Watching “La Traviata”, an opera about love and death, during a matinee performance at The Metropolitan Opera during Christmas week.  I can only describe it as a “4-tissue opera”.

My resolve for the New Year is to resume my blog with greater regularity! I’ll start with how I managed to get through the 2014 week between Christmas and New Years when all members of my family were out of town.

So here I was at home in New York City during the week when not only most families are together but, historically, when I have spent all or most of that week with members of my immediate family.  The historical precedent went back to my immediate family growing up, to 10 years of holidays spent with my husband when we were married and without children, to 30 years of holidays spent with my husband and children and then, after my husband’s death, to five years of holidays spent with one or another of my children and their spouse’s family.

To my amazement, I’d never spent that week between Christmas and New Years alone.  Not ever.

I decided it was pointless to feel sorry for myself so I pulled out the Arts section from the New York Times, went to my computer and bought tickets online for a matinee on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24th for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” which is playing on Broadway, a matinee ticket for the movie, “Selma”, on Friday, December 26th and a matinee ticket for the opera, “La Traviata” on Saturday, January 27th at the Metropolitan Opera.

Just having tickets to pin up on the bulletin board in my kitchen was a mood-lifter.

All three of these productions were superb and I enjoyed each immensely, although I can  describe “La Traviata” as a 4-tissue opera.  If you are unfamiliar with it, it is a heartbreaking story of love and death, and resonated deeply for me.  The retired Welsh teacher on one side of me and the visiting woman from Florida on the other could only have wondered about all the tears, but it was a performance I was glad to have seen.  The retired Welsh teacher ate a bag of grapes during intermission and a sausage pie.  We sat in the Family Circle and the air around us reeked of sausage pie well into the second act.  I’ll admit that it was hard to concentrate on the melancholy of the opera when my stomach was ready to upchuck.  That aside, it was an exceptional opera.

The trifecta of extraordinary culture, beautiful Christmas decorations everywhere I went, and all those people at the theater, movie and opera raised my spirits immensely.

If there is one take-away on these experiences to any one reading this it’s just this:

Don’t sit in the metaphorical dark. You’ll be in the dark when they turn the house lights down, but going out and doing things is an enormously helpful way to dispel gloom.  If possible, try not to sit next to anyone eating a sausage pie.