Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taryn's 18th Birthday in NYC - Day Two

On Saturday morning, Taryn and I were in our hotel room getting ready for the day when someone knocked on the door. Now mind you, I had remained in my jeans and bra just so that when this occurred, I would have cause to make Tar answer it. Now to give you a bit of history, Taryn had been spying on a couple across the street, who were on an apartment or hotel (couldn't tell) balcony having what looked to be a lover's quarrel. When the knock came, the look of terror on my daughter's face was undeniable. She thought they had seen her and came to confront her. LOL! I'm sorry, that's funny - I don't care WHO you are!

OMG! It's Aunt Christine! What are you doing here??? I'm here to shop 5th Ave with you! And so Day 2 began. Before heading to 5th Ave, we checked out the new pedestrian area in Times Square and had breakfast at Junior's Diner. On our way to 5th, we strolled by the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and braved the pre-holiday streets. Whoa! Christmas shopping in NYC a couple weeks before the holiday is nuts! I felt like I was in Chinatown during the Chinese New Year parade. That didn't stop the trio.

We decided we love the little grocery market next door to our hotel, and picked up a couple snacks in the afternoon after an exhausting day (hey, spending money is hard work!). We refreshed and dressed for Saturday night's reunion with my sorority sisters. Melanie had flown in from Cali, and Gwen was coming in from Jersey. Andrea was bunking at Karen's house. We met at Blu Chili, our favorite sushi and martini bar. My sisters were happy to see Christine again, and they even made her an honorary Chi Omega. They didn't do so for Taryn, since she will be a full-fledged sister by next year. Wink wink.

We couldn't leave the city without the obligatory visit to our favorite gay piano bar on the upper east side, Brandy's. And, we even found a sofa on the street for Annie. Some things are funny, year after year. Again, someone was missing (Cheryl).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Taryn's 18th Bday in NYC - Day One

Since 2005, we have given Taryn a choice for her birthday... a party with your friends or a weekend in NYC with Mommy and her friends. Yup, you guessed it. I raised the girl to travel. This year was Taryn's 18th, so I had to do it big. She skipped school on Friday and we splurged on a third night versus our customary 2 nights. Unfortunately, our usual cohorts, Aunt Chris and Aunt Cheryl, couldn't make it this year. Or so she thought.

The early flight got us into NYC at 10am on Friday, and it was bitter cold. Our first order of business, after we dropped the bags at The Muse, was shopping and lunch at Katz Deli. I had inadvertently printed a very old internet article about a number of little known fashion warehouses, where you could get designer digs for a fraction. Subway riders we are, and we hopped on and off a number of times, only to find each warehouse long since closed. Ugh! We happened upon a consignment boutique, where we found a couples treasures each. I got a sweater for $8 (which btw taryn is is wearing in the pictures at dinner) and Taryn got the cutest dress for $20. I passed on the Versace coat for $1,600. But, it was tempting ;). I enjoyed our walk through Little Italy, where the Christmas decorations on the charming restaurants and shops were heart warming.

Katz Deli is a wayyyyys east, and again, it was freezing. But worth the long walk. Long lines, packed tables and walls lined with signed autographs dating back to the deli's historic beginnings. Even though we opted for a lean roast beef of rye and a side salad (we were saving ourselves for the indulgences to come), we tasted the famous pastrami at the counter and OMG!

Our first evening we met up with the delicious Annie Bananie Mendelson, resident of the upper east side, and Katie Boo Bashant, my scrumptious cousin. Katie picked a Thai place we hadn't been to, and we had a fabulous time. Although someone was missing for certain (Aunt Cheryl).

We were pleasantly surprised to find that my buddy had upgraded us to a larger room with 2 beds at the hotel. The relief for me was that I knew some other people were showing up, so one bed for 4 people was going to be interesting. Then again, this crew in NYC is always interesting, to say the least.

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Untraditional Christmas

For nearly 20 years, the Cushings have hosted a Christmas Eve dinner at our home. What started as a sit down dinner for 8, grew to a staggering bash for 116. Yes, in our home. And we do all the cooking, preparation, decoration, set up and clean up. It's our gift to our friends and family. We start cooking on Thanksgiving weekend and don't stop till Christmas Eve. Last year, however, on Christmas Day, we were at our friend Pam's house for dinner and nearly fell asleep in our food. We hit a wall. We thought... we need a year off. And that's what we did. So this Christmas Eve, we trimmed it wayyyyyy down, and did an intimate dinner for 15. Piece of cake for us.

The upside - no borrowing tables, chairs, professional heaters. No rearranging of furniture and setting up of dining areas inside and outside. Limited decorations, and not even any outside lights. And, we actually spent one-on-one time with the people who were here instead of cooking, cleaning and hosting. The downside - we didn't share our holiday with dozens of friends and family, some of whom we only see at Christmastime, and there weren't hoards of children running around my house. The worst part - my mother moved to North Carolina on Dec 22nd and I didn't see her for Christmas :(.

Enter Christmas Day. We loaded up the SUV with ourselves, our daughter, her boyfriend and 3 of the doggies and set off for a truly untraditional Christmas. Three nights on Anna Maria Island in a cottage by the beach. We arrived in time for sunset, and took a moment to enjoy it before heading to Banana Cabanas, a little Caribbean joint in Bradenton Beach. For Christmas dinner, we had everything from a burger and fries (Gene...borrrrring!) to jerk chicken and ribs to seafood paella to crabmeat stuffed macadamia nut grouper.

For the next 3 days, we rode bikes around the island, played tennis, and played pool at a local pizza joint with the kids. We watched movies and napped, and took morning and evening walks on the beach and on old wooden piers. The doggies were happy, the kids were happy, and we were happy and relaxed.

Will the Cushings ever cook for the masses again? Certainly. But we may have a few new traditions as well.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Blog Promises

I have been a very baaaaaad blogger. Good thing there isn't a Santa Blogger, or my blog stocking would be full of coal this year. I have made trips I haven't posted about, pictures waiting to upload in my iphoto, and dozens of get togethers worthy of the written word. I'm sorry readers! I've slacked, and for that I am sorry.

2010 is the year. I will post more than any previous year. I promise. Girl Scout promise.

Stay tuned for my best year yet!