Tag Archives: friendship

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Honoree

Before I begin this post I would like to show my respect for the people of Boston for suffering such a blow, and say that I am so very grateful that my Boston family and friends are safe. In respect for this tragedy, I will refrain from the all-too-popular opportunistic tragedy blogging.

fun-fabOk, I am sure she thought she would escape my sentimentality. No ad from me in the journal, no video appearance, no public speech… this chick thought she was home free.

Not on your life, sistah!

This past weekend a dear friend was honored by a wonderful organization; one I have been involved in since its inception. It is an org that is close to both our hearts. She was asked to be the honoree because anyone in their right mind could see the fundraising opp tattooed on her arse. She is completely uncomfortable being the center of attention, but agreed more to help raise the big bucks and make a difference, than for the personal glory.

Humility. A quality so rarely seen. Especially in someone who has done so much for so many. Selflessly. Charmingly. With grace and a spirit of nonchalance. As if we all do these things everyday. Never asking for credit – at times actually giving it to others. And with that crazy smile on her face and infectious spirit that sweeps you up in her whirling dervish of excitement to the point where you never dare to say no to her. Nor do you want to. She wisely picks and chooses the times that she will actually ask. But even when she doesn’t, you find yourself offering to help because she makes it so damn appealing.

I truly believe there is nothing she cannot make happen. And if there is, don’t tell her. Or me.

So here’s to you, my friend.  My heart was so full on Saturday night, seeing you finally get the recognition you deserve. Not because you asked for it.

But because you didn’t.

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Time To Cry Tuesday – Chicken Redux

Last year I wrote about ‘The Chicken”. If you don’t want to click back, I will make it short. When you live in a close-knit community and find yourself in times of need, people come out in a big way.

We tend to like to feed. I think outside the comfort piece, the idea of removing the hassle of the nightly meal for a family that already has too much on its proverbial plate makes sending in dinners seem like the right thing to do.

So basically, you love to make the chicken… receiving the chicken? Not so much.

This week we had two families in one close group of friends in need… of ‘chicken’. All I can say is that I sent out one email and within 24 hours there were six nightly home-cooked meals and a waiting list for one family and a Magic Bullet smoothie maker for the other, who for health reasons needed to puree, so to speak.

24 hours.

AND there were calls from more who wanted to help and text chains and emails and such an overwhelming sense of what community is, that it took my breath away… yet again. I never cease to stand in awe of what this means; how lucky we all to have each other; to try to imagine what my life would be like without this.

I cannot.

 

To have 2 dear friends in surgery on the same day is quite unnerving. There is not enough chicken in the universe that makes you feel like you are doing enough to ease the pain.

Until you stop an realize that you can’t. You can only love them. And their spouses. And their amazing kids and even their dogs. And be there for them the best way you know how when they get to the other side. Because they are the family you choose.

I am happy to report that both are doing as well as they can. And we want to let them both know:

There is plenty of chicken where that came from. Just say the word.

Because that is what we do.

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Time To Cry Tuesday – You Don’t Want the Chicken

I live in a wonderful community, one where people come out of the woodwork to rise to the occasion and come to the aid of anyone in need. I have been on both sides of this practice and let me tell you, being the receiver of this kindness is a lot more difficult.

When a family is in a crisis of any kind – usually health or loss – our community springs into action and gets things done… in a big way. Dinners are sent in, carpools are covered, birthday gifts are wrapped and rides to parties and after school activities are covered. This army of giving jumps into action at a moment’s notice and no one bats an eye at getting the job done.

I have a friend who is currently in this place right now. We have the best job of all, we get to dog sit during the day while she goes to work. Talk about reciprocal giving! (for those who are not regular readers, we lost our dog a month ago and cannot get used to a dogless house). She and I were sitting in my kitchen yesterday talking about how overwhelming it is to receive such kindness. My first thought was about the chicken dinner on Friday nights. In the Jewish faith, a friday night – or Shabbat dinner, usually showcases a chicken. Jews feed for comfort and there is nothing more comforting than a roast chicken dinner.

