Hello to Victorian Chick Readers from My Favorite Place on Earth (NYC)!

I have a 4K blog post written on the plane but will post that in the morning. I have no internet in the apartment and my boyfriend thinks it’s just the ethernet cable which looks about as old as I am. I’ll hit Radio Shack tomorrow and take the cable and run the problem by them.

The modem is an antique and there was this little hole with a green button and I pressed it and now it jiggles inside the modem so I’ll explain that to them as well. My friend hates email and does not allow his clients to email him because the kind of law he practices has different attorney-client privilege rules. Up at the Cape, he has no Wifi wither and no competition existed between his laptop and mine those glorious few days up there in August.

I just worked out at my friend’s apartment gym on 66th and Riverside. Glorious. Donald Trump may be what my father would call a colossal asshole, but the man sure knows how to build an apartment building with a superior gym in a great location. This one overlooks the Hudson and in my last trip I walked with a new friend from 66th to 95th or so a couple times. It’s just magical here at this time of year.

I got to see my friend’s 5th grade daughter who has a small role in an off-Broadway play, The Christmas Carol. Today was a recharge day, two naps, after a prodigious amount of Sauvignon yesterday on Jetblue. My FB mom calls white wine “hangover juice.” I went to Fishtail on 62nd and Lex, just a few doors down from the apartment I stay and saw everyone at the bar I talk to when I’m here. The guys at Burger Heaven and Fishtail all know me and the bartender I really liked has moved to Mexico to teach yoga. The other bartender, also female, was there and it was nice to see her.

I used their WiFi and ate a new dish on the bar menu: “Angry Mussels.” I don’t know why the mussels are thought to be hostile but the orange dipping sauce was simply sublime. Fishtail is the newest David Burke restaurant. There is one near Bloomingdale’s and a David Burke Townhouse a few blocks from me.

The only blight on this perfect mellow day: Delilah is hosting a Christmas show playing on the sound system in the lobby. Never has there been a more syrupy, insipid national radio music show than hers. I had no idea she was national. I thought it was just some pathetic Santa Barbara evening call-in love song show on 101.7 K-Lite where sad sacks call in to tell their sob stories about families or lovers. Once in a while there is a story of a couple or parent/child estranged now reconciled and the caller wants to hear something heinous like Celine Dion or Michael Bolton.

One night I was driving my boyfriend’s son, just 8 in November. From the backseat he says, “Who is this? She’s really stupid.” There you have it, folks: a precocious 8-yr-old boy knows what a nitwit this woman is. Her callers-cum-followers are no better. Let’s put it this way: Oprah is a cross between Freud and Madame Curie by comparison. I’m sure she’s an okay person but I wouldn’t be able to tolerate 5 minutes in line at Starbucks with her. It’s “Happy Horseshit” philosophy, as a friend of mine puts it. Actually it’s worse than that because she has this watered down meaningless talk about “faith” utterly devoid of rigor.

I only listen to K-Lite when every other station preset is on a commercial, and once in a while you hear a pretty ballad like “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. I heard a Brian McKnight song I love once which struck me as quite daring. They play it at the old nail place I went religiously for two years before I quit doing my nails regularly. I now have a new place on Main Street in Santa Monica where the manicure/pedicure is less than just the pedicure at Creative Nails on De La Vina by Trader Joe’s. I quit partly for financial reasons and partly for musical ones. Santa Barbara is more expensive than LA or NYC for many things, including facials, nails, alterations, and dry cleaning. Irritating in the extreme and the dry cleaners don’t take grocery store coupons. I was floored when I dry cleaned my first dress in 1996.

Here is the current call:

“Hi, this is Delilah. [Long drawn out voice with an emphasis on the “i.”] Who’s on the line with me?
“This is Max.” [A shy young man.]
“Hi, Max. What can I do for you tonight?”
“I’m just calling because my family is very far away.”
“And you’re missing ’em a lot, arncha?” (This, I take it, is her Sarah Palin tribute, Delilah’s folksy version of “doncha know.”)
“Yes, I really miss my little sister.”
“Are you going to see them for the holidays?” [With concern which could not be genuine after 15 seconds of conversation with this earnest young man.]
“Yes.”
“What are you doing so far from your little sister and family?”
“I’m in school.”
“How old are you?”
“Eighteen.”
“So you’re a freshman.” [See, this is the kind of blinding insight one gets from Delilah every night.]
“What are you studying?”
“I’m just doing general education classes.”
“What do you want to study later?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Well, you don’t need to figure that out yet, but then you know that. Here’s a song for the family.”

This call is actually less annoying than your average one. It’s as much the tone of Delilah’s voice, with its combined condescension and compassion, as the content of her speech, though that certainly is nauseating enough.

So as lovely as this lobby is, I’m going to walk by the Gourmet Garage and get some healthy soup to go and just have a quiet reading and writing night. It’s such a simple pleasure: sitting in this studio with the high ceilings, where I can smoke and just have the city experience of reading or writing with the window slightly cracked and the fire escapes and lights visible from the three windows.

A single woman really doesn’t need over 500 square feet and when a place is tastefully decorated with art on the walls, it seems larger than it is. My studio in New Haven was 550 square feet, a good 75 feet larger than this I would guess, and I never felt cramped in it.

