Sunday, February 26, 2017

Every Two Years, this time Sally Field and Matthew Broderick, a Night in the city with my wife

2/26/17 21:53

Yesterday, we left the house just before 11:00 in the morning.  I filled up on gas and we bought bagels before our drive into the city.  We had the day planned for a few weeks.  We did the same thing two years ago.  Catching two plays and spending the night in the city.  The first play was Glass Menagerie, starring Sally Fields.  The second was Evening at the Talk House starring Matthew Broderick. 
You know one of those days when everything fell into place.  There was a coupon for half off 24 hour parking which I printed.  The traffic to the city was very light and we made great time.  The parking garage on East 38th took my car.  We walked up to the hotel.  The Courtyard on east 40th and to our surprise there a room was available.  We had a room with a view instead of an alley, we could see buildings.  The low hurling clouds which carried looming rain; scraped over steel roofs. 
We made excellent time.  Made it to the Belasco Theatre and waited in line for ten minutes.  We walked up to the balcony. I forgot, but I bought tickets for the first row up.  First row on the balcony.  Our seats were very good.  We saw an incredible play.  I was struck with Sally Field and how she captured the part of Amanda Wingfield.  Reading who’s who in the cast, I read this is Madison Ferris’ Broadway debut.  This is an actor who is disabled and yet like an ignorant fool, I thought she played the part.  She was incredible and I wish her a successful career.  I can’t forget Joe Mantello who throughout the play kept the audience hanging on the edges of our seats. 
After the play we headed back to the hotel and looked at some places to eat along Fifth Avenue.  We walked down to Grand central, I thought it would be a good idea to dine in one of the restaurants under the still blue constellation ceiling.  Nothing really struck us, and certainly not in the lower dining area.  We found the Brooklyn Diner on 42nd Street.  The same place we ate two years ago.  I had matzo soup and a Stella and ordered a Cuban chicken meal.  Ali ordered chicken soup and a burger and a Coke.  The soup was delicious and I thought our waiter was the same we had last time we dined there.  The soups were large portions – large enough – could easily have made it our entrĂ©es.  The rest of the dinner was just a delicious and we headed outside and felt the first heavy drops of rain. 
Ali needed batteries for her hearing aid, bought them and walked around Times Square in the rain.  We had our umbrellas and were prepared, unlike a lot others.  I heard some call out, I didn’t know it was going to rain!  With time to kill before the next event, we stopped into a deli for some coffee, tea and a split a brownie.  Our timing was perfect.  We sat on stools facing the street and watched the pouring, windswept rain rip across the street, racing strangers and tourists, some wearing ponchos on open double decker busses were huddled together.  The deli was filling up with strangers to get away from the rain and to buy anything.  Thunder and lightning struck. I looked at my watch and suggested we leave at 7 which will give us more than enough time to walk to The Pershing Square Signature Center.
Gradually, the rain lightened.  More and more were making their way down the sidewalk and we left our deli and ventured into the light rain and leapt over puddles and made out way inside the center.  We waited.  When the theatre was opened we were greeted by Jill Elkenberry and Annapurna Sriram who were serving drinks to the audience who were coming in.  The stage was set between two sections where we sat in the second row.  I was impressed.  A couple came in and were taking their seats next to us and asked if we had mingled with the cast who were walking around the set.  No, I said.  They went back down and started talking to John Epperson.  I met Larry Pine who thanked me for coming and then spoke to Michael Tucker who I have seen on TV.  We spoke about the weather what else do strangers talk about?  The play itself was bizarre.  It was funny at times and yet both Ali and I were sort of distracted by a subplot within the story which did not add up.  I’d like to speak to Wallace Shawn about this play and make some sense of it.  Not that I would.  As we were walking away from the theatre, I overheard a man declare, “I hate Matthew Broderick, he plays the same fucking character in all of his plays!” 
We went to Junior’s like we did two years before and took our seats at the bar.  I had a vanilla shake and tea.  Ali had a tea and ordered a slice of their famous cheesecake which we split.  I noticed one of the bartenders who was serving in another section and said to Ali, I think that’s the woman who served us two years ago.  No, she said.  And eventually she came down and took my credit card.  I asked her how long she has been working there, she smiled and said two years.  I said I remembered her.  Not that she would remember us, but we discussed the plays we saw and were going to see for the rest of the year.  Before we left, I asked her name, Jess.  She works there on Saturday nights, so if you’re ever in the need for a suggestion of what to see on Broadway…talk to Jess.  And we made our way back to the hotel as a massive crowd was flooding its way out from The Lion King.  Traffic came to a stop and the crowd was dense.  Eventually, we made it back to our room and I lowered the shade and called it a night.  A rare night when my wife and I could get away from the house and kids and hear the rippling winds on the 26th floor in New York City.  Maybe it will be in another two years?  I hope not.

Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Riding the ferry to Bridgeport

2/18/17 08:15 on board the ferry to Bridgeport
It was one of those nights when the bright moon light was shining on my side of the bed.  I’m not sure what time I was woken up by the light.  I watched as the crescent drifted across the night sky, getting up once to use the bathroom and going back to sleep.  Tried to turn to the opposite direction, but Ali was snoring.  She apologized and turned over.  It was one of those nights when sleep was broken and I am sitting here on this floating metal machine as we sail across the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport.  Somewhere off the coast of Connecticut there is a Russian spy ship or trawler. I don’t see any boats or tankers.  In the summer, Jet Ski jumpers are ripping through the breaking waves in the wake of the ferry.  Sailboats are lingering in light breezes.  Boats are everywhere.  It is stark outside.  The sky is light blue.  The weather is expected to be beautiful this weekend which is one reason for the crowd on this ferry.  We assume we’d get on early.  We assumed we would beat the crowds.  Take the 0800 and be on our way to Boston.  Seeing this packed ferry, all seats taken… I am anticipating heavy traffic.  The abundance of travelling families is on packed display, with kids and dogs and friends and whatever else they have brought with them for this holiday weekend.  President’s Day is one of those holidays that sneak up on us.  Many of us are not aware that Monday is a Federal Holiday and schools, banks and some companies are closed.  Sharp Clinical is closed.  I packed some running gear since I like to run in new towns and yet curious to see how much snow the area received.  If there is too much snow, I will hit the treadmill for a few miles, three miles. I don’t like running on the machine.  It is boring, facing the same wall, watching a small screen the audio on mute and my thoughts are a circular pattern of; this is boring, why is it taking so long?  Only a quarter of mile?  Here we are.  Waiting to get to the other side.  I can hear the rampant conversations and the lulls. There is laughter.  There is anticipation of seeing Mo Cheeks and the rest of our family.  I want to hit a book store.  There I said it, the man with too many books wants to hit another store.  We sit packed together on this long bench.  

Thank you for reading this.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Be Authentic and Take a Stand

2/12/16 21:37

I could hear the screams from up here.  21 Pilots just won a Grammy and our youngest was screaming.  I’d rather clip my toes or fold my laundry than watch any of the award shows.  I don’t care to watch the Superbowl either, so it’s not just the shows, but the insane blitz of celebrity and glamour.  There doesn’t appear to be anything or anyone who is authentic, and yet I watched Meryl Streep take a stand against our current President.  She spoke from her heart.  Last night I was speaking to a family member and he cringed when thinking of Trump as our leader.  I am sorry I am going off on something else.  But here it is.  Thoughts on a Sunday night before the new week begins.  I will be travelling for work and meeting with prospective clients.  There is nothing authentic about Trump.  There is said it.  I pulled it all together.  Be real.  Get real.  Take a stand!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

2/4/17 07:31

I know what you’re thinking.  We’re like two old friends who sit across from one another over a beer.  We haven’t seen each other for a few months.  It’s good to catch up, but there gets to be a point in the conversation when the breaks and the silence seeps in and we smile aware of the spreading distance.  I’ll help to make you more comfortable and do what I can to bring you back.  It’s the way life works. Some of us move on and we return searching for the familiar reassurance; we are alright.  Aren’t we?  Let me get this off my chest.  Was I disappointed with the results of the last election?  Absolutely and I am reminded of this most days.  It’s like a nightmare we are living through, but this struggle will continue for years.  Being the eternal optimist, I have already heard and seen the progress.  We are making our voices heard.  Instead of focusing on that here and now, I want you to know that I am alright.  I’ve removed myself from Facebook, but not in an official way.  I’ve tried this before and like a gnat, the FB continues to come back to remind me of its existence.  I am on Twitter, but scroll through most of the advertisements.  I’m focused on sending out query letters for my new novel and Ali and Amanda have helped immensely with editing both the manuscript as well as the letter.  I was sending letters and receiving minimal responses, and knew there was something amiss.  Ali caught the spelling errors and streamlined the summary.  I am reading more.  I’m struggling through Wicked by Gregory Maguire, this is my third attempt and yet I will get through it.  Still waiting for the “controversial” scene which is the reason why I am painfully getting through it.  Not my style of writing.  There I said it.  Last weekend Amanda was home and I read Maya Angelou’s Letter to My Daughter.  The book itself was not a letter nor did she have a daughter, but it was a series of essays on her life and living a virtuous life.  When I think of her work, I think of Amanda.  Here are some quotes from the book which I hope you will read.

“…courage is the most important of all the virtues.”

I would recommend reading her essay from the book, National Spirit, “For the past four decades our national spirit and natural joy have ebbed.  Our national expectations have diminished.  Our hope for the future has waned to such a degree that we risk sneers and snorts of derision when we confess that we are hoping for a brighter tomorrow.”

Thank you for reading this

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