blogging,  Life,  photo dump,  stoop tawk,  television

2020: a recap

don’t call it a comeback, i’ve been here for …. more than 10 days trying to get something posted. i’ve been trying to put together SOMETHING. ANYTHING. i mean, it’s been since august, FFS. either way, it’s christmas eve. i’m off from work. my gifts are wrapped and i have nothing else to do so i figured i’d start my 2020 recap post. because it will probably take me the literal rest of the year to finish it.

 

2020 was undeniably a shitstorm for everyone. but, if i could be frank, it wasn’t all that bad. life has a way of going on, even through the bad times. because you have to get through the bad to make it to the good, right? now, i’m not saying that my year was all sunshine and unicorns. LOL, not at all. but it deserves to be mentioned that there WAS good in 2020.

january kicked off with jessica’s son’s first birthday. that’s right friends – chrissy two chains is one (well, now closer to 2. woof.) we partied, all blissfully unaware of what was to come.

 

at the end of the month, i became an aunt again when the little meatball, enzo rolled into the world. he belongs to vinny and lisamarie but i’m forever trying to figure out a way to shove him in my pocket and take him home with me.

so, we had the good and now comes a little bad. february started off with a bang when, on superbowl sunday, my mom had to be taken to the hospital for gallstones. she’s fine now and didn’t need surgery but that was an ordeal. listen, i may be 33, but not having my mom home for the night especially because of a medical issue was torture. let’s never do that again, mom!

hopping back on the good and fun train, i was there when nicole said yes to her dress! you’re not getting a picture of it now but kindly accept one of us in front of an instagram wall at the dress place. also, rest assured it’s beautiful and very on brand.

someone somewhere must have known the shoe was going to fall because another big thing that happened in february was jill and nestor’s gender reveal. i feel like this was yesterday and sometimes forget she’s here already. this was the last social gathering that happened before the world shut down. well, technically, going for nicole’s dress without a thought of a mask happened after but as far as socially undistanced parties go, this was it. blows my mind. 

the world shut down in mid-march so i guess that’s the end of this post, right? absolutely not! what did i say before about life having a tendency to keep moving and shaking? that’s what it does! at the very beginning of quarantine, i started talking to a boy from an app. don’t get too excited (like i did) because that tryst ended five months later after he stood me up.. twice. i’m not going to say much about it because i think there’s a whole “what i’ve learned from this shit experience” post to be written so i’ll save it for that.

after being deemed an “essential employee”, and having it be implied that i am very lucky my boss was able to keep us open, i resigned myself to having to risk my life to go into work everyday. i say it all the time that i am, in fact, very greatful that we were able to stay open and that i didn’t lose my job or kill my parents but if i’m being honest, all of it played with my head. it’s very hard for me to understand the severity of what the world is going through because i go to work, i do what i need to do, and then i come home. there was a point in time where i volunteered to go to the bank for work (because heaven forbid we don’t have MOOOONEEEEYYYY going in… if i hear that word one. more. time.) in a predominately hasidic jewish neighborhood (i’m not sure if this was an issue everywhere, but here in new york city, that community had high rates of infection and low rates of mask wearing/social distancing). one- so i could get out of the office and two- so that my co-worker wouldn’t have to do it on saturday. it took me speaking to a friend, who was incensed at the idea, to realize how dangerous it was.

with the world turned upside down, april and may was a lot of after dinner walks, clapping for front line workers, swooning over the governor cuomo daily press conferences, and riding out this wave. by this point, we realized that this lockdown was not going to be two weeks or a month. we weren’t going to have a normal easter. i couldn’t let the opportunity pass to document an empty manhattan. so, lisa and i masked up and went on an adventure.

it took five loooong months, but in june, we finally got to meet the meatball! nicole and i suited up in our “AUNTorage” shirts and masks, of course and made the journey out to massapequa. i would have loved to have held him as a tiny, squishy baby but seeing him from a socially distanced six feet worked just fine. better for his cheeks because all i want to do is squeeze them.

