The World According to Marney

Tuesday, November 25

Gramercy Tavern...Soup Kitchens

I have one word to say about eating at Gramercy Tavern...


It was an amazing dinner with fabulous food, incredible service and wonderful company. There was someone to refill every sip of water, almost as you set the glass back on the table. Your napkin was neatly folded as soon as you returned to your seat, if you had to step away. The food removal and delivery was choreographed nearly to perfection. 3, count them 3 Amuse-Bouches were served to us, 2 savory and 1 dessert. I am so glad that I decided to take the bull by the horns and make a reservation. It was very much worth it!

But, with all of that fine dining, that means that everything else (writing, knitting, etc.) was once again put on the back burner. No wonder I am still hovering at 10,000 words with less than a week to go. I swear it's not true procrastination, entirely. I really have the best of intentions in writing on a daily basis. It's just that the daily of the daily basis gets in the way a lot. If I didn't have to sleep so much... Maybe if I stopped spending so much time at work... I could try to stop spending time with people... Oh, let's face it, I have too much in the air right now to try and fit one more time consuming project into my life. It was a valient effort. I think I should pat myself on the back for at least trying to take on more stuff.

Maybe I need to rethink some other things in my life that I haven't really been keeping up on like volunteering with New York Cares. It has almost been a year since I did anything for them. Of course, I haven't exactly been sent calendars lately. Maybe I'll see if there is any holiday volunteering out there that might need an extra set of hands. I used to be so good about giving a couple days a month to the less fortunate in the city. That's what I'll do. I'll find somewhere to volunteer within the next month. If nothing else, there are always soup kitchens that need people to help out, especially during the cold months.

Monday, November 24


I can't believe that it's already noon and I just now had the first chance in my day to make any attempt at posting. I guess I'm a busy little elf in ortho-land.

This weekend was a rather interesting conglomeration of events. Friday night, Nolan and I went to see his favorite local band, Stargazer Lily at the Bitter End. I had once before seen them play at N & K's wedding (they were at the gig, too). I had a great time, despite my earlier confusion at eating dinner on the sidewalk with no coat in November in New York.

Saturday brought a big day of laziness, including a 3 hour nap in the afternoon when I should have been 1) writing, 2) cleaning my apartment, 3) reading or 4) doing something else productive. Considering I don't usually successfully take naps, I must have really needed the sleep. It was for the best, since I didn't want to fall asleep that night at the Circus! That's right, Nolan took me to see The Big Apple Circus. What a fun time we had. There were all the usual amazing acts, like the tight rope, trapeze, clowns, juggler, horses, camels and llamas (or as I called them, walking sweaters) and a fabulous dog act. I think I liked the dogs best of all. They were absolutely adorable.

Sunday was a day for shopping. Nolan and I hit the grand openings of West Elm in DUMBO (Brooklyn) and The Container Store in Chelsea. No purchases and no bloodshed from the massive crowds that were rubbing my nerves raw. If you aren't fully aware, I have an intense hatred for large groups of people that don't follow direction well, or at all.

Tonight is going to be a fabulous night. Today is the anniversary of Nolan and my first date. So, we are going to celebrate by eating at Gramercy Tavern. This is actually my treat to him. He has been talking about it for so long and he really helped me out with my financial trauma in October (see stolen purse saga). So, I thought as a thank you, a celebration of us, a celebration for my new job and a celebration of the fact that I can actually afford (well, not really afford, but you know what I mean) to eat in a place like that, why not do something special. I have been looking forward to tonight for the past month, when I made the reservation.

Friday, November 21

A Little More About My Psyche

It's Friday and I feel like a little Friday Five (As each question asks for 5 answers, maybe it's Friday 25.)

