Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was yesterday. It was the first time I had ever really paid attention to the significance of the holiday- because prior to yesterday’s Memorial Day, I was either out of the country or it was simply an excuse to party in either the Hamptons or some other quintessential long-summer-weekend destination.

Yesterday, however, I was in Eau Claire, Michigan (A tiny all-American village with a population of a little over 600 people. My family’s business (pickles) is based in Eau Claire and therefore, they are pretty prominent in the society (if you can call it that). Every Memorial Day, the Veteran’s association of Eau Claire, Michigan prepares a flag ceremony in order to honor the fallen soldiers or departed veterans of the American wars.

My grandfather, Seymour Flamm, who is now gone, was one of the names called out to receive a flag. “Papa Sey” as I called him was a 1st Lieutenant in World War Two and received a Purple Heart. I don’t know as much about history as I should- and I wasn’t old enough to appreciate what a wonderful man he was- but my grandmother and their daughters are around to share with me. What I do know is that I would have liked him- as everybody did. He was kind- he was warm- he was a good husband and a great father. He loved without reserve. He was smart- he was honest- he was a hard worker but he knew what was important, and that was his family. He was an enforcer, but he enforced only what needed enforcing. Otherwise, he was gentle- an old soul. He was the wisest man most people had ever met. I know my mother and her sisters miss him. I miss him. But more than missing him- I’m sad that I missed getting to know him.

Therefore, when my aunt asked me if I was interested in receiving the flag for Papa Sey during the Memorial Day ceremony yesterday, I was happy to accept the invitation.
While the boys all went out to the golf course on the beautiful Monday morning, my aunt Gina, my mom and I all drove the 40 minutes out to Eau Claire. Standing amongst only about 100 people, many of whom were war veterans themselves, wearing their medals or battle fatigues, there was a solemn air abetted by the mid-day heat. We had received a printed out list of those being honored and as the names were slowly called out, family members and friends stepped forward to receive the flag honoring their loved ones.

When “Seymour Flamm” was named, I walked up to receive Papa Sey’s flag. I bowed my head out of respect and I smiled. I was proud to be his granddaughter. I was proud to be part of his family- a family who has always made a difference in its community- a family that leaves its mark.

As I walked back to my place amongst my family, I saw my mom with tears in her eyes and before I could say anything, she hugged me and said “He would have been proud to have you as a granddaughter.” I, of course, burst into tears and made an gratuitous spectacle of myself- but at that point, there wasn’t really a dry eye in the house, so my absurd display of emotion went somewhat unnoticed.

Needless to say, it was nice to hear that- especially from my mother. The memory of my grandfather is respected and held in an esteem I can only hope to reach. Therefore, to hear his first daughter- his biggest fan of all- tell me that he would be proud of me- makes it all worth it. Because in this life- we suffer, we strive, we sometimes fail and at many times, we wonder what it’s all for…but on Monday- I caught a glimpse of purpose- and if anything, it’s to honor the memory of those we have loved and lost. To make them proud, as they continue to make us proud.

Memorial Day: it may be meant to “commemorate U.S. men and women who perished while in military service,” but for me- it’s a day to remember Papa Sey. A man who served his country- but survived long enough to start a legacy- a legacy that I am proud to be a part of.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lake Michigan Sunset

This week, Michael and I are continuing our U.S. tour and spending time in my family’s summer home on Lake Michigan.

I’ve been coming to this town (St. Joseph) since I was an infant- being that my mother’s entire family is from here. St. Jo has always been a haven for me. It was my place when I was little- the place I would look forward to visiting all year, where no one else would be- none of the kids at school who made fun of me, none of the teachers who gave me C’s on the projects I worked for days on, or the children I took dance class with who were always that much more talented than me no matter how hard I tried. Here, unlike anywhere else, I felt secure.

Michigan provided me with a sense of peace- regardless of the fact that I was still too young to actually understand what it was I was feeling.

For the annual two-week holiday I was here, my life was filled with an overwhelming sense of tranquility. St. Joseph was always full of family who loved me unconditionally, restaurants where the waiters already knew what I planned to order, and neighborhood streets where my mom felt confident to let me stroll alone at night. “Michigan” embodies a feeling for me- something that I can’t put into words, but something that I am happy to share with Michael because I feel it is such a large part of who I am- the good part.

What I can do though- is post this;

The view from our front deck. Heaven in a frame- and this happens every night!

