Friday, November 26, 2021

Yes We Need a Little Christmas!

 

After a wonderful night's sleep with hearts overflowing with love and gratitude, we woke up for our final morning in New York. Tom and Ruth Anne had work early on Monday morning. While they rested, I organized and packed up our room. We walked over to Junior's for breakfast. There was a long line and we were about to find another place to eat but I suggested we see how long the wait was. As we went to the hostess desk people were being told they would receive a text when their table was ready. After we showed our vaccination cards and ID's, they led us to a table for 3. We bobbed and weaved through the crowd with our masks still on and were led to a table with the same waitress who served us lunch on Saturday.  We feasted on a New York style breakfast with bagels, eggs, french toast and orange juice. We shared our plates with each other and took a picture of the Christmas tree:

 
With a noon check out, we didn't have a lot of time to go galavanting around the City. Since we all need a little Christmas right now, we went down different streets to get to Rockefeller Center.

I had seen an article about the Show Globes in Times Square and was thrilled to see them along with a spectacular view of Times Square.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Photos taken on our stroll around the Rockefeller Center area:









 One of my favorite displays at Rockefeller Center


 

 

 

 

 

The traditional selfie with the ice skating rink in the background

 

 

 

The doorman at FAO Schwarz who was making sure that no one entered the store before 11am. They were hosting a special event for the families of fallen firefighters from 9/11. FAO Schwarz always makes me feel like a kid again.


While we watched the tree trimming at Rockefeller Center, Tom asked if we could have a cutting from the tree! After we were gifted one of the branches, the security guard told us to wait a minute. He gave us pine cone decorations on another branch!

 I caption this photo  "Jaywalker Tom":

The light had changed but he ran to cross the street. A bus was careening down the street right behind him. Ruth Anne and I were left on the other side of the street but he held up our treasure to indicate all was well.

What an incredible way to kick off the holiday season in New York. We were able to enjoy the City before the throngs of holiday goers arrived. Our waitress at Junior's told us the holiday week began on Monday for New York schools!

Everyone is ready to celebrate this year after a year of darkness, uncertainty, fear, hope, possibilities, isolation, and waiting as we do in Advent. Yes, we need a lot of Christmas this year.

Extraordinary

Sunlight sparkles on the water
dancing on the gentle ripples
how long we waited to see the sun again
darkness and fear were all pervasive
would light ever prevail

lying in waiting
world's troubles heavy
bearing down on tender hearts
weary as days became months
keep hope alive

Emerging from the pandemic
baby steps
is it safe?
bigger steps
out into the world
leap of faith
at times waiting seemed unbearable

and yet

what joy culminates
sweet experiences that hearts yearned for
ordinary times become extraordinary
hugs' pleasure magnified
seeing smiles once more
happy and free
into the light.

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Jagged Little Pill - Seven Months Later Seeds of Possibilities Blossomed!

 

The April 22nd podcast of The Cardinal Cafe featured part 2 of their interview with Tony nominated actor Sean Allan Krill. He spoke with hosts Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel about the anticipation of the re-opening of Broadway in the Fall. They were setting up vaccine sites to help get the theaters open again. They talked about what it was like during the first few weeks of the pandemic and how it looked like a post-apocalyptic movie. Sean went on to say, "It's not like that now. There are more people coming to New York just to visit. I'm not sure if that's good or bad but I do believe we are on the right track. Thank God for the vaccines and that  we're working towards getting to the point where we can all sit in a big room together and enjoy something." 


Ed chimed in, 'We just have to get past the Spring break surge." 

"Exactly, exactly," Sean said.

"Well you just better be ready Sean because when things open up you're gonna have, I bet we're gonna have at least 50-75 of our members (referencing Voices of Hope Boston) who are gonna be on the bus, on the train and the first show we are going to see is Jagged Little Pill," Ed replied.

"Wow I can't wait," Sean said with such warmth and love in his voice. "You're gonna let me know.  You're gonna let me know, right? They probably won't have a line for awhile and nobody will be able to come back but I can certainly come out."