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
  1. My NaNo novel

  2. The alpaca project I started a couple of weeks ago

  3. The books I bought from amazon (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and Fast Food Nation)

  4. Buying funiture for my apartment

  5. My holiday gifts for my nieces
2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
I should say that these are all people that I have some contact with, but I would like more
  1. Scott Scheidt - my friend on tour with The Producers

  2. Diana Brown - my fellow ex-patriate of Dodger Theatricals who moved to LA to work for HBO

  3. Julia Grace (aka Julie Hoggatt) - a college friend that joined the marines

  4. Judy Mathison - my closest friend from childhood, well I do talk to her every now and again, but I would love to spend more time with her

  5. Terry Hill - another close friend from high school that I talk to on occasion, but clearly not enough
3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
  1. Crochet a Granny Square

  2. Improve my web design skills

  3. Speak and read another language fluently - I have a head start on French and Japanese

  4. Swing Dance - not just my version of following along and winging it

  5. Play a musical instrument - I would love to learn how to play a cello or a bass, but really any instrument would be wonderful
4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
  1. Pay off all of my outstanding bills

  2. Buy an apartment in Manhattan

  3. Furnish said apartment

  4. Go on a fabulous vacation - probably Europe or perhaps somewhere in Asia

  5. Put the rest aside for "a rainy day"
5. List five things you do that help you relax.
  1. Knitting

  2. Reading a good book

  3. A Bubble Bath

  4. Chamomile Tea with lemon and honey

  5. A good massage

After all of that, I am going to leave you with a website that is appropriately Thanksgiving themed. Just when you thought you knew every way to consume Turkey, they come out with something that is a little more inventive and a lot more disturbing.

Thursday, November 20


Warning, it can get a little deep in here (and I don't necessarily mean profound).

Last night, I didn't write. I didn't knit. I didn't watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I didn't get much reading done. No. Last night I went to the theatre, again. I should really be in the industry again with as much as I go to see shows.

Anyway, this show is Austin Pendleton's latest New York theatre production, called Another Vermeer. It's about an art forger/dealer that is charged with treason for selling a historical painting and nation Dutch treasure to the Nazis. I have to say, I did enjoy this more than some of the latest shows I have been witness to. In any case, as Nolan directed Austin in Chekhov's Rifle, we met up with him and a couple of other people for a bite after the play.

I guess it was at about 1:30 AM when I was getting home that I realized that this is not normal. I mean, stuff like having dinner with a film actor is not something that most other people do, ever. I can't say this is the first time I have been in social situations with Academy Award winners, Tony Award winners, icons of stage and screen, notable playwrights and screenwriters, directors, choreographers and other entertainment celebrities. Come to think of it, most people in this world only go to the theatre on occasion and not every week. It really sank in that very few people from my hometown or even in other facets of my life, like work, ever get closer to celebrities than their TV sets or movie screens. In fact, I would bet that a majority of the people from my high school have never been to a play outside of the all district musical production of Fiddler on the Roof (ironically, a show that Austin performed on Broadway).

I think these thoughts were spurred on by one of the guys last night who was taking an evening out away from his wife and son in Philadelphia to go back into the theatre scene of NYC. Sometimes I think about what my life would have been if I would have made a few decisions differently. To tell you the truth, that whole idea just creeps me out. I mean no disrespect to anyone out there, but I cannot imagine living the life that I could have had; living in a small town with a family of my own, taking kids to soccer practive in a minivan or SUV, having the only interaction with adults outside of work revolve around the PTA or parents of friends of my kids, living in a house (probably with a mortgage), having to drive everywhere, watching the life I currently have a taste of from the comforts of my livingroom, trying only to imagine what life would be like if I made different decisions in life. It's not that I am unhappy (definitely not) or unsatisfied (not likely), I am only curious about the differences that can come about in life. We all start out with everything ahead of us and then life narrows down our choices as we go along.

Okay, now I'm rambling. Why can't I ramble like this when I am in novel writing mode. I feel a wave of literary mediocrity coming on. I better put this word count to good use.

Tuesday, November 18

I am a Publisher Junkie

I discovered that my new computer in the office has Microsoft Publisher on it. Since my job requires my to create and edit newsletters, I thought it might be fun to play around with this new toy. I have managered to give myself some decent hands on training in this software and found another way to procrastinate on my novel. I mean, I wrote almost 1,700 words today in a cheesy little newsletter that I was playing around with, but not a single word on my novel. Do you think I could possibly transform some of that drivel into something novel worthy?

