Friday, January 09, 2009

2009: So Far, So Good

As many of you know, for years now I have declared on the 31st of December: "This year HAS to be better." And that I have usually been disappointed, often cruelly. Well, this might just be the moment, my friends! Even if it's only comparative. But let's keep the good thoughts for the New Year for all of us--we deserve it.

New Year's Eve has never been my favorite holiday, but NYE 2008 was fun for a change. The lovely Erin Uyttewaal invited me along on a house party in Breckenridge, CO ("Breck" for the cognoscenti) with a bunch of really nice folks from Atlanta. We had several days of skiing (in my case), snowboarding (in everyone else's), drinking, homemade breakfasts (one memorable one included cheesy eggs, English muffins, rib-eye steaks, and...pizza), mocking of infomercials (especially the "Snuggie"), and camaraderie.



(L to R: Niki, Charlie, Charlie, Erin)

Stopped off in Denver for a quick visit on the way out to NYC. After destroying a rental car--in a parking garage, mind you--I went over to the home of my dear friend, Philae Knight. She lost her stepfather on New Year's Day during a ski trip to Aspen. When I stopped by to pay my condolences (they live in Denver), their glorious home was filled with friends, relatives, and well-wishers. He was clearly an exceptional man and it inspired me to think about the kind of legacy that I would like to leave on this Earth, and a houseful of people celebrating the special person you were, the light you brought to others' lives, and devastated you were gone seems like a pretty good place to start. It was a sad privilege to be there with that special family.

It was splendid to return to NYC after all the hustle and bustle, especially to so many nice Christmas cards and the memories of the 6th Annual Schlangen Christmas party, which was the usual rollicking good time of inebriated caroling, people meeting other folks they decided they had to become friends with, and joy amid a gloomy season of financial and employment news.
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OK, on to happier things! Wednesday night was a visit, under the auspices of The Morgan Library, to the Downtown Association (aka the DTA) to view their impressive collection of historical prints about the City of New York. It's a remarkable building with several private dining rooms and even a Game Room, which name does double duty as the room is replete with pool tables AND a taxidermy collection. (One of our number whimsically inserted a toothpick into an elk's mouth--wonder when they will find that.) Dinner and Guinness with the boys followed at Ulysses, which doesn't have the same raucous luster during a recession that it does in the high-flying days. One has to imagine pin-striped twenty- and thirty-somethings, full of piss, vinegar, and testosterone ordering buckets of 36 beers and plates of raw seafood and toasting their quick, assured ascent to Masters of the Universe. Nowadays...not so much.

Last night was Thais at the Met. I'll be honest, the first act was disappointing, but as the opera went on I became enchanted. Hell, I'd stay for that beautiful Meditation, which the first violinist knocked out of the park. As the opera went on, Renee Fleming's singing and acting, and Thomas Hampson's singing (the acting was already good) improved markedly. And damn that Renee Fleming is in great shape! I had the pleasure of sharing the experience with Jennifer Bowden (a fellow U Club and Morgan member) and Diana Chazaud (a fellow Metropolitan Opera Club denizen), and then we headed off to PJ Clarke's for cocktails. There was one star sighting (Timothy Hutton, at the restaurant) and possibly two (I'm convinced I saw a ridden-hard-and-put-away-wet Cybill Shepard on the Vilar--oops! Mercedes Bass--Grand Tier).

Looking forward to a great weekend!

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