Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Another Christmas has come and I am up to my usual celebratory ways: sleeping in late, eating yummy food, watching movies and visiting with loved ones. That is the way I celebrate, oh and there will be champagne later...which is a great tradition too.

Last night, I took myself to the Plaza Hotel after watching thousands of frantic shoppers running up and down 5th Ave looking for the right gift to buy family and friends. So many people run at this frantic-fast pace and I feel like a boulder in the river that they rush past while my life and pace is slow. I used to be one of those people running here and there and I think I was seeking perfection. What I discovered is that it doesn't exist. There is no need to live at that pace. That is not the way of this world. At least, it helps no one to live at that pace...especially me.

In the cupcake shop yesterday, people were sometimes jolly, but most were irate that we sold out of product. Pity really. I had one woman screaming at me on the phone, using the "F" word because she didn't place a special order and I did not have her Red Velvet cupcakes. That is the spirit of Christmas? I tried to offer her other suggestions, even a Red Velvet cake, but this information seemed to fuel her hostility. It is the getting trapped in the one vision and not allowing what is presented to choose and shift directions. I mean, she told me she was going to a party and wanted the cupcakes but a cake (which cost less than the dozen of cupcakes she wanted) looked more holidayish and could be enjoyed by more people and yet it did not fit into her vision, so she became upset. That seems foolish to me. Instead of choosing the cake, she hung up on me. Another customer over-heard my end of the discussion and he bought the cake with a smile. People, really....let's pull it together!

Working in retail is only for the very strong or those with very bad karma. I haven't decided which one applies to me. Sometimes I think I must have been very, very bad in a past lifetime because I keep putting myself into this retail world. Or maybe I am strong. Who knows.

The Christians are not the only ones who are full of bad behavior. I had a Jewish woman call and yell at me because of the price of our Chanukah donuts and delivery cost. Three times she called to let me know how upset she was; she wanted to fight. Luckily I learned a lot of excellent listening skills at the Boca Raton Whole Foods Market and I was able to defuse the situation. I said, "Mrs. Cohen, if you keep calling me just to fight, I am more than happy to accommodate you. However, if you would like me to move forward and place your special order before the bakery closes I suggest you let me get back to my business. Let me remind you, you are under no obligation to purchase our products and if you are dissatisfied, I suggest you find another doughnut retailer for your Chanukah needs." This put her in her place and settled her right down.

There are seven nights and days of doughnuts for the Chanukah customers. Oh goodie.

I earned my twenty dollar dirty martini at the Plaza Hotel last night. And it tasted damned good too. After my drink, the sun had set and Christmas lights were in full glory. Shops closed and the exhausted retail staff finished up as they readied themselves to go on their merry way.

I strolled down 5th Avenue, now less crowded, looking at all the windows and I must say, the windows at Bergdorf Goodman were the most spectacular. The theme was the seasons but all decorated in winter white and all that sparkled and glittered. It is breathtakingly beautiful and if you have a chance to check it out, do it. You won't regret it.

Enjoy your holiday today and let's try to remember to be kinder to one another. This is the very least we can do.

Ho ho ho and all that jazz
And so much love,
All the way from over here...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm so lucky. No broken bones. Must be all the yogurt I eat or green vegetables. No matter what the cause, I feel like there are some powerful forces looking out for me.

The gray rainy New York skies remind me of Seattle as I convalesce with movies and tasty snacks. But with so much time on my hands and mediocre movies from the library, I am led to thoughts of my life, particularly the question of what am I doing? I have this quality about myself to push and push life uphill and for what? What is the reason why? I say I want to write, yet I don't write. I say I want to get out of the cupcake world and yet I stay.

My words and thoughts do not match my actions.

Grey skies are melancholy and I wonder if I will ever get my act together...but who has their act together? Everyone has something they are dealing with. And I do not feel like I am exceptional with my load. I guess I would like some kind of break. Like a blessing from above, to come into my life....some sort of good fortune dropped into my lap.

And what if I have that right now? What if this little, boring, uninteresting cupcake job is a stroke of good fortune? I mean, I can eat all the overly sweet cupcakes I want. Isn't that a good thing? No. Life is short and you should eat dessert first, but dessert should be something tasty that you love and I do not love these cupcakes.