Earlier today, I watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I saw two yesterday on the plane: 1) the late Season 5 episode in which Derek proposes to Meredith in the elevator after the successful surgery on Izzie and 2) an intense, excellent early Season 6 episode I have on my Netbook, along with the rest of Seasons 6 and 7. The second was the episode in which the beautiful and loving mother comes in with her precious little boy after a hotel fire and dies, after which Chief tries to find the responsible doctor. It turns out that one of the new Mercy West girls, April, is to blame.

April is a promising, talented doctor who makes a simple but fatal mistake and gets fired. This precipitates a surprising defense from Cristina after she realizes from an exchange with the short-haired bitchy beauty, Reed (whom I take it gets involved with Alex Karev later in the season), that notwithstanding the competitive feelings of the Seattle Grace crew, this was a tragic error and not something to gloat about or mock with delight.

That towhead, about 5, is so darling it makes someone like me think that having one child of my own might not be the end of the world were I in a very different financial situation than I am or will ever be barring something crazy like a bestseller. I am nothing if not honest and I would want a child to have all the advantages I did: private school K to 12, college without worry about loans or jobs, financial help through adulthood if need be and if possible, something to fall back on when I died.

I just wouldn’t have a child unless I were in such a position. I am not now and I never will be in such a position, so I knew early on I would never have a child. It didn’t bother me; I didn’t really like kids for most of my life and then I was depressed and non-functional.

When I got functional and happy, I never wanted a kid because I love my freedom. I take trips for 2 weeks to NYC every few months. I pick up and leave Santa Barbara to be with my parents and friends in LA. I have ultimate freedom and only with enough money for full-time day help (I don’t like the idea of a live-in) would I even consider the phenomenal obligations of a child.

But as precious as the little boy is, it’s his bond with the mother and then the father who comes in after the mother has died, unaware she is is dead. The writer of this episode chose not to narrate the father’s discovery of his newly widowed status, a wise and restrained choice. Meredith begins to speak over the music, a narrative technique the show has employed since the pilot. Often it’s Meredith but not always. Here, we get Ellen Pompeo talking about the pain of the impossible (I’m not watching it and didn’t write the phrase down) and that brief phrase packs a greater emotional punch on the heels of the little boy’s rush into his father’s arms and his father’s two short sentences–“Where’s Mommy? Let’s go find Mommy”–than some screaming breakdown at the life-destroying news.

Yesterday on Jetblue, the minute the Season 5 episode came on I was bawling. And then I cried through the episode in Season 6 and began a serious defense of this show which I love so much. Some people whose TV and film taste I respect think its just a soap opera and it’s really not. It’s not a daytime soap of course and it really isn’t a night-time soap either. I think the show is far superior to ER, though of course I watched that show. I have no desire ever to see another rerun, however. And I will continue to watch Grey’s for the rest of my life. The cast of characters is like family to me and there have only been half a dozen shows in my lifetime to which I have been so emotionally attached.

I have gained weight since my fall trip to NYC, traveling, writing, sick and just inactive other than walks in LA. I have come to the conclusion that on the dawn of 40, I just cannot get away with a large meal and one other small one and wine. I have to be eating more and smaller meals and get my water intake back up to 6 to 8 glasses.

I was a water addict during my depression, 50 gallons a month on average, sometimes a bit less, and I was literally 118 pounds in Feb of 2008. I was 120-1 through 2009 and 123 on New Years of 2011. I don’t have to be 123 anymore at 40 and 5/8. But I do feel infinitely more comfortable under 130 and I’m sure by New Years I’ll get there again.

But I’m not willing to relinquish wine and at this point in my life the only way I will be 123 again is by cutting out wine, eating four tiny meals (major pain in the ass and fucks with my restaurant life) and spending what Gwyneth Paltrow spends workingout 5 days a week: 45 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of muscle work with her trainer.

I can easily do the aqua aerobics 4 or 5 days a week but I’m not going to spend the kind of money I have to spend on Pilates machine classes or trainers to get that body back. Cutting wine out is the simplest way to lose weight as you age. Gwyneth never drinks over 2 glasses of wine and she appears to be very restrictive except when on vacation. But she does like food, read the last big spread in some health magazine about her, and she fasts before Oscars or big things, or does juice.

Her father and hero, Bruce Paltrow, was a real foodie who grew up without the kind of money that makes eating at all possible, let alone fine dining. I didn’t know they regularly went to Michael’s (2nd Street and Wilshire I think) and 72 Market Street (Market and Ocean), both extraordinary. I have been to each once and they are really amazing but my parents never go to places like that.

Gwyneth’s food life is far too much work and I’m not going to cook like she does. I’m okay with a little more curve in exchange for the pleasures of daily wine. In other words, I don’t have to be a 2 anymore. I guess this is maturity because those words never would have come out of my mouth until this year. I don’t mind buying bigger sizes for new clothes, a 6 or whatever (one Nicole Miller is a 4 and the one I just got is an 8, so sizes are quite variable now), but I do have a few things I can’t fit into in my existing wardrobe and that is simply unacceptable to me.

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