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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Meals, Memories and Miz

Dear Mom,

Hello from the Hamptons! Blaine and I rode the train out this morning. 
He flew in yesterday and entertained himself in the city a bit while I finished up at work. It was my last day until July 7. I ended up shortening my planned three-month leave to take a promotion. I should be working in Tribeca for my boss's boss when I get back, but they are still working out the HR details. 

Anyway, Miss Patsy was here this week to celebrate Julia's graduation from the New School with her master's in nonprofit management. 
The big ceremony was at Madison Square Garden, and Lady Gaga was there to see her little sister graduate from Parsons. 
We had a great dinner in the Bar Room at The Modern at MoMA when she got here on Wednesday night. 

Pea Salad

burrata and mint.

Asparagus and Gnocchi

nettles, spring onion, and bacon. Marinated Tuna

fennel, cucumber, and aïoli.

Roasted Carrots

mustard seeds and sheep’s milk yogurt.

Pork Loin & Belly Confit

apricots and onions. 

Grilled Scallops

broccoli and sauce romesco. Guanaja Palet

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream (Guanaja is one of Valrhona's premium dark chocolates.)

They were really late getting our table ready, so the manager bought us a round of drinks. Naturally I sized up the list to get the most bang for our buck! We got two glasses of this, which goes for $36 a pop. 


Courcel, Les Croix Noires 1er Cru, Pommard, Burgundy, France 2007 

Mr. Mark couldn't come for graduation because he's had severe back pain, so Adam got his Friday night ticket to Les Miz. Blaine I decided it would be better to miss the traffic and head east this morning instead of last night. So, we joined them as Les Miz. Miss Patsy treated all of us to dinner before the show. As usual, Blaine had some hilarious tales to tell. (We still love remembering how Julia said "Baine" and "Ashee" when we babysat her at the beach the weekend after I turned 16.) 

The show was fantastic. I'd never seen it, and can still remember almost every word of the score from listening to the cassette tape over and over in middle school.

We  got soaked on the way home, but Blaine was more worried about keeping his bag of Fresh treats dry than keeping himself dry! Sweet Adam had carefully selected goodies for all of us. 

Blaine and I amused ourselves before dinner at my apartment flipping through Reflections '94. (We also created a new grapefruit juice cocktail named The Smitty.)
I'd gone into the archives on Thursday to put this 1993 prom gem on Facebook. Cookie was so excited...she thought I'd finally gotten a boyfriend! She called me immediately to get the scoop. (She misses you a lot.) 
Today we went to Soul Cycle (Kelly Rippa was in the class and chatted with Nate and Judy afterwards, but I missed her) and had lobster rolls in Sag Harbor. And Buddy got his hair cut! 

We got cookies at Levain Bakery and took naps. Now we are watching Orange is the New Black to kill time before our 9:45 p.m. dinner reservation. 

Oh...look what Neil spotted in the New York Times this week! I sent it to Miss Patsy thinking she'd get almost as much of a kick out of it as you would have. Do you think this is the first time the Q has been in the wedding section?! 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Special Guests

Dear Mom, 

Aunt Sandy and her friend Kathie were here for the weekend before they set sail for Bermuda. She treated us to Kinky Boots and dinner at Oceana on Friday night. 
I'd seen the show with Barbara last September, but we were in the cheap seats, so it was even better being able to watch from the orchestra seats Aunt Sandy got us. 

On Saturday, I took a long walk and caught up on some phone calls. Sunday morning, Sandy and Kathie came over for breakfast. I got berries and yogurt and juice, and I went to Amy's Bread to get us a sampling of pastries. 
They loved seeing my place and gave it their stamp of approval. They both admired your Dean Gioia painting. We headed up to the roof to enjoy the view.

After that, we hopped in a cab and did a quick High Line tour, then I accompanied them to the Marriott to help get their bags in a taxi headed toward the port. I'd like to note my ability to pack lightly is apparently from the Snipes side of the family?!
It was a great visit. Kathie asked if we could "house swap" sometime, as she has a big beach house in St. George Island. I said absolutely! Let's line it up. I'm going to keep her posted about dates when I'll be traveling.

At 2 o'clock, I went to a cycling fundraiser for Behind the Book. My friend Julia is on their board, and a new cycling studio offered to let them fill up a class and keep the proceeds. I invited Jason, as he's such a good sport about new experiences. It was quite challenging but lots of fun, and they had beer and a little social hour afterwards. (Jason needs to go to more of those classes...he chatted up two cute gals.)
Anyway, it was a busy week, as Thursday night some church friends were in town from Charlotte to visit the Methodist outreach offices. I met them for dinner -- they introduced me to a new spot, which was awesome! -- and invited everybody up on my roof to check out the view. 
Photo: Saudades ❤️
That's Julia, Marion and Anita Way's granddaughter. I also got to see Ellen Spence and her dad, Bob, who is clearly slacking off on his "pimp" duties for the Smith girls.

Julia posted the pic on Facebook for our Brazilian friends with the same word I always say to you:



Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

Dear Mom,

I knew Mother's Day weekend might be hard...but it ended up being so special. Amanda had been trying to find a weekend to come up and visit. Neither of us remembered the holiday when we booked it, but it worked out just perfectly! A chance for her to get a break from mommy duty, and a perfect distraction for me.

She got in late on Friday, and we stayed up entirely too long talking. She brought her 1994 Europe scrapbook! That will definitely be a topic for a future post.

Saturday we headed out and met Kathleen in Central Park for lunch at the Boathouse. The park is gorgeous these days. Everything is in full bloom! I took this snapshot when I went for a walk last Tuesday and thought how much you would have loved being with me.
We got a great table...close to where we sat when we went there in the summer of 2011.

