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Do you ever feel tuckered out? You don’t have to be doing alot. Or you could just be coming off oodles of stress. But I feel like I’ve been burning my candle at both ends for months. So I am going to scale back the blog to 4 days a week for August and September. I’ve got a move to plan, conferences to attend, and a friend staying with me. I also have to submit queries and prepare proposals, and keep up on my reading.
I have decided that my weekday blog posts will drop back to four a week and the fifth will be my mental health day, when I don’t blog. I love blogging, but I think I am stretching myself too thin. Moving is way more stress than I remembered. Well my whole entire life is changing and that’s exciting and scary. I am worried. I hope I’m doing the right thing. You never know until way after the decision is made. Hindsight is so freaking useless. But I’ll do what I always do–push forward.
Do you take mental health breaks? How do you cope when everything gets to be too much?
The Maitre D’ reservation screw up:
I walk in and the maître d’ give me immediate attitude as though I am lying about having a reservation. WTF? She tells me nope, I don’t have one. Okay, I’m a former auditor. I don’t make mistakes like this, lady. I checked the confirmation email before I left my apartment and printed it out. I booked the reservation via opentable.com. So I got an email saying I have a reservation. I hand it to the maître d’ and she dismisses it saying it’s OPENTABLE and I have to talk to them.
The maître d’ is god awful to me. She insists that I called not once, but twice to change the reservation. I never dialed the damn number. And she tells me I called at 10AM–I don’t get up until 10AM and I don’t speak before 10:30 AM. Then she tells me I switched it to Thursday.Um, problem –I booked a trip to Newport in February leaving Thursday morning so I won’t be in the freaking state of NY for my alleged reservation which I did not make. She disregards everything I say insisting the computer doesn’t make mistakes. I’m guessing however a human being making minimum wage typed this info into the computer and might possibly have made a mistake. Maybe? Nope. It’s me. I’m wrong.
I was treated like trailer trash. I calmly explained that I did not call nor did I receive any calls from Jean Georges but she insisted it was in the computer, which meant I was lying. Then she told me there were no tables for at least half an hour. So evidently when a reservation is via opentable, the restaurant takes zero responsibility and blames the customer. I was told to call opentable to resolve the problem. Can you say BAD SERVICE? I had to ask for a manager (which I was not allowed to speak to), but I was told a table was magically ready so there was no need to speak to a manager. I took the table, but the maître d’ ruined the dining experience. I have never been treated so poorly in my life.
I would never recommend this place to my friends. I had heard so many nice things about it, but nothing can make up for treating your customers like they are the scum of the earth and like a reservation mistake on the restaurant’s side is my mistake. Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. I should have left. But you see eating lunch at this craptastic place was on my to do list before I moved out of the city. So I stuck it out. But it was a miserable experience. They should hire people with basic people skills to handle the front desk. Don’t call your customers liars or treat them like criminals. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth and ruins the meal.
What amazed me (after working in financial services and consulting for 10+ years) is that anyone would treat a customer this way. Mistakes are made in life, but you have to take ownership of them and make it better. Don’t blame other people when clearly the screw up is on your end. Don’t tell someone we decided this is your mistake and you’ll pay for it, when it clearly is not their mistake. Don’t accuse customers of lying. The only person fabricating stories was the maître d’. Why would I show up on a day I don’t have a reservation with a printed confirmation showing I have a reservation? It blows my mind. It defies logic. I hope I never have to deal with such incompetent unprofessional people again.
The wait staff were pleasant and professional but after being treated like dirt, called a liar and repeatedly blamed for the reservation mistake made by the restaurant, I really had trouble enjoying my meal. The food was tasty although more salty than I would have liked–I had foie gras brulee and my friend had the tuna ribbons. The bread was good–I had the sour dough. For our second plates I had the veal and he had the beef tenderloin. The desserts were delicious and our waiter thoughtfully worked around my friend’s food allergies. the dessert was tasty-I had the chocolate and my friend had a sorbet. The complimentary marshmallows and macaroons are a nice touch. The waiter did his absolute best to make this a nice eating experience.
The ambiance is very minimalist. I felt like I could have been anywhere. Honestly, expectations are set so high by other reviews, I felt very disappointed by my overall experience. I would advise going to the Russian Tea Room or Petrossian or Nobu over this place any day. I’ve never had a problem with opentable reservations there.
