The One With The Pop Up Without A Ball Pit

S, R, and I visited Central Perk and the apartments nearby all in one place when we visited the Friends pop-up. No germy ballpit here! Instead, replicas of the Friends’s version of NYC.

Each friend had a dedicated section. Ross’s pivoting couch and comic book. Rachel and Monica’s purple door. Joey’s piled on clothes. Phoebe’s artwork. Chandler and Joey’s apartment. There was a wall dedicated to all the pets. And also, Central Perk.

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You could buy coffee at the end, but some of the coffee was sold out. Which never happened on Friends. But it doesn’t matter. Friendship is the point, right?

S, thank you for being a friend.

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Summertime Still

My Brother Had An Art Opening

After years of hearing it suggested, my brother showed his art in a group exhibit at Sip This. The opening saw lots of family and also lots of sales. Hooray! You can still see Summer Landscapes but for only a short time. You can buy one of the few that are left on the walls, or you can contact the photographer if you’re interested in any other landscape photography. He’s got winter stuff. Spring and fall stuff. City stuff. Country stuff. Lots of gritty stuff. I’m not an agent. Just a fan. A friggin happy proud sis and fan.

 

Sip This Had A Birthday Party

Going 8 years strong, Sip This is a local community heaven. Sure, I know, it’s a coffee house, but really, it’s the place that’s been the hub of all things art, commerce, social, supportive, and whatever other kind of gathering you can think of. Love them!

My Longest Friend Had A Birthday

It’s Virgo season! S decided to celebrate her birthday with trivia. We headed to Juke Bar in NYC. It’s the best bar. They are super accommodating if you want to reserve a table (no minimum or deposit needed). They let you bring in food. They offer interesting cocktails. As for the trivia, ooh, it was a tight race. Because there were seven of us, we split into two teams: Team It’s My Birthday and Team It’s Her Birthday. Team It’s Her Birthday (which I was on) was leading by a point for two rounds. Then came a round about sandwiches and another about HBO that included a theme song from First And Ten that starred Delta Burke (which S knew. of course) and then a bonus question about harmonicas. Also, Ryan Sutter is not a hockey player. What all this adds up to is Team It’s Her Birthday tied for third. Team It’s My Birthday came in second and won a round of shots. A good day for a birthday. A great day for longest friends.

 

I Took A Defensive Driving Course

AAA offers an online course complete with videos of car crashes. I learned that I should be using some sort of pedal extenders because I’m under 5’5″. Also, they want me to move my mirrors. We are all apparently not using our mirrors in the right position. You know how long it took me to get them where they should be? Now they want me to rethink the whole positioning? That’s, like, rethinking who I am at my core.

Fun Was Had From City To Suburb

Line dancing has been iffy because of the weather. One night after the rain, they had a squeegee guy come out onto the concrete and mop up the puddles so we could dance! Otherwise, it’s been canceled. Sigh.

 

A bunch of poetry readings have been fun. I read at the Gazebo and made crazy poet faces. Then I dedicated an entire album on my FB writer page to crazy poet faces over the years. In addition to Gazebo readings, mine and others, I headed to others from Sip This (how many times can I say that in this post?) to Industry.

In watching news, I started watching the newest season of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. I also started Veronica Mars with EA; we also saw Hobbes & Shaw, which was not a work of cinematic genius but was a work of pretty things to look at. Here, things means Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. I am not ashamed. I’m still binging The Mindy Project. I’m watching Big Brother and enjoying the captioning as well as the Long Island / New Jersey accents.

[Click the pic.twitter.com link to see captioning at its comedic best].

Because Liberating The Astronauts won the SFPA Elgin Award last year, I’m committed to reading as many nominated collections as I can and voting this year. I bought six that really struck a chord with me, and as of yesterday, I finished reading all six. Hooray! Also, I met my Goodreads challenge already. That’s barely a dent in my TBR pile, but it’s still a dent. I’m back to reading books from Book Expo now.

I did some write-ups based on interactions from Book Expo that appeared on Book Riot. More to come! Also a piece about Whitman–yes another one–is about to come out. This one is about the exhibit at The Morgan Library, which also had an exhibit about Maurice Sendak that I didn’t write about because big costumes scare me and that’s pretty much what the whole exhibit was about.

