Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Probably Shouldn't Do That With Your Dog

We have several things to cover today, so we should probably get started.

First and foremost, I need to use this space to apologize.  In the original entry my hurt feelings and poor editing resulted in unprofessional behavior, manifested as name-calling.  What appeared here was unkind and uncalled for, and has been removed.  I was wrong, and it won't happen again.

The experience has made me think a little bit about what happens when the past and the present collide; what happens when a reltionship tht is, effectively, over, comes rushing back into your life with full force and presence.

My grandfather lost his first wife before I was born, and his second wife was the only paternal grandmother I ever knew.  Grandma Jo was my favorite of all my grandparents - she used to play cards with me and knew exactly how to make me laugh.  She was a funny-looking old bird - reminiscent of Brett Somers from the old game show Match Game, and I loved her a lot.

However, my parents' divorce pretty much destroyed that relationship.  Even the smoothest of divorces can be divisive and difficult, particularly when there are children involved, and friends and relatives of the couple often take sides.  Only the children, really, try to remain neutral, but they lose something anyway because of all the people who don't.

By the time she passed away, so much time and distance separated us from those card games and all that laughter.  How do you grieve for someone you've already lost?  How do you say good-bye to someone you really didn't know anymore?

More recently, a friend of my mother's passed away.  Stuart was a funny guy with lots of friends and a house that was always welcoming and open to company.  He and his wife, Arlene, had two kids the same ages as my sister and I.  I see their older son at the gym regularly, but I never say hello.  I don't know if he even recognizes me; it's easily been twenty years since we last knew each other.

Regardless, the next time I see him I resolve to say hello, and tell him how sorry I was to hear about his dad - a wonderful guy who loved to be surrounded by people (he would never dream of resorting to name-calling) - whom I remember very fondly.

(For an entertaining trope about divorce, by the way, follow Saving Face, the intelligent novel being written in real time by Dahlia Lithwick on Slate.  Ordinarily a Supreme Court reporter, Dahlia's uncovering a hidden knack for fiction and bringing intellect and wit to this endeavor.  As part of a "vacation" from her regular responsibilities at Slate, she's writing a "mommy lit" novel on Slate, one chapter at a time, over thirty days.  In it, she tells the story of Erica, a stay-at-home mom-nee-corporate lawyer, her divorce lawyer husband, Cole, and their friends Marina and Bob - themselves going through a split.)

Tonight we're getting together with Todd and Mark, the couple we became friendly with during our cruise.  Neil's making his famous sicilian chicken, and I'll try and pry the recipe out of him for posting here later this week.  We'll also be serving wine purchased at a local shop with a great selection.  Nancy's wines on Columbus Ave (between 74th and 75th Streets) boasts a selection of wines form around the world, many under $20.  The staff is quite knowledgeable - they're all very friendly and helpful - and Nancy recommended a Sangiovese that we tried last night to superb effect.

Also, I should mention that yesterday's mail included a post card from the restaurant Blue Hill, reviewed in my Birthday Blog.  It was hand-written, signed (ostensibly) by "Dan" - who I take to be Dan Barber, the owner - and is a completely fantastic way to thank someone for their business.  This is how you sell a luxury product in difficult economic times - and how you treat a customer in any economic time.  Classy - and we'll make it our business to go back.  You should go, too.

Finally, am I the only one who has been seeing a lot of stories on the local news about Doga - those classes where people can do Yoga with their dogs?  Am I wrong, or is this totally weird and creepy and seems to border on bestiality?  Is this something only indulgent New Yorkers with too much time or too much money or both would do?  You just know these are the same people who can't bear to leave their pets at home that they wind up bringing them to restaurants and tie them up outside the outdoor seating.  Because what the rest of us want to see is a mewling house pet while we dive into a $14 appetizer salad.


DO THIS, New York:

Be nice.  It's easier than being mean - and it feels better.  Trust me.  Snarky and sarcastic can be fine, but know where the line is and don't cross it.

Check out Nancy's - she's totally cool and her staff is really well-informed.

Eat at Blue Hill.

DON'T DO THIS, New York:

Don't do Doga.  It's just so creepy.

Please don't bring your pet to a restaurant unless it's intended as an entree.

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