Then we strolled over to the Met for the Costume Institute's exhibit featuring the "legendary couturier" Charles James. I'd never even heard of him! It was fascinating, and they had a really cool multimedia approach, with graphic renderings of the construction of the dresses. There was a lot of engineering going on! It was also really interesting to see photos of 50s socialites like Augustine Hearst...
You would have found the whole thing quite intriguing...worthy of an afternoon of googling on your trusty iPad! Our friends with similar interests can read more about the exhibit on the Met website. 

It was raining when we tried to exit, so we detoured to the cafe and treated ourselves to tea.
Then we headed home and rested a bit before meeting Adam and his friend Hiroyo for the new musical If/Then with Idina Menzel.

It was entertaining, and it was pretty amazing to hear her in person. What a voice!! The plot is a bit schmaltzy at times, but we were all glad to have seen it. And that whole "what if I'd done this instead of that?" is certainly right up my bellybutton-examining alley! (Though I must admit...I can't say I have any regrets about any decisions I've made...other than MAYBE one I made in the summer of 2002, but I know you thought I did the right thing.)

We had some late night al fresco nibbles with Adam on 9th Avenue after the show. Naturally he brought Amanda some Fresh products. Such a cutie!! He is off to Ojai, California, for work travel this week. Not a bad destination!

Sunday morning, we hit my favorite bakery (Amy's Bread) for pastries, then walked on the High Line.

We had a blast getting an impromptu lunch at Chelsea Market...pork belly banh mi and a crepe with brie and apples.

The time flew by! We walked by Neil and Nate's apartment, and I looked at my watch. It was 1:55. Oops! Time for us to hustle to midtown for our 3 p.m. Wicked matinee. We took one quick pic on the Hudson River Park and scooted by my old building for a fast peek. 
Wicked was AMAZING! I'd seen it in Charlotte, but I'd forgotten much of it, and we had crappy balcony seats. I got us orchestra seats with partial view, which was a bit annoying at times, but I still think that's a better way to roll, as you can actually see people's expressions. And...we were on the end of the row, which was perfect, as we had to scoot out right before curtain call, as Amanda's flight from LaGuardia took off at 7:20.

The costumes in the Oz scenes were amazing...

And I definitely had a few cathartic tears as they sang "For Good":
I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you. 
It well may be
That we will never meet againIn this lifetime.So, let me say before we part:So much of meIs made of what I learned from you.You'll be with meLike a handprint on my heart.And now whatever way our stories endI know you'll have rewritten mineBy being my friend.

We literally ran down 9th Avenue, which was basically a parking lot, grabbed Amanda's suitcase from the doorman, and sweated bullets flagging a cab and hoping she'd make it to LaGuardia in time. But she did! And the show was an unforgettable experience I think we will always treasure...for many reasons, including our Quincy Music Theatre experience under Miss Suzie's direction in 1990. That was a rough year, as you and Dad were working out your separation. I'd like to think I was cast to play the Wicked Witch because of my talent, but I can't help thinking SJ knew I needed an extra-special creative outlet that year.

We took a pic for her as we waited for the show to begin.
So, all in all, a special, perfect weekend. I think it was just what you would have ordered up for me. That Luce is something else! I was also so touched by how many people went out of their way to send notes that they were thinking of Leigh Ann and me and knew it wouldn't be the easiest day.

I miss you, and there is nothing like sharing this stuff with you. But I feel like I am honoring your memory and making you proud when I am out there doing new and interesting things, just like you taught me to do.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Milwaukee Weekend

Dear Mom, 

Hilary, Scotty and I flew to Milwaukee over the weekend to check out Meghan and Drew's new digs. Here we are having coffee at Colectivo near Lake Michigan. 

Scotty and I flew in on Friday, and Hilary got there Saturday morning. I think it was the first time all four of us had been together since Meghan and Drew's wedding in 2011. Caroline was born in late 2012, and they had Elizabeth late last year. Irish twins, just like Leigh Ann and me! (I do enjoy telling people you always said my arrival proved to your friend group that "you can't get pregnant while you're nursing" was an old wives' tale...)

Anyway, with two little ones, it was time to move from Chicago to Milwaukee, where Drew got the perfect job, and they are now just minutes away from his parents. They found a fantastic new house in the suburbs north of the city.  
On Saturday, we had lunch on the water and walked around downtown Milwaukee. Then we hung out at the house for a while with Drew and the girls.

Drew did a great job on daddy duty while we played and caught up. We went out for a fantastic dinner at a sort of old-school "supper club" near their house.
We ended up with Milwaukee's most delightful waiter, who treated us to free desserts. I jumped up and hugged him when he surprised us with the bananas foster we'd been eyeing. We could have licked the plate. 
Scotty had to leave at noon on Sunday, so we dropped her off at the airport and treated ourselves to a chick flick, The Other Woman with Cameron Diaz and crew. It was pretty much the implausible no-brainer we expected, but it still had a few good moments, and we enjoyed Cameron's wardrobe immensely.

The whole conceit of the movie -- a wife and two mistresses teaming up to take down a lying, cheating dirtbag -- was pretty implausible, but even less likely was the gorgeous Southampton beachfront home owned by Taylor Kinney's character, a contractor.

Oh, well, what's a movie if not a little escape from reality?!

I also enjoyed two rounds of Wisconsin cheese curds, which didn't seem too different from fried mozzarella sticks, but they were delightfully bite-sized. Did not get to sample any bratwurst or check out any of Umpi's old haunts. Hopefully I can make the next visit a longer one and catch up with the Coffels who are still up that way.