i celebrated my jesus birthday in july. rules had loosened a little bit so nicole, lisa, jess and i were able to dine outside. it was nice to feel some normalcy. after, we went to an outdoor beer garden where we were accidentally sat at a table with two guys. the makings of a hallmark movie, right? it was fun but lets just say that there will be no bubbly canadians playing me any time soon. not in this storyline, anyway.

the first large-ish gathering since march also happened in july when we celebrated jill’s baby shower. it was nice to finally be around family. and so exciting to celebrate the impending arrival of baby gaby!

it was a good thing we got the shower out of the way because a short 5 days later and 14 days ahead of schedule, Gabriella Elizabeth came into the world! i am so excited to share my birthday week with the little peanut.

summer made quarantining a little bit easier and i am almost greatful that the pandemic hit when it did. imagine it hitting in october and having absolutely no form of escape for months? i mean, i know that’s the point of quarantine/lockdown and that there are people out there quarantining in a 500sqft apartment with not even a fire escape to sit on. however, the after dinner walks and stoop sits that continued through the summer kept me going, personally. the other surprising thing that came out of this summer of ‘rona is that i learned that i don’t actually hate talking on the phone…? am i an adult now? what’s next, i start ending those calls with a “bye, bye”? like my mom does? i can’t wait to see how this plays out! is it my most favorite thing? no. but i realized it’s actually not terrible to sit outside on a summer night on my stoop on the phone, bitching about my life, usually with either lisamarie or nicole. thanks guys!

that quarantine bae situation i mentioned earlier ended in august. that night, after getting stood up for the second time, i met up with lisa and jessica. we went to the same beer garden we did for my birthday. this time we were seated by ourselves so this is not a redemption story. the waiter, however was a fine specimen and very much appreciated, even in my state of wallow. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-ajJkFCUMdd3RQS4sX36NvpwxreKfHXm/view?usp=sharing

i’m not sure if the video above will cooperate but it’s one that lisa took of me and jessica in an uber on our way to the beer garden. her flash is strong and i’m screaming my signature “lee!”. we were playing “i’m going on a picnic” (never again). thank you to the uber driver who did not drive us into a tree. 

the rest of the month included a pandemic friendly lunch with friends, a birthday celebration, my first crop top, lots of peanut snuggles, and hitting the 100lbs lost mark. this lasted all of 30 seconds but i saw it with my own two eyes on the scale and confirmed it in the app so it’s real. i bought myself a “love that journey for me!” keychain because alexis rose is my spirit sister. i also made a whole instagram post dedicated to this event that didn’t get nearly as much love as it should have, tbh. 

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pandemic still raging and life still rolling, we went for our bridesmaids dresses for nicole’s wedding in september. in true martina fashion, when given too many choices i glitched. i tried on almost every dress in a seasonally appropriate style. i’m glad i did because when we went to originally look in early march, i picked two dresses that i really liked and then when i saw them again, i hated them. this is why i will end up wearing a nice pair of jeans and a top for my wedding. or, let’s hope the nursing home puts me in a clean pair of alfred dunners. it is also worth mentioning that this was the first time ever in my driving life that i drove to the city. ME. martina motors manhattan. i figured i’d take the plunge in pandemic traffic rather than baptism by fire. i’ll tell you – i wouldn’t want to do it everyday or frequently even but what a thrill. i hate knowing that i have to find parking and the BQE gives me nightmares (who allowed the trucks??) but knowing that i could take my jacket off and be in my own space? omg yes. sign me up. 

it was also around this time i started talking to someone else from bumble. spoiler alert: i am not ending this year in a relationship. it was going muuuuch better than the previous situationship but i wasn’t feeling it 100%. i mean, we texted everyday, we spoke on the phone a few times but when it came down to it, there was no move to meet. he is a city worker so his schedule wasn’t doing us any favors. i tried to hint that i was available. i tried to suggest things we could do that required little work (meeting in dyker heights for hot chocolate and christmas lights? i mean, come on. there *may* also have been an instastory i posted that *may* have been pettily directed at him, but that was only after i mentioned going a few times and he never picked up the ball.) we stopped talking about two weeks ago. i’m hearing this more and more lately and it makes me nervous about my chances of finding someone, but i will not accept any guy who will not make and continue to make an effort. i can feel the anxiety (and weirdly anger) creeping in as i write this but, i am prepared to wait for the guy who makes an actual effort. I’LL WAIT. *crosses arms over chest* (but, can we find each other in 2021, please?) something tells me i’m not going to find him online. so glad i’m suuuuch a social butterfly in non-pandemic times.

