1. I meant to follow up my post last week with a disclaimer, but I never got around to it. Now, I have two disclaimers that relate to Glennon who writes the Momastery blog. I wrote that I did identify with her post on the "other side", and at times I do. But, for the most part, I don't. I don't walk around sad because I can't drink or numb away pain like I used to. I just don't. I'm also not angry or depressed. The difference between my sobriety and Glennon's is that I have recovery. Recovery and sobriety are different. Sobriety just takes away the substance that you are abusing, while recovery helps you deal with why you were abusing it in the first place. This is where the 12 steps come into play. I've told you before that they are actual steps and that you work them in order, with help from someone who has worked them herself. They help you live without the shame of your disease and the guilt of your behavior while active in addiction. If you just "cold turkey" sobriety then all the yuck is still inside you and often times comes out in other ways, new addictions. The steps follow the put off, put on concept of Ephesians 4:21-24. Putting off the old self is not enough. You have to put on the new self. I feel very blessed that my recovery began at a treatment center that explained how important it was to enter sobriety through recovery, and stressed the importance of the 12 step process. I might miss a drink every now and then but I am much more happy, joyous, and free living the way I am today.
The second disclaimer is that while I do relate with Glennon on many different levels, I do not agree with every thing she writes. We have different religious theology and different stances on many topics. I want you to know that just because I link to her, it does not mean we are 100% on the same page. If that leads you to questions, please ask me!
2. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. My mom and I went to visit Betsy this weekend. September is my favorite month in New York. It's just perfect. We left Thursday morning and I flew home Sunday night. (Mom is there for another week.) We planned this weekend at Tybee this summer and decided that Lee should take the baby girls to Connecticut (where Betsy has a house) for the weekend, so it would be a true big girls weekend. It was the best of both worlds. I got to see my girls for a day, but didn't have to worry about them while I ran all over the city.
|This is Betsy's street, West End Avenue.|
|I love picking up Hattie from school, PS 166.|
|Josie and I are kindred spirits.|
|The girls are so excited to have a weekend with Daddy.|
3. The weather in New York in September is amazing. Perfect for walking around, my favorite activity ever. Remember the September 11th sky? It's like that. The pictures below are completely unedited from my phone. It's actually that blue.
|The Flatiron Building|
|Empire State Building|
4. Friday, we went to the first meeting of a women's Bible study that Betsy's church started. It was a time of fellowship, singing, studying the Bible, and then breaking into small groups to pray. It was a very sweet time of prayer which left Betsy and me both in tears. (I love praying with other people. If you always pray alone you should try praying with someone else sometime. I can't explain the feeling except to say that you really feel the presence of God.) Afterwards we had lunch (Bouchon Bakery) with some of Betsy's friends, who I also claim as my own friends. Lots of fun catching up over delicious food. After a trip to Williams-Sonoma to drool over cooking supplies and taste the samples in the back (pumpkin bread with cream cheese icing) it was time to pick up Hattie from school. I spent an hour playing with all the girls before Lee came home and took them to Connecticut. (I was excited that it was a no kids weekend but it was sad to see them get on the elevator.) After walking around Chelsea, and visiting the High Line, we had dinner at an Italian place that Gwenyth Paltrow likes and that started my weekend of mozzarella, bread, and tomatoes.
5. Saturday morning we left the apartment around 9 and did get home until almost 11. We started with the Chelsea flea market and then stopped in to Starbucks for a pumpkin latte and some girl talk. When my mom, Betsy, and I get together we laugh. And then we laugh some more. Next, we toured the Fashion Institute of Technology's museum. (We even saw some clothes that Lee was a part of designing in the Ivy Style section.)
6. If you know me, you know I am obsessed with New York history, so our next stop was right up my alley. The Tenement Museum tells the story of immigrants living on the Lower East Side and you tour restored apartments of past residents from different time periods. Amazing. First we watched a film about how tenements came to be on the Lower East Side and then we had a guide take us to an apartment that had been occupied by an Irish immigrant family in 1869. I totally could have spent the rest of the day doing all of the different tours. I was asking Betsy about the different mansions I knew were built in the late 1800's and if they still existed in any form. At the museum bookstore I found the book Lost New York, and I knew I had struck gold. Pictures of all the New York landmarks and mansions that were either demolished or destroyed (mainly by fire) and what is in their place now. It was exactly what I was looking for. (On my next trip, and yes I am already planning, I want to do an architectural tour of the city.)7. After the museum we walked to a restaurant in an alley that Betsy and Lee love. We sat down and realized they were only serving brunch. Mom had mentioned going to Eataly a few times and it sounded better than brunch so we left our table and hopped in a cab. (This is not the first NYC resteraunt I have walked out of after looking at the menu.) I can't even describe Eatlay. Mario Batali is one of the owners and it is described as a supermarket with restaurants inside. It is crazy big and beautiful. It was packed, as is everything on Saturday in NYC, but it was worth fighting the crowd to eat at La Piazza. Enter my second round of mozzarella, bread, and this time prosciutto (and some other amazing cheeses and meats). This mozzarella was made a few feet from where I was eating and it has totally ruined grocery store mozzarella for me. We walked around this giant, once a bank, store and looked at all of the amazing and beautiful food. I did pick up a flourless cake with chocolate and caramel spooned in the middle and Betsy got some gelato.
