Image via Unbroken Sparrow
Although I have not spent Christmas with my family for the past three years (this year makes four), I have always spent Thanksgiving at home. This year was the first that I haven't been in Utah for Mom's cooking, celebrating my favorite holiday. Because it would be utterly wrong to say that my favorite Thanksgiving wasn't home cooked, I won't; but we ate one of the best meals I've ever had at Gotham Bar and Grill in Manhattan Thursday night. It was a 4 course extravaganza: butternut squash soup, roasted cauliflower risotto, turkey and sour cherry stuffing with mashed potatoes and root vegetables, alongside one of the best red wines (an Oregon Pino, of course) I have ever touched to my lips. We polished it off with dessert, a sampler that included apple crisp, chocolate, and pumpkin cheesecake with an espresso to finish it off. Aye Chihuahua, it was ridiculous.
Much has changed since my last writing. I'm now managing a small French cafe here in Brooklyn and still learning the ropes of how to make orders and run things there. I can't tell you if I've lost my mind or not, but I recently turned down job at a graphic design firm with a 40k salary and full health coverage to stay and run the spot. Of course, a job offer through the temp agency only came after I had accepted employment in a place and with a boss that I really like, but I'm glad things are working out the way they are. Although the people working in the office were nice, I feared I would be too isolated and lonely--literally working without coworkers or windows, a white wall separating me from the rest of the office. Just typing the previous sentence depresses me. Where can you draw the line of money and happiness? Even if it's not true happiness, at what dollar amount can you be bought out for, do you put things (possibilities) on pause for, because "it's a good job" because it's available, because you feel pressure to conform to some lifestyle you are not ready/willing/desiring to lead? If not knowing or connecting with people in New York has been one of the big challenges for me in adjusting, working in an isolated situation like that didn't feel like the right choice. I am still paying my bills, it's not that I'm being irresponsible for the pursuit of a naive, twenty-something idealism where money doesn't matter and all you need is love. I live in New York now, money takes on a whole new meaning for what it costs to live in this town. But I know I really won't be happy sitting behind a desk all day and that even if it takes more work, more hours, more creativity I can figure out something else and still be successful. So the cafe it is, for now. I do really like my boss and it's rapidly turning into much more opportunity than I imagined would come out of the cafe job I decided to apply for after I returned home from my trip to Utah. It's a nice feeling, my life is simple and good. I love that although I'm living in a huge city, my world is contained and close and neighborhood oriented. It's comforting. Walking to work is amazing and I'm 90 seconds away from the little puppy boy should anything need to be taken care of with him. (Sometimes that dog makes me feel like such a mother.)
Fun New York-y things have been happening also, Jazz at the iconic Village Vanguard in the East Village last Saturday night and Chris Cornell played at Carnegie Hall last Monday. Cornell's voice is amazing, he played a solo acoustic set of songs from all of the projects he has been a part of (Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, solo work). For people of my generation that are interested or concerned with contemporary music, I feel like there is a list of artists you should see if you have the chance--those who have changed and influenced the way people play and write music. For my parent's generation rock artists like Page and Plant, Dylan, Pete Townsend, Brian Wilson, Jimi Hendrix (to name a few) are on the list. For my generation, I think a parallel list includes Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Jack White, Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood, etc. I don't think it's necessary to be a fanboy to appreciate the work and talent of these artists. It was a great night, really cool to see Cornell live, and so incredible to see something at Carnegie. The space and sound quality are amazing, beautiful. I can't wait for the winter season of philharmonic, symphony, theatre, and dance to begin. All the best work is put on in winter, when people want to be inside. I truly can't think of a cold evening better spent than in the theater.
And now the part about gratitude. I am so well taken care of. I have so much. And although some days feel hard, I understand that I am truly spoiled in my comfort and opportunity--my problems are first world concerns and that is the most anyone can ask for. I'm so lucky that Darling will put up with my tomfoolery, he's the best support I have ever known. He really takes care of me. I'm grateful for our families and sisters. For the love of a sweet dog named Cash, and the patience he has taught me. For my experiences living in such different parts of the country. For my home girls in Memphis that I can't imagine not having in my life, the most generous friends. For the friends in Utah that have really stuck it out with me, long-distance, some of you 15 years now! For the words and wisdom and stories of authors. For art in all of its facets. For learning. For the awesome, beautiful-beyond-comprehension planet we live on and the cultures of animals and people we share it with.
And it is on this note I bid you adieu for now. I will hopefully have more time to write and reflect now that things are finding a rhythm. Maybe even some photos.
Thank you Friends, for your support.
All my best.