lets move on before i fully spiral into anxiety and frustration and negativity. but for real – let’s get a move on it, universe. I AM LONELY, FFS. and according to the platitudes that everyone loves throwing at me – i “deserve” the best! and he’s out there! SO WHERE THE FUCK IS HE?

spiraling. moving on.

to me, september is the beginning of the end. so, at the top of the 9th of 2020, my father had a stroke. he’s ok now. it was ischemic, which is the “better” of the two types of strokes. his was in his right frontal lobe, which i’m told controls behavior. he’s been veeeerrry irritable and veeeeerrrry short fused. he’s not usually the most personable guy but this is to a new extreme. it’s been a long few months. a very trying few months. i don’t bring this up for sympathy. i write posts like these for posterity (which should be this blog’s subtitle. maybe it should be the title of my memoir). maybe one day i’ll grow the cajones to dive a little deeper and talk more about things like this but for now, this is what we’re working with. anyway, my father was in the hospital for labor day so our plans to go to our shore house changed. my mom and i went to my aunt’s house for a bbq and, for a fleeting moment, a feeling of normalcy and some skee ball.

all of a sudden it was october. that’s how it works, doesn’t it? you’re living your best crop top and shorts life and then BAM – leggings and hoodie szn. with an relentless pandemic still unrelenting, and not knowing the future, the decision was made to hold nicole’s bachelorette party columbus day weekend. we went to my shore house and it was a great time, if i do say so myself. thankfully, nicole likes to chill so that’s what we did. board games, smithville, mini golf. a very in your 30’s bachelorette party. 

*a note about the pictures – we were masked the whole time except for when taking these or when we were in the house. i feel like it should be mentioned that we’re not menaces to society (unless you count driving around with a “here cums the bride” banner on the back of your car for the weekend. then, total menaces.

my heart exploded when my meatball and my little peanut (yes, both are mine) met for the first time. as new moms do, jill and lisamarie bonded over, i don’t know, new mom things and i did what i do best – latched on. we had a brunch date in the gazebo. i’m realizing as i map out the year how much time i spent on long island. in a normal year, i’m not out there this much. is this a sign? should i get on the nassau county zillow? (don’t answer that, lisamarie)

ready for this one? at the end of october, chase turned 5. FIVE WHOLE YEARS OLD. he’s the best. he’s smart and so funny and so adorable you just want to squeeze him.

halloween rolled around and for the first time in a long time i actually had a costume. i was my (as mentioned above) spirit sister, alexis rose. also, for the first time in an even longer time, i went to a halloween party. imagine?! who am i?  there was an alterior motive to this though – chrissy two chains wanted to announce that he was becoming a big brother! 

before i knew what was happening, it was november. for the first time in my driving life, i made the trek out to long island by myself. this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it’s a big deal. on the way out there, i got a little misty eyed because i knew that there was no way i would have done that 100 (or so) pounds ago. i can’t explain it, i just know it wouldn’t have been. there are lots of unexplainable things that have come from this weight loss. like, why do i actually like (some) children now? or, really, why do children not scare me now? it could be that they aren’t strangers kids but i also feel at ease in my body to get down on the floor and play or chase them around the backyard or whatever. anyway, more ramblings for another time.

i tried to teach enzo about biggie, like the cool aunt that i am. he’s a little young for me to teach him the lyrics, but soon enough!

little miss gabriella got baptized the week before thanksgiving. the little turkey! 

speaking of turkeys- it was back to the island for a friendsgiving celebration. i made spinach artichoke crescent cups that were DELICIOUS & WW friendly. a huge hit! rave reviews all around! we had a nice afternoon and again, a feeling of normalcy. it was definitely something to be thankful for. 

