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Liz Neumark

Liz Neumark

Posted: July 6, 2009 12:54 PM

Small Celebrations


Happy 6th of July. Reasons to celebrate - there are so many, even in these days of immense uncertainty. Now more than ever, we need to grasp the wonderful events that happen in the course of a week or a day and recognize them as great moments, cheer each other, savor the sweetness and continue on with our lives.

Marc, our Production Chef - no small job - was a participant on Chopped this week. We gathered in the Conference Room on Thursday to watch the episode. As he progressed from round to round we cheered. He won, with great creativity, style, humor and his signature understated cool. We were thrilled for him, for us, for victory. We all felt like winners. Marc is the voice of GP Twitter, but this is an accomplishment to really crow about!

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This week we had a Green Party. The genesis for the soiree was the marking of actions undertaken by the new Green Team in our company, under Cynthia Yang's able leadership. We had decided to put an end to the vampire drain in the office and provide power strips to everyone so that at night we could easily turn off all the electronics at our desks. We launched our mission statement as well. To mark this occasion, we had green food, a specialty green drink and a costume contest. Lisa was the winner, hands down. The party favors - Sally's lovingly crafted pads made with recycled scrap paper (a double recycling effort if I might add.)

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On Thursday, when we opened the Greenmarket, it was dedicated to the celebration of the holiday weekend via local foods. Those 5:30 AM starts can be brutal, but Josh, Sally and I are in a groove! Red, white and green was as close as we got to our national colors - the red provided by the season's first tomatoes (from the greenhouse), Japanese turnips and cabbages providing the white and lots and lots of other greens. It is always fun giving some vegetables away to our regulars along with some cooking advice. Elizabeth took initiative, pouring little sample cups of our Basil Mint Iced Tea and stood inside the entrance to the Port Authority tray in hand. Harried commuters flew by and a few stopped to sip. It was a small moment - but it felt celebratory somehow and we smiled and laughed as she stood there. Slow Food, speeding people.

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I celebrated a new set of wheels - a new vehicle after 113,000 were achieved in my 10-year old gas guzzling mini-van. It's a hybrid and I will need to spend hours to fully understand its intricacies, or get intensive tutorial from Todd, who did all the legwork and negotiating and bringing my new silver baby home. Trips to the farm will be gentler on the environment and my wallet. So when you read about the uptick in new car sales, I contributed and it felt like patriotic participation in the economic stimulus plan.

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My 24-year old nephew and his bride arrived from overseas and we inaugurated the car with a trip to Katchkie Farm. The rain, of which there was thankfully little that day, has turned everything so lush. Where Eytan comes from, there is little rain. All the way up the Taconic and back he marveled at how green everything looked. I have totally taken that for granted. Who is not complaining about the rain - yet yesterday, we rejoiced in the bounty and beauty these rain soaked days have produced. And we witnessed how a chicken lays an egg. It wasn't there and then suddenly, it was - all to the persistent sound of a chicken sort of humming.

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Our little movie club gang celebrated the legendary bank robber, Dillinger, this week as we made our way to Times Square for opening night. Popcorn, soda and candy in hand, we evaluated the leading men in a never-ending appreciation of the distractions and wonder of Hollywood. We will meet again in a week for another adventure, this time a very anticipated comedy.

And while 10 years does not compare with a 233-year anniversary mark, it is an accomplishment that we celebrated ten years since Ronnie Davis joined Great Performances. No one in the event industry thought it would last: He was obstinate, opinionated and unfamiliar with the atmosphere of a female dominated corporate culture. Ten years later, he is a top producing, supportive team player. 'Just one of the girls', we tease him. He smiles. Did I mention his anniversary gift to me? 10 chickens!

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On the Fourth, we had barbeques at Caramoor and Wave Hill. What holiday would be complete without food and drink? We are grateful to be working just as we pause to appreciate our great country and our precious freedom.

I guess the point is to celebrate the little things the same way we anticipate and plan for holiday celebrations. We are surrounded by great moments - some we can recognize, others we cannot. When we fully participate in the moment and make connections to the people around us, we elevate the ordinary and make life's moments a little sweeter.
What a good way to live. Hope you had a great holiday, and an even better every day.

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