8. At this point we had run mom ragged and she jumped in a cab to go and rest her feet. I was determined to enjoy every second of my trip, so with no plans we sat on a park bench outside of the Madison Square Park. We got out my new book and looked at together while a band was playing bluegrass in the park. I commented how I felt like I was at Merlefest (a predomintaely bluegrass festival that Jason and I used to go to in the spring). About that time the MC thanked Jim Lauderdale, a mainstay at Merlefest (and the object of a major crush of one of my family members), so I jumped off the park bench to go and try to see him. I talked to him about Merlefest and thanked him and then walked away without a picture. It took walking away about 3 times before I convinced myself that the story would be so much better if I had a picture of us and not just of him (and I really wanted to torture said family member).
9. Betsy and I were really tired at this point and we started talking about getting massages. She mentioned going to a Korean spa like her friend Kelsey had in LA, so we walked over to Koreatown while Betsy looked up spas on her phone. We found one that sounded promising and was open 24 hours (?!?). Korea Way is a block in Koreatown that is filled with restaurants and karaoke bars, and on the 5th floor (above a karaoke bar) we found our spa, Juvenex. The first thing that we noticed was that people were wearing bathing suits (required after 5 when the spa goes co-ed, before that it's up to you) and since this was spur of the moment, we had no suits. No worries, they have disposable suits. Nice, black, mesh bikinis. After we got into our bikinis and were issued our robe and towel, the hostess took us through our pre-massage schedule. First we were to shower, then go into a stone igloo jade sauna, next to an herbal steam sauna, and finally to take a cold rainforest shower. As we showered in the open showers we noticed one lady did not care about the after 5 bathing suit rule, but to each their own. After we completed this "Jade Journey", as they called it, we were so relaxed. This is the way to prep for a massage! We sat in our robes drinking some ice water and were about to fall asleep on the bar when the lady called us to go up to the 6th floor for our massages. (By the way, this is not the first couples massage Betsy and I have received. We once did a spa package that required us to rub mud on each other in a steam shower before our massage. It's so fun to have a sister.) Now, I have had many massages in my lifetime, but this was like nothing I had ever experienced. It started off pretty normal with some acupressure on my back and the next thing I knew the lady was crawling up on the table and pulling me around by arms and digging into my back with her elbows. After I got over the initial shock of her being on top of me, I really enjoyed my massage. (It was also comforting that Betsy was just a few feet away from me.) After the massage we were taken back downstairs to the soaking tub where we completed our journey. This was over a 3 hour journey, so when we made it back to the street Koreatown was kickin'. All the karaoke bars were in full swing and people were decked out in their Saturday night best. After walking around for another hour we decided to eat at a random Italian place where I proceeded to end the night with more mozzarella, in the form of a pizza. It was an amazing day.
10. Sunday came so fast. We started by going to Betsy's church and hearing Tim Keller preach an amazing sermon. He is so smart, but at the same time does not make you feel dumb. We dropped in for a quick party one of Betsy's friends was having for her child's baptism and then it was time to shop. When I shop with Betsy it kind of goes like this; she picks out a ton of things, I say no to most of them, she makes me try them on in the dressing room, she was right, and I walk out with clothes I love but would never have picked out or put together on my own. I am style challenged. It's so fun to have a sister. (I actually came home a little depressed that Emory doesn't have a sister.)
11. Getting in the cab to leave my mom and sister is the hardest part. I teared up and Betsy said mom cried. I was excited to see my people but I just love being in New York. It's comforting to know that there will be a next time. Thanks to Mom and Betsy for an amazing weekend. I love you girls! (And a big thanks to Jason for sacrificing a golf tournament in order for me to leave for the weekend. Love you!)
|In the cab on the way to LaGuardia.|