Reasons Not to Write

It’s been one week and one day since my last blog post. That’s the longest I’ve gone since I started this blog and I have to apologize. I am going to list my reasons (no, not excuses. Reasons.) because on some grounds, I happen to think they are significant enough to post about.

1. I have been traveling. (3 states and somewhat limited computer access- considering I STILL haven’t chosen between a PC and a MAC and therefore, glom off of family and friends’ internets and keyboard usage time.)

2. Michael came back. Yes, he came all the way back from England about four days after he left. And here I was, writing this ridiculously dramatic and long post about “Global Love” and resigning myself to this tragic long-distance disappointing relationship, when in reality- he showed up on my doorstep again, jet-lagged and in love, last Sunday. I was ashamed. (And also too excited to have him back to actually sit down and write about it).

3. I’ve been reading. Suddenly, I realized that I have a colossal pile of books in my room that I have set out to finish before moving to Barcelona. I realize that I will have restricted time in b-school for pleasure reading and therefore am attempting to fit it all in before I go.

Below is the list of books I have read in the past few weeks and how I rate them, in case anyone is interested in some recommendations.

-Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl: One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Funny, interesting, intriguing, fabulously written, innovative, and 100% absorbing. I would recommend it to anyone.
-Kissing in Manhattan, David Schickler: Another fabulous book. Quick read, a vignette of stories all connected by one common apartment building. Dark at times but playful and amusing at others. Cleverly written and weaved together, keeps you wanting more- and guessing.
-Veronica, Mary Gaitskill: Crap. A Pompous attempt at literary greatness. And the sad thing is- about four different people recommended this book to me. Basically, a HUGE waste of my time.
-On Beauty, Zadie Smith: Interesting, dragged on at parts. Brilliantly written- focuses on race, identity, adultery, family values, education, etc…
Not a page turner, but I’m glad I read it (and glad I’m done with it now). I would like to read her first novel, White Teeth as well.
-My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult: Evocative and intriguing and one of those perfect books for a plane ride or a beach vacation. I’ve read a few Jodi Picoult books before and she never disappoints me. Although she touches on a few heavy topics, the read in general is light. I would recommend it to almost anyone.
-Margherita Dolce Vita, Stefano Benni: It’s one of those “Europa Editions” translated into English that my best friend is obsessed with. She always buys at least one each time she visits a bookstore and then gives them to me to read. It was good, entertaining, absolutely original. It was satirical while dealing with pertinent social issues (in Italy). It was hysterical- I laughed out loud a few times, but I hated the ending.
-I’m now reading Gabriel García Márquez, “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” which is funny, cute, and quick. I’m moving on to “Love in the Time of Cholera” next and then the coup de grâce- “100 Years of Solitude,” which I have been looking forward to for quite some time.

4. I was meeting my “potential roommate” for Barcelona in Chicago on Thursday evening. I didn’t want to post about it because I thought that I might jinx the introduction. (I also worried that she would read whatever I wrote and freak out about my ridiculously high expectations. WHICH- were all met!)
Nowthat it’s over- I can confidently say that Sara is fabulous. Meeting her has done a job of hammering in this “Oh My God, I’m really going to Spain to do my MBA in two months” feeling. I couldn’t have found a better suited person to live with and I am now, thoroughly excited about my living situation as well.
(Let me add, as well, that I don’t know what I would do without Facebook; I know it would closely resemble walking off a plane and heading straight for a housing agency with god-knows-who to meet as my companera/companero.

5. The final reason I have neglected to write is due to the Spanish Visa situation. Almost two months after the initial experience at the Spanish Consulate in Miami, I arrived for the third time in hopes of receiving my passport. Unfortunately, instead of being handed my Visa, I was asked (AGAIN) why I needed my Visa this early if my program starts in August. I then explained (YET AGAIN) that I do not live in America and therefore, need my passport in my possession in order to leave the country. Additionally, for some reason, they didn’t seem to understand that it may be a good idea to arrive in Spain some time BEFORE the MBA begins in order to get my life into a bit of order. All this- I had to explain in Spanish, because there was not one bi-lingual person available to help me.
Therefore, four days after that lovely experience, I returned again in hopes of attaining my passport. Two hours of standing outside in a line while “ciudadano espanoles” passed me by, I was in fact reunited with my passport- only to find a lovely little THREE MONTH (90 DAY) VISA gracing the pages of my passport!!! Now, I am sure if an International MBA program lasted three months, there would be far more people enrolling in it. However, this is not the case. I couldn’t write about it because I was so angry (with good reason). I never wanted this blog to be a forum for my whining and therefore, restricted myself until I was at a point where I could calmly describe my consulado experience- I have now calmed down a bit and am figuring it out- considering that is really the only option I have.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Global Love