As she voiced how difficult it is to take in all this kindness when you are a relatively private and self sufficient family, it came to me…

You don’t want to be the one that gets the chicken!

Giving the chicken is cool. Making the chicken is wonderful. Dropping off the chicken feels so good because there is so little you can do to help someone close to you who is suffering. But GETTING the chicken? Oy, that is the ultimate admission that you are in a time of need; a time of crisis.

I am thinking that the damn chicken might have been the thing that broke me in my darkest hours.

Anyone else get that?

But in all seriousness, there is never a day that goes by that I am not grateful for what this town has shown it can do for its own; and making it look so easy in the process. It is a very special place indeed.

FYI, this family has used a wonderful website called lotsahelpinghands to help manage their needs. I urge you to check this out, while I hope that you never need to use it. Their tagline is ‘Create Community’; in our case it is simply ‘Enhance Community’.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – The Cure of Friendship

It has been a rough 2 weeks. For those who do not read regularly, we lost our dog suddenly. It has been very hard on me and I felt as if the sadness would never lift. There has been a heaviness in my chest that felt permanent and it worried me.

Until this weekend. I was lucky enough to be included in a birthday celebration for a very special friend. (and the bonus was it was near my brother and sister-in-law, so we got to spend some wonderful time together beforehand)

Nine women traveled from near and far to join together and celebrate. We were all tied by our love of this woman and the many ways in which she is special to us. Nine woman – some of whom knew only one or two people there before we arrived – all left with eight new friends. All sorts of both interesting and ridiculously outrageous conversation ensued. Hours of laughter and lots of great food and wine helped to accelerate what became one of the most extraordinary evenings I have ever experienced.

Her husband and sons graciously got the hell out of there  slept out so we could have the house to ourselves. Our wonderful chef prepared tapas paired with incredible wine choices. He got quite an earful with the topics we discussed. In true James Bond form we should have killed him at the end of the evening.

Instead we all followed him on twitter and promised to tell all our followers how great his food was. (we can be that way)

On my long ride home I thought a lot about what made the evening such a success. How could nine otherwise unrelated women all come to an event like this at our age… and sleep over! I think the answer was clear – because our friend is just the type of person you would do that for. I arrived there knowing that the conversation would be both stimulating and outrageous. That the topics would range from raising kids, teens, young adults to dealing with aging parents; career paths, art, music, life choices, of course social media and yes dying dogs. No topic was taboo yet every one of them was met with tolerance, empathy and a big dose of not taking ourselves all that seriously. Each one of us brought to the table their varied experiences and the humor to get through just about anything.

And most of us have.

A huge thank you to my dear friend’s sister-in-law and husband who made this happen. I feel truly honored to have been a part of this and grateful for the new friendships made.

Oh yeh, and thanks for the biggest jam-master hangover I have had in a long time… it was surely worth it.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Timing is Everything

Do you ever wonder what makes you decide to do something at the exact moment that you do? What makes you feel the need to complete a task that sets you on a specific path at a specific time? Sometimes there is a higher power at work. No, I am not getting all religious on you, more fatalistic. I am a firm believer that some things do not happen by accident. Sometimes we are part of a predestined plan.

Today was just such a day. Today we were supposed to go to the beach, but got caught up in doing stuff around the house. Today Gary had an almost obsessive need to drop a few bags of stuff that have been in the garage for weeks in the Goodwill box. Today he made the decision to leave at just the very moment that made all the difference in the world.

Minutes after he left – only a few short blocks from our house – he came upon a friend in dire need and set the ball in motion to help. If he was not there at that very moment the whole experience would have gone down completely differently. Our friend would have been alone. And more frightened than he already was. No one would have known what had happened. It was as if he was guided to that very spot at that very time to make a terrible situation a little easier to navigate.

Timing is everything.

And we are incredibly lucky to have the kind of friends that we do.

Very lucky indeed.