Enough with all of this writing/whining. I actually have something that is about to be completed. I have finished all of the pieces for one of the backpacks I am working on. I still need to sew on the straps, line it and put in a zipper. Then I am done. The second backpack still needs a gussett and 2 straps as well as the other pieces. I am thinking about going to P & S Fabrics Corp sometime soon to get a couple of zippers and some fabric for lining.

I have nothing else to say over here. I need to get out of the office and head over to the theatre tonight.

Friday, November 14

20% Finished

I hit the 10,000 word mark yesterday. That means I am 1/5 of the way through my novel. Unfortunately, I am 1/2 of the way through the month. As much as I would love to have more words under my belt, I am really having a hard time finding or making time to write. That is my biggest problem. There are so many things taking up my time and energy these days. Between having to juggle work, friends, theatre, basic errands and household stuff (maybe I could hire a maid???), book club, knitting, and just plain exhaustion, I have very minimal time to write or even focus on my thoughts. I knew that writing 50,000 words in 30 days was basically an unattainable goal for me. Why am I feeling guilty for not keeping up with that goal?

I found out yesterday that I will probably be put in charge of maintaining and to some degree designing our office website. Okay, I think you should know that the amount of web design knowledge that I have is only visible on this blog. I really don't entirely know what I'm doing with this stuff. I am hoping that there will be some sort of guidance or training for me with all of this.

Okay, I am going to try to write a little now.

Thursday, November 13

Bloggy, Blog, Blog, Blog

Here's something that is making it's rounds through the blogging world. Mom Finds Out About Blog. Well, this blogger is not worried. I already know that Mom reads this blog every day. For that matter, I set her up with her own blog so she can talk about stuff regarding the family and life back home. Actually, it makes for a very interesting way to share information.

For those of you that don't know, I live across the country from the rest of my family. This little daily newsletter allows Mom, and the rest of the family to keep up with my life. Since I am not the easiest person in the world to reach at times, this new method of communication really comes in handy.

In other news, I have nothing to report today. I got 0 words written yesterday. I got a bit busy at work and lazy at home. Well, not lazy but distracted. That's right, I started playing with the yarn I got last week at String. I mean, they had to order 3 skeins of alpaca for me because there were no more with the same dye lot. So, less than a week later, I have my yarn in my grubby little hands. It is so soft. And it's really fine. I am using size US 1 needles for this puppy. It'll keep me busy for a while. On top of that, I am just making up the pattern as I go along. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 12

They're Not Gonna Live Forever

The opening for Fame on 42nd Street lived up to all the talk I heard on the street. And that is not saying much.

When you hear that they are going to make a musical Fame, you think you will see Coco, Bruno, Doris, Leroy and the rest of them singing the songs like "Hot Lunch," "I Sing the Body Electric" and "Fame." You also expect that the plot will be what you remember the movie to be. Take, for example, the musical adaptation of Saturday Night Fever which was an exact replica of the movie. Or Footloose, which took the movie and changed only parts of it to make it work on stage. Fame took the movie, failed to get the rights and changed everything just a bit, wrote new (bad) songs, and made everything just not quite right. It was as if it were generic Fame. You know, close to the real thing, but clearly not the original. The only song from the movie that made it in the cut was "Fame." It was melded into another, new song. Then it was sung again at the finale, when the taxi rose through the stage. It was almost as though the creative team were saying, at the end, look it really is the same as the movie.

My prediction is it will last through the holidays and close in the January slump. Not a whole lot of people are going to be happy about seeing a knock-off of a familiar movie. I'm not even getting into the other problems that this show has; book, songs, choreography, lighting, strange rolling set pieces, oddly timed emotional swings, characters you can't really fully follow - nor want to, lack of understandable character motivation. Let's just say that this is not one of the better shows out there right now.

Tuesday, November 11

Busy Day!