A week into his "American Holiday," my boyfriend abruptly packed his belongings and flew back to England. I went to bed last night thinking that "tomorrow" would be yet another delightful day playing host to my British boyfriend in Miami.
We had plans- dinner plans, lunch plans, plans to meet friends, plans with family, boat plans, beach plans. Basically- we had a lot of plans. I had it all figured out- to a tee- what our itinerary would be while he was here with me (and I’m generally not a planner…)
But this morning- at about seven a.m., I was rudely awakened by Michael whispering in my ear, “Morgan. Get up. My agent just called. I have to be back in England tonight.”
And that was that.

I've spent two years in a relationship with a phantom boyfriend. Because of his career (professional athlete)- I've attended the weddings of my best friends alone, gone stag to a number of birthday bashes, and even arrived unaccompanied to my own going away parties. I've been "that girl" dancing on her own- "That girl" with no one to hold hands with while tears stream down her face during the ceremonies- "That girl" who upon replying, “yes, I have a boyfriend” - hears disbelievers declaring behind her back, "poor thing...she must really hate being single to feel it necessary to invent a relationship. British soccer player? my ass.”
And what can I say?
I have no defense.
He's there- I'm here- And the only way for me to be with him is to fly, yet again, over the Atlantic.

I’m closer with Michael’s family than I am with some of my own relatives, I’ve come to know and love the majority of his friends, and I’ve been present at every single significant event in his life since I met him. THIS was going to be MY summer. I was going to prove to all the skeptics that no, I didn’t make him up. I really do have a boyfriend. This was my summer to introduce my loved ones to the man I have shared my life with for the past two years. And now that’s all gone. He’s gone. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

Global love. That’s what this is.
“Globalization” is one of those key words that’s thrown into conversation to either dull down perverse expansions of large corporations, or that token utterance we chuck into acceptance essays and job interviews to make us sound business savvy. Either way, Globalization is as prominent in today’s society as a burger and fries - to a point where we must all define our own meanings for it and integrate “Global Perspectives” into our understanding, thinking, and acceptance of the world.
Now comes the twist: Globalization is related to business, right? We all know that the world is getting smaller- boundaries are blurred- and airline miles are racking up for the majority of uber-successful businessmen and women. We are learning about international laws and practices in school and later, exercising this knowledge once we reach Wall Street (or the like). What we don’t learn in school- or at multinational conferences in Singapore- is how to deal with the Globalization of love.
Surely, The Economist doesn’t include a “relationships” section.

There are a few things that are instilled in us as we grow up.
We have checklists.
One: Find a job that is both lucrative and enjoyable. Check.
Two: Fall in love, get married, and possibly one day, reproduce.
It seems easy enough- but what about Globalization? What if my company is based in London, I spend half my week at the office in Hong Kong, and the other half working with clients in Geneva and New York? Where do love and marriage and children come in? Where does the second date even come in?
When I lived in NY, I wasn’t the global one- but I dated a few of them. I must say that “Globalization” is the best excuse to break up with someone- or to stave off the “how should we define our relationship” conversation. I definitely heard, more than once, that “It’s just a critical time for the business right now. I’m here and there and I just can’t give you what you need.” I took it as it came, sent a few nasty e-mails, and then one day- I was the global half of a relationship.

Since that fateful wedding two years ago where I met Michael, together we have re-defined long-distance relationships to a point where “long-distance” became “long-shot.” At times, our phone bills have exceeded our paychecks and our physical distances have ranged anywhere from New York-England, England-France, England- Dubai, Russia, Thailand, Mexico, and beyond.

And this was supposed to be MY summer:
Michael’s season had ended- He came to America.
No more time-zone calculations, no more incessant e-mail checking, no more Skype headset testing- this was supposed to be it.
And now? He’s gone and I’m moving to Spain in a few months.

And that, my friends, is Global Love.

