Archive | May, 2014

Sexagenarians, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll

21 May

Shalom my little kitten mittens. I hope you’re doing splendidly.

Things have been shaken up a bit since we last talked. I have done things in the past couple weeks I have never tried before, such as:

I took the ballet class (and 5 more times since the first class)

I built a dresser from a kit I ordered off (and it only took me NINE HOURS)

I baked Challah for the first time (and didn’t give anyone food poisoning)

I took a freelance job as a theater reviewer for the days I’m not working (I start tonight)


So first, the ballet class. It’s a tiny home studio down my block. Most days it is me and Susan. Susan is a 68 year old woman who is also a beginner ballerina. According to my instructor, Susan has always wanted to try dance but never had the opportunity. So despite our 34 year age difference, we are both at the same level – and she is *so* much better than I am. Seriously, I have never seen anyone as flexible as she is. While I have more stamina to do the move for longer, she has more graceful kicks and lower dips. I would be jealous but I am always a little inspired when we dance together. I hope when I’m that age I would be willing to learn something completely new (if I’m not strapped in that hover-bed on the Axiom)





Ari and I have also met our next-door neighbor. His name is Tom, is about 60 and he was coming home from a trip when we walked out of our apartment. He was the first person on our floor to genuinely want to meet us, and not just because he was cornered much like how we met the other neighbors. He apologized for his all-day piano playing. I had noticed the music when I was home alone and had assumed our neighbor was some sort of old-lady shut-in who played. He shook our hands and suggested we get together sometime. So these are my friends in the heights so far: sexagenarian ballerinas and piano players. Not bad.

Ari and I also spent a day at his grandma’s senior center (beginning to see a theme here?) It’s amazing. These people just sit around all day doing tai-chi and painting horses. I love my new grandma in law. Besides from the fact that she refuses to eat any vegetables, only chocolate but drinks diet coke because she’s “watching calories,” she’s also a fantastic artist who paints her boring Keds different colors. She does seem to have a fascination with the fact that Ari gave me an engagement necklace and not a ring. She’ll introduce me as Ari’s wife and then immediately follow it up with “And she doesn’t have a ring! Have you ever heard of a girl who didn’t want a diamond ring? Crazy!” To which I can only shrug like, “Yup, i’m the first girl ever in the history of evolution who didn’t want a diamond.” She also is such a grandma. We were leaving to get lunch when she asked Ari if he used the bathroom.

Ari: No…

Grandma:Well go use it, we’re going to leave soon.

Ari: I don’t need to.

Grandma: Didn’t your mother teach you to always use the bathroom before you leave a place?!


Grandma: Well, Aviva’s a good girl. She used the bathroom.


Not that it's a competition or anything....

  Not that it’s a competition or anything….


I did try to make some friends my age at the shul we started going to but it’s hard. There are so few women who go and the balcony we sit in is *huge* so by the time I show up, I’m not going to go sit next to someone when there are 500 empty seats. So my only option is to, yes corner people again. I did that and met a girl from Paris – who I decided to regale with my adventures with Air France from January when they decided that I didn’t really need to get home to NY from Israel.


A quick refresher.

A quick refresher.



It’s weird to be making friends all over again. I feel like I barely have time to see my old friends, why would I want to add more? But apparently I can’t sit quietly in the corner at shul anymore because “people will think I’m a weirdo.”

Speaking of weirdos, last night Ari and I went to see Morning Parade at the Studio at Webster Hall. I had never been there and it was a lot smaller than I expected, which I like because it’s more intimate – also louder. The opening bands were great but we had never heard of them so we sat on the bench to the side until Brick + Mortar came on stage. The lead singer is a massive man with long hair who was intent on making the performance as interactive as possible. He insisted that everyone come closer to the stage and any hecklers got called out. He turned to where Ari and I were sitting.

Brandon: Don’t think I don’t see you guys in my peripheral! You have to get up too! Yeah you! I’m just going to keep yelling at you until you get up because I know you like the attention (at this point I start doing the awkward pageant wave I do when a large group of people are looking at me)

Finally I stood up to join the crowd, Ari got up after me.

Brandon: Look at that – the P is followed the v-Jay!

I made a face and he responded “Sorry if you’re offended! But he did follow you!”


After their show (which was entertaining and good I have to admit) Ari went up to the guy and said that he enjoyed their set even if Brandon did call him a Penis. To which he replied “Yeah, sorry about that. I mean, you’re Jewish and I’m Jewish so I figured I could call you a penis.”

