Reaching Stage 5

Get it all down. Whatever it is, no matter how tired you are and your mind is mush, just get it all down.

I'm back. We're back. We got in late last night. 9 days in New York. Heavenly. Renewed.

We touched down to torrential downpours on Saturday evening. It rained, and it rained, and it rained, and it never stopped raining until the following Saturday morning. While it was welcomed by the natives since it hadn't rained in months there, we were sort of glum, as the only way around NY is walking. Still, we made the best of it. We had our umbrellas and our jackets, and we ventured forth with joy in our hearts and hot chocolate in our hands.

The living situation. OK, here we go. We kind of bit it and did a wacky thing called Housing Swap from Craigslist. It all seemed perfect. This man had a big old artist's loft in the West Village, and needed to be out here in our neighborhood for his son's wedding at the exact same time we needed to be there. We met his son, and had a lot of email exchange, and decided to go for it. After all, it was going to save us HUGE amounts of cash and enable us to stay a full week and be able to see shows and whatnot. So...we left our place in immaculate condition and stepped into what could only be described as the lair of a vegan serial killer. Imagine the home of a hippie artist from the 60s who kind of forgot to clean anything since then. All surfaces (save the bathroom, thank GOD) were dirty and sticky, and smelled of cat and onions. The bedding offered was unnaturally brown and dingy, so we went and bought our own sheets and pillows immediately. The bed was as hard as a rock. Now, I know a lot of people like this. Perhaps one of you reading this is one of those people. If so, I ask you: WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? If I wanted to sleep on a flat surface, I'd sleep on the floor. I use the term sleep loosely here.

Anyway, we decided the best thing was to not be there as much as possible, so even though it was raining, we stayed out. Because of this, we ended up walking like wet dogs into whatever movie theatre was in our path. We ended up seeing: Mirrormask, A History Of Violence, Broken Flowers, Capote, Proof, and Elizabethtown. I also shopped like a two-bit whore at H&M, which was extremely gratifying after three plus years of no access. We ate so much good food, but the non-wedding highlights include finally understanding the lure of the black and white cookie and some unholy delicious steaming hot gingerbread with fresh whipped cream.

And then the shows! We saw three shows. We saw The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, starring Jesse, who was fabulous. It was a very funny, very charming and captivating show. We also saw Doubt with the amazing Cherry Jones. But most of all, oh most of all...we saw Sweeney Todd. If you are at all a fan of this show, or Sondheim in general, you must must see this. It's an incredibly beautiful, scary, simple re-working of the show, with all of the actors playing the intricate score themselves onstage.

It was great because when we lived there, we so rarely went to see anything due to cost. We tried to get into Wicked but apparently you have to sacrifice a flying monkey baby to some theatre god to get a ticket, and I'm not sure I cared enough. We also had tickets to see The One-Man Star Wars Trilogy (oh WHAT. WHAT?), but the show was cancelled at the last minute, so instead we walked the city, as this was Saturday night and the rain had finally stopped.

And then there was the wedding. It took place at the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral down in Little Italy, and the place was so much fun and had a lot of character. David and I were there to fulfill our roles as bards, which we loved. Because it was a wedding of someone deeply connected to the Rent legacy, we performed "I'll Cover You (Reprise)" with two other women with fabulous voices. It was very dramatic: we had hand-held mics and were seated throughout the audience and stood up to sing when out parts came in. The rehearsal dinner was at a place in Little Italy called Puglia's, which officially has the best-tasting pizza I've ever had in New York, and that's saying something. It was hilariously raukus, with this old Dean Martin-y type dude crooning all the Italian classics with the help of a Casio keyboard. Everyone danced and yawped and clapped their life essences into that beautiful ritual of another Yes to life.

The bride was stunning in 40's style hair and makeup and strapless dress, and her oh-so-dashing groom was all smiles when she appeared down the aisle. I felt so proud to be there witnessing that life transition for her. I really hope it will be a great one.