Learning to Fly

There was a baby dove on our doorstep today.
He was tiny. He didn’t look hurt but he wasn’t moving- not even when I got up close to make sure his wings weren’t broken. He could have fit into the palm of my hand- but someone once told me not to touch baby birds because their mothers will abandon them as if they have been tainted by human contact. It may be a myth, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

My mom, my aunt, my uncle, and I all took turns peeking out the door to see if he had found his mother, or if his mother had found him. Because we couldn’t move him, we were also checking to make sure that none of the local cats had a decadent baby dove feast for dinner. It was my fear that I would open the door and instead of seeing the wide-eyed, scared little bird (which was sad enough in itself), I would see a bloodied pathetic pile of feathers. It broke my heart to see him sitting there, lost and abandoned.
And then- my sister- the eternal optimist, came home from work and construed a story to ease the collective dismay that had descended upon our household.

According to Tyler, the mother dove was teaching her children to fly, launching them from their nest in the nearby tree. Our baby dove had a bit of a false start that resulted in a crash landing onto the front porch. Therefore, the baby dove was somewhat fearful of taking flight again. Later, we witnessed the mother fly down to the porch to have a chat with her baby. Yet every time she saw us watching (such voyeurs!), she would abruptly fly away again. We consequently renounced our spectating ways and all went back inside. When curiosity got the best of our brigade, we sent Uncle Art outside to let us know the status of the lost dove and we were happy to hear that he was gone- with no traces of cat-attack.

I’d like to think, as Tyler recounted, that the mother dove utilized her parenting skills aptly. She didn’t pick up baby dove and bring him back- because upon his next attempt, he most likely would have crashed again. What she did do, was fly down to him, let him know that she was there- that she was watching- that she believed in him. And ultimately, she gave him the courage and fortitude to get up and fly again.
At least I hope that she did this for her baby, because that is exactly how my mother raised me.

I once heard a quote (by Harding Carver) that I find quite appropriate (and useful at times when trying to describe how extraordinary my mother is) that states, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”
How true it is.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom's Day Music

Today was the first Mother's Day in nine years that my sister and I were both in Miami and able to celebrate with our Mother together. It is probably the last Mother's Day we will share for a while as well.
Besides spending far too long in the cards section of the local drug store and eating enormous amounts of food, we drove up to Boca Raton to spend the afternoon with the rest of the family at my grandmother's condo.
I had made my mom a C.D. a while ago of songs I found (new and old) that I thought she would love- and it was the soundtrack of our two hour journey there and back.

Below is the playlist:
(and Happy Mother's Day!)

1. In The Sun, Michael Stipe and Chris Martin
2. Book of Love, Peter Gabriel
3. Hey There Delilah, Plain White T's
4. Wonderful World, James Morrison
5. Hold You in My Arms, Ray Lamontagne
6. Blessed, Brett Dennen
7. Congratulations, Blue October
8. Apologize, One Republic
9. Chariot, Gavin DeGraw
10. Set The Fire To The Third Bar, Snow Patrol
11. Crown of Love, The Arcade Fire
12. Portions for Foxes, Rilo Kiley
13. The Living Years, Mike and the Mechanics
14. Eve, The Apple of My Eye, Bell X1
15. Bones, The Killers
16. Summer Skin, Death Cab For Cutie
17. Not Fire Not Ice, Ben Harper

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Whole New World

My boyfriend Michael flew in from England a few days ago. I picked him up at the Miami airport (which, by the way, is the most confusing and hideous airport in existence) and thus began the show: meet the family- see the hotspots- learn a little Spanish- get a tan. Basically- a welcome into my world.

Of course I’m thrilled to have him here, to see him again, and to share this particular part of my life with him. Those are the givens.
What I didn’t expect to experience is the newness with which I am seeing my own life.

With Michael in Miami, I have the opportunity to see my hometown through a new set of eyes. It has been said that once in a while we should look at the world through a child’s eyes. I beg to differ; just look at the world through a foreign boyfriend’s eyes and you’ll be well on your way to a new you…
All of a sudden, summer in Miami is no longer the hot and muggy few weeks a year when I am forced to suffer long dinners with family members I don’t even like. Instead, this city is the place where I became me.
Maybe all it took was someone who loves me enough to want to know about my past to come here.

Where I am perfectly content to sit by the pool reading a novel, Michael has asked me to take a tour through my old Elementary school. He wants to drive by the park where I had my first kiss and sit in the room where my Girl Scouts meetings were held every Tuesday evening for almost ten years.
I never thought to go back there.
These places- these buildings and rooms- are simply that: buildings and rooms I once occupied- trees I fell out of, streets I scraped my knees on, and hallways in which I always marched a step behind the cool kids and a step in front of the losers.