I have been able to get some quality writing time in at the office while my boss is on vacation. It's a bit of a quiet time so I am taking advantage when I can to type to my heart's content. Does that mean I have caught up, OOOOHHHHH NNNNNOOOOO. Don't be thinkin' that! I am almost a week behind on my word count. I can still do it. My goal is to get about 2500 words today (I have zoomed through 431 so far), then aim for 2100 each day from here on out. That will bring me up to speed. Of course, those are minimums. Then again, if I use the method of counting I have now posted on the sidebar on the right, I am way ahead. For some reason, it is giving me a count of over 2000 words more than I have written. I shouldn't complain, but that is WAAAAY off.

As a reward for getting some work done yesterday at the office, I treated myself to some knitting time last night. Purple bunny backpack has a gusset that has been sewn to the front. One strap has been started with cute little letter beads spelling out SYDNEE. Not too bad. At least I'm being productive with something.

Tonight, I will be living the highlife at an Off-Broadway opening of Fame on 42nd Street. Curtain is at 6:30 so I have to get ready at the office and run across town right after work. No lollygagging for me today. That also means that I have to get my 2500 (no, 2069) words done by 5:00. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 10

Signs of Winter

How can a New Yorker tell when it is officially winter?
  1. The temperature drops from 80° to 40° in a week

  2. There are a million commercials and other ads for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular invading our lives

  3. Every store window has either winter clothes and fake snow or gift idea signs donning snowflakes

  4. Mercedes starts showing the commercial with two little boys that get cheated out of a snow day because their dad has an E-Class that can take on blizzards

  5. Soup Kitchen International opens its doors again (I saw them stirring today!!!)

  6. The radiator in your apartment becomes a very noisy yet welcomed roommate

  7. Your 1 ½ hour commute each way is entirely in the dark

  8. Street Fairs are now called Bazaars

  9. Buses and subways are overflowing during rush hour - you have to wait for at least 2 buses or trains to apss before you can even get close to the doors

  10. The sound of leaf blowers is you wake-up call

I guess that means we are in for a chilly season. In the words of Magic 8 Ball, All signs point to Yes.

Friday, November 7

Lunchtime S.E.X.

No, this is not something naughty. It's a Stash Enhancement Excursion. I decided today to check out String which is a relatively new Yarn Store on the Upper Eastside. I had heard a lot of good things about it and wanted to see it for myself.

Aside from it being rather "cozy" there were a couple of minor issues that I had with this store. There are no prices on any of the skeins. Only one skein of any give color of yarn is on display, so you need to ask for more.

On the other hand, there was an entire wall of cashmere and angora. Most of the yarns are high end. And most importantly, the people there (at least the woman I worked with) are friendly and helpful. I decided to get some charcoal colored extra fine alpaca. The problem was, there were only 2 skeins (of 665 yards each) of that color on hand and I need at least 3 for a sweater. They called up to order another skein for me and will let me know when it comes in.

All in all, I had a rather good experience there. It is on my list of shops that I will be happy to frequent.

Oh, I wanted to add that this was my reward for getting some writing done this morning. Back to typing!

Today is Writing Day

My boss is on vacation for the next week and a half; I have caught up with all of my work; I have assembled all of the office furniture I ordered; I have nothing else stopping me. Today is a day for me to catch up on my writing. Right now I am about 3 1/2 days behind. I need to get on the ball. I think I did very well last night considering I was called into the theatre at the last minute. I got about 1000 words down in long hand during the show and then typed them up when I got home.

Tomorrow is IKEA day. I have been saying I want to go to IKEA for months. So, tomorrow, Nolan and I are jumping on the shuttle bus out to Elizabeth, NJ for some furniture shopping. I need bookcases and he needs chairs. How are we going to get this stuff back to Manhattan???

I also had the urge to do the friday five this week.

1. What food do you like that most people hate? Tofurkey, the traditional Thanksgiving meal for vegans. Well, most people really won't give it a chance.

2. What food do you hate that most people love? Cheesecake, milk, cheese, meat, nuts, avocados, do I have to go on?

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you? Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find
Seth Green - I get grief about this one from Nolan all the time.

5. What popular trend baffles you? Most all of them.

Well, I must write now. I'm not getting any younger.

