Monday, February 04, 2008

brunch, a funeral, a wedding, a secret club and bbq for one

Saturday was another one of those marathon days filled with errands between the main events: brunch, funeral and wedding. I rarely agree to a brunch date before noon. I feel it is my right and privilege to sleep in on a Saturday morning and not wake up to an alarm . . . especially when I know Sunday will require something akin to a bomb going off in my room so I can make it to the 7:40 am meeting I have no choice but to attend! But this time when one of my brunch companions suggested we meet at 10:30 to beat the brunch rush at the much acclaimed Popovers on the Upper West Side, I agreed because it would allow me to squeeze in brunch prior to President Hinckley's funeral which was being broadcast at the church.

I was skeptical of the weather forecast that predicted temperatures nearing 50 but dressed accordingly . . . unfortunately because it was much, much colder, my thick black tights and flats and lighter weight coat were really no match for the piercing wind. Especially without a scarf.

Brunch was a success in terms of company but I was disappointed in the food. Although I think I just chose poorly. I ended up selecting multi-grain pancakes when what I was really craving was French toast or eggs. I never order pancakes and am really only fond of the home-made kind so I'm not sure what came over me but I was not a fan. But I didn't walk away hungry because we ordered a basket of popovers and they were so good I ate two with strawberry butter.

I also didn't walk away empty handed. On the sidewalk as we were bundling up to head our separate ways I discovered a spoon in my purse. A Spoon!! At some point in the jostling of being seated this spoon made its way from the table to my purse. Everyone at the table (including myself) noticed my lack of a spoon but I never really needed it so I didn't complain. It was pretty funny when I ran back inside to hand over the spoon that was set on going home with me.

I had an hour before my next stop at the church for President Hinckley's funeral so I tried to pick up the items I needed for the wedding that night: nude fish net stockings, new bra, earrings and a clutch. I found some great simple gold hoop earrings at Ann Taylor and a bra at Victoria's Secret (I wanted one with thinner straps) but no one carried nude fish nets. All Victoria's Secret stocked were black or nude with black stitching up the back . . . not really what I was looking for. I killed a bit more time in Barnes & Noble and used enough restraint to only buy one book - The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, it was on the clearance rack so I couldn't resist.

Surprisingly, the broadcast funeral was sparsely attended. It was a beautiful tribute but for some strange reason there was a very large person super-imposed over half the screen doing sign language interpretation. I have never seen this before and I found it extremely distracting! And I'm guessing others did as well since a number of people laughed with me when, after texting was mentioned for some reason, the signer (interpreter?) did exactly the sign I would use for texting - immitating a person thumb typing on a blackberry or phone. It was pretty funny. I think the signing missionaries were surprised to find their position usurped as I saw one was poised and ready to translate and sat down looking a bit disappointed after the first signer popped onto the screen. It was most distracting during the closing hymn when the signer was covering half the montage of images of President Hinckley's life which looked really good from what I could see of it.

From there I went straight to Macy's in the hopes of finding my final items. Lucky for me I found a metallic clutch on clearance and a couple of pairs of suitable fishnets (one pair didn't work so well so I'm glad I bought two) and I was in and out of Macy's within 30 minutes. An absolute record! It probably took me longer to wind my way through Penn Station after exiting from an unfamiliar train than it did to get in and out of Macy's which was its typical zoo.

I made one last stop for a manicure and nearly cried on the two blocks home while my hands froze without gloves or pockets to fend off the wind. It was after 4 pm when I arrived home and I thought I had until 7 which gave me time to veg out a bit. Then I consulted my invitation and realized it started at 630 so I ate a bowl of cereal, allowed myself only 30 minutes or so of down time after turning on a movie and spent the next couple of hours slowly getting ready for the evening and somehow managed to use all of that time.

I felt great and I thought I looked great . . . until I uploaded my photos last night and realized I really should have taken more at the beginning instead of at the end after all the dancing when my hair was flat and my face was red.

Luck was on my side when I left my apartment and managed to get a cab as soon as I walked out the door - a rarity at times. I stopped to pick up a friend and loan her my static guard and we arrived at the Pierre Hotel mid-cocktail hour which was perfect. I knew or at least recognized the majority of the people there and it was fun to see everyone dressed up. Although for the first 20 minutes or so everyone seemed a bit awkward and didn't quite know how to interact with one another in this fancy setting which reminded me of formal dances in high school. I received several compliments on my dress and happily found myself seated at a table with people I know and like, including a couple I had not seen in about a year.

The food was good but the band really made the party. They started everything off by insisting everyone dance before starting dinner. This was initially uncomfortable since not everyone (umm, like me) was there with dates which made the slow song a bit intimidating, especially right at the start. Luckily there were enough single males at our table to pair up with the single females and we weren't the table that sat it out.

The bulk of the guests at the wedding were singles I know through church and it so happened the majority of this select group was fond of dancing. And there was lots of dancing. I had a great time dancing although I often look back and cringe a bit about whether I should let my guard down that much . . . you know, to the point of falling. Yes, I fell. I'm rather embarrassed about it since there was absolutely no alcohol involved on my part or anyone else's part. Meaning, the dance floor was entirely dry and the only one to blame for my fall was me getting caught up in whatever rocker song was blaring and thinking I could balance on one 3 inch heel. I fell hard on my butt and I am quite positive it was not graceful in any way whatsoever, although I am reasonably sure I managed to keep my dress from flying up around my waist - yeah for the sheath dress! I didn't stay on the floor for long because two boys swooped in to my rescue and pulled me up and I kept on dancing trying to laugh it off by blaming my heels. . . everyone was kind enough to ignore it and move on.