thanksgiving this year was a quiet affair. my roommates  parents and i usually host at our house but we decided to play it safe. we were going to move it to our shore house, but cases in new jersey were spiking so we decided to stay put. it was weird but there was no holiday anxiety for me which i very much appreciate. with all that was going on with my father and the fact that he isn’t the most social, the holidays bring me anywhere from a subtle hum to a deep roar of anxiety so, yea. so thankful i was able to eat my pie in piece.

and here we are in december. this month started off with a friendsmas celebration on, you guessed it, long island. i’m truly not complaining, these are my people. friendsmas, as literally everything else this year, looked different but, as i said on instagram, all we need is food and some sequins and the rest is gravy. ok, i didn’t say it like that on insta, but i should have. anyway, i laughed harder than i have in a while that night and this is why these are my people. 

and here we are in december. this month started off with a friendsmas celebration on, you guessed it, long island. i’m truly not complaining, these are my people. friendsmas, as literally everything else this year, looked different but, as i said on instagram, all we need is food and some sequins and the rest is gravy. ok, i didn’t say it like that on insta, but i should have. anyway, i laughed harder than i have in a while that night and this is why these are my people. 

nicole, lisa, jess and i decided to keep up with our christmas season tradition of going to the city and seeing the tree and the windows. i felt a little (very) selfish because we’re new yorkers, not tourists. but new york at christmas only happens once a year and you know how much i love playing tourist. also, i justified it with we’re new yorkers, not tourists. it’s not like we’re coming in from another state, possibly bringing covid germs from somewhere else, you know? i drove in again (who am i??) because when i tell you that feeling of knowing you don’t have to get on the train is addicting, it’s dizzying. the sites were much more crowded than i personally anticipated. i think because they closed off streets to foot traffic near the tree, it made it worse because it forced people into less space. HOWEVER. it was nowhere near as crowded as it would be in a normal year. we didn’t do the lower part of 5th avenue (bryant park, the library) and lord and taylor (my favorite windows) bit the dust and we (obviously) couldn’t do dinner in the city so this year already felt weird. do i have to keep saying how weird everything felt? meanwhile, everything felt exactly the same? does that make sense? it definitely smelled the same. roasting nuts, burnt pretzels and subway air. 6th avenue was not the clusterfuck madhouse that we all know and loathe (i’ve written about this before but i can’t find it to link it), thank goodness. magnolia had a line from the corner to almost NBC, which is a better part of the block. to each their own, but catch me at levain because magnolia is overrated. also, let me just mention that nicole, jessica and i got catcalled by the (very attractive, but probably very young) ice cream man. i include them because i was with them, but jess is married and nicole is engaged so who’s the cat here? ME. i’m thinking of having “a-yo ladies!” printed on our runner for when we walk down the aisle. can’t wait to be featured on howwemet. on the corner of 46th and 6th. a new york love story!

i may have just lapsed into a stream of conscious. that, or i’m losing steam and need to wrap this up. the mouse in my brain is spinning that wheel, but he’s getting tired.

but while i’m rambling – am i the only one who goes into the city, especially at christmas and can’t help but feel like i’m either a member of the RENT bohemians or the gossip girl elite? i can’t be the only one. christmas in NYC always reminds me of RENT. so does summer in NYC but i digress. how could you walk down 5th avenue and pass cartier, tiffany’s, HARRY WINSTON (IYKYK) and not think of gossip girl? and now especially that i’ve driven in? what a status symbol. the epitome of luxury – my little kia sportage. but if i take the train, i have to restrain myself from singing about santa fe and how i’m going to pack up all [my] junk and fly away, while swinging on the bars. i’m towing both sides of the line here. either way, my head is usually in either late 80’s/early 90’s gritty NYC or the upper east/west side royalty. there is no in-between. 