Each deep breath I take reminds me of my good luck that my ribs are merely seriously bruised and not broken. Perhaps this is god's good grace. This is the gift and the pain a reminder of luck and all that I do have. And how I wished I had health insurance and paid time off to cover my medical bills and recovery time. But that's not how America works. What a sad state we live in here in the USA.

And yet there is much to be grateful this year, and not that it is just coming to an end. There were a lot of scares this past year, too much time spent in hospitals, many prayers answered and a lot of personal risks taken.

Who knows what the next year will bring. This last one has been exciting and unpredictable. Let's hope there is grace, kindness, love and abundant sunshine in our next forecast.

So much love,
All the way from over here....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice Skating Under The Full Moon

Last night it happened. The moon was at its fullest and positioned the closest it would be to earth for the next year. It was a perfect cold winter's night, a mere 28 degrees Fahrenheit (that's -2.22222 Celsius for my Italian scientist readers) and it was the night I would break in my new ice skates at Bryant Park.

I bundled myself up in many, many layers to protect from the blowing wind. Undershirt, thermal turtle neck sweater, a cotton turtle neck sweater over the thermal, a layer of fleece on my upper body and below I layered two pairs of long johns (one cotton, the other polyester) heavy denim jeans, one pair of wool socks and thick cotton socks over them followed by the usual scarf, hat, gloves, and leather jacket. I decided against my long winter coat because I wanted freedom of movement on the ice and I have yet to purchase a winter waist coat.

My skates arrived in the mail the day before and I was like a kid at Christmas unwrapping the package to reveal the brand new, never worn leather ice skates that were from some old ice rink. They fit perfectly. I felt conflicted about my decision to spray paint them silver. The skates were nude with a black stripe down the back and since they were vintage, they were super cool looking. They even had the size in white on the heel of the boot, but that went away with a few strokes of my black sharpie.

Keep them nude, I decided as I packed my bag and headed to the G Train to take me to the 7 and Bryant Park. The sun set as I arrived at the winter wonderland. Christmas lights, holiday music, specialty shops and hot cocoa fill the block and a half park behind the NYC Public Library. It is a magical experience.

The line to enter the ice rink snakes around specialty kiosks and word spreads down the line that we should be inside in less than two hours! I had forgotten that there might be a wait but had nothing else planned and the time passed quickly. Ahead of me was a family of four from Pittsburgh who make the pilgrimage every year to go holiday shopping in the city. As we were in line, they called all their friends back home and retold the days events of shopping at Macy's, the over-priced lunch they had and now waiting for two hours to go ice skating at Bryant Park.

I tuned them out and visualized the skating lessons I'd watched on YouTube earlier in the day. It had been over ten years since I was on the ice and I thought a few pointers would be a good idea. Like a professional basketball player shooting hoops in his mind, I visualized myself easily skating around the rink, taking quick-quick steps, keeping my feet togethere, doing the cross-over steps around the bend and working towards the center to practice backwards skating.

Time flew by and by six PM I entered the rink. The place was packed with mostly teenagers and preteens unsupervised by parents. I'd forgotten that might be the case since the ice rink was free of charge...the only one in the city that was free. Never mind the kids, my first task was to get my skates sharpened since they were dull and had never been used before. Check. Done. Next, get a locker to stash stuff. Done. Time to hit the ice.

By six fifteen I was on the ice, wobbling as I remembered how to stand. I stayed close to the edge until an inner voice said to me, "Linda, you know how to skate, so go skate already!" And I did so. No sooner had I made it around the rink once did an announcement come on instructing all the skaters to leave the ice for cleaning.

We all skate off the ice and I marveled as the Zamboni performed its circular dance twice aroundd the ice. Piles of ice shavings melted away making a smooth surface which instantly refroze from the dark, cold night.

Fifteen minutes later and I'm one of the first back on the ice. As the others piled on, I enjoyed the fresh ice to practice skating backwards and was in heaven. The children filled the ice rink and more and more people piled on the ice making it a sea of black coats and hats. Most of the skaters were inexperienced and grabbed on to anyone one near them to prevent them from falling which caused both people to go down.

One young woman did just that as she skated in the wrong direction head onto to me. I caught her and we embraced like old lovers. She apologized and I told her we were lucky! She agreed and skated on her way.