After we had danced the band into exhaustion, the bride had thrown her bouquet and I took all those unflattering photos (red faced, hair plastered to my scalp standing next to very tiny petite girls who were not sweating), it was suggested we keep the party going. We followed the lead of my activities committee co-chair walking (the girls mostly hobbling on their heels after hours of dancing) down Fifth Avenue two blocks to an unmarked door next to the Paris theater. He led us past a couple of heavy black curtains and down some stairs where we all waited on the landing behind another velvet curtain by the coat check while he scouted things out. From what I could see as all 12-15 of us crowded there wondering where we were going this was a restaurant and not quite what we had in mind. Among our group were four of the groom's friends visiting from Austria. They were petitioning us to go to the bar at their hotel - the Hudson. I was in favor of this plan as it was a) close to my home and b) a swanky place where they claimed to have a table reserved. Co-chair popped back out inquiring as to our numbers and then disappeared again. When he came back out from behind the curtain he told us to come on in and after checking coats and a bit more standing around the subdued bar at the front of the restaurant we were led back through the tables to a velvet rope in front of a door. Seriously. The rope was lifted by a large intmidating bouncer and we all waltzed in to a dark and vibrant club where we discovered a corner was being held for us with a long bench against the wall and low tables being filled with glasses and alcohol. Music was thumping and strobe lights occasionally flashed and somehow smoking was allowed or at least tolerated in this secret club. One member of our group straggled in a bit after the rest of us and asked if there was a Russian with us. I explained it must be Co-chair because he went on his mission to Russia. The straggler said he was asked at the vevlet rope if he was with the Russian and apparently this guy knows at least some Russian because he claims he just started speaking in Russian and was let in. I got the impression that we were in the minority not only for our lack of alcohol consumption but also for our non-Russian origins.

Co-chair started ordering vodka and champagne for our table and I explained to the 4 Austrians they would have to drink a lot since they would be the only ones. It took a while for this concept to sink in for them but I don't think they complained although I don't think vodka was their drink of choice. Little did they know they would find themselves in mini-Moscow that night. Our corseted (be-corseted?) waitress started pouring glasses of what I think was champagne and passing it around. I first passed it to the Austrians and then tried passing it along to random people in the bar but ultimately ended up holding one only half-filled glass that I wasn't able to ditch at the bar for another ten to fifteen minutes. The dancing continued on and off but by this time my feet were screaming at me. Despite my excessively high arches, I am not Barbie and I cannot keep my feet perpetually frozen on tiptoe. Eventually the balls of my feet begin to ache, then cry then scream. Yes, I was at the screaming stage. I tried taking brief breaks by sitting down but this wasn't helping and in the back of my mind I kept thinking about that 7:40 am meeting that my co-chair had weasled his way out of. This is a once a month meeting we take turns attending because neither of us wants to wake up that early on a Sunday. Somehow it was my turn.

I believe I was the first to give up and say good night. I returned the wallet, cell phone and keys I was holding for the beautiful eyed boy, hugged a few goodbyes and received a few kisses on the cheek and slowly hobbled my way out through the restaurant, up the stairs and the extraordinarly long 20 yards to the corner of 5th to catch a cab. Bypassers assumed I was drunk I'm sure with my unsteady gait and I was convinced I would be crippled forever. It was 1:30 am and I luckily didn't wait long for a cab. It took all the self-control I could muster to keep my heels on until I walked into my building where I promptly removed them, nodded at the doorman and stumbled to the elevator and into my apartment. I was only 20 minutes late to my meeting the next morning and probably shocked my doorman when I exited as he was the same one on duty when I came in a few far too short hours earlier. I am really too old for this sort of behavior . . . so I slept the majority of Sunday after I returned from church.

Saturday's rushing around and late night adventure had used up my social quota for the weekend so I decided to skip the Super Bowl parties (not that I had been invited to any but I did have a couple of indirect invites if I really wanted them) and watch it alone. Lacking anything but cereal in my apartment I was struck with a craving for ribs from my favorite bbq place which also makes the best red velvet cupcake in town. They only take orders the old fashioned way - over the phone - so I called them about around 530 wanting to beat the Super Bowl rush. I was then informed (quite rudely!) that they were only taking orders from their Super Bowl menu which incidentally only came in orders for 4 people or more. The guy was a big jerk about it and acted like I was an idiot for not knowing they have a special Super Bowl menu that discriminates against single people watching the game alone. When I hung up I nearly cried. I don't know what it was that got to me but somehow it reminded me of the time I decided at the last minute to try and go to a spa on Valentine's Day and a receptionist chose to icily remind me she had no availability because "it is Valentine's Day you know". Uh, yeah I kind of got that part. Luckily on that Valentine's Day I was able to find a kinder spa that squeezed me in for a divine 30-minute facial (the Kura Door in Salt Lake, go there it is wonderful!). Last night I was not so lucky with my alternative. I used my online ordering site and ended up with sub-par ribs, decent sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables and no red velvet cake.

But the Giants won in one of the best Super Bowl games I have watched in a long time so even if it was a party for one, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. The commercials . . . not so much.


Emily said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was disappointed in the Super Bowl commercials! It seems like they've been much better in the past... but maybe my standards were lower then.

Beck said...

Whoo! You had a busy weekend! And now I want some ribs and red velvet cake, too.

Tiffany said...

I'm so glad you had fun at the wedding and I wish you had posted some pictures of yourself in the dress that finally found its way to you! The Russian club sounds pretty swanky, too!

Poo-poo to the BBQ place. I went there with you and, while my cupcake was good, it had nothing on the Alyssa original! Not even close!

autumn said...

What? You didn't want black stitching up the back? Sounds like you had a fun weekend. Boo on the ribs guy. I don't like him at all.

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