solstice celebration

Congratulations! You’ve survived the part where daylight hours are decreasing. It is now officially winter. I’d say something comforting like, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” But it kind of was. It’s been butt fricking cold for weeks already.

Well, I am happy to report that things are looking up. Now that the winter solstice has come and gone, daylight hours are increasing by about two minutes per day. Lots of people think that daylight hours get shorter all winter. False. The winter solstice gives us the least amount of daylight all year (about nine hours here in New York). It’s all uphill from here…or until the summer solstice. Bring on the light!

The winter solstice was exciting for other reasons, too. Like how there was a total lunar eclipse. I’d been looking forward to the eclipse for months. Then I realized that totality (when the moon is completely covered by the Earth’s shadow) was going to be at 3:00 in the morning. I tried to stay awake. I really did. But around 1:30 a.m., I had to call it a night/morning. If you were trying to stay up late, I hope you hung in there long enough to see the red moon. I’ve seen several eclipses and each one is unique in its own magical way.

Speaking of magical. I celebrated the winter solstice in the best possible way this year. Mummenschanz was here! This was a Very Big Deal. I’ve been in love with Mummenschanz since I saw them on The Muppet Show when I was little. You know how some things just speak to you in mysterious ways? And you feel this instant, intense connection? That’s how it was with me and Mummenschanz. They’re the most amazing performance art troupe that conveys meaning without speaking. You might see shimmery cellophane, huge balloon people, or just a big blob, but each skit is filled with an array of emotions. They were last here in 1996 and I’d been waiting all this time to see them again. They were just as magnificent as I remembered. It was awesome to see old friends like this one:

Since I was a little girl, I’ve wondered what it would be like to meet the Mummenschanz performers. I even have them listed in that section on MySpace where you put who you’d like to meet. So guess what happened? I got to meet Floriana Frassetto after the show! She’s been a Mummenschanz performer from the start – almost 40 years ago! Floriana is a super friendly neighbor who could not have been sweeter. Look how friendly she is:

Floriana Frassetto of Mummenschanz with fangirl Susane Colasanti

It was really hard not to burst out crying. But I just focused on how we had a fun black-and-white theme going. This was the ultimate way to celebrate the winter solstice…and a dream come true.

Here’s to warm nights, bright days, and a happy, healthy holiday season for you and yours. And to more dreams coming true in 2011!

serendipity day

Today is Serendipity Day, aka Serendipity Do-Da, aka Do-Da Day.

You would probably like an explanation.

If you didn’t see the movie Serendipity, then not to be bossy? But you really need to go ahead and do that. It’s all about fate and destiny and energy and has some awesome New York scenes. Even if you did see it, you probably didn’t pick up on the fact that Jonathan and Sara meet on December 20. I’m obsessive about those sorts of details, so I totally did. And immediately made a note that December 20 will always and forever be known as Serendipity Day.

When they meet, Jonathan and Sara are in Bloomingdale’s trying to grab the same pair of gloves. You know how sometimes you meet someone and there’s this instant, amazing connection? That’s what happens to them. So of course they can’t just go their separate ways. They have to go to Serendipity 3 (which is only a few blocks away – love the accuracy) for frozen hot chocolates. And then they go ice skating in Central Park. It’s one of those magical New York nights, filled with excitement and possibility.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Serendipity

But then.

When Jonathan writes down his number for Sara, the wind blows it away. She thinks it’s a sign that they’re not meant to be together. Or at least, not right now. She’s all about fate and destiny. So she makes him write his name and number on the back of a five-dollar bill, which she immediately uses to buy mints. Sara’s idea is that if the five-dollar bill makes its way back to her, then they’re meant to be together.

Good, right?