Ok, so the coolest thing about this wedding was that after the ceremony (it was POURING RAIN, by the way), they had hired a New York Tourbus to take the guests from the church to the reception. Most of the guests were from out of town, so this was just a wonderful and whimsical way to pass the time. It was a very emotional journey for me, being on that bus, and hearing the tour guide patter on about the Bowery or Chinatown or CBGBs (still open...barely). It was like watching a bit of my old life pass by. I waved to it, I tried to touch it, and I had to let it go.

The reception was held in a charming ballroom, starting with a raw bar and sitar playing and ending in a sumptuous dinner and dancing. I got to catch up with a lot of old friends who feel like a family you can never really lose. I'm so appreciative of that. I always feel that when I'm out of people's view that I sort of evaporate in their minds, and it's always nice to know that isn't so.

Something happened this trip. I hit a crossroads. I'm still having the abdomen thing, but I just basically ignored it. I've had a heavy heart for a long, long time, and somewhere along this journey, I set it down. I was able to talk about Mom without the sting and pang. I was able to laugh without reserve. I was able to smile with abandon. I remembered how to live. I think rituals can do that to you. A gathering like a wedding marks a faith in life. I was reminded again what an amazing choice I made in marrying David. Travel also lends perspective. I was reminded how good it is to walk until your feet hurt. I was reminded that some things are worth forgetting. That joy can be all-consuming. I want to live, and taste everything. I want to be alive again. I want to offer forth my art without judging it, and just feel proud that I did it. I want to experience holidays again. I want to find what I lost.

I am at peace in this moment.

I told this to David today, as we sit here home in LA (with the rain pouring here, too) trying to get back to our lives and our jobs, and he said, "you've reached Stage 5." Acceptance.


How beautiful you are!
tifanie | 10.17.05 - 8:33 pm | #

I can just see the two of you strolling along with your umbrellas happy as ducks!! I am glad that you are feeling at peace and beginning to to move into that stage of acceptance. Life will only get better for you.

However, I must know --- did he leave your apartment nice and neat?????
Prairie Momma | 10.18.05 - 7:13 am | #

I'll take care of this one. NO! a) Two DIFFERENT pieces of used dental floss in the middle of the living room floor. b) A Japanese Museum sticker STUCK to the batroom wall. c) SEVERAL books left out and open far from their bookshelf homes. d) The place REEKED of onions. e) Onion peel laying on the floor in the living room AND the bedroom?!? f) A lot of general trash laying everywhere. g) More I can't remember at the moment.
d | 10.18.05 - 5:56 pm | #

Oh yeah. And his PANTS laying on our dining room table chairs!
d | 10.18.05 - 5:57 pm | #

EEWW! His pants in the dining room? How did you know the dental floss was used? He didn't leave the books open and facing down, thereby creasing the spines did he? I hate that! And onions in the bedroom. That is just plain weird.

Glad you had a good trip to NYC.

Your third to last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad that you have found peace.
Lisa | 10.18.05 - 7:30 pm | #

OK. The pants on the dining room chair was too much info. I don't even want to go there. Yuck. I always thought those house swapping things sounded neat, now I'm wondering.

Was the stroll in the rain with your honey worth it, though. I know you're gonna say yes......
Prairie Momma | 10.19.05 - 7:06 am | #

You can't see me, but I'm clapping enthusiastically for you.
ashley | 10.24.05 - 5:01 pm | #

My heart made my fingers do the talking, everyday thinkign o fthe thank you to come, "how do I thank them" and then I keep reading and I am reminded of the gifts you have always given me adn how words are special elixers for the soul. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you and david were there with us in NY, your gift of music and song something we will never forget. It's like a dream in my head I can't forget, I was so proud of it all, it felt good to share bits of the treasures I had discovered in life with my family and friends, thank you for making it a reality.

I am so happy to read of your own transition, it makes sense, nice to know that some things in this world do from time to time, the other we'll enjoy anyway, it's all connected somehow, someway.

lots of love to you both, talk to you soon!
Mrs. O | 10.31.05 - 12:32 pm | #

By Blogger adriana, at Saturday, October 06, 2007 9:40:00 PM  

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Monday, October 17, 2005 : 5:45 PM     1 Comments  


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