 

Another fun thing I saw in the city was Bat Out Of Hell, the musical based on Meatloaf’s music, with much thanks to my friend DB for getting us comped tickets. While most of the music was Meatloaf, there were other surprises that were simply outstanding. Some of the plot and scenes and dancing didn’t make sense to me, but I didn’t really care because it was so entertaining. Before the show, there was a huge half a head that needed to be inspected in Central Park.

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I finally got to see Long Island’s Best Wedding Band live! Sound Chaser played at an Italian feast nearby, so clearly they do weddings and more, and they were fabulous! Yeay! Also, my mom danced and some drunk dudes danced with her.

 Odds and Ends

I helped my brother build a shelf. The shelf fell apart. I’m writing a very strong letter because it couldn’t have been our fault. I used a power drill and everything.

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Some of the prettiest sunsets and sunrises came through my window.

 

 

Remember Zumba and Personal Space?

I texted my mom, “I’m going to Zumba with S.” She answered, “Personal space!” She’s never done Zumba, yet she knows of the woes of sweaty strangers touching. It’s pretty much why I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to Zumba; also, it’s now $5 instead of $4, which seems to be a big leap. Anyway, I’ve thought about going to the Tuesday night class with a different instructor, but there’s not guarantee that instructor won’t be touchy or maybe even more touchy.

S’s Zumba class is taught by a non-touchy instructor, so I headed out, excited. Not exciting was the two hour traffic jam on the Belt which lead me to having to quickly parallel park. I am not a parallel parker, so doing it quickly is not even a notion usually. However, three tries and I was in! Then I was rushing to the class where S met me. As I filled out the “It’s okay if I die from this I won’t sue you” paperwork, S filled up her water bottle and informed me that we’d missed only the warmup. I was like, “My walk from the car was my warmup.” She was like, “Mine too.”

We wound up on the side of the room S doesn’t really like, but there was space there. Personal space. Sweet lovely personal space. Even in a crowded room, I basked in the no-touching zone.

And then we were in it. Jumping, sliding, dipping, shaking. For the past three weeks, I’ve done none of this kind of thing. I wanted to change up my workout completely, so I bought the PiYO workout (and did not pay that ridiculous price of over $70 for it). Those workouts are little to no impact from 18 to 36 minutes. After the shorter routines, I go on the elliptical. There has been no dancing or aerobics. Jumping back into Zumba made me realize how much I miss the dancing aerobics. (So much so that the next day after PiYO, I did a Just Dance workout).

I caught onto most of the choreography by watching the instructor and then by watching S.  Whatever I couldn’t catch onto, I made up. That’s allowed as long as you don’t screw up the people around you, and since I had all this personal space, I wasn’t screwing anyone up. Plus, a lot of people in the class were about a beat behind, so making it your own seemed to be a common occurrence.

Sweating profusely, I asked S what time the class ended. We had about a half hour left. However, that half hour went really quickly.  After a few more salsas and stretches, we were done. S flushed pink and I, of course, dripped.

We got iced teas! Oooh, a nice post-Zumba refresher!

So now I’m thinking I should try the local five-dollar-Zumba one more time. I can do it at home, for sure, but sometimes, getting out into a class makes it even better.

 

Best Friend Sinbad

Remember when my sabbatical ended on the most glorious note? When I found my best friend? When Sinbad tweeted at me? Twice!

My best friend Sinbad came back around to the New York area for a friendship visit with me and 348 other people. On the rainiest night of Spring, Eddie and I drove up to Nyack as the sunset for a 9:30 PM show after thinking all day we’d be going to the 7:30 show and then printing out the tickets and realizing, hey, the show starts past my bedtime. Good thing we looked at the tickets before leaving, though.

Side note: when I was an undergrad in Oneonta, we would drive through Nyack to get there. There are apparently a South Nyack and a North Nyack, and the signs say (or used to say to my recollection) So Nyack and No Nyack, so we’d entertain ourselves by saying, Soooooo Nyack?  Nooooo Nyack! This was entertaining back then. Okay, who am I kidding? Still entertaining now. Also entertaining? Mooing at cows.

The Palisades Mall is like a small village, but we easily found the parking lot we needed to be in, which was pretty full. That meant walking in the rain, but it wasn’t too bad. A plus–the line for the club was inside, unlike the line we stood on for Wheel of Fortune or when we went to see Santa at the Montauk Lighthouse.