If you’ve read Something Like Fate, you can understand why I love this movie. I love it so much that my friend Joe and I celebrate Serendipity Day by reenacting the original Serendipity Day’s events. First, we put our names in at Serendipity. There’s usually a three-hour wait for a table. I’m not exaggerating. Around the holidays, is it a gorgeous winter wonderland in there, all sparkly lights and trees and tinsel. Everyone wants in. But it’s cool because we need those three hours for the rest of the events. We head over to Bloomingdale’s, where we both grab a pair of gloves at the same glove counter. That counter doesn’t have gloves anymore so we have to bring the gloves over, but it still counts. Then it’s off to Wollman Rink in Central Park. It is always the Coldest Night Ever when we do this. I don’t know how to ice skate, so we kind of just stand there and watch the glittery skyline and send positive energy out into the Universe.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Wollman Rink in Central Park

Then it’s frozen hot chocolate time! In the movie, Jonathan and Sara get red and blue straws in theirs. But we always get regular straws. So I asked about the red and blue ones and found out that they don’t have those anymore. But those frozen hot chocolates are the best in the world, so who cares? If Joe and I are each at a point in our lives where we’re single, we take out a five-dollar bill and write our name and number on the back. Then we give them to the waiter as part of his tip. Not that anyone ever called us. But that’s not the point. The point is that we put our energy out there. The city is magic. It makes magical things happen.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager, reunited

So. How can you celebrate the Do-Da Day if you’re not here in New York? Well, if you’re already with your soul mate, you can make frozen hot chocolates and call it a day. But if you are still searching, send positive energy out into the Universe today. Take some time to write in your journal. Visualize what you want life to be like with your soul mate. And make a plan to take steps towards finding them. All of these things will help you get closer to turning your dream into reality.

Oh, and P.S.? Serendipity is also home of the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, served in a Baccarat crystal goblet (which you get to take home), made with the world’s most expensive chocolate, and covered in 23K edible gold leaf:

Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity

Happy Serendipity Day!

week in review

1. Remember when Facebook changed its original format to make everyone’s profile look the same? I was outraged at the time. My Wall was originally positioned way at the bottom of my page. You had to scroll down past all of my apps to get to it. But then everyone’s Wall was right there and the apps were sequestered to that Boxes tab and I was like, This sucks! No one will know that I rank #1 in the Dawson’s Creek Trivia Challenge or see the current moon phase or send me hugs and kisses anymore. Those hugs really were the cutest things ever. And I wasn’t the only one who hated the change. But then…well, we all got used to the new format. I totally understand why the uniform look is much better. I hardly even remember the old format.

Fuzzy Hug on Facebook

What I do remember? Is last week. Back when we had our latest status displayed by our name and that little blurb area under our profile pic. With this new new Facebook change, I am missing those features. I mean, sometimes there’s an important status I want to leave up there, you know? Or like with the blurb area, I’d always put when my next book is coming out. Now you have to go to the Info section and scroll all the way down to the basic information area to find that out.

Yeah. So far, not impressed with this latest change. I’m waiting for the day when the last format will be a distant memory. Just like the one before that.

2. Urban Dictionary had some fun Word of the Day definitions.

Geek – a person you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult

Nerd – one whose IQ exceeds his weight

Dork – Someone who has odd interests, and is often silly at times. A dork is also someone who can be themselves and not care what anyone thinks.

All this time I’ve been calling myself a nerd, when in fact it appears that I’m more of a geek/dork combo. Thanks for clearing that up, my fellow urban friends!

3. I finally finished watching all of Seinfeld. It really is the quintessential show for New Yorkers and I totally get why it was so huge. Although I don’t know how well the rest of the country understood some of the humor that was crazy specific to New York. Like, only true Manhattanites can fully grasp the indignity of a non-212 area code.

So I have a question about the finale. Was that whole jail thing metaphorical? Because if it was literal…hmm.

4. When The Book Mogul asked me to select five books as my absolute faves, I was kind of intimidated. Picking only five books out of all of them is nearly impossible. But I tried, you guys. Here’s what I decided.

5. Why is epic being so overused? Where did it even come from? Somehow, epic has taken off like wild fire. I even heard a major intellectual use it on NPR. I wanted to know if anyone else agreed with me about the Overuse of Epic. So I posted the question online. And yes, a lot of you agree! Epic is officially being overused. Not that that will stop me from using it, of course. I’m just saying.