More and more people entered the ice and it became harder to skate because I was too worried about the other skaters and what they were doing. I skated a few more times around and decided that maybe I should take a break for a couple of hours and come back once the kids cleared out. I over heard several groups of kids that said they had to leave at seven. Plus the mood hadn't risen yet. I wanted to skate under the moon!

My last time around the rink I thought to myself how great it was that I was skating and hadn't fallen. Good for me! Just then, a kid wizzed by pushing me and I fell face down, flat on my face. The wind was knocked out of me and I heard a clear snap as I landed on the ice. People gathered around me asking if I was okay but I didn't realize they were talking to me. I was in another place...a place of red pain that filled my body.

The skating guards cleared the crowd and helped me up speaking to me like a child saying, "Your alright. You're a big girl. It will be okay." I asked for help getting up and they escourted me off the ice. Maybe I just had the wind knocked out of me. If I sat down for a bit I was sure I'd feel better.

Each breath in was a sharp pain and I quickly realized that I'd either broken a rib or at the very least bruised had bruised my ribs. Slowly I pulled myself together to gather my things and start the trek home to examine my injuries.

It was six fifty PM. I got in nearly a half-hour of skating! Clutching my side, struggling to hold my skates, the security guard told me there was no reentry once I left the rink due to the huge crowd, but if I skated during the weekdays I could return after exiting. I clutched my side all the way home and watched the moon rise above my house as I got home. It was a beautiful moon, full and bright on the clear, cold night.

I'm hoping my cracked rib will be healed before the last day of skating on Januarye 25th, 2009. WebMD says it takes about six weeks for a cracked rib to heal and if I keep a low profile, rest, take my deep breaths and follow the doctor's orders, I should be back on the ice before the last skating session.

So much love,
All the way from over here...

Gigerbread House

I wrote and posted this piece a year ago on the Patsycat Cafe, my old blog, which I took down. But someone found it and commented that it should be read by others. So since I am laid up again from my ice skating injury, I decided to post it again.

So much love,
All the way from over here....


I'm still out sick from work. I took in my Kitchen Aid mixer into work because they are making gingerbread houses today for our big event tomorrow and I haven’t been able to buy one yet for the store.

What’s the event?

Build and decorate your own gingerbread house with all natural and organic edible candies and treats.

Very cool…bring the kids, spend an afternoon and have some hot coco or mulled cider, snack on the candies while you are decorating…good old-fashioned clean fun for the whole family and all for one low, low price!

Life works in such funny ways…you see, this awesome event failed to make it onto the calendar and I talked about it in the store meeting and so team members have been talking it up and I’m out sick for a week so the team is going to have to pull together to put this event together.

So I took my mixer in so they could make the gingerbread. I created the house templates and gave some direction and then quickly realized that I really feel much better when I’m at home. I mean, I feel so much better than yesterday but I’m not ready to be working again.

But one thing I did notice is that I have been really lonely. I didn’t think so because I’ve been on the phone a lot, but I’m missing human contact…face to face conversations. And being with other people is so critical for me or else it leads to loneliness which leads to depression which is not a place I’m going…but I did notice what was missing. This is progress. I can be rather self-unaware at times.

I mean I’ve been in my house sick since last Sunday. Today is Friday. Thank god I’ve been taking baths because without other people around, I can start to smell pretty bad. And in my past it would have happened as “missing time”….

Here’s the good news: Yes, I’ve been sick but this is the first time I’ve let people know how sick I am and I have accepted help from my neighbors like plates of food and visits. This time I haven’t awakened not known what day it is because it’s been a couple days that I’d been sleeping in and out of illness. When you’re home sick alone it can do a number on your mind…especially if you are prone to think about the future in any way….you know….find the spinster lady in her house with the cats….but they find her because of the smell?

I know, crazy…and my point is that I didn’t go there! This is good news! I am recognizing how dependent I am on other people….this has been a big issue for me because I am so goddamned independent! I can hear all my past boyfriends shouting out with glee, “FINALLY! SHE GETS IT!!” I think I’ve been a bad girlfriend.

Please accept my apology gentlemen. I am sorry. I know I’ll do better this time. I promises.