Sean went on to say, "It sounds crazy to even talk about it. I know it's not impossible but at this point a year in it does feel like, Wow, is that ever really going to happen? But let's plan that. It sounds really nice."

                                                **************

After we rested in our hotel room, we got dressed and walked over to the Broadhurst Theater with our vaccine cards and photo ID's in hand to get in line for Jagged Little Pill. 

The line moved quickly. We were greeted with, "Welcome back to Broadway," from everyone who greeted us at the theater. We stopped to get a soda water. "What's the designated area to drink?" I asked the concession stand person. "Oh you can take the drinks to your seats now! And there are free refills so feel free to come back for more."
 
We climbed the stairs to the mezzanine and kept saying to each other, "I can't believe we're really here."










 

We bought our tickets on October 24th many weeks after the Voices of Hope Boston group bought their tickets yet there we were seated a row behind the President, Greg Chastain and his family and two rows behind Ed Siegel, the Vice President of VoH, and his beautiful wife Dana, the Executive Artistic Director. What a thrilling way to experience the lights being back on Broadway. We filled three and a half rows of the center of the mezzanine!

 At intermission, we shared the experience of the First Act with our VoH family. and Ed said to us. "Buckle up for Act Two." He had seen Jagged when it was performed at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge.

He was right!

There were many moments where I welled up and rode the emotions in awe of the music, the script and the entire theatrical experience. After the scene where MJ overdoses, my legs began trembling uncontrollably. I tried to stop them but then I remembered Peter Levine's book, "In An Unspoken Voice-How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness." When a body that has experienced trauma, feels overwhelming emotions it can be released through trembling and it's a very healthy way to heal. After the show I stood up for the standing ovation. It ordinarily takes me a few minutes to get my energy flowing after sitting for a while but I bounced out of my chair, and bounded down the stairs with such ease after the show! I felt light and free.
 
Sharing the experience with my daughter and our circle of love in Voices of Hope who prayed for her when she was critically ill for several years was incredibly powerful soul medicine. We had no idea what the outcome would be. Dana was my rock through that time. She hugged as after the show and said how great it was to see the power of prayer! I thanked her for all of her love and support. "We're family and that's what we do." There were more hugs.
 
We finally figured out that Ruth Anne had an untreated infection that caused brain inflammation and that in turn caused a traumatic brain injury. It's been a long road back during these past two years. One of the most painful parts of the injury was that listening to music triggered the audio hallucinations. She LOVES music and it was so painful for both of us that we couldn't share it as she healed. BUT the brain does heal - albeit slowly and so we started reintroducing music into her life. One of her teachers in high school played Jagged Little Pill all the time in the copy center where she worked as part of her curriculum. After Sean's interview on the Cardinal Cafe we decided to get the vinyl

(rather than listening through headphones on her phone) and it was a total success! We used to go to concerts together and Broadway in Boston shows. I thought that experience might have been lost forever but I held onto hope and Saturday night we rekindled the experience of being together for live musical theater.

Ruth Anne had to get up at 6am on Monday to get to work so we did not stay to wait for Sean to come down to greet the group but we enjoyed the photos.

Greg presented Sean with a Voices of Hope jacket with his name on it... and Sean presented Greg with an autographed poster of the original Broadway cast of Jagged as a Silent Auction item for their upcoming Virtual Gala. 


 

 

It was 'one..two..three..drop masks' to take this group photo.


 

 

Sean posted this photo on social media to express his appreciation to Voices of Hope for their love and support during the pandemic and all they do to work toward creating a cancer free world.
 


 

 

 

 

As Eliza Healey said, "He is such an incredibly talented performer and such a beautiful soul."



  

 

 

Hope planted seeds of possibilities seven months ago and they blossomed at the Broadhurst Theater and the Schubert Alley on Saturday in New York City.

 

 

 

 

I am so grateful that I set aside all my concerns about having to wear a mask throughout the weekend, waiting in line to enter the theater and whether or not I could enjoy the NYC experience with the COVID regulations to experience a magical evening overflowing with healing, hope and infinite possibilities as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.

