Happy 24th birthday to my beautiful younger sister, Julia!

Yesterday, I mentioned surprise birthday plans for her and my dad. Julia was in on the day’s events, but my dad was kept in the dark. Though it was his first guess, my mom managed to throw him off by telling him that no, we were not going to see Relatively Speaking, a set of one-act plays by the likes of Ethan Coen, Elaine May and Woody Allen. 

But of course, that’s where we went. My parents are huge Woody Allen fans, so it was kind of a no-brainer. I had a great time. I love how a great play can remind me of why I write. The acting was great, but I also got the impression that writing each play was a lot of fun for the folks behind it.

For dinner afterwards we went to Esca in Hells Kitchen, which my sister had been wanting to try for a while. It’s a southern Italian restaurant with lots of fresh fish and a great wine list. It’s not particularly vegetarian friendly, but if you love seafood, you’ll enjoy it.

To start, we shared a few appetizers—crudo (basically, Italian-style sashimi—I tasted the snapper and salmon roe) and two pastas. One was spaghetti with lobster, which was delicious. The other was another noodle-shaped pasta with salmon roe, marscapone, and dill. I wasn’t really feeling that one so didn’t eat it, but my folks enjoyed it a lot. The homemade whole wheat focaccia was also fantastic.

focaccia and crudo

Three out of five of us ordered pan-seared local sea bass for our entree, which came with wild mushrooms and braised leeks. Chris had the ricotta gnocchi, and my sister enjoyed an assortment of fried fish. For the table, we ordered roasted carrots, kale, and fingerling potatoes. 

I didn’t snap a picture of dessert, but between the five of us, we shared a pumpkin cake and cheesecake. The portions of dessert, like the other dishes, were fairly small, so it was easy to enjoy just a few bites of something sweet.

…and it’s Monday again. I actually put “rest” on my schedule as a reminder not to push myself today. I’m nursing a sore hip, courtesy of a yoga studio I’m never going to again. I was really scared it was going to be something serious when I heard a “pop” in class, but after some minor discomfort yesterday, I woke up feeling a lot better, so I’m being cautiously optimistic. I’ve gotten injured at this place before, so some of it is probably injury PTSD, but I finally realized yesterday that I don’t need to keep punishing myself by trying to overcome a past experience—sometimes it’s better to just move on.

When it comes to yoga, I really do prefer the no-fuss hot yoga place I usually go to, even though a lot of people critique the use of made-up postures and lack of ceremony. The simple truth I need to stop trying to apologize for is that I’d rather sweat it all out while listening to rock music than bend myself into some special- snowflake instructor’s idea of a divine, chanting pretzel.

Do you do yoga? What’s your favorite type?

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