From the monthly archives:

February 2011

Making New Friends ‘Black Swan’ Style

by Trisha-and-Amy on February 28, 2011

Wanna be friends?

Every year for the past 10 years or so, I’ve hosted an Oscar party. It’s usually just women, no boys or babies allowed. The first year, it started out as just watching the Oscars. Then, I added a real red carpet leading down the street. Year two included gold stars on the carpet with guest names on them. Then, the expectations got pretty big, so I had to step it up with costumes, gold statuettes, and movie title signature cocktails. For someone like me, who carries not one, but two pairs of fake ‘teef’ in her purse at all times, this party was part of my identity, and it was a joyous occasion.

So this was the first Oscar night in our new town. I was ambivalent at first — do I even know enough women to invite? How far do I go? No one really knows me yet. I decided to just have a viewing. Simple. Lots of wine and champagne, a few appetizers. No betting pool, no spontaneous real-time dance numbers, just meet and greet. I sent out the Evite, and voila! I had 17 people RSVP. Score! I can do this. Fast-forward to yesterday, Oscar day. Usually when I’m putting together a cocktail party I’m skipping, I’m humming, I’m all about the fun energy. This day was different. I was lackluster. I had no sparkle. And then, I figured out why. I needed something extra for this party. It didn’t feel like ME. The only way to get to know new moms is to throw myself — no, hurl myself at them, balls out. So I decided in the frozen seafood section, to be…The Swan. I dashed back to the house, found a black tutu. That I actually own. Shocking, I know. I found my 6-year old daughter Emily’s Barbie make-up. And my friend Shauna dropped her daughter’s tiara off on the porch.

Once every last candle was lit, I slowly, methodically, got ready, like an old Oscar dame about to give her last performance. Hair pulled back. White foundation. Insanely black eye make-up, check. And the tiara. Now, the Black Swan experiment was about to begin.

I mean, how many friends does one really need? When you move to a new city at 41, you just want to connect with a few people who ‘get’ you, who you can hang out with, judgment free. So maybe being the Black Swan will act as a true litmus test.

The looks at the front door told the story. Three horrified (big scared eyes, shuffled past me to the kitchen), a handful smiled through gritted teeth (“Hi! Uh…I didn’t get the memo…heh heh”), 4 were just flatline, and approximately four genuinely seemed into it. Four! I call that a success story. I’ll take it. Natalie Portman, do you think you could get nominated for a Grease re-make next year? That would be awesome.


From Cali to COLD

by Trisha-and-Amy on February 13, 2011

So, Amy here. Moving across the country, from Marin to Hingham (outside of Boston) has been interesting for a few different reasons:

1) SNOW. Lots of friggin snow. I mean, I’m all for grand entrances, but REALLY? 70 + inches and it’s still Feb? You know it’s bad when your mailman tells you it’s time to pack up and move back to California. I thought it was a joke when my friend Mark e-mailed me It’s a rake. For your roof. For real. P.S. Trisha, it’s not funny when you e-mail me “Well….if you were living HERE still, you’d be swimming right now….”

2) The crazy sports. And I’m not talking about Red Sox or Celtics. I’m talking about kid sports, and how intense the parents are. Example: My 8 year-old son came off the soccer field and said “Wow, Mom, like 3 Dads screamed in my face, and the coach freaked out when I didn’t make the goal. In California, I got cheers when I ALMOST made a goal. It really makes me sad.” Aha! I think it’s really interesting that my small-ish kid made this distinction. Were we too coddling as Californians? And maybe it’s not such a bad thing, being pushed to your limits, being pushed around even. That’s what real life is, in almost any new situation. I tried to explain this to him and I got a tween-y eye roll. Hmmm.

Another example: When we first moved, I was invited to drinks with a small group of women. The first question they asked me was if my kids were enrolled in ice hockey because “you know it’s a New England classic, and with your kids’ ages, if they haven’t gotten on the ice, well…” Uh…judgment anyone? I came home all twisted around and Paul just told me to read our first book again and relax.

3) “Live Free or Die.” That’s the New Hampshire (New England) license plate motto. They’re not like, Arizona crazy here, but the intense passion and love for their heritage and history is hard-core for New Englanders. On the plus side, there is something really nice about being around people who truly care about where they came from, and the awe-inspiring history that lives here. I mean, things are OLD here. Really old. There’s even a statue of Abraham Lincoln right in the middle of our little town. On the negative, I think the passion can go wrong on the road, when you drive a little too slowly for these guys. I’ve learned the hard way to toughen up and just swerve up on the curb to get around some guy trying to make a left in the middle of a busy street.

4) It is February 13th. If you drive down any given street in the Boston area (unscientific research), you will see, on 8 out of 10 houses, Christmas wreaths, and in many cases, Christmas lights. Wtf is up with this? Are there brown prickly wilting Christmas trees inside? Will the decorations stay until next year? Is the holiday spirit just like the sports mania? In California, you rip down the tree and fling the lights off around December 28th. I don’t get it.
All in all, so far, so good. The change of seasons is pretty gorgeous. And a little dose of cultural change is a good thing, too.