Friday, December 27, 2013

Listicle Schmisticle

Honorable mention, those spring and summer walks to DUMBO
If you've been following my now woefully sporadic and neglected blog you have now come to anticipate the year end list. No, this is not my Top 10 Things I Drank Out of a Coupe Glass or Top 15 Foods I Ate in Places That Are Supposed to Make You Envious I Got a Table There and You Didn't or Top 10 Movies I Managed to See in What Little Spare Time I Have or Top 8 Songs I Heard By New But Derivative Musicians. While I actually did snag a table at Carbone earlier this year and left feeling guilty for starving children everywhere, this list is always about the top things that mattered to me in the year. The influencers, the catalysts, shit that really moved me beyond the every day.

And here we go, in no particular order. Also, I like the number 7 more than I like 10. It was a tough year, but a good one. Cheers to more adventures in 2014!

That Cab Driver Who Picked Me Up Last New Year's Eve Which By Then Was Day: I am utterly convinced my luck changed this year because the impossible happened - I got a cab to Brooklyn on New Year's Eve. For anyone who doesn't understand this, I should explain this is the equivalent of being an unknown actor chosen for a starring role in a movie or unlocking a portal into a world that consists entirely of gorgeous, uncomplicated people declaring their undying love for you while you romp with puppies and kittens who miraculously feed and clean after themselves and eat donuts without gaining an ounce. Though I spent much of the next day in a rather delicate condition speculating as to how I managed to get both a contact lens and a lipstick smear on my bathroom ceiling, days later, my career that I was convinced was totally over, came back in full swing and has continued to flourish. Thank you, Cab Driver, whoever you are. Well, it could also have been the Hoppin' John I had the foresight to prepare the day before (see above). So doing that again!

Amsterdam: It had been years since I had taken a real vacation, more so since I had left the country. I had no money, I had no time. I was going to do it anyway. So what better way to do it than to take a huge leap outside my comfort zone and meet someone there whom I had never actually met in person and spend a few days exploring a new city together? I could actually write a whole entry here just about said person, who came to me in a cyber smoke signal Tweet out of nowhere and has since become one of the closest people in my life, even though he happens to live so very far away. But this is about our trip to Amsterdam, which was everything I could have wanted - meandering through a beautiful city with lovely architecture and stunning views, great meals that were all happenstance (including my favorite new game, Sushi Roulette), making new friends, drinking great drinks and turning a private hotel stash of hooch into the best bar in the city after hours with one of the loveliest travel companions a girl in midlife crisis could ask for. Late nights, short, hot days. It flew by way too quickly. My only regret was the inability to make time stop for us, short of that, extend my plane reservation.

Bruce Is Alive and Well and Driving Me Crazy and I Couldn't Be More Grateful: This time was for real. Halloween, 4 a.m. faced with the kind of agonizing decision I knew someday I might have to make, but couldn't possibly be prepared for. Something told me to let them do what they had to do and let the daylight shine new hope before I choose the wrong door. The supportive messages and calls came pouring in encouraging me not to put him down despite the cost, which was rapidly rising into the thousands. Thousands I simply didn't have. There was a chance it could all work out, shouldn't I take it? Wouldn't I regret it forever if there was even the slightest possibility he would be OK in the end? Well, this bad boy (no longer nearly as big) is currently in my lap, kneading his paws into my knees, purring and loudly begging for turkey slices, which he wouldn't be otherwise. I didn't save him. At least not alone. My friends did. You know who you are.

Pistachios: I seriously don't know what I would do without them. I'm going to say something you don't often hear. You ready? It's easy to get sick of nuts. No. Really. They get boring. Almonds? They turn to cardboard. Cashews? Too greasy sometimes. Hazelnuts tend to give me heartburn now. But somehow pistachios always keep the spark alive in the marriage for me and stave off my hunger when I get the Four O'Clocks. You little green, yummy minxes, you.

New Orleans: This year was my fourth trip there and this time it stole a piece of my heart it has yet to return. It's hard to put into words what exactly changed me, as the circumstances were much the same as before - hot, sweaty, drinky and crowded for Tales of the Cocktail in July. Maybe it was because this time the whole city felt like a familiar friend I wanted to get to know better. I learned there are things about it you can come to expect, the old standbys, the stubborn old grand dames of the city, but it's still full of pleasant surprises and new experiences. "Predictable" is not a word they will ever say about New Orleans. I can't wait to go back.

Re-reading: It's important to revisit certain books as one's own life chapters open and close. I had been remiss in this practice and brought it back this year. So wonderful to once again explore places we didn't know we had places with Kevin Canty and imbibe Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters with Zaphod Beeblebrox! Next up, Nabokov's Pale Fire, which I haven't read since college.

Playing Hooky: When you're unemployed for a long time like I was, you take your free time for granted. This year I've barely had a day off. What I can do on occasion is get my work done early and take an afternoon. I've had a few fantastic hours meeting friends for long, luxurious lunches with too much wine and conversation. I made it to Queens for the US Open and explored a little of Long Island City. And on a few occasions, I rediscovered what it feels like to get lost and relax in Central Park on a crisp, sunny day. I'm actually doing it this very minute by writing here instead of over there. Trust me, if I hadn't stolen these moments for myself I'd resemble Zuul from Ghostbusters right about now. Damn straight there will be more of that in 2014!