Back From Hiatus (or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done a blog entry. You faithful readers have probably forgotten about me. It’s such a gift to be able to write and I do enjoy it, but I’ve been so busy. I had a baby. Ok. My daughter had a baby – but really, that means, everyone around her had a baby too. It takes a village, y’know.

So since then I have been unable to actually put words together to form sentences. I speak to a toddler all day. I take care of this sweetie three days a week, 10 hours a day. All by myself. Nobody else. Just him and me. I spend the day making sure this new human being not only survives the day but is entertained, educated and loved. My apartment looks like it’s been ransacked, books on the kitchen floor, bowls and kitchen utensils in the living room. And that’s after I’ve just picked up. You can see where this is going. After a day of running around the house, back and forth, up stairs and down, crawling under the couch for the 5th time to retrieve something he’s tossed under there (because it’s soooo funny to watch grandma try and reach it), I’m ready for that cocktail when mommy gets home. Bedtime is now 10:00. I’ve heard there are people, nobody I know of course, who will sometimes fall into bed at 9:30 after a day of babysitting. Again, no one I know.

My ability to wander through the streets of New York City discovering something quirky to write about is greatly curtailed. I can still meander about, but it’s not the same. My walks now are to Storytime at the library. My former life – getting up every morning with no plan but to wander and discover the city, not to mention my exciting background work in movies and television – those days are over for now. So long Mrs. Maisel, I have a real job now! No time to sit around at my computer (besides, my brain is mush, I haven’t put a grown-up thought together in 2 years.) How do I describe my day: Poopy diapers, singing, making lunch and dinner, which he may or may not like, going to the park, reading the same book over and over again, playing “Where’s your belly button?” If you don’t have kids, you can’t get it. Cuz this is all so amazing! A new person is here, someone who didn’t exist a couple years ago! A most delightful person who loves to laugh and play and cuddle (minimally, slightly more than the cat), and dance to his favorite Harry Belafonte song (“Jump In The Line.”) A person with limitless energy and lots of love.

Giving the cat some love. Kitty is super excited.

This job is only for the robust. Following a fast-toddling 16-month old through the house is exhausting and your eyes can’t wander for a second. There are stray cat treats to be picked up and eaten. I have to carefully examine my apartment before he comes upstairs to make sure there are no choke-able objects on the floor. Soon the ‘everything goes into my mouth’ stage will be over, and we can breathe a sigh of relief before moving on to the next stage, The Terrible Twos.

No, not going to change the name of this blog to a ‘How to be the Perfect Grandmother’ – tho, I admit humbly, I’m good at this. I really hope to get back to sporadic grousing and discovery, even if it’s just jotting down a few notes as I get into bed before drifting off at 10:01.

Gradica Ristorante

Gradica Ristorate

Sweet little restaurant tucked away on West 13th in Greenwich Village. It looks so inviting, and I love the pink chairs. I’ve never been here. Across the street was a cozy bar and restaurant where a friend and I would meet up. White tablecloths, intimate, mostly literary types so the conversation tended to be quiet and not boisterous. It closed one day, just like that. I’ll really miss it. I guess next time we meet up we’ll go to Gradisca Ristorante.

You never know..

Lunch

I met a friend for lunch the other day. Well not really a friend, I had only met her once before. So when I arrived at the restaurant I wasn’t sure if she was the one at a table in the far corner.  Reading the menu, her face was down. The hostess smiled at me as I perused the place.  Just then the woman at the table in the corner looked up and waved.  It was her. I smiled and waved as if, of course I recognized her and had just that minute walked in, arranging my scarf from the outside breeze.

We had met the week before at an art gallery; she and her husband were looking at a 19th century landscape and the husband started speaking about the provenance and how much it fetched at auction last year. He owned one by this artist but wasn’t sure of it’s authenticity, tho nonetheless, he liked his painting. We continued talking about the show and the art scene in New York in general  They used to own a gallery and had much of their inventory hanging on the walls of their apartment, they said. Come over for drinks, they said.

I love checking out [judging] people’s apartments so I said I’d love to. The next week on an unusually warm evening, I headed uptown to their apartment, a large and unassuming white brick high-rise. I arrived a tad after 6:30 (arriving on time, apparently, is something only old people do.)  The doorman announced my arrival and sent me up to the apartment in the elevator.  The door opened and they welcomed me into their small living space/art gallery, every wall covered with beautifully framed masterpieces.  We hugged (obligatory these days.)  The apartment was illuminated by a row of windows with early evening views of the city. I had to just stand there and take it all in. Save for the hundreds of thousands of dollars of art on the walls and a New York skyline view, it was quite modest. Aside from the unseen bedroom and bath, the place could be taken in with one glance.  Paintings were everywhere, displayed in rows, one piece on top of another, all with little gold plaques indicating title and artist.  We talked a bit and the husband poured us all a glass of Italian wine (the vineyard which they had visited, of course), and we noshed on cheeses and crackers and other interesting snacks from beautifully arranged plates. The man was excited for me to savor each piece in their collection, as we visited each one and he revealed the cost and current price and how they were acquired.  We all picked our favorites. It was a lovely New York evening and she and I agreed to meet for lunch soon. 

The next week at lunch, splitting a turkey club sandwich, she and I talked as if we’d been friends forever. She and her husband had a solid marriage and enjoyed each other. I envied her status: upper east side apartment, lots of money, traveling all over to buy and sell art, investing in beautiful objects, collecting fine wines. How happy and satisfied she must be, I thought. She has it all.  Over the next hour, tho, I learned her life was far more complicated, far less perfect. It really threw me and I realized I totally (mis)judged her life by her fabulous possessions.  She had tears in her eyes and thanked me for being there and listening. I told her I’d be here if she needed to talk.

I think we all mistakenly think everyone is more successful, has more, makes more.  We walk among the crowds of people, good looking, well dressed, smiling, ..they must be happy, right?  For many, their reality is dark, and sadly, only they live in this darkness. It’s such a harsh world, a lot of hate out there lately. Time to be kind, ask people how they’re feeling and listen fully. That cranky bodega guy may have a lot on his mind, and people rush in and out of his shop without a word.  A few kind words and a smile can’t really change lives but it’s a start.