Think about how many times you see some dejected guy trudging along carrying his girl’s handbag. They do the walk of shame without realizing it. But they feel ridiculous and they reek of ridiculous. I can remember as a kid seeing a husband walk around the mall with his wife carrying her bags and her handbag. He looked so uncomfortable and out of place. Fast forward to midtown Manhattan circa 2010. You see guys carrying their girlfriend’s ginormous handbags and you cringe inside.
Why can’t American men embrace the handbag? I’m not sure. But I’ve seen my Austrian friend work a handbag like nobody’s business. Why? He knows it could be silly so he goes with it and gives into the silliness. And with my polka dot print purse with the giant deer head–it’s pretty hard not to giggle at the purse. Maybe it’s that innate confidence that Europeans seem to have, after possessing a continent for millennium. But he works it. I’m almost jealous of how well.
Now I don’t mean to begrudge American men, but I’ve never seen a straight one work a purse before. Sure our gays rock handbags. But what about the straight American man–why is he so uncomfortable with the purse?
Why is the rule of right so fucking hard to follow? Especially in large crowded cities or own trafficky highways. I mean the concept is so simple. Stay to the right. Allow others to pass on left or those going in the opposite direction to pass. Yet, at rush hour people insist on filling the entire stairwell–4 to 5 abreast and walking in one direction so that anyone wishing to go in the other direction has to commit to knocking them down or waiting. It’s selfish and self absorbed beyond belief. Of course, I fall into the knock them down camp. If you can’t show me the most basic of courtesy then I will reciprocate.
Now let me get to highways. When the slow moving trucks block the fast lane on a 2 or 3 lane highway–it’s selfish and inconsiderate. It causes traffic jams and accidents. It’s basic courtesy but again that goes out the window because Mr. or Ms. Truck Driver is so freaking important, everyone else can wait. And fundamentally that’s what irks me. We are a country of celebutards who all think we are so freaking important the rules don’t apply to us.
Guess what? You aren’t that important. No one is. As a good friend of mine once said, “No one shits gold.” So get off your high horse. Stay to the right, recognize there are other people in this world beside you who have an equal right to walk or pass.
There are certain quintessential New York experiences that make all the others almost bearable. Fine dining, musicals, and performances are at the top of my list. So restaurant week in NYC has been going on this week. Tonight was dinner at the Russian Tea Room. This is by far one of my favorite old school New York restaurants. So many memories for me too. I had my first big New York dinner here at 12 with my best friend’s family. Then at 22 I brought him here with my parents for Thanksgiving. At 30 I brought grandma here for Easter.
Tonight, my Austrian ally got to experience the Russian Tea Room. I started with a chocotini. Delicious. Then I had the borscht (sour and savory at the same time) and the beef stroganoff (a symphony for the palate). He had the salad and the salmon. I finished with black tea with cherry preserves and a chocolate mousse pyramid filled with raspberry yumminess. It was delicious squared. The waiter was fabulous–attentive and friendly. Our water glasses never went below 1/4 full the entire night. We had a leisurely dinner from 7-8:45.
There’s something wonderful about being in a booth and having space to sit apart or as close as you want to. We really enjoyed dressing up and going out. Even if it was a sauna outside. The only minor glitch was when I forgot the N ran express after Canal and we went out to Brooklyn. Oopsy. But great view of the city.
Because years of living here have conditioned me to always be on guard. To be super careful and expect other people to try to harm me–purposefully or by their own stupidity. Like the skateboarders flying off the wall and onto the sidewalk on Williams Street. It takes 5 seconds of common sense to realize there are people walking on the SIDE-WALK. And that skate board jumping off a wall at them could result in injury to them or you. Hey you, you have every right to injure yourself. Cut a finger off or break a leg. I don’t freaking care. But flying through air at me. I fucking care.
Hey walking 6 abreast tourists. I gotta be cognizant of every dumbass move you make. Like stopping and corralling your whole freaking family into a huddle in the middle of Broadway. Or turning around 2-3 times in a few minutes time. And why dear God must you walk at a snail’s pace everywhere during rush hour?!
On the subway. You the mentally incompetent knitter who thinks she doesn’t have to hold on. Guess what? When you fall back on me, it could hurt me. Yeah, you can fall if you want and hurt yourself but not me. So I have to pay attention to who is and isn’t holding on. It’s a tremendous amount of work.
Then when I walk into crowds. Gotta watch for muggers, gropers, and every other deviant that could abound. It’s why I hate crowds. I can’t be on my game every second. And god freaking forbid anyone else be cognizant of other people or take responsibility for their actions. Hell to the no.
This is why I can’t ever relax in New York. And maybe it’s why I’ve really started to hate being here.