Well, that pretty much sums it up. I’m off to sniff some more Christmas trees. My goal is to inhale enough pine scent to spontaneously transform into a Christmas tree. I’ve always wanted an excuse to wear those silver tinsel icicles. Cheers!

david duchovny and the santas

People are usually surprised that I love Neil LaBute’s movies and plays. He’s a very dark and twisty dude. Meredith Grey would definitely worship him. If she were, like, real. He can be really hardcore. I’ve been hooked since In the Company of Men, a movie in which two guys have a bet over who can make a deaf girl fall in love with him first. I know that sounds horrible – and it is! LaBute is fearless like that.

So when I heard that his latest play, The Break of Noon, was playing at a little theater right down the street and that David Duchovny and Amanda Peet were in it, I could not get tickets fast enough. I was sitting super close to David and kept looking at the tattoo on his ring finger. Which doesn’t mean I wasn’t riveted. Because I was. David basically talks for 90 minutes straight. He must be exhausted after every performance.

After the play, we didn’t just go home. This was my chance to meet David and Amanda! I loved her in Something’s Gotta Give and A Lot Like Love. But she was so fast to sneak out the side door that I didn’t even get to see her. I was really bummed about that. But David totally came out the front door and took the time to say hi to all of his fans. Which was extremely gracious of him, given how exhausting his performance was. Of course I took a picture with David. Only, he wasn’t looking his best in the pic. And I don’t think it’s right to post a photo of a person who would not want that photo to be posted. I reluctantly accepted that I wouldn’t be able to share a pic with you.

But then.

I was like, Dude. The play is right down the street. I could always go back for better documentation. Plus, I could tell Amanda how awesome she is (because, you know, she doesn’t already hear that a zillion times a day or anything). So I went over last Saturday and waited outside with the other fans. This time, David was photo ready.

David Duchovny and Susane Colasanti

There was a guy waiting for David to sign a bunch of prints. This usually means that they’re going to be sold. But he told me that he’s a huge X-Files fan and he’s met David tons of times and the prints were all for him. I told him that I didn’t want to miss Amanda again. The whole time we were waiting for David, I kept checking the two side doors for her. It’s a good thing I was talking to that guy – he told me when Amanda came out. She was by the side door, looking through her bag. So I went over with my Playbill and my hot pink Sharpie and stood there all wide-eyed and expectant. And then Amanda looked up and she was on the phone and…well, she just left. And I was still standing there all wide-eyed and expectant.

Because I need to cling to the belief that she is a sweet person, I will conclude that she really had to go.

There were other things going on last Saturday as well. Like SantaCon 2010. SantaCon takes place in a bunch of cities worldwide. It’s where hundreds of people dress up as Santa and have a good time. They started the day in Central Park, but by the time I was meeting David again they were here in the Village. Hundreds of Santas running though the Village! It was a trip. David and I even had an awesome conversation about it.

David Duchovny: What’s with all these Santas?

Me: It’s SantaCon!

Yeah. We’re tight like that.

As David was taking pictures with us, a swarm of Santas swooped in. Which is how I was able to document David Duchovny and the Santas.

David Duchovny with SantaCon Santas

Now this next part might sound hugely slightly stalkerish, but I assure you it was not. After the crowd broke up, David started walking away. And I…like, kind of followed him. Because, hello, he was going my way! A girl has to get home, right? It was fun to watch people’s reactions as they passed him on the street. I mean, he must be used to it by now, but it’s kind of unreal to be David Duchovny just walking down the street like la la la while all around him people are whipping their heads around and going, “Was that David Duchovny?!?!” I wonder if he’s over it or if he still gets a little thrill.

Now I have to add The X-Files to my queue. People have been telling me I’ll love it for years. If it’s anything like Fringe, I’m ready to roll!

john mayer news

This one’s for all of my kindred spirit John Mayer fans. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering about the new music he’s been working on. JM news has been sparse ever since he deleted his Twitter and stopped blogging (which I hope is just a break). I like that he’s getting into a more contemplative space, though.