Waiting on line with Eddie is a bit of a challenge, especially when I’m wearing rainboots and not heels. We like each other, we really do, but since he’s almost a foot taller than I am, having a conversation in a noisy place poses a bit of a problem. I’ll say something to him;  he’ll stare off into space. I’ll nudge him and say, I said something to you. He’ll say, What? I’ll say, Nevermind I don’t remember. Then we stare in different directions again.

One thing I was trying to point out to him was a woman standing on line on the other side of the rope (the line was like a line from a theme park). Her shirt said: Nah. And then right under that it said: –Rosa Parks, 1955. I thought this was Hil. Air. Eee. Us. However, trying to point it out loud enough for Eddie to hear but not for the woman to know I was talking about her proved to be impossible. But it’s a funny shirt, right? Right.

We were let into the club at around 9:30 PM. So the show didn’t start then. We were seated at a table towards the front around people who were quiet and looking at their phones for the most part. We ordered food (do not get the pretzel at Levity Live if you’ve ever had an authentic NYC street pretzel–it’s just not okay) and drinks (an unsweetened iced tea because I’m wild). Then the host came out.

The host was not the club host. He was Sinbad’s host. I think his name was Devin, so let’s call him that. He made us laugh about being in Nyack but not ready for the city, and he was mispronouncing Nyack until someone in the crowd corrected him. At one point, he forgot part of his act and looked it up on his phone, which was actually pretty funny, and it worked out only because what he said afterwards was funny. Unfortunately, not exactly memorable, but I know we laughed. [SIDE NOTE: I just mis-typed laughed so badly that spell check thought I wanted to say lathered. Now that’s comedy.]

Here’s the difference between comics and long-standing career comics: Sinbad came out and the very first thing he said had the entire club howling. It was something as simple as feeling old and wanting to sit down. It was pure funny. Eddie and I were laughing loudly out loud. The cell phone couple across from us were offering up huge belly laughs. The entire room woke up with non-stop giggles and hoots and table-slapping.

Devin stayed on stage the whole show. He was like a backup singer for a musical act, chiming in every now and then, and answering questions when asked directly by Sinbad. For the most part, though, it was all Sinbad, doing his thing and interacting with the audience. So quick. So witty. So obviously thankful for being able to do that for a living.

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Project #ThankYouForBeingAFriend

I think I’m a Dorothy. Long before choosing among Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte in NYC, there were Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche, and Rose in Miami. Donning breezy, colorful, layered frocks, they reveled in cheesecake and lasagna while picturing Sicily and bemoaning/loving the men in their lives. Dorothy was tall, and I’m not, but she was a teacher, which I am. It’s either her or Sophia, who is short, so maybe that’s me, too.

Why a show about four older ladies living together in Miami would appeal to girls around 7 and 8 years old, I don’t know, but it did. Every episode of The Golden Girls, especially in syndication, played on screen in my living room. Then as a teen, I’d watch again. Now as an adult, I don’t watch as often, but there’s something about it that makes me leave it on.

Upon hearing there would be a restaurant dedicated to Blanche and The Golden Girls in NYC, S and I made it THE thing we’d do once it was open. Then it opened. And we did our thing: Project #ThankYouForBeingAFriend.

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Getting there proved a comedy of travel. Amazingly, we were able to text each other when one or the other was on the subway. However, those texts were delayed, so when she was getting on one train car, I was ge01043646469b843fa45ff54ad832367558a6cec7e7tting on another car. On a different train. On a different line. Whoopsie. Train after train, stop after stop, we told each other where we were, but by the time we’d receive the messages, we’d be in different places. We finally met up when I got out at 59th. As we waited for the next train to take uptown together, I got a sweet treat: a butter Kit Kat.

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We made it to 187th and walked in the wrong direction for a while before heading in the right direction and missing it again. FYI: there’s a huge scaffolding in front of Rue La Rue. Before seeing the cafe, we saw something that seems serendipitous. I mean, come on: it’s spelled wrong, but that’s totally a sign. Sophia! Right next to Rue! It had to be a sign. Literally and figuratively (see what I did there?).