for the first time in a long time, i took my camera out with me. i’m not going to lie, i’m not impressed with myself. i think it was a mixture of being caught off guard by the crowds, trying to be quick because of said crowds and because my hunger level was dangerously high. i hate to make excuses because if there’s one thing i know about myself, it’s that once i get in the zone, the world around me is shut off. so, i COULD have focused on what i was doing and not cared that nicole, lisa and jessica were also ready to eat their arm (lisa had candy! share amongst yourselves!) and that there were other people all vying for the same spots. my goal was to get the tree like it was when mrs. mccalister found kevin – totally void of people. it worked, but not how i wanted it to. all of this to say – there’s always next year (and photoshop).

a few more things and then i’ll let you go. going against everything i originally believed, i bit the bullet and signed up for tik tok. it is the best thing ever. you will never find me dancing on there and i’ll my life is too boring for stories (as evidenced here) and my voice is not made to be heard on video so i guess i’ll just scroll until the end. and to think this absolute GEM of a website/app almost got banned this year. 2020, have you no soul?

i am still mourning the loss of schitt’s creek. it’s been 8 months and i can’t help but think that a new season would be starting soon. 

speaking of television – i am madly in love with the impractical jokers dinner party. you know how i feel about the original impractical jokers show so this should come as no surprise. if you’re unfamiliar, dinner party was born out of the pandemic. the guys eat dinner together, virtually. each week is a different cuisine or theme and lately, they’ve been adding guests. frankly, i could do without that aspect. everything else though is gold. there are no pranks or challenges. it’s just the guys catching up. i hope the original IJ lasts a long time, but i hope this lasts longer. 

i very recently found out that gossip girl is being taken off netflix in the new year. i am devastated. i’m pretty sure hbomax will bring it back with the reboot but when is that going to be? it’s one of my go-to shows for background noise. and there are a few stand out episodes that i like to actually pay attention to. for a dumpster fire show, it certainly has my heart. xoxo

do i ever talk about anything other than television? i wish i could blame quarantine but LOL, i’ve been working. 

my fairy blogmother, libby got engaged in 2020! we are very excited. can’t wait to see diana (her ring. YES. I NAMED HER RING. she is named after the people’s princess and wonder woman. see how fun i am? maybe this is why i’m single, but this is also why i’m a big catch. reel me in.) and meet her betrothed in person. even if i have to dress up like a moose and ride a mountie… uhhh i mean, quarantine for 2 weeks to get up there. 

i started a vitamin regimen this year, like a responsible aging starlet. i’m taking a multi-vitamin, leutine for my eyes, a pms helper (miss mellow by olly – highly recommend!), a glowing skin gummy, an immunity gummy and apple cider vinegar gummies. i also very recently (last night) added a prebiotic+probiotic. i also have an anxiety one for when things get a little too rough (goodbye stress, also by olly), which definitely helps. are they working? i’ve definitely seen a difference with the pms one. is it a placebo effect? i really don’t want to know nor do i care. 

i did lots of reading this year and it felt good. i don’t usually read anything scholarly or from the NYT best seller list (except anything by samantha irby. literally anything). i like my books like i like my hallmark movies. fun, predictable, & light. here’s what i read this year. judge me (or don’t), it’s fine.

i did some manifesting on 12/21, like the witches of tik tok told me to. they also said to bury the negatives and burn the positives. seeing as i wrote them in bed at 11pm, neither of those things happened. i figured that in lieu of burning and burying, the idea of manifesting is to put things out to the universe so i’ll leave some here and hopefully the universe is reading (sign up for email notifications for when i post, universe!)

in 2021:

the love i am looking for is also looking for me.
we will find each other.
we will have a happy, loving, supportive, fulfilling, instagram worthy but realistic relationship.
(i have sooo many more about my love life and the man i would like to find, but this post is long enough and i a;ready manifested them last week. check that list, universe!)
i will be fulfilled at work, even if that means finding a new job.
i will nuture my creativity.
i will spend more time with the people who matter most to me.
i will continue my weight loss journey and hit goal. (or at least figure out a goal)
i will not stress over things i cannot change or control.
adele will release a new album.

wishing everyone a happy, safe and healthy new year! see you in 2021!

p.s. how does everyone like the blog reno? it needs some tweaking, but all in all i really like it.

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