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A brief synopsis...


The Friday before Christmas, I flew into Newark in preparation for a "girls weekend" in NYC. My daughter Hannah was meeting me there, as well as [livejournal.com profile] gottafilk  and her daughter.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and all buses from the south of New Jersey were canceled.  This was very sad.  However, Hannah was coming from the Albany area and she made it in just fine.  We grabbed some lunch and then went to stand in line at the TKTS place in hopes of getting to see the revival of South Pacific.  After about 45 minutes in line, we were lucky enough to get two half-price tickets, dead center, 10th row.  Fantastic.

We made our way up to the hotel on 94th street which turned out to be a little gem - we had booked a "junior suite" for a price that normally would buy a single room! Because of the snow cancellations, we each had a queen sized-bed and there was a separate living room and kitchette!  We had dinner at a little Thai place right near the hotel and then took the subway down to 59th Street.  The show was at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, part of the Lincoln Center Complex.  It's a great theatre - modern, with a thrust stage and no bad seats (although ours were truly excellent!) 

I love the music of South Pacific (based on the book by James Michener) but have never seen the show on stage.  I was not dissappointed.  The revival was terrific - both leads had wonderful, full voices and the acting and dancing were superb.  Even though the show was written in 1949, the message against prejudice and racism and the folly of war still rings true...it didn't seem dated at all.

They were selling special drinks - each named for a song in the show.  If you ordered in advance, your second drink was half-price.  How could we refuse?  We had a "Bali Hai" before the show (some kind of rum concoction) and at the interval, a "Honey Bun" (coffee with caramel and some kind of liquor in it!)  When the show ended, we could see that it had been snowing for quite some time and was still coming down.  But we made it back to the hotel with no problem and fell into bed.

The next day the streets were a bit slushy, but the sun was out.  We took a cab crosstown to the Metropolitan Museum, but found that they would not let us in with Hannah's suitcase.  After a bit of grumbling, we headed downtown on foot, stopping at the Central Park Zoo to visit the sea lions and the polar bear and the incredibly cute tamarind monkeys.  We fortified ourselves with a hot chocolate and continued downtown, thinking that perhaps we'd try to see the matinee of the show at Radio City Music Hall.  But wait - there was a sign for the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe!  We got tickets for the 3pm show, giving us time to go see the tree at Rockefeller Center.  Alvin Ailey was wonderful - even from our seats way up in the rafters.  When we got to our bus stop (the Megabus!) we discovered that every single bus had been canceled - EXCEPT the bus from NYC to Albany!  Yay.



Hannah's boyfriend Steve met us at the bus station and I was taken to their new and very spacious apartment outside of Schenectady.  Truly a place of palatial proportions - except for the bathroom, which is miniscule.  They have two insane cats and not too much furniture...but this is compensated by the fact that they have three flat screen TVs.  There is an "extra" room that serves as a guest room and that is where I was comfortably ensconced. 



Next day I took the bus to Worcester and walked home to my little condo - now occupied by Adam, his girlfriend Jen, her two daughters and their bob-tailed cat. And there I stayed until Christmas eve!  No, really.  I did not go out the door again until Luke and one of Jen's girls and I went to church.  I had food delivered, made cookies, wrapped presents (I had ordered them before I left the UK), played on the internet, napped, read, watched videos and just vegged.  It was freezing cold outside and I was very happy in my cocoon. 



Christmas eve we were all there.  We had our traditional buffet with anything and everything requested.  This year it included sweet and sour meatballs, sausages with onions and peppers, shrimp cocktail, stuffed celery, crackers and cheese,  homemade baked beans, homemade applesauce, chicken wings, banana nut bread, pumpkin pie, fresh cider and some other stuff I can't remember.  We started eating at around 3m and finished much later - after several rounds of "Apples to Apples" - which is always interesting when Luke plays.

The church service I chose was at an Episcopal church with a kick-ass organ.  They had lovely choral music, closing with "Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light" from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, which was perfectly sublime. Christmas morning was the usual bedlam, and it was fun to have children around to be all excited.  My kids got me TONS of chocolate, a gift certificate to Lush and other odds and ends...everyone was very happy with their gifts.

Christmas afternoon everyone dissipated - Hannah and Luke down to their Dad's, one of Jen's daughters to HER Dad's and Adam to work a double shift as supervisor in a Rest Home. He usually works nights...but since he was working the afternoon as well, I went down and played piano and sang with the residents for a couple of hours.  This really made Christmas for me; the older folks were so appreciative.


To Be Continued...
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