Thursday, November 6

I found another picture of me

I don't really think this one would have been appropriate for the Board of Directors Meeting, either. It was me at the height of enjoying New Years Eve last year at Ayelet's place.

Wednesday, November 5

Bad Writer! Shame on Me!

My deadline and progress on this novel are in serious conflict at the moment. I wrote a total of 46 words yesterday. I am already terribly behind. Well, the good news is that with the board meetings today and tomorrow, the ghost town that is my office will be great for writing. Then my boss and office mate (yes I share my office with my boss) will be on vacation for a week and a half. That will allow me plenty of writing opportunities.

So what did you do with your time instead of writing? Well, as it was election day, I had to hunt down my polling site which has changed 3 times in the past 4 years and no, I did not move. So, schlepping out to vote took up some of my time. I also had to work at the theatre. That allowed me to get through the back of the pink backpack. That means it is gussett and straps time for both of them.

A friend of mine is throwing an "Ornament Party" next month. It's an open house party that spans about 12 hours through the course of a Sunday. The one stipulation is all guests have to bring a "Crafty Ornament" for his Christmas tree. So I thought I would knit up a miniture (read Barbie sized) sweater with a Christmas Tree on the front. Add a Barbie hanger and it's an instant ornament. I thought the tiny socks would be a bit too much.

Tuesday, November 4

Corporate Coup

Everyone in the office is preparing for a big Board Meeting tomorrow. I was asked to submit a digital picture for the staff page. Unfortunately, the only one that I could get my hands on was this one:

Again, I think the blood should wait until a later date.

Well, my boss is a bit of a kook and he said he thought it would be funny to use a picture, any picture from the internet. So I made mention that people tell me that I look like Kate Winslet circa Titanic. He agreed if I could find a picture and I didn't feel too weird about it, I should use Kate instead of me. So this is the picture that is being presented to the Board:

Think I can get away with it?

I am up to an even 4000 words for my book. That makes me officially 1000 words behind schedule. If I get everything printed for this meeting tomorrow, I may be able to sneak in some quality writing time this afternoon.

Monday, November 3

A Marathon for Everyone

Well, the New York Marathon is over for another year. Now I can walk to work with only the fear of being run over by cabs, buses, dog walkers, commuters and other folks on the sidewalks. I con't say that I really paid much attention to it. Come to think of it, I really didn't leave my apartment much yesterday. Considering I live only 4 blocks away from the last leg of the race, I thought it would be for the best that I stay away from the throngs of people.

A a whole, it was a rather productive weekend. I managed to spend some quality time with my friend, Moe, who came in from Pittsburgh for the weekend. I wrote over 3000 words (okay so that means I am a smidge behind, but I have a feeling I will catch up quickly) on my novel. I got some much needed and overdue shopping done. And, I put all of my stray balls of yarn into ziploc baggies. Well, I ordered sandwich bags in bulk and realized that 500 bags for just me is about what I would use in 2 years if I brought my lunch to work on a regular basis. That is a little excessive. So, the milk crate that was all tangly and messy got a once over with plastic. Now my yarn is not only tidy, but it is safe from any errant moths that may want to dine on future projects.

Okay, to the important stuff. I did manage to get over 3000 words written over the weekend. I started off slow, but really picked up last night. I'm hoping to get a bit of time in at the office today. I have been having problems with my computer not wanting to read blank disks. So, in a moment of epiphany, I e-mailed myself my work, totally forgetting that it is the PC that cannot read Mac Word files and not the other way around. So, if I write today, it will proabably be a little of a non sequitur, but at least it's writing.

I have also had a request to see what I am writing on line. I haven't decided if I am ready to do that. After all, this whole exercise is about spewing out words quickly, not necessarily so eloquantly. I may do it. Of course, that will have to be on a day that I actually have the document awailable for uploading. Maybe I'll be ambitious tonight.

In Knitting News
I didn't get very far on the backpacks. I did make a decision on them, though. In my shopping frenzy on Saturday, I stopped in an art store and found some colorful letter block beads. So, I am going to stitch in the names of my nieces on the straps of the bags. The beads are a little bit bigger than the stitches , but it is pretty close. I think that will be so cute.