Sometimes John does surprise performances at a place in my neighborhood. I’m always so mad that I wasn’t there. It’s literally two blocks away from me! I hate waking up to find out he was so close and I had no clue. A friend who works there would be good to have so I know when to be there at, like, two in the morning or whatever. Need to work on that. Anyway, a reader let me know that John was there last week (thanks, Katie!). John played some of his new music, which sounds incredible. And it’s cool how he’s just schlepping it all scruffy in a sweater and glasses.

This new song is already speaking right to my heart. I’m guessing it’s called “One of These Days.” Warning: It will immediately get stuck in your head and you’ll be mentally playing it for days. Enjoy!

john lennon shines on

Dear John,

I miss you every day. But especially today.

You gave us the kind of music that transcends time. Music with a message. Songs that speak to us and encourage us to make our lives better. Songs that make us want to change the world. Songs that make us imagine.

You are an indelible part of New York City. When I want to remember you best, I go to Strawberry Fields. No matter what time or which day, people are always there, playing your songs and bringing you flowers. You fought so hard to stay in this magical place because you understood its energy, an energy you translated into music and art. I still feel your passion every day, John.

Skyline artwork by John Lennon

I wish I could tell you that we’re all living life in peace today, 30 years after you were taken from us. Sadly, we are not. But Imagine lives on, as do all of your words, and they continue to inspire us to live and let live.

And so you shine on.
Like the moon and the stars and the sun.
On and on and on…


for the rest of us

Although Festivus isn’t technically until December 23, I am getting the party started early this year. I found a random pole on the street and dragged it home.

Happy Festivus pole!

Happy Festivus

It’s never too early to start airing those grievances. Oooh, and feats of strength! For my feat of strength, I will attempt to hold that frakking Pilates plank position for 30 seconds without shaking like the Pilates loser I currently am. So, yeah. Be ready for that.

Fun factoid: The concept of Festivus did not originate on Seinfeld. It was first mentioned in a book published in 1966 about obscure holidays. The original Festivus dessert in real life was a Pepperidge Farm cake (do they even make those anymore?) sprinkled with M&Ms.

Speaking of Festivus desserts, I was thrilled to discover this Ben & Jerry’s limited edition:

Ben & Jerry's Festivus limited edition

Um, brown sugar cinnamon ice cream? Gingerbread cookies? Caramel swirl? Sign me up. Unfortunately, this Festivus flavor is no longer available. If it ever was. Maybe it’s an urban legend. But hey, one can hope for a return engagement. It would be a Festivus miracle!

home stretch

Ah, darkness at 4:00. And so it goes in the Hunker Down. Actually, things are looking up. I think I can see the end of this first draft I’m working on. Which I am extremely happy about. First drafts are always the hardest part for me. Some authors love first drafts and struggle more with revisions, but the opposite is definitely true for me. I just think it’s a lot easier to work with something already on the page. Once I have a first draft, it becomes much easier for me to refine the story.

This doesn’t mean I’m done or anything. Not at all. Once this draft is done, I’ll print out a hard copy and work on the second draft from there. And then the third. And then (hopefully) it will be ready to submit to my editors. They’re the only ones who read my work in its initial stages, so I never know if a manuscript is any good until they give it the green light. Let’s hope those lights keep shining green!

With all of this early darkness, it’s always nice to find some bright warm fuzzies online. Like how All-Consuming Books is giving away a copy of Something Like Fate. Or this very sweet review of Waiting for You over at The Book Genie. Or these charming videos of cut paper animation on Moving Paper. They’re so cute!

I’ll leave you with a clip of my fave contemporary philosopher, Alain de Botton. I’ve been reading his books on love and relationships for years and am always impressed by his refreshing, astute insights. In this interview, Alain discusses how childhood anxiety inspires intellectualism. As usual, he totally has a point.

Keep you where the light is…