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Time To Cry Tuesday – Is facebook like gum on your shoe?

I had this conversation with Dr. Jimmy the other day. We were talking about people who had become facebook friends and how they fit into our lives. I don’t think that when Zuckerberg thought this whole thing up he had any idea how it would effect those of us who actually have a past.

This was created for people who basically had only a present – young people. People with barely any history. When they first came on they were looking to connect. Many were looking to acquire more or deeper relationships, but they were surely not looking for kids they knew in preschool!

Then we old school types came along and we were looking to REconnect with people from our past. And sure, people from our present too; but I think the lure for most people ‘of a certain age’ was to get back in touch with those that time and distance had squeezed out of our lives.

ish.

In the process we started to get ‘friend’ requests from people who had organically slipped out of our lives. And we were either not unhappy about it or at the very least… indifferent. I always say, if I did not connect with you in High School, why would I want to reconnect with you now?

Now we are subjected to the constant stream of intimate details of the lives of those that we really never knew all that well in real life. We don’t want to be rude and ‘unfriend’. Sometimes we cannot stand either the monotony of what they post or the cryptic crises that people feel the need to spout in status updates. (what is that by they way?)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the upside of facebook and the friends that I have found again and share with. But the others…

Yep, facebook can sometimes turn people from your past into gum on your shoe.

(oh great, now all my old friends are going to worry that I am talking about them… c’mon you guys, don’t get all insecure, you know I love you!)

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Valentino’s on the Green

This week Time to Cry Tuesday takes a different twist. Having safely deposited both of my kids at college halfway across the country, I will focus this week on the joy of work.

Yes, you read that correctly. As a good friend from art school so wisely posted on facebook recently, ‘find something you love and then find someone to bill for it’. Every so often my career takes a turn back towards doing what I truly love; getting involved in a business and helping them to realize their vision for how they should look and feel.

One such client is a fabulous new restaurant and catering venue in the NY area called Valentino’s on the Green. I was hired to create their menus and associated materials. It just so happens that not only did I have the honor of working with this new venue, but one of the partners happens to be one of my dearest friends from High School, Chef Don Pintabona of Tribeca Grill fame. (we did not call him Chef, back then).

To add to the excitement, Don is planning to build a solar-and-biodiesel-powered vertical farm on the property, where he hopes to grow about 80 percent of his raw materials, from mushrooms and potatoes to farmed fish. He also envisions a teaching lab for local schools. How cool is that?

The restaurant is housed in Rudolph Valentino‘s summer home in Bayside Queens (hey, don’t laugh, in the 20s Bayside was like the Hamptons). The renovation is spectacular, the staff is award winning and stellar, the food is to die for. And Sunday night I had the joy of dining there during the Friends and Family opening.

I cannot tell you the thrill of entering that building I have watched turn from a construction site into an elegant restaurant over the past few months and see it filled with people. People who were actually holding my menus! But the most wonderful part of all was to see my dear friend Don – beaming as he walked through the place – at home in a way I have not seen in a very long time. There is nothing better than seeing a dear friend realize a vision and being able to take part in it.

Sometimes work feels like pushing a boulder up the hill. But if you are lucky, other times work is about doing what you love – with people you love – and finding someone to bill for it. It was an honor to work with a team of passionate professionals who truly cared about every single detail that led up to the opening of this restaurant. Don, Giorgio and Deanna, working with you has been a dream! Jimmy, Michael, Antonio, Don C., Lauren, Erin, and the entire staff, thanks for the great night last night, you were all on the top of your game.

So plug, plug, plug, full client/friend disclosure and all that transparency nonsense, you will surely thank me for turning you onto this place. Let’s help them find ‘many some ones to bill for it’. Join me in making this venue the great success I know it will become. Check it out here, or call and make a reservation at 718.352.2300 and tell them that Amy sent you. Do it now before this article hits and they are all booked up. (Oh and if you are looking to throw a party, their upstairs catering room is magnificent!)

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