To be continued... 

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

New York and the Magic of Christmas


 

The magic of Christmas is synonymous with New York. There's the Thanksgiving Day Macy's Parade which always ends with the entrance of Santa Claus, the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes and of course, ice skating at Rockefeller Center with the spectacular Christmas Tree. While the tree was lit last year and there was a pre-taped Parade, it was very difficult to experience the magic of Christmas in New York and around the world. While many decked the halls of our homes on Thanksgiving with Christmas decorations, it was a challenge to feel the light and hope of the winter holidays surrounded by so much darkness and fear.

One year later we are emerging from the pandemic and New York City seemed to shine more brightly than it ever has. We were so blessed to be there before the crowds descended on the City and while the air was filled with the festivities of the holiday season.

We woke up early on Saturday morning to the setting moon:











We took time to meditate before heading out on what we knew would be a whirlwind shopping and walking tour of the City. We didn't know just how much of a walking tour we would experience though!

After breakfast at the Majestic Delicatessen, we went to the M&M store where Ruth Anne wanted to bring back gifts for her co-workers who keep a supply of M&M's at their desks. On the way we saw windows decorated for Christmas. When Ruth Anne asked me what I wanted to do in New York,  I told her I wanted to take lots of pictures of her and of all of us being together. I wanted to celebrate being on our first vacation since February 2020 and the miracle of her healing from a traumatic brain injury. 
















After experiencing the magic of the M&M store, Ruth Anne proudly sported her M&M shopping bag while we walked to Rockefeller Center.











Even though the scaffolding was still on the tree while workers strung the lights and trimmed branches from the tree, the magic of Christmas filled the air.


We stopped in the NBC Studio Store but it was a shadow of its former self. The Plaza in front of the NBC studios that would have people with their noses pressed to the glass watching the Today Show was empty. Yet there was a powerful sense of resilience and strength pulsating throughout the City. Our beloved restaurant, Cucina Cucina was closed apparently as a result of the pandemic. 

By contrast, Radio City Music Hall was buzzing with excitement as throngs of people lined up to present their proof of vaccination and ID's to see the Holiday Show.










We made a stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral where we traditionally light a candle. I welled up with emotion to realize that when we were there 5 years ago with friends, we lit a candle for Ruth Anne who was critically ill. She lit a candle and we all hugged.

We were going to be up very late since we were going to the 8pm show of Jagged Little Pill. We are typically not late night people so we wanted to pace our day and decided to head back to the hotel. I grew up in Westchester and would often take the train into the City to meet my great Aunt Laura. She taught me how New York is a grid and took great care to explain how to navigate getting around the City on foot. Tom put on "Google girl" to direct us back to the hotel. I should have trusted my instincts and paid attention to where we were going. By the time I spoke up about our going in the wrong direction, we were another mile away from our hotel.

It felt so good to put our feet up and rest before heading out for lunch.

We had heard about Junior's from many of our friends who visited New York. It exceeded our expectations with service and food. We were planning to have lighter fare for lunch and have dinner at Mama Mia's but after seeing the menu and what people were eating, we decided to have a lunner since it was already 1:30 (thanks to our little detour).







 




 





 

It was incredible to feel my Jewish roots and savor traditional Jewish food in New York.

Before heading back to the hotel, we went to see the marquis for Jagged Little Pill.

We felt the excitement build and the thrill of the lights being back on Broadway!

When we arrived back at the hotel at about 3:30, our friends from Voices of Hope Boston were just arriving. They were preparing for their Spring gala in March of 2020 which was shut down during rehearsals. We would see our Voices of Hope Boston friends at least twice a year at their shows. It was an emotional reunion and those hugs, even though we had masks on, were the best hugs I've ever felt.

They checked in while we went to our room to rest before it was time for the show!

To be continued...

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

Mary

Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

My books to motivate, uplift and inspire you are available on Amazon






Yes We Need a Little Christmas!

  After a wonderful night's sleep with hearts overflowing with love and gratitude, we woke up for our final morning in New York. Tom and...