Ari: Right, because that’s such a Semitic term.

Brandon: Ha OK you’re right, I’ll get you a CD because I sacrificed you.

So he takes him over to the merchandise and says to the greasy guy behind the table, “Hey man – give this guy a CD (*man gives curious look*)…I called him a penis.” Man nods and hands over CD. And that’s the story of how Ari got free things. Also the good Jew Ari is, he asked if we should invite him for Shabbat dinner. Which I didn’t think this dude would be into, but I could use a long hair rocker to complete my weird posse of friends.




Working It Out

5 May

I’m sitting in the park across the street from me writing this. My friend Alyx told me recently that it’s illegal to sit in a playground without a child – but as we’ve seen in previous entires, let the playground police try to find me again. I won’t go quietly.


Spring has sprung in NY. People are shedding their black suits for um, slightly lighter black suits. The street vendors don’t seem as resentful to be outside. Farmer’s markets are heading back to the Upper West Side. I actually went to one yesterday – but slightly misleading. It was about 65% crafts like $200 dollar paintings and $30 vintage sunglasses, 25% actual vegetables (Kale and asparagus exclusively) and 15% artisan breads and cheeses. Ah, just like on real farms! I bought a mini boreka for $1.50 from a Jewish guy’s booth. It was all right.


Another sign of spring is all the runners in the area. They were all there in the winter too but now  there’s the addition of the people who are like “Shit, summer’s coming and I’ve been hibernating with Netflix and take-out Thai food for 5 months.” I am not a runner. I used to go on the treadmill a bunch when I lived at home but stopped when my dad decided that it was funny to come downstairs and try to scare me so I would fall off. i don’t like running outside since I am easily distracted and will run for about 1 minutes and then stop to watch a dog-walker get tangled up in her puppies. Or I’ll run until I’m conveniently next to a Dunkin Donuts and decide to take a quick break…to replenish my energy with a latte and muffin. 


There’s a studio down the block here that offers a class free so last week I signed up for something called “Heights Intensity.” “How hard could that be?” I mused. “I’m sure I could just jump right in. Muscle memory and all that.” So young. So naive. 


The studio is about the size of my living room and the guy who runs it was very friendly, asking me how long I had lived in the heights. I told him I had just moved in but haven’t seen much of the area yet (except the park, Starbucks and local wine store). He told me he had just read something about how the heights was the happiest neighborhood in New York City. i don’t know how you would quantify that – maybe it was like Denmark? The happiest country but also had the highest suicide rate? I had seen a lot of people walking corgis and I assume anyone who owns a corgi must be blissfully happy so I could see that. Also a lot of people are on drugs up here a lot so that makes sense too. 


The classes are small – six people tops. This class was on a rainy Wednesday night so it was just me and a very fit woman named Carly. It was a circuit training – thirty sections at each station with activities like “spider push-ups” “lunge-balance” and “Y-stretch.” I could handle this. 50 minutes of high intensity cardio, easy peasy lemon squeezey. 


I started at the push-up station. My arms refused to push. I tried to pull my legs up to my hands like Priest had shown us. Nope. I could make it to my stomach. I tried a lunge. I fell over. 


In the middle of the work-out, Priest carried a 5.5 lb weight over to the squat station where I was struggling to lift a 10 lb sandbag over my head. He nonchalantly left it there. It wasn’t for Carly. She was effortlessly holding her plank like she was made up of…well, a wooden plank. During the break, I was huffing and puffing away. Priest asked us how we were doing.


“Great!” Carly chirped. 


“Yah, I’d be great too if Carly wasn’t making me look so bad!” I offered up. She cocked her head like she wasn’t sure if I was joking or not.


“Seriously Carly, calm down. We’re not trying to win any rings for America here.” She laughed nervously. 


Every time we had a 30 second break, I would drop dramatically to the ground like Hannah when Adam try to teach her how to jog. But I survived. I was so sore the next day I could barely lift my donut to my mouth. 


Tonight I decided to try out a different course of action – Ballet. At a studio called Journey Spaces down my block. i have the flexibility of a metal pole. I’ve even had trainers remark about how “weird it was that I was so inflexible for a girl.” Apparently girls are supposed to be all lithe rubber Barbies. Not me. The only splits I know how to tackle come in a bowl with ice cream. 


No matter, I will be fit and healthy again! If not ballet then maybe I’ll try committing a crime or two – nothing gets your heart rate up like running from the cops. 

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