Vacation re-entry is hard. Wait, HOLD ON, I don’t mean it’s hard like homelessness, or being sick and having no health insurance, or being a citizen of a president like that lying bag of lard we have in the Oval, or being a person of color in this country, or being an immigrant separated from his/her child, or being falsely accused of something you didn’t do and having to go to jail. I just mean, one minute you’re jet-setting around, intoxicated by things you haven’t ever seen before, enchanted by the warm sun, overindulging in good wine and HAM (have I mentioned the amount of ham I ate while I was away, probably not, because there is no way to properly express to you the amount of ham I ate while I was away), and the next minute you’re back to work, eating lightly dressed salad and slipping on the goddamned snow while you walk the dog. That kind of hard.
My husband and I talk about how winter is getting to us, but then we never really do anything about it (as if we could alter it in any way–ha!–I suppose we could try and contribute more to climate change, which of course DOESN’T EXIST). But we have discussed at length, how New England houses a bunch of overachievers and we wonder if it has to do with the weather. Here on the cold coast, winter is a time to do work, to hibernate and concentrate in a way that we don’t think people necessarily do when the weather is temperate (do you hear me, L.A.?) I think this is interesting, but I also think, fuck it, I would still be happy to work if you just gave me higher temperatures and sunny days.
Complaining about the weather is so boring, so privileged. I know this and yet, before I even can stop my tongue from wagging, I do it almost every day during the winter months. I have to stop. Ok, gratitude that I am warm and safe and my biggest problem today is the cold (there I go again, talking about the weather…..).
Sweet Jesus, the sun can change a person’s mind. I mean, just when I was about to send dead crocuses to every weather man out there, boom, temperatures rise, the sun shows up and my deadened soul is all like, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On.
With every winter I (slimly) make it through, I wonder when it will be that I will give up on New England and just be done with it. I wonder when I will abandon the four seasons that are really just two (winter and summer), throw caution to the nor’easter wind and move South.
Then I remember the political climate, and I understand that there is more than just weather to consider.
I live in a bubble. It’s probably not the time to pack it in, just now. I will store my four down coats, and keep rooting for the sun to get out of hiding. Yep, for now New England’s mentality will have to keep me warm.
For the first time ever, I planned a vacation that allowed me to miss major snow! Not only that, the weather in South Beach was spectacular. To get those two things to coincide is like getting Trump to speak a grammatical sentence–impossible.
So, gratitude to Mother Nature for this tiny miracle.
The mirrored elevator always had us checking our posture. As we called it “doing the colleen.”
He looks happy, right?
Going for a walk.
A mere four days (we missed our first day because we sat on the tarmac waiting to de-ice, but hell, better to de-ice than be in ice) and boom, your frigid soul melts, and the icy stairs, the weight of the down coats, hats and scarves become a distant annoyance.
feet in the sand!
I love a flower. This was on a lifeguard chair.
On the street.
Kith, the store.
View on my walk.
I never can quite understand how you can be in one place and get on a giant mechanical bird and wind up in another. I mean, yes, I know it’s technological engineering I could never comprehend to begin with, but beyond that, it’s just stunning to me to be walking in snow up to my knees and than in less than four hours have sand at my feet. Or to be in an english speaking country and then find yourself in a location that doesn’t speak your language, where the color of people’s skin is not that of your own. It’s a magic show that never gets old for me.
We did some great eating–namely one of my favorite restaurants ever anywhere–Mandolin, a small Agean bistro in the art district that has a romantic outdoor patio and the best Greek food. Juvia, a rooftop place that overlooks Miami’s downtown was incredible, and Cibo, a cavernous Italian place with homemade pasta that was genuinely homemade, not to mention a “wine ninja” doing acrobatics in the glass wine cellar. And of course, Bianca at the hotel was also beautifully made food in a spectacular atmosphere.
A wine ninja getting one of 500 bottles of wine at Cibo. Imagine the job application? “And you’ve been taking gymnastics since when…..”
My favorite restaurant–Mandolin. Seriously, this place is amazing.