You know, there’s a lot I don’t understand about men but my teachers come in all forms. For example, Nick at work has really taught me a lot about men. I’ve told him so too. He told me really early in our working relationship that he needs to be needed. I didn’t understand because I hated that the team members needed me for so much stupid shit! I thought being needed is good, yeah, sure, but to what point? How much “being needed” is good for a person?

That being my perspective, I didn’t quite understand his need to be needed but I put the information away somewhere in my brain and some time later I noticed that our relationship changed. When we first started working together, we were close but I noticed us drifting apart. I found some of the things he did irritating and I didn’t understand his behavior at work….and then I got really involved in a new project which excited my soul and I drifted further and further away from my regular duties and into my new life.

I started missing Nick and when we were connected and I remembered his need so I started to look for ways he could help me. I asked first for a little favor and his spirit light right up. It was then that I saw how he responded when he was needed. It is as if being of service to another is the greatest gift he could give someone.

I started asking for more and more help and we became closer than we had ever been. Our friendship grew to such a level of trust that I knew that if I needed something, away from work….like if my car broke down, I could call him. That’s such a great feeling! Not only did we become great friends and coworkers, I got a hell of a lot more shit done because he wanted to do it and the sense of security has been very freeing. Bingo. Surprise. Stability can be freeing. That’s the real lesson I am learning today.

So what am I doing today during my final convalescing time besides reflecting on men (naturally…they are so intriguing…) and snacking, napping, resting, listening to music…and…wishing I could go for a swim?

I am making a gingerbread house.

But I’m not decorating it with candy.

I’ve got another idea….

I got a lot of drugs I’m not on any more…you know…pharmaceuticals… good shit too, baby. I can’t sell them on the street and it seems like a waste to flush them down the toilet and they have so many pretty colors and shapes...

I got a hot glue gun but I'm gonna use royal icing in case of emergency. You can't take a pill with the hot glue, but just in case I decide I need to go back on Lexapro, I can still take it.

I got a lot of time on my hands.

This is gonna be one hell of a holiday season! Feeling stressed out? Stop by my place and help yourself to my gingerbread house. The little yellow ones are Valium! Pudgy white ones are Xanax (or vitamin "Z" as I like to call it.)Help yourself! Anyone out there who has some high blood pressure, please help yourself. Feeling really anxious? Have a Clonzapam! I got 'em all, baby!

I love entertaining.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Brrrrr.....snow's a coming!

It is winter in New York. Christmas lights are up and the temperatures are a dropping! We're supposed to have snow on Sunday. Let's hope that we do! I love snow! And what I love just about as much as snow is ice skating!

NYC is known for skating in Central Park or at Rockefeller Center, but there are lots of other places to skate too that cost next to nothing ($4 for all day) to free (Bryant Park!) So my latest mission is to buy my own skates and hit the ice.

Now, I'm no Tanya Harding, but I used to be able to hold my own, back in the day skating around the pond in our old neighborhood. I loved winter when all the ponds froze. The neighborhood kids would discuss if we thought the ice was solid enough to skate on and then somebody would have to test the ice for thickness. To test ice, you need a brave, skinny kid and from there you add more kids and weight.

Everyone was silent when the reluctant tester took their first steps onto the ice, listening to hear if there is a slow creaking of the ice or a fast, hard cracking sound. The ice tester stops to listen if the ice is giving a little to the weight or if it is breaking. If it's breaking and your fast, you can make it back to shore without falling in, but if you slip? You are screwed! But when you're 14 years old, you take those kinds of risks.

And if it had been snowing, then we'd have to shovel all the snow off the pond before skating and you gotta do a good job too to not leave any holes or dents in the ice or else you'll fall or trip over them with your skates. And watch out for tree branches that have froze into the ice too, they can mess you up! There's no Zamboni here!

Skating under the moonlight was one of my most favorite memories as a kid. The silence of the night, crispness of the air and warming up rewards of building a fire and making hot cocoa is what I remember most fondly about winter in Pennsylvania. I am so excited for my first winter in New York. I'm probably the only person in the city who feels that way, too!

I've ordered my long johns, and I've got a big warm coat, but I think I'll need to find something less blanket-like to be on the ice, but if I layer up good under the jeans, I might be fine in my latest leather biker jacket (with the symbol of the Illuminati painted on the back!)

So if I'm not writing, look for me on the ice. If all goes well, I may be skating by Sunday! Look out Tanya!

So much love,
All the way from over here....