But for Michael- these are the places that formed me. This bench or that tree are the points of reference of my history, directing him through the winding path that has somehow turned into my life. They are the tangible reminders of the stops I made on my way to becoming who I am now. And I’m enjoying this new Miami.

Suddenly, Miami is beautiful- paradisiacal, in fact. It’s fun and it’s interesting- bright and alive. Miami is an entirely new place and I have my boyfriend to thank for that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Being A Little Bad

My mom found this lovely note that I wrote 20 years ago and presented it to her on a Sunday morning. In case you don't know me, here are a few tidbits of pertinent information:
1. Tyler is my little sister (by 3 years)
2. I was 7
3. Apparently, I haven't changed at all.
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Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday Funday

My final, "must do" in New York came at an appropriate time- my final day in New York. This, of course, was yesterday- Sunday- better known as “Sunday Funday.”
In an attempt to prolong the weekend a bit and stave off the impending work/school/what-have-you week, Sunday Fundays became a steadfast tradition during college and have remained one of the few constants in my life. As wonderful and diverse as Sunday Fundays can be- nothing beats a Sunday Funday in New York.

At urbandictionary.com, Sunday Funday is defined as:

“By celebrating the "Sunday Funday" you can extend your weekend festivities just a little longer before hanging up your party pants. This day typically starts out with mimosas or bloody marys, aka hair of the dog. It then typically continues through out the day until you find yourself wasted by about 6:30ish. Since the "Funday" ends early enough, you can rest assured that you will go to bed aka pass out early enough to be perfectly refreshed for work on Monday morning.”

I think that the Urban Dictionary pretty much hit the nail on the head. Yet for me, Sunday Fundays are not so much based in alcohol consumption as they are a celebration of a great life with wonderful friends in fabulous locales.
And so ensued my last and final NYSF (New York Sunday Funday) for an indefinate period of time...

The morning began by rolling out of bed at around 10:00, armed with massive sunglasses- and performing an interesting version of a stagger/swagger to the nearest coffee shop for a double espresso. The weather, despite reports, was absolutely gorgeous- sunny and warm- but still cool enough to wear a scarf.
It was a perfect New York morning- I miss it already.
Back at home, I jumped in the shower.
Refreshed, I was off to Extra Virgin in the West Village for brunch. A good number of Bloody Marys and some of the best eggs and French toast New York has to offer, NYSF officially began and I was off to convene with more friends and Europe’s finest trash at Felix in SoHo. Of course, on the way to Felix, we weaved in and out of boutiques for some obligatory “NYSF tipsy purchasing,” from which I ended up with a great pair of sunglasses.
Because we had already done "the brunch thing", Sunday’s Felix was a “standing Felix day”- which is okay- but not as good as sitting at Felix, due to the fact that the pitchers of Mimosas tend to get a bit heavy after a while.
Once we had our fill of the football (soccer) game on the television and being mashed like sardines against the drunkest posh people in Manhattan, a group of us walked down the block to Café Noir for another round and then got wind of a great outside garden and good white wine at Barolo, a restaurant down the street. I met a few more friends, and as the bottles kept coming- our group continued to expand until nightfall, at which point I heard that another friend was at Country, a restaurant across the street. We stopped for a quick hello at Country- went into 60 Thompson for a pre-dinner drink (not that we hadn’t had enough at that point) and finally, made it to Cipriani downtown for dinner at 11:00 p.m. Dinner ended at 1:30, which was actually, at this point, Monday Funday. A new record.
I could have continued- I would have liked to- but unfortunately, I had a flight to catch in the morning and therefore, for the first time since I arrived in New York, decided to be responsible- and sacrificed the upstairs party for folding and suitcase stuffing.

And that, my friends, is not only the ideal New York Sunday Funday but the official end of my latest stint in the best city in the world, la manzana grande.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I Want To Be A Part Of It

New York, New York.
Mr. Sinatra once sang, "If I can make it here, I'll make it anywhere"....or something like that.
Although, I don't think its so hard to "make it here" as it is to not get overwhelmed and jaded here.

I feel about New York as anyone who has once lived here and loved here feels: it's full of life, exciting, and completely self-contained. One will never be plagued with boredom or find a lack of new things to explore. However- being that it is SO contained- a world within a world- a different reality exists here. From my perspective, this reality is a reality of excess. From the extravagant dinners, to the day-long brunches, to the ridiculously high consumption of alcohol- there is no moderation.
It's all or nothing.
No alternatives to excess and it's near impossible to moderate- you either stay in or you go out. Hard. And being in my 20's? Well, staying in doesn't happen much.