The bar at Cibo.
Couldn’t be happier to have gotten a break from`New England’s longest and worst season. And now I need to pile on the clothes to walk the dog.
As you exited the elevator, every day there was a new quote.
Around five o’clock-ish last night, Peter called to tell me to look out the window. There are a lot of tall houses in my neighborhood, and the direction he told me to look was mostly blocked, but I could vaguely see some yellow in the sky. I wish I’d gotten off my fat ass and gone out in search of a better view. Because holy shit.
Later on Facebook, there was a better view. A whole bunch of better views, in fact. And man am I grateful for that, because I’ve actually never seen anything like what the sky did yesterday. I mean, you get a pink sunset frequently and it always knocks me out, sort of a dreamy pink that’s ethereal and calming. And I’ve always been a little bit crazy for that color blue that happens at twilight, but a sky that shoots a strip of sun that reflects onto the trees and makes them yellow? Nope, I’ve never seen that before.
I hate winter, but this bit of winter–totally worth the inconvenience of the whole season.
Honest to God, if I could abolish winter, send it packing, I would. I’d take the whole season and put it into an oversized suitcase and send it to the North fucking Pole where it belongs. I wouldn’t even buy a good suitcase, just one of those crappy ones for sale in the cheapie Manhattan shops that sell papers, candy bars, I Love NY t-shirts, and crappy suitcases.
Perhaps I’ve mentioned how much I despise the cold, the snow, the general New England-ness betwteen November through June. I will be honest, because that’s how I roll, it has been generally better than usual for the past months, a tolerable bit of snow, decent temperatures, but the last few days have been that frigid stuff, that whip smart wind, that gloomy gray daytime forecast of get-under-the-covers.
When you have a dog, you gotta get yourself together, cold or not, and take that guy outside for some fresh air, good smelling and sniffing, and of course, multiple bathroom breaks. You cannot afford to stay indoors in layers of clothes and sip tea while you work, you gotta get up and outta there.
I have been piling on clothes, and intentionally not wearing my sunglasses, in an effort to get any and all sunlight into my eyeballs, while I escort Riley on his walks, during this cold snap. I have been trying with all my vim and vigor to breathe in the cold air and be in the moment, instead of fantasizing it away, or wishing I were somehwere else. I think this is rather adult and zen-ish, and I’m rather proud.
Fuck it though, it hasn’t worked, and I’m practically ready to teach my dog to use the toilet. #ifuckinghatewinter.
Hold on to your hats (coats, boots, and sanity), The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting another over-the-top snowy, freezing cold , your-boiler-is-going-to-get-a-workout, winter.
I am putting on black and beginning to mourn for summer.
I am also (as soon as this fucking one-sided sore throat, headache. I-am-so-tired-I-might-be-dead, feeling ends, going to drink up, seep up, BREATHE in every moment of warmth and sun that I can, in preparation for another winter of depressing hibernation.
Although, I cannot, CANNOT have a repeat of winter 2015. I won’t allow it. That was one miserable period. I am going to have to make some winter plans that can sustain me and mine. I mean, given that I can’t just go live somewhere warm from December to May, I will have to make some plans in this here region that makes life bearable. Maybe some salon-type parties (or saloon-type parties), weekly theme dinners with friends, game nights, I don’t know, igloo making contests? Who’s in?
I vow not to let this winter get the better of me. Bloomingdales is having a sale on cashmere this week. “Hear that, you cold bitch?” You’re not getting all up in my business again this year. Nuh uh.
Here is how my vacation buzz died, just five days from its birth.