When we went inside, we realized just how small it is, but we were 01080949b0c41da71e636879678f53f30de70a6b9efortunate that the film crew there from Inside Edition (or one of those shows) was packing up and we got their table. They’d been there to sing Happy Birthday because it would have been Rue McClanahan’s birthday, which is what this sign says beneath the window glare. We sat and then looked across the room at the ceiling to counter chalkboard menu next to the door. We’d have to go up to the counter on the other side of the room to order. It wasn’t the easiest way to choose what to eat, especially since we couldn’t find a menu online (but I did find a menu for some place in California that came up every time I looked up this place). I overheard the owner say that the menu would be changing based on Rue’s recipe book, so that  might be why they have no menus to hand out. I decided on a curry chicken sandwich and S chose grilled cheese. She went to order and I took pictures, most of them with glare, and made a friend who had been there two hours, gawking at everything. He suggested I get the Betty White Cake along with a piece of cheesecake, which is what he did. Then I took a photo of him and the owner in front of the weird bathroom door, which is the only thing in the place that’s really not Golden Girl themed and is more NYC weird themed.S

S came back with a #3, saying they’d bring the food to us. Then she checked out the weird bathroom, reporting that the butt and an arm were on the inside. That made sense. Here’s the front side:0197f10e3d0cad44ccbe34559ac5c93779ab1eba5c

The01c0401cd8076de8bf02b7b09e71924934585a9ac9n we waited. We watched episodes of The Golden Girls that play on a loop, commercial-free. We watched everyone getting their food and enjoying their food. We wished we had our food. We chatted some more, took more pics, S went on FB live, and then we waited more. The owner came over and chatted with us about the grilled cheese, which he’d told S at the counter when she ordered and then me right then that it had two kinds of cheeses, one expensive and one cheap, to represent each time in Rue’s life. Then he said he’d check on our food.

Then S went up to the counter about ten minutes later to check on our order. They had lost it somehow. My chicken sandwich was sitting somewhere and the grilled cheese was no where to be found, and our meal ticket had no number on it so basically we had #3 on our table for no reason. Then a few minutes later (we’d watched over an episode and a half of TGG by this point, so it was over a half hour), a runner came with my sandwich and said that he’d be right back with the grilled cheese.

He wasn’t right back. I wouldn’t eat until S got her food, but she insisted I eat, so I had a pickle. Then the guys next to us were like, You didn’t get your food yet!? One of them was like, Well, I’m concerned about it at least. Helpful in that fellowship kind of way but  not in that the-food-is-coming way. I at some chips, and S wouldn’t have any. Then she went to the counter and asked simply for biscuits and strawberry butter–her first choice–and they gave her that on the house along with #6.

So she had two inedible numbers and I had a sandwhich. I ate. She got her biscuits! Then she ate! Then the runner came by and she said she no longer wanted the grilled cheese and he almost gasped, You want to leave!? And she was like, no, I’m just not hungry for it anymore. (Another episode of TGG has passed by at this point, so that’s over 40 minutes). He said he’d pack it for her to go, and when he came back with it and a bag, he apologized profusely, saying that since the kitchen staff couldn’t handle a sandwich, they might have to find new staff.

The problem here was that, since she’d already paid, she had to get her sandwich or they would have to give her the money back, but she had no receipt and they’d lost whatever they were supposed to have on their side. The owner couldn’t even figure out what had happened, but he did ask if one of us had ordered a tuna melt. What the?

So we didn’t get the Betty White Cake or cheesecake because who knows how long we’d have to wait for that or if they’d bring out nachos instead. We DID, however, hop on over to the Golden Girls phone.

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Long cord and palm fronds, of course

In all, the experience of being there and taking in the nostalgia was fantastic. The food service, for us, not so great. However, everyone around us got their food and had no issues.

To make up for the food debacle, we headed to Bryan Park’s Winter Village so she could get fried pickles. They didn’t have them. She decided to simply get fries, and the booth that had been open five minutes before when we first walked by was now closed. S was having an unlucky food day for sure. I felt a little guilty since I’d started off with that amazing Kit Kat and then got everything I’d ordered (very late, and it’d been sitting around, but still I got it).

We checked out a cute store across from the park and didn’t find the shirt S wanted (because, you know), but we did find some cute things: ceramic VW trays, UFO bread that’s fun because it’s called UFO, and a scratch-off poster of 100 books to read (I’ve read like 30something of them).

Project #ThankYouForBeingAFriend was mostly a success. I spent a day with my “longest” friend, and even when we’re hungry, we’re having a good time.

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We took this picture 5 times until we decided this one would do.