. What a great time that had been and what a long time ago it was. Using a handbag for the first time in 7 years or so is almost the same as having a new bag. It’s almost like it became brand new again…

Which reminds me of a story I may have already told here. It doesn’t matter if I did because it’s one of my favorite stories and I’m telling it again because it’s my blog. Many years ago, my friend Mary Panza told me about a conversation she had with her grandmother, a woman I never met. Her advice, upon learning of the state of her granddaughter’s hymen, was simple: “If you don’t have sex again for seven years your hymen will grow back and maybe some man will want you.”

The take away? Putting something on the shelf for a few years can make it seem fresh and previously untouched. I’m loving this “new” bag.

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Filed under Fashion, favorites, Observations, Random

15 for 2015

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  • To run for my own pleasure without measure.
  • To get out once or twice a month for the sole purpose of being social without the crutch of working.
  • To  eat quality food and drink copious amounts of water.
  • To strive to get Jeter out and active as much as possible.
  • To live an honest life.
  • To both smile and cry more often.
  • To keep practicing yoga.
  • To read more “classics” to expand my cultural knowledge.
  • To embrace the moment as frequently as possible.
  • To remain cognizant of motion.  Things may not always seem to move forward, but when they start moving backwards it probably is time to let go.
  • To not settle for less than I want – or deserve.
  • To love fiercely and tenderly.
  • To learn more handy woman skills.
  • To continue recording my journey.
  • To understand and accept that what I want may not be possible, but what I have is pretty damn remarkable.
It’s a new year.  Make it happy.

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Filed under aging, Exercise, family, holidays, love, musings, relationships

Smack(ed) – updated

This piece was originally posted last week.  I deleted it on the request of the loved one of my friend, but after much reflection am reposting it with the name of my friend removed.  It seems appropriate since while my friend was special, the situation, unfortunately, is not.  As the victim of a terrible disease and the drug dealers who feed that illness, he could have been anyone.  Heroin is killing the friends and family of people regardless of socio-economic, educational, ethnic and geographic boundaries. Sanitizing the situation does not change that fact.  Read more about this very real epidemic in Paul Grondahl’s ongoing series.  Peace to all of you who have lost children, siblings, parents and friends.  You’re not alone.

This morning on Facebook, nestled between the steady stream of photos capturing joyous Christmas scenes, there came some news I’ve been expecting for some time. But, as James Michener said, “We are never prepared for what we expect.”

When I met my friend, he was so on his game. Handsome as hell, kind, thoughtful and eager to learn, he had the potential to go anywhere. His days were spent working with other addicts, going to the gym and waiting tables. He was shiny and clean.

Over the time we worked together he shared some of his history with me. Hard drugs are something with which I have no experience. I don’t understand the appeal of a substance which may initially lift you up but ultimately will pull you down to the darkest of places. My friend talked about regrets and his hopes for his future. He was so smart and self-aware he convinced me that the days ahead were going to be brighter than those of his past. Until he told me he was looking forward to getting out from under the watch of the judicial system because he was eager to explore food and wine pairings at the restaurant where we worked together. I knew then that his sobriety wasn’t going to last, but the speed with which he ultimately fell was breathtaking.

I watched as his work ethic changed and his physical appearance deteriorated. He would disappear from the dining room floor at the end of the shift and return sweating and amped up in an almost aggressive way. He was soon fired and quickly burned through a number of subsequent jobs. He totaled his car and lost his sweet girlfriend. It was sad to see him.

My friend contacted me occasionally. About two years ago a longtime friend lost his son, a son who also happened to be a close friend of my friend’s. They shared the same disease and my friend had been the last person to see him alive. My friend looked like shit when I picked him up to drive to the wake – haunted with sunken eyes, unhealthy. I told him I was worried about him, that I didn’t want to have to go to his wake and asked if he could try again to get some help. I told him he was worth it.

It’s been almost a year since I last heard from him. His last message to me:

Hey sil…been a long time…u look amazing as always…I’m pretty sure ur the coolest mom ever…hope all is well with u and ur family…love always

I replied with the following:

Hey – what’s going on with you? Where are you these days? Healthy? I worry about you and hope you’ve found your way. Life is too short, my friend. XO Silvia.

Addiction sucks.

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Filed under friends, sick

(Not)OKCupid

Disclaimer: What follows is my own limited experience on a free dating site.  Two things to remember, everything I share below is painfully true and you get what you pay for.

Last week I went skiing with a friend and we, as women do, got to talking about dating and the state of our romantic lives.  She had recently signed up for an online dating site, OKCupid and showed me some of her “matches,” none of whom looked too scary.  Like me, she is a busy, divorced mom not into the bar scene.  As a purely social experiment, I decided to follow her lead and create an account myself.

Monday, I began the new week with a new online profile.  My screen name, Notadaywasted, summed up my life philosophy and I embellished my profile with minimal details and a couple of random photos which had already seen the light of day on Facebook.  Within minutes the messages started coming…

Most of the messages I received were simply overtures like “Hello, pretty lady” or remarks about my appearance.  None were from anyone to whom I felt compelled to reply.  I had listed a range of ages I might be interested in (40-55), but this did not prevent a few twenty-somethings from contacting me, a state of affairs (ha!) I found disturbing.  I mean, I already have 3 sons, know what I mean?

As the day moved on, the messages continued to accumulate.  One guy became increasingly explicit over a series of unanswered messages about what he’d like to show me.  Strike one, cupid, I didn’t sign up for vulgarities.  With each log on to the site come suggestions for matches.  Growing up, there was a kid in my town who reliably responded to any and all requests for a match with the following: “Do I have a match?  Not since Superman died.”  Well, I think a dead Superman would have held more appeal than 99% of the potential matches tossed my way. Strike two, cupid.

The final nail in cupid’s coffin, alternately known as strike 3, came when a friend of mine going back to my undergraduate days, sent me a message asking me how the hell I ended up on an online dating site.  My response?  More rapidly than Katniss’ arrow flies, I deleted my account.

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Filed under love, Observations, relationships