"Taking it easy" is not an easy feat- I remember the many nights living here, where I would preemptively put on my pj's, order a pizza, and begin a movie. Then, halfway through with the flick and about 3/4 deep into the pizza, I would hear the party-goers parading the streets and my phone would start buzzing with texts from friends, requesting my presence, saying anything from "Where are you, b*tch?" or "At the new place in Meatpacking. Amazing. Come!" or, something as simple as, "Hey! Its (insert name). I'm with (insert name) and (insert name). See you in five? x"
Inevitably, at some point between midnight and 1:00 a.m., I would drag myself out of bed, brush my hair and slide into a taxi with a full night ahead of me.
The only difference now is that I don't bother taking off my makeup in the first place. My time is limited and therefore, I have no room to oscillate- I KNOW what will happen as the day wears on and I've accepted it. But even just a few weeks here has me thinking another way- like it's actually OK to eat out for every meal- breakfast lunch and dinner- everyday. And it's actually normal to stay out until the sun comes up.

The last piece of this excessive puzzle, and the item that prompted this post, is the spending. Yes, even in THIS economy, money is spent almost as if it were mass produced for a board game (Monopoly comes to mind). Manhattan's shopping is some of the best in the world and really...Who can contain themselves?

One of my best friends- an incredibly generous and thoughtful man- went to a boutique opening of a mutual friend last month. Being that he knew the owner, he felt obligated to make a purchase. He walked away with a vintage Ramones t-shirt for me, complete with ink stains and holes. Before I received it though, he made the conscious decision to leave the price tag on. He had to- It was a rag. A $350 rag. Which brings me to my point: I honestly believe that it wouldn't be "normal" anywhere else in the world (well, maybe Moscow- but they don't DO vintage) to spend $350 on a cotton shirt. But hey, it's New York. And I'll wear my rag with pride (and never EVER take the price tag off!)

In conclusion- If I can wear a shirt that costs more than my plane ticket here, then I can wear anything anywhere. "It's up to you New York, New York!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

NY Highlights

I came to New York with a list of people to see, things to eat, and places to go. Of course, my list has been twisted and altered until the original plans have become pretty much unrecognizeable.

Nevertheless, below are the highlights thus far;

-Cheese tasting at Murray's
-"Sunday Mass Dance Class" at Equinox. I still can't feel my legs.
-Drinks on the Delancey rooftop
-Brunch at Extra Virgin (although I reluctantly stayed away from the fries with gorgonzola fondue- which is an alltime favorite)
-Rock Band and Red Bull pre-gaming at the apartment
-Le Royale birthday party
-Southhampton shenanigans
-Ago (De Niro's new place) in Tribeca and the Burrata appetizer
-Macrobiotic lunch in midtown at Souen
-Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
-Dinner at PO on Cornelia street
-Being dragged to VIP's with the boys (I dont know if I should have admitted to that)
-Cipriani Downtown
-Pinkberry Green Tea Yogurt with Blackberries
-Continuing my three- year running Backgammon tournament with Pete (currently 30-22 moi!)
-Steam room with Dana
-Brooklyn excursion with good friends, medditerranean food, and a local bar with cheap beer
-Walking (Thoreau-style)
-Central Park strolls
-Food shopping at Gourmet Garage
-Yelling at cab drivers even though it's obvious I'm the one who shouldn't be in the middle of the road
-Late-night martinis and fajitas at a random bar in the West Village
-Spring Lounge
-Lunch at Morandi
-Dinner at Frank's, compliments of Frank's mom, on the Upper East Side
-Bruscetta and Greco Di Tufo at Ino (W. Village) (AND THE TRUFFLE EGG TOAST!)
-Lower East Side bars and their owners with dogs
-Sitting outside Wine Bar for dinner in the East Village (and their truffle pizza)
-The Spotted Pig, their purple martini's (apparently because their olives are purple), and the gnoti with sage butter
-The British bartenders at Diablo Royale
-Corner Bistro and it's overrated (so I hear) burgers
-Joe's pizza on Bleeker (not so much the actual pizza but waiting in line, finally getting in, and having a huge pie placed on your table after a late night out)
-3:00 a.m. Burlesque shows at "The Box"
-Sundays at Felix

And I wonder why I gain 5 lbs everytime I get to the City...
One week to go and many more things to do (and eat).