I’ve been doing so much thinking lately. And despite all the job turmoil and uncertainty about my future, I feel tremendously grounded. Why? I’ve got amazing pillars supporting my world.
My parents love me more than I can begin to understand. They are always there to comfort, to console, and to celebrate.
One of my oldest friends and I finally got together and smoothed things out tonight. I’ve had that connection since I was 11 years old. For many years, he was my rock. As often happens in life, we had a falling out. But tonight, we just talked and enjoyed each other’s company. We spent quality time together. And I realized all the hurt feelings, all the sadness–they were a colossal waste of time. Because the pure joy of sitting with him, seeing him right there in front of me. Laughing together. Shit that is what makes my life meaningful. I am so very happy my heart could burst. We are finally back. I don’t know if he realized how much strength I drew from him or how much it bothered me. I think the passionate fights show how much we truly care for each other. But I’m going to work to control my temper or at least not be so stubborn.
Then there’s B, who has been by my side since college. Sometimes it feels like us vs. the world. He gets my travel anxiety. I get his work stress. We can make each other laugh until we almost pee our pants. We have become hermits at times–but together. He loves my dog like his own. That takes a special person.
L is my girl. One of my few female friends. LOL. Not sure how we first clicked, might have involved lots of drinks and SOX jokes. But we clicked and lived in different countries but stayed in touch. She’s great and there to hold my hand when I need it.
Then there is Z who puts up with my crying fits, my dirty jokes, my reediculous stories. And listens and supports me.
Last, but not least–OL. He gives me such unconditional love and support. He holds my hand when I’m upset, and knows when to call me on my shit. And he’s coming to visit. Can’t wait for in person time. we spend the majority of our time on skype of the phone. But he’s there.
I don’t think I could have gotten through my life without these amazing people. And no matter what happens, I feel absolutely blessed to love them and be loved by them. I think they are the reason I’m not afraid of the future. Of trying and failing. Because I know they will be there to see me through it.
I love you all. Just in case I don’t say it enough. I wanted to say it here. And to thank you for making my life so fantastic.
Here’s an amazing book trailer for a phenomenal book by Catherynne M. Valente. I started Palimpsest July 1. The first day of my summer. I finished it July 14. Not because it took me so long to read. No. This book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It touched my soul, made me question my life, shed tears, and think about happiness in a whole different light. So I chose to savour it. To read just enough each day. Until I got to the last hundred pages. Then I had to know how it ended. I tore through them and felt justly rewarded for my efforts.
Rarely do I walk away from a book feeling like I learned something important or grew as a human being. This book did that for me. The last book that had a similar effect? Ten years ago–Alessandro Baricco’s Ocean Sea.
Palimpsest delves into sexuality, desire, obsession and what the heart wants most. It made me re-examine why getting what we most want is so very difficult and inevitably requires sacrifice of something that felt so important.
The prose are strikingly gorgeous throughout. Valente weaves this fable together perfectly so that the reader goes on their own journey of self discovery. One of my favorite passages in the book talks about living alone as being “a skill, like running long distance or programming old computers. You have to know parameters and protocols…You have to allow yourself to open up until you are the exact size of the place you live, no more, or lese you get restless. No less, or else you drown.”
One of my beta readers (okay, my dad, but he’s a tough critic ) was giving me feedback on the first fifty pages of my new paranormal romance and he asked, “What about the setting?”
My response: What do you mean?
“Your dialogue is tight. The scenes are fun, but you don’t give much description of the house.”
To which I responded. “Ah. I hate writing setting.”
He paused. “But don’t you think it’s important?”
I got quiet. Well, of course, I know it’s important but frankly, the part I hate most in books is those long paragraphs describing the building or the room. I flip right by them to get to the dialogue, the action, and especially the sex scenes.
But he got me thinking about setting. In my first book, the castle is almost like a character in the story. I spend days plotting out the layout of the rooms and the furniture within the rooms. But this book, the main setting is a house. It could be any house. It wasn’t that important to the story or me. But to the reader, it was. I needed to balance my hatred of long drawn out setting descriptions with the readers need to create a picture in their head.
I gave in to good advice. Last night I sketched out the house. I went back and added details to the scenes to give the reader an image for the room. And I now know one of my weaknesses is setting. I either get too into the details or don’t give enough. No happy medium here yet.
Which got me wondering, what do you think about setting? Do you like the 1-2 page description of a place or would you prefer that it be revealed within the dialogue tags as the scene unfolds? What is the happy medium?