So, one of the open issues from the last few weeks was I was waiting to hear whether I got a particular conducting job – for a show that goes up in April. I’d interviewed for it months ago, had not expected to hear results immediately, but I knew that, per tradition, auditions for that show would be early December, and if I was going to get it, they needed to tell me certainly by mid-November at the latest. It’s a show I’ve conducted before, and it would not have taken long for me to pull out my notes and get my act together, but I certainly didn’t want to do that in a rush.

Anyway, I got a very kind ‘we gave it to someone else’ notification from the organization, and I thanked them kindly. Not overly upset – it would have been fun, but I certainly have other projects that I can tackle this winter instead. I also found out that the person who got the gig is a good friend of mine, so happy for them.

The last few months have been pretty scheduled, with trips here and there and houseguests. This past weekend was totally fun. My younger niece has an early November birthday, less than a week after Mr. C’s, and we’ve had her down to celebrate both birthdays and enjoy the city. (She lives up the Hudson, where she’s a teacher.) So we’d scheduled this one far in advance – she’d come down, I’d take her to dinner, we’d watch horror movies, maybe she’d show me how to cook something, spend the night, we’d do brunch and so on.

So she came down on Saturday in time to go out for a late lunch, and then go grocery shopping with me. I had a small list of house projects for her to help me with, and we did some of those, but mostly just sat around and chatted. Towards the evening, we watched some of the news while I knitted, then went out for Thai food. (We both had the duck noodle soup, Mr. C’s favorite.) Then came back and watched “Pan’s Labyrinth”, which I’d never seen. It’s really great, I loved it. Paused for cake – I’d gotten a black forest cake from our local fantastic bakery. I always mix up black forest cake (which has cherries, which I don’t like that much) and German chocolate cake, which has coconut, which I love. But the sweetness of the cake and filling swamped the cherry flavor enough that it was excellent regardless.

Sunday, we got up at our leisure and had some toast, then did the biggest project – moving furniture out of the corner of the living room to make room for the Christmas tree. This involved emptying a bookcase, moving the bookcase to the office (and moving boxes out of the space where the bookcase would go), and moving a small table, lamp and armchair into the master bedroom. The ‘armchair into the bedroom’ process involves some Tetris-like moves, but C and I have done it a hundred times, so I talked A through it and it was fine.

We had some time before we headed to brunch, so I pulled out several of C’s jewelry boxes and put them on the dining room table (room to work, and excellent light). Turns out A knows quite a bit about how to evaluate jewelry, and we established was what the ‘really good stuff’, the ‘medium good stuff’ and ‘other’, kind of sorted that out. I will need to go through it more thoroughly later – I know I have receipts filed for a lot of this, but once I know what I have, I can then figure out what to keep or give away. No rush, but after just that basic review, I know a lot more than I did about what’s there.

A is somewhat bohemian and is a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan too, so I thought it would be fun to go to a drag brunch. (I’d never been to one.) So, after soliciting recommendations from the hive mind, had booked us for a Sunday 12:15 at The Spot.

Headed into town, walked over from Port Authority to Tenth Avenue. Had no problem getting in, checked our bags, got a nice table by the wall. Ordered our (bottomless!) mimosas and food. I just got an omelet, but A got the ‘breakfast pizza’, which turned out to be a success and I’d order that next time. My omelet was too, um, moist, but that was probably because of the ingredients I picked (onions, peppers, goat cheese). It came with a salad (very good) and tater tots (amazing). The food service setup was very well done – there were only four offered bottomless drinks, so the (very hot) waiters came by pretty much constantly with pitchers to refill your glass.

The audience was filled with adorable bears all out with their friends, and the random straight couples, and of course this guncle corrupting his beloved niece. We had the best time. Kizha Carr and Lexington Banks were both hilarious – their patter was spot on. The numbers they did were lipsynched, but very well done. A and I had a stack of small bills that we doled out every time the queens came by. They broke up the sequence of numbers by bringing up volunteers to do some games. “Fuck, marry, kill – McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Taco Bell”, that sort of thing. It was a hoot. And then the finale – so perfect and weird in that drag way, they did “The Circle of Life”, including some improvised Julie Taymor puppetry (using two stools as elephant legs, for instance), and I was falling off my stool laughing (and tipsy).

Bottom line, it was wonderful and totally fun. I would go back, but of course, go on Saturday or whenever they have a different lineup. There are other drag brunches in Manhattan and Astoria to try as well.

Both pretty loopy from the mimosas, we walked all the way across to Grand Central, used the restrooms, and then I bid adieu so she could get some coffee and wait for her train. Big hugs, lots of love.

I’ve known A since she was in first grade – in fact, she was reminiscing about visiting us when her older sister lived with us and she was still in grade school – holy crap, we’re old. Well, yes, C and I have lived there since 1995, so yeah, that makes sense, but whoa. But she’s grown up to be such a cool adult, and I just love spending time with her. (My other niece too, who I adore, but they are very different.) In any case, there was never any question that I’d still be part of that side of the family even though we’d lost Mr. C, and I’m very grateful that that’s the case.

Gratitude. Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks (that’s the sort of profound revelations I bring my readers) and this year, I can state ahead of time that what I’m thankful for is my friends and family, who stepped right up when I needed them (and didn’t know I needed them) and have been there holding me up ever since, as I get my bearings and figure out how to handle this loss, and what comes next. As my DWS forum friends say, their ‘arms are not tired’. I’m leaving today to spend Thanksgiving in Rochester with one of my oldest and dearest friends and her family, and I expect it will be a delightful and rejuvenating experience.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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