Tuesday, I was teaching a class on tagline writing. I co-teach at Lesley University, which bought The Art Institute of Boston, and when there are enough students interested in our elective, called Concept to Copy. My partner Steph and I have been doing it for many years, and I really love the kids. It’s fun to connect with students that age, who you don’t have to worry about because they aren’t your own (although I tend to worry about them anyway). This semester Steph is teaching a design class with another teacher, and so only needed me to pop in for two classes. I was prepared, and excited, and left plenty of time to get over to Cambridge, since I had no idea if I would get a parking space, given the snow situation. I went out to my car, which my husband had pulled in the previous night, to accommodate his car, and apparently did a lazy job of. I couldn’t get into the driver’s seat because it was jammed against our hedge. (Thanks, Peter.) I was annoyed, but I wrapped my sleeping bag coat around me and climbed into the passenger’s side and across the middle of the car, hitting my head on the roof. No problem, disaster averted. I began to pull out, but the angle of the car hit the hedge, and apparently my back tire did a nose dive off of a small ice cliff. I tried to drive forward, but no go. I tried to reverse, but all I heard was spinning tires. I got out, in pair of nice boots, the first time I hadn’t been in my North Face lace ups, Yak Traks in place, in months, looking like I was doing the watusi, as I tried to make it to the porch without falling on my face. I searched for the salt, but apparently Peter had used it all and not replaced it. (Thanks again, Peter.) I began digging at the tires, trying to clear some of the evil white stuff that had been building up for a month. I got back into the car, coat dragging behind me, bumped my head again, and once again tried to move, but there was no progress to be had. Again, I got out, did the slip and slide siezure dance, and made my way into the house for my box of Kosher salt. Again, I shoveled, even trying to cut the bushes with my floral clippers (what was I thinking, it was like cutting a can with a nail file). I climbed back into the car, and yes, bumped my head a third time, and did not move the car an inch (THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH, PETER). This went on for a full 30 minutes, in an out of the passenger’s side of the car, dig, sweat, swear, slip, repeat. I finally gave in and decided to Uber it, when Steph called and said she could pick me up. By then I was dripping in perspriration, preparing my divorce documents, googling the signs of concussion, and making plans to move to the Caribbean.
The class was great fun. I Ubered home with a hilarious guy, and all we did was bitch about the winter, and laugh. Here’s the thing, life has its own innate ups and downs, shoveling inordinate amounts of snow, worrying about parking, and whether you can even make it down a street without hitting another car, your commute, your roof, your pipes, your sanity, doesn’t have to be part of the equation. This winter, in Boston (and many other places, too), it’s what has taken priority, and that is just stupid. Winter is incredibly inconvenient. It’s like a job now. You know, before your real job. And it’s what killed my totally awesome vacation high dead. And why I will be down on my knees kissing Day Light Savings Time as it sashays into town this Saturday night. Wait for it, wait for it, GRATITUDE.
I called my son yesterday, who is in L.A. on the sunny campus of USC, and he didn’t answer. He was, as I suspected, doing something fun outside. He called back a few minutes afterward to confirm that why yes, he was indeed outdoors, playing a round robin charity game of kickball.
Right now the only thing I’m kicking is myself for is making the choice to live in this God-forsaken frozen wasteland. I used to like this town, but now that it’s become part of Siberia, I’m having second thoughts. With my daughter graduating from high school next year, I am seriously thinking about how we could live somewhere warm for the winter (or for the whole damn year). There are a lot of people and places I would miss if I were to leave Boston permanently, but who can see them when you have 95 inches of snow? Who can do so much as empty the garbage when it’s four degrees outside? Who can save money for the good stuff when you have to spend it on the icicles that are threatening your home’s welfare? At some point, you have to ask yourself about your quality of life, and decide what makes sense, right? At some point, you have to make a choice about what’s best for you.
Yes, I am seriously lacking in vitamin D and in a less than sunny mood about the fact that I can’t walk outside for more than two minutes without turning into Frosty the snowman. Yes, I am a little testy, having had this hacking cough and drippy, swollen face for a month, despite antibiotics and kick ass cough medicine. And yes, I may have lost my gratitude for today. There, I said it.
I keep telling myself how lucky I am not to be homeless, that I am a freelancer who doesn’t have to rely on public transportation, that we have ample food. But let me explain my state of mind this way: I watched an informercial on a curling iron at 3 AM the other night and I ordered it. OK, DO YOU GET IT NOW? Here’s to hoping your day is at least 20 degrees warmer than mine.