Monday, March 21, 2011

Whirlwind Weeks!

So my goal of writing at least once a week has been trumped by travel, class, work, fundraiser planning and wedding affairs ...oh, and my life. It's a non-stop go-go-go these days and this week I'm finally back on my feet with some breathing room. What does that mean? It means I have two whole evenings free this week! But I'm sure they'll get filled somehow.

Southwest Porch - photo courtesy of the Bryant Park Blog
The Children's Aid Society - Spring Cocktail Event

My first comment (which originally was my last but I'm capitalizing as I'm the editor here) is about our upcoming fundraiser for The Children's Aid Society. After resigning from Junior League, it took me a while to find my new cause, the thing I was "trained" for through my 6 years with the League. I found it with CAS. I'm on the Associate's Council, which is the Junior Board for CAS. We participate in programs and plan events to support the overall efforts of The Children's Aid Society, a 158-year old community organization helping  the children of New York City and Westchester County that are facing the instability, stress and risk of living in poverty. On May 11th, we're hosting an amazing cocktail party at Bryant Park at the Southwest Porch. I'm so excited (especially after another crappy weather day)! Awesome food from 'wichcraft, great beverage selection, awesome auction/raffle prizes, a stellar location and great people. As co-chair of the event, I'm obviously vested, but I would honestly want to attend even if I wasn't. So, if you're in NYC on May 11th and want to have a great evening of Al fresco cocktails, food and great entertainment, please join us! If you can't attend but want to support this cause, please donate - even a small amount makes a difference! For more info, visit our website: 

In this moment of reprieve, I'll recap a few of my favorite adventures over the past two weeks. First and foremost, a review from my classmates on "Elbow Sweat Survival". It was a resounding success! PHEW. I was quite nervous about it. There were some great suggestions including incorporating more elbow-related idioms (i.e. elbow-to-elbow, rubbing elbows, etc.) and re-working the piece to be a Goldilocks-like tasting of elbow sweat survival methods and finding the ultimate after some "almost there" and "just about right" options. I will certainly consider these suggestions when I re-work the piece. The next writing piece will be a reflection on my trip to Ghana back in 2008 but luckily I have a few weeks before that one is due.

After my class, I hustled home in the pouring (and sideways) rain - this was 2 weeks ago. As I was waiting to cross the street in my non-rain friendly outfit (think wool coat, corduroys, and clogs), a taxi whooshed past me and cleverly hit a puddle drenching me from head to toe. I didn't need elbow sweat survival techniques....I needed a parka. Sigh. This winter has been INTERMINABLE! Literally this morning it snowed for a few minutes. That's after it was 70 degrees on Friday. As I said to the checkout guy at Trader Joe's yesterday, the weather is like a 15 year old girl who just figured out she's pretty. A total tease.

There is really one thing I LOVE about winter that makes it bearable and it's getting to go ski/ride. I've been skiing since I was three years old and riding since I was 16 (I'm predominantly a boarder now); last year (2009-10 season) was the first year in 29 years that I didn't make it to a mountain. Slightly devastating for someone who used to drive to Mammoth alone (6 1/2 hour - 395 mile drive) regularly. The reason I was hustling home was to back my board bag for a last minute trip to Denver to see my brother and hang out with his family. I took the 7 AM flight so my brother could collect me and drive directly to the mountain. We hit up Keystone and the conditions were absolutely fabulous. Still powder in the trees, enough sun to don a fleece, and fabulous company. My brother is a stellar skier so we zoomed around the mountain at breakneck speed - I was in heaven. Even if I only get that one day this year, it was SO worth it. And good to know I haven't lost my skills.

We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with my (unfortunately) sick niece, Scout (4 almost 5) and nephew, Sawyer (almost 2), but they had enough energy to keep us entertained playing games, reading, and watching movies. At one point when both kids were slightly hysterical with illness and over tiredness, my sister in law said, "I'm sure this is great birth control for you!" I thought about it and honestly, in the past it might have been, but my gut reaction was that I really do look forward to having little people of my own to care for - whether healthy, sick or tantrum prone. This picture is a snap of my niece...I couldn't resist with those freckles! Reminds me of my face as a child.

Another recent adventure was a swift trip to DC to, among other things, see the Gauguin exhibit, "Gauguin: Maker of Myth", at The National Gallery. The exhibit was quite comprehensive and had some stellar pieces. I fell in love with this piece, "Ondine", and was disappointed to discover reproduction prints are only made in a small scale size. "Ondine", is historically considered in European folklore and mythology as a gorgeous, yet soulless, water nymph blessed with a beautiful voice and immortality. Her only way to gain a soul is to marry a man and bear his child, an act that gains a soul but loses her immortality. The tale says that as Ondine ages her husband loses interest in her taking a mistress. One day Ondine finds her husband sleeping in the arms of another and curses him stating, "You swore faithfulness to me with every waking breath, and I accepted your oath. So be it. As long as you are awake, you shall have your breath, but should you ever fall asleep, then that breath will be taken from you and you will die!"("Ondine",Wikipedia) This curious tale is the basis for "Ondine's Curse", also known as Congenital Central Hyperventilation Syndrome, a serious form of sleep apnea. Makes you reconsider the repercussions of "Til death do us part.". NPR did a very interesting article discussing the show and in particular Gauguin's voluptuous - almost Rubenesque - nude, Tahitian women, relating how his images didn't reflect his actual surroundings. In actuality, due to Christian missionary efforts, the majority of the women were fully clad in Christian missionary gowns! At least we know Gauguin had a wild imagination.

Other adventures these past few weeks have included a visit to the new Glen Ligon Exhibit at the Whitney Museum. A definite must see. Very creative, poignant perspectives and interesting use of many mediums. Fabulous dinner at Marea - it was Friday in Lent so I was slightly restricted (no bread, alcohol, or meat), but I found amazing options regardless in the crudo trio and the scallop dish. We also hit up the Architectural Digest Home Show at Pier 94, which was fabulous. If only we actually owned our apartments and could incorporated some of the creative ideas and pieces we were exposed to at the show. Some day, right?

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