It’s precious to love what you do as a career and I do, but I also treasure my friends and family time, and this holiday gave me four days to do that. Was it fun!
My family was split, with Josh and his family visiting his wife’s family in California, and Samantha in Cancun, Mexico, with hers. Elizabeth and her children were home with me and it was a terrific “staycation.”
One of my favorite cultural institutions is the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City. For the holiday, adding to their fun exhibits was the live musical “The Princess Frog, a Musical Fairytale.” It’s a fantasy of a prince falling in love with a frog and … you can guess the rest. My 6-year-old Jonah and his 4-year-old sister Addy were mesmerized from their first-row seats in the jewel of a museum theatre.
The wonderfully acted show had been written by staff at the museum including Lena Pennino-Smith and kept the audience entranced. The live music was a lively score, arranged and directed by Brian Smith.
The museum is a great place to visit with plenty of free parking adjacent to Nassau Community College.
For New Year’s Eve, we made our own little party. But when Addy heard it was just the four of us, she began to cry, “Where’s the company?” So I got on the phone and invited my friends and neighbors Perry and Rosanne and their daughter Madison to stop by and they did, to the delight of Addy!
With our New Year’s hats and horns we blew in the New Year early by watching Netflix’s Pre-New Year’s Eve ball-dropping shorts! It was great fun to watch and we were all asleep way before midnight. After all, the next morning we were hosting the Broner family for brunch, and both kids promised to go shopping with me for the bagels and lox.
It was a great to have the Broners at my house because we usually go to theirs. I promised we would have the TV on for the mandatory watching of the Michigan football game. It was a great day on many levels but bonus points because Michigan won!
It was wonderful to see my three hulks – over-6-foot Sam, Zac and Ben – hug and lift into the air the little ones. Sam, who is graduating from Tufts in May, sat patiently sewing with a skinny needle and thread a knit doll they had brought as a gift for Addy. He is such a sensitive, caring, precious person, taking time to put the doll together slowly but surely!
It was hard to say goodbye.
The next day I was off to spend an overnight in Manhattan. It was my special time to see the remarkably funny “The Barber of Seville” at the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center. I feel like a tourist in my own city when I do this Manhattan “staycation.” Having dinner inside the opera house at the Grand Tier Restaurant overlooking the Lincoln Center fountain is my treat to myself when I go to the opera. One view is the square and fountain, and the other, the enormous Chagall mural hanging one story high in the restaurant and over my shoulder. A feast for the eyes and stomach!
The opera offers tickets for $25 and is probably one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. It’s an experience not to be missed. I’m endlessly impressed with the music, magnificent voices of the singers, the enormous cast and great sets and costumes. That night didn’t disappoint me!
The next day, I met a friend for brunch at one of the most famous breakfast places in the city, Norma’s. It’s inside the Parker Meridian hotel and you usually have to wait in line an hour for a seat, but you can get a reservation if you stay at the hotel and I did.
I had a mountain-high egg white frittata with shrimp and spinach and my friend had gluten-free pancakes topped with fresh raspberries and a smattering of white sugar to add to the beauty of the presentation.
From there, I was back at Lincoln Center to see my old favorite show “The King and I.” I must confess my adoration for the music goes back to my sleepaway camp days when I performed as Anna in that show! It was a highlight of my life! And now I was enjoying a colorful performance with the spectacular Kelli O’Hara whose powerful voice reminded me of Julie Andrews, glorious and crisp. In fact it made me feel that musical is our great American opera. The words and music resonate and are as fresh as when it first opened 50 years ago.
Last week, I listed how grateful I was to the people on my staff, but I inadvertently forgot my 16-year employee, devoted, hard-working, caring, beautiful Maria Gallo. I am eternally grateful for her!
What a weekend! It doesn’t get better than this! What a way to begin a new year! I wish you all a happy, joyous, healthy and prosperous new year filled with fun moments and New Year’s resolutions. Mine is to lose weight and find love again! What’s yours?